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I’m a Christmas Monster

2016 December 7
by Leah Bergman

Does anyone else completely stress themselves out this time of year trying to check everything off of “the list?” You know the one: pictures with Santa, family photos, ordering Christmas cards, baking cookies, putting up the tree, matching jammies…and the list goes on. I feel like the pressures to do it all and make incredible memories has just intensified now that I have children. Of course I WANT to do it all, but seriously who has the time for this stuff? I mean, last night I ordered our cards, turned to Jason and proudly proclaimed “CHECK!” “Two major things off of our list!” Who have I become? Alright, so if I’m being completely honest, I really like doing these things. They make the holidays feel festive but seriously, did I just say “and we haven’t even watched The Santa Clause yet!” Ugh. I’m a Christmas monster.

Christmas photo with Santa

I’ve been (quite literally) having a daily heart attack due to the fact that we haven’t bought our Christmas tree. A couple of years ago, I’ll never forget, I forced Jason to help me hunt down a tree lot before Thanksgiving and buy a freshly flocked tree. The crazed look was certainly in my eye that day we hit the lot. The resulting fire hazard that sat in all of it’s fluffy white flocked dried-out glory for the next month in our living room was a constant reminder of my type-A Christmas personality. I watered that baby long after it stopped drinking water, long past when a sudden burst from the heater would cause a flurry of flocked needles to fall to the ground in utter abandon. When it was time to remove the ornaments and haul it out to the street for the annual tree pick up service, I was so happy to see it go I could have cried.

But all of that still doesn’t make me feel any better for not having hung the stockings and baked all of the cookies (ok, so I’ve already baked a few) and decked every hall with enough holly to choke a reindeer and Santa and all of his elves. Alas, tomorrow I will still wake up stressing about the tree and loving every minute of the crazy Christmas to-do list. Just so long as the babies grow up remembering not to get in the way when the carols turn on and I get that flocked-look in my eye…I mean…just so long as they grow up having fun memories of the holiday season. I hope I can, and will, bring the Christmas magic to life for them. To create some fond memories and only turn Christmas monster behind closed doors. There is always next year to get the tree up before the Thanksgiving turkey is carved.

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6 Handmade Ornaments to Make

2016 December 6

Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? Am I officially the only person who is slacking in the Christmas decorating department this year? I’m pretty sure Instagram has me convinced of it. Well, whether you are still tree-less (like me) or have had yours up for weeks now, here are 6 Handmade Ornaments to Make and trim that beautiful tree with. Which is your favorite?

How to make salt dough ornaments

1. Classic Salt Dough Ornaments– kid friendly and easy to create an entire tree’s worth of ornaments with just a few ingredients. Find my recipe here.

Gold Leaf Ornaments

2. Painted Gold Leaf Ornaments– wouldn’t an entire tree of these golden ornaments be stunning? Get the how-to here.

Ribbon Candy Ornaments

3. Ribbon Candy Felt Ornaments– I’m a sucker for candy so these sweet felt ornaments are on my list! Get the how-to.

DIY Glitter Filled Ornaments

4. Glitter Dust Filled Balls– A fun and modern twist on Christmas balls! Get the tutorial here.

Marbled Ornaments

5. Marbled Ornaments– After this tutorial, you will want to marble EVERYTHING! Get the how-to here.

Cookie Cutter Wreath Tutorial

6. Christmas Cookie Cutter Wreath– Not exactly an ornament but definitely one of my favorite DIY Christmas projects I’ve found! I mean, cookie cutters? Genius! Here’s how to make one.

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Rudolph Cookies Make It Yours™ Cookie Recipe

2016 December 2


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Country Crock® and their Make It Yours™ Cookie Recipe however all of the opinions expressed here are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors who keep Freutcake delicious!

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

Everyone knows the best part of cookies are all the goodies mixed inside, right? Well, maybe with the exception of gingersnaps…those should just be left well enough alone in all of their glory, but that’s another post entirely! So, when Country Crock® asked me to try their Make It Yours™ Cookie Recipe for the holidays but put my own spin on it with some of my favorite mix-ins, I was game. I have to admit, I have only EVER baked my Christmas cookies with butter so I was interested to see just how Country Crock® would work in a cookie dough.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

Well, if you are curious…leeeeet me tell you. This dough y’aaaaall (did I sound Southern there?) is SO creamy and smooth and buttery and delicious. There is no bringing cold butter to room temperature here folks, just scoop the Country Crock® straight out of the fridge and get a creamin’. By creamin’ I mean creaming the butter or in this case Country Crock® with sugar like any proper cookie dough base should start before you mix in all of the vanilla and eggs and dry ingredients. Oh, how I love cookie dough.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

For my cookies, which I have appropriately named Rudolf Cookies due to their adorable red “noses,” I mixed in dried cherries, chunks of white chocolate, and pecans. The tartness of the dried cherries and the super sweet white chocolate is like heaven. I mean, I could literally eat these three mix-ins together by the handful like a festive holiday trail mix…but that would be bad, ok maybe just a few pieces.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

Anyway, if you are looking for one easy and delicious holiday cookie dough to try this season, this will be the only one you’ll need! The mix-in possibilities are truly endless. If white chocolate doesn’t make your cookie crumble (har! har!), then try dark chocolate! Dried cranberries, orange zest, and pecans would also be lovely. I mean I could go on and on but there are Rudolf noses to talk about so let’s get to it.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

When you’ve baked your cookies just until golden and perfect and the house smells like heaven on earth, take those babies out and let them cool. But while they cool, poke em’! Yes, I am actually telling you to poke little indents into the top of your cookies while they are still warm so that you can nestle in the maraschino cherries that will become the reindeer noses. For the final festive holiday flair, drizzle all of the cookies with melted white chocolate. Just get crazy with it! Have fun and drizzle your little heart out. Ta, da! It’s a party, a big-old holiday cookie party and a delicious one at that.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Cookies

And I’m not the only one who’s whipping up fun holiday cookie creations with this Make It Yours™ Cookie Recipe either. My friend and fellow blogger Melissa from Best Friends for Frosting created this mix in cookie creation so make sure to check it out.

So, what is your favorite combination of mix-ins? Any crazy delicious ideas I should try? Leave me a comment on this post with your suggestions, I’m in the mood for baking cookies!

White Chocolate Cherry Chunk Rudolph Make It Yours™ Cookie Recipe
Yields 30
Delicious white chocolate cherry pecan cookies topped with maraschino cherry "Rudolf noses" and a drizzle of white chocolate.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Country Crock®
  2. ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  3. ¾ cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 large egg
  5. 1 large egg yolk
  6. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  7. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp. baking powder
  9. ¾ tsp. salt
  10. ¼ tsp. baking soda
  11. 1 cup white chocolate chunks
  12. ½ cup chopped dried cherries
  13. ½ cup chopped pecans
  14. white chocolate chips, for melting
  15. maraschino cherries for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, Country Crock® spread, egg, egg yolk and vanilla into a large bowl until well mixed. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended (dough will be soft and creamy).
  2. Stir in white chocolate, cherries and pecans. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets 3-inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack; remove from baking sheets and cool completely.
  3. Once cookies are cooling, carefully press indents into the top of each cookie using your finger. This will be for the cherries. Once the cookies are cooled completely, top each with a maraschino cherry that has been patted dry with a paper towel.
  4. In a heat proof glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, melt one bag of white chocolate chips on low heat. Stir frequently until chips are completely melted. Transfer white chocolate to a large piping bag or plastic Ziploc bag and cut off the tip with scissors. Drizzle cookies with white chocolate. Allow chocolate to cool and harden before serving or stacking. Enjoy!
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