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PIZZA POTATO SKINS

Ingredients

8 baby potatoes, about the size of a golf ball
2 tbsp olive oil, or oil spray
1/2 cup pizza sauce, preferably homemade (see notes)
1 cup grated melting cheese (I used mozzarella, cheddar, gruyere and swiss would also also well)
48 pieces mini pepperoni slices (optional)
Finely chopped parsley, to garnish (optional)
Directions

Preheat oven to 220C/430F.
Prick each potato 2 to 3 times with a fork. Spread them out evenly around the edge of the microwave turntable (or in a circle for microwaves without a turntable). Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Turn potatoes over then microwave for a further 2 minutes, or until just cooked. Remove from microwave.
Cut each potato in half, then use a teaspoon to scoop the filling out, leaving a thin layer of potato.
Place the potatoes on a baking tray, skin side up.
Brush with olive oil (or spray) then sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Bake skins for 10 minutes or until the skin is browned and a bit crispy.
Turn the grill (broiler) on.
Flip the potato skins over so the bowl side is facing up.
Fill each potato skin with about 1½ tsp of pizza sauce, then top with grated cheese.
Place 2 to 3 pepperoni’s on each, then place under the grill (broiler) for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the pepperoni is just starting to brown.
Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve immediately.
note – To make a quick pizza sauce, mix the following in a small bowl: ½ cup tomato paste, 1½ tbsp water, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp sugar, ½ tsp dried oregano and black pepper. Use as per recipe instructions.

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Coconut Nutella No Bake Cookies

Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: makes about 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients
1½ cups old-fashioned oats
¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
3 tablespoons finely shredded coconut
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil (refined doesn’t have coconut flavor)
⅓ cup raw honey
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup Nutella
⅛ teaspoon salt
Optional: finely shredded coconut, for topping
Instructions
In a medium bowl, mix together oats, hazelnuts and shredded coconut. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil, honey, cocoa and coconut milk. Stir until all is melted. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Once a boil has been reached, boil the mixture for 1 minute stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in Nutella, vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour this mixture over the oats and stir until completely moistened. Drop by tablespoon onto parchment paper or Silpat and sprinkle the tops with additional shredded coconut, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Lemon/Raspberry Streusel Muffins

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling
YIELD:12 servings
Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) lemon yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
TOPPING:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine eggs, yogurt, oil and lemon peel; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raspberries. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. For topping, combine sugar and flour. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle about 1 tablespoon over each muffin. Bake at 400° for 18-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: about 1 dozen.
Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 272 calories, 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 41 mg cholesterol, 258 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

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TWIX TRUFFLE BROWNIES

Great recipe I found on http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/08/twix-truffle-brownies/

INGREDIENTS
Brownies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⅓ cup flour
Shortbread Truffle Layer
1 (10 oz.) box Lorna Doone’s Shortbread Cookies
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
Caramel Layer
14 oz. bag of caramel cubes, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons milk
Chocolate Layer
1½ cups milk chocolate chips
½ cup semi-sweet milk chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon shortening
INSTRUCTIONS
Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Add salt, cocoa powder and flour and stir to well combine. Do not over mix.
Pour into a greased 9×13 inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes.
Shortbread Truffle Layer
Place cookies in a food processor until fine powder. Mash in cream cheese and sugar until mixture is well combined.
Gently press shortbread truffle evenly over cooled brownies.
Caramel Layer
Place caramel cubes and milk in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted, stirring in between each increment until melted and smooth.
Evenly pour over shortbread truffle layer.
Place in fridge to let it cool.
Chocolate Layer
Combine chocolate chips and shortening together in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between each increment until melted and smooth.
Evenly spread over the top of cooled caramel layer.
Let set up in fridge before cutting into.

