The Best No Flour Monster Cookie Bars + A Cookie Bar Mix Gift Idea

We’ve whipped up these deliciously satisfying No-Flour Monster Cookie Bars and are sharing how you can create your own Monster Cookie Bar Mix to gift to friends this holiday season. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Mars Wrigley Confectionery US, LLC. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplySweetness #CollectiveBias

Holiday baking season has arrived! And you know what that means? Lots and lots and LOTS of dishes in our home. Because when we bake, we bake. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but the kids LOVE to help out in the kitchen. And when Christmas rolls around, we stock up on all of our baking necessities (like the big Red & Green Holiday 52 oz. Bag of M&M’S® from Sam’s Club). We wouldn’t want to run out mid-holiday baking. 

One thing I love about baking during the holidays is that it’s an inexpensive way to share our love with others. We don’t necessarily have the budget to purchase a gift for everyone we know so we can make fun little platters filled with goodies for others to enjoy. And one of my new favorite gifts to make are these fun cookie bar mixes so others can make our favorite recipes at home. That way we can whip up a batch to share with them now and provide them with a mix to make them later. Hey, who knows? Maybe they’ll even use the kit to make some holiday goodies for their loved ones! 

Red & Green Holiday 52oz. Bag of M&M’S® are a festive and colorful treat to bring into your baking, decorating and every aspect of your holiday celebrations. The Stand-Up Pack will keep your M&M’S® fresh and ready-to-go in an easy resealable package. Heck, if I wasn’t baking with them, I’d probably give these bags as gifts! What says, “I love you,” better than a big bag of M&M’S®, right? 

But for now we’ll stick with gifting some delicious cookie bars and mixes.

Print

No Flour Monster Cookie Bars

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups Old Fashioned oats
  • 1 cup M&M'S®
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil.

  2. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,

  3. Cover bowl with dish towel and mix on lowest setting. Once mixed up a bit, increase speed and mix until all of the ingredients are combined. 

  4. Spread mixture onto prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

  5. Take out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes then transfer foil and bars to a cooling rack. Cut into squares and enjoy! 

Remember how I said you could GIFT these bad boys to your friends and family in a fun mix? Well here’s how! 

Monster Cookie Bars Mix

What you’ll need: 

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup M&M’S®
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 32 oz jar with lid
  • ribbon
  • hole punch

What you do: 

Layer each ingredient in the order it’s shown above into a 32oz plastic or glass jar with lid

Place lid on jar and close tight. 

Print out Monster Cookie Bar Mix printable and cut out and attach to jar with ribbon.

Gift to the ones you love! 

Click on image to download printable

You can find the big Red & Green Holiday 52 oz. Bag of M&M’S® in the candy aisle of your local Sam’s Club. And while you’re there, stock up on the rest of your holiday baking items! That’ll save you a few trips in the long run. 

And right now you can sign up for a free Ibotta account and earn $2 off with the purchase of a 52 oz bag of Red and Green M&M’S®. Offer valid from 11/1/17 until 12/25/17. 

Don’t forget to check out more awesome ideas you can make with M&M’S® by checking them out on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter

Love this recipe? Check out these delicious bites: 

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5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun + Sweet Incentives

We’re celebrating potty success with help from our sponsor, Pull-Ups Training Pants! Check out these 5 ways to make potty training fun plus a recipe for crazy cake below.

We’ve been on our potty training journey for a few months now and I’m happy to tell you that our youngest is now 100% potty trained. And we couldn’t have done it without the help of Pull-Ups Training Pants. Pull-Ups products are all about providing parents and kids with tips and advice to help make potty training easy and fun, plus they provide plenty of tools specifically designed to keep children engaged throughout the potty training journey. Pull-Ups has potty trained 50 million Big Kids and counting – so I’ll take this one from the experts.

Potty training success starts with attitude. And if you don’t have the right attitude, neither will your kid. This is such an important milestone for toddlers and it’s also an opportunity for parents to work together with their children to reach the end goal: potty training success! It sounds daunting to so many parents, but why not make it fun?

5 Ways to Make Potty Training Fun

1. Purchase your first pack of Pull-Ups – 

Pull-Ups Training Pants help your child recognize potty training as a significant milestone in their development by providing independence, teaching physical and cognitive skills, and offers a consistent representation to your child of their potty training journey.

With different design options, let your child choose a package that they identify with to make the process fun! 

