Monday, May 18, 2015

{Dairy-Free} Strawberries & Cream Popsicles

These {Dairy-Free} Strawberries & Cream Popsicles were featured on Love To Be In The Kitchen, where I guest posted for Becky (who just had the most adorable baby girl!) last month.  If you are dairy free, this is a great treat for the warm weather headed our way!


{Dairy-Free} Strawberries & Cream Popsicles are the perfect treat for all this warm Spring weather we've been having (at least here in Utah)!  With only 4 simple ingredients, you can be enjoying these in no time.  Delicious and wholesome, this is a treat you can feel good about giving your kids!

  {Dairy-Free} Strawberries & Cream Popsicles

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream*
  • 1/3 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries 
  • Additional sugar to taste, if strawberries are tart
Directions:
  1. Refrigerate coconut cream until well chilled (I did it overnight).  
  2. Chill mixing bowl and beaters for 5-10 minutes in the freezer prior to whipping cream.
  3. Place cold coconut cream in a mixing bowl.  Beat for 3-5 minutes.  Add in vanilla and sugar and whip to incorporate. 
  4. Wash and hull strawberries, and puree in a blender.  Taste for sweetness and add sugar if necessary.  Keep in mind that the cream will add some sweetness, but some strawberries are tart and may need a little extra sweetener.
  5. Fold the cream into the strawberry mixture, and pour into popsicle molds.  Freeze until hardened and enjoy!

Notes about Coconut Cream:
    * Coconut cream can be found in stores like Trader Joe's, Asian markets, the Asian section of some grocery stores, or the mixers (like margaritas) section of some grocery stores.

    * If you can't find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk (canned).  Look for milk withOUT guar gum as an ingredient.  This is added to emulsify the cream...which means the cream won't separate from the liquid, even when chilled.  Cream content will vary from brand to brand.

    *Regular cream can be substituted, use about 1 1/2 cups.





    Becky blogs over at Bite of Delight.  She is wife to one, mama to four, and spends a ridiculous amount of time cleaning the kitchen...where she spends most of her time cooking up something new!  When she's not cooking (or doing dishes), you can find her running, reading, or trying to keep up with her kids.  Follow along on Instagram or Facebook...she's always cooking up something fun!




    For a few more of my favorite treats, be sure to check out:
    Banana Bread Bundlets  //  Peanut Butter Mousse in Chocolate Cups  //  Spring Nutter Butter Truffles

    Follow me on  Pinterest  //  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Twitter

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    Simple Blender Lemon Curd {Dairy-Free!}

    This Simple Blender Lemon Curd is not only lusciously lemony and addicting, it's also dairy-free and SO easy to make!  It goes together in just a few minutes, and only take 5 ingredients.  That's it!  I know, I still can't believe it either.  There's no egg tempering here, because the blender does all the hard work for us.  Not only that, but it's made with coconut oil, which is a super food!  That means dessert is healthy...so go ahead and grab a spoon, it's good enough to eat straight from the jar!

    Lemon curd is so easy to make in the blender, but it has to be a high-powered blender.  I've been using my Blendtec for about 6 years now, and it's one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  {And can I just say that I love this company?  They are local in my state (yay Utah!  I love supporting local businesses!) and their customer service is amazing.  I called last year because the blade in my blender jar seized up and wouldn't spin.  The nice lady I talked to got my information and immediately told me to expect a new jar in the mail.  She didn't ask if my kids had been using it as a holding pen for earthworm habitats, or if they had been trying to blend rocks.  It was still under warranty, so no questions asked...just a new blender jar.  I told a lot of people about this because it made me so happy!}  You can't use a regular blender because it won't generate enough heat to cook the eggs.


