Another Minecraft Party, Coming Up…

minecraft-cookiesMy son had a Minecraft themed birthday party back in September, and now my daughter wants one, too! This means I’ll need to come up with some new ideas for Minecraft treats, decorations, and activities. Since I know other parents are looking for similar stuff, I’ll post what I find here. Maybe it will help you with your Minecraft kids, too!

I found this Minecraft cookie cutter set today! I think it will be great for birthday treats, although the decorating will be a bit tricky. The shapes aren’t necessarily recognizable without the colored icing in the right places. Well, except for the Creeper face cookie. I’m pretty sure that will be easy enough.

The cookie cutters are $19.99 at ThinkGeek right now. Let me know if you get them, and how you do the decorating.

Minecraft Cookie Cutters

Thanksgiving Tip: Remove Guts from Turkey Before Roasting

Remove giblets before cooking turkey! Click to read source article.
How to remove giblets before cooking turkey! Click to read source article.

Here’s a story that we tell every year… Enjoy!

We’d been married about six months by our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple. We lived in an apartment with a small electric oven. I was so excited! You know… “Look at me! I’m such a good little wife cooking for my new hubby…”

I roasted a turkey, fixed up the trimmings, complete with cranberries from a can and Stove Top stuffing. When it was finished, he carved up the bird, my manly husband, and discovered something strange inside the breast. What the heck?! Did we get a defective turkey?!

We examined the pale, wrinkled, alien membrane, and figured out that I had forgotten to remove the bag of neck and giblets before I cooked the turkey. Yes, the bag of turkey guts was still inside, like an unexpected prize inside a cereal box. But instead of a super secret spy decoder ring, it was a baked bag of neck, gizzard, liver, and heart. Now, I’m sure that lots of people love to eat those parts, but we are not those people. I was quite embarrassed, especially when he told his mother about it. Fortunately, I have an excellent sense of humor. 😉 We still laugh about it!

failed turkey roast
National Lampoon’s Turkey Disaster

The rest of the turkey was delicious, and we are still married 17 years later!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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How to make edible Minecraft dirt and grass blocks

Hello, friends! Recently, I threw a Minecraft birthday party for my son, featuring dirt and grass blocks made from crispy cereal. Here is the recipe for those treats, which were delicious, and which scored highly on the Minecraft cred scale with the kids. Enjoy!

Minecraft treat ingredients
Minecraft treat ingredients

Ingredients

1/2 stick margarine

Large box of chocolate Rice Krispies or Cocoa Pebbles (about 8 cups, I think)

2 regular-sized bags of small marshmallows

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup chocolate chips

green icing in a can

green sugar sprinkles

chocolate sprinkles

Pam or other cooking oil spray

13 x 9 inch cake pan

Dirt blocks without frosting.
Dirt blocks without frosting.

Instructions

In a large nonstick pot, melt the margarine and marshmallows over medium-low heat, stirring so the marshmallows don’t burn. Mix in the corn syrup and keep stirring. Once the mixture is smooth, turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips until they’re completely melted and combined.

Add most of the cereal and fold it into the marshmallow mixture. I think I used about 8-10 cups of the cereal, which ended up being the whole box. You want the treats to be chewy, but not so squishy that they won’t hold a cube shape.

Grease the cake pan by rubbing the margarine wrapper all over the inside of the pan, or spray with Pam. Then pour the cereal mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly. It might help to spray some Pam onto your spoon or spatula, and use that to pack the mixture down into the pan. You want to press it down pretty well so there aren’t any big air pockets.

Allow the “cake” to cool to room temperature.

One Minecraft dirt and grass block.
One Minecraft dirt and grass block.

Decorating the treats

Place a cutting board over the top of the cake pan. Hold it in place and flip the whole thing over. Set it on the counter and tap on the bottom of the pan until the whole thing falls out onto the cutting board. Remove the cake pan and use a knife to cut the treats into squares/cubes.

Use your fingers to squeeze the treats into cube shapes and then roll the sides into the chocolate sprinkles. Don’t put sprinkles on the top of the cubes, because we’re going to put frosting on that part.

Use the green icing with the serrated tip (it looks like zig-zags) to make pointy tufts of frosting on top, to look like grass. Sprinkle some of the green sugar on top of the frosting for a little extra sparkle.

Arrange the finished blocks on a plate or tray, and add Creeper face picks if you want to (get free Creeper printables here).

I hope you enjoy these treats. I posted the recipe the way I made them, which was without a recipe, so that’s why the measurements are approximations. Cheers!

For my foodie friends! Recipe contest!

fudge photo“Stick a Fork in It” Food Blogger Contest
Sponsored by Top Recipes Android App

I enjoy cooking, but I know some people that are adventurous, creative, and passionate about food. This contest is for you guys! It’s called the “Stick a Fork in It” competition. And there’s money to be won!

