Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!

However you celebrate this Holiday Season, I hope it was a great one! 

image via

Now... Matt and I are off to sunny Mexico for vacation. YAY!

Talk to you all when we get back!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Dessert and Drinks with Friends

Thanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring my writing. There's no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On!

Hope everyone is having a good week! I’m loving all things Christmas around here. Its getting pretty cold (for Portland), but it just makes me want to snuggle my cats my husband and watch Christmas movies.

I’m also excited because I have Cooking Club with my girlfriends this week! (One of our fave recipes here.) We try to have Cooking Club once a month, but as these things go, sometimes we miss it and sometimes not everyone is able to come.

This month all the gals are available and I’m so looking forward to catching up with everyone. In true Cooking Club form, we decided that we’d just have pizza, salad, and drinks to leave maximum time for chatting :)

So when I was given the opportunity to write about Duncan Hines, it was perfect! What a great time to make an easy dessert and fun drink to share with my friends! 


I made the Duncan Hines milk chocolate brownies. Its family size, so there was enough to give Matt a couple and have plenty for the girls.

I just followed the super easy directions on the back, but replaced half of the oil with homemade applesauce. It turned out great!

To go along with the brownies, I made a festive peppermint martini. The peppermint flavor is the perfect complement to the brownies, they taste great together!

Now Cooking Club isn’t until Thursday but of course Matt and I had to taste test the drinks.

Here is the easy recipe.

Peppermint Martini 
Combine equal parts 2% milk (could use cream or nonfat, just depends on your preference), vodka, and peppermint coffee creamer. Put in a shaker with a few ice cubes. Shake and pour. Simple as that!


The peppermint martini and Duncan Hines brownie combo is a perfect holiday dessert for a night with friends! Can’t wait :) 


Do you have a favorite holiday dessert or drink? Please share!

Remember to check out Duncan Hines' website to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

Last weekend Matt and I joined my sister and parents in a hunt for the perfect Christmas trees.

Actually, the Christmas trees were more of an excuse to visit this guy.



Plus all of his animal friends. Our family went to a Christmas tree farm on the outskirts of the Portland suburbs in order to visit some cute animals.


The baby alpacas are so cute! We loved them. We also got to visit a cute set of friends – a sheep and a cow (damn! I don’t remember what type of cow it is but I think he’s Norwegian).



On our walk to the tree lot, we got to say hi to these gals. Matt and I don’t think we’ve ever seen a camel in person before!


Don’t worry – we did remember to get a Christmas tree. We decided to put it in the TV room so it was visible as you walked in the house (and let’s face it, Matt and I spend a lot of evenings in front of the tube).

We had Spanish coffees, turned on the Christmas music, and decorated the tree. Diego helped.


I love our tree! We throw all decor rules out the window and just use colorful lights and ornaments that have been given to us, ‘borrowed’ from our parents, or picked up along our travels.

I got that tree skirt at the dollar store. For a buck, its perfect :)

Here’s the cats view. They sit under the tree a lot. I think they’re pretending they are outside, but with a heater :)

Have you decorated your tree? Do you have a decor theme? Use sentimental ornaments?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to Make a Snowflake Wreath

Last weekend I completed my first Christmas craft – a snowflake wreath for the entry way. Like most of my crafts lately, I avoid thinking for myself by spending time on Pinterest first :)

I was inspired by this wreath.


from via pinterest

Of course, like most things on pinterest, mine ended up looking different. But I still love it!

It actually was pretty easy to make. I just poured myself some wine, turned on the Christmas tunes, and started hot gluing away. Here are some instructions (though it really is pretty easy! I only got hot glue on the carpet once :)

How to Make a Snowflake Wreath 

You’ll need:
flat wreath form
white spray paint
hot glue and glue gun
snowflake ornaments (I got mine at the dollar store. I used 4 10 packs)
(All the necessities) 

1. The night before you want to make the wreath, spray paint your wreath form white. This will make it less noticable if any wood shows through.

2. Remove the hooks from your ornaments, if needed, then glue the ornaments to the wreath form. I put a little hot glue in the center of the ornament, and overlapped each ornament to fill in most gaps.

Also I should note that since these ornaments were 10 cents each at the Dollar Store, they broke easily. Its okay to use the broken ones. Just hide the broken side underneath the next ornament.

3. Once you cover the whole wreath form, your wreath will look like this.
I wanted to see the entire snowflake, so I glued a few more ornaments on top.

That’s it for the wreath!

I planned to hang it on a mirror in my entry way. I always wondered how people did this without putting an extra hole in the wall. I folded the ribbon over the top of the mirror and used painters tape on the back to hold it in place. Its working pretty well - the wreath is still in place!

I love the touch of winter in the entry way! 
I’m thinking this can last past Christmas into January and February. (Once I finish decorating the table in there, I’ll show you the whole room :)  


Have you started (or finished!) decorating for the Holidays?

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