Christmas Decorating & Gingerbread Cookies/ Hot Chocolate Recipes

Hey guys!

How was your weekend?

Mine was great! My mom came over and visited which was the best thing EVER because I live so far from her and hardly ever get to see her. Not only that, but she also decided to help me put up my Christmas decorations and we did some other Christmasy related things as well.

I know, I know…….it’s only November and we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet, but I couldn’t wait til Dec. 1.. I want more than a couple of weeks to enjoy Christmas!!!

I love all the modern/ chic Christmas themed trees a lot of people are doing this year, but for me personally, it’s all about tradition. I like a traditional themed decor set up with your greens, reds and golds.

(I also want to apologize for the quality of the photos. Still stuck using my iphone camera at the moment)

 

Christmas Pic 2

Starting in my bedroom, I kept with the red, green and gold theme and decided to go minimal with decorations on the mantle and keep the focus on the gorgeous Merry Christmas banner I got from an Etsy shop. I’m really sorry to the owner, I couldn’t remember the name of the shop, but if you go on to Etsy and type in Christmas banner into the search you’ll probably find it.

The silver glittered deer is from Target a year ago and the for the Christmas themed print, I just went onto Pinterest and printed off a cute little Christmas quote I found and put it in a black frame I already had.

Christmas Decor 1

Also in my bedroom, on my dresser, I have a white mini Christmas tree I got a couple of years ago and it has a mixture of green, white, and red balls that I also got from Target.

The noel santa sign I’ve had for a couple of years and I can’t really remember where I got it.

Christmas Decor 5

(Ok, I want to mention that I have a fireplace in my bedroom and living room and they look identical so I didn’t want you to get confused.)

Now, in the living room on my fireplace, I have my three santa stocking holders that I’ve had for a few years and the stockings I think came from Target except for the middle one.

The other little Christmas knick knacks in the background have been in my Christmas storage box for years, so I don’t really remember where I got them.

Christmas Decor 4 - edited

Finally, my FAVORITE part!! My Christmas tree!! Ok, so I know it probably looks much prettier and more put together to have a themed tree with color coordinated balls and decorations, but I’m really traditional when it comes to a tree as well, so I went with a classic tree. Not only is it tradition for me, but I’m really sentimental about this one too.

Every single ornament and balls has a significant meaning and memory attached to it. From my birthday, to my first Christmas, to a family trip, this tree holds so many wonderful memories that I couldn’t imagine my tree being any other way.

Probably the only new thing on this tree is the tree skirt, because something happened to my other one and I had to go out and buy this one.

Fun little fact: every year, we always go pick out one new ornament to place on the tree.

Christmas Decor 7

These are not just some random mice I threw in here. These are my absolute favorite Christmas odd and ends that I love discovering every year when I open up my Christmas storage container.

My mother has held onto these for so many years now, and there origin is a mystery to me, but I adore them!

Christmas Pic 8 - edited

On to the best part of the season!! Cookies!!!

My mom and I decided since we were feeling all festive, we would bake some cookies and there is nothing more that I love this time of year than gingerbread cookies!

These cookies we so soft and chewy and full of deliciousness….you could feel the warmth of the season every time you bit into them.

*Side note* – I may have been inspired to make these after using the Lush Yog Nog soap.

 

 

Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe Type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup shortening, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 cup of molasses
  • 1 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the shortening, molasses, brown sugar, water, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, until they are completely absorbed.
  4. Divide dough into 3 pieces, pat down to 1 1/2 inch thickness, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  8. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes ( It may be sooner depending on how fast your oven cooks, my cook in 7 minutes).
  10. When the cookies are done, they will look dry, but should still be soft to the touch,
  11. Make sure to let completely cool before icing.

 

Christmas Pic 7 - edited

This hot chocolate is the perfect thing to warm you up and delight your taste buds when it’s nippy out.

I added a Hershey’s chocolate candy cane for an extra Christmasy touch. Yum, Yum YUM!!!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup white sugar

a pinch of salt

1/3 cup boiling water

3 1/2 cups milk

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup half and half cream

Directions:

Combine the cocoa, sugar, and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil!!

Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature. For a last touch, I added whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon, but you can add any topping you want such as marshmallows.

Enjoy!!

 

Thanks for reading!! Happy Holidays!! Tell me your favorite Christmas tradition below!!

 

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Olympia Provisions: American Charcuterie (Cookbook Review)

Hey guys!

I’ve got another cookbook to review for you today and the obsession continues….

My newest cookbook is slightly different from the others for two reasons. 1. The difficulty level on this one is slightly more advanced. 2. This one is mainly about meats and the process of preserving them, plus there’s no desserts whatsoever in this book, which if you know me, you know I love desserts and that makes me a little sad.

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I have to point out the fact that this book is gorgeous. Even the front cover is stunning. Each page of this book is filled with yummy recipes and beautiful pictures.

