Sending you and your loved ones many wishes for a beautiful holiday…xoxo
Need a super easy, but oh-so impressive holiday recipe? I’ve got it for you right here!
This peppermint bark has become my go-to holiday treat. I’ve made at least one batch every year for the last eight years and each time, it’s gotten so many compliments and requests for me to pass on the recipe.
I fell in love with peppermint bark when I worked at Williams-Sonoma. They are famous for it and since I was totally broke when I worked there, my employee discount came in super handy when buying tin after tin. This was also the year I started dating Travis (aka my now chocolate-loving husband) who would always quietly sneak away to the kitchen at all hours of the day to grab a bite of the bark.
The following holiday season, I wasn’t working at Williams-Sonoma because I had landed my corporate marketing job and paying full price for a tin of peppermint bark didn’t fit into my budget, so I made my own. According to Travis, this is his favorite thing I make, so not only is this recipe super easy, but it also gets rave reviews from the chocolate man himself.
As you can tell from those little fingers that snuck in the picture above, I had a helper this year as I made my famous bark. Cecilia has a hand in most everything I make in the kitchen these days (you seriously can’t pry the girl away from cooking and baking), and this is a great recipe for some hands on fun for kids of all ages.
I was feeling lazy the day I made this bark, so I melted all of my chocolate in the microwave and she helped stir between each round of heating. She also lent a hand in unwrapping and breaking up the candy canes, swirling the chocolates together and topping the chocolate with the peppermint bits.
Now that I think about it, Cecilia pretty much made this bark on her own with a little help from me, instead of the other way around.
I’ve given this bark as gifts and taken it to parties, and, like I said before, people always ask for the recipe. This is one of those things that most people can’t believe how easy it is to make based on how it looks and tastes.
We have a tupperware container of this bark in the fridge right now and it’s going FAST.
In fact, hold on a sec while I take another bite of the piece I have sitting right next to me…
This easy recipe is sure to become a quick holiday favorite.
Prepare a lipped cookie sheet (one that fits into your fridge or freezer) with parchment paper.
Melt both chocolates separately in a double boiler (or you can also use the microwave by heating for 15 seconds at a time and stirring between each round until the chocolate is melted).
While the chocolate is melting, begin unwrapping and crushing the candy canes (I put the candy canes in a ziplock bag, wrap that in a paper towel then lightly pound them with a rolling pin).
Once the bittersweet chocolate is melted, pour it into a thin, even layer onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Pour the melted white chocolate on top and combine with a toothpick to make a lovely swirl pattern.
Add the crushed candy canes on top of the chocolate.
Place in the fridge or freezer until completely set – approximately two hours if you’re using the fridge.
Break the chocolate bark apart into whatever size piece you prefer.
Enjoy immediately or store in layers between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container. This will keep in your fridge or freezer for up to two weeks.
Starting the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, I listen to holiday music non-stop. I was so tempted to start earlier this year, but was able to restrain myself and keep to my tradition. Here’s a roundup of my favorite songs, albums and stations to listen to this time of year…
James Taylor Holiday on Pandora – This is my go-to station this time of year. I listen to it ALL THE TIME around the house (it’s actually on in the background right now) and back when I was running the cooking school and teaching cooking classes full-time, I listened to this station while I’d prep. This station is like a big ol’ holiday hug and makes me wish it got really really cold here, so I could snuggle up with a blanket and some hot chocolate and just listen away.
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – My ALL-TIME favorite version of this song is sung by Mr. James Taylor himself. His voice is like absolute butter when he sings the first line of the song and I can’t help, but smile and melt. The lyrics of the song just get me every time, too.
O Holy Night – Nat King Cole sings my favorite version. I love how powerful this song is and that not just any person can sing it.
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – Is there a sweeter holiday song? I’ve never heard a version I didn’t like, but it makes me want to be a really great singer so I record my own version. I did really love this video of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel singing it.
