Tag Archives: Christmas

What’s for {Christmas} dinner?

This is my first year hosting Christmas, and I am feeling the (purely self-imposed) pressure to make it perfect. I’ve been thinking about Christmas dinner and what I will serve for about two months now, trying to figure out how I’ll get it all made and when. After a lot of rough drafts, I have narrowed down my ideas to arrive at my final menu. . . TA DA!

*Yes, I’m totally going to print this out and have it at each place setting. I did all the work to create it after all!

And now for the real magic. . . I only really have to worry about making TWO of these dishes on the day (and one of those can be made ahead of time if I really want to)! So not only will my Christmas feast be delicious, I will actually get to ENJOY it.

The festive  cocktail, which is really a sangria made with champagne, can be made the day before- all the better to let the flavors really meld together. The fig and goat cheese angels are my take on the Cooking Light recipe for Apricot-Blue Cheese Angels from the November 2012 issue. Considering these are a puff pastry, I’m going to make them the day of for the best result. I’ll make the fresh cranberry bruschetta (a mash up of several different recipes) a day or two ahead to help cut the tartness of the cranberries.

I decided to go with ham for dinner since I can buy one completely cooked and ready from the grocery store. BOOM. Done. The stuffing recipe belongs to my friend Dori. Her mom makes this every year, and when she blogged about it a few weeks ago, I was sold. Plus, she said you can make it ahead of time and freeze it if you want to. I think I’ll make it the day of only because I’ll have the time. For my brussels, I drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper before popping them into the oven at 400° for 30-40 minutes. Easiest thing ever. I’m even going easy for my rolls and getting Parkerhouse rolls or just buying some from the bakery.

The real genius of this meal is the dessert. Seriously, how amazing does it sound?! It’s even more amazing when you find out it’s made in the crock pot! My friend Brooke made this for New Year’s Eve last year, and I couldn’t get enough. She used this recipe as a base but, instead of following the cooking instructions, she just threw everything in a crock pot and let it do all the work. Brilliant!

So there you have it, my Christmas menu. What are YOU making for the holidays this year?

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Update: Since I bake these bad boys every year, and my photography skills have greatly improved over the past 12 months, I figured I’d give this post an upgrade. Same amazing recipe. . . WAY better pictures.

Ok, I am admittedly not a big cookie baker—I don’t even eat cookies very often. In fact, these cookies are the only ones I have ever made that weren’t cut from a log or broken off in a neat little square from a block. But they are, by far, the best cookies I have ever had. The tartness of the cranberries with the sweetness of the chocolate chips and the moist chewiness of the oatmeal—they are pure heaven!


White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
(Makes 36 cookies, technically, but I usually manage to get about 48- maybe I make them on the smaller side) 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter , softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup dark brown sugar , firmly packed

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups quick-cooking oats

6 oz white chocolate morsels

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350°. Whisk together the first four ingredients and set aside. Cream together the wet ingredients (butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla) using a hand mixer on low speed. Slowly increase the speed until the mixture lightens in color. Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture until it is all completely absorbed and combined. Try not to over mix, as that can result in a tough cookie. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and cranberries.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Using a cookie scoop or a small spoon, drop cookies 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden and just set (the cookies will still look slightly moist on top). Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before moving to a wire cooling rack.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Pinterest!

After we had our downstairs painted this summer, we put up floating shelves in our dining room, which means that this Christmas, I had two new spaces to decorate with holiday cheer! So naturally, I hopped on Pinterest to see what DIY hijinks I could get up to.

Voilà, the finished product!

For my first attempt decorating a mantle-type thing for Christmas (we don’t have a fireplace), I thought it turned out pretty good. I framed last year’s Christmas pictures of Olivia for an extra festive touch.

The centerpiece on the table is made of fraser fir Christmas tree clippings. Oh, and Christmas tree clippings are FREE at Home Depot. Woot woot!

The white tree on the top shelf is made of a styrofoam cone, white felt, and straight pins. I got the idea for this DIY project from this post from Scissor Variations.

The jar of Christmas tree clippings on the bottom shelf is a mason jar painted white on the inside. Just pour in acrylic craft paint, swirl it around to coat the entire inside, and let it dry. So easy!

Have you done any DIY decorating? I would love to see how you decorated for Christmas! Post your pics on our Facebook page!

Crazy Easy Monkey Bread

For those who don’t know what monkey bread is, you don’t know what you’ve been missing! This is a Christmas morning tradition in my family because you do all the work the night before, it’s simple, and it’s DELICIOUS.

I know there are lots of different ways to make monkey bread, but this is how my family does it, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. Since I am taking over the Christmas hosting duties this year, I’m going to put my own little spin on this recipe by substituting the raisins and pecans for dried cranberries and pistachios for a little festive color!

Monkey Bread

18 frozen Parkerhouse rolls
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup raisins
1 pkg vanilla cook & serve pudding mix
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Soak the raisins in water for about 10 minutes to plump them up.

2. Butter a bundt pan (angel food cake pan works well also).

3. Sprinkle the raisins and pecans along the bottom of the pan, and place the frozen rolls on top in a single layer.

4. In a separate bowl, combine the vanilla pudding mix, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and then sprinkle it evenly over the rolls.

5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the brown sugar. Heat until boiling, stirring constantly so the sugar doesn’t burn, and then pour the glaze over the rolls.

6. Cover the pan with plastic wrap or wax paper and allow it to sit out overnight.

7. In the morning, preheat oven to 350°. Bake the monkey bread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

8. Place a serving platter upside down on top of the pan and then turn everything upside down. The monkey bread will turn out of the pan and be right side up on the plate, ready for you to serve. Just pull apart the sweet rolls and enjoy!