holidays

Holiday Fruitcake

Fruitcake gets a bad rap. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, the ultimate white elephant, Aunt Barbara’s annual dessert that gets shoved into a napkin and then the nearest trash can. But fruitcake doesn’t have to be bad, in fact fruitcake can be the perfect holiday treat. img_8275
We never had fruitcake growing up, the closest thing we got was an assortment of mixed nuts. I didn’t even know what a fruitcake was until sixth grade when Mr Teal told us how gross it was. That’s all it took for me to never want to eat fruitcake…until this year. I mean seriously, dried fruit and nuts soaked in alcohol and smothered in sugar. What’s not to like?img_8277

Fruitcake

  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Place the dried fruit in a medium bowl and bring the bourbon to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the hot bourbon over the dried fruit and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain the fruit, reserving the bourbon.

Preheat the oven to 350º.

Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are medium-small pieces.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each egg. Add in the vanilla and zest.

Mix and sift together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add in half of the flour mixture and half of the bourbon on low speed. Repeat. Add in the fruit and nuts and mix until just combined.

Pour into a greased 8 inch round cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Remove the fruitcake from the oven and bring the orange juice and powdered sugar to a simmer. Poke holes in the fruitcake with a toothpick or fork and pour the hot orange juice over the fruitcake, allowing the cake to soak in all of the juice.

Cover the fruitcake and let sit for 12 hours. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!img_8280

Rosemary & Thyme Mashed Potatoes

My sister used to love mashed potatoes…and I mean LOVED them. Every night for dinner growing up she would ask for mashed potatoes with a huge side of gravy. My mom only gave in about once a week, but I was happy because who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Gravy is great too, but the best mashed potatoes are the ones that can go stark naked and still be amazing all on their own. Kind of like these ones. Okay, exactly like these ones. (more…)

Caramel Corn

One of my favorite ‘family’ gifts as a child was the huge three gallon tin of popcorn random people would send us around the holidays. I would sneak popcorn out of that thing like it was nobodies business. The plain popcorn was good and the cheesy popcorn was quite delicious, but everyone knows that it’s the caramel corn that really matters.

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LATE DIY Bottled Nebula

Have you ever written a blog post or typed out something for class in Word then accidentally deleted it. Like, to never be seen again? As in there is no way in getting it back? No? Just me? Great. (more…)

Sparkling Cran-Apple Cider

T Minus one week until the best holiday of the year is upon us. Thanksgiving, lets be honest isn’t really about giving thanks, rather, it’s about food and how much you can stuff into your body before you feel nauseas and ultimately have to nap it off. Gluttony at its finest, and you know what? Im okay with that. In fact, I’m more than okay, I love it. An entire day celebrating food is like heaven for me. (more…)

The Holiday Gift Sets You’ll Want to Keep

I read on Facebook yesterday that there are ten Fridays left until Christmas. I double checked and it’s true! This gives us perspective on just how fast the holiday will be here, allowing ample time to prepare right now. Granted, I’ll still probably be perusing the mall on Christmas Eve’s Eve, wide-eyed and frantic, picking up last minute gifts.

As always, stores are ready for the holidays early and our fav. makeup brands have cooked up a holiday buffet of product gift sets that will leave us drooling. Here’s some of the top sets everyone is talking about.

Too Faced 

Le Petite Tresor ($29) 

Three full-sized lipsticks, regularly $22 each, in peachy pink Taffy, pinky neutral Nude Beach and semi-glittered burgundy Wham! It comes with a hand-sized sparkly turquoise bag.

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Melted Kisses and Sweet Cheeks ($36) 

Three mini Melted lip glosses in Nude, Peony and Fig, and Long-Lasting 16-hour Blush in Love Hangover, Justify My Love and Your Love is King.

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Le Grand Palais $49

Includes: Eye shadow in White Christmas, Satin Sheets, Vintage Lace, Delightful, Moon on Their Wings, Cobblestone, City Lights, Dreamlight, String of Lights, Yule Log, Wish List, Arc de Triomphe, Belle Femme, Stiletto, Eiffel, Midnight in Paris, Champs Elysees and Party Dress. Blush in Stardust and Skyline. Luminizer in Flush and bronzer in Sun Bunny. Also full-size Better Than Sex Mascara and Melted Lipstick (w/ travel size Shadow Insurance).

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Le Grand Chateau $58 

Includes: Eye Shadow in Amour, Fleur, Je t’aime, Moi, Cheri, Tout Sweet, Pot Du Crème, Fifi, Le Femme, Bonjour, Merci, Oui, Le Marais, Rendezvous, Provence, Parfait, Tres Chic and Noir. Bronzer in Jolie, blush in Mademoiselle and Tres Fab, and full-size Better Than Sex mascara.

I don’t know if it’s the limited edition doll house packaging or what, but my attention is focused on this set rather than Le Grand Palais. It’s also convenient that there are three separately packaged eyeshadow palettes with their own bronzer or blush. The Too Faced description of the product says each palette makes a perfect stocking stuffer or gift, but I’d say I want to keep them all >:)

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Tarte

Greatest Glitz Collector’s Set & Portable Palettes ($49)

This set is only available at Ulta and includes:

  • 3 removable, Amazonian clay eye & cheek palettes with 24 new, festive eye shadows and 3 exclusive blushes
  • Deluxe Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-In-1 Mascara
  • Deluxe LipSurgence Lip Crème in Flashy (warm pink)
  • Collector’s vanity storage box with pull out drawer and full size mirror

This box is a cute addition for a vanity area and it comes with a ton of great shadows and products, but it’s not realistic as a travel item… too bulky!

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Dressed to the Nines Lip Surgence Lip Creme Set ($34)

Nine lip cremes with extreme color variety. I’d say these are great stocking stuffers or giveaways.

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Lorac

Love, Lust and Lace Alter Ego Lip Gloss Set ($25)Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.16.23 AM

Love, Lust and Lace Front of the Line Pro Pencil Eye Set ($29)

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Which of these sets do you have your eye on? My Christmas list is going to be filled with too many  eyeshadows, that’s for sure!

Until next week, XO- Ashley.

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