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Sweets

RECIPES/ Sweets

No Bake Clean Eating Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Bars

No Bake Clean Eating Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Bars

These No Bake Clean Eating Peanut Butter Chocolate Crispy Bars are a play off one of the most popular recipe posts on New Nostalgia. That post is called Best Recipe I’ve Ever Messed Up has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

I’m feeling like a proud peacock because I took the base of that recipe and came up with another delicious recipe that you are going to LOVE! These bars are to die for!

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FUN/DIY/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Fudgy Buttons Homemade Gift

 

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These little Fudgy Buttons make an easy and thoughtful homemade gift that can be put together in minutes.

Fudgy Buttons are delicious little morsels of peanut butter and chocolate, and are perfect as a gift because—who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate? They use just 5 ingredients most people will have on hand. Although far from healthy, they are so much better for you than buying the typical peanut butter and chocolate candy.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudgy Button Homemade Gift

Case in point? Let’s compare ingredients:

 

Ingredients list for homemade Fudgy Buttons:

Peanut Butter, Cocoa, Powdered Sugar, Milk, Vanilla

 

Ingredient list for a popular chocolate peanut butter cup candy:

Peanuts, Milk Chocolate, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, (Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Milk Fat, Lactose, and Soy Lecithin, and PGPR, Emulsifiers)Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Cottonseed, Soybean, Palm Kernel, and Palm Oil)Sorbitol, Dextrose, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Refined Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Butter, Salt, Corn Syrup, Whey, Whey Protein Concentrate, Caseinate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Glycerin, Lactose, Mono and Diglycerides, and TBHQ.

See what I mean?  Simple recipes like these Fudgy Buttons are a great way to have sweets without ingesting a bunch of preservatives and ingredients, some that are impossible to pronounce!

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My Colsie is a big fan of these Fudgy Buttons and of her Grandpa, so making them for him as a homemade birthday gift was the perfect idea.  This recipe is one of the few recipes that will get her in the kitchen, especially when she has a sweet craving. My youngest, Avery, makes them, too, especially when there are no sweets to be found in our kitchen cupboards. The recipe has been a family favorite for a while, and was even part of our “Head Shaving Party” food back in 2010 when I was going through chemo. Chocolate and peanut butter truly DO make everything a bit better!

Colsie is very close to her Grandpa and loves him so much. He is an amazingly generous man, but is not a big fan of receiving gifts. He always loved homemade cards from the kids when they were younger, but now Colsie is 15 she wanted to do something a bit more.

I had supplies on hand to package them cute, which is key to making homemade goodies into a meaningful gift.

Fudgy Buttons in a tin.

You can purchase the tins here on Amazon, and can buy these fun little mini baking cups, or just separate layers of fudgy buttons with parchment paper. I love raiding the dollar bins at Michael’s craft stores for different ribbon and tags to have on hand for homemade gifts.

This is the perfect gift not just for Grandpas, but for teachers or friends, young or old. You may want to do what Colsie did —double the recipe and keep some for yourself!

 

Fudgy Buttons

4 Tablespoons butter
3 teaspoons baking cocoa
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoons milk
4 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter

In a small saucepan, melt the butter; remove from heat.  Add cocoa and mix well.  Stir in sugar, the mixture will be quite thick. Add milk and stir until smooth (you will feel like you should add more milk but don’t. The peanut butter will make it creamy and perfect.) Add peanut butter and mix well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper. Roll into balls and flatten with your thumb.
{For Your Pinning Pleasure}

Fudgy Buttons Homemade Gift

 

 

FEATURED/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Perfect Pumpkin Pie With A Secret Ingredient

perfect pumpkin pie pin

I’ve posted this Perfect Pumpkin Pie recipe before, but had to revisit it. This post has better photos and a little story about old and new neighbors, and how this is one of those recipes that have become a part of our lives, a tradition that just keeps going and giving. Funny how food can do that.

This pie was first made for us by our neighbors who recently moved away to New York. We miss them, and especially think of them this time of year. Every fall they would bring this amazing pumpkin pie over, usually warm from the oven, and it was always just the PERFECT pumpkin pie, one that I looked forward to all year.

baked perfect pumpkin pie

Yes, we miss our neighbors, but we now have new neighbors that we are just getting to know; a young couple with the cutest little toddler. I wanted to take over a baked good, and decided this Perfect Pumpkin Pie would be very appropriate to take to them. It is October when everyone is craving fall flavors, it makes 2 (so we got to keep one), and it keeps the sweet tradition that my dear neighbors started. A recipe that just keeps giving!

perfect pumpkin pie ingredients

My neighbor was kind enough to share the recipe, and when he did, there were 2 ingredients that caught my eye and I understood why this was the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Those 2 ingredients?

