Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All Things Churro : Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Check out these Churro inspired recipes and shake it up a bit! Cinco De Mayo is just around the corner. Any of these delicious treats would pair perfect with your fiesta celebration! 

A. Cinnamon Rolls with Churro Caramel Icing by A Sweet Spot Home
B. Churro Pretzels by Oh Sweet Basil
C. Churro Popcorn by Sweet Treats & More
D. Mini Churro Cheesecakes by Cookies & Cups
E. Mini Churro Donuts with Homemade Dulce De Leche by The Sweet Chick
F. Churro Pancakes by Sweet & Treats & More
G. Churro Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting by I Heart Naptime
H. Churro Waffles by A Texas Type A Mom
I. Churro Cookies by Oh, Bite It!

Cinco De Mayo Layered Bean Dip

Easy layered bean dip! Perfect for Cinco De Mayo festivities! The best part....it is fresh! Made with homemade taco seasoning. No preservatives or artificial flavors and coloring.

When shopping for my ingredients, I have made it a habit to READ THE LABLES! You won't believe the junk they put into our food. I have found that Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Nugget are pretty safe. It is always best to read the labels. If you can't understand what the ingredients are, safe to say, not good for you.

1 can refried beans (Trader Joe's beans only use water and salt to preserve!! Good stuff).
1-2 avocados, mashed
1 large roma tomato
1/2-3/4 cup green onion, sliced
1/2-3/4 cup sliced black olives ( I buy these fresh at the nugget and remove the seeds).
1-1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream (set aside)

1/2 cup salsa (optional)

Taco Seasoning Recipe
Adapted from Family Fresh Meals

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Mix all seasoning together. Add 1-2 tablespoons to the 1/2 cup sour cream.

In a baking dish 8-9", spread the refried beans. Next spread the mashed avocado, then the taco seasoned sour cream mixture. Add the cheese, green onions, tomatoes and olives.

Chill for 1-2 hours before serving. ENJOY! with your favorite tortilla chips.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Rolled Oats Chocolate Chip Pancakes

A healthy pancake with a touch of sweet! I have started to switch over from unbleached white flour to whole wheat & unbleached white whole wheat four. So far kids are liking it. Chocolate chips probably make the transition better, ha ha!

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick rolled oats
1 tablespoon cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 egg
1/4-1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Recipe adapted from Erica's Cannella Vita

Place flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend. Add milk, vanilla, egg and oil. Blend. Transfer to a medium bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour batter on hot griddle or pan. Brown. Serve with a little butter. Syrup, not even necessary!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Homemade Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

These bread machine cinnamon rolls are super yummy! My kids absolutely loved them. The best part...they are made with whole wheat flour!

I have adapted the recipe from About.com

3/4 cups water
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached, white whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 melted, salted butter
2 tablespoons dry milk
1 packet active yeast


3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all ingredients to bread machine and use dough setting. (cycle is about 1 1/2 hours)

Remove dough from bread machine & roll out into a rectangle, approx. 10x18". Brush dough with melted butter & sprinkle with sugar mixture. Roll dough, starting at the long end. Pinch seam together. Cut 1" slices and place on a buttered baking sheet. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for another 45 minutes, in a warm place.

Bake 12-15 minutes.


3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons hot water
2 cups powered sugar

Drizzle icing over warm cinnamon rolls. Serve!!


Friday, April 25, 2014

All Things Cupcake: Unique Cupcake Recipes

Check out these 9 unique cupcake recipes!

A. Margarita Cupcakes by Annie's Eats
B. Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes by Lady Behind The Curtain
C. S'mores Ice Cream Cupcakes by A Pumpkin & and A Princess
D. Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes by Bakingdom
E. Greek Yogurt Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting by Natasha's Kitchen
F. Chocolate Pistachio Cupcakes by Your Cup of Cake
G. Mojito Cupcakes by Gooseberry Mooseberry
H. Maple Pecan Cupcakes with Mini Pancakes by The Moon Blush Baker
I. Salted Caramel Cheesecake Cupcakes by Cooking Classy


Thursday, April 24, 2014

{Video} Paper Wheels Tutorial

Paper wheels are super easy to make and add a extra special touch to any party! Make various sizes and use as a backdrop. Adorn with paper or fabric accents. Add letters to create a banner. Your options are endless!

For this tutorial I used:

12x12" double-sided scrapbook paper
Scallop circle punch
Double-stick tape
Hot glue gun (always ask a parent!!)

