Tag Archives: Bake

12 Activities to Get You in the Christmas Spirit!

Can you believe that Christmas is only about a week away? If you’re anything like me, you’re saying, “No way!” It just doesn’t feel like Christmas! Thanksgiving bumped up to December this year, leaving Christmas cards arriving later than usual, less lights going up on houses, and a mad scramble to get gifts. We had no time to recover from Thanksgiving! So if you are feeling like me and need to get into the festive holiday mood pronto, follow this simple holiday to do list!

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1) Bake cookies. There’s nothing to get you in the mood for Christmas like baking cookies for Santa and decorating them. Grab some friends or your family and insist on baking together, with uninterrupted (i.e. no cell phones!) bonding time. Cooking can inspire conversation and is a great opportunity to get some laughs and just have a great time. Invest in some fun cookie cutters, and use this recipe for simple and buttery sugar cookies.

2) Listen to Christmas music. It may be a great idea to combine our first suggestion to this one, because cooking to music makes the food taste better in my opinion. Even if you don’t have time or just happen to forget to turn it on at home, be sure to tune in to your local Christmas radio station.

3) Sing. Some people think singing out loud is silly, but that often goes out the window when it comes to holiday songs. Everyone can join in because they often know the words, and you may be surprised when your friends or family join in with you. Just let go and have fun, that’s what the holidays are about. To quote the movie “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

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4) Wrap presents. There’s something therapeutic about methodically wrapping gifts and making them look beautiful. Many rush the process, so I suggest putting an hour or two aside to wrap presents especially. Just enjoy it, don’t let it be the aggravating thing that is making you late for a party.

5) Watch the classic Christmas movies. There are tons of cheesy Christmas movies around nowadays, some only made for TV. Though they may be wonderful, it’s the time of year to pull out your family’s old fall-backs and let the happy memories from over the years wash over you. You know, those ones you’d watch every year while opening presents. Be sure to gather blankets, get a cup of hot chocolate, and cozy up!

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6) Make an ornament. When we were kids, we’d often make ornaments in school or an event, but as adults, we rarely make one. You may rely on your kids to make these little handmade treasures, but it can put you in a really festive mood to make one! Check out these easy recommendations from Buzzfeed.

7) Go through old photos. This is the perfect time of year to look back and reminisce about trips you took and things you did over the year and beyond. Look at old baby pictures, birthday moments, and silly memories.

8) Make snowflakes. Remember in school when you’d spend hours cutting up a folded piece of paper, anticipating what it would look like when you were done? Do it again! All it requires is a square piece of white paper and scissors. Simply fold the paper in half (into a triangle) and then again (it should still be a triangle). Then cut fun shapes! Avoid cutting completely down the folded edges, as this will cause your snowflake to fall apart.

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9) Go for a drive around your neighborhood at night. Seeing your neighbor’s homes all lit up is so much fun, especially as you snake your way slowly through the twinkling lights. Be sure to bring some hot cocoa and turn on some of that Christmas music!

10) Enjoy a fire in a fireplace. I know this may be tricky if you don’t have a fireplace, but it’s so nice to get cozy next to a fire and smell the wood burning. If you don’t have a hearth of your own, see if a friend or family will open their home to you. In return, be sure to provide the egg nog/hot chocolate and candy canes to thank your hosts!

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11) Go out and shop. I know most people do shopping online now, but there really is something fun and festive about going somewhere and actually walking through the shops. Christmas music is playing, sales people are especially nice and attentive, and people are generally nicer than usual (though occasionally some may be a little stressed). Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s invigorating to go out and enjoy window shopping.

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12) Give back. See if there’s anywhere near you to volunteer, like at a Senior Center or Homeless Shelter. If you can’t donate your time, then donate a gift or toy to a local drive. Look up online where you can find a station in your area. The mall often has a giving tree with gift tags and suggestions for gifts for children and seniors in need.

As always, SteerList is here to help you from getting into the Christmas spirit to picking up New Year’s Eve party supplies. Get last minute gifts and don’t forget to pick up the fruitcake, all while getting your weekly groceries and remembering to fill everyday prescriptions. SteerList is the ultimate to do list and reminder app… and you don’t need to check it twice!

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Turn a Gloomy Grey Day into a Fun Day!

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Rainy days. They come when you least expect them, blowing in even when the weather man said that it would be dry all day. Rain ruins plans, your hair, and—without the proper footwear—you can forget about warm, dry toes. Don’t even get me started on snow. So, though you may be looking forward to the holiday season, you may find yourself getting a little bit of the fall/winter blahs. Here are some seriously fun activities to brighten up even the greyest and most depressing of days.

