Incredible Christmas Cookie Recipes

Sugar CookiesFrom traditional recipes to unique twists on holiday favorites, we have some of the best Christmas cookie recipes!

  1. Classic Holiday Sugar Cookies with Peppermint Glaze and Peppermint Piping Icing – Embrace nostalgia and create the perfect holiday cookie that tastes delicious and is easy to decorate. Instead of displaying a gingerbread house, cut sugar cookies using some snowman, tree and star cookie cutters to set up a festive and tasty holiday scene. Scatter some coconut shavings or crinkled strips of paper for snow and place holiday candies behind the cookies, so they stand up all night long.
  2. Bake the best gingerbread ever – Baking seasonal treats is a primary part of the holiday tradition – and not only is homemade gingerbread a crowd pleaser at any function, the spicy aroma is bound to inspire budding bakers as well.
  3. Reduced Sugar Gingerbread Cookies – Many Canadians enjoy baking during the holidays, but we are often concerned about eating too much sugar. Now there is an easy way to enjoy these treats and also reduce your sugar intake. By substituting the sugar ingredient in your recipes with the new Truvia Baking Blend (a combination of sugar with a stevia-based calorie-free sweetener) you can obtain delicious baked goods with 75 per cent fewer calories per serving, as compared to standard recipes.
  4. Holiday Cookie Recipe: Peanut Butter Buttons – The pairing of peanut butter and chocolate is always a crowd favourite and this irresistible cookie recipe is also sure to delight.
  5. Peanutty Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach – Rugelach is a traditional holiday pastry that is always a hit at any cookie exchange. Consider giving them as a hostess gift, topped off with colourful ribbon for a festive holiday flare.
  6. Holiday Cookie Recipe: Add peanuts to macaroons for a tasty holiday treat – Both decadent and quick to prepare with few ingredients, these peanutty macaroons are sure to be a welcome addition to your holiday baking lineup.
  7. Chewy Macadamia Nut Cookies – Whether your end-of-year festivities involve mistletoe and ho-ho-ho, a menorah and dreidel, or a kinara and seven colorful candles, holidays of all cultures seem to have one thing in common: baking. Food is an integral part of many celebrations, and whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a family get-together, chances are there’s a baked good in attendance.
  8. Christmas Cookie Recipes: Contemporary twists on holiday baking favorites - A cookie can be more than your average treat this holiday season. Out do yourself and step outside your comfort zone with delicious detours and tasty twists on some favorite holiday baked goods.
  9. Christmas Cookie Recipes: Coconut-Lime Thai Snowballs and Mojito Jammies – How does a cookie achieve legendary popularity? Through the decades, each generation votes with its taste buds, as home-baked cookies are enjoyed at school events, holiday gatherings and family feasts. Many recipes reflect the ingredients popular in their era, while others are simply easy, with classic tastes that never go out of style. Holiday baking, more than any other, honors the past with traditional family favorites – yet, new recipes find their way into cherished collections each year.

 

Four Fun Halloween Projects

Painted-Pimpkin-smLooking for Halloween projects?  Here are four fun fall family cooking/craft projects for those cool autumn weekends:

Haunted Gingerbread House
If you are looking for a ghoulish Halloween activity everyone can enjoy, why not create a peanut-free Haunted Gingerbread House? Decorated with Nestlé Fav*rites peanut-free treats, it’s not only safe for children who have peanut allergies, it’s also spooktacularily fun to make!

Family Halloween Fun – Ghost Meringue Recipe
I make this recipe every year for my family and for Halloween parties and it is always a big hit! It’s great because the recipe is easy and the treats come out lite and tasty.

Halloween Gourd Friends
Fall has arrived and pumpkins have arrived with it but today, I’m not really looking at the pumpkins. Instead, I am looking at the cute little bags of gourds that are lining the produce section of your local grocery store.

Halloween Grab Bags
People often say, “Halloween, it’s just about the candy,” and although I often agree with them on some level, I don’t really think it is a bad thing. To me, Halloween is one of the truly whimsical holidays around. There is no deep meaning, although there is a history, and children and adults alike, can simply enjoy the day.

