Homemade Christmas Gift Breads for Teachers & Friends: Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Affordable and Best Homemade Christmas Gift Breads

Chocolate Zucchini Bread  from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites  Want the perfect teacher’s gift while also saving a little money? Homemade gifts are just the ticket for your children’s teachers this time of year. Give the gift that keeps on giving, without blowing your budget – delicious treats with a trim and terrific twist!

Homemade Christmas Gift Breads are make-ahead gifts!

Homemade goodies reserve a special place amongst the array of store bought gifts. One of my favorite gifts to give are quick breads. With so much going on this time of year, everyone is busy but no problem – quick breads are  easy to make and can be made ahead of time and frozen.  A great idea is to make different sizes, wrap with plastic wrap and tie together for gifts.  One recipe = 4 small loaf pans.

Another  Homemade Christmas Gift bread

that’s so popular is my Quick Lemon Blueberry Bread made with Bisquick and cream cheese-.

I promise, Chocolate Zucchini Bread, is one of my absolute favorite nutritious-and-delicious quick breads–even this ingredient combination.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites cookbook

Just wrap the individual loaves in plastic wrap and store in a zip top freezer bag in the freezer until needed. Instead of one large loaf, I like to prepare the breads in different size loaf pans and give a combination of different loaves. Give one, two, or several types of bread, depending on how well you like the person.

Makes 16 slices

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat a 9 × 5 × 3-inch nonstick loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Set aside.
3. In another bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and oil. Stir in applesauce and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until moistened. Stir in zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
4. Transfer batter into prepared pan. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Don’t overcook. Cool in pan.

Nutritional information per serving: Calories 187, Calories from fat 34%, Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 26 mg, Sodium 96 mg, Carbohydrate 28 g, Fiber 2 g, Sugars 14 g, Protein 4 g, Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fat

Terrific Tidbit: Zucchini is grated by using a grater or the shredding blade on a food processor.

Quick Tip

Mini loaves of quick bread make wonderful homemade gifts. Make ahead, wrap in plastic wrap, place in zipper-lock bags, and freeze until ready to give.

Check out my easy healthy recipes and more great homemade gift ideas.

My Easy Christmas Decorations & Recipes for my Christmas Party at my Home

 Christmas Special:  25% off cookbooks with HOLIDAY2014Spinach Brie Crab Dip

Easy Christmas decorationsEasy Christmas Decorations that are easy to do!

Christmas can be overwhelming with gift giving, putting up your tree and then what about having company over.  I have a few easy Christmas decorations that can jazz up your party, home or just make your house holiday friendly. One of my favorites is to take advantage of seasonal cranberries and fill a vase with cranberries and water.  I like to use white roses as they are a nice contrast.


Have you ever thought about using your holiday wreath somewhere else besides on the door.  Just use as a charger or serving piece and put a cake, dip or whatever in the middle for a simple festive touch.

My Easy Christmas decorations for serving food:Easy Christmas Decorations

I have a party at my house on Thursday nigh and most of the recipes are from KITCHEN 101, my easiest cookbook!  I plan on implementing all these easy Christmas decorations.   I use the holiday wreath for a serving charger and check out my hollowed out bread to serve my incredible Crabmeat Brie Dip that melts in your mouth-clean up simple!

Check out my video below for my own holiday party and my party pics  so you see how simple and easy  my Christmas decorations can be plus affordable and festive .

YouTube Preview Image

Some other easy Christmas decorations and recipes from KITCHEN 101, the easiest cookbook:

  • Create a lovely, easy centerpiece by filling a glass bowl with pomegranates or ornaments.
  • For extra-quick clean up, purchase holiday -themed paper goods to use.
  • Use red and green vegetables instead of chips–red and green bell peppers, cucumbers
  • Different sized candles can add visual interest to your holiday setting.
  • Garnish with strawberries, raspberries and red and green grapes as food can add a decorative touch.
Easy Christmas decorations

Party Table

My Christmas Party Menu Recipes

When it comes time for a menu, I turn to my cookbooks as I can create an elegant and delicious assortment of food that’s easy-to prepare and trim&TERRIFIC!  Here’s a few recipes I made and they’re in KITCHEN 101 so  you know how simple they are!

Check out more of my easy holiday recipes (healthier too).

 Christmas Special:  25% off cookbooks with HOLIDAY2014

And all books autographed plus already  discounted as much as 20%!!! SO SAVE!


