Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Valentine’s Day Yarn Wreath

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to decorate my little yarn wreath for one of my favorite holidays. Today I wanted to share with you another fun way to decorate that wreath of yours and some fun creations you can make with a simple piece or two of felt.

You may recognize this yarn wreath that I made this Fall to decorate our front door. This wreath was created because of the limited amount of storage in our house. I created this wreath to transition with the seasons and figured out a way to create accessories that could easily be removed and switched out with the holidays. Say goodbye to this old Fall look and let’s brighten things up with some Valentine’s Day fun today!

 

For this wreath, I wanted to create some loopy flowers in pinks and purples for my wreath.  I found a multi-pack of fun felt colors at Walmart over by the craft supplies with my Valentine’s Day colors in it.  You will also need a hot glue gun, glue sticks, scissors, a tape measure, and your choice of a clip (like I have shown here) or a jewelry pin (you can find those in the jewelry-making supplies).

Taking your felt square (which is roughly the size of a sheet of paper), measure 1 1/2 inches width. You will cut a strip 1 1/2 inches wide along the long edge of your piece of felt. Repeat one more time so that you have two of these strips for your loopy flower.

Dab a little hot glue on each end of the piece of felt and fold in half. I also like to make sure it is a little secure in the middle with one more dab of glue, but you can judge for yourself how secure you like it.

Cut slits down the side that is not glued.  You can make them fat or thin depending on what type of look you are going for. You can cut them straight or cut them on an angle. Basically, anything goes with the cutting!

Now start rolling your little loopy flower up and add a dab of hot glue here and there to make sure it all holds secure.

So pretty! You can leave it like this for a small loopy flower or you can use that other strip of felt you cut and start cutting it up just like the last one.

Once you have that second piece of felt cut, you can start wrapping it around the outside of your loopy flower you started, picking up where you left off with the last piece of felt. You can do two different colors of felt or keep it sweet and simple with the same color. Apologies for switching colors on you, my pictures from the first flower didn’t turn out as good.

Hot glue a small circle of felt to the back of your loopy flower to hold it all together. Add your pin or clip to attach the flowers to your wreath.

If you have any stray strips of felt, you can transform them into bows. I just fashioned this one into a bow shape and then secured it with a little floral wire in the center. Cover your wire with another little scrap of felt and you have another fun element to your wreath.

Here are all of my fun Valentine’s Day accessories on my wreath. I made these felt roses, several of these loopy flowers, and a bow in the middle clipped to the top. You could also add some cute fabric flowers, if you like, in other fun Valentine’s Day shades.

Same exact wreath.

Totally different look.

I saved all of my accessories (that my daughter did not run away to accessorize her room) and I can just reapply those fall accessories next year.

It is much easier to store a box of accessories than a million wreaths in my basement.

What special traditions have you created for your family for Valentine’s Day in your house? Do you have any special crafts you do together or any special food traditions? I would love to hear your ideas!

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Amy’s Handmade Holiday Craft Factory 2011

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Handmade gifts are my favorite kinds of gifts to give. Unfortunately, since the recepients read my blog, I had to hold off and show off my holiday crafts until now. I hope that you can bookmark these for future gift-giving though since all of these gifts were so well received and fun to create!

I ended up making two yarn wreaths this year for holiday gifts- one for my best friend and one for my mother-in-law. I did five fabric flowers on each, three rosettes, and one spray of berries/flowers.  The most time intensive part of this is definitely covering the wreath with yarn, but it is a great craft to do while catching up on your favorite shows.  To find out how to make a wreath of your own, visit this tutorial on creating a yarn wreath!


Our teachers loved our, “Raise Your Hand if You Mustache a question mugs and printables we created for them. I filled the mugs with my homemade cocoa mix and paired it with marshmallows for a fun gift this year. I spray painted the frames red to give them a little pop of color.  According to my son the teachers really got a chuckle out of these and we had fun making them.

The Peppermint Marshmallows were bagged up for gift giving for all of  the  special people who make our lives so much better.  After making them as party favors to take home for my daughter’s birthday party, making them for all of the teachers, making a batch for the helpers in our lives, and giving out some to our family members, I ended up giving 27 dozen of these away!  They were so easy to make and so yummy to eat that it was one of my favorite gifts that I got to give this year. These would be so cute cut into hearts for Valentine’s Day too for February cocoa topping.  I am now a believer that homemade marshmallows are the best kind of marshmallows to eat and to share.

