The holiday season can get pretty crazy and pass by in a blur of wrapping paper, tinsel and lights. I like little traditions that make me slow down and enjoy special moments. One of my favourites is lighting an advent candle each Sunday of December. Simple. Nice. Easy.
To get started this year, I picked up 4 candles in glass containers and a pack of number stickers at the dollar store. You see where this is going, right? I put a sticker on each candle holder numbering from 1 to 4 and arranged them on a tray. Advent candles, done! And yes, here’s a peek at my decorating colors pink and turquoise – not at all traditional but it works for this girl!
I’m looking forward to lighting the first candle this weekend and officially kicking off the holidays. Maybe I’ll even get my lights up!? What about you, any little traditions in the works?
New year cheater alert: I also put a ‘0’ sticker on the back of candle #3 so I can shuffle the set around to display 2014 when the calendar changes. Always thinking!
There’s a lovely young lady in my life that I’d like to claim as my niece but she’s actually my nephew’s girlfriend. Jenn is one of those rare girls that’s got it all going on: she’s smart, pretty, kind, athletic and truly beautiful inside and out. When she asked if we could get together to try some chocolate bark recipes for the holidays I said ” heck yeah’! This is our first test batch and we both gave it a thumbs up. It’s as delicious as it is easy! Here goes:
- 1 lb white chocolate wafers
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark or milk)
Place the white chocolate wafers in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Check and stir after 2 minutes and microwave longer if needed to completely melt the chocolate.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the chocolate peanut butter mixture on it evenly.
Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and return to microwave as needed to melt fully.
Drop or drizzle the melted chocolate onto the white chocolate mixture. Use a skewer or knife to swirl it into the white chocolate.
Cool then break into small pieces. Put it in the freezer to speed this up.
Gotta like a recipe that comes together with just 3 ingredients and about 30 minutes! This bark melts in your mouth! Thankfully I convinced Jenn to take most of the batch home with her so I didn’t tempt myself. Easy enough to make even with young kids and super yummy…tuck this idea away for future gift giving, we’re going to!
I can feel it happening, can you? The holiday season is rapidly approaching and I find myself with more to get done in a day. Most of it is fun stuff, like a pick up at the airport one day, a craft fair the next and a parade two days later. I really try to stick with my regular workouts and of course there’s a full time job in there too. I need a little pick-me-up in the afternoons and I’m determined not to hit the vending machines. So, I made a batch of these no bake energy balls and they’re doing the trick for me. Maybe you wanna try them too?
Easy Energy Balls
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut
- 1 tbsp each of ground chia seeds and ground flax
- 2 tbsp protein powder (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
Start with the dry ingredients and mix them in a bowl to combine and get out any lumps. I like a fork for this. Add in the peanut butter, honey and vanilla and continue stirring until well combined – I ended up using my hands. Roll into golf ball sized balls and refrigerate. Makes 12 balls.
Reach for one when you need a little snack, pre or post workout or pack a couple in your lunch bag! This is one of those recipes you can add or substitute freely. Try adding dried fruit, chocolate chips or chopped nuts. Skip the chia and flax and add a bit more oatmeal or wheat germ. Just be sure to balance the wet and dry ingredients so they stick together. Let’s keep our energy up and stay healthy to enjoy all this holiday season has to offer!