Monday, December 26, 2011

Dining Table Makeover!

Hey bloggers!! Christmas is over but the food still lingers! haha I hope everyone had a wonderful time! There is still so much to look forward to. New Years is next weekend and then the following Friday is the Cotton Bowl!!! So excited to watch the Razorbacks play!!
My next project is a series of Vlog reviews for various products that I received as Christmas gifts. I can't wait to share with you guys so stayed tuned. 
I also received a set of Pier 1 dishes from my parents for Christmas and my dining table was in need of a makeover soooo... Here's my dining table makeover!

These plates were also from Pier 1 but they weren't quite as serious and masculine as I wanted for my dining room table.

Although, I do love the handmade crooked circle style of these plates :D

Aren't these beautiful!! The large plate, small plate and bowl look like a masculine zebra print with an accent green plate. The beaded napkins and napkin rings are from Pier 1 as well! Now, I just need to go and find some matching place mats! :D

Definitely a better look for my dark table! LOVE!!!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!! I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday! We celebrated with family, ate food, ate food and ate some more food! Haha! The puppies were happy with their stockings filled with treats and toys. My Dad was so surprised with his stocking that my mom and I made...mostly my mom! We had a ton of presents this morning and there was definitely a MESS in the living room! haha Here are the pictures!! Enjoy!

Our Christmas Tree!

Bourbon Brie Bites

Marinated Cheese


Beef Tenderloin


The "project" Mom and I were working on (mostly mom). Dad wanted a stocking to match mom's but we couldn't find one so we just made it! Dad LOVES it!!!

The puppies were happy!

Me and my baby!


I got a ton of fun craft and baking gifts! Reviews and tutorials coming!!

Mom unwrapping her stocking.

Puppy!

Mom's new cookware!


Dad's stocking


Mom's stocking on the left and Dad's on the right.

Piper's new cage.

Mom enjoying all of her new cookware!

William Sonoma Foccacia Stuffing with Sage Sausage

Sleepy Jackson



Tommy setting up the GPS


1 Day 'Til Christmas!!

Well it's not really one day before Christmas but we are headed home from Midnight Mass. It was a beautiful service and I'm so glad that we stayed up for it!!! I haven't been in years! Because I'm away from my computer, my photo shares will have to wait until tomorrow! Until then, have a wonderful morning with your family! Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Days 'Til Christmas!!

It's almost Christmas Eve!!! Can you believe it!?!?! It always seems to take forever for Christmas to get here and then it's gone in a flash! Our family is coming in tomorrow and we are so excited! My mom and I have been slaving away in the kitchen knocking out one recipe after another and now we have containers full of goodies! I'm not posting any recipe or craft tonight...I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas Eve EVE!! Haha! Tomorrow I will treat you to pictures of our goodies for the recipes that I have shared and hopefully if all goes well, we may drive around to check out Christmas lights before heading to Midnight Mass. I have no been in years to the Midnight Mass service and I'm pretty excited so we will see how that goes! I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow and stay tuned for some pictures! Enjoy!!

Today I'm Listening To:
A Soldier's Silent Night
(I don't know how I found this...just browsing YouTube, 
I guess but it certainly makes me cry!)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful and relaxing time with family, and if not I hope you will be very soon!! My mom and I have decided to tackle the task of cooking tomorrow so the house will definitely be smelling yummy! While we cook we always watch our movies from the Christmas collection. I'm sharing some of our favorites in today's post! Enjoy!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

The Holiday

The Family Stone

Love Actually

This Christmas

Polar Express

Today I'm Listening To:
This Christmas by Chris Brown

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 Days 'Til Christmas!!

We're down to 4 days 'til Christmas and I'm super excited! I tackled the grocery store today and I thought it would be an easy experience...ya know, it's only Wednesday; I went around noon. Wrong! Everyone was there and it was such a mess!!! But I survived and now we are all set to begin cooking tomorrow! Family arrives on Saturday and we are going to have a blast! For this post I'm sharing a yummy and super easy dessert/snack recipe for emergencies. You can always just make this for the holidays but because it's so easy, it's the perfect recipe to whip out if you need something for a party that day.

