Tuesday, October 31, 2017

November Christmas Prep

     Every year, I try my best to be ready for Christmas long before it arrives. If I don't, I'm a frazzled mess and no one can really enjoy the holiday season. I truly believe that November is the month to prepare for Christmas and December is the month to enjoy Christmas. We take the entire month of December off of school and kill our bucket list. We bake cookies. We make gifts. We watch all of the holiday movies. It's wonderful.
     That said, I have to have a list or nothing gets done. I found a really great one on Pinterest, but when I went to look for it last year, it was gone. I was on the verge of panic when I talked myself down and decided to make a list of my own. That's what I'm sharing today. I hope it helps facilitate a restful and memorable Christmas season for you and your family.

November 1-7
Set Christmas Budget
Update Christmas card list
Choose cookies and treats to make
Make Christmas gift list
Make a Random Acts of Kindness list
Buy Advent candles
Purge toys
Buy 5 gifts

November 8-14
Buy stamps
Take a pantry and freezer inventory
Stock the liquor cabinet
Deep clean bedrooms
Buy Advent calendar or trinkets
Buy 5 gifts
Take Christmas card picture
Restock wrapping supplies

November 15-21
Print cards
Address envelopes
Buy stocking stuffers
Deep clean bathrooms and kitchen
Buy 5 gifts
Buy treat and gift containers
Make Holiday Bucket List

November 22-28
Buy baking supplies
Buy a gingerbread house kit
Put up the Christmas tree
Make and freeze cookie dough
Deep clean living and dining rooms
Mail cards
Make ornament for exchange
Buy 5 gifts

November 29-December 5
Wrap gifts
Decorate house and yard
Finish gift shopping
Search holiday playlists

December 6-January 2
Enjoy your family and friends
Drink lots of hot chocolate
Watch all of the best movies
Bake cookies
Laugh a lot
Make gifts
Listen to only holiday music
Bless others

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cream cheese and jam strudel

I just realized that I blog for me. I blog all of those recipes that I make or modify that can't be found elsewhere. I write them here so that when I want make them again, I can find them all in one place. Otherwise, I'd totally forget that they exsist.
Case in point, I'd forgotten that I made crock pot bread until I jumped back on today to share this recipe and saw that I'd made it when my stove gave up the ghost. Someday, I hope to have my full faculties back. Today is not that day.
I love strudel. Crispy on the outside, sweet filling on the inside. I do not love the amount of time and effort that goes into a really good one, so I've come up with a cheater recipe. It is seriously one of the easiest things I've ever baked. It doesn't hurt that it looks totally impressive and tastes delicious.
The secrets are frozen puff pastry and jarred jam. Add in some sweetened cream cheese and you feel like a pastry chef.
So, here is all you need:
1 frozen puff pastry (thawed according to directions)
4oz cream cheese, softened
2 TBSP sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 TBSP jam (I used seedless blackberry, but any flavor works)

You see how I snagged the first piece before my kids even knew it was out of the oven?

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the thawed pastry on a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit a jelly roll pan. Using a rolling pin or flat-sided glass, roll it out to about 12"x16". Gently lift the parchment and pastry onto a jelly roll pan. Slice each side into one inch wide strips, leaving the center third for the filling.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Spread down the middle of the pastry. Top this with the jam, spreading until smooth.

Criss cross the strips, alternating sides. Seal up the ends by crimping them together. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

We especially enjoy this while warm, topped with homemade whipped cream.

This is one of those goodies that can come together in about 30 minutes. It's great for busy weeknight desserts, unexpected visitors, or lazy Saturday morning breakfasts.