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Shortbread Cookies

Have you guys started your holiday baking yet? I haven’t and I’m so behind! I just started with these shortbread cookies and they’re full of buttery goodness that I’m half tempted to keep them for myself. I think I’m going to make a bunch of batches of these and bring them with me to holiday parties this year. But that would mean sharing with others and I’m not so sure about that!

Shortbread Cookies

I actually really do like giving cookies and other homemade foods as gifts. It’s a great way to show that you spent time and put in some love for someone! Though these are so easy that you’ll be able to whip of batches of these in no time! (Don’t tell them that though. You want them to think you slaved for hours over these wonders.) I was actually quite surprised at just how easy this shortbread really did come together, and it really does remind you of the Walkers cookies. They have that nice crumbly rich texture to them, but they’re still sturdy enough to pick up. There’s nothing worse than a cookie you go to eat that crumbles before you have time to get it in your mouth! Am I right?!

Shortbread Cookies

Now is the perfect time to make these cookies. It’s best to have a place where lots of people are gathering, otherwise you might end up eating the whole plate! Not that I would know anything about that…It’s dangerous to know just how amazing homemade shortbread can be!

Shortbread CookiesShortbread Cookies

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RumChata Hot Chocolate

I am back in the states and getting ready for the holidays starting with this drink! Not only is hot chocolate perfect for winter, but the addition of RumChata definitely adds to the holiday feel. The hint of cream and cinnamon just kind of feels like Christmas in drink form. After a looong plane ride, there was nothing better than to sip this while relaxing on the couch with my stuffed tofu reindeer! Do you see him in the background?! Isn’t he adorable!! It was one of the gifts I bought myself in Japan. I also bought a Santa version. This tofu is a character over there and they come out with seasonal versions. I have a green version I bought years ago when I was studying there. I love this stuffed tofu character and wish I had bought more while I was there (but I was running out of suitcase room).

RumChata Hot Chocolate

I can’t believe that we’re already half way through December. I’m not ready yet! Being on business trip has put me behind schedule. Normally by now, I’m planning what dessert or snack to bring to family events, but this year I’m still trying to figure out when everything’s taking place! I think I need another one of these amazing hot chocolates.

RumChata Hot Chocolate

We topped ours with a dab of whipped cream, but you could use either marshmallows or leave plain. Either way would taste amazing. Our whipped cream is the extra creamy type, so it doesn’t blend in too well, but it’s great for those first couple of sips when you mostly get hot chocolate with your cream rather than the other way around. I’ll definitely be bringing the RumChata with me to parties (it’s even good just on the rocks), but I’m not sure about the hot chocolate part. It’s a bit hard to travel with. Either way, I know I’ll enjoy this winter with this drink to tide over the cold days ahead.

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Japan (Asakusa, Tokyo)

I hope everyone is getting into the holiday spirit! As you probably know by now, I’ve been away these past couple of weeks in Japan. There are so many lights and decorations, it’s really hard to believe! They’ve even got a huge tree in the center of town that they light up at night…and of course Hello Kitty is everywhere. There’s even a Sanrio theme park nearby. I think my favorite thing to do in Japan is eat (is anyone even surprised at this??) and even with all the walking around I’ve been doing, my pants are becoming too tight.

JapanJapan

(Left: Illumination outside my hotel, Right: Puroland (Where Hello Kitty Lives))

For breakfast I’ve been having onigiri (rice balls) and an pan (bread filled with sweet red bean paste). It may sound a bit weird, but it’s actually quite satisfying! While there is a good Japanese bakery not too far from my home in Michigan, finding good onigiri is very difficult. I will definitely miss them when I return home. I will say for as expensive as everything is the price of food is very reasonable!

Japan

(My usual breakfast, minus the onigiri)

The weather here is also much milder than it is in Michigan. No more down jackets for the past two weeks! I can’t explain the joy of being able to wear a different jacket. I know that as soon as I return home I’ll be back to my down until May, and while I do love my down jacket…there’s only so many times you can wear one thing before needing a change.

Japan

(Rubbing the ox's head for smarts at Daizaifu Temple, Kyushu)

Please see the pictures below for a glimpse into my trip! Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of me at karaoke…luckily I still remembered some popular Japanese dramas’ theme songs so I was able to sing a few Japanese songs.

 

***Please note that this is a scheduled post. I will not be able to respond to questions or comments as quickly as usual.  Thank you for your patience.***

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I love potatoes! I mean, who doesn’t love potatoes?!? I wouldn’t really call them a staple around here, as I don’t go out of the way to buy them. When people are coming over for dinner though, mashed potatoes are always a huge hit. I know you’ve probably had your fill over the Thanksgiving weekend, but when you’re planning your next holiday party, these should definitely make the list.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Not only are these made with Yukon gold potatoes (which even if you don’t add anything else make the perfect mashed potatoes), there’s also green onions and bacon bits for good measure. It’s like eating a baked potato in mashed form! I love these…and the best part is that they’re super easy!!

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Since the golden potatoes have so much flavor packed within themselves, I didn’t even need butter! I just added a bit of greek yogurt for a bit of tang. You can use sour cream in place of greek yogurt. I just feel better about myself when I sub in greek yogurt. It’s like, look at me trying to be healthy! You really need to make these…and like right now. We ate this with everything and they were gone in about 2 days.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

I’m just letting you know right now, that I’m never ever again going to make mashed potatoes with boring russet potatoes. The Yukon gold are really that much better for this type of dish. Trust me! Living with an Irish person has me seeing more than my fair share of potatoes! People really will notice and be blown away.

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***Please note that this is a scheduled post. I will not be able to respond to questions or comments as quickly as usual. Thank you for your patience.***

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

While you’re looking at these delicious pigs in a blanket (which are one of my favorite appetizers), I’m going to be stuffing my face full of delicious Japanese food. I’m going to be in Japan for a couple of weeks on business, and it should be a good time. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been there, and I’m sure lots of things have changed since then. I can’t wait to eat my fill of rice balls! I’m just not crazy about the super long plane ride.

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

Getting back to these pigs in a blanket, I made these for Thanksgiving and then again just for myself. I actually got a bit lazy the other night and just munched on these and paired it with a hard cider…yeah that was my dinner. These things called to me and I just had to eat them.

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

I will say these are best straight from the oven. BUT you can reheat them the next day and they’ll still taste freshly made. The trick is to heat them for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave and then transfer them to the toaster oven for a minute or two. I actually ate them a bit cold the next day, but my boyfriend will only eat them heated.

Cheesy Pigs in a Blanket

These would be perfect for your holiday gathering! I know they’re always the first to go at mine. It’s hard to resist these fun finger foods!

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MeHi! My name’s Alexis and I finally took the leap into blogging after reading so many fun posts by other food bloggers.  I’ve always had a passion for eating, but have never really felt comfortable in the kitchen.  There are so many drool-worthy recipes out there, that I wanted to document my musings in the kitchen both following others’ recipes and becoming brave enough to create my own.  Please take a look around! I really want to hear from you! If you make something, like something, don’t like something, please comment or use the contact form!  Reading your comments really makes my day!  If you’re looking for an easier way to get my recipes, you can sign up for my email and get them directly to your inbox.  I hope to hear from soon.

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