Over The Top Mommy

Recipes

Holiday Peppermint Bark Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ad #MakeHeartburnHistory #CollectiveBias

The holidays are the best! I love everything about this time of year! The decorations, the shopping for gifts, the festive music, and all of the opportunities to celebrate with family. Our family celebrations always revolve around food. That’s normal, right?holiday-peppermint-bark-for-santaSpending time in the kitchen with my daughter and getting to cook and bake with her this time of year is so special and one of the activities we love doing together most. What I don’t love about this time of year is my “holiday heartburn”! It literally tries to ruin my time! Heartburn is the worst!holiday-bonding-timeI didn’t always suffer from heartburn but now whenever it flares up, I’m extra sensitive to many of my favorite foods and have to miss out. Well,  I am NOT going to let heartburn ruin my holidays this year!Thank goodness I discovered Nexium® 24HR Capsules 42ct at Walgreens near the antacids! It’s just one pill a day and it gives me all-day and all-night protection. nexium-at-walgreensIt’s such a great way to treat frequent heartburn and gives me the confidence and comfort to enjoy all of the festive holiday foods, especially my most favorite: peppermint. I could eat peppermint everything! I think peppermint should be its own food group! I even stock up on peppermint goodies this time of year so I have enough to last me once winter is long gone.holiday-peppermint-bark-mmmOne of the recipes I always make during the holidays is Holiday Peppermint Bark. It’s so simple to make and I get asked for the recipe quite frequently by other family members. The recipe only has a few ingredients and doesn’t take very much time to prepare. all-things-peppermintHoliday Peppermint Bark is also perfect for gift giving. Who doesn’t love to receive homemade goods at the holidays? It’s also something special you can leave out for Santa when he visits your home on Christmas Eve. This year I’m going to leave out some Holiday Peppermint Bark for Santa, along with some Nexium® 24HR. I know he’ll appreciate this too! for-santa

holiday-peppermint-bark-recipeIngredients:

  • 24 oz. White Chocolate Baking Chips (usually 2 bags)
  • 24 oz. Dark Chocolate Baking Chips (usually 2 bags)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • 12 large or 24 small candy canes, crushed
  • Vegetable oil

Preparation:

  1. Remove wrappers from candy canes, place in a sealable sandwich bag, and crush up to your liking. (Some people prefer to use a food processor but I like my pieces larger.) Set aside.
  2. Line a baking sheet or pan with parchment or wax paper.
  3. Place Dark Chocolate Baking Chips in a microwave safe bowl to melt them in.  Heat for 1 minute, remove, and stir. Put back in for 30 seconds, remove and stir again. At this point, you should add in a little bit of vegetable oil, which will help it stir easier. If it’s still not completely smooth, try microwaving it for about 10 more seconds. *Do not overheat the chocolate.
  4. Pour melted dark chocolate into pan and level it out.
  5. Stick into the refrigerator for 20-25 minutes to firm up. Remove from refrigerator and set aside.
  6. Repeat same steps for microwaving but with the white chocolate baking chips now. Once it’s melted and you can stir it easily, add the peppermint extract.
  7. Pour melted white chocolate into pan, on top of dark chocolate layer, and level with a spatula.
  8. Immediately sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top to your liking.
  9. Place back into the fridge.
  10. Remove and allow to get to room temperature before cracking the bark to serve or package up for gifts.holiday-peppermint-bark-cut

*May take 1 to 4 days for full effect. Use as directed

Thanksgiving Cornucopia Salad Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me for Evite. All opinions are 100%  my own. #PasstheGiving

 

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I teamed up with Evite® and 7 other influencers to compile a special #Passthegiving Holiday Planning guide to help inspire fun, new twists on old traditions. Check out our Table of Traditions here to refresh your holiday celebrations. You can also download the holiday planning guide which has lots of creative ideas you can use for your own celebration! How amazing did our “Friendsgiving” table turn out? (Keep reading to find out which contribution in the photo was MINE!)evite-tableI’m always excited for the arrival of Fall because it means the holidays are on their way. Once Halloween is over, we can fast forward to Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite times of the year to gather with family and friends, enjoy great food, and enjoy each other’s company.memories-of-my-childhood-thanksgivingsWhen I think back about the Thanksgivings of my childhood, I remember my grandmother preparing the entire meal and our families all coming together to spend a day together. I don’t know how she pulled it all off all at once and served it hot! (My grandmother had this thing about her food being hot.) I’ve attempted to cook an entire Thanksgiving meal a couple of times and found it rather challenging.whats-your-favorite-way-to-celebrate-the-dayMy most favorite way to gather together and celebrate is by asking each family member or friend in attendance, to bring something table to share. Traditionally, our mothers taught us never to show up empty handed to someone else’s home, but that meant you should bring a plant, some flowers, or even a bottle of wine. I request each guest to prepare a dish to share that’s special to them. I like to use an Evite to keep track of who is coming and what they’re bringing. Have you seen their adorable collection of Thanksgiving invitations? It’s such a quick, easy way to send out invites with no postage required.  For the past few years, it’s been a real success and I love the variety of recipes that end up on our table.evite-friendsgiving