For a medium/large wheel I cut 4, 6x12" pieces of paper. Then, I used the accordion fold to fold each sheet of paper (I fold over about 1"). Trim off any excess ends. Using double-stick tape, connect all four accordion folded sheets. Make sure all folds are facing the same way. I use hot glue and a punched circle to hold my wheels together.

Check out my quick video to give you a better idea of how to put these together:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Homemade Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

This cauliflower sauce has replaced Alfredo sauce in our family! I wanted to get really creative with how to get my kids the vegetables they need. We were all unsure of it until we tried it! I have adapted the original recipe at Pinch of Yum, to make it "kid" friendly.

We use this sauce on our homemade pizzas and pasta. The kids absolutely love it. Weird, right? They are getting nutrients and fresh ingredients. No preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. Give it a try!

Medium head of cauliflower
1-2 cloves of garlic (depends on how much you like garlic)
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup milk
2-3 cups chicken or veggie broth (depends on the consistency you want the sauce)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

In a medium sauce pan or steamer, steam cauliflower and garlic, until soft. Add 1/2 cup milk, cauliflower, garlic, pepper, cheese, butter and 1 cup broth to blender. Blend until smooth. Continue to add broth until you reach desired thickness.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Earth Day

Today I decided to celebrate Earth Day with my kids by making the dirt cups with gummy worms! To make a somewhat healthier version. Trader Joe's has really good chocolate cookies you can use that do not have all the harmful ingredients (i.e. artificial coloring, flavors & preservatives). They look identical to Oreos and use natural vanilla bean for flavor. You can substitute real (homemade) whipped cream for Cool Whip. To top if off make some fresh chocolate pudding, using real cocoa & unflavored gelatin!

Since I just went to Trader Joe's and completely forgot the cookies!! UGH. I told my kids we will be making MUD CAKE! Ha ha....Pudding, real whipped cream and gummy worms.

A. Earth Day Cupcakes by Bird on a Cake
B. Earth Day Cookies by Red Couch Recipes
C. Earth Day Snack for Kids by Children Food
D. Dirt Cups with Gummy Worms by Eat At Allies

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Cleaning, Going Green: Homemade Household Cleaners

Have you done your Spring cleaning yet? I am a little behind. Thought it might be a good idea to remove some harsh chemicals from our household and try some natural cleaning solutions. Essential oils have special properties that can replace the yucky chemicals in store bought cleaners. Lemon essential oil has a fresh scent and can be used to brighten or remove stains. Peppermint oil has a natural pest deterrent and antibacterial property. Tea tree oil has natural anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. (Huffington Post).

Check out how easy it to make your own, natural, non-toxic cleaning products!

A. Antibacterial Cleaner Recipe (peppermint & tea tree oil) by Soap Deli News 
B. Lavender Household Cleaner by Little Green Dot
C. Homemade Hardwood Cleaners by Tip Nut
D. Homemade Carpet Cleaner by Little House Living
E. All Natural Cleansing Spray by Mom 4 Real
F. Citrus Vinegar Cleaner by In Sonnet's Kitchen
G. Drain & Garbage Disposal Cleaners by My Merry Messy Life
H. All-Purpose Green Cleaners by First Home Love Life
I. Homemade Laundry Soap by Yours & Mine Are Ours

Sunday, April 20, 2014

{Recipe} Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Have you ever look at the ingredient list on a ranch bottle? Wow! Modified food starch, artificial flavors and preservatives to name a few unhealthy & unnecessary ingredients. Making simple changes in your families favorite foods can be a step in the right direction. Processed foods just aren't necessary. I love that this recipe has no mayo. Simple. Fresh. My kids really enjoy it!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

1 cup low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients. Store in mason jars or any airtight containers. Allow to sit overnight for best flavor!

TIP: make sure to look at the labels! For herbs and powders I used Morton & Basset San Francisco, all natural.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

{Video} Easy Streamer Backdrop

Streamers are such an affordable way to add a nice backdrop to any event table. They can also be a great photo prop backdrop!

A. Finished Backdrop
B. Gather materials. Streamers. Tape. Ribbon.
C. Cut ribbon the appropriate length for your backdrop. Cut streamers various lengths. Fold streamers in half. ( I make sure they are somewhat off, not exactly in half). Place ribbon over streamer.
D-E. Fold over streamer.
F. Tape fold.

I like to leave a little extra room so the streamers are adjustable. You can group them close together or spread them apart. Need an example? Take a peek at our Youtube video.


Unique Refreshing Treats: Ice Cubes

It is starting to get hotter here in Northern California! What better way to beat the heat then with these ice cube treats. Yummy additions to your Spring and Summertime drinks. I just know my kids are going to enjoy creating their own ice cube recipes. Great way to keep it natural and fresh!

