Homemade Peppermint Patties

My sweet tooth craving kicked in today and I was desperately craving something with chocolate. So, on to Pinterest I scrolled and scrolled until I found this recipe that looked delicious and fairly easy/simple to make! It also had ingredients that are usually in your pantry!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Pound Confectioner’s sugar (1 box)
-4 Ounces cream cheese, softened
-1/4 Teaspoon peppermint extract
-1-2 Cups chocolate chips, melted

Makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size of patties you make.

*I halved the recipe because I only had 1/2 a box of confectioner’s sugar* (It made 18 one inch patties)

In your Kitchen Aid, mix the softened cream cheese an slowly add the confectioner’s sugar little by little allowing it to completely mix with the cream cheese before adding more. You may need to add a little more or a little less confectioner’s sugar than the recipe calls for. You want the mixture to be well mixed, smooth, but not sticky. It may take a while for it to mix completely. I tested it out by spooning a bit out and rolling it into a ball. If it was sticking all over my fingers then I threw it back in and mixed it more and added more confectioner’s sugar. Total mixing time for me was about 10 minutes. I added the sugar in 1/4 cup increments and found that to be a good amount to allow to mix all the way until the mixture reached the correct consistency.

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This part you need to do quickly. The mixture will start to harden if you take your time. If you can have someone help you, that is even better! Spoon out a spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball and place on a cookie sheet (line with wax paper if you want). Then use your finger or the back of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon to create a “crater” in the ball. I found that spraying some cooking spray on the back of the measuring spoon allowed for quick crater-making. Once all the balls are made, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a few hours.

When those few hours have passed take the cookie sheet out of the fridge and place it on your counter.  You are now ready to melt your chocolate. There are different ways to melt chocolate, but I did the easy microwave version. The trick is to use a mixing bowl (microwave safe) that doesn’t get scorching hot to the touch after 1 minute of microwaving (My bowl was a large pyrex glass bowl, so I’m not sure how other plastic or ceramic bowls would work). Pour in 1 cup or so of chocolate chips. Set the microwave for 1 minute and pop them in. After 20 seconds have passed, stop it and stir (not much to stir but just do it to circulate the heated chips). Start the microwave again and after another 20 seconds have passed, stop it and stir. You should start to see some melted chips. Put it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Then stir again. At this point your chocolate may be completely melted once stirred. If not, then just pop it back in for another 20 seconds, stir, and that should do the trick. Just don’t over heat them or they will burn and become lumpy and unusable.

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Quickly shovel in the melted chocolate into a plastic zip lock bag. Seal and then cut the corner off to use as a piping bag. (Or you can spoon the melted chocolate straight from the bowl to the peppermint patties?) Pipe the chocolate into the craters of the peppermint patties (mine are NOT perfectly piped!) and place back in the fridge. It should only take 20 minutes or less for the chocolate to harden for those who can’t wait to dive in! If you want to wait, you can even pop them in the freezer so they are extra firm.

These need to remain refrigerated because of the cream cheese component. I’m sure if you are setting these out for a party, they’ll be fine for a few hours though! 🙂

Hope you all enjoy this recipe! I found it quite easy to make and hope you do too!

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Black Bean Tacos

OMG. This meal is absolutely de-freaking-licious! And pretty simple to make as well!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-Corn tortillas
-1 Can black beans
-1 Teaspoon cumin
-1 Teaspoon paprika
-2 Tablespoons cilantro
-1/2 Cup chopped onion
-Cooking spray or cooking oil
-1 Cup shredded cheese

Start by draining and rinsing the black beans, then cook in the microwave for 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion and spices then mix up and mash the mixture lightly. Heat up a tablespoon or two of oil (or a spray of Pam) in a large skillet. Place 1 corn tortilla in the hot skillet. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of the black bean mixture on 1 side of the tortilla and top the mixture with a sprinkle of cheese. Use a spatula to fold over the empty side of the tortilla to form a taco! Hold that side there with the spatula until the taco is able to  hold its form on its own. after a few minutes, flip the taco so the other side can cook. *Try to flip the taco over on the unopened side to keep all the contents in* Once you have the folded taco, you should be able to start another one in the skillet as well!
You can serve these tacos with salsa, avocado, sour cream…whatever you like! I ate mine with avocado slices and salsa, delish!

