How to have an epic Christmas party!

I have ALWAYS wanted to be apart of all types of parties, such as costume parties, Christmas parties, New Years parties and everything in between. Well this year I decided that my family will  host their first annual Christmas party and I am so excited! Our party of course was centered around having a lot of food. I created a list of things that you have to have to make your party epic! It’s not that hard, it’s definitely fun but it does take a little effort. 

  • Invitations
    • We ordered our invites from zazzle.com, Zazzle is always doing some kind of discount on their invitations and they come out so nice! I did some research with other invitation websites but for me this was the best one. I was really happy with how they turned out. 
  • Food
    • On our invites we wrote “bring your favorite dish”. This, for us, was a MUST! Of course we love cooking and we would do it happily but it relieved a lot of stress on us to have our guests bring dishes also. We definitely made some cookies which I have posted the recipes on here and a few appetizers. We actually ended up cooking A LOT of food, way too much for a traditional potluck but I’m not complaining, I ate all of it. 
    • Chocolate covered oreos (my favorite!)
    • Dulce de leche bars
    • Coconut and white chocolate cookies 
  • Decorations
    • Our house is always decked out for Christmas so this aspect wasn’t too hard. We did go to Home Goods, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby  to get anything new. 
    • We bought decorated Christmas plates (paper) and napkins from Marshalls. 
    • We created our hot chocolate bar from items from Hobby Lobby. 
  • Drinks 
    •  Hot chocolate bar
    • Wine (multiple bottles)
    • Sparkling cider

  • Entertainment 
    • As for entertainment, we decided to have the ultimate Christmas album playing the background, Mariah Carey! Along with classics such as Frank Sinatra and Justin Bieber (haha!)
    • We also decided to play some Christmas games such as:
      • Christmas Trivia
      • Name that Christmas song 
      • Christmas Charades 
    • We provided gifts for the winners. We had chocolates, a pasta kit, and candles from Home Goods, Pier 1 Imports and TJ Maxx. (Thank God for those stores)

Overall, our party was awesome and I’m glad we finally ended up having it. 

If you have any tips of how to make a party great please do not hesitate to share!

Have a great day! 

Love, 

Harvest Salad

Let me tell you a little secret about myself….. I hate salad. I think this hatred stems from people thinking that I should love them. I was a vegetarian for about 2 and 1/2 years and I refused to base my food intake around this dish. My mother always talked so much crap! “How can you be a vegetarian if you don’t eat salad?”, so annoying. 

Well for this past Thanksgiving I decided to do a salad anyway because truth be told, they can be delicious and fun. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries 
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of feta cheese 
  • 2 sliced apples 
  • 1 container of spring salad mix
  • Salad dressing (we used a mixture of Rice wine vinegar, dijon mustard olive oil, salt and pepper)

Salads are pretty easy to make, just put all the ingredients together! We waited to put the dressing on until we were ready to eat it and it was delicious. 

Let me know if you try this recipe out! 

Or if you have any other salad recipes that I should try. 

Have a great day! 

Love, 

Dulce de Leche Bars

Another dessert?? Yes! We are getting so prepared for this Christmas party and eating all the sweets and this dessert is just that, sweet! 

If you’re looking for a unique sweet that’ll make everyone fall in love then you have definitely come to the right place!

Ingredients:

  • 2 & 1/2 cup of unbleached flour
  • 1 4-ounce can of dulce de leche
  • 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces of semi sweet chocolate 
  • 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Steps:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and have a rectangular deep baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready. (You will be layering your bars in this pan.)

  1. Mix together your flour and salt.

     2. On medium speed mix together your butter, sugar and vanilla until combined. 

     3. Once your butter, sugar and vanilla is creamed, slowly fold in your flour and salt mixture. ( I recommend adding in 1/2 cup at a time.)

     4. Once everything is mixed together add this to your prepared pan. Flatten the dough down in an even layer.

      5. Bake this dough for 25 minutes or until lightly brown. 

      6. Once done, let it cool down for about 30 minutes or until cool. (I know, I know, a lot of waiting but it is needed!)

     7. After your base is cool you are going to spread the dulce de leche in an even layer. 

     8. Now the bars have to be refrigerated for about 25 minutes, I just placed them in the freezer to speed up the process. (Yes! We are almost done)

     9. While the bars are cooling, in a bowl, melt your chocolate chips. The best way to do this is to melt them in increments of 30 seconds and stir it to prevent it from burning.

   10. Once your chocolate is melted and your bars are done cooling you can add on that final layer of chocolate! (About time!) Make sure this layer is thin and even. 

   11. Now place your bars back in the freezer, this time for only 10 minutes! 

    12. And you are done! Finally! Take a knife and cut it however you’d like.

I hope you guys try this recipe and you enjoy it! It’s the perfect dessert for anytime of the year. 

Let me know of any other recipes that I should try!

Have a great day!

Love, 

Coconut and white chocolate cookies

In preparation for our upcoming Christmas party, my sister and I have been practicing making cookies. Yes, we need to practice. I am in no way a strong baker, honestly I’m more likely to burn the cookies than to make anything edible.

But lo and behold! A super simple recipe that is fail proof! The ingredients included are basically all normal household staples besides probably the shredded coconut and white chocolate chips.

