Cranberry Pepper Jelly

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Tart cranberries and spicy peppers mingle in this sweet and spicy Cranberry Pepper Jelly. Everyone goes crazy for this spicy jam at the very first bite!

When I realized I had been buying cranberry pepper jam almost every time I was at the grocery store, I knew it was time to make my own version of this jam.

Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at

I first tasted this jam with brie and fancy wafer crackers. Then I poured the jam over a simple block of cream cheese and served it with Ritz crackers. My kids went nuts over that.

Next, I spread this pepper jam on the Best Ever Ham Sandwich. When you layer this Cranberry Pepper Jam with creamy goat cheese, salty ham, and fresh arugula, it’s the sandwich that everyone is going to be talking about.

Cranberry Jalapeno Jam

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned an upcoming recipe that has been as highly anticipated as this recipe for pepper jam.

I mentioned that I would soon be sharing the recipe when I first shared that awesome ham sandwich recipe a few weeks ago. In the time since, I’ve received countless emails, messages, and snaps asking when I’ll be sharing the recipe for cranberry jalapeno jelly.

I’ll apologize now for the delay, because the recipe just wasn’t perfect until this version. And when I say it is perfect, I mean it. It is absolutely positively PERFECT now.

Side note: if you love sweet heat combinations and cranberries as much as we do, you definitely need to put this cranberry jalapeno dip on your must-try list too!

Cranberry Pepper Jam is everyone's favorite appetizer!

Spicy Jam

When you’re working with cranberries, I’ve found that it’s really easy to make a cranberry sauce. As evidenced by this classic homemade cranberry sauce and this spicy hot pepper cranberr

Christmas White Chocolate Trash Chex Mix

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Christmas White Chocolate Trash Chex Mix

This white chocolate trash Chex mix is sweet and salty, can be made in minutes using only the microwave, and makes great neighbor or coworker holiday gifts!

This is the best part of Christmas for me, the traditions that my kids love. Every year we have a pile of Christmas movies to get through and while I only care about 2, White Christmas and Elf. Our little guy is obsessed, No, OBSESSED with Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the new one not the old one). And over the years it has become something we all can’t wait to do because he’s SO EXCITED!

This last year he said, can we have a special Elf movie night with a Buddy the Elf snack? 


You can add maple syrup extract to the white chocolate if you want to, but I’ll be honest, it’s too much for me. Otherwise, just throw it all in there and no judgments if you want to add pop tarts or leftover candy corn (best of luck finding any to buy in December).

A large bowl of white chocolate Christmas Chex Mix. It contains chex cereal, pretzels, vanilla wafers, peanuts and m&m candies. It is covered in melted white chocolate chips.

When Do You Watch Your First Christmas Movie?

Hey side note, when do you watch your first Christmas movie? White Christmas tends to be the movie we watch on Thanksgiving and I kind of love that tradition. 

What are Your Favorite Christmas Movies?

We would love to have you all comment with your must-watch Christmas movies and then update this recipe next year or even a whole separate post of Christmas movies for the whole family to watch. FYI, I totally have a Chick Flick one if you’re interested…

What Ingredients Do I Need for White Chocolate Chex Mix?

The ingredients for this Chex mix can be changed based on what you have on hand. That is one of the reasons it is called “trash” Chex mix. It is meant for all the little leftover odds and ends you have in pantry that you might otherwise throw away. I’m going to give the ingredients that we love best, but feel free to make it your own!

  • Corn Chex
  • Rice Chex
  • Mini Pretzels
  • Mini Vanilla Wafers
  • Dry Roasted Peanuts
  • M&Ms (plain)
  • White Chocolate Ch

The Little Things Newsletter #340 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Welcome to the weekend, friends! I hope that your Thanksgiving was everything you wanted it to be this year. (And if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend too!) We had a great visit with family and I’m happily enjoying some couch time and games with my boys this weekend.

ON THE BLOG this week: Tangy cranberry pancakes topped with maple syrup make getting out of bed on the weekend a little bit easier. I’ll be making these a couple more times for certain before cranberry season comes to an end.

Speaking of syrup, brown sugar and butter can be simmered together to create a caramel toffee-flavored homemade syrup like nothing you’ve ever tasted. This sauce is no substitute for maple syrup, Brown Butter Homemade Syrup is awesome all by itself.

Crisp baby spinach, spring mix lettuces, tart apples, sweet raisins, crunchy almonds, and the ultimate honey cider salad dressing are combined to create this fantastic Spinach Apple Salad.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are for those of us who love traditional cabbage rolls almost as much as we hate the time it takes to roll and bake them. Bites of juicy ground beef with fluffy rice and tangy tomato sauce are made even better in this simple one-skillet meal.