Pistachio Cranberry Bark
(I borrowed this photo so that you would have an idea)

Ingredients: (There are no measurements...you add however much you want)
Semisweet Chocolate Chips
White Chocolate Chips
Pistachios (Shelled)
Craisins

Chop pistachios in half or quarters. Melt semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler. Once chocolate is smooth, spread out a 1/8- 1/4 inch think layer onto a pan lined with wax paper. Sprinkle half of pistachios and craisins. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler and DRIZZLE (using a spoon) 3/4 of white chocolate across the semisweet layer. Sprinkle remaining half of pistachios and craisins. Lightly pat to press pistachios and craisins into chocolate and drizzle remaining white chocolate. Refrigerate until solidified and break apart. Be sure to store in a cool place. 

**You can alter this recipe if you prefer more white chocolate and less semisweet. You will need the big bag of white chocolate morsels! On a cookie sheet (with 1/2 inch edges all around) pour half of melted white chocolate in pan and sprinkle in pistachios and craisins. Pour remaining white chocolate on top and refrigerate until solid. You bark is now ready to be cut into bars! :) 
How easy was that?! Enjoy!! 

Today I'm Listening To:
Santa Claus is Coming To Town by Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Days 'Til Christmas!!

YAY!!! I'm finally caught up and now I have so many things to post I'm running out of days! HAHA It's funny how that works. Well I may just have to double up some posts and share just a little extra with you guys! That means 3 recipes for this post!!
Here are some great appetizers for parties or family get-togethers: 
Marinated Cheese, Kicked Up Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters & Bourbon Pecan Brie Pastries

Marinated Cheese

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup White Wine Vinegar
1 (2 oz) jar Diced Pimiento, drained
3 Tbsp chopped Fresh Parsley (dried works fine)
3 Tbsp minced Green Onions
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp dried whole basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 (8 oz) block sharp Cheddar Cheese, chilled
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, chilled

Combine first 10 ingredients in a jar; cover tightly and shake vigorously. Set marinade mixture aside.
Cut block of cheddar cheese in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. (Basically you're making thin squares of cheese for easy assembly!) Cut cream cheese in the same way, remember chilling the cheese and cream cheese makes them so much easier to cut! Arrange cheese slices alternating cheese and cream cheese in a shallow baking dish, standing slices on edge, vertically. Pour marinade over cheese slices. Cover and marinate in refrigerator at least 8 hours.
Transfer cheese slices to a serving platter in the same alternating fashion, reserving marinade. Spoon marinade over cheese slices. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs, if desired. Serve with assorted crackers!
Makes 16 servings.


Kicked Up Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters

2 3/4 cups Tomato Juice
4 oz Pepper Vodka
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Horseradish (drained)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Hot Pepper Sauce
Pinch Salt
Pinch freshly ground Black Pepper
2 dozen small-sized Oysters

In a container, combine all the ingredients except the oysters. Pour into an 8-inch metal baking dish and freeze until ice crystals start to form around the sides, about 30 minutes. Stir with a fork, return to the freezer and continue to stir with fork every 45 minutes until uniform ice crystals have formed, about 3 hours.

To serve, spoon 1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp of frozen Bloody Mary mix in baking dish into the bottom of 24 tall shot glasses and top with an oyster.
Serve immediately!


Bourbon Pecan Brie Pastries
(If you love Brie, you will LOVE this recipe! I know I do and it's super easy!!)

1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 Tbsp Bourbon
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
24 mini pastry cups, thawed
16 oz Brie Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a small mixing bowl, mix brown sugar, butter and bourbon until combined. Fold in pecans.
Remove rind off of Brie and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Place each piece inside a pastry cup and top with bourbon pecan mixture.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until Brie is bubbly.
Serve warm.

