Tag Archives: Easy as Pie

Celebrating Easter

26 Mar

Celebrating Easter

I’ve spent some time searching for ideas of how to celebrate Christ’s resurrection with kids and been a bit disappointed with what I’ve found, or rather, not found.  There is always the classic resurrection roll, but I wanted to add a little more than that this year.

Finally, one day I had some inspiration as Empty Tomb Obstacle CourseI was pulling into my garage and saw my son’s empty sandbox.  The idea struck me that I could use the sandbox as an empty tomb!  I had already considered putting together an obstacle course in our basement for our Easter party, but now we had a goal to race towards!  How fun for the kids to pretend they are disciples racing to see if what they had heard was true!

I also found this food craft at CatholicIcing.com, which I am happy to pass on to you!  It is very simple, I’m guessing kids as young as three or four years old could do it themselves.  My only regret is that is not a healthy snack for your kids.  Next year, I promise to improve in that area!

Empty Tomb Snacks

  • Chocolate covered doughnuts
  • Graham crackers squares
  • Oreo cookies (or Mini Oreos, depending on the size of your doughnuts)
  • Green Icing

Start the assembly by cutting off the bottom of the doughnut to make a flat surface.  Next, spread icing on graham cracker square to be the grass.  Place doughnut on the icing, then place the Oreo cookie to the side of the doughnut to look like the stone that was rolled away.  All that’s left is for the kids to consume this sweet reminder of the Easter story!

Empty Tomb Snack

 

Creamy Vanilla Chai Tea

22 Mar

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This post goes out to all my non-coffee drinking friends!  In a coffee drinking society, we can feel a little left out at times.  Ordering a hot chocolate instead seems unsophisticated; a cup of tea seems less than enticing.  What a quandary!  I know, such a first world problem, right?!  But I’m a cold-natured person who would truly appreciate a nice hot cup of something to warm me up. Especially when it’s the end of March and temps are still below freezing- boo!

So, I created a drink I thought was new, but in reality is pretty much an Americanized version of Indian chai tea.  It goes down much smoother than coffee, is not as dessert-y as hot chocolate, and is more satisfying than normal tea!  Basically, it’s perfection in a cup!  Tea Bags- Familyktichenblog.com

To make this concoction, I start with a heated mug o’ milk (and I always drink milk in a mug because it’s so much fun to say “mug o’ milk” or “milk in a mug!”).  If using regular cows milk you will want to stir in a teaspoon of sugar.  Alternately, you can use vanilla almond milk and no extra sugar is necessary.  Then, I steep a bag of vanilla tea in it (following directions on box).  In the past I was able to buy vanilla hazelnut tea, which was my absolute favorite, but these days I have to settle for the other versions pictured here.

I often make a cup when I’m trying to resist a late night urge to eat dessert. Or anytime when I need to warm my body, really.

I’d love to hear if you love it as much as I do and when you like to drink it!

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Valentine Snack Mix

6 Feb

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Just in case you’re not aware, Valentine’s Day is exactly eight days away!  In honor of the holiday, today I’m sharing a snack that would be fun to send your kids (or spouse) in their lunch.  Or to snack on while watching a romantic movie???

Valentine Snack Mix
from chex.com

  • 9 Cups Chex® Rice or Corn cereal (I used 6 cups rice chex and 3 cups chocolate chex – yum!)
  • 1 Cup White baking chips
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Red, Pink, and White M&M’s
  • 1/4 Cup Red or Pink Jimmy Sprinkles (I found heart shaped sprinkles!)

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl.  Melt baking chips, peanut butter, and butter together.  Pour over cereal and stir until cereal is evenly coated.

Spoon into gallon size zippered bag and coat with powered sugar by shaking ingredients together (A great task for little hands).  Stir in candy and sprinkles.

If mixture is warm, spread out on wax paper to cool.  Once cool, pack into snack size bags for your loved ones to enjoy!

 

Valentine Snack Mix

 

 

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

1 Feb

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Believe it! These chocolate beauties are made with NO flour, but you would never know by tasting because the texture is amazing- fluffy and moist!  The ingredients are actually very simple, which is my favorite kind of recipe.  They are sweetened with honey, but are minimally sweet.  Hence the title muffin, not cupcake.  If you’re looking for more of a dessert taste, you could top them with chocolate frosting.  My thanks to Michelle at GlutenFreeFix.com for the recipe.  They were a HUGE hit with my gluten-free-chocolate-and-peanut-butter-loving husband!

