A Christmas Cookie Story

A Christmas Cookie Story is a multimedia story centered around my favorite Christmas tradition, baking. Every year I spend the two or three days before Christmas baking and preparing care packages for family, friends, and neighbors. This year the time I have to spend at home before Christmas is limited due to finals, so I thought it would be fun to share some Christmas joy with students who are looking to recreate the Christmas spirit at school. Taking the time to bake is a great way to relieve stress, and is perfect for finals week when calories technically don’t count. Below I have a video that provides a survey of college aged women’s favorite Christmas cookies, followed up by an interview with one of close friends Emily who I think qualifies as an expert baker, and finally I put together a timeline that provides inspiration for a new cookie recipe each day leading up to Christmas. I know getting into the Christmas spirit can be difficult when all you can think about is studying for finals, but my hope is that your favorite Christmas cookie will make being away from home just a little bit more bearable!

Report on Favorite Cookies and Traditions 

This past week was my sorority’s holiday party. We got together and donned ugly Christmas sweaters to decorate homemade sugar cookies and glittery ornaments. This video is a survey about each girl’s family traditions and what type of cookie they like to bake the best around this time of year. Enjoy!

An Evening in the Kitchen with Emily: Chocolate Crinkle Cookie Edition

25 Days of Christmas Cookies 

25 Days of Christmas Cookies Timeline

25 Days of Christmas Cookies Timeline

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie Recipe

peanut butter kiss cookies R


Peanut Butter Blossoms are a Christmas Cookie staple that every everyone should know how to make. While it is easy to just pick up a boxed mix at the store, I think it is important to know how to make basic cookie recipes from scratch. During the Christmas season there are always a variety of options for Hershey’s Kisses and other candies to top these cookies with. I personally thing traditional milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, hugs, chocolate stars, and peanut butter cups are all delicious.


1 3/4 Cups Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

1/2 Cup Shortening

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Egg

2 Tablespoons Milk

Additional Sugar

48 Unwrapped Candies


Combine shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter. Add dry ingredients and milk. Shape dough into small balls (about 1 Tablespoon) and roll in sugar. Place onto greased cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and place a candy in the middle of each cookie. Let cookies cool before serving or packing.

Also, here’s a wonderful Buzzfeed article about Instagram accounts to follow! 


No Bake Cookies Recipe

no bake cookies


The season of Christmas baking is upon us! The temperature has steadily dropped here in Iowa, and I have enjoyed spending the last few days keeping my apartment warm with the heat from the oven while I’m baking away. These cookies are easy to whip up on the stovetop, and I’ve even placed the cookie sheet out in the snow on my deck to cool them down quickly. This recipe is just the beginning of a 25 Days of Cookies series so stay posted!


2 Cups Sugar

4 Tablespoons Cocoa

1 Stick Butter

1/2 Milk (I recommend at least 2 percent)

1 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Tablespoon Vanilla

3 Cups Oatmeal

Wax Paper and Cookie Sheets


In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Let boil for one minute then add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. On a wax paper lined cookie sheet, drop mixture by the spoonful. Wait until cookies are cooled and hardened to serve. Keep refrigerated.

– M


Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday of the year. Every year my family gets together at my grandparent’s farm to celebrate (and eat way too much). The day before Thanksgiving I start preparing by baking all the desserts and making salads and deviled eggs. The day of my mom and I wake up early to put in the turkey, and then wait too cook all the side dishes. Below are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving day recipes.

Green Bean Casserole 

2 cans of French Green Beans

1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

French Fried Onions

Directions: Mix together drained green beans and cream of mushroom soup in a greased glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Place french fried onion on top of casserole and place back in oven for 15 minutes. Serve pipping hot.

Deviled Eggs 

18 hard boiled eggs

1/2  cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup yellow mustard

salt and pepper

spanish paprika

Directions: Peel hardboiled eggs and cut in half length wise. Remove the yolks and place into a separate bowl. Add mayonnaise and mustard to egg yolks. Add salt and pepper to season and mix until smooth. Spoon yolk mixture back into empty yolks and sprinkle with spanish paprika. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Pie  – I use Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe. It is the best one I’ve tested out.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

– M


Tested and Approved Pinterest Recipes

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest. It is where I get the inspiration for most my new recipes, so I thought it would be fun to share the top three recipes I found on Pinterest.

Recipe #1: Hungry Girl Broccoli Slaw and Order 

This recipe was really quick and delicious. Instead of making my own sauce I used a pre-canned red pasta sauce. I also browned some ground turkey and added it to the pasta sauce. I thought this made the pasta alternative a better rounded meal. This would be good to serve with garlic bread.

Recipe #2: Cajun Chicken Pasta on the Lighter Side 

This recipe makes a lot of food! I made it while I was at home one weekend and there were plenty of leftovers for everyone the next day. I substituted yellow onion for the red onion, because I personally don’t care for red onion. You could easily adjust the vegetables in this recipes to suit your preferences.

