Hot Chocolate Brownie Bites

Hershey’s partnered with me for this post. #Simply5

In my last post about Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup I mentioned how many of my childhood memories involved summer and many of those summer days involved eating ice cream with my family.  Those memories are very precious.  My grandfather died about seven years ago now and I think of him often.  Those memories of making s’mores at camp every summer will be etched into my brain forever.  Oh, how I wish I could relive one of those nights again but I know I can’t.  I just try to move forward remembering to appreciate all I have before me right now.  I’ve also been trying to be intentional about making everyday life good for my children…not perfect but good.  One day they’ll look back on their childhood and I want them to remember our bike rides in the evenings, stopping to watch the ants marching together, and laying on our backs looking at the stars.  Most of life is made up of ordinary moments but ordinary can be pretty extraordinary if you slow down to appreciate it.

Hershey’s reminds me about simple joys, simple pleasures, and most recently, simple ingredients.  Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup only has 5 ingredients.  Those 5 ingredients being:  cane sugar, organic invert cane syrup, water, cocoa and natural vanilla flavor!  They love simple and my family does too.

Gratefulness

To celebrate Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, Hershey’s wants to know in 5 words or less what makes your day sweet.  How do you stop and smell the chocolate?  Being a chatty person, 5 words is pretty difficult for me.  I decided on “Expect nothing and appreciate everything.”  That’s more of a slogan than it is what makes my day sweet.  Maybe it should be “My God, family, and freedom.”  As I said, I’m not very good at these things but I appreciate the challenge.  If you have a good one please share it below in the comments or tag me on social media so I can see (and don’t forget to use their hashtag #Simply5). 🙂

Speaking of simple, and campfires, and chocolate, here’s a little dessert I threw together today.

Hot Chocolate Brownies

Hot Chocolate Brownie Bites!  They’re delicious and there’s not really much to them.  Make mini brownie bites (or buy them!).  I made these and had them in my freezer so I had to thaw them a while.  I threw a few marshmallows on each one and popped them into our toaster oven on broil.  It only took a few minutes before they were golden brown.  I topped them with Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup and voila!  Delicious hot chocolate brownie bites!

Hot Chocolate Brownie Bites

For more information on Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup visit Hersheys.com.

What about you?  What makes your life sweet?

Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Mug Cake

Hershey’s partnered with me for this post. #Simply5

Summer and ice cream go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Like a milkshake and whipped cream.

Like Tom and Jerry.  …maybe that’s a bad example because they don’t really get along but you get the picture.

Ice cream is what summer memories are made of.  Ice cream by the pool, ice cream on the front steps of your grandparent’s porch, and of course, the iconic ice cream from the ice cream truck.

Hersheys Simple 5

Summer memories make up most of the memories from my childhood.  I can vividly imagine my much younger dad setting beside me on the porch.  I can feel the warm evening breeze on my skin and I can see my little legs going up and down as we watch the fireflies flickering.  I can picture my mom and me swimming in the pool in our yard.  I can almost feel the rush of rolling down the hill…on purpose.  I tried this recently with my kids and let me tell you, this is a treat that only the bodies of kids can enjoy.  Most of my summer memories were good but some were extra sweet, and by sweet I mean that they included ice cream.  Not just vanilla ice cream but ice cream with Hershey’s Syrup on top.

Hersheys Simply Five

I always liked a little chocolate on top and then swirled it till it was a light tan color.  My dad liked a lot of chocolate and ate it without mixing it.  I’m a mixer of ice cream.  No chaotic, uneven bowl of ice cream for me.  Nope, it had to be mixed, even, and smooth.  I made an ice cream treat for my family to celebrate the ones who made me a mommy (Happy Mother’s Day, ya’ll!) and I made it like my dad would have enjoyed it.  I guess I could have made it like my mom would have enjoyed it but she likes the syrup hot and it was too warm out for that!