My grandmother used to make a salad to include as part of our Thanksgiving meal. Although her salad was a childhood favorite of mine, it was basically iceberg lettuce with carrots, tomatoes, and croutons and was topped with Thousand Island dressing. I don’t know many people who would choose to eat that nowadays. Does Thousand Island dressing even exist anymore?a-new-twist-on-an-old-traditionI do love to include a salad in our own Thanksgiving meal but my “go-to” salad is the “Cornucopia Salad“. It’s kind of a like a new twist on an old tradition. My salad combines baby lettuce, green apples, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds and the combination of the flavors is so delicious. I toss it in a light olive oil-based dressing.bountiful-harvest-salad-add-insCornucopia Salad is something I prepare several times a year because it just pairs really well with pretty much everything. It’s nice to have something that’s so simple to throw together. yet always seems to be a favorite among all of your guests. I’ve even prepared it for the days after Thanksgiving and thrown leftover turkey into it.cornucopia-salad-finished

cornucopia-saladIngredients for salad 

  • 6 cups lettuce of your choice, washed. Tip: Used bagged lettuce to save time. 
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained (I use 2 cans.)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles (blue cheese also works with this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • the juice from 1 lemoningredients for the candied almonds #EasyAsPotPie #ad

Ingredients for dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

instructionsCandied Almond Preparation
Preparing the almonds is something that can be done ahead of time, like the day before. It is a little bit time consuming but well worth it because the candied almonds add such an amazing flavor to your salad. You’ll find it very “necessary” to sample a bunch of the candied almonds after they’ve cooled down.ingredients for the candied almonds #EasyAsPotPie #ad

  • In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and almonds and put over medium heat.
  • Continue to stir the mixture every couple of minutes until the sugar starts to melt.
  • Once this happens, continue stirring evenly to sugar coat all of the almonds evenly and then transfer from the pan to some foil, allowing the almonds to cool down and solidify a little bit.

Dressing Preparation
The dressing can also be made ahead of time, but no more than the night before.

  • Whisk together salt, pepper, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl.
  • Finely chop up parsley and add to the mixture.
  • Set dressing aside and shake well before tossing onto Cornucopia Salad.bountiful-harvest-salad-dressing

Salad Preparation

  • Add lettuce to salad bowl.
  • Cut and core apple and either cut into large apple slices or dice it up. Next, add to salad bowl. If you don’t plan on serving right away, squeeze lemon juice onto apple to prevent browning.
  • Drain mandarin oranges and add to salad.
  • Add dried cranberries, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds to the bowl and mix everything together.
  • Set salad aside until you’re ready to toss with dressing and serve.

cornucopia-side-viewDo you have any special dishes that you like to prepare each year for Thanksgiving? This salad is one of the recipes I prepare that my friends and family are constantly asking for more of. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 

Bountiful Harvest Salad With Cranberries and Apples + Free Fall Printable

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BetterWithCraisins #CollectiveBias bountiful-harvest-salad-with-cranberries-and-apples

I don’t know about you but I get really excited about the arrival of Fall every year. I think a lot of people would say it’s fun to finally to break out the sweaters and boots, but when you live in Southern California, that isn’t usually the case. (It’s usually still sandals weather around here.) pumpkinsWhat I do get most excited about are the beautiful, seasonal colors all around, pumpkins appear in the stores, and the feeling that we’re on fast-forward towards the holiday season! My most favorite part about this time of year though, are the foods, I could spend all day cooking and eating my favorite fall recipes! It’s Fall, Ya’ll! (Grab this free Fall printable, here.)its-fall-yall One of my most popular recipes to make is my “Bountiful Harvest Salad” made with cranberries and apples. It’s a really light and delicious salad that combines baby lettuce, Ocean Spray® Craisins® Dried Cranberries, green apple, mandarin oranges, feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds. Tossed in a light olive oil-based dressing, this salad goes really well with just about any meal or even just on its own. It’s also pretty simple to throw together! This salad is probably the most requested thing I get asked to bring to friends’ parties and family get togethers. find-craisins-here

I used to buy the Craisins® Dried Cranberries for my recipes from Sam’s Club but they seem to have disappeared from their shelves. Luckily, I picked up a couple of bags at Target. In addition to adding these little yummies to a salad or baking with them, they are perfect to snack on, right out of the bag. craisins-out-of-the-bagI think it’s the “zing” that make them unique. 1/4 cup of Craisins® Dried Cranberries provides 1/2 cup of fruit. bountiful-harvest-salad-made

Here’s how you can whip up your own “Bountiful Harvest Salad”!
bountiful-harvest-salad-greensIngredients for salad

