Last Minute Neighbor Gift

We were thrilled to receive a last minute invite to a neighborhood get together, but with the chaos in the run up to the holidays, I was at a loss for hostess gift. In a pinch, I turned to the pantry and managed to throw together Vanilla Sugar.

This was so easy and inexpensive, seeing as I had everything on hand. Especially the vanilla beans that I happened to find at HomeGoods the other week for $3!

Start by splitting your vanilla beans and removing the seeds with the back of your knife.
Add the seeds to the sugar. For each pod, I used about 2 cups of sugar. 
Stir to combine.

Place the emptied vanilla bean into an air tight container and add sugar to cover.

This really should sit for about 2 weeks for maximum flavor,
but seeing as I was giving it as a gift that night, I just added a note which also included favorite uses.

A simple and sweet, homemade, last minute gift.

Saturday's Kitchen: Pumpkin Roll

This Saturday, I am featuring a family favorite recipe - the pumpkin roll.

Traditionally, in our family, my Aunt Linda makes one every Christmas. It wouldn't be the holidays without it!

But I got to thinking, why don't we enjoy the pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving as well? It's a great alternative to your traditional pumpkin pie.

So, this year, I'll be making one to travel with me for Thanksgiving!

3 eggs
1 c sugar
3/4 c flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2/3 c pumpkin
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda

8 oz cream cheese
1 c confection sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 tbs butter

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy, add all other cake ingredients and mix well. pour into a well greased or wax papered jelly roll pan (15x10). Bake 15 minutes in a 350F oven.
Turn out onto a tea towel that has been dusted with confection sugar, dust top of cake with more confection sugar. Roll into towel and allow to cool.

filling: combine all ingredients and mix well. once cake has cooled, unroll and frost evenly. Roll up, wrap in wax paper and refrigerate overnight.

As always, if you try it and like it, please do let me know.

Happy Holidays!

Chalkboard Chargers

Doesn't it feel like everything is chalkboard these days?!? I mean, Pottery Barn is selling chalkboard rocks for crying out loud!

Well, I can't help but be influenced by this trend and am jumping on the bandwagon with Chalkboard Chargers.

I first saw this idea on Tatertots and Jello and thought it would make a great gift, especially for that hard to shop for person on your list!

A brief play by play on how to make your own:

Prime with a plastic loving primer (if your chargers are plastic). Let dry (20 min).

Spray with chalkboard paint. I used 2 coats. Let dry completely (24 hours).

Rub all over with chalk and wipe clean - they are ready to go!
Minus the waiting time, this is another really quick and easy project.

Think of the possibilities:

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, good grades, first visit from the tooth fairy, first solo bike ride, and the list goes on and on.

A quick and easy way to celebrate even the smallest of occasions!

This time of year, chargers can be found just about anywhere and there are plenty of deals to be had - I've seen them as low as $1 a piece! Making them another great candidate for the perfect hostess gift!

linky parties

Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

This year I'm not hosting either of the big holidays - meaning I'll be needing plenty of hostess gifts!

I love to give a homemade gift when possible. This year I wanted to give something canned, seeing as I have just learned this age-old skill, but was hoping for something a bit different than jam. We already have a great jam maker in this family!

Chocolate and Raspberries - YUM!

I scoured the Internet looking for interesting possibilities and when I ran across a recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Sauce on Canning Jars Etc blog, I knew I had found a winner.

This recipe is so easy and really quick. Not to mention, tasty!!!

Add the raspberries, chocolate, lemon juice and pectin to a pot and bring to boil over high heat. Add the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil; boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary.

Add the sauce to freshly sterilized jars, apply lids and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Done!

This Raspberry Chocolate Sauce has a strong raspberry flavor and sweet chocolaty finish. We tried it over vanilla ice cream and it was sinful!

A nice hostess gift and a great alternative to jam!

I'll be bringing you several hostess gift ideas in the run up to the holidays. As well as loads of holiday decorating ideas and tips.