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Game Day Cheesy Potato Bites

25 Jan

Happy New Year!

Am I still allowed to say that?

We’re well into January at this point and I’ve been MIA here for awhile.

My apologies.

I’d originally planned to take a few weeks to just “BE” with my family.

No plans, no agenda, and no deadlines looming.

Then life sort of got busy and here I am halfway through January just getting back to you.

We’re weekend snackers around here.

We like to have munchies when we’re hanging out watching movies

or when it’s game day.

No big meal, just something to keep us satisfied while we have a lazy day.

These cheesy potato bites won’t disappoint.

Jump right in and make some for yourself.

Maybe share with your family too.


Game Day Cheesy Potato Bites

3 – 4 Medium potatoes
Olive oil
1 C. Cheddar
1 C. Mozzarella
Bacon Bits
3 – 4 Green onion tops, chopped
Sea Salt

Wash potatoes and pat dry. Leave skin intact and slice approximately 1/2 in thick. Arrange on a baking sheet. Brush tops and bottoms with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes flipping once about 1/2 way through. Remove from oven and sprinkle the cheeses, green onion and bacon bits over each potato round. Top with a pinch of sea salt if desired. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 5-10 minutes, until cheese is melted.

The great thing about this recipe is it’s completely customizable. If you have leftover bacon from breakfast, sure crumble that up and use it instead of the bacon bits. Prefer a different flavor of cheese, feel free to change it up and use your favorites.



Peppermint Bark

25 Dec

It’s Christmas.

I’m not really sure how I feel about that fact.

First off it just hasn’t FELT like Christmas this year.

It’s usually cold here at Christmas.

Last year we even had a dusting of snow Christmas Eve.

This year it’s just been a battle to keep the temperature under 70 degrees.

It’s kind of hard to enjoy snuggling up in your cozy PJ’s, with a warm blanket, and hot chocolate when you’re still rocking your flip flops and t-shirts.

Baking super sweet Christmas treats sort of looses it’s appeal when the heat threatens to chase you from your kitchen.

This treat is nice because you can totally melt your chocolates in the microwave (no stove required).

I also like it because you can change things up to suit your tastes.

Maybe you only like vanilla, or only chocolate, or a combination of both.

Maybe you have a box of candy canes laying around you can crush for the top.

Or maybe you have a bag of peppermint candies.

You really can’t mess this up.

Peppermint Bark

1 Block Vanilla Almond Bark (or high quality chocolate)
1 Bag Semi-Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips, optional
Crushed peppermint

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside. If layering 2 different chocolates melt the chocolate in 30 second increments until smooth. Spread chocolate onto wax paper. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator with completing the next step. Melt white chocolate in 30 second increments. Stir in a portion of the crushed peppermint. Remove cookie sheet from refrigerator and quickly spread the white chocolate/peppermint mixture over the dark chocolate layer. Work quickly and be careful not to disturb the dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle the top with remaining crushed peppermint. Gently tap (OK, pick up your cookie sheet and drop it from a short distance onto your counter) your cookie sheet onto the counter. This helps even out the top surfaces as well as make sure your crushed peppermint adheres to the top chocolate layer. Place back into the refrigerator and allow the chocolate to set up. Once set peel off the waxed paper and break into pieces.

*If using white chocolate chips for this recipe I recommend a brand such as Ghirardelli. You want a high quality chocolate or you will end up with a waxy taste.

Reindeer Food

23 Dec

This reindeer food has been a sweet tradition in our family since my little one was around 2.

I have some of the sweetest pictures of him in his PJ’s and boots sprinkling this on our lawn.

In our house we don’t make it together though.

Since the beginning one of Santa’s elves delivers a special bag sometime on Christmas Eve.

It’s an adventure because it usually just shows up somewhere in out house and my son is always so surprised when he stumbles across it.

If you’ve never heard of reindeer food before let me fill you in.

The story goes that it is sent from Santa’s barn.

On Christmas Eve you sprinkle it onto your lawn.

Since it’s the special food the Reindeer eat they will see it and smell it, which will lead them straight to your house.

I love things that add just a little more magic and wonder to the Christmas season for our children.

This year I have a couple of friends who’s sweet littles stay with me several days a week.

I thought it would be nice if they had some reindeer food for Christmas Eve as well.

I don’t have a real recipe for this.

