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Easy Easter Dinner-Just for You

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EASTER, APRIL 17, 2022

** This post also contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you purchase a product after clicking on a link. Thank you!

It’s hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning your Easter dinner. I am here to help you get things off without a hitch! Read on to find out more. Enjoy!

I think it’s best to focus on your main dishes and sides when you are planning an Easter dinner. It may sound crazy but roast ham is always a great choice for Easter dinner. I’m sure it will be the main dish served at yours this year.

Roast ham is generally easier to make because there’s less to it than a whole turkey. Since I am here to help, I’ve created a delicious recipe for oven-roasted ham with apple glaze that I think will knock your socks off.

Then I will follow this with a very easy side dish, dessert, and a drink. Then your Easter dinner will be all set and ready to go.


Oven-Roasted Apple Glazed Ham

This delicious oven-roasted apple glazed ham is so easy you will be thanking me for days and you are most welcome! Your family and friends will enjoy it too!


Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-pound) fully cooked boneless ham
  • 2 cups of apple jelly
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Place ham in a baking dish and place in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes.
  3. Mix the jelly, Dijon mustard, ginger, and the brown sugar in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until the jelly melts, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the ham from oven and pour the jelly mixture over the ham. Bake for 30 minutes longer.

Serves: 16


Donna’s Squash Dressing

This is a quick and delicious side dish that everyone will enjoy. If you have a homemade cornbread recipe, use it or try my homemade one Donna’s Famous Cornbread It is quick and delicious. Your family and friends will love this recipe and so will you.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups drained cooked yellow squash (Fresh is best or frozen works well too).
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups mashed up corn bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (10-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

Directions:

  1. Combine the drained squash, onion, cornbread crumbs, eggs, and undiluted soup in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Spoon into a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serves: 6 NOTE: For larger crowds, you can double the recipe and cook 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.


Key Lime Pie

This pie is so easy to make and delicious. I usually make a 9-inch deep-dish one or you can make two 9-inch pies if you wish. Top each serving with homemade cool whip So much better than store-bought!


Ingredients:

  • 3 egg yolks, lightley beaten
  • 2/3 cup fresh Key lime juice
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (9-inch) deep dish graham cracker pie shell or two 9-inch graham cracker pie shells
  • 1 cup whipped topping

Directions:

  1. Beat the egg yolks, lime juice, and condensed milk in a mixing bowl with electric mixer until blended.
  2. Spoon the mixture into your deep dish pie shell or spoon half the mixture into two 9-inch pie shells.
  3. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes for deep dish or 15 minutes for the two 9-inch pie shells.
  4. Let cool for 2 hours on cooling rack.
  5. Top each serving with whipped topping.

FYI: To get that pretty green look, add a few drops at a time to get the color of green you want while mixing up the ingredients.

Serves: 12


Drinks

Serve up your guest your favorite coffee or tea. Soft drinks, lemonade, or water. You could even ask your guests what they prefer or have them bring their favorite beverage. There is no shame in doing that. After all, you are making the dinner. More often than not, people are always willing to help.😉


I sure hope you have enjoyed reading “Easy Easter Dinner-Just for You” as much as I did writing it for you. Now you can breathe easy about what to bake.

If you would like more Easter Dinner Ideas, check out “Baking with Donna’s Recipes”


From my family to yours, Happy Easter!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🐰

Related Posts:

5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Baking

Baking With Donna: My 5 Favorite Pies of All Time

How to Make the Best Cornbread Ever! In 6 Easy Steps

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14 Things About Baking You May Not Have Known

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** This post also contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you purchase a product after clicking on a link. Thank you!

Baking is a fascinating process that yields delicious results. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced baker, there’s always something new to learn. So here are fourteen things about Baking that you may not have known. Enjoy!


1. Baking is a Science

Baking is absolutely a science as well as an art. When you add flour, sugar, eggs, oil, etc., you have to do this in a sequence of steps that bring you to the same ending, something edible every time.

As a baker, we can think of ourselves as chemists and scientists. Why may you ask? We add different ingredients together in a sequence of steps that create delicious goodies. If done correctly, you can bake over and over again.

So, to sum this up, “baking is simply a form of chemistry that results in edible results rather than other chemical solutions or creations.” This quote is brought to you by Delighted Cooking


2. Baking is an Art

Why is Baking considered an art? Think about this for a moment; if you are adding all of these ingredients together and making, let’s say, a cake from scratch, then you are creating art! By the time you cook your cake frost it and decorate it, you have created a beautiful piece of edible art.🎂

We, as bakers, can be compared to an artist who paints or artists that sculpt. A painter creates beautiful pictures for us to look at and enjoy using paintbrushes of different sizes and paints of different colors. Sculptors create beautiful pieces of statues, bowls, animals, etc., using molding clay and a variety of tools to shape and mold their sculptures. And they use a firing process for baking the clay or sculpture. We bake our goodies just like they do, except we use an oven.😉

We sculpt our cakes, cookies, pies, etc. We can then decorate them using paintbrushes, a rotating cake stand, cake, cookie painting, cake spatulas to smooth out the icing on our cakes, and tools for shaping and cutting fondant. And I could go on and on. You get the jest of it, though, right? Do you see the similarities?


