Monday, December 23, 2013

Heights Lights

Happy Christmas Eve Eve! It's hard to believe that there are only two more sleeps to Christmas, and lucky for us Houstonians, it's finally starting to feel like Christmas, as we have finally started to experience some colder weather. You know I prefer the warm weather, but it is nice to have an actual cold Christmas!

Last night Amira, Lindsay, and I partook in our second annual Christmas lights-looking expedition. Last year we went to look at the mansions in River Oaks, but this year, after indulging in some frozen yogurt from Pinkberry in Highland Village, 

we trekked on over to the Heights and spent our time not only admiring the lights and decorations, but talking about how precious the houses are over there. It kind of reminds me of the neighborhoods in Austin, as the houses are all on the older side, but that definitely adds to their charm. We had a great time walking through the streets, but we all agreed that our hands were a little on the cold side by the end of the night!

Only in Texas
In front of the house that won "Most Wattage"
This morning I slept in until about 9:00 (I guess this semester was a bit more taxing than I thought, as I've been sleeping between nine and ten hours a night since I got home), and got up and ate some breakfast - egg whites and spinach, of course - along with a few cuties and some of my banana-oatmeal-almond butter muffins.

That was more than enough fuel for a few hours of cleaning and organizing. My room looked like a tornado blew through it, and it was time for me to get some order out of the chaos. I went through my drawers and my closet and filled four bags to take over to Goodwill, and a majority of the t-shirts I donated was the result of six years of club volleyball.

And this isn't even half of them
I still have some more organizing to do, but my (and my mom's) stress level should go down, because I will no longer see clothes strewn all over the floor every time I walk into my room.

I was more than ready for some fresh air, so I laced up my tennis shoes and went for a beautiful 5.5 mile run around my neighborhood. The weather was just perfect, and it felt good to get another good run in. I also ran yesterday and experienced a minor setback when I looked away for a minute and twisted my ankle when I stepped in a hole in the road, so I was glad to see that this injury is nothing compared to last year's broken toe!

After my run, I battled some serious traffic to get to Town and Country so I could eat my favorite La Madeleine salad for lunch. It was more like linner, as it was almost 4:00pm at this point, but it sure hit the spot.

I then ran a few more unsuccessful errands - most of the time, I love living where I live, but being so close to the mall and City Centre is certainly having its drawbacks this holiday season! - before returning home to get to work in the kitchen.

I am hoping that Dylan won't read this until after we exchange Christmas presents tomorrow, but I'm willing to take my chances. I am making the trek to Friendswood tomorrow, so I decided to bake some Christmas cookies to take to his family. After all, the way to a man's (and hopefully his families') heart is through his stomach, right?

I made up my own recipe, based on the very popular peanut butter blossoms recipe, but I will call these Kelli's Christmas Reeses' Sugar Cookies. It really rolls off the tongue, I know. Anyway, I know (now) that Dylan prefers sugar to any other kind of cookie, but I also wanted to include a little bit of chocolate, because who can say no to chocolate around the holidays?

  • Sugar cookie dough (or you can make dough from scratch, but who has time for that these days?)
  • Red and green sprinkles
  • Miniature Reeses' cups (approximately 30)
  • Cooking spray
  • Mini-muffin tins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Spray each tin with cooking spray
3. Put a generous amount of red and green sprinkles together into a bowl

4. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the sprinkles until covered
5. Place the balls in the cups of the mini-muffin tin (do not press to the pan, keep the dough in balls)

6. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until light golden brown and slightly puffy
7. While the cookies are baking, unwrap miniature Reeses' cups

8. Remove tins from the oven and immediately press a miniature Reeses' cup into the center of each cookie
9. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before removing cookies from the pan
10. Enjoy!

My dad so generously taste-tested one for me, and said it tasted great, so I'll consider this one to be a success! Nothing beats some festive baked goods, right?

And with that, I'm off to do a little bit more baking, and a little bit more cleaning, before settling down to do some reading. I can't say that my book choices have been the most intellectual, but they are certainly keeping me hooked! Have a great evening!

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