I was contacted a few weeks ago by the folks at Nature’s Path wondering if I would be interested in a Feel Good Holiday Gift Box filled with their products, one for myself to enjoy and one for a lucky reader of the Vanilla Bean Baker.  I enjoy receiving free samples of healthy, good for you products that I will use and I love being able to share the same with my readers.

Nature's Path Feel Good Holiday Giveaway

The Gift Box arrived and I have to tell you that I just love Nature’s Path shipping box.  It’s a very sturdy flip top cardboard box that looks like an old-fashioned crate.  Once opened I discovered that they had gifted me with nine full size samples of their latest products.

Nature's Path Shipping Box

To be honest, until earlier this week, I hadn’t tried any of their producst prior to receiving the gift box.  Before I could it offer the same gift to my readers, I wanted to do a small taste test to ensure that Nature’s Path products are actually something I would purchase in the future and be confident in recommending.

I decided to open and sample three of their cereals.  This Canadian Company out of Richmond, British Columbia is all about selling organic, gluten free, non GMO food and being careful stewards of the environment.  They have a wonderful and informative website and a very interesting blog to follow along.  Do yourself a favour and be sure to browse through their recipe pages.  You won’t be disappointed.

Back to the cereal taste test.  My sampling including a few ounces each of Sunrise Crunchy Maple, Whole O’s and Flax Plus Multibran Flakes.

Taste Test Nature's Path Organic, Non GMO, Gluten Free Cereals

All were very flavourful and tasty and did not get soggy when milk was added to them.  I can say without hesitation that when the current sample boxes are empty, I will be purchasing more, especially the Sunrise Crunchy Maple.  It’s chock full of quinoa puffs and just enough maple syrup to keep your spoon making repetitive dips into the bowl.

Nature’s Path also sent along a box of Coconut Chia Granola and Pumpkin Flax Granola.  Nestled in their charming packing crate shipping box was also a bag of Love Crunch Organic Granola (Gingerbread flavour) a bag of Qi’a (chia, buckwheat and hemp cereal) and a bag of pure oats Fruit & Nut Granola.  I enjoy granola as a snack and love topping my ice cream with it.  I’m planning on trying out some new recipes with some of these new products.   I’ve received so much healthy cereal and snacks from Nature’s Path that getting myself weaned off of a sugar high once Christmas is over is going to be a breeze!  My gift box contained a nice variety of just a fraction of all the products Nature’s Path has available.  A visit to their site will show you that in their breakfast waffle line alone they offer ten different healthy, gluten free options!

If you’d like to start your New Year off on a healthier footing, enter my sweepstakes to receive a Feel Good Holiday Gift Box for your family from the wonderful folks at Nature’s Path.  Please read the entry rules below and leave me a comment.  If you are the lucky winner, your Nature’s Path *crate* will be shipping to you directly from them.

SWEEPSTAKES RULES, ELIGIBILTY, Etc. (please read before leaving a comment)

  1. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Only one entry per person permitted.
  3. Open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and to residents of the continental United States. (sorry but the province of Quebec has rules I can’t comply to for holding sweepstakes and due to shipping costs, I have to exclude the rest of the world.)
  4. Immediate family members of The Vanilla Bean Baker are not eligible to enter.
  5. No purchase is necessary.
  6. Sweepstake entries are open from Wednesday, December 17, 2014 to Tuesday, December 23, 2014 . Deadline to enter is midnight EST Tuesday, December 23, 2014.
  7. To enter the Sweepstake entrants must leave a comment on this post.  I am not on Facebook so obviously, you do not have to follow me there.  If you are following me already on Twitter, thank you but if not, you do not have to start following me to enter nor do you have to tweet about this Sweepstake.  If you already subscribe to The Vanilla Bean Baker, thank you.  You do not have to subscribe to enter, just simply leave a comment at the end of this post and if you live in Canada (outside of Quebec) or in the continental United States, your comment will be entered into the random draw for the prize.
  8. The winner will be determined by a random draw performed by Pick Giveway Winner plugin
  9. The winner will be notified via email from The Vanilla Bean Baker. Please do not publish your address in the comments section, just know that you must have a valid email address or some others means of contact (i.e. Twitter) to enter.
  10. The winner will have 48 hours in which to respond and claim their prize.  Failure for the winner to respond in the allotted time will result in the prize being awarded to another entrant.
  11. The winner’s name will be posted at the top and bottom of this post on Wednesday, December 24, 2014.  A tweet announcing the winner will also be sent by The Vanilla Bean Baker
  12. Odds of winning are based on the number of entries.

