The Joy in Jolley

Recipes

Super Bowl Chaos

Angela's Posts, Events, Recipes, TestimonialsCole ImperiComment

I remember when Super Bowls for me meant enjoying a beer with my husband/friends, making a variety of yummy appetizers and eagerly awaiting the half time show...last night I did watch the Super Bowl but I was also making homemade play dough for my son's preschool, eating a Digiorno pizza and dvr'ing the half time show to watch after wrestling my toddler to bed! Life sure has changed but I love the crazy chaos. I am sharing the play dough recipe I used with you all to make for your kiddos. This was SUPER easy and although I was hesitant at first because I just didn't see the play dough forming...after about 7-9 minutes on low heat it really did come together and my son and I enjoyed making a variety of colors.

best-playdough-recipe-ever

If you were lucky enough to host a party with your friends here was a fantastic food idea that I shared on my Facebook page earlier last week. I love this because it is perfect for any fall/winter party and very easy to throw together, it even includes some great printable labels! Courtesy of: Celebrations at Home Blog

Photo courtesy of: Celebrations At Home

 

Red, White and Blue

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

Happy 4th of July!! This is such a great time to throw a party for all your friends and family and decorating is such a breeze because the theme is already picked out for you: red, white and blue! Here are some of my favorite festive party ideas this year: When planning a party one of the first things I do, besides coming up with a theme, is decide on the food menu. Once you have the theme and menu the rest sort of falls in place. For the Fourth I really love this sangria recipe courtesy of Imagine Design made with fresh red, white and blue fruit.  The best party of this cocktail choice is it is really easy to make sangria...I mean really really easy! Another cute idea...the rocket dogs below, these are perfect for the kiddos.

Fourth of July Sangria

Fourth of July Food

You know I have to include a special section on desserts! Here are a few that I really love and are quick to make...with a crazy two year old running around everything I make these days can be done in just minutes! Another thing that has changed with desserts around the Jolley house is almost everything now includes fruit, I try to get in some healthier options whenever I can. These desserts would be perfect for us this year...I am also including a VERY simple candy display because sometimes less really is more.

Click on the below photos to be taken to that particular recipe.

Fourth of July Dessert Ideas

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candy buffet

Here are some FREE printables to add to the decor of your party...they can be downloaded and printed by also clicking on the photos!

4th of July Subway Art

sparkler printablesLastly, I have to include this genius idea...I have no idea why I have never thought of this before!!

Sparkler safety

Lucky Charms!

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Now courtesy of Pinterest it is so easy to find great holiday recipes, crafts and other fun ideas. Here are a few of my favorite kid friendly crafts that I found and are super easy to put together. I especially love the pot of gold with their little hand print as the rainbow.

St. Patty's day Kids

Another fun find for today is yummy treats. My son and I plan on making the Lucky Charms marshmallow treats today courtesy of the recipe I found on JW Illustrations blog!

St. Patricks Day

Lucky Charms Treat Recipe:

Ingredients
  1. 6 cups Lucky Charms cereal
  2. 1 (10 oz) bag mini marshmallows
  3. 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish by lining it with parchment paper or spraying with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a deep pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add marshmallows.Stir continuously with a big wooden spoon until all the marshmallows have lost shape and melted.
  3. Remove from heat and add cereal. Stir well to incorporate. Pour mixture into casserole dish. Use a spoon sprayed with cooking spray to press the mixture firmly down into the dish.
  4. Refrigerate treats for 15-30 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares and serve.

Superbowl Snacks

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

To be honest I am not much of a football fan but I do love Superbowl Sunday! My favorite part is making yummy appetizers and desserts for us to snack on all day...because who says you have to wait until game time?! With a crazy 20 month old running around this year is all about super easy and convenient cooking, actually every day is about that lately. I have decided to make buffalo chicken sliders a dip of some sort (still undecided here, but taking recipe suggestions!!) and of course dessert which will be the ice cream sandwiches on sticks in the below photo. All of this is so very easy to make, the buffalo chicken sliders can be made earlier in the morning by just throwing everything in the crock pot. Check out the recipe and following photos courtesy of Hip2Save- Courtesy of Hip2save

Slow Cooker Shredded Buffalo Chicken

Makes around 20 sliders or 7 full size sandwiches

Ingredients

4 -5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (frozen is ok)

1 (12 ounce) bottle buffalo wing sauce, divided 1/2 (1 ounce) package dry ranch salad dressing mix 2 tablespoons butter 2 packs of soft rolls like Kings Hawaiian brand rolls

(Yummy Tip: Try serving with coleslaw mix and bleu cheese dressing, fresh bleu cheese, or ranch dressing.)

