Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

wow! 2013 sure did fly by fast! husband and i had tons of fun in 2013, exploring portland and taking a few fun trips here and there.

we started out the year by having friends visit us for a superbowl extravaganza (of food that is), we checked out several farmer's markets, we drank lots and lots of beer at zwicklemania!

we headed down to explore bend (aka beervana), we went to blazers games and husband ran a 5k. There was lots and lots of wine tasting,  and a trip to Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona.

we hiked up multnomah falls (another bucket list item!), checked out the Tillamook Cheese Factory and Cape Meares, Oregon and went to a few brew festivals (berries, brews & bbq's and the Oregon Brewer's Festival).

husband and i headed to the redwoods for the 4th of July and drove the historic 101! we had a really fun day date to the portland art museum and the pdx POPNOW music festival and then recovered with a little at home spa weekend.

by september, husband had to have knee surgery, we went to musicfest northwest and we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary! we made our own wine and then bottled it and i turned 30 (yikes!)

my parents finally came to visit us in the beginning of november (after living here for over a year!) and then we headed back to spokane for thanksgiving and my madre's sassy 60th surprise party!

we attempted to do "12 dates of christmas" (but slacked a little). by far my favorite was our trip to seattle to see macklemore!!! and celebrated our first christmas as married couple all by ourselves. 

i'm so excited for 2014 and already see lots and lots of new adventures in our future ;0)

Cheers to a Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Life Lately...

woah! this is a long one...thanksgiving dinner, holiday decorating, work christmas party, christmas crack, santa approved christmas cookies, christmas eve highlights, caprese christmas breakfast frittata, christmas morning presents, a christmas dinner tablescape, and a classic alexander family photo ;0) 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

merry merry christmas from the alexander's!

special thank you to molly johnston of MKJ Photography for the beautiful photos.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Approved Sugar Cookies

i realize i may be a little late in the game posting a christmas cookie recipe the day before christmas eve, seeing as every other food blogger out there has been giving you cookie recipe after cookie recipe since halloween.

but. this is the best christmas cookie recipe out there for santa. i promise you. especially because the frosting to cookie ratio is easily 2:1. that's two parts frosting, one part cookie, in case you were confused.

my family has been making this frosted sugar cookie recipe for thanksgiving and christmas since i can remember. we look forward to these all.year.long. no joke.

they're pretty simple and easy to throw together and they look so festive with their red and green frosting and sprinkles, that if you need just one more cookie recipe, you know, for the jolly fat guy in the big red suit....you should make these.

merry christmas!

Mom's Sugar Cookies
makes about 48 smallish cookies

1.5 c granulated sugar
1 c butter
1 egg
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
1.5 tsp baking powder
2.25 - 2.5 c flour, plus more for later

preheat oven to 325.

cream together the sugar, butter and eggs. add in the vanilla, milk and baking powder. slowly add the flour. the dough will be slightly sticky.

roll the dough into one inch balls. in a small bowl, pour your additional flour and using a the bottom of a glass, dip the glass in flour and flatten out the balls of cookie dough.

bake for about 9 - 10 minutes. the cookies may not look done on top, but the bottoms will be brown.

Buttercream Frosting

3.5 c powdered sugar
3/4 c butter
1.5 tsp vanilla
3-4 tsp milk
green and red food coloring
green and red sprinkles

cream together about 1.5 cups of the powdered sugar with the butter, add the vanilla. slowly alternate between adding additional powdered sugar and milk until your frosting is the correct consistency.

divide your frosting into two bowls. put 1-2 drops of green food coloring in one of the bowls and the same amount of red food coloring in the other bowl. mix together till you get the color green and red you want. i prefer mine on the lighter side, because the sprinkles are darker in color.

frost and top with sprinkles!

these cookies freeze really well, so you can definitely make a double batch for thanksgiving and they will last till christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lebanese Lubbe

comfort food for me, without a doubt is lebanese food.

my grandma was lebanese and growing up we would travel across the state to whidbey island and we would always be greeted with a huge lebanese meal, homemade by my sittee (sit-tey). kibbe, hummus, nusli, lubbe, bhaba ganoush, fatosh and so much more yumminess. (side note: i'm sure i've spelled most of those wrong, but spelling doesn't count here...taste totally does ;0)

my mom has continued the tradition of serving delicious lebanese food during holiday meals. we have a huge thanksgiving dinner full of both american and lebanese food, and it's probably one of my favorite times of year. this year, i made her send me each and every lebanese recipe she has so i can master cooking these recipes as well.

the best part about it, is that most of the dishes are super easy. they just take a little time, like most comfort foods do. the first recipe i made on my own is probably my absolute favorite lebanese comfort food ever...lubbe served over rice.

this is so easy and so delicious and is made with a single pot! how easy is that?

