admin / December 22, 2014

Cranberry-Orange Trifle

I’m not sure if I’m the only person who still eats cranberry sauce with their Christmas meal but year after year I was left with lots of it. I refused to stop making it because for me it wouldn’t be a holiday meal without it. My dilemma was what to do with all the leftover sauce. One idea was to pair it with cheese for a sandwich which is pretty good but last year I came up with this dessert recipe. Best thing is people who won’t touch cranberry sauce like this one…or maybe they don’t recognize it in its new form.

I paired the sauce with canned mandarin oranges that are always on sale, a homemade custard, some whipped cream, and leftover cake which turned into a stunning dessert that I liked so much it found its way into my cookbook.



½ cup cranberry sauce

¼ cup orange juice

1 8 ounce can of mandarin oranges, drained

About 2 cups of broken pieces of angel food cake or similar type cake



1 ¾ cups milk

1 egg

1/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla


Whipped cream


In a large glass bowl, place cake on the bottom and up the sides.

Pour the orange juice over the cake and let it stand for ten minutes.

Add the cranberry sauce and pour on top of the mandarin oranges.

Set aside while you make the custard…

In a small bowl mix together the cornstarch, sugar and salt.

In another bowl beat the egg.

Over medium high heat and add the cornstarch mixture to a medium sized saucepan, add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Remove from the heat and add about a ¼ cup of the mixture to the beaten egg and stir. Add this back to the pan, return to the heat and cook until thickened, and then add the vanilla.

Let the mixture cool slightly and then pour on top of the mandarin oranges. Let cool completely and then top with whipped cream and serve.

Serves 8.

Excerpted from Adventures in Budget Smart Eating (2014)
This will be my last post for 2014. I’ll start posting again on Monday January 5th.

Thank you for reading and following Budget Smart Girl.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday season and the happiest of New Years.


admin / December 12, 2014

Chocolate Wontons with Chai Drizzle


Here’s another recipe I developed this week. When you think of wontons you think savory but these are sweet and I think make a perfect snack for this time of the year. To give them some extra pizzazz I used chai tea mix. The pairing of slightly sweetened chocolate with the spicy bite of the chai is a winning combination.


4 ounces of cream cheese

2 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ginger powder

1 cup chai tea…the liquid kind you buy in packages in the coffee and tea aisle

10 wonton wrappers

Oil for cooking the wontons


In a small saucepan, add the chai tea and bring to a boil, let it simmer while you put together the wontons. You want it to reduce down to about ¼ cup so it’s nice and syrupy for the drizzle.

In a mixing bowl add the cream cheese; blend in the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and ginger. Mix well.

Put about a tablespoon of the mixture on each wonton, fold and then fry in oil in a skillet… or a deep fat fryer if you have one.

Place the wontons on a platter and drizzle with the chai tea.


Fast and Easy PB Cups

Anyone try the peanut butter cup recipe from the link in a previous post? I took a shortcut and these are really easy to put together. Don’t know if you’ve seen it yet but Reece’s now have a PB/Chocolate spread. I used one 10 ounce bag of chocolate chips, melted them. For the molds I used a mini muffin pan. Poured half the melted chocolate into the bottom of each pan and then spooned in a teaspoon the Reece’s mixture and then poured on the rest of the chocolate on top making sure the spread was well covered.

Next step is to put them in the freezer for about an hour and presto PB cups which are perfect for stocking stuffers.



admin / December 4, 2014

Ginger, Apricot and Cardamom Chocolate Sticks



Here’s the second of this morning’s experiments, treats. Ideas for recipes come from all sources and this one combined my love of cardamom during the holiday season, and secondly, memories of my maternal grandmother.  Our birthdays were just three days apart and I think it gave us a lot in common, one being our love for all things ginger and dark chocolate. Each Christmas we’d give one another a box of chocolate ginger chocolates. To this day whenever I make anything with these two ingredients I think of her and remember what a great lady she was. With that in mind I’m dedicating this recipe to my nan Kate.

I decided to add some apricots for more taste and a little chewiness too. After some brainstorming about how to get these goodies into what looked like sticks, I pulled open a cupboard ands spotted my ice cube tray…the one used for making ice cubes that fit inside water bottles. Thin and just the right mold size.

These make 18 sticks . I just tried one and I have to say the flavors blend perfectly.

11 1/2 ounce semi sweet chocolate chunks or chips

1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom…more or less depending on how big a fan you are…warning if you’ve never used it before it’s pungent!

1/4 cup finely diced dried apricots

3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger…more if you like the heat and you could use powdered ginger, I’d say about 1/4 teaspoon.

In a bowl, mix the cardamom, apricots and ginger together.

Melt the chocolate and pour over the apricot mixture and stir well.

Spoon the mixture into the ice cube trays…don’t worry if some overlaps.

If you don’t have a mold you could place the mixture in strips on a baking sheet that’s been lined with parchment paper.

Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Let them stand at room temperature for a few minutes and then take them out of the mold.

Another treat for the stocking or take home gift or keeping in a decorative tin to give away to the person who wasn’t on your list but they’ve dropped by with something for you. Yes, it always happens.


admin / December 4, 2014

Cranberry Chocolate Bites


I’ve spent the morning in my lab (AKA the kitchen) putting together some holiday treats. While my second experiment…I mean treat, is setting in the freezer, I thought I’d post this one to share with you. Just three ingredients and as you’ll see they make the idea gift for the stocking, part of a place setting during a holiday get together, or even as a take home gift for guests.

All you need is-

11 1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate

I used Nestle chunks but you can use chips or even milk chocolate if you want.

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

About 1 1/2 – 2 cups cornflakes

The best way to get these bites to set is to use a muffin pan and muffin liners. So have everything set up before you start.

Place the cranberries and cornflakes in a large bowl and stir together.

Melt the chocolate. You can use a microwave for this but I’ve found I have better results with a double boiler.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the cranberry cornflake mixture and mix well.

Place about two tablespoons of the mixture into each muffin liner. You can get a dozen out of them but if you make them smaller it’s 15.

Place the muffin pan in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Remove from the freezer. You can keep the bites in the liners or take them out and wrap them like this-


admin / December 3, 2014

More Gift Ideas and Peanut Butter Cups


Hope everyone enjoyed Black Friday and Cyber Monday and netted yourself some wonderful bargains.

I’m almost done with my holiday shopping so now I can concentrate on making treats and goodies. I’ll be sharing some of the recipes with you. One uses just three ingredients and makes a perfect stocking stuffer too.

To kick things off, here’s a recipe I saw online for homemade peanut butter cups. They’re my weakness and I’m ashamed to say a bag of these goodies I bought for holiday snacking has already disappeared-

This time of the year there’s so much going on that putting together dinner can be a chore. I know the following article is about foods you can make for new moms but I thought it was filled with ideas just right for the holidays too-


And yesterday I saw this one featuring recipes for four cheap winter meals-



Here are three more gift ideas I found

Who doesn’t like growing thing in winter and herbs are loved by just about everyone-

If you have an avid cook on your list I think they’ll like this bay tree-

Sometimes after a hard day’s work all you want to do is relax and I think just about anyone will appreciate these Dead Sea salts-


My cookbook is in the process of being distributed to all the online bookstores and next week I’ll be giving away five copies.


More gift ideas coming soon and ideas for homemade ones too.


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