3 Easy To Make Holiday Treats

3 Easy To Make Holiday Treats

Holiday recipes for when you want to be festive but can't bake.
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Recently, I was walking down King Street with one of my best friends at college talking about how beautiful everything looks in William Sonoma, and I thought about how a girl from high school took cooking lessons there for her senior project. I thought to myself, "I wish I could do that because I’m like the worst at cooking." OK, I can boil water to make pasta, and I’m the queen of boxed brownies, but when it comes to actual cooking or baking I’m a little lost. My mother can literally take a look in the fridge and pantry and just “whip up” something. I could never. My mom is so talented in the kitchen that she hardly uses recipes, but I’m lucky not to overcook pasta in the microwave at college. If the thought of bringing your own homemade batch of cookies to a holiday party gives you more anxiety than you can manage, these recipes are definitely worth a look for you.

1. The Sweetest Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

• 3/4 cup oil

• 3 eggs beaten

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 3/4 cup half and half

• ¼ cup water

• 1 yellow cake mix

• 1½ cup brown sugar

• ¼ cup granulated sugar

• 2 tablespoons cinnamon

• ¾ stick butter, melted

• ¼ powdered sugar

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl. combine oil, eggs, vanilla, water and half and half together.

2. Combine egg mixture with cake mix and blend. Pour half the batter into a 9x13 pan.

3. In a medium bowl, prepare streusel by combining brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon.

4. Sprinkle half of streusel on top of the batter. Top with remaining batter and then sprinkle the remaining streusel on top.

5. Bake, uncovered at 350 for 20 minutes.

6. Melt butter and whisk in powdered sugar. Remove cake from oven and drizzle butter mixture on top. Continue baking for 5-10 min. longer until done. Serve warm with a hot cup of your favorite coffee or milk.

NOTE: ½ cup chopped pecans can be added to the brown sugar mixture if desired.

2. Easy Cookies

Ingredients:

• (18.25-ounce) package chocolate or yellow cake mix

• ½ cup vegetable oil

• 2 large eggs

• 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels

• ½ cup chopped pecans

Makes 4 ½ dozen

Instructions:

1. Beat first 3 ingredients in a mixing bowl at medium speed with and electric mixer until smooth.

2. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.

3. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.

4. Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes

5. Remove and cool on wire racks

NOTE: These cookies are definitely easy to put your own mark on. Lose the nuts and substitute the chocolate chips with peppermint chips or crushed Andes mints. Also, to make cookies more festive you could decorate with icing or add sprinkles on top.

3. Chocolate Nut Toffee

Ingredients:

• 1 cup chopped pecans, almonds or walnuts

• 1 stick of butter

• ¾ cup packed brown sugar

• 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips

Makes 12-15 pieces

Instructions:

1. Spread nuts in the bottom of a well-greased 8-inch baking pan.

2. Melt butter in heavy saucepan, add sugar, and boil the mixture for 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour immediately over the nuts and let sit a few minutes.

3. Spread chocolate chips over the top.

4. Cover with a baking sheet or wooden cutting board to melt chocolate.

5. When chocolate has softened, spread evenly. Refrigerate. When cool, break into pieces.

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Ocock

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If Your College Major Was A Cookie, Here's What You'd Be Snacking On

Sorry, I had to.
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Cookies are probably one of the greatest foods to exist in this world. There are so many varieties and tastes that my mouth is salivating just thinking about it. There are just as many, if not more, majors to compare to cookies. Let me give it a try.

1. History - Sugar Cookie

History never changes, much like sugar cookies. (Also, they're both boring.)

2. English - Nutella Lava Cookie Cups

English majors tend to be creative. This cookie is that and more.

3. Biology - Giant Cookie

Things are always evolving, becoming bigger and better than they were before. This giant cookie mimics a regular one, except, well, it's giant.

4. Accounting - Green Tea Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

2 + 1 = deliciousness

5. Art - Double Decker, Dark Chocolate, Mini Doughnut Sugar Cookie

This is simply a work of art - pun intended.

