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RECIPE | The BEST Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs + Royal Icing Recipes

Thursday, February 14


Are you looking for THE BEST...and THE EASIEST sugar cookie cut-out recipe on the planet?
And when I say "the best" sugar cookie cut-out recipe...I really mean it.
And when I say "the easiest"...I really mean that too.

These beauties are a gift from heaven for those of us who like the idea of sugar cookies but don't have the patience that's usually associated with the "refrigeration required" that comes with your classic sugar cookie recipe.


These cookies are just the right amount of sweet...
just the right amount of soft...
just the right amount of goodness...
and just the right cookie to compliment the delicious royal icing you'll want to decorate them with.

And let me say...although I am no professional cookie baker, I've been using this cookie recipe and royal icing recipe for over a decade and they both work like a charm EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Foolproof.

You won't be disappointed.





THE BEST + EASIEST SUGAR COOKIE CUT-OUTS RECIPE
Yields approximately 48 - 2" cookies

Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
1 c. salted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients
2 3/4 c. flour (all purpose)
2 tsp. baking powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 400º

Using whisk attachment for mixer, (my favorite mixer on the planet), cream together butter and sugar - scraping sides as needed.
Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined - scraping as needed.

Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.
Add flour and baking powder.
Mix until dough comes clean from sides of bowl.

Turn onto lightly floured surface.
Knead until dough is thoroughly combined and mixed.
Roll out with lightly dusted rolling pin and cut with cookie cutters of choice.

Bake at 400º for 6-7 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.
Remove from oven, cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then move to cooling rack.
Cool completely prior to icing.

Store for up to 3 days prior to icing.


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THE YUMMIEST ROYAL ICING RECIPE
Makes a huge batch - feel free to 1/2 the recipe.

Ingredients
3/4 c. warm water
5 TBSP meringue powder - I use this one - which makes about 4 batches of icing
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla (clear vanilla if you have it - otherwise, your icing may take on a faint hint of yellow upon drying - no big deal though)
2 lbs powdered sugar

Directions
Using a mixer bowl with whisk attachment, (here's my favorite one ever), add warm water and meringue powder.
Mix until frothy and thickened. (about 30 seconds - scraping to ensure everything is mixed)

Add cream of tartar and vanilla.
Mix again for another 30 seconds until combined.
Swap out whisk attachment for paddle attachment.
Add all of the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.
Turn on the lowest speed for about 30 seconds.
Scrape sides to combine.
Mix on lowest speed for 10 full minutes.

Icing will be thick and creamy.
Add warm water to icing until it becomes the consistency you need it to be.

When not using, keep bowl covered with damp tea towel to prevent drying, crusting and flaking.

TIP 1: I typically end up adding between 5-7 TBSP of warm water to reach the consistency I like to pipe with. 

TIP 2: For perfect piping consistency, use spoon or spatula to create "ribbons" of icing in your bowl. When ribbons disappear within 7 seconds...you are good to go.

HELPFUL VIDEOS:
How to Prep + Fill a Piping Bag like a Boss - will link to this tomorrow after it's been posted to my Instagram stories



So there you are my friends.
Two recipes that will change your life. *wink*

Seriously though...once you try this cookie cut-out recipe, you'll never use another one.
And the Royal Icing recipe is pretty bomb too. *wink*

If you try them...PLEASE let me know.
I'd love to see and hear how they turned out for you.

Happy Valentine's Day beauties!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I shared this recipe YEARS ago on the blog but after 10 years of blogging...
well...it's buried deep in the archives.

I thought it was time to pull it to the surface...just in time for Valentine's Day! 

STYLE | Sweets Charcuterie Board

Tuesday, February 12

If you didn't know, charcuterie boards are all the rage right now.
You'll see them everywhere on social media and if your favorite restaurant doesn't already offer one I'm guessing you'll see one on the menu soon.

