Browsing Tag

Christmas

Family, Food & Recipes

Holiday Snack Mix & Travel with Kids

November 15, 2017

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img_6588This post is sponsored by SC Johnson. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make the content on Espresso and Cream possible. #ZiplockHolidayUAI

Back before I had kids, my visions of weekend baking projects were pretty idyllic and, I now realize, unrealistic. I imagined my child happily cutting out cookie dough and decorating cookies, mess-free. Of course now that I have two kids of my own I know better than to tackle elaborate or time-intensive baking projects. Because Ainsley is bound to lose patience and I’m bound to be picking up a giant mess long after the project has lost it’s novelty. So these days, we keep our holiday baking projects on the simple side and everyone in the family is a lot happier because of it.

We have a few holiday road trips coming up in the next few weeks, including some air travel to visit family in Florida, so I’ve been planning and strategizing on how I’m going to keep not one but TWO kids happy in the car and in the air. My solution: busy bags filled with all sorts of goodies, activities and fun new and inexpensive toys. Because we all know that an entertained child is a happy child.

I headed to our local Walmart last week before music class to pick up a bunch of goodies for our trip, along with the supplies to make this Holiday Snack Mix recipe. Ainsley and I made the snack mix together, then portioned it into Ziploc® Brand Storage Snack bags for our travels. We also tied some of the bags with ribbon for gifting to friends and family.

I filled the Ziploc® Brand Storage Gallon bags with coloring books, crayons, stickers, inexpensive figurines (Ainsley’s favorite!), our homemade snack mix, a few new movies, and more. Hopefully these bags provide hours of entertainment and delight while we are doing our holiday travels!

Partnering with SC Johnson on this post was a total no-brainer for me, because as a mom of littles, I use Ziploc® Brand bags for pretty much everything. I always have at least a few Ziploc® Brand Storage Gallon bags in the car as makeshift trash cans on road trips to keep the car clean and organized and to keep figurines and toys grouped together and keep a bunch in my purse for air travel to contain trash and dirty diapers. Mom hacks all around!

Check out the full (easy!) recipe below. And if you’re a frequent Walmart shopper like me, there are also some great coupons available here.

Holiday Snack Mix
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz. white almond bark
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 6 cups square-shaped rice cereal
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup red and white candy-coated chocolate pieces
  • Red and green sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the almond bark, peanut butter and butter on HIGH 30 seconds. Stir; continue to microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until almond bark, peanut butter and butter are melted. Continue to stir until mixture is well combined. Stir in the peppermint extract.
  2. Combine cereal and pretzel sticks in a large mixing bowl. Pour almond bark mixture over cereal and stir until well combined and cereal is evenly coated. Transfer mixture to a Ziploc® Brand Gallon Bag and add in powdered sugar. Seal back and gently shake to coat cereal with the powdered sugar.
  3. Transfer mixture to a flat surface covered with parchment, waxed paper or aluminum foil. Spread in an even layer and add in the candy-coated chocolate pieces. Sprinkle with the red and green sprinkles. Let cool completely.
  4. Divide the mixture into Ziploc® Brand Snack Bags. Tie with ribbon, as desired.

This post is not sponsored or affiliated with Walmart.

Food & Recipes

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

December 6, 2016

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cookies_3First, I need to say a big thank you to everyone who hung with me these last few weeks. I know that service on Espresso and Cream has been very spotty and the site completely crashed in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. But I’m happy to report that the site is now up and running on a brand new server that should be large enough to accommodate Espresso and Cream readers for a long time to come. Whew! 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is cookie baking. I know that there is an abundance of desserts this time of year, and baking goodies at home is hardly necessary, but I couldn’t make it through the month of December without doing at least a bit of baking.

This year Ainsley helped with her first Christmas cookie baking and it was SO fun! I mean, she mainly stuffed frosting into her mouth by the spoonful and only frosted a couple cookies before declaring that she was done, but seeing her participate in a tradition that will no doubt continue to happen for years on end was the sweetest.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about sugar cookies. Specifically how they can be so disappointing in flavor and texture. Some of the prettiest sugar cookies I’ve seen have been the most tasteless and some of the ugliest have been the yummiest. Isn’t there a happy middle ground? Yes, yes there is. These cookies, I like to think, strike a wonderful balance between downright tasty and pretty/cute/fun to decorate, too. Although Royal Icing always gets the best results in terms of looks, I find that it’s just plain gross to eat. And while the powdered sugar and milk combination might be temping because it’s so easy, I think we can all upgrade our game a little bit this year to something that requires just a tiny bit more effort.

The sugar cookies themselves don’t stand well on their own. They are from an old, old Southern Living Christmas cookie book that my mom and I both use every year. If I were making plain old sugar cookies I wouldn’t make these, but once they are topped with buttercream they have the perfect taste and consistency to pull the whole thing off. One tip: I always suggest erring on the side of under baking rather than over baking because I love a soft, chewy sugar cookie, so keep a close eye on these cookies while they bake as oven temps can vary!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting
 
The cookie recipe is "Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies" from the Southern Living Cookie Book. I couldn't find this old recipe anywhere online to link to, so I'm sharing it below!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Make the cookies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugars to the butter and beat 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Do not over mix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  4. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness on floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and place cookies, 1 inch apart, on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until just barely golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and salt until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat until just combined. Beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and creamy. Frost cookies with frosting.

 

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

Uncategorized

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.