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Monday, December 22, 2014

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites

We went to our very first "Ugly Sweater Party" this past weekend! Can you believe that! I've seen photos and blog posts about ugly sweater parties before but I had never heard of anyone I knew having one and we certainly hadn't been invited to one!

I had an idea of what to wear but to be honest, I was secretly freaking out over this ugly sweater thing. Where do I find an ugly sweater? Do I have to make my own ugly sweater. Does it have to be a sweater?

As you can see, I over think EVERYTHING. *my poor, poor husband*

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites

So Saturday, while I worked on these Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites to take to the party and finished up a few other projects, BigBear ran all over town in search of Ugly Sweaters for the party.

He truly is the best guy ever haha. He literally went to 11 stores looking for Ugly Sweaters. However, the only Ugly Christmas Sweaters he found were like $50 .... mmmm ... Thanks but no Thanks.

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites


He called me and I reminded  him that I had seen some "Build your own ugly sweater" kits at Target, but of course once he got there they were all sold out. So we had to get a little creative.

He grabbed a "Make your own felt tree kit" from Target, some blue mini ornaments, bows and 2 red sweatshirts and brought it all home to me with a packet of glue sticks in hand.

Oh and look at that wine bottle "ugly sweater" that he bought me while he was at Target. It was for the wine that I took to the party haha. It was perfect. (My wine bottle opener set is modeling it below)

Ugly Sweater for a Wine Bottle

So with my crafty tool box, glue gun and sweatshirts, I sat down and started to work on our Ugly Sweaters.

Big Bear and Big Bear's Wife - Ugly Sweater Part

I really wish I had taken more photos! What's wrong with me! Matt and Paige had a photo booth section set up and everything and I just didn't take advantage of it! I totally regret it but at least I remembered to snap a photo or two of our Ugly Sweaters (even if they're blurry!) **Craft Tip** -- Pipe Cleaners are PERFECT for creating cursive letters and hot glue really does stick to t-shirts! (I had my doubts)

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites

I had a lot of fun and it was nice to do something different but let me just tell you, *between you and I* wearing an ugly Christmas sweater had my anxiety going through the roof! :)

I'll admit that I'm a little picky when it comes to clothes, so wearing something that was SUPPOSE to be ugly was mmm....interesting. haha

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites


But onto the Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites !

I had debated on if I should even make these for the party because they're just so dang simple. (I know right....that's a silly reason to NOT make something)

I'm glad I ended up making them though! These Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites were a huge hit at the party and I watched people sneaking over for handfuls of them throughout the evening. Most of the guest would eat a few and then say something like "Move those away from me because I can't stop eating them." -- I call that a WIN!

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites

I posted a photo of them on some of my social media accounts while I was making them and loved hearing about how much people loved these little bites and how they make them each year!

After you make a batch you'll understand why they're loved so much!!

Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites


Salty and Sweet Perfection!
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Chocolate Kiss Pretzel Bites
By: Angie Barrett - BigBearsWife.com
12/22/14
Makes about 120 pieces                                                                      (Click to Print)
Ingredients 

120 square pretzels (I used Snyder's Waffle Square Pretzels)
1 bags Mint Holiday M&Ms
120 Hersheys Kisses (I used 60 Regular Kisses and 60 Candy Cane Kisses)

Directions 

Pre-heat oven to 250F.

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Lay square pretzel out onto baking sheet.

Top each square pretzel with a chocolate kiss.

Place into a pre-heated oven for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from oven and press a M&M onto each Chocolate Kiss.

Place try into the fridge for 2-3 hours to harden.


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips

Our area is always so behind on the snowy weather. haha. I saw photos on Facebook this year of people getting tons of snow before Thanksgiving and do you know that today (like 6 days before Christmas) is the first time I've seen a snowflake this "winter".

I know that winter doesn't technically start until tomorrow but come on! ;) Just a few more snowflakes....please! All morning it's been faintly snowing and you don't even really notice it unless you're staring out of the window looking for it.

Like I told Big Bear, "I just want enough snow to cover the ground in a pretty little white blanket and then it can stop if it needs too, but I just want to see a little snow." That's not too much to ask for... right? haha

Around here people either LOVE snow or HATE it. I love it as long as it doesn't make the road dangerous. Once it starts freezing the roads and turning them into sheets of ice I'm over it.

I'm pretty sure that I could get a little more into the "Christmas Spirit" if I had a bit of snow! I'm sure of it!

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips


I've got the Christmas music up today and I'm whipping up a few Christmas treats in the kitchen so all I need is a magical snowfall outside of the kitchen window and I'd be set. Oh, but wait.... it can't snow too much! I have an Ugly Sweater Party to go to tonight! So... yeah...that's a southerner for ya!

