Holiday Gift Guide

15 Foodie Gifts |

15 Foodie Gifts |

The countdown to Christmas is on and you may still be looking for a quick gift for the foodie on your list or a last minute hostess gift for an upcoming party.  I’ve got you covered and present you with my Holiday Gift Guide for 2015.  Check out the list of 16 of my favorite things from all around the web.

  1. Peet’s Coffee Holiday Blend – This is my all time favorite coffee for the holidays.  It’s incredibly rich and delicious.  $16.95 per pound.

Peet's Coffee Holiday Blend |

2. The 8 x 8 Cookbook – my incredibly talented friend Kathy wrote this book and it is fantastic!  I can’t wait to make each and every recipe in this deliciously packed book of yum!  $24.95

The 8 x 8 Cookbook |

3. The Spiceologist Block™ – you may remember that we had a Kickstarter for the Spiceologist Block back in 2013.  It launched right after I joined Pete on our Spicy Journey and it’s one popular beechwood block filled with spicy love.  We hand fill, hand stamp and box each one with love.  Starts at $159.00.

Spiceologist Block |

4.  Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi – This limited-edition kitchen set was created for the fall and holiday season that benefits, an organization that helps provide struggling families with fresh produce. Nothing is better than giving two-fold.  $35.00

Woodbridge Gift Set |

5.  Kidrobot Foodie Plush – Macarons can make a cook crazy in the kitchen, but with Margarette the Macaron it’s nothing but fun.  Super soft and snuggly – and there’s even a taco plush.  Crazy cute.  $29.95

Kidrobot Foodie Plush |

6. Express Lane Cooking – The concept of this book, from fellow foodie friend Shawn Syphus of I Wash…You Dry, is so cool!  5 ingredient recipes with a twist.  I love my book and I think you will too!!  $13.89

Express Lane Cooking Cookbook |

7.  Jacobsen Salt 6 Vial Gift Set – I got the chance to meet Ben Jacobsen this past summer and he is one class act.  I’ve been a fan of his salt company for some time because the salts are amazing and the company is a class act.  $29.95

Jacobsen Salt 6 Vial Gift Set |

8.  DIY Bacon Kit – I mean, is it really necessary to say more?  It’s Bacon.  Homemade.  Lord have mercy.  $19.95

DIY Bacon Kit |

9. Spiceologist Rub Gift Set – I know what you’re thinking…”she’s trying to sell me on her spice stuff”.  Well, you might be partially right, but let me tell you…Spiceologist is growing like nuts because of 1 thing…delicious products.  Our rubs are all natural, no gluten and 100% versatile and delicious.  $95.00

Spiceologist 8 Pack Rub Gift Set |

10. Booey’s Gourmet Pepper Sauce – Let me just say….this stuff is BOMBDELICIOUS.  Pappa Booey is working fast and furious to get his ecomm site up and running, so if you’re local to Spokane there are several stores where you can pick up a bottle of sauce.

Booey's Gourmet Pepper Sauce

11. The Joyful Table Cookbook by Susan Joy –  January will be here in 2 shakes and we’ll all be taking a big hard look at the after effects of “just one more cookie”.  I think I’ve tried every single way of eating there is but the one that sticks with me and is easy for me to stick to is the Paleo/Primal way of life.  I mean…butter, hello?  This is a FANTASTIC book filled with amazingly delicious and easy recipes that is not just for the month of January, but for the rest of your life.  $57.48 

The Joyful Table |

12. Foodie Fight – A Game For Serious Foodies – If you have a foodie on the list…I bet they’d love a game just for foodies.  I know I would.  $18.67

Foodie Fight Game |

13. Le Creuset Dutch Oven – The gift that keeps on giving and giving and giving.  The beauty of a Le Creuset is that you buy it once and you’ll have it forever.  Starts at $130

Le Creuset Dutch Oven |

14. Hampton’s Lane Curated Box – curated box of deliciousness.  Hampton’s Lane hand curates each item for their super creative monthly box.  They even have a 50 Shades of Chicken box.  $47.00

Hampton's Lane |

15. Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix from Not Without Salt – Ok, let me just tell you…I was sent a couple of these tubes of cookie mix and they are AMAZING, easy to whip up and the vanilla infused brown sugar…well that stuff is bomb!  $14.00

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie |

16. Rösle Garlic Press – Some people might say “don’t you have chef’s knife?” but wait…this is my most used kitchen tool for one reason – IT WORKS.  And it’s a dream to clean.  I’ve had mine for a very long time and it’s still incredible. $49.00

Rosle Garlic Press |

That concludes this year’s version of the top foodie gifts in my humble opinion.  If you don’t have a foodie on your list for the Le Creuset, let me know.  I gladly accept kitchen gadgets and I’d even make something amazing just for you.  :)  

Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you all.  Thanks for being here.

