Tag: cranberry

Cranberry Jello Salad

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I love old recipes. They are not only a window to the past, but a way to stay connected to the people you love. And for me? It’s the most important way of communicating. It’s my love language. My maternal Grandmother used to make a recipe similar to this one at Thanksgiving each year. She’s still with us, but it’s getting harder and harder to cook each year. I think she’d be happy that this recipe is being preserved, even if I’ve tweaked it a bit! 🙂

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First of all, can we talk about how it’s called a “salad”? That cracks me up! I think they were called such because a lot of gelatins from years past had savory foods stuck in them. But this one? This one is glorious. It’s sweet. But, not overly so. It’s ruby red color shines like a gem, like shiny red balls on the tree, like Rudolph’s nose in the night. It’s covered in a delicious creamy topping, like a snowy cap. I meannnnn. It’s so good. It’s got cranberries, raspberry, pineapple, nuts, cream cheese.

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It’s a breeze to make. There’s more downtime than active time. This pairs well with both a holiday turkey and ham, and you can take my actual word with that! This also makes a fine dessert. And breakfast. Or snack.

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Blessings!

Kristin

Print Recipe
Cranberry Jello Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Lightly spray a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray. In a medium glass bowl, mix the Jello and 1 cup boiling water together. Stir for about 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in the cold cranberry juice, pineapple and cranberry sauce. Add the pecans. Mix well and pour into the pan. (I actually added the pecans next, and only to half the pan, because my boys do not like nuts) Cover with plastic. Refrigerate until firm. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth. When the Jello mixture is firm, spread the cream cheese mix on top. Sprinkle a few pecans on top.
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Squirrel Themed Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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HAPPY FRIDAY! I am so glad it’s Friday. Forrealz. I made squirrel shaped apple butter sandwiches for my boys. I also packed dried cranberries (Bigs), corn, cheese (two different kinds for two different tastes), mandarin orange (Bigs), grapes, and a cranberry cookie (Smalls).

TGIF!

Kristin

Tinsel’s in a Tangle

Happy Christmas and Merry Food Coma

My body is in a coma…the food sort. My fridge looks like it’s in a coma too. Not an inch to spare (it IS a rather small fridge, though) with all the leftovers.

Let’s rewind a few days. We took our boys to visit Santa. We stood in line for over an hour to see a really wonderful looking Santa.

Boys in line for Santa

Smalls was delightful the whole time waiting (as was Bigs), but the second he was plopped on Ol’ St. Nick’s lap, he screamed like he was being pinched. Poor thing. Not a fan. So Bigs was smiling really sweetly (and told Santa he wanted a bouncy carrot) and Smalls was screaming with tears pouring out of his eyes…50%, not bad. We also went to Christmas Eve service at church, which was beautiful.

We set out some cookies (some GF and LF) and almond milk for Santa (to accommodate Mr. Claus’ Crohn’s diet!). We also left a carrot for the reindeer.

Santa Cookies and Milk

We actually had to wake the boys up on Christmas morning. They NEVER sleep in. Ever. They are usually up way before 7:00a. They were very excited about everything and Bigs was shocked Santa brought him a bouncy carrot.

Bouncy Carrot

Since they slept in so late, I was able to finish prep on their special breakfast. I reheated the gluten and lactose free pancakes I’d made earlier in the week. I cut up some fruit and finished the Grinch kebabs, and put together the pancake toppings bar (bananas, strawberries, Christmas sprinkles, chocolate chips, and marshmallows). We sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and began eating.

Christmas Morning Breakfast

Bigs gobbled it all up. Smalls ate next to nothing, which is typical. I also made hot chocolate (my Mom made the mix from scratch) with whipped cream Christmas trees (that I made with a silicon mold the day before). I wasn’t sure the molds would work, but they did! They were so fun. I gave Bigs another hot chocolate today with another whipped cream tree…all of which he accidentally knocked on the floor. Sigh.

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While they were basking in the glow of new toys, I put together two casseroles.

Bread Pud and Hash

A Cranberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding and a Cracker Barrel-inspired Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole. They were both DELICIOUS.

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While cheesy potatoes are always a good dish to me, the bread pud was TO DIE FOR. Geesh, that’s morbid. Let’s say it was a must try. It was divine. Seriously. I will be making this again and again and again.

