Theresa's Mixed Nuts

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Drive Through the Shipshewana Lights of Joy This Holiday Season

Disclosure: I was provided free entrance to the Shipshewana Lights of Joy complimentary to help facilitate this post.



One of my favorite holiday pastimes has always been loading the family up in the car and driving around looking at the holiday lights. We have one area neighborhood that was always the hot spot to drive through during the holidays because it seemed like many of the residents went over the top on their displays. Sadly, the number of homes participating in the annual holiday displays there seems to have drastically dropped over the years, so unless we hear about a spectacular display or extra festive neighborhood, we've put the holiday light sightseeing on hold for the time being. However, it just so happens that I recently heard about the Shipshewana Lights of Joy Drive-Thru Experience and had the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite holiday activities once again.

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

I'm about an hour away from Shipshewana, Indiana so I went back and forth on if I wanted to make the drive out to cover this event during this busy time of the year, but in the end my husband thought the kids in my family would be highly entertained by the displays, so off we went. Once we arrived in town, we were hit with many buildings dressed up in holiday lights and decor, and once we drove down the road a tad more, I felt like Garfield's John Arbuckle watching the family Christmas tree light up. It was a total "Ooooohhhhhhhh" moment coming up to the Lights of Joy.

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana's Lights of Joy is home to more than 2 million LED Christmas lights displayed in a mile long stretch, winding you through a joyous light experience that will have you "ooohhhing and aaahhhing the whole way through.

Shipshewana Lights of Joy
Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

When you first pull up to the entrance gate, the attendant tells you to tune your radio to a local station that has holiday hits playing non-stop to make the experience more enjoyable. Because honestly, what fun is it to admire all of that twinkling goodness without bumping Christmas tunes along the way?

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

We went on a Friday evening and it wasn't crowded at all. There were only a handful of other cars out enjoying the displays, so we didn't feel rushed. I don't know if it is frowned upon, but I did get out of my car to admire a few of the displays up close for photos. The trails are one way and wide enough to fit two cars, so had anyone needed to pass us, it wouldn't have been an issue. While I loved the drive-thru aspect of this event, especially living in frigid Indiana where you may want to stay in your car, I think this could also be cool as a walk through, just to savor it a little longer. Maybe they'll offer that in the future?

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

 Here's a little sampling of what you can expect of the views as you drive along the Lights of Joy.



We were able to complete the Lights of Joy in about 20 minutes, so if you are coming from out of town, I would highly recommend arriving earlier in the day. Shipshewana is such a charming city, celebrated for its Amish heritage. It's the 3rd largest Amish community in the United States, and you can find many of their beautiful hand-crafted wares in the locally owned businesses around town. It's also home to the Midwest's largest flea market where you can find some pretty fun and unique things to take back home with you. My husband is all about the family-owned businesses and suggests you check out Yoder's Meat & Cheese Co., Inc. Do keep in mind that most businesses are closed there on Sunday, but you can still walk around town enjoying the captivating Christmas displays.

Shipshewana Lights of Joy

The Shipshewana Lights of Joy is open to the public Thursday through Sunday, 6pm-9pm. Admission is $15 per vehicle Sun & Thurs and $20 per vehicle Friday and Saturday. You can visit the event now through December 30, 2018.



Do you also enjoy driving around looking at holiday lights at Christmas?




Monday, December 10, 2018

Quick Creamy Steel Cut Oats

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Please see my policy tab for more information.



Oats. What's not to love about them?  They're nutritious and delicious, and also so versatile. They are great in baked goods, blended into smoothies, or cooked as is and served steaming in a bowl for breakfast. I'm obsessed with steel cut oats lately, and eat a bowl for breakfast at least 5 days per week. They are among the healthiest grains on earth, rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins and are considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat.

