Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com Thank you, Dunkin’ At Home, for sponsoring today’s post! 

When I lived in Massachusetts, I had a daily run over to my local Dunkin’ Donuts® to grab my morning cup of coffee. I became such a regular at it, the guy behind the corner would look up and say, “Skim Milk, two sugars?”

 

You know me so well, Sir.

Oh, those were THE DAYS when I sipped a cup of coffee on my walk from the shop to work and where I felt important because someone remembered my coffee just like I liked it.

Mornings look a heck of a lot different now and are often spent in a frantic state of panic over making sure everyone gets out the door on time with lunches packed and backpacks stuffed with everything they need. Someone making me coffee now is a rarity so I thoughtfully program a pot the night before for myself.

You deserve the best, Madam.

And since I deserve the best and still love that quiet cup, I wait until the house is empty and indulge fully in those first morning sips.

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com

Each morning I treat myself to an hour of reading with my hot coffee and then I repeat this same little treat in the afternoon the hour before they come back.  I consider it my two favorite indulgences during the day and gives me a chance to get in some really great books.

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com

I, honestly, rarely go out for coffee anymore and instead I invested in a great coffeemaker and make it at home. Since I drink my coffee black, I love flavored coffees and Dunkin’ (TRULY) makes some of my absolute favorites. If you haven’t tried their Bakery Series ® Coffee, you are in for a delicious treat. A couple of my favorites are Cinnamon Coffee Roll and Caramel Coffeecake that I was able to find at my local grocery store. If you happen to be a K-Cup user, you can also score a delicious Chocolate Glazed Donut flavor. You can find all of these delicious options where you buy your groceries! Check out their website for the scoop!

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com

For my afternoon indulgence, I wanted to recreate one of my favorite treats, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies, into a gluten-free version that our whole family could enjoy. My biggest concern with modifying this recipe was that I would have a dense and dry cake when replacing the flour. I remembered though that coffee has the ability to enhance and really bring out chocolate flavoring without adding a noticeable coffee taste. To keep these brownies fudgy, I added four tablespoons of coffee to my standard recipe and replaced the regular flour with this gluten-free version.

Dare I say that these brownies are actually LIGHTER than the originals? In fact, my husband kept saying, “Are you SURE these are gluten-free? I mean, are you REALLY sure?” Yes, after our fair share of terrible gluten-free baking experiences, I couldn’t believe how much the coffee added to the flavoring and the lightness of this recipe. It is so fluffy, in fact, that you might mistake it for cake!

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com

The other struggle I have with gluten-free brownies is getting them to hold their shape, but the coffee really made a difference in how these held together. These were a breeze to cut into squares, especially when using my favorite brownie cutting trick…a plastic knife! I always keep one in our utensil drawer to get clean (not crumbly) brownies. Lining the brownie pan with parchment paper also helps the brownies to hold their shape and cuts down on clean-up.

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies from MomAdvice.com

I hope you can give the Dunkin’ Donuts® coffee a try at home and I hope you can mix up a quick batch of these Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies for the perfect treat to accompany it. I have found that if there is leftover coffee (does this even happen?), that adding it to my brownies always enhances their flavoring.

Treat yo’self!

Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Brownies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Get ready for fame because these brownies will make you FAMOUS with your friends. This is a perfect treat to indulge in or to share with someone you love! You won't believe these are gluten-free!
Ingredients
  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons coffee (I used Dunkin' Donuts Caramel Coffeecake)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (see above for recommended suggestion)
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch square metal cake pan with parchment paper, draping the parchment paper over the edges.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter with the unsweetened chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl begin whisking together the dry ingredients. In this bowl you will mix your dark cocoa, flour, and sugar. Once your dry ingredients are mixed together, we can begin incorporating the wet ingredients. Add your eggs, cooled coffee, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix them in with a spatula or use your stand mixer to mix these. Once these are incorporated, you can slowly add in your cooled chocolate and then incorporate that into your batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  5. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the batter. Using a butter knife, swirl the salt into the batter.
  6. Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for about 33-35 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still a bit soft and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out coated with a little of the batter.
  7. Let the brownies cool to room temperature. Lift the brownies from the pan and peel back the parchment paper. Cut the brownies into bite-sized squares.
  8. Serve at room temperature.
  9. Side note: The salted fudge brownies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and frozen for up to 1 month.

Thank you, Dunkin’ At Home, for sponsoring today’s post! 

