Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Monday, November 25th, 2019

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

I’m back again with another fun Thanksgiving make-ahead recipe.

Today’s recipe is an apple, sausage, and sage sourdough stuffing that tastes just as good as it sounds.

This recipe is easy to prepare and can be made-ahead and placed in your freezer for the big day, which means one less thing for you to worry about on the day of your big feast!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

 

Have you ever made your own stuffing?

It is one of the easiest and most rewarding dishes to create for the holiday season.

My grandma made a mean dressing when I was growing up, but stuffing was definitely something that came out of a box.  

I remember in sixth grade when we had to do a Thanksgiving play and I was supposed to pretend to make stuffing and had no idea what the teacher was talking about when he handed me a loaf of bread and celery.

What the heck was that for?

Being the true foodie I am,  I still don’t think the boxed stuff is that bad, and you can’t beat the ease of preparation.

It doesn’t hurt to gourmet things up a bit once in awhile though, especially when you can put this in your freezer and save it for the big day!

 

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

 

The biggest challenge with stuffing is all of the dicing and chopping to get the ingredients prepared.

A handy food chopper can be your best friend when chopping up ingredients like onions or herbs.

Once the ingredients are chopped though, it is just a simple matter of mixing them up and then placing the stuffing in the pan for baking.

 

 

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

 

I really love the ingredients in this recipe because they are the perfect balance of sweet and savory.

I used turkey sausage in this recipe, but you could certainly substitute with chicken sausage instead.

I love Granny Smith apples for baking because they maintain their texture and firmness in this dish.

Leave the skins on for a little added color to your stuffing (not to mention, a little fiber too!)

 

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and to make sure that there is no leaking from the lid.

If you are preparing right away, you can just add the apple stuffing mixture to a casserole dish instead.

 

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

 

I baked up a little dish for you to show you what this looks like when it is all done.

The top is crunchy and the inside is delicious and fluffy.

The apples add tartness while the onions, celery, and turkey sausage add a little savoriness to the stuffing.

When these ingredients are all baked together, it is like a little symphony in your mouth!

Reserve a few sprigs of sage to garnish the top of your dish!


Make-Ahead: Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
A little bit sweet, a little bit savory. This sourdough stuffing filled with apples, sausage, and onions is a a delicious crowd-pleaser that can be made ahead for the holiday season.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 11 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ pound fresh mild turkey or chicken sausage
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Reserved sage leaves (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread bread cubes out on two large rimmed baking sheets and bake until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casings, and add it to the skillet to cook, breaking up chunks with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add apples, celery, onion and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple and vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add to toasted bread. Stir in broth, poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper.
  4. Add stuffing to a freezer-safe greased 9x13 foil pan. Place in the freezer (for up to four weeks). 1-3 days before, remove the stuffing from the freezer. Drizzle a ½ cup additional chicken stock over the top to moisten the stuffing. Heat oven to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and crisp on top, 50 to 60 minutes. This stuffing can also be stuffed in your turkey, just be sure that the stuffing has cooled before proceeding.
  5. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

 

 

Apple, Sausage & Sage Stuffing MomAdvice.com

 

Are you following along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series?

Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

Mashed Potatoes

 

make-ahead holiday mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

 

Green Bean Casserole

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

 

and Make-Ahead Gravy

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

 

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice newsletter

 

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

Don’t miss these other great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice:

 

Fancy Up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

Dress-Up Store Bought Pies

 

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Slow Cooker Roast Turkey

 

 

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com

Gluten Free Bacon, Apple & Cornbread Stuffing

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Buttery Dinner Rolls

 

 

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal Header

Slow Cooker Oatmeal for Fall

 

 

 

how to make an autumn burlap wreath from momadvice.com

DIY Autumn Burlap Wreath

 

 

Apple,Sausage & Sage Stuffing MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

 

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Best Advent Calendars for Kids (FREE Printable!!)

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Looking for advent calendar for kids. This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season. Counting down to Christmas couldn’t be more fun (or more affordable!) Download our countdown to Christmas on the blog today!

I never did an advent calendar growing up so I, honestly, had to look up what the heck these were when other moms talked about them.

In honor of today’s trivia theme, do you know how the advent calendar originated?

As with many of our Christmas traditions, this one originated out of Germany. In the early 20th century, Gerhard Lang’s mother made him a calendar with 24 small candies attached to cardboard, one for each day before Christmas.

Lang grew up and opened Reichhold & Lang printing company where he printed the first Advent cardboard calendar with 24 little pictures. Then, just a few years later, the company printed the first calendar with the little doors that everyone loves to open. 

Just imagine what kind of craft celebrity Gerhard’s mom would have been on Pinterest.

That’s pretty much, an original viral project.

I am so excited to share this fun FREE printable advent calendar with you that our amazing contributor, M.J. designed for us!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

From our graphic designer, MJ at pars caeli

Advent calendars are just the cutest, right?

That is–until you have to fill/create/arrange them!

This year we’re going simple with our countdown to Christmas, and we want to make it easier for you, too, with a printable calendar.

This Advent Calendar needs just to be cut, folded, and glued.

Fist bump.

You can even have the kids create it.

The days leading up to Christmas are both magical and hectic!

We have Christmas performances and charitable shopping, Santa’s gifting and work parties galore.

I didn’t want our Advent countdown to be another process on the list so we put together something light and fun.

How to Make a Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar for Big Kids

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

How about Christmas trivia?!

We watch Jeopardy around our house (with three kids, twelve and under), and a countdown with trivia seemed like a natural way to learn more and to laugh together as we get nearer to the 25th.

We put together twenty-five trivial (some are pretty ridiculous) questions about Christmas traditions, songs, and movies for the whole family.

