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Delicious Sugared Cranberries

I wish I had time to post this recipe earlier but I’ve been so busy with the holidays. These cranberries make a beautiful holiday table display and are absolutely delicious!
 
Plain fresh cranberries can be extremely bitter and many people I’ve talked to don’t like them at all. The sugar-coating gives them the sweet kick they need and the “crunch” they make when you bite them is addicting. I ate so many after I first tried this recipe, that I had to make a second batch to have enough for our Christmas party.

Sugared Cranberry Ingredients 

You will need:
3 Cups Fresh Cranberries
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2 Cups Water
 
For coating:
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Natural Sugar

Directions:
 
Wash cranberries and discard any that are soft. Put remaining cranberries in a large bowl and set aside.
 
Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the 2 cups of sugar until dissolved and let simmer for a minute or two. 
 
Remove sugar mixture from heat. Once it has cooled slightly, pour mixture over cranberries. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
 
Note: Do not pour boiling mixture over cranberries! If the liquid is too hot, the cranberries will burst. I suggest testing the temperature by tossing a cranberry into the liquid and letting it sit for a minute. If the cranberry is till firm when you remove it, then it should be ok to pour the mixture. If it is mushy or bursts completely, let the liquid cool longer

Drain the cranberries and begin the sugar-coating process. Pour some of the natural sugar into a bowl and toss in some cranberries. I suggest only using a portion of the sugar and a handful of cranberries at a time, otherwise the sugar gets too wet and clumpy.

Fresh Cranberries in Sugar

Spread the sugar-coated cranberries on a cookie sheet to dry for an hour. Once this initial sugar-coating and drying is done, carefully repeat the process using the regular granulated sugar. The sugar will adhere to any remaining sticky parts of the cranberry.
 
Spread the cranberries on a cookie sheet again and let dry for at least an hour.
 
Place in an airtight container but do not refrigerate

First Coat of Sugar

Cranberries with first sugar-coating

Second Coat of Sugar

Cranberries with second coat of sugar

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Easy Mini Chocolate Pudding Pies

I absolutely love chocolate pudding. I love it so much that sometimes I’ll eat it while it’s still warm off the stove because I can’t wait for it to chill in the fridge. So naturally whenever I’m put in charge of making desserts for family functions, chocolate putting always pops into my mind. But I never picture pudding of any sort being festive and of course the family functions are usually a holiday such as Christmas or Thanksgiving. So I end up resorting to searching the internet for festive holiday desserts. Sometimes I hit a winner, usually I give up start asking relatives for requests.

This Christmas I decided I was making chocolate pudding whether it was festive or not. But rather than just pouring it into a bowl, I figured I could make a chocolate pudding pie. But what’s even better than a pudding pie? Mini pudding pies of course! Little bitty bite sized pies that you could just pop in your mouth.

Mini Chocolate Pudding Pie Desserts

Although I was tired and didn’t make these as carefully and neatly as I could (I know, it’s no excuse!) they still taste delicious and they were pretty easy to make.

You will need –

  • 2 boxes of chocolate pudding
  • 2 sleeves of gram crackers, finely crumbled
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 4 tea spoons of sugar

Directions –

In a large bowl mix the gram cracker crumbs and sugar then add the melted butter until wet crumbs form. You should be able to put the crumbs into a cupcake liner and press it to form the shape of the liner. If the crumbs do not stick together, you want to add more melted butter. Keep in mind that you also do not want the crumbs to be a sopping mess.

Line a mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners, if you prefer you can also make them regular cupcake size but then  you can’t just pop them in your mouth!

Spoon the crumbs into the liners and then press the crumbs to form the shape of the liners. Try to get it up the sides of liners a little also, that way the pudding does not stick to the paper. I was able to make 24 mini pies and 21 regular sized cupcake pies with the ingredients listed above.  Put the “crusts” to the side.

Make the pudding according to the directions on the box. I used the My-T-Fine brand’s Chocolate Fudge flavor. I personally like the way the stove-top kind tastes better than instant pudding, but instant pudding will probably work just as well.

Let the pudding cool slightly then spoon into the crusts. Put enough pudding into each crust so it covers most of the crust, but not so much that it is touch the sides of the liners. The pudding will stick to the liners.

Cover and refrigerate until pudding is solid. Serve with whipped cream or any other yummy topping!

Homemade White Castle Burger Recipe

This homemade White Castle burger recipe tastes just like the real thing! It’s easy to make and only takes about a half hour or so to cook. Even my mom liked them and she’s one of the most picky eaters I know.

White Castle Burger Ingredients

Pickles, cheese, onion soup mix, beef

You will need:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup American cheese (torn into pieces)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 3-4 regular sized hamburger buns
  • pickles
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Brown the beef in a pan then drain out the liquid
  2. Add onions, soup mix and cheese to the beef
  3. Keep on medium-high and stir until the cheese is melted
  4. Put beef mixture on buns & wrap each bun in aluminum foil
  5. Heat burgers in oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees
  6. Unwrap burgers – add pickles – Enjoy!
Homemade White Castle Burger

Looks can be deceiving! They're delicious!

– See if you can find mini burger buns to make them even more like White Castle Burgers!

– You can also add the pickles before you put the burgers in the oven, it tastes just as good.

PS – The ingredients pictures shows 4lbs of beef (I divided it after the picture). Make sure to only use 1lb unless you are doubling the recipe!

Easy Make-Ahead Lunch Idea

When it comes to lunch foods for work, I absolutely hate getting stuck bringing a peanut butter and jelly or a plain salad. I’d almost rather not eat lunch at all then eat either of those.

Since I knew there wasn’t going to be much to take for lunch a few days ago, I searched around for some “make-ahead” lunch ideas. The requirements were that it had to be made with ingredients I already had in the house and that it wasn’t going to expect me making enough to feed an army.

Better Homes and Gardens was the first site I came across in my search and it also had the best ideas for make-ahead wraps. I decided on the Carrot, Fruit and Turkey Sandwich Rolls but I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit. I added an extra ingredient and made a sandwich as well as a wrap.

Ingredients for carrot, raisin, cabbage & turkey sandwhich

Ingredients for carrot, raisin, cabbage & turkey sandwich

Sandwich Ingredients:

Handful of shredded carrots
Handful of chopped red cabbage
Handful of Golden Raisins
Plain cream cheese
6 slices honey roasted deli turkey
1 Slice sourdough bread (cut in half to give 2 half slices)
1 Plain tortilla

First just spread some of the cream cheese onto both pieces of bread (I personally love cream cheese so I use an unhealthy amount 🙂 ) Add half of the raisins, half of the cabbage, half of the carrots and 3 slices of turkey on one piece of bread. Put the other half of bread on top and tada! Yummy sandwich!

Follow the same steps with the tortilla and then roll it up.

Personally I liked the sandwich much better than the wrap just because the sourdough bread is so great. The cabbage gave it a nice crunch and the raisins were a great sweet surprise. I didn’t really notice the cream cheese or carrots too much but I definitely think they helped keep the sandwich from being dry.

Finished carrot, raisin, cabbage & turkey sandwich

Finished sandwich and wrap!

Overall I’d definitely make this sandwich again. It was relatively healthy (minus my tons of cream cheese!) and it’s so simple to make and change around to whatever ingredients are available.