Archive | December, 2017

Peanut Butter Balls – An Easy No-Bake Addition To Any Get Together

28 Dec

Growing up, my aunts always made peanut butter balls at Christmas time – there were never a ton, but those first to the cookie trays would be rewarded with the sweet heaven that is peanut butter & sugar mixed together and dipped in chocolate. They have become more scarce over the years, and this year I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands – if I wanted peanut butter balls at Christmas time, I would just have to make them myself!

When I was looking for a recipe, I was intrigued by the ones that included crispy rice cereal in the peanut butter mixture – I really loved the idea of that bite/crunch to cut through the sweetness – so I decided on This Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
(Recipe Courtesy of Idaho Mom)
Ingredients:
2 c peanut butter
2 c powdered sugar
3 c rice krispies
2 bags chocolate chips, melted or 1 bag light cocoa wilton candy melts

Directions:
mix the first 3 ingredients together and then roll into balls.
dip the balls in chocolate to coat.
let the chocolate peanut butter balls set to harden.

Pretty simple, right? 

PB Balls 1

As I assembled my ingredients, only the furry helper emerged (he sensed the presence of peanut butter). But once I turned on the mixer, the toddler helper came scurrying into the kitchen wanting in on the action

 

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He helped me mix up the peanut butter and sugar – and I added a little vanilla for flavor, too

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I had the help of both my boys when it came to making the balls! I actually froze them for a while – just to ensure they weren’t going to fall apart on me when it was chocolate time!

 

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I used part wilton melts and part chocolate chips – worked fine for melting/coating the balls. And I also did some fully coated, and some half-coated in chocolate – just for variety’s sake

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My helper really enjoyed the finished product (and the furry helper was dying to get in on it too – but sadly couldn’t partake – see him trying to sneak in on the balls?)

These were easy to make, and the ingredients were all things I already had on hand. They didn’t turn out exactly like I remember the peanut butter balls of my childhood- but they are still delicious!

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Easy, No Bake “Reindeer Bait” Is The Perfect Christmas Treat

21 Dec

These days, my Facebook feed is mostly composed of food videos – you know the ones – that have cutesy music in the background and take you through a recipe in under a minute and make it look not only delicious – but easy and super enticing? I try not to be so easily taken in by a flashy video – but I have to admit – I love a good recipe – and enjoy watching these types of videos. I don’t often end up making them in real life, but this one was too good to pass up. I had already done a ton of Christmas¬†Cookie Baking – so the fact that this one didn’t involve the oven sealed the deal for me – to the store I went to pick up the few ingredients I didn’t already have on hand for this delicious Reindeer Bait!

Reindeer Bait
(Recipe Courtesy of Delish)

Ingredients
3 c. corn chex
2 c. wheat chex
2 c. mini pretzels
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. red and green M&Ms
20 oz. white chocolate
Red and green sprinkles, for garnish

Directions
-In a large bowl, mix together Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and M&Ms.
-Melt white chocolate and pour over mixture. Stir until fully coated.
-Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet or dish and top with sprinkles, then refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
-Break up into bite-size pieces and serve
**There should be a final step of this recipe – “Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting”**

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I picked this recipe in part because I knew it was one my son could easily help with – he really enjoyed measuring the ingredients and stirring them up

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While he stirred the dry stuff, I melted the white chocolate and then mixed it all together into a gorgeous blob

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Adding the sprinkles was his favorite part – he kept asking “now?” with the sprinkles poised over the pan. He did a great job making it extra festive

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The finished product was enjoyed by all!

This recipe was easy to put together and the end result was delicious – the only thing I changed was I added some Craisins I happened to have on hand, but you could really add just about anything to it – nuts, raisins, Reese’s Pieces instead of M&M’s, or you could change up the candy and sprinkle colors depending on the season/holiday you’re making it for

Well – it’s Thursday – and I seriously doubt this “Reindeer Bait” will make it to the weekend – much less Monday (Christmas) – so I hope the reindeer don’t mind if we leave them carrots and extra cookies instead!

The Day Of Cookies

14 Dec

As someone who loves to bake, I have always enjoyed baking for others, and when the holidays roll around, I like to make a BUNCH of cookies to share with my loved ones – what better way to let family and friends know how much you care than with goodies baked with love?

This year I decided that instead of trying to bake in the evenings and on weekends inbetween activities and such, I would just take a day off from work for baking – a day where my husband was at work and my son was at daycare, so that I could focus on the task at hand – COOKIES!

