3 Pink Desserts for Valentine’s Day

3 pink desserts for Valentines Day


Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.  I like it because there’s no pressure to celebrate.  After all, we’ve been married 26 years now and we celebrate our anniversary just 6 weeks before Valentine’s each year.

That leaves February 14 as a simple, no expectations day.

A pink, chocolate, heart doodle day in the middle of a bleak winter month.

What’s not to like about that?

It doesn’t take much to make this day special.  For our everyday dinners, I rarely set the table with a table cloth and candles, but sometimes on Valentines, I pull out a white table cloth.  Our dishes are red, so that makes decorating easy.  Add a pack of heart shaped confetti and a few candles and suddenly the family dinner just got fun!

And sometimes I make a special dessert too.  Chocolate is always a hit, but pink is prettier.

Here are three simple pink desserts for Valentine’s Day.   [Read more...]

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21 Hot Sandwich Recipes for Super Bowl plus 1 Snackadium

21 Hot Sandwiches for Super Bowl plus 1 Snackadium

Hot sandwiches and Super Bowl go hand in hand.  Maybe you’re like me and don’t really care much about football.  But even non-football fans can appreciate the food!

Here are 21 hot sandwich recipes, many of which make use of the slow cooker.  Plus, there’s 1 easy snackadium too.  I promise, this is an easy project to put together.  And it makes a big impression!  Not to mention, it feeds a crowd.

Snackadium for Super Bowl_edited-1 [Read more...]

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Super Bowl Food

You don’t have to know me very well to know that I’m not a big time football fan.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t like the food!  My plan for Sunday is to make a few of these recipes, have a fire in the fireplace and conk out on the couch with a good book.  If someone turns on football, that’s fine but I’ll enjoy the day whether there’s a game or not.

If you’re having a Super Bowl party, you’re going to want to check out how to make the Easy Snackadium.  It will feed a small crowd and it’s lots of fun!

Our recent Bacon-fest party has a ton of Super Bowl worthy recipes linked up.  It’s definitely worth looking over.

Thai Chili Chicken Egg Rolls are a crowd pleaser.

If you’re looking for a hearty soup or chili try:

Cheesy Hamburger Soup

Mel’s Diner Chili

Velma’s Chili from the Mitford Cookbook

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday?


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5 Tips for Holiday Entertaining

The holidays mean getting together with friends and family.  And that often means that you’re the host of the gathering.  Here are my top 5 tips for Holiday Hosting:

1.  Keep it simple.

I’m not a perfectionist.  I’m not fancy.  But I don’t let my lack of themed decorations and perfect place settings get in the way of having friends and family over.  I just keep it simple and relaxed.  And I’ve found that most people really enjoy a time to kick back and laugh together, without worrying about anything more.

2.  Set up a buffet.  

Whether you’re doing desserts or a full meal, buffet style is easier to pull of than a sit down dinner.  Guests can serve themselves, go back for seconds and generally find what they need when a party is set up as a buffet.

3.  Ask about special diet restrictions.

It’s always nice to know and plan for guests who may avoid sugar or who eat gluten free.  They’ll appreciate your extra effort for them.

4.  If you have kids coming, make it kid friendly.

Kids love munching bite-sized fruits and cheese cubes.  Parents will appreciate if you keep the cookie and chocolate trays up high so toddlers and preschoolers can’t help themselves.

5.  Think through the cooking time of your recipes.

If you’ve got two ovens, you’re in luck.  You’ve got plenty of flexibility.  If you only have one, you’ll have to plan well.  Try using slow cookers for some of the dishes.  I recently found this Breville Smart Oven and it’s now on my wish list.  It can do anything from make toast to bake bread to make crispy pizza.  It will even roast a chicken.

Breville has released new, time saving products such as the Smart Oven, just in time for the holidays! Take the guess work our of holiday cooking with the Smart Oven, the oven that does the thinking for you. Check out their website for more information on this product and other great gift ideas. 

And don’t forget to reply below for two chances to win your choice of amazing Breville products either for yourself or as a gift to a loved one: YouBrew, Tea Maker and Smart Oven products ($250 ARV)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Breville. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules

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Homemade Gifts from the Kitchen

I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that Christmas is getting close.  I see the lights and decorations.  I hear the music. I’ve even started shopping.  But I just can’t convince myself that it’s really December.  A whole week into December.

I’m going to be caught by surprise again.  Even though I know it’s coming and I try to prepare.  Anyone else feel like this?

I do have a few quick and easy gift ideas you can make in your own kitchen.  These posts are from last year, but I wanted to pull them back up to the top so they aren’t forgotten.

First up, the snack mixes you see in the photo above.  Fun to make and to give.  They’re super quick too, so if you need to do a lot at once (teacher gifts, maybe?) this is an idea for you.  There’s even a free printable for the black and white Hollywood Mix.

