Dec 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Turtles and Tails!

Christmas dogs Turtles and Tails

Dec 22, 2018

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (with a twist!)

One more recipe before Christmas. These Chocolate Crinkle Cookies are like a brownie, with just the right amount of sweetness (and a little surprise kick!)

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
pinch of cayenne powder (optional)
1 cup icing sugar, for coating the cookies

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. For a Mexican twist, add the cinnamon and cayenne powder. Set mixture aside.

In a large bowl beat the sugar and oil until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Form the dough into a large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap so that it is sealed tightly.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar.

Form 1-inch round dough balls by hand or with a cookie scoop.  Dip each dough ball in the powdered sugar until it is completely covered on all sides, and then place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until nicely puffed up and crinkled. Remove from the oven, and let cool completely on the cookie sheet or a wire rack.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Dec 17, 2018

Christmas Decor - Inside and Out

As in previous years, I took a walk out to the woods at the back of our property last weekend to gather branches to make a decorative planter for the front door.

outdoor christmas planter

I was lucky this year to find four different types of evergreen trees, along with dogwood, birch, and pine cones. I dragged my haul back to the house and laid it out in the basement to dry for a day.

The planter I use is already 3/4 full of soil as there are live plants in it during the rest of the year. I put scrap 1x6 pieces over the dirt to get a level surface and then added 3 florist foam bricks on top to anchor the branches.

My method is to start with birch along the back, then pine branches fanned out in front of them. I position cedar along the front edge as it drapes down nicely. I then randomly fill in the open space using all four of the different types. Finally I add in the decorations. This year I chose baubles and faux iced berries that I purchased during a Christmas open house at Bradford Greenhouses. I also added in dogwood branches for colour (love how it turns bright red in the winter!) and white poinsettia flowers.

outdoor christmas planter

On the door, instead of a wreath, I hung a rustic window frame that I also purchased at the open house. It has a metal wreath and stylized reindeer in the center. I added a big red bow to make it pop.

window frame wreath

Inside, we have several areas of the house with vignettes. Our stocking wall is getting very full - with two new dogs this year we now have 6 stockings! Above the stockings is the Merry Christmas sign I made with my Silhouette cutter and scrap wood.

I would love to show off our tree, but it's been through an ordeal this year. The little dogs won't leave it alone so it's been stripped of ornaments along the bottom, and has been relegated to the dining room where it's safer. Maybe next year...

outdoor christmas planter

4x4 wooden candle holders

4x4 wooden snowmen

outdoor christmas planter

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