Category: Snacks

Oh my Darlin’, Oh my Darlin’!

Twinkle

I made you a dessert. One that’s good for you! It practically screams “health”! And plus it’s easy, which is a good, important thing in my book. So go make them. And eat them. Blogger’s orders!

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Chocolate Dipped Clementines with Sea Salt!

I started with my mise en place (again). Always important in cooking and baking. It saves a ton of time.

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This recipe calls for three simple ingredients: semi-sweet chocolate chips, clementines, and sea salt.

Now you’ll have to use your imagination on how the double boiler of chocolate looked. And then it was melted. And it was glossy and smooth and beautiful.

I became a genius half-way in the middle of my process and wanted to “clean up” my SD card on my phone to make more room for pictures. I then proceeded to delete all the pictures I’d taken of this process.

Smooth move, ex-lax. (Remember saying that as a kid? Gross.)

Anywho. Once the chocolate was melted and smooth, I dipped the clementine segments into it and placed it on a plate. I then sprinkled some pink Himalayan sea salt (what I had by way of sea salt) on the melted chocolate.

I placed all the trays in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up the chocolate.

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I had a good feeling about these.

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Aren’t they festive?

Once they were set, I TRIED to transfer the segments to a presentation plate. I say “try” because my genius self didn’t use parchment paper on top of the trays.

This is the result:

Scraps all for me

I will, undoubtedly and pathetically, pick these sad little pieces of underside chocolates off the plates and eat them during my boys’ nap.

This recipe was great.

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If you are looking for something easy, but wonderful, to make with a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meal, this is your answer.

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They are not only easy to make, but VERY easy to pick up and pop in your mouth. They’d make a beautiful addition to any holiday table.

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 And have I said how delicious they are? That sea salt really makes the chocolate pop and the oils and juices from the clementines infuse the chocolate.

Here’s the recipe I loosely (used my own [non]measurements) followed:

http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/12/chocolate-dipped-clementines-with-sea-salt.html

Lovely. Just lovely.

Also. Yes. Duncan. He came again. This time, he sat his tired self right in the cookie jar. Either he really likes sweets a lot or he’s just too tired to keep coming up with naughty things to do. Either or. 😉

Elf on a Shelf Day 19

Have a wonderfully blessed day,

Kristin

Countdown to Christmas: 6 Days!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Away in a Manger Scene

We did it! We decorated for Christmas. We always do it the week of Thanksgiving since we travel on the day of and want our home to be Christmas-y upon our return. Bigs was SO excited! This will be a fun year with him. He “gets” it. Smalls, however, is just a typical one year old, plucking the Christmas balls off the tree, yelling, “BALL, BALL!!!”, and throwing them as hard as he can (and he’s freakishly strong) across the living room. I normally put a smaller tree up, as well, that is my “Sweets Tree”, where I put on only dessert and sweets themed ornaments. That one is, sadly, not up this year. I just don’t have the energy to watch Smalls around two trees. I have extra eyes on the back of my head to watch them, but they just aren’t enough. Perhaps next year.

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Bigs was very concerned that the Christmas tree would go away while he napped, while we were away for Thanksgiving and for any other event requiring us to leave the house. Which is a lot. Object permanence isn’t as ingrained as I’d thought. But that will make it more magical and more fun to show him as we get closer to the day. And for him, it’ll be like Groundhog Day, every morning! The tree will still be there, just like yesterday! It is just so wonderful to see this holiday through the eyes of a child. I know that is clichéd (I am shaking my own head at my own self right now), but it truly is.

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I just love that skinny little baby arm and hand (left), and that sweet toddler hand (right) coming together on an ornament, placing it on the tree in tandem. I am so in love with them.

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This is the first ornament Bigs made in church last year. I am only slightly concerned because it’s made of paper and you know, light-heat and paper don’t so much mix, but it was too precious not to put up. I love that he constantly sees the images of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Seeing it over and over will help him learn and then know, with certainty, the true meaning of Christmas. I am truly blessed and thankful for them and my husband.

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Jesus sure is the Reason for this season. Without Him, none of this would be. And that applies to just about everything.

Today I finished making my Coconut Cake. I used a different recipe this year. And as per the usual, I didn’t read the recipe the whole way through before starting on it. That’s how I do. It called for keeping an un-iced, filled cake in the fridge for three days. Luckily, I made the cakes and filling two days before Thanksgiving, so it still worked out. You really think I’d have learned, by now, to read a recipe all the way through before starting on it!

