Thinking back on my childhood Christmases, there are lots of great memories but a few memories stick out more than the others. I remember how much I loved our house at Christmas time. My mom decorated our home, changing out practically every decoration she could to replace it with something festive. It was so fun seeing our home transform into a Christmas wonderland. Besides the home, my mom's Christmas cookies are another thing I remember so vividly. I can't recall how long my mom would bake for or even exactly what kind of cookies she was making but I do remember our entire dining room table being stacked with bins and bins of cookies. My mom would give some away as gifts and keep the rest for our family. I still have my favorites and request them still to this day.Read More
Every year I attempt a gingerbread house. I buy the $10 kit and excitedly open it with the girls. We breeze past the instructions, tossing them aside as we open all of the cookies pieces and candy, ready to dive into this yummy adventure. We start throwing pieces together only to realize each piece needs time to set. This is not acceptable to young children. There is no patience to let icing dry, especially with stacks of sweet, delicious candy sprawled out in front of them. After multiple attempts to hold them off to allow for the house to dry, I give up and let them dive in.Read More
A charcuterie board. I'm not going to pretend I'm fancy and actually knew what that meant prior to running into a pin about it a few years back but let me tell you, this appetizer is gold. It's quick, easy, and totally works with whatever you happen to buy from the grocery store.Read More
Another successful Friendsgiving is in the books and the day did not disappoint. I feel a little dramatic when I say that Friendsgiving is one of my favorite nights of the year but I'm being totally honest. I love hosting parties at my house, I love Thanksgiving, and I love seeing all of my friends eating, drinking, and enjoying each other's company.Read More
As an adult, I’ve hosted my mom and siblings for Christmas Eve for about four years now. Picking the menu is always fun because we aren’t committed to a set menu like we are for Thanksgiving, seriously my siblings would cut me if I altered our traditional Thanksgiving lunch -- ever.
Last year I did a fun Grinch theme complete with “roast beast” and “who hash”. This year I wanted to do something a little different so we are planning to get a ham.
This is our menu so far, complete with appetizers and desserts.
My mom makes a sausage bread every year and has been making this for as long as I can remember. Of course, as is the case for most moms, she has no recipe but I asked her for a high-level summary:
I love making brie topped with cranberries, brown sugar and pecans. This recipe with puff pastry is great but brie is also good with a topping of cranberries and brown sugar alone. We usually eat this with crackers or little toasts.
For our ham we are cheating a bit and ordering it from Honey Baked Ham. They are just so amazing and with one less thing to make, my husband is as happy as a clam. Everytime I think about getting a ham from there I think of that scene in ‘Christmas with the Kranks’ where Nora is chasing her Hickory Honey Ham into oncoming traffic, I just love that movie! (Side note if you are getting one of these hams I highly recommend reserving online picking up first thing Friday morning, they get so crazy!)
My mom is bringing green beans that are packed with flavor. They are cooked in chicken broth and have red potatoes and bacon in them----seriously, who doesn’t like bacon! The recipe is from Paula Deen so don’t be surprised by the lack of nutrients.
The next side we are making is going to be some sort of mashed potatoes. I will probably end up jazzing it up with sour cream, bacon, and chives. I love mashed potatoes with the skins on but my brother can’t stand it so peeled it will be.
We will have rolls too that I planning to buy frozen and just bake, I’m not motivated enough to make some from scratch but if you have an awesome recipe to share I’d love to see it.
I’m still undecided on dessert. I have a few options but I just can’t quite decide. I love Giada de Laurentis’ recipe for Panna Cotta with Berries, that’s usually a hit and the honey in this recipe gives it such an interesting taste. I was also considering creme brulee or a family favorite, banana pudding. My mom will also bring a dessert of some kind so I’m thinking something opposite of hers.
With dessert the options are endless really, and with that they are also overwhelming. I’m also planning to make something the kids will enjoy as well such as cake pops or rice krispie treats.
Last but not least are the drinks. I am planning to try this recipe for Santa Claus-mopolitans (love that name!) and we will have both red and white wine on hand.
I am looking forward to Christmas Eve so much, from the dinner with family and friends and the kids opening presents, it’s such a fun time. And let’s not forget the guaranteed easy bedtime---”if you don’t go to bed, Santa won’t come!” Ha the perks this time of year.
What does your family plan to do on Christmas Eve? Any fun traditions to share?
It all started with a Christmas gift from my Dad and Toni, a gift card for Blue Apron. We thought it sounded cool and eventually signed up for a week to be delivered in February.
Our first order was Chicken Schnitzel, Cod with Udon noodles, and a Pork dish. Everything was great.
Since Google is creepy and knows my every move, I then saw advertising for Hello Fresh, same concept. One shipment of three meals is $69.99 and the Google deal was $35 off. I signed up and picked my meals and they were delivered Monday evening, ready to be made.
These meals were amazing and we are official hooked, we just made our last meal of our fourth Hello Fresh shipment tonight. Every single meal has been so good. The flavors are unique and not combinations we would typically put together.
When you get the box it is packaged with ice and everything you would need except oil, butter, salt and pepper.
The packaging is seriously the cutest thing, like look at this ketchup and mayo they sent for burgers tonight!!
Let me know if you try it! I'm curious to hear what you think!!
I was thinking of using this pin to make mini caramel apples but then I saw this idea from this blog to make a DIY Caramel Apple Bar!
There have been many recipes (here, here, and here) for various fall trail mixes floating around Pinterest and I took a little something from each of these and came up with this yummy mix.
Pigs in a blanket are always a yummy, quick treat. I attempted to make them "mummy" pigs in a blanket but it wasn't working out so we just settled on the norm.
I didn't get pictures of anyone's crafts before they left but here is what I made based on this pin. I printed out the letters on legal paper and used an exacto knife to cut them out. Then I taped the outline of the letters to this foam pumpkin and traced the letters with pencil. Using acrylic paint in brown and a teeny paint brush I filled in the letters and topped it off with a brown polka dot bow. It's in our foyer as a cute way to greet guests.
I was browsing ideas to bake last weekend when I came across a recipe for Coconut Marshmallow Cream Pie on allrecipes.com. I decided to give it a shot and the results were phenomenal (this is the pie I mentioned in my pregnancy post this week). It's actually pretty easy, here are some pictures of the steps as I went.
I really love baking and lately have been dreaming of owning a bakery which has really had me in the baking mood. In the spirit of all things delicious, I decided to make a couple sweet treats for my husband for this holiday including Strawberry Marshmallow Popcorn and Strawberry Cupcakes with homemade Strawberry Buttercream Frosting.
The popcorn was so easy to make ::recipe here:: and it was quite addictive! I think I ate more than half of the bowl before the end of the day yesterday.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
8 ounces baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.