Wednesday, June 29, 2011

{ Quick & Cute for the 4th }


I saw these cuties a week or so ago when I was pinning my little heart away on Pinterest

I knew I had to try them.

They are cheap, quick, and hello, EASY to make for the upcoming holiday.

And your guests will think you are super clever.

Simply wash and dry strawberries, melt up some white chocolate per package instructions, dip into the chocolate, then dip into blue sprinkles, and let dry.

Congratulations. You’re a genius.

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 I did these two ways.

First with blue sanding sugar.

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and again with blue sprinkles.

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The sanding sugar is my favorite, but the sprinkles are a more “American” blue.

Either way, they look really cute!

And taste even better.

~Tina

PS, for overuse of the word “cute”, you may now cyberslap me. k,thanks.

Monday, June 27, 2011

{ Easy To Make Smoothie }





The Bean?

He loves him some smoothies.

I can’t even enumerate the different locations that I’ve purchased smoothies for this child.

He’s a Smoothie Operator.

I decided to give this thing a go here at home.

How did it turn out? 

Smooth, baby.

For this recipe, like the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade recipe, you will also need a blender that will crush ice.
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Quick, simple, inexpensive, and loaded with good stuff.

Here’s what’s on the list:
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I love the Greek Gods Greek yogurt. You can use whatever you want, but this brand isn’t full of artificial ingredients and colorings.

If I’m making a strawberry based smoothie, I like to use the Athena – which is Strawberry and Honey. For others, such as a peach smoothie, I use the Hermes which is just a honey yogurt. As I said though, you can use any basic plain yogurt, vanilla, or in this case, strawberry, of your choice.

Moving along (you’d think Greek Gods was sponsoring me, eh? I wish!).

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I use about 3 and a half cups of fruit. For this smoothie, I used Strawberries, banana, and a handful of blueberries.

nom.

I've also been known to sneak in a handful of spinach!

 
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Throw in 2/3 cups of yogurt (again, here I’m using the strawberry and honey-see, white, not fakey pink, in case you missed that. ha.).
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Now add:

1/2 cup milk (I use skim)

1 teaspoon vanilla (you know how I love my vanilla)

Sugar to taste (optional)-
I use a tablespoon or 2 depending on the tartness of the berries.

and 8 ice cubes (I use the the half moon shaped ice cubes from my ice maker)

I blend until I can stop hearing the ice clinking around. Usually about 1 minute.
And….

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Top with whipped topping if desired.

Delicious summer treat. Low fat, full of fruit, and refreshing!

mmmmmmmmm……

and of course my favorite part? This recipe saves me a ton of cash! 

Thankyouverymuch.

Hope you enjoy it, the Bean sure does!



~Tina

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

{ Frozen Strawberry Lemonade }


If I said summer fruit, what’s the first thing that pops to mind?

”Strawberries”.

Mmmhmmm, that’s right!

If I said summertime drink, what is the first thing you’d think of?

Am I wrong in assuming most of you said “lemonade”?
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So, what do you get when you put the two together into a lovely frozen concoction?

That McYouknowwhat Place has nothing on me.
I can make frozen strawberry lemonade too.

Want me to show you how?

Yeah, I thought so.

1st thing you’ll need is a blender that will crush ice (or other ice crushing equipment- your car vs. a bag of ice is not quite what I mean though).

You’ll also need:
The juice of 6 lemons**
12 or so strawberries
2 cups of water
4 cups of ice
1/2- 3/4 cup white sugar + 1 Tablespoon

**You can also make this the quick and easy way by starting with a lemonade from a  mix or pre-made lemonade.

Just make up the lemonade and use 1 cup in place of the above. Do NOT use the juice of 6 lemons or 1/2-3/4 cup of sugar in this case).

First we’ll make the strawberry puree.

Simply throw about 12 medium sized washed berries (with greens removed, obviously) into the blender with 1 Tablespoon of sugar.

Blend, then pour into a dish.

Wash your blender well.

Juice 6 lemons. You should have close to 1 cup of juice. Make sure to remove all the seeds that you may have lost into the juice.

Yes, you are smart enough to do that without me telling you to.

I apologize.