Total prize value is $50.00 (Cdn.)



Nothing is better when attending a holiday gathering or dinner party than to show up with a homemade gift for your hosts.  The following two recipes are perfect for events such as these as not only are they very tasty but they yield large batches and you will have plenty for gift-giving.

The first recipe I’m going to share has been a made in many households, particularly those in Newfoundland.  I first came across this cookie when I lived in Newfoundland for seven years back in the 80′s.  My ex’s sister-in-law made them and got me hooked on them.  It is a seasonal favourite and the most popular search item on the Rock Recipes site.  My daughter gets a craving for these every Christmas.

Christmas Snowball Cookies

Rock Recipes instructs you to roll these into 1 1/2″ balls.  I find that too large and I roll mine into approximately 1″ balls.  My yield from one batch was 76 snowballs.

The second cookie was an experiment that turned out great!  Pecan Choco Drop Minis.  They are perfect for gift-giving in jars or tins.  I used my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Nicole at Life’s a Batch with a few changes.  Rather than add chocolate chips, I used grated dark chocolate.  I used a teaspoon measuring spoon to scoop the dough and one batch yielded 103 cookies.

Pecan Choco Drop Mini Cookies

So, if you are looking for a nice and tasty hostess gift or thank you gifts for anyone at this time of year, bake yourself up these two recipes and guaranteed your recipients will be anxious to help themselves and then be calling you for the recipes.

Christmas Snowballs (from Rock Recipes and my ex’s sister-in-law)

3 cups of white sugar

3/4 cup of melted butter

1 1/4 cup of milk

Mix Together:

3 cups of large rolled oats

1 cup of unsweetened coconut

12 tblsp of cocoa

Set Aside:

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened coconut (you may need to use more)

In a large saucepan, melt your butter and add the milk and sugar.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil until temperature on candy thermometer reaches 230 degrees.  Remove from heat and add oats, cocoa and coconut mixture.  Stir together well and set in fridge to chill until the batter is cold enough for you to roll into balls.  Roll batter into 1″ balls and then roll into coconut.  Store in the freezer and remove just as you are ready to serve.  Note: These are best served and eaten cold (even right out of the freezer)

Pecan Choco Drop Minis

1 cup of shortening

3/4 cup of white sugar

3/4 cup of brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp of vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp of pure peppermint extract

1/2 tsp of cold water

Mix Together

2 cups of unbleached flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

Finely Chop

1/2 cup of pecans


2 ounces of Premium Dark Chocolate (70% Cacao)

Beat together shortening, white sugar and brown sugar until well combined.  Add eggs, vanilla bean paste, peppermint extract and water, beat together well. Gradually add your flour, baking soda and salt until well combined.  Add your finely chopped pecans and your grated dark chocolate.  Mix together well.  Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, scoop up dough and place on prepared cookie sheet.  Bake at 365 degrees for 8 minutes. Cookies will come out of the oven puffy and then sink into little mini chewy rounds as they cool.


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Decorating Cookies Party Sweepstake!

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Quick and Easy Halloween Themed Pumpkin Cookies

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Sugar and Essence Seasoning Make Pecans Very, Very Nice

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In my last post I shared with you the recipe for homemade no yeast cinnamon buns. I added spiced candied pecans to them and today I’m sharing my recipe for those pecans. Warning: These are addictive! Not only are these Spiced Candied Pecans good in cinnamon buns, but they are delicious thrown into a fresh […]

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Spiced Candied Pecan Cinnamon Buns with Maple Glaze

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It’s funny to me that as much as I love a warm cinnamon bun or variation thereof, I don’t bake them often.  In fact, the last time I made sweet rolls was back in 2010 with Ella.  At that time we had used the “no yeast” caramel bun recipe from King Arthur Flour and they turned out […]

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