3. Baking is a Trade

If you love to bake, why not make a career out of it and do something you enjoy. Of course, this may require a certification that you can usually obtain by doing an apprenticeship. You can get these through bakeries that offer training such as Publix, Kroger, Ingles, technical or community college programs to help you obtain an associate degree or certificate. Usually, a college degree is not needed.👩‍🎓

Steps to becoming a baker:

  1. Obtain your apprenticeship- through bakeries such as Publix, Kroger, Ingels, technical or community college programs.
  2. Obtain a business degree- do this only if you are interested in opening your on bakery. You can do this by  taking courses in small business management through a continuing education program.
  3. Get your Certification- certification is not usually a requirement by most employers, however, if you obtain your certification it will put you ahead of the competition.
  4. Attain additional experience- if you want to advance your career, gain more experience. Learn different techniques and skills that will lead you to owning your on business and creating high quality products that you can be proud of.

4.  Baking is an Addiction

Baking is most definitely an addiction for me. I can honestly say without a doubt that “baking is my happy place.” I enjoy getting in my kitchen and baking cakes and goodies for my family for any occasion. It is a soothing therapy for me.

One of my favorite things to do is take a recipe and make it my own because it is challenging and fun! I came up with a recipe years ago that I call my “goulash.” My kids love it, and it’s always a family favorite at get-togethers.😉


5. Baking is Therapeutic

Yes, Baking certainly is therapeutic. If you are having a stressful day or week, measuring out ingredients and mixing them all helps relieve stress and anxiety. It makes me happy knowing that I am creating something beautiful and tasty for my family.

Creating things has been shown to make us happy if we feel out of sorts. Also, it gives us a feeling of accomplishment and triggers our senses of smell, touch, taste, and then, finally, seeing our result. So, the next time you feel anxious or stressed, try Baking. Baking will help you feel more relaxed, happier, and enthusiastic about life. Not to mention it can give you a sense of personal growth.😁


6. Baking is Precise

You may be wondering why Baking is so precise? Because when you measure all of your ingredients out and have your oven set to the correct baking temperature and time set, your Baking becomes like a science. If you follow your recipe step by step, you will produce the same results every time.

The correct amount of flour, eggs, oil, sugar, etc., is critical to the product’s taste and the proper consistency and density. When we are baking, we wear different hats. That must be why a chef’s hat is so tall because we are scientists, biologists, artists, painters, and sculptors. Dang, we are so talented!😊


7. Baking is Forgiving

No, Baking is not very forgiving! Instead, you ask for a disaster if you don’t measure the ingredients and take shortcuts. Baking is a science because you are mixing exact amounts of flour, sugar, eggs, oil, etc., together, guesstimating is a big No-No. So if you are baking cookies and trying to take shortcuts, you may wind up with cookies hard as rocks.

On the other hand, cooking is more forgiving. You can usually get away with adding whatever ingredients that you want to a recipe and make it your own. Baking, not so much. With Baking, the slightest miscalculation could mean a flat, dense cake should you forget the eggs. And the taste would be awful!😝


8. Baking is Challenging

Yes, Baking can be very challenging. But, not to worry, practice makes perfect (well, almost perfect). We are human, and I can guarantee you that you will still make some mistakes along the way. I have been baking and cooking for 46+ years, and I still make mistakes at times. So, it doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned pro or just starting; you will make mistakes. When that happens, chalk it up to experience and a lesson well learned.

Because Baking requires exact measurements and the correct baking times make it more difficult. At the same time, whatever you are cooking can usually be saved if you make a mistake by modifying your recipe. Flour is one of the ingredients that can make them dry and challenging if you add too much to your cookies. Add too much flour to your biscuits, and they will be dry and crumbly.🤦‍♀️


9.  Baking is Rewarding

Oh gosh, yes! Baking can be very rewarding because you can create all kinds of delicious treats for your family and friends. It helps relieve stress and anxiety and gives me a sense of well-being and accomplishment. And it also lifts my mood.

Lord only knows after the pandemic we have had in the last two years, I can honestly tell you that Baking and cooking have helped me a lot! Another great thing about Baking is you can spend quality time with your kids and teach them a great lesson. Who knows, they may grow up to be a famous chef.👩‍🍳


10. Baking is Delicious

Baking cakes, cookies, pies, etc., is so delicious. Nobody can deny that! There is nothing better than a piece of cake and a good ole cup of coffee, except enjoying it with family and friends. You can bake up some deliciousness that no one can resist when you have suitable recipes.☕

Get yourself some good recipes and get your Baking and cooking on!


11.  Baking is Beautiful

This beautiful cake says it all! Yes, Baking is gorgeous. Even if your cake does not look like the above picture, it is still a beautiful form of art that you created. To me, Baking is not about how beautiful the goodies turn out to be, but how much fun and thought I put into it.