6. Chemistry - Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie

Hmm, maybe if I add just a bit of bacon, it will make this cookie 10x better.

7. Statistics - Hot Cocoa Cookies

Hmm, the statistics of this cookie being delicious is...100%.

8. Dance - Banana Split Cake Mix Cookies

It's all in the name.

9. Theater - Insanely Delicious Turtle Cookies

There are some insanely talented people in this major.

10. Sports Management - Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies Filled with Caramel and Peanut Butter

There are so many different things going on with this major, I thought it appropriate to put a cookie that also has a lot of things going on with it.

11. Public Health - Trail Cookies

I guess these are healthy? Kinda?

12. Mass Communications - Peach Drop Cookies

A reporter can do many things, especially if they blow our minds away. Mic drop, anyone?

13. Nursing - Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

Don't you love looking a blood? No? Then why are you a nursing major?


If your major wasn't on here, I'm sorry. There are too many for me to compare to cookies.

If you want to get all these awesome recipes for the cookies, check out this awesome blog!

Cover Image Credit: @levainbakery

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Is It Possible To Eat With A Truly Ethical, Guilt-Free Conscience?

Yes, you can have your almond milk and drink it too.
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Recently, I made the decision to go vegetarian. I’ve been wanting to since forever and so I said: “Hey, what am I waiting for? Guy Fieri to go vegan?”

Many people start off as vegetarian and eventually edge their way into veganism. I don’t know that I’ll ever do the same. I also have my own motive for not eating meat that is more selfish than I like to admit. However, in the plight to save the animals, is not eating meat while still occasionally consuming dairy and egg products just as "bad" as eating meat?

Despite my foremost intentions, I’ve been wondering about this for the past couple of weeks, as I’m sure the occasional vegetarian does. Ethics concern the dimensions of right and wrong, not what is objectively right and wrong. But is it possible, in the objective sense, to be “good” with my eating choices?

I’m lactose-intolerant, but cereal is practically a food group for me, so naturally, I consume plant-based milk, most often almond milk. I used to think that this was great because 1) dairy milk is kind of disgusting, and 2) it must be great for the environment. It may come as a surprise to some (but not all) that the industry which produces almond milk and its subsequent products (like yogurt and ice cream), is relatively unethical.

Apparently, according to a Slate article, almonds have a large ecological footprint because of the amount of water it takes to grow them along with the water needed to produce the milk.

While the article counters this argument, saying that it takes significantly more water to produce dairy products, there is still the idea that my drinking almond milk, in the many, many gallons I have consumed and will consume, is harming the environment (not to mention the fact that I still eat cheese and eggs sparingly).

It seems as if one alternative is never entirely without its cons. I mean I eat a lot more carbs than I should, but hey, at least it isn't meat, right?

And so, here we are with the prospect of not eating meat. For me, it’s more the health discipline such a diet requires and, well, the fact that I loathe the smell of raw chicken that molded my decision. But for many, it’s about all the animals.

So, if you’re a vegetarian and you’re asking yourself, “is it okay to not eat cage-free eggs or to eat eggs at all” or some similar dairy-related dilemma, my answer to you is, yes, it’s okay. Why? Because there will ALWAYS be a blind spot behind your good intentions and you must give yourself (and your bank account) room to breathe.

However, just because we can't be too sure of the production and manufacturing practices behind everything we buy, this doesn't mean we should give up trying. It’s easy to look at the food industry and think, what are my eating habits really changing?

But at the end of the day, you have your convictions and you hold them close—and even if you aren’t one hundred percent on track to “saving the planet,” just know that every little bit counts.

There is a great concern for the future of humans and the environment, but I’m a great believer in progress. I’m also a believer in not trying so hard to change something you have little control over. You have the autonomy to choose what you eat, of course, but take your time and hope for the best.

Cover Image Credit: NeON on Unsplah

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