79 Recipes That Help Midwesterners Survive Winter

Midwesterners know a thing or two about making it through winter. These recipes for cozy soups, hearty casseroles and yes, even a few warming cocktails, are surefire ways to make it through the coldest months of the year.

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Wintertime Braised Beef Stew

This easy beef stew is incredibly rich. Since it’s even better a day or two later, you may want to make a double batch. —Michaela Rosenthal, Woodland Hills, California

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Brunch Cinnamon Rolls

A biscuit-textured cinnamon bun with the ease of food processor preparation. This family-friendly breakfast bun is glazed with maple and vanilla flavors to accent the cinnamon and nuts.—Rita Vogel, Malcom, Iowa
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Bacon Cheeseburger Rolls

My husband and I both love these cheeseburger rolls. I often serve them with broccoli and cheese. They must be good because this recipe won a first-place prize at the Iowa State Fair! —Jessica Cain, Des Moines, Iowa
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Hot Chocolate Bombs

These hot chocolate bombs are all the rage! Make them ahead of time as a holiday gift or to have on hand when you have a hot chocolate craving. —Rashanda Cobbins, Taste of Home Food Editor
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Irish Onion Soup

The inspiration behind this recipe came from my father, who owned a restaurant and created the original dish. This version stars contemporary ingredients but still serves the same popular robust flavor. —Theresa Miller, Sault St. Marie, Michigan
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Sausage, Egg and Cheddar Farmers Breakfast

This hearty combination of sausage, hash browns and eggs is just right for any breakfast. &mdash:Bonnie Roberts, Newaygo, Michigan
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Chicken & Dumplings

After a very long week, I needed some comfort food, so I made this meal on a whim. Cayenne pepper gives it a little kick and rotisserie chicken drastically cuts the prep time, so we don't have to wait long for dinner to be ready. — Jessica Rehs, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
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Grilled Cheese and Pepperoni Sandwich

Who doesn't love a good grilled cheese sandwich recipe? This super decadent version comes fully loaded with pepperoni and five types of cheese!—Josh Rink, Taste of Home Food Stylist
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Fluffy Pancakes

I found this fluffy and easy pancake recipe among our old family favorites and adapted it to make a small amount. It's quick and easy to prepare, but we still consider it a special treat. —Eugene Presley, Council, Virginia
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Sloppy Joe Tater Tot Casserole

This sloppy joe Tater Tot casserole is an easy dinner for both you and the kids. Serve with carrot and celery sticks for a fuss-free feast. You can also stir in some spicy brown mustard if the adults want more zing. —Laura Wilhelm, West Hollywood, California
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Banana Pudding Cake

I love to make cakes, and my family loves banana pudding. One day while brainstorming in the kitchen, I came up with this banana pudding cake recipe to combine the two. My family and friends can't get enough of it! If you are pressed for time, you may substitute whipped topping for the homemade sweetened whipped cream. —Tiffany Barbee, Rocky Mount, North Carolina
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Chicken-Fried Steaks

My husband asks me to prepare this easy chicken fried steak recipe regularly. I like it because it's so simple to make. Denice Louk, Garnett, Kansas
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Easy Stovetop Lasagna

My family and I have made this Easy Stovetop Lasagna recipe many times over the past few months. It's the perfect solution when you feel like lasagna but don't have time to bake it in the oven! Serve with salad or garlic bread. —Wendy Masters, East Garafraxa, Ontario
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Pecan Brownies

It's hard to eat just one of these nutty pecan brownies—good thing a batch can bake up in a matter of minutes. —Karen Batchelor, Bellevue, Nebraska
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Chicken Crouton Casserole

This Chicken Crouton Casserole recipe has practically made my mom famous. When she takes it to get-togethers, it's loved by all who taste it. Whenever she serves it to family, the dish is empty by the end of the meal. —Beth Gramling, Warren, Pennsylvania
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Sausage and Kale Soup

This is my family’s absolute favorite soup, and I can have it on the table in less than 45 minutes. I usually double the recipe so the flavors can blend, making the soup even better the next day. —Dawn Rohn, Riverton, Wyoming
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Scotch Old-Fashioned

This classic scotch old-fashioned cocktail has satisfied the Scotch drinkers for many generations—it's a real classic.—Test of Home Test Kitchen
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Blue Plate Beef Patties

