Vegan Spritz Cookies

As we are working on the Cookie Connoisseur Badge, I thought it would be fun to take a dive into one of our family’s favorite cookies: the Spritz Cookie. These almond flavored cookies are synonymous with Christmas to me! Turns out, they are a Christmas favorite for many others as well. Read on to learn more about Spritz Cookies and watch the video below to hear about our family tradition, see how to make Spritz Cookies yourself, and learn how we’ve managed to veganize this holiday classic.

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Cookie Baking Party Tips

Cookie Connoisseur Badge, Step 3

To complete Step 3 of the Cookie Connoisseur Badge, we got together for a cookie baking party! We gathered a few family members and baked Snickerdoodles, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Thumbprint Cookies, Spritz Cookies, and Iced Sugar Cookies. Read on and watch the video below to hear our tips for hosting your own cookie baking party.

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Cookie Decorating Class

Cookie Connoisseur Badge, Step 2

To complete Step 2 of the Cookie Connoisseur Badge we took a cookie decorating class at a local coffee shop! Emilee from Wildflour Cookie Co. taught us how to use royal icing in various colors to create borders and fill in the cookies. In cookie connoisseur terminology this is called “pipe and fill”. Emilee is beyond talented and her Instagram is pure joy. Go check it out for some cookie inspiration!

Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one! Cookie decorating classes seem to be plentiful these days and are also offered as e-courses online. You could also take a class that teaches you how to bake various types of cookies.

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Holiday Curiosities

On Fridays, we share a roundup of what we’ve been learning, watching, reading, and listening to outside of our badge topic for the week. We call this feature “Friday Curiosities” and this black cat is our curiosity mascot of sorts! Since we are in the midst of our holiday season, we thought it would be fun to post a holiday-themed curiosities roundup about holiday traditions and other questions we have about the holidays.

This edition of Friday Curiosities covers the holiday tradition of wassailing, a creepy holiday character, baby Yoda and Life Day, and holiday traditions around the globe.

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Cookie Research: History, Techniques, and Fun Facts

Cookie Connoisseur Badge, Step 1

cookie connoisseur badge

We are full swing into the holiday season around here. We can’t think of a better time to earn a badge all about cookies! We love everything cookies: cookie baking, cookie decorating, cookie tasting, cookie giving, and cookie swapping!

Although we’ve been cookie fans for a very long time, we did not know much about the history of cookies, how cookie recipes have changed over time, or how to decorate with royal icing. Join us as we become cookie connoisseurs! Follow along and research your favorite cookies, practice cookie decorating with royal icing, and learn some exciting cookie history and fun facts.

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Cookie Connoisseur Badge

Just in time for holiday baking, our next badge is the Cookie Connoisseur Badge! Join us over the next couple weeks as we learn the history of cookie baking, tips and techniques for decorating cookies, and how holiday baking has evolved over the years.

If you are interested in earning the Cookie Connoisseur Badge, follow along and complete the steps with us.

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Earn your Eco Holiday Hero Badge in a Weekend!

To earn the Eco Holiday Hero Badge, you will learn how to make your holidays less stressful, less expensive, more joyful and eco-friendly. Take a quiz to find out just how much you know or don’t know about holiday waste and how to reduce it, learn to wrap gifts using fabric instead of wrapping paper, shop local, and make a few homemade gifts. We’ve outlined how to complete the badge in a weekend below.

But first, here is a quick rundown of how earning a badge works. We use “Badge Guides” to lay out what it takes to earn the badge.

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Homemade Gift: DIY Advent Candles and Pom Pom Essential Oil Diffusers

Eco Holiday Badge, Step 3

To complete Step 3 of the Eco Holiday Badge, we took action by getting together and making some homemade gifts! Homemade gifts are often better for the planet because they can incorporate reused or recycled materials and often require less shipping. They are also special to give and receive because the giver has clearly put time and love into making the gift. We rounded up a bunch of homemade gift ideas here.

We picked two crowd-pleasing gifts that would be easy to create at home. We reused and recycled any items we could, and bought the rest of our supplies ahead of time.

First, we DIYed a favorite store bought gift from last year: an advent candle. This long lasting gift can be used throughout the holiday season. We also tried our hand at a brand new gift project that is sure to be a holiday hit for many on our list: pom pom essential oil diffusers!

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Reducing Gifts, Stress, and Waste for Well-Being and an Eco-Friendly Holiday with Laura from Reduce Reuse Renew

Eco Holiday Hero Badge, Step 2

To complete Step 2 of the Eco Holiday Hero Badge we interviewed Laura Durenberger, the blogger behind Reduce, Reuse, Renew. Laura gave some great ideas for focusing your shopping lists on what your loved ones really need. We love her four gift rule. We learned how to keep our mental health strong during the holidays, all while doing good for the planet and our families.

Laura’s blog, Reduce, Reuse, Renew, is a site that serves as a guide to reduction-based living through mindfulness, minimalism, anxiety management, and zero waste living in order to make room for the things that matter.

Step 2 of any badge is to learn from others. Talking to an expert or taking an organized class is a great way to do this step if you can find one! For the Eco-Holiday Hero badge we suggest taking a class from your local recycling center or other green organization, learning how to DIY some gifts this year, or practicing Furoshiki wrapping. Read on to see what we learned from Laura, an expert on zero-waste living and eco-friendly holidays!

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Furoshiki Fabric Gift Wrapping

Furoshiki fabric gift wrapping is an excellent way to reduce the amount of waste produced during the holiday season (and all year long)! We fell in love with this method of wrapping gifts in fabric a few years ago. Using fabric instead of wrapping paper allows you to reuse the wrapping year after year, and in our opinion, looks even more beautiful than paper wrapping under the tree. Once you learn a few wrapping techniques, you’ll find this method both easy and relaxing. Picking out the fabric you’ll use is a lot of fun too!

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