Posted Sunday, November 17, 2013
I made these Crunchy Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookies for the Third Annual Fall Food Cook-Off I host every year and they were a huge hit. These cookies are so soft and have the perfect amount of texture and crunch. Just a little heads up… this may be some of the best cookie dough of all times!!! I would say this ranks in the top three best cookie doughs I have ever had. You’ve been warned so don’t blame me if you eat too much and get a tummy ache like I did. : )
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup grandulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packaged brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl beat butter and crunchy peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium until the ingredients are combined.
- Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until combined.
- Beat in eggs and vanilla.
- Beat in the flour adding a little at a time until all the flour has been added.
- Mix in the rolled oats by hand until everything is combined.
- Make small balls of the cookie dough and place then about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper (if you don’t have parchment paper you can place the dough directly on the cookie sheet).
- Bake for about 10 minutes.
ps. This is an Instagram photo I took of the cookies and used a filter… so don’t worry if your cookies don’t look the same color : )
Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2013
If you follow Holiday Helpings on Pinterest or know me personally, you know how much I love Sprinkles, Sharpies, and Mason Jars! So you can imagine how hard it was for me to contain my giddy excitement when I saw my three favorite things functionally used together.
After the initial giddiness surpassed I couldn’t help but think to myself… how come I didn’t think of that?! Seriously! I have plentiful supplies of all three items at my house yet never saw them working together in such harmony until now.
This is a great use of supplies and can be incorporated into a variety of settings. I know for one, I’ll be sprucing up my wrapping station by adding sprinkles to my sharpie mason jar. You could also do this at your office… that is, if you trust yourself not to knock it over. This also works for birthday parties, drink stations where you have guests label their cups, etc.
You can also make these jars more seasonal by using specific holiday colored sprinkles and corresponding sharpies. Imagine how cute this would be at a holiday cookie exchange!
photo credit: Pinterest.com
Posted Monday, October 14, 2013
Have guests write a wish or advice as an alternative to the traditional guest book at your wedding. Set up boxes marked with the year of five milestone anniversaries. Guests can decide which anniversary they want their note to be read by placing it in one of the five marked boxes.
This wedding advice table is not only fun for your guests but also fun for you and your spouse. You will be able to open up these notes on each of your milestone anniversaries and remember how special your wedding day was.
The concept is rather simple and will be easy to execute for any style wedding. For this rustic wedding, tins and wood boxes were used to serve as the milestone anniversary boxes. Other decorative elements like the flowers, succulents, and the large initial were added to the table to give it some texture and dimension.
Who needs a table when you have hay? For this shoot hay was substituted as a table and the handmade burlap sign added an even more rustic feel to the overall look of the wedding advice table.
You and your spouse can participate too! After the wedding write notes to eachother for each milestone. That way when you open these boxes on your anniversary you will have an extra surprise from your spouse.
These lovely photos were taken by none other than miss Marissa Winchester of Sweet Poppy Studios. She is a genius behind the camera and has been a featured photographer on Holiday Helpings many times now. And having seen the response on Pinterest to her work I know that you all are as much of a fan as I am. So a huge thank you to Marissa for putting together another wonderful shoot for Holiday Helpings. Thank you!!!
photo credit: Marissa Winchester, Sweet Poppy Studios
Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Finding the perfect little token gift for a coworker’s birthday isn’t always easy. You don’t want to spend too much on it but you do want them to feel special on their day.
These Happy Birthday Party Crackers by Souvenir Suitcase are exactly what you’ve been looking for! They are reasonably priced at $6 each and will kickoff the birthday celebration with a bang. Place one of these colorful Birthday Party Crackers on your coworker’s desk and it’s instantly decorated for birthday fun! The Birthday Party Cracker contains: a clown nose; bubble; whistle; paper crown; and a lucky number.
The Happy Birthday Party Cracker is already wrapped and you don’t have to worry about a card since you can write on the back of the tag. If you have a lot of coworkers you can stock up on these Happy Birthday Party Crackers and other party crackers so you are always ready to help your coworkers celebrate their special day. Not to mention, you will probably get a reputation for giving the most uniquely fun birthday gifts!
To see all the Party Crackers available by Souvenir Suitcase click here.
Posted Thursday, August 8, 2013
If you are planning an outdoor wedding you should consider setting up a star gazing area for your guests. It is really easy to do and your guests will appreciate the opportunity to get off their feet and relax under the stars.
Pick a good star gazing area without too many trees blocking the view. Then create the ultimate rustic star gazing atmosphere by laying out quilts and pillows, hanging bunting, adding an accent table, and a sign.
You probably won’t get a chance to tell all your guests that there is a special star gazing area so make sure to have a sign. If guests are wandering around and see the sign they will be more inclined to walk over and check it out.
Make sure to provide enough quilts for guests to use in case they get cold. Also guests can use the extra quilt to expand the star gazing area if they want. You can fill a trunk with the extra blankets and add a little bunting banner to draw more attention to the trunk.
Add a small table so guests will have somewhere to set their drinks. You can decorate the table with items that fit into your rustic outdoor wedding theme like candles and flowers. These little accents will make your guests feel cozy as they enjoy the night sky.
Give your guests a little help by printing out constellation maps. Your guests will feel like astronomers searching the night sky for their favorite constellation.
photo credit: Marissa Winchester of Sweet Poppy Studios
Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2013
I want to thank Marissa Winchester of Sweet Poppy Studios so much for doing another shoot for Holiday Helpings. I am so excited to share more photos with you in an upcoming post but for now I just wanted to share a few.
photo credit: Marissa Winchester
Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013
When deciding what to do as a wedding favor think about what your guests will like and actually use. There is no point wasting money on little trinkets that your guests will throw away as soon as they get back to their hotel. Which is why I love this wedding favor idea from Black Eiffel.
