Easter Bunny Cupcake Centerpiece

Edible Easter Table Centerpiece

Here comes Peter Cottontail hopping down the Bunny Trail. This year, he has brought a bunch of his frisky friends to help hide eggs in the grass for a really cute edible centerpiece. Use this centerpiece to decorate your Easter dinner table.

There are many,many ideas on how to create cute bunny cakes and cupcakes. They are all adorable, and picking the right Easter bunny cake idea can be a bit daunting.

This year, let the kids help put together some Easter Bunny cupcakes using our own unique method. They are easy to make and look really great. The kids will be so proud to have been a part of this project when it’s time for Easter dinner.

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Our unique way to create cute Easter Bunny cupcakes is achieved with a few special secrets .

First of all, the inside of a cupcake is as important as the outside. l love strawberry cake and I use strawberry cake mix for yummy Easter bunny cupcakes.

Our bunny cupcakes have ears cut from one side of a Vienna Finger cookie. The special secret is cutting the cookie halves the correct size. If you cut about one-third of the cookie away, the cookie will be a perfect “bunny ear” size. Any more, the bunny will end up looking like a long-eared donkey. Any less, he will look like a little white mouse.

Use the vanilla creme icing scraped away from the cookies. Tint pink with red food dye.

Secret two is in using white mini-marshmallows. One mini-marshmallow sitting on the flat-side-up on each side of a jelly bean nose gives him fat bunny cheeks. Another mini-marshmallow placed round side down and flattened makes two front bunny-teeth when divided with a line of black decorating gel. The decorating gel doubles as a way to add bunny whiskers.

Let’s get started.

Cupcake Baking With Kids
  • Older kids can mix batter.
  • Adults supervise baking, removal for cooling.
  • Younger kids sort jelly beans and M&Ms.
  • Adults supervise and help frost cupcakes.
  • Adults and older kids add features.
Ingredients For Easter Bunny Cupcakes
  • One package strawberry -flavored cupcake mix, eggs, water and oil as given
  • One package jelly beans, assorted
  • One can cream cheese frosting, prepared
  • one tube black decorator gel
  • mini-marshmallows, white
  • miniature M&Ms, green, blue and brown
Instructions
  1. Prepare your favorite strawberry cake mix as directed for cupcakes. Bake.
  2. Let cupcakes cool. Frost with cream cheese or vanilla frosting.
  3. Add features. Jellybean nose, miniature M&M eyes, puffy marshmallow cheeks and rabbit teeth with mini-marshmallows.
  4. Add whiskers and a line to form bunny teeth with black decorator gel.
  5. Frost and add cookie ears. Insert into slits made with a butter knife.
  6. Add Peter Cottontail and his friends around a green flaky coconut lawn with hidden jelly bean eggs.
Vienna Finger Bunny Ears

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Bunny Cupcake Facial Features

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Insert Bunny Ears

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Peter Cottontail Complete With Whiskers and Big Tooth

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(Optional) Sprinkle Bunny Cupcakes with Finely Shredded Coconut

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Place all the Peter Cottontails, all with different eye and nose color combinations around a green flaky coconut lawn with jelly bean eggs all hidden and ready for an Easter Egg Hunt!

This should be a great addition to the Easter decor for your holiday table. The kids will be proud to have helped with this family project.

Happy Easter!

Easy Easter Desserts For Kids To Make

Easter Cooking With Kids

Easter is almost here! It’s Spring Break, or soon will be, everywhere. The kids are home from school for the week. (well, the little ones anyway!) Little kids just love Easter and it is a great holiday to create memories for them.

As with every holiday, the kitchen is the best place to be. Make sure to take time out of your busy schedule to spend some time cooking with the kids this Easter. There are many great recipes available that require minimal help from adults.

 

Easy Cinnamon Bunny Buns

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These “Cinnamon Bunny Buns” are created from refrigerator (canned) biscuits. The little kids can safely participate by cutting the biscuits with a butter knife. They will love putting the “ears” on the cinnamon bunnies’ “heads”. These bunny biscuits will surprise you.

The slightly melted mini marshmallows will make them taste like iced cinnamon buns. Don’t think that each and every bunny must have 3 raisins and 2 mini-marshmallows. The kids will want to add more once they taste one bunny, and that’s OK! Won’t these go great for Easter Breakfast or Brunch?

