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Practical Presents for Everyone

I tend to like practical gifts for birthdays and holidays.  I like to think that the gifts I give will get used regularly rather than sitting on a shelf somewhere.  Today I wanted to share the practical gifts that are part of my gift giving this year with hope that this list will give you inspiration for those hard to shop for friends and family on your list. This gift list was prepared with suggested products that I own,  have gifted, or I would appreciate receiving as gifts. It is my opinion that everyone would appreciate receiving any of the items on this list. I'm suggesting these gifts for holiday gift giving but these gifts will be appreciated any time of year.

Cran-Apple Muffins for Thanksgiving Breakfast

 When November rolls around I start to give up my obsession with all things pumpkin in favor of the tart flavor of cranberries.  These Cran-Apple Muffins scream fall to me and that makes them perfect to add to your Thanksgiving breakfast menu this year. A Taste of Fall with Cranberry-Apple Muffins This delicious cranberry-apple muffin will be perfect for your breakfast table. The combination of sweet and tart is a perfect way to wake up your senses in the morning.  A basket of these freshly baked muffins on your Thanksgiving breakfast table will be perfect with steaming hot coffee, a cup of tea, or warm apple cider.

Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake has become a favorite at my house.  Over the years I have worked on refining my favorite red velvet cake recipe to find just the right balance of moistness and crumb with the perfect marriage of cocoa and red food coloring.  I think this red velvet cake recipe does just that, and just in time for holiday baking. The Best Red Velvet Cake Recipe This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you shop through one of these links I receive a small compensation that helps support publishing this blog. My Favorite Red Velvet Cake What could be better than a red cake?  Nothing at all.  The red cake makes it special with the taste of chocolate that is sure to please.  It is perfect for many holidays throughout the year.  Christmas, Valentine's Day and all the patriotic holidays are made more festive with a red velvet cake.

Southwest Vegetable Medley

When you want a quick and flavorful vegetable side dish this Southwest Vegetable Medley is the recipe for you.  I made this side dish recently to take to a casual dinner party to accompany pulled pork and grilled shrimp entrees.  This Southwest vegetable recipe works for a party or a weeknight dinner at home. A Versatile Southwest Vegetable Side Dish Colorful Southwest Vegetable Medley The recipe as I have written it makes a tasty side dish. Make this dish your own by adjusting the seasonings to your taste. If you are making this vegetable dish for kids you might want to swap out the Rotel with a can of diced tomatoes and go easy on the Southwest seasoning.

Chorizo Stuffed Dates with Tomato-Pepper Sauce

Small plates, or tapas, are fun for entertaining. Tapas is more a way of eating than a way of cooking.  In Spain tapas are commonly served to bridge the time between lunch and dinner when friends gather for a drink after work. The word generally refers to the selection of bar foods offered.  In the United States, tapas menus have become popular in restaurants and bars offering patrons a selection of small plates.  You can serve tapas at home. A Favorite Tapas Dish-Chorizo Stuffed Dates Chorizo Stuffed Dates with Red Pepper Sauce Tapas: noun, small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. Tapas is derived from the Spanish verb "tapar" which means "to cover".  You can make your own tapas at home by putting together a selection of simple, flavorful appetizers.  Include these sweet, yet savory, stuffed Medjool dates with a zesty tomato-red pepper sauce as a tasty mouthful to accompany a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail.

Preparing for Holiday Baking

Have you started thinking about your holiday baking yet?  You'll want to start getting organized well ahead of the holidays.  Today I'm sharing tips to get you give you a head start, beginning with your pantry essentials and four favorite recipes that can be made ahead and frozen. Holiday Baking Essentials This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  I receive compensation when you purchase using these links. Let's begin with the items that are baking staples in my pantry.  By staples I mean these are my go-to items.  We're not talking gourmet items here.  These are the products I don't want to be without.  When my pantry is stocked with my staples I find I am ready to cook a meal or bake a dessert without having to run to the store for ingredients. Today's focus is on the holiday baking essentials in my pantry.  You can  get my free checlist of Holiday Baking Essentials  by clicking on the link.  Take it along with you to the groce

Fall Floor Cleaning Tips

Today I am in the midst of some heavy duty cleaning.  We are getting ready to put our vacation home in Florida on the market and I am getting it ready for the online pictures to be taken and the subsequent showings.  While working up a sweat cleaning the floors, I thought I needed to share some of my cleaning tips for making this big cleaning job easier. How to Clean Your Floors Quickly and Easily This post contains affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  When you shop using these links I receive a small compensation that helps support publishing this blog. Floor Washing Made Easy This is the perfect time to get your heavy cleaning done in preparation for the holidays.  I like to do one deep cleaning now so I can spend my time on the fun things about holidays, like baking and decorating.  If you are like me, you dread cleaning.  That's why I have spent time figuring out how to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible.