Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter Basket Chocolates

Getting stuff together to put in my children (and husband's) Easter baskets is always so much fun for me! With spring in the air and the summer heat arriving soon I usually put some type of swimming or water toys in my kids baskets. This year I will be flying in from out of town late Saturday night to be home in time for Easter so I have had to do a lot of my shopping AND chocolate making a head of time. Luckily I was able to receive a fun package from Chocoley just in time to use their chocolates, molds, wrappers, sprinkles, and other fun stuff to add into this years Easter baskets. I got the package in the mail and started baking right away! I was like a little girl on Christmas opening that package! I am pretty sure that I will be ordering molds and fun stuff from their website for every single holiday! I also made some Easter sugar cookies from my family to enjoy! I used the same recipes from here and they turned out great! I am still working on my decorating skills so they aren't perfect but I'm a work in progress in that area! So bare with me as a learn! 

My set up for the chocolate making night! 

I ordered a variety of sprinkles from the website and a few of their molds


 Easter suckers made with white chocolate, milk chocolate, some with caramel filling, and lollipop sticks


 I used different colors of dye to turn the white chocolate into fun colors for my kids. I used the colorful cocoa butter for the yellow and pink and coloring oils for the purple.  These are both super easy to use.



Fun Easter Foil Wrappers that they also have in plain colors






Some Close-Ups of one of my son's Easter Basket








And here are the Easter Bunny foot prints (I cut out a foot print on a sheet of paper and then used powdered sugar in a shifter and did the stencil to create the foot prints) that led to the Easter Baskets!



Happy Easter to my little boy Remington! 


And hope you all have a great Easter too!


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Easter Breakfast

Easter Breakfast has always been a fun one in our house. But lets be honest really any reason to celebrate is a good day in our home. I was raised by a mom who made every holiday special and elaborate. I know not everyone agrees with that and some call it lavish and over the top. But I have very fond memories on each and every holiday growing up! And I have my mom to thank for that. So through out the years I have tried to transform my home to the home that I grew up in. Making each and every holiday something very special for my husband and my kids.



When I started to think about Easter morning in our home many ideas ran through my mind. I have been lucky enough to work with Zaycon products the last few months and we have been abolsutely blown away. I can't even count the number of people I have talked to about their wonderful products. I would say that we have Zaycon products atleast 4 times a week. If not more. We LOOOVE them! So anyways back to breakfast...I have been cooking up my Zaycon bacon way too much lately and decided that I would share some fun breakfast ideas that involve the beloved BACON. Each have a little different twist on them, but they are all fun Easter Breakfast ideas that are VERY easy too! And that is how breakfast should be! Fun and Easy!

First up are these Bacon and Egg Bunny Bites



Bacon and Eggs Bunny Bites
1 packages english muffins
12 eggs
15 slices of Zaycon Bacon, cooked for a minute or two on each side but not all the way done
Garnish: olives, carrots, cheese

(This recipe is very simple and can be made in any amounts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grab muffins tins and spray them with cooking spray. Take the english muffins and slice in half. Grab a cookie cutter (I used a 1 7/8 inch circle cookie cutter) or the bottom of a glass and cut as many muffin circles as you need. Place in the bottom of the muffin tin. Grab the slightly undercooked bacon  and wrap it around the muffin tin. Crack an egg in the center and season with salt and pepper. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. When they come out slice up some cheese for the whiskers and place to small pieces of bacon for the bunny ears, two olives or blueberries or anything place for the eyes, use a cut up carrot or tomato or raspberry for the nose and then place the whiskers next to the nose to create a bunny.





Next up are these Backwards Bunny Pancakes



Backwards Bunny Pancakes

3 sizes of Pancakes
Whipped Cream

Take a smaller pancake and put down for the head. Then a larger pancake for the body. Grab 2 small pancakes and shape them into ovals or make small oval pancakes. Add a dollop of whipped cream for the tail. And top it off with two slices of thick Zaycon bacon for the ears. Fold over the top a little to look more like floppy ears. 



Then Scrambled Egg Bunnies...


Scrambled Egg Bunny

Eggs
Provolone Cheese
Garnish- tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, raspberries, etc

Scramble up some eggs and place on a plate or in a small bowl. Add slices of Zaycon Bacon for the ears. Provolone cheese for the whiskers. A carrot for the nose and some olives for the eyes. 


And to finish it off with Easter Shapped Pancakes with a side of bacon


Make your favorite pancake mix or recipe and grab some easter pancake molds. Spray the molds well and make them on a hot skillet. Flip over and butter and serve with fresh fruit. Zaycon bacon and Buttermilk Syrup. 
( I have different pancake molds for each holiday and my kids absolutely love them! Find them on amazon or at Williams-Sonoma)



Hopefully I have inspired you to make a fun breakfast for you and your loved ones on Easter Morning! 

*Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Zaycon foods. However all thoughts, opinions, and recipes are my own! 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Apple Crepes


Our family has a hot breakfast a couple times a week. And by hot breakfast I mean either french toast, waffles or pancakes and all of these include eggs and usually bacon and occasionally sausage. We top ours with my favorite buttermilk syrup and fruit. And ps I am a HUUUUGE fan of Zaycon's Bacon! You need to try it out. But anyways back to breakfast...so on the weeks where I feel like I have made the same type of breakfast over and over again I try to throw in something a little different and that is where these crepes came into play. I will have to admit that I think my family is more of a waffle type of people but crepes sure are fun!

A few months back I received a fun package from Crunch Pak that my kids went absolutely nuts over! My kids (and I) love their snack packs and how portable they are. As a family with young kids who travel a lot and are always on the go Crunch Pak's products have become a staple in our home. But not only do they have amazing healthy snacks they also have pre-packaged apples that are great for cooking! A few months ago I created a few different recipes for them using their apples. You can check them out below! And then the new yummy recipe for apple crepes are below that!

Apple Turnovers here


Sunshine Muffins here


Chicken Waldorf Salad here




Apple Crepes



Crepes:
2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 cup water
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
oil

In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour and eggs. Slowly add the water and milk. Then add the melted butter and salt and sugar. Mix until smooth. Heat up pan to medium high heat. Grab a 1/4 to 1/3 measuring cup and pour batter into pan and swirl and tilt the pan until the batter covers the bottom of your pan. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes and then flip and cook on the other side about the same amount of time. Watch these closely and when they begin to turn lightly brown flip or remove if you have already cooked the other side.

Apple Filling:
3 cups crunch pak sweet or tart apples, chopped
3 heaping Tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
lemon zest
1 Tablespoon butter
powdered sugar optional
whipped cream optional

Put chopped Crunch Pak apples in a bowl and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest let sit for 20 minutes to marinate (then add to skillet) or if you don't have time just grab a skillet add the butter and then add apples then the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest. Stir well and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes.

To assemble:
Grab a crepe and place a few spoonfuls of the apple filling. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Roll up tight and then add more powdered sugar, whipped cream, and a spoonful of apple filling.



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Monday, March 23, 2015

Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread Coffee Cake



Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread Coffee Cake 


Ingredients:
1/2 cup water
1 egg
2 Tablespoons oil
3 bananas


Instructions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.Lightly grease 8x8x2-inch pan.In a medium bowl stir together water, egg, and oil. Add in cake mx until moistened. (Batter will still be lumpy)Take 2 bananas and mash them and then add into the batter. Then stir together.Take the last banana and slice it. Then gently stir in banana slices.Spoon 1/2 of the batter into pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of the topping over batter.Drop the remaining batter in small spoonfuls over topping layer and spread to cover.Sprinkle remaining topping evenly over batter.Bake for 33-38 minutes or until cake edges are light golden brown. For glass pan, add 5 minutes to bake time.After done baking let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St Patricks Day Sugar Cookies


Whenever a holiday comes around sugar cookies always come to my mind! No matter what holiday it is! So this year I decided to step up my sugar cookie game after taking a sugar cookie decorating class in February. I am not going to lie frosting these cookies were time consuming. Maybe its because I decided to do cookies the size of my face or maybe because I need a little more practice.  But all I know is that I spent a few too many hours decorating them while my son was at preschool and my daughter sleeping. But in the end they turned out cute and my son could not stop talking about how much he liked them! So here is my go-to sugar cookie recipe again and the glace and royal icing that I used!


Sugar Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup crisco
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/4 cup flour

Cream together butter, crisco, powdered sugar and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla. Whip together and scrap the sides and whip together. In a sifter, place flour, baking soda, and cream of tarter. Place sifter over wet ingredients and sift. Turn on mixer and continue to mix until all dry ingredients are added. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least a hour. Once chilled, on a floured surface place 1/2 of dough and roll out. Start in the center and go to the edge and then the center to the other edge. Switch directions and roll out until the width is about the size of your pinky. Use any cookie cutter to cut. Depending on the size of the cookie cutter depends on how many can fit on a cookie sheet. I lined mine with parchment paper. Repeat the roll out process until all dough is used! Bake at 350 degrees F for 6 to 8 minutes. Watch them closely and remove just when the shininess of the dough is gone. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. You can then frost them once they are cooled or I like to freeze them and then frost them just before we are ready to eat them. When you freeze them they become really easy to frost and once they are thawed they are moist and so yummy!


Glace Icing: (base/flooding)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar
food coloring-optional

Mix all ingredients on low until incorporated. You may need to add more powdered sugar (1/4 cup at a time) if the consistency is too runny or if it is too thick add more milk a Tablespoon at a time.

Royal Icing:
2 egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
food coloring-optional

Mix all ingredients on low for 7 minutes. If the mixture is too thick add water a teaspoon at a time until it is a smooth paste consistency. Then you can add food coloring or divide is small bowls and add different colors to each bowl.




