Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

DIY Outdoor Movie Night

Monday, June 29th, 2015

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

 

*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Proceeds from this post were donated to Riverbend Cancer Services.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site and our community! 

Have you ever wanted to create your own DIY Outdoor Home Theater? We have had this on our summer bucket list for years and this summer we decided to finally put together our very own DIY outdoor movie night together with our kids and are sharing it with you today! There is something truly magical about watching a movie together under the stars and I love that you can do this right in the comfort of your very own backyard. We partnered with Walmart to show you just how easy it is to host an outdoor movie night of your own.

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Shopping List:  1) Clothespins 2)White Sheets (King or Queen Size) 3) Projector 4) Outdoor Pillows 5) Outdoor Lights 6) Popcorn Buckets

Now that you know what to buy, here are my tips for hosting your own diy outdoor movie night:

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

 An EASY DIY Set-Up

You don’t need a lot to create a great movie set up. A simple white sheet (we like to double ours up to get the optimum picture)  and some clothespins are exactly what we used to create our set-up. We simply draped our sheet on our clothesline out back and held it in place with a couple of clothespins. Anchor the bottom of your sheet with rocks or a brick to hold the sheet in place, particularly on those windy days.

Although there are more expensive screen options that you can purchase, I have found that sheets don’t take up a lot of storage and offer a decent picture for the price.  Make sure to iron out those creases to avoid having ripples on this DIY screen- it’s worth the extra step!

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Get a Great Picture (and Sound)

Your biggest investment in your outdoor movies will be your projector although Walmart does offer several affordable choices (check out this budget-friendly option for just $113.88)! More than likely, you already have the laptop and with the addition of small external speakers, you will have incredible sound.

We have had our projector for years and take it with us on our trips as a back-up plan for rainy days and we use it at home regularly especially in the winter months.

We were always struggling with sound on ours and we had an ah-ha moment and realized that with the right cable, we could hook the sound up to our daughter’s mini guitar amp. Now we have sound and we didn’t even have to make a speaker purchase. This goes to show that you can really think out of the box on creating your own DIY theater for a great picture and sound for your movie night.

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Create the Mood

With the humble beginnings of a sheet and some clothespins, I am all about creating a mood. Consider stringing some outdoor lights up and around your movie screen to really create the movie magic for the night. I have always found that twinkle lights take everything up a notch when outdoor entertaining and are less than $20 a strand. It’s an affordable luxury for really creating the mood!

Comfy seating keeps your guests in their seat longer (although running around the yard while the movie is playing is totally required!).  Add some blankets to the ground and some comfy outdoor pillows (I love these from BHG at Walmart).  Consider also gathering your patio furniture around to keep things cozy for the adults in the crowd!

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Bring On the Snacks

You can’t watch the movie without POPCORN! Take your popcorn game up a level and craft up a popcorn bar for your guests. Fill trifle containers with popcorn (don’t forget your scoopers!) and then fill ramekins with candy treats, marshmallows, and other fun mix-ins for you guests.

To make the treat more interactive (while you are waiting for it to get dark), you can have a table for decorating  paper bags with stamps, markers, and decorative scissors for cutting a pretty scalloped edge. Have kids create their own popcorn bags and fill them with their favorite combination of treats. For older guests, the party section of the store offers a variety of fun containers you can use for your snacks.

I am also a big fan of the reusable insulated solo cup for outdoor drinks and a perfectly sized popcorn bucket. We found these in the outdoor section of our store.

For drinks, I am a BIG fan of using an inexpensive outdoor flower box for your soda drinks. Isn’t this a fun way to bring drinks to the table? Retro sodas and paper straws are always a hit with my kids. Center this on your picnic table for easy grabbing!

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

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DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Here is our movie screen once it was dark. As you can see, even with a tiny projector, you have a pretty great picture on  your sheet. We found adjusting the bricks to pull out any wrinkling, made a dramatic difference in the projection of our show. Our first movie night we caught, “Little Rascals!”  The kids ran around like crazy, catching glimpses between games of hide and seek.

At the end of the night, it ended up just being me and my Dad, sitting side by side in two chairs, finishing out the show together.

We both agreed, that was pretty darn sweet.

