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Monday, December 31, 2012

Tiffany Blue New Years Cocktail

Tiffany Blue Holiday Cocktail.    2 ounces Stolichnaya Vanilla, 2 ounces Malibu rum, 2 ounces Coco Lopez, ¼ ounce Blue Curacao. Shake well and pour into a martini glass. (Honey and coconut on rim of glass)

Well it is that time of year again, where we all reflect on the past year and begin dreaming of our accomplishments for the coming year. This year, my husband is off traveling for work so its just the boys and I. Tonight will probably turn into a night of chick flicks, a blue cocktail and snoring children.

My resolution for the year is to expand my blog and to be able to bring you yummy recipes and simply chic DIY crafts! For my family, oh I hope we get a little more organized. Maybe I should brush the dust off of my Organization board on Pinterest and give it a go.

I hope you all have a wonderful beginning to the New Year and have had a wonderful Holiday season.

To toast 2012 away, lets go out with a bang! Try something new, something blue and something a little fashionable.


For this Blue Cocktail you will need:

2 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Malibu Rum
2 oz Cream of Coconut
1/4 oz Blue Curacao

Shake well and pour into a martini glass.

To decorate the rim, line the rim with some honey and roll the rim in coconut.

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Perfect Hostess Gift


With the holidays in full swing, there will be plenty of parties that I will be attending. As a hostess, I believe one of my favorite gifts to receive from my guest would be a nice bottle of wine. It is thoughtful, affordable and practical. With all of the extensive flavors of wines available, you are able to discover new wines that you might have never tried before. 

So when I attend parties, I like to bring the same thing. I fancy the sweeter wines and I am somewhat addicted to Cupcake wine. But I just don’t bring a bottle; I like to make it a little more dressed up, chic.

I found these beautiful tags from TomKat studios, that you are able to print out to add to any bottle of wine along with a pretty ribbon. It takes the ordinary and turns it into an elegant hostess gift.

CLICK HERE to download the tags.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes



I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday, now onto one of my favorite "party" holidays of the year. We usually try to get a group of our fabulous friends together to celebrate with us.  

My favorite New Year’s Party would entail of having friends over with a few beautiful and delicious trays of hors d'oeuvres, sweets and a few glasses of champagne. Maybe fireworks...but of course sparklers. I have no idea why those small sparkling sticks make me so happy. 


One of my favorite desserts to make for any occasion has to be cupcakes. Perfectly sized, individual cakes with lots of flavor and a smidgen of pizzazz make for a perfect ending to any meal. 

I favor sweeter wines and champagne, so I searched for a recipe that would work with one of my favorites, Prosecco. I found a Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes Recipe by Sprinkles Bakes, which is a very popular blog, so I knew they would be scrumptious! The recipe calls for champagne every step of the way and fortunately, I was able to enjoy a glass while I was making them and still have enough for the recipe. Perfect!


Champagne Cake (15 -17 cupcakes)

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne or prosecco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.  in a medium sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble a little).  Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour.  Batter will be thick.
Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.  Bake for 17-22 minutes.  Set aside.

Champagne Pastry Creme Filling

1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
1/2 cup champagne or prosecco
2 tbsp cornstarch
5 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Combine the remaining heavy cream, sugar and 1/2 cup champagne in a saucepan; bring to a boil then remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch/heavy cream mixture.  Pour 1/3 of boiling champagne mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so the eggs do not cook.  Return the remaining champagne/heavy cream mixture to a boil.  Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.
Cut a divot into the top of each cupcake and fill with pastry cream.  Trim the cut-out cake pieces flat to make a “lid” and place on top of the filled divot.

Champagne Frosting

1 cup plus 1 tbsp. champagne or prosecco
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan.  Simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer to a small bowl or condiment cup and allow to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream softened butter and powdered sugar together.  Once the frosting is thick and fluffy, pour in the reduced 2 tbsp. champagne plus  1 tbsp. champagne from the bottle and mix well.

