Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pinwheel Cookies

I can't seem to get enough of these cute little cookies.  They are so colorful and fun and the perfect cookie for spring!  And they're pretty darn tasty, too.  The kids devoured them and were quite upset when they were gone.  I told them I'd make some more, so I guess it's back to the kitchen I go.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cup flour
Food coloring

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined, then add dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are well combined. Divide dough in half. Add food coloring to one of the pieces and mix until dough is evenly colored. Tear off a piece of waxed paper and place the uncolored dough onto the waxed paper.  Cover with another piece of waxed paper and roll into a thin rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick).  Repeat with colored dough.  Carefully remove the waxed paper from the dough and stack the colored dough on top of the uncolored dough and trim the edges.  Tightly roll from the long edge like a jelly roll.  Once the dough is rolled up, pour sprinkles onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough in the sprinkles.  Wrap dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Slice dough into 1/4 inch slices and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Recipe adapted from my Unicorn Poop Cookies.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Peanut Butter Eggs

If I had to pick a favorite Easter treat, it would Reese's peanut butter eggs.  They're pretty much awesome!  And the entire family loves them.  Not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing.  Probably a good thing.  It saves me from eating all of them by myself.

These Peanut Butter Eggs are amazing!  They practically disappeared right before my eyes.  I turned my back on them to find my camera to take a picture and they disappeared.  All that was left was a darling little 2 year old with chocolate covered hands and brown drool.  I guess that means they disappeared right behind my back!

1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 pound milk chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter and butter in a large bowl and mix until smooth.  Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and powdered sugar, and mix until well mixed.  Shape dough into egg shapes and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Freeze for 30 to 60 minutes.  Place chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring well after each 30 seconds.  Dip eggs, one at a time, in melted chocolate.  Tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate.  Place dipped eggs on parchment paper to set.

If you prefer a thinner chocolate, add 2 tablespoons shortening to the chocolate before melting.
To dip my eggs and use a plastic fork and break off the 2 inner tines, leaving just the outside 2 tines.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on The Busy Bee's, The Weekend re-Treat, Tatertots and Jello, Finding the Pretty & Delicious and Pinworthy Projects.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Key Lime Pie Cake Pops

I'm so excited that spring is finally here!   We welcomed it in style.  With snow.  I was due with my 4th (and 5th) in July and actually wanted snow in the spring.  I even requested snow in June.  It ended up snowing on May 31 and I was happy as could be.  Pretty sure I was about the only one happy about it though.  This year I'm not requesting snow in June.  Or in May.  Or even in April.

The Key Lime Pie Cake Pops are perfect for the spring (the sunny kind of spring, not the snowy kind of spring).  They are so pretty and every bit as delicious, if not more delicious!

1 box yellow cake mix
1/3 cup key lime juice
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
Food coloring, optional
1 pound vanilla almond bark (or white chocolate chips or white candy melts)
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Key Lime Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons key lime juice

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cake mix, key lime juice, eggs and milk (I also added 2 drops of blue food coloring to make the batter a little green).  Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Let the cake cool completely, then crumble into a large bowl.  To make the frosting, combine butter and powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add key lime juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Add about 3/4 of the frosting to the cake crumbs and mix well.  Add more frosting, if necessary, to make a stiff mixture that holds its shape when formed into balls.  Shape cake mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Freeze balls for 30 minutes.  Remove balls from freezer and insert a sucker stick into each ball (I like to put my sucker sticks in, then remove them and dip them in a little of the melted almond bark, then put the sticks back in the cake balls and let them set before dipping).  Place vanilla almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Melt almond bark in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring well after each 30 seconds.  Dip each cake pop into the melted almond bark, then gently tap the stick on the side of the bowl to remove excess almond bark.  Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.  To keep the cake pops right side up, I poked holes in an empty box and put a pop in each hole.  I've also used a glass jar.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Linked on The Best Blog Recipes, The Busy Bee's, Tatertots and Jello, Finding the Pretty & Delicious and Pinworthy Projects.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Unicorn Poop Cookies

My little 4 year old is in a unicorn phase.  Or a princess horsey phase, as we like to call them.  We have a unicorn costume I bought years ago for her older sister for Halloween.  My little 4 loves to pull it out of the closet and run around in it.  Since she is obsessed with unicorns right now, I figured she'd love these Unicorn Poop Cookies.  She did.  And so did everyone else.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cup flour
Food coloring

