Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow

Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow 1
So, do you call it puppy chow or muddy buddies? We’ve always referred to it as puppy chow but either way, it’s one delicious snack. I’ve always enjoyed the classic chocolate and peanut butter combination but with all the unique recipes out there these days, it was about time we try something different.
Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow 2
When I came across this recipe I knew it would be perfect to make for Hannah’s carnival themed 1st birthday party. Yes, I made this back in October and am just sharing it now. Which is pretty much a travesty seeing that it’s one of the best snacks ever. Seriously, I could not stop eating this stuff. And I don’t even like white chocolate. But I do have to admit that frosted animal crackers are a weakness of mine. They were one of my favorite snacks as a child so when I indulge in them (every few years), they always bring me back.
Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow 3
And adding cereal, white chocolate and sprinkles just makes them a million times better. Gah, it’s a good thing I don’t have any of these ingredients in my house because it would so be happening right now.
Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow 4
Frosted Animal Cracker Puppy Chow
recipe from Inside Bru Crew Life

9 cups Chex cereal (14 oz. box)
16 ounces vanilla almond bark
13 ounce bag frosted animal crackers
1/4 cup nonparil sprinkles
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. Crush enough animal crackers to get 1 1/2 cups. Mix with sprinkles. Set aside.
2. Place cereal in a large mixing bowl with a lid. In a microwave safe bowl, melt almond bark in 30 second increments. Drizzle melted almond bark over the cereal and mix until covered. Dump in animal cracker crumbs and stir thoroughly. Add in powdered sugar and mix again.
3. Crush remaining animal crackers into chunks and stir into the puppy chow. Store in an airtight container (we liked ours refrigerated).

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 2
Sometimes during the holiday season, you get busy and stressed with your mile long to-do list. Right? So sometimes you need a really easy cookie recipe to whip up so that you can just get something marked off the dang list. That’s how I felt this weekend as I kept adding more and more things to my to-do rather than getting anything checked. I mean, seriously, getting an entire household ready for Christmas by the 22nd with a husband working late every night is kind of hard. But I was determined to get my Christmas baking done this past weekend so that Joel could take a bunch to work and I could deliver some treats to our wonderful friends.

I kept perusing my ever-growing list of treats then had the stupid idea of going on Pinterest…and found a gazillion more recipes I wanted to try. But it ended well because I found this super simple 4 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe in the meantime and ultimately decided to pare down my list. I decided on cookie dough bites (pretty much my favorite thing ever), old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies, pretzel m&m rings, peppermint brownies (which I will share later this week) and these giant beauties. I baked them all up yesterday and promptly gained 4 pounds in the name of food blogging. I had to taste them to make sure they were good. Well, I’ve made the majority of the items on my list before so I guess I can’t put all the blame on you. Darn it.
4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 3
While we’re on the topic of overeating, I’m kind of ready for the new year so I can get back on track. The holidays really throw me off and a new year brings revived discipline.

But let’s not talk about discipline now, let’s talk about thick cookies as big as your head. These cookies call for 4 ingredients which you may already have in your pantry. And you won’t guess the 4th ingredient….Bisquick. I wasn’t sure at first but was willing to try it since they were so easy and quick. And I’m so glad I did.
4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 1
They are soft, thick and not too sweet or rich like a lot of peanut butter cookie recipes. Although the recipe calls to make them huge, you certainly could scale them down to fit on your holiday cookie trays. Make sure to try these simple recipe to help you get that next thing checked off the list!

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Averie Cooks

1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural or homemade for these)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup Bisquick

1. In a stand mixer, stir together peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until combined. Add Bisquick and stir to combine.

