Ally's Sweet & Savory Eats: November 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

2019 Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Shopping small during the holiday season is my favorite way to shop.
How about considering these Made in Iowa gifts this year!

This post is sponsored by Travel Iowa.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

If you've been around here for a minute then you know I'm a firm believer in supporting small businesses and shopping small.  Especially during the holiday season when these hard working businesses rely so much on their customers.

Giving the gift of local not only lights up your family's eyes but it makes the giver feel all the emotions too!  These are items not found in big boxed stores.  They are unique and perfect for any loved one this holiday season.

And.....since I'm from Iowa it would only be fitting to showcase a complete list of curated fun gifts from local Iowa artists and shops from across the state.  

I'm going to show you some of my favorites from this list, but be sure to check out the complete version HERE.  You are bound to find something special.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

In the past I was always an easy beer or wine drinker at celebrations, but lately I've loved a good cocktail.  They are fun!

My family has always had Gin & Tonic's on hand when everyone is around.  It's kind of my Dad's signature drink.  These flavored tonic's by Joanna's look perfect to jazz up our family's fun drink.  With original {grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime} or Orange Fennel {orange and warm spices} the holidays will be darn special. 

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Many of you know of these cute kitchen towels since their owner helped to design my book and heirloom kitchen towel.  But....if you've been living under a rock....these towels need to grace your kitchen scape!

Uniquely made, each towel is designed with your home in mind.  The colors are neutral and light and the wording just makes you want to hole up in home and bake all day.  They are the perfect gift for the cook and baker in your life.  Or anyone who loves decorating their kitchen.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Creating a comfy home for your family or friends when they visit, I feel, should be a priority.  Do you remember walking into friend's home when you were younger and just feeling "at home"?  

Having throws tossed over couches and chairs is the best way to do this.  These handmade woolen oversized throws from Amana, Iowa {great tourist town to check out by the way} are the perfect addition for a family room or den.

How about this collegiate colored version?  With so many designs and colors to choose from, there is one for everybody.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Nothing beats a personalized gift.  Nothing.

Just like a homemade meal, a meal baked in a dish that is well loved and known is even better!  These personalized baking dishes can be engraved with a family's name, a fun family saying or even a recipe!

They also have handmade and engraved cutting boards.  This is definitely a gift to give to a Mom or Grandma who has been feeding you for years.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Do you ever just want something different to decorate your home with?

I do.  When you shop big, instead of small, you can many times have the same decorations in your home as your neighbor!  Let's try and be different, shall we?

These beaded tassels are perfect to hang from a mantel, hooks on a rustic shelf or placed on the runner of your table amongst candles and vases of flowers during the holidays.  Super pretty!

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Hot sauce lovers rejoice!

Being a foodie, I love seeing small batch goodies from small businesses.  What a great stocking stuffer!

I love hot sauce on eggs, sprinkled in my homemade chili and topped on a big plate of sheet pan nachos.  Just a dash or layered on - whatever your hotness level is - this line of homemade hot sauces has flavor levels for everyone.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

I love a good piece of art that welcomes anyone coming in the front door.  Don't you?

This particular sign gives me all the cozy and warm feelings, especially during the holidays.  These handmade wooden signs are inviting and look perfect next to the front door where people hang their coats or in the mudroom while people are peeling off all the layers of their winter gear.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Spoiler alert.

I bought this shirt in the t-shirt version.  I just love it!

I'm fairly certain your could replace Iowa on this shirt with any state, but we do take pride here in the Midwest for our kindness.  I also love how shirts are going through a trend right now with fun saying and cute antidotes.

A great gift for a college student!

Made in Iowa Gift Guide

There are so many goodies on this Made in Iowa list that will be the ideal addition to add to your PEOPLE this holiday season.

You can see the full list of gifts HERE.

I'd love to hear what product is calling your name!  Shout it out on social media tagging me of course {@sweetsavoryeats} and Travel Iowa {@Travel_Iowa on Twitter, @IowaTourism on Facebook or @TravelIowa on Instagram}.

Happy holiday shopping season!  Remember to try and support small businesses this year.  It is fun and rewarding.

Merry Christmas!

This post was sponsored by Travel Iowa.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Holiday Espresso Brownies with Coffee Buttercream

These holiday brownies will be the hit of your Christmas gathering!
Coffee lovers rejoice, this one is for you.
Plus there is a fun giveaway to boot.

This post is sponsored by Ross Street Roasting Company.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

Remember circa 2013 when I didn't drink coffee?

I do.  I've chatted about this before so bare with me....but I grew up around coffee {both of my parents drink it daily} it just never stuck with me.  Even after having two kids in two years! For whatever reason, it never appealed to me and I just carried on through life.

After my third child in 2014 I started dabbling in cappuccinos {really, I'm sure this was a survival tactic with now three kids under the age of 5} and now I'm drinking it daily.  It was a quick turn around.

