Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pineapple Upside-Down Dip

Growing up, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake was one of my mom's most commonly made cakes... It was always my favorite and to this day, I always ask her to bring it to family get-togethers and holidays. To me, it's all about comfort. I love the sweet, caramelized pineapples and cherries almost as much as I love my family. Well, that might be going a little far, but the truth is, I really do love them. That part is true.

I decided to take my love for this wonderful cake and transform it into something new. I wanted to take the components of the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and try to turn them into a fluffy, magical dip... just to see what would happen.

The results? A fluffy, magical dip that you won't be able to stop eating. And your family won't be able to stop either. I know this from experience. My husband, Mr. No-thanks-I-Don't-Need-Dessert couldn't keep his hands off this dip. That's right there is all the confirmation I needed. Do you need any more proof than that?

I served ours with some vanilla wafer cookies (which I would highly recommend) but you could also serve it with graham crackers or even some cut up strawberries or fruit. Whatever makes your boat float. Or... Whatever floats your boat. You know that old saying...

Before you take my word on it, I highly suggest you grab the ingredients you need for this magical dip, maybe even grab some friends to share it with, and make a nice, big bowl full. Then, come right back here and tell me how much it reminded you of your granny's pineapple upside-down cake, or your aunt's or your childhood. Then, proceed in thanking me and sending warm wishes my way because you feel that your life is now just a little bit better because of this delightful dip.

Pineapple Upside-Down Dip:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pineapple tidbits
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, halved
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter


In a stand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Remove from bowl and set aside. Add cake mix and pineapple juice to mixer and combine. Mix in the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add whipped cream back in and mix until fluffy.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter, add brown sugar, pineapple and cherries. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, or until fruit is caramelized. Allow mixture to cool completely, then slowly fold into the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Best served cold.)

Serve with vanilla cookies, graham crackers or your choice of yummy treat.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hearty Coca-Cola Zero Beef & Mushroom Stew with your #FinalFourPack

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FinalFourPack #CollectiveBias Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA.

*Check out the Giveaway at the bottom of this post!*

Back in high school I was a big fan of Basketball and my friends and I really kept up with all the latest and greatest. Now that i'm older, I still enjoy a good ol' basketball game, but I also really enjoy making yummy food to go with it!

I also love sharing with family and friends and having fun get-togethers that will be remembered for a long time!

Another thing I love is to challenge myself to come up with delicious, man-friendly recipes to go along with all sporting events, since (for the most part) the man is usually the one that is more "involved," or unable to be torn away from the TV. This time, I used the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart as the base to a delicious, beefy, comforting stew -- did I mention it's also filled with mushrooms? You know, man-food.

While I was at Walmart shopping for supplies, I grabbed (4) 4-packs, two Coca-Cola Zero packs, a Coca-Cola Vanilla and a Coca-Cola cherry! Right now you can get 4 packs (16 cans) for $5 or 2 packs for $3! 

We decided to bring the party over to my Mother-in-law's house and share a little Coca-Cola love. These Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart are the perfect way to enjoy NCAA® March Madness! Everyone got to pick their favorite flavor, and we also got enough to make Coke floats after dinner! Yum.

For the stew, I seasoned the stew meat and tossed it in flour before searing. 

Love the color it gets after a nice sear.

Out goes the meat and in goes the garlic, Onions and mushrooms!

Then, the meat goes right back in...

Along with the broth, Coca-Cola and potatoes... 

Then we add in the sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme! Now it's time to wait. Wait, wait wait. Wait until all those delicious flavors meld together and create a wonderful, delicious stew.

It's a very handsome stew, wouldn't you say? Not only is it perfectly sweet, savory and hearty, it's packed full of delicious flavors that all compliment each other oh-so-nicely. The Coca-Cola brings a nice depth of flavor and adds a little sweetness, too.

Floats for everyone! It's always nice to share, don't you think? And everyone gets to choose their own flavor!

And if you're wondering what to do with all those leftover Coca-Cola cans after your dinner... use them to create these super easy little decorations that go perfectly with your spring decor! I snagged the burlap and little flowers in the floral section of Walmart! How cute did they turn out? Here's how I made them:

Coca-Cola can Vase:

Step 1: Measure your burlap so that just a tiny bit overlaps on the other side of the Coca Cola can.
2. Wrap burlap around can and secure with hot glue. Allow it to dry.
3. Tie string or ribbon around the top (of the can) and put your flowers in! The opening of the can provides to perfect amount of space for a little bunch of flowers!