6416270_f248Ingredients
  • 2 – 12 oz. cans refrigerator biscuits, one cake makes 5 bunnies
  • 1/4 cup each cinnamon and sugar, for sprinkling on bunny buns
  • 30 raisins, for 10 bunny buns
  • 20 mini marshmallows, for 10 bunny buns
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, for brushing on bunny buns
6416806_f248Instructions
  1. Open biscuits and spread out on a cutting board.
  2. Cut 5 biscuits in half for each of the other 5 biscuits.
  3. Place on greased cookie sheet and form “heads” with “ears” from one whole biscuit and two biscuit halves.
  4. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
  5. Add 3 raisins for the “eyes” and “nose.” Add 2 mini-marshmallows for the “whiskers” the last minute of cook time.
  6. Follow baking directions on the refrigerator biscuit can. An adult will take Bunny Buns in and out of the hot oven.Let cool and remove with a wide spatula

Easter Cupcake Ideas for Kids

Easter just wouldn’t be Easter without a batch of pretty cupcakes. Provide kids with frostings, sprinkles, jelly beans, green coconut and whatever cake decorations you have on hand.

Just follow the directions on a package of cake mix. You will need eggs and cooking oil. An adult will assist by blending the batter with a mixer. The kids can line the muffin tins with cupcake liners. Show them how to fill the cupcake liners two-thirds full of batter. An adult will place and remove the cupcakes from the oven. Kids can frost and decorate!

Here are two ideas for Easter cupcakes:

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Hidden Egg Cupcakes

Fill cupcake liners one-third full of batter. Place an unwrapped chocolate egg on top. Fill with two-thirds of the batter. Bake as directed. Cool and frost with chocolate frosting and add colorful sprinkles.

 

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Easter Basket Cupcakes

Bake any flavor cupcake mix as directed. Cool and frost with white frosting. Tint coconut flakes green with a small amount of food color. Top the cupcakes with “grass” and jelly bean eggs. Use red licorice laces for “handles.”

 

Creative Easter Cupcakes

Kids will enjoy designing their own cupcakes. Make a few pretty baskets and then let them loose! You will be surprised at how creative they can be. They will love designing a cupcake for someone and then another to eat themselves. This is what makes Easter memories special. Hang out with the kids in the kitchen this Easter. It’s the best place to be on a holiday!

 

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Morgan’s Easter Cupcake
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Annie’s Easter Cupcake

Easter Crafts For Kids

 

Easy Easter Crafts for the Kids to Make

Easter is the only major holiday that falls on a different Sunday of the month and sometimes even a different month (March or April) each year. The exact date of Easter is calculated by using a formula involving religious history, calendar history, the science of equinox and a full moon. Generally speaking, the date of Easter for the year can be found by finding the first Sunday after the first full moon directly after the Spring equinox. The Spring equinox is the second point in time when the tilt of the earth’s axis is such that the center of the sun is in the same plane as earth’s equator. No matter the date, Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth, natural beauty, and joy. Signs of Spring are everywhere. Even though the day may be chilly we know that winter is over.

No matter the date, Easter is a time to celebrate rebirth, natural beauty, and joy. Signs of Spring are everywhere. Even though the day may be chilly we know that winter is over.

Many schools observe Spring Break along with Easter Holidays for a week or more of vacation. This year consider spending quality time with the kids creating Easter crafts. Here are three original craft ideas both you and your kids will love. They are easy enough for younger children to do with assistance and challenging enough for older children to do alone. School and church groups can use these craft ideas for projects to be taken home for the holiday.

How to Decorate Plain Plastic Easter Eggs

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Decorating plain plastic eggs is a fun easy project for children of all ages.

You will need: large plastic Easter eggs, items from your sewing box or the sewing notions section of craft/department stores, stickers, beads…(be resourceful and imaginative!) …scissors and glue that will bond porous materials such as Elmer’s School Glue.

How to do: Guide children in pre-planning their egg design. Younger children may need help with measuring and cutting. Glue on ribbon, stickers, rick-rack, buttons, etc. for a personalized Easter egg.

