Another Thanksgiving behind us, and with it another Black Friday – Like I said last week, my family considers Black Friday to be the official start of the holidays, and this year was no different. By the end of Friday, we had the tree up and decorated, the stockings and garland hung on the stairwell and lights wrapped around the bushes in front of our little abode. It was a whirlwind of Christmas decorations, music and…perhaps most importantly, FOOD.
Before I get into the decor-related portion of our day, I just had to share a couple of new Pinterest-inspired recipes (along with one returning dish) that I whipped up for the holiday festivities. First up we have these sweet and salty chocolate pretzel sandwiches.
Source | Cookies & Cups
Looks amazing, right? And it was really really simple to make. Although I wanted to get the same white/milk chocolate Hershey’s Kisses at the store, they were out (I guess others were trying out this pin as well), so I went with the classic just-milk-chocolate version. Luckily, they were still miiiiiighty delicious, and gone within only a couple of hours.
To make them, follow this simple sequence of events:
- Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
- Put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and lay out a single layer of pretzels on top. Then unwrap the chocolate candies, putting one on top of each pretzel.
- Once the oven is preheated, slip the cookie sheet into the oven and wait 2 minutes. Keep a CLOSE eye on things so you don’t end up with a pool of melted chocolate – You want the chocolate to be a little shimmery, but not melted (see photo below for an example of the desired sheen).
- Take the cookie sheet out of the oven and, while the chocolate is still hot, press a second pretzel down on top of each piece.
- Slip the tray into the fridge and allow the chocolate centers to cool and harden for about twenty minutes.
- Dump into a bowl and enjoy!
Next, I baked up a batch of the spinach dip bread bowls that were such a hit a few weeks ago. My sister actually asked for these by name, she loved them so much. Click here for the recipe and low down on those.
Source | Picky Palate
As an accompanying side note, the only thing I changed this second go round was the dough (I went with French bread instead of crescent roll) and the pan (I went with a mini muffin pan instead of a regular-sized muffin pan). I think we got the proportion of dip to bread much better this time – If you try this at home, go for more bread than dough or else you end up with a bit of gooey overload.
Below you’ll see the dough+dip ready to be put in the oven to bake.
The other new addition to the line up this year was a simple dip recipe I found via Rue Magazine. It’s a lemon and feta dip, a combination of flavors that I truly couldn’t say “no” to, and this was another one that was very easy to put together. I know you can see the recipe pictured below, but I thought I’d type out my own process too in case you want to see a variation.
- Dump a 6 or 8 oz. container of feta cheese into a blender or food processor, along with a clove of garlic, 6 tablespoons olive oil, a dash of chili powder, the juice from one lemon and a tablespoon of lemon zest (I used the frozen stuff I put away while doing this project, and it tasted SUPER fresh). I didn’t worry about the herbs called for in the actual recipe because I bought feta that already came pre-seasoned with Mediterranean spices.
- Blend until smooth.
- Serve in a bowl alongside pita, crackers or baguette slices.
Source | Rue
I didn’t snap a shot of the dip in action (too many holiday snacks simultaneously cooking to think of a mini photoshoot for each), but here’s our sliced baguette ready to go in the oven as an accompaniment to the dip. My parents always prepare their bread this way for dinner and it has become a tradition in our home now too – Slice the bread, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle Italian seasoning overtop. A quick stint in a 350 degree oven always gives us nice crusty bread to nibble on.
So you’ve got the recipes, let’s see the final product already! At the finish, we laid the table with the spinach dip bread bowls, chocolate pretzel sandwiches, lemon and feta dip with toasted baguette slices and I threw in a bowl of store-bought hummus while I was at it. We snacked on everything in between ornament-hanging, light-stringing and movie-watching – I wish I could say we had more leftovers, but these plates were empty by nightfall.
And now for a little photo album from the rest of the day – As you may remember if you were along for the ride last year, we use a fake tree for Christmas (this is its fourth annual debut and I love it), which was up and lit in no time. Then we threw the lids off of the ornament Tupperware and had the tree decked out in 26 years worth of sparkly Christmas-themed creatures and baubles. Since John got the honor last year, I proudly set our angel on top of the tree (with only a LITTLE bit of fanfare), and then impatiently waited until dark to see the tree in all its glowing glory…
It was a VERY successful start to the holiday season at the Waller house. I can’t wait to share all the holiday projects and inspiration I have up my sleeve in the coming weeks – From this year’s wrapping technique (catch a sneak peek in the photo above, although they aren’t done yet!) and cookie recipes, to ornament inspiration and this year’s must have gifts. It’s going to be one happy holiday around these parts.