There is certainly something so magical about an outdoor movie and we hope we have inspired you for a night of your own!

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com

Reservations to our movie theater are highly recommended. We encourage you to dial our yellow phone to hold your seat! We would like to say a big thank you to Mallory Dzierla Schoenle of Copycat-Design for sharing her talent with the Riverbend Cancer Services.

We purchased her beautiful donation of this handmade lemonade stand to help support the cause and transformed it into a popcorn stand for the evening festivities. Mallory is a big giver in our community and as a DIY girl myself, I can see the labor of love that goes into each of her projects. You can check out her Facebook page or her website for more information about her beautiful pieces! 

Have you ever hosted an outdoor movie night? Please share your tricks and tips here for a fun night with the family!

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4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

One of my favorite celebrations is 4th of July and today I wanted to share with you a fast & easy 4th of July fruit dessert platter you or your kids can make into a flag to celebrate the holiday.  Walmart partnered up with me to share a festive 4th dish and I have to say that this delivers on the red, white, & blue.

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray 4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Since I am gluten-free, I often have to bypass the dessert trays. As an adult, it is not a big a deal. As a child, the dessert table is EVERYTHING, especially when it comes to holiday feasting. I wanted to create this cute tray just for them and I found these glutino gluten-free yogurt covered pretzels are not only a fantastic way to add the white we needed for our stripes, but they also are highly addictive and delicious. You can certainly make your own white chocolate covered pretzels, if you are feeling ambitious, but these cut down on the time invested in creating our cute tray!

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

Flag cupcake picks can be a great way to festively pick up a berry (or ten).  I found these at a local party supplies store and they are an adorable touch to a festive spread.

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray

I think the best part about this tray is that it is not only relatively healthy, but it is also a tray that you can confidently create and know it will get eaten. After a big cookout, light desserts are a wonderful addition to the table for snacking on. Have too many desserts on your table? Save this to serve up during the fireworks. It will be gone before it even gets dark enough to see them!

Check out the instructions below on how many supplies you need to put this tray together!

4th of July Flag Fruit Dessert Tray
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings
 
A fast & festive gluten-free fruit dessert tray your guests will flip for.
Ingredients
  • 2 pints strawberries trimmed, rinsed, and dried
  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  • 2 packages of glutino yogurt-covered pretzels (or white chocolate regular pretzels, if not going gluten-free on this tray)
Instructions
  1. On a 9x13 cookie sheet, place a small clear plastic (or glass) square container of berries to create your blue flag corner.
  2. Now alternate the red berries and white pretzels in stripes until you have filled your tray.

 

While you are here, these are a few more of my favorite 4th of July ideas on MomAdvice! xo

Cupcake Pick 4th of July Wreath

Make a 4th of July wreath out of cupcake picks (world’s easiest festive touch!)

Celebrating 4th of July Heroes With Your Kids

Teach your kids about the REAL 4th of July Heroes (the reason we all celebrate!)

Diy Family-Friendly Bar Cart

Turn a tool cart into a bar cart for the 4th (adorable girl not included!)

DIY slow Cooker Citronella Candles

Keep the bugs away with DIY Citronella Candles (made in your slow cooker!)

Red, White, & Blueberry Trifle

Make a Red, White, & Blueberry Trifle (another light & easy dessert!)

3-ingredient Watermelon Granita

Wow your guests with this Watermelon Granita (just 3-ingredients!)

Watermelon Coconut Lime Smoothies #recipe via momadvice.com

Or blend up leftover watermelon into this Watermelon Lime & Coconut Ice (I love leftovers!)

Blueberry Sangria Lemonade

Make a festive Blueberry Sangria Lemonade for toasting the holiday (cheers and cheers again!)

Berry Quinoa Parfaits

Leftover berries? Turn them into a protein-packed Berry Quinoa Parfait.

Greek Quinoa Salad

Everyone loves a good salad! Greek Quinoa Salad is yummy and gluten-free (winning!)

Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad

Why have one salad when you can have two? Lemony Spinach & Tomato Quinoa Salad is delicious (even at room temperature!)