Please Come Home for Christmas – The Eagles version will always be my fave, but I’ve heard quite a few others.
The Christmas Waltz – Frank Sinatra is one of my all-time favorite artists and his version of pretty much every Christmas song ranks up there in my favorites. Why don’t we write Christmas songs like this anymore????
Do You Hear What I Hear? – I was never fan of this song until this year. I heard someone sing it and it was just so sweet and was really one of the first times I actually listened to the words. Do you want to know who that someone was who made me change my mind about this classic carol? Well, you probably know him. His name is Elmo. Yup, THAT Elmo.
Merry Christmas, Darling – The Carpenters! This such a sweet romantic song especially “everyday is a holiday when I’m near to you.” Melt…
A Charlie Brown Christmas album – This show is one of my favorite things to watch this time of year and one year after college, I listened to this album on repeat in my car from Thanksgiving to Christmas. It holds such warm childhood memories and I can’t help, but smile every time I hear these songs.
New Kids on the Block Christmas album – This is where you realize that even though I love James Taylor and Frank Sinatra, I was also a child of the 80s. My sister and I always played this cassette on repeat and we listened to the entire album recently and still knew all the words. Who could forget “This One’s for the Children” or “Funky Funky Xmas”????
*NSYNC Christmas album – And this choice shows I was a high school girl in the 90s. While most of the songs on this album are their version of classic Christmas carols, I love their original “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” I still know it by heart and do a little dance every time I hear it. JC 4-ever!
Share, share, share! What are your favorite holiday tunes?
The holiday crafting, baking and gift-giving season is upon us! These are the things I have on my holiday “to do/make” list…
This year I wanted to have an advent calendar for Cecilia like I did every year growing up. We’re not so much a milk chocolate house and I couldn’t find a quality dark chocolate advent calendar. Instead of going with a traditional chocolate advent calendar like you find at the store, I’m making an advent calendar for Cecilia using all the materials you see below. I purchased all the materials at Michael’s and am going to fill each bag with a small treat for her – coins for her piggy bank, Ghirardelli chocolate, Hot Wheels and the like. I’m looking forward to opening up a bag with her each morning and seeing her face as she unwraps her small gift!
You may remember that we made salt dough ornaments last year for our immediate family using Cecilia’s hand and footprint. This year, we’re going to make ornaments for family again, but I’m going to have Cecilia decorate them herself. Stay tuned for pictures!
Last year, I made some of my favorite recipes from Canning for a New Generation and gave them to family and friends as gifts. I love giving the gift of food, so this year I’m going to do something similar, but will make “mixes” to gift in cute mason jars. I’m thinking muffin, pancake, hot cocoa or cocktail mixes. I’m still in the research stage and will update you with the final gifts!
I’ve been perfecting a holiday mule recipe that I’ll be sharing with you soon. It’s super yummy and can add a festive touch to your holiday party or New Year celebrations!
We’re definitely going to be making sugar cookies this year so Cecilia can get crazy and decorate them with sprinkles and frosting. I have so many cute holiday cookie cutters and I know these cookies will be a hit.
Orange and cranberry is one of my favorite pairings, so I’ll definitely be making these soft and chewy vanilla-orange cranberry cookies.
I’ve always loved the way crinkle cookies (or earthquake cookies) look, so these chocolate crinkles are on my list and I may top them with some extra festive sprinkles to make them more holiday-ish.
Every year I have to make at least one batch of my famous peppermint bark. I’ll be sharing my super simple recipe with you in December, so stay tuned. It’s always a huge hit and is embarrassingly easy to make.
I may also add in this salted chocolate bark, too.
These chocolate peppermint brownies have been on my “to make” list since last Christmas, so I have to make them this year!
Oh, and those peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss on them. No matter how old I get I will still love those as much as I did when I was five.
Hot cocoa cookies? Yes Please!
This double chocolate brownie cookies are always a hit and are so addictive, so I have to add them to my list.
