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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Bake up Some Love in these Dogbones that Your Dog will love



3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup water more if needed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
In a mixer combine water, oil, eggs and peanut butter. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8" thick. Using cookie cutters, cut dough into shapes. Place shapes on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn treats over and return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave treats in the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely prior to serving to your dogs.

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Illinois State Pie

One of the newest state symbols of Illinois is the state pie. None other than the pumpkin pie will do for the state pie. The induction of the state pie came during a rough time for the state of Illinois during 2015 when there was no state budget. But, it was in an attempt to recall the states positives as well.



The state of Illinois grows most of the pumpkins processed and consumed in the United States. Kieth Sommer sponsored the law to create the state pie. The law made pumpkin pie the official pie of the state of Illinois.

1/2 c cane sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2  tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 basic pie crust
homemade whipped cream


Preheat oven to 425°F. In a mixing bowl, combine sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Add the pumpkin purée into mixture. Whisk or blend in the cream until well incorporated. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
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No Bake Christmas Wreath Cookies #Recipe



1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
30 large marshmallows
6 teaspoons drops of green gel food coloring or 1 and 1/4 liquid green food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups cornflakes
1 bottle of red hot candies or 1/2 cup red candy coated chocolates such as mini M&M's
cooking spray

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Place the marshmallows and butter in a large bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted.
Add the green food coloring and vanilla; stir until the marshmallow mixture is smooth.
Add the cornflakes to the bowl and gently stir to coat the cereal evenly with the marshmallow mixture.
Pack the mixture into a greased 1/4 cup measuring cup and turn out onto the sheet pan. Use your fingers to make a hole in the middle to form a wreath shape and decorate with red candies. It's easiest to form the wreath holes if your fingers are damp or coated in cooking spray.
Cool completely until firm and serve.

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Introduction to Christmas Carols

This time of year you may hear Christmas music everywhere you go. Often referred to as Christmas carols they may often be called noel's as well. The french word for Christmas is noel and a song or hymn with lyrics  about Christmas and are sung around Christmas time are known as Noels. 





Christmas hymns have been around since the 4th century in Rome. Hymns sung in Latin were written by Ambrose the Archbishop of Milan. Bernard of Clairvaux introduced the "sequence" of Christmas during the 9th and 10th centuries. The 12th century brought brought about a Parisian monk Adam of Saint Victor who was the first to introduce hymns and music more closer to the Christmas music of today.




The French, German, Italian and English would help create strong traditional music for Christmas. English wassailers would travel from house to house singing carols. This was before they were song at church or even associated with Christmas. In 1582 a collection of popular carols were put together in a Latin song book. Songs such as "Good Christian Men, Rejoice" and "Christ was born on Christmas Day." as well as "O Come all ye faithful" were found in the book.



Protestant churches would help carols gain popularity following the Reformation. Martin Luther himself authored carols and encouraged the groups to sing them during worship.

Carols are often sung at Christian religious services of today. One of my favorite songs is "Joy to the World"





.
One of the most published Christmas hymns in North America was wrote by Isaac Watts. Sang as a celebration of the gift of Jesus. The song is inspired by the bible verses Psalm 98 Psalms 96:11-12 and Genesis 3:17-18. Printed in 1719 the song "Joy to the World" requests that the nations of the world rejoice because God's faithfulness to the house of Israel has delivered salvation to Earth.




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Friday, December 7, 2018

Whats In My Cup

What's in my cup you may ask?? Only one of my all time favorites at Christmas time White  hot chocolate with a topping of candy cane. 



2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 T. granulated white sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 candy cane for garnish

Put 1 candy cane in a plastic bag and tap firmly but gently with a mug, mallet, or rolling pin to crush.
Place milk, white chocolate Chips, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk often, stirring until completely dissolved, and warm throughout.
Stir in peppermint extract.
Top with whipped cream and a sprinkling of crushed peppermint

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The Christmas Angel


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Star of Anise Can Help Make the Home Smell Like Christmas

Christmas seems to bring out the scents of the spice world. One spice used commonly is star anise and is used in both culinary and medicinal factors. Used for thousands of years star anise is rich in vitamin C, calcium and iron.




