Bake with Me: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

This past weekend, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at my Aunt’s house. So I decided to bake a bunch of yummy green inspired treats. Baking for every holiday is kind of my thing. I love finding fun recipes, buying all the ingredients, baking, and then creating festive trays for the occasion. 

FIRST UP- Slutty Brownies (Click for recipe) 

I called them Sassy Mint Brownies instead, lol! #KIDEARS

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To display them, I put them on a green tray lined with white doilies. Then I added some butterscotch candies (gold coins) and the Andes mint chocolates (green theme candy). I also added a few shamrock toothpicks. 

NEXT UP- Green Cupcakes

I didn’t really have a recipe for this. I just saw this picture online and drew inspiration from the image itself.

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Not my photo

Here is my version, and what I used to create it…

I used Betty Crocker white boxed mix and Betty Crocker Cream Cheese frosting. I added a crazy amount of green food coloring to the batter to get that vibrant green color. I frosted them using a little pastry icing tool, added some green sugar sprinkles and topped it with either a green cherry (which I was super surprised to find!) or a butterscotch candy which I used to mirror a gold coin, (I couldn’t find any gold chocolate coins).

LAST UP- Lucky Charm Treats (Click for recipe)

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I just added some green food coloring to make them even more festive! 

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To display these, I placed them on a white oval tray lined with doilies, and added some spear mint gumdrop candy to add some décor to it.

 Here’s my little set up…(dinner cooked by both my Mom and my Aunt…mom made Sheppard’s pie too, but I didn’t get a pic.)

 

I threw together a bottle of sangria and some green fruit (pear, grapes, apple). Apple wine on the side in case someone just wanted a glass of wine, or wanted to add more into the sangria. And some festive napkins, plates, and straws. A drink is so much better with a little umbrella or a cute straw! It was so good, I had quite a few glasses and was feeling a nice buzz. #YesImOfAge 

 

And you know I had to dress for the occasion with some fun festive accessories, and that morning I had some tea in my holiday themed mug…

 

The day was really fun, and everything was really delicious! However, I will say for the mint brownies, if you aren’t a fan of mint, than you may not like them. I like mint, so I LOVED them! I love celebrating my heritage and getting to do so with great food, and good company. They had an early birthday cake for me too, and I even got some early birthday gifts. It was a really sweet surprise and a great time! 

Happy “Belated” St. Patrick’s Day!

*All photos are my own.*

-<3-

 

Sweet Little Winter Care Package Gift Idea + Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

This past week, my family and I celebrated Valentine’s Day together. Because I baked cookies and cupcakes and we had a little candy station for our party, I didn’t want to gift them too much candy either. I mean your girl loves chocolate just as much as the next person, but I mean how much can I person really have? So I thought a bit and decided on doing a little Winter Care Package for each of them. When I think of Winter, I think of a few essentials we all may need to reach for during the daily chill. And I know not everyone thinks to carry those things with them. So I thought I’d do a little something to help my loved ones out. This was my little way of saying… “Hey I love you. Keep safe and warm this Winter.” 😉

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Things I Included: Chapstick, a pack of tissues (these came with some cute inspirational sayings!), a travel sized lotion, hand sanitizer, and some watermelon flavored cough drops. I put all of those things together securing it in these cute heart printed cellophane bags. Next, I included a hot chocolate packet for those cold winter nights, a scratch-off for some fun, and of course just a bit of Valentine’s Day chocolate. 

I made them for my Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister in Law and Aunt. So I had two versions- one for the guys and one for the ladies.

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The Guy’s Version^

 

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The Ladies’ Version ^

 

I found these cute decorative paper bags and Valentine’s Day stickers, and cards. And decided why not be super cutesy and nostalgic and write some Valentine’s to the people who I love most. I know Valentine’s Day is very much marketed as a couple’s holiday but love is all over. It comes in different relationships and bonds. And my family and I have always treated it like that. I love my family and I love that even though I don’t need a special day to show that. I still like that there is a holiday solely dedicated to showing love. It’s just a way to make sure in the craziness of this life, we stop and show our love to those who treasure. No matter the type of relationship.  

 

***

 

Onto the cookies I made for Valentine’s Day. I got the recipe from a Pinterest pic, but the recipe that was linked was this one HERE, with the additional step of adding a few drops of red food coloring.

Pinterest inspo…of course…

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[NOT MY IMAGE]

 

My baking process…

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This was only a 5 ingredient cookie recipe and it was pretty simple. Also…they are DELCIOUS, my whole family really enjoyed them! 