Easter Trees

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Additional idea: Make tiny hanging Easter baskets by using half of the egg. Stuff with Easter grass and jelly beans. Older children, with the help of an adult, can spray paint a tree branch or small bare tree with pastel colored enamel. We used a pretty glossy pink. Attach a thin ribbon hanger to the “egg baskets”. Be sure to use hot glue for this and glue ends deep into the egg so that the weight of the jelly beans doesn’t pull the eggs loose from the ribbons.

We mounted our Easter tree into an Easter bucket with rocks, then concealed the rocks with Easter grass. It will make a great centerpiece for the holiday!

How to Make a Faux Stained Glass Window

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Shiny tinfoil and markers in bold colors are the secret to this faux stained glass window.

Step 1: Begin by having an adult use a box cutter or Xacto knife to cut a church window shape from cardboard.

Step 2: Cover the cardboard window shape with tinfoil. Tape the tinfoil down in back.

Step 3: Glue a swirly line of glue. Place a string of black yarn over the line of glue. Allow to dry.

Step 4. Color the “window pane” sections with bold color markers.

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Step 5: Add a potted “Easter Lily” to your faux stained glass window. Cut a Styrofoam cup in half vertically and paint a pastel shade. We used pale pink acrylic. Attach to the bottom of the window with glue.

Step 6: Color mini craft sticks with a green marker. Cut out 3 Lily shapes from white paper. Attach to the green mini craft sticks “stems” with glue. Add a tiny yellow “stamen” by using a bit of chenille pipe stem.

How to Make Colorful Easter Peeps From Cotton Balls

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A dozen cute colorful peeps can double later as a seed starter! Save egg shells and cartons for several days. Wash out shell halves and air dry. You will need cotton balls, colored chalk, glue, a small amount of orange and black paper, plastic zip-lock bags, cutting board, rolling pin.

Step one: pick a few colors of chalk. Place 2-3 sticks of each color in separate plastic zip lock bags. Smash and roll the chalk inside the bags to make powder. Put cotton balls inside the bag and shake to coat the cotton balls with chalk powder.

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Step two: glue two cotton balls together to form a chick. Add black dots(we used clippings from a hole punch) for “eyes” and an orange triangle for a “beak.”

Step three: stuff a bit of grass into the half shell and then glue in the little peeps. Display in an empty egg carton. After Easter simply remove the peeps and then use the eggshells as seed starters.

Saint Patrick’s Day Breakfast Idea: Shamrock Eggs And Green Grits

How to Make Shamrock Eggs with Green Bell Peppers

 

Those who really love to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day are always looking for ways to add to the day’s festivities. Green suspenders, green beer, Dalmatians with green spots and other such outrageousness.

Start your day on March 17th this year with a breakfast any leprechaun would love. And it’s easy to do. Eggs are baked stove-top in green bell pepper rings. For a southern flair, serve alongside some grits…green ones, of course!

You will need:
  • a skillet with a lid
  • green bell peppers
  • fresh eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley flakes
  • olive oil
  • grits
  • green food dye
How to do:
  1. Cut rings about 1/4 inch thick from the bell peppers.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet.
  3. Add the pepper rings.
  4. Gently crack eggs into the bell pepper rings.
  5. Cover the skillet.
  6. Cook on low until the egg yolks are done.
  7. Remove and sprinkle with the spices.
  8. Cook grits according to package directions.
  9. Add a few drops of green food dye.

Add toast, fruit, or breakfast meat if desired.

Top o’ the Morning to you!
Green Stuff to Order

 


Easy Easter Dessert Recipes

Easy Simple Easter Desserts

If you find yourself running low on time in preparing Easter dinner don’t skip dessert. These easy dessert recipes are “simply” delicious and take little time to prepare. They are attractive, as desserts are, and budget-friendly to help keep down the cost of Easter dinner. Fresh fruit in Berry Shortcake Stackers and Easiest Ever Strawberry Pie add healthy flavorful color. The Easiest Ever Ice Cream Cake is dreamy and easy on the pocketbook. The following recipes and photos will make it difficult to decide just which one to plan. They are so easy and tasty! But Easter dinner is not the only occasion that calls for dessert! These easy dessert recipes will be great all Spring and into Summer-especially as the season for fresh fruit approaches! Local in-season fruit is usually plentiful, less expensive and definitely healthier!