  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line or grease muffin tin.  Gently melt together butter and honey on stove top or in microwave in short intervals. Do not boil.  Whisk in cocoa powder and peanut butter until smooth. Whisk in eggs and baking soda. Pour into muffin tin. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 18-22 minutes until done.
Yields 12 muffins.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffin - FamilyKitchenBlog.com

 

Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Do-It-Yourself Oatmeal

5 Jan

Do-It-Yourself Oatmeal

I’m finally back from my annual Christmas pilgrimage to Florida.  Indianapolis welcomed us home with several inches of snow.  Upon exiting the airport, my son acted just like a Floridian getting all excited about the tiny drifts of snow along the edge of the parking garage.  It was very amusing!  I, on the other hand, could not get to the car- and its heated seats- fast enough.

During these cold winter months, a warm breakfast makes all the difference to me as I get ready to face the elements for which my childhood in Florida never prepared me.  One of the quickest routes to a hot morning meal is a single serve packet of oatmeal.  I have consumed them for years, never questioning my choice.

Until recently, when I was challenged to make them myself.  It was one of those a-ha/duh moments for me!  Similar to other homemade foods (think microwave popcorn in brown paper bags), making your own packets of oatmeal is both money and nutrition savvy.  Thus my motivation for sharing the idea with you.

Here’s how it’s done (thanks to this blog):

1. Start with a container of quick oats and snack size resealable bags.  Scoop 1/3 cup into each bag.  My 18 ounce container of oatmeal made 18 packets.

Oatmeal Packets

Note: One third cup is pretty much what you get in the prepackaged bags and is usually just the right amount for me.  But the beauty of doing it yourself is that you can adjust the serving size.  If you’re making these for small kids, then 1/4 cup might be enough.  Or if someone in your family has a more hearty appetite, you may want a half cup of oatmeal per bag.

Freeze Dried Fruit2. Select a flavor.  Brown sugar is an obvious choice, but I also enjoy fruit flavors.  To accomplish this, I purchased dried fruit in the baby food section of my grocery store and it worked beautifully!  Here are the flavors I’ve tried so far:

Maple and Brown Sugar- add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.  After cooking, add dash of maple syrup.

Apple Cinnamon- add 1 tablespoon of dried apples and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar.

Strawberries and Cream- add 1 tablespoon of dried strawberries (blueberries, peaches, etc work too!), 1 teaspoon of powdered milk, and 1 teaspoon of sugar or sugar substitute.

3.  Label and date your bags so you know what you’ve got a month from now.

4. When you’re ready to eat the oatmeal, cook just as you would a store-bought packet of oatmeal- with water or milk.  I prefer to cook with just enough water to cover the oatmeal and then add milk after it’s cooked, but that’s just me!

I’d love to hear what flavor combos you come up with, so please comment below!

DIY Oatmeal Packets

Pork Chops to the Rescue

13 Dec

Honey Garlic Pork Chops- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

I don’t know about you, but during the holidays I especially need some quick go-to meals to feed my family.  I’ll be busy shopping, wrapping, baking, addressing Christmas cards, etc and then at five o’clock suddenly remember that my family needs to eat dinner- oops!  These succulent pork chops have saved me several times!

Whenever the family pack of boneless pork chops goes on sale I buy them and then divide into freezer bags.  They are quick to thaw and made with ingredients I keep on hand.  So, they are easy and cheap! And of course, they’re tasty or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you all!

If you’re really ahead of the game, prepare the sauce the night before or in the morning to let the chops marinate before cooking.  But trust me- I know from experience- it also works to make the sauce just before cooking!

Honey Garlic Pork Chops
recipe from Spark Recipes

  • 1/4 + 1/8 Cup Honey
  • 3 Tablespoon Soy sauce
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 6 Pork Loin Chops, boneless, approx 4 oz each

In a shallow dish, whisk together honey, soy sauce and garlic. Coat chops in mixture. Reserve left over honey mixture for basting.

Now you have options:
1) Place chops on greased grill and cook over med high heat. Baste two times.

2) Place chops on skillet and cook over med heat. Baste as they cook.

3) Place chops in baking dish and cover with sauce. Bake in oven at 350° for 20-35 minutes (depending on thickness of chops).

Christmas Crack

6 Dec

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Okay, the real name for this recipe is Terribly Terrific Toffee.  But someone on Pinterest labeled it “Christmas Crack” and I find it a much more appropriate name!  Here’s why: first of all, it is terribly addicting!; second,  it’s made from “crack”ers- haha; third you “crack” it into pieces for the final product.  This sweet delight was a huge hit with the company I served it to!  It just may become a holiday tradition in my household…

An added plus in my book was that it was super simple to substitute GF ingredients!

