12 Festive Family Beverages – Yummy Non-Alcoholic Drinks For Christmas!

This non-alcoholic drinks post was brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.12 Festive Family Beverages

 

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by Gena at Foodie.com

The holiday season is a time for delicious food and family time.  My guys all love the delicious drinks of the season, from hot chocolate to cranberry drinks.  I have made a Foodie collection of 12 tasty drinks to satisfy and intrigue all of your family members this season.  They're all non-alcoholic so even the littles can enjoy them (but it would be easy to add alcohol if that's your wish!)  I have collected these recipes because they're all a bit different, but yet festive and traditional.  Some are served warm, some cold, but all are full of the flavors of the season.  Enjoy!

Save Money by Making Mini Layered Chocolates for Christmas Gifts!

This mini layered chocolates shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Mini Layered Chocolates #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias #ad

Every Christmas, I like to give homemade gifts to neighbors, teachers, and friends.  I do not like to give the traditional gifts like fruit cake and dipped pretzels, although they are delicious.  I just don't want to risk giving something that they have already received.  I personally love bite sized mini foods, so I thought about making these yummy mini layered chocolates for gifts this year.  I really had a blast making them, as you can individualize each piece and make them all different.  Plus, it is a great way to save money when you need to buy gifts for a lot of people and homemade gifts are always enjoyed!

I was able to pick up all the ingredients that I needed at Walmart on a quick shopping trip.  Everything that I needed was in the baking aisle or on the special holiday endcap.

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The ingredients I needed for the chocolate candy were Baker's semi-sweet and German's baking chocolate, Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut, Kraft caramel bits, pretzel sticks, sugar, and I already had the silicon baking mold with the gingerbread men at home.
#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

I wanted to make the coconut more of a "butter" so I put it in the food processor for about five minutes until it had a smoother consistency.  

#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Then, I followed the directions on the Baker's baking chocolate for melting it in the microwave.  I melted 1 1/2 bars (not squares, but entire bars) of semi-sweet baking chocolate and stirred, then added 1/3 cup of the coconut that I had pureed in the food processor, along with 1/4 cup of sugar and mixed well.  This mix was brownie-ish and oh so yummy!  I spooned about 1/2 – 1 tsp of the mix in each mold and pressed it down.  To harden it a bit, I popped it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Mini Layered Chocolates

After that, I melted some Baker's German's sweet chocolate bar and also the caramel bits and just played around with making different layers in the gingerbread boy molds.  I even made some that were just sweet chocolate and caramel, which were definitely the smoothest mini layered chocolates and the Captain's favorites.

#TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

I love the variety of the little gingerbread men layered chocolates.  The Captain has a tree nut allergy, or else I would have put some nuts in there, too.  I did make a few with pretzel sticks and those were my absolute favorites.

It was very simple to pop about 5-6 mini layered chocolates in a small Mason jar for a gift!

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Ingredients and Supplies needed:

  • Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, 2 bars
  • Baker's German's sweet baking chocolate, 1 bar
  • Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • pretzels, nuts, cranberries, and any other add-ins you would like! (optional)
  • silicone molds of choice
  • small mason jars and/or treat boxes for packaging gifts

Directions:

  1. Pour a half of a bag of Baker's angel flake sweetened coconut into the food processor and run for 5-10 minutes, stopping and stirring every minute or so, until a smoother texture is achieved.
  2. Melt 1 1/2 whole bars of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions.  (Check and stir every 30 seconds until melted.)
  3. Mix coconut "butter" and melted chocolate in a bowl, along with 1/4 cup of sugar until well combined.
  4. When cooled, press 1/2 – 1 tsp of mixture into bottom of silicon molds.
  5. Place molds in refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden and set. 
  6. Then, add in a layer of crushed pretzels, nuts, cranberries, etc to various molds for variety.
  7. Melt Baker's German's chocolate bar in the microwave, checking and stirring every 30 seconds.
  8. Pour chocolate into various molds.
  9. Melt Kraft caramel bits (watch closely!) and pour in various molds, as well.
  10. If you want to make a layer of German's sweet chocolate on top of the caramel, make sure to refrigerate for 10-20 minutes to firm up before adding in the last layer.
  11. When all molds are filled, refrigerate for an additional 30 minutes and then pop them out and into your mason jars or treat boxes.
  12. Deliver to your recipients and watch their smiles erupt!

