How to Make S’mores (A Girl Scout’s Guide)

how to make smores

How to Make S’Mores

S’mores are part of summer in my mind – starry nights, campfire light, marshmallow-ey bites….  They just go together!

If you’ve never made S’mores, it’s a fun way to pass the time around the campfire with your kid – but there’s also an art to it, in my opinion.  As a long time Girl Scout and former camp counselor – I would like to offer my S’mores expertise for any newbies out there looking to go create some memories this summer!

What you need:

  • Graham crackers
  • Jumbo marshmallows
  • Hershey’s chocolate *I’ve tried cheaper, generic chocolate and it’s NOT the same….  Stick with the Hershey’s- trust me on this one.

How to Make S’Mores:

  1. Toast a marshmallow over the fire until golden brown – although if you burn it that’s just fine too.  The main thing you want it to be is HOT – so it can melt chocolate!
  2. With the marshmallow still on the roasting stick, break a graham cracker in half.    Hold one cracker on either side of the marshmallow and use them to slide the mallow off the roasting stick.  That way you don’t get sticky OR burn yourself.  You’re welcome!
  3. Lift up the top cracker and add chocolate
  4. Squeeze your grahams gently together to melt your chocolate against the hot marshmallow.  Hold for about 15 seconds. (The more – the meltier!)  Bite.  Bite.  Bite.  Bite.  You just made a memory.
  5. Repeat steps 1, 2, 3, 4.  :)

The BEST chocolate ratio for a S’More is:  2 Graham Cracker Halves + 1 Hot Marshmallow + 3  Hershey’s Chocolate Rectangles

*If you’re short on chocolate – 2 Rectangles is acceptable.  There are 12 per Hershey Bar.

If you don’t have a roasting stick on hand -you can make a S’more roaster.

Nature’s Roaster: Use a pocket-knife to scrape the bark off the end of a long stick and point the tip a little (You’ll want to clean about a 5″ length).  Some people put the mallow right on the stick – but that means you’ll be eating bits of bark, moss, or poison ivy residue – no thnaks! As good as S’mores are – they’re not good enough to risk whatever you didn’t see on your stick in the dark entering your mouth.  (Ewwww!)

Closet Roaster: Your other option is a coat hanger.  Bend it straight, then hold it over the fire to burn all the varnish off the end.  That stuff is probably poisonous or something.   Best to take no chances.

skillet smores smores-party-mix

Of course, if you’re short on campfire opportunities - you can make Skillet Smores with delicious results.  Or whip up this yummy S’Mores Party Mix for a sleepover or party!

 

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

cake-mix-oatmeal-cookies

I was rooting around in my pantry, looking for something yummy to make the boys  for their 3-day weekend and I came up with these Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies.  Guys, these are honest-to-goodness SCRUMP-TIOUS.  My 13 year old promptly pronounced them his favorite cookie EVER.  Using a cake mix makes them super so easy too!

UPDATE: I’ve altered this recipe just a teensy bit to include 2 1/2 cups of oatmeal instead of just 2 because I believe I was a little heavy handed in the oats department the first go around ;)  And after trial and error – make sure to use the regular oats to get chubby cookies, and the quick oats if you don’t mind them flat :)

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I’ve make this previous cake mix cookie bars recipe plenty of times and was excited to to see how the extra oatmeal texture would work out – I feel like it adds major bonus points to the cookie!  Some people like thin crispy oatmeal cookies – and there’s something to be said for a crispy cookie….  But these aren’t it.  I like my oatmeal cookies LUMPY.  These are soft and lumpy and crispy and chewy all at the same time – PERFECT.

cookiecloseup

Gather the following – and cut yourself some slack if you don’t have the yellow cake mix – really, any vanilla-ish flavored cake mix will work about the same in this recipe.

  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 1/2 Cups Regular Oats (I don’t think Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup Oil + 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Get your oven preheating to **350** and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray (I love-love-love the kind with flour in it – I use Pam baking spray and it even smells like vanilla!)

Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, oil and water and vanilla together and add to the dry ingredients.  Stir in about a cup of chocolate chips.  I used Semi-Sweet knowing that this was likely going to turn out pretty sweet already (Cake Mix + Sugar = Plenty of Sugar!) and I was 100% right on that score -the semi sweet chocolate was the PERFECT contrast.

Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen medium cookies, but if you made them smaller they’d make about 4 1/2 dozen.

Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

These cake mix oatmeal cookies are just a mouthful of love when you add a glass of milk – my kids have been giving me adoring glances all weekend because of them. :)

Cake Mix Oatmeal Cookies Recipe
Dessert
Cuisine: casual
3-4 Dozen
 
This cake mix oatmeal cookies recipes makes cookies that are lumpy, chunky, and chocolate-chippy - plus a cake mix really makes things come together in a seconds!
Ingredients
  • Box of Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Cups Oats (Quick-Cooking work as well)
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ¾ Cup Oil + ¼ Cup Water
  • 1½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray down a couple cookie sheets with baking spray
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and water together.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour in the vanilla extract and about a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
  6. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop onto the baking sheet in rounded spoon-fulls.
  7. Cook for 12 minutes - or until the edges are golden brown.

