December 29, 2017

Product Review: Beautiful and good quality magnets - either for business, personal or weddings (like Save the Date magnets)

In November I was contacted to see if I was interested in reviewing a product for Payless Magnets.  My initial thought was to get a sample magnet to review of our family with a calendar on it we could then order more of to send out with our Christmas cards this year (idea number one for you!) but due to the time frame, my cards would be going out long before I could see a sample and order the amount I needed.

However, I was still excited to see the magnets and review for print quality, thickness, color and detail for future needs.

About the company:  
Payless Magnets designs, prints and manufactures quality, custom printed magnets and are located in Florida.  They've been in business since 2001 and from artwork design, to printing and manufacturing, they produce their magnets from start to finish and do not outsource.
They offer magnets in the usual shapes (rectangle, circle, square, etc.) but also have shapes to fit certain businesses like corn, tractors, palm trees, etc.  They also do business card magnets, save the date magnets for engagements, wedding announcements and more.  As a matter of fact they offer completely customized magnets so you decide everything about the product. 

A screenshot of their site showing the magnet options

Because I didn't have a specific need in mind I sent them 3 random photos.  They emailed me back to let me know one of the images was too low a resolution to make a good print so they would not use it, but instead use another one of my photos that had a large enough resolution to print without compromising the print quality.

When I received the magnet in the mail I saw they used a photo I randomly chose of one of my daughters, when she and I were hiking.  The magnets are fabulous quality!  Not only the color and print quality, but the thickness of magnet is perfect.

Some magnets (you may have received one from a retailer, real estate agent, local restaurant, etc.) are so thin they don't stay in place, slip or the edges curl up.  These are not those magnets.  They are thick enough to hold their shape and stay in place!

Although my photos can't possibly do the image justice, the crispness, clarity, color and quality of print is absolutely lovely.  The detail is so crisp and the colors are vibrant.

In the end, I am happy to save Payless Magnets to my bookmarks to use in the future myself but I also have no qualms about telling my readers about them.  My sample product quality is top notch and I'd be proud to send them out to family and friends with no hesitation.

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December 23, 2017

Are you planning to purchase a Bosch? Cuisinart? Viking or Vitamix? Some of the biggest brand names in Kitchen, Housewares and Appliances.

If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon. - American Housewife at Amazon  If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission of a few cents, but your price will not change. 

Prefer to shop by brand? These link to products available to order and purchase through my Amazon affiliate links. If you already plan to purchase anything by these brands, please considering using one of my affiliate links.

Thank you so very much!

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December 14, 2017

24 Christmas Cookie Recipes plus links to about 500 more!

*This is a list from 2012 but posting again.  I have many, many more and different recipes though - just use the search bar to the right or check out the "you might also like...." posts suggested at the bottom of this one. 

December 1st:  Molasses Cookies
December 2nd:  Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints
December 3rd:  Peppermint Pinwheels
December 4th:  Candy Striped Cookie Sticks
December 5th:  Peppermint Teacakes
December 6th:  Peanut Blossoms
December 7th:  Peanut Butter Fudge
December 8th:  Sugar Cookies:  Snowflakes with Edible Glitter
December 9th:  Swedish Rosettes
December 10th:  Cream Wafer Cookies
December 11th:  Cherry Poppy Seed Winks
December 12th:  Peppermint Pretzels
December 13th:  Candy Pretzels
December 14th:  Homemade Truffles
December 15th:  Cream Horns
December 16th:  Angel Bars
December 17th:  Red Velvet Cake Balls
December 18th:  Glazed Sugar Cookies
December 19th:  Gateau Bon Bons
December 20th:  Lithuanian Torte (or Napoleon Torte)
December 21st:  Peppermint Meltaways
December 22nd:  Melted Snowman Cookies
December 23rd: No Bake Fruitcake Bars
December 24th:  Stenciled Icing Sugar Cookies


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December 07, 2017

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Dipped in White Candy Coating and Sprinkled with Crushed Peppermint

I have a chocolate cookie recipe I've had since early in our marriage, 25+ years ago.  You can add any kind of chip to it - and for us, typically it's peanut butter chips, but often mini chocolate chips or sometimes white chocolate chips and/or macadamia nuts, etc.  You can also add peppermint chips  or Peppermint Crunch when they are available in stores during the holiday season (or online through Amazon year round - Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips 10oz - 2 Unit Pack), etc.  In other words; a great chocolate cookie recipe you can do numerous things with.  I've also used the dough to press into mini muffin cups, baked and pressed a Reese's peanut butter cup into them.  SO many things you can do with this dough!