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Fresh Dark Cherry & Orange Pie

Fresh Cherry & Orange Pie |

A beautiful fresh cherry pie scented with orange zest is the perfect accompaniment to your next BBQ or any get together.  

Fresh Cherry & Orange Pie |

I am a huge fan of cherries.  In fact, when they are in season, I probably eat my weight in them….that is if I was 800 lbs, which thankfully, I am not.  Anyway, the gist…I love cherries.  So when the bumper crop comes on, it’s time to bust out a beautiful fresh cherry pie.  Warning: NO cans of cherry pie filling were harmed in this recipe.

Fresh Dark Cherry and Orange Pie |

I highly recommend buying a nice cherry pitter.  Some of them on the market are the pits (sorry, couldn’t help myself) and either A) don’t work or B) really don’t work.  I bought mine eons ago from Pampered Chef and I know they don’t carry them anymore but investing in a decent one from a gourmet retailer (like Williams-Sonoma) is probably going to be worth it in the long run.  I like halving my cherries for pie, but if you love a big plump cherry, then by all means leave them whole.

Fresh Dark Cherry and Orange Pie |

There is something magical that happens when you add orange zest to pie.  Believe it or not, it’s my favorite secret addition to my apple pies for the fall.  The hint of citrus just makes everything pop.  In a good way…a really good way. 

Fresh Dark Cherry and Orange Pie |

Ok, let’s talk crust.  You can get fancy pants with it and make star cutouts or not.  You could also do lattice topped or even just a solid crust with some vents cut in the top.  There’s not right or wrong way to do it, so let your imagination and cookie cutters go wild.  Ok, let’s get to the Fresh Dark Cherry & Orange Pie recipe, shall we?

Fresh Dark Cherry & Orange Pie

Yield: 1 9-inch Pie

Fresh Dark Cherry & Orange Pie

A beautiful fresh dark cherry pie scented with orange zest is the perfect accompaniment to your next BBQ or get together.


    For Pie Crust:
  • Martha Stewart's Basic Pie Dough (in 2 disks refrigerated)
  • For Filling:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups whole pitted dark sweet cherries, cut in half (about 2 pounds)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (about) milk


  1. Position rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in large bowl. Toss cherries, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla with sugar mixture and set aside.
  2. Roll out 1 pie crust disk on a floured surface to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using a small star cookie cutter, cut out the dough leaving a 1 inch edge all the way around. Pour the cherry mixture into the dough lined dish. Dot with butter. Place the star cut out dough round on top. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges with your fingertips to seal.
  3. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet or over aluminum foil and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375°F. Bake about 1 hour more, or until cherry filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, cover edges with foil if they are browning too quickly. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely before serving.


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15 Ultimate Valentine’s Day Recipes

15 Recipes to Make for Valentine's Day |

15 Valentine's Day Treats to Make For Your Honey |

It’s almost the most romantic day of the year.  Have you planned out something sweet for your sweetie?  If not, here are 15 recipes from some of my favorite food blogs to make you salivate and hopefully inspire you to make some deliciousness.

1.  Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova – Pineapple & Coconut

15 Recipes to Make for Valentine's Day |

Shanna Schad /

Shanna not only drizzled this double decker beauty with chocolate but loaded it with other deliciousness as well.

2. Slow Cooker Chocolate Fondue from Rachel Cooks

15 Recipe to Make for Valentine's Day |
Rachel Gurk /

Anything and I mean ANYTHING slow cooker has my heart and soul.  Now add chocolate to the slow cooker and I may be in love 10 times more.  This Slow Cooker Chocolate Fondue looks incredible!

3. Valentine’s Day Cocktail – Cooking With Books

15 Recipes to Make for Valentines' Day |

Marnely Rodriguez-Murray /

Simple, elegant, perfect.  Amen.  This Valentine’s Day Cocktail looks beautiful and the sugar cube?  Sign me up.