Fabric flowers adorned everything I gave this year. I made about fifteen of these pins to top gifts and packaged them up sweetly with our teacher gifts.  I bought two bracelets on clearance before the holidays and realized why they were on clearance when the elastic on both of them snapped after I slipped them on. The beads scattered everywhere and I gathered them up and threw them in my craft box for a future use. I ended up using those little pearls and broken bits to adorn the centers of the flowers. I still haven’t made a pin for myself yet… hopefully one of these days I will make a few of these for myself!

To match these pins, I found this tutorial for creating fabric covered button bracelets on The Mother Huddle.  I discovered one thing through this process… making buttons is not easy. My fingers were breaking and each button seemed to take forever.  I had planned to make four of these and ended up only making two. They are so pretty and worth every minute of effort, but it is hard to find a way to share just how special these are. I wanted to write a note with each of them that said, “Handmade. Like Really Handmade. Like I Made Buttons. Like Broke My Fingers For You. Because I Love You That Much Hard.”  I think I might try and do some fun stuff with my extra materials though after my fingers heal from this last round of button making. Who knew a girl could make buttons herself?

 

I kept visiting boutiques and shops and seeing these cute knitted ear warmers with flowers on them. I just knew these would make fantastic gifts for my sister and best friend for the holidays. These knitted up so quickly and easily and I had fun personalizing them with unique buttons to finish them off.

Cozy Ear Warmers

Pattern: Strictly Knit Flower Headband Ear Warmer (available for purchase for $5 on Ravelry)

Needle Size: US  9

Yarn: Caron Simply Soft (in Ivory) & Red Heart Soft Yarn (in Plum)

Notes:  The trick with making this ear warmer super soft and warm is that you knit with two balls of yarn to create a thicker ear warmer than you would with a single ball of yarn. This pattern is easy and straightforward. I had a blast making these two headbands and can’t wait to make one for myself soon!

 

My nephew is a nut for anything Angry Birds so I was dying to make something for him that incorporated his favorite game! I decided to knit him an Angry Birds hat and I will admit, I never thought I could do it.  TWO eyes, TWO eyebrows, TWO eyeballs, and a nose?  I can’t do that. I was really worried about this hat, but mostly about appliqueing all of the details to the front.  I was shocked this turned out and I am pretty proud of my handiwork on this one.

Angry Birds Hat

Pattern: Red Bird With an Attitude (available for purchase for$3.99)

Needle Size: US  8 (16″ circulars)

Yarn: Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton! (in Red, White, Black) &  scraps of orange from my yarn stash

Notes: This pattern is fairly straightforward. I would recommend sizing down (at least) one needle size because the 1×1 ribbing on the edge is very loose and will not fit on the head snugly.

I love how this bird turned out. You could definitely make the tail a little longer to make it wave and stitch in the back or you can tie it in a loop if it doesn’t set comfortably on your child’s head.

I opted to knit my eyeballs on this one because I didn’t want to have to mess with felt or buttons.

Knitted eyeballs:

CO 1 stitch Loosely (leaving a 4” tail)
Row 1: Knit in front and back of this stitch five times (5 stitches should be on your needle)
Row 2: Knit all stitches
Row 3: Purl all stitches
Row 4: Knit all stitches but do not turn. Pass 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th stitch over the 1st stitch. One stitch will be left on the needle. Cut the yarn (leaving a 3” tail.
Ball up the yarn from the cast on tail and stuff it inside the eyeball. Stitch the eyeball closed and then secure it to the white part of the eye. Repeat for the other side.

 

Here is the adorable recipient in his little hat.  He kept pulling people aside and saying, “See this hat? It’s special. My Aunt Amy made it just for me. Just for me.”

Yup, you are special and  you are loved.

Handmade gifts say you are loved in BIG ways.

Did you tackle any holiday crafts? What is your proudest craft you created or received for the holidays? Please share here!

