This year my family is seriously considering banning me from any further Christmas celebrations. It isn't my fault -- really. It all stemmed from an unfortunate glitter wrapping paper debacle. (I blame the glitter - not myself.) Here's the true story. (my version) I found the cutest Christmas snowman wrapping paper on CLEARANCE at TJ Maxx. Seriously - THE CUTEST. ⛄️ Standing in line, checking out with my 4 rolls of snowman paper, I noticed that it had some sparkle to it but it wasn't until I got it home that I realized just how much glitter there actually was on this paper. (Did I mention that it was on clearance?)
After wrapping my very first gift in the now infamous paper, I realized that the glitter was jumping right off the paper and adhering to EVERYTHING within a 5 foot radius. The counter, the scissors, the tape, the gift, my hair, my eyes, my clothes - everything was enveloped with glitter. I found glitter in places that it had no business being. 😳
In retrospect, it was at this point that I should have chalked up the glitter wrapping paper as a loss and bought some new Christmas wrapping paper. I didn't. 😂 I moved my wrapping station to the back porch, so as to not cover the house in glitter, and I continued to wrap the remaining gifts. When I was finished, I hosed the glitter off of the porch and I washed, rinsed and repeated at least 3 times to remove all glitter from myself.
This is where the story takes an interesting turn. I carefully packed up all of those carefully wrapped glitter bombs and sent them off to Boston to be opened on Christmas Day at my brothers house. 😬 We all gathered in his pristine living room on Christmas morning and began to pass out Christmas gifts. You can guess what happened next. It's safe to say that after the first gift was opened, we all gave up and decided to see who could extract the MOST glitter from the reprehensible paper.
After a lot of vacuuming and endless hours of lint rolling, I'm STILL getting calls about the remnants of the glitter paper from my brother. My mom is hosting Christmas at her house this year and she's already called to tell me that under no circumstances should I try and bring glitter paper into her house. 😂 I am fully expecting my gifts to be inspected for any trace of glitter before being allowed to be placed under the tree. It looks like I won't be able to get away with any clearance Christmas paper this year. It's full price, glitter free wrapping paper for this girl.
In and effort to get back in good graces with my still angry ( and glitter covered) family - I'm considering making some brioche buns for Christmas morning this year. I'm not sure that these will make up for the explosion of glitter that blanketed my brother's house last year but it's worth a try. 😇
Drizzle warm buns with icing.
Here's hoping my family allows me back in the Christmas celebrations after the glitter bomb of 2018. 😬
Sprinkles, sprinkles, EVERYWHERE!!! No matter how much I vacuum, mop and wipe, I can't seem to purge my kitchen of Christmas sprinkles. 🤣 I've been baking and decorating Grinches, Santas and reindeer cookies for days and it looks like a sprinkle bomb went off in my kitchen. ✨It really doesn't seem like a big problem but when I woke up this morning - I found a sprinkle on my pillow! 😳 Apparently, my sprinkle problem is so pervasive that they're travelling to other rooms of the house now. Is there a sprinkle eradication service?
You can be assured that if I'm not baking or decorating cookies these days, you'll find me fervently cleaning up sprinkles. I ask myself all the time, how can a person spend that much time in the kitchen and still not have anything to eat for dinner? 🤷🏻♀️By the end of the day, I'm out of (A) time to make a decent meal and (B) the patience to prepare it. Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that I crave something savory and salty after breathing in the sweet smell of sprinkles and icing for hours at a time, would just eat cookies for dinner. 🍪
We've been known to pull out a box or a can of soup in a pinch but it's even better when we can warm up a container of homemade soup from the freezer for a quick and easy dinner. I use the term "we" very loosely. In our house, we call that the singular "we." That means that Ben is in charge of pulling the container out of the freezer, defrosting it in the microwave and pouring it into bowls. He does stake claim to those dinners even though I was the one who made the soup and put it in the freezer but I've given up trying to argue that there is a difference between warming and preparing dinner. 🤷🏻♀️ I'm just happy that he's willing to navigate through the sprinkled kitchen to make me something to eat that wont cause diabetes.
I made this soup back in the Fall and I'm so happy that we had enough left over to put in the freezer because it absolutely perfect for December dinners. What could be better at the end of a cookie decorating day than a steaming bowl of homemade tomato soup and a toasted grilled cheese sandwich to dunk into it? The answer - a husband who makes it for you. 👦🏼
Roasting the tomatoes brings out their sweetness and they're just perfect for tomato soup. Roasting the peppers also intensifies their flavor and adds another dimension to the soup. This recipe is different from other homemade tomato soup recipes that I've tried and I've got to say - I like it. I like it a lot.
Roasted Tomato and Poblano Soup
2 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 poblano chile peppers
2 red bell peppers
1 onion, chopped
32 ounces chicken broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
If I was smart, I would have made this soup with all of my fresh tomatoes at the end of the summer and put it in the freezer until Fall. 🍅 Ummm...I guess I'm not that smart. But even though I had to make a trip to the grocery store for tomatoes for my soup - it was totally worth it. This Roasted Tomato and Poblano Soup is worth it. It is sooo good. Maybe even, eat it in the Summer level of good.
Is there anything better than a big Saturday morning pancake breakfast? A piping hot cup of White Chocolate Peppermint Tea, a bowl of fluffy scrambled eggs, a platter of fresh fruit and a plate of crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside pancakes - that's what breakfast dreams are all about. Who wouldn't love to wake up to a breakfast like that?
