Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen: Mini Fruit Pizza

This is another fun recipe for little helpers and it tastes great! 

Ingredients:

Sugar cookies (I use the take and bake cookies that you can find in the refrigerated section on your grocery store)

I found these Nestle heart shaped cookies for a Valentine's party

Fat-free strawberry cream cheese
Fruit:  strawberry, blueberry, grape, banana, kiwi (chopped)
Optional:  strawberry jam
Directions:
Bake cookies and let them cool completely.  Spread a layer of cream cheese on top of the cookie.  Top with fruit.  

Optional:  drizzle top with strawberry jam (warm slightly to make it easier to drizzle). 

Little heart shaped faces for a bunch of 5 year olds
Tips:

It's best if you make these the day that you plan to eat them.  They get soft quickly and can become hard to pick-up.

Banana will brown quickly so don't use it if you have to make these far in advance.  Some recommend tossing the banana chunks in lemon juice to help keep it from browning.

Don't stack them directly on top of each other or they will crumble and become a big mess.  If you must stack them I recommend placing parchment paper on top of each layer.


Rice Krispie Treats

A simple rice krispie treat with a little red food coloring and topped with drizzled colored chocolate - Yummy!!

Kids in the Kitchen: Mac & Cheese Muffins

 
 
This recipe is simple and provides something different/fun for kids (adults too).  Make your favorite mac & cheese recipe.  I added a little bit of bread crumbs to help provide a thick consistency.  Grease a muffin pan (or use paper cups - which I have not tried yet).  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Let cool for a couple of minutes before removing from pan.  My little ones really enjoyed making and eating these!
 
 

Friday, February 4, 2011

California Vacation: Deals on Activities

It's almost time for our trip to California so we are planning our activities. I like to plan ahead so we make the best use of our time there while also finding the best deals.
For this trip we decided that at a minimum we want to spend 2 days at Disneyland (there are two parks and we want one full day at each) and we want to spend one day at SeaWorld. To find the best deals I started by looking at the official website for each of these places. Promotions change all of the time so keep in mind that the ones I mention in this blog entry are based on what was available at the time I wrote it.

Disneyland: Last year they were offering a "Give a day, get a day" promotion that my husband and I took advantage of (the kids were not old enough to participate). We each volunteered a day at Goodwill and in return we each received a free 1-day 1-park ticket to Disney. That was a huge savings!! Plus my son was only 2 years old so we just had to pay for one child's ticket for my daughter. Unfortunately, they are not offering that promotion at this time so we have to look at other options. There really aren't a lot of promotions for Disneyland unless you are planning on spending at least 3 days at the park. http://disneyland.disney.go.com/special-offers/

SeaWorld: At this time I wasn't able to find any good deals on one day at SeaWorld. Last December they had a promotion for children that only cost $5 for admission so they do have deals now and then. What I did find on SeaWorld official website were combination package http://www.seaworld.com/sitepage.aspx?PageID=351. They offer combination packages with the San Diego Zoo (3 parks for one low price) and also with Universal Studios (14 days to go to both parks as much as you would like) that are great deals if you plan to spend at least one day at SeaWorld and one day at any of the others mentioned!

CityPass: It appears that a lot of bigger cities are starting to offer a "CityPass" option. This is what we ended up purchasing for our vacation since it was more cost effective than buying (even considering promotions) 2 days at Disneyland and 1 day at SeaWorld. With the Southern California CityPass tickets that we bought we get:

• 3-day park hopper at Disneyland (1 day early admission like the resort hotel guests get)
• 1-day at Universal Studios http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com
• 1-day at SeaWorld
• 1-day at our choice of the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly known as the Wild Animal Park) http://www.sandiegozoo.org/


I doubt we will be able to fit it all in but now we have more options to consider during this vacation and we saved money! Also, you can find promotional pricing on the CityPass ticket! We found the best deal at COSTCO.

Smart Destinations Go Card:  Similar CityPass but has other options to work with.

I thought I would share this too. Universal Studios Hollywood is offering (at this time) a promotion to buy 1 day and get a 2nd day free. This is a great deal if you plan to only go there and would like just 2 days. However, it's not that much more to go through the SeaWorld website to buy the "Flex Ticket" to visit both SeaWorld and Universal Studios as much as you would like for 14 days. Just further proving that doing your research can really open up your opportunities!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Applesauce Cake

This is a long time favorite in my family that I am asked to make often. It doesn't need to be fancy - just a simple and very delicious frosted cake!



Ingredients:

Cake:
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 3/4 cups applesauce
2 eggs

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip.

Directions:

Cake: Add ingredients into large bowl and mix well. Pour into greased 13 x 9 inch cake pan (in these pictures I made two smaller cakes). Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Chill. Be very careful not to overcook or it will be dry!


Frosting: Blend all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spread on top of cake. Chill. I usually double this.