Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Happy Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, everyone!! I’ve been wanting to try out my Hanukkah cookie cutters for far too long (I’m talking years, people), and decided to amp up the traditional sugar cookie by making Hanukkah Chocolate Sugar Cookies! I didn’t decorate mine with icing because I was too lazy, but you totally could or I even entertained the idea of melting chocolate and drizzling it over the top. Laziness won and I left them plain. They’re still really tasty though with a glass or milk, eggnog, or even your morning cup of coffee. Hey, cookies don’t care what time it is when you eat them! My belly doesn’t either. Lol.

I was hobbling around my kitchen when I made these as I was recovering from foot surgery so I didn’t bother taking pictures of the process for you. And I used a recipe from here at Sally’s Baking Addiction that is very simple and straightforward. I had all the ingredients on hand already so I didn’t need to make a trip to the grocery store to get anything.

Have fun making these into whatever shapes you desire!! Happy baking!

Use this recipe.

love & cupcakes,

Katie

Ps- do you spell it Hanukkah or Chanukah??!

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Fancy Appetizer Fakeout: Brie Bites

We all have holiday parties this week and next. I hate going to a party empty handed, even when the host tells you not to bring anything. If you’re stumped and looking for a fun, DELICIOUS appetizer that looks fancy, but takes no effort at all to make, then you NEED to make these little cuties!

You’re probably dressed to impress, so bring something to eat that’ll knock ’em dead too!

Here’s  what you need:

  • Mini fillo shells (I got mine in the freezer section at Walmart!!)
  • your favorite brie
  • your favorite jam
  • pomegranate arils

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Place your fillo shells on a baking sheet

3. Cut your brie into pieces that just fill the mini shells and pop em in the oven for 10 minutes!

4. Top with a little dab of jam and pomegranate arils

5. Eat them all!!!! YUMMMM!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

 

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Clean & Current Nightstand Styling

Do you ever look around your bedroom and think it is too cluttered, yet you truly need all the things that are taking up crucial surface area spaces? This clean and current DIY will save space on your nightstand for sure! Keep reading…..

That’s totally me and our whole apartment but especially my bedside table. I have items that are sentimental to me gathered from all over the world-sea glass from Riomaggiore, Italy; a ginkgo leaf dish from Weimar, Germany; a heart trinket from Geoff’s road trip through Canada on his way to our new apartment together in Minneapolis. I obviously can’t part with that stuff because I love it. Then I have the “essentials!” : candles, lotions, perfumes, chapstick and earplugs (sense the sarcasm?)

I use it all on a regular basis so I don’t want to store it out of sight because then I’ll be too lazy to get it out every time I need it, but my nightstand is just so crowded!

I was brainstorming how I could keep all that stuff out but give myself more room. My thought? Add height!!!

I needed to find something that had a skinny enough footprint to not take up more room while the “platform/top” be narrow enough to not disturb the base of my lamp. Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a normal size cake stand. And that would definitely not work! So I went out in search of my own DIY version.

Off to Homegoods I went and a-wandering the aisles did I go!

Behold the candle stick holder and the neglected cheese plate/trivet!

I found this marble trivet with missing feet in the clearance section and the clear glass candle stick for around $10 total! I brought it home and set it up and it worked perfectly! I arranged my perfume bottles on top and it freed up some space nicely! You could super glue the pieces together, but I was too lazy and might use that candle stick someday for an actual candle! (What an idea!! Lol) Also, because the surface area at the top of the candlestick is so wide, the trivet on top is actually very stable and isn’t tippy at all!

I highly suggest adding height wherever you need some extra surface area. It not only solves your space issue, but it adds a lot of visual interest as well!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Healthy Stuffed Winter Squash

Comfort food usually comes with a hefty dose of calories and fat, but not in this recipe! We’re using acorn squash, turkey sausage, some veggies and quinoa to make this fulfilling cozy dish: Healthy Stuffed Winter Squash. You’ll wanna snuggle up in sweatpants on the couch with some tea after a meal like this!

