Frozen Pudding Sandwiches {Cooking with Kids}

8.12.2015

The versatility of this recipe is what makes it popular! You can change the pudding flavors and add different items to the mix. For example: vanilla pudding with sliced strawberries or chocolate pudding with chocolate chips. You can also change the flavor of the extracts as well. The possibilities really are endless! 
Do you ever have one of those days when you take just about everything out of your pantry and say, "I really need to make something with all of these ingredients!"

Well, that's how I discovered this recipe. I had everything under the sun in my baking cabinet, from graham crackers to vanilla pudding to cream cheese in the fridge. I decided to Google the ingredients and this recipe came up.

The original recipe calls for Cool Whip, however, you can take it a step further and make your own homemade whipped cream. Genius right? Let me show you how they are made :)

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First, you are going to take your block of room temperature cream cheese and beat it with your electric mixer. Beat it into submission. When the cream cheese is smooth and creamy, that's when you can stop.


Does that look creamy enough? I think it does ;)


Next, take your 2 cups of cold milk and gradually add it in there. 


Once the milk is mixed in, add your pudding mix. I guess I should have cleaned the mixing bowl before I took the picture huh?  Yay for messy mixing bowls! 


After the pudding is mixed in, gently fold in one cup of whipped cream or Cool Whip (whichever you prefer). I made ours by whipping 1 cup of heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract. I plan on doing an instructional post on this soon :) 


By the way, I'm not even going to mention how hard it was for me to NOT lick the spatula at this point. I may or may not have done it :)


Next, you are going to combine everything in another bowl, or not if you don't feel like washing another dish. I decided to put a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into half of our mix so I separated ours. 


Next, take about two spoonfuls (just use a regular everyday spoon) of the filling and place it in-between two graham crackers. You can use more then two spoonfuls if you desire.


Call the kids in and get creative with the fillings! Besides chocolate chips, we also ended up rolling ours in cookie sprinkles :) I have even read the tails of having them dipped in melted chocolate and chopped nuts! Yummm! 


Place each sandwich on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then, place the cookie sheet in your freezer. You want to make sure they stay in there for at least 4 hours or until they are nice and firm.


Pure perfection!


What is there left to do except watch little ones gobble them up? ;) 


Go round up the kids and make these today! They will think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Promise :)

Frozen Pudding Sandwiches

(Makes 20-25 sandwiches)

Ingredients:
1 package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
2 cups of cold milk
1 package (4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup of thawed whipped cream, homemade or store bought
50 whole graham crackers squares, broken into squares
Items to add for filling (optional) (chocolate chips, chopped strawberries, etc..)
Decorated cookie sprinkles to roll the sandwiches in (optional)

Directions:
1. Beat softened cream cheese into large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. 
2. Gradually add milk, beating until well blended.
3. Add the box of pudding mix and beat until well mixed.
4. Gently stir in the 1 cup of whipped cream.
5. Add any other ingredients you would like (chocolate chips, chopped strawberries, etc..).
6. Take two spoonfuls of the mix and place it onto one graham cracker. Top with another cracker.
7. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
8. Roll with decorated cookie sprinkles if desired.
9. Repeat steps 6 through 8 until all of the crackers are gone.
10. Place the sandwiches in the freezer for 4 hours until firm.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Kraft.com. Original recipe can be found here

Pineapple & Brown Sugar Ham {Slow Cooker Monday}

8.10.2015

This recipe can be made in the oven, however, we enjoy making it in the slow cooker. It helps save on cooking space when we have other dishes that need to be made. 
Ham is significantly underrated these days, don't you think?

It's such a versatile piece of meat that basically can fit into any meal of choice. Think about it for a second. There are ham sandwiches, ham and potato soup, ham and bean soup, ham fried rice, ham and scalloped potatoes, ham and cheese roll ups, ham and swiss crepes, and ham quiche. Ham, ham, ham!

I feel obliged to mention that I literally feel like I have tried almost every single way to make one. Hubby loved his mom's recipe and she did give it to me years ago. However, the hustle and bustle of life caused me to accidentally lose it. Even though it's lost, I can definitely tell you that he loves pineapple and cloves in his, which leads us to this recipe.

Hams are basically pre-cooked already, however, this particular recipe has it marinating in the slow cooker with all the yummy juices. You can seriously just throw everything in there and tend to whatever it is you have planned for the day.

