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Tomorrow, I am having my old team from work over to Casa de Crews for a cookie exchange, and catch up sesh. I love this group of ladies SO much, and miss them a ton. Now that we have all moved on to bigger and better things within our company, we don’t work in the same office anymore. And if you do work in an office, you know how difficult it can be to connect with co-workers (I swear the tv show, The Office, existed for a reason), so we try and get together at least every few months, if possible.
It’s been over a year since Jason and I closed on our first home, and these ladies are way past due for a visit, so naturally, I’m hosting this weekend. And I’m so excited to do so! I’m pretty indecisive when it comes to decorating our home, and I feel like just in the last few months, things are starting to come together.
Before everyone comes over, I’m hanging with friends at the Color Run in Clearwater, so I don’t have the morning to clean and cook. And honestly, I don’t want to stress with all that anyway. #sorrynotsorry
how to host a stress-free cookie exchange
+ Snag festive décor ahead of time – I like to search craft stores, online, and the Dollar Spot, (which gets me every time!) for inexpensive little touches. These “Cheers!” napkins were purchased for $3 last year, but I never had a chance to use them! If you shop after the holiday season for discounted décor, make sure to sort through your inventory before shopping for duplicates (um, because I do this every year and then end up finding cute holiday items, I snagged last year, that I completely forgot about). Don’t forget (extra) plastic containers, labels, and fun pens for guests to exchange their cookies!
+ Clean your home in advance – I am famous for waiting until the last minute to do a deep clean before guests come over, which just stresses me out. This week, I did a massive clean on Sunday and kept the house tidy throughout the week. All I have to do tonight, is a quick wipe down, and I am good to go. The peace of mind is SO worth it.
+ Plan your menu and shop for groceries a day or two before – The busiest days to visit the grocery store is the weekend, so again, why wait until the last minute? I made my list (checked it twice. hardy har), and hit up Publix last night. Just two days before, so everything is still fresh. While you’re at it, prepare what food and/or cookies you can in advance too.
+ Serve an easy cocktail – I’m not a fan of playing bartender at my own parties. I want to enjoy my friends, so I tend to stick to punches, sangrias, and the like for shindigs like this. But sometimes, with sweets you don’t want a drink drink. Sometimes you want coffee or milk instead (or at least, I do). Initially I was planning to offer coffee and a few bottles of wine for friends to choose, but then I discovered mü coffeehouse cocktails, and was stoked. Coffee and a cocktail in one bottle? S.O.L.D. I snagged two bottles of their Creamy Vanilla Latte. All I have to do is add festive straws, glasses, and ice, and we’re good to go. Simple, flavorful, done. P.S. If you wanted to gift your hostess with a tasty bottle of mü, I know she wouldn’t mind! mü coffeehouse cocktails make a great gift too.
Coffee Break Meets Happy Hour. I had to ::ahem:: taste test my bottle of Creamy Vanilla Latte, and I can tell you, this coffee cocktail is creamy and smoooooth. With 13.9% ALC, you can have a generous glass, while enjoying all those cookies, and conversation. #holla Bonus: Right now, snag $2 off your bottle, when purchased at Publix, and other retailers!
I wanted to contribute a somewhat “healthy” cookie to tomorrow’s cookie exchange. It’s all about balance, right? Gingerbread cookies are one my absolute faves, and I lightened them up with whole wheat flour, and cut down on processed sugar by using raw honey and fresh ginger. These are more soft and cake-like than an actual gingerbread cookie, and are super tasty! *I rolled mine at the last minute in coconut sugar to get a little crunchy texture, but you can also skip this step.
[bctt tweet=”Msg 4 21+ Celebrate #NationalCookieDay with Lightened-up Soft Ginger Cookies and @drinkmu! #muBARista #ad”]
- 3/4 cup coconut oil (should be melted naturally at room temperature)
- 1 cup raw honey
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 3 tsp ginger (ground, or fresh ginger root)
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Blend together coconut oil, raw honey, and molasses. Add the egg and mix well. Add all the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, spices) and mix well.
- Roll into 2-inch sized balls. These will be sticky, so occasionally rinsing your hands with warm water will help form cookie dough balls.
- Bake for 6-7 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on baking sheet, before transferring to cooling rack before serving.