December 22, 2015

Betty Crocker Egg Nog Sugar Cookie Wreath

Spread Cheer with Simple Surprises with Betty Crocker cookie mix!

Christmas is my favorite time of year and I love spending all my time celebrating with my family. But it's hard to make time for everything during the hectic holidays and it's easy to get overwhelmed. I love to bake Christmas cookies with my daughter, to give to friends and family as gifts, but that can be exhausting! Luckily we use Betty Crocker® cookie mixes and not only are they easy to make and delicious but they save so much time! More precious time for me to spend with my family.

I created this Christmas sugar cookie wreath using Betty Crocker®  Egg Nog cookie mix. I use the same ingredients as called for on the package {egg and butter} but I add flour to make it slightly more dense and I melt the butter, then I can roll them out and cut into leaf and bow shapes. You can also add green coloring, red sugar, and candy beads to make it more festive! Ava loves helping me bake cookies for Santa and this is one of my favorite family traditions with her! I cannot wait until Stella is old enough to help too. 

The Egg Nog flavor was fantastic in these cookies and my kitchen smelled divine when they were baking! Betty Crocker® also has peanut butter and sugar cookie mixes along with holiday flavors like pumpkin spice and gingerbread. Honestly y'all any of those sound good to me! All you need are some decorative sprinkles and candies, holiday cookie cutters, and food coloring and you can create this wreath in minutes! Let the kids help and you will make memories that will last a lifetime! 
Hood Family Christmas 2015

My girls, Ava and Stella, love Christmas as much as I do! 
Check out Betty Crocker's Homepage:
Click for coupon for Betty Crocker Cookie mixes:

Ingredients:

Makes approx 40 cookies
  • 1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix {I used Egg Nog flavor}
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup butter{1 stick}, melted
  • 1 egg
  • green food coloring/powder, optional
  • red decorating sanding sugar and candy beads, optional
  • leaf and bow shaped cookie cutters

Directions:


  1.  Heat oven to 375°F. 
  2. In medium bowl, stir cookie mix, flour, melted butter and egg until soft dough forms.
  3.  On a floured surface, roll out a small portion of dough and cut out two bows using a bow cookie cutter. 
  4. Gather dough scraps and combine with the rest of the dough.
  5. Sprinkle the bow shapes with red sanding sugar to cover and place on a line cookie sheet.
  6. Gather remaining sugar cookie dough into a ball and make a well in the center. Add green food color or color powder to the well and use hands {this may get messy} to knead color evenly into the dough.
  7. Place green dough on a floured surface and roll to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut leaf shapes, re-rolling dough as needed.
  8. On lined cookie sheets, place cutouts 1 inch apart.
  9. If you'd like you can use a toothpick to create veins on the leaves before baking.
  10. Bake 6 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. 
  11. Remove from oven and immediately press one or two red candy beads on the leaves for the "berries". 
  12. Cool for a few minutes then remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.
  13.  Store cookies in tightly covered container.
  14. When ready to serve, create a wreath by arranging leaf cookies in a ring shape, overlapping some, on a round platter with the red bow cookie in the center. 
Note: I always bake two bow cookies so I have one as a back up. You can also create two smaller cookie wreaths with the two bows. 
I love Egg Nog so when I saw this Betty Crocker® Egg Nog cookie mix at Wal-Mart I knew I wanted to use these for my cookie wreath. They smell and taste ah-mazing!
You can cut these cookies into any shaped you'd like. But if you want to do the cookie wreath then you need red sanding sugar, red candy beads, green powder coloring {or food coloring}, and a leaf and a bow cookie cutter.
In medium bowl add cookie mix, flour, melted butter and egg.
Stir until a soft dough forms.
 On a floured surface, roll out a small portion of dough 
and cut out two bows using a bow cookie cutter. 
Place on a lined cookie sheet. 
Sprinkle the bow shapes with red sanding sugar to cover.
Gather remaining sugar cookie dough into a ball and make a well in the center.
 Add green food color or color powder to the well.
Use hands {this may get messy} to knead color evenly into the dough.
Place green dough on a floured surface and roll to about 1/4-inch thickness. 
Cut leaf shapes, rerolling dough as needed.
On lined cookie sheets, place cutouts 1 inch apart.
If you'd like you can use a toothpick to create veins on the leaves before baking.
Bake 6 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. 
Of course I enjoyed a glass of egg nog while my cookies baked!
Remove from oven and immediately press one or two red candy beads 
on the leaves for the "berries". 
Cool for a few minutes then remove from cookie sheets and cool completely.
When ready to serve, create a wreath by arranging leaf cookies in a ring shape,
 overlapping some, on a round platter with the red bow cookie in the center. 
The festive red bow is too cute!
I just love the sweet details on these cookies!
Comment below and tell me how you are spreading cheer this holiday season!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Betty Crocker. 
 The opinions and text are all mine.



