Dec 22, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls


Oh, yes. I went full-on tacky Christmas via PicMonkey. If you can't flaunt your tacky feathers at Christmas, when can you? I missed National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day last week...which was a total bummer. Mom has SO MANY Christmas sweaters covered in glitter, snowmen, and pom poms that I could have won a dozen ugly Christmas sweater awards just from walking outside my house. Mom still wears them non-ironically. She's literally the cutest. 

Since being home and blissed out for the holidays, I've helped mom make at least 400 chocolate peanut butter balls (also known more commonly as "Buckeyes" to many folks-except we cover ours fully in chocolate). They're absolutely a Christmas tradition in our house (the recipe is from an old church cookbook circa 1978). Ever since I can remember, I've helped roll the balls and dip them in chocolate, making a total mess of the kitchen a la Lucy & Ethel. While they do take some patience to make, we love putting "Christmas in Dixie" on repeat, reminiscing about holidays past, and keeping our peanut butter ball assembly line tradition alive. We're all professional dippers, except I lack patience as the years go by (some of my balls aren't really balls after a while). Come to think of it, I don't even really eat many of the ones we make year after year...they all end up in little tins as Christmas gifts for the mailman or the friendly and ever-so-patient post office lady. Everybody deserves a little 'thank you' at Christmastime. No tastier thank you than these decadent treats!

 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
-Makes roughly 100 balls per recipe-  

Ingredients:
1 1/3 box of powdered sugar
1 16 oz. jar of Jif peanut butter
2 sticks salted butter (softened)
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 block of Gulf Wax (for keeping the chocolate smooth & shiny--you won't taste the wax & it's totally fine to eat!)

Directions: 
1| In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar until combined into a soft, rollable dough.
2| Roll a small scoop of the peanut butter mixture by hand into small 1 inch balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place balls into the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours before dipping in chocolate.
3| In a double boiler on low heat, melt chocolate chips and Gulf Wax together, stirring as it melts. Pull peanut butter balls out of the refrigerator just before dipping (if they get too soft while dipping, just pop them back into the fridge to firm up again). Use a toothpick to stick the ball and dip into the warm chocolate. Use a spoon to help cover the ball completely with chocolate. Use a toothpick to fill in the hole with chocolate left after pulling out the toothpick.
4| Place chocolate covered balls back into the refrigerator to set (roughly 30 minutes) before eating.
5| ENJOY with a tall glass of milk! 




Do you have any holiday treat traditions? Share them here!

Dec 19, 2014

FRESH FACE FRIDAY [& Blog Hop!]: Meet Lucy & Jenny

Excuse me, but how in the world are we now entering the week of Christmas? I feel like I blinked and it was here. I also feel like I say that every year. It sneaks up on us all. Thankfully, all my shopping is done and half the gifts wrapped...so I'm ahead of schedule for once! I have to say, even though I miss our Germany Christmas so much, it's been such a breeze making Christmas happen now that we're back stateside. My online shopping has been limited, haven't had to battle the post office nearly as much, and I've had access to every single gift I needed to buy (no more "we can't ship that to you, sorry!"). No pressing timeline to get things mailed by a certain date, either. It's been a whole lot less stressful, if that can even be said about the holiday season? Not to mention, I've spent the entire month of December with my family in NC. So lovely. Although I have been missing my dear husband, as he's been in Alabama the last 5 weeks for another Air Force training. Happy to report he's now graduated and on his way home for Christmas in just a few days! The holidays are shaping up to be quite nice thus far. Just need to make me a pot of gluhwein and I'll be smooth sailing 'till Santa.

In other news, the new travel agent biz is moving along swimmingly! So far it's been quite fun...and I'm slowly but surely figuring out how I'd like to run things. Always a work in progress, though! BIG THANKS to all you lovely people for your kind words, encouragement, and the amazing support you've shown since I launched Road Less Traveled Vacations. My heart as been so full (and so busy!!). I'm really looking forward to all the fun travel planning and business growing that is to come in the new year! Please keep me in mind for any winter getaways you might like to book in 2015. Lots of "beat the freeze" deals coming out for cruise lines and all-inclusives, so email me at casey@destinationstoexplore.com for more info or a FREE quote!

Enough biz talk...it's time for the Fresh Face Friday Blog Hop! Meet the two lovely ladies below and spend some time linking up and hopping around blog world today. No better way to start your Friday! Cheers to a lovely Christmas week for all! May all your holiday shopping be done lickety split! Until next week...

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Old soul, daydreamer, beautiful photographer...Lucy is the author of the charming lifestyle and travel blog, The Road is Long, and so much more. Over on her creative space, you'll read stories of her travels, musings on life (an lovely writer, she is), and insights as she shares her love of living holistically...AND her gallery of Bali photos has me drooling for a Balinese getaway this instant! GORGEOUS! Get lost in Lucy's blog today and make a new travel-loving friend!

Lucy's Favorite Posts:

My Favorite Posts:
Moving Country? What to Expect
Bali and Me
Just Living


 BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN' | PINTEREST | YOUTUBE | INSTAGRAM

Friends, meet Jenny! She's the blogger over at the UK lifestyle blog, Sunny Sweet Pea! Miss Jenny has a cute pup named Pip (LOVE!), is an extrovert with introvert tendencies (you and me both, girl!), and loves to write about all things books, recipes, & living life in Norfolk. She's also got a snazzy eye for photo styling. I've so enjoyed wandering around her space this week. Want a new blog to fall in love with? Sunny Sweet Pea is a winner!

Jenny's Favorite Posts:
Ruins
Burnham Market: The Loveliest Village in Norfolk
Houghton Mill

My Favorite Posts:
Beside the Seaside
Lemon Drizzle Cake with Edible Flowers
30 Things in 30 Years

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Welcome to the
FRESH FACE FRIDAY BLOG HOP!
No prompt, just fun!

Hosted by: Casey @ We Took the Road Less Traveled

Rules for hopping:
1| Follow your host & co-hosts (first 3 links), pretty please! 
2| Link up your blog's homepage or Bloglovin' page.
3| Hop around, meet new bloggers, and leave them love!
4| Have fun? Spread the word and share this blog hop with your friends!
5| Want to be a co-host? Click here for more info! 

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