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Some thoughts: The first round of tacos, I used cooking oil, like the original recipe called for. But I thought they looked pretty oily/greasy and wanted to try to be a little healthier. The next round I used cooking spray but found that the tacos didn’t get as crispy as the oil ones did. Anyone have any thoughts on how to avoid the oil? I thought about baking them but you’d have to place a pan or something on top of all the tacos for the tortilla to hold its shape and then also flip them…. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome! 🙂 Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

It’s been a busy weekend for me and I’m just now recovering. A wedding, baby shower, and family event can really ware a girl down! When I am bum-rushed with so many things to do, I tend to forget about home cooking and opt for easy-to-grab meals or snacks.

One of my go-to snacks is homemade tortilla chips with whatever dip I have in the house! They are so easy to make and way healthier than store bought chips!

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Package corn tortillas
-Salt
-Cooking spray

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Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Spray cooking spray on a cookie sheet. Take a small stack of the corn tortillas and cut them in half, then cut each of those halves in half, and then each of those quarters in half (kind of a brain teaser, I know) – basically like you are cutting a pizza. Or….you can do strips instead, your choice! Place them on the cookie sheet and spray the cut tortillas with cooking spray, then sprinkle your desired amount of salt on top. Pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, let cool, and there you have it! Homemade tortilla chips- simple and easy!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

I’ve been wanting to make another recipe in my crock pot, because, well, I just didn’t feel like laboring over the stove! (Haha) I decided to browse Pinterest for some ideas and found this recipe that sounded pretty good.

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-3-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts-frozen is okay!
-1 Packet of taco seasoning (Or you can make you’re own!)
-1 Cup of salsa
-1 Can cream of chicken soup
-8 oz Sour cream

Place chicken breasts on bottom of crock pot.

Sprinkle to taco seasoning on top of the IMG514chicken breasts. Dump the salsa and cream of chicken soup on top and cover. Set on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. I put mine on high and by hour 3 the chicken was completely cooked and the salsa/cream of chicken mixture was beginning to crust to the edge of the crock pot, so I decided 3 hours was good enough for me! Pour the contents into a bowl and shred the chicken with 2 forks. Once the chicken is shredded, add the sour cream and mix. You can put the mixture in some soft tortillas, over rice, eat with tortilla chips or by itself…really anything you want. It is pretty good, and I think I would make it again. I ate mine in soft tortillas and sprinkled some cheese on top. I think it would be even better if I added some chives too.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂

The Sprinkle Cake…

I’ve seen the sprinkle cake pinned quite a few times on Pinterest and I wanted to try it out. Today just happens to be my Mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday Mom!) so I figured, why not!? Well, Oh man…did I fail! But we were all laughing through the whole project, which makes for a great memory and fun time spent together 🙂

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I figured out a few things I would change on the next attempt of doing the sprinkle cake and I will share them with you! But first let me give you the directions on how to make a sprinkle cake.

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 boxed cake mix
-At least 2 cake pans (you can do more tiers if you’d like)
-1 can frosting
-1 container of sprinkles
-2 circles cut out of cardboard

First bake your cake according to the directions and let cool. (I can’t stress enough you need to make sure the cakes are completely cooled off!) While waiting, you can cut out the 2 cardboard circles. I just cut them out of 2 paper plates. Make the circles a few inches smaller than the diameter of the cake.