4. Raspberry Chipotle Brownie Trifle – Spiceologist

15 Recipes to Make for Valentine's Day |

Heather Scholten /

Yep, these.  We made these for a post at my spice company Spiceologist and we couldn’t wait for the video shoot to end to devour them!  These Raspberry Chipotle Brownie Trifles are so easy and wicked delicious.

5. Beet & Goat Cheese Napoleon – The Tomato Tart

Sabrina Model-Carlberg /

Nothing says love more than heart shaped beets and these Beet & Goat Cheese Napoleons with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette are speaking endless words of love to me.

6. Brownie Batter Skillet Cookie- Kailley’s Kitchen

Kailley Lindman /

Let’s just stop for a second and say this again.  Brownie Batter.  Skillet Cookie.  I mean, come on, this just has to happen.  Everyone needs a Date Night Brownie Batter Skillet in their lives.

7. Chocolate Valentine Kiss Cookies – The Kitchen is My Playground

Tracey Harrelson /

Kisses are meant for Valentine’s Day.  The end.  Oh, and sprinkles too.

8. Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes – Glorious Treats

Glory Albin /

You had me at molten.  Famous last words from Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise.  Anything Chocolate and/or Molten on Valentine’s Day is mandatory.

9. Red Velvet Whoopie Pies – Ari’s Menu

Ariana Ziskin-Bailey /

I mean, what else is there left to say?  Whoopie pies own me.  Seriously.

10. Rice Krispie Treat Hearts – Tammilee Tips

Tammilee Tillison /

Valentine’s Day is all about the heart bout the heart.  No circles.  Rice Krispie Treat Hearts that are red?  Yes, please.

11. Sno Ball Chocolate Cake Cups – A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Brenda Score /

Who else loves sno balls?  Raise your hand proud, there’s no judging here.  I’ll take 2 of these beautiful Sno Ball Chocolate Cake Cups from the uber amazing B.

12. Love Bug Bites – Fork & Beans

Cara Reed /

Cake pops….with feet and vegan eyeballs.  CaaaaaUTE!  Almost too cute to eat.  Ok, check that, I’d totally eat them.

13. Super Fudgy Brownies – Bake Love Give

Kimberly Schiffel /

Fudgey brownies are the only brownies for me.  Add little cuteness hearts to them and VIOLA, amazingness squared.  Did you see what I did there?

14. Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake – Farmgirl Gourmet

Heather Scholten /

Of course I had to toss in an oldie but goodie.  This was my Mom’s recipe and it rules.  Easy, incredibly delish and yeah, there’s really not much more to say about that.  Oh….MAKE IT.

15. Pomegranate Chocolate Mousse Bowls – Krafted Koch

Danielle Green /

Mousse.  Pomegranates.  Those chocolate bowls.  If that doesn’t impress your sweetie, then I don’t know what will.

That rounds up this edition of everything red, pink and delicious.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.  May it be filled with roses, candy and sweet kisses.  Chocolate or otherwise.  :)


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S’mores Martinis

S'mores Martinis |

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of QVC. The opinions and text are all mine.
S'mores Martinis |

You know, sometimes you just need to bring the outdoors in and well, kick it up big kid style.  This s’mores martini from David Venable’s latest cookbook: Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook does just that.  Sweet, toasty and adults-only deliciousness that harkens the memories of sitting around the campfire during the summer months.

David Venable QVC Back Around the Table | farmgirlgourmet.comDavid’s entire book is a treasure-trove of amazing recipes, great commentary and even a foreword from my sweet friend Ree.  Deciding on a recipe to make from this book was the hardest thing to do.  So many delectable choices.  Here were a few of my faves:

  • Spiced Bacon Skewers – Umm…..HELLO Christmas morning!!
  • Cherry Strudel – I <3 strudel
  • Seven-Layer Taco Salad – Yes yes and yes
  • Kansas City-Style Smoked Chicken – I drool!

I lead a crazy hectic life.  Having go-to recipes that will feed the hungry troops, not take eons and are delicious is what I strive for and this book does not disappoint in that arena.   There are over 100 recipes in David’s latest book with 11 chapters and tons of beautiful color photography to get your mouth watering.  