 

DIY Brown Sugar Face & Body Scrubs

diy sugar scrubs

Spring is upon us and it’s time to scrub the dry, flaky patches of wintertime skin away for good – with a DIY Sugar Scrub!  I rarely splurge on body scrubs, because my FAVORITE way to exfoliate is already sitting in my kitchen cabinet.   Today I’ll tell you a few recipes for sugar scrubs that really work – and take very little effort to make or use.

Also check out this Face & Lip Scrub & Homemade Brown Sugar Scrub with Coffee Grounds & Essential Oils.

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Cheater’s Peanut Butter Fudge Icing

peanut butter fudge icing

Cheater’s Peanut Butter Fudge Icing

Jamie here! I’m going to let you in on a little secret….  although I LOVE to make crazy birthday cakes, and pull out my Wilton toolbox to decorate them with homemade buttercream icing (recipe in this post) that I’ve whipped into a rainbow of colors – I definitely will take a shortcut when I’m not in the mood.

I’m not in the mood a lot of the time, actually…

But just because I don’t feel like making homemade icing every time, doesn’t mean I don’t add my special mom touch to the store-bought can.  One of my kids favorite cupcake toppers is what we call “Peanut Butter Fudge Icing”.  I LOOOOVE peanut butter fudge – I could eat a whole pan in an evening and tell myself I was just protein-loading, for all that bodybuilding I do. (hehe)

Here’s how to bring the fattening joy of peanut-butter fudge to the already-fattening joy of a cupcake:

Take a can of vanilla icing and mix in 4-6 BIG tablespoons of peanut butter (you’ll just have to taste as you go here, to see when it gets to your desired peanut-butteriness) – VOILA!  Peanut butter fudge icing!

I think it tastes extra “fudgey” if you use the chunky peanut butter – it’s a little drier and thicker that way.

P B & J Icing?

Another cool take on this would be to make PB&J Icing.  I haven’t tried this, but I bet if you iced your cupcakes with peanut butter fudge icing, and then put a small plop of jelly in the middle, and then swirled it into the icing with the tip of a knife or toothpick – you’d end up with a cool treat!

Or Strawberry cupcakes with peanut butter icing?  So many fun possibilities!

peanut-butter-no-bake-cookies-recipe

If you’re a peanut butter fudge fanatic – you will most DEFINITELY want to hop on over to check out my favorite Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies Recipe as well!

peanutbutterbrowniecookies

 

And don’t miss these Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies for that chocolate + peanut Butter combo goodness!

*EASY* White Chicken Chili Recipe

white-chicken-chili-recipe

Cool or rainy days are perfect opportunities to make this EASY White Chicken Chili Recipe.  If you’re looking for a good and healthy dinner option –  here it is!  It’s nothing fancy or difficult (which is why I love it) – but it does require a McCormick White Chicken Chili seasoning packet.    This is one of my Top 10 Favorite recipes because it’s cheap, easy, filling, and the whole family loves it.

NOTE: Chicken can be substituted with ground turkey for another healthy option. See the pic above!

White Chicken Chili:

  • McCormick White Chicken Chili Packet
  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 Cup Water
  • Can of Great Northern Beans
  • Can of Corn, drained (Optional)
  • Can of Ro-tel or salsa(Optional)
  • Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, cilantro, other fancy stuff
  • Water Note: If you add the rotel/salsa, you won’t need a full cup of water – because of the extra liquid.  Just start with a 1/2 cup!

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in BIG skillet just until no longer pink.  (Make sure you start with a BIG skillet, because this meal is really going to get a lot larger)  Stir in seasoning packet, water and beans.   If you want to add the rotel and corn option, now’s the time to do that too!

Bring to a boil, then cover.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally – let it thicken up the way you want it.

Total Cooking Time: About 15 – 20 Minutes.  Serves 4, or 6 if you add in the extra ingredients.

BIG FAMILY OPTION:

My family of 6 eats this stuff like it’s going out of style.  Adjustments I make to it go further:  I use (2) cans of beans, 1 1/2 packets of seasoning and a little more chicken.  I also serve ours with tortillas and shredded cheese and other taco fixings, to help fill everyone up even more. Keep in mind that you’ll need even LESS liquid if you plan to spoon onto tortillas.

If I serve this in a bowl, like traditional chili, I make sure to buy Ritz crackers, as they add some nice sweetness to an otherwise spicy dish.

