Category Archives: Food As Gifts

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

What did you make for your valentine?


I made Macadamia Nut Dark Chocolate Brownies with a Fudge Drizzle for my honey 🐻


Bake Sale!

As I catch you up on what’s been going on here in the middle of the desert, let me tell you about the Fall Bake Sale that we had in our new community.

DH saw a flyer for the sale and encouraged me to participate.  So I got crackin’.

I started out by making 1 full sized Bundt® and 4 half-sized Rum Cakes and stashed those in the deep freeze.  I did some research online about what sells at a Bake Sale and I was surprised to find Jumbo Muffins on that list.  I found a recipe for Healthful Morning Glory Muffins; those are the two next to the cakes there.  Another surprise was jarred stuff, such as cookie mixes ready for an egg and milk (see below the cakes, cute huh?).  I also jarred up some Chai Tea Mix, just add water.  Those red sandwich baskets are filled some of my homemade Flavored Salts and Seasonings, they didn’t sell well though.

I found that adorable red Cupcake Caddy at the Dollar Store and thought maybe someone might need a hostess gift (it was the weekend after all), but sadly that went un-purchased as well.

Next up on my bake-ahead agenda was a double batch of my Great Grandmother’s recipe for Old Fashion Gingerbread,  into the freezer that went.  I had about 10 extra cupcakes that I wrapped individually, packaged up neatly with its own spoon for immediate consumption and those flew off  that table, fast!

The last item that I baked ahead of time was different Brownies.  I read that you should make twice as many as you think, those sell the best.  Basically anything CHOCOLATE!!   So pictured above you’ll see (from left to right) Magic Bars, my Tricked Out Brownies and my Haole Brownies or Caramel Cuts.  I guess not enough people knew what a Magic Bar was, because they sat there all day, so lonely, that I wound up giving them away… I wasn’t taking anything home with me, well not much anyways.

The best fun of this entire experience was dreaming up a cute table display and packaging for all of my wares.  For this I also researched, what draws folks over to your table.  I labeled each item with all of the ingredients, so that if someone was allergic to or didn’t care for this or that, I was covered.  I was poking around in the Scrape-booking aisles at the local hobby store and found this collection of assorted printed paper that spoke to me, “buy me, I’ll look fantastic on your Bake Sale table”.  I used boxes covered in the paper to give different heights for eye appeal. I also cut out my own pennant from the various sheets to put a name to my table as well.

While I was baking, I had my new apron on and it dawned on me “Doni’s Kitchen” was the perfect name for my table.

So many of our neighbors that came over commented on how professional everything looked.  “Where is your bake shop?  Do you take orders?  This is delicious!”  I was just flabbergasted.  I did this all for fun and only charged folks what I spent to make each item, not a lot.  I introduced myself to a ton of new neighbors and am hoping that there’ll be a Spring Bake Sale too!

But for now I have my `fridge and freezer back, for the time being anyways.  😉

Miners Mix Hot-Banero Spiced Cashews

I’m pretty sure I mentioned to the class that I received a very generous gift of assorted Seasonings and Rubs from the Ole’ Miner at Miners Mix.

The spiciest mix of the lot is this Pepperhead’s Hot-Banero; can you see that this one has Ghost Peppers in it?  My husband’s good buddy, Mister Dear Friend, is a true Pepperhead and LOVES everything muy caliente!  So I was sitting here tried to think of what else I could use this warm spice with/on … DING! 💡  Spiced Nuts!

So I gathered my ingredients and got to work.


Miners Mix Hot-Banero Spiced Cashews

1 tsp. Miners Mix Pepperhead’s Hot-banero Seasoning

½ Tbsp. pure Maple Syrup

1/8 tsp. Sea Salt

1 C. raw-unsalted and shelled Cashews


Pre-heat our oven to 325⁰.

In a medium sized bowl, combine until smooth, the first 3 ingredients.

Add the nuts and mix until all the nuts are evenly coated with the spice mixture.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

Spread the nuts in a single layer on the pan and bake for about 15-20, or until the nuts are fragrant.

Cool and serve or package in a zip bag for later munchies.

HEH! Christmas is coming, would this make a great gift for any Pepperhead?