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30 Handmade Ornaments for the kids

GREAT post I found on http://handsonaswegrow.com/ and wanted to share with you. 30 Homemade Ornaments for the kids. So super cute!!

http://handsonaswegrow.com/30-homemade-ornaments-for-the-kids/

Thirty homemade ornaments to make with your kids for keepsakes this Christmas, or just for fun!

I especially love the globe ornaments, so I even included a section of just those!

Six keepsake ornaments. Ten globe ornaments. And even fourteen homemade ornaments that the kids can make!

So call the kids over as you scroll through these and decide which ornament you’ll make today! [And then choose another to make tomorrow! I think you’ll have enough to do one each day until Christmas!]

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Homemade Flubber For Kids

Some water, glue, borax, and food coloring is all you need. mix the glue, water, and food coloring in one bowl. in a separate bowl, mix hot water and borax. when you mix the two together, a magical thing happens – it turns into this smooth elastic-y substance that i can’t quite describe. Are you curious to know for yourself what this stuff is like?! Try it yourself – your kids will love it!! Here’s the recipe!

what you need:

3/4 cup cold water

1 cup Elmer’s glue

liquid food coloring

1/2 cup hot water

1 teaspoon borax (you can find this in a box in the laundry aisle)

directions:

step 1: in bowl 1 – mix together the cold water, glue, and food coloring. set aside.

step 2: in bowl 2 – mix together the hot water and borax, until the borax is completely dissolved.

step 3: slowly add glue mixture to borax mixture. mix well. pour off excess water.

Source: http://www.livecrafteat.com/craft/homemade-flubber-for-kids/#ixzz3OL1N1eH9

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cookies

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Cookies
Serves: makes about 20-24 cookies
Ingredients
For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
2 eggs, whisked
2-3 tablespoons milk
For the caramel:
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
⅓ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
2 large apples, cored, peeled and small diced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the egg wash:
1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
sugar for sprinkling
Instructions
The dough. Make the dough following the directions given below this recipe. Form dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes. A chilled dough is easier to handle.
The caramel. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula (or wooden spoon). Once it starts melting, stir continuously as it cooks, until all clumps are melted down. Be careful not to burn. When the sugar is completely melted and reaches a deep amber color, immediately add all the butter. BE CAREFUL because the caramel will bubble rapidly when you do this! Stir until butter is completely melted. Immediately remove pan from heat, and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Stir until caramel is smooth. Stir in the salt. Let cool in saucepan for a couple of minutes before pouring into a mason jar. Let cool to room temperature (makes 1 cup).
The filling. Toss the diced apples and lemon juice in a medium bowl. In a separate, small bowl, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cornstarch. Pour this mixture over the apples and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Assembling apple pie cookies. Work with one dough ball at a time (keep the others refrigerated till ready to use). On a floured surface roll out the dough into a thin sheet (about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick). Use a 2½ to 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as possible from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process with the second dough ball. When the baking sheet is full, put it in the refrigerator. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls. Refrigerate the dough scraps if they become too stretchy and soft. I usually place it in the freezer, so it chills faster.
Place about a heaping teaspoon or so of the apple filling in the center of the circle. Add a dollop of salted caramel on top (don’t add too much or it will leak out during baking). Layer a second round of dough on top and press the edges to seal. Repeat this process with the remaining circles and the filling. Refrigerate the cookies for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When all mini pies are chilled, crimp the edges of each pie with a fork. Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the sugar. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the top of each pie.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden brown (watch carefully as they can burn quickly). Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Microwave the remaining caramel until smooth and pourable, and drizzle over the top of each cookie. Enjoy!

1. The dough. Add the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or two blunt knives to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles crumbs. Pour whisked eggs and 2 tablespoons of milk into the butter/flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Gather the dough into a ball. If dough doesn’t stick together, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a ball can be formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes (add more flour as you knead, if it’s extremely sticky). Form dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes. A chilled dough is easier to handle.

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How to build a Lego Candy Dispenser 

Great article I found on http://frugalfun4boys.com/ and wanted to share with you. Awesome for moms of boys!

