FROZEN Snowflake Mini Candy Cupcakes

FROZEN Mini Candy Cupcakes

I made these adorable little Frozen Mini Candy Cupcakes for my girls.

Just because.

We didn’t eat them ALL ourselves, of course.  I shared some.  But the reason behind their creation was simply my girl’s love of the Disney movie FROZEN.

And because they were cute.

FROZEN Mini Candy Cupcakes

I’ve made these mini “cupcakes” before with regular Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups, but when I found the white chocolate versions in the store, I just knew they would be perfect for a project like this!

I matched them with some blue icing {store bought icing + blue food coloring} and some snowflake sprinkles.

I used the Cake Mate Sequins Winter Snowflake sprinkles, not even noticing until afterwards that the actual “snowflakes” look more like little flowers than anything else.

So, next time, I’ll probably opt for a different sprinkle.  Something more like Wilton’s Pearlized Snowflake Sprinkles.

FROZEN Mini Candy Cupcakes

But they’re still cute, right??

Totally cute.

And my girls LOVED them.  So did the other people I shared them with.

They would be completely perfect for a FROZEN birthday party {something Elsa herself might whip up}, or even any winter themed event.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CANDY CUPCAKES:

1.  Unwrap peanut butter cups.
2.  Separate snowflakes from other sprinkles {if necessary}.
3.  Add blue food coloring to icing, mixing thoroughly.
4.  Put blue icing in a piping bag fitted with a small star tip {about #16} or gallon size plastic storage baggy with the end snipped off.
5.  Pipe icing on top of peanut butter cups like you would a cupcake.
6.  Top with snowflake sprinkle before icing sets.
7.  Store covered in a cool location.

FROZEN Mini Candy Cupcakes

Enjoy!

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Freezer Crock Pot Meals: Jambalaya

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

With the colors and excitement of Mardi Gras around me, I felt inspired to make some jambalaya.

It’s been on my To Do list for awhile, and I really haven’t been keeping up with making new Freezer Meals anyway, so it felt like great timing.

Technically Mardi Gras had already passed when I made it, but it is a warmly spicy and flavorful dish that’s a comforting {and super easy} meal anytime.

Why is it so easy?  As you can see in the pictures below, everything gets thrown into one freezer bag, and then the contents of that freezer bag later get thrown into a crock pot.  Done.

It’s best with rice, but that’s also something you can make ahead of time and have stored in the fridge.

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

I typed up my recipe with the ingredients measured out for one meal:  one freezer bag portion that serves 4.

However, you can see that I actually made two.

And if chicken hadn’t been so expensive when I was in the mood for this, I would have made even more.

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Once you put all of the ingredients in the bag, you freeze it overnight while it’s flat.

I like to put mine on top of pizza boxes or baking sheets, or something else smooth, because if you freeze them right on wire shelves, they’ll have little bumps on one side.  That doesn’t hurt the recipe, but it takes up waaaay more space in the freezer.

And the whole point is that you can stack these frozen meals vertically or horizontally without them taking up much space.

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

And when you’re ready to eat, you just pull a bag out of the freezer and dump the contents into the crock pot.

I run mine under some warm {not hot} water in the sink for just a couple of minutes, to help break the large chunk into a few smaller chunks.

You can throw it right in the crockpot when it’s still completely frozen, it just fits better in smaller chunks.

Oh, and as you can see in the photos, there’s an excess of broth.  It will look wet when you first put it into the bowl, but once you stir in a scoop of rice, the rice will soak up most of the liquid.

So the finished product is not as soupy as it appears when still in the crock pot.

Feel free to adjust the seasonings to your own taste!  I like my food spicy, and though the heat was strong, I didn’t think it was too much.  But you can just use less hot sauce or a milder sausage if you prefer.

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Ingredients:
14 to 16 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
8 oz. Andouille sausage
1 (28 oz.) can diced or petite diced tomatoes
1 medium to large sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup chicken or beef broth
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Prepare a gallon freezer baggy by writing today’s date and the instructions on it. Set aside.

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Cut sausage into slices or dice it.

Put chicken and sausage into a one gallon freezer baggy. Add the rest of the ingredients to bag. Seal bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Place the bag into the freezer on a flat surface, like a baking pan, to freeze overnight. Once frozen, you can store the bags upright.

When you’re ready to cook, remove baggy from freezer and run under warm water just long enough to break the contents into a few smaller pieces, about 2 minutes. Pour contents into crock pot and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 hours. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Serve with rice. Serves 4.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BAG: Jambalaya ~ Cook on high 7-8 hours / low 3 hours ~ Serve with rice ~ Date

NOTE: This recipe makes one freezer bag portion but is easily doubled or tripled, making it easy to assemble multiple meals at one time, like you see in the photos.

