Cinnamon Kettle Corn

Cinnamon Kettle Corn | Oh my goodness. This stuff is amazing - you'll never what the regular stuff again.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

Popcorn is a popular snack in our house. It’s easy and pretty healthy – especially if you use the Whirley-Pop we love so much. Most of the time it’s of the butter and salt variety popped on the stove. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a salty and sweet snack though and then kettle corn is the answer.

We recently did some experimenting and found adding cinnamon to the mix brings it over the top. Cinnamon Kettle Corn is the perfect movie night food or afternoon snack.

In my opinion, cooking is all about making things fit the tastes of your family. If you are trying to cut back on sugar, eliminate a tablespoon or two. Love salt? Add some more. My husband loved the popcorn with 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Me, I like it with 1. But anyway you make it, it’s some good (and addicting) stuff!

Once, I attempted to make this healthier by using sucanat. Umm, let’s just say everything had to be tossed. I think the higher moisture content caused it to burn. I use the fair trade cane sugar with no problems though.

You can find your popcorn kernels anyplace from Wal-Mart and sometimes Aldi to online at Amazon and Vitacost (<— If you sign up using my referral link, you’ll receive $10 off your first order if it’s $30 or more.)

Cinnamon Kettle Corn | Oh my goodness. This stuff is amazing - you'll never what the regular stuff again.

Cinnamon Kettle Corn
 

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾-1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛-1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions
  1. Put oil and 3 popcorn kernels in your popper. Turn heat to medium (or a smidge over).
  2. Combing sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Once all 3 kernels pop, add remaining popcorn and the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Give the pan a stir/shake. Then take a silicone scraper and stir and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan quickly. (It helps break up and dissolve the sugar.)
  4. Close lid and use the handle to stir if you are using a Whirley-Pop or shake the pot every couple seconds.
  5. When finished popping, pour into a big bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Enjoy!

 

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Frozen Grapes! Such a genius idea and they make the easiest snack ever. Plus, they are Whole30 approved!

The best alfredo sauce. So creamy, flavorful, and super easy! We love this recipe.

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Paying Off Your Mortgage Early

Financial goals can be scary and exciting! This year we are focusing on paying off our house - here's  how we are doing it!

Financial goals. They can seem daunting or exciting. Debilitating or exhilarating. Sometimes, a combination of everything.

This year we are challenging ourselves to try and meet a pretty big financial goal. We pay our mortgage (and taxes and insurance) each month but we are going to put a much larger chunk for the next 18 months towards paying extra on our principal!

Is paying off your mortgage early important to you?

How Budgeting Looks in Our Home:

My husband works in Christian radio and I work 24 hours a week at our church.

We budget off of my husband’s salary and work hard to make it possible. Even to make it possible, we have to eliminate certain categories and have others less than we’d like, but we want to know that we could live off of that income if we had to.

The money I earn we budget separately. Here is where the “extras” come out of. Things like:

  • Vacations
  • Extras for clothing (to supplement the very little that comes out of our regular budget)
  • Putting extra towards saving goals – new cars, storm shelter etc
  • Putting extra toward the mortgage
  • Projects we want to tackle around the house
  • The list goes on. We sit down and look and see what’s going to be happening each month and decide what we are going to do with the money.

Our Financial Goal

This year, we are going to be doing something a bit differently. We are going to be budgeting (and living) off of my husband’s income as usual.

Where the big change comes in, for the next 18 months we are planning on every penny I bring in (after giving) going towards paying off our mortgage early.

It will be tight. We’ll have lots of decisions to make and I’m sure it won’t be easy. I’m guessing that there will be times when we wish we could just use a hundred dollars. We’ll have to say no to lots of things we want to do.

At the same time it’s exciting.

It’s exciting to set a big goal and see it get chipped away at.

It’s exciting to see each thousand dollars come off of the total.

It’s exciting to see the difference short term sacrifices are making.

Not only is it exciting (and scary) I think my husband and I will see plenty of other benefits over the next months besides the obvious perk of our mortgage disappearing.

