Valentine’s Day Wafer Cookies

Valentine's Day Wafer Cookies | | #valentinesday #cookies #treats

In a recent browse around pinterest I ran across these adorable Valentine’s Day themed cookies.  Not only were they cute, they looked incredibly easy!  Which is what I was looking for!  I bought the strawberry wafers and used vanilla almond bark for dipping and Valentine’s themed sprinkles.  They were a huge hit and to be honest, you could use the vanilla or chocolate wafers and go in any direction for a birthday party or class treat, any time of the year!  These are sweet and sugary and full of all the love you need on Valentine’s Day.  Few ingredients and little prep make these a great last minute treat that is sure to win their heart!… 

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{crockpot} Chicken Tortellini Soup

For me, there is just something about cheese tortellini in soup that I LOVE!! I couldn’t even tell you exactly what it is but I haven’t seem to met a tortellini soup that I didn’t enjoy!  Last year, I made a Tortellini Sausage Soup that we loved.  When it came to mind again, I knew I didn’t have sausage on hand but figured that there had to be a chicken version out there somewhere.  I was right!  Not only is it an awesome soup with a creamy tomato base, but it’s made in the crockpot which just adds to the ease of preparation.

Once again, I was able to pick out the noodles for my picky eater which made it a meal loved by the whole family.  The ONLY draw back I found with this soup was that the left overs weren’t nearly as good the first meal.  It thickened up quite a bit and the noodles became mushy. I’m not even sure I would characterize it as a soup they next day.  So my recommendation is to eat it all the first day! :)… 

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Parmesan Tortellini Bites

It is coming…… in fact, it’s right around the corner.  The biggest day of the year for football {and commercial} lovers across the country.  The Superbowl.  It is here.  Chances are that many of you are going to be at a gathering, party, celebration or what have you.  And while my favorite team {GO PACK GO} didn’t quite make it.  I am still there to cheer on someone and watch all the new commercials and of course eat lots of food!  So today I have a fantastic new appetizer that will make the perfect game day snack.

These Parmesan Tortellini Bites are crunchy and cheesy and all together wonderful.  They don’t have to be right off the stove hot to be enjoyed, which helps if you are going somewhere or if you want to have the mess cleaned up before the crowd arrives.  Here or there, football or commercials, private or party the one thing for sure is that these will disappear!

Parmesan Tortellini Bites | | #appetizer #snack #gameday


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Parmesan Tortellini Bites
  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated CHEESE TORTELLINI
  • ¼ cup PARMESAN
  • ½ cup FLOUR
  • 2 EGGS, beaten
  • ½ cup dipping sauce, marinara or alfredo
  1. First cook tortellini according to package instructions; drain well. *I found it helpful to spread the tortellini out on a flat surface after draining. To avoid them sticking together.* Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside. Begin dredging tortellini in flour, dip into eggs, then through Panko mixture, pressing to coat. Then working in bathces add tortellini to the skillet, 8 or 10 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve with dipping sauce, garnished with additional Parmesan, if desired. ENJOY!

Recipe Source: Damn Delicious




Because appetizers…

Garlic Feta Dip

Garlic & Herb Stuffed Mini Peppers

Salsa Verde Taco Dip

Taco Popcorn

Continuing with our popcorn recipes, I knew that I needed to even it out with a savory flavor.  Beyond the usual buttered popcorn, I hadn’t tried many savory flavors.  Recently in my quest to find some family favorites I came across this Taco Popcorn.  I also had a Buffalo Parmesan Ranch, who’s flavor I loved but the addition of the parmesan cheese at the end made for a soggy popcorn texture.  But this Taco Popcorn had the same amount of punch as far as flavor is concerned but retained more of the crunchy texture I love.  AND on top of that it is SO SO SO SO easy! Just melt the butter, stir in taco seasoning, pour over popcorn, and EAT!  Did I mention how easy it is???