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To print the free PDF copy of the recipe, click here:  Freezer Crock Pot Jambalaya

Enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day Lunch Snack Ideas for Kids

Valentine's Day Lunch Snack Ideas For Kids at RoamingRosie.com

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’ve already started adding fun Valentines-themed snacks to my kid’s lunches.

The top picture is of heart-shaped strawberries.

Okay, okay… they’re not obviously hearts upon first glance, so I did mention to my girls ahead of time that they were getting strawberry hearts in their lunch bags.  Just in case my artfulness didn’t shine through right away.

Anyway, to make quick strawberry treats that vaguely resemble hearts, follow these steps:

  • Wash strawberry.
  • Cut top off of strawberry.
  • Cut berry in half.
  • Cut a triangle out of the top center of the berry.
  • Cut off the edges of the top at an angle.
  • Ensure children they’re getting lovingly carved hearts and not mangled fruit pieces.

You can also toss those extra strawberry pieces into a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, by the way.

And onto the next photo…. I used a tiny {about 1-inch} cookie cutter to cut hearts out of American cheese slices and flour tortillas.

I cut out about twice as many tortilla hearts as cheese ones because my oldest likes to assemble her own cheese sandwiches out of the pieces.

The last photo doesn’t have anything heart-shaped, but instead includes something red.

I tossed a few red M&Ms {leftover from Christmas} into a container of nuts.  Cashews, specifically, since I think they taste better than peanuts, and there are kids in my daughters’ classes with peanut allergies.

My girls will eat the nuts without any extra incentive, but I felt the dash of red color just added a little fun.

And if you’re wondering about the containers I had the cashews in, these are the ones I use:

Kotobuki Children's Bub a Buu Snack Container, Triangular Onigiri Animals, Set of 3

My girls love getting snacks in these little triangle containers.  They’re technically condiment containers, but they’re easy to open {even for my 2yo} and they hold plenty of food.

Not a LOT of food, mind you, but a handful of nuts or raisins or goldfish or about 5 or 6 grapes.  Enough for a snack.

Oh, and I also cut apple slices and used the same heart shaped cookie cutter to remove the seeds, thus putting a heart in the middle of the circle slice.  But I forgot to photograph those.  I’ll try to remember next time.  :)

Please share any fun Valentine’s snacks you’ve made for your own kiddos!

**********EDIT:  Aug 2015**********

Aaaaaand….. now that I’ve been making heart strawberries in a way that’s SO much easier for a while now, I should probably update this post!  ;)

Anyway, after I wrote this, I discovered that it was way easier to just cut the strawberry in half and use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the heart.  Takes two seconds and looks amazing!  Plus – the cuteness factor means my kids eat more fruit!  (Even at school!!!)

Check it out:

Heart Shaped Strawberries and Sandwiches for Kids Lunches

And you can see that I used one of the larger heart-shaped cutters for the sandwiches.  Since peanut butter and (strawberry) jelly can get a little messy, I sometimes cut out the bread first and then fill them instead of making the sandwich ahead of time and then cutting out the heart.

Happy Eating!  (Or happy school-lunch making!)

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Eating My Feelings

Some days are just one of those days.

Today is that day.

But don’t worry – I’ve got everything under control now: I’ve raided the kitchen.

Here are some of the feelings I’ve been feeling while digesting my feelings.

Don't try to tell me that hungry is not an emotion because I feel tht shit in my soul.

30 Rock:  I'm gonna go talk to some food about this.

I'm eating my feelings and they taste delicious.

My face when I see food.

These cookies are mine.  ALL MINE.

 

I'm sad when my food is over.

I’m glad we’re all on the same page now.

And I feel a little less alone.  :)

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Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This Paddy’s Day, we made some Irish soda bread to accompany our corned beef and cabbage.  But not just any Irish soda bread – Irish soda BEER bread.

The Irish half of my heritage was very excited about this.

And I was right to be excited, because these things were amazing!

Seriously:  little loaves of sweet, warm goodness with thick, crusty exteriors crackling open in my hands to reveal a velvety soft smoothness.

Yum.

And you could technically use any brand of beer you like, but I strongly recommend Guinness.  Although, I must admit, I’m tempted to make these again with chocolate stout…

But I digress.  Point is, these things are crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, have just the right amount of sweetness, and taste wonderful smothered in butter.