Frost the cupcakes. You can use a pastry bag with a star tip or be creative and do your own things. Add the sparklers right before you serve the cupcakes.  

Recipes by Sprinkle Bakes



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Accordion Paper Trees

So do you have that little space somewhere on top of a counter, a desk or a side table that could use a little holiday-izing. If so, I have found something simple yet modern that could do the trick. These folded paper trees are super easy, because they come with a downloadable template, and can add a chic holiday touch to any little blank area. Make one or a whole whimsical forest.

To make this craft you will need some colored paper, a pen, scissors, ruler, bone folder and a glue stick. If you don't have a bone folder, you can use an old credit card.



Step 1: Download the template and print it out onto a an extra piece of paper (sturdy paper works best for tracing). Cut out template and trace onto colored paper. Make small marks where the fold lines intersect the sides, these will guide you later. 

Step 2: Cut out traced shape. For the large tree, you will need to trace and cut three of these. 

Step 3: Using a bone folder and ruler score the fold lines (these are marked by dashed lines on the template), then fold accordion style as shown below. Repeat with all three tree pieces. 

Step 4: Glue the inner folds together as shown below. Repeat for all three tree pieces. 

Step 5: Glue end flaps together to join all three tree pieces. Step 6: Enjoy your finished tree.

Do you like the little red star? If so, the template for it is at the bottom right corner of the tree template.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Jello Shots



For me jello is the epitome of childhood memories. On the weekends, my mom, sister and I would make batches of jello jigglers, turn up the music and have a dance party in the kitchen. Usually the playlist consisted of Prince, Madonna and of course Paula Abdul on the old radio. We would have so much fun. I love memories like that.

Then I grew up. That yummy childhood treat turned into one of my favorite adult shooters. Who can pass up the array of jello shot recipes. Even during the Holidays, you can get really creative with them.

Here is an interpretation of the classic jello shot, turned up a notch!


Ingredients:
1 cup eggnog
1 packet unflavored gelatin
1 cup fum or brandy

1. Combine the eggnog and gelatin in a saucepan. Allow the gelatin to bloom for 1 or 2 minutes.

2. Place the saucepan over low heat, stirring the gelatin mixture with a whisk for about 5 minutes or until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum or brandy.

4. Grab your cookie sheet and arrange the shot glasses on the pan.

5. Pour the gelatin mixture into the cups.
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6. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and allow the shots to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.

7. Cut the cinnamon sticks in half length wise.

8. Remove the shots from the fridge and place the cinnamon sticks in them.

9. Add whipped cream.

10. Sprinkle with a bit of grated nutmeg.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Up-cycle your Christmas cards

I don't know about you, but I am a Christmas card hoarder. I can't help it. All the cute pictures of my friends kids or puppies are just too darn cute to throw away. Maybe I need to look into a way to keep them displayed without them taking up my kitchen counters in June.

For the cards that don't have your wonderful friends and families faces on them, I do have a way to "up-cycle" them. While I was cleaning out my Christmas boxes this year, trying to find where I stashed everything so frantically last year, I accidentally left all of my gift tags on my outside table. Of course that night we had a torrential downpour and ruined them all. My luck!

I figured there had to be a way that I could make them, instead of running back out with the crazy Christmas shoppers on the weekend. I went fumbling through my scrapbook stuff and it hit me, LIGHTBULB! Why not use my pretty Christmas cards and turn them into chic gift tags.

Go grab those cards and your handy Cricut, scissors or craft punch. Cut each card into whatever shape you would like.


Attach your tags to your gifts with ribbon or yarn. Don't forget to save your 2012 cards!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spiked Eggnog

There are a few reasons why I absolutely love Christmastime. One, I love decorating. Two, I absolutely love the smiles on my childrens faces now that they are getting older and have a real understand of what Christmas is about. Three....eggnog! That is probably one of my most favorite sights, when the shelves at the grocery store are stocked with eggnog. I know, I know, the homemade stuff is so much better. But there are times when I do not feel like pulling out all of the ingredients to make it, I need instant gratification at times, and going to the store to buy my favorite brand is much easier.

