Healthy Halloween Snack Idea: Fruit Ghosts and Pumpkins!

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

What’s scarier than ghosts on Halloween? Kids overdosing on sugar!

A hot topic every Halloween season is how to limit our kids’ candy intake. That’s why I love getting creative in the kitchen to make healthy food fun! For example: Cutie Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts! These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! They’re the best sweet and spooky after-school snack, or they’ll look fabulous on your table at your Halloween party!

Cutie Pumpkins: Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins!

Banana Ghosts: Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

If you’re looking for more healthy Halloween snack ideas you can make with your kids, check out my segment that aired on KTLA-TV last year, below, or read my blog post here.

Watch me share healthy Halloween snacks on KTLA in Los Angeles!

Use these tools to create a fun fruit platter for your Halloween party:

 For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Easy Halloween Snack Idea for Kids: Healthy Spider Crackers!

cooking, Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

I shared these easy Spider Crackers on KTLA-TV last year, along with some other healthy Halloween treats for kids, and they were such a hit that I had to post them on my blog again this year!

Easy, festive and healthy Spider Crackers!

I love these Spider Crackers because:

(1) They’re easy! You only need 4 ingredients, and most of them you probably already have in your pantry!

(2) They’re customizable. Can’t take nut butter to school? Make these with sunflower seed butter or cream cheese instead! Don’t like raisins? Try currants or mini chocolate chips! Want a healthier cracker? Opt for whole wheat instead of regular Ritz crackers. Any round cracker of your choice will do!

(3) Halloween is often the kickoff to a holiday season filled with non-stop sugar, so it’s nice to create a savory festive treat for a healthy change! As a parent, I really try to limit our kids’ sugar intake where we can this time of year!

(4) They’re festive and versatile! Make these with your kids for an after-school snack, drop them in lunchboxes, or serve them at the class Halloween party!

(5) Your kids will love making these with you!

If you’re looking for more healthy Halloween snack ideas you can make with your kids, check out my segment that aired on KTLA-TV last year, below, or read my blog post here.

Watch me share these Spider Crackers along with other healthy Halloween snack ideas on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles!

Spider Crackers Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter, seed butter, or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzel sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy! Store in an airtight container for up to a week
I used regular peanut butter and raisins for this Spider Cracker, but you could also try cream cheese and mini chocolate chips!

Let me know if you try these Spider Crackers and what ingredients combination you choose to use! For more easy recipes and fun ideas for the family, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Best Cozy Weather Crock Pot Recipes

Cooking, Kitchen, Lifestyle
Ready to put together my favorite Tuscan Chicken from Easy Family Recipes

While it doesn’t feel much like fall weather in Southern California yet, my autumn-loving bones tell me a leaf is falling somewhere in the Northeast and its time for all things cozy!

Cozy Shackets…

Cozy Blankets…

Cozy Shoes…

And the BEST…

COZY COOKING WITH THE CROCK POT!!!

My Crock Pot Story

I’ve been a fan of the Crock Pot ever since I was a little girl helping my mom make dinner for our family. Growing up in the South, I was always impressed by the cook-and-carry crock pots that made appearances at tailgates, church picnics and neighborhood potlucks. I thought those ladies were smart cookies. Not only did they serve delicious meals, they could easily transport their yummy food and keep it warm without dirtying another dish!

Fast forward 20 years to when I moved in with my boyfriend, who’s now my husband. My mother often told me the Southern women’s classic saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and while that’s probably viewed as outdated now, I took no chances and started cooking us lots of meals. When stocking our new apartment’s kitchen with cooking tools, the Crock Pot was one of the very first appliances we purchased because it’s so versatile and can create complete meals in one pot! You don’t need a full set of pans when you have a Crock Pot! Plus, the single pot makes cleanup a breeze!

After we got our Crock Pot, I remember the first dinner request my boyfriend (now husband) had was beef pot roast. I had conflicting emotions over this request. On one end, I was excited to make my first meal in our brand-new Crock Pot. Beef pot roast was meal that my mother made us every Sunday after church for YEARS. On the other end, I dreaded eating the meal that my mother made for YEARS! While my mother made a delicious beef pot roast when I was a child, I had sworn off that comforting beefy goodness for the rest of my life! There’s just some things you can never eat again after having it over and over and over again! Alas, I made the pot roast… and he LOVED it! It made so much food for the two of us that we had dinner leftovers the next night, and he took the rest of the pot roast to work for lunch for a week! And, I have to admit, it tasted GOOD! Despite my reluctance to make the pot roast, I was really pleased with how it turned out. Plus, it felt really good making a meal for someone I loved and cared about. A meal that made him so happy! I was hooked on this Crock Pot! And my boyfriend was hooked on me! We married three years later.