Star anise contains anethole which offers the spice its flavor. Star anise is used commonly in the west as a less expensive substitute for anise. Anise is a common spice used in baking, liquor production, and enhancing the flavor of meat. The countries of China, India and several Asian related countries use the flavors of anise in daily cooking. With a flavor similar to licorice and cloves star anise is often used to enhance both sweet and savory dishes.

Star anise contains potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It has been found to be good for treating the flu. The shikimic acid inside star anise is used to make a common anti-viral drug that fights the flu known as Tamiflu. Star anise helps remove mucus and congestion due to its expectorant properties. Other health areas star anise has been found to be helpful in are:
relieve gas                                   
  • constipation                                     asthma
  • cramping                                          bronchitis
  • bloating                                            rheumatism
  • heartburn                                          back pain
  • indigestion                                        shingles
  • halitosis                                            herpes
  • sinus infections                                 sedative
  • health of female reproductive system
  • lactating moms
.Star anise oil can be found in creams and lotions to be used to treat insect bites, eczema, psoriasis, acne, scabies and lice. Star anise can be located in whole, powder, capsule, tea, extract oil and cream. Look for it at the grocery store.



Potpourri Mix To Make the House Smell Like Christmas

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3 tangerines halved
3 whole cinnamon sticks
2 star anise gives a strong black licorice smell. optional
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 tablespoon vanilla bean + 1 vanilla extract
1 small branch fresh pine
1 cup apple cider pomegranate or cranberry juice
water

Combine all the ingredients in a medium size sauce pot. Fill the pot with water until it reaches 3/4 the way full. Place the pot on the stove and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, adding more water as needed. I let mine simmer for close to 4 hours and then let it cool over night and simmer again the next day. Just be sure to keep adding more water.

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How Will You Set The Table for Christmas


Christmas is all about gathering together. Time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, be happy and feel comfortable in the presence of each other. The Christmas table setting can help the mood of the entire meal party. It is the duty of the host to ensure everyone has a great time.

One of my favorite table settings, the mason jar candles with the greenery and stars makes me think of a simple elegant. Look at those napkins folded like Christmas trees as well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


How simply cute is this snowman theme. Have some dishes that would be perfect for Christmas and a bit of fun as well?? I say use them , the kids are not the only ones that like to have fun                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


Setting a simple setting with a lovely sentiment letting the guest know you are glad you are present may be all that is needed. 

How will you set the table?? 

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Holiday Tipping


When you go out for a meal at a nice eating establishment or get your hair done do you normally leave a tip?? Do you know that many jobs rely on their patrons leaving tips as part of their pay?? Holiday tipping is as important or maybe even more important than tipping at other times of the year. Perhaps it is something that you may want to consider budgeting for. 

Tipping also known as gratuity is an opportunity to show those that serve you appreciation. There is no obligation that they must do anything that they do not normally do for you. Many places around the world do not participate in the act of tipping so tipping is completely up to you. of-course there are those that serve you that are normally not tipped as well. Some jobs such as accountant and your physician may take objection to being tipped. Others simply can not accept tip according to the laws of the government. These jobs include:
  • Mail carriers (but they can accept gifts worth less than $20) I must say though that my dad was a rural mail carrier for years and dearly loved all the tasty gifts that were shared with him during the holidays by those that he delivered mail to
  • Nursing home workers (something like cookies that can be shared between the staff is better)
  • Home health aides (check with the agency to see what their policy is)
  • Teachers (a gift is better, and less likely to be construed as a bribe for more gold stars)
Here is a simple guide to know what others have blessed those that served their workers with. The choice of course is yours to tip or not to tip it is simply a suggestion.



