Christmas Feed

Peppermint Candy Crafts

My friend is celebrating her birthday next week with a peppermint themed party.  This is a theme that I could go crazy with!  Peppermints are inexpensive, readily available and so festive.  They are great to use this time of year for birthdays, showers and Christmas parties.  Here is a collection of easy decorating ideas with peppermints I've collected to inspire you.

(click titles for instructions)

Candy Cane Candles

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Candy Stick Vase

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Peppermint Disk Vase

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Peppermint Candle scape

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Peppermint Trees
 

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Candy Wreath

It's time to get out those Christmas decorations if you haven't already!  I love all kinds of decorations and color schemes for Christmas.  One of my favorites is using candy to decorate.  Especially gumdrops.  I have a little gumdrop tree that I love to display.  Here is an easy way to craft a gumdrop wreath:

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Start with a six inch styrofoam wreath, 1 bag of gumdrops and toothpicks broken in half.  Insert one end of toothpick into gumdrop, then attach other end to wreath.  Continue until you have covered the wreath.  Voila!


(photo from parents.com


Christmas Party Plans

We are having a Christmas party next month at our house and I have been looking for ideas of how to decorate the dining table/kitchen area.  My family room will be decorated with what I am calling a "gilded christmas".  Remember last year I was having trouble using my old decorations with our new terra cotta wall?  Well this year I've decided to use new gold, copper, and brown decorations.  I think they will look great with our wall. 

I would like to do something with more color in the kitchen/dining area.  I'm hung up on the red and aqua combo I've been seeing lately.  I love these two colors together and think they are so fun to use for Christmas parties and decorations.  Here are a few ideas I've gathered so far...

My main inspiration came from Kim at The TomKat Studio's Little Snowflake Invitations.  Kim is so talented and I always love all of her designs.  I can't wait to see the rest of this collection!

Little snowflake invitation

Too cute right?!  Check out Kim's inspiration board for the Little Snowflake party here!

A beautiful table below incorporating red and aqua.  Love the little red birds.

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Plates from Hostess Jo I'll use:

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Glass stickers...

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Cocktail napkins...

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Stay tuned to see everything come together!
  
 


Holiday Punch

If you are entertaining anytime over the holidays here is a great punch to serve your guests.  I like serving punches or sangria versus having a bar because you can serve a crowd without spending a fortune on several different kinds of alcohol, mixes, etc.  With its frozen cranberries, oranges and champagne this one is sure to please everyone.

AJ's Christmas Punch

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Serves 10

Ice (in block form if possible, if not, large chunks)
4 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. brandy
2 oranges, cut into wedges
1 cup frozen cranberries (optional)
2 bottles chilled champagne

1. Add ice to a large punch bowl. If using chunks (as opposed to a large block of ice), fill the bowl just under half way.
2. Add Cointreau and brandy. Using a ladle or long spoon, stir briefly.
3. Add orange slices and cranberries (if using) and then pour in the champagne.
4. Stir 12 times and let sit for a minute, so the ingredients can get acquainted.

(photo and recipe from fineliving.com)
 


Thanksgiving Potluck

This Friday is our group of friends' Thanksgiving potluck.  The hosts are cooking the turkey and we are bringing side dishes.  After searching for a tasty side dish, I've decided on this one.  It's easy, I can make it the night before and it sounds delish!

Au Gratin Potato Casserole

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Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1  (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash browns
  • 1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1  (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1  small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2  cups  crushed cornflakes cereal
  • 1/4  cup  melted butter

Make it

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crushed cornflakes, and drizzle evenly with butter.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash Browns.

After reading the reviews, I'm going to add some garlic and swap the cornflakes for Ritz crackers.  I'm also going to swap the cream of mushroom for cream of chicken because some friends don't care for mushrooms.  What casseroles are you cooking up for Thanksgiving?  Send me a link!

(recipe and photo from myrecipes.com)
 


Festive Fruit Centerpiece

I love the look of this citrus fruit centerpiece with the addition of the shiny ornaments.  It's perfect for the holiday season!  BONUS-it's easy and inexpensive too.

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What you need:


• Metal tiered tray
• Florist foam, soaked
• Lemons
• Limes
• Clementines
• Blood oranges
• Sphagnum moss
• Florist pins 

Use one third of the florist foam on the top tier and the remaining on the bottom one.  Cover the florist foam with moss, secure with florist pins.  Pierce the fruit with the picks and then secure them to the foam.  The day of your gathering, slice a couple of pieces of fruit for the display.

This would also be pretty in a glass bowl or on a cake stand if you don't want to work with the florist foam.

(photo from myhomeideas.com)


Cranberry Craze

Well my previous post got me searching for cranberry recipes.  There are a ton of cranberry sauce and cranberry muffin recipes out there... but how many of you have ever used cranberries in your appetizers?  Here a couple of yummy ones I've found so far...and of course the cocktails to go with them!

(click titles for recipes)

Cranberry Salsa

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Cranberry Apple Spritzer

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Cranberry Turkey Crostinis

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Sparkling Cranberry Blush

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Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

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Crantini

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Festive Filler

I noticed our grocery store just started carrying fresh cranberries-that means its officially holiday season!  I love anything made with cranberries.  Their bright red color is even great in decorating for the holidays. 

How about using them in your Thanksgiving and holiday flower arrangements?  What a festive touch they add to a simple bouquet.

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Just rinse your cranberries before putting them in water.  Insert your flowers.  They will also help hold your arrangement in place.


(photo from marthastewart.com)
 


'Tis the Season

of FOOD!  I don't know about you but this time of year always gets me excited about trying new recipes and sharing them with friends and family.  You will probably be seeing a few more recipes than normal around here for the next two months.  I promise, as always, they will be EASY. 

I have been wanting to make something with pumpkin.  I am not a baker so that narrows it down a lot!  I found this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread I'm going to try first.  It's simple and has my favorite holiday ingredient: cream cheese.  Perfect for a holiday brunch or overnight guests.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

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Ingredients

  • 1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 3/4  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2  teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Beat all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Makes 1-1/2 cups (24, 1-tablespoon servings). Serve with warm bagels.

(photo from bhg.com)