This past weekend Adam and I began a new Christmas tradition that I hope we keep up each year.
We drove up to Squamish (which is a small town just before Whistler, BC) to pick out and cut down our very first ‘real’ Christmas tree with his sister, brother-in-law and our adorable niece. If you live in the Vancouver Lower Mainland area you can obtain a free tree permit online.
Seriously how cute is this picture of Adam and our niece hunting for a tree.
The past 3 years we had a fake tree because our old condo building did not allow for real trees due to fire hazards.
Truthfully, I haven’t had a real Christmas tree in 9 years.
Picking out the Christmas tree was always a tradition my Dad and I did together. We would go down to the Boy Scout’s tree sale or the local garden nursery to pick out a tree. I’m not sure why but it seemed that it was always just the two of us as I got a little older. I didn’t mind.
My Dad was a landscaper and loved being outdoors. I can only imagine that putting up the Christmas tree was one of his favourite things about Christmas.
We had some pretty epic Christmas trees in the past, including one so large we had to tie it to the roof with twine only to hear it fall over and smash onto the glass coffee table in the middle of the night. I remember a few Christmas trees falling over in our living room.
My favourite tree my Dad and I picked out was something of a Charlie Brown tree. It was tall with a few sparse branches. We both loved it, however my mom was not a fan. We brought it home and put it up proudly.
After Dad passed away it was difficult to go out and get our tree without him. Instead we had this sad mini white fibre optic tree ever since, which my brother decided it needed to ‘spin faster’ one year and broke the base. Then Adam and I had our fake skinny apartment tree.
And now – we have a real live, 9-foot tall huge Christmas tree that we picked out and cut down ourselves. Just a warning – trees in the forest seem smaller than they do in your house. The tree is gigantic, even after trimming the top, bottom and sides.
Right now it stands bare in our living room with a few lights on it – unfortunately I have a painful ear infection, cough and cold that is keeping me from decorating every inch of our house in Christmas decor.
I kind of like it this way though – I feel as if I’m sitting in a forest.
Maybe we need to have more plants in the house.
What is your Christmas tradition? Are you a fake tree person? Or the real deal? Do you like to chop down your own tree?
I should be doing homework right now. Lots of it. I have a lot of assignments and mid terms to get through this week before Adam and I jet off to Mexico! I am definitely in need of a vacation right about now. But, I just had to make these chocolate dipped strawberries in honour of Valentine’s Day. I had made them last year, but like this year Adam and I won’t be home for Valentine’s Day so I wanted to make them in advance. Actually, last year he was in Mexico and I was here, and this year we will both be in Mexico for Valentine’s day, together! This is a great little treat that looks like it took a long time to create. You can package them up in three’s or four’s and hand them out to someone special. They look really cute in a little take along bag as well. There are also step-by-step photo’s on my other post from last year as well.
I decided to do a few variations this year, pistachio, almond and coconut. As well as the traditional chocolate drizzled ones. The almond ones I made were good, but they were a tad too big to go on the strawberries and while they were yummy, weren’t exactly camera friendly haha. There are lots of combination’s you could try. It doesn’t take long at all and can be made a day before hand, but it’s best if their eaten the same day as the bottoms begin to get soggy. This time I made them and then stuck each one on a cutting board lined with a silicone baking sheet in the fridge after I dipped them one by one. That way they keep cold while you make the next one.
These are super easy, and really lovely for valentine’s day. Perfect for someone with a sweet tooth, but also healthy too! (right.. I mean, there is fruit involved!) Alright, I better get back to studying! But please make these, they’re so easy and delicious. Or if you’re up for a challenge, try my honey chocolate cupcakes!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Chocolate Covered Strawberries:
- 1-2 pkg Strawberries
- 1 cup Melting Chocolate (dark or milk)
- 1/2 cup White Melting Chocolate
- 1/2 cup medium shredded coconut (optional)
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios (optional)
- Place dark chocolate into a double broiler, and simmer on low. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool slightly. ( I always place a glass mixing bowl over the pot, and then transfer the bowl to a hot plate). Alternatively, microwave on 20 second intervals until soft and melted.
- Do the same with the white chocolate. Then pour the white chocolate into a piping bag, and snip off a tiny bit. You can also reserve some white chocolate to dip the strawberries into as well.
- Wash the strawberries and dry them completely. You’ll want them slightly cool, to help cool the chocolate faster. Dip them one by one into the melted chocolate and place onto a tray, lined in parchment paper or saran wrap or silicone baking mat. Once you’ve finished all of them place the tray into the fridge to harden the chocolate. I placed them into the fridge one by one onto the tray so they would cool faster and harden while I made the others.
- You can if you like also dip them/roll them/or sprinkle them with coconut after you have dipped them into the chocolate.
- Once they have set, using the white chocolate piping bag, drizzle the white chocolate over the dark and place back into the fridge.
- Once they have set completely, you can package them up and give them to someone special!
Of course it’s that time of year again to bake cookies galore!! I baked a ton last year, like Chocolate Thumbprints, my favorite mini-toblerone shortbread, mini chocolate pecan tarts, festive two bite brownies (definitely making these again this year) , and these toasted coconut clusters, which I could eat the entire bowl full.
My aunt also just happened to buy me a new rolling pin! And it was perfect timing, as my old one was falling apart. You see, it had the handle and the metal bar through the middle wooden roller. The one she bought me is a different style than your regular rolling pin with two handles, it’s called a French Rolling Pin. And it’s one large wooden rolling pin with no handles, but slightly larger in the center and slimmer on the sides. It is perfect for rolling out cookie dough, you don’t get those lines or creases in your dough from the handles! I love it!
This one’s similar to mine! If your needing a new rolling pin, get a French pin!
This year we’re having a smaller christmas at home so I’m not going to go overboard with cookies, as i’m sure my mom and I will just end up eating them all!
But I couldn’t resist making these gingerbread men once I bought my cute little mini gingerbread cookie cutter the other day. Along with, a super cute cupcake tree ornament!! I couldn’t help myself.
I don’t overly love gingerbread cookies usually their kinda bland, and seem to always need more icing. But I added a little less spice to these and a dash of cocoa powder to make them a bit sweeter. I made a buttercream type of frosting since i’m not the greatest when it comes to cookie decorating. They make a ton of cookeis, I made them twice and depending on how thick you make them ( for softer men ) or thin ( for a crunchier man ) you can make quite a few, and as well however big your cutter of choice is. You can definitely double the recipe.
I used little sprinkles to decorate with them, and if you don’t want the fuss of icing their already ready when you take them out of the oven!
And, is it just me or was I the only one who didn’t know that gingerbread cookies were made without eggs?? haha, you learn something new everyday!
Give these little guys a try if you starting your holiday baking early. And while you’re here, leave a link to one of your favorite cookies you’ve made for the holidays this year! (more…)