Holiday/Seasonal

Handmade Snowman Ornament..3 Days ‘Till Christmas!

I cannot believe there are only three more days until Christmas! I feel like I have so much to do, read more but slowly people’s presents are coming together and I will start wrapping this evening. I love giving presents :)

I also love making Christmas crafts. Here are some step by step instructions for how to make this precious little snowman ornament. All you need is some felt (2 colors), some thread, a little bit of stuffing, tiny piece of yarn, and sequins/buttons. I found a picture of these ornaments on Pinterest and knew that I had to make them. I’m no expert when it comes to sewing or crafting, so I just did this the best way I could see how. It was easy and turned out great :) I might make some more if I have time. I’m thinking it’d be really cute to give him a hat if I can figure out how. I hope all of you guys are having a wonderful holiday season!

Materials:

White Felt (I used less than 1/4 of a 8.5 by 11 piece of felt…it just depends on how big you make your snowman)

Colored Felt (This is just for the scarf so you don’t need much at all)

Thread (Dark Blue or Black for the eyes, Orange for the nose, and Light Blue to sew up the snowman)

Stuffing (Very little needed)

Small piece of yarn (to hang the ornament)

Extras- small buttons, sequins

Directions:

Start by cutting out two identical snowman bodies. On one of them, use the dark blue/black thread to stitch the eyes and orange thread to make the nose. The one I saw on Pinterest didn’t have a mouth, but I wanted mine to have one so I stitched on a little smile.

Next, either sew on little buttons or use some hot glue to attach sequins for the snowman’s buttons. Next, tie the yarn into a loop and then, on the body piece that doesn’t have the face on it, hot glue on the yarn towards the top of the snowman’s body.

Now it’s time to start sewing him up! Use the light blue thread to sew around the snowman’s body (making sure that the knot of the yarn is on the inside of the snowman), leaving a gap at the bottom so you can put the stuffing in. When you only have a small opening left, stuff the snowman. Then finish sewing him up.

The final thing is to add the scarf. Cut two thin pieces of felt. One of the pieces will be glued around the snowman’s neck, and the other will be the part that hangs down. That sounds confusing…it’s really not. Just look at the pictures :)

Glue that final scarf piece down and you’re done!


I hope those instructions made sense. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, and I’d love to see pictures if you end up making this ornament!

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Minty Kiss Brownie Bites and Christmas Present Ideas

Can you believe Christmas is less than 2 weeks away??? I can’t! I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (I don’t have a lot of my presents ready), bulimics but I am feeling better today and am out of school (ahh!) meaning that I’m going to have a lot of time to plan presents, bake, and shop! Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I plan on enjoying every minute of it :)

I compiled this list incase you’re needing some ideas of what to get people on your Christmas list. Or you can send your boyfriend/husband a link to this post if he needs a hint. Or if you need ideas on what to buy yourself ;)

1. Books– I love reading, and maybe someone on your list does, too! Here are some of my favorites/book I’m wanting:

  • Kindle– They’re getting cheaper and cheaper! The new Kindle Fire is out, which seems pretty snazzy, but I have a basic Kindle and love it! It’s going to be especially awesome when I go to college next year. You can get it for $79 which is pretty awesome!
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins- These sci-fi/fantasy books are good for guys and girls of all ages (although I would recommend 10 and up). They’re really compelling, with their intriguing storyline and captivating characters, and filled with action and a little bit of romance.
  • The Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini- The books in the series are Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance. I’ve read the first three and loved them, and am looking forward to reading the newly released fourth book. These fantasy books are long but have a really gripping storyline. Great for guys and girls of all ages.
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver- This book is great for teens and adults. It is about a missionary family that moves to the Congo in order to evangalize the community. It’s, at times, a dark story but is incredibly written and tells an important story. One of my all-time favorite books. I also love The Bean Trees by Kingsolver.
  • Black Heals to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond- This book, written by the famous Pioneer Woman, is amazing. It’s the [true] love story between Ree and her husband, Marlboro Man. I read this book in one night…I couldn’t put it down! Great for all fans of The Pioneer Woman, and any woman in general :)

2. Cooking/Baking Supplies– Things I love and use all the time, and things I would love to have!

  • Kitchenaid Mixer– I’ll just start with the big one. Ahhh I wish I had one of these! Life goes on without one, but I’m sure it makes baking a lot easier. Plus, they’re so shiny and pretty!
  • Donut Pan– There are so many recipes out there for baked donuts! I bought a donut pan recently. I haven’t gotten the change to use it yet, but plan on doing so really soon! I got mine on sale for $6.
  • Decorating Tips– I want to get a kit like this for when I make cupcakes or cakes to make them all pretty!
  • Other small things: Cute cupcake liners, spatula (in a pretty color :), cute coffee thermos, cookie cutters, cute apron like this or this (I want one of these!)