2. Singing the “Time 2 Potty” song – 

Following the fun path, sing the Time 2 Potty song with your kid to get them used to the idea of being a big kid and all that being a big kid entails. 

Time2Potty Song:

We’re gonna do this together, 

we’re gonna stick to the plan. 

Do everything we can to make it easy and fun,

It’s time to potty everyone!

They’re designed like underwear, 

special friends make ’em fun to wear.

So boys and girls sing out loud:

I’m a Big Kid now!

3. Donate unused/leftover diapers – 

Find a local diaper bank that needs diapers or donate your unused diapers to a friend or family member with a baby to help your child get used to the idea of transitioning out of diapers and into Pull-Ups. By removing the diapers from your home, you’re preparing for the potty training journey and removing any crutches.

Once your child has transitioned from Pull-Ups to underwear, you can do the same thing with your unused Pull-Ups. My daughter decided to gift our Pull-Ups to her 1 year old cousin (hence the bow on the package in the photos). She may be too young just yet but my daughter knows that all the Pull-Ups were given to her cousin and we don’t have any more in the house to use. 

4. Print, color, pose and post with a Potty Training Certificate –

Grab a Potty Training Certificate and print it out for your child. Let them color and personalize it, then snap a photo of them with it to commemorate the moment. You can do the same thing when they’ve successfully potty trained to commemorate their progress and their “graduation” into big kid underwear.  

5. Celebrate potty training success with sweet incentives – 

When your child has transitioned into Pull-Ups and starts to have accident free weeks, consider a sweet incentive to encourage them even more. We would use lollipops and other small prize rewards to give to our kids when they successfully went on the potty, when they had an accident free week, and finally, when they transitioned from Pull-Ups to big kid underwear, we celebrated with a Crazy Cake! 

Cakes mean celebrations for us and this Crazy Cake recipe is one that my husband’s family has been making for years. It’s a super easy recipe that the kids can help with AND it’s egg and dairy free. Most of the ingredients are staple pantry items. 

Chocolate Crazy Cake Recipe

Print

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Servings 16

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water

Instructions

  1. Sift dry ingredients together directly into a 9 x 13-inch ungreased baking pan.

  2. Let your child make three wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the oil into one well, vinegar into the second well, and vanilla into the third well. Pour cold water over everything and stir well with a fork.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Frost with your favorite icing.

What sweet incentives would your child love to celebrate with? 

Loved the tips we shared in this post? Check out these other potty training tips: 

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How to Make Chocolate Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies Your Guests Will Love

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday cookie this season then look no further than these Chocolate Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies! Your guests will love their small perfection. Plus they pair perfectly with milk, cocoa, and coffee! 

How was your Thanksgiving? We spent the day baking in the morning with the kids and then enjoying a wonderful meal with our extended family. It was perfect. One of the things we decided to bake up that morning to bring to dinner were these deliciously perfect chocolate peanut butter crinkle cookies. They’re small, bite-size cookies that aren’t too sweet so they were perfect to pair with the pies and enjoy with a cup of coffee or cocoa to drink. 

Normally we make chocolate crinkle cookies but this time my older daughter wanted to add something a bit different to them to change things up. The addition of peanut butter was the perfect touch and added a great flavor combo to these classic cookies. I may try adding a pinch of cinnamon next time too! 

This recipe is one of many we’re sharing on the Houseful of Cookies tour this year. Last year we made another fun cookie recipe: Pfeffernüsse Cookies. You have to try them if you haven’t made them yet! The rest of the cookies on this tour are linked at the bottom of this post. 

When making cookies with the kids I always try to measure everything out before we start mixing so they don’t just dump everything out without knowing what they’re putting in. It helps them to understand the quantities needed for each recipe. 

But one thing we are working on is adding one egg at a time while mixing so each can be incorporated before the other is added. The 2 year old prefers to dump them all in at once! 

This dough is a thicker dough that, once all of the ingredients are combined, form a ball in the mixer. This makes it easier to get out to refrigerate once mixed up. 

And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Even though the recipe does say to chill for 1 hour… I don’t always let it chill. I’ll divide the dough up into two halves and place one in the fridge but will start rolling out the other right away. 

This is a great cookie to make before guests come over if you’re looking for something little to nibble on. Or to give as gifts during the holidays because they’re small and do well in an airtight container. 

Print

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter cut into 10 pieces (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar packed
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Put the butter, sugar, and chocolate in that order into a 2-quart saucepan. Put the pan over low heat and warm the ingredients, stirring occasionally, until they are melted and smooth. Scrape everything into the bowl of a mixer.

