Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars & GIVEAWAY!

I was provided with a Krusteaz Holiday gift pack to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

My Christmas baking list is quite long (shortbread, gingerbread, fudge, sausage balls, and so much more!) & I have been in a cookie baking frenzy. Well, I was. Until my 7 year old had a terrible asthma flare up that has been going on for weeks now. Several doctor visits, multiple medications, and let’s not forget – NO SCHOOL. I have three kids, and one of them is not in school with only a couple more weeks till Christmas! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Cookie gifts

BUT, there is one thing I do not need to panic over, and that’s the holiday treats. With the help of Krusteaz Cookie Mixes, we can have all the fun Christmas cookies, without all the time & effort on my part. Not to mention, I don’t have to stress over gift giving. I have a few options to share that will help you if you are short on time this holiday season as well. And seriously, is there ever enough time?!

Oatmeal Scotchie Food gift

Food gifts do not always have to be prepared ahead of time. Many people have lots of goodies on hand during the holidays, so packaging up mixes that can be easily prepared later is a fun gift. You can mix up a homemade cookie mix, or you can save yourself some time and package up a Krusteaz mix. Just place in a mason jar (because everything looks cute in a mason jar) add a bow and some instructions on how to bake! I added red, green & chocolate chips to the above jar of mix. You could also layer the chips in the jar with the mix. (Provided you don’t start layering, then knock the jar over so that they get mixed up. Not that I would know about that. *ahem*)

You can also add some Hot Chocolate Mix, because we all know hot chocolate goes great with cookies!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

On the other hand, baking up treats to take to a friend, neighbor, teacher, etc. is always fun too. Save yourself some time with shortcuts, like using Krusteaz Shortbread Mix to make these yummy Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars!

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Cookie Bars

Ingredients

  • Krusteaz Shortbread Cookie Mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 bag caramels (I used Kraft Caramel Bits)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • sea salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8 x 11 or 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper (to easily lift bars out of pan for cutting)
  3. Mix cookie mix with softened butter (as directed on package).
  4. Evenly press cookie mix into prepared dish.
  5. Bake until done - time will depend on size of pan used. Check for browning around edges and fully cooked in center. Remove from oven.
  6. Microwave caramel and milk in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions.
  7. Once melted, pour over baked shortbread.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired for a salted caramel bar.
  9. Let cool a few minutes so caramel is slightly firm to touch (you can stick this in the fridge to speed it along! This just keeps the chocolate from sinking into caramel.)
  10. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl according to package directions. Once melted, pour over caramel. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  11. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin
http://makinitmobetta.com/chocolate-caramel-shortbread-cookie-bars/

shortbread bars

The pan size will determine the thickness of the crust. I used an 8 x 11. You could also add nuts. I added just a few to one end, since my son is allergic.

Christmas Food Gifts

Package your treats in a food safe container, lined with festive tissue paper and a cute tag! My tags & tissue paper came from Zazzle.com, and the little tree clips and plastic container came from Target.

Krusteaz & I would like to help decrease your holiday stress level as well! We have a huge cookie prize pack to giveaway! It includes:

Krusteaz

  • Two boxes of the following mixes: Shortbread, Gingerbread, Snickerdoodle, Butter Vanilla Sugar and Oatmeal Scotchie
  • Some fun holiday baking items like an apron, tote bag, cookie cutters, frosting decorating pen and a mason jar (for gifting and storage!)
  • Holiday cookie recipe ideas for inspiration

Please enter via the rafflecopter form. This giveaway ends soon so that we can (hopefully!) get the winner their cookie prize pack before Christmas (No guarantee on that.) Open to US residents, 18 years or older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed Contessa, The Dedicated House, Skip to my LouI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Naptime  Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix

Winter is…cold. (Thank you Captain Obvious) I’m not a fan. Therefore, there have been lots of hot bevvies filling my day – mainly coffee, but a little hot tea, some apple cider, a hot toddy here or there, and of course, hot chocolate.

I made these for Christmas gifts, and thought they turned out pretty cute…I do love a mason jar. Since my kids are constantly asking for hot chocolate, I am getting ready to mix some up to have on hand at home. It’s nice to have a dry mix available that the kids can prepare themselves.

