Some easy peasy Easter recipes to make with kids.

Earlier this week we had a lovely time with some of our favourite little friends making these simple chocolate Easter nests that have become an annual tradition in our house.

200g of melted chocolate, mixed together with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a packet of Chang’s Oriental Fried Noodles, spooned onto some baking paper.  Place some Cadbury mini eggs on top to look like little eggs in a nest and pop it in the fridge to set and your done!

MORE EASTER RECIPES:

mini Easter chocolates
We made these little Easter chocolates earlier this week when my 2 year old niece came over.  It is as simple as pouring melted chocolate into a mould.  We used vintage moulds that I kept from my childhood to make these.

mini marshmallow nests

Another twist on the Easter nest are these scrumptious looking marshmallow nests made by my clever friend Lucy the Kitchenmaid containing only rice bubbles, marshmallows and butter.  My kids would love these!
Chocolate marshmallow eggs
While we are on the topic of Lucy and her delicious recipes, she also shares the recipe for this deliciously beautiful homemade chocolate marshmallow egg over on her blog.  This one does look ever so slightly trickier and is probably one for the adults to attempt, but looks oh so worth it!
Hot cross buns
These hot cross buns from Cathie of Melbourne Epicure also look delicious and fun to make with the kids.  Along with the recipe, she also includes how to make them egg and dairy free.


Do you have any Easter recipes that have become an annual tradition at your house?

This post is part of an Easter series.  For more Easter crafts and recipes, click on the image below.  All simple activities that will keep you & your kids busy over the school holidays right up until Easter Sunday.

Make your own Hot Chocolate this Easter

Continuing with our series on Easter, here is an adaptation of a post I wrote two years ago about the Cocoa-in-a-jar gifts that we made as Easter gifts.  So yummy!  They’re not really just for Easter though.  I’ve made them a number of times since as Christmas or birthday gifts as they are a great little gift for any time of year and so very simple to make!


You can find the recipes to make your own mocha, peppermint, mexican or classic cocoa over here.  I halved the recipes to fit in these jars which are roughly 375ml.  Each of these particular cocoa blends are really, really delicious, but the beauty of these is that you can play around with the recipes to make your own perfect blend.  It’s a great activity for the kids to be involved in as well.
When we made our Christmas cocoa mix we filled the jar to the very top, making it tricky to combine the contents in order to make the hot chocolate.  The contents had to be emptied into a bowl, combined and then returned to the jar.  This time, I didn’t fill the jars as high so the ingredients could be combined by simply shaking the jar.
As chocolate is such a big part of the easter tradition, I thought maybe it could be fun to gift some Easter hot chocolate!

We go camping every Easter holidays with my extended family.  It is one of our favourite times of year and the kids have such a wonderful time getting dirty and finding their own fun in the Australian bush.

This is the perfect camping drink as it doesn’t require milk.  Cozy cup of hot cocoa by the fire in the evenings.  Can’t wait!

We love making things in jars here at FGB.  
If you do too, you might like to check these out:

I actually think I may have a pathological problem when it comes to jars.  I can’t throw them out.  There are those who think I am rather strange, but you just never know when a jar might come in handy!  Do you have a cupboard full of empty jars?  Boxes full in the garage?  Please tell me I’m not the only one….
I even found a post with 40 DIY Easter gifts in a jar if you’re interested!

 For all of the other Easter related crafts, recipes and activities in this series, click here.  If you’d like to share an Easter craft with the lovely FGB readers, I’d love you to do a guest post (email me if you do!).

A Tree Party

Yes, you read that correctly, a “Tree” party was the theme of choice for my 7 year old nephew a couple of weeks ago.  Just a small do with a couple of school mates and his extended family.  

Game #1: Pass the parcel.  
For details on how to play this version of pass the parcel see this post.
Game #2: The flour game.
For details on how to play the flour game see this post.

Game #3: Pin the bird in the nest.  

Tree painted and names written on the birds by the birthday boy.  Love kid involvement in birthday prep!  In fact the whole party was designed by him!  Love this kid.


Game #4: Worms tied to string on the clothes line.
The kids had to eat the lollie worms with their hands behind their backs.  
Game#5: Tree pinata.
 Containing glow in the dark bugs, bouncy balls and wrapped sweets.

