Recipes for the holidays

During the holidays there are many gatherings to attend from office parties, family dinners or a New Year’s Eve party. I personally like to try out new recipes before the official party, especially if I am the host. I am a BIG fan of desserts so if I am the host I will definitely bake cookies and cakes so that they will be available for my guests. When attending friend’s or family gatherings I bring a dessert along with me.

I enjoy eggnog. It’s one of the things I look forward to enjoying during the holiday season. In addition to enjoying eggnog as a beverage, I also use it bake cookies and cakes. One of the recipes I like to use it for is eggnog cheesecake from the Kraft website. I have used reduced fat eggnog and the results are just as delicious.

Remember to stock on ingredients when they are on sale and combine the specials with coupons to save even more.

Recipe for eggnog cheesecake from the Kraft website. I typed the recipe below for your convenience.

Kraft Eggnog Cheesecake

 46 vanilla wafers, finely crushed (about 2 cups)

 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

 4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened 

1 cup sugar

 3 Tbsp. flour 

3 Tbsp. rum

 1 tsp. vanilla 

1 cup whipping cream

 2 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

Heat oven to 325°F. Mix wafer crumbs, butter and nutmeg; press onto bottom and 1-1/2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 10 min. Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, rum and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add whipping cream; mix well. Add whole eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended; pour into crust. Bake 1 hour 10 min. to 1 hour 15 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate cheesecake 4 hours.

Holiday Gift Ideas

With the holidays quickly approaching you maybe thinking what items would be good for the recipients on you gift list. Ideas include wine as hostess gifts or food items. For those who can create homemade gifts, the holidays are the perfect time to flex those baking and crafting muscles. There are times we might have the difficult person to shop for and just simply grab the easy go-to gift card for the recipient’s favorite store.

Other gift ideas for those on our list include earbuds, toiletries, clothing, perfumes, colognes and scented candles. Many holiday themed items go on sale the day after Christmas so if you won’t be gifting them until just a few days after Christmas day then there is the potential to find these items for a discounted price following the holiday. Be sure to stay tuned as I hope to be able to help you save.

Are $1 stores worth the price

Many of us enter the dollar store in search of one item and exit with more than we intended. I have done this many times. While there are bargains to be found at the dollar store, sometimes better deals can be found elsewhere. One of the items I would head to the dollar store for are gift bags. No matter the size of bag I need to package the gift they are all just $1 at the Dollar Tree. Also the greeting cards are a good value as they cost significantly more at other stores. While shopping in the party supply section I am sure to check out the streamers and decorations as they are a great value.

The beauty supply section is another section I visit. Here I will pick up lip balm and vitamin E oil. No need to stop at the travel size section at another store, the dollar store has a wide variety of travel sized items for the same price. I tend to purchase an inexpensive pair of ear buds here as well for trips so I have no need to worry about losing a pricier pair.

Seasonal items can also be bought at the dollar store, including decorations and candies. This makes it easy to pick up decor or items for a goodie bag. I have picked up coloring books from this section close to the holiday for half off. It was a full sized coloring book for .50 cents.

Now the items I avoid at the dollar store. I do not purchase tools or toys at the dollar store. While board games are okay I am fearful of buying plastic toys. There have been too many times they have been recalled due to safety issues. The tools at the dollar store, such as the screwdrivers, tend to be low quality so I do not buy them there.

Another item I do not recommend purchasing at the dollar store are batteries. They drain much faster than brand named batteries bought elsewhere so money is better spent investing in them elsewhere at a higher cost.