    Blender Lemon Curd {Dairy-Free!}

    Ingredients:
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/2 cup sugar (I've switched to organic)
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup coconut oil, in 1 Tbsp chunks
    • zest from half a lemon
     Directions:
    1. Add the eggs, sugar and lemon juice to the blender jar.  Blend on high speed for 4 minutes (I used speed 9).  
    2. Blending on medium speed (I used 3) add the 8 tablespoon chunks of coconut oil one at a time, and then blend for one more minute on high.
    3. Check consistency.  If it's still thin, blend for one additional minute.  (I did not need this additional minute.)
    4. Add the lemon zest and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate.  
    5. Pour into a glass container or jar and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.
    6. Yields approximately 1 1/2 cups.
    7. Store up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  

    Lemon Curd is delicious in so many ways:
    • Waffle or Pancake Topping (with fresh raspberries)
    • Cheesecake Topping
    • Toast Spread
    • Add a Dollop to Strawberry Shortcake
    • With Fresh Berries
    • Cupcake Filling
    • Filling between Cake Layers
    • Lemon Tarts
    • Trifle
    • Bluberry Scone Topping
    • Crepe Filling
    • Puff Pastry Tarts with Berries
    • Thumbprint Cookies
    • With a Spoon
    • In a Yogurt Parfait (one of my faves!)

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    For another awesome allergy-friendly blender recipe, check out these yummy Pineapple Mango Pops!
    Or these simple Strawberries & Cream Popsicles.

      Food allergies are a very real thing and can be hard to eat around. To kick off National Food Allergy Awareness Week we are giving away the Blendtec Designer 625 Series with a Twister Jar! You can enter through the Rafflecopter below. Be sure to check out all the other yummy allergy friendly recipes too! And for more ways Blendtec can help make your food allergy meals easier and some awesome tips check out this post from Holly, Blendtec's in house dietitian.
      Food Allergy Awareness Week: 7 Recipes + Win a Blendtec Designer 625



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      Monday, May 4, 2015

      10 Best Uses for Coconut Oil

      My latest post on Or So She Says is all about one of my very favorite things...COCONUT OIL!  This is the magic superfood that does everything.  It's my top beauty product and my cooking go-to!  Keep reading for some great ideas you can use to incorporate coconut oil into your everyday routine.

      Hi again, Becky here from Bite of Delight! I'm so excited about today's post because it's all about one of my favorite discoveries... coconut oil! This amazing stuff has solved a lot of problems in my life, from cleaning to personal care to cooking. There are so many incredible uses for coconut oil, but today I want to talk about my top 10. These 10 best uses for coconut oil are in no particular order,

      because I love them all!

      1. Lotion: I started using coconut oil over a year ago in place of my face and body lotions. Not only does it do a great job keeping my skin moisturized, but it's also saved me a lot of money. Quality lotion can be expensive, and as I learned from my dermatologist, most commercial lotions contain alcohol...which actually dries out the skin! Coconut oil keeps my skin moisturized and soft (especially after shaving!), and I don't have to worry about unwanted chemicals or alcohols. I just scoop some oil into a small container with a lid and keep it in my bathroom with my makeup. I use it every morning and every night after I wash my face, and any time I would normally use lotion on my hands or body.

      2. Hair Mask: We've all heard that coconut oil is an excellent deep moisturizer for hair, so I asked my dear friend Amy (who is a licensed cosmetologist) for the best way to condition with coconut oil. She had a couple of awesome tips that I still haven't seen anywhere else! {I have naturally wavy hair, and doing this helps my waves to be curlier and more uniform. Bonus!} I did this on my daughter's hair and it was so incredibly soft and silky!Coconut Oil Hair Mask
      • Start with wet hair. It's like a sponge, it will absorb better if it's already wet.
      • Apply softened coconut oil to hair (amount of oil will vary depending on length and thickness of hair. Don't use too much...just enough to soak in, like conditioner.). Try starting with a tablespoon or two and adjust to your specific hair. For my daughter's fine, thin hair I used roughly a tablespoon, but I need about double that for my longer, thicker hair. Focus on the strands, not on the roots.
      • Gather hair into a bun or twist or another way to keep hair up on the head, and wrap with plastic wrap.
      • Put a towel in the dryer for several minutes, or until it is warm. Remove and wrap warm towel around your hair. The warmth will open up the hair follicles and really let the oil absorb in and nourish your hair. Let sit for 20 minutes and wash out (shampoo twice, if necessary). Use warm water! Coconut oil solidifies below 76 degrees, so if you use cool water to rinse, the oil could start to clump in your hair, making it difficult to remove.
      3. Mascara Remover: Using a pea-sized amount of coconut oil, rub it between the fingers of both hands to melt it. Rub directly onto your eyes in a circular motion. You will look like you have giant racoon eyes! Gently wipe away the mascara with a clean cloth. That's it! Safe, gentle, inexpensive and effective.