Now that I’m grown and have kids of my own I’m trying to be intentional about creating good childhood memories.  I hope that summer and ice cream will one day stand out in their minds as they look back and think about their years growing up.

My son, bless his heart, is allergic to soy and dairy.  Which if you didn’t know, is terrible because soy is in EVERYTHING!  We’re hoping he’ll outgrow this soon but until then we read every label.  One thing I have been so excited to find is that Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup doesn’t have soy in it.  He can have chocolate!!!  A few basic box brownie mixes don’t have soy but every other label I’ve read contains soy.  Hershey’s Simply 5 doesn’t – woo!  I literally called my husband in excitement when I found out.  By the way, my son loved his first chocolate syrup experience and endured the coldness of the (coconut milk) ice cream to get the chocolate. 🙂  I was too excited to take pictures but trust me, he was adorable!

My husband says that this new version tastes better than ever and he thinks all companies should take the simple approach to ingredients.  I happen to agree with him.  It was delicious and I love that it doesn’t have any high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors and flavors, and is made from non-GMO ingredients.

If you want to get a little crafty with this new chocolate deliciousness try this Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Mug Cake!

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 1 min
Total time: 6 mins
Serves: 1

Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients for Cake (whipping cream ingredients listed separately):

  • –  ½ medium banana, mashed
  • –  1 tablespoon almond butter (or any other nut butter)
  • –  ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • –  4 ½ tablespoons flour
  • –  ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • –  1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • –  ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • –  2 tablespoons Hershey’s chocolate chips
  • –  1 tablespoon Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup
  • –  pinch of salt

Cinnamon Whipping Cream Ingredients:

  • –  ½ cup whipping cream
  • –  1 tablespoon sugar
  • –  ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. In a large microwave safe mug mash the banana with a fork
  2. Mix in the almond butter and vanilla
  3. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt a little at a time and gently stir until combined
  4. Microwave for 45 second- 1 minute or until it is firm in the middle (this timing is based on my 1200W microwave so your timing might vary)
  5. While that’s baking, whip together whipping cream, sugar, and cinnamon till firm.
  6. Top with a swirl of Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, some more sliced banana, the whipped cream and enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Mug Cake

Notes:

  • –  Cooking time may vary greatly depending on your microwave and the width and depth of the mug.
  • –  Always keep a close eye on your mug while in the microwave so it doesn’t over flow or over cook.  I may have done this a time or two practicing!  If you’re easily distracted but a plate underneath the mug just in case!
  • –  You can mix the cake up the night before but I enjoy it warm!
  • –  You can use whole wheat or oat flour as a substitute for white flour if you wish.

For more information on Hershey’s Simply 5 visit Hersheys.com.

Now, I have to know.  Do you mix your toppings in your ice cream, like me or do you just eat them as is, like my dad?

Chocolate Flowers for Easter

This post contains affiliate links.

Chocolate Flower Molds

For my wedding reception my sister-in-laws made white chocolate flower lollipops for the guests.  They were gorgeous!  Ever since then I’ve tried and tried to make white chocolate treats.  I’ve had many fails but I think I’ve got it figured out!

Here are my tried and true tips.  I hope they help you!

  •  –  Don’t overheat your chocolate.  This was my number one mistake!  If it burns you’ll have yucky lumps in your chocolate.  Take your time and stir every 30 seconds, eeeeeevery 30 seconds.  It’s painstaking at first but you have to do it.
  • –  Don’t over-fill your molds or else you’ll have ugly blobs that you’ll have to chip off.  Fill it just under full.
  • –  Let the chocolate harden completely for easy removal.
  • –  If you’re making special chocolates for a party you can save time the week of by making them months in advance.  Simply store them on wax paper (and wax paper between layers) in a sealed container at room temperature.
  • –  I personally prefer the silicon molds over the hard plastic ones so I can stretch them and pop them out easily.

Now onto the Chocolate Flowers for Easter!