Berry Shortcake Stackers

Berry Short Cake Stackers have fresh blueberries and strawberries for a healthier dessert.

6385914_f248Ingredients for Berry Shortcake Stackers
  • one pint blueberries, fresh
  • one pint strawberries, fresh
  • 2-4 tablespoons honey
  • one loaf store-bought pound cake, sliced

 

6385917_f248How to Make Berry Shortcake Stackers

Add a pint of blueberries to boiling water just long enough for most of them to pop open. This will help release juice from the berries that will soak into the pound cake.

 

 

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Slice the strawberries into a bowl. Some strawberries are juicier than others. At your discretion add a tablespoon or so of water. Coat the strawberries with about 2 tablespoons of honey per 8 ounces of berries. Use only a tablespoon for the blueberries. They are naturally sweeter than strawberries. Place a slice of pound cake on a dessert plate. Top with strawberries, Cool Whip, and then add another slice of cake. Continue alternating layers of berries. Top the Berry Stackers with Cool Whip and then garnish with a few berries.

 

Easiest Ever Ice Cream Cake

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Turn two simple and inexpensive purchases at the grocery store into this dreamy ice cream cake. You will want to make this easy ice cream cake again over the Summer!

Ingredients for Easiest Ever Ice Cream Cake

An Angel-food cake from the store bakery and a carton of strawberry ice cream. That’s it!

6385971_f248How to Make an Ice Cream Cake

Soften the ice cream. Using a large serrated knife, cut the Angel-food cake in half horizontally. Spread the softened ice cream on top of the bottom half. Place the top of the cake on the ice cream layer. Place the ice cream cake in the freezer until the ice cream re-freezes solid. Slice, decorate with strawberries and enjoy!

Easiest Ever Strawberry Pie

 

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The secret to this tasty pie is the almond extract. This will not be the most attractive dessert of the set because a clean cut slice is a bit difficult. But the gourmet-like taste will make up for it! It is relatively low in calories as desserts go and there is plenty of fresh fruit in the pie.

6386021_f248Ingredients for Easiest Ever Strawberry Pie
  • Frozen pie crust (2 or 3 depending on the number of guests),
  • 8 ounces of strawberries per pie
  • Almond extract
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Cool whip or vanilla ice cream.
6386024_f248Easy Strawberry Pie

Thaw the frozen pie crusts for 15 minutes. Add some fork indentions and sprinkle about a teaspoon of almond extract over the bottom and sides. Fill the pie shell with berries and sprinkle 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar over them. Bake at 400 degrees in a pre- heated oven. Cool and serve with Cool Whip or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Saint Patrick’s Day Desserts For Kids: Lucky Leprechaun Ice Cream Float

Lucky Leprechaun Ice Cream Float

Don’t forget a cute and tasty dessert to go with Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner. Kids will love helping to make these fizzy green floats. They get to pick Lucky Charms marshmallow bits out of cereal to use as “sprinkles.”
  1. Place two scoops of lime sherbet in a soda fountain glass.
  2. Fill with ginger ale or club soda.
  3. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream
  4. Decorate with Lucky Charms marshmallow bits.

Let the kids help make a Simple Irish Supper with corned beef and cabbage. 

Saint Patrick’s Day History

Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17th of March every year. It is considered to be the Feast Day of Saint Patrick the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is a national holiday in Ireland and a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Canada. Worldwide celebrations of Irish culture include special Mass services in Catholic churches and huge parades in major cities.

In the United States New York City, Chicago, and Savannah, Georgia boast having the three largest parade celebrations. There is lots of green everywhere to honor the Emerald Isle. Green clowns, a green Santa, and Dalmatians with their coats dyed green are some of the funny sites to see. In Chicago, the river is dyed green for the day, and in Savannah, the beautiful fountain in Forsyth Park (Forrest Gump) spouts green water. Irish clans wearing green go marching through winding streets and everyone claims to be Irish on that day.

Get in the spirit of the day with the kids by cooking a simple Irish supper of corned beef and cabbage and potato cakes. It is a traditional Irish meal and will help kids learn to associate certain foods with different nationalities. Just as they should understand that pizza is Italian, tacos are Mexican, so should they be aware of Irish culture. After all, we are all Irish for the day.