If you’re like me and you are an amateur in the kitchen, then this book is gonna be super advanced for you. Especially if your knowledge of slicing and preparing meats is almost non existent. Still, it’s worth checking out because the recipes are so delicious, even if you managed to mess up a little bit with the meat, you’re still gonna be coming out with a tasty concoction.

Also, Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson (the authors of this book) guide you step by step with instructions to everything from meat making safety tips, charcuterie tools and equipment to how to scale using percentage charts and information about nitrate & nitrite. And of course we also get a little back story on who they are and how they started.

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But enough about that. Let’s get on with the recipes shall we?

Here are some of my favorites.

Duck Confit & Rillettes

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Quail En Gelee

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Sweet Cream Biscuits

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Parsley Pecorino Sausage

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Winter Density Romaine W Anchovy Vinigarette

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Rabbit Ballotine

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Hand Pies

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Op's Frankfurter Specials

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This was hands down my favorite page out of the entire book. I love a good hot dog but these here are not just any old regular hot dog.

There are 19 different hot dog varieties to try and each one sounds and looks more delicious than the last.

Op’s Frankfurter Specials:

  1. Reuben
  2. Hound
  3. Greek
  4. Etouffee
  5. Mac n cheese
  6. Chile Relleno
  7. Sonoran
  8. Broccoli and cheese
  9. Sweet and Sour
  10. Rapini
  11. Poutine
  12. Pickled Egg Salad
  13. Caesar
  14. Portland
  15. Breakfast
  16. Chicken Fried
  17. Creamed Corn
  18. Philly Cheese Dog
  19. Enchilada

Cherry, Basil, & Chevre Crostini

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This book is a meat lover’s dream. The recipes as well as the photos look and sound mouth watering and there’s plenty to enjoy in this cookbook/autobiography.

Interested in buying this book? Click here.

Again thank you for reading my review of my latest cookbook and leave me a comment below telling me your first impression of this cookbook.

Xo Echanning 3

 

***This is a sponsored post. I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.***

 

 

Lush Christmas Favorites!

Happy Holidays guys!

Ok, so I know it’s a little early for that, but to be honest, I probably won’t be posting when it’s actually Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I thought I would go ahead tell you now.

While everyone else was in a not so great mood yesterday, I was in a really great mood. That’s how it usually happens. So, in the spirit of being in a great mood, I thought I would share with you some Lush goodies that arrived yesterday and if you’re a christmas lover like me, then you’re gonna love this!

Ok, so yesterday was one of those days where it was cold and rainy, but I loved it! I put on my comfiest sweater and leggings and headed out to town. First stop Trader Joe’s where I picked up a couple of healthy items (but who cares about that, am I right?) and something not so healthy. What I’m talking about ladies and gentlemen, is the very famous Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter. But not just any old cookie butter, I’m talking delicious and completely addicting cookies n’ creme cookie butter. I need to have a serious talk with the person who came up with this.

So basically, cookie’s n’ creme is a bunch of oreos mashed up and ground into cookie butter form with that delicious creme. Well, technically they call it an cocoa biscuit, but let’s face it’s oreos. Ok, enough about the cookies and creme.

The next place I headed was Michael’s because I’m obsessed with that store and they have pretty much anything you could ever want in there. Speaking of having everything you could ever want, to my surprise they had a can of rose gold spray paint. Yes, I said ROSE GOLD SPRAY PAINT!!! You know I had to pick up a can too. I pretty much went on a rose gold spray paint spree on all my little trinkets and knick knacks and I loved every second of it!!

I could tell you where I went after that, but I don’t want to bore you because it’s just a bunch of boring adult stuff….i.e. bills etc…

When I finally arrived home, I was so happy to see that the UPS guy had stopped by and dropped off my Lush package that I’ve been waiting on forever. I immediately went inside and opened it up.

 

Christmas Lush pic 3

As you can see I got 4 products from Lushs’ christmas range and I displayed them not so subtly in front of some of my christmas decor which I’m going to do a post on later this month or the first of next month. Lush has so many more christmas products but I only chose 4 of them because, well it just so dam expensive. I wanted to buy so many of them and some of the ones I really wanted we’re out of stock, so I was so sad but I am happy with the ones that I did get.

Christmas Lush- Snow Fairy

First product I want to talk about is their Snow Fairy Shower Gel. If you’re  familiar with this product you know that it’s limited edition and only comes around once a year. I’ve heard of the hype for this product and when I was deciding on which product to try, I thought I would give this one a try. As a gel, I think it does a great job, however, I don’t like the smell too much. I know a lot of people love this scent, but to me it smelled a little bit like that bubblegum cough medicine you used to get as a child or pepto bismol. If you like the smell of medicine, then you won’t see a problem with this, I do not.

Christmas Lush - Snow Angel

Next is the Snow Angel Bath Melt. I think this is my first time trying a bath melt. It’s not that I don’t like bath melts, I just usually gravitate towards the bath bombs and bubble bars. This bath melt is infused with cocoa butter, rose, benzoin, and cassie absolute. I love the smell because it reminds me of marzipan. It such a lovely scent and I can’t wait to try it.

