Chocolate Grissini Wands

choc grissini wandsMy two sisters and I all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other and when I was growing up birthday time was my favourite time of year! My mother always involved us in all aspects of party prep. We’d choose a theme, design the decor, decorate party hats, set up our favourite games and help with the cooking.

For me, all of these things helped build the magic and excitement of the big day.  I have continued this much loved tradition with my own three children, although thankfully their birthdays are more evenly spread throughout the year!

One of the easiest ways to involve kids in the preparation for their birthday parties is in the kitchen.  Something that is a staple at all of our birthday parties, always a hit and easy for kids to make are chocolate grissini wands.

Chocolate grissini wands

You will need
  • Small grissini bread sticks
  • Chocolate melts
  • Sprinkles
  • Spoon
  • Bowls
  • Mug or glass
How to

1. Melt the chocolate by putting it into a bowl in the microwave and heating for 30 second increments until melted.  Alternatively, you could use a double saucepan on the stove top to melt your chocolate.

2. Wait a few minutes so that the chocolate is not too runny and then spoon the chocolate over the top third of the grissini stick, twisting as you go so that the chocolate spreads as evenly as possible.

3.  Over a bowl, sprinkle the sprinkles over the chocolate.

4.  Pop your choc covered grissini stick into a mug or glass until the chocolate hardens.

Tip: If the chocolate starts to drip down the grissini stick at this stage, then your chocolate is too warm and you need to wait a few minutes for the chocolate to cool down a little before continuing.

You might like to measure the length of your mug so that the chocolate doesn’t stick to the mug as it dries.  You can do this by simply holding the grissini stick up against the mug, like my 6 year old son is doing in the pic below.

SONY DSC

and then keeping your finger there as you put the melted chocolate onto the grissini stick making sure that the chocolate always stays above that line.

SONY DSC

5. Once the chocolate has set, place your chocolate grissini wands in an airtight container until party time.  They’ll last for weeks so you can make them well in advance which is always a winner!

SONY DSCSONY DSCSONY DSC

It might get a little messy and they may not look absolutely perfect, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because they’ll still taste delicious. Besides, you just can’t beat that look of pride and satisfaction on your kids’ faces from having made something all by themselves!

Believe me, if you start them young, they’ll be running their own parties in no time!

How much do you involve your children in party prep?  

Do you have any tried and true recipes to share that are great to do with kids?

more-party-ideas

emma

A version of this post first appeared on kidspot.com.au in August 2013

Easy Peasy Potato Salad

When I was a uni student and flatting with mates, whenever one was required to bring a salad or a dessert to a BBQ, I had my two standard dishes that I would bring.  Every single time.  Most likely because I had no idea how to do anything more elaborate and complicated and that these dishes required no effort whatsoever.

Those dishes were Chocolate Ripple Cake and this Cheat’s Potato Salad.

I got this recipe from a dear friend of my mothers who always makes the best salads!  I have been making it for almost twenty years and I still bring it to almost every BBQ that I attend and it’s always a winner! The beginning of daylight savings here in Victoria seems to herald in the BBQ season so I dare say it’ll be getting a good run in the coming months.

Lee-Ann’s Cheats Potato Salad

chat/small/mini potatoes
mayonnaise
bacon pieces, fried 
spring onions, thinly sliced

Boil the potatoes on the stove top in boiling water until the potatoes are cooked.  Let it cool down a little before popping them in a bowl and spooning mayo over the top.  If the potatoes are still too hot, the mayo goes a little yellow and it won’t stay on the top of the spuds.  Sprinkle the bacon and spring onion over the top of the mayo and you’re done.  

No need to put in the amounts, because it really doesn’t matter.  It’s all personal preference really.  I will say however that I have always used Kraft mayo because it has such a great tang, but you can use whatever mayo you like!



You can find plenty more simple recipes over here where I’m building a collection of 
my favourite easy peasy recipes.  

Do you have a staple food that you always bring to parties?

