Category Archives: Holidays

Homemade Shamrock Shake

I don’t care for McDonald’s…with one exception. Every year, when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, I get very excited to pull through the McDonald’s drive-thru and order myself a shamrock shake. This year, I decided to attempt this minty frozen treat all on my own for a little homemade St. Patty’s Day celebration (with an adult kick).

Homemade Shamrock Shake
1 C vanilla bean ice cream, softened
1/4 C 2% milk
1 oz Creme de Menthe

Add ice cream and milk to blender. Blend until smooth. Add Creme de Menthe and blend. If desired, top with whipped cream and a cherry.

Here are some great Irish-inspired recipes from HAP days past:
Irish Car Bomb Ice Cream
Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting
Guinness Float
Slow Cooker Corned Beef Sandwiches
Irish Pasties


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Filed under Holidays, Treats

{Free Download} Valentine’s Day Typography Sign

I’m never super motivated to dress my house up in Valentine’s Day decor. We don’t do much to celebrate the holiday, but a little love reminder in the house is never a bad thing! Throughout the year, I periodically change out a frame that I have leaning on my bookshelf. This year, I took a quote from one of my favorite classics, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

And now you can have it too! Just click here to download a free PDF file of the print. You can print it at home on your computer and place it in a frame you have in the house. Or think about spray painting an old frame a pretty pink or red color. Home decor doesn’t come much cheaper than that!

Wishing you love this Valentine’s Day!

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Filed under Decorate, DIY, Holidays, Valentine's Day

Mexican-Themed Christmas Fiesta

As I mentioned last week, my family and I decided to celebrate in a different way this year, Mexican-style! We celebrated this past weekend with festive drinks, food and desserts. It was a Feliz Navidad indeed.

To start the party out, I served Cranberry Pomegranate Margaritas using a recipe I found on the blog, My Life as a Mrs. Potent, but festive!

After making a special trip to my new favorite grocery store, El Rey, I put together a spicy Mexican meal that got us all in the Christmas mood. The shining star of the meal was the Chipotle Pulled Brisket Taco. Cooked in a slow-cooker, the beef was juicy and tender with a little kick.

Chipotle Pulled Brisket Tacos
Serves 6-8 people

3 lbs brisket
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely diced
1 TBSP adobo sauce
Queso Fresco
flour tortillas, warmed

In a slow cooker, place brisket. Pour in apple cider vinegar and diced tomatoes, including the juices. Add minced garlic. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, coriander and sea salt. Shake evenly over beef. Add chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Make sure tomatoes and peppers are evenly spread across the brisket. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. 30 minutes before serve time, take two large forks and shred beef. The beef should easily tear apart. Mix throughly, reduce to warm and cover until serve time.

Place guacamole in bottom of warmed tortillas. Layer beef into taco. Sprinkle Queso Fresco over the top and serve with Spanish rice.

We rounded the meal out with an easy and beautiful Dulce de Leche dessert I found over on Oh My Sugar High. This dessert took less than 10 minutes to whip up and wasn’t too heavy after  a big meal. I plan on making different variations in the future!

Wishing all of you love and joy this holiday season.

From my table to yours, Feliz Navidad!


Filed under Christmas, Cook, Drinks, Holidays, Main Dish, Treats

DIY Monogram Holiday Gift Tags

Keeping with the theme of personalized gift tags that Stef started, I dressed up my presents this year with monogrammed tags. If Stef’s tags were perfect for the wee illiterate, mine are just a tiny step forward – equally charming for eager toddlers as they are for adults. And the best part is that they’re super easy to put together!

What You’ll Need:
scissors & Exacto knife
decorative papers
kraft paper or cardstock
glue stick

1. Choose your favorite bold font and type the letters of your gift recipients into a Word document. I used Book Antiqua in size 150 pt.
2. Print off the pages of letters and cut them out.
3. Flip the letter over so that it appears backwards on the side of the paper that you don’t want to show. This will prevent smudgy pen or pencil marks on the “good” side when the letter is flipped over and oriented correctly. Cut out the letter using a scissors and an Exacto knife for inside spaces.

