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!
I have some RIDICULOUSLY fit colleagues. One of my mentors teaches boxing and spinning classes. Several colleagues plan to participate in multiple marathon events this year. Some of my clients also spotlight athletes’ amazing feats.
Inspired by their collective fitness achievements, I recently decided to set my own personal summer goal. I’ve registered to complete my first 10K in July! While fitness has always been a priority for me, I’ve tended to shy away from running races. For me, its always seemed easier to take a dance/aerobics/cardio class or complete a timed workout on the elliptical versus hitting the open road. There’s an extra bit of motivation needed – both mentally and physically – when you don’t have an instructor or a TV show attached to the machine to urge you on. To help prepare for my first 10K, I’ve been following a six-week online training plan. I’ve also been scoping out smoothie recipes.
So for this Fiesta Friday, I present you with my first green smoothie. It’s a Green Strawberry Pineapple Banana Smoothie that features spinach as the leafy greens. (I’ve got kale waiting in the wings to try out sometime soon, too.) The banana provides a creamy texture and the pineapple juice and fresh strawberries lend their natural sweetness to the drink. (Big thanks to Andrea for the strawberry heart inspiration. :) You should check out her recipe for Strawberry White Chocolate Blondies.)
What are your favorite smoothie ingredients? Do you have any fitness tips to share with me?
Green Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup ice cubes
1. Pour 1/3 cup pineapple juice into blender.
2. Slice strawberries and banana and add in blender, followed by 1 cup spinach leaves.
3. Blend mixture until smooth. Next, slowly add in ice cubes in small batches – 2 or 3 at a time. And voila! No extra sweeteners needed.
I was seeking a bright, sunny burst of sweetness in my kitchen. These Lemon Strawberry Cookie Cakes pack quite a lemony punch, but not in a super sour way, at all! They’re baked in a pan, and then cut to make single servings. I used my circle cookie cutter as a mold (and ate the scraps in the process). :) I paired my cookie cakes with a glass of sparkling water, topped with strawberry slices. If you’re still craving more lemon love, you could serve these with a glass of lemonade.
- Flour – 2 1/4 cups
- Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar – 3/4 cup
- Butter or margarine – 1 cup
- Egg – 1
- Lemon zest – 3 tablespoons
- Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
- Diced strawberries – 3/4 cup
- Lemon juice – 3 tablespoons
- Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking pan with tin foil.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Cream butter and sugar together in a separate bowl. Add in lemon juice, lemon zest and egg. Then mix in dry ingredients.
4. Fold in strawberries.
5. Add mixture to lined baking pan, lightly pressing dough down into bottom of pan.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. To create glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice. Use whisk to drizzle glaze atop cookie cakes.
This recipe was adapted from Bakeaholic Mama.
Happy New Year! Right now, it’s ridiculously cold here in Chicago. I mean, it’s Fuh-REE-Zing. In fact, we have sub zero temps outside today. Some locals have dubbed it the land of “CHIberia.” To avoid cabin fever syndrome, I ventured out last night to a birthday party, but aside from that event and a few errands I ran yesterday, I’ve been cooped up inside all weekend. I’ve got my slow cooker simmering away with Chipotle Chicken Soup and a fresh mug of Raspberry Pomegranate tea by my side.
I also made a batch of Cool Whip Cookies, or as I like to call them, “cloud cookies,” because of their light and fluffy taste and texture. This time I opted for the power of PINK. (Click to see the Lemon Cool Whip Cookies here, inspired by this summer’s sunshine. Man, we could use some of that sun now!)
The Makings: (1 batch yields ~2 dozen cookies)
- Cake Mix – 1 box
- Eggs – 2
- Cool Whip – 1 8 ounce container
- Powdered sugar – 1/2 cup
1. In a medium sized bowl, beat together eggs and entire contents of the Cool Whip container. Slowly add in cake mix, until it’s folded into the batter. Chill mixture for 1 hour in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove chilled dough.
3. Scoop balls of dough – about 1 tablespoon per ball – and roll them in powdered sugar. Place powdered dough balls on a cookie sheet. (Here, I also sprinkled on some pink sugar for an extra pinch of PINK.)
4. Bake cookies for 9 to 12 minutes, or until the bottom and the tops of the cookies are lightly golden.