While candy canes and hot cocoa are essential holiday treats, I would argue that the holiday cookie is the most delicious treat for December. Every holiday party you attend will have a wide spread of cookies, and we prepare them special for Santa every Christmas eve. You probably have fond memories of your parents, grandparents or other relatives baking your favorite treats during Thanksgiving to prepare for December; now it’s your chance to make some new memories with your family. The cookie is a perfect holiday gift at parties, for secret Santa or anyone else on your list including yourself. Weather you’re a fan of ginger-bread, chocolate chip, peanut butter or traditional sugar cookies, be sure to make enough for everyone this holiday season. We gathered our favorite cookie recipes for you share and enjoy this December.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
These cookies remind me of my childhood, when my aunt would host her annual holiday party, she always made a few extra cookies for me to take home at the end of the night. This recipe might take a little more work than the others but well worth all the hard work especially if you get some little ones to help out. Recipe and instructions can be found here: https://sugarspunrun.com/peanut-butter-blossoms/
Whenever I bake sugar cookies, I always always use Martha Stewart's recipe. There is such perfect balance of flavors and texture that happens whenever I bake her cookies. Martha’s recipe is a bit detailed and can take longer than other recipes on this list but will be such a great reward. Her recipe and video can be found here: https://www.marthastewart.com/354971/sugar-cookies
Gingerbread men are the perfect traditional holiday cookie filled with yummy spices and lots of sugar. This recipe will be perfect for your next holiday party, handing out as holiday gifts for coworkers and neighbors, plus don’t forget about the big man coming down the chimney. Head to the store and grab some molasses because who has any of that in their home now a days along with some fun cookies cutters to make things extra fun. You can find the perfect Gingerbread recipe here: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipes/a50468/gingerbread-cookies-recipe/
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
A good friend of mine made these for me a year ago and I fell in love with them. They are the perfect combination of sweetness and chocolatiness. I would recommend baking a double batch, one for yourself and one to share. This is a great recipe to make with the whole family, just make sure not to spill the powered sugar everywhere, like I did. Recipe can be found here: https://showmetheyummy.com/chocolate-crinkle-cookies-recipe/
December is a magical month anywhere, but especially in the Seattle area. One of my favorite memories during the holiday season is going to see the Christmas lights. So many outdoor locations across the Puget sound put up spectacular light shows and displays. The holiday season can already be costly enough on any person, buying presets, traveling and all the holiday parties; so why not see some holiday lights with out busting your budget. We put together a list of our favorite places to see and enjoy some twinkling holiday lights. Grab your jackets, mittens and scarves for a night of stunning installations and yuletide fun.
Woodland Park Zoo lights
Starts on Dec 1st and run until Jan 5th, the Woodland Park Zoo displays a 600,000 light show called Wildlights. Sip some hot cocoa while strolling through the magical light installation and if you’re lucky you might even spot some animals getting ready for Santa. To get tickets and learn more about Wildlights, click here: https://www.zoo.org/wildlights
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Lights
For all our southern end Puget Sound neighbors there is a great light installation happening at the Point Defiance Zoo called Zoolights. The zoo brings the holiday spirit alive with 3-D animal light displays and over 700,000 LED lights. If it’s too cold outside with the lights, you can head on in and warm up with some sharks in the South Pacific Aquarium. To get tickets and learn more about the event, click here: https://www.pdza.org/event/zoolights/
The Bellevue Botanical garden installs a gorgeous light display every year across the grounds for all to enjoy. The Garden d’Lights show starts at 4:30pm and runs till 9pm between Nov 24th to Dec 30th. This holiday light show is a must see and at only $5 a ticket, its great for any budget. To get parking info and see event details, click here: https://bellevuebotanical.org/garden-dlights/
Green Lake Lights
On Saturday Dec 8th between 4:30 and 7:30pm lights will illuminate the Green Lake circuit, paths and docks. There will be local musicians scattered around the lake to bring more of the holiday spirit alive. If this light show hasn’t already sold you, then one more thing might sweeten the deal; this event is free, so bring your friends, family and everyone to share this fun holiday treat. To see event info and learn more, find their Facebook event at “2018 Annual Green Lake Pathway of Lights”.
