Celebrations, Recipes, Sweet

Storytime Treats inspired by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! Storytime Treats

Even though I am a stay at home mom, I don’t get the chance to go in and volunteer at my son’s kindergarten classroom because my 3 year old is home with me.  To try and make up for this, I often sign up to bring the treats for holiday celebrations and their monthly birthday celebration. Continue reading “Storytime Treats inspired by Mo Willems”

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Crafts, Little Hands, Sweet

Easter Egg Decorating with Rice Krispie Treats

Easter Egg Decorating with Rice Krispie Treats

I loved dying Easter Eggs as a kid, but I have not kept up the tradition with my own kids since no one in our house is particularly fond of hard boiled eggs.  We have tried the plastic ones meant for dying and decorating, but they take an awfully long time to absorb the dye and don’t look near as good as a real egg. Continue reading “Easter Egg Decorating with Rice Krispie Treats”

Celebrations, Recipes, Sweet, Uncategorized

Marshmallow Bunny Treats

Marshmallow Bunny Rice Krispie Treats

One of my favourite treats at Easter are the bunny and chick shaped Marshmallow Peeps.  There is something about the bright colors and fun shapes that I love and reminds me of childhood. Continue reading “Marshmallow Bunny Treats”

Celebrations, Parties, Sweet, Uncategorized

Diamond’s are a Birthday Boys Best Friend

Diamond Inspired Minecraft 6th Birthday Party

For my son’s 6th birthday party this year it was no surprise when he said he wanted a Minecraft theme.  Around the time he turned 5, he started to get interested in Minecraft from watching YouTube videos and began begging for months to get the Minecraft app for his ipad.  I was very hesitant to get it since he was younger then the recommended age and I assumed he would require a lot of help from me.  I finally let him download it in the Fall and since then have continued to be amazed by the things he builds and the knowledge he has gained from the game.  I still not sure I fully understand the whole concept, but I know it has been a lot of fun for him and was happy to use it as this year’s party theme. Continue reading “Diamond’s are a Birthday Boys Best Friend”

Recipes, Sweet

S’mores Sandwich Cookies

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In honor of National S’mores Day on August 10, I decided to bake up a sweet treat for my family.  I don’t make time to bake as often as I would like, so it is always nice to have a silly reason to make something new.  It also didn’t hurt that, by some miracle, I wound up with two napping children and a quiet house that afternoon.

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to S’mores treats and deciding what to bake proved to be a bit of a challenge with all the different mouth-watering combinations of graham, chocolate and marshmallow out there.  I wasn’t in the mood for cupcakes, and although these beautiful S’mores Macarons jumped out at me right away, I didn’t feel up to attempting macarons for the first time.  I then came across these Whoopie Pies with the pretty same layers as the macarons, and it suddenly dawned on me that I had sandwich cookie pans that might make the perfect S’mores inspired treat.

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I found these Wilton sandwich cookie pans Dollarama several months ago and grabbed a couple thinking they would make a cute treat for one of my parties.  They have been sitting in my cupboard unused up until now and I was excited to pull them out to attempt my S’mores inspired goodies.   The pans were easy to use and I love the uniformity of the cookies provided by them.   If you don’t have the pans, however, you could easily just roll out this dough in equal sized balls and bake them up on a cookie sheet.

The graham cracker cookies turned out nice and soft, and work well in combination with the rich chocolate ganache and marshmallow cream frosting.  The cookies are as cute as they are tasty, and this recipe is a simple way to recreate the iconic camping treat at home away from the campfire.  Heck, I am even thinking of foregoing the traditional S’mores and just bringing along these yummy sandwich cookies on our next camping trip.

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S’mores Sandwich Cookies

Makes 24 filled cookies

Graham Cracker Cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour  (I did 3/4 cup white flour and 3/4 whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3 Teaspoons heavy cream

Marshmallow Cream Filling

  • 1 Jar Marshmallow Cream
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

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Bake the Graham Cracker Cookies
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar. Next, add the egg yolks and vanilla and blend.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients; flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Blend until combined – mixture may seem a bit crumbly, but it will come together after 2 minutes or so.
  5. Press dough into cavities of Wilton Sandwich Cookie pans or roll dough into 1-inch sized balls and space out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 5-6 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 or so minutes on cookie sheet and transfer to wire to completely cool.

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Prepare the chocolate ganache

  1. Pour the chocolate chips and heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  3. Place in fridge to cool and thicken as you prepare the marshmallow cream.

Make the Marshmallow Cream

  1. Blend marshmallow cream with shortening until mixture is smooth and fluffy – about 3 minutes on medium speed using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla, and beat on low until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes more.

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Assemble your Sandwich Cookies

  1. Spread a layer of chocolate ganache on one side of a cookie.
  2. Using a piping bag, put a swirl of the marsmallow cream on top of the chocolate ganache.
  3. Carefully press your second cookie half onto the top of the marshmallow cream, being carefully not to squish all the filling out.
  4. Set aside for the ganache to fully set.
  5. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Enjoy!

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Do you have a favorite S’mores inspired treat or sandwich cookie recipe to share?  Please share in the comments below.  I definitely see more homemade sandwich cookies in my future now that I know how easy they can be!

Recipes, Sweet

Toffee Apple Cheesecake Dip

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Today I am sharing a quick and easy recipe I prepared as part of a Teddy Bear Picnic lunch & playdate we hosted.  I tried to serve kid friendly foods, but I will be honest and say that this was made mostly for the mom’s to enjoy.  The kids liked the apples, but I don’t think any of them appreciated the creamy, caramel goodness like us adults did!