After the cake has cooled, Lay one cardboard circle on your cake dish, then place the first tier on top of it. Make it to wear you can slide your finger underneath the cardboard so you are able to grab it once you’ve iced the tiers.
Ice the top of the bottom tier, then place the top tier on top. (If you are doing more than 2 tiers, then repeat the process until you are ready for the top tier.) Now ice the the sides of the whole cake, making sure to ice about a 1/2 inch on top of the cake as well. Set a plate next to the cake and pour a good amount of sprinkles in (I poured about half of the container). After that, put the 2nd cardboard piece on top of the cake. Grab the bottom piece of cardboard/cake and lift. Quickly start dabbing the sides in the  sprinkles, rotating the cake as you go. It helps to have someone helping you by adding more sprinkles to the plate or just moving the sprinkles so the cake will always hit sprinkles instead the plate itself.

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When the sides of the cake are covered, gently set it back down on the cake dish. Ice the top of the cake and spoon on the sprinkles until the cake is covered. I found this to be the messiest part! Then press the sprinkles down on the top part of the cake to they don’t fly off when the cake is moved! Tadaa! Well, mine looks more like a blob of icing and sprinkles… Hopefully yours turns out better than mine! 😉

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TIPS I LEARNED:
-Make sure the cakes are completely cooled off before starting to work with them! I was trying to get them done by a certain time and started icing/sprinkling mine when they were somewhat cool, but not totally cool. That may be why mine crumbled a little bit.
-A denser cake may work better. I used a Betty Crocker white cake mix and it started to crumble and fall apart during the side-sprinkling step.
-2 people for this project is better than 1! The 2nd person can help with the sprinkling process, making it easier.
-The sprinkles will get everywhere, so do this project in an area of your kitchen that you can easily clean up
-Have fun with it! It is definitely a fun project to do and even if your cake turns out like mine did, you can sit back and laugh at it! 🙂

The Harlem Shake is Taking Over…

So I’m sure you all have heard about the recently ever-so-popular Harlem Shake. It’s a fad taking over the world!

And Youtube has succumb! Youtube itself does the harlem shake! I’m talking the actual website-not the staff.

If you don’t know what it is, here is a quick description. A song called “harlem shake” created by a DJ and producer named Baauer, is played. For the first 15 seconds one person, usually wearing a mask or hat, dances crazy while everyone around acts like nothing unusual is happening (practically ignoring the lone dancer). Then at the 15 second mark when the base drops, the whole room of people suddenly appear in strange clothes (some practically nude) dancing like maniacs and just going crazy.

ANYWAYS…..back to what I was saying, the Harlem Shake Has Taken over Youtube! I’m not talking just a mass upload of harlem shake videos, but that the Youtube website actually does the harlem shake!

Go to Youtube and type  “do the harlem shake” in the search box. AND JUST WATCH (turn your volume up). The music will start (without clicking a video!) and you will see the youtube symbol in the top left corner “shake” and then when the base drops, all the videos will bounce and shake a few times.

It’s cool, but crazy. The Harlem Shake is taking over…eh well, give it a few months and I’m sure it’ll cool down 😉

Hope that was a little fun discovery you could check out 🙂

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Buffalo. Chicken. Egg Rolls.  Need I say more?

Mmmmmm….I loveeeee buffalo chicken anything-dip, wings…egg rolls? YES. PUH-LEEZE!!

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-1-2 Cooked chicken breasts, shredded
-1 Chunk of blue cheese, crumbled (Or you can get already crumbled blue cheese)
-1 Bag of broccoli slaw
-1 Package of egg roll wrappers
-Buffalo Sauce to your preference (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
-Cooking spray
-Bowl of water

First cook the chicken breasts. I boiled mine in a pot of water. Let cool, then shred with a fork. Next, mix the chicken with buffalo sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce). I used about a 1/2 cup. Again, I don’t like spicy, but a little kick I can handle. You can add more if you’d like. Also, keep in mind the chicken will absorb most of the sauce so add a little more than you think you should to get that buffalo-y flavor (Yes, I just made up that word!).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a fork, crumble up the chunk of blue cheese.