  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

  3. Working with a mixer with a paddle attachment, add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the eggs are well blended into the chocolate. With the mixer still on low, add the dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough is smooth and shiny; it will clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball. Then add the peanut butter and stir in until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. 

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  5. Working with 1 tablespoon of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms to form firm, shiny balls. (If the dough breaks as you work, squeeze and knead it a bit, then reroll it between your palms.) Add to a small shallow dish filled with powdered sugar and roll in sugar until lightly coated. Place the balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets and lightly press each one down a bit with your thumb.
  6. Bake the cookies for 9 to 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be delicately firm and crackled across the top. (It’s better to under- than over bake.) Remove the sheets from the oven, let the cookies rest on the sheets for 2 minutes, then, using a wide spatula, gently transfer the cookies to a rack; cool to room temperature.

  7. Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches. 

Looking for more deliciousness to enjoy this holiday season? Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the Houseful of Cookies tour! 

Houseful of Cookies 2017 Blog List

Houseful Of Nicholes – Slow As Molasses Cookies

A Crafty Spoonful – Chocolate Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

A Real Urban Mom – Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dash Of Evans – Cranberry Hootycreeks

Divas With A Purpose – Houseful Of Cookies 2017

Everyday Party Magazine – Simple Caramel Cream Sugar Cookies Swirls

Fab Haute Mama – Belgian Waffle Cookies

Good Girl Gone Redneck – Perfect Holiday Saltine Toffee Treat

Happily Homegrown – Old Fashioned Hermit Bar Cookies

Her Life On Purpose – Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Honest & Truly! – Triple Chocolate Dipped Cookie

How Was Your Day – Houseful Of Cookies 2017

Hysterical Mom – Lemon Sugar Cookies

I am the Maven® – Moldy Mice Cookies

Keep Calm & Teach Fifth Grade – Winter Wonderland Sugar Cookies

Kenya Rae – Pecan White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kiss My Tulle – Chunky Christmas Cookies

Mom On The Side – Hopscotch Crunchies Holiday Cookies

More Than Thursdays – Mint Surprise Sugar Cookies

Mother Of The World – Houseful Of Cookies 2017

Our Crafty Mom – Houseful Of Cookies 2017

Peyton’s Momma – Houseful Of Cookies 2017             

Simplify Live Love – Double Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

Teachable Mommy – 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

The Analytical Mommy – Favorite Lactation Cookie Recipe

The Biswolds – White Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies

The Olive Blogger – Gingerbread Biscotti

We’re Parents – Cranberry Cheesecake Cookies  

How to Make 11 Awesome Thanksgiving Desserts That Your Kids Will Love

Finding a dessert that makes all of the kids happy can be a difficult challenge. So we’ve rounded up 11 awesome Thanksgiving desserts for kids that meet a handful of kid-friendly requirements! 

Kids are weird. No, no, listen. They really are. One minute they hate whipped cream, and the next they’re trying to shoot it straight into their mouths because they love it so much. And trying to find a dessert to make them happy can sometimes be difficult during the holidays when the options aren’t cake, brownies, or ice cream. So we put together a few of our favorite Thanksgiving desserts for kids so everyone has options this holiday season. But make sure you have plenty of whipped cream. 

pumpkin pie with coconut milk, pumpkin pie made with coconut milk, dairy free pumpkin pie filling

11 Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk from A Crafty Spoonful

This pumpkin pie is great for those who may have dairy allergies. It tastes just like regular pumpkin pie but is made with coconut milk instead. And no, you can’t taste the coconut in the filling. Pair it with some coconut whipped cream and you are set for the holidays! This recipe is also perfect to use for mini pumpkin pies as well if you don’t want to make the whole pie. 

Candy Apple Dump Cake from A Crafty Spoonful

Still have leftover Halloween candy you’re hoarding away? I’m not judging. But if you want to get rid of some of it, this is the recipe to try! This dump cake is not only easy, all you need is one pan (no separate bowls) to make it! Less dishes = winning in my book. And the kids go crazy over the chocolate + apple combo. 

Mini Pecan Pie Bites from A Crafty Spoonful

Oh, these sinfully sweet little bites of heaven are the perfect grab-on-the-go dessert for the littles. The butter cracker hooks the kids and the chocolate drizzle on top of the pecan filling keeps them coming back. Plus, there’s not too much mess with this recipe. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites from My Suburban Kitchen

For those with a more sophisticated palate, these pumpkin cheesecake bites totally hit the spot. They’re very portable, just like the mini pecan pie bites, and pack a punch of flavor with a combo of gingersnaps and pumpkin. 

