Archive for February 2015

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops with Big Hero 6!

February 27, 2015
Fluffy marshmallows on popsicle sticks, dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkles! The perfect treat for any party or holiday!
#BigHero6MovieNight #CollectiveBias

Silas has been OBSESSED with the release of the Big Hero 6 Blu Ray for months now. He was really begging us to take us to the movies when it was out, but you know what? I'm too cheap. Ha!

You know what I mean - for the four of us to go to the movies, get snacks, the whole nine yards - I'd need to dip into their college savings. Not gonna happen! So I pretty much couldn't wait to tell him that they were releasing it on DVD on February 24th.

February 24th just so happens to be his 6th birthday. 

Coincidence? I think not. :D

So of course, while he was at school I ran out to Target to pick it up. 

We had such a fun time celebrating his birthday the weekend before, but I was SO excited to celebrate with a special movie night at home. I was thinking of turning all the lights out in the living room to make it feel like a movie theater, bringing down some blankets and pillows and cuddling up together for a peaceful night enjoying the movie. All went according to my plan... until the first superhero action scene appeared. 

Off go the blankets, and there they go running around the living room, through the kitchen and dining room, and around and around again. Only to be repeated during the next action scene. And the next. 

Sigh. So much for a peaceful night at home with the boys!

Thank goodness I at least thought of the PERFECT treat to go with out Big Hero 6 movie night.

These Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops were easy, yummy, and reminded all of us of the movie's hilarious character Baymax. Before I had even seen the movie, I thought he looked like a giant marshmallow and the main character, Hiro actually says it, too! 

I let the boys sprinkle theirs with their favorite "superhero" colors: red, blue, and green. And then Wesley discovered the spring colored sprinkles in the cabinet and we had to use those, too. Feel free to use chopped nuts or even crushed cookies instead of the sprinkles!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pops

  • 12 oz bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 24 large marshmallows
  • 12 popsicle sticks
  • colored sprinkles and nuts as desired
Cooking Directions
  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl as directed on package. Meanwhile, stack two large marshmallows onto each popsicle stick.
  2. Using a spoon, spread melted chocolate over marshmallow pop and tap repeatedly against the side of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate.
  3. Add sprinkles. Place on cookie sheet lined with foil.
  4. Once all pops have been dipped and decorated, place cookie sheet in refrigerator for 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened. To remove, gently peel foil off backs of pops.
  5. Serve immediately, keep leftovers refrigerated.

These pops are not only perfect for a Big Hero 6 movie night at home, but any holiday or party! Just change out the sprinkles to match the occasion - you could even wrap them in cellophane and colored ribbon to give away. I'm thinking Easter baskets!

Ok, is there anything cuter than chubby toddler fingers? I was actually surprised at how chunky baby-like they still look. Especially when all the rest of him is not so baby-like anymore. :) 

We had a wonderful movie night at home together, despite my whiplash watching my little superheros run around just like Big Hero 6, and I have to say - I fell in love with this movie! It had a great message about revenge and even brought a tear to my eye a few times. I highly recommend it for your family!

What are some fun ways that you like to enjoy a movie night in with your family? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

Be sure to follow Target on Facebook and Twitter for more Big Hero 6 fun!

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Broccoli Cheddar Tuna Noodle Casserole

My version of the classic tuna noodle casserole with boxed mac & cheese as a shortcut - such a fun twist on this family favorite!

Ok, full disclosure here: I'm the only one in my family that liked this dinner. But can I let you in on a little secret?

They're weird.

Ha! Paul only likes tuna in sandwiches, any time I've ever made it in a casserole he's not interested. I have to hand it to the boys though, they both tried this dinner and both said they would have liked it better without the tuna in the dish. :/

Oh well, more for me!

If you are a fan of the classic tuna noodle casserole, you will LOVE this shortcut version! Actually, it was created out of a silly mistake - I accidentally bought Cream of Broccoli soup instead of Cream of Mushroom soup. Considering my obsession with the broccoli cheddar combo, I just went with it and I'm SO glad I did - the flavor is perfect!

I will say though, with all the cheese and cream soup, it is a bit heavy. I would definitely serve this along side some roasted vegetables or a salad with a lighter vinaigrette. A perfect dinner for me!

