6 Ways to Enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando

As I’m sure you saw on my Instagram account recently, I had the chance to head to Orlando, Florida sans kids for a few days to attend a conference. While I was in the great state of Florida for the first time, there was one thing I knew I had to do… visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and try all of the butterbeer varieties I could! So when Universal Orlando was kind enough to offer me 2 guest passes, I kindly took them up on their offer. 

Did you know there are 6 ways to enjoy Butterbeer in the park? Yup! 6 ways to enjoy the delicious sweet treat that is famous amongst Potter fans. To be able to taste the deliciousness we once only read about and watched on the big screen goes hand in hand with the awe I felt as I walked up to Hogwarts and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for the first time in Universal Orlando. 

So without further ado, here are the 6 ways to enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando. Try all 6 and let me know which you would rate as #1 on your list! 

6 Ways to Enjoy Butterbeer at Universal Orlando

1. Cold Butterbeer – 

At the top of my butterbeer list is the classic cold Butterbeer. Closest in recreation to what the characters enjoyed in the series, it’s smooth, creamy, and super sweet. Plus, since it was in the mid-90s when we visited, it was the perfect treat to enjoy while trying to stay cool as we waited in line to visit Ollivander’s Wand Shop and pick out our wands. 

The best part was the butterscotch-flavored cream on top that we enjoyed with every sip as we made our way down to the bottom of the cup. Such deliciousness. If you’re a cream soda fan, you will fall head over heels for it! 

2. Butterbeer Potted Cream – 

Runner-up has to go to the amazingly smooth butterscotch-esque Butterbeer potted cream found in Diagon Alley at The Leaky Cauldron. It’s the essence of perfection when it comes to butterscotch pudding and paired well with my fish and chips as a not too sweet treat. It would also be perfect paired with one of their beers on tap as a fun afternoon snack if you aren’t too hungry for a full meal. 

3. Butterbeer Soft Serve Ice Cream – 

We headed over to the end of Diagon Alley for this next sweet treat. When you’re there, make sure to head into the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour right across from Gringotts Bank. They have quite a few varieties of ice cream but only one soft serve… this delicious Butterbeer. But be careful! In the Florida heat, the soft serve melts fast! 

4. Frozen Butterbeer – 

If you don’t like your drinks super sweet but still want to get the great flavor of butterbeer, definitely grab a pint of frozen butterbeer. Because of its slushy state, it is a slightly milder version of the cold butterbeer and is absolutely perfect to help cool oneself down on a super hot summer day at the park. I suggest using a straw to enjoy this delicious variety. But make sure to lift up the straw to get the cream with each sip. 

5. Butterbeer Fudge – 

At the bottom of our butterbeer obsessed list is the butterbeer fudge found at Honeydukes sweet shop. While in theory it sounded lovely, it was just too sweet for this sweet tooth. If you have friends to share with, just one square will go a long way! While you’re at Honeydukes, pick up a few quill suckers (that actually write!) and some chocolate frogs as well (if it’s not too hot out). 

6. Hot Butterbeer – 

And last but not least is the hot butterbeer variety. Sadly, due to the heat, we were not able to try this variation so we have no way to rate it against the other options. However, if you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this version, please let us know your thoughts!! 

Now that we’ve made our way through this amazing list of all things butterbeer, I do want to dispell a myth that a few individuals (not to be named) mentioned to me before going. Sadly, there is no alcoholic version of butterbeer in Universal Orlando. 

After visiting every butterbeer dealer … er… dispenser, we received the same answer to our question. Nowhere in the park can you order the alcoholic version of this bubbly delicious drink. However, you CAN enjoy some great alcoholic drinks like Wizard’s Brew or Dragon Scale in Diagon Alley at The Leaky Cauldron or The Hopping Pot

What’s your favorite variety of Butterbeer? 

Thank you to Universal Orlando for inviting me to enjoy your parks and experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Classic Homemade Brownies The Kids Can Make

These classic homemade brownies are the perfect dessert to let the kids help make! They’ll love mixing, cracking eggs, and baking from scratch. 

