St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.
Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.
Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday and I can’t wait to share this super easy and adorable treat with you. The best part? This one can be made gluten-free! Yay!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.
Today I wanted to share an adorable gift idea for someone special in your life. Today’s tutorial is how to make beautiful chocolate coffee spoons that you can pair with a big basket of coffee for gift-giving. This gift is perfect for any occasion and can be made in less than 30 minutes. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store. I’m so excited to be partnering with them again on this project.
In case you missed my Maple Coffee Bacon post from last week, I had the opportunity to try out all of the new coffees from ALDI and create some fun projects using this newly launched line at their store.
This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this month.
Nothing pictured here is over $5 (even the Fair Trade coffee) which means it is quite the steal. In the past, I have relied on these bags of coffee for easy hostess gifts and breakfast baskets for new homeowners. It is an excellent gift to give especially to a tired new mom or a new college student. I thought it would be fun to dress these baskets up a bit with beautiful chocolate coffee covered spoons that you could package in your basket.
Let’s get started!
1 bag Baker’s Corner Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Morsels
1 bag Baker’s Corner Milk Chocolate Baking Morsels
1 cup Baker’s Corner White Chocolate Baking Morsels
½ teaspoon Carlini Pure Vegetable Shortening (or more, if needed)
Edible sprinkles of your choice
Pastry/candy decorating bags
Antique spoons or plastic spoons (I got these six for $5 an antique store)
*Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.
Melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips (the whole bag) over a steam bath or in microwave. Melt chocolate slowing, stirring frequently. If chocolate clumps or doesn’t melt smoothly, add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to help smooth it out.
Dip your spoons into the chocolate and then rest them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
3. Decorate with your choice of milk chocolate, white chocolate and/or various garnishes. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (using my pastry bag) and then shake on some edible pearls so they would stick. Let these set completely before placing into decorative bags and tying with beautiful ribbon.
We placed these beauties into a basket with a variety of our favorite Barissimo coffees, exclusively from ALDI. A pretty dishtowel on bottom pulls it all together and acts as bonus gift.
These spoons add another level of richness to your coffee giving you a rich chocolate flavor. These also would make a fun addition to your cocoa.
I hope you enjoyed our fun series with ALDI this month and that these ideas have inspired you to give their new coffee line-up a try! I promise that you won’t be disappointed, not just in the incredible taste, but the incredible amount of savings to be had for your family!
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.
If there is one thing I have learned over my years of surfing on Pinterest it’s that anything bacon and anything coffee is always a hit (and not just with me!).
Today I wanted to pair these two flavors together in a Maple Coffee Bacon that your whole family will love. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.
Since you know I am a regular shopper, I had noticed the new line on the store shelves and was intrigued. The packaging is beautiful and the product feels very high-end, but a whole bag of ground coffee is a mere $3.99. It is, seriously, a steal!
This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this week.
The Barissimo line, available exclusively at ALDI, includes the following (and here are the prices on these items too) for my fellow frugal shoppers:
Ready-to-drink Iced Coffees (French Vanilla, Mocha and Coffee) – $1.19
Whole Bean Coffee (Morning Roast and Donut Store) – $3.99
Fair Trade Coffee (Medium and Dark Roast) – $3.99
Donut Store Ground Coffee – $3.99
12 oz. Bag Coffee (Breakfast Blend, House Blend, and French Roast) – $3.99
Assorted Flavored Coffee (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.99
Flavored Coffee Cups (French Vanilla and Hazelnut) – $4.79
Regular Roast Coffee Cups (Breakfast and Donut) – $4.79
Specialty Roast Coffee Cups (Fair Trade Colombian and Dark Roast) – $4.79
Ever since a trip last year to NOLA, I have been thinking about the embarrassing pile of praline bacon I ate in one of the local restaurants that my brother took me too. Bacon that tastes like candy? How could that be bad?
I loved the candied sweetness of the bacon, but I love to add on to that layer of flavor with something to cut the sweet and I decided the Fair Trade Dark Roast Coffee paired with the thick sliced Maple Flavored Bacon would be a delightful combination.
If you haven’t tried the coffee itself, the dark roast is delightfully full-bodied and strong. It’s the kind of coffee that a mom who has to get her kids on the bus in the morning can really embrace.
As I had suspected, this delicious dark roast coffee was just what this sweet bacon needed to balance it out. The coarseness of the ground coffee adds an element of texture and the brown sugar glaze made from freshly brewed coffee and brown sugar is brushed on to each side of the bacon to create that delightful layering of flavors.
