Healthy Homemade Snack – Baked Zucchini Chips

I love a good snack, snacks are delicious! Are they good for you? Ehhh it’s always up for debate, but if you are going to eat something between meals, perhaps while you’re cozying up to watch a movie or play a game, why not make it a healthier choice?

I think most nutritionists agree that anything deep-fried should be consumed in moderation or not at all, but chips are sooooo good! The solution? Let’s create our own oven-baked chips! And not just potato chips, let’s create some delicious vegetable chips too! This way we are regulating exactly what is going into and/or on to our chips with no deep-frying to be found!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 large zucchini
  • Salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 240 F.
  2. Wash the zucchini, then use a mandolin to uniformly slice them into thin chips.
  3. Place the zucchini slices on a clean dish towel or paper towels. Cover them with another dish towel or paper towels and set a baking sheet on them, pressing own slightly to remove excess moisture.
  4. After drying, place the zucchini slices into a bowl and toss them with olive oil and a few pinches of salt (how much depends on your preference).
  5. Coat a large baking sheet (or more) with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
  6. Place the zucchini slices on the baking sheets in a single layer.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until crisp and golden.
  8. Allow the chips to cool completely. 
  9. Enjoy!

Simple Shaken Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!

It’s summertime, and many of us think about cold and refreshing treats for the hot days ahead. When I was a little girl, my grandpa would bring out a hand-cranked ice cream maker during family barbecues and my job was to sit on it to hold it steady. It may sound silly, but I loved that job, and felt super important doing it.

I’m not sure if that old ice cream maker fell apart, or it’s stored away somewhere and I can’t find it. I would love to buy or make another one some day, but for now we’ll get Zoey involved in making ice cream another way, that will admittedly burn off more energy!

Let’s make some homemade ice cream in bags!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • Ice
  • 1/4 cup of salt
  • 2 plastic sandwich bags
  • 1 plastic gallon bag
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the half and half, sugar and vanilla extract into a small bowl, then whisk to combine.
  2. Pour the half and half mixture into one of the plastic sandwich bags and seal, then place it into the other sandwich bag and seal.
  3. Fill half of the gallon bag with ice and the salt.
  4. Place the smaller bag into the larger bag and cover the rest of it with ice, then seal the larger bag.
  5. The salt will make the ice colder than comfortable so wear oven mitts to protect your hands and shake the bag for about 6-12 minutes.
  6. Remove the small bag from the larger bag and rinse it well to remove any salt residue.
  7. Carefully open the bag and empty the ice cream into a bowl, stirring a bit to smooth.
  8. Enjoy!

Healthy Homemade Snack – Baked Potato Chips

I love a good snack, snacks are delicious! Are they good for you? Ehhh it’s always up for debate, but if you are going to eat something between meals, perhaps while you’re cozying up to watch a movie or play a game, why not make it a healthier choice?

I think most nutritionists agree that anything deep-fried should be consumed in moderation or not at all, but chips are sooooo good! The solution? Let’s create our own oven-baked chips! This way we are regulating exactly what is going into and/or on to our chips with no deep-frying to be found!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of russet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the potatoes, then use a mandolin to uniformly slice them into thin chips.
  2. Place the potato slices into a large bowl and cover them with cold water. 
  3. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to soak for at least 30 minutes to overnight.
  4. Drain the potato slices and pat them dry.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  6. Coat a large baking sheet (or more) with cooking spray.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the potato slices together with the olive oil and salt to coat evenly. 
  8. Spread the potato slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chips are a very light golden color and appear crunchy. Keep a careful eye on the potatoes to make sure they don’t brown and overcook.
  10. Allow the chips to cool completely. 
  11. Enjoy!

DIY – Dinosaur Eggs with Toy Dinosaurs inside

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational toys for her that are made with love and will be loved! I loved dinosaurs as a child and quite honestly I still do! I see that interest piquing in Zoey too and of course I’m going to encourage it!

Let’s create some dinosaur eggs! We can hide them for the kids to find, and then they can excavate them for a small dinosaur toy inside!