As I was doing my nightly trolling online for the new celebrity gossip and catching up on the days news events, I came upon something that I am going to have to try, like tonight! Whoever would have thought to put these ingredients together is genius!

source

Go get your cup, your eggnog and get ready to be surprised.

Here is what you are going to need

1 1/2 oz of vodka
3/4 oz of Kahlua
6 oz of eggnog

Grab a glass and fill it with ice. Pour the vodka and the Kahlua over the ice. Now top with the eggnog. Stir it and if you want, add a little nutmeg to the top.

I am sure that after you try this, you are going to look at store bought eggnog a little differently.



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jingle Jangle Juice

During the summer and early autumn, I always stroll the farmers markets picking up my last batches of berries. The one thing I miss about living in the Pacific Northwest, is that on every corner there were large farms where you could go and grab a bucket and whatever you fit in there was $5. It wasn't until I moved to the East coast did I even know that you paid 6-8 dollars a pound for cherries! Umm, outrageous. I always bought mine from a little old man on the side of the highway. A 5lb box might have cost me $10. 



My favorite berries to stock up on are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Not only do I freeze them whole, I have finally learned how to make my great-grandmothers old fashion jams. To freeze them, lay them flat on a cookie sheet covered with a piece of parchment paper. Place them in the freezer and once they are frozen through them into a Ziploc bag. Don't toss them in a bag before they are frozen because when you go to take them out, they will be frozen in a huge clump.

Anyways on to the booze! What holiday party is officially started until the drinks are served. How about trying something a little different than the traditional eggnog. Try making a large batch of Jingle Jangle Juice.

source

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of berry vodka
3/4 cups Grand Marnier
6 pints of berries, a mix of raspberries and blueberries
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of simple syrup
1 bottle of sparkling wine, something extra dry

Directions:

1. Combine all the ingredients (except the berries and sparkling wine) in a large glass or plastic container (or pitcher). Stir well.


2. Wash the berries.

3. When ready to serve, first fill the punch bowl with ice. Pour a small amount of the mixture in a cocktail shaker.
4. Add about five to seven berries.

5. Top with ice and shake HARD. (Make sure you shake hard enough so that the berries break apart in the cocktail shaker.)

6. Strain into the punch bowl.

7. Keep repeating steps until the mixture is all shaken and in the punch bowl.

8. Top the punch with about 3/4 of the bottle of sparkling wine and stir well.

9. Top the punch with additional berries and serve.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Gift Organizing



For me it always starts about mid October. When I sit down and write out a list of what gift I want to get each member of my family. Not only is this my Christmas List but our anniversary, my husbands birthday and my youngest sons birthday all fall within a month before Christmas. So this list is my life line at the end of the year for gift giving. Ever year, I try to make a list and keep it somewhere handy so it can go to the store with me or stay posted close to my computer in case I find a deal. But every year, it never fails, that I lose that list and re-make it about 8 times. I have no idea how that little paper eludes me in my time of need.

As I was reading some of my favorite blogs, I came across this amazing chart to help with your yearly gift giving. Now I know that there are only a few days before Christmas, but keep this handy for next year, or for those people who hastily try to begin and finish Christmas shopping the weekend before Christmas, this might help you stay a bit organized. I know that there are some of you out there that do this. I am not going to lie, it seems like I am always running around trying to get that last present from someone the day before Christmas.



I am definitely going to print out one of these next year to help me keep up with who I am buying for, make sure I am staying on budget and to be able to check each individual gift off the list as I buy it, so I will always know who I have left to buy for. To download your free copy just click this LINK.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holiday Chocolate Peppermint Bark


Yesterday I took some time off of the computer to spend with my two boys. After the horrible tragedy that occurred in Connecticut I decided that I needed to reevaluate the how I used my extra time with my children. 