Four Ingredient Pumpkin Pie Dip from My Suburban Kitchen

What kid doesn’t love dip? And this deliciously sweet pumpkin pie dip is the perfect way to enjoy those holiday cookies or a few graham crackers. Just make sure there isn’t any double dipping.  

Pumpkin Spice Cranberry Trifle from Flour on My Face

Who doesn’t love a good layered trifle? Kids can dig in and eat a layer at a time or go for the gold and scoop all the way down for a few layers of goodness in one bite. Plus these are a fun recipe to let the kids help assemble! 

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cake from Flour on My Face

In case your child has a gluten allergy, or if they’re just avoiding gluten as part of an elimination diet, you need to try this pumpkin cake. You can still stay festive and enjoy all the flavors of the holidays even when you’re gluten-free! 

Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake from Flour on My Face

Speaking of cake, if your kids are more in a cake and frosting kind of mood, this pumpkin pecan bundt cake is a delicious option. I’ve made mini bundtlets for individual kid portions before and it’s turned out great! 

Pumpkin Spice Dessert Bars from {Not Quite} Susie Homemaker

Another quick and easy go to that you can make ahead and bring with you are these pumpkin spice dessert bars. They’re made with pumpkin and applesauce AND have a delicious cream cheese frosting! 

Individual Apple Pies from The Love Nerds

What’s Thanksgiving without apple pie? In our house we always have pumpkin and apple pies in addition to the other dessert options so these individual apple pies are perfect for the kids table. A classic recipe with a fun spin. 

Favorite Pecan Pie from Unexpected Elegance

And if your kid loves the classics, you can’t go wrong with a pecan pie. Some kids are turned off by this tasty dessert but for those who want to venture out and try new things, this is a great recipe to start with! 

What are your go-to Thanksgiving desserts for kids? 

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Candy Apple Dump Cake {Fall Recipe}

This candy apple dump cake is perfect for last-minute desserts that bake while you’re eating dinner or for potlucks with friends and family.

Candy Apple Dump Cake

One of my favorite fall pastimes to do before Halloween is apple picking with the family. Something about the cool crisp air, the delicious juicy apples right off the tree, and the smiles on my kids faces when they pick that first apple off.

But it doesn’t end at the orchard! Then you get to go home and bake yummy goodies with all the apples you managed not to eat on the drive back home.

When deciding what to bake with the apples we picked in Boston on our trip back a few years ago I knew I wanted to incorporate Halloween and the fun of the season. Since I had just recently stopped by Smart and Final for our Halloween candy stash I decided to incorporate the delicious Nestle goodies I picked up in this Candy Apple Dump Cake.

Candy Apple Dump Cake Nestle Candy

Once I got home it was time to start baking. Now, this candy apple dump cake is literally what the name alludes to. Chopped up candy, apples, cake, and butter all dumped into the pan, stirred up, and baked! So simple yet so delicious.

Since I purchased a few extra bags of candy to bake with I decided to chop up my favorite Nestle crunch bars and Nestle chocolate bars to add to the mix. The combo of the apples and chocolate reminded me of our favorite candy apples.

And the kids had a great time unwrapping the chocolate (one for you, one for me…).

Candy Apple Dump Cake ingredients

Candy Apple Dump Cake

  • 3 apples, 2 diced & 1 grated
  • 1 cup Nestle chocolate, diced (I used Nestle Crunch and Nestle chocolate bars)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 package cake mix
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add apples and chocolate to a 9×9 pan. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Pour cake mix over apples. Drizzle melted butter over mixture.

Stir ingredients in the pan and smooth top.

Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Candy Apple Dump Cake baked

Add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of melted Nestle Crunch bar for an added bonus!

How easy is that? Perfect for last-minute desserts that bake while you’re eating dinner or for potlucks with friends and family. And you can make this with just about any fruit! So depending on the season, pick out your favorite fruit and enjoy.

Candy Apple Dump Cake close up

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candy-apple-dump-cake

The Best Homemade Vanilla Cream Cold Brew Coffee Recipe + How to Make Large Batch Cold Brew Coffee

Have you tried cold brew? You need this homemade vanilla cream cold brew coffee recipe in your life. Plus, learn how to make large batch cold brew coffee! 

