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Top 10 Posts Of 2015 On Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch

Is it me or did this last year seem like someone hit the fast forward button and time just flew by?
Only if there was an extra slow motion button to use every so often! 
To celebrate New Years Eve I have the Top 10 Post of 2015! 
You all obviously have good taste because this years top recipes could and do easily grace our table on a regular basis.
I could have never imagined when I started this blog 4 years ago how many of you would be making my recipes on a regular basis! 
I love that you leave me messages or tag me in pictures on Facebook and Instagram of the recipes you made from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch.
It was fun to see how many of you were enjoying the same Turkey that graces our table every year for Thanksgiving and to know your family loved it as much as we do! 
You also blew up my email requesting my recipe for Crock-Pot Stuffing so Colt made sure to grab a few photos at Thanksgiving so it was no longer just a promise of a recipe.
Traffic dropped briefly after Thanksgiving only to spike to another record high on Christmas Eve, other bloggers were talking about a slow down in traffic but we were still chugging along! 
That again is all of you choosing to let me be part of you Christmas Eve / Day celebrations! 
I really couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift then knowing you were enjoying the recipes as much as we do! 
My heart was completely overfilled at this point but on December 27th when traffic really should have dropped y'all continued sharing my recipes, and Banana Pudding Cheesecake went completely viral, with 234,000 share on Facebook!
I really have the best readers and I couldn't be more thankful! 
I can't tell you how many times I'm having a rough day only to find an amazing comment from one of you! 
I also have to say Thank You to Colt who has stepped in as my camera man 2 1/2 years ago and has continued to encourage me to keep doing what I love in the midst of fighting chronic pain!  
To my Granny, Grandmothers, Aunts, and friends Mothers who gave me a love of the kitchen, and allowed me to make a mess in your kitchen at a young age, I can't Thank You enough! 
I guess this turned into sounding a little like the Grammies but I had to let you all know just how full you have left my heart in 2015! 
It's not that it was always easy but it's always worth it! 
I LOVE you all, wait is that weird? I don't care I love you guys!!! 
I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year filled with love, prosperity, and great memories! 
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Strawberry Champagne

Strawberry Champagne with Champagne Soaked Strawberries is a fun cocktail perfect for Brunch, New Years Eve, Valentines Day, Easter, Mothers Day or just because! serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com

With the end of the year just days away I thought I would share Strawberry Champagne as a fun cocktail to celebrate the passing of another year.
Strawberry Champagne is super simple to make with only 4 ingredients.
We decided to use Prosecco Sparkling Wine to make Strawberry Champagne for it's fresh fruity taste, but Pink Moscato Champagne is equally delicious, with a bit of a sweeter flavor, and leaves the color of the cocktail on the redder side.
I soaked a few strawberries in champagne to garnish the sides of the glasses.
After a few hours the strawberries not only become extra juicy, but tickle the tongue with bubbles in every bite!
I learned the champagne soaked fruit secret years ago from a friend named Karyn at a summer barbecue.
She loves her champagne, and told me the only thing better was dropping some fruit in the bottom of the glass to enjoy after a few top offs.
Just incase you need another reason to pop the bubbly there was some news back in November that enjoying 1-2 glasses of Champagne per week could help prevent alzheimer's and dementia from the phenolic compounds, they are still working on human trials but I may not mind volunteering myself for this study! 
Since we are trying to be healthier in the New Year one of my resolutions might need to include enjoying a glass of bubbly each week for the sake of memory! 
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25 Last Minute Christmas Cookie Ideas For Santa

25 Last Minute Christmas Cookie Ideas perfect for Santa. serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com
25 Last Minute Christmas Cookie Ideas Santa's sure to love! 
I collected recipes from some of my favorite bloggers and a few of Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch best-loved Christmas cookie recipes.
 Whether your filling Santa's cookie tray, headed to a cookie swap, or giving cookies as presents your sure to find cookie idea's everyone will love! 
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Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies aren't tart like Lemon Bars, but more of a sweet lemon cookie.
For a more pronounced Lemon Cookie these can be glazed with lemon juice mixed with powdered sugar for a bit more bite, and lemon flavor.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies have a really pretty crackle when they come out of the oven with a shiny sugar glaze.

Colt gave the tops a second dip into the powdered sugar once they were baked, for more contrast to the cookies. He also likes living life on the sweeter side, and never will turn down a little extra powdered sugar.

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies are super easy to make perfect for a last minute dessert recipe for Easy Holiday Entertaining, the theme for this weeks #SundaySupper! 

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
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Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies are dark chocolate cookies with chocolate chips and hazelnuts then drizzled with white chocolate. serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com
Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies are a must make for your Christmas cookie trays, and to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
They are super soft, chewy and chocolaty.
I took my favorite Double Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, added hazelnuts, and drizzled them generously with melted white chocolate.
Dark chocolate cocoa powder gives an extra boost of chocolaty goodness to these favorite cookies.
When I was in high school I worked at a catering business.
The owner would buy cookie dough from Costco, and we would drizzle white chocolate over the top of the double chocolate chip cookies.
It always gave them more of a bakery look that really dressed the cookies up, and was the inspiration for these cookies.
Triple Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies are a great treat to leave for Santa Clause with a large glass of milk or a fun sweet snack for New Years Eve.
No matter why you make them your sure to love them.
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Red Wine Pomegranate Sangria