 

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How To Make Smoothie Bowls (GIVEAWAY with Mamma Chia!!)

Monday, September 19th, 2016

How to Make Smoothie Bowls Tutorial This post is sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

I am always on the hunt for great post-workout snacks that can keep me fueled throughout the day.  Today I wanted to share with you how to make two delicious smoothie bowls and I am pairing them with a fun new drink from Mamma Chia, called Chia Energy Beverages,  that you can now find on Walmart shelves.  Doesn’t that sound like a delicious pairing?

Mamma Chia at Walmart

I always struggle with finding new things at the store so, in case you are on the hunt, I wanted to show you where you can find them at Walmart. These drinks can be found in the produce section at the front of the store.  Our drinks were on full display on the top shelves and come in 4 flavors: Grape Power, Cherry Charge, Blackberry Blast, & Raspberry Razz. These drinks are the first beverage that combine chia with the energy of guayusa.

For those of us with a coffee addiction (ahem!), these are a great way to get energy for the day without that caffeine crash.

Caffeine crashes are THE WORST.

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com As you know, I have been struggling with my health and I am really committed to eating better so that I can improve how I feel. The founder of Mamma Chia, Janie Hoffman, was also struggling with many debilitating autoimmune disorders and found a great deal of relief from adding chia into her diet. Her mission was to share that gift with others so that they can experience the health benefits too. I also love that the company donates a portion of their proceeds to support farmers, community groups, & organizations that build healthy, local food systems. 

It makes you feel doubly good about your purchase!

Today I thought I would incorporate the power of chia, not only in our drink, but as a topping in a healthy smoothie bowl. Chia is actually considered a superfood because chia seeds are rich in omega-3’s, fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. They also help you to sustain energy levels naturally while helping you stay fuller longer.

Today we are topping our smoothie bowls with chia. If you haven’t had a smoothie bowl before, you are in for a treat.  I understand that many fancy-schmancy breakfast joints serve these now.

How lucky are you that you can save some money and make these at home for a fraction of the cost?

Let me share two recipes for smoothie bowsl with you and don’t forget to stick around to the bottom of this post for our giveaway with Mamma Chia- yay! 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

The idea is to make the smoothie thicker (make sure you have a powerful blender for this one) by using less liquid to create a thicker consistency. The fun part is the layering of delicious additions on top.

On this Chocolate Cherry Bowl, I have topped it with fresh raspberries, toasted coconut, & more chia. Try any combination of flavors you like though!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
 
Smoothie bowls make the perfect snack or breakfast. Top with your favorite oatmeal toppings or try our suggestions for a healthy start to your day.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup avocado
  • ¼ plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Toppings: toasted coconut, berries, chia
Instructions
  1. Combine all smoothie bowl ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

I love berry anything and I loved pairing a Raspberry Smoothie Bowl with the delicious flavor of the Chia Energy Blackberry Blast drink. I still wanted some of the chocolate flavor in this one so I topped it with a chocolate granola, and chia.  The vibrant hue from the raspberries in this one make such a pretty bowl, don’t they?

This is certainly a powerful motivator to get my workout done so I can enjoy this snack when I get home.

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2 bowls
 
Give me all the berries! This Raspberry Smoothie Bowl is packed with berries and can be topped with crunchy granola, chia, and more berries for a fun post-workout treat.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • Toppings: granola, raspberries, blueberries, and chia
Instructions
  1. Place all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings.

Mamma Chia Energy Beverages

Today I’m giving away to one lucky winner a $50 prize pack from Mamma Chia that will include one each of the Mamma Chia’s new organic Chia Energy Beverages and some of their other delicious products. Please enter the giveaway in the widget below and I hope this post inspires you to give these new drinks a try!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl from MomAdvice.com This post was sponsored by Mamma Chia.  Thank you for supporting the companies that make this site possible! 

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DIY Snack Station

Monday, August 15th, 2016

diy-snack-station

This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I became a mom, I began to realize the beauty in one-handed snacks. When my babies were small, I had a hard time holding a baby and feeding myself so I created a basket of one-handed snacks that would keep me fueled throughout the day.

Now that my kids are older, you would think that I would have loads more time to care for myself.  I have found though that although my children aren’t necessarily as demanding as they were, their activity schedule certainly is. I am still struggling to keep myself fueled as we run from activity to activity.