Snow, Snow, Snow... but don't let it snow too much because I've got stuff to do and places to go haha.

But you're not here for snow. You're here for Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips!

Grab a handful, you're gonna love them!

I had my first Chocolate Dipped Potato Chip from ChocolatePaper in Roanoke, VA a few years ago and I'll admit that at first I wasn't excited about the thought of eating a Chocolate Dipped Potato Chip.

I thought to myself, "man, that's a weird food to dip into chocolate" but after a little persuading, I gave it a try and wow, it was actually good. Sweet from the chocolate and a little salty from the potato chip...it was indeed a pretty good combination!

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips


Need a sweet treat for a Christmas Party that you're going to this weekend? These will hardly take anytime to make!

Want to give them a try? You only need 2 ingredients (3 if you add sprinkles) for these Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips! You'll need Chocolate Melting Wafers (or Chocolate QuickCoat Melting Chocolate) and potato chips! Throw some festive sprinkles on them before they dry and BOOM, the easiest Christmas treat ever! ;)

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Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips
By: Angie Barrett - BigBearsWife.com
12/20/14
                                                                                          (Click to Print)
Ingredients 

Chocolate Melting Wafers (or Chocolate QuickCoat Melting Chocolate)
Ridged Potato Chips (I think that these work the best!)
Sprinkles (optional) 

Directions 

Line a baking sheet (or flat surface) with wax or parchment paper.

Melt Chocolate according to package directions. I normally pour my chocolate into a bowl and melt it in the microwave in 30 seconds burst, stirring between each heating session until melted.

Dip each potato into melted chocolate and then lay them on the wax paper to cool.

Sprinkle with sprinkles before the chocolate hardens.

To quicken the chocolate hardening process, stick the chocolate dipped potato chips into the fridge for about 10 minutes.





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Friday, December 19, 2014

Chocolate Chip Holiday Nog Cannolis - Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cannolis #plantprotein


Cannolis were not something I ever thought I would attempt at home. They were a special treat and I thought that they would be way too difficult to make. I put off making them for years but bought one every chance I got!

Big Bear loves them, my dad loves them and I love them (although mine HAVE to have mini chocolate chips in them or they're not worthy haha).


I remember my dad ordering them a lot when we would go out to eat at Italian restaurants when I was little, they were pretty much always a guaranteed dessert for him if they were on the menu.



When we lived at Camp Lejeune, I use to stock up on them because our Commissary (grocery store) on base sold them for like .25 cents a piece. I would come home with a whole box for BigBear anytime I went to the store.

When we moved back to VA I had a hard time finding them. I've found 2, maybe 3 restaurants here that serve them and they're going to cost me about $3-$4 PER CANNOLI depending on where I go. Yikes.

Let's just say that the days of surprising BigBear with tons of cannolis is long gone.... or so I thought!

When I was down in NC the other day at my sister's new store (she's the Customer Service Manager now for a nice grocery store in Chapel Hill) I noticed that their bakery had cannolis for sale!

Being the awesome wife that I am, I scooped up a box for Big Bear and took them home to him.

Once I was home and BigBear was enjoying his mini Cannolis, I again thought to myself, "Self, you really should make these at home, I bet you could."

And then I remembered something! When I was in Savannah, GA a month or so ago I had bought a set of metal Cannoli tubes! You know, the ones you wrap the dough around when you fry them!

HOLY MOLY! I can make them now!


So  that's what I did. I finally jumped into the kitchen and with Big Bear's help (hey they're so much easier to make if you have help!) we cranked out some holiday themed Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cannolis!



Now let's talk about the making of these cannolis for a bit. I'm not going to lie to you and be all like "OMG these are so easy to make and are super simple and quick!" Because I don't want to lie to you. That wouldn't be very nice now would it.

Now are these Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cannolis worth it? Totally! But they're gonna take a little work and patience.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Don't get the oil too hot! You'll burn them before they're ready to come out! 
  • Try to only fry one or two at a time. If you throw too many in there the temperature will drop and they might bump into each other and pop open!
  • Make the dough thin! If you make it too thick, they'll pop open while you're frying them and you'll be sad. No one can stuff a flat pancake with cannoli filling.  
  • Make sure to seal the edges really well or they will pop open. 
  • Don't throw them into the hot oil....because you guessed it... they'll pop open. haha
  • Let them cool completely before filling them or your gonna melt your filling. 