 

Best Christmas Break Ever (Told Through Instagram)

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Good morning, friends! I hope that you all have enjoyed your Christmas and New Year’s with your families. The holiday break was just what our family needed this year to get our 2012 started out right. Thank you so much for giving me the chance to regroup and spend some much needed time with our family.

We did a whole lot of nothing this year while we were on holiday. My husband took the entire week off of work and for the first time ever, we had a whole week of nothing.

I bought a big box of Christmas puzzles that I thought the kids would enjoy doing with us.  Our kids could have cared less about the puzzles after the first day, but Ryan & I found ourselves sitting down every night and trying to put these together while listening to holiday tunes on Pandora. I think this was one of my favorite things that we did and I can’t wait to tackle these again next year.

As is the tradition in our house, the kids opened their Christmas pajamas one day early and we took them in their new jammies to see the holiday lights and for peppermint shakes at Steak & Shake.  All other traditions ceased to exist after our family was attacked with a rotten case of the stomach flu.

Of course the stomach flu happened on my daughter’s birthday, Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day…pretty much all of the important days to our family. We tried not to let it rain on our perfect Christmas break though.   On Christmas Day morning though, we were all feeling well enough for our baked gingerbread donuts and the kids enjoyed this fun treat with mugs of milk after opening their presents.

The week before Christmas break, I shut our cable off on our television. After I shut it off, I realized it was the week before Christmas break and banged my head against the wall. Surprisingly, we have done really well without our cable (more on that later). I figure if we could make it through this week, we could make it through any week since this is the most time we ever have to watch television.

The kids really enjoyed our old favorites (A Christmas Story, Rudolph, & Charlie Brown) and Emily discovered her inner superstar after she saw, “Annie,” for the first time.  There was a lot of signing and dancing in this house this year. It still turned out to be a great lazy week of television watching despite our cable shut down.

We had a wonderful NYE with friends and I am looking forward to seeing what this next year has in store.  God has been very, very good to us. I am thankful for all of the blessings that happened in 2011. I always like to start the year out with a few goals and this year is no different.

My resolutions for 2012 are:

Finish the writing of my first book

Read two literary classics

Read 60 books this year (in total)

Take a knitting class that pushes me out of my comfort zone

Keep a daily journal (that is not my blog)

I don’t know how I am going to manage to get those kids back to school this week since we have barely climbed out of our pajamas by noon each day, but I am sure it will feel good to be up and moving again once we get in the swing of things.  We were thankful for our completely lazy and indulgent holiday and hope you had a wonderful holiday too!

Happy New Year to each of you! What are your resolutions this year? What was your favorite moment from your holiday break?

On Holiday!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Merry Christmas from our little family to yours. God has blessed us in incredible ways this year and one of those blessings happens to be you. Thank you for supporting our family, for reading my ideas, for taking a chance in the kitchen with a recipe you saw here, for firing up your glue guns from the projects I have crafted, for hitting your library with my reading list, for incorporating our family traditions into your family traditions, to simply affirming my work here with your sweet comments. I am so thankful for you!

Our family is on a holiday this week and we hope you enjoy the holiday with those you love. We are excited for gingerbread waffle eating, cocoa sipping, tackling a few holiday puzzles, singing lots of carols, and just being together. I have a stack of library books, a pile of yarn, and a coffee cup with my name on it this week.

Happy Holidays with lots of love from our family to yours!

 

xoxo,

Amy

 

(All images taken by Nancy Lary Studios)

Hello Kitty Birthday Party Fun

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

We had an exciting week this week as we celebrated my daughter’s sixth birthday with a fun Hello Kitty birthday party. I wanted to keep the party simple and sweet with her closest girlfriends for her special day.  I didn’t spend a lot on this Hello Kitty party at all, but it made me smile to hear the girl’s remarking that it was, “the best part ever.”

Just in case you are thinking about spending a lot of money, for five and six year-old girls the best party ever need only include pink things to eat, glittered nail polish, tiaras, and a Barbie movie.

Here are a few of the fun projects we did for her birthday party:

1. Tissue Paper Pom Poms in Pinks & Purples to go over her party table. I did buy a package of Hello Kitty napkins and paper plates this year to match her theme and then used all of our past party supplies to bring our pink-themed party together.

