Crunchy Maple Shortbread Cookies

Crunchy Maple Shortbread Cookies

Your family and friends will be so so excited when you share these tasty treats! Beautifully delicious Crunchy Maple Shortbread Cookies are a fantastic gift, and guests will love them. The maple crunch packs a flavorful punch, and these cookies become a delicious addition to your go-to holiday recipes. For added indulgence, dip them in melted chocolate and allow to cool. These are made with Nature Path’s Crunchy Maple Sunrise Cereal (which my kids and I love). These crowed-pleasing treats are so yummy I strongly suggest keeping a few for yourself! Check out how low in calorie there are too!

Calories per serving: 116, Fat 8g, Cholesterol 10mg, Sodium 8mg, Carbohydrates 12g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 6.5g, Protein 1.5g

Small Batch Granola

One of my favorite snacks of all time is granola. When I saw this recipe for Small Batch Honey-Pistachio Granola on my dear friend, Kelley’s blog, Mountain Mama Cooks, I had to make it. My kids and I loved it, and we have made it so many times that we know it by heart. I decided to change up her recipe just slightly to make this Small Batch Granola for some last minute holiday food gifts. I substituted pecans and almonds for her pistachios, but both versions are spectacularly simple. I found these super cute Christmas tree shaped jars at Walmart, and I had made budget friendly food gifts with ease. I gave one of these to my friends yesterday, and she called to tell me it was already gone. She asked for the recipe. Well, here it is….

Holiday Cookie Mix in a Jar

There’s only one more week until Christmas, and if you need some last minute gift ideas, how about a Holiday Cookie Mix in a jar? This is really easy and fun activity to do with the kids, and everyone loves a homemade gift. My daughter, Leigh, put together most of these for me, and she had a blast! All you need is a few simple baking ingredients and a jar, and you can make a budget-friendly holiday gift for neighbors, teachers or anyone on your list. Happy holidays!

Harry & David Giveaway: Just in Time for the Holidays

When I think of holiday food gifts, my mind goes straight to Harry & David. Every year I look forward to receiving a holiday gift from Harry & David and their mouth watering pears. My 3 kids love them, but this year I am so excited to have received this Holiday Founder’s Favorites Gift Box (above) filled with cheese, crackers, pears, apples, candy, chocolate popcorn and more AND host a Giveaway for one of these (a $79.95 Value)! We enjoyed every bit of this gift box, and we took the cheese and crackers with us to Thanksgiving dinner.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me “What is your favorite Harry & David product?” If you haven’t tried any of their products, which one would you like to try?

The giveaway is open until Wednesday, December 5th at 8 a.m CST. The giveaway is only open to USA residents. Be sure a valid email address is included with your comment(s). Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on this post. We will email the winner and if the winner doesn’t respond in 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Product will be shipped by Harry & David. Good luck!

For more chances to win do the following:

1. Like Alison Lewis on Facebook

2. Follow Alison Lewis on Twitter

3. Follow Alison Lewis on Pinterest

4. Like Harry & David on Facebook

Disclosure: This giveaway is being provided by Harry & David, but our opinions are my own.

Buttermilk Pancakes & Guest Post by “Today’s Nest”

I am so excited to announce that my post today is by Sam Henderson of Today’s Nest, one of my favorite sites. Please be sure to check out his site and his incredible talent! I am honored to have him share his incredible work with you for National Hot Breakfast Month. Take it away, Sam….

Pancakes are an American staple and go by many names–flapjacks, hot sales, griddle cakes, etc. The breakfast standard has a long history and is even surrounded by a bit of folklore. Perhaps you have read the story of Paul Bunyan and his love for flapjacks. Some say it took nearly 20 men to make enough pancakes to satisfy him.  I sometimes feel as though I could use a little help getting enough for my crew. They seem to disappear from the plate faster than I can flip them. We used a box mix for a long time until we discovered we could make better cakes on our own.

There is no magic in box pancake mix.  The ingredients  are, for the most part, already in your pantry. The only exception here is that many pancake mixes require just water to be ready to go. If you desire the taste of true buttermilk pancakes, you will be required to keep some buttermilk on hand.  The good news is you can make some Homemade Butter or purchase some and keep it for other purposes.

