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Holiday Baking Ideas: 3 Great Cookie Recipes

What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?

Spending time with family, gift-giving, and some time off of work probably rank high on your list. But what about the food?

The holidays are a time to indulge in deliciousness, and this post will help you do just that in the coming weeks. Read on for 1st Lake’s list of holiday baking ideas that will keep you, your family, and your friends full of cookies for the entire season!

  

Perfect Sugar Cookies

Delish breaks down the process of baking the perfect batch of classic holiday treats:

Ingredients (Cookie Dough)

  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. 
  • pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. milk

Ingredients (Buttercream Frosting)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 5 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • Food coloring 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  2. In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined, then add flour mixture gradually until totally combined.
  3. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. When ready to roll, preheat oven to 350º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out dough until 1/8” thick. Cut out shapes and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Freeze 10 minutes (so your shapes hold while baking!).
  5. Meanwhile, make frosting: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter until smooth, then add powdered sugar and beat until no lumps remain. Add cream, almond extract, and salt and beat until combined.
  6. Bake cookies until edges are lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. 
  7. Let cool, then frost and decorate as desired.

Photo by tasteandtellblog.com via Pinterest

Cake Mix Cookies

What if you could eat cake AND cookies at the same time? Well, with Taste and Tell’s cake mix cookie recipe, you can!

Ingredients

  • 1 cake mix* (dry ingredients only)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, vegetable oil and eggs until combined. Stir in the mix ins.
  3. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, at least 2 inches apart. Bake just until the cookies are set in the middle, 10-12 minutes.
  4. Cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack or a sheet of waxed paper.

 

Gingerbread Cutout Cookies photo by Taste of Home

Gingerbread Cookies

Sally’s Baking Addiction describes these delectables as “perfectly spiced, molasses and brown sugar-sweetened holiday goodness.” Quite a review! 

Complete your holiday baking vision with these iconic holiday cookies from Taste of Home.

Ingredients

 

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frosting of your choice
  • Red and green paste food coloring

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until easy to handle, about 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Tint some of the frosting red and some green; leave remaining frosting plain. Decorate cookies.

Bake Your Holiday Treats in Your New 1st Lake Apartment!

Now that you’ve got the recipes that it takes to fill the holiday season with delicious snacks, let us help you find a beautiful apartment to bake them in! Contact us today for information on our private residential communities.

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What To Do with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

So, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and you have a fridge full of leftovers: Don’t throw it out! Luckily, a lot of cooking magazines and lifestyle websites have taken action against pitching Thanksgiving’s tastiest dishes. They’ve come up with a multitude of clever and delicious recipes for your leftovers, so you can finish off your whole feast, pocket some spending money, and save from wasting perfectly good food this year.

Here are some of our favorite ways to reuse your Thanksgiving meal leftovers.

Baked by Rachel’s Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

Photo by bakedbyrachel.com

 Shepherd’s Pie is a delicious, flavorful dish that will make use of your leftover turkey and potatoes. Check out Baked by Rachel’s recipe here.

Bon Appetit’s Turkey and Mushroom Risotto

Photo via Bon Appetit

Do you still have a lot of turkey left? Shred it and use it in Bon Appetit’s Turkey and Mushroom Risotto recipe. The dish’s gravy is filled with the delicious flavors of mushrooms, onions, parmesan cheese, and parsley. It’s a warming winner for a cold weather dinner.

Country Living’s Sweet Potato Spoon Breads

Photo via Country Living

It might even be worth cooking more sweet potatoes than needed if it means making this sweet single-serve dish after the big day is over. Country Living’s Sweet Potato Spoon Bread with Caramel-Pecan Topping is our favorite way to treat yourself after hosting the holiday at your 1st Lake home. You deserve to celebrate a successful Thanksgiving Day with the help of cinnamon, sugar, caramel, and pecans. Trust us.

Delish’s Turkey & Rice Soup

Photo by Judy Kim via Delish

On a simpler note than most of the recipe’s we’ve listed so far, sometimes you just want a quick but exciting meal made from your decadent leftovers. Delish’s Turkey & Rice soup is your answer.

