I had a chance to become reacquainted with my kitchen over the holidays. I took a break from throwing together the usual dinners, and helped prep a meal of steak filets. (I left the cooking to a more seasoned expert.) On another night, I tried a new recipe for smoked chicken with roasted red peppers. The key ingredient there? Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Yum.
I also spent a bit of time baking. Wanting to use some of the leftover cranberries from the garland-making festivities at my holiday party, I found a recipe for Cranberry Coffee Cake. The dates and brown sugar really add an extra kick of sweetness to the cranberry topping. It’s an upside down cake, and when flipped, it didn’t look like the prettiest creation. It did serve as a delish breakfast for the week. It also reminded me that I want to spend more time baking (and cooking!) when I’m not off traveling. I’ve already made plans to host two dinner parties this year. Huzzah!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to coat 9-inch baking pan and then dust pan with approximately 1 tablespoon of flour.
2. In a small bowl, mix together cranberries, walnuts, dates and orange rind.
3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and stir in brown sugar, orange juice and cinnamon, mixing frequently for 3 minutes.
4. Pour brown sugar mixture into pan and cover it with cranberry mixture.
5. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, use a mixer to blend butter and granulated sugar. Add in vanilla and egg.
6. Alternate stirring in flour mixture and buttermilk into granulated sugar mixture. Be sure to start and end with flour mixture. Once blended, pour combined mixture into pan atop cranberries.
7. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife along edges of pan and once cooled, invert cake onto a serving plate.
8. To create glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, butter and orange juice. Use whisk to drizzle glaze atop coffee cake.
This recipe is from Cooking Light: Comfort Food
This holiday season, my friend and I decided to host a holiday crafts party. We gathered a small group of friends together and spent the evening noshing on snacks, sipping on wine and assembling button wreaths, holiday cards, popcorn garlands and more. A friend created the stash of berry cute Santa hats pictured above.
Sadly, I got so carried away by all of the festive fun that I neglected to take a ton of photos of our creations…our ourselves! I suppose that’s OK on some other level though, because I fully enjoyed the event.
My favorite craft activity of the evening = the Cork Reindeer Christmas Ornaments, an Oriental Trading purchase. (But seriously, that site is full of bargains of amazingness. I purchased several items earlier this year for a friend’s Vintage Bachelorette Bash.)
The Cork Reindeer kit came with almost everything needed, and they were fairly easy to assemble. The hardest step was attaching the head to the body, which we did by using a nail to create small holes in the corks to insert the wooden stick, aka its neck. We used a mini glue gun for the rest of the project. I ended up gifting some of these lil guys as wine bottle ornaments, and attached a few as accessories to small gifts for colleagues. Seriously adorable, no?
Last year, I made marshmallow reindeer, and sat at a desk station near an inflatable reindeer named “I’m Rein Burgundy?” Perhaps I’ll have to find another reindeer item to fixate on next year. :-P
I hope your holiday season is merry and bright. Many cheers to the new year!