Festive Shortbread Bites

I’d seen these little festive Shortbread Bites pop up in my Facebook feed several times over the past couple weeks. I immediately was smitten. I mean, seriously, how cute are they? While I love shortbread, it’s so rich that a whole cookie can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But, one perfect little bite? How can one resist that?

The recipe for the shortbread is on-point. Tender, buttery, and crumbly – it really is a little perfect little bite of  baked perfection. The key is to knead the dough with your hands until it comes together. Use the mixer to break down the butter, but then your hands to bring it all together. When you dump the mix out of the work bowl it will be crumbly – don’t despair! After a few scrunches in your palms, the butter warms and makes a dough that is easy to work with.

I loved the flecks of color through-out the bites. Looking forward to making this with different colored nonpareils for other holidays as well – pink & red for Valentine’s, pastels for Easter, purple and orange for Halloween! I’ll definitely be making them again before the year is over for gift bags as well. There’s nothing better than homemade goodies to give as gifts!

Speaking of which, make sure you check back here on Sunday for a cookie swap party that I’m doing with some fellow blogger friends. There will be some great ideas to add to your “must bake” list this year! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Source: adapted from Good Housekeeping

Chesapeake Bloody Mary

Happy Birthday to me! Today I turn 32, so I thought it would be appropriate to share a cocktail with you guys in celebration. Especially one that incorporates so many of the things I love!

I’d never been a fan of Bloody Marys for the most part. Probably because they’d always been made with pre-fabricated mixes that just aren’t very good to start with. But once I mixed my own at home, I understood how awesome they could be.

Simple ingredients – tomato juice, fresh lemon, vodka or gin. But the garnishes, that’s where you can go crazy and have fun! A celery stalk is essential, and also some sort of pickled vegetable – I went with dilly beans. But, where I really go overboard is by topping with a handful of jumbo lump crab meat.

Some might find it strange, but certainly not here on the Shore. The sweet crab meat sits perfectly perched on top of the savory Bloody Mary. It can be enjoyed before the cocktail, or let to steep in the tomato juice and absorb the delicious tomato flavor. With the addition of the crab, it’s really almost a meal as well.

This would be perfect for an evening (or morning!) in the hectic Holiday future – Christmas or New Years Eve, perhaps? Something decadent and really special to celebrate this special time of year. Totes worth the splurge on the crab meat!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream

Is anyone as excited for the Holidays as I am? We had a great visit with Jon’s family over Thanksgiving, and now I’m looking forward to getting the house decorated this week – and ready for Christmas! We’ll be going to get our tree this weekend, *squee*.

I couldn’t help but kick-start my excitement a few weeks ago when I was asked to develop a recipe for Eggland’s Best to celebrate holiday baking. Did you know that their eggs contain 25% less saturated fat than other supermarket eggs? Or that they are typically to the supermarket within 72 hours of laying? Impressive.

Anyways, the cupcakes. I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe, which is as moist and chocolaty as it gets. Then I topped it with a delicious peppermint buttercream frosting, and garnished with pieces of broked up peppermint candies. They were nothing short of incredible! I loved the crunch of the candies with the smooth frosting. And they were so pretty to look at!

So if you’re looking for something to get you in the kitchen, and holiday baking underway before the cookie exchanges and whatnot start up – make these cupcakes. They’re fun and festive, and sure to please!

Eggland’s Best has also graciously offered to host a giveaway for our readers! I have a $25 Visa gift card and a coupon for 1 dozen free eggs for one lucky reader. What a great way to get started on your baking! To enter just leave a comment telling us your favorite holiday baking memory. Contest ends at 12/7/14 at 11:59 PM. A winner will be chosen by random number generator and announced on December 8th. US residents only, please.

randomnumber

Congratulations to Carla, who had Comment #23! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the good folks at Eggland’s Best, and as always all thoughts are my own.

Cranberry Orange MuffinsCranberry Orange Muffins are a great way to start out breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Sweet, citrusy, and a little bit of crunch from the almonds – they’re wonderful for munching on during the parade.

Cranberry RelishAnd, while we’re on the topic of cranberries, a Homemade Cranberry Relish is a must-have on our Thanksgiving table. Cranberries, pecans, and fresh orange are comeI love using fresh cranberries while they are in season!

Roasted TurkeyThe bird. I like to brine mine the night before, then stuff with lots of citrus and herbs, and baste in a mixture of butter and hard cider. Haven’t had a dry bird in years!

Hard Cider GravyThis Hard Cider Gravy is pretty much perfection in a gravy boat. The hard cider adds a great depth of flavor that I don’t think is attained with wine. We love it!

Oyster StuffingOyster Stuffing is another must-have on any Eastern Shore Thanksgiving table. The oysters add a wonderful saltiness, complexity, and moisture to an otherwise bland dish!

Apricot Glazed Green BeansWe strive to have something green on the table, and these Apricot Glazed Green Beans are always my go-to choice. Plus, they include bacon – so what’s not to love?

Buttermilk-Chive Mashed PotatoesThese Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes are a jazzed-up version of a classic. Creamy and rich, who doesn’t love perfect mashed potatoes?

Sweet Potato BiscuitsSweet Potato Biscuits are another “must-have” item for Thanksgiving here on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. They’re a little bit denser than your traditional buttermilk biscuit, and they pair wonderfully with all the turkey and trimmings on the table! I’ve also got a great traditional dinner roll recipe too.

Pomegranate MargaritasAnd lastly, Pomegranate Margaritas. There’s nothing better than curling up with those you love after dinner, enjoying a cocktail, and watching some football on Thanksgiving evening.

I feel so fortunate to have all these wonderful boys to take care of, and a loving husband and father by my side. Not to mention the big move back to Chincoteague and being so close to family and friends again. Our family definitely has a lot to be thankful for this year!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Turkey Day, and take at least a moment out of your day to think about what we all have to be thankful for. Looking forward to getting the Holiday season kicked off in my kitchen. I have lots of delicious goodies to share with you guys in the coming month!