Cranberry Orange Beer Bread

Cranberry orange beer bread with cream cheese frosting  The easiest bread you will ever make!

The easiest bread you will ever make.  Covered in cream cheese glaze. 

Cranberry orange beer bread - a super easy quick bread that is covered in cream cheese frosting

This past weekend I hosted my annual cookie exchange!  Cookie exchanges combine a few of my favorite things – hanging out with friends and cookies.  [Ok, 2 things really.]  I have it at my parents house because they live in a neighborhood that goes all out with Christmas decorations.  Like every house on the block is decorated, there are huge 15 foot candy canes in front of every house and this year they even added a ride on train to the mix.  Last year the mayor even declared the 3rd Saturday in December “Candy Cane Lane Day”.  Its a pretty big deal in town. 

Cranberry orange beer bread covered in cream cheese frosting

And since I’m super smart [insert laugh here] I try to combine candy cane lane day and my cookie exchange.  Not tooting my own horn but, it only took me 2 years of doing the cookie exchange to come up with that bright idea.  It’s a family event and my friends bring their kiddos and even the husbands come.  [We may bribe them with beer and cookies though.]  I got real fancy this year and made a few appetizers and some crock pot hot chocolate.  [I used this amazing recipe by the way.  Do it!  So good!]  And by fancy I mean I had mini wienies, chicken salad sandwiches and cheese dip. 

Cranberry orange beer bread - a super easy quick bread that is covered in cream cheese frosting

Most people had already eaten before they got to our place, but everyone tried the cheese dip.  Because I made them.  I had tried a recipe last week and Ryon gave it two thumbs up, so I tried it with a larger crowd this weekend.  Everyone agreed with Ryon, the cheese dip is a winner winner.  Ill share the recipe later this week because you need it in your life.  Promise.  [Who doesn’t need more cheese in their life?] 

The easiest cranberry orange beer bread recipe

Another thing you need in your life?  Jesus.  Oh and beer bread.  Basic beer bread is good.  Its quick and its easy and it disappears even faster.  I’ve added sweet basil [yum!] and butterscotch and pecans [double yum!]  Now toss in some cranberries and oranges and top it with cream cheese glaze.  Gone.  Literally in minutes.  Ryley was sticking her finger in the glaze and we were cutting off pieces “just to taste it”. 

Cranberry orange beer bread - click for the recipe

At the cookie exchange I was telling everyone about the beer bread and Ryon looked confused.  What cranberry orange beer bread are you talking about?  The bread that you helped me eat two weekends ago you goof.  He claims he doesn’t remember and that I would have to make it again to refresh his memory.  Yea, I’m sure you totally forgot about the ooe-y gooe-y, super moist, cream cheese glazed beer bread that I made and you helped devour.  Likely story Mr. Grant.  I’m on to you dear sir.  

kiddos

Ps.. here are the kiddos at one of my favorite houses on Candy cane lane.  You can’t see it, but they have their trees wrapped and they have a ton of gorgeous lights out.  Plus, they were handing out cookies so the kids were happy.  There were people handing out cookies, candy canes, hot chocolate, punch and all kinds of goodies in the neighborhood.  Operation cookie exchange/Christmas light walk 2014 was a success! 

Cranberry Orange Beer Bread
Yields 1
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For the bread
  1. 3c All-Purpose Flour
  2. 3 tsp Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  3. 1 tsp Salt
  4. 1/4c Sugar
  5. 1 twelve ounce beer of your choice
  6. 1 cup dried cranberries
  7. 1 large orange - juice and the zest of the rind
For the frosting
  1. 4oz oz of cream cream, softened
  2. 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  3. 1/2 pound confectioners' sugar
  4. 1/2 tablespoon milk
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Stir in the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and the beer in a large container until you get a thick, even consistency.
  3. Add the cranberries, orange juice and zest.
  4. Place it in a greased bread pan.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
  6. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. While the bread is baking, beat together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
  8. Slowly add in the sugar until combined and slightly thick.
  9. Add the milk and vanilla. (Add a bit more milk if your frosting is too thick.)
  10. Spread over slightly cooled bread and enjoy!
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Double Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies

Double-chocolate-holiday-mint-cookies2
Oh me, oh my!  I just love the Christmas season, don’t you?  It’s all about the cookies and baking this time of year!  And I’m perfectly ok with that.  These double chocolate mint crinkle cookies are just perfect for cookie exchanges or for making a double batch and hoarding.  Ya know, whatever you want to do. 

