Holiday Entertaining with Trader Joes

trader joes party picks

If I haven’t driven this fact home yet, the holidays are definitely my favorite time of year. It consists of an entire month full of eating and drinking with the ones you hold most dear. What could be better? And with all that togetherness comes holiday parties

It is easy to get a little overwhelmed when hosting a holiday get together, especially when trying to plan a menu. That is why today I am sharing with you some of my no fail go-to appetizers courtesy of my favorite place in the world besides Target… Trader Joes. They have a TON of incredible appetizers, dips, treats, and desserts (and I have tried a lot of them). These are just a few of my favorites.

01 Mini Brie en Croute. Brie is my favorite cheese, especially around the holidays. There is nothing better than some brie cheese wrapped in a puff pastry. These little guys provide all of the deliciousness with absolutely none of the work.

02 Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip. I am obsessed with spinach and artichoke dip, and Trader Joes version is amazing. Your guests will never know it was frozen. Just top it with some parmesan cheese and pop it in the oven for a couple minutes and you have an amazing and quick dip.

03 Pita Chips with Sea Salt. These guys are on here because they go perfectly with the spinach dip and any of the other dips you can buy at Trader Joes.

04 Olive Tapenade. OH MY GOD. This stuff is addicting. You just need to go try it ASAP.

05 Fig & Olive Crisps. These are perfect, and go incredibly well paired with the Olive Tapenade or a cheese board.

What are your favorite Trader Joes apps? I would LOVE to hear them.

xx Casey

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Holiday Gift Guide For Him

GIFT GUIDE FOR HIM

Here we have it friends, part two of my 2017 Holiday Gift Guide Series. Today we are talking about things for the guy in your life.

01 Nintendo Switch. Perfect for the gamer in your life, or for the big kid. This nostalgic gaming system is the perfect gift to unwrap on Christmas morning!

02 Wicked Good Moccasins. He will never want to take these off, I promise! The best part is L.L. Bean provides a lifetime guarantee on these so he really never has to.

03 Teti 30oz Tumbler. Perfect for the guy on the go. Keeps your morning coffee hot and your beach cocktails cold. What could be better?

04 Amazon Echo Dot. A tiny little personal asistsant, Alexa will turn the lights off, put on an episode of The Office, and order you Dominos all in a couple minutes.

05 Carry On Cocktail Kit.  Whether he is a traveler or not, this little kit is super convenient and perfect for those “I need a drink” moments. It comes in a couple different varieties, but I recommend the Old Fashioned.

xx Casey

Christmas Gift Guide for Her

GIFT GUIDE FOR HER

It’s that time of year again friends! It is time for a month full of festive blog posts, and I definitely have some fun things in store. So let’s kick off the official start to the holiday season with a Holiday Gift Guide for the lady in your life.

01 Marble Cheese Slicer. This is for the entertainer in your life. Or the girl who just really likes to come home after a long day of work and have a dinner of cheese and wine in style.

02 Gilded Rim Wine Glasses. Perfectly paired with the Marble Cheese Slicer, these gorgeous Pink Gold Rimmed wine glasses are sure to impress.

03 Faux Shearling Vest. The perfect winter wardrobe staple. There are a ton of gorgeous ones out there like this one from Nordstrom

04 Rose Face Mask. This hydrating and toning gel mask infused with real rose petals, soothing rosewater, and a “smart” algae has definitely become a cult favorite. This is definitely a gift of pure relaxation.

05 Rosé all day Bears. These delicious little bears by Sugarfina are infused with real Rosé and are the perfect treat for the Rosé lover in your life

Stay tuned for part two this Friday!

xx Casey

Boozy Hot Chocolate

Good Morning friends! I hope that you all had an amazing holiday weekend. Monday may have come a little too quickly. Although I am prepping for the week ahead and getting back into the swing of things, I can not help dreaming about Christmas trees, good food, holiday movies, and the most delicious boozy hot chocolate. So today I am going to share with you an incredibly easy recipe that will keep you in the holiday spirit all week long.

