full of holiday wonderfulness

It’s Sunday night and the tree is decorated, the staircase glitters with colorful lights, christmas movies are playing on my favorite channels and I have Tony Bennett holiday music on my pandora station crooning me for this very special post.  I think I love the holidays most this year because I get to fill my home with all things holiday and really don’t have to hold back!  Since thanksgiving was just last week I want to dedicate this post to being grateful for all the joy in our life right now.  We had such a wonderful visit to the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells.. where we jam packed family fun with water slides, arcades, bowling, and (just for dave) a sprinkle of gambling at “Ho Chunk”. Even the name sounds in holiday spirit!  I love our Thanksgivings that we spend in WI because we are all lodged in together and we truly just get to play like the kids we still are, Nate of course playing the hardest.  I did get Dave to go down a water slide and witnessed the most amazing high pitched giggle come from my husband while riding down the “Master Blaster” together.  I love that there are still surprises I still get to learn about him. =)  We also got to help throw Lydia and Robert a lovely couples shower which she fought against this entire year, but did manage to put a smile on for the event.  Much to her surprise.. it was actually fun!  It was sad to fly home but we get to see our Yruma family for Christmas and then the Allen’s AGAIN before new years. I am a lucky girl.. and I am most thankful for being able to see my family as frequently as I do.

When I got back, I was in the mood for something special to bake.. a cookie that didn’t have chocolate in it. I wanted something spicy that could warm up the kitchen with holiday smells.  I found it. Cardamom, where have you been all my life? This is worth spending $5 on this new spice.. it taste just like Christmas to me.

http://foodloveswriting.com/2009/05/22/that-kind-of-something/

Vanilla Spice Cookies
Adapted from Recipe Zaar

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter at a medium speed and gradually add sugar, beating well. Next, add egg and vanilla, and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; add this dry mixture to the butter mixture and combine.

Shape the dough into two approximately 12-inch rolls. Wrap each in wax paper and chill for at least two hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap rolls and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place on ungreased (or Silpat-lined) baking sheets, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Cool slightly on baking sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

In closing.. my friend introduced me to this website: tastespotting.com  I have already spent hours on it and lots of money trying to replicate these recipes. Enjoy and happy holidays!

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