Its that time of year again, where holidays lights go, Christmas décor comes out and there are candy canes of plenty. If you are like my family then you’ve had your Christmas and holiday decorations up since the day after thanksgiving; now it’s time to add something new to your home. You probably already have lights and Christmas tree decorations, but why not add some homemade crafts to your collection. These DIY creations can go up in your home or why not make some extra and spread some holiday spirit. Grab your hot cocoa, Christmas cookies and your craft supplies and start creating some holiday memories. All these DIY holiday decorations can be made with just a small trip to the craft store.
Mason Jar Ring Ornaments:
Grab some old maps from a thrift store or the second ad book store of your favorite places. Next you will need some mason jar lids, if you head to the grocery store or the craft store you might be able to get some lids with out a ton of extra jars. The last few items you will need are puff paint, sharpie, hot glue gun, string and scissors. Grab the kiddos and set up your table for some serious crafting. Complete tutorial and instructions, click here: https://www.happy-mothering.com/12/crafts-diy/mason-jar-ring-map-ornament/
This is a great DIY to add a new twist on your parent’s popcorn garland and all you need is three items. Place this rustic looking garland along your mantel or use it as a back drop during your next holiday party. If you want to add some extra sparkle to your festive garland; try dusting glitter over a thin layer of glue on top of the coffee filters before fastening them to the twine. To see an example and find instructions, click here: https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/tips/g907/craft-ideas-for-christmas-decorations-1209/
Peppermint Twist Wreath:
Put literally a new twist on boring old wreaths with this fun and festive addition. What is more iconic holiday treat than the peppermint, so why try adding dozens to you holiday décor. This simple but stunning wreath only takes a few different items to create and just one trip to the craft store. To see the full list of items and instructions, click here: https://www.womansday.com/home/crafts-projects/how-to/a6285/craft-how-to-peppermint-twist/
Happy holidays and happy crafting.
You’ve survived a weekend of family, food and shopping now its time to gear up for the December holiday season. If you cooked or hosted Thanksgiving dinner at your house, then you most likely still have leftovers lying around. You tried to give away as much food to your guest as they were leaving, but some how you still ended up with so much extra food. Its time to clear out your fridge to make way for delicious treats and meals that will be shared in the upcoming holiday month. So take stock of your fridge and head to the grocery store for some basic items and you can turn those turkey day leftovers into a scrumptious meal. Below we have put together our favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipes.
Deep Fired Loaded Mashed Potatoes Bites:
The mashed potatoes made by my Aunt Nancy are like my favorite thing in the world but there is always so much leftover at the end of thanksgiving. This recipe gives the dinner staple new life with delicious additions like bacon and cheese. Make these as appetizers or for a lite snack, either way you will be loaded with goodness. Click to see full recipe and get ingredient list: https://www.thecookierookie.com/deep-fried-loaded-mashed-potato-bites/
Cranberry Asiago Turkey Sandwiches:
We all know that no one ate the cranberry sauce and you probably made more turkey than you needed, so this recipe is perfect to eat up those leftovers. This four-ingredient recipe is perfect for lunch, dinner, snack or an appetizer and if you already have two of the ingredients it’s a breeze. Head on down to the famers market or the local bakery to pick up some fresh buns and delicious asiago cheese to complete this meal. Click to get full recipe: https://www.willcookforsmiles.com/cranberry-asiago-turkey-sliders/#_a5y_p=4649194
Slow Cooker Turkey Quinoa Chili:
If you are tired of the same thanksgiving turkey leftover sandwiches, why not mix it up with this delicious recipe for you and the whole family. This meal will require you to get a few extra ingredients if you don’t already have like quinoa, black beans or sweet potatoes but the reward is unbelievably scrumptious. If you double the recipe that you can meal prep lunches for the next day or week. Use up your leftovers so that you can make way for new ones. Click here to get the ingredient list and recipe: https://www.wellplated.com/slow-cooker-turkey-quinoa-chili/
We hope you all enjoyed Turkey and Thanksgiving dinner with your family yesterday. Now its time to start planning for Christmas, Hanukkah and the winter holiday season. If you love deals and steals than you probably love Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. It’s time to grab all your Christmas and Hanukkah gifts along with holiday party presents; you can enjoy yourself this December. To make the most of this big sale weekend and not overwhelm yourself, learn more about each sale day and follow some of our tips and tricks.
