I’ve completed my 2nd annual calendar. I’m taking orders now and the calendars will shipped or delivered to you once I receive them. Cost is $20.00 plus shipping if applicable. Enjoy a new food photo every month with 12 full color photos and six recipes. To order contact me via email or Facebook. simplesweetsc@gmail.com or simplesweets cooking school on Facebook.

12 full color photos plus 6 recipes
12 full color photos plus 6 recipes

Make Ahead = Stress Free T-day (Part 2)

So continuing on with the thoughts of a stress free Thanksgiving…..makes you feel good right? I whipped up two things for everyone. The first was made last night and the other one was done early this morning. Starting with last night’s creation, Sweet Potato Bread Pudding. For some reason, many people lean away from bread pudding. You’ve got to try it if you haven’t. It’s a wonderful comfort food and can be made several days in advance. I used sweet potato and pecans in this one to give it a Thanksgiving feel. There are tons of variations online so go ahead and google it. Find one that sounds good to you and go for it.
The other item is an appetizer. Cream cheese penguins are super cute and super yummy. It’s got cream cheese in it so it’s got to be good. You can use green olives as well. They may end up looking a little less like penguins but the flavor will be just as good. Below are the easy directions for the penguins.
By early next week I will add one or two more items to our stress free T-day theme. For now enjoy these!

Comforting and a bit boozy. The added bourbon makes this adult friendly
Comforting and a bit boozy. The added bourbon makes this adult friendly

Simple, cute and can be made a day or two ahead.
Simple, cute and can be made a day or two ahead.

Cream Cheese Penguins

18 jumbo black olives
18 small black olives
1 carrot
8 oz cream cheese


Cut a slit from top to bottom, lengthwise, into the side of each jumbo olive. Carefully insert about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese into each olive. Slice the carrot into eighteen 1/4 inch thick rounds; cut a small notch out of each carrot slice to form feet. Save the cut out piece and press into center of small olive to form the beak. If necessary cut a small slit into each olive before inserting the beak.

Set a big olive, large hole side down, onto a carrot slice. Then, set a small olive onto the large olive, adjusting so that the beak, cream cheese chest and notch in the carrot slice line up. Secure with a toothpick.

*use a red pepper strips or pimentos to make small scarves.

Make Ahead = Stress Free Thanksgiving (part 1)

So if you are like many who will be cooking, baking, and stressing out on Thanksgiving, fear no more, there is a simple solution. Make things ahead of time! I’m sure many people have thought about it but what can you make ahead that still looks fresh, tastes great, and everyone will be thinking you are the Thanksgiving god? Well, there are quite a few dishes that can be done ahead of time and some are a bit traditional while others may not be. I’ve only got time to post one for now but I promise I will be back with more in just a day or two.
In the meantime, think Chutney. What is chutney you say? Chutney is a slightly spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables which originated in India. I make mine with cranberries, apples, crystallized ginger, and a few other ingredients.
Read below for the simple directions. This can be made up to a week before T-day and can replace the boring canned cranberry sauce. I’ll be honest, I eat it all by itself. It’s that good!

left: raspberry; center: rum pineapple; right; cranberry chutney
left: chutney; center: rum pineapple; right; raspberry

Cranberry Chutney
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup water
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 apple- peeled, cored and diced
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice (orange juice can be substituted)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

In a medium saucepan, mix dried apricots, crystallized ginger, brown sugar, raisins and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 – 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

Mix in cranberries, apple and lemon zest. Simmer 10 minutes or until apple has softened and cooked down.

Mix in lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.


It’s almost turkey and stuffing time. Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, you have to admit that the food associated with this holiday is some of the best! Although my family and I are not turkey or ham eaters, we do celebrate with something a bit different. Every year I make a bread cornucopia and fill it with fruit, chocolates, nuts, and several other goodies. I’ve come to really look forward to preparing our yearly tradition. I’m done planning out what I all need to create this year’s special cornucopia and can’t wait to get started. No matter how you celebrate, take time to relax and enjoy some of the best food of the year!
I’ll be adding more Thanksgiving favorites and a few fresh ideas over the next few days.

Make your cornucopia special by filling it with your favorites
Make your cornucopia special by filling it with your favorites
Vibrant colors make it the main attraction
Vibrant colors make it the main attraction