My husband thought it was odd that I can eat oatmeal every day for breakfast and not get bored, but because it tastes good with many different mix-ins like a variety of fruits, peanut butter, Nutella, seeds and nuts, or jams and jellies, it feels like a whole new meal with each new add-in. Since I eat so much, I tend to buy the huge bags of Bob's Red Mill Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oats from Costco, but if you don't eat them as often as I do, you can find the smaller bags at your local grocers and on Amazon. I enjoy cooking with steel cut oats because I like my oatmeal firm but creamy, and have finally perfected the best bowl of Creamy Steel Cut Oats.

Creamy Steel Cut Oats

This is my morning comfort meal recipe, especially in the winter. It's warm, filling, and scrumptious. What I really like about this recipe is that it takes less than 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

Creamy Steel Cut Oats

There's no excuse to leave the house without a belly full of nutritious goodness when you have this quick and yummy recipe on hand.
Yield: Serves 4
Steel Cut Oats

Creamy Steel Cut Oats


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup Quick Cooking Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • 1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk (I LOVE using the light, 50 calories per serving variety)
  • 1 banana, mashed 
  • seasonal fruit and berries, nuts, or other mix-ins of your choosing
INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Over medium heat, combine and cook the oats and vanilla almond milk, stirring occasionally. If milk starts to boil and rise, reduce to low and continue cooking until most of the liquid has absorbed into the oats, but do not let it full absorb. There should still be a stream of liquid pooled on top before turning off the burner.
  2. While oats are cooking, mash the banana with a fork. Mix into the cooked oats, transfer into a bowl, then add toppings of choice. Serve immediately.



I normally have a hot cuppa tea with my oats, but on the weekends I'll treat myself to a little sweetness by whipping up a batch of my mama's crock pot triple chocolate hot cocoa served in my favorite Harry Potter mug. That recipe will be coming later this week, so stay tuned!

Harry Potter mug
Harry Potter Mug

And, on the weekends I'll toss on my ultra-cozy Rainbow Sheep sweatshirt, crack open a good book (right now I'm reading Reese Witherspoon's Whisky in a Teacup, and as a southern girl at heart, can't get enough of it), then settle in with my oatmeal for the ultimate winter comfort set-up.

Rainbow Sheep Pride Sweatshirt

If you have it on your New Year's goal to eat a little healthier, dump the sugar-filled cereals and insert this creamy steel cut oatmeal into your morning routine. You won't regret it!


If you liked this recipe, be sure to Pin It on Pinterest!
Steel Cut Oatmeal


 Do you switch up your breakfast routine, or do you stick with tried and true favorites?



Friday, December 7, 2018

No-Bake Fruit Truffles

*Disclosure- I received the mentioned products 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.


It seems like my oven is constantly on this time of year, so when I can find a delicious and festive recipe that doesn't require use of my oven, I am all over it. Some of the best goodies aren't even baked ones, like my mama's no-bake cookies (I have yet to find anyone who makes them as good as she does), or my white chocolate peanut butter balls (seriously, grab the recipe from my sidebar, you won't regret it!) You will always find an assortment of dried fruit in my house because it's great to add to cereals and oatmeal, so when I was browsing Golden Blossom Honey for some quick and easy holiday recipes to make this year, I knew I absolutely had to try these Fruit Truffles

Fruit Truffles

These bite-sized balls may be small, but they are packed with a burst of fruity flavor. Not only are they no-bake, they are so easy to make that the kids can roll and coat them in cocoa and sugars while you work on other holiday recipes. I used dried cherries, cranberries, and currants in this recipe, but you can use pretty much any dried fruit in these that suit your fancy and I think they'll turn out delicious every time. They make a great addition to your cookie boxes, or put them in a small glass loaf pan wrapped with a ribbon for an inexpensive holiday gift for teachers, co-workers or neighbors.

Fruit Truffles

Ingredients
24 vanilla wafers
2 cups mixed dried fruit, (cranberries, cherries, apples) or Fruit Bits found in dried fruit section. You will need 2 (7 ounce) packages to get 2 cups.
1 tablespoon orange zest
4 tablespoons GOLDEN BLOSSOM HONEY
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RECIPE


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's you're favorite no-bake dessert?