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You're going to start with 2 or 3 cans of Pineapple Slices. I have two cans in this photo, however, I ended up adding another one after I took this picture.


In a bowl and on a plate, separate the pineapple slices from the actual juice.


Measure out 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves. You can use dark brown sugar as well. I use plenty of light brown sugar to bake with, so this is what we stick with.


Mix the brown sugar and ground cloves with the pineapple juice.


Whisk and stir the heck out of it until everything is blended.


Pour the blended pineapple juice/spices all over your ham. The ham can be anywhere from 4 to 6 pounds with either the bone-in or bone-out. It doesn't have to be precut either. You can also throw away the seasoning packet that it comes with, unless you want to add that in also.


Take your sliced pineapples and place them all over the ham. Place them on the sides, in the middle, on the bottom, on the top….go crazy with it!


Cover the ham and cook on low in the slow cooker for 5 hours. Don't fret about the amount of liquid inside. The ham will produce it's own liquid as it heats up.

Now go print out this recipe and make it for your family today :)

This ham pairs well with Lemon and Olive Oil Green Beans, Buttermilk Biscuits, or yeast rolls.

Pineapple & Brown Sugar Ham {Slow Cooker}

(Serves 10-15)
Ingredients:
1 (4 to 6 pound) ham; bone-in or out, pre-sliced or not
3 cans (8 oz. each) of Pineapple slices
1/3 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves

Directions:
1. Separate the pineapple slices from the juice in all the cans. Place the juices in a small mixing bowl.
2. Add the 1/3 cup of brown sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves to the reserved pineapple juice. Whisk and stir until well combined.
3. Place the ham inside the slow cooker warmer. Drizzle the pineapple juice mixture over the outside of the hame.
4. Take the pineapple slices and place them all around the ham.
5. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.

Recipe Source: Original recipe can be found here.


The Great Summer Trip of 2015 {Part Three}

8.06.2015

In the beginning of the year, the family and I decided to plan a huge road trip from where we are stationed in the South West to where my parents reside on the East Coast. Husband Man had accumulated 30 days of "use it or lose it" leave time and well, we thought this would be a great way to burn off his leave AND have the kids see both sets of grandparents.

We planned out everything, from which cities to make stops at to how long we would spend visiting our families and friends. We packed up our RV and hit the road on June 28th and it has been non-stop traveling since then.

This is the third post of our journey.

Charleston, South Carolina

A couple of days into our visit to Fayetteville, Husband Man and I took a little mini-vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. We left our kiddos with my parents, placed the dog in a kennel, and drove three hours down south.  I'm not joking when I say that I seriously did not know that Charleston was the PERFECT city to be in if you're a foodie. The food was AMAZINGLY good! We learned half way into our trip that Charleston is home to three or four James Beard winners. Between eating and shopping downtown, we had so much fun! 

We explored a little of downtown the first evening of our stay and went out to eat at Sticky Fingers Smokehouse. We were not aware that this was a popular chain restaurant around the Georgia, Tennessee, and surrounding areas. Our meal started out with their barbecue chicken nachos. For my main course, I ordered the pulled barbecue chicken and hubby ordered the pulled pork. We weren't big fans of our main courses and actually preferred the chicken nachos. It's a good thing I took a picture of them because we plan on trying to duplicate the recipe soon! Make no mistake though, we loved the variety of sauces that they made available at each table and tried every single one! 
The second day of our visit had us roaming around downtown Charleston again. Being the food blogger that I am, I wanted to spend some time in the store, Charleston Cooks! I was in heaven with this store y'all! They had everything a home cook could ever dream of and MORE! They also offer cooking classes so we were able to peek through the windows and watch as they were being conducted. I purchased a few cookbooks as well as a few utensils and some treats! 
After our visit to the store, we headed over to Bulldog Tours to meet my sister and her best friend. We all signed up for one their walking culinary tours and couldn't wait to eat! It was the first for Husband Man and I so we were pretty excited. It was incredibly hot and humid that day, but that didn't ruin our plans in the least bit.  The one thing I loved about this tour was that it was a combination of the city's historical culinary roots and the sampling of some very delicious dishes.