Since this bacon is so sweet, you don’t want to pair this one with another sweet breakfast item. I recommend an easy frittata for balance, a little fresh fruit, and a big mug of coffee (of course!).
Now run over to your local ALDI and snag a bag of this delicious coffee for yourself- at a price like that, you have nothing to lose!
Note- *Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment or waxed paper and set a flat rack on top. Lay bacon strips on rack, overlapping slightly if needed. Sprinkle top of strips evenly with ground coffee. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and brewed coffee, stirring just to blend to a paste. Brush top of strips with half of sugar mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Turn bacon over and brush with remaining sugar glaze. Bake until crispy, 10-15 minutes more.
It’s no secret around here that I love a good coffee drink and you all know I love a good way to save – especially when it’s easy. Making your own versions of coffee shop drinks gives a particularly good return since most DIY drink recipes take only a few minutes to make and are only a fraction of the cost of buying. And the no-guilt feeling while you’re enjoying your beverage? That’s right – priceless.
So I’ve rounded up some of the best copy-cat Starbucks drinks recipes for you from our own Mom Advice archives and other fabulous blogs so you can save some of your hard-earned money and enjoy a coffee (or non-coffee!) break at the same time. Here are 33 copy-cat Starbucks drinks categorized into four sections for your convenience – Hot Coffee Drinks, Hot Non-Coffee Drinks, Iced Coffee Drinks, and Iced Non-Coffee Drinks (as always, please pin individual pictures from the original source):
When you go gluten-free, there are only a handful of fast food restaurants that you can eat at and really enjoy without feeling rotten. Chipotle is one of my favorite places and has been our go-to spot for a quick to-go dinner on busy weeknights for delicious gluten-free dishes. As I went to plug in our usual order this week though, I discovered there was a supplier issue of our family favorite…carnita meat isn’t at our location.
To be honest, I had a sneaking suspicion that this was eating away at our budget (thanks to its delicious convenience & a handsome Chipotle runner at my disposal) so I had been thinking of recreating this dish at home to save our family some money.
Necessity birthed creativity as I went on the hunt for a yummy replacement.
It seems fitting since our focus is money management this month for the m challenge that I could break a fast food habit with this yummy homemade alternative. Money. In. The. Bank.
This meat couldn’t be easier to create and the best part is that once you rub in the spices, this is a completely hands-off recipe. What isn’t easier is how freaking good it smells in your slow cooker all day which drove us absolutely crazy until dinnertime. The combination of spices is delicious, complex, and comprised mostly of ingredients I already had in my pantry. Garlic, red chili pepper, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, and beer.
I love the burrito bowl and making it couldn’t be easier. I just did a layer of brown rice made in my rice cooker (world’s best invention- here is the one I use for less than $25), a layer of black beans (canned or slow cooker homemade Mexican Black Beans), carnita meat, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and I do a mean scoop of plain greek yogurt with a dash of salt, and a squeeze of lime. Serve this giant bowl up with tortilla chips for scooping and you are done.
Since this makes such a large amount of meat, I divided and freezed it for our month. No more Chipotle runs (averaging $22 per pop) and leftovers for a week of meals? Um. WINNING.
What was even better was that everyone in our family thought these were better than Chipotle. I was hoping to just have a nice substitution on days where we need to save a little, but now carnitas at home are better than the ones we bought out and we save a lot of money in the process.
This was originally published in July of 2013 and goes so well with our focus challenge on health that I thought you’d enjoy it again – fruit-infused water is refreshing any time of the year!
Back-to-school means back to the grind of packing lunches. Today I wanted to share a healthy alternative to juice boxes and recipes for creating a fun fruit-infused water for lunches any time of the year. Fruit infused waters are frugal, fun, and a healthy alternative to the traditional juice box.
Packing a healthy lunch is always a top priority in our house. You may recall my fun lunch box station that I created in our house just for this reason? I am happy to say that this lunchbox system is still performing so well in our house and I am looking forward to packing lunches with it again.
What is Fruit-Infused Water?
Have you ever infused water before? It truly could not be easier and you can mix up any flavors that you love and personalize these to your own personal taste. Pictured above are some mix-in ideas we tried in our house. We purchased mint, basil, berries, limes, oranges, and lemons to create different flavor combinations for fun fruit waters. We like to keep things simple with just plain water, but you can also make it a little sweet with a little liquid stevia.
