Avocado Tips and Tricks

love avocados.  I could live on sliced avocados on top of an avocado salad, with a side of guacamole!  And I’ve been eating them for 30 {ahem} some odd years!  But only recently did I find out some tips and tricks to making these delicious fruits even easier to eat!

Avocado Logo Square

I like to buy several avocados at a time, and then place a couple in a brown paper bag, next to some bananas on the counter.  This helps them ripen faster, and within a day or two, the firm avocados have become slightly soft when you gently squeeze them.  That is your first clue that they are ready to eat.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

The second tip to check ripeness is to pop off the little stem thingy {yes, that’s the technical term thankyouverymuch}.  If it’s greenish on the inside, then your avocado is ripe!  The trick with this though is to only pop off the stem if you’ve already checked the fruit for a little squishiness… because if you take the stem off and it’s still brownish, then you’ve used up that opportunity to check for ripeness.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

After slicing the avocado lengthwise, use a sharp knife {one that has a wide blade…no pairing knives} to “Hi-ya!” into the pit.  Again, another technical term.  You will hit the pit straight on with your life, hard enough that it sticks into the pit.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

Then gently twist the knife, and the pit will slide cleanly right out of the fruit.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

Then, if you want cube-ish pieces, draw a grid of lines with your knife through the flesh {be careful not to cut through the skin}.  If you are using the avocado to make guacamole, feel free to not cut a grid, but just scoop out the flesh into a bowl for mashing.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

Use a spoon to gently scoop around the edges of the flesh, scraping the inside of the skin…and all of the cube-ish pieces will come right out into your bowl.

Avocado Tips and Tricks- Palmettos and Pigtails

For avocado salad, add some mozzarella balls and tomatoes with a little white or balsamic vinegar.  My favorite healthy lunch!

I don’t have a photo, but if you are making guacamole, prepare it fully in your serving bowl, then take a piece of cling wrap and lay it directly onto of the guacamole.  Make sure all of the top of the guacamole is touching the cling wrap, ensuring that there is no air in between.  Seal off the guacamole all the way to the edges of the bowl and up the sides.  Then take a second piece of cling wrap and lay it over the top of the whole bowl.  Your guac shouldn’t turn brown, as long as there is no contact with air!

Enjoy!

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{From the Archives} School Lunch Ideas

This is an oldie, but goodie!  My school lunch ideas round-up has been one of my most popular posts ever!  So I thought I’d repost it for you with a couple of new ideas at the bottom too!

AND…Don’t forger that I have a giveaway going this week for some Jamberry Nails!     Click here to enter!

It’s that time again!  School starts next week, and this year I’ll need lunches for two kids!   So twice a week for Millie, and 5 days a week for Jayna, I have to come up with fresh, healthy, and portable food to eat.  And their routine lunch of peanut butter and jelly, heated up leftovers, a bunch of grapes, and a fruit snack won’t work at school.  And yes, they really does eat all of that!  And to top it off, I’m just not that creative {or a morning person}….so I can’t be one of these moms.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Source

So I’ve been scouring the internet {aka Pinterest} for some easy, make ahead meals.  Preferably ones I can maybe freeze too.  Here’s what I came up with:

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

I love the idea of smoothies.  Healthy AND yummy.  But they are kind of a pain to make every morning…..but, if I make several and freeze them, by the time Jayna’s lunchtime rolls around, they shold be nice and thawed in her lunchbox!  This site has a bunch of different flavor ideas.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Meet the Dubiens

And I found a bunch of cute ideas of muffin-tin lunches.  Although the kids won’t have access to a microwave, I’m hoping if I heat them up and wrap them in foil, they’ll stay pretty warm.

Little Potpies stocked with veggies and meat and topped with Bisquick!

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Betty Crocker

Don’t you just love the tiny pepperoni?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

Really From Pinterest

Here’s one I’ve actually made before.  The personalized mac and cheese bites are definitely a crowd pleaser!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe - A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

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And the next two are from my friend Jaima….she has tons of great freezer and toddler recipes on her site.

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

 Ring Around the Rosies

And the seven layer dip that we bring to um, every single party? What if I just make them in little individual Tupperware instead?