2. Hot Cocoa Filling Station- I found inexpensive holiday mugs at Michael’s Craft Store. I added a batch of our homemade cocoa mix, whipped cream, homemade pink peppermint marshmallows, and lots of sprinkles for the cocoa. Each girl got to personalize her mug with her favorite additions.

3. Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes- Emily’s favorite show is, “Cupcake Wars,” so I knew that I needed to make a spectacular cupcake for my big girl. I made these cupcakes adorned with pink buttercream frosting and a shake of pink sprinkles. Each cupcake was topped with a Hello Kitty ring (that had lip gloss tucked inside). The rings were just $.50 each, but the girls really loved them.

4.  Getting Glamorous- I bought four different colors of nail polish (including clear glitter) and a package of nail stickers to do the girl’s nails. Each girl got fancy nails and a Hello Kitty tiara to wear home with them ($2.99 each plus a 20% off coupon).

5. Movies & Popcorn- We ended our birthday fun watching, “Barbie Princess Charm School,” and munching on popcorn. The girls loved this movie and thanks to a tip from my best friend, I managed to DVR the movie on Nick Jr., saving me the cost of the rental.

My sweet Emily is the type of girl that captures the heart of anyone who meets her. Her sense of style is stellar and she has just this incredible independence that sometimes makes my jaw drop to the ground. I was never as fiercely independent as her.

Most days  I shake my head and think, “How is SHE mine?” I was never that cool.

Happy birthday to our beautiful girl- we love you so much!

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The holidays are here and for me that means lots of holiday crafting, baking, knitting, and creating.  Today I wanted to share with you 36 handmade gift ideas that you can create for gifts this year. It can be a challenge to come up with great handmade gifts year after year so I hope that these 36 handmade gift ideas will give you some inspiration this holiday season as you tackle your own holiday crafts.

Of course, all month long will be dedicated to baking, crafting, and knitting as we prepare for the holidays. After this month, we will get back to tackling the organizing and caring for our homes after the holiday aftermath.

For now, I am looking forward to reveling in a lot of one on one time with my glue gun and baking in the kitchen with you.

Let’s get crafting!

36 Handmade Gift Ideas

1. Knitted Anthropologie-Inspired Scarflet
2. Coffee Filter Wreaths
3. Close to My Heart Barrette
4. Honey Nut Granola
5. Treasure Chests (For a Boy or Girl)
6. Yarn Wreath For All Seasons
7. Cinnamon Delight Bread
8. Cabled Knitted Headband
9. Personalized CD
10 Light Banana Oat Bread
11. Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves
12. Peppermint Syrup (for Homemade Peppermint Mochas)
13. Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Brownies
14. Gap-Tastic Cowl
15. Hot Cocoa Mix
16. Knitted Dishcloths (Part One)
17. Knitted Ruffled Scarf
18. Knitted Dishcloths (Part Two)
19. Oreo Biscotti
20. Movie Lover’s Gift Basket
21. Hand Painted Mugs (DIY Painted Pottery Day)
22. Spiced Pumpkin Bread
23. Vanilla Scented Granola
24. Gorgeous Gathered Scarfs
25. Merci Scarf
26. Photo Journals With a Unique Spin
27. Vanilla Chai Mix
28. Shades of Gray Knitted Headband
29. Yarn Ball Wreaths
30. Cozy Knitted Fingerless Gloves
31. Oatmeal Cookes & Milk Bath Soak
32. Stretchy Ribbon Bookmarks
33. Rolled Rosette Rings
34. Snickerdoodle Biscotti
35. Candy Cane Bath Salts
36. Knitted Prayer Shawls

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Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

I am so excited to begin sharing some new gift ideas for all the people in your life. Of course, if there is one trend that is hot right now it is mustaches. We wanted to jump on the mustache-loving trend and share with you some free mustache templates that can be used to adorn any mug and a free mustache printable for your favorite teachers.

Mustaches can adorn anything from a fun glass beer mug for a great guy gift, to a cute little shaving set for your favorite dad, to a fun mug for your best friend.

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

To begin, there are many ideas for paint that you can use with your mug. You can buy a fine tipped painter’s marker at the craft store and outline and paint your mustache with this and/or you can buy a porcelain paint set (that requires not heat setting), or a porcelain paint that needs to be baked.