For added fun, make Lucky Leprechauns shakes using the directions after the potato cakes recipe.

Erin Go Braugh! May the luck O’ the Irish be with yee.

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Saint Patrick’s Day Cake Idea

Make a Lucky Leprechaun Fruity Rainbow Cake!

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Saint Patrick Fun Facts

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Saint Patrick was not Irish.He was born British in the yearAD 390

His Family was very wealthy. They had two homes and owned many slaves.

Young Patrick was kidnapped at age 16 and sold into slavery.

He spent six years as a slave on a sheep farm in the chilly Irish hills.

He escaped at age 22 and went home to Wales on a pirate ship.

Saint Patrick returned to Ireland to preach Christianity while in his thirties.

He was beaten by thugs and harassed by Irish royalty.

Saint Patrick did not chase the snakes from Ireland. The snakes can not get through the icy waters surrounding the Isle to inhabit it.

Saint Patrick died in the year AD 461


Easy Saint Patrick’s Day Dinner To Cook With Kids

Simple Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage

 

Get in the spirit of Saint Patrick’s by  cooking a simple Irish supper of corned beef and cabbage and potato cakes with the kids. It is a traditional Irish meal and will help them learn to associate certain foods with different nationalities. Just as they should understand that pizza is Italian, tacos are Mexican, so should they be aware of Irish culture. After all, we are all Irish for the day.

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This easy corned beef and cabbage recipe uses 2 pounds of corned beef, cold water, two onions, a head of cabbage salt and pepper

Step 1: Put corned beef in a large pot. Cover with water. Kids can help with covering with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and skim off grease. Adult needs to do this step.

Step 2Cover pan with a lid. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for one and a half hours. Kids can set the timer, or watch a clock.

Step 3: Add the onions and cabbage. .Adults. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes. Kids can set the timer, or watch a clock.

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Step 4:     Adults. Drain liquid off. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Serve meat on a platter. Kids can arrange onions and cabbage around the meat.

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Make Potato Pancakes with the Kids

The Irish are a hardy folk and descendants are proud of their heritage. Making potato cakes with the kids is a good time to make them aware of other cultures and history.

Discuss the Great Famine of Ireland between 1846-1850 when blight wiped out acres and acres of Irish farmland. Potatoes were covered with a black rot. Failing crops caused the food prices to soar. Irish farmers were forced to eat rotting produce from cellars. The population dropped from 8 million to 4 million. A wave of emigration began from Ireland to America and other nations.

Okay. The history lesson is over. Time to make potato cakes! Kids can be more involved in the potato cake process . They will enjoy mashing the potato that the adult has peeled and cooked and then adding flour and rolling out the dough.

Ingredients for Irish Potato Cakes

  • one pound Irish potatoes
  • water
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • healthy oil for frying, sunflower. Canola

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Steps for Making Irish Potato Cakes with Kids

Step 1: Put peeled potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with water for boiling. Kids can do.Boil until soft and remove from stove. Adult.

Step 2: Mash potatoes and spread on a pastry board.Kids can do. Spread butter, salt, nutmeg and flour over potatoes. Kids can do.

Step 3: Knead until well mixed. Add extra flour as needed. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Kids can do with direction.

Step 4: Cut into wedges. Kids can do with help

Step 5: Fry in a skillet using a healthy oil. Adult

Step 6: Remove and cool on paper towels. Adult.

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Fun Valentine’s Day Ideas For Families

 

 

Valentine’s Day is such a cool holiday. I love the pinks, reds, and purples…frilly homemade valentines, candy hearts with quotes and boxes of chocolates. It’s the perfect holiday to show your sweetie you care. But it’s not just a holiday for lovers. Involve the whole family in celebrating Valentine’s Day with the following fun ideas. 

Valentine’s Day Crafts

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Grab up the crafts box and make a host of adorable homemade valentines. Scissors, glue, markers, maybe some googly eyes and ribbons are all that’s needed to make cute things.

The accordion style hearts remind me of that old fashioned way of making a string of paper dolls. Print letters T E A C H E R, or perhaps your Sweetie’s name on the hearts for a simple really cute inexpensive alternative to a card.