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All you need is Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate, Milk (or Almond Milk), a bottle of Baileys, some candy canes, marshmallows, and cinnamon. In a saucepan simmer the milk until it is warm. Then in a glass mix in the milk, hot chocolate mix, and a shot of Baileys. Top the glass with marshmallows, cinnamon, and a candy cane. The candy cane will melt and create the most delicious peppermint flavor that compliments the chocolate and the creaminess of the Baileys. The cinnamon takes the whole thing to a new level.

It doesn’t get more festive than this folks. This is the perfect drink to bring us into the new month.

I hope this Monday isn’t too crazy for you all, and you have some time to sneak in a little Cyber Monday shopping.

xx Casey

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

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Good Morning and Happy Monday friends! With Thanksgiving just a mere three days away, it is OFFICIALLY the start of the Holiday Season. I may or may not have begun this Christmas decorating this weekend. Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holiday’s so today I thought I would share with you a couple of my favorite recipes that I have found over the years. Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving Dinner yourself or just contributing with a side dish, these are sure to be a hit.

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry – Kitchn

Bacon and Bourbon Stuffing – A Beautiful Mess

Broccoli, Cheese, and Quinoa Casserole – Fit Foodie Finds

Green Bean Casserole (with bacon!) – The Pioneer Woman

Cranberry Chai Sangria – How Sweet Eats

All the Pie inspo you need – A Cozy Kitchen

Thankful Decor – Target

I hope you all have an incredible week full of friends, family, laughter, good food, and great drinks. I will see you all again next week.

xx Casey

Creamy Mushroom & Rice Soup

Hi guys! I am coming at you this Friday with the perfect soup recipe for this chilly weather that is upon us. This super easy recipe is totally customizable and takes minimal effort. So pop open a bottle of wine, put a pot of this on the stove, and enjoy a cozy night in.

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The Ingredients 

1 cup of rice – I used Jasmine, but any type of rice would do!

1/2 cup diced onions

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 lb mushrooms

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup white wine

1 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons flour

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method of Prep

Cook rice until tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the mushrooms have released all of their liquid and turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Add the flour and stir until the flour is no longer visible. Add the white wine. Continue simmering until the wine is reduced by half.

Add the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. The soup will begin to thicken quite quickly. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add milk and cooked rice. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

At this point I wanted to add a little something extra so I added in about a cup of shredded rotisserie chicken. This step is completely optional, but I wanted to add a little something to make it even heartier. You can also add in some boiled potatoes or additional vegetables and sub chicken broth for vegetable broth and milk for almond milk to make a vegetarian version.

I am going to be honest with you, I ate the entire pot in three days. This is a recipe I will definitely be doubling the next time I make it.

xx Casey

Hygge, The Coziest Lifestyle

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November 1st rolled around, we put away our costumes, and it felt like immediately winter was upon us. It was time to finally put on the heat, pull out the jackets and comfy sweaters, and succumb to the coziest time of year. But what if you could bring the happy feeling that cozy falls and winters bring into your life full time? Well there is a group of people who’s lifestyle is based all around that, and we need to catch up.

Hygge is the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. There is no English translation for Hygge. It is a feeling more than a word. It’s a mixture of coziness, charm, comfort, kinship, simpleness, and contentment. To sum it up, Hygge is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and making the ordinary more meaningful.

Here in America we are always on the run. With information at our fingertips we tend to lose sight of the beauty in life’s simple pleasures. So let’s take a page out of the Danish way of life (who happen to be some of the happiest people in the world) and add a little Hygge to our everyday lives.

01 Create a Cozy Atmosphere. Lot’s of flickering candles, throw blankets in soft textures, and cozy rugs on bare floors all bring a feeling of warmth and coziness.

02 Warm Drinks. Mugs of hot chocolate (with a little peppermint!), hot coffee, and tea, all make you feel warm from the inside out.

03 Comfy Clothes. Thick socks, over sized sweaters, and fleece pajamas all add to the comfort of being at home.

04 Friends and Family. One of the best things about the holidays is being surrounded by friends and family and being in the moment. Bring that feeling all year long by planning cozy nights with friends full of movie nights, conversations by the fire, and dinner around the table. Hygge is all about togetherness.

05 Switch off. At a certain time of the evening turn off the phone. Relax by reading a book, listening to a podcast, or to music. And when you are with friends put the phone down and live in the moment.

To learn more about the Hygge lifestyle check out The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.

xx Casey