Pear and Brie Crostini

Pear and Brie Crostini

Happy Holidays, friends! I decided to take a week off from blogging to enjoy time with the family and it was so needed! We had such a fun Christmas with Maddie. We are always traveling for Christmas, but now that we live in California and are close to my in-laws, for the first time in a very long time, we woke up in our own home on Christmas morning. With Maddie being two, this was really the first Christmas she really seemed to understand what was going on. She was so excited to get downstairs to see all the presents! Being a parent truly puts some magic back into Christmas!

Ok, but now it’s over and we’ve got a few days until New Years Eve! This pear and brie crostini would be perfect to serve!

Pear and Brie Crostini

This appetizer really works well starting in the fall and through the holiday season. It starts with toasted baguette topped with glorious melted brie cheese and then is topped with soft pears tossed in a bit of cinnamon and some toasted walnuts! It’s seriously dreamy! I think I could live off brie, no joke! I couldn’t stop eating this crostini while taking the photos. Your party guests will love munching on this warm appetizer while sipping champagne!

Pear and Brie Crostini

Breakfast Casserole

Breakfast Casserole

Christmas morning breakfast is a big deal in my house. It’s always such a busy morning with opening gifts and getting ready for the day, but a nice breakfast is important! Opening gifts with our loved ones is always a special time and I think it’s important to savor each and every moment of it so having a nice (but easy!) breakfast is an integral part of the holiday to enjoy after or while opening gifts. This breakfast casserole definitely fits the bill!

Breakfast Casserole

While I feel like I often do sweeter holiday breakfasts, this year I’m going savory with this breakfast casserole! It’s loaded with sausage, hash browns, eggs, and cheese! What’s not to love about that?! Although it may seem like a lot of steps, this casserole is really very simple to prepare. If you want to do any prep the night before, you can cook the sausage. You can also save time the morning of by just using thawed hash browns, but I really prefer to cook them a bit before as they get a bit of a crunch to them as they brown. I recommend prepping the casserole early in the morning and then let it cook while opening gifts so it’s ready to go when you are done!

Breakfast Casserole

Magic Bars

Magic Bars

If I had to rank my favorite Christmas cookies, Magic Bars would definitely be towards the very top of my list. They are so simple to make, but I just adore that graham cracker crust topped with sweetened condensed milk, coconut, and chocolate chips. It’s just a dreamy combo!

I’m really excited about baking this holiday season because I now have a little 2 year-old girl who wants to help me in the kitchen and it’s my dream come true! It’s been years since I put together a cookie tray, but I’m determined to do it this year. Madeline made me drag out a stool so she could see what I was doing on the counter. She helped me spread the graham cracker crumbs and with sprinkling all the coconut, half of which really ended up on the floor each time she reached for a handful. She also enjoyed eating the chocolate chips and M&M’s. The mess on the floor after we got the bars into the oven was laughable, but so worth it!

Magic Bars

I made this particular batch for a holiday cookie party, so I opted for the colored chocolate chips, but regular chocolate chips are just fine! Because I don’t know when to stop, I also threw on some festive M&M’s on half after they came out of the oven for even more holiday fun and deliciousness!

Magic Bars

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

I’m loving the chillier weather we are getting in Orange County lately. It’s been in the mid-60’s during the day and pretty chilly at night. I know a lot of you have been getting a lot of snow. It’s been absolutely perfect soup weather so today I’m sharing my absolute favorite soup recipe ever: tortilla soup!

I love every little thing about tortilla soup. I love the warm, slightly spicy flavors from the chili powder and cumin. Tortilla soup is a total comfort food for me and my most favorite part is the toppings! I’m all about the toppings. My bowl is always piled high with warm and crunchy tortilla strips, cheese, diced avocado, and cilantro.

Tortilla Soup

I use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store as a shortcut, but any leftover chicken you have around will do here. Feel free to adjust the spices to your tastes as well. You can add more, less, or leave some out if desired. This recipe is also easy to make vegan or vegetarian by simply leaving out the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of the chicken broth. This soup is ready in 25-30 minutes and it also both reheats and freezes really well so make extra!

Tortilla Soup

Gingerbread Fudge

Gingerbread Fudge

Although I’ve barely bought any Christmas presents, we are totally in the Christmas spirit in my house. We went and bought our tree this weekend and it’s the first live tree I’ve had maybe since I was a baby. Growing up, my brother is really allergic to real trees so we’ve always had artificial trees. It’s weird seeing a real tree in my house, but I have to admit that I love that fresh pine smell!

You know what makes for the perfect holiday gift? Fudge! Seriously, it’s so simple to make, but it’s always one of those gifts that everybody loves and seems so impressive.

I love all things gingerbread and had a hankering to make some fudge so I did a quick internet search and found a lot of the recipes didn’t include molasses. What’s the deal, yo?! Molasses is what makes gingerbread…gingerbread! Well, that and ginger, of course. I finally tracked down a recipe, made a few very minor tweaks, and wow, is it good! This fudge really tastes like gingerbread cookie dough.

It’s rich and decadent and full of gingerbread flavors. The fudge is also incredibly easy to make. I had it done and ready to set in the fridge in under 15 minutes. Top with some cute sprinkles and package it up in a cute box or tin, and you’ve got the perfect little gift for neighbors, teachers, etc..

Gingerbread Fudge

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

This time of year always means lots of baking and parties. I always struggle with dinners because I feel like we are so busy and that I have too many other things to cook or bake. Quick and easy dinners are an absolute must! Chicken is always as easy go-to, but it can get kind of boring.

Enter goat cheese! Goat cheese makes everything better in life and elevates this ridiculously simple chicken disk. I mixed in some fresh rosemary and thyme and some garlic with the goat cheese for extra flavor and it’s seriously so delish! This recipe is done is about 20 minutes making it perfect for weeknight meals. You can serve it with sauteed spinach or veggies if you are trying to cut down on carbs or it would also be great with roasted potatoes or rice pilaf! You can also swap out the herbs or even add more if you prefer others. Parsley and chives would also be really tasty.

One quick tip for cooking this chicken is to be a little careful when cutting the slits in your chicken. I did mine at a angle for this post so you can see the filling in the photos, but if the top and bottom half are really uneven, you may find the mixture oozing out of the chicken as it cooks. If you find this is happening, you can always spoon the mixture back into the chicken later.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken