My Christmas Cookie Swap: a Recap

Christmas comes but once a year, and so does my annual holiday cookie swap, so I like to make it as memorable and fun as possible. It’s my absolute favorite party of the season. I get to connect with friends from all over, sample mountains of cookies of all varieties and sizes while sipping hot spiced apple cider and exceptionally tasty homemade eggnog. What’s not to love?

Last weekend was the Big Event and it was a smashing success! Twelve girls, a few guys, and ten excited children braved a snowstorm and gathered in my home to swap over a thousand homemade cookies. Here’s the recap.

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15 {simple} Gluten-Free Appetizers (guest post on Simple Mom)

Today I’m kicking off the week over at Simple Mom! On the heels of Friday’s post on simple appetizers, I’m sharing over a dozen more ideas for fast, fresh finger food for the holidays. Most of the fifteen suggestions contain just a handful of ingredients and all are gluten-free.

From the post:

“This holiday season, I’m making a conscious effort to avoid serving finger food that includes bread and bread products; instead I’m getting creative with seafood, vegetables, dried fruit, cured meat, cheese, and nuts.”

Head here to read the entire post and be inspired to keep your hors d’oeuvres fresh – while still staying simple.

I’ll meet you in the comments section over at Simple Mom!

Weekend Links Holiday Baking Edition

Enjoy the weekend, everyone, and happy baking!

How to Make Homemade Mincemeat

I wish you could smell my kitchen right now. The aromas wafting out of it rank up there with roasting turkey and fresh baked pannetone. A pot of homemade mincemeat is simmering on the stove and I’m thinking we’ll be nibbling mince tarts before the weekend is over.

Wait, don’t click away! Granted mincemeat is unfamiliar to many and has a reputation to live down (suet? Eww) but the mincemeat I’m talking about is seasonal, bursting with flavor, and downright decadent. My version of this British holiday favorite is full of cranberries, apples, fresh ground spices, spiked with a splash of liquor and sweetened with maple syrup.

Mincemeat is most often used in recipes such as mince pies, a favorite of Jamie Oliver’s, or Nigella Lawson’s Star-topped mince tarts. I’ve also enjoyed it in shortbread bars, and this Christmas, plan to create a mincemeat slab pie of sorts.

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Weekend Giveaway: High Plains Bison

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Sarah, who said:

“I have always wanted to try bison… this sounds wonderful.”

Sarah, you have been notified via email. A big thank you to all who entered our giveaway.
Today’s weekend giveaway is from High Plains Bison, a purveyor of premium American bison products. Yep, that’s right! A Simple Bites reader is going to win some brown paper packages tied up with with string – and full of high flavor and low-fat bison steaks, sausage and Filet Mignon.

I’ve eaten a wide variety of red meats in my 32 years -moose, elk, venison, emu-and bison ranks up there with quality cuts of beef. Bison boasts a bigger, richer flavor than your usual meats, and it is much healthier by far.

How so?

  • Bison is naturally lean and lower in saturated fat than beef, chicken, pork, or even salmon.
  • Low in cholesterol, low in sodium, a great source of iron and contains a healthy dose of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • The dense proportion of protein, fat, mineral and fatty acids to caloric value make bison one of the more nutrient-dense meats available today.

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