1. Rainbow Fruit Kabobs and Rainbow Colors Scavenger Hunt
I have a fun activity and snack for you today to help your little ones learn and have fun at the same time. My 2 boys have been having so much fun participating in the Hogwarts Summer Fun Challenge over at Puddle Wonderful Learning. One of their challenges was to go on a rainbow color hunt. They loved it! Want to send your kiddos on a rainbow color scavenger hunt? Here’s the rules, okay so there’s not really any set rules. We just went out side and I would say the color and then my boys would run around looking until they found the color. Some colors were easy, like green, but indigo? Not so easy! I’m not sure if we even really found indigo. I even went so far as to do a google image search for the color indigo and was surprised to see the huge differences in colors all claiming to be indigo, so we guessed. Don’t judge if we’re way off 😉 To add to the fun we took a picture of the item we found for each color and turned it into a photo collage for them to look at and use to practice their colors.
Rainbow Fruit Kabobs
Choose a fruit for each color.
Red Fruit: Strawberry, Raspberry, Watermelon, Apple, Cherry
Orange Fruit: Orange, Mandarin Oranges, Cantalope, Peach, Apricot
Yellow Fruit: Pineapple, Banana
Green Fruit: Kiwi, Apple, Grapes, Honeydew Melon
Blue Fruit: Blueberry
Violet Fruit: Grapes , Plums
Wash, dry and cut all of your fruit into bite size chunks. Slide the fruit onto the skewers making sure to keep them in order of the rainbow colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo(not included in our kabobs), Violet. Enjoy!
2. Mint Truffle Hot Chocolate Cookies
The other day while grocery shopping I was picking up some more Mint Hot Chocolate, my new favorite, when I spotted something new. You know the so delicious, cute, teeny tiny little marshmallows that come in some hot chocolate, but of course not in my favorite mint hot chocolate. There was a whole container filled with just marshmallow bits. Are these new, or have I just been missing out all this time? Needless to say they made their way into my cart. I started thinking that these marshmallow bits would be great in cookies or brownies too, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to turn my favorite hot chocolate into a cookie. These cookies turned out Awesome. They seriously taste just like mint hot chocolate, but in cookie form. Thanks to 3 secret ingredients: mint hot chocolate mix, Andes mint chips for a little extra mint and chocolate flavor and Marshmallow Bits
Mint Truffle Hot Chocolate Cookies
1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Mint Hot Chocolate Mix (dry)
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Marshmallow Bits
1 Cup Andes Mint Baking Chips
Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the marshmallow bits and mint chips. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll into heaping tablespoon size balls. If you want the marshmallow to stick out poke a few more into the top of each dough ball. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!
3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. Make them BIG! I like to use about 1/4 of a cup of dough per cookie. Doing this gives the cookie different textures, a crisp firm edge and a soft chewy center. And come one who wouldn’t want a bigger cookie:)
4. Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
Salty? Sweet? Salty? Sweet? Why not both? Sweet and Salty is one of those classic flavor combinations that are so hard to resist. It’s one of my favorites, right up there with chocolate and peanut butter, mint and chocolate and of course peanut butter and jelly. Some flavors are just meant to go together. These chewy sweet and salty granola bars are loaded with pretzels, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips giving them that perfect sweet and salty flavor combo.
Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
1/2 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
4 Cups Quick Oats
2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
1 and 1/2 Cups Pretzels, chopped
1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
In a large bowl mix together the quick oats, crispy rice cereal, pretzels, and both chocolate chips.
In a medium sauce pan add the brown sugar, honey, and butter bring to a boil stirring continually. Boil for 1 minute, just until the brown sugar dissolves. Do not boil longer or the sauce will turn hard. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool for 10 minutes. Pour over the oatmeal mixture and stir until completely combined. Press into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Cool completely, about 2 hours before cutting. Makes 18 bars. Store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. To freeze individually wrap bars in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 1 month.
5. Giant Zebra Cake
Whenever my hubby goes grocery shopping with me a box of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes always seems to mysteriously make its way into our shopping cart. Then, just as mysteriously as they appeared in our cart, they magically disappear on the car ride home:) Seriously, a box of Zebra Cakes never seems to last us longer than the 10 minute car ride between the grocery store and home. In our defense, we totally earn this treat for making it out of the grocery store without having lost a child, broken something, a meltdown in the middle of the aisle, etc…. If you have ever taken 3 little kids grocery shopping before I am sure you would agree. I decided to see if I could come up with a homemade version of Zebra Cakes. This cake was a pretty close copycat to the boxed version. I love how even with making it into a giant version it kept the same look, but turned it into more of a fancy dessert instead of a snack. If you have any Zebra Cake fans in your house you need to make this cake. I’m willing to bet they will be just as excited as my family was when I suprised them with this Giant Zebra Cake for dessert.
1 Yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare(oil, eggs, water)
Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans. Prepare the cake mix according to box directions. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake according to package directions. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, remove to a wire rack and cool completely before filling and frosting.
2/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/3 Cup Marshmallow Creme/Fluff
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1and1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
Beat the shortening, marshmallow creme and vanilla until fully combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add 1 Tbsp of milk and beat on high for one minute, until the filling is light and fluffy. Add the remaining milk until the filling reaches your desired consistency. Place one of the cakes flat side down and spread the filling evenly on top. Top with the other cake, flat side up. Frost.
12 Ounces Vanilla Almond Bark
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips, (I used semi-sweet, but dark or milk would work to.)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
In a microwave safe bowl combined the vanilla almond bark and 6 Tbsp shortening. Microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until fully melted and combined. Pour the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly. I found it easiest to frost the edges by pushing some of the frosting over the top edge and then spread as it drizzled down the sides. You will want to work quickly as the chocolate will set up pretty quickly. Allow the white chocolate frosting to set up completely. Using the same method as the vanilla bark melt the chocolate and 2 Tbsp shortening together. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Allow the chocolate to set. Enjoy!
6. Pumpkin Cheesecake
38 ginger snaps, finely crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans(optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix all ingredients together.
4 (8oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1(15oz) can pumpkin
1Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice, and vanilla, mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each just until blended.
Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Press 1 Tbsp of crust into the bottom of each liner. Fill each of the liners almost to the top( probably like 99% full:) with cheesecake batter. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes then move to a wire rack to finish cooling and then to the fridge to chill before serving. Store in the fridge. Top with whipped cream and few sprinkles of nutmeg. Enjoy!
Press all of the crust into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch spring form pan. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust. Bake at 325 for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan, cool before removing rim. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!
-Recipe adapted from a magazine, but I just wrote the recipe down and I can’t remember which one it was.
7. French Toast Muffin
French Toast Muffin
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp maple flavoring
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Combine the milk, egg, butter, and maple flavoring together. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Divide the batter into a greased or paper lined 12 cup muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes, poke a few holes in the top and drizzle or dip the tops in the following maple glaze. Allow the glaze to set up and Enjoy!
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp Milk
1/2 Tbsp maple flavoring
Combine all of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
Recipe adapted from: grouprecipes.com