Have Yourself a Beachy Little Christmas


Merry Belated Christmas everyone!  Sorry this post is a few days late.  Ryanne and I have been busy eating delicious Christmas food, spending time with the pups at the beach, and shopping 🙂

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Ryanne and Molly, Megan and Airlie

We hope y’all had a great Christmas, we sure did.  Our Christmases now are a little different than growing up since we spend them with our parents near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  Everyone in our hometown of Culpeper, Virginia got snow Christmas Eve and the day after; all we got was 60 degree weather and tornado warnings.  How different!

I took a few pictures of our parents’ Christmas decorations.  Our mom has definitely embraced the beach theme for the Holidays!

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Christmas would not be complete with Christmas trees made from crab pots (and decorated with shells from Ryanne’s wedding).  These are made in North Carolina.

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Can you spot the ceramic sea creatures my mom made?

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The beautiful beachy wreath our mom made.

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Coral tree decorated with vintage ornaments from our grandmothers.

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Our dad making some Christmas morning breakfast casserole that was delish!

A somewhat newer Christmas tradition is to skip the traditional Christmas food and instead make Christmas Seafood Gumbo!  It’s quite a process, but the end product makes it all worth it.  Look for the recipe in the coming weeks.   After eating our Christmas Gumbo, we all walked down to our friends/neighbor’s house (that has a fantastic light display) and shared some Lemoncello and Champagne.  Cheers!

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Clockwise starting from the left: Kirk and Donna Davis (Megan’s in-laws), Steve and Donna Thompson (Neighbors/friends), Jim and Jane Floyd (Parents), Megan & Matt (& Airlie the yellow lab), Ryanne and LJ (& Molly the Golden Retriever).

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There’s no Snow, but I’ve got Snowman Poop!


I feel like this is the first time in a while I have not felt very prepared for the holidays!  I was so busy training for the Dallas Half Marathon I ran on December 9th, work, and attending holiday parties I haven’t had much time to make some of the homemade gifts I intended to make.  Oh well! I guess they will have to be Cheers to 2013 gifts.

Tonight I went to my friend Amy’s house for a “Girls Night In” holiday get together before we all go our separate ways for the holidays.  There’s nothing like breaking up a busy work week with a fun get together on Hump Day!

Amy made yummy chicken tortilla soup and holiday sangria and asked all the girls to bring an appetizer or dessert.  I was super busy today, but picked up some popcorn and white chocolate chips for Snowman Poop.  This is the easiest treat EVER to make and the sweet and salty taste is delish!  I got this recipe from my awesome new sister-in-law Lauren who brought it to a holiday cocktail party I hosted a few years ago.  She got this recipe from her sponsor on her high school dance team and continues to pass it on!

For Snowman Poop you’ll need:

– 1 bag white chocolate chips

– 1 bag popcorn

– Christmas sprinkles if you wish

– Parchment or wax paper

Directions:

– Pop the popcorn according to directions. Put the popcorn in a large bowl, ensuring un-popped kernels are removed.

– Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave in a bowl or stovetop (do not overcook, just enough that they are melted) in a sauce pan.

– Pour the melted chocolate over top of the popcorn and stir to coat.

– Pour the coated popcorn onto a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.  Spread out evenly and let cool. Break apart into smaller pieces if needed and transfer into your favorite serving dish or Christmas tin!

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I added Christmasy sprinkles before the white chocolate cooled.

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Holiday Party


I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday.  Hopefully finishing up some last minute holiday shopping.  Hard to believe Christmas is only 9 days away!

My husband and I had a holiday party last weekend.  It’s always fun to get together with friends this time of year.  It is also a great excuse to throw a party and make a bunch of delicious food!  Of course I took pictures to share.  Enjoy!

tree

Gorgeous angel for our tree thanks to Donna Thompson!  Love the wings made out of drift wood.

Gorgeous angel for our tree thanks to Donna Thompson! Love the wings made out of drift wood.

My parents brought us this end table.  It was a piece from my maternal grandmother’s house (Daga).  I wasn’t sure where to put it at first in our TINY 800 square ft apartment.  I thought it worked PERFECTLY as a  bar  for the party.

the bar

The apple pie-infused bourbon was definitely a hit!  It was delicious with a splash of ginger ale!

apple pie infused bourbon

Another big hit was the homemade chex mix.  It may take more time to make it rather than picking up a bag at the grocery store, but boy it is good!

Chex Mix

….and the rest of our food spread.  It was fun to finally use and show off some of the awesome serving dishes we got as wedding presents.

Food

My good friend Amanda came down from Baltimore

My good friend Amanda came down from Baltimore

Eat, drink, and be Merry!  What is your favorite holiday appetizer?

Christmas Cards


Hello there!

We hope that you’ve been baking away and enjoying our 5 Favorite Holiday Treats!

Having the perfect Christmas card was always essential for our family growing up.  Usually we’d pose in our matching outfits for the perfect picture and then stuff them into cards.  That was all before the fancy cards you can make now on Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.  We thought we’d share our Christmas cards with you this year.  Enjoy!

