Banana Pudding Poke Cake and Introducing #BlogFilmFood

#BlogFilmFood - A monthly virtual dinner and a movie club for spring and summer | MealPlanningMagic.com Y’all, I have something super fun to let you know about. Starting this month and through the rest of the spring and summer, some blogging friends and I are bringing you a virtual dinner and a movie party! We’re calling it #BlogFilmFood because, well, that’s what it’s all about–blogging, films and food. We’ve gotten to know each other through the Houston Bloggers group or when we met up at Blog Elevated and since then, we’ve been talking about how much fun it would be to meet up for a girls hangout night. But since we’re spread all over and our family’s schedules are cuh-razy, it’s easier said than done. So when Kathy over at Penney Lane Kitchen suggested we host a get together and invite our readers, we were all on board because how much fun is a party when you’ve got LOTS of friends to share it with?

So, that’s what we’re doing. Once a month (the third Friday of the month actually), we’ll choose a movie and then bring you the virtual potluck dishes to go with. We’re taking turns hosting and the hostess will choose a favorite classic film title and we’ll create recipes centered around the film. Hopefully it will inspire you to host an ACTUAL potluck with your own friends! Kathy is our first hostess and she’s chosen Steel Magnolias for our first film. What better way for a bunch of gals from the south to bond over a film and some delicious dishes to go with than this classic film?

And now I’ll introduce you to the fantastic team of bloggers I’ve joined up with to bring you this Spring and Summer Film & Food Blogging series!
Kathy from Penney Lane Kitchen: Celebrating life’s occasions big and small.
Kelley from The Grant Life: Mixing food and family.
Kirsten from Kirsten Oliphant: An eclectic celebration of chaos.
Jessica from Family Fun Journal: Fun ideas and projects for your family and home.
Joanie from Zag Left: Enjoying food, wine, and life. Taking the road less traveled.
Kristi from Mom’s Confession: Family Recipes, Simple Crafts, Organizing Tips
Miranda from Involuntary Housewife: Putting Pinterest to the test one mess at at time.
Brenda from Meal Planning Magic (that’s me!): Self taught meal planner showing ways to eat healthier, get organized and have fun along the way.

#BlogFilmFood - A monthly virtual dinner and a movie club for spring and summer | MealPlanningMagic.com

I chose to make a dessert–because I LOVE desserts and rarely make them! I immediately thought of banana pudding when Kathy suggested Steel Magnolias. Set in modern-day Louisiana, banana pudding and the south just seemed like a natural fit to me! But wanted to make a twist on traditional banana pudding so came up with a banana pudding poke cake. I’ve used boxed cake mix and pudding mix (as you may know, I’m normally a make it mostly from scratch kind of person) but sometimes it’s ok to do a mix! I did make real whipped cream and included fresh bananas so that’s my happy medium. It’s all about Keeping It Real, right? It is delicious if I do say so myself so I hope you’ll give it a try.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake | MealPlanningMagic.com | #blogflimfood

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Yield: 18 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 large box instant vanilla pudding
  • 4 just ripe bananas (no or few brown spots), chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • vanilla wafers for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bake cake per box instructions.
  2. While cake is baking, prepare pudding per box instructions. Divide into equal parts.
  3. Cool cake.
  4. Peel, slice and chop bananas. Set aside.
  5. Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes into cake.
  6. Spread half of pudding onto cake, smoothing it down into the holes.
  7. Mix chopped bananas with remaining pudding and spread over plain pudding layer.
  8. Using a mixer, whip whipped cream on high until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until just mixed in.
  9. Spread whipped cream over top of pudding layer.
  10. Sprinkle crushed vanilla wafers over top of cake.
  11. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  12. Garnish each slice with sliced banana and vanilla wafer if desired.
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Banana Pudding Poke Cake | MealPlanningMagic.com | #blogflimfood

Banana Pudding Poke Cake | MealPlanningMagic.com | #blogflimfood

Be sure to check out everyone else’s recipes on their blogs by clicking the thumbnail photo links below. Enjoy!

