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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
I’m always looking for new ways to change up my snack routine at work. I get bored bringing yogurt or cheese and sometimes I’m in all-day meetings and in different locations so taking anything that requires refrigeration is not always feasible for me.
One of my go-to snack foods has always been Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP popcorn. I love their popcorn because it’s non-GMO, made with real ingredients, gluten-free, and is a great source of whole grain! So, I was super excited when they asked me to create a recipe using their delicious popcorn! Angie’s has so many great flavors to choose from. They sent me their Sea Salt Popcorn, Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn, and Cheddar Cheese Popcorn. I decided to use their Sea Salt Popcorn for this recipe and created a fun and delicious snack mix with a fall twist!
This snack mix is packed with popcorn, dried apple chips, chopped pecans, almonds, pepitas, and some dark chocolate chips for an extra bit of sweetness! This is the perfect snack mix for busy moms on-the-go. You can mix it all up over the weekend and store in individual sandwich bags to just grab on your way out the door. This snack mix is a great source of whole grains, fiber, and even protein. And while I used the Sea Salt popcorn, the Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn would also work really well in this mix if you want something a bit sweeter! To learn more about Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP, including all of their hugely flavorful options, visit boomchickapop.com.
Maddie has been obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas lately. She started watching it just before Halloween and she’s still going strong. I’m kind of surprised that she likes it so much since she’s not quite 3 years old yet, but she isn’t scared of too many things. She loves the music. The other day we were watching it together and it got to the part where Jack finds all the holiday trees and goes over to the Christmas door. The Thanksgiving door caught my eye and as much as I love Halloween and Christmas, I couldn’t help but wonder how freaking awesome Thanksgiving Town would be! I mean, seriously, all of the delicious eats…all the time?! Where do I sign up? Endless stuffing? Yes. Sweet potatoes? Oh yes! I totally want to go to Thanksgiving Town. I’d probably only last a few days before being so full, it would be become painful, but whatever! Now I want them to make sequels where Jack goes to other holidays so I can see what it would be like.
Thanksgiving is a couple of weeks away and I can hardly believe it! I’m not so good about planning things way in advance, but I like to give you new side dish options every year. These Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes are SO easy to make and are a great alternative to a sweet potato casserole that requires a bit more effort and can sometimes be a little too sweet. The maple syrup adds the perfect amount of sweetness without being too heavy.
Dicing up the sweet potatoes is the worst part of the prep for these, but after that, it couldn’t be easier. I added some chopped walnuts during the last 10 minutes of roasting time which made them nice and toasty. I’d happily eat these potatoes all during the fall and holiday season. And if you realllllly want to, you can add some marshmallows at the very end and stick the pan under the broiler for a minute until toasted.
Have you guys tried sheet pan dinners yet? I’m pretty sure I’m only about 1,000 years late to the game, but I’m here and I’m totally on board. What’s not to love? You literally toss everything onto a sheet pan, bake, and your entire dinner is done. And the absolute best part of all is clean up is an absolute breeze!
I based this chicken recipe off of my Parmesan Baked Chicken, which is another favorite recipe of mine that I make pretty often. I added lemon zest, lemon juice, and some melted provolone which makes it even better than the original version!
To keeps things nice and light, you are going to add lots of broccoli and zucchini and you’ve got the best, EASY balanced dinner! If you don’t like broccoli and zucchini, you can change them up for other vegetables if desired. And while I initially made this as a dinner, it also is great for meal prepping for lunches. I made a pan on a Sunday, stored a piece of chicken along with some veggies in individual containers and brought them for lunch a few weeks ago.
Welcome to Eat. Drink. Love.! My name is Stephanie. Here you will find healthy and easy recipes with a few indulgences thrown in for good measure! Why the name Eat. Drink. Love.? Well, I think this is what life is all about!