[worth Giving] just because they’re yummy

Tis the season of giving. Fa la la la la la la la la!

I love a good Christmas cookie. Especially a soft sugar cookie that my mom makes.

Of course learning from the best (my mom), I make a double batch of these at Christmas time and keep them in the freezer to have handy to take with me anytime I go to a friends, a neighbors, or a party.

They are always welcomed with an open mouth…haha! I crack myself up! LOL!

Here is the yummy recipe:

Fabulously Soft Sugar Cookies
3/4 C Real Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1 C Powdered Sugar
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 C Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Cream Of Tartar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Almond Flavoring
4 C Flour

Directions:
Cream together butter, eggs, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. Add remaining ingredients in the order listed. Mix real good and refrigerate overnight. Place cookies onto a chilled cookie sheet with a small cookie scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. It is very important that all cookies are placed on a cooled cookie sheet before baking. Keep cookie dough chilled between batches.

Frosting
1/2 C Real Butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Almond Flavoring (or more to taste)
Powdered Sugar
Milk (a few drops)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients. Use enough powdered sugar to achieve desired and spreadable consistency.

Tint to your desired color and top with your favorite sprinkles.

And voila! There you have it. Melt in your mouth heavenly yummyness that’s totally worth giving! (yes I make up words)

something new this year…

This year for Christmas we adopted a new tradition that I hope to carry on for many years to come!

We got The Elf On The Shelf!

There was such a buzz going on about this little elf that I had to go check it out for myself. I love the idea of this tradition, and how it engages the whole family.

If you’ve not heard of him, here is the basic idea. Santa sends an elf to your home to sit and watch and see who is being naughty or nice. Then at night when the kids go to bed he reports back to Santa at the North Pole. The next morning he will reappear in a different spot waiting for the kids to find him again. You can’t touch the elf, but you can talk to him all you want and tell him everything you love and want for Christmas.

He’s so cute and brings a whole bag full of fun right to your home. Some days he behaves and some days he gets himself caught in a pickle or a little trouble.

Here is where Samuel found him this morning. He colored the milk pink with food coloring.

I wonder where we will find him next…

[worth Giving] for the birthday Girl…

double layer spice cake & winter jammies

I have a few friends who know how to give the best gifts. I don’t know how they do it, but they do. They must have some special “super gift” skills. Their gifts are random and unsuspected or they’re not your typical “I’ll run by Target” gifts. Their unique and purposed.

I need these skills! Bad. I love to give, but most times I feel a day late or a dollar short. I want my gift to bless like that. I want to give creatively and thoughtfully.

After much contemplating of how to give the most perfect gift it dawned on me, just be deliberate.

 

Talk about eureka! Really, that’s it? Deliberate.

"splurge on shoes"

For example, the birthday Girl gave me this little unexpected gift. Just for organizing a much needed girl’s night out. How sweet right? I’m gonna get some of those little things to have on hand.

I can do deliberate. So lately, each morning I wake, I ask myself, “who can I bless today?” And then do it…or prepare to do it in the near future.

With my new found love of baking and cooking I believe I have found my niche. It works well for me too. With a 7 month old crawling at my feet I need my “deliberate gifts” to work within my already crazy schedule and where I’m already gonna be…the kitchen. Cool how God worked that out.

birthday girl ♥ such a sweetie ♥

The pictured spice cake and jammies were for my dear friend, Charla. I had never given her a birthday gift so that made this all the more fun.

I was at her house the night before her birthday and she mentioned that she really wanted a fall dessert for her birthday, and how she planned to get some pumpkin frozen yogurt after dinner with her family the next night.

I took that information and left with a mission to make her my favorite spice cake that my mom makes in the fall. It is heavenly! I have not personally made this cake before, not that I have made much of anything until now. It’s my new love remember…to bake?

But I put my neck out and thought, “this is how I’m gonna learn.” Plus my mom being a great cook and a good teacher made this a win-win for me.

After my second batch baked and a dozen phone calls (that’s a part of my recipe any time I’m cooking) I had a winner.

Tastes great! Looks great! And what girl doesn’t like a comfy set of jammies? Throw them in too, and this is the perfect gift. And I’m doing the Happy Dance because I’m about to bless someone!

Deliberate gifts are perfect gifts regardless of what the actual gift is, and they say so much. Gifts that say, “just because you’re special”. I like those. And I believe everyone else does too.

Most people wear an invisible sign around their neck that says, “make me feel important.”…or beautiful, seen, loved, etc.

I want to respond to those invisible signs, and I hope you’ll join me.

[DIY] Monogram Christmas Deco


So glad you came by to see this nifty little craft.

With Christmas being my favorite holiday I am always thrilled when I have the opportunity to make a Christmas craft.

So of course I found this idea over at Pinterest.

(((Love that site!))) Almost as much as a good pair of slipper-socks. (hint, hint)

It’s a monogram door hanger. How cool is that? Different from traditional decorations yet still classy.

I took a trip to my local Michael’s store and purchased my letter “K”, some berries, and burlap. I kept my letter white, but you could paint it first if you want.

Simply cut your berries off the stem either with a pair of scissors or a wire cutter. Hot glue them to the letter. This part takes some patience; hopefully you like puzzles. Tie your burlap on and hang.