Hope you love them!
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Chocolate Chip Holiday Nog Cannolis - Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cannolis


By: Angie Barrett - BigBearsWife.com
12/19/14
About 24                                                             (Click to Print)
Ingredients 

For Shells:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons softened butter
2 eggs yolks
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3.5 oz Marsala cooking wine
Canola Oil for Frying
Cannoli Tubes (Metal Tubes to wrap dough around while frying)

For Filling:

1 cup of ricotta
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup Silk Holiday Nog
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


Directions 

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown suagr salt, soft butter, egg yolks and cinnamon.

Using a pastry blender (or a fork) cut the butter and egg yolks into the dry ingredients until the mixture reaches the consistency of crumbs about the size of green peas.

Stir in the marsala cooking wine. Stir well to combine.

Next, use your hands to press all of the mixture into dough.

Let sit, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Heat oil to 340F.

Lightly flour your working surface and roll dough out until it's paper thin. (After trying a few different thicknesses of dough, the paper thin ones did best!)

Using a round cookie cutter (or glass about 5 inches in diameter) cut circles of dough out.

Wrap a circle of dough around one of the metal cannoli tubes and seal edges. Make sure to seal the edges good or they will pop open when frying! Also if they are too thick they will pop open too!

 Fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes or until brown and crispy! Carefully remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined plate to cool. We had best results with frying 1-2 at a time.

The the stand of a mixer, combine: ricotta, powdered sugar and holiday nog. Mix well. If too thick add a little more holiday nog, if too thin add more powdered sugar.

Mix in mini chocolate chips.

Pipe thick filling mixture into both sides of cooled cannoli shells. Serve Immediately.

Shells can be made ahead of time and filling placed into fridge in a container until ready to serve.


Visit the Silk Facebook Page and be sure to head on over to the Silk site where you can get coupons and monthly chances to win a year's supply of Silk!




This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Click Here to Keep Reading..... "Chocolate Chip Holiday Nog Cannolis - Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cannolis #plantprotein"

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

I'm sure that almost everyone has that Christmas spirit by now! Right? Well, normally I would say, YES! But this year, I feel like I am among one of those with little holiday spirit this year. We had a rough start to December and it kind of crushed our Red, White and Green Christmas dreams.

A week ago yesterday, we said goodbye to BigBear's Grandma. She became a beautiful angel and it left a huge hole in our family. Grandma Mary was an amazing woman and she was loved by so many!

Between her being in the hospital at the beginning of December and her passing last week, we haven't really been in the mood for too much Christmas cheer.

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

I just now took the time to put up a little Christmas tree. We decided to go without our normal live tree and pulled this little 3-foot, pre-light one from the basement so that we'd have some type of tree in the house for Christmas.

I almost didn't want to put one up but Grandma Mary would have probably been disappointed in us if we had let our sadness get in the way of something that brought us joy (like our Christmas tree each year). I know she didn't want us to be sad, so we're trying to smile. :)

Big Bear's Wife - Christmas Tree

Which is another reason to share this Chocolate Christmas Popcorn. It's one of the few Christmas related things I've made this year. It's one of the few Christmas related things that's made me happy. I think that means that it's totally worth sharing.

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

I just can't help but to smile at that little gingerbread man as he sits with that bucket of homemade Chocolate Christmas Popcorn! So I did want to take a moment to speak about the sadness that's been going on around here but I want to try to bring a little bit of Christmas Joy to the blog and to our lives!

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn


Since we're on the subject of Christmas, did you ask for anything awesome? I can't think of a single thing I want for Christmas this year other than "the ability to Travel", which is a little difficult to wrap with a bow. haha.

I can't think of any material object that I just HAVE to have. That's a little odd to me because I can always think of something awesome, but this year... I've got nothing.

Throughout the year I sent BigBear some idea of things I'd like to have, like the Flavor Bible and some Pandora Charms but I don't have like a "Wish List" this year.

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

Big Bear hasn't been very helpful with telling me what he wants for Christmas either! Men are so hard to buy for! I mean what do you get for your husband? I feel like I've out grown the days of getting your guy "boxers and cologne".  I feel like when I was growing up and dating that the only acceptable gift for your boyfriend was a pair of boxers and a bottle of cologne. I have no idea where that idea came from. Probably Teen Magazine. haha

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn


Any ideas for me?

I also need some ideas for my brother..... and I'm TOTALLY NOT going to get him boxers and cologne. haha.

Oh and I need ideas for my dad...and father in law.... Ahhhhh see! It's men! Men are hard to buy for!

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

I can buy presents for women all day long but put me in a store to do Christmas shopping for a man and I've got nothing. Nada.....no ideas at all.

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn

I suppose I could just package up a ton of this Chocolate Christmas Popcorn, tie on a pretty bow and be done with it all. haha. I think they would all probably like this. ;) What do you think? haha

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn - Pail

But seriously, this Chocolate Christmas Popcorn makes a wonderful gift! I found these little Christmas pails at Hobby Lobby but I've also seen them in the Dollar Section at Target!