One thing I absolutely love doing with the kids is watching them learn how to bake. And my 6-year-old just graduated from baking brownies from a mix to baking from scratch. Her suggestion! 

After talking about how easy it was to make homemade brownies with my husband, she asked me if I could help her make them. So we got all of the ingredients out and started baking. 

What I love about this recipe is its simplicity. 

The fudgy goodness is absolutely perfect and the brownies pair so well with a glass of cold milk. Sure you can dress them up or add in some fun flavors, but these can stand on their own.

You can also add some espresso to enhance the chocolate flavor. We just didn’t have some on hand right now so we went without.  [Read more…]

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs hit the spot when you’re craving something sweet and help increase your fat macros. Plus they’re super easy to make! 

chocolate-peanut-butter-pecan-fat-bombs-recipe

I’m hopping back on the LCHF way of eating and have successfully been on plan for the past week. That means I’ve been able to get through a mini vacation up to Palm Springs AND our annual Cookie Christmas celebration + brunch on New Year’s day with my family. Now that I’ve tackled this first week, I know I can keep it going.  As I continue this journey I’ll be sharing over on my other blog, Low Carb San Diego. I’ll include great recipe ideas, tips and tricks, as well as my personal journey. I hope you follow along! 

These Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Fat Bombs hit the spot and help me increase my fats (something I always have a problem with). It’s a great treat for the end of the night or for when I know I’m going somewhere with lots of sweet treats. Bringing a fat bomb and one of my favorite low carb bars helps me say no to temptation and press forward. 

chocolate-peanut-butter-pecan-fat-bombs-with-monkfruit-in-the-raw

Find the full recipe here

Pfeffernüsse Cookies To Share The Holiday Spirit

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share-the-holiday-spirit

This time of year is magical, isn’t it? The holiday cheer, the smiles on everyones faces, and the loads of treats and goodies around every corner. We continue the holiday season even after Christmas is over by celebrating our own Christmas with my husband’s extended family. And that celebration has been dubbed Cookie Christmas. 

Why? You ask? Because we get together the day before the event and bake up 10+ different kinds of cookies to serve the next day. My husband’s aunt spends countless hours the week before the event making all of these doughs to bake up together. And then we all come together on Cookie Christmas to enjoy them all (and bring them home in tubs and bags to enjoy for weeks after). 

Each year there’s one or two recipes we try out to see if it can earn it’s place in the Cookie Christmas line up. We have our classic chocolate chip, our snickerdoodle, yummy sugar cookies decorated by the kids with frosting and sprinkles, etc. This year I thought I’d try out a new recipe or two to see if I could put it on the list of maybes to introduce to Cookie Christmas. And this recipe? It’s a winner! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share-with-friends

Pfeffernüsse Cookies

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Stir the molasses, honey, shortening, and butter together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until creamy, stirring consistently. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add the eggs and combine.

Mix the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the molasses mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough into quarter-sized balls. Arrange on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Move to a rack to cool. Dust cooled cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Or get the kids involved and dump 1/2 a cup of confectioners’ sugar into a bag, then add a few cookies, seal the bag and shake shake shake! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-to-share

Interested in trying out some more new cookie recipes? You need to check out the #HousefulofCookies recipes being shared all month! YUM! 

pfeffernu%cc%88sse-cookies-a-fun-spiced-holiday-cookie

Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

This post featuring Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies originally appeared on our site on November 6th, 2012

Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

With Halloween past us, the one thing I needed to do was get rid of all of the leftover Halloween candy. Especially the ones I loved… anything containing chocolate. So we went with a simple plan. We were going to turn our chocolate treasure into new, yummy treats to share with our friends and family.

This year we had not one but two trick-or-treaters and let me tell you that two adorable children in costumes are magnets for the good stuff. Yes, look at our score of yummy chocolate candies! 

So I had to act fast and turn the above into something I could giveaway as a homemade goodie bound to attract attention and hungry mouths no longer wanting holiday candy. Good thing our extended family loves sweets! It took less than 2 days for the whole batch of blondies to be completely demolished. A few crumbs left in their place. And oh were they worth it!