Raising Backyard Chickens

Free-Range-ChickensRaising chickens in the city and suburbs is becoming increasingly popular.  If you’re considering raising your own chickens for eggs (and for fun!), have a look at our articles to help you get started and answer your questions:

Cost of Keeping Chickens
How much will it cost for those wonderful, free-range eggs laid in your backyard coop?
Are chickens worth the expense?
How long will it take to re-coop the start up costs?

The Realities of Raising Chickens
A lot of my friends have been interested in raising their own chickens in their suburban areas so I thought I would write a post on the realities of this age-old venture. Many of you know that my dad is a farmer and has many hobbies including raising chickens. I thought it would be great to get some insight as to how doable and how much work it is to raise chickens in a restricted space setting so I asked my dad for some advice.

Ten Benefits of Raising Chickens in the City
City dwelling chickens are all the rage! As more and more cities are adopting chicken-friendly zoning laws, more and more city folks are opting to raise chickens of their own. There are plenty of reasons to consider raising chickens in urban locations.

A Chicken’s Problems
Although chicken keeping is relatively stress free, occasionally problems arise within your flock.

How to Determine How Much Space Your Chickens Need in Their Coop
To determine how much space you’ll need for your chickens is a matter of very simple mathematics. The more chickens you have, the more space you’ll need.

Introducing New Chickens
I’m lucky to live in a city where there are no limits to the number of chickens you can have in your backyard flock. Still, when I got my first batch of chickens, I aimed low, as I was a bit nervous about having them. The problem is, I fell in love! And then, I instantly wanted more chickens! The first new chickens I introduced to the flock were easy. I’d only had my original batch for a few days and they were all small, fluffy, new to me and new to each other. They were also all less than a week old. The introduction went off without a hitch.

Introducing New Chickens to Your Existing Flock
Adding new chickens your flock of birds can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Every flock will have a period of adjustment, but with thoughtful planning, fighting can be kept to a minimum (in most cases). The goal is to have a happy, well-adjusted flock in the end, (with no blood shed or lost life). It is possible! First of all, it’s important to understand ‘chicken psychology’. If you understand how your birds tick, it will help you work with their natural inclinations instead of against them.

How to Keep a Chicken Happy
Why worry about keeping your chickens happy? Well, for one, they tend to fight less with each other when they’re content. They also tend to lay eggs more regularly. So happy chickens means happy chicken owners!

The Best Way to Keep a Chicken Coop Clean
A clean chicken coop is essential for the health of your flock. Dirty coops not only encourage disease and pests, they also stink and become a potential health hazard to humans (as well as making your neighbors unhappy). Keeping a clean coop doesn’t have to take a lot of work.

Chickens in Cold Weather: 8 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Backyard Flock Healthy and Warm
Keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard means they will need some extra attention to make it through the winter safe, healthy, happy and warm. Where many large-scale farmers don’t go to the extra work to pamper their chicks, small flock farmers need to remember that a handful of chickens produce much less collective body heat than a large flock of 50 or more chickens. (You can tell if your chickens are cold if they fluff their feathers and stand on one foot. They’re trying to stay warm.)

How to Keep Your Chicken Waterer From Freezing
Chickens, as a rule, are pretty winter hardy animals. They can withstand some pretty cold temperatures (they’re covered with feathers, after all) if they have a sheltered, draft-free place to live. One of the biggest concerns for your backyard flock is keeping their water fresh and unfrozen in the cold winter months.

From the Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Fall has arrived and why not celebrate with the beloved pumpkin!

Here are five super pumpkin recipes and craft ideas to get you in the autumn spirit:

1. Pumpkin Patch 3 Oil Soap

Learn how to make your own Pumpkin Patch soap at home.  I love this recipe because it only requires three oils, and the three oils are ones you can find in the grocery store – making it an easy recipe to satisfy a quick soap making fix!

