I was very fortunate to grow up with a mom who is not only a great cook, but she cooked often. Basically every night we enjoyed a homemade meal, and we had freshly baked cookies in the house at least once a week (I blame this for my cookie addiction as opposed to any other dessert).
The woman has an impressive arsenal of recipes – most of which were passed down from my nana and my mom has now passed down to me. She tweaked, I tweak. It’s all part of the process. I’ve heard from dozens of you who cooked our chicken noodle soup and loved it. And it’s so easy, right?! The staple recipes in our family are tried and true, and we make them year after year. I’m so excited to start sharing more of them here with you! I’ll add the chicken noodle soup up asap – I just want to photograph it properly.
I’ve recently started LOVING cooking in a way I never did before. I think it’s in large part because it gives us something productive to do that Henry loves watching; and second, I truly was inspired watching MasterChef Junior and seeing the talent these kids have and feeling inspired to learn and try more in our own home. And of course – having a much bigger kitchen than I ever have before is making it much easier. I know a lot of people think they can’t cook; and no it doesn’t just happen overnight, but the more you try, the better you get! I remember not knowing what reduce by 2/3’s meant or how to do it. Or the difference between fry and sautee and roast. The other big factor is having the proper tools. A good set of knives, pan, mixers. It can make cooking tedious and painful or efficient and fun!
It can definitely get expensive, but there are great deals out there if you look! Take for example a Kitchenaid Stand mixer – yes, the beautiful ones you see all over Pinterest and in cooking shows. One of those bucket list kitchen items, the stand mixers are often priced at over $350 and most people either hope to get off their wedding registry or never take the splurge to get on their own. But they are such great investments – are used for so much more than just pastry (I learned this from MasterChef!) and they literally last forever. My best friend uses her moms from the 70s, which is awesome. That being said – Walmart, who is known for their low prices, sells a 4.5 qt option for $189! And they offer the standard 5qt mixer as low as $250 in some colors! (They also sell the limited edition misty blue with white bowl model that Kitchenaid put out for their 100-year anniversary but it’s a little bit more.) Plus you get free shipping on orders over $35 – no membership required!
My personal favorite colors for a Kitchenaid are the following:
POINT IS – the items you want are out there at prices that aren’t awful – and Christmas is a PRETTY good time to ask IMO. 🙂 Worth considering!
This brings me to a baking recipe I’m excited to share because it’s one of my favorites. I actually plan on sharing a few of our go-to Christmas cookie recipes over the next couple of weeks. They take all of 5 minutes to prepare with a Kitchenaid Mixer – my mom used to do all of her mixing by hand with a spoon. (Bananas, I know.) Hmm as I’m talking about gifts, I think she still doesn’t own a stand mixer! Interesting…
So back to cookie recipes; we have our regular cookies, our holiday cookies, our Polish cookies, and our Christmas cookies. There’s nothing particularly Christmasy about some of the Christmas cookies other than the fact that they are the ONLY time of year they get made. These are great because you can always change out the color of the sprinkles and M&Ms so they work for any holiday or time of year!
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter (two sticks, this needs to be at room temperature so take out early– not melted in a microwave)
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. water
Ready for this?
Mix all ingredients well together in mixer. (Add sprinkles if desired.)
Roll dough into small balls and space a 2-3 inches out on a pan.
Lightly push the roundness of the top down with a fork – but do not flatten.
Shove as many M&Ms into the top of the cookie as possible.
Bake in slow oven at 325 F degrees for about 10-12 minutes or until fully cooked.
That is it! 🙂
I recommend adding in some festive baking essentials. It’s amazing what an extra dash of red can do with Christmas music on in the background.
The softness of these can totally vary depending on how long you keep them in the oven. If you like soft cookies, pull them out earlier. If you like them crunchy, leave them in an extra minute or two.
Here’s a few other kitchen favorites all reasonably priced for the holidays!
Me on the mend from being sick… but I cannot wait to introduce him to these recipes! For now, Henry just loves to watch.
What other kind of recipes would you like to see?!
This post is sponsored by Walmart but all of the opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the partnerships that help make this blog run!