Cool Summer Treats

popsicle line

Summer is in full swing and full heat. While hanging out with the kiddos we’ve experimented with making our own popsicles,  this was so exciting and fun, at first but now the newness has worn off. It was so cool to choose 3 different juice flavors or even make a smoothie and freezing it overnight for a much anticipated awesome and unique flavored popsicles, concocted by the youngsters.

watermelon-fruit-popsicles

Now that they are tired of these cool fruit flavored popsicles I am looking to fudgesicles. I don’t want to buy them from the store mainly because I cannot pronounce most of the ingredients and I didn’t want to just buy box pudding for the same reason. I am that weird mom that will not buy anything unless I can clearly pronounce and recognize the ingredients. So with that being said here I am writing this blog on how to make fudgesicles from scratch.

And here we go……

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of dark chocolate chunks

2 Tablespoons of sugar

2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

Directions:

  1. Heat the whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil, just heat until the milk is steamy.
  2. Turn off the burner but leave saucepan in place. Add Cocoa & Sugar whisk together until completely blended.
  3. Pour chocolate chunks into a bowl.
  4. Pour Cocoa/Milk mixture over chocolate chunks. Stir until completely melted and well blended.
  5. Clean edges of the bowl with a spatula and let the chocolate mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into popsicle molds, place popsicle sticks in each compartment. Wait until fudgesicle is completely frozen.

We make our popsicles before bed and let them freeze overnight so the kiddos aren’t left waiting all day…. but 5-7 hours should do the trick too.

I hope this treat is as cool and pleasing to you as it was for my family.

fudgescil

Enjoy!

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Owl Cupcakes

Hoo hoo,hoo hoo….Owl Cupcakes

Semi-homemade

If you are like me you totally forgot that you said you would donate a baked good to your child’s school for the “Fall Fundraiser”, and now it is the day of and the freaking out begins!  Have no fear Owl Cupcakes are here! These are so easy you could practically do this in your car on the way to the school (provided someone else is driving).

What you will need:

12 Premade Chocolate Iced Cupcakes (or you can bake them if you have enough time, if you do props to you!!)

1 Bag Oreos (I like the orange filled Oreos this time of year)

1 Bag Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s if you are worried about peanut allergies

Directions:

Open Two Oreos, place on the cupcake and place 2 Reese’s Pieces or 2 M&M’s for the center of the eye. Place another candy for the nose (sideways on the cupcake).

Basically, make it look like the picture below. This is fairly easy and not too involved!


owl2

Enjoy!

Spooky Spider Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

choco pb spider

Alright, it is the first cold day in Fall and the first day of October, I am pumped for Halloween! I will, however, curb my enthusiasm with yummy recipes that are rather ghoulish in celebration of this Fall’s Halloween. I hope these recipes will be fairly easy and fun for you to share with friends, coworkers, or family.
These cute and creepy spider cookies are made on a peanut butter cookie base filled with a chocolate truffle .

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 24 round chocolate truffles
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    • 48 candy eyes

    Directions:

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. Place the softened butter and peanut butter in the mixer and beat until fluffy. Then add both sugar and beat again until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beat in the vanilla and egg.
    3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Turn the mixer on low to slowly incorporate the flour mixture.
    4. Roll the cookie dough into 24 – 1 1/2 tablespoon balls and spread 12 out on each cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Quickly use a pestle to press a cavity in the middle of each cookie. Then place back in the oven and bake another 6-10 minutes, until golden.
    5.  Once the cookies are out of the oven, cool until almost at room temperature (but not very warm) and place a truffle in the cavity of each cookie. If the cookies are too warm, the truffle will melt. If the cookies are cool, the truffle won’t stick. (You can also wait until the cookies are completely cool, then glue the truffles in with chocolate to be safe.)
    6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate in a zip bag. Close the bag and snip off a small portion of one corner to create a hole. Pipe 8 legs on each cookie, starting from the truffle body down.
    7. Then use the remaining melted chocolate to glue 2 eyes onto each truffle spider. Cool until the chocolate is firm and serve.     choco pb spider1Enjoy!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        PRINT RECIPE (Thanks to A Spicy Perspective for this fun recipe!)

Easy Holiday Bites

Quick & Easy Holiday Bites

This is a super quick and easy recipe that has been adapted from Adrienne. In about 15 to 20 minutes you can have a fantastic yet easy, easy, easy, party treat.

03 part bite

 

 

With the help of a set of fun shaped ice cube trays or candy molds, a simple recipe like chocolate bark looks so much more festive.

What you will need:

2 fun shaped ice cube trays:

1/2 pound of Cocoa Mill White Chocolate to melt

½ tbsp. of butter

8 Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate Toffee

1 oz. Dried Cranberries

toffee_17503cranberries

white choco chunks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chop the Dark Chocolate Toffee and mix with the Dried Cranberries, set aside.

Over medium heat in a saucepan melt the butter and white chocolate. Stir constantly until silky smooth, DO NOT OVERHEAT!

 

You can spoon your melted chocolate into the ice cube sections, filling almost ½ to ¾ full. Your toppings need to have room to stick on top of the chocolate.