Hash Brown recipe:

http://choosingsimplicity.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/easy-1-bowl-cheesy-hash-brown-casserole/

Bread Pudding recipe:

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/11/cranberry-white-chocolate-bread-pudding-recipe.html

We ate those two dishes with some others that came with my Husband’s side of the family (some vegan and GF dishes, bagels with cream cheese and lox, fruit salad).

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And then after naps, we went to my parents’ house, where we enjoyed another meal! We had roast beef with au jus and horseradish sauce, roasted vegetables, rolls, fruit salad, and a lovely cheese platter.

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And my Mom made a fruitcake…a FRUITCAKE! I love fruitcake. I might be one of two people (My Dad and I) that eat it. My husband jokes that there is only one fruitcake in the whole world. I think that’s the only fruitcake joke. Whatever. More for me (and Dad).

I hope that you had a lovely holiday.

As for me, I’m ready to cleanse my home, take down the decorations, prepare for the new year, and make my resolutions. And eat less (maybe).

Kristin

*Sorry for all the collages versus whole pictures – it was just much easier and less time-consuming with so many!

Boggin’ Around the Christmas Tree…

Counselor

Yesterday was a really wonderful Sunday for my family. We went to church and had a lovely service.

I love church and especially this time of year.

 Manger Scene

I ADORE celebrating the true meaning of this season. I am so desperate for my boys to know Jesus in their hearts and to worship Him for who He is and what He’s done.

Come Let Us Adore Him

We also went to Target and I finished up some shopping and also got some necessities, like milk and Gingerbread Twix. My husband and Bigs got an inflatable Snoopy and Woodstock for the front yard from the hardware store. They put that up when we got home while I made a lasagna and dessert, all during which Smalls was balancing on a chair arm rest to boost himself up to catch a glimpse of them outside.

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The lasagna was…normal. Not fabulous. But not burned! So, I’d call that a success. Everyone ate it and seemed to enjoy it. Except Smalls, who only had one bite and spit it out saying, “Ewwwww!”. But I know he was just doing it for a laugh. I think.

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At least I fed them. They should be grateful.

For dessert, I made a Nigella Lawson recipe (TEAM NIGELLA!!!) – Cranberry Orange & Almond Pudding. And this happened….

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Nigella’s looked way better. But that’s okay. This was my fault. I used a dish way too small for the recipe. It still tasted wonderful!

Look at these fresh cranberries, soaking in a bathtub of butter and sugar…

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Isn’t their color just gorgeous? Shiny, firm and ruby red. I love when they heat up and start popping and letting go of their glorious crimson juices. I could eat them all day. I made a quick batter (the only change I made to the recipe was using orange extract versus orange oil, because that is all I had) and poured half of it into the dish, topped it off with the marvelous cranberries and then the remaining batter. A sprinkling of sliced almonds and granulated sugar finished the dish.

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Then THAT happened. I obviously expected it, placing my dish on a tin-covered pan before placing it in the oven. I just used the bubbled over goodness as a “taste test” for myself (Which I ate in hiding…I am very adept at that now.).

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Look at that splendid, crunchy, sugary crust. Truly delightful.

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It looks like a holiday-time dessert.

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Thank you Nigella. This was truly delicious. Recipe link below.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/cranberry-orange-and-almond-pudding-recipe/index.html

So…Gingerbread Twix. I wrote briefly about them recently. I finally got my hands on some from Target. Unfortunately, they still do not have Gingerbread Oreos. But I’ll keep trying…I’m nothing if not tenacious when it comes to getting my seasonal goods.

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They were delicious! I am so sad they are only a seasonal treat. The caramel was gingerbread flavored. And the crunch from the cookie really added a texture that resulted in a gingerbread cookie experience.

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Yum yum yum.

And Duncan is here again! This time, he is indulging in some coffee and donuts. I put him on a tea treats tray (mouthful!) with his goodies in my china cabinet (best place for the boys not to touch, since it’s enclosed in glass). Hopefully Bigs won’t notice all the tape keeping that donut in Duncan’s hand and his hand to his chest. Whatevs.

Elf on a Shelf Day 9

An elf after my own heart!

Hope you all have a wonderfully sweet day!

Kristin

I did it all for the cookie(s)!

Santa and Cookies

I need an elf. Like a real, live, breathing, HELPING elf (Sorry Duncan! I still love you, but you are stuck in a Mason jar right now and obvi cannot help.). I need one that can follow simple instructions, like cleaning cookie sheets or rolling dough into balls and coating the with granulated sugar. Yesterday was Christmas Cookie Baking Saturday.