In fact, this calendar would be great to put next to the coffee pot at work or as a runner across the dinner table.

My kids have been talking about these questions more than I imagined (“what’s your favorite Christmas song?” and “remember that time we saw…”).

Our holiday experiences can be easy entryways to new conversations and insights.

Let’s make an advent calendar together!


Supplies Needed

Craft paper 

Scissors

Tape

Glue stick

A straight edge or ruler

Our printable calendar 

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Your Free Printable Advent Calendar

STEP ONE:

Print out the numbers and trivia questions.

Set the trivia questions aside for now.

To cut your numbers, slice the page first vertically and then horizontally, creating four pieces.

You’ll then cut those four piece vertically, to make equal-sized pieces of paper.

STEP TWO:

Each number paper has light gray dotted lines to show where they should be folded.

With a ruler or straight edge, fold crisply along that line as indicated in two places.

Once you’ve made the folds, bend them the opposite direction to create a folded piece with the number on the front and a flap on the top.

STEP THREE:

Take the trivia questions back out.

Cut those along the dotted edges. Glue the questions into the inside of the numbered papers.

These are not numbered so they can go in any day.

We put ours in randomly.

There’s a question for every day from December 1 through the 25.

STEP FOUR:

Refold the bottom and then the top flap of the numbered rectangle over top of the trivia question (we don’t want anyone peeking until the right day!).

You’ll want to seal the flap shut.

You can do this with glue or tape.

We opted to cut up some adhesive labels into tiny strips so that we could peel back the flaps without destroying the calendar.

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

That’s it!

Attach the questions to a ribbon and hang on the side of your fridge.

Or tape them to a pantry door in the shape of a tree!

Or (super simple) keep calendar days in a bowl on your dinner table, and pull one out every day.

You might find yourselves amazed by how many presents you’d get if you received all of them from the 12 Days of Christmas or laughing about what the word mistletoe really means!!

(Oh, I’ve said too much. You have to wait to open that day!)

Happy Christmas countdown from our family to yours!!

Wishing you a simply joyful holiday.

Xoxo,

MJ

SCROLL ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ACCESS THE PRINTABLES!

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

Best Advent Calendars For Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Looking for more DIY Advent Calendar Ideas? Here are a few others that I’m loving!

Adorable Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar– This fun advent calendar is made from something everyone has on hand – toilet paper tubes! Fill it up with small toys, your favorite candy or cute socks! A fun way to upcycle and create fun memories at the same time!

Use What You Have Advent Calendar– Turn your muffin tins into creative advent calendars with this fun holiday bucket list idea.

Christmas Book Advent Calendar – Each book is wrapped with a number for the kids to open each night before bed. No need to purchase new books every year, only if the age out. Making reusable number gift tags to put on the books each year keeps this a great green alternative.

Christmas Tree Ornament Advent– This mini tree makes counting down super fun! Simply hang an ornament every day!

DIY Paper Advent Calendar– Create an easy DIY paper advent calendar with free printable templates for the boxes! This handmade advent calendar is a fun Christmas papercraft and lovely holiday gift idea for kids and teens.

No Time to DIY an Advent Calendar? Here are some of the Best Advent Calendars for Kids!

If you don’t have time to make an advent calendar, here are some MomAdvice Advent Calendar favorites!

Toy advent calendars can be so fun because they feature 24 fun things to look forward to as you welcome in the holiday.

So many advent calendars are featuring sets that include adorable fun trinkets, magnetic ornaments, or mini figures. Find a set with features and surprises that your kids will never expect.

Advent calendars are such a fun bonus surprise gift under the Christmas tree, aren’t they?

Little People Advent Calendar

Crayola Christmas Countdown

Paw Patrol Advent Calendar

LEGO Friends Advent Calendar

LEGO City Advent Calendar

Grab Your Free Advent Calendar Printables!

Click Here for Advent Numbers Printable

Click Here for Trivia Sheet Printable

Love this post? Here are some of my favorite Christmas posts on the site!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love 100 unique stocking stuffers for everyone on your list

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages unique gift ideas for kids of ALL ages

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls christmas tree cinnamon rolls for christmas morning

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DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

Bring the holidays to your mantle with these simple DIY Christmas trees! This holiday craft is so easy and inexpensive that you can make a few and display them together or give them as gorgeous hostess gifts. Make the DIY holiday yarn trees in Christmas colors or your favorites to add a festive touch to your Christmas decor!

 

What could be more fun than decorating for the holiday season?

For this month’s holiday decor project, I wanted to share with you a fun DIY project for creating festive yarn trees that you can create to decorate a ledge, table, or mantle in your home. 

You will only need a few affordable supplies from your craft shop to create this craft.

Don’t think of these as only a decoration for Christmas.

These are beautiful to display all holiday season long, especially in a nice warm neutral yarn!

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

Supplies List

2-    3-7/8 x 8-7/8  inch  Styrofoam floral cones

2- 3-7/8 x 11-7/8 inch  Styrofoam floral cones

4 glass candlestick holders (optional)

2 skeins of inexpensive yarn (in your favorite yarn color)

Small & Large Clover Pom-Pom Makers (unless making pom-poms by hand)

Hot glue gun

Glue Sticks

Straight Pins

Scissors

3.75 mm straight yarn needles

2-4.00 mm double-pointed needles

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

Instructions for Making Your Yarn Trees

1. For each of the smaller trees, you will need approximately 73-75 small pom poms. I am in love with my pom-pom maker for making these and have provided a picture tutorial above, if you would like to use these too.  Make sure to give your pom-poms a nice trim, to even up any uneven spots.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

2. Once you have made all of your pom-poms, it is time to assemble them to your tree-form. Grab your hot glue gun and apply a dab of glue in the center of the pom-pom (where you have tied the string to gather everything.  Apply the pom-poms to the tree, starting at the bottom of the cone and working your way around the tree. Try not to line these up all evenly, but stagger them in each row to make it look more like a real tree!

