Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cookie Exchange: Peppermint Wonderland Bars

Budget-Friendly Tip: I save peppermint candies throughout the year and at Christmastime, I have plenty for recipes calling for peppermint candies. For a crushed peppermint topping, I place the pieces of candy into a plastic bag, set it on a cutting board and roll over the bag with a rolling pin until the candies are crushed. 





"Southern Fried Bride’s Peppermint Wonderland Bars" 


1 cup light corn syrup 


1/2 cup sugar


1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme


6 cups toasted rice cereal 


1 1/3 cups white chocolate morsels 


1 teaspoon peppermint extract 


12 peppermint candies, crushed


Coat 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with wax paper. Combine corn syrup and sugar into 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Add in marshmallow creme and stir well until mixture is well blended. Remove from heat. Add cereal to mixture, stirring until well coated. Press onto bottom of prepared baking pan. Refrigerate 15-20 minutes, then remove from refrigerator. Prepare peppermint candies by placing in a plastic bag, set on a cutting board and roll over the bag with a rolling pin until the candies are crushed. Set aside.  Microwave white chocolate morsels in large, microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave at additional 10-to 20-second intervals,stirring between intervals until smooth. Stir in crushed peppermints and peppermint extract until well blended. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until topping is firm. Cut into bite-size bars. Makes 28 bars. Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Recipe Corner: Candy Cane Lane Fudge

This year brings a new holiday treat in my recipe box. I made this candy cane fudge for treat sacks last weekend for my Christmas in Connecticut outing and it was welcomed by gleeful recipients. I hope you will enjoy this treat and share it with those you love during this season of joy.



"Candy Cane Lane Fudge"

2½ cups sugar
½ stick salted butter
10 tablespoons evaporated milk 
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme 
8 ounces (1/3 bag) white chocolate baking chips
½ cup peppermint candies or candy canes, finely crushed
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 drops red food coloring

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil so that foil extends over sides of pan. Spray with cooking spray or grease the foil with butter. Place peppermint candies or candy canes into a plastic bag, set it on a cutting board surface and use a rolling pin to roll over the bag until the candies are crushed.  Set aside. In large saucepan, combine sugar, butter and evaporated milk. Melt butter and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and continue boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add marshmallow creme and white chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth, then stir in crushed peppermint. Add peppermint extract and mix well. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread out 8 drops of food coloring over the top of the fudge and use a knife to swirl top of fudge. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until firm. Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Gently peel off foil; cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Makes 36 pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Winterize Your Nails with Julep

I feel blessed to have healthy nails. I truly believe they are one of the best fashion accessories you can have. I strive to maintain my nail health year-round and I always love it when I receive a compliment from someone for having beautiful finger nails, as well as my nail color choice.   

Here I am sporting a fun red nail color while enjoying a favorite holiday tradition, Starbucks and Christmas lights in the first snowfall of the season. 


During the winter months, enjoying outdoor activities means taking extra care to get my nails ready for the season by winterizing them. To me, a good care routine is important, as well as the quality of the nail products I use for both color and care. Care steps in my winter routine are exfoliation, moisturization and cuticle oil. I also take care when choosing the products that I use on my nails. 

I love that the Julep beauty company offers toxic-free nail products. They have developed this winter nail care tutorial I am sharing with you today because I believe in taking easy of these care steps to maintain my healthy nails through the often harsh winter months.   

   
     
I adore Julep's trending winter colors.

For my Thanksgiving Dinner 2014 attire, I chose the Julep nail color "Sawyer", pictured in a color swatch above, and I love how it perfectly matched the Louis Vuitton handbag I chose for the occasion.


They have a fun feature on their website showing their array of nail colors that you can visit here.

My favorite color family for the holiday season are reds, but I also love changing it up with a fun gold color. What are some of your favorite nail polish colors for the holidays?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by the Julep company for this blog post. All opinions  in this blog post are my own.
 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

"Add Some Spice" with Target Wedding and a Giveaway

This post is #Sponsored by #TargetWedding but the words and opinions are my own. 