A friend and I discovered this recipe together and both consider it a staple menu item. I fix the moist ground beef patties often for family and friends. We love them with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles and the gravy, which gets great flavor from fresh mushrooms. —Phyllis Miller, Danville, Indiana

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Baked Ziti with Sausage

This is my husband's favorite casserole, and he requests it often. He loves the combination of zesty Italian meat and three types of cheese, which together create a scrumptious baked ziti with sausage.—Christina Ingalls, Manhattan, Kansas
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Cinnamon Muffins

These cinnamon muffins, with a dash of nutmeg in the batter, are seasoned to please. My husband grew up enjoying these tender muffins that his mother made on special weekend mornings.—Katherine McVey, Raleigh, North Carolina
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Creamy Bacon Mushroom Soup

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and recently created this rich bacon soup. It’s always a hit. You can also garnish it with chopped green onion tops or shredded Swiss cheese. For a creamier, smoother consistency, try pouring the soup through a strainer. —Nathan Mercer, Inman, South Carolina
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Slow-Cooker Mulled Wine

For a festive holiday drink or something to keep you warm during those winter months, you'll love sipping this warming wine.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Turkey Leg Pot Roast

Well-seasoned turkey legs and tender veggies make an ideal dinner for a crisp fall day. And the recipe couldn't be easier! —Rick and Vegas Pearson, Cadillac, Michigan
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Meat-and-Potato Casserole

For variety, you can use another kind of cream soup (cream of mushroom, for instance). But try this meat and potato casserole this way first.—Marna Heitz, Farley, Iowa
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Whipped Cream Pound Cake

This cake never lasts long at family gatherings. Slices taste terrific whether served alone or topped with fresh fruit. —Shirley Tincher, Zanesville, Ohio
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"Everything" Mashed Potato Casserole

The everything-mashed potato casserole seemed to evolve over a year and it’s a great dish to take to a covered dish event. If I need to keep it warm for a longer time, I sometimes place the mixture into a Crockpot and then add the sour cream, bacon, cheese and chives. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia
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Fried Tuna Patties

These fried tuna patties are as quick to prepare as your favorite hamburger. My husband likes his topped with melted Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard. Salmon can be substituted for a more elegant variation, if you like. —Joann Brasington, Sumter, South Carolina
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Sausage Potato Soup

I rely on this thick, chunky Sausage Potato Soup on busy weeknights when I'm too tired to spend a lot of time preparing dinner. The whole family enjoys the wonderful flavor of the smoked sausage. —Jennifer LeFevre, Hesston, Kansas
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Pot Roast with Gravy

My family loves this tangy, slow-cooked beef roast with gravy. We always hope for leftovers that I turn into a tasty sandwich spread.—Deborah Dailey Vancouver, Washington
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Rotisserie-Style Chicken

My mother used to fix this rotisserie-style chicken when I lived at home, and we called it Church Chicken because Mom would put it in the oven Sunday morning before we left for church. When we got home, the aroma of the roasted chicken would hit us as we opened the door. —Brian Stevenson, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Southern Mac and Cheese

No down-home meal is complete without Southern mac and cheese. Three types of cheese and a squirt of mustard make this comforting dish sing! —Katie Sloan, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Slow-Cooker Beef Barley Soup

Here's a stick-to-your-ribs type of slow-cooker beef and barley soup. I've also used a chuck roast, rump roast and London broil that's cut into bite-sized pieces with tremendous success.—Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
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Gooey Butter Cake

A friend gave me a quick version of this gooey butter cake recipe using a cake mix, but I prefer baking from scratch, so I came up with my own. My family can't get enough! The middle will sink a little; this is normal. This dessert is delicious served warm or cold. —Cheri Foster, Vail, Arizona
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Best Salisbury Steak

Finding the best Salisbury steak recipe is hard! I remember enjoying it often when I was growing up, but when I decided to add it to my recipe collection, I wasn't able to find it in my modern cookbooks. I came up with these ingredients on my own and experimented until it tasted like the dish I remembered. —Faye Hintz, Springfield, Missouri
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Chicken Stuffing Bake

At my bridal shower a few years ago, each guest brought a recipe card with their best dish. We've tried everyone's recipe, but this chicken stuffing bake is a favorite. —Nicole Vogl Harding, Spokane, Washington
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Chili Cheese Dog Casserole

