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4 INGREDIENT NO BAKE BIRDS NEST COOKIES

4 INGREDIENT NO BAKE BIRDS NEST COOKIES

It’s officially spring, who else is excited?  I’m sharing one of our favorite family springtime treats that we make every year around the Easter season: birds nest no bake cookies!  One year when my girls were little I made these adorable treats and ever since then they can’t have an Easter without them.  They are now 17 and 19 and still ask for them and get excited when I make them, and they still have fun helping me shape each nest.

These springtime treats are the perfect festive treat and they’re so easy to make!  Just 4 ingredients, a microwave, and some wax or parchment paper.  It’s that easy and really fun making each nest!

In a large microwave safe bowl melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips every 30 seconds, stirring in between until they’re completely melted.  Take care not to microwave them too long so they don’t burn.  Once melted stir until smooth, toss in the chow mein noodles, and mix until blended.  Spoon onto wax or parchment paper and shape into a nest.  Top with candy, let them firm up, and you have the cutest treats!

Easy to make Easter treats

4 Ingredient NO BAKE Birds Nest Cookies

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 ounces butterscotch chips
  • 12 ounces chow mein noodles
  • small candy eggs for decorating
  • wax or parchment paper

Instructions

  • Place the chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a large microwave safe bowl.
  • Microwave in 30 second increments, stirrring each time until melted.
  • Stir until smooth and add chow main noodles, stirring until blended.
  • Spoon onto wax or parchment paper, shaping the nest, creating a slight low spot in the center to hold the eggs.
  • Add candy eggs to the center and let set until firm.

Our favorite candies to use are Cadberry candy coated mini eggs, Robin eggs, jelly beans, and Peep marshmallow birds.  Not only are these Easter time treats easy and fun to make, they taste delicious too!   Be sure to follow me on Instagram for my latest seasonal content!  Wishing you a Happy Easter blog friends!

THE ULTIMATE NAUGHTY & NICE HOT COCOA BAR

THE ULTIMATE NAUGHTY & NICE HOT COCOA BAR

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

It’s the Christmas season and we love nothing more than to celebrate the festivities with a perfect cup of hot cocoa!  Nothing says holiday cheer like a readily available cup of delicious cocoa, am I right?  l’m always looking for fun ways to celebrate the season with my family, and this year we’ve decided to add a hot cocoa bar to our seasonal fun, but not just any hot cocoa bar, a naughty and nice one!

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

There are many ways you can serve cocoa at your own bar.  I love keeping a thermos of ready-made cocoa on weekends and during Christmas festivities.  If that doesn’t work you can keep hot water in a thermos or air-pot along with cocoa mix on the side.

The real treat is with the naughty and nice additions!  With just a few yummy treats you can turn your ordinary cocoa extra chocolatey, or add caramel, butterscotch, peppermint, or have a spiked naughty treat.  There is something for everyone at this naughty and nice cocoa bar, and let’s not forget the perfect cup of cocoa might need a few treats like cookies for dipping too.

I used a variety of mason jars I had on hand to hold all our cocoa treats and just spoon them into cups as needed.  Then at the end of the night I put the lids back on the treats and they’re ready for a new day.

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

Below I’ll share with you my favorite cocoa mixers to create your own naughty and nice cocoa bar, but really the sky’s the limit when adding delicious treats.

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

Supplies

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

  • Hot cocoa – I love the Hershey’s cocoa recipe, Alton Brown has good cocoa recipe too.
  • A thermos, air-pot or slow cooker to keep the cocoa nice and hot
  • Cups or mugs
  • Napkins
  • Place cards or labels
  • Small jars or containers of your choice
  • Spoons for stirring in naughty and nice treats
  • Paper shreds and ribbon to decorate with (optional)

Naughty

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

  • Kahlua
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • Maker’s Mark Whiskey
  • Jamesons Whiskey
  • Smirnoff Peppermint Vodka
  • Smirnoff Caramel Vodka
  • Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka

Nice

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

  • Candy Canes
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Butterscotch Chips
  • Carmel Bits
  • Toffee Bits

Snacks

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

  • Pirouette Cookies
  • Gingerbread Cookies
  • Candy

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

The ultimate Naughty & Nice Hot Cocoa Bar

Creating your own hot cocoa bar is just so fun!  Who can resist all the yummy flavors and treats?  It’s the perfect way to boost your hot cocoa game for parties, gatherings, or just yourself.  Our family has officially voted for a naughty and nice cocoa bar every year.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate the season, and remember you can be all naughty, all nice, or a little bit of both!