Taco Popcorn | | #popcorn #taco #snacks

Taco Popcorn
  • 12 cups freshly popped POPCORN*
  • 6 Tablespoons BUTTER
  • 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought, I used Cheesy Taco by McCormick)
  1. Melt butter in a small pan. Stir in taco seasoning, mixing until combined. Pour over popcorn and toss to coat. ENJOY!

*For instructions on popping popcorn on the stove, check out this post.

Recipe Source: Gimme Some Oven




Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars

So a few weeks before Christmas, my oven broke! YES, I know it definitely stinks! Especially right before I had planned to do all of my annual Christmas baking. But we’ve made due with a stove top and a toaster oven for almost A MONTH! Of course there have been days when I mentally prepare for dinner, then realize that I can’t make it because I can’t bake it. And most obviously I miss baked goods! So since we still haven’t gotten our oven fixed, I went in search of NO BAKE SNACKS. One of the more popular items are granola bars. We’ve tried making them a few different times and have had mixed results. Sometimes they are super delicious and the perfect texture, but they are loaded with corn syrup and other junk. OR they have a bunch of healthy ingredients but don’t taste great or they fall apart the moment they’re touched.

I originally picked this recipe because it used cashews. I just happened to have a container of cashews on hand and I had never tried making granola bars with them. They were a great mix of nutty and fruity, just like the perfect trail mix. With the mix of peanut butter and honey they texture is thick and holds together nicely without being crumbly. I think a crucial part of achieving that was the fact that they have you melt the peanut butter. I had never done that when making these types of snacks but found that it mixed so much better. It does take a little longer for them to set-up but, to me, is well worth it.

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars | | #snacks #granola #kids

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bars
  • ⅔ cup whole ALMONDS
  • ⅔ cup whole CASHEWS
  • 1½ cup old fashioned OATS
  • ½ cup HONEY
  • 1 cup creamy PEANUT BUTTER, melted
  1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Leave extra on the sides to use as handles for removing the bars when they are finished. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, chop the almonds and cashews into small pieces. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, chocolate chips, and cranberries. Mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Melt peanut butter and honey in a small bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until each bit is fully coated, using your hands if necessary. Scoop the mixture into prepared baking dish and press firmly until the tops are completely even. Place bars into the refrigerator to set up for at least an hour.

 Recipe Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction



Basic Granola

Peanut Butter and Honey Granola Bars

Snickerdoodle Granola Bars

Peanut Butter Granola

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

Sugared Cranberries

There are somethings that really make the holidays complete for me.  Aside from things such as spending time with family, putting up the tree, and listening to Christmas music (bonus if it’s O Holy Night because that’s my fave!).  I also have foods and flavors (as you may remember my story about pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving!) some more of those flavors included eggnog and cranberries.  They aren’t hugely popular flavors and are usually either loved or hated.  For me, I need them just at the holidays and then I’m good the rest of the year.  Usually the cranberries are eaten in the form of cranberry sauce but when I recently saw these sugared cranberries I knew my cranberry eatin’ days had taken a turn for the better!!!… 

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Turtles & Tiaras — A Combination Birthday Celebration


Last October, we were blessed with our baby girl!  She was born 1 day before her older brother’s 3rd birthday.  We knew their birthdays would be close, we just didn’t know how close.  Of course it was exciting for all of us and fun knowing that they will forever have a birthday buddy.  But it also meant that we would have to be a little more creative with birthday parties.  Not only two ages, but also the gender difference.  The first thing that came to mind was to do a Pirates & Princesses.  But he wasn’t really that interested in pirates.  So when he all but insisted on having a Ninja Turtles party, my brain got to work.  The final result was TURLTES & TIARAS! Of course finding an invite that incorporated both of these things was near impossible.  So I created my own with a turtle mask on one side (in orange, because Mikey is our FAVORITE!) and a tiara with jewels on the other side.

