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Some people call this saltine toffee ‘Christmas Crack’ because it is that deliciously addictive!  Rum extract and sliced almonds bring this saltine toffee to a whole new level.

Almond Rum Saltine Toffee

I need a holiday…I’m pretty sure we all need a holiday, but at this point I NEEEEED A HOLIDAAAAY.

Somewhere in between Kai getting the flu, going to the emergency room, then getting a really awful cough that nearly sent us back to the ER, and now what I can only describe as teething induced screaming and insomnia, I have still managed to make four batches of this Almond Rum Saltine Toffee…that’s how easy it is to make {and thank goodness because it has helped me through a few difficult times this week!}

And yes, it totally lives up to its nickname ‘Christmas Crack’.  It is so addictive, and I am 100% guilty of reaching for just one more slice, about a hundred times.

Who’d have thought saltine crackers would make such a delicious dessert?

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This simple shrimp recipe tastes just like tempura…without the deep frying!  Panko breadcrumbs give these shrimp the ultimate crispy texture!

Crispy Sesame Panko Shrimp
It’s December 16 and the countdown is on!

T minus 3 days until we head up north to my parents house for Christmas.  There will be Christmas tree hunting {while wearing snowshoes}, probably followed by drinking some celebratory spiked hot chocolate.  There will be cross-country skiing.  There will be tobogganing.  Maybe some outdoor pond skating.  Definitely hot tubs.  Definitely fondue.

I am starting to get excited about the holidays and all of those winter traditions that are just so much fun this time of year.  I’m really excited for Kai’s second Christmas, although he’s only 15 months and will probably be way more distracted by the wrapping paper {and not the gift}, and will probably be pretty busy trying to take down the Christmas tree.

I’ve spent some time this month thinking up fun food that would be perfect for the holidays, and I could see this shrimp recipe being a holiday party appetizer, served with some tempura dipping sauce.  Or maybe served for a few friends with a happy hour drink.  Or even for dinner with some rice and steamed veggies.

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These magic cookie bars are ready to go into the oven before it has even pre-heated!  A chocolate cookie base is topped with soft caramels, hazelnuts, coconut, sweetened condensed milk and Baileys Irish Cream!

Chocolate Hazelnut Baileys Magic Cookie Bars

I am looking at the calendar and suddenly feeling slight pressure to get to the mall!  I haven’t bought a single gift yet for Christmas, and we are leaving for my parents house next Friday.

Luckily, unlike past years, buying gifts this year will probably only take me one trip and an hour or so of shopping.  We have implemented a new ‘policy’ that each person draws one name and buys that one person a good gift.  This is much easier than trying to figure out what my brother wants, or what Ben needs {side note: what is it about guys?  They want something, they buy it.  Then when you ask what they want, they don’t know!?}.  I like our new Christmas gift giving rules much better!

Lucky for Kai, he isn’t on the list…we are allowed to spoil him rotten.  Just remember, family members, it has to fit in our suitcase!  Also, he will probably be way more excited about the wrapping paper!

In case you are also finding yourself looking at the calendar and freaking out a little bit about too many things to do and not enough time, I have been baking up some {ridiculously} easy holiday recipes.  These Chocolate Hazelnut Baileys Magic Cookie Bars are #3 on the list.

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This spinach salad is packed with all sorts of goodies: bacon, spicy maple walnuts and crisp Granny Smith apples.  A salad worthy of a holiday feast.
Spinach Salad with Apples, Bacon, and Spicy Maple Walnuts

Is it strange that I crave salads?  I am a crazy salad lady.  They are one of my favorite things to eat and one of my favorite things to play with on this blog.

My perfect salad has a few important components: something leafy {but not lettuce!}, something crunchy, something creamy {usually cheese}, and something sweet.

Well, I have a salad for you, with all of those components.  But I feel like I’m misleading you guys a little bit.   This salad…well, there’s spinach, an apple and a bit of onion.  And then there’s bacon…cheese…and walnuts that are tossed in maple syrup.

So maybe you guys should know.  This isn’t ‘diet food’.  Because sometimes your salad needs bacon.  And cheese.  And candied walnuts.

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