Vanilla Bean Berry Crepes

In collaboration with Sonoma Syrup Co.
Vanilla Bean Berry Crepes Recipe

Okay, I admit it.  These are store-bought crepes; but they are so easy and can be used for sweet or savory recipes!  I actually found them at my local Grocery Outlet grocery store and they were totally in impulse purchase.  So far, I’ve only used them as dessert crepes, but they can also be used for savory breakfasts.

The key ingredient in my Vanilla Bean Berry Crepes is the Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup.  Read on…

Vanilla Bean and Berry Crepes

Vanilla Bean Berry Crepes Recipe

Ingredients

  • Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
  • Belgian Brothers Crepes
  • Fresh Berries (Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, etc)
Wash and de-stem your berries.  Cut them into bite sized pieces and place in a small bowl.  Drizzle berries with vanilla bean simple syrup and toss until coated.  Warm crepes up to desired temperature in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.  Stuff crepes with berry mixture, fold or roll up, and top with whipped cream.

These are some of the easiest crepes to put together.  They are perfect for parties, for last minute desserts or even for breakfast.

Enjoy!

How to Cut Down Recipe Measurements

I find my self needing to cut down recipe measurements every day.  This handy printable cheat sheet take measurements down to halves and thirds!  Enjoy!

Zesty Chicken, Black Bean and Rice Soup

One of my favorite things to buy at Costco is a rotisserie chicken that I don’t have to cook.  There’s a million things you could do with it for dinner like toss it in a salad, make a chicken pasta or a soup.  


I was feeling soup-er after my last trip to Costco so I decided to do a variation of a soup that I had found from The Cozy Apron on Pinterest.

Zesty Chicken, Black Bean and Rice Soup

This soup is perfect for any time of the year and can be garnished with anything you like.  Treat it like a taco salad and load it up with your favorite toppings.
Ingredients

• Olive oil
• 1 onion, diced small
• 4-5 carrots, peeled and diced small
• 3 celery ribs, diced small (ribs removed if you prefer)
• Salt and Black Pepper for seasoning
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• ½ teaspoon coriander
• ½ teaspoon chili powder
• Pinch cayenne pepper
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press or minced
• 5 cups low sodium chicken stock
• 3 – 3 ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken breast (or pulled from a rotisserie chicken)
• ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
• ½ canned black beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 teaspoon lime zest
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
• 3 cups cooked Jasmine rice
• Jalapeño slices, tortilla strips, and lime wedges, for garnish

Instructions:

-Place a medium-large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 4 tablespoons of oil; once the oil gets hot, add in the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute for a 1-2 minutes.
-Add in a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, plus the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and pinch of cayenne pepper, and saute for a few more minutes, until the veggies begin to become tender.
-Stir in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the chicken stock.
-Bring the soup up to a rolling simmer, and then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender.
-Finish the soup by adding in the shredded chicken breasts, peas, black beans, lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro; check to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed.

-To serve, add some of the rice (about ½ cup of so) to the bottom of your bowl, and ladle over the hot soup; garnish with additional lime, some shredded cheese, some sliced jalapenos, or some crispy tortilla strips.

Easy Kids’ Treats by Katie Wyllie | Snowflake Cupcakes

I received a free copy of Katie’s book for review consideration.  My opinion is honest and not influenced by compensation.
(from Easy Kids’ Treats by Katie Wyllie from madetobemomma.com)
My girls and I made these super cute winter snowflake cupcakes inspired by Katie Wyllie’s book, Easy Kids’ Treats.  The instructions called for a batch of homemade buttercream frosting and chocolate cake batter but we made it work with a box of red velvet cake mix and a tub of premade frosting.  I had a bunch of white chocolate candy melts from Chocoley.com so I used those to make the snowflakes.  My four-year old helped with the frosting while I did my best to create pretty (and edible) snowflakes.  Katie’s book recommends using a template to create the snowflakes but I just freehanded it.

I’m so excited to bake my way through this super cute book with my girls
Check out Katie’s blog:  madetobemomma.com

Chicken Meatballs and Gnocchi with Sage, Apple and Parmesan | Hello Fresh Promo Code

Easy chicken meatball and gnocchi dinner - takes under an hour to make.