How yummy does that sound! Well I hope this helps you with some appetizer ideas if you're planning a party! Enjoy!

Today I'm Listening To:
Christmas Vacation Theme Song by Mavis Staples



6 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Bloggers! Christmas is getting even closer!! This cookie recipe is one that my mom makes every year. It's also been called Snowball cookies but whatever you call them they are delicious!

Lady Fingers (aka Snowball Cookies)

1 cup Margarine (2 sticks)
2 cups Flour
1/4 cup Confectioners Sugar
Pecans (the amount is up to you)

Cream butter and sugar until well mixed. Add flour in gradually and then add the pecans. Like I said, if you like more pecans add about 1/2 cup...if not leave them out. You can add however many you like. Roll into oblong sticks about 1 to 2 inches long. Place on ungreased cookie sheet & place in 300 F oven. Let cook about 20 minutes until DELICATE brown. Immediately remove from oven and roll in confectioners sugar. Let cool and roll once again in confectioners sugar. 

These cookies are wonderful with my Mom's ambrosia. The recipe calls for oranges, pecans and coconut so if that is a recipe you would like to have let me know and I'll be glad to share! Enjoy!!

Today I'm Listening To:
Happy Christmas (War is Over) by John Lennon

7 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone! 
Today I've been working with my mom on a project that I will reveal on Christmas Day! I am so excited about it! We also made our long list of groceries so tackling the grocery store is my assignment for tomorrow! YIKES!
For this post I'm sharing a wonderful dessert/snack recipe that I make every year! (Oh, and if you're wondering...Christmas Eve I will post pictures of all of our creations to add to these recipes that I'm sharing so stay tuned for that!)

Heath Bar Candy

2 Sticks Butter (1/2 maybe Margarine)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tbsp Lite Corn Syrup
4 Reg. Size Hershey Bars
2/3 cup Finely Chopped Nuts (I use heath bar candy bits instead)

Melt butter over low heat in pan. Add sugar and stir until melted. Add water and syrup. Continue cooking over low heat until syrup, dropped in cold water, becomes brittle. (This is the cold water brittle test if you aren't familiar with candy making. You could also use a candy thermometer and bring syrup slowly up to 320 F. DO NOT speed up process by increasing heat...you will burn your candy and it will not be good at all.) Once, it becomes brittle or reaches 320 F remove from heat. Pour onto greased platter in a thin layer. Melt and Spread Hershey Bars over candy and press nuts (heath bar bits) into the chocolate while it is still warm. Cool until hardened ( in the fridge if you wish). Break into pieces. 
This recipe is a bit tedious and you have to be patient when watching your candy but it is totally worth it!!
Enjoy!!

Today I'm Listening To:
Hanukkah Song by Adam Sandler


Monday, December 19, 2011

8 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone!!
This recipe is one of my favorites and it's perfect for party appetizers!

Parmesan Pull Aparts

3 Tbsp Margarine
1 Tbsp Instant Minced Onion
2 Tsp Dill Seed
1 Tsp Poppyseed
1/4 Tsp Celery Seed
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
10 oz. can Flaky Biscuits (refrigerated)

Heat oven to 400 F. In oven, melt margarine in 9 in. round pan. Tilt pan to cover bottom. Sprinkle onion, Dill seed, Poppy seed & Celery seed evenly over melted margarine. Separate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each into 4 pieces. Place biscuit pieces & cheese in bag; shake to coat. Arrange coated biscuit pieces evenly in prepare pan; sprinkle with any remaining parmesan cheese from bag. Bake at 400 F for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Turn onto serving plate. Serve warm. Makes 10 Servings.
ENJOY!!

Today I'm Listening To:
Here Come's Santa Claus by Gene Autry

9 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Bloggers! Here's another recipe for you to enjoy!