Submit your best original recipe with a photo of the completed dish and you could win:
· First Place: $500 Visa gift card, award-winning designation within the app, plus a “virtual ribbon” to display on your website
· Second Place: $250 Visa gift card, award-winning designation within the app, plus a “virtual ribbon” to display on your website
· Third Place: $100 Visa gift card, award-winning designation within the app, plus a “virtual ribbon” to display on your website
· Editors’ Choice: $25 Visa gift card, award-winning designation within the app, plus a “virtual ribbon” to display on your website

Who can enter: Food blog owners/writers and contributors.

It looks pretty easy to enter. You need to submit an original recipe and an unmarked photo of the finished dish. Enter by February 17 and then tell your friends to download the app (from Google Play) and vote!

Get the full contest information and rules here, and start cooking! Good luck!

Reviews: Grapples and Petite Treats

photo of GrapplesHello, friends! I have tried some great new things, and you might like these, too.

First, my family tried some snappy new flavored apples. They are called Grapples (pronounced grape-lz), and they are real apples, but they smell like grapes. That might sound like a strange combination, but you should try these Grapples.

They start out as regular Fuji apples (my favorite kind of apples), which are crisp, juicy and sweet. Then the growers use some kind of proprietary magical process to infuse the apples with grape essence, which gives the fruits an extremely fruity fragrance, and a slightly grapey flavor.

It’s hard to describe, but it’s delicious. If you enjoy a crisp, sweet apple with a fantastic aroma and a sense of novelty, give Grapples a try.

photo of Petite Treats bookThe second new thing I’m sharing is this cute little recipe book, called “Petite Treats.”

From the authors of “Mini Pies” and founders of the Seattle-based Mini Empire Bakery, “Petite Treats” shows you how to miniaturize everything from tiny fruit scones and mini pies to bite-size brownies and cutesy cannoli —sweet satisfaction guaranteed.

This book includes dozens of full-color photos and easy-to-follow recipes, as well as decorating and presentation tips.

I haven’t had a chance to make any of the recipes in the book yet, but the pictures are drool-inducing. I’m looking forward to trying the tiny doughnuts and mini whoopie pies! You can order “Petite Treats” from Amazon.

Apple Fritter Waffles with Maple Glaze

I haven’t tried these apple fritter waffles yet, but when this recipe landed in my inbox today, I knew I had to share it! It’s a waffle batter, but it includes yeast, like a deep fried doughnut! Like an apple-waffle-doughnut with maple glaze. Scroll down for a photo of the finished waffles.

Are you drooling yet? Here’s the recipe, from cookbook author Jess Thomson.

apple fritter waffle recipe

Instructions:

Make the batter
The night before you plan to serve the waffles, make the batter: Whisk the yeast, water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar together in the work bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, mace, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Set aside. Add the butter, eggs, and vanilla to the foaming yeast mixture. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for about 1 minute, breaking up and melting the butter. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients about a third at a time, mixing until blended and scraping the sides down as necessary. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (You can also make the batter an hour or two before serving and let it sit at room temperature, covered, for about 1 hour before making the waffles.)

Make the apples
Combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts, the liquid evaporates, and the apples are soft and beginning to disintegrate, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the apples to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate them, and reheat before serving the waffles. (You can also make the apple compote in the morning.)

In the morning, make the glaze
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a large bowl with a whisk), blend the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla and maple extracts, maple syrup, and hot water until all of the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. (If the glaze seems to thick, add a little hot water, a teaspoon at a time.)

Make the waffles
Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron to the “crisp exterior” setting (or follow manufacturer’s directions). Add a heaping cup of batter, and cook for 2 minutes, until golden brown. Break the waffle into 4 pieces and dip one side of each waffle into the glaze. Place two waffle squares glazed side-up on each of two plates, and top with some of the apple compote. Serve immediately, then repeat with the remaining batter, glaze, and compote.

Who Wants to Win Free Bananas?

So, my family goes through a bunch of bananas every week. We eat them plain, put them on top of cereal or ice cream, and when they’re over-ripe and freckled, I make the most delicious banana bread!

Well, Del Monte is holding a contest to name its new mascot. It’s a cute little monkey, and you can help name him! The details and entry form are on Del Monte’s Facebook page, but here’s the basic information:

  • One (1) randomly selected winner will WIN A YEAR SUPPLY of DEL MONTE BANANAS® (52 banana coupons valued at $2.00 per coupon) and a Del Monte plush toy monkey.
  • One Hundred (100) randomly selected winners will win a Del Monte plush toy monkey.
  • Sweepstakes Ends: October 08, 2012 23:59

Enter here, and good luck!