This post is from 2 years ago written by my friend Jayna.  It’s just too good not to reshare again!  Hope yall enjoy!

If there’s one thing I love during the holidays, it’s anything chocolate mint. I’ve been known to eat an entire bag of mint chips that were really meant for baking something! This is one of my mom’s old recipe’s, only difference was, she used regular chocolate chips rather than the mint chips I used. You could swap it out for white chocolate, or peanut butter chips too – I’m sure that would be soooo good!

My mother would always make this recipe whenever my school had a bake sale and I needed to bring something. Depending on the size you make the cookies, your dough can go a long way! The other reason was because they were sooo good, there were never any leftovers.

Double chocolate holiday mint cookies
Recipe Type: Cookies
Author: Jayna Denbow
Ingredients
          8 unsweetened baker’s squares
          4 cups white sugar
          8 eggs
          1 cup vegetable oil
          4 tsp vanilla
          4 cups of flour
          4 tsp baking powder
          12oz bag of mint chocolate chips (or regular chocolate chips)
          1 tsp salt
          icing sugar
Instructions
1.        Melt chocolate on top of stove using water bath to melt…not directly on heat.
2.        Put it into the mixer and combine with oil and sugar.
3.        Add 1 egg at a time.
4.        Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips.
5.        Add in dry ingredients…chill for 2 hours, roll into balls about 1″
6.        Use a little melon baller to scoop them out or you can use your hands to roll into balls, then roll in the icing sugar, put on a cookie sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes…..yum!!
First, I melted the unsweetened baker’s squares over a pot of boiling water, so it melted nicely. Sometimes, melting in the microwave can burn your chocolate – I used to do this, but this is how I melt chocolate now.

 

Then, once it’s all melted, combine it with the sugar and oil and mix it up.

 

Add in the vanilla, and the eggs one by one. Once that’s all combined, add in the dry ingredients slowly. Chill the entire bowl in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

Once it’s ready the dough will be firm, and now it’s time to roll it into 1″ balls.

 

And then coat it in icing sugar before putting it on the cookie sheet.

 

 Bake them at 350F for 10 minutes. Be sure to use parchment paper to bake on – my cookies always turn out perfect when I do!

They also transport nicely in a big tin! 

Enjoy!!!

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Espresso Fudge

Espresso fudge recipe.  3 ingredients and less then 10 minutes to make

The perfect combination – chocolate and coffee!  This espresso fudge totally counts as a breakfast food. 

Espresso fudge recipe.  3 ingredients and less then 10 minutes to make

I can officially mark two things off my list – decorate the tree and have said tree fall on the kids.  The second one wasn’t on a list before it happened, but now I can mark it off the “things I didn’t want to happen but did anyways because.. kids” list.  [Which is actually a bigger list then I would like at Grant house.] 

We’ve had our tree for a few days and it had been hanging out in the garage so that it can fall and get fluffy.  [We bought a fresh tree that comes all wrapped up so we have to give it some time to find its shape.]  Every morning the kids would run out to the garage and check and see if it was magically decorated and Santa had come. 

Quick and easy fudge recipe

I had to tell Ryley that Santa wasn’t coming until the tree was IN the house AND decorated.  So we asked constantly for the few days it was in the garage if it was time to decorate yet.  She even grabbed her play necklaces and draped them around the tree and declared it decorated.  [My kids might be slightly impatient when it comes to Santa.] 

Once the tree was in the house she helped drag in the tubs of decorations.  Then proceeded to start hanging ornaments on the branches.  I had to politely ask her to take them down so that I could put lights on first.  Girl was anxious to have the tree done.

Impossibly easy espresso fudge!

I quickly put the lights on so that the kids could start decorating.  They were adding ornaments as fast as they could after I said go.  Both were on a chair and I was supervising/recovering from dragging in and adding lights to a 8 foot tree.  All of sudden someone took an ornament from someone else and they were grabbing at it and pushing at the same time.  By the time I got up to break up the ornament scuffle, one of the kids was pulling on the tree for support and one was falling off the chair and the whole thing toppled over. 