Red Wine Pomegranate Sangria is the perfect cocktail for Christmas or holiday entertaining! serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com
“This post was sponsored by Libbey as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Colt and I made a batch of Red Wine Pomegranate Sangria to enjoy last weekend after we spent the day searching for our Christmas tree.
It's always a favorite in our house whether it's the celebration of the end to a busy week, or time with friends, and family.
Red Wine Pomegranate Sangria is perfect for Holiday Celebrations since it's easy to make and becomes better after a few hours in the fridge as the fruit, red wine, and rum mingle to create an phenomenal cocktail, that's light and refreshing.
I used an inexpensive smooth Merlot as the base for this Sangria with it's fruity medium to full body presence on the palate.
I then added honey to sweeten the Sangria for it's delicious fruity flavor, rum, pomegranate juice, pomegranate arils, orange, and lime.
The Red Wine Pomegranate Sangria is then topped off with ginger beer to dilute Sangria to desired strength. 
The warmth of ginger, and fizz round out this fun cocktail for a wonderful drink to celebrate Christmas, New Years, or just the end of a busy week! 
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Orange Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

Orange Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies are a favorite with a large cuppa for Christmas. serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com
One Christmas Colt's boss had given us a box of cookies from a local bakery called the Breadfarm, and it contained a delicious assortment of cookies including Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies.
So once we ran out of cookies I had to recreate them with the addition of pistachio's.
Orange Cranberry Pistachio Shortbread Cookies have the perfect balance of butter, orange zest, cranberries, and pistachios.
They are tender and melt in your mouth with a lovely flavor.
I love that the dough can be made a few days ahead of time so you can pull out and slice enough to enjoy each day, but they also store wonderfully in an airtight container, making them great for gift giving, and cookie trays.
The Breadfarm rolls the edges in a coarse sanding sugar for a little extra decorative touch, but we didn't miss the extra sugar flavor wise.
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Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders With Coleslaw

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CleanForTheHolidays #CollectiveBiasAsian Sloppy Joe Sliders With Coleslaw #Shop #CollectiveBias #CleanForTheHolidays
Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders with Coleslaw are perfect for holiday entertaining.
We love serving these as a light lunch to tide company over until dinner, or with an assortment of finger foods for bite-size nibbles to enjoy while mingling.
We all know the messier the better when it comes to food!  
These combine Sloppy Joe's with Asian Fusion for amazing flavor in a small party appetizer.
I used a combination of ground pork and ground beef seasoned with fresh ginger, garlic, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, honey, sesame seed oil, lime, and fresh cilantro, for a wonderful fusion of flavors.
Green cabbage, purple cabbage, thinly julienned carrots, and fresh cilantro, combined with a sweet tangy vinaigrette with sesame seed oil to compliment the perfectly seasoned meat. 
Chewy small dinner rolls like sourdough makes the perfect vessel for serving if you can't find slider buns.
Asian Sloppy Joe Sliders with Coleslaw are perfect party food! 
One last thing don't forget to enter the sweepstakes at the end of the post before the recipe for a chance to win a Visa Gift Card! 
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Sugar Cookie Recipe

Soft and chewy Sugar Cookie Recipe with easy to follow step by step instructions and photos. serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com

This happens to be my all time favorite drop Sugar Cookie Recipe, and one of Santa's most requested Christmas cookies in our house.

Colt loves Sugar Cookies, so I thought I would surprise him and the kids with a batch a little early to help set the Christmas mood in our house.

The recipe produces soft and chewy Sugar Cookies with a crispy edge. Cream cheese and sour cream add a nice tang keeping the cookies from being overly sweet with a nice balance of flavor. I use a combination of butter for it's flavor, and coconut oil to help keep the cookies tender.

I almost forgot to mention the delicious crinkly tops. I mean who doesn't love a crinkly topped sugar coated cookie?

Once you try this Sugar Cookie Recipe I'm sure you'll be in love with it as much as we are.
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Crock Pot Stuffing

Crock Pot Stuffing is so good you won't miss it being cooked in the Turkey! Filled with fresh herbs and wine the flavor is impeccable. A must have for Thanksgiving and Christmas. serenabakessimplyfromscratch.com
I know it's after Thanksgiving but I received so many emails this year for my Crock Pot Stuffing, I decided it's better late then never.

We've actually enjoyed Crock Pot Stuffing a few times in the last month or two, with plans of posting the recipe, but we always seemed to run out of daylight before Colt could capture a finished photo.
Luckily the light was perfect on Thanksgiving, and he captured a few shots before the stuffing went to the table.

I started making stuffing in the crock pot on Thanksgiving 2 years ago following my car accident. I had a hard time rolling out of bed extra early that day, and a stuffed 30lb Turkey could have taken an extra 2 hours leaving dinner long over due.

I had plenty of kitchen help between Colt and the kids, but they needed my direction. When you're living in chronic pain you start to prioritize what really matters in the day, and on that particular day I knew I needed the extra sleep, after a night of tossing and turning.

From past experience I knew cooking the excess stuffing in a casserole dish never created the moist flavorful stuffing that came from the Turkey, and required valuable oven space. It was dry, and no matter what I did it just wasn't my first choice, so I decided I would test out the slow cooker, to not only save oven space, but on time.

After 15 years of Stuffing the Turkey, my ways have been eternally changed. Not only does the Stuffing smell amazing, but you won't miss the flavor, with a few simple tricks.

It's moist and flavorful, with a lightly crispy edge similar to dressing. Crock Pot Stuffing really is the best of both worlds.
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