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

10 Red Velvet Desserts With A Twist

10 Red Velvet Desserts with a twist - if you're as obsessed about red velvet as I am, you have to give these a try!

Are you as obsessed with everything red velvet as I am? Well you are in for a treat! I am loving red velvet desserts lately and decided to take a look around to find a few I could enjoy with the family. And these desserts? OMG! From cookies to ice cream (no machine needed!) to amazing milkshakes, this list has you covered! I suggest going down from 1 to 10 and trying everything. But that may take you a few weeks to complete. Just don’t blame me for the weight gain. I kid!

10 Red Velvet Desserts With A Twist

  1. Red Velvet Cake Heart Bites
  2. Red Velvet Whoopie Pie Recipe
  3. Sweet Cream Red Velvet Ice Cream (No Machine Needed)
  4. Red Velvet Cake For Two
  5. Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
  6. Red Velvet Trifle
  7. Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie Recipe
  8. Red Velvet Cake Milkshakes
  9. Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
  10. Red Velvet Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Desserts with a twist

Are you a big Red Velvet fan?

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding: A Healthier Alternative

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

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding - a healthier alternative to the traditional recipe

Dessert is one of my family’s favorite parts of our meal. And most of the time when we all get together for a family meal, dessert is served. However I’ve noticed a few relatives who’ve declined dessert over the past few get togethers. After chatting with one of them about the reason, I found out that they’ve realized that they have an issue with lactose and since most of the desserts served have some sort of milk product, it’s easier to say no than deal with the consequences later. While they haven’t been formally diagnosed with lactose intolerance, by avoiding dairy they’ve reduced their tummy troubles. 

Because I hate seeing people feeling left out I figured I’d play around with one of my favorite pudding recipes and replace the dairy with a2 Milk®. Then I went a step further and figured out a way to make it thick and creamy without cooking it! Since I already use bananas and avocados in my smoothies to make them creamy and thick, I thought they’d be amazing together in this pudding recipe as well. And the best part? I mix everything together in the blender! Takes less than 5 minutes for everything to come together. 

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding in blender

Haven’t heard of a2 Milk® before? It’s pretty awesome. Originally, all milk contained only the A2 protein. Over time a genetic mutation occurred in cows and a new type of protein developed called A1. This A1 protein causes digestive discomfort and is in all cows’ milk in-stores today, even organic milk.  a2 Milk® is the only fluid milk on the US market that is guaranteed A1 protein free.

How do they do it? 

The a2 Milk Company™ has partnered with U.S. family dairy farmers in upstate New York and the Midwest to expand the a2™ herd. Their cows naturally produce milk with only the A2 protein. And their farmers are certified in the humane treatment of animals, their cows are fed a vegetarian diet and never given hormones or rBST, and the milk is antibiotic free and contains no artificial ingredients or additives. Pretty cool huh? And it tastes no different than regular milk! My kids love it and haven’t caught on that it’s any different.

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding ingredients

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey* (or other sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup a2 Milk®

Add all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until completely blended. Serve right away with some berries or chill in the fridge if you prefer cold pudding.

* If you’re making this for children under 1, use an alternative to honey like agave or maple syrup.

No Cook Chocolate Avocado Pudding with raspberries

The results are an amazingly creamy and chocolaty pudding that the kids (and adults) all gobble down! I call that a success.

What’s your go-to dessert when family come over?

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

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Last month was a month for celebrations. Not only because of the holidays, but because my sweet girl turned 5 at the beginning of the month. In an effort to lessen what I had on my plate for her party I decided to have a friend make the cake. So instead of making her cake this year like I have in the past, I opted to make these amazingly delicious cupcakes. She chose the flavors and I delivered!

If you’re looking for a chocolatey cupcake that’s equally balanced with sweetness then this is for you. The chocolate flavor is enhanced by the coffee (and my favorite coffee syrup) and the cream cheese frosting adds a bit of sweetness. Don’t like overly sweet desserts? Skip the frosting!
Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes - amazingly delicious chocolate cupcakes

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ cup hot coffee
  • ½ cup Dave’s Mocha coffee syrup
  • ¾ cup bread flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 18 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make the Frosting: In a stand mixer, whip the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the sifted sugar 1/4-1/2 cup at a time until incorporated. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

What are your favorite cupcake flavors?

Sweet Treats: Easy Chocolate Covered Caramel Candies

Chocolate Covered Caramel Candies - perfect for gifts

Giving handmade gifts over the holidays is a simple and inexpensive way to share a little something with those you love without breaking the bank. I love finding new things to bake or make to add to the tin of goodies we prepare every year. And candies pair very well with our normal mixture of cookies and baked goods.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, these simple and easy chocolate covered caramel candies would be the perfect treat to make as a gift or as a sweet treat. I made them over the Christmas break and loved how quickly they came together. Add a sprinkle of kosher salt on the top for a sweet and salty mix that any friend would love to receive.