4. If you wish to have another color or pattern as an outline, repeat by tracing and cutting slightly larger than the edges of the actual letter.
5. Use a glue stick to affix onto cardstock or kraft paper tags.
6. Using a hole punch, punch a hole in the top of the tag and tie twine through.

HAP Holiday: Cookies, Wrappings and all the Trimmings!

Looking for more holiday ideas? Check out these ghosts of HAP Christmases past:
Orange, Cranberry & Chocolate Chip Cookies
Christmas Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Valencia Delights
Lemon Ginger Tea Snowballs
Gingerbread Crinkles
Almond M&M Cookies
Easy Christmas Snacks
Gilded Lavender Butter Cookies

Unique Gift Wrapping Ideas
Last Minute Gift Wrap Ideas
Photo Gift Tags

Christmas Typography Sign
Quilled Paper Ornaments
DIY Winter Wreath
Holiday Tablescape


Filed under Christmas, DIY, Holidays

{Cookie Week} White Christmas Cookies

After a week of virtual shopping, we worked up quite an appetite at HAP and during the holidays there’s just one thing that hits the spot – Christmas cookies! This year we’re putting a twist on things by drawing recipe inspiration from our favorite Christmas carols. So tie on your aprons, pop on that playlist and get ready to get into the spirit of things with us!

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

Growing up when everyone else was watcing It’s a Wonderful Life, my family was singing and dancing to White Christmas so I couldn’t resist paying tribute to Bing and his crew with my carol cookies. These White Christmas cookies have a little red, a little green, a little merry and bright and of course…a whole lot of white.
christmas cookie recipes
White Christmas Cookies (Cranberry, Pistachio & White Chocolate Cookies)
1 C butter, softened
1 C sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/3 C pistachios, shelled and finely chopped
1 C dried cranberries
3/4 C white chocolate chips, plus remainder of bag for drizzling

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt and beat. Beat in almond and vanilla extracts. Beat in flour, one cup at a time. Use a spatula to stir in cranberries, pistachios and chocolate chips, mixing well to disperse evenly throughout the dough. Use a small cookie scoop to scoop dough in equal sized balls onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to two sheets of parchment paper to cool.

Place remaining white chocolate chips in a ziploc bag. Microwave for 1-1.5 minutes to melt chips. Use a scissors to clip a tiny bit off of one corner of the bag. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Makes about 4 dozen.
cranberry, white chocolate christmas cookies

Virtual Cookie Exchange!

We’re participating in a virtual Christmas cookie exchange over at The Avid Appetite! Rachel has gathered some of her favorite blogger friends who are all bringing their favorites holiday treats so be sure to stop by!


Filed under Christmas, Holidays, Treats

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Haute Hostess

We’re wrapping up the gifts (pun intended) with our picks for those haute hosts and hostesses who put on all the fetes you’ll be attending this holiday season. Swing by next week for a full week of carols and Christmas cookie recipes!

Anne’s Picks

I adore Snow & Graham and especially love their colorful calendars.  A mini desk calendar is the perfect hostess gift to give around this time of the year and the pretty graphics will have her ready to turn the page to 2012.

1. Dining room measuring spoons ($24) 2. Snow & Graham Desk calendar ($16) 3. Home Sweet Home candle ($14.99) 4. Maple syrup sampler ($28) 5. Peppermint cocoa stirrers ($6.95)

Katie’s Picks

There’s just something about a crackling fire that makes a holiday morning feel cozier or a holiday party feel more intimate.  For your friends who don’t have the luxury of a working fireplace, Royal Apothic’s Edwardian Fireplace candle makes a great substitute and a nice alternative to the typical winter candle scents.

1. Edwardian Fireplace candle ($34) 2. Carafe (from $45) 3. Recipe box ($48) 4. Address stamp (from $18) 5. Reclaimed wood tray ($38) 6. Kitchen tools tea towels ($29)

Stef’s Picks

Likely, you will attend an abundance of holiday parties this year, or perhaps just looking for a gift for someone who loves to entertain. One of my favorite gifts this past year is to give personalized self-inking stamps. The “From the Kitchen of” stamp from Stamp Out Online makes a great gift for anyone who likes to share their recipes. And we all know, those are the best kinds of friends to have!

