Christmas Countdown: 3 Last-Minute (Super Easy!) Holiday Desserts + A GIVEWAY!

It’s no secret that I am Queen of Procrastination, sitting on her Royal Throne of “I Can Do It Later”. I’m really good at waiting until the very last moment to get things done, usually to my own detriment.  I can only imagine that others are also in my camp.

And as the holidays can be hella stressful, I thought I’d give you something I know everyone needs this holiday season: a few super quick and easy last-minute holiday dessert recipes!  Convince your friends and family that you totally planned ahead with these easy to throw together sweets.  Nobody has to know you bought the ingredients two hours before the party.

3 Last Minute and SUPER Easy Holiday Desserts

You’re welcome!

1.  These delicious sugar cookies from Katrina’s Kitchen that I’ve become obsessed with.  They’re super easy to prepare and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled for hours like other sugar cookie recipes, so you really can make them in a snap! And, if you’re really pressed for time and don’t have time to decorate, they’re moist and flavorful enough without icing,  Just skip the cute cut-out designs, form them into flat cookie shapes and sprinkle on some sugar before you bake.  Nobody will be the wiser!

I’ve made them twice in the past two weeks, and my mom made them once this week.  It’s replaced our old favorite sugar cookie recipe.

2.  This Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Fudge recipe from Cookie + Kate.  It’s freezer fudge, so it whips up super quickly. And who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Awful people, probably.

Honestly, I have yet to try this recipe, but it’s book-marked for the dessert I plan on bringing to my dad’s house on Christmas Eve! I really don’t see how you can go wrong when the ingredients are chocolate and peanut butter.

3. If you want to really wow them, try some S’mores Bark.  This is a great basic recipe, but it’s so simple you really can’t go wrong.  My mom and I made this all the time when I still loved at home.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lay down an even layer of melted chocolate, toss on some broken up graham crackers, and mini marshmallows.  If you want to get super fancy, add some melted white chocolate, almonds, or caramel.  Whatever you’re feeling, go for it! Let it cool and harden, then break into coarse pieces.  Serve with a smile and enjoy the compliments. You’re such an amazing chef!

And to reward yourself after rounding up an awesome dessert, how about another kind of little treat? I’ve teamed up with Jessica and a few others over at SomethingWhimsy.com and we’re giving away a $300 Target gift card! Enter on her blog here!

And now that I am super craving something sweet, it’s a good thing I’m on my way home to Ohio for the holiday where there will be plenty to go around. Anyone else been dreaming of holiday food for the past week or so?

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Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

What’s the best thing ever to have in the winter? Hot chocolate.  What is even better? Peppermint hot chocolate.  And how can you make that even better? If it was just a tad bit boozy.

Spiked Peppermint Hot Chocolate; A Boozy Cold Weather Cocktail

Thanks to the leftovers in my cabinet from the beautiful lady I am subletting my apartment from, I found myself with all the ingredients to create some delicious spirited hot cocoa.   Not so surprising, it’s super easy but SO delicious.

This is the perfect amount of boozy goodness to warm you up, but not make you afraid of walking a straight line from couch back your kitchen to get more. Though, you could always help it get to that level with just a splash of vodka.  I recommend vanilla-flavors.

I made mine originally with almond milk, and it was tasty; very rich.  I later tried it with regular milk, and it was equally as good.  I think pretty much any milk substitute will work for this.  Probably any sugar substitute as well, I just happen to like raw sugar more.  (I know, I hate me too.)

Enjoy!

 

Homemade (Spirited!) Peppermint Hot Cocoa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Milk, or milk substitute of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 cup Raw Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 shot Peppermint Schnapps

Cooking Directions

  1. In a small pot, slowly heat milk. Add cocoa and sugar, stir until combined, then add vanilla extract and Schnapps. Add to giant, winter-themed mug and add a candy cane for garnish!
  2. Makes 1 large mug of delicious, minty (and slightly tingly!) hot chocolate!

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever

The best soft and chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe ever! No finicky instructions and so easy to make! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

 

I consider myself an authority on chocolate.

If it comes in a cookie, cake, cupcake, pastry, drinkable form, or spread, you can pretty much bet I have tried it and can tell you how it stacks up against other chocolates.  It’s a talent, you see? It doesn’t take a trained dessert expert.  It just takes a girl from the Midwest with a tongue, and a deep passion for greatness. And chocolate chip cookies recipes.

So I can say on pretty good authority that this chocolate chip cookie recipe from Pinch of Yum that I tried two weeks ago was the best cookie I’ve ever had. Even with my mediocre baking skills, and very limited resources, they were so delicious that I never want to taste another cookie ever again.

And even though they came out a little f*cked up thanks to using my microwave convection oven (because my shoebox apartment doesn’t have a real oven LOL), it still kicked every other cookie’s ass.  This is a powerful damn cookie. Super Cookie. It deserves it’s own movie franchise, I’m telling you.