A round up of peanut-free make ahead school lunch ideas from Palmettos and Pigtails

The Girl Who Ate Everything 

I also had a few of my own ideas too! {gasp!}

  • I make these little cream cheese pinwheels for parties using tortillas, cream cheese and dry ranch dressing….I’m thinking of doing those again, but adding more veggies (like peppers, broccoli, carrot strips,etc.) inside before rolling them up and slicing them.
  • We routinely make stuffed crescent rolls for dinner and it has become a favorite quick dinner.  We’ve done pesto, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes….cheddar, apples and onion vinagrette….and of course string cheese, pizza sauce and pepperoni (I’m sure you can find that on pinterest!!).  What about ham and cheese?  Or bacon and eggs inside?  Super portable and freezer-friendly!
  • I also thought about making little burrito bowls.  Taco meat, cheese and salsa in a Tupperware in the freezer.  Thaw it out and top with sour cream for the lunchbox? Hmmmm…..

I also plan on stocking up on and pre-washing, cutting and bagging various fruit, veggies, cheese cubes, dried fruit and crackers.

How about you?  Got any ideas for me?  Leave me a comment!

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13 Freezer Meals {with a free printable!}

Since having Lincoln back in May, we have been on the go…non-stop.  Between figuring out life as a family of five, summer camps and vacations, doctors appointments and work commitments, cooking dinner has not even been on my radar.

Luckily, we have a FANTASTIC support system of friends between our neighborhood and church, who graciously provided us meals every other day for about six weeks straight.  Like, hot meals.  Hot meals that my kids would eat.  Hot meals that made great leftovers too.  Hot meals that usually came in disposable containers {aka no clean-up either!}.

Needless to say, we’ve been blessed {and quite spoiled!}

But now we’re back to the real world.  We’re settling in and the kids are actually expecting me to start cooking again.  Too bad I’m not really ready yet!  So, it was a good thing that I prepared for this day ahead of time!  About a week before Lincoln was due, I scoured Pinterest for yummy freezer meals that I could make in bulk, ahead of time.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

I chose 13 of my favorites, and then mapped out how I could prep, and then freeze, all of them for after Lincoln arrived.  Here’s a list of the recipes I made, and where I got them from:

1. Healthy Mama Barbecue Chicken    (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
2. Stephanie’s Goulash (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
3. Enchilada Casserole (www.joyfulmommaskitchen.com)
4. Chicken Curry  (www.mamaandbabylove.com)
5. Quesadilla Casserole (www.joyfulmommaskitchen.com)
6. Sausage & Peppers (www.bakedinthesouth.com)
7. Stromboli (http://joelandkitty.com)
8. Stuffed Shells (http://joelandkitty.com)
9. Chicken Tacos (http://joelandkitty.com)
10. BBQ Chicken and Veggies (www.allthingskatiemarie.blogspot.com)
11. Baked Oatmeal Cupcakes to Go (http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
12. Café Rio Chicken (www.mandysrecipebox.blogspot.com)
13. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken (www.ringaroundtherosies.net)

Here’s an example of what the spreadsheet I made looks like.  It lists the meal number and name {and source}, the ingredients and prep work for each ingredient, how to assemble and store the completed meal, and then what you’ll need to do to thaw and cook.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

It took Dave and me about 4 hours total to prep and assemble everything…which was well worth it so we could have more time to stare at this cute little guy now!

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

 The first worksheet you’ll need is the one labeled “Steps.”  This is an overview of everything you’ll need to do to prepare all of the meals.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

Next is a more detailed list of the most efficient order of prepping all the food, and what meal {and bag} they go with.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

I highly recommend labeling all of your ziplock bags with your meal number, name, thawing directions, cooking directions, and garnish/side dish list.  Then line up your bags in order and fill them as you prep!

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

And for Number 15 on the “Steps” worksheet, I made a list of all the other ingredients that you don’t need to prep, and which bags they will need to go into as well.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

 

For the couple of meals that aren’t slow cooker meals, I recommend getting disposable foil pans from the dollar store.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Here’s an example of the list of ingredients and storage materials you will need, listed by aisle in the grocery store {very handy to print out and take to the store with you!}:

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

Click here to download the complete freezer meal plan

And I didn’t list it on the materials list, but I stacked all of my completed bags on jelly roll pans and cookie sheets, so they would freeze flat for optimal freezer storage.