You can find more delicious ideas by following Coca-Cola on their social media:

Twitter: @CokeZero & @CocaCola
Pinterest: Coca-Cola & Coke Zero
Instagram: Coca-Cola & Coke Zero
Facebook: Coca Cola & Coke Zero


Hearty Beef & Mushroom Stew Recipe:


  • 2-1/2 - 3 pounds beef roast, chopped into 1-1/2" cubes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1 pound mushrooms, halved 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola Zero
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Season beef with salt and pepper and coat with flour. Place a tablespoon of oil into dutch oven, over medium-high heat and add in beef (in batches), searing on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside. Add in another tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, along with onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add in tomato paste, worcestershire and cooking sherry and simmer for additional 10 minutes. 

Add your beef back in, along with the beef broth, Coca Cola, salt, pepper and potatoes. Top with thyme and rosemary sprigs, cover slightly, reduce heat to low and allow stew to simmer for about 1-1/2 hours. Stew should be thick. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Serves 4-5

Coca Cola #FinalFourPack Walmart Sweepstakes - $1,000 in Prizing

Friday, March 20, 2015

Disney Junior Easter Basket Ideas with #DisneyEaster

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster #CollectiveBias

Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays and even though I no longer receive beautiful baskets filled with toys and candies from the Easter Bunny, putting together Easter baskets for my children has become an extremely fun part of our Easter traditions! 

I love searching the stores for whatever it is the kids are "into" at that time and putting together a basket that carries on that theme. This year, my daughter is super into art and reading, so her basket is going to be filled with art supplies and books and maybe a movie. My son, on the other hand, is a frisky little toddler boy that loves all things Disney Junior (mainly Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Mickey!) so, this year I had a pretty easy time shopping for fun items for his basket!

Walmart had everything I needed to put together the perfect Disney Junior Easter basket for him, and I even ended up buying more than I had room for. Oh well! The prices were right and I ended up getting him some items that I KNOW he's going to love!

Like this adorable Mickey lacing set! He got some adorable little dinosaurs that laced together for Christmas and I saw how much he loved them, so I knew these were going to be a huge hit! Plus, the adorable little Jake and the Neverland Pirates bath toys -- what kid doesn't love taking baths?

Growing up, I used the same Easter basket from the time I was born. That's a tradition we've decided to carry on with our kids... We bought the one for our daughter the year she was born and when we found out we were going to be welcoming another member into the family, we happened to find the same basket (with a more boy-ish basket liner) so we absolutely had to buy it. Now the kids have matching baskets that they're going to be using until they're too old for the Easter Bunny to come visit. Which will hopefully be never.

This year, I decided that instead of buying a bunch of Easter candy from the store, I was going to whip up a couple of homemade treats to match the basket themes! I love making things homemade because it just makes everything a little more special and personal. Don't you think?

So, to match the Disney Junior theme, I made some cute white chocolate covered Mickey Mouse pops with swirls of spring colors. Yummy!

To make them, simply melt some white chocolate melting disks in a microwave safe mug and add in a couple of crushed up melty disks in other colors and swirl. Attach two small marshmallows to the top of one large marshmallow with melted chocolate (as seen above) and allow to dry. Dip mickey pops into the melted chocolate and allow them to dry. 

I also decorated some candied almonds to look like Easter eggs by putting a little melted chocolate into a bag and drizzling it over them! How simple is that? And how adorable?? 

I used them to fill a couple of plastic eggs to go in the basket. My son LOVES eggs. Like, loves. Like... he would play with them all year long if I let him. So, there you have it.

I also I threw together this adorable little mini treasure chest and filled it with chocolate gold coins! Jake and the Neverland Pirates for the win!

Here's how I made it:

Mini Treasure Chest:


  • 1 sheet brown construction paper
  • 1 sheet yellow construction paper
  • Tape
  • Chocolate coins
  • Step 1: Fold paper in thirds lengthwise
  • Step 2: Fold paper in quarters, widthwise.
  • Step 3: Cut paper into the cross shape seen above.
  • Step 4: Fold sides up and tape well. 
  • Step 5: Cut out strips of yellow paper to decorate and fill with chocolate coins!

