The Cutest Cut-Up Snowman Cake

Snowman Cake
Snowman Cake

Let’s face it, we can all use a quick, fun, and festive Christmas cake in our repertoire, and this cut-up snowman cake is the perfect one!

Do you remember cut-up cakes from your childhood? You know, before people started making amazing two and three-tiered cakes that are works of art? I may be dating myself, but I loved those old school cakes at birthday parties!

As far as cut-up cakes go, there is nothing cuter or easier than making this snowman cake. Mine is 5 by 11 inches, but you could definitely make it bigger by using two, larger, round-shaped pans. And, to make this simple, use a boxed chocolate cake and store-bought icing if you don’t have time to make a from-scratch chocolate cake.

When I make my Chocolate Orange Cake, I use two 8-inch round pans and have enough batter to make a rectangular loaf cake. The loaf cake is perfect because you can snack on it right away if you’re saving the bigger cake for a party. Or, you can use the loaf cake to make a snowman cake!

Here’s how to make a snowman cake: Continue reading

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Three of the Best One-Stop Shopping Destinations for Holiday Gifts!

One-Stop Shopping Finds From Shopper's Drug Mart
One-Stop Shopping Finds From Shopper’s Drug Mart

As my youngest daughter always says, we all know that the holidays are coming, but not all of us are great at planning ahead for them!

This year, the holidays are different due to the pandemic. It’s just not the same, thinking about a virtual Christmas Eve mass and a virtual gift opening with local and distant family members.

Shopping for gifts isn’t the same, either. Some of us are in lockdown and are shopping virtually or doing curb-side pickup. Some of us are ordering online. And, some of us just want to be able to see and touch what we’re getting. That’s why I’m writing this blog post with places that are one-stop shopping experiences, and that are likely open for in-person shopping in your area.

For me, drugstores, specialty food stores, and hardware stores are the perfect places to find something for almost everyone on your list. This way, you can minimize outings and maximize your time.

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12 Of The Best Healthy Snack Recipes To Avoid Being Hungry!

Hangry Helpers Snack Recipes
Hangry Helpers Snack Recipes

Today I’m collaborating with 11 other bloggers to bring you our favorite snack recipes. I’m blown away by the variety and creativity of the recipes here! I hope you enjoy making them… just call us your personal #HangryHelpers.

With these 12 healthy snack recipes it’ll be easy to avoid being hungry or worse, enduring a bad mood brought on by hunger (better known as being hangry).  You and your family are going to love this collection of the best healthy snack recipes for hungry people, big and small. These recipes were created by some of the most talented health food bloggers and social media personalities – you can just call us your own personal Hangry Helpers. Be sure to check out their websites for more amazingly delicious, healthy snack recipes.

Salted Dark Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Cookie Bars

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The 1-1-1 Quick & Delicious Smoothie !

The 1-1-1 Quick & Delicious Smoothie
The 1-1-1 Quick & Delicious Smoothie

The 1-1-1 Quick & Delicious Smoothie !

One of the fastest, healthiest, and most filling snacks my daughter and I make is the 1-1-1 smoothie. We make it for breakfast, and for mid-morning or late-afternoon snack times. It’s so easy and delicious.

Here’s why it’s called a 1-1-1 smoothie: we use 1 cup of high-protein milk, 1 frozen banana, and 1 cup of fruit.

The reason this smoothie is filling is because we use high protein milk. We love the Fairlife brand of milk. High protein milk is cold-filtered and results in milk that is 50% more protein and 50% less sugar than regular milk. It’s also lactose-free.

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Oat Bran Cereal & Fruit Bars – Absolutely Delicious (With Vegan & GF Options)!

Oat Bran Cereal & Dried Fruit Bars
Oat Bran Cereal & Dried Fruit Bars

If you’re looking for a snack that is high in fiber, tasty, and portable, then you’re going to love my Oat Bran Cereal & Fruit Bars! BTW, I have been meaning to share these for years now. You can probably tell that from the style of photos taken during my early blogging days. And, bonus, you can make these in gluten-free and vegan versions by checking the variations at the end of this post.

These Oat Bran Cereal & Fruit Bars are delicious. They’re sweet and a slightly heartier version of rice cereal treats with the added fruits and nuts. The base is made with marshmallows and your choice of butter, including vegan butter. Add any high-in-fiber oat bran cereal (I use Nature’s Path Multigrain Oat Bran Flakes) and 2 cups of other mix-ins, including your choice of dried fruits, almonds, coconut flakes, and pumpkin seeds/pepitas.

Oat Bran Cereal & Dried Fruit Bars
Oat Bran Cereal & Dried Fruit Bars

I’ve made these bars with all kinds of bran cereal, including using combinations of bran buds and oat bran flakes. This recipe is a great way to use up the last bit of cereal in a box and the last of any dried fruits on hand. Think of these bars as a ‘clean out the closet’ dessert option. Continue reading

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Reviews Of My Summer 2020 Reads

Summer Reading 2020
Summer Reading 2020

I love to read all year round, but especially in the summertime ! There is nothing more peaceful for me than reading outside on a sunny, warm day or evening. It’s how I self-care, and it’s how I relax.