Christmas Cookies

And I was exhausted. I still sort of am. Yesterday yielded 225 cookies. The ones I chose to bake this year were White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal, Ultimate Ginger, and Eggnog Cookies. I really wanted to go with a theme – a classic Christmas flavor theme. I love a theme!

Christmas

My day started with getting the boys up (Just kidding. They woke me up with their “I’m-ready-to-get-up signaling noises”.) After breakfast, it was all about the cookies! I went through several pounds of butter. Isn’t it therapeutic to watch butter sticks melt? Oh. Just me?

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I love the smell of melting butter, too. It’s heavenly.

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My right-hand-helpers (no thanks to Duncan), my Kitchen Aid stand and hand-held mixers, were very busy, whirring and stirring for hours.

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I made the batter for the White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies first, as it had to sit in the fridge for two hours.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/10/white-chocolate-cranberry-oatmeal-cookies-recipe.html

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When I finally did bake them, they came out perfectly – browned on the edges and bottoms (due to the one pound of butter in the doubled recipe), cranberries glistening, oatmeal giving off the perfect amount of chewiness, and the white chocolate offering up little pockets of creamy sweetness.

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The Eggnog Cookies were next. These were an easy-peasy recipe to use. I love how they turned out. They are very simple, letting the true flavor of eggnog shine through.

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Sprinkled with extra nutmeg, these little sweeties are sure to conjure up lovely holiday memories! My kids and I have gone through at least 2 gallons of eggnog this season so far. It’s so delicious. Bigs calls it “Santa Milk” since some of the jugs of it have Santa on them. I love how kids see things so differently from us old, haggard, jaded adults.

http://iwasborntocook.com/eggnog-cookies/

Next and lastly were my Ultimate Ginger Cookies. I love love ginger cookies. I think you know that, by now.

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This is the second year in a row I’ve done a variation on a ginger cookie. These came out delicious! I love Ina Garten’s addition of crystallized ginger.

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I love how rolling the dough balls in granulated sugar before baking returns a crunchy, but chewy and soft, cookie that looks like it’s been sprinkled with icy snow.

http://www.barefootcontessa.com/recipes.aspx?RecipeID=341&S=0

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All of them, together, in harmony, on a plate. The beautiful flavors that epitomize the season – eggnog, ginger, cranberry.

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These sure would have been a lot easier to make if that elf would have helped! And, sadly (but not really sadly, for this is the purpose!), for as much time as I put into them, these cookies got packaged up (neighbors, teacher, friends, church family, mom group) and doled out quicker than I could say “YULE LOG!!!”. All I’ve got left is crumbs. That’s okay. That’s what it’s all about. I’m sure we’ll receive lots and lots of cookies from other people…right?! Are you cookie-making friends listening?! 😉 I jest (sort of).

Speaking of that elf, he’s been in several different spots since we last spoke.

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He’s made a mess of toothpaste. Thanks for THAT, Dunc.

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He’s crammed himself into a mason-esque jar. It wouldn’t so creepy except that I had an almost-too-small jar and I had to sort of almost damage Duncan’s neck to get him in there. Oops.

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And he made coffee filter snowflakes! What a clever elf he is!

Well, we’ve been very busy in our house, not only baking cookies (me) and wrapping gifts (me), but indulging in the traditions of the holiday (all). Bigs watched “The Polar Express” last year, but didn’t care so much (or understand). At three and a half, he now gets it and LOVES it! I pulled out some old Christmas books I had as a kid (and saved…they are in muy delicado condition, I’d say!) and we’ve been reading those, too.

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If you haven’t seen or read The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, you MUST. It was one of my favorite books as a child. It is adorable.

And Bigs now tells me that all he wants for Christmas is a new water bottle. Not a bouncy carrot. Great. Well, I’m sure he’ll forget he reneged on that and enjoy the dog toy shaped like a carrot that Santa is bringing him.

So, off to church – the second Sunday of Beautiful Advent. Have a very sweet, blessed Sunday.