Watching my family eating and enjoying what I baked is beautiful to me! 😊


12.  Overmixing is Bad

The number one mistake people make when mixing up their cake batter. Overmixing results in a dense cake. That is weak and will fall in the middle, as in the picture above. The taste of an overmixed is disgusting. Once you overmix, there is nothing you can do to fix it. So, guess what? That means you will have to toss the cake and start all over. Bummer!

I will use flour as an example; if you mix the flour into the butter, mix it until no more white flour is showing. Then you will know the flour is incorporated with the butter. Always follow your recipe step by step. Never skip over the numbers because you will be asking for a disaster.😣


13. Baking is Versatile

When I think of versatility with Baking, I think of muffins. Muffins are a popular breakfast item for many people, including me. You can get them in sweet form or spicy. People can find something in a muffin to satisfy most picky eaters.

With muffins, you can add almost any flavor you can imagine. I love a maple muffin with bacon on top. When my son-in-law first introduced me to them, I thought he had lost his mind! But once I tasted that sweet and salty taste of the bacon, OMG, it was awesome! So, don’t be afraid to try different flavors of muffins. You may be surprised deliciously.🤤


14. Baking is Fun

Baking is most definitely fun. I enjoy baking cookies for Thanksgiving and decorating them with my grandkids. It is so much fun to see the colors they come up with and their designs on the cookies. They enjoy it too.

The holidays are my favorite time to get in the kitchen and bake cakes, cookies, pies, etc., for gift giving and for all of the family get-togethers.🤗


I hope you have enjoyed “14 Things About Baking You May Not Have Known,” learned something you didn’t know, and walked away feeling better about baking those goodies.

Remember, always follow your recipe step by step, and you should be fine. So, get out there and get your Baking on and enjoy what you are baking. I know you can do this!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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Storing Ingredients: 8 Tips to Making Your Baking Life Easier

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 As an Amazon Associate, if you should click on any of my links, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Baking is a delicious way to spend an afternoon, but it can also be a little tedious. Between measuring out ingredients, ensuring everything is at the right temperature, and making sure your cakes don’t burn, it’s no wonder so many people give up on baking altogether.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a few simple tips, you can make your baking life easier and have more fun in the kitchen. Here are 8 of my favorite tips:


1. Label Everything!

 Label Everything! Doing this makes your baking life easier and ensures you don’t make mistakes with ingredients when baking.

It would be bad to add the wrong spices to cakes, cookies, pies, etc., and not realize it. Imagine your shock and surprise if you added allspice into your pumpkin pie instead of your pumpkin pie spice ingredient.


2. Flour

Flour is a baking staple, so if you don’t keep it fresh then how will you bake up all of those tasty baked treats of yours?

No matter if you are using self-rising flour, all-purpose flour, or whole wheat flour, make sure to keep them in an airtight container for extended freshness.


3. Sugar

Keep sugar in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing moisture and clumping. Sugar can also be stored in the fridge or freezer.

Believe it or not, sugar does not expire if you store it correctly. Since sugar has no moisture in it, moisture is its number one enemy.

So, if you don’t store it correctly and moisture gets to it, you guessed it in chapter 13 (the trash can).


4. Eggs

Like our flour, eggs baking staple as well and lord knows I use a lot as I’m sure as bakers you do as well. Store eggs in the fridge. Eggs should be used within 3-5 weeks of purchase.

When you store them in the fridge, put them in the middle drawer so they will stay colder.

Also, make sure you store them in their original containers for better freshness and to keep them protected from cracks or breakage.


5. Baking Powder and Baking Soda

Here are 2 more of the pantry staples that we can’t do without. These leveling agents are easily stored thank goodness! You can’t do without them if you bake certain bread or pastries.

This product usually comes in metal containers making it easier to store. If it does not, like the Arm & Hammer Baking soda in the picture, no worries. Just store baking powder and soda in a cool, dry place and they should last you for 12 to 18 months.


6. Chocolate and Powdered Cocoa

When it comes to chocolate and powdered cocoa they differ in how long each one’s shelf life is.

Cocoa powder lasts for 2 to 3 years if you keep it in its original container. But make sure it is sealed well put in a dark dry place to prevent fungus growth.

Cocoa powder should never be stored in the fridge because it is not a fan of moisture.

White chocolate and milk chocolate should be discarded after 9 months because they contain milk products. Once opened, wrap the unused portions in a tight container and place them in a cool dark place or in the fridge.

Store chocolate in a cool, dry place.


7. Extracts

To maintain your extract’s freshness, store it in its original bottle and tighten the lid. Store extracts in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or cabinet. Make sure it’s not around a heat source such as the stove.

Never refrigerate extracts. Doing this will cause it to become cloudy and lose some of the wonderful flavors.


8. Nuts

To maintain the freshness of nuts, you want to put them in freezer bags and store them in the freezer or your fridge. I always keep mine in the freezer, especially if I bought them for cooking.

Never purchase nuts from bulk bins in your grocery store. Because you have no idea how long they have been in there. Oxygen is a nut’s number one enemy. It will cause them to go bad quickly.