That night as they were taking a bath, I realized that my floor was completely flooded and seeping into the hallway. Before I opened my mouth, I thought, Melissa, your children are at home, safe, laughing and flooding the bathroom. You are so lucky that you have your children at home with you tonight. So I cleaned that floor with a smile on my face as they were laughing and jumping on the beds in their bedroom.

When we woke up that morning, I decided that we were going to have a day all about them. Whatever they wanted to do we did. It was cool and drizzly outside but they wanted to go walk on the beach. That night was freezing but instead of sitting inside they wanted to get hot chocolate, drive and look at the Christmas lights and then go and walk through the streets at the beach which are decorated with such splendor. 

Of course, like any children, they wanted something sweet to eat. So I propped both of them on the kitchen counters and we had the best time making Cream Cheese Blueberry muffins and one of our favorites...Chocolate Peppermint Bark. Who could resist the creamy chocolate, infused with peppermint and finished off with a snowfall of crushed candy canes. Not only is this a breeze to make, your kids can help too! So grab their little hands, throw some flour at each other and have some fun cooking tonight. 

Ingredients


8oz of semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces

8oz of white chocolate, broken into pieces

2 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp of peppermint extract, or to taste

8 crushed full-sized candy canes


Directions


  1. Lightly grease a 9x9 inch pan and line with waxed paper
  2. Place the semisweet chocolate and 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the peppermint extract. 
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the prepared pan, and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until completely hardened, about 1 hour.
  4. Place the white chocolate and the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in the top of a double boiler over just barely simmering water, stirring frequently and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid scorching. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour the white chocolate directly over the semisweet chocolate layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle with the crushed candy over the top and gently press in. Refrigerate until completely hardened. Remove from pan; break into small pieces to serve.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wine Bottle Lights

I am sure just like every other mom out there, I enjoy a nice glass of wine every once in a while. I have been lucky enough to live in three places where there has always been a winery close by. During the fall, on the few weekends my husband and I have alone, we love to bundle up and go explore the wineries, enjoy the wine tasting and usually try to find a quaint little cafe for lunch.

Some of the bottles the wine is bottled in are so beautiful I just have to save them. This is where my little addiction to corks and wine bottles started. Then I realized my few bottles turned into a little collection of bottles gathered on top of my refrigerator collecting dust. I knew there had to be something I could do with them.


Of course I made these for the Holiday Season, but get creative. Keep them out all year long with just the plain bottles and lights, make them match your home decor or decorate them for each season/holiday. You could even give them as gifts!


Before you start, make sure to connect the ends of the lights. This just helps keep your strand organized as you are jamming them into the bottle.


And it begins. I promise you are going to feel that there is no way that the whole strand of lights will fit inside, they will! Once I got about half of the strand in, I grabbed a handy bamboo skewer to help push the lights to the bottom of the bottle. Keep it with you! You might need it to help persuade the little buggers to squash in there.



See...I told you. This took me about 10 minutes to get them all in there. Now do not worry about the plugs, we are going to do something with them!

Now add your ribbon and decor. You can tuck the end of the plug that you will not be using into the back of the bow.


And you are finished. I left out each side of the plugs because I am going to attach them to other bottles that I have.


Ok, so I decided to add it to my desk, it needed some holiday cheer! I would love to see where you end up putting yours.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Scrub

Don't you love using those expensive body scrubs every now and then but hate paying a small fortune for them? Here is a recipe that I have found that will give you the same luxurious results but for a lot less. You can make a large jar for yourself or give them as gifts.


You will need:

1 cup of brown sugar
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of honey

If you are going to give them as gifts, try to find some cute glass jars to put the scrub in. If I am making this for myself, I always keep small glass jars on hand that some of my favorite sauces come in, like a pesto jar.