From the Megan, Matt, & Airlie:

Picture 1

From Ryanne, LJ, & Molly:

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Day #5 Snickerdoodles


Christmas Wreath

When we weren’t busy making delicious holiday treats you could find Megan and I posing like Vanna White, showing off our mom’s latest historic Williamsburg inspired Christmas wreath.  I can remember growing up my mom, Aunt Susan, and grandmother (Daga) would always get together to make Christmas wreaths.    Daga had a HUGE magnolia tree and boxwood bushes that lined her house.  They were the perfect greenery for making wreaths.

It became tradition for our mom to enter the local house decorating contest every year.  As you can see by the gorgeous wreath above………she won just about every year.  I think they stopped doing the contest because they got sick of handing out first place ribbons to just her.

Last year I got the chance to gather greens at my grandmother’s house (before it was sold) with my Aunt Susan.  I attempted to make my own Christmas wreath.  While it’s no “Jane Floyd wreath”…….I think it came out pretty well….

my wreath

****Just in case you were wondering what type of ferocious dog we keep in our apartment…….I attached a picture.

Beware of Dog

Beware of Dog

….And now back to the baking.  It has finally arrived….our last day of five days of holiday treats!  Treat #5 consists of a classic cookie that is perfect for any holiday party…..the Snickerdoodle.

What you’ll need for Snickerdoodles:

Print Recipe Here

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Begin by beating softened butter with an eletric mixer for 30 seconds.  Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Beat until combined, making sure you scrape the sides of your bowl occasionally.

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Next beat in egg and vanilla until combined.  Gradually add in flour, beating in as much as you can.  Continue to scrape sides as needed, until well mixed.  Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

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While dough is chilling preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the two tablespoons of sugar and one teaspoon of cinnamon in a small dish.  Mix until well blended.

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Once the dough is finished chilling, form into 1-inch balls.  Roll balls in the sugar mixture, completely coating them on all sides.

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Place balls about two inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.  Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Serve cookies on a cute Christmas platter or basket.

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We hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do this holiday season!  If you missed out….check out our other favorite treats!

Day # 4 Snowballs!

Day #3 Peanut butter Temptations

Day#2 Homemade Chex Mix

Day #1 Fake Heath Bars

Day #4 Snowballs!


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I can’t believe I just shared the picture above… there.. it’s done.  After Ryanne and I were made to wear these absolutely horribly absurdly ridiculous matching outfits we needed to kick off our hush puppies and pioneer-looking boots, sit back with a cup of milk and a handful of what we like to call “Snowballs” to try to forget the embarrassment…

And so the baking holiday fun continues!  Our 4th favorite holiday treat that we are sharing today will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. I’m not going to lie, Snowballs are sweet, but as my husband likes to say they are addictive, you keep coming back for more.  Our mother’s friend Millie gave us this recipe when we were little and they were fun to make!

For Snowballs You will Need:

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Print Snowball Recipe

7 cups Cocoa Puffs cereal

1 bag peanut butter chips

1 stick (or 1/2 cup) butter

2 Tbsp. light corn syrup

3 cups confectionary sugar

2 gallon-sized Ziploc bags

Directions:

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First measure out the 6 cups of Cocoa Puffs and put them in a large bowl.

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Measure out 1 1/2 cups of confectionary sugar in each Ziploc bag. Line 2 jelly roll pans or cookie sheets with wax paper or parchment paper.

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Melt the stick of butter in a sauce pan on medium low heat.

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Add in the corn syrup and the bag of peanut butter chips.

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Stir constantly until completely melted.  Do not over-cook!

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Pour the peanut buttery mixture over the Cocoa Puffs.  Stir until they are evenly covered with the peanut butter mixture.

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Transfer half of the Cocoa Puffs into one Ziploc bag of confectionary sugar and the other have in the other bag. Shake it until the Cocoa Puffs are covered in the sugar.

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Then evenly spread the coated Cocoa Puffs on the wax paper for about 30 minutes until they cool completely.  Store in an airtight container (or transfer back into the Ziploc bags) for up to 1 week.

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Package in a mason jar and tie with ribbon (I unfortunately didn’t have any) for a cute little holiday gift!

Day #3 Holiday Treat: Peanut Butter Temptations

Day #2 Holiday Treat: Homemade Chex Mix

Day #1 Holiday Treat: Fake Heath Bars

Day #3 Peanut Butter Temptations


Santa 1991

There is nothing more tempting than peanut butter and chocolate. TOGETHER.   So today I am sharing with you another one of our 5 favorite holiday treats.  This is definitely one for my husband’s favorites.  He begs me to make these even if its not Christmas time!

For the Peanut Butter Temptations You’ll Need:

Print Recipe Here

1/2 cup butter or margarine (softened)Ingredients

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 bag of miniature peanut butter cup candies

1 3/4 inch muffin pans

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the peanut butter and softened butter together, gradually adding the sugar.  Beat the mixture well until it is light and fluffy.

Creaming

adding sugar

Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla, beating well.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, mixing well.

adding vanilla

adding flour

mixing well

Once the dough is mixed well, place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.  In the mean-time spray your mini-cupcake pan with cooking spray.  Once the dough has finished chilling form into 1-inch balls.  Place balls in greased muffin pan.

