There's Still More S'mores?
Oh yes, dear friends, there is definitely still more s'mores ideas out there!
....Hello. How are we today? I am EXHAUSTED!!!!!! : )
No, but seriously, I've been more stressed lately than I ever thought I could possibly
be - I've had a constant headache for a week, my body is aching, I have hardly slept, and I even developed a canker sore on my lip!!!
K, I'm done now. I'm just whining to all of you, to whoever will be a listening ear!
I think it's time we got back to s'mores though, because s'mores always make me feel better! : )
In August of 2014 I wrote a s'more compilation post called "Please Sir....I Want S'more...", and last July I compiled another list of s'more-ific ideas in "It's Time For S'more!".
I love-LOVE-LOVE s'mores! They have been a passion of mine for years and years! So, when I recently received an e-mail from Julia Arangure of Shari's Berries with a request to share their 9 unique s'more ideas on Bushel & A Peck, I thought, "well, it's worth looking at".
Let me say that when I opened the link she sent, I went "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!?!?!".
When Julia said "unique" she meant it, and I have honestly never seen s'mores like the ones she shared with me, and that I am going to share with you!
These amazing s'more ideas where created and photographed so beautifully, and I want to try every single one of them!
So, here they are -9 unique ways to make s'mores from Sharis Berries!
........I mean, c'mon, right?!?!
I am so excited about these s'mores, and I think I want to try the birthday one first! TO find out how to make all of theses, hop on over to Sharis Berries and the original post about these 9 amazing and unique s'more ideas!
Today is Canada Day here in (obviously!) Canada! We've got the usual fun things to do in our wonderful little town of Tweed: a parade, face painting, boat tours, kids crafts, fireman water activities, live entertainers, hot dogs and cupcakes! Then, this evening we're heading to a Canada Day BBQ, where we'll be saying goodbye to some military friends who are moving to Seattle. Thumbs down to people leaving.
Anyway, I hope if you live in Canada you have a wonderful Canada Day! If you live outside of Canada, have a wonderful Friday! Either way, any day is a good day to try out a new s'more (in my opinion, at least!).
On Tuesday I'm going to share with you how we do s'mores around here so that it isn't a complete and utter disaster!
Have a great weekend!
Two-Bite Brownie S'Mores
S'mores in February? Is that even a question?!? If you love s'more the way I love s'mores, then any occasion is a s'more occasion! : ) Needing a campfire for a s'more is for amateurs....haha, I take s'moring (the art of making s'mores) very seriously!! I made up that verb "s'moring", but I like it!
Wow, anywhoooo......with Valentine's Day approaching, people start thinking about special treats they can make for special people in their lives. I'm not just talking about people in a romantic relationship, either. I'm talking about people who want to show love to anyone they love (or appreciate)! I'm talking about neighbours, co-workers, parents, children, friends--anyone you think could use a sweet little treat to say "you are valued, and I love (or appreciate) you!".
Years ago, when we lived in Bancroft, we were invited to a New Years Eve party by a good friend who, at the time, ran a catering business with a friend of hers.
That night, they made the most ridiculously yummy and simple dessert--they took store-bought two-bite brownies, smooshed half of a large marshmallow on top of each, stuck 'em under the broiler for a quick melt and roasted top, then drizzled dulce de leche over them.
I mean, c'mon! Doesn't that sound amazing! I couldn't get over how yummy they tasted, and how simple they were to whip up!
I've been making variations of this dessert now for years, always starting with a store-bought two-bite brownie, and a half marshmallow, then drizzling with melted peanut butter, cookie butter, Nutella, butterscotch, or a dollop of raspberry jam
It's easy to make this gluten-free too, as you can now find gluten-free two-bite brownies and graham crackers in most grocery stores.
The version I am sharing with you today is a favourite version though. A lovely two-bite brownie, topped with a perfectly roasted mallow, then a piece of graham cracker shoved into it?!? Oh yeah.....
Two-Bite Brownie S'mores
These little treats are the ultimate in lazy-lady desserts!!! Right?!? Bonus (for me) is that I most often get the bag of two-bite brownies for 50% off! Don't know why, but there always seems to be a few bags marked down, so I like to grab one, and put it into a zippered plastic bag and toss it into the freezer until I want to use them. If you do this, just be sure to pull them out of the freezer and let them thaw before you start.
