Showing posts from December, 2009

One More Round - Packaging Photos


More Photos of Packaging


Christmas Packaging Contest 2009 - My Theme - "Recycle"

Well, I'll keep this short and sweet and show mostly photos. If you'll read a recent post, you'll get the background story on this crazy Christmas packaging contest between my sister and I.
My theme this year is "recycle". Actually, most years you might as well say the theme is recycle, since it used from scrap or trash. But this year, truly recyclable materials.
Yes, two bows were made out of melted water bottles (and poker chips for a little "pop"). Ribbons and bows made out of magazine pages cut in strips, Diet Coke or Sierra Mist cans, or plastic bags. Brown paper, newspaper print, yellow pages, aluminum foil and a few bread wrappers here and there were also used. Some lucky winners received gift cards in aluminum cans, Mason jars or jelly jars...what can I say?
And of course, lots of tape and glue.

Christmas Letter 2009

Well...had a few folks wanting to pass the letter to others online, guess I'll put it on my blog. May put some past Christmas letters on the blog as well, and try not to worry about telling my life story on the internet. Here you go...

Dear Friends,

You know what is scary? I have the file folder of Christmas letters that I have written in years’ past in front of me...I started writing Christmas letters in 1991, a year after I moved to Nashville. 18 years ago? No wonder I struggle with something new.

Well, they all tend to start with an update. I’ll be honest…who wouldn’t want this letter to update you on a new boyfriend, or marriage, or kids? Dang, I could have grandkids by my age now. But none of that has been God’s plan at this point. I wish that I had these blessings, and quite honestly I get a little frustrated with God on this, but don’t we all have things in our life that we simply ask God, “Why?”

We’ll get to that later…for now…another career update…and I may love my job, but i…

Christmas Packaging Contest

For years, my sister and I have been having a Christmas Packaging Contest. I'm not even sure how long, at least 10 years. And it didn't start out as a contest. You know, we're Spence kids, so we don't tend to do traditional and easy. I don't know which one started it, but either my sister or I got a little crafty one year, and soon we were slightly competing, until we finally declared it an out-right contest.
I remember starting with blank newspaper print (got a roll for free from the downtown paper; they throw rolls out at the end when there's not a lot of paper left on the roll; it was a lot to me, I used it for years...). I wrapped the packages in the white print, and stamped gold stars all over it and had red and green plaid ribbon.
No big deal, you're right. Then the next year, I bought cookie tins at yard sales, spray painted them red, green and blue and stamped gold stars once again. I even designed a logo..."JenTins" and drew it on the bott…

Tailgaiting For Titans? Try This Chicken Dip

I have no idea why I'm posting another recipe. After this post, there will be a non-recipe post for next kitchen is in shock as it is.
That said, just wanted to show this quick recipe because it is SUPER easy. My wonderful friend Bethe gave it to me, who lives in beautiful Chattanooga, and her and her husband, Mike, always make me feel at home when I'm in town.
Chicken Dip
1 pkg. cream cheese 1 9.75 oz. can of Swanson White Chicken Breast (drained) 1 pkg. of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing & Seasoning Mix
Mix with hand mixer.
Serve with bagel chips (I love the sea salt chips myself...)

Still Baking Christmas Cookies...

Weekend is here, and still baking cookies, what can I say? No, haven't started the Christmas letter yet...will get it done this weekend, somehow.
But Christmas is not Christmas unless I get to eat Mom's Italian Cookies. I don't know where she got the recipe originally, but she's been making them for years and my brother and I ususally fight over them (not literally...well...maybe). I can remember when Mom, along with some of her girlfriends - one of which owned the only grocery store in town - would bake cookies for two or three days for Christmas. They baked them at the bakery in Reynolds Market, where later my brother and I would both work at during high school. What a bonus of a small town when you can just use the commercial kitchen at the local grocery store! My cookies turned out good, but for whatever reason, not as good as when Mom makes them. I'm so blessed to have my mom, for thousands of reasons besides these delicious cookies. I am very thankful for that …

Day Two Of Cookie Making

When I finished my food pantry, I went to Sam's Club and bought enough food to fill two carts. I was excited, not real pratical, especially with my travel schedule. So what do you do when a 48-oz. bag of dried cranberries looked good to you? You bake. This cookie recipe was actually on the bag and the cookies turned out great. They taste similar to scones, which I'm hoping means I can eat them for breakfast. Not really. Well maybe.

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-oz. package Craisins Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each …

The Big Debut With New Mixer

So, I stand in line the day after Thanksgiving at Kohl's to get a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I never go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. And I've never owned a decent mixer. But I have a food pantry now, which means more cabinet space, which means I buy things to accessorize it, like a case of spaghetti sauce at Sam's Club just because I liked the label and jar. It's my last room to decorate, what can I say. Besides, any girl that has a nail gun needs a good kitchen power tool, right? I may become quite a chef this year, who knows?

In any case, here is the result of my first use of my mixer...Caramel-Stuffed Cookies, a Paula Deen recipe. And anything with a Rolo stuffed in a ball of dough has to be good.
Caramel Stuffed Cookies
1 package of fudge marble cake mix
2 large eggs 1/3 canola oil 26 individually wrapped Rolos
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I didn't have any, so I sprayed with Pam and wiped a little with paper towel).
In a la…