  • 6 cups lettuce of your choice, washed. (I sometimes use bagged lettuce to save time.)
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/4 cup Craisins® Dried Cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced (for toasting)
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles (blue cheese also works with this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • The juice from 1 lemon

bountiful-harvest-salad-add-ins

Ingredients for dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

Preparing your candied almonds is something you can do ahead of time. Allow for some time to do this though. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and almonds and put over medium heat. Continue to stir the mixture every couple of minutes until the sugar starts to melt. Once this happens, continue stirring evenly to sugar coat all of the almonds evenly and then transfer from the pan to some foil, allowing the almonds to cool down and solidify a little bit.

harvest-salad-almond-preparationThe dressing preparation is another step that can be done ahead of time and set aside. I usually double the recipe for the dressing in case I need to whip up another batch of the salad. (I told you it’s very popular at parties!) Whisk together salt, pepper, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl. Finely chop up parsley and add to the mixture. Shake well before tossing onto the salad. bountiful-harvest-salad-dressingSalad Preparation

  • Add washed and dried lettuce to salad bowl.
  • Cut and core apple and either cut into large apple slices or dice it up. Next, add to salad bowl. If you don’t plan on serving right away, squeeze lemon juice onto apple to prevent browning.
  • Drain mandarin oranges and add to salad.
  • Add Craisins® Dried Cranberries feta cheese crumbles, and candied almonds to the bowl and mix everything together.
  • Set salad aside until you’re ready to toss with dressing and serve.

I hope you love my Bountiful Harvest Salad as much as I do! Leave me a comment if you made it too. Also, don’t forget to grab your “It’s Fall, Ya’l” free printable above! To find more great ideas and recipes to use in and a store near you, go here.

Kids in the Kitchen: Hatch Chile Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This post sponsored by Gigasavvy. All opinions are 100% my own

 

It’s Hatch Chile Season and you’ll want to get your hands on some of these amazing, flavorful chiles from New Mexico at a Northgate Market near you.  They’re available now through 8/28 at your nearest Northgate Market.northgate-market-truck-chile-seasonDuring the month of August, Northgate Markets are hosting in-store Hatch Chile Roasting events on the weekends. For a list of the locations hosting the events, along with dates and times, visit herehatch-chile-inn-store-1We stopped by the newest Northgate Market location in Anaheim, which is my new favorite grocery store to shop at, and grabbed some Hatch Chiles to take home and cook with. hatch-chile-in-store-2Lately, my daughter has been asking me if she could do more cooking in the kitchen. I’m happy that she has an interest in learning to cook, so of course, I want her to. She suggested we incorporate the Hatch Chiles into one of her favorite foods, Macaroni and Cheese.  hatch-chile-recipe-doneI think most adults love “Mac & Cheese”, too. I know I never turn down a simple comfort food! I love the flavor of Hatch Chiles, so I knew it would be a great combination.hatch-chiles-in-store-2

I first guided her through the process of roasting the Hatch Chiles. It’s not difficult, it just takes some time.hatch-chile-recipe-roastingI love using our cast-iron skillet so we used it to roast the chiles. I like the way they seem to “dance” while they sizzle. You need to allow both sides to roast really well. It’s Ok for the chiles to appear blackened on the outside. Depending on what you’re making, you either remove that part anyway, or incorporate the blackened part into your recipe, to give it a smoky taste. Mmm! hatch-chile-recipe-sweatingAfter the chiles are roasted to your liking, you immediately stick them back into the produce bag (if they came in one) or else into a plastic bag and seal it, allowing them to “sweat”. After about 10 minutes, you’ll be able to easily remove the outer skin of your Hatch Chiles. It will literally just peel off . You’ll slice open down the center and remove the seeds with a spoon. (or by hand) hatch-chile-recipe-peelinghatch-chile-recipe-remove-seedsFor this recipe, my daughter diced up the Hatch Chiles and set them aside while we prepared the rest of the iingredients. hatch-chile-recipe-kids-help

hatch-chile-mac-and-cheese-recipehatch-chile-recipe-dicedIngredients:

  • 3-4 Hatch Chiles, roasted and diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups large elbow macaroni (or your preference of noodles)
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican Blend or Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes or 1/4 cup white onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (crushed croutons may also be used)

Directions for preparation: 

  1. Roast Hatch Chiles, dice, and set aside. (see above for roasting instructions.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use non-stick cooking spray to coat your baking dish. (We used a Cast Iron Pan for this recipe.)
  3. Boil the macaroni in a pot of lightly salted water according to the instructions on the package. Drain and place back into pot. hatch-chile-recipe-macaroni
  4. On the stovetop, pour milk into a saucepan and whisk in flour, salt and pepper, and onion flakes or diced onion over a medium heat. After mixture comes to a boil, allow to simmer for about 2 minutes.  You’ll notice the mixture start to thicken. hatch-chile-recipe-mix-in-chiles
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cheeses together, add milk mixture into the bowl and whisk together until all are mixed well. hatch-chile-recipe-cheese
  6. Pour cheese sauce over pasta in the and mix well. Add diced chiles to the mixture.
  7. Transfer to the broiler-safe cooking dish and top with a generous layer of bread crumbs. hatch-chile-recipe-ready-to-bake
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Set the oven to “broil” for 3 minutes, watching it closely, until the top is slightly browned. Immediately remove from oven and allow to cool prior to serving. hatch-chiles-recipe-done-2

This recipe was so simple for my daughter to prepare, with my supervision of course. You can find all of the Hatch Chile recipe ingredients at your nearest Northgate location. Here are just a few locations:

  • 230 N Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92703
  • 2120 Pacific Ave, Long Beach, CA 90806
  • 1410 S 43rd St., San Diego, CA 92113

Click here for a list of all the Northgate Market locations. Do you have any favorite recipes using Hatch Chiles? I’d love to hear about them.