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Happy Love Day! ❤

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Hope this little winter care package idea comes in handy if you’re looking for a little something to give a loved one. And I hope you give this cookie recipe a try. I’m sure you can make them for any holiday, if you alter the color! Enjoy!

 

*All other images are my own.*

-<3-

 

New Year Planning

Happy 2019 Readers & Writers!

Your To-Do List girl is back with some new year planning info, that will hopefully give you some helpful tips to kick ass in 2019! Now I’m still not quite far enough into planning yet, because I feel like this is the first actual week of the year, because of the holiday. So I’ve been doing some inspirational research this weekend, and got my new planner, and so now it’s starting to come together. I’m sure new things will come along and old things will fizzle out. But the more you try and use these different tactics the more you will see what works for you and what doesn’t. Let’s all be honest, January is a trial month! 😉

My Current Planning State consists of: 

Buy a Planner- I have small a weekly/monthly planner

Buy a Goals Notebook/Fun pens/special pen

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I bought this pen from my church and I just love that it has a cross on it, and that it came with an inspirational book mark.

Massive Mind Dump- In my notebook, I dedicated a few pages to writing down all the many, many, many things I hope/want/need to do in my life. A Massive To-do list if you will. 

Pull Main Goals to focus on- I have 6

Habits to implement- I had over 15

Use a Habit Tracker- I pulled the habits I want to implement the most/or want to continue implementing (I chose 15)

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Choose a mantra word for the year: (a word that is chosen to be repeated and descriptive of your new year- the focus word)

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2017- Change.

2018- Determination.

2019- MAGIC!

Winter TV schedule into planner- All my shows are coming back from mid season break, so in between my New Year’s planning I’ve been trying to catch up on them. This always happens, with the holidays I always get behind on ALL my shows. I’m all caught up on The Resident, Charmed, This Is Us, Dynasty, and Chicago PD. But still lost on Riverdale, How To Get Away With Murder, Will & Grace and Supergirl. I’m not entirely sure I want to dive into Supergirl again though. I’ve kind of had to force it anytime I have watched the new episodes, I’m a #Karamel fan and Mon El left so it’s just not the same for me. I will see though, maybe I will binge in the summer, when I have nothing to watch. LOL.

List of Projects I want to finish this year/in the next 2-3 months:

Move -MLW Short Story Series

Crazy Stalker Love- MLW Short Story Series

NaNoWriMo Project (Title TBA)

Special Project (TBA)

Self Publish something 

Create vision boards- I have a few pages dedicated to this in my Goals notebook. They are mostly just inspirational images (so I guess they are inspiration boards) that I feel reflect my Mantra word- MAGIC. I also write any inspirational quotes I come across. 

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I do have a page of doodles that reflect my focus goals too. (But I still have to create a board with actual images.) I want to have one in my notebook and one that I can post right near my bed. So often I make these cute vision boards and then I they get buried and I don’t even see it during the year. So this way I will have it in my notebook and on my wall so that when I wake up every day, I see the goals I want to accomplish this year.

Gather Inspiration- Family 2019 wishes time capsule (my family each wrote their wishes down put them into their own envelopes with their names written on them and then all were placed and sealed in a large manila envelope and put away until next year when we will revisit them and see how we did) , YouTubers, Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour Doc on Netflix – (she is a total badass!), Tori Kelly Hiding Place Album, Quotes, etc.

Create a Workout Routine Ideas/Track your work outs- I just started my at home exercising back up today. And started to implement my habits. Tracking these things will hopefully keep me unaccountable and motivate me to keep at it!

Create a Morning Routine- today I got a lot done this morning, so it was a really good morning to establish the routine I want. So I decided to write it all down.

I also want to purchase an organization suitcase to keep all my notebooks and things. I always end up having like 3 snack tables full of my notebooks, clipboards, note pads, post-its, pens, etc.

What are you doing to ease into a healthier, happier life style this year?

 

*All photos are my own.*

 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Highlights- Year in Review

This past year, I actually didn’t end up using a memory jar. It kind of became more of a flower vase and I forgot about it. But as usual, instagram and this blog were definitely helpful in my yearly reflection.

Here are my 2018 Highlights

(in no particular order)

Justin Timberlake released his new Album Man of the Woods and I bought tickets to see him in October. (However as you may know from my fangirl report the show was postponed due to bruised vocal chords. It was rescheduled for January 31st (his birthday) so let’s hope it sticks and I get to start my 2019 off with my fav babe!) He also released a summer single too- Soulmate. It’s fire!