Chocolate Covered Caramel Candies

Chocolate Covered Caramel Candies

  • 12 ounces of sweetened milk chocolate chips
  • 24 caramel squares
  • Parchment Paper
  • Candy Sticks or toothpicks
  • Chocolate Melting Pot (optional)

Prepare your chocolate in a melting pot, or if you don’t have a melting pot you can use the microwave or a double boiler over the stove.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and keep it near.

Prepare the caramel squares with candy sticks down the middle. Alternately, you can use toothpicks. Dip caramel squares into the melted chocolate, cover each square completely with chocolate.

Place chocolate dipped caramels on parchment paper to dry, pulling candy sticks out as you go.

As each caramel hardens, peel it away from parchment paper.

Enjoy immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

How would you dress up these easy chocolate covered caramel candies?

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes for the Holidays

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes

I have a confession to make. I’m a bit obsessed right now. Obsessed about gingerbread! And not just the classic cookies and houses (although I have a recipe for those that I share below). I’m talking gingerbread cakes, gingerbread casseroles, and gingerbread bread puddings!

Have a piqued your interest yet? If so, read below to find some deliciously tasty gingerbread recipes from some of my favorite bloggers!

9 Amazingly Delectable Gingerbread Recipes for the Holidays

Soft-and-Chewy-Gingerbread-cookies

1. As I mentioned previously, I have a stellar gingerbread cookie recipe that can be used any time of the year. And you don’t just have to make gingerbread men (and women) if you don’t like! This is great for ornament cookies, various shapes, etc. And the results are a fabulously soft and chewy cookie that’s amazing. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!

2. Sometimes the classic recipes are the ones we start to crave. Grandma’s cookies. This old fashioned gingerbread recipe from Vintage Recipe Project is definitely one of those. You can find it by visiting their site here

3. But enough about the classics. Bring on some new, innovating gingerbread! That’s exactly what Betsy of BetsyLife did in this gingerbread pineapple upside down cake recipe. OMG! Seriously… how good does this sound? I cannot wait to make it this weekend for the family.

mini-gingerbread-cakes

4. And then there are the cute, mini gingerbread cakes from Made With Happy. Just thinking of them makes me happy! So festive and perfect for parties. The drizzle of icing makes them even more irresistible.

5. What isn’t better with banana? Living Sweet Moments paired it up with gingerbread wonderfully in this banana gingerbread recipe with brown butter glaze. Sounds just as good as it looks!

6. I love a recipe that can also serve as decor as well. And who wouldn’t want these cookies perched on the edge of a mug or added to a place card. These olive oil gingerbread cookies from Family Spice are a bit different than the traditional gingerbread recipe but the results? Well… they’re worth it!

gingerbread-french-toast-casserole-recipe

7. One of my favorite things to make for guests when they come to visit for brunch is french toast casserole. Not only is it super simple to make, but it uses up the leftover bread I might have around that won’t get eaten. How awesome is that? Now this gingerbread french toast casserole from BetsyLife is the perfect spin on this classic crowd pleaser for the holidays. Great for Christmas breakfast! 

8. I can honestly say that I’ve never had gingerbread pudding. But Texas Type A Mom makes it look so good in this pumpkin gingerbread pudding recipe. What kid would say no to that? 

9. To round out our 9 delectable gingerbread recipes is my favorite one of all. My gingerbread cake recipe. Not only is this amazing cake easy to make, it’s also perfect for breakfast OR dessert and pairs well with coffee, ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream. Now it isn’t overly sweet, so if you prefer something on the sweet side, I suggest whipping up some cream cheese frosting.

gingerbread-cake

What’s your favorite way to incorporate gingerbread into the holidays?

Entertaining During The Holidays: Homemade Pudding Parfait with Cookie Crumble

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayPairings #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.

Homemade Pudding Parfait with Cookie Crumble

Ah… the holidays are here! And now is the time for holiday cheer… right? One thing I LOVE about the holidays is unexpected guests. Whether it’s friends stopping by to drop something off, family members coming to catch up, or a random neighbor who shows up at your door as you’re sitting down to eat dinner. I’m not joking either. My house may be a mess, my kids may need baths, but I will always have room in my home for our family and friends. Now I would love a little heads up call ahead of time so that I can pretend to pick up before guests arrive.

