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Easy Bake Oven Celebrates 50th Anniversary

7 Nov

20131111-184538.jpgLast month, my daughter and I attended an Easy-Bake Oven 50th Anniversary celebration with celebrity chef Gail Simmons. Walking into the venue and seeing years of Easy-Bake Ovens lined up brought back so many childhood memories. I remember waking up one Christmas morning and opening an Easy-Bake Oven. I was over the moon because I remember wanting one for a long time and Santa delivered it. That gift brought so many lasting memories of baking with my brothers and friends in my childhood home. I’m excited to watch my girls when they receive their first Easy-Bake Oven and all the joy and great memories it brings them.

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At the event, chef Gail Simmons, shared her memories of using an Easy-Bake and shared recipes inspired by her childhood. As we approach the Holidays kids can help prepare Holiday meals, snacks, or desserts in their Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven. Create your own recipe or use these Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven recipes by Gail Simmons (from ABC NEWS):

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Gail created recipes, The Hummingbird Cookie & Double Chocolate Rocky Road Layer Cake, for the easy-bake oven celebration inspired by her own childhood memories.

Hummingbird Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
For cookies:

  • 1 Easy-Bake Pink Sugar Cookie Mix
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ ripe banana, thinly sliced, then quartered into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans

For cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 Easy-Bake Vanilla Frosting Mix
  • 1¼ teaspoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened 4 1-inch chunks fresh pineapple, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Plug in Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven and turn it on. Preheat for 20 minutes.
  2. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and spread it evenly. Set aside.

Make the dough:

  1. Pour 1 Pink Sugar Cookie mix and 1 teaspoon of water into a bowl and stir to combine. Add vanilla, banana and pecans, and mix well.
  2. Press the mixture together to form the dough.
  3. Sprinkle flour on your hands and roll the dough into a ball. Then, split it evenly into 12 smaller balls.
  4. Place 6 of the dough balls on the baking pan, spreading them out as much as possible, and lightly press each one to flatten.
  5. Follow Easy-Bake directions for cookies through step 11. Baking time: 15 minutes (instead of 9).
  6. Hand wash the baking pan, spray again, and repeat with the other 6 dough balls.

Make the frosting:

  1. While cookies are baking, pour vanilla frosting mix and 1¼ teaspoons of water into a small bowl and beat with a fork until smooth. Then beat in cream cheese. Refrigerate until ready to use.

When cookies have cooled, spoon the frosting into a plastic sandwich bag and cut one corner with scissors. Squeeze a large drop of frosting onto each cookie. Top with a slice of fresh pineapple before serving.

Double Chocolate Rocky Road Layer Cake
Ingredients
For the cake:

  • 2 Easy-Bake Devil’s Food Cake Mixes
  • 12 teaspoons water, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, divided
  • ¼ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

For the frosting:

  • 3 Chocolate Frosting Mixes (water as per directions)
  • ½ cup mini marshmallows (approximately 40 pieces), 20 cut in half lengthwise
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts (because I have a daughter

Directions:

  1. Plug in Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven and turn it on. Preheat for 20 minutes.
  2. Spray baking pan with cooking spray and spread it evenly. Set aside.
  3. Make the cake batter:
  4. Pour 1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix and 6 teaspoons of water into a bowl. Break up any lumps and stir until smooth. Add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, and mix well.
  5. Spoon the batter into the baking pan. Spread evenly using the back of a spoon or a small off-set spatula.
  6. Follow Easy-Bake Baking Basics directions. Baking time: 20 minutes (instead of 16).
  7. After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool completely. Once cool, slide a butter knife around the edge of the cake and remove it from the pan onto a flat plate, upside down. Set aside.
  8. Hand wash the baking pan, spray again, and repeat with the other Devil’s Food Cake Mix.
  9. Make the frosting:
  10. While the cake is baking, pour 3 chocolate frosting mixes and 3 teaspoons of water into a bowl. Break up any lumps and stir until smooth.