Cookie Swap: Cranberries and White Chocolate Treats

Holiday Bars2766Cranberries!  Invited to an office party, cookie swap or need a gift for the holidays.  I love using cranberries during the holiday season, and these festive Cranberry and White Chocolate Treats from my fun EASY cookbook with trendy, simple, everyday recipes.  Tart cranberries, sweet white chocolate, the spice of ginger and nuts pack this delicious dessert with wholesome vitamins and minerals – perfect to indulge in while staying fit this holiday season.   I turn to this favorite bar cookie to make for friends and family this time of year. For a quick and delicious gift, just cut the cookies into squares, wrap with plastic wrap and tie with a holiday ribbon. From teachers to coaches, neighbors to doctors, give the delicious gift of nutrition this holiday season! Visit my website for more easy healthy, holiday recipes!

Holiday Bars-Cranberry and White Chocolate Treats from Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age

Holiday ingredients create an easy festive bar cookie.

48 servings

1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup of (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven 350° F. Coat 13x9x2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In prepared pan, mix gingersnaps, butter, and vanilla; press into pan.
3. Sprinkle cranberries, white chocolate chips, and pecans evenly over gingersnap crust. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and light brown.

Nutritional information per serving:
Calories 57 Calories from fat 42% Fat 3g Saturated Fat 1g Cholesterol 4mg Sodium 34mg Carbohydrate 8g Dietary Fiber 0g Sugars 6g Protein 1g Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 fat


Love Your Heart with Spiced Walnuts & Omega 3’s

Spiced Walnuts or Pecans

Spiced Walnuts or Pecans

Did you know walnuts are great source of Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the body to work properly and we must get them through our diet since they are not made in the body. From reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and lowering cholesterol, to reducing joint pain from inflammation; research supports a long list of health benefits from eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids.  That’s why I devoted a chapter  to Omega-3 rich foods in my new arthritis cookbook!

Walnuts Offer more than just a great tasting nut

We understand we need to include more omega 3 fatty acids in our diet; however, sometimes it can be overwhelming figuring out what to eat.  You might not realize how simply you can get this power packed nutrient into your everyday life.  You have been hearing for years that nuts make a great snack, and one reason is because walnuts are a rich source of omega-3’s.  Put together a nut medley snack, toss walnuts in salads for a nice crunch, or layer with yogurt.  I like to toast walnuts to enhance that wonderful nutty flavor or make your own Spiced Walnuts. They also make delicious gifts,Especially during the holidays – just put some in a glass jar or a festive canister for an easy, enjoyed-by-all gift!

SPICED WALNUTS (OR PECANS) from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC Eating Well to Fight Arthritis cookbook

Wonderful walnuts with a touch of spice, heat and sweet—toss in salads, serve on cheese trays or as a snack.

Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings

2 cups walnut halves or pecan halves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil

  1. Preheat oven 375°F.
  2. Spread walnuts on baking sheet and bake about 5-7 minutes or until golden.
  3. In small bowl, combine sugar, salt, garlic powder, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne.
  4. In nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat with oil. Add seasoning mix, stirring until nuts coated. Remove to paper towel to cool.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 187 kcal, Calories from Fat 82%, Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 74 mg, Carbohydrates 5 g, Dietary Fiber 2 g, Total Sugars 2 g, Protein 4 g, Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1/2 lean meat, 3 fat

Check out more of Holly’s omega-3 rich recipes and healthy nut recipes


Perfect Pampering Homemade Teacher Gift Ideas- Margarita Salt Body Buffer

Homemade teacher gift ideasGo Diva with your homemade teacher gift ideas this year

Looking for  quick , easy and creative homemade teacher gift ideas that you make at home? Then, all you have to do is go to my chapter, DIVA DERMATOLOGY, in Too Hot in the Kitchen for my homemade skin treatments.   I love to make and give these inexpensive yet fun and luxurious facial scrubs to my friends and family.  Anyone who loves to be pampered will enjoy the festive Margarita Salt Body Buffer – detoxifying the skin and making it feel so soft! From hands to feet the Brown Sugar Scrub is the perfect treat to get smooth skin. With just two ingredients anyone can make it, and the olive oil contains Vitamin E and antioxidants which are so good for nails. To make these delicious scrubs for a gift, simply mix in a glass container with a lid and tie with a bow.  Or course, Too Hot in the Kitchen is a fun gift tool!

Margarita Salt Body Buffer from Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age

Lime and tequila are natural antiseptics so help detoxify skin and improve tone and texture. Good for hands — felt so soft afterwards.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (1/4 cup per body)

1 cup fine sea salt
Juice of one lime
2 ounces olive oil
3/4 ounces white tequila

1. In bowl, mix together sea salt, olive oil, lime, and white tequila. In the shower, rub mixture onto damp skin in gentle circular motion. If salt feels too gritty, add more olive oil.

