Saturday, August 30, 2014

White Chocolate Popcorn {Party Favors}

Having your guests have a little something to take home at the end of a party is a fun thing to do. I, of course, like for it to be something edible. Everyone likes food right? If they are friends with me, the answer to that is yes. Because seriously, who wants to hang out with someone who doesn't like to eat? Don't answer that. You people out there who just "forget to eat"...I have issues with you. I'm kidding. Sort of. 
For my sister's baby shower, I made white chocolate popcorn with pink, green, and white MandM candies. 
It looked cute bagged up, and it tastes good. We placed a framed sign on the table with the favors that said 'Ready to pop'. My cousin made it and it was very cute (it was also done in pink and green), but somehow I didn't get a picture. That's the downside to hosting a party, it's hard to get as many pics!
The popcorn was tied with pink and white curling ribbon and I found little strollers, pacifiers and baby blocks at a dollar store (The Dollar Tree), so we tied those to each bag. It's similar to the Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn party favors I did for my daughter's 10th bday party.

White Chocolate Candy Popcorn

*The amounts are going to vary depending on how much you want to make. We made 25 favor bags, and I am guessing it was about 2 cups per bag, maybe a little more. The recipe is for one 'batch' and I doubled it.

12 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels)
1 (24 oz) package of white almond bark or white chocolate chips, melted
*sea salt (optional)
desired candy or sprinkles
  • In a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate or almond bark over the prepared popcorn.
  • Stir to mix.
  • Spread chocolate covered popcorn out on wax paper. 
  • *Sprinkle with sea salt if desired (this is not needed if using salted microwave popcorn. I used plain popcorn from my air popper) You can also skip the salt all together, but I like the sweet-salty combo.
  • Add candy to popcorn BEFORE CHOCOLATE HARDENS. Lightly press candy down onto the popcorn. (You can mix the candy in with the chocolate, but then it gets covered in white chocolate so it's not as pretty. I like to add it on the tops, you just have to work quickly before the chocolate hardens.)
  • Once chocolate/bark is set, break apart and place in bags. 
This simple recipe can be adapted to pretty much any party or theme. Just change up the candy used, add sprinkles, etc. I don't recommend making it more than 24 hours in advance because the chocolate coating causes the popcorn to get soft...it's still good however!

If looking for a good party punch, you can check out this post.
If looking for more baby shower ideas, you can check out my Baby Shower Pinterest Board.

I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kid Friendly Salad

Am I the only mom in a constant struggle to get more veggies into my kids? I feel like it's a never ending battle. My kids are SO picky. I heard a mom say the other day that her child would eat anything put in front of him...brussel sprouts, broccoli, just whatever. Well, I have had no such luck with any of my three children. My middle child is better about trying new things than my other two, but there is still no lovefest with vegetables going on around here. That's why I try to be a little creative at getting them to eat more. Especially greens.
My family, and this includes myself, prefer raw vegetables over cooked. This means that we eat a lot of salads. However, my kids' version of a salad is generally iceburg lettuce, cucumbers and carrots. And cheese. My oldest will drown everything in cheese if I let her.
I decided to change things up one night. I put the things I knew they liked in a salad on a plate, but I also placed some different things on there too. (I also had a few other things in separate dishes, like cheese, mandarin oranges, raisins.) I let them prepare their own salads. They thought it was very odd that I had chicken and potatoes and boiled eggs on the plate, but I told them to just give it a try. I didn't force the issue or make them choose everything. The plate looked so pretty, I sent a picture to my sister. She responded with "are those chicken nuggets?" Why yes, yes they are. I knew I had to start things off with things they already liked. Grilled or boiled chicken would not have gotten a good response, but I'm working up to that!
My kids devoured their salads! They were much more adventurous when preparing their own salads than had I done it for them. My son wouldn't eat the potatoes or eggs, but even he did better than I expected. Next time, I'm adding even more variety and see how it goes.

Are your kids good veggie eaters? If not, how do you get them to eat more or try new things? I'm open to suggestions...my 6 year old is my pickiest kid yet! {Of course, he did actually try something new the other night...he put hamburgers in gravy on a bun and called it a crabby patty! But hey, at least he ate it. First time ever eating any kind of hamburger!)