Homemade Slowcooker Chocolate Lava Cake

Homemade Slowcooker Chocolate Lava Cake | MealPlanningMagic.com

I’m not sure about you, but Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me. Maybe it’s because we’ve got holiday and January birthdays in our family that just passed. But, if you’re thinking you’d like to make a simple sweet treat for your family this Valentine’s Day, I’ve got just the dessert for you—Homemade Slowcooker Chocolate Lava Cake! And if you ask me, you don’t need a holiday as an excuse to make a chocolaty dessert like this!

Most recipes I’ve found for lava cake call for a box mix but I knew there had to be a way to make Chocolate Lava Cake from scratch. Indeed, there is! I modified my recipe from a few I found online and decreased the amount of sugar. Well, no one missed that extra sugar and my whole family loved it!

I loved that I could throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker in the afternoon and have the ooey, gooey goodness ready for dessert after dinner! So easy, I think it may be dangerous!  We served ours with vanilla ice cream. And while not exactly the same, the leftovers are a fudgy sweet treat when warmed up slightly in the microwave. I hope you’ll give it a try too. If you’re a chocolate lover like me, you won’t be disappointed!

Homemade Slowcooker Lava Cake

Ingredients

    For The Cake
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • For the Fudge Topping
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3 cups boiling water

Instructions

  1. Directions:
  2. For the cake
  3. In a medium to large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Pour in milk, melted butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Spread the batter over the bottom of a 3-4 quart slowcooker.
  4. For the fudge topping
  5. Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle mixture over the cake batter.
  6. Pour the boiling water over the top. DO NOT STIR! Cover and cook on High for 2 - 2 1/2 hours. The edges will be bubbly but the cake will look “set” with the pudding oozing around it.
  7. Cake will be very hot! Turn off heat and carefully remove lid. Let sit, uncovered, 20-30 minutes before serving. You want it warm but not too hot! Serve with ice cream if desired.
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I was in a rush when I was making this and forgot to take pictures of the process but it’s so simple, I know you all can figure it out!
Homemade Slowcooker Chocolate Lava Cake | MealPlanningMagic.com

For more dessert inspiration, be sure to visit my Sweet Tooth Pinterest board, Cakes & Cupcakes board, Chocolate board , Cookies, Bars & Biscotti board or follow them and many more by checking them all out here!

What’s your favorite easy-to-make dessert?

Don’t want to miss any more recipes? Be sure to SIGN UP HERE to receive updates via email or RSS feed (you can choose the reader you prefer!) And don’t forget you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. They all offer a little something different and are a great way to stay in the loop on new recipes, menu plan ideas, giveaways, organizing tips and more!

Golden Oreo and Gingersnap Cookie Balls #oreocookieballs #ad

This a sponsored post and is part of my participation in the Yummly Brand Partners Blogger Program and Oreo. All opinions are my own.

Oreo Cookieballs-words
I had my first Oreo Cookieball a few years ago at a cookie exchange my sister hosted. Her neighbor brought them and after tasting them I said out loud “Who made these delicious truffles?” When her friend claimed ownership I was even more delighted when I found out how EASY they are to make.

You know I do like to bake treats through the holidays (12 Weeks of Christmas Treats anyone?) but sometimes you just need a quick and easy go-to recipe for a holiday treats table. Oreo Cookieballs fit the bill nicely. AND they’re easy enough for kids to help with, too. But be careful, these little bites of goodness make it hard to stop at just one or two.

I was asked to take the classic Oreo Cookieballs recipe and give it a little twist. You know I love the taste of gingerbread and gingersnaps so it was only natural that I wanted to incorporate that flavor combination in the cookieballs. It was easy to do and I think they turned out great! They have just a hint of gingersnap flavor and look so festive on the plate. I served them to my extended family and they enjoyed them, too (they also noted that the gingersnap flavor is just a hint—not too strong, but just right).