2. Using 1/4 cup measure, roll balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Smash halfway down with a fork twice, making a crisscross pattern. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until just set. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes so they can firm up. Cookies keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

Coconut and Toasted Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Toasted Pecan and Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 6
Are you all getting tired of being bombarded with sweet treats from around the blogosphere yet? I hope not because I have some giant, chewy, decadent cookies to share with you. They are officially my new favorite cookie.
Toasted Pecan and Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 4
I took the glorious bakery style cookie recipe I shared last summer and updated them a bit to fancy them up. But don’t worry, they are still just as simple.
Toasted Pecan and Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 3
I took some inspiration from one of my favorite candy bars, Almond Joy, to create this tasty cookie with unsweetened coconut, chocolate chunks and toasted pecans. And man was that a good idea! What I love even more about these is that you can freeze the dough and have it ready for whenever the craving strikes. It’s also a nice way to control yourself at the holidays because I know if there is a whole batch of cookies laying around I have a lot less self control. This way, you can just bake one, get your fix and move on. `
Toasted Pecan and Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 7
I’ve been thinking about my Christmas baking list for awhile now and these are a definite must!
Toasted Pecan and Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 2
Coconut and Toasted Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 c shortening
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1. Cream together the butter, shortening and sugars until they are light and fluffy.

2. Add eggs, one at a time, to the sugar mixture. Add vanilla.

3. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chunks, coconut and pecans.

4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out dough and form into balls then slightly flatten the top. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Place in freezer for 2 hours. At this point, you can either bake the cookies or place them in a freezer bag then throw them in the freezer for future use (up to 3 months).

5. To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake on a greased or parchment covered cookie sheet for about 15 minutes (mine took about 17).

Take the Crown Cookies

Take the Crown Cookies 3
Has baseball taken over your house like it has mine? Joel grew up in Kansas City and therefore is a big Royals fan. The last time they were in the World Series, he was not yet 1 (and I wasn’t alive). He has always had “see the Royals play in the World Series” on his bucket list and last Monday night he got to mark it off. Unfortunately, they lost game 1 but he still had a blast and couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere.

So needless to say, my house has felt like a bundle of nerves as we have watched these games play out. We’re sitting watching the game as I write this. After last night’s loss, we needed a little pick me up so when we were at the grocery store, Noah and I picked up the Blue Velvet cake mix that he begs for every time we go to whip up something festive. After discussing ideas, Noah thought cookies would be best so we went to work.
Take the Crown Cookies 1
This time around we decided to mix in some quick oats and chocolate chips. White chocolate would have been great with the buttery vanilla (blue) cake mix but alas, we didn’t have any…what kind of food blogger am I? Nuts would be a great addition too but the biggest Royals fan in our house doesn’t like nuts so we skipped them this time. He got lucky.
Take the Crown Cookies 4
These are dense and seem like cookies that would dry out quickly, so eat them within a day or two. We shouldn’t have a problem with that…..

Let’s pull it together Royals and take that crown! Otherwise I might have to move out for a couple of days because it will be grump city around here.
Take the Crown Cookies 2
Take the Crown Cookies
recipe slightly adapted from All Homemade Cookies

1 cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (and/or nuts, raisins, white chocolate…)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together, dough will be very thick.

2. Scoop onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet then remove to rack to cool completely.

 

It’s Shark Week Peeps!

I professed my love for Shark Week last year with some yummy shark/ocean themed treats and I totally planned on doing it again this year. But then I didn’t. Sorry. I fell off the wagon a bit with my healthy eating with birthdays and vacations so I’m back at it and therefore, haven’t been baking much. But, Joel’s co-workers have slipped hints that they would really enjoy some shark cupcakes again. I hope to make it happen but it’s a busy week with Noah’s first day of preschool and a trip to Fargo for a wedding so we shall see.
Shark Cupcakes 2
Whether or not they get whipped up, I still wanted to remind all you lovely followers of these fun treats in case you are having a Shark Week shindig. I hope that you impress your friends and family with these delicious, gruesome goodies.