And they’re easy to make.

They are a wee bit on the heavy side, though, so one is more than enough per person (the recipe makes 12 mini loaves), and you could probably even make it into a batch of 16 instead.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Also, Irish soda bread usually calls for caraway seeds, but, since I don’t like caraway seeds, when I put this recipe together, I left them out.

If you’re a fan, however, feel free to throw in a tablespoon while mixing the flour with the sugar.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

And, like I said, it’s easy.

Essentially, you throw everything together in one bowl, then knead for a minute, then bake.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

The dough can be a little sticky, but that’s an easy fix.  Make sure to knead it on a floured surface, and coat your hands with flour.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Also, when cutting the loaf into tiny loaves and rolling them into balls, if they start to stick to your hands or the counter, just pat on a little more flour.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Kitchen shears or sharp scissors are the best way to make the X in the top of the mini loaves, although I suppose you could use a sharp knife if you don’t have shears.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Brushing egg over the tops adds a nice texture and color to the loaves.

Plus, make sure you bake them on parchment paper, or a some sort of nonstick baking mat.   Alternatively, you could grease the pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Was I wrong?  Do these things not look amazing??

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

And the aroma, the texture…

You won’t regret trying these.  I’m definitely going to find more excuses to make these.  And not just for Paddy’s Day.

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness Recipe

Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups stout Guinness
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs

Pour the beer into a measuring cup and let sit for about a half hour at room temperature, until flat.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in raisins. Then, stir in beer, melted butter, and 1 egg until a dough forms.

On a floured surface, knead dough until smooth. Coat your hands in flour to prevent the dough from sticking to you.

Shape the dough in a ball. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into quarters. Cut each of these quarters into three equal pieces. Shape each of these 12 pieces into balls and place on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper.

Using kitchen shears, cut an X in the top of each loaf. Then lightly beat the remaining egg and brush it over the loaves.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack.

(Note: Traditionally, Irish Soda Bread contains caraway seeds. I’ve omitted them from this recipe, due to personal tastes, but if you’d like to add them, simply stir in a Tbsp. of caraway seeds when combining the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices.)

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Click here for your FREE printable PDF:  Mini Irish Soda Bread with Guinness

Enjoy!  :)

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10 New Year’s Eve Activities for Kids

10 New Years Eve Activities for Kids

Need some fun ideas to entertain your kids on New Year’s Eve?

I’ve compiled a list of all the things my girls and I did this past New Year’s Eve.  I had such a great time making this a special holiday for them and watching them have fun celebrating it.

And my girls may be just shy of 2 and 4-years-old right now, but these activities will be a part of our traditions for many years to come since they are great for all ages.

1.  Make a “New Year’s Eve Activity Bag”  (or Box)

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

I filled a gold bag with some of the party supplies we’d be utilizing on New Year’s Eve, which included noisemakers, glitter hats, silver bead necklaces, gold balloons (not yet blown up), and a couple of LED light-up wands I picked up at the dollar store.

Since it was only a few days after Christmas, I felt that getting a “present” of activities would be a neat way to start the day.

New Year's Eve Activity Bag

2.  Champagne Bubble Balloon Toss

Speaking of balloons, I find that they are a sure way to make any day special.  So, naturally, they make holidays extra special.

In the spirit of the holiday, I picked up a package of gold balloons at Walmart (for a buck) because they were the color of champagne.  I told the girls they were like bubbles and we kicked and bounced and tossed them around throughout the day and night.

New Year's Eve Balloons

3.  Make Giant Numbers for Photos and Decoration

I always have construction paper on hand (especially for our alphabet activities) and so that’s what I used to make the numbers.  I chose 4 colors and cut each of the numbers from a different sheet.  And I did it by hand.  I’ve learned that my kids aren’t perfectionists like me, so I don’t have to kill myself over the details.

We used the numbers first to pose for a few photos.  Next I asked my oldest daughter what the numbers were and asked if she could trace them each with her fingers.  Then we taped them to the TV hutch, just under the television, so that they would be visible while we watched the ball drop.  (They actually fell asleep before that, but we left the numbers up for a few days anyway, since they looked so cheerful.)

New Year's Eve Numbers 2014

4.  Practice Counting Down

Okay, I don’t know if older kids would get a kick out of this, but my girls certainly found it exciting.

Throughout the day, when discussing New Year’s Eve and how the ball would drop at midnight, I would announce, “Let’s practice counting down!” and we would shout out the numbers from 10 to 1 followed by a shout of “Happy New Years!”