Benefits of Tackling a Financial Goal as a Couple:

  • Our creativity and trust will be stretched.
  • We’ll have extra motivation to try and increase our side income projects.
  • We’ll have to be resourceful to come up with money for things we want or need that come up during the year.
  • We’ll learn to be content with what we have.
  • As we tackle this big project together, hopefully our communication and relationship will be strengthened.

I’m looking forward to 18 months from now and hopefully having our home paid off and being able to look back over that year and half and see how the sacrifices and determination paid off!

What financial goals have you tackled? Did you see benefits from it? Is paying off your mortgage early, something you’ve talked about?

Did you set any big financial goals this year?

Financial goals can be scary and exciting! This year we are focusing on paying off our house - here's  how we are doing it!

Image source: 401KCalculator via Flickr (license)

Linking up to these fun parties!

 

Easy Menu Plan and Goals

I think we might be finally crawling out of the Christmas busyness and hopefully settling into a bit of a routine. That is until new craziness hits, but hopefully that won’t be for a little while. I just checked the last one of these mini updates/menu plan/goals that I posted was from December 8. It’s been a while.

My favorite part of the Christmas holiday was actually the week after Christmas. I seemed that life slowed down enough to actually enjoy things. We spent a quiet New Year’s Eve home, I was able to hang out with some good childhood friends one afternoon, and another day had a movie night with another friend. It was nice to finish December with some calmness and relaxing.

We are now halfway through January with the grand intention of going through our house and organizing and throwing away. I’ve actually made decent progress but we have yet to hit the worst room in the house – my husband’s “office”/guest room/craft show storage. It will then get interesting.

I did a quick shopping trip yesterday and restocked up on produce but other than that I’m trying to use a lot of what we have in the house and make an easy menu plan around that.

Easy menu plan for our family of 4 and my goals for the week!

Breakfasts:

  • Leftover cinnamon rolls from small groups x 3
  • Sweet potato hash browns and scrambled eggs x 2
  • Broccoli egg bake
  • Oatmeal
  • Or something like that anyway. Breakfasts are easy in our house and scrambled eggs are a simple default.

Lunches:

Suppers:

Goals:

  • Continue with the BeFit Youtube exercise level 1
  • Thank you cards!
  • Budget meeting
  • Spend time in the Bible each day
  • Actually post this week
  • Get back into going through a blogging series

Linking up to Menu Plan Monday

Top Recipes of 2014

These are the most viewed recipes of 2014 on From this Kitchen Table!!! These need to go onto the menu plan. These are some great ones.

I have a post today that will make your stomach, menu plan, and Pinterest boards (follow mine here) happy! These are the most viewed recipes from 2014, and there are some good ones including my favorite breakfast dish, a go to 20 minute meal (can’t go wrong with butter, cheese, and cream), my easy way of making yogurt, and the broccoli pasta we are actually having for dinner tonight!

Have you made any of these? If you blog, what were your most viewed recipes?

Best Recipes of 2014:

10. Homemade Frozen Pizza

Homemade Frozen Pizza | Easy and tasty. No need to buy it from the store anymore.

9. Garlic Breadsticks

Garlic Breadsticks that are easy and delicious!

8. Broccoli Pasta

Broccoli Pasta coated with garlic and red pepper infused olive oil. Super simple and tons of flavor. Great as a side or main dish.

7. Homemade Yogurt (Slow Cooker Method)

Thick and Easy Homemade Yogurt (with or without a slow cooker) We LOVE this!

6. Baked Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls

5. Indian Layer Dip

Fabulous Indian Layer Dip. I couldn't stop eating this. Take a hummus base and give it an Indian twist and you have perfection.

4. Hamburger Noodle Casserole

Hamburger Noodle Casserole. Freezes great and is kid friendly.

3. Chicken Spaghetti (cream soup and Velveeta free)

Chicken Spaghetti without Velveeta or cream of chicken soup! Yay! We love this and the leftovers are awesome.

2. Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole

This sweet potato breakfast casserole is amazing and can even be made the night before! The leftovers taste amazing as well and it's #paleo and #whole30 approved. SO GOOD!

1. The Best Alfredo Sauce

The best alfredo sauce. So creamy, flavorful, and super easy! We love this recipe.

Thanks for reading, pinning, and cooking these recipes the last year!

Do you have a favorite recipe you’ve made the last year?

Linking up to these fun parties!