      4. Oil Pulling: Place about 2 teaspoons (up to a tablespoon) of oil in your mouth and swish with it for 20 minutes. I swish in the shower, where I don't need to talk to anyone. Spit the oil into the garbage or a baggy that can be thrown away (do NOT spit into the sink or toilet, as the oil can clog your pipes). Swish with warm water, then brush teeth. Coconut oil is antibacterial, so the idea behind this is to improve oral health by letting the oil pull all the toxins and bacteria from your mouth while protecting teeth and gums. Some people even say that oil pulling has helped with joint problems, acne, infections, asthma and many other issues.

      5. Cooking: Coconut oil is a stable fat (meaning it won't break down when exposed to heat, which can release toxins), so it's great for medium-heat cooking. I use it for veggies, baked potatoes, rice, etc.

      6. Baking: You can use coconut oil in place of butter or shortening in baking. I have stopped using shortening altogether in my baking, and I've had fantastic results with coconut oil! I've also switched to greasing my pans and dishes with coconut oil. It's not as convenient as cooking spray, but it's a healthy fat and it won't result in the sticky residue that sprays leave on pans.

      7. Smoothies: I always add in a tablespoon of coconut oil because it's an easy way to incorporate a healthy fat.

      8. Cleaning: We remodeled our kitchen last year, and after living with carpet in my kitchen for NINE long years, we finally installed hardwood floors. I almost died when my 3 year old got hold of the crayons and colored on my beautiful, new floor! I was hesitant to use chemicals, or even a magic eraser, because I didn't know what it would do to the finish on the wood. After a plea for help on Instagram, my sweet neighbor Jan suggested coconut oil to get it off. Worked like a charm! I simply rubbed it over the crayon with a paper towel and the floor was clear in no time.

      9. Natural Sunscreen: Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4. I don't use a separate sunscreen on my face anymore (for regular daily exposure) and I've never had a burn.

      10. Coconut Energy Balls: My cute friend Joelle shared this recipe with me, and was kind enough to let me share it with you! These are full of great stuff, simple to make, and a yummy treat when you want something sweet. I was out of almond butter when I made my last batch, so I used cashew butter instead and they were still delicious! I also added chia seeds and hemp hearts for an extra kick of energy!
       Coconut Energy Balls

      Ingredients:
      •  1 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
      • 2/3 cup melted coconut oil
      • 1/2 cup almond (or cashew) butter
      • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
      • 1 tsp hemp hearts (optional)
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
      • up to 1 Tbsp coconut oil

      Directions: 
      1. In a medium bowl, combine coconut flakes, melted coconut oil, almond (or cashew) butter, chia seeds, hemp heart (if using), and vanilla. 
      2. Form into 1 inch balls (I used my cookie scoop and then rolled them with my hands to make them round).  Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to harden.
      3. Melt chocolate and up to 1 Tbsp coconut oil in double boiler or in microwave.  Dip coconut balls in melted chocolate.  Use leftover chocolate to drizzle over coconut balls.  (A full tablespoon of coconut oil made my melted chocolate too thin...it didn't coat the balls as thickly as I prefer.  If this is a worry, start with half a tablespoon and check your consistency).