Note:  You probably need to advice your recipients to keep the chocolates cool so they won't melt.  You shouldn't need to keep them in the fridge, but that may not be a bad idea.  Also, make sure to note any allergies (dairy, coconut, nuts, etc).

 

Mini Layered Chocolates #ad #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

What is your go to holiday treat that you enjoy making for gifts?  

If you need more inspiration, visit the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What's not to love? If you're looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

Mini layered chocolates

Microwave Cinnamon Apples and Cranberries

This microwave cinnamon apples and cranberries post was brought to you by Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received the product directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meets blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group, LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

Microwave Cinnamon Apples and Cranberries

Whenever the boys need a quick snack, my go to is always fruit.  They love it and it's quick, easy, and healthy.  Sometimes they want more of a dessert, but I don't want to whip up a big batch of cookies.  Microwave cinnamon apples is usually what I make for them, and all three of them devour it!  With the holidays here and cranberries in the stores, I wanted to try out a new spin on our old favorite!  I made microwave cinnamon apples and cranberries, but this time, I used Monk Fruit in the Raw.  

Ingredients for one serving:

  • one apple (I usually use Gala or Fuji)
  • 8-10 cranberries
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 -1 tsp Monk Fruit in the Raw

Directions:

  1. Peel, core, and cut apple into cubes.
  2. Sprinkle cinnamon and Monk Fruit in the Raw on top of cubed apple and cranberries in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Cover with a glass plate or microwave safe lid.
  4. Microwave for 3 minutes, or until apples and cranberries are tender.
  5. Serve by itself or with ice cream or homemade coconut whipped cream!

If you haven't tried Monk Fruit in the Raw, I definitely recommend it.  I am against artifcial sweeteners, so I was glad to know that Monk Fruit in the Raw is made from a vine-ripened fruit that is native in Asia.  Monk fruit was first harvested in the 13th century by Arhats, or "Enlightened Ones," which translates to "Monks" in English.  

Monk Fruit in the Raw

Monk Fruit in the Raw is naturally vegan, kosher, and gluten free.  It does not contain any added table sugar, sugar alcohols, or molasses.  Monk Fruit in the Raw has the closest taste to sugar as any non-calori sweetener and has the least amount of aftertaste.  It can be used to replace the sugar in drinks, sauces, and dressings.  For baked goods, it is recommended that you only replace half of the recommended sugar with Monk Fruit in the Raw.

Learn more about Monk Fruit in the Raw and other In The Raw products on their website, Twitter, and Facebook, too!

Microwave Cinnamon Apples and Cranberries

 

21 Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers – Perfect for Holiday Parties!

This appetizers post has been brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.

Check out 21 Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers

by Gena at Foodie.com

Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers

The holidays are officially here!  It seems unreal that next week is Thanksgiving, but it's true!  It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because well….the food is delicious!  I am looking forward to the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and all the other delicious sides, but also the yummy appetizers to eat before the big meal.

 I have collected 21 fun, festive, flavorful appetizers on Foodie and all would be perfect for snacking while the turkey cooks or those Christmas parties that will be happening soon.  Take a look and pick a few favorites before you head to the grocery store.  These recipes are sure to wow your crowd!

What are you serving this year?

Create A Banana Recipe In The Chiquita Cooking Lab {My Banana Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Recipe, Too!}

This banana recipe post was brought to you by Chiquita and Moms Meet, May Media LLC.  All opinions are mine and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group, LLC or Chiquita.  #MMLovesChiquita #ChiquitaCookingLab

I never imagined anyone could love bananas so much until I had kids.  Bananas are the perfect snack for kids and adults because they're easy to open, taste delicious, and are jam packed with delicousness!  Baby Brother is in a huge banana phase right now, so we always have Chiquita bananas on hand.

Right now through November 24th, Chiquita is having a recipe contest called the Chiquita Cooking Lab.  Every week, three featured ingredients will be revealed and participants are challenged to create a unique recipe that incorporates these three ingredients.  There is no limit to any additional ingredients, but the recipe MUST include the three ingredients revealed in the Chiquita Cooking Lab!

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When I "scratched" to reveal the three ingredients I would be working with…I was pretty happy that I found bananas (of course,) cream cheese, and chocolate chips!   I had all three ingredients on hand, so I started creating the perfect yummy recipe!

