Tag Archives: sweets

Snacking with Sara

bellawebsarasnackEnjoy your snack time with an all-natural gourmet cookie safe for you and your whole family! Sara Snacker, a milk and cookies company, has just the natural and satisfying treat for you.

The business began as the desire of Sara, a mother of three, to give her kids wholesome but yummy snacks. Sara Snacker Cookie Company bakes with only the freshest, finest and all natural ingredients.

The cookies never contain artificial flavors, colors, additives, or preservatives and are now peanut-free. All of Sara’s products are also certified Kosher and will retain their freshness in the original bag for two months. However, it is recommended that you store the remainder of the cookies in a sealed container once the bag is opened to keep them fresh and crisp.

Sara’s cookies are available in a variety of flavors including vanilla milkshake, lemonade, s’more, ice cream cone and hot chocolate. Also, for those who want to satisfy their sweet and salty cravings simultaneoulsy, there are two flavors made with potato chips and pretzel bits!

Locally, you can find these yummy treats at Kroger. If you cannot find them in a store near you, or you simply want more information, check out the store locator on their website.


Written by Kristi Hall 

Sweet Tooth for a Cure

Pink_Nonpariels_Web13Satisfy your chocolate cravings and support Breast Cancer Awareness Month by purchasing homemade treats from Edward Marc Chocolatier.

The Edward Marc Chocolatier Nonpareils are made with signature Edward Marc Chocolatier chocolate and coated with pink nonpareils in support of breast cancer. When you purchase these one of a kind treats 20% of the sales will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Edward Marc offers several other treats, including personalized chocolate and chocolates just for kids. Go to their website and satisfy your sweet tooth before they are all gone!


Written by Kristi Hall

Back-To-School Foods

It’s back-to-school season and Liz Bushong has some great tips for parents who want to create healthy lunches for their kids.

For example, give your children ownership in the process of making their lunch selections. It will encourage them to eat healthy and teach personal responsibility.

VIP Healthy school lunch- categories-binsBuy six clear storage containers or baskets. Label each container with these categories; Protein, Whole Grain, Veggies, Fruit, Drinks and Snacks. Kids will select one item from each container to pack in their lunch.

For creative after school snacks, try these fun recipes from Liz:

Back- to- School Cupcakes

24 Baked Lemon Cupcakes
Lemon butter cream frosting tinted with Golden Yellow color paste
24 Red M&M’s- for apples
1 cup Royal Icing– separated- 3/4 white 1 /4 tinted leaf green for apple stems
24 White Good & Plenty candies or a tic tack would work too- as the chalk
24 Fudge covered graham cookies- Keebler Delux Grahams –chalkboards- extra for practicing.

Place royal icing in disposable piping bag, fitted with a # 2 tip OR place white butter cream frosting in plastic bag with a tiny clipped corner of the bag for piping. Pipe letters or numbers on graham cookies, covering only the top 2/3 of cookie. (You will be inserting it into the cupcake later and will eliminate the bottom 1/3). Set aside to dry. To make the leaf on the apple-tint 1/4 white royal icing -or butter cream frosting greenchalkboardcupcakes and using a toothpick, top each red M&M with the frosting. Cut a 2 inch slit on top of the frosted cupcake then insert the chalkboard cookie, position the apple and the chalk (Good & Plenty) as pictured in the photo.

Serve these on a chalkboard cake pedestal to add to the back- to- school theme.
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Edible Pencils for Back- to -School

Roll of Rollo® candies  or  Cheddar Cheese Sticks
Golden Yellow, and Pink solid scrapbooking paper- (Candy pencil only)
Wrapped Hersey Kisses for Rolo Candy Pencil or Bugles® for Cheese Stick pencil
Raisins for Cheese Sticks, (point of pencil)
¼ cup peanut or almond butter (Cheese pencil only)
Strips of aluminum foil- folded into ¼ inch pieces. (Candy pencil only)

