Christmas is less than a week away, I can’t believe it! Last year I really went all out for Christmas…baking, decorating, the whole deal. This year is a little different, I haven’t had so much time for all of that decorating and baking with this little boy hanging around, but I’m not complaining. I have a feeling Christmas will never be the same, in the best way!
I did make some time to try out this recipe for Peanut Brittle for the first time last week, and it was actually pretty dang good. I am a sucker for sweet and salty, so I sprinkled it with a little sea salt before it hardened….could not quit opening that tin! Monday I am taking Maverick to my parents so my mom and I can do a little baking, and I would love to try some new recipes this year. What are your favorite Christmas cookies/candies/treats?!
For now, I am sharing this cocktail recipe I came up with for the December issue of At Home Memphis magazine, and I defnintely plan to make it again on Christmas Eve. Last year I made this Sparking Apple Cider Sangria on Christmas Eve, so I am thinking this new Christmas cocktail recipe every year is becoming a trend, and I like it!
Enjoy and Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Merry Berry Spiced Martini
makes 4 martinis
1 1/4 cups cranberry juice
3/4 cup spiced rum
1/2 cup orange ginger simple syrup (recipe follows)
4 cups of ice
Optional: orange slices and fresh cranberries to garnsih
For the simple syrup…
Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 slices fresh ginger, and the zest of 1/2 of an orange in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Strain out the ginger and orange peel and store this in the refrigerated until you are ready to use it.
For the Martinis…
- Combine the cranberry juice, rum, simple syrup and the ice in a pitcher.
- Stir the mixture well. (If you are making this ahead of time leave out the ice, and store covered in the refrigerator)
- Strain the drink into martini glasses, and top each one off with some of the soda.
- Garnish with an orange slices and fresh cranberries if desired.
It’s Christmas time, and that means Christmas tins filled with goodies! Today, I am sharing my sweet and spicy Great Bourbon Balls of Fire!
My family is originally from Kentucky, so at our annual Christmas celebration there has always been a tin full of Bourbon balls. A few years ago, I put my own spin on these holiday treats with a kick, by using ginger snaps and molasses with a shot of Kentucky Bourbon, of course. I dip them in semi sweet chocolate, and top them with a sprinkling of sea salt. They pack a serious punch, but trust me, once you try one you’ll be hooked!
Great Bourbon Balls of Fire
Makes about 30 balls
- 6 Cups Ginger Snaps
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 2 tablespoons Molasses
- 1/3-½ Cup Bourbon (depending on how strong you like them)
- 3 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate, chopped or chips
- Optional: Sea Salt or Christmas sprinkles
- Place Ginger Snaps in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are formed (You can also do this with a resealable bag and rolling pin if you do not have a food processer)
- Add in sugar, honey, and bourbon, process until everything is incorporated (you can also do this with a mixer if processor is not large enough)
- Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes
- Next melt chocolate in a double boiler, stirring often.
- Dip each ball into chocolate to coat, then sprinkle sea salt on top if desired, chill until chocolate hardens. Store in the refrigerator.
The most wonderful time of the year is finally here, and one of the most wonderful parts about it is, hello, the food! Since you can never have too many Christmas party recipes, I am sharing my yummy Smokey Cranberry Sauced Meatballs, using canned cranberry sauce and chipotle peppers. This recipe was also featured in the December issue of At Home Memphis Magazine!
I love how the flavorful sauce gives them a hint of the beautiful cranberry color, very festive! Speaking of festive, these are perfect for parties, since they can be served hot or at room temperature. Stick a toothpick in each one, sprinkle them with a little fresh parsley, and arrange them on a pretty platter for the perfect holiday party food!
Smokey Cranberry Sauced Meatballs
serves 8-10 appetizer portions
For the meatballs
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup dried plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the sauce
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
2 chipotle peppers, seeded and minced (you can find these canned in the Spanish food section of the grocery store)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Optional: fresh parsley, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
- Combine the beef, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder in a large bowl. Mixing this with your hands is the easiest way to combine these ingredients without over mixing them.
- Roll mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs are baking, whisk together the cranberry sauce, ketchup, barbeque sauce, peppers, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
- Place the baked meatballs in a large skillet and then pour the sauce over them. Allow the meatballs to simmer in the sauce for 10-15 minute over low heat.
- Serve the meatballs with toothpicks for entertaining.
