Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bacon chocolate chip cookies

Last week we were told Cape Cod was going to be on a blizzard watch for the middle of this week.  Then last weekend, the weathermen started saying we would be slammed with another 12-18 inches during this blizzard.  The beginning of this week the numbers started dwindling but we were still due to get between 8-10 inches by mid week.  And yes, starting early Wednesday morning, the snow had started.  By the time my family was awake on Wednesday, we had about 6 inches of snow and the wind was whipping.  The snow continued into the afternoon.  Of course school was cancelled, my husband's restaurant was closed and so the whole family was together for the whole day, which doesn't happen often. 

Our day started with watching Frozen and then we planned our afternoon.  A big family dinner and a special dessert were on our "to-do" list.  We planned on mayo chicken (coat the boneless skinless chicken breasts in mayo, dip them in spices and bread crumbs and bake.  Its the moistest chicken you'll ever try!) and scalloped potatoes, butternut squash, peas and corn.  For dessert the kids wanted chocolate chip cookies.  So I decided that as soon as the babe went down for nap, the big kids could bake with me.  But as lunch time came around, I got an idea.  What if we put bacon in the cookies?  My family loves bacon.  And I love a good sweet and salty snack.  So I asked the kids and they thought that putting bacon into the cookies was the best idea ever!!  As soon as lunch was over, I put my tiniest monkey down and the big kids and I got to work. 

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 8 pieces of bacon, cooked (Preheat oven to 400* Put bacon on a foil lined baking sheet.    Bake for 10 min or until its brown and crispy. Let it cool and chop it into small pieces)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated white sugar using a stand or a hand-held mixer.
  4. Add in the egg and egg yolk and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add in the vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and cornstarch.
  7. Fold in the cooked bacon and chocolate chips.
  8. Spoon the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

This recipe made 32 cookies.  Of course it would have made a few more if I didn't sample the dough (a big no-no!) before hand.  Both the dough and the cookies were delicious.  The cookies were a hit with the whole family!

Bacon chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk, and a game of HedBandz with the family was the best way to end a snow day. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Samoa 7 layer cake recipe

I made this the other night while having a craving and half way through, I realized I didn't have a crucial ingredient so what did I do?  I improvised as well as I could. And it turned out even better than I imagined.  I had made the whole cake and toppings were on the cake when I asked my husband for the can of sweetened condensed milk.  He handed me a can of unsweetened coconut milk.  When I searched for the condensed milk, I realized we were out. I loved my results after I improvised.

Chocolate cake box mix 
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil 
1/2-1 cup of the following: chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramel pieces.  I chopped werthers baking caramels in tiny pieces and used that. 

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbsp powered sugar
2 tbsp of Girl Scout Samoa coffee creamer or coconut coffee creamer. 

(Or you can substitute the last 3 ingredients for 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk) 

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Mix the cake mix with the two eggs and the oil.  Stir until it is blended completely.  Then put the cake batter in a foil lined, sprayed 8x8 or 9x13 pan.  Bake for 10 minutes. 

Pull the pan out of the oven and put half of the chocolate chips, caramel pieces and coconut on top of the cake.  

Whisk the creamer, the coconut milk and the sugar togetherness thoroughly (or gently shake the can of condensed milk really well) and drizzle all over the cake and toppings.  Now add the rest of the toppings and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the center of the cake is completely cooked and the caramel and chocolate are glossy and bubbly. 

You can serve this warm, with vanilla ice cream, or by itself.  Either way, it's delicious and tastes a lot like a Samoa cookie! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The hunt for Elsa

My daughter saw the Disney movie Frozen months ago.  She instantly fell in love with the story and the characters.  (I haven't seen it yet.  I will finally be able to watch it tonight, we had a friend buy us the BluRay this morning and drop it off to me.) Our home has been filled with pretend play of Anna and Elsa, and the music from Frozen ever since my little saw the movie.  At this point, all five of us know the songs and you will randomly hear us belting out "Let it Goooooooooo" or "Love is an open door, door, door, love is an open Dooooooooor!". 

