Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eggnog Pancakes

Eggnog Pancakes!  This is a recipe you'll want to use year round.  My family loved this recipe.

This would make a nice New Year's Day breakfast.  The eggnog flavor is a nice change from the classic pancake recipe.  We will be making this recipe a holiday tradition.

2 cups Aunt Jemima Buttermilk Pancake mix
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups egg nog

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
Butter and syrup for serving
non-stick spray for griddle

Whisk together all of the ingredients in a large bowl until combined. 
Prepare the griddle with non-stick spray. 
On a hot griddle, pour out 1/4 cupfuls to make pancakes.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes.  Turn and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Serve with butter and syrup.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Small Holiday Confession

A small holiday confession: I hate wrapping gifts. The process of picking colors that aren't 'too girly' or 'too babyish', the excessive cutting, and running out of invisible tape goes to waste as soon as my children come down to the Christmas tree and rip the wrapping paper to shreds. It's a lot of work to throw all that wrapping paper away! So this year, I decided to do something different for Christmas presents.

My daughter turned 16 on December 7, and it was hard to pick wrapping paper for her. She's at that age where pink is for little 5-year old girls (even though she is obsessed with One Direction, but I digress!) She loves quirky things, from loafers to toast-printed blouses, so I knew she would go crazy over this kooky wrapping paper I bought from the craft store.
I felt as though it was missing something, so I added a few glitter balls and felt hearts. She's eyeing her presents as we speak!

I think that in the span of blogging, I have made well over 60 pillows, some creative and others, know how that goes! Some of the pillows I've made had satin roses with burned edges on them and the idea transpired to Christmas gifts!
I used gray wrapping paper as a background for a cluster of black flowers made of tissue paper, and placed a lace doily underneath them. A green striped ribbon ties it all together (pun perhaps intended.)

When I get frustrated with wrapping presents, I usually cut and tape things together and pray it looks good. This time was no different! I used wood-printed paper, regular brown paper, and a chevron goodie bag from my daughter's Sweet Sixteen. My son's persistent questions and my daughter's peering eyes indicate that I did great with this year's presents! Maybe they'll think twice about tearing the gift wrappers into pieces this time around!
Hopefully you can file these tips away for next year's holiday wrapping, and for birthdays and other holidays throughout 2013.
As always, have a wonderful holiday and a merry new year!

This post is part of BlogHer's Get Noticed For the Holidays editorial series, made possible by Cover Girl.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Russian Tea Cakes

I have been making this family favorite for years.  Russian Tea Cakes were my mom's favorite cookie.  She baked them all the time during the holidays.  I continued the tradition and enjoy baking them with my children each year.

Russian Tea Cakes are so easy to make.  They are a melt-in-your mouth, shortbread-like cookie that goes by many names.  The key to a great cookie is to grind up the nuts as finely as possible.  I recommend adding this recipe to your baking list this season.

 1 cup butter (at room temperature) 
 2 1/2 tsp vanilla 
 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (sifted, plus extra for rolling cookies in
 2 cups flour 
 1/4 tsp salt 
 1 cup pecans (finely chopped) 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla then gradually add 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.  Gradually stir in flour and salt.  Add the pecans and mix well.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove the cookies from the baking sheets. Roll in powdered sugar while still hot. Cool completely and roll again in powdered sugar before serving.  Store in covered container.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holly Wreath Pillow

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my boxwood wreath holiday pillow.  Today I want to share with you a couple more pillows that I made for the craft fair.  Since the fair was so close to Christmas most of the pillows I made were holiday themed. 

Did you know that you can buy a variety of craft supplies on Etsy?  Etsy is an excellent craft supply source.  Most of the felt and pom-pom trim I use for the pillows I make, comes from Etsy.

To create the wreath, I traced a large round bowl onto the fabric.  Using my glue gun, I placed the leaves around the circle over the pencil marks.    

I added the pom-pom trim in clusters of three to represent berries.

I finished it off with a bow.

The second pillow was made the same way.

Do you plan on creating any pillows for your home this holiday season?

Save time by buying pre-cut shapes.

I'll be back with more pillows! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Prevent Your Candles from Leaning

A few weeks ago I picked up some brass candlesticks at a thrift store to use with my holiday decorations.  Only problem was, every candle I tried was smaller than the base causing the candles to lean.

Fast forward to recent trip to Hobby Lobby where I came across this great product for only $1.99.  Candle fitters are made of wax and will mold to easily fit any candle. 

Simply tear off a strip of wax, break it into smaller pieces and wrap it around the candle base.

Problem solved, no more lean

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shrimp Soup

There isn't much that's more comforting than a bowl of soup on a cool evening.

This recipe came to mind a few months ago after having my family over for dinner.  I made a large pot of shrimp and grits served with a creamy shrimp sauce.  One of my family members commented that the sauce would make a great soup and so this recipe was born...