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

13 Freezer Meals and the Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making them in One Afternoon! Palmettos and Pigtails

If you’d like to download and print your own copy of the 13 meal plans and prep worksheet, click here.

We’ve only tried a handful of the meals, but so far, Meal #3 Enchilada Casserole has been our favorite!  I can’t wait to try the rest!  And if you try any of these meals, I’d love feedback {I didn’t create any of them, so I won’t take it personally!}.  And leave a comment if you have a tip or recipe alteration that you’d like to share…be sure to specify which meal # it’s for!  Thanks and enjoy!

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Holy Strawberries, Batman!

I love Spring in the South.  Not just because it’s when Dave and I got married, but because of all the fun stuff that happens in spring! The pool opens, the weather starts warming up, and…strawberries.

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

We are very fortunate that we live about 5 minutes away from a local strawberry farm.  Which means we are literally  overflowing with berries this time of year.  Usually, strawberry season lasts all of April, and into May…and we go picking several times during the season.  We just cannot get enough of those sweet, ripe berries!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

This year, it was a little chilly on our picking day, but one of the first sunny days we’d had during our spring break…so we NEEDED to get out of the house!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

I called my friend Diana, who just lives down the road, and we all met at the strawberry patch.  Have I ever told you about Diana?  She and I were best friends growing up in Maryland….she moved to South Carolina in 6th grade, but we remained “pen pals.” {remember those?!?!}  So when I was looking to relocate somewhere sunnier, beachier, and less trafficier than the DC area, I came to South Carolina to visit.  And fell in love with The South.  A couple of months after I moved down, Diana and her hubby got transferred to Myrtle Beach {which is about 2 hours from me}…but luckily, she recently moved back to my town!  And now our kids are all best friends!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

I just LOVE that they are getting to grow up together!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

After our buckets couldn’t hold any more strawberries, we traded for new buckets and the kids hunted for sweet peas on the vine….and ladybugs.  I think they were more into the lady bugs than peas!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

Then we headed back home for lunch and batches, and batches of Strawberry Jam!

Strawberry Picking and the Best Strawberry Jam Recipe from Palmettos and Pigtails

For my recipe for the best Strawberry Jam EVER…click here!  We ended up with about 8 pints of strawberry jam… and we only used about half of the strawberries!

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Kraft Velveeta Shells and Cheese Bites #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser.*

I am Snack Mom this week.  After four years of being Snack Mom at least twice a year, I have come to the realization that I am lucky.  Lucky to have two kids who are {thank goodness!}, not very picky!  Although Millie’s appetite changes from week to week, I can pretty much count on them liking pretty much whatever I put in front of them.

Other kids though?  Not so much.  Some of the stuff I’ve sent in {that I thought were home run ideas as Snack Mom!} have totally bombed!  So when I decided to make my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites for Millie’s class, I crossed my fingers.  A hit!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

These little puppies are good hot, or cold, and because they are made with Original Kraft Shells and Cheese {which almost all kids like!} they were the perfect bite-sized snack for a class of 2 year olds.  They also work well for picnics, potlucks and baby showers….again, because they are still yummy even as they cool off!

They are super easy to make, and if you use the little muffin tins, they make a bunch of bite-sized portions.  I usually mix it up and make some little ones, and then a few big ones {using a regular size muffin tin}, which are good for school lunches too.

First off, gather your ingredients.  Pop over to your local Walmart to find the Kraft Shells and Cheese on the pasta and macaroni and cheese aisle. You’ll also need a heaping cup of shredded cheese {I used a mexi blend}, 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesean, 1/4 cup of milk, 1 egg yolk, and salt/pepper to taste.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

Then, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  In a separate saucepan, mix the Velveeta cheese, all of the shredded cheese, half of the parmesan cheese, milk, and the egg yolk.  Whisk together until all are melted together and smooth.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

Pour the Velveeta mixture over the pasta shells and combine.  Meanwhile, spray your muffin tins with PAM and sprinkle some of the breadcrumbs on the inside….dump any excess out.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

Spoon your shells and cheese mixture into each muffin tin, until about 2/3 full.  Pack it in there pretty tight, and they’ll stay together better.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top.  Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

 Then, let sit in the muffin tin for at least 10 minutes longer.  The longer you can let it sit, the more solidified the bites will be.