 

3. Continue adding pom-poms until you get to the top of the tree, making sure all of the tree-form is completely covered.

 

4. Make a large pom-pom in a contrasting color and secure it with hot glue, in the center again, and add it to the top of the tree as your star.

 

5. Finish by giving your tree a trim, especially at the top, to trim all of the yarn down to make it look more like a tree.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees

 

6. For an easy yarn-wrapped tree, begin by adding a dab of hot glue to the top of your taller tree-forms. Begin by applying your yarn in a swirled motion at the top. Add one more dab of glue at the top and start wrapping your tree-form all the way around it until you are about a half-inch from the bottom.

 

7. Add one more dab of glue and then finish adding the yarn until you reach the bottom of the form. Clip the yarn and secure the end with a little hot glue.

 

8. Decorate this tree-form any way that you would like. If you are not a knitter, there are many varieties of ways you can decorate these yarn trees. You can top with a pom-pom in an alternating color, create a multi-colored pom-pom for topping, braid yarn to create a garland, or create some garland out of a contrasting color.

 

9. If you are a knitter, knit a 3-stitch i-cord using two 4.0 mm double-pointed needles  for a total of 32.5 inches. Using straight pins, secure the i-cord to the top of the tree and then wrap around and around, securing occasionally with pins, until the tree is completely wrapped in garland.

 

10. Top your tree with a simple knitted bow, if knitting an adornment. Using your 3.75 mm straight needles, cast on ten stitches. Knit the first row, then purl the next row. Repeat this pattern until it measures 6.5 inches in length. Cast the stitches off and then seam them in the center. Using more yarn, simply wrap the center of the bow and then knot the yarn behind. Secure the bow at the top with hot glue.

 

11. Attach all of the trees to inexpensive dollar-store candlestick holders. If you desire, you can spray paint these in your favorite color or just leave them plain, as I have shown.

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

DIY Holiday Yarn Trees from MomAdvice.com.

 

I hope you love these little yarn trees as much as I do! It is definitely an inexpensive and fun way to dress up a corner of your home for the holidays!

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice newsletter!

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend what I love!

 

DIY yarn holiday trees MomAdvice.com

 

Don’t miss these other great Holiday ideas from MomAdvice:

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Pom Pom Wreath 

 

 

The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com

Easy Burlap Wreath

 

 

how to make a pom-pom and ornament garland MomAdvice

Ornament & Pom Pom Garland

 

 

Christmas at Mom Advice-Traditions Decor and Food

Christmas at MomAdvice

 

 

 

20 Easy DIY Stocking Stuffers - MomAdvice.com

DIY Stocking Stuffers

 

 

 

54 Handmade Gifts from MomAdvice

Homemade Gift Ideas

 

 

DIY Holiday yarn trees MomAdvice.com

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5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Need a quick and easy dessert for your holiday dinner? Just pick up a store-bought pie and dress it up with these great and simple ideas! These small hacks will make your pie look and taste homemade!

 

The holiday preparation continues this week on the blog.

Today I want to showcase 5 easy ways to decorate store-bought pies for the holidays.

Supermarket pies can still look beautiful and will taste even better with my ideas for some fun toppings and additions.

Although we have a fantastic pumpkin pie recipe on here and even a step-by-step picture tutorial for making the perfect pie crust, I know that many of us just don’t have the desire to tackle pie baking.

This post is especially for you and I hope you can create a swoon-worthy dessert table that will leave people guessing if you made those pies or not.

 

Spiced Whipped Cream

 

Add a Delicious Homemade Topping

Although your pie may not be homemade, your toppings can really stand out with just a few simple ingredients that will add a lot of flavor to your pie.

One of my favorite toppings is a Spiced Whipped Cream that gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your store-bought pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.

 

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

 

Another idea for layering on the flavors is to add texture through a fun crunchy pie topping.

One of our favorites that I created for our pies last year was an easy Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping made from amaretto cookies and fresh cranberries.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Add Unique Details

One of the greatest tools that I got for my holiday baking this past year was a set of piecrust cutters that I found on Williams Sonoma.

Not only are these great tools to keep handy for masking any flaws on your homemade crusts, but they can double as a great detail to adorn store-bought pies.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Purchase pie crust from the refrigerated section of the store and then roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Dip your cutters in a little flour and then push down and press these cutters to create your shape.

Bake these adorable details in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Allow these to cool and then decorate the tops of your pies with these.

These little details are also so pretty to sprinkle on your dessert table and add that extra festive touch.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Make a Mini Pie Spread

When I spotted these adorable mini pies in the bakery section of our local Walmart, I knew this would be another fun spin on pies to try for the holidays.

These mini pies are less than $1 each and come in a variety of flavors year-round.

For smaller families, these store-bought pies offer the perfect serving size and give everyone exactly what they love the most.

Adorn these with the smaller size pastry cutouts and add a bowl of spiced whipped cream in the center so that everyone can create their own pie experience.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Give the Gift of Pie

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a sweet treat for their hospitality.

Nothing is sweeter than a little individual treat just for me after entertaining, at least that is my opinion, and one of my favorite gifts to give happens to be my little peppermint cheesecakes in a jar.

If you are short on time though, consider purchasing these mini pies as hostess gifts for the holidays.

