Homemade Marshmallows aka Pseudo Peeps

12 Jul

I got asked why I made homemade marshmallows, was there dairy in the store bought kind?

“no, not that I know of… it just sounded like fun!”

So here’s the thing, there are a ton of recipes on the internet already, nothing new there, but they require you do super crazy things like use a candy thermometer.  Which is all fine and dandy, except that mine broke a couple of months ago…

So here’s what I created, sans a candy thermometer, and was was described to me as having a smooth texture and tasting like Peeps…

What you need:

4 envelopes gelatin

1 C. water

2 C. sugar (I just used regular old sugar)

1/3 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

1 Tablespoon vanilla

What you do ::

Generously grease a 9 x13 pan.  Set aside

Put you gelatin in with your cold water.  If you have a stand-up mixture put it in the bowl you use for it.  Set aside.

Heat sugar, corn syrup, and water over a medium heat, stirring constantly.  Once your mixture starts to boil set your timer for 9 minutes.  Keep stirring so your sugar doesn’t burn.

While your mixture is boiling whip the egg whites and vanilla until peaks form.

After your sugar mixture has bubbled for 9 minutes add to the bowl with the gelatin and water and beat for 6 – 10 minutes.  Gently fold in egg white mixture and pour in to greased 9×13 pan.

Let set in your refrigerator for at least 3 hours, up to overnight. to set up.

Here is the fun part my kids got in to ::

Run a spatula along the rim of the marshmallows until the whole thing is loosened from the pan.  Flip on to greased surface.  Cut in to 1 inch squares.

This is where it gets fun for the kiddos – pour an combination of colored sugar and sprinkles in to a bowl and let them roll the marshmallows around until the well covered.  You cannot skip this step, the marshmallows are just too sticky otherwise!  It was the colored sugar that we used that gave them the Peep style flavor.

They can last up to two weeks in an airtight container.

Did you make them?  Leave me a comment or pin it on your pinterest!  I LOVE seeing what you’re doing!!!


Wordless Wednesday

11 Jul

Simple Marsala Chicken – Dairy Free, Gluten Free

9 Jul

I love, love, love marsala chicken.  It is probably one of my favorite dishes, ever. I needed to make it the other day and it needed to be both dairy free and gluten free.  One of the characteristics of marsala chicken is the flour on the outside to give it a nice crust.  But by making sure you have nice thin chicken and a hot pan you can achieve the same taste without the allergens.

I also needed a side that fit that bill, so I picked one of my favorites, red quinoa!

What you need ::

4 – 5 thin cut (or pounded thin) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 – 4  Tbs your favorite dairy substitute (we LOVE Earth Balance)

8 oz fresh mushrooms

1 Cup Marsala Wine

2 – 3 Tbsp unsweeted coconut milk

1 cup red quinoa

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth

1 bunch green onions

salt and pepper to taste

What you do ::

Rinse you quinoa in cold water.  Heat your chicken stock or broth to boiling.  Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat.  Simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Drain any excess liquid.  When ready to serve mix in chopped green onions.

While the quinoa is cooking heat butter substitute over medium heat in skillet.  Salt and pepper chicken to taste and add to pan.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on each side.  Each side should be nice and browned, and no pink should remain in the middle of the breast.

Remove chicken from pan and cover to keep warm.  Add mushrooms to pan and cook until soft, about five minutes.  Deglaze the pan with your marsla wine and cook down until reduced by half, about 2 – 3 minutes.  Stir in milk substitute and add chicken back to pan.  Cover and let cook for 1 – 2 minutes.

That’s it!  Easy peasy and super yummy!!!

Snowball Fight in July

6 Jul

Who doesn’t love a good snowball fight?  The ball, the aim, the hit.  The laughter afterwards.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Too bad it is July and 100 degrees out.

That’s okay – we headed out in our shorts, and still had one heck of a fight!

What you need:

Mini Marshmallows (or regular, keep reading…)

I started out by simply dividing the marshmallows in to five equal baggies (we have two friends spending the night tonight) and then laid out the ground rules :: no intentionally hitting in the face, no eating, no sticking up anyone’s noses.

And we had at it.  The soldier and I stayed up on the deck, unannounced to the children that we had a bag of marshmallows of our own…

Eventually our marshmallows ran out and we were being ganged up on…. so I went inside and raided the pantry for regular sized marshmallows!

We laughed so hard.  Sure the dog ate a few but eventually he grew tired of that.  The game lasted for over an hour!  If that isn’t entertainment, I don’t know what is!  Next week I’ll share the other craft we did once it got dark!

Thursday Fun – Crystal Shapes

5 Jul

My kids love to play pipe-cleaners.  And who can blame them?  They’re so, they’re bendy, they’re fun!  So we decided to take it to the next level and crystalize our pipe-cleaners.

This was super fun and easy.  I think you could print out shapes and let the kids copy those but for today we just “free-styled”.

What you need:

Borax (powdered, in your laundry aisle)


boiling water

wide-mouth jars

To Make ::

Have your children make whatever they want out of the pipe-cleaners, I told mine to do whatever, just make sure it would fit in the jar.

Put 1/2 cup Borax in each jar that your are using and then fill with boiling water.  Still until completely dissolved.  I allowed the olders to do this, for the younger I did it for her, didn’t want any burns!

