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.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies – My Favorite Easy Cookie Recipe With Only 5 Ingredients!

Holidays, Kitchen, Lifestyle

‘Tis the season for holiday baking!

Baking these easy cookies with my son!

During the holidays when I was growing up, the kitchens of the women in my family were always filled with fresh baked goodies. I guess that’s why when Dec. 1 rolls around, I get an itch my bones to start baking! I especially love baking my grandmothers’ recipes to honor their tradition. After sharing a couple treats with our family, my favorite thing to do is box up the goodies to share with neighbors as a holiday gift. It’s been a great activity to do with my toddler, too! He loves helping me in the kitchen, and he also gets to experience the joy of giving a homemade gift to people we care about.

As I’ve chatted with a few of my mom friends the last couple of holiday seasons, it’s come to my attention that the tradition of holiday baking is slowly dying. We either don’t want easily accessible sugar tempting us in our kitchens, don’t have the time to bake, or simply don’t have the interest!

Then comes along that one person in your office or friend group who suggests a holiday cookie exchange… Or, your friend last-minute asks you to bring a homemade treat to share at her holiday party… Or, you need a quick thoughtful gift for a child’s teacher or a special person on your gift list you accidentally forgot to shop for…

Don’t worry, girl, I got you with this SUPER EASY Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies recipe!! It’s made with only 5 ingredients and takes around 20 minutes to make! Yummy crunchy peanut butter, chocolate chips, chopped pecans, sugar and eggs are what it takes to make these gooey, loaded cookies! And, these cookies taste SO GOOD that people will think you’ve slaved in the kitchen for hours making them from scratch… But, only you and I know that it only took 20 minutes!

My Grandmother Holmes always had these at her house around Christmastime. Every year, the day after Christmas, we would drive from Texas to go visit her in Tennessee and stay with her for several days. Our family always enjoyed snacking on these cookies at her home, so my mother got her recipe and I’ve been baking them every holiday season since! I’ll also make them a couple other times throughout the year for quick “I’m thinking of you” gifts – great for new mamas (did anyone else get a sweet tooth right after giving birth?), get-well-soon gifts, and simple thank-you’s!

Another pro about these cookies – they’re gluten-free! I like to convince myself they’re healthier gluten-free, so I can have two instead of just one! ‘Tis the season, right?!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies

RECIPE: Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies

These flavorful cookies are gooey and loaded with crunchy peanuts and pecans! The sweetness from the semi-sweet chocolate chips make them perfect for a holiday treat – or anytime!

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes

Makes around 22-24 cookies

Ingredients:

-2 eggs blended

-1 cup sugar

-1 cup crunchy peanut butter

-1 cup chopped pecans

-1 cup chocolate chips (I like to use Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Premium Chips)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together eggs and sugar until combined.
  2. Stir in peanut butter, chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by tablespoon on parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until edges are brown
  5. Cool and serve.

Put a few cookies in these festive treat bags with a Christmassy bow to share with neighbors, teachers, the mailman, friends, family, everybody!

Don’t forget to *kiss the cook!*

Let me know if you plan to make these cookies by commenting below or connecting with me on Instagram!

Happy Holidays!

XO Maggie

Yummy Gooey Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Cookies!

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.

Non-Candy Halloween Treats

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a yummy (and healthy!) treat for the whole family!

First of all, I know many of you may have read the headline for this blog post and rolled your eyes… Look, I’m a kid who grew up in the late ’80s and ’90s (Gushers! Mountain Dew! Pop Tarts! Sugar on top of SUGAR!), and I promise you that I’m NOT ready to give up the tradition of genuine TREATS for Halloween! What is Halloween without candy, anyway?! But, as I review the holiday activities we have planned this month… WHOA… it’s major compared to when I was a kid! We don’t just have a class Halloween party and the classic trick-or-treating… We also have the pumpkin patch visit, the multi-family immersive Nights of the Jack experience, our local YMCA trunk-or-treat… and I’ve already said no to a few other local Halloween festivities that include kids getting treats! I realized that if we don’t take the time to be mindful of moderation, the candy exposure can get really out of hand!