Got M&M’s?  Or Skittles? Even if you don’t do trick-or-treating, it seems like there is always plenty of candy floating around during this time of the year… Add a little creativity to your kids’ sugar high with this fun Lego project!

Lego Candy Dispenser

This Lego candy dispenser uses pieces that are pretty easy to find.  We’re hoping that you have everything on hand that you need to build it.  If not, maybe your kids can find another piece to substitute, or come up with an awesome design of their own!

When you pull out the brick on the right side of the photo, M&M’s drop down.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Then open the door in the front, and out comes the candy!

Lego Candy Dispenser

Here’s how to build it:

Step 1:  Start with a 12 x 12 baseplate or something similar.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 2:  Add bricks to the bottom of the base plate to boost it up a little.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 3: Find pieces that look like this.

Update:  If you need to order these pieces, the red and black element is actually two bricks.  You will need a 2 x 2 rocker plate and 2 x 1 rocker bearing.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 4:  Assemble the pieces like this.  This will be a ramp for the candy to slide down.

Lego Candy DispenserStep 5:  Find pieces that look like this.  This will be the door that lets the candy out.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 6:  Attach the ramp to the base plate as shown.  Add two 2 x 2 bricks.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 7:  Add the door pieces like this.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 8:  Add bricks to the base plate as shown.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 9:  Add two 2 x 6 bricks to each side.  Add one 1 x 6 to each gray piece with holes.  Add two 2 x 6 bricks behind the ramp.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 10:  Add two flat 2 x 10 pieces above the ramp as shown.  Add two flat and smooth 2 x 2 bricks.  These bricks will allow the arm that lets the candy out to slide back and forth.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 11:  Add a 1 x 6 brick to the left side as shown.  Build the sliding arm as shown – one 2 x 10 flat brick and one 2 x 4 flat brick.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 12:  Start building up the candy chamber as shown.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 13:  Add height to the candy chamber.  We used some window pieces so that you can see the candy level inside.

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 14:  Fill with candy!

Lego Candy Dispenser

Step 15:  Add some flat pieces for the top.

Lego Candy Dispenser

(It’s fun to leave this out on the counter so that Moms can share the M&M’s too… Just sayin’… :-) )

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Peppermint Salt Dough Recipe

Scented Sensory Salt Dough Play!

Easy no cook salt dough recipe for sensory play! We livened it up with a wonderful peppermint scent and natural coloring too! I love no cook dough for how easy it is to make. Our apple sauce no cook dough and harvest no cook dough were a real hit. This recipe is one of my favorites and part of our 12 Awesome Sensory Play Recipes. I am pleased to be a part of an awesome group called All Things Kids! Each month we join together to bring you a great resource of the wonderful kids activities. This month is all about Salt Doughs for the 12 Months of Sensory Dough hosted by Lemon Lime Adventures.
Peppermint Salt Dough Recipe {No Cook!}

What is salt dough? It is a very simple mixture that creates a sort of modeling dough and can be air-dried and saved. We simply use it for sensory play He loves when I start pulling out ingredients from the kitchen, especially candy canes, and I tell him we are going to invent a new dough to play with today! I think he loves the novelty of creating something brand new! Read all about Tactile Sensory Play and its great benefits! Today we have a quick salt dough recipe provided by one of my awesome friends that we have used before!
Supplies needed:

1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Table Salt
1/2 Water
Candy Canes or Peppermints
Bowl and Spoon to mix
Cookie Cutters, Spatula, Rolling Pin and other play items!
So quick and EASY! While we were eating breakfast, I measured the water and added a few broken candy canes to it! This is where the lovely smell and color come from, but it needs some time to dissolve! We even made a peppermint water science experiment earlier in the week! We measured the salt and flour and poured them both into the bowl and then added peppermint water. Mix, knead, roll and play! SIMPLE!
Credit: http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/peppermint-salt-dough-recipe/
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