 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

My New Holiday Helper: Mealthy HandBlend! #MealthyMoms

*Disclosure- I received the mentioned products 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.


I know we all get excited about the gifts we are going to give and receive this holiday, but if you're like anyone in my family, you might be a little more excited about the holiday food. It doesn't matter what the occasion is, we always center our gatherings around delicious food and beverages, but even more so during the holidays. Some of our best conversations and belly laughs are always around the dining room table, so I look forward to seeing the assortment of home cooked goodies that will be in the family potluck that we'll be making new memories around each year.

Some of you may be experts at it, but I am new to the world of using an immersion blender. I know, weird since the majority of the posts here are recipe related. I recently acquired a Mealthy HandBlend and am now kicking myself for not adding one to my kitchen sooner. 

Mealthy Handblend

The newest member to the Mealthy family, the HandBlend Immersion Blender is the quickest and easiest way to blend, puree, whisk, and chop effortlessly. The Mealthy HandBlend offers a complete immersion blending system that includes a high-quality stainless steel hand blender with sharp blades and is 100% BPA-free, whisk, chopper attachments, and a smoothie cup.

With the Mealthy HandBlend, you can blend soups and stews right in the pot for a smooth consistency every time without worrying about spilling hot soup by transferring it to a blender. Make whipped cream without having to pull out your heavy stand mixer, or whip up a breakfast smoothie without having to bust out the bulky countertop blender. And, because you can make your smoothie right into the smoothie cup, you don't have to worry about washing extra dishes. That makes it a winner in my book right there! There's a top rotary dial button that lets you choose what speed you need, and if you need extra power, there's a Turbo button that you can press for a boost of power and speed. Of, if you want to mix up some salsa for the big game, the extra-room chopper bowl with attachments will quickly have your onions, nuts, garlic, and leafy greens chopped and diced in no time.

I love to play with different appetizers, entrees and side dish recipes, but my specialty is dessert. I usually bring in one tried and true recipe that I know the family loves, but I will also throw in a new one to see if it's a keeper or a trasher. This year the winner was the chocolate truffle pie I made earlier in the fall (you can grab that recipe from my sidebar or in my recipes tab), but with how busy the season is right now, I'm looking to whip up recipes that say elegance but are easily made. We always break out the board games after a holiday meal, then settle in for a few hours of family fun. This is where dessert is usually served, and for Christmas you can't go wrong with eggnog. Eggnog Mousse to be precise. 


Eggnog Mousse
Eggnog Mousse

I originally found this recipe in Taste of Home and it's been a holiday hit for the past few years. The creamy mousse can be served to the whole family, or add a splash of rum, brandy or bourbon before whipping for a more adult dessert.

Yield: Serves 4

Eggnog Mousse

  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups eggnog
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Pour eggnog into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle gelatin over eggnog and let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 
  2. Transfer mixture into a small bowl, then refrigerate until firm. To make sure there aren't any lumps and mousse has a smooth consistency, give it a blast with your immersion blender, then return to the fridge and allow to firm again. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Before serving, garnish with whipped topping and a sprinkling of nutmeg if desired.


Recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home
https://www.theresasmixednuts.com/2018/12/my-new-holiday-helper-mealthy-handblend.html

I like to top this with my homemade honey whipped cream.

Honey Whipped Cream

Simply chill the smoothie cup and immersion blender attachment that comes with the Mealthy HandBlend for 20 minutes. Pour in 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 tsp vanilla, then use the immersion blender in an up and down motion until stiff peaks form. You can also use the whisk attachment for a smoother cream, but I like the stiff cream I get from the immersion blender better because it's more stabilized for pies, cakes, and other dessert toppings.

Mealthy Handblend

Mealthy Handblend

For those who don't like eggnog, it's super simple to blend up a holiday milkshake instead. My go-to for the season is a Peppermint Patty Milkshake.

