Holiday Decor 2015

Even though it’s a little late, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share the decorations we put up this year to celebrate the holidays. I wasn’t much into the holiday spirit this year, but now that we are packing up all of the decor, I’m sad to see it go!

Have I ever mentioned how excited I was/am to have a mantel that I could actually decorate for the holidays?! We got our stockings from Target. The little deer families were gifted from my mom and they looked so cute keeping watch for Santa. Continue reading

Oh My, the 4th of July

Independence Day is my favorite holiday of the year. Warm weather, grilled food, pyrotechnics… What’s not to love?

This year we had a very busy holiday weekend. The festivities actually started late Wednesday night when we hosted our first house guests, my aunt and uncle, in from Florida. Since their time in Michigan was jam-packed, we had a bit of an impromptu breakfast party on Friday morning with some of the family. I did an easy menu of fruit, yogurt, bagels, muffins, and this crock pot breakfast casserole. We also had steel-cut oats and mimosas provided by the party-goers.

I love entertaining, and this was the perfect opportunity to break out our servingware and put out a nice spread.Our guests departed on Friday, so that left us with the rest of the weekend. Troy, miraculously, had Friday-Sunday morning off of work, so we took the opportunity to spend a couple of days at a friend’s lake house. Continue reading

Holiday Recap

I must be getting older. The holidays really took a lot out of me this year. Even with a week off of work and plenty of time to catch up on sleep, I am still dragging while I attempt to get back into the swing of things.

Also, obviously, dragging on updating the blog.

Cue photo montage!

First, Christmas…

Christmas with my nieces is never boring

Camera shy, obviously

Brady gets in on the action

Food included buffalo chicken dip, Greek seven layer dip, Mexican avocado and black bean dip, and garlic chicken puffs

The Pinterest cheese tree was a huge hit!

All of my favorite Christmas treats

 

New Year’s Eve was celebrated with our great friends and neighbors…

Boyfriend playing bartender

Cheers, with berries!

It was also our anniversary!

Falling Off the Radvent Wagon…and Cookies!

I know. I’m sorry. I knew, in my heart, that this would probably happen. Attempting to write a post every day during the busiest month of the year probably wasn’t the best idea.

But, to make it up to you, I have today not one but two Christmas cookie recipes!

I, like many, have a set of recipes that I make each holiday season, specifically baked goods. I only make these things during the month of December, and, even if there are other recipes that make guest appearances, these are the ones I absolutely have to make each year, no excuses.

So first up we have cran-pistachio cookies. This recipe is originally from The Girl Who Ate Everything. I fell in love with these cookies the first time I saw them, and re-fell when I actually made them and ate them. Yum.

The second cookie is the festive cherry bite. I feel like people either love or hate maraschino cherries. I get that they are so ridiculously processed, but I don’t eat these things on anything except in these cookies. I won’t even eat the one on the toothpick in my fruity drink from Bahama Breeze. So get your fill here, kids.

I think my love for both of these cookies stems from the final steps in each recipe, specifically that you only barely cook them in the oven, and then let them set on the cookie sheet before stuffing them into your mouth. Gooey. Delicious. Don’t forget to save some for Santa.

I promise to make a concerted effort to pick up my Radvent slack starting tomorrow (now that I am done with finals, and nearly done with Christmas shopping and planning). Until then… Christmas Puppy.

Is Santa here yet?

Cheers!

Cran-Pistachio Cookies
Originally from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 box (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl stir cookie mix, pudding, and flour
  3. Add melted butter and eggs and stir until incorporated
  4. Add pistachios and cranberries and mix well
  5. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie sheet
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are just set and the bottoms are a light brown; do not overbake!
  7. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely; once cooled, store in an airtight container.

Cherry Bites
Family recipe
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg, well beaten
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 11oz jar Maraschino cherries, drained and chopped

  1. In a large bowl, blend together butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking powder
  3. Gradually blend flour mixture into butter mixture
  4. Gently fold in chopped cherries
  5. Wrap mixture in wax paper and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  7. Once chilled, roll into small balls and baked on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes until just set and the bottoms are a light brown; do not overcook!
  8. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely; once cooled, store in an airtight container.