White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

I love dried cranberries all year long but during the holidays it is definitely time to bring on the cranberries! Today I'm sharing a recipe for white chocolate cranberry blondies.I just love how the tart cranberries go so well in desserts. It's the perfect complement to the white chocolate and blondie bars.

DIY Gift Card Ornaments

I think that sometimes gift cards can get a bum rap as gifts without a lot of thought behind them. I personally love to receive gift cards. For an indecisive person like myself, it can be really hard coming up with a wish list.  I do understand though that they can be kind of boring to give. That's why I've come up with a fun and easy way to give Gift cards this year.
Make your own Gift Card Holder Ornaments. The gift card attaches right to the back and you will still have a lovely ornament after you remove the gift card. I love it!



Everything for the DIY gift card ornaments can be found at Michaels. I'm sure you could find similar things at other craft stores, I just happened to be in Michaels when inspiration struck! I will tell you the exact products that I used, and then feel free to make it your own.

DIY Gift Card Holder Ornaments


Supplies:


Directions: 

  1. Remove any labels and the hanger string from the ornament and set aside. According to the spray paint instructions, paint both sides of the ornament Heritage Red. Be sure to give plenty of drying time before turning the ornament over. 
  2. Once the Heritage Red paint has dried on both sides, spray the front of the ornament with the Glitter Blast. Do several light coats to get complete glitter coverage. Allow the ornaments to dry several hours to overnight.
  3. Decorate the front (glittered) side of the ornament with the die-cut snowflakes. These shapes already had adhesive on the back. Use glue dots to secure your shapes, if they don't have their own adhesive. Use glue two glue dots to stick the gift card to the back of the ornament. Tie the ornament hanger string back on the top of the ornament. 

This project was probably took about 30 minutes at the most. Drying time was longer, but since I wasn't sitting there watching the paint dry, I'm not going to count it. ;) If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I actually decorated the ornaments while I was sitting in the parent pick-up at school. I love a simple project with a nice Wow factor.

Here are the three different designs I came up with.

Now I would love to hear from you! What type of design would you put on an ornament like this? Let me know in the comments.



Ashley

Holiday Recipes: Easy Garlic, Bacon, and Parmesan Appetizers with Mezzetta

Thanks to Mezzetta for sponsoring today's recipe. Do you do any holiday entertaining? As you know, things can get really hectic trying to prepare and serve multiple dishes, keep the house from looking like a disaster, and most importantly, entertaining your guests. Today I'm sharing one of my favorite holiday recipes that will be a big hit at your next party or event. The best part of this recipe is that it is super quick to put together thanks to Mezzetta. You'll spend your time mingling instead of slaving away in the kitchen.

The secret to this delicious appetizer is Mezzetta Savory Garlic Everything Spread. I love this stuff! I do love my garlic, I add it to pretty much every recipe except dessert. The Mezzetta Savory Garlic Everything Spread, really does deliver on the garlic flavor.

While I was at the store picking up the Savory Garlic spread I also stocked up some of my other favorite Mezzetta products. My favorite way to use the Roasted Bell Pepper Strips & Caramelized Onions, Tamed Jalapeno Peppers, and Mild Pepper Rings are in paninis. Yummy! Oops, that's another recipe for another time though. Let's get back to our appetizers.

Garlic, Bacon, and Parmesan Toast


Time: Prep: 10 minutes  Cook: 2-3 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Turn the oven on to broil while you prepare the appetizers. Lay the cocktail bread on a baking sheet. Spread a thin layer of Mezzetta Savory Garlic Everything Spread over the cocktail bread. Sprinkle on some crumbled bacon. 
  2. Place the baking sheet under the broil for 2-3 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning. Remove the appetizers and add some shaved Parmesan. Sprinkle on some chopped chives to finish it off. Serve immediately. 

They are a little bite that pack a big flavor punch. These appetizers are so easy to put togeter, I just love it! Mezzetta wants to make things even easier for you by offering a $.50 off coupon on their website. Awesome! Entertaining people can get pricey, every little bit of savings helps. 

Mezzetta is a family owned business and they want to hear about your holiday traditions and memories. Every day in December, Mezzetta is giving away an awesome gift basket. All you need to do is fill out the form and share your favorite holiday memory. The contest page will also show you others that are sharing their #MezzettaMemories

Make sure you head over to the Mezzetta Holiday page and enter to win one of these awesome gift baskets! 

Disclaimer: The post was sponsored by Mezzetta. All thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own.
Ashley

Hostess Holiday Tablescape - Zinger Chimney and more

I love hosting parties and putting together fun tablescapes. Two years ago I hosted our holiday bunco and put together a whole Christmas themed meal. This year, I will be hosting December bunco again and I just wasn't sure how to top by last holiday spread. Then SocialMoms sent me a gift card and challenged me to create a fun centerpiece and tablescape using Hostess products. Thanks Hostess and SocialMoms for sponsoring this post and getting my creative juices flowing.

