Foodie Christmas - a link up


Today I am linking up with Christmas is in the Air for our favorite Christmas/Holiday foods. When I think Christmas I always think Christmas BAKING! Anyone else been watching Food Network's Holiday Baking Champion Series - my oldest son and I love it! When I think about Christmas and Baking TWO things come to mind...SWEETS and BREAKFAST!
We ALWAYS wake up Christmas morning in OUR house. (It's a big deal to me) So that means we need BREAKFAST, and if it's Christmas morning it needs to be a SPECIAL breakfast! Grandparents usually come over sometime that morning so I like to whip up a BIG breakfast so they and anyone else that stops by can have a bite to eat.
First up is a hearty Sausage and Biscuit Casserole - I don't usually prefer sausage but in this casserole it is perfect! This is even better the NEXT day! My mom always takes some home with her!
can make ahead
You can find the recipe from Plain Chicken HERE.
The other casserole that I always make is the opposite of the one above -it is super yummy sweetness!
French Toast Souffle with Pecans
This recipe evolved from one I found years ago on All Recipes.
Clearly I need to take a picture of this next time I make it!
Recipe:
1 loaf French bread cut into cubes
1 pkg softened cream cheese
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 c pecans (can toast these or use candied)
Place bread cubes in greased baking dish.
Beat eggs, mix in cream cheese, milk, whipping cream, syrup, brown sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth. Pour over bread evenly. Refrigerate over night. 
In the morning remove from fridge and let stand for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
Sprinkle pecans on top and Bake for 30 minutes or until knife in center comes out clean. Serve warm with additional syrup if desired.
A must have on Christmas morning is hot chocolate! Not the powdered stuff either! A crock pot full of the yummiest hot chocolate ever!
I first had this at a party at my friend Abbie's. She had a whole hot chocolate bar! It was so fun.
Creamy Crockpot Hot Cocoa. . .i have seen this as the polar express hot chocolate also.  I have to say it was amazing.  Definitely use good chocolate chips.  The good ones melted, the cheap ones don't fully blend in.  Also, it is very rich.  Could use extra milk, or a little less chocolate.  Either way, it was awesome.  We have made it twice this week.
Recipe:
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
6 cups milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ( I like milk but some prefer the semi-sweet)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon opt (I like this, The Hubs does not)
Stir together in crock pot and warm on medium until chips are melted and it is hot. Reduce heat to keep warm and serve with marshmallows, peppermints, whipped cream even a little booze (I promise I won't judge because I will probably do the same)
If I have time I will also make scones or biscotti or muffins too!
The second area of Christmas Baking I love is - SWEETS!
5 of us girls get together and all bake our favorite Christmas treats while watching movies and drinking wine! We then share the treats and everyone gets lots of different goodies!!! It is so fun!
First up these little peanut butter cup bites! I am asked to bring these to EVERY gathering whether it is Christmas time or not!
These are one of my specialties!
And they are so easy! I totally cheat with all the Holiday baking going on and use store bought peanutbutter cookie dough! My kids pretty much make these!
Unwrap Reese's mini PB cups
Take Peanutbutter cookie dough and make 24 smallish balls.
Place each ball in a mini muffin pan.
Bake at 375 for 8 minutes!
As soon as you remove from oven place a Reese's mini on each cookie. 
Carefully remove to let cool. Chocolate will be runny for awhile!
Next up a personal favorite! 
Cranberry Bliss Bars!
Cranberry Bliss Bars (Starbucks Copycat Recipe) - otherwise known as White Chocolate- Cranberry Blondies
These babies are 2.35 each at our Starbucks! And while I love them I don't love the price! So when I saw the recipe on Pinterest I had to try! The turned out perfect! They are a bit of work but I just remember that price tag and I'm ok with it! 
Find the Recipe from Recipe Girl HERE!
And the final sweet I HAVE to have at Christmas isn't a baked good. 
It's my Aunt Nettie's Bars - thinking I need to come up with a fancy name for these. Along with a picture!
They are so easy and SO good! 
Recipe:
1 cup Kayro syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups cornflakes
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
In a sauce pan over med-high heat bring syrup and sugar to a boil, remove from heat add peanut butter stir to combine and immediately pour over 6 cups of cornflakes, stir until well coated then press in a greased jelly roll pan. Melt chips together in bowl and spread over top of corn flake mixture in pan! Let cool and cut into small pieces as these babies are rich! Watch them disappear!
There you have it! Man I am in the Christmas mood now, and I wanna go bake something!
Check back next week for the last installment! And be sure to click the image above for the full linky party!
Find Joy in the Journey,
Tess