See how cute the mouse is! It’s a valentine shape folded in half to resemble a mouse with a smaller folded valentine for ears. His tail is a tucked-in lollipop!  Draw on eyes and nose (or use googly eyes and a tiny pom pom.) Help the kids make a couple dozen for sharing with classmates.

Valentine’s Dinner and a Movie

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Watch LADY AND THE TRAMP and Eat Spaghetti

What Lady doesn’t fall for a Rogue at least once in her life? Celebrate this fact of nature with Disney’s Lady and The Tramp. Plan dinner and a movie with puppy love, spaghetti and meatballs. You and your honey may want to recreate the scene where Lady and the Tramp share their spaghetti. How romantic is that!

 

Easiest and Tastiest Spaghetti with Meatballs Recipe

 

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Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 to 2 lbs lean ground beef

1cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 egg

1/4 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 large jar of prepared sauce, such as Ragu

Directions:

Combine ingredients and form into balls. Bring the pasta sauce to a boil and toss in the meatballs. Reduce heat and simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes.

Watch Sleepless in Seattle with Popcorn

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Watch the movie Sleepless In Seattle. If you’ve never seen this Valentine’s Day classic, run don’t walk to get the DVD for this totally heart warming tale. It’s the story of a little boy whose mother died, and through a radio talk show host, he connects his lonely father to a girl that is close to marrying her boring best friend. He ghost writes letters back and forth arranging for the two to meet atop the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day night as in the classic movie An Affair To Remember- which BTW is another great Valentine’s Day tear jerker.Follow up one movie with the other. 

Don’t forget the popcorn and cokes. Make it a little special in with cute glasses and  containers.

Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks star in Sleepless and Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant are the stars in Affair Sleepless is rated PG. An Affair to Remember is rated G. 

DIY Valentine Candy Containers

 

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Mason Jar Idea

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Save a pretty jar. Clean it up and pack it with candy hearts. Toss in a few foil covered chocolate treats and add a pretty bow. This makes a great teacher gift. A few bags of inexpensive conversational hearts and chocolates will allow you to make one for favorite aunts, grandmothers, and neighbors. It is a good way to recycle a glass jar too!

Mason jars are excellent for this project. Simply fill a Mason jar with your Valentine treats of choice. Sweeten the life of a loved one with this sweet and thoughtful gift. Mason jars have an innocent look that goes well with homemade gifts.

Re-use Valentine Candy Boxes

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If you have saved heart-shaped candy boxes, the ones that the assorted chocolates come in, redecorate them for this.

Or transform a new box that you buy this year into a personalized candy box.

 

 

 

 

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Use scrapbooking materials, old gift bags, art tissue, anything you can find to transform your empty candy boxes and personalize them.

If you use a recycled candy box here is a recipe for really easy chocolates to refill your box. It is basically as easy as melting chocolate morsels in the microwave.

Use candy molds for forming the melted chocolates. Directions are included for various ways to decorate the chocolates.

Tasty Homemade Valentine Treats

Tea Sandwiches with Cream Cheese and Raspberry Jam

7182602_f248Have a cozy afternoon tea on Valentine’s Day. A four o’clock tea is perfect for after-school when Valentine’s Day is on a school day. Make it for just the family or invite a few friends. Decorate the table and serve Valentine cookies. Or try these tasty tea sandwiches:

Cut shapes from white wheat bread with a Valentine cookie cutter. Spread with cream cheese and raspberry jam for making sandwiches. Brown lightly on a buttered griddle and dust with confectioner sugar.

Cute Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

Sweetheart Teddy Bear Cupcakes
Sweetheart Teddy Bear Cupcakes

You can find cute Valentine’s Day cupcakes galore to make.  Try valentine sweetheart cupcakes. using red velvet cake mix, this idea calls for the heart-shaped pink marshmallows especially sold around Valentine’s Day for the bear’s ears. The nose is a Maraschino cherry. Eyes are chocolate chips. A tasty combination!

