Want a neat idea for your mantel?! You’ve only got a few days left until Christmas. Molly’s best friend’s mother, Margie, through the years – has given her beautiful Santa Clause figurines. A few years ago Molly decided that rather than putting them in different places she would put them all on the mantel and enjoy the Santa Parade!
Molly adds a few of her own and has even ordered a funky little 26″ tall boiled wool Santa to add to the crew from Garnet Hill. I add in a fresh wreath above for a simple yet memorable Christmas display. Amazing how quickly the kids look forward to this newly inducted tradition. “It is not overly creative but I just love the memories that each one brings as I unpack them from the attic. The middle one may be my favorite because it was one of the ones that Margie gave me.”
Merry Christmas to all!
Today marks the first day of Christmas. By now, you’ve managed to find gifts for almost all on your list, now you just have to wrap those treasures to delight the ones you love. I remember wrapping gifts as a girl, sitting on the floor in my parents bedroom, er um Santa’s headquarters with some invisible scotch tape and some store bought To: and From: tags with snowmen on them. A Lot has changed since then- but I still take joy in the finishing touches. I’ve given my advice on wrapping for the past two years- below: this year’s gift wrapping round up-
The holidays are in full swing and at Design Lines we are all about sharing some of our favorite holiday recipes. Round one - we’ve got a few appitezers great for those potluck parties, a cute dessert and even a delicious drink. Enjoy!! Stay tuned as the remaining staff gathers their faves.
Rob’s Favorite – Basil Grande
4 Fresh Strawberries
4 Basil Leaves
¾ ounce Grand Marnier Liqueur
¾ ounce Chambord Liqueur
¾ ounce Vodka
2 ounces of Cranberry Juice
Gently crush the strawberries and basil leaves in the bottom of a shaker. Then combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Lauren’s Favorite - Reindeer Cookies
I came across this recipe for reindeer cookies and thought they were so cute! They’d be a neat snack to stick in kid’s lunches for their last week of school before Christmas break.
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Chocolate-covered mini pretzels
Mini brown M&Ms
Regular-sized red M&Ms
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Add egg; beat until just blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed. Mix just until blended.
Form dough into 1-inch balls. To make reindeer-shaped cookies, pinch the bottom of the ball slightly to form a point, then gently flatten with your hand. Space cookies about 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, until set or just beginning to brown.
Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer’s antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose (or any other color… some of mine ended up with green noses. They might be South Pole reindeer.).
Allow to cool 2 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel to cool completely.
Makes about 40 reindeer cookies.
Source: Peanut butter cookie recipe from Jif.
Molly’s Favorite – Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers
These are a tiny bit spicy as any good cheese wafer should be – so kids were not all over my new favorite treat!! These are just perfect with a nice mellow glass of Cabernet. I plan to make them for gifts and put them on cute Target plates that I bought.
Makes: about 18 dozen (I don’t think so)
Must chill 8 hours or overnight!
1.5 cups chopped pecans
1.5 cups coursely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks — use real butter)
4 cups (16oz) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1.5 teaspoons salt
1.5 teaspoons ground red pepper (cayenne)
4 cups all purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350. Bake pecans in a single layer, in a shallow pan, 8-10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak cranberries in boiling water to cover 15 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Beat butter and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy duty electric stand mixer until blended (I used a regular hand mixer). Gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Shape dough into 4 (12 inch long) logs; wrap each log in plastic wrap. Chill 8 hours to 3 days.
4. Preheat oven to 350. Cut each log into 1/4-inch thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined bking sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks and cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Hilaire’s Favorite- Bacon Tomato Dip
This recipe came from a Mississippian cookbook I received at one of my best friend’s wedding. This dip is to die for if you love bacon and a chives. It goes great with pita chips or even ritz crackers.
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Pound of Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
15 Grape Tomatoes, Chopped
1/4 Cup of Minced Parsley
1/4 Cup of Green Onions, Minced
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process until chopped, but not pureed, preserving some texture. Adjust searsonings. Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.
Source: The Vicksburg & Warren County Historical Society “More Groceries” Cookbook
The possibilities are endless! Aside from traditional ornaments, you can use almost anything to decorate your tree. As you finalize your holiday decor, take a look at our guide for trimming your tree below. (And be thankful that your tree isn’t 75′ tall like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree shown above!)
Establish your Color Scheme
While red and green are the traditional colors used, with the right touch, you can make any scheme festive!
When working with red, green, and white ornaments, you might consider adding in an unexpected element - like the ice skates and mittens hung in the tree to the above right. And instead of a tree skirt, you could plant your tree in an urn, planter, or bucket (above left).
White ornaments really pop against the green pine branches. I think the key to pulling off this look is to use a mixture of metallic ornaments with the white. For a wintry look, you could consider covering your tree in snow! Simply lay strips of cotton batting over the branches and sprinkle with crystal snow.
In a modern or kid’s space, you might even consider getting a white tree! Colorful ornaments stand out against the white branches. For a more traditional look, incorporating bold ornaments into your pine tree can help tie the color scheme of your room into your holiday decor.
To get just the look you want, consider making some of your ornaments.
Clear glass ball ornaments are so easy to personalize! Fill them with a snowy scene, like the one above, or insert faux berries, feathers, confetti, glitter, or anything else to make them perfect for your tree! You can even pour a bit of paint inside them and swirl it around to get ornaments in just the right color. For another interesting touch, think about setting objects into the tree branches. One of the white trees above uses birdhouses. Branches of berries, feathers, lanterns, and even picture frames become great accessories!