In a bowl, add all 3 ingredients and combine them together. Make it pretty with some ribbon and a label to give away or go indulge in it yourself!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix


If you are ever in a jam and do not have anything on hand to give as a hostess gift, or if you want to make something homemade to share with your neighbors or children's teachers, this is for you. Hot chocolate is one of those things people do not realize how easy it is to make. Not only can you make each cup unique, you can make a large batch of dry hot chocolate mix to keep in an air tight container in your pantry.

Not only does it keep long, I am sure most of the ingredients that you need you actually have in your pantry right now. See, there is never a good reason to buy the packaged stuff again.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 candy canes
  • marshmallows

Directions

Now there is 2 ways you can do this. 
First:
1.In a coffee grinder, grind the candy canes into a fine dust.
2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly. Seal the hot chocolate in an airtight container and it will keep indefinitely in your pantry. 

Secondly, to make it a little more elegant to give as a gift, try this method.
1. Place each ingredient into a separate bowl.
2. Pull out 2 containers of your choice.
3. Layer half the ingredients into one jar and the other half of the ingredients into the other jar. 
4. Top with marshmallows, and tag and a bow

To make a cup of Hot Chocolate:
Put 2 heaping tablespoons into a cup of hot water or milk. Stir and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peppermint Eggnog Shake


I could never deny my love affair with anything peppermint flavored, but during the cold months of winter, I let my peppermint flag fly high. Literally. Peppermint coffee, ice cream, coffee creamer...I could keep going. To mark the beginning of winter, I decided to start the holiday season off by creating a peppermint eggnog milkshake that will be a perfect addition to your holiday recipes.

Ingredients
  • Peppermint ice cream
  • Candy canes
  • Eggnog
  • Sugar water

In a mixer, blend together 2 parts peppermint ice cream to one part eggnog. Using a coffee bean grinder, crush up your candy canes as fine as you would like. Rim the glasses with with crushed peppermint by dabbing them with the sugar water and dipping them into the crushed candy canes. Fill your glasses with the milkshake and add a candy cane to it for some flair.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Red Velvet Whoopie Cookies

One of my most favorite cupcakes has to be red velvet. Something about that chocolaty cake with the bright red color just makes my taste buds want to dance. Now, I like to make my red velvet mix from scratch. There is something about from scratch baking, no matter if its something as simple as frosting, that always taste better when you do it yourself. 

With that said, I know that there are times when you don't have time to run around and whip up a batter so I am going to show you how easy it is to substitute it with box mix. That is where the substituting will stop. The frosting is so easy and comes out so creamy that you will not believe that you actually love to eat can frosting with a spoon. I know, I know. I have been there before. Those lonely days when nothing but your favorite pint of ice cream, frosting, peanut butter, the biggest spoon in the drawer and stretchy pants are the only things that can make you happy. But when it comes to actually making frosting for a cake or cookies, I promise, this is the way to go.






Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Then beat in the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring. Once combined, add the dry ingredients to wet. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Onto a parchment lined tray, drop batter using a small ice cream scoop, forming 2-inch round circles. The ice cream scoop will allow all the cookies to be the same size.
Bake for 10 minutes, until baked through. Cookies should be cake-like and light. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then put the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar slowly on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Spread the cream cheese frosting between 2 cooled cookies....ENJOY!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Hot Chocolate: The Adult Way

So I have been on the hot chocolate kick for the last couple weeks. Unfortunately I enjoyed my last cup a few days ago before our weather decided to jump into the 70's. Mother nature does know that it is December...and Christmas time right?!

There are those few moments, once the kids are quiet and sleeping in their beds, when most moms like to enjoy a little alone time. Sometimes those quiet mommy moments are accompanied with a nice glass of wine to finish the day. But on those cold nights when you are all snug on the couch, catching up on your favorite shows, you can find SOA filling my DVR, wine just doesn't cut it.

Out comes one of my favorite warm adult drinks, that goes perfect with those chilly late nights, Nutella hot chocolate with Baileys. Yes, Irish Cream....the quintessentially additive to that warm cup of coffee, blends wonderfully with the Nutella hot chocolate.

Not only is it simple but it will warm you up from the inside out.



