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Mike Powers first blog.

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Christmas Cookie Recipes!







































6 days until Christmas ... and I was a baking machine last night in the kitchen. Since buying a gift for EVERYONE can get a little expensive, I decided to BAKE COOKIES for friends & co-workers. Less than $70 spent on ingredients, cookie tins & ribbon. Easy, right? Yeh - well baking from scratch is actually tedious and makes a mess of your kitchen. Slice & Bake makes baking easssssssssssssy ... but I took the challenge last night and baked. From scratch. Here are the 2 recips I used for Rosemary Shortbread Cookies & Cake Batter Christmas Cookies. Enjoy! And Merry Christmas. XO, WooWoo



Rosemary Shortbread Christmas Tree Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
In a bowl, whisk together flour, rosemary, and salt. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gather dough into two balls, wrap both tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350. Remove one dough ball and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper. Punch out cookies using a small (3 1/2 inch) tree-shaped cookie cutter. Transfer cutouts to a wax paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat with second dough ball. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. Don't let the cookies brown!!! Transfer to a cooling rack.
CAKE BATTER CHRISTMAS COOKIES
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used a blend of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup Christmas sprinkles
Directions:
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)
Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Shape your cookie dough balls to be "taller" than they are wide, as pictured above. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie dough balls, if desired. That makes a pretty cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Mine took 10 minutes exactly. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You may also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days; baked cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. They won't last that long!
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Happy Holidays: Sheriff Santa

There's a guy in Missouri who gives away about $100,000 a year in $100 bills to random strangers.

This holiday season, he got a little bit of help - from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in Kansas City.

The officers were handed a small pile of Benjamin Franklins and sent out on the street to help those who needed help.

What a terrific, feel-good story...

 
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People : Benjamin FranklinsHappy Holidays




 

Most Ridiculous Man of the Year

Here's a late-comer for the Most Ridiculous Man of the Year award.

A professional makeup artist in Manchester, England has reportedly spent about $150,000 for plastic surgery and more to look like his favorite reality TV star.

The star?

Kim Kardashian.

He's had lip fillers, laser hair removal and eyebrows tatooed on.

Take a look at the picture to see the results. And no, it is NOT Halloween. And he doesn't care what he looks like, according to The Sun, London's daily newspaper. "My look is all about the shock factor. I love all the attention and stares I get in the street. I welcome the hate — it just means more attention. And if anything, it just spurs me on to get more work done."

Good money chasing bad, folks. Especially since the guy looks more like the Octomom than the NorthWestmom.
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Please Define "Top"

Scratching my head just a little.

US Magazine put out a list yesterday of the Top 14 Celebrity Instagram Photos of 2014.
 
Six of the 14 involve the Kardashians in some way - by that calculation, they're taking up 43% of the internet, which sounds right and wrong all at the same time.

The rest of the list:
  • Jessica Simpson in a bathing suit holding a golf club
  • Macauley Culkin wearing a T-shirt with Ryan Gosling on it
  • Jessa Duggar's wedding kiss
  • Taylor Swift's 4th of July party
  • Nick & Vanessa Lachey's pregnancy announcement
  • Lauren Conrad's haircut
  • Bethenny Frankel wearing her 4-year-old's Hello Kitty PJs
The only one that really belongs - or at least makes some sense in being relevant - is the post Diem Brown's boyfriend put up after her passing, expressing his grief.
 

 
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Wrapping Up a Holiday Tradition

Darlene Love came to fame with the 1960s classic, "He's a Rebel."

But for close the three decades now, she's earned even more fame from her annual appearance on David Letterman's last show before Christmas to sing "Christmas" - aka "Baby Please Come Home."

She'll sing it one last time tonight, on Letterman's final show-before-Christmas. This time next year, Stephen Colbert will be sitting in Letterman's seat.

To get everyone in the mood, the folks at CBS put together a compilation of Darlene's appearances, blending them all together in one pretty spectacular rendition.

Enjoy - and be sure to set your DVR for tonight's performance...

 
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"Governor, This Is Barack Obama..."

What a fun moment.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made his final appearance on Boston Public Radio yesterday, and got a very interesting phone call as part of his farewell.

President Barack Obama called in, identifying himself as a former resident of Somerville, a suburb of Boston.

The president spent some time in the state while a student at Harvard, and he's got a good relationship with the outgoing governor.

So why not call in?

Watch the video of the call. Seems legit to me.

 
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It's the Most Wonderful Prank of the Year

Jimmy Kimmel and his wife have a holiday tradition - well, sort of a tradition - with acting couple John Krasinski (from The Office) and Emily Blunt (most recently from Into The Woods).

They live across the street from one another, and for Christmas, they play pranks on each other.

This has been going on for a couple of years, and each year, the pranks get bigger and more out of control.

Watch the clip to see what Jimmy did to them last year - the thing he thought would bring the prank-feud to a conclusion.

And then watch to see watch Emily and John did to raise the bar considerably higher this year.

Nice to have that kind of money to throw away, but it is sort of fun to watch.

 
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19 puppies who already found their Christmas gifts

CLICK HERE FOR EXTREME CUTENESS!!!
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Coolest Christmas Trees!

There is nothing I love more at Christmas time than decorating a tree! I just wish I was HALF as creative as these people!! Check out these awesome unique Christmas trees!
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