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U is for ‘Seven Spice Udon Noodle Soup’

{image and recipe via the perfect pantry // image embellished by nook + nest}

U-done good with this Udon recipe. Ohh geez, did I really just say that? Terrible puns aside, seriously try this. It’s a tasty one.

Serves 2; can be doubled or tripled.


2 cups beef broth (I use Swanson lower-sodium)
1/2 tsp soy sauce (optional; if your broth is very salty, don't add this)
1 7-oz package of fresh udon (or dry, if fresh noodles aren't available)
3-4 snow peas, trimmed and sliced
1 large clove garlic, thinly slivered
2 large mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, or white), stems removed, sliced
2 tsp thinly sliced scallions
1 tsp Japanese seven-spice powder



1.       Add the broth, soy sauce, udon, snow peas, garlic and mushrooms to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring gently from time to time to separate the noodles.

2.       Remove from heat and ladle into individual bowls, topping each with scallions and seven-spice powder. Be sure to stir in the seven-spice powder so the flavor permeates the broth.


T is for ‘Thai Iced Tea’

{image and recipe via the pioneer woman  // image embellished by nook + nest}

My husband John is addicted to this tea, yet I have never even attempted to make it for him. Perhaps I will surprise him with this tasty bevvie when he gets home tonight. Think of it as an exotic alternative to wintery chai tea.


8 cups Water

1 cup Loose Thai Tea

1 teaspoon Vanilla

¾ cups Sweetened, Condensed Milk



Note: If sweetened condensed milk is too sweet for you, you can use evaporated milk or cream instead and just sweeten the tea before adding the milk. If you are lactose intolerant, you can sweeten the tea with sugar and add soy milk instead. Just be sure to add the sugar after the tea has steeped. Agave nectar works just fine, too.

1.       In a medium-sized pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the loose tea and vanilla and remove from heat. Be sure to stir so that all leaves have been submerged in the water. Allow to steep for about ten minutes.

2.       Strain the tea in a pitcher using a mesh strainer and place in the fridge to cool. (If adding sugar, do so at this time and stir till sugar has dissolved. See note below.)

3.       When ready to serve, fill glasses with ice to the top. Pour in the tea until the cup is 3/4 full of liquid. Add a few tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk. Leave a straw or a spoon so that each person can mix it on their own.

4.       Enjoy!


DIY Glitter Paper Lanterns

{image and instructions from oh happy day}

Glitter paper lanterns - a brilliantly east and inexpensive way to decorate for the upcoming holidays. I would make some with light blue, silver and red glitter - solid and mixed together - and hang a bunch of them over my dining room table. How sparkly and festive! Head on over to Oh Happy Day for the DIY details.


S is for ‘Snowball Cakes’

{image and recipe via better homes & garden // image embellished by nook + nest}

These are fun cupcakes for the holidays…love how the added a bit of eggnog into the recipe!


Nonstick cooking spray

1 package 1-layer-size white cake mix

½ cup canned eggnog

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

¾ cup shredded coconut

Red or green food coloring (optional)

1 3-oz packakge of cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp butter, softened

¾ cup powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla

1-2 Tbsp eggnog



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat thirty-six 1-3/4-inch muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray (or line muffin cups with paper bake cups); set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine white cake mix, the 1/2 cup eggnog, egg, the 1 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until just combined. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until well combined, scraping side of the bowl often. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full (about 1 rounded teaspoon in each). Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pan for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.

3. To tint coconut, if desired, combine some of the coconut and several drops of red or green food coloring in a small resealable plastic bag. Seal bag. Using your hands, knead the bag until all coconut is tinted, adding more food coloring as necessary to reach desired color. Set tinted coconut aside.

4. For frosting, in a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in enough eggnog (1 teaspoon at a time) to make a frosting of dipping consistency.
5. Dip tops of cooled mini cupcakes in cream cheese frosting. Immediately dip frosted tops into plain or tinted coconut. Set cupcakes upright.


Felted & Sparkly Acorn Ornaments from Anna Belle Arts

Wanting to sprinkle my tree with these sparkly, felted acorn ornaments from Anna Belle Arts on Etsy! 

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