DSC_0084 My daughter is all about things being fancy. She’s really been like this for a few years now, but recently it’s been heightened. This is partly due to my making things fancy as often as we can; this girl loves any festive occasion. The bigger reason is that she is five. She so wants to be a grown-up and do grown-up things, but of course she has little girl wishes. Her fifth birthday was the Saturday before Easter so we pushed off her party until the following week. We kept the actual day pretty simple, but we wanted to still celebrate it in true Caroline fashion. So, we had a fancy lunch. I had a few ideas of my own, but I asked her what she thought would make lunch fancier. Her list included fancy toothpicks, grown-up glasses, different shaped breads, dresses and tiaras, and makeup. I drew the line at makeup, but I knew I could do everything she asked and more. Chinet® Cut Crystal® Collage 1 Thanks to the Chinet® Cut Crystal® collection, I could make our lunch fancy without having to worry about pre-schoolers destroying our fine china. It was fun to watch her eat on her “glass” plate and take such care. Now Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware offers stemless wine glasses so we even had fun drinking our yummy concoctions out of them, with our pinkies pointed outwards of course! I made some weekday favorites, but made them fun with cookie cutters and I incorporated some classic tea sandwiches as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, make food pretty and the chances of kids eating it is higher! Chinet® Cut Crystal® Collage 2 Our lives are in a constant state of busy, but I think it is important to stop and have a little fun. Enjoy those around us and not be so worried about entertaining. While I post some gatherings that take a lot of work, it’s really about spending time with those we care about. What I love about the Chinet® Cut Crystal® collection is that it is convenient from start to finish. It involves no polishing or checking for water stains and clean-up is a cinch – just toss it in the recycling and you’re good to go! A busy mom like me couldn’t ask for more! I also love that it’s simple, yet stylish design goes with anything. I’ve used it for George’s Baptism, New Year’s Eve, cocktail parties, and birthdays. Really, shouldn’t we all feel fancy? So, how would Chinet® Cut Crystal® elevate your next get-together? The Chinet® Cut Crystal® website has tons of other inspired decoration, craft and recipe ideas to make your next gathering perfectly coordinated. Make sure you check it out for more inspiration!

Leave a comment below to enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and a Chinet® gift pack!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

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Rice Krispie Treats are one of those desserts that always sound good, but then when I finally have one I’m disappointed. I never grew up with them and only remember having my first one back in high school. It was tasty enough, but it just didn’t do it for me. It should have though, marshmallow coated puffed rice cereal has the makings of something good, but they tasted bland to me.

When I was searching for snacks to make for Caroline’s fifth birthday party I found a cute setup with rice krispie treats acting as hay bales. I loved the idea because it was cute, something easy to make, and typically a great snack for kids with an array of allergies. I set out to find a great recipe. I wanted something that didn’t stray from the classic, but upped the ante sort of speak. Honestly, I knew the kids would eat anything, but I wanted them to be delicious for the adults if they managed to get any. I didn’t want to serve boring, cardboard tasting treats. I can’t get down with that. So, I did some reading and I asked a lot of my fellow bloggers what they thought of this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I was apprehensive with the fact that the recipe calls for double the butter. I’m all for butter usage, but not everyone else is and I also didn’t want to waste all of that butter if these were going to be mediocre. The feedback was all positive and I was urged to give these a try, I wouldn’t be sorry. I wasn’t and you wont be either!

These rice krispie treats are delicious. So delicious in fact, that you may eat the first batch, serve the second batch for its intended purpose, then make a third batch to enjoy as a family and take pictures. Then, maybe make a fourth batch because you can freeze them and they make an awesome snack when you need some indulgence. Just saying….

These taste just like the classic, but just as I wanted, they are just better. The browned butter does what it always does, making something ordinary into extraordinary. The extra butter, well it’s just good and the salt enhances the flavor perfectly. What you’re left with is a treat that everyone will recognize, but for some reason yours will just taste…better.

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Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients

  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 10-oz bag marshmallows
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal (about half of a 12-oz box)

Spray an 8-inch square pan with 2-inch sides with cooking spray.

In large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden an finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequentl, scarping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Don’t take your eyes off of the pot, as the butter will go from having color and “browned” to burned in less than a minute.

As soon as the butter turns a nutty color, turn off the heat and stir the marshmallows in. If the marshmallows haven’t become smooth from the residual heat turn the heat back on to a simmer and stir until smooth.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the salt and cereal. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Using a piece of wax paper is the easier and best way to press the cereal firmly into the corners and edges.

Let cool and cut into squares.

