The D’s of December: Desserts & Drinks

duncan hines

 

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! www.duncanhines.com

It’s the time of year when both desserts and drinks are high on the priority list. The holidays are a time of celebrations, special occasions, and indulgent treats. Just because traditional drinks and cocktails aren’t too high on my priority list this year, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other fun, festive drink ideas to go around.

To help brainstorm some alternative drink and dessert combos, I turned to the latest and greatest source of inspiration: Pinterest.

Check out some of my favorite desserts and drinks for the holiday season: {click images for source}

Almond Joy Milkshakes and Samoa Bark

almond joy milkshakessamoa bark

Peppermint Punch and Saltine Toffee

peppermint punchbutterscotch toffee saltines

Chai Coffee Cake and Chai Lattes {of course!}

chai coffee cake

Apple Cider Caramels and Spiced Apple Cider

spiced cider     apple cider caramels

Pomegranate Apple Spiced Punch and Sugar Cookies

satsuma spiced drinksugar cookies

Peppermint Coffee Cupcakes and Peppermint Lattes

peppermint coffee cupcake  peppermint latte

Cookie Dough Fudge and Cookie Dough Cocoa

cookie dough fudgecookie dough cocoa

Cheez-It Bark and…Butterbeer?!

cheez it barkbutterbeer

What holiday dessert and drink combo will you be celebrating with this year?

 

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

Orange You Glad I Made Cupcakes?

Usually when you find a great recipe, you shouldn’t mess with it. Why risk ruin a good thing?

But sometimes you’re just a little too curious; a little too bored with the same ol’ thing. And by you of course I mean me.

I’m not gonna say I made this any better- they most certainly did not need improving. I just made a new variety- and variety means I get to eat them more often.

Mama Pea’s fabulous oatmeal cookie cupcakes gone orange:

orange cupcakes

I replaced half the water with freshly squeezed orange juice, and cut back on the cinnamon just a little bit so it didn’t over power the orange flavor. I saved a little bit of juice for the icing, then topped them off with a little bit of orange zest.

oatmeal cookie cupcakes

Just enough tang to make them a tiny bit different, yet still just as good.

oatmeal orange cupcake recipe

We’re already down to 2….

whole wheat oatmeal cupcakes

Sounds like a good breakfast to me- I mean, it’s oatmeal after all, right?!

 

Do you leave recipes alone or do you change them each time you make them?

Cupcake LOVE

silicone cupcake liners

There are a lot of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. But hands down, the best way to celebrate is with cupcakes.

valentine's cupcakes

Especially oatmeal cupcakes of the Mama Pea variety.

cupcakes for valentines

Even though a) the husband had already technically finished his vegan week and b) he already celebrated with tater tots, I had one more celebration up my sleeve…

Vegan cupcakes.

Which I may not have mentioned were vegan until after I got the double thumbs up seal of approval. {Hey, a girl’s gotta prove her point.}

Usually vegan things are safe in my house- I know I’ll get to eat them without anyone else getting to them first. This time I may have to step up my game to make sure I get them all.Winking smile

vegan cupcakes

{I didn’t even mess with the recipe this time if that tells you anything- the only thing I changed was using all whole wheat and spelt flours, and half almond butter/half peanut butter. Mama Pea has this vegan baking thing down. For reals.}

Vegan Week Wrap Up

After a teeny bit of persuasion, the husband agreed to go vegan for a week {ok, 5 days} to see what it was all about.

Neither one of us had any expectations as to the experiment changing his eating habits- hopefully just his opinions of vegan foods being weird and gross.

Now that the week is over, I have to say I think we’re both a little bit surprised. He didn’t cheat at all- he asked if everything in sight was vegan {even the OJ}. I think I might have caught him looking at a few labels.

I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised if his first meal “back” was a big hunk of steak or a pile of melted cheese, but instead he was pouring over restaurant menus, hunting for healthier options.

He quickly learned why it takes me a minute or two {or 100, as he says} extra to read a menu at a restaurant.

We both thought the experiment was over when we went out to dinner last night and he ordered a cheese-laden Mexican dish.

Until later that night, when he lay on the couch writhing in discomfort. I jokingly mentioned his stomach must be revolting from the lack of cheese for 5 days. He agreed all too quickly. Only then did he admit that he’d actually felt really good all week- full of energy and “clean”.

And then time froze. Without any provoking or pleading, or even a single word on my part, he said he might {emphasis on might} go vegan for a week each month. {As long as it doesn’t interfere with his plans for the week.} He liked that making a few small changes to his diet for such a short time made him feel good, but isn’t ready to commit to a full change.

Well, that’s more than I was expecting. Even a few healthier choices a week –no matter what they are- can make a difference.

And cupcake bribes don’t hurt….

vegan baking

The War on Baking: SoS vs The Christmas Cookies

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Prepare the battle field.

Step one in a bake-a-thon? Clean the kitchen. Yes, first. You will be shocked to learn this is my favorite step. {enter sarcasm here}. If you believe in the 5 second rule you might want to mop the floor….

Rally the troops.

Find everything you need. Nothing’s worse than running out of butter in the middle of an all day baking extravaganza.

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Charge! Full steam ahead.

Get baking! Start with the things that need to bake or chill the longest so you can get other stuff done while that’s happening.

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Lay low.

Eventually you’ll get to a point where everything’s in the oven or fridge. Deal with it.

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Wave the white flag.

There’s no avoiding it. At some point, you’re going to have to clean up. Again. Everything comes full circle.

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Declare Victory

And I just realized in all my cookie baking antics, I failed to actually bake any cookies.

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Recipes to come Winking smile

 

Favorite cookie baked treat?

Eating Margaritas

Tonight we’re going out to dinner to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. I haven’t celebrated Cinco de Mayo in years because of the birthday conflict, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t do a little celebrating on my own today. 😉

I felt a little bad about drinking a margarita in the middle of the day by myself, so I tried to see if I could make a margarita in cookie form. Guess what? You can.

vegan margarita cookies

As soon as I found this little sucker in the depths of the pantry, I knew the cookies had to be made.

tequila

Vegan Margarita Cookies

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 c sugar

5 T coconut oil

1 T vanilla

1 T agave nectar (that’s kind of Mexican, right?)

1 egg replacer (I used 1/2t baking soda, 1/2 t baking powder, 1 tsp guar gum, 1 tsp flax seed, 2 T water) or feel free to just use an egg 😉

3 T tequila and however much you want to drink on the side

3 T lime juice

Extra sugar, lime juice, & salt for topping.

Cream coconut oil & sugar. Just trust me on this. Add in egg replacer, agave nectar, & vanilla, then dry ingredients. Mixture will be crumbly. Add in equal amounts lime juice & tequila until mixture just comes together. (About 3 T of each for me.) It may still be slightly crumbly, but if you can squeeze it into a ball and it sticks, you’re good to go.

In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar, lime juice, and zest. I used orange zest because I didn’t have a lime, but ideally use a lime ;).

Roll into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.

cookie dough balls

Coat dough balls in sugar mixture and space evenly on greased cookie sheet. Slightly flatten balls and sprinkle with just a tiny bit of salt. Let’s not get crazy here, you want cookies, not salt licks.

cookie dough

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

margarita cookies

Eat immediately. Ok, I suppose you can save some for later.

Dip in tequila and enjoy. (Actually, please don’t. That sounds gross.)

lime cookies

I can’t wait for the day my sis in law is old enough to celebrate her birthday in true Cinco de Mayo fashion. On second thought- yes I can. I’m not ready for her to grow up quite yet 🙂

Happy Cinco-ing! 😉