Find Northgate Market on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Easy To Make Mickey Mouse Cookie Recipe

I love all things Mickey Mouse! My daughter and I are constantly on the lookout for “Hidden Mickeys” everyone, even when we’re not at Disneyland. I’m a strong believer that anything shaped like Mickey tastes better! Don’t you agree? I thought It would be fun to make an easy snack in the kitchen, that my daughter could help with. This is a very easy Mickey Mouse Cookie recipe using store bought cookie dough, because I’m about saving time. Enjoy!  easy-to-make-mickey-mouse-cookies

what-youll-need

  • store bought sugar cookie mix or pre-made dough. (If you have more time you can make it from scratch too)
  • “Mickey” cookie cutter
  • flour
  • light corn syrup
  • parchment paper
  • sprinkles easy-to-make-mickey-cookies-sprinkles

baking-directions

  1. Prepare the sugar cookies as directed on package. I wrap my cookie dough in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, just to chill it.
  2. Cover a counter top area with some flour. Roll out sugar cookie dough with a rolling pin until the dough is the desired thickness. (between 1/4″ and 1/2 ” thick)Mickey-Mouse-Cookies-dough
  3. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. I like to bake these on parchment paper so they are easier to transfer from the baking sheet to the cooling rack, with less chance of breaking.Not-So-Spooky-Mickey-Mouse-Halloween-Cookies-Baking
  4. Cut out Mickey heads and place each one on baking sheet, leaving plenty of distance between each one
  5. Bake as directed on package.adding-sprinkles
  1. After removing cookies from oven, transfer to cooling racks and allow them to completely cool down.
  2. Baste a thin layer of light corn syrup on the tops of the sugar cookies and shake sprinkles on top, allowing them to dry and stick.Not-so-spooky-mickey-mouse-halloween-cookies-cool-downnot-so-spooky-mickey-mouse-halloween-cookies-ready-to-eat

enjoy-your-cookies

So, what’s your favorite simple snack recipe to make? Is it something Mickey-shaped, too?

Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders Recipe + An Amazingly Easy Clean Up

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ScrubCloth #CollectiveBias baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-plus-an-amazingly-easy-clean-upFeeding my family a well-balanced meal is a priority for me, but it can also be a challenge. I often feel like I run out of creative meal ideas, especially ones that are quick and simple to prepare. As a mom, I think it’s just natural for me to  be on the lookout for meals that will wow my family. I want to be able to answer with something exciting when I get the infamous question, “Mom, what’s for dinner?”. mom-whats-for-dinnerI make a lot of chicken dishes for dinners but wanted to prepare something a little different and new so I whipped up a batch of “Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders“, using panko crispy bread crumbs.(Please see full recipe below.) These help give chicken tenders a crispier texture than just regular baked chicken. I don’t like to fry a lot of foods, I prefer to oven-bake so using these bread crumb crumbs on chicken gives them a little extra “crunch” without having to fry them. crispy-baked-chicken-tenders-yumMy trick is to brown up the panko bread crumbs with a little butter in the skillet before using them on the chicken. Let me just share that doing this, instead of using them straight out of the box on the chicken, makes the chicken extra yummy and is a definite kid pleaser! baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-doneLet’s Talk About Cleanup
My least favorite part of making dinner is the clean up! No one wants to stand at the sink and scrub the dishes after they’ve just spent all that time preparing a meal. (We’ll talk about shared kitchen responsibility in a minute). I don’t care how well you prep a pan or baking dish before using it, cleanup for this kind of a meal requires elbow grease.baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-recipe-scotch-brite-dish-cloths-1Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths are a new product and they seriously take all of the headache out of cleanup!  I found them at Walmart, on the “Paper and Cleaning” aisle and can’t rant enough about them to you. scotch-brite-in-store-photoFirst of all, they’re cute and don’t look like standard dish cloths. (I like to keep my kitchen stylish.) They’re available in 3 colors: tan, coral, and navy and are priced just under $5.00 at Walmart for a 2-pack. (I bought mine for $4.98.) By still giving you the versatility of a dish cloth, Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths make cleaning things, like stuck on messes from my chicken tenders dinner, far easier! They basically combine the best of a high quality dish cloth with the power of Scotch-Brite® scrubbing dots for a quicker and easier clean. scotch-brite-scrubbing-dish-cloths-in-basketOne of the things I like best about them is the fact that they will not scratch any surface! With non-scratch scrubbing power I can clean other areas in my kitchen, in addition to using it on the dishes, without worrying about damaging anything. Another one of my favorite things about them is how sturdy they are and the fact that you can wash and re-use them, which helps you stay “green” in the kitchen. Also, right now at Walmart, there’s a $1 off instant redeemable coupon available on the product that you can redeem at the register when you check out! baked-crispy-chicken-tenders-recipe-scotch-brite-dish-cloth-2Shared Responsibility in the Kitchen
So let’s get back to talking about shared responsibility in the kitchen. As I previously mentioned, I have no desire to stand in the kitchen scrubbing away, any more than necessary, especially after cooking dinner. It’s always nice to get some help from other family members with the dishes. I think shared responsibility in the home is a good thing and it teaches your kids valuable life lessons. please-help-clean-upSo, I printed up this cute little printable, framed it, and stuck it in a frame. (To print out your own copy, click here.) After dinner, I usually get asked, “What’s for dessert?” I just point to the printable and wait for them to clue in with the clean up. So far, it’s worked out pretty well. I’m more than happy to break out the dessert when the clean up is all done! kitchen-printableBy stocking our kitchen with Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths, I just made everyone’s life easier! For more recipes and cleaning ideas, visit here.

