Simple Recipes

Simple Solutions Diva’s Favorite Homemade Treat – Reindeer Crunch

With four different types of crunchy cereals, combined with pretzels, chocolate candies and white chocolate, this mixture is addictive! Almost makes it hard to give away!

One of my favorite holiday homemade food gifts is Reindeer Crunch!  My sister-in-law gave this as a gift (thanks Debbie!) to us years ago, and it has become a staple as teacher gifts, hostess gifts, and more during the holidays.  Best of all, kids can get involved — or in my case, as teenagers, they take over the job!

You can alter the recipe based on your preferences. We replace the almond and peanut M&M’s with regular M&Ms when giving as gifts, out of concern for allergies.

Here is the recipe as given to me!  Enjoy!

Reindeer Crunch Recipe


3 Cups Each of the Following:

  • Cheerios
  • Corn Chex
  • Wheat Chex
  • Rice Chex
  • Small knot pretzels

1/2 bag Plain Holiday M&M’s, Large Bag (19.20 oz.bag)

1/2 bag Almond Holiday M&M’s, Large Bag

1/2 bag Peanut M&M’s, large Bag

1 1/2 bag Nestle White Chocolate Chips


Mix all ingredients (except white chocolate chips) in a large bowl. Melt chocolate chips according to package directions (To make it easy with kids, I use microwave directions).  Pour melted chocolate chips over the mixture, and gently mix together until all is well coated.  Spread on wax paper to dry.  Break into smaller pieces and enjoy!

Be sure to store in airtight containers, or ziplock bags.

You can re-name the above mixture based on the holiday: Cupid’s Food, Bunny Food, Uncle Sam Mix, Goblin Food!

Recipe: Crockpot Ropa Vieja


Crockpots are the ultimate in easy cooking!  Ropa Vieja is a cuban dish that is so versatile ~ You can serve it over yellow rice, you can stuff it in Tacos or Burritos, or you can make sliders out of it.  It is great to serve to a crowd, so you can keep your holiday entertaining simple!   When I make this dish, I tend to be generous with the spices.  I’ve listed lower spice amounts here, but feel free to play with the amount of spices yourself, based on your personal taste!

(FYI – Ropa Vieja is Cuban for “Old Rags” because it is shredded!)

Crockpot Ropa Vieja
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ropa Vieja is a cuban dish that is so versatile ~ You can serve it over yellow rice, you can stuff it in Tacos or Burritos, or you can make sliders out of it. It is great to serve to a crowd, so it is great for football games, holiday, or just entertaining for a crowd!
Recipe type: Slow cooker/Main dish
Cuisine: Cuban
Serves: 8 servings
  • 2 lb. Pork Tenderloin OR 4-6 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 cup Mojo Sauce/Marinade (find it in ethnic or mexican food aisle of grocery store)
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth (add more if you would like more liquid)
  • 2 T. Minced Garlic (add more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp. cumin (add more to taste)
  • 1 T Chili Powder (add more to taste)
  • 1 Vidalia Onion, chopped
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chilies
  • Optional Ingredients (If you like smokey flavor):
  • ½ tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 or 2 smoked chipotle peppers, finely chopped (Found in the mexican food aisle in a can)
  1. NOTE: The ingredients list is for a milder version of this recipe. If you love spiciness, increase the garlic to 4 T.; cumin to 1 T; Chili powder to 2 T. I recommend playing with the ingredients based on your taste!
  2. Place chopped onions in bottom of crockpot; lay meat over the onions.
  3. Pour chicken broth and mojo sauce/marinade over meat.
  4. Add spices, can of Rotel, and any remaining ingredients.
  5. Cover and cook on high for four hours, or low for 8.
  6. When it is finished cooking, use two forks and gently shred the meat right in the crockpot and mix it well into the juices. (Learn from my mistake - use oven mitts when shredding - the steam is extremely hot!)
  7. Serve over yellow rice and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Or serve it up as taco meat/burrito meat, or as sliders on mini rolls. I love to use green Tabasco sauce (it is milder) as a condiment with this.




Recipe: Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

These cold nights are perfect for some wonderful soups!  My personal favorite is Curried Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  Something about the curry flavor, the sweetness of the carrots and squash, makes me want to dive right in with a big, chunky piece of fresh bread!   Enjoy!


1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 cup baby carrots

1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered

2 boxes (32 oz. each) Chicken Broth (I use reduced sodium)

2 Tablespoons Yellow Curry

1 T. grated fresh ginger

1.5 teaspoons minced garlic

1/4 c. olive oil

(Notes: I sometimes add roasted sweet potatoes to this recipe, if I have them around.  Just add them to the squash while roasting, or toss leftover sweet potatoes into the soup pot.  You can also add 1/4 cup cider if you want a sweeter soup!)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the squash, carrots and vidalia onion in large roasting pan. Toss veggies with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon curry.  Roast veggies for approximately 30 mins, turning the veggies over several times during the cooking process (until the carrots are soft and the veggies start to show roasting).  Remove from oven.

Combine garlic and remaining curry, broth and veggies in a large soup pot.  (This is where you can add the cider if you want it).  Let simmer for at least 30 mins. Add the fresh grated ginger mid-way through the cooking process.  Using an immersion blender (or blend in regular blender in small batches), blend  the soup until consistency you like.   I like to leave mine a little chunky!

Serve with a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese!


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