Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

This is one of my favorite times of year. Christmas is full of celebration, friends, and family. There are wonderful meals, smells, and memories. It's a time to be thankful and giving.  So, today I'm giving you more than 100 ideas for stocking stuffers. I divided the gifts into categories, so you can give gifts your friends and family will love.


- Apron

- Spatulas

- Blind baking beads

- Candy thermometer

- Cooling rack

- Cookie scoops

- Cupcake liners

- Gel food colors

- Meringue powder (to make royal icing)

- Sprinkles

- Icing bags

- Icing tips

- Icing couplers

- Measuring cups

- Measuring spoons

- Vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste

- Flavored extracts

- Pastry Brush

- Rolling Pin

- Spacers for rolling pin (This ensures evenly rolled dough or fondant.)

- Fondant

- Squeeze bottles for icing or melted chocolate

- Cookie Cutters

- Oven mitts

Coffee & Tea Connoisseurs

- Coffee mug

- Travel mug

- Aeropress coffee maker

- Gift card to their favorite coffee shop

- Loose leaf tea

- Tea strainer or tea infuser


- Drill bits

- Swiss-army knife

- Safety goggles

- Work gloves

- Level

- Hammer

- Screwdriver

- Tape mesure

- Gift card to their favorite DIY store


- Bench scraper

- Pasta roller attachment

- Small cutting board or serving board

- Finish salts

- Seasoning blends

- Nut mixes

- Homemade treats

- Homemade hot cocoa mix

- Homemade caramel apple cider mix

- Magazine subscription

- Potted Herbs


- Spatulas

- Tongs

- Apron

- BBQ seasoning blend

- Homemade BBQ sauce


- Golf balls

- Golf tees

- Golf glove

- Ball markers

- Hand warmers

- Hat

- Golf towels

- Golf gift card

Host or Hostess

- Salad tongs

- Serving spoons

- Pie slicer

- Cake cutter

- Cake stand

- Cheese board

- Cheese knives

- Cheese labels

- Fig spread

Movie Lover


- Movie Tickets

- Popcorn

- Candy


- Gloves

- Hat

- Hand warmers

- Swiss army knife

- Fishing lures


- Candles

- Bubble bath

- Bath bombs

- Scented lotion

- Nail polish

- Body scrub

- Gift card to a spa


- Book

- Magazine

- Bookmark

- Gift card to their favorite book store


- Headbands

- Phone armband

- Athletic cushioned socks

- Scented Epsom's salt

- Wireless earphones

Tech Guru

- USB cords

- Memory card

- Chargers

- Headphones

- Video game

- iTunes gift card

- Amazon gift card


- Neck pillow

- Eye mask

- Noise-cancelling headphones

- Travel-sized toiletries

I hope these ideas are helpful for you to come up with great gifts for friends and family. I know this time can become stressful because there are many things to do and enjoy. Let's all try to relax, enjoy this time, and remember why we celebrate.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Celebrate December

LOVE celebrations! I love birthdays, holidays, Tuesdays, and Fridays! I love celebrating achievements: graduations, babies, marriage, or just being an amazing human being. Give me a reason, and I'll celebrate with you! So, this is a new feature that I thought would be fun! 

In this series, I give you an overview of the food celebrations and holidays in the month, so you can celebrate. For me, it's helpful for menu planning or throwing themed dinners. These food holidays are a great way to have a themed meal and invite people over to your home. 

Inviting people into your home is a great way to build community. There's something about breaking bread, cooking, sharing recipes, and food that sparks conversation. I love talking and celebrating around a table. So, here are some food celebrations in December.

December has several celebrations throughout the month. December is:

- National Eggnog Month

- National Fruit Cake Month

There are also many celebrations on days throughout December. 

- December 1 is National Pie Day (For tips for successful pies, click here.)

- December 3 is National Peppermint Latte Day & National Apple Pie Day

- December 4 is National Cookie Day

- December 5 is National Comfort Food Day

- December 6 is National Gazpacho Day

- December 7 is National Cotton Dandy Day or Ferry Floss Day in Great Britain

- December 8 is National Brownie Day

- December 9 is National Pastry Day

- December 11 is National "Have a Bagel Day"

- December 12 is National Cocoa Day & National Ambrosia Day

- December 13 is National Popcorn String Day & National Cocoa Day

- December 14 is National Biscuits and Gravy Day & National Bouillabaisse Day

- December 15 is National Gingerbread Latte Day & National Lemon Cupcake Day

December 16 is National "Chocolate Covered Anything" Day

December 17 is National Maple Syrup Day

- December 18 is National "I Love Honey" Day

December 19 is National Oatmeal Muffin Day

December 21 is National Fried Shrimp Day & National Hamburger Day
- - For a lighter version, check out my grilled shrimp poboy recipe.

December 23 is National Bake Day & National Pfeffernuesse Day (a German spice cookie)
- - If you need ideas for something to bake, try my thyme blueberry crisp or homemade granola for a sweet start to your day. Granola is also a great last-minute gift.