Pour sprinkles onto a plate and set aside.  In a large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined, then add dry ingredients. Mix until ingredients are well combined. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Add food coloring to each piece (pink/red, blue, yellow and green) and mix each piece until dough is evenly colored.  Break off a small piece of each color of dough, about 1 teaspoon, and roll each piece into a rope about 1/4 inch thick.  Place a rope of each color together and roll together until the rope is about 1/2 inch thick.  Roll the rope up to make a circle, then roll the outer edges in the sprinkles.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and repeat with remaining dough.  Bake at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.

Sugar cookie recipe adapted from Rachel Cooks.

Linked on The Best Blog Recipes, The Busy Bee's, Tatertots and Jello, Finding the Pretty & Delicious and Pinworthy Projects.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Candy Popcorn

Growing up I had a great-aunt that I loved to spend the afternoon with on Sundays.  I would dress up in her old fancy dresses, we'd play games, chat, and make Jell-O popcorn balls.  I LOVED the Jell-O popcorn balls, but sometimes I wanted the popcorn not in a ball.  If only the popcorn wasn't so sticky.  This Candy Popcorn solves the sticky problem for when I don't want the popcorn in a ball.  It has the flavor that I love without the sticky that I don't always want.  I think that makes this Candy Popcorn pretty much perfect!

1 (3 ounce) box gelatin (I used lime for St Patrick's day :))
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup (for the longest time I though light corn syrup was reduced calorie corn syrup :))
8 cups air popped popcorn with any unpopped kernels removed

Preheat oven to 300 and grease a large cookie sheet.  Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.  Combine gelatin, sugar, butter and corn syrup in a medium sized pan.  Cook over medium heat until butter is melted and it comes to a boil.  Let it boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then pour over popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well coated.  Pour popcorn onto prepared cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Let popcorn cool, then break into pieces.

I love recipes that can be customized to match a holiday.  Switch out the flavor of gelatin to match any holiday.  Some ideas are
Red - Valentines or Christmas
Orange or Purple - Halloween
Green - St. Patrick's or Christmas

Recipe from my friend Jen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites

My kids are SO excited for Sunday.  They (especially my 7 year old) are plotting and scheming up ways to finally catch their very own leprechaun.  They try every year, but seem to be more determined this year to finally succeed.  That's where these Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites come in.  I don't know of a single person that doesn't love these things.  Pretty sure that a leprechaun would love them as well, so they get to be part of the bait in our leprechaun trap this year.  If I can manage to make any last that long....  Oh!  And they're easy.  Really, really easy!

1 bag pretzels, I used the square ones, but the small regular ones work well too
1 bag Rollos, unwrapped (Unwrapping them is my kids' favorite job.  Or is it the "quality assurance"? :))
1 bag M&M's

Preheat oven to 350.  Place pretzels on a baking sheet in a single row.  Top each pretzel with a Rollo and bake for 3 minutes, or until the chocolate is shiny and melted.  You don't want to completely melt the caramel, just the chocolate.  Press an M&M in the center of each melted Rollo.  I pulled out just the green ones for St. Patty's day (and even threw in a few yellow for "pots of gold" - I'm feeling pretty clever for that one!).

This is a super fun and easy snack/treat that can be customized for any holiday.  It's also a great one for the kiddos to help with.  They can unwrap the candy, lay the pretzels on the baking sheet and top them with Rollos, and even press the candy into the center when the pan cools.  My 7 and 11 year old practically did them by themselves!

Recipe adapted from Caramel Turtle Pretzels.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Grasshopper Mint Cookies

To say that these Grasshopper Mint Cookies were a hit at my house would be an understatement!  My kids loved them and took any opportunity they could to sneak them (and then tell me about it as soon as they were devoured!)  These cookies are chewy, utterly delicious, and start with a cake mix so they're easy to make!  And with the green frosting, they're perfect for St. Patrick's day.  Or Valentines day if you make the frosting pink, but since we're past that, I'll stick with green for St. Patrick's day.