Today I often prep my coffee at night before bed and dream about it in my sleep.  Call me the crazy coffee lady.  I'm not sure why I waiting so long in life to enjoy that hot cup of joe.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

A couple years back a little birdie told me my small hometown {population 5,000+} had a new coffee company starting up.  My first thought was....what?  Is that real?

Guess what.  It was real.  

Ross Street Roasting Company was founded in 2015. I started following them on social media, which lead to me trying their coffee, which lead to some partnerships, which then lead to a coffee subscription that is delivered to me every three weeks.  Best subscription I've ever paid for.

Founder and coffee roaster Brian and I have gone back and forth so many times over the past couple years - I love, love, love supporting small businesses.  Especially one that is near and dear to where I grew up.

And this is where this holiday brownie idea came two fold.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

Have you ever made a homemade brownie?

From scratch?

It's super, duper easy.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I am not above a boxed mix.  They are great and have saved my butt many times when I need to whip up a quick dessert.

But brownies from scratch......they are HEAVENLY.

And brownies infused with deep, rich espresso are pretty much better than everything I have every made.  I put espresso {or just a simple, dark strong coffee - don't make this complicated} in the batter and in the buttercream, plus I added Nestle espresso baking chips.

Triple espresso folks.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

These brownies, are fudgy and rich and decadent.  Alone they are brillant.  Add in that homemade buttercream?

Drop dead amazing.

I "holiday-ed" these up a bit too with red and green sprinkles.  I took some extras {there are always extras coming from my house - it's good to be my friend} to a few friends and one exclaimed, "it's like Christmas on a plate!"

She was right.  Receiving a platter of these brownies at the holidays will bring anyone a smile.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

You'll notice in this recipe I divided up the batter into two 8x8 baking dishes.  Yes, you could put the batter in just one 9x13 larger pan, but I love dividing these up.  One to keep for your family, one to share with someone else.

The holidays are about sharing.  If you are not giving something homemade to a special person in your life this holiday season you should be! Heck, drop off a plate of these to the administrative assistants at your kid's school or prehaps your chiro's office staff.

I love seeing people light up when they receive homemade food {especially desserts} this time of year.

holiday espresso brownies with coffee buttercream #ad

Lastly, let's chat about the espresso in this recipe.


If you simply have a Keurig or an off brand cheap coffee maker at home you can still make these brownies.  Yes, I used special equipment to make the best and strongest coffee I could, but do not fear, it doesn't matter.  Will you get the best quality brownie if you go my route?  Probably so, but if you don't you'll still have a damn good coffee infused brownie.

Ross Street Roasting Company graciously sent me the Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder and the AeroPress Single-Serve Coffee Maker to use in this recipe.  Both products are AWESOME.  Grinding your own coffee beans is ideal {it will allow the natural oils from the beans to release} and making a very strong cup of coffee or espresso using a press is also great....but again don't fret if you can't.

Saying this if you are INTO strong coffee and like to bake with it, they yes, invest in these two products.  They are awesome.

I cannot wait to see you make these brownies!  Put them on a platter and share with all your friends and family this holiday season.

Now, guess what?  We aren't finished yet.

Ross Street Roasting Company has graciously agreed to gift ONE winner an AeroPress Single-Serve Coffee Maker + a bag of their premium coffee beans.  Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway icon below.  U.S. entries only please.  One winner will randomly be chosen on Wednesday, November 27.  Good luck!

A special thanks to Ross Street Roasting Company for sponsoring this post.

Holiday Espresso Brownies with Coffee Buttercream

Holiday Espresso Brownies with Coffee Buttercream
Yield: 18
What a wonderful treat for the holidays! These rich, dark coffee infused brownies need to grace your dessert platter this season. A decadent buttercream tops them off - don't forget the sprinkles!


For the Brownies
  • 8 T butter
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 T espresso or highly strong brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup espresso chips
For the Coffee Buttercream
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 3-4 T espresso or highly strong brewed coffee
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • holiday sprinkles (optional)


How to bake Holiday Espresso Brownies with Coffee Buttercream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 8x8 baking pans with parchment paper, leaving extra hanging over the sides of the pan (this will allow for easy removal of the brownies after baking).  Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat melt the butter.  Once melted whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso.
  3. Transfer this mixture to your mixing bowl (or a stand mixer) and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Gently beat in the eggs, sugars, salt and milk.  Once combined, sift in the flour.  The batter will be thick.
  5. Divide the batter into the two baking pans.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow the brownies to cool completely.
  6. Once the brownies are cool, start making the buttercream.
  7. Add the butter to your mixing bowl and cream together until light and airy.  Gently add in the espresso.  Sift in the powdered sugar and cream together until smooth.
  8. Taste the buttercream and if you want a stronger coffee flavor, add in 1 tablespoon of espresso at a time until you reach your desired flavor.


