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Kid-Friendly Mocktail Bar

Perhaps the most quintessential tradition of New Year’s Eve is the champagne toast, but what about everybody who doesn’t participate in a sip of bubbly? Whether you’re under age or prefer to abstain, you deserve a fun and fancy drink to toast with at midnight. That’s why we love a good mocktail—or cocktail without alcohol. With a well-stocked mocktail bar, you can mix and match ingredients to create tasty kid-friendly drinks.

 

Cranberry Kiss Mocktail Image via Eat Drink Pretty

 

In fact, we think all these fun possibilities are even more delicious and interesting that traditional bubbly. With a few basic ingredients, you can make so many combinations. Use your creativity to whip up some yummy drinks that’ll have all your guests saying, “Champagne who?”

 

To create well-balanced mixed drinks, you need a few key components—mainly something bubbly and something sweet. Of course, you don’t need carbonation, but it is New Years, after all. Customize any ingredients you want to make your bar more sophisticated (cucumber, black currant, fresh herbs) or childproof (orange slices, fruit punch, crazy straws). Here are the key components to creating a fabulous mocktail bar:

 

A bubbly base: Ginger ale, sparkling cider, Sprite or Sierra Mist, seltzer—these clear sodas are the perfect vehicles to add a little spritz to your glass. Pick your favorite or have a few kinds available.

 

Juice: Orange, cranberry, pineapple, lemonade, peach nectar… these fruity liquids add sweetness and pack the flavor punch for your mixed drink. Stock as many as you like, but a good base is usually three different options.

 

Fresh fruit: Whether it’s muddled or used for garnish, fresh fruit is delicious and gives your glass a festive touch. Doesn’t it just feel fancier? Berries and citrus are usually best—raspberries, blackberries, lemons, and limes, etc—but feel free to try any other favorites.

 

*Another fun tip: Try freezing berries to create a tasty alternative to ice. They’ll keep drinks chilled without watering them down and look prettier, too!

 

Fresh Herbs: This is optional, and perhaps for the more adventurous, but some fresh herbs can really bring your mocktails to the next level. Mint, thyme, basil, and rosemary all add deep and complex flavors to an otherwise simple drink. If you’re looking to ease your way in to adding a little green to your glass, try starting with mint.

 

 Rosemary Citrus Spritzer

Image via The Kitchn

 

These kid-friendly bar basics will ensure tons of fun drink creations. Let the little ones play mixologists and come up with their own delicious concoctions. Keep in mind you can always tailor this to your friends’ and family’s preferences. If you’d like some recipes on hand, here are a few great suggestions:

 

Rosemary Citrus Spritzer from The Kitchn

 

Rudolph’s Nose from NCADD

 

Cranberry Kiss from Eat Drink Pretty

 

Strawberry Crush from La Fuji Mama

 

Alcohol content certainly doesn’t have the market cornered on festivity. Upgrade your cup of soda or juice this year and make a fancy drink worthy of starting the New Year with. Cheers!

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Posted by Andi Thea, on December 31st, 2013 at 3:28 pm. No Comments

Category: adults,food art,holiday,kids Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Gingerbread Real Estate

Did you know gingerbread houses became popular in Germany during the 1800s after Hansel and Gretel was published? That’s pretty spectacular considering that in the fairytale, the beautifully edible house is used to lure two abandoned children into a witch’s trap. One wouldn’t think that makes a great selling point for creating confectionery cottages, but it seemed to really catch on and become a Christmas tradition. After all, that witch was on to something—she knew Hansel and Gretel couldn’t resist an enchanting gingerbread house… how could we expect anyone else to?

 

 Sweet and Simple Gingerbread House

Image via Shopgirl

 

This tasty craft comes in an array of sizes, shapes, and levels of difficulty. For those who need a bit of a head start, there are kits available to help create the basic structure. Others love starting from scratch and baking their own gingerbread. Some people take gingerbread houses so seriously that they create life-size structures or participate in competitions. Whatever your approach, this is definitely a fun and delicious activity to try on your own or with the whole family.

 

 Pretzel Log Cabins

Image via Worth Pinning

 

 Rice Crispy Cottages

Image via Land O Lakes

 

And don’t feel limited to gingerbread! Some folks have started branching out and using other delicious treats to build their homes’ foundations. Try pretzel rods to create the effect of wooden logs. Or use rice crispy treats to suggest stones or stucco. These houses can be as elaborate or simple as you want. Don’t underestimate the beauty of simple gingerbread and white frosting. For those who like a little more opulence, grab colorful candies and make a full-on edible estate! Piped icing, nuts, cereal, and candy canes also make excellent decorating supplies.