For the freshest nuts, purchase the ones in a sealed bag and make sure you check the expiration date for freshness, and eliminate buying out-of-date nuts.


If you follow my “Storing Ingredients: 8 Tips to Making Your Baking Life Easier,” this will help ensure that your baking goes smoothly and that you don’t miss any steps while baking.

Need some storage containers to get you started? Buy yours here>>>>AMAZON<<<<

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen

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Top 6 Dough Blenders Review

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Dough Blender

 As an Amazon Associate, if you should click on any of my links, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

So you know how I mentioned that I love my Kitchenaid mixer?

Well, I’m here to tell you that sometimes it is not enough…

Okay, okay, so I’m kind of silly and exaggerate, but seriously, a good dough blender is one of the most important tools in your baking arsenal.

I know that you can use a fork or tater smasher (southern lingo for “potato”) to blend your shortening or butter into your flour, but using a dough blender is so much quicker!

My favorite one is the old handheld one I found in an antique store here in my hometown about 1-2 years ago for about $1.50. I love using this dough blender. Check out my video below so you can see what it looks like…

My Antique Dough Blender

Now, let us get on with my review. Enjoy!


Top 6 Dough Blenders Review

Spring Chef Dough Blender
  1. Spring Chef Dough Blender– Amazon’s Best Seller for a dough blender or “pastry cutter” as they are sometimes called. I picked this one to be my number one choice. Read on and you will see why. Impress your family and guest with flakier flufier biscuits, pie crust, cookies, etc. With this sturdy dough blender you can get the job done so you can be on your way to less time spent in the kitchen and you will be wondering how you ever made it without this awesome dough blender. Check out the features below… RATED 4.8/5

Features:

  • It has 5 blades
  • Comfortable handle
  • Thick and sturdy blades
  • High quality stainless steel

Zulay Kitchen Professional Dough Blender

2. Zulay Kitchen Professional Dough Blender- Amazon’s Choice. You will find that this is not your typical dough blender when you use it. This little gadget is not just for dough blending. You can use it to chope fruit, vegetables, nuts, avocados, and eggs for egg salad plus more. No more sore hands or wrists after using this dough blender with its comfortable handle. Especially helpful with those suffering from arthritis pain. So, if you are an arthritis sufferer like me, then this may be the one for you! Look at the features below… RATED 4.7/5

Features:

  • Recommneded for arthritis sufferers
  • Built to last with its stainless steel blades
  • Comfortable easy grip handle
  • Comes in 12 beautiful colors
  • Has 5 thick blades
  • Dishwasher safe

OXO Stainless Steel Dough Blender

3. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Dough Blender and Cutter Amazon’s Choice and for good reasons. If you love baking biscuits, pies, and pastries then this could be the one for you to add to your kitchen gadgets. It cuts cold hard butter and shortening into your flour with ease. Non-slip handle for a comfortable grip. Below you will find product features… RATED 4.8/5

Features:

  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Pressure-absorbing handle
  • Cuts with ease and control
  • Dishwasher safe

Gorilla Grip Pastry Dough Blender

4. Gorilla Grip Pastry Dough Blender and Butter Cutter- This durable dough blender will help you get the job done with its thick durable blades for a variety of foods with ease. With its curved blades and rocking motion, it allows you to seamlessly blend cold butter and shortening into your flour. Available in size medium and large. Check out the product features below… RATED 4.8/5

Features:

  • 5 sharp stainless steel blades
  • Durable stainless steel frame
  • Easy to use slip resistant grip
  • Available in 9 colors
  • Size medium and large
  • Dishwasher safe

Orblue Dough Blender Pro-Premium

5. Orblue Dough Blender Pro-Premium- Now you can ditch your fork and tater masher. This might possibly be the only dough blender you will ever need. You can effortlessly blend your cold butter and shortening into your flour with ease. Shortens your preparation time which is a plus. Wow, your family and friends with your homemade soft flakey biscuits, pie crust, and pastries like a pro! See product features below… Rated 4.6/5

Features:

  • Ergonomic handle for ultimate precision and comfort
  • Large size no flex blades
  • 100% Non-slip grip
  • Dishwaher safe
  • Lifetime guarantee

KitchenAid Gourmet Pastry Blender

6. KitchenAid Gourmet Pastry Blender- Amazon’s Choice and it should be because this tool ensures proper blending of your cold butter or shortening for a better baking result. Because of the curved tempered stainless steel wires, it allows your repeated motion to break the butter and shortening down into smaller pieces as it mixes through the dough. This in turn is what makes for a flakey and delicious crust. Check out the product features below… Rated 4.7/5

Features:

  • Blend your ingredients effortlessly
  • Durable stainless steel wires
  • Comfortable rubber handle
  • Dishwasher safe

Wow! This was a tough one to do! Any of these dough blenders would be an excellent choice. I hope you enjoyed “Top 6 Dough Blenders Review” as much as I enjoyed writing this for you.