Always the Friday after Thanksgiving and usually have incredible deals at large stores like Walmart, Macy’s, Target and Best Buy. Over the past few years more stores have opened earlier and earlier, even some opening on Thursday night for Black Friday deals. While this Friday might have some of the best deals of the year; it also pulls the traffic and congestion on the roads, in the malls and throughout the store. Luckily many stores continue their Black Friday sales until late next week, so don’t fret if you can’t make it today.
Small Business Saturday:
This event has become more popular over the past few years giving a chance for smaller community business to capitalize on this big buying weekend. Get out this Saturday and scope out all those lovely little trinkets shops, your favorite bakeries and the mom & pop places. If you have anyone in your family, friend group or at work who loves one of a kind treasures and unique gifts; you will for sure find some amazing gifts during Small Business Saturday. The great thing is each neighbor in the Seattle area has their own different small business to explore and they can range from food places to clothing to various services.
Cyber Monday is an online response to Black Friday so that online business’ largely Amazon and ebay can capture some holiday purchases. To continue the deal weekend Walmart, Target, Macy's and other major retailers will release new deals this Monday to continue encouraging people to shop shop shop. The best items to get on Monday are electronics, furniture and bulk items. Many stores will wave minimum dollar for free shipping but make sure before clicking check out that all your coupons were applied. Additionally, stores might offer buy online, pick up in store so you can enjoy your purchases sooner.
**Make sure you check prices and deals across all stores including online, some major clothing and electronic retailers will price match with other places. Also, before you purchase anything check the stores return policy and be sure to keep all tags and receipts if you need to return anything. Happy Hunting!!
Lastly don’t forget about Giving Tuesday, a day to give back to millions of different organizations across the world. Facebook captured on this day of giving by allowing people to run their own fundraising campaigns and some organizations will match your donations up to several millions. Some of the best gifts for the holiday season is sponsoring a child or supporting a family in the US and around the world.
Whether of not your leaving this holiday weekend or you’re hosting you need to prepare your home for Thanksgiving. There are lots of little simple task you can accomplish now to make this weekend more fun and stress free. You shouldn’t have to worry about your home or guest when you’re busy cooking up a storm on turkey day; so, prepare yourself and family by arranging everything beforehand. If you can plan out your menu for Thanksgiving, you should try and plan your family strategy for traveling and/ or hosting. These tips and tricks can help you not only survive but thrive and enjoy this holiday weekend.
If you are jet setting this weekend:
If your hosting the family this holiday:
Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Even if you don’t have a big family, cooking and planning dinner for thanksgiving is a big task. Not only do you have to prepare all the food, but you also have to go out and buy the ingredients and schedule out you prep and bake time because you probably don’t have five ovens. Maybe you’re not hosting, and you were asked to bring a side dish to a friends or family’s Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t have all day to slave in the kitchen for just one recipe or a few side dishes, so why not give our favorite quick Thanksgiving recipes a try.