Top Posts of 2014

It’s been a busy and fun past 12 months. Posts that I wrote last January seem like a lifetime ago so it’s been fun looking back over so many of these top posts of 2014.

Top Posts 2014

The number 1 most popular post this year blew all the others out of water. Can you guess what it is?

I have a second post coming up highlighting the most popular recipes from 2014 – and there are some good ones.

13. How to Organize Owner’s Manuals

This genius idea come from my mom. Our manuals, receipts, instructions are no longer shoved into a file cabinet or random drawers. This makes it so much easier:

Genious way to organize all your owner's manuals. You can find what you need in seconds!

12. When Surviving is the Only Option

Encouragement for those times when our life circumstances are not going to change. Maybe there’s been illness or loss or suffering. When life isn’t going to change our heart and attitudes might have to.

When surviving is the only option and circumstances don't change.

11. 5 Minute Pick Up

It’s crazy how messy even 2 kids can make the house. 5 minutes (or 15 if it’s super messy) can make such a difference. Less clutter = less stress for this mom.

5 Minute Pick Up - a simple way to keep toys and clutter from taking over your house. We love doing this after supper each night.

10. Meal Ideas for a Date Night at Home

Sometimes it isn’t feasible to leave the house for a date. Make a special meal for you and your spouse after the kids are in bed or make a restaurant quality meal for the entire family.

10 great meal ideas for an at home date night

9. The Secret to Financial Success

Budgeting. It’s made a world of difference in our finances and our family. Having a plan for our money helps us not get into money arguments and enables us to meet goals a lot faster.

The Secret to Financial Success! Sitting down and doing this as a couple and actually following through as made a world of difference. You'll want to start today!

8. Reading List for 2014

I love finding new reading material and I guess you do too. I have to admit, I didn’t get near as much read last year as I wanted so many of these are still on my list.

My book list for 2014. Jon Acuff, Elisabeth Elliot, Jesse & Susan Wise and more! Lots of good ideas.

7. Tips for Eating Wheat Free on a Budget

We did a wheat free period to try and help my son’s eczema (and determined the dry winter weather is what makes it flare up the worst). These are suggestions for how to eliminate wheat from your diet without your family protesting and without breaking the budget.

Great (and easy) tips for going wheat free! Make the transition easy on your budget and your family!

6. 20 Whole30 Breakfast Recipes

We complete our first Whole30 in 2014 and breakfasts for the hardest for me to plan for. Here is a great list of healthy breakfast recipes whether you are planning a Whole30 or not.

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

5. 16 Whole30 Soup Recipes

I think a lot of us are looking for healthier options to put on the table. I love soups because they make awesome leftovers.

Yum! Great list of soups that are ALL Whole30 approved. Need to check this out for my menu plan this week!

3. Christmas Presents on a Budget

There is so much pressure to put the emphasis on presents at Christmas time. What do you do if you don’t have the money (or simply choose not to to spend a lot)? Here are some great ideas to keep your Christmas spending down as you plan for next year.

11 Tips for buying Christmas presents on a tight budget! Perfect for those of us that need (or want) to spend less this year. Check them out!

2. How to Go from Surviving to Thriving

This struck a cord with a lot of readers. Our lives are busy and things happen that we don’t plan and we find ourselves in survival mode and it’s not fun.

5 steps to go from surviving to thriving

1. How to Drastically Reduce Your Grocery Budget

The most read, most commented on, most pinned post ever on this blog. Groceries are something we all have to buy yet we all want to save money on. These tips are how I keep our grocery budget low without using coupons and while buying real food.

10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

Linking up to these fun parties!

Tips for a Successful Whole30

The beginning of the year so many people tend to think about food, diets, and health. A great way to give your year a jump start, no matter your long term eating plan, is a Whole30.

A Whole30 is a great way to help heal your body and ditch cravings. It's not easy, but it's worth it! Here are some tips for a successful Whole30!

After months (maybe even years) of thinking about it, we completed our first Whole30 in October. What exactly is a Whole30? It’s a 30 day nutritional program a couple started over 5 years ago. It will change your cravings, habits, help heal your body, and give you a good restart. They have a great post of the many benefits here.

