Caramel + Coconut Nanaimo Bars

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Hello from beautiful Oregon!  I’m here for the next few days road tripping through the state, and I have big plans of drinking lots of beer + coffee and buying all the cheese at Face Rock Creamery!  Yesterday, we went fishing on the Umpqua River, and I caught 20 fish!  I even stuck my thumb into a few of their mouths, because apparently this stiffens them up and keeps them from flopping everywhere.  I wasn’t totally down with this method of fish-holding, or any method for that matter, but I did it for the ‘gram.  The Umpqua River might be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, so for most of the journey, I sat back on the boat and admired the view.  I saw at least a dozen giant birds, including some bald eagles which you can recognize because they have white butts.

Today, I head over to the coast, and apparently there will be wine tasting involved!  I’m also in desperate search for some good coffee, because being in the middle of nowhere Oregon = little to no coffee options, and I’m dying of caffeine headaches.  On the other hand, I found a legit drive-up ice cream spot today, which I honestly didn’t even know existed anymore, and they had cherry-dipped cones (a.k.a. the way to my heart).  I vote that Reno gets an ice cream drive-up that specializes purely in cherry-dipped cones.  I will invest actual money into this enterprise. Continue reading “Caramel + Coconut Nanaimo Bars”

12 Days of Christmas

I’ve decided to start off the official twelve days of Christmas by posting a holiday recipe every day until the 25th!  Cookies, candies, and other foods that are bad for you (but it’s okay because it’s the holidays).  The recipes will be some old, some new, but all worthy of your holiday baking list.

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First Day of Christmas:  German Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

This is an old recipe, dating back to 3 years ago (didn’t really think I had a blog that long ago tbh).  These cookies remain one of my favorites, and I also like how they look snowy!

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Second Day of Christmas: Soft Sugar Cookies with Sour Cream Frosting

These cookies are perfect for the holidays, because the recipe makes a lot, everyone likes them, and you can decorate them with holiday sprinkles.  They take a little extra time than most cookies, but it’s worth it, I promise!

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Third Day of Christmas: Orange Drop Cookies

This is my grandma’s recipe that I bake entirely too much (although, I don’t really see anyone complaining about it).  It’s been one of my favorite desserts since I was really little.  If you’re indecisive about holiday baking, just trust me on this: make these cookies.

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Fourth Day of Christmas: Cheesecake Crumb Bars

Taking a break from the cookies to present cheesecake crumb bars!  A mix between cheesecake, crumb cake, and shortbread.  Customize with different flavors, or go simple with a little vanilla.

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Fifth Day of Christmas: The Best Nut Caramel Ever

This is one of my family’s favorite holiday recipes!  The caramel is super easy to make, and it’s customizable, because you can just add in whatever nuts you have on hand (although I highly recommend walnuts and hazelnuts).  Wrap them in mini Christmas cupcake liners, because it’s cute.

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Sixth Day of Christmas: Pineapple Zucchini Bread

This bread is a nice break from all the super sweet that comes with cookies and candy during the holidays.  Filled with zucchini, walnuts, and pineapple, it’s perfect with a little butter and some coffee for breakfast!

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Seventh Day of Christmas: Cinnamon Butter Candy

Unique, spicy, and the hardest part of the recipe is boiling the water.  Wrap as a gift, and give your friends a break from peppermint chocolate bark.  Or just keep it for yourself (trust me, you’ll want to)!

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Eighth Day of Christmas: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

These are time consuming, but if you make these, you will pretty much win Christmas baking altogether.  P.S. They’re not hard.  They just have to rise for a few hours!

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Ninth Day of Christmas: Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are really easy to make, and I love how festive they are!  Sweet from white chocolate, tart from the cranberries, and chewy from the oatmeal.  Santa will be happy 🙂

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Tenth Day of Christmas: Butter Cookies with Walnuts

Effortless, buttery icebox cookies filled with walnuts that melt when you eat them.  Keep them simple with vanilla, or add extra flavors to get more creative with your holiday baking.  This recipe makes a lot of cookies, so you have plenty to wrap up and gift!

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Eleventh Day of Christmas: Espresso Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Whipped Cream

This is by far my favorite hot chocolate I’ve ever had.  Only 5 ingredients and perfect for Christmas brunch!

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Twelfth Day of Christmas: Norwegian Lefse

My family’s Christmas tradition every year!  Lefse is a cross between a tortilla and a crepe, made out of potatoes.  I look forward to making lefse every year, because it’s fun and of course, it tastes amazing!  If you’ve ever wanted to make Nordic food, this is the best place to start.

Merry Christmas, my friends ♥

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Cinnamon Butter Candy

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About once a year, my mom visits me in Reno and we take a day visit to Virginia City with my aunts, cousins, and grandmas.  Since I’m already aware that you have no idea what Virginia City is, Mark Twain used to write there, and it’s a pretty popular place to take “old-timey” photographs dressed in stockings and boas with a sepia filter.

Virginia City is also the home to multiple candy shops, which are famous for their cinnamon candy.  If you ask my mom or aunts, all of them will tell you about how much they used to look forward to visiting Virginia City just to get their famous cinnamon butter candy.

This year for Christmas, my mom and I decided we would try to recreate the recipe for our friends and family.  It took 3 batches and multiple trips to the store, but we got pretty close.

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First off, let me give you a few opinions on cinnamon oil vs. cinnamon extract.  We first tried cinnamon extract, because it’s much cheaper and easier to find than cinnamon oil.  First, we tried 2 tsp., and it was not flavorful enough.  The next batch, we tried 4 tsp., and it still wasn’t what we were looking for.