Sam’s 10 Pancake Tips:

1. A word about syrup… I believe in saving money where it is sensible and doesn’t compromise good taste (in every sense of the word). REAL Maple syrup is not a meaningless purchase. Buy REAL Maple Syrup.

2. As a nice gift, double the dry ingredients and place them in an airtight jar.  Tie a card around the top with the recipe written inside.

3. When you pour in the wet ingredients, mix quickly and just until moistened.  That’s all.  There may be some lumps, but it won’t be evident when your light and fluffy pancakes are served.

4. If you have the time, allow the batter to rest before using.  Even after an hour the results are better.

5. Pancakes should be flipped only once.  Pull up the side to see if the bottom is the color you want and then flip it gently.  The second side should only take half to three quarters the time it took for the first side.

6. If you are using a non-stick pan or griddle you should not need any additional butter or oil.

7. I find a griddle much easier to manage for pancake making.  I don’t have to struggle with the side of the pan and I can cook many more at a time.

8. I use an ice cream scoop to measure out my pancakes.  Ours holds exactly 1/4 cup of batter, and I am able to maintain consistent results.

9. Freezing pancakes is simple.  Place cooled cakes on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Top with another sheet of parchment and another layer of pancakes.  Continue until all are single layered between parchment sheets.  Place in freezer until frozen.  Remove frozen pancakes from parchment and store in a sealable freezer bag.

10. Reheat frozen pancakes covered with a damp paper towel in a microwave for 1-2 minutes.

No Bake Chocolate-Peanut Flaxseed Butter Bars

No Bake recipes bar cookie recipes are some of my favorite cookie/bar types of desserts, especially this time of year when I’m so busy. I quickly mixed up these up  one afternoon, and my kids told me these were a “home run” (well that was what the boys said). My daughter loved them even though she isn’t a coconut fan. These No Bake Chocolate Peanut Bars call for ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. These make a great afternoon snack, dessert (with milk) and an easy homemade gift for Christmas or Hanukkah.

Rosemary-Chipotle Spiced Nuts

Every year, I try to come up with a new roasted, spiced nut recipe for holiday food gifts to give to friends, teachers and loved ones. Rosemary-Chipotle Spiced Nuts has to go to the top of the list as one of my favorites. They are so easy to prepare, and I love the combination of using fresh rosemary and dried chipotle seasoning to give a hint of earthiness and spiciness to the nuts. These nuts are great on their own as a snack, but also wonderful tossed in a salad or on top of roasted vegetables, sautéed spinach and even stirred in yogurt. They make a healthy, homemade food gift just in time of the holidays.

Molten Cake in a Mug

It’s the time of year when my kids get hooked on any type of hot chocolate desserts. My 3 kids especially love “molten” and “lava” cakes. So, I thought, “Why not change a recipe around a bit to create another tasty treat for them.” Instead of using ramekins, I tried some fun stoneware mugs. These Molten Cakes in a Mug came out absolutely wonderful. They make a simple, inexpensive holiday gift. Just purchase a stoneware or ovenproof mug, and tie a recipe card with this recipe to go along with it. It may just be what my neighbors are getting :). I hope they aren’t reading this…

Healthy Food Gift Idea: All Natural Granola Bars

I’m always looking for new granola bars recipes to try since it’s one of mine and my 3 kid’s favorite snacks. I saw a version of this bar recipe on The Whole Kitchen by my friend Jenn which was adapted from a talented Cookbook Author (who I also know) Camilla’s Enlightened Cooking. These Homemade, All-Natural Granola Bars were a huge hit with the kids. I was so excited to share this recipe for a healthy homemade holiday food gift option. These make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or pre-workout offering. I even break them up and stir them into nonfat Greek Yogurt for a wonderful high protein breakfast. You can see me making these on Monday on NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” at 11:30 CST on my food television segment on featuring healthy homemade food gift ideas.

Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

Okay…my kids are obsessed with Peppermint Hot Chocolate. The past few weeks we have been visiting Starbucks more than often to savor their craving. Since I have been working on my Christmas list, I decided to create my own homemade version of Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate Mix that will make the perfect holiday food gift. I used dark chocolate instead of milk or semisweet chocolate, but feel free to use your favorite. It has been said to lower blood pressure, work as a powerful antioxidant and even help release endorphins to boost your mood. It’s super easy and inexpensive to make, and everyone loves it.