Peach Custard Pie by Emily Phillips

PEACH CUSTARD PIE MIX (spice mix) Makes: enough for (1) 9-inch Pie

1 cup sugar

3 tbsps. flour

Dash of salt

1/2 Tsp. cinnamon

1 Tsp. Powdered vanilla

In a small-sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients with a wire whisk or fork until well incorporated. Place the homemade mix in a container that has the name of the contents and the date the mix was made written on it.

PEACH CUSTARD PIE Preheat: 425℉, Makes: 1 (9-inch) pie


2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 ½ cups milk

2 (14.5 oz) cans peaches, drained

2 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat the oven at 425℉. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Set aside. Place the peaches in the bottom of the pie shell cavity. Pour the custard over the fruit. Sprinkle the top of the custard layer with cinnamon. 

Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes before reducing the oven’s temperature to 375℉ for an hour or until done (golden brown).



Black Russian Mini Bundt Cakes by Emily Phillips

BLACK RUSSIAN CAKE Preheat: 350℉, Bake: 30 minutes, Makes: 8 mini bundt cakes

1 yellow cake mix (without the pudding)

1 pkg. Instant chocolate pudding (3 oz.)

4 eggs

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

¾ cup water

¼ cup vodka

¼ cup kahlua

A dash of vanilla extract

Extra kahlua or raspberry liquor for the drizzle

Preheat the oven at 350℉. Grease and flour a tube pan. Mix well together and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes for mini bundt pans or until a toothpick comes out clean. When the cake is cool, drizzle over with powdered sugar and extra kahlua.


This recipe was adapted from the Black Russian Cake Recipe found in the COOKING WITH LICA LADIES (LAND IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA) cookbook of 1988


Zuchhini Banana Bread

Bananas on a wooden crate

Every year, I make homemade Christmas gifts to give out to people I see everyday. This year, I made 24 mini loafs of zucchini banana bread.

To make up to 24 mini loafs, you may need only up to 1 1/2 times the recipe as this recipe makes 2 8″x4″ loafs of bread.

I have learned, through making this bread mix recipe and zucchini banana bread recipe, that the volume changes as the dimensions of the pan changes.

I made 3 times the recipe, thinking I needed that much to make 24 mini loafs of bread. However, since I needed only 1 1/2 times the mix recipe, I had an extra 1 1/2 mixes left.

I gave away, to a neighbor of mine, the bag of mix for 1 whole batch the needed zucchini and bananas as she let me borrow her grater.

Zucchini Banana Bread Mix

2 c. white sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Store in a gallon size ziploc bag or a large container for later.

Zucchini Banana Bread

Preheat: 350 degrees Farenheit

Bake: 1 hour

Makes: 2 (8″ x 4″) loaves


1 Zucchini Banana Bread Mix

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

2 bananas


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease two 8″ x 4″ bread pans.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.

Bake for 1 hour.

Let the bread loaves cool before using a knife around the edge.


Frosty the Snowman Ornaments

Frosty the Snowman ornaments/Karen Loraine

Last year, I got 11 giant plastic ornaments, which had a little black thing to go around the wire reminded me of an updated version of Frosty the Snowman’s hats, which was a beanie hat.

So this year, I made Frosty the Snowman ornaments with the little beanie hat on top.

Here is what is needed to make each Frosty the Snowman ornaments.


1 plastic ball ornament

Shredded white paper

2 wiggle eyes

1 orange pom-pom

elmer’s glue


1.) Take the wire out and stuff the ornament with white paper.

2.) Squeeze three dots of glue, spaced in an even triangular pattern, on the ornament.

3.) place the two wiggle eyes on the ball ornament, from left to right.

4.) place the orange pom-pom on the ball ornament, where the nose goes.

5.) let the ornaments dry with the nose pointed upwards.

Any child can make this ornament with the supervision of an adult.



Photo by samer daboul on Pexels.com

I adapted this recipe from another recipe on the internet.

CHOCOLATE PUFF PUFF MIX Makes: 1 mix for about 21 balls

4 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour

1 cup Cacao Powder

1 1/2 cups Coconut Sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

⅛ tsp Nutmeg

¼ tsp Sea Salt

Place the flour in a gigantic bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder. Mix in the rest of the ingredients with a fork until it incorporates all the ingredients. 

Place in a storage container for later or place in a jar, labeled with the jar contents and the date you made the mix. Then give the jar away.

CHOCOLATE PUFF PUFF RECIPE Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 12 Minutes, Yield: about 21 balls Category: Dessert, Method: Deep Fry Cuisine: Nigerian

DESCRIPTION: A twist on a classic Nigerian street food, this Chocolate Puff Puff has a crispy exterior combined with a rich & fluffy chocolate inside! Gluten-Free & Vegan.

