CHRISTMASCOOKIES

3 Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes

It’s that time of the year again! The smell of baked goods are starting to fill every home as the Holidays approach and fires are stoked. Soon, Santa’s going to want his milk and cookies, but what recipe do you make??

Here are three simple, fun, delicious recipes that my sisters and I bake every Christmas.

1. Soft Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup margarine, softened

1 ½ cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions:

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheets On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

 

2. Spritz Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

½ tsp anise or almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Sit together the flour and salt; set aside. In  medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg yolks, anise/almond extract. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Fill a cookie press with dough and shoot cookies about 1 ½ inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. If you like, decorate with sugar or sprinkles at this time.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven.

 

3. Gingerbread Men

Ingredients:

1 (3.5 oz) package cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix

½ cup butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

 Directions:

In a medium bowl, cream together the dry butterscotch pudding mix, butter, and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; stir into the pudding mixture. Cover, and chill dough until firm, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets. On a floured board, roll dough out to about ⅛ inch thickness, and cut into man shapes using a cookie cutter. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until cookies are golden at the edges. Cool on wire racks.

 

BRIDGETJONES

Loneliness: Part Two

After writing my first post about loneliness, I realized that there were a few things I wasn’t able to touch on. So, keep going with me on this one.

Here’s the scenario: You just graduated from college. You’ve moved to the big city to kick ass, take names and follow your dreams. This was what kept you going through finals and senioritis. Life is happening. Right. Now. This is how it works. You’re not allowed to feel lonely or isolated, right?

Boo! Wrong!

When I moved away from home, I didn’t know a soul. New city, new people, and a new chapter in my life. It was all supposed to be fun and exciting! It was… for the first week or two. But after a while, all I really wanted was a hug from my Dad and my favorite food from Mom. It seemed so juvenile to me at the time and it was certainly part of growing up. But I think homesickness and being away from the people and places you love can be very isolating. It’s still a feeling, but those situations when we are separated from familiarity are certainly instances that lead us to feel oh so alone.

Tangent: I remember watching Bridget Jones Diary and that part when she’s on the couch belting out “All By Myself”, I just kept thinking, “That’s me. That’s so, so me!” (See picture above)

So, what’s the fix here? When you are actually alone, don’t have many friends yet, and just want to go home. Well, here are my thoughts.

1. Home – As Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros said, “Home is wherever I’m with you.” Obviously, the people you love aren’t with you or you wouldn’t be homesick. BUT, try bringing home to you. Try whipping up some of your Dad’s crepes, watch your Mom’s favorite movie or put on that t-shirt you stole from your sister. For me at least, things like that bring a smile to my face and a warm feeling in my guts that no matter where I am, those crazy people are still loving me.

2. Stay busy – If you’re sitting in your room thinking about how alone you are, chances are, you’re just going to keep feeling… alone. Take it from James Brown and, “Get up offa that thing!”. Go for a walk in your new surroundings. Find local spots that you’ll love to show your family when they visit. Take a pilates class! Meet people! Go to church! Interact with humans and who knows, you might even make an awesome friend or two!

That’s all I’ve got on this one. I’m off to that pilates class…

 

Be A Light In The Darkness

The world can be a dark place. Whether it is dealing with loss, pain, or anything of the sort, we’ve all dealt with this sometimes-dark world.

Unfortunately, dealing with the dark world can become a reality when we enter the workforce. Depending on what route we take in our career paths, some of us may have more of a challenging time than others. If we decide to take the corporate route, we may be faced with situations that could potentially result in compromising our values, our principles, the very beliefs we stand for. The reality? No matter where we end up, we will deal with conflict, disagreement, and tension in the workplace at one time or another. Why? It’s simple. We’re human. In dealing with any situation, we all bring our opinions and perspectives that have been formed by our own experiences to the table.

Starting a new job can be exhausting. People in the workplace can get frustrated easily being under the stress of meeting deadlines. People get impatient. People can be cruel. Be a light. Smile often. Say ‘good morning.’ Ask how a co-worker’s day is going. Offer to grab lunch for a co-worker. When someone becomes frustrated and begins to vent to you about a co-worker, put a positive spin on it; help them to see the other side. Bring people up instead of tearing them down. Help to promote a healthy, positive workplace instead of fostering one of jealousy and impatience.

Of course, it’s easier said than done! If we keep this at the forefront of our minds, however when we enter a new working environment, we are more likely to remember to be the example we want to be.

NAILS

8 Steps to Sassy Nails

So, listen. I’m not one of those people that is great at doing people’s nails. Ya know, I’m not even very good at doing my own nails. Whenever I find $20 in the laundry, I’ll march on down to the “Itty Bitty Pretty Nail Salon” and get my nails did. It’s just one of those things that makes you feel pretty. When I walk out of that place with heels as soft as a baby’s butt I wonder how I ever wore sandals before!

Unfortunately I do not have the time, nor the funds to get my nails done every other week. And what the heck did ladies do before every strip mall had one of those nail places?

Do not fear! I may have found something to keep my nails looking bougie without visiting the nail salon.

Here is a “vintage manicure”. It’s excerpted an old magazine editorial:

1. File nails into an almond, oval or long-tapered shape
2. Soak fingers in warm water
3. Push back cuticles and massage in cuticle oil
4. Remove excess oil with varnish remover
5. Paint on one coat of hardener (clear polish)
6. Once it dries, add French strips to the moons and tips of the nail
7. Paint two coats of your chosen color and add a topcoat of hardener for longevity
8. Dry completely and remove the strips

So, there you have it. Your grandma’s manicure! Go! Be beautiful!