Monday, December 27, 2010

Avalanche Bark

If you have been to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory you may be familiar with this incredibly delicious treat. I think that this is my all time favorite sweet treat. I have been getting caramel apples  from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for years now and they are my absolute favorite. Several years ago my friend Abby found this copycat recipe and we have been making it ever since. My family LOVES it!

Avalanche Bark
Copycat Recipe from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Find the recipe here

1/4 C Creamy Peanut Butter
1 3/4 C White Chocolate Chips
1 C Rice Crispies Cereal
1/2 C Marshmallows (slightly packed)
1/4 C Chocolate Chips (frozen)

  • In a double boiler or using whatever melting method you prefer, melt white chocolate chips and peanut butter together until creamy.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to mixing bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Fold in Rice Crispies, then continue cooling until  it does not feel warm at all. (Do Not put in fridge to cool or it will set up)
  • Making sure that the mixture is not warm fold in marshmallows and chocolate chips. (If you add these when the mixture is to warm the chocolate will melt, you do not want that to happen)
  • Pour the mixture into an 8x8 pan lined with plastic wrap.
  • Place pan in fridge to set up, approx 20-30 minutes
  • At this point you should be able to easily remove the bark from the pan. Cut into desired size pieces & enjoy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Peppermint Bark

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday weekend, I know we sure did. I realize this recipe would have been better posted before the Holiday but I did not make it till the very last minute. I still wanted to post it anyway. I have seen this bark made several different ways but I think the way I made it this year is my favorite. Makes a great treat to place in goodie bags to give as gifts.

Holiday Peppermint Bark

6 squares of Chocolate Almond Bark
6 squares of White Almond Bark
3 Candy Canes Crushed

  • Melt chocolate almond bark according to packaging, when completely melted pour into 8x8 baking dish lined with wax paper or onto cookie sheet with edges and let it set up (I placed mine in the fridge)
  • When chocolate bark is set up melt the white chocolate bark and pour on top of the chocolate and sprinkle crushed candy canes on top.
  •  Once completely set break the bark into desired size pieces and enjoy right away or package up and give as gifts.

I used almond bark but you can use white or chocolate chips to. With the recipe listed above I used an 8x8 pan lined with wax paper, I thought that the thickness of the chocolate came out perfect. You can also add some of the crushed candy canes right into the melted chocolate for more peppermint flavor. I only added the crushed candy canes to the top and thought the peppermint flavor was perfect for my taste.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Baking

Well time is flying by and I have not completed my shopping and I have not done any baking yet either with the exception of a few things here and there. I am hoping to finish my gift shopping today and maybe start some baking, we will see how things go. There just does not seem to be enough time in the day to complete everything that needs to be done, as usual. Have you started your holiday baking yet? I will be starting mine early this week and I can't wait, I have some really awesome goodies planned to make. Here is a list of the Sweet Treats I plan to make. What are you making?

Mels Kitchen Cafe


Our Best Bites
Cinnamon Caramel Corn with White Chocolate

Peppermint Bark 
Avalanche Bark (recipe to come soon)
Oreo Balls
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ooey Gooey Caramel Pie

If I have time I would like to try a few other things to...

Brown Eyed Baker
Peanut Butter Cookies ( For my Husband)

Be sure to check out these blogs for more Holiday Baking and Gift Ideas
Our Best Bites
Little Birdie Secrets
Bake at 350
Two Peas And Their Pod

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Latest Project & New Hobby

I learned how to crochet about 10 years ago around my senior year of high school but  for what ever reason did not continue. I really wish I would have. About a month or two ago I decided that I really had to get back into it even if I had to teach myself, so I did. I checked out a ton of books from my local library and found several really good ones. I keep finding so many cute things that I want to make. I am very proud of the progress I have made and am super excited about the projects I have completed. I am by no means a pro, but a beginner with great determination to make some beautiful things.


Here are a few of the things that I have made so far, including a men's beanie, newborn hat and washcloths.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers

I have had these on my baking list for a couple months now but  after having some the other day I knew that I had to make some. I know that this may sound weird to some or OK all of you maybe but until just recently I do not think that I have ever had a chocolate covered graham cracker.  I have heard of and seen them but never actually had one. I must have lived a sheltered life. My friend Abby gave me some to try and I instantly loved them and knew that I HAD to make some. Check out her blog here. They are super easy to make and can be decorated with just about anything. I used mainly Christmas sprinkles but also used a drizzle of white chocolate on the chocolate covered crackers and some chocolate bar shavings on just a couple of them.  My personal favorite is the chocolate, imagine that! Cover your graham crackers however you desire. Dip them half way in chocolate, completely cover them or just dip one side then top them with whatever you want. I thought about putting marshmallows or rice krispies on them too.

Chocolate Covered Graham Crackers
Source: Myself and An "A" For Effort

White or Chocolate Almond Bark
Graham Crackers
Sprinkles or other toppings

Simply melt your chocolate choice as directed on the packaging then dip your graham crackers however you would like. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and if adding a topping do so fairly quick before the chocolate hardens. You can just leave them on cookie sheet till chocolate hardens or place in refrigerator.