In Christ,

Kristin

A Beautiful Sight, Happy Tonight

Sleigh Bells Ring

Sleigh bells ring! Can you hear them? If you squint (I have to squint to see practically anything and you know what? When I’m trying to listen really hard, I squint then, too. I’m too young for such problems!!) and listen really hard, you can probably hear them! It’s so close! Christmas is so close! Can you believe it?! It is just slightly over four weeks away! That’s only four weeks to shop (and to write Santa) and to plan your baking and cooking and to celebrate Jesus and the Advent. Oh. And to get that dreadful Elf out of the back of your closet. I almost forgot. Oops. I love him, I do. He’s part of our family now. Duncan is very sweet, you know, for a pretend elf filled with cotton stuffing and wire. It’s just that I have to think of so many different things for him to do each night! And I’m just so tired at the end of the day! It’s okay though. Truly, if it makes Bigs and Smalls happy, then I am happy. I’ll rally. I can man up. Thank goodness for Pinterest – it does most of thinking for me on this one!

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I know that for me, getting this close to Christmas means that I lots of wrapping to do, cookies to bake, four beautiful Advent church services to attend, Christmas themed kid lunches to dream up and make, Christmas parties and playdates to enjoy and lots more. Busy busy busy. I don’t know how I’ll do it. Some days (every day??), the energy just isn’t there. But the spirit of Christmas will keep me going!

What will you bake to bring to your Christmas or holiday parties? Perhaps I can share some grainy (lol) pictures and a few recipes?

Christmas-Holiday-Graphics

I love baking for the holidays. I love finding new recipes and trying them out. I don’t think I’ve made the same thing twice. It seems like every year, there are so many new and exciting recipes to try. I used to try to make about 5 different kinds of cookies, but as my children have grown, my time to devote to such things has lessened, and so has the variety of cookies I make. But that’s okay! The ones I DO bake, hopefully, make up for the lack in assortment. And I enjoy making cakes and bars, as well. Those are more for the parties rather than the cookie tins, but fun, nonetheless. I also like to try new recipes for those each year.

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I ADORE fresh cranberries. They are so deliciously tart. I love their shiny, red coat and their delightful pop when eaten. I prefer fresh over dried for most recipes. This Cranberry Cream Cheese Bundt Cake was divine. I served it sliced with Sugared Cranberries in the middle. I love those things. I could eat the whole lot.

http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/1218/

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sugared-cranberries-10000000554659/

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Here is another presentation where I used the Sugared Cranberries. I added a few sprigs of fresh mint. I love love love fresh mint. The cookies are soft, chewy iced ginger cookies. I actually don’t have a favorite recipe for this one. I seem to lose the recipe each year, having to search out a new one. I like them chewy, not hard, and soft, but not crumbly soft. But…I’ll eat any kind you place in front of me.

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Now, these…these were simple. I made boxed brownies (before I was super “daring” and made my own) and used a Christmas tree cookie cutter. I then made a simple icing sugar glaze and added green food coloring. After spreading that on the trees, I added red sprinkles and a teeny white star sprinkle atop each tree. For the cookies, I added peppermint extract to a boxed sugar cookie mix and used the same glaze as the trees (only with red coloring) and added crushed peppermints on top. This was easy. Not gourmet. I’d like to think I’ve come a long way. But this is still cute if one is in a time crunch!

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Staying in the cookie(ish) family are these lovely Lofthouse Style Sugar Cookie Bars. You know those frosted cookies you see (frosted to match the color of whatever holiday is near) in the front of almost every grocery store bakery, that are so oddly expensive and so ridiculously delicious and soft? Well, these are those. In a bar form. Like a whole pan can just sit on your lap and you can just use a fork. I mean, if that’s the sort of thing that you do. I don’t do that. Ever.

http://cookiesandcups.com/lofthouse-sugar-cookie-bars/

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And lastly, for now of course, you can transform just about anything into a dessert worthy of the proverbial “Holiday Table” by adding festive sprinkles. They (I) don’t call me (myself) “Sprinkles in my Lunchbox” for nuffin’ (as Bigs would say)!! I found these adorable sprinkles (a mix made of Christmas trees, gingerbread boys, candy canes and snowflakes) at Ross. This is a simple Texas Sheet Cake (no favorite recipe, although, people…just you know, people, swear by The Pioneer Woman’s recipe).

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/the_best_chocol/

Christmas cupcakes

Have a blessed, sweet Monday,

Kristin

Breaking Fast & Turkeys

Breakfast Anytime

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” –Alice in Wonderland

I am un poquito different than Alice on that one. I AM a morning person, but I’d like to have a cup of coffee and something to nibble on before I start believing in six impossible things. But still, that’s cute, Alice.

