The Holidays are just around the corner and since The Waking are big fans of Christmas we thought it would be appropriate to share some Holiday cheer with our readers. Every Monday leading up to Christmas we will post a blog with recommendations for music, recipes, and gift ideas all in the spirit of the Holidays.
“Christmas Offerings” by Third Day
Third Day’s Christmas album (released in 2006) is essential to any fan of Christian or Christmas music. The band gives their take on some Holiday classics and features some originals, as well. What makes this record stand out from the rest is Third Day’s impressive and fresh arrangements of songs such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Joy to the World.” Their original Christmas tracks, “Born in Bethlehem” and “Jesus, Light of the World,” stand on their own and showcase the band’s ability for good songwriting.
Click here to purchase “Christmas Offerings” for only $7.99!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake
We made this delish cheesecake for the first time on New Years Eve a few years ago for a family get-together. It was a hit…therefore we only got one piece. So the next day we decided to make it again, only this time, keep it all for ourselves (Insert evil laugh). Don’t be selfish like us. Share with your family. Or just make two. 😉
1-3/4 cups chocolate chips cookies or chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside. In a mixing bow, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low just until combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat just until blended. Pour over crust; set aside. In another mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for 3 minuets. Add water and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over filling,gently pushing dough below the surface (dough should be completely covered by filling). Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight; remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Yield: 12-14 servings.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cake
This cake is a Christmas tradition in our home. We have never personally made this cake, but our dad makes it every year. Our whole family is in love with this cake. I love and look forward to it every Christmas. It’s beyond delish! Since it is a tradition in our family we wanted to post the recipe…the only problem is that this is a recipe my dad just came up with on his own. So it’s a little hard to tell other people how to make it. However, we are going to attempt to try just because you should experience this yummy cake for yourself. Hopefully we can make it clear enough.
1 white cake mix
2 bags white chocolate chips
2 large Cool Whips
1 jar raspberry preserves
2 bags frozen raspberries
Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions. Let cake cool, then cut in half to make two layers. Spread a layer of raspberry preserves over first layer of cake. Melt one bag of white chocolate chips and quickly beat them into one of the large Cool Whips, spread over preserves. Next, cover the whole first layer with frozen raspberries. Add on the second layer of cake. Melt second bag of white chocolate chips and beat with the remaining Cool Whip. Spread over the whole cake. You can decorate the top of the cake by piping more frosting on the border of the cake, and putting raspberries in the middle. Keep refrigerated.
Spice Aroma Therapy (Homemade Potpourri)
Our mom used to make this homemade potpourri in her pretty glass teapot. We remember loving the smell, it smelled exactly like the holidays.This is perfect for when you have guests over or when you just have a relaxing evening at home.Simmer your favorite combination of these ingredients in your infuser with a full teapot of water;
Tiny Tim’s Tiny Baking Tips:
– Add a dash of Cinnamon to Brownie batter or Cookie dough to give them a festive holiday flare.
– Half and Half, Vanilla, and Cinnamon make for happier Hot Chocolate.
– Keep a roll of homemade cookie dough in the fridge (in a air tight container) ready to bake.
– Be sure not to over bake cookies. Always preheat oven and leave cookies in oven the exact amount of time the recipe calls for. Cookies should be removed from oven while still soft and just lightly browned on the edges, they will firm up while cooling.
– Don’t struggle with dough sticking to your rolling-pin. Instead, roll out your dough between two sheets of waxed paper. This will eliminate the sticking problem.
– Do not bake like Rachel Ray cooks… ie, “Eyeballing” ingredients. Baking is not like cooking. Measurements must be exact.
– Do not over beat or over bake cheesecake, it will cause the cheesecake to crack.
– Dip your knife into warm water to make cutting a slice of cheesecake much simpler.
– Buy a candy thermometer – this will save your Fudge and Divinity. Trust us.
– Things to keep on hand: Christmas cookie cutters, pretty sprinkles and colored sugars, food coloring, powdered sugar, cocoa, paper baking cups, waxed paper, vanilla, cinnamon, chocolate chips
– When it comes to the holidays, think homemade. Not mixes from the store that you bake at home…but rather homemade as in, made from scratch.Yes, it takes a bit more time and effort but it’s well worth it. The people in your life we’ll appreciate it, those are always the goodies people remember.
– Make your holiday baking and cooking a little more fun by playing your favorite Christmas tunes in the kitchen…If you want to go a little crazy…wear a cute but slightly dorky Christmas apron. Go ahead, use that wooden spoon as a microphone. 🙂
– And my mom’s ever helpful holiday tip…”go on a diet the day after Christmas”. …Oh Mom.
– Also, be sure to have 911 on speed dial in case you “accidentally” give your relatives salmonella (shh, we won’t tell) 😉
Gifts That Give Back
The holiday season is all about giving. Why not give a gift that gives back?
Give your coffee loving pal this Starbucks (RED) card. Every time a customer uses this Card to make a purchase at Starbucks, five cents will go directly to the Global Fund to help save lives in Africa.
Give your loved one a gift card for a pair of TOMS. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for one. On a side note, I proudly own a pair of TOMS, and let me just say that they are worth every penny. They are comfy, fashionable, and you can’t help but feel good knowing that a needy child is getting a good quality pair of shoes because of your purchase.
Give your friend this totally cool tote featuring the title of Switchfoot’s song. To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
If none of these catch your fancy, there are many other organizations you can give to this Christmas. And if all else fails, you can buy this shirt supporting the ‘Human Fund.’
Happy gift hunting!
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” – Shirley Temple
“Let me see if I’ve got this Santa business straight. You say he wears a beard, has no discernible source of income and flies to cities all over the world under cover of darkness? You sure this guy isn’t laundering illegal drug money?” – Tom Armstrong
“Why is Christmas just like a day at the office?
You do all the work and the fat guy with the suit gets all the credit.” – Anonymous
How do you know Santa has to be a man?
No woman is going to wear the same outfit year after year.
Top Ten Worst Christmas Gifts:
People were asked what were the worst gifts they got, these were their responses:
Meat cook book (for a vegetarian)
Nose hair trimmer
Scented toilet paper
Facial hair lightening cream
Musical boxer shorts
PAM’S Top Ten Favorite Christmas Songs:
1. “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee
2. “Santa Baby” by Madonna
3. “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey
4. “Please Come Home for Christmas” by The Eagles
5. “Blue Christmas” by Elvis
6. “Christmas Don’t Be Late” by Alvin & The Chipmunks
7. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby
8. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Relient K
9. “All I Want is You This Christmas” by Nsync
10. “Under My Tree” by Nsync