7 Easy Fall Treats

If you’re looking for ideas for sweet fall treats, here’s a roundup of some I’ve made before. They’re fun and colorful and very easy to make, which is a plus! Have fun trying some of these out!

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Candy” Corn Pay” Day Mix for sweet-and-salty lovers, and just 2 ingredients–candy corn and peanuts! This is probably the easiest treat you’ll ever make! Pack some up in treat bags to give away.

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Candy Corn Trail Mix is also really easy and yummy, made with Golden Grahams, pretzels, peanuts, golden raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower kernels, M&M’s, chocolate chips, and candy corn, of course!

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How about some Owl Cupcakes? Yummy and chocolatey, with Oreo Cookie and M&M eyes!

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Candy Corn Bark will satisfy any sweet tooth and is a feast for the eyes with all the colorful goodies in it!

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Candy Corn–Peanut Popcorn Balls are super fun and make great homemade treats!

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Candy Corn M&M’s Crispy Bars are definitely hard to resist!

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And Acorn Treats are so much fun–they’re the perfect bite-sized treat!

These are all so yummy! Have you tried making any of these treats before?

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Easy Salted Caramel Sauce

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I bought some salted caramel sauce earlier this summer at the grocery store, and I could hardly tell that it was salted! So I made a note to try making a homemade salted caramel sauce sometime, and I finally had the chance. This … Continue reading

Homemade Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

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If you like making homemade Christmas gifts, here’s a great idea I found at MyRecipes. Just about everyone loves hot cocoa, so you really can’t go wrong giving this! You can get jars like the one above at Wal-Mart, or you can use whatever kind of jars you like. This recipe makes enough to fill a 1-quart jar (12 servings; I upped the amount of the mini chocolate chips and crushed peppermint candy from the original recipe, since I had some extra room in my jar). If you want to use smaller jars, you can divide the mixture up equally between those. A ribbon tied around the neck of the jar makes this hot cocoa gift really festive, too. And you’ll need to add a tag that gives directions on how to make the cocoa (directions are included in the recipe below).

This is a rich, chocolatey cocoa mix that makes a great cup of hot cocoa! And it has a nice touch of peppermint, so it’s perfect for the holidays. If I have the time, I may just make my own hot cocoa mix from now on!

HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT HOT COCOA MIX adapted from MyRecipes.com

Makes about 12 servings, enough to fill a 1-quart (32-ounce) jar

  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy or candy canes (I used 3/4 cup)

In a 1-quart jar, layer powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and last of all, the peppermint candy on top. Cover jar with lid, tie a pretty holiday ribbon around the neck of the jar if desired, and attach a homemade gift tag with cocoa-making instructions on the back.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR BACK OF GIFT TAG: “Mix contents of jar in a large bowl. For each serving, place a slightly heaping 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix back in jar or another airtight container.”

NOTE: This mix will fill a 1-quart jar (about 12 servings, with each serving being a slightly heaping 1/3 cup), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant.

Are you making any homemade Christmas gifts this year?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

OREO Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookie Balls

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OREOs are always a treat, and these cookie ball truffles are a great way to enjoy them over the holidays! So now that the Christmas season is in full swing, I thought this would be the perfect time to make them. They’re easy to make and all you need are a few ingredients–OREO cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate–plus an extra ingredient I added! I decided I’d make these cookie balls a little extra chocolatey by adding in some mini chocolate chips (you need to use the mini chips–the regular size would be much too big)! And I used both semi-sweet and white baking chocolate to coat them for a little variety. I topped these yummy treats with different kinds of Christmas sprinkles, coconut, and crushed candy canes. Chopped nuts would also be a great topping.

You can make these cookie ball truffles without the mini chocolate chips if you prefer; you’ll get about 48 if you make them that way. If you make them with the mini chocolate chips like I did, you’ll get at least 70 truffles, maybe a little more, so you may want to have an extra 4-ounce package of baking chocolate on hand in case you need more chocolate coating. I had just enough chocolate to coat all of mine with the 4 packages, but it never hurts to have a little extra on hand. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per bar of baking chocolate–I mixed the coconut oil into the chocolate after it was all melted–it made the chocolate a little thinner and easier to dip the cookie balls in.

