fast holiday sweets and treats

Tis the season of holiday sweets, treats & parties! If you are anything like me, you have overbooked yourself this holiday season- between kid’s parties, friend’s parties, bunko nights, work gatherings, christmas shopping & wrapping, holiday traveling… the list goes on.

So, I’ve rounded up some yummy, but FAST, go-to treats for all those times you need to take a cookie to a school party, christmas gifts to the neighbors, or just having the girls over for a night of fun! They are all delicious, fast to make, and super cute and festive.


Soft Maple Sugar Cookies

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Ok, now these probably take the longest out of all the treats on here- BUT- it is so simple of a recipe, and it makes 3 dozen cookies! That’s enough for school Christmas party treats AND treats for the neighbors.

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon (or, if you can find it, maple cinnamon sprinkle)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (add more for a richer maple flavor- then just add more powdered sugar- you won’t screw it up!)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (and more or less for proper consistency- again, you won’t mess it up!)

Cream together butter, sour cream, sugar and powdered sugar, in a mixer, until smooth. Add in the vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs. Stir on low speed until mixed. Then, add in baking soda and continue to mix- on a low speed- for 10-20 seconds.

One cup at a time, add in the flour. Once all flour has been added and incorporated, form dough into a ball and knead the dough on a flour covered surface until it is no longer sticky. You may need to add/sprinkle flour to the dough.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Then, use a 2.5 inch diameter circle cookie cutter and cut out circles- place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting- beat butter, cream cheese, vanilla, maple syrup, and powdered sugar with a mixer. Beat until smooth. Add more maple syrup or powdered sugar for desired consistency. Using the back of spoon, frost each cookie and sprinkle with cinnamon. I dare you not to just dip the cookies in the frosting all. day. long.


Christmas Rice Krispie Treat Balls

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Ingredients

  • Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Cereal
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Butter
  • Red food coloring
  • Green food coloring
  • Christmas sprinkles

To get the three colors- you will need to make three batches. The easiest way to do it is get out 3 large glass bowls. In each bowl put 3 tbsp of butter. Then, do the next set of instructions all for one bowl before moving on to the next.

Heat the butter in the bowl for 45 seconds, or until melted. Then pour in 3 cups of mini marshmallows. Toss until coated in the butter. Microwave for 1minute and 30 seconds- stirring after 45 seconds. Once finished, stir until smooth. Now, add the food coloring of your choice- or none if doing the white ones – mix until the color is vibrant and incorporated. Next, add 3 cups of Rice Krispies cereal. Once mixed, wait until it is cool enough to not burn you but warm enough to still be malleable. Butter your hands and roll them into balls!

Repeat these steps with the remaining 2 bowls adding whatever color or sprinkles you want!


Spiced Apple Cider

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Ash made this for me last time I was in SF with her- and now I have it almost every day!

Ingredients

In a large pot- add 2 parts apple juice to 1 part cranberry juice. Put a few tablespoons of the spices in the mulling ball and let simmer in the juices for 20 minutes. Remove the spices and enjoy! SO simple, so yummy, and makes your house smell AMAZING! Keep it in the fridge and just reheat when you want some more!


Peanut Butter Balls

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter- get the GOOD stuff, not the healthy 😉
  • 4 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Dark, milk, or semi sweet chocolate or a mixture of some of them! I do half milk/half semi sweet
  • Shortening

Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside. Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla on high speed until smooth and creamy. Form into small balls (remember they will be even bigger once they have chocolate on them, so don’t make them too big!) and place on the baking sheet. Once you have formed all the balls, place them in the freezer.

Once they are frozen- it’s time to make your chocolate. Dump two bags of chocolate chips (dark, semi, milk- or a combo!) into a glass bowl with 2 tablespoons of shortening. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute- remove and stir thouroughly. Repeat doing shorter intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Take a box of tooth pics and stick one in a frozen peanut butter ball, dip it in the chocolate and tap on the side of the bowl to let the excess chocolate drip off. Place it on the parchment/wax paper and use another toothpick to help push it off. Then dip another toothpick into the chocolate and use it to cover the top of the peanut butter ball that is was not covered in chocolate- give it a little swirl to make it look fancy if you’d like 😉 Repeat steps with remaining ones! Put in fridge to harden. If your chocolate starts to harden- just pop it back in the microwave!


Santa Crunch Popcorn

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Ingredients

  • 10 cups of Popcorn- Use the microwavable bags!! These are time saver recipes!
  • salt
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups Mini marshmallows
  • Mini M&M’s – red/green
  • Pretzel M7M’s – red/green
  • Christmas sprinkles

Pop 2 bags of popcorn in the microwave and pour it out on a wax paper or parchment paper covered surface. Pick out the unpopped kernels- no one wants to bite into one of those!

Next, in a glass bowl, add 3 tbsp of butter- melt in the microwave, approximately 45seconds. Stir. Add 3 cups of mini marshmallows. Toss to coat. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds- stirring after 45 seconds. Once finished in the microwave, stir until smooth. Pour it over your popcorn! Gently fold the popcorn and marshmallow mixture together with your hands or a spoon. Then add the candies & sprinkles! Let it cool and then enjoy!


Hot Chocolate Fudge

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups Chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14oz) + 4 tbsp Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup White chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups Mallow Bits (mini hot chocolate marshmallows)

In a glass bowl, combine the chocolate chips with the 140z can of sweeter condensed milk. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth adding 15 seconds at a time back in the microwave if not smooth. Pour into a foil lined 8×8 pan that has been greased with butter. Combine the white chocolate chips and 4 tbsp of sweetened condensed milk in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds- stirring and heating until smooth. Spread this mixture on top of the other chocolate layer. Top with mini marshmallows- then gently press down. Refrigerate until set and then cut into bite sized pieces!

