Irene’s Holiday Kitchen Hacks

I’m so happy you enjoyed my baking hacks. It’s true that I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and even more when it’s the holiday season. There’s nothing I love more than seeing the looks on my loved ones faces after they try the delicious treats I’ve made for them. The holidays bring lots of fun and excitement, and sometimes we can tend to get a little behind in the kitchen. Not to worry, though. Below, I’ve pulled together a few of my best kitchen tips—holiday edition—to help you save time and eat healthier this holiday season.


Grill Vegetables Beforehand

Are you planning on grilling or oven roasting vegetables as sides for your dinner?

They can be made three to four days in advance and refrigerated.

Serve them at room temperature, or heat them up in the microwave before serving.




No More Sticky Dough!

When I first started baking bread, this was the most time-consuming part of all. Then I learned a neat tip. Start out by using about 80 percent of the water called for in the recipe.

Add more water as needed, until the dough is formed. More water can then be added in small amounts during the kneading process.

Dip your fingertips in water, and continue to knead the dough until it is soft and not sticky.



Think Ahead of Time

Does the holiday dinner already have you worrying that you won’t have enough time? There are a few different parts of the meal that can be made in advance and frozen.

Challah bread is one of them. A good friend recommended that I try this, and it has been a lifesaver.

I now bake my bread in advance and freeze it before the meal. It still has that fresh, homemade taste.




The Never-Ending Soup Bowl

Cooking for a lot of people can get a little tricky, and I’ve picked up some money-saving hacks over the years.

I always serve my chicken soup with matzo balls, vegetables and noodles.

This is more filling, and can feed a lot more people than just chicken soup by itself.




Filling Side Dishes

Pasta salad and potato salad are all inexpensive, and quick and easy to make. Use red, yellow and green peppers,

as well as colored noodles to make the dishes look more appealing.

These dishes can also be easily made ahead of time and refrigerated. I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator no longer than two days.




Save the Sugar for Dessert

There are a lot of recipes that call for sugar, even savory dishes like salad dressings, roasts with brown sugar, and marinades.

I prefer to use a little bit of honey instead, and save the sugar for dessert.





I hope that you enjoy these holiday tips from my kitchen to yours. Check back often for more baking and cooking hacks, advice, and money-saving tips. I wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know if any of the tips worked out for you.

Irene’s Inspiring Words

As a business owner, mother, wife, grandmother and friend, life can get hectic. Staying motivated to eat healthy, exercise regularly and model a healthy life-work balance doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes, just a few well-written words are all that it takes to inspire me. Even if those words inspire me to rest instead of run. I hope these wise words help you when you need them. If they don’t, there’s always biscotti!

If there’s a quote or saying that motivates you, please share. I’m always looking for new inspiring gems. Or if any of these inspirational quotes resonate with you, please pass them along to others. After all, good things are meant to be shared.

Distribution Announcement

Distribution Announcement

Bensalem, PA – Perfected through generations, Irene’s Bakery & Gourmet Kitchen, Inc., supplies customers with only the highest quality artisan bakery and prepared food products that are available in grocery stores across the country. After more than seven years of growth with MOM’s Organic Market, we were notified they will discontinue our relationship and work with another distributor.


MOM’s decision to end our partnership also means they will stop carrying our Fat & Sodium Free Biscotti, Cheese Cakes and our Raw Gluten Free Chocolate Bars. We regret the inconvenience and impact this may cause to our loyal customers. You can still purchase our products online at www.irenesbakery.com.


Irene’s is a family-owned small business, and we value face-to-face interactions with our businesses partners just as we value seeing the smiles of our satisfied customers. While this news saddens us, we are determined and will continue to build our unique brand of offering a variety of upscale pastry desserts and savory foods.


As Irene’s Bakery expands into new markets with our food products, we are grateful for the support and loyalty from all of our business partners and customers over the years. Our enduring commitment to making tasty foods that are safe, meet the highest quality, and provide optimal nutrition will remain at our core.


Irene’s Bakery and Prepared Foods products are available at the following stores and supermarkets:




Spy in raincoat and hat pop art vector

Irene’s I Spy

 What’s better than fat free biscotti? Free biscotti! Find one of five special packages of Irene’s Biscotti placed in Wegman’s,  David’s Market and Roots located in Maryland state and win a $20 online credit.

 Here’s how it works. Five packages of biscotti have been labeled with a special #IrenesISpy sticker. Follow the clues posted on Irene’s Bakery social media to locate the prize pack of biscotti.

