Visions of Sugar Plums and Cookies and Candy

Christmas is less than a week away, so let's cut to the chase and get baking. Whether you are making cookies for Santa, creating something to give as gifts or just wanting another excuse to eat all the Christmas treats possible, let me be your guide to some of my fave seasonal sweets.

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My Signature Sugar Cookies were the first thing I remember learning how to bake. They get made for various events throughout the year, but always get made on Christmas Eve and set out for Santa. 

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White Chocolate & Cranberry Christmas Cookies need I say more? Mom made these a couple weeks ago for a cookie exchange party and I'll go out on a limb and guess they were a hit;)

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Peppermint Bark is so Christamsy and what I have made the past two years for co-worker gifts!

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Cookie Butter Rice Krispies get a festive flair added to them by using red and green sprinkles to decorate. Also great for co-worker gifts or work pot-luck parties.

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This post has me questioning why I haven't made my White Chocolate Dipped Oatmeal Ginger Cookies this season yet? These suckers are BOMB for lack of a better word.

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Christmas Crack courtesy of my blogger bestie Molly! Need a last minute gift idea? Here you go, and yes it's crack. "Say crack again."

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Dreaming of a white Christmas? These Snowball Cookies help make dreams come true!

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Homemade Turtles are the least scary homemade candy you can make. Because when else, but at Christmas do you make homemade candy?

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Merry Berry Scones are perfect for Christmas morning.

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Lastly, Perfect CCCs - Christmafied! I made a massive batch this year to give as gifts! Packaged them in Chinese take-out boxes, and tied with a red bow! 

Merry Christmas from Take A Bite!

Annie

Bites of My Life

We are about half way through February. How does this happen? Last week was busy which meant it flew by. This weekend was busy in a fun way, meaning it also flew by. I didn't have enough hours in the day today to get everything done to prep for this week. I'm typing as fast as I can, barely keeping my eyes open as I write this post with the Grammy's in the background, my computer at 13% and precisely 24 minutes past my bedtime (It's currently 9:24pm on Sunday night, yes I go to bed at 9pm like a grandma). 

So let's keep it brief since sister needs to get in bed. Last week was work, workout, eat repeat; per usual. This week looks the same, but I'm so excited to head down to Dallas on Friday for a little BFF reunion. I won't mind another speedy week!!

-Real life I love having time to make breakfast, but I secretly love protein and energy bars as much as homemade smoothies. Green tea and an almond butter Kize bar on the go!
-This brussels sprout salad was a treat last week. It had a brown butter vinaigrette which is being recreated so soon. 
-Smoothie bowl hack using a pre-made smoothie from Pure Food + Juice.
-Lunch last week and this week will look like this. Kale/romaine taco salad with turkey meat, avo, green onions, tomato, salsa and crushed plantain chips. So good and whole 30!
-Perfected these dense fudgey brownies. The recipe got posted last week so you can enjoy them too. P.S. these are a perfy chocolate treat for that holiday that happens on Tuesday.
-The best part of StudioHop is getting back into hot yoga. I have been pretty devoted to just Barre3 and cardio with some interval classes mixed in, but I've missed hot yoga. The flexibility of SH allows me to go to so many studios and classes with just one membership. Sign up before 3/6/17 and use my code 'anniehopokc' to get $20 off your first month!
-Beyond obsessed with Beyond Studios. Their 500 class is a butt kicker and I can't get enough. I've been dropping in their classes thanks to none other than, StudioHop.
-I was first introduced to 88 Acres by my friend Dana. She sent me some of there chocolate sunflower seed butter and it knock nutella out of the park. Dana got me hooked up with the company and now I'm hooked on their seed bars. They are a 100% nut free brand-kudos.
-It hit 90 degrees on Saturday in OKC. Hello taste of spring!
-With Valentine's/Galentine's/Single Awareness day on the horizon it means all the sweets and treats and pink things. After my timehop reminded me that I posted these Snickerdoodles a year ago I was craving them. I made them along with these for my gal pal celebration.
-This week's meal prep looks like this: roasted delicata squash (first timer!!) tossed with parsley, shallot, lime juice and red pepper flakes. 
-Squash to go with these crispy skillet turmeric chicken thighs. Comment if you want the recipe!

Annie

Last Minute Holiday Treats

I love my job, but if I could quit my job and just stay home and bake all day, I'd be the happiest. And probably the fattest. This time of year especially, all I want to do is bake.

I'm a little down to the wire, but I still had a few special people I wanted to gift with a little something. I made up a batch of my peppermint bark and cookie butter rice krispie treats, with festive sprinkles, of course. Packaged them up and I'm getting them delivered today. Below I have rounded up tasty holiday treats, some made by me, the rest inspired by others.  Co-workers, neighbors, classmates, instructors, yourself ;), anyone who is still left on your list would love one of these treats! Just click on any picture above for it to take you to the recipe. 