I filled the tins with a heaping amount of Chocolate Christmas Popcorn, wrapped the entire pail in a cellophane bag and tied it closed with a Christmas Ribbon!

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn - Homemade Gift Idea

Add a "Merry Christmas" tag and you've got the perfect homemade gift!

Chocolate Christmas Popcorn - Homemade Gift Idea

Now, that's MY kind of present!
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Chocolate Christmas Popcorn
By: Angie Barrett - BigBearsWife.com
12/16/14
about 16 cups worth                                            (Click to Print)
Ingredients 

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons oil
White Candy Cane Chocolate Candy Melts, melted
Milk Chocolate Candy Melts, melted
Gingerbread Men Sprinkles
Gingerbread Men Sugar Decorations/Sugar Cupcake Toppers
Christmas Colored Chocolate Sixlets
Christmas Sprinkles


Directions 

Pop the popcorn.

(For my popcorn, I used my Whirley Pop but you can use any stove top popper or air popper. Or you can use plain pre-popped popcorn)

Carefully lay popped popcorn out in a single layer on two baking sheets.

Working carefully, but quickly,  drizzle the milk chocolate and and white candy cane melted chocolate over all of the popcorn. Sprinkle the popcorn and chocolate with the gingerbread men sprinkles, sugar decorations, Christmas Colored Chocolate Sixlets and Christmas sprinkles.


Let sit for 15-30 minutes for the chocolate to harden.


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn

"Do you want to build a snowman?" -- Come on, if you don't know about Frozen, you've been living under a rock haha. Almost everyone, even if they haven't seen the movie, knows about Frozen. It's literally everywhere.

We love that movie and our niece and god-daughters love it as well! Our niece's birthday this year was "Frozen" themed and there have been quite a few "Frozen" Christmas gift purchases this year. I've even caught my husband watching Frozen a few times haha :)

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn

Although Frozen hit the world like a storm, I haven't really put anything on the blog about it...well until today that is!



Thursday I went down to Raleigh, NC to see Frozen on Ice with my niece and sister. Not only was I excited to see how Savannah would feel about Frozen on Ice, I hadn't seen Disney on Ice in a really long time so I was super excited to see it again with the new Frozen theme!




I thought that this would be the perfect time to add a little bit of the "Frozen" magic to the blog!

Bagged Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn

Frozen on Ice was so super cute and I just loved it! I even packed up a few cute little bags of this Frozen Chocolate Popcorn for my niece and sister. :)

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn


I was a little worried that the popcorn might not look "Frozen" enough, but as soon as my niece saw the bags she said, "Oooo it's Olaf Popcorn"!! That pretty much stopped any concern that I had. haha.

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn



You can pretty much put anything that you want into this Frozen popcorn, but here is what I used:

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn



Blue Sprinkles/Snowflake Sprinkles --  Elsa Snowflakes
White and Blue Candy Pearls - Snow Queen Pearls
Orange Sprinkles - Olaf Noses
Mini Chocolate Chips - Olaf Eyes and Buttons

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn


Pretty much every little girl I know is Frozen Obsessed so I have a feeling that you probably know a little Princess (or Snow Queen) that would adore some "Olaf Popcorn" too!

Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn

So, are you a Frozen Fan? Is Frozen invading your Christmas this year? Who's your favorite character? I'm pretty sure it's a toss us between Olaf and Anna for me!! hahaha.


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Frozen Popcorn - Chocolate Popcorn
By: Angie Barrett - BigBearsWife.com
12/13/14
Makes about 16 cups of popped popcorn                 (Click to Print)




Ingredients 

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons oil
White Chocolate Candy Melts, melted
Blue Chocolate Candy Melts, melted
Blue Sprinkles/Snowflake Sprinkles
White and Blue Candy Pearls
Orange Sprinkles
Mini Chocolate Chips

Directions

Pop the popcorn. I used my Whirley Pop to pop mine but you can use any stove top popper or air popper. (Or you can use plain pre-popped popcorn)

For the Whirley Pop: Put 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/2 cup popcorn kernels in the Whirley Pop and place the Whirley Pop on the stove top on medium-medium high heat. Turn the crank for 4-5 minutes or until all of the kernels have popped.

Carefully lay popped popcorn out in a single layer on two baking sheets.

Working carefully, but quickly,  drizzle the blue and white melted chocolate over all of the popcorn. Sprinkle the popcorn and chocolate with the candy pearls, sprinkles and mini chocolate chips.

Let sit for 15-30 minutes for the chocolate to harden.



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