With the type of paints that don’t require heat, you are looking for one that has a conditioner, the black paint, and then the gloss. These do not need to be heat set, but do require ten days to set up.

I used a combination of the two. I applied the conditioner, used the paint marker and filled a bit with the black paint, and then applied the glaze to set the paint. I have had great success with the non-heat setting variety, but you can choose whichever type works best for your budget, is already in your craft supplies, or whichever is on sale.

You will also need a beautiful mug for your project. I found these large white mugs for a little over $2 at Walmart. Feel free to visit the dollar store or thrift shop for an inexpensive mug of your choice!

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Begin by applying the conditioner to your mugs and let them dry. This should only take about ten or fifteen minutes.

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Cut, secure with a little tape underneath, trace with your painter’s pen, and fill in your mustache of choice. We have three different options available so you can choose your favorite for your mug.

Let it dry overnight and then apply the glaze over your piece.

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Of course, what fun is a mustache mug without a great printable go along with it? This mustache printable is the perfect sign to adorn any teachers desk.

“Raise Your Hand If You Must Ask (Mustache) a Question,” is a great motto for class. I placed this fun printable in an inexpensive frame that I spray painted red. The mug is filled with a small denominator Starbucks gift card to round out this budget-friendly gift for your favorite teacher.

Get Printing:

Raise Your Hand if You Moustache a Question Free Printable

Printable Dimensions: 8 1/2 x 11″ (can be trimmed for an 8×10 frame)

Print on Heavy-Duty White Cardstock

 

Three Free Mustache Templates

Printable Dimensions: These mustaches are 3″ long

Print On Standard Computer Paper for Tracing

 

Mustache Mugs & Free Mustache Printables from MomAdvice.com

Happy mustache mug making!

What holiday craft projects have you been working on?  Feel free to share any links to what you are working on! Access all of our craft fun on MomAdvice by visiting our Craft Section. Happy crafting, friends!

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Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese

Monday, November 21st, 2011

I have heard that Martha Stewart’s macaroni & cheese is, perhaps, the best macaroni & cheese in the world. Feeling ambitious, I decided to give her mac cheese a try in our house because, goodness, what do we have to lose?

If there is one thing that I am madly in love with it is a good macaroni & cheese recipe. I have tried many, but very few are creamy enough or have that flavor that I really love in a good macaroni. Rarely do I make the homemade stuff, but even rarer do I find a homemade macaroni worth making.

For my birthday this past year, we hit a local tapas restaurant to indulge in some gourmet food. Listed among these tiny bites of deliciousness was a side of macaroni & cheese. Since it was my birthday, I selected this side for our meal and I think I ate the entire bowl all by myself. It was mac & cheese perfection and I have been thinking about it ever since.

If ever a recipe stacked close to my new restaurant favorite, it is this one. A bit more labor intensive than I would typically love on a weekday, I set out to make homemade croutons for topping, fought with my food processor to grate the cheese, made a roux, and simmered a cheese sauce.

It wasn’t the easiest dish I made.

It certainly created a lot of dishes.

I am no Martha Stewart, that is for sure.

But it tasted like heaven.

It was the perfect macaroni & cheese.

It was worth the effort.

Please try it, I believe you will agree. This is the mecca of macaroni & cheese. Perfectly creamy, oh, so cheesy, a perfect blend and merriment of flavors, a gift from Above.

Add it to your Thanksgiving menu and I promise it will not disappoint. I cut the recipe in half for our family meal, as the full recipe creates 12 generous portions, but a full tray of this would be perfect for your holiday feasting.

Recipe:

Martha Stewart’s Macaroni & Cheese

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (though we needed a bit more time to get it brown, but your oven may vary). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

Serving Size: 12
Source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics, Inspired by Smitten Kitchen

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Monday, November 14th, 2011

To say I was nervous about cooking the Thanksgiving turkey would have been an understatement last year. Cooking the perfect turkey seemed a culinary challenge that I just was not equipped to do.  In the year’s past that I had taken on the task of hosting our Thanksgiving dinner, my grandmother would provide the turkey for us.  Last year, I really wanted to see if I could live up to the challenge of cooking the perfect turkey.