Lebanese Lubbe

2 lbs lamb shanks
2 lbs french string beans
2 large white onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 28 oz cans of tomato sauce
2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 c water
salt and pepper to taste
cinnamon to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Place the lamb shanks into the pot and brown on all sides. About 10 minutes. Add the garlic, onions, salt, pepper and cinnamon and saute for another 5 minutes (or until the onions are translucent). Add the 1/2 c water and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes and stir well. Add the green beans and tomato sauce and cover the pot with a lid. Let cook for 2-3 hours or until the meat falls off the bone.

Serve over rice pilaf.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Crack: AKA Easy Holiday Gift Ideas!

anybody out there need an easy last minute holiday gift idea for their friends, co-workers, holiday party gifts?? boy, do i have you covered!

let me introduce you to my newest holiday friend, christmas crack. and boy does it deserve it's name. this stuff is so addicting, you pretty much have to give it away as christmas gifts, or you will easily eat an entire batch in one sitting. no joke! i found the recipe from Gaby at What's Gaby Cooking, another fun food blog that i follow fairly regularly. she did not let me down with this recipe.

then i got to decorating! i've mentioned before my love for dressing up jars with pretty christmas decorations from Michael's. it's a super easy way to make your holiday gifts look GREAT! it also makes me look super crafty (when really i'm not! hehe).

and...i'll let you in on a little secret. if you are a christmas procrastinator like i am, it will actually serve you well when it comes to michael's christmas decorations. i ran there this weekend, and everything was 70% off! every single item i bought did not cost more than $0.89. winning!

if you want some more easy christmas holiday gift ideas, that are a little more adult-friendly (aka boozy), check out my past holiday gift ideas here and here!

Christmas Crack

3 cups Cheerios
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups Wheat Chex
1 cups Pretzel Sticks
2-3 cups m&m’s
24 oz White Chocolate (plus an extra 4-8 oz if needed)

In a large bowl, combine the Cheerios, Chex, Pretzels and m&m’s. Mix them up a bit, making sure that everything is evenly distributed.
Meanwhile, over a double boiler, melt the white chocolate according to the directions on the package.
Once the chocolate has melted and is a smooth consistency, drizzle the chocolate over the cereal mix and combine with a wooden spoon. Make sure all the cereal is covered in chocolate. If you need to melt the extra white chocolate to cover all the mix then go right on ahead!
Once the entire batch has been combined, lay it out to dry on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper. Let dry for 4 hours so the chocolate is cooled and hard. Break it into pieces and store in zip top bags or package it up into jars to give out as gifts.

Friday, December 13, 2013

12 Dates of Christmas: On our 3rd date of Christmas

we went to macklemore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we headed up to seattle for the final show at the key arena. macklemore and ryan lewis have been on a world tour for the past year, and we headed up to their final show of the entire tour in macklemore's hometown. he did not disappoint!

below are a few photos we captured from the concert:

read about our first and second dates of christmas here and here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

12 Dates of Christmas: On our second date of Christmas

we decorated a christmas tree!

you guys, i didn't think we were going to be able to get a tree this year, because the way our apartment is laid out, combined with how much "stuff" we have, equals little to zero room for a tree. i even told you so, when i showed you how i used christmas tree ornaments to decorate around the apartment a little pre-maturely.

but! husband was adamant that it would not be christmas without a tree. and i'm so glad he thought so. because for our second date of christmas, we went out and bought a tree and and decorated to our hearts content! we had to maneuver some furniture, and we may or may not have a wing chair in our second bedroom, but oh boy was it worth it!

we didn't cut one down this year, like we did last year....but just having a real live christmas tree, glowing in our living room, makes me so very happy. especially since this year, husband and i are spending christmas away from family (our first ever!). don't get me wrong, i'm excited to start new traditions of our own this year, but it will definitely be different!

read about our first date of christmas here!