Take a picture of the winning treats, with the special   sticker clearly visible, and post to Irene’s Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #IrenesISpy. Each winner will receive a $20 online promo code.

Rules and Regulations:

The promotion will run until all five of the packages have been found. One promo code per person. No purchase necessary to win.


Baking Hacks


A Knack for Baking with Hacks

With experience comes knowledge, and since a lot of my time is spent in the kitchen drafting up new recipes and baking my tasty, healthy treats, I have certainly picked up a tip or two over the years to make my baking process more efficient. Whether you spend long days in the kitchen or prefer to just visit once in a while, these tried-and-true kitchen tips are sure to save you time and make your life easier. Here are a handful of my favorite baking hacks:




Clean-cut Cookies

I used to dread making cookies into fun shapes until I learned this simple trick. Always dip your cookie cutters in flour first. The flour will reduce the amount of sticking between the cutter and the dough, leaving a clean-cut cookie ready for baking.





Room Temp Butter in a Flash

This tip has saved me a ton of time. Using the microwave to warm up chilled butter proved to be a huge mess. Plus, most recipes call for softened, not melted butter. Next time your recipe calls for softened or room temperature butter, try placing the butter between two large pieces of wax paper and use a rolling pin to flatten it, as you would a pie crust. Once the butter is about ¼-inch thick, lift off the wax paper and peel away the butter.




Make Brown Sugar Soft Again

For healthier recipes, brown sugar is a must. The problem is that it often becomes a rock-hard block and is too difficult to work with. A good friend shared a simple tip with me that will surely save you an unneeded trip to the grocery store:

Put brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and microwave it for 20 seconds and it’s ready to be worked into that healthy treat recipe!




Prevent the Brown Sugar Block

Now you know how to soften brown sugar if necessary, but there is a way to prevent needing that step in the microwave at all. Just store a slice of bread in the container with your brown sugar! You can use any type of sandwich bread for this. The bread won’t get moldy and the sugar remains soft and ready to use.





Keep that Fresh-baked Feel

I love to bake lots of treats for my family and friends and I usually end up with a lot left over. We all know that fresh foods don’t last as long, but I’ve got you covered. Next time you have leftover cookies, store them with an apple wedge. The cookies will absorb the apple’s moisture, keeping that fresh-baked softness for much longer.





Rapid-ripe Bananas

Have you ever had a recipe that called for ripened bananas, but you searched your freezer and realized you’re out? In the past, I only make banana bread when I had ripe bananas onhand, which wasn’t often. Now, I can make banana bread anytime with this banana-ripening trick:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Place your bananas on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes or until the skin of the banana is black. Let them cool for 30 minutes or throw them in the fridge to speed up cooling time.



Time for me to get back to work on another round of delicious, good-for-you baked goods. I hope you enjoyed learning some of my favorite baking hacks and if you try any of them, let me know how they work for you!


Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and kitchen adventures.



Hamantashen for St. Jude Children’s Hospital

My Purim charity of choice tApricot Hamantashen in Boxhis year is St. Jude Children’s Hospital! In addition to our usual monthly donation, for any boxes of Hamantashen cookies purchased 2/26/2018 until 3/1/2018 I will donate an additional $2 dollars to St. Jude!* Help me support this worthy cause! Click here for more details about the important work St. Jude’s is doing in our communities!

Irene’s Bakery is committed to helping the local communities our shoppers live in. These are the charities we donated to in 2017.

  • Liubavitch of Yardley
  • St Jude Hospital
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters Church
  • Christine M McCaffrey Community fund
  • Congregation Beth Tovim
  • Congregation Beth Avraham
  • Help The Vets fund
  • National Police and Trooper Association
  • Firefighters of Bensalem
  • American Cancer Society Making Strides of Westchester DeCicco & Sons
  • Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation

*Donations from this program to be capped at $5,000 for purchases before 3/1/2018.



9 Snacks Under 100 Calories

Like many people, the new year has me doubling down on my health goals. Those who know me know that I’m a snack fanatic. I’m not about to give up snacks, but I’m also not going to let snacking derail my health. When your hunger takes over, enjoy any of these snacks for 100 calories or less.

1. Carrot BitesCarrot Bites pack a punch. At only 20 calories per bite, I can enjoy several. Fat free, low in sodium, and full of vitamin A, these are one of my go-to snacks. Pair them with applesauce and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

2. At just 30 calories each, Sweet Potato Bites make a great afternoon snack. Try pairing with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream for an added bit of tang.

3. Yuca, a root similar to potato, adds vitamins to these baked Yuca Bites. Fat free, 30 calories each, low in sodium, and full of flavor!