Banana Cream Cheese Chocolate ChipsWe love cheesecake, so I knew that was the perfect recipe to create.  I made Banana Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars and they were a hit!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BarsIngredients:

  • one ripe Chiquita banana
  • one 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt 2 TBSP butter in an 8×8 glass dish in oven.
  3. Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter in the dish and press to create a crust, set aside.
  4. Beat cream cheese, banana, and sugar until smooth.
  5. Add in eggs and continue to beat well.
  6. Add in vanilla and chocolate chips and stir well.
  7. Pour cheesecake filling on top of crust.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees or until the top is slightly browned and the entire cheesecake is set.
  9. Let cool and then refrigerate for several hours until chilled. 

cheesecake

 

The Chiquita Cooking Lab contest will end on November 24th, so make sure and check it out soon!  The ingredients change every week, so scratch to see what you will be cooking with!  One winner will be chosen each week to win a $4,000 cash prize and will have their recipe turned into a stop motion video and promoted on Chiquita's digital and social channels.  Four random winners will also be chosen weekly to receive a Chiquita gift bag.  You can enter a new recipe each week if you wish!  

Good luck and go bananas with your creative recipe!

 

31 Hearty -Real Food- Soups, Chowders, and Stews

This real food recipe has been brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.

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The nights are becoming cooler and that means it's soup season!  I have made a collection of 31 hearty and filling soups, chowders, and stews made with real food!   No condensed soups, processed foods (that you can't omit or substitute,) just real, delicious food ingredients. 

 
Enjoy finding the perfect recipe for a chilly night. 

Check out Soups

by Gena at Foodie.com

What is your favorite cold weather recipe?

27 Satisfying, Creative Skillet Recipes – Start to Finish in One Skillet!

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27 Skillet Recipes

 

I recently wrote about my new found love for iron skillets.  They’re easy to use, clean, and are healthy to cook in, too.  My iron skillets stay on the stove because I use them all of the time.  Keep them seasoned and they’ll be non-stick and ready to use.  My favorite brand of cast iron is Lodge.  (Check out how to season your cast iron and take care of it so it serves you well.)

I have collected 27 great recipes that require only one cast iron skillet to cook.  You can obviously use another type of pan for these recipes, but cast iron is my favorite.  There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes…and even one for dessert!  Check them out and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

 

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables (pictured)

Pepperoni, Avocado, & Sun-Dried Tomato Stovetop Frittata – The West Coast Mommy (pictured)

Skillet Ratatouille – An Ordinary Housewife

Tasty Ham Frittata with Asparagus, Grape Tomatoes, Chives, & Brie – lo-wren (pictured)

Salsa Mac & Cheese – Our Piece of Earth

Homemade Skillet Cheeseburger Macaroni – This Simple Home

Garden Vegetable Beef Skillet – Simply Stacie

Weight Watchers Lime Cilantro Chicken – Penny Pincher Jenny

Easy Gluten Free Paella – Fearless Dining (pictured)

Pizza Pork Chops – A Tipical Day

Cowboy Food – Become A Coupon Queen

Shepherd’s Pie – Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs

Rotini Beef Skillet – Thrifty Jinxy

Chicken Pasta Florentine – Thrifty Jinxy

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper - Farm Fresh Feasts

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles – Farm Fresh Feasts

Deep Dish Green Tomato & Goat Cheese Pizza – Farm Fresh Feasts

Roasted Garlic & Fennel Focaccia – Farm Fresh Feasts (pictured)

Roast Potatoes in a Cast Iron Skillet – Amanda’s Cookin’ (pictured)

Udon Noodle Stir Fry – Slap Dash Mom

Skillet Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Toss – Table For Seven

Creamy Tortellini Skillet – Table For Seven (pictured)

Easy One Skillet Nachos – Stockpiling Moms (pictured)

Mexican Pie – A Virtuous Woman

Farmer’s Skillet Hash – The Gracious Wife

One Skillet Breakfast – The Thrifty Couple

Brownies In A Cast Iron Skillet – Amanda’s Cookin’ (pictured)