I know I’ve said it before but I love coffee. When I wake up, it’s one of the first things on my mind. So when our school’s Fall Festival planning was starting to get underway, and one of the chairs mentioned there wouldn’t be a Cougar Cafe booth, I knew I had to step up and take it on. How could there be a festival without coffee? And where would I get my caffeine fix as I worked that weekend? 

Last year, the Cougar Cafe (yes… that’s the name, but before you giggle, our school mascot is a cougar) sold a sweet iced coffee mix that was already made. It was good but not amazing, kwim? So I decided to expand our selection but keep things simple. 4 basic items – hot coffee, cold brew, hot tea, and iced tea. Then the customer could doctor it up however they’d like! 

I grabbed some assorted syrup flavors, cream, sugar, etc  and then made a large batch of cold brew and iced tea to keep on hand. With the heat we have in October, it was absolutely perfect! And I’m already planning what we’ll be doing at the Cougar Cafe next year. 

Making large batch cold brew isn’t as hard as it sounds. But it does take some tools. And some patience. Because one batch of cold brew takes 24 hours to brew. Yup… it takes time for perfection. 

So to prep for the event, I got started ahead of time. I planned to make 2 large batches of cold brew in 48 hours. Here’s how! 

Large Batch Cold Brew Coffee

Makes 24 8oz servings of cold brew coffee

What you’ll need: 

What you do: 

1. Measure out 1 pound of ground coffee and add to one of the large food storage containers. 

2. Pour water over grounds and place lid on. Let brew for 24 hours. 

3. Layer cheesecloth over mesh strainer and position over food grade bucket. 

4. Pour brewed coffee into mesh strainer slowly to allow it to filter out the grounds. Discard grounds into the compost bin or trash. Repeat once more. 

5. Put cold brew in an air tight container and store in the fridge for easy access. 

6. Repeat if you’re hosting a coffee bar and need cold brew to last over a hot weekend. 

Now that you have your delicious cold brew, and know how easy it is to make, it’s time to get to the daily grind and find out how to customize your cold brew to mimic that of your favorite coffee shop. 

To make my favorite vanilla cream cold brew coffee recipe, I start by making a vanilla simple syrup. Then I follow the simple steps below to creating a delicious and refreshing cold brew drink to enjoy all day long! Especially when it’s October and the weather is over 100 degrees for 3 days in a row like it was this week! 

Vanilla Cream Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Print

Vanilla Cream Cold Brew Coffee Recipe

Servings 1 8oz serving

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cold brew coffee
  • 3 pumps vanilla simple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Grab a mason jar or glass and pour the cold brew coffee over ice

  2. Pump 3 pumps of vanilla simple syrup (or sugar free vanilla) into the cup over the coffee

  3. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream or half and half and swirl around

  4. Place a straw in the glass and enjoy! 

How do you take your cold brew? 

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Deliciously Tempting Candy Apple Bars with M&M’s

 These deliciously tempting candy apple bars with M&M’s are the perfect sweet treat to use up all of those apples you picked this season!  

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's - the perfect way to welcome fall and enjoy a delicious dessert

Oh my gosh you guys. I’m seriously melting right now and wondering where the heck fall is. Over 100 degrees today and the forecast does not look good over the next week. Oh, how I yearn for the cool crisp 75-degree air of fall.

With pregnancy cravings that have me wanting apple pie, hearty stews, and other fall recipes I can’t help but give into temptation and bake up a delicious treat for the family even when it’s a sauna inside and outside of the house. Did I mention we have no a/c in the new house? Yeah…

After finding some delicious Candy Apple M&M’s on our most recent trip to Walmart I was inspired to make these delicious candy apple bars that are part apple pie, part candy apple. 

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's ingredients

I made sure to gather most of the ingredients we needed and have it all pre-measured because another crazy girl in the house wanted to help mama out even in this heat.

I’ve found that when cooking or baking with kids a little prep work goes a long way. And makes things go a little smoother. And this recipe couldn’t be easier to make with kids. No mixer needed, no special measuring or ingredients. Easy peasy!

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's mixing

We mixed together the oat mixture and reserved a bit for the topping. The rest we mixed with some delicious applesauce 

Once the applesauce oat mixture was ready I let my daughter spread it on the bottom of our 9×13 pan while I tossed the apples in some flour.

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's spreading applesauce oat mixture

Next was my daughter’s favorite part. After I put a layer of apples down she was in charge of adding the Candy Apple M&M’s on top of the apples. Now normally I use a layer of caramel here for caramel apple bars but we wanted some chocolatey candy goodness.