Measure the length of candy roll to determine the length and width. Cut golden yellow scrapbook paper the diameter and length of the candy roll. Cut pink paper into stripes wide enough and long enough to cover the end of the pencil to resemble an eraser. You can use pinking shears to cut one end of the yellow paper to resemble a sharpened edge. Hot glue or using double sided- tape to attach the golden yellow paper to the roll/stick then tape or glue the pink paper to the end.  candypencilHot glue the kiss as the pencil lead. Using about 1/4 inch of alum foil.  Wrap this foil around the top of the yellow paper as a pencil band. This will cover any paper ends at the top of the pencil. To assemble Cheese Stick Pencil:  Unwrap cheese stick.  Fill Bugle with peanut or almond butter.  Attach Bugle to one end of cheese stick.  Attach raisin to end of Bugle with peanut butter to create pencil lead point.  Serve immediately.


Peanut Butter  & Jelly Bar Cookies
Recipe adapted : Patty Flowers, Midland, Texas

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups peanut butter morsels, divided
1 cup Cherry jam or jelly of choice

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour, soda, baking powder; gradually add to butter mixture, mix well. Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (2)Reserve one cup of dough. Stir one cup peanut butter morsels into remaining dough, press into bottom of 9 x 13 pan. Spread jam evenly over the dough.  Crumble reserved dough over jam, and sprinkle with remaining morsels. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely and cut into bars. Cookies may be frozen.
Yield:  3 dozen- depends on how you cut the bars.

Make a Statement, Make it Sassy and Make it Yours! ®

Liz Bushong is an expert in the three-dimensional art of entertaining. She transforms simple dining occasions into beautiful and memorable moments by adding a touch of her own “sassy” style. She makes elegance easy for her audience and encourages them to add their own Sassy touch to make it unique. Liz is famous for creating her own version of a beautifully presented tablescape – which she calls a Sassyscape ™.

To purchase her cookbooks or find recipes, cooking, and decorating ideas, go to www.lizbushong.com. Like and Share Liz on Facebook, tweet @lizbushong and pin on pinterest.com/lizbushong.




Think outside the chocolate box

The holidays provide a good excuse to bake and eat cookies. Not the traditional chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies that most of us eat during the rest of the year, but those special recipes that have everyone going back for a second taste.

Hosting a cookie exchange is a great way to expose your friends to a wider variety of cookie recipes this holiday season. But before sending out invitations and asking your friends to make their favorite cookie recipe, consider thinking outside the chocolate box for your party this year.

There are tons of ways to make your cookie exchange party unique. Start planning your party right away using a couple of these ideas.

* Make it a themed cookie exchange. Theme parties are fun at any time of year, but take it one step further with your cookie exchange. Invite your guests to follow the theme with the recipes they choose to make. For example, consider hosting a black and white cookie party, explaining to attendees that the cookies must have a black or white element. Coconut, white or dark chocolate candies, nuts and sugar for icing are just several ingredients that fit the bill, and you can find dozens of recipes featuring these items. Or make it a chocolate party, where all of the recipes have a chocolate ingredient in them. Many cookie recipes include nuts, so a nut theme would also be a great idea. In addition to the recipes featuring the theme, also decorate the party room to match. In need of a recipe? The following white chocolate crunch recipe is great for all three themed parties:


Hawaiian Host Whole Macadamia White Chocolate Crunch


1 box, 7 ounces, 18 pieces Hawaiian Host Whole Macadamia White Chocolates
1 cup Rice Krispies
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter


Melt chocolate in a microwave oven in 4 quart casserole at 70 percent power for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring periodically, until melted. Stir in peanut butter. Add corn cereal and marshmallows; stir. Pour into buttered 8-by-8 inch square pan or dish. When firm, cut into squares.

* Up the game on the party favors. The purpose of a cookie exchange is to leave the party with a variety of holiday cookies, but you and your guests can have a lot more fun. Ways to think outside the chocolate box include holding a wine pairing with the cookies. Red wine and chocolate go well together, and your guests can determine which pairing works best for their holiday tables. Or indulge by serving some chocolate martinis alongside the cookies. If your group is into games, make up fun names for the cookie recipes everyone brought, or make a unique recipe just for the party, and have guests guess the ingredients in the mystery cookie.