Recipe #3: Chicken Crescent Squares

The original post for this recipe recommends using rotisserie chicken, but I used some shredded chicken I had cooked the night before. The key to this recipe is making sure you don’t over stuff the crescent rolls. I also thought my crescents turned out a little soggy, so I would consider cutting down on the melted butter.

What are your favorite recipes you’ve found on Pinterest?

Make sure to follow me!

– M

Fancy Pork Chop Recipe

I remember getting really excited as a child when my mom would make this recipe. It was so much fun watching her coat the pork chops in mustard, because it was so messy. This is a quick recipe that you can either make the night before or the night of. It is also easy to adjust depending on how many servings you want make.


  • 4 Bone-in Pork Chops
  • 1 Can Creamed Corn
  • 1 Sleeve Saltine Cracker
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Black Pepper


Season pork chops with black pepper and coat with yellow mustard. Brown the each side of all the pork chops and place into greased baking dish. Mix together crushed saltine crackers and creamed corn. Spread creamed corn mixture over the browned pork chops. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degree for 40 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and cook for a remaining 20 minutes.


In the past I have added finely chopped onion to the creamed corn mixture. You could also add cheese if you wanted to add another layer to the dish. Adding some hot sauce to the mustard used to coat the pork chops would give the dish an additional zing.

– M

Pinterest Boards to Watch

I’ve been working hard to create holiday themed Pinterest boards. I will be using the boards as inspiration for all of the meals I have to cook between now and the New Year. Below are the links to each Pinterest board and a description of what types of recipes each board will contain.

This board will showcase recipes that will help you plan for the most difficult part of Thanksgiving meal, side dishes

This board will showcase recipes that will help you plan for the most difficult part of Thanksgiving meal, side dishes

This board will contain pins that will provide inspiration for the perfect holiday dessert

This board will contain pins that will provide inspiration for the perfect holiday dessert

This board will contain a wide variety of recipes that are perfect for the days in between holiday meals

This board will contain a wide variety of recipes that are perfect for the days in between holiday meals

What are you favorite Pinterest boards to follow? Where do you gain inspiration for recipes?

– M

Weeknight Dinner Ideas

Finding the time and energy to cook on weeknights can be difficult. Between band practice, homework, and group meetings it can be pretty late by the time I get home. Below are three simple menu ideas for week night dinners for one.

Dinner Idea #1 

Sloppy Joe

credit: bubblews

Sloppy Joes, Tater Tots and Peas

What you’ll need: 1lb. of ground beef, sloppy joe sauce, buns, frozen tater tots, and canned peas

Sloppy Joes: brown ground beef and add sloppy joe sauce, place on bun and add cheese if desired

Tater Tots: cook according to directions on package

Peas: heat up in microwave

Dinner Idea #2

Ham Steak Dinner

Credit: Yelp!

Ham Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, and Green Beans

What you’ll need: ham steak, russet potatoes (butter and milk to mash), pre-made gravy, and canned green beans

Ham Steak: brown in skillet until fully cooked

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy: peel and wash potatoes, place in pot with boiling water and cook until tender, drain and place back into pot, mash with mil and butter, heat gravy in microwave

Green Beans: heat up in microwave

Dinner Idea #3

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

credit: evernewrecipes

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and Garlic Bread

What you’ll need: 1lb. chicken breast strips, fettuccine noodles, alfredo sauce, and garlic bread

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo: cook chicken breast strips in oven until done, cut into small pieces and set aside, cook fettuccine noodles according to directions on package, drain and return to pot, add alfredo sauce and chicken chunks, cover until noodles and sauce are warm

Garlic Bread: heat in oven according to directions on package

What are your favorite weeknight recipes?

– M

Being Sick Away From Home

I spent the majority of this past week battling the flu. Being sick is always hard, but it can be even more difficult when you are away from home. Because I was unable to cook this week (or eat for that matter) I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips for being sick away from home.


Credit: Lois R Hill

Tip 1: Get a flu shot – I still got sick even though I got the flu shot back in September, but I believe it helped shorten my battle with the flu. The more people that get the flu shot, the less severe outbreaks of the flu will be!

Tip 2: Have a thermometer on hand – This is something I didn’t have that would have been really useful. When the doctor asked me if I had been running a fever I wasn’t able to tell them.

Tip 3: Go to the doctor early on – I waited over 48 hours to go to the doctor and found out that if I would have gone earlier I could have used a new medication, Tamiflu, that would have helped me get better sooner.

Tip 4: Keep food, fluids, and medicine on hand – Keeping some canned chicken and noodle soup, ginger ale, and cough syrup on hand will be a big help when a nasty cold or the flu sneaks up on you. Also a sore throat is the perfect excuse to break out the chocolate Häagen-Dazs.

What makes you feel better when you’re sick away from home?