Spicy Party Mix

Oven @ 250 F
Bake Time 1.5 hours

1 Large Bowl (Dry Mix)
1 Medium Bowl (Wet Mix)
2 Cookie Sheets

Dry Mix:
6 cups Corn Chex
2 cups Red Farm Sesame Sticks
2 cups Cheese-Its
2 cups Pretzels
1 cup Cashews
(can also use: shoestring potatoes or different kinds of nuts)

Wet Mix:
3/4 cup Canola Oil
6 Tbsp Worcheshire Sauce
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2-3 Tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Chili Powder
1 Tsp Cavender's Greek Seasoning (salt-free)
8-10 drops of heat (hot sauce, tobasco, BBQ sauce)

Stir dry mix first then stir wet mix, pour wet mix a little at a time into dry mix and stir gently.
Repeat until fully coated.
Spread out in cookie sheets.
Bake @ 250 for 1.5 hours
Turn at first 30 minutes & at second 30 minutes.
(If you want some extra heat, add some more hot sauce between turns.)
Remove from oven after 1.5 hours
Cool on wax paper.
ENJOY!!

Today I'm Listening To:
Deck The Halls by: James Taylor

10 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone! It's officially less than one week until Christmas even though my poor countdown is working overtime. We're getting there! My recipe posts have begun so here we go! 

Toffee Chex Mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter
1 1/8 cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Lite Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 cups Rice Chex
4 Cups Corn Chex
1 cup pretzels
1 1/2 cups Mixed Nuts
1 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels (optional)

Heat oven to 250 F. Mix butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla extract in sauce pan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
Mix cereal, pretzels and nuts together in a roasting pan.
Pour syrup over dry mixture and mix well.
Bake 30 minutes in oven, stirring mixture every 10 minutes.
Spread on wax paper to cool.
Once cool, break up pieces as needed (add morsels at this time). Store in an airtight container.
Makes 1 3/4 lbs.

ENJOY!!

Today I'm Listening To:
Do You Hear What I Hear by Carrie Underwood

Sunday, December 18, 2011

11 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone!!! Christmas is getting close and I fell behind AGAIN BUT my finals are 
over so the uphill battle is finished and it's time to relax!! I have a ton of recipes to share over the 
next couple of posts so stay tuned!! Today's post is a gift idea that is great if you love to share recipes 
with friends! I came up with this idea when I was planning all of my edible gift ideas. I love 
to bake and cook and share yummy edible gifts with family and friends and I often get requests 
for the recipes at the end of the Holiday Season. If you wish to share them (you can always keep 
them to yourself as a secret weapon :D ) you can put them together like I do.

Recipe Album

What You'll Need:
*Photo Album (w/ 4" x 6" photo inserts)
I got my album from TJ MAXX, you can buy them at your local 
craft store if you wish to decorate them yourself
*4" x 6" Recipe Cards (I use Wilton)
* Photos (optional)
*Markers or Pens
*Embellishments (for your album if it is not decorated)

Fill your recipe cards with your favorite recipes!

Insert recipe cards into photo inserts. (You can even add your favorite 
photos of you and the friend that is receiving the gift)
Also, add some memos if you have available spots like I do!

If you can't fill the entire album, add a package of recipe card "refills" for your 
friend in the back so they can continue the book with their own recipes!
If you have a simple album, this is the time to decorate it. Decorating before you 
insert your recipes may mess up some things on the outside.

You're Done! Add a few homemade gifts or just snag some yummy goods from TJ MAXX. 
You can find a ton of gourmet goodies at TJ MAXX for a bargain! 
(They even make great stocking stuffers!) ENJOY!


Today I'm Listening To:
White Christmas by Bing Crosby

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone! My recipe posts are coming soon so in preparation I'm sharing a little something that I love to keep im my spice cabinet! Cinnamon Sugar! 

I found this adorable jar at Hobby Lobby!

You can mix to your preference. If you want more cinnamon, add more.


Perfect for the spice cabinet! 
You can do this with any of your everyday or Holiday spices.
Add a label to organize.

This is my favorite snack at night when it's cold outside!
Cinnamon Sugar Toast! YUM! Enjoy!