 

xox

happy baking!

 

love in action + 25% code

When it comes to the holidays we are all thinking about the people on our Christmas list and what to give them; however, are we thinking about all of those people who are not able to check off their list of even basic needs? I have something you can do to help with your list and the lists of others.

Evolve.

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I have raved about this new company many times before [here] and I’m going to do it again! For every evolve- love in action purchase you make, it includes a social giveback to one of their Love In Action Partners. These are non-profit organizations committed to social justice and the quest to end poverty. They are located in Thailand, South Africa and the United States. Each organization demonstrates core values that evolve, as well as Ash and I, stand behind: compassion, empowerment, wholeness, courage and creativity.

So, let’s say you have that running/workout pal who loves herself a good pair of leggings! Grab the Rupa or VaVa leggings or a great capri like the Dawn. If you purchased these you would not only be giving your friend an amazing Christmas gift, but also giving 2 days of school, 3 warm meals, and personal hygiene kits to someone in need! Complete the outfit with the Deb halter or Mryna tank and you’ll be giving a child 1 week to 1 month of school supplies! Let’s not forget a sports bra and give the gift of education to a child!

Then, let’s not forget about the men in our life! Evolve has just launched their new men’s line and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek before they launched it, when they were here in Dallas. Let’s just say, my super picky husband love the line. Their shirts were so soft I wanted a set of sheets made out of them- and the shorts were finally a length, fit, and style I could get on board with for men’s work out shorts. There will be a couple packages under the tree for my man from this line.

The Mike tee is the incredibly soft, and amazing work out tee. Five minutes after a work out your man won’t even know he was sweating. It’s amazing. Plus, just by purchasing it, it provides 10 years of clean water to someone in need in an under-developed country! Then complete the outfit with the Eric short and you will be giving your man a complete outfit and also providing one hour of job skills training for a homeless youth in the US!

I love the founders behind this company and their passion for their vision. It shows every time I get to talk to and see them.  “Evolve – love in action seeks to empower and inspire those who wear its clothes… to be their best selves and to be a part of something much bigger. Each piece is thoughtfully designed to make you feel beautiful from the inside out.”

So…. you’re sold, right!? Me too. I have been for awhile. Just when you think it can’t get better- they are giving all of our lovely friends 25% off the ENTIRE STORE through December to get your Christmas list checked off and to help better our world!

Use code: JUNIPERLEMONS 

and please tag us, @juniperlemons,  and evolve, @evolve_loveinaction, in your new gear so we can see the amazing faces behind helping our community!

happy shopping!

xox

aj

Read more about why I love evolve and my passion in helping build our future on their blog, here.

 

gift guide under $40

It’s the time of year where you are running around like a crazy person trying to remember every school party, work gathering, and hostess gift you were supposed to go to, bring, and write a thank you note about. There is so much going on and because of that, if you are like me, you are going to get that doorbell ring from someone you completely forgot to grab a gift for during your last Target, Anthro, mall, let’s be real- entire metroplex trip.

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I’m going to give you guys a little tip that our mom taught us – always have some gifts wrapped, labeled with what is in them, and stashed in a closet for those unexpected gift givers that show up! This way, you are never caught off guard or stressed-at least about this part of the holidays.

Here are some of our picks for stash & grab gifts under $40 for adults:

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1 Reversible Prep & Serve Board | 2 Capri Blue Iridescent Jar Candle | 3 Celestial Coaster Set

4 Sweet Salutation Travel Mug | 5 Slivered Geode Coaster 6 Anthro Measuring Spoons

7 Hammered Copper Mug | 8 Stance Socks | 9 Levtex Faux Shearling Throw

10 Orbit Key Finder | 11 Organic Herb Garden Kit Set of 2  | 12 Holiday Garden Seed Kit

13 Kate Spade New York 2017 Agenda Book | 14 Polar Bear Snow Tube

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happy holiday shopping!

xox

aj

gifts for mom

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner so get that gift ordered stat!  Let’s be honest… these are really things that I’m currently wanting, but I think they’d make great gifts for moms too!

Gold Confetti Tumblers – set of 2 for $20 from Paper Source.  Whether she drinks Diet Dr. Pepper or whiskey straight, it will taste better sipping from these glasses.  Obviously.

Tom Ford lip color – $52 at Nordstrom.  The Sable Smoke, Spanish Pink, and Bare Peach colors are my top picks… but really they’re all lovely!  A bit pricey for a lipstick, but a luxurious splurge for any mom!

Capri Blue Iridescent Jar Candle – $28 at Anthropologie.  I’m particularly fond of the “Volcano” scent, but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.

Aldalora Throw – $128 at Anthropologie.  Can’t get over the cozy.  Pair this throw with a good book and if you’re not mom’s favorite already, you will be.

Jo Malone ‘Nectarine Blossom & Honey’ Body Crème – $75 at Nordstrom.  I own a couple Jo Malone products, but I don’t yet have the Nectarine Blossom scent and I’m craving it for Spring/Summer.  Simply divine.

MUMM Napa Brut Reserve Rose – $39   Mumm for the Mum!  Because it’s pink, and bubbly, and yummy.  Happiness in a bottle.

Jo Malone ‘Nectarine Blossom & Honey’ Cologne (1oz) – $65 at Nordstrom.  Last time I quizzed the sales clerk, the Nectarine Blossom scent was the best selling Jo Malone fragrance in the U.S.  So there’s a good chance your mom will love it too.

Cashmere Travel Wrap by White and Warren – $298 at Anthropologie.  Mom a traveler?  There nothing more practical and posh than a cashmere wrap.

The perfect card.  There are so many great ones to choose from at Paper Source!  Prices range from $3.50-$8.

 

xoxo