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables

I recently splurged and bought myself a cast iron set.  I had never used cast iron, but after reading about how awesome it truly is, I just had to try it out.  I found a great deal on a five piece Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron set on (affiliate) Amazon and have really been pleased.  I use this set for just about everything.  Clean-up is simple, too.  I just rinse out the pan, dry it completely on the stove, then season it with a little dab of coconut oil and it’s good to go for the next use.  I also found that if some foods DO stick, all you have to do is soak it (no longer than 10 minutes,) scrub it with a sponge, and sprinkle a little table salt in it to get the tricky bits off.  So easy.  And there are no yucky PFOAs or chemicals that leech into your food, so cast iron is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

I love meals that can be cooked in one skillet, start to finish, so I created this delicious One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables recipe.  It’s delicious, has great vegetables that complement the meat, and is easy, of course!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into the same size as the sweet potato cubes
  • 1 cup of baby carrots, cut in half
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle the grapeseed oil into the bottom of your skillet.
  2. Brown the pork chops over medium/high heat.
  3. While pork chops are cooking, mix your brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, water, and orange juice together.
  4. Turn pork chops and add vegetables on top.
  5. Drizzle orange juice mixture over the vegetables and pork chops.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
  7. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.  Make sure to check every so often to make sure you have enough moisture.  If you do not, you can add water, 1/8 cup at a time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Cake Batter Coconut Chocolate Candy

This post contains affiliate links. However, this post was not sponsored by any company.

Cake Batter Coconut Chocolate

 

 

I’m the kind of girl who keeps a Costco sized bag of semisweet chocolate chips in the freezer.  What….you don’t do that?  For one, it saves a lot of money, not only because I buy in bulk, but because it’s the only chocolate I really eat.  I can use it for chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or I can grab a handful and share some with the boys midday.  There’s nothing wrong with that…right?  I mean, it could be worse!  Right?

For awhile I was making my coconut chocolate candy often.  D and I would eat it, but no one else really cared for it.  And then I realized that if I’m the only one really eating it, then perhaps I should not be making it anymore.  Huge sigh.  But then, I discovered something new and different from my regular coconut butter …….  CAKE BATTER coconut butter!!!  This is totally NOT sponsored, but this company, Nikki’s, makes amazing flavors of coconut butter and Vanilla Cake Batter is one of them.  Vanilla Cake Batter, people!  Coconut butter that tastes like cake batter.  Here are the ingredients:  organic unsweetened coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic honey, organic vanilla extract, and sea salt.  It’s so delicious right out of the jar, but I made my chocolate candy with it!  And it’s so, so delicious!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a double boiler or in a glass measuring cup in a pot of boiling water on the stove.
  2. Melt ingredients, continually whisking or stirring until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a silicon candy mold.
  4.  Place molds in fridge and let harden.
  5. Keep any uneaten candy in the fridge or cool place.

 

 

 

cake batter chocolate candy

Nectarine Sopapilla Cheesecake Recipe

Nectarine Sopapilla Cheesecake (or use peaches!)

Nectarines and peaches are this family's favorite Summer fruits. We are lucky to get the most delicious peaches and nectarines at the local supermarket. I always buy many at a time because I know they will be eaten. The boys love eating them plain.  Even Baby Brother can quickly devour a nectarine!  I wanted to make a dessert with our nectarines, but not anything typical. Hubbby and I love Sopapilla Cheesecake, so I had a great idea to add fruit to it. We have added peaches and nectarines to this dessert, and both are excellent! 

{This recipe is for an 8 x 8 dish} 

 

Ingredients:
  • one large nectarine
  • one can of crescent rolls (I use Immaculate Baking because they have a relatively clean ingredients list)
  • 1 1/2 – 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 + 1/4 cups of your favorite kind of sugar. (I have used coconut and organic granulated sugar, both work well.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  1.  Preheat oven to 350° F
  2.  Melt butter in a 8 x 8 glass dish in the oven.
  3.  Beat 3/4 cup of sugar with cream cheese and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  4.  When butter is melted, pour it into a small bowl and set aside.
  5.  Roll out four triangles of your crescent roll dough into the bottom of a glass pan.
  6.  Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the dough.
  7.  Slice and peel nectarine and place slices over cream cheese mixure:nectarine sopapilla cheesecake (or use peaches!)
  8.  Place the remaining four crescent roll triangles on top of the nectarine slices.
  9.  Drizzle the melted butter on top.
  10.  Sprinkle the cinnamon and remaining sugar on top of the dessert.
  11.  Place in the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until dough is browned. 

nectarine cheesecake