So as we planned our trip to Disney, I told the big kids to make 3 lists.  1.  Things they wanted to see 2. Things they wanted to do and 3. Things they wanted to buy.   My son's list was full in each category.  But my 6 year old daughters lists were almost empty.  The three things she wanted on her trip were 1.  To see Anna and Elsa in person 2. To go to the Bibbidi Bobbidy Boutique and 3. To get the Elsa dress.  So I started preparing early.  I found out where Anna and Elsa were going to be while we were in Florida.  (Norway in Epcot.  They are tucked away in a little gift shop, and the line to meet them is usually about 3-5 hours long.) In December I booked an appointment at the Bibbidi Bobbidy Boutique in Downtown Disney for one of our days there.  (FYI, this one is busy, but not nearly as busy as the Magic Kingdom boutique.  Everytime we got close to that one, there were crowds of people around us and we could barely move.  The Downtown Disney boutique was more open and airy and you could easily move around. And yes, we definitely needed to book the appointment 3 months in advance.  Those appointments book up fast!) And I figured I could buy the dress at most of the gift shops around the park.  I mean, they all sell Disney stuff, and I was assuming most of them carried Disney Princess dress up clothes.  So they had to carry the Elsa dress. Right??  Right????  RIGHT??????  Hmmpppfff. 

So off to Disney we went, with lists in hand.  We visited the very first gift shop we saw with Princess dresses and I asked the woman where the Elsa dresses were.  She sort of giggled and replied "Oh honey, those are sold out park wide.  But I can sprinkle some pixie dust in your hair!"  So with a flick of her wand, my 6 year old and I were covered in glitter and headed out to find another shop that sold the dress.  I mean, seriously, it couldn't really be sold out park wide.  Right??  Right????  RIGHT????  Well.........  Maybe so.  Every dress shop I visited for the next two days had no Elsa dresses and almost no Frozen stuff.  Occasionally we'd find the castle playset, or a book, or Anna's sled toy.  But no dresses at all, Anna's or Elsa's!  But we hadn't hit the boutique yet and we knew that they had a plethora of princess dresses there. 

So the day of our appointment arrives.  We head on down super early to the Downtown Disney area.  We take some pictures in front of the characters and in the little water area there, and then head straight to the World of Disney store where the Boutique is.  We head in, see the Frozen area, with books and toys and tee shirts and sweatshirts and, and, AND................

No Elsa dresses. 


But they did have the beautiful green Coronation dress that Anna wears in the movie.  And then the women at the boutique and the dress shop did tell me AGAIN that the whole park is sold out of Elsa's dress.  So my daughter, with her sweet little face and her big brown eyes, looks up at me and says "Mommy, even though I reeeeeeeeally wanted the Elsa dress, I'd be completely happy with Anna's dress." 

Now let me tell you that this child, from birth, has been nothing but an angel.  She was the easiest baby, she was the nicest toddler, and she is the sweetest kid.  She has literally only thrown a temper tantrum ONCE in her 6 years.  (and that was when she was 1 1/2.) She listens and follows EVERY rule there is.  And she is kind to everyone.  Seriously.  (I wish I could tell you that I am exaggerating about this, but honestly, this child is an ANGEL.)

So I bought her the Anna dress.  And she looks beautiful in it.  And her boutique appointment was everything she dreamed of and everything she wanted and she left there smiling and thanking us over and over and over again. 
But I still wanted to get her that Elsa dress.  I was determined to find it.  I looked all over the parks for it, asked sales people in shops, stalked Norway in Epcot for it. (Btw, we DID see Anna and Elsa!)
But there were seriously no Elsa dresses to be found.  I even checked the Disney store online daily with no luck.  Now 2 weeks later I am STILL on the hunt!  This morning I got a call from a friend, letting me know that the dress was on the Disney website.  So I immediately logged on, clicked on my daughter's size and added it to my cart. 
"This item cannot be purchased at this time."
So I clicked on a size bigger. "This item cannot be purchased at this time."  Okay, the size smaller....."This item cannot be purchased at this time."   Okay, well, maybe I can try for my younger daughter.  "This item cannot be purchased at this time." 
REALLY????  Sold out in every size.  size 2/3, 4, 5/6, 7/8 and 10 all sold out.   I was so bummed.  So I am still on the hunt and frustrated.  I completely know how my Mom felt in the early 80's when all I wanted was a Cabbage Patch kid doll.  I know that eventually I will find the dress, Im just hoping it will be an easy find and that I don't get trampled when I find it!  (I'm only partially kidding....does anyone remember when Moms were getting trampled and getting broken legs while trying to buy Cabbage Patch kids?!?!) I've checked other sites.  One generous seller on Amazon was offering the dress at the low, low price of $608.  That is so very kind of him.  (Insert eye roll here.  I hope that you can sense my sarcasm in that previous sentence.) 
My daughter has hopes that we will find this dress before Halloween so she can be Elsa.  And I am determined to somehow find that darn dress!!!  It will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine!!!  Umm, I mean, my daughter's. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Disney Family vacation part 1.

