Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Florida Family Christmas

First of all, Merry Christmas!! I hope you all had (are having) a wonderful time with your friends and family. I know we certainly are!

Today was such a nice change of pace. We've always loved our Holidays with family, but on my side of the family it's always been go-go-go. Open gifts at home, lunch and gifts at Nanna's, gifts and dinner at Nanny's. This Christmas, we were unable to fly home, so my parents came to Florida for our first Southern Christmas. We opened gifts in the morning, and Tyler and my dad went golfing in the afternoon. I think my dad thought he'd died and gone to heaven. I actually convinced my mom to stay in her cute winter pajamas with me and just relax around the house until late afternoon. It was wonderful.

This was also my first time being able to host any type of Holiday gathering even though it was just the 4 of us, so I was ready to cook! For breakfast, I baked a sausage, egg, and cinnamon apple casserole and French toast casserole which was to die for. I also baked red-velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert (my dad's favorite), and a holiday ham with green bean casserole (a family classic) for dinner. It was a lot of fun to prepare, especially in some of my new aprons and with my mom by my side. :)

Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cookie Favorites

Hello friends and family! Hope you're are gearing up for Christmas. We're REALLY looking forward to the arrival of my parents this Friday for the Holidays.

On to the cookies! This weekend was designated as "cookie baking weekend" for the Redick household. I included Tyler in this, as well, because he is the best husband ever and insists upon helping me A LOT with dishes....and boy did I create some serious dirty dish piles in the process.

I found so many overwhelmingly yummy Christmas cookie recipes in my search this year, but settled on four. I think the photos speak louder than my words ever could, but believe me when I tell you that they are all amazing, easy, and make wonderful gifts. Here are the Christmas 2010 cookie selections. Enjoy!


M&M Cookies for Santa
-Sing for Your Supper blog

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons milk, optional
2 cups Holiday M&M’s

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment. Beat together the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder until well combined. Add the egg, beating until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and beat again until smooth.
Add the flour, mixing it in completely. Stir in the milk, then carefully stir in the M&M’s.
Drop the cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2″ apart. A cookie scoop works well here.
Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, and a bit darker around the edges.
Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the baking sheets.

Cranberry Delight Oatmeal Cookies
-Sing for Your Supper

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups self rising flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 bag of dried cranberries (6 oz.)
1 cup grated milk chocolate bar
1/2 cup melted white almond bark

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix flour, oatmeal, salt and cinnamon together and add to butter mixture. Stir until ingredients are well mixed. Fold in pecans, crasins, and grated chocolate bar. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Move to cooling rack until completely cooled. Drizzle melted almond bark over cookies (I used both a fork to drizzle and a plastic bag with a small hole cut). Serve after almond bark has dried. Makes approximately 40 cookies.

Oreo Peppermint Bark
-Sing for Your Supper

1 pound milk chocolate bark
1 pound white chocolate almond bark
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
10 Oreos, roughly chopped (I used the green mint ones!)
1/2 cup crushed peppermints

Melt the milk chocolate bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Pour out onto a large sheet of wax paper and smooth it out into one even (thin) layer with a spatula (an offset spatula works perfectly for this). Let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, until hardened. Next, melt the white chocolate bark.
When the chocolate is hardened, stir the peppermint extract into the melted white chocolate bark. Pour over the dark chocolate layer and spread out evenly to the edges with a spatula.
Sprinkle the Oreos and crushed peppermints in an even layer over the top. Let sit until completely dried and hardened, about 20 or 30 minutes.
Break into pieces and serve.

The last recipe I used was a simple Chocolate Dipped Pretzel recipe. It was basically 1 tablespoon shortening to 1 pound chocolate (1 bag chocolate cups), melted in the microwave. I used both white and milk chocolate chips, dipped, decorated, and hardened in the refridgerator.

Have a Merry Christmas y'all!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Meringue Meltdown

First of all, happy Friday! I hope you all have some fun weekend plans. Monday is our 2 year wedding anniversary, so Tyler surprised me last night by saying we're going to explore St. Augustine on Saturday :).

On to the Meringue...

Thursday, my unit at work (group of case managers) was assigned to make a snack for the office, in the theme of "white". My mom gave me the advice to make Meringue Cookies. Wednesday night, I had 5 eggs on the fridge and all of the other necessary ingredients, so I went to town. Unfortunately, those eggs just did not want to separate, and I ended up having to send my sweet husband out for another dozen. As if that wasn't enough, I didn't realize it was going to rain all night into the next day, creating a very humid environment. Let's just say, Meringue does NOT want to thicken or stand up in humidity. So, after over an hour of adding more ingredients, and beating the heck out of the batter, I finally got some thickness to the Meringue, and in went my cookies. The way Meringue works, is you preheat your oven to temperature and then put your cookies in, turn the oven off, and keep them in the closed oven till morning. Hence, it was a long, anxious night as I was just hoping they would turn out. And...They kind of did. Everyone at work really enjoyed them and they did taste well, but they definitely were not the Merriest Meringue I've ever seen. ;) Anyway, here's the recipe I used. I got it from and just changed the quantity to 24 and the website adjusted the ingredients accordingly. Here is the basic recipe for 12 servings. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!



2 egg whites (best at room temperature)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: (adapted from
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
Beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla until VERY firm
Gradually add sugar and continue mixing until Meringue is able to hold its form
Fold in chocolate chips
Drop teaspoons of batter onto greased, foiled, or parchment papered baking sheets
Place in preheated oven, close door, and turn off oven
Leave overnight, do NOT open the oven, and Meringue cookies will be ready in the morning. Enjoy!

*Tip* If you decide to double the recipe, do not double the chocolate chips.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Baking Blunders

Last night, in a kitchen full of flour and a face covered in dough, I came to the realization that while I may have some small semblance of a knack for cooking, baking is an entirely different story.

I enjoy baking, very much! But I have definitely had more baking failures than successes as of late. My mom always said that most people are EITHER a baker OR a cook, and I am starting to believe her. Oh well. I will keep trying. Maybe baking is just an acquired skill, and I have had some successes thus far which make Tyler very happy.

In other baking news, I tried out a new cookie recipe last night as a trial run for a cookie baking competition at work, and they were delicious! Yes, I learned I need to make them smaller, round the dough into tighter balls, and cook them for 2 minutes less, but nonetheless they tasted like little bits of heaven. I will post the recipe and other Christmas Cookie favorites in a few weeks.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. This cold I have is definitely keeping me from being as productive as I was hoping, but I am looking forward to a relaxing pedicure and lunch with my friend Kristy this afternoon and our Sunday School Christmas party this evening.

Love always xoxo,