If you don't know what I'm talking about...charcuterie is a french word referring to meats that have been smoked, dry-cured or cooked. (think bacon, hard salami, or a soft pâté). It's also the french word for butcher shop or delicatessen. So in essence, a charcuterie board is typically a combination of the types of meats I mentioned above beautifully arranged on a board, platter, tray or plate and served to guests for nibbling + grazing. The charcuterie board has evolved to include a few selections of cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives, crackers and spreads, which in my opinion takes things to an entirely new level. Not only does is make for a gorgeous presentation but it also caters to multiple palettes + food preferences.


That said, it's now officially evolved into something even more today with the "Valentine's Sweets Charcuterie-Style board" I've created. Ha!

No meats. No cheeses...just chocolates and treats.
Originally, I was thinking I would just use nothing but chocolates. (since I have an abundance from the work I do for Hershey).


But...I decided to mix in a variety of "cracker-like" cookies, heart-shaped candies, a little bit of fruit, a handful of nuts as well a selection of dips to appeal to more people and most certainly give it a more "charcuterie-vibe".


This was my very first charcuterie-style board and friends...it was SO easy and SO fun.
The options are endless with the items you can use and the many different celebrations you can create them for.

Create a charcuterie tray for two or assemble one for a crowd.
There really are no rules so have fun with it.




Here's everything I used to create mine but these types of boards are so versatile feel free to get creative and use your personal favorites. 

SUPPLIES
Cutting board, platter, tray or plate to feed a crowd or the specific number of people you're expecting
Fresh strawberries
Valentine Pretzels - I couldn't find the ones I bought but these are cute!
Heart Crackers - these are way too expensive - you can find them at some Walmarts
Peanut Butter
Fresh Roses for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
I started with a slab of marble as my "board", added three small bowls, strategically placed the big items on the board first and then filled in the empty areas with the smaller treats.

To finish it I added a few fresh roses and sprinkled a little bit of rose petals for touches of "Valentine's Day".

-----------------------


I sure hope you'll try your hand at creating one of these.
It really was fun to put together and I'm looking forward to making another one for Easter.


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Not even kidding when I tell you it took me longer to collect + decide on the items I wanted to use than it took for me to throw it all together. (Less than 15 minutes - for real)
And those dark chocolate mini hearts? YUM!!
First time I've ever tried them and was pleasantly surprised at how good they are!

GIFT IDEA | Valentine's Day Lindt Bar Wrappers

Monday, February 11


A few weeks ago I took a poll in my Instagram stories asking for feedback on some custom Valentine's Day candy bar labels for Lindt's footlong candy bar I recently came across.

I loved the feedback I received...there were so many fun responses.
I ended up combining similar answers and the majority of responses that came through to create 11 different FREE WRAPPERS/LABELS for you to print and use as gifts + treats for Valentine's Day!


The selections include candy bar wrappers for teachers, principals, besties, coaches, friends, and more.

I found these GIANT FOOT-LONG Lindt Bars in my local grocery store for $5.99 - just happened to pass by them one day!! 



They really make a statement and the custom labels help to make them extra special + personalized to gift to the people you love!


I'm taking things a step further and gifting the chocolate bars to all three of my girls along with one of these ADORABLE + super soft stuffed animals that are filled with organic french lavender.

Have you seen these?  These cuties are so snuggly and weigh about 2-3 pounds and can also be heated up in the microwave for some added warmth for cuddle time.

This sweet puppy is for Ella but Ema is getting this adorable Koala Bear and Clara's puppy is sold out but here is one that's similar. 


Friends...as a mama who has struggled with anxiety issues my entire life and having two daughters that struggle as well...these are SUCH a perfect gift. The lavender creates calm, the heaviness of the animal creates security and the softness gives comfort. 

I love them so much I want to get one for myself. *wink*


So, whether you decide to just stick with the chocolate bars...
or add in a plush stuffed animal...
I really hope you're inspired to try at least one of these options.

You could even save the stuffed animal idea for EASTER!!!


Here's all you need to make the Customized Candy Bars Labels...