Turtles & Tiaras | | #ninjaturtles #tiaras #birthday #party #invitations



A couple things that both themes shared were the sugar cookies that were from a local bakery.  Half of them were decorated with the Ninja Turtles and the other half had a pink tiara on them. I also bought a Ninja Turtle coloring book and a Princess coloring book at the dollar store.  Set out with crayons, the kids LOVED coloring. But the other details we split between the two themes.

Turtles & Tiaras | | #ninjaturtles #tiara #princess #birthday #kids


  • For dinner we went with a must have Ninja Turtle entree, PIZZA of course!  It’s easy and quick and loved by all!
  • I made Ninja Turtle Jello Cups by pouring green jello 3/4 of the way full in 8 clear plastic cups.  Once set, I made orange, purple, blue, and red jello and poured about 1/2″ on top of the green to represent their masks.  Making 2 of each character.
  • I put together 4 candy bowls, filled with green candy.  Then wrapped each with a piece of colored fabric to represent each turtle.  It was kind of a difficult task to find green candy that is sold independently without other colors.  Of course there are places you can order it from but that gets very pricey!  I ended up using Mint M&M’s, Spearmint Leaves (which are kind of like gumdrops), Sour Punch Straw Bites, and Caramel Apple Twizzlers.

Turtles & Tiaras | | #ninjaturtles #tiara #princess #birthday #kids


  • You can’t have a birthday party without some sort of cake (IN MY OPINION)!  So, I made Neapolitan Cupcakes.  I used a mini cupcake pan.  Layered chocolate cake, vanilla cake, and topped it with THE BEST Strawberry Buttercream Frosting I’ve ever had.  They were adorable and an absolutely perfect fit for the princess theme.
  • For all of our princess guests we had rings, necklaces, and bracelets.  They were bought at the dollar store and perfect for picking out, trading, dressing up, and even gettting a little cake on.
  • My favorite thing was the tiaras! I knew I wanted a tiara for Addison, and looked around town and online without much luck.  When it dawned on me that I could make it, I dove right in!  With a few trial and errors, I finally came up with one that I loved.  Then decided to make them for all the girls at the party.  Each one was different and they loved them.  I expected them to wear them but was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t take them off.  They were a huge hit and much cuter (and more comfortable) then the hard plastic ones you can get at the store! *


*To get your own handmade tiara, visit my etsy shop, Circa86


Some of our other favorite birthday party ideas:









Caramel Apple Cups

Caramel Apple Cups | | #caramel #apple #pie #fall #desserts

If you search Caramel Apple on our site you will find a plethora of awesome recipes, such as my favorite Caramel Apple Donuts, Caramel Apple Cinna-minis, Caramel Apple Dip, and much more!  Why you ask?  Well because in my opinion {caramel + apples = one of the BEST flavor combos EVER}!  It always has been my favorite and it probably always will be.  These Caramel Apple Cups fit into that category and did not disappoint.  They are a wonderful “mini” pie of sorts.  With a delicious graham cracker crust, sweet apple pie filling, and topped with a smooth caramel drizzle.  YUM!

Caramel Apple Cups | | #caramel #apple #pie #fall #desserts

Over at Princess Pinky Girl she baked them in mini cupcake pans.  I didn’t have them available so I went with regular sized.  I tweaked this recipe slightly to work and they were perfect.  Making sure to bake your crusts a little before filling them, they are the perfect cup to hold the apple goodness!  Another wonderful recipe for one of our favorite times of the year!  FALL!

Caramel Apple Cups
  • 10 Tablespoons BUTTER, melted
  • 3½ cups peeled, cored and chopped APPLES (I used a food processor but you can just chop them)
  • ⅓ cup SUGAR
  • ¼ cup BROWN SUGAR
  • 2¼ tablespoons FLOUR
  • ½ teaspoon CINNAMON
  • ¼ teaspoon NUTMEG
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease pan with non-stick spray. Combine melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Evenly distribute mixture to the 12 greased muffin cups. Press along the bottom and sides to make a “cup”. Bake for 5 minutes and let cool completely.
  2. In a baking dish, mix apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bake for 15 minutes, until apples are slightly softened. Scoop the apple mix and place on top of the graham cracker crust cups (while still in the muffin pan). Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely and remove from pan. Drizzle with caramel topping. ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from Princess Pinky Girl

