Mini Santa Hat Cheesecakes

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By Baked Rachel

Yield: 12 cheesecakes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes plus chill time

Mini eggnog flavored cheesecakes with chocolate crust, topped off with fresh sweetened whipped cream and strawberry Santa hats.

Ingredients:

Crust:

10 Chocolate sandwich cookies (see note)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

Filling:

12oz cream cheese, softened
1/2C granulated sugar
1/2C eggnog
1 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
Whipped cream:

1/2C heavy cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
12 Strawberries
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a mini cheesecake pan.
In a food processor, blend cookies until only fine crumbs remain. Combine crumbs with butter and sugar. Divide between prepared cheesecake cavities, adding 1 small cookie scoop of crust mixture to each cavity. Press down firmly to create an even layer. Bake for 5 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
In a large bowl or stand mixer beat together cream cheese and granulated sugar until fluffy and smooth. With mixer running on low, slowly add eggnog, flour, vanilla and salt. Gradually increase speed, mixing until no lumps remain. Finally, add egg, mixing until combined and no streaks remain.
Divide batter between cheesecake pan cavities using a medium scoop. Add roughly 1 and 1/4 medium scoop or a heaping scoop to each cavity. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cheesecakes are set.
Allow cheesecakes to sit in pan on a wire rack until they are room temperature. Transfer cheesecakes to refrigerator to chill overnight or until chilled through.
In a medium bowl, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Cover and chill until ready to use.
Carefully remove cheesecakes from pan, removing the pan disc from the crust. Top off with whipped cream and strawberries. Sprinkle with optional powdered for a snow dusted look.
*For the crust, use 10 whole Oreo cookies minus the cream filling (or 20 chocolate cookies, no filling).

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DIY Rustic Felt Christmas Trees

by Little House of Four

Easy and inexpensive felt Christmas trees perfect for adding a natural element to your holiday decor.

Hands down, my favorite place to look for easy to DIY decor ideas are store catalogs and websites. They usually have tons of inspiration and most can be completed for a fraction of the original price.
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I recently stumbled upon some felt trees on Target’s website that I fell in love with.  I wasn’t really planning on making them, but when someone commented that they would love a tutorial, I couldn’t resist.
SUPPLIES NEEDED TO MAKE FELT TREES
-Felt (about a half yard per tree)
-Sticks
-Scissors

These little rustic trees are SUPER easy to make and cost next to nothing, thanks to mother nature.  I bought my felt at Joann’s and was lucky enough to catch a 50% off sale.  (I used about a half yard of felt for each tree).

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To make things easy, I searched online for a Christmas tree template and found this one.  I printed it out then used my scanner to resize it down to three different sizes.
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I folded the template in half then folded my felt in half and started cutting out trees.  Many, many trees!
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After all my trees were cut my son and I went hiking in the woods for the perfect log and sticks.  Using my chop saw, I cut the wood down to make the tree stands then got started gluing.
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I simply folded each piece of felt in half, applied hot glue to the fold then added the felt to the stick. Make sure the stick is about a half inch from the top of each felt tree top.  I repeated these steps over (and over and over……) until my tree was full.
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After I had all my felt trees glued it was time to make the “peak.”  To do this I added glue to the center and worked each piece into the glue until I was happy with the shape.
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After I had all the felt trees glued I gave each one a little trim to shape them up then glued the stick onto the wood base.  I used hot glue, but I think wood glue would actually hold up much better.  I may even end up using a drill bit to drill a small hole in the base, allowing the stick to slip down into the base. Regardless, I’m loving how they turned out!
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[Make] Satin Ribbon Poinsettia Wreath

By Bliss Bloom

Poinsettia Wreath

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This wreath is inspired by the ribbon-poinsettia wreath from Martha Stewart. Since I didn’t quite understand their tutorial, I decided to do it my own way… which I think is a bit easier.

Click “Read more” for the tutorial
Satin Ribbon Poinsettia Wreath Tutorial

Materials Needed:
1 12-inch beveled styrofoam wreath
3 spools (12 ft) of 1.5-inch satin ribbon (for flowers)
1.25 spools (13 ft) of 3-inch satin ribbon (to cover wreath)
1 box of floral pins

{Make Poinsettias}

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see the Poinsettia tutorial [HERE]

for the record, my wreath is comprised of:
8, 5-inch flowers
7, 4-inch flowers
6, 3-inch flowers

if you have a larger wreath form (say 18-inch), you’ll want to adjust your flower size & the number of flowers used accordingly.

