*Healthy* Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Chocolate is a central part of my husband’s diet, a cornerstone to his livelihood. If there is chocolate nearby, he must have it. And it is one of the few things he finds really difficult to share (along with french fries and deodorant). But really. I always worry because he has no fuel gauge when it comes to the sugary sweet stuff. He would happily (and unknowingly) chocolate his way into a diabetic coma. This little recipe has become a staple. All the same great flavors he’s craving without all the calories and guilt?! Ok, well, it’s healthyish! It’s not an apple or a head of broccoli or anything, but the ingredients in this fudge are healthy. You shouldn’t eat a whole batch of it if you’re counting calories, but you’re better off eating a serving size of this fudge than a serving size of traditional fudge. Then again, what’s a serving size when it comes to chocolate? Your guess is as good as mine.

*Healthy* Chocolate Peanut ButterFudge

4 Sons 'R' Us: Healthy Chocolate Fudge

recipe originally from Creating Naturally

1/2 cup coconut oil (slightly melted, but not hot)
1/2 cup good quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup mild raw honey
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Prepare a muffin pan with 10 muffin liners.
2. Put all ingredients in the bowl of your food processor.  Pulse a few times until everything is smooth and nicely combined.  (It will be very liquid-y.)  Don’t over-mix.
3. Pour the liquid fudge into the prepared muffin liners dividing evenly between the ten of them.  There will be about a half inch of fudge in each muffin liner.
4. Place the muffin pan in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the fudge has hardened. (Sometimes I use the freezer and it only takes about 10 minutes)
Remove the muffin liners from the pan and enjoy your delicious, healthy fudge!  Store in the refrigerator.

A Birthday & A Review

Where the heck does all the time keep going?! Son # 2 just turned the big 1-4. He’s our sensitive one. For several years now he hasn’t been interested in big parties or too much ‘ado’ on his day. He’s a creature of habit and prefers to keep things simple, and the same. Birthday dinner is always Philly cheese-steak subs, Mom made of course. His party is usually just family and one friend, his closest. This year we followed all his request, except for one that never came. Each and every birthday we work together, brain-storming until we come up with some new, neat cake design for one of the coolest of kids on his ‘day’. This year, it was like pulling teeth. No ideas, no wants. None. I admit, I was stumped too. Finally, FINALLY, he decided he wanted a plain cake, but he wanted something a little different than what he normally had. For son # 2 to step out of his ‘box’ is huge. A friend had recently told me about a new frosting made by cool whip. She said it was delicious, and had a lot less sugar than the regular stuff. The son heard and wanted to give the chocolate one a go. I was skeptical, but we bought a tub and went with it.

coolwhip

Cool Whip’s new frosting line is the real deal. Creamy, and oh-so sweet, but better for you too! It may be a ‘lighter’ option, but it’s still full of flavor. The best of both worlds! I was happy. The son was happy. And so was everyone at the party, who all wanted to know the secret of the incredible frosting. The secret was, this is perhaps the only store-bought frosting that tastes better (yes, you read that right), better than homemade. By a landslide. If you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your to-do list. Scratch that. You need to bake a cake. Today. While it cools, get to your local grocer’s and grab a tub of Cool Whip frosting. Reward yourself (we should get a reward for trying new things, right?) with a hearty slice of Cool Whip frosted cake. Or you could go the son’s route. He bought another tub with some of his birthday money. Over the next 24 hours he proceeded to eat the entire thing, from the tub, with a spoon. It’s that good. I think I’ve finally found his kryptanite. I’m thinking, ‘Will do chores, without complain, for more Cool Whip frosting.’ Thank you Cool Whip for taking the guess work out of good, quality whipped frosting.

Our big birthday boy

The b.b. was particularly pleased with the other ‘spread’ at his party, as well. Good food, the age-old way to any man’s heart. These chicken & waffle sliders were his absolute favorite. An entire platter disappeared in under 5 minutes. If only the queso dip would have gone that quickly!