Since that first Crock Pot meal in 2013, I’ve used my slow cooker hundreds of times. I love the “dump it and forget it” aspect of the Crock Pot. When I was busy working a strenuous job with a long commute, I’d put all my ingredients in the Crock Pot before leaving for work and adored coming home to my kitchen smelling of a delicious prepared meal. No one wants to cook after a dreadfully long day, and the Crock Pot was GOLD for that time of my life! Then, when I was pregnant with my second child, I made several crock pot freezer meals to have on hand those first few weeks with the new baby so I could pull together delicious, easy dinners with little effort. Nowadays, I use the Crock Pot for busy weeknight meals for our family or when I’m craving one of my favorite slow cooker recipes.

Speaking of my favorite slow cooker recipes, I’ve compiled my top 10 Crock Pot recipes below! These recipes are tried and true – easy to pull together and delicious! Perfect for busy weeknights or for when you simply want a tasty low-effort meal!

Top 10 Favorite Crock Pot Recipes:

Chicken Crock Pot Recipes:

Cream Cheese Crack Chicken Chili (Plain Chicken) – There’s a reason this recipe is called “Crack” Chili — it is so addicting! Creamy cheese, juicy chicken, and salty bacon make this recipe irresistible, and the subtle heat from the diced tomatoes and green chilies kicks this flavor up a notch! This is one of my family’s favorite meals and probably the Crock Pot recipe I make the most, mostly because the kids love it, too! Grab the full recipe from Plain Chicken here.

Honey Garlic Chicken (Family Food On The Table) – The best Crock Pot meals are the ones where you don’t have to do anything but dump it and forget it! No chopping, no searing of meat beforehand, no additional ingredients halfway through cooking. This Honey Garlic Chicken recipe is just that! Plus, it’s only five ingredients! I love to serve this over Asian rice and vegetables then top with green onions and red pepper flakes!

Tuscan Chicken (Easy Family Recipes) – This recipe is easy, delicious and loaded with veggies! Sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach and diced onions make this Tuscan Chicken a healthy Italian favorite. Serve over mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice or your favorite pasta to make a complete hearty meal. This is another recipe that’s on repeat at our home because it feels like a different meal every time I switch up the sides. I also like to use the leftovers in a salad, wrap or sandwich!

Chicken Burrito Bowls (The Kitchn) – We do “Taco Tuesday” every week at our house, and while I adore tacos, I need to change it up sometimes. That’s when I look for other Mexican-inspired recipes like this easy Chicken Burrito Bowl from one of my favorite foodies sites The Kitchn. I love creating a build-your-own station for the family to create their perfect bowl with their choice of a variety of toppings, like cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, chives, etc. I collect hot sauce (seriously!), so this is my chance to sample one of my many spicy sauces!

Asian Peanut Chicken (Sweet Peas and Saffron) – This was one of the recipes I made and freezed for an easy dinner when my second baby was born! I love this Asian Peanut Chicken’s flavorful sauce, and the sweet potatoes in this dish make it a warm hearty meal.

Pork Crock Pot Recipes:

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce (The Recipe Rebel) – I love to serve this Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Sauce during the holidays because it looks and tastes like a fancy recipe, but in reality it’s SO EASY! Sever over mashed potatoes with a side of veggies or a salad and you’re dinner guests will be so impressed!

Baby Back Ribs (Spend With Pennies) – This baby back ribs recipe is one of my husband’s most favorite meals! The ribs come out of the Crock Pot fall-off-the-bone delicious! This recipe calls for creating your own rib sauce with BBQ sauce, chili sauce and ketchup, but I’ve tried only using our favorite BBQ sauce instead and it’s turned out great!

Tacos Al Pastor (Gimme Some Oven) – This taco meat is so juicy and delicious, you’ll think its from an authentic upscale Mexican restaurant! This Tacos Al Pastor recipe takes a bit more prep work at the beginning with chopping onions and pineapple and blending the sauce ingredients in a food processor, but I promise you its worth it! I like to use a big pork shoulder so we can eat on it all week making tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches and salads.