SUPPLIES
1 - Valentine's Day Lindt Bar Candy Bar Wrapper
1 - sheet of 8.5x11" white card stock
1 - 10.6 oz. Lindt Chocolate Bar <--- this link is from Amazon but I found mine for $5.99 at Publix
Clear Tape to secure wrapper on back
Ribbon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Print Candy Bar Wrapper onto 8.5x11" white card stock.
2. Wrap around candy bar and secure with tape.
3. Crease edges for a nice finish.
4. Add a ribbon if you'd like to jazz it up a bit.

TIP: If you don't like the gold outer packaging unwrap it to find a plain silver foil wrapped candy bar inside.

Love you friends!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
There are soooo many different adorable plush stuffed animals to choose from I really don't know which one to pick for myself. Ha!! It took me forever to pick out the ones for the girls.

And honestly, Clara picked out a pink elephant at first and then traded it for the puppy because the elephant nose was a little awkward to snuggle with. (I didn't tell her what i was getting, I just gave her a few "stuffed animal" options to choose from and then when she realized what it was for she chose something she could really get cozied up to). *wink*

My Word of the Year for 2019

Saturday, February 2

Res • cue /'reskyōō/ verb - to find, save, recover; to set free from, deliver, to liberate; 

Well there she is...in all of her glory.
RESCUE... the word (and symbol +) I've chosen for 2019.

Yep.
I plan to rescue ME...
which makes me the rescuer AND the rescuee.

If you remember, last year I chose the word "FREE".
Even a year ago I had this underlying desire to "rediscover, unbury and reconnect
with the girl I once was." The primary emphasis being on my health.

Ironically, I even used the word "rescue" a year ago when I said, "I am running fiercely to meet her; to grab her hand and continue the journey together...I'm sprinting through the wide open prairie to wear she is standing and has been waiting for me to return. And I know when I reach her...I will not have rescued her...she will have rescued me."

With much disappointment in my heart to have to admit this...she's still waiting for me my friends.

So yeah...I started January feeling so much disappointment because although I made some progress in 2018 with regards to my health, it's not even close to what I envisioned "FREE" to look like or better yet...feel like.

But...I can tell you after spending the entire first month of 2019 "planning, dreaming, diving into what really matters to me this year and especially what steps I need to take to make important things happen" I have definitely felt a shift.

Instead of allowing myself to be stuck in disappointment, I've adopted this mindset I recently wrote during some brainstorming/journaling:

"...maybe what I need to do is surrender to the place I am at right now. Perhaps let go of the unmet expectations and the failures related to my health. And just start where I am at. Let go of what worked or what didn't work and just listen to my body. And start exactly where I am...as ugly or as messy as I believe it to be."

Besides, remember the Reflect + Release post when I said, "We feel all the feels, we reflect on the progress or lack thereof and then...we close the chapter with gratitude."

Today I am grateful for...
- the self-care steps I implemented in 2018.
- the things I learned and tried that did not work well for me.
- the hope and expectation I feel for 2019.
- the renewed commitment to becoming a better version of me.

The word "RESCUE" has a sense of urgency associated with it.
And that's exactly how I'm feeling about tackling what's ahead for me.

I'm on a "Rescue Mission" my friends...a "Search + Rescue" specifically.
Aside from writing the rescue symbol (+) on my wrist every morning as a part of my new morning routine, I've been using some other tools to help me carry out my rescue plan this year. I'm excited to be sharing those with you soon.

What's your word for 2019? I'd love to know what's inspiring you and what goals you are looking to reach this year!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I've got about 50 Hershey products to photograph and style and I'm definitely feeling a tremendous
amount of pressure to meet a January 8th deadline. (it's a working weekend for me my friends).

Good news is...I vowed "no sugar" in January despite the daily temptations of the chocolate I'm surrounded by...and I DID it!! I stuck to my promise.  It's amazing how powerful the "+" symbol I've been writing on my wrist has been. *wink*
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