If you struggle with keeping yourself AND your kids fueled, I wanted to share with you a fun snack station we created to encourage ALL of us to grab healthy snacks more regularly. This diy snack station was made with a basic small bar cart and is fully stocked for our whole family.

DIY Snack Station Tutorial

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I headed to my local superstore to gather up four metal pails that had chalkboard labels on front for our little diy snack station and found this sweet little bar cart on summer clearance for 75% off. This is the perfect time to stock up on this summer entertaining accessory and keep it on budget for your family.

We then headed on over to Kroger  (check out the store locator to find one near you!) to grab some healthy options for our snack cart. The beauty in the chalkboard labeling is that you can switch snacks based on what’s in season, what’s on sale, or what you are craving that week. Have your kids be in charge of the labeling to work on mastering their spelling!

Our four pails had bananas (separated for easy grabbing), raisins/nut mixes, Jack Link’s in a few varieties, and crackers with peanut butter. On the bottom tier, I added apples and oranges, a variety of flavored waters, and some fun straws for sipping.

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Snacks with lots of protein are my favorite because they stop the HANGRY from coming on.

Tell me that you know a little about hangry moments too please! I need to know I’m not alone in this!

As someone who fights low blood sugar (as do my children), I have found that protein keeps me from fighting those sugar highs and lows.

Beef jerky can be a great protein-filled option and Jack Link’s is protein-packed with a whopping 12 grams of protein.  I like that you don’t have to be limited to just one flavor because it comes in tons of varieties. From the soy and ginger combo in Teriyaki, to a layer of coarse pepper in their Peppered option, to the smoky mesquite flavoring of their Original turkey, to the bold and savory offerings of their Jack Link’s Original. We are big fans of these options for keeping the hangry at bay.

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For a sweet and savory combo, pair your jerky with fresh fruit for a balanced snack. Bananas always offer a good bang for your buck, apples can be sliced for eating on-the-go, and easy-to-peel clementine’s are always a big favorite in our house. Be sure to look for fruit that is on season for the most affordable (and freshest) options.

We are also really big fans of flavored waters in our house. It makes drinking water a little bit more fun.

A pretty papered straw doesn’t hurt either. What can I say? I am a blogger and paper straws are kind of a requirement over here.

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We hope this post inspires you to create a snack station for your own family! We are thankful to have one at our house as we head back to the grind of school and activities. It is so nice to know that one-handed snacks are on hand for life’s busy moments!

This post has been sponsored by Jack Link’s in partnership with Ahalogy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mini Star Cakes (Star Darlings Book Giveaway!!)

Monday, May 16th, 2016

3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored by Disney Press. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site! 

I am raising a big fan of the Star Darlings series and we are so excited to giveaway an amazing prize pack today for a tween girl in your life. Today’s craft is to show you how to make a mini star cakes that you can prepare out of just 3 items from the grocery store. These cakes are easy enough that your kid can put these together and impressive enough to share with your friends.

Emily’s fangirl status of the Star Darlings series is truly legit because the #1 gift she wants to share with her friends are these books. They also are the books she has been taking to school each day to read during her reading free time. Is it just me or do you struggle with finding tween books that you can really get behind? These books are positive and minus the sass. I am all about girl power and positivity so I am thrilled that these have been such a hit in our house. I am also so happy she is sharing the same message with her friends.

As you may recall, we shared a really fun dreamcatcher we made together in honor of the first six books! Today we are sharing an easy craft your daughter can do together after she has read the books. Did you know that books 6-9 are out on store shelves now? Yay!

Star Darlings Book Series

Not only have the next four books hit the shelves, but they also released  Star Darlings Collection Volume #1 which is a brand new bind up book that includes the first three books in the Star Darlings series. You can learn lots more about the Star Darlings series on their webpage. They have also expanded their line to include a doll series and even an app to continue the positive messaging for tween girls.  Cassie Comes Through, Piper’s Perfect Dream, Astra’s Mixed Up Mission, & Tessa’s Lost & Found are the new books keeping my daugher up late at night reading.

In honor of these sweet books, Emily & I have created an easy 3-ingredient star cake.

3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

 

Supplies Needed

1 frozen prepared pound cake

2 tubs of frosting (you should only need one, but we offer the advice of two for heavy pourers- wink, wink!)

Food Coloring

Sprinkles (optional)

Star Cookie Cutter

3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

Directions for Mini Star Cakes

1. Allow your pound cake to thaw for a few minutes and then, using a serrated knife, trim the top to level the cake. Slice the cake in half lengthwise. (I did this for my daughter, but she was able to do the rest on her own).

