Friday, December 20, 2013


I am so behind and overwhelmed at the moment. My house is a disaster, I have cookies to bake, macaroni and cheese to make, gifts to finish and wrap, oh and mountains and mountains of laundry =! We have a party every night starting tomorrow night through Christmas. But it's all okay, tonight the boys go to my in-laws and my husband works late so I'll be cleaning, baking and crafting while watching some cheesy Christmas movies and try to squeeze in a nap too.

On the menu this week:
Truffle Bar
Cookies and Cream Peppermint Bark
Raspberry Almond Thumbprints
Buffalo Mac and Cheese
One-Pan Enchilada Pasta
Weeknight Nachos
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The boys and I made these and these this past week.

I must make these! Love them!

This tree and wreath! Obsessed! Love!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Chip Cookies

Peppermint is one of my favorite things and pair it with chocolate and I am all over it! I made this Chocolate Peppermint Chip cookies for my little Monkey's Cubbies class. I baked up a half a recipe of these guys and a recipe of these cuties, packaged them up in cute little bags that I stamped with a snowman and sealed with red washi tape and sent them to church with him. I hope the kids like them as much as we do. I can't keep my husband out of them. As I type this I have butter softening for a second batch. I may buy multiple bags of the Peppermint Chips to keep around the house so I can have Christmas in July with the babies.

 I scooped the remainder of the recipe into balls tossed them onto a cookie sheet and stuck them into the freezer just to firm up, then I moved them to a freezer bag so that I could pull them out of Christmas Eve and bake them up for family and possibly leave some for the big man in red, if they last that long, I can make no promises. ;-)

Chocolate Peppermint Chip Cookies
yields approximately 3 dozen if using a small cookie scoop
1 1/4 cups butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint extra
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
 3/4 cup peppermint chips

Place butter and sugar into the bowl for your stand mixer and beat on medium speed around 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop and scrap down the sides, add in the eggs and vanilla and beat another minutes longer. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium until the dough comes together and flour is no longer visible. Stir in the chips. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F and top baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop cookies on keeping 2 inches apart. Bake 8-9 minutes, until edges have set. Allow to cool for around 5 minutes on cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely before putting hem in an airtight container. Cookies will keep for about a week, as long as they are kept in an airtight container.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Taco Seasoning {Homemade Christmas}

Taco Seasoning is a staple in our house. While, SO not authentic, nachos happen here often. Like, once a week often, so it makes sense to make my own taco seasoning. And, since we are doing our Homemade Christmas again, it makes a perfect gift. Along with tacos seasoning and grill seasoning (to come later) we are making our Apple Butter again, because most of our grandparents requested it and so did my husband. We are making ornaments again, I'll be sharing them as soon as I get the photos needed printed. I'll be posting about homemade extracts, although its too late to make them in time for Christmas. There will be other projects that I'll be rushing to finish, as usual. I'll do a round up with links for any tutorials or recipes that I use as soon as I get farther along making them. I hope to be a bit more organized next year, then again I said that last year too. Somethings never change.

To make these seasoning mixes, simply combine the ingredients in a large mason jar or a large container with an air tight lid. Give it a shake and store it up to six months.

Taco Seasoning
(yields 2 cups)
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup oregano
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
2 tablespoons cilantro flakes
2 tablespoons salt
* I made double this, as you can tell by the photo but I'm making quite a few gifts this year.

Right before everything gets wrapped up I will measure out 1/2 cup portion and put into so cute little tin that I found on sale and tape a label on.

I made all my labels on PicMonkey. I used the Design option, cropped it to the size I wanted and added a background. Then I added the sticker and writing and called it a day. Right click and save as if you want to use them. You'll have to resize them according to what size your containers are.

Friday, December 13, 2013


This was Monkey after his trip to the North Pole this year with his Nana and Papaw.
He had so much fun and was worn out! 

Is it Friday already? Seriously!

I've got a busy day ahead of me today. I'll be making and canning a small batch of Homemade Sriracha. A certain, luckily, sibling of mine may be getting it for Christmas. Then, I'll be working from home, normal cleaning and organizing, other baking and doing laundry, more decorating and making a plan of action to get the remainder of these gifts finished. I better make another cup of coffee, I'm going to need it.

Tomorrow may be just be the day I make Bacon Jam. That may be a gift for another brother... Just maybe...

I don't have any recipe links for this post, I haven't sat down and read any of my favorite blogs in over a week. I literally have 1500 unread posts waiting for me. Yikes!

These two crafts are in the plans for me and the kiddos next week.

I'm dying for these leggings!! Or these!

I've been pinning tons and tons of Christmas ideas on Pinterest.

I'm so excited for Saving Mr. Banks! I loved Marry Poppins as a child, I watched it weekly at my Granny's and Grandpa's in the summer, along with The King and I, Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Oklahoma and just about any Shirley Temple movie, ever made.

Speaking of Mary Poppins...

So that's about it for now. Are you doing anything special this year?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thick and Creamy Hot Chocolate

Long time no see! Life has been pretty chaotic lately and the desk top computer has not been plugged in for a week. I rearranged the living room and we just haven't set it back up yet. Luckily, we just got our laptop fixed. I have some good things planned for the next couple of weeks too. Cookies, candies, crafts and DIY gifts are all on the agenda from now until Christmas and I'll be sharing as much as possible. Then come January, I want to start juicing again. I won't be doing it as meal replacements this go around, I'll just be doing it to get some of the fruits and veggies that I don't feel I'm getting enough of.  So, that's the plan for upcoming posts but lets get to the current business at hand. HOT CHOCOLATE time!!!!

 This hot chocolate is the most decadent hot chocolate I have ever had. It is super rich and creamy. It is intensely chocolate. I love the dark lusciousness of the semisweet chocolate but if you prefer milk chocolate you could easily switch it out or if you like the darkness of the semisweet, but prefer a little more sweetness add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the chocolate at the beginning of the melting process. I made this little treat for my family yesterday while we relaxed in our jammies and watched cartoons. I added a little extra milk to my youngest's so that it wasn't too thick for the straw of his sippy cup. My oldest had his with whipped cream and marshmallows. I wanted whipped cream, but my husband preferred the unadulterated chocolate.  We all enjoyed our little treat that felt so decadent. Make it for your family and they'll believe you've crafted something amazing, but in reality its just a little melting and stirring. It can be our little secret. I'll be making it with white chocolate and peppermint on Friday, for just the hubs and myself, to go along with  Love Actually  for our date night and then we will be having again for our family movie watching Elf

Thick and Creamy Hot Chocolate
Serves four
8 oz semisweet chocolate chopped 
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons cornstarch

In a a saucepan, over med/low heat, heat your chocolate and 1/4 cup milk. Stirring often, do not let the chocolate burn. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk in 1 1/2 cup of remaining milk, making sure that all the chocolate and milk combine evenly. In a small bowl stir the remaining milk and cornstarch together, making sure there are no lumps. Stir it into the hot chocolate and let it cook until thickened, stirring often. Serve warm with whipped cream, marshmallows or alone. (I prefer unsweetened whipped cream)