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!


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.

Date-Pecan Bread with Greek Yogurt

This Date-Pecan Bread with Greek yogurt is my newest favorite healthy, quick bread recipe. I used whole wheat and all-purpose flour, flaxseed and nonfat Greek yogurt to create a flavorful, moist bread. My kids were skeptical at first, but shortly after they tried it, they were gladly helping themselves to seconds. Perfect for breakfast, dessert, an afternoon snack or holiday gift, this recipe is a cinch to prepare (no mixer needed). I bought my dates at Costco, but you can find them at any local grocery store. Dates are filled with so may health benefits. They’re full of fiber, Vitamin B, Vitamin, A, Vitamin C, Iron and potassium. They are an excellence source of energy and work wonders for the digestive system.

Chocolate-Coconut and Toffee Bars

Need a great dessert or sweet snack to feed a crowd? A friend of mine passed me a version of a recipe which I tweaked to create these Chocolate-Coconut Toffee Bars. These remind me of  a cross between S’mores and Hello Dolly bars, but these are a little less fattening.  I used low-fat graham crackers as the base with a toffee layer topped with coconut, pecans and dark chocolate. They are so easy to make, and the kids loved them (especially for a study break snack).

Awesome Honey Cake for Fall and Rosh Hashanah

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My father’s mother, Mary Rich, made the best Honey Cake that I can remember. She died when I was young, but I have never forgotten it. For years, my sisters and I have been searching for a Honey Cake recipe that would rival hers. Last year, my mom’s incredible friend, Rosalie, brought a Honey Cake to our families Rosh Hashanah holiday dinner, and it was a winner! We loved the recipe so much, and it reminded us of Mary. I hope you will like it as much as we do. It’s perfect for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah or any fall celebration. Note: the batter will be slightly liquid, but the recipe turns out moist as can be.

Pumpkin Galore

Every day I spend so much time looking at recipes and food blogs. I often get asked, “Don’t I ever get tired of looking at food all day, every day?” Honestly, no. As a Professional Recipe Developer, I am always looking for new, creative ideas for inspiration. I have seen so many incredible pumpkin recipes and ideas lately that I had to share them with you, starting with a recipe from Lisa for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pistachio Bread  from her blog, With Style & Grace. Pumpkins are a nutritional powerhouse, and I hope you”ll enjoy some of these incredible ideas and recipes.

Here are some of my other favorites:

Maple Pumpkin Fudge from Sugarcrafter

Pumpkin Granola from Chocolate and Carrots

Studded Pumpkins from Gordon Gossip and Horchow

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Cooking on the Side

Stacked Monogram Pumpkins from Better Homes and Gardens

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes by Annie Eats

Pumpkin Vegetable Tray from Taste of Home

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