Thanksgiving & Christmas Breakfast Recipes: My Favorite Coffee Cakes

One of my favorite things for breakfast is a truly awesome coffee cake. I crave it this time of the year, especially as the weather cools. My recipe for Apricot Almond Coffee Cake (above) was on my blog last year, and it’s so delicate and flavorful (I love the added touch of using Greek Yogurt). I have been eyeing some other recipes to try this season to serve on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning. I hope you’ll enjoy some of these recipes from some of my favorite sites that I look forward to reading on a daily basis.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake from How Sweet It is

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake from Two Peas & Their Pod

 Corner Bakery Cinnamon Creme Coffee Cake from Barbara Bakes

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake from Cooking Light

Cinna-Bun Coffee Cake in a Jar from Picky Palate


Fennel-Apple Slaw

I am a huge fennel fan so this recipe for Fennel-Apple Slaw is one of my new fall favorites. Fennel, which looks like a cross between an onion and a bunch of celery, has a slightly sweet anise (licorice) flavor. It has the perfect crunch to pair with shredded cabbage, and it makes a great addition to any salad or slaw recipe. I love it in this vegetarian combination with Greek yogurt, walnuts, dried cranberries and fresh dill. Fennel is also good for you, containing Vitamins A and C, fiber, folate, potassium and calcium.

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).

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 🙂

Holiday Giving: How To Help Feed America

It’s the holiday season, and I have been so busy shopping, baking and decorating to make my friend’s and family’s holiday season bright. Sometimes I tend to lose site of the true importance of the holidays: meaningful giving. My new clients, Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms®, continue to remind me about the power of giving.  Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms® turkey brands have set its sights high to help provide 1.75 million meals to Americans facing hunger with a $250,000 donation to Feeding America®.


Nearly one in four children (22.3 percent) live in food insecure households in the United States

40% of Feeding America’s clients said they had to choose between rent/mortgage payments and food

Feeding America’s 203 food banks secure and distribute 3 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually via agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and after-school programs


Lean turkey cuts have minimal total fat per serving, virtually no saturated fat, and healthful protein

Whole turkeys have 30% fewer calories than whole chickens (170 calories for turkey, 240 calories for chicken)

Whole turkeys have 60% less fat than whole chickens (8 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat; 18 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat for chicken)

Fully-cooked Honeysuckle White Oven Roasted Whole Turkey is easy to prepare, lean and filling with only 140 calories and 7 grams of fat for a 3-ounce portion

We will be cooking turkey for the holidays as mine is defrosting as I type this. For more information, click Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms® and happy holidays!

Decorating Christmas Cupcakes with Kids

My daughter, Leigh, and her friend Eloise have been at it again in the kitchen decorating Christmas Cupcakes. They did an amazing job, once again. They started by researching what cupcake designs they wanted to do with a few bottles of icing and some holiday candies and sprinkles. They created these fabulous cupcakes below completely on their own. This is great holiday craft idea to do with the kids and kids’ friends, and it’s so easy and inexpensive to do. Enjoy their talented creations below:

$100 Stella & Dot Jewelry Giveaway

I’m so excited to bring to you this awesome, fun giveaway just in time to celebrate the upcoming holidays! Christine Raspino, an independent Stella & Dot stylist, would like to offer one Ingredients, Inc. reader a $100 gift certificate to go shopping at Stella & Dot! Just take a look at their fashionable, one of a kind jewelry pieces. They’re perfect for daytime, evening, parties, family gatherings, and get-togethers anytime of year! They also have a new teen line of jewelry which my daughter loves.

$100 Stella & Dot Jewelry Giveaway!

offers boutique-style jewelry that has been featured in top fashion magazines, like InStyle and Lucky, and worn by celebrities such as Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Love Hewitt and many others. The Stella & Dot design team is led by Blythe Harris, who previously designed for Banana Republic. She has created a line of jewelry for Stella & Dot with variety and style, from vintage-inspired pieces to modern, versatile designs. With pieces ranging from $15-$198, and half the line under $50, the collection has something for everyone!  

Still holiday shopping?  For all orders placed by Wednesday, December 22nd, Stella & Dot will automatically upgrade your shipping to 2-day air to receive in time for Christmas!  Everything comes adorably packaged and gift ready!

How to Enter

To be entered to win the $100 Stella & Dot gift certificate, all you have to do is leave me a note in the comments section of this post. How would you spend your gift certificate? What’s your favorite piece? Would you keep it for yourself or who would you give it to? 🙂

Also for an extra chance to win, join my Ingredients, Inc. Facebook Fan Page and Christine’s Stella & Dot Facebook Fan Page to keep up-to-date on new products, sales, giveaways, and more!

Also, tweet the following for another chance to win: Awesome Stella and Dot Jewelry Giveaway on Ingredients, Inc. via @AddThis via @alisonlewis

Contest ends Monday, December 27th at 8 pm CST. One entry per person, please. Winner will be chosen by and notified by email.

Exclusive Stella & Dot Jewelry Special for Ingredients, Inc. Readers! Get ready to sparkle on NYE!

For those who’d like to place an order, Christine would also like to offer fellow Ingredient’s Inc. readers an exclusive Stella & Dot promotion! Place an order by Monday, December 27th and you’ll be entered to win this beautiful Petra Bracelet (featured below, a $98 value).  Mixed industrial metal chains are braided together with the sparkle of cubic zirconia for take-no-prisoners style. This versatile piece will be the hit of any holiday / NYE event with a little black dress, or look great with just jeans and a t-shirt.  When you visit the site, click the top right hand corner, “find your hostess,” and enter Christine Raspino when prompted for your Hostess name.

Good luck!! 🙂

Savory Bread Pudding with Spinach, Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Breakfast and brunch recipes are some of my favorites, and I love celebrating the holidays with my family with a great brunch menu. I’ve had so many emails and questions for Christmas brunch recipes, so I thought I would suggest one of my favorites. This Savory Bread Pudding with Bacon, Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes makes a hearty breakfast or brunch main course, but it’s also great to serve for a weeknight or Sunday night dinner. This recipe is so easy and can be made ahead the night before. Then, all you have to do on Christmas morning is bake it in the oven. Enjoy this recipe anytime of the year since it’s also perfect for showers or any morning celebrations.

Last Minute Holiday Gifts: Dark Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookies

Wow, cookies are in abundance this time of year, and instead of racking my brain trying to create something new to give as holiday gifts, I decided to go back to a tried and true favorite. Dark Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookies are so incredibly fabulous. This recipe is adapted from a “Cooking Light” recipe that I have made many times. What I love about it is that it is lightened up a bit since it has no butter. Instead, it uses Canola oil, water and egg whites. These cookies come out soft and moist with just a hint of peanut butter. Feel free to substitute semisweet chocolate chips or even mini chocolate chips if you like. These are great to give as gifts to neighbors and teachers as well as to leave out for Santa on Christmas eve.