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's adding apples and M&M's

Once she was done I spread the reserved oat mixture over everything and had her help push it down gently. Then we baked up this scrumptious dessert and enjoyed a little kiddy pool fun to cool down.

By dinnertime, these were perfectly cooled and ready to enjoy for our dessert. Boy, was this a good treat to end our hot day. Now let’s bring on some cooler temperatures!

Candy Apple Bars with M&M's ready to bake

5 from 2 votes
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Candy Apple Bars with M&M's

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 15

Ingredients

For the candy apple bars

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 3 peeled fuji apples finely diced
  • 1 granny smith apple grated
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Candy Apple M&M's

For the drizzle

  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • 3 tablespoons apple juice

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Mix brown sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, the oats, salt and baking soda. Reserve 2 cups oat mixture. Mix remaining oat mixture with applesauce and spread on the bottom of an un-greased 13x9 pan.
  2. Toss apples and 3 tablespoons flour; spread over mixture in pan. Spread Candy Apple M&M's evenly over apples. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture; press lightly.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.
  4. While bars are baking, mix together powdered sugar and apple juice and set aside. Once bars are done, let cool before drizzling with icing and enjoy!


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Candy Apple Bars with M&M's

What’s your favorite fall-inspired dish?

*This post was originally featured on September 14t, 2014. 

Easy Apple Cider Donut Recipe + Tips for Cooking with Kids with our Hands-Free Faucet

We’re making magic in the kitchen with this easy apple cider donut recipe sponsored on behalf of GROHE and Millennial Blogs! Learn how to make these delicious donuts with your kids as we share our favorite tips for cooking with kids (plus a cool hands-free faucet from Grohe that makes our life even easier!). 

One thing that always makes my heart happy is when my kids want to come into the kitchen and help us. Whether it’s making dinner, putting away groceries, or planning out a special treat, each of our kids has expressed an interest in helping in the kitchen and we love to use these moments as teaching moments. This weekend, in celebration of fall finally arriving here in San Diego, we decided to try out some easy apple cider donut recipes and landed on one favorite. 

We don’t make donuts all that often because they do take a bit of work with frying up but it’s so worth it once you find the right recipe. This donut dough is a sticky dough so be prepared for a little mess ahead of time. The kids loved watching the dough transform from a sticky, hard to work with batter in the bowl to actual donuts coming out of the frying pot. And I love that this is a simple batter with no yeast so we don’t have to wait too long to start working with the dough after it rests in the fridge. We can even make it the night before, put it in the fridge, and bring it out when we need it the next morning. 

Tips for Cooking with Kids

1. Teach your kids how to properly wash their hands before starting – 

While this may seem like a given, there are too many times when my kids start to reach for ingredients before washing their hands. And when they can’t find their favorite stool in the kitchen, they rely on us to help them out. Luckily with our new Grohe foot control faucet, we can do this with ease without manhandling our kids too much. 

2. Be prepared with the right tools – 

As I mentioned previously, the kids almost always need to have their stool on hand in the kitchen. I recommend having a simple 2 step folding step stool that can fold up and be stored easily either on the side of a cabinet or side of the fridge. That way the kids can go and drag it out themselves to help out where needed in the kitchen. Also, having age-appropriate kitchen utensils can help build confidence in skills. We have a set of special kid-friendly knifes for our kids to use so they can learn proper knife skills before “graduating” to our regular knife set. 

3. Find the right job for their age – 

My 8-year-old helps us with a lot more than my 2-year-old does but we don’t let them know that. With a little planning before tackling a recipe, I can ask each child for help with a specific age-appropriate task. For instance, the 2-year-old is a pro with stirring up a batter or cracking eggs, but the 8-year-old can now start helping with stove cooking (with proper supervision). As you continue to work with your children in the kitchen, you can build upon the skills they learn at each stage so they have a good grasp on basic and more advanced kitchen skills. This comes in handy when the 8-year-old can make the 2-year-old scrambled eggs in the morning! 

 

Making Easy Apple Cider Donuts

While many are enjoying the delicious flavors of pumpkin, we’ve turned our sights back onto the delicious flavors of apples. My husband knows how much the kids loved the apple cider donuts we picked up when we were visiting Boston a few years back and has been dying to try his hand at making them on our own. The only thing that has been holding him back was the mess he expected they’d make as we started making them. 

