Welcome to another Monthly Scoop post – December 2021 edition! Not only was December a busy month for cooking, baking and Christmas recipes, but we also adventured on two different trips! Let’s dive into all the details!
Just like November, December was a jam-packed month! For the blog, KJ Christmas Cookie Week went live the first week of the month followed by the 2021 Christmas Dinner Menu. But, during that same time, we were also on a trip down to Florida for Disney! Talk about a whirlwind haha! Let’s just say that my kitchen was in overtime cranking out all the recipes before we boarded the flight.
Going to Disney World was a fun-loaded trip! John has been before and I haven’t been since I was very little, so I don’t remember much from then. We traveled with some other friends who were in the same boat: one had been and one hadn’t!
We tackled all the parks in 3 days: Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Universal Studios! Here’s our favorites from each park:
- Expedition Everest
- Avatar Flight of Passage – this one is SO worth it!
- Pongu Pongu – the Colossal Pretzel and the Night Blossom slushy drink were our favs!
- Cinderella Castle – I mean, it’s iconic! The light/firework show is AMAZING.
- Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train – we rode this one at night and it was so fun!
- Jungle Cruise – we did this as part of our Disney After-Hours Christmas Edition and it was great!
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Splash Mountain
- Disney Very Merriest After Hours – this was so fun to be able to do! If you are there during the holiday season, get your hands on the tickets! They only sell a certain amount of tickets, so you gotta act fast! But, it is so worth it! The park isn’t busy because they only sell a certain amount of tickets, a lot of the food and drinks are free (part of your ticket price) which included cookies, hot chocolate, popcorn and bottled drinks. Rides barely had wait lines and were “Christmas-fied.” They also had a Christmas parade, concert and a special Christmas edition of the castle light/firework show that was equally as amazing as the original! So fun!
- Gingerbread Cake Pop – it was shaped like Minnie’s ears and was SO DANG GOOD. It was part of the Christmas After Hours Event, so I don’t know if they will offer it again!
(Yes, I know I didn’t list Space Mountain. We did it and actually all didn’t like it. Made us all feel whiplashed!)
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – it’s a bit scary, not gonna lie. But you gotta experience it at least once!
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – we went back for this one twice! So smooth!
- Slinky Dog Dash – this was the WORST LINE to wait in, but it was quite fun!
- Baseline Tap House – get the Bavarian Pretzel with extra cheese sauce! Their charcuterie board was also good!
- Hollywood Scoops – since we were there during the holiday season, we got to experience the Candy Cane Ice Cream Shake which was insanely good!
We spent the shortest amount of time here and looking back, we all wished we had a bit more time for this park. We also REALLY wanted to ride the new Ratatouille ride, but it was a special reservation ride only! Sad day! You can apparently smell all the food of the Ratatouille kitchen during the ride which is right up my ally!
- Test Track – this ride surprised us all! You go VERY fast!
- Katsura Grill in Japan Pavilion – the ramen was great!
- Turkey Leg Cart in American Pavilion – this was by far the BEST smoked turkey leg we’ve ever had!
- La Gelateria Toscana in Italy Pavilion – the cookies & cream gelato and the tiramisu were the favorites!
- Karamel-Küche in Germany Pavilion – don’t overlook the caramel popcorn! It’s INSANE. Especially if it’s warm! I also got a holiday special while there that I currently crave every day: Gingerbread Salted Caramel Frosted Cookie Sandwich. I WANT MORE.
I think this was by far our favorite! We’re big Harry Potter fans, too, so seeing Harry Potter World was a blast!
- Harry Potter World – the whole experience is unreal if you are a Harry Potter fan! So fun! Gotta snag yourself a butterbeer – we went with the frozen one!
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – such a fun ride!
- Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike – this one was fun as well, but it was also the ride we got stuck on haha!
- Flight of the Hippogriff – a good, low-key, fun ride!
- Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts
- Jurassic World Velocicoaster – ok, this roller coaster is INSANE and can seem daunting, but it is SO worth it! It was the one we were the most scared to go on, but ended up being everyone’s favorite!
- The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium – its a chocolate wonderland! You gotta get a sweet treat. Plus, it looks like Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!
Whew! That was a whirlwind, wasn’t it? By far the thing we recommend the most: pay the extra for fast passes! They will save your day! And your feet, and your back haha!
After our few days at Disney World, we drove over to Anna Maria Island for some much needed relaxation. It was a dream! The beaches are like walking on powdered sugar, filled with different seashells and glistening aqua-blue water. Check out the “snowman” we built: Sandy the Snowman! The whole town of Anna Maria is cute, quaint and full of local eateries that were to-die for. We would definitely go back!
December Happenings Continued…
After getting home from Florida, we jumped right back into all the holiday festivities! My sister was in town and we went on a lot of family trail rides – even on Christmas day! It was the best. We kept the holiday gatherings low-key and full of family.
Then, we whisked off to Driggs, Idaho to go skiing! Not going to lie, we hit a snow squall on the drive there that felt like a near-death experience. They get SO much snow there! We skied at Grand Targhee Resort and while it was less-busy and not as traffic jammed as the larger resorts, I would say that it is more for the avid skier. The snow is next-level deep, slopes are fairly steep and there isn’t much to do in the “village” below. Meaning, if I wanted to take the day off from skiing and John wanted to go, there wasn’t anything to do haha. We both agreed that Keystone is still our favorite!
December’s recipes were jammed full of holiday cheer! From Christmas cookies, to a full Christmas menu, to desserts to drinks, to appetizers. Loaded full of comfort and goodness. As always, I strived to create fun, delicious recipes with easily accessible ingredients that you feel comfortable making in your own kitchen. Click on your favorite recipe below and get to cookin’! If you make any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email, post a comment or share on social media tagging @kjandcompany or using #kjandcompany
- Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- Baked French Toast
- Iced Sugar Cookies
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Reindeer Poop
- Garlic Herb Prime Rib
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Creamed Spinach Casserole
- Easy Beef Gravy
- Tuxedo Cheesecake
- Homestyle Lasagna
- Sheet Pan Baked Eggs
- Cheesy Crab Dip
- Herb Roasted Nuts
- Pho Chicken Ramen
- Peanut Butter Cup Cocktail
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