Tag Archives: gifts

“NanaBread’s Head” Turns One Today

July 1st marks the one year birthday of my NanaBread blog. Can you believe it? Neither can I. While time seemed to fly by, it feels like we packed a lot into this first year. Favorite recipes, photos of the family, Ziggy’s adventures in… well, snoring. We even started highlighting some of the culinary creations of The Complete Package, my beloved husband. We’ve also seen the grandkids grow at an alarming rate, shared Hoegarden stories about our “ladies only” family weekends, thrown in a few crafts, and shared some of our travel pics. We’ve highlighted local products, spotlighted some of our favorite barbecue joints, and sprinkled in some of the things I love. I think this first year definitely lived up to my blog header in that it truly is a lot like my junk drawers. It’s happily filled with random tidbits, trash and treasures. Mission accomplished.

Overall, it has been a great year, and I couldn’t have done it without you. In fact, you are the reason I’m still here. Your comments and support are what keep this blog (and me) going, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I really do. I appreciate each visitor and value every comment, but those of you who return again and again are more than readers, you’re friends. And that is the gift I most value from my first year of blogging. You. Without you and my family, there would be no Inside NanaBread’s Head. I keep writing because you keep reading. I don’t always understand why, but I’m so happy that you do!

Here is a look back at a few of my favorite posts. Click on any title to see the full post and take a walk down memory lane.

My name is NanaBread and I’m a Peppermint Bath Product Junkie.
In this post, I got a chance to bare my soul and share my addiction – peppermint bath products. I’m not proud that I’m an addict, but if you’re going to get hooked on something, I suppose this one’s pretty harmless. Not cheap, but harmless. And it answered the burning question “Is there such a thing as too many peppermint bath products?” with a resounding “You’re joking, right?”

Menopause, you hateful bitch…
This post still makes me laugh. I was suffering from a particularly raging hot flash when I sat down and let it rip. I don’t rage often, but I let it fly with this one. I felt like life had lied to me by omission, and I didn’t want another woman to be taken by surprise ever again. This one was for the ladies, especially those in the inescapable grip of “the change” like me. It also confirmed for me that if menopause had a rubber wristband, it should be black like my mood swings.

Hidden Treasure Cupcakes: Mocha Fudge Cupcakes with Reese’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Inside
Of all the recipes I’ve posted, this is the one I personally enjoyed the most. I’ve never had an experimental recipe come out of the oven and make my eyes roll back in my head like this one did. Deep down in my soul, I’m a pie girl. But these cupcakes almost converted me. Dark chocolate, coffee and peanut butter? Seriously – it is probably the closest I’ll ever come to cupcake perfection.

Playing With Food: Big Sister’s Rainbow Tie-Dyed Cupcakes

Speaking of cupcakes, the prettiest cupcakes of the year (by far) were my Big Sister’s rainbow tie-dyed beauties. These were inspired by a food blogger I love, but Big Sis put her own spin on it by using one of our mother’s old white cake recipes and a frosting recipe she found on the Tasty Kitchen website. She brought all those elements together to make not only a gorgeous cupcake, but a tasty one. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s adaptable. You can substitute any white cake recipe or mix, and you could use any frosting recipe. But honestly, the one Big Sis found was awesome. For pure fun and beauty, these rocked my world and made me think outside the (cake) box.

Vacation Photos of Amsterdam: Let’s just say it was…interesting.
Of all the stories I’ve shared, this one continues to get regular weekly hits months after it was posted. Evidently, Amsterdam is a highly searched travel topic. Who knew? Maybe it’s the cheese; maybe it’s the weed; maybe it’s the waffles. It truly is a “whatever floats your boat” city. It was a great trip and an interesting place, and months after it was posted this story is still going strong.

“Buy Local” Spotlight: Salt Lick BBQ
This post will always be special to me because it was the first time one of my stories was selected as a FoodPress feature. It got attention from around the world, which seemed to open my blog up to an expanded global view. I received comments from exotic locales, and gained a few subscribers from far away places who visited and decided to stick around. For that, I am eternally grateful. It left me wondering if good BBQ might be one of the keys to world peace.