Beef Crock Pot Recipes:

Beef Gyros (365 Days of Crock Pot) – Greek food is one of my favorites, and this Beef Gyros recipe is so tasty and so easy! This includes an additional recipe for tzatziki sauce, but I like to make dinner even easier by purchasing pre-made tzatziki at the store. Serve beef in pita folds or with roasted Mediterranean vegetables!

Beef Pot Roast (Hamilton Beach) – This is the first recipe I ever made in my Crock Pot — the same recipe I mention at the top of this blog post that I could credit for turning my boyfriend into my husband! It’s so easy but so flavorful! Perfect for a warm and cozy meal in winter or a perfect Sunday family supper.

I hope my list of favorite Crock Pot recipes gives you inspiration for your next family meal! Let me know which of these recipes you want to try in the comments below! For more recipe ideas, parenting and lifestyle tips, follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars: Nut-Free and Gluten-Free!

Cooking, Kitchen, Lifestyle

Chewy chocolate chip granola bars were one of my favorite snacks growing up, and now it’s one of my children’s favorite foods!

The current back-to-school season brings me so much nostalgia for these nourishing granola bars, as I vividly remember reaching for these bars in between school and sports practice or being excited when I found one in my lunchbox packed by my mother.

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars taste better than the packaged name-brand bars!

As I got older, I phased out on snacking on them and eating most pre-packaged snacks in general for the health benefits of eating more whole foods.

When I became a mom, my kids starting requesting for me to buy more granola bars at the grocery store. I was happy to see them delight in the same snack that I loved when I was a kid, but I couldn’t help but be curious about the ingredients in them. I was shocked to see that our favorite chocolate chip granola bars have around 26 ingredients listed on the wrapper, including tons of processed ingredients like sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, sorbitol, soybean oil and “natural flavor” (whatever that is!).

Determined to create my own homemade version of our favorite chewy chocolate chip granola bars, I found this recipe from Love and Lemons that uses only seven simple ingredients! I took it a step further and made this recipe with nut-free ingredients, so my kids can easily take them to school!

Not only do my kids love these granola bars, my husband and I enjoy snacking on them, too! I actually think they taste better than the brand-name packaged bars! They’re so chewy and naturally sweet! These bars have become our easy go-to for after-school snacks and quick breakfasts when we’re short on time!

Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Scroll to the bottom of the page for this easy Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars recipe!

What You Need to Make Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Tools & Equipment:

  • One 8×8 baking pan or pyrex dish – You’ll use this baking pan or dish to set and cool the granola bars in the fridge. A baking pan is preferred, but I’ve used pyrex dishes, too. If you use a pyrex dish, the granola bar mix may not all lay flat and the edges may turn up.
  • One large mixing bowl – I used my largest glass mixing bowl to stir all the ingredients together.
  • Measuring cups – Specifically, you’ll need 1 cup (250 ml), 1/2 cup (125 ml), 1/3 cup (80 ml), 1 Tbsp (15 ml) and 1 Tsp (5 ml).
  • Parchment Paper – I cut 2 pieces of parchment paper to fit the size of my 8×8 baking pan for setting and cooling the granola bars.
  • Cling wrap – Cover the granola bars as they cool with Glad Press’N Seal Wrap. You can also use the cling wrap to cover the granola bars to keep them fresh for the week. I’m obsessed with Glad Press’N Seal and use it in my kitchen all the time.
Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are made with only 7 simple ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • Natural Sunflower Seed Butter – I didn’t discover sunflower seed butter until I had to find an alternative for peanut butter for my son’s PB&J sandwiches for school. Most schools these days are nut-free. My son is such a picky eater and basically only eat PB&J sandwiches, so I was very nervous about whether he’d like the new seed butter. I’m happy to report that this SunButter sunflower seed butter is a hit! He’s never mentioned it tasting any different compared to regular peanut butter. In fact, I think he likes it more than peanut butter! For this recipe, make sure you use the natural sunflower seed butter because it’s more runny. The runnier the seed butter, the easier it will be to mix!
  • Honey – Almost any honey will do, but I prefer organic, raw and unfiltered for health benefits. Target’s Good & Gather Honey is good.
  • Vanilla Extract – This is a staple in my kitchen, as I use it for so many recipes! Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract is a great, sustainable brand with only 3 ingredients and no sugar.
  • Sea Salt – Another easy staple in my kitchen! Can’t go wrong with classic Morton’s Sea Salt.
  • Rolled Oats – I discovered Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Rolled Oats after I had children and started making more oatmeal, muffins and cookies from scratch. There’s no better brand! I’ve even started mixing them in smoothies to add more nutrients to my kids’ diet!
  • Mini Chocolate ChipsEnjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips are the best to use if you’re concerned about nut and gluten allergies. My kids love them, so I’ll sneak a couple plain ones in their lunchboxes for a sweet treat.
  • Pepitas or Pumpkin Seeds – Pepitas are a type of pumpkin seed that I love tossing in salads, smoothies and granola. These Target brand pumpkin seeds are delicious and nut-free, so they’re school-friendly! I also like to buy the raw pepitas in bulk at Whole Foods, which would work perfectly for this recipe.