It hit the wall.  Both kids were sort of scared out under the tree, but they were fine.  No one got hurt and they spent a good portion of the morning in their rooms.  Avery ended up falling asleep in his bed and Ryley lost interest in putting the rest of the ornaments on.  My mom ended up helping us finish the tree that afternoon.

Espresso fudge recipe

And we all learned a few things that day.  Santa doesn’t come until the tree is up and decorated.  The tree is not safe to use as support when fighting with your sibling.  And we will never have glass ornaments in our house.  Ever. 

Also?  Never put espresso fudge in reach of little hands.  I made the fudge, left it wrapped on the counter and the next morning I saw Ryley grabbing a piece.  I said “Oh no no.  You don’t need any of that.”  And she replied “But I already had two pieces momma.” and pops her THIRD piece in her mouth as she walks away.  And no, the tree falling and the fudge eating did not happen on the same day.  I would have had fudge and wine for dinner if all that happened on the same day.  Kids sure keep you on your toes! 

Espresso Fudge
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  2. 6 oz sweetened condensed milk
  3. 3 tablespoons instant espresso
Instructions
  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
  2. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  3. Add 2.5 tablespoons of the instant espresso and stir again.
  4. Pour into a foil lined and greased 8x8 pan.
  5. Add the remaining 5 tablespoon of espresso to the top of the fudge.
  6. Allow to set for at least 20 minutes in the fridge.
  7. Remove and chop into small pieces.
  8. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. See example below of how I use a faux double boiler.
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
Here is my faux double boiler for melting the chocolate.  Its pretty glamorous and of course I cleaned the stove before I took the picture.  [Not.]  There is about a cup or two of water in the bottom pot. 

How to use a double boiler to melt chocolate

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Cookbooks for Christmas

Must have cookbooks for the foodie in your life!

I’m pretty sure that I have a cookbook hoarding problem.  When we go to the book store, I always make a bee-line for the cookbook section.  No matter what book store.  I love going to Half Priced Books and finding cookbook gems.  I go through the shelves like I’m searching for dinosaur bones.  Basically, I get all up in the cookbook shelves biz-ness.  Do you have a cookbook hoarder in your life?  Good!  Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks that I keep on hand at all times. 

Must have cookbooks for the foodie in your life!

And ps.. this post contains affiliate links.  That means if you make a purchase, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage for advertisement.  I only recommend products that I trust and believe would be of value to others.  Enjoy!

 

The Pioneer Woman: A Year of Holidays by Ree Drummond – First, I LOVE Ree!  She’s so down to earth and man, can she cook!  Second, there are STEP BY STEP photos of every recipe!  That’s sort of her thing and its kinda awesome.  [Ok, way awesome.]  I also have Ree’s first book Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

Sauce Basics by Keda Black – I think this is my all time favorite cook book.  It is another step by step book that breaks down all kinds of sauces.  Chocolate sauces, cream sauces, pasta sauces, meat sauces.  Anything that can be sauced, they break it down for you.  I love the My Cooking Class series and I also have the Pasta Basics, Cake Basics and Chocolate Basics.  

Bacon Nation by Peter Kaminsky – I won this book in a giveaway hosted by my foodie friend Julie and was so excited!  A whole book about BACON!  I immediately made one of the pasta recipes with bacon in it, because, well I’m Italian.  And a carb-o-holic.  And because bacon rocks my socks. 

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg – I first started reading the Artisan Bread in 5 blog before I found the book.  I would scroll through page after page of delicious bread recipes on their site.  Then my good friend Bobbie gifted me their bread cookbook.  I was in heaven!  I poured over the pages and started trying new recipes.  This is a great one to have on hand for sure.  They also have a gluten free version too!  [Score!]

Grocery Gardening by Jean Ann Van Krevelen – Yall, I seriously LOVE this cookbook!  It’s like a gardening and cookbook combined and is full of so much good information!  And great recipes!  I actually read this book like normal – from start to finish, dog earring the recipes I wanted to try.  It’s in a really cool and easy to read format.  Jean also has a gardening blog too if you want to check her out! 