Caprese Pasta Salad #recipe via MomAdvice.com

I am all about the caprese so this Pasta Caprese Salad really fits the 4th of July bill! (can be made gluten-free with a pasta substitute)

5-ingredient Caprese Pork Chops

Did someone say caprese? These 5-ingredient Caprese Chops would be delicious on the grill.

The World's Best Steak Marinade

Feeling Fancy? Try the World’s Best Steak Marinade (it makes cheap cuts taste gourmet!)

Restaurant-Style Steak Recipe

Rained out? Restaurant-Worthy Steak on the stove. In your face, rain!

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Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

It’s no secret that this girl loves musical theater and one of the productions I did in high school was ANNIE.  It was one of my favorite movies growing up and Carol Burnett was someone I hoped to model a theater career after. To say that the musical is special to me would be an understatement.  I think it is important to admit that I had low expectations for the new ANNIE movie.

How could anything ever live up to the original?

Imagine my surprise that this movie was as charming as the first.   This movie really DID deliver, even for an original Annie-lover,  and in honor of the film’s DVD release today, I wanted to share a special treat you can share while watching the movie!

If you haven’t seen the film yet, it really does honor the classic songs that we all love, but adds its own unique spin often involving fun sound effects, hand clapping, and a more hip hop beat to the music. There are original pieces that are worked into the music that really flow seamlessly into the original music and the film has been updated with current themes, while embracing the sweetness and wholesomeness of the original ANNIE.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In this film, Annie believes that she will be reunited with her parents,  at an Italian restaurant where they left a note on a receipt with the heart-shaped locket that any wears. Each Friday she visits the restaurant that serves the homemade cannoli that the couple shared on that night, waiting and hoping that they will finally come to retrieve her.  As she sits upon the curb, the owner comes out and tells her that they haven’t come and hands her a little to-go box of cannolis to take home. It is a ritual that is repeated in the movie and a truly sweet scene.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com

In honor of this moment in the film, I am sharing a fun recipe that you can make with a prepared pie crust and a homemade cannoli filling that is perfect to share while watching the film together.  This would also make an adorable treat for a birthday party or as a party favor in little to-go boxes tied with butcher twine.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Bowl of Pho today for providing the to-go box and note to make this pretty photo for my cannoli display.  If you are a local, it’s a must in our town to head there and get a bowl-as-big-as-your-head of chicken noodle soup.

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups from MomAdvice.com Walmart is sharing this adorable exclusive DVD set that comes with a mini plush Sandy that would be a perfect little Easter treat to share with your Annie-lover this year. The price on this set is $29.96. Wouldn’t this be the sweetest gift? Sandy even made it out of for show-and-share this week!

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat and can pick up this film! I guarantee that it is one that the whole family will love!

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Cups (For Annie the Movie)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 48 servings
 
A sweet treat to share while watching Annie! These can be made gluten-free with a simple substitution of a gluten-free pie crust!
Ingredients
  • 1 container (15 oz) whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box (you can also substitute with gluten free pie crust)
  • 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (raw sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • Additional powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Place filling in 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag; refrigerate while making cups.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured work surface, unroll pie crusts. Sprinkle each crust with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll rolling pin over sugar and cinnamon to press into pastry. With 2½- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out pastry rounds. Lightly press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cup.
  3. Bake about 10 minutes or until pastry cups are golden brown. Cool completely in pans, about 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling racks.
  4. Just before serving, remove filling from refrigerator. Cut 1 bottom corner off bag; pipe scant tablespoon filling into cooled pastry cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Store any remaining pastry cups at room temperature and filling in refrigerator.

Source: Pillsbury
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Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com *This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Easter is one of my favorite holidays and I love crafting, decorating, and especially the eating for this holiday.  Longtime readers know that I have a love affair with Peeps that have included a wreath made out of Peeps and I have even found a way to make Peep Martinis that taste divine.  Let’s just continue the mad love affair with Peeps and make a hilarious Easter surprise cupcake for your kids!

Supplies:

1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup boiling water
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 unbeaten egg whites
12 Peeps (any color)
Melon Baller

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.

Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.

Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcaks and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes from MomAdvice.com easter-surprise-peep-cupcakes-17

Don’t you hate it when your Peeps lay their eggs in your cupcakes? Ha! What a funny surprise for you kids and a fun food craft to do together as a family! I hope you love this idea and remember that you can pick up all the supplies at your local Walmart store! Happy Easter, everyone!

