Tobins' Tastes: March 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Brunch Celebration With Snack Pack Pudding Cups

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

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Easter in my family means early morning mass, brunch, bright colors and lots of desserts. This year I combined all of our traditions into an easy Easter morning brunch complete with adorable make your Easter Pudding Cups for everyone to enjoy along with their breakfast. 

When we were younger we would go to 10:30 mass and then head right over to my grandparents' beach club for a huge family brunch with all the cousins. As the years went by that brunch somehow kept getting pushed back until it is now at 1:30 in the afternoon. We still call it brunch, but it is clearly a lunch. 

Over the last few years we started to attend Easter Sunday Sunrise Mass which left us with the dilemma of being starving at 8:30 in the morning when it was over but knowing we had a huge lunch/brunch to attend later in the afternoon. 

The very first year we found ourselves in this predicament my Uncle Bob threw together some pancakes and we all devoured them with a side of Easter candy. Not the most traditional of breakfasts but my family refuses to eat a meal that doesn't have dessert. 

So this year, I am putting together a little brunch that solves our "Sunrise Mass is over but lunch isn't for another five hours" problem. 

This brunch will definitely wake you up with it's bright colors, sparkly silverware and neon Easter grass. I paired pancakes with white chocolate dipped fruit and copious amounts of Easter sprinkles. 

For our breakfast desserts, I set up an Easter Pudding Cup Bar with both Chocolate and Vanilla Super Snack packs and an assortment of mix ins so that everyone could make their own personalized treat. I included:
  • Sprinkles
  • White Chocolate Dipped Honey Maid Graham Crackers
  • Malted Milk Easter Eggs 
  • Chocolate Easter Eggs
  • White Chocolate Chips
  • Toffee Bits
  • White Chocolate Dipped Fruit
  • Shredded Coconut (dyed green)
  • Mini Easter Bunny Cakes (see below for recipe)

The mix ins allowed for all sorts of pudding cup creations but some of my favorites used the shredded coconut for grass with a cute arrangement of Easter eggs on them as well as the ones topped with the Mini Easter Bunny Cakes.

I made the mini bunny cakes using a boxed yellow cake mix in this Bunny Silicone Treat Mold . Make sure to spray the mold with Pam to make them easier to get out. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. I then put the baked cakes in the freezer for a few minutes to make them easier to dip. 

I dipped the bunny cakes in white chocolate and then let them set. I used food coloring markers to draw on their faces. To help them stay upright in the pudding cups, I stuck a toothpick in to the bottom of each bunny and then placed it on top of the shredded coconut. 

I found the Super Snack Pack pudding cups and everything else I needed for the brunch at my local Walmart and used a lot of my own stash of Easter decorations for the decor. I love that the pudding cups will allow my family to satisfy their need for dessert without breaking into their foot tall solid chocolate Easter bunnies. Also, each Super Snack Pack has the same amount of calcium as an 8 oz glass of milk which totally makes them appropriate for brunch right?

What are your family's Easter traditions? 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Game Day Swiss Cheese Bacon Dip

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

When it comes to watching sports, my family can be pretty intense. We are serious about our favorite college team and we almost as serious about our game watch food. I've posted about a lot of dips that we enjoy in our household and yet somehow I have neglected to post our family's ultimate game day party dip: Swiss Cheese Bacon Dip. And since our team has actually made it to the playoffs in basketball this year, we will hopefully be making this appetizer a few more times this season.

Yes, we eat a lot of cheese dip in my extended family. Yes they are all beloved and unique. But this one is special- and not just because it has the word bacon in it. I don't even normally like bacon. As in I have never eaten a piece of bacon by itself before and I don't ever plan to. But this dip? I'm obsessed with it. It is actually the only way I have ever eaten bacon and I am totally OK with that.

My family is fanatical about our college alma mater and if you read this blog you are probably tired of me telling stories about my leprechaun loving family's antics while watching football and basketball so I am going to keep this post focused on the food. The cheesy, bacony, hot and gooey food.

It's a given that when the game watch hostess assigns everyone their dishes someone will be making this. The first question my mom and sister ask when I invite them over to watch a game is "Who's making the Swiss Cheese Bacon Dip?" You'd think I am embellishing this for the sake of a post but if you know my family, you know I'm not. It only takes minutes to make but I guarantee it will be the star of any game watch party you bring it too.

Bacon Dip can be paired with any kind of chip, cracker or even veggie if you are into dipping your carrots and celery into hot, bacon filled cheese. Sometimes we top with with crushed crackers and I think my aunt may even top it with more bacon. Recently I grabbed some White Cheddar Cheez-It Grooves at Walmart and they were just thing to scoop up the cheesy goodness that is this dip.

Swiss Cheese Bacon Dip

  • 8oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 4oz. shredded Swiss cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • 8 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
1.) Mix all the ingredients together and spread into a shallow baking dish. I used a pie dish. 

2.) Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

3.) Serve with Cheez-Its, crackers, chips or veggies for the perfect game day treat!

Are you as obsessed with cheese as my family is? Right now Cheez-It is hosting the Most Valuable Cheese Contest through April 2015. You can vote on you favorite flavors/varieties of Cheez-It flavors and play games for a chance to win $10,000. Be sure to check it out!

Monday, March 16, 2015

M&M's® Crispy Treats

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

In high school, our cafeteria had an amazing selection of snacks and candy. If I had an extra .50 cents I use to love picking myself out a treat to save for before swim practice after school. One of my favorite things to get were M&M's® Crispy. Back then they came in a bright blue bag and I loved how crunchy and airy they were. I was devastated when they were discontinued so you can imagine my excitement when I walked into CVS last week and saw that they had been brought back in all their crispy glory.

I'm now a teacher at my former high school and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see our cafeteria carrying M&M's® Crispy once again in their new, light green bag. The delicious milk chocolate with a crispy rice center with only 180 calories per serving still makes for perfect afternoon snack (teachers need snacks too). While I love the single serving bags, I am thrilled that they now come in larger sized bags too so that I can easily use them for baking at home.

Since M&M's® Crispy bring back all kinds of nostalgia for me it would make sense that I should use them one the most nostalgic childhood desserts- Rice Crispy Treats. These are just your standard rice cereal treats adjusted to make room for lots of colorful, crunchy M&M's®. As if these treats weren't crispy enough, the addition M&M's® take them over the top with their chocolate and crispy centers.

These take only minutes to make and I for one would be happy to find one in my lunch bag or waiting for me at home when I got back from school. (hint, hint husband) You can add more or less M&M's® Crispy depending on your tastes but I found a cup to be the perfect amount.

M&M's® Crispy Treats

  • 10oz bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 5 cups of crispy rice cereal
  • 1 cup of M&M's® Crispy
1.) Place the marshmallows and butter in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes and then remove and quickly stir. Microwave for another minute and stir again.

2.) Slowly combine rice cereal into marshmallow mixtures. 

3.) Once combined stir in the M&M's® Crispy. Don't stir them too much or the colors of the shells will start to run.

4.) Using a spatula lightly sprayed in cooking spray, press the mixture into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. 

5.) Let cool completely and then cut and serve. They can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap for an on the go treat or stored together in an air tight container. 

Right now you can save $1 when you purchase M&M's® Crispy at CVS. Be sure to print out this coupon and save! 

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