Heavy cream and molasses.

The heavy cream is a key ingredient, it makes this pie super divine, but molasses is the SECRET ingredient that gives this pie a darker- than- normal shade, and an amazing depth of flavor, almost like someone used extra EXTRA dark brown sugar.  Let not leave out the spices — they are just perfect. I do not like an over-spiced pie!

Pumpkin pie crust

pumpkin pie crusts

I love using these organic, hearty whole wheat pie shells. They make this pie so simple to make. Don’t forget to buy two!

Maybe this can become a tradition for you and your neighbor, too?

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Perfect Pumpkin Pie 

{This recipe is from Open Harvest Cookbook. Nancy Sauer’s great-aunt’s recipe, handed down via grandmother and mother.}
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin puree (or 3 cups homemade pumpkin puree, see below)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons molasses

2 pie shells

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Have 2 pie crusts for 9-inch deep-dish pie ready.  Mix all ingredients together and beat until smooth.  Pour into waiting pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  It is done when you can insert a knife into the center and it comes out clean.  After cooling, store in refrigerator.

 

How to Bake Pumpkin
Cooked pumpkin can be used in many pumpkin foods besides pie, such as cakes, breads, muffins, puddings or even ice cream.

Select a variety of pumpkins for pies.  (I like small sugar pumpkins)  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut pumpkin in half horizontally.  scoop out seeds.  Select a baking dish with sides.  Place pumpkin cut-side down in baking dish.  Pour in water to fill about an inch high.  Bake until a fork can easily be poked in the pumpkin.  A 41/2 pound pumpkin will take about 11/2 hours.  Drain.  Cool before processing.  Yields: 4 cups.

 

baked perfect pumpkin pie

RECIPES/ Sweets

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Baked Peaches

pan of baked peaches

It is not often that a recipe makes my eyes roll, but they ROLLED when I tasted these baked peaches. They got wide with first bite and rolled while “mmmmm” escaped from my lips while chewing. I was in disbelief that peaches could taste this good with so little effort!

I felt like I was eating a peach pie minus the crust, which I didn’t miss at all, and I am a big-time crust person!  If you want to feel like you are eating the most delicious peach pie without all the work of rolling dough and slicing fruit, then this recipe is for you.

Brown-Sugar-peaches

Do you love my new little baking dish? Our dear friends from Chicago gifted it to me. It was chosen from his workplace and lovingly presented when they arrived in town for their awesome summer visit.

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a glimpse of the amazing time we had. Our kids have grown up together and friendship has blossomed despite the long-distance.

They are a gift to our family and it was so sweet that they arrived bearing this sweet gift for me! I love it. It came with the best serving spatula, which is the perfect size that I have been wanting!

You can find them both, baker and spatula as a kit, here.

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Brunch/ HEALTH/ Nutrition/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping

QUINOA-CRACKER-CRUMBLE-TOPPING

SUMMER ENTERTAINING

It is almost July and I’m loving every bit of this summer. Comparing it to last, it is a breath of fresh air and full of moments I’m trying hard to hold on to, as my 3 teen girls are growing up so quickly. Every time I blink I feel they change, morphing by the moment!

In this season of life, summer entertaining at our house more often than not involves teenagers! They have sleepovers, watch movies, and literally ‘hang’ out in our backyard in their hammocks. Did you know portable hammocks are a ‘thing’ with teens right now? They are a super fun way to get your teen outdoors with friends, to hang together & socialize with each other and the whole world on their phones.

Smoothie-Breakfast-bowl-Breton

 SMOOTHIE BOWLS

Whenever my teens ask to have a friend sleepover, one of the first thoughts I have is “hmm..what do I have for snacks and breakfast?” We all know food is a very important part of entertaining teens.

My oldest is a cross-country runner and cares about nutrition and health. She wants a healthy breakfast and snacks. My younger two just want tasty and don’t care much about the health status of their snacks, but I’m noticing some of their friends do, so hopefully it will wear off on them!