Provide a fresh selection of farmer’s market items for your guests as a wedding favor. Most likely your wedding guests will have burned some serious calories on the dance floor and will be grateful to have their pick of healthy snacks to take back to their hotel room. Not to mention, the extra tote bag may come in handy for guests who’ve collected extra items on their trip that won’t fit into their suitcase.
You can offer your guests a selection of fresh breads, cheese, and berries. If most of your guests are local you can also offer some flowers and herbs for them to pick from. Depending on your budget you can make your own tote bags or have some custom made with your wedding logo or initials.
photo credit: black eiffel
Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013
It’s Summer which means lots of outdoor parties… and also bugs. Nobody likes bugs flying around and landing in their food so as a host it is important to make sure this doesn’t happen. I found this simply genius outdoor salad serving idea on 4 Men 1 Lady. Serving salad in a glass jar with a lid will keep the bugs out and will look nice on your table. Guests can see the beautiful salad contents and won’t have to fight the bugs away.
You can wrap the salad jars with burlap ribbon and add a colorful food label. If you are doing an outdoor beach gathering you could attach a starfish and write the label right on the starfish. There are lots of ways to incorporate this salad serving idea into your summer party theme.
photo credit: 4 Men 1 Lady
Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2013
4th of July BBQs are an American tradition, but it’s time to spice things up a little bit! This year skip the classic burgers and hotdogs and set up a 4th of July Chili Bar!
A 4th of July Chili Bar is a fun spin on the classic BBQ and requires a lot less work and cleanup. No more running back and forth to the BBQ or cold burgers. You can prepare the chili ahead of time on the stove or in a crockpot and majority of the toppings can be prepared ahead of time as well. Being able to have everything ready before the party will make it much more enjoyable for you!
Make sure to offer a variety of toppings. We offered two types of cheeses, onions, bell peppers, crackers, and corn. There are so many things you can put on chili so have some fun when deciding what toppings to provide.
Don’t be afraid to put the toppings in different containers for serving. We used galvanized cups, a galvanized tray, and small glass jars. Make sure to label the toppings so your guests know what they are putting on their chili. We used chalkboard labels for the toppings but used a silver Sharpie instead of chalk to make it easier to write.
Everyone loves cornbread and it is one of my favorite American treats! We decided to make cornbread muffins so they were easier for people to grab and eat. We baked them in patriotic cupcake liners to add some color and put them in a burlap basket.
The burlap sack around the baguette was not just for looks, it’s also functional. So many times when people rip off a piece of bread they touch the whole baguette. By using the burlap sack people will be touching that and not the whole baguette making it more sanitary for everyone. Plus, the burlap sack adds a nice rustic element to the table.
We wanted to use mason jars as bowls so we tied wooden spoons to each jar using twine. Having the spoons tied to the jars saves space on the table and makes it easier for your guests. The mason jars also add a nice rustic decoration to the overall table display.
To decorate the table we used different sized American flags in mason jars and added a pinwheel for variety. We also planted wheat grass in the small galvanized cups and inserted little American flags to add a pop of color.
If you don’t want to make the chili yourself, you can ask your guests to bring a pot of their own chili for everyone to share and you can provide the fixings. You could even have a little chili cook-off asking people to vote for their favorite.
Your guests will love your 4th of July Chili Bar and will appreciate your creativity. Happy 4th of July!!! I want to thank Marissa Winchester for working with me to capture these wonderful photos. Thanks Marissa! You are an all-star!
photo credit: Marissa Winchester, Sweet Poppy Studios
Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Idea Behind The Letters To The Troops Table
Over the past few months I have been inspired by the amazing strength of our servicemembers and their families. I wanted to do something to thank and recognize our troops and came up with the idea to set up this Letters To The Troops Table.
The Letters To The Troops Table provides writing material for friends and family to write notes to a loved soldier or an entire troop. Sometimes people are discouraged from writing letters because they don’t know the address but with this setup your guests won’t have to worry about that. You can place all the finished letters in one large package at the end of the event and address it yourself. Standard postage rates apply even for troops serving overseas.
The Letters To The Troops Table would be great to set up at a Fourth of July BBQ or neighborhood gathering. If you have a spouse, friend, or neighbor serving you can have a photo of them framed on the table and a note with details from their latest update. This idea would also be really sweet at a wedding where a special servicemember couldn’t be in attendance.
What You Will Need
Creating this Letters To The Troops Table is easy to do. When setting up the table find a patriotic table cloth that is smooth enough to write on. Provide cards, envelopes, and pens for guests to write their notes. Having a sign in front of the table or hanging above the table will catch their attention and clearly explain what the table is there for. You can have photos of the soldier or troop framed on the table as decoration. If you have an update or letters you are willing to share you can have those on the table as well. Have a real mailbox for guests to put their finished letters in.
I want to thank Red Letter Paper Company, Scrapping Dahlias, and The Iris and The Bee for donating cards for the troops and the shoot. Each card company was featured in an individual post on Holiday Helpings so if you would like more information about the cards featured and where to purchase them click on the following links:
All these spectacular photos were taken by Marissa Winchester, associate photographer at Sweet Poppy Studios. Marissa helped translate my pencil sketches and scattered thoughts into beautiful photos capturing the look and feel I had envisioned. I had so much fun working with her and am so excited to feature her photos on Holiday Helpings.