Happy, Happy Birthday my sweet boy. We love you and the wonderful young man you’re growing into.

**I was not compensated for this post. These are my opinions and my opinions alone. I was not required to write a positive feature and was not influenced in any way.**

Lucky Charms Blizzard

Another late day again. (shh!) It happens. If you love Lucky Charms & milk, then this fun treat is going to blow. your. mind. Everyone’s favorite marshmallow loaded cereal with ICECREAM! These are absolutely friggin’ addictive delicious. I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t become a ‘thing’, or the next big thing to hit the iconic Blizzard line. These were the perfect ending to our simple, yet ‘taste’ ful St Patrick’s Day meal. Thankfully, I had an extra carton of ice cream because everyone, sons and the Hubs included, came back for seconds. I had to put my foot down at thirds. While our blizzards featured Luck Charms, don’t just stop there. There’s a whole world of possibilities awaiting my fellow DQ lovers. Sub in your favorite treat to the base recipe and enjoy the sure-to-be splendid result.

Lucky Charms Blizzard

4 Sons 'R' Us: Lucky Charms Blizzard

recipe originally from Sweet Treats & More

about 2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp whipping cream
3/4 cup Lucky Charms Cereal + extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles + extra for sprinkling on top

4 Sons 'R' Us: Lucky Charms Blizzard

Directions

  1. Place ice cream, milk and whipping cream in a blender and blend until smooth (should be thick). Stir in lucky charms cereal and sprinkles with a spoon. Pour into alarge glass (or two small glasses) and sprinkle with additional lucky charms (lots of marshmallows) and sprinkles on top. Serve immediately!
  2. Note this base recipe makes about two large servings. It’s easy to double or to do several batches if feeding a ravenous pack of wolves hungry boys.

Healthy Peach ‘Milkshakes’

Nothing reminds me more of Spring & Summer than a yummy peach milk shake. I remember my Grandma making up some reason for taking us to Hardees for them as a special treat anytime the weather was warm. I used to take my own boys for peach shakes from Chik-Fil-A for their own special warm weather memories. Lucky for me, a cold, creamy milk shake is a treat to your taste buds anytime of the day or year, and a good peach shake is no exception. All that tastiness comes as a cost however. The most delicious ones are almost always a calorie bomb. The solution? We make our own ‘skinny’ version at home. Now anytime I get a craving, I can whip a batch of these babies up and enjoy a guilt free dessert. Now that’s my kind of treat! Although I call these ‘milkshakes’, there’s no actual milk involved. Their delicious deception only adds to my enjoyment.

Healthy Peach ‘Milkshakes’

4 Sons 'R' Us: Healthy Peach 'Milkshakes'

recipe adapted from Mia’s Domain

2 cups fresh orange juice
1 cup peach-flavored Greek Yogurt
2 cups frozen sliced peaches
2 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp nutmeg

Directions

1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Serve shakes cold. For added presentation, add fresh peach slices to each glass.

Cherry Pie Bars

I’ve been holding out on you. I made these bad boys a little over a month a go. . . I’m sorry! I don’t know why but I’ve been ‘saving’ them. For what I’m not sure. I just kept thinking oh, I need a special occasion to share these. And a month has come and gone and I still have not shared them! So I decided I would create a special occasion. Happy Cherry Pie Bar Tuesday!

I love me some cherry pie. It’s always my first choice. A good pie isn’t something you can just throw together. It requires planning and time invested. I had plans to make cherry pie the other day. Life had other plans. Did I let that discourage me? Of course not. Instead, I opted for these simple, yet oh so special cherry pie bars. These sweet, flaky fruit bars are warm & cozy.

Short on time? Get your fix in a jiff using this easy recipe.

(Oh, and P.S., you’re not a fan of cherry pie? Not a problem, sub in the fruity-flavored pie filling of your choice.)