Directions

Place the chicken breasts into a slow cooker, and pour in 3/4 of the wing sauce and the ranch dressing mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Once the chicken has cooked, drain liquid if any, add the butter, the rest of the buffalo sauce, and shred the meat finely with two forks.

Serve with rolls and coleslaw with blue cheese or ranch dressing if desired.

 

Buffalo Chicken Sliders Hip2Save

Here are some other DIY dessert and party food options for your upcoming Superbowl party or just to make and enjoy at home. I especially love the burlap drink coasters!!

Superbowl Sunday

Coconut-Chocolate Pecan Pie

Angela's Posts, Featured, Recipes, Testimonials, UncategorizedCole ImperiComment

So every year for Thanksgiving I am responsible for the desserts, big surprise there!! The funny thing is I am not a baker unless you count things from a box or no bake pudding pies. So I usually always order the desserts from a great local bakery, this year we had yummy bite sized desserts from Sweet Petite Desserts and they were nothing short of amazing. In addition to these desserts I found a recipe in my Family circle magazine that I just had to try and it looked easy enough for me not to mess up.  It was for coconut-chocolate pecan pie, which are all of my dad's and husband's favorite ingredients. This was my very first pie, I do not count the pudding pies because there is no baking involved...but they are equally as awesome, so much so that I'll have to do another whole blog post on just those!! Anyway, the pie turned out PERFECT and I was so proud of myself...although I do feel bad for my family because they will be getting this for every holiday during the next year. Here is the recipe that I am sure you all will love, courtesy of familycircle.com!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sweetened flake coconut, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (from a 15.5-oz pkg)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool.

2. Meanwhile, coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Roll pie crust slightly and fit into prepared dish, fluting edge.

3. In a bowl, whisk corn syrup, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in pecans. Spread coconut into pie crust; top with chocolate chips. Carefully pour pecan mixture into crust.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, covering crust with foil if browning too quickly. Cool at least 2 hours, then refrigerate until serving. Garnish with whipped cream and toasted coconut, if desired.

Fun Halloween Foods

RecipesCole ImperiComment

I am in love with these party food recipes for Halloween. I found this great party site, One Charming Party, that I highly recommend to get ideas for any event you have coming up. They have the cutest ideas and very easy to follow how to's...just like the recipes below provided directly from their website from a classroom Halloween party they designed. I love how they explain in detail how to have the children do this themselves. I love baking with kids and cannot wait until my little one can join me in the kitchen.

I will definitely be making these owl cupcakes for my next party!!

Food: Owl Cupcakes.

Supplies: chocolate cupcakes in brown cupcake wrappers (0r white–your choice), chocolate frosting, Oreo type cookies, Reese’s Pieces, plastic knives or something else to frost cupcakes

Let each child make their own owl cupcake. You might want to have one made ahead of time as an example. Each child will need: a cupcake, frosting, two Oreos, two brown and one orange Reese’s Pieces. Have students frost their cupcake. Next, untwist two Oreos then carefully push two brown candies onto the white part of the Oreos. Place the Oreo eyes onto the cupcake. Then put an orange candy on its side between the eyes to make the owl beak.

Food: Fruit Bat Kebabs.

Supplies: a variety of fruit (we used green grapes, pineapple, and strawberries), skewers, plastic bat rings, hot glue gun, scissors

You’ll need to make these before the party. Cut the ring part off of the bat rings. Trim the skewers shorter if needed. Hot glue the bat to the top of the skewer. Slide fruit onto the skewer. If you are worried about the pointy end, you could trim that off after you have put the fruit on.

Food: Spidery Cheese & Crackers.

Supplies: cheese cubes, crackers, toothpicks, plastic spider rings, hot glue gun, scissors

These also need to be made ahead of time. Cut the ring part off of the spider rings. You’ll need to use flat top toothpicks or trim pointy toothpicks down. Hot glue the spiders to the top of the toothpicks. Or, if you have double pointed toothpicks, you can try poking the bottom of the spiders into the top point of the toothpicks. Stick the spidery toothpicks into cubes of cheese atop a cracker.