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Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a clean, flat surface. Place a spoonful or so of broccoli slaw  on the wrapper near the corner closest to you, but slightly towards the middle; spread it out so it’s not just a pile.  Make sure to keep a little space on each side of the slaw (near each side corner on the right and left). Place a spoonful of buffalo chicken on top of the slaw, spreading it out as well. Now place a spoonful of the blue cheese crumbles on top of the chicken.

Now it’s time to wrap it up. Take the corner that is nearest to you and gently roll it, along with the contents, until the point of the corner is touching the middle of the egg roll wrapper. Then fold in each side corner. Lastly, roll it until it is closed. Dip your finger in the bowl of water and press it on the seem that the last corner made. This helps the egg roll stay together.

Now you may have discovered that your contents are busting at the seems or have even poked through the wrapper. It’s okay! If it’s totally ripped through, just wrap it up in another egg roll wrapper. And for the following egg rolls, just add less contents…I learned by trial and error 😉

Place the completed egg roll on a greased cooling rack that is placed on a cookie sheet. It allows the whole egg roll to cook evenly so you don’t have to flip them half way through.

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Repeat this process for the other egg rolls.

Spray all the egg rolls with cooking spray (helps them brown) and place in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Take out and let cool.

Let your mouth water while waiting for them to cool…..and then, finally, you can dig in!

Yum. Yum! YUM! Oh, SO good. Hope you like them as well! 🙂

*Egg roll wrappers can be found near the produce section at grocery stores.

**After doing the dishes, I realized it would be greatly beneficial to place a sheet of aluminum foil on the cookie sheet, then place the cooling rack on top. Makes clean up a lot easier.

Original recipe.

Easter Egg Garland Tutorial

Keeping in theme with Spring and Easter, I found another Pinterest project on my list to do. The original pin is from here.

It is called Easter egg garland. But you can also just use it as decoration on a table or in a centerpiece bowl.

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 bottle liquid starch (I used Sta-Flo, found at Walmart for $2.67)
-Embroidery floss, 1 per egg (I did 6 to start with)
-Flour
-Water balloons (filled with air!)

So first blow up the water balloons. Each one will be used as “the egg,” so if you are making 6 eggs, you need 6 balloons. Little did I know, water balloons come in different sizes, and apparently I grabbed the larger size. Just adjust the amount of air in the balloon until you get the size/shape of the egg you want. You can even sorta “mold” the balloon to give it more defined egg features.

Next, mix up the starch solution. You should mix 1 cup liquid starch with 1/2 cup flour. The original instructions said to blend it all together in a blender, but my blender is broken, so i just used a spoon to mix it well in a bowl. It might be a little clumpy, but that’s okay.

Now, you need to unravel your string. This step is SUPER important; if you don’t, you will end up with knotted string that is unusable. After you have it completely unraveled, circle it into the starch solution and then submerge it with a spoon.

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After the all the string is covered in solution, grab one end of the string and start wrapping it around a balloon. You can do any pattern you want! Just make sure the string is taught, and not loose. (I think that was my problem on 3 of my eggs :/ )
When the string runs out, place the balloon on some newspaper or a plastic bag to dry. Repeat the process for the remainder of your balloons. It will take 12-24 hours to dry. I rotated my balloons halfway through the drying process because I noticed the top half was dry but the bottom half was still damp. I think that rotation sped the process along.

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After they are dry, pop the balloon, and take it out with tweezers. You may notice a white residue on the string. Take a needle or safety pin to rub off the residue. From far away it is unnoticeable.

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As you can see, 3 of my eggs came out “lumpy” 😦 I think it’s because I didn’t have the string taught enough. Also, I think it would be beneficial to wipe the excess solution off with your fingertips as you are wrapping the string around the balloon. You know, just slide the string between your fingertips to get off the extra solution. The good news is that the other side of the lumpy eggs were perfect, so if you postion them carefully, you don’t even see the lumps! Problem solved! 😉

I hope this project turns out well for you! 🙂

Easter Egg Wreath Tutorial

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Lately I’ve been into making wreaths for different holidays. I made an ornament wreath for Christmas, and it was so easy and fun to make! So I decided to try to make an Easter egg wreath. I was debating on using a wire hanger, string, or foam, but noticed many egg wreath tutorials suggested a foam circle or straw wreath. I kinda just put everything I read together and took what I thought would be best. I went to Walmart to get the supplies and the straw wreath was cheaper, so I went with that!