S'mores Martinis |

This recipe is soooooo easy to make and even easier to drink.  Toasting the marshmallows in a hot frying pan is genius!  You could also use a kitchen torch if you’re feeling fancy.  :)  Here’s the recipe.  Salud!

If you think your family will enjoy this recipe, be sure to visit to learn more about and purchase Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook. Filled with 156 great recipes like this, you’re sure to find something that fits your lifestyle and gathers everyone back around the table!

S’mores Martinis

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: Makes 2

S’mores Martinis

This delicious concoction can me made for Valentine's Day or an anniversary dinner, or really anytime you feel like having s'mores in a slurpy sweet adult beverage.


  • ¼ cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 2 marshmallows
  • ¼ cup marshmallow vodka
  • ¼ cup Adult Chocolate Milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream


  1. Put 3 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup on a small plate. Place the crushed graham crackers on another small plate. Dip the rims of two martini glasses in the chocolate syrup, then dip the rims into the graham cracker crumbs. Quickly turn the martini glasses right side up and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup in a spiral design on the insides of the glasses. Put the glasses in the freezer for 1 hour to let the chocolate harden.
  2. Remove the glasses from the freezer. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Put each marshmallow on the end of a skewer. Place the skewers in the skillet with a flat side of the marshmallows facing down, until the marshmallows turn golden, about 45 seconds. Remove the skewered marshmallows from the pan and, using the tines of a fork, push 1 marshmallow into each martini glass.
  3. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, half of the marshmallow vodka, half of the Adult Chocolate Milk, and half of the cream. Shake well and strain the mixture into one of the glasses. Repeat for the second drink.


Ask for Adult Chocolate Milk and Marshmallow Vodka at your local wine & spirits store.

S'mores Martinis |

Venable’s second cookbook, Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook from QVC’s Resident Foodie, has recently been released in October 2014 and features more than 100 brand-new recipes, as well as 30 fan favorites, that highlight David’s inventive spin on traditional comfort food favorites.

Recipes including Banana-Peanut Butter French Toast, Sunday Pot Roast, Smoked Brisket, Five-Cheese Fifteen-Minute Mac’ n’ Cheese, and Mimi’s Blackberry Cobbler–can be found in Venable’s second comfort food cookbook. QVC’s resident foodie shows you how to transform recipes you know and love into exciting new dishes that still remind you of home.  

Plus, with 11 chapters–some designed for your favorite kitchen appliances like the pressure cooker or slow-cooker, as well as a bonus holiday chapter that’s only available in cookbooks purchased from QVC–you’re sure to find something that fits your lifestyle and gathers everyone back around the table.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

If you think your family will enjoy this recipe, be sure to visit to learn more about and purchase Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook. Filled with 156 great recipes like this, you’re sure to find something that fits your lifestyle and gathers everyone back around the table!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of QVC. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum

Pumpkin Hot Buttered Rum


Kahlúa, Kahlúa and more Kahlúa!  Which is not a complaint!  If the other 4 didn’t whet your whistle then this one definitely will!

I happen to love Hot Buttered Rum in the winter months.  The spices, the sweetness, the rum.  It’s the perfect warm-you-up concoction after a long day in the snow.  I had never thought to put Kahlúa in my Hot Buttered Rum before, but after all, Kahlúa is rum with the greatness of coffee mixed in.

Now take the Hot Buttered Rum to the next level and add Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice.  That was the deal sealer right there.  The room was filled with “mmmmm” after the first sip.

Post 5

I made the batter as simple as can be.  Only 4 ingredients.  Butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and orange zest.  Mix it up and put in a sealed container (not that it will last long) and pop in the fridge so it solidifies.  Then all you need to do is fill the kettle, get it whistling and you’ll be sipping Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum in a flash.  6 ingredients, one mug of delish!


Pumpkin Spiced Hot Buttered Rum

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings (8 total servings of batter)

Pumpkin spice infused Kahlúa Liqueur mixed with a spicy batter and boiling water makes for a perfect winter sipper.


