Valentine’s Day Mocktail

Post by Rebecca of Not-So-SAHM Valentine's Day MocktailI know that lots of people out there are over Valentine’s Day, and I get that we don’t need a holiday to tell people we love them. But I love to take a little extra time on this holiday to show my kiddos just how special we think they are. It can’t hurt, right?! And nothing says celebration more to my loves than a kiddie Valentine’s Day mocktail — they think instant party! So I came up with an easy, not too sweet, Valentine’s Heart Mocktail. It technically even has fruit in it (and those pretty pomegranate seeds rise up and down with the bubbles, making for an even more fun treat).

Valentine’s Day Mocktail

Ingredients:

  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • Heart-shaped ice cube tray
  • Sparkling apple juice
  • Pink sparkling sugar**

 Directions:

  1. Place pomegranate seeds in ice cube tray; fill with water and freeze overnight.
  2. Wet rim of glass and roll in pink sparkling sugar.
  3. Fill glass with pomegranate heart ice cubes.
  4. Pour sparkling apple juice over the top. Spread the love!
  5. **To make pink sparkling sugar, mix 1/4 cup sugar and a few drops of food coloring together. spread onto baking sheet and bake in a 180 F oven for 5-10 minutes.

Valentine's Day Mocktail 2Valentine's Day Mocktail 3Valentine's Day Mocktail 4

Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. A relatively recent SAHM, she blogs family-friendly activities, DIYs and celebration fun at Not-So-SAHM.

Gingerbread Cake Recipe & Toffee Sauce

Post by Jeran of Oleander & Palm Gingerbread Cake RecipeIt’s still the season for treats and entertaining at our home. This Gingerbread Cake recipe with Toffee Sauce is a favorite of ours and now baked and served in canning jars it’s an extra special treat.  It’s the perfect ready to serve dessert to have on hand.  We spent a couple days with my family in San Francisco before coming up to my parents house. I packed up a few of these jars and you better believe we enjoyed dessert in our hotel room after walking the streets of the city. I’m sure I’ll be taking these cakes on our next camping trip as well.  It’s packable dessert! Gingerbread Cake Recipe 2I baked the cake in wide mouth canning jars and immediately sealed the cakes with their lids. Because the cake and jars are so hot, the lids seal and help preserve the cakes for a little longer.  I kept mine for a week before serving them and they tasted fresh out of the oven.Gingerbread Cake Recipe 3Gingerbread Cake Recipe 4Gingerbread Cake Recipe

(I adapted this recipe from Company’s Coming Desserts Cookbook)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 tsp. each cinnamon, allspice,  and ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp. baking soda

Gingerbread Directions

  1. Mix the first 10 ingredients with a electric mixer.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the other ingredients.  Mix until well blended.
  3. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan or about 15 greased wide mouth canning jars
  4. Bake at 350F for 35-40 mins (about 10 mins less for the jars). Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Gingerbread Cake Recipe 5Toffee Sauce

(This is a recipe that we make often with Sticky Date Pudding)

  • 1 3/4 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Toffee Sauce Directions

  1.  Bring ingredients for the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 5 mins. ntil the sauce thickens.

Gingerbread Cake Toffee Sauce 6 Gingerbread Cake Recipe with Toffee Sauce Gingerbread Cake Recipe with Toffee Sauce 2Note, the cute Piney Fresh Garland in the images above is of course from The Land of Nod (and it’s on sale now).

A former elementary school teacher, Jeran has added her unique voice to the modern maker culture through her blog Oleander and Palm. She loves helping people find attainable beauty in the lives they live. Her creativity and industriousness were honed through years of living in third world countries, that challenged her to find novel solutions for creating livable spaces. Now a mother of three, settled in sunny California, her skills and styles are evolving in exciting new ways. Her focus is Simple California Living, designing and making livable spaces that incorporate vintage finds, handmade/DIY pieces and global inspiration.

Play With Your Food – Christmas Tree Food Art

Post by Selena of How About Cookie

Play With Your Food - Christmas Tree Food ArtThe holidays are magical; the dreary weather, not so much. It’s been overcast for several days here, and keeping my kids entertained is no easy feat. When I laid eyes on this adorable plush Christmas tree, though, I had a light bulb moment. Sometimes a fun snack inspired by your kids’ toys is all it takes to make the day a little merrier and brighter.

For this fun food art plate, you’ll need:

  1. honeydew
  2. two banana slices
  3. two blueberries
  4. fruit leather

First, cut three thick wedges of honeydew of different lengths; the smallest wedge should be a triangle to be the treetop. Feel free to leave the skin on: it makes munching on them later a lot easier! Use the rim of a large mug to smooth and shape the top of each wedge so that they stack snugly in the shape of a Christmas tree.

land of nod christmas tree step 1Next, cut two slices of banana and lay them on the bottom wedge. Take the two biggest blueberries of the bunch and place them on top of the banana slices for the eyes.

land of nod christmas three step 2Cut a couple inches of fruit leather and place just under the bottom of the tree. For the mouth, use a measuring tablespoon to cut a semicircle from the remaining fruit leather. Use kitchen scissors to cut a thin smile, using the curve of the semicircle as a guide.

land of nod christmas tree placematAnd you’re done! Have fun guessing with your kids what the tree is looking at, or maybe Plush Christmas Tree and Honeydew Christmas Tree might fancy a friendly conversation. My three-year-old called them “mommy and baby twees” saying “what do you wanna eat” to each other. They keep it real!

land of nod christmas tree step 3Keep those adorable googly-eyed toys coming, Land of Nod!

Take a peek at Selena’s food art on her blog, How About Cookie, and follow her creations, crafts, and—once in a while—actual cooking on Instagram.

DIY Holiday Syrups

Post by Rae Ann of Rae Ann Kelly.com DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade SyrupsWith the holiday season in full swing, we’ve been indulging in everything warm and cozy. Snuggly blankets, homemade soup and flavored steamers to name a few. Below are recipes for three of our favorite syrups to get you feeling warm and festive! Simply add a tablespoon or two to warmed milk or coffee for a yummy treat. To make it extra special top with whip cream and sprinkles, cinnamon or shimmer sugar. As a fun bonus, I’ve included cute drink syrup labels so you can package them up and give to friends!

DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade Syrups 2Recipes & how-to’s are below.

White Chocolate Syrup – also delicious as a topping on ice cream and other desserts.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

Here’s How:

  1. Stirring occasionally, heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot add white chocolate. Remove from heat and stir until chocolate has melted. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Allow syrup to cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Cinnamon Dolce Syrup 

You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Here’s How:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisking frequently, heat through until sugar has dissolved (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat.
  2. Allow syrup to cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several months. Stir before using!

Vanilla Syrup

You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped (optional, but delicious)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Here’s How:

  1. Combine sugar, water, vanilla seeds and pod in a small saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring frequently until sugar has dissolved. Let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Discard vanilla bean pod. Remove seeds using a strainer if desired.
  2. Allow syrup to cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several months. Stir before using!

Print out the drink syrup labels, cut & add to mason jars for an easy gift! Hope you indulge, enjoy and share!

DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade Syrups 3DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade Syrups 5DIY Holiday Gift: Homemade Syrups 6{Images by Stacy Jacobsen}

Rae Ann blogs at Rae Ann Kelly and is a kid wrangler, graphic designer, food & craft nut. Her blog features little tidbits about her day to day life & design projects, tutorials for DIY’s, free downloads, yummy recipes, lots of kid friendly ideas and outfit inspiration.