Chocolate Mint Cookies

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Growing up, my mom always made chocolate mint cookies for Christmas. I remember helping to put the little Andes mints on the top when the cookies came out of the oven, and I’d often attempt to sneak a few into my mouth for good measure. Of course, when there weren’t enough mints for the last tray of cookies it was glaringly obvious who was guilty of stealing them, but a bit of mischief was part of the fun of baking with Mom.

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Chocolate and mint is definitely one of my favorite food combinations. I love peppermint mochas, mint chocolate chip ice cream and of course, these chocolate mint cookies. Mint and chocolate just feels like Christmas. Indulgent chocolate and bright, refreshing flavors of mint - I’m craving dessert just thinking about it!

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Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie from your childhood? We’d love to hear your stories!

Chocolate Mint Cookies
Makes about 8 dozen cookies

3/4 cup butter
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
12 oz chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 (4.67 oz) packages Andes mint candy, each candy unwrapped

In a medium saucepan over low heat, cook butter, water and sugar until butter is melted. Add the chocolate chips and stir together until everything is melted and fully incorporated. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and let stand for 10 minutes to cool.

Using a mixer, at high speed add eggs, one at a time. Once the eggs are added, reduce mixer to low speed. Add flour, baking soda and salt, mixing just until blended. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once dough is chilled, roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. As you take the cookies out of the oven, immediately place Andes mints on each cookie. Let the mints melt a bit, then spread the melted mint chocolate over the cookie with a spoon. Cool completely store or serve and enjoy!

DIY Cereal Box Gift Tags

DIY Cereal Box Gift Tags

With Christmas right around the corner, there are a million things to do in the way of decorating, list making, gift buying and travel planning. It can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve resolved to have a handmade holiday.  Because DIY projects can be a bit of an investment and a little more work, I like to focus on ones that will serve me year round (while staying season-appropriate).  It’s easy to get lost in the idea of “doing it yourself” in order to save money and vent some of that creative energy, but the “saving money” part can get tossed out the window fast if a lot of your projects are only useful once or twice a year.  On that note, I’d like to introduce Cereal Box Gift Tags!

Keep reading!

Easy DIY Wrapped Ball Ornament

I’m not one for flashy Christmas decor. It’s a little ironic because when the giant inflatable snow globes and Santas start to pop up all over the neighborhood, I love it!   As Christmas nears, I love driving around with Dave while listening to Christmas music and trying to find the houses with the most outrageous lights and props displays.  All of this ends the minute I enter my own house.  The craziest Christmas decorating I do is probably putting up a tree with colored twinkle lights.  Out of control, right?  Well that’s why I’ve decided to put a little more effort into my decorating this year.  I wanted decorations that were totally Christmas-worthy but could also be used year-round.

These ball ornaments are incredibly cheap and easy to make.  All you need are some styrofoam balls, an old catalog (or newspaper, or fabric), a hot glue gun and some string.  In the tutorial below, I’ll walk you through how I made one out of the pages of a catalog!

Keep reading!

REALLY exciting news! Offbeat & Inspired joins FOLK!!

Well I’ve been a little busy this past week with something pretty major!! I’m SOOO excited to announce that Sarah and I have been working with Ben Ashby (editor in chief of FOLK Magazine) and some amazing bloggers over at the magazine’s new blog, FolkLifestyle.com!  A few weeks ago I was talking to Ben after he heard about our blog and I ended up writing a last minute article for FOLK’s Christmas issue which hits stores (and mailboxes) this week!  After that amazing event (pinch me, cause I wonder if it actually happened), we were introduced to some absolutely wonderful bloggers who were also asked to contribute to FOLK’s new blog, and we felt right at home joining the team!

We will be posting a few times a month over at the FOLK blog, and we HIGHLY recommend checking it out and subscribing.  The magazine and the blog are both phenomenal, and right up the alley of everything we love here at Offbeat & Inspired.  We’ll be contributing articles to the magazine too, and if you haven’t heard of FOLK yet, here’s a little note from Ben:

You may be asking what exactly FOLK is all about. Simply put it is about ALL AMERICAN LIVING. The driving force behind FOLK is to immerse the reader in a life that journeys at a slower pace, one that involves drinking iced tea on the front porch, having conversations with friends, reliving the olden days, hunting for the perfect antique and vintage items, eating at local diners, perfecting family recipes, picking tomatoes off the vine, summers spent in a swing under an old oak tree, buying locally made products, driving with windows down and Miranda Lambert blasting, creating unique collections of your own, finding the country life in any setting, and one that remembers the little things that make life worth living.

There you have it!  FOLK will be choc full of everything you need to get inspired and stay inspired.  Sign us up!!  If you’re half as psyched about this as we are, head over to the blog’s kick-off post and leave a comment to be automatically entered to win an autographed copy of the magazine!

Keep reading for an amazing discount on an entire year’s subscription to FOLK Magazine!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

Am I the only one who stands in the middle of the grocery aisle Googling for DIY and/or substitution recipes once I find out whatever I need is out of stock? Hopefully not, because it’s proven to be super helpful 99% of the time - like today. I ran to the store for pumpkin pie spice and it was the only empty slot in the entire spices section. Lovely. So I Googled “DIY pumpkin pie spice” and one of the first results was a great little recipe from Annie’s Eats. The best part… I already had all the ingredients at home!

If you find yourself in need of pumpkin pie spice this season, check your pantry for these common spices before shelling out a few bucks for something you can mix yourself!

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice
From Annie’s Eats

2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. ground ginger
1½ tsp. ground allspice
1½ tsp. ground cloves
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg

Mix them all together and store in an airtight container!

Do you have a favorite money-saving DIY pantry tip?

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