Merry Christmas Eve!!
The busyness of the Christmas season has finally started to subside for me - the cookies have been decorated, the cakes delivered and the meals prepped. I feel like I finally have time to take a deep breath and soak in all that the season has to offer.
I baked a sweet Christmas bread this week to take to a Christmas dinner with friends. It was really delicious and the powdered sugar made it looked like it had been covered in snow. I don't quite have the twisting technique down yet but that just means that I'll have to make it more often to perfect it.
Repeat 2 more times. Finish with a dough circle. Place a 2 1/2" circle in center of dough. Cut 16 slices to the center of glass.
Twist each triangle two times - alternating directions. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
Bake 18 minutes at 375.
Dust with powdered sugar.
The original recipe called for a raspberry jam filling but I thought that nutella would make an equally good bread. (And I had a half jar of nutella that I had to use up.) I would like to try this bread again with the raspberry. And maybe a lemon version?
I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tis the season for holiday parties and that means party food. Whoop Whoop. Who doesn't love party food?
I was recently informed by my very carnivorous daughter that I have neglected my party hostess duties because I've NEVER served cocktail meatballs at a party. I don't want to be the cause of any culinary party fouls so lets get to this.
These little turkey cocktail meatballs are super easy to make and they're really quite tasty. I'm so glad that I got talked into making a batch because I think I really HAVE been missing out by skipping the cocktail meatballs at my holiday parties. Thanks for the nudge, Courtney.
Cocktail Turkey Meatballs
Transfer to a bowl while you prepare the sauce.
Pour half of the sauce over meatballs and stir to coat. Serve with remaining sauce.
There are so many creative ways to serve these meatballs. Put them on individual spoons for a fancy appetizer or put them in a bowl with a supply of toothpicks for a more informal presentation. Just make sure that you have plenty because they will disappear quickly.
By the way, these turkey cocktail meatballs also freeze beautifully. I coated my meatballs with sauce and then froze the remainder of the sauce separately. They were just as good after they had been frozen as they were when they were fresh.
I'm such a big fan of holiday parties. I love seeing everyone in their Christmas sweaters, I love the beautiful and colorful decorations that adorn the homes of friends and I LOVE Christmas party food. Ben and I have been fortunate enough to be invited to some of the most wonderful parties with the most incredible party food this year. Don't get me wrong - the parties are more about spending time with family and friends than it is about the food but the large displays of Christmas delicacies makes the party (and the season) even sweeter.
Anyone else wish that they could literally eat one of everything on the table when they go to a Christmas party? I'm the girl who piles her plate so high that I have to use 2 hands to keep the food from falling off onto the floor. I may take only one bite of each but I feel like I've failed if I don't at least taste everything on the table. LOL
With that being said - I've tried to downsize my Christmas treats this year. I'm making everything bite sized so that fellow over-achieving eaters like myself can sample more food. These Strawberry Tartlets really pack a punch into one little bite.
1/3 cup almond meal
8 graham crackers
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sliced strawberries
Arrange strawberries slices over filling and garnish with mint leaves.
Downsizing this recipe to make bite size treats was a great idea. (Until I realized that I had popped 3 of these little treats into my mouth without a second thought.) LOL. I do love the red and green combination on these little tartlets for Christmas but I think I want to try it with raspberries or blueberries this summer. These little tartlets would make a great little treat - any time of year.
No matter how prepared I think I am for Christmas, I inevitably find myself pulling together at least a few last minute gifts. When there's no time left to shop - I head to my kitchen for gift inspiration.
What better way to say "Merry Christmas" than with a batch of snowy White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins? Whip up a batch of these tasty muffins and pass them out to a deserving teacher, a friendly neighbor, a helpful friend or a stressed out co-worker.
White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
Spoon into well greased mini muffin tins. Bake 5 minutes at 425. Turn oven down to 350 and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes.
Allow muffins to cool on wire racks.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
I do a lot of online shopping at Christmas time and our delivery drivers (USPS, Fed Ex and UPS) not only have to make frequent stops at my house in December, they also have to endure the antics of a very rambunctious Weimaraner. I feel like I need to thank these tireless delivery drivers so I may just have to prepare a little bucket of treats to leave outside my door this week. I saw this idea on Pinterest.
If I tuck in a few of my White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins - my bucket will be complete. Now all I have to figure out is how to keep the dog OUT of the treat bucket.
I think that all of the busyness of the Christmas season has caught up with me. I was so busy with birthday preparations, getting the house decorated and catering orders that I only managed to fix dinner - 1 day last week! I share that somewhat embarrassing confession with you just to let you know that we ALL get overwhelmed and overloaded during the holidays - especially food bloggers.
Don't worry about my dietary requirements though - we managed to survive on a smoked chicken that I picked up from our favorite BBQ restaurant and a batch of vegetarian chili from the freezer.
This week - I'm determined to do better about getting home cooked meals on the table. Hello trusty slow cooker.
Ben and I both like pulled pork but it doesn't ever seem practical to make an entire pork shoulder for just two people. As luck would have it - I found a boneless pork shoulder that was a little over a pound at my local meat market last week. That is the perfect size for the two of us - with leftovers for lunch the next day.
Finding a pork shoulder made for two was the perfect excuse to try out my new recipe for Slow Cooker Pork with Peach Barbecue Sauce. I put the pork in the slow cooker before we left for church on Sunday morning and it made a delicious dinner.
Slow Cooker Pork with Peach Barbecue Sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 pound pork shoulder
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup peach preserves
2 cups sliced red onion
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup bourbon
2 Tablespoons cold water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Drizzle sauce over pork and onions.
I was really frustrated with myself over this meal because I drastically overcooked the pork. I cooked my 1.5 pound boneless pork shoulder for 6 hours - big mistake. I adjusted the recipe to say 4 hours but that is really just my best guess at this point. The flavor of the meat was really good and I will definitely try this recipe again - with a shorter cooking time.
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