Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Crackers

We decided to do an english tradition this year and do crackers for Christmas.I wanted to make them myself and got the instruction on pinterest. I got the supplies for them from Old English Crackers online. Here's the link to the directions I used:


I used a mix of Christmas wrap I had after wrapping gifts, I used about 3 different rolls on this project

Monday, December 30, 2013


  • 1 cup softened btter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Beat butter for 30 seconds. 
  2. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Beat till combined.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla till combined.
  4. Beat in the four till combined. 
  5. Cover and chill 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. 
  7. Roll dough into 1 1/4'' balls and roll in cinnamon sugar to coat.
  8. Place 2'' apart on baking sheets.
  9. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown.
  10. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanila 
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. eat butter and shortening about 30 seconds.
  3. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix till combined.
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla till combined. Beat in flour till combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2'' apart on baking sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes just until the edges are light brown. 
  7. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


These are always one of my favorite Christmas Cookies

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  1. Cream the butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar till combined.
  2. Beat in water, vanilla and flour till combined.
  3. Stir in pecans. Cover and chill 30-60 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 325. Shape dough into 1'' balls and place 1'' apart on baking sheets.
  5. Bake about 15 minutes until bottoms are light brown. 
  6. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
  7. Place 1 cup powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Add cooled cookies, a few at a time, shaking gently to coat.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa power
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut up
  • 1 tbsp red food coloring
  • 3 oz white baking chocolate
  • 1 1/2 tsp shortening.
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Cover and process with on/off pulses until well mixed.
  3. Add butter and red food coloring, cover and process with on/off pulses until mixture starts to cling.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl. Form mixture into a ball and knead until smooth.
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll dough until 1/2'' thick. Cut out with cookie cutter of your choice.
  6. Place cutouts 1'' apart on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes (less time for smaller cookie shapes) until centers are set. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.
  8. Melt together chocolate and shortening and drizzle over cookies.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is another recipe from the 100 best cookies magazine. They said to only chill 1 hour, I chilled 1.5 hours and would recommend chilling overnight so they don't spread as much as they did for me. They still tasted really good, just think next time I will chill longer.

  • 1 cup peaut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  1. Beat peanut butter, butter and shortening until combined.
  2. Add the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Beat till combined.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Beat in flour till combined.
  5. Cover and chill overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Place additional granulated sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1 1/4'' balls. Roll balls in sugar an place 2'' apart on baking sheets. Flatten by crisscross marks with the tines of a fork.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

Lately I've really been into gingerbread flavored items so I had to make a gingerbread cookie for Christmas. I got this from a 100 best cookies magazine.

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • dash of ground loves
  • 3/4 cut butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup mild flavored molasses
  • 1 egg
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and cloves and set aside
  2. Cream butter and add brown sugar and molasses. Beat until combined.
  3. Beat in eggs till combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture till combined. 
  4. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 325, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I made these into small balls, but if you make bigger you just have to increase baking time. Place balls about 4'' apart on cookie sheets and using the bottom of a glass flatten the balls slightly.
  6. Bake approximately 15 minutes, until the edges are set. Don't overbake. Cool on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
  7. Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, 4 tsp milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla to make powdered sugar icing, add more milk if necessaary till it gets to a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cookies.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This is from a 100 best cookie magazine I picked up. These were a delicious oatmeal cookie and next time I may change it up by adding some cranberries or pomegranates.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups quick cook oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and brown sugar till creamy. Add baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix till combined.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Beat in flour until combined.
  5. Stir in raisins and oatmeal.
  6. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons or tablespoons (depending on the size you want them) 2'' apart onto cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. 
  8. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes and transfer to wire rack to cool.

Bayberry Candle

I just wanted to share this tradition I carry on from my grandma. If you burn a bayberry candle straight through till it burns out on Christmas Eve you will have good luck in the coming year. Really hope this is true for this coming year and we have a year full of good luck. I always buy a few of these candles and hand them out.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mini Black and White Cookies

I love black and white cookies and these were a good take on them.

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lg egg
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix butter till creamy, add sugar and mix till fluffy.
  3. Mix in the egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour and buttermilk (add a little flour, then a little buttermilk, alternating the two until fully incorporated)
  5. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place 2'' apart on baking sheets. 
  6. Bake 10 minutes or until bottoms turn golden. Let cool
  7. Whisk confectioners sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1/4 tsp water till smooth. If necessary add more water, icing should be thicker than honey. 
  8. Transfer half the icing to another bowl and stir n cocoa, if necessary thin with waater.
  9. Spread white icing on half of each cookie and cocoa icing on the other half.
  10. Let set 30 minutes. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Pudding Cookies Recipe

I used reese's pieces instead of reese's peanut butter cups. These cookies were really good and super easy to make. Here's the link to this recipe:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

We had dinner in the city with my sister and her fiance and Kyle had Shepherd's pie and asked me to make it one night for dinner. The next day I was reading the new Food Network Magazine and found it meant to be that they had a recipe for it in that issue. This was really good and will be making this again soon.