1 box chocolate cake mix (just the boxed mix, not the ingredients to make the cake)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together until well combined. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes, or until they are puffed up.  Do NOT over bake.  No one likes to eat chocolate flavored rocks. :)

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract
Green food coloring, optional

Mix together butter, powdered sugar, mint extract and food coloring until well combined. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Spread on top of cooled cookies.

Chocolate Topping:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter

Combine chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until melted.  Drizzle over frosted cookies.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate Mint Truffles

As hard as I've been trying to come up with something clever to say about these adorable, and equally delicious, little truffles, I just can't seem to come up with anything.  They do make fantastic bribes, though.  My 13 year old bribed his friend with them.  For what, I have no clue, but apparently the bribe was successful. :)

1 (10 ounce) package chocolate mint cookies (Grasshoppers, Thin Mints, etc)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 (11.5 ounce) bag green mint chips
1/3 cup white chocolate chips for drizzling

Place chocolate mint cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs.  Add cream cheese and process until well combined.  Roll mixture into small balls and place on a cookie sheet.  Freeze balls for 2 to 3 hours.  When the balls are frozen and ready to dip, place green mint chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each 30 seconds, until melted.  Poke the frozen truffle with a toothpick and dip into the melted mint chips.  Lightly tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess melted coating.  Place dipped truffles on parchment paper and cover the hole from the dipping toothpick with a little melted mint coating.  Once all the truffles have been dipped, melt white chocolate chips and drizzle over the truffles.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff.

Linked on Six Sisters' Stuff, Tatertots and Jello, Heavenly Treats Sunday, A Night Owl, Finding the Pretty & Delicious, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Your Great Idea and Sweet and Savory Saturday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Monterey Chicken

I love trying out new things.  The family doesn't always share my love of trying new things, especially in the food department.  This Monterey Chicken was a hit with everyone.  The kids even requested that I make it again.  Soon!  I love meals like that.

4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/4 cup BBQ sauce 
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup colby jack cheese, shredded
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained (it was a bit spicy for some of us, I'll probably do regular diced tomatoes next time)
1/4 cup green onions, sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken with pepper and grill until cooked through and no long pink. Place cooked chicken on baking sheet covered with foil. Top each chicken breast with one tablespoon BBQ sauce, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup tomatoes, 1 tablespoon green onions and one tablespoon of crumbled bacon. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).

Recipe from All Things Simple.

Linked on A Night Owl, Finding the Pretty & Delicious, Super Saturday Show & Tell and Your Great Idea.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla

I've just about decided that asking a 4 year old what she wants to eat for lunch isn't the best idea.  It's usually macaroni and cheese or macaroni (pepperoni) pizza.  Yesterday her request was pizza.  Since I had some pepperoni and mozzarella cheese in the fridge, she got her wish.  Kind of.

6 tortillas
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
Pizza sauce for dipping, if desired

Heat griddle to 350 (or use medium heat on the stove top) and cook tortilla for 30 seconds.  Flip tortilla and sprinkle with 1/3 cup of cheese and 1/3 of the pepperoni.  Top with another tortilla and cook for 60 seconds.  Flip quesadilla and cook for an additional 60 seconds, or until cheese is completely melted.

Recipe from The Royal Cook, an original!

Linked on Show Me What Ya Got, The Busy Bee's, Six Sisters' Stuff, Tatertots and Jello, A Night Owl, Finding the Pretty & Delicious, Super Saturday Show & Tell, Your Great Idea and Heavenly Treats Sunday.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spa-tacular Birthday Party

My little princess turned 7 last week and wanted to have a spa birthday party.  Since the weather has been so cold and snowy, I figured it was the perfect theme to brighten the day and bring on the spring fever. :)  I loved the cheery bright colors and the girls had so much fun!  I thought it would be fun to share a bit of the party with you.

The cupcake were frosted with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Big sissy and a friend gave the little girls manicures and pedicures.

The girls got to make their own bath salts.

The girls ate Fruit Kabobs and Cold Chicken Salad on croissants for lunch.

"Thanks for making my birthday Spa-tacular!"

All of the darling printables came from Just a little Sparkle.  I can't get over how cute they all turned out!

Linked on Tatertots and Jello, Your Homebased Mom, Pinworthy Projects, Show Me What Ya Got and Six Sisters' Stuff
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