Baked Crispy Chicken Tenders
(serves 2-3 people) crispy-chicken-tenders-recipeIngredients

  • 2-4  bonelsss, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I use the crispy, plain ones.)
  • dash of salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ketchup or other dipping sauce

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray baking dish or pan with cooking spray.
  3. While oven is preheating, place butter in a skillet and turn the flame on low. Add panko breadcrumbs and brown them for about 5 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
  4. Prepare chicken by cutting up into “tenders”. (My daughter prefers smaller pieces to pick up and dip in ketchup.)
  5. Prepare breading station, using 3 bowls: one with flour, salt and pepper, one with eggs and a bit of milk beaten together, and one with the browned panko breadcrumbs.
  6. Place each piece of chicken into flour bowl, coating completely, then shaking off extra flour before moving on. Next, place floured piece into egg bowl and cover completely. Before removing, shake off excess egg. Fnally, place chicken piece into panko breadcrumbs bowl and completely coat the chicken, even pushing breadcrumbs into the chicken. Place in baking dish.
  7. When all chicken has been coated, place baking dish into oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. Always be sure to check the inside of your chicken and/or its internal temperature.
  8. Serve tenders with ketchup or your favorite dipping sauce

 

 

Easy To Make Cupcake “Sundaes” For Your Easter Brunch

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweeterEaster #CollectiveBias cupcake-sundaes-easy-to-makeEaster is arriving a little early this year and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I love all of the pops of colors and festive treats you find in stores this time of year, especially in the Easter section. It’s so fun for me to shop for special goodies to fill Easter baskets and I enjoy planning our annual Easter family brunch, from the tablescape to the menu. cupcake-sundaes-mandms-easter-candiesI made a special trip to Walmart the other day to grab a bunch of the things I’ll need for Easter. On the Seasonal aisle I discovered M&M’s® Easter Sundae! These delicious candies have a white center, surrounded by milk chocolate and are only available for a limited time, exclusively at Walmart. cupcake-sundaes-threw-in-a-bagThe bag includes hot pink ones! They’re my favorite color!  Not only will they be perfect for Easter baskets, but I also used them in my Cupcake “Sundaes” recipe which will be part of the dessert bar at our family’s Easter Sunday brunch. cupcake-sundaes-close-upI tossed an 8oz bag of the M&M’s® Easter Sundae into my cart, along some other goodies for Easter including:

  • a Starburst® Original Jellybeans
  • a 12oz DOVE® Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny (for that “wow” factor!)
  • a 4.5oz DOVE® Milk Chocolate Easter Bunny
  • a couple of Skittles® $1 eggs
  • a Hubba Bubba® $1 Bubble Tape, for good “measure”, of course.
  • a package of plastic carrot-shaped eggs (to fill with candies) 
  • some green “grass” for the baskets
  • an adorable white wicker Easter basket with lavender accents cupcake-sundaes-filled-eggs

Some other Easter basket fillers you can also find at Walmart (not pictured) include:

  • 23.5oz Easter Mixed Brand Chocolates (package includes SNICKERS®, DOVE®, M&M’s®, TWIX®, MILKY WAY®, 3 Musketeers®)
  • 11oz Easter M&M’s® Milk Chocolate
  • Skittles® $1 tube cupcake-sundaes-easter-basket

 

easy-to-makeHere are the ingredients you’ll need to make Cupcake “Sundaes”:

  1. one package of your favorite cake mix
  2. one container of white frosting
  3. one package of M&M’s® Easter Sundae chocolate candies (or any variety of M&M’s®)
  4. rainbow sprinkles
  5. treat cups to bake the cupcakes in
  6. some colorful plastic spoons cupcake-sundaes-colorful-spoons

Simple Instructions for Preparation of the Cupcake “Sundaes”

  • Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended on the cake mix package.
  • Mix together the cake mix as directed.
  • Prepare a cookie sheet with the treat cups on it that you’ll be baking your cupcakes in.
  • Pour mix into each treat cup, filling about 1/3 full. I highly recommend using a measuring cup with a spout to pour. (to avoid messy edges) cupcake-sundaes-filled-treat-cups
  • Bake as directed on box, watching them carefully until you see they’re slightly golden.
  • Allow cupcakes to completely cool down. cupcake-sundaes-completely-cool-down
  • Frost each cupcake, making it look about as full as a sundae would be.
  • Sprinkle each one with an ample amount of sprinkles. Remember, you can never have too many sprinkles! cupcake-sundaes-sprinkles-and-frosting
  • Top each sundae with “a cherry”! (a.k.a. an M&M’s® Easter Sundae candy)
  • Serve with a colorful spoon already in the “sundae” and enjoy! cupcake-sundaes-enjoy

If you haven’t cruised down Walmart’s Seasonal aisle for Easter supplies yet, you should “hop to it” soon.

cupcake-sundaes-more-basket-fillerscupcake-sundaes-in-store
cupcake-sundaes-easter-basketWhat kind of candy and treats will you be filling baskets with this year? Do you have any fun recipes that you like to make for Easter? Share with me in the comments!

Heart-Shaped Hand Pies Filled with Chocolate and M&M’s® Strawberry

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendSweetness #CollectiveBias

heart-shaped-hand-pies-filled-with-cholate-and-mandms-strawberryValentine’s Day is my most favorite holiday of the year! Forget the roses, I get most excited about all of the sentimental things like giving Valentine cards! Also, I don’t know about you but I can never get enough of Valentine treats! This year, I found these M&M’s® Strawberry at Walmart, just in time for the Valentine season! They’re light pink, hot pink, and red! I love M&M’s® and get a little giddy whenever I get to try new flavors. hand-pies-pink-candiesI like to go all out on Valentine’s Day and what most excites me most about the day is getting to celebrate love and friendship with not only my family, but also with my students and coworkers at work! For our Valentine’s Day celebration at work, I try to bring something special for close friends who may not have “a special Valentine” at home to shower them with surprises. It’s nice to let them know that someone is thinking of them on a day that’s so heavily focused on love and friendship. heart-shaped-hand-pies-valentine-goodiesThere’s one particular friend at work that I wanted to buy something extra special for because she lives alone and has no one who buys gifts or cards for her anymore. So, I got her a DOVE® Milk Chocolate Truffle heart tin. On the Valentine’s aisle, I also found some American Greetings® Valentine’s cards that will be perfect to give to some of my other coworkers.walmart-valentine-cardswalmart-where-to-buyI love to create fun recipes for holidays and I decided to bake some heart-shaped Valentine hand pies, filled with chocolate and M&M’s® Strawberry! Just wait until you taste this M&M’s® flavor! They are delicious!heart-shaped-hand-pies-candy-bagI’m obsessed with anything cute and small that you can easily grab to snack on, so I was excited to make hand pies for Valentine’s Day treats to “hand out”  out to others. I had to make a batch to test out for myself first though. They were so delicious and pair well with coffee or milk! heart-shaped-hand-pies-yumThey were also so simple to make and another “plus” about hand pies is there are no utensils required! I can’t wait to bring them along to work with me for our Valentine’s celebration, along with my other goodies! My co-workers are sure lucky to have me, don’t you think? heart-shaped-hand-pies-wrapped

Follow this recipe to make a batch of your own: heart-shaped-hand-pies-recipeThese are the ingredients and supplies you’ll need: 

  • 1 box of store-bought pie crust (they usually come 2 in a box)
  • 1 jar of chocolate spread of your choice
  • 1 bag of M&M’s® Strawberry
  • 1 egg (just the egg white)
  • flour (to spread out on the cutting board or countertop)
  • 1 lollipop stick
  • parchment paper (for baking)

Instructions for preparing the hand pies:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lightly flour the bread board or countertop where you’ll be working. Next, roll out the pie crust.
  3. Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out two hearts for each hand pie that you’re making. hand-pies-cut-pie-dough
  4. Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper and set the bottom heart pie piece on the baking sheet. Leave ample space between each one.
  5. Spoon a small amount of the chocolate spread into the center of each heart. Don’t use too much because it will squeeze and leak out when you bake them.hand-pies-fill-with-chocolate
  6. Place 2 or 3 M&M’s® strawberry candies on top of the chocolate spread inside of the pie. hand-pies-candies
  7. Place the top piece of heart-shaped pie crust dough on top and gently push edges together with your fingers.
  8. Use the end of a lollipop stick (or something similar) to seal the edges. Use the stick to push in all around the heart. heart-shaped-hand-pies-lollipop-stick
  9. Brush the top of each pie very lightly with egg whites.
  10. Place into oven and bake for 9-12 minutes. I suggest keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  11. When they look golden brown, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

heart-shaped-hand-pies-done

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you celebrate with your friends and/or coworkers, as well as your own family? Hopefully your Valentine’s celebration this year will include M&M’s® Strawberry, too!