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe #CookinComfort #CollectiveBias #shop

I modified this recipe from the mac and cheese bite recipe that I found here.

For other Kraft Shells and Cheese recipe ideas, follow the #CookinComfort  and #CollectiveBias hashtags on Twitter!

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Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguin – FAIL

Last week we got snowed in.

Snow Day South Carolina Style! from Palmettos and Pigtails

Three whole days of school off for that.  And I was at the tail end of a terrible cold…just sick enough still, that I didn’t feel like dragging the kids out anywhere.  So we invited some friends over and had a three-day long playdate.  And that kind of hard-core playing requires a snowy-themed snack.

I had seen these adorable frozen bananas way back when on pinterest, and pinned them for a rainy snowy day.  So, I thought they would be a cute, and easy snack to make for the kiddos, atop a “snowy” mound of vanilla pudding.

Frozen Banana Penguins

{Thanks to Reading Confetti for being a way-better banana dipper than me!}
 

Cute, right?  Just melt a little chocolate, dribble it on and stick candy eyes and candy-coated sunflower seeds for beaks and feet.  Easy, right?

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

I had all of the ingredients on hand.  I am an expert at melting chocolate {don’t believe me?  See my cake pops!}.  I double-checked and all of the kids liked bananas, chocolate, and candy.  So, what happened?

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

This was one of the messiest food projects I’ve done in a while.  The chocolate just rolled down my bananas, refusing to cooperate on magically becoming a head, wings and tail.  My eyes slid down the chocolate faces, creating “skid marks” on the pearly white bellies of my penguins.  And the sunflower seeds were smaller than my pregnancy ogre fingers, and ended up with chocolate all over them!

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

Not to mention the chocolate solidified the bananas to the plate, so when I tried to dole out the penguins to the hungry masses, all the chocolate broke off.

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

And this little guy decided that he wasn’t going to succumb to the embarrassment that tried to be my snack, and refused to get up at all!  And why didn’t anyone remind me that vanilla pudding {aka, my “snow} wasn’t really white, but yellow?

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

Needless to say, the only kid that devoured her snow-day snack was my disposal of a daughter, Jayna.  Millie insisted on inspecting hers and taking the penguins apart before nibbling.  But not before melting the chocolate in her little hands and wiping it all over her “snowman” shirt {from her winter pageant at school!}.

Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguins -FAIL from Palmettos and Pigtails

 And the neighbor kids?  They wanted nothing to do with my concoction!  The ultimate Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Penguin FAIL!

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{Preggo Files} Egg-less Edible Cookie Dough Recipe

I’m sorry, but I’m gonna need a little more enthusiasm from you.  Did you not read the title?  EGG-less!  As in, edible-cookie-dough-recipe.  As in, safe-to-eat-raw. As in, Preggo-Mama’s-Dream-Recipe!!!

Edible Egg-less Cookie Dough from Palmettos and Pigtails

I actually found a couple of these edible cookie dough recipes {hey, once I got it into my head that I wanted cookie dough, there was NO stopping me!}, but this was my favorite one….mostly because I had all the ingredients on hand.  {As in, I can make it NOW!}

Here’s the site that I originally found this recipe, and Ashley even has that cute “print the recipe” feature.  Way too high tech for me!  So I’ll tell you how I made it, but if you want to print it for yourself, I highly recommend checking out Center, Cut, Cook.

So without further ado, the Incredible Egg-less Cookie Dough!