You can layer it all pretty for gift giving, or mix everything together and store in a sealed container so it’s ready to go. One of my friends who received this did say it wasn’t quite sweet enough for her taste, so you may have to adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix

1/2 cup dry (powdered) milk
1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1/2 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
pinch of salt
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup crushed peppermint candy
1/4 cup mini marshmallows

 Layer ingredients in order listed in a pint sized jar or mix all together and store in an airtight container. For serving, place 1/3 cup mix in a mug, add one cup (8 ounces) boiling water. Stir well. Enjoy.
Recipe Source and Printable from Cincy Shopper
*For adults, you may want to add a little homemade Peppermint Vodka!
Maybe this will get me through another six weeks of winter. Damn Groundhog.

Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

Yes, this was another Christmas gift involving booze, but would also be fun for Valentine’s Day. And seriously, anytime you throw together chocolate and booze…it’s going to be a fun day.

Even though this is not my most beloved old-fashioned fudge, it was pretty darn good…I happen to love Jim. And Jack.  It’s also easy…no candy thermometer required! And before anyone asks, yes you can omit the alcohol.

The toppings are your choice as well. I used what I had on hand…Heath Toffee Chips, Mini Baking MM’s, mini Hershey kisses, chocolate drizzle…and I tried doing a white chocolate drizzle, but my chocolate seized up on me…I think it got some water in it. I was doing multiple things at once and that’s never good when dealing with melted chocolate!

Loaded Chocolate Bourbon Fudge

20 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I used Chocoley Chocolate, half milk and half dark chocolate)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons bourbon (I used 5 – Jim Beam and Rave Review! Culinary Blended Bourbon)
approx 1-1/2 cups of desired toppings
1/2 cup milk chocolate, melted

  • Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Melt the 20 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave or using the double boiler method (I almost always use the microwave, just remember to microwave it slowly. I heat for one minute, then stir, then heat for 15 seconds until mostly melted, stirring between each interval).
  • Once melted, stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract
  • Stir in bourbon 1 tablespoon at a time. The mixture will thicken, but continue stirring or folding with a sturdy spoon.
  • Pour the chocolate mixture in the prepared pan and place in fridge for 10 minutes to set.
  • Melt the 1/2 cup milk chocolate using desired method and spread a couple of tablespoons evenly over the top of the chilled fudge. Immediately sprinkle on desired toppings, gently pressing into the chocolate.
  • Use the remaining milk chocolate and drizzle it over the top. This will help keep all the good stuff from falling off when cutting.
  • Let set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • I recommend cutting into small pieces (about an inch or so, because it is very rich!)
Recipe Source: How Sweet It Is
 
I also highly recommend that when cutting this, have it on a nice, flat, non-slip surface. Otherwise, half your fudge may end up on the floor. When it hits the floor, all of your toppings will pop off, fly all over the kitchen, creating havoc as you try to keep two dogs from eating the chocolate. Also, causing much swearing to occur and resulting in your friends getting half the amount of fudge that was intended. I’m just sayin’…it could happen. #thisismylife
 
Disclosure: I received both Chocoley Chocolate and Rave Reviews! Culinary Spirits as samples. This is not a paid post. 

DIY Candy Flavored Vodka

I know, I know. This would have been nice to have posted before Christmas. But…uhm…yeah. Didn’t happen. See previous post for all the pre-Christmas drama. However, even though this was an awesome (if I do say so myself) Christmas gift, it would be an equally awesome Valentine’s gift, birthday gift, etc. For the over 21 crowd of course.

This is SO easy to make, and it doesn’t have to be candy cane…it can be any hard/sugar candy you like. For example, lemon drops are sitting on my counter right now, just waiting.
For Valentine’s Day you might want to use Red Hots for a Cinnamon Vodka, Cherry Sours for a Cherry Vodka, Starlight Mints for Peppermint Vodka…and of course, I’m sure there are still candy canes sitting in a clearance section somewhere!
All you have to do is add about a cup of candy to each pint of vodka. I put mine in mason jars. Because I love mason jars. Give it 2-3 days to dissolve, shaking occasionally, and viola! You’ve made your own flavored vodka.
I just love the color! I can’t wait to try other flavors. I will let you know how they turn out. Also, not only do they make pretty gifts, they taste really good too. I had just a tiny taste, before giving these away, but it tasted so much like a candy cane. The lushes friends I gave them to also gave them a thumbs up. They mixed it with a little Sprite, but you could also use this flavor to make Peppermint White Russians, or add to this Peppermint Hot Chocolate Mix! You can always pin them for next year! #betterlatethannever
I found this gem of an idea over at Scary Mommy and I found the label at Doodles, Dabbles and Dreams. Thank you ladies, and thank you Pinterest!

