Theresa's Mixed Nuts

Friday, December 9, 2016

Santa Wants Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Cookies This Year!

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

Tis' the season for baking cookies, and we definitely do our fair share this time of year. I usually stick with the same 4 cookie recipes for gift giving, but am thinking about shaking things up this year and trying something new. My father-in-law always plays Santa for the little kids each year, and my oatmeal raisin cookies are his favorite, so we usually leave those out for Santa every Christmas Eve

I was looking to use up some of my oatmeal, and found this Oatmeal Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Cookie recipe over at Golden Blossom Honey. Now Santa (my fil) also loves chocolate chip cookies, so stumbling on a recipe that combines two scrumptious cookies packed into one recipe sounded like something that was definitely going to make Santa's belly shake like a bowl full of jelly. He may be generous at giving gifts, but I bet not one of these cookies gets shared. He'll keep them all to himself. Hey, Santa deserves to have a special treat that's just for him, right?

These cookies didn't spread like other cookies do when they are in the oven. I used a cookie scoop to put the batter onto the cookie sheet, and they baked more like a cookie ball. I thought that was pretty fun since they seem more like cookie bites instead of flat cookies. They're the perfect size to use as fillers in your cookie exchange boxes too!

1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked oats, not instant
1/2 cup dried cranberries, found in dried fruit section of supermarket
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


You can find this recipe, as well as many more delicious recipes right on the Golden Blossom Honey recipe page! Be sure to follow Golden Blossom Honey on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions.

If you like this recipe, be sure to come back every Friday, where I feature a new recipe from Golden Blossom Honey!

What flavor of cookies will you be serving to Santa this year?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

5 Ways Teens Can Give Back This Holiday Season #WhatMonthlyPain

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

I think Audrey Hepburn said it best when she said, "As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others." We've been blessed to be able to provide our girls with a comfortable life, but in doing so, we also instill the importance of giving back to the community and to the less fortunate. While we find little ways to volunteer throughout the year, it's during the holidays that we can really shine when it comes to doing good for others. Mariah was gung-ho on making sure we were penciled in for some of our favorite charities, getting us registered on the day holiday volunteering signups opened. It has been a really busy month for us, but so rewarding. We have a lot of commitments this time of year, so we can't be slowed down when Aunt Flo makes her monthly visit. Cramps, headache, and back pain? Ain't nobody got time for that! That's why I keep Advil® Menstrual Pain on hand, so we can say, "What monthly pain?" and keep on truckin' all month long. When you have a teen daughter, those monthly visits can be unpredictable. Mood swings, irritability, bloating and cramping. We nip those issues in the bud as soon as those ugly symptoms start to appear. When you feel good, you want to do good, and I've compiled a list of our favorite ways to give back during the holidays. If your teen is looking for fun ways to volunteer this holiday season but isn't sure what they can do, check out these 5 awesome suggestions!

1. Find your local Angel Tree and volunteer to help people sign up to adopt a child for holiday gift giving. We have several in our area through the local churches, schools, and The Salvation Army. Better yet, adopt a child to buy holiday gifts for. We pick 2 each year, and it is so fun to go shopping for their gifts, imagining how excited they are going to be tearing into their goodies on Christmas morning.

2. Walk the neighborhood and collect canned and boxed goods to fill the local food pantry. In just 2 short hours, Mariah was able to collect enough to fill the backseat of the car!

3. Get involved in your town's holiday festivities. See if they can help with the parade, volunteer as one of Santa's elves, or pass out cookies to the kids waiting in line to see Santa.

4. Give blood. Mariah is involved in coordinating blood drives through her school, and through those drives, their high school is considered the largest supporter of our local blood bank. Teens do have to be at least 17 to donate, but can be as young as 16 with parental consent in some areas. What better way is there than to help someone with a medical need?

5. Make some homemade baked goods and take them to neighbors. It's a great way to brighten their day! 

Here's the holiday Peppermint & Chocolate Cupcake recipe that we whipped up for our neighbors this year:

yield: 24 cupcakesprint recipe

Peppermint & Chocolate Cupcakes

adapted from Paula Dean


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 32oz powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


For the cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place paper muffin cups into cavities of 2 muffin tins. Lightly grease each paper cup with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, gradually alternating with the milk, beating until just combined. Stir in sour cream.
  4. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cook in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and allow cupcakes to completely cook on wire racks. Pipe on Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.
For the frosting
  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer, until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Ice cupcakes as desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I feel very proud that my daughter has such a generous spirit and gets excited to give back to the community. Making others feel good makes us feel good, and I don't want Mariah to be held back from participating in the community service activities that she loves because of menstrual pain. So, I advise her to use Advil® Menstrual Pain to help alleviate menstrual cramping, headaches and back pain for up to 6 hours. Not only do I recommend it because it is the #1 doctor recommended brand for menstrual relief, I like that it is Caffeine Free, Antihistamine-Free, and easy for her to swallow*.