Ingredients:

-1 stick of softened unsalted butter
-3/4 c brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 c all-purpose flour
-2 Tbsp fat free milk {See?  Fat free….this recipe is actually good for you!} 
-1 c milk or dark chocolate morsels {I used mini chips!}
 
Edible Eggless Cookie Dough from Palmettos and Pigtails

Directions:

-Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Then add the vanilla and salt.
-Slowly add in the flour, which will make the mix crumbly.  That’s ok!
-Add the milk, which will bring it back to that cookie-dough texture you’re looking for.
-Fold in the chocolate chips.
-Refrigerate/Freeze in the bowl for about 30 minutes, just to solidify it a bit
-Use a baller to scoop chunks onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper {like, you were going to actually bake these cookies!}.  Stick it in the freezer until hard.  Then you can store the little frozen balls in a freezer bag in the freezer for about 3 months….pulling out a ball or four whenever you have a hankering’ for cookie dough.
 
Edible Egg-less Cookie Dough from Palmettos and Pigtails

Disclaimer: The original author notes that you may be able to get sick from eating raw flour.  I’ve never heard of that happening, but I’d hate to lose any of my devoted readers to a raw-flour ingestion incident, so do consume with caution! =)

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{eMeals} Pumpkin Spice French Toast

 Every so often, we have a weekend where we have nothing planned.  It doesn’t happen often, so when it does, we really try to cherish those family moments.  This past weekend {after months of busyness}, we had one of those rare Saturday mornings where we had nothing to do, nowhere to go.  We started the morning with some Saturday morning cartoons….all of us, in my bed.  Some of my favorite times revolve around snuggling and Sofia the First.

Then, we decided to make breakfast.  Normally, this consists of home fried potatoes and eggs, maybe some cheese-grits and biscuits.  But to ring in the Fall weather, we decided to make some french toast this weekend.  And not just any french toast, but Pumpkin Spice French Toast {recipe courtesy of eMeals!}.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast from eMeals and Palmettos and Pigtails

It was so easy, I thought I’d share…..and it’s a great use of Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer, if you happen to have three bottles in your fridge too…..{not that I do, or anything….}

Ingredients:

-1 loaf of French Bread {or half a loaf of store bought, pre-sliced!}
-1/2 cup of egg substitute {or 4 large eggs}
-1 cup of pumpkin spice flavor coffee creamer
-1 tsp cinnamon {or pumpkin pie spice}
-1/2 c maple syrup
 
Pumpkin Spice French Toast from eMeals and Palmettos and Pigtails

Directions:

1. Combine egg, creamer, and spice in a large bowl.

2.  Dunk each slice of bread in the mixture, piercing with a fork….make sure you dunk both sides of the bread!

Pumpkin Spice French Toast from eMeals and Palmettos and Pigtails

3. “Fry” each slice on a griddle or a frying pan sprayed down.

4.  Serve with syrup {and bananas and strawberries!}.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast from eMeals and Palmettos and Pigtails

And to celebrate Fall and all things yummy, eMeals has an AWESOME deal going on right now!  This is the biggest discount I’ve seen yet!  Now is the time to subscribe to eMeals, and also get a free holiday meal planner for Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Click the red banner below to get started!
Save 30% of eMeals with code: Cyber

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{Throwback Thursday} Turkey Cake Pop Tutorial

I am snack mom in Jayna’s class next week.  Normally, this would not be a problem.  However, this year, she goes to school 4 days a week.  Which means 4 creative snacks {as opposed to last year’s two days of snacks!}.  And to top it all off, it’s her school’s Thanksgiving week celebration.  Hence, they expect themed snacks all week.

Cue Supermom!  {where-ever she is!}

Turkey Cake Pop Tutorial from Palmettos and Pigtails

I know, I know.  I showed you these turkey cake pops last year about this time.  Click here to read the original post about how I made them for a Sunday School party {and to hear about Jayna’s opinion on my choice of household toilet paper!}.  And if you remember that post from two years ago, also know that every year since then, her class has sang that dang song.  So it’s still in my head!!

Here’s the full tutorial on how to make cake pops, and here’s my abbreviated version:

Bake a cake {boxed!} according to the box’s directions and let it cool completely.  When it’s cool, gently slice off all edges {anything remotely brown} and crumble completely into a bowl.  Scoop two heaping spoonfuls of icing {again, from the store} into the cake crumbles and use the spoon to gently mix it together.  When you have the consistency of cookie dough, stick the bowl into the fridge for an hour or the freezer for 15 minutes to harden a bit.  Roll dough into balls that are about one to one and a half inches around.  Stick the balls on a platter or in a ziplock bag and stick them back into the fridge for an hour or freezer for as long as you need to {I almost always have some in a ziplock in the freezer to have on hand}.

