Friday, December 30, 2011

Two Delicious Cheese Ball Recipes

Update: Be sure to also check out my newest cheese ball recipe-- Chipotle Bacon Cheddar Cheese Ball.


This is fast becoming my favorite thing to make for just about any occasion. And from people's reaction to it, I think it's safe to say it's a crowd favorite.

My husband requested I make this for New Year's Eve, so I'm jumping at the chance to share it with you all this time. If you still need a last minute appetizer or snack for tomorrow's festivities, I highly recommend you consider making this. It'll only take about 10 minutes of your time.

Today I'm making two different cheese balls: the original and my own adaptation.

Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a small commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you!

The original, crowd-pleasing, cheese ball

You will need:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans
Serves 6-8.

First, dump in all the cheeses into a bowl.

Then add the chopped onion. You might be hesitant about putting raw onion into the cheese ball. Don't be. You're not adding much, just be sure that it's chopped nice and small, so no one gets a big chunk of onion in one bite.

Now add in all the rest of the ingredient except the pecans.

Mix it all up.

Get out some plastic wrap and lay a square of it on the counter. Scrape all that cheesy goodness out of the bowl and plop it in the middle of the plastic. You may be tempted to get a little taste test.

Go ahead. Just know that if you let this chill for a while, it becomes ten times better.

Wrap it up and smoosh it into a ball.  Stick it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I like to make it the night before.

Just before serving, roll it in the pecans. This step is optional, however. At Christmas I forgot the pecans and no one complained. You could serve it up on an elegant cheese board and no one will know how effortless this really is.

And for my adaptation . . .

I used the same cheese ball recipe, except I subbed in chopped green onion for the white onion.

and instead of rolling it in pecans, I rolled in . . .

. . . bacon!

After tasting both recipes, my favorite is the one with the bacon. Hands down.

Have a happy New Year, my friends!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Highlights and Handmade Envelope DIY

Hello, friends!

I had a wonderful Christmas and I hope you did too.

A few of my favorite highlights:

  • On Christmas Eve, Josh and I enjoyed a quiet evening with chili and cinnamon rolls and snuggling to Home Alone 2. 
  • Christmas morning I made monkey bread for breakfast. Can't recommend it enough. Delicious and easy.
  • Christmas evening we went to my younger sister's home for the family dinner. I made a couple cheese balls for an appetizer-- amazing! I'm planning to share the recipe with you later on the week, since I'll make them again for New Year's Eve.
  • The women of our family also had a cookie exchange this year. I brought snickerdoodles and fudge, but my absolute favorite for years has been my mom's easy bars. That recipe will be coming to you later this week too.

The past few days I've been perusing Pinterest obsessively. Apparently I'm not the only one because there's been some unusually good stuff floating around there.

I found this handmade envelope idea on Pinterest and while it's not a brand new idea, it inspired me to get off the couch and try my hand at a few.

Martha suggests taking apart an envelope and tracing it directly onto your paper of choice to make the envelope. I wanted to make an envelope template on cardboard that I could use repeatedly without taking apart real envelopes over and over. I know there are places that you can buy pre-made templates, but I thought it would be easy enough (and free!) to make my own.

I took apart an A6 envelope and traced it onto a cut-up cereal box.

I drew dashed lines for where the folds should be and added numbers to indicate which sides should be folded in first. While I was at it, I created a few different envelope templates.

For my first envelope, I used some gift wrap I had on hand. Traced the outline of the template onto the paper, folded it up, and glued it with a glue stick.

If the paper has a significant sheen, it might be difficult to write on. When I wrote on the metallic stripes on this paper, the ink would bead up and smudge. Adding a tag solves this problem.

You'll need to keep the glue stick handy for when you plan to seal the envelope too.

I'm planning on trying this out on some magazine pages and paper bags I have around the house.

Until next time,

Linking to:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Decking the Halls (Part Two)

Hello. I'm still here, my friends! Did any of you miss me?

This past week I was fighting a little bit of burnout in a few areas of my life. So I rested and now I'm back.