For the Batter:


½ cup Full Fat Coconut Milk (from a can)

1 ½ cup Filtered Water

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For Cooking and Serving:

Sunflower Oil for Deep Frying  

2 tbsp Coconut Sugar

3 tbsp Maple Syrup

¼ cup Shredded Coconut, toasted

Fill a large, deep pot with oil until it’s between 3-5 inch deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat while you prepare the Puff Puff batter; you want it to get to around 300F. In the meantime, place the mix in a gigantic bowl. Form a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the remaining wet ingredients. Mix the batter together until everything combines and uniformed. Once the oil heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, use a small cookie or ice cream scooper to drop 3 tbsp balls of dough into the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you will need to do this in 2-3 batches. Raise the heat to high and then fry the Puff Puff for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the dough balls cook evenly and do not stick together. The balls will have a crisp exterior and will make a “hollow” sound to them when you tap them–that’s when you know they’re done! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the Puff Puff to a plate lined with a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Immediately sprinkle the balls with Coconut Sugar and top with toasted Coconut. Drizzle with Maple Syrup and then serve them while warm.

NOTES: You can substitute the Coconut Sugar with another granulated sweetener. We only used the gluten-free all-purpose flour during the testing of this recipe.


Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins with Muffin Mix

Photo by alleksana on Pexels.com

I adapted and tested this recipe from another recipe found in the most unusual places, the back of a murder mystery book titled “MING TEA MURDER” written by Laura Childs. The book itself is A TEA SHOP MYSTERY book with recipes and tea time suggestions at the back of the book.

If you want to prepare ahead of time for afternoon tea or just want to give away a homemade muffin mix, with the Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins as a gift, then this recipe is for you.

Muffin Mix 1 Makes: 1 (12 muffin) mix

2 cups flour

½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. Baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a gigantic bowl. Put the mix in a storage container to use later or label a mason jar and give it away with the below recipe.

If giving as a gift, be sure to label the jar with the recipe title and the date of the day you made the mix.

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins Preheat oven to 400℉, Bake: 20 minutes, Makes: 12 muffins

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

½ tsp. Vanilla extract*

1 Muffin Mix 1

1 cup sour cream

1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400℉. Beat eggs, gradually adding sugar, in an enormous bowl. Continue beating and pour in the oil and vanilla. Incorporate the mix into the egg mixture. Stir the dry ingredients into egg mixture, gradually incorporating the sour cream. Gently fold in the blueberries. Scoop the batter into a greased muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes.

*vanilla extract is available as a dry ingredient. One brand of Organic Vanilla Extract Powder is COOK’S, which is available on Amazon.com and walmart.com. I also find it is also at cooksvanilla.com.


Classic Homemade Holiday Mixes and Accompanying Recipes

Edited and Tested by Emily Phillips

You can use the following recipes all year round. Some of these recipes are children friendly to make. The sugar cookies, for example, have sprinkles as an option to add that will appeal to children.

All of these mixes can be stored in an airtight container and mad later. Each mix recipe comes with another recipe that uses the mixes. All recipes can be used to give gifts either by giving a cellophane bag of the mix accompanied by the recipe that uses it or by creating and wrapping the final product that the mix is used in.

All of these mixes were inspired by and based on the cookbook “MERRY AND BRIGHT” published by HEARST Publishers who also publish Country Living.


Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Homemade Pumpkin Bread made from Homemade Pumpkin Bread Mix

This homemade pumpkin bread mix is based and inspired by a recipe I found in a magazine called “THE GOOD OLD DAYS” November/December 2019 Issue.

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN BREAD MIX This moist quick bread is ideal for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. This mix can be stored or given. Makes: enough for 2 large loaves or 8 mini loaves


3 1/2 cups flour

2 tsps. Baking Soda

2 tsps. cinnamon

2 tsps. grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. allspice

Whisk everything in a large mixing bowl.

This following recipe uses the HOMEMADE PUMPKIN BREAD MIX as an ingredient.

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN BREAD Preheat: 350 degrees farheinheit, Baking time: 50-60 minutes, Yields: 2 9x5x3 in loaves or 8 mini loaves


1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 large eggs

1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled*

2/3 cup water

2 cups white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farheinheit. Grease 2 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or 8 mini loave pans with cooking (Pam baking) spray or grease and then flour. (With Pam baking spray there is no need to flour as it already contains flour.)

In a medium bowl, place the mix. set aside.

In a large bowl, place the pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, water and both sugars. Using an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add dry mix, mixing just until combined. do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between all of the prepared pans. bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge to remove from the pans. This bread freezes well.

*If Salted Butter is not available, use 1 1/2 tsps. salt.