      For another healthy snack with coconut, check out these Mini Apple Pizzas!

      Mini Apple Pizzas


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      Monday, April 27, 2015

      White Chocolate Cookie Butter Popcorn


      White chocolate and cookie butter are the perfect pair for popcorn!  Throw in some chocolate candies, (especially if you have leftover Cadbury mini eggs from Easter, like I did!) and you've got a treat that will disappear in minutes.  This is so easy to throw together, and my kids LOVED it!  We sent some over to a neighbor and when we were texting later she said, "That popcorn you brought was ridiculous!!!  Yummmm.  You can bring more of that any time!"  And that is why she is my favorite neighbor.


      I've been putting cookie butter on and in everything lately.  I can't stop!  It's a great compliment to a lot of sweet flavors.  So it seemed only natural to put it in our favorite white chocolate popcorn (that my sister-in-law told me how to make nearly ten years ago!).  You can use microwave popcorn as well, but I don't buy it anymore, so this is written for popping your own kernels. 

      White Chocolate Cookie Butter Popcorn

      Ingredients:
      • 16 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup kernels)
      • 3 squares vanilla almond bark
      • 3 Tbsp cookie butter
      • chocolate candies (m&m's are great...especially pretzel, crispy, peanut butter, etc)
      • colored bark or candy melts, for drizzling, optional
      Directions:
      1. Pop popcorn kernels and remove any unpopped kernels.  
      2. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the candies.  
      3. Melt the almond bark according to package directions.  Add cookie butter to melted bark and stir to combine.  
      4. Drizzle bark mixture over popcorn & chocolate and toss to coat.  
      5. Pour out onto parchment or wax paper to harden.  
      6. If drizzling with colored bark or melts, melt according to package directions.  Spoon into a plastic sandwich bag, snip the corner, and drizzle over the popcorn.  
      7. As soon as the bark is dry, place in a serving bowl and enjoy!
      Note:
      • I have tried the Trader Joe's brand and the Biscoff brand of cookie butter.  I have to say, I prefer the flavor of Trader Joe's.  There are VERY similar, but there's just something about the Trader Joe's that tastes better to me.  I did side-by-side comparisons, and I just didn't like the Biscoff quite as much.  Still yummy, but I always buy TJ's now.  This is in no way sponsored, just an honest opinion! 
      THE WINNER OF LAST WEEK'S MOTHER'S DAY GIVEAWAY IS LATONYA T!  Check your email, we've sent you the details about getting your gardening grab bag!  Please reply within 24 hours.  Thanks to everyone who entered!!
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      Monday, April 20, 2015

      Chocolate Covered Strawberries and a Mother's Day GIVEAWAY!

       Chocolate Covered Strawberries are a beautiful, elegant addition to spreads for Mother's Day, baby showers, weddings, girls night, and basically any place where you want pretty food.  Not all chocolate covered strawberries are created equal though, so I'm going to share my secrets for making them pretty AND delicious.  As in, the cute grandmas in my neighborhood book club last month were wrapping them in napkins and stuffing their pockets.  They are that wonderful.

