New Year, New Traditions

New Years always seems to be a time of reflection, and this year is no different! As I say goodbye to 2014, I am so grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I had in the last 365 days. I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with my incredible husband, grew closer with friends and family, bought a house, and started another school year with a great group of kids!

I used to make a big deal of New Year’s Eve- attending big parties, buying an obnoxious sequin dress, obsessing over my resolutions for the New Year. As I get older, I find that I am at my happiest on the couch with a glass of nice champagne on NYE. This year, I was craving a low key evening at home with just my husband and puppies.

I stopped by the store, and picked up all the fixing for my favorite meal- filet mignon, asparagus, potatoes, and sourdough bread. We cooked a fantastic meal, and took the opportunity to reflect on the past year. I found these amazing free printable conversation starters from Alice and Lois. My husband and I had such a great time laughing about all of the fun things the past year had brought- personally, professionally, and in pop culture!

2015/01/img_10721.jpg

I hope that this is a tradition that we can continue to keep, it was just what I needed after the busy holiday season. Happy New Year to you all!

2015/01/img_1073.jpg

2015/01/img_1075.jpg

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Every family has their own Christmas traditions that we hold near and dear to our hearts. When I met my husband, I was so excited that he enjoyed the holiday season as much as I do! Both of our birthdays fall around the holidays as well, so we associate this special time of year with lots of celebrations with loved ones.

In our home, we look forward to chopping down our Christmas tree in the mountains. When we get home from our adventure, we can’t wait to decorate around the house and trim the tree while watching White Christmas. Finally, we sit back with a warm fire and admire our beautiful work.

2015/01/img_1035.jpg

As a special treat, I enjoy baking a special cookie from my childhood: Santa’s Whiskers. These cherry and coconut cookies look festive and are delicious! They don’t last long in our house. Below is the recipe I have used since childhood, and it never fails! Just be sure to plan accordingly, as the dough does need to be chilled.

Santa’s Whiskers: (makes about 5 dozen)

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

3/4 cup flaked coconut

Cream butter and sugar, blend in extract. Stir in flour, cherries, and nuts (if desired). Form n 2 rolls, each 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Roll in coconut. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Slice 1/4 inch thick; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are golden.

2015/01/img_1025.jpg

Cooperative Cooking

My husband and I recently celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and it really doesn’t feel like a year had gone by since that special, memorable day.

My in-laws were so sweet and gifted us with 2 weeks of Blue Apron meals. Blue Apron is a site that delivers fresh, seasonal (measured) ingredients to your home along with beautiful step-by-step recipes. I love to cook, but my husband needs a bit of help. The recipes were so simple, and tasted so good!

We had fun creating the meals together, and sitting down with a glass of wine to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Each meal was a great opportunity for a wonderful little date night at home. Now, we both have new recipes to add to our collection while we learned new skills and tasted unique flavors!

 

IMG_0889

IMG_0891

 

IMG_0854

IMG_0855

Chocolate Makes Everything Better!

As the hot summer days continue, I cannot seem to get enough cold treats! I make myself smoothies in the morning, but I wanted a cold treat in the evening. However, sorbet was getting old and I am trying to eat healthier. I found this incredible frozen yogurt recipe from Inspired Dreamer.

No joke, this yogurt tastes exactly like cookie dough. And because it has so many filling ingredients, I only need one small scoop to feel satisfied! Best of all, the ENTIRE container is 1, 285 calories. We can usually make it last through at least 10 scoops which equates to be 286 calories each serving. What a sweet, guilt-free treat!

IMG_0771-0.JPG

IMG_0150.JPG