Taste of Home Slow Cooker: 431 Hot and Hearty Classics – I actually don’t own this cookbook, my mother in law does.  I poured over this book when I was at her house.  I have at least 3 sheets of paper with hand written recipes that I want to try soon.  To say this book is FULL of recipes is an understatement!

Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown – The ultimate comfort food cookbook!  I think I drooled through this whole cookbook after I bought it.  I love this book because it teaches you how to make the perfect mac and cheese and then gives you a bunch of recipes to recreate.  It will keep you busy in the kitchen for awhile!

One Pot, One Bowl by Kim McCosker – This is literally my motto in the kitchen – one pot!  I grabbed this gem from the used bookstore and have tweaked a few recipes from it.  It’s also a four ingredient cookbook, which is always fun.  Less dishes and delicious recipes are always a winner in my book!

Pickles and Preserves by Parragon Books – Out of all the books mentioned, this may be the cutest one of them all.  It has great recipes, but it also comes with gift tags for your pickles and preserves!  And they are cuuuute!  It’s like a gift with a gift inside so you can make gift for others!  [Makes sense right?!]  I’ve made the vanilla fig jam in the book many times and its amazing. 

I bet you’re wondering – what cookbooks are on your wish list, Kelley?  That’s a great question!  And any [husbands] that are reading should know that I am currently eyeing:

No pressure or anything. 

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Peppermint Mocha

Peppermint Mocha - Starbucks copycat!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Enjoy it with the most wonderful drink of them all!

Peppermint Mocha - Starbucks copycat!

We took family pictures this past weekend!  Might not seem like a big deal, but we haven’t had family pictures taken since Avery was a few months old.  He’s almost 4 now.. so yea.  It’s been awhile.  Wait.  I take that back.  We had group pictures taken with my in-laws 2 years ago.  But still, it’s been awhile since we had them done.  So I was pumped.  [The husband not so much, but he loves me so he faked it.] 

Peppermint Mocha Recipe

We all had coordinating red outfits and headed off to Heritage Park downtown.  It’s this cool little historic section of the city that has old time-y houses.  They are all centered around a small courtyard and even have a pretty rose garden on the side.  It’s really a neat place to take pictures.  I giggled a little when we got out of the car and could see 4 different families having their pictures taken.  It’s pretty popular for picture taking. 

Perfect holiday drink - peppermint mocha!

I had taken pictures for a friend there last week and knew it was a great place for family pictures.  Its shaded by trees so there is no direct sunlight [and no squinty eye pictures!] and there are like 8 different houses in the park.  The houses are locked, but they have gorgeous porches and railings that are just perfect for pictures.  And when the kids get antsy [because you know they will] just move to the next house.  It worked out so well that we loaded up and headed that way for our pictures.

This peppermint mocha is the perfect drink for the holidays!

And since I’m cheap [or thrifty, whatevs], I had my mom take our pictures.  I took a few pictures of the kids, got the settings right and handed her the camera.  It was kinda of fun to be on the other side of the camera.  I have been taking pictures for this site for almost 4 years now and just recently started doing family photography on the side.  I’ve taken a lot of pictures, but very rarely am I the one being photographed. 

The perfect peppermint mocha!

She took over 200 pictures in less then an hour.  Crazy, huh?!  I sorted through them all and we have a ton of good ones!  I even ordered our Christmas cards with one of the pictures that same night.  I’m so pumped to go pick them up and send them off!  I don’t think I’ve sent Christmas cards in 4 years either.  Nope.  I haven’t.  Aw well.  Here’s to new family pictures and Christmas cards before New Years! 

To make this peppermint mocha I suggest either Torani peppermint syrup or making your own.  I’m pretty sure World Market sells it in stores if you have one near by. 

Peppermint Mocha
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Ingredients
  1. 3-5 tablespoons peppermint syrup
  2. 3-5 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  3. 1 cup hot coffee or 2 shots espresso
  4. 1 cup steamed milk
  5. whipped cream for topping
Instructions
  1. Add the syrups to the bottom of a coffee mug.
  2. Pour the hot coffee or espresso over. Mix together.
  3. Add the steamed milk and mix again.
  4. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy canes.
  5. Enjoy!
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
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Chestnut Latte Mocha

Iced Caramel Macchiato

Iced Chia Latte

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Christmas Sugar Scrub

Christmas sugar scrub

Give the gift of soft skin with an oh so cheery smell! 