A marathon of Martha Stewart how-to television watching ensued. I read every blog and turkey website I could on how to cook the bird. Once armed with my aresenal of knowlege, I decided to cook two turkey breasts based on the fact that no one really loved the dark meat and I thought it would be a great way to dip my toe in the water of turkey roasting.

I read a lot of recipes and decided on Ina Garten’s Herb Roasted Turkey Breast. Everything about this turkey sounded delicious to me and the recipe had rave reviews. Ina had never lead me astray and so I created two of her delicious turkeys for our dinner.

This turkey is so moist and flavorful. A paste is created from fresh herbs, dried mustard, lemon juice, and minced garlic.  I relied on my inexpensive handheld food chopper to make quick work of chopping the herbs. The white wine added to the bottom of the pan offers a delicious finish on top of the turkey and keeps the meat from drying out.

Armed with this simple turkey breast recipe and my Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes and my Make-Ahead Thanksgiving appetizers, I guarantee that you will be on track for the perfect first Thanksgiving in your house. There is no need to be nervous with great planning and fabulously foolproof recipes.

Of course, turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving Day in our house. Don’t forget that a Weeknight Turkey Breast can yield amazing lunches for your family. These are way better than lunch meat and just as easy to prepare as any other weeknight meal.

Recipe:

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup dry white wine

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up, on a rack in a roasting pan.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 2- 2 1/2 hours, until the skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (I test in several places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the pan juices spooned over the turkey.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Serving Size: 6
Source: Adapted from Food Network (Barefoot Contessa)

How to Use a Meat Thermometer

The cooking timeline for your turkey will depend on the weight of the turkey breast you purchase.  The best investment a novice chef can buy for her kitchen is a meat thermometer that can let you know when your turkey has reached the desired temperature. I have a simple instant-read thermometer (less than $10),  but you can also make the investment into a digital thermometer that you can beep at you when your bird is done (less than $20).

Make sure you stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey breast to get the most accurate reading. For this turkey breast, you want the thermometer to be at 170 degrees for a perfectly cooked breast. The turkey breast, above, recommended 165 degrees, but 170 degrees is what you should aim for. Be sure to test the bird in several spots to make sure that it is cooked through.

***************************************************

Here are some basic cooking guidelines for how long to cook that turkey breast. These turkey breast cooking guidelines are for roasting the bird at 325 degrees.

Turkey Breast Cooking Guidelines

2 to 3 pounds 1½ to 2 hours

4 to 6 pounds 1½ to 2¼ hours

7 to 8 pounds 2¼ to 3¼ hours

Splendidly Homemade Magazine

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Today I am excited to share with you a fun  online magazine that you can enjoy all winter long. Splendidly Homemade Magazine is a beautifully designed magazine filled with great tutorials and pictures showcasing some amazing bloggers crafting and sharing their recipes for a perfect and joy-filled holiday season. You can learn how to do everything from making the perfect pie crust to adding adorable yo-yo embellishments to your holiday attire to creating stockings from old sweaters.

In this issue I have created a fun and easy No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake in a Jar that would make the perfect hostess gift.  I am also sharing some cute ways to package those jars that make this an elegant gift to share with someone special in your life.

If you want to see this project, just head on over to the magazine to get the scoop. Did I mention that this requires no baking?

Once you are done making these No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes, you can put your peppermint extract to work and whip up a delicious Homemade Peppermint Mocha with my easy recipe.

Just be warned…

These are highly addictive and taste like a little bit of heaven.

I had a hard time just eating one or having just one cup of coffee! You can blame me for your holiday weight this year!

You can enjoy wonderful holiday content from all of these fabulous contributors in Splendidly Homemade:

Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage
Liz from Hoosier Homemade
Barbara from Barbara Bakes
Holly from iGoBoGo
Tiffany from Eat at Home
Kellie from Nest of Posies
Laura from Real Mom Kitchen
Jessica from Kohler Created
Ashley from Ashley Pichea.com

Splendidly Homemade is available for free online and a Kindle version of this is available for a mere, $.99 cents.  Give them a Like on Facebook and follow their latest news on Twitter.

Happy Holidays, everyone!