Christmas Crack
from asoutherngrace.blogspot.com

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers (I also made a batch with Glutino GF table crackers!)

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan or a 12×17-inch cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay a flat layer of crackers out on the foil.

Melt the sugar and butter until a boil is reached. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved. Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly.

Bake for 5-10 minutes- until the toffee becomes bubbly. After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.

Let cool and, if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate until hardened.  I tried to be fancy and drizzle it with some extra white chocolate I had leftover, but that is completely optional!  Once completely cooled, break (crack!) into pieces.  I roughly followed the size of the crackers, but any shape or size will do!

A Popcorn Treat

14 Nov

Butterscotch Popcorn- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

Q: What do you get when you cross a popcorn lover with a sweet tooth?

A: Candy-covered popcorn!

Seriously, there are a ton of chocolate-covered-popcorn-type ideas out there.  And for good reason.  It tastes amazing and is easy to make.  It’s the perfect thing for those times when you want something a little special but don’t want to put much time and effort into it, such as family movie night, a kids slumber party, or- in my case- girls scrapbooking night.

I went to my pantry planning to make white chocolate popcorn, but as it turned out all I had were butterscotch chips.  Which worked amazingly well! Thanks to eatgood4life.blogspot.com for the idea.

Butterscotch Popcorn

  • 1 Cup Unpopped kernels
  • 1- 11oz Bag of Butterscotch chips
  • 1 or 2 Teaspoons Shortening

Pop kernels according to these directions, a half cup at a time.  Melt chips in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each and stopping as soon as it is completely smooth.  Stir shortening into melted chips while still hot.  Add one teaspoon at a time and check consistency.  The shortening is just to thin out the chocolate or butterscotch, helping it spread more easily.  Use hands to toss and coat the popcorn (this is the only short-lived messy part).  Sprinkle with salt if desired (for a more sweet and salty taste).  Let it cool long enough for the chocolate to harden before serving (approx 30-60 minutes).

Pumpkin Better Than… Cake

4 Nov

Pumpkin Better Than… Cake- FamilyKitchenBlog.com

I realize that Halloween has passed, but it’s still fall, so I’m still posting pumpkin recipes!  I’m a sucker for trying new recipes, especially when they are introduced with such pretty pictures on Pinterest.  And this one tastes even better than it looks (as the name implies- haha!)!  This rich, moist treat is best enjoyed after refrigerating overnight, making it an excellent dessert choice when you’re cooking dinner to company and don’t have time to bake dessert at the same time!

Pumpkin Better Than… Cake
from SomethingSwanky.com

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 small can pumpkin puree (15oz)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 – 8 ounce tub cool whip
  • 1/2 bag Heath Bits
  • Caramel Sauce (I used butterscotch sauce)

Mix together the cake mix and the pumpkin puree (DO NOT add the other ingredients on the cake mix box).  Pour batter into a well greased 9×13 baking dish. Bake at 350º  for as long as directed for a 9×13 cake on the cake mix box.

Let cool for about 10 minutes after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake (this post has great step by step photos for this part).  Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, filling the holes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spread the cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking). Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight for best results.

Pretzel Pumpkin Patch

29 Oct

Pretzel Pumpkin Patch

Okay, so this recipe doesn’t actually have any pumpkin flavor, but they sure are a cute and easy fall food activity for kids!  Or for any age- I made these with my son and my grandmother.  I think the pictures speak for themselves, so I’ll jump right to the directions.  My thanks to Jessica at butterwithasideofbread.com for the idea.

  • 1 Bag Orange Candy Melts (available at crafts stores such as Michaels or JoAnns)
  • 1/2 bag (approx) Pretzels- regular shape, not pretzel sticks
  • Green M&M’s  (You’ll need to purchase one Large (19.2oz) bag of M&M’s to get enough green ones for this project)
  • Wax paper

First, have kids sort the green M&M’s from the other colors in the bag.  Next, melt the candy melts in microwave in a glass bowl, according to directions on bag.  If the melted candy seems too thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of shortening to thin it out.

Using a fork, dip pretzels one at a time into melted candy.  Fully coat pretzel before removing.  Tap on side of bowl to allow excess candy to drip off.  Place on wax paper and immediately place green M&M in the top crevice.  The candy will set fairly quickly (maybe an hour total) at room temperature, but you can refrigerate or freeze them to speed up the process.

Once the candy is hardened, gently break off any remaining excess candy around the pretzels.  Then place pumpkins on a platter to create your very own edible pumpkin patch!