Christmas sugar scrub

We picked out our Christmas tree this weekend!  I should probably take my excitement down a notch since we just went to Home Depot and picked one from the thousands that they had displayed.  In a tent.  You see, I have never had the joy of actually “hunting” for the perfect tree and then having it chopped down that same day.  South Texas is not the ideal place for Christmas tree farms.  [womp womp.]  It was a balmy 75 degrees today as we headed out to “hunt” for our tree.  [I find this hilarious for some reason.] 

Christmas sugar scrub recipe

I would say we have never even had snow down here, but we did.  Once.  My sophomore year of college in 2004, the night before Christmas, it snowed.  I’m not even sure how many inches of snow we got, but it was enough to shut down the entire city.  It was all over the news and we all played in it like we were kids.  Our dogs didn’t know what to think and people were in shorts and t-shirts.  No one did anything the next day except talk about or play in the snow.  It was magical. 

Christmas sugar scrub!  Great for dry hands, all natural and perfect as a gift!

We even have a book called “Snow: A South Texas Christmas Miracle“.  Not even kidding.  Its a book of all the snow pictures that people took during the snow storm.  Its actually pretty cool, especially the pictures of the snow at the beach.  The author produced at least 3 other books because there were so many pictures.  [We own 2 of them.]  It’s been 10 years and people still talk about the Christmas miracle.  It really was cool to experience.  I hadn’t seen snow since I was a baby and we were in Connecticut.  

Easy Christmas sugar scrub.  Perfect for dry hands during the winter

Then I married a northerner and that all changed.  My first winter in Michigan was cray-cray.  There was record amounts of snow all across the state.  I had moved from a city that got snow once to a city that got feet of snow in a day.  I actually think I adapted pretty quickly to the change.  I went from saying things like “Look at it snow!” to “Its above freezing, its a good day!”  

One thing I found out about most winters is that it also includes dry skin.  I spent a lot of money on lotions and chap sticks in Michigan.  Now, I buy tubs of coconut oil and make my own homemade remedies.  This Christmas sugar scrub is perfect for winter dry skin.  Its also perfect to give as a gift.  Its also cheap to make.  And it also smells amazing.  

To make your own you will need: 

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar, any kind
  • 5+ drops of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils

Melt the coconut oil slightly.  Add the sugar and essential oils.  Mix together and place in an air tight jar.  Add a cute label and some ribbon and its gift giving ready!  

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25+ Edible Christmas Gifts

25+ Edible Christmas Gift ideas!  Sweet treats for everyone on your list.. and so much fun to make!

And just like that – it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.  Like, no more whining its too early to be Christmas type of thinking.  But, dude, it’s almost Christmas type of thinking.  [Does that make any sense?  I’m still full from Thanksgiving and I think the turkey has gone to my brain.  Mmmm.  Turkey.]  Besides the kids and immediate family, I have no clue what I am going to get anyone.  But I do know that edible gifts are always appreciated at the Grant house.  [Hint.]  So if the people on my list are anything like us, then they will totally love homemade, edible Christmas gifts.  Problem solved! 

  25+ Edible Christmas Gift ideas!  Sweet treats for everyone on your list.. and so much fun to make!

Here are 25 Edible Christmas Gifts to make and share this lovely holiday season!

 

I bet you’re totally inspired to get in the kitchen and start creating homemade gifts right??  I know that I have a few ideas on what to whip up and give out this year.  It’s fun to hand out homemade gifts and if they are easy and delicious.. even better! 

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Cinnamon Sugar Pecans

Cinnamon sugar pecan recipe

Alternate title – super delicious, extra crunchy, perfectly sweet cinnamon sugar pecans. 

Cinnamon sugar pecan recipe

Yall.  Its almost Thanksgiving!  I feel like I was out of it for almost 2 months when I was sick so it kind of crept up on me.  I was actually kind of dreading the holiday because I wasn’t feeling so hot.  Thank you sweet baby Jesus that I have started to feel better.  [Just in time for the food fest!  And family time.  Yea.]  My stomach is on the mend and is ready for some turkey.  [And green beans and pieeee!]