Easter Surprise Peeps Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A fun Easter surprise cupcake that you just so happens to be gluten-free. Fill it with your favorite egg candy and top with a marshmallow Peep!
Ingredients
  • 1 box gluten-free cake yellow cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 cup assorted mini candy-coated chocolate candies, jimmies or confetti candy sprinkles
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3 unbeaten egg whites
  • 12 Peeps (any color)
  • Melon Baller
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Place paper baking cup in each of 12 regular-size muffin tins.
  2. Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about two-thirds full). Bake as directed on box for cupcakes. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Using melon baller, scoop out center of each cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Fill each with 1 heaping teaspoonful candies.
  4. Mix sugar, cream of tartar, vanilla and egg whites in your stand mixer bowl. Add boiling water. Beat on high until the mixture forms peaks, which should be just about seven minutes. Spoon or pipe frosting on top of the cupcakes and finish with sprinkles and a Peep on top.

Recipe adapted from tablespoon
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5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

 

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!

Head to the Kenmore Blog today to see this fun 5-minute St. Patrick’s Day treat tutorial!

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Galette des Rois: Kings’ Cake

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com 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.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com
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.

Galette des Rois King's Cake recipe | MomAdvice.com

Galette des Rois: Kings' Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 2 sheets puff pastry (or 1 recipe gluten-free puff pastry)
  • 2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 whole almond, if desired
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon cream
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the alond flour, sugar, arrowroot flour, and salt. cut in the butter until incorporated. Stir in the egg and cognac. Chill.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  3. Roll the two pastry sheets to 10" squares. Using a pie plate or other round object, cut 2 10" circles.
  4. Place one circle on your lined baking sheet. Spread the apricot jam in the center, leaving a 2" edge. Top with the chilled almond filling. Place the almond in the filling.
  5. Brush water over the edge of the bottom circle. Top with the second pastry circle and pinch along the edge to seal.
  6. To crimp, use your thumb and pointer finger together, pressing the back of a paring knife into the edge to create the crease. Continue around the entire tart.
  7. Whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Brush over the entire tart. Decorate the tart by scoring the tart with a pairing knife to leave an indentation.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

 

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Eating Well During the Holidays: Light Cranberry Bar Recipe

Monday, November 24th, 2014

*This post is sponsored by Celestial Seasonings. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am very passionate about good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. You may not know that I actually went to school to study to be a dietician so I could help others eat and live better too. Although I never dreamed this would be my job, I am thankful for that background when putting together recipes for our site. I have come a long way over the years toward living a healthier lifestyle. I actually starting eating better because my body was indicating to me that something just wasn’t right after discovering I have a sensitivity to gluten. The other reason is how much better I feel when I eat well and exercise.

Today I am partnering with Celestial Seasoning Tea to share some ways that I try to stay on track for the holidays. You may not have considered tea a delicious (and healthy!) holiday indulgence, but they actually have 8 holiday offerings that include my new favorite Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Black Tea, Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland Herbal Tea, and Caramel Apple Dream that would all be lovely offerings for a post Thanksgiving feast treat.

Looking to stay on track for the holidays? Try these ideas!

Eating Well During the Holidays

Get in a Good Walk Before or After Your Feast

As you know I am absolutely obsessed with my Fitbit and we even shared a great way you can glam it up for the holidays.  Tracking my steps each day has been a great reminder to keep active and moving throughout the day. Whether you have a Fitbit, a pedometer, or use an app on your cell phone, try making a step goal for the day and get your steps in before or after your holiday feasts.

Many gyms offer a modified schedule for holidays for die-hard exercise enthusiasts (or just those of us who want to indulge in an extra slice or two of pie). Consider tackling a class in the morning, challenging your family to a game of flag football after your feast, or taking a family walk together after your dessert.
Eating Well During the Holidays

Eat Before You Eat

Since I have to be careful about what I eat for dietary reasons, I often eat before I head to a gathering because I know that many of the foods offered will leave me sick and feeling lethargic.  Consider indulging in a healthy meal or snack before heading out to your holiday gatherings that will help fill you up on the good stuff and give your stomach less room to indulge.

