Thursday, December 26, 2013

Elf On The Shelf - Our Final Week and Goodbye

We truly loved having Cocoa, our Elf on the Shelf, as a part of our family this past month!  She brought with her tons of Christmas Cheer as well as some very good behavior from miss Lacie Jane! We will miss Cocoa a lot and look forward to her return next year!  Perhaps, she will bring another elf friend with her for 2014!  Let's look at our final week with Cocoa and see how Lacie and Blakely said "goodbye" to our special Elf Friend!

Cocoa reading Christmas stories to some of our stuffed animal friends! 

Cocoa watching a little late night TV! 

Cocoa didn't get to fly back to the North Pole, so she called Santa instead! 

 Just watching from the top of the tree! 

Cocoa needed to get she took a marshmallow bubble bath! 

Cocoa knows about the true meaning of Christmas! 

Cocoa doing a little zip lining from the china closet to the Christmas tree! She also hung her goodbye letter on the easel! 

Cocoa's Goodbye Letter, explaining that her magic would be lifted right before bedtime on Christmas Eve so that the girls could say goodbye! 

Goodbye Hugs and Kisses! 

After we said our "goodbyes" we placed Cocoa next to the milk and cookies so that Santa would know just where to pick up Cocoa! We can't wait for Cocoa to come back next year!

Gooseberry Patch

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day #12 - Chocolate Butterscotch Crinkles

Chocolate Butterscotch Crinkles 

Merry Christmas Eve!!!  I feel like Christmas came so fast this year, and I will be super sad when it is over!  But before that happens, there is lots of celebrating to do!  Tonight, we will be spending Christmas Eve going to the Children's mass at our church and having dinner at my parents house!  Tomorrow morning, I will be having both families over for present opening and my annual Waffle Breakfast!  Then, we will head to John's family for Christmas Day dinner!  It will be a busy 2 days, and I am loving it!

I spent the whole morning in my kitchen - my happy place!  And now I can share with you my final Christmas Cookie recipe!  Chocolate Butterscotch Crinkles!  Since it is Christmas Eve, I am giving you an easy cake mix cookie recipe that you can whip up in no time!

Here's What You Need to Make the Chocolate Butterscotch Crinkles:

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 block (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • powdered sugar

Now Let's Make the Chocolate Butterscotch Crinkles:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  4. On low speed, add the chocolate cake mix and beat until a dough forms
  5. Fold in the cup of butterscotch chips
  6. Roll cookies into about 1 inch balls and roll in powdered sugar
  7. Place cookie balls onto prepared baking sheet
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  9. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely 
  10. Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired

Monday, December 23, 2013

12 Days Of Christmas Cookies - Day #11 - Loaded Cranberry Cookies

Loaded Cranberry Cookies

Only two more Christmas Cookies to go!  Today, I am sharing a super easy and scrumptious drop cookie - My Loaded Cranberry Cookies!  They get their name because, well, they are loaded with lots of deliciousness - oatmeal, cranberries, white chocolate chips, and semi-sweet chocolate chips!  Even though this recipe is from scratch, it is still easy and fast!  You can add these to your Christmas Cookie tray today! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Loaded Cranberry Cookies:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Now Let's Make the Loaded Cranberry Cookies:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating well
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, and salt
  5. Add dry mixture to the wet mixer and beat on lowest speed until combined
  6. Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips, and semi-sweet chocolate chips
  7. Drop onto prepared cookie sheets using a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, watching closely, until a nice light golden brown
  9. Cool on cookie sheets for one minute before transferring to wire racks to cool completely
  10. Store in an airtight container 
Happy Christmas Eve Eve!  And Happy Baking! 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day #10 - Lemon Drops

Lemon Drops

We are in the home stretch of Christmas Cookies!  Today, I am sharing my recipe for Lemon Drop cookies!  These cookies have a light and refreshing lemon flavor, which can be a nice change of pace from all of the heavier, loaded candy cookies this time of year!  They are also a cake mix recipe!  Super easy to whip up!

Here's What You Need to Make the Lemon Drops:

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 generous cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • juice from 1 lemon

Now Let's Make the Lemon drops:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, eggs, and vanilla extract
  3. Slowly beat in the lemon cake mix until a soft dough forms
  4. Stir in the white chocolate chips
  5. Using a cookie scoop or a rounded teaspoon, drop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets (you will yield 2 1/2 dozen cookies)
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, watching closely
  7. Allow cookies to cool 2 minutes on baking sheets before transferring to wire rack to cool completely
  8. In a small bowl, place cup of powdered sugar.  Stir in the lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time until a medium icing consistency is reached 
  9. Drizzle icing over cookies or place icing into a ziploc bag and snip off a corner in order to pipe lines onto cookies
  10. Allow icing to harden and store in an airtight container
I used a ziploc bag to pipe the icing!  You can definitely eat them plain without it, but I think the simple icing of powdered sugar and lemon adds a bit extra flavor while making them look more impressive!

Friday, December 20, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day #9 - Lacie Oatmeal Cookies

Lacie Oatmeal Cookies 

Sometimes, you want a simple, elegant cookie!  These cookies are it!  Thin and delicate, these cookies appear to have a lace pattern...which is why I named them Lacie Oatmeal Cookies!  They are a great addition to your Christmas cookie tray!  They are a nice simple cookie to pair with all of the crazy candy cookies!