Place bread in clear cellophane bags. Use the enclosed cellophane bag twist ties.

Now you are ready to give gifts.


Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer Craft Glass Ornaments

When I saw a picture of glass ball ornaments of the words Rudolph and the other reindeer names, I had to make these.

Supplies needed for 1 Rudolph ornament:

1 clear glass ball

2 googlie eyes

1 red pom-pom

1 brown or gold pipe cleaner

Shredded brown construction paper (shredded with a regular paper shredder)

Glue (Sobo is a better craft glue. It dries clear and never yellow with age)


paper plate or newspaper


1.) Set up your workspace area with the supplies above.

2.) Place some glue on the paper plate or newspaper.

3.) Take the metal pieces of the ornament and stuff the ornament with enough shredded construction paper, but do not overcrowd the paper (we mean it to show). Place the metal pieces back on the ornament.

4.) Dip the paintbrush in the glue and paint the back of each eye. Place both eyes onto the glass ball.

5.) Dip the red pom-pom into the glue and place below (right between) the eyes. This becomes the nose.

6.) Dip the paintbrush back into the glue and paint the metal cover (not the hanger) and the immediate surrounding area with the glue. Find the middle of the pipe cleaner and place it dead center against the metal, touch the glass and the metal at the same time. Wrap the pipe cleaner around the metal piece one time and twist the pipe cleaner in the back. The pipe cleaner is the antlers.

Hope you all enjoy the Holiday season!



by, Karen Loraine

Teal pumpkin project

Foodallergy.org is a website that promotes the TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT, a safer way for parents with children, who have food allergies, to know that a particular house is a safe place for their child to trick-or-treat on Halloween.

For all the rules of the TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT, go to foodallergy.org.

The Teal pumpkin on your front stoop, seen from the street, signifies that the only items available to the tricker-treaters at your house are non-food items.

The following project will show you one way of painting a pumpkin teal.

Supplies needed:

1 pumpkin, large enough to view from the street

1 paint brush

blue acrylic paint

green acrylic paint

white acrylic paint

1 palette


paper towels

1 cup of water


  1. Setup your workspace area to your liking.
  2. Mix 5 parts blue paint and 5 parts green paint to create the teal color. Mix in a little white paint at a time to create the teal shade of your choice.
  3. Use the paintbrush to brush strokes of paint all over the pumpkin except where the pumpkin touches the newspaper.
  4. Let the paint on the pumpkin dry before dabbing wet paint on the areas of thin paint.
  5. Depending on the size of the pumpkin, words could be painted as well. For example: we are allergy friendly or non-food treats here.
  6. Let the pumpkin dry completely.
  7. Set the pumpkin out on the front stoop in a place where the pumpkin could be viewed from the street.
  8. Get ready for trick-or-treaters.

Getting ready for Trick-or-Treaters:

There are many items to choose from that could be handed out at Halloween. Here are just a few ideas of items that could be handed out to all trick-or-treaters:

unsharpened pencils,


glow sticks,

glow bracelets,

or little trinket goodie bags.

All of these items could become “treats” for Halloween. What other non-food items could you think of handing out?

Have a happy and safe Halloween!



My name is Karen Loraine, owner of craftsasgifts.com. The purpose of Crafts As Gifts is to help promote and encourage new ideas of how to make gifts with what is already at home. This includes: gardening, crafts, and food recipes.

Why do this?

Here are some reasons why this blog is here:

1.) Teach the young and the elderly alike that, whatever your skill sets or expertise may be, gifts could be made in the home and not have to spend money on gas in addition to buying gifts.

2.) Quality control of ingredients and craft supplies will be controlled by the person who makes the homemade gifts. For example: having a garden means that the quality and quantity of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers are under your control. What you put in your garden is what comes out of your garden. If you have an organic garden plants that grew from heirloom seeds, then organic heirloom garden plants are going to come out of that garden.

3.) Awareness of just how versatile of the kitchen and garden items is not what it used to be. For example: many know that lavender could be used in some crafts like wreaths, scent homemade carpet fresheners, and homemade air fresheners. However, awareness of the food items the lavender flowers could be used as an ingredient in has gone down (Lavender Cookies).

I hope to connect with crafters and non-crafters alike, regardless of age. This includes the home cook (who does not mind doing the work and save money at the same time), the crafter (who likes to try out new skills) and the gardener (who knows that the plants can be more than just pretty, however, does not realize just how versatile the usage of the plants are.)

All Butter Pie Crust

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on Pexels.com

All-butter Double-Crust Pie dough mix Makes: enough for 2 double-crust 9-inch pie crusts or 23 mini 4-inch pie shells

5 cups (25 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

Mix both ingredients in a large bowl. Store in a container for later or give away.

