Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Sugar Cookies With Royal Icing

My good friend invited me to join her in a cookie class the other week. We decorated Christmas sugar cookies! At first I was a little disappointed, because I have decorated sugar cookies in the past with Royal icing. BUT! I did learn some new techniques and had so much fun!
Baking for me is such a stress reliever. It allows me to follow a recipe and just focus on the task at hand. And then when you're done, you have a nice treat! 

Below I have the recipes for the sugar cookies that I make every year, and the Royal icing. (You may remember the Gingerbread Snowflakes With Royal Icing I posted last December here). 

3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
2. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and combine. 
3. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients. 
4. Divide dough in half, wrap in wax paper, and refrigerate for two hours. 
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
6. Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with flour. Remove one wrapped dough from refrigerator at a time. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shape. 
7. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges. Rotate cookie sheet halfway through baking time. 
8. Let sit on cookie sheet for two minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack. Once cool decorate as desired. 

4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons meringue powder
10 tablespoons warm water
Flavored emulsion if desired
Food coloring gel

1. Combine ingredients above in an electric mixer on low speed for about 8 minutes. 
I like to make my icing the consistency of pancake batter. No stiff peaks she. You mix but a little shaking will even it out. Add more powdered sugar or water until you get desired consistency. 
2. Divide icing into several bowls and add food coloring. 
3. Transfer frosting to pastry bags or squirt bottles. 
4. Outline cookies and then fill in the inside. Add sprinkles and decorations. 

Happy Holidays!!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Peppermint Bark

I love Christmas time.. I love all the baking and the cold weather that comes with it. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest. It's been cold and rainy here for the past month. Up North is flooding there's so much rain. Which is OK with me, we need it.

Anyway, I made some amazing peppermint bark to take to work and give out to friends. It is SUPER easy, and tastes amazing. For the chocolate I used Ghirardelli because that is my favorite. It's so creamy and smooth, you can't go wrong!

12 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate (depending on your preference. I used milk)
12 ounces white chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
12 round hard peppermint candies, crushed

1. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny side up. 
2. Heat 1 inch of water in a saucepan over low heat.
3. Put half of the semisweet/milk chocolate in a smaller sauce pan, and set over the saucepan on steaming water. Stir until half of the chocolate is melted. Remove saucepan, and stir in the other half of the semisweet/milk chocolate a few pieces at a time, stiring until all chocolate is melted. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Pour into the prepared baking dish and spread in an even layer. Let set about 10 minutes.
4. Repeat step #3 with the white chocolate. Once white chocolate is poured into baking dish, on top of the semisweet/milk chocolate, sprinkle with crushed peppermint.
5. Set aside until firm. Then lift bark out of pan and break into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Hope you guys enjoy! 

Happy Holidays! 


Sunday, December 13, 2015

New Years Eve Dresses

If you don't already have your NYE dress picked out, you better do it fast! Only a few more weeks left to make some New Years resolutions. 

I like to ring in the new year looking my best.. Even if I'm just hanging out with a few girlfriends. It just makes you feel good! 

I rounded up some pretty cute dress options. Most are under $30! 

What are your big New Years Eve plans?


Friday, December 11, 2015

Green Bean Mushroom Tart

1 sheet of thawed puff pastry 
1 large egg
3/4 pound thin green beans, trimmed
3 tablespoons butter, divided
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Salt and pepper 

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Blanch the green beans in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Drain and place in cold water to cool. Then set on a paper towel to dry.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and the thyme and saute for 3-5 minutes. Then add the garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute another 2-3 minutes and remove from skillet and pull out the thyme sprigs.
4.Add the remaining butter to the skillet with the sliced shallots. Saute until golden-brown and crispy, 5-8 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the puff pastry down the middle and place both pieces 3-4 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush the pastry sheets with egg. Neatly layer green beans down the length of each puff pastry rectangle.
5. On both puff pastry sheets, top the green beans with mushrooms, crumbled blue cheese, and crispy onions. Salt and Pepper lightly.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden. Serve warm or room temperature

Recipe from A Spicy Perspective 

Monday, December 7, 2015

2015 Gift Guides

I've put together a list of all of my favorite gift guides from other bloggers this year. 
Also if you missed my first ever 2015 gift guide, you can shop it here.  
Happy shopping!

2015 Gift Guide (Damsel In Dior)

For The Hostess (Sequins And Stripes)

For The Little Ones (Jillian Harris)

For The Kids - Under $50 (Carrie Bradshaw Lied)

For Guys (Sequins And Stripes)

For Him - Under $75 (Carrie Bradshaw Lied)

For The Entertainer (The Vault Files)

The Glamour Girl (Kelly Golightly)

Beauty (Stephanie Sterjovski)

The Gift Guide (Harper's Bazaar)

For The Beauty Lover (Lauren Conrad)

Home Gift Guide (Chronicles Of Frivolity)

Gift Guide 2015 (Lulu & Georgia) 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Coffee Table Inspiration

So recently I've been trying to style my coffee table. I've ordered a few coffee table books but I just can't seem to get it how I love it. Someone want to come over and style it for me?! 

Here are a couple coffee tables from some ladies that I follow on Instagram. They have given me some inspiration because they have amazing style and taste! 

1. Sarah Swanson of FlourishDesignAndStyle // 2. Kat Tanita of WithLoveFromKat // 
3. Kathleen of CarrieBradshawLied // 4. Ashley Kane of BrunchOnChestnut // 
5. Lauryn Evarts of TheSkinnyConfidential // 6. Emily Shuman of CupcakesAndCashmere