One of the reasons why unexpected guests don’t stress me out, especially around dinnertime, is that I keep a well stocked pantry and fridge. On any given time I can whip out some Pepperidge Farm crackers to pair with cheese and fruit to keep the guests busy while I prepare dinner. And dinner can be as simple or elaborate as I want. I can whip up a delicious pasta dish in less than 30 minutes. Give me 30 more minutes and I’ll have some homemade pudding to make individual pudding parfaits.  Sometimes I just keep it basic and put a spread of Pepperidge Farm cookies out. It’s good to keep a box of their Classic Cookie Collection on hand just in case. But don’t think you’ll be getting any of the Milanos out of that package if you’re near my husband. He’ll snag them before you even notice they’re gone!

Entertaining during the holidays - simple cheese platter with fruitEntertaining during the holidays - simple cracker and cheese platter paired with wine

Entertaining during the holidays with Robert Mondavi wines

The Cracker Trio pairs well with a variety of cheeses. I love the classics – brie, sharp cheddar, and a salami mozzarella roll sliced up. And since we usually have grapes and some sort of berry on hand, we can put out a simple spread to keep appetites satiated. Plus busting out the Robert Mondavi wines helps too. My favorite? The pinot noir.

The pinot noir also tastes amazing in this pasta dish I just made recently. I grabbed some Barilla Pronto spaghetti and was intrigued at it’s claims to be ready in minutes. With my newly inherited electric range, I can’t get pasta to boil in less than 30 minutes! So frustrating. But after sauteing some onions and browning some steak, then de-glazing the pan with a little wine, I removed everything from the pan and added the pasta. Covered with 3 cups of water and cooked it on high for 10 minutes.

About 20 seconds till the end of that 10 minutes I had a skillet filled with fully cooked pasta. Amazing. All I had to do was toss the onions and beef in with the pasta and sprinkle with some parmesan to create a delicious one-skillet pasta dish in less than 30 minutes from getting out the ingredients to putting the skillet on the table for dinner.

Entertaining during the holidays with easy pasta dishes Entertaining during the holidays with Barilla Pronto Entertaining during the holidays with easy pasta meals

In between cooking the onions, steak, and pasta, I whipped up a chocolate pudding from scratch. It would be the perfect light dessert to end our meal. Plus it was a great way to enjoy our favorite cookies. Pudding is not that hard to make. With a few simple ingredients I can make a silky pudding that can cool and set while we eat dinner. Sometimes I even make an avocado pudding. Interesting AND delicious with it’s greenish tint.

Entertaining during the holidays with pepperidge farm

Homemade Pudding Parfait with Cookie Crumble - a deliciously simple dessert

Homemade Chocolate Pudding Parfait

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a heavy saucepan, heat milk to warm, not boiling. Set aside.

Add sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch into a small bowl and mix to combine.

Pour 1 cup of the warm milk into the bowl with the chocolate mixture and whisk.

Pour chocolate mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk, slowly whisking to incorporate together.

Heat over medium high heat whisking frequently until mixture starts to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour pudding into individual dishes, or one large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so that a skin doesn’t form on the top of the pudding. Chill at least 1 hour to cool.

Homemade Pudding Parfait with Cookie Crumble bite

Homemade Pudding Parfait with Cookie Crumble

What you need:

  • milk frother
  • heavy whipping cream
  • 1 batch chocolate pudding (see above)
  • Pepperidge Farm cookies of your choice, crumbled
  • small glass bowls or cups

What you do:

1. Using the milk frother, thicken the heavy whipping cream. You don’t want it super thick but thick enough to form a layer between the pudding.

2. Grab a glass cup and pour in about 1/4 cup chocolate pudding.

3. Top with whipped cream.

4. Add cookie crumbles. I used two types from the Pepperidge Farm Classic Cookie Collection.

5. Repeat once again.

6. Top with a pirouette or other cookie of choice and serve with a spoon!

Pepperidge Farms Cookies at Walmart

Robert Mondavi wine at Walmart

Make sure to visit the Simple Entertaining hub to learn more about the upcoming wine tastings as well as Barilla & Pepperidge Farm demos at select Walmart Stores in November and December. You can find the products I featured above at your local Walmart.

How do you keep entertaining easy during the holidays?

Party On A Ritz: Carnitas Street Taco Bites + Mini Pecan Pie Bites

We love to travel. And we love to entertain. So we’re sharing a little of both with these two recipes featuring our sponsor, Ritz. Read ahead to find out how to marry your favorite destinations all on one tablescape! 

I’m planning a fall harvest party for my family and cannot wait to share a few of the recipes I’ll be serving at the party. With the help of Ritz, I’ve created two delicious destination dishes that include one inspired by local foods here in San Diego, and another dish inspired by a Southwest Airlines destination I’m dying to travel to.