By the way, chicken nuggets and potatoes are actually really good in a salad :-)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back to School with Balance Bar - #GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

My kids went back to school today. Mind. Blown. This has been the fastest summer EVER. I just can't believe school is back in session, sports have started back up and before you know, BAM, it'll be Christmas. Let the panic attack begin. Just kidding, no time to panic. It's time to meal plan, break out the crock pot, makes lists, and get super-mom organized...and lucky for us, Balance Bar is trying to help with that!
Balance Bar, along with parenting expert and Mom blogger Jenny Ingram, from Jenny on the Spot, have some awesome suggestions for surviving 'back to school'. 
For example: 
·         Keep Smart Snacks within Reach. Back to school isn’t only exhausting for kids. Moms and dads get worn down too so smart snacking is important. Pack a supply of nutritious snacks to have in your purse for when you’re running errands or going from school to practice. ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bags are perfect for keeping your on-the-go snacks organized and always handy. Fill them with grapes, almonds, carrot sticks and Balance bare bars for a healthy snack sure to satisfy both busy moms and kids until dinner!
·         The (digital) calendar is key.To make sure no one misses an activity, homework deadline or playdate, color code each kid in your calendar so you know exactly who is doing what and where and when. The Cozi app – is free and great for organizing your upcoming activities and goes everywhere you do since it’s on your phone.  
·         Pack bags within your bag.  If you’re like me, you have a huge bag. It’s great for storing lots of things, but it can be hard to find anything if you’re not organized. Keeping a mini bag that holds chapstick, hand sanitizer and other items frequently used items in a brightly colored small bag that stands out can help with that. The ItzyRitzy’s reusable snack bag can even double as an organizational bag that’s stylish too!
·         Miniature First Aid Kits. It’s helpful to have some first-aid basics in your bag for everyday incidents that are bound to happen. Jenny's homemade first aid kit includes Band-aids, Neosporin, Kleenex and wipes, and says the wipes are much more effective than napkins at cleaning up whatever messes my kids have.
·         Be prepared for homework. With after-school activities, keep homework supplies in your car and bag so your children can do their work while you’re waiting for soccer/volleyball/etc practice. Keep rulers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, scissors, calculators and a clip board in the car to make sure you’re prepped for any homework assignments.
·         Label everything. With 3 kids, and all the supplies and gear that come with them, labeling is important. Mabels Labels are great for lunchboxes, backpacks, jackets, shoes, sporting equipment and anything else. It also helps avoid lost items in the school coat closet.
·         Pack healthy school lunches efficiently.  Trying to accommodate everyone’s lunch needs is hard. Jenny suggests making their sandwiches and then let them choose 3 snacks for themselves. In your pantry, have mom-approved snacks (like Mixed Berry Balance bar bars) in three drawers and every kid is allowed to choose 1 item from each drawer to add to their lunch.
·         Transitioning summer bedtimes.  Late nights are not going to work once school starts, so gradually transition kids' sleep schedules. 4-5 days before school starts, move their bedtimes up 10-30 minutes. It’s a slow process but really helps to ensure they’re rested and ready for the first day. Since school has already begun for my kids, it's important to stick to a nighttime routine and consistent bedtime. I know my kids are going to be worn out by the end of the week!
The Back to School Survival Kit contains these Balance Bare bars. They are made with fruits and nuts, are non-GMO, and Gluten/soy/dairy free. The best part...they taste good! The Sea Salt Caramel Nut tastes almost like a candy bar. It's my favorite, followed closely by the Sweet and Spicy Nut. I love the hint of spiciness in with the sweet, and it's a unique flavor idea. However, I also like the Mixed Berry Nut. I've been throwing them in my gym bag for after a workout, my daughter has had them as a snack before volleyball, and they are great for curbing my late afternoon 'Iwanttoeateverything' phase that hits me around 3:00pm.
The GIVEAWAY consists of your very own Back to School Survival Kit. (The one pictured above is missing a couple of bars. We got hungry before I could take pictures!) The kit contains - 
To win, just enter via the rafflecopter form. Shipping only available to US addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received the above pictured kit to facilitate this post. Both kits and information are provided by Balance Bar. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed regarding product are my own.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quick and Easy Lemon Brownies {3 ingredients}

Summer may be coming to an end, but we can hang on for just a little bit longer with these quick and easy and deliciously lemon-y (totally a word, right?) brownies. With just 3 ingredients, you can have these lemon brownies, and add a couple more ingredients to make the simple glaze that really takes them to the next level.
These brownies are an adaptation of my Chocolate Pudding Dump Cake. I had every intention of making the chocolate version, when I realized I had lemon cake mix in the cabinet. I decided to try a lemon version, and was very pleasantly surprised. 
The glaze is made of confectioners sugar, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. It tastes fresh and fabulous.

Quick and Easy Lemon Brownies


1 box lemon cake mix
1 box vanilla instant pudding (small box) *lemon would probably be even better!
1 1/2 cups milk

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners sugar (or more if you want more glaze)
zest of one lemon
lemon juice - enough to reach desired glaze consistency

Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray
  • whisk together pudding mix and milk in large mixing bowl
  • add dry cake mix to pudding mixture, stir until combined
  • spread mix into pan *Batter will be very thick
  • bake for approx 30 mins or until center is done and edges are lightly browned
  • if using glaze - combine sugar, zest and lemon juice; pour over warm cake
The longer the brownies sit, the more the glaze soaks in - just depends on how you like them! You could also skip the glaze and dust the cooled brownies with powdered sugar. The fresh lemon juice and zest in the glaze gives them a really bright, lemon flavor however. 

Now I'm thinking of all kinds of variations :-)


I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

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