The rules (foods you can and can’t eat) can seem a little daunting. Knowing I was going to have to avoid so many foods that were a standard part of our mostly real food diet stopped me from committing for a long time. There are no sweeteners allowed of any kind (not even honey), no grains (quinoa, oats, rice etc), no legumes or peanut butter, no dairy, no carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites, and you also aren’t allowed to create plan ingredient approved “baked goods”. (It’s sort-of like a paleo plan but more strict.)

Ummmm, that’s a lot of nos! Where do you start and how do you ensure that you’ll finish out the 30 days strong?

I have 12 tips for a successful Whole30 to help you out!

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Menu plan for all three meals and snacks. Plan for at least a week at a time or even for the whole 30 days. Food on this plan can take some more time to prepare, don’t leave it to the last minute or you’ll find yourself stressed or grabbing foods that aren’t on plan. Having a written menu help keep that from happening. Use Pinterest to keep track of recipes you’d like to try and find some great resources. I have a list of Whole30 Soup Recipes and Whole30 Breakfast Recipes to get you started.

Yum! Great list of soups that are ALL Whole30 approved. Need to check this out for my menu plan this week!

2. Mentally Prepare for a Hard Start

Don’t expect it to be a bed of roses! You will struggle and possible feel miserable the early days. I found myself thinking about food (I couldn’t eat) continuously! Be prepared for this and be prepared to stick it out. You can do it. Maybe plan your Whole30 to start when life won’t be too crazy or stressful.

3. Mentally Prepare to be Over it at the End

By the time 30 days are over you’ll probably be ready to just quit and think, “surely 27 days is good enough”. Knowing this will happen will allow yourself to combat it. Perhaps give yourself a reward if you stick out the 30 days.

4. Have the Entire Family Do It

Let me tell you, it would have been torture if everyone else in my house was eating cheese, grains, and chocolate and I had to watch. The temptation to take a bite would be huge. I didn’t cheat, but it was a family project. I’m not sure the results would have been the same otherwise.

5. Do it With a Friend

My sister and her husband did a Whole30 the same time we did. It was amazing! Having another person responsible for the majority of the cooking to talk to, was great. We could brainstorm together and take meals from each other’s menus, and, of course, keep each other accountable.

6. Repeat Meals

Please, don’t feel like you need to come up with 30 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. If you find a meal you love – especially one the kids love – make it every week. Or even more often.

20 Whole30 breakfast ideas and recipes! Great resource for healthy breakfasts - the hardest for me to come up with recipes for. (My FAVORTIE breakfast casserole is on this list)

7. Do Lot of Kitchen Prep at One Time

You’ll be using many fruits, vegetables, and meats during this month. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen each day preparing these items, take some time on the weekends to wash, peel, chop all the food you can for the next several days. Bonus, you only have to do those dishes once.

8. Plan for Leftovers to Save Time in the Kitchen

One of the big deterents of the Whole30 is the amount of time you have to spend in the kitchen. Make extra one night so you can have leftovers on a busy day or use them for lunches.

9. Try New Things

If you don’t venture beyond scrambled eggs for breakfast and carrots and broccoli for your veggies, it will be a long 30 days. Get out of your rut. Trying cooking some veggies you don’t love in a new way and pick out some new produce you’ve never tried.

10. Save Up to Increase Your Grocery Budget

Set aside a little extra money before your Whole30 begins! We keep our grocery budget low and we definitely spent more during this challenge. Probably double what we normally spend. Only buying produce, meats, dried fruit, and nuts can get a little pricey. Watch for meats to get marked down and start stocking up in the months prior as well.

10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

11. Get Rid of Temptation

Had there been a bag of my favorite candy staring me in the face every time I opened up the cabinet or cheese in the refrigerator it would have been a really long month and I’d have been much more incline to just cheat a bite of something here or there. Bury them in the deepest part of your pantry, pass ingredients on to a friend, or toss them – do what it takes so they won’t be taunting you.

12. There’s NO Perfect Time

Our lives are busy. There’s always things going on. If you try to wait for the perfect 30 days where you have nothing going on that will take you out of your home, you’ll never do. That’s a big part of the reason it took me soooo long to commit. Find a time that works best – probably avoiding major holidays and birthdays of your family members – and put it on the calendar.

