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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Winter and Holiday Baking: Monkey bread recipe


Ever wonder how monkey bread got its name? It is said that the stacked bread resembles a barrel of monkeys. I'm not sure about that, but what I am sure about is that this recipe tastes delicious and is perfect for a cool weather treat.

Monkey Bread

    4 packages buttermilk biscuits
    2 tsp cinnamon
    ½ cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 stick margarine or butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
Cut biscuits into quarters.
Coat with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Place coated biscuits into a bunt pan.
Melt brown sugar and margarine in a glass microwave bowl for 1 minute. Stir.
Pour melted mixture over biscuits.
Bake for 30 minutes or until biscuits are cooked through.
Let rest 10 minutes and flip over onto a platter. 

Apple pie fritter bread recipe

Ice box cake recipe

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Gifts in a jar ideas, recipes, lables, and tips


Gifts In A Jar

Have you ever heard of, given, or received a gift in a jar? Basically, they are food gifts made with love and goodness.

All you have to do is take your favorite dessert recipe, measure out the dry ingredients, and layer them into a glass jar with a lid. Add a note tag that explains what wet ingredients need to be added, their increments, and baking temperature and time.

It’s that simple! You can even lay a piece of fabric over the top of the jar and tie it on with a ribbon.

Then, as an added bonus, you can tie a cookie-cutter, measuring spoon, or something having to do with baking. Tie the added bonus on by the ribbon before you tie it into a bow.

You can also do this with a soup recipe that includes dry beans. Hot chocolates work great with gifts in a jar as well.

Gifts in a jar are non-perishable and can be sold by cottage bakers. They make perfect Holiday gifts!

Gift in a jar recipes

Easy Bar Cookie Mix

2 cups graham crumbs

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk

1/2 cup chopped nuts, your preference

Layer ingredients in any order into a 1-quart jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Pack ingredients down as you add each layer.

Secure lid and add fabric, ribbon, and added item if preferred.

Create the following gift tag to affix to the jar:


Easy Bar Cookies

1 Jar of Easy Bar Cookie Mix

1 can ( 14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 13x9 inch baking pan with no-stick foil or parchment paper.

Place mix into a large bowl.

Add milk and stir with a spoon until blended.

Spread batter evenly into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Cool and serve.

Makes two dozen bars.


Spiced Cocoa in a jar

Prepare in a large bowl:

4 cups nonfat dry milk powder

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer, plain

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together well with a spoon.

Spoon into a glass jar with a lid. You can choose any size glass jar you have.

Create the following gift tag to affix to the jar:

Combine 1/3 cup spiced cocoa mix with 3/4 cup hot water or hot milk.

Stir until dissolved.

If you prefer a stronger flavor, add more spiced cocoa mix to your hot liquid.

Gift in a jar tips:

For coffee-flavored hot cocoa, add to your gift tag:

For the coffee lover, stir in 1 tsp of instant coffee powder to your cup!

Fabric and ribbon options for the lid:

Add bright colored fabric for Birthdays, fall-inspired fabric for autumn or Thanksgiving, and Christmas-themed fabric to give as Christmas gifts.

Add corresponding ribbons!

Gift tag options:

You can hand-write your instructions on index cards or print them out on colored paper. Everyone loves a hand-written recipe!

  • When layering your ingredients into the jar, try to layer them attractively. You want the jar to look pretty when you give it away.

  • Gifts in a jar make great birthday gifts, holiday gifts, and housewarming presents. They are also great for young adults who are just learning to cook and bake. Teens love gifts in a jar because there is very little measuring that has to be done. Adults enjoy them for the same reason!

The bottom line is, the recipient always enjoys homemade gifts. They make you feel like the person giving the gift has taken the time to make something special and from the heart.

 Fall baking: Pumpkin puree

Monday, November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving or Christmas morning pumpkin bread with cream cheese icing recipe


You can make this easy pumpkin bread in advance and serve it for Thanksgiving or Christmas morning breakfast or brunch.