Apple Desserts and Trends

Angela's Posts, Recipes, TrendsCole Imperi1 Comment

Something about this time of year makes me think of and crave apples! Growing up my grandma would make me the most amazing apple crisp that she paired with vanilla ice cream...the combination was nothing short of amazing. I still request the apple crisp from my grandma quite often and even in her old age she ALWAYS makes if for me and with each time it is tasting better and better. Part of the reason I think it is such a special dessert to me is because I know it is made with such love! Another favorite thing of mine in the fall are the amazing hot cider recipes you can find. Now with Pinterest you can find some really unique ideas of things to make with apples, another reason why Pinterest is my new best friend...it gives me such creative ideas that I would have never thought of on my own.

I have noticed that with the growing popularity of a s'mores buffet and other unique dessert options at events, caramel apple buffets are also getting some love and attention! There are so many great different options of toppings for caramel apple buffets: heath bars, nuts, crushed vanilla wafers, reese cups, the list of options is endless and so yummy! This is such a fun and great idea, although like with the s'mores buffet it can be messy so I highly recommend an attendant to help with the clean up.

Here are some great finds I found using apples as the main ingredient. See bottom of post for an easy and yummy dessert recipe, enjoy!

This is one of the cutest apple displays I have seen, LOVE it!!

Michelle Wamboldt of Favor Box Bakery

I love the rustic idea of using real sticks to hold the apples.

Rustic candy apples

Click below photo for the recipe!

Carmel apple spice drinks

Bite Size Apple Pies Courtesy of: Taste of Home

bite size apple pies

1/2 c. sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon 1 pkg. (14.1 oz..} refrigerated pie crust 3 tbsp. melted butter, divided 2 medium tart apples, each cut into 8 wedges

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, set aside 1 Tbsp. On a lightly floured surface, unroll the pastry. Brush with  2 Tbsp. melted butter, sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.

Cut each sheet into 8 one inch strips, about 8 in. long. Wrap one strip around each apple wedge, placing sugared side of pastry against apple.

Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar mixture. bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 16.

Happy Easter

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment
Happy Easter

Happy Easter We wish everyone a very Happy Easter filled with friends, family and fabulous desserts! This year with the baby due in less than a month we are having a very low key Easter celebration with some of our best friends. I am so excited to be able to just relax and enjoy great company! I do have to share this fun and super easy dessert recipe that I found on Pinterest which we are making....recipe courtesy of: eclecticrecipes.com

Peep S'mores eclecticrecipes.com

Peeps S'mores for Easter

Ingredients:

peeps Hershey's chocolate squares graham crackers

Directions:

1. Place graham crackers, chocolate and a peep as shown in first picture. Zap in the microwave until soft. (Or place under broiler.)

2. Top with another graham cracker square.

Happy Valentine's Day

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

Happy Valentine's day to all my clients, family and friends! Today is not just about sharing love with your spouse or significant other it is also about showing love and kindness to all those loved one's in your life. My husband and I usually do not really celebrate Valentine's day except for a simple card and some carry out...but this year he has decided to take me out to a nice dinner and I could not be more excited for a date night with him, I even bought a new maternity dress!! We are going to Daveed's at 934 in Mt. Adams, I have never been but have heard great things. I am also secretly hoping that my husband continues the tradition of getting me chocolate covered Oreo's from Graeters...they are my favorite, that combined with dinner would be a perfect day for me!

Here is a very simple Valentine's day recipe I wanted to share with you all courtesy of Glendora Patch. Chocolate covered strawberries are a perfect gift to give on this special day or just for you to enjoy yourself!

Glendora Patch- Chocolate covered strawberries

Ingredients

1 12 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate morsels

1 12 oz. package of white chocolate morsels

½ cups of half and half

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Clean the strawberries, pat dry.

Make sure strawberries are at room temperature.

Have either toothpicks and a block of Styrofoam, or piece of wax paper ready.

Stick toothpicks through the top end of the strawberries.

Leave the leaves on the strawberries

Melt the chocolate morsels in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place the chocolate in a Pyrex bowl and place over a small saucepan.

Pour the half and half and the vanilla extract into the melted chocolate and stir.

Dip your strawberries into the mixture.

If you have a Styrofoam block, stick the other end of the toothpick into the Styrofoam to let the strawberry dry. If you just have wax paper, place your strawberries to dry on the wax paper.

Chill the strawberries for about 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator. Do not leave them in the fridge longer, or they will start to look white and chalky.

Not Your Average Rice Krispy Treat!