This is a pretty easy project and only takes an hour or so. One thing I will say is be careful when you are hot glueing the eggs…I burned my finger SO BAD when a drop of hot glue landed on my finger. Because you will be holding the wreath at weird angles to glue the eggs on, the glue drips down still, and BOOM! Your finger might be in the way. And because I was holding the wreath with one hand  and glue gun in other, I had to throw the glue gun down, then grab the wreath with that hand and then quickly wipe off the hot glue that landed on the other hand. OUCHHHH! Man, that hurt, and still does…2 hours later after cold water, ice, and hydrocortizone cream! There is a blister by the way. So that is the end of my rant and warning. 😉

WHAT YOU NEED:
-1 Straw wreath
-42 Regular sized easter eggs (1 pkg at walmart)
-16 Large sized easter eggs (2 pkgs at walmart)
-1 bag of Easter grass
-Hot glue gun/glue sticks

Start glueing the eggs on the inner part of the wreath. You can mix match how you place the eggs. I did them topsy turvy-like and added the larger ones sporadically amongst the regular sized eggs.

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Continue to “layer” the eggs, working from the inner area to the outer area. It is okay if the eggs leave a space or if the glue leaves a visible mark. You will be able to cover it up with the grass later.
I stopped my eggs when I was done doing the outer layer (the outermost part of the wreath). If you hold it up, you will see that the eggs cover the “edge” of the wreath so you do not need to cover the whole entire wreath with eggs. However, if you wish to do that, you will need more eggs than what I mentioned earlier.

Now you can fill in the spaces and cover up any glue marks. Take your glue gun and put a dot of glue where you want a mark or space covered up, then smoosh (yes, smoosh!) some grass on that glue dot! For the spaces, you can either stuff your glue gun down in the space, let some glue out and then use a pencil or long object to stuff the grass down or you can put dots on the eggs surrounding the space and just smoosh the grass on those. Either way, the space will be covered. I did both ways and found the 2nd method to be a lot easier. Also, after you smoosh your grass down, you may have some long pieces. Just take a scissor and cut the excess off, or even trim the grass if it is out of control!

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I hope I made that as easy and informative as possible! Good luck and don’t burn yourself! 😉

Taquito Saturday?

Taco Tuesday. Taquito Saturday. Eh, it’ll do. Found a simple recipe for chicken taquitos on Pinterest here ! I loveeeeee Mexican food, so don’t be surprised if most of my food posts are of the mexi-tex nature. 😉

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WHAT YOU NEED:
-4 oz Cream cheese, softened
-2 Tablespoons sour cream
-1 Tablespoon lime juice
-1 Teaspoon chili powder
-1/2 Teaspoon cumin
-1/2 Cup salsa
-2 Cloves garlic, minced
-4 Green onions, chopped
-3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
-1 Cup shredded cheese
-2 Cups shredded chicken
-12-14 Flour tortillas (6-8 inch)
-Cooking spray
-Salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine cream cheese, sour cream, lime juice, salsa, spices, garlic, cilantro, cheese and chicken. Mix well. ~Lesson learned: Make sure the cream cheese is softened all the way or it will be nearly impossible to mix!~ Put about 2 spoonfuls of mixture on tortilla, near one edge. Roll up tightly and place “seam” down on a greased pan. Repeat until mixture is gone. For me, it was easiest to spread the mixture with my fingers and roll them up tightly. It will get a little messy, but totally worth it! After they are all on the pan, spray with some cooking spray and sprinkle with some salt. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly brown. The last minute or so of cooking, I put some cheese on top and let that melt. Let them cool and enjoy!