How to Sleigh the Holiday Season: Making Food Gifts Safely

Oh my gosh am I excited to introduce this series to the blog!! I am a Christmas fanatic. I could care less about the whole gift-giving portion of Christmas, but I love the music, the atmosphere, the snow, all the treats, decorating, and crap I forgot to breathe. I pretty much like everything. One of my absolute favorite things to do is make candy as gifts for friends, family, and neighbors. However, I find that I don’t often trust what other’s give me because I find most people don’t know the first thing about kitchen sanitation and cleanliness. I am ServSafe certified and have been involved in the culinary world from a very young age. It has been ingrained in me to practice food safety and I think it is important to make sure the treats I give out are as safe as a home cook/baker/candy maker can make them. Let’s get started!

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Peppermint Bark Shake (Copycat Red Robin)

If you haven’t been to your local Red Robin to get this shake (or you haven’t tried it because you aren’t sure if you’ll like it), MAKE THIS RIGHT NOW! It is ah-mazing and you won’t have to dish out $5 for just one shake! Cooling peppermint candy canes and sweet white chocolate are just a classic combo and, dare I say, even better in shake form.
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The Gluten-Free Skeptic: Gluten-Free Gravy Packets Taste Tested and Ranked

It’s time for another installment! I hope you are as excited about this as I am because I love doing this series. Now, I thought this would be perfect for Thanksgiving because at least for us, were the only gluten-free (GF) ones in the family, so having easy substitutes for the host to make (or for me to bring over) makes Thanksgiving that much easier.  I finally got all the ones I could find (even after searching on google). However, since there are so few options I will also include an easy recipe to make any homemade gravy GF and you can’t even tell it’s GF!

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P.S. Love Mom: Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa – An Onion and Swiss Party Dip

Okay, so I know I always go on and on about how great all of my mom’s recipes are, but if they weren’t good, would I be putting them on here? This dip is super easy, just a cuppa this and a cuppa that and a pop-a-it into the oven (I tried). This dip is cheesy, and bit onion-y and a whole lotta good. Got a party and don’t know what to bring and you want to be the center of attention? This dip is for you!
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Vanilla and Orange Persimmon Cognac Cocktail Recipe

You better clear your schedule and get to the closest grocery store for some persimmons because you are not gonna want to miss out on this beauty. This cocktail is sweet with a hint of honey flavor from the persimmon that pairs beautifully with the citrus of the orange. The cognac is the perfect alcohol for this drink and everything is wrapped in a warm vanilla hug. I’m not kidding when I say this is the best darn fall cocktail you can get your hands on.

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Persimmons: What Are They and What Can You Do with Them (30+ Recipes)

Persimmons are the fruit of the season for me, and I know this will be controversial, but I think they deserve more credit than the pumpkin. I know, I know, pumpkins are the fall food, but I’m sure we can all accept one more into our hearts. If you have never heard of, seen, or tasted a persimmon, let me describe one for you: they are very sweet, honey-flavored fruits that look kinda like a tomato and can have a lovely crunchy texture (like an apple) or be practically jelly on the inside. They are delicious. Continue reading “Persimmons: What Are They and What Can You Do with Them (30+ Recipes)”

P.S. Love Mom: Spiced Cream Cheese Caramel Apple Dip

Now, I know you have probably seen a variant of this dip at some point, dang, even just looking up the recipe I found hundreds of apple dips I didn’t even ask for, but nobody makes it like my mom does. Her recipe is always a hit at any party or get together, it is a breeze to make, and it makes a darn good snack. This dip has a hint of cream cheese, is perfectly sweetened, beautifully spiced, and has a dash of real caramel (shhh, its a secret 😉 ).
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Harvest Apple Spiced Iced Tea (Red Robin Copycat Recipe)

Okay, I don’t know if everyone besides me has heard of this creation before, but holy cow are these things good. It’s basically sweet and spiced apple cider meets cold and refreshing black iced tea (but who says it has to be iced? 😉 ). When I researched this drink after getting it at Red Robin I found a lot of variations so I will provide three options to bring this deliciousness home. There are a ton of recipes, but seeing as Red Robin just recently released their version, there aren’t many copycats, so one of the recipes will be a direct copycat and the other two will be just as good variants so Y’all have options (who doesn’t love options?).

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The Gluten-Free Skeptic: Trying All of the Great Value Gluten-Free Mixes (A Detailed Review)

The Gluten-Free (GF) Skeptic was originally created to share and test GF recipes and to try GF foods from grocery stores, restaurants, and major brands to report back to you guys what’s worth trying and what’s literal overpriced GF trash. I kept eyeing these mixes everytime we went to Walmart (which has the most GF options in our area surprisingly) and I finally realized no one was gonna review them for me and I need to just do it. Also, this is the cheapest GF Skeptic that has ever skeptic-ed. So here is a detailed review of the good, the bad, and the ugly from the Great Value line of GF mixes.

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Witches Brew – A Halloween Cocktail

You know me and my cocktail loving self just had to come up with a spooky Halloween drink. This cocktail is simple and effortlessly fashionable, I mean just look at that color. These will be a hit at your next party (or just on the couch watching Halloween films, Y’all know that’s my Saturday night). These drinks are the perfect cocktail trio: light, sweet, and a bit bubbly.
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P.S. Love Mom: Pumpkin Pie (A Passed Down Recipe)

Pumpkin pie, the quintessential fall dessert that has somehow snuck its way into three holidays and I am certainly not complaining. This was/is a family favorite for us (which almost all in this series are, but this one was made the most often). My mother would make this for holidays, just because, and most importantly my sisters birthday (October babies unite). This recipe is relatively easy compared to the other recipes I’ve read (some pumpkin gymnastics people be tryin’ to pull), and it will be a showstopper, promise.
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The Gluten-Free Skeptic: Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread & Pancake Mix Review

I’ve been seeing these mixes float around a lot lately, and finally decided to pick them up to give them a taste for myself. I figured I would make this a Gluten-Free (GF) Skeptic review so I could share it with all my fellow GF readers! So if you too have been seeing these everywhere and are on the fence about buying them or unsure if you’ll like it, here is an in-depth review!

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Lightly Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe (gluten-free)

You better get ready, because I’m going full-Fall right now. Yesterday it was finally cold enough for us to flip from AC to heat and I made soup (oh the heavens were shining down on me that day)! I’m celebrating while I can though because tomorrow it’s back up to 80°F…but I already broke out the scarves so it looks like our AC bill is about to go up! Did I mention that this soup is the one I made yesterday? This recipe is the most quintessential cold-weather recipe I can think of. It’s delicate and light but still has a beautiful velvety texture. The soup is a bit sweet and overall lightly spiced for a bit of warmth on the tongue. Just click through already, you know you want to make the darn thing!
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