I make it every year and not it is expected (insert evil laugh here). Now, you can enjoy this easy pumpkin bread with your family too!

Easy Pumpkin Bread

1 box white cake mix (you can also use yellow cake mix)
1 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh puree)
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 single serving cup of apple sauce (4 ounces)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Chai sugar*
Butter spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 2 loaf pans with butter spray and then lightly coat them with chai sugar. In a bowl add cake mix, pumpkin, egg, milk, apple sauce and spices. Mix well with wire whisk, removing all lumps. Pour evenly into two pans. Sprinkle chai sugar over the top of each. Bake for 55 minutes.

Chai Sugar
1/2 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup white granulated sugar
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container or plastic bag. You can easily double or triple this recipe.

4 ounces cream cheese, soft
1/2 stick butter or margarine, soft
1/2 tsp vanilla or bakers mystery flavor
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp milk
Mix cheese and butter with a fork. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Slice bread and serve icing along side.

*You can also use cinnamon sugar instead if Chai sugar!

Basic Cinnamon Sugar

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of white granulated sugar
Mix ingredients together and store in an air-tight container or plastic bag.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Thanksgiving sides: Turkey gravy recipe


Everyone needs a great gravy recipe for Turkey Day. I have an easy and delicious recipe to top your turkey and stuffing!

Turkey Gravy recipe

1/2 cup salted butter, cup into pieces

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup flour

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or drippings from your turkey

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. 

Add pepper.

Slowly add flour while whisking.

Whisk until smooth. 

While continuing to whisk, slowly add stock.

Allow gravy to cook for a few minutes to thicken. 

Serve right away or keep warm o the stove until you are ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Thanksgiving sides: Crispy baked Brussels Sprouts recipe


Don't forget your greens on Turkey Day! Try these crispy baked Brussels with Dijon for dipping!


Crispy Baked Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil.

Place Brussels on sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minute and flip them over.

Bake for 10 more minutes or until crispy to your liking. 


Dijon Sauce (Aioli)

1/4 cup mayo

2 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard 

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste

Mix all ingredients together and serve right away or chill until ready to serve. 

Dip your Brussels in Aioli and enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Thanksgiving sides: Macaroni and cheese recipe


This recipe is cheesy deliciousness and it is made on the stove top which frees up the oven for other  things while you are cooking your Turkey Day meal. 

Macaroni and Cheese

1/4 cup butter, salted

1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 shakes black pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (sharp)

6 cups elbow pasta, cooked (3 cups dried)


Boil water for pasta, add a teaspoon of salt and cook until al dent.  

While cooking, in a large saucepan melt butter over low / medium heat.

After melted, add flour and whisk together until smooth.

Add salt and pepper and whisk to combine.

Continue whisking.

When mixture becomes thick, remove from heat.

Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Fold in cooked pasta.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Thanksgiving or Christmas morning cherry danish recipe

Cherry danish is the perfect brunch OR dessert to make for the Holidays this year. It is also perfect for a weekend treat any time of year.

I always encourage my readers to get creative with the recipes I share and this one is no different. If you prefer apples, blueberries or any other fruit, feel free to use it in place of the cherries called for in this recipe.

Cherry Danish Recipe

1 Stick of margarine, cut into pieces
1 Cup of flour
4-6 tablespoons of cold water
2 teaspoons of salt
Cinnamon sugar*
1 can of cherry pie filling
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. of milk or water (more if icing is too thick)

Line a cookie sheet with no-stick foil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients for dough together in a large bowl. Form into a ball.
Roll out dough between 2 sheets of floured wax paper into a circle.
Sprinkle dough with cinnamon sugar.
Cut dough into 4 equal parts.
Roll each part into a roll.
Twist each roll into a swirl and press together with fingers. Then, create a small dip into the top of each roll to hold the fruit.
Add cherry pie filling onto each roll.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Top with icing.

*You can easily make your own cinnamon sugar by taking ½ cup of white sugar and mixing it with 5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

You can also buy a small bottle in the spice section at your local grocery store or at Savory Spice Shop in Raleigh, NC!