Dress it simply in some festive ribbon and tie a bow around it to create a sweet little gift to give for the holidays.

At less than $1 each, these are a sweet way to say thank you without spending a lot.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Create a Beautiful Display

I love that when I posted a picture of this pie display on Instagram & Facebook that people were asking if this was even real.

I think it really goes to show that with a few easy details and staging, you can take store-bought pies to another level.

With this display I used mismatched cake stands in varying heights to create a display.

Don’t be afraid to drape a cloth napkin over a stand to make it cohesive or even create a stand out of a teacup and plate and cover it with the cloth napkin, if you are short on serving pieces.

If you have multiple dishes out, consider adding these cute chalkboard label frames to help people navigate the dessert table.

Sprinkle pastry cutouts along the tablecloth to decorate the display and pull in leaves, bare branches, or create a unique centerpiece like I did this year to add some color to the table.

I hope these ideas are inspiring and that you will find a new way to love store-bought pies this year with these creative details!

 Oh, and enjoy all that free time you have now that you aren’t baking this year.

Winning!

 

Don’t miss this series on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time and freeze the meal!:

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

 

 

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Bacon & Apple Cornbread Stuffing

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Buttery Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

 

Sign up for the MomAdvice Newsletter!

 

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Dress Up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

 

Other great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice:

 

Centerpiece for all seasons MomAdvice.com

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

 

 

Thanksgiving TV Episodes MomAdvice.com

6 Sitcoms that Make Us Give Thanks

 

 

 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Pumpkin Spiced Latte

 

 

 

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall MomAdvice.com

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

 

 

 

Dress up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

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Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Header

Not a baker? You can still make this sugar & spice candied nut mix for gift-giving. Tossed in sugar and spices, this holiday nut recipe is a great gift to give or to share at your holiday dessert table.

Not everyone is a baker and that is why I wanted to share with you an easy sugar & spice candied nut mix that you can pull together for your holiday giving that is as impressive as any holiday cookie.

Making your own flavored nut mixes might not be something you have considered for the holidays, but once you try this delicious nut mix, you will have a hard time giving these sugared and spiced nut mixes away.

Tossing Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts With Egg Whites

For many years, I was embarrassed about my lack of baking skills. Despite taking courses on baking and cake decorating, I never could master the art making baked treats.

What changed though was my perception of my cooking skills after watching those early episodes of Rachael Ray.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Poured On Cookie Sheet Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Sugared on Baking Sheet

While Rachael Ray could make an incredible breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, brinner, etc.., she ALWAYS defaulted to store-bought dessert hacks and prepared doughs for making her desserts.

It helped ME to realize that just because you don’t bake doesn’t mean you aren’t an incredible cook.

Baking requires exact ingredients, weighing, and doing thoughtful baking practices (like sifting flour).

Cooking though is measured with my heart. I can test flavors, and taste-test as I go, adding and taking away as I cook.

I think the biggest challenge, for me, has been translating those recipes for you.

I mean, how do you say, add the salt until it tastes right on your tongue?

Hahaha!

Let’s move on to this delicious recipe that you ABSOLUTELY can taste test until you get the perfect balance of sweet, salty, or even spicy.

Here are a few questions that get asked often on this recipe.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Adding Kosher Salt

Where is The Best Place to Buy Nuts for Gifts?

Let’s be honest, nuts aren’t the cheapest gift to give so I recommend shopping around for the best prices.

If you have a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, you can buy these ingredients in bulk to save on your cost per pound.

I also found this Reddit thread on where to buy the cheapest nuts and thought it had some incredible suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of.

What Are the Best Nuts for a Holiday Nut Mix?

You can choose any combination of mixed nuts that you might love or just keep things simple and roast only your absolute favorite. In this recipe, I’m just using three of my favorites- pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

You can definitely use your own favorite combination for your sugar and spice nuts.

My favorite variety of nuts include pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

These nuts are then tossed with an egg white, water, sugar and some of my favorite holiday spices- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice.

Once you pull them hot out of the oven, I sprinkle liberally with kosher salt to add that sweet and salty combination

I love so much in everything from my salted caramel mochas to my dark chocolate & sea salt brownies. The salt really adds to the flavors and helps make these even more addictive.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Salting

How Do I Package Nuts for Gift-Giving?

This time of year, the craft stores are loaded with food packaging for your gifts. I love to check the seasonal aisles in Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

The important thing is that they are airtight, especially if you are giving a large amount as a gift. While these paper boxes make a cute display, an inexpensive tin or even recycling nut tins will keep your treat fresher longer.

To make the most of your recycled container, consider wrapping it with festive gift wrap or scrapbooking paper to make it more unique.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaged Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Close-Up Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaging Idea

Don’t have a lot of money in the budget? No worries at all!

Did you know that you can order items IN BULK from the Dollar Store?

This shop usually has a TON of great packaging solutions for just one dollar.

Target’s Dollar Spot might also be a great option, if you have on a budget.

Can I also remind you how IMPORTANT it is to have this app on your phone when visiting your craft stores? It costs nothing and it gives you cash back on all your purchases. Here’s $10 to get you started ASAP.

Not only does this make a good amount for sharing, you can easily double the recipe.

Package these nut mixes up in a pretty box tied with ribbon.

I actually found these little Wilton boxes at our local grocery store, but I am sure they have something similar at your favorite craft store.

I lined the interior of them with a little tissue paper and finished them with satin ribbon.

