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….

5 Favorite Holiday Foods Gifts

I can not believe that Hannukah started last night and Christmas is around the corner. I have been getting many calls and emails for ideas for holiday food gifts, and many of you were asking for my Homemade Cracker Jacks, Granola Bars and Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate recipes. I gathered all of them here in this post for 5 of my favorite holiday food gifts. My daughter, Leigh, came up with this S’mores Kit (above). Just gather some graham crackers, marshmallows and graham crackers, and it is that easy. Stay tuned for NBC 13 “Daytime Alabama” this Friday, December 14th at 11:30 a.m when I’ll be Co-Hosting the show and sharing holiday food gift ideas and more.

Peppermint Dark Hot Chocolate via Ingredients, Inc.

Dark Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookies via Ingredients Inc.

Homemade Cracker Jacks via Ingredients, Inc.

All Natural Granola Bars via Ingredients, Inc.

No-Bake Date Nut Energy Bars

I am always looking for new, healthy snack ideas for the kids, and if I can come up with a no-bake recipe idea, then even better. My two boys love dried dates, so I thought this combination of dates, nuts and flaxseed would make a great healthy snack, dessert or breakfast idea. You’ll love these too. No-Bake Date Energy Bars are not only “no-bake”, they are also gluten-free and perfect for all of my friends following the Paleo Diet. They also make a great pre or post workout snack so enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from “The Dramatic Pancake”.

Gluten Free: Grain-Free Granola

One of my food weaknesses is definitely granola so I thought I would develop a recipe for a Grain-Free Granola for all of those who can’t have grains, are gluten-free, are following the Paleo Diet or are watching their carbohydrate intake. This recipe for Grain-Free Granola is super easy to make, and it’s full of my favorite seeds and nuts. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand as all of the nuts and seeds are easily interchangeable. This granola makes a great breakfast idea stirred into nonfat Greek Yogurt or with almond milk. It also makes a great afternoon snack, a healthy sweet to put in your children’s lunch, or a wonderful dinnertime dessert served with fruit.

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…

Snowmen Cookies by Callye of Sweet Sugarbelle

When I first saw Callye’s incredible blog, The Adventures of Sweet Sugarbelle, I was in awe. My daughter, Leigh, and I couldnt decide which cookie to make first. Every time she posts, it’s the first thing I post on Pinterest. I look forward to her incredible inspirations weekly, and I truly believe she is one of the sweetest, most humble and most talented cookie decorators out there. I’m so honored to know her, and I’m so excited that she was willing to show a new creation for Snowmen Cookies to my readers at Ingredients, Inc. She will be on the Martha Stewart show on December 12th on the Hallmark Channel so check her out. Take it away Callye, and thank you so much!

Hi, I’m Callye, and I love to decorate cookies. I am here today to show you how to make snowmen Cookies with an easy to find Christmas ornament cutter. These cookies are simple enough for even a beginner.

To make these cookies you will need:

If you need help with coloring and preparing icing, click HERE.

If you need help with outlining and flooding cookies, click HERE.

Begin by outlining and filling the snowman’s face.

Then, quickly use tweezers to make a face with candy pearls.  Work one cookie at a time so that the  beads will stick in the wet icing.  Let the faces dry for about thirty minutes.  Next outline and fill the blue portion of the hat.

At this point, let the cookie dry for four to five hours.  When the base is dry, use a #13 tip to add accents to the hat and orange twenty-second icing for a nose.

Let the cookies dry completely, preferably overnight.

Show up to your next Christmas party with a plate of these.  You will be amazed at the reaction you get.  It’s one of the most rewarding feelings.

This is the perfect time of year to try a little cookie decorating. If you’d like to know more, please come visit my blog, The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle, where I write about my cookie decorating fun. See you soon!


Homemade Caramel Corn

Homemade Caramel Corn anyone? This child (and adult) favorite is a great snack, dessert or even fun tailgating recipe. It also makes a great fall or Christmas food gift. I love this homemade Caramel Corn because it’s simple to prepare and uses a variety of almonds, pecans and walnuts, adding more protein. Make this even healthier by using my Saucepan Popcorn recipe to pop your popcorn. It’s so easy and uses no microwave. Be careful, this can get very addicting 🙂

Saucepan Popcorn Recipe & Healthy Back to School Snack Ideas

Since school just started back, I am trying to start the year off right. I try to be creative and point my kids in the right direction when it comes to packing healthy lunches and providing after-school snacks that are good for them. My three children love this recipe for Saucepan Popcorn which is so easy and healthier than the other popcorn alternatives. Here are some other quick ideas for when you are in a hurry that have a nice balance of protein, fiber and carbohydrates:

Healthy Snacks Ideas for Kids:

Trail Mix

Homemade Smoothies

Homemade Granola

Healthier Banana Bread

Other Ideas:

Reduced Sodium Cottage Cheese with fruit

Whole grain crackers with cheese

Greek yogurt with honey and fruit

Apple and Skim Milk

Almond or Peanut Butter and Banana

Hummus with carrots and celery Nut Butter on graham crackers

Hard boiled eggs