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. 

Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding

When you’re juggling work, kids, and life, it’s nice to have a dessert you can make with little to no effort to enjoy at the end of the day. This Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding is the perfect dessert to do just that! And it hits all of the right spots. 

Our lazy summer has turned into quite a busy one. I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been able to test out recipes to share here so when I had a craving for rice pudding, I knew I had to try it out in the Instant Pot to see if I could re-create one of my favorite desserts. With the help of the instant pot doing all of the work, I’ve gotten fairly close to replicating my favorite Arroz con Leche. This is the perfect dessert to dish out after a long day of juggling work and the kids when I want something no one else will steal bites of. 

One thing I love is that this recipe makes enough for 2 of my 3-cup Pyrex glass dishes. That way I can stack them in the fridge and take out 1/3 of a dish to enjoy. Because when I need a little comfort I don’t want to think about portions. 

You could try switching out the half and half with all milk but I feel the half and half adds a bit more creaminess to the dish. Also, if you have a ceramic pot insert for your Instant Pot you can reduce the amount of rice that may stick to the bottom of the pot. I’ve also found that there may be some spittle when releasing the pressure. That’s OK! Just put a dish towel over the top of your Instant Pot when you depressurize. 

5 from 1 vote
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Instant Pot Mexican Rice Pudding (Arroz con Leche)

Course Dessert
Cuisine Instant Pot, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • cup sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Rinse rice well using a mesh colander.

  2. Add half and half, milk, sugar, water, and salt to Instant Pot

  3. Add rice to liquid mixture and stir

  4. Place lid on Instant Post, seal lid, and close vent.

  5. Press the Porridge button. The rice will take 20 minutes to cook on this setting.

  6. When the timer beeps, allow the pressure to release slowly for 10 minutes.

  7. After 10 minutes, press the Cancel button and open vent to release pressure.

  8. When depressurized, open lid.

  9. Add Sweetened Condensed milk and vanilla.

  10. Sprinkle with cinnamon and stir until well mixed, adding a splash of half and half if needed for creamy consistency.

  11. Store in individual glass containers and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  12. Refrigerate and serve or enjoy hot!

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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. 

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Find the full recipe here

Aloha Hawaiian Baby Shower: Ideas for A Hawaiian Baby Shower

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My sister welcomed her 4th bundle of joy into the world about a month ago and we are so happy to have another niece! But before her arrival we started to celebrate her (and her momma) by hosting this Aloha Hawaiian themed baby shower. My sister’s husband is of Hawaiian and Mexican descent so it was only fitting to bring some flavors of his heritage into their celebration. And who doesn’t love some kalua pig or mac salad? 

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The Decor

I used simple colors and decor when planning things and based everything on the invitation that I created in Canva using a template. I used that template to then make the other signs for the party including a welcome sign, lei sign, and food signs. 

The leis were perfect for the leg crossing game – whoever sees another guest crossing their leg gets to take their lei. Normally it’s played with safety pins but this was more fitting for our theme. 

We also played a baby word scramble and a word search.  Since it was guys and gals I didn’t want it to be too girly. The guys, however, did score the least amount in both games but I’m not naming any names! 

Looking for more baby shower games? Check out the Disney baby shower games here

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The Desserts

When I called up my sister and asked what kind of cake she wanted she said vanilla or chocolate. And I had to laugh. Really? I’m getting you a cake and you want plain vanilla or chocolate? So she jokingly said she wanted haupia cake, a Hawaiian cake. I then surprised her by ordering not only a beautiful ombre chocolate cake but haupia cupcakes. I suggested this recipe to a local baker and she ran with it! 

Here’s everything I ordered for the decor: 

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The Menu

Like my decor, I wanted to keep things simple with the menu. And I wanted to feed a large crowd without being left with tons of food at the end of the party. So I paired it down to two main courses – teriyaki skewers and kalua pig in the pressure cooker, rice in the rice cooker, mac salad, a green salad, and Hawaiian rolls. Because who doesn’t love Hawaiian rolls? 

The kalua pig recipe I found was one that everyone in the instant pot community raves about. And now I know why! It’s so good. Like melt in your mouth good. And the Hawaiian red alaea sea salt totally is worth it. 

By cooking the kalua pig in in the pressure cooker, skewers on the barbecue, and the rice in our rice cooker, we didn’t have anything cooking in the oven or on the stove. And I was able to make the mac salad recipe the night before so it could soak up all of the flavors. It really was the most simple menu to date at an event I’ve hosted. But so good! 

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The party took about an hour to set up beforehand and everything was prepped the night before for easy set up. Simple and pretty was my goal and I succeeded! Everyone had a great time and left home stuffed (I even sent home leftovers with my sister!). Definitely the sign of a great party! And now we get to love on our new niece. 

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Want a sneak peek at one of the newborn photos I took of her? 

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Awwww! 

What’s your favorite Hawaiian food? 

aloha-hawaiian-baby-shower

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? 

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?

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.

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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?



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