Look for more easy recipes

Eggnog Cake, Spinach Dip & Party Pick-Ups for Easy Entertaining

Eggnog BUndt Cake-AWO 12-19Today at WAFB I cooked three trim&TERRIFIC fantastic and simple holiday hits. All three of these tasty recipes have only six ingredients but pack some major flavor and they are from Too Hot in the Kitchen.  Holiday entertaining should be a joyful time with friends and family so don’t let the cooking stress you. Everyone has a Spinach and Artichoke dip but have you used Brie in yours and is it trim&TERRIFIC? The Olive Cheese Cocktail Bread is great because guests don’t need any utensils for enjoying and for the hostess because you can make ahead of time and pull out when you’re ready to serve. Lastly, Eggnog Spice Bundt Cake around the holidays? Say no more! Also you can now buy lowfat eggnog, which makes it that much more trim&TERRIFIC. All of these recipes are from trim & terrific and have the stamp of approval from the great people at WAFB, just check out the video!

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports
Eggnog Spice Bundt Cake from Too Hot in the Kitchen

This marvelous moist cake melts in your mouth. Spice and everything nice makes this a holiday hit.

Makes 16-20 servings

1 (18.25-ounce) box spice cake mix
1 (4-serving) box instant cheesecake pudding and pie filling mix
1 cup vanilla or eggnog nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup light eggnog
1 egg
3 egg whites
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat nonstick Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In mixing bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, yogurt, oil, eggnog, egg, and egg
whites, mixing until creamy.
3. Stir in butterscotch chips and pecans. Pour in prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Nutritional information per serving:
Calories 256, Calories from fat 39%, Fat 12g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 16mg, Sodium 268mg,Carbohydrate 36g, Dietary Fiber 0g, Sugars 25g, Protein 4g, Dietary Exchanges: 2 1/2 other carbohydrate, 2 fat

More  easy and delicious holiday recipe  and simple cakes.  

Stove Top Wild Rice Side When Out of Oven Space


Wild Rice ThanksgivingFor a quick and easy holiday side, I love to throw this dish together. Perfect to make when your oven is busy and there is no oven space left, since it’s cooked on top of the stove. While the rice is cooking, sauté the peppers and toss together in no time at all. For an even quicker version, try instant wild rice; it tastes just as good. Wild Rice adds a delicious nutty flavor to the dish, while the peppers add a natural sweetness. Did you know that all peppers are loaded with Vitamin C, and red peppers have more Vitamin C than an orange?!  This satisfying and nutritious dish is a delectable and colorful side on any holiday table.


Wild Rice and Peppers Recipe from Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC Eating Well to Fight Arthritis cookbook

Jazz up rice by adding earthy wild rice, mushrooms and colorful.

Makes 8 (3/4-cup) servings

1 (6-ounce) box long-grain and wild rice mix

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cored, sliced in long, thin slices

1 green bell pepper, cored, sliced in long, thin slices

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup cooked white rice

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1.  Cook wild rice according to package directions; set aside.

2. n large nonstick skillet, heat oil and sauté red and green peppers, and mushrooms until tender, 5 – 7 minutes. Stir in cooked wild rice, white rice, and green onion.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 163, Calories from Fat 35%, Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 352mg, Carbohydrate 23g, Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugar 3g, Protein 4g, Diabetic Exchanges: 1.5 starch, 1 fat

Nutritional Nugget: The carotenoid-rich bell pepper provides powerful protection helping reduce the risk for certain cancers and boosting the immune system.

Visit my website for more nutritious yet all-time favorite holiday recipes.

Time-Saving Thanksgiving Recipes, Tips & Menu

Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping

Holly Clegg’s Best Thanksgiving holiday Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping

Time Saving Thanksgiving Holiday Tips

1. Create Thanksgiving menu and divide grocery list into shop ahead and fresh ingredients.
2. Purchase non-perishable and frozen items ahead of time.
3. Make ahead and freeze casseroles, dressings and desserts to cross off your list.
4. Cut, chop and wash ingredients earlier in the week.
5. Cook what you enjoy preparing and supplement the rest.  Order a turkey and garnish with fresh parsley and crab apples for personal touch.
6. For cornbread dressing, pick up pre-made cornbread.
7. Use your stovetop for sides, not everything had to be prepared in oven.
8. For Thanksgiving or any holiday, serve buffet style for meal and dessert.
9. For dessert, purchase theme napkins and plates-quick clean up.
10. Easy centerpiece-bowl –bowl of fruit or fill vase with cranberries to hold flowers.
11. Cook Holly’s trim&TERRIFC easy ThThanksgiving recipes from dressing to pecan pie-so you won’t feel too full!