Kids and dads alike will dive right into this hearty, comforting dish. With a crispy cheese topping on a warm corn bread crust, this chili dog casserole recipe is a keeper. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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The Ultimate Chicken Noodle Soup

My first Wisconsin winter was so cold, all I wanted to eat was homemade chicken noodle soup. Of all the chicken noodle soup recipes out there, this type of soup is my favorite and is in heavy rotation from November to April. It has many incredibly devoted fans.—Gina Nistico, Denver, Colorado
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Grandma's Swedish Meatballs

My mother made these hearty meatballs when we were growing up, and now my kids love them, too. My daughter likes to help shake the meatballs in flour. —Karin Ness, Big Lake, Minnesota
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Rich Hot Chocolate

Each winter in early February my friends and I gather for an outdoor show called Mittenfest. We skip the Bloody Marys and fill our thermoses with these hot cocoas instead.
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Turkey Biscuit Stew

This chunky stew makes a hearty supper, especially in the fall and winter. It'salso a great way to use extra turkey during the holidays. —Lori Schlecht, Wimbledon, North Dakota
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Root Vegetable Pot Roast

During the hectic holiday season, I make this roast a lot. We've scarfed it down before and after shopping, and while wrapping presents. Root vegetables and roast beef make everyone feel cozy and calm. —Pat Dazis, Charlotte, North Carolina
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Bacon-Beef Barley Soup

Here’s a robust dish that’s perfect for hungry teenagers! Served over creamy mashed potatoes, this quick, comforting soup really hits the spot. —Cathy Peterson, Menominee, Michigan
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Hot Buttered Cider Mix

Put the butter base for this beverage in a decorative jar and attach a copy of the recipe for a great gift from your kitchen. You can omit the brandy for a kid-friendly version. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Ham & Cheese Breakfast Strudels

These get the morning off to a cheery start! Sometimes I assemble the strudels ahead and freeze them individually, then bake them as needed. —Jo Groth, Plainfield, Iowa
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The Best Chili

My dad and father-in-law are the gurus in our chili-loving clan. But after my honeymoon to New Mexico, where I was inspired by the fresh and fragrant chile peppers at the Santa Fe farmers market, I felt it was time to introduce them to my spicy, meaty version with a touch of masa harina, dubbed the best chili recipe. —Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home Culinary Director
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Apple-Honey Dutch Baby

I love to make this treat on Sunday morning. It's so impressive when it's served warm right out of the oven...and the apple honey filling is yummy! —Kathy Fleming, Lisle, Illinois
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Turkey a La King

This is a smart way to use up leftover turkey. You might want to make a double batch! —Mary Gaylord, Balsam Lake, Wisconsin
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Chicken Mushroom Stew

The flavors blend beautifully in this pot of chicken, vegetables and herbs as it simmers slowly. —Kenny Van Rheenen, Mendota, Illinois
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Cranberry Bourbon

The subtle tang of cranberry and the warm winter spices make this bourbon just right for holiday toasts—neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail. —James Schend, Dairy Freed
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Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken Sausage

Dinner is easy when I can use ingredients typically found in my fridge and pantry. —Laura Miller, Lake Ann, Michigan
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Beef Brisket in Beer

One bite of this super tender brisket and your family will be hooked! The rich gravy is perfect for spooning over a side of creamy mashed potatoes. —Eunice Stoen, Decorah, Iowa
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Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

When I have leftover ham in the fridge, I like to make this slow-cooker split pea soup. Just throw the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on and dinner is done. —Pamela Chambers, West Columbia, South Carolina
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Spaetzle Dumplings

These tender homemade spaetzle noodles take only minutes to make and are a natural accompaniment to chicken. You can serve them with chicken gravy or simply butter them and sprinkle with parsley. —Pamela Eaton, Monclova, Ohio
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Chocolate Chai Mini Loaves

This bread is irresistible! A friend gets mad when I make it because I give her a loaf and she can't help but eat the whole thing! —Lisa Christensen, Poplar Grove, Illinois
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Slow-Cooker Cheese Dip

I brought this slightly spicy cheese dip to a gathering with friends and it was a huge hit. The spicy pork sausage gives the dip plenty of zip! —Marion Bartone, Conneaut, Ohio
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Lemon-Batter Fish