Cherry Pie Bars

4 Sons 'R' Us: Cherry Pie Bars

recipe originally from Six Sisters’ Stuff

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, ream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat well. Add flour and salt to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.
3. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan and spread about 3/4 of the batter in the bottom (mine was a little sticky, so I sprayed my hands with non-stick cooking spray and used my hands to spread the dough to the edges of the pan). Spread with pie filling over the batter. Drop remaining batter on top of pie filling in teaspoonful amounts (I did about 35 small spoonfuls of batter over the cherry filling to make the top crust).
4. Bake for about 35 minutes or until toothpick comes clean. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over the bars.

Easy Eggnog Fudge

I love giving gifts at Christmas. There’s something so special about watching a persons face light up with joy when they first see the gift you’ve given them. Gifts from my kitchen are always nice, and typically a ‘sure-thing’. I absolutely love this recipe. The rich, creamy goodness of homemade fudge + the satisfying flavor of eggnog = a mouthful of magic. It’s the perfect gift to share with family and friends.

Easy Eggnog Fudge

4 Sons 'R' Us: Easy Eggnog Fudge

recipe from Cindy at Skip to my Lou

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup eggnog
12 oz white baking chocolate
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla

Directions

1. Bring sugar, butter and eggnog to a full boil in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Continue to boiling over medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, stir constantly to prevent scorching. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use a glass of cold water. Drop a few drops of the ‘syrup’ into the glass, if the syrup forms a doughy ball, it is done. If the syrup gets hard and brittle in the water, it has been over-cooked.
2. Remove from heat and stir in the white chocolate and nutmeg, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla extract. Beat until well blended.
3. Pour into a buttered 8 or 9-inch square pan. Cool, then cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. May be frozen for up to three weeks.

Super-Soft Eggnog Cookies

I remember growing up and seeing all the adults drinking eggnog on Christmas Eve & Christmas day. Us kids were left at the ‘kids table’. It was a table. It was also in my grandmother’s laundry room/pantry/sewing room off of the kitchen. It didn’t bother us though. The grown-ups didn’t see us sneak a glass of the good stuff for ourselves or notice it make it’s way quickly around our little table as we each took a sip. I know what you’re thinking. Shame on you! It was non-alcoholic. Being an adult now with four boys, I totally get why they hoarded the stuff. I’m pretty stingy doling it out myself as well.

To this day, my kids and I (still) love eggnog. We wait all year long for the creamy concoction to hit the store shelves again. My husband, he hates it. This cookie won him over. He was impressed. It was moist, chewy, and the eggnog taste was just right. Seriously, he ate 12. In less than 5 minutes. He may not be ready to actually drink a cold, frothy glass full but he’s behind eggnog a little bit. And that’s enough for me! For now. Before he avoided it like that little milk jug was hiding the Ebola virus in our refrigerator.

As for me, and my family, we’ve seen the light. Eggnog is so much more than just the nectar of the gods a drink. It’s an amazing, drool-worthy addition to multiple recipes. Cookies today. Tomorrow, the world! It’s time for an eggnog revolution. What do you say?

Super-Soft Eggnog Cookies

4 Sons 'R' Us: EggNog Cookies

recipe originally from I Heart Naptime

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, slightly softened
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup eggnog

Eggnog Icing

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp eggnog
ground nutmeg, for garnish

4 Sons 'R' Us: EggNog Cookies

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add egg yolks and vanilla to the mixture and beat until smooth. Finally, add eggnog and mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Slowly add flour mixture into the eggnog mixture and stir until combined. Chill dough for 20 minutes.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use a cookie scoop or drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Do not over cook. Remove cookies from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
4. For icing, whisk powdered sugar and eggnog together. Add more sugar or eggnog, depending on the consistency you prefer.
5. Drizzle icing on cooled cookies and sprinkle with nutmeg. Store in a air tight container in the refrigerator.

