Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
This year, the wonderful ladies I have the opportunity to serve with in church & myself wanted to show a small token of love and appreciation to the women in our congregation. We wanted something simple, yet special for the holiday season. We landed on the idea of stove top potpourri kits, and I think we hit the jackpot. This simple, yet aromatic smelling blend of orange, cranberry, cinnamon, and cloves perfume your home with the smell of Christmas. We simply bagged them & attached this little printable and presented them on Sunday. This is such a simple and inexpensive way to spread Christmas cheer and love to someone this holiday season!
Monday, December 22, 2014
Every Christmas growing up, we would dedicate a day of our winter break to baking and decorating sugar cookies. It was probably our favorite day of the year, next to Christmas alone. Mom would whip up a batch of dough, and each of us would roll and cut out the shapes we wanted. As soon as they came out of the oven, we would slather the stars, trees, and bells in thick butter cream frosting and pounds of sprinkles. My Mom tells the story of my sister and I around the ages of three & four making cookies. She said the floor was crunchy with sprinkles and our faces covered in frosting. When my Dad came home from work that night, we ran to him, all sugared up and sticky. He said something witty about us tasting delicious and scooped us up in his arms. Lucky for me, I married into a family with a strong tradition of sugar cookie baking & decorating as well. Both Grandma Tatum (my Mom's mother) and Great Grandma Lila (Derek's mothers grandma) have an almost identical recipe for sugar cookies. It's just another way to have a taste of Christmas wherever we may be.
Monday, December 15, 2014
My sweet friend Stephanie (another Smith with a love of parties, yummy food, and darling decor) and I teamed up for a holiday party this past weekend. We focused on having holiday dips & sips, which was essentially finger foods, dips, and fun mocktails. With both delicious and pretty holiday sangria in hand, guests loaded plates full of baked and cranberry goat cheese, candied pecans, bacon wrapped chestnuts, and cucumber canopies (my favorite!). We ended the night with a round of white elephant, and boxers of all styles were quite the 2014 hit. It was a fun night of great food, company, and friends!
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I have always been a major fan of hot chocolate. I have distinct memories sipping it on Main Street USA at Disneyland watching the parade as a child, slowly stirring a packet in boiling water as snow fell in Rexburg, and even drinking it during cold summer rain showers in Michigan. Years ago, Derek introduced me to the wonders of a CocoaMotion, and my hot chocolate drinking days have never been the same. (In recipe's below, if using a hot chocolate maker, place all ingredients inside after simmered to froth and dispense.) This year, I have complied three of my favorite "recipes" for hot cocoa for your sipping pleasure. Whether you fancy a good peppermint, or a spicy cinnamon blend, all of these are easy, delicious, and require a heavy hand of whipped cream.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. I think the fact that it revolves around some of my most favorite foods and people is one of the biggest reasons. It's a time to get together with those we love and literally feast. I wait all year for creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and this cornbread stuffing. The smoky bacon, crunchy apple, and aromatic herbs make this stuffing the centerpiece of any table. Move over turkey, there's a new favorite in town.
Friday, November 21, 2014
In the years we have been married, Derek and I have had our own Thanksgiving for two years, been with family for two, and last year, Derek was delivering babies while I flew solo with my family. Every year is a new chance for my tried and true recipes like my cornbread, bacon and apple stuffing (recipe to come!) and new table settings for your guests to enjoy. Dress up your table this year with fresh sprigs of rosemary, dainty gold pumpkins, and simple decor like butcher paper and lace doilies for a casual, yet somehow elegant feel.
Monday, November 17, 2014
This past weekend, we ventured to Knotts Berry Farm for the first time since living in San Diego. Derek had never been, but had driven by as a child on his way to Disneyland and remembers thinking, "That place looks awesome!". I grew up with a pass, but hadn't been in over 8 years, so it was fun to see the changes, as well as the classics still in operation. We rode roller coasters, took it easy on the restored 1900's steam engine & log ride, and shared a piece of their famous boysenberry pie. We had a great time and ended up getting passes for 2015 to add to our large collection... I think we might have a problem!
Friday, November 14, 2014
For all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking, I am a very timid baker. With cooking, I am free to add ingredients as I choose to taste, and the restriction of strict measuring has always made me shy away from baking. This year, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone this holiday season and whip up some pies for Thanksgiving. With the help of my friend Amy, (a seasoned baker and pie connoisseur) we spent a Wednesday night baking, eating, and binge movie watching "The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire". To say we are thrilled for "Mockingjay" is the understatement of the year. We topped the pie with fresh whipped cream, and even though it melted a little on the hot pie, it sunk down through the pumpkin for a velvety richness all the way to the crust. With pie in hand and movies on the screen, the night couldn't have been more perfect. Well, if Peeta had baked the pie himself, that would be a totally different story.