Here’s how you can make some of your own:
Golden Oreo and Ginngersnap Cookie Balls #oreocookieballs | MealPlanningMagic.com

Oreo Cookieballs-collage2

Golden Oreo and Gingersnap Cookieballs

Ingredients

  • Golden Oreo and Gingersnap Cookieballs #oreocookieballs #ad
  • Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 36 Golden OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 ½ cups)
  • 12-18 purchased gingersnap cookies, finely crushed and divided (about 1 cup; reserve about ¼ cup for topping)
  • 1 4 oz.package white chocolate chips (I prefer to use the white chocolate melts that you can find at most craft stores. They just melt better!)

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, add Oreo cookies and blend until fine crumbs are formed. You may need to do this in batches. Repeat with the gingersnap cookies.
  2. Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
  3. Shape mixture into 48 (1-inch) balls. (I like to use a mini-scoop for this). Freeze 10 min.
  4. In the meantime, melt white chocolate melts according to package directions. Dip balls in melted white chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.
  5. Working quickly before chocolate hardens, it by sprinkle a pinch of crushed gingersnap crumbs on top for a festive look.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
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Oreo Cookieballs-nowords

Learn more about OREO cookie balls and find fun takes on the classic recipe here. Make sure to follow OREO on Facebook and Twitter (@oreo) for cookie ball inspiration and recipes all season long.

Don’t want to miss new recipe ideas? Be sure to SIGN UP HERE to receive updates via email or RSS feed (you can choose the reader you prefer!) And don’t forget you can always follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. They all offer a little something different and are a great way to stay in the loop on new menu plans, recipe ideas, giveaways, organizing tips and more!

Gingerbread, Lemon and Cream Pushpops

Gingerbread, Lemon & Cream Pushpops | #12weeksxmastreats | MealPlanningMagic.com

I love gingerbread. When paired with lemon and whip cream, I’m in dessert heaven. So when we purchased these cake push pops at the start of summer, I knew I needed to include a recipe for my 12 Weeks of Christmas treats using them and I thought what better than a Gingerbread Lemon and Cream Push Pop treat? All these favorite flavors in one fun treat.

I started by making my gingerbread from scratch. This recipe may look like it has a lot of ingredients but it comes together quickly. So much so that I wonder why I don’t make it more often. For some reason, I’ve always kind of associated gingerbread with the holidays (well there are the gingerbread cookies, but the cake? I think that’s a little more year round). I’ve modified the recipe from the original to include whole wheat flour for a little extra nutrition (just a little). I purchased premade lemon curd because I didn’t have the time or want to purchase so many lemons to make it myself (but you can certainly do that). If you have a lemon tree and need to use up a lot of lemon juice, it’s pretty easy to do. I whipped up the whip cream myself, layered it all and voila! A treat was made. I bought our pushpop molds at Bed Bath & Beyond but I’ve also seen them at craft stores like Michaels. Or you can purchase them online HERE.

These Gingerbread Lemon and Cream push pops would make a fun and delicious addition to any holiday table and presentation. Everyone will think you’re a genius (well, maybe). Do you love gingerbread? I hope you’ll give these a try if so!

Gingerbread, Lemon and Cream Pushpops

Ingredients

    Gingerbread Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Lemon curd (I used purchased)
  • Push Pop Ingredients
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 jar purchased lemon curd

Instructions

    Make Gingerbread:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Set aside.
  2. Pour boiling water over molasses. Stir in baking soda and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the molasses mixture to the butter mixture. Mix thoroughly, but do not over-mix. Some lumps are fine (you may use a whisk if you are overly worried about it) Pour batter into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed.
  3. Cool cake completely.
  4. Make Whip Cream:
  5. Using a stand or hand mixer, whip heavy whipping cream on high and gradually add up to 2 tablespoons sugar. When cream is fluffy and triple in size, you are done.
  6. To Make Push Pops
  7. Using a large table spoon, scoop out about 1 ½ tablespoons worth of gingerbread. You don't need to be exact.
  8. Layer about 1 tablespoon of lemon curd and about two tablespoons of whipped cream.
  9. Repeat until pops are full. Repeat with each pop until you have run out of pops or ingredients (you will likely have leftover gingerbread and whip cream). Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Last year I went to the Austin Farmers Market when we were in the area visiting family. It was around Thanksgiving and the air was cool. I remember getting a cup of hot cocoa with a homemade salted caramel marshmallow in it. I had my choice of marshmallows—they were included at this booth—and I was immediately taken. Oh my! The flavor and texture of these homemade marshmallows was unlike any store-bought version I had ever tried. Light, fluffy, squishy and full of flavor. Yummy!

