Mini Bacon Cheddar Cheese Balls

Mini Bacon Cheddar Cheese Balls

It’s holiday party time, friends! The parties have begun and it’s time to start planning your menus! I feel like I’m always invited to a lot of pot lucks this time of year so I love having lots of good appetizer recipes on hand. You guys love my Cranberry Pecan and White Cheddar Cheese Ball seeing as it’s one of the most popular recipes on the blog so I decided to do a twist on that one with these mini-sized cheese balls!

Mini Bacon Cheddar Cheese Balls

The mixture for these is quite simple, just cheddar cheese, cream cheese, some walnuts, chives, and then instead of cranberries, I coated these guys in bacon bits! I love the added crunch from the bacon bits. Also, how festive are the red and green colors?! If you don’t want to do bacon bits, you can use cooked chopped bacon. Or, if you want to keep these vegetarian-friendly, dried cranberries or currants work well too!

I used pretzel sticks to serve these and actually didn’t mind not eating them with other crackers, the pretzel stick was enough for me, but you could also serve these with crackers if you wanted to.

Mini Bacon Cheddar Cheese Balls

Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SavorHolidayFlavors #CollectiveBias

Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

Whenever I think of the holiday season, I always tend to first think about how busy and stressful it can be with traveling, and dragging kids, and presents everywhere. Then, I start thinking about all of the family and friends that we will get to see and the excitement sets in! After making a delicious dinner and the dreaded cleanup, some of my most favorite holiday memories are the those after all the dinner craziness ends when everybody sits down with a cup of coffee, and dessert to relax and have fun. The holidays are all about bringing people together. When you think about it, coffee always brings people together!

Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

And what better way to set up your dessert table this holiday season than with my favorite holiday coffee, Starbucks® Holiday Blend Coffee? I love the K-Cups® because they let people make their own cups of coffee fresh when they are ready for it, but the Starbucks® Holiday Blend Coffee is also available in ground coffee if you’d prefer to make a pot instead! I love this flavor because it has warm notes of maple and a smooth taste. It pairs perfectly with all of your holiday desserts or of course, breakfast! And to make things even sweeter, I’ve made a delicious homemade gingerbread coffee syrup that you can set up next to your coffee bar. Even better though is that this coffee syrup is the perfect homemade gift for the holiday season!

This gingerbread syrup is perfection for mixing up your own gingerbread lattes at home. It’s so simple to make since all you have to do is stir everything together in a pan on the stove! If you want to give the syrup away as a gift, you can buy little jars and decorate them with ribbon, twine, and add cute gift tags and voila! You’ve got the best homemade gift to give out. I love the idea of putting together a gift basket with this homemade gingerbread coffee syrup, some Starbucks® Holiday Blend coffee, some cookies, and a pretty mug. What a great gift that would be for the coffee-lover in your life!

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

One of my most popular recipes on the blog is this white chicken chili from a few years back. I haven’t made it in a really long time, but as I was looking through old posts, I came upon it and remembered how much I loved it!

I adapted the original recipe a bit here for the Instant Pot. I know some people don’t get the appeal of the Instant Pot, but it has truly become my favorite appliance in the kitchen. I love that I can get home at 5 with no plans for dinner and have dinner ready within the hour with minimal prep ans hands on time, and I can even use mostly frozen chicken breasts. This is perfect for me because I sometimes get pretty caught up at work and will get home with no plan for dinner. The IP has made life a lot easier! I have adapted all of my favorite slow cooker recipes and haven’t pulled out my slow cooker since July. So, if you don’t have one, try to snag one this holiday season! And, no, this is not sponsored post for the Instant Pot, I’m just a fan and you guys know I’m all about finding ways to get delicious and nutritious dinners on the table as quickly and as easily as possible. But, if you don’t have one and want to make this chili, fear not, you can also make it in your slow cooker and I’ve provided the directions for both below.

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

This recipe couldn’t be easier. I just toss in some sliced chicken breasts, beans, corn, broth, and a bunch of seasonings and I’ve got dinner ready in a snap! I used navy beans, but if you want to try other beans like cannelini or pinto beans, that is just fine too!

Instant Pot White Chicken Chili

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

The Christmas season has officially arrived and as usual, I’m in full gingerbread-mode! We put up all of our decorations last week and just as it always does, the baking bug hits me right away. The only problem is that it was literally 90 degrees last week! It should never be 90 degrees on Thanksgiving, by the way! We are willing it to be colder this week by making a bunch of soups for dinner. That should work, right?!

My first gingerbread recipe this year is this super moist and flavorful gingerbread bundt cake. Raise your hand if you have a bundt cake pan that gets used like maybe once every few years? *Raises hand! Yup, my poor little pan needed to get some love. I added a bit less molasses to this cake pictured as my daughter wanted to eat it and she doesn’t really like a lot of that strong gingerbread flavor, but add more and it will have an even darker gingerbread shade!

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

I also like to add a bit of espresso or brewed coffee to the batter. It just adds a nice flavor that really compliments the molasses and spices. For the frosting, I made a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do more of a glaze or a thicker frosting so I sort of went somewhere in the middle of the two, but you can really decide to make the frosting however you want. Just add more milk to thin or less to get a thicker cake frosting!

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

Natalie: Seven Months

Natalie Seven Months

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This update is so late, Natalie will be 8 months next week! Oops! Time is just flying by lately and this sweet girl keeps on growing and changing every week.

I’m happy to report that sleep has been a bit easier this month. We started putting her down awake for naps and then I started doing it at night and that has significantly improved everything. She would get a little mad at me when I put her down at night, but after about 5 or 10 minutes at the most, she was out. She now puts herself to sleep like a champ and has been sleeping through the night for about 10-12 hours straight. Of course, we still have a bad night here and there, but things are much better than last month! If I hear her whining at night, I try to wait a little bit before going in because she typically puts herself back to sleep. If I go in and she sees me, it really derails things and it is a lot harder to get her back to sleep. On that note though, she still is a light sleeper and so Sean and I are still not sleeping in our bedroom! I’m going to try it next week and see if it really disturbs her or not.

About a week before Natalie turned 7 months, she finally mastered crawling forwards! Now she is lightning fast all over the house. She is trying to pull herself up on everything too so I expect her to be standing up very soon! I think mastering crawling has also made a difference at night because she can move herself around her crib. She loves to follow her big sister all over the house. She also enjoys finding cords and shoes to eat. Sigh.

Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

The holiday season is here! Let the eating and drinking begin. Obviously, aside from seeing loved ones, the eating and drinking part is the next best thing about the holidays. I’ve got the most perfect and comforting cocktail for you guys today that you can serve at your next gathering or for a quiet evening with your partner or a friend at home by the fire, the Caramel Apple Hot Toddy!

The word “toddy” always cracked me up when I was younger and I’m not really sure why as I don’t remember anybody even drinking them in my family growing up, I must have heard it in a movie or something. Anyway, a hot toddy is a traditional Irish drink and means “hot whiskey”. I’m not a big whiskey drinker myself, truthfully, but I don’t mind it so much in this drink. If you don’t like whiskey, you can also use brandy or even bourbon. Caramel vodka is also a nice touch, but not required!

Caramel Apple Hot Toddy

This drink is quite simple to prepare. You just heat some apple cider on the stove and then stir in the booze and caramel sauce and it is ready! I do recommend serving these right away as sometimes the caramel syrup can start to settle at the bottom, but this may just depend on the brand or type that you use. I also like to add cinnamon sticks to the cider while it’s heating, but if you are going to use spiced apple cider, you can skip the cinnamon sticks!