I think he's going to love his basket this year. What do you think?? I'm super thrilled how it came out and can't wait to see his face on Easter morning! 

One of my friend's daughter's has a birthday coming up soon and while I was shopping for supplies for my son's Easter basket I saw so many adorable Disney Junior items for little girls, so I had to grab them and put together a basket for her! I just loved the Doc McStuffins bucket and the Minnie Mouse necklace! Too cute for words.

I hope you have a wonderful time shopping for your kids this Easter and hope I have given you some inspiration for this year's basket(s)! Have a wonderful holiday!

What Easter traditions does your family have??

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Italian Crusted Chicken with Creamy Marsala Sauce

Over the past few years I have seen myself blossom into the food-loving, recipe-developing woman I am today. It doesn't seem like a long road but the truth is, before I was married I had barely even stepped foot in a kitchen (unless I was getting something out of the fridge.) My love for creating new, fun flavor combinations and coming up with recipes all on my own is something I never would have imagined myself doing as I really had no interest in cooking.

It wasn't until I got married and realized that somehow, my family was going to have to eat, that I decided to start cooking. I remember back then my slow-cooker was my BFF and we made many, many delicious meals together. I was also very fond of the recipes found on the sides of boxes, sour cream containers and anything else I could get my hands on.

Now, looking back on those times, it's so funny to think of how far i've actually come. Cooking has become such a huge part of my life and my family's life. My husband and I love getting in the kitchen, grabbing a little somethin' somethin' to drink and cooking a meal together. And my kids (especially my daughter) have become my favorite little kitchen companions! They love helping me bake and measure things and, of course, taste-test. I really wouldn't have it any other way. 

Basically, what I guess I'm getting at here is... sometimes the things you least expect will become the things you enjoy doing the most! So, maybe you're not the biggest fan of cooking right now, but, if you get in the kitchen and see what you can do... you might just surprise yourself!

Just like this recipe i'm about to share with you right now. I know you've been looking at the pictures, drooling, and wondering "oh my goodness... what IS that amazing looking dinner?" Well, i'm here to tell you that this Italian Crusted Chicken with Creamy Marsala Sauce is by FAR one of my favorite chicken dishes of ALL-TIME! No exaggeration. No tricks. No lies. It's divine. It's SO flavorful, and cheesy, and creamy, and bacon-y,and mushroom-y, and... and... it's just so, so good, guys. We made it 2 nights in a row because we loved it that much. All of us. Me, my husband, the kids... we all gave it a 5-star-rating! 

So, I strongly urge you to try this recipe out and let me know what you (and your family) think! I'm very, very eager to know. And you can also take a picture of yourself as you take that first bite and euphoria spreads over your face... Then, share it and hashtag #diddlesbestchickenEVER so we can all see your happy, satisfied face. 

Got it?

Italian Crusted Chicken with Creamy Marsala Sauce:

  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
  • 2/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon pepper 

For the marsala sauce:
  • 4 strips bacon 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil {chiffonade}
  • 6 oz marsala wine
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 oz marsala wine
  • 6 oz sliced crimini mushrooms

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella 
  • 1 pound fettuccine pasta
  • fresh basil {chiffonade} for garnish
  • 1 cup oil for frying


Preheat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, basil, thyme and paprika. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Dip chicken in egg mixture, into bread crumb mixture and then back into egg and breadcrumb mixture for a second coating.

Place chicken into oil and fry for about 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown. Flip and fry for additional 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Set chicken aside, cover with foil and cook your next batch. 

Meanwhile, cut bacon into small pieces, add to a large skillet over medium heat and cook until crispy. Once bacon is cooked, remove and set aside to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease and add that back to the skillet. Add mushrooms and cook until tender and golden, about 5-6  minutes. Pour in marsala wine and cook until reduced by half. Once reduced, add in heavy cream and basil and simmer for 6-8 minutes, or until sauce has thickened. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

 Once all the chicken is cooked, reduce heat to low, return all breasts to pan and sprinkle cheese evenly over the tops of each. Cover and allow cheese to melt. Once cheese has melted, spoon marsala cream sauce over each chicken breast and serve topped with crumbled bacon and basil.

