Appetizer, Baking, Life

Festive Holiday Gifts!

Dear Readers,
This is a quick post on the last day of November. Time is moving oh so fast and December is here tomorrow! Are you headed to a holiday party and in need of a quick gift? I have THREE quick and tasty things for you! Read on…..and Happy December! Ever wish you had a drink to warm you from head to toe? Stop googling and listen up! How does apple cider + a scraped out vanilla bean + fresh nutmeg + a touch of brown sugar all happy all simmered up for 15 minutes sound? Not good? Of course..duh..the vanilla bean could choke you!! Strain out the hot cider mixture and add this to a mug which is waiting ever so patiently with a dose of bourbon in the bottom (or not…your choice). Sip, savor, enjoy and remember that it is ok to slow down every once in a while! The vanilla addition is SO delightful and warm in this hot toddy…a must have. Tracy from Shutterbean knows how to throw down a fab winter warmer! If you are having a party just simmer up a big batch of the cider mixture in your crockpot! I would put the vanilla bean and nutmeg in a cheesecloth bag for easier removal (i.e. no strain method). Oh..that would make for a fabulous party! Try it out with different bourbons! Whoa…that is crazy talk!

Do you know what else Tracy from Shutterbean knows all about? A perfect pear cranberry walnut bread! These quick breads would be a perfect small gift for a holiday party, or 15, that you are headed to this season. If you are headed to 15 parties let me know….I am ready for some holiday cheer!

Gather up the key ingredients:

Perfectly Simple!

The secret? Those beautiful pears! They are grated up and added to the mix…pear juice and all! Genius!!!!!!!!! The outcome? Fantastic! So much that I gave away my last loaf, and leftovers, to a band Mom last night at our post concert reception. I know…sharing is caring..and it is THAT good! We talked for 10 minutes about holiday breads…techniques, tips, what types of breads dry out. We both loved the fact that there are whole cranberries, and it yields a very moist loaf of bread. I confessed I used 1 cup of wheat flour and .5 C of all purpose (I was low on flour…go figure!). She was grateful (healthier for her kids) and I was happy to have had such a wonderful conversation!

A 'must share' this season

The third trick up my sleeve? Sweet potato hummus. A spicy, subtly sweet, hummus to bring to your next party. Hey..it is even good for you! Serve with crudites (or cut up veggies…but I was feeling fancy pants for a moment) or crackers and put it on a cute and festive tray. Voila. Snacks all around! It made 4 cups…and I bet you will leave the house with half that amount…trust me on this one!

Sweet, spicy, sassy...yes!

Three quick and easy recipes for you. I hope to be trying out more recipes this season…keep your eyes out! If you have any fabulous and festive recipes please send them my way! Thanks for reading and have a great end to your week!

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