gallamore west: Christmas
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holiday Nut Crunch Cracker Toffee

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#GoNutsForNuts #CollectiveBias

I love baking and delivering homemade gifts to our neighbors at the holidays.  It's been one of my favorite Christmas traditions since I was a little girl.  And crazy as it sounds, I actually live in the exact same house that I grew up in and since it's such a great little neighborhood some of our neighbors are the same neighbors that lived here when I was little!  Every year since I can remember, one particular neighbor has brought us a beautiful plate of traditional German baked Christmas goodies.  This neighbor also happens to be a total health nut, so every time I try to reciprocate I try my hardest to bring them something that isn't packed full of sugar.  Last year I wracked my brain, but ended up giving them a bag of oranges I picked from our tree for Christmas because everything I was baking was definitely packed full of sugar.  So this year I'm totally patting myself on the back because I came up with the PERFECT "baked" gift for them.  It's not too sugary, it actually contains better-for-you ingredients items, it looks festive, and it was easy to make with the help of Planter's Holiday Nut Crunch.  

It's a really delicious sweet and salty crunchy dessert that isn't overly sweet.  And the best part is that it looks festive, but you'll only spend about 10 minutes in the kitchen making it!

Holiday Nut Crunch Cracker Toffee
8 full-size graham crackers
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 Planter's Holiday Nut Crunch

The Planter's Holiday Nut Crunch Mix is a perfect combination of sweet and salty with peanuts, raisins, chocolate candies, chocolate covered peanuts, almonds, cashews, and cranberries.

To make your "toffee" simply lay the graham crackers out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet so that all of the crackers are touching each other (like a big rectangle).  Melt your chocolate chips, then use a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate over the graham crackers.  Sprinkle Planter's Holiday Nut Crunch over the top of the chocolate, then refrigerate for about 20 minutes until the chocolate hardens.  

Break into pieces and enjoy.

I put mine on a red plate, then just tied it up with cellophane and a festive bow and it's ready to be delivered!

It's also a perfect gift by itself for those people on your shopping list who already have everything in the world that they need.  Like my Dad- Planter's Holiday Nut Crunch is totally going under the Christmas tree for him this year! 

You can buy Planter's Seasonal Nuts at Walmart, where many locations have a super fun sleigh display like this one!  It's located in an aisle between the sodas/water and the popcorn/chips.

Another fun thing about Planter's Seasonal Nuts is that it has its own app!  Just scan the barcode on a container of Planter's Seasonal Nuts and Go Nuts with all of the fun things you can do- take a selfie with Mr. Peanut, browse recipes, and check out all of Planter's seasonal items.  Download the Blippar app and get started! I love the Holiday Tips and my kids love that they can take a selfie with Mr. Peanut!  

Have a great weekend! xoxo 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Entertaining: A Dinner and Dessert Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WaysToWow #CollectiveBias 

It's been such a fun couple first weeks of December, as we deck our halls and get our shopping done for Christmas.  I'm about 90% done and pretty soon I'll be kicking up my feet and relaxing... ahhh, that's probably wishful thinking!  But amongst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, one of my favorite things to do is entertain.  But not in an over the top, crazy fancy way.  We have four little ones so our get togethers are casual and cozy, and comfort food tops my list every holiday season.  I love sharing an easy holiday recipe with you, so today I'm sharing TWO of my favorite holiday recipes:  Creamy Macaroni and Cheese topped with crushed Town House Crackers, and a Hot Chocolate Station with all of the fixing, along with Chocolate Dipped Town House Crackers topped with crushed peppermint.  

Both are easy to make so you won't be spending all of your time stressing out in the kitchen, and both of them taste delicious for your adult and children guests alike.  Here's the recipes:

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Town House Crackers

15 ounce elbow noodles
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream

25 Town House Original Crackers, crushed
2 1/2 tablespoons butter

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Boil noodles until cooked al dente.  Drain and return to the pot.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the heavy cream, salt, pepper and garlic.  Set aside.  Stir the cheddar, cream cheese, and into the noodles and stir vigorously to combine.  Slowly pour in milk mixture and stir to combine.  Pour macaroni into an 8x8 baking dish (or into individual serving dishes like I did).  In a frying pan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter and stir in crushed crackers.  Stir until light brown, then promptly remove from heat. Sprinkle generously over macaroni.  Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly and the cracker topping is golden brown.