Ever since then I’ve wanted to try and make my own version. It only took me almost a year to give it a try! Over the summer, I came across the fun Marshmallow Madness book that provided extra inspiration and made it look so easy (it really, is). So with the combination of these two things, I thought these Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows would be a perfect addition to the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.
Let me tell you, these are really quite easy to make and I bet once you try them, you’ll not want to accept anything less. The little bit of caramel swirled in tastes good on its own but is excellent in the hot cocoa too. Either way, I hope you’ll give them a try. They would also make great gifts! Maybe include some hot cocoa mix? A great combo if you ask me!

Here’s the recipe:

This recipe has been adapted from the Marshmallow Madness book.
Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Salted Caramel Marshmallows

Ingredients

  • Salted Caramel
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup cream (I actually used 2% milk and it came out fine!)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Classic Vanilla Marshmallows
  • 4 ½ teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
  • ½ cup cold water
  • The Mallowing
  • 1 batch Classic Vanilla marshmallow batter
  • 1/2 cup Classic Coating, plus more for dusting
  • The Syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup, divided
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • The Mallowing
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Classic Coating plus more for dusting
  • Classic Coating
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Classic Coating: Blend cornstarch and powdered sugar together. You can make a big batch of this and store in an airtight container.
  2. For the Classic Vanilla Marshmallows: Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk together the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl and let it soften for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup, water, and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F (using a candy thermometer to monitor). Meanwhile, pour remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Microwave gelatin on high until completely melted, about 30 seconds. Pour it into the mixer bowl. Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running (a stand mixer makes this easier).
  5. When the syrup reaches 240°F, slowly pour it into the mixer bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the vanilla; the finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and tripled in volume.
  6. Sea Salt Caramel
  7. Stir together the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup comes to a bubble. From this point on, don’t stir the syrup; just occasionally swirl the pan gently. When the caramel reaches a light amber color, remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the cream. The caramel will bubble violently, so be careful.
  8. Whisk in the salt. Transfer the caramel to a medium bowl.
  9. FOR SALTED CARAMEL MARSHMALLOWS
  10. Make a batch of Classic Vanilla batter. Working quickly, scoop about a quarter of the finished batter into the bowl with the caramel. Whisk the mixture together until well blended. Scrape the caramel marshmallow back into the bowl with the vanilla batter and, using a large spatula and a figure-eight motion, fold and swirl the two together. Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners and flatten the top. Sift coating evenly and generously over the top. Let it set for 8 hours in a cool, dry place. (I put mine in my empty off microwave).
  11. Use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut it into pieces and dip the sticky edges in more coating, patting off the excess. After a day or two of storage, these mallows may need to be redusted with coating.
  12. Store in an airtight container or enjoy immediately!
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Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

One of my inspirations for making homemade marshmallows!

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Just simple ingredients is all it takes to whip up a batch of homemade marshmallows.

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Making the mallow.

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Whipping the mallow.

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Making the salted caramel. I made more than the original recipe called for because I wanted a stronger flavor.

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Adding the milk/cream–be careful! It can boil over here and make a big mess!

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com | #12wksxmastreats

Dusting the marshmallows with the classic coating.

Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for all the great ideas too—it’s a great way to keep track of your favorites.

Don’t want to miss a recipe? Then be sure to CLICK HERE so you can subscribe to all the updates. Besides sharing holiday recipes, I also share all kinds of meal planning and kitchen organization ideas. It’s simple and you’ll also receive weekly meal planning inspiration in you inbox!

And be sure to check out the links below for all the bloggers who are sharing their own recipes this week! If you’re a blogger and want to join in the hop, you can find more details and SIGN UP HERE.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com



Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

Double peanut butter chocolate covered cake balls. Need I say more?