Because of the cocoa in it, it's a chewy, moist cookie - which our family prefers.  However, this cookie can also be a crunchy cookie if you simply bake it another minute or two.  So timing is important.  8-9 minutes for a chewy cookie and 10-12 minutes for a crisp, sturdy cookie.

This year for the holidays I added peppermint to the dough, then dipped them half way into melted white almond bark (link at the bottom of this post) and then sprinkled with a mixture of crushed peppermint candies (I pulsed in my food processor a few times to crush) mixed with some leftover Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips I had leftover from other recipes.  The result is delicious and fun and festive and is a great addition to our Christmas cookie platters.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Dipped in White Candy Coating with Crushed Peppermint

1 c real butter
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
5 drops peppermint oil extract (I use LorAnn Peppermint Oil) you could also use 1-2 t peppermint extract
2 c flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 baking soda
1/2 t salt

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs and extracts/oils. Don't over mix. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt all at once and slowly start the beater to mix it in together.  Drop or scoop by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes for a chewy, soft cookie and 10-12 minutes for a more crisp, durable cookie. They will be puffy when they come out of the oven but will flatten while cooling. Let them set for 1-2 minutes, remove from the pan to cool completely.


1/2 package (about 12 oz.) of white almond bark or white candy chips or white chocolate chips
If you are using almond bark you don't have to add anything to it, if you are using white chocolate chips, add about 2 T shortening.  Melt over a double boiler on the stove or in the microwave.  Quickly dip half a cooled cookie into the candy coating and place on parchment or foil.  Immediately sprinkle with bits of crushed peppermint candies and/or Andes Peppermint Crunch.  Let set about an hour to harden so you can pack, freeze or serve.

You find these very affordably at your local Walmart, grocery stores, etc. but if you can't find them locally, you can also order them online through these affiliate Amazon links - but these prices are higher than at Walmart; 

Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips 10oz - 2 Unit Pack
Vanilla Almond Bark, 24 OZ segmented bar

LorAnn Peppermint Oil

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December 01, 2017

Homemade Vanilla Custard Pudding Used in A Short-Cut Version of French Napoleon Pastry

My posting lately is sporadic due to the fact I'm still traveling out of state every week so I'm not in my own home and I'm cooking in another persons kitchen with very limited ingredients and groceries.  I do shopping when I arrive every other week and get things I need to make meals that week - and with food prices what they are, I don't often buy anything 'extra'.  However, a few weeks ago I bought a Puff Pastry and kept in the freezer thinking my daughter or I might use it at some point.

This week when I arrived there was a plethora of leftover food from Thanksgiving in the refrigerator, including a bowl of homemade whipped cream.  After the 2nd day I knew it would break down soon so I got the puff pastry from the freezer and set out to make some homemade vanilla custard (pudding) to sandwich between.  The frozen puff pastry makes it so quick and easy to throw together a version of the French Napoleon pastry!

Homemade Vanilla Custard (Pudding)

1/3 c sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/4 c milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 T real butter
2 t good quality vanilla extract

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a bowl.  Lightly beat the egg yolks.  In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium high until it starts to simmer. Add the sugar mixture and whisk or stir until it comes to a boil.  Boil for about 1 full minute and remove from heat.  Take half the milk/sugar mixture and slowly drizzle it into the bowl of beaten yolks while whisking.  It should be smooth if you do it correctly.  Now pour that slowly back into the saucepan with the rest of the pudding and return to heat.  As it starts to boil, let it boil 1 minute while stirring.  Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.  If you want to let it cool for later lay a piece of saran wrap or plastic wrap over the top to keep a skin from forming.

If you only want a delicious homemade vanilla pudding, this is your recipe.  If you want to take it one step further, whip 2 cups of heavy cream with a bit of sweetener (about 2 tablespoons to start and add more according to your desired level of sweetness - and a dash of vanilla). Cut the pastries according to the pan or serving dish size you are using.  Bake the 2 packages of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment according to directions on package.  As soon as they come out of the oven, you can use a cookie sheet or similar to lay on top of the pastry to squash it down just a bit so it's not so puffy and can be layered. 

In the pan or serving dish you've chosen, layer one puff pastry layer, some of the pudding, some of the whipped cream and another layer of pastry followed the rest of the pudding and whipped cream.  Top with the final layer of pastry. 

Chill until time to serve.

Don't care about 'pretty' pictures - I just snapped a quick one on my phone
while I was dishing up yet another piece of it eat and called it 'lunch'!

Two similar recipes I've posted in the past:

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