3. Makeup/Lotion/Cosmetic Stuff– These make good stocking stuffers for girlfriends, wives, sisters, cousins, nieces, friends, or your gay nephew ;)

  • Maybelline Lasting Drama Eyeliner– I seriously love this stuff! I could never find an eyeliner that would stay on without smudging, or would let me draw a finer line. This eyeliner is easy to apply (once you get used to it), stays on, lets you choose how thick/thin the line is, and the little container lasts several months!
  • Bath and Body Works– Seriously, anything from this store is amazing. I love their scented hand sanitizers and hand lotions. I can’t use their body lotions (my skin is too sensitive) but everything smells so good!

Other Stuff: Just because it doesn’t have a cool category name, doesn’t mean it’s not cool.

  • Poster of a neat quote, favorite movie/band/actor, etc.
  • Jewelry– Earrings, bracelet, necklace. I think this necklace from Etsy is really cute!
  • Watch– for a guy or girl.
  • Laptop Sleeve- I bought this one from Etsy and LOVE it!
  • Cute PJs– I love Target’s PJ selection around Christmas!
  • Framed Photo– I give these to all sorts of people. Great for girlfriend/boyfriend, husband/wife, grandparents, parents, siblings, friends. It’s easy but also shows you care.
  • Candy or baked goods– how could you go wrong with this one? (Just make sure you don’t give this to your friend with peanut allergies. That’s how that one could go wrong).
  • Nutella– For anyone. This stuff is AMAZING. You can’t go wrong with Nutella (unless, of course, the person is allergic to hazelnuts). Or you can make them some Nutella Cookies!
  • Crazy Socks– they’re fun.
  • USB flash drives– practical, and they come in all sorts of shapes and colors!
  • A knitted hat or scarf– homemade or otherwise.
  • Coffee mug- There are so many cute coffee mugs, especially this time of year. I got this cute guy from Goodwill for 50 cents!
  • Silly Putty- We usually get this in our Christmas stockings. It’s so fun to play with!

So yeah! I hope you’re getting excited and geared-up for Christmas! Or the holiday season in general if you don’t celebrate Christmas :)

Here are some brownie bites I made to take into school the other day. The other brownie bites I’ve shared on this blog have been so popular, especially the Nutella Swirl Brownie Bites, so I thought I would share this super easy holiday recipe! These are fudgey, yummy brownies topped with mint truffle kisses! You can top them with any kind of kiss you want, or just eat them plain :)

Minty Kiss Nutella Brownie Bites

Ingredients:

1 family-size box of your favorite brownie mix (I use Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix)

The Eggs, Oil, and Water needed to make the brownie mix

36 Hershey’s kisses, whatever flavor you desire!

36 mini muffin liners

Directions:

  1. Prepare the brownie mix according to box instructions.
  2. Line 36 mini muffin holes with muffin liners (I had to make this in two batches because I only have one mini muffin tin)
  3. Use a small cookie scoop to put the batter into the muffin liners.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few fudgey crumbs.
  5. Cool the brownies in the tins until cool enough to handle, then move them to a cooling wrack.
  6. Press the (unwrapped) kisses gently onto the brownies.

Note: These can be made in regular muffin tins, but I am not sure what the cooking time for those would be.

Enjoy!

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I can’t believe I haven’t talked about the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap before now! I found out about it from reading Love and Olive Oil, pilule and knew immediately that I wanted to participate.

The swap was created and hosted by Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen. This is the description of the swap: After you sign up, you receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. You then send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies, and then you receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers.

Umm how awesome is that??? Supremely awesome! I’ve never gotten cookies in the mail, or sent them for that matter. Most of the mail I get nowadays is from colleges (one college sent me gloves. I mean seriously. I know I’m awesome but I don’t want to go to your school. I will probably use the gloves, though! ;)

It took me a long time to figure out what cookie I wanted to send…there are so many awesome options! But after I saw a recipe for chocolate chip cookie bars with pretzel crust, I knew I had to make them. Baking the bars was really fun. I packaged them up and sent them off to Joanna from Go Ahead and Snicker, Nicki from Nick-Stirs, and Stephanie from Life Tastes Like Food.

It was really exciting when I started receiving cookies! I got two packages in one day! The first one I opened was from Renee at Casa del Kuchen. She sent me Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies that tasted so good, especially when I put them in the microwave! Look how pretty the packaging was :)

I looovvee chocolate cookies. Now I want to make some of my own!

The second package I opened was from Amy at Fearless Homemaker. She sent me Chai Snickerdoodles. I’d never had cookies like this before and they were yummy with an interesting flavor!

The third package I got came several days later from Erin at Big Fat Baker. She sent me Chocolate Rolo Cookies that were really yummy. I warmed them up and the caramel got all gooey and tasty.