THANKSGIVING LEFTOVER STUFFED MUSHROOMS

THANKSGIVING LEFTOVER STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

Let’s hope you still have some Thanksgiving leftovers hanging around because I MUST share this amazing Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushroom recipe with you!  I really wish I would have shared this delicious recipe with you sooner, but I just created it last night.  Part of my Thanksgiving joy is having lots of leftovers, not just to eat but to play around with in the kitchen.

As I took my first bite of these stuffed mushrooms last night I knew I had a winner.  Brian very willingly went to the store to get more mushrooms… it was that good.  So today while making my second batch I thought I would share this delicious recipe with you.

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

It’s pretty easy to figure out what to do with leftover turkey, but what about the rest of the sides that you tire of quickly?  Leftover dressing dries out, and the leftover cranberries and gravy probably get shoved to the back of the refrigerator where you find them weeks later.   Being an extreme stuffed mushroom lover I decided to go to work and find a creative way to use leftover dressing or stuffing, cranberries, and gravy.  Not only is this recipe delicious it couldn’t be easier!

Thanksgiving leftover recipes

The ingredients are simple and there is no pre-cooking!  My cornbread dressing dries out quickly so I added a few tablespoons of milk to make the mixture pliable, and then blended it in a mini-food processor.  I also pureed the cranberries and added a little water to those and the gravy to thin them out.  If you don’t have a food processor no worries just mix it by hand.  This should be a fun stress-free recipe.

How to clean mushrooms

Proper cleaning of mushrooms is essential for any good stuffed mushroom recipe.  You see, mushrooms are extremely porous and soak up water like a sponge, so I don’t rinse them in a colander.  After removing the stem I use a damp rag or paper towel to clean the top and sides.  I prefer a rag because the texture helps remove dirt.  From there I scoop out the gills with a spoon or strawberry huller to make room for lots of delicious filling.

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

Once my mushrooms are stuffed I top them with a dollap of gravy and then they’re off to the oven.  By the way I used Tyler Florence’s Carmelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing recipe (cooked separately with a lot more liquid) along with Ina Garten’s Homemade Gravy.  It’s a heavenly stuffed mushroom combination, but I believe any recipe would make a delicious combination.

Find the detailed recipe below.

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

Thanksgiving Leftover Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz pkgs whole white button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups leftover dressing or stuffing
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup leftover gravy
  • 1/3 cup leftover cranberries, pureed
  • 2-3 tbs water, to thin the cranberries and gravy
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 400°.
  • Remove mushroom stems and with a wet paper towel or rag clean the tops and sides of the mushrooms. With a spoon or strawberry huller scoop out the mushroom gills.
  • Place mushrooms in a greased baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.
  • In a bowl or small food processor blend together dressing and milk. If your dressing is really wet you can skip this step. If your dressing is really dry add more milk until its sticks together.
  • Add parmesan cheese and mix together by hand or food processer.
  • Scoop heaping spoonfulls of dressing mixture onto the mushrooms.
  • Thin the gravy with a little water and spoon a little on top of each mushroom.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until mushrooms are browned and the dressing mixture is hot.
  • While the mushrooms are baking, thin the cranberries with water.
  • Remove from oven, drizzle with cranberry sauce, and serve immediately.

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

Thanksgiving leftover stuffed mushrooms

Can we all agree stuffed mushrooms of any kind are just devine?  Every year I play with leftovers, but this recipe is hands down my favorite, and it makes a fresh side to serve along with leftover turkey too.  Up next I’ll be making a turkey and dressing quiche and a turkey bolognese.  If you have your own fun ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers please do share!