Some pinata action shots!

As well as some sushi and hot dogs at the birthday boys request, for dessert we had Chocolate Birds Nests

Fruit Cups with Tree toothpicks

Choc Grissini Sticks (aka ‘tree branches’) 

and a wonderful tree birthday cake!  It was dark by the time the dessert came out so along with glow sticks and sparklers.

The party was a week earlier than his birthday as his Mum (my sister Lou who many of you know) was due to give birth within the following weeks.  Not sure exactly how she managed it, but a week after his party, at 11.15pm on the day of his actual birthday, he received the best present of all – a new baby sister.  Seven years apart, brother and sister share the same birthdate!  Which ironically enough is the same date as our Dad, their Grandpa, who is of course quite chuffed.

How close together are your children’s birthdays?!
How much scope do you give your children in party prep?  
Do you run with whatever theme your child suggests or steer them in a particular direction?  Or is the whole ‘theme thing’ just not for you?

If you’d like to see some pics of some more diy parties, you might like to head over to the Frog Goose & Bear party ideas page…

An Easter Chocolate Gift … a tutorial


These simple chocolate treats can be made in 10 minutes – seriously!  
The hardest part is trying not to lick your fingers until the end!


What you will need:

- Compound Chocolate Melts
- Chocolate Mould Trays
- Spatula
- Bowl


1. Start by melting your chocolate.  As you really don’t want to get water in the chocolate, it’s best to use the microwave to melt your chocolate.  Just pop it the microwave for 30 secs at a time and give it a stir until it melts.  You want it really runny.

N.B.  It needs to be compound chocolate.  I use Nestle Milk Melts.  Just check on the back of the packet and it will let you know if it is “real milk chocolate” or “compound milk chocolate”.  The compound choc can be popped in the fridge/freezer without discolouration and has more of a sheen, but it does still work with the real milk choc kind.

2. Pour some chocolate onto the mould.  Most of these moulds were from my childhood and I love the vintage look they bring but I have seen them at craft stores, Spotlight, online and even my local post office!


3. Spread the chocolate out across the tray using a spatula or butter knife.



4. Using the spatula (or butter knife) scrape the excess chocolate from the top of the tray back into the bowl.

5. Gently pick up the tray and tap it numerous times on the table.  You can do this by lifting it a couple of centimetres above the table and dropping it gently over and over again.  This process minimises the air bubbles.  You will see some bubbles on the top as they make their way from the bottom.  This is good.


6. Pop your chocolate mould sheets full of chocolate into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.  You’ll know they are ready when you turn it over and you can see it starting to get slightly whitish in colour through the plastic, or it sounds a little crackly.  You’ll just know, believe me.


7.  To release the chocolate from the mould, turn the sheet upside down and gently tap it on the table.  Make sure you do this gently and close to the table as you don’t want the chocolates to break on their way down.  If they don’t come out easily, just pop it back in the freezer for a bit as they may not be set enough.


8. Et voila!  You have made your own Easter chocolates! 

9. We had some egg shaped moulds that we stuck together to make whole eggs by pressing the egg halves onto some baking paper on a baking tray that had been heated in the oven.  


10. Press the two melted sides together and you have a whole egg!  If you wanted to make them look a little smoother and get rid of the line that joins them, apparently you can use a hair dryer to melt it and smooth it out a little.

11. Pop them in a pretty little box and give them as gifts!

These little beauties were shipped off to the children’s kinder and school teachers this morning with a little card attached.

Here are the gifts we gave the kids teachers last Easter.
Do you give Easter gifts?
Are you addicted to chocolate like me?!
For more FGB Easter crafts you might like to check out this post.

For more quick & easy recipes you might like to check out this page.



Wishing you all a wonderful Easter with your families.  We are off on our annual camping trip tomorrow with my extended family.  Fingers crossed that the rain holds off! 
What are you doing this Easter weekend?

P.S. A huge thanks to Andrea who gave me all the wonderful tips to make these last week!!