Garlic Roasted Potatoes:
Why not try and easier way to make potatoes and put a new twist on the classic mashed potato dish. When you head to the grocery store grab small red, gold and/ or purple potatoes to add some color to the table. We love Inna Garten’s garlic roasted potatoes recipe and we recommend you try it for your dinner this Thanksgiving or any other day of the week. To find the recipe, click here:https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/garlic-roasted-potatoes-recipe-1913067
Cheesy Brussel Sprout Bake:
If you know your going to wear your stretchy pants to Thanksgiving and you love cheese as much as I do; then you’re going to need to make this Cheesy Brussel Sprout bake. This dish is a great quick bake for next week’s festivities, total cook and prep time is under 45 min. If you have a large family and you know that everyone will want to take leftovers home, you might want to double this recipe. To learn more about this dish, click here: https://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/thanksgiving/recipes/a44632/cheesy-brussels-sprout-casserole-recipe/
The turkey and gravy might be the center of attention during Thanksgiving, but my personal favorite dish has always been the rolls and bread. This recipe is a great addition to any meal, especially Thanksgiving and guess what its quick and easy to make. If you don’t have time or oven space next Thursday, this side dish can be made up to two days in advance. To find the recipe, click here: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/buttermilk-cornbread
Apple Cranberry Pecan Salad:
If all those recipes above have you feeling a little heavy, why not lighten up with a great fall salad. This recipe will add a healthy bite to your scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. Grab some fresh fruit and veggies at the grocery store to make this dish, plus you won’t need any oven space. To get the full recipe, click here: https://damndelicious.net/2014/12/08/apple-cranberry-pecan-salad/
You may think that Spokane would not be the best trip during the winter but in fact many people cross over Snoqualmie pass every holiday season to ski, see family and explore the beautiful state of Washington. Spokane is the largest city in eastern Washington and many people all across the state, Idaho, Montana and Oregon flock there to explore the natural beauty and experience its booming downtown. Although it may seem like a long way to go just for a three-day weekend; Spokane is the perfect place to bring your family for a winter weather getaway and if you’ve never been you will be blown away by its charm and beauty. Below you can details about what to do, where to say and more.
Where to stay:
Over the past few years the city and residents have been working together to boost tourism and share the wonder of eastern Washington with more people. There are a variety of Airbnb host across the Spokane valley with smaller apartments downtown and large homes in the suburban areas. If you’re looking for the five-star treatment why not book a few nights in one of the many glamorous hotels along the Spokane river including the Davenport hotels, the Red Lion and Montvale Hotel.
How to get there:
While the city offers a wide variety of accommodations, food options and activities; it may be a little limiting on modes to get there. The most popular and convenient is to drive from the Seattle area over, just make sure to check the weather diligently before leaving and pack chains and snow weather equipment. Another way to get there is by flying; during off season or buying tickets in advance can be the cheapest way to travel by air. If you are a budget traveler and don’t mind a few extra stops the greyhound runs daily between Seattle and Spokane stopping in Ellensburg and Moses Lake.
Where to eat:
Having lived there for four years during college, I can attest that Spokane has some of the best restaurants in the entire world. Weather you’re in the mood for brunch, local brews, delicious wines or spectacular diners you won’t be disappointed. Some of my favorite restaurants include, Kalico Kitchen, Chaps Diner and Bakery, Steam Plant restaurant, The Onion, Flying Goat Pizza and Luigi’s Italian restaurant. Many of these restaurants and others are centrally located in the downtown area and few in the valley heading east on I-90.
What to do:
For many people winter can be daunting with the cold weather and limited activities; in fact, Spokane is one of the most beautiful cities during the winter months. If you love nature and are not afraid of the cold or snow why not try exploring on a hike in Palisades Park, Mt. Spokane State Park and Palouse Falls. If you want to stay a bit more local why not walk along the riverfront, maybe try ice skating at their new rink or stroll through the downtown shopping district for holiday presents. For the art lovers there are several art galleries that have showings now including Chase Gallery, Trackside studio and art gallery, New Moon art gallery, Northwest Museum or Arts and Culture, and lastly the Jundt Art Gallery at Gonzaga University. What ever you choose to do on your trip to Spokane, you will not be disappointed.
Its starting to get cold outside and soon the holiday season will be upon us; now is the perfect time to relax and do something fun for yourself. Either you will be traveling to see family and friends or might be hosting the whole crew; before the stress and craziness dawns spend some quality time with you family and yourself. Soon there will millions of festive holiday activities you can choose from but this November you actually have an equal amount of family fun across the Seattle to explore. Whether you’re looking for holiday gifts or maybe a gift for yourself, you want to learn something new or want to eat delicious food; there will be something for you on our list. If you do anything before this holiday season with your family or just for yourself, we ask you to relax and relieve your previous Halloween stress and lastly just enjoy this holiday season.