Lastly, don’t let fear keep you from getting started! Take the plunge and set aside 30 days for recharging your body, breaking cravings, and possibly losing a few inches and pounds and becoming a healthier you. You’ve got this, especially with these tips for a successful Whole30!

A Whole30 is a great way to help heal your body and ditch cravings. It's not easy, but it's worth it! Here are some tips for a successful Whole30!

Have you done a Whole30? What tips do you have?

Haven’t done a Whole30, are you thinking about it?

I’ve joined up with 40 other bloggers to share ways to make 2015 the best year ever! A Whole30 is a great way to jump start your health, but read below to see many of fabulous ideas.

A Whole30 is a great way to help heal your body and ditch cravings. It's not easy, but it's worth it! Here are some tips for a successful Whole30!

1. How to Set and Keep Goals to Make This the Best Year Ever | Jen @ Girl in Garage

2. 15 Ways to Stay Organised at Work During 2015 | Elizabeth Harrin @ A Girl’s Guide to Project Management

3. How Personal Style Will Help You Achieve Goals Faster in 2015 | Cherene Francis @ Aura Image Consulting

4. Completing Those Unfinished Projects in the NEW YEAR | Angela Lerew @ Unexpected Elegance

5. 42 Ways to Practice Perfectly & Become an Expert at Almost Anything | Amy Garro @ 13 Spools

6. Easy Exercises to do on a Cruise Ship | Amanda Woods @ Adventures All Around

7. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Healthier This Year | Dawn @ Reveal Natural Health

8. 31 Days to a More Fabulous You | Julie Bonner @ Mom Fabulous

9. How to Make This the Best Gardening Year Ever | Kendra Spencer @ a Sonoma Garden

10. 5 Ways to Make this Your Best Monarch Season…Ever! | Tony Gomez @ Monarch Butterfly Garden

11. 12 Scriptures for Goals and Guidance | Julie @ Loving Christ Ministries

12. How to Build a Starter Emergency Fund in 30 Days or Less | Jackie Beck @ The Debt Myth

13. Family Verse of the Week Challenge for 2015 | Jamie Yonash @ Life is Sweeter By

Design

14. Hot Work at Home Jobs for 2015 | Holly Hanna @ The Work at Home Woman

15.  A Year of Intention | Hilary Bernstein @ Accidentally Green

16. 2015: Our Best Year Yet | Ashley @ Leaving the Rut

17. Create a Better Life Story | Bronwen Warner @ Tummy Time and Beyond

18. Get Ready to Get MDfit | Tom and Anne @ Eat & Be Fit

19. 5 Free Ways to Learn Something New This Year | Sarah Fuller @ Earning and Saving with Sarah Fuller

20. Healthy Leek Soup | Mirlandra @ Mirlandra’s Kitchen

21. Health Resolutions: Baby Steps to a New You | Ellen Christian @ Confessions of an

Overworked Mom

22. 5 Ways Busy Moms Can Get Motivated to Work Out | Diane Nassy @ philZENdia

23. Be Prepared for the New Year | Jennifer Dunham Starr @ The Memory Journalists

24. 3 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2015 | Joe Goodwill @Average Joe Cyclist

25. New Year’s Resolution: Cook More Often! | Kim Pawell @ Something New for Dinner

26. I Should What? 28 Ways to be Happier | Karen Young @ Hey Sigmund

27. 9 Ways to Get Healthier In The New Year | Amy Maus @ Home and Farm Sense

28. In 2015 Resolve to Take Control of Your Money | Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet

29. Eucharisteo: A Year of Thanksgiving | Lani Padilla @ Simply Fresh Vintage

30. No More Tears at IEP Meetings: Make This Your Best Year Ever! | Lisa Lightner @ A Day In Our Shoes

31. Learn to Save Money on Groceries | Melissa Buckles @ Everyday Savvy

32. How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution – For Real This Time! | Michelle @ Dishes and Dust Bunnies

33. 52 Weeks to a Better You: Week 1 – Go to Bed Early | Mindi Cherry @ Moms Need to Know