How to Make Nut-Free, Gluten Free Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

With the appropriate kitchen tools and ingredients on-hand, any novice chef can make these simple homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars! Here’s what to do:

  1. Prep your pan: Line your baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Stir wet ingredients: Combine the seed butter, vanilla extract, honey and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir very well!
  3. Mix dry ingredients: Fold in the rolled oats, mini chocolate chips and pepitas. The mixture will appear very dry, but keep stirring until it’s well combined.
  4. Make the bars: Scoop the mix into the parchment-lined dish and firmly press to the sides of the pan. Add another piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and use the back of a large measuring cup to continue to flatten the top of the bars.
  5. Chill the bars: Cover the bars with cling wrap or foil, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for one hour. It’s very important to let the bars fully chill for at least one hour; otherwise, they won’t stick together!
  6. Enjoy: Remove bars from the refrigerator, slice into bars, and enjoy! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to snack on these bars all week!
This is what the granola bar mixture will look like before adding to the pan!

Tips and Suggestions for Better Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

These homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are already so easy to make, but here’s some tips to make whipping up a batch of these bars even easier:

  1. Use natural sunflower seed butter – The natural butters are usually the runniest, which will make stirring so much easier!
  2. Don’t cut the chill time short – I know you’re eager to taste these yummy treats, but please keep them in the refrigerator at least for one hour so you’re able to properly slice the bars without crumbling apart.
  3. Store in fridge or freezer – Because these bars are made with simple, natural ingredients, they need to be kept in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh and from crumbling. I like to store them in an airtight container separated by parchment paper so they don’t stick together. You can eat them right out of the fridge. If you’re packing them for school, it’s best to add a cool pack in the lunchbox. If you’re storing them in the freezer, allow them to thaw for about 20-30 minutes before eating. The bars will keep for one week in the fridge and two months in the freezer.
  4. Only use mini chips – Regular sized chocolate chips are too large for the mixture to stick together. If you can’t find mini chocolate chips at the store, cut the regular sized chips into smaller pieces.
  5. Try other nut butters – If you’re concerned with allergies or prefer nut butters, you don’t have to use sunflower seed butter! This original recipe from Love & Lemons is made with natural peanut butter, and it’s very delicious!
  6. Switch up your mix-ins – We keep it simple with mini chocolate chips and pepitas, but feel free to swap in your favorite ingredients! Raisins, dried currants, dried cranberries, crushed peanuts or crushed almonds are really great options! For a sweet swap, trade the mini chocolate chips for mini white chocolate or dark chocolate chips, or try peanut butter chips! Yum!

Below is the simplest recipe for Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars! Don’t forget to save this recipe to Pinterest!

Recipe: Homemade Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (Nut-Free and Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Line 8×8 baking pan or pyrex dish with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract and salt.
  3. Mix in the rolled oats, mini chocolate chips and pepitas. Stir until well combined.
  4. Press mixture into baking pan. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of mixture and use a large measuring cup to press the mixture firmly to the pan and flatten. Cover pan with foil or cling wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
  5. Remove from fridge, slice into bars and enjoy! Store bars in refrigerator for one week or freezer for two months.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear what you think! Let me know if you tried other mix-ins, like crushed peanuts, raisins or white chocolate, too!

For more easy recipes and lifestyle tips, be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Easy July 4th Dessert: Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers!

Cooking, Holidays, Kitchen, Lifestyle
Festive in Red, White and Blue!

The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday! It’s the best of summer all rolled into one day — family, friends, BBQ, parties, yummy treats, fun drinks, great music, and fireworks!

