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A New Family Christmas Read Tradition

Tags: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Christmas Books, Family Holiday Traditions, Family Reading List, P.J. Lynch

A New Family Christmas Read Tradition

Posted on 06 December 2012 by noelskitchen

One of our family’s favorite and oldest Christmas traditions is watching those great family classic Christmas movies like It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. This year we’re adding in a new family tradition which I’m truly excited about. We are going to buy a Christmas book at the beginning of every Christmas season and read it together as a family.

This year, for our first family Christmas book, we chose A Christmas Carol illustrated by P.J. Lynch. I believe the kids are old enough now to be able to listen to Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. This book offers many wonderful illustrations throughout and I’m sure this book will bring a little magic to our home this Christmas season. 

How about you? What Christmas classic will you be adding to your family library?


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Snowball Cookies

Tags: 12 Days of Christmas Cookies, , , Christmas Cookies, Christmas Recipes,

Snowball Cookies

Posted on 29 November 2012 by noelskitchen


We make these traditional holiday melt-in-your-mouth cookies every year during the Christmas holiday season. Most of you may know them as Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, or an Italian Butter Nut. In our house, we call them snowball cookies. These delicious cookies are made with simple ingredients from your pantry…flour, butter, sugar, nuts. I usually make one batch omitting the nuts just for the hubby. I also on occasion like to add a little bit of lemon zest and sometimes lemon extract to them.

After making my first batch last weekend, there were only a few left as you can see. :)

Snowball Cookies

Makes: 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for coating
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla*
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
*If making with lemon extract, omit the vanilla extract.
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2.  Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor or in a mixing bowl with a mixer. Add the flour, salt and lemon zest. Pulse until dough forms. 
  3. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls. 
  4. Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set about 9 minutes. Do not brown.
  5. Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar.

Store in an airtight container. To freeze, layer the cookies between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. 


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Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Tags: Holiday Meal Planning Ideas, , ,

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Posted on 01 November 2012 by noelskitchen

Yes folks, it’s November 1st and we all know what that means…the countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun. Yes, whether we are ready or not it will be here before we know it.

I’ve really found the best way to tackle Thanksgiving dinner along with appetizers, drinks, etc. is to get myself prepared ahead of time, make a plan and follow the schedule. If this is your first family Thanksgiving dinner or your 20th, you’ll find that following a schedule, like the one I shared last year, in my Plan A Easy Thanksgiving Dinner, you can be sure to have an easy Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll have more time with friends and family.

Writing out your menu and Thanksgiving shopping list ahead of time, will help you be prepared and in control of your day. Knowing exactly what needs to be prepared two days ahead, one day ahead, etc. can make your life a little easier.

Here’s my Thanksgiving Menu and I’ll be sharing the recipes this month:


Veggie Tray with Homemade Ranch Dressing

Bread Bowl Artichoke Dip

Moms Deviled Eggs

Main Course

Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter

Side Dishes

Crock Pot Sage and Sausage Dressing

Homestyle Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Relish

Homemade Fluffy Holiday Dinner Rolls


Pumpkin Pie

Old Fashioned Pecan Pie

Homemade Banana Pudding Dessert

What’s on your family’s Thanksgiving menu this year? 

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Tags: , , , ,

Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen:Mixes-in-a-jar

Posted on 29 November 2011 by noelskitchen

Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen just makes me want to start baking cookies with the kids. Every year, we pull together some of our favorite baking mixes, hot cocoa mixes or soup-in-a-jar mixes and start making gifts. Mixes-in-a jar are a beautiful and yummy treat! Not only are they fun to make, but they are practical too!

You can make Christmas gifts using your favorite muffin, cornbread, scone, biscuit, brownie and even pancake recipes. Today, I’ve put together some of our favorite mixes-in-a-jar. Batter bowls like the one picture below are perfect for the mixes-in-a jar because you can decorate them with wodden spoons and a ribbon and they get the batter bowl as a gift too.

Celebration Cookie Mix


  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ½ cup white or semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cups pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  1. In small batter bowl or large jar, layer ingredients as follows, gently patting each layer before adding the next ingredient: granulated sugar, cranberries, chocolate morsels, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats and pecans. Cover with lid. Attach the gift tag recipe.

Gift Tag Recipe

Celebration Cookie Mix

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 recipe Celebration Cookie Mix

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In large bowl, combine butter, eggs and vanilla; mix until well blended. Add cookie mix to butter mixture; mix until well blended. Drop 2 tablespoons scoops of dough 2 inches apart on baking stone. Flatten dough slightly using back of spoon. Bake 13-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove to cooling rack. Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Cowboy Chili Mix


  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup dried cilantro or parsley leaves
  • ½ cup dehydrated minced onions
  • ½ cup dried black beans
  • ½ cup dried kidney beans
  • ½ cup pinto beans
  • 2 snack sized (1 oz) corn chips, unopened


  1. In a small batter bowl or large jar, layer ingredients for chili mix in order listed, gently patting each layer before adding the next. Place corn chip packages on top of chili mix. Cover with lid. Attach gift tag recipe, below.

Gift Tag Recipe

Cowboy Chili

1 recipe Cowboy Chili Mix
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 garlic clove, pressed
4 cups water
1 jar (16oz) salsa
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

Remove corn chips, set aside. Heat oil in 4 quart pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add meat and garlic. Cook and stir 6-7 minutes or until browned. Stir in chili mix and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 1 ½ hours. Stir in salsa and tomato sauce. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until beans and meat are tender. Top with corn chips. Makes 8 cups.

Brownie Mix


  • 1 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup candy-coated chocolate miniature baking bits
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped (optional)


  1. In small bowl or large jar, combine 2/3 cup sugar and cinnamon, mix well and set aside. In a mason jar or decorative plastic bag, layer ingredients as follows, gently pat each layer before adding the next ingredient: salt, baking powder, 1/2 cup of the flour, cocoa powder, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, baking bits and remaining 1 cup flour. Top with reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture, chocolate morsels and walnuts(optional).
  2. Cover with lid or tie with ribbon depending on what you choose to put the ingredients in. Attach the gift tag and give it as a gift and don’t forget to attach the recipe below.

Gift Tag Recipe

Batter Bowl Brownies

  • 1 recipe Batter Bowl Brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray square pan with vegetable oil. In large bowl, combine brownie mix, oil, eggs, water and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread mixture into pan. Bake 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Yields: 20 brownies


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted on 24 November 2011 by noelskitchen


Thanksgiving has always brought some wonderful fond memories that just stand out in my mind. Each Thanksgiving with my family is a precious memory being made.  I am so blessed for my wonderful husband of 14 years and my beautiful loving children.  I can say I have truly been blessed in my life to have such a wonderful family!! 

And to you, my readers, I just want to say how thankful I am to you. Thank you for coming back each and every day and sharing my kitchen! My wish for you is to have a wonderful happy, loving and memorable Thanksgiving with your family.

Create memories and have fun!


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