Ingredients

  • 1 package of creamcheese (8 oz), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Caramel ice cream topping/syrup
  • Toffee bit chips (Skor or Heath brand)
  • Mini chocolate or peanut butter chips
  • 6 apples

Directions

  1. Place softened cream cheese in stand mixer and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add in icing sugar, cream and vanilla extract.  Mix again until smooth.
  3. Place 1/2 of cream cheese mixture in a small serving bowl.
  4. Pour a thin layer of the caramel syrup over the cream cheese and sprinkle generously with a combination of the toffee and peanut butter or chocolate chips.
  5. Carefully layer the other half of the creamcheese mixture into the bowl and spread to edges.
  6. Pour a second layer of caramel syrup over the creamcheese and finish with another sprinkling of the baking chips.
  7. Refrigerate for at least an hour for flavors to combine.
  8. Serve with sliced apples – I used granny smith.

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Enjoy!

Recipes, Savory, Sweet

Treats for the Beach

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This week we hosted another playdate at the private beach in our subdivision with a bunch of our friends from playgroup.  The kids and I spend so much time together that it is nice to plan dates that give them a chance to play with other kids and me a chance to actually get some adult interaction in.

I seem to be going into a little bit of party planning withdrawal because I felt the need to whip up a few last minute treats for the occasion.   I always find recipes I would like to try, so it is nice to make them when I have a crowd and won’t end up consuming the majority all on my own.

 

Summer Sand Pudding

Not long ago my sister posted this adorable Summer Sand Pudding from Ma Nouvelle Mode on my Facebook timeline and I have been wanting to put my own spin on it and make it into individual beach buckets.  What better place to serve it then on a beach playdate?

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Ingredients

  • 1 package Golden Oreo cookies
  • 2 or 3 regular Oreo cookies
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 block)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 2 boxes of white chocolate instant pudding (or vanilla)
  • 2 3/4 cups of milk
  • 1/2 of a large tub of Whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed

Pudding Directions

  1. Cream together softened cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in stand mixer.
  2. In another bowl, whish together the pudding powder and milk.
  3. Slowly add pudding to cream cheese mixture to combine.
  4. Fold in the whipped topping.

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To make the sand, use a food processor to finely crush the entire package of Golden Oreo’s with 2 or 3 of the regular chocolate Oreo’s.  The original recipe calls for Vanilla wafers so those can also be substituted for the Golden Oreo’s.

(I discovered Ariel tucked into my pantry when I went to take out the food processor and thought it was quite fitting for the task at hand!)

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To assemble the sand pails, I layered the pudding and cookie crumb mixture in Dixie cups – pudding, cookie crumbs, pudding, cookie crumbs.  I found some blue candy twists for the handle and simply inserted those in, forming an arch.  I was planning to finish them off with a candy fish but ended up going with some star shaped sprinkles instead.

If you can’t find Dixie cups, any small cup will work.  I have seen shot glass sized red solo cups that would be cute with a red licorice handle.

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Both the kids and adults really seemed to enjoy the pudding – the kids were happy because of the sprinkles and sour candy handles, and I think the addition of the cream cheese made it a rich, decadent dessert for us grown-ups.

 

Watermelon Salsa

I also got around to making The Scent of Orange’s Watermelon Salsa I included in my Refreshing Watermelon Ideas post a few weeks back and it did not disappoint!  There was some tedious chopping involved, but it came together fairly quick and was something you could easily make a day or two ahead of time.  I was a little skeptical of the ingredients, and even bought some tomatoes as backup, but the watermelon pairs so perfectly with the cilantro, onion, cucumber and lime juice that it is all you really need to create a refreshing salsa.  As a bonus, I also found the watermelon is far easier to dice up then a bunch of tomatoes would be and you still get the nice traditional red color of salsa from the watermelon.  For our playdate it was served with tortilla chips, but I think it would also be a good summer meal on top of grilled chicken.

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Fruit Skewers

Who doesn’t love a fruit skewer?  I believe I have a few different versions of these pinned on my various pinterest boards, but I have never actually made them for any of my parties.  I love the idea, but always get to thinking that sharp skewers and children would not be a good combination.  I had some Dollar store wooden coffee stir sticks in the pantry leftover from creating cupcake toppers, so I decided to try using those and they worked perfect!  No one stabbed themselves and the kids all seemed pretty excited to eat their fruit off a stick.

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My skewers included honeydew, watermelon, pineapple and strawberries but you could do just about any fruit you want.  To make it even easier, you could even buy the Costco fruit tray and just skewer the pre-cut fruit pieces!

 

Corndog Muffins

One other item I made were some corndog muffins.  They ended up sticking to the pan and weren’t really picture worthy, but they did taste good and I think they are worth attempting again with a different cornbread muffin recipe and some better non-stick spray.  I like that they are easily portable and can be served at any temperature, making them an easy picnic item.  I was short on time so I used a cornbread mix and simply inserted one inch pieces of hot dog into each mini muffin well, then baked as directed.

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All in all it was a great day.  I can’t say enough good things about our lake and I am so happy we are able to invite our friends to share in the fun on hot days.  There wasn’t much time for adult interaction with the young kids going in ever which direction, but they all enjoyed the beach so that is what really counts.  And it did lead to talk of planning a kid-free mommy’s night out so hopefully we can make that happen!