We’re hosting our first big Fourth of July party at our house this year, and it’s a party I’ve been dreaming of hosting ever since we bought this home almost five years ago! We finally finished our backyard remodel last fall, and I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy our pool and great view of fireworks from our balcony this year!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I love cooking and hosting parties. But, when it comes to hosting a really big party, like we are this year for July 4th, I’m all about making dishes that are simple, quick, and festive! That’s why I look for easy recipes that can feed a crowd but look fun to eat, too!

Enter: Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers!

Easy Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers

Because beautiful red strawberries and sweet blueberries are in season, it’s easy to add patriotic color to your July 4th party table. I love these Red, White and Blue Fruit because they’re fun to make AND eat! Your kids will love helping you assemble them! Just make sure they’re old enough to handle a wooden skewer without poking themselves! I love the mini marshmallows in this recipe because they instantly upgrade your treat from a simple fruit skewer to a dessert!

Ingredients for Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers: Strawberries, Blueberries, Mini Marshmallows and Wooden Skewers

Here’s how to make Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers!

Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers Recipe:

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Wash and dry strawberries and blueberries
  • Cut strawberries to match the size of blueberries and mini marshmallows
  • Thread berries and marshmallows onto skewer in red, white and blue pattern
  • Cover and store in fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy within 24 hours.
Red, White and Blue Fruit Skewers for the Fourth of July!

Other Ideas for July 4th Fruit Skewers:

  • Swap out mini marshmallows for bananas or angel food cake
  • Try other blackberries or raspberries instead of blueberries and strawberries
  • Use mini star shaped cookie cutters to make festive shapes out of the strawberries or angel food cake

Let me know if you try these skewers, and please share other fun July 4th dessert recipes with me! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more ideas!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Kitchen

Don’t look any further for an Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe… This is the EASIEST recipe that only takes 5 minutes! Plus, it’s made with protein-rich Greek yogurt and herbs, so it’s good for you, too!

When hosting kid-friendly parties, my favorite food options are easy appetizers and finger foods. This grab-and-go food set-up makes it so much simpler for families to eat whenever they’re hungry and spend more time playing and socializing. Can you imagine trying to get several toddlers to sit down for a formal brunch? YIKES! They’re much more interested in playing with friends while taking bites here and there.

I believe every party has to have a veggie option. Living in Southern California, there is ALWAYS at least one person who loves eating veggies or looking for healthier food options at parties. For this reason, I love to make a yummy veggie plate paired with an irresistible dip to upgrade what can sometimes be a boring crudite platter. I like to add festive touches, like special bowls or holiday decor, and fill in empty space with parsley and kale leaves to create a beautifully appetizing veggie platter.

The perfect Veggie Platter for Easter with Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip!

If you know me, I’m all about EASY! I have two toddlers (ages 3 and 18 months), so when hosting a party, I’m not interested in spending hours in the kitchen prepping food. But, the “hostess with the mostest” in me also doesn’t like serving store-bought dips. I want the occasion feel special with food that’s homemade! Plus, sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting in those pre-made store-bought dips, which can sometimes include lots of sugar and preservatives – yuck! This Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip recipe is just as the name suggests – EASY! Most of the ingredients you probably already have at home. To prepare, all you have to do is combine all the ingredients and stir! No blenders, no chopping!

I also love this recipe because it’s light and healthy! So many veggie dip recipes include mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese and/or SUGAR (which I think totally defeats the point of eating veggies!), but this recipe features protein-rich Greek yogurt, a variety of herbs, and fresh lemon juice. I’ve always liked to eat healthy, but since becoming a mom, I pay extra attention to what’s in the food I’m serving to our kiddos. This is a recipe that everyone can feel good about eating!

For this Easter brunch party, I put the Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip in an adorable stoneware bunny platter with a dip bowl from Target. I put the bunny platter on a large wooden serving tray and added cut veggies, RW Garcia crackers, and a bowl of hummus for guests to have a couple dip options.

