I have been crazy busy the last couple days with holiday and Christmas fun so I figured I would give you a quick recap of the Christmas I had. It was such a joy to spend so much time with those I love so dearly and I feel so blessed this Christmas. I tried to cling to every moment that passed because thinking back of everything that happened this past year, it truly is scary how fast someone can be taken from you.
Here’s a glimpse of my last few days…
The dog was pretty much the star of the show since neither family has kids in it…yet!
It was such an incredible Christmas! Hope you all had a great holiday season with your friends and family too!
If this isn’t enough pictures for you, tomorrow will be pictures from the ugly Christmas sweater party that we attended earlier this month (how did I forget to post these?!?!).
Monday and Tuesday I went on a baking streak. I spent the entire day buying ingredients that I will probably use only once ever (crushed cloves??), test driving my hand mixer whisk style, dropping snippets of dough and large chunks of peppermints (thank you Jack for cleaning that mess up), and frosting the walls, stove top, and every counter space we have with melted chocolate.
I am not a graceful baker. In fact, I don’t know if I even like baking. I’m slowly learning that it’s not my forte. I’d rather chop a bunch of vegetables, sautee garlic, roll wrappings around egg roll ingredients. That’s okay though. I’m pretty sure I had the same reaction last year when I was getting frustrated make these guys but I still kept going. And I’m already accumulating sweet treat recipes for next year. Guess I like it enough to keep trying!
I’ll start with my favorite Christmas treat of them all (and yes, I will post the rest of the recipes in the next couple days). These little balls of deliciousness really do melt in your mouth. I’ve never really been a huge fan of red velvet cake (or cake in general…gasp!!! I know…) but these changed my mind real quick.
They weren’t really hard to make either which was kind of nice but I did have one challenge. I melted the chocolate and dipped the balls into the chocolate which wasn’t pretty because they kept crumbling but not the end of the world. Then I ran out of milk chocolate and I still had another tray of cake balls to dip so I figured That’s okay, I’ll just melt the white chocolate that I have and dip the balls in those and put pretty sprinkles on top. The cake ball gods had other plans. Note to self if you make these: white chocolate is not melting friendly. I melted it and stirred it around half way through and it was hard on the bottom. So I kept melting. The longer I melted it the stiffer the chocolate got. It’s like it melted and then hardened almost instantly. So I took it out quick and drizzled some over the milk chocolate balls and then started dipping the leftover cake balls.
You want to talk about frustrating. I got through about half of them and had had it. The rest of them ended up looking a little something like this…
Yeah, you laugh. Whatever. Post a picture after you’re done dipping them in white chocolate so I can laugh at you!
Minus the terribly hideous white on red cake balls, they turned out pretty mouth watering. Add some festive sprinkles and you have a delicious dessert on your hands.
Also if anyone has any tips on melting white chocolate, it would be MUCH appreciated. Since…you know…I suck at it.
Red Velvet Cake Balls (adapted from Iowa Girl Eats)
Makes between 40-50
1 box red velvet cake mix (plus ingredients required on back of box)
16oz Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
6oz Baker’s White Chocolate
For the cream cheese frosting (could use store-bought):
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
4oz 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1. Bake red velvet cake according to package directions. Let cool completely then crumble into a very large bowl.
2. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.
3. Add vanilla then beat until combined. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, then beat until combined.
4. Incorporate half the cream cheese frosting into the cake crumbles, then add more frosting until the cake crumbles just come together.
5. Scoop by the Tablespoon then roll into balls and place on a wax-paper lined baking sheet.
6. Repeat with remaining cake then refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
7. Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring between increments, until smooth.
8. Dip cake balls in chocolate using two forks, then place back on wax paper.
9. Melt white chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring between increments, then use a spoon to drizzle over cake balls.
10. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles, if desired, then refrigerate until chocolate is hardened. Keep refridgerated for best results until your ready to eat.
You know those days when the snow is falling outside your window and there is frost around the edges…you’re sipping hot cocoa out of a coffee cup that has elves dancing around it and the only light in the room is from the Christmas tree. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Those make the very best days to curl up under the softest blanket you can find and pop in one of these Christmas movies. It’s bound to make your heart smile and to be thanking the bright stars above for all the blessings God has given you this year. There are a ton of great Christmas movies out there but these definitely fall into my Top Ten.
2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
3. It’s A Wonderful Life
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
5. The Holiday
6. Arthur Christmas
7. Miracle on 34th St.
8. White Christmas
9. Jack Frost
10. The Polar Express
And because I couldn’t leave these out, here’s an extra six movies…just in case you finish the first ten before Christmas is here! I know I probably will!
1. Love Actually
2. Home Alone
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. The Family Man
5. A Christmas Story
6. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
I love the brown wrapping paper for Christmas gifts this year! I want to DIY all of my wrapping paper but I’ll be using store bought wrapping paper this year (again!) that is equally cute because I can’t say no to the little girls who come over with their fundraiser packets in October begging me to buy something from them. Hopefully I won’t fall into the same trap next year
even though I know I will. Here’s some crazy cute designs I would be using for the holidays if I was wrapping with brown paper.
Tis the season to gain 10 pounds (or more) with Christmas cookies everywhere in sight! Let me help you with that
as if you need help. These cookies I scouted out on the web and they are surely on my Christmas cookie list this season!
Can you tell I have a mild obsession with peppermint during the holidays? Hope you find something in here that you like!
Anyone who reads blogs knows the blog-o-sphere is swarming with gift giving guides. I’m not even going to try to compete with it. I figured if there are blogs way bigger than mine that are putting these together, I’m not going to try to compete because someone somewhere out there probably already used any or all of my ideas.
Instead I’ve grabbed some pages from the To & From, Magazine and put together a collection of multiple gift giving guides from all of my favorite bloggers out there. These women know what they’re talking about when it comes to putting a smile on a loved one’s face through a gift. Without further ado, here we go!
Christmas doesn’t officially start for me until I hear the music. Whether I hear it in the stores, on the radio, or push play on my own i-tunes playlist, it starts when I hear the “Joy to the World’s” and the “Fa La La La La’s”. That’s when it feels real, all the magic and joy of the holidays. But there is one certain song that really does it for me; really gives me the push to think I need to get going on buying Christmas presents, wrapping, making my white elephant gifts, decorating, etc. It goes a little something like this.
Doesn’t it just make your heart sing? I get all warm and fuzzy inside from it! But honestly, I love all the Christmas music. The old stuff, the new stuff, the stuff that I listened to when I was 12 and probably shouldn’t be listening to anymore but still do (think S-Club 7), all of it!
Here’s my playlist that has been on repeat since the Black Friday! Hopefully you guys will reap the benefits from this and be able to take a few songs away with you!
Did I miss any? What are your favorite songs during the holiday season?
…Because I failed to get to a computer on Sunday.
1. Donate to the Food Bank
2. Host a cookie exchange
3. Make your own holiday decor – wreaths, wall art, etc.
4. Start a tradition
5. Ice skate in Red Arrow Park
6. Go look at the lights on Candy Cane Lane
7. Go see a holiday concert
8. Take a horse and carriage ride downtown
9. Take your kids (or in my case, dog) to see Santa Clause at the mall
10. And of course, put up all your Christmas decorations