Christmas 2018: A Season of Gratitude

Hello Lovely,

The Christmas season isn`t over yet but what an amazing time I`ve been having so far! I had many reasons to be grateful this year. Apart from the many successes I have experienced this yesr, I`ve never felt more loved by my friends. We did a lot together during the holiday. The holiday gatherings officially started when I took Telia to “The Anti-Office Christmas Party”. We met up with Krista and two of my other friends who were helping Krista`s boyfriend Freddy to bartend. Freddy was super excited about his “Egg-less Eggnog” with Bacon Whiskey. It tasted great but the bacon flavour wasn`t quite there. But when I realised the eggnog was made with whole milk, I had to pass it on to Telia and switch to a Mojito, which is my favourite drink next to a Moscow Mule (blame it on the mint).

After a bit of carousing, it`s safe to say we kind of took over the party. We changed the music and led a raunchy game of What Do You Meme before bringing the house down with some really awkward Celine Dion and Boys II Men karaoke.

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On Christmas Eve, I made Christmas themed pancakes for everyone. I borrowed this pan from my cousin because it was just so cute. They were gingerbread flavoured and everyone loved it! If you want the recipe, check it out below:

Gingerbread Pancakes

 PREP: 7 MINUTES

 COOK: 15 MINUTES

 8 - 10 SERVINGS

Warm spiced gingerbread mini pancakes make an amazing holiday breakfast with the family. Even better, gingerbread pancakes made with our Holiday Pancake Pan, for a festive meal to make with the kids.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoon molasses

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

  • 1 cup milk

Directions

In large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, molasses and melted butter. Pour this mixture into dry ingredients and blend. The batter will be lumpy. Set aside.

Preheat pan on medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Brush pan with shortening or baking spray. Fill cavities with batter, leaving one design cavity open. Cook until the pancakes slowly stop bubbling and edges are done. Using a small spatula or other non-metal utensil, flip each pancake into an open cavity on the pan. Finish cooking until golden brown and remove pancakes. Repeat cooking steps with remaining batter. Makes 20- 24 pancakes.

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Later that evening, I went with Krista, her boyfriend and her sister to see Aquaman at the new Fusion Superplex. I gave it a 6.8/10 because there was just way too much CGI and explosions and I just could not forgive them for using jet skis; you’re mer-people, why do you need jet skis? I went into knowing that it’s DC and not Marvel so my expectations were pretty low.

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On Christmas Day, I had a blast! I slept in until 10 (which totally threw me off schedule), made pancakes again (this time banana, red and green) before opening presents. Christmas really isn’t about presents but I must admit it felt good to get a lot of gifts this year. I got my mum a Tile because she’s always losing her keys and cellphone. I got my best friend Krista an Amazon Echo and she loved it because she said she can set reminders every 30 minutes to tell herself she’s awesome (that’s Krista). I got Telia my favourite Moscato in a really nice wooden crate, a bar of chocolate and a pizza pan. I got the same gift for my boyfriend and dad: An Invicta Watch. I just fell in love with it and it was a great price! Krista’s mum and my grandmother received beautiful blouses and I gifted my grandaunt and her daughter with bottles of wine.

My mum also got my niece the cutest Minnie Mouse ride-on airplane with glowing lights, sounds and a battery operated propeller. Watching my niece open the gift was hilarious. We had to teach her how to open the present and then she was more fascinated with the paper that she ripped off. Once we finally got it opened, she was so excited she couldn’t stop laughing. She pushed it around, pressed the buttons and turned the steering wheel. It was great seeing her so happy.

Then it was time for me to open my presents! I already knew what two of my gifts were but the others were a surprise. I gave myself a new pair of Kate Spade coffee tumblers. I really needed new mugs so I was super happy for this little present to myself. I also got a pair of candles from my step mother. Telia got me a beautiful clutch and a gorgeous pen that I can wait to use! Then it was time for my secret Santa gifts. I knew one was a bottle of wine nut I didn’t know what kind of wine and I knew I got a slow cooker because I asked for it. I was so excited because i’ve wanted a slow cooker for years but my mum refused to let me buy one. She claimed it would raise the light bill too much but there's nothing she can do about it now 😂

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My last gift, I'm actually using right now. It's a gift from my boyfriend. I just happened to mention that I wanted the Microsoft Surface Go and he decided to buy it for me. The feminist in me wanted to say no I will buy it myself but the inner sucker for romance thought it was such a sweet gesture. He was also there for me when the keyboard wouldn’t let me be great. I’m not entirely sure what he did, but everything sorted itself out and it’s become far less painless to use (with autocorrect and predictive text), although I can’t wait for my keyboard cover (a whopping $129) that appears to be lost in transit.

I quickly went into the kitchen to bake my Apple Cranberry Pie because I was having dinner by my best friend Sheena! It has been so great catching up with her and trust me, we both have major plans for 2019! She is one of the most supportive, positive and bubbly people I know and I love having these kind of people in my life. I spent a little time with my dad and step-mom before heading back home.

