Coffee Break & Our Christmas Menu

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Merry almost Christmas! This is the week that everyone’s tying up loose ends, cramming in all their shopping, cleaning, wrapping, shipping/mailing, baking, and generally going nuts. So it only makes sense to procrastinate our responsibilities. Let’s sit down and have a chat!

This is my first year hosting the holiday and I’m kinda nervous! It’s important to me that our families come together at our house so we can celebrate Noelle’s first Christmas at home. I’ve been thinking about the menu for a few weeks and finally narrowed it down. If you don’t have yours planned yet or need some last minute additions, here’s my plan:

Christmas Menu


Time saving plan: Prepare fruit salad the night before. Prep overnight strata the night before. Make coffee cake that morning when I wake up. Stick strata in the oven. Have family help with making the waffles. Put husband on bacon duty.

Candied nuts on

Daytime munching includes shrimp cocktail, cheese/crackers, seasoned pretzelscandied nuts, cookies. My mom’s bringing the shrimp and pretzels. The candied nuts are already made. Covered tightly, they’re good for a week or two. (It’s taking every ounce of self control in me.)


Time saving plan: There will be 12 of us for dinner plus a couple kiddos, so a turkey made most sense. We’ll make the turkey that day. Salad and baked potatoes are easy. My MIL is bringing the green bean casserole. I’ll start the rolls the night before!

Honey butter rolls on


Time saving plan: I already baked the cake batter chocolate chip cookies and molasses cookies. They’re in the freezer. Thaw the night before in the fridge. Making the pb blossoms and chocolate pie on Saturday. Tuxedo cake was the original plan for dessert, but the pie was a special request. And it’s fantastic even after a day or 2 in the fridge!!

I feel like the menu is all pretty manageable, especially with family there to help!

Sky high chocolate mousse pie on

Having a baby and hosting Christmas officially makes you a grown up, so excuse me if I channel my inner child with glittery pastel pink and blue Christmas cookies.

These are the sugar cookies I decorated on Facebook LIVE last week. Did you catch the video? I demonstrated how to make royal icing and decorate basic sugar cookies. Nothing crazy complicated, but I know that many of you are working with royal icing for the first time this year. Once you decorate a batch or two of sugar cookies, your confidence will soar. You’ll be a sugar cookie pro in no time.

Oh and I’d like to share that 2 of my piping tips died in the garbage disposal that evening as I was cleaning up. Why does this happen EVERY TIME.

Anyway, look at some of the December baking challenge photos! ↑↑

Your work is beautiful and most of you are decorating sugar cookies with royal icing for the first time this year. I love it!

Speaking of cookies! A bunch of girlfriends and I got together for a cookie exchange last week. I made peppermint mocha cookies last year and this year, I didn’t stray far: peppermint white chocolate cookies! I used red AND green candy canes and instead of drizzling with white chocolate, I dunked them in dark chocolate. Some of you have asked how I prevent these cookies from spreading too much. My tip: don’t crush up the candy canes too small. Otherwise they quickly melt inside the cookie dough as the cookies bake and all that excess sugar spreads out. And, of course, make sure you’re chilling the cookie dough.

Here are some more cookies from the exchange. I don’t have the recipes, but my favorites were the lemon ricotta cookies and thumbprints!

Noelle! My daughter is 3 months old this Saturday. She’s doing wonderfully and growing too fast!!!! She is just the happiest babe.

I felt very lost and isolated during her first couple months. While we had friends and family visit often, I was recovering from my C-section and spent all my time at home trying to acclimate to this completely unfamiliar and challenging role as a mother. I couldn’t run, bake, walk the dogs, meet girlfriends for dinner, or do anything that remotely felt like “me.” I was in a sleepless haze. And now? I can handle it. I got this. What seemed impossible feels like second nature these days. It truly does. After 5-6 weeks, she started smiling and we established a loose “routine.” Things became more manageable. Now she’s double the age and it’s EVEN BETTER. Here’s why:

  • She’s growing, so she can hold more in her tummy and feed less frequently. This makes me feel more like human and less like a cow.
  • She sleeps through the night (what a miracle!) and is more awake/alert during the day. She loves to kick and play.
  • She can hold up her head and react to familiar voices and people. She’s a little person now!
  • Because we’ve been working towards a schedule, I can easily predict her needs. I feel slightly less clueless.

In the beginning, I didn’t understand. I was SO excited and grateful for her arrival, loved her so much, but the change left me defeated and hopeless. I couldn’t come up for air. I’m still learning, she’s still learning, but I’m really getting the hang of this! So for any new mamas or moms-to-be reading, be comforted in the fact that you will quickly adjust. It doesn’t get easier, it gets better.

How adorable is this onesie ornament? My sister got it for us. I tracked it down on Etsy. It’s the cutest ornament on the tree. And, of course, the most special.

Speaking of the Christmas tree, here are the boys looking extremely thrilled in their Christmas accessories. Franklin’s halfway sitting and ready to exit this situation ASAP.

Franklin - Christmas 2017

What’s on your Christmas menu?


All Comments

  1. If you can bake the bacon, less mess. P.S. the peppermint mocha cookies are so good, I’ve made them a couple of times already

  2. I am sure your family dinner will be wonderful!  I am making several of your recipes for my family dinner this year too.  Merry Christmas!!