Using a small spoon or off-set spatula, frost the top of the first cake with about 1/3 of the frosting mix in an even layer. Place the 20 halved marshmallows, in 4 lines of 10 halves, across the cake, flat side down. Top with the second cake, upside down, pressing lightly to secure it. Frost the top of the cake using another 1/3 of the frosting mix. Then carefully frost all sides. Scatter the remaining marshmallows over the top of the cake and gently press the chopped walnuts against the sides to cover before serving.

**Allergy Warning: My oldest daughter, not at the event, has a Peanut/ Pistachio Allergy so we do not use any nuts at home. When I make these with her, I plan on leaving out the nuts or using an alternative such as sunflower seeds. Also, make sure to always read the labels of the mixes before using. There are online resources for Easy Bake Oven mixes made from scratch.

Fun Facts about the Easy-Bake oven:

  • Twelve EASY-BAKE oven models have been released since 1963, each designed to reflect the colors and oven style of its time. The EASY-BAKE oven has appeared in a variety of colors, including avocado green, harvest gold, pink, purple, and aqua.
  • Past EASY-BAKE oven menu items included treats from popular food brands such as Betty Crocker, Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts®, M&M’s®, Dunkin’ Donuts® and OREO®. Not just cakes and cookies, savory EASY-BAKE snacks over time have included popcorn, TV dinners, potato chips, macaroni and cheese, pizza, French fries, and more.
  • In 2006, the EASY-BAKE oven was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
  • The EASY-BAKE Ultimate Oven retired the light bulb in 2011 and introduced a way for chefs-in-training to bake up tasty treats using a heating element similar to a conventional oven.
  • The EASY-BAKE brand has inspired a number of celebrity chefs and famous fans throughout the years.

The Easy-Bake Oven will definitely be featured in my upcoming gift guide!

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What’s your favorite Easy Bake Memory or Recipe?

Disclaimer: This product is not recommended for children under 8. I received an Easy Bake Oven at the event which I plan to wrap under our tree this year. My girls are under 8 but I intend to use it with them with full supervision. Check back for a full review and recipes we create together. All opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted. Information in italics came from a press release.

Vistaprint Personalized Stationery and Holiday Favorites!

28 Oct

I never thought to use Vistaprint for stationery and photo gifts. I always thought the site was for businesses to print flyers, banners and cards until recently.  My daughter celebrated her 5th birthday not long ago and received a tote filled with personalized (first and middle Name) cupcake stationary from Vistaprint.  My daughter loves cupcakes and was so excited when she opened the package and saw the cupcake print with her name on it.  The tote bag had note cards with envelopes to write thank you for a the wonderful gifts she received from friends and family, cupcake envelope seals, a notebook to practice writing, and a sticky pad.  The personalized touch to the tote, notebook, stickers, and notepad would make a wonderful gift for upcoming birthday parties. Other stationery available on Vistaprint include: return address labels, mailing labels, sticky note holders, letterhead, thank you cards, pens, appointments cards, and note pads.  All you have to do is choose your favorite or use your favorite image and add a name to make a fabulous personalized gift.

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With the Holidays sneaking up, Vistaprint can help you:

  • Send Holiday cheer to friends and family with a wide selection of cards.
image from vistaprint.com

image from vistaprint.com

  • Host a Holiday celebration!
Host a Holiday celebration! Image from vistaprint

Image from vistaprint.com

  • Decorate your tree with Personalized Ornaments
Image from vistaprint.com

Image from vistaprint.com

  • Give a personalized gift to loved ones!
Image from vistaprint.com

Calendars, Mugs, and iPhone Cases!
Image from vistaprint.com

To see all Vistaprint has to offer, visit http://www.vistaprint.com!

Disclaimer: I received samples of personalized products for the purpose of this review.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Fun Friday: A Color Me Mine Halloween

11 Oct
Image from Color Me Mine

Image from Color Me Mine

One of our favorite outings is to Color Me Mine.  My girls love picking their pottery and using as many colors as they can to paint it.  Our favorite to go is around Halloween.  The girls love going to the themed workshops.

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This month the Tribeca Location will have these “Spooky Workshops”:

image from Color Me Mine.  Click for the entire October Schedule!

image from Color Me Mine. Click for the entire October Schedule!

Our Spooky Collection!

Our Spooky Collection!