I also found it was easiest to dip these cookie ball truffles into the chocolate by using a regular spoon, turning each one over in the melted chocolate with the spoon until it was all coated. Then I immediately put it on a parchment-lined pan, using the spoon to drop it on. After dipping about 5 cookie balls, I adding toppings before the chocolate started setting–the toppings adhere much better when the chocolate coating is still very melty.

So that’s all there is to it! And I thought it would be fun to arrange these cookie balls in a tree shape–a great way to serve them at a holiday party or get-together!

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OREO HOLIDAY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BALLS by NancyCreative, slightly adapted from the original OREO Cookie Ball recipe

Makes about 70 cookie ball truffles

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is an addition to the original recipe)
  • 4 to 5 (4-ounce) packages semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted (I used 2 packages of semi-sweet and 2 packages of white chocolate, melting the different chocolates separately; I also mixed in 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per 4-ounce melted chocolate baking bar after the chocolate was all melted, for easier dipping–if you don’t do this, your melted chocolate will be thicker, and you may need a 5th 4-ounce bar to have enough chocolate coating)
  • Assorted toppings to sprinkle on the chocolate-coated truffles: Christmas sprinkles, crushed candy canes, coconut, nuts

Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended. Shape into 70 (1-inch) balls. Place in a shallow 10 x 15″ pan lined with parchment paper and freeze for 10 minutes.

For cookie balls, dip each ball into melted chocolate. Place in single layer in your lined 10 x 15″ pan (I dipped about 5 at a time, then sprinkled them, so the toppings would stick well before the chocolate started setting). You may need to use an extra lined pan, since you’ll need to leave more space between the chocolate coated cookie balls while they’re setting.

After dipping and topping all the cookie balls with your choice of sprinkles or toppings, refrigerate them on your lined pan or pans for 1 hour or until firm.

I partnered with Yummly and OREO on this post, but the opinions expressed here are entirely my own–I’m a longtime Oreo fan! :)

Do you like Oreos too? Have you made these cookie balls and do you have a special way of making them?

Candy Corn-Peanut Popcorn Balls with Marshmallow Coating

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Did you know that October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month? I had no idea until I saw it mentioned somewhere on the net. That got me thinking about making some popcorn balls! I found this recipe at About.com that sounded good. I decided to try it with peanuts added in, since they had tasted so good in the Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix I had made a several weeks ago. Yum! These popcorn balls are very easy to make, so this is a great recipe to start out with if you’ve never made popcorn balls before. It’s a great treat for kids and adults–who wouldn’t like munching on a fun popcorn ball like this?

CANDY CORN-PEANUT POPCORN BALLS with MARSHMALLOW COATING by NancyCreative, adapted from About.com

Makes 12 to 14 popcorn balls

  • 12 cups plain or light butter popped popcorn
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 2/3 cup dry roasted peanuts (or you can use salted cocktail peanuts)
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spraying the lining with nonstick cooking spray.

In a very large bowl, mix together the popped popcorn, candy corn, and peanuts; set aside.

In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter for 30 to 45 seconds. Add the marshmallows and microwave an additional 90 seconds to melt them and stir, blending them with the butter (the marshmallows may not look melted, but they will liquefy when you stir them). After blending butter and marshmallows well, then add vanilla and salt, and stir until everthing is well-mixed.

Pour the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn-candy corn-peanut mixture, and stir until everything is thoroughly combined. Allow mixture to sit for a minute so the hot marshmallow mixture can cool slightly. Note: if some of the candy corn and peanuts are collecting at the bottom of the bowl, you can work those in as you’re forming the popcorn balls.

Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. It’s kind of like making a firmly-packed snowball! Make sure your popcorn balls are all compact; loosely formed popcorn balls fall apart easily. If the balls aren’t sticking together, allow the mixture to cool for another minute; they should hold together better then.

Place popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature. Store popcorn balls in an airtight container in a cool, dry room.

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These popcorn balls would be great any time of year–just leave out the candy corn and add some extra peanuts to the mix! Have you ever made any popcorn balls?

Candy Corn Trail Mix

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If you’re looking for a fun, quick, easy snack to make, try this Candy Corn Trail Mix–it’s a colorful, yummy blend of sweetness and saltiness, and the perfect treat for fall! Just mix all the ingredients in a bowl and it’s ready. It’s great for packaging up in small bags, too, if you’re needing some special treats to give out!

