Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Easy 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bites

Peanut Butter cookies are one of my very favorite kinds of cookies. I've been making them for years, first for my own children, and now for my grandchildren.

I do have my regular recipe that is very yummy, with flour and all the usual ingredients. But when I came across this very simple, 3-ingredient one, I just had to give it a try.

These little cookies are really good, with a very intense peanut butter taste. I also like the small size,
perfect for little fingers to hold.

In fact, these cookies would be great to make with your kids. The batter is rolled into1-inch balls, just like playing with play dough.

Recipe for 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Bites


1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly wipe a baking sheet with vegetable oil.

Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir until well blended. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place them on the baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Makes 24 cookies.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Birthday Party Shopping at Smart and Final Grand Opening in Carmichael CA

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

My family often shops at Smart and Final to buy warehouse size items like paper towels, snacks, household cleaning items and meat. We can get many club size items there without the membership fees of other places. The reason we like Smart and Final is we can shop for the bulk stuff but also smaller items like fresh produce and bakery goods. We are a family of 3, we do not need everything we buy to be in club store sizes so it is a nice mix of items. I am celebrating my birthday next week and needed to do some birthday party shopping. A new Smart and Final store opened near my mother in laws house so we decided to stop by the celebration and shop before heading to her home.

The first thing we see when we enter the store is the produce department filled with lively colors. The prices I saw next and gasped! Only $1 each for my 3 favorite berries, in that moment we changed dessert plans from ice cream to mixed berries with cream. I always find good deals at Smart and Final but for the Grand Opening celebration in Carmichael CA we found super savings to celebrate.

Each birthday party in my family I am always the one who buys and puts up the party decorations so naturally I pick out my own. I think I would be shocked if I ever woke up and the house was already decorated for my birthday (hint hint to my husband). I like that I can find all the many types of products I need in one store, bulk or single items. My son spotted a giant bag of balloons for making balloon animals, being the fun Mom I am I got them and we plan to google how to make the animals for my birthday party.

Among all the great deals we found there were little sample stations, coupon booklets being handed out and friendly staff restocking the shelves. It was crowded in the store but the lines were short and the deals were great. The location of the new Smart and Final we visited  is 7223 Fair Oaks Blvd., Carmichael, CA 95608. There will be Grand Opening celebrations all weekend at this location until Sunday July 20th.

I enjoy shopping the bakery section at Smart and Final when we need a quick treat for a party or family gathering. The store carries a delicious lemon pound cake that has been the base for many desserts that my family has enjoyed. This trip we decided to get mini cupcakes for my birthday. This year I am wanting to keep my birthday simple and inexpensive. I think I have a smart start by the money I saved at the Carmichael Smart and Final Grand Opening celebration. #ChooseSmart #CollectiveBias

My son and I had to "test" some of the cupcakes before we put away all the party decorations and food for later in the week. I liked that we were able to find the party decor, the meat for BBQ, the produce and drinks for the birthday party all in one place without the overwhelming size of a warehouse store.

If you would like some recipe ideas for making some great desserts for your next birthday party you can find them at the Smart and Final community. To connect with Smart and Final you can follow them on twitter and facebook.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Join Twitter Chats With Kristina Vanni and Pompeian Olive Oils

I received Pompeian products in exchange for writing this post. All opinions are my own.

I'm always a little surprised by how much olive oil my family and I use in our cooking. It's a lot, and I always enjoy it's flavor and how healthy it is for us.

Pompeian Olive Oil is one I have used in the kitchen for a long time, and use it frequently to cook with, and sauté foods. It's also perfect for salads and my favorite vinaigrette.

I wanted to share with you that award-winning cook Kristina Vanni will be hosting Twitter Chats to answer your questions about recipes, cooking tips, salad dressings, and more.

Just use the hashtag #AskPompeian and the @PompeianOils Twitter handle to ask Kristina any questions about Pompeian Olive Oil and it's other products. She will be hosting 3pm - 5pm on July 12, 19, and 26.

You can also check out Kristina's fabulous food blog, Better Recipes here. It's filled with delicious recipes and cooking tips, and she has wonderful summer cooking and entertaining ideas.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

2-Bite Coconut Cupcakes

These coconut cupcakes are so moist and delicious. They are actually super easy to make too, because they start with a boxed mix.

With the addition of sweetened condensed milk and coconut in the batter, these little gems will go quickly.

My grandchildren loved the fact that they were the perfect size for them, and of course I was so pleased that they liked them so much.

And they make a great presentation if you want to take them to a potluck or barbeque this summer.

