Penny Pincher Cinnamon Ornaments

I give a lot of thanks to my mom for all of my crafting inspirations. My mom has been a nursery school teacher for over 30 years and growing up I always had an art set and fun new ideas to explore. Whenever I needed anything crafty I knew my mom could go into her boxes of school supplies and lend a hand. She is amazing at what she does and I look up to her very much. One craft I can remember her making with the kids from school growing up are cinnamon ornaments. She of course made them with me and well and I can still remember the ornaments smelling year after year as we put them on the tree.

This year I really wanted all my decorating to be vintage chic. When I stumbled on the cinnamon ornaments on Pinterest I immediately thought of my mom and making them while growing up. The look of the ornament is also very rustic and went perfectly with my theme. The recipe I used was my mom’s but it SUPER simple. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4oz Ground Cinnamon (about 2 small bottles)
  • 3/4cup-1cup apple sauce
  • A Drinking Straw
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Twine and Burlap(optional)

Big shout out to my friend Jes on providing the wine and helping me make these, and a huge shout out to ABC Family Home Alone Weekend for providing the background entertainment, (it made for a fun Friday night)

  1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
  2. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed.
  3. Roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap.
  4. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  5. Using a standard drinking straw, make a hole at top of ornament
  6. Place ornaments on baking sheet and bake in oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  7. Cool ornaments over night on wire rack.
  8. String with twine or ribbon and enjoy.

Once my ornaments we done, I strung them with twine and burlap. I actually utilized them not only as tree ornaments but as decorations for some vases I made. For the vases I used old brandy containers and soaked them in hot soapy water to peel the labels off. I wrapped page from an old book I had around the vase using Mod Podge and then applied a small strip of burlap using the glue gun. The hung the ornament around the neck and stuck in tree trimmings.

**GREAT TIP – when you cut down your tree, or at any place that cuts fresh trees, you can pick up all the trimmings for FREE. I found this out when I went to ask the people who worked there how much it would cost to take them and they said, “NOTHING, take them!” It was a great feeling!! The old free book, each ornament cost me 4 cents, I re-used the bottles, free tree trimmings and old scraps of burlap and twine, the whole project cost me less that 5 cents. WHAT A STEAL!

This is just the start of my holiday decorating – my scrooge boyfriend is convinced we need to wait until December first, we’ll see.



Give Thanks For Cupcakes

Holidays are always days of festivity, recreation, family, fun and a diabetic nightmare for myself. Being a type one diabetic it is very hard to hold back on the sweet treats spread over the entire table. It’s tough to LOVE to decorate cupcakes and bake knowing you cannot have any of it. I throughly enjoy watching people enjoy what I make and become impressed through my creations but have a great disapointment knowing that I cannot enjoy it the same way they can.

This year I decided to make 2 desserts for my family’s Thanksgiving. One being the cupcakes I love to make and the other being a special dessert for myself to enjoy. I’ll start with my Sugar and Fat Free Pumpkin Trifle and end with the sweet Thanksgiving cupcakes 🙂 

Diabetic Pumpkin Trifle:
I adapted the recipe from but added my own diabettic twist to it.
As I mentioned this recipe is both fat free and sugar free (about 10 carbs per serving)

    • 1-1/4 cups water
    • 1 egg
    • 4 cups cold fat-free milk
    • 4 packages (1 ounce each) sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix
    • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
    • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

For the gingerbread cake, I made my own cake from scratch using this recipe.  I substituted the sugar with splenda.

  • Bake cake usiging recipe in link above.
  • In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in pumpkin and spices until well blended.
  • In a trifle bowl or 3-1/2-qt. glass serving bowl, layer a fourth of the cake crumbs, half of the pumpkin mixture, a fourth of the cake crumbs and half of the whipped topping. Repeat layers. Garnish with reserved cake crumbs. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. 

YUM  – So good, guilt free AND not a lot of insulin required for this one!

Now on to the non-diabetic friendly portion of Thanksgiving – Thanksgiving cupcakes!
My family loves Funfetti, so I just used the box as opposed to making them from scratch as I did in the previous recipe.  I baked 2 dozen cupcakes per the recipe on the box, let them cool then let the fun being.  My favorite has got to be the mashed potato cupcake:

This one is easy.  For the vanilla frosting that I created a “volcano” making the outsides of the cupcake taller and the middle dip in.  I just took a butter knife and dabbed the outside to create the thick consistency of the mashed potato.  I then filled the center with caramel sauce letting it drip down the side to look like gravy.  The “butter” is a yellow Starburst that I warmed up in the microwave for 5 seconds so I could press it down to create the butter look.

Here are a few pictures of the other Thanksgiving cupcakes I made using Pilsbury Chocolate and Vanilla frosting, Wilton Gel Dyes, red piping gel, Wilton Boxed Fondant and my hands to mold everything.

So in conclusion, yes it is hard to maintain and healthy lifestyle during the holidays but it IS do-able.  Do you do anything to maintain a healthy lifestyle during Thanksgiving, or do you use one of your “cheat” days?