Yields 16 2-inch squares or 32 1×2-inch bars

Source: Smitten Kitchen

SiliBake Pastry Mat & $50 Visa Giveaway

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Every time I go to bake something that requires rolling dough out, I tend to stick the chore with my husband. While he dislikes doing it as well, he does the job because he wants the end result, be it pie, pizza, cookies, etc. Our problem isn’t with the rolling process, but with my pastry mat. The thing moves all over the place, curls up so I have to have something on ever corner and sometimes the sides to hold it down. Then as I am rolling the whole mat, and weights, move all over the place and I’ve just lost it at that point. I’ve been eyeing a pastry mat online for a while and put it on my wishlist but Santa didn’t come through. So, i kept muddling through. I’m not sure why. It’s not like this is a big ticket item. I guess I enjoyed the torture?

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Anyways, Caroline’s birthday was coming up and I had started in on my arduous task of making dozens upon dozens of cookies and rolling out lots of fondant. I got through a couple dozen and finally had had it. I ordered the SiliBake pastry mat and through the magic of Amazon I had it in hand two days later. When I unrolled the silicon pastry mat out of the box and it slid on to my counter top with ease it was like the clouds had parted and I heard angels sing. You’ll have to excuse me, I was really stressing out about all of those roll-out sugar cookies I was going to have to decorate! I used it a few times, washed it, stored it, and fell in love. Check out this great video for more information and to see it in action.

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I took my happiness to Facebook and I received lots of comments and questions. I had a few friends and fellow bloggers immediately order one once they heard how awesome it was. Then, I heard from a representative from SiliBake. I may have waxed poetic about their product, but we both agreed that everyone needs this pastry mat! So, they offered a wonderful discount (50% off on Amazon!) for my readers (which the detail can be found on my Facebook page and below) and we decided that a giveaway was in order. SiliBake is being very generous and is offering one lucky reader a SiliBake Pastry Mat and a $50 Visa gift card.That’s right, everyone can receive 50% off and one person gets a pastry mat for free and $50! Is this company awesome or what?

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They also sent me some of their awesome silicone baking cupcake liners and a larger pastry mat that is awesome for rolling out large pieces of fondant. I can’t say enough great things about these products. What I really loved was after I purchased the SiliBake pastry mat I realized that you can also freeze your cookies on it and then toss them in the oven. Talk about a multi-tasker! So, lets get to the details…

Check out the Rafflecopter widget below and complete as many of the options as you’d like to enter to win the SiliBake Pastry Mat and the $50 Visa gift card.

If you’d like to take advantage of the amazing offer SiliBake is giving to my readers, then go to Amazon and when checking out enter the code:SILIRG50 to receive 50% off of your pastry mat. This offer is good until Mother’s Day and would definitely make a great gift!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
  This prize is provided by SiliBake. This giveaway is for residents of the contingent United States and will end on April 27th, 12:00 pm EST. Physical address required for shipping; no PO boxes. You must be 18 years or older to enter. While I was given additional product after my original purchase, all opinions expressed are solely my own.

Fruity Popsicles

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Caroline’s birthday was last week so there were quite a few celebrations to prepare for. Now that she is in school I have to make treats for her classmates as well. I honestly love doing this, but as the day gets closer I start to dread that extra thing to do on my list. This year, she wanted to do fruit pops. I thought she meant fruit kebobs like another child did last year and I was game since it’s a healthier alternative to the usual cupcakes etc. She corrected me and once we were on the same page I was even happier about her choice.

These fruit pops are just so much fun. Who can resist? They are so visually stimulating with the fruit shining through. I love to use all different shapes, colors, and sizes to really draw the kids attention and get them excited about dessert. The best part for me was I could make these in advance and they only take about 20 minutes to prepare. So, the day of her school birthday celebration all I had to do was pack a cooler and go. I think I may buy a second popsicle mold and persuade her to do this again next year for Kindergarten!

The kids and teachers loved these healthy, fun popsicles. Even some of the children that don’t really care for fruit couldn’t resist them. So, whether you’re looking for a snack for yourselves, your kids, or something to bring in for a birthday celebration, you may want to think about these easy and beautiful fruity popsicles!

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Fruity Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 kiwi, sliced thinly
  • 1 starfruit, sliced thinly
  • 1 peach, sliced thinly
  • 6 strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 10 raspberries, sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 2 1/2 cups grape juice

*** Use any fruit you can find and enjoy. Don’t forget you can use frozen fruit as well! You can also use any juice you like. For the kids, I like grape juice or apple so that the fruit really shines through, but my daughter also loves pomegranate, fruit juice, and orange juice.

Add fruit to your popsicle molds, keeping in mind how you want your fruit to lay in the popsicle. I do a few big pieces on the bottom and top and scattered the smaller fruits in between. Push your fruits to the side and bottom of the molds so they really show.

Gently, pour juice into mold until you’ve reached the top of the mold and the fruit has been covered. Freeze overnight.

Yields 10 popsicles

Inspired by Martha Stewert