**Side note.....because I think gluten-free graham crackers taste like cardboard dipped in sawdust (ok, not exactly, but they are basically the nastiest gluten-free food item ever! P.S., the brand I tried was Kinnikinnick. I'm not trying to bash them, but I want to spare anyone the grief of wasting their money on those graham crackers), I will sometimes cut a gluten-free cookie in half (my sons' favourite are the chocolate vanilla cream kind from Glutino), and I'll shove that into the brownie and mallow. Still really yummy and pretty, but of course that wouldn't make it a s'more anymore though! But hey, if you have found a brand of gluten-free graham crackers that don't taste awful, go with those! And if you want to share your finding with me, please do! Pretty, pretty please!
So......I've been trying to wake up early again, like I used to in the "old days" : ) These "old days" are really just a year ago or so, but I sure had gotten used to sleeping until I needed to get my kids up for school around 7:45....then my husband pointed something out to me. He said I always seemed a little less frustrated with my day when I woke up early and got my blog post published. What happens when I wake up with my kids is that I sit down to publish my post after they get on the bus at 9am, and if my post isn't totally ready, I could be sitting at the computer until 10:00....10:30......11:00.......it can take hours and hours to get one single post ready!!! By the time I'd send my thoughts and recipes into the world wide web, I'd feel like my day was half gone--which it basically was!!! So, with time stolen from my day, I felt like everything else I was doing should have already been done, and I was behind in my list of to-do's. So, by evening, I would feel defeated, like I hadn't gotten as much done with my day as I wanted, like I had un-finished business with my day. Bleh. All because I was lazy and wanted to sleep in (.......I love sleep.....).
So, I've started doing something different. I realized that I used to get up early without a problem because I was bursting with ideas for blog posts! I used to publish a post every day! Geepers! I still have ideas, but that purpose that got me out of bed in the morning had faded a smidge....and I needs me a reason to get out of bed early! So, I stopped making my husbands lunch at night, and decided to leave it to the morning. To clarify for any feminists who are having a conniption, I enjoy packing my husbands lunch! I am the meal planner, the budget maker, the "make sure you eat your vegetables!" person in our house....I may also have a slight control issue, and all those things combined mean I want to (need to!) know what's going into my husbands lunch!
Saving this job until the morning (and me wanting/needing to do it) means I need to wake up early....like, 5:30 early.
This gives me time to make my love some lunch, (and some coffee!) before he heads out the door at 6am, and then I get 2 full hours to work away at my little passion of writing and blogging in my little (tiny!) corner of the internet!
This also gives me time to have at least 2 cups of coffee before my kids get up which really seems to make them more lovely somehow..... :)
This morning though, I got a better reward....I let our dog out for a wee, and stopped to look into the sky. At 6am at this time of year, the stars and the moon are still out. And I couldn't believe how brilliant and beautiful the sky was!!! I felt overwhelmed by how amazing it looked, and thought, "if I were still asleep, I would have missed this!". I felt so blessed, somehow.
I live out in the sticks with no lights from any city to cloud the view of the moon and stars. I felt empowered that I had started my day before my town had even started it's day with the sun. I beat the sun to this day! That's an accomplishment!!!
So, maybe you're really not into getting up early......that's ok! The point of my story wasn't to tell you that you should wake up early because I do! The point was really this....what is it that makes you put your head down on your pillow at night and think, "this day was good"? My (wonderful) husband saw that I was more miserable than I should be. He saw that I was getting a lot done in a day, but somehow still feeling crappy about my day when I went to bed in the evening. I hope you have a spouse, or mate, or best friend or sibling or somebody who knows you who can say, "Are you feeling you best? Maybe you should (fill-in-the-blank)? Or, I hope you can step back from yourself and say, "what used to make me feel like I'd accomplished something?".