If you’re planning on doing some Christmas baking – here’s a few tips:
-Pick cookies that all cook at the same temperature
-Stick with the “tried and true” – this is NOT a time to try out new recipes – stick to what you know!
-Prep ahead of time if you can – get the supplies the week before, make the dough(s) the night before, get out all your bakeware before you start, etc

In following my own advice, I chose these 3 recipes (that all baked at 375 – which made my life much easier!)
White Chocolate Craisin Cookies – everyone loves these!
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – I replaced half of the chocolate chips with Christmas M&M’s for a festive touch
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies – an easy (but delicious!) one I could throw together between batches of the other 2

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I prepped the doughs the night before – two double batches of each (that’s a LOT OF DOUGH!) and I also unwrapped the peanut butter cups the night before, too

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Just a fraction of the delicious results

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All frozen and ready to pull out as needed for gifts, parties, and snacking of course!

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When you realize it’s only Tuesday…but then you remember Mom made you cookies! (as his shirt says, he’s just here for the cookies anyway!)

So – to recap:
-Set aside some time JUST for baking – take a day off like I did, send the kids (and husband!) to the grandparents, do what you need to do to get an empty house so you can focus on baking and get it all done at once with no interruptions!
-Pick recipes that can all bake at the same temperature
-Do as much prep ahead of time as you can – supply shopping, dough making etc
-Don’t use this as an experiment – stick with recipes you know and trust!

When it comes time to actually bake – crank up the Christmas music, slap on an apron – and HAVE FUN! Baking should feel like something you WANT to do – not a chore you HAVE to get done – for me, following the tips I outlined help ensure I have a good time – and that I am baking with LOVE!

Happy Baking!

Candy Cane Danish = Christmas Brunch Win!

13 Dec

Ah, Brunch. It’s really the most perfect meal ever created. Not only can you sleep in and still get to enjoy it, but it includes basically all the best foods ever – breakfast meats, eggs, carbs galore, sweets, fruit, and of course – booze and coffee generally play a part as well. I love brunch – eating it, hosting it, going out to it – it’s all the best. And team up a winner of a meal like brunch and the holidays, and you have something truly amazing – an excuse to eat copious amounts of amazing food and get tipsy while wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.

I took my brunch game to the next level last weekend with this Candy Cane Breakfast Pastry – cream cheese and cherries nestled inside crescent roll dough – it was delicious – plus the shape was perfect for getting into the festive holiday spirit!

Candy Cane Crescent Roll Breakfast Pastry
(Recipe Courtesy of 3 Yummy Tummies)

Ingredients
2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8 oz. Cream Cheese; softened
1 egg
1/3 C. Sugar
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
Glaze:
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Milk

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-On a cookie sheet, arrange crescent roll triangles pointing inward into the shape of a candy cane with edges overlapping. Lightly press triangles together to seal. I used exactly 1 1/2 packages of crescent rolls to make the candy cane shape.
-In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar, add egg; beat until smooth.
-Using a teaspoon, spoon cream cheese filling onto the larger part of each triangle; leaving around 1/2 on inch from the edges. You will have extra cheese left.
-Add teaspoons of cherry filling over the top of the cream cheese.
-Fold tops of triangles towards the base end of each triangle and press lightly to seal. Using the extra croissant roll dough, cut the triangle ends off of 2 rolls to fill in extra spaces at the top of the candy cane as necessary.
-Bake for around 15 minutes or until top of pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly before adding glaze.
Prepare Glaze:
-Beat together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. May add an additional 1/2 Tbsp. of milk if too thick.
-Using a teaspoon, drizzle glaze over crescent tops of candy cane.

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At this point I was unsure if it would fold together to actually resemble a candy cane…(the suspense was killing me!)

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Luckily – it did fold together nicely and actually look sort of like a candy cane!! Yay!

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Literally just realized right now that I forgot to even make much less use the glaze. Oh well. Still turned out pretty!

This was pretty easy to put together – I am glad I had some extra crescent rolls so that I could use them to keep the filling from leaking out as I folded it all into the candy cane shape – otherwise things would have gotten messy

Like I said, I forgot the glaze – and it was still delicious. It might have looked a bit cuter to have the glaze but taste wise I was really happy with how this turned out – festive, easy, and yummy – a win all around!