As I mentioned before, the dough is a wet, sticky dough and not easy to work with unless you have a well-floured surface. We didn’t flour the bottom of the board we were prepping the dough on when we first rolled/patted it out to cut out the donuts so we had to scrape everything back into the bowl the first go-round and re-flour everything. So our biggest tip is to make sure you’re prepping your workspace with flour so that the dough doesn’t stick. 

When you take 1/2 of the dough and pat it down to 1/2 inch thick, use flour on the top of the dough to make it easier to pat down. And don’t use a roller, it’s much easier to simply use your hands to do this job. Little kid hands are perfect to help out with this step! 

Next up would be cutting out the donuts. We use our favorite biscuit cutters to do this and flour the cutters liberally before cutting the dough. I found that using a floured spatula to lift the donuts from the cutting board helped them keep their shape as we walked them over to the fryer to fry up. 

By using a thermometer in the oil, we could make sure that the temperature stayed where it needed to be during the whole cooking process. This helped ensure that the oil wasn’t too hot or too cold. Too hot and the outside would cook faster than the inside, too cold and the dough wouldn’t cool very well and would stay oily/greasy. 

I think you’re ready for the recipe now! 

5 from 2 votes
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Easy Apple Cider Donut Recipe

Servings 1 dozen donuts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
  • Oil for deep-fat frying

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, bring cider to a rapid boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

  2. Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, and cooled cider; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (dough will be sticky). Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour (up to 24 hours) or until firm enough to shape.

  3. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, pat each portion to 1/2-inch thickness; sprinkle with flour as needed to reduce stickiness. Cut with a floured 3 inch biscuit cutter. Make hole in the center of each 3 inch circle with a 1 inch biscuit cutter. 

  4. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 325°. Use a thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature throughout the frying process. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes on each side. Fry doughnut holes, a few at a time, until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels; cool slightly. If desired, toss donuts in spiced sugar after draining but while donuts are still hot. 

Recipe Notes

Spiced Sugar: In a shallow bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar and 2-3 tablespoons ground pumpkin pie spice. Toss with warm doughnuts. Yield: 3/4 cup.

Keep Clean and Germ-Free with Grohe

You know how sometimes there’s that one product or feature that you find and never knew you needed? Well, our new Grohe Foot Control faucet was just that. Whether we need to fill up a heavy pot for pasta, or quickly rinse our vegetables, GROHE Foot Control gives us greater mobility in the kitchen by freeing our hands and allowing us to use them for whatever we need. We just tap the base of the cabinet with our foot to turn the faucet on.

The best part about it is that it’s innovative, easy to use, and immensely practical. When I have raw egg or raw meat on my hands, I don’t have to touch the handle and spread bacteria (or germs from the kids). And if my hands and my kids’ hands are messy, I can easily pick them up and wash both of our hands at the same time while controlling the water flow with my foot.

With GROHE Foot Control Technology, you can switch the water flow on and off with a tap of your foot on an activation plate installed discreetly in the toe space of the kitchen cabinet. And yes, your kids WILL figure this out quickly. That means that when they get messy and can’t reach the faucet handle, all they have to do is touch the plate, pull up their stool, and wash their hands on their own! Believe me, it took the 2-year-old a mere afternoon to realize that we had changed the faucet out on her and replaced it with this cool hand’s free option (don’t worry, there’s an automatic safety stop after 60 seconds).

Have you tried apple cider donuts before? Have you made them from scratch? 

Love this recipe? Here are some more to check out! 

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No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar With 50/50 Bar Floats

This no bake Halloween treats snack bar with 50/50 bar float recipe is an easy way to whip up some Halloween fun with friends!

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats, No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar

We’re in the final countdown to Halloween night and we’re planning a frighteningly spooky time with friends and family as we pass out treats to the trick-or-treaters. To keep everyone pepped up and ready for the busy night, I’ve created a delicious Halloween snack bar that includes a few of my family’s favorite treats: OREOs and Fanta orange soda.

To make our spread more festive, I created some mummy snack wraps and pumpkin drink wraps. It was so simple to make these up in PicMonkey and they were a great addition to our snack bar. Plus the mummy OREO 2-packs will be great to add to my kids lunches leading up to Halloween or to pass out to my son’s class as a treat for their Halloween party.

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats treat labels

How to Make Snack Wraps in PicMonkey

If you aren’t familiar with PicMonkey, it’s so easy to create little printables to use for parties and special occasions. For these treat wraps I simply used the design option and chose the Facebook cover canvas to make my wraps. They’re the perfect size to wrap around an OREO 2-pack or a Fanta orange 12oz bottle.