2. Using a cookie cutter, carefully cut out your star shapes and place them on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the frosting avalanche.

3. Divide your icing into two microwave safe bowls and tint to your desired colors. Place the frosting in the microwave for 10 seconds. Stir the frosting and then place back in the microwave for another 10 seconds (or until the icing looks pourable).

4. Pour icing over the stars and finish with sprinkles. Allow these to harden and then eat your masterpiece.

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3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

Star Darlings Giveaway

Check Out This Giveaway!

One (1) winner will receive:

Star Darlings Collection Volume 1 (includes Books #1-3)

Star Darlings Books #4-9

Star Darlings Wish Board;

Plus a set of five (5) Star Darlings 10.5” dolls!

Follow the widget below to enter to win! Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

3-ingredient mini star cakes from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored by Disney Press. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site! 

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DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

This post is sponsored by Airheads. Thank you for supporting the companies that support us! 

Are you a skilled decorator of cakes? I wish I was, but I am not!  I have never been good with fondant decorating and have always found the flavor lacking. Thankfully, there is a delicious substitute lurking in the candy aisle that you can mold & shape into whatever your heart’s desire is. Did you know Airheads candy can add that decorative touch to your cake decorating in just a few easy steps?

Today’s tutorial shows you how to transform Airheads into the perfect crown cake topper in just 5 easy steps. Wouldn’t this be a great princess cake? The best part is that, unlike fondant, it tastes sweet and delicious and will be a crown worth fighting for when those slices are dished up. For those with food allergies, it is also peanut and gluten-free! Yay!

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed:

Airheads (I used Blue Raspberry, Cherry, & White Mystery for my crown)

Mini cookie cutters- metal or plastic, I used a heart with a jagged edging

Parchment Paper

Fondant Roller

Cake (we picked ours up in the bakery section of our supermarket)

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Pull out 3 cherry Airheads and line them up in one long line, slightly overlapping the edges. Place these between two sheets of parchment paper and roll with a fondant roller to smooth out your seams. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect because we will be adding a dot detail to camouflage any flaws on the crown. Set aside.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

  1. Microwave a white mystery Airheads for 3-5 seconds and then roll them out between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a mini heart shaped cookie cutter, press the cookie cutter firmly into the white mystery Airheads and pull up. Push the heart shape out gently and then place it upside down (with your heart tip pointing up) to create your crown points. Do this all the way around, layering one heart between two hearts as pictured. Feel free to microwave and re-roll the Airheads to get as many hearts as you can out of each one.  Press these firmly into the crown and continue layering until you get to the end.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

  1. Bring one end of the crown, to the other to create your shape. Using your fingers, gently rub the seam in a bit to create a smooth finish. Set your crown aside.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

  1. Grab your Blue Raspberry Airheads and pull off small sections of the candy and roll between your hands until you have created a dot shape. Take the dot and press firmly into the crown, spacing it as evenly as possible to add a decorative detail to finish.

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

 

  1. Place the crown in the refrigerator until it is time for your cake so it can harden up a bit and to help it keep its shape. Once it is cake time, remove from the fridge and rest it on the top of your cake. How easy is that?

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DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

Airheads-Crown-Cake-Topper

DIY Airheads Crown Cake Topper from MomAdvice.com

 For more fun ideas on how to craft with Airheads visit and follow them on Pinterest. To learn more about Airheads candy visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

This post is sponsored by Airheads. Thank you for supporting the companies that support us! 

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Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

It’s that time of year again where I show you how incredibly awesome it is to prepare your Thanksgiving meal ahead and pack it away in your freezer for the big upcoming feast. Over the years I have tried so many recipes to share with you and today I want to show you my foolproof technique meal for creating a delicious meal right from your freezer and to your table that will taste like you cooked it that very day.

Before we dive into all the recipes, here are a few items I recommend having in your arsenal to make your meal preparation day easier and to actually create room for all of these delicious dishes.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Ninja Cooker For Preparation & Buffet

This item is definitely a splurge item, but has paid for itself over and over again for me. The Ninja Cooker has two functions on it (Stovetop & Slow Cooker) that allow you to brown meat inside of it and then switch to slow cooking. It also has a Buffet setting that is perfect for using on Thanksgiving Day to keep your dishes warm. I can’t recommend this gadget enough and consider it to be a smart holiday investment. Did I mention it is nonstick? DREAMY!