 

While I was looking up the events to sign-up for this Halloween, I discovered they also have PJ Party themed sessions on certain Fridays during the month.  If you paint in your PJ’s you will receive 50% off the studio fee!  Color me mine also allows you to bring your own food and drinks! In addition to Halloween, Color Me Mine also has other Holiday events.  The pottery makes a great gift for parents, grandparents, and friends.  A trip to Color Me Mine would make a great uKloo surprise too!  Find a Studio and Schedule of Events near you to get painting!

 

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Photos unless noted are my own!

Halloween with See’s Candies

7 Oct

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See’s Candies, founded in California by Mary See, have been making candies for over 90 years.  Only the finest, freshest ingredients are used in making each recipe.  No preservatives are added to their candy.   I can’t believe it’s October already.  Invites to Halloween parties are starting arrive and the girls are making plans with their friends. I’m always looking for festive gifts for teachers, host/ hostesses, friends, and families.  I also love having treats for my daughters friends when they come for Halloween themed play dates.  My family recently tried a few of See’s Candies seasonal Halloween treats perfect for those occasions and gifts.  Below is a list of what we tried, gift ideas, and how to serve your See’s Candies:

Sour Bats (Nut Free):

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These super sour bats will make you pucker. My girls loved them! Add a few to your child’s lunch for a yummy surprise or give a bag to their teacher!

Milk Chocolate Jack-O-Lanterns:

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These rich, creamy, milk chocolate jack-o-lanterns are delicious! Tape one into a handmade card for friends, family or teachers for a sweet Halloween touch!  See allergen information at the end before giving to a child with nut allergies.  Sold as a box of 6.   

Chocolate Mashmallow Jack-O-Lanterns:

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My youngest doesn’t like chocolate with the exception of these chocolate marshmallow jack-o-lanterns. They are delicious but a little big so we cut them into 1/4’s and put the leftovers into a plastic bag for later.  Attach to a card or hand out to friends or family.  See allergen information at the end before giving to a child with nut allergies. Sold as a box of 6.

Pumpkin Spice Lollypops (Nut Free):

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I did not personally try these because my girls insisted the were only for them. They loved them and wanted to save them for their Halloween play date with friends! I thought it would be cute to color the sticks and add jack-o-lantern eyes and a mouth to the wrapper.

Pumpkin Spice Truffles:

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I get excited for fall because I love everything pumpkin spice. These truffles are rich, creamy, and full of my favorite pumpkin spice flavor. Great to include at a dessert table at a Halloween party or share a box with the host/hostess of a party you are attending. The pumpkin spice truffles are so delicious, I will be bringing a box to Thanksgiving as well! Sold in a box of 12!

Having a Halloween party or play date? Here are a few ideas to server See’s Halloween Candies:

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The sour bats are a great topper for mini cupcakes. Add a milk chocolate pumpkin for decoration in the center and surround it with the cupcakes.

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We used a Jack-O-Lantern candle holder my daughter made at Color Me Mine one year for the Pumpkin Spice Truffles and the Cool Gear Light Up Skeleton Mug for the Pumpkin Spice Lollypops for extra Halloween flare. My daughter drew a “spooky” picture to display behind the treats.

See’s Candies also has a selection of gift boxes which include some of our favorite See’s Seasonal Candies featured above.  Click the image below to find out about gift boxes available.

Image from See's Candies!

Image from See’s Candies!

See’s Candies can be found in these shop locations or purchased online.  Click here for shipping rates!  No need to worry about candy melting during warmer months. See’s Candies uses warm weather packaging and cold packs to protect your candy from the heat.

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Have a SWEET Halloween with See’s Candies!

Disclaimer:  I received samples for the purpose of this review.  This did not alter my opinions.  Opinions and ideas expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from sees.com!  Allergy Alert: The chocolate marshmallows, chocolate jack-o-lanterns, or pumpkin spice truffles are made on equipment that also process peanuts/ tree nuts so aren’t advised for those with nut allergies.  Click the link for See’s Allergen Information!

