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snack

Family, Food & Recipes

Holiday Snack Mix & Travel with Kids

November 15, 2017

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img_6588This post is sponsored by SC Johnson. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make the content on Espresso and Cream possible. #ZiplockHolidayUAI

Back before I had kids, my visions of weekend baking projects were pretty idyllic and, I now realize, unrealistic. I imagined my child happily cutting out cookie dough and decorating cookies, mess-free. Of course now that I have two kids of my own I know better than to tackle elaborate or time-intensive baking projects. Because Ainsley is bound to lose patience and I’m bound to be picking up a giant mess long after the project has lost it’s novelty. So these days, we keep our holiday baking projects on the simple side and everyone in the family is a lot happier because of it.

We have a few holiday road trips coming up in the next few weeks, including some air travel to visit family in Florida, so I’ve been planning and strategizing on how I’m going to keep not one but TWO kids happy in the car and in the air. My solution: busy bags filled with all sorts of goodies, activities and fun new and inexpensive toys. Because we all know that an entertained child is a happy child.

I headed to our local Walmart last week before music class to pick up a bunch of goodies for our trip, along with the supplies to make this Holiday Snack Mix recipe. Ainsley and I made the snack mix together, then portioned it into Ziploc® Brand Storage Snack bags for our travels. We also tied some of the bags with ribbon for gifting to friends and family.

I filled the Ziploc® Brand Storage Gallon bags with coloring books, crayons, stickers, inexpensive figurines (Ainsley’s favorite!), our homemade snack mix, a few new movies, and more. Hopefully these bags provide hours of entertainment and delight while we are doing our holiday travels!

Partnering with SC Johnson on this post was a total no-brainer for me, because as a mom of littles, I use Ziploc® Brand bags for pretty much everything. I always have at least a few Ziploc® Brand Storage Gallon bags in the car as makeshift trash cans on road trips to keep the car clean and organized and to keep figurines and toys grouped together and keep a bunch in my purse for air travel to contain trash and dirty diapers. Mom hacks all around!

Check out the full (easy!) recipe below. And if you’re a frequent Walmart shopper like me, there are also some great coupons available here.

Holiday Snack Mix
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 10 oz. white almond bark
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 6 cups square-shaped rice cereal
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup red and white candy-coated chocolate pieces
  • Red and green sprinkles
Instructions
  1. In a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave the almond bark, peanut butter and butter on HIGH 30 seconds. Stir; continue to microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring between intervals, until almond bark, peanut butter and butter are melted. Continue to stir until mixture is well combined. Stir in the peppermint extract.
  2. Combine cereal and pretzel sticks in a large mixing bowl. Pour almond bark mixture over cereal and stir until well combined and cereal is evenly coated. Transfer mixture to a Ziploc® Brand Gallon Bag and add in powdered sugar. Seal back and gently shake to coat cereal with the powdered sugar.
  3. Transfer mixture to a flat surface covered with parchment, waxed paper or aluminum foil. Spread in an even layer and add in the candy-coated chocolate pieces. Sprinkle with the red and green sprinkles. Let cool completely.
  4. Divide the mixture into Ziploc® Brand Snack Bags. Tie with ribbon, as desired.

This post is not sponsored or affiliated with Walmart.

Food & Recipes

Pie of the Week #6 // S’Mores Pie

November 8, 2016

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Today’s pie of the week is a good one, my friends! Okay, if you’re my husband then you probably disagree – the man has a serious dislike of “fluffy” things including pudding and whipped cream, which is why I decided to gift this pie to my mom’s co-workers rather than keeping it in our house. That said, if I was left with this pie in the house it wouldn’t be long before I would eat the entire thing on my own!

Although this chilled pie would probably be better suited for summertime, I tend to think that the s’mores flavor profile is good any time of the year. In fact, I think you could easily bring this pie to the table during the holiday season and almost everyone would be pleased. The marshmallow flavor is quite subtle, but if you’re looking to boost that a bit, I would suggest adding some miniature marshmallows to the top of this pie when garnishing just to be sure the message and flavor comes across.

The pie can be kept in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to three days, if it lasts that long! Just be sure to top with the whipped cream right before serving for best results!

S'Mores Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • Crust
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Filling
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Topping
  • Whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs and chopped chocolate
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter to the bowl and stir until well combined. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes; cool completely.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the ¾ cup heavy cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate and salt. Whisk until completely smooth. Cool.
  3. In a very small pan or saucepan over medium heat, heat the water. Sprinkle the gelatin over water and allow to dissolve. Whisk mixture together until gelatin dissolves completely, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on medium speed until very soft peaks begin to form. With the mixer running, slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the cream and continue to whisk on high speed 2 to 3 minutes more or until firm peaks form (the gelatin will prevent true stiff peaks from forming.) Slowly whisk in the marshmallow creme and vanilla until evenly combined and smooth.
  5. Stir together the marshmallow mixture and the semi-cooled chocolate mixture until evenly combined. Pour mixture into the prepared crust. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours or until filling is set. Top with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs and chopped chocolate just before serving.

 

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Protein Lactation Bites

April 8, 2015

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The first six weeks of life with a baby have been eventful, to say the least, and those weeks have thrown my eating for a loop! I had grand visions of eating a huge meal after delivery, but surprisingly I found myself barely able to eat for a day after delivery and, in fact, my appetite was dampened for a good part of the first week postpartum. Pair that with the fact that I got a horrible case of stomach flu when Ainsley was 4 weeks old that took away my appetite for a week and a half and my eating has been sporadic at best since she arrived.