Ingredients:
–  White Wilton chocolate melts
–  Easter egg sprinkles
–  Vanilla extract

You will also need:
–  Silicone flower mold
–  Freezer
–  Microwave
–  Small bowl
–  Tablespoon

Directions:

Chocolate Flowers
1. In a small bowl, microwave your white chocolate melts on 50% power for 4-5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until melted
2. Add in a teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix

Easter Sprinkles
3. Place a 1/2 tablespoon of sprinkles in the bottom of each flower mold

Chocolate Candy Mold
4. Spoon your melted chocolate into your flower molds over your your sprinkles
5. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes or until hardened

Chocolate Flowers!
6. To pop them out, stretch the sides of the flowers and press up on the bottom of each flower.  Voila, beautiful chocolate flowers!!

 

Chocolate Cherry Icebox Cake Recipe

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Chocolate Cherry Icebox Cake

This chocolate cherry ice box cake is by far my favorite summer dessert!  This is a great go-to for company or a pot luck or BBQ where you don’t have a clue of what to bring.  You can’t go wrong, everyone loves an icebox cake!  I love how decadent and yet how refreshing this is since it is chilled until ready to serve.  The graham crackers layered between get nice and soft, similar to a thin layer of cake.  All of the flavors together are so delicious!  There’s something about chocolate, cherries, and cool whip coming together that make this the perfect dessert!

Ingredients:

  • – 1 – 5.9 oz box instant chocolate pudding powder
    – 2 1/2 cups whole milk
    – 2 cup Cool Whip dessert topping, thawed
    – 16 whole graham crackers
    – 1 – 21 oz can cherry pie filling
    – 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

Chocolate Cherry Icebox Cake Recipe

Directions:

1. Using an electric mixer, whisk milk and pudding powder for 2 minutes.
2. Gently stir Cool Whip into the pudding.
3. Refrigerate pudding mixture for 10 minutes.
4. On a rectangular serving dish, place 4 whole graham crackers length-wise into the shape of a rectangle.
5. Spoon the pudding mixture into a piping bag or gallon zip-loc bag and cut the corner.
6. Squeeze the pudding mixture from left to right and back, covering all 4 graham crackers.
7. Spoon 1/4 of the can of pie filling over the pudding mixture.
8. Repeat the layers until you’ve used all the ingredients.
9. Drizzle the chocolate over the top and refrigerate for 4 hours, until ready to serve.

If you want a delicious, SUPER simple dessert to make, you’ve got to try this!  I promise you, it will not disappoint.

What about you, what’s your favorite go-to summer dessert?  Cheesecake? Icebox cake? Homemade ice cream?

If you like this, pin this recipe so you can find it later and follow our dessert Pinterest board for more yumminess.

Chocolate Cherry Icebox Cake Recipe

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs Recipe

This post contains affiliate links.

valentine's day fruit kabobs

Are you like me and utterly shocked that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner?  I am having a hard time believing it but the calendar says it’s so.  If you want a quick but cute Valentine’s Day treat for you and your special someone…or a fun treat for kiddos, look no further.  These Valentine Fruit Kabobs can be whipped up in no time and look just darling!  Not to mention, they taste great too!  Without further ado, here are the details.

Ingredients:

Directions:

1. Cut and remove the greens from the strawberries.
2. Slice the pieces on the sticks in this order, strawberry, brownie, marshmallow, brownie, strawberry.
3. Chill until ready to serve.
4. Optional, drizzle with caramel, chocolate or other sauce.

valentine's day fruit kabobs recipe

Homemade Brownies with Crisco

Publix

The holidays are upon us and I’m up on the grocery store. I head to Publix® to get some of baking needs. Specifically, I’m getting some Crisco® to help me out with my baking.

I remember when I first started cooking that I didn’t really realize how important it is to use shortening when the recipe calls for it. We always had Crisco® shortening in the house, but for some reason we were out. I ended up using oil and my dumplings were a tremendous joke! Just a note – always use what the recipe calls for… but you know that already, you smart people, you.