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Pumpkin Pie Brownies

I love pie!  Definitely in my top 5 favorites is PUMPKIN PIE.  It is a staple at every Thanksgiving… or so I thought.  For the first 23 years of my life, I did not know a Thanksgiving meal without Pumpkin Pie.  Then along came my in-laws.  I showed up to their house for Thanksgiving and discovered that they were serving Cherry, Coconut Cream, and French Silk Pies.  Uhhhh WHAT???  There was no pumpkin pie and I was shocked.  They all acted like it was no big deal and reassured me that they rarely, if ever, served Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving.  Fast forward one year and I decided that I would contribute to their Thanksgiving spread by making a Pumpkin Pie.  It was my first time actually making it and it turned out perfect!  I was so proud of it and was once again shocked when the evening was winding down and I discovered that I was the only one that ate any of it!   Needless to say I decided not to try to change their traditions again, but instead, if I know I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with them I just find anyone I can that is is willing to save me a piece of pumpkin pie from their family’s meal.

All of that to say, I love pumpkin pie.  And I also love brownies.  So when I saw them together, baked in my current obsession {the cast iron skillet}, I knew I had to try them.  What I love most about them is that they aren’t just pumpkin spice flavored.  It is actually the taste and texture of pumpkin pie, on top of a chocolatey brownie.  Then topped with whipped cream, seriously, how could you go wrong!  These are a must try for any pumpkin pie lover!

Does your family serve Pumpkin Pie?  If not, what pie is traditionally at your table??

Pumpkin Pie Brownies | | #pumpkin #brownies #dessert


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Pumpkin Pie Brownies
  • 4 ounces CREAM CHEESE
  • ¼ cup SUGAR
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 teaspoon VANILLA
  • 1 teaspoon PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
  • 1 box BROWNIE MIX, batter prepared according to box
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Then in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and continue to beat. Add pumpkin puree, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until very smooth. Set aside.
  2. Prepare brownies according to box. Pour batter into a cast iron skillet. Top with the pumpkin pie layer. Using a knife, swirl the top layer. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly. Serve topped with whipped cream! ENJOY!

Recipe adapted from: The Cookie Rookie




More pumpkin chocolate goodness…

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

It’s a classic… the peanut butter cookie with the Hershey’s chocolate kiss on top.  Around here we call them, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and they are one of my all time favorites.  So when I saw that a good friend of mine posted this pumpkin version on her Facebook, I instantly began drooling.  A pumpkin cookie with a pumpkin spice kiss on top…. YUM!  My favorite part, besides the pumpkin, is the fact that they are rolled in cinnamon/sugar before baking.  It almost gives it a snickerdoodle type texture, which I also happen to love, but that’s for another day!  These pumpkin cookies are a great fall cookie to add to your regular rotation!

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies | | #pumpkin #cookies #hersheys
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5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies
  • ½ cup BUTTER, room temperature
  • 1 cup SUGAR, divided
  • ½ cup BROWN SUGAR
  • ½ teaspoon VANILLA
  • 1½ cups FLOUR
  • 2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoon CINNAMON, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon GROUND CLOVES
  • ⅛ teaspoon GROUND GINGER
  • ½ teaspoon BAKING SODA
  • ¼ teaspoon BAKING POWDER
  • ¼ teaspoon SALT
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat the butter, ½ cup granulated sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and vanilla beat on low 1 minute. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and beat on low just until combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Whisk the remaining ½ cup sugar with 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Scoop up level tablespoons of the dough and roll into a ball then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheets 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press a kiss into the center of each one. Cool completely on wire racks. ENJOY!

Recipe Source: Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice



 Cookies for everyone…

Caramel Blossoms

Chocolate PB Explosion Cookies

Peppermint Pattie Cookies