A. Chai Ice Cubes by The Kitchn
B. Strawberry & Basil Infused Ice Cubes by Stephanie Lynn
C. Fruit Striped Ice Cubes by Honestly Yum
D. Ice Cubes with Fruit by A Beautiful Bite
E. Fresh Flower Herb Blossom Ice Cubes by Food
F. Festive Shaped Fruit Ice Cubes by Capture by Lucy
G. Mint Infused Ice Cubes by 17 Apart
H. Herb Infused Ice Cubes by Giggles Galore
I. Keep Cool Cubes by Martha Stewart

Friday, April 18, 2014

{Recipe} Homemade Flour Tortillas

I found the best recipe, I adapted, for homemade flour tortillas on epicurious! My husband and I are really starting to take a look at what we eat and especially what we are feeding our kids. It is unbelievable what artificial ingredients and preservatives companies add to our store bought food. Sad, really. It is so easy to make little changes that can go a long way. I admit, cooking from scratch is time consuming. However, it is doable.

Just to give you an idea of what a typical store bought flour tortilla may have in it:
  • Enriched bleached flour- enriching the bleached flour is necessary due to processing. Processing the flour removes nutrients. Nutrients required by FDA that need to be present (iron, vitamins, calcium). Enriched products tend to quickly raise blood sugar levels. Chemicals are used to bleach the flour, such as, chlorine and organic peroxides. 
  • Hydrogenated oils- trans fats. According to Natural News, "They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure. They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum...The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic." 
  • Dough conditioners- According to Natural Revolution, "Bromide is a dough conditioner found in most flours as potassium bromate...Constant ingestion of bromate in your daily bread may eventually create a thyroid hormone imbalance because iodine is needed for thyroid hormone production. It is also implicated in many cancers. The UK banned bromate in bread in 1990. 
Canada banned bromate in bread in 1994." 
  • Preservatives- food additives to prolong shelf life. BHT/BHA, Nitrates. 
  • Cellulose Gum- food thickener. Is also used in non-food products such as, toothpaste, water-based paints, detergents. 
 Scary, right!? That is just tortillas! Why not  try something fresh. A recipe with ingredients you can pronounce and understand. Simplicity.


2 cups unbleached flour (you can use whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup salted butter (cut into pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup warm water
Pastry Blender

Measure 2 cups flour into a medium bowl. Cut butter into flour using a pastry blender, until flour resembles small crumbs. Add oil and water. Using a fork, work mixture into a ball of dough. Place dough on a floured surface and kneed 3-4 times. Wrap in plastic wrap and let dough sit for an hour. 
Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion out into a 7-8" circle (or desired size and thickness). Using a floured surface to avoid dough from sticking. Place tortilla in a heated skillet or griddle and cook for 45-60 seconds on each size. TIP: you will know when to flip tortilla when it bubbles.
Store tortillas in fridge or freezer. So yummy!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

{Tutorial} Washi Tape Clothespins

Easy, decorative clothespins using washi tape! These do-it-yourself washi tape clothespins can be used to hang banners, attach gift tags, given as teacher appreciation or back to school gifts and so much more!

  • Using a clothespin and washi tape, stick the tape along one side of the clothespin. I placed mine below the ridges at the top (make sure to line up one of the straight edges so that you are only trimming one side).
  • Trim off excess tape.

{Giveaway Sign-Ups} Mother's Day Cash Giveaway

Sign up and sponsor this amazing cash giveaway! One mom will win $500 Paypal cash. Accepting 14 sponsors. Don't miss out! All sponsors will be featured.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Recently my family and I have made some big changes to what we eat. We are really making an effort to remove processed foods from our home. These yummy, easy to make granola bars are awesome! My three toddlers just love them. An entire pan only lasts about two days around here, ha ha! The best part is fresh ingredients. No preservatives. No added colors/dyes. You can actually understand what you are eating!

I have adapted the original recipe from Inspired Taste.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup salted butter, cut into pieces (or unsalted)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt if you use unsalted butter
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

In a medium bowl, add the rolled oats. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, add butter, honey, vanilla, and brown sugar. Cook until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture onto the rolled oats. Mix until combined. Wait about 1-2 minutes for the oats to cool. 
When the oats have cooled fold in the 1/4 cup chocolate chips. (they may melt a little). In a 8x8 baking pan, line bottom with parchment paper.

Take granola mixture and press into the baking pan, until tightly packed. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.  Place in refrigerator for 2 hours to chill before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container or ziploc in the fridge. Store for up to one week. (They will won't last that long if you have kids!!!)