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http://www.cakeduchess.com/2013/11/coconut-cake-foodmemory-guest-post-magnolia-days.html

The only changes I made to the recipe were that I used sweetened coconut in the filling and used less sugar since it didn’t really specify that the coconut used was sweetened or not. I also added about a half teaspoon of coconut flavored baking emulsion to really enhance that coconut flavor.

http://www.amazon.com/LorAnn-Oils-Emulsion-Coconut-Ounce/dp/B001REJIJM

I love how when I pat the coconut on the frosting, it falls all around the plate like freshly fallen snow. It’s such a show-stopper of a cake (if I can be so bold to say so – I simply just followed the recipe!). So very festive. I cannot wait to eat that piece as big as my face, that I promise myself each year.

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I also got my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni Casserole made. It is a cinch to throw together and is so delicious. Here is the little beauty going in to the oven.

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And here she is coming out…melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

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I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow.

Here is the recipe.

Bigs and I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack tomorrow. It was a fun little activity for us to do together while Smalls was still napping.

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We used a shortcut and made them with a store bought cake mix (vanilla). We added one can of pumpkin puree to the vanilla cake mix and stirred like the dickens. We added some ginger and cinnamon and some pumpkin spice bakery emulsion. We baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Lorann-Oils-Pumpkin-Emulsion-4oz/dp/B00BR25W9E

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I also put together a snack bento for Bigs for the Thanksgiving car trip. We aren’t going TOO far, but snacks make for a more pleasant ride.

Preschool Thanksgiving Road Trip Snacks

I packed a string cheese, a clementine some 5-grain crackers, a box of raisins, some Newman’s Own popcorn and one of our pumpkin spice muffins. Smalls will have less exciting snacks, in the form of Cheerios. 🙂 I will pack both of them an applesauce squeezy fruit.

Thanksgiving Subway

I hope you all have a VERY blessed, safe, thankful and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. And if that’s not how it’s going to turn out, it’s what you make of it! And to those going through hardships and heartache, may you feel God’s warm, loving embrace and presence, and may you find comfort in Him and the blessings (big and small) you have. There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. God Bless.

I am so thankful for all my friends and family, near and far. And I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He gifts us (and even those He does not!) And I’m also thankful for this blog and all who read it and support me. It means so much more than you can even know. So, thank you. Happy Happy Thanksgiving.

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving

Srevotfel

Guten Morgen. Srevotfel. Sounds like a lovely German dish, doesn’t it? Um, it’s not! It’s “leftovers” spelled backwards. Sort of fancies it up, yeah? I was listening to the radio years ago, and the talk show host said that he grew up with his Mother calling leftovers “srevotfel”. I never forgot that because it made me giggle so!

Leftovers

Me (HAHAHAHAH No.)

I think there are two camps when it comes to leftovers. There are those that say YES! and those that say NO!. I am in the YES! group. I actually think most foods taste better as leftovers. It gives the seasoning and flavors a chance to really soak into the foods, making them more flavorful. Now, some meals should just never ever be leftovers. I am no stranger to those.

Inventing Leftovers

Sometimes, instead of reheating the same meal, I’ll turn parts of last night’s dinner into a different meal. Re-purposing. Re-furbishing. Those are nice because it isn’t just the same thing again. When I make a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie, I have a favorite go-to meal for the next day. I almost always make a chicken and rice casserole with a homemade cream-of soup. My boys really love it and I do too! I always add vegetables to it (butternut squash, peas, carrots and corn) and typically do not make the cracker topping, although it is good on there. Here is that recipe:

http://www.skiptomylou.org/2012/05/10/creamy-chicken-and-rice-casserole-without-soup/

Two nights ago, I made mashed potatoes from scratch and had a boatload leftover the next day with not a clue on how to serve them. I sort of made up a casserole and it came out REALLY good! Please please excuse the picture. I couldn’t get one of the plated meal (boys were in rare form!) and could only snap a picture after the leftovers (again HA!) were in my Corningware.

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I whisked 2 eggs and added them to about 2 C of mashed potatoes (I heated them up in the microwave to make them easier to stir). I browned some ham cubes in a skillet with a little bit of butter, fresh garlic and onion. I added that to the potatoes with 1/2 C shredded cheddar and 1/4 C mozzarella cheeses. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and then about 10 minutes more, after cranking it up to 400 degrees (added some browning to the top). It was delicious!! I served it with steamed veggies and fresh pear. Everyone ate it and that’s my marker of success. Although I will say that Smalls spit it out, but it wasn’t because he didn’t like it. He’s in a phase where he finds it hilarious to spit out everything he eats that could go flying and land on my face, his high chair, the wall, the floors (mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt). I mean, he’s so cute when he does it but dang. Don’t even get me started.