 

 


Saving Your Poinsettia For Next Year

 

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Given the relatively low cost of the Poinsettia, many prefer to toss them out with the Christmas tree or add them to the compost pile. If you are one of those read no further. But if you really enjoy a gardening challenge and tend to think of your plants almost as pets, then consider pampering your Poinsettias through the seasons. When you see last year’s plants produce showy new blooms, you will get a self-satisfaction that is priceless. Remember also that indoor houseplants help clean up the air by turning carbon dioxide into the fresh air, and that can be beneficial to health.

How to Care for Poinsettias

Poinsettia care should begin immediately. Before purchasing shop for healthy looking plants that have been kept away from drafts or excessive heat. Touch the soil and see that it is neither too wet or overly dry. Take care not to give your new plants a cold ride home if you are in an area with a very cold climate.

Poinsettias are usually sold with the containers wrapped in colorful foil. Remove the wrapper as soon as you get home to allow for proper drainage. Place your new plants in a sunny location. Avoid high heat and cold drafts. Because they are tropical plants they crave humidity. Place on a tray of wet pebbles and spritz with a water sprayer daily. Keep the soil moderately moist.

Although the Poinsettia leaf is not deadly, place it where you can monitor small children and pets around it. Ingesting enough of it can induce gastrointestinal distress.

After Christmas Care for Poinsettias

Continue to keep your Poinsettias in a place with plenty of light and water as directed above. The plants will enter a dormancy period and will begin to lose leaves. This is normal. But do watch for shriveled brown stems as this indicates that those stems are dead and your lovely Christmas flower is dying a slow death.

At this point move your Poinsettias to a good “resting place” that is a little cooler and with just a little less sunlight. Water only when dry and do not fertilize. Continue to keep them away from drafts and high heat.

Continue to let your plants lose leaves naturally and then go ahead and cut back all branches to a few inches above the soil line about 2 to 4 inches in height. Leave two or three leaves on the old stems as new growth comes from buds on the leaf. The actual flower of the Poinsettia is the yellow middle. The colored leaf is called a bract.

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Winter Care for Poinsettia Indoors

Around Valentine’s Day start fertilizing every two weeks and provide a little more sun light. Keep in mind that you are trying to recreate a desert winter. Keep the temperature around 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.

When to Move Poinsettia Outside

Spring is in the air! You have gotten your Christmas Poinsettias safely through the long cold winter without over or under watering and have avoided cold drafts and hot heaters. Congratulations! By now you should have begun to form a relationship with the plants.

When the nighttime temperature stays consistently around 60 degrees Fahrenheit it is time for your floral friends to go outside and enjoy the Spring. It is probably also time for a bigger pot. Be sure to choose a pot that will continue to allow proper drainage such as a Terracotta with drainage holes in the bottom. Use a sterile lightweight soil that is slightly acidic. Garden soil will cause root rot and you will lose your friends.Be sure to place them where they will receive plenty of indirect sunlight. By now you have really become protective of these plants that you have nurtured. Should a Blackberry Winter occur and the temperature dips temporarily you will want to cover them with a cloth such as an old bed sheet.

Spring and Summer Care for Poinsettia

Keep your Poinsettias cut back to around 8 inches in height as the Spring months continue. Keep fertilizing every 2 weeks with a good water soluble all purpose fertilizer.You should begin to see plenty of new growth by May.

As Spring turns to Summer you will enjoy watching your friends flourish and grow. Now is the time for selective pruning. Decide if you prefer a bushier plant with more and smaller bracts or a slightly “leggier” plant with less but larger ones. Pinch the tips of the new growth often for the bushier look and less for bigger blossoms. In either case, stop pruning by Labor Day.

Summer is also the time to help your friends propagate for growing their off-spring. Take cuttings that have 3-4 “eyes” and dip in a rooting hormone. For best results use a terrarium type container to maintain high humidity and light. The cuttings should take root in 3-4 weeks. As your little “grandchildren” growing give them the same care as the adult Poinsettia.

Fall Care for Poinsettia

Bring your poinsettia back indoors on October 1st. It’s time to trick your friend into thinking that the days are short and the nights are long and cool. You will do this by placing them in total darkness for 14 hours out of the day.  Do this by placing them in a very dark and cool place for those 14 hours, and do it for 40 days. The most common mistake made is putting them where even just a little light can seep in or by turning on a light for just a few seconds. Even a little light will totally confuse them. Consider covering them with a black box inside the closet or basement as well.

