Holiday Favorites

The Best No-Bake Fudge


Cooks Country is a new magazine we decided to pick up at the grocery store last week. We liked it because it’s an oversized magazine. The images for the recipes are huge and lets be honest, the photos are the best part! We found an amazing fudge recipe and made it not once, but twice! WE plan to make it one more time since it’s so easy and extremely tasty.


  • 3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 12 tbsp unsalte butter, cut into 12 pieces
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (we used Artisan Kettle bars, and you dont even need to chop, they have perforations so you can just break them)
  • 5oz large marshmallows, this is 21 marshmallows to be exact


  1. Line an 8″ baking pan with foil, or use a disposable foil pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and salt in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir frequently. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer. Bring mixture to 234 degrees, takes about 5 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and remove your pot from the burner. Add chocolate and marshmallows. Whisk until fully smooth and melted, about 2 min.
  4. Transfer the mixture to your pan. Let cool on the counter for 2 hours. Transfer to fridge for 2 hours.
  5. When the fuge is firm, you may brin it out, and cut into 1″ squares.

If you’d like to add toppings, candy canes, pretzel, caramel are some of our favorites. We love fudge! Hope this adds a little easy sweetness to your holiday!



Holiday Favorites

Berry Good Chocolate Cake

The LAST issue of Cooking Light Magazine has this lovely cake recipe as it’s cover + feature for December. I’m so sad to see this magazine come to a close. This has been a staple in our home for many years. However, like with many things that have happened this year, when one door closes, another one opens.

I’m excited to see Cooking Light Magazine’s sister, Eating Well Magazine. Eating Well will continue to have some of the features of Cooking Light Magazine. Cooking Light will continue as an online pub, much like the rest of the industry.

Bitter Sweet.

As a jornalism major in college, print was my all-time favorite. Although my AP stylebook is quite dusty now, and my writing here on this blog is half an effort, I will miss holding this magazine, watching the pages become littered with notes, post-its and drops and drippings from recipes we’re trying. I’ve saved almost all of our Cooking Light Magazines and resort beack to them when in I’m in a rut. Thanks Cooking Light, you’ll be missed!

The cake recipe! Here it is! I’m giving you the cheat method because if you’re making this for tomorrow, you do not have time to make the full-on homemade chocolate cake that goes along with it.


  • Chocolate cake box mix (betty crocker is safe, we used the Devils Food flavor)
  • Glaze
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (Vermont Nut Free or Nestle)
    • 1 oz semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
    • dash of table salt
  • Yogurt Cream
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup plain 2% greek yogurt
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fruit Topping
    • 1 cup fresh blackberries
    • 1 6oz container raspberries
    • 1 cup strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray two 8″ cake pans with non-stick spray
  2. Make your box of cake mix according to the package.
  3. Remove and let cool completely before moving on.
  4. Prepare glaze: combine the glaze ingredients in small sauce pan over low, stirring constantly for about 3 min. Cool slightly.
  5. Prepare the yogurt cream: place cream and powdered sugar in large mixing bowl and mix until stiff peaks form. Then add yogurt and vanilla and beat on high until well combined.
  6. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand and top with yogurt cream leaving a 1/2 inch border. top with second cake layer. Carefully pour the glaze over the top, spreading to the edges and dripping down the sides. Arrange berries on top.
  7. Enjoy!

Serves: 16, Calories: 308

Holiday Favorites

Pumpkin Mousse

A few years ago I made a pumpkin mousse instead of a pie for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. Since many of us don’t really care for pie crust, I decided to bring out this old recipe once again. It’s been a while, and if you follow my Instagram, you saw that I royally messed up this super simple recipe! Ended up fixing it and it turned out fine. Here is how to make it.


  • 1 (15oz) pumpkin
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup super fine sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Ginger snap cookies for garnish, or graham crackers
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving


  1. Combine pumpkin, 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar and spice in medium sauce pan.
  2. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes and cool completely.
  3. Whip remaining whipping cream in your mixer with wisk attachment and 1 tbsp powdered sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Whip to form stiff peaks.
  4. Fold whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture.
  5. Pour into individual cups and top with whipped cream or ice cream and ginger snap.
  6. Make sure to let these cool for a few hours in the fridge.
Holiday Favorites

Haricots Verts Casserole

Just a little twist on the classic green bean casserole – a staple at Thanksgiving tables tomorrow.

art birds business card
Photo by Pixabay on


  • 11 x 7 baking dish + non stick spray
  • 12oz haricots verts
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion / shallot
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock / vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp parmesian reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  1. Trim and blanch the haricots verts and place in the baking pan.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium hi heat
  3. Add the 3 cups of mushrooms and the onion or shallots.
  4. Cook until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes, stir occasionally.
  5. Add 1 tbsp flour, cook stirring constantly about 1 min.
  6. Add 1 cup of stock.
  7. Add 2 tbsp heavy cream
  8. Add sprinkle of salt and pepper, generously
  9. Cook and stir until thick and smooth about 1 to 3 min.
  10. sprinkle with 1/4 panko bread crumbs.
  11. Grate fresh parmesan over the top.
  12. Broil 1 to 2 min.
  13. Enjoy

Serving size is 1 cup. Calories: 171



Holiday Favorites

Halloween Party Menu

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate – it can also be one of the trickiest when you have to think about food allergies. This is one of the reasons why we always host a party, we are in control of the menu. This year I have the pleasure of hosting with a good friend of mine, and let me tell you, it’s so much easier having a buddy to plan and prep with!


Here is what we have decided on for food:


  • Taco Dip
  • Veggie Tray
  • Fruit Tray
  • Cheese + Triscuits


  • Macaroni & Cheese Bar
    • Bacon
    • Sausage
    • Chives
    • Salsa
    • Avocado
    • Parmesan Curls
  • Crock pot meats for adults / meatballs
    • Kings Hawaiian (safe) buns + sauce




If you’re having a party and need some allergy friendly snacks, here is a list I foudn on Twitter that was really great – and easy to find.

IF you dont know what your party will be having, be safe and always bring your own food. A subway sub is a good sandwich to bring – or eat in advance. Kids like more play time anway, they could careless about the food.

Follow my Instagram to see the latest local safe brands available. You’ll never guess where I found the candy corn this year! Amazon also carries it.

**Keep in mind if you’re in Madison, Hy-Vee Health Market in Fitchburg has the largest array of nut free items. Metcalfes nut free is on the end cap of the first aisle facing the milk coolers. Copps / Pick n Save / Kroger is usually in the first or second aisle near the specialty foods + gluten free items. Sometimes they put things in the candy aisle, but they are not popular, so check the bottom shelf!**

Happy Fall!