Have Your Thanksgiving Leftovers in Your New 1st Lake Apartment

Contact us today to learn more about our private gated apartment communities!


Taste of Autumn: Simple Fall Drink Recipes to Make at Home

Fall is a perennial favorite for so many reasons. The Saints season starts again (who dat!), the weather cools down just a touch, and fall festivals help everyone get in the spirit. There’s also nothing quite like pulling on a cozy sweater and sipping on a warm drink brimming with the flavors of fall. But you don’t have to hit Starbucks for that famous Pumpkin Spice Latte. Save some cash by taking the DIY route — the results are just as delicious!

A homemade pumpkin spice latte. (Photo via Pexels)

Fall Drink Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This is a classic, of course. But instead of waiting in line at Starbucks, you can make your own at home with this recipe from the Food Network.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Combine the milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and vent with a small hole. Microwave until the milk is hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, about 30 seconds.
  2. Pour the espresso or coffee into a large mug and add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate is a go-to drink for cold weather, but you can also add a taste of autumn during the fall months. Try this recipe for Spiced Hot Chocolate and enjoy while you watch the leaves change color.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla sugar (use store-bought or see recipe below)
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ancho chile powder
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ fresh vanilla bean
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Sift all ingredients together into a large bowl. Whisk the mixture together to be sure the spices are evenly distributed.
  2. To serve, stir 3 tablespoons of the mix into 1½ cups (12 ounces) of hot milk. Serve in large mugs. Store the remaining mix in a tightly-sealed jar.
  3. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of a knife. Combine the sugar, vanilla pod and seeds together and store in an airtight container for at least 1 week before using.

Pumpkin Smoothie

This Whole Foods recipe is perfect for when you’re craving autumn flavors but the weather is still warm!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk or coconut milk beverage
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.

Make These Recipes and More in Your New Home at 1st Lake!

Get more great recipe ideas by checking out all of our Cooking Tips on our blog, and contact us today for more information about our residential communities!

 

 


4 Recipes for a Relaxing Stay-At-Home Brunch – 1st Lake Properties

Brunch isn’t an everyday occasion, which might make it the best meal you can have. It usually signifies that you have some time to relax, or that it’s the weekend. 

If you have time off and want to spend it at home, you don’t have to miss out on brunch. There are plenty of easy recipes you can make in your pajamas, or with friends during the weekend. 

Read on for 4 easy stay-at-home brunch recipes!

Photo by Danielle Occhiogrosso via Pinterest

Bacon Gruyere Breakfast Pie

This recipe from Good Housekeeping is a great idea for weekend brunch. It looks very much like a pizza, except it has all of your favorite breakfast ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet (half of 17.3 oz. package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 4 slices cooked bacon
  • 3 large eggs
  • Fresh thyme leaves, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. On large sheet parchment, roll pastry to 12″ by 10″ rectangle. Fold 1/2 inch of edices to form rim; using a fork, seal rim and poke holes all over pastry. Place pastry on cookie sheet; bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  3. In small bowl, combine sour cream and Gruyére. Spread onto tart, creating 3 wells for eggs. Arrange bacon strips over topping. Crack eggs into wells; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 12 minutes. Garnish with thyme.

Photo by Ethan Calabrese via Pinterest

Caprese Stuffed Avocados

This Delish recipe is like a “portable garden,” and super simple as well.

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados, pitted
  • 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Basil, for garnish

Directions

  1. Scoop out avocados, leaving a small border. Dice avocado and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, toss diced avocado with tomatoes, mozzarella, Italian seasoning, balsamic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Divide salad among 4 avocado halves and garnish with basil.

Easy Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce

Now it’s time for a classic. Use this recipe from Dine & Dish to make your stay-at-home brunch complete.

Ingredients

  • 1 poached egg  
  • 1/2 English Muffin toasted (try making homemade)
  • 1 slice thinly sliced deli ham
  • 3 Tablespoons Hollandaise Sauce
  • For the Hollandaise Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions for Hollandaise Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, heat butter, salt and lemon juice until bubbly (do not boil)

  2. Remove from heat.

  3. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly pour in butter mixture, stirring continuously. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. Stir in heavy whipping cream.

Directions for Eggs Benedict

  1. For each serving, top 1/2 toasted English Muffin with a folded slice of deli ham, 1 poached egg and 3-4 Tablespoons of Hollandaise Sauce. Serve warm.

Classic Mimosa

It’s hard to call it brunch if there aren’t mimosas available. That’s why we’re including this classic mimosa recipe from Inspired Taste.

Ingredients

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle chilled dry sparkling wine
  • 3 cups (750 ml) chilled orange juice (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) Grand Marnier or triple sec, optional

Directions

  1. Fill 8 champagne flutes 1/2 full with chilled sparkling wine.

  2. Top with orange juice.

  3. If you are using, top mimosa with 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier or triple sec.

Let Us Help You Find the Perfect Apartment for Your Stay-At-Home Brunch!

Check out our website to find a 1st Lake residential community near you! 

 


4 Simple Recipes for Your Memorial Day Gathering

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summertime for many of us. We honor the lives of those who have fought for our freedom and spend time with friends and loved ones. It’s a time of picnics, pool parties and cookouts, all of which have something in common: great food!

To help you prepare, we’ve put together a list of simple recipes that will be easy winners for any Memorial Day gathering, whether you’re a host or just a participant. Read on for some delicious ideas that will help you spend less time in the kitchen and more time hanging out this Memorial Day weekend.

Taco Lime Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is sure to satisfy, and this recipe by Closet Cooking is an easy-to-make, delicious centerpiece for your Memorial Day gathering.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 1 pound boneless and skinless chicken breasts

Directions

  1. Mix the taco seasoning and lime juice, cover the chicken in the mixture and optionally marinate for 30 minutes to over night.
  2. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes per side, let sit for 5 minutes and slice before enjoying!

 

Photo by Blissful Basil

Grilled Corn on the Cob

There are few side-dishes that say summertime more than corn on the cob. Try this delicious recipe by Blissful Basil for a tasty twist on a classic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • smoked paprika, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat grill over high until hot.
  2. If you want a bit of a char on the corn, pull back a few of the husks on each ear of corn. Place the corn directly on the grill, cover, and grill for 15 to 20 minutes or until the husks are charred on all sides, rotating occasionally. Remove and let cool until they can safely be handled.
  3. Remove the husks and silk from each ear of corn. You can either discard the husks completely or fold them back to use as handles.
  4. Use a pastry brush or your hands to spread the coconut oil over each ear of corn. Place the corn on a serving platter, sprinkle with the smoked paprika, spritz with the fresh lime juice, sprinkle with cilantro, and season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve.

Photo by DianaEatingRichly via Pinterest

Stove-Top Macaroni & Cheese

It’s not a real cookout if there’s no mac n’ cheese! This recipe for easy macaroni & cheese by Genius Kitchen requires only 30 minutes and serves 6.

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1cup butter
  • 1cup flour
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • dash black pepper
  • cups milk
  • cups shredded cheddar cheese or 8 ounces cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  2. In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour, and cook for 3-5 minutes stirring constantly to form a roux; add salt and pepper; slowly add milk, stirring well after each addition.
  3. Cook and stir until bubbly.
  4. Stir in cheese a small amount at a time until fully melted.
  5. Drain macaroni; add to cheese sauce; stir to coat.

Photo by Family Fresh Meals

Flag Fruit Dessert

This ingenious dessert by Family Fresh Meals takes just a few minutes to prepare. It’s also a relatively healthy option for a dessert dish.

Ingredients

  • 5-6 cups of red fresh fruit (i.e. strawberries, cherries, raspberries)
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 3 cups of yogurt or white chocolate covered pretzels

Directions

  1. Wash fresh fruit and dry.
  2. Lay out fruit and pretzels to represent the flag stripes.
  3. Place a small bowl of blueberries on the top left.

Now, Enjoy!

We wish you a great Memorial Day weekend, and hope these recipes make your gathering delicious!