A Thank You Gift From Back Home

A couple of weeks ago we had our very first house guests; we were so thrilled to have long time friends from Hawaii come to stay with us.  It was for just one night, but we all had a great time.  DH and I showed them around our new town and we even took them house-hunting.  They are considering buying a home here and living in Arizona part time, that would be AWESOME!

A few days ago, this arrived

Oh my gravy all over my two scoop rice (that’s OMG in my world)!!

A goodie box from Hawaii, how’s that?  That was so sweet and considerate of them to remember all of the local kine grindz that we like.  And can you see on the box itself, “Aloha from Hawaii”, perfect!

Mahalo Aki & Leah, come back soon!


Snickerdoodles For A Fund Raiser

So we’ve been in our new home for just about 6 months now and the other week we had our first solicitor knock on our front door.  Both my husband and I went to open the door, mostly curious because not many folks have done so.  Here stands a very nervous pre-teen little gal, talking a mile a minute.  Neither of us understood a word she said, so I smiled real big and said “Hi, my name is Auntie Doni, what’s yours?”  That sure helped, she took a deep breath, smiled and obviously calmed down enough to explain that her school’s soccer team was trying to buy new uniforms and needed to raise the money to do so.  “Whatcha got?” I asked, and she produced a list of different frozen cookie doughs for sale, at what I felt was a fair price.  Ya know, I’ve never had a Snickerdoodle before, so we bought a box of those.

A few evenings later that darling little Miss came back to deliver our box of cookie dough.  “Let’s fire up the oven!” my husband proclaimed, okey dokey pal.

Meh, they were alright I suppose.  I baked them all off and made up three packages of cookies to share with our neighbors.


Triple Chocolate Half-Sized Bundt® Cakes, One To Eat and One to Share

I love Bundt® cakes!  For the most part, they’re moist and tasty.  I even have more than one type of Bundt® pan, with another one on its way.

I saw a recipe somewhere for Chocolate Bundtlettes, heh, I have a pan like that!

But as I thought about the recipe, I figured I could one up that!  I’ll make the cake in my Half-sized Bundt® pans and then guild the lily farther.


Triple Chocolate Bundt® with a Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 box Instant Chocolate Pudding (the small one)

1 1/3 C. Vegetable Oil

4 Eggs

½ C. warm Water

1 C. Sour Cream

1 C. Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

In a Stand Mixer or using a Hand Mixer, combine all of the ingredients until smooth, excluding the Chocolate chips, stir those in last.  The batter with be like thick pudding.  Using a Baking Spray, grease the two Half-sized Bundt® pans; immediately pour the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a scale to be accurate).  Bake for 20-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Place the cakes on a cooling rack and set aside until completely cooled and then turn them out (I run a disposable plastic knife around the edge of the pan first) on to the rack, fitted in a sheet pan.

Now comes the fun part, frosting and decorating those two cuties!

I wanted a bumped up Ganache Frosting, so I kinda winged it.

Deluxe Ganache Frosting

1 C. Chocolate Chips

1 C. Half and Half (or Cream, we use ½ & ½ in our coffee)

½ C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut

½ C. Chopped Pecans

In a glass bowl, heat the ½ & ½  in the microwave for 30 seconds or so, just til hot but not boiling.  Add the Chocolate Chips and stir gently until all of the Chocolate is melted.  You might need to “nuke” it again for a few seconds.

Pour the still warm Ganache over the two cakes; sprinkle the Coconut and Pecans into the Ganache, pressing very lightly in so that they stick.

Slice and enjoy with a cup of coffee or a big glass of cold milk.

I took one of the cakes to our next door neighbors and put the other one into our Covered Cake Plate.

It should keep for 4-5 days, that is if you don’t devour it!



Mac Nut Shortbread Cookies Again For Mom

A little whiles back, I made Macadamia Nut Shortbread Cookies for my Mother.  Well, I did it again! These are a favorite at Mom’s house as well as our own.

This round, I made the cookie log a bit larger (about 2″ X 3″ or so, too big in my opinion though), which means more chocolate too!  They freeze beautifully for an additional coupla dozen cookies later on down the road.  I mean, if you’ve got the cookie dough all put together, just slice n’ bake what you can eat in the next few days and save the rest.