Sunday, November 27, 2011

Easy Secret Santa or Gift Swap Idea

I LOVE a good holiday gift swap or secret santa party, but let's be honest - sometimes it is tough to come up with unique & budget friendly gift ideas.  It can be even more difficult when you're not very familiar with your secret santa or if the party is white elephant or pollyanna themed.

I was invited to my first holiday gift exchange of the season last week, and I needed 6 identical unwrapped gifts for the party (I believe the premise is that everyone goes home with six different gifts, after six different rounds of gift grabbing and exchanging). I needed cute-unique gifts without busting my budget, and I think I have come up with the perfect idea...
Holiday Tumblers + individual drink mix + a repurposed Christmas card = Great Idea!

I found these tumblers with attached straws for less than $5 at a local big-box store.
I purchased off-brand, one serving, lemonade drink mixes from a local dollar store.
I also grabbed a box of Christmas cards from the same dollar store, being sure to select a card with a single word on the front.
I dropped the drink mixes in the cups, and created holiday flags for the straws. I cut out the single-festive word from the holiday card, and then I just cut two small slits for the straw to be inserted (think old-school valentine cards that allowed for a sucker to be attached as this was my inspiration).
Total cost for this super cute and usable gift is roughly $5.  
These would make great teacher or neighbor gifts as well.  Not to mention, it never hurts to have a few random gifts on hand for a surprise vistor or just to spread spontaneous holiday cheer. These cups would be perfect to keep under the tree for just an occasion.

Kelly Anne 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ramen Noodles Reinvented

I realize this isn't some crazy-innovative recipe, BUT I just had to share.  This recipe is quick, easy, cheap and perfect for potlucks and holiday parties.  Oh! and it is super yummy too!

Ramen Noodle Slaw:


1/2 Cup Oil 
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Vinegar
Seasoning Packets from Ramen Noodle

2 Pkg. Ramen Noodle (broken up)
1 Pkg. Broccoli Slaw
1 Cup Almonds (Sunflower Seeds are a great budget friendly alternative)

Broccoli Slaw was tough for me to find, but I got lucky at Harris Tetter.

Mix Ramen & Broccoli together
Add Dressing & Toss
Refrigerate overnight
Top with Almonds/Seeds just before serving

TaDa! A super easy, fairly inexpensive and delicious recipe that is perfect for an office or church holiday potluck. Enjoy!

Kelly Anne 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Granny's Pumpkin Cake

In an effort to be festive, I decided to attempt my Granny's pumpkin cake recipe. My Granny only ever cooked/baked from scratch, and I followed her recipe for the cake and icing to a tee. It turned out great and was absolutely delicious (if I say so myself)!  I still need some practice on my icing skills, but never judge a book by it's cover or a cake by it's icing.
 Ingredients for cake (flour and sugar not pictured)

 Eggs in one at a time
 Everything ends up in the mixer
 Pour into two 9 inch cake pans
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes

Icing Ingredients 
 Melted Butter and Room Temp Cream Cheese
 Mix in Confectionary Sugar, a whole box!

 Completely cool cakes (wire racks work the best)
 Icing works best if refrigerated first

 I decided to not trim the cakes & they ended up fitting together just fine & fairly even
The beer is the foreground is a must, as icing a cake is not my forte

Ta-Da! Homemade - From Scratch Pumpkin Cake!
(practice will make perfect on icing skills, so I guess I'll just have to make another cake) 

Kelly Anne