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holiday entertaining tips

Holiday Entertaining Tips & Printable Place Cards

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SeasonYourHolidays #CollectiveBias

The holidays are especially exciting for our family this year. My daughter is going to be 4 months old in just over a week. It’s exciting to celebrate a holiday season of baby’s firsts, but it’s also chaotic. In this post I’m going to share how you can quickly get your dining room or kitchen table holiday ready in a matter of minutes with these easy holiday entertaining tips.

holiday entertaining tips

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spiced chocolate truffle muffins

Spiced Chocolate Truffle Muffin: Entertaining Guests

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayFlavorsAreHere #CollectiveBias

When I was growing up, I spent nearly every Sunday either at my grandparents’ or great grandparents’ houses. I played with my cousins and we ate dinner together. Sadly, I feel like families don’t visit each other like they use to, or at least my family doesn’t. We seem to only visit during holidays, birthdays (if it’s a big one), weddings, and, unfortunately, funerals. When was the last time you had dinner or visited with your extended family? We spent some time with my husband’s family last week; his grandmother unexpectedly passed away. While everyone certainly grieved her passing, it was nice to catch up with many of them again. My husband got to spend time with his beloved great uncle and he got to meet our daughter for the first time. When everything was over and everyone went home, I just wanted to sit with my husband and relax. There are only a few things that I find more soothing than a nice cup of coffee and a bite of chocolate. Today I’m sharing one of my favorite coffee and chocolate pairings, Starbucks® Holiday Blend Coffee and Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles. This Spiced Chocolate Truffle Muffin recipe is lightly sweet with a burst of chocolate in the center. spiced chocolate truffle muffins Read more

Thai Chili Tuna Salad

Thai Chili Tuna Salad With StarKist Tuna Creations

This post is sponsored by StarKist Tuna, however all opinions are entirely my own. 

My husband and son are both home all day during summer break, which means my grocery bill is nearly double. I’m also struggling to find alternatives to deli meat sandwiches, pizza and hot dogs for lunch. Tuna Salad is a great alternative and if you’re bored with traditional tuna salad, I’m sharing a recipe for a Thai Chili Tuna Salad using StarKist Tuna Creations Thai Chili Style tuna packets.

Thai Chili Tuna Salad

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strawberry pineapple upside down cake

Strawberry Pineapple Upside Down Cake

There is an Amish community that’s about a 20 minute drive from our house. There are several little markets in the community, one of the markets stocks flowers and produce. It’s much cheaper for us to do most of our produce shopping there than at the local grocery story. This weekend they had some great deals. Strawberries were $1 per package, pineapples were two for $3, watermelons were $2.99, and heirloom tomatoes were $2.99 a lb. I stocked my fridge with lots of yummy, fresh produce. We sliced one of the the pineapples on Saturday night and we had a small amount left on Sunday morning. My husband had been begging for something sweet, so I decided to use the remnants to make a pineapple upside down cake. Most traditional pineapple upside down cakes have maraschino cherries, and I find them absolutely disgusting. I thought that I would replace maraschino cherries with strawberries, since I find them much more delicious. This Strawberry Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe is easy to whip up and you can substitute drained canned pineapple for the fresh pineapple that I used.

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homemade strawberry pie recipe with pretzel crust

Homemade Strawberry Pie With A Pretzel Crust

Several years ago a good friend’s mother was going through chemotherapy; they were trying to give her a few more comfortable months with her family. She was a tiny woman before she was diagnosed with cancer, but the treatments whittled her down to about 80 pounds. I knew she loved strawberries and one week I decided to take her a homemade strawberry pie. My friend told me that she ate almost the entire pie, over a matter of days. As long as she was able to eat solid food, I tried to make her a pie every week. Now when I make this homemade strawberry pie recipe, I think of her. The only change that I’ve made to this recipe is the addition of a pretzel crust; she preferred a regular pie crust. You could also use a graham cracker crust too.

homemade strawberry pie recipe with pretzel crust

This homemade strawberry pie recipe is so much better than any store-bought pie filling that you’ll ever eat. The great thing about this recipe is that it can be made in a matter of minutes and easily stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it (or share).

homemade strawberry pie recipe with a pretzel crusthomemade strawberry pie recipe

You’ll need a few ingredients for the pretzel pie crust:

  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzels (I give mine a whirl in the blender)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of melted butter or margarine

Pretzel pie crust directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
  • Press in the bottom of a pie or casserole dish
  • Bake for roughly 8 minutes

When I make this pie in a deep casserole dish as pictured above, I generally double the strawberry filling recipe.

Homemade Strawberry Pie With A Pretzel Crust
  • 3 pints of thoroughly washed and thinly sliced strawberries
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 3 ounce package of strawberry gelatin
  1. In a small saucepan bring water to a boil
  2. Add in sugar and cornstarch
  3. Mix until completely dissolved
  4. Allow mixture to thicken
  5. Mix in strawberry gelatin and remove from heat
  6. Allow mixture to cool for 10 minutes before pouring over berries (this will help prevent them from cooking)

homemade strawberry pie recipehomemade strawberry pie recipehomemade strawberry pie recipe

If you love strawberries as much as we do, here are a few other strawberry recipes that you might like:

Two of our favorite recipes from that list is the Strawberry Freezer Jam (we make several batches every year) and the Strawberry Shortcake.

What are your favorite strawberry recipes? I’d love to know what you’ve been cooking and what you think of the homemade strawberry pie recipe.

Pesto Mac and Cheese Recipe

Pesto Mac and Cheese Recipe

“This post is written by me on behalf of General Mills. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Acorn Influence, Inc. and its advertiser.”

My son would eat mac and cheese nearly every day if I would make it for him, but he’s lucky if I make it once a week. I try to get creative with mix-ins so that we enjoy it to. Some of the quickest versions just require me to throw in some diced broccoli, spinach or tomatoes. My favorite versions of mac and cheese are baked with breadcrumbs and cheese on top. This recipe for Pesto Mac and Cheese is quick and simple. I use Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese as base, and mixed in basil pesto before baking it with a mixture of cheeses and breadcrumbs. It’s a grown-up version of mac and cheese that my son enjoys too.

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Cinnamon Pebbles

5 Ways To Eat Cinnamon Pebbles (Other Than With Milk)

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are entirely my own.

We love to try new cereals, especially when they’re from brands that we trust. I was placed on a restricted gluten-free diet by my doctor for 6 weeks earlier in my pregnancy. It was tough to suddenly transition to gluten-free diet, but I was elated to discover that many cereals from Post are gluten-free. Some of our old favorites such as Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles allowed me to enjoy breakfast, and I was excited to try their newest addition, Cinnamon Pebbles. They’re delicious with just milk, but they can be fun to cook with too. I’m sharing 5 ways to eat Cinnamon Pebbles (other than with milk).

Cinnamon Pebbles

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