Just in case you haven’t yet tried it, many of you went absolutely CRAZY over this Cranberry Jalapeno Dip for Thanksgiving. “The sweet heat that you can not stop eating” is the best way to describe this creamy cranberry jalapeno dip. I am snacking on some this afternoon as I write this and I’m willing to bet I’ll be making more this weekend.

Oven-roasted cabbage with balsamic and roasted onions is nothing short of a crazy obsession for me at this point. Try it once and you will understand.

Do you have leftover turkey? Try adding it to this potato and vegetable soup for a hearty meal that you’re certain to savor. With some rolls and jalapeno honey butter on the side, this is a dinner I’m already looking forward to eating tomorrow.

What I’m CRAVING: Truthfully? Not a whole lot. Funny how a day of feasting does that to us, doesn’t it? Though I’m likely to be polishing off the rest of the Strawberry Pretzel Salad with every meal until it’s done.

My FAVORITE THING this week is Bananagrams. I played this game all week with both the adults and the

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

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Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are for those of us who love traditional cabbage rolls almost as much as we hate the time it takes to roll and bake them. Bites of juicy ground beef with fluffy rice and tangy tomato sauce are made even better in this simple one-skillet meal.

Sometimes (read: most of the time), as much as I love cabbage rolls, I just don’t have the time, energy, or patience to make them on a weeknight. If you’re like me, these Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls might be your newest favorite dinner.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls are a favorite with kids and adults!

Unstuffed Cabbage

For nearly as long as Sean and I have been married, I’ve been making Layered Cabbage Rolls as a timesaver option for a cabbage roll dinner. My whole family loves them and they’re requested often.

I remember the first time I served that easy variation on cabbage rolls to our friend Joe. Joe was born in Hungary and he was so happy with that dish that he kept smiling and telling stories all the way through the meal.

He told us it tasted exactly as he remembered his mother’s cooking. Joe passed away last year and remembering his happiness over that meal still brings a smile to my face.

A few years ago, I was thrilled to realize that I could get the cabbage roll flavors we love in a simple skillet meal, without even turning on the oven. The ground beef is browned along with plenty of seasonings before simmering in a rich tomato sauce with fresh cabbage and rice.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

From start to finish, this meal comes together in under 20 minutes, making it pretty much perfect as far as I’m concerned. I like to serve the Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls with a simple salad and a crusty bread to sop up any juices on our plates. This would also be delicious served with Homemade Pierogies for a full Polish feast!

This is a dinner that checks all my boxes, a quick meal that manages to make everyone happy using simple and inexpensive ingredients. If you have never had the joy of tasting Cabbage Rolls before now, here is your chance.

Cabbage rolls are a classic European dish of cabbage leaves wrapped around seasoned ground meat and baked. Ground beef is a traditional filling for the cabbage but ground lamb and turkey are also popular in some areas.

These rolls

Brown Sugar Butter Syrup

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Brown sugar and butter simmer together and create a caramel toffee flavored homemade syrup like nothing you’ve ever tasted.

This sauce is no substitute for maple syrup, maple syrup is its own bit of wonderful that nothing can replace. Butter Sugar and Butter Homemade Syrup is awesome all by itself.

brown sugar syrup with butter

I drizzled this syrup over some Banana Nut Oatmeal last week and my boys liked it so much, they requested it on their oatmeal again the very next morning. I couldn’t resist making a batch of our favorite waffles for the last of the syrup.

This syrup is on par with our family’s beloved Waffle Sauce; it’s an entirely different kind of deliciousness and I already love it. If you enjoy homemade sauces and syrups as much as we do, you’ll want to try this awesome Buttermilk Syrup too, for another terrific homemade syrup option.

When my friend Rebecca told me about her recipe for Brown Sugar Butter Pancake and Waffle Syrup, I was immediately taken back to childhood when my mom used to make a simple sugar homemade syrup for our pancakes. This version, oh Mom forgive me, this version puts that one to shame times about 1000.

This is one instance where butter not only makes it better, but it transforms the recipe into something that will take your breath away with its deliciousness.

Your kitchen will smell amazing and you might even be left without words to describe it.

homemade syrup with brown sugar and butter

How To Make Homemade Syrup

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Lower the heat to medium and allow the mixture to boil for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the butter and stir until the butter has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the extract if desired.
  3. Let the syrup cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a pitcher or jar for storage. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a month.
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