Tag Archives: kids in the kitchen

Chewy Homemade S’More Granola Bars (Better Than Store Bought Any Day!)

30 Apr

There’s no doubt about it – we are living in some strange times. Being basically “stuck” at home can be tough in a lot of ways – but it can also be rewarding in a lot of ways, too!

I always have enjoyed baking (obviously!), but now I have even more time to do it – and my husband and my son have gotten in on the fun too – baking bread together for us to enjoy (nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread, is there?).

As for me – I have been trying to be creative with what we have on hand, and taking advantage of Target drive up orders, as well as Amazon too – to help me stock my pantry so that I can try out some new treats at home!

Last week, I bought my son a variety pack of kids Clif Bars on Amazon – they came Thursday evening, and by Saturday he had eaten 11 of the 16 – eek! I am so glad he liked them, and I can of course order more, but I would love to find an alternative in the somewhat healthy breakfast bar arena that I can make at home, and keep on hand for him as his snack needs arise (which – as those of you who are parents know – they arise MANY times a day!)

So in my searches for a breakfast bar/granola bar recipe, I came across these Chewy Homemade Granola Bars – and since my son loves the store bought ones, I figured – why not give these a whirl?

He’s ready to bake (well – they are no bake,

Chewy Homemade Granola Bars
(Recipe courtesy of Dinner Then Dessert)

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons brown sugar , packed
2/3 cup honey
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1/2 cups graham crackers , crushed in pieces and crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup cereal marshmallows

Instructions
-Spray an 8×8 inch pan with canola oil or baking spray and line just the bottom of the pan with some parchment paper.
-In a small pot over medium heat add the butter, brown sugar and honey and whisk on medium low heat for 2 minutes until well combined.
-In a large bowl add the oats, cereal, graham crackers and salt then pour the butter mixture over the cereal and whisk it together carefully to combine well then let it cool for 20 minutes.
-Add in the marshmallows and mini chocolate chips gently then press into your pan gently but slightly packed down and let it solidify in the refrigerator before slicing for 2 hours.

Expert Graham Cracker Crusher

Various stages of mix (and yes I messed it up and put the chocolate chips and marshmallows in with the dry stuff before adding the honey mix – oops! Still worked out though ha!)

That’s a legit cross section right there

They are a thing of beauty, aren’t they?

These turned out SO GOOD – delicious, not at all dry, nice and chewy – and they stuck together in bar form really well!

I don’t really love the boxed kind of these bars – they are good in a pinch and taste fine, but kinda just – blah in my opinion. So I wasn’t sure what to expect from these – but i was really blown away by how good they were – I highly recommend them for those of you like me whose little ones (or bigger little ones!) are going through snacks like crazy right now! The batch made like 20 smaller bars, and the items in the recipe were all things I had on hand (minus the mini chocolate chips – but thanks to Target drive up I got those real quick!), and they taste so much better than the store bought ones!

Next time – I think I’m gonna put mini M&M’s in them…hmm…*target.com – add to cart*

What about YOU – what are you making/baking/doing during this “Quarantine” to help you and your family stay sane?

M&M’s Marshmallow Dream Bars – An Easy, Sweet Holiday Treat!

31 Dec

Hope everyone had an amazing Christmas – I know I did! It was pretty low key, got to hang out with my little family and just relax (much deserved I think, after all the work that us moms and dads put into the holiday season, am I right?). One of the best parts of Christmas in my eyes is not the presents or singing carols or waiting for Santa – those are all great don’t get me wrong, but let’s be real – I am here for the FOOD. Specifically – the SWEETS – cookies, baked goods of any kind – this is really their time to SHINE. People who don’t normally bake whip out their aprons and spatulas to create cookie trays to DIE for!

I attended a cookie exchange in November – where I brought along Snickerdoodle Blondies, and the treats I got to take home and try were SO AMAZING, everyone REALLY brought their “A” game to the table for this one! One treat really stood out for me though, and I knew after just one bite of the M&M’s Marshmallow Dream Bars that I would be making them for myself – PRONTO!

M&M’s Marshmallow Dream Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of Mom On Timeout)

Ingredients
12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
11 oz package butterscotch chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
10.5 oz bag mini marshmallows
1 cup M&Ms

Instructions
-Line a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick foil. Set aside.
-Combine first three ingredients in a large microwave safe container.
-Microwave on high heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chips are fully melted and the mixture in smooth.
-Stir in marshmallows until fully coated.
-Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
-Sprinkle on M&Ms and press down slightly.
-Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
-Cut into bars.
-Store leftovers in an airtight container.

I was lucky enough to have some adorable helpers on this one – it was the perfect recipe to let them measure and stir (and taste test the ingredients, of course!)

Are these messy? Yes
Are the delicious? YES
Will they make a perfect addition to your cookie trays? YES
Should you make them now? YES!!

Snickerdoodle Blondies = Cinnamony-Sugary Heaven

15 Oct

When a friend of mine sent me a link to this recipe, I knew I had to try them – not only for her (to bring to her after her recent surgery), but also for my house and boys, too (my husband is a big snickerdoodle fan!)