Peppermint Patty Milkshake

Normally I would hand chop the chocolate coated peppermint candies, but using the chopper bowl proved to be a much more convenient method. Within seconds, I had 3/4 cup of the candies chopped down to size.

Mealthy Handblend


Yield: Serves 4


Peppermint Patty Milkshake

Peppermint Patty Milkshake

 

INGREDIENTS:


  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped Peppermint Patty candies (about 10 miniature candies)

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Unwrap the candies and place them in the Mealthy chopper bowl. Attach the handle to the top of the bowl and pulse the candies until they are pea sized.
  2. Pour the chopped candies, milk and ice cream into the Mealthy Smoothie Cup. Using the immersion blender, blend in an up/down on medium speed setting until the mixture is smooth and creamy (30 - 60 seconds). 
  3. Serve in milkshake glasses rimmed with chocolate and crushed candy canes if desired. Serve immediately.
*pop in 1/3 cup Irish Cream Liquor to make an adult milkshake

https://www.theresasmixednuts.com/2018/12/my-new-holiday-helper-mealthy-handblend.html

You can see how using the Mealthy HandBlend is my new holiday helper, giving me that extra needed time saving boost to make elegant holiday recipes without a lot of effort. I've only scratched the surface on what this beauty can do, but stay tuned as I have more recipe ideas to coming over the next few weeks using an immersion blender. In the meantime, you can check out the Mealthy website for a plethora of recipes using the Mealthy HandBlend and other Mealthy appliances.

And remember, if you enjoyed any of the recipes featured here today, be sure to Pin It on Pinterest!  







WIN IT!

One lucky Theresa's Mixed Nuts reader is going to win a Mealthy HandBlend! The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S., 18+ and ends on 12/21. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is selected. If you win this giveaway on another blog, you are ineligible to win from this one. One entry per person, email, household per day. Please enter on the giveaway widget below.






Entry-Form


What's your go-to recipe for the holidays?


Happy Holidays to You Giveaway!


It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here! I'm pretty excited about the season this year and want to spread a little of the joy to you too. I'm hosting this giveaway where one lucky reader is going to win a $20 Amazon gift card to help make their holiday a little merrier and a little brighter.

The giveaway will run through 12/17 and is open to everyone. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to winning email before a new winner is selected. Please enter on the giveaway widget below. Good luck and happy holidays!




*graphics used in this post from Miss Kate's Cuttables

Friday, November 30, 2018

Holiday Fig Roll ~ Let the Baking Begin!

*Disclosure- I received the mentioned products 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.


I don't know about you, but I am ready to slide into holiday baking season full force. I always feel like there's an extra magical element to baked goodies this time of year, and love being in the kitchen whipping, mixing, and blasting holiday music while the scent of Christmas treats fills the air. Our social calendar is pretty much booked for December, and we all know that I can't arrive at a party or festive dinner empty handed. I usually do chocolate chip cookies because they are universally loved. I mean, who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie? But, sometimes you want to bring something that shows you put a little extra effort into your baked goods, and that's where this Holiday Fig Roll recipe from Golden Blossom Honey comes into play.
 
Holiday Fig Roll

This recipe does require a little planning on your part, since the dough needs to be chilled for at least 8 hours, but trust me, this recipe is sooooo worth it! If you're a fan of Fig Newton cookies, you're going to love this this fig roll. It knocks the Newtons right out of the water. And, if you put some mandarin oranges or a small glass of holiday flowers in the center, it looks exquisite on the holiday table. It's definitely a recipe that will impress.


Ingredients
Dough:
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Filling:
2 cups dried Calimyrna figs, stemmed, found in the bulk section of the supermarket
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup GOLDEN BLOSSOM HONEY
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 egg white, lightly beaten
Glaze:
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange juice

CLICK HERE FOR FULL RECIPE

Holiday Fig Roll

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 are some of the baked goods you're planning to make this holiday season?