Friday, March 13, 2015

#KidsChoiceDrink - Green Slush Punch & Award-worthy Cupcakes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #KidsChoiceDrink #CollectiveBias

Now that my daughter is getting older, she has her list of shows that she regularly watches and follows along with (Dog with a blog, Austin & Ally...). To be perfectly honest, I do too. The shows they make for kids/teens nowadays are hilarious! I find myself getting just as engaged in them as she does. This is why the Kid's Choice Awards are such a fun night for the both of us! We love making treats earlier in the day to get us ready for the show, and this year, we decided to come up with some yummy cupcakes and a special punch with Capri Sun Roarin' Waters!

 My kids (as well as us adults) love Capri Sun Roarin' Waters because they taste awesome and are only 30 calories! Whenever I head to Walmart to pick some up, I always grab the 30-pack (and sometimes even two 30-packs) because I like to make sure I have them on hand at all times (especially because of the way my husband drinks them.) Some stores even have a special Kid's Choice Awards display, so make sure to check and see if yours does!

This is like... 5 days worth for us. Juuuust kidding! 

I really cherish times like these when my daughter comes in the kitchen to help me bake something fun and tasty. We love being creative together and she really comes up with some amazing ideas for recipes! I think there's a good chance that she'll surpass me in the near future!

For this recipe we used a box cake mix because we already had it on hand and we were more concerned about creating the adorable blimp topper and lemon lime frosting for the top! Yum.

I think it's super important to get your kids cooking with you in the kitchen, not only because someday they will have to learn to cook in order to survive, but because it's a fun time to bond with your kids! You can talk to them about their day and find out what they're looking forward to at school, or... you can just be silly! My daughter is really good at that one...

I created a little demonstration on how to make the Nickelodeon blimps for the top of your cupcakes! They really are simple to make, and oh, so adorable!

Don't these just scream "celebration"? I love these little guys! The perfect treat for awards night!

And now, to make the green slush punch you just have to put your Capri Sun Roarin' Waters in the freezer for a few hours...

Then, mix together some lime gelatin mix, some boiling water and some lemon lime soda, as well as your frozen Capri Sun Roarin' Waters...

And enjoy! My daughter said it's one of her new favorite things. Plus, she loved that the green punch & orange straw went perfectly with the Kid's Choice Awards color scheme!

I hope you and your kids have as much fun making these adorable, themed treats as much as we did and I hope you're looking forward to the show as much as we are! Don't forget to tune in on March 28th!

Tell me, what's your favorite thing to make with your kids??

Award-Worthy Cupcakes:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • *ingredients on box
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • green & yellow food dye (I used 25 drops of green and 12 drops of yellow)
  • 3 cups orange chocolate melty disks


Bake cupcakes according to package directions. Set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, whip together powdered sugar, butter, lime juice, lemon juice and lemon and lime zest on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add milk and food coloring and whip for 1 additional minute. 

Take 8 of your cupcakes, unwrap them, and crumble into a medium bowl. Add in 1 tablespoon of your frosting and mix well. If mixture seems too dry, add in 1 teaspoon at at time until desired consistency is reached (not too moist, but sticks together well.)

Form mixture into the shape seen above (Image 1) and place in freezer for about 5 minutes. (Should make 16 blimps)

Take 12 orange melty disks and cut as seen above (Image 2). Perfect little blimp-y fin thingys...

Melt your orange melty disks in a microwave-safe mug or bowl and set aside.

Remove cake ball from freezer and use a little melted chocolate to attach cut pieces to cake ball (Image 3).

Place cake ball on the end of a wooden skewer, dip into melted chocolate and place stick into a tall glass to dry (Image 4). Repeat with remaining cake balls.

Frost cupcakes.

Once dry, carefully remove blimp from the skewer and place on frosted cupcakes. I also added some little pearlescent white chocolates to the top of mine to add a little whimsy!

Makes 16 cupcakes.

Green Slush Punch:

  • 1 pouch Capri Sun Roarin' Waters
  • 1 tablespoon lime gelatin mixture
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 cup lemon lime soda

Place Capri Sun Roarin' Waters into freezer for about 2-3 hours or until mostly frozen. 

Combine lime gelatin mixture and boiling water in a small, heat-safe bowl and mix until gelatin is dissolved. Allow it to cool slightly, then add in lemon lime soda, cut the top off of the Capri Sun Roarin' Waters and mix it into the lemon lime mixture. Combine and pour into serving glass. Serve immediately. 