Is there a dish that you’ve been making forever that you’ll never get tired of?



Some EASY PEASY treats

We made this super quick and easy LCM bar equivalent slice last week from Katrina at The Organised Housewife and they disappeared VERY quickly.  With the ingredients of only rice bubbles, peanut butter, marshmallows & butter it is not healthy in the slightest, but sooooo good and so quick to make!  Winner!

Thanks to your fantastic suggestions here and on facebook, we used some of our mandarines in this delicious mandarine cake.  Another winner!  Anna always makes cooking with the kids fun due to her fantastic illustrations that make it sooooo easy!  Thanks Anna!  

Do you ever cook recipes that you find on blogs?

I’d love to know if you have ever tried any Frog, Goose & Bear recipes.  I am so glad that I have got so many of my regular easy recipes on this site now.  I don’t even use my recipe folder any more, I just go straight to my blog for the recipe.  Particularly handy when away from home, or if someone asks me for a recipe!  
Always a thrill as I’m actually not a great cook. I have many, many disasters as my poor family members will attest!  I’d rather be doing other things than cooking, so any recipe that is quick and easy and is also delicious is definitely a winner in my book!  I figure there are many people in the same boat which is why I share recipes on my blog which make me look good with little effort from myself and no need for great cooking skill!


EASY PEASY DINNER WINNER WITH GOOSE

Earlier this year, for school, Goose (grade 3) had to cook a healthy meal for the family and then present it to the class.  As we took photos of each step, I thought I might share this easy peasy three course meal with you and maybe your kids could give it a try! 

ENTREE
Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Cheese Skewers


MAIN
Baked Crispy Chicken Strips & Salad


DESSERT
Mixed Berries & Yoghurt


PUMPKIN SOUP
Melt 1 tbs of butter & fry one chopped onion in saucepan.
Add 500g pumpkin, 2.5 cups of chicken stock, a sprinkle of ground cloves & nutmeg, 1/2 tsp sugar, 2 drops of tabasco sauce to the saucepan & simmer.

When pumpkin is soft, puree with handheld blender.

Add lemon juice & cream to taste.
Serve in mug with mini toasted cheese sandwiches on skewers. 

BAKED CRISPY CHICKEN STRIPS

Set oven to 230C.  Make the breadcrumbs by placing some frozen bread into the food processor.

Place breadcrumbs, flour & egg into three separate bowls. 


Lightly coat each chicken strip with flour, then egg & then breadcrumbs.

It’s messy work, but that’s half the fun!

Once crumbed, place on a lightly greased baking tray, spray with oil and cook at 230C for 30 mins or until golden brown.
 Serve with a salad & dipping sauce.
Although not particularly healthy we use a yummy dipping sauce that we make from 1/3 cup tomato sauce, 2 tbs American mustard, 1 tbs honey & 1 tbs brown sugar.
 BERRIES & YOGHURT

Self explanatory really, but we just popped some raspberries, blackberries, strawberries & blueberries into a bowl with a dollop of yoghurt on the top.

Do you let your kids loose in the kitchen?  Is it more trouble than it’s worth?  Or an important life skill?

For a long list of our other easy peasy recipes – we only do simple here – you might like to head over here.

The bottomless jar of Vanilla Extract

Did you know that you could make your own vanilla extract?

I noticed a few people around the blogosphere making them around Christmas time as gifts and I had big plans to do the same, but I only ended up making one – a gift for myself.


DIY VANILLA EXTRACT

Fill a small jar with unflavoured vodka and pop in a couple of vanilla pods.  You might like to cut the vanilla pods in half lengthways first to let the goodness out.  Pop the lid back on and let it brew for a 3-4 months.

That’s it!

The beauty of this method is that when the jar is running a little low, you simply add some more vodka!  A bottomless jar of vanilla!  

I made this bottle back in December and it’s ready to use now.  The smell is divine.  If truth be known, I probably went overboard with vanilla pods

They would make a great little gift by adding this little free printable from the Graphics Fairy* of a vintage vanilla extract label.