This recipe is definitely worth it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces of white chocolate chips (or however much you like)

Steps:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and have your baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  1. Mix together your flour, baking powder and salt. IMG_2754
  2. On medium speed mix together your butter and sugar until combined. IMG_2755
  3. Once your butter and sugar is creamed, on low speed slowly add in your flour, baking powder and salt mixture. (To do this we added in about 1/2 a cup at a time)
  4. Fold in your white chocolate chips.                                                                                            IMG_2757
  5. Refrigerate your dough for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Once refrigerated, take tablespoon sized portions and roll them into a ball.IMG_2759
  7. Roll the balls in the shredded coconut.                                                                            IMG_2756
  8. Place the balls on your baking sheet.                                                                                          IMG_2763
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly brown.
  10. AND YOU’RE DONE! (let them cool down before you try!)IMG_2764

This recipe is super simple and the cookies came out better than I expected. I hope you guys try this recipe and if you do let me know! I’d love to hear about it. Or if you have other cookies that we could make for the holidays I would love to hear about that as well!

Have a great day!

Love,

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Best local spots in Augusta, Ga.

I have compiled a list of my favorite places in Augusta and the surrounding areas and made a perfect day out list!

I love local restaurants, stores and businesses in general. It’s nice to see hard working people and supporting them makes me feel like I’m helping their lives just a little.

Of course there are plenty of restaurants and stores all around Augusta but this is what my perfect day would consist of.

Breakfast:

Manuel’s Bread Cafe

On Saturdays and Sundays they offer brunch buffet and it is amazing. There are shrimp & grits, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes and tons of pastries.

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Lunch:

Pho Bac

Pho Bac offers authentic Vietnamese dishes and I always get their Pho, its amazing.

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Mid-day dessert:

Two Mom’s Kitchen

Two Mom’s knows good cookies! Their sugar cookies are made with almond extract which makes it so special.

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Date Dinner:

Frog Hollow Tavern

I have yet to take any photos of this amazing restaurant but they have Gouda mac and cheese which is too DIE for!

Drinks:

Craft and Vine

Craft and Vine is owned by the same people that own Frog Hollow and they have unique cocktails and AMAZING pizza!

Shopping: 

Final Cut

Final Cut is always a good idea.

Check out my previous post about this store.

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I have fell in love with Augusta because of places like these and others that I will post about in the future.

If you have any restaurants or stores that you love I would love to hear about it!

 

Love,

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Local Coffee Shops

I have recently come to love local coffee shops and thankfully a new one opened near by! Ubora Coffee Roasters is located in downtown Augusta, Georgia and this place is amazing. It is a veteran owned business that is quickly making Augustans fall in love. The vibe of the place is amazing, the workers were sweet and knowledgeable and its an awesome place to just relax.

When I went we ordered their caramel cookie, which was so good that I’m going to try to recreate it, and two cups of their pour over coffee. I’ve never had a pour over and honestly I was kind of intimidated. Will it be too strong? Will I hate it? I am in no way a coffee aficionado, I just like good coffee. Their pour over coffee was just that, good coffee. We ordered the Ethiopian and Rwanda coffee, seriously amazing!

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An awesome thing that Ubora offers is that you can order their coffee online and it is definitely worth it. https://uboracoffee.com/

If you have any local restaurants that you want to share I would love to hear about them!

 

Love,

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Making Healthy Fun

Happy Tuesday!

As I described in my last post, I had an amazing weekend. Typically my fiance and I like to cook new foods together and this weekend was no different. We wanted something simple but tasty.

I bought butternut squash last week because I wanted to start incorporating that in my diet more especially because it is fall.

So we knew we wanted to make the butternut squash in some form and I found the most perfect recipe!

Sauteed butternut squash with bacon! 

All you need for this is:

  • Minced garlic
  • Butternut squash, diced (we used two)
  • Bacon (we used 5 slices)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet, on medium heat without any oil, cook your bacon until it is almost done. This is really dependent on how you like your bacon cooked, but remember you’re going to add your bacon to your squash a little later so make sure it isn’t completely done.

Move your bacon to a plate and with the bacon drippings still in the skillet add your diced squash.

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Cooking the squash took a little bit longer, probably around 15 minutes.

While it is cooking add in salt and pepper and break up your bacon in little pieces.

Once the squash is done turn off the heat and add in your bacon pieces.

Now it’s done and it’s amazing and it’s the most delicious dish ever. Honestly though, this was such a simple recipe.

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Even though bacon was added (along with the grease) it is a healthier option and a fun way to incorporate butternut squash.

Next broccoli!

Broccoli is simple for me, I love it with just salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and roasted.

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How you like it depends on how long it’ll be in the oven for, I love broccoli in any way, whether it’s extremely roasted and crispy or still soft and tender.

Next up…. the chicken!

The chicken we marinated it with:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic (roughly two tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried thyme (1 tablespoon)
  • Dried oregano (1 tablespoon)

After about 30 minutes in the marinate we grilled it for about 10 minutes on each side. Once done we waited until after the table was set to cut the chicken into smaller pieces because that helps to not dry it out.

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Overall the whole meal was amazing. It was fun to make with my family and it was good and simple. It’s nice to know that you don’t need all these crazy ingredients or be super talented to cook good meals.

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(Also, my fiance made some amazing guacamole but we’ll save that for another post!)

 

Have a great Tuesday!

Love,

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