I don't know what that might be for you, but I encourage you to find that thing (uh....within reason....don't do anything illegal or that damages the people around you!). Life isn't about making yourself happy (eeek! I know, I know! How contrary to what we're always being told!!!), life is about purpose. But, get this, well placed purpose will leave you feeling happy. What a trick, eh! I was trying to make myself happy by sleeping in....which left me feeling miserable! But having purpose & waking up, packing a lunch, and sitting down to write before the sun has even thought about coming up? That makes me happy!
Well, I've shared/rambled now for too long....and it's probable no one will even read this far....but that's ok! : ) I write for you out there, but I also write for me. This is an online diary of sorts. You get recipes, DIY ideas, parenting tips, or whatever, but you also get my inner thoughts, what my heart lets out when it's going to burst.
If you have read this far, thank-you!
I honestly appreciate everyone who stops by Bushel & A Peck. I don't know many of you at all, but I like to think we are connected by way of this site. So, if you want to, leave a comment. Let me know you stopped by! Share with me what gives you purpose!
Oh, and don't forget to share with me a brand of g.f. graham crackers that aren't terrible too! :)
Cotton Candy Meringue Cookies
Today I've got a lovely and simple recipe for you! I first made it for my middle daughter's birthday, because her theme was "teal" (yes, just the colour teal!), and I wanted to have something besides just the cake for her and her friends. I was also aware of the fact that the cake I had made was not gluten-free, and therefore my Caleb couldn't have any. Mind you. he's 11 years old and "technically" wouldn't have been invited to the party if it weren't for the fact that he is the birthday girls' brother! But, he's 11 with autism, so, that does change things. And besides, I want to let him have a special treat at a birthday too!
So, as per what often happens to me, I thought I had a brilliant idea.....only to Google it and realize someone else had already done it! I think that still counts as my idea though because I thought it up not knowing it had already been done! : )
Ok, well, at one of the grocery stores I go to, they had Duncan Hines flavour packs on clearance for $0.10! Woot woot! I love when things are on clearance! I grabbed a bunch, not having an exact plan for them, but knowing I would be using them (they are great to add to homemade buttercream icing, btw!)
Anywhoooo, these tasty little bites of sweetness are delightful, pretty simple to make, and BONUS, last for quite a while in an airtight container! After my initial batch for the birthday I made a double batch (using the less pretty colour, but delicious flavour of caramel), and crushed some to put with buttercream into the middle layer of a chocolate cake I had made. Yummm-o x 10000! Anyway, I had too many and just had the extras in an airtight container for, oh, I dunno, a month, with the kids and I just having one here and there. They tasted just as nice at the end as they did in the beginning, so, that's just a little FYI.
So, let's get on with it, shall we!?!
From Duncan Hines
I loooves me some good clearance!
So, what do you think? Cute, right?! And although this recipe involves beating egg whites, slowly adding sugar, piping and a long bake time, everything is simple, right? Does that make sense? Maybe it's not simple and I'm delusional? Please do let me know if I am delusional and you think this recipe is the worst! Be nice about it though. : )
Wanna see Abby's enormous teal cake I made for this birthday?
It was a triple layer cake with a simple (though moderately time consuming) swirly/flowery buttercream frosting. Abby said it looked like a hat......and I was inclined to agree. : ) It was clearly not a thing worth sharing about in a post (poor hat cake), well, unless I was sharing about not-so-great piping skills! Seriously, I'm not that great at piping. But it was delicious, and that's important!
Well, today we have another birthday party, only for our youngest! She couldn't decide on a theme (she literally changed her mind everyday!!!), so we finally landed on cupcakes as a theme! The common thread in all her birthday ideas was decorating food (it made sense since coming off Christmas where they were decorating gingerbread houses & gingerbread people, and gingerbread trees, yadda yadda). So, her friends are decorating their own cupcakes! I'll make one special one for her to have a candle on to blow out, but other than that, I haven't anything else to fuss over! I love making and decorating cakes, but I am also more than happy to not to! : ) So, I've got decorations to put up while the kids are at school, veggie tray to put together, cupcakes to pull out of the freezer, buttercream to make, and a ridiculous amount of candy to have ready for cupcake decorating! Seriously, I bought waaaay too much candy! Wait, is "way too much candy" even a real thing? Silly me.
Happy weekend to all!
