Category Archives: Holidays

Happy Halloween!

Be a good little monkey…



Filed under Family, Holidays

Mini Rustic Apple Pies and Bake Sale Wrap-Up

A big thank you to everyone who came out last week to support Team IZ and the Children’s Tumor Foundation! The bake sale was a huge success thanks to all of you. We made over 100 bags, jars and wrappers of treats and sold out of all but about 15 of them. In total we raised $230 towards Team IZ. I’m grateful for and humbled by all of the support.

Some of the recipes of the bake sale will show up in future blog posts, but I wanted to send links to some of the other goodies, so you can make them at home!

Cake Batter Puppy Chow
Lemonade Chex Mix (I doubled the chocolate and butter mixture)
Snickerdoodle Blondies
Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

The item that flew off the table the quickest was the mini rustic hot apple pies. Now maybe it’s because of our name, or because one customer told me, “There are two things you can’t resist. Warm chocolate chip cookies and fresh apple pie.” Regardless, these pies were a hit and fun to make. The mini pies are great for a bake sale, or for a fun, different presentation for a dinner party.

Mini Rustic Apple Pies
Makes 8 pies

2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, cold
1 C ice water (don’t use it all)

The key to making a good pie crust is keeping everything cold! So don’t attempt this in a hot kitchen on a 90 degree. Prior to making the dough, I put my metal bowl, knife and cutting board in the refrigerator to start it out right. Keep your butter in the fridge until the last minute.

Add ice to a cup of water and set aside.

Start by mixing flour, sugar and salt. Cut your butter into small, 1/2 inch pieces. Try not to touch the butter to make sure it doesn’t melt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter into the flour mixture. Scoop and mix as you go, until the butter crumbly and to the size of a tiny pea.

Remove ice cubes from water. Begin to drizzle about 1/2 C of water into the mixture and mix with a rubber spatula. Continue to drizzle water, about 1/4 C more, until the dough begins to stick together. Gently work with hands to mold the dough. Split the dough into two disks and refrigerate for 2 or more hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the mini pie pan.

When dough is chilled, flour up a board or flat surface, be generous so the dough doesn’t stick. Using a rolling pin, Gently press and roll upwards continually. Rolling dough takes some time, don’t beat it up. Move in a clockwise position until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a large cookie cutter or pie cutter (my mini pie pan came with one), cut out circles. Place the dough into the pie pans, molding them to the shape. Add apple filling and top with another circle of crust, pressing the top dough with the bottom dough. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.

Bake pies in oven for 35-45 minutes. Rotate halfway through. Pies should be golden brown. Allow to cool a bit before removing from pan.

Apple Filling
10 apples, cored and sliced
1 C sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger

Mix apples together with sugar and spices until combined.

Thank you again for your support! If you missed the sale and would like to donate to Team IZ, please click here.


Filed under Fall, Treats

Peep S’mores

As I told you last year, my family has a strange obsession with Peeps. These sugary, marshmallowy creatures always make their way into our home around the Easter holiday. The problem: nobody likes to eat them. Last year, in efforts to continue the Peep tradition, I made my own. This year, I embarked upon a Peep journey to use them for something else besides eating them straight out of the box. I had grand visions of a Peep topiary centerpiece for my Easter table. It is half finished and a bit lack luster, not good enough to share. For those of you disappointed, rest assured, I will perfect and post it for next year’s Easter season.

I was left with a box of purple bunnies that I did not know what to do with. Looking for a little after dinner sweet, I rounded up some of the candy in the house, along with my son’s favorite “grahams” to make a microwavable Peep S’more. Surprisingly delicious and super quick, it is a great way to get rid of those fluffy critters that seem to invade your home and have a hard time making their way to the trash.

Microwave Peep S’Mores
Graham Crackers
Hershey Chocolate Bar, Hershey Kisses or Hershey Hugs

Crack the graham cracker in half. Place two squares of chocolate or four Kisses/Hugs (I used the white chocolate raspberry Hugs) on the graham cracker. Top with one Peep chick or two Peep bunnies. Place in microwave. Cook on high for 15 seconds. Rest for a few seconds to make sure the Peep doesn’t explode (almost learned that the hard way), cook for 15 more seconds. Place graham cracker on top and allow to sit for at least 30 seconds to let the chocolate melt.

Smash down and enjoy!

Wishing you a very blessed Easter!


Filed under Easter, Quick & Easy, Treats

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