It's December though and nobody's got time for all that. It's December and my family's getting pretty accustomed to kicking off their day with a bowl of cold cereal. They don't complain - they actually really LIKE cereal. 🥣🤷🏻♀️ Sunday was a special occasion though - we celebrated our youngest daughter turning 21! TWENTY ONE!!!! In this house, we celebrate birthdays with a special breakfast so we made time for a big pancake celebration breakfast.
I've modified all sorts of pancakes to make them extra festive for special occasions. I've turned them green on St. Patrick's Day and cut them into hearts for Valentine's Day. I've cut them into letters for first day of school celebrations. I've filled them with chocolate chips and colorful sprinkles and stacked them into towers with cream and fruit. I've made tiny pancakes and I've make them so big that they fell off the sides of the breakfast plate. What can I say? I'm a whiz with pancake batter. 😂
Last Sunday, I whipped up a batch of banana pancakes to kick off this special family birthday celebration and the birthday girl was thrilled with her banana pancake breakfast. It made me so happy to see her happy.
Homemade pancakes are actually easier than you might think. They really don't take much more time than whipping up a batch of box mix pancakes and they're WAAAAAY better. These banana pancakes are amazing and if you're thinking that you don't have the time to make a big pancake breakfast this month - make the time - you won't regret it.
Serve with additional sliced bananas.
And maple syrup of course.
These pancakes were so good that I've already starting experimenting with additional ingredients. I stirred a 1/4 cup of chopped pecans into the batter and that brought these pancakes to a whole new level.
For those of you with a sweet tooth. Try adding a 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips into your banana pancake batter. You will not be disappointed.
These are already a family favorite and I'm quite sure that I will be making them often. If you've got a great idea for a new ingredient to add to my banana pancakes - send it to me. I'd love to hear your ideas. Thanks.
Hey, Christmas cookie bakers - where you at? It's that time of year when even the most novice baker channels their inner Martha Stewart in the kitchen. It's time to roll up your sleeves, dig out your apron and dust off those old family recipes for Christmas cookies. 👩🏻🍳
You know the cookies that I'm talking about. The ones that your grandmother used to make every year. The cookies that your mom helped you roll in bowls of sprinkles and nuts when you were a kid. The cookies that you couldn't buy in a grocery store or a bakery, even if you tried, but you just can't celebrate Christmas without.
I would love to see your favorite family cookie recipes and I'm quite sure that there are others out there who would also love to have access to these tried and true Christmas cookie recipes. So... I'm asking for your help. I'm hosting a good old fashioned cookie swap on my blog. Well, it's not really like the "old fashioned" cookie exchange like my mom used to attend with the women in our neighborhood - it's more of an updated 2019 virtual cookie recipe swap. No cookies will actually be exchanged in this swap - just tried and true, family favorite Christmas cookie recipes.
Here's how it works. Email me your favorite cookie recipe and a picture of the finished creation, and I'll compile them all into one fantastic Christmas cookie blog post. This is your chance to have your recipe and photo featured in the blogosphere. (Not sure that's really a word.) So gather up your ingredients and start baking. You have until the 7th of December to email me your recipe and pictures (email@example.com) so you can be included in my virtual Christmas cookie swap. I'll turn you all into food bloggers yet. 😂
Just in case you need a little nudge to get into the Christmas cookie baking mode - here's a favorite recipe of mine. Chocolate Brownie Cookies are a hit at every event that I've ever taken them to. I make double batches of this dough to keep in my freezer for any last minute holiday gift emergencies. (ie. The SUPER tolerant and patient UPS driver that puts up with my mischievous dog deserves at least two dozen of these decadent chocolatey treats.)
Chocolate Brownie Cookies
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1 cup sugar
Cookie Toppings (walnuts, crushed peppermint, etc.)
Bake 16 minutes at 300. Let cool 30 minutes on baking sheet.
Find those recipes. Send them to my by December 7th and watch for your recipe to appear on my blog. 🤪
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I want to know - What's your jellied cranberry sauce? My mom served jellied cranberry sauce, straight out of the can, alongside the turkey and stuffing every year. I'm not sure how this tradition every started but no one ever questioned the presence of that jellied mass that maintained the shape and ridges of its original container. As far as I can recall, no one ever commented on how delicious it was or how it had the perfect "jiggle." That jellied cranberry sauce was expected to be on our Thanksgiving table just as much as the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.
When, I got married and took over the responsibilities of making my own Thanksgiving meal, I didn't see the point in buying the jellied cranberry sauce in a can. I never really ate it anyway so I opted for a fresh cranberry sauce instead. In an unexpected plot twist, I really missed that strange, can-shaped jelly cranberry sauce when it was absent from the Thanksgiving table. Maybe it was the strange sucking sound that it makes when it releases from the can, or maybe it's just because I had never celebrated Thanksgiving without it, but our holiday meal just wasn't the same without it.
I truly believe that every family has a jellied cranberry sauce. What is yours? What is that food that mysteriously appears on your Thanksgiving table every year without question or invitation? Tell me about those odd Thanksgiving dishes that make your meal unique.
If you're on the hook for preparing the Thanksgiving turkey for your family this year - never fear - I'm here to help. 🦃 My first piece of advice is to try out your turkey recipe on a chicken first. Roasting a test chicken is a great way to try out a new turkey recipe and test your oven. It can take less than an hour to roast a chicken and it's a great way to work out the kinks before the big day. This Spice Cabinet Roast Chicken would make a GREAT Thanksgiving turkey recipe. 😉 Double the ingredients for the spice rub and increase the cooking time and you're ready to make a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving turkey.
Spice Cabinet Roast Chicken
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 whole chicken
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Serve sauce with chicken.
I'm happy to report that my Thanksgiving practice meal was DELICIOUS! Apparently, I can use all the meat carving practice I can get before I try and cut our Thanksgiving bird. 😂
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