If you’ve never heard of or made blondies before, think of them as the brownies’ distant cousin. Still ooey gooey but without the cocoa. You can basically put just about anything into a blondie. They’re a great catch all for any ingredients you have on hand and want to combine. We stuck with the Snickers, Reeses peanut butter cups, and Baby Ruths for these blondies. The m & ms are earmarked for cookies and the rest will be taken to work by my husband.

If you have any leftover candy in your cupboards or on your countertop you should definitely try to make these delicious bars of gooey goodness. 

Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, almost melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup diced candy bars

Candy Blondies Ingredients

 Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 baking pan. Cut up candy bars.

2. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy

Candy Blondies sugar and butter

3. Add in the egg and beat until well combined.

4. Add vanilla and salt and mix again.

5. Take bowl off stand mixer. Fold in flour until just combined.

6. Fold in candy bar pieces until just combined.

7. Spread mixture into pan and cook for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

8. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.

9. Turn onto a wire rack and let cool completely before digging in.

10. Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 16 servings

If you’re like me and cant wait to dig in, grab a small piece from the edge and enjoy it’s yummy gooeyness while everything’s still warm and hasn’t set. You’ll be glad you did. Then enjoy the rest when it’s cooled completely to enjoy the full effect of the melded flavors and crisp edges.

Do you have a great recipe for leftover Halloween candy?

I’d love to hear it!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Wine Pops

In need of girl time? Make these yummy chocolate dipped strawberry wine pops and invite a few friends over!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Wine Pops

I’m sure I’ve said it before but girl time is pretty important to me. I used to host mom’s night ins here in my home with my playgroup and my friends, used to dedicate one Saturday a month to Bunco with the girls, and make various happy hour plans, etc. But lately I’ve let the girl time slack. However after a wonderful few days away – with girlfriends hosted by Kia – I am reminded of the importance of girl time. 

Now I need to plan for a girls night for real. So I can make these again. Because they were amazing. Especially when paired when a glass of wine. And some chocolate covered strawberries. Hey! All of the ingredients were already there…

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Wine Pops - the perfect summer treat

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Wine Pops

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup, homemade or store bought
  • 1 cup fruity red wine like Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 8 oz. chocolate chips

Add the strawberries and simple syrup to a blender and purée until smooth.
Pour the strawberry purée into a pitcher. Add the wine, Pom juice, and balsamic vinegar (optional). Stir well.
Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Once Popsicles are frozen, you can prepare the chocolate for coating:
Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and set aside.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over medium heat until smooth and shiny.
Dip each popsicle into the melted chocolate and lay on the cookie sheet to harden. (I found it easier to actually just spoon the chocolate over each pop).
Place back into the freezer for at least one hour before serving.

When’s the last time you enjoyed girl time? 

Instant Pot Recipes: Individual Crustless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

Instant Pot Low Carb Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake

Sometimes you just need a good dessert to fall back on. Even if you decided to go low carb and kick sugar. And especially if it can be made in the appliance you purchased on Prime Day on a whim because it has been in your cart for so long you forgot why you wanted it and it was finally on sale. 

Yup, I was like the thousands of others who purchased an (get ready for an affiliate link…) Instant Pot on Prime Day. And I also made this recipe three times to perfect this crustless peanut butter chocolate cheesecake in an effort to have an awesome alternative for dessert when my family baked their Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies they keep in the freezer for random “cravings” in the evenings. 

Dude. This recipe? Is now my go-to whenever we’re heading to a birthday party, family get together, or on a Sunday night when I watch the kids and husband down cookies. Because while I’m not a huge cheesecake fan, it’s just enough peanut butter chocolatey goodness that I forget I’m watching my carbs and really feel like I’m indulging. 

Now less talking and more sharing recipes…

I’m sharing this one on my dedicated low carb site. You can just click right here to grab it in it’s entirety! Including directions on how to cook it in the Instant Pot. 