*Use as directed
Since Mariah will be off to college next fall, I made sure she knows that Advil® Menstrual Relief is located at Walmart in the pain relief aisle with the other menstrual products so she'll be able to keep them on hand when mom's not around to take care of her anymore. That way, she can continue on with her community service efforts while thinking, "What Monthly Pain?"

To learn more, be sure to check out the Advil® website for additional information and promotional offers.

How are your teens giving back this holiday season?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Mom's Secret Holiday Banana Pudding #ShareTheHoliday

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareTheHoliday #CollectiveBias

Do you have any recipes that are staples in your holiday traditions? My mom and I were discussing this the other day, and for me, it's chocolate chip cookies. They are my most requested cookie for Christmas, and I've made them so much, I no longer need to look up the ingredients. I know it all by heart. For mom, it's her banana pudding. When we think of our holiday meal at mom's, banana pudding is one of the first things that comes to mind. She makes a batch for Christmas dinner each year, plus makes additional to send home with Jason and my sister because it is just such a beloved dessert.  

When you host holiday dinners, you know that there's usually leftovers. Moms always want to send their kids home with full bellies plus pack away some of the leftovers for the kids to enjoy later. I think my mom quickly learned that packing the leftovers and her gift of additional banana pudding in her every day dishware was a bad idea. When you're sending your good dishes out the door with 4 different kids, chances are, you aren't going to see those dishes again for a really long time, if ever. Her solution was to stock up on Rubbermaid TakeAlongs

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs

I honestly can't remember a Christmas that Rubbermaid hasn't been included in our festivities. I always use the rectangular food storage containers to securely house my cookies and cupcakes, and mom always chooses the round ones for her banana pudding gifts. Every time I picture mom's banana pudding, I always imagine it in colorful Rubbermaid TakeAlongs topped with a holiday bow.

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs

Rubbermaid TakeAlongs are the perfect vessel for holiday food storage and gift giving because the Quik Clik Seal™ keeps food secure and prevents spills. The soft lid grips the container tightly for a great seal, but also has a large tab that makes for easy opening. Additionally, the containers are microwavable, plus top rack dishwasher and freezer safe, making them no fuss, no muss. And, since they are so inexpensive, mom doesn't have to worry about not getting them back. I'm pretty sure my siblings have a nice collection of Rubbermaid TakeAlongs in their kitchens, courtesy of mom's cooking.

It's funny, my mom has shared every one of her recipes with me over the years, but I think it's been kind of an unspoken rule to not ask for the pudding recipe, because making that each year is just her thing. But, this weekend I did the unthinkable and did just that. I firmly believe that if I weren't mom's favorite child (we all think we are, right?) she probably wouldn't have handed it over. But, she did, and now my holiday gift to you is her secret banana pudding recipe. 

Homemade Banana Pudding

Don't EVER insult mom by asking if she makes her pudding with a box mix. Nope. It's all from scratch. You start with a base layer of vanilla wafer cookies in your Rubbermaid TakeAlongs. Top those with some banana slices. Next, add on the homemade pudding. Repeat with one additional layer. Then, you want to make it look presentable for gifting, so you top the last layer with some crushed wafers, add on a few full sized wafers and banana slices. Place the lid on the container, top with a holiday bow, and you are all set. 

print recipe

Mom's Secret Banana Pudding


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5-6 bananas, sliced (not overripe)
  • 1 box vanilla wafer cookies


  1. In a medium sized bowl, with an electric or stand up mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the milk, egg, egg yolks, flour and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla.
  2. Layer the bottom of a Rubbermaid TakeAlongs container with vanilla wafer cookies. Top with sliced bananas, then with a layer of the pudding mixture. Repeat these layers one more time.
  3. Chill banana pudding in the refrigerator. Will keep in a refrigerated, airtight container for 5 days.
Created using The Recipes Generator
Rubbermaid TakeAlongs are available in limited edition red, green and prints for the holiday season. You can find them in stores from 10/29-12/24. I found mine on the end cap of the food storage aisle at my local Walmart.

Be sure to check out to see how others are using Rubbermaid TakeAlongs for their holiday meals and snacks. Also, get inspiration on how to dress up them up with ribbons and bows for gifting to your family and friends this Christmas. 

What are the staples in your holiday meals each year? Do you like to give or receive food gifts at Christmas?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Spice Up the Holiday Table with Curried Vegetable Dip

Disclosure- I received the mentioned product courtesy of the sponsor for the purpose of this review. All opinions are genuine, based on my experience with the product, and have not been influenced by promotional items.

After all that Thanksgiving eating, I almost cringe at how many more gatherings we'll be going to over the next month that will all be serving food. There are so many sweet and savory dishes shoved in our faces at every turn, I really welcome seeing a fruit and vegetable platter on the food table this time of year. While I can munch on raw veggies all day, sometimes it's nice to have a yummy dip to spice things up a bit. I've been using this Curried Vegetable Dip from Golden Blossom Honey for the past few weeks because it gives a nice kick of flavor to almost every veggie, and because it's really easy to whip up in no time at all. I'm guilty of rushing through holiday prep, sometimes I forget the little things like picking up dip from the grocers before our gatherings. I love this recipe because the ingredients are from kitchen staples, so even if I forget the dip, I can quickly make my own and nobody needs to ever know about my goof.