Ingredients: (feeds 2, with some leftover quinoa)

  • 3 turkey sausage links
  • half an onion, chopped
  • half a red pepper, diced
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • chicken broth
  • 1 acorn squash
  • garlic clove (or more depending on how garlicky you like your food)
  • your favorite shredded cheese (I used cheddar)

Directions:

  1. drizzle a little olive oil in a large pan. Cook turkey sausage on medium heat.
  2. meanwhile, chop onion and red pepper; add to pan with sausage.
  3. cook 1/2 cup quinoa according to package directions. (Typically the liquid is double the amount of quinoa you’re using). Replace half of the water with chicken broth for added flavor.
  4. when veggies/turkey sausage are almost done cooking, add a few splashes of chicken broth to pan and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan (= flavor city!). You don’t want the veggies swimming in liquid so don’t use too much!
  5. use a garlic press, or finely chop your clove of garlic and add to the turkey sausage/veggie pan.
  6. Take acorn squash and cut it in half; remove seeds and place on a plate, cut side down with a little water. Microwave for 10 minutes (check for doneness).
  7. When squash is done, sprinkle cheese on the inside of it so it can melt.
  8. take the sausage out of the pan and cut into thin slices.
  9. add the cooked quinoa to the pan of veggies; add a good swirl of sesame oil to the pan and stir to thoroughly combine.
  10. fill the squash with the quinoa veggie mixture, and top with the sliced sausage.
  11. ENJOY!

I really love this dish becuase there are so many interesting flavors going on! You never tire of taking a bite. There’s the natural sweetness from the squash, the savory bit from the cheese, the salty and unique seasoning of the turkey sausage, and the sesame oil in the quinoa peeking through. It’s just so yummy!

Try it out, ya’ll!!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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DIY & Thoughtful Gift Giving

Christmas and Chanukah are just around the corner, and I thought I would round up some of my previous posts to help inspire your gift giving. If you’re stuck on a few people on your list and just don’t know what to give them, check out a couple of my simple DIYs for easy gifts. There’s a few extra ideas thrown in there for you too!

  • For the girlie girl and accessory lover, try this DIY Leather Tassel: click here!
  • For the caffeine lover, get them a Cold Brew Toddy System. They will love you FOREVER. Check out my post here and read about it/where to buy!
  • For the skin care fanatic, take your leftover coffee grounds and make them a delicious body scrub. Find out how here!
  • for the girl boss working from home/lover of chic office supplies and decor, you’ve got to make them a marbleized clipboard! Pair it with a chic set of pens and stationary and voila! Perfect gift! 
  • Lastly, if you have a certain someone on your list that you THINK you should buy a present for, but aren’t really sure? (we all have those, right?) Why not bake them something delicious and tie a cute bottle of nailpolish to whatever you package the sweet treats in? I know I would enjoy a gift like that, and it’s simple! (plus, you could keep a few of the desserts for yourself!!! BONUS!)

Here’s some easy giftable dessert recipes:

I hope this gave you a few ideas for those hard-to-buy people on your list!

Have you been naughty or nice?!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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Friday Quickie: Pancakes!


Just a quick little post for you on this Friday! The hubbie has the morning off after a really busy week so I decided to treat both of us to a yummier than usual pancake breakfast that I doctored up just a bit. 

I wanted to share it with you in hopes that it inspires you to treat yourself to a cozy breakfast this weekend!

To make your pancakes, I used pancake mix and followed the directions on the box. I added about a tablespoon of sour cream to the mixture and about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. (I eyeball these things so I’m guesstimating, but you really can’t screw it up unless you go overboard!)

As your pancakes are cooking, heat up some lemon curd in the microwave on half power (so it doesn’t spurt everywhere inside the microwave). It’ll get nice and runny for drizzling on top of your pancakes. 

Once your pancakes are done, put butter and lemon curd between each layer, and top it with more lemon curd and some maple syrup. 


It’s sooooo delicious and feels extra special, without being a lot of extra work. Win win!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!


love & cupcakes,

Katie

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DIY No Sew Christmas Tree Skirt

Ooooooo I’m so happy with how this easy DIY No Sew Christmas Tree Skirt came out! I bought myself a white Christmas tree this year (I’ve been eyeing them for a while, now), and so when I got it all decorated and put my old Christmas tree skirt around the bottom, it just didn’t fit with the look and feel the rest of the tree had. Every time I was out at the store I went to the holiday section to see if I could find a cuter, more whimsical tree skirt, but I never had any luck.

That’s when I decided to make my own. I remember my favorite bloggers from A Beautiful Mess doing a tutorial on one last year; I headed over to their site for some inspiration, and then headed to the fabric store!

