Tag: Christmas tree

O Christmas Tree! School Lunches

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O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How lovely are thy branches

If you celebrate, has your tree been up for a while, or do you wait? Do you have multi-colored lights, or all white? Do you have a real tree, or fake? Classic ornaments or hodgepodge? Me: been up for a while, I switch back and forth between the multi-colored and the while, all the while wishing the tree designers gave me the option for having both on at the same time, fake tree, and hodgepodge. And between you and me, I love seeing everyone’s trees through their front windows, in a non-creepy way, of course. I just LOVE that everyone has their own tree style. If you feel so inclined (and I hope you do!!), tell me about your tree in the comments! I’d love to hear about it!

For my boys’ lunches tomorrow, I made a Christmas tree shaped sandwich. I went hog wild with my colors (food safe spray and markers). I used a flower shaped sprinkle for the star. I also packed veggie crackers, a cheese stick, mandarin orange (Bigs), yogurt raisins (Smalls), red grapes, Kinder chocolate, and some red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds (Bigs) for dessert.

Happy Christmas!

Kristin

Christmas Sugar Cookies (and decorating with my boys!)

I made sugar cookies with my boys yesterday. They’re finally at the age where they can do it “properly” and enjoy it. Did I say “they”? I meant that my four and a half year old can do that. My two year old ate every sprinkle that crossed his path. And that was a lot of sprinkles. Enough to dye his mouth green for the duration of the day.

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I only needed about 30 cookies for my church group ladies and this recipe made more than that. I gave each boy their own little sheet of dough, pan, and apron, and set up the cookie cutters and sprinkles.

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Bigs sort of had an accident with the green sugar. Instead of opening the sprinkle cap, he unscrewed and dumped. Oops.

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I think he’d call this a “happy” accident. It all worked out. They had so much fun and their little cookies were so cute.

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They enjoyed eating them with big glasses of (coconut) milk.

While their cookies were baking, I got to work on mine.

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I wanted to do simple cookies this year. I used a star, Christmas tree, and sleigh cutters, and made thumbprints.

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I decorated them using my gold and silver sugars…

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…green sugars, and Christmas colored nonpareils.

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I have no idea what this thumbprint cookie is all about. I just went with it. If you squint, it could be a wreath-like thing.

Whatever, it’s a cookie.

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I love the way they came out! And, as equally important, they were delicious! I think my church gals will really enjoy them.

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These cookies are sturdy, but not overly-crunchy, and filled with vanilla and almond flavors. I added vanilla bean paste to amp up the vanilla flavor. I love seeing black speckles of vanilla beans in desserts.

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To me, they taste of Christmas!

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies

Adapted from: Perfect Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs, lovegrowswild.com

  • 1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ t vanilla extract
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  • ½ t almond extract
  • 3 C of flour
  • 1½ t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • colored sugars and nonpareils
  • cookie icing, if desired
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and vanilla bean paste and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
  3. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet. I prepared my baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle with colored sugars and nonpareils and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 40-50 cookies, depending on your cutter size.

Enjoy!

Kristin

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…cake!

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So, I told you I made cake. Remember that? I’m sure you do. I mean, if you told me that you made a cake, I would not forget. Cake isn’t a flippant thought in my mind. Anywhoooo…

Isn’t this a sight to behold? A thing of beauty? A real looker? I used one of my two go-to chocolate cake recipes, this one being the one-bowl selection. To decorate, I chopped up those magical Ferrero Rocher candies (I used a pack of twelve, four each of three flavors, for this 9×13 sized cake). I distributed those around the edge of this beast and sprinkled some Christmas nonpareils on top.

wpid-20141209_134643.jpgSure, my butter wasn’t fully softened and left little chunks in the frosting. Can’t win them all. But hey, when were chunks of rich, creamy butter a bad thing, in a rich, creamy chocolate frosting? Maybe you CAN win them all.

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This cake is incredibly moist and the frosting equally smooth. It’s a winning combo, especially with the addition of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I realize this sounds like a sponsored ad, but it isn’t. Although, Ferrero Rocher, if you’re listening, I’m up for sponsorship. #pleasesponsorme #anyone #anyone? My Bible study ladies seemed to really enjoy it. I know I did!

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I mean, lookee.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2013/06/one-bowl-chocolate-cake-made-from-scratch.html

And the frosting recipe:

http://myrecipemagic.com/recipe/recipedetail/moms-chocolate-frosting-the-best-frosting-recipe

I also made lunches for my boys (obvi).

For my Bigs:

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It’s a wreath-shaped PB&J and a teeny little gingerbread-shaped PB&J. I also packed colby jack cheese, a few pretzels, half a mandarin orange, a few apple slices, and some of that freaking good cake. I promised my Bigs that I’d try to save him a piece. He’ll be so happy to have it. I also sprinkled on a few red, green, and white chocolate covered sunflower seeds just because. Unfortunately, he got sick in the middle of the night, so he’ll be enjoying this from home today. (if you think of it, say a little prayer for his recovery? he’s got a Christmas performance at school tomorrow that I know he’d really be sad to miss being a part of – thank you!)

