New Years Appetizers

Hope y'all had a great Christmas!  Ours was wonderful and chaotic!  We spent the holiday at my husbands parents house with all four of his siblings and their families.  There were 21 of us in the four bedroom two bath house... it was so great!

I got to meet my nephew Clive for the first time.  He is so sweet and has the cutest smile, which he shares often.

With New Years around the corner I thought I'd share a few of my appetizers recipes from past posts.  In our house we always have appetizers for New Years Eve.  It's one of my favorite meals to cook.

And for a utensil free dessert try these, you'll be the hit of the party- guaranteed.

And to top it off

Pecan Dreams

Boy howdy, do I love these cookies!  They are so light and buttery, and bite size, and have pecans.  I know they don't look like much, but they are so good!  They really are a dream.  If you make them little and bite size one batch with make a whole bunch of these babies. But you may want to do two batches because they will be snatched up so fast.  Make sure to hide a little jar of them in the broom closet for yourself.  Here's the DL...
1 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup powder sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon water
2 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Using electric mixer blend butter until creamy.  Mix in sugar, salt, vanilla and water.  Add flour and mix until smooth.  Mix in pecans.
Cover and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll dough into one inch long log shapes.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely and dust with powder sugar (make sure they are totally cool before dusting or powder sugar will clump).  Enjoy!

Christmas Card Display

Here is my super cheap and super easy method of displaying all those beautiful Christmas cards we receive.
All I did was grab 3 pieces of ribbon and hung them from some hooks on the wall.  Then I use clothes pins to attach the cards as they come.  It's easy and cheap, and you can see all those great cards.

Classic Shortbread

Oh my, oh my, Christmas is quickly on it's way!   So many cookie recipes to share, so little time!  I thought I'd start out with a good ol' standby, shortbread.  Shortbread is so easy and so stinkin' good.  Who doesn't like shortbread, honestly?!  The great thing about shortbread is that it's good on it's own, or you can dress it up a bit.  Dip it in chocolate, add sprinkles, incorporate some flavor, mix in mini chocolate chips... seriously, endless possibilities.  And they'll all taste good because under it is the wonderful buttery shortbread.  Here's the DL...
1 cup salted butter, softened {if using unsalted butter add 1/4 teaspoon of salt when creaming butter}
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
Using mixer cream butter until smooth.  Add the sugar and beat until creamy.  Add in the vanilla.  With mixer on lowest setting gently stir in the flour, just until incorporated.
Flatten dough into disk shape and wrap up in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put rack in the middle.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.

On a lightly floured surface roll dough out to a 1/4 inch thick.  {I suggest using a marble rolling pin that has been chilled or an ice filled rolling pin.  Keeping the dough cold will aid in rolling it and make it flakier when it bakes.}
Now you can cut shapes using cookie cutters or make strips about 1 inch wide and then cut those strips into rectangles. {Above is the end result for both methods}
Prick each rectangle twice length wise using a fork.
Sprinkle the tops with a little bit of granulated sugar {or color sugar or sprinkles if you'd like}
Place shortbreads on prepared baking sheets and chill for 15 minutes {this firms up the dough so the cookies maintain their shape}.

Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on size, or until bottom edges start turning golden .  Let cool and enjoy!

You might also like...
Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread

Christmas Treats for the Giving

 Oh my goodness, the last two weeks are a blur!  I have been so busy, first with Thanksgiving and now with Christmas preparations   But I do have to say, I am feeling quite prepared for Christmas.  I'm a planner, so feeling ahead of the game is a glorious thing for me.  I have gotten almost all my presents, only two little ones to go.  The house is decorated.  Our Christmas cards arrived yesterday, all I've got to do is stuff them.  Now I have a couple weeks to do one of my favorite things- making homemade treats for friends and family.
I love making homemade gifts for people.  And I always make sure my treats taste good so that folks enjoy getting them.  Cookie boxes make a great gift.  I got some food boxes from the craft store, lined them with wax paper, and divided cookies up using festive cupcake liners.  I topped it off with a holiday cookie cutter, I got a bag of them for a dollar- very affordable.
Here's the box closed up.  Just stuck a little bow on top and stamped it with a stamp I picked up for a dollar.  This stamp has come in so handy over the years, a dollar well spent.
Some of my friends are not married and/or don't have a passel of children like I do.  For them I found these cute wedding favor boxes on clearance.  I filled them up with an individual portion of cookies.
The box looked so cute with a a bow on top.  With a little holiday accent wedding stuff works great at Christmas.
Here's another, super affordable, way to package Christmas cookies.  Using old food containers.  This one was a can of cornstarch at one time.  I just pulled off the label and taped a strip of wrapping paper around it.  A bonus to this is the airtight lid that keeps the cookies very fresh.
If you don't have time to make dozens of cookies yourself why not just send the ingredients.  Cookies in a jar are a great gift because sometimes when folks get too many Christmas cookies they don't get eaten or savored.  This way they can have the cookies whenever they want them.  Plus, they get a jar as part of the gift.  [Click here to get directions on how to make cookies in a jar]
Last year I was not ahead of my game and didn't have time to make all my loved ones cookies.  So I did some homemade hot chocolate gift packs.  They were so much fun to make and easy to do with my kids.  Also, super affordable.  I made hot chocolate packs for families.
And also packs for individuals.  I picked up the cute soup style mug and spoon at the dollar store.  We did this one for my girls' teacher.  I wrapped it in cellophane tied with a cute bow and tag.  [click here for directions and recipe for hot chocolate gift packs]

Here are recipes for all the Christmas cookies I've posted... keep in touch I'll be posting more over the next couple weeks.
Peanut Butter Chocolate
Thumbprint Cookies
Cream Cheese Cookies

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Velvet Cookies
Red Velvet Cookies
Roll Out Cookies

And here are some fun Christmas tags to label all your homemade goodies with.