Category Archives: The Holidays

NYE Cocktail

5 Tasty and festive cocktails to ring in the New Year

As we prepare to ring in a new year, many people can’t wait to say goodbye to a very strange year. Whether you will be gathering with a small group or relaxing on the couch, one thing we can all agree on is that a cocktail in hand is a very fitting way to bid adieu to the challenges we have faced this year.

We’ve got 5 must-try libations perfect for the anticipation of better things to come. We hope you join us in a toast as we kick 2020 to the curb and welcome new beginnings and a fresh start.

Poinsettia Fizz

Poinsettia Fizz

Champagne is a staple for many New Year’s celebrations but you don’t have to settle for just a glass of bubbly. This 3-ingredient cocktail gives you the wonderful fizz we like from champagne, tart flavor from cranberry juice, and a boozy sweet kick from Gran Marnier. You’ll need:

  • 1 to 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier (or orange liqueur)
  • Champagne or Prosecco, chilled
  • Fresh cranberries

Fill a Champagne glass with 1 to 2 ounces cranberry juice and 1 ounce Grand Marnier. Top with Champagne or Prosecco and garnish with cranberries.

 

Cider Sidecar

Cider Sidecar

The ultimate winter cocktail, Cognac, Cointreau, and apple cider are a delicious combination perfect for sitting around the fireplace and watching the countdown. Top it with just a splash of Champagne for an extra fancy twist.

  • 2 oz. fresh apple cider
  • 2 oz. cognac
  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • A strip of lemon zest and brandied cherries, for serving

Place cider, cognac, Cointreau, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until 20 to 30 seconds until the shaker is frosty. Strain into a martini glass and top with zest and brandied cherries. Top with a splash of Champagne if desired.

Pineapple Margarita Sparklers

Pineapple Margarita Sparkler

Sweet and salty with just a little kick, this extra sparkly Margarita will transport you to a tropical island for your New Year’s countdown.

  • 1cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1cup silver tequila
  • 1/2cup Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
  • 1bottle (750 ml) champagne
  • fresh mint, for serving

 

In a blender, combine pineapple, lime and lemon juice, and pulse to combine. Strain into a pitcher and add the tequila and Grand Marnier. Chill until ready to serve.

Just before serving, add the champagne then rim glasses with lime and then chili salt. Pour drinks in glasses and garnish with fresh or grilled pineapple slices and mint.

 

Chipotle Chili Salt

  • 1/4cup kosher or margarita salt
  • 1teaspoon chipotle chili powder (if you can’t find it, just mix equal parts of chipotle powder and chili powder)

 

On a shallow plate, combine the salt and chili powder.

 

Classic Martini

Martini

Sometimes foregoing the fancy cocktails and sticking to a classic standard is the best way to remember simpler times. This recipe is shaken – not stirred.

  • 5 ounces vodka or gin
  • .5 ounces dry vermouth
  • Olive or lemon twist for garnish

Pour ice, vodka or gin, and vermouth into a glass shaker. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with olives or lemon twist. Like it dirty? Add olive juice to taste and garnish with stuffed olives instead of lemon.

 

Boozy Hot Chocolate Buffet with Charcuterie Board

Cocoa

If it’s your sweet tooth that needs satisfying this New Year’s Eve, we’ve got just the ticket. Many Liqueurs’ or cream-based liquors mix great with hot chocolate so there is no recipe here. It’s the dress-up part that’s where the creativity comes. A Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board allows people to pick their own poisons. There is no right or wrong here. Have fun with it. Some ideas include:

  • A variety of alcohol choices like Baileys, Peppermint Schnapps, Frangelico, and Rum Chata (and/or whatever you like)
  • Crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows, colorful sprinkles, whipped cream, white and dark chocolate pieces, caramel sauce or caramel candies, buttermint candies crumbled cookies (such as Oreos, pirouettes, or shortbread.

Don’t forget to have a way to keep the cocoa hot!

 

From all of us at Pajama Company, Cheers to you! Happy New Year!

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Delight Your Sweet Tooth: 8 Holiday Cookie Recipes You Should Bake Right Now!

One of the best parts of the holiday season is all the wonderful sweet treats that we get to indulge in! It’s that time of the year where we fire up the ovens and start baking all kinds of delicious cookies. Holiday cookie making is a tradition that many of us do every year. They make for thoughtful gifts, beautiful platters for your holiday get-togethers, and of course tasty snacks for everyone in the household to devour. Plus, who doesn’t love to have their home filled with the smell of cookies baking?

PJs Gingerbread

There’s nothing like putting on your favorite pajamas, brewing up a hot cup of cocoa or tea, and satisfying your sweet tooth. Whether you lean more towards the traditional varieties of cookies or like to experiment with new recipes, we’ve put together some musts  you’ve got to put on your holiday baking list!