I have found the perfect healthy solution for both summer sleepover breakfasts & snacks whether the girls have a healthy palate or not…THE SMOOTHIE BOWL!

There is a huge smoothie bowl movement going on and I love it! Just search #smoothiebowl on instagram or twitter and you will see all kinds of beautiful examples.

A smoothie bowl is basically a thick smoothie that you can eat with a spoon, with all kinds of fun toppings. The toppings are a great way to add nutrition to the bowl, and the extra texture makes it feel like a luxurious treat for breakfast.

This is great summer entertainment food for my girls. I can blend up the smoothie in seconds and set out a variety of toppings, from chia seeds to chocolate chips– something to please everyone!

It’s also the perfect food to eat while hammocking outside in the summer sun!

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Cracker-crumble-baked

QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

I made the PERFECT topping for our smoothie bowls. I wanted to add a nice hearty crunch, something like granola but more decadent. Something that tastes like a cinnamon roll but with crunch and a bit of health to go along with it.

Enter my Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping.

That is so fun to type. It is also so fun to create a recipe, because then I get to name it whatever I want!

Breton-Cracker-Ingredients

This Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble Topping is amazing and good enough to be eaten alone, straight from the jar. It has cinnamon, maple syrup, butter and just a touch of brown sugar. The crunch comes from raw quinoa and delicious chunks of cracker.

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CRACKERS

I used and love Dare Breton Crackers. They are super versatile, great for an extravagant party, an impromptu gathering, or a teenage sleepover. They are loaded with crunch and packed with flavor.

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I coated the cracker chunks with the maple/cinnamon/butter mixture and baked. The quinoa is tasteless but adds amazing crunch factor. Other than the crunch, the best thing about adding quinoa is the protein it adds to the top of your smoothie bowl, which is extra filling and makes my ‘runner girl’ and her friends very happy.

The cracker topping stays nice and crunchy even mixed into a smoothie bowl, down to the very last bite! This cracker topping would also be great on top of yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal. 

Smoothie-breakfast-bowl-toppings

Breakfast-bowl-toppings

MORE TOPPING IDEAS

I made the smoothie bowls inside, and set my topping bar outside, for guests to help themselves to. I kept the toppings on the healthy side, but really, the sky is the limit when it comes to smoothie bowl toppings. The one topping I will always want now that I’ve tasted it, is the quinoa cracker crunch topping. You guys, I’m telling ya, this recipe is GOOOOD!

 

Here are a few other topping ideas:

chia seeds

chocolate chips

shredded coconut

berries

nuts

hemp seeds

banana

gogi berries

raisins

dried cherries

You could even add some gummy worms when serving teens, although, if I did this I would make the base a green smoothie by adding spinach, to make myself feel better about the worms!

Breton-Cracker-Crumble-2

QUINOA CINNAMON CRACKER CRUMBLE TOPPING

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 sleeve Dare Original Crackers, crumbled (about 1 1/2 – 2 cups crumbled)

1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

sprinkle of salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Crumble the crackers into a bowl, keeping some nice big chunks. In a separate bowl, melt butter. Add cinnamon, maple syrup and quinoa to the butter and stir well. Pour over crackers and toss to coat.

Spread into a buttered baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-brown.

Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar & some salt to taste while still hot. Let cool then toss and store in an airtight container. I love using a mason jar.

smoothie-breakfast-bowl-2

SMOOTHIE BOWL RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 cup yogurt (can use smashed avocado to keep it vegan)

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen strawberries

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 – 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start with 1/2 cup of milk and add more until vortex forms in the middle and ingredients can blend freely. Don’t add too much milk.  The key to the smoothie bowls is keeping it thick enough to eat with a spoon.

Pour into a bowl and add Quinoa Cinnamon Cracker Crumble & your choice of toppings.

QUINOA-CRACKER-CRUMBLE-PIN-MAIN

{PIN ME PLEASE?}

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you done much summer entertaining this year?

What are your favorite cracker recipes?

Want more ideas for using crackers in creative ways to entertain? Check out Dare Breton Cracker for a ton of great recipe ideas!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Brunch/ Featured/ Homemade Gifts/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Cranberry Chia Jam

CRANBERRY-CHIA-JAM-PIN

I cannot get enough cranberries for some reason this season! I crave them. It all started around Thanksgiving with my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce, which was so good that I started putting it on my toast in the morning.  Then the New Year hit and I wanted a healthier version, so I came up with this Cranberry Chia Jam recipe.  This awesome recipe is sweetened naturally & packed with 2 superfoods; cranberries and chia seeds.