Seltzer can also be a fun switch-up, but carbonated drinks are always a gamble in our lunchbox, since they tend to get a lot of shaking and movement on the way to school!
Fruit-infused water is best enjoyed after two-four hours or after it has had a chance to infuse overnight. The length of time it lasts depends entirely on the type of fruit and herbs you use. Basil, for example, only lasts for three days while heartier varieties like rosemary or thyme can last up to seven days.
You can reuse the same fruit and add another batch of fresh water over it once you have gone through your first batch. The fruit can be used (typically) up to three times, but it will also depend on the freshness of the fruits you are using. If the fruit starts to look bad, it’s best to toss it and start with a fresh batch.
Citrus fruits are best cut fresh for your batches because the rind can add bitterness to your fruit-infusions. I like to keep my lemons, limes, and oranges fresh for that reason while reusing my berries for several batches.
It is really a matter of preference though and once you get the hang of making your own batches of fruit-infused water you will have a better idea of timelines.
Fruit Infused Water Combinations
The beauty of making your own infused waters is that you can create any combination that your heart desires and add as little or as much fruits and herbs into your drink as you like! Get inspired by the fruits and herbs that are on sale that week in the supermarket flier to help inspire new combinations and keep your fruit-infused waters frugal!
If the recipe calls for muddling, it just means bruising your fruit or herbs to release the flavors. I just use a wooden spoon for this.
Here are a few of our favorite combinations we tried:
A recipe for the Northern French frangipane tart version of Kings’ Cake. Often eaten at Epiphany in January, Kings’ Cake is also closely associated with pre-Lenten festivities surrounding Carnival/Mardi Gras.
We spent our holidays with family, bundling up and piling in the car again and again, a jumble of hats and mittens and frosty noses hidden underneath. We carried silver trays piled high with cookies, slow cookers filled with simmering produce, and stacks of Christmas cards to be hand delivered to doorsteps up and down the state. In the end, all the family members had their fill of children laughing and squealing in delight over even the smallest of festivities. With five family holiday meals, one groom’s dinner, and one New Year’s Eve wedding behind us, we all but collapsed on the couch at home. Just in time for school to start up.
With all the running, we didn’t seem to get time to do what we do best as a family, so on Epiphany, we huddled around our kitchen together, rolling dough, mixing fillings, slicing and chopping, and getting back to what makes us tick.
Sitting down around the table piled high with roast, brussels sprouts, salads, and with a timely cake waiting on the sidelines for dessert, it finally felt like we were starting a new year, just as it should begin, with us coming together and doing the things that keep us together like family dinners around the table. I do believe we started a new Epiphany tradition for us. We’ll see you here next year. Same date. Same place. Same tart.
I hid an almond in my galette des rois, rather than a small trinket or la fève. Tradition says you cut this tart into the number of people present plus one, the remaining slice being reserved for God, the Virgin Mary, or the poor. The one who has the trinket in their slice of tart becomes king or queen for the day…or they are responsible for bringing the tart next year. Either or. Regardless, I’ll be on the lookout for small trinkets to bake inside for my kids to find next year.
As I shared with you, when I attended college I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable “Freshman 15,” to prove it from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my fridge with healthy options.
Now I know that there are healthy ideas for stocking your refrigerator – whether it’s a dorm sized mini-fridge, your first apartment fridge, or the huge family-sized fridge many of us graduate to – and I’m making sure that my kids do know that the foods that are good for your body are easy to keep on hand, too. In this healthy fridge makeover, I’m sharing easy ways to keep good-for-you foods within reach along with a recipe for a quick to make no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go that both kids and adults love.
Eggs- Eggs are the perfect food for starting your day out right or for a healthy late night snack. Did you know that you can prepare an egg easily in the microwave with no special equipment at all? Simply spray or grease a bowl to prepare it and crack two eggs in it with a tablespoon of milk and whisk well with a fork. Place your bowl of eggs in the microwave and cook for one minute. Give it another little scramble with your fork and then cook for thirty second intervals, until your eggs reach the desired consistency. That’s it! Don’t forget that you can add your own fun add-ins to this versatile food like chopped up veggies, cheeses, or meats.