The addition of the Town House Original Crackers crushed in top takes this Macaroni & Cheese from ordinary to absolutely decadent. 

Now, let's move onto dessert! 

Chocolate Dipped Town House Crackers with Crushed Peppermint

2 sleeves Town House Original Crackers
1 cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, melted
2 Peppermint Candy Canes, crushed

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Unwrap two peppermint candy canes and seal in a small plastic bag.  Using a rolling pin, crush the candy canes into small pieces.  Set aside.  Melt mini chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 50% power until melted.  Dip each Town House Original Cracker in melted chocolate until coated about halfway up the cracker.  Gently shake over the bowl to remove excess chocolate, then place on cookie sheet.  Immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Once you have a cookie sheet full of these, place entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hardened, about 20 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and serve alongside your Hot Chocolate Station for a delicious sweet, salty treat!  

Or package up to deliver to a friend or neighbor.  These Chocolate Dipped Town House Crackers with Peppermint really do make a delicious, easy treat.

Looking to add Town House Crackers to your holiday menu?  I picked mine up at Target, where I happened to cross off most of my Christmas shopping list too!  You can find them in the Crackers/Cookies aisle.  

I've shared some of my favorite holiday recipes with you.  What are some of your favorite holiday dishes?  Leave me a comment and let me know- I'd love to hear what your favorites are too.  Happy Holiday Baking- I hope that you are enjoying the season! xoxo 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Host Your Best Ever Graham Cracker House Decorating Party!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#PBandG #CollectiveBias

I have always loved Christmas since I was a little girl.  But there is definitely something amazing about being able to celebrate Christmas with our little boys.  Seeing Christmas through their eyes is magical to me.  I want to soak up every minute of them enjoying the festivities of the season while they're young enough to enjoy the magic of it.  This past weekend the boys had a small group of friends over for a fun little Christmas party.  And just look at how excited our littlest guy was!  I wish I would've captured his excitement on video because it truly was the cutest thing to see his eyes light up as he looked around and saw all of the fun things I had prepped for making Graham Cracker Houses while he was sleeping the night before.

The kids all loved being able to just run around and play together, while the moms and I were able to actually sit down and catch up.  The only planned activity for them was decorating these cute graham cracker houses, made with my favorite kind of graham crackers- Honey Maid!

Decorating little houses is definitely one of our favorite things that we do every year together, so having friends over to decorate graham cracker houses with us was definitely an extra fun treat!  I love making these houses because Honey Maid graham crackers taste great, the crackers are always straight (unlike other brands, and that is super important when putting these houses together!) and they are affordable and easy to make, unlike homemade gingerbread houses that take forever to prep, or store-bought houses that would be too expensive to buy to host a party like this.

It definitely makes a graham cracker house decorating party more fun to have everything really organized for the kids ahead of time so no one is having to ask for things to be passed across the table, and we definitely don't want shared, licked knives right?  That's why I always prep the houses the night before.  Each kid has their own house pre-assembled on a paper plate using six full graham crackers.I also buy disposable paper cups so that every kid gets their own cup of homemade buttercream frosting and their own knife.  It's such a great way to help a graham cracker house party go smoothly and with a lot less mess than a shared tub of frosting.

I always set up paper cups filled with candy for decorating ahead of time so that all of the kids can easily get to the candy- no bags being spilled, no reaching across the table, etc.  For 8 kids I had 3 big platters across the middle of the table so everyone had easy access to the candy for decorating. 

I love these serious decorating faces! 

And the kids all loved their decorated houses.  They came out so cute.

Honey Maid Graham Crackers clearly make awesome little Christmas houses!  But they are also amazing when used crushed in recipes.  I made these festive Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles using Honey Maid Graham Crackers.  

I love these truffles because they taste AMAZING and look like they took forever, but they are actually quite easy to make.   Here's what you need:

1 sleeve Honey Maid graham crackers
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups mini chocolate chips, melted
sprinkles, optional

Crush the graham crackers in a stand mixer (or in a large Ziploc bag with a rolling pin if you don't have a stand mixer), then add in your powdered sugar, brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter.  Mix until well combined.  It will look like coarse crumbs.