    For the Drink:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons batter (recipe follows)
  • 2 ounces Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • cinnamon sticks for garnish
  • For the Batter:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (about 1 medium orange)


  1. Add the batter and Kahlúa to 2 mugs. Top with boiling water and stir to combine. Serve immediately with a cinnamon stick for garnish.
  2. For the Batter:
  3. Add butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and orange zest in a medium bowl. Mix well to combine. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu | #lowsugar #healthierholidays #thanksgiving

Pumpkin Tiramisu | #lowsugar #healthierholidays #thanksgiving

If you are still looking for something to put on the dessert table for this Thanksgiving, then look no further.  Seriously.  This is so easy to make and your guests will think you are a rockstar.  There’s also a secret to this little bowl of YUM!  Read on…

Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu | #lowsugar #healthierholidays #thanksgiving #dessert

You may remember my post last month about partnering with Truvia® to create recipes using Truvia® Brand products.  I have been baking using the baking blend and I am in love.  It’s just like using sugar, but you use 1/2 the amount required by your recipe and the end result is 75% less calories.  The best part….the person eating it (other than you of course) will never know you didn’t use granulated sugar.  If you’ve used the baking blend before and are also a fan, you must enter the Truvia Facebook giveaway!  Here’s the info:

  • Share how you’re using Truvia® Baking Blend to lighten-up recipes this holiday season by entering the #HealthierHolidays Baking Sweepstakes on Facebook.
  • Fans can pin their favorite Truvia® Baking Blend recipe, while also entering their info to receive a $1.50 off coupon and be instantly entered to win a Truvia® #HealthierHolidays Baking Kit.
  • To participate, head to the Truvia® Sweepstakes Page at, and “like” the Truvia Facebook page to enter for a chance to win Truvia® prizes. You’ll also have the option to “Pin” any of your favorite Truvia® holiday baking recipes with #healthierholidays!
  • Want to make your own Truvia® recipe? You can get inspiration from recipes at or on Check out recipes for apple crisp, pumpkin pie, gingerbread men, red velvet cupcakes, and more!

Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu | #healthierholidays #lowsugar #thanksgiving #dessert

One of the greatest attributes of this recipe, besides 75% less sugar, is that it’s lightning fast to make.  If you don’t have the little cups to serve it in, you can always cut the finished cake into thirds and stack with the luscious maple mascarpone cream sandwiched between.  Or even better, you could cut it up into strips and make a trifle with it.  One big dish of delish.  Or….  Ok I’ll stop.  Seriously though, the possibilities are endless for presentation on this quick to make tiramisu.

Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu | #healthierholidays #thanksgiving #dessert #lowsugar

If you’re Thanksgiving dessert table is already full, make sure you Pin this one for the upcoming Christmas holiday.  Pumpkin is good anytime, in my opinion.

One tip: the coffee syrup is going to seem like a lot, but trust me….use it.  Soak the cake well so it’s super moist and delish.

Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu

Yield: 8-12 servings

Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu

A no-fuss recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu using Truvia Baking Blend for a healthier holiday treat.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • Coffee Syrup:
  • 1/4 cup Truvia Baking Blend
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (such as Frangelico)
  • Mascarpone Cream:
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 375º F. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper and spray lightly again. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the eggs until pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Add the baking blend and beat until fluffy. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips and mix on low until just combined. Pour into prepared dish and spread evenly.
  3. Bake 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is spongy. Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. For the Coffee Syrup:
  5. In a small saucepan, add the baking blend, water and coffee. Bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnut liqueur. Set aside.
  6. For the Mascarpone Cream:
  7. In a medium bowl add the whipping cream, mascarpone cheese and maple syrup. Beat until medium stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  8. To Assemble:
  9. Cut the cooled cake into the shapes you'll be using for your chosen dishes. Drizzle with the coffee syrup. Allow to rest for a minute, and then drizzle again. Pipe some of the mascarpone cream over the cake and top with another layer of cake. Drizzle again, twice. Top with remaining mascarpone cream, cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.

Disclaimer: I am in a paid working partnership with Truvia® Brand and will be posting 1 recipe a month using Truvia® products over the course of 12 months.  All opinions are my own and are priceless.  
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Aztec Kahlúa Hot Cocoa

Aztec Kahlua Hot Cocoa |

Aztec Kahlua Hot Cocoa

I am a fan of hot cocoa.  I don’t mean the powdered stuff that you add hot water to.  I’m talking about melting semi sweet chocolate into rich whole milk for a mug full of chocolate-y deliciousness.  There’s nothing better on a cold and blustery winter day.

Now imagine, if you will, adding Mocha Kahlúa and cayenne pepper to your chocolate milky concoction.  It takes the ordinary to whole new level of delicious.


