Archive for the ‘Holiday baking’ Category

Homemade Food Gifts Recipe Roundup

‘Tis better to give than receive. For cooks getting crafty in the kitchen, this couldn’t be more true. There’s just something about presenting someone with a gift you made yourself that means so much more than buying a gift at the store.

This was the premise behind an article I just wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I made a Homemade Bellini Bar, Cherry Almond Muesli, Peppermint Bark, Beer and Caramel Pretzels, Cowboy Cookie Mix, and Tangerine Curd.

Looking at some of my old recipes during my Blogiversary and Giveaway Post, I decided this would be the perfect topic for a recipe roundup. Here are a few recipes that would make excellent holiday gifts this season:

Eggnog Fudge

Homemade Marshmallows

Homemade Girl Scout Thin Mints


Cookie Dough Truffles

Honey Lollipops

English Toffee

Other Recipe Roundups:

Pumpkin Recipe Roundup

Question: Do you like giving homemade gifts for the holidays? What types of things do you make?

Peanut Butter S’mores Rice Krispie Treats


Today I’m posting now because I skipped the gym (gasp!). I knew it was going to happen because I felt like a bag of bones yesterday after a 5-mile run on Monday night and getting up Tuesday morning at 5:30 for cardio and strength training at my gym (I also managed to pack in two days of lunchtime walking).

To be honest, a good hour-long yoga session sounds like heaven right about now. On Wednesdays, my gym offers a 7 pm class. I’ve never gone at this time before (probably because it’s weird and I don’t know when to eat dinner). Maybe I should break it up and have a snack before and after? Advice!?

Memorial Day Dessert

This weekend we are heading to Brittney’s house to grill out for Memorial Day. Brenton and I are bringing a dessert, side and, of course, some booze. Since I’ve been thinking a ton about recipes, I thought I would share one that would be perfect for a picnic or party. It’s easy-peasy and includes all of my favorite things – like peanut butter, marshmallows, chocolate and rice krispies.

I found the recipe on Avery’s blog and adapted it based on what I had in my own pantry.  love those decadent bar recipes I always see from other bloggers, but I hardly ever take the time to make them (I usually just admire the photos!)

My secret ingredient:

Step 1

Step 2: Add marshmallows

Step 3: bake

Step 4: Add some chocolate chips

Step 5: Add peanut butter rice krispie mixture

The final photo


Question: What are your go-to party desserts or side dishes? I’d love some links for ideas!

Homemade English Toffee

Heath Bars are one of my favorite candies. Although I’ve attempted lollipops and caramels, I’ve never walked into toffee territory until this holiday season.

Since I made this English Toffee two days ago, I cannot stop sneaking pieces every chance I get. It’s like an addiction. Hard, buttery candy with a smooth chocolate topping is underrated.

Ironically, I made toffee as part of our annual holiday treat bags for friends and family members. But they don’t need to worry. This recipe makes 1 3/4 pounds, so there is plenty enough to go around.

Question: What candy would you love to recreate at home?


Holiday Brunch, Italian-Syle

Let’s face it, Christmas is usually about the main course. The prime rib…the ham. Oh, and don’t forget the dessert tray. With so many cookies, fruitcakes and pies, most of us are so busy looking toward the finale that we sometimes overlook the most important meal of the day – breakfast.

I recently made this hearty – and healthy – Italian-syle egg casserole while writing an article for the Journal this week. Although the article is about eating healthfully in the New Year, I thought this dish would be perfect for a holiday breakfast.


Per serving (1/4 of recipe): 297 calories, 30g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 8g fat (2g saturated), 235mg cholesterol, 735mg sodium, 5g fiber.

Question: What’s your favorite thing to eat for a holiday breakfast?

I remember eating cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning when we were little. Sugary carbs and presents make for one happy, little girl.


Perfect for Christmas: Homemade Thin Mints

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t love a good Thin Mint from their local Girl Scouts (or heck, a whole roll :) ). The only problem is that these goodies only come around once a year.

Lucky for you, you can make these babies at home and have surprisingly similar tasting results. I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical. But after having this recipe from Baking Bites stashed in my recipe binder for a few years, I figured I would throw caution to the wind and try them out.

The peppermint in this cookie is also perfect for the holidays. And won’t your loved ones be surprised when you add these to their cookie tray. I was sneaky and made mine a rectangular shape (no one is going to know what hit them).

Question: What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Me? I’m a sucker for Peanut Butter Blossoms with a Hershey’s Kiss.


Happy Anniversary, She’s on the Run!

Although it seems like just yesterday that She’s on the Run came to be, one whole year has gone by (I can’t even believe it).

But when I look at my first post, it reminds me how much has changed.

I’ve moved, switched jobs and have been through more life experiences than I’d care to admit (such as being hit by a tough economy firsthand). I’ve also had my share of good times and discovered a new passion. Take this blog for example. It combines my two great loves: cooking and writing. And it’s great to look back at all my culinary accomplishments this past year (and laugh at the ones that haven’t gone so well).

To celebrate, I’m compiling my favorite recipes.

Cookie Dough Truffles
For those of you who make chocolate chip cookies just to sneak bits of the dough, these tiny treats are for you.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

The most delicious way to cook with butternut squash.

Taffy Apple Salad
I’ve easily made this salad a dozen times (including a tasty batch last week). The combination of apples, pineapple and marshmallows puts me over the moon.

Potato Carrot Zucchini Pancakes
A unique twist on traditional potato pancakes.

Tater Tot Casserole

This may not be the best looking dish of the bunch, but it’s definitely the most comforting.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
Shaped like a muffin but with the flavor of a doughnut…make these for a truly special breakfast.

Rhubarb Crisp
My preferred way to use up Summer’s fresh rhubarb.

Gnocchi with White Beans
This dish is easy and impressive – definitely worthy of serving to company.

My Birthday Cake
So what if I didn’t exactly make this? The carrot cake from Simma’s is the best I’ve ever had. in. my. life.

Happy Birthday, She’s on the Run! Here’s to many more!


Lessons Learned on Freezing Pies

For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to try something new. I had some down time a few weeks before the big day so I made my famous Dutch Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie and froze them.

For the pumpkin, a turned to the Sara Lee box my mom had in her freezer for the baking directions. It turned out perfectly.

To bake a frozen pumpkin pie, take the unbaked pie directly from the freezer to a 425 degree oven (don’t defrost). Bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

The Dutch Apple Pie was a bit trickier (thank goodness I had two because I burnt the first one).

Just like the pumpkin pie, you want to take the apple pie directly from the freezer to the oven. Bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees or until the top is golden brown. Note: Don’t put the pie directly on your oven rack. Place it on a pizza pan or large cookie sheet to catch any drips. Your oven will thank you.

I still have some leftover pumpkin and a pie shell, so I’ll definitely be doing another pumpkin pie this year (who says it’s just for Thanksgiving?) but I really plan on wowing friends and relatives this Christmas with a homemade Fruitcake Trifle (which I spotted in the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens). Now that is going to be a dessert to remember.

Question: What are your favorite Christmas sweets?


Welcome to She's on the Run! I'm Alysha, a copywriter and food writer living in Milwaukee. I live to run, write and explore wonderful food - this blog is how I find balance while constantly being on the run. Feel free to reach me at with any questions or comments.
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