Vegetable Latkes4. Never fried, these Vegetable Latkes crisp up in the oven in a few short minutes. At 25 calories each and with 2 grams of protein, these keep me satisfied for hours.

5. Variety is the spice of life. Take the extra few minutes to make yourself an appetizer plate. Any combination of numbers 1-5 will create a flavorful and nutritious snack.

When I want to feel pampered, I turn to puff pastry. No, you didn’t misread that—I said pastry!

Potato Puffs6. Low-calorie snacks disguised as indulgent pastry, Potato Puffs are flakey pastry stuffed with potato and fragrant spices. Think mini knishes. At only 50 calories each, I can enjoy TWO!

7. Spinach Puffs offer everything that Potato Puffs bring to the table plus spinach and at 45 calories each, a small calories savings.

Apricot HamantashenWhen my sweet-tooth is making my decisions, I turn to these no-guilt treats.

8. Shortbread wrapped around jam, Apricot or Raspberry Hamantaschen are sweet without refined sugar. At 100 calories, I make sure to savor every bite.

9. Perhaps my favorite (don’t tell the rest) snack is Biscotti. With 12 flavors to choose from, these 20-calories cookies are endlessly delicious.

Gotta go, a snack is calling my name! Visit my website for more lower calorie, low-sodium snack options!

Valentines Day Cookies irenes website

Valentine’s Day Gift Box

On this special day give a gift of Irene’s most famous low sodium, low calorie homemade cookies. Perfect sweets for your loved one who is working hard at the gym… Sweets that won’t undo their workout but with a taste that will make them smile. 

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Hamentashen / Oval tarts / Tarts ingredients.


Organic sugar ( evaporated Cane Juice), Non- GMO Pail Oil, Vanilla flavor,Eggs, Baking powder( aluminum free), Natural flavor, All natural unbleached wheat flour.


Raspberry Jam( Raspberries,Fruit Juice sugar, Pectin, Citric Acid)

Apricot Jam ( Apricots, Apple juice, Unmodified Food Starch, Algin Gum, Citric Acid, Sea Salt)


Rugallah / Twists mix

All natural unbleached wheat flour, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Eggs Honey, Water,Sea Salt, Baking Powder, ( aluminum free), Lemon Powder, Butter flavor, Cream Cheese flavor.


Chocolate filling ( Sugar, Water, Cornstarch, Xanthan Gum,  Citric Acid), Semi-Sweet Chocolate  Chips (Sugar, Chocolate liqueur, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin) , Almonds.

Raspberry filling (Raspberries, Apple Juice, Unmodified Tapioca Starch, Algin Gum, Citric Acid, Sea Salt, Almonds.

Walnut Raisin Rugallah ( Walnut, Raisins)

Apricot jam ( Apricot, Apple Juice, Corn Starch, Algin Gum, Citric Acid, Sea Salt).



White Icing Thumbprint Squares

All natural unbleached wheat flour, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Almond , sugar , Corn Syrup, Sea Salt, Vanilla Extract.


Cookie Squares With Chocolate ( Thumbprint)

All natural unbleached wheat flour, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Almond , Sugar, Chocolate Icing ( Sugar, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Chocolate  Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract)


Gift Basket Ingredients statement:

All natural unbleached wheat flour, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Eggs, Organic sugar ( evaporated Cane Juice), Honey, Water,Sea Salt, Sea Salt, Baking Powder, ( aluminum free), Lemon Powder, Natural Vanilla flavor, Natural Butter flavor, Natural Cream Cheese flavor, Cinnamon


Chocolate filling ( Sugar, Water, Cornstarch, Xanthan Gum,  Citric Acid), Semi-Sweet Chocolate  Chips (Sugar, Chocolate liqueur, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin)

Raspberry filling (Raspberries, Apple Juice, Unmodified Tapioca Starch, Algin Gum, Citric Acid, Sea Salt).

Apricot Jam ( Apricots, Apple juice, Unmodified Food Starch, Algin Gum, Citric Acid, Sea Salt)

Chocolate Icing  Sugar, Non- GMO Pail Oil, Chocolate  Liquor, Cocoa Butter, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract

White Icing  Water, sugar , Non-GMO Corn Syrup, Sea Salt, Vanilla Extract.

MAY CONTAIN: Almonds, Walnuts, Raisins, Traces of other Tree Nuts.

CONTAINS: Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Tree nuts

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Irene's Bakery

  • 1746 Winchester Road
  • Bensalem, PA 19020
  • 1-888-5-IRENES ( 1 888-547-3637)


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