Have you made vanilla extract before?

What is your favourite use for vanilla extract?  
Mine is adding it to cream and piling it on a bowl full of strawberries.  Yum!

For more easy recipes, head over here.


*If you are a fan of vintage graphics – you will find this site to be your mecca!

P.S.  I have seen many, many tutorials online for making your own vanilla extract and brandy & rum can also be used.  Here is a more detailed tutorial should you need it.

AN EASY PEASY CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS…

It is a little Christmas tradition in our house, starting from my childhood, to make little Christmas puddings.  Before you go getting all impressed at my skills in the kitchen, it is simply an Arnott’s Chocolate Royal biscuit with some white chocolate, a jaffa and some sliced mint leaf lollies.  I love an cheat’s easy peasy recipe.  You might remember these from last year.


This will be our MOPS craft activity today. Nice and simple as per usual.  While Goose & Bear were at school & kinder yesterday, Frog & I made a few samples and packaged some up as gifts to give to the ladies who look after the kids each fortnight at MOPS.


I feel like I have melted an enormous amount of chocolate over the last few weeks for various recipes.  My new favourite thing to do since, by trial and error I’ve discovered the fool-proof, no-fail chocolate melting technique.  Stay tuned later this week for a post on melting chocolate and another easy peasy chocolate recipe.


A little reward for the jaffa and mint leaf placer…
or was that just plugging the hole to stop the incessant “can i have one, can i have one, can i have one, can i have one… can I lick the spoon, can I lick the spoon, can I lick the spoon…”


Oh look there is one of the clay tags that we made last week.


And a pudding for one…


With the leftover white chocolate still in the saucepan, I tried something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  We made some Candy Cane bark.


Simply add a few drops of peppermint essence to the melted chocolate, pour onto a small tray covered in baking paper, then sprinkle some crushed candy canes over the top and let it set.  
We based our recipe on this one over here.  



 Once set, you break it into pieces and package into nice little gifts.  
This was so ridiculously easy.  Next time I would like to try a mixture of dried cranberries and pistachios on some dark chocolate, and without the essence, for a more adult Christmas treat.  I’ve also seen it done with layers of white and milk chocolate or swirling the two together.  The possibilities are endless.


For more easy peasy recipe ideas you might like to check out the FGB easy recipe page.


What are your easy peasy ‘go-to’ Christmas recipes each year?  Do share.

EASY PEASY HEDGEHOG SLICE

Marie Biscuits & Sweetened Condensed Milk are two ingredients that I always, always have in my cupboard.


When one is required, last minute, to ‘bring a plate’, some people find it much easier to just pop down to the shop and grab a packet of biscuits, but for me it’s not always convenient to do that, and I find it easier to just make a quick slice late the night before than go to the shop at that time.  Often I’m home alone at that hour anyway and it is not an option with sleeping kids.

With these two ingredients I can make:
                                             choc-peppermint slice (new for me – thanks Julie!)
or the longtime favourite, and once again a childhood favourite from my mother…

HEDGEHOG SLICE
2 pkts Arnott’s Marie Biscuits*
2 tbspn cocoa
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 395g can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup mini marshmallows
200g melted butter

1. Crush biscuits.  
(Most finely crushed, while still leaving quite a few larger pieces)
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Press into a greased slice tin.
4. Refrigerate for approx. 20 mins or until hard.
5. Ice with chocolate butter icing. 
6. Sprinkle icing with shredded coconut or hundreds & thousands.

ICING recipe – I just guess with the quantities – sorry!  But it is roughly 2 cups of icing sugar, 1 tbspn cocoa, 2 tbspn soft butter & enough boiling water to make it correct consistency.  

Do you have a recipe that uses these two ingredients?  
I’d love to give it a go and add it to my repertoire!

For more easy peasy recipes, you might like to check out the FGB easy recipes page.

* This batch was actually made using a packet of teddy bear biscuits.  They did the same job.