Cinnamon sugar pecans!  Perfect for holiday gift giving

I went back on the steroids that I was on previously a few months ago.  I wasn’t happy about it, but while my pharmacy was helping me appeal my insurance, I needed something.  So back on the steroids I go.  Its not the end of the world, they just make me feel funny.  And I can’t sleep at night because my mind races.  But I’m not in pain all day and I can eat again.  The benefits totally outweigh the negatives on this one. 

Cinnamon sugar praline pecans!

The thing with Crohns is you don’t know what triggers a flare up.  Food wise.  Everyone is different and the foods that we can and cant eat vary.  My doctor told me I needed to be on a “low residue” diet, which means no food that will stick to my insides.  Things like corn and nuts are the enemies of Crohns.  But you kind of have to figure out what food affect you.  Its like trial by fire. 

Easy cinnamon sugar pecans

Nuts haven’t bothered me.  They are a big no-no on the list of things I probably shouldn’t eat, but thankful I haven’t had any problems.  Which is awesome because these cinnamon sugar pecans are literally the bomb dot com.  [I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to say that anymore since I have kids.. but its true.  Sorry kids.]  I had to make them two days in a row because a certain husband of mine ate the first batch.  Gone.  So you may want to double your nuts.  [14 year old Kelley just laughed out loud.] 

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 2 cups pecans
  4. generous amount of cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Add the water and the sugar to a pot on the stove and simmer until the water has dissolved the sugar.
  3. Add the pecans the sugar water mixture and coat them well.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the nuts from the water and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  5. Cover them with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
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Chestnut Praline Latte

Try this chestnut praline latte!  Its a copycat of the new Starbucks version!

Make the new must have holiday coffee house menu item at home.  In your pajamas.  [Like I did.]

chestnut praline latte recipe

Recently Starbucks came out with a new drink.  Its their first new drink in over 5 years.  [Which makes me sort of sad that I have been drinking the same old drinks for that long.  Naw.. not really.]  I heard somewhere that its the pumpkin spice latte of the Christmas season.  Which is a tall order to fill because, hello, pumpkin spice latte.  I mean its just tradition.  So I was skeptical.  This chestnut praline latte was not be trusted. 

Chestnut praline latte

But of course I waited in line and ordered one.  I wanted to knowww what it tasted it.  Was it full of holiday cheer?  Could it dethrone the beloved pumpkin spice latte?  Will my kids ever let me go to Starbucks without buying them cake pops ever again?  [That last one remains unanswered.]

Try this chestnut praline latte!  Its a copycat of the new Starbucks version!

It was tasty.  It was cheery.  It was in a red holiday cup.  It was like the trifecta of holiday drinks.  But could it be made at home, in the comfort of your lazy day clothes?  You know the ones, the yoga pants that might or might not have a hole on the butt.  And the tank top that you may or may not wear a bra with around the house.  And TOMs.  [Because duh, comfortable.] 

Chestnut Praline latte - Starbucks copycat!

The first thing I had to do was find some chestnuts.  Ryon swore that I wasn’t going to find them.  He made up some story about the trees and it not being peak chestnut season.  I’m still not sure if he was messing with me or not.  But after checking 2 stores, I found some.  [Boom!]  I immediately went home, turned on a Christmas Pandora station and started roasting chestnuts.  [In my oven, not an open fire.  It was like 75 degrees here.] 

Chestnut praline latte with crumbled praline pecans on top!

I then praline’d some pecans while the chestnuts were roasting.  [By the way, my 14 year old self made tons of jokes about nuts during the process.  Just thought that should be noted.]  I made chestnut syrup after they were done roasting.  Syrup.  Out of a nut.  Yea, it wasn’t easy.  And its honestly not high on my “must do again” lists either.  [Just thought that should be noted too.] 