In Honor of Mother’s Day
This was by far my most read post of the year thanks to a feature on the WordPress “Freshly Pressed” homepage. I don’t know how they select stories to feature, but I was blown away that this one garnered their attention. It was highlighted on the Friday before Mother’s Day and left up the entire weekend. Because of that, it got over 8,000 hits in 3 days. Some bloggers hope that their blogs will hit the big time, but in all honesty this one made me a nervous wreck. That kind of attention brought a lot of spam and more than a little anxiety, but it also provided an opportunity for others from around the world to share memories of their mothers and siblings, or lack thereof. It was both an emotional and enlightening experience for me. It also provided my mother with more than 15 minutes of fame, which was fun for her. She deserved it.

In honor of my first blogging birthday, I’m extending the celebration to one lucky reader. That reader, selected randomly, will receive a gift box containing some of my favorite things from my first year. Gift box items include:

1 bottle of Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla bean paste
1 jar of Dickinson’s Black Raspberry preserves
1 jar of Salt Lick BBQ spice rub, not pictured
1 set of small Nordic Ware spatulas
1 set of colorful measuring spoons
1 set of colorful measuring cups
1 set of Le Creuset silicone measuring prep bowls
1 bar of Garden Botanika oatmeal & peppermint soap
2 boxes of Stash tea – Chai Spice & Black Currant (decaf)
1 ladies print kitchen apron, handmade by NanaBread

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED TO COMMENTS. THE WINNER OF THE DRAWING HAS BEEN NOTIFIED BY E-MAIL, AND WILL BE POSTED AS SOON AS I HAVE A CONFIRMED MAILING ADDRESS. THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED.

CONGRATULATIONS TO SUSAN FROM FLORIDA. YOU’RE A WINNER! I HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR GIFTS. -NB

Here are my rules:

1. Leave a comment on this post.

2. The selected reader will be notified by e-mail. Once I have a confirmed mailing address, I will announce the recipient of the gift box on my blog.

3. Participation is limited to residents of the United States.

4. One name will be randomly selected on Friday, July 8th at Noon (Central).

Disclaimer: All gift box items were purchased by me with my own money except for the apron, which was handmade by me. None of the products were donated or sponsored in any way, shape or form. They are simply items that I love, shared with one lucky reader.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a reader of my blog. Your support and friendship over the past 12 months has meant the world to me, and I look forward to seeing what the next year will bring.

Hugs & birthday kisses to you all,
NanaBread (Jeanne)

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Great Gift Giving – Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar

Cookie Mix in a Jar

These cookie mix jars make a great holiday, house warming or wedding shower gifts. They’re easy to assemble and fun to give. I made a dozen of these for the girls at Hoegarden weekend. The resulting cookies are fabulous! I love to use Extra Dark Guittard chips, but you can use whatever you like. This cookie mix will keep for up to three months in the pantry.

Here’s what you’ll need to make each jar:
One wide-mouth quart size canning jar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons kosher salt (or table salt)
1½ cups Extra-Dark 70% Cacao Guittard chocolate chips
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
One jumbo paper cupcake liner, for a lid cover
One piece of ribbon, for decoration
One piece of cute scrapbook paper, for the instruction card
One hole punch for attaching instruction card to the ribbon

This recipe makes one 1-quart gift jar. It’s important to tap each layer into place so everything settles into clearly defined, lovely layers.

In a mixing bowl, blend flour, baking soda and salt with a whisk until thoroughly combined. Spoon flour mixture into the jar, and gently tap the jar on a kitchen towel to settle the contents. Gently spoon in the chocolate chips, and again tap the jar lightly to settle the contents. If you have a flat-ended utensil that will fit into the jar (or something like a tall narrow jar of green olives), you can use it to gently press ingredients down into the jar. Next, spoon in the brown sugar, and use that olive jar to pack it down. Spoon in the granulated sugar, and tap it down. By now, the jar should be full. Wipe the rim of the jar to make sure it’s clean. Cap with a clean lid and make sure it’s tightly sealed.

To decorate the jar, top with one jumbo cupcake liner. Using your hands, press the top edge of the liner to make sure it conforms to the shape of the jar lid. Print the directions below onto your scrapbook paper, either by hand or on your computer printer. Cut out the instructions, hole punch the top corner, then run the ribbon through and tie it into a pretty bow around the neck of the jar.

Here’s what to print on the directions card:

To Use Your Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Jar Mix:
Preheat oven to 375° F. Beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter, 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional); mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto un-greased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. (Makes about 2 dozen cookies; mix will keep for up to 3 months if stored in a cool, dry place.)

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