EASY PEASY CHOCOLATE WANDS

Thanks to my friend Josie, who first made these for Bear’s Rocket Party these have become my new favourite party food!  After enjoying these at his friend Johnny’s birthday party, Bear loved them so much that he specifically requested them for his own party.

Grissini bread sticks dipped in chocolate and covered in sprinkles!  So yummy and very popular!

With my party glasses on, I can see these with crushed nuts, crushed pistachios, dried cranberries or crushed candy canes at Christmas time.  I can see them with white chocolate mixed with different coloured food dye to make pink, green or yellow wands.   I have seen pretzel sticks done the same way, but I just can’t get past the salt on the pretzels mixed with the sweet of the chocolate and pretzels are not quite as common here in Australia as they are in the US.


I was pretty excited to see Bear’s Rocket Party on Bird’s Party Blog today.

Stay tuned for a cute Cheeky Monkey Party that we went to last weekend.  You might even see these choc. sticks featured!  The party was hosted by the same clever Mum who put on the gorgeous rainbow party earlier this year.
If you’re after more party ideas, head on over to the FGB party page.


DIY CHOCOLATE BOWLS

Just to keep with the sugar theme that we seem to have going on this week…

we made something that I’ve been meaning to try for a very long time.
Our own chocolate bowls!  For a more elaborate tutorial and where I got the idea from in the first place head over to the very clever Bakerella.

These were made by children, so were not the neatest of bowls, but it did not affect the taste!  One of the children, who will remain nameless, thought they would like to create a bowl larger than anyone elses and tried to cover a majority of the balloon in chocolate only to discover when it was time to pop the balloons that it all cracked into tiny pieces.   The rest of us, with a bowl shape (and not greed) in mind, simply dipped the base of our balloons* in the melted chocolate as thickly as possible and placed it on some baking paper to set.  We put them in the fridge, as we wanted them to set quickly, but you probably wouldn’t need to.

Then we set about making our icecream in a bag and had hoped to be eating icecream out of our chocolate bowls within 10 minutes.  In the end, the icecream wasn’t ready until later, so we ate our chocolate bowls with some leftover strawberry and chocolate instant pudding** from the night before and a few strawberries.

I have seen these chocolate bowls (albiet a little fancier) on the front cover of a Donna Hay Kids mag made using white chocolate mixed with pink & green food dye – I’d like to try that next!  What a fun and impressive, yet super simple dinner party dessert!
For more easy peasy recipes, you might like to check out the FGB easy recipes page

* We used normal balloons blown up very small, but water balloons would be best.
**instant pudding - another food from my childhood that I happened to see on the supermarket shelf and had to give it a try!

DIY FIZZY SHERBET {aka edible fairy dust}

I wasn’t really focusing at the time Goose asked if she could make something out of her science experiment book.  She said she could do it herself and she’d checked and we had all of the ingredients.
It may not be the healthiest of foods (!?!) but the kids LOVED it* It tasted just like Wizz Fizz in those little paper bags with the dipping candy and brought me right back to my childhood.

DIY Fizzy Sherbert
based on this source

5 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon jelly crystals

Mix all ingredients together and eat!
In the end, I only allowed Goose to put a couple of spoonfuls in a shot glass for herself & each of her siblings.  We added a bit of edible glitter and called it fairy dust.  Now the remainder is sitting in a bowl at the back of the bench where no little ones can grab it, and I’m finding myself dipping my finger in every time I go past!   
So as my children lick paddle pop sticks covered in pink fizzy raspberry flavoured sugar, and I feel like a terrible parent, I am still envisioning it packaged in little white paper bags with a paddle pop stick attached with a pink bow and labeled ‘edible fairy dust’ as a party favour!  Can’t be any worse than a lollypop and much more fun!
If you like things that fizz, you might also like this kids activity, or for other things to do with your kids these school holidays, head over to my kids craft page.

*of course they did, it was almost pure sugar! She did use jelly with natural flavour & colour… does that make it better!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...