 Add the juice, 2 cups of water, 4 cups of ice and 1/2 to 3/4 cup white sugar. Start with 1/2 a cup, then taste it to your preference. It all depends on if you like a more tart lemonade or a sweeter one.
I’m tarty. Betcha could have guessed that :)

You can even add more sugar if you wish.

Blend on ‘ice crush’ until smooth (ish- I mean as close as ice can come to smooth). This only took about a minute in my black n decker.

Pour into clear glasses (or if you are like me, canning jars. I like ‘em they are quirky). You should have about 5-6 servings depending on the size of your glass.

Then spoon the puree evenly over the glasses. 
 
Give it a little swirl, top with lemon and a strawberry on the side if desired.

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Then kick back, relax, and enjoy the summer day.

What if you can’t drink it all at once? No worries, pour the rest of the puree into the lemonade mix and refrigerate (use with in 2 days).

Know what you get when Frozen Strawberry Lemonade melts?


Strawberry Lemonade!

It’s all good.

Things I want to try next? 

Frozen Kiwi Lemonade

Frozen Blackberry Lemonade.

oh. yes, I do.

~Tina

{Sneak Peek}

Saturday, June 11, 2011

{ Can You Handle S’more? }


So, my last post was about S'mores. If you scroll down, you can see it.

If your finger is out of shape and just can’t handle the scroll, I’ve linked it here, as well.

You are welcome.

When left alone, with graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows, my mind started to wander.
Or wonder, depending on how I look at it.

I needed a snack to take to church (to a group of chocolate hungry teenagers, no less), and I had little time to prepare.

Always a good thing to shove at teens?

Brownies.

It’s just a fact of life.

Good news? Brownies are fast. Gotta love something you can plop into a pan and not worry about.
I’ve made my brownies with fudge glaze for them before. So, I wanted to do something different.
This is back to where my mind started to wander (and wonder).

S’more Brownies!

I’m sure I’m not the only person to think of it. Most likely far from it… but, I’m posting this anyway.
Because I can. :D

Needed:

1 box or recipe for a 13x9 pan of brownies
3 (or more) full sized Hershey Bars, broken into small pieces
6 graham crackers, broken into small pieces
2 cups (or more) mini marshmallows

If you remember from my last post, I had those new square mallows. I didn’t have minis. I used them anyway. 

Minis would cooperate better.

And spread more marshmallowy love.

Break up the crackers, and the Hershey bars. Throw into a bowl with the marshmallows and toss to mix well.

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Bake brownies according to directions, but with about 5-8 minutes remaining, remove from oven, cover with this topping, then finish baking.

This will allow enough time for the chocolate to melt, and the mallows to brown without over baking.

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Allow to cool, cut, and if you are serving teenagers… STAND BACK.

I wouldn’t want you to lose an appendage. 

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ooey, gooey, messy goodness.

If you want to take it a step further (toward sugar comas), you can make this fudge glaze I mentioned earlier, and drizzle on top when fully baked.

(The recipe is near the end of that post)

I decided to do just that after I took the photos. 

As far as I know, no sugar comas were induced.


Tina

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{ For the S’more Connoisseur }

It’s summer here in Ohio, officially. 

Not according to the calendar, but according the the thermometer on my kitchen windowsill that read 95.4 today.

Summer, hello.

The Bean is a s’more connoisseur. He loves s’mores like a fish loves water.

Maybe more.

I know, what you are thinking: “A post about s’mores? I can handle that on my own. Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows.  Yeah, thanks so much, Tina.”

But hold the phone. I have tricks. I have tips. I have suggestions!

Well, I have at least one of those things.

The graham crackers we love to use are store brand, Kroger. They are already in squares instead of rectangles. This makes life easier.

Kudos to Kroger!

And the Bean enjoys a plain, old fashioned, Hershey s’more of course, but he prefers…

 A good Godiva s’more.

His ultimate favorite though…..

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That’s right… a Reese’s s’more.

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mmmmmm…..Peanut Buttery……….

New out in our stores are these
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Super soft, square, and flat.

Not good for campfires, darn things won't fit on my stick!  
Great for microwaved s’mores, or, as the back of the package suggests, grilled s’mores. 

I’m not sure about that, but hey, Kraft knows.

Things I want to try before summer ends?

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Hershey’s with Almonds, Heath Bar, and Snicker S’mores.

I figure the Heath bars will stick to my teeth, but hey, the marshmallows stick to my fingers. 