Cranberries

Cranberries are so very healthy. According to WebMD:

Cranberries have vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup. In disease-fighting antioxidantscranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable–including strawberries, spinach, broccoli, red grapes, apples, raspberries, and cherries.

One cup of whole cranberries has 8,983 total antioxidant capacity. Only blueberries can top that: Wild varieties have 13,427; cultivated blueberries have 9,019.

Cranberries are amazing, but being as tart as they are, it is tempting to use sugar to sweeten them up. There is a reason my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce is so good, and that is the 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar in it! I am really trying to detox from sugar so I had to find a way to keep my cranberry -jammed toast habit, but dump the sugar.

My solution was to sweeten the recipe up with honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and cut the amount of sweetness way down.  Another way I added some sweetness is by using the juice of the orange.  The recipe calls for grated orange peel, so it made sense to use the juice from the orange as a natural sweetener.

Cranberries-clemantines-chia-cinnamon-jam

Chia Seeds

Using juice and a liquid natural sweetener made the cranberry mixture a bit too runny after cooking, so my solution to this was chia seeds! I was giddy to think that not only would they thicken the jam and act as pectin would in regular jam recipes, (chia seeds swell and turn gelatinous) but they would add more health benefits on top of my toast!

 

Here are a few reasons why chia seeds are my favorite seed:

 ~they are jammed packed with protein and minerals and healthy fats and fiber
~they provide more plant-based Omega 3’s than any other food, even FLAX
~5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium to bones
~8 times the omega 3’s found in salmon
~3 times more iron than spinach
~2 times the amount of potassium than bananas
~more antioxidants than found in blueberries
~they have 5 GRAMS of fiber PER TABLESPOON!
~the are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids
~can be stored for years without deterioration of flavor or color
~they are flavorless and dissolve in juice, soups, stews, shakes etc..
 ~they are low-calorie way to get super FULL!
Jar of cranberry chia jam

My Morning Toast Habit

I am in a major morning toast habit.  I have found my favorite bread from Sam’s called Dave’s Killer Bread, and it is full of seeds and nuts and all kinds of organic goodness. It has 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber & 670mg of Omega 3’s due to all of the great flax and pumpkin seeds in it. I make 2 slices so all of that goodness doubled. I like to use a softer bread for sandwiches, unless they are grilled or Panini pressed, but this bread is delicious with just a touch of sweet & makes wonderful toast.  I buy it in bulk and freeze it.  I take it straight from the freezer to the toaster. You can buy it here on Amazon or at Sam’s.

I use either Earth Balance spread or organic butter…whatever we have on hand.  We do not drink milk around here but I have added some organic animal products back into our diet.  We just do better health- wise with some good organic animal fats & protein, and it especially seems to be a positive thing for our family when it comes to brain health– but that is another post!

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Cranberry Chia Jam As A Gift

Here is where I have to make a confession.  I had a jar of my Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce all packaged up and ready to give to my sweet neighbors during the Christmas season.  They always give us great home-baked goods and I wanted to send a little something their way, too.  I even shared a picture of it on my New Nostalgia Facebook page.  I made a jar for them and a jar for us. Confession: I ate the jar for us… and the jar for them.  I know! I know! I just couldn’t imagine my toast without cranberry sauce on top and mine ran out so I just had to open their jar and help myself.

Because of my selfishness, our poor neighbors didn’t get a gift until New Year’s…ok…I confess, I delivered it just yesterday.  But, I feel like it all worked out well.  They are very health conscience, so it felt great to give them my Cranberry Chia Jam instead of the sugar-filled Hall of Fame Cranberry Sauce, and last night I got a text from my neighbor letting me know he was looking forward to toast in the morning.  I did have to dump the original Christmas packaging idea, and instead added a fun polka dot tag and a little hint of sparkle, as New Year’s day really was not THAT long ago, right?

mason-jar-gift-cranberry-chia-jam

 

Cranberry Chia Jam Recipe

makes 1 pint

2 cups fresh or frozen organic cranberries, sorted and rinsed

1/3 cup of organic 100% maple syrup or honey (more if you want sweeter)

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel of one orange, grated (or 2 clementines) I use the fine side of this grater.