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

This past weekend 6 of my old sorority sisters and I all met in Chicago for our annual girls weekend getaway! This is a great time for all of us to get together to catch up and reminisce. I look forward to this all year long, we always have such a great time! The older you get it is hard to all stay in touch with one another so knowing that we do this every year makes it a lot easier for everyone to stay in contact and gives us something to look forward to. I can say that this year I definitely became aware of the fact that I am getting older...after a long day of shopping I was in desperate need of a nap and when 10pm rolled around the yawns starting coming. But we had a GREAT time filled with sigh seeing, cocktails (just cranberry juice for me, of course, because of the babe!), shopping, great food and even better company. Our hotel, The Wit, was very swanky and in a great location of Chicago and dinner at Hub 51 on Saturday was amazing (thanks to my husband for the recommendation). My favorite part of the trip was our late night visit to "the bean" in Millennium Park, it was super cold and rainy but we had a blast. Two of  my best girlfriends and I rode together on the way down and our car ride was full of lots of chatting (of course), Christmas music and yummy car treats such as: Mike and Ikes, Swedish Fish and Hot Tamales...all my favorites! The best was the cake batter rice crispy treats my friend Jen made...they were amazing and very addicting! Chicago

So good, in fact, that I had to share the recipe with you all...I hope you enjoy.

cake-batter-rice-krispies

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup yellow cake mix (the dry cake mix, not prepared into a batter!)
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 (1.75 oz.) container of sprinkles

Method:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in (dry) cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined. Stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and mix. Press into a baking dish (any size will do) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. I find spraying a knife with nonstick spray helps to cut them. **TIP: For more of a cake batter flavor increase the amount of cake mix to 1/3 cup!

Recipe and photo courtesy of: http://gimmesomeoven.com/cake-batter-rice-crispy-treats/

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

RecipesCole ImperiComment

Sounds too good to be true doesn't it?! The best part is these are egg free so very safe to eat although maybe not the  healthiest...but you can have anything in moderation right?!

Happy Cooking!! Recipe and photo courtesy of Recipegirl.com

Recipegirl.com

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Yield: 32 brownies

Prep Time: 30 min + cooling time

Cook Time: 25 min

These brownies are a major treat for cookie dough lovers...

Ingredients:

BROWNIE: 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped 1 cup butter, at room temperature 2 cups light brown sugar, packed 4 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIE DOUGH (EGG FREE!): 3/4 cup butter 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed 3/4 cup granulated white sugar 3 Tablespoons milk 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips 1/2 cup semisweet chips + 1 teaspoon shortening for drizzle, optional

Directions:

1. Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined (don't over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It's okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares. Use a sharp knife to cut the brownies. You may need to wipe the knife off with a paper towel in between cuts since the fudgy brownies and cookie dough will tend to stick to the knife a bit. These brownies are best to serve placed inside cupcake papers and served with a fork.

4. If you'd like to add chocolate drizzle on top, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of shortening in the microwave; stir until smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate on top of each brownie. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top, if desired.

Signature Drinks

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

At our wedding a few years ago we really wanted to do things that were unique but also saved us some money. One thing we did was serve signature drinks along with beers and wine instead of an open full bar. I was able to tie my colors (yellow) and theme (lemons) in with the drinks as well. We served lemon drop martinis which was my pick and then John Daly's which was my husbands signature drink, the idea was a hit! A signature drink menu allows you to have a personal touch to your reception menu. Here are a few suggestions I recommend when having a signature drink at your next event/reception:

  • Give the drinks a fun name
  • Have a cute sign on the bar announcing what the signature drinks are
  • Tie the drinks in with your theme or colors
  • If it is a wedding, have two signature drinks...one for the bride and groom, this allows for more of a selection while still making it all about the couple!

Here are the recipes we had at our wedding:

Lemon Drop Martini-

Lemon Drop Martini

(recipe courtesy of cocktails.about.com)

(Photo courtesy of www.cocktailtimes.com)

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar syrup
  • lemon twist for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pour the vodka, lemon juice and sugar syrup into a shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with the lemon twist.

John Daly-

John Daly

(photo and recipe courtesy of chilicheesefries.net)

  • 1 part Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka®
  • 1 part fresh lemonade
  • ice
  • lemon slices for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Pour over ice
  3. Garnish with lemon

For more drink ideas and recipes check out Marthastewartweddings.com!

Summer Salad

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment
Greek Salad Jen Gotch

Greek Salad Jen Gotch One of my favorite salads ever is a greek salad so when I found this recipe on designlovefest.com I had to share! This is perfect to make for dinner right now as it is so light and refreshing for these brutally hot summer days we have been having....I am in love with the photography of the salad by Jen Gotch, she is amazing. I also think since the salad is so healthy that you could splurge on a yummy dessert without guilt, enjoy!

