Browsing Tag

Christmas

Family

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2015
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An early Merry Christmas to you, friends! Today I wanted to share a few of our holiday photos that were taken earlier this fall. It’s amazing to me how quickly Ainsley changes. She looks so different now than she did when these photos were taken less than two months ago! Tis the life of a baby, right?

There are a lot of reflective, mushy and very true things to say about 2015. It was SUCH a big year for our family. New (old) town, new jobs for both of us, living closer to family and taking on a home renovation, and most importantly taking on the roles of mom and dad. It’s hard, maybe impossible, to capture with words what this year has meant to us and what we’ve learned in the last year. Some lessons have been taught through our fair share of trials while others have been unbelievably sweet.

Thank you for reading, for following along with our family and for encouraging me this year with your words of wisdom about life and motherhood. It’s been a joy and a blessing to me to be able to do life with you – even if it’s through the computer screen rather than over a cup of coffee. My sincerest hope for you this Christmas is that you feel the light and love of Christ this holiday season and take time to reflect on the gift that we have in the Savior that came to this earth for us.

Madison

Family, Fashion

Christmas Gift Guide for Her (all under $100)

December 3, 2015

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1. “Wifey” T-Shirt | Ily Couture
I bought the sweatshirt version of this for my sister who just got married this year and it was a hit! I own an Ily Couture product and absolutely love how soft the material is that they use and the cute, cheeky sayings.

2. The Quinn Necklace | Natalie Borton
I love supporting small business owners, and I was so excited when my blog buddy Natalie decided to open up her own jewelry shop. Her pieces are so pretty and they are all limited edition, meaning only a few people will have the same piece of jewelry. How cool is that?

3. Volcano Mercury Glass Candle | Capri Blue
A candle is a candle, right? Wrong! I have fallen head over heels for the scent of this candle. (It’s the same one they use in Anthropologie stores…) It’s heaven on earth, I tell you, and anyone would be thrilled to get one.

4. Nourishing Cleansing Balm | Beautycounter
This is my new favorite face product and I can’t stop singing the praises of it. The balm functions as a cleanser and makeup remover while also giving moisture to your skin. Bonus? It can be used as an overnight face mask when your skin is feeling dry during these cold winter months.

5. Diaper Bag Organizer | Lily Jade
Lily Jade makes amazing diaper bags, but if that isn’t in your budget, consider buying just the diaper bag organizer from Lily Jade. I love that it immediately turns any large purse into a diaper bag, meaning you can enjoy fashion and function together in one. Great for any new or expecting moms!

6. Personalized Stationery | Rifle Paper Co.
I think personalized stationery is just so lovely, and it’s something that I’m always hesitant to buy myself. But when I do? It just feels so fancy and inspires me to write more handwritten notes. Do your family members a favor and buy them some beautiful paper products.

7. Eloise Brocade Sleep Pants | Anthropologie
I have a theory that you can never go wrong with giving a gift that is a “practical indulgence” – meaning that it’s something useful but a little more of an upgrade than what someone would normally purchase on their own. Sleepwear is a great example. I always want to buy beautiful sleepwear, but I can never justify the price. What a great gift to give, right?!

8. Chestnut Suede Slipper | Ugg
I have Ugg slippers and wear them all the time. They’re durable, comfortable and cute.

*Affiliate links used where applicable

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Nutella Blossoms

December 22, 2014

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream

 

This year I’m entirely behind my baking game. By this point in the month on most typical years I’ve already managed to bake through my standard rotation of Christmas goodies, but this year I’ve just started baking a few days before Christmas. I’m finding this to be a very smart way to get around my lack of willpower. At least I only have a few days to indulge rather than an entire month!

My family from Idaho is coming to visit for the week starting tomorrow, so the last handful of days have been devoted to preparing the house, grocery shopping and getting ready for their arrival. Although I didn’t get all the baking done that I would have liked, I did manage to make a few of our favorite family recipes as well as a few new recipes, like these Nutella Blossoms.

Joe requested the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but when I saw that jar of Nutella in my pantry I knew it needed to be put to use. Although I can’t say these cookies are better than the original (that’s setting the bar pretty high!) they do make a fun new addition to the holiday cookie tray. So for all you other baking procrastinators out there, if you’re looking for a new cookie recipe to try I would highly suggest these little gems!