Mani Monday - Candy Cane Stripe and Julep Maven Box Reveal



Hello lovelies! I have my December Julep Maven box to share with you today and a Mani using the Julep polishes!  I have tried 3 different beauty boxes and I only still subscribe to Julep! They are my favorite! Yes they are 19.99 a month but you get $40 or more worth of product! If you are a big nail polish person then they are definitely for you! 

Julep is a monthly subscription box. It is FREE your first month. Each month you will be notified that the window is open and you can go in and change your preferences and make color choices! I love the ability to choose. For every month you subscribe you earn points and you can earn more when friends and family try Julep. You can redeem your points for FREE Monthly boxes! It's more than just nail polish so don't worry about getting too much nail polish (Is there such a thing?) They have great eyeshadow, lip color, blush and body products as well! They have fun deals and limited edition boxes all the time too! If you would like to check it out I would LOVE it if you would use my referral link HERE.


On to the reveal already! I got two polishes and a beautiful eyeshadow this month! The nail colors are Ilga the deep winey red, and Sienna the beautiful shimmery gold. I used them both in the main below. Stunning, rich colors that are perfect for the holidays.


Here is a picture of the eye shadow. It is bigger than Urban Decay's individual shadows and is pretty close to their Booty Call (which is good cause mine is getting low) but maybe less pink. I think that is well worth $20!

Now on to the Mani!

First I painted my nails with a nice neutral from Julep called Alexandra.


Let that dry completely, then I put vinyls (you could use painters tape) at a diagonal across the nail.


Then I painted the whole nail with Ilga. Then slowly and carefully remove the vinyls. I find tweezers help greatly with this. Don't wait for the polish to dry, do this as soon as you are done painting.


I repeated on each nail and added thin gold stripes between the red (I use a striper brush).


And viola! A classy spin on a candy cane mani! I find it interesting that LAST December my very first mani I did and posted was a Candy Cane mani. See it HERE. I would say I have improved a LOT. I know I still have lots of room for improvement. 

So what do you think?
Have you tried Julep? What did you think? What's your favorite subscription box?

Linking up with
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Find Joy in the Journey,
 Tess

Holiday Movie Favorites - link up


Hi! Today I am linking up with  Christmas is in the Air sharing favorite Christmas movies.
In our house we start watching Christmas movies the day after Thanksgiving! And we watch one EVERY SINGLE NIGHT until Christmas! Ok so sometimes we watch some other sort of Christmas special like Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship, but it's something Holiday every night! 
We have LOTS of our own Holiday Movies including favorites
The Polar Express
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (both versions)
Rise of the Guardians (is it a Christmas movie? my kids think so)
Miracle on 34th Street (the new one)
Harry Potter (again my kids think the are!)
After the kiddies go to bed my hubby and I will watch our favorites!
Me:
The original Miracle on 34th Street
Christmas in Connecticut
Serendipity (it takes place at Christmas in the beginning)
and It's a Wonderful Life
The Hubs
National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
The Christmas Story (he even has a leg lamp and a Red Ryder BB gun! no joke)

If we can't decide which movie to watch or we've watched everything we usually check out ABC's 25 Days of Christmas or look for Charlie Brown Christmas or Disney's Prep and Landing. From this list we are looking forward to Arthur Christmas this year we haven't seen it!

Oh Ava (the almost 3 year old) thinks Frozen is a Christmas movie, she thinks it's an everyday movie so I guess that works!

What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Find Joy in the Journey,
Tess

Who is the Krafty Mama?


Hi I'm the Krafty one! :) I'm the Queen to 2 little knights and a sweet princess. I married my knight in shining armor (kevlar) over 8 years ago and I am a REAL mom, wife and substitute teacher trying to be the best I can be! I love "krafting" but tend to buy more supplies than I actually use. I love make up, nail polish, hair products and fashion but have been known to leave the house in sweats a messy bun and no make up! I love to cook and bake but am guilty of feeding my kids McDonalds in a pinch. I love direct sales and have joined too many to mention! I would love to get to know you!

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