Baked Green Bean Fries

Green beans are always so REFRESHING, but sometimes its hard to get the kiddos to eat them. I decided to make them into FRIES just to see if that would make a difference. The baked green beans turned out FAB, though I can't say that all the kids were interested in them. I guess they don't think fries should be GREEN!

Baked Green Bean Fries
Fresh green beans, trimmed (I just had a few BIG handfuls)
Olive oil
Italian Bread crumbs
Garlic salt and pepper

Place the trimmed beans in a large gallon-size plastic bag. Drizzle with a little olive oil and then toss with a tablespoon or so of cornstarch. Drizzle in a little more oil and then toss with a few tablespoons breadcrumbs and the seasonings to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned. 

TIP: You can turn the beans halfway through cooking time for more even "crunchiness." :)


Back-to-School Cereal Bars

I get really annoyed at all the half-full cereal boxes in my PANTRY. It seems like the kiddos get bored with the same cereal over and over and they move on to something NEW. So, this recipe is my solution to the problem! These yummy and SWEET cereal bars are perfect to wrap up and put in your kiddos LUNCH for school. And they aren't boring like when it is just CEREAL in a bowl with milk. :)  (Obviously this isn't a totally new idea, but I thought they were fun enough to post!)

Back-to-School Cereal Bars
3 to 4 tablespoons butter
5 cups mini marshmallows
5 to 6 cups cereal, any kind or kinds (I used half Fruity Pebbles and half regular Cheerios)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and then stir in the marshmallows until melted and mixture is completely smooth. Stir in the cereal to coat and then press into a 9 x 13-inch pan that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Let cool and cut into squares.

TIP: If you have a hard time pressing the mixture into the pan because it is sticking to your fingers, spray your fingers with a little nonstick spray too! Or, dip your fingers in warm water. That helps too.


Minion Birthday Cake

My cute LITTLE twins turned 2 recently and we had a MINION birthday party. The cake turned out super CUTE, if I do say so myself, and it was extremely easy. KIDDOS loved it!

Minion Birthday Cake
1 cake mix, any flavor
Ingredients on box
1/3 cup sour cream
1 small box pudding mix (whatever goes with the cake, chocolate and chocolate etc.)

1 package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
4 cups powdered sugar

Mix together the cake mix as instructed on box. Stir in the sour cream and dry pudding mix. Bake in a 9 x 13-inch pan prepared with nonstick spray as instructed on box. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then cool rectangle cake on a wire rack completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until smooth. If it is too thick, add milk by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reach. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar.

To make the MINION, cut the corners off each end of the cooled cake. I made the top corners a little more rounded for his head. Scoop out a couple tablespoons of the frosting to keep white for his eye. Do about 2/3 of the remaining frosting yellow and the rest blue. Frost two colors as shown in the picture above. Place the reserved white frosting in the middle of the yellow for his eye and place a mason jar lid over top to create his goggle. To finish, use black "tube" frosting from the grocery store!


Salami, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil Sandwich with Balsamic Glaze

So I know that the picture of this SANDWICH isn't amazing by any means, but it tastes FABULOUS! It's one of the tastiest ways to use your FRESH basil, and can be super versatile if you want it to be. I've made it NUMEROUS ways and have loved every combo!

Salami, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil Sandwich with Balsamic Glaze
Ciabatta rolls
Fresh mozzarella
Sliced salami
Fresh basil
Balsamic glaze (boil 1 cup balsamic vinegar down to about a third)

Slice rolls in half and top with little pieces of the fresh mozzarella and stick plenty of basil leaves in between. Top with desired amount of salami and then top that with more cheese and basil. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over top (I like a lot!) and then broil open-faced until cheese is melted and bread is toasty. Put top on and eat away. :)

TIP: I've made this with turkey on regular bread and just grilled it like a grilled cheese. Also SUPER yum! I like the balsamic with it so much I may have drizzled some extra while I was chowing down. And for tomato lovers, I'm sure adding a slice or two would taste great!


Easy Low-Fat Banana Muffins

MUFFINS always make an appearance at our house, especially when there are browning BANANAS around. This time I decided to experiment a little and see how they TASTED without any oil. I have to say they were pretty GOOD!

Easy Low-Fat Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas
3/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir all ingredients together until smooth. Scoop into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan a few minutes.

TIP: I topped some of mine with a big blob of Light Cool Whip for an extra sweet treat. And if you don't want to go light, replace the applesauce with vegetable oil!


Candy Popcorn

This is just a simple, sweet, and CHEERY popcorn recipe that your kids (and you!) will LOVE! The yummy marshmallow coating combined with the CANDY has a surprising flavor combination.

Candy Popcorn
4 quarts popped plain popcorn (2 microwave pkgs.)
1/3 package mini marshmallows
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup favorite candy (Skittles, Gummi Bears, Mini Chewy Sweet Tarts, nothing that melts!)

Put popcorn in an extra large bowl and remove any unpopped kernels. Put marshmallows on top. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour over popcorn and marshmallows. Stir until the popcorn is coated and marshmallows are melted. Add candy and mi until evenly distributed. Spread on wax paper and let cool. Enjoy!

TIP: I think the more marshmallows, the better. I would probably add more next time I make it. Also, the recipe is great for a crowd and doubles easily!