I decided to make brownies for daughter’s Sunday school class and needed vegetable oil, so off to Publix® I went. You can’t get an easier recipe than out of the box, but I found the perfect blondie brownie recipe from my sister-in-law’s cookbook, that she found from Crisco®!  It’s really a no fuss, no frills recipe, but it has classic results that everyone raves over. I topped it with candy cane, edible confetti and voila, it is a Christmas recipe.

Blondie Brownie

I was able to make brownies with my daughter and create those memories together. I remember doing this with my grandmother, except she never shares her recipes. You just have to figure them out as she goes because she never has any of them written out! I’m writing down key recipes of these family favorites for my daughter – for posterity sake. If you want to be remembered, cook good food.

Cooking good food means that you use good products. Crisco® is that. For the holidays and any time of the year, you can use Crisco® 100% vegetable oil for baking, but don’t forget the other everyday cooking products as well like Crisco® Pure Canola Oil and Crisco® 100% Original Oil.

What about you? What favorite recipes do you go to or will be making for your guests? What homemade holiday treats are your families favorites?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

Blueberry Yoplait® Parfait

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Yoplait®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Now that our family is in the beginning stages of moving, things are a little hectic around our house.  (Have I told you that we’re moving?  I did, didn’t I?  My deepest apologies if I didn’t!  I think I’ve been so busy that I may have forgotten to mention it.  Yes, we’re moving into a nearby fixer-upper.)  It’s summer so my daughter wants to play outside non-stop and I need to spend time indoors packing.  Not to mention, I could use a few extra arms to pack while wrangling the kiddos.  I remember the days where we did nothing but casually play and lounge around the house in our pj’s till noon…or later.

I miss lounging around in pj’s till noon.

Now our days are full of play dates that also double as a packing party, early mornings, and late nights.  Life is crazy right now but it’s a good kind of crazy!

When I need a little break from the chaos I reach for yogurt.  We always have some on hand because everyone in our house loves it so we buy in bulk at Walmart.  We like it all – the Original, Light, Greek, and Gogurt®.  Recently, I’ve rediscovered my love of parfaits.

Yoplait Parfait

“Hey, how could a parfait be anything less than a party waiting to happen?” – Emeril Lagasse

I agree with Emeril!  A parfait is a party waiting to happen.  If you need a little happiness, a moment to savor the silence, or just a yummy treat, try this blueberry and vanilla parfait!

Blueberry yogurt parfait

You need:

  • 1 container of vanilla Yoplait®
  • A few slices of pound cake (or angel food cake)
  • Blueberries

All you have to do us cut the pound cake, layer as you wish, and voila!

Yogurt Parfait

This recipe makes 1 homemade parfait that will sure to please anyone, especially moms that need an extra dose of sweetness.  Just multiply this recipe for a perfect after dinner treat for the whole family!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Yoplait®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

“Fried” Ice Cream With Honey Bunches of Oats

This is a sponsored post but all yummy pictures are my own. : )

Fried Ice Cream Honey Bunches of Oats

Honey Bunches Of Oats is a cereal we often have one or two boxes of.  When I was pregnant with my son I craved the Honey Bunches of Oats with strawberries so much that I bought it in bulk.  I love the subtle sweetness, soft flakes, and the crunchy honey clusters.  Recently, I was asked by Honey Bunches of Oats to make their version of fried ice cream using their cereal.  That sounded too good to pass up so I gave it a try.  ….it’s divine!  Trust me, you want this in your life.  Here’s the recipe so you can try it for yourself!