I started to get a little worried about maintaining my milk supply after getting hit hard with the flu. The dehydration took a big toll on my body and I realized there was no way I was getting enough nutrients in my system to make up for the calories lost during breastfeeding. So when my sister-in-law, Amber, posted this healthy recipe for Protein Balls on her Instagram page, I thought it would be a great recipe to tweak in hopes of boosting lactation. I mean I love Lactation Cookies but I was looking for something a little healthier for frequent consumption. An added bonus? These bites are super quick to whip up and much faster than baking a batch of cookies.

I’ve kept a double batch of these babies in our freezer for snacks throughout the week when I only have one hand and a couple minutes to spare, which happens more often than I would have ever imagined pre-baby!

Protein Lactation Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup chocolate protein powder
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon brewer's yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients together in a food processor and process until mixture starts to come together. Roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator or covered in a plastic container.

 

Uncategorized

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies with Candied Pecans

January 13, 2015

Ultimate Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Many times I sit down to write and blog post without really thinking about what exactly I’m writing about. The words flow easily about the recipe I’m going to share with you, the flavor or texture or usefulness of the recipe at hand. It’s easy to fall into a lull of writing about food without really writing about anything at all. Does anyone really need me to wax poetic for four paragraphs about chocolate chip cookies?

Lately I’ve felt a pull towards different types of blogs than those that I’ve loved in the past. I’m drawn to the writing of women who are ultimately inspiring in the way they share vulnerability and failure without falling down the rabbit hole of negativity and hopelessness.

*I love the way Jess and Rachel write about faith, motherhood and anxiety, depression and the whole of life experiences. The way they bravely share their faith and passion for Jesus pushes me to share my faith more openly.
*My adoration for Shanna’s understated and beautiful way of looking at the world continues to grow with every post. I’m so thankful for her friendship over the years, even if it’s just been of the digital/e-mail variety.
*The way Laken writes about family life, motherhood and personal growth always leaves me feeling inspired and uplifted; her site always feels, to me, like the blog equivalent of Anthropologie for some reason.
*I wish every single day that Heather and I could sit and work together and drink coffee and talk like old friends. Another e-mail blog friend, I feel her warm spirit come across in every post, almost like a virtual hug.

Anyway, I suppose I’ve gotten terribly off course, but what I really mean to say is that I’m so thankful for those who are willing to share their lives online. Sometimes I wonder if having “blog friends” is strange or if I should just spend more time devoted to those friendships that I have in real life. But the beauty of the blog world is that chances are there is someone going through something similar to what you’re going through, whether it be a painful and trying time or a time of extreme joy.

I’m so thankful there are women who have written their stories for the world to read so that I can follow along, a few steps behind, and feel a little more prepared for what’s ahead. I’m thankful for those who are writing out their own crazy stories in the thick of it so that I can read what they’re going through and know that I’m not alone.

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thank you for reading my ramblings! I have nothing to really wrap this post together with except to say that I made cookies. Really, really good cookies, if I do say so myself. They’re perfect in the way that they’re crispy on the edges and soft and chewy in the center. They’re packed with chocolate chunks and candied pecans and have just the right amount of salt so as not to overwhelm you with sweet. Make them. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies (1) | Espresso and Cream

Ultimate Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1½ sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup chopped candied pecans (I buy mine at Trader Joe's)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt. Stir until well combined.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just combined, followed by the vanilla and almond extracts.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and candied pecans by hand until incorporated.
  5. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons onto lightly greased baking sheet, placing dough balls about 2 inches apart. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and slightly soft looking in the center of the cookies. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Uncategorized

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites | Espresso and Cream

October 20, 2014

Cookie Dough Bites (2) | Espresso and Cream

How was your weekend, friends? Joe and I had the best weekend with absolutely no plans on the schedule. After traveling or being crazy busy for the last month, this was the first weekend that we had a chance to hang around the house with no actual plans. It was glorious. We did a big deep “fall clean” of the house on Saturday morning, tossing and throwing things away and sorting. Please tell me I’m not the only person who gets a huge sense of relief throwing/giving away things we don’t need? I think a little bit of nesting has been kicking in because I suddenly have the desire to organize and sort every drawer and closet in our house!

I also made a little time for baking cookies and am super excited to have a new recipe to share today. Most of the time I’m a from-scratch baker, not because I feel like that’s what I should do but because I find it incredibly relaxing to bake, especially when I don’t have anything on the agenda. But sometimes I like to bring in a little help.

Since I work for Betty Crocker, I ended up with a bunch of pouch cookie mix in my pantry after a photo shoot last week. I pack Joe’s lunch each weekday morning and like to put a little something sweet into his lunch each day and we had absolutely nothing sweet around the house that would suffice, so a quick cookie baking session was calling my name. But instead of devoting a bunch of time baking, I made these cookies during halftime of the Vikings game and was back on the couch in time to watch the second half. Win-win!

Be aware that these cookies don’t spread out like regular cookies, which is by design. The edges get delightfully crispy and crunchy while the centers stay soft and chewy. It’s a fantastic combination, and these little cookies fit well inside almost any lunch box, for husbands or for kiddos!

Loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
These cookies do not spread out like regular cookies but, rather, they hold their shape in more of a "ball" form by design. If you want your cookies to be flatter, flatten each dough ball with the back of your hand before baking.
Ingredients
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter (I didn't test with regular peanut butter, but I think it would work!)
  • ¾ cup miniature pretzels, finely chopped/crushed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cookie mix, butter, egg and peanut butter until a soft dough forms and all ingredients are well combined. Beat in the pretzels and pecans until evenly combined.
  3. Scoop dough by rounded tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or use a cookie scoop like I did.) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden brown and set. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes; cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Madison