 

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy nut mixture to create from spices in your pantry and perfect for your holiday snacking or giving.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup sugar (you can use white or brown sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • 2 cups pecans, halves
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • Optional: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to make these into sweet & spicy nuts.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the beaten egg white, sugar, and all of your spices (except the salt).
  3. Add the nuts and toss until evenly coated. Make sure to stir to coat each individual piece well.
  4. Spread nuts in a single layer, evenly, onto a greased or lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Spread out on parchment paper and sprinkle, while still hot, liberally with coarse salt.
  7. Package for your gift-giving needs.

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This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for more great holiday treats? Here are a few of our favorite recipes!

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in jars

the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com gluten-free cake mix sugar cookie recipe

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step-By-Step gingerbread biscotti recipe

What are some of your favorite treats to share around the holidays?

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas

Saturday, November 16th, 2019

Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas from MomAdvice.com I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is upon us!

This year I get to host both sides of my family at my home for the Thanksgiving holiday so I have been in full planning mode over the last couple of weeks.
 
As a hostess, I know that often our time is more focused on the food than the decorations, but you need not spend oodles of your time crafting or purchasing a lot to make your table beautiful.
 
In fact, this post shows you that that by shopping your very own home and adding a few inexpensive items from Goodwill, you are just minutes away from the perfect Thanksgiving table.
 
Here are six great last minute Thanksgiving ideas to pull together a beautiful time for your holiday feast.
 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Add Thoughtful Layering

I am seeing so many beautiful layers this year for Thanksgiving decor.

 

Holly Mathis Interiors shows you a beautiful table that you can achieve easily by layering items from around your house or from Goodwill.

A couple of items to note in this shot, you can add backyard leaf branches in glass jars to add a rustic element, flannel throws add warmth to the table without a more formal tablecloth, pumpkins add another natural element, and you can mix and match your chairs or mix in chairs found from the store to create that homey detail that I love.

 
How pretty is that?
 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Add Unexpected Textures

Once again, I am seeing that people are pulling away from the traditional tablecloth and going for the unexpected texture on table.

 
In Home Stories A to Z, she has used a beautiful cabled throw to add warmth and texture to the table.
 

White linens can be stamped with gold (I love my friend Michael’s easy gold foil napkins tutorial for this!)

Check your favorite thrift store for pretty knit blanket throws or white linens for stamping.

 

You never know what treasures you can find in housewares until you go browse!

Additional details like pretty ribbon, personalized tags, and a few well-placed feathers never hurt either, do they?

 
Thanksgiving tablescape
 

Make Your Guests Feel Cozy

 

If I was going to design my perfect Thanksgiving table, it would look just like this.
 
 
Gatherings of friends in the crisp fall air with cozy blankets are such a beautiful and lovely way to celebrate the season.
 
 
Once again, we see how cozy the mismatched look can be.
 
 
From mismatched pillows to blankets to chairs, it all comes together beautifully when placed around a table.
 
 
A glass vase can hold a rustic bouquet from the backyard and pumpkins offer a beautiful detail leading up to the barn.
 
 
This is definitely my dream tablescape and can be achieved just by bringing a few of the items you have from inside your house to the great outdoors. (image source: Lexington Company)
 
 

Thanksgiving Monogram plates

 

Personalize It

When something has my name on it, it immediately feels special to me.
 
I love this idea for taking a simple Plexiglas circle and adding a little calligraphy to it to personalize each table setting for your guests.
 
Is your handwriting as terrible as mine?
 
I sure hope not!
 
If it is though, Almost Makes Perfect provides the template you need to create your names and simply trace them, making this a beautiful and painless craft for the table.

 

Thanksgiving tablescape

 

Add a 5-Minute Detail

Centerpieces can be pricey and feel tricky to pull together especially if you lack that designer instinct.
 
I have found that the simpler the centerpiece though, the easier it is to see and chat with my dinner guests.
 
My sweet friend, Julie Blanner, is the queen of beautiful and simple decor and she shares her easy 5-minute centerpiece for the holidays on her blog.
 
With a quick trip to the grocery store and a platter, you can add a little natural beauty in no time flat!
 
I also love these give thanks printables to tuck in your cutlery from Craftaholics Anonymous.
 
That is another 5-minute detail I feel confident that I could execute!
 
 
 
Thanksgiving utensils
 
 

Dress up your Utensils

 
Julie over at The Craft Patch has these adorable utensil pouches that will make any table a little more fun!
 
Wrap around the napkin with the knives and forks and your table is set and beautiful!
 
 
 
Herb centerpiece
 

Put the Leftover Herbs to Work

 
My kitchen is filled with sage for our favorite stuffing and herbed turkey that I have loved to serve over the years.
 
If you have any leftover, it can add a beautiful detail to your table.
 
Simply place the herbs in a glass jar and tie with a simple satin ribbon to finish.
 
Not only is this pretty to look at, but it also smells so good too! (image source: Buzzfeed)
 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and I hope these easy last minute ideas inspire you for your holiday meal!

 

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Last Minute Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas MomAdvice.com

 

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Here are some more great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice.com:

The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving-49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More

Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving

 

 

Make Ahead & Freeze Thanksgiving Dinner MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

 

 

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece MomAdvice.com

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

 

 

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins MomAdvice.com

DIY Thumbtack Pumpkins

 

 

DIY Tablerunner for all seasons MomAdvice.com

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

 

 

Last minute Thanksgiving tablescape ideas from MomAdvice.com

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

Friday, November 15th, 2019

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

These no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar are a perfect gift to give and full of that peppermint flavor we crave around the holidays. The best part about these isn’t the jar though, it is the, “no baking required,” feature that I happen to love the most. Print this recipe today for an adorable individual-sized dessert.

These mini peppermint cheesecake jars are a fun holiday party dessert or could be a fantastic hostess gift to share with someone. This no-bake cheesecake recipe is quick and easy and perfect for stashing in the freezer for the unexpected guest.