That’s the beauty of it.

It’s sort of a use whatcha’ got kind of thing.

This year I used quick cooking oats.

In the past I’ve used scratch feed for chickens, grape nuts, deer corn… get the point.

Don’t stress, just be creative.


To make just pour your oats (or whatever you are using into a bowl).  Use your own judgement here depending on how many children you will be making this for.  Next mix in some cute Christmas sprinkles or  red/green/silver/gold colored sanding sugars.  I added in some glitter for extra sparkle.  You can skip this step if you are worried about the wildlife in your area ingesting the glitter.

I always package in small brown paper bags.  It’s coming from Santas barn and I guess I just picture that as a pretty rustic place, so the packaging should match.

I found these super cute little tags over at The TomKat Studio.  It’s a free printable download.  Be sure to browse around while you are there.  Her stuff is a-maz-ing!!

This is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  What traditions does your family have?

Edible Elf Treats an Antics

6 Dec

Does your family have an Elf on the Shelf?

Unfortunately my not so little one is a bit to old for all the Elf antics.

It makes me just a little sad.

All my friends on Facebook have been posting the antics of their little Elf friends.

And gosh darn it I want in on the action too!!

My guy sweet talked his Nana out of this Elf when he was super small.

He usually just sits in our tree

But this year he has some ideas for my friends with elves….

I saw this book at a friends awhile back and some of the ideas seemed perfect for the Elves.

I’m sure the trip to the North pole every night makes an Elf hungry….

Waffles anyone??

This is just the end of a sugar wafer that’s been separated and topped with a tiny drop of syrup.

Maybe your Elf would rather have french fries for lunch…

mmmmm ketchup!

All you need is a few shoe string potatoes.

Snip a tiny corner from a ketchup packet so the ketchup comes out in a very small stream.

Maybe you have more of a dessert loving Elf!!

Chocolate Cake! My favorite!!!

If your Elf decided to make a chocolate cake all he’ll need is a couple of Oreos and some frosting.

Maybe few holly berry sprinkles.

Just stick the cookies together with a bit of frosting.

Pop ’em in the fridge to let the frosting set up between the “layers” and then frost.

Not into smooth frosting, maybe a more rustic cake is in order.

To achieve the more rustic look just pat the cake with the end of a knife or spatula to make the frosting spike.

Maybe your Elf’s trip to and from the North pole took a little longer than expected.

A late night snack of donuts might be in order.

Will he get caught making them?

Or just enjoying them…

*Donuts are just cheerios dipped in chocolate with sprinkles or tossed in powdered sugar or cinnamon.

Maybe you’re family has more than one child so you’re lucky enough to have more than one Elf.

If you have more than one Elf…

I think you’re Elves need to have a party! (or play tug of war)

Then they could enjoy just a little bit of everything!

Do you know of any other mini foods an Elf might enjoy?

If so leave me a comment letting me know.

Also, I’d love to know what you’re elves have been doing.

Feel free to share the antics!



So after posting this yesterday a friend shared 5 Highly Inappropriate & Traumatizing  Elf on a Shelf Ideas!  It completely cracked me up!  Nothing like finding the humor in the joys of parenting.

Candy Cane Meringues

4 Dec

So.  Last week I promised you another use for that candy cane sugar we made.

You remember, that sugar.

It’s beautiful in the jar all by its self, don’t you think?

But I thought you might want another alternative than adding it to your cookies or coffee.

So I made you some meringues!

I’m not gonna lie.

I could eat this with a spoon directly from the bowl.

No more cooking required.

I realize not everyone could.

You’ll probably want to pipe them onto a baking sheet.

Send them on a trip through the oven….

Eat them with hot coffee or tea.

You’ll mouth will thank you!

Candy Cane Meringues

4 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3/4 C granulated sugar
3/4 C candy cane sugar

Preheat oven to 250. Line 3 cookie sheets with nonstick foil or parchment paper.

Before beginning wipe down the bowl, whisk attachment, and spatula you are using with white vinegar. This removes any residual grease that could affect your meringues.

In a stand mixer use the whisk attachment to whip the egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter, vanilla, and salt. With mixer turned to high gradually add sugars. Whisk until all of the sugar is mixed in and shiny stiff peaks have formed.

If you want your meringues to be a deeper red fill fee to tint with food coloring.