Recipe for 2-Bite Coconut Cupcakes

Makes 48 mini cupcakes


For cupcakes:

2 cups flaked coconut, divided
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 box white cake mix
water, eggs, vegetable oil called for on cake box mix

For coconut cream frosting:

3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1-3 tablespoons milk
1 cup coconut, toasted

  • 1 Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place mini paper baking cups in mini cupcake pan.                        
  • 2 In medium bowl, stir 2 cups coconut and the condensed milk; set aside.
  • 3 Make cake batter as directed on box. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (two-thirds full). Top each with about 1/2 heaping teaspoonful coconut mixture.
  • 4 Bake as directed on box of mix. Cool in pans 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack.                           
  • 5 In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter and salt with spoon or with electric mixer on low speed until well blended. Beat in coconut extract and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. Immediately frost cupcakes. Sprinkle tops of cupcakes into toasted coconut. Store loosely covered.   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Apple Fruit Galette

I can see that making fruit galettes could easily become my passion. What I love about them is that they are rustic looking, taste so delicious, and look like they are much more difficult to make than they really are.

I discovered this recipe for the delicious crust from one of my favorite magazines, Cottage Living. Unfortunately, the magazine folded a few years ago, but I have held onto every old issue, and recently ran across the recipe.

I guarantee you will adore this apple galette, and it could become your go-to dessert for a delicious dessert at home, or to bring to a picnic, or to someone you really like.

There is no worrying about making a perfect pie crust with a galette, and you can use differ kinds of fruit, or a combination.

It totally impressed my family, and there wasn't a crumb left over.

Recipe for Apple Fruit Galette


For pastry crust:

 2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice-cold milk

1 egg
2 tablespoons water

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, pour into flour mixture, stirring just until dough starts to form a ball.
Press together with lightly floured hands, and form into a flat round. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

For fruit filling:

2 pounds apples (4-5) Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Granny Smith
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and core apples; cut each in to 8 wedges. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. When butter is foamy, add apples and stir frequently until they are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg over apples. Stir into fruit, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until liquid is syrupy and bubbling.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into an approximate
10-inch round. Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Scoop fruit mixture into center of round.
Fold about 1 inch of dough all the way around to form a rim. Combine egg and water, brush outside of tart with the egg wash.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on pan 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Can be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Makes about 6 servings.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Movie Snacks with Zours® Candies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions expressed are my own.

Summer nights in my family are often spent inside avoiding the 100+ degree weather. Thankfully for us we are huge movie fans and can always have a great time as a family watching movies. One of the tastiest parts of movie night is the movie snacks. Popcorn at a movie night is a base to the snacking. We like to add candies to contrast with the salty flavor of the popcorn. My son is my constant shopping companion and likes to help me picked out the movie candies for the night.

Over the 4th of July weekend we decided to head to Walmart for supplies for the holiday and our movie night. While we were at Walmart we spotted several demos happening. Of course my son wanted to stop and try all the fun items we saw. Our favorite demo was the Zours® Candies display. My son and I love them! They are super sour followed by the sweetness you expect from a Mike and Ike candy. We bought the only 4 boxes of Zours® left in the store. I asked the demo worker and she said they sold out fast. She told me how fun her day had been watching the faces people would make when they sampled the Zours® candies. My son and I watched for a while and giggled at the #ZoursFace that people were making.

While I shopped my son discussed his favorite flavors and which ones he would eat first. He told me I can have all the green ones since I like green apples so much. The flavors are sour lemon, sour green apple, sour watermelon, sour blue raspberry, and sour cherry. My favorite is the sour apple and my son's favorite changes based which one he is eating at the moment since they are all sourly delicious.

Our summer movie night started with popping the popcorn while we made Zours® Sour Bite Appetizers. I put one of each of the flavors of Zours® on a toothpick for one big bite of sour. I love sour candies and the flavor of the candies in one bite is so sour my face gets the craziest look on it. We had a blast eating a Zours® then popcorn, the sour and salty combo is a perfect movie snack combo.

My son and I enjoying Zours® and popcorn during our summer movie night 

Next time you are in your Walmart I suggest buying Zours® candies to share with your family. It is a sour and silly way to have fun. My son had me take a ton of pictures of all the silly Zours® faces he made so he could see his own reaction. We checked the candy aisle in our store to see the Zours® display was sold out but thankfully we were able to find a few boxes at the demo display.

We would love to see your #ZoursFace when you try the Zours® candies. Here was our best Zours® face. #CollectiveBias


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Fruit Galette

I'm going to be honest and tell you that this is the very first fruit galette I've ever made.

I have wanted to try making one for years, but just never got around to it. With all the gorgeous summer fruit in the markets now, I decided to give it a try.

Blackberries and raspberries are the fruits I used, and I just love the way it turned out. The one tip I have is to thoroughly let the galette cool before cutting into it. That way all the fruit mixture has thickened, and will be firmly set. This doesn't have the firmness of a regular pie shell, so I think this is important.

And I really treasure a recipe that is fairly easy to make, but is impressive enough to serve at a dinner, or to bring to someone else's home. This is definitely one of those recipes.