CANDY CORN TRAIL MIX by NancyCreative

Makes 15 cups

  • 4 cups Golden Grahams OR Vanilla or Honey Nut Chex cereal
  • 2 1/2 cups bite-size pretzel twists (like Rold Gold Tiny Twists)
  • 2 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts or cocktail peanuts
  • 3/4 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup roasted sunflower kernels
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 2 cups M&M’s plain chocolate candy (or substitute 2 cups chocolate chips–semi-sweet, white, dark, or milk chocolate)

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and mix together by tossing with a large spoon. Serve in the bowl or package into treat bags. If you want to make a healthier autumn trail mix, you can omit the candy corn and M&M’s and substitute 2 cups of dark chocolate chips.

Another easy snack mix to try is Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix. Have you made any fun treats with candy corn this season?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Candy Corn Bark

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I’ve been posting some quick and easy candy corn treats, like Candy Corn “Pay Day” MixCandy Corn Trail Mix, and Candy Corn-Peanut Popcorn Balls with Marshmallow Coating. Here’s another super-easy candy corn recipe–Candy Corn Bark! Along with the candy corn, this bark also has mini M&M’s, pretzel twists, and dried cranberries in it. It’s a yummy, simple treat to make–a great combination of sweet-and-salty flavors!

CANDY CORN BARK by NancyCreative

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 2 (12-ounce) packages white chocolate (vanilla) baking chips
  • 1 cup bite-size pretzel twists (like Rold Gold Tiny Twists)
  • 2/3 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup M&M’s Mini’s plain milk chocolate candy
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (or substitute dark or golden raisins)

Line a 9 x 13 ” pan with parchment paper, going up the sides and leaving 2 extra inches of paper on each side (so you can lift the bark out of the pan later); set aside.

In a medium microwaveable bowl or container, microwave the white chocolate chips for one minute, then stop and stir. Continue melting the chocolate in the microwave, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until all the chips are melted and smooth, for a total of about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.

ncCndyCrnBk2nmSpread the melted white chocolate evenly in a thin layer in the parchment-lined pan with a large spoon or spatula. Sprinkle pretzels evenly over melted chocolate, pressing pretzels about halfway into the chocolate as you’re placing them. Then do the same with the candy corn, M&M’s, and dried cranberries or raisins (it helps if you have all these ingredients pre-measured so you can sprinkle them on quickly before the chocolate starts to set). Note: Make sure all ingredients are pressed into the melted chocolate, or they will just fall off when you are breaking up the bark later.

Let bark set about 1 hour, or until completely firm (you can chill the bark in the refrigerator to help it set quicker). Lift bark from the pan (with the sides of the parchment paper) and place on kitchen counter. Peel parchment paper from bottom side of bark, breaking bark into pieces as you peel. Serve on a platter or in a bowl, or package into treat bags. Store any extra bark covered in an airtight container at room temperature.

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I like this bark because it’s so fun and colorful! Do you have a favorite autumn bark recipe?

Acorn Treats

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I saw these fun fall treats on the Hershey’s site and they were so cute I just had to make them! They’re so easy, too…kids would have a lot of fun making these. Acorn Treats are great for fall parties, snacks, and fun food gifts…they’re perfect for any autumn get-together or celebration!

The Royal Icing acts as the “glue,” attaching the Kisses and peanut butter chips to the Mini Nilla Wafers. The icing is very easy to make (see directions below), but if you don’t want to make your own, you can use purchased icing that comes packaged in a container with a small tip. I’ve also seen other bloggers use creamy peanut butter as the “glue,” and you could even try Nutella. Whatever you use, you just need a small dab! I used the Royal Icing (see recipe below), and I was very happy with how that worked out.

You can use either milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or pumpkin-spice flavored Kisses–I decided it would be fun to have a variety, so I used all three! For the top part of the acorn, I used peanut butter chips on the “acorns” with milk and dark chocolate Kisses, and semi-sweet chocolate chips on the “acorns” with pumpkin-spice Kisses. You can also use butterscotch chips.

Have fun trying these out!