34. Food Street: How a Community Has Joined Forces to Start a Street Farm | Sam Walker @ Bubble ‘N Squeak

35. Organizing Coupons with the Binder Method | Sara Steigerwald @ Sisters Shopping on a Shoe String

36. How to Make This Year the Happiest Yet | Shambray @ Shambray.com

37. A New Year, A New You | Sharon Rowe @ How to Get Organized at Home

38. 5 Ways to Get Paid for Losing Weight This Year | Anna @ Real Ways to Earn Money at Home

39. Tips for Successful Whole30 | Deanna Michaels @ From This Kitchen Table

40. 75 Ways to Be Healthier in 2015 | Maryea Flaherty @ Happy Healthy Mama

41. How to Make 2015 the Best Year Ever! | Jennifer @ My Boys & Their Toys

Bonus links:

Fashion Resolutions:

How to Add Style to Any Outfit | Ellen Christian @ The Socialite’s Closet

Linking up to these fun parties!

Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce

Peppermint hot fudge sauce. This sauce is the PERFECT addition to ice cream this time of year. I could eat it with a spoon.

Peppermint hot fudge sauce. It’s no secret I love ice cream. I have no problems eating it year round but in case there are crazy people in your family who think you shouldn’t eat it this time of year, make this hot fudge sauce! Anything with peppermint is meant to be eaten in the winter, right?

Drizzle it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream or add a brownie and make a peppermint brownie fudge sundae. This would be the perfect, easy dessert to finish off your holiday meals. We are already spending so much time in the kitchen cooking up elaborate feasts, keep dessert simple and delicious.

I’ve tried making hot fudge sauce with sucanat. The first time it turned out great. I made it again and it was a complete flop. Thought it was a fluke and made it again a few months later. It bombed on me again. I gave up at that point. If you have an amazing (and fool proof) recipe using unrefined sweeteners pass it on! In the meantime, I’m using the not as good stuff. But I make it using no corn syrup, so I figure it’s a little better.

You could also drizzle this into your cup of coffee or hot chocolate for a yummy peppermint twist.

Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce
Serves: 1¼ cups
 

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 squares semisweet baking chocolate
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. In a saucepan add half and half, butter, chocolate, and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium low heat until everything is melted.
  3. Increase heat to bring to a simmer/soft boil and cook 4-7 minutes, stirring with a whisk, until sugar dissolves and sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in salt, peppermint oil, and vanilla extract.
  5. Cool slightly and serve over ice cream (or mix into coffee or hot chocolate).

 

Peppermint hot fudge sauce. This sauce is the PERFECT addition to ice cream this time of year. I could eat it with a spoon.

Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes aka snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cakes (or Dust Balls as we called them. These are my favorite Christmas cookies. Super easy and they melt in your mouth.

Who doesn’t love a Christmas Cookie Exchange?

Find several great Christmas cookie recipes and link up your  own Christmas cookie recipe!

We would like to share with you some of our favorite Christmas cookies!  We can’t give you the actual cookie, but we can give you the recipes!  You can see one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes below, and then find links to several other great Christmas cookie recipes at the bottom of this post.   We have also provided a linky on the bottom for you to link up your favorite Christmas cookies!  Come participate in our Online Christmas Cookie Exchange!

Here’s my recipe:

So only the recipe card says Russian Tea Cakes. The name we actually growing up calling this fabulous little cookies by? No, not snowball cookies like the rest of the world. Our name was a little more unique. We called them Dust Balls. That’s actually the name I still call them. But for some reason, I don’t think a cookie recipe called Dust Balls would go over well to the rest of the world so I’m calling them Russian Tea Cakes once again for the sake of this post.  What name do you use for these cookies? I know others who call them Mexican Wedding Cakes too.

Now that we got the name out of the way, let me tell you that I LOVE these cookies. They are easily in my top 3 Christmas cookies to make each year. They are delicate – like little balls of shortbread rolled in powdered sugar. I also love that they aren’t overly sweet.

Do yourself a favor and make a double batch while you are at it! The 24 cookies will be gone in no time – they are that addicting. They keep well in the freezer as well.

The nuts in this recipe are optional in my book. We do it both ways. Growing up, a lot of us kids didn’t like nuts messing with our desserts but now walnuts and pecans are some of my favorite things. Do what will make your family happy.

