Homemade Caramels & Christmas Traditions

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Who can deny themselves buttery, homemade caramels?!  I know I can’t and this time of year, they go hand in hand with the holidays for me!

Christmas is before us and who doesn’t feel nostalgic this time of year?!  One of the things I love most about the holidays are the traditions that each family seems to have!  I have fond memories of my childhood and the holidays.  We had many traditions as a kid that including driving around looking at Christmas lights, decoradting the house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, and baking Christmas cookies!

Christmas Memories

Each year when I was younger, each member of my family would select their favorite Christmas cookie to bake (sometimes two) and we would spend one whole Saturday baking, singing Christmas carols, and being together!  Those memories are some of the very best that I have!

One of the treats that I remember my mom always making is Homemade Caramels!  These caramels are buttery, creamy, and very delicious!  My mom would make these caramels at Christmas time and then keep them throughout the winter!

We skied each winter and inevitably my mom always has some in her pockets for the car rides and chair lift rides!  Little did I know at that time it was took keep us quiet when got extra chatty!  Becuase, yes, these caramels are super chewy!

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My Holiday Gift Guide – 5 Gifts for Her Under $20

Everyone knows that lady: the one that is hard to buy for whether it be a white elephant exchange at work or a family holiday grab bag, maybe your mother in law. Whoever or wherever it is, we all have one and we can all relate!

Christmas is a fickle thing for us!  I love getting together with family and seeing friends who live out of town.  Of course the “magic” that surrounds the holiday is the icing on the cake!  However, I’ll be honest and say that shopping for gifts is one of my least favorite things to do!  We have so many family members and celebrations that we must keep a tight budget!  Because of that, I’m constantly on the look-out for those few key gifts that are perfect for just about any woman in my life!

So, without further adieu, here are my five favorite gifts for her under $20.

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The Fieldhouse: Clear Lake, Iowa – Farm to Table

fieldhouse

If you’re looking for the newest and greatest food scene in North Iowa, look no further than Fieldhouse in Clear Lake!  With it’s farm to table menu, cozy setting, along with park & lake views, it can’t be beat!  With an every changing menu and farm fresh supplies, this is a unique dining experience that will blow you away!

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Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries & Yogurt Dipping Sauce

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Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring and these Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt Dipping Sauce prove that to be true!

Growing up in a family where meals were meat and potatoes, it’s been  a tough transition to cutting carbs down!  I’m also a big texture person when it comes to food, so I have to be strategic about cooking things that are good for me otherwise it makes me not like them!

Growing up in my family, the other part of food was growing our own food!  We grow green beans, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, etc!  While we don’t have room to grow a little bit of everything, my dad does and he loves to share, so sweet potatoes are easy to come by!

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Healthier Taco Skillet – Ready In Less Than 30 Mintues

The holidays are fast approaching and we all feel our pants getting a bit tighter! Thanks to this Healthier Taco Skillet, you can worry a little less! When you live in Iowa in the winter, all you want to eat are comfort foods! Comfort foods are usually associated with words like creamy, gooey, cheesy, etc! That also usually means they pack on the fat and calories too!  I knew I needed an ooey, gooey comfort good without all that, so I came up with this dish!

Eating Clean

I’m in a round of the 21 Day Fix right now! (I know, how many times have you heard me say that?!) But, seriously, I have to stay after it or my addiction to sugar just goes crazy!  A good friend of mine is a coach and decided to run this challenge before the holidays and I thought it was a great idea, so I joined in!  For the most part, I’ve done REALLY well (except for that ice cream on Saturday night and that Oatmeal Cream Pie on Sunday night)!

Thanks to Iowa, I’m craving warm comfort foods sooner than normal!  We seemed to have skipped over fall for the most part and our temps are already consistently in the 30’s and have even dipped into the 20’s already!  UGH!  It’s going to be a long winter at this rate!  Thankfully, I have this new Taco Skillet in my arsenal to help me get through it without having to just eat salads when it’s so cold out!

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What I’m Loving Right Now, November 2017

I know, I know…it’s been 5 months since you’ve seen one of these!  Life happens!  But, I’m back with a new edition of what I’m loving and these really are some of my absolute favorite things, so I hope you see something you might like too!

Leafy Style

When you love something you buy one in every color, right?!  Well, I did just that with my current favorite necklace!  Back in my first edition, in April,  I talked about my favorite earrings, which are by Chloe & Isabel!  Ironically, my favorite necklace is made by the same company!  I had the silver version of this leaf necklace first and when my consultant, Mary, gave me the opportunity to buy the gold from her cash and carry stash, I jumped on it!  These are unique pendants that add a little class to every outfit!  My favorite thing about them is that the chain is connected directly to the pendant.  It doesn’t slide around!  It all stays put! I recommend getting one or both!  😉

 

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Crumb Topped Apple Pie

Getting to bake is one of my favorite things to do!  Getting to share my baked goods with other people is just the icing on the cake!  Or, the ice cream on the pie as it would be for today’s recipe!  This Crumb Topped Apple Pie (with a secret ingredient) is one that I recently shared with some friends and I loved getting their feed back!

Crumb Topped Apple Pie

 

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Wordless Wednesday: Ephesians 2:8-10

Ephesians 2:8-10 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Cooking with Herbs at Enchanted Acres

It’s a well-known fact that I love Enchanted Acres, the pumpkin patch.  I sing their praise each fall over their strawberry jam and caramel apple sundaes! Plus, the owner Shannon is such a great person that it makes it easy to be a cheerleader!  This past weekend, Shannon invited me to come out and participate in one of her workshops, Farm to Table Herbs & Butters.  This awesome workshop was taught by Mary Lovstad of Farm Girl Cook’n and Farm Girl Weddings!

I’ve known Mary for several years as we are both members of the North Iowa Bloggers.  I also know she is an incredibly talented cook, but her knowledge of herbs during this workshop blew me away!  I’m not one to cook with fresh herbs. I don’t grow any, I don’t have access to many, and to be honest they have always scared me! Thankfully, with Mary’s help, I’m feeling more confident than ever!

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