Fishing is a popular recreational activity where we live, so folks are always looking for ways to prepare their catches. My husband ranks this as one of his favorite fish fry batters. —Jackie Hannahs, Cedar Springs, Michigan
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Mini Sausage Pies

The simple ingredients and family-friendly flavor of these little sausage cups make them a go-to dinner favorite. And everyone gets their own pies—which makes them even better! —Kerry Dingwall, Ponte Vedra, Florida
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Mini Meat Loaf Sheet-Pan Meal

I grew up with this meat loaf recipe, but I adapted it to mini meat loaves so that it would bake quicker. The sauce topping is always a hit. I added the potatoes and asparagus to make the meal complete. —Deanne Johnson, Reading, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

I needed a new holiday cookie, so I tweaked an old 4-H recipe. This updated oatmeal cookie with cranberries and nuts is my family’s all-time favorite. —Tammy Hoggatt, Omaha, Nebraska
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Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

When I was sick, my mom would make me this heartwarming chicken noodle soup. It was soothing when I had a cold, but this soup is a bowlful of comfort on any chilly day. —Anthony Graham, Ottawa, lllinois
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Mulled Wine

This mulled wine is soothing and satisfying with a delightful blend of spices warmed to perfection. Refrigerating the wine mixture overnight allows the flavors to blend, so don't omit this essential step. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Caramel Apple Coffee Cake with Walnuts

I created this recipe after a trip to an orchard with my family. This moist cake is full of hearty apples and nuts, while the caramel topping adds a delectable finish. —Sharon Cable, Dyersville, Iowa.
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Slow-Cooker Cheesy White Lasagna

Here’s my best version of my favorite food—lasagna! The recipe is a winner, so it’s worth the extra prep. You’ll have plenty of time to plan side dishes while the main dish is cooking. —Suzanne Smith, Bluffton, Indiana
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Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Pancakes

At our house, Saturday morning always means pancakes for breakfast. I make the menu special by servings up stacks of these fluffy buttermilk treats studded with mini chips. —Julianne Johnson, Grove City, Minnesota
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Potato Chowder

One of the ladies in our church quilting group brought this savory potato soup to a meeting, and everyone loved how the cream cheese and bacon made it so rich. It's easy to assemble in the morning so it can simmer on its own all day. —Anna Mayer, Fort Branch, Indiana
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Mushroom & Leek Strudel

This elegant hors d'oeuvre is almost effortless. Use fresh herbs if possible, and feel free to sub in whole wheat phyllo. —Lisa Diehl, Edina, Minnesota
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Fruit & Nut Baked Oatmeal

In my part of the Midwest, baked oatmeal is a Mennonite specialty. My daughters are always delighted if we have leftovers for them to take home.—Fancheon Resler, Albion, Indiana
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Apple Amaretto Sours

An amaretto sour has always been one of my favorite cocktails. This version has a special touch that makes it perfect for enjoying throughout the holiday season. —Amber Forbes, Roper, North Carolina
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Comforting Beef Barley Soup

When the weather outside is nippy, we want a bowl of soup that’s chock-full of beef, barley and veggies. It's the most delicious way to warm up. —Sue Jurack, Mequon, Wisconsin
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Maple Butter Twists

My stepmother gave me the recipe for a delicious yeast coffee cake shaped into pretty rings. When I make it for friends, they always ask for seconds. —June Gilliland, Hope, Indiana
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Mozzarella Mushrooms with Garlic Toast

I came up with this dinner using ingredients I had on hand. It turned out to be so delicious, my wife and I now make it for special occasions. —Marc Bushee, Moorhead, Minnesota
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Oatmeal S'more Cookies

I can't count how many times I have made these cookies—they are our favorites. I love to bake all kinds of goodies with my two daughters, and my husband loves to sample the treats. —Carmen Rae, New Haven, Indiana
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Best Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois
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Sunday Chicken Supper

I make this slow-cooked sensation with chicken, vegetables and seasonings. It's a hearty, homespun dish that satisfies the biggest appetites. —Ruthann Martin, Louisville, Ohio
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Creamy Turkey Casserole

I sometimes make turkey just so I have the extras for this casserole! —Mary Jo O'Brien, Hastings, Minnesota

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is a former Taste of Home editor and passionate baker. During her tenure, she poured her love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa also dedicated her career here to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.