Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

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.

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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!

Easy Coffee Filter Flowers

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Maybe you were one of those lucky kids chopping up coffee filter flowers in elementary school. I never had a tutorial on this in my art class though, but I have been dying to make coffee filter flowers and wanted to share with you just how easy and inexpensive it is to make these for a fun table centerpiece for the holidays or just a few posies on your nightstand in those cold winter months.  If you made the Coffee Filter Wreath from last week, you should have enough left to make a few of these pretty posies!

To begin our flowers, we will need to dye our coffee filters. The trick with getting these to look like real flowers is to divide the filters into three different bowls with three different shades of dye.

Pour a 1/2 cup of hot water into each dish, two tablespoons of vinegar, and ten drops of food coloring your first bowl. In the next bowl add the hot water and vinegar, but add only eight drops of food coloring. In the last bowl, we will be doing the same thing again, but only six drops of food coloring. Submerge fifteen coffee filters into each bowl and wait ten to fifteen minutes.

I used the Betty Crocker pink neon food coloring for this project (leftover from our marbled egg dying from this past year) so these only required about five minutes in the bowls.  Just keep half an eye on them until you reach the desired color that you are going for.

Once the coffee filters are done, you need to spread them out on an old towel and let them dry.  Ignore comments from your husband like, “Yum, yum! Coffee filters for dinner?” or, “Oh, wow! ANOTHER craft project?”

You are on the fast track to being another Martha Stewart even though the house looks like a bomb exploded and it WILL be coffee filters for dinner tonight. You can’t be good at everything.

If you want to speed up the process a bit, you can blow dry these coffee filters. Again, ignore your husband when he busts in on you hunched over with coffee filters blowing around the bathroom as you blow dry them. Just keep thinking,

“Martha would totally do this…or,ahem, she has PEOPLE who would totally do this. Totally.”

Grab some floral tape and floral wire from your craft supplies (or over in the floral section of the craft supply store. Cut the wire to the length that you desire and twist and wrap the floral wire with the floral tape until the wire is covered. You can also cover a wooden skewer with floral wire if you want a flower that stands straight up. I prefer the wire because you can bend it a bit and make the flowers a little more droopy so they look a little more natural.

Here is a handy chart for what we are going for with these. You need two of the darkest coffee filters cut like this for the center of the flower, two coffee filters in the medium dye for the middle of your flower, and just one coffee filter cut like this for the outer part of the flower.

To make the center, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again, and then in half again (four folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above. Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the middle of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half, in half again, in half again (three folds). Take your scissors and cut it as pictured above (but better than me since I am not the brightest with my cutting). Repeat with another filter in the same shade.

To make the outside of your flower, fold your coffee filter in half and then in half again (two folds). Take your scissors and cut a scalloped edge to your flower. You just need one of these.

Stack your flowers (still folded) and then trim the tiniest little end off of the bottom of them. This will create a small hole so that we can insert the wire into the center of it.

Slip the first filter over your wire twist it at the base, and then wrap a little floral tape around it to hold it all in place. Repeat with the next dark filter, than the each medium filter, and finish with the exterior of your flower. Finish the flower with a little more floral tape to secure everything in place.

Behold your posy! Isn’t she pretty? Make as many as you like for a fun addition to any room. I saved a stack of coffee filters and plan to make this pretty flowers to adorn my daughter’s birthday presents this year.

These posies have found a home on my daughter’s nightstand in her new big girl room. I found a short glass vase for $3.99 at Meijer Supermarket that was just the perfect size to hold three of these coffee filter flowers.  I think these would make such a fun birthday centerpiece addition though with hanging tissue paper pom poms in the same shades for a birthday party.

Right next to those flowers is this handmade lampshade that I made. I will show you how I did that last week. It is another fun, easy, and inexpensive craft that would be a cute addition to any room.