SUPPLIES
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the cornstarch and sand to a mixing bowl and stir until incorporated.
  2. Stir in a little water at a time until the “dough” forms.
  3. Take a small  handful of the “dough”, place a toy dinosaur inside, then add some more “dough” over the dinosaur to cover it.
  4. Work the sand mixture (with the dinosaur inside) in your hands to form an egg shape, then place it on a clean surface to dry.
  5. Repeat this process until all of the “dough” has been utilized. 
  6. Place the dinosaur eggs outside to dry for about 2 days, or until completely hardened.
  7. Hide, discover and excavate! Enjoy!

These eggs can be opened with small tools, hands or dissolved in water.

Pastry Wrapped Baked Apples with Nutella & Granola Recipe

Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!

These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!

PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • Nutella
  • Granola
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
  4. Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
  5. Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
  8. Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
  9. Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  10. Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
  11. Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
  12. Repeat step 11 with each apple.
  13. Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
  14. Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  16. Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  17. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge Recipe (The Black Cauldron)

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge from Disney’s The Black Cauldron.

The Black Cauldron Movie Poster
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe

This recipe is featured in the beginning of the film, when Caer Dallben asks Taran to feed Hen Wen the porridge he prepared for her. 

This porridge looks much more appetizing than the one in the film. I couldn’t help myself! I thought to myself, if I wanted to eat porridge with apples, I’d want the apples to be cooked separately to develop their flavor more and I’m sure Hen Wen would approve!

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
HEN WEN’S APPLE PORRIDGE

APPLES

  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

PORRIDGE

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cups of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS (APPLES)

  1. Peel and cut the apples into slices.
  2. Pour the water into a small sauce pan, then add the apples.
  3. Sprinkle the desired amount of cinnamon and brown sugar onto the apples and stir to distribute.
  4. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally to evenly coat and cook the apples.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for the porridge (see below).

INSTRUCTIONS (PORRIDGE)

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil the milk with the salt.
  2. Stir in the oats.
  3. Cook the oats for about 5 minutes over medium heat; stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the porridge from the heat and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, then stir to distribute.
  5. Spoon the porridge into two bowls and arrange the cooked apple slices (see above) on top. I arranged mine into the shape of a rose and I believe next time I’ll cover the porridge completely.
  6. Enjoy!
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe

DIY Disney Decoupage Drink Coasters

Do you still have a VCR? Not many people have VCRs anymore. We do, although we don’t use it often.

If you don’t have a VCR anymore, what should you do with all your old VHS, including all those Disney films you grew up with? You could collect them, donate them, or recycle them. But wait! If you decide to recycle them, let’s remove the beautiful cover art and use it to make some drink coasters!

SUPPLIES
  • Disney VHS cover art
  • A “pair of compasses” tool
  • Scissors
  • An eraser
  • Ceramic coasters with cork bases
  • Mod Podge
  • A foam paintbrush
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Clean the coasters; wipe them down with a damp washcloth and allow them to dry.
  2. Remove the cover art from the VHS cases and, using a pair of compasses tool, trace circles that are slightly smaller in diameter than the diameter of the coasters.
  3. Carefully cut out the circles and erase any leftover pencil markings.
  4. Using a foam paintbrush, paint a layer of Mod Podge onto a coaster, then carefully place one of the cutouts onto the center, smoothing away any wrinkles or bubbles.
  5. Brush another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the artwork on the coaster in one direction (it will dry clear, but you will be able to see the texture once dry). 
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on each coaster and allow them all to fully dry.
  7. Once dry, turn each coaster perpendicular to the original brushstroke and paint another layer of Mod Podge over the top so a crosshatch texture is formed when dry.
  8. Allow this final layer to completely dry and you’re ready to use your own personal Disney coasters!

Tiana’s Gumbo Recipe

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we will be cooking up Tiana’s gumbo from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog!

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

This recipe is featured at the beginning of the film when Tiana makes gumbo for her family and community. It’s one of my favorite moments in the movie, revealing the loving relationship she shared with her father and how much she looked up to him, her passion for cooking and her generosity within her community.

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

This recipe is delicious! Absolutely perfect for this time of the year or whenever you need something warm and comforting.

