Friday, December 19, 2014

Insta-Friday #61 - Christmas time is here!

You guys! My baby is sleeping and my kids are playing nicely in the living room. I think I have about 20 minutes of prime time free time!!!! (Prime time free time is any free time that happens before bedtime. It's exorbitantly rare for me. Am I the only one? I really wish I could have a heart to heart with baby Elise and let her know that babies are supposed to take a couple hour nap in the day where their mommy's can shower and pee and maybe, just maybe, do a non-mommy thing. But no. She likes the 45 minute nap plan. Also known as the "mommy is about to lose it plan". )

But right now I have 20 minutes. Well, about 18 now.

Hold up. Kids bumped heads. 

Cry-Cry-Cry, mom kisses heads, "go play."

- 15 minutes left. 

Okay. Here's what we've been up to....


I LOVE our "Merry and Bright" theme. 
It's been a really cool change from our usual traditional decor. 

And my mantel is my favorite.

Took a vintage cheese dome and turned it into this snowy goodness. Miniatures and Epson salt. 
My new obsession.

I'm putting everything in jars and dumping in epson salt. It's kind of an obsessive habit at this point. (House globe from Target. My other obsession. )

I'm finally jumping on the felt bandwagon. I was looking at Pinterest months ago saw a great nativity. I thought "I could do that. What a nice handmade gift for my babies." FIFTY HOURS of cutting and hand embroidery later, and I'm done. The donkey alone took three hours of stitching. All I can say is they better freaking cherish it. 
(Instructions here. I did a lot of extra stitching. Don't do the extra stitching. In fact, do no stitching and you could cut this down to a 10 hour project. But I do like the stitching...)

And then I got tired of stitching and decided to start burning wood. 
It's crazy fun and makes my home smell like a campfire. 

(And this is why you snag fallen branches after storms like a crazy hoarder. )

I thought my projects were pretty cool. Then my sister Abby sends me this made from the drift wood near her home. I know. You can't top this. Wow. 

I'm still working on my embroidery projects. I may get them up here before Christmas. Or I may throw them across the room and shove fist-fulls of fudge in my face. I'm still deciding. 

Hope everyone else is ignoring nightly chores to do fun holiday projects too!
I love Christmas!!!!!

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Perfect Christmas Trifle

Ah, Christmas desserts. The one time of year that utter decadence is allowed guilt free. I've been limiting my sugar this year to the occasional small indulgence. But I'm going to shove my face into every dessert available this Christmas. 

Last year I hosted a big Christmas Day party and I wanted to have a showstopper dessert to go along with the goodies my friends were bringing. I wanted to combine some of my favorite holiday flavors into one dessert. And thus my version of a Perfect Christmas Trifle was born. 

For the cake - Mace Bundt cake. This cake tastes like Christmas. Really, it does. 

Mace Bundt Cake

(Do not preheat oven)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature + 4 TBS for pan
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 TBS Ground Mace (found in spice section of almost any grocery store.)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I think better without for the trifle)
  • Cream the one cup butter; add sugar gradually; beat until very light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time- beating well after each addition.
  • Add dry ingredients to blend, add nuts
  • Grease Bundt pan using 3-4 TBS butter (You REALLY want to get that pan greased up.)
Bake at 300 degrees 50-60 minutes. Watch carefully!
Turn out immediately. Cool to room temperature.

Paula Dean Egg Nog Pudding

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups milk
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
Freshly grated nutmeg

Mix together flour, cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of the milk to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. In another saucepan, scald the remaining 2 3/4 cups milk; add to flour mixture. Cook and stir mixture over medium-low heat; do not allow to boil. In a bowl beat the yolks; remove 1/2 cup hot mixture and add to yolks to temper them; mix well and return to pot. Continue to cook over low heat for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla. Thoroughly fold egg whites into the hot mixture. Place in bowl, sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and chill.

OR - Just make a pudding mix taste like eggnog! That makes it a bit easier.

I use raspberries for this dessert, but they are a little pricey at Christmas time. I've found if you defrost frozen raspberries, mix in a little sugar, they are fantastic drizzled on the inside of the trifle, buy a tiny container of fresh berries just for the top. 

Layer cake, raspberries soaked in sugar and then pudding. Repeat until almost to the top of the trifle bowl. Lastly, top with fresh whipping cream (flavored with sugar and vanilla of course) and fresh raspberries. Refrigerate for several hours. Served chilled. 


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