Ghost Meringues

Happy Tuesday! Life has been beyond what most people call “busy” for my family lately. Endless sports, pre-game dinners, a string of family birthdays, homecoming events, working part time (while job hunting), and daily happenings have left no room for my favorite activity: writing. 😦 I’ve missed posting about all the mind-boggling feelings that accompany my teens driving, first dates, and oh, the drama friendships… so much has occurred in the first month of the school year, my head is spinning and I want off the ride! Somehow sharing on this small blog space makes me feel better. I hope to post again sometime soon.

In the meantime, here is an early idea for a Halloween treat. I make a similar meringue for Christmas that my family devours in a day (although it’s a bit different and perhaps I’ll post it over the holidays), but this one is straight from Food Network, courtesy of Sandra Lee.

Ghastly Meringues

3 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until frothy. Beat in the sugar; increase the mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe 8 to 10 swirls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until dry, 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let cool completely.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave on 50 percent power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway. Transfer the melted chocolate to a zip-top bag and snip a corner. Pipe the chocolate on the meringues to look like eyes.

Only makes 8-10, so double the recipe if you need more. Reviews for this recipe found HERE.

Homemade Pancakes

PancakesThis is my go-to recipe when my kids have friends sleep over, and I’ve made these pancakes on several school mornings as well! I also use store-bought box mix, but when I serve these homemade pancakes, my family always knows instantly! They love them!

I make this recipe the night before and simply give the mixture a stir the next morning before cooking. This recipe keeps nicely in a sealed-tight container for a few days, if you want to double the ingredients for more than one batch.

My kids tend to make these “breakfast” pancakes more like “dessert” with all the chocolate chips they add, but they are still optional! I have also added a teaspoon of vanilla on occasion, just for something different.

Homemade Pancakes

2 cups flour

¼ cup sugar

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup melted butter

Mini chocolate chips (optional)

Mix eggs, buttermilk and butter together. Whisk in all other ingredients. Mix can be slightly lumpy.  Add a little more buttermilk or flour to reach desired pancake consistency/fluffiness for your family’s preference. Cook on griddle with non-stick spray and enjoy!Minichips

4 Fast Treats!

Usually, when I need a quick dessert or treat, I’m most likely to forget the easy ideas. If the kids tell me at the last minute that they need something yummy that evening for friends, my mind wanders to complex treats that I don’t have time to make. Here are a few simple ones that I’ve recently reminded myself about… rolls1. Chocolate Dessert Rolls

1 can crescent rolls and Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Open can of rolls and pull apart dough at perforations.  Place a small handful of chocolate chips in the middle of your dough pieces and roll dough (with chocolate chips at the center) into any fun shape of your choice. Bake for 12 minutes.

Graham2. Chocolate Covered Anything

Chocolate wafers (any color – think of school colors for kids events)

Pretzel Rods        Strawberries         Oreos           Graham Crackers

My go-to items to cover in chocolate? Pretzel rods, strawberries, graham crackers and Oreos. Lay out waxed paper on counter. Melt chocolate wafers in 30 second increments until smooth. Dip items and place on waxed paper. While wet, if desired add sprinkles to pretzel rods. After strawberries, grahams, and Oreos are dry, add icing to decorate.

flavored marshmallows

3. Fruit Kabobs with Marshmallows

Skewers

Assorted cut strawberries, grapes, bananas, blueberries, etc.

Plain white, decorative shaped, or flavored marshmallows

Alternate adding fruit and marshmallows onto skewers.

kiss4. Indoor Smores with Hershey Kisses

Graham Crackers, broken into squares

Large Marshmallows

Hershey kisses

Preheat oven to 350. Cut marshmallows in half across center. Lay one marshmallow on each graham cracker square on ungreased cookie sheet. Place a cookie sheet full of prepared grahams with marshmallows in the oven until the tops of the marshmallows are light brown. Take out of the oven, push Hershey kisses into the softened marshmallows and serve.

So Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I look forward to blogging more again when September arrives! Our kids are still on summer vacation for another week, so life is bananas with school shopping and sports schedules.  Speaking of bananas…. 🙂

I found overripe bananas in the fruit basket today and decided to make my go-to recipe for banana muffins. Sooooo easy!

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 egg

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¾ cups flour

½ cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Mash bananas. Mix with sugar, egg and butter.  Add remaining ingredients and blend well. (I often add more chocolate chips.) Spoon mixture into paper muffin cups.  Bake for 20 minutes. 

Option: Eliminate chocolate chips; add nuts.

Easy, Delicious Cracker Bark!

ToffeeBarkMy family never tires of good, old-fashioned cracker bark! This recipe is easy and is always a hit at summer picnics!

Ingredients:

1 sleeve or Saltine crackers – Club crackers may be used

1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 sticks butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts – Heath toffee chips may be substituted for the walnuts

Kosher salt (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Place crackers on the sheet in a single layer.  Break up the crackers where necessary to fit the size cookie sheet you are using.  In a saucepan, melt the butter, mixing in the brown sugar.  Add baking soda and stir.

Pour the mixture over crackers and spread evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crackers.  Place cookie sheet back into the oven for a few minutes to soften the chocolate chips.  Remove from the oven and spread the melted chocolate chips evenly over the crackers.  Sprinkle the walnuts over the warm chocolate.  If desired, sprinkle a small amount of Kosher salt over the chocolate. 

Place in the refrigerator to set the cracker bark.  I have placed it in the freezer as well to speed up the firming process.  When cooled, break or cut the bark into pieces and place on a platter.  Cracker Bark