regular house cleaner the equivalent of one week’s salary. 
Hairstylist – Tip your hairstylist or manicurist the amount you’d pay for one visit if you’re a salon regular. If you only go a few times a year, doubling your usual tip on services for the holidays is fine.
Newspaper carrier – Tip your newspaper carrier $10 to $30 if you have daily delivery. 
Dog walker – Tip your dog walker the equivalent of one day’s pay. 
Pet groomer – Tip your pet groomer the amount you’d pay for one grooming session. 
Trash collectors – Tip your regular trash and recycling collectors $10 to $30 each. 
Landscaper – If you use a landscaper or gardener regularly, you should tip him one week’s pay. If you use him occasionally, a $10 to $50 tip is fine. 
Handyman- If you have a regular handyman, you should tip him $15 to $40. 
Doorman – If you live in a building with a doorman, you should tip him between $20 and $100. 
Parking attendant – If you have a regular parking attendant, tip him $20 to $30. 
Nanny/Au pair – If you have a nanny or au pair, tip her the equivalent of one to two weeks’ pay. 
Baby sitter – You may choose to tip your babysitter (the equivalent of two night’s pay) or you can opt to give a gift to them instead. 
Day care providers – Cash or a gift for each staff member who works with your children of about $25-$70. 
Teachers – Don’t tip your child’s teacher; buy a present or gift card instead. 
Assistants – Don’t tip your assistant; buy her a gift or give a gift card. 
Private nurses – Don’t tip home health employees or private nurses, who may not be allowed to accept tips. Instead offer a thoughtful gift. 
Mail carrier – Don’t tip your mail carrier – he’s not allowed to accept tips, cash, checks or gift cards. They can only accept small gifts worth no more than $20 such as travel mugs, hand warmers, etc.) They can also accept snacks and beverages or perishable gifts that are not part of a meal.  Perishable items worth more (large fruit baskets or cookie tins) must be shared with the entire branch. 
Nursing home employees – Check company policy first. Don’t give cash. Instead opt for a gift such as flowers or food items, which can be shared by the staff. 
Housekeeper/Cleaner – Up to the amount of one week’s pay and/or a small gift. 
Personal trainer – Up to the cost of one session or a gift. 
Massage therapist – Up to the cost of one session or a gift. 
Personal caregiver – Between one week to one month’s salary or a gift. 
Pool cleaner – The cost of one cleaning to be split among the crew. 
Building superintendent – $20-80 or a gift. 
Elevator operator – $15-40 each.

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State Seal of Illinois

The state emblem is Illinois can be found on the state flag. It is the Great Seal of the State of Illinois. The state seal was adopted in 1869 and the flag bearing the central elements of the seal was adopted in 1915. In 1970 the word Illinois was added to the state flag.



In 1819 the first Great Seal of the State of Illinois was adopted by the first Illinois General Assembly. The law stated the Great Seal must be procured and kept by the Secretary of State of Illinois. The first seal was an engraved duplicate of the Great Seal of the United States. In 1839 the seal was re-cut and became the Second Great Seal.

The third seal of the state of Illinois was directed by State Senator Allen Fuller representing a group led by State of Illinois Secretary Sharon Tyndale. It was brought up to change the words of "State Sovereignty, National Union" to "National Union State Sovereignty." However, the words were not changed but a new seal would be designed. The new design wraps around allowing the eye to suggestively see the word "Sovereignty" upside down making it a bit harder to read.



The newly redesigned seal featured a bald eagle on a rock carrying a shield it its talons and a banner in its beak. There are thirteen stars and thirteen strips on the shield that represented the original thirteen states of the Union. The date of August 26, 1818 when the states first constitution was adopted appears along the bottom arc of the circle and 1818 the year Illinois became a state displays on the seal below 1868. Since the last seal there have been only minor modifications.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Make Christmas Time Lunch Special


Cut up one fruit that is green and another that is red. Mix together to have the classical colors of Christmas. Strawberries and kiwi do this nicely. Other green foods include grapes, green apples, or honeydew melon Red fruit could be raspberries, pomegranate, red grapes or dried cranberries. Veggie mixes may include peas, green beans or cucumber as well as cherry tomatoes , red peppers and radishes


Yogurt topped with christmas sprinkles goes nicely in a leak proof container. What a great treat to find in your lunch box.


Make a cute sandwich with a hole in the middle of a slice of bread using a cookie cutter. On another piece of bread spread peanut butter and jelly Put slices bread together and sprinkle


Use a ginger bread man cutter to make a sandwich that will be like no other. Decorate with pieces of cheese. Cut smiley face out of the cheese with knife.



Make a santa hat out of strawberries and marshmallows by now. For healthier version make up tomato and mozzarella


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Crock-Pot Ham and Swiss Dip


8 ounces cream cheese cubed
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 cups cooked ham diced
2 cups Swiss cheese shredded
1 tablespoon prepared spicy brown mustard


Add ingredients to a 3 quart or larger crock-pot.
cook on low for 2 hours stirring at least once midway.
Serve with Rye Bread Pieces.