And for my Smalls:

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For him, I packed a PB&J in the shaped of a little tree and a little gingerbread boy (which I’ve ruined with a big ol’ face, but he won’t notice), colby jack cheese, apple slices, half a mandarin orange, honey-roasted peanuts, and a few of the chocolate covered sunflower seeds for his little dessert.

Many blessings to you!

Kristin

Candy & Gingerbread & Sprinkles, oh my!

Sounds like the stuff my dreams are made of!

I’m not even remotely kidding.

This has been such a sweet week – literally! I made some candy yesterday and baked a cake today, all of which I’ll be sharing with you. And I’ve made some really sweet lunches for my Bigs.

In appreciation of my sons’ school’s staff (most of whom have become lovely friends to me), I made candy. Crack Candy, to be specific. Have you tried this stuff?! It’s SO good, that it’s addictive, like, you know, crack. Eeeek. It could also refer to the ingredients, which include crackers. That seems like a safer name. Anyways, I Christmas-ized this Crack Candy.

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I mean, really. Crunchy, crispy, salty crackers, enrobed in a homemade caramel sauce, baked until it’s soaked all the way through, and then covered in bittersweet chocolate. I can’t even. I mean, I can. But I resisted. Not that I wanted to. But I did. These are SO easy to make and they make such an impact. At least I hope they do. I doubled the recipe and added Christmas colored sprinkles.

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Christmas Crack CandyCooking spray
35 to 40 saltine crackers, or however many cover the bottom of your sheet pan evenly
1 C butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
About 2 C bittersweet chocolate chips

1 t vanilla, optional
Sprinkles, optional (for me, it’s not optional!)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line 1 large sheet pans with aluminum foil and liberally spray with nonstick spray. Place the Saltines in a single layer on the pan. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat. This is when you would add your vanilla.
Pour over your Saltines and place the pan(s) in the oven for 3-5 minutes. The caramel will be bubbling. Remove from the oven and pour on your chocolate chips. I placed it back into the oven for a few minutes to fully melt the chips, but you can just wait. Use a knife (or an offset spatula) to spread the chocolate. Add sprinkles, if desired.
Let the chocolate set up. You can place these pans in the freezer or fridge to expedite the process. Once fully cooled, break up the pieces. Store in an airtight container.
These make excellent gifts!
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I also made a sweet little lunch for my Bigs – gingerbread themed! Sadly, I didn’t have any actual gingerbread for him to eat. A true crime!
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Despite this little gingerbread man’s HUGE face, I think he turned out alright. Bigs won’t notice his wonkiness. It is peanut butter and Jif chocolate s’mores peanut butter (that’s how my family rolls – peanut butter on peanut butter sandwiches!) and I used my gold food-safe spray and Food Writers to add details. I did the same to make two little Christmas trees. I also packed pretzels, raisins, dried dates, apple slices, mandarin orange slices, and yogurt for dessert. I added a teeny bit of the homemade chocolate frosting (recipe upcoming), from the cake I made today, to the yogurt for some lovely cocoa flavor and added some gingerbread and holly berry sprinkles.
Blessings!
Kristin

Ohhh Christmas Tree…

Vintage Pink Christmas

Ohhh Christmas tree, ohhh Christmas treeeee, how lovely are your branches?

Good morning and Happy Tuesday! Do you have your Christmas tree up yet?

Tree

I love seeing peoples’ Christmas trees. When we go on a walk, I love seeing the twinkling lights through the windows of the homes. Is that creepy?

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And I love that everyone’s Christmas tree is different. Some have only white lights, some have only colored lights. Some go with the red and gold theme. Some go with the gold and silver theme.

Beautiful Lit Tree

Mine’s a bit of a mish-mash. We have “vintage colored” lights and ornaments from all over – my childhood, places we’ve traveled, gifts. We also have silver tinsel all over it. The boys pick it off all the time, but it adds such an old-timey look to it.  I love it. I love the vintage tree look. I love tinsel trees. I love Christmas trees.

Today is a Christmas Tree themed preschool lunch for my sweet boy!

Christmas Tree Themed Preschool Lunch

I made three different Christmas tree shaped PB&J sandwiches and decorated them with my Food Writers and a few sprinkles. Bigs also has a clementine, which I arranged like a tree and put tree sprinkles on. He has unsweetened applesauce with different tree sprinkles, and lastly, for dessert, he has some red and green sprinkled Goldfish brand cookies and some dried cranberries. I hope he loves it as much as I loved making it!

And Duncan, our elf, came once again (you’ll be seeing this 21 more times HA!)! Silly guy was found in my china cabinet riding a reindeer.

Elf on a Shelf Day 3

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Think you’ll have “Partridge in a Pear Tree” in your head now? I do. I can’t ever seem to remember the whole song.

Have a sparkly, lovely day,

Kristin