Make Ahead Frozen Smoothies

Hey friends! Today I wanted to share with you one of my newest obsessions- smoothies for breakfast! Although you may remember my love/hate relationship with smoothies, Jacob and I recently discovered a great smoothie place right next to our gym that fits my needs! Most smoothie places use either plain yogurt, milk, or a milk-based powder to ‘fill out’ the smoothies, and that’s usually what ends up disagreeing with my stomach. These kinds of smoothies are super common in chain smoothie places (I’m looking at you- Starbucks, Smoothie King, and Jamba Juice) since it’s essentially a cheaper way to make the smoothie. I was pleased to find out that Jamba Juice has a new menu of diary-free smoothies that I was able to try out, and it was amazing! A lot of Austin smoothie places are sensitive to this and great for non-dairy smoothie lovers, but unfortunately there are no JuiceLand or Austin Skinny Limits locations nearby us :( BUT, as I mentioned, we found a new place nearby that uses nothing but fruit and juices! Such a simple idea, honestly, but seemingly revolutionary in this day and age :P Shout-out to The Juice Bar in South Austin for making all my smoothie dreams come true!!

But what’s better that getting smoothies? That’s right, friends- making smoothies! Inspired by the deliciousness we discovered at The Juice Bar (and not wanting to pay close to $5 for each one!), Jacob and I set out to make our own smoothies, and be able to make them ahead to enjoy smoothies on-the-go all week long. Continue reading

Peppermint Bark

So I spent the day baking and cooking delicious things, and made this peppermint bark! First things first, you’re going to need 2 bags of white chocolate, 1 bag of dark chocolate, and some candy canes. I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly sure how many I ended up using, but I did have more candy cane at the end than I really needed.

First you’ll need to crush up your candy canes. I broke up about 6-8 candy canes by hand then put them in a bag, and took the meat tenderizer to them! Just be sure you use the flat side, and not the point…. I would know. Let’s just know that I may or may not have gotten super-crushed ‘peppermint dust’ all over the countertops. Oops!

20121223-123302.jpg

Next, get a pan ready and line it with wax paper. I recommend a 13×9 pan, as I used an 8×11 and they came out a little thick for my taste. Put this in the fridge and let it chill while you melt down the chocolate.

To melt the chocolate, you’re going to need to make a double boiler. To do this, get a large pot with boiling water, and place the chocolate to be melted in glass bowl that sits inside the water. First thing I did was melt the dark chocolate, and put some peppermint bits in it. I tried to use some of the smaller bits of crushed up candy cane, and the candy cane ‘dust’ I accidentally made.

20121223-125046.jpg

20121223-125112.jpg

Next pour it all into your pre-chilled pan, and spread it evenly.

20121223-125753.jpg

Now, here’s where I feel like I made my mistake. Like I said, I had way too much crushed up candy cane, and this is what I put on the layer of dark chocolate here. The result of this was that when it was all cooled and I began to break apart pieces, the dark and white chocolate separated. So, I would advise on not putting as many candy cane bits in between layers like I did!!

Put your dark chocolate bottom layer in the fridge and let it harden completely. Usually about 25-30 minutes in the fridge should do it. Next thing is to melt down the white chocolate and add candy cane bits.

20121223-130427.jpg

Once it’s all melted, add it to the bottom layer of dark chocolate, spreading it evenly and covering it with more peppermint bits. Some recipes for peppermint bark require peppermint extract to be melted in within the chocolate, but I felt okay omitting it since I had SO many peppermint bits to use!

20121223-130807.jpg

20121223-122353.jpg

And there’s your final product! Hope you all enjoy and have happy holidays!! :)

Oreo Balls

Ah, the magical deliciousness of Oreo balls. Though I’ve had the pleasure of eating these before, never had I attempted to make them before. So, that was my mission today, and they came out better than I imagined!

Here’s what you’ll need: a full package of plain ol’ oreos (resist the urge to buy double stuf, it doesn’t turn out well!), an 8oz. package of cream cheese (softened), and two 8oz. packages of Baker’s semisweet chocolate.

First things first, to crush up your Oreos. After a long, hard battle involving a plastic bag and a meat tenderizer, I figured there had to be a better way. Sure, if you’re making these with little kids getting to crush Oreos with a hammer is lots of fun. But if not, 5-6 Oreos in the blender on either chop or crumb works great.

