Monday, December 31, 2012

{Recipe Recap} Cinnamon Toffee Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

It’s Monday and you know what that means.  Treats!

I made these cookies just before Christmas.  I had stocked up on cinnamon chips when they finally hit the shelves at Harris Teeter, and I had a few pecans left after making those scrumptious bars, and I always have toffee bits in my pantry so I was all set.


These cookies were pretty good.  Not the best I’ve ever eaten, but I liked how all the flavors worked together.  With the oats and nuts, the cookies tasted a little healthy and, really, they weren’t THAT bad for us.


Today is Day 10 of my Christmas vacation.  We were here the weekend before Christmas, then we went to Charlotte on Christmas Eve.  We stayed in Charlotte to celebrate the McHusband’s birthday on the 26th then came home on the 27th to enjoy dour staycation. 

I’ve kept pretty busy with some projects I’ been wanting to tackle.  I cleaned, painted and organized our pantry (full post on that soon) then kept the momentum going with our spice cabinet and fridge.  The McHusband commented that he thought the fridge looked brighter.  I told him it was probably because I’d cleaned all the shelves so the light could actually shine through them.

I’m going to make the most of these last two days with a little exercise, some chores, a New Year’s party, and some relaxing.

“See” you next year!

{Recipe here}

PS  Happy Birthday, McDad!

Friday, December 28, 2012

White Elephant party

Okay so before Christmas is just a good memory, let me show you how we first got our holiday spirit on.


The McHusband and I hosted a White Elephant party on December 1st.  We had Heather and Bruce, Terry and Vickie, Eric, Chelle and Jeremy, and Shawn and Vanessa over.


I did things potluck-style so I made a treat or three as well as the bacon-wrapped smokies.


I made chocolate cupcakes with Biscoff buttercream. 


Chelle has requested that these make an appearance in January for her birthday.


I also made Five-Layer Peppermint Bars based on this recipe.  My layers were: Oreo cookie crust, sweetened condensed milk, mini peppermint marshmallows, Andes peppermint chips, and white chocolate chips.


And last but not least, these Frosted Eggnog Spice Bars with Biscoff Streusel.  The recipe actually called for a gingerbread cookie streusel, but I was on a Biscoff kick.



Okay, enough about the food.  We had so much fun opening our gifts.  Bruce went first.


As you can see, he was thrilled to find a wine stopper kit and an “I Love My Labrador” coffee cup.


Next up: Vanessa.  Lucky girl, she got a clock for her garage.


Heather was third.  She chose the gift that I contributed: Christmas dish towels and a candy bar.


The McHusband reached down and broke the candy bar through the wrapper, which Heather did not appreciate.


When it was the McHusband’s turn, he chose his own gift – a pack of microfiber wash and wax towels and some air fresheners.  What a party pooper.


But he didn’t get to keep it – Terry stole it from him.  So his next gift was an oversized martini shaker thing.


Shawn opened up his gift to find sandwich coasters.



Vickie was next and she stole Heather’s gift.


So Heather got to go again.  She opened up the true gag gift of the night and I’m just going to have to let your imaginations run wild on this one.  I need to maintain my blog’s PG-13 rating.


Jeremy got a pink airsoft gun.


But Heather and I can attest to it being anything but soft.  The McHusband shot us both and it did NOT feel good.

Chelle stole Bruce’s wine thingie and Labrador cup.


So Bruce got to go again and he ended up with the wine Solo cup that Vickie brought to the party.


No pictures of me and my gift, but I got a bottle of Riesling so I was a happy camper.

It was funny that Terry and Vickie went home with both sets of towels, and that they both had to steal them from other people.


And it wouldn’t be one of my party posts without an assortment of random pictures so here goes.




I love the variety of faces in this picture.  Hard to believe they were all talking to the McHusband.



I have to include one more butt shot since it reveals Chelle’s gangster tendencies.


That was a fun night and it was a great way to kick off the Christmas season.  I might have to make it an annual thing…

Thursday, December 27, 2012

{Recipe Recap} Pecan Caramel Bars

One of the guys at work gave me a bag of pecans so I wanted to make something with them before our office closed for the holidays so I could share the treat with my coworkers.  I came across this recipe and thought it not only looked tasty, but it seemed simple enough so I could easily make it after the Y on a Thursday night.


I didn’t want to buy maple extract so I just used vanilla extract.


I don’t know how that affected their taste, but these were pretty fantastic so I’m not sure I want to try the recipe the “right” way.


The butterscotch chips provide the main flavor in these bars but you could certainly switch them out for chocolate, white chocolate, or even cinnamon.


I was glad I got my pecans for free, but these bars were so good that I’ll probably have to buy some nuts soon so I can make them again.


They were a bit hit with my coworkers as well as Sandra, who raved about them and requested the recipe.


Bake a batch of these before you make any resolutions.  I’d hate for you to break them so soon after committing – or recommitting – to eating better.

{Recipe here}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Looks like Christmas

In the spirit of the holiday as well as my inclination to be late to the party with my posts, I’m going to show you my main decorations inside the house the day after Christmas.

My mantle has, in addition to the traditional stockings, red berry garland, white lights, gold trees, and some red votive holders.




I put garland and lights on the railing at the stairs.



Our tree goes in the bay window in the dining room.  One day that may not be the most convenient for Christmas morning,  but for now it’s the perfect place: out of the way of our everyday living and looks pretty from outside.


And in the dark.


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

P.S.  Happy Birthday to my McHusband!  Love you!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thanksgiving: Friday

Assuming the world doesn’t actually end, I’m going to wrap up Thanksgiving so that I’ll only be behind on our vacation.  From October.

The day after Thanksgiving, Bri and the girls picked me up and we headed north to meet up with Shannon, my mom, Owen, and Olivia.  After lunch at Showmar’s, we headed to a nearby park to hang out.



Gma and all her grandbabies.


The big kids.


Some family pics.



It’s not easy to get four kids to smile at the same time let alone smile AND look in the same direction.


Maybe we’ll have better luck on the bench.



Can we ALL get in the picture? Yep!


From the playground, w went out to the baseball field to let the kids run around.


Their moms might’ve run around a little, too.




We couldn’t not play on the bleachers.


One last photo op at the fence.




Meeting for lunch and then going to the park to hang out was the perfect way to spend the afternoon and have more quality time together.

On the way back, I looked into the backseat and saw Maxie having a, um, snack.



Whew, so glad I wrapped up Thanksgiving with days to spare before Christmas!  We’ll see if I can do Christmas in less time.

So my office is closing around 12:30 today and we’re going to have a company lunch at Lucky 32.  Then tonight we have dinner with friends at Sushi Nine.  Tomorrow starts with boot camp and then I’ll probably do a little baking and a LOT of wrapping.  On Sunday, besides some of the usual chores and laundry, I’ll go to spinning then we’re having a nice Christmas dinner with Heather, Bruce, and their girls.

Well, those are my plans if the Mayans are wrong.  Let’s hope they are.

As always – TGIF!