Aztec Kahlua Hot Cocoa |

The first hot chocolate beverage was created by the Mayans over 2000 years ago and cocoa beverages were an essential part of the Aztecs culture.  If they had Kahlúa in 1400 AD, I bet it would’ve been added to their cocoa.

Each year during the holidays, we get together with our neighbors for what we call Yule Bakken.  It’s an evening spent eating finger foods and sipping holiday beverages at several homes in the neighborhood.  Along the route to the next house, we sing Christmas carols loudly with a merry caravan of holiday spirited adults and children alike.  It’s an evening we all look forward to that usually ends at our house.  Guitars come out and we all squeeze into our livingroom with mugs of warm cocoa (some spiked, most not) and sing along like the most perfect Norman Rockwell depiction of the best Christmas ever.  I can’t wait to have a big pot of this Aztec Kahlúa Hot Cocoa waiting for my Yule Bakken guests this holiday.

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?  I love hearing what others do during the holidays to create lasting memories.  Tell me in the comments below.

Aztec Kahlúa Hot Cocoa

Yield: 4 servings

Aztec Kahlúa Hot Cocoa

Aztec Kahlúa Hot Cocoa is a mix of spicy, sweet and Mocha Kahlúa rum. Perfect for warming up the adults on a chilly winter day.


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • pinch of Kosher salt (optional)
  • 1 cup Mocha Kahlúa


  1. In a large saucepan, add the milk, heavy cream, chocolate, espresso powder, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Warm slowly over medium-low heat, until chocolate is melted. When warm enough to serve, add the Kahlúa and stir to combine.
  2. Ladle into mugs and serve immediately with marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream.

To get inspiration for more great recipes and entertaining ideas with Kahlúa and for a chance to win the ultimate holiday party, please visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kahlúa. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Kahlúa Mexican Crema

Kahlúa Mexican Crema |

This my friends, is the stuff dreams are made of right here, for real!  If you like Irish Cream, you will fall head over heals in love with Mexican Crema!  It’s sweet with a Kahlúa kick that is great stirred into coffee, hot cocoa or drizzled over ice cream.  I die!

Kahlúa asked me to create 5 different recipes for the holidays using any of their coffee infused rum flavors.  You may recall the Pumpkin Pietini which I must tell you – is so darned good that you will want to serve it any time of year!

This recipe though….this is one bottle of delicious.  Imagine filling some smaller bottles and handing this out for holiday gifts?  I can tell you that it’s definitely on my list for gift-giving this holiday season.  Hear that friends and neighbors?

Want more holiday recipes and ideas? Be sure to follow Kahlúa on Facebook and Pinterest.

This is my note to you:  It’s the holidays so please please please put away the fat free half and half and make sure you follow this recipe to a T.  It’s worth every single calorie to use the heavy cream and the La Lechera is a sticky sweet decadence that should not be modified.  It will last for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator so plan accordingly when you make it.

To get inspiration for more great recipes and entertaining ideas with Kahlúa and for a chance to win the ultimate holiday party, please visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kahlúa. The opinions and text are all mine.


To get inspiration for more great recipes and entertaining ideas with Kahlúa and for a chance to win the ultimate holiday party, please visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kahlúa. The opinions and text are all mine.

Kahlúa Mexican Crema

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Kahlúa Mexican Crema

Kahlúa Mexican Crema is similar to Irish cream. Stir into coffee, hot cocoa or drizzle over ice cream for a sweet coffee infused treat.


  • 1 3/4 cups Kahlúa Original
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 14 ounce can La Lechera (Mexican sweetened condensed milk)
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl or blender and ladle into bottles. Seal and refrigerate up to 3 weeks.


Will keep refrigerated up to 3 weeks.

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Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken

Pesto Chicken Cups #appetizers

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken | #appetizers #holidayrecipes

If you’re still on the hunt for appetizers for Thanksgiving, or maybe your looking ahead to the upcoming December entertaining frenzy, either way, you should add this recipe to your list.  It’s super easy to make using roasted chicken and prepared pesto from the grocery store, or you can use homemade, either way it’s easy, fast and delicious.

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken | #appetizers #holidayrecipes

There are 6 of these disks of flaky deliciousness in the package, so make sure you plan accordingly if you’re feeding a crowd.  One Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken is plenty per person, unless you’re 12 and are my son.  He managed to power through 2 of them and then started snooping around for a third.  He’s been begging me to make them again on a daily basis.  I think he was impressed.  Or hungry.  Probably both.