The dark time temperature for this period is between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For the 10 hours of daylight place them in a sunny window at around 70 degrees. Remember to be consistent and not to skip a single day. If you take any over night trips get a friend or neighbor to “plant sit” for you.

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Reblooming Your Poinsettia

You have cared for your Poinsettias almost a whole year now. You have kept the soil evenly moist, provided plenty of light and humidity. You have lovingly nurtured them outdoors and indoors. You’ve even tricked them into thinking they were in short days with long nights. Now beginning around Thanksgiving, and just in time for the Holiday Season, if you have done your job correctly you should be rewarded with showy colorful blooms once again.

This lovely cycle can continue as long as you like. And don’t forget about the “babies” you helped propagate.What great gifts they will make when your friends and neighbors realize that you grew them yourself!

History of Poinsettia

The Poinsettia is from the deserts of Mexico. It was introduced to the States by US Ambassador Joel Robert Poinsett after he discovered them growing wild in parts of Mexico in 1825. Since then many different varieties have been developed. Currently over 65 million have been sold. The once popular notion that they are highly poisonous has been discounted but the sap can cause allergic reactions in some. Ingesting the leaves can cause intestinal distress.


Easy Pumpkin Roll Recipe: Last Minute Christmas Dessert Idea

Once again, it is just a few days before Christmas. If you find yourself needing just one more dessert dish to get through all the festivities, consider making a pumpkin roll. This easy recipe produces a festive looking and very delicious dessert. It only takes 15 minutes to bake, and looks and tastes like more effort went into its creation than actually did.

There are three great things about a pumpkin roll for the holidays: First, they are really easy and don’t take a lot of time. Secondly, the ingredients are mostly basic items you probably already have on hand. You won’t have to dash out to the grocery store and stand in a two-mile long line for three things. I had canned pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving, which was about the only thing I don’t normally have around. Lastly, a pumpkin roll is both decorative and delicious.

How to Make a Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin rolls are made with pumpkin and flour that, along with eggs, sugar, and spices, produces a really moist cake. It is spread evenly in a jelly roll pan or on a cookie sheet. It is then placed in a moist linen towel that is sprinkled with powdered sugar. The towel is rolled up while the cake cools. Then it is unrolled and spread with a cream cheese filling. Once again, it is rolled up and put in plastic wrap. After chilling, slice the pumpkin cake and serve it cold with a hot beverage like coffee or spiced tea. Delicious!

This year, since I hate that two-mile long last minute line at the grocery store, I created a new twist on taste for my pumpkin roll. I was out of vanilla extract, but I happened to have rum extract. I substituted the rum extract for the vanilla in the recipe and fell in love with the new flavor I created. Give it a try!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Roll

  • One cup Flour, All purpose
  • One cup White sugar
  • Three Eggs
  • One tsp Baking soda
  • One tsp Cinnamon
  • One tsp Nutmeg
  • Three-fourths cup Pumpkin Puree
  • One tsp Rum extract
  • One cup Powdered sugar, Vanilla if preferred
  • One-fourth cup Butter, Softened
  • One 8 ounce package Cream cheese, Softened

Instructions for Making a Pumpkin Roll

1.Combine the flour, sugar, and spices. Preheat oven to 375.

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2. Add the eggs and pumpkin. Stir until the ingredients are well blended.

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3. Place in greased and floured pan jelly roll pan. Bake in preheated oven for fifteen minutes.
4. Loosen edges with a spatula. Carefully remove the cake.
5. Turn the pan over a damp linen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.

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6. Roll up and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
7. Make the filling by creaming  the softened cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. Add rum or vanilla flavoring.
8.  Unroll and remove the cake. Spread the filling on evenly.
9. Roll the pumpkin roll up again without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours.
10. Slice and serve.

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 12-15 slices of pumpkin roll

Serving the Pumpkin Roll

Served cold, pumpkin roll is perfect for Christmas breakfast or brunch. Have guests in for afternoon coffee and serve slices of pumpkin roll. A creme-filled pumpkin roll is great to add to the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day buffet

Pumpkin rolls can also make great pre-planned gifts. They can be wrapped in foil and stored in the fridge. Then slice and put in a pretty tin.