1-inch dough

dough ready to bake

Place pans in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.  While the cookies are baking, count how many peanut butter cups you need (24 in my case), and remove them from the wrapper and set aside.  It is important to have these ready because you will need them as soon as the cookies are finished baking!

Reese Cups

Once the cookies are finished, remove from the oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup evenly into hot crust.

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finished cookies

Let cookies cool in the pan.   Then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.  Repeat until all of the dough is gone.  Arrange cookies on a dish to serve.

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If you are looking for something salty to pair with this tempting treat…check out Megan’s homemade chex mix!

Day #2 Homemade Chex Mix


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Another one of our 5 favorite holiday treats in addition to the Fake Heath Bars is Chex Mix.  Can you buy it easily at the store for half the price? Yes.  Does the store-bought version taste as good and make your house smell AMAZING? Nope!  I can remember making this with Ryanne and my mom to put in a tin to give to neighbors, teachers, or friends as a holiday treat.  We’d also make it for snacks when decorating the house for Christmas with our Amy Grant Christmas CD playing or for holiday parties.  We use the Original Chex Party Mix recipe and if you have about and hour and a half to spare (maybe watching Love Actually, Elf, or The Holiday with a glass of wine like me) this recipe is totally worth it!

For the Homemade Chex Mix:

Print Recipe Here

3 Cups Rice ChexIMG_8716

3 Cups Wheat Chex

4 Cups Corn Chex

1 Cup mixed nuts

6 tsp. butter

2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce

1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

** I left out mini pretzels, but you can add in a cup if you’d like!

Directions:

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First, measure out all of the Chex cereal and combine in a large bowl.

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Add in the cup of mixed nuts.  You can also just do one type of nut if you’d like.

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Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium low heat.

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Add in the Worchestershire Sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to the melted butter.  Mix until incorporated.

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Pour the butter mixture over the bowl of Chex Mix cereal and nuts.  Stir to ensure that the butter mixture evenly covers the cereal.

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Pour the mixture into a large baking dish or jelly roll pans.  Bake at 250 F for 1 hour.  Set your timer for 15 minute increments so you can stir the mix to make sure it roasts evenly.

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Doesn’t it look yummy?! When the hour is up cool the mixture for about 10 minutes.  Store in an airtight container or gallon sized Ziploc bag.

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For sharing as gifts, put in a Christmas tin or large mason jar with a ribbon tied around the top – You will definitely be on Santa’s Nice List… Enjoy!

Day #1: Fake Heath Bars


For Day #1 of our favorite treats, I am going to share with you Fake Heath Bars.  They say that Christmas is the season of giving and, boy, did we give away plenty of treats this time of year.  I can remember making these with my mom, sister, and Grandmother (Daga), making sure we doubled the recipe so we’d have enough to share.

While the next five days consist of our favorite treats….this really is one of my favorites.  I am warning you….they are addicting!  So be ready to package them up and send them to work (LJ’s co-workers may gain some weight by the end of these five days) or give to neighbors because when it comes to Christmas baking, lets get real, their ain’t any good skinny versions honey.

It wouldn’t be right to post about Christmas baking without a Santa picture…..

Megan and Ryanne 1987

Megan and Ryanne 1987

Of course we are once again dressed in matching outfits made by our mom.  I was only 10 months old.   Look at the foehawk I have going on!  By the look on Megan’s face I’m sure she was thinking “All I want for Christmas is for this thing next to me to go away…”.

Print Recipe Here

Ingredients

What you’ll need for Fake Heath Bars:

Baking sheet

Aluminum foil

1 box saltine crackers

2 sticks of butter

1 cup sugar

1 large bag of chocolate chips

First pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Now, take your baking sheet and line it with aluminum foil so that is completely covered.

Baking Sheet

Take your saltine crackers and line the bottom of your baking sheet with them.  As you can see in my picture, they are not going to fit perfectly, so you will have to cut some crackers in half to fit on the sides.

Saltines

Set your baking sheet aside and place your two sticks of butter and sugar in a small sauce pan.

saucepan

Melt butter and sugar over medium heat. Make sure you are stirring it constantly to avoid any burning or sticking to the pan.  You want it to boil for 3 minutes.  You know it has boiled long enough when it turns into a thin, frothy mixture.  Once it has finished boiling pour the mixture over the saltines.

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You may need to use a spoon or spatula to make sure it is spread evenly over the saltines.  Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

While that is baking make sure you have your chocolate chips out, the bag is open, and a large spoon.  You have to work fast once you remove it from the oven.

Once 10 minutes is up, remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

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Take your large spoon, using the back, and spread the chocolate chips over the saltines.  The saltines should be hot enough that the chocolate chips start to melt, making the spreading easier.

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Keep spreading until the chocolate chips are fully melted and spread evenly over the saltines.

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Set them aside and let the chocolate cool and harden.  Once they are cool enough cut into squares and serve or package for friends and neighbors.

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Check back tomorrow for our favorite treat # 2….