You will need

1 cup on whole milk
2 tbsp of Nutella
a few splashes of Baileys
marshmallows

1.Pour the milk into a saucepan and begin heating the milk until its starts to slightly bubble around the edges.
2.Pour the milk into a glass
3.Stir, stir, stir in the Nutella until it has dissolved into the milk
4.Add as much or as little Baileys as you would like
5.Now float some yummy marshmallows on top and enjoy your yummy hot chocolate.

Remember not to add the Baileys to the pan. The heat will make the alcohol evaporate!

Now if you want to get a little fancy you can make some Baileys chocolate drizzle. Again, super easy!

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
a dash of half and half
2 tsp of Baileys

1. Using a double boiler, put the chocolate into the top pan and let the chocolate start to melt.
2. Add in a dash of half and half to the chocolate.
3. Once half of the chocolate is melted, pull the chocolate off the heat and keep stirring until the chocolate is completely melted.
4. Stir in the Baileys and VOILA! Your sauce is done. Now drizzle as much as you want over the hot chocolate.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nutella Hot Chocolate



As the crisp autumn air leads to frigid winter days, hot chocolate slowly begins to replace my daily cup of coffee. Coffee is a true and loyal friend to me. Without it, I do not think I could survive a day in mommyhood!

I can remember the days where I would stock up on the boxes of hot chocolate packages and would try to make them last as long as I could. Then I grew up and the taste buds began to mature....there had to be something better than store bought packages of hot chocolate.

I have already shown you how to make hot chocolate with peanut butter..but this my friends, has to be my favorite ingredient to use in making hot chocolate Nutella. If you have never tried Nutella, then you have been missing out. The creamy chocolaty and hazelnut combination is to die for. I am sure that if you are a Nutella veteran or a novice, you are going to love this recipe.


Here is what you will need to make heaven in a mug

*1 cup of whole milk....you can use whatever you prefer
*2 tbsp of Nutella


1. Put the milk into a saucepan and heat it up until it starts to lightly bubble.
2. Pour the milk into a glass.
3. Stir in the Nutella and let it melt away.

Now sit down and relax and enjoy your yummy cup of hot chocolate!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coffee Filter Wreath




If you have spent any time searching Pinterest-land, I am sure you have ran across many different ways to use coffee filters. 

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the chill in the air, the aroma of peppermint in the local coffee shops and of course the decorations. Now I am a little OCD when it comes to my Christmas decorations. I love white. And that is it, white. My tree is decorated in the chaotic eclectic style, beautifully adorned by my lovely children, but the rest of my house is decorated in a white and silver color palette.

So when it came to wreaths, I had to find something different from the pine or fraiser wreaths available during Christmastime. I found a picture of the coffee filter wreath and said to myself, "Hey, I could totally do that." 

So far, my wreath has been hanging in my house all year round. It has a space on my kitchen door and I decorate it for every season. I promise you will love it and you will not ever be able to put it away.

Here is what you are going to need:

a glue gun
glue sticks for your glue gun
a large pack of coffee filters, I choose the white ones
any kind of wreath form, I got mine at the dollar tree!
a ribbon or any decorations of your choice

Step 1: Separate coffee filters and lay them out flat. Now fold each filter in half, then in half again (so they’re folded in quarters). 

Step 2: Hot-glue a layer of filters to the outside of the wreath, separating each filter by about half an inch and fluffing them out as necessary. 

Step 3: Glue a second layer of filters, third layer, fourth layer, as many as you will need to cover your form.






Step 4: Fluff, Fluff, Fluff. If you see any empty patches, feel free to glue in some random filters. 

Step 5: Add embellishments to the wreath. Make it your own!







Sunday, November 25, 2012

DIY No Sew Ruffled Tree Skirt

Decorations courtesy of my 2 year old!
As I was doing my daily Pinterest searching, I came across the most beautiful Christmas Tree skirt. Of course after following the links to the actual skirt, it was around $150. Really?! Now I love Christmas and will buy almost anything, but I could not find it in myself to spend that much money on a tree skirt. 