Curried Vegetable Dip

Not only can this recipe used for a dip, it can also double for salad dressing as well. It is sweet and tangy on the taste buds, almost reminding me of a light French dressing. 

2 cups mayonnaise, regular or lite
3 tablespoons catsup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup scallions, finely chopped

fresh baby carrots, celery sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, crackers


Curried Vegetable Dip

You can find this recipe, as well as many more delicious recipes right on the Golden Blossom Honey recipe page! Be sure to follow Golden Blossom Honey on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new products and promotions.

If you like this recipe, be sure to come back every Friday, where I feature a new recipe from Golden Blossom Honey!

Do you tend to over indulge on the holiday goodies this time of year?


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Christmas Story House is a Must Visit for Movie Fans!

Most people know that A Christmas Story is one of my most favorite holiday movies of all time. I've dragged my family to Hammond, Indiana several times just to look at the window displays and get a family photo on top of Santa's Mountain (you can read about that here and here). So, you can imagine how bad I've been wanting to visit the actual A Christmas Story house that's located in Cleveland, Ohio. It's just a short drive (about 45 minutes) from Cedar Point, and since we go to that amusement park almost every summer, I've been royally pissed off at Jason every year since he's refused to take out additional time for the drive so I could get my visit in. Royally. Pissed!

When we started making our Canadian vacation plans, I put my foot down and insisted that since we would be going through Ohio on our drive, we were stopping at the house. No if. No ands. No buts. It was happening!

My mom went last year on a weekend and said that it was packed. The streets were jammed with cars lining both sides of the road, making it very difficult to drive down. We went on a Tuesday, arriving at about 9am, and we were the first people there. I was thrilled since it made for some great photo opps without extra people in the background. I would recommend a week day visit when school is still in session unless you like dealing with crowds. (Warning- this is a photo heavy post!)

A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story House Leg Lamp
A Christmas Story HouseA Christmas Story House

The house doesn't open for tours until 10am, and you do have to go across the street to the gift shop to purchase entrance tickets. I believe the price was $10 for adults and $8 for children. You'll end up touring in small groups. There were about 30 people in ours, so it didn't feel too crowded in the house.

Once inside, the tour guide will give you a brief update on the history of the house, as well as some fun movie facts. Afterwards, you are free to roam around on your own for about 20 minutes. 

Since everyone was milling around downstairs trying to get snaps next to that iconic leg lamp, we started from the upstairs and worked our way back down. Our first stop was the bathroom where we thought it would be fun to recreate that famous soap scene and I tried my hand at the decoder ring. 

A Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story House

When Ralphie said the Queen Mother of All Dirty Words and blamed Schwarz in the movie, you could hear his mother screaming on the other end of the phone. If you pick up the phone in the hallway at the house, you can her Schwarz's mom screaming at him about saying that "oh, fudge" word.

Allison had a grand time in the boy's room, lounging around on the beds. 

Next, we explored the kitchen, where the table was getting ready to be set for the neighbor's dogs to come steal the Thanksgiving turkey.

Of course, the living room is probably the most popular room in the house. You'll see a replicas of the famous movie props, which you can touch and take photos with.

A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story House
 A Christmas Story House

Mariah loved having her photo taken with the Red Ryder B.B. Gun! Thankfully, she didn't shoot her eye out ;)

A Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story House

All of the props in the house are replicas, but across the street in the museum (included in admission price) you can find some of the actual props from the movie set. Here you'll find one of the 6 Red Ryder guns that was actually used in the movie, as well as a piece of the blackboard where Ralphie daydreams about getting an A+++++++ on his school assignment. 

A Christmas Story House

Between the museum and the gift shop, you can see the dad's car and the firetruck that were used in the movie.

What made the trip even more special for me, was we realized that we would be driving right by the schoolhouse with the famous flagpole scene on our way to Toronto. The school is located in Canada and has since been turned into a women's shelter, so it was closed off to visitors, but I did stop outside to grab a quick photo.

For any fan of A Christmas Story, I highly recommend making a trip to Cleveland for a tour of the house! It's worth the drive. I promise!

Do you watch A Christmas Story each year? What's your favorite holiday movie?

Happy Holidays to You Giveaway!

Shopping for others for the holidays is fun, but isn't it also fun to pick up a little something special for yourself as well? Let's not be liars, we all know that it is. I think it's rare that we treat ourselves, especially during this time of the year, but I ended up splurging on myself last week and bought a few new sweaters for winter. Of course, I felt a little guilty afterwards, but you know what? We all deserve something nice for ourselves every once in a while. I'm in a giving spirit right now, and want gift one of my readers with a $20 Amazon gift card. I only ask that you try to buy something nice for yourself for the holidays. Go hog wild (well, as much as you can with $20). Get yourself that new bestseller, some cozy slippers, or spend it all on chocolate. I won't judge ;)

graphics used from misskatecuttables

The giveaway is open to all, 13+, and will run through 12/14/16. Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is selected. Please enter on the giveaway widget below. Good Luck!

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