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How The Grinch Stole Christmas Cookie #recipe

One of our favorite characters at Christmas while his loathsome self would most likely not consider himself that is the Grinch. This cookie recipe uses the Grinch as a source of inspiration. 




1 Box of White Cake Mix
4 oz Cool Whip (half a container)
1 Egg, beaten
Green Food Coloring
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350
Add enough powdered sugar to a bowl to dip your hands in
In a medium bowl combine cake mix, cool whip, and egg.
Stir until well mixed.
Dip your hands in the powdered sugar to keep from sticking
Take the dough by spoonfool and roll in your hands to form a ball
Keep applying powdered sugar to your hands as needed
Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
Bake 9-12 minutes or until done. (depending on size of your cookies)

Notes
Dough will be very thick and hard to stir. Just keep stirring : )
Keep powdered sugar on you hands to avoid the dough sticking.
Cookies will be very soft when removed from oven, but will harden as they cool.

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Some of My Favorite Christmas Pins

candy cane cookies 



Christmas Jello Dessert




Christmas Candy



have you been naughty or nice 

Christmas Tree ornaments

raspberry coolwhip jello dessert 

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Illinois State Symbol White Tail Deer

As you may have heard the state of Illinois celebrated a big birthday the other day turning 200 years old. There are a few facts you may know all ready about Illinois for example the state capital is Springfield. Springfield is where Abe Lincoln has been memorialized in many different ways. The Lincoln memorial as well as the New Salem settlement. However, there are a few things that you may not know....



Today, we are starting with Illinois state animal. The White-Tailed Deer: In 1980 the state held a survey among schoolchildren in Illinois to vote for the state animal. I can recall doing this as a 10 year old in 4th grade. We are able to choose among a handful of other suggested animals. The white tailed deer came out the winner. Perhaps you did know this fact, but were you aware that other states including:

  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Wisconsin 


All recognize the white tailed deer as their state symbol. 


The white tailed deer is one incredible beautiful animal that can run up to 40 m.p.h, jump 9 foot fences, and swim 13 miles per hour It is incredible easy to see the white underside of the deer's tail wave as it runs. The white of the tail is flashed as well when danger is sensed. Fawns are born with white spots for camouflage. In early days of settlements in America both natives and settlers relied on the white tailed deer for buckskin and food.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Ode To Elvis Poke Cake


The Ode to Elvis Poke Cake



Yield: 18-24 servings

For the cake:
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 eggs
1 (18.25 oz.) box Duncan Hines butter golden cake mix
2/3 cup water
Additional ingredients for the cake:
2 cups milk
1 box (3.4 oz.) Jello banana cream instant pudding and pie filling mix
4-5 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
12-16 oz. bacon, cooked, crumbled and drained
For the glaze:
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray a 9×13-in. baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the ½ cup peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Add half of the cake mix and ⅓ cup of water. Mix until just combined. Add remaining cake mix and remaining ⅓ cup of water; mix until just combined. Pour batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove from the oven and with the handle end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake. There is not a set number of holes, but you will want plenty for the pudding to fill.
In a medium bowl, combine the instant pudding mix and milk. Pour the pudding mixture over the cake, trying to fill the holes the best you can. You may need to use the back of a spoon to help spread the pudding mix and fill the holes. Top with the sliced bananas. Evenly spread the Cool Whip over the cake. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the ¼ cup creamy peanut butter and 5 tbsp. milk. Microwave in 10 seconds intervals until smooth, stirring between each time. Carefully pour the mixture into a small zip-top bag and snip a small piece off one of the corners. Drizzle the peanut butter glaze over the top of the cake.
Cover and refrigerate the cake for at least four hours before serving.