ACORN TREATS slightly adapted from Hershey’s

Makes 64 to 73 treats per bag of Hershey’s Kisses

  • Royal Icing (see recipe below) or use purchased decorator icing that comes in a container with a small tip
  • 1 (10 to 12-ounce) bag of Hershey’s Kisses-Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, or Pumpkin Spice–or a combination of these flavors! (Depending on size, bags contain about 64 to 73 kisses).
  • 1 (11-ounce) box Mini Nilla Wafers
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag peanut butter chips or 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute butterscotch chips); or use a combination of flavors (you won’t need the whole bag, so if you already have part of a bag of chips left over from another recipe, that should be enough)

Prepare Royal Icing: Stir together 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 Tablespoon warm water (the original recipe says to also use 1 1/2 teaspoons of pasteurized dried egg whites (meringue powder), but I couldn’t find any, so I left it out–I used an extra Tablespoon of powdered sugar instead). Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer or mix by hand until spreadable. Add additional water, 1 teaspoon at a time, to get desired consistency (I added an additional ncAcornTrts3nmTablespoon plus a teaspoon of water to get a stiff, spreadable icing). Transfer icing to pastry bag with desired tip. Cover icing and tip of pastry bag with damp paper towel to keep icing from drying out. Note: If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a toothpick to dab small amounts of the icing on the Kisses and chips. This recipe makes about 1/2 cup icing, which is plenty for what you’ll need.

To assemble treats: Place mini vanilla wafers on a tray or plate with flat side of cookie toward the top. Squeeze a small amount of icing onto the bottom of a Hershey’s Kiss. Immediately press candy bottom onto vanilla wafer cookie. Allow icing to set.

Place small dab of icing on bottom of peanut butter or semi-sweet chocolate chip. Immediately attach to top of cookie to finish acorn. Let icing set before serving.

That’s all there is to it! Super-easy!

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Have you made any fun, easy treats to celebrate autumn this year?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday.

Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix

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I really like the taste of sweet-and-salty things. I ate a lot of butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid, and I’ve always loved PayDay candy bars. I don’t eat candy bars that often, but every once in awhile I indulge in a PayDay. If you like PayDays too, then you will like this Candy Corn “PayDay” Mix because the candy corn and salted peanuts really bring to mind the taste of that candy bar!

I was needing to make something simple and quick for a little fall party, and when I saw this candy corn mix idea at About.com, I thought it would be perfect! It’s so simple to make–there are just two ingredients–candy corn and peanuts. How easy is that? It’s a perfect sweet-and-salty treat for any fall party, a great snack for game-watching, and a nice treat to package up in treat bags for giving. I like it better than just eating candy corn by itself–I feel like I’m at least getting a little protein with the peanuts in there! :) You can either use dry roasted peanuts or salted peanuts–I prefer using the dry roasted, but either works great! You can also substitute cashews for the peanuts if you prefer those.

Some of you have also told me that this mix tastes great with M&M’s, chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, so I added those as optional ingredients for all of you chocolate and peanut butter-lovers! :)

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Here’s the very simple recipe…

CANDY CORN “PAY DAY” MIX slightly adapted from About.com

Makes 6 to 7 1/2 cups of mix

  • 3 cups candy corn (or use an entire 21-oz. bag, which comes to about 3 3/4 cups)
  • 3 cups lightly salted dry roasted peanuts or cocktail peanuts (or use an entire 16-oz. jar, which comes to about 3 3/4 cups; OR substitute the same amount of cashews)
  • Optional: 2 to 3 cups plain M&M’s or chocolate chips, depending on how chocolatey you want it! Or, if you want a stronger peanutty flavor, you could add the same amount of peanut butter chips

In a medium to large serving bowl, combine the candy corn and the peanuts, and stir together with a large spoon until they are well mixed. Add in the M&M’s (or chocolate chips), if using. Or, you can combine the candy corn and peanuts (and M&M’s/chocolate chips, if using) in a large Ziploc bag and shake them together until they are well mixed. Serve and enjoy!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container to snack on later.

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If you want to make this mix for treat-giving, use treat bags to package them in–I tied mine with a bright orange ribbon!

Have you made any fun fall treats? It’s always nice when they’re quick and easy to make, too! :)

Happy Autumn!

S’mores Popcorn from The S’mores Cookbook and a Giveaway!

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bildeWhen I think of summer treats, I think of S’mores around a campfire. But when I looked through my review copy of The S’mores Cookbook  by Susan Whetzel, I realized that you can enjoy the great taste of S’mores all year round in lots of different ways! This hardcover book is filled with lots of wonderful full-color photos of the many recipes you can make. And the publisher, Adams Media, has offered to send a giveaway copy directly to the winning commentor on this post! See the end of the post for details.