1. From the Kitchen Of Custom stamp ($27) 2. Kitchen magic whisk ($8) 3. Elephant salt & pepper shakers ($12.99) 4. Penzey’s Bakers assortment gift set ($29.95) 5. Music pillar candles ($16.50) 6. Sprinkles cupcake mix ($14.95)


Filed under Christmas, Fab Finds, Holidays

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Enthusiast

Anne’s Picks: For the Home Cook

If you know someone who loves to cook, then they probably love cooking accessories.  The three piece potluck baker set has so many uses, it will make even the most seasoned cook jump for joy.  Anything that can go from oven to table and still look pretty is a must in every kitchen.

1. Little baker necklace ($29) 2. Vinegar & Olive oil set ($48) 3. The Best of America’s Test Kitchen ($35) 4. Milk bottle measuring cups ($24) 5. Three piece potluck baker set ($29.95)

Katie’s Picks: For the Zen Friend

With a crazy day job and a new baby I’m in need of a little more zen in my life.  I’m loving this “Let It Be” print from FreshWordsMarket. Not only does it pay homage to the great Beatles song but hanging it in my house or office would serve as a little reminder to just take things day by day and not sweat the small stuff.

1. Alex Premium Pullover hoodie ($59) 2. Earl Grey Creme tea (from $5) 3. Let It Be print ($30) 4. Lavender candle ($26) 5. Succulent cube garden ($79)

Stef’s Picks: For the Word Nerd

Being a bit of a word nerd myself, I happen to be in love with everything in this gift guide. I’ve already raved on about Unbroken, so I’ll spare you the entire review, but it would make a great stocking stuffer for readers of all kinds. Here on HAP we love to support our local stores and there are very few stores I love more than Broadway Paper in Milwaukee’s Third Ward. This typewriter journal from Broadway Paper makes a great gift for any writer or college student. While you are there, stop in for some holiday cards and wrapping!

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand ($13.50) 2. Typewriter Journal ($10.95) 3. EReader Cover ($70) 4. Wall Mount Magazine Shadowbox Organizer ($34) 5. The End Bookends ($30) 6. COZY Letter Scrabble Pillows ($72)


Filed under Christmas, Fab Finds, Holidays

Holiday Gift Guide: Kids & Pets

Anne’s Picks

My daughter loves cooking in the kitchen with me.  That is why this year my top pick is the Leafy Keen Salad Kit.  It will get your little ones interested in the food they eat and might even turn them on to a few different vegetables they might otherwise shy away from!

1. Leafy Keen salad set ($24.95) 2. Leg warmers ($12) 3. Owl Backpack ($20) 4. Dress Up Dolls sticker collection ($4.99) 5. Diary of a Worm ($16.99)

Katie’s Picks

Although my pooch Lena loves her personalized dog bed, her heart ultimately belongs to whoever is dishing out the treats.  And what pup could resist some homemade BLT dog bones?  Just pick up a bone shaped cookie cutter and this ready-to-make mix from Doggy Detail and you’ll have your dog eating out of your hand…literally.

1. Personalized canvas pet bed cover (from $16) 2. Cat/Dog Mats ($35) 3. Collapsible travel cup ($9.99) 4. Dog treat mix ($10) 5. Tartan plaid dog collar ($24) 6. Fish hotel ($29.95)

Stef’s Picks

Although I am 100% obsessed with this Land of Nod Hamburger Chair (Lincoln has the ticking fabric chair and loves it!), this year I must hawk the Elephun Busy Ball Popper. While I highly recommend any of the ball popping toys for any baby or toddler from the age of crawling and up, the Elephun Busy Ball Popper commercial happens to star a beautiful little girl who just so happens to be my niece and Goddaughter. So buy the Elephun Ball Popper because Mallory told you to, and as the commercial says, “there’s no stopping the fun.”

1. Hamburger Nod chair ($119) 2. Leapfrog TAG ($29.99) 3. Let’s Rock Elmo guitar ($19.99) 4. Elefun Busy Ball Popper ($24.99) 5. Ash Canvas Tiny TOMS ($29) 6. Friendly Monster robe ($39.95)

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Filed under Christmas, Fab Finds, Holidays

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Guys

Anne’s Picks

I always have such a hard time choosing gifts for the guys in my life, which is why my top pick this year is a fool proof toy every boy/man will love.  Although a toy helicopter may seem a bit juvenile, you would be amazed at how almost any guy’s eyes will light up the moment he opens it.  Guaranteed to have him outside in the snow acting like a kid again.