Makes 1 drink.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Crispy Peanut Butter Cannoli with M&M's® Crispy

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CrispyIsBack #CollectiveBias

So, I don't know if you've heard the news yet, but M&M's® Crispy is back! Do you remember them? I remember eating them when I was younger and loving the crunch, crunch, crunch of them! I love that they've made a comeback and love that my daughter is able to taste a little part of my childhood! 

Growing up I was a total chocoholic and M&M's® were always at the top of my list. What kid doesn't love eating colorful little pieces of heaven? Now that i'm older I realize that colorful, crispy little candies are just as awesome as they were back then! I guess you could say they're timeless.

Today I'm here to share with you a completely awesome recipe that you're going to want to make like... yesterday. If you're a fan of all things crispy then you're going to love these Crispy Peanut Butter Cannoli with M&M's® Crispy. There's a whole lotta crispy going on in these bad boys. But, the filling inside is so creamy and luscious that it just makes for the perfect bite.

The first step to making delicious cannoli is, of course, to go shopping for all your ingredients! I headed to my local Walmart to pick mine up...

The M&M's® Crispy can be purchased in larger bags in the candy section or at the cash registers in smaller bags! I just grabbed a couple of smaller bags this time because they were just right there begging to be purchased. How could I say no? They were so cute. Plus, they only have 180 calories per serving. Woot!

Okay, so the first real step of making cannoli is to make your dough and chill it for a couple of hours.

Then, you're going to want to roll it out until it's super thin... like, the thickness of a dime.Now you're going to want to cut out your shape. A lot of people cut them in ovals, but I used the rim of a margarita glass and stretched it a little as I wrapped them around the form...

Next, you roll the canoli dough around your handy dandy cannoli forms (molds, tubes, etc). Overlap the ends and seal them with a little egg white. 

Plop them into your oil, carefully... I guess plop really isn't the best descriptive word I could have used here... But, you get the gist of it. Remove from oil once they start to crisp up and turn golden brown. Set on some paper towels to drain and allow them to cool slightly, then, remove your tubes!

Once you've fried up all your shells you can whip up your filling... A little ricotta, vanilla, whipped cream and powdered sugar...

Before you fill them, dip the ends in a little dark chocolate (you know, just because you can...) and allow them to harden. 

Now, take your M&M's® Crispy and smash them up. Don't smash them too much, or you won't have the pretty colors... you'll just have a big chocolatey mess.

Fill, and sprinkle some crushed up M&M's® Crispy on the ends to create a beautifully colorful treat that almost no one will be able to resist. 

How pretty are these? And how delicious do they look? And yes... I DID overfill them... but only because the filling is the most delicious thing i've ever tasted... Sorry, but i'm not sorry...

See more great M&M's® Crispy recipe and party ideas on the M&M's® Crispy social hub.

So, tell me, what is YOUR favorite way to bake with M&M's®?


Crispy Peanut Butter Cannoli with M&M's® Crispy:
{Print Recipe}


1-1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

8 ounces ricotta cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 (2.83 ounce) package M&M's® Crispy

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Oil for frying


Place flour, sugar, eggs, peanut butter, vinegar, cinnamon and salt into stand mixer fitted with hook attachment. Place on medium speed and allow dough to mix for about 9 minutes. Dough should come together, but if it's still sticky, add a little flour and knead with your hands on a flat surface for a minute. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for about an hour.

Remove dough from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out using rolling pin to about 1/8" thickness. Use a 5" oval template or the top of a margarita glass to cut out shapes from your dough. Wrap the dough around your cannoli tubes, overlap slightly and seal with a little brushed on egg white.

Place dough in 350 degree oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Allow to cool slightly, then remove your tubes. Repeat with remaining dough.

To make your filling, mix together ricotta, vanilla and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whip the whipping cream using a mixer until stiff peaks form, then, fold into ricotta mixture. Place in fridge.

Once your cannoli shells are cool, melt your chocolate in a microwave-safe mug, dip the ends of the shells into it and place on parchment paper to harden.

Place cannoli filling into a pastry bag or ziptop bag and pipe into shells.

Sprinkle ends with crushed M&M's® Crispy and serve immediately. (Shells will become soggy if you wait longer than an hour to eat! So, don't wait!)

Makes 10 cannoli.

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