Two more quick mixes – Homemade Seasoned Salt and Homemade Italian Herb Salt.  These are both great for anyone who likes to cook.  You can mix up a big batch and make several jars at once.

Finally, Apple Butter in the Slow Cooker would make a great gift.  This one does need to be kept refrigerated, so keep that in mind when thinking of who to give it to.  It’s really easy to make though, because it starts with store-bought applesauce.


There are two giveaways going on right now that you still have time to enter.

Win a $50 Sam’s Club card from Beneforte Broccoli by entering here.

And I’m giving away a programmable Crock-Pot too.  You only have about 1 day left to enter this one!

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Holiday Dinner Menu Ideas

Since Thanksgiving is later this week, I thought I’d share some recipe ideas instead of the regular Menu + Grocery list.


Pie crust tutorial

Spicy Pumpkin Pie

Gingerbread with Lemon Sauce

Cranberry Braid Bread

Cranberry Nut Bars

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Old Fashioned Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze

Side Dish/Salad/Vegetables   [Read more...]

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Prep & Planning: Steps to a Peaceful Holiday – Free Printable Holiday Meal Planner

I had a great time cooking on Saturday and hanging out with some of you who were also getting things done in the kitchen.  We gathered on Facebook for a Virtual Cooking Party.  It was a lot of fun and now I’ve got a freezer full of cooked chicken, soup, meatballs and more.

If you missed the party on Saturday, but would still like to do a little virtual baking, plan to be part of Liz’s Virtual Baking Party on Wednesday morning.  We’ll be gathering on the Hoosier Homemade Facebook page to talk, bake and share ideas.

Today, I’ve got a free printable Holiday Meal Planner for you.  If you’re the cook for a Holiday feast this year, this will come in handy.  I’m a big believer in using lists when I’m cooking a big meal.

Lists keep me from forgetting to make the sweet tea or finding a fruit salad in the fridge after the dinner is over and everyone has gone home.

To print your Holiday Meal Planner, click here:  [download id="120"]

Last week, we talked about make ahead party food.  Liz posted this cheese ball recipe that can be frozen.

For the first week of the series, I posted 4 snack mixes that require no baking and no cooking.  Liz shared Hot Cocoa and Tea gifts in a jar.

How will you celebrate Thanksgiving?  Are you the main cook for the day?

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More No Bake, No Cook, No Time Gifts – Homemade Seasoned Salt and Italian Herb Salt

I like keeping these seasoned and herb salts on hand to cook with.  I’ve shared the recipe for homemade seasoned salt before.  This version makes a larger batch and is tweaked just a bit.

Use the seasoned salt just like you would any other seasoned salt.  I like using it in pasta dishes, on grilled meats and even on zucchini.

[Read more...]

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Prep & Planning for the Holidays – Foods That Can Be Made Ahead

There are two ways to combat the crazy-busy whirl that is the holidays.

  1. Let things go.  Don’t try to do it all, or anywhere near all of it.
  2. Plan ahead.

We’re going to focus on the second one this week.  I’ve got some ideas here for foods that can be made ahead and frozen.  And on Saturday, we’re getting together on Facebook for a Virtual Cooking Party for holiday prep.  If you’ve got time, I’d love for you to pop in over there to cook and visit with us.  We’ll gather on the main Facebook page.   I’m looking forward to getting a lot of prep work done myself!  On November 16, Liz from Hoosier Homemade is hosting a Virtual Baking Day so you’ll have another chance to get some prep work done for the holidays.

Anything you do now will be a help later.   [Read more...]

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The No-Bake, No-Cook, No-Time Gift Solution – 4 Snack Mix Recipes in a Jar

So here’s the story – The Prep and Planning series that I’m doing with Liz from Hoosier Homemade starts today and we’d decided to do homemade gift ideas from the kitchen for the first week.

Friday night came and I knew I had to come up with an idea for today’s post.  I had nothing.  Squat nada.  Zilch.

But, a tiny bit of holiday magic happened and I woke up Saturday morning with the idea for snack mix in jars.

Not totally original, maybe, but   I think it’s the perfect idea.  I had no time to bake or cook.  I’m a no-fuss gift giver.  I’m not good at beautiful, well planned gifts.

This is perfect for me!  Everything looks better in a Mason jar, right?

Ever since I put these together on Sunday afternoon, my family has been munching on them.  I had to beat them off with a stick until I could take the photos.

I’ve got 4 snack mix ideas here, but use these just as a jumping off point.  Feel free to do your own thing.  I really wanted to do a Circus Mix with iced animal cookies, colorful marshmallows, peanuts and…whatever else sounded good.  I also think a Coffee Break Mix with chocolate covered coffee beans and other stuff sounds great.  Use your imagination and invent your own.  Or use the ideas below.

Bonus:  There’s a free printable to go with the Hollywood Mix.  I bribed my daughter into making it for us and I think she did a great job!

Here are the 4 mixes, all jarred up and looking cute.

[Read more...]

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