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream (1)

Nutella Blossoms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Additional sugar for rolling cookies
  • 24 Hershey's kisses
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and shortening until well-combined. Add in the sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes more until fluffy and combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the dough in between your hands to form balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and cookies are puffy. Immediately place one Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

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Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies

December 16, 2013

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This weekend the weather finally warmed up a bit! Okay, so when I say it warmed up, I mean the high was in the 20’s instead of -2, but you would be amazed at how warm 20 degrees feels after a week of weather in the negatives! The warmer weather meant that I wanted to get out and about rather than hibernate in my house, so Joe and I decided to bring cookies to our neighbors, along with a Christmas card. Many of our neighbors are older individuals, so we rarely see them outside during the winter months. We didn’t meet half our neighbors until April/May of this year!

Lately I’ve been obsessed with white cookies. I know that colorful cookies tend to be the thing to make this time of year, but something about all white cookies with various textures just makes me incredibly happy. Plus, how fancy and sophisticated do these cookies look?

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I updated the classic thumbprint in a couple ways. First, I added cream cheese to the dough to give these cookies a smooth, dense texture. Second, instead of filling them with jam or lemon curd or something more expected, I used a homemade marshmallow creme buttercream mixture that is out-of-this-world delicious. The marshmallow flavor is subtle, but certainly still noticeable. If you want the flavor to shine a little more, leave out the vanilla/almond extract, which tends to cover up the marshmallow flavor a bit.

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Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients
Cookies
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Filling
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Heat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until just combined, followed by the flour. Roll dough into 24 balls (about 1 inch in diameter) and place 1-inch apart on baking sheet. Press index finger into the center of each cookie to make a deep indentation.

Bake cookies 10 minutes or until just barely golden brown around edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile, in medium mixing bowl, beat together the marshmallow creme and butter until smooth. Beat in the extract, salt and powdered sugar until well combined and smooth. Pipe some of the filling into the center of each cookie. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

Happy Baking!
Madison

Uncategorized

Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (plus a chocolate version!)

December 11, 2013

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Happy Cookie Day! Once again I took part in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap with a bunch of other amazing bloggers. The funds raised from the cookie swap goes toward kids cancer research. Cookies and a great cause? I’m in! If you want to participate in next year’s swap, you can sign up for updates here.

I’ve actually been really behind on baking cookies and desserts this year. Christmas just came up way too fast this year! We’re having a Christmas open house on Sunday night, so I’ll be getting my holiday baking on very soon. These sugar cookies were the first bit of holiday baking I did all season. Although I typically hate decorating Christmas sugar cookies, I had so much fun making these fun sugar cookies, inspired by Bon Appetit magazine. They’re ultra simple, buttery and delicious – pretty much the prefect classic cookie.

If you’re afraid of decorating cookies, don’t be! The secret is having the right type of icing. Although royal icing isn’t the tastiest type of icing, it produces the most beautiful results. Just place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and get creative! As you can see, below, I made a bunch of different looking cookies.

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In case you’re looking for some great cookie recipes, I also received a bunch of awesome goodies from these ladies:

Joanne from Joanne Eats Well with Others
Devangi from Pistachio Doughnuts
Erika of The Pancake Princess

Thanks so much, ladies, for sending me such great cookies! They were enjoyed by all at my house.

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Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit December 2013

Ingredients
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract
1 recipe Royal Icing (below)

Directions
Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. The mixture doesn’t need to be fluffy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and hazelnut or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined. Form dough into two discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Let dough sit at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (I stuck with circles and stars for simplicity) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing/Decorating
Recipe from Bon Appetit (method adapted slightly)

Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar and 2 large egg whites until white, thickened and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add water by the tablespoonful until icing no longer holds a peak. Place some of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip. Outline the cookies with the icing.

Add an additional 2 to 4 tablespoons water to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie. Immediately cover with desired sprinkles. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

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Painted Chocolate Sugar Cookies
To make the chocolate sugar cookies, swap out 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour for 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Make as directed.

Painted Decorating Method
I was in love with the method in Bon Appetit when I first saw it on the cover. However, I made a few tweaks that gave me a little more success the second time I made them. To make the “paint” combine 1 teaspoon luster dust (I purchased mine at Michaels in the cake decorating section) with a couple drops of alcohol, such as vodka or amaretto. The original recipe called for using lemon extract, but I found that the flavor of the lemon extract was overpowering with the cookies. Use a small paint brush to paint desired decorations on cookies decorated with royal icing.

Happy Baking!
Madison