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

GUMBO
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/2 pound of smoked beef sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen orka, thawed
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of cajun or creole seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1  pound of frozen cooked shrimp
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a dutch oven and brown the sausage in it.
  2. Remove the cooked sausage and set it aside.
  3. Whisk the 1/3 cup of flour into the butter and meat drippings until combined.
  4. Continue to cook the roux, stirring constantly, for about 10 to 20 minutes or until it turns a dark amber-brown. If it’s cooking too quickly, or starts to smell faintly burnt, turn the heat down a little.
  5. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, garlic, onion and okra until they are completely coated in the roux.
  6. Cook these ingredients for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have started to soften, stirring every 10-15 seconds.
  7. Once the vegetables have begun to soften, add the tomatoes and the chicken broth, stirring as you go to smooth the roux into the broth.
  8. Add the bay leaf, black pepper, cajun or creole seasoning, chili powder, hot pepper sauce and salt; stir to combine.
  9. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  10. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Stir in the shrimp, then cover and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp thaw and cook through.
  12. Remove the bay leaf and serve the gumbo on its own or over cooked white rice. We recommend Jasmine Rice!
  13. Enjoy!

Homemade Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe (No Added Sugar)

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeZoey, our little Tinker Bell, is one year old! This year has been an unusual one (understatement of the century), but it has flown by faster than I could have imagined and I have been fortunate enough to spend the majority of it at home with her; grateful for every moment.

Like many one year birthday boys and girls, Zoey has not been exposed to much sugar. Now I don’t mind a little sugar, but I did not want to sugar bomb her all at once so I created a homemade smash cake with frosting for her without adding extra sugar.

This Tinker Bell petal smash cake is a variation of a banana bread recipe my family has made for years without added sugar and a variation of cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar. I would consider the cake a tame banana flavor and the frosting a tangy cream cheese flavor, smoothed out with the addition of a natural sweetener (I used agave nectar). I purchased a used Disney Infinity Tinker Bell figurine off of Mercari, gave it a good cleaning, and used it as a cake topper with the obligatory “1” candle.

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake RecipeShe was very tentative about smashing  her smash cake, almost like she wasn’t sure if she was allowed to. Even with her audience coaxing her she only tasted a little bit of cake I broke off for her and mostly just played around in the frosting. Her favorite part of the cake was the Tinker Bell figurine up top and she ended up fixating on that. And what the hey, as long as she had fun!

So let’s make a smash cake for the little Tinker Bell in your life!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

BANANA SMASH CAKE
  • 3 bananas, overripe
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS (CAKE)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Grease two 6-inch cake pans, or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Cream the butter and bananas together with a (hand) mixer.
  4. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating each in with the (hand) mixer.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition.
  7. Pour the mixed batter into the prepared cake pans about half to 3/4 of the way full.
  8. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. The timing may vary depending on your oven so keep an eye on them!
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in their pans for about 10 minutes, then remove them from the pans and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  10. Mine were pretty flat. If yours do not turn out flat, cut the very tops off of the cakes to create flat tops for stacking and frosting.
  11. Frost your cake (see below).

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (NO ADDED SUGAR)
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 packs of cream cheese (8 ounce), room temperature
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Green food coloring
INSTRUCTIONS (FROSTING)

*You can make the frosting up to several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.*

  1. Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the agave nectar (or sweetener of choice), milk, salt and vanilla extract. Whip again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch and whip until well incorporated. If at this point the consistency is right for you, you can move on to the next step. If not you can add cornstarch one teaspoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness (careful not to exceed 2 tablespoons total).
  4. Divide the frosting four equal parts in separate bowls. Add green food coloring to each bowl of frosting, ranging from dark to light green. Put each shade of green frosting into a pastry bag.
  5. Pipe and smear frosting on the top of the first layer of cake and gently place the second layer on top of this.
  6. Begin the petals by piping a dollop of dark green frosting on the side of the cake at the base. Take a flat slender spatula or butter knife press gently into the dollop and smear it to the right. Pipe another dollop of dark green near the end of the smear and repeat all the way around the cake.
  7. Repeat this process with the next shade of green and repeat, but stop before you reach the lightest shade of green and the top of the cake.
  8. Pipe and smear a healthy dollop of the lightest green frosting onto the top of the cake and smooth it out with a flat spatula, then continue with the last layer of petals in the lightest shade of green around the top of the cake.
  9. Adorn your cake with decorations.
  10. Enjoy!

Disney Tinker Bell Smash Cake Recipe