Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mini Chocolate Reindeer Cookies

This was the one cookie that my teenage daughter wanted to make this year and I thought they were adorable.  Mini Chocolate Reindeer Cookies!  Due to the way life has been going this year, we took advantage of every available shortcut.

Did you know you can get chocolate cookie dough in sheets?  Cookie dough in sheets is one of my great friends in life.  Rolled out cookies at our house ranks right up there with homemade pie crust. It's best left to others. These turn out exactly like you cut them. No excess puffing or spreading!

I always keep candy google eyes in my pantry. You never know when they will come in handy!

Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

Just a few more days until Christmas and I'm doing my last minute menu planning. I always like to include an appetizer/snack that includes fruits or veggies because A) It's one way to get my kids to eat their fruits and veggies and B) It's one way to get me to eat my fruits and veggies in a sometimes produce-barren time of year!

 This dip comes together in a snap and tastes great with both apples and gingersnaps! 
(And, for my SIL, Fritos! :-)

Merry Christmas!


Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

by Rachel @ Simple Girl

8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature (full fat -  light comes out too runny)
3/4 cup pumpkin pie filling (not plain pumpkin!)
1 cup powdered sugar
8-ounce container of Cool Whip (can be light)

Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add powdered sugar.  Beat until lumps are removed.  Add pie filling.  Beat until combined.  Fold in Cool Whip until combined.  Chill until ready to serve.

Serve with apple slices, gingersnaps or Fritos!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Light a Candle

While we are in the midst of the advent season, I just want to encourage you to light a candle.  When the days go by so quickly that you can't even grasp them in your hands, candles cause us to pause. When our to-do lists seem unmanageably long, candles give us a moment to reflect.

Advent candles have long been a tradition in the Christian church. They help us tell the story of the Birth of Christ. As Christmas draws near, the increasing candle light reminds us of the star that shown over Bethlehem. Our anticipation swells with each additional candle lit.

While typically placed in a round wreath, I like to change our candles a little every year to keep them relevant with our lives. This year I took apple red pillar candles and put them in vases from the dollar store.  I wrapped them with green raffia and clipped some chalkboard tags (from Target's dollar section) on each.  I labeled four of them for each of the four Sundays in advent and marked the middle one for Christmas Day. (FYI, lighting the fifth one on Christmas Eve is ok, too!)

Although my kids are getting older, they still enjoy reading Benjamin Bear's journey to the manger in Advent Storybook each night during dinner.

So pause. Light a candle. Reflect on the manger. The shepherds didn't have seven kinds of Christmas cookies. The wise men didn't have coordinating wrapping paper. But the night was holy, full of calm and peace.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes

Winter arrived with a vengeance.  One day I was happily raking leaves, enjoying the simple pleasures of autumn and the next day I woke up to this:   An icy, freezing, slippery blizzard. I was not prepared. I need new tires. I need a new car. My mums are buried under a fluffy white blanket. My pumpkins are frozen to the steps. I drove the kids to school watching cars slip through intersections. A long commute becomes longer. Amazon Prime becomes my friend.

This is the post I started exactly one month ago today. Winter came and it stayed. Eventually I was able to scrape the pumpkins off of the sidewalk and shimmy my pots inside long enough for them to thaw.  We got the Christmas tree up and, while I haven't started the Christmas cards yet, preparations are underway.

Even during the Christmas season, I still love the warmth of pumpkin spice.  This easy recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pancakes is perfect for every day or for a crowd.

While I would never use pumpkin pie filling to make an actual pie (doesn't taste like mom's), 
it's a great shortcut for pancakes!

Just remember 3 - 2 - 1.

Three cups of buttermilk pancake mix.
Two cups of water.
One cup of pumpkin pie filling.

The syrup is calling!

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes

by Rachel @ Simple Girl

3 cups Complete Buttermilk Pancake Mix (Like Krusteaz)
2 cups of water (does not count as an ingredient!)
1 cup pumpkin pie mix (Not pureed pumpkin which doesn't have the spices)

Mix together until just combined.  Spoon 1/4 cup portions onto medium hot griddle.  Flip when they start to bubble on top.  But you knew that.