The Chef Next Door

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting

These simple gingerbread cupcakes are light and tender and topped with a flavorful orange buttercream frosting!
These simple gingerbread cupcakes are light and tender and topped with a flavorful orange buttercream frosting!
Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and got to spend some time relaxing with family and friends. This is my first post of 2018, one that I had hoped to have done much sooner. The holidays were so busy and this past week was absolutely nuts at work. I feel like I didn't have much time to breathe! The last few weeks I've really been reflecting on this past year and wanted to share a little bit with you. 

I had much success and many wonderful opportunities in 2017. Cooking, baking, sharing my recipes with you, connecting with and building relationships with some wonderful brands. I went on a few amazing trips and got to meet new friends and see old friends as well. If you follow me on social media then you may have seen my posts about my trip to Cleveland with the American Dairy Association Mideast back in October. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year and I had so much fun learning, playing, and eating tons of good food!

Hot Onion Cheese Dip

I am honored to be a Stonyfield Ambassador and I thank them for sponsoring today’s post.  
All opinions, as always, are my own.

Looking for an easy party appetizer? This Hot Onion Cheese Dip is so delicious and simple to make!
Looking for an easy party appetizer? This Hot Onion Cheese Dip is so delicious and simple to make!
I've never been one to go out on New Years Eve, at least ever since I've had kids. Sure when I was young I did, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually went on NYE over the past 20 years. I know some people love going out that night, but I've always enjoyed staying in and watching football during the day and then watching all the fun festivities on TV at night. I also do a big appetizer spread which typically consists of our favorites, including my mom's famous shrimp dip and her delicious BBQ meatballs, but each year I love to surprise everyone with some new dishes as well. This year I'm adding this Hot Onion Cheese Dip to the table because not only is it delicious, but it's really easy to make too!  

Christmas Stollen Bread

This post is sponsored by Graceland Fruit, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

A holiday classic in Germany, this Christmas Stollen Bread is simple to make and is 
perfect to serve for breakfast on Christmas morning!
A holiday classic in Germany, this Christmas Stollen Bread is simple to make and is perfect to serve for breakfast on Christmas morning!
Merry Christmas Eve Eve, my friends! I can't believe that Christmas is just two days away. It certainly has come fast this year and I still have a few things to finish up before I'm officially ready. What can I say, I'm a procrastinator! I've got my shopping done but I have plenty to wrap. I guess we all know what I'll be doing today. 😉 Before the holiday gets here I just had to share one more of my favorite recipes with you...Christmas Stollen Bread! Stollen bread originated in Germany and is basically a sweet bread containing dried fruits and covered in powdered sugar. Sounds delicious, right? Well it is!

Black Cherry Lemonade Cocktail

This post is sponsored by Mike's Hard Lemonade, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Crisp, light and refreshing, a Black Cherry Lemonade Cocktail is a bright and beautiful drink that's perfect for the holidays!

MIKE’S IS HARD. SO IS PRISON. DON’T DRIVE DRUNK® 
PREMIUM MALT BEVERAGE ©2017 MIKE’S HARD LEMONADE CO. CHICAGO, IL
Crisp, light and refreshing, a Black Cherry Lemonade Cocktail is a bright and beautiful drink that's perfect for the holidays!
We all know the holidays can be stressful, am I right? Decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking...it all takes so much time! Now don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, but sometimes we just need a break. Time to sit back and relax, enjoy the sparkling lights on the tree, and have some "me" time. Usually the evenings are my time to unwind. I love watching sports or a movie with a big bowl of popcorn and a cocktail in my hand. This Black Cherry Lemonade Cocktail has been my go-to drink lately and I'm so excited to share it with you!

Red Wine Pot Roast with Mushrooms

Mushrooms, fresh rosemary and red wine flavor this tender and delicious pot roast. 
It's full of flavor and is the perfect comfort food meal!
Mushrooms, fresh rosemary and red wine flavor this tender and delicious pot roast. It's full of flavor and is the perfect comfort food meal!
Can you believe it, Christmas is just one week away! I've still got a few gifts left to buy, and I haven't even started wrapping yet, but like every year I know it will all get done. Thankfully I've got all my menus planned for the weekend and Christmas day, and just a handful of things to pick up at the grocery store. Things are coming together well and I'm looking forward to spending this special time with my family.

Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

This post is sponsored by General Mills, but the thoughts and opinions are my own.

There's nothing better on a cold morning than baking up a pan of these warm and delicious 
Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls. It's a comforting breakfast that the whole family will love! 
There's nothing better on a cold morning than baking up a pan of these warm and delicious Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls. It's a comforting breakfast that the whole family will love!
Christmas is right around the corner and I'm behind, as always. Every year I say I'm going to get a jump on my Christmas shopping early, but it never fails that my kids don't give me their lists until last minute. Why do they like to do that? I know..because they're boys! They never know what to ask for which makes it a little harder to start early. Luckily they're handsome! Does the same thing happen in your family?

One thing I've got going for me is my Christmas day menu. Every year we celebrate with my parents at our house so I can get a head start on my planning as early as I want to. These warm and decadent Salted Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are going to be the star of our Christmas morning breakfast and I can't wait!

Mint Brownie Pie

This Mint Brownie Pie combines two favorite flavors...chocolate and mint! Decadent and 
fudgy, this dessert is perfect for any special occasion and will satisfy any sweet tooth!
This Mint Brownie Pie combines two favorite flavors...chocolate and mint! Decadent and fudgy, this dessert is perfect for any special occasion and will satisfy any sweet tooth!
Winter has officially arrived here in Michigan. After several weeks of unseasonably warm temps, we got our first snowfall this weekend. Along with that came wind and really cold temperatures. I already feel like I'm in hibernation mode! I'll be honest with you, I've lived in Michigan my entire life but I am not a fan of winter. Although the snow is beautiful to look at, I hate being cold and I can't stand icy roads. But I suck it up and deal with it though because there are so many other things to love about our beautiful state.