Christmas has ended but a New year will begin.

christmas-tree-2

hard to believe Christmas has come and gone, and now we wait to celebrate the New Year.  The last few months has been a busy time for Chris and I. We recently bought a house of our dreams, and got to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We wanted to get to know our new neighbors and welcome them in our new home. Chris and I made gift bags for each neighbor along with a get to know us letter. I of course did some baking to share with them, and one Sunday morning we walked to each house and introduced ourselves to them. Chris and I were thrilled to meet most of our neighbors, and invited them to an open house the following weekend. It was a success for sure and we truly enjoyed everyone. Chris and I were thrilled to meet them and feel blessed to live where we live now.

Of course we had to have our little niece stay over that night, and it was her first night over in our new house. Chris bought her a cute reindeer made out of wood to put together and paint, and then we all made a gingerbread house with her. I love doing crafts with her when she is with us . claire-and-chris-making-gingerbread-house-2

I usually like to make Christmas gifts for my friends and family, but this year I did not have a lot of time to do so, instead I baked away for everyone. I decided to make some gift boxes of baked goods and then a little package of Teriyaki Jerky that my husband made. My boxes were a hit because all I could see was smiles. I love doing that stuff and seeing people smile it is a gift to me knowing that I did my job to make someone smile. In my gifts I made red velvet whoopee cakes, Peppermint Rice crispy treats, Bourbon balls. Just the simplest things are more than anything.

Of course I had to make my famous Sugar Cookies for my workers  cookie exchange party.  These are not just any sugar cookies they are the kind that melt in your mouth and are so light they are absolutely amazing.  I actually learned how to make these from a woman named Jenny Keller when I lived in Washington state. Please check out her website and Blog Jennycookies,   and her new website Jennycookies bakeshop.  I would give  the recipe out, but I think this one I will have to keep a secret.sugar-cookies-roses-2

Besides doing all the baking, for Christmas one of my nieces had mentioned that since the whole family was gathering for Christmas we should all wear Pajamas. I actually thought that would be a fun and cool idea so I was totally in. After hearing that the whole family was in on this idea I thought why not get the whole family together in a photo shoot. It has been a long time since we had a family photo, and our family is growing . I wanted to do this so I can get the photos  copied and give to my family members as memorabilia.

This holiday has come and gone, but I have to say it was a fun time with family and friends. I certainly enjoyed everything this season, and I hope next year we can do this again.

Bourbon Balls Recipe

Ingredients

1          box (12 oz) vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
1          cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4      cup powdered sugar
2          tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2      cup bourbon
2 1/2   tablespoons light corn syrup
Additional powdered sugar

Directions

  • 1 In large bowl, mix cookie crumbs, pecans, 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the cocoa, stirring well.
  • 2 In small bowl, mix bourbon and corn syrup, stirring until blended. Pour bourbon mixture over cookie mixture; stir until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional powdered sugar. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 2 weeks

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.5-oz) box red velvet cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or see Note)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (3.9-oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (16-oz) can cream cheese frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just blended, then on high 1 minute.
  • Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until set.
  • Let cookies cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups of imperial margarine
  • 2 tsp of clear vanilla
  • 5 table spoons of coffee creamer I usually get sweet cream creamer
  • 2 lbs of C&H Powdered sugar

Directions:

Blend the Margarine together with the vanilla, and Creamer once that is mixed well then add the powder sugar by cups one at a time. If the Consistency is still not stiff enough I usually add more powder sugar to get it fluffy.

Note: Make your own buttermilk by blending 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice.

You can also get my Peppermint Oreo Cookie Rice Crispy treats recipe from one of my latest blogs the red velvet Oreo cookie white chocolate Rice Crispy treats by clicking onto the link.

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