I like to keep a bag of spinach and roasted chicken or roasted turkey in my fridge for a quick salad with a few vegetable or fruit additions from the crisper drawer. Having a few items like these on hand during the holiday season will help you to eat healthy between the rush of holiday errands and gatherings. I have never regretted the time spent chopping and preparing my DIY salad bar for busy weeks.

Offer To Bring a Dish

I always offer to bring a dish to family gatherings that I know that I can eat and snack on. Opt for healthy options like a vegetable tray for snacking with a low-calorie dip or a fruit salad that can be a dessert replacement. Consider a lightened up holiday recipe as a dish to bring like these delicious Cranberry-Oatmeal Bars that can be enjoyed without the guilt.

Instead of coffee drowning in creamer opt to enjoy this sweet dessert with a tea that compliments it well. For these bars, I recommend the Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland Herbal Tea or, another one of my personal favorites, Gingerbread Spice.

Light Gluten-Free Cranberry Bars

Indulge Moderately

Even I can’t shy away from the dessert table around the holidays, but there are definitely fun, light desserts you can share in lieu of the calorie-laden pie.  To inspire you, here is a delicious Cranberry-Oatmeal Bar you can make for a sweet treat to enjoy with your cup of tea. May I recommend the Celestial Seasonings Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland Herbal Tea as an accompaniment?  It is a perfect pairing!  The best part, each bar is only 133 calories and has just 4.6 grams of fat.

Light Gluten-Free Cranberry Bars

Eating Well During the Holidays: Light Cranberry Bar Recipe
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
A lighter dessert option for the holiday season best paired with a cup of tea.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar $
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • Cooking spray
  • FILLING: 1⅓ cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces) $
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve ½ cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray using the bottom of a measuring cup to create a cohesive crust.
  3. To prepare filling, combine cranberries, sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling.
  4. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

 

*This post is sponsored by Celestial Seasonings. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

For our family, birthdays are all about the cake and my son’s 12th birthday was just the reason to try out a new recipe. After browsing through the cookbooks, which is the birthday child’s honorary ritual and right, he decided to repeat his choice last year with another chocolate snickerdoodle cake. I rounded out our birthday dessert table with a gluten-free lemon chiffon cake so that I could enjoy a slice of cake with the family too. I would say that this cake was just as much of a hit as the the chocolate cake and tempted me everytime I opened the fridge.

“Just one more slice,” it screamed.

I would grab a fork and nip off a bit and eat it while still standing at the fridge.

Don’t judge.

I am not much of a sweets gal, but this cake was so light and lovely that I couldn’t stop eating it.

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake Chiffon cakes are my favorite cakes because they are so light. Much like an angel food cake, they are created with egg whites which really helps with the density of the gluten-free cakes. The cake is so delicate though that I ended up wrapping the cooled cakes in saran wrap and a layer of foil and freezing them overnight so they would not tear or fall apart when I frosted the cake. I highly recommend doing that too.  I still rely upon these two 8″ Wilton pans (affiliate)  (instead of those 9″ pans that produced flat layers for me) and a good spatula (affiliate) for all my cakes. With this cake, in particular, you want to make sure you don’t produce thin cake layers that crumble when pulled from the pan.

Smoothed between the layers is a delicious lemon curd (I used this recipe!) which sounds wildly impressive, but is so easy to make that you will wonder why you never tried making it before. My children fought over who could enjoy the last of the lemon curd that was in the jar.

I broke it up by telling them that since they were going to fight about it, I was going to eat it.

That’s the kind of mom I am, a true problem-solver.

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake

The cake is then frosted with a whipped cream frosting that has the lemon curd whipped through it.

I mean, seriously. It’s as if this cake fulfilled all my food dreams.

12

Happy 12th birthday to my beautiful boy. I think this is the happiest of his birthdays and it was because there was no fuss and no elaborate themes. We had just got back from vacation, I had a millionty projects for work, and our shed was in the process of being finished.  There was no time for an elaborate birthday. It ended up being the best birthday yet.

Just friends, a takeout pizza, and some cake.

Why have I been stressing about this birthday party every year?

The smile says it all- simple is better.

