gift guide for the active adventurer

You may be wondering why “the active adventurer” is a category. As I was putting together this gift guide, I found that a lot of gifts for the athletic friend overlapped with gifts that a travel-lover would use as well. Whether she is trying to look cute coming from the gym or the plane, the items on this gift guide for the active adventurer are for any kind of on-the-go girl on your list.

Gift Guide for the Active Adventurer | Pass the Cookies |

| Pullover | Dry Shampoo | Teleties | Sports Bra | S’well Water Bottle | Scarf | Sleep Mask |
| Duffel Bag | Lavender Essential Oil Roll-On | NY Times 36 Hours Book | Reflective Gloves |
| Gripper Socks | Holiday Athletic Socks | Athleisure Leggings | Reflective Leggings |

Reflective Gear
I always keep reflective gear in my gym bag now that it is dark out whenever I have time to run. With reflective strips circling each leg, these reflective leggings would be perfect for running on these cold, dark winter days. As a runner, I look all over the place for reflective tights every year (they don’t seem to improve as much as I would like from year to year), and these are the most reflective I have seen on the market. For a smaller price and amount of reflectivity, these gloves would be great! (more…)

sparkling pomegranate punch cocktails

We are almost halfway through December – are you holiday partied out yet?

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies |

I have been to a few parties and gatherings, and have a few more on the docket before Christmas, but I’m feeling good about the pace so far. Some years my introverted self gets overwhelmed with all of the holiday get-togethers. I have found that, while it can be more work to host a party, I sometimes prefer being the host to being a guest. When I host a party, I’m guaranteed to know everyone I invite, which takes away the stress of making small talk with strangers, and even if I have to go back and forth to the kitchen, I often feel more relaxed in my own home than I do somewhere else. (more…)

link love

This week has been, and will continue to be crazy. I’m starting to feel more and more exhausted as it goes on, and almost put off writing this post, but there are some great links that I want to make sure are shared this week.

link love 12.8.2017photo via Pickles and Honey

First, Time Magazine’s person of the year: the silence breakers. These are the women who shared their sexual harassment and sexual assault stories, despite the taboo the world put on these conversations, and the danger they felt threatened by for multiple reasons. These stories need to be read, heard, shared, and spread.

Are you sprucing up your home for Christmas? This is a great post on how to hang greenery, spruce or not ;) I haven’t done much decorating at all (see above: crazy week), but I’m excited to start soon. I already have wreaths to hang on our bookshelves, which was one of my favorite touches from last year.

Have you tried a reverse bucket list? I love the idea! I agree that bucket lists can make me feel like I haven’t done enough, but I imagine a reverse bucket list would make me proud of all that I have already accomplished.

Whole Foods has the best cheese selection in our area, but at a cheaper price point and still a good selection, Trader Joe’s is often where we pick up nicer cheeses. This article on the best cheeses at Trader Joe’s will be so useful over the holidays, when cheeseboards are on the mind of every entertainer. We have had many of the cheeses on the list (the goat milk brie is the one I used in the baked brie appetizer earlier this week!), and they are great options for nice, tasty cheeses that don’t break the bank.

These look amazing. I would be way too ambitious to say I will make these this weekend. Next weekend, though? There may be eggnog cinnamon rolls on next Saturday’s menu.

Have a happy weekend!

2017 gift guide for the baker

I truly love making these gift guides each year. They are filled with wish list items, fun ideas that I sometimes end up using in my own Christmas gifting, and items that I am passionate about that I want other people to have the chance to use too. This list is filled with some of all of those, but mostly with things I am extremely passionate about and want to share with the world! I have (and love) some version of almost every item on this list, and have received most of them as gifts. As a recipient, I can tell you that they all make great presents, and as a (mostly) food blogger, I can tell you they make great tools. Below, you’ll find my thoughts on some, which I would recommend for novice bakers and casual chefs vs. those who are more experienced in the kitchen, and where you’ve seen some of these items on the blog before :)

Gift Guide for the Baker | Pass the Cookies |

| Bake From Scratch Magazine Subscription | Medium Cookie Scoop |
| Goldtouch Nonstick Baking Pans | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Oven Mitts (1, 2) |
| Peppermint Extract | Gold or Copper Measuring Spoons | Gold Whisk | Walnut Turner |
| Marble Board | Farmhouse Batter Bowl | Tartan Silicone Spatula |
| Christmas Cookie Cutter | Odd-Sized Measuring Cups |