Today I'm Listening To: 
It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year by Andy Williams

13 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone!
For this post I'm sharing another great game to share with your family during the 
holiday get-togethers, especially with children!!
A Holiday Treasure Hunt!!

1. Round like the O's in Ho Ho Ho, my green arms hold your first clue near the door. (Wreath)
2. Just days until Christmas, and I count them down. Where, can you guess, will the next clue be found? (Advent Calendar)
3. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, come find your next clue where animals were fed. (Nativity Scene)
4. I grow outdoors, but you brought me inside, my well-lit boughs are where your clue resides. (Christmas Tree)
5. For your next clue, I say wait for no man! Your next clue holder is often found in the mouth of a snowman! (Corn Cob Pipe)
6. Hold your head high, or you might just miss it. If you want your next clue, you're going to have to kiss it! (Mistletoe)
7. My belly's like jelly and my nose is like a fruit. Come get your next clue, but don't mind the soot! (Santa)
8. It takes 8 of us (plus the one with the light) to pull ol' Santa around the world in one night. (Reindeer)
9. I'm red and white with a crooked neck...they said "hide this clue!" so I said, "Sure, what the heck!" (Candy Cane)
10. Don't flake me now, the end is in sight! Your next clue is near something that paints winter ground white. (Snowflake)

Be sure to add your own clues to this hunt! Enjoy!

Today I'm Listening To:
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer by Gene Autry

14 Days 'Til Christmas!!

For the 14 Days 'Til Christmas post I'm sharing my favorite "little happys" for easy Christmas gifts.
These are great for neighbors, co-workers and teachers.
Chocolate Covered Pretzels! You can make them in any flavor!

I love the colors! Green and Red Gumballs in personalized jars!
Fun for party favors!

Chocolate and Peppermint Covered Spoons

Herb Filled Sachets to freshen drawers.

Homemade Body Scrub

This is one of the best kit gift ideas I've ever seen!
I used to have marshmallow gun fights as a child!
The Ultimate gift!

Candy and Chocolate Covered Spoons

Reusable Cup filled with goodies!

I hope these gifts give you some inspiration if you're looking for an easy DIY gift! Enjoy!

Today I'm Listening To:
Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms


15 Days 'Til Christmas!!

Hey Everyone!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful week thus far!! 
Less than two weeks until Christmas...I"m so excited!!
Here's a recipe for Cocoa Mix in a Mug...
makes a great gift!


The secret ingredient in this mix is the mini chocolate chips, which melt when combined with the boiling water and give the cocoa an extra-rich flavor. The recipe makes enough for four gift-size portions, each of which can be measured into a small plastic bag and tucked into a cup or mug filled with mini marshmallows, candy stick stirrers and a spoon. 

Attach:
"Spoon 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of cocoa mix into your cup (depending on the size), 
add boiling water, and stir well."

Ingredients
2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered nondairy creamer
1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
1. Measure all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk them until they are evenly blended.
2. Store the mix in a tightly covered container at room temperature until you're ready to package it. 
Makes about 4 cups of mix.

Today I'm Listening To:
Oh Holy Night by Celtic Woman

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

16 Days 'Til Christmas!!

For this post I'm sharing a craft that I found last year! I went on an annual Christmas trip with my boss and co-workers and for a "little happy" as my Mom says, I made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar for everyone. It's a super simple recipe that I found in a Nestle mini recipe book and I LOVE it! Just layer the dry ingredients in a Quart Mason Jar and attach a tag with the wet ingredients needed and baking instructions.


Ingredients:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup Nestle Toll House Semisweet Chocolate Morsels
1 1/2 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions
COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Place flour mixture in 1-quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above, pressing firmly after each layer. Seal with lid and decorate with fabric and ribbon.

Recipe to Attach:
Beat 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg
and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix; mix well,
breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake in preheated 375 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Today I'm Listening To:
Carol of The Bells by Celtic Woman