Saturday Small Talk

I just love the holidays. The change of routine, the lazing around, the family time, the lazing around, the food, the lazing around. Subtext: we’ve done a lot of lazing. And it’s been amazing.

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Today, we are going to Frankenmuth with my side of the family, and then spending tomorrow with Bob’s family. Bring on more Christmas celebrating. And a bunch of snuggles with the niece!

Links for your very own weekend lazing:

Michael Hyatt says being grateful makes you a better person. I wholeheartedly agree.

As someone with a music degree, I’ll be the first to tell you: getting a degree in the arts is not the most practical move. That said, I don’t regret my decision. According to an article from mic.com, arts degrees pay off.

It’s not too late to make some egg nog. Do it.

I can’t get enough of Cup of Jo. I just keep hopping around her archives, going from post to post. Start with this one–you won’t regret it!

Peanut Butter Buckeye Cheesecake. Oh my.

I’m fascinated with My One Word. The premise is this: choose one word for your year, and letting that guide your goals. I’ve picked my word for the year (stay tuned!). What will yours be? (…with thanks to The Orange Slate for posting this first).

Finally! Make next Christmas even better than this one with these 5 tips.

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Egg Nog!

Happy Christmas Eve, friends!

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited over to help some friends procure a Christmas tree. Side benefit: egg nog. I confess, I wasn’t particularly excited. I didn’t think I liked egg nog. Oh boy, was I wrong. The second the creamy, cold, boozy deliciousness hit my lips, I knew I had to try my hand at the homemade variety.

20141224_140843 I can just hear you now, “But Rachel, raw eggs?” Yeah, yeah. This is the cooked version. No salmonella here!

Egg Nog

Based on Alton Brown’s recipe. Serves: 6 (1 cup servings)

You’ll need:

  • 4 eggs, separated into yolks and whites. Tutorial HERE.
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup of spiced rum or bourbon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. sugar

1. Separate your eggs into whites and yolks. Put the egg whites in a small bowl, and put them into the fridge for later. Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and beat them with a mixer until their color changes from a shiny and bright yellow, to a duller, more-like-cake-batter cream. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

20141224_1251032. In a medium pot over medium high heat, combine milk, cream, and nutmeg. Bring to just a boil. Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3. Add a small bit of milk mixture into your eggs as you beat with a mixer. Once combined, add another small bit. Continue until all of the milk is incorporated into the eggs. You add it bit by bit to avoid scrambling your eggs. Which is to say, you just tempered eggs. Congratulations!

4. Pour the eggs and milk mixture from the bowl back into your pot. Over medium heat, bring the temperature to 160 degrees (not higher!), and remove from heat.

5. Add 1/4 cup of your booze of choice, and put mixture into the fridge to cool.

20141224_1316406. After it is sufficiently cooled, whip your eggs whites into soft peaks. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks form. Whisk the whites into your egg nog. Serve whenever you’d like! If you want it a bit more boozy, feel free to play bartender and add as you go, customizing drinks based on the tastes of the person.

croppedMerry Christmas!

Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas has come and gone. But there is never a wrong time for gingerbread cookies. Especially these soft, chewy ones. Delicious.

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I followed the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. She gives directions for thin, crispy cookies, as well soft, chewy ones. I like my cookies nice and soft. But I understand you might have your own tastes. Strange as they are.

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My one tip: do NOT over-bake! The difference between just right and burnt is approximately 30 seconds. Be ye warned.

IMG_2203Happy gingerbread baking!

December!

Christmas. New Years. My favorite.

November was pretty great, as well. Here’s a snapshot of what happened:

  • Dinner with the husband’s family on Thanksgiving Day was lovely. I made an apple pie.
  • We didn’t roast a whole turkey. I was bummed! No good sales post-Thanksgiving, so it wasn’t worth it. Maybe around Christmas we’ll get lucky?
  • I made burritos! And Chicken Tortilla SoupAnd stromboli. But no potato soup or chicken and biscuits. Next month?
  • I ran a few times! Better than nothing, right?
  • I bought a few Christmas presents. We’re headed out shopping on Sunday afternoon, so maybe we can knock out a few more then.
  • Piano lesson marketing is going quite well, actually. I have a couple of new gigs thanks to the letters I sent out!

December!

  • Decorate a Christmas tree. Our first Christmas tree! And my first live Christmas tree since I moved out of my parents’ house. This is big.
  • Make some goodies! I want to try to make my own almond paste and then make some yummy Christmas treats with it. Also, keep cooking and crossing things off the list. Things like potato soup, chicken and biscuits, and chicken pot pie.
  • Keep moving. And moving. And moving. Run some. Swim some. Go to at least one yoga class.
  • Avoid last minute Christmas presents. At all costs.
  • Enjoy a lovely Christmas week of changed routine, time off of work, and the opportunity to hang out with family and friends. Let’s knock off some of the things on our igloo list, shall we?
  • Piano lesson marketing! Push for new students to start in January by placing ads a couple of places and refreshing the ads I’ve placed already (ahem…criagslist).

I wanna know: What are you up to this month? Anything special and out of the ordinary?