Thursday, December 22, 2016

RDTOD Favorites of 2016

I love sharing recipes and nutrition tips on the blog. I also love cooking, baking, reading, YouTube, and so much more. I started a new series this year where I share my monthly favorites. Here are your top six monthly favorites.

The December monthly favorites focused on holiday baking. There are a ton of baking ideas, recipes, and videos. There are also tips for holiday entertaining.

This monthly favorites has tons of tips and recipes for getting ready for the holidays. There are great ideas for preparing Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. How do you roast a turkey? There a great infographic to help. And, there are entertaining tips you can use all holiday season.

In October, I was in full cold weather mode. The favorites this month include how to boil the perfect egg, The Great British Bake Off, soup recipes for the cooler weather, and one of my favorite encouraging quote.

In August, I was in back-to-school mode. I featured some great articles and videos on basic kitchen skills, highlighted Julia Child's kitchen, and featured a few articles on blogging. I was also featured on our local news. You can check out the clip; you never know what's going to happen on live, unscripted television.

In July, I highlighted food trends and baking tips and videos. I read two encouraging and challenging books I read in the Summer. Do you find that you read more in the Summer? Or, is that just me?

In March, I provided recipes and tips for Easter and Mardi Gras. Being from Louisiana makes these food holidays extra special. I feature a quick and easy King Cake recipe. And, I share my current favorite podcast.

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

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Favorite Recipes of 2016

The year is coming to a close. I like to take a look back. Today, we are taking a look at your favorite recipes from this year. In cased you missed it, these are the top seven recipes from 2016.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Favorite Cooking Classes 2016

I learned to cook from my family, mostly my Mom. I remember baking with grandmother from a young age. I love watching cooking and baking shows and competitions on television. I've also read a few cookbooks for recipe ideas and inspiration. Does anyone else read through a cookbook?

There's something about hands-on, in-person cooking instruction. You get to talk with an expert and get feedback if you're doing something right . . . or wrong. I had a list of foods that I wanted to learn how to make, and I wanted to learn from an expert. So, I took a few cooking classes, and you followed along with me. This year, I learned to make pasta, decorating cakes and cookies, and much more. 

Here are your favorite seven posts I wrote about cooking class. Check them out for cooking tips and recipe ideas. 

I have a running list of things I want to learn to make. What are you hoping to learn to cook or bake in 2017?

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

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Lasagna Bake

I love lasagna! It was one of my most requested foods. My Mom made it growing up, and the smell takes me back to my childhood. My Mom let us request what we wanted her to make for dinner. I usually requested lasagna and holiday ham . . . just not at the same time.

Some people are intimidated by making lasagna. There are many layers and some people have issues with cooking the lasagna noodles. My Mom's recipe has never given me any problems, but I wanted to make this a quick, easy lasagna. So, here's my ravioli lasagna bake.

Ravioli Lasagna Bake
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic
8 ounces lean ground meat (I use 90/10% or 93/7%)
1 jar marinara (or you can make your own)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups 2% mozzarella
1 package cheese ravioli
1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
1 Tablespoon basil, chiffonade

Add olive oil and onions to a large pot. Add onions, and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until soft. Add salt, garlic, and pepper. Sauté 1 minute. Add marinara sauce, red pepper flakes, and sugar. If you don't like spice, you may omit the red pepper flakes. Let sauce simmer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300*F.

In a separate pot, simmer water and add pasta. Cook pasta 20% less than the directions advise. For example if your pasta directions say to cook for 10 minutes, only cook for 8 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven.

In an oven-safe 9x10 pan, put 1/2 cup marinara in the bottom of the pan. Layer 1/2 the pasta in the pan. Add 4 ounces or 1/2 of the browned ground beef. Add 1/2 the cheese (1 cup). Repeat layers. Layer half the marinara (~1 cup). Add the rest of the pasta. Add the remaining ground beef. Add remaining of marinara. Add the remainder of the cheese (1/2 cup).

Cook for 20-25 minutes until the lasagna is warm and bubbling. When the lasagna is baked, top with parsley and basil. Let the lasagna cool and set for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy! 

This recipe freezes well. So you can make a double batch. You can eat one now and save one for later. Or, share one with a friend!

I've had a lot of people ask me for more entrée recipes, so here's one! I've also had friends and followers ask for what to pair with an entrée to make a meal. If you have the lasagna bake for your entrée, I would pair this with steamed broccoli, roasted broccoli, green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, steam carrots, or a salad. I also enjoy having garlic bread or garlic Texas toast with lasagna.

