FP, Holiday, Recipe, Snack

Pepper Jelly ~ THM FP

This is one of my all time favorite holiday appetizers.  It is very easy to make. You can easily adjust the spice level by changing the type or amount of peppers you use. As written this is a mild recipe.


  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 small bell pepper, cut into wedges (use green if using green jalepenos, red if using red)
  • 1/2 cup chopped jalepeno peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups xes sweetener or gentle sweet, divided
  • 3 tsps gelatin
  • 2 drops green or red food coloring, optional (if you want the traditional bright color)


  • Place vinegar and peppers in a blender; cover and puree. Add 1 cup sweetener; blend well.
  • Pour into a saucepan. Stir in the remaining sugar; bring to a boil.
  • Strain mixture and return to pan. Whisk in gelatin and add food coloring if desired. Return to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. (Food coloring is completely optional. When using green peppers the mixture will start off a very bright green but will get progressively darker and somewhat brown in color as you cook it. You will need to add the coloring if you want a bright green final product.
  • Remove from the heat; skim off any foam. Carefully ladle hot mixture into a pint jar.
  • Loosely cover jar and allow jelly to cool before refrigerating. This jelly will thicken more as it sits in the fridge.
  • This recipe is usually served with cream cheese on crackers. So, while the jelly is FP, adding the cream cheese will make it an S snack. I highly recommend the crunkers recipe on page 452 in the THM Cookbook! You could also serve this with cream cheese and celery.

Note: When cutting hot peppers; the oils can burn skin. Disposable gloves are recommended. Avoid touching your face. I did not follow this advice. 20 minutes after  making the jelly I touched my eye. It was not pleasant…

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Holiday, S, Snack

Cheese-Ball Wreath ~ THM S

So many Christmas parties and events with so much food! And often those party and event tables are full of holiday sweets. You are probably making your fair share of healthy sweet treats to indulge in over this holiday season as well, I know I am! But sometimes you don’t want another sweet. Sometimes you just want something savory. This cheese-ball fits the bill perfectly! Of course, you can always make this into the traditional cheese-ball shape, but for a holiday party, this wreath shape is easy and festive!

Cheese-Ball Wreath ~ THM S


  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley
  • 4-5 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Items for dipping such as raw veggies or the Crunkers recipe 


Place cream cheese in a mixing bowl or food processor and mix until smooth. Add cheese, chives, Worcestershire sauce, parley, garlic powder, oregano and pepper and mix well to combine. 

Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and place the mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap and  your hands, form the mixture into a log shape.

Form the log into a wreath shape and press ends together. (Alternatively you could press the mixture into a small wreath mold that is either greased well or lined with plastic wrap for easy removal.)

Remove stems from fresh parsley and chop the leaves into small pieces. Press the fresh parsley onto the outside of the wreath. Slice tomatoes in half, squeezing gently to remove some of the liquid and seeds. Press the halves around the top of the wreath to resemble ornaments.

Cover the cheese-ball wreath in cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with celery sticks or I highly recommend the crunkers recipe on page 452 in the THM Cookbook.

FP, Holiday, Recipe, Snack

How to Make “Craisins” in the Oven

EDIT: I have decided I like these better made differently. You can find the updated recipe here: Make Your Own “Craisins” ~ Take Two

I have always found it frustrating that you can’t find plain “dried cranberries” without sugar in the stores or on line.  I was very pleased to find out how easy it is to make them on your own! I needed cranberries for a broccoli salad I wanted to make and these worked out perfectly!

“Craisins” ~ THM FP



  • Place cranberries in a large bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak in the hot water for 10 minutes. They should “pop” or split open. If you use frozen cranberries they probably will not pop, but you can fix that later.
  • While cranberries are soaking make a simple syrup with the sweetener and 1/4 cup of water. Heat syrup over medium low heat until sweetener is dissolved then remove from heat.
  • Drain the cranberries in a colander, then pour them onto a dishtowel to get rid of as much of the water clinging to them as possible.
  • Combine the cranberries with the simple sugar syrup.
  • Set a rack on a baking sheet and cover it with a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Put the blanched, sweetened cranberries on the covered rack, leaving space between the berries so that air can circulate.
  • As you are setting the cranberries in place, notice if any of the berries did not split during their 10-minute soak in hot water. Pierce those that did not split with the tip of a paring knife before adding them to the covered rack.
  • Turn the oven on to 150 degrees and put the cranberries in the oven 8 to 12 hours.
  • Check the cranberries after 8 hours. They should be fully dry but still somewhat leathery or pliable. If they are not, continue the dehydration process, checking occasionally.
  • Once you think they are dry, turn off the oven and take out the cranberries. Let them cool for 20 to 30 minutes. After the cooling off period, tear one of the berries in half: there should be no visible moisture along the break. (I forgot to take a picture of this step!! Sorry!)
  • Put the dried, cooled cranberries into glass jars, filling the jars about 2/3 full. Shake the jars a couple of times a day for one week. This redistributes the berries as well as any moisture they may still contain. If any condensation shows up on the sides of the jars, your fruit isn’t dried well enough yet and it needs to go back into the dehydrator for a few hours.
  • Once your dried cranberries are conditioned, store them in airtight containers away from direct light or heat.

Do you have your Thanksgiving Menu planned yet? If not go check out My Thanksgiving Picks to find 20 recipes all in one place!

Beverages, Crossover, Dessert, Dinner, Drinks, E, FP, Holiday, Recipe, S, Sauces, Dressings, Sides, Snack, Veggies

My Thanksgiving Picks

Do you know that Thanksgiving is 3 weeks from today! I feel ready and I hope you do too. I have spent the last several weeks gathering and posting recipes here to get ready for the holiday season. Here is what I have gathered.

The first thing on my menu is the turkey of course. I started using a “spatchcock” method for cooking my turkey lately and I highly recommend it! It cooks so much more quickly and evenly. Check out how to Spatchcock a Turkey and get a bonus gravy recipe HERE.


Here are my picks for the best things to have alongside the bird:

Sweet Potato Casserole (Crossover or E)


Bean Casserole(XO)


Green Bean Casserole (E)


The Best Green Beans (S)


Loaded Veggie Casserole (S)


Roasted Veggies (S, E or XO)

ro veg

Stuffing (S)


Cranberry Sauce (FP)


Mashed Cauliflower (S or FP)




Broccoli Salad (S)

And for dessert I suggest the following:

Pumpkin Roll (S)


Coconut Cream Pie (S)


Pecan Pie (S)


Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake (S)


Pumpkin Pie (S)


Tagalong Pie (S)


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (S)

Berry Crisp (S)

Need some beverage suggestions? Here are my favorites:

Cranberry Wassail (FP)


Pumpkin Spice Latte or Creamer (S or FP)


How is your holiday planning going?

Breakfast, Recipe, S, Snack

Recipe Share – Cream Cheese Danish

Remember that retreat I told you about a couple days ago. Well, I told you we ate GREAT food and this is another one of the things I got to try. (I promise, we ate our veggies too!)

These Cream Cheese Danish were spectactular and I can’t thank Martha enough for getting up early and making them for us! I think you will enjoy them thoroughly! Click HERE for the recipe!