Once I have the canvas I choose a canvas color for the wrap. For the pumpkins, I simply used a solid color, but for the mummies, I went into the Themes and chose a canvas design from the Demons theme (apparitions). But there are so many different options!!

I then added various basic shapes to create my design. There are a lot of shapes to use in the Halloween themes as well if you just want to use one of the pre-made overlays.

Don’t have time to DIY your own treat wrap? Download mine!

Pumpkin Drink Wrap | Mummy Snack Wrap

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats oreo mummies, No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar

No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar

With delicious Oreos and some 50/50 Bar Floats available, we have the perfect snack bar spread for our guests to enjoy. I also made some delicious Oreo balls that I decorated as pumpkins however I’m sad to report that they didn’t make it over the weekend between the kids and the husband. The leftovers were NOT pretty and I didn’t want to share the delicious clumps of OREO balls that were left over.

However I will leave you with a link to the recipe here. Simply dip in orange candy melts or white chocolate with orange food dye and top with a mini chocolate chip for a simple and easy sweet treat. 

Halloween Snack Bar With 5050 Bar Floats set up, No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar

And now for this deliciously creamy 50/50 bar float recipe!

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats vanilla ice creamHalloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats pouring sodaHalloween Dessert Bar With 50:50 Bar Floats fanta orange soda

50/50 Bar Float

  • 8 or 12 ounce Fanta orange soda
  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Grab a large cup and fill up with vanilla ice cream.

Pour over an 8 ounce can of Fanta orange soda (or 1/2 a bottle of 12 ounce Fanta orange soda) slowly in stages. Once the delicious bubbles go down again, add more soda.

Top with whipping cream and sprinkles, add a straw, and serve to friends and family alongside some delicious OREOs!

Halloween Snack Bar With 5050 Bar Floats - a delicious treat, No Bake Halloween Treats Snack Bar

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats jack o lanterns

What are your favorite no bake Halloween treats? 

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This post was originally published on October 14th, 2015

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk

Looking for a dairy-free pumpkin pie filling? This pumpkin pie with coconut milk is perfect for those who are dairy-free or who just don’t have condensed milk in the pantry! 

pumpkin pie with coconut milk, pumpkin pie made with coconut milk, dairy free pumpkin pie filling

I am a huge pumpkin pie fan. Like I’ll do just about anything for a slice. It’s my favorite pie and I look forward to Fall every year because of the fact that pumpkin pie is everywhere. But sadly I have never actually made a pumpkin pie. Let alone a pumpkin pie recipe with coconut milk

So I decided to rectify that right away and this year tackled making a pumpkin pie. Except when I went in my cupboard to get the ingredients I realized I had no evaporated milk. Then when googling alternatives for evaporated milk I realized I could sub coconut milk in and it’d be even healthier! Win win for everyone once I got the perfect recipe figured out.

So now I just need to figure out a gluten-free, dairy-free crust that’ll work for this gluten-free, dairy free pumpkin pie filling. Got any ideas?

Oh, and by the way? This pie? To die for! You can’t taste the coconut milk at all. Just rich, creamy pumpkin pie filling. And it’s even better with a dollop of whipped cream. If you prefer to go all organic and natural try your hand at pumpkin puree. It’s super easy to make and is great in a lot of different dishes.

pumpkin pie with coconut milk close up, pumpkin pie with coconut milk, pumpkin pie made with coconut milk, dairy free pumpkin pie filling

Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl and mix in the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Gently stir in pumpkin and coconut milk.

pumpkin pie with coconut milk measured, pumpkin pie with coconut milk, pumpkin pie made with coconut milk, dairy free pumpkin pie fillingPour into pie shell. Be careful not to overfill the shell.

Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

If crust is browning too quickly, wrap edges with foil.

Let cool completely before serving and serve with a dollop of whipping cream.

tetra pac pumpkin pie

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Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Milk

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl and mix in the sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Gently stir in pumpkin and coconut milk.
  3. pumpkin pie with coconut milk measuredPour into pie shell. Be careful not to overfill the shell.
  4. Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.
  5. If crust is browning too quickly, wrap edges with foil.
  6. Let cool completely before serving and serve with a dollop of whipping cream.

What’s your favorite pie flavor? Have you used coconut milk in pumpkin pie before?

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Pin this article for later! 

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pumpkin pie with coconut milk, pumpkin pie made with coconut milk, dairy free pumpkin pie filling



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