Pipe in dollops onto lined baking sheets. Bake for 1 hour or until meringues are dry to the touch. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Candy Cane Sugar

27 Nov

It’s here!!

I absolutely, positively LOVE this time of year.

No matter how old I get Christmas just seems to be a magical time.

It’s not the getting or the gifts.

For me it’s just the time together.

I always try to be finished with all of my shopping by Thanksgiving,  but I never seem to succeed.

I always want to go out Black Friday shopping even if I don’t NEED anything, just to be a part of it all.

But beyond those things my main goal is to enjoy the time with my family.

To indulge in family traditions.

To linger a little longer over meals with loved ones.

To just soak up the wonder of it all.

I don’t need a lot of “stuff” to make this season magical.

I just want to surround myself with the people I love.

I also want to figure out what to do with all those candy canes that show up this time of year.

So I made candy cane sugar.

You want to know how to make candy cane  sugar?

It’s super easy. Oh so good!

And makes a cute little gift for very little money.

In other words it’s a Win, Win, Win!

Candy Cane Sugar

1 1/2 – 2 C sugar
6 – 8 broken candy canes

Pour your candy canes and sugar into your food processor. Process until all of the candy cane pieces are incorporated into the sugar and everything seems to be a uniform size.  Pour into a cute jar and embellish with ribbon, fabric or another whole candy cane if you are giving this as a gift.  It’s great mixed into morning coffee or coco.

Need another use for all of those candy canes?

Use them to embellish your favorite cake with white frosting.

How would you use candy cane sugar??

Leave me a comment and let me know.

P.S.  I’ll be posting another use for this sugar in a few days.

Microwave Caramels

15 Nov

You ever have those moments where you just feel full?

No.  Not THAT kind of full.

Just full in your soul.

I’ve had a lot of those lately.

Moments where I feel full of contentment.

Full of happiness.

Full of gratefulness.

Full of thankfulness for the life I have.

For the blessing I’ve been given.

For my family.

My friends.

My home.

My job.

For all of you who come here.

Who read what I have to say.

Who leave me nice words.

Instead of focusing on the “have nots”

Today my heart is just full of the “haves”

During this season of Thanksgiving what are you thankful for?

P.S. I’m also thankful for a super simple, but still delicious caramel snacks.

Microwave Caramels

1/2 C. Butter (1 stick)
1 C. White Sugar
1 C. Brown Sugar
1 C. Lt. Karo Syrup
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk

Prepare an 8×8 baking dish or pan by greasing lightly with cooking spray or rubbing with shortening. Place a piece of waxed paper into the pan allowing enough paper to come over the edges of the pan. Spray paper with cooking spray or rub with shortening. Set aside.

Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Cook in 2 minute, increments stirring after each, for a total of 12 minutes. Pour caramel into dish and allow to cool completely. I placed mine in the refrigerator to cool. Remove from pan and cut into squares. Wrap in waxed paper. I cut approximately 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 squares of wax paper to wrap my caramels in.

Store wrapped in an air tight container or in the refrigerator. (Caramels can be soft)

Orange Autumn Cake

29 Oct

Have you every bumped into someone you went to school/grew up with…

(P.S. We won’t discuss how old I must be to even be asking that question)

Maybe at the grocery store…

or Target…

or Facebook…

Because let’s get real that’s where 99% of us are catching up with people.

I love catching up with old friends.

Except on days when I run out of the house and I really needed to wash my hair.

You KNOW that’s when you are going to run into someone.

The minute you step out of the house lookin’ like a hot mess.

BAM…there they are!

I’ve had several of these encounters recently.

Luckily I’d washed my hair and looked presentable each time.

It’s nice to see where people are and what they’ve been doing.

So in honor of catching up with old friends I made us some cake.

Cake makes it clear that my waste line looks absolutely nothing like

it did in high school.

This cake uses zest and juice from fresh oranges.

It’s bright, citrus-ey, and reminds me of  fall holiday flavors.

It also reminds me of that giant box of band fruit my mom used to buy around this time every year, but that’s a conversation for a different day.

I suggest you share with friends.