If you ask me, peanut butter and chocolate is a match made in heaven. It’s a flavor combination I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. And ever since cake balls have come on the scene, I have enjoyed those tasty little treats. But what I haven’t loved is the fact that most recipes I’ve seen use a boxed cake mix and canned frosting. I wanted something I could make from scratch so when I came across this cookbook at the library a couple of weeks ago, I knew it was perfect for me to get the best of both worlds. And you may ask why it’s called Double Peanut Butter? Because not only is the cake peanut butter cake but the frosting is peanut butter frosting too (super yum!)

And, boy, was it worth the wait! My daughter helped me make these. They are so easy for kids to help with. The actual cake baking was not too bad but she especially liked the crumbling of the cake and the rolling of the balls—even your younger kids can help with those.

Other than the little bit of extra time it takes to make the cake and frosting from scratch, it really is a simple recipe. The only bad news is that they are so tasty, it’s hard to enjoy just one or two at a time! The good news is that they do freeze well which means you can not only make them ahead of time for your holiday treat trays, but maybe if they’re in the freezer, they are out of sight and out of mind and you might forget they are there so you’ll be less likely to indulge in more than you should!

That said, if you are a fan of the peanut butter and chocolate combination too, then these are a must make!

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

Just a few simple ingredients is all it takes to bake the peanut butter cake from scratch.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

The frosting comes together quickly and is ready to combine in the crumbled cake. Using a scoop helps ensure the cake balls are of mostly even size.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

When dipping the cake balls in the chocolate, I used these dipping tools I got a Michael’s a long time ago. They are not necessary but sure are handy! If you don’t have them, two forks will get the job done too.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls recipe | 12 Weeks Christmas Treats Blog Hop | from MealPlanningMagic.com

This is the book from which I got this recipe. There are so many yummy ideas in here…I’m glad I found it!

I hope you’ll give these double peanut butter chocolate covered cake balls a try! If you’re a fan of that flavor combination, you won’t be disappointed!

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Covered Cake Balls {Week 3 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats}

Ingredients

  • Peanut Butter Cake
  • 1 1/3 cups self-rising flour, plus more for the cake pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 ½ tablespoons smooth peanut butter (I used the natural grind-your-own kind)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup milk
  • Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ½ tablespoon smooth peanut butter (I used the natural kind again)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • For Cake Balls Chocolate Coating
  • 1 package chocolate candy melts (these can be found at craft stores)
  • 1 tablespoon shortening (not oil)
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Instructions

    For the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. With butter, lightly great and flour a 10-inch round cake pan or an 8-inch square cake pan.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and peanut butter until combined. Add the sugar and coitnue to cream until pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Starting with the flour mixture, add half of it to the peanut butter mixture, then half the milk and alternate until done. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once baked, leave to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  4. For the frosting:
  5. Cream the butter and peanut butter together. Gradually add the sugar, then continue to cream until light and fluffy. Finally, mix in the milk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before using.
  6. To make the cake balls:
  7. Crumble your cake completely in a large mixing bowl. You can do this by hand as it tends to give a finer crumb, or may use your food processor.
  8. Once you have crumbled the cake as finely as possible, take the frosting, one heaping tablespoon at a time, and begin mixing it in with the crumbs (I used my mixer for this). Keep mixing until you have a fudge-like texture. To test if it’s read, take a little of the mixture in your and squeeze---it shouldn’t crumble and should be pliable. If you add too much frosting, your balls will be soggy.
  9. Using a tablespoon scoop (or spoon), roll into a ball. Place each ball on a tray lined with wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, or until they are firm.
  10. Dipping the cake balls:
  11. Melt the chocolate according to package instructions. You want the chocolate to be a smooth and liquid like. Dip cake balls in melted candy. Gently tap the cake ball over the bowl to remove any excess candy. Place on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. It should take only 1-2 minutes for the chocolate to set.
  12. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months (if they last that long!)

Notes

Recipe adapted from Crazy for Cake Pops

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Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for all the great ideas too—it’s a great way to keep track of your favorites.