The first few recipes are pulled from the TAB archives, but these other gorgeous recipes are from the gals below! 

Baked by Rachel's Chocolate Eggnog Cupcakes with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting

Sally's Baking Addiction's Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Cookie + Kate's Peppermint Bark Popcorn

Local Roots Dietitian's Healthy Holiday Peppermint Brownies

And Ina's Spicy Hermit Bars

And because it's the season of giving, I'm giving you a few more ideas that could easily be transformed Christmasy with a few sprinkles or red & green colored candies like my Signature Sugar Cookies (we make these for santa every year), Cookie Butter Rice Krispies, Cookie Butter Popcorn, M&M Cookie Pizza, Homemade Pop Tarts and Slutty Brownies.

I'm spicing my sugar cookies up a bit this year and adding crystallized ginger in them. Inspired by Ina of course. Because WWTBCD? Add crystallized ginger to her sugar cookies! I'll keep you posted on how they turn out. 

Annie

Hearts Will Pop For Homemade Pop Tarts

More valentine posts, are you sick of them yet? This one involves sugar so you can't be too mad. This homemade version of the beloved childhood treat were made for my sweet galentines. I wanted to bake my gals something sweet, but something different. I'm pretty pleased with how these pop tarts turned out, not to mention they are supa easy. They also took my back to my D.C. days getting homemade pop tarts at Ted's Bulletin

Store-bought pie crust, jam and icing. Not usually my style to go the store-bought route, but in this case it totally works. 

Homemade Pop Tarts
makes 18

Ingredients:
3 boxes of store bought pie crust, 2 rolls of dough in each
1 jar of red raspberry jam, or any flavor
1 egg
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. of milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
food coloring and sprinkles

Directions:
Take one sheet of pie dough and roll it out a little thinner than it comes packaged, this will give you more area to cut-out from. Using a pizza cutter or a knife cut out your rectangles. In the picture above you can see how I managed this. Let me tell you, it's hard cutting rectangles from a circle surface area, but with some precision you can get about 6 rectangles from what you are working with. Lay these out on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Spread a small tablespoon of jam on each piece of dough, making sure you don't get too close to the edges. 

Now it's time to roll out your next pie dough and cut 6 more rectangles. Before you layer these on top, beat an egg and brush the whole rectangle with the egg wash. This will act as glue to keep the top and bottom pop tart layer together. Using a fork, crimp the edges together and pierce the top. Finish rolling and cutting your dough, filling with jam and assembling your tarts onto cookie trays. **Make sure and save your scraps of crust to bake! I sprinkled mine with cinnamon sugar and my roommates and I happily gobbled them up!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While your oven is preheating, place your cookie sheets of pop tarts in the fridge to firm up. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are just golden brown!

While your pop tarts are cooling, it's time to make the icing. Whisk up the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla extract and food coloring if you choose. Using a spoon, spoon on a small amount of icing and spread it over the center area, my icing had a mind of its own and spread everywhere, but hey, it's "rustic" right? Decorate with sprinkles and you now have the cutest treat ever! **Tip- pop them the toaster oven or microwave before eating!

This list of directions is a little long, but these pop tarts are actually very easy!

These little guys were so fun to make and even more fun to giveaway to my girlie friends. Like I said, they are fairly simple so if you are in a bind and in need of a last minute valentine treat, these should fit the bill! 

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Stay tuned tomorrow for a DIY on how to package up these pretties!

Annie

I Heart U

Valentine's Day is the cutest holiday in my opinion. I've expressed my liking for this day before, but there is nothing more girly than hearts and candy and pink. Seems like the day was made for me if you asked me! Why not have a day dedicated to telling people how much you love them?
My heart starts fluttering the second the Valentine candy hits the shelves! I spent a good portion of yesterday putting together Valentines for my friends! Since I can't virtually give you all something, I've rounded up some Vday goodies and treats from around the web to show you how much I <3 U!
I propose you wake up Saturday morning and make yourself an egg in a heart. Then proceed by making one of these heart-shaped cookie trees and decorating with foil heart balloons or DIY conversation heart balloons! These pink tassel earrings and kiss kiss shirt make for the perfect Vday outfit, especially while you chow down on some xoxo brownies and valentine bark. Don't forget to send a cute card to someone you love. They would probably enjoy these chocolate heart pretzels too! Finish your day with a cup of tea in one of Ashley Brooke's "more sugar please" mugs, paired with a deceivingly healthy cupcake for a sweet ending!
Now if this wasn't enough lovey dove goodness for you, check back tomorrow for delicious #takeabite treat recipe!

Annie