REINDEERS & CHRISTMAS CRAFT

Now that the gifts for teachers, classmates & neighbours, kriskringles & ‘plates’ for 1001 Christmas parties, breakups & end of year celebrations are (almost) done and dusted and kinder, playgroup, swimming lessons, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. are all over for the year, I can finally start doing the Christmas shopping…we’ve still got another 5 days haven’t we?!

I love all of the craft at Christmas – there are so many reasons to get crafty!

Along with many in blogland, reindeer food for kinder friends and Reindeer noses for school friends are all made and delivered.  Head here for last year’s reindeer food.  This year, I used this free printable for the reindeer food (there’s other cute ones here & here) and this printable for the reindeer noses.  You could use some gorgeous free ones here & here.  

Now I’m off to make cupcakes for Goose’s class Christmas party tomorrow.  Don’t you love it when the teacher sends a note home with all of the food they would like at the party with it already allocated.  Everyone else gets the ‘packet of chips’, ‘popcorn’, ‘dip & biscuits’ and I get ‘small cakes’.  Actually, I do love it!  Any excuse. I’d much rather be making cupcakes than folding the ever rotating gigantic pile of washing!

Do you go crazy with Christmas craft, like me? 

EASY PEASY CHOCOLATE DESSERT (with chocolate melting tip!)

I seem to have melted lots of chocolate lately.  I have melted it to make fairy wands & marshmallow teacups for birthday parties, chocolate christmas puddings, christmas bark and the odd bowl of chocolate fondue….


To make simple & basic chocolate fondue you just
 melt 250g of milk chocolate (using the method below)and then stir in 1/3 cup of cream.  

You don’t need a special fondue set, any old bowl will work perfectly well.  Using forks you can dip anything you like in the chocolate.  Grissini bread sticks work beautifully, as does fruit or marshmallows.

So decadent and soooo yummy.  Lots of fun for kids too!


Now, here is the promised chocolate melting tip….

In the past I have often found melting chocolate a bit of ‘hit & miss’.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  More often than not it went lumpy.  I could never get it right in the microwave even when others swore by that method.  But, with a bit of trial and error, I have found a foolproof way of melting chocolate perfectly every time.  A method no doubt well known by others, but new to me.

I like to use a double saucepan, but you could use a metal bowl on top of a saucepan.  
It looks like lots of writing, but really it’s 5 quick steps written in bold print.

1. boil water in kettle (or saucepan on stove).
2. pour boiling water from kettle into saucepan until approx. one third full.
(or remove saucepan from heat if you have boiled water on stove) 
3. place top saucepan (or metal bowl) onto bottom saucepan 
(making sure it is no longer on the stove – this is the key people!).
4. Place chocolate into top saucepan (or bowl).
 I like to use melts especially designed for melting.
5. Wait for chocolate to melt.  It will happen slowly….quite a few minutes, but be patient and stir as you go if you like.  You’ll think it is not working, but it is!  

What dishes do you melt chocolate for?

For more easy peasy recipes head over to the FGB easy recipes page here.

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.

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!

KIDS EASTER ACTIVITY – CHOCOLATE NESTS

In looking through my photo archives recently I came across some photos of these cute and delicious chocolate nests that Granny and I made with the kids a couple of Easters ago.

The recipe is based on that for Chocolate Spiders on the back of a packet of Chang’s Oriental Fried Noodles. (the same place as you’ll find this yummy & easy salad) I adapted this recipe for my Easter nests.

CHOCOLATE EASTER NESTS

2 tbsp peanut butter
200g chocolate

Melt chocolate & peanut butter together in microwave or stove top. Mix well into a smooth paste. Add noodles and coat the noodles well. Spoon the mixture onto grease-proof paper or into cupcake wrappers. Place a few jelly beans on top of each nest. Place in fridge until set. When they are set, keep in an airtight container.

*I used Jelly Belly Beans as I think they look slightly more like eggs than the usual jelly beans – particularly those speckled ones. I have seen these made with mini easter eggs also. 

 Head over here for a more advanced tutorial with more classy looking nests :)

Head over here to Childhood 101 for some more inspiration for how to entertain the kids these school holidays!

Or, if you are after holiday activity inspiration for children who are 7 years or up – Goose and I are seriously, seriously impressed with this little booklet! Only $5 and you print it out yourself. Seriously good – did I say that already?


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