Right now, you can save $1.00 on ANY TWO (2) M&M’s(R) Brand Chocolate Candies, 8oz or larger. Click here to grab the coupon.

Easy To Make Star Wars™ Mini Donuts

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #AwakenYourTastebuds #CollectiveBias

 
Easy-to-make-Star-Wars-Mini-Donuts-CoverI don’t think there’s a dad out there who isn’t excited for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hit theaters on December 17th! I know my own husband and daughter can’t wait. I love that they spend time talking about their mutual enthusiasm for Star Wars™ and that it isn’t a gender specific topic. The trilogy was a big part of my own childhood and it’s very exciting that my daughter’s generation will also have the thrill of Star Wars™ as it continues.perfect-for-a-star-wars-breakfastThe other day, when I was grocery shopping at Walmart, I spotted Star Wars™Cereal on the cereal aisle! I also found the coordinating Star Wars™ Go-Gurt in the dairy section! I tossed both items into my basket and headed home to make a batch of special Star Wars™ mini donuts for my husband and my daughter to enjoy with their breakfast. How fun is that?

Star-Wars-Mini-Donuts-ProductsMy daughter loves to sort out her cereals when they contain more than one kind of cereal in the box. In this case, she likes to separate the “regular cereal” from the little marshmallows. I’ll admit, I immediately reached into the box and ate a few of the marshmallows, myself. sorted-cerealThey are so yummy I decided to use some of the little marshmallows as toppers on my mini donuts for this recipe. It’s hard to resist a donut, especially when it has marshmallows on top! star-wars-little-marshmallows

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I was really excited about how my mini donuts turned out. I hope my husband and daughter have a fun little Star Wars™breakfast together!

breakfast-1

easy-to-make-starwars-mini-donuts

donut-ingredients

 

 

For the donut batter:

  • 2 cups packaged cookie mix, dry
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

For the icing:

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon milk
  • your choice of toppings (I’m using marshmallows from the Star Wars™Darth Vader Cereal.)

smart-mom-recipe-time-savers-and-tips

I’m putting these time savers and tips before the recipe instructions because I know I sometimes jump into recipes without reading to the bottom. These tips are honestly valuable and I learned some of them from doing the wrong way the first time around on this recipe.

  • I used a package of store bought dry cookie mix in this recipe. I don’t call it “cheating”, I just call it being a smart mom who likes to save time. I chose a package of sugar cookie mix, but you could probably use any flavor or variety. Star-Wars-Mini-Donuts-batter
  • Most donut batter recipes call for buttermilk. Since I didn’t want to buy a whole container of buttermilk and waste the leftovers, I just whipped up a buttermilk substitute with milk and vinegar. (see recipe instructions).
  • When your batter is ready to put into the mini donut pan, it is SO much easier to stick it into a ziploc bag and cut the tip off, before pouring it in. (a baker’s bag with a tip would also work). It’s also important that you DON’T overfill each one because your donuts won’t look like donuts. dont-overfill
  • Before frosting your mini donuts, allow them to cool down completely. Oh and I give you permission to eat the ones that aren’t “usable”, meaning the ones that didn’t hold the perfect donut shape. I wouldn’t want them to go to waste.

donut-instructions

 

 

Donut Batter Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees
  2. Spray mini donut pan with vegetable oil  and set aside.
  3. Mix milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside for a minimum of 5 minutes to allow curdling.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine cookie mix and baking soda. Add in the egg, butter, and vegetable oil and mix well.
  5. Place donut batter into pastry bag or sealable plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in the end. (you could also use a tip for this.) put-into-a-sealable-bag
  6. Fill each section of the mini donut baking pan. I recommend only filling each one half way or less. DO NOT OVERFILL.
  7. Place pan in oven and bake 4-6 minutes or until golden. You’ll want to keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  8. Remove donuts from oven and place on rack to completely cool down before frosting them. allow-to-completely-cool

Frosting Preparation

  1. Place wax paper underneath cooling rack where you’ll place donuts after frosting. This will catch the dripping frosting.
  2. Have your toppings nearby and ready to go.
  3. Combine powdered sugar and milk in a bowl. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. The frosting will thicken quickly, so continue stirring after every few donuts. combine-ingredients-for-frosting
  4. Dip the top of each donut into the bowl and move in a circular motion until it’s frosted to your liking. swirling-mini-donut
  5. Place back onto the cooling rack and apply toppings to each donut immediately before the frosting hardens.
  6. Keep donuts in an airtight container, so they’ll stay fresh,  if you’re not serving them immediately.

Well, I hope the recipe was easy for you to follow and simple to make. Is your family as excited about the big release weekend as ours is? Leave a comment and tell me how you show your love for the greatest movie series in the galaxy in your home!