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1) Treat yourself to an extra special warm beverage. You know that one uber naughty drink that you’re not allowed to have on a regular basis because it’s like a dessert in a cup? Turn a lame day like a special one by allowing yourself to have a little decadent treat.

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2) Build a nest. A nest can vary from a full-blown fort to a simple fortress of solitude. If you have kids, building a fort is always the right idea on a rainy day when they can’t go outside. If you don’t have kids (or maybe they’re at school), make yourself a super cozy spot in your favorite place. Whether that’s your couch or your bed, make it as comfy as possible, with blankets and pillows. Stock up on things you love, such as books or magazines, maybe a few of your favorite movies or some guilty-pleasure reality shows you have recorded and just waiting to be watched.

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(Photo courtesy of http://www.retailmenot.com/blog/cheap-diy-dorm-decor.html)

3) Take your time stuck indoors to relax and enjoy an art project. Who decides what age we stop doing art projects? Elementary school was all about the noodle necklaces and finger paint, then we move up to middle school where we’re lucky to do a diorama of some sort, and then by high school it’s all just educational posters and power points. You don’t have to be a Picasso to find some great craft ideas for adults and kids, some with items you might have around the house. Check out Pinterest for ideas, such as this great magazine strip art that we found. It looks professional, but is actually really simple.

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4) Bake something or try a new recipe! A rainy day can make you feel a little bit like a bump on a log or antsy because you’re not getting what you wanted to do done. If you enjoy feeling accomplished and like you got something done, then break out a recipe you’ve been meaning to try. Baking will also keep you nice and warm, what with the time spent in front of the stove/oven.

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These are just a few ideas to turn your cold and gloomy days into a fun-filled excuse to stay indoors. With any projects, be sure to use SteerList, the free app that helps you get things done. We’re a grocery list app (for that new recipe you’re going to try) and a regular to do list app. Whatever you want to call us, we’re here to get it done!

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What A Can of Pumpkin Can Do!

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Today, I looked in my pantry and saw a lonely can of pumpkin sitting by itself, most likely from last fall. I felt almost sorry for it, forgotten and lonely. It seems like everyone goes pumpkin crazy this time of year, so much so that one might pick up one of these little unassuming cans on a whim, but then comes the question: What do I do with it? Fear not, after these easy recipes, you’ll never find yourself with an orphaned can of pumpkin again!

1) Mix a Pumpkin Rum Shake. Don’t just fall back on making pumpkin pie, make this adult alternative from Bonappetite.com. Simply combine canned pumpkin, ground nutmeg, vanilla ice cream and rum for a tasty and totally naughty fall treat in a cup!

2) Pumpkin butter is a fast and easy way to add a little taste of fall to whatever you’re eating. Though it’s usually made with fresh pumpkin, TLC.com swears you can use canned pumpkin and no one will know the difference. Simmer canned pumpkin, brown sugar, apple cider, and spices (cinnamon and nutmeg suggested) for about half an hour, then store or gift in jars.

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3) Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese adds a little twist to a classic kid favorite. You can make it from scratch, adding a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin to your sauce after the roux and milk. However, after experimenting last year, I can confidently say that you can even just add it to a boxed mixed, but don’t be too heavy-handed with the pumpkin. Bake in a casserole dish with breadcrumbs and cheese on top for a crunch!

4) Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles. This is easy, just add a little pumpkin puree to your batter. If you want to get fancy, you can add some cinnamon or ground nutmeg. Candied pecans make a great topper, along with plain old maple syrup.

5) Three words: Pumpkin Chai Latte. That’s all I’ll say. Check out this recipe from TexanErin.com.

6) Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes for pop-in-your-mouth goodness. These little guys are baked, not fried, and small so you can pace yourself. We’re not going to call them healthy, but they’re definitely a little better than grabbing a fried donut with tons of frosting.

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 7) Pumpkin Praline Pretzels! It’s not a tongue twister, it’s just delicious. I wasn’t going to include this because it looks a little complicated, but I ended up caving because it just looks too good to be true. Would you try it?

8) Pumpkin Soup is “soup-er” easy to make! It takes more than one can of pumpkin puree, but just add some garlic, onions, cream, and spices and you’re good to go! This is definitely a fall favorite!

9) Rachel Ray recommends adding some pumpkin to your morning oatmeal for a fast and easy pumpkin fix. Top with cinnamon sugar, maple, walnuts, or raisons!

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10) Last but not least, nothing goes better with pumpkin than cream cheese. Make this simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread for bagels, toast, or in a pastry puff a la Rachel Ray. Just blend equal parts cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pumpkin, then throw in some pumpkin pie spice to taste and voila! A decadent spread for any occasion!

Be sure to add any recipes you want to try to your SteerList grocery list app so you remember to pick up what you need the next time you pass the store!

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