I would recommend, however, that you check each one out to see which one best suits your needs.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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Baking With Donna: 10 Ways to Save Money and Time

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Save Time and Money

Should you click on any of my links below, they are to my recipes which I will be compensated for if you decide to purchase them. Thank you! Enjoy!

These days we “All” need to find ways to save money and time. With the prices of groceries, gas, and everything else skyrocketing, we need ways to save our money and get more bang for our buck. And ways to save our time.

So, I have put together a list of 10 things that I do to save money and time. Maybe, some of these will inspire you to save money too and your time.


Are you ready to get started? Let’s get to it…

Grocery Sale

1. Shop sales always–  You never know when there are going to be mega sales at your favorite store until you check out their site on a regular basis.


Shop Big Sale

2. Do not buy things at full price-  If there is something you are thinking of purchasing, wait for it to go on sale before you buy it. This includes clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, appliances, or even food.  I always wait for sale times before I make my purchases-I save tons of money this way.



Clip Coupons to Save

3. Always look for coupons online– If you are looking for coupons online, do not limit yourself to the sites that offer the coupons that you want. There are many other sites that can provide you with great coupons that can save you money on things that you were planning to buy anyway.


Weekly Meal Planner

4. Create a meal plan for the week– Do this before you do your shopping. My goodness, you have no idea how much time this will save you! You can print a meal planner off the internet for free.


Grocery List

5. Make a detailed grocery list from your meal plan– This way when you get to the grocery store you want be trying to figure out what you need for the week. Such a big time saver and this will help you to save money because you want be buying unnecessary items you really didn’t need. You can print these off the internet for free.


Freezer Meals

6. Another time saver- Make freezer meals ahead of time . This is a big time saver especially if you are a busy mom taking kids to and from school, taking them to play in sports, to practice, etc. You just set the frozen meal out for 20-30 minutes and pop it in the oven to cook for the time your recipe specifys.


Shop Fruits and Veggies First

7. Shop the perimeter of the store first-  Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, Frozen Foods, and Meat sections, as these sections have fewer processed foods, preservatives, and more natural ingredients.


Shop Once a Week

8. Shop only once a week-  On the same day each week. By shopping regularly you will have a feel for how much you need to buy that week and you will also see how prices change on a weekly basis which is helpful when you are watching your spending.


Buying in Bulk

9. Buy in bulk- When it makes sense or buy generic when possible. My husband and I share vegetables, soups, bread, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. when we buy in bulk with family members which helps us all save money. And they do the same for us.


Onions and Garlic

10. Use a mix for part of the recipe-Oftentimes a mix will be cheaper than buying all of the ingredients separately. While you can use a mix for half of a recipe, adjust the other ingredients accordingly. You can also substitute alternative ingredients for featured ones. If a recipe calls for onions or garlic that are out of season, or if you just don’t have any on hand, try using shallots or garlic powder instead.


There you have it. I hope you enjoyed Baking With Donna: 10 Ways to Save Money and Time as much as I enjoyed sharing this with you. Maybe this will help you as much it has me.

I would love to know if you tried this and how much it helped you. Do you have anything to contribute to my 10 ways to save money and time? If you do please share below.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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10 Tips-How to Survive the Holidays

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Family Gathering for the Holidays

Should you click on any of my links below, they are to my recipes which I will be compensated for if you decide to purchase them. Thank you! Enjoy!

Wow! Can you believe it’s that time of the year again, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve? Do you find yourself getting overwhelmed during the holidays? No, worries, I got you covered!

Below I want to talk to you about how you can survive the holiday season with my 10 Tips-How to Survive the Holidays. It can seem like a harrowing time of year that is even more so for those who find themselves alone, and for the ones of us doing the entertaining. It’s important not to let overwhelm seep in and keep you from enjoying the many gifts and blessings we receive during this time of year.

I love this time of the year even though it can get Harry Caray, so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and let me help you ease through the holidays.


Here are some tips I have for you:

Woman Making Grocery Lists

1. Make a list and check it twice. If you do not have a list already made up, it is time to get started! This is crucial during the holidays. The last thing you need to be thinking about is if you have everything you need for your big night.


Family Time

2. Prioritize. Spend time with those who matter most to you. Family and friends. Make sure you do not overwhelm yourself trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations of you.


Store-Bought Cookies

3. Simplify. There is no need to arrive at every party or gathering with a plate of cookies to eat, or a dish to pass around. Arrive with a smile and be present with those who cross your path. If you don’t like to cook, go with a store-bought dish instead of making something from scratch.


Holiday Meal Planning

4. Plan. Planning your menu ahead of time can save you a lot of time and heartache. Don’t wait until the day before or the day of to try and figure out what you want to cook and serve. Do this at least a week in advance, I promise you will be glad that you did! A big-time saver!


Preparing Veggies

5. Prepare ahead of time. If you are like me and love to bake from scratch, make foods ahead of time that you can freeze or just pop in the oven the next day. Doing simple things like chopping vegetables up, chopping up nuts, etc. the day before will save you valuable time.