This chicken meatballs with gnocchi dish has been one of our favorites from Hello Fresh.  The entire family loved it and it was super easy to make in about 45 minutes.

I love and appreciate Hello Fresh for teaching me new cooking techniques.  They use parts of fruits and veggies that I never thought to use and they incorporate them into their dishes in the most unique ways.  These chicken meatballs were extra juicy thanks to shreds of onions and apples mixed with the meat.  I would have never thought to do that!
Don’t have time to purchase the ingredients yourself?  Use my $40 off Hello Fresh promo code and have the ingredients delivered to your door: G2DQX8.

Cinderella-Themed First Birthday Party | Pumpkin Carriage Caramel Apples

Cinderella Carriage Caramel Apples
Before I begin, I have to give a shout-out to our author, Patty (my mom), for doing an amazing job on these Cinerella carriage caramel apples.  She created a couple of different types for my daughter’s first birthday party and I’m so excited to show them off.
The original Cinderella Coach-on-a-stick idea was found on the Disney parks blog and I believe was made using rice crispy treats.  We took it a step further and made them with caramel apples using supplies from our favorite online candy supply store, Chocoley.

See some of our other Chocoley posts:
For the Cinderella coach apples, my mom used Granny Smith apples from Costco and oreo cookies for the wheels.  The caramel is pretty sticky so the oreos stuck pretty well.
She also did these glitzy caramel apples as party favors for my daughter’s Cinderella themed first birthday.  We used a large silver sprinkle for the outside, also found at Chocoley.com.
The reason we love Chocoley’s caramel apples supplies so much is because their caramel and chocolate is so easy to work with and tastes so good.  We prefer to get the caramel apple kits because they come with apple stick, chocolate, caramel, cellophane bags and more.
p.s. The Cinderella carriage caramel apple tasted as good as it looked!
Check out our previous Cinderella party post:
Link up your Cinderella party posts in the comments section below!

Pasta Sauce with a Kick! | New Ragu Spicy Italian

Need a change from traditional jar pasta sauce, one that’s kicked up a notch?  Ragu Spicy Italian Style sauce is made with chunky 100% California grown tomatoes and red pepper flakes, all with that trusted Ragu freshness!
Need a quick and easy recipe using Ragu Spicy Italian Style sauce?  My recipe suggestion below took less than 30 minutes to prepare and came out yummy!
Meat-free lasagna rolls with Ragu Spicy Italian Style sauce.

I’ve always wanted to try making lasagna rolls (as opposed to flat pan lasagna), so I decided to come up with a an easy to make meat-free recipe!  Here’s my instructions:  Boil 9 regular sized lasagna noodles until tender.  Cool under cold water and let drain.  Spray a 9 inch square pan with non-stick coating.  Spread 3/4 cup Ragu Spicy Italian Style sauce on the bottom of the pan.  As my family does not like ricotta cheese, I whipped 1.5 cups of small curd cottage cheese in the blender until smooth.  I then added 1 tbsp. of Italian seasoning, 1 tsp. minced garlic (from a jar) and 3/4 cup grilled yellow onions.  Mix these together and spread about 2 tbsp. of the mixture on each lasagna noodle.  I then sprinkled these with about 1 tbsp. of 5 cheese Italian blend grated cheese and rolled them up.   Place the rolls in the pan and cover with 1.5 cups of sauce.  Cover with thin slices of fresh mozzarella, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, and bake at 350 until heated through and lightly browned.

This recipe literally took me about an hour from preparation to plating.  The rolls are so much easier to serve up than traditional pan lasagna.  I served this dish with a pear and gorgonzola salad kit from Fresh Express and some garlic toast.  The sweetness of the salad was the perfect compliment to the spicy sauce!  You can be as creative as you want with this recipe – add in things like sliced green or black olives, diced jalapenos (for a real kick!), use cream cheese instead of the cottage cheese, add ground beef or turkey – the possibilities are endless!
Visit the Ragu website for more awesome recipe ideas.  The Chicken Parmesan sandwich recipe looks amazing!
*****
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Ragu.   Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Disney-Pixar Inside Out | Free Movie Activities and Recipe

