Happy holidays!

I love the holidays. It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, like I’ve just drank a gingerbread latte (my holiday drink of choice!).

I’m so excited to spend this Christmas at home. We have family coming in tomorrow from Seattle and Vancouver and they are staying for a week. We have no real plans except to eat and spend time with each other..and I cannot wait.

I love holiday baking, so I probably have make sugar cookies with my 4 year old niece. Also, we will go see Christmas lights and decorations in San Francisco.

We don’t really do gifts, but we got something for my niece and family that are coming over.

Do you have any holidays traditions or customs? Is there something you are excited to do during this holiday season?

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The arrival of my first paycheck coincided nicely with the holiday season. I made my first BIG purchase and bought the latest Kindle as a Christmas present! I’ve always been a bit hesitant, because I love the feel of books, but after playing around with the Kindle for only a few minutes I fell in love. It is so light and sleek. Plus, I love that I don’t have to wait forever to buy a paperback version of a book now.

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More importantly, this holiday season I am very grateful for all that I have: a roof over my head, never having to worry about when my next meal will be, good health, and supportive family and friends.

I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season, however you are planning to celebrate!

$1 million from baking? Not bad.

Baking is one of my favorite things to do.  Whenever I have people over, I love to bake something for them. Whether it’s cookies, cupcakes, or a cake..I enjoy it! (Red velvet is my favorite, just so you know :-))

A good friend and I never pass up an opportunity to bake.  We’re always on the lookout for new, fun baked goods to experiment with.  Lucky for us, I came across exactly that today!

I caught the end of Oprah’s show, where she announced the winner of Pillsbury’s Bake Off. The grand prize being one million dollars. Can you imagine? That is pretty amazing. Who knew that my insatiable cravings for baked goods is worthy of a million dollar prize?

Anyways, the winner was a woman from New Jersey whose item was Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups. They look amazing and not to mention delicious! It also looks pretty simple, with room for your own creativity.

I’m excited to try them soon..perhaps at the next party/get together? (Hint, hint friends! ;-))

Thanks, Oprah!

Here is the recipe:

Servings: Makes 24 tartlets

Ingredients:

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups

  • 1 package (16 ounces) Pillsbury® Ready to Bake! refrigerated sugar cookies (24 cookies)
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped Fisher® Chef’s Naturals® chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s® semisweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1/4 cup Smucker’s® Seedless red raspberry jam
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla bean ice cream , softened
  • 24 fresh raspberries

Directions:

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Heat oven to 350°. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with Crisco® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Place 1 cookie dough round in each muffin cup. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Place 2 teaspoons of the sugar in small bowl. Dip end of wooden spoon handle in sugar; carefully press into center of each cookie to make 1-inch-wide indentation. Cool completely in pan, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix walnuts and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds, stirring after 30 seconds, until smooth.

Run knife around edges of cups to loosen; gently remove from pan. Dip rim of each cup into melted chocolate, then into walnut mixture. Place walnut side up on cookie sheet with sides.

In another small microwavable bowl, microwave jam uncovered on high about 15 seconds until melted. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon jam into each cup. Freeze cups about 5 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Spoon ice cream into cups, using small cookie scoop or measuring tablespoon. Top each cup with fresh raspberry. Store in freezer; let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.