Ziploc Freezer Bags For Food Storage for the Big Day

I love, love, love Ziploc Freezer Bags for their stackability for storing our food for the big day. I use these to package up my stuffing and casseroles to help me pack more in my freezer without taking up so much space like a disposable pan would. Make sure you reach for the freezer bags and not the regular ones though to prevent freezer burn. When in doubt if something will hold, always double bag!

Chinet Bakeware For An Elegant Freezer Meal Spread

Since I freeze my feast for Thanksgiving Day, I love the ease of stacking (and clean-up) when it comes to disposable pans. Chinet makes ones that are nonstick and I have found them to be a bit more durable for transporting from oven to table. Since they are made of paper, the first time I used them I was a little scared how my food would turn out, but I have had great success with these and find them to be an affordable alternative to foil pans for Thanksgiving Day. If you want to keep things looking nice, these casserole baskets (less than $10 each) are a clever trick I use to disguise a disposable pan.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Pie Cutters For Glamming Up Store-Bought Pies

If baking pies isn’t your thing, consider buying a little pie dough and adding a personalized touch with an inexpensive set of decorative pie cutters. You simply roll out the pre-packaged dough, cut out a piece with the pie cutter and press to make a detailed impression on the top. Transfer these delicate details to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed. Add a glossy shine with a little egg or sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on top to add a little flavor. Between this and a glammed up whip cream or quick topping, your store-bought pies will be a fabulous addition to the dinner table.

Carry-Out Dishes For Packing Leftovers

Sharing the leftovers is not only a nice gesture for your guests, but it makes sure that all the dishes get eaten. I use my takeout pho containers when packaging food up for myself, but these Fitpacker containers would be lovely to share and let your guests take home food or to prepare a few lunches/dinners for your own family for the week so you can really put your feet up!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip from MomAdvice.com

Appetizers

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball- Need I say more?

Spunky Spinach Dip- A delicious combination of spinach, salsa, & cream cheese. Serve with carrots and tortilla chips for dipping

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip- Prepare until the point of baking. Freeze for the big day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip- AKA Crack Dip, as it is so lovingly referred to in our house.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Appetizer

Gluten-Free Meatballs- Bake & prepare sauce. Freeze separately for the big day. Warm up on the stove top and then skewer with baby mozzarella balls.

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix- Would also make a great hostess gift if you aren’t making the meal!

Cranberry Spread- Tangy and a delicious dip to pair with crackers.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Sides

Green Bean Casserole- Panko with homemade mushroom cream sauce- it’s divine!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes- I always double batch this recipe because these are the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce- This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever eaten- truly!

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls- This foolproof recipe makes storing a bread machine worth it! Be sure to read this article for lots of bread machine tips!

Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe- Finding out I could make this early last year saved me so much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread- Bake & freeze for the big day!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Fancy Up Store-Bought Pies

Desserts

Store-Bought Pie Tricks- Wow, your guests with a few easy details

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust- Prepare and freeze discs of dough

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping- Store wet and dry ingredients separately for the big day

Spiced Whipped Cream- Make-ahead and store in the fridge for the big day

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes- A promise of all the good treats to come this holiday season

Not cooking? Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

Mini Pie Hostess Favor

 

Mini Pie Gifts

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

Sugar & Spice Nuts Mix

Sugar & Spice Nuts

Knitted Sweater Cozies

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Wine Hats & Scarves

Wine Hats & Scarves

Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Free Thanksgiving Printable

Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Friendsgiving Feast

Friendsgiving Feast

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

I hope these ideas inspire you! If you are looking for a great turkey recipe, be sure to check out this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast or just use this simple technique for a small crowd to prepare a boneless breast! Happy holidays, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though! 

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How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies from MomAdvice.com

I’m so excited that October is here so we can began diving into all things pumpkin! Today I am over on the Kenmore blog sharing a super easy snack for your kids created with just a few pantry staples that you can whip up together to celebrate Fall. Aren’t these the cutest? My kids loved these pumpkin hand pies with big glasses of milk for their snack  this week!

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies from MomAdvice.com

Head on over to the Kenmore Blog today to snag this easy Halloween treat recipe! xo

Smart Pool Snack Ideas

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

Smart Pool Snack Ideas from MomAdvice.com

If you live at the pool like we do in the summer, you won’t want to miss today’s post over on the Wild Oats blog. After years of pool days, we have learned a few things about the best snacks to pack and we are sharing them on the blog today.