      Chocolate Covered Strawberries

      Ingredients:
      • 1 lb fresh strawberries, without blemishes or soft spots
      • 1/2 cup high quality milk chocolate chips
      • 2 squares chocolate bark
      • 1 square white bark, for drizzling
      • {For semi-sweet or dark, melt one cup of chips, adding coconut oil if necessary}
      Directions:
      1. Thoroughly wash and thoroughly dry your strawberries.  This is important!  Don't dip them if they are wet.
      2. Melt chocolate and bark, being careful not to overheat.  {Chocolate is temperamental and if it's heated too much it can get that powdery white coating--because it's out of temper.}  To melt chocolate in the microwave, heat it for 30 seconds at full power.  Stir.  Heat it again for 15 seconds, then stir.  If chips are almost all melted, continue stirring until they are all melted.  Heat again for 15 seconds if necessary.  
      3. Dip the dry strawberries in the chocolate and place them on a lined baking sheet to harden.  Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes to set chocolate, if necessary.
      4. Melt the white bark and drizzle over the hardened chocolate.  
      5. Store strawberries at room temperature.  Strawberries may be placed in the fridge, but condensation may form on the chocolate, so it is not recommended to refrigerate them for more than an hour.  If you do refrigerate them, let them come to room temperature before serving.  The strawberries will be sweeter and the chocolate will be a little softer.
      Notes:
      • If you want to garnish your strawberries other ways, you can sprinkle them in small/crushed foods immediately after dipping them in the chocolate.  Some ideas include: finely chopped nuts, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips.
      • You do NOT have to use chocolate bark.  Years ago my sister and I spent an afternoon testing several combinations of chocolate for dipping strawberries and we found that a great sheen and texture were achieved with a combination of chocolate and bark.  Straight chocolate is perfectly wonderful.  And if you use semi-sweet or dark, do NOT combine it with milk chocolate bark. 
      • This recipe gets me enough chocolate to dip large strawberries from Costco.  If your strawberries are smaller, you may need more chocolate as you will be covering more surface area of berries.  Just melt a little more and you'll be set!

        **********THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**********

        And now for the Mother's Day Giveaway!  I've teamed up with Western Gardens to bring you this awesome gardening grab bag valued at over $55!  {It contains a pruner, trowel, trigger nozzle, garden shears, gardening gloves, kneeling pad, tote, and a black 3-pocket apron that will be custom embroidered with the winner's name of choice!}  And we'll ship it all to you in time for Mother's Day! 

        a Rafflecopter giveaway
        This giveaway ends 4/27/15, so don't wait!  Open to US residents only.
        I am also running this giveaway on my Instagram account, so head there for even more chances to win!

        And if that wasn't enough, there are NINE more chances to win equally awesome prizes from these other fabulous blogs for yourself or a favorite Mother in your life.  

          Giveaway-Group

          1- My Daylights 2- Eat It & Say Yum 3- Tastefully Frugal 4- The Things I Love Most 5- Bite of Delight and Western Gardens 6- Home Crafts by Ali 7- Gypsy Road School 8- Mom's Bag of Tricks 9- Honest Harm 10- Happy 2BA Homemaker


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          Monday, April 13, 2015

          Best Chicken Tortilla Soup


          This Chicken Tortilla Soup was the answer to my desperate attempt to find a flavorful recipe that didn't taste like the bland versions I'd tried in restaurants.  Paying for soup that just didn't quite do it for me was enough to send me running to the kitchen to make my own that I really loved.  This soup makes me happy!  It's simple to throw together, and has the husband (and sister...who has been over twice when I've made it!) seal of approval!  I've linked this recipe up here!

          Chicken Tortilla Soup

          Ingredients:
          • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
          • 1 small onion, diced
          • 6 cloves garlic, minced
          • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (we like it with 2 jalapenos, but it will be spicier!)
          • 6 cups chicken broth/stock (homemade or store-bought)
          • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
          • 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed & drained
          • 2 cups shredded Honey & Lime Chicken chicken
          • 1 cup sweet corn
          • 1 lime, juiced
          • 1/2 bunch cilantro (about 1 cup) cilantro, divided and rough chopped
          • 1/4 tsp cumin
          • salt & pepper to taste
          Toppings & Garnishes:
          • shredded cheese
          • sliced avocados
          • sour cream
          • crispy tortilla strips/crushed tortilla chips
          • cilantro
          • lime wedges
          • sliced green onions