(I melted 3 squares of almond bark and was able to cover one side of 9 full size graham crackers which I simply broke in half before covering.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

What a wonderful time of the year. It is definitely feeling a lot like Christmas around my house, especially with all the snow we woke up to this morning. I just love Christmas, it is my all time favorite time of the year. I LOVE to decorate my house with all my decorations, watch tons of Christmas movies over and over and listen to Christmas music. I love to do lots of baking and create handmade gifts for my family. For me it is just not the Christmas season if we do not watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer featuring Burl Ives. I have been watching that movie since I was a kid and I LOVE it. Its definitely a tradition in my family to watch that every year. What traditions do you share with your family?

Click here to view all my Christmas pictures!

My Favorite Christmas Movies
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
The Santa Clause
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas

My Favorite Christmas Music
Holly Jolly Christmas-Burl Ives
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer-Burl Ives
Frosty The Snowman-Gene Autry
Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town-The Judds
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree-Brenda Lee
The Little Drummer Boy-Harry Simeone Chorale

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freebies In My Mail

More freebies in my mail....YAY! Are you recieving any freebies in your mailbox? I would love to hear about what you got. Here is what I have found in my mailbox over the last couple weeks.

  • All You Magazine
  • Tide Laundry Detergent
  • Wisk Laundry Detergent
  • Dove Deoderant
  • Pantene Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Crisco Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Scotch Blue Painters Tape
  • Emergen-C
  • Kotex Tampons & Pads
  • Always Pads
  • Vaseline Repair Moisture Lotion
  • Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless
  • Garnier Ultra Lift Anti Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer
Don't forget to check out these websites for your chance to snag some awesome freebies.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sausage Casserole

If you are looking for a breakfast dish to serve to your family that everyone is sure to enjoy, you have to try this casserole. Not only is this a great tasting breakfast but it also makes a tasty dinner entree too.  Who does not like breakfast for dinner every once in a while? We sure do. I also think that this recipe is very easy to modify if you have picky eaters. Take this dish to your next family brunch gathering or breakfast potluck and I am sure it will be a hit. Very easy, tasty recipe that reheats well if you have leftovers.

Sausage Casserole

1 lb breakfast sausage
3 C Shredded Potatoes, drained & pressed
1/4 C butter, melted
12 oz Cheddar Cheese
1/2 C onion
1 16oz Small Curd Cottage Cheese
6 Jumbo Eggs

1. Cook sausage and drain.
2. In a 13x9 dish stir together the potatoes and butter, line bottom of pan with potato mixture.
3. In bowl, mix sausage, cheese, onion, cottage cheese & eggs. Pour over potato mixture.
4. Bake 375 for 1 hour or until toothpick entered into center comes out clean. Let cool about 5 minutes, then enjoy!

This recipe does not call for any sort of topping but I layered mine with shredded cheese. I also added 1/2 C of green pepper instead of onion. Very tasty:)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Striped Delight

CHOCOLATE...Need I say more!  I have actually made something very similar to this in the past using a graham cracker crust and vanilla pudding instead of what this chocolate recipe calls for and it's fantastic. But I must say not as fantastic as this chocolaty goodness. While making this dessert I kept coming up with alternative using Golden Oreos and vanilla pudding, which would be a great alternative to make if someone is not a fan of chocolate. What I love about this recipe is that it can be altered to any ones liking. Check out the Kraft Foods website to see a video and directions on how to make this dessert. I would love to know what alternative you would make, leave me a comment and let me know. I would also love to see pictures of your Striped Delight!

Striped Delight

35 Oreo Cookies
6 TBSP Butter, Melted
1 Pkg (8oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 C Sugar
2 TBSP Cold Milk
1 Tub (12 oz) Cool Whip, Thawed
2 Pkg of JELL-O Instant Chocolate Pudding
3 1/4 C Cold Milk

1. Start by crumbling the cookies into fine crumbs using food processor. (I used blender after crushing cookies somewhat with my hands & it worked just fine). Put crumbs into a bowl and mix in melted butter. Then press onto the bottom of the 13x9 dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and 2 tbsp of milk in a bowl until well blended. Stir in about 1 1/4 C of Cool Whip then spread over the cookie crust.
3. Mix pudding mixes and milk together for about 2 min. Then pour pudding over the cream cheese layer and let stand about 5 min or until thick. Layer the remaining Cool Whip on top of pudding layer and refrigerate 4 hours.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cheesy Chicken & Bacon Quesadillas

If you are in need of a quick and easy meal, I just may have something for you. A while back one of my favorite blogs Kevin & Amanda posted a recipe that I just knew I had to try. I did however not include the avocado that the recipe called for partially because I was to chicken to try it. Even without the avocado both Jeff and I REALLY enjoyed these quesadillas. You should be able to get 4 quesadillas out of this recipe. ( I only got 3 but they were very generously filled)

