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On Sale This Week: Baking!

30 November 2017  

Thanksgiving is over. Let's start baking!

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving is over. By now, you have probably tunneled through all your derivatives.

I wanted to share a couple of notes about our Turkey dinner. I tried a couple of new things this year, and was quite pleased at how our dinner turned out. But, there were also some things that I was a little disappointed in.

First of all, my schedule kind of got goofed up due to the fact that every-crisis-that-could-happen-did. So, all the lovely items I had on my menu - well, some of them didn’t happen. We actually prepared two meals,  time was at a crunch. We didn’t get the mince pie made, or the Vegan Wrap sandwiches for our brunch meal. And at dinner, we didn’t get the knotted rolls done.

Guess how many people went home hungry? None, of course. We had plenty of food and no complaints.

We made our mashed potatoes in the crockpot for the first time, and even though I always turn my mashed potatoes into twice-baked potatoes, I can tell you, these were delicious. By cooking them in chicken broth, they had a lot more flavor than in the past and it was a lot less hassle. They converted into twice-baked potatoes quite nicely. We’ll do that again in a heartbeat.

My schedule got so off-track, that here it was 2:30 PM and I hadn’t gotten my 24 lb. turkey in the oven yet. And we were supposed to eat around 6 PM. In the Turkey Day Thanksgiving article I included a turkey-prep video by Alton Brown He said you should start your turkey uncovered at 500º for 30 minutes, then lightly cover with foil, and bake at 350º until it’s done according to the meat thermometer. That’s what we did in our new convection oven (with a few personal changes), and, I’m happy to say, dinner was on the table by 6:30. My husband said it was the best turkey ever - the meat was moist, the skin was crispy a lovely brown. This will be our cooking method from now on.

Ok, we’re done with Thanksgiving for another year!

Christmas is Coming!

December is a month full of get-togethers, parties, celebrations and gift-giving. It could be everything from cookies to office snacks to office potlucks.

What to do?

Shop to keep key ingredients on hand. Prepare in advance. Plan for surprises. Keep it simple. Get it done early. (Isn't this really good advice? My sister-in-law laughed at me and said I should try this advice myself sometime. She's right. Maybe I can do it this year.)

Key ingredients you’ll want to have on hand for baking

Keep these in your pantry, and you can whip up super fast cookies, potluck items, cakes.

Sugar (white, brown, powdered)
Chocolate Chips (various flavors)
Cake mixes
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Fresh spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, Ginger, Cardamom (treat yourself to all fresh spices from Sprouts bulk spice area)
Lil’ bit of booze: Sherry, Brandy, Amaretto
Candy canes
Can of pumpkin
Peanut Butter

Yikes! Someone called and they're stopping by in half an hour. What now?

Super fast Idea #1:

Take a yellow cake mix, and make according to directions, except: Substitute all or most of your water with sherry wine (don’t worry about the alcohol, it will all cook out in the baking.) Bake as small loaves or in a bundt cake mold. Mix up a a quick glaze or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Super fast idea #2:

Take a spice cake mix and stir it in with a 15oz can of pumpkin. Spoon mixture into muffin pans. You can sprinkle with chocolate chips if you like. Bake @ 350º until done, probably about 20-25 minutes. You can also use a yellow cake and add some spices to it, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Top with a nutmeg glaze (make your regular glaze recipe, and add a pinch of fresh ground nutmeg to it - as much or as little as you prefer) or an orange glaze.

Super fast idea #3:

Three ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Stir well, make 1 inch balls, and place onto greased (or sprayed) cookie sheet. Flatten with a fork, making cross hatches. Bake at 350º until done, probably about 10-12 minutes.

Want to “specialize” it a little? When they’re cooled off, dip them halfway into melted chocolate or drizzle melted chocolate over them. Let cool.


I’m pretty sure the food inside will taste even better if you package it beautifully. To keep it simple, plan on a packaging theme for the season.

Cupcake/Muffin liners (get something festive looking)
Plates for Cookies (On a budget? Scour thrift stores and yard sales for cool and unique finds.)
Cellophane for wrapping
Ribbon/ratfia for tying (ribbon makes it look festive. Tuck in a candy cane to finish it off.)
Containers for things (glass mason jars, cute boxes, more - check out craft stores like Michael’s for inspiration.)
Card stock for simple gift tags. (Cut out tag shapes and have your kids color on one side. Write the info on the other.)
Foil wrapping paper (Cover cardboard with foil wrapping paper. Use it as a cake board for cakes or cookies.)
Little gift bags
Straw Star Ornaments Tie on one or two with ribbon, and you’re good to go. (Even with shipping, they end up only being about $.42 each, and look quite festive.) Here’s a cute use for them as part of a Scandinavian Brownie treat.

How about some DIY gifts?

Monday, December 4 is National Cookie Day

We’re going to have a virtual cookie recipe exchange on Monday. Our goal? 100 Cookie Recipes sent in by friends, family and readers. Yep. That’s a lot. But, let’s try!

How it will work: Send in your favorite cookie recipes between now and Monday. On Monday, we’ll publish all of them. And if we get more on Monday, we’ll just add them to the page throughout the day.

Send your recipes to

Please use Cookie Day as the subject. Additional details will be forthcoming, but you can start sending them in now!

Frys Food


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Polish Christmas Cookie Recipe

3 No-Bake Cookies

Stained Glass Christmas Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Christmas Cookie Recipe


Lynne LaMaster

Lynne LaMaster is the Founder and Editor of the eNewsAZ Network of websites. She asks a lot of questions! In her spare time, she loves photography, cooking and hanging out with her family.