Last week my family was lucky enough to travel to Florida and stay at a DisneyWorld resort.  This was our first real family vacation and it was the first time that the kids were going to Disney.  To say that we were all excited would have been a huge understatement.  The excitement was killing us as the trip got closer and closer and we talked about little else for a few weeks beforehand. 

 We ended up staying at Disney's Old Key West resort, which was beautiful and so convenient! We had a 2 bedroom suite with a full kitchen, two bathrooms, room to sleep atleast 7-8 and a full porch out back, overlooking a beautiful lake and golf course. The resort had a full service restaurant, a small bar and tiki cabana, a pool side snack bar, numerous pools, a supermarket and gift shop, water slides, toddler pools and water parks, and a dock where you could catch a boat that took you directly to Downtown Disney. It also had buses that came every 20 minutes and took you to the various attractions and parks that Disney has to offer.
Our first day, at the Magic Kingdom, was amazing.  We were all in awe of everything.  The people, the sites, the rides, the characters.  We tried to experience most everything we could, and we ended up staying all day, up until the park was closing that night!

 Meeting Merida was a big hit with my kids, especially the girls.  Merida promised to turn my son into a bear if he was a troublemaker, so he knew to be on his best behavior while he was there.  She was fantastic and the kids really loved talking with her. 

We ended up seeing a LOT of characters, but we made it a priority to ride as many rides as we could, so some characters we just saw in passing instead of waiting to meet them. 
 The Mad Hatters tea cups ride was the first ride we went on.  My kids LOVED it!  My son is almost 10, my daughter is 6, and they both had a blast.  We left the little one with her Daddy while the big kids went on faster rides with me.  Our peanut will be 2 soon, so she is really too little for the faster rides. 
Belle's Enchanted Storytime was a big hit.  All of the kids got to play a part in the story of Beauty and the Beast.  My son chose to be the Beast.  Little did he know, he would be able to dance with Belle at the end.  He did a great job! 

 My 6 year old was the armoire, and since the armoire narrates the show in the beginning, she told us that it was THE most important part of the show!  My daughter loved it. 
 Even my little one got in on the action.  Belle was the second Princess that gave her a big kiss on her forehead that day, so all day long she had big lipstick prints on her head.  She now tells random people throughout the day about the kisses she got from the Princesses.  The ladies at our bank and grocery store think its so adorable to hear her tell the story!

 Rapunzel's Tower was a big hit with my older daughter.  "Tangled" was the first movie she ever saw in the theater, so she has always loved Rapunzel.  She was so excited to see her home! 
 Allergies were a bit tricky at lunch time, but as you can see, my son was able to fully enjoy this turkey leg.  We have some rare and random food allergies in my family, but Disney was wonderful about it and we were able to speak to the chefs at all but 1 restaurant and had safe meals our whole trip, which we are thankful for. 
 The weather was fantastic.  We left cold, snowy Massachusetts for warm and sunny Florida.  I even ended up getting a sunburn on the back of my neck on this day.  I slathered everyone else in sunscreen and forgot about myself.  Whoops! 
 One of the rides that we knew would be iffy for my 6 year old was the Haunted Mansion.  She ended up riding with us but had her head buried in my arm the whole time.  She wasn't a fan. 
I will say that one of my absolute favorite parts of the whole trip was the fireworks show at Cinderella's Castle at the end of the night.  It was beautiful and a lot of fun.  First, they project a show on the castle, changing the castle different colors and putting clips of Disney movies on it all while Jiminy Cricket narrates. 

And this is what my little one did the whole entire show.....

Then Tinkerbell flies through the air and the fireworks start.  My little one continued sleeping throughout it, but my older two were in awe, as was the rest of my family.  It truly was magical!

I promise to continue the pictures of our Disney vacation another day.  We had so much fun and saw and experienced so much.  I'll spread it out over a few different posts.  Keep an eye out for part 2!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New opportunities

As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Click brand protein.  It is a coffee based protein that I use every morning to make my morning protein shake.  A little bit of coffee, two scoops of Click protein, in Mocha, Vanilla Latte or their new Caramel flavor, a greek yogurt, 8 oz of water, and a dash of flavored creamer.  Add ice, blend, and my morning is complete.  I have started each morning for about 4 years this way.  And I don't ever trade my Click for any other brand of protein.  It tastes good, makes me feel full but doesn't make me sick like some other proteins do. It also doesn't have a chemical aftertaste like some proteins.  For me, its the only protein I'll get. 

