Kick off the New Year with Monk Fruit In The Raw Recipes #MC #Sponsored

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Monk Fruit In The Raw. I received a promotional item and product sample as a thank you for participating.

Here is a tasty recipe just in time for the New Year celebrations. This Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruits and Almonds recipe is sweetened with Monk Fruit In The Raw which is a wholesome, zero-calorie sweetener.

Monk Fruit is a vine-ripened fruit native to South East Asia. It can found in packets and Bakers Bags. IF you are looking for a reduced sugar and lower calorie option to kick off the new year this one has wholesome ingredients, taste great, no sugar alcohols and you'll feel good about using this for your family.

Here is one recipe to give Monk Fruit In The Raw a try. Check out this recipe and more, HERE

Chocolate Bark with Dried Fruits and Almonds


1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup Hunza or golden raisins
1/4 cup Thompson raisins
Monk Fruit In The Raw® -sweetened dark chocolate, preferably tempered (see attached)


Tempering Chocolate:  See recipe for tempering chocolate
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. In a bowl, combine the almonds, cranberries, and raisins.
Using a metal or a flexible spatula, spread the Monk Fruit In The Raw™ -sweetened tempered chocolate in a roughly 8-inch x 12-inch x 1/4-inch layer on the prepared baking sheet, smoothing to even it. Sprinkle the dried fruits and nuts evenly over the chocolate. Set the Bark aside until the chocolate sets firmly, 2-3 hours.
Gently lift the bark off the baking sheet, using your fingers to break it into pieces of varying size. Place the pieces of Bark in an airtight container, or a decorative gift box, using wax paper to separate layers.
Chocolate bark can be made with melted chocolate that is not tempered. To harden, chill the bark until the chocolate is firm, and serve it directly from the refrigerator. The chocolate may look cloudy or streaky and will melt quickly in your fingers, but the bark will taste as good as when made using tempered chocolate.
Per serving/1 ounce:
211 calories, 11 g fat 6 g saturated fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 12 mg sodium
Alternate toppings are:
Tropical Bark: 
3 tablespoons cacao nibs, 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded dried coconut, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots, and 1/3 cup chopped dried mango.
Per serving/1 ounce:
223 calories, 13 g fat 8 g saturated fat, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 14 mg sodium
Zen Bark: 
1/4 cup dried white mulberries, 1/4 cup Hunza raisins, 3 tablespoons dried goji berries, 1/4 cup raw cashews, and 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios
Per serving/1 ounce:
226 calories, 12 g fat 6 g saturated fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium
Fig and Nut Bark: 
4 Turkish figs, cut vertically into thin slices, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/3 cup dried cranberries
Per serving/1 ounce:
214 calories, 12 g fat 6 g saturated fat, 25 g carbohydrate, 2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 1 mg cholesterol, 11 mg sodium
To make candy bars, pour the tempered chocolate into plastic molds, then press dried fruits and nuts into the exposed surface of what would normally become the bottom of the bar when it is unmolded.

Menu Plan Monday and National Soup Month

January kicks off National Soup Month and I have a lot of tasty soups to feature this month. So please keep stopping in to get some new recipes to make your family during the cold winter month of January! Does your family like soup? What are some of your favorites to make? If you have one that you would like to share or be featured here, leave the link or a comment below!

This will be a crazy last week of Christmas vacation so I'm not sure how much I will be cooking but I always put together our menu plan. Here are some soups that I know that I have the ingredients on hand and can make at anytime.

Monday -Cajun Chicken Stuffed with Pepperjack Cheese from Vintage Pretties

Tuesday & WednesdayBean & Sausage Soup (crock pot and my kids love this)

ThursdayMiddle Eastern Spicy Lentil Soup (not too spicy!)

Friday- Crock Pot Pizza Soup (crowd favorite)

Saturday- leftovers. I do freeze leftover soup to serve later. Depending on how much we have leftover, I'll freeze enough for one meal or small individual bowls of soup.
I've linked up at OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday.

Join my newsletter to keep up with the new soups in January!


Holiday Brownie Party Pops

Merry Christmas to all of you! Thanks for being readers. I love sharing my love of food, family and fun with all of you. Today is the last day to share my 30 Days of Christmas Goodies. I appreciate all your visits, messages and request. I'm sorry if I didn't get to all of them but will make sure that I add your request in next year.
christmas recipes

If you are looking for a real easy recipe and a skinny version then this is one you can easily whip up for any of your parties from now through the New Year! 

Brownie Recipes

Get the tasty recipe, HERE!

Check below for my list of 30 Days of Christmas Goodies and Cookie Recipes! There is something for everyone!

More Cookie Recipes, Holiday Drinks, and Christmas Goodies
holiday desserts


Join the Alcon #EyeSawGood Campaign and Do Some Good! #MC

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Alcon. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating in the EyeSawGood campaign.

We are always looking for ways to help others. How about you? What good deeds do you like doing with your family? We know that some bake goodies and give away, others ring the Salvation Army bell while others collect can goods for their area food pantry. I'd love to know what you do good for others. I think that we can all inspire each other.