Voila! There you have it. Super simple.

Or so I thought…

As I was completing this project I ran into a snafu. My letter is not exactly a good letter to hang with the burlap. I tried a few different things, but with a 6 month old baby crawling at my feet I quickly came up with an alternative.

I decide to make it a shelf decoration and not a door hanger. Partially because that’s where it landed and I ended up liking it. Slight bummer that I don’t have something for my front door now, but I really like my alternative.

and here it is sitting in its cozy spot…

[worth Giving] because she had surgery

Since I’ve had Chloe (((just love her))) I’ve been discovering new things about myself. I love to bake and cook! Who knew? And who would’ve thought that adding extra busyness to my life would incur a desire to add even more?

I have so much fun thinking about who I can bless. Now before you send in your meal order you must know I have a limited budget. But who knows maybe one day you will be the one.

Here is my last meal creation that I gave away to a friend who had her gall bladder removed and was not able to make dinner for her family.

This is a super easy and yummy chicken pot pie recipe I got from my friend Courtney. Of course, if you can’t tell, it isn’t baked yet. I took it over earlier in the day and thought they could bake it when they’re ready to eat, and that way it would be nice and hot out of the oven.

And the brownies are just heavenly! This recipe is from my mom who has baked these for years with a few extra yummy adjustments. Not sure if I can post this recipe or not. I’ll ask.

A quart of milk, the perfect beverage to wash this all down.

And voilà! There you have it. A simple all American meal worth giving.

[DIY] Christmas Card Hanger

So I’ve been spending way too much time some quality time reading DIY blogs and poking around on Pinterest that I thought I should join this DIY blogging party that seems to be going on. So here I go!

With an attempt to be resourceful this Christmas I have decided to get creative with stuff I already have. When I came upon this at craft idea at Pintererst I thought to myself, “I can totally make that!…hmm, now what can I use?” I began pulling apart craft bins and going through my art supplies, and came up with a plan.

Here’s what I pulled out:

  • 1 large piece of sturdy cardboard (not that corrugated stuff)
  • scrap-booking cutting board
  • scrap-booking glue tape
  • scrap-booking exact o knife
  • craft paint (I used red, black, and ivory)
  • printout of your text on card stock paper
  • wired ribbon
  • twist ties
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • hot glue gun
  • hanging hook (I used a small “Command” hook)
  • a bunch of clothes pins

...yes I did this on top of my washing machine

Step 1:
Cut your cardboard to the size you want and paint it. I painted my red with a drop of black to give it a textured look (don’t mix completely). I had to paint a few coats so I made sure the black streaks showed up on the top coat, and not necessarily the bottom coats.

Step 2:
Print and cut your text from the card stock paper. I used white paper with a grayed outline of the text for easy cutting. Make sure you have a firm protected surface for cutting. I used another piece of the cardboard.

See? It's a mess!

Step 3:
Paint text. I used the same piece of cardboard that I used for the cutting. Make sure your letters don’t dry and stick to the cardboard. I pained in one spot and then moved them to dry.

Step 4:
Glue text to painted board. I used scrap-booking glue tape, but you could use whatever works for you. I was actually hoping to use spray glue, but I didn’t have any.

Step 5:
Tie your ribbon.

  • Make 4 loops holding firmly in the center (Loop 1 on left, Loop 1 on right, twist and repeat).
  • Tie the center together tightly using a twist tie.
  • Using the long end of the ribbon loop it back over to make center of bow. This will hide your twist tie.
  • Turn bow around in your hand, and twist ribbon tail 360 degrees. Pinch tightly.
  • Secure with another twist tie.
  • You will need to cut another piece of ribbon and secure it on separately.
Step 6:
Secure the bow to the back of the board at the top and the bottom of both ribbon tails with a hot glue gun.
And voila! There you have it!
Now all I need is some sweet Christmas cards.

[recipe] pesto stuffed salmon

You’ve been asking…so here it is.

I really wouldn’t classify myself as someone who knows how to cook. I just know how to follow a recipe. I’m a rule follower my nature so that helps me get along just great with recipes. If I didn’t have a recipe I would cry and order take out.

So for all of you recipe followers this is for you.

Pesto

2-3 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
2 C Fresh Basil
1/3 C Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toast pine nuts for about 5 minutes. Watch so they don’t burn. Leave oven preheated for salmon.

Combine garlic, basil, pine nuts, and olive oil in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Stir in Parmesan and olives.

Salmon

4 (5 oz.) Salmon Fillets
1/2 C Dry White Wine
Salt & Pepper

Fillet salmon lengthwise leaving the two sides attached. Open and fill with pesto mixture and lay top side of salmon back down. Salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon fillets into a shallow baking dish and pour white wine around the fillets. Make sure the fillets are not touching. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your meat is. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Set oven to broil and put salmon back in for 3 minutes.

Salad

Baby Romaine
Cherry Tomatoes
Blue Cheese or Feta
Drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

You can really use any sort of salad mix that you like. Caesar salad would go great with this. I’m sure my choice of dressing and cheese is a culinary faux pas with pesto and salmon, but it worked for me.

And I found these little cute guys at my grocery store just recently. They are uber yummy and add that healthy color to your diet. Great for snacking on too!

…and voila. Enjoy!