Here’s what you need:

  • fabric of your choice and size (I used faux fur in a textured “chevron” pattern)
  • felt in a similar color and same size as your fabric choice (this will be the back and give it more weight)
  • pom pom trim (enough to go around the circumference of your tree skirt)
  • hot glue gun
  • fabric scissors
  • ribbon (leftover scraps work fine because you won’t see it)
  • tape measure
  • marker
  • string

Directions:

  1. Determine how big you want your tree skirt (mine was 40″ diameter)
  2. lay out your FELT and measure/mark a square on the felt big enough for your circle to fit inside of it
  3. fold your square into quarters (so in half, and then half again)
  4. depending on what size diameter you are making your skirt, find the radius and cut a string to that length and tie it around your marker (give a little extra for the knot around the marker)
  5. with the loose ends of your folded square piece of felt being at the top and right side of your square, anchor your string at the bottom left corner of your square with your thumb.
  6. pull the string taught, and keeping the marker at a consistent up and down angle, draw the curve of your circle
  7. cut along that line and unfold your felt to see your gorgeous circle!
  8. take your fabric of choice and flip it upside down
  9. lay the felt circle you just cut on the back and trace around the circle
  10. cut out your fabric circle with a little bit of extra (just enough so it covers any felt peeking out from the edge)
  11. flip it right side up, so you are looking at the top of the actual fabric (how it will be under the tree)
  12. Start gluing the edges of the fabric and felt together
  13. once you have the two pieces of fabric glued together, fold your circle in half and with the felt side facing you, and find the center of that piece
  14. Take a circular object (mine was a 3-wick candle) and align it at the center point so that half of the circle is on the fabric and half is off of it.
  15. Trace around the candle, and cut along the line.
  16. unfold to see your circle in the middle (this is where the base of the tree will go)
  17. from that inner circle, trace or eyeball a straight line and cut all the way through to the outer edge of fabric
  18. hot glue the felt and fabric along the inner circle we just created and the two sides along the cut we just made
  19. take 6 pieces of ribbon (about 5 inches each) and glue them close to the edge of the straight cut we made This will create three sets of ties to close our tree skirt once it’s around the tree.
  20. take your pom pom trim and start gluing along the edge of the circle from the underside of the tree skirt
  21. flip over your tree skirt, oo and ahhhh at your handiwork and go put it under your tree! No one will ever believe you made it yourself!

See what a difference the tree skirt makes? Check out these before and afters:

Happy Holidays!!

love & cupcakes,
Katie

 

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Favorite things lately

img_7871I enjoy and appreciate when a blogger posts about certain things they are loving at the moment, so I thought I would share what I’m loving lately with you guys! (My inner thought: “if I find it useful and interesting, maybe my friends will too?!”) What I’m really loving this second? A late night snack of carrots and hummus. But I digress….

NYX Micro Brow Pencil and NYX Control Freak Clear Brow Gel (find it here and here)

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This stuff is legit! I used to buy the expensive Anastasia brand of both the pencil and clear brow gel, and this NYX brand gives the same exact results and application as the stuff that’s more than double its price! The pencil glides on easily (no tugging on your skin) and the brow gel isn’t too thick or heavy and you can’t even tell it’s on. I love that it sets my brow hairs in place and I don’t have to worry about the “tails” of my brows getting smushed out of place or going a little crazy looking throughout the day.

TRESemme Keratin Smooth hair serum (find it here)

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I have very fine and thin hair, but I have a lot of it. Whenever I blow dry it it gets all tangled and is a hot mess. When I put this in my damp hair and finger comb it through, I can literally blow dry my hair without a brush and run my fingers through it without getting caught halfway down. It makes my hair pretty much frizz free and suuuuuuper smooth. It’s not too heavy or oily feeling like some serums can, and this is important for us fine haired gals! I can’t believe I’m just starting to use something like this. Oh, and it’s cheap! AND it doesn’t make my hair greasy or oily. Total win!

Adjustable Rose Gold Feather Bling Bracelet (find it here)

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I love this feminine little rose gold bracelet I just got the other day from Charming Charlie. I have always loved feathers (they remind me of Native American jewelry which I love), and this one is just a more glitzy and trendy version. I also have been loving the adjustable part which is something you normally see on bracelets that are made of string (think of friendship bracelets!). I like the movement of the loose ends and the little bit of bling there doesn’t hurt either. This bracelet was $8! Super cute and looks great layered with other bracelets/a watch/other metals (silver/gold).

Alright, that’s all from me for now. Hope you enjoyed what I’m loving lately! A little dose of girly never hurt anyone.

Do you have favorite beauty/fashion buys you’re loving lately? Do tell!!!

love & cupcakes,

Katie

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