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Boxing Day (the day after Christmas for my American readers) was also great. I spent time with my boyfriend (after totally sleeping in) before picking up my cousin Kameela who is visiting from Florida. I took her to my family function and we had a great time getting drunk, dancing and even teaching my grandmother how to twerk. I know that sounds so weird, but my grandmother was such a good sport about it, we all just laughed. That’s why this post (that was supposed to go out yesterday) only just got written. I’ve been having so much fun, and spending so much time with friends and family that I just didn’t have the time.

Apart from having my Grandmother home for Christmas, my favourite part was the cool weather. Christmas day is consistently hot for us, like over 80 degrees! So this year, when we had low 70s, no one complained! Then it poured rain all day yesterday. I can’t complain about the rain. God has given me so much this year, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next year. How was your Christmas? Share your favourite (or least favourite) moments of the season in the comment section below!











Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Merry Christmas Lovely,

Yesterday was Christmas and today was Boxing Day! I can’t wait to get into how I celebrated, but that’s a separate post that you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read. Normally I take the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years off, but there’s just so much happening, I had to share. This is the last recipe of the year, and although it’s simple, it’s still really special. I originally planned on sharing this recipe the week before Christmas, but when I got invited to Christmas dinner with my childhood best friend, Sheena, I knew this would be the perfect dish to bring! I’ve done apple pies before, but there’s something about adding cranberries that just makes it super festive.

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I didn’t put a lot of cranberries in, because  I don’t want their flavor to overpower the apples, but if you want more cranberries, go ahead and add them, just reduce the number of apples a bit. Sheena and her family loved the pie so much there was nothing left! I didn’t carry it to my family’s dinner, because I knew it would be better appreciated with a smaller crowd. My family will be bringing various foods and desserts; this pie deserves the opportunity to shine! I feel bad that I didn’t get that “Perfect” picture but I think you guys understand how good this was. I used granola as a topping instead of a crumb topping because it’s easier and I wanted a different flare.

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Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

yield: 8 SERVINGS

prep time: 30 MINUTES

cook time: 30 MINUTES

inactive time: 40 MINUTES

total time: 2 HOURS

Ingredients

  • Pie dough for single crust for a 9.5 inch deep dish pie plate, or you can use your favourite crust recipe

  • 3 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

  • 1/2 cup Truvia or 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare your crust and line a 9.5 inch deep dish pie plate with the pastry. I used a store bought graham cracker crust to save time. Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the apples and cranberries with the sugar, flour, rum, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Let the apples and cranberries sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Place the apples and cranberries into the pastry lined pie plate.

Top the apples with any granola (I used cinnamon flax granola) and even more cranberries. Then before you put it in the oven, add small dots of butter to soften the granola and bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes. Or until apples are tender and crust is lightly browned. Bake time can greatly very based on how crisp and ripe the apples were. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

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Non-Dairy Eggnog

Non-Dairy Eggnog

Are you enjoying to this year’s holiday season as much as me? I am so excited to experiment with new recipes including cookies, cakes and lots of hearty savoury dishes. To stay in shape I like to come up with some easy healthy dishes to survive the holidays. This non-dairy eggnog is super creamy, sugar free and makes for an excellent holiday beverage!

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My 2018 Christmas Wrapping Paper

My 2018 Christmas Wrapping Paper

Instead of grabbing some plain and drab paper from the store, decorate your friends’ and family members’ gifts in a special way. From embellishments to hand-drawn elements there are tons of ways to make your presents for others pop. I’m showing you guys how I personalised my wrapping paper this year.

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DIY Glitter Monogrammed Gift Tag

Hello Lovely,

With only 12 days until Christmas, I’m sure some of you have already started wrapping your gifts. I’m hoping you haven’t because today I’m sharing a quick and easy craft that is going to instantly elevate ANY gift you’re giving this holiday season. I’m kicking off the 12 days of Christmas with a custom gift tag that is so simple, yet so chic.They were super easy to make and affordable too!

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Here’s what you’ll need to make the letters:

  • Glitter

  • Foam Brushes or regular paintbrushes

  • Cardboard or a file folder

  • 2 Inch Printable Letters A-H I-P Q-Z

  • Sharpie

  • Scissors

  • Glue

And here is how I made the letters:

  1. Start by printing out the letters. Each sheet has two of each letter. Cut out the letters you need.

  2. Using a sharpie, trace the letters onto your cardboard or file folder. The cardboard is sturdier but a file folder will work just as well.

  3. You don’t have to, but I shaded in each letter just in case I didn’t get complete coverage with the glitter.

  4. Spread your letters out on a clean work surface, that you can easily lift to the garbage once you’re done. Using one of your brushes, apply the glue to your letters one at a time. Sprinkle the glitter carefully over each letter and allow to dry for 10 minutes. Then shake off excess.

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And that’s it! That’s all it takes! Here they are on my presents! I still added a gift tag but you don’t have to. So there you have it!  Super easy DIY glitter lettered gift tags! How are you wrapping up the holidays?