WAYS TO MAKE ESPRESSO depending on which equipment you have in your home: 1) If you have no special equipment simply brew the strongest cup of coffee you can in your coffeemaker at home. 2) Use a coffee grinder (like this one) to get the most out of your coffee beans. When you grind your own coffee beans the aroma is even more apparent as the natural oils are released from the beans during the grinding process. Plus it smells great! 3) use an AeroPress Coffee Maker to brew a very strong cup of coffee (this is done by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans).

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #espressobrownies
Created using The Recipes Generator
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 14, 2019

30 Side Dishes & Desserts for Thanksgiving

Have you been asked to bring a dish to Thanksgiving dinner?
I've got you covered, here are 30 great ones.

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

I adore Thanksgiving.

Really everything about it.  

The early morning anticipation.  Eating my pumpkin cinnamon rolls for breakfast {they are a must}.  Traveling to various relative's houses. Swirling together that combo of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole all in one bite. A silver of each pie on my plate. Watching the Dallas Cowboys play in the afternoon {I have no ties to Texas, but have always liked them}.  Thumbing through all the holiday ads. Taking a belly-full nap.  Watching a Christmas movie at night. Making a shopping list if I happen to get out early the next day for Black Friday.

I love it all.

Saying this, there is pressure to bring the best and brightest side dish or dessert to the table.  We wait all year for the meal, so it better be good!

I've hand-picked 15 side dishes and 15 desserts, many of them mine that I've personally made and shared over the years.  I hope this list gives you some easy, great ideas.

Let's start with those savory side dishes.

30 side dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

And now to the stars of the show {in my opinion} the desserts.

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 sides dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 side dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 side dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

30 side dishes & desserts for thanksgiving

Golly, I hope this list helps!

Whether you are a savory fan or a sweet fan there is something for everyone.  I'd love to hear which one you've picked off the list.

My two favorites?

The No-Knead Dinner Rolls and the Apple Slab Pie.  I love how both feed a big crowd.  You can't show up with a small dish.  Thanksgiving is all about sharing.  I hope you, your family and your friends have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Famous Banana Bread Recipe

Today I'm sharing my Famous Banana Bread recipe! Grab those ripe bananas and get to work. This is the only homemade banana bread recipe you'll ever use again.

Famous Banana Bread famous banana bread recipe is here! Grab those ripe bananas and get baking.

Today is a special day!

For a multitude of reasons.  First I'm sharing my famous banana bread recipe.  If you are old to the blog, then you may have seen this recipe before in a slightly different version.  Take a peek at that goodie HERE.

But honestly, this is the first time I've shared the original version.  IT IS FABULOUS. Not a soul who has tried this banana bread has not fainted.


But really, throw away all old banana bread recipes you have sitting around and print off this dandy.  It is the only one you'll ever need again.

Famous Banana Bread famous banana bread recipe is here! Grab those ripe bananas and get baking.

So many friends of mine have now thrown away their old handed down banana bread recipes from their moms and grandmas {gasp!} and now only use mine. I don't MEAN to have these friends ditch their old family recipe, it just happens.

Just a few weeks back when I was subbing at our church's preschool the teacher told me her college aged daughter was making it now!

That's right, anyone can make and everyone loves it.

fFamous Banana Bread famous banana bread recipe is here! Grab those ripe bananas and get baking.

Back in 2019 I even placed the recipe {in my own handwriting} on this classic heirloom kitchen towel! They sold out quickly in my shop. I've often wondered if I should bring it back?

Never say never.

People bought them right before Christmas and handing them out as gifts - it was a fun little project! Plus it's always fun seeing your own handwriting on something you made.

Back to the most delicious sweet bread on earth.

Personally, I feel like there is ONE secret ingredient to taking this banana bread to the top. Take a gander at the ingredients below - can you guess which ingredient it is? It gives the banana bread a slightly sticky and extremely tender and moist center.

Don't forget this ingredient.

Famous Banana Bread famous banana bread recipe is here! Grab those ripe bananas and get baking.

This banana bread took off like gangbusters back in March and April of 2020 at the start of the pandemic. Everyone was home, everyone was baking, everyone was loving it.

I can't wait to see you try it!

Tag me on social media {@sweetsavoryeats} and I'll be sure to share the love. Oh, and it's not a bad idea to bake a double batch {I know you have a lot of brown bananas in your freezer}. This stuff goes fast! Plus, I always give a loaf or two away to a friend or neighbor.

Happy baking!

Famous Banana Bread

Famous Banana Bread
Yield: 20 (2 loaves)
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 55 Mtotal time: 65 M
The ONLY banana bread recipe you'll ever need. It's the recipe everyone asks for and they never turn back! Rich, sticky, sweet and full of banana flavor.


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


How to cook Famous Banana Bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two loaf pans with cooking spray.
  2. In a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the mashed bananas.
  5. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Alternately, add in flour and buttermilk, ending with the flour.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool and remove from the loaf pans.


Optional add-ins include chocolate chips, pecans, toffee bits, etc.
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Did you make this recipe?
Tag @sweetsavoryeats on instagram and hashtag it #famousbananabread
Created using The Recipes Generator