Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

It's quiet around the house tonight.  Only one more sleep until the big night.  I finished the last of my wrapping today, cookies are all baked, and there is nothing left to do but relax and enjoy.  I've seen all of my favorite Christmas programs, heard all the songs, and it's been a month long eat-fest.
Yes, I would say we are ready.  All we need is a little snow and things would be perfect.

My kitchen is filled with homemade artwork, the kind only a mother could love.  Which I do. 

With all of the terrible events happening in the world, we are feeling very blessed and grateful this Christmas season.

A Christmas morning tradition in our house are warm cinnamon rolls while opening presents.  I'll be making these ones this year.  In case you are interested, they are super easy.  They don't have yeast so you don't have to wait for them to rise.  You can make them the night before and then just pop them in oven in the morning while you are making coffee.  Your kitchen will smell heavenly too!

(recipe adapted from

1/3 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup cold milk

For Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbs milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of a 12 cup muffin pan.

Cream 1/3 cup butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Drop 1 tsp into each muffin cup.  Reserve the remaining mixture.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in 1/4 cup butter until crumbly.  Make a well in center, and pour in the milk.  Stir to form a dough, adding a bit more milk if needed.

Turn dough out on lightly floured surface.  Knead 8 to 10 times.  Roll into a rectangle about 1/3 inch thick and 12 inches long.  Sprinkle remaining cinnamon mixture over the dough. 

Roll up like a jelly roll into a long log. 

Mark the dough first, to make sure you know where to cut, then cut log into 12 slices.

Place cut side down in prepared muffin pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.  Turn rolls out onto a serving tray.

For the glaze, add milk to the confectioners' sugar and stir well, adding more liquid if necessary to make a thin glaze.  Drizzle over cinnamon rolls.  Enjoy!

I am wishing all of my blog friends a very happy and wonderful holiday!!!!  I hope Santa brings you all that you wish for! 

Merry Christmas! xo

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekly Love

I had a great week.  I finished my shopping and now I can finally relax enjoy the things about the season that I love most.  Wrapping gifts, watching holiday TV specials with my family, sending out cards, baking...and eating : )  Here are some of my favorite things that are making me happy this week:

My tree:  It's filled top to bottom with my Nana's vintage ornaments, handmade treasures, and mementos of special places.  I love to shut all the lights off and and just look at it.  It makes me feel like I'm 12 years old again.  It's a wonderful feeling.

Cookies!  These are Susan Branch's "Annie Hall's Butter cookies".  To jazz them up I melted white chocolate and sprinkled crushed candy cane on them.  So good! 

Going to see the Enchanted Village at Jordan's Furniture! During the 1960's & 1970's Jordan Marsh displayed the Enchanted Village in Boston's Downtown Crossing.  In 1972 Jordan Marsh closed the display.  Years later it was put up for auction.  In 1998 Jordan's Furniture purchased the remaining pieces, refurbished them, and now puts them on display in their store at Christmas time. 

It's a truly magical experience!  It will take you back in time.

This is one of my favorite ones.  It's two kids sitting in a sweet shop enjoying an ice cream soda.  : - )

On the way out you can purchase some of Jordan Marsh's famous blueberry muffins is you wish.....which we did....

And enjoyed the next morning!

Helping my mom decorate her tree, while she made date nut bread in the kitchen.

Delicious right out of the oven, slathered in cream cheese!  (recipe coming soon)

This manicure.  It's Emily of Cupcakes and Cashmere.  I have to admit I'm slightly obsessed with her blog lately.  I'm in love with the pink and gold sparkle here.  I think I need this for New Years. Definitely.

My giveaway winner!  It's Leslie from Trouverlesolei.  I'm so excited to send Leslie some Christmas goodies for under her tree. 

This bucket of ornaments.  It's from a trip to Yankee Candle last month (I'll tell you more about that later).  There's an Eiffel tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Empire State Building, and Big Ben all in one place, symbolizing all places I love. I wanted one of each!

Mr. & Mrs. Clause.  Truly one of the world's greatest romances, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Homemade Amaretto

Ok, I'll admit it.  I'm starting to feel a little stressed.  I try so hard to enjoy every detail of the holidays and in the process I end up driving myself crazy. Does that ever happen to you?  I still have so much to do and I can feel the days wizzing by, getting closer and closer to the 25th.  I need to chill.  To de-stress.  Should I take a hot bath?  Go for a drive?  How about make homemade amaretto? Bingo!

This recipe comes to us from Tracy at  As soon as I saw this I knew I had to make it.  Amaretto is one liquor that I absolutely love. I couldn't believe how simple it was and truly took no time at all.  Taste testing along the way was also interesting.  I had a fine night sleep that night! Stress free! Thanks Tracy : )

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups vodka
2 tablespoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine water and sugars in a saucepan over medium heat.  Heat until the mixture is boiling and all of the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and let mixture cool for 30 minutes.

Stir vodka, almond extract, and vanilla extract into the mixture.  Strain through a coffee filter for a clearer Amaretto and store in a sealed bottle.  Makes 3 cups.

You can drink the Amaretto immediately, but you'll find it gets better with age.

I like to sip Amaretto straight, but it's also delicious stirred into coffee or hot chocolate.  Put it in a pretty bottle and give it to a friend ~


PS - there is still time to enter my giveaway.  Leave me a comment on my last post if you love cute Christmas-y things like me! : )

Bye for now!

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