Thursday, December 22, 2011

Set the Table!

To some those three words "Set the Table" may conjure up some childhood memories of an unwanted chore if that was your duty.For me it brings me so much joy. There are very few times that you get the opportunity to set the table with your "good stuff". If I was wealthy I would have dinner parties all the time and have my friends over for lunch like they do on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills..but lets get real..I am just a working mama from Riverside and it just doesn't happen as often as I would like.    So, you could imagine my excitement every year when our church has their annual Christmas Brunch and you can choose to host a table and decorate for the ladies attending. I seriously can not wait for it every year. I usually come up with my idea shortly after the brunch for next year. Mainly because I like to go shopping for all my supplies at the after Christmas sales. I already have my theme for next year..but it's a secret:). Every year I usually start the gears going in my brain..trying to think outside of the box. It is always Christmas centered. Last year I did a Three Wise Men table..with baby Jesus in a manger and crowns and all the gifts the Wise Men brought. Another year I did more of a rustic theme with a little Christmas tree and a sled and ice skates. The first year I believe I did a Winter Wonderland..all in white. So...this year I went super girlie and did The Sugar Plum Fairy theme from the Nutcracker. It was so much fun I found a site that sells items for weddings and other parties and they had the perfect shade of ballerina pink satin napkins and a table runner. My Mom and sister even went out shopping and found a perfect Nutcracker and beautiful white sparkly tree! I had found ballet slipper ornaments as well as ballerinas. It was so much fun. I set everything up on my own dinning room table when I got home. I am having Christmas Eve dinner at my home so I had to remove everything last night in preparation...there was no way we could see each other if I left it up..but no fear..I decorated it with another setting:). So now onto next year's table!

Christmas Eve Setting


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Annual Christmas Baking Day

Today my mom, sister and I baked up a storm. It looked like a bakery in my mom's kitchen. Every year we each come up with a few different cookies to bake to give away and eat ourselves:). This year we tried a few new recipes and they were a hit! My mom made some white chocolate jumbaloos...I doubt that is how you spell it but that is what I am going with. Basically they are crushed peppermint candies, pretzels and animal cookies dipped in white chocolate goodness..mmmm. My mom also made one of my fav's..Reese's Peanut Butter Bars and my brother's favorite..finger frets.

My sister made her favorite cookies called Thumbprints. They are buttery shortbread-like round cookies that are pressed down with your thumb and jam is added.  Sorry I did not take any pics of her cookies..sad face! But believe me they are delish. She also made some cookies that were passed down from her husband's family called "little white ones"..hehehehe. If you are imagining little round white cookies than you would be correct. I did not try these yet but they were tossed in powdered sugar and have crushed almonds in the dough so how can you go wrong. 

I made two new recipes this year. The first were some pecan bars. Classic. The second were some that I saw on Pinterest and they were a Smore turned into a cookie...yes they are amazing! These were so fun to make. You basically start with a chocolate chip cookie dough base and add marshmallows and cinnamon. Then you press a rounded teaspoon on top of half a graham cracker. Bake for five minutes and add a piece of Hershey's chocolate on top and bake again until the cookie is golden brown. So clever..this one is a keeper. Best of all The Hubs told me it was the best cookie he ever had! Funny thing is he is not a sweet person. I should rephrase that..not a person who loves sweets. So he had no interest in any of the cookies. He just wanted plain old chocolate chip cookies. So, he tried these Smore cookies and loved them. SCORE!

Overall, it was a fun and tasty day! Always such a great girl day...except this year Shane and my brother joined in. Mainly they were our "taste testers"..although Shane wanted to wear his chef hat and help stir the ingredients for mama:).