Eggnog Cookies SWP

  1. Eggnog Cookies from Spend with Pennies

A favorite holiday beverage in a chewy cookie is exactly what we crave. There’s eggnog in both the cookie and the icing! The great part about this cookie is the ability to finish them off by sprinkling a variety of different toppings over the creamy icing. You can find the recipe here at Spend with Pennies.

Raspberry Linzer

  1. Raspberry Linzer Cookies from My Recipes

What’s not to love about crispy almond cookies filled with sweet raspberry preserves? Dust with a little powdered sugar for the “snowy” vibe and you have a traditional holiday cookie that everyone will love. This recipe from My Recipes is just like grammas.

Peppermint Patty Cookies -Delish

  1. Peppermint Pattie-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies from Delish.com

This is a super easy 6 ingredient cookie that blends 2 of our favorite flavors chocolate and mint. This chewy cookie with a surprise inside is a perfect addition to your holiday cookie platter. Here’s the recipe from the folks over at Delish.com.

Pecan Crescent

  1. Pecan Crescent Butter Cookies from The Spruce Eats

No holiday is complete without these crescent moon, melt in your mouth pecan cookies. They are a very versatile treat that pair well with coffee, tea, or just by themselves. We love them as that little “something sweet” after a wonderful meal. Try this recipe with options for substitutions from The Spruce Eats.

Snowman

  1. Melted Snowman Cookies from myimperfectkitchen.com

A fun cookie to make that the kids will just love. You start with a basic sugar cookie that you can make from scratch, a mix, or refrigerated dough and decorate from there. It’s a cute alternative to the standard cut-out sugar cookie. My Imperfect Kitchen has a great recipe with step-by-step pictures to guide you through the process.

Cherry CC

  1. Maraschino Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies from thefirstyearblog.com

If the thought of chocolate and cherries has your mouth-watering you’re not alone. These are a Pinterest favorite and the recipe from thefirstyearblog.com has amazing pictures that will have you writing ‘cherries’ on your grocery list immediately.

Pistachio

  1. Gluten-Free Pistachio Truffle Cookies from Epicurious

This sweet and salty cookie is a great way to get your sugar fix without straying from your gluten-free diet. They take a little more effort than some other recipes but the end result is a cookie you’ll want to make well beyond the holiday season. Epicurious has a detailed recipe that walks you through the process.

Gingerbread

  1. Gingerbread Men (or women, or whatever) from Taste of Home

No holiday season is complete without the traditional gingerbread cookie. Traditionally, the most popular shape is happy little guys complete with buttons and a big smile. Nowadays, any shape you desire will complete your holiday cookie display. We found one of the best recipes over at Taste of Home.

If you have a favorite recipe we’d love to have you share it with us. Post it here or on our Facebook page.

 

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifts they love

Looking for the perfect gift? Unique holiday gift baskets they’re gonna love!

With the holiday gift-giving season in full swing, we all have that person or people in our lives, that are either impossible to shop for, already have everything, or we’re just not finding something that screams “this is it”. Sure you can go grab a gift card, a bottle of wine, or a pre-made gift box and give those as gifts. That would be quick and easy right?

We have a better idea. Make unique gift baskets for everyone on your list this year. They are completely customizable, look beautiful, and you have complete control of their contents. Plus, we think you might have some fun making them too!

We’ll get your creative juices flowing with 10 basket ideas we plan on making this year.

BM Basket

Bloody Mary Basket. The vodka is the centerpiece of this basket so make sure you get a nice bottle. Add a bottle of Bloody Mary mix, hot sauce, seasoned salt, an array of pickled condiments, and some snack mix to round your basket out.  As a nice Added Touch, you could add personalized glasses with the recipient’s name.

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Spa Day Basket. There are no rules for this one. Fill it with scented body washes, scrubs or sugars, bath accessories, facial treatments, and even a pair of warm slippers to tie it all together. A few candles, a fragrant diffuser, and soft music CD makes this gift even more special.

Pets 2

Pet Lovers Basket. Sometimes, when you give the gift to the special fur baby in someone’s life, you’re doing much more than giving the human parent something. You can fill these baskets with so many goodies like dog treats, toys, pet outfits, or even a new dish for food or water. Top it off with a beautiful frame for the human, so that they can proudly display their favorite picture of their beloved companion.

Salad Bowl

Salad Addict Gift Basket. You probably don’t want to add fresh produce to this gift, but you can give them wonderful additions to the standard salad. Think nuts, dried berries, tortilla strips, croutons, artichoke hearts, olive oils, a bottle of fancy vinegar, and don’t forget the gourmet dressings (make sure you don’t choose ones that need refrigeration). Instead of a basket, use a large salad bowl to hold everything and finish it off with serving utensils.

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kash sockred

The Cuddle Up Basket. This is for the person who either needs to relax or loves spending a peaceful day at home. Start with a set of pajamas, warm socks, a cozy blanket, and then include herb tea and honey or some trendy hot chocolate bombs. If you know what kind of movies they like, include a couple of Blu-ray discs.