Tie a string to one end of your design and to a pen or pencil at the other.  It only needs to be long enough so that your child’s creation can hang in the water/borax mix.

Then simply put in and let sit over night.  When you pull it out the next morning it will be a pretty, sparkly design!

I think this would be fun to do themed to holidays – pumpkins in the fall, stars and gingerbread men in the winter, etc.  What would you and your child make?



Wordless Wednesday

4 Jul

Simple Yummy Salad – Dairy Free

2 Jul

We just came inside from running in the sprinklers.  It is 104 degrees out and we are hot.  The kids are now puddles of wet hair and swimming suits in the living room. They asked for a movie and I agreed, sometimes you just need to lay low.

To avoid turning on the oven we are having this salad.  It was first introduced to me 12 years ago and over the years we have tweaked it to make it our own.  That is the beauty of this salad, it is highly experimental and just begs to be a “have fun with me” recipe.  And the best part?  It is going to turn out good, no matter what you do!

Be creative!

What you need:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup frozen concentrated orange juice

AND however much sounds good to you of the following:

-grilled chicken, sliced and cooled, pull out last night leftovers

-lettuce, spinach, mixed greens, etc.

-apples, finely chopped

-dried cranberries

-oranges, pieced

-chopped almonds, toasted – do it, they taste so much better toasted!

What you do ::

Mix liquids, add rest of ingredients in to large salad bowl, toss together and serve!

Seriously, I could eat this all the time, it is so tasty and refreshing!  And my kids l-o-v-e that there is fruit in here!!!

The Mommy Files – My Kids Won’t Eat THAT

30 Jun

My kids are no different than any other person on this planet.  They have their likes.  They have their dislikes.

But more often than not I hear from so many moms, “you are so lucky, my child would never eat that”

I really dont’ think it has anything to do with luck, or my children being that different.  I think it has much more to do with the approach we take to dinner, and food in general.

So here are some things that we do that has nothing to do with the actual food we are serving but more a mindset about dinner.

1. I am not a short order cook, I do love to cook, but I cook one meal per meal.  We have allergies in this house but we still eat the same thing, I do not make special meals.

2.  We eat dinner together.  We do not eat it in front of the t.v., we sit at the table, and we talk to each other, not our phones or our electronics.  In fact we have always had a “no toys at the table” rule, it has served us well.

3.  We say grace.  Truly, it forces all of us to stop what we’re doing and offer up thanksgiving for the food we’re about to eat.  It re-focuses our energies from what we were doing to the task at hand.

4.  80% of the time you will like what I cook, I cannot always make five people happy 100% of the time.  But if you are in the 20% today please read rule 5….

5.  If you don’t like something you still need to try one bite, to see if you like this dish.  And if you still don’t like it, you can tell me without whining, complaining, fussing, pouting, shouting, crying, or being rude.  This is a life lesson that will serve you well in many areas, learn it now when you’re only a kid so it becomes second nature by the time you’re an adult.

6.  If you’ve tried dinner and do not like it and have told me in a polite way, you may be done.  But you are done.  No other food is available to you, I will not make you a sandwich, you do not get dessert.

7.  Children learn by example.  My husband, bless him, is very good about eating whatever is served.  No complaints.  If your husband is complaining about the food, what makes you think your children won’t?  Likewise SW knows that he is the oldest, he is the example.  He does not like mushrooms, he never has, I love mushrooms, guess what, mushrooms end up in our dinners.  He knows not to complain, that if he complains the younger two will not eat the dish either, but if he quietly pulls them out of the dish, the younger two are non the wiser.

8.  From the time my kids were old enough to walk, they help set the table and they take their dishes to the sink when they are done eating.  Engage them, make them a member of team family, when they feel like they matter and are a part of something bigger they’re a lot less likely to complain!

I know that this is sometimes easier said than done – this doesn’t happen over night either.  These rules stem from bad experiences on our end, don’t think it has always been easy!  But also don’t think it is hopeless!  Work at it, get your family on board!

There are few things I cherish like I cherish sharing food with my family and talking about their days.

Do you have tried and true tricks that work in your house?  Share them below!

Thursday Fun – Ivory Soap

28 Jun

Are you a pinterest junkie?  I totally am.  I love to find ideas to do with my kids, things to cook, things to make, ways that I will never actually decorate my house but in pretend Ule-Land I want to…. If you’re in to it like I am, lets be pinterest friends!  Find me here!!!

So when I saw this idea I had to pin it for later.  This comes from Our Best Bites and truly is genius.  Sticking Ivory Soap in the microwave?  Genius!  And I love this idea because it it on the cheap and the kids had a BLAST.

It is simple to do.

You need ::

Ivory Soap

A microwave

Wax paper

Put a piece of wax paper in the microwave and stick your unwrapped bar of Ivory soap on in there.  Set your microwave for a few minutes on high power and watch you soap poof up.  You don’t have to do the full 2 minutes, just until your bar is how you want it.

Now my microwave was waaaaaaaaay too dirty to take a picture of.  But here are my sweet babes faces watching it puff up.

And then we took it outside to play, because it is super crumbly and I didn’t want it all over my house.  (I promise SW is happy, I think the sun was just in his eyes…)

Then they decided they wanted to see what happened when you put water on it and this happened…. I don’t blame them.

Have you tried this?  What fun things did you do with it?  Leave a comment below!

Wordless Wednesdays

27 Jun