2. Think outside the pie tin: 3 surprising ways to savor pumpkin this fall

Recipes for Pumpkin Smoothies, Pumpkin Eggnog, and Pumpkin Chili

Few flavors say “fall” more clearly and tastily than pumpkin. The squash that’s synonymous with autumn is also packed with vitamins, fiber and protein, making it a perfect ingredient for a variety of dishes – not just for everyone’s favorite holiday pie. Canned or fresh, pumpkin works in savory and sweet dishes alike.

3. Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Favorite fall flavors and activities guaranteed to enhance your autumn

The air is crisp, kids are back in school and leaves are beginning to change color – fall has arrived! With it comes many possibilities for making amazing memories. From favorite fall flavors to awesome autumn activities, everyone has something to look forward to as the season changes. So what types of things are high on Americans’ to-do lists this year?

4. Traditional Halloween Recipes

It is difficult to think of Halloween as being anything other than a purely commercial holiday.  However, there are many traditional recipes associated with Halloween that reveal the holiday’s history and importance.  Many of these recipes can be made with one sole source—the pumpkin!  One of the essential components of Halloween, the pumpkin is the main ingredient in many traditional Halloween recipes.

5. Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes and More Fall Recipes

Fall Recipes: French Toast Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups, Swirled Pumpkin Cheesecakes & Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake

A good host always has coffee in the home, but if you really want to wow your guests this season, offer Coffee-mate’s delicious seasonal creamers and these delicious recipes as well.

 

A Fisherman’s Tale: Fishing with The Connecticut Scribe

The Dark Waters of New Mexico's Pecos River

The Dark Waters of New Mexico’s Pecos River

Take an adventure with The Connecticut Scribe as he shares the joys of fishing in nature’s mysterious waters, and offers incredible tips along the way in his Fishing Blog.

Read stories of his local fishing spot, the Natchaug River in northeastern Connecticut, explore Argentina‘s bountiful waters including the Río de la Plata (River of Silver), travel the waters of Cape Cod, and learn the advantages of fishing in the dark water in New Mexico’s Navajo Reservation, and more in The Connecticut Scribe’s fascinating journeys.

Sit back, and soak in a real appreciation for fishing and the natural world.

Enter The Tiki Room!

Mai Tai Tiki Pops

Mai Tai Tiki Pops

Labor Day weekend, and summer, for that matter, isn’t over yet, and if you’re looking for more cool summer recipes, party ideas, or fun music to play at your next get-together, then check out our Tiki Room!

You can try out this recipe for Mai Tai Tiki Pops:

Originally inspired by South Pacific culture, the fun, over-the-top Tiki trend is back in a big way. Tiki drinks like Mai Tais are best known for fruity flavors and whimsical garnishes. Try out the trend with virgin Mai Tai Tiki Pops, a treat that turns the tropical flavors of the classic drink into a fruity ice pop.

Explore the tiki music genre with artists like Martin Denny:

Tiki music came about from artists like Les Baxter, Arthur Lyman, and Martin Denny. These talented artists blended the Tiki idea through jazz music dotted with Polynesian, Asian, and Latin instruments. The “tropical” themes that emerged created the Exotica genre. Martin Denny described the musical style as “a combination of the South Pacific and the Orient…what a lot of people imagined the islands to be like…it’s pure fantasy though.” I think that pretty much sums it up perfectly!

And much more tiki fun at The Tiki Room!

Five Cool Summer Recipes

Sparkling Watermelon Drink

Sparkling Watermelon Drink

Much of America is just now hitting its hottest days of summer, so here are five cool, light recipes to help beat the heat:

Sparkling Watermelon Drink

Get instantly refreshed

Cool down your guests with this surprisingly pink, thirst-quenching drink. It makes a nice switch up for the kids’ lemonade stand, too.

Sparkling Watermelon Drink Recipe

Asian Lettuce WrapsAsian Lettuce Wraps

Looking for light dinner ideas?

This is one of our favorite Asian recipes that’s not too heavy for summer.

Lighten up lettuce wraps by blending half the beef with meaty tasting mushrooms.