So S’mores are not just for summer anymore…you can make a great S’mores dessert whenever you crave it! And actually, S’mores are not just for dessert anymore, because this book also includes breakfast recipes, too! Some treats from this book that I’d like to try out are:

  • S’mores Stuffed French Toast
  • S’mores Popovers
  • Mini Dark Chocolate S’mores Muffins
  • S’mores Coffee Cake
  • Dark Chocolate S’mores Pie
  • S’mores Mousse Cups
  • S’mores Dip
  • S’mores Cupcakes
  • S’mores Chocolate Chunksters

I decided to make the S’mores Popcorn first because it’s been really hot and humid lately, and I wanted to do a no-bake recipe. Plus, this is a great recipe to give as a food gift, packaged in a cellophane bag–and with Christmas just 4 months away, I’m on the lookout for some tasty and easy food gift ideas! :) It’s really kind of addicting, so you’ll want to either have lots of people help you eat it up or share with your friends! The two kinds of chocolate mixed with the caramel corn and marshmallows make a really rich and yummy treat! It’s also a great snack to make in the fall if you’re having a tailgate party or watching the games at home. Store-bought caramel corn works great in this, or you can use homemade if you like.

When I melted the chocolate, I added just a little bit of coconut oil, about 1 teaspoon per cup, to make the chocolate a  little smoother for drizzling. If you do this, the chocolate will take a little longer to dry or set, and it may not package as well since the chocolate will be a little gooier, so it’s definitely an optional thing. If you decide to add some oil when melting the chocolate and if you’ve used an extra large sheet pan to spread your popcorn mix on,* you can put your pan of S’mores popcorn in the fridge, after everything is mixed together, for at least a half hour or until chocolate is set.

Here’s the recipe…

S’MORES POPCORN BAGS from The S’mores Cookbook

Yields: 10 gift bags

Feel free to make your own caramel popcorn for this amazing treat, but store-bought works amazingly well and tends to hold up and look nicer in the gift bags. Either way, it’s a win-win situation!–Susan Whetzel

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (Note: I used an extra 1/4 cup later in the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 8 cups caramel popcorn
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 10 cellophane gift bags
  • Ribbon, to tie bags, as needed

Cover the counter with parchment paper (*I lined an extra large sheet pan with parchment paper instead). Drizzle the parchment with melted semisweet chocolate and immediately sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and popcorn, making as even a layer as possible.

Drizzle the white chocolate over the popcorn; allow to dry. (NOTE: I melted an additional 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips and drizzled this over the popcorn, too, for an extra chocolatey taste). Once chocolate is dry, pour the popcorn from the parchment into a large bowl; add marshmallows.

Divide evenly into cellophane bags, and tie with decorative ribbon.

This makes a great game snack or food gift and it’s so easy to make, so keep it in mind for football season and gift- giving at the holidays!

bildeThe Giveaway is Now Closed. Congratulations to commentor #8, Linda G., for winning the book!

Now for the Giveaway….if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The S’mores Cookbook, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Sunday, September 1, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! Winner will be chosen ramdomly via Random.org and announced on Monday, September 2. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway is limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me if you make S’mores often or if you’ve made any S’mores-inspired recipes this summer.

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following!

Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up right away–because of spam, I need to approve all the comments before they show up! Hope you all have time to enter, and enjoy your Labor Day Weekend!

 

Fun Springtime Treats from Martha Stewart

I always find great ideas on Martha Stewart’s website and thought I’d share some really fun, yummy-looking decorating ideas I saw the other day (all photos are from marthastewart.com). These treats are perfect for Easter and all through the spring season. Maybe you’ll have a chance to try some of these ideas out this weekend!

From the top, right to left, there are cute Butterfly Cupcakes with pretzel wings, candy-coated chocolate heads, and licorice antennae; Lollipop Cupcakes with mounds of buttercream covered in sprinkles, taffy leaves, and lollipop flowers; Chrysanthemum Cupcakes with beautiful buttercream flowers; Coconut Nest Cupcakes with chocolate egg candies; and Spring Cupcakes decorated with flowers using jellied citrus slices for the petals. And I had to include these bunny-shaped sugar cookies…I thought they looked so cute with the ribbon tied around each bunny’s neck!

If you don’t have time to bake, here are a few fun ways you can package candy…

…make these fun Envelope Bunnies or Jelly Bean Carrots! So cute!

I just had to include this item too…it’s not edible, but it’s definitely eye candy and very pretty…

Delicate flower arrangements in eggshells…really sweet!