Today I'm so excited to share with you a way you can be good and share some good with others. All you have to do is share a picture of something good on Twitter. Sound easy enough? If you do, Alcon will donate $1 with a total of up to $50,000 for children in need of eye glasses and eye exams! This doing good task will give more that 1,000 eye exams and glasses to children in need! 

Since Christmas is just right around the corner, I'm sharing this photo!


Want to learn more about the #EyeSawGood campaign? Check out Alcon and then use the hashtag to share good on twitter. 


White Christmas Bark

Years ago I came up with this easy christmas bark recipe for one of our very first Christmas open house events. Ever since then it gets made yearly the same way every time. This is rare for me to have a recipe that I make the same every time. It is an old standby that everyone loves. We even wrap it up and give it away for Christmas gifts.
almond bark recipes
Click over to the original post to get this easy White Christmas Bark recipe.  Do you have any family favorites that you make each year? Feel free to share them with me in the comments.

Check below for my list of 30 Days of Christmas Goodies and Cookie Recipes! There is something for everyone!

holiday desserts

More Cookie Recipes, Holiday Drinks, and Christmas Goodies


The Fruitcake Dilemma with Ferris Bueller's Fruitcake Recipe

So are you a fruit cake lover? Do you make fruit cake, buy fruit cake or is it given to you by the same people every year? I have never made it or a fan of the dense, sticky sweet cake but there are people who like it and make it every year. I have a few days left of my 30 Days of Christmas goodies and thought it would be fun to share this story with you below and Ferris Bueller's Fruitcake recipe. 

Janis Thomas

The Fruitcake Dilemma
By Janis Thomas,
Author of Sweet Nothings

We've all heard the jokes about fruitcake:

There is only one fruitcake in the world and it keeps getting re-gifted.
There is no such thing as a good fruitcake.Fruitcake is the perfect gift to give someone you hate.

Personally, I try not to be prejudiced against any particular kind of cake. I consider myself an equal-opportunity baker. I'm not crazy about coconut, yet I force myself to keep an open mind regarding German Chocolate cake. Pineapple Upside-down Cake is a complete mystery to me, however, I refrain from making snarky comments about people who adore it. But I do understand why fruitcake gets a bad rap. I mean, really. Disgusting. How can you possibly say anything good about a cake that looks like road-kill and smells like the floor of a crowded movie theater? In my novel, SWEET NOTHINGS, my main character compares people with desserts, and whenever she comes across someone she can't stand, she labels them fruitcake. Readers instantly know what this person is all about.

Years ago, I was asked to make a fruitcake for a celebrity play reading in which this awful sweet treat was featured. And my fruitcake was supposed to be a thank-you gift to the star. I don't want to name drop here, but let's just say that I couldn't possibly allow Ferris Bueller to eat anything offensive. He was, after all, the subject of many of my pubescent fantasies. So I undertook to create the most delicious fruitcake in the history of mankind, despite the fact that 'delicious fruitcake' is an oxymoron.

This was before Google, so I couldn't simply type 'yummy fruitcake' into the search bar -- not that 'yummy fruitcake' would have pulled up many hits. So I dragged all of my cookbooks out and laid them on my kitchen table and proceeded to pore over recipes, gagging my way through the lists of ingredients, and doing my best to overcome nausea as I perused pictures.

Finally, I realized that the only way to please Ferris Bueller was to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the holiday tin. And I came up with a plan. I used one of my standby, melt-in-your-mouth pound cake recipes and shucked the maraschino cherries for more palatable dried fruit. It was easy enough to do, and you can do it too.

ferris bueller

Ferris Bueller's Fruitcake

You will need:

Your favorite vanilla pound cake recipe
A Bundt pan
Two cups of the following: dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried apricots (chopped) dried blueberries, etc.

One cup candied pecans
One teaspoon cinnamon
Dried apples and cherries for garnish (optional)


Mix all ingredients together, except for garnish, and place in prepared Bundt pan, then bake to recipe specifications until a toothpick comes out clean. 
If you wish, place dried apples and cherries around top of cake. 
Let cool completely, wrap in parchment paper or cellophane, place in holiday tin, and voila!

I never did get to hear what Ferris thought of my fruitcake, but when I met him (major thrill!) and presented him with the tin, I was able to tell him, with complete confidence, that this was one fruitcake he could actually eat.

You may not be giving your fruitcake to a celebrity, but the praise you'll get when your loved one tastes this delectable cake will make you feel like a star.
© 2013 Janis Thomas, author of Sweet Nothings

Recipe and article provided by Author Janis Thomas, who is the author of Sweet Nothings, is a native Californian, lives in Orange County with her husband, their two children, and their dog, Ruby. Janis has written more than fifty songs and (with her dad) two children's books, and is also an avid baker. She is also the author of Something NewFor more information please visit and you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook. 

Check below for my list of 30 Days of Christmas Goodies and Cookie Recipes! There is something for everyone!

holiday desserts

More Cookie Recipes, Holiday Drinks, and Christmas Goodies

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