 

 Gingerbread Mansion

Image via Cake Central

 

What gingerbread house approach is your favorite? Clean and simple, cozy and colorful, or grand and luxurious?


Spooky Pretzels

One of my favorite snack foods has got to be the pretzel. It’s crunchy and salty, it’s tasty on its own, and it pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients. You can dip it in chocolate or cheese and both will be delicious (just not at the same time… unless you’re really adventurous).

 

Sometimes it’s fun to pick a favorite snack and then create variations on a theme with it. Here are a few different ideas for bringing Halloween flair to some yummy pretzel treats.

 

These pumpkin pretzels from Make Bake Celebrate are too cute for words! Chocolate-covered and dipped in sprinkles, they’re the perfect salty-sweet combination. Add leaves and stems with some piped chocolate for added detail.

 Chocolate Pumpkin Pretzels

Photo via Make Bake Celebrate

 

 

You can never have enough chocolate covered pretzels! For a fun variation on the same flavors, you must try these Frankenstein pretzels! Grab pretzel rods, green melting chocolate, black gel icing, chocolate kisses, and shredded coconut. With some simple assembly, you can make the perfect creepy cuties to compliment your bright pumpkin pretzels.

 Chocolate Pretzel Frankensteins

Photo via Simply Designing with Ashley

 

Finally, let’s finish up with a savory pretzel dish. With some pretzel sticks, string cheese, and chives for garnish, you can create the most adorable witches’ brooms. Cut up the string cheese to act as bristles, stick in a pretzel to be the handle, and tie on a chive if you like (you can skip this last part if you’re not a chive fan).

 Pretzel and Cheese Brooms

Photo via Babble

 

Yum! These make perfect Halloween treats, but are also great festive snacks for any time—be it in the classroom, after school, or for a sleepover.

 

Which of these variations is your favorite? Do you have any other spooky snack ideas?


In the Loop

It’s not often you find art supplies you can also eat, but when you do… it’s sure to be a tasty crafting session! Because of their bright colors, Froot Loops are perfect for art projects. You can pretty much find an excuse to craft with them every time of year. Right now, try creating some autumn-themed pictures with subjects such as trees with changing leaves, pumpkins, maize, or apples.

 

For this project, grab some Froot Loops (and maybe Cheerios, depending on what colors your picture requires), glue, and some sturdy white paper. You’ll want a slightly thicker paper so it can handle the weight of the cereal. To round out your picture, you can also use paint and construction paper.

 

Before you start, take a pencil and create a rough outline of your drawing. If you want to use paint or colored paper, add it to your white paper first before starting with the cereal. Now, sort the colors you’ll need and arrange your Froot Loops on the page before gluing them down. Once they’re all glued, let the whole thing dry.

 

Finally, hang your fabulous picture up and eat the leftover Froot Loops!

  Froot Loops Fall CraftsPhoto via Putti’s World

 Froot Loops CornPhoto via Musings of Me

 

Bonus! If you want to get a head start for Thanksgiving…

 Froot Loops TurkeyPhoto via Putti’s World

 

You could create one of the ideas shown here or try something new. Work on a batch of Halloween themed Froot Loops drawings this week. What are you going to create with your Froot Loops? Do you have a favorite kind of food to craft with? Or a favorite craft to make with food?


Playing with Food

It always seemed like the official party line at mealtime was, “Don’t play with your food!” Well, the times, they are a-changing… A creative movement sweeping across kitchens and social media everywhere lately is food art. By transforming ordinary dishes into extraordinary pictures, many cooks, parents, and artists have been turning each meal into a cultural experience.

 

With all the beautiful colors and textures found in different kinds of food, it seems quite natural to turn them into art. This makes food preparation an even more creative experience, plus meals become that much more fun to eat!  Bonus: it’s a great way to excite little ones about eating more healthy foods, like fruits and veggies. When the broccoli florets are forming the treetops in a magical forest, it’s a lot tougher to reject them!

 

You don’t have to be an expert chef to compose clever dishes. Just have fun seeing what picture you can create with what ingredients you have.  It’s more assembly than anything else. You’ll be amazed at what you come up with!

 

 Food Art by Samantha Lee

Photo via Samantha Lee, Eatzy Bitzy

 Food Art by Idafrosk (Instagram)

Photo by Idafrosk (Instagram), via Handmade Charlotte

 Food Art by bambini_pucillo (Instagram)

Photo by bambini_pucillo (Instagram) via POPSUGAR moms

The gorgeous final products prove that you can be creative just about anywhere. Let the refrigerator be your palette and the plate your canvas!