I hope you can give this recipe a try. If you gluten-free cakes aren’t your thing, definitely try this Cream Cheese Pound Cake With Homemade Lemon Curd- it’s a winner too!

Gluten-Free Lemon Chiffon Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A beautiful lemon chiffon cake with lemon curd between the layers topped with a whipped topping laced with more lemon curd. It is the perfect summer dessert!
Ingredients
  • Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pans
  • 2 teaspoons rice flour, for dusting the pans
  • 1 extra large or 2 small lemons
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup orange juice (fresh or from a carton)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • For the filling and lemon whipped cream frosting: 1 jar (10 ounces) gluten-free lemon curd (or prepare the homemade version- link above)
  • 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust with the rice flour. Shake out the excess rice flour and set the pans aside.
  2. Zest a lemon and measure out two teaspoons for the cake batter and place it in a large mixing bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice through a fine sieve, discarding the seeds. Measure ¼ cup of lemon juice, pour it into the mixing bowl with the zest, and set the bowl aside.
  3. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in another large mixing bowl and the yolks in the mixing bowl with the lemon zest and juice. Beat the whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Set the beaten egg whites aside.
  4. Place the cake mix, sugar, orange juice, and oil in the bowl with the egg yolks and lemon and beat with an electric mixer and beat until mixed.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until no traces of whites remain and the batter has lightened.
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side. Place a large mixing bowl and electric mixer beaters in the refrigerator to chill.
  7. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18-22 minutes. Allow them to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Freeze the layers wrapped in saran wrap & foil overnight to produce a sturdy base for icing.
  9. Meanwhile, make the filling and frosting. Measure ⅔ cup of lemon curd for the filling and set it aside in a small microwave-safe glass bowl. Pour the cream into the chilled mixing bowl. Using the refrigerated mixer beaters, beat the cream with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 minutes. Fold in the confectioners’ sugar and ¼ cup lemon curd. Beat again at low speed until the lemon curd is incorporated, 30 seconds. Refrigerate the frosting until ready to use.
  10. Remove the layers from the freezer. To assemble the cake, place the glass bowl with the lemon curd for the filling into the microwave on high power for 10 seconds to warm it. Transfer one cake layer, right side up, to a serving plate. Spread the top with the warmed lemon curd. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first and frost the top and side of the cake with the lemon whipped cream frosting. Refrigerate the cake until time to serve.

Adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free (affiliate)

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Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

With summer in full swing, I thought I would share another yummy frozen treat that you can create with  fresh fruit. If last week’s 3-ingredient Watermelon Granita was just too light for you, you will love the bold and rich flavors of this Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream. Today I am sharing this delicious homemade ice cream that you can create with just a few ingredients and a basic ice cream maker. Of course, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, no worries! Check out this technique for making ice cream without an ice cream maker and use that this summer.

I partnered with Walmart on this project. Each month they give me a produce challenge and it constantly pushes me out of my box to try cooking with produce items that I am less familiar with and to invent new flavor combinations.

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

Have you ever cooked with plums? Confession time. I had not. Plums have never been on my radar before, but I thought I might try incorporating them into a fruit ice cream. They remind me a lot of peaches, although a bit more tart, and the flesh reminds a bit of a grape.  When selecting plums at the market,  look for ones that yield to gentle pressure and that are slightly soft at their tip. While you can also purchase plums that are firm and ripen them at home, avoid those that are excessively hard as they will be immature and will probably not develop a good taste and texture profile. When making this ice cream, it is better to go for a fruit that is a bit more ripe to add to the sweetness and also make it easy to remove the pit. Just as a reminder though, if you are unhappy with your purchase for any reason, Walmart does offer a 100% freshness guarantee on all of their produce.

Plums that are not yet ripe can be left at room temperature. As this fruit tends to mature quickly, check on them in the next day or two to ensure that they do not become overripe. Once they are ripe, plums can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

The roasting of the plums is a bit torturous because the house smells heavenly.The worst part is that then you have to scrape all of that heaven into your blender and then wait a whole day before you can churn it into ice cream. To help with these difficulties, be sure to make an extra pan of these and eat them with a pint of vanilla ice cream from the freezer. You will thank me later.

