Monday, December 22, 2014

Meal Planning Monday #67

Holy cow!  Christmas is Thursday!!!

I always have to consciously stop myself from being sad right about now...because I really could if I let myself.  I could enjoy this holiday season for many more weeks if possible.  Sigh.  So, instead of getting sad, I'm just going to really maximize the next three days.

Let's face one is really making regular meals this week, so instead of my normal Meal Planning Monday (which to see them all, just click here), I'm just reminding you of my Christmas menus...

To see my Christmas Eve Menu full of fun and yummy appetizers (because  we always do an appetizer party), click here.

If your family does more of a traditional turkey or ham with sides, click here for my sides.

And for my simple and delicious Christmas Morning Menu, click here.  I have both savory and sweet to delight your whole crew on the big morning.

Happy Monday!  Only 3 more days until Christmas!!!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Bar 70: White Chocolate and Walnut Bars

So, my bestie Erika always says the Vanilla Bean Noel Bundt Cake is her favorite of the 100...and it's the one she makes over and over again.  Well, after having this little bar here, she had two things to say...first, she doesn't even like walnuts but second, this bar to her is the equivalent of the Vanilla Bean Noel Bundt Cake.  It's that good.

Vanilla bar.  Little bits of white chocolate and walnut running through. Cream cheese frosting.

The perfect bar that you'll probably make over and over again.

Shopping List
1 box of white cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup walnut pieces
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
a splash or two of milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease (I use Pam) a 9x13 baking dish.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs with an electric mixer.  Spread half of the mixture across the bottom of your prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, walnut pieces and white chocolate chips with a spoon.  Pour this mixture down in the baking dish and spread to cover the first layer.

Take the remaining half of your batter and lightly dot it around the top of your baking dish (it won't spread across the top, just drop tablespoon amounts down across the top).

Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean and the bars aren't too wobbly in the middle (do not over-cook).

Remove from oven and allow bars to completely cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat with an electric mixer the cream cheese and powdered sugar together.  Beat in a splash of milk.  If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar or if it's too thick, add more milk.

Spread frosting over cooled bars.  Slice and serve or store in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

Just goodness.  These bars are just goodness.  Enjoy!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Eve Menu

Growing up, we always had the traditional Thanksgiving meal on Christmas Eve night.  You know...turkey, dressing, sides and such.  I personally never loved this tradition because I felt like my family and I had just been together consuming this exact meal only a few weeks before...not nearly as exciting the second time around.

Then, I married Andrew...and I learned that their side of the family does a big appetizer party on Christmas Eve and that my friends, is a tradition I can totally get behind!  (And by the way, once I came home and told my mom how much fun an appetizer party can be on Christmas Eve, my side of the family decided to adopt the tradition too...and now we eat appetizers.)

So, on Christmas Eve, invite your friends and family over...maybe you suggest they bring an appetizer or dip with them...listen to carols, look at the twinkle lights, watch for Santa on the radar and enjoy little bites.  It's the best way to spend my very favorite day of the year!

No Christmas is complete in my family without a cheese my Cranberry and Pecan Cheese Ball is the perfect little dip for our big night.

I love this Spicy Spinach Dip because it's prepared in the slow cooker, it's served warm and it has a little kick to it.  So good!

Yummmm...Ham and Cheese Biscuit Sliders will be the first thing to go at the party.  I promise.

My friend Sarah makes these Pinwheels that will rock your world.  Whenever she invites us over, someone always group texts and asks if she's making pinwheels...and sweet Sarah always does.

Every single Christmas Eve, Andrew's family has Pizza Boats.  Every. Single. Year. 

Several years ago, Erika shared this recipe for Southwestern Egg Rolls with me and they are insanely good (and pretty simple too!).  People always eat them up at parties.

To see all of my yummy appetizer recipes, click here.

If you're needing something fun to drink this Christmas Eve, you should try my Cranberry Lime Cocktail...

Or try my Peppermint Punch...

And to see my Easy Christmas Desserts, click here.

Only 6 more days until Christmas!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cranberry Lime Cocktail

When my friends come over for my annual recipe exchange, I like to offer them a fun punch or cocktail to make things festive.  Usually, I make my Candy Cane Punch, but this year, I made a yummy Cranberry Lime Cocktail instead.  So easy, so fast, and so delicious both with and without the vodka (this can totally be kid friendly too!).  'Tis the season for festive drinks!

To make each drink (with alcohol), all you do is take each glass and add in one shot of vodka, about half a cup of cranberry juice, half a cup of  Sprite or 7-Up, a squeeze of half a lime and load it down with ice and frozen cranberries.


You can also just take out the vodka and make this alcohol-free by filling your glass half with juice and half with soda and proceeding from there.

Either way, it's delicious and refreshing!

I saw several cocktail recipes on Pinterest that used frozen cranberries as the ice for the drink, but I wasn't sure if that would really keep things cold enough, so I added both ice and frozen cranberries to make sure things stayed really chilly...either way, it's super cute and festive to see some frozen cranberries floating around inside the drink.

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