  3. This post has seriously inspired me! My little one is the rolly polly one you commented on saying you can see Noelle doing the same thing soon. She’s a little over 5 months and can’t sit up yet so we’re in a somewhat challenging period (for me, not her lol… she’s the happiest little girl) where she is so alert and interested in everything so she rolls and rolls but it’s so hard to DO anything. BUT, I’m going to try! I’ve got 3 kinds of cookie dough now in my freezer. 

    I’ve had a question I keep forgetting to ask you. I think my cookie sheets are warped. Do you wash yours by hand or do you put them in the dishwasher? I’m lazy and always put them in the dishwasher but I think it’s ruined them haha! Good luck with your Christmas holiday party… I think you’re going to nail it! 

    1. I always wash them by hand. I use silicone baking mats or parchment, so they usually don’t take long to clean since nothing bakes directly on them. Does that make sense?
      Making cookie dough ahead of time to stick in the freezer WITH a baby rolling around everywhere is no easy feat! That’s awesome!!

  4. Merry Christmas,Sally. Enjoy your beautiful daughter and other family members. I’m sure you will be the perfect hostess.
    This Christmas season has been tastier for my family because of your fabulous recipes. 

  5. Merry Christmas Sally to you and your family! Thanks for all the fun recipes (which definitely made it into my Christmas baking!!) and for all the tutorials this year! Hope you enjoy your little one’s first Christmas – I also have a 5 month old celebrating her first, But I will say, my 19 month old is sooo much fun this year –  It definitely just gets better!!

  6. My biggest concern every single time I make macarons is what if I lose my coupler and piping tips in the garbage disposal. And then having to reach in and grab it before I scary! Haha, no plans for Christmas except to visit home 2.5 hours away and spending time with family. 😀 Happy holidays girl!

  7. Sounds like you have everything beautifully planned and organized. For Christmas morning we also do egg strata and coffee cake. For the coffee cake, I combine my dry ingredients in a bowl or bag and the wet ingredients in a second bowl so that the following morning I can quickly assemble the coffee cake, pop it into the oven, and enjoy the company of my family.

  8. LOVED THIS POST!!! I Was in the mood for seeing decorated trees, and dogs with funny santa hats! Love these pics – better than cookies.

  9. Oh Sally, you sweet lady…you certainly have your hands full to overflowing! Your Christmas is so ambitious! I want to go to your house! lol!

    My Christmas will be very quiet but filled with lots of inspiration from you! I plan to finish all my baking this weekend and visit several local friends and surprise them. I am also going to get a couple of cookie boxes out to some new friends I have made on your SBA FB group. Too fun!

    Wishing you a VERY happy holiday, Sally. Maybe someone can give you the gift of an hour (or two) of “me” time so you can rest up or take a bath or nap.. 🙂

  10. Really? You’re baby is sleeping through the night? She is trully a miracle! Good luck with all the preparations, hope you and your family have a joyfull Christmas. And … have to admit that they are lucky to be hosted by you Sally – that menu!

  11. Your Christmas tree is very beautiful and the dogs so funny. Your Christmas dinners are wonderful and I’m going to take back several of yours recipes for mine.
    I’m happy that you feel better in this mother’s new role. It’s magic to be a mom but it’s sometimes difficult and stressful. Don’t worry, we live all the same things when we become a mother. You are a brilliant mom, Sally, with a lovely baby.

    Thank you for this blog which I read with pleasure and attention. I love your recipes and, with your guidance, I make a success of them.
    Merry Christmas to you, your family and the other cookers who follow this blog !

  12. Wow, it’s been quite a long time since I’ve visited your blog. The past year has been spent planning my wedding (9/2/17) and afterwards building up my Etsy shop. It seems like all my time spent outside my full time job has either been planning my wedding or building my business, so that’s left very little time for cooking or baking. I had no idea you were even pregnant let alone had a baby girl in September! Congratulations! I know it’s nowhere near the same, but I can somewhat relate to not feeling like “me”. I just feel like a workaholic. I’m glad to hear you’re beginning to hit your stride. I hope to hit mine soon too, but right now I’m just ready for a little break!! Today’s my last day of work until next Thursday (sigh of relief), I’ve filled all my Etsy orders, and now here I am looking at all the recipes you’ve linked in the post and trying to figure out if I can squeeze in just one more (or two) cookie recipe for the Christmas Eve dinner my husband and I are planning. We’re going for a loose Italian theme. Not doing feast of the seven fishes, but we’re doing calamari, arancini, charcuterie, bolognese pasta, pesto pasta, tiramisu, and cookies.

    Merry Christmas Sally, wishing you and your family all the best in the new year.

  13. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes, and thank you for sharing them.  I enjoy reading your blogs and your instructions for your recipes are easy to understand.  I’m baking the sugar cookies right now, and my children love them.  Congratulations on having a baby girl, how wonderful to celebrate her first Christmas.  I remember when it was our little girls first Christmas, she is now 13.  I   remember those days when I felt like I couldn’t come up for air.  Enjoy every moment, they grow like weeds.  We have two boys, ages 10 and 6.   Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  14. I made the pistachio linzer cookies w/raspberry jam and they are to die for. I was a little concerned at first because when I added the vanilla & egg into the butter/brown sugar mix it didn’t come together. It was almost separated. I thought ruh roh. We have a problem Houston. Then I added the pistachio and additional brown sugar and Voila! These are in the rotation now. I love your blog and absolutely everything I have made from it has been excellent. Keep up the good work and thank you.

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With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.



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I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally