Tag Archive | "Holiday Baking"

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Holiday Gifts From The Kitchen:Peppermint Sticks

Posted on 21 December 2011 by noelskitchen

There are many of us out there, me included who look for last minute gifts ideas or think we just need a few extra gifts for our loved ones. That’s why I love finding new ways to make gifts from the kitchen. If you don’t already subscribe to Disney Family Fun magazine, it might be a good idea to just pick up a copy when you’re looking for inspiration on family fun ideas. I was just browsing through it and came across these seasonal treats that are such a cinch to make. And they look just as simple and sweet!

Peppermint Sticks


  • 1 cup dark or milk chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 15 (4-inch) soft or hard peppermint sticks
  • White nonpareils


  1. In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and oil for 1 minute, then continue in 10-second burts, stirring between heatings. When most, but not all, of the chips have melted, stir the chocolate until it is smooth.
  2. Spread the nonpareils on a sheet of wax paper. Dip one end of each peppermint stick into the chocolate, then roll it in the nonpareils. Set the sticks on another sheet of waxed paper until the chocolate has set, about one hour.

Place sets of five candies in clear cellephone bags, staple them closed, then affix decorative paper labels.

Recipe courtesy of Disney Family Fun Magazine.

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A Holiday Breakfast:French Toast Casserole

Posted on 15 December 2011 by noelskitchen

Here’s a fuss-free holiday breakfast, you can have the kids help prepare this yummy dish the night before.

This delicious breakfast is a cross between French toast and bread pudding. It’s a perfect hassle free breakfast for Christmas morning. It’s so easy to make, the kids can do many of the steps themselves:slicing the bread, chopping the nuts, whisking the eggs, and more.  One of my favorite kitchen tools to use when chopping nuts is my food chopper made by Pampered Chef.  It can be assembled the night before, so there’s no Christmas morning scramble for breakfast or cleanup.

French Toast Casserole

Servings: 6


  • 1 loaf of day old white french bread
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Maple syrup for serving
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)


  1. Generously grease a 13 – by 9-inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Slice the bread into 1-inch-thick slices, then cut each slice into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Chop the nuts using a knofe or a food chopper.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts.
  5. Arrange half the bread in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, then sprinkle half the sugar mixture evenly over the top. Add a second layer with the remaining bread and sugar mixture.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the milk and vanilla extract, whisking until blended.
  7. Starting from the sides of the dish and working toward the center, pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. With a spatula, gently press down on the bread to coat it with the egg mixture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
  8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the casserole covered for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue baking until the casserole turns a light golden brown and looks slightly puffed., about 30 minutes more. Serve the casserole warm with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

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Cooking With Kids: Easy Peanut Butter Balls

Posted on 05 December 2011 by noelskitchen

Hosting a Kids Holiday Cookie Swap? These Easy Peanut Butter Balls are sure to be a hit!  No baking required.  I love to bake with my kids as I’m sure most of you do too.  Baking with kids is a fun way to get the little ones in the kitchen and teach basic skills like measuring, math and of course making a mess and cleaning it all up. So why not bake a batch of your kid’s favorite cookies together? 


Easy Peanut Butter Balls




  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups powdered milk

Optional Coatings:

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Crushed Reeses pieces


  1. Mix peanut butter, honey, and milk together in a large bowl to form very thick mixture.
  2. Refrigerate mixture for 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Using a Tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, scoop mixture out andr oll mixture in small balls about the size of a walnut.
  4. Roll the balls in either the crushed cornflakes, finely chopped nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa, or Reeses pieces
  5. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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Weekly Menu, Grocery List and Recipes:Batch and Freezer Cooking

Posted on 04 December 2011 by noelskitchen

We all know how busy our family life gets this time of year as we celebrate with holiday parties, school activities and managing our holiday shopping lists. Keeping up with the day to day home activities can tend to seem overwhelming for some busy families. Wouldn’t you rather have fun baking those homemade Christmas cookies with your kids than doing those tasks like cleaning the house or doing the laundry?

Sometimes even trying to cook a weeknight dinner during the holidays can be stressful.  Sometimes creating a meal plan can get overlooked. Too many families tend to rely on the convenience of pizza home delivery, fast food drive thrus or frozen unhealthy tv dinners.

Having a simple meal plan during the holidays can be a great timesaver for busy families! This month, I’m sharing with Noel’s Family Meals Premium Members how you can simply double your recipes for meals in the beginning of this month, so the second half of the month when your busy with familiy activities, all you have to do is thaw your meals, heat, and serve.

I’ve shared with you plenty about meal planning techniques and why you should meal plan- how I plan a month’s worth of meals by freezer cooking, how I write out my monthly meal plans, and how cooking in batches stocks my freezer by cutting my meal prepping in half. Plan now and you’ll be rewarded later by being able to spend that quality time with your family.

For the month of December, I’m incorporating all of these useful meal planning tools that I’ve been sharing with you.  Those cozy winter meals can easily be doubled and frozen, so with a basic  weekly meal plan, you can have your family’s dinners stocked for the fun-yet-hectic holiday season.

You must be a Premium Family Meal member only to view the following information. To see more and view this week's meal plan with recipes and grocery list, pictures and more, log in or for more information on becoming a member of Noel's Family Meals, visit here:


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What’s Cooking With The Elves:Oatmeal Cranberry Coconut Cookies

Posted on 30 November 2011 by noelskitchen

This year, I have two more helpers this holiday season. Aren’t they adorable? You all know I’m a thrifty shopper and on one of my usual stops to the thrift store, this cute little pair caught my eye. I had to give them a home.  This holiday season, I’ve decided to change much of my holiday decor to a Santa’s Workshop theme. It’s still a work in progress but the kids seem already excited about Christmas with the decorations I’ve put up so far.

What’s Cooking With The Elves?

The elves were already getting ahead start on Christmas cookie baking last night. This cookie recipe was inspired by my Sweet Apple Oatmeal and Coconut Cookies .


Oatmeal Cranberry Coconut Cookies
Recipe Type: Cookies
Author: Noel’s Kitchen Tips
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 22 mins
Serves: 60 cookies
Get a head start on your Christmas cookie baking with these chewy and scrumptious cookies!
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried Cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream first 3 ingredients until light; beat in egg. Add oats, dry ingredients, coconut and dried cranberries; mix well. Chill several hours.
  2. Shape into balls about the size of a walnut and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or baking spray; flatten slightly with floured tumbler. Bake 10-12 minutes.

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