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Don't Miss Out!
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It is Valentine’s Day, and I am so glad it is almost over. Don’t get me wrong, you know that I am a romantic at heart, but let’s look at this time of year and everything that has happened since Christmas. After Christmas, there was New Year’s Eve. Many of our friends and family throw after the holiday parties, since there was no time for another party during the holidays. Then there was the Super Bowl, now Valentine’s Day and let’s not forget the various birthdays and anniversaries that have already happened. What do all of these events have in common? Food! If you are invited, you usually bring something to share. If you are throwing the party, you provide numerous snacks and treats. I am not complaining. I love food. But, I do get tired of the same old chips, dips, cookies and cupcakes. This year I searched and experimented to find some appetizers that are a little different from the norm, just to spice things up a bit and add something new to the mix.
In our family, most of us love bacon. My oldest son is notorious for loving bacon. Whenever you see a recipe on Facebook that features bacon, he will probably be tagged so he can see it because everyone knows he loves it. That is why when I received Jan D’Atri’s email telling me about Candied Bacon, I was intrigued. (If you recall, I shared Jan’s recipe for Stinky Pretzels a couple of months ago.) Jan’s Candied Bacon Recipe was made with beer. If you are okay with using beer in your cooking, her original recipe can be found here. There is also a recipe for Bacon Crack that looks delicious as well. We don’t use beer, so I decided to try the Candied Bacon with ginger ale. It is still an experiment in progress, but so far it has been a tasty, tasty experiment. Then, I started looking through the Panna site for some good appetizers and guess what I found? A recipe for Candied Bacon! They served it with Tomato Soup. You can go here to see the preview of the recipe and to subscribe. In the meantime, here is my experimental version of Ginger Ale Candied Bacon.
During the holidays, Adrian and Alicia were here with my adorable grandson, Adriancito. We have mentioned before that Adrian is from Ecuador, and he often cooks a traditional Ecuadorian meal for us when he is here. We shared Bolones and Cheese Bread (Pan de Yuca) in January. Bolones are made with plantains. When they returned home, they left a number of plantains behind. Luckily, they keep pretty well for some time. They look like bananas, but plantains must be cooked in order to eat them or they won’t be very enjoyable. Not wanting anything to go to waste, I began scouring the internet for some recipes to use them in. I found a simple and delicious one. Brown Sugar Fried Plantains are so easy to make and they taste so good. The yellow, sweet plantains are the ones I used. I simply cut them in thick, circular slices. I dredged them in brown sugar and fried them in coconut oil, browning them on both sides. The brown sugar caramelizes and the plantains become soft and everyone gobbles them up!
One day, I was checking out a link-up party and I came across this adorable recipe on Living on Cloud Nine for MIni Chicken and Waffles! I fell in love with this idea and had to make my own version for our own Valentines/My sons birthday meal. I want to try Andrea's homebaked chicken version at some point, but because I didn't have time this day, I just used chicken nuggets and Eggos. We served them with maple syrup on the side.
The final things that you can see in the background on the table are Pigs in a Blanket. Not really something new, but I made them small by cutting the Nathan's Hot Dogs in half and wrapping them with canned biscuits and then baking them. Then we served them with dipping sauces and condiments. They were surprisingly filling. Some of the other things you can see on our table are watermelon hearts and Blackberry Lemon Bars that I showed you last week.
Well, even though Valentine's Day will soon be behind us, it won't be long until the next event comes our way! We are already thinking about St. Patrick's Day, lots of birthdays and Easter to mention a few. Don't get in a rut with your food! Do something a little different! Try a new recipe, make one up and add a little spice to your life. If you need some inspiration, search Panna, you will be amazed by what you can learn there. Some of their recipes are available without subscription, like this one for Dark Chocolate Mousse, to give you a taste of what you can do! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Today is the big day! We are publishing our Hot Cocoa Bomb Video Tutorial! It is available for your viewing pleasure right here on this site, or on Facebook or on YouTube! Take your pick and watch it over and over again if you want. (I probably will!) While the tutorial basics are the same as in our picture tutorial that you can find here, this video also introduces a new flavor of Bomb that we are sure you will all love! It is Chocolate Strawberry! At Valentine's Day, one favorite gift is chocolate dipped strawberries, so we thought, why not a Chocolate Strawberry Bomb? And look how pretty they are with the Wilton iridescent Valentines sprinkles sitting in those cute cupcake cups. I found mine at Walmart, but there are similar ones here and here. These will definitely be making an appearance on our Valentine's Day breakfast table.
Without further ado, here is the video!
The basics for creating these Strawberry Bombs are the same as you will find on this link, but here are the differences that make this flavor unique.
If you want a hard copy of the directions, You can find the printable version of our Hot Cocoa Bomb Idea Book on our printables page, right on the top row! It contains many ideas for flavors and for decorating your Hot Cocoa Bombs.
Once again, here is a link to the Wilton Molds that we use, here and here.
For those of you who live in colder climates, Hot Cocoa Bombs are a great way to get cozy and warmed up on a cold winter's night. For those of us in Phoenix, we have to hurry and take advantage of our cooler mornings and nights for just a little bit longer and get in our Hot Cocoa Bomb fix while we can! Chocolate Strawberry, or Cherry Cordial are perfect for a cold Valentine's Day morning! After you watch the marshmallows pop up to the top of the cup, add some more, or whipped cream and sprinkles to make them extra sweetl for this sweetheart of a day!
If you are looking for recipes to make a wonderful, romantic dinner, check out Renny's Recipes! If Valentine's Day isn't your cup of tea, try these ideas from Alicia for an UnValentine's Day party or date. (Hot Cocoa Bombs will work in either situation though.) If you want to go super gourmet, try Panna, they will give you a 30 day free trial, cooking with Master Chefs!
Let us know how you liked our video and if you try making Hot Cocoa Bombs, let us know how it went! We can give you some tips to help you be successful, if you have any questions.
I have a dear friend who has a tree that is loaded with lemons and she lets me grab some whenever I need a couple. This past week, blackberries were on sale again and I picked up quite a few. As you know, I love the combination of blackberries and lemons. In the past, I came up with a Blackberry-Lemon Marmalade that is so delicious that if you haven't tried it, you should. This time I came up with the idea of putting together lemons and blackberries into a twist on the traditional lemon bar. As you can see, they came out so lovely with a tart sweetness that everyone enjoyed. The color would make them a pretty Valentine's Day treat as well! Here is the recipe!
A couple of Fridays ago, I shared on Friday Faves that I love my new zester! I still do! (Here is one like it.) I also love this new little juicer that I got from a Princess House Party recently. It allows you to measure the juice as you juice it. Also, the reamer is removable, so it is very easy to clean.
I couldn't find it on Amazon, but there are similar ones here and here. This type of juicer comes in handy when you only have a couple of lemons to juice and you don't want to pull out the electric juicer. If I don't need to measure, I use the citrus squeezer, but this kind with the reamer is great when you need to measure a specific amount of juice.
This recipe calls for the juice of 1 lemon. But, since lemon sizes vary so much, (these were huge!), you should measure. This recipe needs about 5 T. of lemon juice, along with the juice of the blackberries. When you mash the berries through the sieve, be sure to reserve some for the garnish. That means you will only mash about 2/3 of the container. When the pan came out of the oven and after it had cooled a bit, I sprinkled on confectioners sugar, a little more zest and added some blackberries.
These were so good and easy to make. A good use of lemons if you are experiencing an over abundance! Hope you try them and enjoy!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to seven so far. I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, and my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Read more about us here!
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