Christmas: 5 top 5’s

With Christmas a week away, you’ve got just 7 days to cram in all the Yuletide festivities that you can. To make it a bit easier, here are my holiday top 5’s for the year.

Movies to watch:

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After we’ve stuffed our faces with glorious holiday eats, we’re ready to veg out with a holiday flick. Here are 5 films to watch while the food’s digesting:

  1. A Charlie Brown Christmas via Redbox
  2. Elf: ABC Family, Friday, Dec. 19 at 8:00 p.m.
  3. Home Alone ABC Family, Sunday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
  4. The Santa Clause ABC Family, Monday, Dec. 22 at 8:30 p.m.
  5. A Christmas Story TBS, Wednesday, Dec. 24 8:00 p.m.

Songs to sing:

Christmas tunes: you’re almost sick of them, but because you only have one week left of them, you’ll endure. Here are 5 to make your ear drums ba-rump-a-bum-bum:

  1. “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus” by Jackson 5
  2. “Hallelujah Christmas” by Cloverton
  3. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns
  4. “Silent Night” by Selah
  5. “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

Excuses to eat chocolate:

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Yes, you may buy way too much post-Christmas chocolate in one week at 98% off, but let’s live in the here and now for a while. Tantalize your taste-buds with these 5 chocolate treats:

  1. Peppermint bark
  2. Chocolate-dipped pretzels
  3. Boxed chocolate, a classic
  4. Chocolate gingerbread cookies
  5. Chocolate-dipped peppermint marshmallows

Photos: Food.com | Divas Can Cook | Godiva | Wanna Come with Me? | Bright Eyed Baker

Drinks to have:

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Warm your heart and your pipes with some toasty holiday drinks. Or go for the cooler number one and three options. Either way, your palate will be praising Christmas flavors:

  1. Milk, egg or coconut nog or whatever kind of nog you’re into
  2. Peppermint white chocolate hot cocoa
  3. Cranberry sparkler
  4. Christmas tea
  5. Spiced Christmas coffee

Photos: Kitchen Table Friends | Will Cook for Smiles | Martha Stewart | Taste of Home | Brewed Daily

Ways to deck yourself out:

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Though I don’t suggest wearing all of the following at the same time, here are some ways you can show your holiday cheer without saying a word:

  1. Pop culture ugly sweater
  2. Reindeer antler ring
  3. Mariah Carey-style elbow-high Christmas gloves, because why not?
  4. Festive fingernails
  5. A little bit of sparkle

Photos: Ugly Christmas Sweater | Authfashion | PommeRoseDecor | Sarah Lou Nails | Macy’s 

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Famous rose apple pie

Yesterday my homemade rose apple pie kicked off USA Today’s #yourbake 12 Days of Baked Goods series: usat.ly/1COf3CN. Honestly, I can’t say I don’t deserve it because this was the best pie I’ve ever made! The heavenly, crumbly crust was baked to perfection and the oozy sugar filling was at the perfect place on the sweetness scale. And the rose apples tasted just as amazing as they looked.

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I transcribed a European recipe and combined it with a recipe from my Pinterest for this scrumptious dessert.

First things first, you don’t want a crumbly hot mess to deal with later, so grease the pan!! After its been greased or buttered or whatever your method of choice, I give you my blessing to flatten the dough into the round pie pan (I used a 9″). The secret ingredient here is the lemon juice. It livens up the crust flavor and leaves a pleasant sweet and tangy aftertaste.

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Now that your dough’s flattened, stretched and pinched to perfection—or as close as you can get, like me—you can stop obsessing over getting it smooth and place it out of sight, out of mind in the fridge for a while.

Time to turn up the heat. After mixing the filling until you achieve a thick syrup consistency, get your green thumb on and grow some roses. But, please, I beg you, learn from my mistake and do not skin the apples. I learned the hard way that it only doubles your work. Instead, use an apple peeler but lower the skinning blade. Then, drop your peels into boiling water.

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Boil your peels just long enough that you can bend them without breaking. Then, channel your inner baking artiste and roll the peels into cones, layering until you get something that resembles a rose. Arrange your glorious roses on on top of the crust and filling.

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Bake for about 25 minutes or until the crust edges turn golden, then remove from oven, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, snap a photo and enjoy your delectable creation.

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Ingredients:

Crust:

1/2 cup butter
5/8 cup powdered sugar (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sugar
1/3 of a lemon’s juice
1 egg
Just over 1/2 cup of flour

Filling:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp butter
6 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag of apples (I used Fuji)

Instructions:

Crust:

  • Beat soft butter with powdered sugar, vanilla, sugar, and lemon juice. Add egg. Add flour gradually to make a soft dough.
  • Dust a 9 or 9.5 inch greased baking pan with flour. Spread the dough evenly in it, pinching the sides up to the pan edges. Place in refrigerator.
Filling:
  • In medium mixing bowl, mix granulated sugar, flour, and cinnamon. In separate small mixing bowl, mix melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Stir both mixtures together.
  • With an apple peeler, slice apples into long strips without removing the skin
  • Roll apple peels into roses (if apple is too crisp to bend, boil your apple slices until they are soft enough to roll into roses)
  • Remove dough from fridge and pour filling on top, then arrange rolled-up apple roses close together
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden on crust edges
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Eat warm or chill in fridge for 30 minutes.