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken | #appetizers #holidayrecipes

Pepperidge Farm® reached out and asked if I’d like to create an easy entertaining recipe using either their puff pastry sheets, shells or cups.  It needed to be easy for the busy hostess with the mostest to whip up and equally delicious.  If you ask a 12 year old, I hit the mark.  

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken | #appetizers #holidayrecipes

Prepare the shells as directed on the package and while they bake, you can make the filling.  They can be served at room temperature or you can pop them back in the oven after filling and heat them slowly and serve warm.  After photographing, my husband and I nibbled on a room temperature filled shell, and then again later with it warmed.  Either way – they are delish.  

Puff Pasty Pesto Chicken | #appetizers #holidayrecipes

What would you fill the puff pastry shells with?  Sweet?  Savory?  Pesto Chicken?  :)  I’d love to know.  I’m looking forward to making them again but filling with a sweet concoction.  Imagine pumpkin pie filling.  Oh my!  

Happy Holidays to you!  I hope your turkey is moist, your cup runneth over with joy and that you have all that are near and dear to you close enough to hug.

Pesto Chicken Cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

A quick appetizer or first course using cubed chicken, pesto and Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells. Serve room temperature or heat in a 300º oven for 10 minutes.


  • 1 package Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells, cooked according to package, cooled
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 tabelspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
  • 2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon julienned roasted red pepper (for garnish, optional)


  1. Cook Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells according to package. Remove tops and allow to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the cubed chicken, shallot, mayonnaise, pesto and pine nuts. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into the shells and garnish with red pepper. Serve immediately.

I’m always looking for ways to spark new creative ideas with my recipes.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and don’t forget to check out more recipes at

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Kahlúa Pumpkin Pietini

Pumpkin Pietini |

Pumpkin Pietini | Farmgirl Gourmet

There’s something about crisp air and leaves turning that immediately makes me crave pumpkin. Whether it’s pumpkin latte’s or pumpkin cookies, I love it. Now, imagine my glee when I heard that Kahlúa was releasing a new Pumpkin Spice Kahlúa flavor? It lives up to its name and offers everything you love from the combination of pumpkin and spice.

Pumpkin Pietini |

Pumpkin pie happens to be one of my fall loves as well and I knew I wanted to incorporate it into this drink recipe. This is a really simple recipe using ground cinnamon flavored graham crackers for the “crust”.

Pumpkin Pietini |

With all of that said, it’s really hard to believe that fall is upon us. I hope I’m not alone in the thinking that summer flew by this year. I feel like I blinked and POOF, it was gone.

To get myself into the fall spirit I have started planning my Thanksgiving dinner menu. It’s the one day of the year that I pull out all of the stops and I love every bit of planning it. I know one thing for sure, and that’s that these Pumpkin Pietini’s will be on the menu. They are not too sweet and are incredibly delicious.

Pumpkin Pietini |

Kahlúa Pumpkin Pietini

Yield: 1 martini

Kahlúa Pumpkin Pietini

Pumpkin Pie meets Martini in this easy to make cocktail that infuses Pumpkin Spice Kahlua, hazelnut liqueur and a splash of cream. Top with whipped cream and a pinch of nutmeg and you have "Fall in a glass".


  • 2 parts Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice
  • 1 part hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 part heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon flavored graham cracker, crushed
  • ice
  • whipped cream
  • nutmeg


  1. Dampen the rim of a martini glass with water, press into crushed graham crackers, set aside.
  2. Add pumpkin spice Kahlúa, hazelnut liqueur, cream and ice to a martini shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into prepared glass and top with whipped cream and a pinch of nutmeg. Serve immediately.

To get inspiration for more great recipes and entertaining ideas with Kahlúa and for a chance to win the ultimate holiday party, please visit

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kahlúa. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Sweet Bread, Sausage & Medjool Date Stuffing

Sweet Bread, Sausage & Medjool Date Stuffing |

At the dinner table the other night, my husband loudly proclaimed “You must make this again for Thanksgiving”!  He sure wasn’t kidding.  I love a classic stuffing just as much as the next person, but there was something magical about the pairing of Kings Hawaiian Dinner Rolls, Italian sausage and medjool dates.  