December 25 is National "Kiss the Cook" Day & National Pumpkin Pie Day

December 26 is National Candy Cane Day

December 28 is National Chocolate Candy Day

December 30 is National Baking Soda Day (aka Bicarbonate of Soda Day)

- December 31 is National Vinegar Day

I hope this list inspires your meals or party plans in December. If you participate in these monthly celebrations, tag me, @RDtipoftheday, and use the hashtag #RDTODcelebrate for a chance to be featured. 

Do you have any food holidays or celebrations that you celebrate in December? Comment below.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tips for Easy Entertaining

The holiday season is a time for celebrating and entertaining. Celebrations usually involve food of some kind. If you are entertaining, you don't want to be stressed. You want to be a successful host and enjoy the party. Here are some of my tips for easier entertaining.

If you are making a meal with multiple dishes, the preparation and cook times can be challenging. You are making multiple things with different cook times. Here are my tips to help make entertaining and cooking less stressful when entertaining.

RDtipoftheday Herbed Turkey

1) Make a plan. 
To make a plan for a successful dinner, assemble your recipes. Work backward to make a time line. For example, here's a plan for a 20-pound turkey.

Step 1: Defrost frozen turkey (about 20 pounds) in the refrigerator for 4-5 days before Thanksgiving.

Step 2: Brine or season the turkey over night.

Step 3: Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound (20 minutes x 20 pound turkey = 400 minutes or 6 hours and 40 minutes). The turkey will need about 25-30 minutes to rest after cooking to an internal temperature of 165*F. You will also need to allow time to carve the turkey. The oven may be open and shut to add extra items, so you would want to plan for the turkey needing about 7.5 hours to cook, rest, carve, and serve. If you have Thanksgiving lunch at noon, you would need to start cooking the turkey at 4:30 AM.

2) Prepare ahead.
Preparing ahead of time reduces stress. Set the table the night before if you're able. It's always nice to have something to cross off the to-do list.

Pick a simple appetizer or dessert that can be made ahead of time. Or, ask your guests to bring something. Pick up an appetizer from the store or make a fruit platter, cheese board, or vegetable platter.

Try making a turkey veggie tray with homemade hummus. The hummus can be made a few days before and refrigerated. The veggies can be washed, chopped, assembled and kept in refrigerator. You can have your kid chefs assemble the turkey. Extra hands make light work.

Try making a non-traditional dessert like my browned butter cereal treats. You can make it the day before and keep it sealed in an airtight container. These cereal treats are quick and easy to make. Kids and adults love them!

RDtipoftheday Glazed Carrots

3) Plan for extra.
This is a motto in my family. Knowing you have a little extra food prepared is nice for eliminating the mental stress caused by the question "did I make enough food?". It's also handy for the unexpected but welcome guests.  Also, who doesn't love leftovers?!?

RDtipoftheday Green Bean Bundles
4) Enjoy the party.
You've gathered your favorite people: your friends and family. You've prepped and prepared a delicious meal. Now, enjoy the party! A great host is relaxed and fully involved in the present. Have fun!

RDtipoftheday Tex Mex Deviled Eggs
To review, here are the four steps for successful entertaining.
1) Make a plan.
2) Prepare ahead.
3) Plan for extra.
4) Enjoy the party.

Stay tuned this week for leftover ideas to create new and delicious meals form your holiday leftovers. 

For more recipes, encouragement, and tips for healthy eating, follow me on PinterestInstagram, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders

I love Fall! The crisp air, yummy food, football, tailgating, and holiday celebrations! There's something about holiday food. It's usually decadent and reserved for a few days out of the year. But, I've created this slider, which is a play on chicken cordon blue.

This is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to prepare because ham and cheese sandwiches were my favorite sandwich when I was a kid. These are more of a "grown up" ham and cheese with chicken, which is better known as chicken cordon bleu. These bring back a childhood favorite that kids and adult will enjoy. They're even better because they're bite sized. Could it get any better?

Chicken Cordon Bleu Sliders
12 potato rolls or Hawaiian rolls
1 pound chicken breasts, sliced
1/2 pound ham, sliced
1 pound provolone slices
1 teaspoon Tony Chachere's seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon chipotle Tabasco
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire   
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 300* F.

Split rolls in half to make a top and bottom bun. Place the bottom rolls in a 9x13 pan.
Layer 2 slices chicken and 1 slice ham on each roll.  

Top with provolone. Add the top 'bun'. 

Mix parsley, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and garlic with melted butter. Drizzle butter on top of rolls. Toast sandwiches for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted, and the sandwiches are warm and toasted. Enjoy!

I like pairing these mini sandwiches with hummus and vegetables or baked potato soup.

P.s. This would be a great sandwich to make with Thanksgiving or Christmas leftovers. My family always has a turkey and a ham on Thanksgiving and Christmas. So you could make turkey cordon blue sandwiches. Delicious!

My JalapeƱo chicken sliders would also be great. Just substitute turkey for the chicken and enjoy those leftovers!

Let me know if there are any nutrition-related topics you would like me to cover. You can comment below or tag me on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter

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