Looking for a way to jazz up your movie and popcorn family night?  We’ve got some Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out free movie activities and a fun recipe for you to try with your kiddos.  This is one of the cutest movies of the year that you don’t want to miss.  
Add it to your Disney Movies Anywhere library now!
SYNOPSIS:                              
Do you ever look at someone and wonder what’s going on inside their head? Disney-Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes an exciting and hilarious journey into the mind to find the answer. Based in Headquarters, the control center of 11-year-old Riley’s mind, five emotions are hard at work, led by lighthearted optimist Joy. She strives to make sure Riley stays happy as she operates alongside fellow emotions Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. It’s “an instant classic,” raves Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times. Experience it like never before on Disney Blu-ray!
CAST:                                         
Amy Poehler (“Freebirds,” TV’s “Parks and Recreation”) as Joy; Bill Hader (Monsters University, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) as Fear; Phyllis Smith (“Bad Teacher,” TV’s “The Office”) as Sadness; Lewis Black(“The Aristocrats,” TV’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) as Anger; Mindy Kaling (“Wreck-It Ralph,” TV’s “The Office”) as Disgust; Richard Kind (A Bug’s Life, TV’s “Spin City”) as Bing Bong; Kaitlyn Dias (voice acting debut) as the voice of Riley
EXEC. PRODUCERS:          
John Lasseter (“Toy Story,” “Cars”) and Andrew Stanton (“Up” “Ratatouille”)
PRODUCER:                          
Jonas Rivera (“Up,” “Toy Story 2”)
CO-DIRECTOR:                    
Ronnie Del Carmen (Dug’s Special Mission video short and TV’s “Freakazoid!”)
DIRECTOR:                            
Pete Docter (“Up,” “Monsters, Inc.”)
This is a very sweet popcorn recipe that sort of resembles kettle corn or a caramel corn.  We chose to go with green food coloring to make Disgust popcorn, because she’s our favorite character.  We poured our boiling mixture over a big bowl of microwave popcorn for an easy Inside Out snack.
Who is your favorite Inside Out character?  Leave us a comment letting us know!

Free Inside Out Activity Pages and Core Memories Scrapbooking Ideas

Download Inside Out Activity Pages

Free Inside Out Printables – Click on each image to bring up the printable PDF version

Free Inside Out Printables

Free Inside Out Printables

Free Inside Out Printables

Free Inside Out Printables

Free Inside Out Printables

How to Make Jack Skellington Cake Pops

What Halloween party is complete without some Jack Skellington cake pops?  These cake pops are super easy to make and taste as good as they look.  Let me show you how to make them:

“This is Halloween.  This is Halloween…”

While making these cake pops, the Nightmare Before Christmas songs were stuck in my head.  And writing this post has them bouncing through my brain, once again.

Okay, so here’s the how to:

  • Making the Cake Balls
    • Make or buy cupcakes (I prefer buying them from our local Savemart if I’m in a pinch)
    • If you purchase pre-made cupcakes, scrape the frosting into a separate bowl
    • Mash up your cupcakes in a large bowl
    • Add buttercream frosting to your mashed up cupcakes and mix until it’s formed a dough-like consistency.
    • Using your hands, form your dough into golf ball sized balls.
    • Freeze cake balls for at least 30 minutes.
  • Going from Cake Balls to Cake Pops
    • Melt a small amount of white chocolate (this is just for your sticks).  I use the moulding chocolate from Chocoley.
    • Do this for each cake ball – dip the end of the lollipop stick into the chocolate and insert into cold cake ball.  Repeat until you’ve done every cake ball.
    • Return to the freezer for 20-30 more minutes because handling them will cause them to get soft.
    • While your cake balls are chilling, melt a larger amount of moulding chocolate.
    • Remove cake balls with sticks from the freezer and dip into melted chocolate.  To prevent having flat tops, stick the cake pops into a piece of styrofoam, or a pumpkin like we did.

Tip:  If you’re working in a warm environment, use a portable fan to quickly dry your cake pops.

  • Decorate your Cake Pops
    • Dip a small pointy paint brush into water and then into your black powder food colorant to create a paint paste
    • Paint your Jack Skellington details onto your cake pops!

These Jack Skellington cake pops were so much fun to make and tasted even better than they looked.  We had a few lumpy-looking pops, but they all taste the same, right?

Do you have any cake pop tips?  Leave me a comment!