Wednesday, July 29, 2015

#TopTwo Baby Items I Still Use Every Day

This installment of my #TopTwo is dedicated to saving you a little money.  Having a baby can be an expensive endeavor which I why I always recommend that you shop smart, buying only what you truly need and looking for gear that will do double duty.  For example, skip the changing table when you are buying nursery furniture and buy a dresser that can double as a changing table.

The same is true when it comes to buying smaller items and believe you me, there are a ton of small items to buy.  Here are two of my must have baby items which I am literally still using 5 years later.  Really, every day.

Not only is the Boon Patch just about the most stylish bottle drying rack there is, it is uber versatile.  Years after the boys have outgrown bottles I am still using my Patch for everything from small items like measuring spoons and corn on the cob holders to delicate items like wine and champagne glasses or vases.  Cutting boards, spoons, spatulas and water bottles will dry quicker and look cuter!

I have tried a lot of baby bottle brushes over the years (a LOT) and the Munchkin Big Brush is still my favorite.  It is the perfect compact all-in-one brush that made bottle washing much easier.  So what do I use it for these days?  This brush is my go to for water bottles, wine and champagne glasses, vases, ramekins, small pots, you name it! Like any kitchen sponge you’ll want to swap it out when it starts looking a little iffy, but at this price you might as well buy 3 at a time.

How is that for 2 inexpensive long term investments?! Who doesn’t love #TopTwo money savers :-)

Until next time,
aka Chick #1

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Even S’more S’mores!

When August rolls around everyone thinks of the end of summer, going back to school and the craziness of normal life.  But did you know that August also brings National S’mores Day?  Yep, August 10th, a day dedicated to the perfect ooey gooey treat that kids and grownups of all ages love.

S’mores are so much more than just the plain old graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate, although a good old fashioned s’mores will always do the trick.  If you are looking for some fun twists on the traditional recipe, check out some of my favorite idea:

S’mores Pudding Cup 
A fun way to make a s’mores dessert without toasting a single marshmallow is by whipping up a s’mores pudding cup.  You can keep your pudding cup super simple by using a pudding cup, or make your own pudding and layer it in a clear cup with graham cracker pieces and whipped cream, more chocolate pudding and top with graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows.  TIP: For the perfect grownup treat, serve your s’mores pudding cup in a wine glass for a fun and fancy sweet treat.

S’mores Munch
A fun s’mores munch is the perfect make ahead treat to serve on it’s own or mixed with popcorn. 

2 cups cinnamon graham cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Spread 2 cups of cinnamon graham cereal on a lined baking sheet and cover with 1 cup mini marshmallows and 1 cup mini chocolate chips.  Bake at 350 for 5 min or until chocolate chips begin to soften.  Remove from oven and promptly toss the munch to cover all of the cereal and marshmallows with chocolate.  Allow to cool and break into bite size pieces. 

Serve your S’mores Munch in small cups or mini paper bags. TIP: S’mores munch can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

S’more Pretzels
Think s’mores are just for graham crackers?  Think again!  Instead of using graham crackers for your s’mores, place 3 mini marshmallows in-between two twisty pretzels and dip the pretzel marshmallow sandwich in chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to cool and harden for a perfectly popable s’mores.  This will fall into the ‘you can’t eat just 1 category’.  TIP: I also use gluten free pretzels to make the perfect gluten free s’mores!

S’mores Brownie Cup
Another fun popable s’mores comes in the form of everyone’s favorite, a brownie cup, the perfect cross between a brownie and a cupcake.  These fabulous treats are adorable and easier to make than you’d think. Simply make your favorite brownie mix and bake in a mini muffin tin for 2 min less than directed so that your brownies are still ooey gooey in the center.  As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, immediately press 3 mini marshmallows in the center of each brownie cup and add a teddy graham cookie or graham cracker stick.  TIP:  These adorable s’mores brownie cups look just like a little teddy bear bubble bath and make the perfect dessert for your next baby shower or 1st birthday party.

S’mores To Go
Believe it or not, s’mores also make the perfect party favor and small gift for friends and family.  Gather your favorite graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate bars and cute bags or reusable containers.  Stack the chocolate bar, graham crackers and a few marshmallows in a cute layered design and tie it up with a bow.  You can even include a cute note with directions to toast the marshmallows on top of the graham crackers in the oven at 350 for 5 min then add the chocolate.

Now that you are armed and dangerous with fun and easy ways to create every type of s’mores imaginable it is time to start scouring grocery store adds and stocking up on ingredients when they are on sale.  After all, most of the ingredients will stay fresh for months in their original containers.

Whether you decide to enjoy the perfect combination of graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate the same why you did growing up over a campfire, or you branch out and make S’mores Brownie Cups, make sure you celebrate National S’mores Day!  Heck, go crazy and invite a few friends or the neighbors over for a S’mores party.

For even more inspiration, and a few more complicated ideas, check out my S’more S’mores pinboard.

Until next time,
aka Chick #1