With the holidays so very nearby, this weekend is sure to be filled with baking of some very favorite, family recipes! These holiday cookies are a perennial favorite, from our family to yours!
Makes approximately 30 cookies
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 egg 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Hershey’s Kisses (about 30)
Preheat oven to 375°. Using a whisk, combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat the softened butter and the peanut butter until smooth (use a hand mixer). Add both sugars and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the milk and vanilla, and mix until well combined.
Gradually add the flour mixture, beating at a low speed until the dough is just combined. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Form the dough into balls, then roll each in white sugar before placing them on the cookie sheets. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, until the cookies have puffed up.
Remove them from the oven and quickly top each cookie with an unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss.
We are about to jump into the busiest shopping season of the year. Whether you enjoy the adrenaline rush of last-minute holiday shopping or you like to get it done long before the crowds arrive, this year offers buyers more choices than ever. Try these six smart shopping habits to get the most out of your shopping.
1) Let technology keep you on track so you aren’t stressing and overspending: For iOS users, relying on an app like GiftPlanner lets you set and balance your budget for each gift. It also helps you bookmark items that you’re browsing online. Plus, you can even use it to remind you if you’ve wrapped the gift or not, by taking a photo and storing the info in the app. Android users can turn to an app like Gift List Diary. You can set a budget for each person on your list. It also allows you to mark when you have purchased a gift and when you have wrapped it. Not only that, you have the ability to share your list with your contacts.
2) Take advantage of rewards programs when you shop online and in stores: Rakuten can get you cash-back rewards at many different online stores. Another option is Ibotta. When you provide proof of purchase for certain products, you earn cash-back rewards that you can use for holiday purchases.
3) Use coupon-tracking browser extensions to save online: Honey and RetailMeNot Genie (both free) automatically apply coupons that may be applicable to your purchase as you check out. You don’t even have to search for the coupons!
4) If you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t want or need any more “stuff,” go the charitable route: Pick a charity or cause that you know they would appreciate and make a charitable donation in their name.
5) Figure out your backup plans ahead of time: After making your list of gift recipients, pick three potential gifts for each person on your buying list. This way you won’t go nuts when the gift you’ve decided on is maybe too expensive or can’t be found.
6) Reduce the temptation: If you know you are susceptible to sales and buying more than you probably should, consider leaving your credit cards at home and just take your debit cards or cash when you go shopping for gifts.
No matter your shopping preferences, maybe just step into the season with the right mind-set, take time for yourself and simply embrace it!
Nothing quite makes a house a home more than some of the tasty dishes,
sweet treats and special beverages that are served there. With that said, once a month, our Coco, Early family will be sharing some special recipes that will make you feel right at home this holiday season and all year long!
SPICED APPLE CIDER TEA
Nothing says fall like sipping a warm cup of apple cider. Try a new twist on this classic fall treat with this unique cider tea.
4.5 cups apple cider
2 cinnamon sticks
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 bags of black tea, such as Earl Grey or oolong
Honey to taste
Place cider, cinnamon, and ginger in a saucepan over high heat and cover.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
Pour hot cider into mugs, add a tea bag to each mug, and steep like normal. Sweeten with honey to taste and enjoy! This recipe makes about 4 servings.
If you really want to get your Pinterest on, switch out the mugs for apples. Cut off the tops of four apples and hollow out the fruit with a spoon or melon baller to create cup-like containers.
Your homemade apple mugs will add extra flavor to the drink and wow your guests!
When it’s pumpkin time and little people dress up to go about their business of frightening the neighbors, it’s time to think about safety. And when it comes to Halloween safety this year, you’ll want a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. Think technology.
The good news is, there are several apps designed exactly for this purpose: to keep your kids safe while they go about their goodie gathering. A tracker app is a good idea, especially if your little goblin isn’t good about texting back promptly. Jiobit works well and Famisafe makes following your child’s progress easy. Life 360 is another excellent kid tracker.
You can also use technology to plan their route before they set out. It’s a good idea to sign up with a neighborhood social networking platform like Nextdoor to plan a safe route and discover a “treat map” showing which neighbors are participating.
Of course, you want your kids to see and be seen, so avoid masks and headgear that interfere with visibility.
Choose brightly colored costumes with reflective tape on them, and avoid tripping hazards like trailing capes and high heeled shoes. Check Pinterest for safe and easy costume suggestions.
And, though you hope you’ll never need them, it’s smart to be prepared for emergencies with Red Cross Safety Apps.
Now, dress them for the weather and review street-crossing rules with your little monsters. And make this Halloween a real treat!
With less than one week away until the turkey gets carved, it’s hard not to notice that all holiday preparations are well underway. Holidays seem to be getting closer and closer together and it’s as if we should start saying “Merry Thanksgiving!” The music is changing as are the store displays. Even some homes are starting to deck the halls! No matter your traditions, it’s a nice time of year for everything and everyone to come together and celebrate the moments that will be remembered for a lifetime.
We’re fortunate to live in an area where there are many ways to get in the spirit! Believe it or not, some holiday happenings begin as early tomorrow, when our region’s famous Festival of the Trees begins right here in Methuen, MA. There are craft fairs to go to, trees to be decorated, parades to enjoy and even some special musical performances that surely will lift your mood. No matter your preference, we hope you take time to enjoy those dear to you. Below are two links that will help you find what’s most important to you:
This time of year is so busy for so many. While it is fun for all, it also can be stressful. It’s easy to forget what it is all about. Take some time to take it all in and cherish what’s important. It’s not always the material things that make life special, it’s being together that counts. While it seems early to say, happy holidays, there it is! Pick which one you like best and make your holiday happening memorable.
Merrimack Valley and Southern NH offer beautiful colors this time of year!
New England is known for its fabulous autumn hues and its spirited festivities.
It is this time of year that those of us who live here year round take a second look to really bask in the glow of all that our region offers. In fact, in the fall alone, the Greater Boston area, Southern New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont attract millions of visitors from around the globe! Forget that just a few weeks back, we welcomed students to some of the world’s most renowned institutes of higher learning, which in some instances, happen to be less than 30 miles away!
There are hikes to be taken. Pumpkins and apples abound! Take a train ride through the mountains or a gondola to the top to see the incredible beauty all around you. If you’re an athlete, there are many road races and competitions to squeeze in before the snow comes! Or, perhaps you’re a foodie! There are even Restaurant Weeks in many popular cities and towns. Last but not least, the holidays are just around the corner and already you could purchase tickets to hear some of the finest holiday concerts around!
With the leaves aglow and the holidays looming, here is a list of some upcoming attractions in our region:
We’re very lucky at Coco, Early & Associates. Our offices are throughout the Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire and offer our agents the opportunity to help buyers and sellers in one of the most sought after regions of the country!