Crustless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

Individual Crustless Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake bite

Carlsbad Strawberry Napoleons

Chef Guillas' Strawberry Napoleon

In honor of Strawberry Shortcake Day yesterday, I headed down to Macy’s to check out their FREE cooking demonstration for the month (as I mentioned last week here). I have heard about these free demos for quite a while but never found the time to actually go down and check one out. But boy was I happy I did! We were greeted by Chef Bernard Guillas of The Marine Room here in San Diego and he shared his recipe for Carlsbad Strawberry Napoleons. And wow… these were GOOD.

If you have a chance to try out this recipe, do! But make sure you make the puff pastry right before you’re going to assemble and serve it. Not only does it make an amazingly delicious dessert, it’s also a beautiful one as well. A great treat for any summer party or barbecue. And there are so many ways you can customize it!

Chef Guillas' Strawberry Napoleon demo at Macy's

Strawberry Napoleons

by Chef Bernard Guillas of The Marine Room San Diego

Puff Pastry

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk (can also substitute half and half or heavy whipping cream)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Thaw dough just enough to be able to cut with a sharp knife.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Cut into 12 equally sized rectangles, 5 inch x 2 1/2 inch. Transfer rectangles to baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between each. Brush with egg yolk mixture. Prick dough with fork all over to prevent over rising. Refrigerate 15 minutes. 

Sprinkle with sea salt and sugar. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown and flakey. Remove from oven. Transfer puff pastry to a rack to cool.

Creme Patisserie

  • 1 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half and scraped
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons St. Germain liqueur

Bring 1 cup of half and half to simmer with vanilla in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add egg yolks and sugar to large mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until mixture is smooth, ribbony and pale. Whisk in flour and salt. Add remaining half and half. Whisk until smooth.

While stirring the yolk mixture, slowly pour 1/4 of the hot half and half into the yolk mixture to temper. Transfer yolk mixture into sauce pan. Cook until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens, whisking constantly. Whisk in St Germain liqueur. Cook an additional minute, whisking constantly. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming. Cool completely. Remove vanilla bean.

Presentation

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup St Germain liqueur
  • 1/8 teaspoon star anise powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, crushed
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate shavings
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Combine strawberries with St Germain liqueur, star anise, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Marinate for 30 minutes. Strain strawberries. Reserve liquid syrup for presentation.

Spread 2 tablespoons of creme patisserie evenly onto 8 rectangles of puff pastry. Top with pistachios and strawberries, divided evenly. Place one on top of another, to form 4 double stacks. Top each with the remaining 4 rectangles. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Dust with powdered sugar. Spoon strawberry syrup on top of plate.

Enjoy!

Carlsbad Strawberry Napoleons by Chef Guillas

What’s your favorite way to enjoy fresh strawberries?

Science in the Kitchen: Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

We’re getting creative in the kitchen with this fun Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream in a Bag recipe brought to you thanks to our partnership with Hershey’s via MomTrends.  

Science in the Kitchen Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

This weekend the kids and I got a little creative in the kitchen. After finding that my husband ate the last of the ice cream, they were determined to make a fun sweet treat to enjoy while we watched movies together. So I suggested we make ice cream. Now their first reaction was one of disbelief. Not that they hadn’t made ice cream before, but because our ice cream maker has been in the garage since we’ve moved here and they knew that wasn’t going to happen. So when I suggested that we shake and make our own homemade ice cream in a bag like I used to with my grandma, their eyes lit up and they were 100% on board to try things out.

While we were going over what ingredients we needed – ice, ice cream salt, heavy whipping cream, vanilla, sugar – my son spotted the HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup and asked if we could turn our ice cream into chocolate chip ice cream like the kind we’ve made before with a ribbon of homemade ganache. Instead of nixing the idea right away, I asked him what he’d do to make chocolate chip ice cream from the syrup. His mind started going and the ideas started cranking out.

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag ingredients

He settled on an experiment he wanted to try out: If we squeezed a ribbon of HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup onto wax paper and froze it, would it become hard so we could break it up into our ice cream?