Family Cooking Together

6. Ask for help. This is one of the hardest things for me to do! I know, right? There is no shame in asking for help! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I can’t do the things I use to do and that has been hard for me. Thankfully my youngest daughter has taken over a lot of the cooking I use to do for the holidays. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still bake my cakes and cookies, cause I am not willing to give that up yet! Lol! Oh, and my hubby cleans up what I mess up. Bless his heart!


7. Breathe. Yes, breathe and try to get in a little exercise. I know, I know. Who has the time you are probably saying to me as you are reading this? It doesn’t have to be a long process, just do some stretching, breathing exercises, etc. The reason for this is when we get stressed out or anxious, we tend to hold our breath or breathe very shallowly.


Laughing with Family

8. Laughing is the best medicine. Yep, you read this one right. Laughing reduces your stress levels, soothes tension, helps you breath deeper, improves your immune system, improves your mood, relieves pain, plus more! Who would ever think laughing could do so much good?🤔


9. Be grateful. Stop and think about all of the things you should be grateful for. Be thankful to God for your good health, your family, and your friends. Not to mention all of the things that you should be grateful for throughout the year. Try writing down 6-8 things you are grateful for in your life. Try it, you will be surprised how much better you will feel.


Relaxing Back Massage

10. Spend some time relaxing. Yeessss, honey, be good to yourself. All the cooking and cleaning, hosting, etc. It’s time to do something good and kind just for YOU! Put on your list to get a gift card for a massage if someone asks what you would like for Christmas. You can always put that little bug in your hubby’s ear.😉


We all know it! Christmas time is a stressful time for a lot of us. It’s a time of the year that seems to drain us of our energy and motivation. It’s a time when we feel the need to prove ourselves as great wives, moms, daughters, or whatnot.

So, it is very important that you be good to yourself and others during this time of stress. Make sure to take time for yourself to decompress to keep from getting too stressed out. Please don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help if things are getting to be too much for you. It’s ok to ask for help and your family will be glad to pitch in, I promise!

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🦃🎄

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids


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Baking with Donna: A Bakers Love Story

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My love affair with baking began when I was just a little girl. My mom was a homemaker and loved to bake, so it makes sense that I would grow up to enjoy the same hobby at such a young age. My mom taught me how to bake in the kitchen with her. When I was about 12 years old I asked her for my own set of mixing bowls. My mom bought me a whole set of tiny little glass bowls. Yes, they were cute, but boy did they take forever to get the batter out of them after you were done mixing. I also remember trying to scrape the batter off the tiny little glass bowls with a butter knife. That was not fun at all!

Tiny Glass Mixing Bowls

My love affair with baking began when I was just a little girl. My mom was a homemaker and loved to bake, so it makes sense that I would grow up to enjoy the same hobby at such a young age. My mom taught me how to bake in the kitchen with her. When I was about 12 years old I asked her for my own set of mixing bowls. My mom bought me a whole set of tiny little glass bowls. Yes, they were cute, but boy did they take forever to get the batter out of them after you were done mixing. I also remember trying to scrape the batter off the tiny little glass bowls with a butter knife. That was not fun at all!


Measuring Cups and Spoons

The first time I ever had my own real baking supplies was when I got into home economics in high school. I attended Villa Rica High School in Villa Rica, Georgia which is where I learned how to bake with real measuring cups and spoons.

I remember making my very first cake, a Red Velvet cake for Christmas. I think I was 13 years old when I made it and it turned out beautiful and it was quite delicious if I do say so myself. It was so moist and my family loved it! After that, I was hooked on baking.


Young Daughter and Mom Baking

My mom told me what a good job that I had done. “Well,” I said, “I had a great teacher!” Then I told my mom I wanted to learn how to make homemade biscuits, cornbread, etc. And guess what? I did it, but not without mistakes along the way. But I was not discouraged, because that is how we learn.

I still make mistakes baking after all of these years and you will too. Oh, sure it aggravates the daylights out of me, but you can’t give up, you just gotta keep on keeping on. Even if that means starting allllll over again!! And believe me, honey I have had to do that.


Donna’s Santa Cake

I love to cook when I have the time, which most days I do. My favorite time of the year is the holidays. I enjoy getting in my kitchen and baking cakes, cookies, pies, fudge, bread, and actual food. Are there any other foods besides sweets? Just kidding, of course, there are. I just really enjoy baking sweets.

Around the holidays I like making goodies for my family and friends. It just makes me feel good to give them something I have baked homemade and they always have a big smile on their face and dig in immediately. It warms my heart to see them enjoying the fruits of my labor. Plus, it makes them feel a little more special and loved.


I hope you have enjoyed reading about Baking with Donna: A Bakers Love Story. It was truly my pleasure to share this with you. If you are new to baking, I hope this encourages you to continue and grow in your baking skills and know that making mistakes is unavoidable. But, never ever give up! You can do this! If you are a seasoned baker, I hope you took away a few little tidbits from this as well.

How did you come about baking? Do you love it? What kind of mistakes have you made? I would love to hear from you, leave your comments below.