Marshmallow Pops

Events, RecipesCole Imperi1 Comment

Tomorrow is finally the day for the Afterhours Bridal Show and official Launch of A Bride's Concierge! I am so excited to be a vendor for this fabulous show...it is really one of the only bridal shows I like to work anymore.  They get just the right crowd and the variety of vendors is excellent. But I have to admit that besides getting to chat with other wedding professionals and future brides, I am most excited about may all yellow candy buffet that I am designing! I do so many candy buffets that are now colorized and as I have mentioned in past posts, those are really my favorite to design. I have not had the opportunity to have an all yellow and white candy buffet though, so this is very fun for me. There are SO many yummy candies in yellow... for this particular candy buffet I am using:

  • Banana Runts
  • Marshmallow peeps
  • Banana Salt Water Taffy
  • Yellow Jelly Slices
  • Lemon Rock Candy
  • Mini butterfingers
  • Lollipops
  • Mr. Goodbar
  • And Marshmallow pops!

Although 95% of the candy choices are all yellow I also decided to make some marshmallow pops to add to the display. I ordered some super cute mini pinwheels from Elizabeth St. on Etsy.com and I am using these as the sticks for the Marshmallow pops. I have decided to dip the Marshmallow pops in a white chocolate and roll them in coconut for extra yuminess...I just hope everything goes as planned, as I am not "great" in the kitchen.

To make things ALOT easier I found this great recipe/article that I will be using to make my Marshmallow Pops...this looks easy enough right?! This is courtesy of verybestbaking.com:

Ingredients

(Instead of Nestle Toll House Morsels, I am using Wilton's Candy Melts purchased from Michael's and the sticks will be the pinwheels that I purchased from Elizabeth St. on Etsy.com)

Directions

LINE baking sheet with wax paper.

PUSH each lollipop stick halfway through a large marshmallow; set aside.

MELT white morsels according to package directions. Immediately dip 10 marshmallow lollipops lightly in the melted morsels for a thin coating. Set stick-side-up on prepared baking sheet.

MELT milk chocolate morsels according to package directions. Repeat dipping process as above with remaining marshmallows.

REFRIGERATE marshmallow lollipops for 10 minutes or until hardened. Use decorating icing as glue to decorate with assorted candies.

(I have decided to roll mine in coconut and instead of the "decorating icing" listed above I am just going to do the rolling before the white chocolate dries completely)

Image from Hostessblog.com
So, tomorrow is the big bridal show and I will be sure to post photos of the finished display afterwards!

Lemon Cupcakes!

Recipes, WeddingsCole Imperi2 Comments
Lemon-Cupcakes

So today was a beautiful day here in Cincinnati...finally no rain and some warm weather! Something about this beautiful weather makes me crave lemon flavored desserts. Check out this ever so delicious recipe for Lemon Cupcakes courtesy of foodnetwork.com, you will not be disappointed!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks unsalted) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the muffin tin with cooking spray.

Combine the butter and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar in the large bowl and beat with the mixeron medium-high speed until fluffy. ADd the eggs and 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice and beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl once or twice as necessary. Mix in the flour, baking powder, slat, and 2 teaspoons of the lemon zest until just combined.

In the small bowl, mash together the cream cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and the remaining 1 teaspoon lemon zest until combined.

Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the batter into each muffin cup. Place about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of each portion of batter and cover the cheese with some of the remaining batter (the batter should reach three-quarters of the way to the top of each cup). Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning over onto the wire rack to cool completely. Use the strainer to sift the tops with confectioners' sugar before serving if desired.

Holiday cookies

Angela's Posts, RecipesCole ImperiComment

Last night was my 2nd annual girls cookie exchange...where I invite all my dearest friends over for wine, gossip and cookies! The rules are simple: everyone brings 2 dozen cookies and the recipe for your cookies and we all swap so you leave with 2 dozen assorted cookies and the recipes to make them all.  I make sure to do this the Tuesday before Christmas so everyone has the cookies for their holiday guests and Tuesdays seem to be a pretty unevenful night so the turnout is great. Last night we had a great time...sitting around my kitchen table, snacking on appetizers, sharing wine and telling funny stories until late in the evening. It is a much needed girls night that gives me happy energy to last through the holiday stress. We ended up all walking away with 2 dozen yummy cookies consisting of: sugar cookies, butterfinger cookies, chocolate chip cranberry cookies, peanut butter kisses, buckeyes and much more. As the hostess I made 2 different cookies to send home with everyone. The recipe I am going to share today is the reindeer cookies I found and were super easy and fun to make. I am also thinking this would be a great holiday activity to do with kids.