Don’t want to miss a recipe? Then be sure to CLICK HERE so you can subscribe to all the updates. Besides sharing holiday recipes, I also share all kinds of meal planning and kitchen organization ideas. It’s simple and you’ll also receive weekly meal planning inspiration in you inbox!

And be sure to check out the links below for all the bloggers who are sharing their own recipes this week! If you’re a blogger and want to join in the hop, you can find more details and SIGN UP HERE.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com



Simple Nectarine and Blueberry Sauce

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

Summer is just flying by for us! So I thought it only fitting I choose a summer fruit to highlight for this month’s Eating the Alphabet series featuring foods that start with the letter M, N or O. I chose nectarines since they are in season right now and they have been SO good. I paired this favorite fruit with another, blueberries, to make a delicious fruit sauce that is a delicious alternative to syrup on pancakes, ice cream or even as a filling in crepes. Actually, the ideas are limitless! And thanks to the nectarine’s natural sweetness, just a teaspoon of sugar is all I added to make this sauce.

We love to serve our sauce over this favorite recipe for whole wheat pancakes from AllRecipes. I love that the sauce offers a lower added sugar option than syrup. We sometimes squirt a bit of real whip cream on top (still lower in sugar gram for gram than the stuff you buy in the syrup aisle as most of it is high fructose corn syrup with coloring added!) We also like the fruit sauce on top of vanilla ice cream or added with vanilla yogurt into a sweet crepe good for breakfast or a healthy dessert.

If you have extra fruit sauce, you can freeze it in silicone muffin cups for individual portions. When you’re ready to use, just thaw the mixture and serve. You can taste summer all year long that way!

Nectarines are low in calories and have a number of health promoting anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins like Vitamin C, potassium, B-complex vitamins and more. I hope you’ll give this sauce a try!

Nectarine and Blueberry Fruit Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 nectarines, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Chop nectarines into about 1/2-inch or smaller chunks. Peeling is optional (I don’t peel the nectarine—we don’t mind it!).
  2. In a small saucepan, add water, cinnamon, brown sugar and nectarines. Stir to combine.
  3. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring often so as to avoid burning. Simmer for about 5 minutes then stir in blueberries until combined. Heat for about 5 more minutes, until berries are warmed through.
  4. Remove from heat and serve over pancakes, ice cream, in crepes or whatever!
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Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

Dice the nectarines into bite-size chunks.

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

Add the nectarines along with cinnamon, sugar and water and bring to a boil to start the sauce making!

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

You can freeze extra sauce in silicone muffin cups to thaw and use later!

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

This fruit sauce is delicious in homemade whole wheat crepes with a little yogurt. A healthy breakfast or dessert!

Nectarine Blueberry Fruit Sauce recipe | EatingAtoZChallenge | MealPlanningMagic.com

This sauce make a delicious fruit topping for vanilla ice cream too.

For all the details about the Eating The Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge, check out my post from earlier this year (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete).

Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter M, N or O?

Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!



No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites Recipe (sweetened with Dates)

eanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites--made using Dates! | #EatA2ZRecipeChallenge #vegan | Meal Planning Magic
Can you believe it’s already the middle of March? That means it’s time for another Eating the Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge! I’m a few days late because I was out of town on vacation for Spring Break. If you’re new here, this blog hop features fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes to help us discover delicious new ways to enjoy these healthy foods. And hopefully make some of them a little more interesting by choosing a different letter each month. For more details on how it all works, see the end of this post (and if you’re a blogger, find out how you can join us!)

A Healthier Natural Sweetener (and Vegan!)

This month I chose dates. I have been seeing all sorts of things on the web about how to use these vitamin and fiber-filled powerhouses as natural sweeteners in tasty treats so I knew I wanted to give them a try. Plus, I needed a reason to use some of that big bag of dates I bought at Costco a few months ago! It seems like there have also been a lot of recipes popping up about how to make homemade energy bars like Clif or Lara bars. I knew I wanted to try something like that but in a bite-size form. So the other day I had a craving for something with peanut butter and chocolate. I couldn’t find a recipe that had just the right combination of ingredients so I came up with my own based on a compilation of some of those I had seen. Did you know that dates are an excellent source of iron and also potassium? They are also rich in lots of minerals like calcium and manganese and many other anti-oxidants. They are also full of fiber!