Check out Baking with Donna’s “Little Book of Recipes” for 6 of my favorite recipes just in time for the holidays!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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8 Things Bakers Wish They Knew When They Started Baking

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Howdy, ya’ll, I am going to discuss with you 8 things bakers wish they knew when they started baking. Are you ready?

Cookie Dough

#1. You need a little extra dough.

When you are baking, there are instances when you will need to use more dough than the recipe calls for. This is especially true when it comes to cookies. If you are making chocolate chip cookies, you will need to use more dough than what the recipe calls for in order to make all of your cookies about the same size. If you use too much dough for your mold, just use the extra dough and make a few smaller cookies or roll it out and create your own cookie cutter shapes.


Forgot Something on Grocery List

#2. You will always forget something.

Yes, unfortunately you will always forget something you need for your recipe. As long as I have been baking I forget stuff all of the time! So frustrating. Luckily my hubby is kind enough to go to the store for me and get what I need. But the good news is you can always be getting other things ready for your baking. You know, like measuring your ingredients, getting your pans oiled and floured, pre-heating the oven, etc.


#3. You will need extra stuff.

Collection of Pans

If you bake a lot of cakes like I do, especially around the holidays, you will definitely need more than 2 round pans for sure. That way you can get your cakes done even faster. I got tired of baking 2 layers and having to wait for the pans I was using for the next cake. Long story short, I basically have 2 of ever kind of pan I use so that I don’t run into this problem. I also have 3 sets of measuring cups, 3 sets of measuring spoons, several spatulas. It just makes baking for me easier.


#4. Please follow the recipe in order!

Follow the Recipe

Trust me when I tell you to do this! If it tells you to mix the dry ingredients first, PLEASE do that. If it tells you to add one egg at a time and mix well before adding the next egg, better do it or I promise you bad things will happen to your cake! Like, it want rise like it should, it will be heavy and dense, and it want be moist and delicious. I know this sounds crazy, but the recipe is in steps for a reason. Just do it, ok? You will be glad you did in the end. There’s nothing worse than spending time and energy on a cake to have it flop and you have to start all over again. Plus it is a huge waste of your supplies like flour, sugar, oil, eggs, etc. you get the picture.


#5. Don’t open the oven!

The Sunken Cake

Yep, you read that right. Don’t open the oven before the cake is done or it will sink in the middle. And you can’t fix that! Of course your kiddos will love it because they have a nice little unexpected snack. It’s always better to let it get done before you open the oven to avoid this mishap. Also, don’t let the kiddos run or stomp through the kitchen or it will make your cake sink in the middle as well. At least that’s what my mama always told me. And mama’s know best, right?🤔


#6. You will have lots of dirty dishes.

Dirty Dishes

Yes, this is sooo true. But, luckily I have my hubby that is willing to help me clean up not only the dishes, but the kitchen. Let me tell you, I can make quiet a mess when I am baking, especially cakes. Give me flour and sugar and buddy it’s on. I just have to spill the flour and sugar when measuring them. My poor hubby went to the store for me (because of course I had forgotten something) and when he came back, he was like, “What in the world did you do?” There was flour from one side of my counter to the other! 😂 I said, “Well honey you know how I am with the flour and sugar, sorry!” Oh, I also get crap in the floor too.


#7. The cakes need to cool completely.

Cooling the Cakes

People, I promise you, you have to let the cake cool completely before you can apply the frosting or icing. It will run off if the cake is still the least bit warm. Guess who found out the hard way?😒 I know, live and learn I always say. Then I like to do a crumb coat, which is a thin layer of frosting, and put the cake in the fridge or freezer for about 20-30 minutes. This keeps all of those pesky crumbs out of your frosting. Then your cake will look wonderful.


#8. Don’t be hard on yourself.

If You Wait For Perfect…

Don’t be hard on yourself if you mess up. It’s ok. Just learn from your mistakes and keep on baking. I have been baking for years and still make mistakes. But guess what? The next time you will remember what you did wrong and correct it. Unfortunately that’s how we learn to be better bakers and become better at anything we do. We mess up, we learn and move on. So, enjoy baking and have fun with it!


I hope this helps you avoid some of the many mistakes I have made during my baking after all of these years.

I still make mistakes form time to time, but my love for baking outweighs the mistakes I have made and will continue to make. Like I said, just have fun with it and keep on baking.

Do you have any baking mistakes you would like to share with me? I would love to hear about them. I wish I could find some pictures, but I can’t. I’m sure they are some where. If I find them I will share.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT PIE FILLING

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** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Donna Kennedy

Baking With Donna strongly encourages you to enjoy this article, and others on our blog. Please feel free to share this content and share your thoughts in the comments section.

I don’t know about you but I love apple pie. There’s is nothing like a moist delicious apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top. Are you ready to find out how to make the perfect pie filling?

I have to admit, I don’t make apple pie very often. But when I do make it, it’s a showstopper. And that’s because I’m not using a store-bought pie filling. Nope, when I bake an apple pie, I make my own filling from scratch. It’s really easy to do and the taste is way better than the stuff in a jar or can.