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December 21, 2015

Ninja Coffee Bar and Love You a Latte Gift Basket

The holidays are in full swing and there are 4 shopping days left for you last minute shoppers!
Luckily, I have two gift ideas to help save the day and make just about everyone on your list happy!
If you love coffee like my family does, you are going to love the new Ninja Coffee Bar. 
The awesome folk at Ninja sent me a Ninja Coffee Bar to try out and of course I had to wrap it up and surprise my husband. I gave him his early Christmas present around Thanksgiving
 and I swear y'all he had tears of happiness in his eyes! 
My husband and I both love gadgets and let me tell you, the Ninja Coffee Bar does it all!
It can make classic brew, rich brew, over ice, and my personal favorite, specialty brew {dare I say better than Starbucks Frappicinos!}.
It's Auto-iQ technology draws just the right amount of water needed from the reservoir, based on the brew size (from cup to travel mug to carafe) and brew type you select.
 It has a pull out stand to hold mugs and cups so you can brew directly in them.
My husband's favorite feature? The drip stop button. You can pour a cup mid brew and no more messes.
Also included? This reusable filter and double sided scoop.
A detailed coffee cookbook came with our Ninja Coffee Bar and includes 100 recipes {with pictures!} for coffee drinks and desserts including recipes from their spokeswoman {and my husband's celeb crush} Sofia Vegara.
Hard to believe this one machine does so much! No more driving across town to a coffeehouse for a frappe or iced coffee. We can do it all at home with our Ninja Coffee Bar. 
The milk frother is another fun tool. Just heat milk, pump, and 
you've got a frothy, creamy topper for your drink. 
It's delicious on coffee but also try it on hot cocoa!
I already had a black Ninja travel cup but the Ninja Coffee Bar came with this much cooler clear insulated hot/cold cup. You can even brew coffee right in it for iced coffee! 
We use it pretty much every single day.
Note to self: buy 5 more of these awesome Ninja cups! 
Seriously, how gorgeous is this mug of coffee?!
I used cocoa powder and stencils to make the wreath on top.
Find out more about the Ninja Coffee Bar brewer here.
Looking for a gift basket idea for the coffee lovers you know?
This "Love You a Latte" Coffee Gift Basket makes a great gift all year long.

This gift basket can be customized with just about any coffee product.
I made one for my Dad and one for my Uncle.
Here's what I added to mine:

  1. Personalized Starbucks Cup 
  2. Bag of ground Starbucks coffee
  3. Chocolate covered espresso beans or espresso bark
  4. Biscotti
  5. Travel size creamers/flavor syrups
  6. Themed coffee mug
  7. Starbucks gift card
My Dad got a kick out of this personalized Starbucks cup.
Purchased on Etsy here.
Check out this free coffee cup printable here.
My Dad loved his birthday gift and Ashton {and I} love our new Ninja Coffee Bar.
It looks like 2016 is going to be one great tasting, caffeinated, coffee filled year!

I was sent a Ninja Coffee Bar for review. All opinions are my own.
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