I was left with so many wonderful cookies that I ended up bringing some of them in to school and sharing them with my friends :)

Here are the packages that I sent off!

I’d never sent cookies in the mail before, so hopefully they held up ok!

These are the bars I made. Mmmmm! Seriously these were super delicious. The chocolate chip cookie dough part was gooey and soft, and the buttery pretzel crust was amazing. I think my favorite part of the whole thing was eating the pretzel bits that fell off the bars! I made a double batch of bars to make sure I had enough to send out, but I ended up with tons of leftovers. My family ate some and then I brought some in for my English class…everyone loved them!

I would absolutely recommend that you make these bars for upcoming Christmas parties, or any time of the year! I know I’ll be making them again for sure. Here’s how you make them:

My littlest sister helped me make the bars. She started by helping me crush the pretzels into small pieces.

Here are the pretzel pieces with butter mixed in. Seriously I think this is the only way to eat pretzels haha :)

I have two pans because I made a double batch. Put the pretzel pieces in a 9 by 13 baking pan (lined with parchment paper) and bake for 8 minutes.

After that you make the cookie dough and gently press it on top of the pretzel crust. Bake for 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

This is what the bars looked like when I took them out after 10 minutes to rotate them. I almost wanted to just eat it like this…but I resisted :)

Here are the finished bars! The cookie dough was still soft and gooey, and the pretzel crust was just incredible!

Don’t those just look so good???

You might remember this cute snowman from this post. I just love him! I have a lot of new Christmas props I’m going to be using in coming posts.

Now I know some of you are probably bummed that you didn’t get to participate in the swap this year. But don’t worry, you can go to this website to sign  up to get email notifications of next year’s swap http://eepurl.com/hsS-Y.

I want to thank all the people who sent me cookies, all the bloggers who particiated in this swap, and especially Lindsay and Julie from Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for putting so much time and effort into making this happen! This was such a fun experience for me and I’m sure for everyone else who participated! It was estimated that over 22,000 cookies were sent around the world in this swap which I think that is just incredible. This was the perfect way to kick-off my Christmas baking…there will be much more to come!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars with Pretzel Crust

Ingredients for the Cookie Dough:

  • ¾ cups Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
  • ¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 1-½ teaspoon Real Vanilla Extract
  • 2-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 bag (11 Oz. Size) Semi-Sweet or Milk Chocolate Chips

Ingredients for the Crust:

  • 3-½ cups Pretzel Sticks, Crushed Into Tiny Pieces
  • ¾ cups Unsalted Butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Start by making the crust. Crush pretzel pieces either in a large ziplock bag and a mallet, or by using a food processor, until you have coarse pieces. Combine pretzel pieces with the melted butter, stirring to combine.
  3. Spread the pretzel mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes.
  4. While that’s baking, start on the cookie dough. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars at medium speed until creamy. Add eggs and the vanilla, beating until just blended.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar/egg mixture, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  6. Drop large spoonfuls of the cookie dough and scatter it over the pretzel crust. Carefully and evenly spread the batter over the warm pretzels, gently pressing the dough down with your fingers.
  7. But the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time.
  8. Remove the pan wihen the bars are golden brown.
  9. When the bars have cooled completely, remove the bars from the pan by lifting up the parchment paper. Cut into bars and enjoy!

The original recipe says this makes 15 bars, but you could easily make double that, depending on what size you make the bars.

Source: Simply Scratch :)

Have a great week and happy baking! :)

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Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake

I have several enemy foods- foods I just do not like and do not intend to ever like. One of those things is Chicken Pot Pie. Before you yell at me, erectile let me say that I don’t know why I don’t like Chicken Pot Pie. I like chicken and I like pie…but somehow all together it all turns icky. Like really icky. (And don’t tell me I haven’t had a “good” chicken pot pie. No such thing exists).

I remember one day when I was young (7 or 8) and my mom bought a Chicken Pot Pie for dinner. But she also bought Boston Cream Pie. And Boston Cream Pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts ever- I used to have it for my birthday cake every year. So anyway, that night I sat at the table for probably an hour (or more) trying to choke down that horrible horrible dinner. And you know what? I did it! And I got boston cream pie for dessert! Ahh good times :)

My mom has a dish that she makes called like Harvest Vegetable Pot Pie (or something like that) and my sister and I love it! But we refuse to call it “pot pie” so we renamed it “Pre-Spring Deliciousness.” Likewise, this cake is really good, but its given name is Pumpkin Dump Cake. Dump cake? That does not sound appealing at all! So I am presenting you with Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake :) This cake is seriously good. I can’t even tell you how good it is, you’ll just have to make it yourself! It’s also really easy to make. But I was having serious issues the afternoon I made it and kept being totally spacey! I’m so glad it turned out good :)

You start by mixing together a can of pumpkin puree, a can of evaporated milk, a cup of brown sugar, 3 eggs, and 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice and just whisk it all together!

