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      Recipes — christmas traditions

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      The North Pole

      The North Pole

      This is Christmas in a cup! Sounds like a lot of different flavors …I  know, right? That’s what I thought too, molasses, ginger, Kahlua, chocolate…What?!  Surprisingly its so delish! It’s the perfect celebratory drink before or after dinner. Put on some Christmas music. Light up the fire and decorate that Christmas tree. If you are looking for a kid friendly drink, just omit the Kahlua and the vodka and you’re good to go!  Happy Holidays!



      • 4 ounces vodka
      • 2 ounces Kahlúa or more to taste
      • 4 tablespoons chocolate syrup
      • 1 teaspoon of VanillaPura Madagascar/vodka vanilla extract
      • 3 teaspoons molasses
      • 1/8 teaspoon of ginger
      • 1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk


      1. In a cocktail shaker combine the vodka, Kahlúa, chocolate syrup, vanilla, molasses, and ginger. Shake until well combined. Add ice and shake again. Strain into 4 glasses. Top off each glass with heavy cream. Dollop with whipped cream and garnish as desired. DRINK!


      • whipped cream candy cane as a stirrer, and gingerbread cookie crumbs, for serving (optional) I preferred to just dip the rim in chocolate and  sugar or sprinkles.

      Cinnamon Almond Aromatherapy

      Cinnamon Almond Aromatherapy

      The first time I remember craving cinnamon almonds was walking down the streets of New York City. It was the day before the Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And freezing!  I was desperately seeking to find something warm to drink while we looked at all the fun Christmas window displays. I remember thinking, “What is that yummy scent?”  We turned the corner and there it was, a very typical NY cart, selling roasted cinnamon almonds.  They were still WARM and it DID go perfect with the hot chocolate I was drinking.  Now, every time I smell that aromatic cinnamon bliss, I think of New York City during the holidays.

       Isn’t it amazing how a certain scent can take us back to a place long forgotten?


      I have to admit. I'm not a big slow cooker kinda gal. I could probably count on one hand, recipes I make in the good ol' crockpot. My sweet friend Judi gave me this recipe and said it is a must try!!

      She was right:). These cinnamon almonds are the best super easy thing you can make during the holidays. Only 6 ingredients!  It is time consuming. Hence, using the SLOW cooker. it takes about 3-4 hours with frequent stirring. I do this when I’m wrapping presents or getting my home ready for a party. The aroma from the almonds, plus some Christmas music playing softly in the background, creates that perfect cozy “hygge” everyone dreams of during the holidays.

      Throw these babies into a cute jar and you have the perfect neighbor or party gift. They are the perfect sweet crunchy snack, while laying in front of the fire, watching a movie, or just reading a good book. 

      What aromatic memories will you create?  




      -1 Cup sugar

      -1 Cup Brown Sugar

      -3 Tbsp Cinnamon

      -1/8 tsp Salt

      -1 Egg white

      - 2 tsp Vanillapura Mexican-rum extract

      -3 cups almonds

      -1/8 cup water



      1. Mix together in a large bowl sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
      2. In another bowl with a whisk, mix together, the egg whites, Vanillapura Mexican-rum extract until frothy. Add the almonds and coat thoroughly. This will help the mixture stick to the almonds during the cooking process.
      3. Prepare your slow cooker by spraying it with cooking spray. Add the cinnamon almond mixture to the almonds and turn it low. Stir until the cinnamon sugar mixture is well coated on all the almonds.
      4. You want to cook for about 3-4 hours. Stir every 20 minutes. In the last hour add 1/8 cup of water and stir well. This will ensure a crunchy coating and help the mixture to harden.
      5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread and spread out the almonds on to the baking sheet to cool. The almonds should be sticky so be sure to separate them.
      6. Once they have dried and hardened break them apart and serve as desired.