Juice of one orange (or 2 clementines)

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

………………..

Add all but chia seeds to a medium saucepan.

On medium heat, let the cranberries pop and cook, 7-9 minutes, mashing and stirring as they cook.

Let cool, then stir in the chia seeds.

Store in a jar. Jam will thicken upon standing.

This will keep for about a month in the refrigerator.

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Enjoy!

Do you love the taste of cranberries?

Do you use chia seeds? How?

Did you make any homemade gifts this holiday season?

Christmas/ Drinks/ RECIPES/ Sweets

Peppernuts Recipe Tradition & Almond Nog

Silk-Almond-Nog-Peppernuts

Every year around this time, I find myself crunching on Peppernuts made by my Grandma Thelma’s sweet hands, and thinking about how I MUST share this great recipe and meaningful family tradition with you! Well, this year I’m doing it, and you are going to love it!

Silk-Almond-Nog-Cinnamon

I took the photos for this post, then sat down with my tiny tree dish full of peppernuts & my mug of almond nog.  I’m a happy camper as I type away at this post with my delicious little snack.

Peppernuts-Tree

Have you seen that Silk now makes Silk Almond Nog? They have original and pumpkin spice and they are SO good.  They are both so creamy that you won’t believe they are dairy-free, and there are no eggs in either of these nogs!  I’m drinking the original Almond Nog & it is full of nutmeg and cinnamon, & has the smooth velvety flavor of classic eggnog.

Peppernuts-Stacked

Tradition

The peppernut cookies are a family tradition that I just love.  My Grandma makes them every year for everyone in the family, and has for as long as I can remember.  I have such fond memories of helping her roll and slice the long, thin rolls of dough when I was a young teen.  It means the world to me to receive them as a gift from her each year, & it is so fun to see my girls grow up and enjoy peppernut cookies, too.

Peppernut cookies are a tiny spiced holiday cookie that are popular in Germany, Denmark, & the Netherlands.  The cookies are roughly the size of a nut, and can be eaten by the handful, hence the name.  They have anise oil in them, but it is not overpowering & adds just the right unique spice. These little crunchy cookies are so addicting! I love that they can keep indefinitely & are great for snacking and for sitting around in covered dishes for your guests to enjoy.

We celebrated Christmas early with my Mom’s side of the family, which meant getting these little peppernut cookies early, too.  The cookies pictured are made by my Grandma, but one of these days I’m going to make them myself.

Silk-Almond-Nog-Window

I’m feeling quite sophisticated eating my peppernuts and drinking my almond nog.  It is like having cookies and milk, but way more special because it is peppernuts and nog! I can drink a mug or two of Silk Almond Nog without feeling naughty because it is made without eggs, dairy or saturated fats & there are only 80 calories or less per serving! I especially appreciate that there are no artificial colors or preservatives in Silk products.  Grandma’s cookies, on the other hand, are a bit naughty, but I can’t bring myself to mess with a recipe that has been handed down & that is so, so good.  I will keep it as it is written, and enjoy every little cookie as we only have them once a year.

Peppernuts-Slider

Recipe:

Peppernuts

1 16 oz bottle dark corn syrup

1 1/8 cup sugar

1 cup of oleo (margarine or butter) (melt in hot syrup)

1/2 tsp. anise oil

~Boil this mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

 

2 eggs (well-beaten)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 cup sour cream

~Mix together, then add to hot mixture.

 

10 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

a handful or two of walnuts, cut up fine

 

~Pour above mixture into flour & mix.  You will end up using your hands–just like Grandma!

~Form into long rolls, about the diameter of a quarter. Wrap in plastic wrap & let it get good and cold, or you could freeze at this point until you are ready to bake.  Cut into fairly thin slices, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Each cookie should be about the size of a quarter.

~Bake 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

~These get better with age, so don’t be afraid to bake a bunch!

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I love sharing such simple joys of the season with you!  I hope you can find a quiet moment or two to cozy up, slow down, sip on some nog, & savor recipes that have been passed down.  It is amazing how something as simple as the cinnamon flavor of a creamy nog or the spicy hint of anise in a crunchy cookie can cause one to pause and find comfort in meaningful memories of seasons past.

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Visit Silk Holiday to learn more about Silk Almond Nog & find more simple joys of the season, like recipes, a free digital holiday recipe book, a coupon & more!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk . The opinions and text are all mine.

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