          Directions:
          1. In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat the avocado oil.  Saute onions until fragrant and translucent, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for about 1 more minute.  
          2. Add in remaining ingredients, except for half of the cilantro.  Combine all ingredients, and heat until soup is at a simmer.  
          3. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Divide remaining chopped cilantro among the bowls (it retains its fresh green color because it's not cooked into the soup).  Add desired toppings and garnishes and serve!
          *I like to divide the cilantro and sprinkle some on top because it will lose its fresh, green color as it cooks.  Feel free to add it all in the soup, if desired.
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          Adapted from FoodNetwork

          Monday, April 6, 2015

          How to Whip Coconut Cream

          Whipped Coconut Cream is the perfect solution for a wholesome dairy-free topping!  It's no harder to make than regular whipped cream, and it's fluffy and rich, just like you'd expect.


          We aren't a dairy-free family, but we still like to incorporate other foods into our diet that work in place of conventional ingredients.  This one is easy enough to make that my kids helped me whip it up!  Use it anywhere you would use regular whipped cream.  And then check out this link party, where I added this recipe!


          Whipped Coconut Cream

          Ingredients:
          • 1 (14 oz) can coconut cream
          • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
          • 1/2 tsp vanilla
          Directions:
          1. Refrigerate coconut cream overnight, or until cream is solid.
          2. Chill mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
          3. Open coconut cream and scoop the solid cream out into the mixing bowl.  If there is liquid in the bottom of the can, do NOT pour it into the cream.  You want only the solid white cream from the can.
          4. Beat the cream with a hand mixer for several minutes until fluffy and soft peaks form.
          5. Add sugar and vanilla and whip until incorporated.  The vanilla will make the whipped cream softer, but it adds a great flavor, so I never skip it!
          6. Refrigerate tightly covered up to 10 days, just re-whip when you're ready to use it. 

          Notes About Coconut Cream

          * Coconut cream can be found in stores like Trader Joe's, Asian markets, the Asian section of some grocery stores, or the mixers (as in margaritas) section of some grocery stores.

          * If you can't find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk (canned).  Look for milk withOUT guar gum as an ingredient.  This is added to emulsify the cream...which means the cream won't separate from the liquid, even when chilled.  Cream content will vary from brand to brand.

          * The liquid left in the can may be used in other recipes, including smoothies!

          For a wholesome, refreshing treat, use this Whipped Coconut Cream in my Pineapple Mango Pops!
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          Tuesday, March 31, 2015

          Pineapple Mango Pops

          Pineapple Mango Pops are a fun and refreshing way to take advantage of the best tasting mangoes, available right now!  The Ataulfo mango is only available for a limited time at Whole Foods (where you can get an awesome selection of really cool fruits like Sumo oranges), so don't miss out!  When they're gone, you'll have to wait a long time before they come back.  Which is sad.  So just get some.  I promise.


          Mangoes have such a delicious, tropical flavor that goes well with so many other fruits.  When I ended up with a mango and a pineapple in my cart, I couldn't get popsicles out of my head, and ended up with this dairy-free treat!  As if that wasn't enough, mangoes are full of good things like phytochemicals, antioxidants, Vitamin C & A, beta-carotene and fiber.  My kids helped me make them into these yummy popsicles, which are perfect for the warm Spring weather we've been having here in Utah!  Check out the link party where I added these popsicles!

           To make it easier to get the slush into the molds, I put it in a large measuring cup and poured it right in!

          Pineapple Mango Pops

          Ingredients:
          • 1 pineapple, cut into chunks (drain juice, if any)
          • 1 mango, peeled & cubed
          • juice of 1 lime
          • 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream
          • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
          • 1/2 tsp vanilla
          Directions:
          1. Place pineapple, mango & lime juice in blender.  Blend until frothy, should make approximately 3 cups.
          2. Place cold coconut cream in a mixing bowl.  Beat for 3-5 minutes.  Add in vanilla and sugar and whip to incorporate.  
          3. Fold the whipped coconut cream into the fruit slush.
          4. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until solid.
          5. Enjoy!
          Notes about Coconut Cream:

          * Coconut cream can be found in stores like Trader Joe's, Asian markets, the Asian section of some grocery stores, or the mixers (as in margaritas) section of some grocery stores.

