I can’t believe that there is less than a week until Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year despite the mountain of stress I put on myself. Yes, I cook an entire Thanksgiving meal (turkey, mashed potatoes, and even pies) all by myself. Everyone else just gets to enjoy their morning watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, eating well thought out light snacks, and, well, watching me like I’m some kind of Food Network cooking show. Then there’s my dog who spends the entire afternoon tripping me in the kitchen when she gets tired of watching the post-parade airing of the dog show (okay fine, she’s just sleeping).
Watching The Bachelorette or even being considered part of Bachelor Nation might feel a little embarrassing. What really helps the shame factor is having a crew of people to (ironically) enjoy the insanity with. It’s more fun with friends who listen to the same podcasts (Rose Buddies is a good one) and who will play with you in a fantasy league (not for the faint of heart). So naturally when you’ve got a crew in this with you, a viewing party is a necessity especially when it comes to finales.
Tonight Rachel Lindsay will pick her future husband (she claims she’s still engaged), and that might not seem like enough time to toss together a finale party, but it is. There are about 6,000 elaborate ways to celebrate the Bachelorette. I’ve seen everything from date card invitations (which can be cute), sending actual roses to your friends, having them dress up in unfortunate looking prom dresses, filling out dating applications, and plenty of cupcakes. Even on the season finale of the Bachelor last season they visited viewing parties where people had trophies and even cardboard cut outs of Nick. It might be a little too much, so I’m sharing some easier and more low-key ideas. A couple from our own viewing party.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t think of anything better than a nice, refreshing adult beverage on a scorching summer day. I’m not very creative when it comes to creating cocktails, but I can sure follow a recipe. So bless the internet for posting their delicious concoctions. What I do know for sure, is when in doubt, use a San Pellegrino flavored drink with alcohol and you are good to go. After the grand Rosé Margarita disaster of this 4th of July, I went on the hunt for something else to try. Oh, and before anyone goes looking for a recipe, don’t even try it. It is not good and is a complete waste of rosé.
The key to a good summer cocktail are the flavors. Something light, refreshing, and a tropical flavor is a plus. I’ve seen tons of cocktails while looking around the internet, and these are the ones I can’t wait to try.
Holiday cookie tins were the best things ever when I was a kid. They were always produced with love and care by the person who gave them to us, and my sister and I loved decorating cookies to give to our family and friends. Now as an adult I completely get the appeal of producing cookie tins for hostess gifts, cookie exchanges, and still family and friends.
I am a stress baker. I love being able to stop my over thinking for a little while by focusing on something that requires full concentration and makes people happy once it is finished. The holiday season is notoriously stressful with gifts, parties, work, and finals so it’s the time where I bake the most. In fact I got overboard and can’t possibly eat this many baked goods so my savior is the cookie tin.
It’s the easiest way to spread happiness, cheer, and love because you don’t even need to be an expert baker to produce a cookie tin. There are so many boxed mixes for cookies and brownies which can be made by the directions or altered to create unique tasty treats. But there is a formula for putting together the perfect holiday tin. Here are a few tips, tricks, and actual recipes I use when putting together my tasty gift tins.
- Don’t be afraid of messy textures and frosted cookies. Even a couple frosted cookies can be included as long as the icing has dried (it’s best to use royal icing).
- When in doubt stick with chocolate chip. Unsure about your skills or trying something new? Go with chocolate chip. It’s a classic and a crowd pleaser. Add M&Ms or nuts to spice them up a little bit.
- Never skip the gingerbread. You don’t have to roll and cut them. There are plenty of other options for the cookie, but it’s a staple because it includes the tastes of the season: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Separate the contents of the tray/tin with festive cupcake liners or by using twine to tie cookies together.
- Butter. Butter. Butter. Invest in a lot of butter. Butter cookies are the best cookies and everyone knows it. Make sure to always use real butter for all baked goods. It keeps the flavor and calories don’t count at Christmas.
What is in my holiday cookie tin (aka assembly):
- Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints – Include a jam cookie for a change of texture.
- Brown Butter Pecan Shortbread – Try to include a nut cookie of some kind. Pecan Sandies are iconic cookies. Be aware of nut allergies depending on the nut cookie you choose.
- Gooey Brownies – Brownies meets two requirements of a cookie tin: a bar of some kind and chocolate. There is no dessert without chocolate. Never leave it out.
- Russian Tea Cakes – Anything with powdered sugar is essential. It’s white and powdery like snow. Russian tea cakes are one of the easiest and most popular cookies I’ve ever made.
- Gingerbread People – See above plus they are just fun to decorate
- Sugar Cookies – If you aren’t confident with gingerbread, go for the classic sugar or both. This NY Times guide to sugar cookies is a life saver and gives you tips and tricks for getting the perfect shape, icing, and bake. They are by far the funnest cookie to do because the possibilities are endless.
- Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip – Remember to under bake and let rest for the perfect gooey cookie
- Chewy Molasses Cookies
- Ultimate Sugar Cookies
- Danish Butter Cookies
- Brown Butter Cinnamon Cookies
- Brown Butter Linzer Cookies