Sunday, December 16, 2012

On My Wishlist: Christmas Edition

Why, it's the most wonderful time of the year. This year I already have everything I want and need, but in my surfing the web over the past month or so, I've come across some pretty nifty gift ideas for others.

A lot of the people in my family are super hard to shop for, including my husband. He's very low-matience, which is usually lovely, but when it comes to buying presents, it means I often resort to getting him cooking gear. Which he always wants anyway :)

What's on your wish list this season?

From Rain Collection 


From Target


10 Kitchen Gadgets under $20

From House Beautiful


From Asos

Homemade gifts to give to others:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Fudge

Body Scrub


Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's that time again. The holidays. This year, Justin and I hosted Thanksgiving in our tiny flat. We brined a 13 pound turkey for three days before roasting it along with sausage-sage stuffing, green beans with candied bacon, and mashed potatoes with gravy made from homemade turkey stock. For dessert, I made a chocolate pudding pie with an almond crust {recipe below!}
Pudding. Yum.
Almond crust with mini chocolate chips. It tastes like a cookie, but is gluten-free and low fat (shhh)

Baby Jonathan (my brother's kid) indulged maybe a little too much.

Now, it's time to turn our focus onto Christmas. This December 1st, it feels nowhere near the holidays at 60 degrees. I'm wearing shorts. And a T-shirt. In winter. Something is very wrong with that.

Nevertheless, a balmy start to the season won't stop us from cranking on the holiday cheer.

I took some branches from the holly bush outside my house, plopped them into a vase, and added a candle. Here it is in daylight:

And at night:

I went to Michael's a couple weeks ago, I had a plan to make a wine cork wreath. When I was checking out, I told the woman behind the counter my idea (the procedure to do so, of course, confirmed with a Google search). She asked if I had ordered the wine corks online.

Um. No.

She asked because you might need about, oh, 200 corks to do this.

For this project, just hot-glue 150 wine corks (I guess you could order them online) to a straw wreath. Add a pretty bow. Presto. Easy enough for me to do it!

Darla, of course, is fully embracing the entire tradition.

Happy Holidays, Readers. 


Chocolate Pudding Pie with and Almond Crust

For the filling:
1 - 5.1 oz instant chocolate pudding (I used fat-free, sugar free)
Skim milk
1 container Cool Whip (I used fat-free, sugar free)
1 tsp instant coffee

For the crust:
1.5 cups almond meal (available at Trader Joe's)
3 tbsp melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. For the crust: mix the melted butter and the almond meal. Mix together until moist. Add chocolate chips and mix. Press into a pie plate. Bake for 15-20 minutes or so until golden brown.
3. For the filling: measure out the proper amount of milk for the directions on the packet of pudding. Add instant coffee and dissolve. Add pudding mix and whip until firm. Add half the container of Cool Whip.
4. When the crust is cooled, pour in the pie filling. Let it set in the fridge over night. The day of your event, freeze the pie for an hour to harden. While you're eating dinner, let it defrost on the counter so it's just right.

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