So here is my verdict on the make at home version of the chestnut praline latte – get in your car and go to Starbucks.  Buy their version and enjoy Christmas Pandora in your hole-y yoga pants and no bra tank top afternoon outfit.  It’ll make you feel a lot more cheery.  But in case you want to DIY your own, the recipe is below.  [Ps.. it was good.  WAY good.  I drank two.  But making syrup from a nut and praline-ing pecans is just a lot of work.]  You win this time Starbucks. 

Ps.. or you can buy chestnut syrup.  I found some of Amazon but have yet to try it. 

Chestnut Praline Latte
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For the syrup
  1. 5-6 chestnuts, in the shell
  2. 3/4 cup of sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 1/4 cup water
For the praline crumble
  1. 1/2 cup pecans, shelled
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/4 cup water
  5. 2 shots of espresso, or strong coffee
  6. 8 ounces of steamed milk
  7. whipped cream
Instructions
  1. For chestnut syrup: cut 3/4 way around the nut, not cutting all the way through. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. The shell will start to separate from the meat inside when they are ready. Let them cool and pull off the shell. Coarsely chop them and put them in a food processor. In a small saucepan add the sugar and water. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cooled mixture to the food processor along with the vanilla extract. Puree until smooth-ish. Filter it through a mesh sieve and set aside.
For the praline crumble
  1. In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar and water together. Toss the pecans in the water mixture and coat. Remove from the saucepan and place them in a 350 oven for 10 minutes, or until the liquid hardens. Add the praline pecans and the brown sugar to a cleaned food processor and pulse until coarse. Set aside.
  2. Assemble the coffee: Add 3-5 tablespoons of chestnut syrup to a cup. Add the hot espresso and steamed milk. Stir, add the whipped cream and then the praline crumble topping. Enjoy!
Adapted from mashable
Adapted from mashable
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
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Eggnog French Toast Sticks

Easy eggnog french toast sticks recipe

A lightening fast breakfast recipe that will make everyone happy.  Promise. 

Eggnog french toast sticks.

 Thank you Goldrich Eggs for sponsoring today’s recipe!  All opinions are my own.  

Every year around this time I think that it’s far too early to be worrying about Christmas.  I’m still focused on the bird and what sides we are going to have, but Christmas is everywhere.  At the end of October Toys R Us delivered their big toy book.  October!  My kids have treated it like a sacred journal and check it almost daily.  Ryley has circled the Shopkins in there about 50 times.  Well played Toys R Us.. well played.  

Eggnog french toast sticks recipe.  So easy!

 And people are already decorating!  There are neighbors around us that have their lights up and I know some people have their trees up already.  When I was growing up we waited until the weekend after Thanksgiving to look for a tree and start decorating.  It had just become tradition.  One holiday at a time here at the Grant house.  

Eggnog french toast sticks!  Perfect for the holidays.

For a while, I didn’t love Christmas.  It was always a holiday that we celebrated with my family, and when my grandparents passed away it just wasn’t the same.  After getting married and having kids, I have fallen in love with Christmas again.  [No matter how early it seems to come each year.]  My kids get so excited when they see the decorations.  I love talking with them about what we are going to do and why we celebrate.  

Eggnog french toast sticks recipe

As much as I huff and puff that I’m not ready for Christmas-time, I am.  My kids get so much joy from this time of year and I love to see them happy.  We get to make new traditions together and with their grandparents here and in Michigan.  Plus, as much as I complained, I was kinda excited to see the big book of toys too.  [Some of the toys from my generation are making a come back!] 

Eggnogfrenchtoast sticks

 

So this year, no complaining.  I’m just going to take time to enjoy every second with my family and friends.  And if Santa ends up with these eggnog French toast sticks instead of cookies, he [she] won’t be complaining one bit.  They were super easy to toss together [think until 15 minutes] and they disappeared fast.  I don’t think I’ve seen Avery eat that much bread so quick.  Santa and little kid approved.  Perfection.  

Eggnog French Toast Sticks
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 loaf of French bread
  2. 1 cup of eggnog
  3. 4 Goldrich egg yolks
  4. cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. Cut the French bread into slices, and then have them.
  2. Mix together the eggnog and the yolks.
  3. Quickly dip each bread stick into the batter.
  4. Cook over medium heat until the bread is no longer wet.
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and enjoy!
The Grant Life http://thegrantlife.com/
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