      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      Homemade Vanilla Infused Hot Chocolate

      It's getting cold outside and my boys keep asking for hot chocolate. I stopped buying the store bought mix after reading what's in it.  Who would have thought all those preservatives were in hot chocolate mix. I like knowing what we're actually eating, and in this case, drinking. This recipe is so rich and smooth. My boys won't even touch the store bought stuff.  I guess I'm raising a couple of hot chocolate snobs:). I just have to make it once and it lasts all winter!


      • 4 cups granulated sugar
      • ½ split crosswise Mexican Vanillapura bean.
      • 1½ pounds high-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 8 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
      • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
      • sprinkle of cinnamon 



      1. Place sugar in large bowl. Split half vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into sugar, and add pod. Work seeds in with your fingers. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight at room temperature.
      2. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process semisweet chocolate and milk chocolate until finely ground.
      3. Remove pod from sugar. Add ground chocolate and cocoa powder to sugar and whisk to blend.
      4. Store mix airtight at room temperature for up to six months.
      5. To serve: heat 2 cups of milk over the stove
      6. Top with whipped cream or a sprinkle of cinnamon

      recipe shared from





      Nostalgic Sugar Cookies

      Nostalgic Sugar Cookies

      Do any of you have that friend that everything they touch turns to gold?  I do:). My dearest friend Rebecca, truly IS, the most talented lady I know.  Everything she bakes, cooks, photographs... turns to gold! We were neighbors, just across the street. There was a worn path from our home to hers.  Really, we considered her and her family, our family. It was a magical time. My most beloved and cherished recipes come from her.  She now lives far away, but every time I use one of her recipes, its like she's still JUST across the street. Do any of you have a recipe that takes you back to a magical place?

      Oh, and yeah, these really are the best sugar cookies you'll EVER bake:). You won’t be disappointed. Every bite is filled with that perfect vanilla, buttery, soft sweet goodness, you deserve from the perfect sugar cookie.

      Every Christmas we have a holiday cookie decorating party. My boys would always ask, “When are we having our cookie party?” Now my niece’s and nephew’s littles are asking. Everyone has their favorite cookie cutter. I have collected too many through the years. But some how they all get used:). I love traditions at Christmas. So fun to make and even better to eat! 



      • 4 cups flour
      • 1 tsp. baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1 cup butter
      • 2 beaten eggs
      • ¼ cup milk
      • 1 tsp Madagascar Vanillapura extract
      • 1 heaping cup of sugar
      • 1 tsp soda



      1. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and butter, until you get a cornmeal texture.

      2. In a separate bowl, add well beaten eggs, milk, vanillapura. Mix in the soda with the sugar. Beat all ingredients together.

      3.Pour the sugar mixture into the flour mixture. Add just enough flour to the dough to make it workable. Roll out onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.

      4. Bake @ 375 degrees for 8 minutes.





      Vanilla Spiced Homemade Eggnog

      Vanilla Spiced Homemade Eggnog

      My husband has been begging for eggnog. He’s an eggnog junkie.  I have to admit, often times we just get the store bought stuff to feed his craving. But when we really want the good stuff we make it homemade with Vanillapura Mexican beans and Mexican\rum Vanillapura extract.  Because, lets face it, good pure vanilla makes everything better!


      • 6 large egg yolks
      • 1/2 cup sugar
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 2 cups milk
      • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
      • Pinch of salt
      • 1/4 tsp Vanillapura Mexican rum vanilla extract
      • seeds of one Vanillapura Mexican vanilla bean
      • ground cinnamon, for topping
      • whipped cream, for topping (optional)


      1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a medium bowl until light and creamy.
      2. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream, milk, nutmeg, vanilla bean seeds, and salt.
      3. Stir often until mixture reaches a bare simmer.
      4. Add a big spoonful of the hot milk to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously. Repeat, adding a big spoonful at a time, to temper the eggs.
      5. Once all of the hot milk has been added to the eggs, pour the mixture back into the saucepan on the stove.
      6. Whisk constantly, until mixture reaches 160 degrees F on a thermometer.
      7. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
      8. Chill 3 hours


      Recipe from