Our New Christmas Family Tradition

Charlie Brown Chrismas Tradition

Have you ever intentionally created a family tradition? I haven’t, until now!

My family and I grew up watching the Charlie Brown/Peanuts holiday specials around this time every year with our parents; they all have a special place in my heart, but none more than It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas!

Continuing on with these good feelings and memories, embellishing it to make it our own, here is our new Christmas tradition:

The Friday before Christmas we will make our own marshmallows and hot chocolate, then sip it while we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas!

It’s simple, yet fun and heartfelt like any family tradition should be! Create happy feelings and the happy memories will follow! Feel free to use this idea for your own family tradition, or take it and change it to make it your own!

Pastry Wrapped Baked Apples with Nutella & Granola Recipe

Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!

These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!

PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • Nutella
  • Granola
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
  4. Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
  5. Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
  8. Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
  9. Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  10. Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
  11. Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
  12. Repeat step 11 with each apple.
  13. Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
  14. Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  16. Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  17. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Cozy Classic Christmas Playlist 2020

Cozy Christmas Playlist 2020Welcome to the cozy month of December my friends!

My family and I have created a playlist of cozy, classic Christmas music for you and yours! Christmas may be celebrated a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Christmas spirit!

This year we’ve decided to focus on the “tried and true” classic Christmas songs that leave a cozy feeling in your heart and soul. Primarily Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, with a few other artists sprinkled in, including Seth Macfarlane who, although a modern artist, fits in handsomely!

Please let us know if we missed or left out any of your classic Christmas favorites you feel should be included! We’d love to hear from you!

Cozy Classic Christmas Playlist 2020

  • CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS | Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters
  • THE CHRISTMAS SONG | Nat King Cole
  • IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF YEAR | Andy Williams
  • MISTLETOE AND HOLLY | Frank Sinatra
  • SILVER BELLS | Bing Crosby & Carol Richards
  • WHITE CHRISTMAS | Rosemary Clooney
  • SNOW | Seth MacFarlane
  • THE FIRST SNOWFALL | Bing Crosby
  • LOOKS LIKE A COLD, COLD WINTER | Bing Crosby
  • BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE | Seth MacFarlane & Sara Bareilles
  • A WINTER ROMANCE | Dean Martin
  • I’VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM | Dean Martin
  • YOU’RE ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS| Bing Crosby
  • SLEIGH RIDE| Ella Fitzgerald
  • LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! | Seth MacFarlane
  • WINTER WONDERLAND | Bing Crosby
  • A MARSHMALLOW WORLD | Seth MacFarlane
  • LITTLE JACK FROST GET LOST | Seth MacFarlane & Norah Jones
  • FROSTY THE SNOW MAN | Bing Crosby
  • WARM IN DECEMBER | Seth MacFarlane
  • CHRISTMAS DREAMING | Seth MacFarlane
  • I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS | Seth MacFarlane
  • O TANNENBAUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • O FIR TREE DARK | Bing Crosby
  • THE CHRISTMAS TREE ANGEL | The Andrews Sisters
  • IS CHRISTMAS ONLY A TREE | Bing Crosby
  • DECK THE HALL | Nat King Cole
  • CHRISTMAS CANDLES | The Andrews Sisters
  • THE CHRISTMAS SONG | Seth MacFarlane
  • HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS | Judy Garland
  • A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS | Burl Ives
  • (EVERYBODY’S WAITIN’ FOR) THE MAN WITH THE BAG | Seth MacFarlane
  • SANTA CLAUS IS COMIN’ TO TOWN | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
  • HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
  • JINGLE BELLS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
  • I’D LIKE TO HITCH A RIDE WITH SANTA CLAUS | The Andrews Sisters
  • JING-A-LING, JING-A-LING | The Andrews Sisters
  • CHRISTMAS DINNER, COUNTRY STYLE | Bing Crosby
  • CHRISTMAS ISLAND | The Andrews Sisters
  • MERRY CHRISTMAS POLKA | The Andrews Sisters
  • TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS | Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters
  • I WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS | Bing Crosby
  • DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? | Bing Crosby
  • THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY | Bing Crosby
  • MY LITTLE DRUM | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING | Bing Crosby
  • THE LITTLEST ANGEL | Bing Crosby
  • O HOLY NIGHT | Bing Crosby
  • WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEARS EVE? | Seth MacFarlane

Little John’s Beef Stew Recipe

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking up Little John’s beef stew featured in Disney’s animated feature, Robin Hood!

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood
This recipe is featured when Robin Hood and Little John are taking a break in the woods. Unfortunately Little John leaves Robin to tend the stew, and Robin starts daydreaming, effectively burning the stew (don’t worry we won’t burn ours). Friar Tuck shows up while Little John is trying to salvage the food; he tries the stew, coughs a bit, and comments “well done, ain’t it?”

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood
I love a good, hearty stew! I thought burning it would be in poor taste (#momjoke), so I kept an eye on it. I also feel like Little John takes pride in his cooking so I kept it simple based on ingredients they may have been able to obtain, but not so simple as to insult his enthusiasm.

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

BEEF STEW
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pound of beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup of water (additional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt the butter in a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat.
  2. Season the stew meat with a little salt and pepper, then add it to the pot and brown all sides.
  3. Once browned, remove the meat and allow it to rest on a plate with its juices.
  4. Add the onions, basil, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, salt, and thyme to the meat drippings within the dutch oven and sauté for about four or five minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and celery, then sauté for another two to three minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with a little water (enough to loosen up the food particles left behind from cooking the meat and aromatics) and stir, then allow everything to cook for another five minutes.
  7. Add the beef (and its accumulated juices) back into the pot, along with the diced tomatoes and two cups of water.
  8. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beef is fork tender.
  9. Add in the carrots and potatoes and bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another thirty to forty minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  10. In a separate bowl, mix the flour into 1/4 cup of cold water and add it into the stew.
  11. Continue cooking and stirring the pot until the sauce has thickened (about 10 more minutes).
  12. Serve warm and enjoy!