          * If you can't find coconut cream, use full-fat coconut milk (canned).  Look for milk withOUT guar gum as an ingredient.  This is added to emulsify the cream...which means the cream won't separate from the liquid, even when chilled.  Cream content will vary from brand to brand.

          For more simple and delicious mango recipes, check out these Whole Foods Market creations!


          Thursday, March 26, 2015

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

          This post was originally shared on Or So She Says.  These Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels are a game changer!  Simple to put together and highly addicting...the perfect treat!

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

          I have a slight obsession with coating things in chocolate, so it only made sense to come up with today's treat...Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels! The combination of sweet and salty and crunchy and chewy is my new favorite thing. These are dangerously addicting and hard to put down! They're also easy peasy to put together and can be made ahead of time. So basically, this is perfection. I hope you love them as much as we do!

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
          You only need four simple ingredients to make these treats! I always have pretzels, chocolate chips and peanut butter in my pantry, and I have Rolos most of the time (I buy them whenever they go on sale for holidays).

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels
          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels Collage 3
          These are so simple to put together. Put half of your pretzels on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet, put a Rolo on top of each pretzel and put in the oven for a minute or two. When the Rolos are soft and melted, place another pretzel on top of it and press down on the pretzel to sandwich the Rolo in between. When the Rolo has hardened, spread some peanut butter on top and dip in chocolate. Be sure to gently tap the fork against the side of bowl or measuring cup to remove excess chocolate and air bubbles.

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels


          Just put the chocolatey pretzels back on your parchment or silicone mat, decorate (or leave plain), and let harden. You can put them in the fridge to harden them more quickly, but the chocolate *may* bloom a little (that's the white stuff that you sometimes see on chocolate, which essentially means the fat or sugar has come out of emulsion). It's totally safe to eat, but if it's not the look you're going for, you'll be sad to see it on your beautiful treats. This doesn't always happen, but it can, so just be aware.

          Chocolate Covered Caramel Stuffed Pretzels

          Chocolate Covered {Caramel Stuffed) Pretzels
          Ingredients:
          • 48 pretzels
          • 24 Rolos, unwrapped
          • about 1/4 cup peanut butter
          • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
          Optional:
          • 1 oz white chocolate for drizzling
          • sprinkles
          • small candies
          • crushed pretzels
          • sea salt
          Directions: 
          1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 24 pretzels on a baking sheet.  Place an unwrapped Rolo on each pretzel, and put in the oven for 1.5-2 minutes (or until chocolate is glossy and soft).  
          2. Place a pretzel on top of each Rolo, and push down until chocolate is evenly spread between pretzels.  Let chocolate harden, place in the fridge for 15 minutes if necessary.
          3. Spread a small amount of peanut butter on top of each pretzel sandwich.
          4. Melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave*. 
          5. Dip each pretzel sandwich in the melted chocolate, and place on parchment or a silicone mat to cool.  If decorating with sprinkles, add them before the chocolate hardens.  If drizzling with white chocolate, let harden first.
          6. Enjoy!
          *To melt chocolate in the microwave, place the chips in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Heat for 1 minute, then stir. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are mostly melted. Stir to finish melting any remaining lumps. Be careful not to overheat.


          For some of my other favorite thing to dip in chocolate, check out these recipes:
          Thin Mints/Twix Cookies

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          Monday, March 16, 2015

          Houseplant Care

          I started contributing to the blog Or So She Says back in January, and I have loved working with the talented people over there!  I even got to meet a couple of ladies on the team last month at a blogging conference, and it was like getting together with old friends.  We went to lunch and talked for nearly four hours!  Such a blast.  Below is the first post I wrote for OSSS, but instead of a recipe, it's all about houseplant care!  It may seem random, but since I also write for Western Gardens, this seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Houseplant Appreciation Day.  With Spring gearing up here in Utah, we can all use some pointers on taking care of plants! 

