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CHRISTMAS FAUX FIREPLACE
For those whose Christmas holiday lacks a chimney by which to hang stockings with care, this easy-to-build cardboard fireplace makes a great stand-in.
Total Time Needed:
Four 18-inch square boxes and two 28- by 20- by 5-inch rectangular boxes (generally sold at mailing service and supply stores)
Brown paper packing tape
Acrylic paints (red, brown, cream, black, and white)
Large rectangular sponge
Sheet of gray paper (at least 20 inches square)
Build the hearth: Assemble the four square boxes. Leaving one top flap open on each box, seal the other flap edges with packing tape. Then stack two boxes on end with the free flaps on the same side and tape the flaps together.
Next,, tape all the seams and edges to create a smooth surface for painting. Do the same with the other two boxes. Now set the two stacks side by side so that the open flaps meet in the middle. Tape the flaps together to form the hearth's back wall.
Paint the bricks: Cover your work area with newspaper.
Squeeze some red, brown, and cream acrylic paint onto a paper plate. Dampen the sponge and then coat its surface with paint by blotting the different colors to achieve a mottled effect. Use it to print rows of bricks on the hearth, recoating it with paint as needed.
Make the mantel: Assemble the two rectangular boxes and tape them together end to end. Squeeze black and white paint onto a second paper plate. Dampen the rag, dip it in both shades of paint, and apply the paint to the mantel in swirls to create a marbled gray surface. Once dry, set the mantel on the hearth and slip the gray paper in place for the fireplace floor.
Ideas for logs...paper Mache. Use the long balloons and paper Mache them, may take a day or two, but well worth it, and they'll keep for the following years! Plus you can make them look charred.
Make andirons out of nail polish remover bottles with Styrofoam balls on top. wrap the Styrofoam ball with a small piece of plastic and spray-paint the bottle with the Styrofoam black. They will look quite realistic
Put clear chasing Christmas lights behind the logs you made. Then tuck some red and yellow cellophane in between the logs, adjust the lights and voila! A crackling, faux fire in the fireplace. For more great ideas check out Family Fun STUFFED SWEET POTATOES WITH PECAN AND MARSHMALLOW STREUSEL
Easy, Yummy, Appealing, and will bring smiles to the dinner table!
12 large sweet potatoes
3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt. With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center goes in easily.
In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and flour together until it's crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and marshmallows; fold the streusel topping together to combine.
Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center and push the ends towards the middle so it opens up. Stuff the sweet potatoes generously with the streusel topping and return to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and brown.
HOT CURRIED FRUIT
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 small apricot halves, pitted and peeled
2 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
2 peaches, peeled, cored and quartered
20 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Stir 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon curry powder and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
Combine all the fruit in a large baking dish and stir together with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle butter mixture over fruit and bake in preheated oven for 1 to 11/2 hours, basting often.
It works well with canned fruit as well.
Recipes from Food Net Work