Christmas Lush - Cinders

I love, love, love this bath bomb!!!! It has one of my FAVORITE christmas scents……cinnamon. It’s such a nice smell and it feels like you’ve walked into a winter wonderland. I actually used this last night in the bath and it made my bath so cozy and delicious smelling! It turned my water a pretty gold color and it was weird because as I sunk into the water, I thought I heard a crackling noise and I was right! It was the “cinders” in the cinders bath bomb. It kind of sounded like how pop rocks sound in your mouth. It comes as no surprise, since I love the scent so much, that this bath bomb is infused with cinnamon leaf oil. I definitely recommend trying this before the christmas season is over.

Christmas Lush - Yog nog soap

Last, but definitely not least, is the yog nog soap. I had a hard time deciding whether to get the soap or the bath bomb because they have the yog nog version for both, but I ended up choosing the soap because I thought, well I already have enough bath bombs as it is and the soap will last me longer. There’s a very close race between this soap and the cinders bath bomb because they both smell so delicious and look amazing and remind me of christmas. Keeping with the christmas theme, the yog nog soap smelled like gingerbread cookies. YUM!!!! When I used it in the bath I felt like I had just been transported into a christmas bakery in a christmas village, it was so good!! This soap is infused with scents of clove bud and ylang ylang essential oils. As far as the soap, it made my skin feel really hydrated and moisturized. Again, another product I would recommend you trying before the christmas season is over.

Trader Joe's 2

Ok, so this isn’t a lush product, but I had to show that cookies n’ creme cookie butter I was talking about before. Doesn’t it look dreamy?!?? I don’t know what I love more, Trader Joe’s or Trader Joe’s christmas shopping bags. Also, the people who worked there were so lovely and nice.

Now that you’ve seen some of my favorites, tell me what yours are or tell me what you’ve got going on for Thanksgiving! Thanks as always for reading and I look forward to reading your comments below!!!

 

             Products Mentioned:

              Snow Fairy Shower Gel

             Snow Angel Bath Melt

           Cinders Bath Bomb

         Yog Nog Soap

               Trader Joe’s Cookies N’ Creme

Xo Echanning 3

Hask Keratin Hair Products Review

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Hey guys! It’s been awhile but I’m so excited to be back and share with you my new beauty find!

First let me start off by saying that I’m in no way a hair expert. Actually, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with my hair. Most of the time when I style it, it turns out not looking how I want it to and on some days a miracle happens and it looks perfect. Those tend to be the days where I’m at home not going anywhere and no one will see it. Lovely, isn’t it?

I actually do my own hair i.e. coloring , cut etc….. but a few years ago I went to one hairdresser religiously because she was always able to do my hair just the way I liked it. I remember the last time I went there I heard the wonders of keratin and this was a time when it was a new little product on the market. I thought at the time that, like everything else, it was all hype.

Flash forward to now and I’m getting ready to sing the praises of how great this product is in a blog post and I’m not just saying this because this was a complimentary gift. Like I said at the beginning of this post, I get very frustrated at my hair sometimes. Especially how dry it gets. I use conditioner and hair masks all the time and it either leaves my hair still dry or it makes it too greasy.

I’ve tried many products that promise to do this or that for your hair, but they all end up being disappointments. So, as you could probably imagine, I completely expected these products to be a flop. But, before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you what products I’m ranting about.

I received these products a few weeks ago and their from a company named Hask who has a large array of hair products. Out of the many different products available, I received their keratin protein range.

Hask 7

Hask 2

Hask 3

 

Hask 6

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t know anything about keratin protein products except for the hype at my hairdressers, so after trying this product and loving it, I was intrigued and decided to do some research on it and I was really surprised by my findings. According to this article, keratin occurs naturally within us and is a protein that protects epithelial cells from damage or stress. So, it only makes sense that companies would harness that power to help those deficient or lacking in keratin protein.

I love, love, LOVE the shampoo but I don’t think it would be as amazing without the conditioner. After conditioning my hair, I noticed that it felt so soft almost like child hair. I still get a few tangles, but that’s probably because my hair tangles so easily that it would take a miracle to untangle them, but GOSH was my hair soft!

In the little bottle is the smoothing shine oil and I swear this makes your hair look even better. I tend to get frizz around the top of my head close to my scalp and this shine oil almost 100% got rid of them.

I haven’t tried the hair mask yet because I’m waiting until I color my hair which is when my hair is at it’s driest. I will definitely let you know what I think of it once I do use it though.

I sincerely enjoyed all of these products and I truly believe these are worth the hype! If you only listen to one piece of advice I ever give you, let it be this! Go out and try it for yourself! Trust me, you will be thanking me later and if you do buy it, leave a comment below telling me what you thought of it or you can let me know on any of my social media accounts(buttons are at the top of the blog).

Also, if you feel so inclined, please stop by and like or follow me on any of these accounts. Thanks for reading!!

Xo Echanning 3

 

 

***This is a sponsored post. I received these products complimentary of Hask via Brandbacker. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.***