My husband likes it as leftovers with tortilla chips while he watches football – so you might just want to make enough to have extras for the weekend!

Do you have a White Chicken Chili recipe you like?  Please share it with us in the comments!

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

 

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Jamie here! I really, really love barbecue and if given the choice – would eat it a couple times a week.  But my husband is not a big fan, so I don’t make it very often.  However today he ate a big lunch out, and that means he won’t want any dinner, and therefore friends – it’s Barbecue Night!

The kids and I have a really hectic day ahead of us – so this is going to be a perfect night for my crockpot barbecue chicken – this slow cooker recipe is easy and delicious!

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need!

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Bottle of BBQ Sauce (I've got KC Masterpiece here, since it was in my stockpile)
  • 1/2 cup Coke, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper (or a generic brand is fine)
  • 1 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes

Instructions

  1. Put the chicken breasts in the crockpot for 4-6 hours on Low. Shred about an hour before it's finished and put it back in. Sooooo good!
http://www.time2saveworkshops.com/crockpot-barbecue-chicken-recipe/

Normally I add vinegar and some brown sugar when I cook BBQ in the crockpot – but when I got out my bottle of vinegar it looked like this:

And that’s when I noticed it had expired in Feb. of 2012  (It’s now October).  Since Vinegar’s job is to break down the meat and make it more tender and easier to shred – I went for the next best meat-breaker-downer – Coke.  Actually – nix that – I didn’t have Coke either.  Pepsi will do in a pinch, although it’s less acidic and therefor a little less effective for our purposes.

And since Pepsi is full of sugar – we can leave out the brown sugar as well!  We killed two birds with one stone there!

So put the chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot and turn it on low.  Pour in 1/2 cup soda, 1 bottle of sauce*, then sprinkle the red pepper and onion on top.  Let cook for about 4-6 hours on Low.  Near the end, shred the chicken and return it to the crockpot until it’s finished.
*If you don’t like your BBQ very saucy, only put in half the bottle of sauce and reserve the rest for the end so you can eyeball it to perfection.

Now – when I run in the door tonight at 5 and have to turn around and leave again at 5:30 – all we’ll do is spoon BBQ Chicken onto our buns right out of the crockpot with a side of quickly microwaved corn and baked beans and voila!  Dinner is served!  Check out that yummy, saucy chicken….

Ravioli Lasagna Recipe

raviolilasagnarecipe

Jamie here!!  I love baked pasta in all it’s many forms – be it the super versatile Meat Lover’s 3-Cheese Baked Rigatoni or our much loved Freezer Lasagna Recipe – you can’t go a week in this house without having pasta (and Mexican) for supper!

This Ravioli Lasagna bake is the same concept as any other baked pasta that I make – with one exception – MORE CHEESE!  Guys- there is cheese within cheese within cheese here.  Not to mention you really oughtta serve it with parmesan cheese just for good measure.

We have a high school girls’ retreat coming up at church and I want to make stuff the girls will really like.  Since I know how much they *heart* cheese and carbs, and are picky about certain veggies, etc…  I figured this would go over well ;)

Here are the basic steps to layer up your ravioli lasagna – note that MORE cheese can be added in any of these steps – this is just to give you an idea how I did it.

raviolisteps
Ravioli Lasagna Recipe Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Pour a layer of sauce in the bottom of the dish
  3. Lay out frozen ravioli side by side in sauce
  4. Cover ravioli with sauce (You see, the sauce on both sides makes sure the ravioli does it’s boiling in the oven)
  5. Sprinkle Mozzarella Cheese on top
  6. Lay out ravioli side by side again (Photo 1)
  7. Cover with sauce (Photo 2)
  8. Plop on several dollops of ricotta cheese (Photo 3)
  9. Finish with another layer of mozarella (Photo 4)
  10. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes

I used up about a jar and a half of sauce for this when I cooked it on Monday – and put the extra half a jar of sauce and half a container of ricotta back in the fridge for Friday – when we made it again for our Meatless meal.  Noone complained – they boys said they could eat this every day!

Regarding ravioli stacking…. I had an extra large 10″ x 15″ Pyrex dish (It is my FAVORITE baking dish for our large family) – so I was able to make 2 layers of 24 ravioli.  If you have a smaller dish, you’ll probably want to do 3 layers since less will fit in the dish.

Apple Cinnamon Freezer Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Freezer Pancakes Recipe

Jamie here!  With the weather going through cold spells every few days here in Tennessee, I thought it was a good time to remind you that pancakes are a great way to use up those apples and bananas that are starting to go soft!  You can make a big batch and freeze them for easy school morning breakfasts :)

I may have mentioned before to you that I am not a morning person.  My kids know this – and yet they still suffer under delusions that I might get a wild hair one morning, hop out of bed early and whip up a batch of pancakes before they leave for school.  The poor dears.

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