December 31, 2017

A look back at 2017

Another year is coming to a close and what a year it has been! This is when I like to look back through my posts from the year and pick my favorite recipe from each month. Then I hand it over to my official taste tester husband and let him pick his favorites as well. Sometimes we pick the same thing and other times we don't. This year has been a bit crazy with our twins going from babies to toddlers! I've done a lot of dabbling in posting baby and toddler foods which I've really enjoyed. It can still be tough to get quality kitchen time, but I do my best! Thanks to everyone who reads and comments and continues to follow me through eight years of this little blog now. I wish everyone all the best in 2018. Now here are my picks.

December 20, 2017

White chocolate eggnog fudge

Sweet and decadent white chocolate eggnog fudge is a rich and delicious treat to add to your holiday parties or give as a gift to the eggnog lovers in your life. Welcome to December's Fantastical Food Fight hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes - and in case you didn't guess already, the theme for this month is eggnog! So can you believe that I've never made fudge before this?? I mean, it's seriously crazy, right?! I really enjoy fudge, but it's not something you want (er, should) eat all that often. I have been wanting to make some for the holidays for years now, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Plus, incorporating eggnog makes it the best holiday fudge you could ask for, really! I slightly adapted my recipe from this one and it's super easy to make. I think I could totally get into candy making and need to try my hand at some others soon.

This fudge, like all fudge, is super sweet, very rich, and one piece is all you need to cure even the strongest of sweet tooths! A sprinkling of nutmeg and cinnamon add an extra festive touch. This will likely be my last recipe post before Christmas, so I hope everyone enjoys their holidays! Check out all the other eggnog recipes below for more holiday inspiration.

December 18, 2017

Chewy molasses spice cookies

You guys, I think I have found the most perfect winter/holiday/Christmas/anytime cookie. These cookies are truly perfect - simple, chewy, lightly spiced, slightly crisp edges, and all-around yummy! They are very slightly adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, so I can't take credit for them, though I wish I could. These are going to be a recipe that I am making for years to come and I bet they will be heavily requested by others. Every time I eat one, I like them even more. Slowly but surely I'm getting my baking and wrapping and other holiday stuff finished up. We skipped a tree this year.... it really just wasn't worth it with two toddlers running around who are into *everything*! We do miss it though. We put some lights up in the window and hung our stockings, wreath, Santa head, and have been listening to Christmas music and reading Christmas stories to the kiddos. So we are still being relatively festive - and having tins of cookies around helps!

This recipe will make about 30 cookies. The flavor improves after a day or two as the spices become even more prominent. They will make your house smell like the holidays while they are baking. These are a terrific cookie to enjoy with a steamy cup of tea or coffee. Add these to your cookie tray this year - you won't be disappointed!

December 13, 2017

Mexican wedding cake cookies

It's cookie time!! I mean, it's always kind of cookie time, but now it's Christmas cookie time!! There are a lot of cookie recipes on this blog. A lot (over 40 as of now). I try to post at least one new cookie recipe for the holidays each year and so far I've been pretty successful with that. Somehow over the years, this classic Christmas cookie has escaped making it onto the blog. I made Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies previously using the same base recipe, but this is the classic version. This recipe comes from my great-grandmother. These were a cookie she made every year that I can remember. Although I know she didn't create them as Mexican Wedding Cakes and Russian Tea Cakes are super popular and very similar cookies that you'll find everywhere. My family has always made them with walnuts as I did with this recipe, but pecans would work well, too. The only change I make from hers is giving the walnuts a light toast before adding them to the dough to make them extra flavorful. These cookies definitely remind me of family and of being a kid at Christmas. My mom frequently made them as well when I was a kid and I always helped her with the holiday baking. I just love when food evokes memories. These photos also hold a couple nostalgia pieces - the cookie tray my brother and I used for Santa's cookies and a tablecloth that belonged to my Grandmother.

If you haven't tried these cookies, this is the year for you to add them to your cookie tray. They are super simple in both ingredients and effort, which is a bonus this time of year! This recipe will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

December 5, 2017

Whole wheat squash & cranberry muffins

Hearty muffins full of winter squash puree, whole wheat flour, fresh cranberries, and warming spices are a delicious breakfast treat or snack with a steamy cup of coffee or tea. These are also a tasty muffin for toddlers. I've been working on some healthier muffins for my kids who are now 16 months old. They love things like pancakes and muffins, so I try to make them with overall less sugar and less oil/butter and to incorporate fruits and vegetables into them. I've posted many muffin recipes in the past including these banana spinach oat blender muffins and these applesauce barley infant cereal muffins for toddlers. Since our twins have been really loving cranberries lately, I bought up a few bags of fresh ones while they are available. I know I wanted to make them a muffin with some of the cranberries. And, since we have a bunch of winter squash, I thought that would make a nice seasonal combination. I based these muffins off of my pumpkin streusel muffins recipe. These muffins make a terrific breakfast with some scrambled eggs or they make a delicious portable snack. Let's just say they were a hit with all of us! Slightly sweet with a touch of spice and tangy pops of cranberry.

This recipe will make one dozen muffins. They are a festive addition to a holiday breakfast - fall or winter!