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Heger Family Farms

Honoring the Past, Working Today, Preparing for the Future

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holidays

Oh… Christmas Cookie

I LOVE to cook and despise cleaning up! Sometimes I get a wild hair and start cooking and baking away, not knowing if anything I end up with in the end will be good or if anyone will be around to eat it.

So what do I do in the cooking department for holiday baking? Well, it seems that I don’t do much. No real good excuses except that spontaneous cooking is much more my style and December always seems to be busy with little time for spontaneity. I do know though that I depend on almond bark! Almost everything can be coated or drizzled with it and if sprinkled or rolled in embellishments such as candy cane pieces, nuts, mini marshmallows and candy, it looks and taste scrumptious.

I also do make bars – often coloring the batter so that it is more festive. But cut-outs…. oh those cut outs… I just really struggle with them. They drive me crazy because my type A, controlling and perfectionistic personality causes me to have an quasi- panic attack. So cutouts in moderation are a must!

Last week when most of the kids at our house went downhill skiing the youngest and I were at home. She wanted to cook. So, I figured this was the perfect time for cut-outs. We made one batch of dough, cut and cooked, and then she decorated. Well, WE decorated. For you see, she still likes mom’s help when things start to get a little messy. It was a win-win for us both!

But I didn’t have any other holiday “baking” done. I hadn’t even made chocolate covered pretzels- boy was I behind! It was quiet and I had a little helper, so I figured that last Saturday was the day to try something new. With the sugar cookie recipe on the counter and my creative rarely follow a recipe cooking style in tow, I set to work. I switched out 1 stick of butter for a package of cream cheese, added a little almond extract and a bit of extra flour. They dough was tasty! So I rolled them into balls, used a cup with a grid pattern on the bottom and squashed them into what looked to be mini-pancakes and baked them for a bit…img_8147

When they were done cooking, they were a bit dull in color so an almond glaze went on top… then they were finished!

Easy, basic ingredients, tasty and enjoyed by many…. Next time I will split the dough and add color to each section. Then the cookie tray will be even more merry and bright!

 

Recipe: 

Dough: 3 1/2 half flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup white sugar, 1 stick butter, 1- 8 oz pkg cream cheese, 1 egg, 1 TBSP milk, 1 TBSP almond extract

Glaze: 4 TBSP powered sugar, 1 TBSP water ( or about) and a Tsp of Almond Extract. Mix until smooth and drizzle/ spread thin layer over top of cookies.

Preheat over to 350. Measure and mix dry ingredients- set aside. Mix butter, sugar,egg, milk, almond extract until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients until mixed well and a ball of dough is formed. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls, flatten and bake for about 7 minutes. They will be pale in color, check bottom- slightly golden is perfect!

Let sit for 2-5 minutes.

Add glaze and eat!

 

 

 

 

 

Homecoming Hullaballoo

Growing up in Minneapolis, Homecoming was fun. It was a school thing. In actuality I don’t remember if we dressed up. I don’t remember if there was tailgating. I don’t remember if we had a parade. I do remember a pep rally in the gym and often deciding to skip the football game. It wasn’t a big event or one that bad an impression on me. Well, let me tell you, in small town rural America Homecoming is not like that which I remember from my upbringing. It is almost a national holiday!  Schools have dress up days for an entire week. Parade float planning is in progress for a few weeks. Discussion of whether or not “so and so” or “she and she” would or should be King and Queen is the center of discussion for more than a week. And the football game- no brainer- it’s a must!

So what happens when the excitement of Homecoming in one community gets combined with that of another through a sports coop? Let alone another community in which you compete against each other in other sports and activities? Hmmm. It can or could go two ways…1) the support and opportunity can grow or 2) people can crab and chatter as if the world is coming to an end. The real question is what do the students think. Isn’t homecoming about the students? How much focus should be placed on what was instead of what can be? Supporting our students through opportunity, collaboration, and experiences is what high school, and quite frankly what I think all of education, is all about. Homecoming is part of that and should be no different.