 

Place your toppings on top of the white chocolate, press them in just a little, to make sure that everything sticks.

If you’d rather mix it altogether first and then spoon it all into the cube spaces, go for it, either way will work!

Now, just cool your bark until it’s solid.

03party bites

Tap the chocolates out of the trays, serve on a pretty plate & enjoy!

 

03parties bites

 

Easy Fun Fall Treats: Chocolate Turkeys

 

Fun Fall Treats:

Chocolate Dipped Turkey Pretzels

 


turkey pretzel

I love the idea of making Holiday crafts with my kids, but the truth is I rarely have time. When I do I need something fairly easy and straight forward so that everyone can have fun while creating the craft. Here is a cute Thanksgiving food craft that is easy and will be fun for the whole family!

Thanksgiving Turkeys

1 cup Cocoa Mill bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 Oreo cookies
36 small pretzels
24 candy eyeballs
12 pieces candy corn

Parchment paper (for drying)

turkey pretzelsturkey oreoturkey ccorn

 

 

 

chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks and ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil 30 seconds in a small microwave-safe bowl. Remove and stir. Continue cooking in 30-second increments until chips are melted.
  2. Assemble cookies using chocolate like glue; spread on back of Oreo and attach 3 pretzels in a fan pattern to look like feathers.
  3. Let the turkey dry allowing the chocolate to cool and bond the pretzel and Oreo together.
  4. Heat the remaining chocolate and vegetable oil in 30 second increments (stirring each time) until chocolate is melted. Once chocolate is smoothly melted dip the turkey full in the chocolate using a kitchen fork and allow excess chocolate to fall back in the melted chocolate bowl. Coat all turkeys and place on parchment paper to cool and dry.
  5. Dip backs of eyeballs and candy corn in chocolate and stick to the front of the “turkey” to make a face.
  6. Place finished turkeys on a plate and cool in refrigerator 1 hour to allow chocolate to set.

Yields: 12 cookies

 

If that is too much work you could always just dip the pretzels and decorate them with fall colored sprinkles 🙂

turkey easy prtzl

Stuffed Apricots

Apricots-Honey2-585x585

 

These are sweet & savory little snacks that will make a beautiful and eye-catching addition to any dinner party. Besides being lovely to look at they are delicious and easy to make!

apricot-in-halves

What you will need:

1 cup softened cream cheese

4 Tbsp of milk

1 Cup finely grated sharp and mature cheddar cheese

4 ounces melted, slightly cooled white chocolate

salt and ground black pepper

10 apricots (cut in half equaling twenty)

Garnish:

Any type of chopped nuts

paprika (if desired)

honey to drizzle

apricots halvedwhite choco chunksfeta

1. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the milk and cheddar, when the milk and cheddar are completely mixed in add the white chocolate, mix again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Spoon the cheese mixture into the hollow side of each apricot half.

3. Arrange the filled apricots onto a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of each apricot, dust with paprika and drizzle with honey.

Apricot Recipes

Enjoy!

Chocolate & Weight loss

Chocolate and weight loss don’t seem like they would go hand and hand, but more and more studies are finding that regularly consuming high quality (not quantity) chocolate can help you reach your desired weight loss goal without depriving yourself. Keep in mind not all chocolate is created equal. Cranberries, Almonds and Chocolate, Oh My

“Real chocolate is like no other substance on earth. For years scientists have tried to duplicate its characteristics without success. They have come very close,  but the very best is still a pale comparison. The main difference between real chocolate and a ‘chocolate flavored’ substance is its most basic ingredient, cocoa butter. When you pick up a candy bar in the grocery store, look at the ingredients label on the package. If it does not contain cocoa butter, it is not real chocolate. Chocolate is more expensive than its artificial counterpart and is well worth the extra coins to treat your mouth and body to a taste of heaven.

Chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure and it is a potent antioxidant according to the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. Not only does it taste good but it is good for you ~ Cocoa butter melts completely at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Body temperature is 98.7. Coincidence? I don’t think so.” – RCI

Research shows that chocolate’s health benefits  not only include reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, but it also contains antioxidants like epicatechin, which other research has shown appears to boost the energy-producing elements of the body’s cells.

Chocolate also release endorphins in your brain. A secretion of endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Endorphins have been suggested as modulators of the so-called “runner’s high” that athletes achieve with prolonged exercise.

“For the study, published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers examined more than 1,000 healthy men and women who were free of heart disease, diabetes and cholesterol problems. They were all enrolled in another study that measured the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, but for this study researchers assigned them questionnaires that gauged how often participants chowed down on chocolate.

The researchers found that the participants (who were an average age of 57) ate chocolate for an average of twice of week and exercised roughly 3.5 times per week… But those who more frequently ate chocolate retained a lower BMI (a ratio of height and weight that’s used to measure obesity).”  –CBS News

“The findings suggest that the health benefits of chocolate may be linked to how many times in a given week chocolate is eaten rather than the total amount consumed in that week,” says the study’s lead researcher, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. “Eating a small amount of chocolate each of five days during a week was linked to a lower BMI, even if the person ate more calories overall and didn’t exercise more than other participants.”

These studies bring good news that chocolate and weight loss can happily coincide.