RED, WHITE, & BLUE TRIFLE

RED, WHITE, & BLUE TRIFLE

4th of July Desserts

We’re less than a week away from July 4th and I wanted to share my delicious red, white, and blue trifle dessert with you.  This trifle is an absolute favorite dessert of ours all through the summer but especially for our 4th of July celebrations.  Years ago, and I mean years, I bought this gorgeous trifle bowl at a Southern Living Home party.  I’d never made a trifle before but I was mesmerized by this cute little dish.

Sadly after receiving it my trifle journey didn’t start.  Nope, I tucked it away and completely forgot all about it until one day I found it buried in the back of a cabinet.  Feeling sad for my poor little trifle bowl, I made it a mission to fulfill its destiny by making as many different trifle desserts as possible.  We’ve made every combination you can think of, but this stunning red, white, and blue trifle is a true summer favorite.

Strawberry summer desserts

It’s light and fresh, making it perfect for a hot summer day.  Made with a store bought angel food cake it’s also a breeze to assemble!  You may think this is just a basic angel food and whipped cream dessert with strawberries and blueberries but it is not.  Adding just a few more simple ingredients takes this trifle dessert from good to WOW!  It’s like magic.

Strawberry Blueberry Trifle Dessert

If you’ve ever eaten a store bought angel food cake you probably know they don’t taste the best.  Brushing the store bought angel food cake with an easy-to-make lemon sugar syrup transforms it into something magical.  Yes, you can absolutely make your own angel food cake if time allows, just don’t skimp on the lemon sugar syrup!

Besides the delicious syrup the other secret to this amazing dessert is the cream cheese.  The cream cheese takes this fruit trifle to a new level with its rich creaminess, plus the cream cheese stabilizes the whipped cream so it won’t turn runny.  When preparing sliced strawberry desserts consider using a strawberry slicer, it’s a great timesaver!

4th of July Desserts

Red, White, & Blue Trifle

Servings: 10

Equipment

  • Electric mixer

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 pre-made angel food cake, sliced into 1 inch slices
  • 2 8 oz containers of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
  • 2 pints strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 pints bluberries, rinsed

Instructions

To Prepare the Lemon Syrup

  • Heat 1/4 cup of sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract. Let cool.

To Prepare the Trifle

  • Brush both sides of the pound cake with the lemon syrup. Then cut the slices in into 1 inch cubes.
  • With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese with 2/3 cup of sugar on medium speed until light and smooth. Add the cream and beat on medium-high until it's the consistency of whipped cream.
  • Arrange half of the cake cubes into a trifle dish, then layer half of the blueberries, spoon half of the cream mixture, followed by half of the strawberries. Repeat the layers one more time, ending with the strawberries and adding extra blueberries for garnish if desired.
  • Chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator, then serve.
  • Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

 

My strawberry shortcake poke cake is also another popular summer dessert that’s quite easy to make, and perfect for the 4th.

red, white and blue patriotic trifle

Up on a pedestal a pretty trifle demands attention.  It’s such a pretty dessert isn’t it?  Not only is it pretty but it’s so easy to make and looks amazing on my blue and white tablecloth – and it’s under $10!   My trifle dish is pretty ancient and no longer sold but below I’ve found some gorgeous affordable trifle dishes below and all are under $40.

Don’t hide your trifle bowl in a cabinet and forget all about it like I did.  It’s too pretty and versatile to stash it away!  Use it to serve salads, salsa, and other dips… you can even decorate with it.  Use it as a fruit bowl or to hold candy, potpourri, or other decorative items!   Take care and have a happy safe 4th of July!

HOLIDAY WREATH CHEESE BALL

HOLIDAY WREATH CHEESE BALL

How to make a simple holiday cheese ball wreath in under 30 minutes.

I don’t know about you but I love a good cheese ball.  Cheese lovers you’ll agree, is there anything better than a rich creamy cheese ball?  I think not.  This time of year I like to give my cheese ball a bit of holiday festivity and shape it into a wreath.  It adds a festive touch to any gathering, and it’s a breeze to make!

Making a wreath cheese ball may look a little complicated but I assure you it’s not.  There are no complicated molds and no chill time.  You can honestly whip this up and be out the door in 30 minutes or less!

Holiday cheese ball wreath recipe

To quickly blend the ingredients together I like to use a food processor,  if you don’t have one you can still make this festive wreath cheese ball by blending everything by hand.  It will just take a little more muscle.

