Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Portable Summer Toys and Snacks




Summer is in full swing over here in our home. My kids have been out of school for about a month. Lets just say some days are better then others haha. I am a huge believer in always being on the go and creating memories with your kids and family. When I was contacted by Hasbro's Playskool about doing a post on portable toys and snacks for the summer I knew that it would fit right into our families lifestyle. I am a mom with 3 young children and we have always been huge fans of Playskool and Hasbro toy lines.



When I was at a conference Mom 2.0 in Scottsdale I was able to meet some of the representatives from the PR team for Playskool. They showed me their new on-the-go toys for on-the-go-families. And that is exactly what my family is! These two toys that I will be featuring are designed to be very storable, portable, and lightweight. They have been perfect to throw in my summertime pool and play bag. I take the bag almost everywhere I go. I pack some snacks, goggles, toys, wipes, a change of clothes for my little girl, and sunscreen.


We have had some great weather the past few months and have spent a lot of time out doors. These toys have been perfect to have with me to keep my kids entertained. My son loves to play with the pool n' gears cars toy while I drive to and from errands and trips. And my daughter loves the stack 'n stow cups that have a cute lion face base. These toys have been great for all my on-the-go summer days!


The other thing that is in my bag is snacks! My kids always need a snack! I am a firm believer in getting your kids involved in making their snacks because then they are more likely to eat them because they want to taste what they created! These frozen grapes are perfect for pool days. And the cheese crackers, fruit leathers, and granola bars are just great snacks for anytime. At the park, at a trampoline place, or on the road. Each of my kids have their favorites. But I think mine are the granola bars!



No Bake Granola Bars

2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup rice crispy cereal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
toppings: chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, etc.

In a large mixing bowl add together the oats, cereal, and coconut. Then over medium heat in a medium saucepan add the butter in and begin to melt. Then add the honey, brown sugar, and salt. Let it begin to boil and then turn down the heat to medium low and boil for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and add vanilla. Then pour the mixture over the oat mixture and combined well with a rubber spatula. You can add your toppings right now if you are doing the pan only one flavor. If not wait until it is in the pan. Then grab a 9x13 pan and lightly grease it. Then using the rubber spatula dump the coated oat mixture and press into pan. Try to get it as even as possible. If you need to press it down with your hands. Then you can add the toppings that you want if you are separating it and making it different flavors. Then press the toppings down firmly. Place them in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to cool down and then you can cut them into whatever size you would like them to be.







Frozen Grape Skewers

Red and/or Green Grapes
Skewers

Grab a few skewers and start to place each grape on the stick. You can use the same color of grapes or you can alternate. Place in a freezer safe bag and place in the freezer overnight or until frozen solid.







Homemade Cheese Crackers
 8 ounces of your favorite cheese (Sharp shedder or Colby Jack are our favorites)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons ice water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor place the cheese. I cut mine in cubes before placing it in. Mix for a few seconds and then add in the flour and salt. Then add in butter. The mixture should start clumping together and forming a dough like texture. In a medium size bowl place the mixture. Add in 1 Tablespoon of the ice water and then mixture with your hands to start forming the dough. If you need the other Tablespoon of water if you need to. After the dough is formed grab a sheet of plastic wrap and place dough ball in it. Then place in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes or until the dough has firmed up. Then grab a very large sheet of parchment paper and put the dough ball in the center of it. Then fold the parchment paper over. Roll out the dough while in between the two sheets of parchment paper. Until like 1/8 inch thick. Then using a fondant cutting tool cut the dough into 1 inch squares and then poke a hole or two into each square piece with a toothpick.

Then grab a cookie sheet pan and place the sheet of parchment down. Trim the sides of the extra long piece of parchment. And bake for 20-25 minutes. Check periodically to make sure that the crackers do not get over baked and too dark. Once they are lightly golden brown and crispy remove from oven and let cool on a baking sheet.









Strawberry Fruit Leather

2 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Turn on oven to 170 degrees F. Line a 12 x 17 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Grab a blender and blend all ingredients together until smooth. Then pour the mixture on top of the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 3 hours total. When it has baked for 1 1/2 hours turn the baking pan 180 degrees and then bake for the other 1 1/2 hours. The fruit leather should no longer be sticky. Once it is done and cooled for about 5 minutes transfer fruit leather to a cutting board and slice to the size that you want. Wrap with parchment paper and store in an airtight container.








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