Kings Hawaiian challenged me to create a recipe using their dinner rolls and I was ready to go beyond the usual suspects of bread pudding or pulled pork sliders (although I did make them before this recipe and they were the bomb).  

I diced up the dinner rolls and toasted them in the oven for 20 minutes until they were nice and golden brown.  This helps them hold up to the chicken stock and egg that come later.  Oh and side perk – they made my house smell incredible.  Bread.  I heart you.

While they were toasting away, I browned some Italian sausage and caramelized onions in butter.  Hawaiians and Portuguese have one major thing in common – sweet bread.  My grandmother still whips up the family recipe now and then at the young age of (almost) 94.  The smell of sweet bread baking brings back memories as far back as I can remember.  My son came home while the bread was toasting and shouted “are YOU making sweet bread Mom?”  Ha – I haven’t quite perfected the family recipe – but it’s obvious that Kings Hawaiian is a dead ringer to the nose.  

Generously butter that dish, it sure helps keep everything moist and delish!  I tossed the crusty cubes with the sausage, onions and dates, a little parsley and a splash of chicken stock and beaten egg.  Toss it lightly and cover with parchment and foil to bake.  This recipe can be made days in advance keeping dry and wet ingredients separated and assembled on Thanksgiving day for a new twist on the classic side dish.

You’re probably asking yourself “self, why did she put dates in her stuffing”?  There are a lot of classic Thanksgiving recipes using prunes in the stuffing, so why not a date?  Medjools hold up nicely to the bread and sausage and give it an interesting delicious bite.  Enough to make my meat and potatoes guy ask for it again.  That’s a winner in my eyes.

Sweet Bread, Sausage & Medjool Date Stuffing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

A sweet dinner roll stuffing mixed with sausage, caramelized onions, medjool dates and parsley.


  • 1 package Kings Hawaiian Dinner Rolls, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for coating baking pan
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and diced
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Place the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. Remove and cool on baking sheet.
  3. Meanwhile, add the sausage to a hot saute pan coated with cooking spray. Brown until no longer pink, breaking into bite sized pieces. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. In the same pan, add the butter and onions and cook on medium-low for 25-30 minutes until the onions are very soft and caramelized.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 375ºF.
  5. Add the bread cubes, sausage, onions, parsley, dates and crushed red pepper flakes to a large bowl. Toss gently to combine. Add chicken stock, beaten egg, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  6. Generously butter a 9x3 baking dish and pour the bread mixture into the dish. Top with a sheet of parchment paper and then tightly wrap in foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to crisp the top. Serve immediately.


Makes a great addition to your open-faced turkey sandwich the next day!


Great holiday recipes start with KING’S HAWAIIAN® Dinner Rolls! Vote for your favorite KING’S HAWAIIAN recipe here for a chance to win one of three $500 gift cards! Sweepstakes Rules.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of King’s Hawaiian®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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#ILoveAvocados For Cinco De Mayo Sweepstakes

Tequila Guacamole |

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Avocado App for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tequila Guacamole

I was recently approached to check out a new phone app called the Avocado app.  Imagine a text app but with the ability to pre-load a bunch of different images of you or your pets or whatever.  Kind of like emoticons but with pics.  The app is a way for two people to stay connected and my husband and I have been having fun sending each other notes like this one that my hubs sent me today.

 photo b58c3aa5-dc72-4281-a6ab-8816b01b7ab5_zpse92c1fc2.jpg

You definitely need to check out the I Love Avocados For Cinco De Mayo sweepstakes to win fun prizes from Avocados from Mexico and also we will be live tweeting on May 7th between 3:00 and 4:00 pm EST here’s the info: #iloveavocados for Cinco de Mayo Twitter party

There’s still time to find a great recipe for Cinco de Mayo.  I personally love a good guacamole (see below) but if you want more, here’s the link to a whole slough of them.  Cinco De Mayo recipes

Drunken Guacamole

2 large avocados, peeled, pitted and diced

2 tablespoons minced white onion

2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapenos

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 lime, juiced

1 ounce tequila

salt & pepper to taste


  1. Add avocado, onion, jalapenos, garlic, lime, tequila and salt & pepper to a medium bowl and genlty mash the avocado, stirring to combine.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Makes 4 servings 

More ways to enjoy avocado deliciousness.

Like Avocados from Mexico on Facebook

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