* Introduce unexpected ingredients into the cookie recipes. One of the holiday season’s most popular confections is Hawaiian Host chocolate-covered macadamia nuts that tempt frequent snacking all season long. But chopping up these chocolate-covered nuts and putting them into a cookie recipe will introduce a new surprise to all your guests. Try them in the following butter cookie recipe:


Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate AlohaMac Butter Cookies


14 pieces Hawaiian Host Milk Chocolate AlohaMacs, chop into pieces
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, granulated
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix butter and sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat, then add vanilla extract. Mix flour, salt and soda, and add gradually to butter mixture. Fold in chocolate pieces. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8 – 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until light brown. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Hosting a cookie exchange is a lot of fun, and when you think outside the chocolate box, you can take the fun to a whole new level. So start planning your party, find some unique cookie recipes and get started with your holiday baking. For more recipes or to order chocolate-covered macadamia nuts online visit www.hawaiianhost.com.



Homemade Alternatives to Halloween Candy

Processed, sugar-packed candies are collected door-to-door every year at Halloween. This year, try a different angle with homemade sweet treats that parents can make with their kids for Halloween.

Chef Claire Menck from The Art Institute of Wisconsin loves making ghostly “gorp” wrapped in white parchment paper with her two children.

“Gorp is basically granola mixed with your child’s favorite treats like chocolate candies, peanut butter chips, pretzels, gummy bears, etc.,” she says. To make the granola, take oatmeal and toss with your choice of spices, honey and oil. Lay oatmeal on a sheet tray and toast on the lowest heat possible (usually 150 or 200 F). You can add sugar to the granola, but be careful to not add too much sugar as it can make it hard. Parents can also choose to substitute the sugar with agave or maple syrup. Mix the granola with the tasty treats. Take white parchment paper and draw two eyes. Place a scoop of the gorp into the opposite side of the paper and tie up top for spooky gorp.

Another of Chef Menck’s favorite treats is dried fruit roll-ups wrapped to look like candy. She recommends using local, seasonal fruit. “We always go apple-picking in the fall and come back with more than we need; and so we create dried apple treats.” Cut and peel the apples or your choice of fruit beforehand in half-inch slices. Then mix the slices with spices of your choosing such as cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, etc.

“Make it a tactile experience for your kids and allow them to mix all the ingredients together, maybe even with their hands,” she says. Lay the apples on an oiled cookie sheet, turn your oven on to the lowest setting and slow bake until dehydrated (about 45 to 90 minutes, depending on preference). Take colorful tissue paper or Halloween-themed paper and place under parchment paper. Once the fruit is dehydrated, place a small amount of the fruit on a 4-by-4-inch parchment paper. Then roll and twist the ends to look like a candy wrapper and tie the ends. You can also use dehydrated berries like cranberries for the fruit roll-up candy.

“Chocolate! Can’t have Halloween without the chocolate, chocolate spiders with pretzel legs that is,” says Chef Amy Carter, baking and pastry instructor at The Art Institutes International Minnesota. Begin by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray. Melt chocolate chips of your choosing in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl, and stir every so often to make sure chocolate melts evenly. Add rice cereal or bran twigs, or your favorite crunchy grain and then add to the melted chocolate. Stir the mixture until well combined. Take half of a palm-size of the mixture and place on the baking sheet. Add stick pretzels for legs. Add two marshmallows or white chocolate chips for eyes.

“For a creepier spin on your Halloween treats, I recommend truffle eyeballs to liven up a kids’ party,” Chef Carter says. All you need is 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Heat the cream, pour over the chocolate, and whisk in the butter until nice and smooth. Pour the mixture in a pan and chill for 2 hours, or -overnight – just long enough to firm it. You can flavor with anything like vanilla, peanut butter or fruit puree. Then take an ice cream scoop or have the kids help by rolling the mixture into small balls with their hands and then roll the balls in powdered sugar. Top off with a chocolate candy and then take red, edible writing gel to make squiggly lines.

These creative, make-it-at-home-tips are just some fun ideas you can create with your kids as a Halloween project, and then tackle carving the pumpkin.