Happy almost Thanksgiving! Since I have been a little preoccupied the past 2 months, and I don’t have as many new recipes to share, I decided to put together the recipes from the past few years that I have shared for the holidays. This year I am in charge of the dressing and green beans, the first time in probably 5 years that I haven’t made a turkey!! I’m also making a sweet potato casserole for a “Friendsgiving,” so I’ll let you know how those turn out. I am going to try to follow someone else’s recipes, but I usually end up putting my own spin on them, I just can’t help myself!
All of the the posts/videos for the recipes are linked below. There are some good ones in this bunch! Be sure to let me know if you try any of them, I always love to hear about how they turn out. I will be back to sharing more new recipes soon, I promise, just trying to give myself a break for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!
Well as of Saturday, I am 7 weeks postpartum, which means I have an almost 2 month old, which is totally crazy! This precious/exhausting time has flown by, but at the same time, life before baby Maverick seems like a lifetime ago. Since the last video I posted was all about my pregnancy and some of the fears I had going into it, (check that out video here) I decided to give a little postpartum update addressing each of those “fears” now that I am on the other side.
Labor and Delivery:
Well, the day that I was 37 weeks pregnant (full term) Maverick decided to make his entrance into the world. I actually thought I had another couple of weeks, because I had not progressed at my 36 week appointment, but obviously he had other plans. I talked in the video about wanting to go all natural during my labor, and I am proud to say that we did it! Was it painful…umm YES! However, with lots of prayer, support form Zach, an exercise ball, and some relaxation techniques I progressed to 10 cm in about 10 hours without an epidural or Pitocin. Then, after an hour of pushing, which was definitely the hardest part for me (OUCH!), our little boy made his debut.
Was it worth it? Well, I don’t have much to compare it to, but I know I would not change a thing about the way we did it. It was really cool to experience the whole process fully and know exactly what God created my body to be able to do. Since Maverick did come 3 weeks before my due date he was pretty small, 5 lbs 4 oz. However, our strong little man was healthy and passed all of the tests for us to be able to go home on schedule. Our time in the hospital was full of bliss, emotion, and amazement that this little guy was really ours.
Body Changes since Pregnancy:
As far as how my body has changed, I was actually pleasantly surprised at how quickly my body began to bounce back after delivery. Of course, nursing has helped a lot, but I instantly noticed the swelling in my face and legs begin to go down. As I shared in the video, I did workout throughout my pregnancy, even up until the day I went into labor, and I definitely think that has helped things get back to normal more quickly than I expected. Of course, my stomach and a few other parts look a little different than before, but honestly after everything my body went through and the reward of my boy, these little changes in my body seem pretty insignificant at this point. I mean, it’s not like I am planning on entering any bikini contests anytime soon, ha! However, working out is something I enjoy and it makes me feel good, so I have been slowly getting back into a workout routine for the past 3-4 weeks. Things are tightening up little by little, and I know it will come with time.
All that being said, finding the time to workout with a newborn is a challenge, so I have to keep the workouts short and effective. I have been using this video workout series called Postnatal Slimdown by Lindsay Brin. It has lots of 10 minute cardio, strength, and ab workouts that you can mix and match depending on how much time you have.
How has my life changed:
Well, it’s safe to say my life has changed pretty dramatically, who would’ve guessed that? I have had to accept that this is a season that I have to slow down and soak in, which is easier said than done sometimes. I will admit there have been a few times that I have felt pretty stir crazy, wanting to get back to making videos/TV segments/cookbook work, but I have to remind myself that my son will only be a newborn once. I’m easing back into creating recipes/writing articles, and I’ll be finishing up some cookbook photo shoots next week. With Zach’s support and some very helpful grandparents, I plan to keep doing the things that I love. Maverick requires so much of me, that I willingly give him, but I don’t want to lose myself in the process. I think I will be a better mom if I keep pursuing the things that make my heart happy.
One thing I did for myself last week was go to the Q Women’s conference here in Franklin. It was a challenge to be gone all day, but it was so worth it! It really got my heart stirring about what my calling truly is and how to pursue that even during this season.
I could go on for days about this new life I am living, but I will end this by saying that motherhood is definitely tough, I’m really tired (especially since we have all been sick the past 5 days) and well, my life no longer revolves around me anymore! However, this is the best, most amazing thing I have ever done. The love I feel for this little guy is so precious and amazing, and there is no way I could have understood it before having him. God has surely blessed us, and I feel so honored to be Maverick’s mom.