Copycat Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark

If you have not visited a Trader Joe’s grocery store, then you may not be familiar with their ‘Cowboy Bark’.

I have no idea why it’s named that, but I can tell you that it’s pretty darn awesome. It has that sweet and salty combo that I loooovveee. Luv. Lurve. Just imagine (or read on the above package) – dark chocolate, loaded with toffee, pretzels, chocolate sandwich cookies, peanuts, almonds and a little salt. Holla. (Anyone else watching Big Brother?!)
This is SO easy to make at home, and as you can see, the girls and I loaded our chocolate down with toppings. That’s the great thing about making this at home, you can be as generous with the toppings as you like. You can also substitute ingredients to whatever you like best or have on hand.
The only difference is that I used Oreo’s instead of Joe’s O’s and I used Heath Bar pieces instead of just plain toffee pieces, because, seriously…can you have too much chocolate?

Copycat Trader Joe’s Cowboy Bark

1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Chocoley Extra Dark Chocolate, it’s not bitter at all!)
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pretzel pieces
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits
1/2 cup chopped peanuts and almonds
sea salt, for sprinkling – too taste
*measurements are approximates – you may want more or less, and there was an awful lot of ‘sampling’ going on while my girls helped me make this!
  • Have your cookies, pretzels, toffee, and nuts chopped and ready for placement on the bark
  • Line a baking dish, plastic container or cookie sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap

*I used a plastic container that was a little too small and my bark came out a bit thicker than I wanted. I would recommend a cookie sheet, then you can spread it out to your desired thickness

  • Melt chocolate per instructions on bag/bar/etc.
  • Pour melted chocolate on parchment paper and spread to desired thickness.
  • While chocolate is hot, quickly add cookie and pretzel pieces. Then sprinkle on toffee, peanuts and a little sea salt.
  • Allow chocolate to set. (I placed mine in the fridge for a few minutes)
  • Break into pieces and enjoy your copycat creation!
Chocoley sent me a sampling of their products to try. No compensation was received for posting. 
 
 I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

White Chocolate Popcorn {Party Favors}

Having your guests have a little something to take home at the end of a party is a fun thing to do. I, of course, like for it to be something edible. Everyone likes food right? If they are friends with me, the answer to that is yes. Because seriously, who wants to hang out with someone who doesn’t like to eat? Don’t answer that. You people out there who just “forget to eat”…I have issues with you. I’m kidding. Sort of. 

For my sister’s baby shower, I made white chocolate popcorn with pink, green, and white M&M candies.
It looked cute bagged up, and it tastes good. We placed a framed sign on the table with the favors that said ‘Ready to pop’. My cousin made it and it was very cute (it was also done in pink and green), but somehow I didn’t get a picture. That’s the downside to hosting a party, it’s hard to get as many pics!
The popcorn was tied with pink and white curling ribbon and I found little strollers, pacifiers and baby blocks at a dollar store (The Dollar Tree), so we tied those to each bag. It’s similar to the Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn party favors I did for my daughter’s 10th bday party.

White Chocolate Candy Popcorn

*The amounts are going to vary depending on how much you want to make. We made 25 favor bags, and I am guessing it was about 2 cups per bag, maybe a little more. The recipe is for one ‘batch’ and I doubled it.
 
12 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels)
1 (24 oz) package of white almond bark or white chocolate chips, melted
*sea salt (optional)
desired candy or sprinkles
  • In a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate or almond bark over the prepared popcorn.
  • Stir to mix.
  • Spread chocolate covered popcorn out on wax paper.
  • *Sprinkle with sea salt if desired (this is not needed if using salted microwave popcorn. I used plain popcorn from my air popper) You can also skip the salt all together, but I like the sweet-salty combo.
  • Add candy to popcorn BEFORE CHOCOLATE HARDENS. Lightly press candy down onto the popcorn. (You can mix the candy in with the chocolate, but then it gets covered in white chocolate so it’s not as pretty. I like to add it on the tops, you just have to work quickly before the chocolate hardens.)
  • Once chocolate/bark is set, break apart and place in bags.
This simple recipe can be adapted to pretty much any party or theme. Just change up the candy used, add sprinkles, etc. I don’t recommend making it more than 24 hours in advance because the chocolate coating causes the popcorn to get soft…it’s still good however!
If looking for a good party punch, you can check out this post.
If looking for more baby shower ideas, you can check out my Baby Shower Pinterest Board.
I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