Delicious Peanut Butter & Chocolate-A Great Combination

These little bites were SO delicious that I could not stop eating them! They kind of reminded me of some I used to make growing up. But what’s great about these is that they are a guilt-free treat because they are all natural and vegan too (for those who follow that diet). The reviews from my family were a little more mixed. My son LOVED them and has had one for a snack nearly every day for a couple of weeks. He thinks he is getting a real treat just like a cookie or brownie but I feel much better giving him one of these! My daughter liked them too but thought the bites were a bit too rich so my second batch was just a one-bite version. My husband didn’t care for them but I realized later it’s probably because he does not like anything fudgy—which these are very similar to. I shared some with my neighbor and she had similar results—she loved them and her family liked them too.

I am so glad to have found this delicious way to enjoy dates and satisfy my sweets craving at the same time in a healthy way. They make up so quickly, I bet you’ll always want to have some of these on hand! And an extra bonus? They are vegan too (for those of you who watch that kind of thing!)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Energy Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup dried dates, chopped
  • 1/2-¾ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½-2/3 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (start with 1/2 cup and add more if it's still too sticky)

Instructions

  1. Place dates and peanut butter in food processor. Cover and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add coconut, cocoa powder and oatmeal until fully blended. The mixture will form a ball and be very sticky. Using a 1-inch scoop, form balls and place on baking sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving. May be kept in refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to three months.
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Just a few simple, natural ingredients is all it takes to whip up these delicious, nutritious sweet bites.

Just a few simple, natural ingredients is all it takes to whip up these delicious, nutritious sweet bites.

Dates and peanut butter ready to be blended!

Dates and peanut butter ready to be blended!

Blend the dates and peanut butter first until a creamy mixture forms.

Blend the dates and peanut butter first until a creamy mixture forms.

After you'veblended the  dates and peanut butter, add the rest of the ingredients. Just a few quick pulses is all it takes!

After you’ve blended the dates and peanut butter, add the rest of the ingredients. Just a few quick pulses is all it takes!

Use a scooper to help make rolling into balls a bit easier.

Use a scooper to help make rolling into balls a bit easier.

All the balls are ready to be chilled then enjoyed!

All the balls are ready to be chilled then enjoyed!

Bloggers, Join the Eating The Alphabet Healthy Recipe Challenge!

For all the details check out my post from earlier this year (or if you are a blogger and want to join in, there is a sign-up form to complete which you can find here).

Don’t forget to check out the Eating the Alphabet Pinterest board. There you can keep track of all the recipes that are added month-to-month but also find new recipes from last year too. What’s your favorite fruit, vegetable, grain or legume that starts with the letter C or D? Be sure to check out all the other blogs shown below to discover new recipes and ideas!

Lemon Honey-Drop Cookies–Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap


Last year, just before Christmas, I stumbled upon a blog that had posted about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I thought it sounded like a fun idea and signed up to receive a reminder about it this year. So in October-ish, I got a reminder email to let me know the 2nd Annual Swap was on again!

The idea is simple: You’re matched up with three other food bloggers for whom you bake a dozen cookies each (that’s three dozen total). Then you mail them out and wait for your three dozen cookies to arrive from three DIFFERENT food bloggers. PLUS when we sign up we make a small donation to Cookies for Kids Cancer to help support pediatric cancer research (this is an organization I’ve written about before and was happy to support!)


My husband had been asking me to try this recipe that he discovered for these Lemon Honey Drop cookies from Myrecipes. It was perfect timing because I had also recently gotten a load of Meyer lemons from a neighbor’s tree. Lemon cookies it would be!
I mailed my cookies to these blog owners: The Way to My Family’s Heart, Sister’s Snacktime: Munchies for Two and Icing on the Cake. Target had these cute containers with the snowmen to/from toppers that were a perfect way for me to contain the cookies (in a mailing envelope too).