Keep Your Child’s Art Forever

25 Sep
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Image from Keepy

My daughter loves ART.   Last year, she came home from school with so many art projects I had no idea what to do with.  I started folders, bins, and stacking them away in the closet because anytime I wanted to toss something out my daughter would notice.  She also has a great memory, and occasionally asks for projects and when I couldn’t “find” them she gets upset.  I also have a hard time parting with them because she is very creative and puts so much effort into her projects.  However, apartment living isn’t conducive for storing stacks of artwork.   At one point we were so inundated  with her artwork, she decided to sell it to her uncles so it wouldn’t get thrown out.  I told her we need to keep her very best pieces and we would have to give away the rest.

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Last week, I attended a back-to-school breakfast in her classroom.  Just a side-note, she has been in school 2 1/2 weeks and the artwork is already starting to pile up on top of the stack from last year.  She was showing me around her classroom and took me to her cubby.  There was a picture with a sentence about what she hopes to do in school this year (see below).

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When I saw the picture and that she hoped to DRAW in school, I was so thankful I learned about Keepy at the Fashion Forward Conference a few days prior.  Keepy is an App that creates a gallery to organize, enhance, share, admire and save your child’s schoolwork, art and mementos.  It’s easy to use, just download the App to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, and start the set-up process.  You can sign-up or log-in through Facebook.  Once you log in you can set-up galleries with a photo for all of your children.    Snap a shot of their artwork, enhance the image, comment and add the date then save.  The coolest feature is the ability to record a video to go with the picture you are saving.  In addition, loved ones can use the keepy-cam to comment on the work or memento. Keepies can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter and on the Keepy Gallery.  I no longer have to throw out artwork, I can keep them by taking pictures and saving them to Keepy.

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In addition to saving your child’s work, you can turn your favorite pieces into a case for your iPhone case with endless possibilities, once in image format, on Zazzle.  These keepsakes would make fabulous gifts for friends and family on birthdays or for the Holidays!

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Keepy is free at the iTunes App Store and includes an option to increase storage with an in-app purchase. It will be available on Google Play in the fall 2013. The platform provides the space and the storage on the Keepy cloud forever.   To learn more about Keepy visit Keepy.me, watch the YouTube video, find on Facebook, or follow on twitter.

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from keepy.me or a press release. Images, unless noted, were taken by Tastefully Childish

 

The Gift of Art: MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

18 Sep

Over the summer I learned about the MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art Project.  The project started in 1973.  A volunteer thought it would be a great idea to turn the artwork from the pediatric center into Holiday cards.  In the thirty years the project has been around, the product line has expanded to not only cards but iPhone cases, jewelry, stationary, clothing, home decor, and more for purchase on the Children’s Art Project site. Through the sale of merchandise featuring designs created by young cancer patients, the program funds important programs that touch more than 26,000 pediatric patients and families, current or past to help them return to normalcy.   Every year, new artwork is selected, voted on, and turned into new products for the shop.

Images from  childrensart.org

Images from childrensart.org

While I was looking at the online store, my oldest was sitting on my lap and stopped me when I came to the Hearts and Flowers Domino Necklace designed by Kierra.  She asked if I could buy her one some day because it is very pretty and she really likes it.  Each artist has a bio on the Children’s Art Project to let you know his/her story.  We sat together and read the story of the artist, Kierra.  I didn’t really tell her what cancer is but I explained that the necklace started as a picture that a little girl who was sick drew while she was trying to get better.  I told to help raise money for the center she went for treatment, her picture was chosen to go on this necklace.  Her artwork was on other products as well and we looked at those.  My daughter received a sample in the mail, which happened to surprise her on her birthday! It has a wire clasp chain.  She LOVES it.

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Cancer.  It’s touched many of our lives whether we had a loved one, a friend, a parent, or even a child who has battled the nasty disease.   Every time my daughter wears the necklace, it reminds me to cherish every day with my girls.  I’m happy to learn about this uplifting Project and will be making future purchases to help the programs they fund.

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To help programs at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, shop or donate by clicking the links.  Learn more about the  Children’s Art Project: MissionFAQ’s, Artist Bio’s, News and Events, Facebook, Twitter

As we get closer to the Holiday’s, check back for a Holiday edition featuring The Children’s Art Project Products.

 

Disclaimer:  I received sample products to review.  All opinions, unless noted, are my own.