The holidays are here and I am so excited! One of my favorite goals I have always had with this blog is encouraging people to get in the kitchen and explore. I love that Target Weddings has so many fun ways for couples to do this. 

Target Wedding's November theme is "Add Some Spice." It encourages couples to bring both of their personalities to their holiday meals this year. Whether it is just the two of you, or perhaps hosting your first dinner for family or friends, they make it easy and fun to put on a stylish and festive spread.

This is mine and my husband's fourth holiday season as Mr. and Mrs. One of my favorite holiday meal memories is when we first met and had not yet even gone out on our first date. He spent his Thanksgiving Day working in the local hospital's Emergency Room. I cooked dinner for my grandmother and several friends that day and I made a plate for not only him, but also for the nurse working alongside him and delivered the meals to them at the hospital. That's a favorite memory I have, that several of my loved ones have commented in the years since, that my cooking sealed the deal, because not long after that, we went out on our first date. The holidays always seem to bring a special kind of togetherness in the kitchen.

These three products found in the Target Weddings Registry are a triple threat for holiday entertaining: 

Threshold Bistro Ceramic 16-Piece Dinnerware Set


I think this dinnerware set is a fushion of function and fashion. It has the practicality of casual dinnerware with a fun design and glossy finish, plus the convenience of being dishwasher and microwave safe. The color "ruby ring" is my pick for entertaining this season.


A great gift bundle would be the Threshold Bistro ruby ring dinnerware set with these products:


                Threshold Ribbed Lurex placemats, set of 4 in green.  
                                                                            
I love the pairing of the ruby red with this fun holiday green in a unique texture, plus they are machine washable.
                                                     
                                 Threshold "Kayden" 20 piece flatware set.
                                                        
 I love the affordable elegance of this design.

Here are two more top picks from the Target Wedding Registry: 
Calphalon Stainless Steel Cookware
I swear by my Calphalon cookware. I think this cookware is tops at cooking evenly, being easy to clean and the sturdy durability of stainless steel.  

SONOS PLAY: 5 Wireless HiFi System



I think this sound system is tops. It has so many convenient features and I'm a firm believer in music playing at special  meals in the home, whether it's for 2 people or a crowd of 20. 

                         My easy, no-bake cranberry salad would look great served up in the Threshhold Bistro ruby ring bowls. 


"Cranberry Fantasy Salad"


1 (16 oz.) tub whipped topping, thawed

1 (8 oz.) package cranberry gelatin 

1/2 cup whole cranberry sauce OR 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in half

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

Optional: 1/2 cup chopped pecans
6-8 whole cranberries

Place all of whipped topping into large bowl. Stir in entire envelope of gelatin. Fold in cranberries and marshmallows to mixture. If desired, add pecans. Transfer mixture into serving bowl. If desired, garnish with whole cranberries. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Serves 8-10. Enjoy!


To help you get started on your holiday entertaining, I have a $25 Target gift card for one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment below and let me know if you have a favorite piece of advice for making holiday meals. Giveaway closes Monday, December 1 at 10:00 pm EST. 

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holiday Recipe Corner: Sweet Potato Bread with Marshmallow Glaze

Thanksgiving is upon us. This time of year always brings precious memories of holiday traditions. This recipe brings to mind a beloved holiday dinner tradition I carry on as a grown up in my home: sweet potatoes with cinnamon, pecans and marshmallow goodness. One of the ways I also change up the traditional sweet potatoes dish on our holiday dinner table is this sweet potato bread with a marshmallow glaze.  This makes a fun dessert alternative to the traditional pumpkin flavor. It is also a favorite way I make use of leftover sweet potatoest. It is perfect for a breakfast bread or a fun holiday snack. 

What favorite holiday traditions do you enjoy? 