Asian Lettuce Wraps Recipe

Find more Asian recipes in our cooking section.

 

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie

Cool off with a sensational smoothie

Summer stirs up memories of hot days and cool treats – and there is no better way to cool off than with a refreshing fruit smoothie.

With lemon, strawberry and almond beverage, it tastes rich, but is actually good for you.

Strawberry Lemonade Smoothie Recipe

Find more Drink recipes in our cooking section.

Simple Mango SalsaChef-approved Summer Salsa

Fussy food isn’t right for dining al fresco. Instead, simple, easy and fresh is the mantra of patio entertaining this season. That’s why chefs and home cooks alike turn to everyday party favourites like tortilla chips as an easy solve for speedy and delicious summer-time dishes.

Kevin Prendergast, the executive chef at the Toronto Hilton says adding seasonal or tropical fruit to something you’re already serving, like salad or salsa, can create an instant taste twist that your guests will enjoy.

Chef-approved summer salsa recipe

Frozen Yogurt & Coconut Banana PopsFrozen Yogurt & Coconut Banana Pops

Nothing puts a smile on your child’s face like an icy cold snack after a long day at the playground. Swap out the sugary snack for these homemade frozen yogurt and coconut banana pops.

Frozen Yogurt & Coconut Banana Pops Recipe

Three Surprising Uses for Fresh Peppermint

Fresh Mint Tea

Fresh Mint Tea

Have you been growing peppermint in the herb garden this year?  If not, you may want to head to your local market and pick up some fresh mint!  It’s not only a fantastic herb for drinks and cooking, but you can also use it in the bath, in your tea, and as a natural health remedy.

Have a look at these three surprises uses for peppermint:

Simple peppermint and lemon aromatherapy foot bath recipe for tired feet will lift depression, relieve stress and aid relaxation. An aromatherapy foot bath is effective and easy to do at home – real DIY stress relief. Here are our favourite ways of using a peppermint and lemon aromatherapy foot bath recipe with essential oils to ease and restore tired feet… And the benefits extend beyond just fresher feet!

Read the rest for a Peppermint and Lemon Aromatherapy Foot Bath Recipe.

Peppermint tea is an herb that is valued for its unique flavor and health benefits. Peppermint is a hybrid of water mint and spearmint. Unlike other types of mints, peppermint possesses menthol, methyl acetate, menthone and other 40 compounds in its healing volatile oil. Dry peppermint leaves are utilized in creating refreshing minty teas that are greatly satisfying whether hot or cold. Peppermint leaves are also used to crown personalities in ancient Rome and Greece. It is still loved for its highly refreshing aroma and its caffeine-free and natural taste. Peppermint is known in the following benefits…

Read the rest on Peppermint Tea and Its Benefits.

Peppermint is a cooling herb to cool down a fever or sore throat and aids in healing you from other symptoms of the cold and flu.

Read on to learn How to Make Peppermint Herbal Honey For Cold and Flu Symptoms.

Bee Conscious: Save the Bees – Along with Your Food

BeeMost of us are aware of the decline in bee populations around the world – but according to the organization, Wildlife Preservation Canada, bees pollinate more than 80 per cent of our flowering plants, fruits and vegetables. Bee-saving initiatives are underway however, and this summer you can help.

A 2006 report on the Status of Pollinators in North America (by the National Acadamies of Sciences) identified ‘loss and fragmentation of habitat’ as a primary cause of plunging pollinator populations…

Read the rest of “Save the Bees – Along with Your Food”.

Also, you can learn more about the declining bee population and what you can do to help in our Bee Conscious articles in our Environment & Nature section.

Dog Training Tips

Photo by Elaine Tan

Photo by Elaine Tan

Thinking about rescuing a dog from the pound, or getting a new puppy for the family?  Or could your doggie use some training?  No matter what kind of dog you have, our dog training section is sure to help!

We have tips for small and large dogs, passive and aggressive dogs, and hints for taming all sorts of dog breeds and types including training show dogs, training assertive dogs, and dog psychology.

Dog Training Tips at Savvy Café

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