Bake from Scratch Magazine Subscription – I’m sharing the best cookies I have made all year (that is not an exaggeration) so soon, and the recipe was based on a cookie in the Bake from Scratch Holiday Cookies edition. The photos in these magazines are beautiful and I always add tons of recipes to my “to try” list when I flip through them (you can tell it’s good when the pages are covered in flour and vanilla stains). I just got the Holiday Cookie edition this year, but loved it so much that a subscription to this magazine is on my gift list this year (hint, hint). Another great option in this category is a new cookbook. There are so many great ones that have come out this year, and you can match this to their personality. (more…)

2017 gift guide for him

Is it just me, or is it always difficult to shop for guys? I searched high and low for husband, brother, and dad-approved gifts for the men in your life this year and I hope this gift guide for him can help give you some ideas for the guys.

Gift Guide for Him | Pass the Cookies |

Yeti’s have been around for a while and I have heard many people sing their praises, but was reminded at how crazy hot or cold they keep your drinks when my dad brought one on a car trip and left it in the car. It was still the same temperature when we remembered it a few hours later! At a decent price-point, these make great gifts for the most difficult guy on your list. (more…)

baked brie with mulled wine-soaked fruit

Remember that delicious mulled wine we made last week? We’re repurposing it today for a stunning, but amazingly easy holiday appetizer: baked Brie with mulled wine-soaked fruit.

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies |

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies |

Around the holidays, I find myself running around like crazy, trying to do everything I possibly can with every group under the sun. Next Saturday alone I am meeting up with five groups of people for five different events from 9am-11pm. I know it is a crazy schedule, but I love all of the people I get to see and have fun at every event, which makes it difficult to cut back. But doing everything and being everywhere can be exhausting, and leaves me with no time to prepare. That is one reason I love this baked Brie so much – while it looks fancy, you can have this app ready in 15 minutes! (more…)

december goals

Happy December! This is the case for most people, but I always find that December is always a fun, but very crazy month. It is easy to do too much, go to fast, and burn out before Christmas gets here. I am already exhausted from everything leading up to December, so I am trying to combat that stress and burnout that could happen by narrowing down my December goals and focusing on only a few things well.

2017 December Goals | Pass the Cookies |

November Goals:
– Vote! – Ugh, I researched and tried to go, but when I got home from work (via the bus) my car wouldn’t start so I couldn’t get to the polls :( The next few days consisted of getting this car problem fixed.
– Celebrate 10 years with Will!!!Yes! :) We didn’t do anything big, but enjoyed spending the evening together before a busy weekend.
– Make a new pie recipeYes! This and this.
– Drink at least 80 ounces of water a day – I did well at the beginning of the month, but fell behind when travel and Thanksgiving came around.
– Go on a walk/run on nearby trails (maybe on the Pumpkin loop, since I missed that last month) to enjoy the last of the fall leaves and weatherDidn’t make it to the pumpkin loop, but I did enjoy and take in the fall weather and pretty leaves.
Continue to exercise outside even as the weather gets colder and the amount of sunlight gets shorterYes. I’m always shocked by how early and how fast it gets dark this time of year.
– Stretch at least 3 times a week (I got a charley horse (so painful!) twice last month and I’m hoping to stretch more to try to prevent that happening this month.) – Moslty. I was doing really well at the beginning of the month, and even until thanksgiving week, but have been slacking since then.
Use my time efficiently at work and at home – less mindless checking and refreshing Instagram, no Instagram after 10pmI did well with this one again this month. I’m taking this off the monthly goals list and making it my rule going forward.
Acknowledge at least one thing I’m grateful for each day (I do this every few days, and should be doing this everyday, but I figure Thanksgiving month is a good time to start this habit!)This was such a good exercise. I kept my gratitude list, numbered with the days of the month, next to my bed, and wrote down what I was grateful for each night before I went to bed. It kept me focused on all of the blessings we have, rather than the stress of the day.
Finish our “coffeeneuring” adventures strong (more on this soon!)Yes! In case you missed it, you can find the post on this here)
Spend time with family and rest over ThanksgivingTo say that we rested is a stretch, but we spent time with lots of family and had one of the best Thanksgivings yet.
Plan/purchase most of our Christmas giftsYes! Only a few left to get!