This year we had the privilege of combining the homecoming festivities for the two coop school communities. Students were excited! There was a bonfire midweek for everyone in all communities and schools, and then one parade, one pep rally, one tailgate on Homecoming Friday! Each school still elected their own king and queen and held noon activities Monday – Thursday. Students and teachers were able to video chat with the other schools’ students  and teachers in order to plan and design their float. They also worked to plan the pep rally and administration from the schools worked hard to create environments, collaboration, instruction on new skills, social interactions, and fun for all.

When visiting with students, most enjoyed getting to build new relationships with their peers. They liked finding out more about the other school and planning over a longer period of time in short segments. They felt it was fun to do something new and have more people together. One student even shared that it made it feel like a team instead of people standing independently on the sidelines.

Team, comradery, support, spirit, bonding and a sense of community for our students; that’s what homecoming is about. We make the choice to be excited for opportunity or complain and expect things to be as they were twenty plus years ago. We need to work today and plan for the future. Change is inevitable. Adapting, working together, compromise and vision is what the future is about!

So let’s celebrate and support what we have while respecting what was for what it is worth- past experience and something that was a certain way previously. Remember it, don’t live in it, and provide for today!

 

 

What is Christmas? 

Today I was boldly reminded that Christmas is not a happy time for many. For the past few weeks we have spent time talking of the holiday, the days off school and work, gifts that we wish for, the abundance of food, and perhaps even the items that were dropped off for the “less fortunate”. 

   
 What happens to those that don’t enjoy being at home, don’t get the gifts they wish for, lack the opportunity for a joyful spirit of togetherness where they are forced to be, and struggle to put food on the table? 

Christmas is probably not what the commercials, stores, schools, and even churches make it out to be. “Hallmark”isms have made the last 6 weeks of the year very difficult and cause many to feel guilt and embarrassment. 

As many of us embark on the joy of Christ’s arrival, take time to remember those who lack the knowledge of what Christmas is about, who are saddened because they can’t provide or have the the “things” society says they need to have or do not experience the joy of family and friends. 

Let us remember those for which the holidays make them feel less. Let us offer our time, patience, and treasures to enlighten them on the precious things that they do have during this glorious time of the year! 

Cracker Candy or Cookie Treats?

With the holidays in action, I am always looking for quick snack treats that I can share with others or have on hand for company.  Where do I look? Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. A few weeks ago saw a Facebook post that used Rolo candy and Ritz crackers. So I tried it… YUM! Simple and easy it definitely was. But, I am not one that lets simple and easy stay exactly that way, I have to “tweak” it. This is what I did….But I have to ask? Are they cookies or cracker candy?

“Take 5” Cookie Candy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lay 2 dozen Ritz face down on a cookie sheet. Place one Rolo candy ( you will need 3 rolls) on each cracker. Place into a 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. While they are warming in the oven, take enough crackers to cover the ones in the oven and spread a small amount of creamy peanut butter on it. Set them aside. Take crackers out of the oven. Immediately place the crackers with peanut butter, peanut butter side down, on top of the Rolo candy. Press down so that the Rolo squishes. Let cool for about 1 hour so that the caramel sets up again.  ( I know… no fair! Sneak one and make sure they are as tasty as they sound!) After an hour you can melt a package of chocolate almond bark and dip each cracker cookie in it. ( I only dipped each halfway in.)  Let excess chocolate drip off and set them on wax paper. Let them sit on wax paper for at least 15 mins to cool and dry. Then pack away for later or enjoy!

IMG_0883

The hardest part of this whole gig is letting them sit out and cool. Watch for sneaky fingers of those in the house to find a “need” to sample them. It’s amazing how creative the young and old can be what they are desperate to try these guys.

( HINT: for all those who can’t wait… or when you don’t want to share with those watching… take the broken crackers you don’t use and lay out on a plate, heat peanut butter for 30 secs. in microwave and drizzle over them. Melt a cube of almond back and drizzle that over the crackers too! let sit for a few minutes and then share with spectators!)

But my biggest problem remains… are these crackers candies or cookies? What are your thoughts?

If you make these… please someone tell me… do they taste just like a Take 5 candy bar to you? I thought they did and I was SO excited because that is my favorite candy bar!

 

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