 

Have you given food art a try? Would you? Show us your creations!

 

Posted by Andi Thea, on October 10th, 2013 at 8:54 pm. No Comments

Category: adults,food art,kids Labels: , , , , , , ,


Cap Off the Year with Chocolate

If you live in a college town or anywhere near a college campus, you know what time of year it is… GRADUATION!  It seems every other day this month, kids are receiving diplomas and throwing up their caps. And before you know it, next month it will be time for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school graduations. If you have any grads in your family, why not celebrate this milestone with some sweet treats?

Chocolate Graduation Caps Photo: Bakerella

These chocolate graduation caps are simple to create and easily customizable for school colors. You can make them chocolate lollipops or just clever candy sans the sticks, depending on your preference. To make them, you’ll need: miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, melting chocolate, chocolate squares (Dove or Godiva make good ones, but even small chocolate covered graham crackers or square chocolate covered wafers will do), miniature M&Ms, sour strings (Airheads Extremes Rainbow Berry Sweetly Sour Belts work great), and lollipop sticks (optional).

 

You can work in any order you prefer, but we’ll start with the top of the caps. Unwrap your chocolate squares and separate your sour belt ribbons by color. Choose the school color and cut or tear a small piece off (about an inch to an inch and a half in length—you can eyeball this). Draw a thin line of melted chocolate with a toothpick on the chocolate square from the center to an edge and glue on the sour belt string and a mini M&M to match.

 

Now for the bottom: chill your peanut butter cups in the freezer for a few minutes so the wrappers remove smoothly. If you’d like to make these as lollipops, let the cups return to room temperature (on a sheet of wax paper), then dip the end of a lollipop stick in melted chocolate and carefully insert it about halfway into the peanut butter cup and let it dry.

 Graduation Cap TreatsPhoto: Family Life with a Mom Who is All Hart

Once hardened, adhere the tops to the bottoms with some more melted chocolate and let dry. If they’re lollipops, stick them into a Styrofoam block to dry standing up. If they’re without sticks, leave them on the wax paper.

 

There you have it! Tasty, adorable, and celebratory treats worthy of your graduate! These are very easy to customize and substitute ingredients. For example, you could use icing or candy coating instead of melting chocolate and you could use pull-apart Twizzlers instead of sour belts. You could even use white chocolate for all the ingredients, so feel free to play around and see what you come up with. Congrats to all the classes of 2013 on their accomplishments and the many more to come.

Chocolate Graduation LollipopsPhoto: Bake Me More

Posted by Andi Thea, on May 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 pm. No Comments

Category: Event,food art,kids Labels: , , , , ,


Bean Scene

For those who’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember how I sometimes see snacks in art. Well, call me crazy but there really are snacks in this art! Jelly Belly, the famous jellybean company decided that their tasty candy isn’t just for eating. It’s also for creating beautiful art!

 

Jelly Belly Candy Company commissions talented artists, such as Kristen Cumings, Malcolm West, and Peter Rocha, to create masterpieces entirely out of jellybeans. Some of these include already famous works of art, like the Mona Lisa originally by Leonardo da Vinci, Starry Night originally by Vincent Van Gogh, and American Gothic originally by Grant Wood. They also have portraits of pop culture icons and politicians, like Marilyn Monroe, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.

 

These impressive pieces are usually around 4 x 4 feet or 4 x 6 feet and can contain up to 12,000 jellybeans attached with spray adhesive. With Jelly Belly’s incredible variety of flavors, artists have so many options when matching shades and choosing color palettes. Consequently, these candy creations have a beautiful depth and precision worthy of a spot in any museum.

 

Want to get in on the sugar-filled creative action? Grab some jellybeans, glue, and cardboard and get started! It helps to give yourself an outline to work with (it will be covered by the beans anyway) and organize your colors a bit before starting. Or hey, why not make it entirely edible? Use some sort of baked good as your flat surface (a cake, brownie, or cupcake) and frosting as your adhesive.  This could be a perfect treat with Easter coming up. Yum!

The Starry Night, jellybean style by Kristen CumingsThe Starry Night by Kristen Cumings, original by Vincent van Gogh

Martin Luther King, Jr. jellybean portrait by Peter RochaMartin Luther King, Jr. by Peter Rocha

American Gothic, jellybean version by Kristen CumingsAmerican Gothic by Kisten Cumings, original by Grant Wood

Here’s a fascinating  peek inside how artist Kristen Cumings works on her jellybean creations.

To check out more Jelly Belly art, take a look at their website gallery. Have you every tried making art with edible materials? What food or candy do you think would make great art supplies?


Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen!!

Hi Scribblers!

I had so much fun making these chocolate marshmallow snowmen and think you will too.  I initially came across the marshmallow snowmen on the Tatertots and Jello blog.  What a terrific activity to do with your little ones for the holiday.  I wanted to try something a little different and what could be better than frosting the marshmallows with white chocolate!  How decadent, how yummy!!   I brought them to a holiday party and the snowmen were a real conversation starter, they were also devoured within minutes of being placed on the table.  Try them, they are easy to make, your kids will love them and they make a wonderful hostess gifts too!

Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen

Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen-Yummy!!!

You’ll need some Marshmallows – any brand will be good.  Some mini M&M’s, Red string licorice or Twizzlers makes a red licorice that pulls apart (Pull n’ Peel Twizzlers), wooden or cardboard sticks and white chocolate melts.

Things needed to make Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen

Things needed to make Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen

Put 3 marshmallows on a stick and set them aside.

Marshmallows waiting for chocolate

Marshmallows waiting for chocolate

Melt the chocolate and smooth onto the marshmallows.

Frosting the marshmallows with chocolate

Frosting the marshmallows with chocolate

Once you have frosted the marshmallows with chocolate and before the chocolate dries, add the mini M&M’s and string licorice to create the snowman’s eyes, nose, buttons and hat.

Decorated Marshmallow Snowman

Decorated Marshmallow Snowman

You’ll have to place the frosted marshmallows onto wax paper and let dry completely before serving them.

There you have it!  Chocolate marshmallow Snowmen!

I decided to put the finished snowmen onto a wreath, to bring as a hostess gift.

Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen Ready for Gift Giving!!!

Chocolate Marshmallow Snowmen Ready for Gift Giving!!!

So easy and so much fun!!!

Enjoy and happy holiday!

 

 

 


Candy Cane Remix

Most holidays have a representative candy that is the superstar for that celebration. Halloween has candy corn, Easter has chocolate eggs, Hanukkah has gelt… and Christmas has none other than… the candy cane!

 

Do you like candy canes? It’s funny… instead of having a bunch early in the season and getting sick of them, I avoid them for a long time. I somehow convince myself that I don’t really care for them and then eventually after being surrounded by the red and white treats for weeks, I give in and try one… and then presto! I remember I actually like them. Think of all that perfectly good time I waste not eating the peppermint delights.

 

Now of course candy canes are iconic for their color and shape. The red and white stripes twisting up and over the crook is a classic Christmas theme. But who’s to say we can’t change things up a little and get creative?

 

This very quick and simple tip is such a fun way to add an unexpected twist to your candy cane display!

 

Are you ready?

 

Here it goes…

 

Soften them in the oven and mold them into new shapes!

 

What?! How?! Well, I’ll tell ya. If your candy canes are wrapped in plastic, remove the wrapping and lay the canes out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Put it in the oven at about 300 degrees for 6-7 minutes. They should soften so you can bend and reshape them, but don’t let them melt. If you press two pieces together while they’re warm, they should also fuse together. You can break them up before baking so you have different sized pieces to work with.

 

Want to do it even faster? You could try the microwave! This time, leave the plastic wrapping on and place the candy cane in the microwave for about 15 seconds. If that’s not enough time, work in very small increments because you don’t want the plastic wrapper to melt.

 

Spell out words, make pictures, create hearts and shapes… however the holiday spirit moves you! This is also a great way to bring new life to broken candy canes. Enjoy!

 

Photo via Handmade Type

Photo via From Glitter to Gumdrops

Photo via Make and Takes

 


Posted by Andi Thea, on December 19th, 2012 at 4:23 am. No Comments

Category: food art,holiday,kids Labels: , , , , ,


For Your Entertainmint

What are your feelings on candy canes? Come wintertime, they’re just all over the place. While they make lovely seasonal decorations, they often lead a lonely existence. Sure, every so often, someone will eat one, but that’s it. As a stand-alone snack, they’re fine, but imagine how yummy they’d be with some tasty partners in crime!

 

These adorable sled snacks from Gluesticks and Planning with Kids make a perfect treat for the kids… whether it’s for a party or just hanging at home. All you need are mini candy canes, some chocolate frosting, mini Milky Way bars, and Teddy Grahams.

 

Cut your Milky Way in half and use the chocolate frosting to adhere it to two candy canes for the sled. Then stick a Teddy Graham in between the chocolate bar halves for the driver. That’s all it takes!

 

Mmm… chocolate and peppermint that’s as tasty as it is adorable. Now, there’s a winning combination. On your marks. Get set. GO!

 

photo via Gluesticks

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