I used a mix of Zingers, Sno Balls, Donettes, and Twinkies to create my festive tablescape. So may I present: Santa down the Zinger chimney with Sno Ball Igloos, Chocodile Twinkie Rudolphs and Gingerbread Donette Reindeer. Phew, that is a mouthful! Both to say and eat, ha, ha, ha.

First, I want to tell you how to make your the centerpiece, a Zinger chimney. Before I begin, with the exception of the candy eyes, all of my supplies came from Walmart. So you should be able to replicate all of these things after a trip to Walmart.

Zinger Brick Chimney

Supplies:


  • 2 boxes of Zingers
  • Square vase
  • Almond bark or frosting, to act as glue
  • Chocolate Santa
  • Green candy writer, optional
  • Light Candies, optional
Directions:
  1. Place your square vase in the center of your serving platter. I happen to have a cute sleigh platter which was perfect for this. Open one Zinger at a time and cut in half lengthwise. Place some frosting or melted almond bark on the cut side of the zinger and press against the vase. 
  2. Cut the Zingers to length as needed and go around all four sides of the vase. Start the next row up and stagger the Zingers to they look like a brick pattern. Continue all the way up the vase until you reach the top. 
  3. Fill the vase with uncooked rice or beans and insert the chocolate Santa inside so he is sticking out about half way. 
  4. To add a string of lights: Working in sections at a time, pipe a line of green with the candy writer and press the light candies onto the line. 

It's an easy project that has a really great wow factor!
Now let me show you some of the other sweets I put together for my table. My favorite are these cute little igloos with penguins.

These were so easy to put together. I used Sno Balls for the base and adhered a slice of marshmallow with candy melts. I used a food coloring marker to color the entrance of the igloo black. The little gummy penguins came from the holiday baking section at Walmart. These were the fastest treat to put together by far!

Next up are the Chocodile Twinkie Rudolphs. As soon as I saw the Chocodile box, I was inspired that it looked a little like Rudolph's nose. Do you see it too?


To make my little reindeer friends, I cut the Twinkies into thirds. I added some candy eyes and a mouth with a black candy writer. I made the antlers by sawing pretzels with a serrated blade. You will probably break a few pretzels before you get it just right. The kids love eating those broken pretzels just as much!

For my last treat, made an oldie but a goody! I took some special Gingerbread Spice Donettes and transformed them into reindeer faces. The noses are either chocolate candy discs or fall candy corn. I experimented with some different candies for eyes and once again used a candy writer for the mouth. I love these guys because they are so easy to customize and give them their own personality. Kids really love making these too!


To round out the table, I added some of the extra Sno Balls and Zingers, snowflake shaped pretzels, and some white cheese balls with the chimney. This will be a great table for guests to munch on while they mingle.

Now that you know how to create my tablescape, I have some really fun things to tell you about. The first thing is that Hostess is running the #HostessHolidaySweeps on Pinterest. One lucky winner will win a $1000 Walmart Gift Card and Hostess products. The second and third prizes are a $500 Walmart Gift Card plus Hostess products and a $250 Walmart Gift Card plus Hostess products, respectively. Woohoo! Make sure you check out the link above for all the info and to enter.

The other exciting thing is that I'm part of a giveaway for a $100 Walmart gift card. That would make for one awesome #HostessHoliday You get one entry for commenting on this post, and another entry for tweeting about it. You can enter below in the Rafflecopter form.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to get lots of great ideas make sure you check out Hostess on Pinterest and Facebook. You can even like the Hostess page below!


Okay, I'd love to hear from you. What Hostess products would you use to create a fun holiday treat?

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Hostess blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.
Ashley

Cranberry Orange Cornbread

I was challenged to come up with a Thanksgiving friendly recipe using Fleischmann's Simply Homemade Cornbread Baking Mix. Challenge accepted! You might remember that earlier this year I shared my recipe for Sweet Cornbread Cake using the Simply Homemade Cornbread mix. I think the cornbread cake would be a great Thanksgiving side, but I really wanted to come up with a recipe that reminded me of holiday flavors. I know some people do a cornbread stuffing, but I wanted to go a different direction. Cranberries were the first thing I thought of when I thought about Thanksgiving flavors. One of my favorite flavor combinations is cranberry and orange and so, may I present, Cranberry Orange Cornbread. 


Giving Presents with a Purpose

Have you already started your holiday shopping for this year? I most definitely have. I get as much joy from finding the perfect gift for someone, as I do when I receive a gift. Today, I am sharing a great gift idea that not only will the recipient love, it also gives back.

World Vision asked me if I would like to help spread the word about their Holiday Gift Guide. Of course, I said yes! They even sent me a gift to try out and are offering a giveaway. I'm so excited about the giveaway, so make sure you stick around to the end of the post for that.




Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

I'm pretty sure pumpkin mania will be here at least through Thanksgiving. Pumpkin doesn't have to be limited to just desserts and lattes though. You can cook up some yummy savory pumpkin dishes too.
Here is a really simple recipe for Pumpkin Pasta Sauce. This pumpkin sauce is an easy recipe that can often be mistaken for something much more gourmet.  It's a great way to use that small amount of pumpkin that you have leftover.