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mix & Mingle Giveaway: Kitchenaid Stand Mixer & Party Food for Girls Book!

Enter for a chance to win a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and Mindy Cone's newest book, Party Food for Girls! Hosted  by Cupcake With Character. A special thank you to our featured sponsors: Creative Juice, Dime Party Divas, Design Dazzle, Dinnerella, The Pretty Party Shoppe, French Pemberley, Papaer & Cake, Written Reality, Tutus & Bowties & Sheer Bliss Designs! A complete list of sponsors, rules and terms/conditions, can be seen in the giveaway tool entries. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sweet Shoppe Birthday Party

I planned this party for my daughter Annie’s second birthday. We are always calling her ”Sweet Annie” so we thought a sweet shoppe birthday party would be perfect! I wanted bright colors to represent Annie’s colorful personality! Every aspect of this party came together to create a super special day. The colors and design of the party were based on Hello Love Too’s clip art. I had Kelli of Print and Cut Your Printables cut out the clip art for the tags, lemonade, and garland.


Autumn, of Autumn Lynn’s Chocolate Sins created some adorable (and super yummy) bubble gum machine cake pops. The kids absolutely loved them. Nicole of Sweet U Off Your Feet made some colorful rice krispie treats. Delish! Christina of 4 Kids Cakes created the most amazing fondant toppers to match the clip art!! They were so cute! Hakima of Kima’s Konfections created some extra special fondant toppers. The ice cream cones, the larger gumball machine topper and the various candy toppers. The glittered candy cupcake toppers added such a sparkle to the cupcake display. A huge thank you to Made By A Princess! Tonya of Soiree Event Design custom made cotton candy favors to coordinate with the theme! The kids really enjoyed these. What a great addition to any party favor. The best part, she’ll personalize them for your event! Kimberley’s Kitchen has the best gourmet marshmallows you will find around. They are delicious and perfect as is or mixed in with their s’mores kits! Order early! She is in Canada. Vista of Dolce Vista Cakes created Annie’s birthday cake. I wanted the cake to match the clip art cake from Hello Love Too. Not only was the cake beautiful, it tasted divine! The kids also loved the Oreo pops on a stick from Sweets and Treats Design Studio. They looked yummy and were just as yummy to eat!


I special ordered the glittered cake stand and candy jar form Nikka of Triple M Good Parties. If you want anything glittered up, Nikka’s your go to gal! Lauren of Ten23Designs custom made the super “Sweet” wood cut out along with a personalized “Annie” cut out for the birthday girl’s chair. I painted them pink and added some cute ribbon for the party. They are the best quality and I highly recommend these for your events! The printables by my Small Moments were just perfect. Fun, bright and perfect for any little girl or even boy party! I loved the welcome sign on the door to greet the little guests as well as the stickers I placed on tags and used for envelope seals. Christy of Pretty My Party sent over some wooden forks and spoons to coordinate with the party decor. Perfect for kid tables! Katie of The Pretty Party Shop, always has the best selection of party supplies. I loved the addition of her rainbow straws, paper favor bags, orange twine and adorable baking cups. The products arrive quickly and are packaged to perfection. Elizabeth of I Have A Favor made the cutest favor tins and personalized cup for Annie! Each child had a favor tin with their name, filled with goodies. The personalization adds an extra special touch. They can even be used later as a cute pencil jar! Katie, our photographer, really captures every party we do. Katie’s beautiful photos bring to life the hard work that goes into a party and the products.

Cupcake With Character: Party stylist, table runners, birthday banner, cupcake wrappers, mason jar labels.
Katie Moffitt Photography: Photographer
The Pretty Party Shoppe: Colorful baking cups, paper straws, colorful polka dot pastry bags.
Small Moments: Party printables
Soiree Event Design: Cotton candy favors.
I Have a Favor: Personalized metal tins and plastic drinking cup
Pretty My Party: Stamped wooden cutlery
Ten23 Designs: Annie and sweets wooden cutouts
Dolce Vista Cakes: Cake
Autumn Lynn's Chocolate Sins: Bubble gum machine cake pops
Sweet U Off Your Feet: Rice krispie treats
Kima's Konfections: Ice cream cone, bubble gum machine and candy fondant cupcake toppers.
4 Kids Cakes: Cake and bubble gum jar and candy twirl cupcake toppers.
Print and Cut Your Printables: clip art cutouts for garland.
Hello Love Too: Clip art
Kimberley's Kitchen: Homemade marshmallow pops
Sweets & Treats Design Studio: Oreo pops
Made by a Princess: Glittered candy cupcake picks
Triple M Good Parties: Cupcake stand and candy jar