1. Remote control helicopter ($19.49) 2. Alpine cuff ($22) 3. Utility Fleece Zip Hoodie ($62.50) 4. New Balance Suede Procourt Sneakers ($60) 5. Apple TV ($99.99) 6. Cashmere lined leather gloves ($68)

Katie’s Picks

My husband has declared this to be “The Year of Comfort” – which pretty much translates into wearing as much UnderArmour as possible. His Christmas list is full of it! So for his sake, I have to hawk the UnderArmour fleece pants which will keep the guys in your life warm and of course, comfortable, on their way to the gym or just lounging around on a chilly winter weekend.

1. Fleece Performance Pant ($49.99) 2. Pignose portable amp ($90) 3. Butcher diagram ($15.95) 4. Mr. Tater jacket ($110) 5. Mustache coasters ($28) 6. Hunting camp exfoliating soap ($13)

Stef’s Picks

I always have a hard time trying to figure out what to buy the men in my life. What do you get a man with little wants? This year, I love the idea of the North Face e-Tip gloves. These touch-screen friendly gloves are great for every day wear or for a ski trip in Vail. When your man finds himself at the peak of a mountain with a majestic view, he will be able to pull out his phone, take a picture and text it to you without taking his gloves off.

1. Chunky Mockneck Sweater ($79.95) 2. E-Tip Gloves ($40) 3. Sperry Winter A/O Boot ($130) 4. Mustache mug ($10) 5. Wine Aerator ($32) 6. Wooden Men’s Shave Set w/ Beer Soap ($20)


Filed under Christmas, Fab Finds, Holidays

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Ladies

It’s that time of year again! For anyone who didn’t brave the crowds on Black Friday, the HAP Annual Gift Guide has plenty of gift ideas to cover everyone on your list (and maybe even a few treats for yourself!) Check back each day this week for our favorite picks.

Anne’s Picks

This year I am all about being cozy at home.  My ultimate pick for the ladies would be the gray JCrew Saturday Pant.  These pants are incredibly comfortable and versatile.  They can be worn lounging around the house or with your favorite boots and a tunic for a perfect winter outfit.  They are a staple to any woman’s wardrobe!

1. Saturday pant ($59.50) 2. Snowcap necklace ($39.50) 3. Latte bowls in Retro ($30) 4. Hunters Original Wellington boots ($125) 5. Glee nail polish mini set ($24) 6. Cranberry & Pomegranate Sugar Scrub ($13)

Katie’s Picks

Personally I’m coveting this sporty-chic Tory Burch turtleneck, but the gift to give every gal on your list is a pair of J.Crew moccasins.  I wear mine so much that I am forced to replace them every other year.  The faux-shearling lining keeps your feet toasty around the house and the thicker rubber soles make them functional in case you have to pop outside or make a quick run to the store.

1. Carla turtleneck sweater ($225) 2. Texting gloves ($14) 3. Personalized notecards (from $35) 4. Confettis ring ($45) 5. Lodge moccasins ($39.50) 6. Lauren Double Frame clutch ($148)

Stef’s Picks

A wonderful visionary by the name of Marshall Field once said, “Give the lady what she wants.” It is hard to argue with his logic! I could rave on about many of the items I’ve picked out for the ladies this holiday season, but my ultimate pick would have to be the BambooChic throw blanket. I received one of these blankets as a wedding shower gift and it has literally changed my life. It is the coziest and warmest blanket with which I’ve ever snuggled. Guests at my house always comment if they happen upon it while sitting in our living room. They even make mini versions for kid’s which is my little guy’s favorite blanket! They are available online or at The Home Market in Milwaukee.

1. BambooChic throw ($134) 2. Leaves of Grass necklace ($24) 3. I Will Be Grateful for this Day print ($24) 4. iPhone wristlet ($79.95) 5. Joules Wellies with Grosgrain ribbon ($102) 6. Strong Sister hooded scarf ($29.99)


Filed under Christmas, Fab Finds, Holidays