My oldest daughter loved the counting and my littlest one enjoyed all the noise.

5.  Celebrate with Fireworks

We let the girls handle a couple of sparklers, and I was surprised at how quickly and excitedly they went through a whole box of snappers.  Then we lit a fountain-type firework in the street and did our many ooooohs and aaaaahs.

Many people set off fireworks at midnight, but we did all this just after the sun went down.

6. Dress Up

A great way to ring in the new year is by getting all dolled up – even if you’re just hanging out at home.  Whether you’re throwing (or attending) a party or just riding out the ball drop on your couch, adding a little frill to your outfit will make it extra special.

My girls got dressed up in twirl-worthy skirts and party bead necklaces.  Let girls paint their nails in fun colors.  Let boys try on silly neckties or style their hair in Mohawks.  Have fun with it.

7.  Eat Party Food

You may actually be throwing a party, but even if you’re not, celebrate the holiday like you are.  This goes along with #6.  Serve appetizers and tapas instead of a large meal.  Set out chips and dip, cheese and crackers, hot wings.

You could make regular food special, like serving hot dogs that have been cut in spirals and turned into “confetti ribbons.”

And eat grapes.  You’re young ones might not be able to stuff a dozen grapes in their mouths in a minute like the traditional Twelve Grapes of Luck, but you can still snack on them throughout the day.  It helped to sneak some more fruit into our day by announcing that they were good luck.

8.  Make a Giant Cookie Clock

Make a cookie cake into a Cookie Clock by adding chocolate numbers.  And, sure, I talked about numbers and counting with my daughter with this clock as inspiration, but really, we mostly made it for the sake of the chocolaty, gooey goodness.   Read about it here.

Cookie Clock 5

9.  Make Confetti Poppers

This was a New Years craft for us, because my kids helped.  We made confetti and made “poppers” that showered the confetti on us.  It was a fun addition to our celebration.  Here are our Confetti Poppers:

Confetti Poppers

10.  Serve Sparkling Grape Juice

But not just any sparkling grape juice… if you want to make it really festive, add in some cotton candy!

Cotton Candy Champagne

What New Year’s Eve traditions do you have?  How do you celebrate it with your kids?

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New Year’s Eve Cookie Clock

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Cookies are always a good idea.

Seriously.

So why not bake a giant cookie to help you ring in the New Year?

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Since I wanted our giant cookie to look like a clock, I used melted chocolate to make some numbers.  I used dark cocoa chocolate melts, but you could also use regular chocolate chips for this, too.

I melted them at 50% power in a baggy, then cut off a small corner to squeeze out the chocolate onto some parchment paper.  I let these harden while we made the cookie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

And the easiest way to shape your cookie into a circle is by using a circular pan.  I don’t have any fancy “giant cookie pans” or anything, so we smushed our cookie dough into a regular cake pan.  On top of a piece of parchment paper, though, that I had cut into a circle just smaller than the pan.  The paper keeps the cookie from sticking.

Use your favorite cookie dough here.  I went with chocolate chip, and I even used a box mix since we had some of those BOGO deals from Publix taking up room in the pantry, but you could use any recipe you like.

You need to watch it as it’s cooking.  Since it will be thicker than a regular cookie, the middle will still be a little soft when the edges are done.  You just kind of have to judge.  Usually the middle will feel a little underdone to some people (unless you overcook it), but that’s what I love about them.  It’s kind of like a cookie-brownie.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

When you take the baked cookie out of the oven, let it sit for a minute or two, and then lay the chocolate numbers on top of the cookie, very gently pressing to make sure it stays in place.

The heat from the cookie will melt the bottom of the chocolate numbers and as the cookie cools the numbers will harden again.

To make the pattern easier, put the 12, 3, 6, and 9 on first, and arrange the other numbers in between them.

I drew on the hands of the clock afterwards, since I wasn’t really sure what size I’d need.  You could draw the hands ahead of time when you make the numbers, though.  And if you really want to make them ahead of time but you’re really worried about the size, make a few and choose the best when the cookie is done.

New Year's Eve Cookie Clock

Once the cookie and numbers had finished cooled, I stuck some candles in it and we sang Happy Birthday to Mother Earth in celebration of the New Year.  My girls loved blowing out the candles at the end of the song.

Oh, and I did actually remove the cookie from the pan after we took out the candles and before we cut it.  It only cracked a little on the edge when I stuck a cake server under it to transfer it to a plate, but I didn’t take any photos after that.  Was too busy eating.  :)

Do you have any special New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day foods?  Let me know!

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