Baking is something that I have loved since I was a child. As a matter of fact, my first memory of what I wanted to be when I grew up was a baker. Even though the process of baking is part science and part art, there are some tricks that you can use to ensure that you have a perfect pie every time.

When you are making your pie filling, start with about 6 or 7 apples. The more apples that you use the more moisture your pie will have. We want to make sure that there is a nice layer of apples in our pie so cut them into small pieces before you add them to the bowl.

I like to cut mine up into bite size pieces. It makes it so much easier to cut and eat. Along with making your pie filling homemade, don’t forget to check out my recipe for DONNA’S “NEVER FAIL PIE CRUST” for the best and only pie crust recipe you will ever need. I promise!

5 TIPS TO THE PERFECT PIE FILLING

  1. Always use 6-7 sweet and tart apples like Honey Crisps, Granny Smith, Gala, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Red and Delicious. Sense I only use 6, I use 3 sweet and 3 tart. Makes an awesome pie.
  2. For 6 cups of apples you will need about 5 medium sized apples. You will probably have a little bit left over. Now you have a healthy snack.
  3. To avoid your crust from becoming soggy, you need to invest in a pizza stone. I just recently found out about this and it is amazing. You will get a evenly baked pie crust that will not be soggy. Pizza stones are inexpensive and worth every penny!
  4. To prevent your pie filling from becoming to watery, make sure you have your pie crust ready to fill right after you get through mixing the filling up. The longer the pie filling sits the watery it gets.
  5. I prefer ceramic deep dish pie plates because I love thick pies. So, yummy.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🥧

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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If you are in need of a deep dish pie plate, no worries Amazon has them. This beautiful one below is shown in red, but there are several colors to choose from.

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Baking with Donna—How to Make the Perfect Pie Crust

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Perfect Pie Crust

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

When people ask me what is my favorite dessert, I never give them a clear answer because I love them all! For me, no dessert beats a piece of pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s the ultimate comfort food.

However, pie making can be daunting for some. It’s not easy to make a perfect pie in one try. So I’m here to help!

The type of pie you’re making will largely affect the crust you make. There are different crusts for different pies. Shortcrust pastry is flaky and buttery, perfect for custard pies, such as lemon meringue, and fruit pies such as Apple or cherry. The best part about this pastry is that it’s very forgiving. The shortcrust pastry will turn out perfect even if you don’t follow instructions properly. On the other hand, American-style pie crust has an extra layer of fat between the crust and the filling to keep it moist and tender.

There are many ways to make pie crusts, but this one is by far my favorite. I think it makes a better crust than almost any other way, and it takes less time. I like to use this recipe for making fruit filling with a lattice top.

Today you are going to learn how to make the perfect pie crust that comes out soft, flakey, and delicious! You won’t have to throw away any more pies, because they came out hard or tough. The pie crust recipe I am sharing with you today will make the perfect pie crust every time. I have the best tips for making this pie crust and would like to share them with you.

Tried and True Tricks for a Soft Flakey Pie Crust

  1. For a tender flakey crust, you will want to use a glass pie plate or if you prefer aluminum make sure they are dull and not shiny. Shiny pie plates reflect heat and the results are a soggy bottom pie crust. 😝
  2. I just recently learned an awesome way to a perfectly even cooked golden pie crust every time. Are you ready for it? A pizza stone! You read this correctly, a pizza stone. I promise you they are not that expensive at all and well worth the money. You will never have Soggy Pie Crust Again! You set your pie plate right on the stone and let it works its magic.
  3. You should measure your flour by first stirring a bit before you put it in your measuring cup. Over fill your measuring cup and then sweep the excess flour off with a curved spatula or you can use the flat edge of a butter knife.
  4. To prevent puffing up of the pastry while baking it, thoroughly prick holes in the bottom and sides.
  5. To prevent your dough from becoming tough, do not overwork it! Handle it as little as possible.
  6. If you would like to flute the edges of your pastry simply place thumb and index finger about 1 inch apart on outside of raised edge. Use your other index finger to push pastry toward outside, continuing around edge. Repeating this motion will form a beautiful edge. You can also take the tines of a fork and press down on the edges all away around the pastry to form another unique design.

Some people think that making a homemade pie crust is a big deal, but honestly, it’s not and I promise you it will be well worth the effort.

Homemade pie crust tastes so much better than the store-bought ones. It is soft, flakey, and oh so delicious. Besides, the pie crust recipe I am about to give only has 4 ingredients! And it is for Single Crust, Double Crust, and Deep Dish Double Crust. Which happens to be my favorite.

If you follow my above tips, you will be making delicious pie crust that your family will rave about. Now that you know the tricks, get baking!😉

To get the recipe go to DONNA’S “NEVER FELL PIE CRUST” for your best Apple Pie ever!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🥧

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P. S. Before you go…

I have a product for you if you want to make a beautiful pie crust. I have one it’s called A Pie Crust Silicone Protector. I wished I would have known about this years ago! If you want to shop online for one, go to Amazon and get you one. Great investment! Here’s a picture of what it looks like.