My “Go-To” Cookie Base for Thick, Chewy Cookies

I think it’s well established that we make cookies a lot in the Mo’Betta house. I have tried many different recipes for homemade cookies, I’ve taken short cuts and made cookies from cake mix or cookie mixes, and a few months back I found a cookie base recipe that turns out great every time. It makes thick, chewy cookies and doesn’t have to be chilled. However, if you chill the dough, the cookies are even thicker!
We made cookies for the teachers at Christmas….
I also learned the trick to making nice BIG cookies…
Yep, do the double stack for even bigger, thicker cookies!
We made cookies at Easter. I’m a sucker for the seasonal chocolate chips, can you tell?!
We made bite size, thick cookies for the girls’ volleyball coach.
We also made cookies with M&M’s! My son’s favorite. That’s the great thing about this dough…use whatever add ins you want.
We made ‘supersized’ cookies for Teacher Appreciation. My daughter actually made these…using an ice cream scoop to get nice big mounds of dough.
So, the recipe already! I’m now seriously craving cookies. Which is nothing new…

Thick, Chewy Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (decrease to 1/4 if using salted butter)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white (granulated) sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups add ins of choice (candy, chocolate chips, toffee bits, nuts, etc.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees if baking immediately.
  • Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and white sugar until fluffy (medium speed, 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides.
  • Add egg and vanilla to mixing bowl, mix until incorporated.
  • With mixer on low, add in flour mixture until dough forms. Scrape sides as necessary.
  • Stir in 1 1/2 cups of desired add ins.
  • At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours or overnight – make sure it’s covered well or the dough will begin to dry out. You can also roll the cookies into balls and freeze to make at a later date.
  • Scoop out dough and place on lined cookie sheet – about a tablespoon for small cookies; “double stacked” tablespoon for larger, thicker cookies; 3 tablespoons or more for large cookies. Just make sure to leave space for them to spread and adjust baking time. Small cookies only need around 8 minutes. You want them to look a little underdone (shiny) in the middle, as they will continue to cook a bit once removed from the oven.

Now, since National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is May 15th, I highly recommend making some cookies! If you don’t want to make them from scratch, check out this giveaway!

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal CooksHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy’s Recipe BoxLove in the Kitchen, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingDesigned DecorMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysSimple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,CraftionaryThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters’ StuffMade from Pinterest

Copycat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs {Recipe Repeat}

Even though Easter is coming later this year, it is still coming too fast for me! I think the weather is partly to blame for my lack of Easter prep…it hasn’t felt like Spring! But with the Easter Bunny arriving this weekend, I better get myself in gear. One thing that is a ‘must have’ around here, as far as Easter candy goes, are peanut butter eggs. Chocolate covered, peanut butter filled, shaped like eggs….yes, please.

Lucky for us, (lucky being a relative term here), I discovered how to easily whip these up at home with just a few ingredients, and no BUTTER. Don’t get me wrong, butter is awesome. However, I don’t want to eat it when it’s not necessary…you know, the whole ‘moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips’ thing. I’m not saying these peanut butter eggs are healthy, but there are no weird ingredients, no added butter, and they taste awesome.
 
The filling is only 3 ingredients and then it’s dipped in chocolate. In my experience, regular peanut butter works better than natural peanut butter, but natural peanut butter can be used if you chill the dough well (the filling get’s soft and hard to dip otherwise.) I also recommend doubling the posted recipe, because they are that good! HERE is the link to the original post. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spiced Gingerbread Granola & a GIVEAWAY!

Since Mother Nature has decided we are still in full winter mode, I think it’s still the perfect time for the warmly spiced flavors of this granola. Actually I eat pumpkin year round, and this homemade granola is healthy and delicious. It’s also very easy to make, which is always a bonus.

My 11 year old loves to eat granola for breakfast, and I like to mix it in yogurt. Making it at home ensures that quality, wholesome ingredients are used, and it’s easily adapted to whatever you like and have on hand. And the best part about this granola?!