Combine the chopped up Oreos and cream cheese until you get a sort of paste. It’s honestly not the most appealing looking at this stage, but comes out delicious, I promise! :) Form these into little balls as big or small as you want (i usually take about a teaspoon and rolled the balls from that size). Put these on wax paper and place in the freezer to chill for an hour or so.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave according to the package, but I recommend to do it a bit at a time, since the chocolate will cool and begin to harden quickly, making it difficult to dip the balls in. I found the best way to do this was to use some lollipop sticks I had leftover, and put them through the balls to dip them in the chocolate. Unfortunately it did leave a hole in a few of the balls, but nothing that couldn’t be filled in with chocolate later.

20120804-111302.jpg

You can see not all of the chocolate has hardened up yet, but this is your final product. Enjoy! :)

Pizza Rolls

First off, I’d like to start out with a rhetorical question. Who doesn’t love crescent rolls? They’re the perfect combination of buttery and flaky that you know isn’t really good for you, but you eat anyways. Point is, I had a tube of crescent rolls in the fridge and two 11 year-old kids to cook lunch for. Yes, my little brother just loves to invite guests to eat with us when I have nothing prepared! But worry not, big sis (with the help of some very creative people on Pinterest) is here to save the day!

Here’s what you’ll need: Pillsbury crescent rolls (not necessarily reduced fat, that’s just what we happened to have), pretty much any type of cheese, and pepperoni slices.

20120725-155800.jpg

20120725-155830.jpg

Guess who forgot to get a picture of the pepperoni package before she used them all and threw it away? Umm, yeah that’d be me. Woops. You get the idea though, just grab some pepperoni.

First thing, unroll all your crescent triangles out on your baking sheet like so.

20120725-160136.jpg

Then add your pepperoni and cheese to the larger end of the triangle. For the cheese, I just took one slice and split it into fourths. All in all, I only had to use two cheese slices, but of course, if you want it cheesier, add more cheese!

20120725-160331.jpg

Once that’s done, just roll them up like you normally would. Only thing I’d watch out for is substantial cheese sticking out the edges, don’t want that to burn in the oven!

20120725-160509.jpg

Then bake like normal according to the time on the package. These cooked for 10 minutes at 375.

Take them out and ta-da!! Delicious pizza rolls that satisfy even the pickiest little eaters :)

20120725-160736.jpg

Jolly Lollies

So today was just another summer day spent home with my younger brother, Alex. That is, until I decided that I had spent enough time repinning delicious-looking things on Pinterest and needed to actually try something. So, lo and behold, Jolly Rancher lollipops :)

First step, obtain your items! You will need: a cookie sheet, aluminum foil, parchment paper, jolly ranchers, and lollipop sticks.

20120725-142107.jpg20120725-142205.jpg

Now, at first I wasn’t sure about where to find lollipop sitcks, but I found these at Hobby Lobby in the baking section easy enough. Only problem was that they were a bit too long for what I wanted, so I simply cut them in half and it worked out fine. :)

20120725-142301.jpg

Now, WARNING!! Do not make the same mistake I did! We all know that wax paper and parchment paper can kinda look similar when you’re not really paying attention, so… pay attention! The first batch I made (pictured below) have wax paper beneath them. Not only did the lollipop stick to the wax paper, but the wax paper itself melted a bit and got stuck to the foil. *sigh* Such a rookie mistake. Luckily I had enough Jolly Ranchers left to actually do it right the second time around.

Anyways, what you’ll want to do is set your oven to 225°F and line up your jolly ranchers in threes. Pop these in the oven for about 4-6 minutes (just watch them carefully) and take them out once they start to melt enough to stick together. Once you take them out, take your lollipop sticks and put them in. I tried just pressing them in, but found that kind of rolling the stick side to side within the jollies was more effective. Now, you’ve gotta do all this before they cool, so be careful because these things are HOT! Also learned that the hard way, what fun!

20120725-142324.jpg

And now you’ve got fun jolly rancher lollipops! See, wasn’t that easy? I let these cool about 25 minutes before eating, and while they were cool enough to eat, I think I would let them cool longer next time just to let them get more brittle. Enjoy!!