Peaches & Cream Honey Cake
Hello there! How are we today?
I've been struggling the last few weeks with the blog....I feel "niche-less", or too "niched". I write here for myself, it's true, but I want to reach people and become part of something in peoples' lives. But, when you've got a blog like mine, unless you are me, you won't come back because I post about super healthy recipes, super-unhealthy recipes, simple recipes, difficult recipes, writing about family & autism, DIY projects, health & fitness, not to mention the rest of my site which is dedicated to my art!!!! Good golly!!!
To top it off, one particular recipe on here has been going viral, which is very exciting, but it leaves me feeling like nothing else I've done matters here...?
Seriously, this month, only 20 pages were viewed on the site, which isn't bad, except I have hundreds and hundreds of pages! Let's take a look at the seedy underbelly of Bushel & A Peck, shall we? The top 3 numbers look like this:
~24, 609 views on the Meat & Potato Casserole
~2, 414 just opening to my blog
~1, 270 on my Double Chocolate Avocado Cookies
There's a difference of more than 23,000 views between one recipe and the next! Geepers!
Anyway, I'm not complaining exactly.....I'm thinking out loud....thinking out type? I dunno what we should call this.
A few days ago I came to a realization though....I cannot fit myself or my thoughts into one niche on this blog! It's me, this is who I am!
Bushel & A Peck, to me, is like a flea market! You can never be quite sure what you'll get, but it's always worth coming to check, just in case! Dig around, see what you can find, see what you love, share about it, talk about it, make it, create it, fill your own bushel!!!
I want to always share what I love, what I'm passionate about, and not get bogged down in the "but I need a niche" talk that circulates around the blogosphere! My "niche" is me!
I think I've talked myself into a better mood!....I also turned on the sound track for The Music Man, so, I mean, that cheers me up too! : ) Also singing karaoke to show tunes (on YouTube) makes me feel better, so I'll be doing that once I'm done here!
Thanks for listening to me rant.....shall we move on then? Great!
In the summer when my husband, father-in-law, mother-in-law & Grandpa went to Europe, our first stop was at Grandpas cousins house in Haaltert, Belgium. I already shared part of what they served for dinner (shrimp stuffed tomatoes! Super simple, and really tasty!), but before dinner (yes before!), they served us coffee, beer, wine and cakes. I did say cakes on purpose, they served us 2 different kinds!
One was a beautiful pineapple topped vanilla cake, and the other was a fabulous layered peaches & cream cake. Oh, with chocolate sprinkles added! : )
I decided I wanted to make my own peaches & cream cake when I got home, but wanted to make it paleo. I also thought it would be so tasty to incorporate a fantastic Dutch dessert, honey cake, or honingkoek, into this dessert. I like peach cobblers and crisps with nice spices, so I was sure having a spiced honey cake with the peaches and cream would be a winner! T'was, t'was indeed!
Peaches & Cream Honey Cake
Adapted from The Dutch Table & Plated With Style
If you've ever had a regular dutch honey cake, you'll know that it is heavy & dense, but still soft all at once, and this paleo version was too! You could distinctly taste the honey and spice, and the peaches and cream really brought a cool sweetness to the whole dessert. If store at room temperature the cake stays nicer, but if your whipped cream isn't super stable you'll need to refrigerate it. It still tastes great, but the cake seems more dense once it's bee in the fridge. Best plan? Just make it to share and have it eaten sooner than later! : )
And that, my friends, is all I've got for you today!
We'll be out tomorrow night dressed up and collecting tummy aches (candy!!!) for Halloween, and our sweet middle child has her 7th birthday party on Sunday which will be fun (as long as it's not raining and the kids can play outside!!!) : ) Fingers crossed!
Please leave a comment if you want to say "hi" or anything! Don't be afraid, I love comments!
Buffalo Chicken Crock Pot Dip
Ya know what makes a great party? No, it's not the friends, or the conversation.
It's the dip.
Ok, I am kidding, but for realz, a great dip makes an awesome party awesomer! : ) Awesomer may not be a real word, but it is in my house with a 5 & 6 year old, and it describes this dip!