Here are my quick reviews of some of the books I read this summer.

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

Salt Houses hit close to home as it is set in the Middle East. It follows four generations of the Yacoub  family as they are forced out of Palestine and into neighboring countries such as Kuwait and Lebanon. We follow the family’s experience during defining moments of Arab history starting in the 1960s. And, as happens in many Arab families, various members end up living all over the world, including Paris and Boston.

Each generation faces challenges, including political and religious leanings, as well as family and relationship struggles.

I loved this book because I could identify with the emotions of having to leave one’s home and country and having to find one’s way in the world while still struggling with growing up, day-to-day issues, and living within cultural expectations. Continue reading

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No-Bake Cheesecake – A Perfect Summer Dessert

No-Bake Cheesecake
No-Bake Cheesecake

No-bake cheesecakes are a perfect summer dessert: they use ingredients you regularly have at home, don’t require an oven, and are easy to decorate with in-season summer fruits!

This recipe has been around for a long time. I remember it from when I was a kid, and I see it all the time on the Internet. It’s got a graham cracker crust that is topped with a cream cheese, condensed milk, and lemon/lime juice and zest. That’s it. Place it in the freezer or fridge to set, and top with whatever berries you have on hand. You can also top with cherry pie filling.

I make this no-bake cheesecake in a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. It’s easier and more presentable if you use a springform pan, but you can use a regular pie plate or dish. You can even buy a ready-made crust from the store.

No-Bake Cheesecake
No-Bake Cheesecake

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How To Make & Gift A Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake !

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

If you find yourself craving those large, decorated chocolate chip cookie cakes you can get at the mall, then you’ll love this post about making one for a celebratory occasion or as a gift for someone special.

I love classic-sized chocolate chip cookies as much as anyone else, but making a huge chocolate chip as a cookie cake is truly something fun and different. I can thank the Covid-19 pandemic for inspiring me to make chocolate chip cookie cakes as gifts. My daughter and I have made them for Canada Day, as graduation gifts, and as hostess gifts. You can check out my last post (click here) on making graduation day memorable with lots of desserts, including this cookie cake.

There are many recipes online for making a chocolate chip cookie cake. I like this recipe from Garnish and Glaze, which I’ve also included at the bottom of this page.

The point of this post, however, is to share my tips for making and gifting this chocolate chip cookie cake!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

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4 Graduation Party Desserts To Celebrate Your Grad!

Graduation Desserts
Graduation Desserts

During the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s been bittersweet celebrating my daughter’s graduation from high school, but we’ve done our best to celebrate in many ways, including making as many sweet treats as possible!

We love dessert in our family and, yes, we understand the need to balance healthy food with yummy treats. But, what I”m sharing today is purely sugar based! The best part about making these celebratory desserts was searching for some of the ideas, choosing a theme (pink and blue), and decorating the house.

We received a lawn banner from the school and bought and received balloons as gifts. We decorated inside with balloons, garland, and streamers on archways in the house. And, one night I spent quite a bit of time going through old photos of the first day of school, group school photos, and other fun school and family moments. I put these on poster boards in the hallway and put up a long ‘congratulations’ banner underneath the boards. She absolutely loved this idea and the photos and boards are still up!

Celebrating 2020 Graduates
Celebrating 2020 Graduates

We were still in the ‘shelter at home’ phase when my daughter had her virtual graduation, so it was a nuclear family celebration. My daughter helped me make and decorate these dessert menu items, and we had a lot of fun decorating and catching up together.

Here are the Graduation Desserts we made: Continue reading

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Chocolate Almond Energy Bites – GF & Vegan

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites
Chocolate Almond Energy Bites

I always have energy balls or squares on hand because they’re the perfect snack right before a workout! Sometimes you don’t have time to eat something that takes a lot of prep time before you go for a run or before you head out the door. These chocolate almond bites are perfect as a grab-and-go healthy option.

BTW, you can also check out my recipe for Vegan Chocolate Fudge that I have shared in the past. The ‘fudge’ recipe is date-based whereas the recipe I’m sharing today is made with almond flour.

I’ve tried making energy balls with almond flour in the past and I love the texture and taste of almond flour, so I was very pleased when I came up with this recipe with the addition of cocoa powder.

Chocolate Almond Energy Bites
Chocolate Almond Energy Bites

What I like about making energy balls is the different ways you can ‘dress’ up these treats. Here, I’ve topped them with sea salt, peanuts, and slivered almonds. I highly recommend topping them with either peanuts or almonds  so everyone knows that these energy balls contain nuts! Plus, it’s a fun way to decorate these bites and to make them presentable for gifting.

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