Shark Cupcakes – Moist, white almond-y cupcakes bursting with strawberry preserves and topped with a simple ocean blue cream cheese frosting.
Shark Cupcakes 5
Beaches – a vanilla version of dirt and worms, Beaches combines vanilla pudding, vanilla wafers and cool whip for the perfect summer dessert. Top with gummy sharks to make it especially festive!
Beaches 3
Blood in the Water – basically just a creepy name for a Lava Flow. This frozen tropical drink combines strawberries, pineapple and coconut for the perfect refresher while watching some gory shark attacks.
Lava Flow 1

Rocky Road Ice Cream

Rocky Road Ice Cream 2
If you all have been following me for awhile, you know that Joel and I are not big chocolate lovers. It has it’s place in cookies and such but for me, not as the main star. I’ve never been a fan of chocolate cake (except for my sister-in-laws) or chocolate ice cream but somehow Noah got the chocoholic gene. So some kind of chocolate ice cream had to be present at his party and I decided to go with Rocky Road since he also has a love affair with marshmallows and almonds.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 3
This chocolate ice cream is incredibly rich and decadent (thank you dutch process cocoa) so just a scoop is satisfying. Which is good considering the ingredient list. The marshmallows stay soft and the almonds add a delicious, salty crunch.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 5
Although this wouldn’t be the first ice cream I would reach for, it’s pretty tasty even for a non-chocolate lover. And I have to say too, my brother doesn’t care for chocolate all that much either and he said it was his favorite of all my homemade ice ventures. That’s saying a lot when you consider this, this, this, this and this.
Rocky Road Ice Cream 1
Rocky Road Ice Cream
recipe from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup roasted, salted almonds, roughly chopped

1. In a food processor, combine sugar, eggs and cocoa and blend until smooth.

2. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle the hot milk into the chocolate mixture through the feed tube. Process until well blended. Pour the entire mixture into the pan and cook over low heat. Whisk constantly until the custard thickens slightly. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large, clean bowl. Cool slightly then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.

3. Stir in the custard then freeze according to manufacturers directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, dump in the marshmallows and almonds. Transfer to a freezer safe container.

Cake Batter Ice Cream

Cake Batter Ice Cream 5
You know what’s the worst? Getting back into a routine after vacation. For reals. I don’t want to cook, clean, go to the grocery store or work out. I want to go to the beach, then the pool, then lunch then back to the beach then dinner (and dessert) then shop. Can that be real life? No? Are you sure? Well, I suppose it’s time.
Cake Batter Ice Cream 1
Usually by the end of a vacation I am totally ready to go home but this time I wasn’t and could have totally stayed a few more days. Our vacations are typically go go go as we want to see and do everything possible at our destination. This means we don’t have a lot of time to relax. This time around we decided to keep it low key since it’s hard to run around with the kids and I’m so glad we did. We had lots of fun playing and making memories. If you all are interested, I will share photos and some stories of our vacation sometime soon.
Cake Batter Ice Cream 3
Like I told you here, I made several different ice creams for Noah’s 4th birthday party and this was one of them. It is creamy, rich and tastes like vanilla pudding. Although the roasted strawberry ice cream was the clear favorite among most of the party guests, this was my personal favorite. And it tastes so much better than the store-bought or ice cream shop versions.
Cake Batter Ice Cream 2
The varieties are endless with this recipe and I think I will be trying it with red velvet cake mix with mini chocolate chips next time. Doesn’t that sound divine?

Cake Batter Ice Cream
recipe from Annie Eats

2 cups heavy cream, divided
½ cup yellow cake mix
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups whole milk
1/8 cup sprinkles, optional

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup heavy cream, cake mix, sugar and salt. Whisk until combined and heat until warmed through. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks until pale and thickened. In a large bowl, combine the last cup of cream, vanilla and milk. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside.

2. Once the cream on the stovetop has heated through, slowly drizzle into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook until thickened. Pour the mixture through the fine sieve into the milk and cream. Combine thoroughly then refrigerate until completely cooled. Freeze according to manufacturers directions. Dump in the sprinkles during the last minute of churning.