Easy Homemade Food Gift: Holiday Cracker Jacks

I love working on homemade holiday food gift recipes this time of year, and my 3 kids love helping me create them too. This creative idea for Homemade Cracker Jacks is a simple recipe that adults and the kids can enjoy. Just pick up a small one dollar item to put in the box as a toy. I will be making this recipe this Tuesday on NBC “Daytime Alabama” as well as two others, and this recipe will also be featured in the December issue of Birmingham Magazine.

Kid Favorite Dessert: Easy Funnel Cakes

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My oldest son, Alec, is running cross country this season which is quite the challenge. He runs 5 days a week after school (2 to 5 miles) and has a track meet almost every weekend. It’s quite impressive for a 12-year-old. At most of the meets, they sell funnel cakes so he has been begging me to come up with an easy recipe to make funnel cakes at home. We worked together to create this simple Funnel Cake recipe, and it’s really pretty tasty. I tried to make it as low-fat as possible.

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Milkshakes

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We have been on a huge milkshake kick at my house lately. Every night we take our favorite flavor ice cream and blend it up with skim milk, a touch of chocolate syrup and our favorite topping. I made this for NBC 13 Daytime Alabama coming up to air September, but Brooke Smith called me after the shoot and made these milkshakes that night.

Valentine’s Dessert: Easy Molten Lava Cakes

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Chocolate lava cakes are one of my favorite desserts, and I worked hard to develop a simple way to prepare them. With just a few ingredients and not much effort, these come out fabulous and are perfect for Valentine’s Day! I made them for television yesterday on WBRC Fox 6 in Birmingham, Alabama, and they were an instant hit. To prepare for television, I made over 20, which was fun for my kids and my son’s friend, Sergei, to watch and taste. See the link below for the television video.

 

http://www.myfoxal.com/myfox/pages/InsideFox/Detail?contentId=8348712&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=5.2.1

 

Easy Chocolate Lava Cakes

Dark chocolate may be substituted for semisweet in this recipe. These can be made at least a day ahead least one day ahead. Pour the mixture Pour the mixture into ramekins, cover and refrigerate. Be sure to bring to room temperature 30 minutes before baking. I also had a couple of baked and prepared ones left over, and I left them in the ramekins and reheated them in the microwave for 15 seconds, and they worked great!

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate or 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate morsels (I used Ghirardelli for both)

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease 4 (8-ounce) ramekins (custard cups or souffle dishes). Place on a baking sheet.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwaveable bowl on High 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in vanilla and confectioners sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and yolk. Stir in flour and pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.

2. Bake 13 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 10 minutes. Carefully loosen edges with a knife. Invert cakes onto serving plates and sift powdered sugar over the top. Serve immediately.