I decided that it was time for me to jump on the cake pop bandwagon. Cake pops are all the rage now and if Starbucks is getting $2.50 a piece for these little gems, they must me something wonderful, right? I did some research to learn how to make these lollipop shaped snacks and my brother even volunteered to buy a cake pop and eat it while we skyped so I could see what was inside.
I ended up using a collaboration of recipes that I found on the internet to come up with a process for making my brownie pops. I will walk you through the steps that I took to make them but keep in mind that it was my first attempt.
I pulled the tray of brownie balls out of the freezer and one at a time, I inserted a stick and then dipped it into the melted chocolate.
I bought a small block of Styrofoam to hold my brownie pops and I inserted each one into the block once it had been dipped.
I also tried to sprinkle some peppermint crunch on top but I had a hard time getting it to stick. You can see from my picture that I only tried it once.
The brownie pops were really fun to make and they were really good. The chocolaty brownie centers are sure to be a big hit with the kids at the birthday celebration.
Thanks again to the generous people at Duncan Hines for providing me with the delicious brownie mix and frosting for my brownie pops. Duncan Hines is also making it easier for you to try this recipe by giving away 6 free Duncan Hines coupons to my blog readers. The first 6 people to leave a comment on my blog will receive a coupon good for a free Duncan Hines product. (It must be a comment on my blog and not on my facebook page.) I will announce the winners on tomorrow's blog so make sure you check back. Good Luck.
This recipe for black bean casserole was passed down to me from my mom. I think that the original recipe was intended to be made without meat. It was my mom's idea to add some ground beef to the recipe to boost the protein content of the dish. I have also made it with ground turkey and it's just as delicious.
Black Bean Casserole
½ cup chopped green pepper 12 – 6” tortillas
½ cup chopped green onion 2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
28 ounces crushed tomatoes shredded lettuce
¼ cup salsa sour cream
2 teaspoons cumin olives
15 ounces black beans, drained tomato
1 pound ground beef 2 cloves garlic
Recipe disclaimer - I rarely measure out exact portions when I'm cooking. (I save the exact measuring for my baking.) Sometimes I double or even triple the recipes. I also use different containers than listed in the recipe quite often because we eat most of the food that is blogged and I portion it to fit the needs of my family. For these reasons, my pictures may not always reflect the recipe exactly.
My family had the privilege of serving Thanksgiving dinner to some very well deserving families on Saturday at our church. It was a humbling and rewarding experience all at the same time. It made me realize just how often I take for granted the fact that my cupboards are nearly full. I am blessed to be able to feed my children nutritious meals everyday and I don't often pause to think about the families who struggle to provide food. It was such a blessing for us to be able to provide these families with a meal and a few surprises.
We even dressed the part of servers. (Could these two look any more alike?)
The setting was elegant - black tablecloths, fresh flowers, candles, the works. There were baskets of fresh fruit in the center of each table. The guests were invited to eat the fruit and then the baskets were refilled and sent home with the guests.
Once everyone arrived, we served up a meal fit for a king. (or queen) Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, cranberries and rolls. For dessert - pumpkin and pecan pie delighted the guests.
After the meal, the families were invited outside where we filled their hands with all sorts of "goodies" to take home. Each child that attended the feast was presented with a shoebox full of toys and gifts.
My heart overflowed with joy as I stood watching these children receive their gifts with such happiness. It was a good reminder for me, especially this time of year, to stop and reflect on the blessings that I have been given. The things in my life that I cherish the most are not expensive or extravagant and yet I often take those things for granted. I think that I was far more blessed by the gift giving than the children who received the presents.
I'm sure that you are not up for preparing another Thanksgiving meal already but Saturday's dinner had me thinking about turkey and dressing again. I wanted to share this recipe with you just in case you have leftover turkey and you're getting tired of turkey sandwiches.
Turkey and Dressing Casserole
4 cups cubed cooked turkey 8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces sausage, cooked ½ cup milk
½ cup onion, chopped 1 pkg cornbread stuffing mix
½ cup celery, chopped ¼ cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon pepper ¼ cup chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon sage
I don't have a picture of the cooked casserole because I put it together and put it in my freezer. I think my family is getting a little tired of turkey and the beauty of casseroles is that they're freezable. My family is not super thrilled about most casseroles but they have always liked this one. It's easy to put together and it's delicious.
2 cups peanut butter 1 pound powdered sugar
½ cup butter melting chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
Form into 1” balls. I used a cookie scoop to portion out the dough evenly. Place the balls on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.
Place the peanut butter balls in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate in microwave.
Insert a toothpick into the peanut butter ball and dip into melted chocolate. Wipe excess chocolate from the bottom of the buckeye and place back on waxed paper lined baking sheet.
I like to smooth out the little toothpick hole in the top with my finger when I am finished dipping.
If you've never had a buckeye - you need to try one. They are fun to make and really delicious. (Better than a Reeses peanut butter cup if you ask me.) Even though the outcome of the game was not favorable for Ohio State, snacking on these tasty treats made the loss a little easier to swallow.
If you're wondering what to do with your leftover turkey check out my recipe for turkey pot pie.
Turkey Pot Pie
1 pie crust 2 ½ cups cooked carrots
2 medium onions 2 potatoes, cooked and cubed
4 celery stalks, diced 4 cups cooked turkey
2 Tablespoon olive oil 5 Tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups corn 5 Tablespoons flour
2 cups peas 4 ½ cups chicken broth
Saute onion and celery in oil.
Add remaining vegetables and chicken.
Allow the pie to cool 10 minutes before slicing.
These pot pies also make a great gifts. I took one of my pies to my mother in law who is going in for surgery next week. Turkey pot pies are perfect for anyone who needs a warm and healthy dinner without all the prep work.
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