Also! Today is the last day of school for Bigs before Thanksgiving break. How cute is that! His first ever break in school. I love it. I am also the Helper Mommy in his class, for which I am so excited and grateful! I adore the opportunity to spend the day with him in his territory and it’s so lovely to get to know his classmates and teacher better. I REALLY enjoy their company! Since it is almost Thanksgiving, Bigs and I put together some goody bags for his classmates.

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Aren’t these little turkeys adorable? Gobble gobble! I found the idea for the bags on Pinterest (the answer to almost everything) and decided to put little snacks inside. I used snack-sized Ziplocs and put popcorn (healthier Newman’s Own), pretzels and some pumpkin spice M&M’s in there, labeling the little bags, “Turkey Dinner”. I think they came out cute and I hope the kids (and teacher!) enjoy them.

And I made lunches for Bigs and for me. So fun to make a bento lunch for me too! I loved Bigs’ turkey lunch from earlier in the week, that I just did a variation on that again. It’s the last of its sort for a full year!

Turkey Themed Preschool Lunch 2

Bigs has another turkey shaped PB&J. I used my Food Writers to add a beak, gobbler-thing, feet and feathers. I went a little crazy on the colors this time. What the heck! He also has a clementine, some dried mango, a few orange yogurt raisins, some corn-off-the-cob and a squeezy fruit. I am telling you – this kid eats a lot. The Babybel cheese is for snack (with a rice cake) and I’m not sure how it snuck into the picture. Well, obviously it was me. I haven’t had coffee yet. You can see that the box is crooked in the picture. I need coffee. Now.

And just for fun, I’ll show you my lunch too!

Mommy Preschool Lunch

My lunch is two rice cakes with peanut butter and a blackberry Shiraz jam (thanks Mom!), a Babybel cheese, a clementine, some dried mango and coconut (I found a cheaper bag of that brand I thought I could only find at Costco at Target!!).

Have a blessed day!

Kristin

Sunday Bunny Sundaaay

It has been a very productive Sunday, considering it is supposed to be the day of rest. We had a great sermon at church! My pastor even referred to one of my go-to Bible verses (Proverbs 3:5-6) that I used in my post yesterday. God is working…in me and through others to get to my heart. He is good! We went to Costco (I always want to spell it CostCo, but Husband “informed” me today that I was incorrect.) after church for a few (hundred) things and taste tests. I feel so terrible for the Taste Test Administrators. Is that what they’re called? I’d be so stressed. It’s like a bum rush of people and in the snap of a finger, all your hard work is gone! And then there’s more people! Anywho. In case you are wondering…and even if you are not, my favorite taste test of the day was Philippine Brand Dried Young Coconut Snacks. It’s like my new favorite taste test of life. It was SO good. You sort of have to try them if you like coconut. Mmm. I feel as though I could eat them by the truck load. Anywho again. So remember how I told you I can’t seem to leave there without a pallet of even one item? Well. I am now the proud(ish) owner of a 5 pound bag of organic baby carrots. Yikes. I’m going to use every single carrot in that (giant) bag. Tonight, I made a delicious side dish of carrots that would beautifully accompany a Thanksgiving meal. And my whole family enjoyed it. My older son, Bigs, enjoyed it the most. He gets a kick out of eating bunny food. I found the recipe on Pinterest, but changed it around a bit (ooooh, two recipe re-writes in one week!).

CarrotCasserole

Carrot Casserole:

Adapted from :

http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/carrots-a-casserole-and-a-skinny-secret

Ingredients
2.5 C carrots
1/2 C sugar
2 T honey
1 t vanilla
1/4 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
1 stick of butter, softened
2 eggs
cinnamon
I boiled the carrots until soft. I mashed them in my food processor. I mixed the remaining ingredients with the carrots and poured into a buttered glass pie pan. I cooked it in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 50ish minutes. SO easy!
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I served it with a whole chicken that I roasted and corn off the cob.
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More carrots. I regret nothing.  😀
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed that casserole. I even think I could eat it cold. Standing in front of the fridge. While my children play in the living room. Yum.
I also made fruit snacks! This is a recipe I use often. I doubled the recipe today. I send them with Bigs to school for a snack. They can stay at room temperature for a while. Smalls is only just starting to have a taste for gummy things. What little kid doesn’t like gummies? So weird. It was rough for a while because I’d have to melt his daily gummy vitamin in his breakfast oatmeal for him to take it. But now he likes(ish) gummies. So he can enjoy these now too.
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This recipe is great because you can take your own liberties with it (what fruits, etc.).
Homemade Fruit Snacks:
http://thankyourbody.com/homemade-healthy-fruit-snacks/
Ingredients:
2/3 C frozen or fresh fruit
2/3 C orange juice or a mix of orange and lemon juices
1-2 T honey
5 packets of unflavored gelatin (I’ve used 4 and it works but they come out less ‘hard’ and I’ve used 6…I do what I want.)