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MLW turned 5 years old! This blog has been with me through so many ups and downs. I have taken month(s) long hiatus’ and have gone MIA many times, and I’m sure it will happen this year too. But I always come back! And it means a lot to me to have this outlet. To have “a safe place for the written word.” We also got our own domain this year-michelleleighwrites.com
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I took up Jewelry Making in order to teach a class at work and I realized I do really enjoy it. For some one who loves accessories and loves jewelry, it’s cool to have pieces that I created myself. When people say that’s so pretty, I can say “Thanks, I made it!” I’m hoping this year to get my own Jewelry supplies and make a hobby out of it!

 

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We started many new family traditions, now that we have a 6th person at our  usual table of five. My baby niece turned one and she’s learning so many new things, it’s so amazing and so exciting to watch her grow. Holidays are sweeter now that she’s here and we were able to celebrate many of her first holidays this year too. And as usual so many other special family moments with our extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I also got to take my mom to see Summer (the donna summer’s musical) and help out with a mother’s day photoshoot for my sister in law, my brother is a photographer and he wanted me to shoot some behind the scenes footage for him, so that he could make a montage video.) 

Jack & Elizabeth’s Wedding on When Calls The Heart. This show is so magical. (Except SPOILER ALERT the actor playing Jack decided to leave and so they had to kill off his character just shortly after the characters got married. So Elizabeth was left a pregnant window. It still breaks my heart so much. But I’ve been watching reruns on Netflix of earlier seasons of their courtship and I can’t help but love this show. It is so full of strength and hope and grace. And these women are fierce as they come.) Despite the heartache, the wedding was absolutely beautiful and when it comes to TV viewing parties and themes, I can be pretty “extra.” I learned to sew in order to make my own custom WCTH tee and had a cup of tea and some pie in honor of the special occasion. I still don’t have the Hallmark channel so I totally bugged my brother and watched at his house.  The show did the wedding right, they even had a invitation that you can rsvp to, pick your meal choice and request a song. Hallmark still has a full wedding album up too. Such beautiful pictures, Elizabeth looked gorgeous and their vows were breathtaking. 

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^In other tv related news (because you know me, I’m a TV fan girl) I fell in love with the show The Resident on FOX and the Netflix film- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (it’s getting a sequel!) 
To all the boys

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I had a lot good times with friends (fell in love with a new tea spot, tried hot pot for the first time, had a few brunch meals, tried frose, and braved karaoke, etc)-work friends, high school friends, old friends, new friends! Caught up with some middle school friends I haven’t seen in a while. We actually were able to get in two visits this year, so we are doing really well, considering we are all always so busy- one is a mom and one is always traveling, so I’m so happy we made it work! My best friend got married and I was one of her maid of honors, so we got to do all the things-the shower, the bachelorette party (which was epic thanks to me and my co maid of honor), the rehearsal, and the wedding. It was all magical! And they are a beautiful couple.

 

*NSYNC got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, on “It’s Gonna Be May” Day (April 30th) and it was broadcasted live for all to watch. I totally did, and I may or may not have bought a few *NSYNC merch tees, they are being sold in stores like target, and spencer’s/hot topic, but also on *NSYNC’s official site! The guys were also on Ellen!

So I was kind of in fangirl heaven!

I hosted a 90’s theme Girls Night In for my best friend, as our own little bestie send off before her wedding. It was A BLAST. I love nostalgia and I LOVE the 90’s. Butterfly clips, chokers, and blue eyeshadow, OH MY! 😉 

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My family participated in our first Alzheimer’s walk in honor of my Grandma who passed away in February of 2017. We all had t-shirts and it was a beautiful day, honoring someone we all really miss and love. We raised well over what our goal was! Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who organized it all, and to all who donated. Our hearts are full! 

I did BLOGTOBER– blogged the entire month of October! My fall was so full of all the Halloween, Pumpkin things!

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I participated in my first ever #NaNoWriMo– National Novel Writing Month (November) October and November were very busy for me, it made me really proud to be able to write so consistently and meet my goals. 

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I continued writing my short story series- Move that I started at the end of 2017, but still have to continue and finish it this year. I also started another short story series that has yet to be finished and posted- tentatively called Crazy Stalker Love. (STAY TUNED! for all of the stories to come!)
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Crazy Stalker Love Sneak Peek-

I had a list of over 60 great memories for this past year, so I guess it was a really good one. So I can’t complain. But in the interest of time, I chose a few. Thanks for the memories 2018, I am very blessed. I look forward to all the magic ahead in 2019.

Happy New Year friends!

May all your hopes and dreams come true!

Stay Tuned for much more content this year.

So many stories to tell!