I have a theory that any gift in a jar is more special when decorated and created in a portion size for one.

In the past, I have made only salads in a jar. Although I do love a good jarred salad, I have to say that cheesecake is a heck of a lot more fun.

This year I wanted to create holiday hostess gifts that would long be remembered, but quickly be used.

What could be more memorable or useful than a tiny cheesecake in a jar?

The thing is, I am NOT a great baker.

Why let my skill set stop me from delivering a delicious dessert though? 

That is why I thought it would be fun to make a no-bake treat instead that even a beginning cook could pull together.

These no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar are a perfect gift to give. Nothing says the holidays to me more than that minty flavor and festive crushed candy canes.

Is it just me or are chocolate and peppermint the most perfect of pairs? With this dessert, I used crushed cookies instead of the traditional graham cracker crust (made from graham cracker crumbs) for my cheesecake.

I just love bringing those peppermint and chocolate flavors together.

I also love a rich cheesecake filling so I skipped a lower calorie filling substitution (like greek yogurt or sour cream) and opted for full-fat cream cheese for my filling.

YOLO, amiright?

The best part about these isn’t the jar though, it is the, “no baking required,” feature that I happen to love the most.

Here’s how to make these delicious no-bake peppermint cheesecakes.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

The cookie crust, for these adorable jarred cheesecakes,  can be created by crushing the cookies with a rolling pin or pulsing them through your food processor.

Gluten-free?

No problem!

They make delicious gluten-free cookie sandwiches or I have even used a gluten-free chocolate granola as a fun substitution for my curst.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

After laying down your cookie base you can blend up your cream cheese mixture for your cheesecake filling.

I like to use a handheld electric mixer and blend this cheesecake filling in a mixing bowl.

Folding in the whipped cream, at the end, allows helps this cheesecake filling to be light and airy.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

To get that holiday peppermint flavor, we just substitute a traditional vanilla extract with a peppermint extract instead.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

The possibilities with this fun food craft are endless.

Convert your favorite no-bake cheesecake into a sweet gift. I love to decorate jars with spray paint or a scrap of pretty fabric.

These gifts can easily be personalized and will be a fun treat for whoever you might share them with.

I guarantee if you made me one of these, as a hostess gift, I would have you over and over again…

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

How To Decorate Yours No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

Supplies Needed

10 Half-Pint Ball Jars

Red Spray Paint (I REALLY recommend getting one of these to help with paint application)

Hot Glue and Glue Sticks

Green Grosgrain Ribbon

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

Directions

Remove the bands from the jars and set aside. Outside or in a well-ventilated area, spread your jar lids out on newspaper.

Shake your spray paint well.

Slowly and evenly, spray your spray paint back and forth until all of the lids are covered with the spray paint.

Allow these to dry for at least thirty minutes.

Plug in your glue gun and allow it to heat up.

Tie grosgrain ribbon (any width you desire) into a small bow. 

Place your spray-painted lids on top of your jars and screw the bands into place.

Squirt a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of your bow and place it on top in the center of your lid.  Hold it in place for a minute. Sit back and bask in your crafting glory.

 

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes In A Jar
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A sweet & simple no-bake cheesecake in a jar that you can give to someone special for the holidays. This is the perfect little hostess gift, teacher gift, or neighbor gift to share!
Ingredients
  • 10 Half Pint Ball Jars
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups of chocolate sandwich cookies (approximately 17 cookies)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • Red food coloring
  • 20 peppermint candies
  • 3 freezer bags
  • 1 rolling pin
  • For decorating jars (optional): Red Spray Paint, Green Grosgrain Ribbon, and Hot Glue
Instructions
  1. Place your chocolate sandwich cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash them until they become cookie crumbs.
  2. Add your melted butter and sugar to a bag and mix until the three ingredients pull together. You just want to make sure that your crust is well incorporated so it holds well together.
  3. Take the lids off of your glass jars and place them on a cookie sheet to contain the mess.
  4. Spray each of the jars with cooking spray. Put two spoonfuls of cookie crumbs into each jar and use the back of the spoon or your hands to press the crust into each jar.
  5. Slide the cookie sheet of jars back into the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.
  6. In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk until it is smooth.
  7. Stir in your peppermint extract and red food coloring, approximately three drops, to achieve a pale pink color. Mix all of these ingredients well.
  8. Fold in your whipped cream.
  9. Remove your tray of jars from the freezer. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add one scoop of filling to each of your jars. Use the back of a small spoon to smooth the filling on top until it is level and smooth.
  10. Remove the wrappers from your peppermint candies. Place the peppermint candies into a double-bagged freezer bag and use your rolling pin to smash these into small pieces to garnish your cheesecakes. Sprinkle the broken peppermints on top of each one.
  11. Screw the lids back on your jars and put these back into the freezer. Freeze for two hours or until firm.

Make a batch of these and keep them on hand for those unexpected occasions where a gift is needed!
It also could be a lovely reward for yourself after all of that hard holiday preparation you have been doing. You deserve it.

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Looking for more great holiday hostess gift? Here are 3 other projects to check out!

How to Make Knitted Wine Toppers from MomAdvice.com knitted wine bottle hats and scarves

slow cooker pumpkin candles

DIY Vanilla Chai Tea Mix from MomAdvice.com diy vanilla chai tea mix in a jar

What are some of your favorite hostess gifts to give? 

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

 

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Make-Ahead: Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make your own cranberry sauce ahead of the big dinner with this easy recipe. Fresh cranberries, oranges and brandy make this super easy recipe delicious and the perfect match for your turkey! It freezes beautifully for make-ahead dish!