Easter themed veggie platter

Best Veggies for Dipping:

  • Cucumbers – slice into rounds or cut into matchsticks
  • Baby Carrots
  • Rainbow Carrots – peel and cut in half length wise
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Bell peppers – Sliced into matchsticks
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Other Snacks for Dipping:

Recipe: Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip

Yields: 4-8 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (non-fat or 2% fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Mix well until combined.
  3. Serve with vegetables and/or crackers of choice. Top with finely chopped fresh parsley or dill.
Perfect Veggie Platter

Recipe Tips:

  • If you choose 2% fat Greek yogurt, your dip will be thicker. I like to add more lemon juice to thin it up a bit. You could also add a teaspoon of olive oil.
  • You can choose to use fresh herbs instead of dried, but be sure to double the amount of fresh herbs than what the recipe calls for with dried herbs.

I hope you love this Easy, Healthy Veggie Dip! I’m always looking for easy appetizer recipes, so feel free to share yours in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more family-friendly ideas!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Cooking, Holidays, Home, Kitchen

Rice Krispy Treats are a classic childhood favorite! I wanted to make our homemade version more special than what you can get at the store, so I added peanut butter to the recipe and dipped them in chocolate! Make these Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy treats festive for a holiday or themed party by adding colored sprinkles. We made these treats for spring, so I used pink and blue sprinkles!

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats Recipe

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Spray an 9″x 13″ (or 8″x 8″ for thicker bars) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a 4 quart sauce pan, melt butter on low heat. Do this slowly, you don’t want burned or brown butter here.
  3. Once butter has melted, keep heat on low and add mini marshmallows.
  4. Once marshmallows begin to soften and melt, add peanut butter.
  5. At this point, you will need to constantly stir the mixture so the peanut butter does not burn and the marshmallows can evenly melt (won’t take too long, about 5 minutes or so).
  6. Once, mixture is combined and melted, turn off heat and remove pan from stove.
  7. Add Rice Krispy cereal to sauce pan and stir until evenly coated with mixture. This is sticky stuff so do your best to get it all combined.
  8. Pour mixture into casserole dish (it will look very loose.) Spray your hand with some nonstick cooking spray and pat down the mixture until firmly compacted.
  9. Allow 30-45 minutes for treats to set up. Cut into small squares or rectangles.
  10. Melt white or dark melting wafers in a small bowl according to package instructions.
  11. Dip one end of Rice Krispy treat into bowl of chocolate, top chocolate with sprinkles and place on parchment paper to set for 15-20 minutes.

This Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats recipe was adapted from The Country Cook‘s original recipe, found here.

I love adding these Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Treats to themed dessert boards! Check out my tips to make a great treat board here!

Let me know if you plan to try these and what color sprinkles you’ll use in the comments below! Follow me on Instagram or TikTok for more fun ideas for the family!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

How To Make A Holiday Treat Board

Cooking, Holidays, Kitchen, Lifestyle

I love hosting a good themed party, so a holiday themed treat board is right up my alley! I’ve recently created two treat boards for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, and I’m having so much fun that I can’t wait to make more for future holidays, birthdays and other celebrations! The best part? They’re SO EASY! Much easier than intricate charcuterie boards!

St. Patrick’s Day Charcu-TREAT Board!

To Love or Hate Charcuterie Boards? Beautiful charcuterie boards have been trending for a couple years now, and as someone who loves entertaining, I couldn’t help but jump on the charcuterie board bandwagon! Who can resist a decadent board of fine cheeses, quality meats, and all the yummiest snack pairings and accompaniments?! Plus, these boards are gorgeous to admire and make for the perfect photo-worthy party centerpiece!

I’ve loved putting together charcuterie boards for gatherings, but during our last family-friendly party at our house, I realized that the process can often be more time consuming than I’d like. Slicing the cheeses, arranging the board, thoughtfully considering the correct salty-to-savory-to-sweet pairings… I was getting a little bogged down by the process. Plus, if you choose high-quality meats and cheeses, a charcuterie board, which is often viewed as an appetizer, can cost as much as cooking a group dinner! During our party, guests hovered around the charcuterie board (score!), took photos of it, and snagged bites in between socializing and chasing their kiddos in and out of our backyard. At the end of the party, I noticed that no one hardly touched the honeycomb, dried fruit or olives, and what was left of the cheeses and meats had been sitting out for hours and not worth saving. Only a few of the children ate some cheese and crackers, but most of them didn’t have a palette for bold Roquefort yet. My charcuterie board was beautiful for the adults… but was it worth it?

