Friday, February 12, 2016

Last Minute Valentine Gifts~Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix and Chocolate Dipped Thin Oreos

Valentine's Day will be here on Sunday! Are you ready?  These two, cute Last Minute Valentine Gifts are fast to put together, and anyone would love to receive them! The Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix is easy, and the Chocolate Dipped Thin Oreo's are even easier!

hot choclate mix, chocolate covered oreos
 Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix 

 Printable Hot Chocolate Recipe
2 teaspoon Butter
3 envelopes unflavored Gelatin
1 cup Cold Water, divided
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla 
Powdered Sugar 
Milk Chocolate Bar

Chocolate Dipped Oreos 
 Printable Chocolate Dipped Oreos Recipe
Milk Chocolate~melted
Thin Oreo Cookies~mint flavor
Thin Oreo Cookies~original flavor
Candy Conversation Hearts
Heart Shaped Junior Mints

prepping the pan
Line a 13"x9" pan with foil, and coat foil with butter.
gelatin in a bowl
Place 1/2 cup of water in a large mixing bowl that can handle a mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water.
sugar, corn syrup, mixing it together
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water. Bring the mix to a boil. Cook until the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees.
Mixing it together
Carefully add the hot mix to the gelatin. Beat on high until the mix is thick and doubles in volume, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla at 12 or 13 minutes of mixing.
Pouring it in the pan
Pour marshmallow mix into prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let set up at room temperature for 5-6 hours.
cutting our marshmallows
Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with confectioners sugar. Take the marshmallow and place it on the sugar. Lightly sprinkle the sugar on top of the marshmallow. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter, coated with pan spray to cut out heart shaped marshmallows. Place on a rack to dry.
Chopping chocolate
You will need 2 1/2 ounces of chopped milk chocolate for each mug of hot chocolate. I chopped 5 ounces for 2 servings. Chop it as fine as you can. Small pieces will melt from the heat of the milk once it is prepared. I use Trader Joes Milk Chocolate, Pound Plus for the chocolate. It is a really good quality Belgium Chocolate that is easy to work with and tastes amazing.
Wrapping the gift of homemade marshmallows
Place the chocolate in one bag and the marshmallow in another. Add a tag and tie with ribbon. On the back of the tag write: Add piping hot milk and stir. Place them in a pretty mug.

Chocolate Dipped Thin Oreos:
Chopping chocolate
Chop up approx. 6 ounces of milk chocolate.This makes 1 dozen.
Melting chocolate
Place in a double boiler, and melt over low heat until rich and creamy.
Dipped Oreo
Use a small tong to dip the cookie into the chocolate, one at a time.
Place on parchment paper or wax paper that is on a plate that can go in the fridge.
Toppings for Oreos, heart junior mints, conversation hearts
Place the heart shaped Mints on the mint cookies, and the conversation hearts on the original cookies. Place in the fridge until chocolate has hardened.
wrapping the gift
Wrap in pretty packaging!  Happy Valentine's Day!

Looking for more last minute Valentine's Day treats? 
Check these:

chcolate, white chocolate

chcolate, whipped cream

popcorn, m and m's

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Valentine's Day!



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Celebrate It! Blog Link Party!

It's time for Celebrate It!

Hi! I am so glad you stopped by! 
I am so excited to see what you have been doing this past week!
There have been so many holidays and party days lately, 
what with Mardi Gras, the Big Game, and Valentines Day in just a few days.
It has been non-stop busy fun,! 
and that doesn't even count what you have going on in your own family!

Well, I am glad you had a few minutes to stop by and share what you have been celebrating! 

Here are last weeks 3 most clicked links:

 11 Ways To Lower Electric Bills this Winter

Super Bowl Cocktails 
Valentine's Day Word Search

Thanks you to everyone of you that stopped by to link up or to look around!
So glad you are here to share your projects or just your thoughts!
We want to celebrate with you!
Here are a few things that will make this party fun for everyone:
1. Visit 2 or 3 other party goers if you can. It makes it so much more fun
to link up when someone clicks on your link and visits your page.

2. I pin each of your link ups to the Celebrate It! board,
 and I will also pin them to another Freshman Cook
 board that fits the pin.
 Your link up will get tweeted both times also!

3. By linking up you are giving me permission to feature your post on social media.
  Proper credit is always given. You may receive an 
email reminder about this party.
Let's Party!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Mardi Gras Doughnut Holes

Fat Tuesday is almost upon us, and it is time to celebrate with some Mardi Gras Doughnut Holes! These deep fried doughnut holes are full of flavor with cinnamon and nutmeg in the mix, and then they are dunked in a clear glaze and sprinkled with purple, green and gold sanding sugar. Tradition states that the color purple stands for justice, the gold for power, and the green for faith. So, as they say in New Orleans, "Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! (Let the good times roll)!

Donuts, green, yellow, and purple
Mardi Gras Doughnut Holes
 printable recipe
 (makes 2 dozen)
3 1/4 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2/3 cup Milk
1/4 cup Butter, melted
2 Eggs, beaten
2/3 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Oil for frying
1 cup Confectioner's Sugar
2 cup Milk
1-2 tablespoon Water
Green, Purple, and Gold Sanding Sugar

flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg
  Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.
wet mix, melted butter, milk
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and milk.
main mix, eggs, sugar
 In a large bowl combine the eggs and sugar. Mix until thick.
mixing together, wet, dry
Add the dry mix and wet mix alternately to the egg mix. Beat just until combined after each addition. Cover dough and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. 
frying the doughnuts
Place oil in pan and use a thermometer to gauge your temperature. I kept my oil right at 350 degrees. Any hotter, and the outside would be golden brown, but the insides were still batter. I used a    teaspoon scoop. Drop it into the hot oil  by placing the scoop right along side the side of the pan. This will ensure minimal splattering. The batter will expand and get larger as they fry. Fry for 2 minutes. Check the doughnuts, just like a cake. Pull them from the oil and inserted a toothpick in them. I found that they always needed the two minute cook time. 
doughnut holes, right from the fryer
Place on a paper towel to drain. Let sit until you are done frying.
glazing the doughnuts
Make the glaze. Only add the water if it is needed to thin the mix. Roll the doughnuts in the glaze. Use a toothpick to move them. Place them on a cooling rack with paper underneath to catch the drips. Sprinkle sanding sugar on top of each doughnut, and let dry.
Doughnut Holes for Mardi Gras
Enjoy your Mardi Gras Doughnuts! 
Laisserz les bons temps rouler!