 

Certain aspects of Thanksgiving preparation seem intimidating to me.

Making a homemade cranberry sauce was one of those things.

This recipe for Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce though was so easy to create and so delicious that I can’t imagine buying the canned variety again.

The holidays seemed like the perfect time to tackle making my own cranberry sauce.

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

All of the flavor in this dish comes from, of course, the use of fresh cranberries and the zest and juice from fresh oranges.

You need a microplane (can be found at just about any kitchen supplies store) to achieve the finest orange zest to be incorporated throughout the dish.

The most time-consuming process about this sauce is the zesting and squeezing of your fresh oranges.

I promise that it will be worth it!

The other key component with this sauce is a tablespoon of brandy.

I tasted the sauce without the brandy and then I tasted the sauce after the brandy and the difference is substantial and worth the extra splurge.

An entire bottle of brandy costs about $6 and I incorporate this in everything from quick pan sauces for meats to my favorite slow cooker lemon chicken recipe to my fresh blueberry sangria lemonade.

 

 

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

 

You want to cook this sauce until the berries have popped and the sauce begins to thicken.

 After the full cooking time I have listed, you may believe your sauce is still too thin and watery.

Do not worry!  

Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to come down to room temperature.  

A beautiful discovery will be found when you check back in your pot and realize that your sauce is thick and rich, just like you had always envisioned.

You see, cranberries have their own natural pectin (who knew?) that allows the cranberry sauce to thicken.

In fact, cranberries are one of the highest pectin containing fruits.

 

Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce MomAdvice.com

 

 

This cranberry sauce recipe is a great make-ahead dish that you can start preparing now for your big day.

Once your sauce has cooled, you can place it in your freezer to save for the big day!

Just place your sauce either double-bagged in freezer bags and label or in a freezer-safe container.

I would pull it out a few days before the big day or for a quicker idea for thawing, place the freezer bag of sauce in a bowl of warm water for an hour, or until it has thawed. 

Any leftover sauce can be used to dress up your turkey sandwiches!


Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Holiday
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Once you make this cranberry sauce, you will never buy the canned variety again. Make this dish ahead & freeze for your Thanksgiving meal.
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup orange zest (approximately the zest from four oranges)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (I used the juice from four oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 cups cranberries
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Instructions
  1. In a small pan over medium heat, combine the orange zest and water. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving zest and ⅓ cup liquid.
  2. To the reserved liquid, add the sugar, cinnamon, orange juice and lemon juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
  3. Add cranberries; increase heat to medium-high and boil for about 30 minutes. The cranberries should pop and the sauce will be slightly thickened. Once cooled, the sauce will be much thicker (don't worry!)
  4. Remove from heat, stir in brandy.
  5. See above for directions on freezing or store in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.

 

 

Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce MomAdvice.com

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Looking for more great dishes to make ahead? Check out these other ideas from MomAdvice.com:

 

Make Ahead Appetizers MomAdvice.com

7 Easy Make-Ahead Appetizers

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

 

Meal Prep: Breakfast Sandwiches Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Meal Prep Breakfast Sandwiches

 

 

 

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken from MomAdvice.com

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken for Meal Prep

 

 

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Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages

You don’t need a lot of cash to snag these unique gifts for kids. This gift guide shares fun gift ideas for the baby, preschooler, tween, or teen in your life. Many gift ideas are priced under $25!

I loved hearing how much you guys appreciated the Unique Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything gift guide that I created. I hope you found something that they TRULY love.

Today’s gift guide is for the kids (of any age)!

Whether you have a toddler or a teen, I have selected a few great gift ideas for each of them.

Just as a reminder, if you are on a budget, I DO recommend that you sign up with Rakuten to do your shopping. This service will give you cash back on all your qualifying purchases.

If you want to read more about this shopping app, head here for an in-depth review of what Rakuten offers.

If you just want $25 and plan to get shopping, this should automatically deposit $25 in your account for your purchases(sorry- new customers only!).

MomAdvice participates in various affiliate marketing programs and anything purchased through our links (to retailer sites), will give us a small commision. This money is used to offset our site expenses and we are very grateful!

Are you ready to find some adorable gift ideas for the kid who has everything?

Here are my suggestions for this year!

 

NOTE: You can click on the images to head directly to the source! Happy shopping!

Unique Gifts for Kids Under $25

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age computer gaming glasses (GREAT stocking stuffer)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age

child-sized apron (great to pair with cooking classes!)

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age neck book light (in lots of colors)
Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age the unofficial harry potter cookbook

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age jumbo box of magic set

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age nerf dude perfect shot

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age board game eating trays (several styles)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age

tablecloth playhouse

 

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age white unicorn crossbody

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age make your own movie activity kit

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age faux fur bear robe

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age my little farm giant coloring poster

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age ed emberley’s big green drawing book (these were my hubby’s fave when he was young)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age custom crayons (cute stocking stuffer)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age kids create absurdity game

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age sparkle waterproof rain boots

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age

minecraft transforming pickaxe/sword

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age super mario tee

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age minnie mouse bike helmet…feeling generous? there is a cute matching bike!

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age imagination cubes (great stocking stuffer)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age lite brite

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age elsa princess dress

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age have your kids leave toys for santa- this is genius!

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age christmas eve bag (how fun would this be every year?)