So – in true “me” fashion, I decided to whip up a double batch of these – with some help from the cutest sous chef, of course!

Snickerdoodle Blondies
(Recipe Courtesy of Delish) 

Ingredients
Cooking spray
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9-x-9″ pan with cooking spray.
-In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
-In another bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
-Press batter into prepared pan and sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar.
-Bake until golden and still slightly soft in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool before slicing into squares.

I had all the ingredients on hand for this – and since I am slightly lazy, this is always a HUGE win for me – and as I was making these more as a gift/for others, I wasn’t really expecting to like them too much, but they were AMAZING – just the right amount of chewy, and the SMELL they filled the kitchen with – WOW. These are a MUST make – trust me!

John’s Cookbook – Page 11 – Milk ‘N Cookies Fudge

19 Jul

I asked my little sous chef what he was in the mood to make today – and he picked FUDGE – and really – I am not mad about that at all – after all, what’s not to love about fudge? It’s basically frosting in a more solid, easier to eat forma – and since frosting is my all time fave I am on board!

Milk N Cookies Fudge
(Recipe courtesy of Delish)

Ingredients
3 c. white chocolate chips
1 tbsp. butter
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c. marshmallow Fluff
1 c. mini chocolate chip cookies
1 c. crushed mini chocolate chip cookies
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Directions
–Line square (8″-x-8” or 9″-x-9”) baking pan with parchment paper then grease with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla and salt. Cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth.
-Reduce heat to medium-low and add marshmallow fluff. Stir until melted.
–Remove from heat and immediately stir in mini chocolate chips and mini chocolate chip cookies.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and immediately press whole mini chocolate chip cookies into fudge.
-Refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours, then slice into squares.g

 

 

Easy to make? Check

Super sweet? Check

Delicious to eat? Check! Oh – and it earned a thumbs up from my little man – a win-win!

Patriotic Puppy Chow – An Easy (and Delicious!) Red, White & Blue Treat!

8 Jul

John recently attended a kids cooking class at a local grocery store near us – it was geared towards aged 4-7 and “red white and blue” themed – so they made patriotic, kid-friendly treats, including a super awesome Patriotic Puppy Chow – it was so good in fact, that I decided to make it again this past weekend for the 4th of July!

Patriotic Puppy Chow
Ingredients
Red
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar
White
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines white cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Blue
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines white cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions
1. Melt Candy wafers in microwave safe bowl
2. Whisk in the vegetable oil
3. Add the cake mix – stir until smooth
4. Pour the wafer mixture over 4-5 cups of Rice Chex and stir lightly until cereal is evenly covered
5. Pour into a large ziploc bag, add the powdered sugar and shake until evenly coated
6. Repeat the process with the white and blue as well – and then combine all three colors

*If you can’t find colored candy wafers you can use white chocolate chips and food coloring instead

The kids loved helping me with this, and while I didn’t get any pictures of the finished product, I can assure you – it was delicious!

John’s Cookbook – Page 10 – Golden Grahams S’mores Bars

13 Jun

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of Just So Tasty)

Ingredients
5 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
5 tablespoons butter , or margarine
1/4 cup corn syrup*
7 cups Golden Grahams
1 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions
1. Butter/grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Add 5 cups marshmallows, milk chocolate, butter, and corn syrup to a large sauce pan.
3. Melt the mixture together over low heat while gently stirring with a rubber spatula.
4. Once melted remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cereal and remaining cup of marshmallows. It will be very sticky.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and flatten down using the back of your spatula (lightly greasing the spatula can help).
6. Allow to harden at room temperature for 60 minutes before cutting into squares.

Recipe Notes
*If you don’t have corn syrup use 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water instead.

**Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature. I don’t recommend storing them in the fridge because they can get too hard.

As you can see, John loved making these (and eating them!). No-bake recipes are not only perfect for little ones to help with, but they are also awesome on a hot summer day when you don’t want to turn on the oven!

This recipe in particular is perfect for when your child has been BEGGING you for a fire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores – but the dang weather just won’t cooperate (rain for days ugh!)

John’s Cookbook – Page 9 – Peanut Butter Popcorn “Cake”

9 May

Peanut Butter Popcorn “Cake”
(Recipe Courtesy of Glitter On A Dime)

Ingredients
12 oz package marshmallows
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 oz bag of butter popcorn (10 cups)
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Directions
-Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave for 45 seconds
-Add the marshmallows and toss to coat. Microwave for another minute or until the marshmallows are melted
-Add the popcorn and mix well.

-Let the mixture COOL a little and then add the Reese’s Pieces candies (You don’t want to add them too soon because they will melt!)
-Stir in the candy and press the mixture into a GREASED bundt pan
-Let it set for at least 15 minutes before turning it onto a serving plate. You can press some sprinkles into the top of the cake if you desire.