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Christmas Lights at Candy Cane Lane




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Cinnamon Ornaments



1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup ground cinnamon (look for the cheap, off-brand stuff– you aren’t gonna eat it)
2 tablespoons craft glue, optional (I think this makes the ornaments a bit more sturdy, but you can do without it)
Mixing bowl
Drinking straw
Plastic wrap
Rolling pin
Baking racks and baking sheets
Cookie cutters
Sandpaper
Oven, food dehydrator, or just an out-of-the-way spot (for drying)
Glitter, puffy paints, rhinestones, etc. for decorating, optional
Ribbon or hooks for hanging

Place the applesauce, cinnamon, and glue go into a mixing bowl.
Mix with your hands, a spoon will not get it mixed well. Form dough into a big ball.

.
Roll out 1/3 of the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Roll dough to about 1/2 inch or 1/3 inch width. The thinner the dough the quicker it dries and more ornaments you can get out of a batch. However, the thinner ornaments will also be more fragile and may curl as well. Thicker ornaments take longer to dry.

Remove top layer of plastic it is time to cut cookies


Make a hole where you want to place the hanger


Now it is time to allow ornaments to dry

  • Baking: Pop the ornaments on a baking rack on top of a baking sheet in a 200°F oven for about 2 1/2 hours, until the ornaments are dry and hard. This is the fastest method, but it also results in a little bit of curling and bubbling.
  • Food Dehydrator: Place the ornaments on the racks of a food dehydrator, and dry at the highest setting for about 6 hours.
  • Air Dry: You can just put these ornaments on baking racks and dry them in an out-of-the-way place. This method takes a few days, and obviously works best in dry climates (I wouldn’t try this method at the beach house in Florida). We can get our ornaments dry in about three days on top of the fridge.
After dried it is time to decorate. Go eleborate or simple both work nicely. 



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Winter Workout

During the warm weather you have been pretty active don't let the cooler days stop you. You could simply stay in bed cuddled up or you could as I suggest bundle up and head outside on an adventure. The American Heart Association has some suggestions on how to get outside in cold weather and work out. A few cold weather activities that can easily be done include:

  • Brisk walking or hiking
  • Jogging or running 
  • Raking leaves 
  • Shoveling snow
  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Snowshoeing


Some good reasons that it may be easier to workout in the cooler weather than in the hot weather  are
  • There is no heat and humidity to deal with. The chill of winter may even help you improve your workout
  • the cold weather may allow you to work out longer and therefore burn more calories 
  • Since sunlight is limited in the winter getting outside and working out may improve ones mood. 
When exercising out side in the cold weather it is important to stay warm. This may mean dressing in layers to avoid hypothermia and frostbite. As we all know cold weather may offer lower temperatures, strong winds and possible rain and snow. All of those factors can steal  body heat. However, there are ways to dress in layers that can help protect you when outdoors



While cotton is often considered a good material to workout in the truth is that when working outside it may not be the best. Cotton can easily become wet with sweat or snow and trap the moisture in. This can make one feel colder and heavier. The better fabric to select is moisture wicking fabrics that are used in high performance sportswear. Over the first layer then place a layer of fleece followed by  a waterproof layer. 

Remember just like working out in warm weather to stay hydrated. While a thirst may be there more in the summer time but even when the thirst is not present the body still needs water. 



If the weather stops you from heading out there is a way for you to still get the exercise by taking it inside. Some ideas are:
  • Home workout circuit
  • Dancing
  • Active housework like vacuuming and sweeping
  • Mall walking 
  • Bowling
  • Roller skating
  • Yoga or other fun group classes at your local gym, studio, or community center
  • Stair climbing

The idea is , whatever you do to get motivated and exercising then get it done, your health relies on it

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole



Nonstick cooking spray
1 (16 oz.) loaf supermarket French or Italian bread (Not a loaf with a thick crust), cut into 1-inch cubes (about 16 cups)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
7 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 cups candied pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped

Tightly line your slow cooker with foil and coat with nonstick spray.
Adjust the rack in your oven to the middle position, and preheat the oven to 225*F.
Spread the bread cubes out onto a large cookie sheet, and bake, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes, until the bread is crisp and dried out.
Pour the bread cubes into the prepared slow cooker.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the slow cooker and push down the bread a bit so it can soak in the egg.
Mix together the softened butter and the brown sugar. Stir in the candied nuts. Sprinkle the nut mixture over the top of the bread.
Cover, and cook until the center of the casserole is set, about 4 hours on LOW.
Remove the top from the slow cooker, turn off the heat, and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
Serve with maple syrup.
ENJOY!

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