I am going to show you the basic recipe and then two ways to make them a bit fancier!

Here's What You Need to Make the Lacie Oatmeal Cookies:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats (also called old fashioned oats - you don't want to use the quick cooking kind for this recipe)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown but you could use dark if that's what you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted *optional - only if you are making option #2 or #3*

Now Let's Make the Lacie Oatmeal Cookies
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt - set aside
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the white and brown sugar 
  4. Beat in the vanilla, milk, and honey
  5. On low speed, beat your dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined
  6. Using a small cookie scoop (or a teaspoon) drop batter onto prepared baking sheets, leaving a lot of space for cookies to spread
  7. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, watching closely so that cookies do not burn
  8. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets for five minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely 

Options for your Lacie Oatmeal Cookies:

#1 - leave them plain!  They are perfect and simple! 

#2 - dip one edge of the cookie into melted dark chocolate

#3 - make cookie sandwiches by spreading a bit of melted dark chocolate of the bottom of half the cookies and topping with an additional cookie

Gooseberry Patch - New Cookbooks for the Holidays!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day #8 - Cookies And Cream Christmas Bars

Cookies and Cream Christmas Bars

Holiday Oreos have always been a favorite of mine!  There is something about the "holiday" variety that <in my opinion> is better than just regular Oreos.  Plus, I love the festive colors!  At Christmas time, the holiday Oreos are red!  I knew that I really wanted to make a cookie treat using crushed I came up with this bar that uses a cake mix base so it is super easy! 

These bars did not disappoint!  

We all loved them!  

You should have seen sweet little Blakely Hope using her pincher grasp to get every last crumb off her high chair tray!  Speaking of my sweet girls, I took them to Wegmans today, and as I am throwing food in my carts (yes carts) this is what I saw..
My heart just about burst!  

Anyway...back to the cookies! 

Here's What You Need to Make the Cookies and Cream Christmas Bars:
  • 1 box funfetti cake mix (of course I used the Christmas One!!!  You can just use plain funfetti or white cake mix if you can't find the holiday funfetti)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 24 holiday Oreos, crushed into big pieces (you don't want small crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Now Let's Make the Cookies and Cream Christmas Bars:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish
  2. In a bowl, use a spoon to break the Oreos into pieces, keeping them in nice big chunks - set aside
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix with butter and eggs
  4. Stir in the crushed Oreo pieces and white chocolate chips (your batter will turn red from the Oreo cream and that is okay!)
  5. Press cookie dough into prepared baking pan
  6. Bake for 25 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and use the back of a spatula to press down any parts that have "puffed up" so that the crust of your cookies is flat
  8. Cool completely in pan (1-2 hours) before cutting into bars and storing in an airtight container
I made these specifically for Christmas...but you can make them anytime of year by using whatever holiday Oreos are in season (like orange at Halloween) or by just using plain Oreos!  

See how nice the Christmas Funfetti Mix looks with those little green sprinkles! It definitely makes them more festive! 
Happy Baking! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Cookies - Day #7 - Spiced Oatmeal Raison Cookies

Spiced Oatmeal Raison Cookies

We are getting so close to Christmas!  I am still having a hard time believing that Christmas Eve is only one week away!  Thanksgiving came so late this year that I feel like Christmas is coming earlier (even though of course it's the same day it is every year).

With the final home stretch upon us, I present to you my 7th cookie recipe!  These are a super easy cake mix recipe!  Only 5 ingredients - ingredients that you probably have in your pantry!  Plus an additional two ingredients to make these cookies go from simple to fancy!

Here's What You Need To Make the Spiced Oatmeal Raison Cookies:

  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 cup oatmeal (I like old fashioned oats...also known as rolled oats)
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisons
  • 3oz white chocolate (I used a Bakers White Chocolate bar) 
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Now Let's Make the Spiced Oatmeal Raison Cookies
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the dry cake mix and the oatmeal
  3. Mix in the butter, eggs, and raisons until a dough forms
  4. Use a cookie scoop or a teaspoon to drop onto prepared baking sheets
  5. Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes, watching closely towards the end so that they do not burn
  6. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely
  7. Once cookies are cool, melt white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (I microwave on 50% power in 30 second increments)
  8. Once chocolate is melted, stir in cinnamon
  9. Drizzle white chocolate over tops of cookies
  10. Allow white chocolate to harden before storing cookies in an airtight container

The Happy Taste Testers! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mommy Mondays - Elf on the Shelf - Week #4

A quick Mommy Monday post to show you that we are still having such a good time with Cocoa, our Elf on the Shelf.  We have managed to find new spots for her for yet another week!  No one has touched her and she has not forgotten to move!

I don't know who is having more fun...John and me...or the girls!  Let's take a look at where Cocoa was this week!

Cocoa decided to TP the bathroom! 

 Cocoa and Minnie just having a little tea party! 

 Cocoa surprised the girls with a special donut breakfast! She baked those little donut holes all by 5am! 

Cocoa built a chair out of our blocks!

Cocoa giving us a Christmas countdown! 

Cocoa you can drive my car! 

Cocoa watching from the snow globe in the China closet! 


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