Favorite Food Gifts (That Aren’t Cookies)

Easy food gifts that aren't cookies!

Don’t get me wrong–I love cookies as much as the next person. But maybe your office has been inundated with cookies, or maybe your neighbor has confessed that she just doesn’t get excited about them. For those of you stuck in an anti-cookie quandry, look no further! Here are five really easy edible gifts:

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!):

Ah yes, my absolute favorite holiday snack: Chex mix! This is my mom’s recipe, which gets rave reviews from everyone we know. My stomach actually just growled thinking about it. This recipe makes A LOT of Chex mix, so you’ll have plenty to pass around.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Hot Chocolate

This decadent hot chocolate is so easy to make and share. Just combine the ingredients and put them in pretty jars! I’m sending mine with packets of gourmet marshmallows this year.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Cranberry Bars

These cranberry bars are hearty enough for breakfast but so craveable that I like them as a mid-afternoon treat too. Plus that, they’re really simple to make!

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Apple Butter

Chunky apple butter in a glass jar with some biscuits from the bakery? That’s my kind of Christmas delivery.

Edible Food Gifts for the Holidays (That Aren't Cookies!): Butter Mochi

For gluten-free friends, butter mochi is a sweet treat that doesn’t allow for any flour-longings. Gluten-full friends won’t miss it either. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy this sticky butter “pound cake” of the islands.

There you have it. Now I’m really hungry, so I’m off to whip up an edible gift–for me!

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Miniature Musubi

Mini Musubi Party Appetizer // Frock Files

It’s taken me awhile to post this recipe because I often receive comments and emails asking for recipes to be vegan. But then I realized: Aha! Top this with avocado or cucumbers (vegan) or egg (vegetarian) or chicken/tuna (everyone who’s scared of Spam), and you’re all set.

Spam musubi (moo-soo-BEE) is one of those foods from Hawaii that people are leery of until they try them. And then they’re huuuuuuuge fans. I’ve seen the magic happen with my own eyes. James will attest to being a convert, himself!

And in miniature, I think these are the perfect little appetizer for warm weather parties.

Mini Musubi Party Appetizer // Frock Files


3 cups cooked white rice
2 slices Spam
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
Nori (15 strips cut to approximately 3/4″ x 3 1/2″)


1. Brown the Spam in a frying pan. While it’s browning, mix the soy sauce and sugar in a bowl, then transfer it to a flat, rimmed plate, baking dish, or bowl.

2. Place the browned Spam into the soy sauce/sugar marinade. After five minutes, flip the Spam over. After another five minutes, pan fry the Spam until it reaches the desired doneness. (Some people like it REALLY dark. I like mine golden brown.) Slice each piece into 5 even strips.

3. Form the rice into small, long pieces like nigiri. You can do this by wetting your hands with water, forming a small amount of rice into a ball, and shaping it in the space between your palm and your second knuckle. This video gives a great tutorial on shaping the rice:

4. Wrap each with a strip of nori. Seal the ends with water. Try not to eat them all by yourself!

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Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding // Frock Files

Over the weekend, we watched a documentary called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” about this guy who goes on a juice-based fast for sixty days, and James and I were all, “Yeah, let’s do it! We’re gonna get so healthy!” So we ordered a juicer, went to bed, woke up and immediately had amnesia about the documentary. Instead of eating something healthy, we headed out for brunch at a restaurant called 15 Walnut, where we dove into a decadent chocolate and cranberry bread pudding that left us in need of a nap.

And, of course, then I had to try to make my own version of the chocolate bread pudding. I modified my mom’s original bread pudding recipe, substituting sweet bread with challah, adding some cocoa powder, and swapping out the raisins and bananas with cranberries. The result is possibly the only thing that makes me feel okay about the fact that we have another storm coming. Because it’s basically chunks of bread soaked in a semi-sweet cocoa-custard, which is totally justified when your state is about to hit sixty inches of snow for the season.

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding // Frock Files


2 sticks butter
2 cups half-and-half
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz. grated semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 loaf challah (16 oz.)
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Cut the challah into 1″ chunks. Layer half on the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Sprinkle with cranberries. Top with remaining bread.

2. In a medium pot, melt the butter. Add the half-and-half and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Slowly incorporate the cocoa powder. Follow with the shaved chocolate, whisking until smooth.

3. Remove the mixture from heat. Lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks together and incorporate with the milk/sugar/butter/cocoa mixture. Stir in the vanilla. Whisk until completely incorporated.

4. Pour the mixture over the challah. Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

4. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Allow to cool. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Or eat it straight out of the pan with a cup of coffee in one hand because you just can’t wait. (Yes, that was me.)

The Easiest Beef Stew

The Easiest Beef Stew

Growing up, my mom made this stew every so often, and when she did we would cheer! Since it was a rare treat, I always thought it was really hard to make. In reality, it’s one of the simplest recipes I have in my arsenal. Every time I make it for a party someone asks for the recipe, and when I give it to them the reaction is always: “That’s it? So easy!”

All you have to do is cut up the meat and veggies, mix in the “gravy” and seal it all in foil to bake for two hours. This baking method makes everything lovely and tender, with soft, airy potatoes, translucent onions, and moist beef. This is the perfect thing to eat on a chilly day, and it’s especially delicious with a slice of freshly baked sweet cornbread.



2 pounds stew meat
5-6 carrots, chopped into chunks
4 Yukon gold potatoes (or red potatoes), chopped into chunks
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 envelopes Lipton onion soup mix


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup with the onion soup mix.
2. Cut your meat and veggies into roughly equally sized pieces. Dump them into the large bowl and toss with the gravy so that each piece is coated.
3. Line a casserole dish or 9″ x 13″ pan with foil. There should be enough foil hanging over the sides so that they can close over the top once the stew is in the pan.
4. Pour the stew in the pan and wrap the foil around it. Bake for an hour and a half to two hours.

Optional: garnish with chives.

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Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

Pumpkin Breakfast Pies

Quick Pumpkin Hand Pies

Am I being a little over eager by posting a pumpkin recipe right at the beginning of September? Possibly. But with the little peeks of burnt orange and gold leaves dotted in our trees out here in New England, it’s hard not to want to jump head-first into autumnal deliciousness.

We’ve had grey skies for the past few days and they have me wanting warm, sweet things with my morning coffee. On a whim, I made a couple of hand pies the other day for breakfast. Lo and behold, they were a surprise hit with my pals on Instagram!

I wish I could send each and every one of you a warm, fresh hand pie in the mail, but we haven’t quite gotten there yet with the teleportation. Until then, here are my easy-as-pie instructions for a quick pumpkin-y breakfast.

Quick Pumpkin Hand Pies


Fresh or store bought pie crust (I used Pillsbury)
8 tablespoons pumpkin pie filling
1 tablespoon melted butter

6 ounces confectioners sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 pinch salt


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a cookie cutter, cut 16 pieces from your pie crust. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter that measures 2.5 inches at its widest point.

2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Line up four pieces of crust on each cookie sheet. Scoop one tablespoon of pumpkin pie filling onto each piece. Top with another piece of crust.

3. Seal the pie edges using a fork. Brush each pie with melted butter. Cut slits in the top of each.

4. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely.

5. To whip up the icing, simply mix the ingredients together, then decorate each cooled pie using a butter knife. Allow the pies to rest about 5 minutes to allow the icing to settle.

These are also great with any kind of jam in place of pumpkin! If you do decide to use pumpkin, simply store the remaining pumpkin pie mixture for later use.

Quick Pumpkin Hand Pies

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