I kind of left you hanging with the Christmas house tour, so here's the rest . . .

In past years, we've usually stuck with traditional Christmas colors of red and silver on the tree. We were up for a change, so we went with a combination of blues, silver, and gold. And I'm lovin' it!

The blues and silver are bright and shimmery, but tend to be somewhat cooler feeling, so the addition of the gold really warms it up.

Last stop in the tour is my mantel in the office.

Here I went with more traditional colors. I still do love red during the holidays.

How cute are these trees? Cones covered with red fabric, wrapped with twine, glued on buttons and felt shapes and topped with twine-covered wire stars. Easy peasy to make.

My large Home Goods vase makes a second appearance with mix of gold and silver ornaments and pine cones, after its time with the thankful tree.

And this ends the Christmas tour. Thanks for stopping by.

By the way, have you all realized that Christmas is less than two weeks away? I didn't until yesterday. Where has time gone? Have you gotten all your shopping done? I have one wrapped present under the tree. Ugh. Need to get on that.

Can't wait until next week!

Much love,

 If you missed part one of my Christmas home tour, you can check it out here.

Linking to

Monday, December 05, 2011

Decking the Hall (Part One)

I decided that I needed to break up my Christmas decorations into two posts because I didn't want to have a million pictures in one posts and because I'm still not 100% done. 

Regardless, welcome to the first half of my Christmas home tour!

Ideally I would love to put lights up in the beams, but there isn't a power source close to the ceiling. And I'm not wanting long extension cords down the walls at this point. So we hung shiny, silver balls from the greenery to bring a little sparkle to the beams.

There's something about Christmas that makes me want to put a little sparkle everywhere. Not a lot. But definitely everywhere. Crate and Barrel had these pretty, sparkly garlands for $5 that I draped around the kitchen chandelier.

My ledges near the front door are all decked out with my ornament advent and the giant pine cone. I've had that pine cone for a few years now, but it still fascinates me. My brain has a hard time imagining a tree large enough to grow a foot long pine cone. They don't grow 'em that big in Kansas.

I also want to note that I'm using mini ornaments for the ornament advent. Both my mother and my sister mentioned that they looked like the larger ball ornaments in the earlier pictures and were surprised to see that they are the tiny ones in person.

Yeah, they're about an inch in diameter. Mini, little guys.

Original image found on the New York Digital Gallery

If you're a fan of vintage Christmas cards, I recommend you check out the New York Digital Gallery. They have over 1800 digital images of vintage Christmas cards to choose from. You can print them out for free and frame them like I did. If I had a lot of wall space I would have a gallery of framed vintage Christmas cards.

Snowflakes hung with ribbon over the kitchen window. Yes, more sparkle.

Decking the Halls, Part Two is coming soon-- including the tree and my Christmas mantel.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Happy December, my friends! The start of this month begins the true countdown until Christmas. How are you all doing in your preparations? Is your tree up? Have you started (or even finished) your shopping?

Our home is mostly decorated, but the shopping (and crafting) has hardly begun yet. I’ve got ideas rummaging around in the brain though!

I've always been a big fan of Christmas, but this year I’m even more excited since it will be the first that Josh and I will spend together at our home. While traveling to visit family and friends is wonderful, there’s something special about being home for the holidays.

I’m also excited to start our family’s Christmas traditions. Josh and I both come from families that have a few traditions like watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve and going to A Christmas Carol play, but I’m looking forward to deciding what our new, little family’s traditions will be when we are at home.

A few of my must-do activities already on my list:
A few of them are obvious, but hey, they're traditions for a reason.

Decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music

Go to the Christmas carol play with my family

Drive around and look at all the crazy Christmas lights people put up
Thank goodness we don't have one of these as our next door neighbor!

Open our stockings on Christmas Eve
Martha Stewart

I have a recipe in mind for Christmas Eve that I will wait to tell you about that until later. 

What are your family’s Christmas traditions?

Please tell me! I’m in the market for some good ideas.

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