-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Recap

I blogged for the entire month of November. I started off strong. I usually do, and I had some blogs lined up and ready to go. But as the month went on it did become more difficult to post regularly. However, I made it work, just like I did for BLOGMAS! 

Having done that last year definitely made me more sure of myself going into this year’s month long blog adventure. 

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BLOGTOBER

Sure, there were a few times that I lacked the inspiration,  and some posts were fillers. Sometimes I had to search for prompts online to help stir up an idea. It happens to the best of us. Sure, there were times that I was rushing to post something before midnight. I didn’t always get my social media posts up on time either, but they did go up regardless. But each blog post went up on time! All 31 of them. And I am super proud. I also was consistent in posting to my blog social accounts, which is always grueling, but I had a bit of a system and made it work. 

For the most part this challenge made me stronger. It made me create a bit of a writing routine, it made me more in touch with needing to make time for my writing and learning to be sure to make it a priority. It’s definitely a balancing act, but I am working on it. 

There were various times I was visiting family and had to excuse myself to get a post up, or I had something going on and had to jot down a post on my phone notes for later. It was crazy. But I did it. I knew I wanted to, and that I would make it to my 31 day mark. I had much more faith and certainty in myself this time, than I did last year during BLOGMAS. 

So with that being said, I am onto my next writing venture- NaNoWriMo [See: BLOGTOBER DAY 31] I definitely believe I have more confidence in taking on this journey because I just gained all this writing motivation and routine building from BLOGTOBER. Day 1 was actually really good! Stay Tuned for updates on that.

See you Monday- MLW has now returned to it’s regular Monday/Thursday schedule. 

 

And if you missed any of BLOGTOBER…check out the recap below! 

***BLOGTOBER 2018***

BLOGTOBER Day 1- An Update & Announcing #BLOGTOBER

BLOGTOBER Day 2- My 2018 Fall Bucket List

BLOGTOBER Day 3- My Fall 2018 TV Schedule

BLOGTOBER Day 4- Fall Haul- Treats, Teas, & Décor

BLOGTOBER Day 5- Where to find the best Halloween Movie Marathons

BLOGTOBER Day 6- Witchy Reboots…

BLOGTOBER Day 7- Where to find the best Halloween Movie Marathons Part 2

BLOGTOBER Day 8- It’s October again…

BLOGTOBER Day 9- Pumpkin Picking with the Family plus mini Fall Haul #2

BLOGTOBER Day 10- Stranger Things Themed Party

BLOGTOBER Day 11- MLW Halloween Themed Shorts Collection

BLOGTOBER Day 12- A Cheesy Fall Poem 😉

BLOGTOBER Day 13- A Fall Memory

BLOGTOBER Day 14- Fall Themed Gift Basket Idea

BLOGTOBER Day 15- Jewelry Making Tutorial- Memory Wire Bracelet

BLOGTOBER Day 16- TV Shows to Binge watch in the Fall Season that will give you a little spook…

BLOGTOBER Day 17- Some Recipes for the Fall Season

BLOGTOBER Day 18- Fall Mix [Middle School/High School Edition]

BLOGTOBER Day 19- The Jack-o-lantern

BLOGTOBER Day 20- Fall Smoothie Recipe

BLOGTOBER Day 21- On Halloween Night- A Poem

BLOGTOBER Day 22- Love Potion

BLOGTOBER Day 23- Fangirl Report: J.T. Edition (Who else?)

BLOGTOBER Day 24- Fall Fashion- Concert Style

BLOGTOBER Day 25- “Head Over Heels”- An Original Short Horror Script

BLOGTOBER Day 26- “Head Over Heels”- Commentary 

BLOGTOBER Day 27- Creating this year’s Pumpkin Character

BLOGTOBER Day 28- Purple/Green/Black Rocker Chic Witch Costume Idea

BLOGTOBER Day 29- Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”- A Film Muse

BLOGTOBER Day 30- Fall 2018 Bucket List Update

BLOGTOBER Day 31- Exciting Announcement!

 

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-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Day 30- Fall 2018 Bucket List Update

Earlier in BLOGTOBER I posted my Fall 2018 Bucket List. [SEE HERE] I love fall, I love getting into the spirit of the season, and I love me a good to do/bucket list. 

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UPDATE!

So as Halloween rolls in. I wanted to check my progress on my trusty ole to do list.

There were 14  or so items on the list, and I was able to check off a good chunk of those this month!