Melt chocolate candy melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth.  Dip the tip of a lollipop stick into the chocolate and then stick it into each cake ball.  Put the balls and sticks back in the fridge to harden.  When hard, hold the stick and gently dip the whole cake pop into the chocolate, gently turning to get the chocolate smooth.  Stick back into the fridge to harden.  Make sure that the entire cake pop is covered, all the way to the stick, so the cake part doesn’t get stale.

On to the turkey cake pops….

So to make these, follow the general steps above, but while your chocolate that covers the cake pop is still wet, poke your pretzel stick legs into the bottom of the cake pop…then stick it in the fridge to harden.

Then, use some melted chocolate {I stuck some in a piping tube}, to attach some candy corn tail feathers onto the back of the turkey.  I found out the hard way, but make sure you are holding your turkey straight while you attach your feathers, or they will be crooked or in the wrong place!  Then, stick the whole thing back in the fridge or freezer to harden.

Then, again using melted chocolate, attach a brown M&M {or the all chocolate ones, like I did…they are a little bigger} to the cake pop.  And, you guessed it….back in the fridge.  When it’s hardened, do the same for the little red “gobbler.”  {I’m not sure what the technical term is for this part of the turkey!}….I used a candy coated sunflower seed {packs can be found at Party City}.  Again, freeze to harden!

So, they certainly are cute {and Thanksgiving-themed}….but not the most healthy snack to send into school.  If you sent these in with your kid for snack, what else would you send?  Carrots?  Cheese?  Oreos?  Haha!  Help!

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Jalapeño Poppers: The Perfect Tailgate Snack!

Now that football season has fully descended upon us, we find ourselves making the rounds in the neighborhood to watch various games.  I love these impromptu dinner parties, because it means lots of socialization for the kiddos, and less cooking for me!  This past weekend, I chose to try out one of my free tailgating menu downloads from eMeals.  I got a whole meal plan as a bonus, just for being a subscriber!  I only made the Jalapeño Poppers this time, but it also included recipes for:

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sliders
Buffalo Chicken-Cheese Dip
Jalapeño Poppers
Easy Blue Cheese Chicken Wings
Marinated Chicken, Onion and Mushroom Kabobs
Chocolate-Toffee-Peanut Butter Crispy Treats 

Yum!  So I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the jalapeno poppers….they were AWESOME!

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I did make a few changes, based on stuff I did/didn’t have on hand {I told you the dinner party was impromptu!!}, so I’ve included any changes I made in parenthesis.

Ingredients

* 1 teaspoon canola oil
* 1⁄4 cup chopped shallots {1/4 cup minced red onion….out of my garden!!}
* 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
* 4 oz cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh cilantro {1 tsp dried cilantro}
* 12 large jalapeño peppers {I used 15, and still had extra filling, so I also used some sliced red bell peppers}
* 1⁄4 cup diced tomato {I omitted this completely}

Jalapeno Poppers: The Perfect Tailgating Snack from Palmettos and Pigtails and eMeals

 Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.

Add onions and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened.

Combine onion mixture, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Stir until blended.

 Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Discard membranes and seeds.

Sidebar: These are from our ONE jalapeno plant! We get about 5-8 a week off of it!! Aren’t they beautiful?!?!

Divide cheese mixture evenly among pepper halves. Place stuffed peppers on a baking sheet.

I ran out of jalapenos, so I cut up half of a red pepper to use up the rest of the filling.

Bake 20 minutes or until bubbly. {Sprinkle with tomato.}

Note: Poppers can also be grilled.

Didn’t they turn out beautiful?  I’m so glad that I added the red peppers in too.  Not only did they provide some color, but they also gave a non-spicey option for the kids to try!  I highly recommend it!

Want the rest of the tailgating recipes?  Go to eMeals.com and sign up for your own eMeals account and get it for free!  Want to know more about eMeals and why I love them?  Click here!

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