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          Hi Or So She Says readers! I'm Becky from Bite of Delight, and I'm so thrilled to be a new contributor here! I'm a Utah girl married to my best friend, and together we have four little buddies. I love to cook and I spend most of my time in the kitchen. We don't eat elaborate meals every night, but we do eat together as a family every night. I love reading and Sunday afternoon naps and a clean house. Things that I miss since having 4 kids, but they're all slowly coming back into my life!
          BOD fam_optNormally you'll find me in my kitchen elbow-deep in bread dough or chocolate, but for my first post here, I want to talk to you about houseplant care because...it's Houseplant Appreciation Day! When I found out about this fun day, I talked to the nice folks at Western Gardens and they agreed to help me out with a giveaway just for you! (Giveaway is closed)

          houseplants 11 main_opt

          Houseplant Care Basics

          With a little TLC, your houseplants can stay beautiful and healthy all year long. There are just a few basic things to keep in mind.

          Water: Most people water their plants on a schedule (or when they remember!). Your plants have different water needs throughout the year, however, based on temperature and sunlight exposure. So just putting yourself on a watering schedule and sticking to it all year isn't the best way to care for your plants. Your houseplants will usually need more water in the summer and less water in the winter. So how do you figure out how much water to give them? houseplants 5_optA moisture meter is an inexpensive but valuable tool for watering plants. Moisture meters are numbered from 1-10 (1-3 is dry, 4-7 is moist, 8-10 is wet). You want the soil wet (8-10) when you water it, then water again when it's in the moist range (4-5). Never let your soil dry out, and don't keep it wet all the time! Roots will die from too little water, but they will also start to decay if they are too wet. If you don't have a moisture meter and you need to figure out your plant's watering needs, use your finger! Scratch down into the soil at least 2 inches to feel for moisture. It's time to water again if the soil is just barely moist.

          Light: Most people don't have as much light as they think they do in their homes, so consider plants that have colorful and large foliage instead of a flower that blooms. houseplants 4_optBlooming plants require more sunlight, and it can be a long time (like 6-12 months) between blooming cycles. Plants will drop leaves in the Winter when there is less light, in order to conserve energy. It doesn't mean your plant is dying! It's just trying to shed unnecessary foliage in order to better utilize the light it's receiving. Different areas of your home will receive different amounts of light (depending on which direction the windows face), so check your particular plants to see what their lighting needs are.

          Houseplant Collage_opt

          Fertilizer: Try to avoid chemical fertilizers in houseplants. They release their nutrients quickly and don't stay in the soil as long as an organic fertilizer. They also leave a salt residue, and when that salt residue builds up it can change the pH of your soil (not good!). Organic fertilizers are slow-releasing (good!), and they don't leave a salt residue, so your soil will stay healthier longer.

          Cleaning: A popular Pinterest method for cleaning houseplants is to put them in the shower. While this is fine, you do have to be careful not to let dirt go down your drain, as it can quickly clog your pipes. A safer method would be to use a spray bottle of water and a clean cloth to gently wipe each leaf. There is also a product called Leaf Shine that will repel dust and keep your plant cleaner longer. Do NOT use household cleaners on your plants. The leaves are porous and will absorb the chemicals, which can harm or kill your plant. Harsh cleaners can also strip the protective layer of oils on the leaves.

          **********GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED**********

          For our Utah readers, to make your National Houseplant Day a little happier, we are excited to give away a $25 gift certificate to Western Gardens! (This is for local Utah readers because it must be redeemed in-store). Just follow the SUPER easy instructions for 3 quick entries!

          Western Gardens Gift Certificate Giveaway

          houseplants landscapeI can't wait to see you again soon! Happy Houseplant Day!

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