Recipe for Summer Fruit Galette

Ingredients for pastry crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg yolk
3 tablespoons ice-cold milk

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, pour into flour mixture, stirring just until dough starts to form a ball.
Press together with lightly floured hands, and form into a flat round. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for fruit filling:

2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine blackberries, raspberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into an approximate
10-inch round. Place on a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Scoop berry mixture into center of round, top with butter.
Fold about 1 inch of dough all the way around to form a rim. Combine egg and milk, brush outside of tart with the egg wash. Sprinkle all over with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on pan 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Can be served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream,

Makes 6-8 servings.



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Refuel This Summer With Dr Pepper and Snickers® 2-to-go Snacks

I am a member of the Collective Bias® and Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

I'm so happy that summer has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. That means my family and I can do some beach exploring, a little camping, and maybe a road trip. I love bringing along my favorite ways to refuel on these excursions, Dr Pepper and Snickers® 2-to-go.

I've always been a big Dr Pepper drinker, and we like to buy it by the 12-packs, and try to keep the fridge stocked with it, especially in the summertime.

When I was at Walmart a few days ago, and checking out, I saw these handy 20 oz. bottles of Dr Pepper by the registers.

Already cold, and with a re-sealable top, they were perfect to drink on my drive home. I really like these kinds of tops because with all the little kids (and the big ones) drinks are forever getting spilled and wasted.

We are so lucky to live where we have so many beaches to explore. One of our very favorite things to do is to pick a new beach where we have never been, and make a day's road trip out of it.

We pack up our beach towels, a picnic, and Dr Pepper and Snickers® 2-to-go snacks to enjoy on the road.

I'm always looking through my favorite travel books and magazines for ideas about places to go, and great travel tips.

Time and budgets always factor into our travel plans right now, so local trips are pretty much what we are doing. But I love this, and we have lots of great family memories of camping and road trips with our large bunch, and many funny stories, too.

One of my daughters gave me this cute red tote that is insulated to keep everything nice and cold.

Just stick a little ice pack in it, and it's perfect. Of course we take a big cooler too, but I love having this purse size tote next to me whenever I am on the road.

It's so handy, and saves so much money to be able to pull out a nice cold Dr Pepper when we are driving.

I found the 2-piece Snickers® 2-to-go bars in the candy section by the registers at Walmart. They come in regular flavor, and Almond and Peanut Butter.

I was pretty stubborn about not trying these new kinds, because really, how do you improve on a Snickers® bar???

But yes, the Peanut Butter is super fabulous, trust me.

So if you are like me, and would love to refuel this summer with Dr Pepper and Snickers® 2-to-go,
there is a great coupon offer that lets you save money on both.

Just purchase (2) Snickers® 2-to-go and (2) 20 oz. bottles of Dr Pepper and receive $1.00 off.

We all know how much the price of gas can affect our summer travel plans. You can enter to win 1 of 250 available Walmart gas/giftcards.

SNICKERS® Dr Pepper Refuel Sweepstakes

Purchase (2) SNICKERS® 2-to-go and (2) 20 oz Dr Pepper bottles, then text or email your receipt to refuel@drvusa.com and be entered for a chance to win 1 of 250 available Walmart gas/gift cards. 
You can find full instructions here: http://drvsusa.com/refuel/

So what are your summer travel plans, and what is your favorite way to #Refuel2Go? Leave me a comment, because I would love to know.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Are you a cookie lover like me? I'm always on the lookout for a yummy cookie recipe, and this combination of chocolate and coconut is my new favorite.

This recipe calls for almost two cups of coconut in it, so you know it's packed full of coconut goodness.

These cookies were a huge hit with my grandchildren when we sat down to eat them with a cold glass of milk. This recipe is definitely one I'll me making again, especially since my family likes them so much.

Recipe for Chocolate and Coconut Cookies


1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter until fluffy and pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated and brown sugars, and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.

Add the dry ingredients, and beat together until just combined. Add the coconut and chocolate chips, stir until combined.
With dampened hands, shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place on baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Making a fruit crisp is one of my very favorite ways to enjoy the summer season.. Whether served plain, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, it's always a delicious dessert my family and I love.

While I'm not really a big rhubarb fan, I do like the unique flavor it gives to this crisp. And this was one of my favorite dessert growing up, so it has a bit of nostalgic meaning for me.

I like this dessert best when it's still warm from the oven, with that scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it. But it's also great for breakfast. Either way, it's pretty yummy.

Recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp


For the fruit filling:
1 pound fresh strawberries, cut into slices
6 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the topping:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, well packed
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, zest, and ginger. Place the mixture in a shallow 8-cup baking dish. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

While the fruit mixture is baking, make the crisp topping. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger and butter, until the butter is distributed evenly.

After the fruit has baked for 30 minutes, remove the foil and cover with the crisp topping. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve warm, or at room temperature. Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Makes 8 serving.