Let me know if you would like to see more recipe posts. What do you pair with your lasagna? Feel free to tag me on social media, PinterestInstagram, and Twitter, if you make any of my recipes. I'd love to see what you make!

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Friday, December 9, 2016

December Favorites

Welcome to RDtipoftheday's favorites December edition. This blog series highlights some of the things I've been watching, reading, listening to, cooking, and eating. These are a few of my favorite things in December.

Eating & Cooking

This is my first attempt at gingerbread cookies. The cookies held their shape well, but the flavor was off. The molasses was so strong that I went back to the recipe to make sure it wasn't a molasses cookie. They were good but not gingerbread-y. Oh well! I got practice piping, and I'm doing some research for a better gingerbread cookie recipe. If you have a good gingerbread cookie recipe, comment below. I am looking for a heavily spiced cookie and with less molasses flavor.


There's something about baking and decorating at Christmas time that is super festive and so fun. I have big plans to make cookies, cupcakes, and more!


Do you participate or host a Christmas cookie exchange? Christmas cookie exchange parties are such a fun idea. And, December 4th is National Cookie Day. Here's a yummy looking recipe for salted chocolate brownie cookieChristmas cookies, and soft chocolate chunk cookies🍪 

Here a video and recipe to make mini edible gingerbread cookie houses. There's even a pdf for the template for these tiny houses. So cute!

If gingerbread houses aren't your thing, check out this chocolate candy house. So cute!

Here's a recipe for gingerbread cookies; these are shaped like skeletons, but I bet they taste like Christmas. Gingerbread reminds me of Winter and Christmas. Do you eat gingerbread all year or just at Christmas time?

I love decorating cookies with royal icing. There's a bit of a learning curve with the flooding and outline consistencies. Once you master that, you'll be making professional looking cookies in no time. Here's a tutorial for making and piping royal icing

Cupcakes and Buttercream Icing

I got some extra large piping tips recently, so I can make and decorate cupcakes. Here are some recipes I wanted to try. It's perfect because December 23 is National Bake Day

Want to decorate some Christmas cupcakes? Here are some tips for making Christmas ornaments or "Christmas baubles."

Here's a tutorial for making buttercream icing, a master class in making buttercream icing, and decorating with buttercream.

Here's a tutorial for making Swiss meringue buttercream.

Cream cheese is a family favorite in our house. I usually have a cookie cake or carrot cake with cream cheese icing for my birthday cake. Here's a tutorial for making cream cheese and chocolate cream cheese icing. What's your favorite icing to make, use, or eat? Feel free to comment below. 

S'mores cupcakes would be perfect to eat around a fire. These cupcakes have a cookie crust, chocolate cake, meringue topping, and a chocolate drizzle.

I love chocolate and hazelnut. This Nutella cupcake recipe is a "must make" recipe for me.

Here are some tips for decorating with fondant or as she says "sugar paste."

Baked Goodies

If cookies or cupcakes aren't your thing, there's always other baked goods to make for Christmas. 

Here's a recipe for chocolate hazelnuts fudge brownies.

Have you ever made homemade dulce de leche? Here's the recipe. Would you make dulce de leche or do you have a favorite brand to purchase?

YouTube is one of my favorite forms of entertaining. It's t.v. on demand and a look into people's lives. Here's a behind-the-scene video from the Crumbs and Doilies bakery in England.

Festive Christmasy Drinks

Hot chocolate or mochas are some of my favorite holiday beverages. These homemade marshmallows would take these drinks over the top!

Sweet and salty is one of my favorite holiday flavor combination with desserts. You can try this sea salt caramel recipe to add to your favorite holiday beverage.


I've been reading a lot. It's so cold that reading under a cozy blanket seems like a perfect way to spend the evening. This month I've been reading Simply Tuesday, and I've got Let's All Be Brave and Wild and Free next on my reading list. Feel free to pick them up and read along with me.


We are t-minus 16 days until Christmas. This season is one of my favorite times of year. People seem to be happy, joyful, and more kind. I hope you don't have lots of holiday hustle. Instead, I hope you have time to rest and be refreshed. 

If you are looking for holiday gifts, here are some ideas.

If you're shopping for your favorite bakers, here's a list of kitchen baking essentials from Jemma, who owns her own bakery.

I hope you enjoyed these tips, recipes, and all of my favorites from this month. Let me know if this is a feature that you would like me to continue by commenting below. And, let me know if you have a topic you want to be featured. Thanks! Have a great week!

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

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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