One thing these recipes have in common are that they’re both very simple to put together and the dessert can be made ahead for easy serving at the party. I love make ahead dishes! Not only do they make planning easier, timing is also easier with a few make ahead dishes at the party.

I’ve also submitted both of these recipes to be featured on LuvRitz.com in a contest they’re hosting with Southwest Airlines. I have a chance to win a $500 Southwest Airlines voucher if I receive the most votes on my recipes! How awesome is that? Read ahead to check out my recipes and don’t forget to vote for me:

Carnitas Street Taco Bites

I’ve lived in San Diego all my life. Born and raised with deep roots in this city. I’m 3rd generation San Diegan and my husband is 4th generation. It’s pretty rare to find one of us around town and we’re pretty proud of the city we live in. One thing I absolutely love about this city is the copious amounts of good mexican food available around town. From our favorite taco shops, to our go-to mexican sit down restaurants, whenever I have a craving for the food I love, I am always close by.

I don’t just head out for mexican food either. Being raised by a dad who’s half mexican and half english rubs off on you, even if that means eating tortillas and drinking tea for breakfast. And some of my relatives make the best carne asada and mexican rice out there. I remember my dad’s stories of his father making fresh tortillas for him and his siblings and how he wished he had a chance to learn how to make them too.

Needless to say, I enjoy preparing mexican inspired dishes in my own home today. And that includes street tacos! But when I’m serving food at a party I love making things bite size. So for our upcoming fall harvest party I decided to miniaturize our favorite street tacos and put all of our favorite flavors on a Ritz. All of the deliciousness in one bite!

Carnitas Street Taco Bites with guacamole

Carnitas Street Taco Bites

  • Ritz crackers
  • Carnitas, shredded
  • Guacamole
  • Onions/cilantro
Grab a Ritz, top with shredded carnitas, guacamole, and onion/cilantro mixture. Place in mouth, chew, and enjoy!
Vote for this recipe here: http://wshe.es/jDtdNsXi

Mini Pecan Pie Bites

While I love where I’m from, I also love traveling. The best part about living where I am is that it’s really easy to travel. Whether it’s by car, train, or plane. However there’s one destination I’ve never been. And that’s the southern US. I’ve dreamt of visiting but have never pulled the trigger and planned a vacation down south. But that doesn’t mean its not on our list in the near future.

And when I’m ready, I know Southwest flies to multiple destinations in the south. That means I get to keep track of Southwest sales that hit my inbox to keep an eye on flight prices. If a good price comes up I may just snag it even for a long weekend trip.

One thing I look forward to when I visit the south is the various foods I’ve heard so much about. I have a little confession to make. I never tried pecan pie until about two-three years ago when it was brought to Thanksgiving by one of the relatives. Pumpkin was usually the only option growing up so that’s what I ate. So when I had the chance ot try it, I jumped on it. And fell in love with it.

Since pecans are grown in the south, my easy no-bake party dessert was inspired by this destination. Yeah, that’s right, no-bake dessert! And bite size so it’s perfect for parties.

Mini Pecan Pie Bites with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

Mini Pecan Pie Bites

  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate morsels
  • 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
Grab 2 baking sheets and line each with wax paper. Lay out 1 Ritz sleeve of crackers on each baking sheet.
In a food processor, chop up the pecans finely. Pour pecans into a small bowl. Add brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla extract to the pecans and mix well until combined.
Using a teaspoon, take a spoonful of the pecan filling and place on top of a Ritz. Press down flat with the back of the teaspoon. Repeat with the rest of the crackers.
Take the dark chocolate morsels and heavy whipping cream and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well to incorporate morsels and cream. Add chocolate to a sandwich bag. Cut off a small piece of the corner of the sandwich bag.
Drizzle chocolate over each mini pecan pie bite. Serve and enjoy!
Vote for this recipe here: http://wshe.es/ZgX5gTDI
Party On A Ritz
Stay tuned to see more of my fall harvest party next week! In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of the tablescape I’m planning.
 
I’m not the only one who can enter for a chance to win! 

Ritz and Southwest Airlines want to know where you want to go and how you enjoy Ritz Crackers. One lucky winner will win $5,000 in Southwest gift cards! Just Tweet or Instagram your response along with #LuvRitzSweepstakes to be entered. (Example: “I want to go to #Dallas for the holidays and enjoy Ritz Mint Thins #LuvRitzSweepstakes”)

Halloween Snack Bar With 50/50 Bar Floats

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats

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

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

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

Halloween Dessert Bar With 5050 Bar Floats jack o lanterns

How do you dress up your favorite treats?



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