Wine Gift

The Wine Drinkers Basket. Yep, we said a bottle of wine was quick and easy but an entire wine basket is a whole different thing. Choose good wines, and add wine glasses, wine glass charms, coasters, and chocolates. A wonderful added touch would be a gift certificate to a local cheese shop. Shopping for a beer lover instead? Swap out the wine items for craft brews, beer mugs, beef jerky, and nuts.

breakfast basket

The Breakfast Basket. The most important meal of the day has no rules. Pancake mix, maple syrup, bacon (make sure they can refrigerate right away), jams, breakfast biscuits, granola bars, coffee, tea, homemade sweet bread/muffins, or anything else you think they will enjoy can be added to this thoughtful gift. If you want to add some non-food items, consider coffee mugs or a gift certificate to a local restaurant for champagne brunch.

The Pickle Fanatic Basket. There are hundreds of different kinds of pickles out there. If you know someone crazy for pickles, this is a wonderful treat. You can get hot & spicy ones, sweet ones, sour ones, big pickles, and small pickles. You can even find things like pickle-flavored candy, chips, vodka, and nuts. A quick internet search of ‘pickle flavored’ will shock you. If you know someone who lives for hot sauce, you could do that instead.

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The Pasta Chef  Basket. Fill it with unique kinds of pasta, robust sauces, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pasta serving spoon, and a chef hat. Sweeten it up with Italian cookies and some limoncello.

The Barbecue Master Basket. Perfect for the king –or queen – of the grill, you can get super creative here. A nice set of BBQ tools, seasonings & rubs, barbeque sauces, hot pads, hickory or apple chips, metal skewers, and a digital meat thermometer are just some of the items you can stuff this basket with. Want to really make an impression? A gift certificate to the local meat market will make their holiday extra great!

When it comes to gift baskets, there is no right or wrongs. They are fun to make, always get a wonderful reception, and allow you to give folks exactly what they like. Come up with your own theme and fill those baskets full!

If you have creative ideas for unique gift baskets, please share them here or over on our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

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blog Resolutions

How to Stick to New Year’s Resolutions – The Guide

As 2020 approaches, we not only usher in a new year, but also a new decade and the season where we practice the annual ritual of setting New Year’s Resolutions.

Before we get to how you are going to keep those resolutions this year, let’s review last year’s goals. Did you keep your resolutions? Did you at least make progress towards what you set out to accomplish? If your answer is no, you join 80% of Americans who also allowed their good intentions to fall by the wayside.

The inability to stick to New Year’s Resolutions is normal and should not be viewed as failure, or lack of willpower. Most of the time, not being able to follow through is because we didn’t have a plan. So how you ask “can this be the year I actually keep my New Year’s Resolutions?” We created this guide to offer up great tips and ideas that will surely help you succeed.

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Set Realistic Goals

If your mission is to lose weight, good for you! Just don’t set goals that aren’t attainable – or at least right away. Let’s say for instance you want to shed 30 pounds. Set your sight on the first 5 to start. It’s much more realistic and not that hard to do. Then, when the first 5 pounds are gone, go for the next 5 pounds and so on. You’ll see results as you go along and taking baby steps will take the pressure off, giving you a stronger feeling of accomplishment.

Make It Fun

The hardest thing about making resolutions can be that it feels more like a chore than actually making a change for the better. If you add fun into the mix it’s so much easier to get where you’re going. A perfect example is when we make the decision to eat healthier. The intention is there, but many times the spirit isn’t and we give in to temptation. One solution may be to take a healthy cooking class with like-minded resolutioners.  You get the social aspect of being with others which can be fun, plus you learn healthy, delicious recipes that will keep you on track.

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Use Technology

Whatever your resolution is, chances are there’s an app for that. Technology can help you remain accountable for everything from food intake to sleep patterns. You just have to look. Want to be more productive in your daily routine? We found an app that stops you from wasting hours on ‘time suck’ websites that keep you from the really important things you should be focusing on.

Find A Partner

Partners with similar goals are great for a couple of reasons. To begin with, if you have someone to ‘report’ to you are more likely to follow through. You also have a likeminded companion to whom you are accountable. If you planned for going to the gym with them 3 days a week, and you decide you ‘don’t feel like going’ one day, now you are disrupting someone else’s routine as well. A partner with the same goals will ensure that you have each other to lean on and you’ll also motivate one another to succeed and thrive.

Make it a Habit

Statistically, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit so if you make it past the initial 3 weeks your chances of success dramatically improve. With that in mind, why not stop thinking of your New Year’s resolutions as ‘have-to’s’ and start thinking of them as new habits – good new habits!

Don’t Let a Stumble make you Fall

Setbacks happen and are a fact of life. If we were all perfect, we wouldn’t need to set New Year’s Resolutions at all. If you slip or lapse back into bad habits, just reset and start over. There is no time limit when it comes to improving yourself.

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