First up....I took crappy photos of said dip. Thumbs down. I was (happily) busy getting ready for my birthday party, and only stopped briefly to take a few pictures. The starting point for this recipe can be found here, at mom4real and her photo of the dip gives it a little more justice.
"Buffalo Chicken" refers to hot wings, btw. When I was young, I really and truly believed that these "buffalo wings" that I heard grown-ups talking about were some sort of genetic mutation specialty food....buffalo with wings? Yikes! Well, let me put your mind at rest, according to the internet (where all pieces of information are true-haha), Buffalo wings got their name from their originated location, Buffalo, New York. I read this enlightening piece of information here, on todayifoundout.com. I know I went, "ohhhh, Buffalo, New York!" when I found out. I knew as an adult the wings weren't part of a buffalo, but my brain blanked beyond that and never thought of the New York city! Duh.
Typically, Buffalo wings are served with blue cheese dressing, and other Buffalo chicken dip recipes use blue cheese, but I can't. I loooves me some cheese, but blue cheese? Nope. Can't do it. Anyway, ranch is equally as popular now for chicken wing eaters, and well, there's no rules when it comes to wing eating or dip making!
Anywho, the real surprise twist here is what we did with the leftovers....oh good golly, it was gooooooood.
But first, the dip!
Buffalo Chicken Crock Pot Dip
Adapted from mom4real
Well now, you can see the pic below ruining the surprise of what we did with the leftovers! We made it into the most fantastic grilled cheese sandwich ever!!! I guess if you're not a grilled cheese lover this won't be that appealing to you, but let me tell you, this treat day dinner was right up my alley!
We buttered some fresh bread, then prepared the sandwich by loading it with leftover dip, an extra splash of Frank's Hot Sauce, a drizzle of ranch dressing, and a little extra grated cheese.
This sandwich could be replicated without making the dip too. Simple empty the contents of a can of chunk chicken into a bowl. Mix in some Frank's, ranch dressing, and a little cream cheese (if you have any). Mix up well! Then, butter 2 pieces of bread and put some shredded cheese on the non-buttered side of one piece, top with some of the filling, add a little more cheese, then finish with the second piece of bread (butter side up. Then grill to melty perfection!
Let's talk about my Jekyll & Hyde thing I've got going here, shall we?
On Monday I started my new Health & Fitness page. So....where does cheese laden dip and buttered smothered grilled cheese fit into this?
I eat Paleo....80%-90% of the time. Paleo is a whole foods lifestyle with lots of fresh veggies and fruits, meat, nuts and seeds, and avoiding things like grains, (refined) sugar, and dairy. But I am (at heart) a food lover. A lover of ALL food!
So, 5-6 days a week I eat strictly Paleo, but the 1-2 days a week I don't eat Paleo, my "treat day(s)", I don't worry about what I eat! Sounds crazy? Maybe. But it works for me, it keeps me on track, really. If I looked into the endless future, knowing I would never again enjoy a grilled cheese, a or a bowlful of Maynard's gummy candies.....I would be so sad. So very, very sad.
I love healthy food, and I love how I feel when I create something delicious with it, and how I feel knowing my body is being well fuelled. But, taking a break mentally from good eating re-charges me to keep eating healthy!
So, to ya'll going, "whaaaaat?" to the seemingly random recipes I post, this is the "why" to your "what". : )
Happy Friday everyone! Please leave a comment if you stop by here, or share this recipe with someone you know would love it, or make it for your next party so that you'll be the most awesome person ever! Awesomer.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
Hello, hello, hello! It's Friday! Ok, well, in the summertime, Friday means little, unfortunately. Especially when my husband is on a weekend of night shifts. :( Still, for the sake of those who feel elation by their Fridays, then happy Friday to you!
Today I am going to share with you the recipe for the chocolate cake I used for Caleb's birthday, as well as show you how I made his cake.
When making gluten-free recipes, usually using a regular recipe and adapting it doesn't always work out. In fact, it's often a complete flop! But here's the thing: If you have a great gluten free flour blend, then add a little extra "glue" (like xanthan gum, guar gum-if your blend doesn't already have it), you can tweak at it, and make it into something delicious!
