Ready, Set, Celebrate!

Now that Halloween has passed we’ve all inevitably started talking about the holiday season. (Here in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving a little earlier, so there’s really nothing else to look forward to during the month of November.)

This is the time of year when everyone’s schedules start filling up with celebrations and social events. Unfortunately, each of those events come with its own set of tasks that make people start feeling frantic instead of festive. There’s just so much to do. A friend of mine put it very eloquently: “I love Christmas, but there’s just so much s@&! to do!”

Planning is kind of my thing, so I often share how I organize my holidays on the blog: here’s how I get a head start on Christmas cards, how I plan my gift shopping and my Boxing Day strategy. If you really have the drive to plan far ahead, you may find this post on cleaning up after the holidays useful.

For the past couple of years I’ve carried out the Swedish tradition of baking seven different cookies at Christmas time. Here’s what’s been in my arsenal so far: Traditional Swedish Gingersnaps, Maple Butter Cookies, Jam Slices, Vanilla Horns, Rugulahs, Orange Crunch Cookies, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Midnight Mints, Butterscotch Confetti, Date Pecan Bars, Chocolate Roll, Pineapple Log, Marshmallow Roll, Butterscotch Bars etc. (Stay tuned- in the month of December I’ve got seven brand new cookie recipes for you I think you’re going to love.)

I love writing about the holidays and all the kindness it brings out in people, but I realize for some there can be a dark side of the season. A couple of years back I had a very difficult Christmas so I channeled that energy into writing a blog post about being alone during the holidays– and how you’re really not alone if you feel that way. (You may also want to check out this post if you’re feeling down.)

And if that isn’t enough holiday goodies for y’all then you’re in for a treat- for the next six weeks or so I’ll be sharing more of my favourite holiday recipes, some fantastic Christmas gift ideas and some of my secrets for staying sane during this busy time of year.

Don’t worry if even reading this post is giving you the shakes; this holiday season, we’re all in this together!

Holiday celebrations can be fun, but only if you can ensure that things go smoothly. While there are never any guarantees when it comes to social gatherings, there are still plenty of ways to get your holiday game on. Click here to read more of them, or click here or here to read about some of the other best practices I’ve been trying to put into my place in my life.

Do you have any tips on how to survive the holidays? Save us by commenting below or email your suggestions to keepingbusyb@gmail.com

Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Butterscotch Confetti

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This recipe is probably one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made on my blog, and definitely one of the prettiest. I’m not always a fan of butterscotch chips- sometimes I find them just way too sweet- but when you throw in salty peanut butter and fluffy marshmallows the result ends up sleek and smooth, and melts in your mouth. The only challenging part of this recipe is going to be preventing yourself from eating all of these babies before the holidays arrive.

Butterscotch Confetti (makes 36)

1/4 c. butter or margarine

1/2 c. peanut butter

1 c. butterscotch chips

8 oz. small colored marshmallows

Melt butter and peanut butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in chips until melted. Cool until you can hold your hand on bottom of pot. To speed process, stir while holding pan in cold water until cool enough. Add marshmallows and stir until all are coated. If you like, add 1/2 c. chopped walnuts and/or 1/2 c. medium coconut to mix things up and add a little bit of bite. Pack down in a 9×9-inch pan that has been lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

B’s Tip: The original recipe calls for a 9×9-pan but you may want to experiment with different sizes and shapes of pans to create a shape that works best for you. Honestly? I would have preferred a thicker square and may try using an 8×8-inch pan next time.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. This is the last post in this year’s series, but for more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Pineapple Log

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Sometimes you don’t know how a recipe turns out and you just have to go for it. Vanilla, pineapple and cream cheese don’t necessarily sound like the most appealing flavors individually, but when they come together in this chewy little number the result tastes like piña colada-flavored fudge. It’s more sweet than fruity, and you can’t taste the cream cheese at all.

Just because a recipe turns out surprisingly good doesn’t mean it’s also surprisingly easy. Sometimes these no-bake recipes require following instructions to the letter, so here’s a few words from the wise:

  • Do make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before even attempting to beat. You may want to try breaking it up in cubes first to make your life easier, or even better, use a beater with a paddle attachment to make the cream cheese light and fluffy.
  • Don’t buy vanilla wafers thinking you can make your own vanilla wafer crumbs as easily as you can with graham crackers. They’re tough to crumble on their own without a food processor, and the recipe requires the crumbs be superfine for the best blending.
  • Do drain the pineapple within an inch of its life. The recipe does not require the extra moisture and adding too much icing sugar to compensate can turn these cookies very sweet, very quickly.
  • Don’t cut your marshmallows without a glass of cold water by your side for rinsing off your scissors. The marshmallows will get sticky and end up gumming up the blades of your scissors when you cut them. (Maybe some brave soul will attempt this recipe with marshmallow fluff and let me know what they think?)

Try this recipe if you dare- and if you want a little taste of the tropical this holiday season, I definitely think it’s worth the risk!

Pineapple Log (makes approximately 48 slices)

4 oz. cream cheese

2 1/2 c. icing sugar

1 c. vanilla wafer crumbs

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 c. tiny colored marshmallows, cut into quarters (use scissors)

shredded coconut

Beat cheese until smooth. Add sugar, crumbs, salt and pineapple. After mixing together well, if this seems very soft, work more crumbs or icing sugar into the batter keeping in mind that it won’t get much firmer when chilled. The amount extra that you will need depends on how well you drained the pineapple. Now mix in the marshmallows. Shape into log and roll in shredded coconut. Chill. Slice to serve.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. For more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.