"Southern Fried Bride's Sweet Potato Bread with Marshmallow Glaze"

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
1/4 cup nonfat or 2% milk
1 cup sweet potatoes, mashed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Set aside. In separate bowl, combine  egg, milk and applesauce. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture in thirds until all of dry mix has been added. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Glaze, if desired, with marshmallow glaze. Enjoy! 

"Southern Fried Bride's Marshmallow Glaze"

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp. Rodelle pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

In mixing bowl, add cream cheese, marshmallow creme, vanilla and powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until mixture has a glaze consistency. Add powdered sugar and mix until well-combined. Pour glaze over sweet potato bread and garnish, if desired with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 teaspoons chopped pecans. Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day Reflections and All-American No-Bake Apple Pie


One of my heroes in every sense of the word, my maternal grandfather, A.D. Woodard who served in the Army during WWII in Europe. 1927-1984 



“All American No-Bake Apple Pie”

 5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
 2 cups water
 1 package (4-serving size) sugar-free JELL-O lemon gelatin
 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon brown sugar
 1 package (4-serving size) sugar-free JELL-O cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
 1 (8 inch) Keebler reduced-fat graham cracker pie crust
 Optional: 1 cup Cool-Whip Sugar Free whipped topping

In large saucepan, combine sliced apples, 1 1/2 cups water, gelatin, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until apples are tender. Combine dry pudding mix and remaining ¼ cup water. Stir into apple mixture. Cook for 2 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Pour into crust. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish, if desired, with a dollop of whipped topping before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Southern Living's Christmas All Through the South: Review and Giveaway


The sweetest memories fill my mind of my maternal grandmother, Grandma Cleva and her collection of Southern Living books she would bring out throughout the year, but none so often as when she would display the Christmas books. Even as a young child, I thought Southern Living books were a cut above any other holiday publication that came across my young hands. I am now approaching my 40th Christmas, preceded a few days by my milestone birthday and that treasured stack of Grandma Cleva's Southern Living books now graces the bookshelf in my home. I open up the pages of the books, now each a beloved heirloom, to see the timeless holiday wonder I was drawn to as a child.  


When I received a copy of Southern Living's new holiday publication "Christmas All Through The South", one look at the beautiful cover and I smiled so brightly on the outside AND the inside. This book already has been given a place of honor on our living room coffee table for guests to peruse this season and my enjoyment. It is over 400 pages of Southern holiday splendor in an heirloom-quality hardcover book.    


There are countless recipes I have added to my collection that come to life on the colorful pages of the book. Today, we picked out our Christmas tree and this year, we had a new tradition for our dinner meal with the menu that graces the "Hearty Picnic in the Pines" pages with Rosemary Scented Cold Cider, Skillet Fried Chicken, and a Caramel Drop-Banana Bread Trifle.  

I was delighted by the recipes to create an array of festive pancakes for a one-of-a-kind Christmas Morning brunch, including Red Velvet Pancakes and Hummingbird Pancakes and this is going to be a fun new tradition in our household. 

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I'm a cake girl, and the collection of holiday cake recipes in this book absolutely amazed me. There is going to be a captivating cake parade at my house this season thanks to these recipes, including one for the renowned white cake.

The book is a showcase for Joyful Memories, Timeless Moments, Enduring Traditions through pictures and words that weave holiday visions past and present. This year, it is welcomed as an heirloom I will one day pass down to the next generation.   

Here's some joyful holiday news just for YOU: one of you will win your own copy of this beautiful keepsake book, valued at $40.

Here’s how to enter the giveaway:
Leave a comment below and tell me if you have a favorite holiday recipe that’s been passed on to you from a family member or friend.  

Details:  This giveaway closes on Sunday, November 9, at 8:00 pm EST.  Winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway open to U.S. residents only.

Disclosure:  I was provided with a copy of Southern Living Christmas All Through The South for the purpose of my honest review. This giveaway was provided by YC Media.  All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.