That is the case with this cake. The original recipe is from the back of a Hershey's Cocoa Can. It's really an old recipe, but it seemed tried and true.
With a few personal tweaks like using sour milk instead of regular, and coffee instead of water, then of course, using gluten-free flour, this cake turned out moist, super tasty, and
was really easy to make!
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
*As with many baking recipes, this turns out better if the milk & eggs have come to room temperature *
I'm sorry I don't (can't) offer a "PRINT" button, but you can click on and download the document if you'd like! :)
Making a Checkered Cake
So, in looking for ways to make a checkered cake, the only suggestions on the www were to cover the cake in white, then cut out black squares and stick 'em on. Seriously. Who wants to do that, and who could make their squares perfect, and stick them on perfect? Not me, that's for sure!
I decided instead to make the checkers like I would a lattice top for a pie. It worked out really well, and was not too difficult. I started by putting skewers onto the cake pan, and setting the cake onto it. I used the skewers as a "just in case" for lifting the cake off later. I didn't really need them, as it turned out, but I wanted to explain why they were there in the photos. :)
I used a vegetable shortening fondant (instead of marshmallow fondant) this time because marshmallow fondant can dry out faster and I knew I'd be fussing with the fondant for a while and needed it to stay soft and workable. Also (if you follow the recipe in that link), make some of the fondant with 1/4 cocoa and 3/4 icing sugar as a base for making black fondant). As a general rule, keep your shortening handy and keep rubbing it onto your hands as you work to help keep the fondant from drying out. Start by applying a layer of buttercream to the top of the cake as "glue" for the fondant.
This is not a difficult method, but you do need to be a little focused to make sure you're paying attention and actually pulling back every-other strip, and alternating strips properly.
Making the side checker uses the same process of folding every other piece back (photo 2), laying down the black, then folding the pieces back up (photo 3), and repeating with the opposite pieces (photo 4 and 5).
Once you've got that finished, apply some buttercream to the sides of the cake for "glue". Cut the long checkered piece you've made into sections of about 4 (moving the whole, long strip of checkered fondant was too fussy), and attach to the side of the cake, pressing each section into the buttercream to make sure it's well attached (photos 6 and 7).
The final photo shows a little trim I added (by rolling out some black fondant)
Wrap this top portion of the cake in plastic wrap as you work on the bottom of the cake, you don't want it drying out!
The bottom of the cake was just covered in buttercream for "glue", and then green "grass" fondant, and a little black fondant "track". Then I added a little more buttercream to the spot where the top layer would be sitting.
Now to put the 2 cakes together I left the plastic wrap on top of the top-layer cake, I then put my hand onto the top of the cake, and carefully flipped it over (onto my hand), and set it down onto the base. Oh, uh, remove the skewers (if you were using them) before you place the top of the cake onto the bottom.
After this I added some details like using the leftover checker I had from the sides and added them, and also adding a little yellow dotted line on the "road", and I also added some more trim with rolled out fondant. Then I added Caleb's favourite (and throughly cleaned) cars and candles to it. Oh, and don't forget to wipe off your serving plate/tray/whatever. See the photo above and all those greasy little smudges I made?
I'll share next week how I made the other car for Caleb's party!
Sometimes it's so difficult to come up with an "ending" for a post! How about "the end"? Perfect!
The End :) Oh, and have a great weekend!
Race Day Birthday Party
Weeks and weeks ago we had Caleb's 11th birthday party! I wasn't able to post about it sooner because of being busy having family over, and planning for our trip, but I still want to share about it. He wanted a Lightening McQueen (From Disney's Cars movies) theme, but he happily agreed to just "race cars", with a touch of "Cars" (the movie) here and there..
It was a lot of work in some ways, and fairly simple in other ways. For instance, making the cakes (which I'll share about later this week) took hours to put together, but really, that can be expected. Having activities for the kids to do stressed me out a little more than usual this year though. In years past we've rented a big bouncy castle/waterslide thingy. But Caleb passed the age and weight restrictions on it this year, so we didn't get one. That was the activity we usually "planned" on for his parties! So, after some Googling and Pinterest hunting, we came up with a simple plan for a car race using cars the kids would decorate themselves
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
Read more about me by clicking here!
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