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon Quesadillas
Source: Kevin & Amanda Blog

4 Tortilla Shells
1 lb of chicken breast cooked & cut into bite sized pieces & seasoned with salt & pepper
1/2 C Scallions, diced
8 Strips of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
1 avocado, diced (optional)
shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter

1. Cook bacon & chicken seperatly then set aside
2. Add about 1/2 tbsp of the bacon drippings to a skillet and saute scallions until soft (about 2-3 minutes)
3. Add the cooked chicken to the scallions and cook about 5 minutes until chicken starts to brown, remove from pan.
4. Rinse out pan from chicken & scallions or use another skillet and add about 1/2 tbsp of butter to the skillet over medium heat. Place tortilla shell into the foamy butter.
5. Start to layer one side of the tortilla shell with Chicken, bacon, avocado, & cheese. Use tongs to flip the other half of the tortilla over and press down.
6. Cook the tortilla shell between 1 or 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.

These quesadillas certainly do not need any sort of dipping sauce becasue they are so full of flavor but if you want to try something anyway I used sour cream and Jeff dipped his in ranch dressing and LOVED it!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Freebies In My Mail Box

I know this may sound sad but I get super excited when I stop at the mail box everyday of course not for the bills that are probably in there but I never know what awesome freebie will be there waiting for me! I LOVE to get FREE things in the mail...who doesn't? Over the last couple weeks I have received lots of great freebies. Yes...All of this stuff I got for free delivered to my mailbox! I am a deal-seekin, coupon clipper always looking for an awesome bargain.

  • Bazaar Magazine
  • Wisk Laundry Detergent
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Advil Liqui-gels(Actually received a coupon for a free bottle 24ct)
  • Shout Color Catcher
  • Zebra Z-Grip Pen
  • Pack of Extra Gum (Mint Chocolate Chip)
  • Breathe Right Strips
  • Garnier Moisturizer Sample
  • Garnier Fructis Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
  • Cottonelle Flushable Wipes(Received coupon for a free tub)
  • Trial Size Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion
  • Family Circle Magazine (not pictured)
Other items not pictured that I have received in the last couple months
  • Playtex Tampons
  • Gain Dish Soap(10 oz)
  • All You Magazine(2)
  • Crest Toothpaste
  • Kotex Tampons
  • Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant
  • Bodycology Cherry Blossom Lotion
  • Dove Shampoo Samples
  • Crest 3-D White Strips
If you are interested in receiving freebies in your mail there are TONS of blogs out there that can help you get started. Here are a few that I really enjoy reading...

Always check back here on my blog for more links to samples  and other deals that I may find. Please feel free to sign up to receive e-mail updates from me so you don't miss anything!  Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cinnamon Caramel Corn With White Chocolate

As I was searching food blogs for some new ideas I came across this amazing treat at Our Best Bites. I actually fell in love with the site and plan on trying more recipes. You should really check it out, you will not be disappointed. The recipe actually calls for pecans or another nut of your choice but I did not put any in mine and it turned out fantastic. I think the next time I make it (which I am sure will be soon) I will drizzle chocolate along with the white chocolate on top...Hope you enjoy this as much as Jeff and I have:)

Cinnamon Caramel Corn with Pecans & White Chocolate
Recipe By: Our Best Bites

12 C popped popcorn
1   C pecan halves, roughly chopped (can also use peanuts or walnuts) Optional
1   C brown sugar
3/4 T cinnamon
1/4 C Karo Syrup ( or may sub with honey)
1 Stick Real Butter (1/2 C)
1   TSP vanilla
1/2 TSP baking soda
3 Squares of almond bark

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

1). In a large bowl combine popcorn and chopped pecans then set aside.
2.) In a microwave safe bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon, mix well. Chop butter into chunks on top of mixture. Pour corn syrup over all of that. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave for 2 minutes. Remove and stir then microwave again for 2 minutes.
3). Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda, stir to combine. The mixture will foam and rise. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and stir VERY well until everything is evenly coated.
4.) Spread the popcorn mixture onto a cookie sheet with edges (line with foil or parchment paper) and place in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring mixture every ten minutes. In the last few minutes take a piece out and let cool, sample it to see if it is crunchy enough, if not ready cook another 5 minutes and then sample again if needed.

5.) Take out of oven and place on another cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil to cool. While popcorn is cooling melt the almond bark as directed on packaging. Drizzle with a fork over the mixture. When the bark has hardened and popcorn is cool, break into pieces.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Debut

Well I think I have finally got enough figured out on here to publish so here it is. It is still a work in progress and not complete but its a start.  I have so many ideas of things that I want to add to my blog so please check back soon as I will be adding things as I have time. I would love to know what you think and if you have any suggestions of things you would like to see. ....Please enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Beauty of FALL

We spent some time last weekend enjoying what fall has to offer us. The trees showing off the most beautiful fall colors, leaves crunching beneath your feet as you walk, the smell of fall and the company of two very handsome little boys Lincoln & Carson and of course Abby!

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