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Christmas – A little of This and That

Christmas fun is in full swing here.  I am trying my best to be intentional and to really enjoy this Christmas.  With that in mind, this post is the most random assortment of Christmas, of late, around my house.

FUN VISIT – every December, my husband’s daughter comes for a visit.  A long weekend, just by herself, to enjoy her dad.  And the rest of us, too:)  We all look forward to these special weekends.  She just left this morning.  As always, the time goes by so fast but we try to make the most of the four days we have together.  The weather was not cooperative (it was plain ugly) and we had to change a few plans but it was great simply being together.

We so appreciate her husband, and her mom, doing everything back at home to make these special weekends possible. I know it means so much to my husband!!

YUMMY RECIPES – last week I went to a cookie exchange.  This one was so easy (and I don’t know why I have overcomplicated exchanges in the past)!  Even though there were a lot of ladies there, everyone brought two dozen cookies.  And went home with two dozen cookies.  Easy….and delicious!  We enjoyed those cookies all weekend!

I found this yummy cookie recipe (on Pinterest, I believe) and it was a winner. I thought I would share it here but you can also visit the link – because I definitely did not remember to take a picture before I shared them.  And devoured them!

Chocolate chip cookies with a peppermint twist


Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
⅛ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup Ghirardelli peppermint chunks

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl (stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth. Then beat in the eggs.

Add in the flour mixture, then stir in the chocolate and peppermint chips by hand.

Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes while oven preheats to 350°F; prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then drop 1-inch balls of dough onto sheet (note that these ones spread while baking, so don’t place them too close together) Press extra chocolate/peppermint chips on the tops of cookies for a fancier look.

Bake for 11-12 minutes (I like to err on the side of underbaking) and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes to firm up enough to move, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

I also scored another (sugar-rush) recipe this weekend.  Super easy and, yes, super rich but a nice treat for holiday company. Or for Christmas morning – you can make it ahead!

 

Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole 
Ingredients
2 cans Cinnamon rolls
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (half & half works too)
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Icing from cinnamon roll packages

 

Directions
1. In a large glass bowl, melt butter with sugar. 
2. Beat in eggs, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
3. Open canned cinnamon rolls, slice each cinnamon roll into fourths. Place cinnamon roll pieces into the bowl of egg mixture and toss to thoroughly coat. Then pour the pieces, coated in egg mixture, into a greased 9×12 casserole dish and spread out evenly. Use any leftover egg mixture to coat the casserole.
4. Sprinkle with pecans and then bake on 350˚ on a low rack for 35-40 minutes or until brown (I stuck a toothpick inside to determine if the casserole was ready. I like mine a little on the moist side, baked for about 35 minutes.)
5. Remove casserole from oven. Warm icing from cinnamon rolls in microwave for 15 seconds; pour evenly over the bake.
*Can be prepared the night ahead without the pecans.  Simply cover the casserole, stick it in the fridge, then in the morning, add the pecans, bake, and voilá! It’s pure deliciousness for your friends or family!
Serves: 6-8
 
CHRISTMAS TRADITION – while at last week’s cookie exchange/party, our Bible study teacher asked us to share a tradition, unique to our family, that we enjoy.  Honestly, I was discouraged because we really do not have many traditions.  Not sure why that is but I have determined to change that.  I am thinking through – working on – traditions for my (all adult) family.  I would love any suggestions you might have…..please share in the comments.
photo from website
My brother and I have actually “created” a tradition that I am so enjoying!  A few years ago, instead of exchanging gifts, we decided to enjoy a holiday event together.  A night out – on the town – just the two us!  We both are loving this new idea and have enjoyed some great shows these past few years.  The Nutcracker.  Elf the Musical at the Kennedy Center (was amazing!!).
This year was A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater. (Ah, the costumes!!)   I shared a little bit about it on my Instagram this morning so I won’t repeat myself, but it was another wonderful memory.
This week, I have planned extra slow mornings and less busy days.  Hoping to savor this last week before Christmas and to really soak in the story of the Savior’s birth. And, perhaps, make another batch (or two) of Christmas goodness!

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