Hi all! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I really felt the holiday spirit this year and channeled that into my decorating, baking, and activity. I want to share some ideas and recipes with you all for you to enjoy as well!
Oh, Christmas Tree!
I started out the holidays by decorating our family tree with my family, of course while listening to Holiday jazz music.
Then my boyfriend surprised me with a gingerbread house kit so we could make our own cute little gingerbread house! Not only was it the cutest cookie house, but it was also a really fun bonding experience. Let's just say, it was hard, but we overcame our creative differences with our construction.
|Our cute little house with a cute little candy family.|
Now, Thanksgiving is usually the holiday my family gathers at my house, so I didn't go all out with a formal dinner table for Christmas, but I made small centerpieces using the vases I used for my Thanksgiving centerpieces. I used these for regular dinners I'd have with my parents and brother and will likely use them when we gather at my house for Armenian Christmas on January 6.
I stacked layers of Christmas ornaments of varying sizes and pine cones. I painted some pine cones I found in my backyard with silver paint to match the color scheme of the ornaments. I wrapped the vases in holiday themed bows to finish the look.
"Ugly" Christmas Sweater Party
Okay, so I was invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party, and let's face it, I love a good theme party! I totally went along with it. I don't know if you would necessarily classify this sweater as ugly, but it was definitely a staple in my wardrobe this month.
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting in a Jar
|Home Alone is my favorite movie to watch during the holidays. |
The holidays don't stop at home! I just started a new job and don't know my coworkers well enough to get them personal gifts yet, so I decided to give them a gift of my baking talents. I figured just making cupcakes or any dessert was not special enough to give as a gift, so I put a little twist on red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting...I put them in little half pint mason jars and tied recyclable forks to them and attached little gift tags for each of my coworkers.
The recipe I used for the red velvet cupcakes is at the end of this post.
LA Zoo Lights
Next it was onto the LA Zoo Lights event! Every year, I like trekking to neighborhoods that go all out with decorating their homes with lights and other decor. This year, I found the LA Zoo Lights, which turned the zoo into a holiday light fest after hours. All the walkways were lined with holiday lights and fun little light exhibits. They even had alcoholic drinks of every variety. If it wasn't so cold outside, I would have ordered one, but I stuck to my hot chocolate and a churro! This is going on until January 4, so its not too late to see this spectacle for yourself...
|These fixtures were made with recycled plastic water bottles.|
|A twinkling lights tunnel.|
|Santa's land with paparazzi monkeys. |
Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
I came home from the light show feeling even more in the spirit, so I decided to make my special cranberry walnut oatmeal cookies! I make them every year for the holidays and I get so many compliments on them. Everyone has a secret recipe and this is mine. I would love to share it with you, but then it wouldn't be so special! However, I will gladly share the cookies with you :)
I hope everyone had a happy holiday filled with family and love. May you all have a wonderful New Year!
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 tsp cocoa powder
- 1.5 cups canola oil
- 1 cup room temperature buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tbsp red food coloring
- 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix all wet ingredients (oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla) in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder).
- Combine the two bowls and mix well. Place in cupcake tins sprayed with baking spray without cupcake papers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes.
- Place on wire rack to cool. Once cooled, cut each cupcake in half and assemble the bottom half of the cupcake into the mason jar. Fill with cream cheese frosting, then place the upper cupcake half on top of the icing then top off again with more icing.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 8 oz. package of room temperature cream cheese
- 0.5 cup butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3.5 cups powdered confectioners sugar
- Mix together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla.
- Once mixed thoroughly, add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time and mix through.