Berries- Berries are a great item to keep on hand to eat as a side, to grab by the handful for a quick snack, mixed in with a cup of Greek yogurt, or as a topper to a bowl of instant oatmeal in the morning. Cut berries can also be added to a water bottle and then allowed to steep overnight to create a healthy & inexpensive infused water.
Veggies- Cut veggies are the perfect item to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack. Some of my favorites for snacking are peppers (in every color), carrot sticks, celery sticks, & cauliflower. Pair these veggies with your favorite dips like a nut butter with celery or dip them in hummus for an easy snack.
Nut Butters & Nuts- Nothing is quicker or easier than keeping a package of nuts on hand for snacking. Did you know that you can even freeze nuts? Grab an extra package and store it in your freezer, up to six months, to make sure they don’t go rancid. Try a new variety like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, or cashews for a little variety. These can also be added to bowls of instant oatmeal in the morning or mixed into a salad for a crunch topping.
Nut butters are great for an accompaniment to celery or cut apples. My own favorite nighttime snack is peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast with a glass of almond milk before I go to bed. It’s a satisfying and inexpensive snack!
Hummus- There are many different flavors and varities now of hummus and it is the perfect snack or spread to add to pitas or even smeared as a topping for your favorite sandwich. My favorite variety is the Red Pepper Hummus with sliced cucumbers or pita for an effortless snack.
Energy Bites- No-bake energy bites are a fun snack to have on hand when you are craving a treat with a little sweetness. We all adore these at my house! The best part is that they don’t require an oven or mixer, making these an easy treat to make…and to eat! Did I mention it tastes an awful like cookie dough too? Yum!
This was originally published in March of 2013 and goes so well with our focus on health that I thought you’d enjoy it again – it’s one of my favorite ways to start the day!
I’m always looking for filling & satisfying breakfast recipes and these quinoa-berry breakfast bowls fit the bill perfectly. A mixture of quinoa and steel cut oats offer a hearty combination for a breakfast that will fill you up and give you the energy you need to tackle your day.
If you are not familiar with quinoa, you are missing out on a filling and satisfying protein-packed food. Quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah) is a very nutritious gluten-free seed that originates from the Andean region of South America. Quinoa is a fantastic source of protein, contains all eight amino acids, is a good source of dietary fiber, contains B Vitamins, and iron. Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior. In reality, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch. My favorite preparation of this delicious food can be found in my tutorial on how to cook quionoa in your rice cooker.
Steel-cut oats are essential grains which are full of nutritional value, rich in B-vitamins, calcium, protein and fiber while low in sodium and unsaturated fat. In fact, just one cup of steel-cut oats contains 8g of fiber. Steel-cut oats are whole grain groats, the inner portion of the oat kernel, which have been cut into two or three pieces rather than flattened.
With quinoa and steel cut oats in one bowl, you have a winning combination for a great way to start your morning.
Top your quinoa-oat bowls with any of your favorite oatmeal toppings. I love the combination of berries and toasted slivered almonds, but if the pantry is lean that day, I rely on walnuts and dried berries.
I prepared my oats with almond milk, giving it a great calcium boost and it adds even more protein to my breakfast bowl. You can prepare this with whatever your favorite milk is or whatever your family typically drinks.
This makes enough for two large bowls or four smaller bowls. Store leftovers shortly after preparing. The leftovers can be reheated in your microwave and thinned with a little milk.
If you make a double batch, you will have enough for all week long. I prepare these on Saturday mornings when I have a little more time and reap the rewards of my labor throughout the week.
You know the phrase, “a watched pot never boils.” Really, not the case with these. Keep an eye on these all the time and make sure you have a generous pot to prepare them in because these bubble up and boil over pretty easily.
It’s become an embarrassing pattern of mine to make a resolution every year to be better about eating breakfast. Each time, I start on the path towards healthy eating. However, as life becomes fuller and mornings more hectic, I find that eating a good breakfast often gets pushed to the side.
This year, I discovered how invaluable my slow cooker was in creating a beautiful, hot breakfast for my entire family that I could serve in the morning and enjoy for mornings to come. I could also serve it as a midday pick-me-up or as a healthy late- night snack. The discovery might seem a bit old-fashioned, but a batch of oatmeal is a great way to start the day. This isn’t just any old oatmeal though—this oatmeal is made from delicious steel cut oats.
Today I am sharing a trick to get the creamiest oats ever that will transform your mornings and your life. Did I mention that you don’t even have to clean the slow cooker after you make them? YOU MUST READ THIS!