My little sous chef had just woken up from a nap when I was getting ready to make this – hence his sassy little face in the one pic. But – he was on board once he realized there was peanut butter involved!

Truth be told – I did NOT have enough popcorn for this – I thought I had plain popcorn but it was White Cheddar – which I did NOT think would mesh well with the other ingredients, so I decided to use some plain popcorn I had, along with honey nut cheerios – it turned out basically like rice krispie treats with peanut butter, and I really enjoyed it! It looks so fancy too in the bundt pan – an easy no bake treat!

John’s Cookbook – Page 5 – S’mores Dip

19 Mar

The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and Spring is here! It may not feel like it for sure yet, but warmer weather is on its way, and I for one can’t wait to get out there and enjoy it. Admittedly, I am NOT much of an outdoor girl AT ALL – BUT – when you have kids that have been cooped up inside for the past several years (months really – but feels like years), you gotta embrace the wonder that is the great outdoors

One of the best things about warmer weather is having campfires and roasting marshmallows for S’mores. It may not be S’more weather yet – but it is S’more dip weather (which – is really anytime!)

S’more’s Dip
(Recipe Courtesy of Wine & Glue)

Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup fudge sauce
7 1/2 oz marshmallow cream
1 tsp vanilla

graham cracker sticks for dipping
mini chocolate chips/marshmallow bits for topping

Instructions
In a large bowl, blend together with a handheld mixer: the cream cheese, powdered sugar, fudge sauce, marshmallow creme and vanilla until smooth

Transfer to a serving bowl, top with mini chocolate chips and marshmallow bits and serve with graham crackers

John’s favorite part? Anything marshmallow related – he loved the fluff, and the tiny little marshmallows blew his mind!

He looks oddly like the Joker while “taste-testing” the ingredients

DIPPPPPPPPPP – so good!

As with most dips – this wasn’t exactly hard to make, and I love the idea of a dippable S’more!

It was enjoyed by all, big and small – and while it was great, it just made me want a REAL s’more even more! Still – a worthy winter time substitute, and I personally enjoyed it right off the spoon (no graham crackers needed!)

John’s Cookbook – Page 2 – Ice Cream In A Bag

5 Mar

I came across this “Ice Cream In A Bag” somewhere – Facebook maybe? And I remember making it when I was a kid – at daycare we did it a few times, and I even was able to recreate it on my own at home. I figured my son would enjoy it – as it’s easy, and doesn’t require any baking/oven time, OH – and you get to SHAKE a bag for a LONG TIME! So here we go, with the next page of John’s Cookbook – Ice Cream In A Bag!

Ice Cream In A Bag
INGREDIENTS
1 c. Milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 c. ice
1/3 c. kosher salt
Toppings of your choice

DIRECTIONS
-In a small Ziploc bag, combine milk, sugar and vanilla. Push out excess air and seal.
-Into a larger Ziploc bag, combine ice and salt.
-Place small bag inside the bigger bag and shake vigorously, 7 to 10 minutes, until ice cream has hardened.
-Remove from bag and enjoy with your favorite ice cream toppings.

Chef John enjoyed this a lot – it was easy and a fun way for him to fully make something basically all on his own!

The only change I made was that the original recipe called for half and half, but I opted to use 2% milk instead, turned out fine. Additionally – might I offer a Pro Tip – double bag it. All of it – the ice cream, the ice itself – double it up. Because no matter how strong your baggies are, they will probably leak at some point after several minutes of vigorous shaking (ours did – and they were name brand and everything – eek!). So learn from my messy mistakes and double it up before you even begin – oh – and Happy Shaking!

John’s Cookbook – Page 1 – Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls

27 Feb

As you all know, I have been having my little sous chef help me out in the kitchen for quite some time now – since he was about 1 (he’s 4 now!). He really enjoys helping measure, stir, and create recipes – so I thought it was about time he took the lead a bit more.

He expressed interest in making “Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls” – which I wasn’t even sure was a thing, but turns out, it is! So I printed the recipe in extra large font, and put it in his very own binder, titled “John’s Cookbook” – and each week I will add a kid-friendly recipe for he and I to make together

Crescent Roll Cinnamon Rolls
(Recipe Courtesy of The Two Bite Club)

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 package crescent roll dough or crescent roll sheet
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat the inside of a 7-inch x 5-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter.

2. Unroll the crescent dough. (If using crescent rolls, pinch seams to seal.) Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon of the melted butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border with no butter.

3. In a bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough leaving a 1/4 inch border with no sugar. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter.

4. Roll the dough (starting with the long end) into a tight log. Cut into 8 equal pieces and carefully place into the baking dish cut side up. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the room temperature butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Beat in the orange juice, vanilla, and powdered sugar until combined. Spread onto the cinnamon rolls when they come out of the oven, serving any leftover glaze on the side.

He really enjoyed taking the lead on this – and the finished product was pretty good! It’s an easy shortcut to making cinnamon rolls without all the kneading/rising of a yest dough, and they got two thumbs up from John, too!