5.0 from 3 reviews

Russian Tea Cakes
Serves: 24 cookies
 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts
  • additional powdered sugar

Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Sift flour and salt. Add to butter mixture.
  3. Blend in vanilla and nuts.
  4. Form in 1 inch balls.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes.
  6. While warm roll in powdered sugar.

 

Russian Tea Cakes aka snowballs or Mexican Wedding Cakes (or Dust Balls as we called them. These are my favorite Christmas cookies. Super easy and they melt in your mouth.

You can go to the following blogs to see their Christmas cookie recipes.  These recipes are also first on the linky below.  

Creative K Kids – Santa’s Surprises
Simple Hacks Living – Candy Cane Snowballs
Gypsy Road – Incense & Peppermint
My Life Abundant – My Favorite Cookie with Ernest T. Bass
Home Garden Joy – Christmas Cookie Recipe Fudge Ecstasy Cookies
Barbara Vogelgesang – 12 Days of Christmas Cookies – Rainbow Cookies
From this Kitchen Table – Russian Tea Cakes – The Best Christmas Cookie Ever
Baking With Mom – Christmas Cut Out Sugar Cookies
Back Home Again – Nutella Cookies
Surviving Toddlerhood – Almond Joy Cookie Bites {Grain Free, Refined Sugar Free, Egg Free}
Creative Pink Butterfly – Coconut Macaroon Recipe
The Southern Fried Bride – Peppermint Wonderland Bars
One Hoolie Mama – 5 Ingredient Christmas Cookies
Snapshots and Snippets – Snowmen Cookies

You can also follow our Online Exchange Christmas Cookie Pinterest Board HERE to see all the  posts that are linked up below plus some other great Christmas posts that we find!

Follow our Online Christmas Cookie Exchange Board on Pinterest!

We would love it if you grabbed our button so that others can find this linky!

Creative K Kids

Link up your Christmas cookie recipes, and they will be seen on all the hosts’ blogs!

Linking up to these fun parties!

Gift Ideas for Preschoolers

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

My daughter is almost 4 this Christmas and I’m finding this age such a fun one to shop for. They have vivid imaginations, love to try new things, and do what grown ups do. They are getting more independent and will play the same thing for long periods of time. It’s wonderful!

Presents that encourage kids to play, use their imaginations, and stretch them to learn new things are my type of gift over more gimmicky or electronic ones. One of my other key points when it comes to gift shopping is quality over quantity!

Most of these my daughter has and a few more she’s getting for Christmas this year. I love that brother will be able to grow into them in the next year.

Gift Ideas for Preschoolers:

Play Tunnel

We’ve had one of these for over a year now, and in the last month my daughter has been playing with this constantly! It’s a “slide”, part of a fort, tornado, and whatever else she comes up with.

Play Tent

This is one thing our daughter is getting for Christmas this year. I think she’s going to love it! A little house, reading nook, fort, castle. I see it getting lots of use!

Floor Puzzles

Some kids don’t enjoy puzzles, but if yours do these giant floor puzzles are a lot of fun. We have several of them and they are frequently put together on the kitchen floor (and then are treated as a dance floor by little brother).

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Dress Up Clothes

You can find themed dress up clothes on Amazon or check out the local thrift stores for fancy dresses, shawls, bow ties, top hats etc. But together a bin full of dress up clothes and it will be something they will use for years to come (especially if you buy real clothes from the thrift store)! We had dress up clothes growing up and they got used to shreds!

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Sheets and Clothespins

Not for their beds, but rather for some epic fort building. We spent countless hours building forts inside and out growing up and at least once a week my daughter is building forts in our house. She makes little ones with the coffee table or asks me for help making ones that take up a good portion of the living room.