December Goals:
– Get all of our Christmas shopping done by December 17 (we’re so close already!)
– Continue to exercise and practice self-care as the season gets crazy. This includes getting more sleep than I have been getting recently.
– Post all of my gift guides by December 12
– Decorate for Christmas so our home is available for planned or impromptu holiday gatherings
– Meal plan again – we have been going out of town so much that our meal planning fell to the side on weekends, which left us scrounging during the week. I want to get back to planning our meals again because it always makes the evenings less stressful.
– Spend meaningful time with both of our families for Christmas celebrations

Are you simplifying your goals this month to create a more relaxing and meaningful holiday? What are your tips? I need all the help I can get!

2017 gift guide for the hostess or entertainer

Next up on our list is a gift guide for the hostess and the entertainer. These are all small gifts that are easy to bring with you to the holiday parties you inevitably have scattered throughout December. Hostess gifts can be a fun opportunity to branch out and find a unique or luxurious item that your friends usually wouldn’t buy for themselves. Since they are often small, you can find something great without breaking the bank.

Gift Guide for the Hostess

| cocktail napkins | holiday oven mitt 1, 2,3 | pretty matches | reindeer candle snuffer | candle |
| milk frother | brass candlesticks (more modern ones here) | sugarfina box |
| cheese markers | pretty plate 1, 2 | box of tea forte | serving board | ceramic pour over |
| monogrammed mug | reindeer bottle opener |

I love combining some of these fun items with something homemade, to make the gift more personal. The host and/or hostess put so much time and effort into cleaning, cooking, prepping and decorating, so I like to do anything I can to make the gift a fun, but thoughtful one. Some of my go-to hostess gifts are a pretty plate filled with homemade cookies (shortbread is the easiest and so tasty!), a unique cutting board topped with a homemade loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, or a round of scone dough and a bag of locally roasted coffee to make the next morning a little easier. While you could definitely gift any of these items on their own as a beautiful hostess gift, I’m going to do something different here and give additional ideas on how you could pair some of them with other items, sometimes homemade, sometimes not, to make them even more special. (more…)

2017 gift guide for her

It is the time of year to make your list and check it twice! I have a few gift guides to share over the next few weeks to help you find a great gift for everyone on your list. Today, we’re kicking it off with the gift guide for her!

Gift Guide for Her | Pass the Cookies |

While everything in the collage, and just about everything in the slider below, is under $100, with lots of under $50 options, there are items across lots of categories and price ranges to provide ideas for what to get all your favorite girls: your sister, mom, bff, or maybe yourself.

2017 Gift Guide for Her | Pass the Cookies |

| pom beanie (similar here and here) | striped pouch | earrings | velvet top | leggings |
| tassel charging keychain | diffuser (sold out – find here and here) | velvet sneakers |
| striped pajama set | weekender bag | socks (sold out – similar here) | gloves |
| leopard card case | vest | plaid scarf (similar here) |

The items in the photo are some of my favorites, but there are lots more ideas in the slider below, too!

I love all of the cold weather accessories that are out right now. Cute glovespom pom hatsscarves (plus a less expensive version), and fun socks are great gifts for any girl in your life. It is often easy to find cute, affordable options for these, too (two of the beanies linked are under $15!)!


mulled wine (glühwein)

With the last Thanksgiving dish washed and the slow start back to work and school today, the holiday season has officially begun! This is my favorite time of the year. Lights twinkle on houses and trees, holiday parties begin, and there is so much festivity all around.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies |

Recently, I was looking back at some photos from my study abroad semester in college (which I can’t believe was five years ago!) and remembered that some of the best memories I made on my trip were during this time of year. The town I lived in in the Netherlands was only an hour from the German border, and only a few hours away by a direct bus to the German town of Bremen, which was known for it’s Christmas market. As one of our last excursions of the semester, my travel buddy, Hannah and I decided to take a day trip to the Bremen to explore the small, historic town and see the vast Christmas market. (more…)

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