Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recipes from my besties



The holidays are filled with gatherings, and with gatherings come many homemade delicious treats. At a joint shower with my cousin early this fall, we both received recipe books filled with recipes from our family members. I continue to add to with new things made for parties, and now am adding five new recipes from five of my favorite people-my bridesmaids! I've asked them for their favorite thing they make this time of year and let them share their recipes with you! I'll share my friends for a moment…


Whitney's Cranberry Tea:

1 gallon water
3 cups sugar
6 regular tea bags (or 3 family size)
3 tsp whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
1 6oz cherry jello
1 quart cranberry juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 6oz orange juice (frozen)
1 quart apple juice (Instead of a quart of each apple and cranberry juices, I use a 2 quart Cranapple juice)

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat. Put in tea bags for 6 minutes. Remove bags and put in spices (I use a tied up coffee filter, but you can use a spice strainer) for 30 minutes.

Add jello and juices.

If you use a gallon jug of water and the 2 quart Cranapple, the entire amount should fit perfectly into those two containers and leave just enough leftover for one serving immediately. :)

My dad makes this every year when it gets cold and has been a tradition in both of our families…it's amazingly Christmas.

Julie's Reindeer Poop:

6 squares of white almond bark
2 cups of Kix cereal
2 cups of mini pretzels
1lb Peanut M&Ms


Melt almond bark on low heat stirring frequently. Once completely melted fold in pretzels and Peanut M&Ms. Add in Kix last. Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper to cool. Once hardened, remove. Enjoy and share with friends! 

Holly's Millionaire Shortbread Bars:
Shortbread:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 pan with butter. With a mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then add in flour and salt and beat until dough comes together. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool while you make the filling. 

Caramel Filling: 
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Pour the milk into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 60-90 minutes or until milk has thickened and turned a caramel color. Remove from heat and beat until smooth. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and leave to set. 

Chocolate Topping:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Melt the chocolate and butter either in the microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel and leave to set. 

You can either cut the shortbread into pieces using a sharp knife OR make the layers in mini cupcake liners to cut down on the mess and have adorable little servings. 

Kendra's Sausage Croissants: 
cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner roll
lb pork sausage
package (8 oz) cream cheese
cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)

Heat oven to 375°F. For crescent rolls: Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust. Cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently. To same skillet, add cream cheese. Cook over low heat until melted. Add cooked sausage; stir to coat. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Unroll second can of dough on work surface. Press to form the dish and place over cheese. Bake 21-26 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into small squares.

Alison's Wassail
cups pineapple juice
cups apple juice
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup brown sugar
cinnamon stick
tablespoon whole cloves
tablespoon whole allspice
Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot on the stove and simmer for as long as you like. Add the water only if it is too strong. You can also add a little orange juice and/or orange peels to infuse some orange oil in the drink. Serve with a cinamon stick for extra cuteness.






Sugared Cranberries & Pine Nut Butter



I know you are gearing up for holiday parties and time with family! If you need some recipes for the season (or life in general), my friends have you covered! For the next two days I'm posting friends' fabulous recipes of treats they love and are making this year. 
First up is dear friend, Fanciful Ink reader and fellow newly-wed Morgan Davidson! Look at that cute little card too! Wonder where she got it...;-)



Sugared Cranberries (pictured above)
Ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water

  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar*
  • Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring mixture until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer; remove from heat. Let the water cool down or the cranberries' skin will pop when you add them. Wait a couple minutes and then try a berry. If it sizzles and pops the water is still too hot. Once the water has cooled enough that the berries don't pop, stir in all the cranberries. Pour mixture into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  • Next day, drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl, reserving steeping liquid, if desired. Place superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, rolling to coat with sugar. Spread sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature 1 hour or until dry. The berries must dry. When they do the sugar will be crunchy. The berries will keep in an airtight container for about a week. 
  • Superfine sugar is more difficult to find but it cannot be substituted. What I did was put 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a food processor for 1 minute. This helped, but the sugar was a little clumpy and not quite fine enough.
  • Last step is find some cute jars and whatever color ribbons match your Fanciful Ink Christmas cards and Voila! These recipes are sooo fast and easy! and yummy!






Pine Nut Butter Recipe
Ingredients:
1 lb pine nuts
1 tbsp flavorless, colorless oil such as vegetable, peanut or canola (i even used corn oil)
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over low-medium heat until golden-medium brown (they will end up about the color of popcorn kernels before popping) and make sure to push them around with a spatula frequently. They toast quickly!(shortcuts to this are roasting them in the oven or toaster oven but the flavor is stronger when toasted)
Add the nuts, oil, and salt in a food processor and process until creamy. It's so easy! And it makes your house smell wonderful.

I got the recipe from cooking light. here's the link



Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas fashionista

Christmas Fun 3







After finishing the Gossip Girl series finale, I'm remembering just how well everything in that show was designed-the interiors, the invitations, the parties, the clothes. Of course the finale was no disappointment in that department, especially with Blair's amazing blue wedding gown and even Serena's over-the-top gold one. With the finale watched, I can move on to more festive things, like Rudolph and Christmas in Connecticut that I have not seen yet this year. Christmas is upon us, only a week away until Christmas Eve! I personally have two parties to attend, four family dinners/brunches and a lot of quality time ahead of me this week and next. So I'm planning ahead with everything I have to make and do-so I thought I might make it a little easier for some quick fashionista suggestions for your upcoming parties and dinners and festive fun!
Above: With all the hustle and bustle, you'll be out grabbing groceries, meeting with friends, and simply running about. A stylish coat, dark pants and comfy boots will keep you warm and effortless. Of course, there are the cherished moments by trees, fires and crowded on the couch. Cozy can still be the cutest.




Christmas Fun 1




Classic black with a glint of gold is perfect for those holiday parties with friends. Find a fun top, black winter shorts and pair with booties and patterned tights. Christmas Eve is cozy and classy with a buffalo check in red and black with a green sweater and awesome boots.




Christmas Fun 2






If you're attending church for Christmas Day, a classic plaid and black is beautiful in a flattering silhouette. For a more casual look to join with family, a neutral sweater dress can be jazzed up with Christmas-y tights and pops of red. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Snapshots of Festivity


Well, I accomplished another year of being alive last week. Birthday celebrations with friends and family took me to historic downtown Franklin, TN for dinner at the wonderful Red Pony with my new in-laws, hubby, and two amazing girlfriends. Then, it was home to west Tennessee for dinner with my bestie and family. Like our aprons below? Julie got the short end of the stick with the frilly one :-)
I've also included a look inside my home for some festive decor-this year it's silver, gold, teal and red!




Me, Julie & my mom sporting some Christmas aprons. 


My birthday cake! Red velvet...with lost of candles...


Triple decker cupcakes!


Welcome to our home for Christmas. 




We have a tiny front stoop so we made the best of it...next year we have better plans. 


The mantle is my favorite!


Those jingle bells sound like Santa is just around the corner! Our first Snow Village piece sits glowing for guests at the front door. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Techy Tis the Season

Techy Toys







Tis the season for some cool tech-toys! I scoured through the Apple store gift guides and the store online and found a lot of really fun gadgets that even I could get on board with. Ferrari of any kind, yes please. And my favorite color of the new iPod nano is the minty green! So pretty! More gift guides to come...
 

design + development by fabulous k