On top of all the baking, I’m going to try to make as many of my favorite cold weather dinners as possible.
And this skillet cranberry roasted chicken has to get made at least once because it looks like Christmas in a dish.
Are there even enough days for me to make all these things? I hope so!
What’s on your crating/gifting/drinking/baking/cooking list this holiday season?!?!?
This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.
All opinions are my own.
Have you ever looked around and seen how many people are staring down at their phone at any given moment? If you haven’t, it’s incredibly eye-opening.
We’ve gone to restaurants for breakfast as a family and looked at the table next to us and each person was on their phone. Seriously, there was no interaction of any kind (unless they were all texting each other). Even when the food came, heads were down and there was zero conversation happening. Whether it’s checking social media, writing an email, texting a friend or playing a game, the amount of time we spend on our phones versus talking to the people around us, enjoying the scenery or watching our children play is crazy.
Just this weekend, I was driving home with Cecilia and saw a woman completely blow through a red light. Thankfully cross traffic saw her coming and avoided a terrible accident, but as she flew by me, I looked at her and she had her head down looking at her phone and had NO IDEA that she could have just significantly injured herself or others.
Of course, our phones are great because they can keep us in touch with people we can’t always see in person and I’m not saying I’m innocent or don’t get sidetracked on my phone because I totally do. Recently, though, I’ve been paying more and more attention to how much I’m on my phone when I should be paying attention to other things or people.
Since our life is pretty scheduled with a toddler around, I always check my phone to see what time it is. Then, I see I have a text or an email and can’t keep but looking at that. Then since I’m on my phone I check Instagram, Facebook, the news, etc and before you know it, I’ve gotten completely caught up in it when there’s really no point because all I needed to know was the time. Returning texts, checking social media and so on can all wait until Cecilia is asleep and I’m at my home computer. All of those bad behaviors have become a habit that I want to break.
More and more I want to leave my phone behind so I don’t feel the constant need to check it for things that can wait until later. But then I think, what if there was an emergency and I needed my phone to make a call or someone needed to get ahold of me? If the reason I initially looked at my phone was to check the time, then all I really need to help in breaking the habit is a watch.
In comes JORD Wood Watches.
When I was approached by JORD about their watches, I was intrigued because this was exactly what I was looking for at exactly the right time. I’ve been wanting to get a great watch for a while now, but never found the right one. At first I was attracted to watches with all the crystals and sparkles, and now I’m glad I didn’t buy one of those because it just doesn’t fit my current lifestyle. I need a watch that is timeless in its style (yes, I know “timeless” is an ironic thing to say you’re looking for in a watch) and could go from working out to grocery shopping to play dates to date night.
JORD offers unique watches for men and women in a variety of styles and are a great idea if you you’re thinking ahead to holiday shopping. The watches are made with a variety of woods including walnut, bamboo and sandalwood and have a unique design that anyone on your gift list will appreciate. This is the watch pictured that was sent to me. It is stunning, comfortable and makes a fashionable statement.
JORD watches also come with customized sizing to fit your or your loved ones wrist perfectly. This was a huge plus for me, since I have skinny wrists that most watches don’t fit. I also found that the watch face is a perfect size for a petite person like me with tiny wrists.
Another huge plus if you’re looking to give one of these cool watches as a gift, is the packaging. Each watch comes in a gorgeous wood box (pictured above) that will impress your giftee at first sight – no extra wrapping needed!
To get your holiday gifting off to a fantastic start, JORD is generously hosting a giveaway for readers of my site!
Here is the giveaway information:
All you have to do is CLICK HERE TO ENTER!
*Everyone who enters their information will be emailed a $20 e-code to be used on the JORD website. What could be better than that?!?
*All e-codes are valid through March 31, 2017.
*This contest is open now and will close November 27, 2016.
Let’s all pledge to putting our phones down and staying connected (in person!) to our family and friends this holiday season!