I use it for baking (mocha pancakes, protein cookies, and protein balls/nuggets) and I also use it to make protein ice cream.  I really do love my Click. 

Now I am lucky enough to be part of the Click team.  See those banners at the top of my blog and to the side of this post?  If you click on those, they will bring you directly to the Click website where you can order Click.  Or, click on my link here and it will take you there.  That is my personal Click link and Click will give me credit for each person who orders through me.  I am so excited to be able to have this opportunity from a company that I trust and believe in!!!  Did you want an opportunity to sample Click?  Please visit my Facebook page by clicking HERE and comment over there on the Click post letting me know what recipe you'd like to make with your Click.  I'll send a sample packet out to two lucky people! 

Showing my family's #DisneySide

About a month ago, Disney Parks and MomSelect sent me a Disney celebration kit.  Even though I  received this product kit for free, in return for hosting a Disney Side @home Celebration party,  the opinions expressed here are my own. 

It was an extremely snowy week when the party package was set to arrive.  Here in New England we got blizzard after blizzard, and we hadn't seen the grass for weeks.  I was a bit nervous that our UPS driver wouldn't be making it.  I was a shoveling fool all week, making sure there was a clear path from the road, all the way to our doorstep. And it finally arrived mid-February! 

Of course my kids first had fun playing with and in the box.  Why is it that the box that the prize comes in is always the most fun for kids????
But then they got in on the fun of checking out what was inside.

We ended up getting an American Tourister suitcase for our Disney trip, photo paper to print out our pictures, party supplies inclusing a table cloth, plates, cups, napkins and decorations with Mickey Mouse on them, cookie cutters, measuring cups, recipes, and games.  We got posters with Mickey and Minnie and poster board to make signs to cheer on the 5K runners.  Oh, and Craisins, too! They also included Hanes brand tee shirts and fabric markers to decorate them with.  The American Tourister suitcase was a HUGE help on our trip to Florida.  It's a fantastic suitcase.  We were all amazed at how smooth the wheels glide across the floor, how easily it turns, how much stuff we can shove inside, and how durable it was.  Its perfect for a carry-on, but we checked it and it came back to us with not a scratch on it.  And that sucker was stuffed full!  Since we had a weight issue with our largest suitcase (NOT an American Tourister.  We bought the big one for our honeymoon over 11 years ago), we will be trading that one in for two smaller American Tourister suitcases.  This way, we will be much better prepared for our next Disney trip! 
We ended up having friends over for a pizza and make your own sundae game night, full of presents for our little pal's 4th birthday.  The kids had a blast, especially since it was a night full of Disney and Marvel characters!

We had quite the cast of characters here that night to celebrate! 


We even did a bit of dress up during our party!  Princess Snow White, Princess Anna,

                                                              A feisty little Pirate princess

                                                       And Princess Elsa all showed up. 
Since we were soon headed to Florida and this was my kiddos first time going to DisneyWorld, we had plans to make special tee shirts.  Since Disney and Hanes sent us some, we quickly got to work.  The kids had a blast making their own shirts.  My son is a big superhero fan, so all of his were superheroes with Mickey ears, which I thought was very clever.  My 6 year old made Mickey's clubhouse and then had me help her with a few.  My little one got shirts made with love by Mom.  She is my tiny terror, and believe me, you don't want her near a permanent marker.  We did these shirts during her naptime!

And the shirts were very convenient!  The kids got to show their homemade DisneySide all week long on vacation! The Hanes shirts held up very well with washings and wearings and are sooooo soft.  They fit really well.  My son got size 14/16 and my daughter got size 10/12.  They both have plenty of room to grow in them.  There was no shrinking in the wash or the dryer.  And there are no tags... my kids usually complain about tags being itchy.  No complaints here!

The Craisins that Disney sent were the perfect snack for the plane ride and the snack size boxes easily fit in the stroller basket for a quick, easy snack on the go in the theme parks at Disney.  Did you know that Craisins dried cranberries are the official snack of Walt Disney World?  Now you do, and luckily, Craisins are a safe snack for my son and my youngest daughter who both have food allergies.  It was very convenient to hand my kiddos a box of Craisins while we were waiting in line at a ride or to meet a character.  It helped tame the hungry horrors and kept the kids' minds off of the wait.  Plus, Craisins are yummy!  I eat a salad every day for either lunch or dinner and always include cherry flavored Craisins in it! 
Our trip was amazing, but since this post was just supposed to be on my DisneySide party, I will have to continue the vacation pictures for another blog post.  We are so thankful that we could be part of the Disney side celebrations, MomSelect and Disney!!