 

 

Unique Gifts For Teens & Tweens Under $25

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age library card tote (it has a pocket for their library card)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age votes for women puzzle

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age ticket stub diary

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age zodiac trinket dish

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age beanie with built-in bluetooth speakers

 

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age hot iron holster

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age one question a day book

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age sloth mug

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age go glam nail stamper

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age rocketbook reusable notebook (my boys loved this!)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age color your own map pillowcase

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age absorbent hair towel (would be cute paired with some spa day products)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age women in art book

 

Unique Gifts for Kids Under $50

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age custom book print

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age trailblazers tee

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age the puffin in bloom collection

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age faux fur pullover

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age elsa’s styling head (so fun to practice those youtube tutorials!)

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age flippy book or tablet stand

 

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age hermione granger’s illuminating wand

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age wooden dinosaur playset

Unique Gifts for Tweens & Teens Under $50

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age caboodles throwback ’87

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age wooden weaving loom

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age modern magnetic board

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age video rocker gaming chair (can’t believe how cheap these are!!)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age spalding globe ball

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age pressed floral instax case

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age literary insults chart

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age herschel mini backpack

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age complete nail station

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age pocket projector (for streaming their movies and shows)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age star wars 12 days of socks

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age never soggy cereal bowl (with their favorite junk food cereals)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age sideways initial necklace

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age fujifilm instax (so many cute colors)

Unique Gifts for Kids of Any Age laptop sleeve

 

Looking for a big family gift instead? Here are two things we have done!

one year we took the kids to hamilton & I shared how we did that

we have also done a “choose your own adventure,” experience with our kiddos- such a blast!

 

I hope that this inspires your gift-giving this year! Let me know if you got anything and what you thought!

Honest truth: I am always thankful to be a part of ANYONE’S holiday!

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Unique Gift Ideas for Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Unique Gift Ideas for Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

A completely fresh green bean casserole recipe that can be made-ahead and frozen for your Holiday feast. Once you try this fresh take on everyone’s favorite side dish, you’ll never go back to the canned type again! You can make this casserole gluten-free thanks to this smart recipe!

Have you been following along with our make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes? Today I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made with only the freshest ingredients.

The best part?

This one can be frozen and stored in your freezer for the big day.

I wanted to share my make-ahead meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table with less stress. As we all know, the more that we get done early, the more we can really enjoy the holiday with our family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series?

If not, here are the recipes I have created:

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com buttery dinner rolls in the bread machine

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com make-ahead gravy recipe

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com make ahead cranberry sauce

make-ahead mashed potatoes make-ahead mashed potatoes

make-ahead apple, sausage, and sage sourdough stuffing

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com make-ahead bacon, apple, and cornbread gluten-free stuffing

How to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com how to decorate store-bought pies for the big day

Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves. I really wanted to create a dish thought that didn’t rely completely on canned food ingredients and instead upon fresh ones.

Most of us grew up on the casserole that contained canned mushrooms, green beans (frozen green beans, if you are fancy), and a can of french fried onions.

Since we have been adding more fresh dishes to our holiday menu, I thought I’d improve on this basic casserole.

In this green bean casserole recipe, fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in a delicious cream sauce.

The casserole is then finished with a blend of french fried onions with buttery panko. This, truly, makes the ultimate crunch topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

How to Make This Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole Recipe

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and to make sure that there is no leaking from the lid. If you are preparing right away, you can just add the bean mixture to a casserole dish instead.

On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day.

The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

The difference between the cream of mushroom soup canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different.

The green beans are crispy, the mushroom cream sauce is rich and creamy, and the panko topping adds a crispy crunch.

Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will tell you why it is worth the effort. As soon as I tasted my first bite, I knew that I would never go back to the canned casserole again.

Here are a few commonly asked questions about this make-ahead green bean casserole!

Where Can I Locate Panko in My Grocery Store?

Have you used panko before?

It really is one of my favorite items to bread and top dishes with.

Panko is a Japanese bread crumb that is light in texture and offers a coarse crumb texture to your breading.

Panko is made from wheat bread, but has a surprisingly golden color that looks just like that golden color and texture you love from your fried dishes.

While it may sound a little more exotic than our good old breadcrumbs, these are actually available at our local Walmart.

They often have these in two spots in the store- the Asian food section or the baking aisle.

I found the ones in the baking aisle were about twenty cents cheaper so I grabbed them over there. A box of these was about $2 so they are very inexpensive, but can add a lot of crunch to your dishes that you will soon become addicted to.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

I’m Gluten-Free. Do You Have Suggestions On How to Make Green Bean Casserole Gluten-free?

Lucky for you, so am I! This make-ahead green bean casserole can be made gluten-free. Substitute the all purpose flour with this great cup-for-cup substitute.

I have linked to the most affordable flour option that I can because I know how expensive being gluten-free can be. If you use this link, it should take an additional 25% off your order.

They also make gluten-free panko (YAY!) and I found this shop had the best price on it for this dish.

I have found gluten-free french fried onions at our local ALDI. This ingredient is always available around the holidays so stock up when you see it!

Want to save even more on your holiday ingredients? I HIGHLY recommend checking out Rakuten because you will get an additional percentage back AND it grabs the coupons for you!

Do You Have Any Suggestions on What Type of Containers Work Well for Freezing My Dishes?

Honestly, I would suggest checking out your local dollar store and stocking upon their disposable foil containers for the holidays.

You can’t beat $1 per item, can you?

They are, admittedly, flimsy. If you are looking for something more durable, try this option.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you'll never go back to the canned type again!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil (or melted butter). Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, for about 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides.
  5. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper them.
  6. Add the garlic next. Make sure to watch this so that it doesn’t burn.
  7. Cook this mixture until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  8. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish.
  10. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event, covered with plastic wrap.
  11. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Add the onion topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes. You want to bake this until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.
Notes
Follow the instructions within the post to make this a gluten-free green bean casserole

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole MomAdvice.com Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole MomAdvice.com Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

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