Orange Autumn Cake

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 C sugar
zest of 4 large oranges, reserve 1T. for frosting
4 eggs
1 C sour cream or yogurt
1/2 C orange juice
3 C all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
2 T orange extract

Pre-heat oven and prepare 2 8-inch round pans with cooking spray such as bakers joy.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer add sugar and orange zest. Using your fingers or a pasty blender, blend the sugar and zest together. This will infuse your sugar with more of the orange flavor. Add butter to the bowl and beat until creamy. About 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time until just combined. Mix in sour cream and juice. Add flour and mix until just combined. Bake until cakes are golden or a pick inserted come out clean (About 30-40 minutes). Allow cakes to rest in pans for approximately 10 minutes. Turn out of pans and immediately wrap in double or tipple thickness of plastic wrap and place in the freezer to cool. This will lock moisture into your cake. Once cooled split each layer through the middle to create 4 layers.

**A few notes. I used sour cream, but for more orange flavor feel free to replace it with orange flavored yogurt.

I made candied oranges using this recipe with the intention  of pouring the orange syrup over each layer as I was frosting the cake.  I totally forgot that step.  Feel free to do it and let me know how it turns out.  Or leave out this step all together.  The cake is wonderful without the syrup & candied oranges.


To your favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Add:

2 T. Orange extract (replacing vanilla)
1/4 C. brown sugar (if your recipe doesn’t call for it)
1 T. Orange zest.

If you don’t have a favorite cream cheese frosting try this one.

I may or may not have eaten some of the leftover frosting directly from the bowl  because it was so good.

Caramel Apples

19 Oct

I love this time of year.

The air is crisp.

The leaves are crunchy.

I can break out the jeans, sweaters, and hoodies.

Pumpkins and apples dot the produce section at my grocery store.

And the kiddo is trying to decide what to be for Halloween.

Growing up Halloween and Trick-or-Treating was a fun community affair.

Our church had a fall festival…and we actually dressed up!!

…and guess what?

No one took issue with it.

It was fun! Period.

Trick-or-Treating also meant lots of homemade goodies gathered door to door around the neighborhood.

Things were safe then.

The little grandmas on my street weren’t trying to slip razor blades into their candy apples.

It wasn’t a successful candy haul if one of these didn’t show up in the treat bag.

One of the perks of being all grown up is that I can make these whenever I want.

A Halloween themed Bunco night gave me the perfect opportunity to indulge.

Caramel Apples

1 (14 oz.) Bag caramels, unwrapped
1-2 T. Milk
6 apples, I like mine refrigerated
Chopped chocolate, candy bar, etc. to garnish (I used a Skor bar)

Prepare a baking sheet or jelly roll pan by lining it with wax paper that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Prepare apples by removing stems and inserting popsicle or sucker sticks into the top. Unwrap the caramels and place them in a bowl with milk. **I used 2 T. and the caramel was a bit soft, but still set up nicely when refrigerated. You may want to start with less and add more if needed. Out of the package my caramels were softer than the ones I normally use. If your caramels are soft I would suggest starting with less. If you caramels are firm go ahead and add the full 2T.** Microwave for 2 full minutes without stopping. Stir until caramels and milk are incorporated. Dip apples into caramel. Place on prepared pan and immediately sprinkle with garnish.  Refrigerate to set caramel.

Granola Goodness

29 Sep

Some days I just feel fat!


Let’s face it.  I’m a girl who LOVES to bake.

So it’s pretty much inevitable I’ll have those days.

Lately I’ve been trying to eat better.

Be more conscious about the foods I’m putting into my body.

This has lead to a slight obsession with granola.

Now people usually love one of two types of granola.

Granola chunks that cling together or individual granola pieces perfect for sprinkling.

I live in the second camp.

I don’t want big chunky pieces.

I want to be able to sprinkle my granola over yogurt.

Or pour milk over it and eat it like cereal.

Even grab a handful as a snack.

I want you to enjoy some granola too!


2 1/2 C. Whole Wheat Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1/2 C. Honey
1/2 C. Walnuts (feel free to substitute your favorite or mix several varieties)
1/2 C. Oil
1/2 – 1 C. Dried fruit (I used cranberries, use what you like)

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil. Leave enough foil on the ends to allow you to pick the foil up off of the baking sheet once baking is complete. Pre-heat your oven to 350. In a large bowl mix nuts, spices, oil, and honey. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir frequently during baking. The edges will brown very quickly. Remove from oven and lift the foil from the baking sheet to stop the baking process. Allow granola to cool. Stir in fruit. Sore in an airtight container.