Berry Parfaits

I love Parfaits. I like to pretty them up for the children, to turn them into special treats.

  • I put them into sundae cups for a nice treat. Or I use decorative bowls.
  • I have real tea-spoons with long handles that I place in the cups.

Berries are healthy and should be a part of everyone’s diet, with the possible exception of babies. My daughters and the daycare children love these, as do I.

  • Use any type of berries you like, and or combination of berries.
  • Use coconut cream, flavoring it if you’d like with pure vanilla or mint extract.
  • Add toppings such as fresh cherries or dried fruit, if desired.
  • Add seeds or nuts to the top.

All you do is:

  • Put a tablespoon of cream in the bottom of the cup.
  • Layer coconut yogurt and berries until you get to the top.
  • Add your choice of topping(s).

These parfaits are great for:

  • Daycare children to make.
  • Hot summer days.
  • Party treats.

They make great:

  • Snacks.
  • Breakfast ideas.
  • Desserts.

Enjoy!

Shannon

P.S. If you have any parfait ideas that you’d care to share, please post them in the comments. Thank you.

Shannon

 

Fruit Parfaits

I love Parfaits. I put them into the sundae cups for a nice treat. I have real tea spoons with long handles that I place in the cups to add just a little fanciness to this treat.

Ingredients

any type of fruit that you like, and you can mix and match them

coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla, citrus, or mint extract

toppings such as cherries, crushed almond slivers, or unsweetened coconut cream.

  1. Put a tablespoon of cream in the bottom of the cup.
  2. Layer the cream and fruit until you get to the top.
  3. Add your choice of topping(s).

Tips

  • These parfaits are great for daycare children to make, though adults may need to cut (or supervise the cutting of) the fruits.
  • They are refreshing on a hot summer day.
  • And they make great party treats.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve at breakfast with an egg scramble.
  • Serve for a dessert or snack.
  • Serve as a side with lunch or dinner.

Enjoy!

Shannon

P.S. If you have any other parfait ideas that you would care to share, please post them in the comments section. Thank you.

Teas, Goodies, Containers & a Mug

Check out the cool new mug the bestest gave me for Christmas. I just love it! She and my sister restocked my dwindling tea supplies. Always a plus. I love to have lots of different teas to choose from.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 29, 2016Most of the teas stay at home, where I have a couple of plastic canisters to put them into. These sit in the pantry, out of sight. But I do keep a few teas out so I can easily grab them when I want a cup.

As you can see, there’s quite the variety. Chai tea, vanilla, green, acai berry, and more were given to me by Missy, and Sheila gave me my much-loved chamomile tea that I drink in the evenings when I want to relax.

I’ve already sampled the Chamomile, vanilla, and chai teas. Yum! The big mug the bestest gave me is perfect for these teas, and I got a kick out of the saying. “I was dropped as a baby, in to a pool of awesomeness and glitter.” I sure am glad she recognizes my awesomeness, lol.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 29, 2016I also bring teas to work. The tea there gives me heartburn, so I like to have plenty of my own on hand.

Earl gray, English breakfast, and green teas are what I have there now. They are all good teas that have pleasing flavors.

I try to be sure I’m always stocked on teas for work, and have a little box I keep them in. This way they are always handy. I generally only drink tea and water while working. Occasionally a hot cocoa.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 29, 2016A Baptist congregation uses the meeting room at our hotel for services a couple of days a week. They invited a coworker and I down for Christmas dinner. We were the only two working on Christmas, and it was nice to have a home cooked meal.

They also gave each of the employees a gift. Homemade cookies, candies, and a $10.00 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.

Church is good to us, for sure. And they are such kind people. I joked with them that maybe next year I’d have Christmas day off and be able sit and eat the meal with them rather than filling a plate and heading back to the desk. I always work Christmas.

The bestest also gave me these containers from Mainstays. They are BPA free. The salad cup comes with a littlePhotograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright December 29, 2016 container for dressing. I don’t eat dressing, but I’ll use that cup to hold whatever seeds I want to add to my salads. It also has an attached fork for convenience. This weekend, the cup is holding fresh vegetables that have been cut.

The noodle bowl has a cover that snaps on. The cover has a vent for microwaving. This bowl will actually hold any number of different meals, so I’ll use it quite often.

There’s also a yogurt cup that is two cups in one. Yogurt can go in one, toppings in the other. I don’t eat regular yogurt, but maybe I’ll try a non-dairy yogurt to see what I think. I’m sure I can find plenty of other foods that will go in the cups as well.

They all seem to be sturdy products. I think I’ll see what else the brand has to offer.

I’m so pleased with my Yule and Christmas gifts. I hope you all enjoyed your holidays as much as I enjoyed mine.

Shannon

Gifts Made With Love

Last year the bestest, Missy, and I started a new tradition. As long as we live close enough to do so, we will have a baking day for the holidays. This year we had our day on the 13th, in the midst of a busy season, busy times at work, and her moving. Carving out time to hang out is not always easy, but we have seen each other often as of late, to pack up her place.

We discussed how, next year, we would have more work space available for us to use at her new place. Lots more counter space! We also discussed the possibility of me moving away to be near my daughter and her family at some point in the future, and I told her we’d get her set up with a laptop beforehand so we could have a baking day, and do a video chat the whole time so we could still talk and enjoy each others company.

Technology continues to amaze me.

