Pool Party Fish Cake Recipe (Great for Father’s Day too!)

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UPDATE: This would be such a fun Father’s Day cake as well, for the fishing dad!

To celebrate summer break – the kids and I made this fun Pool Party Fish Cake and invited the neighborhood kids over for cake and water games!  Check out our post on 15 water games HERE!

It turned out super cute – and would be appropriate for any pool party, summertime soiree or even Father’s Day for the fishing dad.  Here’s how to make your own Pool Party Fish Cake.

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Mother’s Day Dessert Ideas

mother's day dessert ideas Over the years we’ve posted some of our favorite dessert recipes. While my family generally eats healthy, Mother’s Day is a cheat day ALL DAY LONG! I wanted to make my very favorite dessert, but am having a hard time deciding which one to make. In case you were looking for some Mother’s Day dessert inspiration, I thought I’d share these recipes with you. [Read more...]

Easy Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

easy-kentucky-derby-pie-recipe

Easy Kentucky Derby Pie Recipe

Jamie here! Might I suggest this delicious pie for your Easter table??

Kentucky Derby Pie is a beautiful beast of a pie.  Simply put, it’s pecan pie with chocolate chips. But that is not what your mouth will tell you. Your mouth will tell you “OHMYGAH- thank you for this chocolatey, nutty, gooey, flaky, beast!”  It’s just so darn good your mouth will probably need another piece or two to do it justice.  You’d best bake a double batch…. (I do!)

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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.

 

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 Minecraft Cake & Creeper Cupcakes

Easy Minecraft Cake & Creeper Cupcakes

(Seriously – the easiest ever)

Hi guys,  Jamie here!  It’s Birthday Eve for my nearly 10 year old, and I’m getting ready to bake my second Minecraft cake in as many years.   I’m scrolling through images online of Marzipan Steves and meticulously placed fondant pixels – and feeling a little worried this time around.  See, last year I was able to get away with the easiest, most cheater cake in the history of cheater cakes.  This year – I’ll have to do something different, new and not  completely dependent on Hershey bars….

But if you’re looking for an incredibly easy Minecraft Cake, I hope this helps you!

{Please excuse the terrible pictures – I would tell you the long sad tale of how I lost two years of photos except for what’s on my Instagram account – but that is a story no one wants to hear (not even me).}

To make a Minecraft cake that looks like a Creeper – just bake a rectangular cake according to the directions.  Then dye a can of icing green and spread it across the cake.  And lastly, use a few Hershey Bars to create the Creeper’s face.

There’s not really an exact science to this – but I will say it helped to plan my chocolate face out on paper before I started breaking it into sections.  Those Creeper jowels can be a little tricky ;)

minecraft-cupcakes

 

For the Creeper Cupcakes, we thought we were fancy for a quick minute and bought a box of black fondant.  FAIL.

It was difficult to work with, sticky, tasted terrible – and didn’t look half as good as a perfectly delicious Hershey bar would’ve.  So my advice – stick with Hershey – he won’t do you wrong.

The good news is, that both of these are easy enough for your child to help you decorate.  My son was thrilled to be able to decorate the cupcakes for his class all by himself – I’m sure he was proud to tell them all that he’d made the faces :)

 

Check out more Dessert Recipes!

14 Easter Dessert Ideas

Easter Dessert Ideas
Need some new Easter Dessert Ideas?  This roundup of Easter dessert recipes has a little something for everyone – from the cutesy to the classic.
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The kids will love the Oreo Cheesecake bites and Easter Basket cupckaes – while the grown ups might prefer a Derby or Buttermilk Pie, or a classic Coconut Cake.
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 I’m particularly fond of the cakes, pies, cobblers and lemon bars that I remember from my own childhood and have been passed along through generations.
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derbypie
buttermilkpie2

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