Monday, March 16, 2015

Mint Brownies


With Saint Patricks Day tomorrow I feel like my mind has still been on all things mint! And so here are the beloved mint brownies that have become ever so popular over the years at parties, family gatherings, or just as dessert! These are great made ahead and can even be put in the freezer! Make sure you use margarine or they will not set up the same and when you put them on the fridge or freezer you will get a weird film on top of them instead of the glossy smooth finish like the margarine will do to the brownies!


Mint Brownies

4 eggs
1 cup margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour
16 oz. Hershey chocolate syrup

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan (if you like thick brownies) or a greased cookie sheet (if you like thinner brownies) Bake for 30 mins in a 9x13 pan or 24 minutes for a cookie sheet.  Cool completely or freeze before frosting.

Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup margarine, softened
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoons peppermint flavoring
2 drops green food coloring

In a bowl combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Spread on baked and cooled brownies with frosting and refrigerate or freeze to harden frosting.


Chocolate Topping:
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla
Andes Mints-chopped

In a saucepan melt together chocolate chips, margarine and vanilla. Spread over the top of frosting. Sprinkle with chopped Andes mints. Return to refrigerator  to let harden or let sit until it sets.

Note: These brownies can be made ahead of time and frozen. Just frost and spread on chocolate layer while still frozen. This recipe works best with margarine.



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Monday, March 9, 2015

Mini Carrot Cake Crumb Doughnuts


I feel like there is just something about mini doughnuts. They are just so cute and easy to eat. Plus you won't feel guilty when you pop a couple in your mouth since they are mini! I have always loved muffins, making muffins and eating muffins. These baked doughnuts have taken my love for baking "muffin-type" things to a whole other level! These mini doughnuts are practically the same as making muffins instead you throw the batter in mini doughnut tins and you have got yourself some cute mini doughnuts to enjoy! These mini carrot cake doughnuts are the perfect addition to any spring or Easter gathering coming up! 



Working with Krusteaz as one of their Brand Ambassadors the past 9 months has been one of the funnest things that I have been apart of since I started my food blog! I have grown to love their products and my family has grown to love them even more! Being able to jazz up their different mixes has creating many fun memories in the kitchen baking was a highlight of my year last year! 


Mini Carrot Cake Crumb Doughnuts 
1 box Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix
2/3 cup water
1 egg
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 cup carrots, grated
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped optional

For instructions head on over to www.krusteaz.com!




Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken


I use my slow cooker on a regular basis and it has become one of my favorite tools in my kitchen. When life gets crazy slow cooker meals are always the way to go to be able to still get a warm meal on the table for you and your loved ones. When I was at build your blog conference a few weeks ago I was able to sit and listen to an event given by Taste of Home magazine where he talked about when they publish magazines the ones that feature slow cooker recipes are always their top sellers. He also talked about how popular Sriracha is and using ingredients that are popular and in season when creating new recipes! Then when I got home and saw a package from Peanut Butter & Co. to participate in their mystery ingredient challenge I laughed when I opened to find that Sriracha was my mystery ingredient! I knew then that I should pair this popular food item with the peanut butter and create a slow cooker meal! 


Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken

3-4 large chicken breasts
1 onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 lime (juiced)
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
Garnishes: 
Sriracha
scallions, chopped optional
cilantro, chopped optional
peanuts, chopped optional
cooked white or brown rice

Throw top 8 ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve on top of rice and garnish with Sriracha, scallions, cilantro, and peanuts. 




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Monday, March 2, 2015

Thin Mint Ice Cream Pie



Why do I love girl scout cookie season so much....I ask myself that question every year. I always eat way too many girl scout cookies and so does the rest of my family. Before I knew that it was "that time of year" my husband walked in with a large box full of every single kind of girl scout cookies. I think I may have loved him more that day then the day I married him haha kidding but honestly it totally made my day! I could not wait to start eating/experimenting. And with St. Patricks day right around the corner and with all things green on my mind I knew just what I wanted to make. A ice cream pie with a thin mint crust. And that is how this recipe came about. And boy was I glad that I made this cake for my families dessert! SO happy march and happy pre-St. Patricks day!



Thin Mint Ice Cream Pie

2 (9 ounce) boxes of Thin Mint Cookies
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1.5 quart container of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, softened
1 (8 ounce) container cool whip topping, thawed
hot fudge optional
Andies mints, chopped optional

In a food processor add 1 box of Thin Mint cookies and melted butter. Combine well. Grab a pie tin and lightly spray with cooking spray. Use the Thin Mint cookie mixture and press down firmly all over creating a crust. Spread evenly about half of the container of mint ice cream over the crust. Take 1 sleeve of Thin Mint cookies and break into a few pieces leaving some chunks still. Sprinkle over the mint ice cream. Add the other half of the ice cream and spread over the cookies. Then top with the cool whip. Cover and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. When you are ready to slice it take it out of the freezer and you can top with the extra Thin mint cookies, hot fudge, and chopped Andies mints.


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