Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Hour: Hazelnut Coffee Hot Toddy

It took me a while to get used to hot alcoholic drinks, but I'm coming around. 

I've always really liked hot tea, coffee, hot chocolate and chai, but as soon as you add liquor, I just lose interest.  I know, it doesn't make any sense.
Also, I don't like hazelnut flavored anything.  Yes, that means no Nutella.  So it really doesn't make any sense that I liked this drink.  It's hot, alcoholic and hazelnut flavored.  It defies all logic, because well, it was delicious.  
That being said, one drink will be plenty.  It's petty sweet, so it's more of an aprés ski type of beverage than a drink-a-pitcher cocktail (but who drinks a pitcher of hot toddies anyway?).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

13 Holiday Sides, Appetizers, Desserts and Cocktails

I really don't like when people call Thanksgiving 'Turkey Day.'

Part of this is because I think we should just remember that we're supposed to be thankful tomorrow (and every day), but more importantly, it's really not about the turkey. 

It's about the pie.  And the sides.  And the cocktails.

If you're at a loss for what to bring to your in-laws' tomorrow...well, you're quite the procrastinator, but I applaud you for taking the 'it-will-all-work-out' mentality to heart!  Here are some last-minute sides, appetizer, cocktail and dessert ideas for you.*

And remember to have a happy Thanksgiving!

*Click on the pictures for the recipes.

1. Chestnut Mashed Potatoes
2. Sweet Potatoes au Gratin
3. Confetti Quinoa
4. Artichoke w/Lemon Rosemary Butter Sauce
5. Jalapeño Popper Dip
6. Baked Brie
7. Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip
8. Apple Cider Moscow Mule
9. Cranberry Margaritas
10. Eggnog
11. Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

12. Cranberry Pecan Pie
13. Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Friday, November 21, 2014

Spiced White Hot Chocolate

When my sisters and I were little, we spent a lot of time outside in the winter ice skating, building snowmen and sledding (or at least that's how I remember it).

It was the best.
We would play so hard that we'd get all sweaty in our snowsuits and enjoy every drop of it.  I remember coming in from the cold, wet and smelling gross.

I also remember my dad making us hot chocolate, but not the powdered stuff from the packets.  The good stuff! From the stove!
Made with real milk and Hershey's syrup.  We'd load it up with as many marshmallows as we could fit in our snowmen mugs and slurp it down.  After that, I assume we went back outside but again my memories are famously inaccurate - I get made fun of for it.  A lot.  (Apparently, I said that I remembered my own birth at one point...hey, maybe I did!)

Anyway, this spiced white hot chocolate is also 'the good stuff.'  Also from the stove.  This stuff has white chocolate instead of Hershey's syrup and some seasonal spices to get you pumped for winter and snow!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad

I'm not the type of person to get super pumped about a salad.  That's not to say I don't like them, I just don't usually love them the way some people do.
What it really comes down to is that I like carbs.  The heavy, dense, complex ones.

Quite frankly, a meal just doesn't feel complete without at least 1 potato.  So a salad with a potato in it seemed like a pretty good compromise to me.

Add in some quinoa and you're practically a health food guru.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy Hour: Peppered Ginger Hot Toddy

Baby, it's cold outside.

Yes, I'm in the Christmas spirit a little early, but also, it just really is cold outside.  Snow-producing cold.  Freeze the hairs in your nose cold.  Take your breath away cold.
The type of cold that makes you want to stay inside and curl up with a blanket and binge watch a Netflix series.

Really it's just a matter of getting acclimated though.  These 30 degree days will practically feel warm in February.  I'll start looking at the forecast and thinking, 'we should go snowshoeing or just sit outside and enjoy the sun!'

But for now, I'm still a wimp and I'm cold and I need a hot toddy.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

It's no secret that I love peanut butter and chocolate together, because duh.  Who doesn't?

So you'd think that Reese's Cups would be my favorite, and I know it's inexplicable, but they're not.  Maybe at one point in time they were, but for some reason, they've fallen out of my favor.
I know what you're thinking - who could possibly care what candy some random blogger likes or doesn't like.  I don't really have a good answer for you to be completely honest.

However! If you are in the same boat as me and you've found that you've eaten around all of the Reese's Cups in your bag of leftover Halloween candy, then this recipe is for you.
It's peanut buttery and chocolatey and cream cheesy with a cookie/graham cracker crust and a swirl to boot.  Seriously, I don't know what more you could ask for from a cheesecake or any dessert for that matter.

If you ate all of your Reese's Cups already, then you could throw some cut up Snickers on top or if you're just not having the whole thing, these cookies with candy bars all wrapped up inside of them are what you're probably searching for to use up that leftover candy.  Just a hunch.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DIY: Simple Cloth Napkins

Here's something I learned from getting married: people will ask you the same things over and over again.

Mostly they ask you if you're ready/excited.  They want to know how you met/got engaged and then they want to know what 'your' colors are.

We didn't have colors at our wedding.  By that, I mean, we had all colors.  In retrospect, it probably would have been easier if we had a more tangible theme with colors, but I like all colors (except blue, obviously).
I didn't want to limit myself to just 2 colors out of the whole palette.

So, my mom and I went to the fabric stores and found 3 different patterns to make napkins with.  These became the color for the whole thing.

I loved how it all turned out and it made it so we could be a lot more minimalistic with the rest of the decorations and flowers.

These DIY cloth napkins were so easy and they'd be perfect to spruce up your holiday table this year or you could wrap up some cooking utensils in homemade napkins for a Christmas gift.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

365: Week 45

November 3 | This was right when I got home from work.  Sometimes I hate Daylight Savings Time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Whole Roasted Chicken

I've yet to host a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  I usually make a pie or two but other than that, I pretty much just show up.
After making this chicken though, I am ready!  (Assuming that cooking chicken is the exact same as cooking turkey.)

Normally, I don't even like to cook meat that much.  It's not because I don't like to eat meat, but I don't like to clean it.  Poultry in particular.  I'm going to be upfront with you.  This recipe involves touching the chicken.  A lot.
That being said, it's totally worth it.  Really just the delicious smells coming from your oven make it worth it.  The perfectly cooked, super moist, crispy skinned dinner is a great bonus.

Seriously, if turkey is this easy, be prepared for the best Thanksgiving ever at my house!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Now that Halloween is behind us, we can officially move into the 'real' holidays.  The holidays that are centered around food.

Maybe it's because we're living back in Utah again this year, or maybe it's because it snowed yesterday, but whatever the reason, I'm really excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year!
The past few years, it's been a little bit lackluster to be totally honest.

There's all the travel and the shopping and the decorating but there was no time to just sit and enjoy it.  Our time at home with family was so limited that it felt rushed and I spent the whole time thinking about when I'd have to head back to work.

This year, it's different.  This year, I'm excited again.  I've already started listening to Christmas music and I plan on fully indulging in every seasonal baked good there is!  Let's start with pumpkin pie, eh?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Blogging tips