So, here I am… being that annoying healthy mom that I used to roll my eyes at before I had kids. I assumed “her” kids drank kale smoothies for breakfast and their favorite treat was the olive bar at Whole Foods… Well, I’m here to tell you that my kids DO NOT drink kale smoothies for breakfast and my oldest wouldn’t touch an olive with a 9-foot pole. But, I do know that my kids can appreciate “treats” in forms other than candy, like nutrient-packed muffins, festive shaped foods and seasonal flavors!

I put together this list of non-candy Halloween treats for parents desiring to limit the candy craziness this year. Whether you want to create healthier habits for your family, dread the kids’ candy sugar high, or responsible for sending a non-candy treat to school for the class Halloween party, these non-candy Halloween treat ideas are great for parents who need an easy, individually wrapped goody this fall season! From pumpkin rice crispy treats to pumpkin dog treats, there’s something for the whole family to snack on and feel good about!

6 Non-Candy Halloween Treats for the Whole Family:

  1. Blake’s Seed Based Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats  

I have lots of memories around my mom making homemade rice crispy treats and purchasing the prepackaged cereal treats to put in my lunchbox as a kid. These are EVEN BETTER! Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats come in many yummy flavors like strawberry, birthday cake, chocolate chips, and now PUMPKIN SPICE! Blake’s is the very first vegan rice crispy treat on the market, so it’s the perfect allergy-friendly trick-or-treat candy. They’re 90 calories, only have 7 grams of sugar, nut-free and gluten-free! If you live in Southern California like me, you can find Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy treats available in local Sprouts stores, or you can shop the snacks online at Amazon or on the company’s website.

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a perfect treat for Halloween!

2. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats   

We already eat Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips in our house as a better-for-you alternative to regular fried potato chips, so I was really excited that the brand came out with Halloween chips in spooktacular shapes! Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats have the crispy crunch and flavor you want in a snack, but without all the artificial flavors and artificial preservatives that you don’t. The seasonal chips are packaged in individual-sized bags that are perfect for trick-or-treaters, classroom parties, or lunchbox treats. They are available in major retail stores across the nation, as well as online and Amazon, sold in individual bags or packs of 24.

My kids’ treat bags filled with Sensible Portions Veggie Chips Ghosts and Bats!

3. Bobo’s Pumpkin Spice Oat Bites  

I often get frustrated with store-bought muffins and snack bars, because the ingredients show that they may as well be cupcakes and candy bars! Not Bobo’s! The Bobo’s brand offers delicious, simple, handmade 100% whole grain oat bites and snacks and released a brand-new pumpkin spice flavor just in time for the holidays! The slow-burning oats give kids clean energy that won’t leave them with a crash, while satisfying their sweet tooth. Each bite is non-GMO, gluten-free and plant-based, and there’s a variety of flavors in addition to pumpkin spice, like apple pie, chocolate chip, coconut, lemon poppyseed and peanut butter & jelly! You can easily find them at your local Kroger flagship, Whole Foods Market, or Target and online at Amazon

4. Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips  

Nothing says fall like apple harvest season, which is the perfect reason to pass out Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips to trick-or-treaters!  Bare Baked Snacks are real apples baked into deliciously crunchy chips and never fried. The apple chips are non-GMO verified and have no added oils or preservatives. They’re sold at select retailers, or you can purchase in multi-packs online at Target and Amazon

5. Dole Mandarin Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups  

Get a little crafty by turning Dole’s Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups into cute Jack-O-Lanterns! All you need is a black sharpie to draw a Jack-O-Lantern face on the cups! Bonus if you decide to add the green pipe cleaner for a stem! These are the perfect festive snack for a class party! Dole Fruit Bowls Mandarin Oranges in 100% Juice are made from the best sun-ripened fresh fruit that nature has to offer, and they’re non-GMO and naturally gluten free. Dole Fruit Bowls are available at all major grocery stores or you can get multipacks on Amazon.