Broccoli Cheddar Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • 7 1/4 oz package boxed mac & cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 10 3/4 oz can cream of broccoli soup
  • 2 (5 oz) cans chunk light tuna, in water, drained
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare macaroni and cheese according directions, adding in the cheese packet along with the milk and butter.
  2. Stir in soup and tuna. Spread into a 3 quart baking dish and top with cheese.
  3. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Love that melted cheese on top!

Here are some more of my favorite cheesy dinners:

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Cheddar Taco Pasta

Broccoli Cheddar Chowder

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German Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

February 26, 2015
From scratch classic apple cake with a homemade cream cheese frosting. The perfect dessert for company!

I'm pretty much obsessed with apple desserts. 

There are quite a bit of buffet restaurants around here and I always surprise myself because given the choice between all sorts of desserts, I almost always pick something apple-related!

And OH MAN cream cheese frosting. I honestly have to watch how much I make the stuff because it's way too tempting to just forgo whatever cake it was I was making, and just settle down with a bowl of the frosting and a spoon. Ha!

Good thing for us, this apple cake and cream cheese frosting are a match made in heaven. The apples in the cake batter almost have a nutty flavor and it perfectly compliments the creamy frosting. Don't be alarmed if the cake settles a bit in the middle while cooling, the apples remain moist and that's why it may sink a bit. You'll be slathering on the frosting to cover it up anyway!

This is a great cake to make for company or for a potluck dinner - it makes a 9 x 13 size dish, so lots of servings here!

German Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Cooking Directions
  1. Beat eggs, oil, and sugar until smooth with an electric mixer. Add in flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until batter is thick.
  2. Stir in apples. Spread batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, or until a cake tester comes out crumbly. Cool completely.
  4. For frosting, beat together butter and cream cheese. Gradually add in powdered sugar beating well after each addition.
  5. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cake.

Absolutely delicious with a cup of coffee!

Here are some more of my favorite apple desserts:

Ugly Pie

Crockpot Apple Pie

Apple Butter Mix in a Jar!

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Melted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate

February 19, 2015
This quick, stove-top hot chocolate has melted marshmallows in the mix and piled high on top! The perfect treat after a day playing in the snow!

My boys are SO ANNOYING with hot chocolate. Please tell me I'm not alone! I usually grab the hot chocolate packets from the store, or use the hot chocolate K-cups I still have hanging around from when they came with the machine. They beg and beg and beg me for hot chocolate, but it's always the same story. 

"MOOOOM! It's too HOT!!"

And so off they play while they wait for it to cool off, and by the time they come back to it there's little bits floating in the top where it separated from the water. Of course at that point, they won't drink it. Sigh. 

I honestly don't like hot chocolate made with water, either. It has to be made with milk for me! I remember once in high school I went with my mom to a small shopping village near our house at the time, and in the middle of the cobblestone walkway there was a small cart that was selling cups of hot chocolate. Steamed milk and chocolate syrup with whipped cream on top. Heavenly! 

This Melted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is perfect for kids  - no separating as it cools and the kids loved sipping it through the mounds of marshmallows on top. The perfect treat after a day of sledding in the cold winter weather!

Melted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate

Total time: 10 minutes
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows, plus more for topping mugs
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients over medium heat.
  2. Cook for about 10 minutes or until marshmallows are completely melted, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour into four mugs and top with additional marshmallows before serving.

A mug of this warm hot chocolate would taste so good right about now!

Here are some more of my favorite warm drink recipes:

Skinny Salted Caramel Coffee

Spiced Apple Tea

Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate

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Garlic Roasted Green Beans Au Gratin

February 17, 2015
Fresh green beans roast with minced garlic and butter, and then topped with melted cheddar cheese. You'll never want green beans any other way again!

I have high hopes and aspirations for my first vegetable garden this year. We have a pretty small backyard, but the kids mainly use it as a run through to the playground just beyond our fence. So I'm figuring I might as well use it to grow some fruits and veggies, right?

It's my first garden of this size, I've grown veggies in pots before though. Let's just say my results were NOT GOOD! I think in pots the plants tend to dry out quicker, therefore more watering is necessary, which at the time I wasn't so good at remembering to do! I only tried tomatoes and I don't think we had very many, if at all, at harvest time.