{Cover the Wreath}

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wrap the wreath with the 3-inch satin ribbon.
secure the ends of the ribbon to the back of the wreath with a few floral pins.

{Fixing Frays…}

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if the ribbon frays, you can fix it by melting the edges over a candle. the ribbon should NOT touch the flame. hold the ribbon at LEAST one inch above the flame– this will melt & seal the edges without burning or discoloring the ribbon.

{Assemble the Flowers}

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secure the poinsettias to the wreath using the floral pins

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3 pins total per flower– one for every fold.

start with one flower…

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then add another… and another…

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until the front of the wreath is covered.
then hang it up & enjoy!

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Silly Season Sangria

There is a Sangria for every occasion- every holiday and every season. You simply customize the colors of the fruit to coincide with the theme of the party!

We all know the holiday season can get a little nutty. So, in honor of the hectic holiday season there is Silly Season Sangria!

Items Needed:

Large bottle of White wine

2 apples

1 orange

1 pomegranite

8 oz fresh cranberries

Triple Sec

Brandy

1 liter club soda

large beverage dispenser

Step 1

Cut 2 Smitten Apples (or any type) into cubes.

Slice 1 Orange.

Slice 1 Pomegranite.

Step 2 

Pour a large bottle of Chardonnay or any white wine into the drink dispenser.

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Step 2

 

Step 3

Add 1 cup of brandy.

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Step 3

Step 4

Add 1/2 cup triple sec.

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Step 5

Add all fruit to drink mixture. Let soak for a couple of hours or even overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 6

Scoop out some of the fruit and put aside in a bowl. Then add club 1 liter of club soda AT the time you are ready to serve the drink. Keep the bowl of fruit next to dispenser to top of the cup of holiday cheer! Enjoy!image

Use Your Tree Trimmings for Decoration

When you trim your tree keep the clippings!

Evergreen clippings can be used in various ways for holiday decorating – on a table, mantle, swags or bouquets – inside or outside. You can easily dress them up or enjoy their simple, natural beauty.

Step 1

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Sort the evergreens. You can mix the different types for a variety of color, shape and size of needle or use one type of evergreen for uniformity.

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Lay out each branch so you can see its natural shape. Once you lay the second branch on top of the first you can determine the size you want for your third. img_4866

Depending on how or where you’re displaying the swag or bouquet you may want to add more branches.

Step 3

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Prepare to tie the three branches together a couple of inches from the bottom. Garden string is good but you can also use zip ties, string or a rubber-band will work too. img_4868
Now is a good time to trim the evergreens for shape.

Step 4
Spray snow time! Give it a good shaking.

Have an approach with the spray snow before you start. Do you want a heavier spray throughout the top half or just on the tips? There’s no wrong way.

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And remember if there’s wind outside, spray down-wind… The spray will definitely dampen a cheery mood if it gets in your eyes.

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Let it dry for 10 minutes.

Step 6
Decide if you want to keep the greens natural and simple or if you want to dress them up a little by adding some ornamental balls or pinecones, etc. If you are putting them in a vase for display, add water to prevent them from drying out quickly.

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Then put your new decoration on display!

Little Things Make A Big Difference

It’s the little things that make a big difference. Right?

Simple things around your home or even in the kitchen can be a lovely addition to your holiday décor!

 

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Mercury glass bowl with holiday floral picks

 

 

A glass bowl, tall clear glass vase, footed cake and apothecary jars – big and small, are all great to use.

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Christmas balls and citrus

 

 

Use any variety of filler: Christmas balls, replacement bulbs, potpourri, peppermints, citrus fruits, berries, pinecones.

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Silver bowl with pinecones and Christmas balls

 

They are all fun and festive ways to add more color to a room!jar-of-replacement-bulbs

Adding snow spray is another simple way to add a finishing touch…the options are endless! Just have fun!

 

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Mercury glass bowl with balls and decorative garland

 

 

The Tradition of the Christmas Pickle

pickle  Have you noticed the pickle ornament while out shopping for your tree trimmings and holiday décor? Do you know its meaning?

The Christmas Pickle is actually a German tradition that many have adopted for their tree. It is a fun game and tradition to have with your family for the years to come!

Following an Old World custom, parents waited until Christmas Eve to hide a small pickle ornament on the Christmas tree, tucking it deeply out of sight among the branches.

On Christmas morning, the first family member to find the pickle hidden in the brush was the winner and awarded with a special blessing for the coming year. In addition, the winner received the first gift from under the tree!