Once I have all the cheeses and spices blended together I take a spoon and scoop the mixture onto my serving platter forming a circlular shape.  From there I smooth the cheese ball by hand or with a spoon into a smooth wreath shape.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, that is what the garnish is for!

How to make a cheese ball wreath

I sprinkle chopped Italian flat leaf parsley and sliced green onions over the cheese mixture and gently press it in.   I like to add a piece of saran wrap to the center of the wreath to keep the platter clean.  From there I like to slice a couple cherry tomatoes to finish off my festive wreath.

The Italian parsley and green onions add such a fresh taste that balances the rich cheese mixture.

How to shape a cheese ball wreath

You can serve this immediately or chill it a few days in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  That’s it!  How easy was that?  I like to spread crackers around the platter but I also keep sliced veggies nearby to appeal to everyone, every combination is delicious!

The easiest holiday wreath cheese ball you'll ever make.

The easiest holiday wreath cheese ball you'll ever make.

Holiday Wreath Cheese Ball

Servings: 20

Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • cherry tomatoes cut in half for garnish
  • crackers, bread, or vegetables for serving

Instructions

  • In a food processor combine cream cheese, shredded cheeses, onion powder, garlic powder, and worcestershire sauce until completley mixed together.
  • Scoop small amounts of cheese mixture out with a spoon and onto a serving tray making a circular wreath shape.
  • Using a spoon or clean fingers finish smoothing cheese mixture into a wreath shape.
  • Place saran wrap in the center of the wreath to keep the platter clean. Sprinkle with parsley and green onion and gently press into cheese mixture.
  • Remove saran wrap, and garnish with cherry tomatoes.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Serve with bread, crackers, or vegetables.

The easiest holiday wreath cheese ball you'll ever make.

You won’t be able to have just one bite, it’s so addicting!  Be sure and impress your guests with this festive holiday wreath cheese ball.  Shh… we don’t have to tell them how easy it was to make either.  Share the cheese goodness!

GINGERBREAD CHEESECAKE DIP

GINGERBREAD CHEESECAKE DIP

Happy Holidays friends!  I have more gingerbread love to share with you!  This yummy Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip is a definite holiday winner and it’s so easy to make.  Easy is good this time of year, and gingerbread plus cheesecake is definitely good!

I love the Christmas season but I won’t lie… it makes me a tad frazzled.  So this time of year I’m always looking for recipes that are great for entertaining and that I can quickly throw together, and this recipe is perfect.  Nothing says Christmas cheer party time like a good creamy dessert dip!

Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe

When you combine cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg you really can’t go wrong, it’s Christmas comfort food!  This dip lets you get all the great holiday flavors and have fun dipping different ingredients for variety.  Lots of fun flavor combos to try!

Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe

A quick tip, a single batch of this dip calls for 2 cups of Cool Whip, but I like to double a lot of my holiday recipes.  If you’re doubling this recipe use the entire 8 oz container of Cool Whip.  I’ve measured out an 8 oz container and it’s about 3 1/2 cups but it’s fine and doesn’t affect the flavor of the recipe.

You can also prepare this recipe a day or two in advance.  You could get a little liquid that separates in the dip but just give it a good stir to blend it and you’re good to go.

Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe

Gingerbread Cheesecake Dip

Ingredients

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • Cookies, pretzels, graham crackers, or fruit for dipping

Instructions

  • Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add molasses and mix until combined.
  • Add ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and yogurt. Mix until combined.
  • Add Cool Whip and mix until combined.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for an hour and serve.

Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe

Get creative and have fun when it comes to dipping.  Pretzels, apples, cookies… it all tastes delicious!  So holiday easy!

If you’ve stumbled upon this gingerbread blog post and want more gingerbread love be sure to check out my Gingerbread Martinis, Gingerbread Sugar Scrub, and how to make Gingerbread Salt Dough Ornaments.  Yeah… we love our gingerbread around here!

Up next I’ll be giving you a holiday break and reveal our bathroom remodel!  Remember our crazy old cabin bathroom?  Literally everything went wrong in the remodel.  How can a simple bathroom remodel take 5 months?  I’m not sure but it did!