Your Great Suggestions:

Take out serving pieces ahead of time and label.  Set the table ahead of time.

When it comes to the Thanksgiving or Christmas menu, tradition rules so I am sharing a few of our traditional favorite recipes and yes, they are trim & terrific.  Cooking trim&TERRIFIC doesn’t mean you have to change what you eat, just how you prepare it.  So, here are some of my favorites we make every year.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping from  Holly Clegg’s trim&TERRIFIC KITCHEN 101 (discounted on Amazon or save 25% with discount code HOLIDAY 2014 on Holly’s website store)

Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline Topping from KITCHEN 101 Cookbook
Volunteer to bring this simple and fabulous sweet potato dish for your next Thanksgiving meal. Don’t save for only the holidays — eat all year round!

Makes 12 (1/2-cup) servings

3 cups cooked mashed peeled Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes), about 3-4 sweet potatoes
2/3 cup of 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
2 egg whites
1/4 cup orange juice
Praline Topping (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In bowl, cream together all ingredients except the topping with potato masher or mixer until blended. Transfer to prepared dish and sprinkle with Praline Topping (see recipe).
3. Bake 40-45 minutes or until thoroughly heated and topping is brown and crumbly.

Praline Topping

2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

1. In bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans until crumbly.

Nutritional info per serving:
Calories 274, Calories from Fat 34%, Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 12mg, Sodium 87mg, Carbohydrates 42g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Total Sugars 28g, Protein 4g, Dietary Exchanges: 1 starch, 2 other carbohydrate, 2 fat

Terrific Tip: Canned (drained) or fresh sweet potatoes may be used for this recipe. See page in Basics (pg 123) for directions to baking a sweet potato.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Butter Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes from KITCHEN 101

Stuffed Artichoke Casserole from KITCHEN 101

Yam Cornbread Dressing from Holly Clegg’ trim&TERRIFIC Diabetic Cooking

 Pecan Pie with Honey Crunch Topping from Holly Clegg trim&TERRIFIC Gulf Coast Favorites

Cranberry Crush from Too Hot in the Kitchen:  Secrets To Sizzle At Any Age

Asparagus Wraps from  Too Hot in the Kitchen:  Secrets To Sizzle At Any Age

Cranberry Yam Bread from Gulf Coast Favorites

Pull Apart Bread from Too Hot in the Kitchen:  Secrets To Sizzle At Any Age

Thanksgiving CHocolate  Pecan Pie with Honey Crunch Topping

Pecan Pie with Honey Crunch Topping

Check out more of Holly’s easy Thanksgiving recipesThanksgiving Cranberry Crush

Thanksgiving recipe Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

Simple, delicious make-ahead side

Thanksgiving Recipes-EASY and of course my favorites!

Thanksgiving recipes

Time Stuffed Artichoke Casserole

Favorite holiday Thanksgiving recipes:

Time to think about Thanksgiving recipes again and I am here to help you with your menu and save time!  I always have such a good time with Diane Deaton and the gang at WAFB Noon Show. We cooked up some of my very favorite Thanksgiving recipes that I will definitely be making at my family’s Thanksgiving.  Some are traditonal holiday recipes and some of these are new trendy favorite.  However, all of them are easy, healthy and family pleasing!

My Thanksgiving recipes for Sides and Stuffing

For the best of both worlds Yam Cornbread Stuffing is such a perfect combination of sweet Louisiana yams, buttery cornbread, and savory stuffing!  I make my cornbread ahead of time and but together the night before.  Look for cut up sweet potatoes in the grocery.

KITCHEN 101 includes some of my easiest Thanksgiving recipes

My newest favorite from KITCHEN 101: Secrets to Cooking Confidence is the Stuffed Artichoke Casserole – all the delicious flavors of a stuffed artichoke without the fuss! This recipe I make ahead and freeze to cross another dish off my list.  If you closed your eyes, you honestly will think you’re eating a stuffed artichoke.

Terrific Tip:  Prepare ahead of time and transfer to baking dish. Heat in 350°F oven 20 minutes or until heated.  For vegetarian version, substitute vegetable broth.


Thanksgiving recipes for dessert include my sensational make -ahead trifle

For dessert – the Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle is a layered, out of this world treat that guests will be raving about for years to come! Another make-ahead dessert which includes everyone’s ffavoriteof chocolate and peanut butter.  I get my older kids to whip up this dessert for me and I use it during the holidays but truly it is a year round first choice.  And, on the holidays, this is a great dessert as it seems I am always short of oven space with all the cooking.

LIMITED TIME:  Get 25% off on any of my cookbooks on my website:  SHOP and on check out enter discount code HOLIDAY2014  Start shopping and cooking with my easy, healthier recipes now.