Enter the charcu-TREAT board!! For St. Patrick’s Day this year, I decided to try something a little different… A dessert board! And, boy, did I have fun getting creative with this one! I went to my favorite spots for holiday treats – See’s Candies and Target – and pulled together a fruit and dessert board reminiscent of a rainbow and gold. Like a traditional charcuterie board, it was the center of the party, but this time it got eaten!! It cost me half the price of what it would to put together a fancy cheese board and was more festive for St. Paddy’s Day than charcuterie! Now, treat boards are a trend I can stand FIRMLY behind!

Easter Treat Board

Tips for Putting Together a Charcu-TREAT Board:

  1. Choose a large board – You can use a classic cheese board in a rectangle or round shape, or choose a tray to keep the treats from rolling off your board. Holiday themed serving platters, like this Easter platter, makes the treat board extra fun and festive!
  2. Pick a color scheme – This is easy for holidays, like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas. For other celebrations, have the treat board match your party decor colors. For example, if you’re hosting a Spiderman themed kids birthday, look for red, blue and black candies and sweet snacks.
  3. Incorporate party decor – To add some festive flair and help fill space on your board, incorporate leftover decor that you’re already using for the party. For example, I used Easter grass on my Easter board. You also could add a porcelain bunny!
  4. Choose a variety of candies, chocolate and sweet snacks – Candies could include jelly beans, sour straws, gummy bears; Chocolate could include M&Ms, wrapped chocolates, chocolate covered almonds; Sweet snacks can include fruit, cookies, rice crispy treats, or chocolate dipped pretzels, cookies.
  5. Have one or two homemade items – One of the benefits of a treat board is little to no prep work, but to make the boards special, I like to add one or two homemade items, like chocolate dipped rice crispy treats or cookies in cutout shapes that fit the theme of the party.
  6. Utilize small bowls – Make the board interesting by incorporating two or three bowls filled with candy. This also is a good way to corral smaller candies into one place.

Steps to Put Together a Treat Board:

  1. Gather a board and 2-3 small bowls, along with sweets, treats and decor you wish to use for your board.Ideas for boards, candy, chocolate and sweet snacks are listed at the bottom of this post!
  2. Place the small bowls and whatever else you want to be the centerpiece on your board. For example, on the Easter board, I put the small bowls and the chocolate Easter bunny on the board first. For the St. Patrick’s Day board, I made the fruit rainbow first.
  3. Add larger items, like cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, etc. Arrange them in fun ways to add visual interest, like rows, fanned, or a pattern. These larger items are also great for creating barriers for the smaller items to stay in place on the board.
  4. Fill in the rest of the board with smaller treats, like jelly beans, marshmallows and M&Ms, and pay attention to color distribution.
  5. Add small spoons to bowls and offer small plates or cups next to the board for guests to take their favorite treats with them!

Voila! Kids and adults alike will go nuts over a fun themed treat board!

Board Ideas:

  1. West Elm Mixed Marble & Wood Preston Cheese Boards – Feel fancy with marble!

2. Williams Sonoma Boska Oak Rectangular Cheese Board Medium – A classic, gorgeous oak board!

3. Pottery Barn Connor Ash Wood Tray – I like to use trays with edges to keep all the treats in one place. This makes the board easier to move, if needed, without candies rolling off the sides.

4. Texas Shaped Catskill Craftsmen, Inc. Wood Cutting Board – A board in the shape of your state could be great for any gathering!

5. Threshold Wood Bunny Serving Board – How fun would this be for a special Easter treat board!

Board Accessories Ideas:

  1. West Elm Minimal White Ramekins – I love these ramekins to add a modern look to the treat board.

2. Pottery Barn Hammered Nut Bowl – A gorgeous bowl for smaller treats!

3. Libbey Small Glass Bowls with Lids – Corral smaller treats into these easy, inexpensive bowls!

4. CB2 Gold Cocktail Spoons – Gorgeous gold spoons really elevate the board. Use these for guests to scoop up little treats, like M&M’s and marshmallows.

5. Stainless Steel Mini Spoons – Add some drama with black stainless steel!

Homemade Treat Ideas:

Store Bought Treat Ideas:

I’d love to hear your ideas for future treat boards! Share your favorite treat board goodies or theme ideas in the comments below! Be sure to follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more fun family-friendly ideas!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins Recipe!

Cooking, Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle

Hey Mamas! If you’re like me and have picky eaters in your house, it can be a struggle to get kids to eat green vegetables! My solution: Sneak veggies into their favorite foods!