If you are an Art lover:
It’s the 30th anniversary of the Northwest Art and Fine Art Craft show this weekend. This year the fall art event will be held in hanger 30 in Magnuson Park and there will be free parking as well as kids under 12 get in for free. Over 115 artists and artisans will be displaying and selling their art. Grab your family or friends you’re a day of art strolling and you may even come away with a stunning new piece for your home. To get tickets and learn more about the event, click here: https://nwartalliance.org/event/30th-annual-best-of-the-northwest-art-and-fine-craft-show-fall-2018/
If you’re a foodie:
The Saturday before Thanksgiving in the little town of Issaquah they host Gilman Village Sip and Shop event. Come enjoy some snacks from local restaurants and sip on a wide variety of wines while strolling through the adorable shopping center at Gilman Village. There will also be three different musical groups to entertain shoppers and set the mood. To get more info and purchase tickets, click here: https://downtownissaquah.com/event/gilman-village-sip-shop/
If you have a curious mind:
Come celebrate the 45th Julefest at the Nordic Museum November 17th through the 18th. Learn about Scandinavian culture and enjoy some authentic sweet holiday treats. There will also be traditional Nordic music and local artisans to purchase any gifts for the holidays and for the grown ups there is a Valhalla beer garden to enjoy a Juletide cocktail. To find tickets and more information, click here: http://nordicmuseum.org/julefest
If you’re a nature lover:
On Veteran’s day all National Parks across the country will have free entry this is including Mt Rainer and Olympic National Parks. In part to make more national lands accessible to all the National Parks department set up free entry days. Load up the car, grab your water bottle and head out for a day trip even in the cold these Puget Sound parks are stunning. To plan your trip and learn more about free entry day, click here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm
In the land of fast food chains, some diners have lost their audience because many people confuse the greasy manufactured food of McDonalds to hand crated traditional recipes you can find in most diners. While there are many faults with the millennial generation has, they are beginning to develop one advantage which is a renewed interest in diners and home-style cooking. While the younger generation mostly seeks out diners for their amazing brunch menus; be sure to stay lunch, dinner and dessert because everything at these restaurants below are delicious. If you’re lucky you might even get to taste some recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation at many of these diners across the Seattle area.
Dave’s Diner and Brew:
Located south of Seattle near SEATAC airport, step back in time and experience the 50’s in true diner style. Fan favorites you need to try are the meatloaf, bacon cheese burger, baked potatoes fries and the milkshakes. Be sure to hit up their happy hour daily from 3pm to 6pm and 10pm to midnight. If you cant make it to their restaurant, you can order online or over the phone to be delivered to you home or place of work. To find their menu and hours of operation: http://www.davesdiner.us/index.html
Square Knot Diner:
Located in Georgetown, Square Knot is a no-frills down to earth diner welcoming everyone. They have a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options to choose from. Plus breakfast is served all day long which means you can enjoy your omelets for brinner (breakfast for dinner). To find their menu and connect with their Facebook page: http://squareknotdiner.com/
Located in the heart of downtown Kirkland its been a family owned and operated restaurant for the past 40 plus years. At George’s you can find Greek-Mediterranean infused dishes as well as American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have daily specials for breakfast and lunch that change every day, so check their website before going to see what might look yummy. To see their complete menu and get directions: http://www.georgeskirkland.com/
Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-in:
Located in Issaquah right off I-90, Triple XXX is a great place for car and food lovers. The interior of the restaurant has an amazing preserved collection of retro car parts and memorabilia that will make you feel that you have stepped back in time. Triple XXX serves your favorite diner classics and even some that are on steroids like their milkshakes and burgers. Throughout the year Triple XXX host antique car shows for the community to come out and enjoy these living legends. To find their menu and learn more about the car shows: http://triplexrootbeer.com/
Located in the Freemont neighborhood, Roxy’s is a perfect place for all those east coast transplants and lovers of bagels. Their tag line is The Real East Coast on the West Coast and it lives up to its name. Founded from NJ transplant himself, Roxy’s serves up great classics like Reuben sandwich, Matzoh ball soup, bagels and lox with the works. If you are not a fan of east coast favorites, then try some of their other diner classics. To find their menu, directions and learn more about Roxy’s: https://www.pastramisandwich.com/