Hope these ideas have inspired you! What’s your favorite Easter or springtime treat?

Wrap Up Some Valentine Goodies

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Valentine’s Day will be here very soon…and after baking some Jumbo Chocolate Chippers, I realized they would make great homemade Valentine’s treats! They’re the perfect size cookie for those smaller-size clear plastic treat bags you can find at craft stores or Wal-Mart. Or, if you want to be fancy, you can use special Valentine treat bags. Just fill the bags with some cookies, tie them up with ribbon in different shades of pink and red, and add a gift tag if you want! Who wouldn’t love to get a cute little bag of yummy cookies?

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Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! :)

Linked to Favorite Things Saturday, Sunday Showcase, Sundae Scoop, Potluck Sunday.

UndertheTableandDreaming

Pretty Packaging for Valentine Treats

I found some great ideas for packaging homemade Valentine treats over at Martha Stewart.com…there are 13 different ideas altogether and I thought I’d show you a few of my favorites! The photos I’m posting are all from Martha’s website. Anyone would love getting some sweet treats wrapped up like these for Valentine’s Day!

I love this idea for homemade heart-covered treat wrappers! You can use these for wrapping sweet breads, stacks of cookies, or whatever other goodies you’re wanting to give.

To make the wrapper, just fold a piece of red or pink tissue paper in half three times, forming eight layers; then use a heart-shaped craft punch to cut out hearts (or you could cut the hearts out free-form with scissors if you want to make your own heart shapes). Cover the surface of your ironing board with paper towels and place a sheet of wax paper on top. Then arrange the cut-out tissue hearts on the waxed paper and cover with another sheet of wax paper. Run an iron (set on medium heat) lightly over the layers of paper to set. If you don’t want to use waxed paper, you could purchase some cello wrap, tinted pink or red (or even clear) and use that to wrap up your goodies.

Tie your sweet bundles up with some waxed twine in red or pink, some red raffia, or some pretty ribbon (1/8″ to 1/4″ wide would work) and add a cute little gift tag if you want. You can download some fun Valentine gift tag designs for free at Heather Bullard.com…click HERE to see them! The tags also look great used with treat bags the way Heather has shown them.

Another idea I liked at Martha’s site were her cookie boxes…

You can just buy standard white or brown paper boxes and place your cookies in individual cupcake liners (if you need jumbo liners, you should be able to find plain white ones at your local craft store in the baking supply section; Wal-Mart carries them, too). Tie up the boxes with pretty ribbon, and you’re done!

The last idea I wanted to show was the set of miniature gift bags…

There is a free template on Martha’s site that you can download with the 3 patterns shown above. Just follow the instructions for putting them together and fill them up with candy or other goodies.

Hope this gives you some inspiration for your Valentine’s Day treat-giving!

Debbie’s Honey Pecan Granola

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A friend and co-worker of mine, Denise, gave me a yummy homemade gift this past Christmas season…Honey Pecan Granola. And she included the recipe, too, which I was excited about, because I love this granola! Denise got this wonderful recipe from her daughter’s boyfriend’s mother Debbie. She had given Denise the granola last Christmas and it was so good Denise made three batches this year for Christmas gifts! Hence, I am calling this recipe Debbie’s Honey Pecan Granola, and I’m so glad Debbie made it for Denise so Denise could make it for me! :) I’ll want to carry on that tradition myself next year! But it’s a recipe you’ll also want to make throughout the year for your family and friends because it’s not only really good but it’s healthy, too, sweetened with honey and flaked coconut. It’s great for breakfast with milk or mixed in with yogurt. I like to snack on it just the way it is. Denise told me that others told her it was really good as a topping for vanilla ice cream. So it’s a pretty versatile recipe! Thanks, Debbie and Denise, for sharing this!

DEBBIE’S HONEY PECAN GRANOLA

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 225˚F. Combine oats, coconut, and pecans in large bowl.

Microwave oil, honey, and vanilla in small bowl until honey is like the consistency of water, about 1 minute.

Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and combine well. Spread this onto a 15″ greased sheet pan and bake at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, turning granola every 30 minutes to keep it from over-browning.

Remove from oven and spread onto waxed paper (or parchment paper) to cool.

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What a yummy way to start the day! Do you have a favorite granola recipe?

Linked to Sunday Showcase, Potluck Sunday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday, Show and Tell, Strut Your Stuff, Foodie Friday, Favorite Things Friday, Favorite Things Saturday.