Here’s the first place I went wrong. See that nice action shot of the box cake mix pouring in the batter? I thought it was a pretty nice picture. Too bad it was the wrong thing to do! Here’s what you should do: pour the batter into a 9 by 13 cake pan and sprinkle the cake mix on top. I realized my mistake before I mixed the whole box mix in, though, so I was able to salvage it.

It still looks pretty good! So I put it in the oven. Ohhhh mistake number 2. Geez! Airhead much, girl? I forgot to pour melted butter over the whole thing.

I realized before too much time had passed and pulled it out. I poured the melted butter (2 sticks) over the batter. Then I put it back in the oven and baked it.

It fluffed up nicely in the oven! And oh my goodness does it taste good. I think I already said that but seriously, this deliciousness cake is delicious!

Mmm cut yourself a nice piece and take a bite.

Oh wait, that’s better! So after you add some whipped cream do this:

I tried this cake with vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, and whipped cream and thought it was best with whipped cream (see the things I do for you???)

Oh this looks so good…so good in fact that I might have to take another bite. Just one…

Wait??? How did that happen??? Look at the sacrifices I make for you guys. I’ve probably tried this cake a good dozen times, just to make sure it was acceptable to post ;)

Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake

Ingredients:

1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin Puree
1 (10 oz) can Evaporated Milk
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup (2 sticks) butter melted
1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers or pecans
1/2 cup toffee bits (optional) <– I didn’t do this but it sounds seriously good!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter a 9 by 13 cake pan.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour into your prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle your entire box of cake mix on top, followed by your nuts or graham crackers and toffee chips.
  5. Pour your melted butter evenly on top.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set and edges are lightly browned.

Enjoy with whipped cream! (or vanilla ice cream or chocolate ice cream or more cake)

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Dreamy Apple Pie

Yesterday was an interesting day! I had gotten very little sleep and so I was pretty much a zombie at school. A sleepy zombie. I slept through physics and art history (to be fair, there we were watching a movie in art history…about buildings and stuff. I was not the only one who fell asleep). In English we started reading The Dollhouse and I knew I would sleep through it if I was just listening, anabolics so I volunteered for a speaking part. I still managed to almost nod-off between lines. I knew I had to do something about this sleepy-ness-nonsense so I took a legit nap in study hall. I was fine for the rest of the day, just super hyper in my delirious sleep-deprived state. Only 8 more days of school before I am out for Christmas!!!

Yesterday evening, I had my interview with a Brown alumni (alumna? alum? alumnaei?) at Starbucks. Many schools allow you to arrange interviews with alumn…uhh people who graduated from that school in the hopes that they’ll get a better sense of who you are. The woman I met with was very nice and we had a very laid-back conversation. She told me a little about her experience at Brown it made me want to go there even more! I should be hearing if I’ve been accepted in just over two weeks which is pretty nerve-wracking. I want to go so bad but I know that if I don’t get in, I’ll go somewhere else and it’ll be great. But I still wanna get in. A lot. As I was driving home, I had to get on the interstate. The sign said that the entrance was in the right lane. So I moved all the way over. To my left. It took me several minutes before I realized that I was on the left instead of right. The girl who just had her Brown interview can’t tell her left from right. Yeah..I’m pretty special.

I’m still not done sharing my Thanksgiving recipes! I’ve already shared the appetizers I made (Hot Spinach dip and Pumpkin pie dip) and I shared the Marshmallow pie I made, but I just had to share this apple pie. I didn’t actually make this pie, my mom did, but it is one of my favoritest pies. I love apple pies in general, but this one is extra special tasty.

So I don’t really like this picture of the apple pie slice. It really just doesn’t do the pie justice. For all you food bloggers out there, do you still post pictures of food even though they’re not your best? Do you try to retake them? Do you just not post that recipe at all? I try to take good pictures, but I’m still learning about food photography so not all the photos I take turn out good. And it can also be hard because a lot of the baking I do is at night where I don’t have pretty natural lighting. I usually try to wait to take the picture the next day, but then I can’t take step by step photos or a picture of the finished product before people eat it. I appreciate all of you guys who have come to my blog and leave comments. It makes me super happy! And any feedback or advice about the photographs (or writing) would be very appreciated :)

I hope you’re able to make this pie sometime soon because it truly is AMAZING! It’s a Pioneer Woman recipe (which explains it’s delicious-ness) so I’m just going to link to her website. My mom follows Pioneer Woman’s recipe, she just left the pecans out of the topping. Either way it’s delicious!

Dreamy Apple Pie

Top it with whipped cream, ice cream, or Pioneer Woman’s hard sauce, or all three! ;)

Enjoy :)

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