All-butter Double-Crust Pie dough Makes: enough for one double-crust 9-inch pie

Mixing the sour cream with the water ensured that it was evenly distributed throughout the dough. It was essential to make sure our dough was evenly divided into two even pieces so that the bottom and top crusts were of equal size and could be properly crimped together. When making a lattice crust, it was helpful to freeze the strips of dough briefly to make them easier to handle.

⅔ cup ice cold water, plus extra as needed

6 tablespoons sour cream

1 All-Butter Double-Crust Pie Dough mix

28 tablespoons (3 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and chilled

Whisk ice cold water and sour cream together in a bowl. Place the mix in a food processor. Scatter chilled butter over top and pulse until butter is the size of small lentils, about 10 pulses. Drizzle half of sour cream mixture over the top and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses; repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture.

Pinch the dough with your fingers. If the dough feels dry and does not hold together, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more ice water and pulse until dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains, 3-5 pulses.

Divide the dough into 2 even pieces. Form each piece into a 4 inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly for about 10 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If frozen, let the dough thaw completely on the counter before rolling.)

Roll 1 piece of dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured counter. Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it on to the 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge. Ease dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of dough with your hand while pressing into the bottom with your other hand. Wrap loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes. 

For A Traditional Top Crust: Roll the second piece of dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For A Lattice Top Crust: Roll the second piece of dough into a 13 ½ by 10 ½-inch rectangle on a generously floured counter, then transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Trim the dough to 13 by 10-inch rectangle and slice lengthwise into ten 13-inch-long strips. Separate the strips slightly and cover with plastic. Freeze until very firm, about 30 minutes.

Note: This recipe could be used to make french apple pies, blueberry pie and lemon meringue pie

French Apple Pie 

Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com


1 roll of parchment paper

1 large mixing bowl

1 large mixing spoon

⅓ cup solid measuring cup

¼ cup solid measuring cup

1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon

1 9-inch pie pans or 8 4-inch mini pie pans

1 working oven

Pie weights or 2 bags of dried beans

1 regular butter knife

1 12-inch rimmed cookie sheet


1 unbaked homemade 9 inch pie shell or 

8 mini 4 inch pie shells 


2 cups Truvia Brown Sugar Blend

2 tsps. Cinnamon

6 tbsps. Flour 

9 cups Sliced granny smith apples


1 1/2 cups soft butter 

2 cup flour 

To Blind Bake the Pie(s): Preheat the oven to 320°F. Cut some parchment paper into large enough square(s) to press down into the wells of the pie shell(s) and still cover the edges. Place enough beans or pie weights to evenly level out along the edge of the pie well(s). Press the beans down. Add more beans until level with the top of the pan(s). 

If you are making 8 mini pies, evenly space 4 mini pie pans on a rimmed cookie sheet. If you are making 1 9-inch pie, place it in the center of the rimmed cookie sheet. Place the rimmed cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Take the pie pan(s) out of the oven and discard the beans and square(s) of parchment paper. Let all the blind baked pie shell(s) cool. 

Making the Pie: In a large bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients. Evenly pile the filling among the pies if you are making mini french apple pies. Make sure the centers of the pie shells(s) are the highest point of the pile(s) of filling in the pie(s). Mix the topping ingredients in the same bowl that was used for mixing the pie filling. Place the mix topping ingredients on top of the filling and spread it out.

Baking the Pie(s): Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake each set of 4 pies or 1 9-inch pie for 3o minutes. Let the pie(s) cool down a little bit before serving warm.

Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies are an old fashioned Amish Dessert classic. While I was growing up, my family and I would make these around the summer holidays.

Just a fair warning, the parchment paper (as pictured above) would tear them apart. There is no substitute for waxpaper when it comes to cooling and putting this dessert together.

Chocolate Whoopie Pie Mix 2

2 cups all-purpose flour

½  cup baking cocoa

1 ½  tsps. baking soda

½  tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

In a medium size mixing  bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Chocolate Raspberry Whoopie Pies Total Time, Prep: 40 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling, Makes: about 2 ½  dozen


½  cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Chocolate Whoopie Mix 2 

1 cup 2% milk


1 jar (7 ozs.) marshmallow creme

½  cup shortening

1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preparing the Cake Batter: Preheat the oven to 400℉. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add the dry mix to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased stainless steel or aluminum rimmed baking sheets. Bake until set, 6 to  8 minutes, and tops spring back when lightly touched. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Preparing the Filling: In a large bowl, beat marshmallow creme and shortening until blended. Beat in jam and vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread on bottoms of half of the cookies; cover with remaining cookies.

Nutrition Facts: 1 whoopie pie: 186 calories, 7g fat (3g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 148mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (22g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g 

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