So I let him set everything up and try it out. After about 3 hours in the freezer, though, the syrup was very cold, but not solid. So he decided that we’d just drizzle the chocolate in the ice cream mix to make a chocolate ice cream. Even though his hypothesis was wrong, he still ended up with a pretty yummy outcome!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag with Hershey's Simply 5

Each of the older two had their own bags of ice cream and both decided on stopping when it became the consistency of soft serve vs. waiting until it became a more formed ice cream (see the photo below). If you don’t like a little melted ice cream, feel free to shake until the ice cream turns harder.

Just a little squeeze of the HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup, brings back cherished childhood memories I created with my family so it was fun to do this with my kids. It’s an easy way to share a sweet and simple moment with my family. We also love enjoying a glass of milk with a little swirl of syrup inside!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag and just right

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 drizzle of HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup
  • 6 tablespoons ice cream salt
  • 3 cups ice
  • 1 gallon size zippered plastic bag
  • 1 quart size zippered plastic bag

In the quart size zippered plastic bag, add heavy whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup. Seal tight making sure to get most of the air out.

In the freezer size zippered plastic bag, add the ice and ice cream salt. Then add the ice cream mixture bag. Shake, shake, shake like crazy until your ice cream starts forming (about 3-5 minutes of shaking). I suggest putting on some dance music to make it more enjoyable!

Once your ice cream has formed, wipe off any excess salt from the bag and snip a corner of the bag with some scissors (if soft serve consistency) to pour into a cup or bowl. Or use a spoon to scoop out (if harder consistency). Drizzle with more HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup and enjoy!

Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream In A Bag with Hershey's Simply 5 syrup

HERSHEY’S SIMPLY 5 Syrup is a sweet and simple take on the HERSHEY’S classic, now made with five simple ingredients. You can find more recipes and fun things to do with HERSHEY’S by visiting them on Facebook or following along on Twitter.

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Hershey’s via MomTrends.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hershey’s or Momtrends.

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The a2 Milk Company™. All opinions are 100% mine.

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops

One thing we always have to keep stocked in the house besides milk is fruit. My kids go through fruit like other kids might go through candy. We enjoy fruit for breakfast, with our lunch, and even for dessert! These strawberry mango cream pops are one of their favorites and reminds me of one of our favorite smoothies in popsicle form. So good! 

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops - 4 simple ingredients

What I love about this recipe is how easy it is to make. 4 ingredients all blended together and poured into cute popsicle molds then set overnight in the freezer. And because we use a2 Milk®, I don’t have to worry about my daughter having tummy troubles or breaking out with eczema. Over the past few months of using a2 Milk® with her we’ve found that reducing dairy and grabbing the a2 milk® instead has helped her. 
Strawberry Mango Cream Pops are perfect for toddlers

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops

  • 1 cup strawberries, hull removed
  • 1 cup mangos, sliced
  • 1/2 cup a2 Milk®
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Blend all ingredients in your blender until smooth. Grab popsicle molds and fill to fill line. Make sure not to overfill! Place molds in freezer and let set overnight. Remove molds from freezer and enjoy.

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops with fresh strawberries and mangos

Over the past few months we’ve incorporated a2 Milk® into our everyday lives and it’s now our go-to milk. The kids haven’t noticed a difference at all but I have. Since we’ve introducing our 15 month old to a2 Milk®, and me drinking it as well, she’s been happier and has had less breakouts with her eczema. Since all other forms of mammal’s milk (i.e. goat, sheep, human) only contain the A2-type proteins, she’s used to only getting the A2 protein. I’m hoping this continues to make her transition to cow’s milk easier as she nurses less and less. 

Strawberry Mango Cream Pops with a2 milk

What is your go-to dessert for kids?

Interested in more info about a2 Milk®? Check them out on Twitter and Facebook or find where you can purchase it by using their Product Locator! Or check out the great recipes they have on Pinterest. And right now you can take advantage of this a2 Milk® $1 Off Coupon.

Visit Sponsors Site



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