December 6, 2015

Christmas Potpourri

In hunting around for nice gifts to give my staff this year, I searched high and low on Pinterest.  I finally settled on this simple but classic gift: Christmas in a jar, via Nest of Posies.  I enjoyed the free printables, too!  All you do is put some spices, a small orange, and rosemary in a jar.  Bring a pot of water to a boil, dump out the jar contents, and simmer all day.  Definitely an easy way to get the house smelling perfect for the holidays.
Now, I couldn't find mulling spices at the grocery store, but raiding my spice cabinet did the trick just fine.  I'll be sharing these with my group tomorrow, so fingers crossed that they enjoy the gifts!

Cranberry and Brie Pastry Bites

Today's update is to share a really easy, quick appetizer recipe I made over Thanksgiving.  I've been wanting to make this for ages, but in my household cranberries and brie just aren't appetizing for some reason.  So instead, I made this as an appetizer Thanksgiving day, which was happily gobbled up by my in-laws, and again that same week for a family game night.  Trust me- tuck this away for future reference when you need a nice, impressive snack with minimal effort!  The original recipe comes courtesy of Yummy Mummy Kitchen's blog, and she has plenty of other good things to check out as well.

Cranberry and Brie Pastry Bites
Makes 16


  • 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed (I use Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 4-oz wedge Brie cheese, or 1 container of snack-size Brie wedges, opened and divided into 16 portions
  • 1/3 cup homemade or store bought cranberry sauce (whole berry; not jelly)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry rectangle.  Using a pizza cutter, cut into 16 small squares.
  3. Place pastry squares into muffin tin, pressing down gently in each opening.  Bake 8 minutes or until pastry begins to turn golden brown.
  4. Remove muffin tin from oven and use the back of a spoon to gently press down in the center of each pastry square to create room for filling.
  5. Place a portion of brie onto each pastry square.  Top with about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce.
  6. Place muffin tin back into oven for 5-7 minutes or until cheese is soft and pastry is golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven, gently remove from muffin tins and cool on a wire rack.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Optional: Top with toasted pecans and/or sugared cranberries.