The holidays are upon us and the gift making rush is a big part of that for me (and a part that I love, I might add). Our family is coming to stay with us this Christmas, and they have two lovely little doggies they're bringing with them as well. I say little, but one of them weighs more than my husband! Anyhow, all this means that we will have four dogs, one cat, four adults and two kids here for Christmas! My goals are to do something handmade for everyone! I'm going to share what I've been doing for the doggies and the kiddos since they are slightly less likely to read the blog!
I have been really trying to find a good doggy treat recipe that both of my boys love. I tried a new recipe the other day, called Mutt Muffins. As usual, I made a few changes based on what I had on hand. Instead of honey, I used sweetened cinnamon applesauce in place of plain to make up for the sugar. This also substituted the spices since the applesauce was already spiced! They turned out wonderfully, and I wound up with about 4 dozen small Mutt Muffins.
I would recommend using only one heaping tablespoon per muffin cup, like I did with these. Even with these smaller muffins my Golden Retriever, Buddy found them to be a bit chewy (which he liked) and quite the mouth full! We got two-paws-up from Buddy, though Jack (our Terrier) was not nearly as impressed with my baking today!
I have also been working hard on some unique gifts for the kidlets! I have really been looking forward to making them each a set of Crayon Cookies (called such not because they are edible, but because of their shape and size)!
Many of you know that my oldest daughter has developmental delays and Autism. She has a hard time with her fine motor skills so its hard for her to hold a crayon correctly. These will hopefully help that, as they are bigger and easier to get a grip on! Here is how you make them!
STEP 1: Find yourself a lot of crayons!! I got my bag at Good Will for $2.99. There are enough in there to make at least a dozen crayon cookies! Probably a few more. What you see here is what is left after making one batch of 6 crayon cookies. The crayons do not have to be new, and actually, it is usually better if they are not, since I love to look at this as a way of recycling and reusing as well!
STEP 2: Peel the paper! To do this you will have to follow two steps. One might ask, "What is so hard about peeling crayon paper?" Let me tell you - after the fourth or fifth one, I could tell you exactly what was so hard about it! Some of the crayons were very tightly wrapped, others seemed almost glued on (most likely from heat melting the wax of the crayons to their papers). I have also learned that Crayola crayons are the most difficult to unwrap. I still managed however, and its okay if there is a little bit of residue. It does not have to be perfect. The easiest way to get past this is to A) Cut down the side of the crayon, very carefully with a knife or pair of scissors (adults only please - no kiddo injuries!). B) Peel away the paper from the slit that you cut down the side of the crayon.
STEP 3: Put It In the Pan! BUT! Before you put the crayons in the pan, you will want to spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. It is also important to choose a pan that you don't mind using solely for crafts. I chose one that I have been using for crafts for a long time (and looks pretty pathetic, so please excuse its condition - it works for this purpose LOL!).
Then you will need to decide how you want your crayon cookies to look. Do you want them to be a big jumbled bunch of colors, showing every color in the box? Would you like them to be sorted by color exclusively? Do you want a few hints of like colors together? (i personally chose to put like colors together. So for example, my yellow crayon cookie has some orange and some green in it. my blue crayon cookie has some purple and some green in it. My red crayon cookie has some purple and some orange in it, and so on!)
STEP 4: Bake it Baby! Set your oven to 400* and immediately put the crayon cookies in (do not preheat). Let it bake for 10 minutes and remove immediately. It is totally fine if they don't melt completely. Let cool until they are no longer runny. Here are what mine looked like as they cooled:
STEP 5: Freeze It! Put the entire pan in the freezer. DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE THEM WHILE WARM! I made the mistake of trying to remove the crayon cookies while they were warm, thinking they would be easier to get out. FALSE! They fell apart. I put the remaining 3 in the freezer and went back to them 2 hours later. They popped out VERY easily, by just tipping the pan upside down. If you DO get some that break, don't fret! spray your pan again with non-stick spray, and re-bake them to melt together once again in the proper shape, and freeze.
Here are some photos of what they look like in their finished sizes! Notice how they nest in one another and stack so well! Imagine the wrapping possibilities! You could also probably store them in a reclaimed and decorated Pringles container!
Have fun reclaiming, and do let me know if you try either of these crafts! :)