Pumpkin Picking. CHECK

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Decorate for Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving. CHECK

My house is festive AF!
Pumpkin Carving. CHECK

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Buy pies, jams, ciders, and other fall drinks/treats. CHECK

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Trick or Treat with my niece…

After tomorrow…CHECK

Watch Hocus Pocus & Halloweentown. CHECK

Some things I added along the way- like watching tons of fun Halloween movies including House of Wax, and listening to spooky soundtracks like MJs Thriller on a loop.

Others like the JT concert was actually postponed til January- which hey is out of my control. But I am READY!

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I wasn’t able to get to the movies as I wished. But life gets busy, what can you do? I did buy a cheap copy of Halloween so maybe I’ll watch it tomorrow night.

I didn’t make it to Apple Fest again this year, because my family got super busy. But truth be told I was better off, since I ended spending quite a pretty penny at the little shop at the farm we went to for pumpkin picking.

Fall fashion has been a bit of a bust, I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t gotten a chance to swap out my summer clothes for my fall clothes. And because the weather has been so unpredictable I just never know. Let’s hope November is a bit more “fashionable. Lol.

My pumpkin party and wine & cheese party ideas didn’t happen this month but I’m hopeful for next. My best friend and I are trying to set up our pumpkin party. And to be honest, I’m dying to host a wine and cheese party myself! 

As for NaNoWriMo- I am still planning to do this, however it doesn’t start til Thursday so stay tuned for an update on that. November is going to be insane. But I am interested to see how this works. 

Fall isn’t over yet…November will be a time to conquer the rest…especially finding those Thanksgiving recipes and who knows maybe dye my hair purple? Haha. I know it costs a lot and it is a big commitment- I had my blue hair for ages. So when I do it, it has to be the right time. Stay tuned for that too!

Happy Fall All!

Did you get to check all the fall things off your bucket list? 

See you tomorrow for our final #BLOGTOBER POST! 

Working on a short story as we speak! The plan was to get half up today and the last half up tomorrow, but it’s taking longer to write than I expected. And it won’t be ready before midnight, so hang tight. Whether it’s done by tomorrow or night, I will still post it eventually.

 

*All images are my own.*

-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Day 17- Some Recipes for the Fall Season

During holiday season, I usually like to bake some treats. The next few recipes, I’m going to share with you, I have baked for Thanksgiving. I know we still have a bit to go. We still have to celebrate Halloween, and I’m not one to rush holidays! But I just thought since I’ve tried out these recipes in the past, I can give you some ideas for planning ahead for your Thanksgiving meal. Or hey maybe you want to try one of these recipes out for Halloween, instead. Do whatever your heart desires!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these last year for Thanksgiving and added in my own little touch, by topping them off with Reese’s Pieces and adding Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to the cookie tray display. It also added some fall color to them! I made 3 trays of cookies, because I was visiting a lot of different people, (which is usually the case) so I made enough for each house. Can’t show up empty handed! To add to the presentation, I wrapped them in saran wrap and added some fall colored bows. I included a little tag with twine that said Happy Thanksgiving, and that stated they were Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavored, just in case anyone had an allergy, I wanted them to be aware.

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I searched my recipe folder, and my favorites and I couldn’t find the recipe. However, I feel like I remember searching simple few ingredient peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies, so it might have been one of these, linked HERE, & HERE 

Taste Verdict:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate are two of my favorite things. So I LOVED these. They were very rich and VERY peanut buttery. With milk, you can have one or two and it was delicious. I would definitely make these again. If you are not into peanut butter, I guess you can just omit it, and bake your traditional chocolate chip cookie. That’s always a crowd favorite. 

Layered Pumpkin Lasagna

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I found the exact recipe I used HERE

Taste Verdict:

This was a bit of a long process, and requires many ingredients, and ALOT of work. I wasn’t aware how time consuming it could be. It’s more of a no bake dessert, but you do have to create each layer and than build this sweet dessert lasagna. It’s a bit of a weird concept, but I thought it was actually really delicious and those who are pumpkin fans, seemed to enjoy it! I feel like I would tackle making this again, at some point. 

Apple Pie Punch

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Ingredients 

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I found the exact recipe I used HERE

Taste Verdict: 

In my family, I seemed to have taken on dessert and drinks. I usually bake for every holiday event. And one Thanksgiving I decided to add in a little drinky drank recipe. I omitted the vodka for this recipe, because I wanted it to be safe for the kiddies to drink, but guests were free to add a little spike if they felt so inclined to. This was a tasty treat. I’d definitely make it again. It was easy enough!

 

*All photos are my own, I do not take credit for any recipes used.*

Have any fun fall recipes to share?

If you make any of these, let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Fall Baking!

-<3-