Category Archives: Food As Gifts

A Different Sort Of Lei

Here’s how much we love our Spam® AND Diamond Bakery Soda Crackers

Oh my gosh!!  We make leis out of just about anything!  It started out as Cracked Seed or See Mui and now you’ll find leis fashioned of dollar bills or even small nip bottles of hooch!

You see that blue one to the left? that’s made with small snack-sized Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts, love that too!

Now there’s a real Food As Gift idea

ALOHA!

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What Do You Put In Your Easter Baskets?

At lunch the other day, my mother reminded us that Easter is coming early this year. WHAT? Sure enough, I pulled out the calendar and Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. Last year, rather than make up baskets of candy for my DH and mom, I made Iced Sugar cookies.

Easter Cookies instead of Candy

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

This was the absolute first (and probably last) time that I will undertake such a long, drawn out project. I should say though, it was fun and I was quite pleased with the outcome. These are just the cutest cookies I’ve ever made. I adapted a recipe from Martha Stewart and the FoodNetwork Magazine, morphing the two together. I probably should have rolled out the dough a touch thicker, it was a fragile final product. The royal icing was a challenge, as I’d never done this before. It took driving all around town to several places to find the meringue powder. I used just plain ‘ole liquid food coloring from the supermarket to tint the icing. I piped it using simple sandwich baggies with the corners snipped.

I was on my feet for most of the day and my back was aching! Normally, if I know I’m going to be in the kitchen standing for periods of time, I put on my walking sneaks. I was so excited to get this ball rolling that I was in my bare feet and didn’t think about it until it was too late. But it was a blast and both DH and mom were impressed, they thought I bought them at a fancy bakery.

 

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?

ENJOY!

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.