Roll the graham cracker mixture into one-inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on medium power, stopping to stir and making sure not to overheat it.  Dip each ball in the chocolate to coat, then shake off the excess chocolate on the side of the bowl before GENTLY placing the ball back on the parchment lined cookie sheet.  Garnish with sprinkles (optional).  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until chilled.  

I love to package up my Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles to give as gifts to our neighbors and friends at Christmas time.

Whether you're making Graham Cracker Houses or making a delicious recipe, if you need graham crackers, Honey Maid is the best brand to use!  You can pick them up at Walmart like I did.  They're located in the cookie/cracker aisle where the cookie section turns into the cracker section, and they are a MUST on my holiday grocery shopping list!  Plus right now, you can use this money saving coupon for Honey Maid Graham Crackers, available while supplies last. 

Want more holiday inspiration using Honey Maid Graham Crackers?  Check out Honey Maid on Instagram! Hope you all have a great week and that you find this Christmas season magical! xoxo 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sweet Entertaining: A Kids' Holiday Party!

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#HolidayMadeSimple #CollectiveBias

Last year the holidays were crazy busy here... honestly, it seems like EVERY year is crazy busy at the holidays.  Entertaining is something I love to do, but I want to keep my holiday recipes simple and delicious so I don't stress out in the kitchen all month.  So this year I decided months ago to make sure that I focus on what is really important this holiday season. This Christmas I want to really slow down and ENJOY it with our boys.  We hosted a super fun Christmas Party with the kids and their friends this weekend and it was SO much fun! 

I mean, look at this face!  THIS is what this holiday season is about to me.

Clapping and cheering for a fun Christmas party with a few special friends! 

When all of a sudden he spotted the FUDGE!!  

I loved making this Nestle Carnation Fudge from a kit because it was delicious and super easy. Everything you need for a batch of fudge- over a pound and a half!- is included in this box.  It is seriously the easiest fudge I've ever made because everything is already measured out and ready to be made into this amazing fudge!

I just crushed up regular peppermint candy canes and Wonka Sweetart Candy Canes for the toppings.

The kids all went crazy for the Wonka Sweetart Fudge- super chocolate-y flavor with a hint of fruity flavor from the fruit flavored candy canes. 

In fact, the Wonka Sweetart Candy Canes were a hit at our party in general!  The kids all loved them.

They were also an adorable decoration in this fun Santa basket with a printable sign I made.  With three fun flavors, all of the kids loved choosing their own candy cane.  I LOVE the Tart Cherry myself! 

To stay with my theme of SIMPLER this holiday season, I ordered pizza and wings, and served fresh veggies and fruit, along with some crackers and peppermint pretzels.  The Carnation Famous Fudge and the Wonka Sweetart Candy Canes were the dessert.

The party was mostly centered in our Sun Room, where the kids all decorated their own Graham Cracker Houses {which was SO much fun and I'll have tons more details about that in a separate post tomorrow}.  

We served the food and had a Hot Chocolate Station set up in the kitchen.

Our little guy loved his hot chocolate crushed with Wonka Sweetart Candy Canes.  The flavors are Blue Punch, Green Apple and Cherry.  Our kids go crazy for all of them!

It was such a fun afternoon of graham cracker house decorating, lunch, and delicious easy desserts thanks to Nestle Carnation Fudge Kit and Sweetart Wonka Candy Canes.  It was wonderful to relax and not stress out, and still have a super fun, festive Christmas Party for the kids!

Looking to host your own little Christmas Party?  Enjoy the simplicity and deliciousness of Nestle's Carnation Famous Fudge Kit and Wonka Sweetart Candy Canes- both available at Walmart.  The Fudge Kit is located in a center aisle filled with holiday baking items and the candy canes are located in the seasonal aisle.

Nestle Carnation Famous Fudge Kit is also a great gift to give your family and friends.  I loved having a simple, relaxing party with fun friends and I thanked them for coming by giving them a Famous Fudge Kit to bring home.

Happy {Simpler} Holiday Hosting to you!! xoxo 

Check out more about easy holiday recipes here and here
And enter to win an amazing price from Nestle below! 


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