APPLE CINNAMON WHISKEY SMASH

APPLE CINNAMON WHISKEY SMASH

Get into the Christmas spirit with these Apple Cinnamon Whiskey Smashers. It’s a smooth and warming cocktail that’s easy to create, refreshing, and delicious. Bonus…this drink can be made ahead of time for easy holiday entertaining, and will you thaw you from the inside out!

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CRANBERRY ROSEMARY SPRITZER

Hello Lovely,

Lately my body hasn’t been tolerating alcohol very well, which is a huge bummer, because this is the season for drinking! There’s so much to celebrate! So I’ve had to create a delicate balance between a really healthy diet and gaps in between my drinks so that it doesn’t make me sick.

One of the things I enjoyed this season is this drink. I love the dark smoky feel of it. Feels like there should be a lit cigar next to it (I’m totally against cigars and cigarettes though). I was feeling a little down that my North Pole Cake didn’t turn out quite as expected, so I made this to cheer myself up. This is a great drink to whip up for family and friends at your next holiday gathering. You’ll put in a little work making the rosemary simple syrup, but, come on guys. Isn’t this drink worth it?

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CRANBERRY ROSEMARY SPRITZER

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bottle prosecco

  • 2 ounces peach schnapps

  • 4 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 4 ounces pom juice

  • 1 small bottle mango flavoured soda water

  • 6-8 sprigs rosemary

  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 slices oranges


INSTRUCTIONS

  • Add 1 cup of water to a small pan with 2-3 sprigs of rosemary, bring to a boil.

  • Add sugar to boiling water and stir until sugar dissolves.

  • Remove from heat, strain rosemary leaves and set to cool.

  • Wash cranberries. Set aside.

  • Pour Prosecco evenly into 4 cocktail glasses.

  • Add .5 ounces of peach schnapps, .5 ounces rosemary simple syrup, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 ounce pom juice and a splash of mango soda water to each glass and stir.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of cranberries to each glass.

  • Allow the cranberries time to float to the top of the glass and garnish with 1 sprig of rosemary.

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Friday Favourites: 5 Christmas Movies to Watch This Weekend

Hello Lovely,

It’s the first weekend in December, which means it’s an entirely appropriate time to get in the festive mood with some cosy, Christmassy films (if you haven't already). This weekend, whether you’re chilling inside, wrapping presents scored during cyber weekend deals or out enjoying the weather, you can’t escape the fact that the festive season is here.

I started playing Christmas music in October, so it’s never too early to get into the holiday spirit. And there’s no better feeling than cosying up on a Saturday evening under a blanket and watching your festive faves. Here are a couple available on Lifetime, Hallmark, Netflix and Amazon Prime that you need to watch right now.

A Very Nutty Christmas

A bakery owner has more cookie orders than she has time to fill this holiday season, and when her boyfriend suddenly breaks up with her, any shred of Christmas joy she had inside immediately disappears.Then, she meets a handsome soldier who may actually be a nutcracker that has come to life. Together, they rediscover the magic of Christmas. This movies stars Melissa Joan Hart and Barry Watson so it’s filled with 90’s feels! I sat there the entire movie trying to remember his name because he reminded me so much of Joel Mchale, but I knew he would never be in a Lifetime movie.

A Very Merry Mix-Up

A woman goes to spend Christmas with her fiance's family, but ends up at the wrong house. However, she instantly bonds with the couple who live there and becomes attracted to their son. When the mistake comes to light, she wonders whether she might be happier with her newfound friends than her partner and his relatives. The premise sounds really strange and I had a lot of questions on how she missed all the obvious signs that she was at the wrong house. But my mother really enjoyed this one and I like the actress in it.

The Holiday Calendar

In The Holiday Calendar, a photographer inherits an antique advent calendar—which predicts the future. “Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?” Netflix’s synopsis asks. I started this on Wednesday. Here’s betting the answer is yes.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas


It's bound to be a white Christmas with this classic! From creator Charles M. Shultz and producer Bill Melendez, it's A Charlie Brown Christmas. Not only does this timeless special have the distinction of warming hearts young and old, but it has won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award. Whether you are seeing this holiday masterpiece for the first time or the first time in years, you have doubtless heard of that ol' blockhead Charlie Brown and the little tree that could. Filled with mythology as the gang tries to put on a holiday play, kids big and small will end up with a pretty decent dance party, a lesson for the ages and some good old-fashioned fun. As for the tree -- it's amazing what a little love can do. Available here on Amazon Prime.

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A GINGERBREAD ROMANCE

With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which the teams will design and build life sized gingerbread houses. After the contest, Taylor will likely be getting a promotion to a position in another city. The firm teams her up with Annabelle, a renowned French pastry chef with whom Taylor instantly locks horns. When Annabelle backs out, Taylor stumbles into a local bakery and meets Adam, a baker and single dad. In an act of desperation, Taylor convinces Adam to partner with her for the contest, arguing that winning would give the bakery and his designs much needed exposure. For years Taylor has been resistant to call anywhere “home” for fear it will only be temporary. But the time she spends with Adam and his daughter Brook in their cozy home, decorating for Christmas, and exploring Philadelphia at Christmas, fills her with a longing for a place to call home. Starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry. Available on Hallmark Channel.