The ornaments on the above left were created by covering Styrofoam balls with paper cut with a circle punch. (Just behind the ornaments, notice the ordinary gold chain used as garland!) Thread a needle through ribbon to create elegant ornaments in any color!
And lastly, as shown on the tree at the Natural History Museum in NYC, origami animals bring an aesthetic that any kid would love! Folded paper can take on nearly any shape you’d like. If you’re up for a little DIY, these ornaments can add just the right touch to your tree.
Wreaths are a classic decoration that can also be a great DIY project for the whole family. You can even use clippings from your yard as the raw material. Collect feathers, leaves, small twigs or holly branches, and follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Form a wire hanger into a circle, leaving the hook in place as a convenient way to hang your wreath.
Step 2: Using florist wire, create a bundle of leaves or branches and attach it to the hanger. Layer new bundles on top of the previous one until the hanger is fully covered.
Step 3: Add a bow or pinecones as a finishing touch, and hang your wreath somewhere special.
images 1 & 4: pinterest
images 2, 3, 4 : save on crafts
Our 12 Days of Christmas Series is back and we are kicking off the series with holiday inspired decorations. We found these gorgeous pictures using Pinterest. Check out our Pinterest Christmas Board and Follow us!
Use green as the dominate color when decorating and gently splash white throughout, giving the space a elegant look. Decorations do not have to be your traditional green and red. Be different! Introduce, silver, white, gold, or even a cafe mocha brown into the mix.
LOVE the repetition of the wreaths on the wall. Great way to make an impact in one room.
Red ribbon is always a must for any holiday decorating. The touch of ribbon around the chairs gives the whole dining room a classic feel.
Don’t have a lot of space in your home, bring the outside in with simple potted plants on the window seal.
The all natural look is very popular and simple.
Last but not least make a statement! (above) Martha Stewart creates a chandelier worthy any holiday party.
Stay tuned…next on our list
While on summer vacation this year, Lauren made these goat cheese and honey stuffed fig muffins. YUMMY! They were an immediate hit with her husband.These muffins can be a great addition to any holiday brunch or appitizer spread. We hope you enjoy them.
Goat Cheese & Honey Stuffed Fig Muffins
3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used half wheat/white)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped dried figs
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 425.
Combine goat cheese, honey, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and and lemon juice until thoroughly mixed.
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in buttermilk.
Add wet ingredients to dry. Don’t over mix. Fold in figs.
Fill each muffin tin halfway. Top with a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture. Add more batter on top. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
The past few weeks, these Sausage Bites have been a quick & easy go-to when agreeing to make a savory appetizer for holiday parties. People even believed I was from the South when these arrived! For the perfect soundtrack while waiting for these to cook- some classic tunes for you:
Alabama’s Christmas in Dixie
The Jackson Five’s I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Elvis’ Blue Christmas
- 1 pound spicy ground pork sausage
- 2 cups biscuit baking mix (you may also try Virgina’s Best Biscuit mix)
- 1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, combine sausage, biscuit baking mix and cheese. Mix well. If it looks a little dry add a tbsp of water to the mix. It also helps to have sausage at room temperature.
Form into walnut size balls and place on baking sheets.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and the center is done.
You may also prepare these and freeze them before baking. Thaw and bake as recommended. You may also add garlic powder/onion powder to taste to the dry mix.
image: Martha Stewart
The coolest part about sharing all these holiday recipes with you is that behind all these recipes there are memories, family traditions and a sense of coming together. People come together when they share food. This is our hope this holiday, that you take the time to share the love with friends and family. So without further ado, here is the ginger cookie recipe.
I first made these ginger cookies last year and they were a big hit with my family. We had so much fun and we even created a mess in the kitchen. I think we even had flour all over ourselves by the end of the night; so grab your loved ones to help you make these delicious treats! Be creative you can even use Christmas cookie cutters or put some crystallized sugar on top, they give the cookies a nice shimmer.
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats. Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the shortening and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and molasses and beat until completely incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and add to the mixture. Stir until combined. Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in sugar. Place 1/2-inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with your fingertips. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
(Picture and Recipe from Paula Deen the Food Network)
Judy’s holiday brunch casserole, also popularly known as egg casserole, has been a family tradition for over 20 years. Usually Judy serves this casserole dish on Christmas morning; however, you can fix it anytime of the year.
1 lb of Turkey sausage
6 slices of bread
Butter (enough to spread on either side of the 6 slices of bread)
2 cups of milk
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
Pam Cooking Spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a sauce pan brown the sausage over the stove. Once the sausage is brown set aside. Take 6 slices of bread and butter each side. With a knife cut the bread into tiny squares and set aside. In a small mixing bowl beat 6 eggs and add 2 cups of milk. Stir together. Prepare your 9×13 glass casserole dish by spraying PAM on it to prevent the food from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Now you are ready to mix all your ingredients into the casserole dish. First place the tiny bread squares into the casserole dish, then add the egg/milk mixture, the sausage and layer the cheese on top. Bake for 45 minutes.
Judy recommends serving the casserole with either a danish and/or fresh fruit.
Come back tomorrow, Hilaire shares her homemade Ginger cookies.