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

The beautiful hue of this ice cream is all naturally made. The skin give this ice cream it’s pinkish-purplish hue that happens to be my daughter’s favorite color. I loved this color so much that I decided to make this post dark and moody like these plums. The richness of the fruit deserved a little of the dark treatment on the shots. I hope you love them as much as I do. I admit that experimenting with light while photographing a frozen treat might have not been my smartest moment. In the end though, I loved how these turned out and am thankful that I have a creative platform where I can practice my techniques.

I hope you can treat yourself to this rich, slightly sweet, slightly tart, and fully roasted flavor of this Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream for a summer treat this year! If you are looking for more ideas to try with fresh produce this summer? Be sure to check out my Baked Strawberry Doughnuts, my Blueberry Sangria Lemonade, my Grilled Tomato Bread With Prosciutto, my Fresh Peach Sorbet, our Slow Cooker Honey Crisp Apple Oatmeal, my 3-ingredient Watermelon Granita,  and my fresh Gluten-Free Orange Chicken for some fun ways to incorporate fresh produce in your family’s diet!

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream

Roasted Plum & Cinnamon Ice Cream
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Plums are roasted in cinnamon & sugar and then blended into cream to make a rich ice cream for the summer months.
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ripe plums, halved and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon (or more, depending on your taste)
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the plums in a 9x13" baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle plums with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and a few pinches of salt.
  3. Roast the plums for 20-25 minutes until they are fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add 2 cups heavy cream, sugar, honey and vanilla extract to a saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add a ¼ cup of cream mixture ( to the jar of a blender, along with the roasted plums and their juices. Blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. If you have a high-speed blender, your pulp should be fully blended. If not, you can pour the mixture through a sieve to make sure you get rid of any pieces.
  6. Add the remaining milk to the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours of overnight.
  7. Churn the mixture in the bowl of your ice cream maker, according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Serve immediately for soft serve or alternatively transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight.

Adapted Slightly from A Cozy Kitchen.

walmart_mom_disclaimer

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Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com

Every summer I feel as though I time my family activities by the season of berries that’s ripe for the pickin’. There are trips to the strawberry fields, where our knees become encrusted with the straw that is used to mulch between the rows. There are blueberry picking adventures, the sun beating down on us as we pull handfuls of bulbous berries into small buckets.

The raspberries, though, they happen in our own backyard. The far corner in the back of the yard is devoted to the thorny canes, poking up and often trying to run into other parts of the yard. They start the spring off looking like nothing more than bare twigs, and by June they’re full of leaves and flowers and then bright red berries.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com

We pick bowl fulls for breakfast, adding a few to our morning yogurt, stirring them into our oatmeal. We drop them into sparkling juices to toast special occasions. My kids, barefoot and still dripping from the pool, hover over the prickly branches, sacrificing themselves for a few of the tart treats. But when the summer sun is hot and unforgiving, the best way to enjoy them is to gather up as many as you can and blend them into a cold, sweet cup of summer.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet Recipe on MomAdvice.com Recipe Notes:

I love raspberry and white chocolate together, and while you can use any white chocolate you desire, a good quality one will definitely go father here. It’s worth it for the small amount you use. I used a Lindt Lindor Truffle Bar, which has a firm white chocolate outside and a softer, as the name suggests, truffled center, and I love that it doesn’t get too hard when frozen.

Yes, I realize this has an ice cream maker in the recipe. If you don’t have one, sorbet is a hard thing to master. The ice cream maker helps it freeze evenly and quickly, which gives you that smooth texture that you think of when you think sorbet. However, if you don’t have one, don’t despair. Put the mix in a zip-top bag, and massage the bag every half hour or so in the freezer. This will help it to freeze evenly, and you’ll get a delicious frozen treat.

The vodka helps the mix from freezing solid. If you are opposed to any alcohol in your sorbet, try adding a tablespoon of honey or golden syrup instead.

Raspberry White Chocolate Sorbet
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 cups frozen raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons vodka
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for five minutes . Remove from heat, pour into a heat-proof bowl, and refrigerate until chilled.
  2. Once the syrup is chilled, combine the raspberries, vanilla, and vodka in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
  3. Press the mixture through a sieve to remove pulp and seeds. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker, adding in the white chocolate at the end. Transfer to a container and freeze.

 

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