Pancake Breaky

I live in a household that LOVES breakfast. Like…eats it at every chance. We eat it for dinner often. My youngest, Smalls, will eat just about anything, but my oldest, Bigs, is obsessed with pancakes…even more so if they have sprinkles on them! My husband almost always orders breaky when we go out to eat and it’s a place that offers it each day. All three boys (Hubs included!) can’t get enough. I love breakfast too. There isn’t anything breakfast-y that I won’t eat!

Breakfast Words

It’s also a quick meal. Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy or gumption to pull out something to thaw…which is sort of dumb, because how long does it take to do that? Like 2 seconds. But, I think I know I’ll have to then cook it (lol) and that will be my fate. So pancakes and eggs are a quick solution for me and it’s a bonus that it’s loved so much!

And my Bigs – he is a leeetle obsessed with pancakes, as I’ve said…since he was an itty bitty. He wants them all the time. We were driving past Perkin’s and he said, “They have sprinkle pancakes there!!”. Funny boy. 🙂

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My sweet Bigs as a teeny toddler, waiting patiently for pancakes. <3

Pancakes

I recently asked Bigs to talk to me about breakfast, in my prep for this blog post. He said that pancakes are his favorite and he likes them with butter, syrup and sprinkles (obvi). Then he said, “Let’s talk about waffles.”. This kid seriously loves breakfast.

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Here is Bigs’ 2nd Birthday breakfast – pancakes with sprinkles, of course!! I also put yogurt (with sprinkles) in a cake slice-shaped mold.

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Yes. Yes I will.

So now, let’s talk recipes. Here are some delicious breakfast ideas!

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” Robert A. Heinlein, Friday

Amen to that.

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This Overnight Steel Cut Apple Pie Oatmeal was delicious. It was made even easier by doing most of the prep work the night before. We had this for breakfast on the 4th of July!

http://www.goodlifeeats.com/2010/10/overnight-apple-pie-steel-cut-oats.html

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This Baked Banana Oatmeal with a Brûléed Banana Crust went over wonderfully with my family. It was delicious! Please excuse my old grimey pan. It’s seen a lot of action.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/03/22/banana-bread-baked-oatmeal/

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This is Eggnog Steel Cut Oats with a Cinnamon Cranberry Swirl. Uh…yes please!!

For this recipe, I just substituted eggnog for some of the liquid, while cooking the steel cut oats. I also added more to give it a creamy texture at the end of cooking. You can also use eggnog coffee creamer. For the cranberry swirl, I put frozen cranberries (frozen fresh) in a saucepan and when they started letting go of some of their juices, they made a sauce! I added cinnamon and let it simmer for a few minutes. I love the tangy cranberries on the rich, sweet eggnoggy oats. Delicious. Really good around Christmas time!

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Totally unnecessary and decadent Cinnamon Roll Waffles with an Apple Bacon Cinnamon Frosting.

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/02/cinnamon-roll-waffles-bacon-apple-frosting-waffled-recipe.html

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Perhaps Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes will tempt you?

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/08/09/double-chocolate-brownie-batter-pancakes/

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Or Blueberry Muffin Pancakes? Katie, of www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com, calls them Blueberry Pie Pancakes.

http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/06/09/blueberry-pie-pancakes/

Perhaps you want to go a little lighter…

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Here is a turkey made out of a pear half, mandarin oranges, grapes and raisins.

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Homemade whole wheat bread with homemade peanut butter?

http://mychocolatemoments.com/2012/07/14/honey-whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-no-bread-machine-needed/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-peanut-butter-recipe/index.html

Breakfast Words 2

Yes, indeed, breakfast is a fun thing to eat and make!

Oh yes! I also made a lunch for Bigs! Today is turkey day in school. They are reading T is for Turkey, so of course I had to make a turkey themed lunch. Of all the lunches I’ve done, I think this might be one of my favorites!

Turkey Themed Preschool Lunch

This turkey themed lunch includes a turkey-shaped PB&J. I used my Food Writers to draw on the turkey beak, eyes, gobbler-hangy-down-thing, feathers and feet. The container to the left has mandarin oranges (washed of their syrup). Bigs also has two little sandwich cookies, some dried mango, some candy corn and some real off-the-cob seasoned corn. Gobble Gobble!!

Hoping you find something here to tickle your breakfast (or turkey) fancy!

Kristin