CLUSTERS!!
I feel good about letting my daughter eat this granola full of super foods like oats and pumpkin; nutritious wheat germ, healthy fats from nuts, and naturally sweetened with molasses. I lovelove molasses. However, if it’s not your cup of tea, you can substitute honey. It will have a milder, less ‘gingerbready’ flavor.

Pumpkin Spiced Gingerbread Granola

1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup oil (I used a canola/olive oil blend)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger

3 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup wheat germ (I use Kretschmer Wheat Germ)

1/4 cup almond meal (ground almonds)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup almonds

1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 325°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and spices.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, almond meal, chia seeds and nuts. 
  • Pour wet ingredients over the dry, and stir until well coated. 
  • Spread granola out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for approx 45 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes. If you want clumps, keep the stirring to a minimum (as in don’t stir it too aggressively, trying to keep some places undisturbed) but be sure to keep an eye on the edges as they will burn. Mine got a little over cooked, but just on the very edges. 
  • Allow granola to cool and store in an airtight container. 

Recipe adapted from Carla’s Confections

Now, onto the GIVEAWAY! Kretschmer Wheat Germ has agreed to provide 2 jars of wheat germ to a Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader. And WHY would you want to win jars of wheat germ?! Because it’s a nutrition power house! It’s a great way to add extra nutrition into your family’s diet, and it has such a nice nutty crunch. Also, it has only 50 calories per 2-tablespoon serving. Win-Win!

Per their website, Kretschmer Wheat Germ includes:
Vitamin E: This fat-soluble antioxidant helps to protect cells and tissues from damage and may ward off certain diseases.

  • Folic Acid: A must-have for pregnant women—and a good idea for everyone else—this B vitamin helps make healthy new cells to protect against certain cancers.
  • Magnesium: This mineral helps keep your heart, bones and immune system strong. Recent data also suggests it may even slash your Type-2 diabetes risk.
  • Thiamin: This B vitamin helps convert carbohydrates into energy. It’s also essential for the proper functioning of the heart, muscles and nervous system.
  • Phosphorous: Working with calcium to build strong bones and teeth, this mineral is also necessary for the growth, maintenance and repair of all tissues.
  • Zinc: Your body uses this mineral for hundreds of functions, such as fighting off viruses, helping wounds heal, DNA synthesis and proper cell division.
BONUS: Wheat germ is also a fiber-rich source of high-quality non-animal protein and only contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fat. Extra bonus: There’s no sodium.

So that’s why you want to incorporate wheat germ into your diet! Plus, it’s great mixed in yogurt, in granola recipes as above, baking, and I like to use it in a low fat topping for muffins….

To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form! Shipping is only available within the US.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: A jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ was provided for sampling. No monetary compensation was received and I was under no obligation to post. I enjoy the product and all opinions are my own. 

Creamy Hot Cocoa Mix

Yesterday’s post was about easy, no bake gifts in jars. One of the things we put in jars this year for teachers’ gifts was this homemade hot cocoa mix.

It was very simple to mix together, and it was really good! Obviously we had to sample some before giving it away 🙂

We made hot chocolate to drink while watching The Polar Express. One of our favorite Christmas movies!

Creamy Cocoa Mix

  • 4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding (approx 4 oz size)

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Stir to combine. For a finer consistency, process in a food processor or blender. (I ran mine through the food processor). Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 cup mix (or to desired taste) to an 8 ounces of warm milk, water or coffee.

Recipe from The Motherload
To give as gifts, I put the hot cocoa mix in bags and placed in jars, along with marshmallows, peppermint sticks and Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses.
Then we added the jars to baskets with some other goodies and added this cheese-y little poem…
Because you are my teacher and I love you so much,
Here is some hot chocolate and such….
Just mix with warm milk or coffee too,
my mommy said about 1/4 cup should do.
Then to your cup add some yummy marshmallows,
and don’t forget the Hugs and Kisses from one of your favorite fellows!
Merry Christmas! Love, Mr. Three
 
Obviously these were for my son’s Kindergarten teachers! I hope they enjoy their baskets b/c they are awesome and my son loves them both.
I plan on making more mix soon to have at home, except I want to use Hershey’s Dark Cocoa and Hershey’s Dark pudding! yummmm! This Hot Chocolate on a Stick is also fun to make and eat…oh yeah, and to give away!