Whether you love sweet or salty, there is a snack for you on today’s list! I can’t wait to hear what your winning pool snack combination is!

Head on over to the Wild Oats blog to get the scoop on the best snack ideas for the pool!

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MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

*This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

We have had so much fun preparing and hosting our MINIONS Backyard Bash in honor of the film’s launch on July 10th! Today we want to show you how we decorated for our party, the fun goodie bags we got to share with our friends, and an easy cupcake minion you can create for your very own party (no decorating skills required!).

In the new film, you get to go back to where the story of the Minions all began! Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, the Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters-from T. rex to Napoleon-the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a terrible depression. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob decide to seek a new boss to follow and decide to make a journey to find their new master. This is where they meet their new potential master, Scarlet Overkill (voiced by Sandra Bullock- yay!), the world’s first-ever female super-villain.   They travel from Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in London. It is here that they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

We can’t wait to see this family-friendly film together and were selected to help throw a party in honor of this film’s launch. #luckyducks

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

We got an incredible package in the mail that included all the party supplies we would need to execute our backyard bash as well as fantastic party favors that included adorable beach towels, beach balls, and PlayDoh sets for all of our guests.

The only thing we really needed was Mother Nature to cooperate with our plans.

Unfortunately, it has rained for two straight weeks in Indiana so we had to move this party indoors and enjoy the fun inside instead!

Thanks, Indiana!

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

We weren’t going to let a little rain ruin our party though! We outfitted our table in blue and yellow to go with our theme. I let my kids do the decorating while I prepared our snacks.  The goggles, of course take center stage in this set-up. We secured a set of adorable goggles to each of the chairs with a little washi tape for each person to take home. Our centerpiece was also adorned with goggles and we even stapled some together to make a goggle banner over our table.

Lemonade, popcorn, and cupcakes were served for a little rainy day magic together.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

The Minions are a hit with kids of all ages so we invited our friends and cousins to join us for the afternoon. We loved sharing our Cupcake Minion with them and everyone can’t wait to catch the movie this summer!

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

In honor of the film, I’d love to show you how to create this cupcake minion for your party table!  Before we begin, I want to encourage you to make this as easy on yourself as possible! If you want to make this party treat REALLY fast, call your local bakery and ask for two dozen white cupcakes with the frosting on the side. This is what we did to save some time and our local grocer only charged $14.99. 

Supplies Needed

Two Dozen White Cupcakes

Frosting, tint half of it yellow and then other half blue (I recommend these Wilton food colorings to achieve this bold shade)

1 canning jar ring

Black licorice (if you aren’t a fan of black licorice, we tried a new chocolate Twizzler variety that worked perfectly)

1 Hershey Kiss

Scissors

Cookie Sheet

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

1. Tint over half your frosting in yellow and the other portion in blue. Set one cupcake aside for your eye.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

2. Ice as I have shown here (15 Yellow, 4 Blue, 4 Half Yellow & Half Blue, 1 Left Without Icing!!). You can pipe the icing on, if you prefer a more polished look, or you can just spread the icing on with an icing spatula, as we have shown here.

3. Cut your black licorice up in random smaller pieces and apply to the top of your Minion head to create the hair.

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

4. Trim the top off of your cupcake to expose the white cake of your cupcake for the eye (pardon our picture, we decided to do that one last minute!). Make sure to not trim it too deep, so that your canning ring will fit around on the outside of it. Place your canning ring around the cupcake top to create your goggle.

5. Invert a Hershey Kiss into the center for your eye. Place the cupcake on top of your other cupcakes in the center. Finish by tucking two pieces of licorice underneath the eye to create the glasses. Trim the licorice to fit across the cupcakes on the end. Finish by bending your licorice into a smiley face! How easy was that?

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

MINIONS Backyard Bash & Easy Cupcake Minion Tutorial from MomAdvice.com #MinionsParty

We hope these ideas inspired you for a MINION’S Backyard Bash of your own! Remember to catch the film on July 10th! We can’t wait to hear what you think about it!

Get connected with the film!

Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+

Like ‘MINIONS’ on Facebook

Visit the Official Site

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Check out the trailer below and enjoy a fun movie night out with the whole family this month! Yay!

*This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

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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! 

For more fun summer activities, check out this page of great ideas! 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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