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Early holiday recipes

By By Lisa Tindell
I promised some recipes that might help you get a leg up on the holiday season. And this week, I hope that the recipes I've included will do that for you.
I asked around to find out what people are most interested in for the holidays. It seems that cookies always take the lead in what people prepare, without fail, for the holidays.
I went into a local store the other day and was greeted at the front door with Christmas decorations. It was then that I asked the lady at the front to please let me get through Halloween before making me think about Christmas. But, upon further thinking about the situation, I realized that time passes much to quickly. I do know that I lost September all together because of the speed in which it passed and October is somewhat of a blur.
It's amazing how quickly hours become days, days become weeks and weeks turn into a month. It all passes so fast that by the time I get all the tootsie-rolls out of the box, it's time to put the Turkey on the table quickly followed by an ornament hanging evening.
At any rate, the cookie recipes found here this week are of the easy-no-bake variety. These cookies would be good any time of the year, but around the holidays, quick and easy are very important virtues in a recipe.
This first recipe is a new one on me. I've never heard of using a pudding mix in a cookie. This one sounded interesting enough to pass along. The tips for the recipe suggest that you can use your favorite flavor of pudding allowing for a different tastes and appearances.
Easy No-Bake Cookies
2 cups white sugar
Three-fourths cup butter
Two-thirds cup milk
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
3 and one-half cups quick cooking oats
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Mix together the sugar, butter or margarine and the milk in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and add in the pudding, oats and vanilla. Mix well and let stand for 5 minutes. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
This next recipe is one that would be great to get the kids involved in making for any occasion. Having children involved in the process certainly gives them a good start to the holidays and helps to build memories for a lifetime.
Easy Cereal Bars
4 cups toasted oat cereal
2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups dry-roasted peanuts
2 cups candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 and one-half cups creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, toss together the toasted oat cereal, rice cereal, peanuts and chocolate pieces; set aside. Grease a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the corn syrup and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and quickly stir into the peanut butter and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the cereal mixture and mix well. Press into the prepared pan. Let stand until set. Cut into bars and serve.
This next recipe is a favorite at my house anytime of the year, but it is a must for the holidays. When asking about favorite cookies among my fellow employees, this cookie won the most votes. If you are familiar with this delectable treat, you'll know why it got so much praise. There are a few different versions of the recipe, but they all are pretty much the same.
The only thing with this recipe is that I've found you can't make it on a humid day. Since the cookie has to dry to harden, you'll need to make it on a day when humidity is below 90 percent or you may end up with a glop of cookie stuff on your waxed paper. It's pretty good when eaten with a spoon if this should happen to your batch of mix.
I do know that some people have added coconut to this recipe. I love coconut, but most of my family does not. I don't usually put in coconut, but if you'd like you can add one-half cup when you add the oatmeal. Pretty tasty stuff. You can use crunchy or creamy peanut butter. It's a matter of preference.
Boiled Oatmeal Cookies
2 cups sugar
One-half cup milk
One-third cup cocoa
1 stick butter
1 tsp. vanilla
One-half cup peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal (quick 1 minute type)
Mix sugar, milk, cocoa and butter in pan and bring to rolling boil. Boil two and one-half minutes, stirring constantly. Take off heat and add vanilla, peanut butter and oats; stir. Using teaspoon or tablespoon, drop cookies on wax paper and let cool. Makes 2 to 4 dozen.
I hope to share more with you to help in preparation for the holidays during the coming weeks of recipes.
Next week I plan to share some recipes for side dishes that would go great with a roasted turkey menu.
If you're tired of the same old green bean casserole or preparing your dressing with the same ingredients, you may want to check back here next week for a twist on some old favorites.
If you have any special holiday recipes you'd like to share or if you're looking for a recipe that seems impossible to find, let me know and I'll do my best to help.
You can email the information to me at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com or give me a call at 867-4876.
Until next week, Happy Cooking!