Might as well be equal opportunity.

Or… ooh!! Hey.. A Caramello s’more.

The mind. It boggles.

So, do you all have any great s’more ideas? Tell me about them, I *need* to know!

~Tina

Saturday, June 4, 2011

{Very Berry Trifle}

Light and refreshing is always the way for summer cook out desserts, don’t you think?

well, I do anyway.

For Memorial Day I whipped up this Very Berry Trifle.


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Check out my retro bowl. You know you love it. It’s circa 1969, one of my parent’s wedding gifts.

It's groovy, man.

The word trifle means: 
 an article or thing of very little value.
 
Which I find pretty ironic, because a good dessert is not of little value. 

Can I get an “amen!”. 

To make this you’ll need these items: 

1 Angel Food Cake
1 Box Instant Vanilla Pudding- 3.4 oz
1 Package Cream Cheese (softened)- 8 oz
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed (12 oz)
4 cups berries of your choice (I used blueberries, strawberries and blackberries)
 
Start by tearing your angel food cake in pieces (try not to eat them all. I struggle with this step). 

Your first layer in your bowl will be the cake. Use about 1/3 of the cake. 

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Beat together, the milk, pudding, cream cheese, and sugar.

I used only 1 cup milk in mine. You’ll notice the thickness. I recommend using at least 1.5 cups.

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Layer 1/3 of this in next.

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Then 1/3 of the whipped topping, and finally 1/3 of the fruit.

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Repeat with the other layers.

Refrigerate a few hours to let the flavors mix together.
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While I love my retro bowl, it does detract from being able to see all of the fruits and layers.
‘sok, cause it tasted good though!
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And that’s all that really matters, eh?

Here’s the printable.

~Tina

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

{Ice Cream Cone Cake Balls- made easy}

Yeah, that’s a long title, but it’s accurate.


They are made from her basic Cake Ball recipe.

For these I used Devil’s Food Cake and Vanilla Icing.


I’ve made these several times now, and they are always a hit. However, they are also not the easiest things in the world to manage.

I think I’ve finally gotten it down to a science.

Ok, not really, but I’ve made it easier on myself.

I don’t use the sugar cones like she does. Feel free to go ahead and do so, my little tricks will still work. They might  be better because the cake cones tend to get soggy from the moisture of the cake ball. I’ve deemed them “decorative” to people who eat mine ;)

What I use, however, are medium sized colored cake cones.
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cups? cones? whatever. I’m still going with cone.

I put a little melted chocolate in the bottom to help stabilize them.

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Now, make sure you make your cake balls at least a few hours ahead and refrigerate them. I let mine set overnight.

Take the bottom end, and dip it in chocolate. (I forgot to take a photo)
Place this on your cone.

You can see the chocolate on the bottom of the ball here.

I scooped these with the large Pampered Chef cookie scoop. It’s a bit smaller than your standard ice cream scoop.

I purposely made them “messy” looking because we all know, ice cream dips aren’t neat and tidy.

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Let your chocolate harden. This should only take a few minutes.

I recommend putting about 1/2 of your cones back in the fridge so the cake doesn’t get too warm. The warmer it is, the harder it is to dip.

Once what you dipped on the bottom of the ball is dried to the cone, tip that whole puppy upside down and into the melted chocolate.

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It should stay on. I had one renegade that fell off, but out of 20, that’s not too bad.

Twist it around in the chocolate to help fully coat.

If you miss a few spots, just touch up with a spoon. Ice cream is messy looking, remember?

Add sprinkles!
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Then let harden.

That’s it, folks!

I always have issue with the colored candy melts, so I use regular chocolate bark and white (almond) chocolate bark.
How did you make them pink you say??

Well, I’m so glad you asked.

I buy these.
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Mine are, obviously, from Hobby Lobby, and clearly not cheap. However, it takes a teeeeeny amount, so you’ll have them for a long time.

(please ignore the mess I’ve made with them on the front of the box)

You cannot use regular food coloring to color chocolate.
I’ve packed some of these “ice cream cones” up for the Bean’s teachers as a thank you gift, today is his last day of school.

Cheap, cute, and… yeah, delish.
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So, there are my tips. Hope you find this useful.

And yes, you will STILL coat yourself in chocolate making these.

But really, is that a bad thing?

~Tina
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