King Cake Cupcakes

Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Panther Popcorn Pops

It is Super Bowl week, and that is pretty much all anyone is talking about! Especially if you live in North Carolina, like I do! So these Panther Popcorn Pops are doing double duty. I get to show my love for the Panther's and decorate my party table! And what's even better is that they are so much fun to make! Start with a simple popcorn ball, add a few drizzles of my new favorite colors, and you have a fun, festive centerpiece for your party! Go Panthers!

Panther Popcorn Pops
(printable recipe)
 (makes 10 pops)

2 bags Microwave Popcorn

1 cup Sugar

1 cup light Corn Syrup

1/4 cup Water

3 tablespoons Butter

3 ounces Warm Water

2 1/2 tablespoons Meringue Powder

1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1 pound Confectioner's Sugar 

Sticks for pops


Shot glasses

Use a heavy bottomed pan and mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Cook until the candy thermometer reaches soft ball stage, which is 235 degrees. Cook popcorn, and remove all uncooked kernels.
Immediately remove pan from heat, and mix in butter. Pour mix over popcorn and stir until all popcorn is covered.
Once popcorn has cooled a little, start making small popcorn balls. 
Place one of the sticks into each popcorn ball.
Lay on a piece of parchment paper and let dry overnight, or several hours. Cover tray with saran wrap.
Use blocks of styrofoam to anchor the popcorn balls. Cover the blocks with plastic wrap to ensure that when the popcorn balls are decorated, frosting that falls on the blocks won't damage them.
Make the frosting by placing warm water and meringue powder in a large mixer bowl. Mix together with a whisk for 30 seconds. Add cream of tartar and whisk again for 30 seconds. Add confectioners sugar all at once and mix on low for 10 minutes. Once the frosting is mixed, make sure to keep it covered. Separate what you will need into a small container. Mix some frosting black, some blue, and leave some white. These pops don't use a lot of frosting, but it will depend on how many you are making. Drizzle frosting all over and around popcorn pops. Let dry.
I am using 4 of the pops for a table centerpiece, so I placed styrofoam in each little shot glass, and covered the styrofoam with lots of curly ribbon. The others I covered in plastic and tied blue, black and white ribbons around them for guests.

Have a great Weekend!


Thanks for joining me today! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Celebrate It! Blog Link Party!

Welcome to Celebrate It! Blog Link Party!!

I am so glad you stopped by!
I hope you have been busy happily creating! 
I would love to see what you have been cooking, sewing, reading, DIYing, baking, painting, 
fixing, redoing, writing, clicking, reading, thinking,
or anything you would like to share
that makes you feel excited and creative!
We want to celebrate with you!

Here are last weeks most clicked links:


Valentine's Day Shadow Box Art Kids Can Make

Strawberry Torte Cake

Thanks you to everyone of you that stopped by to link up or to look around!
So glad you are here!
You make this a great party!
Here are a few things that will make this party fun for everyone:
1. Visit 2 or 3 other party goers if you can. It makes it so much more fun
to link up when someone clicks on your link and visits your page.

2. I pin each of your link ups to the Celebrate It! board,
 and I will also pin them to another Freshman Cook
 board that fits the pin.
 Your link up will get tweeted both times also!

3. By linking up you are giving me permission to feature your post on social media.
  Proper credit is always given. You may receive an 
email reminder about this party.

Look for your link ups on the  Pinterest  pages  for Celebrate It! 
  and on Twitter and Facebook!
Let's Have Fun!

Red Chip Valentine Cookies/ #Fill The Cookie Jar

What are Red Chip Valentine Cookies? After Christmas I found this bag of mint baking chips at a local store. I picked them up at a good price, but the reason I even looked at them twice was because they were red.  I don't think I have ever seen or used red chips before. So along comes Valentine's Day and what could be more perfect than red chips. But I wanted a white cookie recipe. After looking around, I decided to bake my "go-to" sugar cookie recipe that I usually use for cut out cookies. I made a batch and they were yummy and Valentine festive!
sugar cookies, red chips
Red Chip Valentine Cookies
(printable recipe)
(makes 5-6 dozen cookies)
 5 cups Flour
 3 teaspoon Baking Powder
 2 cup Butter
 2 cup Sugar
 2 Egg
 2 teaspoon Almond Extract
 pinch salt
 Red Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, red chips

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs. 
flour, baking powder, salt
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mix. Add almond extract. Mix together. 
red chips
 Mix in red chips.  Use a cookie scoop or spoon and bake cookies on a parchment covered cookie sheet for 8-9 minutes.
cooling cookies
 Cool on cooling rack.
cookies, baking rack

Cookies, Valentines Day Cookies
Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I am participating in #Fill The Cookie Jar, a cookie group where every month members share cookies based around a common theme. This months theme is Valentine's day! Interested in joining?
Here's the link: Fill the Cookie Jar