We then researched where we could find cinnamon oil, called a special store, made a trip to said store, spent $15 on a bottle, and used it in the third batch.  While it was spicier than extract, it still wasn’t exactly what we wanted out of our cinnamon candy.

The candy isn’t really what we thought it would be (since we had the high expectations from Virginia City), but we ended up loving it!  While we were looking for that artificial cinnamon flavor (like in Red Hots or Cinnamon Jolley Ranchers), we actually got a real cinnamon flavor, which was a pleasant surprise.

In the end, if you like spicy, get some cinnamon oil online (it’s cheaper over Amazon!), or just go the easy way and buy cinnamon extract.  Either way, you’ll end up with a buttery, unique hard candy that’s really easy to make and can be packaged up as a gift (alternative for peppermint bark??)

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*Photos courtesy of my brother*

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*Song of the Day: Inside Out by Spoon*

The Best Nut Caramel E-V-E-R

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THIS IS MY 100TH POST EVER AND IT’S ON CHRISTMAS EVE!

And my 100th post is one of the best candy recipes ever!

We make this every Christmas.  Actually my mom made it.  I’ve been eating it…

These caramels are buttery, have three types of nuts in them, and need to be cut super small, because otherwise you will just have a huge wad of caramel in your mouth.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a little hard to chew.

I promise, they only take a few minutes to put together and they’re always everyone’s favorite.  Recipes that are super easy and that everyone loves=something you should make rn.

rn rn rn

*Recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home*

Ingredients:

1 c. walnut halves

1 c. pecan halves

1 c. hazelnuts

1 tsp. butter

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 c. heavy whipping cream

1/2 c. light corn syrup

Place walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350*F until you smell the nuts, and they are toasty brown.  Cool.  Line an 8 in. square pan with foil, and grease with butter.  Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cream, and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in toasted nuts.  Cook, without stirring until candy thermometer reads 238* (soft-ball stage).  Remove from heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon until creamy and thickened.  Quickly spread into prepared pan; cool.  Cover, refrigerate for 8 hours or more.  Lift candy out using the foil.  Discard foil.  Cut into little squares.  Place in mini cupcake liners to keep from sticking.  Keep in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 lbs.

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Thanks for reading my 100th post ♥

XO Sara

(2nd) Song of the Day: Little Drummer Boy–Josh Groban

Eos-ter Eggs!

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I don’t know if anything in this world could ever be as cute as Eos turned into Easter eggs and then put in a little homemade baskets.

I have endearingly began calling these guys “Eos-ter” eggs because I’m ridiculous and that’s just the kind of thing that I do.

But I just love them and they made a perfect Easter gift for my mom, grandma, cousins, and aunts.  Everyone loved them!  If you don’t know why it’s because, clearly, you haven’t used Eos chapstick before.  If you haven’t, you should probably rush yourself to Target or Wal Mart this instance and get going on that.

But that’s just my opinion.

Here’s how to make them!  (I’m the worst, and I didn’t get pictures.  Luckily, it’s pretty straightforward).

Things You’ll Need:

As many Eos as you need-I got a package of 5 Eos at Costco and then got 1 more at Wal Mart for a total of 6 that I needed.

Small plastic cups

Cute cupcake liners (optional, but recommended)–$1 store find!

Glitter glue! (optional, but recommended)

Easter grass-$1 store find!

Cute ribbon (try to find stiff ribbon so it maintains its shape)

Glue gun

Candy! (optional)-I got mine in bulk at Winco

1. Using your glitter glue, make designs all over the Eos.  I chose to do this to make them cuter and more Easter egg looking.  You could probably use different colors of paint and really go for it, but I liked simple little dots!  Let these dry for about 2 hours up to overnight if you wish.

2. Place a cupcake liner in the bottom of each little plastic cup.  They fit perfectly in those fat, short plastic cups you get on airplanes.  This is optional, but makes it look sooo much cuter than if you just use grass.

3. Place a healthy amount of Easter grass in the cup.  You want it to poke up way over the cupcake liner or it just doesn’t look very cute.

4.  Measure out ribbon for a handle and glue gun each side to the cup.  Let them dry for about 20 minutes so they really stick.

5.  Place candy in the Easter grass (as you will see later, this is optional, but it’s a nice little treat).

6.  Place your Eos-ter egg on top!

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You can choose to leave candy out of it, which really makes the Eos look more like an egg, but the candy looks really cute too.

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My family truly loved these.  I got rave reviews.

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These would be perfect for teachers or co-workers, and I promise they will like them much more than some Easter eggs filled with candy!

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Did I mention that I would definitely recommend adding candy to these?  They look cuter without candy for pictures, but they look so cute with candy in real life!

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Plus, they aren’t very expensive to make.  The most expensive part is the Eos which was $10.99 for a 5 package at Costco and $2.00 for an additional one at Wal Mart.  Not bad for a gift that people will actually use and like!  The orange one does not come in the five pack, but it smells amazing.  

If you do not have time to make the baskets, you could buy little candy holders at the dollar store from the Easter section.  They come in a package and look like small, Easter themed Chinese takeout containers.  Just add some Easter grass, candy, and an Eos-ter egg and you’re all set.

Or you can just opt to make the cute little baskets, which only take about 20 minutes, maybe even less.

Just listen to The Motorhomes-Songs for Me (And My Baby) like I did and they’ll go super fast.

Or you can listen to whatever floats your boat.

But I recommend The Motorhomes.

XOXO Sara

*I am not being paid by Eos to promote their products.  I simply had the idea and I am in love with their chapsticks!*