Great for picky eaters: I have THE BEST banana bread recipe (originally adapted from Delish.com) that I’ve converted into muffins with hidden zucchini! My kids have never once said, “Ewe,” “What’s the green stuff?” or “I can taste vegetables!” when I serve them these muffins! SCORE!

Why this is the best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffin recipe: When I say this is the best banana bread recipe, I truly mean it! During the pandemic, I made one banana bread loaf for every month we were locked down in LA County. I tried six variations of banana bread, so I can attest that this is the very best recipe! Utilizing three bananas is the perfect amount of flavor and sweetness, and the full fat sour cream makes the bread so moist! You will never need to try another banana bread recipe again… This is IT! You’re welcome.

Original recipe swaps: I make a couple swaps for these Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins from the original Banana Bread Recipe from Delish.com to make them kid-friendly and mom-approved. First, I add half of a grated zucchini. Secondly, I add mini semi-sweet chocolate chips! My kids go nuts over chocolate anything, so this is a special treat. In my opinion, regular sized chocolate chips overpower the the banana flavor, so I prefer to use mini sized chips. I haven’t tried the muffin recipe without the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips yet, but I have made the original loaf recipe without them, and it was still soooo gooood!

Mix-ins and Frosting Ideas: If you want to add some more oomph to this recipe, add 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans and walnuts are my favorite) or coconut! Or, add a cream cheese frosting for a real decadent treat that’s totally approved by the health food gods because we’re already eating zucchini – LOL! My favorite is a vegan cream cheese frosting recipe from Peanut Butter & Jilly found here.

I prefer using mini chocolate chips in this banana zucchini bread recipe!

Tips for the best Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins:

  • You can’t have bananas that are too ripe for this recipe. The more ripe, the better!
  • Shred the zucchini with a VERY fine grater. You don’t want chunky zucchini in your muffins!
  • Be sure to drain and soak the moisture from the grated zucchini with a paper or cloth towel. Do not skip this step of the recipe or else you’ll have watery batter!
  • This recipe makes about 18 muffins, so I always give a few to our neighbors and teachers. Everyone will love these muffins!

BANANA ZUCCHINI BREAD MUFFINS

Yields: 18 Muffins | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line two muffin pans with 18 baking cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In another large bowl, mix together melted butter, sugar, egg and egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add mashed bananas and grated zucchini and stir until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined. 
  4. Fold in mini chocolate chips and transfer to prepared muffin pan cups.
  5. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe! I’ve had so much fun making (and eating!) these Banana Zucchini Bread Muffins that I’m determined to add zucchini to other favorite recipes! What should I try next: a chocolate-zucchini cake, blueberry-zucchini muffins or chocolate chip-zucchini cookies?! Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram or TikTok!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.

Valentine’s Cake Mix Cookie Lollipops!

Holidays, Kitchen, Lifestyle

Happy almost Valentine’s Day!

Watch us make Valentine’s Cake Mix Cookie Lollipops!

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I love cooking and baking. But, do you know what I really love? Recipes that are fast, easy, and taste great! Emphasis on the TASTE GREAT!

So, here you have it – Cake Mix Cookie Lollipops! They’re so easy – only 3 ingredients plus sprinkles! They’re fast – only took me around 20-25 minutes to make and 5-10 minutes to decorate! And, they taste AMAZING!! Nice and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside! And oh so sweet!!

First things first… This recipe starts with a boxed cake mix… How easy is that?! We’re making our cookies for Valentine’s Day, so we used Pillsbury Valentine’s Funfetti Cake Mix. Then, you add some fun holiday themed icing and sprinkles. We used the Pillsbury Valentine’s Funfetti Frosting and Wilton Valentine’s Sprinkles.

VOILA!!

But, wait… there’s more!!

Take some craft sticks and make these easy peasy cake mix cookies into LOLLIPOPS!! GENIUS! You will definitely the prized mama at the Valentine’s Day school party with these showstoppers! For a great gift idea, it’s so fun to individually wrap them in plastic and add a pink or red bow!

Valentine’s Cake Mix Cookie Lollipops

Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, two eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, drop rounded tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart.
  3. Insert wooden craft stick in center of each cookie dough ball.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are brown.
  5. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then frost and decorate!

Pin the photo below to refer back to this recipe, and let me know if you try these yummy cake mix cookie lollipops!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love. For more information about affiliates and your privacy, view our Terms & Conditions page here.