1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb large raw shrimp, peeled- devein if you prefer *save those shells!
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp dried dill
Salt to taste

1 lb large raw shrimp shells 
4 tablespoons butter, separated 
4 cups half and half 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 glove garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon dried dill
Salt and black pepper to taste 

Heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat.  Add garlic and saute until mixture is simmering and garlic is fragrant.  Add shrimp and broccoli.  Cook until shrimp is white throughout and broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Sprinkle with dill.  Set aside.  

In a large stock pot, add half and half, shrimp shells, two tablespoons of butter, minced garlic and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook partially covered for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and season with salt pepper and dill. *Strain shells and save only the broth. In a separate pan, heat remaining two tablespoons of butter in a large sauce pan and sprinkle with the flour, always stirring. Slowly add the broth, whisking it vigorously until it thickens. 

Combine broth with shrimp and broccoli, stirring with a spoon to blend. Heat thoroughly.  Serve immediately

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Warm Holiday Scent for Your Home

In my world, making my house smell like Christmas is just as important as decorating for the holidays.  I enjoy walking into my house after the air has been filled with the warm scents of Christmas simmering on the stove.

Not far from my house is a great farmer's market with the best selection of reasonably priced spices.  I purchased a few spice containers to create my own holiday potpourri.

A few whole nutmeg
2 Tbsp dried orange peel
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
A few dried orange slices
Two cups of water

Place all the ingredients into a saucepan.  Fill the saucepan with water and stir to dissolve the dried orange peel.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer.  Be sure to add more water as the water boils down.  I refrigerate the leftovers and reuse them for about a week.  The smell is wonderful.  It truly does make the house smell great!

If you like you can view a clean fragrance for your home here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Boxwood Wreath Holiday Pillow

Last week, I participated in my first ever arts and crafts show.  Let me tell you, I was so nervous, but overall it was a positive experience.  The event was held at my aunt's workplace.  My aunt called me before the show and asked, how many pillows could I make in two weeks.  Two weeks?!  Sewing is not a quick thing, especially for me, but I worked hard and came up with a few creations.

I was inspired by the leaves in this wreath and came up with the idea for my first pillow.  

To create the wreath, I traced a large round bowl onto the fabric.  I added the leaves by pinching the ends of each felt circle and gluing them together, making sure to group the leaves tightly.  I added a tiered bow for a festive look.

This pillow was fun to make, although attaching the felt leaves can be time consuming. *To save time, you can purchase pre-cut felt circles on Etsy.  

I hope you enjoyed my pillow.  I'll be back later to show you a few more that I made! 

I am linking this post to:
Savvy Southern Style

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Family Favorite- Sweet Potato Orange Cups

Does your family have any Thanksgiving recipe traditions?

Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mom made for our family was Sweet Potato Orange Cups.  It makes a perfect side dish or can be used as a dessert.  I was always so impressed by her presentation of the dish.  Best of all, the  pre-portioned cups make after-dinner cleanup a breeze!

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
6 large oranges

Using a juicer, remove pulp from oranges, leaving a shell.  Reserve orange pulp for a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Beat eggs, granulated sugar, and 3/4 cup butter.  Add milk and vanilla.  Combine with the mashed sweet potatoes; spoon sweet potato mixture into shells.  Place filled orange cups in a muffin pan.  Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until heated through.  Serve warm topped with homemade whipped topping

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Natural Thanksgiving Centerpieces

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be costly.  If we spend all our money on decorations, there's less to go around the table.  I wanted to create a centerpiece for our table this year without spending a fortune.  So I gathered a few things from outside to decorate my table for the holiday.

On my kitchen table sat a bowl filled with hedge apples.  I am in Georgia and have yet to see a tree here, so I ordered mine from Ebay.  

I filled the rest of the bowl with pine cones, leaves and berries from my yard.

I created a second centerpiece using the same concept, leaves and pine cones from my yard and acorns collected from a walk in Grant Park.  The pears are plastic!

You don't have to spend a lot of money on decorations.  Bring the outdoors in for a natural Thanksgiving display.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

Soup Can Planters

Early in September, Target started selling special edition Andy Warhol-themed tomato soup cans.  I grew up on tomato soup and grilled cheese, so I picked up a few cans for lunch.  After the soup was gone, the cans were too pretty to throw away.  So after some thought I decided to reuse the cans as planters.

After cleaning the cans, I hammered a few drainage holes at the bottom of each can.  Be careful not to get the labels too wet.  If you should, just allow them to completely dry before moving on.

Then I applied a thin coat of Mod Podge over the labels to seal and protect the surface.

I purchased a few succulents from Home Depot and replanted them in each can.

I love the bright pop of color!

Simple and inexpensive!  What will you create today?