Bring the fruit and juice to a simmer over medium heat, just enough to make the fruit soft. Place in a food processor. Pour back into pot and whisk in honey. Let sit off of heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, whisk in the gelatin packets. Pour into an 8×8 pan and let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Cut into cubes!

I hope you all had as lovely a Sunday as me. Today, I am thankful for carrots, for without them, this four-eyed Mama would surely be needing Coke bottles for glasses. 😉 And I’m truly thankful for renewal in my heart. And for the cooler weather we’ve been experiencing. That makes me feel festively happy.

Peace and Blessins’ (Look it up. You’re welcome.),

Kristin

A rose by any other name…

…is apple. It’s apple. Did you know that? Apples are in the rose family. How sweet (lol)! Today is Apple Day in my son Bigs’ preschool class! Naturally, I had to create an apple-themed lunch for him. He’s also wearing red. Once I get a theme, I stick it out to the end. I’m nothing if not dedicated!

AppleLunch

This apple themed lunch is a PB&J, on which I used a light spritz of food-safe spray. I created a stencil. It’s not perfect, but Bigs won’t mind. 🙂 I used a Food Writer to draw on the stem. He also has natural applesauce with a few red sprinkles (blog namesake!!), some pretzel sticks and a gummy worm. I also used some of my apple themed picks. He is also taking a whole apple in as a snack.

About a month ago, my Mom made a trip to North Carolina to do some apple picking. She brought me back an amazing bunch of apples, of all different varieties. They were so lovely and fresh. I used them to make a crock pot applesauce. As I cut up each apple, I tasted each one. The flavors and textures (not to mention, their beautiful colors!) were all so unique. It is fascinating how many different varieties of the same type of fruit there are. Much like people, huh? And we all bring some unique flavor to the table! Anyways, the applesauce came out great. The boys loved it, as did I! IMG_20130930_013825

The house smelled of Autumn when these were cooking. Delicious!

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The recipe was quite simple and didn’t use any sugar. Here is the link.

http://www.scratchmommy.com/healthy-crock-pot-applesauce/

Have a saucy day,

Kristin

Halloween & Fall Time Food Roundup

Here are some fun Halloween and fall time meal and snack ideas I’ve done for Bigs in school and for us, as a family, at home. I hope you enjoy! (And you’ll have to excuse the quality and design of some of these photos – some are older and I was just learning!)

Ghostlunch

Ghost Themed Lunch: A ghost shaped PB&J, I used candy eyes and Food Writers for the mouth, seasoned corn, grapes, pretzel sticks, a tiny little marshmallow ghost and a ghost banana for snack.

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Pumpkin Themed Lunch: A pumpkin shaped PB&J, pretzels, Autumn mix (peanuts, golden raisins, candy corn), pumpkin shaped pear slices, a squeezy fruit and a bag (with pumpkin stickers) of carrots, PB for dipping and a cheese stick for snack.

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Spooky Themed Lunch: A Bat and moon shaped PB&J, two carrot mini muffins, Autumn mix, two pumpkin yogurt pretzels, corn and a squeezy fruit.

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Fall Themed Lunch: A pumpkin shaped PB & pumpkin butter on a pumpkin waffle, grapes and bananas, Autumn mix and one pumpkin yogurt pretzel.

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Harvest Themed Lunch: A PB&J jack ‘o’ lantern (cutouts filled with orange sprinkles), corn, homemade applesauce and two carrot mini muffins.

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Squirrel Themed Lunch: A squirrel shaped PB&J, crusts parading as tree branches, seasoned corn, pretzel sticks and an acorn for dessert, made using a vanilla wafer, chocolate chip and a Hershey’s kiss.

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A fun, festive snack made with toast shaped like a ghost and candy corn and spread with tinted cream cheese.

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Up close! I used decorator’s icing for the details.

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A spooky and disgusting-looking snack that grossed me out even making it: “Bandaids” made with graham crackers, cream cheese and decorator’s icing,  a ghost string cheese and a witch’s finger (string cheese, almond slice).

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And after dinner dessert for the family: spiders made from Rolos, black licorice and decorator’s icing, Autumn mallow candies.

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Hot dog mummies! These were a cinch to make and were probably my favorite! All you do is wrap crescent rolls (stretched out) around a cooked hot dog and bake. The spider web sauce is simply ketchup and mustard. These were a hit!

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Another after dinner dessert made from a simple meringue that I tinted and layered and decorated.

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Jack ‘o’ lantern cheeseburgers for dinner! It was very simple to cut the cheese (tee hee) and these were easy to make. This was also a hit!

peppers

Jack ‘o’ lantern stuffed peppers! Delicious and so cute!

Have a festive day,

Kristin