For the most part, the recipe is not too finicky, not too many crazy ingredients or directions, just a good cookie recipe. This is my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it has been officially taped to the fridge. I’ve already made it twice, and used all of my chocolate chips. Which may actually be a blessing in surprise because cookies for 2/3 meals of the day probably isn’t the healthiest.  I’m kind of grateful I’ve been momentarily cut off.

Have at it, friends.  Go forth and make these, dunk them in milk, and rejoice.  You are welcome.

P.S. While you’re taking a look at this recipe, check out Pinch Of Yum‘s other foodie delights.  Her recipes are bomb.

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From My Late Night Anxious Brain

From My Late Night Anxious Brain |Candidly Kelsey

Tonight’s surprise 2am blog post is brought to you by crippling fear of the future, and a poorly planned 11pm workout.

Insomnia is a bitch.  The to-do lists that run through your head, the what ifs, could haves and fears that give you the cold sweats.  The never-ending mantra of things running through your head that make you feel the need to get up and pace the hallway just to expel some of your energy— but you’re trying to sleep, so that’d be counter productive, right?

The best part of it is that when you try to actually catalogue your thoughts, you realize this is all utter nonsense.  That the thing that is stressing you could be totally bullshit or the biggest decision of your current being.  Either way, all scenarios just cycle.  Your wants, your needs, your doubts, your hopes, your plans.  The ifs continue to pop in and out of your racing thoughts while you try to picture sheep or count clouds or whatever the hell Mom told you to do when you were 9 and didn’t know what the word “insomnia” was.

But that’s the best part of your anxiety brain– even if you tell it that you’re just freaking for no reason, the little scared goblin of stress is still crying and holding it’s sides, stirring the pot of your thoughts despite your attempt to control them.

Because they do cycle.  Things ping around in your head with no rhyme or reason, like a game of super not fun pinball.  Even if it’s just one thought, bouncing through the rest of your daily brain functions, causing all the normal to move around it so quickly that you can’t make sense of it all.  Catching up on emails and going to work tomorrow is so normal, but when those plans bounce off your anxiety, suddenly everything is overwhelming, and moving too fast.  Like the red sock in the load of whites, but the washing machine door is stuck shut so you just have to sit and watch while all your clothes turn pink.

You can repeat your “calming” mantra, play your relaxing apps or videos, but the excess energy in your legs and the feeling that your heart is beating too fast (it isn’t) or that you can’t breath (you can) is too distracting.  So you just lay in bed and listen to your thoughts cycle, and count the passing time by how many times you have to remind Netflix that you’re still watching.

Or you can write this totally self-serving blog post to try to help you put words to your feelings, and hope that it helps.  Did it help? I don’t know.  But it certainly passed some time while I waited for the Xanax to kick in.

PS.  This was weirdly personal, but this is a big part of my life.  Much more so than make-up or anything else I write on here.  And if Huffington Post is correct in their statistics, basically all adults suffer from anxiety.  So you get me, right?  Right?  Good.  Okay, bye.

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My Favorite Acne Products

I’m a big fan of Mario Badescu products. I’ve been using the Cucumber Lotion and Buffering Lotion for awhile, but recently added the Drying Lotion to my nightly routine. The combination of the two really seem to help keep the gross little spots at bay.

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I’ve had problems with hormonal acne for years, battling with any over the counter medication I can find. I switched out of acne-centered cleansers for something more gentle, and have added serums and other treatments so that I can control how much of a treatment I am actually putting on my face.

After washing my face at night, I apply the Buffering Lotion while the Cucumber Lotion is still fresh on my face, after reading that toners help serums soak in better. I follow up with my eye cream, and moisturizer. After my moisturizer is completely dry, I dab on a little bit of the Drying Lotion over my blemishes.

The lotion is a little trick to apply. Whatever you do, do not shake it.  And especially do not shake the samples in the store and then read the giant “do not shake” on the back and walk away very quickly. Whoops! The pink goop at the bottom is what you want to apply to your face.

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Using a cotton swab, scoop a little bit of the pink solid at the bottom out. Let the excess liquid drip off, and then gently apply to your blemishes. It’s helpful to use a cotton ball or some tissue to catch the extra liquid from dripping down your face.

Warning: this crap stings.  Especially if your skin is broken or dry.  Use it as a spot treatment only as it’s very potent, but holy crap does it work wonders. After the stinging subsides, I forget I have it on at all and go to bed. It’s not a miracle worker, and depending on the size of the tiny rat bastard  blemish on my face, I usually still have a pimple the next day, but the appearance is greatly reduced.

My best results usually occur when I use a combination of the Buffering Lotion and the Drying Lotion, and then skip the acne products the next morning to give my face a chance to relax.  Again, it’s no miracle product, but it’s my little savior until doctors somehow find a way for hormones to not create tiny volcanos on my face, then I’ll take it.

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