This time? I have a whole Pinterest Gardening board with tips and ideas for myself (and for you)! We don't have flower beds already in our yard, so I'm leaning towards using this soil bag gardening idea.

This way I don't have to actually dig out all the grass, I'm hoping the plastic part of the bag laying on the ground will kill it underneath naturally. It's my hope anyway! I've heard for your first garden to just pick a few different varieties and not go crazy. So I have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and maybe green beans. I know green beans are a vine, so I have to figure that one out. 

I really would LOVE to grow green beans because they're one of my favorite vegetables to eat - this recipe for Garlic Roasted Green Beans Au Gratin is my absolutely favorite way! Roasting them along with butter and garlic brings out a sweetness to the beans and the cheese just puts it over the top. This makes an awesome side dish to Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, or ham - perfect for holiday feasts as well. I can't wait for spring, can you?!

Garlic Roasted Green Beans Au Gratin

  • 3 lbs fresh green beans, cut into thirds
  • 1/4 cup butter, in thin slices
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Cooking Directions
  1. Place green beans in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle minced garlic and slices of butter over top. Cover with foil.
  2. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove foil, stir, place foil back on top and bake an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Remove foil, stir, and sprinkle cheese over top. Bake an additonal 5 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Honestly? Just give me a bowl of these green beans for lunch and I'll be a happy camper!

Here are some more of my favorite side dish recipes:

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

Garlic Butter Grilled Mushrooms

Homemade Creamed Corn in the Crockpot

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Menu Plan Monday 2/16

February 16, 2015

Is it spring yet?! I mean really, we've only had one fun snowstorm here. You know, the kind where you can bundle the kids up and send them out the door for a good hour or two! Or even maybe go sledding. These last couple of storms around here have been miserable, cold, and icy. No fun at all!

One of our favorite things to do in the winter is visit the library and on Friday we took Wesley in to get his prize for reading books 101-200 in his 1,000 books before Kindergarten challenge. While we were there, I picked Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn up for myself.

(*Affiliate Link)

OMG. I haven't been able to put it down all weekend! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm planning on finishing the last bit of the book today after I get some work done and then sitting down with mounds of laundry to fold while I watch it. I can't wait to find out what happens at the end!

Anyway, I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately, so I'm keeping it easy with warm casseroles and some comfort foods this week. Here's what's on my plan:

Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Veggie Loaded Chicken Cacciatore Bake

Eggroll in a Bowl

Homemade Cheesy Beef-a-Roni

Ranch Veggie Pizza

Shortcut Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches

Roasted Vegetable Chili

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Skillet Pineapple Chicken

February 9, 2015

There's no added sugar in this delicious stove top dinner filled with chicken, pineapple, and sugar snap peas over brown rice - no need to order takeout tonight!

I LOVE to order out Chinese food. Like I mean really LOVE it. 

Ok, well really I like to order out lots of things... but Chinese really tops the list for me! Probably only topped by sushi, and I'm not ever going to attempt to make that at home.

...Ok, probably never. ;)

Asian takeout food though - man it's unhealthy! Loaded with insane amounts of carbs. You know what I mean too - you pig out and then an hour and a half later you're hungry again. Crazy carbs. Why do they have to taste so darn good?!

I'm telling you though, there's no need to go on carb overload with this healthy dinner. A lot of "at home" takeout recipes have even up to a 1/2 cup of added brown sugar to give it that "sweet and sour" flavor. You know what? It's really not necessary! Save the brown sugar for dessert - the pineapple and the pineapple juice is plenty to sweeten up this flavorful dish. Serve over heart healthy brown or basmati rice!

Skillet Pineapple Chicken

  • 3 medium chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 20 oz can pineapple chunks, in 100% juice, undrained
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 - 16 oz sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups prepared brown rice
Cooking Directions
  1. Saute chicken pieces and olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until juices run clear and chicken is done, measuring 165 degrees in the center.
  2. Add in pineapple and juice, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and sugar snap peas. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.
  3. Serve hot over brown rice.

Here are some more of my favorite skillet dinners:

Skillet Taco Helper

Cheesy Bacon & Tortellini Skillet

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