Sheets

Flashlight

Kids are obsessed with flashlights and they are the perfect accessory to a fort or for exploring.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Building Blocks

Some kids do the block thing and other don’t, but they are a classic toy to have around. They can build cities and roads or towers to knock over.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Lego Duplo Blocks

These are more stable for little hands (but not as fun to topple over :-) ) We have a couple of sets of these that the kids cycle through playing.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Painting Supplies

Painting. Kids like anything kind-of messy in my experience. Having their own supplies is a lot of fun. They’ll sit and paint away. Having it be a present makes them ruining the paint and going through countless sheets of paper not quite so painful.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

 

Workbooks

My daughter is obsessed with these things. She goes through them so quickly I’d be broke trying to keep up with her. She loves them, and views them as fun not school so they make a great present. I won’t have to limit how many pages she does a day when it’s a gift either.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Grocery Cart

Both of my kids push their little grocery cart around the house. They go grocery shopping, use it to move clothes from the dyer, or carry around toys and books.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Doll Stroller

Again, I think things with wheels are fun. Put a doll, stuffed animal, or other object in there and they have a blast. Getting to push it down the sidewalk is even better.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Baking Supplies

My daughter LOVES to help in the kitchen. When she turned three, one of her presents was a little silicone spatula, some recipes she could make, and the ingredients to make them. She loved it! Purchase real products they can actually use and the ingredients you don’t normally buy. They will feel pretty cool whipping up there own batch of mini muffins or cupcakes or decorating cookies they made with their stuff. My daughter still asks for “her spatula”.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time. Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

 

Books

Reading. We love books in our house and spend lots of time on the couch reading a lot. Find good books to add to your stash. These are just a few of the many books we have, but my daughter seems to bring these out frequently to read.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

Play-Doh

Something else my daughter loves to get out and spend long periods of time playing with. Colors get mixed, my rolling pin and cookie cutters get brought out along with plastic animals so they can make foot prints. Play-Doh dries out so they will always need new stuff! You can even make your own.

Great Gift Ideas for Preschoolers! Love these ideas - they all encourage their imagination and they'll use for a long time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite gift ideas for preschoolers?

Linking up to these fun parties!

Menu Plan and Goals

The whirlwind time of year is here! Our third craft show of the year was Saturday and was the best one! It definitely helped make a long day more worth it. We had a prime location and some new products that sold really well. The craft shows really have been a lot of fun, but they are tiring, especially juggling the kids during the day. They did quite well though, until the very end. Sunday afternoon was spent picking up the house and grocery shopping, both or which desperately needed to happen.

Menu plan and goals for our family of 4! This week, leftovers are rocking it!

I had no intentions of making sugar cookies this year, but when my daughter said she want to make “sock cookies like on Curious George’s Christmas” I decided to go for it. She helped mix up half a batch of dough and learned how to roll and cut out the cookies. The decorating she did all on her own and I attempted to keep brother from destroying everything. :-)

This week and next are going to be busy ones once again. I think things will maybe slow down the actual week of Christmas. (But I probably shouldn’t say that too loudly or that won’t even happen.) I talked about this some on my Facebook page last week. Why does everything have to happen in the month of December? Can’t we have fall parties or New Year’s parties instead of Christmas ones? I, for one, would find those much more enjoyable! This time of year ends up being so busy that there isn’t time to slow down and truly enjoy it.

Menu plan and goals for our family of 4! This week, leftovers are rocking it!

Homemade vanilla ice cream with Peppermint Hot Fudge Sauce! It turned out yummy. The sauce recipe will be getting posted soon.

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs
  • Smoothies
  • Pancakes from freezer
  • Granola

Lunches:

  • Baked Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes with carrots and pineapple
  • Pancakes from freezer
  • Or leftovers

Suppers:

  • Small Groups – Italian theme – brought bread sticks and dessert
  • Tomato Soup/Ladies’ Bible Study
  • Leftovers x 2 (or more) Our small group leaders sent us home with noodles, sauce, and bread that will make at least two meals!
  • Snack supper

Goals:

  • Etsy shop. . . Yep, didn’t happen again last week.
  • Get ready for a mini trip
  • Write two more posts (life was crazy last week and only 1 happened)
  • Put away craft show items
  • 18 month check up (he’s not a baby anymore)
  • Sleep. I’m at that point of exhaustion where I feel like I’m practically sleep walking. I can’t control whether the kids sleep through the night, but I can’t control what time I go to sleep at. Getting to bed earlier often means leaving more things undone on my list than I would like. Even a couple nights in bed early would help, I think! But my list of things that   have to get done is too long so we’ll see. . .What’s on your menu this week? Any Christmas events going on?

    Linking up to Menu Plan Monday