Monday, November 26, 2012

A Christmas Giveaway!

Hello Everyone! Are you out of your turkey coma yet?  Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year!  I can't get enough of the stuffing and cranberries and pumpkin pie! Today I had yet another turkey sandwich.  Am I done yet?  It's too soon to tell. I might have room for just one more...

So how was your Thanksgiving? We have a lovely day at my sister's house.  It feels so good to be surrounded by the ones you love : ) We were all feeling very grateful this year in more ways than one. 

cranberry apple crisp (recipe to come!)

Earlier in the day we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from New York (a tradition!) and then I talked to my best friend Jen (who lives many miles away in Ohio).  We always remember to call and wish each other well on holidays.  I hope someday we can spend one together.  Our friendship has withstood the test of time and travel. Something to definitely be grateful for.

On Sunday my Mother cooked another turkey dinner.  She always does this the Sunday after Thanksgiving and invites those whom we didn't see or couldn't make it on Thursday. (Or maybe it might just be a ploy for more leftovers...I'm not sure : )  We are lucky to be able to celebrate twice.  Blessings all around us, indeed!

I have wasted no time getting into Christmas mode. My tree is up and decorated! I'm so happy with how it came out. In the past I've been wishy-washy about my fake tree but this year I decided to give it another try. It must be Christmas magic because I love it! 

I wanted to do something special for my blog friends this year so I decided to have a Christmas giveaway!  Here's what I have for you:  A Debbie Mumm porcelain mug and coaster set.  It's a Santa and a reindeer on a roof on Christmas eve.  The coaster is actually my favorite - it's snowflakes across a black cute!  Perfect for hot chocolate sipping on a cold night.
I also have a set of Mary Engelbreit Christmas note cards.  There are 6 cards with decorated envelopes.  It's a mouse sleeping on top of a teapot with the quote "not a creature was stirring" floating over his head. (double click the photo for a closer look)  They are so darling and I want them to be yours! Just leave me a comment and I'll pick a name at random at the end of the week.
This giveaway is open to everyone!  Good Luck : )

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of this beautiful holiday season.  Now it's time to do some shopping!

Danielle xo

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Feeling Festive: Homemade Marshmallows

Ok, so I feel like I might be just a wee bit early with this marshmallow post, but since Halloween is over and there are Christmas trees up in CVS I'm going to give myself a free pass!

Thanksgiving is only a week away.  This month is going by crazy fast.  Are you ready?  Last week Channelling Contessa gave some great tips on getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One tip that struck me was make your pie dough ahead of time and freeze it.  So simple, right!  Then when it's time to make a pie, your dough is already made.  I love that.  I'm thinking about doing it with cookie dough too. She also suggested stocking up on the essentials (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc) before the baking-extravaganza begins.  No need to make extra trips to the store with flour in your hair if you don't need to.  Check out her list (here).  This girl knows what she's talking about! : )

I am so excited for Thanksgiving!  Not only is Thanksgiving is my favorite meal (I have it on my birthday in July!) but it's also the kickoff to the Christmas season!  And with a five year old in the house Christmas gets more exciting every year.  It also gets more expensive, but that's a topic for another day.  Today I want to talk marshmallows! I've seen them made on blogs before and have always wanted to try them.  Hot chocolate with marshmallows is a staple in my house in the winter and what could be better than homemade marshmallows, right?  I couldn't believe how easy it was.   This is all you need... (forgive my lighting situation - it was very early in the morning and the sun was coming up...: )

(recipe from Family Circle magazine Dec12)

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 envelopes (.25 oz each) unflavored gelatin
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla

Sift confectioners' sugar and cornstarch into a small bowl. 

Line a 9x9x2 inch pan with foil.  Coat with non-stick spray.  Sift 2 tbsp of confectioners' sugar mixture into the pan, tilting to coat sides.  Leave any excess in pan.

Place 2/3 cup water in a large bowl and sprinkle with gelatin.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. 

Add into bowl with gelatin.  Beat on high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy - about 12 minutes. 

{early morning marshmallow making....}

Add vanilla during this process. 

Spread into prepared pan and smooth top.  Dust with 2 tbsp of confectioners' sugar mixture.  Let stand 2 hrs to set. 

Lift marshmallow from pan with foil.  With a wet knife (use hot water) cut into four squares.

Cut each square into 12 pieces.

Toss marshmallows in sugar mixture and let stand 1 hour. 

Store in an air tight container at room temperature. 

Tie a big red bow around this jar and you've got yourself a perfect hostess gift! So cute~

Toss as many as you want into a steaming mug of hot chocolate. 

This one is for you! : )

After a while look what happens..... Melty-gooey-marshmallow fluff! Just the thing to warm the bones on a cold day! And some Bailys Irish creme in that mug and make it a party.  Just a thought.

Enjoy this week before Thanksgiving!  Happy baking everyone!  Oh, and don't forget to dig out those eleastic waist pants.  You're gonna need them! 

Danielle xo

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Favorites: Gingerbread Waffles


Good Morning and Happy Sunday!  I don't know about you, but after the week I've had, I needed a cozy Sunday morning breakfast.  Not only did we have that horrible storm on Monday, I had a crazy week at work, and to top things off I found out my favorite supermarket (the one I've been shopping at every week for 14 years) is closing!  I'm definitely a creature of habit and don't like things to change much, so this news was a shocker for me.  I'm so sad.  Anyway, I thought some comfort food might be in order today.  Dust off the waffle iron, folks....

How about some Country Gingerbread Waffles with warm maple syrup? I served mine with Shutterbean's hot vanilla cider (recipe here) and some apple slices drizzled with honey.  I'm normally a pancake girl, but seriously, these waffles blew me away. It was the perfect November breakfast.  While the cold air and leaves were blowing around outside I was cozy in my kitchen filled with the scents of apple and ginger. It's real life aromatherapy. 

Warm Country Gingerbread Waffles
(recipe from Gooseberry Patch Classic Christmas Recipes)

2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1cup molasses
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.  Heat molassas and butter until the butter melts.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda.  Add buttermilk and egg, and then add flour mixture.  Cook in a preheated waffle iron until golden.  Dust with powered sugar if deisred.
Makes 9 4in waffles. 

I'm starting to feel better already! Enjoy your Sunday!  Let's make it last....xo