I know these are not healthy treats, but I do believe it is okay to have sweets once in a while – especially at the holidays, as long as we do not go overboard. As a matter-of-fact, I didn’t do near as much testing of the treats this year as I would have a few years back. Pretty proud of myself 🙂

This year, the bestest and I made six items:

  • I helped her with chocolate dipped pretzels, and some dipped in butterscotch.
  • She made homemade banana breads and butterscotch noodle cookies. (Yum!)
  • I made chocolate no-bakes, Reese’s bars, and chocolate chip brownies.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015Now, it takes time to do all of this, but it’s worth it. I planned an entire day at her place for this get-together. We did our grocery shopping first, and for lunch she made us rice and chicken. I also had apple slices. Dinner was bought on the run, at McD’s on the way home. Bad, I know! But quick.

Both of us contribute to the container choices, and this year I brought along a few bags and boxes to throwPhotograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 into the bunch. These items, for my part anyway, are usually purchased at discount prices or at thrift stores. Any way I can get them frugally! I don’t have much extra money at the holidays, so I look throughout the year for items that will help to make presents more fun to put together and give.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015The bestest and I do make quite the mess when baking, lol. Who doesn’t, right? And we maybe didn’t have all that we needed for utensils and such on this baking day because we had packed much of her kitchen stuff away in preparation for her move. We did have to improvise just a little, but it all worked out well.

We like to package our homemade treat gifts nicely for the people on our lists. I was putting together a gift Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015for the people I work with, plus gifts for each of three friends. I set up all four of the gift boxes I was going to need when I was ready to start filling them. The bestest did the same for her recipients. Plus, we both did gift boxes for friends we share.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015We had a great deal of fun during our baking day, listening to Pandora and chatting about all manner of things, including our blessings. And, toward the end of our day, we began packing all those delightful treats into their chosen boxes, bags, and tins.

The next day I brought the treat box I had made up for work, and a gallon size baggie filled with the leftover no-bakes, to work for the Christmas party. I did not attend the party, as I was working, but I did go down and grab a plate of food for my lunch 🙂 The people at work love treats!

Yesterday, my friend Jose stopped in and I gave him his box filled with treats, and a card. It didn’t take him long after he got home to eat those Reese’s bars! I wonder if he even waited until he got home. My friend Bob will be stopping in for his treat box and card as well.

And today I put together treat gifts for a few other people. Much of the packaging was left over from earlier years, so they didn’t cost me anything this time around. I did buy a set of plastic snowman cups for a dollar, a set of felt holiday bags for about $5.50 and a set of burlap bags for about $6.50, including shipping costs. $2.00 was spent on mini Reese’s bars, and $2.00 on Hershey’s Kisses because they are favorites. I paid $2.00 for 2 packages of gold coins because they reminded me of childhood, and about $2.00 for all the rest of the candy. Plus $8.00 for hot cocoa simply because it was something different. I also spent .25 each on three packages of holiday pins and .49 on 1 package of pencils. $29.24 plus tax, and I have a lot of packaging items left over for another year. Many of these items were bought during my November trip up north to visit my daughter Skye.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015The hot cocoa did set me over my limit, but what a cute idea! There were eight boxes in the package, at $1.00 each. I couldn’t resist. Everyone likes a hot cocoa on a cold winter evening, and children enjoy some after hours of building snowmen and snow forts. Well worth the cost, in my opinion.

The chocolate bar packs came with little coloring cards of Frosty and Santa. Young Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015children will enjoy coloring them on a stormy day, when school is cancelled and they cannot be outside.

Holiday bowls filled with these cards and some goodies make a nice little gift, as do mini stockings filled with treats and a pencil sporting a snowman eraser.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

Fill the bottom of a burlap bag with small candies, and top it off with a pencil, a chocolate bar, chocolate marshmallow treats, and some gold coins.

Add a little flair by attaching a couple of pins to the bag.

A bit larger felt bag can be filled with a hot cocoa box, adding a pencil and some chocolate marshmallowPhotograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 treats, coloring cards, and a treat bag filled with small candies.

See the cellophane bag to the side? It is filled with the same little candies as the bag placed in the larger felt bag, and tied with a red ribbon so the candies do not fall out.

I love that the felt bags have handles, by the way. Makes for easier carrying when you have multiple gifts to deliver.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

This picture shows the same treat-filled cellophane bag placed inside a plastic snowman cup. A quick and easy last minute gift, when needed. There is always something that you are invited to last minute, or someone who decided to bring an extra child along to an event.

It’s also a nice touch to give gifts in food boxes or tins. They can be packed full with any number of treats,Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015 and are large enough to also hold one of the cocoa boxes and a pencil.

They’re good for store-bought treats, or even homemade goodies. Whatever you decide to put together. A good hostess gift would be one filled with homemade cookies, brownies, or fudge, or a combination of the three.

There are so many ways to package food gifts, and many ways to save money doing so.

Challenge: Beginning with the after Christmas sales, begin collecting different types of food containers, wraps, bags, ribbons, bows, tags, and other packaging needs. Also, look for small items you can add to food gifts for the children on your list. Keep receipts, and note the regular price of each item. Also, learn now how to research regular prices for items, so you can also utilize thrift stores, yard sales, and flea markets, and items you find for free. When you are ready to package your food gift next year, look for deals on food items and figure out how much it costs to make homemade items vs. how much to buy them. Then let us know how much money you saved on these items and gifts. For your own needs, you can see more easily where you can cut corners on food gifts from now on.

If you already have this information due to the fact that this is all normal for you to do each year, please give us some figures and let us know about your experiences in the comments. You may have information that someone with not enough money this year can use. Tips are always welcome. Or feel free to email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I respond to all emails and comments.

P.S. See the bestests’ soup recipe, completely ready for customization: Making Soup with the Bestest, Missy’s Vegetable Soup

P.S.S. See my posts from last year: Food Gifts for Yule and Christmas, Candy-Filled Ornaments or Gift Tags, and Festive Hot Cocoa.

Happy Yule! Merry Christmas! Happy new Year! ❤

Shannon