6. Greenies Dental Treats, Pumpkin Spice Flavor  

If you want to share holiday treats with your furry family members or pass out treats to dogs trick-or-treating with kids, Greenies Dental Treats for dogs has launched a puppy-approved pumpkin spice flavor!  The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath. The treats are sold at Target, Amazon and Chewy.

Would you share these festive treats with your family? I’d love to hear what other better-for-you store-bought treats you pass out at Halloween! Please share with me in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

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.

6 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
6 healthy Halloween snacks that are easy and fun to make with your kids!

Got a picky eater? I’ve found the best way to get my kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in the kitchen with me! And, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with these fun Halloween inspired healthy treats! These snacks are SO EASY to make! Plus, they’re too fun not to eat! Hope you enjoy these fun treats with your kids all month long!

Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls

Halloween Snack Idea #1: Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl

Adding spinach into smoothies is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their greens! And, you can’t taste the spinach – promise! For this Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl, make a green smoothie, pour into a small bowl, and have your kids toppings like granola or coconut for hair, dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries for the eyes, and pumpkin seeds or marshmallows for the smile. Kids have lots of fun decorating their green goblin face! 

Here is my favorite easy Green Smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water (or almond milk or oat milk)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Peanut Butter Spider Crackers

Halloween Snack Idea #2: Spider Crackers

Have your kids help assemble these spooky spider crackers made with round crackers (I like Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers), pretzel sticks, peanut butter (or another nut or sunflower seed butter) or cream cheese, and small dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

Ingredients:

  • Round crackers
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter (or your preferred nut/sunflower seed butter) or spreadable cream cheese
  • Small dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzels 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!
Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Halloween Snack Idea #3: Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins! Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

Spooky Grilled Cheese

Halloween Snack Idea #4: Spooky Grilled Cheese

Turn everyone’s favorite lunch into a frightful treat with Halloween shaped cookie cutters and dark rye bread! You can use wheat or white bread, but the dark rye bread is much more spooky! Plus, my toddler surprisingly loves it! Because of its color, he calls it “chocolate bread,” even though it tastes nothing like chocolate! Your kiddo will have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make ghosts, bats and pumpkins in their bread, but I recommend leaving the stovetop cooking to parents!

Ingredients: (makes 1 grilled cheese)

  • 2 slices dark rye bread
  • 1-2 slices of pre-sliced cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your sandwich!)
  • Butter

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat in pan on stovetop.
  2. Take one slice of bread and use Halloween cookie cutter to cut shape into middle of bread. Butter one side of the bread cut-out bread.
  3. Take the other slice of bread and butter one side.
  4. Place both slices of bread in pan with the buttered side up.
  5. After cooking for a couple minutes and letting the bread get to your toasty preference, flip both sides of bread to cook the other side. Immediately place cheese on the slice of bread without the cut-out.
  6. Continue cooking until cheese is melty.
  7. Place cut-out side bread on top of cheese and press down so the cheese sticks the slices together.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Creepy Eyes Cereal Bar

Halloween Snack Idea #5: Creepy Eyes Cereal Bars

Add funny eyes to pre-made cereal bars (or my favorite 3-ingredient cheerio bars seen here!) by rolling cream cheese into tiny little balls and adding a mini chocolate chips for eyes. If you’re low on time, it’s fun to add these eyes to anything pre-made, like muffins or frozen waffles!

Halloween Snack Idea #6: Green Halloween “Cupcakes”

My toddler loves these green “superpower” muffins, made with spinach, bananas, rolled oats and sweetened with honey! I love the ghastly green vibes of these for Halloween! Top with Nutella spread for “icing” and have your kids add Halloween sprinkles to make healthy-ish cupcakes! 

Which healthy Halloween snack do you want to try with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

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.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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.