So then I took to Google, my second love. I came across a project for a very similar skirt through HGTV. Sold! I piled my clan into the minivan with promises of ice-cream if they could behave while mommy looked around Hobby Lobby. For under $20, that is right 20 bucks, I made a feminine and elegant ruffled linen tree skirt. Come on, with 2 boys and a husband, this lady right here will do anything for a feminine touch. Granted, when I was done with it, my boys turned it into a race car track, sigh!

                                                         




Here is what you will need:

4 1/2 x 4 1/2 piece of canvas 
measuring tape
5 yards of cream linen
sharp scissors
hot glue gun and glue stick



Buying a painters drop cloth is the cheapest way to get such a large piece of canvas. Mine was $7 at Walmart. You just have to cut it to size.


Using a tape measure, measure, mark and cut a piece of canvas 4 1/2' x 4 1/2'.


Fold the square into quarters, then over itself to form a triangle with the folded center at point.


Cut base in a quarter circle


Cut a small quarter circle out of the point


Open the skirt until it's folded in half and cut along the radius on one side of the center hole only. This will provide a hole for the tree trunk and a slit in the fabric so the skirt can be placed under the tree.

MEASURE and CUT the linen


Using sharp scissors, cut linen fabric lengthwise into 2-inch-wide strips.


CREATE the ruffles



Preheat hot glue gun. Apply a line of hot glue approximately 1 1/2 inches from outside edge of skirt. Create ruffles by pinching linen with fingers and pushing gathers down onto hot glue. Work in small sections, no more than about 12 inches at a time. Continue this process around the entire skirt edge. Start the next row approximately 1 1/2 inches above the previous row. Continue adding rows until entire canvas base is covered.




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

As the weather begins to get colder, it just seems like the perfect time to pull out the hot chocolate. Sitting snuggled up on the couch, with a warm blanket, my DVR list and cup of hot chocolate is how I like to spend the cold nights, especially when my husband is out of town for work.

Normally I stock up on boxes of hot chocolate for my Keurig but regular hot chocolate can get very monotonous. As I was standing over my Keurig watching my hot chocolate brew one night I thought...what could I do to take this to the next level? Switching out water for milk, well that was the obvious thought. Then I started to think, I began rummaging through my pantry and spotted the peanut butter. I mean who doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate together. Then the Halloween candy caught my eye, Reese's cups!

This is how my little obsession started ♥

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk
2-3 tbsp Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix (you can use your favorite mix)
1/2 tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter
2 drops of pure vanilla extract
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
Whipped Cream
A Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

(This recipe will make 1 cup, so if you want to make more just double the recipe)


Add the milk to the pan and let it simmer.
Add the vanilla and chocolate to the milk.
Stir until the chocolate is incorporated.
Add your peanut butter and whisk until it is incorporated into the hot chocolate..yum!


Pour into a glass.
Add some whipped cream and pieces of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup
ENJOY!







Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Brownies

Everything taste better covered in chocolate. Chocolate is my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time. It definitely is not safe around me. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate any chocolate will do. There are times where nothing will crave my sweet tooth other than something smothered in chocolate. I can roam through the refrigerator looking for something semi-healthy to curve that craving, but I eventually cave and turn to my favorite chocolate dessert recipe. 

Brownies. But these are not just your ordinary brownies. During the holidays I do like to add pumpkin into them. Pumpkin is one of those items that when I see it in the grocery store for the first time mid-September-ish, I stock up. I hate that it is a seasonal item at most stores, because I could use it all year round, just like Eggnog. Oh do not get me started on my eggnog addiction. 

Not only is pumpkin healthy, I love the slight spiciness and soft sweetness it gives ordinary food. I hope you give this a try and do not blame me if it becomes a staple in your house!


Pumpkin Brownies


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3  cups of semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease a 9x13 pan and dust with cocoa powder. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before you cut them.