Ingredients:

fried ice cream

“Fried” Ice cream:

fried ice cream

Cinnamon-Chocolate Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

fried ice cream

Directions:

  1. Place cereal in a medium bowl and lightly crush with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon. Add coconut and chili powder and combine.
  2. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil. Add cereal and coconut mixture and fry until it is golden brown and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  3. Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop ice cream and quickly form balls with your hands. Place on a small tray and immediately return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes or until the balls are firm.
  4. Remove ice cream balls from freezer and quickly roll each ball in the cereal and coconut mixture. Return to freezer for at least another 30 minutes or until the balls are firm again.
  5. When ready to serve, combine the chocolate chips, cream and cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. If the chips are not completely melted, stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
  6. Serve each fried ice cream ball with a drizzle of cinnamon-chocolate.

fried ice cream

This recipe was fabulous in taste and in the time spent preparing it!  I’ll definitely make this again and I hope you’ll give it a try.

fried ice cream

Rustic Blueberry Tart Recipe

Blueberry Tart

This Independence Day, Jill Bauer, QVC’s Home-Savvy Hostess, has the perfect patriotic recipes to help celebrate America in style and she’s allowed me to share this delicious recipe with you all.  I don’t know about you but I absolutely love blueberries and can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

Rustic Blueberry Tart

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • – 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • – 1/4 cup sugar
  • – 3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • – 1-1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • – 1/4 cup ice water
  • – Pinch of salt
  • – 1 cup sliced almonds
  • – Egg wash (one egg + 2 Tbsp water)

Filling:

  • 2 (14-oz) cans blueberry pie filling
  • 1 lb fresh blueberries
  • 2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to blend. Add the butter, a little at a time, and continue to pulse until the dough comes together in small pieces. If it looks dry, add in the cold water, and pulse. The dough has reached the perfect consistency when you can form it into a ball. Wrap the balled dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Unwrap the dough and roll it out to form a 10″ x 16″ rectangle. Wrap the dough around the rolling pin and lift it onto a large rectangular baking pan.
  4. Sprinkle the dough with sliced almonds, leaving a 2″ border clear to fold over the tart.
  5. To prepare the filling, drain the canned blueberry filling, leaving about 1/2 of the syrup in the can. Combine the half-drained blueberry filling with the fresh blueberries and lemon juice. Spoon the filling onto the crust, leaving a 2″ border. Gently fold in the edges on all sides. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with the sliced or slivered almonds. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  6. When ready to serve, garnish with the lemon zest.

To see more yummy goodness visit Jill on QVC.

Turkey Hill’s All Natural Gelato

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Turkey Hill Dairy.

“My love for ice cream emerged at an early age – and has never left!” -Ginger Rogers

This quote was once uttered by Ginger Rogers but it is most certainly true for me as well!

All Natural Gelato

I love ice cream.  It’s my favorite treat year round but especially in summer.  There’s nothing like having ice cream in the summer!  …or is there?  Meet gelato.  Gelato is the smug cousin of ice cream.  Sure, they may come from the same family but one is richer and certainly creamier.  It has less air than most ice cream, giving it it’s dense, smooth texture.

Turkey Hill

If you’ve never tried gelato before, now you can!  I’ve only had gelato at specialty shops but I’ve just recently learned that they now sell it everywhere!  Who knew?  Turkey Hill, my favorite brand for cookie dough ice cream, now makes a delicious All Natural Gelato.

Turkey Hill Dairy is the first major ice cream brand to offer an all natural gelato.  It’s made with simple ingredients like milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  This is a treat that I’m able to feel good about giving my daughter on occasion.

Turkey Hill Gelato

I bought the Coffee Chip flavor and it is absolutely delicious!  Perfect coffee flavor, unbelievably smooth, and it has chocolate chips!  Who doesn’t like chocolate?  It makes everything better.

Turkey Hill All Natural Gelato also comes in Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Hazelnut, Mint Chocolate Chip, Peach Mango, Purely Vanilla, and Sea Salted Caramel flavors.  I’m excited to try them all this summer!

For more information on Turkey Hill All Natural Gelato, please visit their website, Facebook page, or Twitter account.  To snag your own tub of Turkey Hill All Natural Gelato visit their website to see wherever Turkey Hill products are sold.