My son actually helped me make these and enjoyed juicing the lemons and making the zest. These were a cinch to put together and have some terrific lemon flavor! Plus, they look cute too! If you’re a lemon lover like we are, you must give these a try!

Lemon Honey-Drop Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat first 3 ingredients with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add honey, extract, and egg; beat until well-blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Combine powdered sugar and juice in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Brush powdered sugar mixture evenly over hot cookies. Sprinkle evenly with 2 teaspoons rind. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.
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Frankly, I kind of forgot about the blogger swap after my initial sign-up so imagine my surprise when in November, just before Thanksgiving, a cute little package arrived with some delicious looking cookies. I’m not sure who was more excited—me or my kids. I’m gonna go with them. They were SO curious and wondering why we were getting cookies in the mail! And then couldn’t wait to receive cookies from the rest.

Our first package was some amazing Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies from Cookies And Kiddos. The second dozen were Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies from Not Your Momma’s Cookie. Oh my-delicious! I’m still waiting on my third dozen to arrive. Hopefully our our postal carrier hasn’t gotten wise to the notion of cookies coming in the mail and eat them himself (kidding, of course!)

If you’re a blogger and want to sign up for next year you can go here to submit your information. Many thanks to Julie & Lindsay at Love And Olive Oil for coordinating this swap!

Pecan Tassies

When I was a young girl, I remember my grandmother making these Pecan Tassies and bringing them to our house for Christmas. I also remember that I did not really like them at all! But now I’m a huge fan. Blame it on the 30+ years of living in Texas and my taste for native pecans and there’s not a whole lot that I’ll refuse if it includes pecans. Now I will say I’m still a little bit picky about pecan pie. It can’t have too many pecans nor, have too much of the filling. I like it to have a balance. So I dug out my recipe for grandma’s Tassies and I’m glad I did. (Remember, last week I posted a Peanut Butter Fudge recipe from my grandmother? That was from my grandma on the other side of the family).

These little gems offer just the right balance of pecans to filling to crust. I’d venture to guess that they freeze well although I’m not a great judge since I’ve probably eating half a pecan pie’s worth since I made them! That the downside, they’re just so darn easy to pop into your mouth and enjoy. I’m pretty sure it’s been awhile since my mom and dad have had these so I may just need to make up an extra batch to share with them this Christmas!

Pecan Tassies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: PT25-27M

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 32-40 tassies

Serving Size: 1 tassie

Ingredients

  • Shell:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 6 oz. of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 T melted butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • Dash of salt

Instructions

  1. For crust:
  2. Combine butter and cream cheese until creamy and smooth (original recipe suggested just using spoons but I used my stand mixer). Add flour, ½ cup at a time, blending thoroughly until smooth dough forms.
  3. Pinch off small pieces of dough and shape into balls (I used my small scoop to make this easier). The original recipe said you would get 48 balls. I got about 32 but probably could have gotten 40 if I was a bit more conscious about it. Place balls in mini-muffin cup pan. Shape in pan with fingers to make it into a cup. Or you can use a mini-tart shaper tool like I did.
  4. For filling:
  5. Beat eggs only enough to combine white part with yolk. Add brown sugar. Beat well after each addition. Add melted butter, salt and vanilla.
  6. Sprinkle half of chopped nuts in unbaked cups. Add about a scant tablespoon of the liquid filling over the pecans. Top with remaining nuts. Bake at 350° for 15-17 minutes or until filling is almost set. Reduce heat to 250° and bake an additional 10 minutes longer until firm.
  7. Remove to cooling racks until fully cooled.
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Just a few simple ingredients are all you need to make these tassies.

Add the flour a little at a time.

You can use your fingers to press the dough into the cups. This neat mini-tart shaper tool that I have makes it a bit easier!

Tassie cups waiting–first step to fill–use half the pecans.

This is what it looks like with the pecans on the bottom and the filling but before the final pecan topping.

I used a butter knife to help me pop the tassies out of the pan.

Be sure to check out all the other bloggers who are participating this week in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats blog hop… you’ll have no excuse of “I don’t know what to make!” And if you’re a blogger and want to join in on the fun, check out this post for the form to fill out to start baking along with us!