(Almost) Better Than Christmas M&M’s® White Peppermint Cookies and DIY Snowman Glasses

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #BakeintheFun #CollectiveBias

almost-better-than-christmas-mandms-white-peppermint-cookies

I think my most favorite time of the year is when the holidays arrive. I’ll admit, it’s a little ridiculous that signs of the holidays seem to show up earlier and earlier each year in the stores, but I’m 100% Ok with it! The Christmas season would be year-round thing if I were in charge! It’s such a wonderful time of the year to enjoy doing special things with my daughter like watching our favorite Christmas movies, working on festive crafts, and baking up some favorite holiday cookies in the kitchen!  I am so lucky to have a daughter who enjoys doing these things as much as I do! peppermint-is-my-kryptoniteI get excited to see which special variety of M&M’s® I’m going to find in the holiday candy section at Walmart each year. The other day, I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw bags of M&M’s® White Peppermint and M&M’s® Hot Chocolate chocolate candies on the shelf on the holiday candy aisle.bake-in-the-fun-productsI did a fist pump before tossing both bags into my shopping cart, along with a bag of M&M’s® Holiday Milk Chocolate candies, which I also found on that aisle. I couldn’t resist adding a Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix and Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting to my cart either, which I found on a holiday display in the center aisle. Last, but not least, I grabbed a gallon of Great Value Milk. In our home, you can’t have cookies without milk! Now I was ready to bake up some holiday fun at home!

ready-to-bake-up-some-holiday-fun-at-homeAnything peppermint is my Kryptonite, especially these candies! I love all things peppermint and it was time to kick of the holiday baking season with a batch of (Almost) Better Than Christmas M&M’s® White Peppermint Cookies! They are delicious and don’t take too long to prepare.

prepHey, as long as we’re talking about the holidays, go enter the #BakeintheFun Sweepstakes for a chance to win a KitchenAid® Mixer!

Holiday #BakeInTheFun

So…while I was busy baking in the kitchen, my daughter decided to make some easy (yet adorable) Snowman Milk Glasses for us to use later on for our cookies & milk. She had seen a similar idea on Pinterest, using clear glass coffee mugs. So, when I was out shopping, I picked up some glass drinking glasses, perfect for her project. All you need to make your own holiday glasses are: whatever type of drinking glass you prefer (wine glasses would be cute too) and permanent markers. You may also want to keep a pack of baby wipes handy, for mistakes.

sketchingShe first sketched out a couple of snowman faces on paper. She then drew a different one on each of our glasses, deciding to make one a snowman and the other a snow woman.  nose

so-quick-and-easy-to-do

I poured some of the milk I’d purchased at Walmart into each glass, creating a complete snowman look and they were ready to use. (It’s important to note that the marker will wash off when you wash the glasses.)

bake-in-the-fun-snowgirl

Milk, cookies, and a holiday movie! What a fun way to spend the afternoon together!

Great-American-Milk-DriveDid you know that each year, food banks in our country provide for hungry children and families in need? In numbers that translates to more than 46. 5 Americans and about one in every six children who rely on Feeding America food banks each year.  One of the most requested food items is milk, but on average, food banks are only able to provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. That’s because while Americans are generous with canned and dry goods, many don’t think to donate milk because it’s perishable.

milk-cups

This year, The Great American Milk Drive will deliver a gallon of milk to a family in need in YOUR local community for each small donation received at pourmilklove.com.  Also, with every purchase of 2 bags of M&M’s® at Walmart (9.4 oz bags or larger), up to a gallon of milk will be donated to the drive. Click here for a coupon good for towards the purchase of ANY TWO (2) M&M’s® Chocolate Candies, (8 oz or larger).

bake-in-the-fun-snowboy

(Almost) Better Than Christmas M&M’s® White Peppermint Cookies Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 container Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting (you’ll be using the sprinkles that are on the top portion of the container)
  • 1 9,9 oz bag of M&M’s® White Peppermint chocolate candies

Cookie Preparation: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. (This is my best kept baking secret.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in after each one is added. butter
  5. Beat in the flour mixture gradually.
  6. Mix in the chocolate chips and M&M’s® White Peppermint with a spoon.
  7. Add in the sprinkles from the Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting. (set some extra aside)add-ins
  8. *This is an extra step. I like to wrap my cookie dough in plastic and stick it in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you’d like to).  wrap-in-plastic
  9. Spoon generous portions of the cookie dough onto the parchment paper-covered baking sheet. (They’re supposed to be pretty giant.) I-love-baking-on-parchment-paper
  10. Bake 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and add a few more pieces of each candy plus some more sprinkles on the top of each cookie. This will help them to bake while staying visible in the cookie.
  12. Bake 3-5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. bake-in-the-fun-cooling

Won’t you consider joining Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive, the first-ever national program to help deliver highly desired and nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families who need it most. Log onto milklife.com/give to learn about the need for more nutritious foods in America’s food banks and see how your small donation can make a big impact.

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Be sure to check out more delicious holiday baking recipes, including these M&M’s® Holiday Snowflake Cookies which includes Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix in the recipe. I’d love to hear what your favorite holiday recipe is? Leave a comment below!

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