Nutella Crescents

Nutella, a dangerous friend indeed. Sometimes, though, sometimes … you just gotta give in to temptation. For better or for worse.

 These are so simple, they’re simply amazing! Prepare for them to disappear right before your eyes. Serve them immediately or (if you have will power) store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. While they’re to die for all by themselves, they go great with milk or coffee.

Nutella Crescents

4 Sons 'R' Us: Nutella Crescents

Nutella
1 tube of crescent rolls
chocolate syrup, for drizzling (optional)
powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Unroll the crescents and spread each triangle with a huge healthy amount of Nutella.
3. Starting withe the wide ends, roll each triangle into crescent rolls. Place filled, rolled crescents on your parchment line baking sheet. Make sure to leave room for expansion as they bake.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes. Let crescents cool completely after baking.
5. If desired, before devouring serving, lightly dust crescents with powdered sugar and then drizzle with chocolate syrup.
6. Serve with milk or coffee and enjoy!

4 Sons 'R' Us: Nutella Crescents

Nom Nom Nom

M&M Apple Caramel Cheese Ball

Fall is simply my favorite season. Winter is a close second though. That being said, I always look forward to the special limited edition seasonal candies that debut and/or return this time of year. I just love the Fall themed M&M’s. So much more fun to eat than regular ones. Needless to say when I went grocery shopping last, I stocked up (with several packs).

Yesterday was a crazy day that also included an impromtu visit from friends. I ended up making this delicious cheeseball to serve before dinner. While I was wrapped up in visiting, I didn’t get an immediate picture. FYI, the color on M&M’s runs when you let them sit for a few. Don’t let the looks fool you though. This was delicious. The perfect appetizer to serve for friends visiting in Fall. The perfect treat for any Fall occasion or event. Even an impromptu dessert.

Did I forget to mention how much I love the Fall themed M&M’s?!

M&M Apple Caramel Cheese Ball

4 Sons 'R' Us: M&M Apple Caramel Cheese Ball

recipe adapted from Will Cook For Smiles

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbs vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup of peeled, cored, and finely diced apples (we used sweet Crispins, but you could also use a tart Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 cup of Kraft caramel baking bits
  • 1 tbs light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • About a cup of fall M&Ms for rolling the cheese ball

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, yogurt, apple, caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla until evenly mixed.
  2. Using your hands (remember to wash first!), form the mixture into a nice round ball.
  3. Wrap the cheese ball in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remember, the colors on the M&M’s will bleed so don’t roll your cheeseball in the candy until just before serving. If ready to serve roll the ball around in M&M’s until completely covered.
  5. Serve with pretzels, apple slices, or non-salted cracker crisps.

Caramel Apple Blondies

I know, I know. Another apple post this week, but I just couldn’t help myself. I might need an apple intervention. However, as luck would have it I am almost through my bushel.

I really try not to overload the kids on sugary snacks, even for dessert. But again, I just couldn’t help myself. I reasoned that on a crisp, fall day nothing could taste better than some ooey, gooey blondies. Especially when they just scream fall. I also couldn’t wait until dessert to have the sons try them. So to celebrate hump day (I can’t every say that without hearing my kids, echoing that extremely annoying commercial) and good attitudes so far and to fortify them to finish the week out that way, we had them for an afternoon snack. Shh, don’t tell anyone. I don’t want the mommy-verse frowning upon me.

We enjoyed these with a cold glass of milk, but warmed up and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream they are to die for. We were in Fall Heaven!

Caramel Apple Blondies

4 Sons 'R' Us: Caramel Apple Blondies

 

recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup apple, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel baking bits

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter and stir until combined. Add the vanilla and the eggs to the brown sugar mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture and stir until all combined. Fold in the apple and caramel baking bits.
  4. Scrape the batter into the baking pan and smooth the top using a knife or spatula.
  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the blondies comes out clean.
  6. Let the blondies cool completely and then cut into large squares.