The first stop on the tour was at the popular mom and pop bakery, Dixie Supply Bakery & Cafe. It was featured on Food Network's On The Road and has some of the best grits you will ever taste in your life! We were able to sample them, of course, along with some sweet potato cornbread and a cup of fresh cold iced tea (that went down well in the sweltering heat) from the Charleston Tea Plantation. We even found out the key to making awesome grits, which I will share in an upcoming post :) 
Our second stop lead us to a restaurant called, A.W. Shuck's Oyster Bar, where we were treated with Charleston crab dip with fried pita bread, hush puppies dipped in praline butter, fried green tomatoes and pepper jam, coleslaw, and Charleston red rice. I think it's safe to say that we highly enjoyed this meal! Who would have thought that praline butter would go very well with hush puppies? Certainly not us! 
Our next two stops took us to the heart of downtown where we found two of my favorite things, spices and sweets! The Spice & Tea Exchange was a savory store that had every combination of spices that you can imagine. It smelled soooo wonderful in there that everyone called it the spice version of Bath and Body Works! Husband Man and I purchased a few spice combinations, including Salted Caramel Sugar, Sweet Onion Sugar, Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, Adobo Spice Blend, and some Green Tropical Tea. 

The sweet part of our tour took us to Market Street/River Street Sweets. I don't even have a list of the delectable treats we were able to sample because I was to busy enjoying how they all tasted! I do remember that before we left the bakery, they gave us our very own praline, which was so delightfully tasty! We will definitely order their treats online in the future :)
The last and final stop on our culinary tour was at a restaurant called, Jim' N Nick's Walk Up BBQ. The food here was SO GOOD! Every bit of this meal gave our taste buds a real thrill! It was so good that hubby and I agreed to go there next time instead of to Sticky Fingers. We were served pulled pork with a tomato base, cheese and corn biscuits, and some authentic southern collard greens. I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end this tour! 
If you are ever in the Charleston, South Carolina, I definitely without a doubt, would recommend attending one of their culinary tours! It was well worth the money! We know which restaurants to eat at if we ever return. 

Fort Sumter, South Carolina

The day after the culinary tour, we went to meet my sister and her friend again over at Liberty Square. We all signed up to take the ferry over to visit Fort Sumter, South Carolina. It was a very interesting and calm self guided tour. We learned how the fort played a crucial part in the civil war. My sister (who is also military) mentioned how the soldiers would feel today if they were stationed over at a fort such as that one. I couldn't even imagine it. I ended up purchasing a few cookbooks from the gift shop as well. They are tiny booklets, filled with recipes and information about how women lived during the times of the civil war. 

After our ferry docked back in Charleston, we all headed off to eat lunch at the popular restaurant, Magnolia's. We ordered their Down South Egg Rolls and Fried Green Tomatoes over Creamy Grits as our appetizers. I ordered their cheeseburger as my main course, however, after tasting what my sister ordered (shrimp and grits), I highly regret ordering that burger! Her meal was soooo good! They served a loaf of sliced homemade bread with a side of cream cheese and parsley butter. Believe me when I say the entire lunch was divine! 

The Magnolia Plantation

The last morning of our trip to Charleston was spent at the Magnolia Plantation. The past few days leading up to our visit to the plantation were filled with eating and shopping, so I knew when I suggested this idea to Husband Man, he would love it. Don't get me wrong, he enjoys eating just like any other man, however, if given the choice between a culinary tour and a plantation full of roses and peacocks, he would pick the plantation :) He's more of an outdoorsy, nature type of person. Every time we are in a new city, he is the first one to look for nature and hiking trails.

Well, I was right about him loving the plantation. We arrived 15 minutes before they were due to open so we had first dibs on touring the gardens on our own. It was such a beautiful site! We also signed up for the guided tour inside the home, which was very interesting as well. As we left the estate, Husband Man said to me, "I could spend the entire day here taking awesome pictures!" Do I know my husband or what? :) 
(The below pictures were taken by him)

All in all, our trip to Charleston, South Carolina was a blast! Would we go there again? I believe we would. Do we recommend it to others? YES…we do! 

So if you ever get a chance to visit Charleston, GO! 
You definitely WILL NOT be disappointed! 

~Stay tuned for the conclusion of our great summer trip!~

To read Part One, click HERE.
To read Part Two, click HERE

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