  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and quartered - I used parsnips instead
  • kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • fresh ground pepper

For the Filling:
  • 4 strips thick-cut applewood-smoked baon, diced
  • 2 lbs ground beef chuck - I did half lamb, half ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4oz cremini mushroom, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Put the potatoes and turnips in a large pot and cover with cold water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, reserving the pot.
  2. Meanwhile make the filling. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain all but 1 tbsp of the fat, add the beef to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery and cook, stirring until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until incorporated about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir the flour into the vegetables until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375. Finish the topping: Combine the butter and milk in the reserved pot and cook over medium heat until the butter is melted. Return the potatoes and turnips to the pot and mash with potato masher until smooth. Stir in the parmesan and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer the filling to a 2 1/2 quart baking dish and cover with the topping, spreading evenly. Bake until the topping is golden, about 35 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Cookie Packaging

Wanted to share my first round of Christmas cookie packaging. I made these cookies for my employees, some friends, our vets office and our groomer. I made these tags with stamps I had. Can't wait to deliver these tomorrow. I will be sharing the cookie recipes in the next few days.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NYC at Christmas

Had to share some of our pics from our trip into the city to see the Christmas lights and decorations.I love living close enough to drive in and see everything.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

This soup was delicious and perfect for the snowy, cold weather we've had.The lemon was a nice touch in this soup. Here's the link to this amazing recipe:


Friday, December 6, 2013

Scrapbook Pages

Wanted to share some recent scrapbook pages.
 My brother and Grandma in England

 My brother and his fiance

 My brother's fiance

 My brother and his fiance

 My brother in England

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Chicken and Mushroom Stuffed Shells with White Sauce

Got this recipe from pinterest, the recipe used manicotti, I had shells so that's what I used. This was really good. Here's the link to this recipe:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Decorations

Wanted to share more Christmas decorations from our house this year.
 Our lighted lawn decorations

 Our entry table

 More Front lawn

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Challah Apple Stuffing

This was a big hit at Thanksgiving. Will definitely make this again. I made this since Hanukkah and Thanksgiving were together this year. Here's the link to the recipe:


Saturday, November 30, 2013


I will share the Rachael Ray recipe I used as inspiration for this. I made my own sauce for this and added carrots, pancetta and a mix of ground meat. Kyle likes the cheese like this, but you can cover yours so it doesn't get the same way.

  • 2lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 12oz tomato paste
  • 15oz tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20 lasagna noodles
  • 32oz ricotta
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lb shredded mozzarella
  1. In a 6qt dutch oven combine the beef, onion, tomato paste, tomato sauce, 2 cups water, sugar, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and smooth. Stir in the vinegar and cook another 30 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and extra virgin olive oil and lasagna noodles. Cook, stirring often, until al dente. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water.
  3. In a bowl mix the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, parsley and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  4. Cover the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish with a thin layer of sauce. For the first layer, start with 4 noodles and then spread with half the ricotta mixture and sprinkle with a handful of mozzarella. 
  5. For the second layer top with 4 more noodles and sprinkle with mozzarella and sauce.
  6. Repeat layers till done, cover the lasagna with foil and bake until bubbly. About 1 1/2 hours. Let stand 30 minutes.

Friday, November 29, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Besides shopping on Black Friday (I waited till after midnight, I refuse to shop on Thanksgiving) I'm a big supporter of family time and think stores should be closed on Thanksgiving. In the end are you going to remember that day at work you may or may not have gotten holiday pay for or are you going to remember that silly story or thing that happened spending the day with family? So off my soapbox,I always decorate inside when I get back from shopping. So wanted to share a few pictures of what I've done so far.
 Love this reindeer I found at Home Goods, behind the candle holder is a huge glass container I filled with ornaments.

 I love lanterns so of course had to display some of my favorites.

 My new advent calendar I made and my favorite Charlie Brown Christmastree

 My dining room table

 Since our fire place is in our dining room I usually put our stockings in the living room by the tree. This year I decided to change it up a little.

 Our Tree

 Another picture of our tree