What craft projects have you been working on? Did you ever make coffee filter flowers when you were a kid?  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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Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Monday, November 7th, 2011

DIY_Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha

With the holidays just around the corner, the one treat I love to indulge in while doing my holiday shopping is a delicious Peppermint Mocha. I was ordering these year round until they came out with the Salted Caramel Mocha, which seemed to satisfy my out-of-season mocha cravings. Of course, wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to make these at home and save your money for your Christmas presents this year?

I hit the kitchen to try and whip up a batch of these at home. Once I had my basic mocha recipe down from my DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte & my DIY Salted Caramel Mocha, it was just a matter of figuring out how to create the peppermint flavor at home out of ingredients I had in my pantry.

You don’t have to create the peppermint syrup yourself, although it is really easy to do and made from pantry ingredients.  Simply call ahead to your favorite Starbucks joint and ask if they have a spare bottle of Peppermint Syrup that you can buy or if they can order it for you, if they happen to be running low. A bottle runs less than $10 or approximately the cost of two of those coffee drinks that you would buy. Split a bottle with a friend if you don’t picture yourself drinking one all winter long or save it for this summer to make my favorite DIY Peppermint Mocha Frappes that I make with frozen coffee in the summer months.

These are every bit as good as Starbucks, but costs a lot less than your coffee shop ones. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as you have enjoyed the other coffee creations from our kitchen!

DIY_Peppermint_Mocha_3

Recipe:

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

Ingredients:

1 cup milk, steamed
1 cup very strong coffee (4 tablespoons coffee grounds to 1 cup of hot water, I prepared this in my French Press, but you can brew a strong drip pot if you prefer)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons of sugar
2-3 tablespoons peppermint syrup (you can use my recipe below or ask behind the counter at Starbucks for a prepared bottle that you can use all winter long)
Whipped cream (optional)
Chocolate Syrup (optional)
Crushed Peppermints (optional)

Directions:

Prepare your hot water in a kettle. Add four tablespoons of your favorite coffee grounds to your French Press. Pour 1 cup of hot water over them and allow the coffee to steep for four minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a pot, heat up one cup of milk until it is steaming. Froth the milk with a wire whisk or an immersion blender until it is nice and foamy.

In your coffee cup, mix together the prepared coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and peppermint coffee syrup until the sugar and cocoa powder are dissolved and there are no lumps. Pour the milk foam over the top of the coffee/mocha mixture and stir to incorporate. Top with whipped cream, a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup, and crushed peppermints.

Note- This is just a base recipe that can be played with to your own tastes and preferences.  It is meant to be personalized depending on how you like your latte!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1

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DIY_Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha_2

Simple syrups are just as simple as their name to create. It is just a matter of dissolving sugar into water, reducing it a bit,  and then adding your flavoring of choice for your favorite beverages. Once you get this technique down, you can create a variety of coffee drinks and cocktails for the holiday season.

This Peppermint Syrup would make a fantastic gift to give to a friend or loved one. Place this syrup in a jar and tie with festive ribbon. In a basket add your syrup, a good quality coffee, cocoa powder,  a festive mug, and candy canes to stir, along with this recipe. So easy and a great way to start anyone’s day.

Recipe:

Homemade Peppermint Syrup

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Directions:

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir constantly until sugar is dissolved. Stir in the peppermint extract. Cool to room temperature and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 5-7 (depending on how much you add to your coffee)

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Easy Holiday Entertaining Recipes

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
(mobile upload on set with Walmart)

In August, I got the opportunity to head to Bentonville to shoot some segments on holiday entertaining with Walmart. One of the best parts of my job is getting to do filming like this. I will admit,  I actually had so much fun doing my video that I asked if they would let me shoot another video while I was there.

I hope you love these ideas for easy holiday entertaining as much as I do. I am sharing with you an easy barbecue ranch dip that you can create with a chicken bite platter that you can pick up over in the deli, as well as a simple smoked salmon dip that can be served on top of a toasted baguette. These easy appetizers will be my dishes to share at our family gatherings and fun holiday potluck dinners we have coming up, and I hope they can be easy dishes to try in your house too.