DYI Marshmallow Peeps!

You know Spring has sprung when Marshmallow Peeps are on the shelves in every drug store imaginable! This season, make your own and avoid almost all the crazy ingredients found in the large manufactured varieties. Plus… soooo much fun to make!

You’ll Need

For the Colored Sugar 

3 cups granulated sugar

Yellow or pink vegetable colorants

For the Marshmallows

3 tablespoons or 2 packets of powdered gelatin

1/3 cup cold water, to activate gelatin

1 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

pinch salt

1 teaspoons vanilla or another flavoring of your choice

1 tablespoon chocolate chips, melted ( for the eyes ) or a little food-safe black dye

Special Equipment

Here’s How

For the Colored Sugar

Preheat the oven to 170′ F Degrees. Line a high-sided cookie sheet with parchment and set aside. Place the granulated sugar into the bowl of your food processor. With a toothpick, add a few dabs of the yellow gel coloring. 

Pulse the processor until the sugar becomes bright yellow, while cautiously not to pulsing to a powder. Once the color is to the desired hue, turn out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Place in the oven for about an hour, occasionally stirring to help the sugar to release any additional moisture. Set aside.

For the Marshmallow

Soak the gelatin in the cold water inside the bowl of your standing mixer with the whip attachment. Stir to combine and set aside to develop for about 8-10 minutes.

In a large stock-pot, fitted with a candy thermometer, dissolve the sugar with the corn syrup and 1/4 cup of water over medium-low heat. Stir until combine, careful not to gather any sugar up the sides of the pan. Raise the temperature and bring to a boil. Boil steadily for about 15 minutes without stirring until your candy thermometer reads 240 ‘F Degrees. 

Drizzle the hot sugar mixture in a slow and steady stream down the inside of the standings mixer bowl onto the gelatin. Once the entire mixture is in, increase the speed to high, add flavoring and continue to whip for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until thick, white, and tripled in volume.

In the mean-time, spread half the colored sugar onto a clean large parchment-lined, high-sided sheet pan. 

Piping Bag Technique 

New to a piping bag, or not comfortable working this fast-setting batter? Try the silicon mold technique below.

Fill the bag a little more than halfway. Twist the open end shut and pipe 2 inch long flat ovals, about 1 inch wide. Make sure to quickly snap your wrist by pulling the tip away promptly at the end of the piping stroke. This technique will create the chick’s tail. Repeat additional bases right next to each other, slightly touching. Try to work quickly because the batter will set quickly.

Now create the crest of the chicks’ head by refilling the bag and holding it in the upright position ( 12 o’clock to 6 O’clock ) with even pressure squeeze down and pipe a large circle onto the smooth end of the oval body about as wide as the oval. As you are piping the round, slowly raise the piping bag as you continue to apply pressure creating a pyramid-type shape of marshmallow, ending the pyramid by tilting the bag 90 degrees. Stop squeezing, quickly pull up and away from the mound, forming the head and beak. Be sure to pinch off the string of marshmallow with a wet knife, fingers or oiled scissors to create the beak. 

Dust the marshmallows in the colored sugar before they set.

Use the melted chocolate and a toothpick to dot on the eyes. or black food coloring with a toothpick. Alloe the Peeps to dry. Store in an airtight container.

Silicon Mold Technique 

Lightly spray your mold with cooking spray and set it aside. With an oiled spatula, scoop the sticky mixture into your piping bag, and pipe the blend into the lightly oiled molds. 

Allow to set for about 10 minutes. Gently push the Peeps out of the mold into the sanding sugar and gently dust.

Enjoy! 

Green Monster Muffins! 

My stance on getting sneaky in the kitchen is very simple. I don’t like to lie about food, especially to children. I also know how hard it can be to get little ones to eat green. Fun holidays like, Halloween or St. Patricks Day and year end holiday are a great time to get green. Or flex your parental power and establish a “green food “ day of the week and introduce new green foods on that day.



Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose or gluten-free flour

1 cup cane or coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups raw baby spinach

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups butter

3 over ripe bananas

2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350’F degrees and prepare 2 regular sized muffin tins with non-stick, organic cooking spray. Or cupcake liners. Or, prepare 2 loaf pans

2.In a blender, combine spinach and bananas. Blend until spinach changed to a liquid state.
3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and allspice. Mix well. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and butter, mix on high speed until creamy and sugar crystals begin to dissolve- about three to five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well in between each addition.

 

5. Slowly beat in the spinach – banana mixture. Add vanilla.

 

6. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well to combine.

 

7. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins or two prepared loaf pans.

 

8. Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until muffins spring back to the touch and are slightly browned on edges. 60-90 minutes if baking loafs.
Test for doneness by running a toothpick in the center. If if pulls out clean, loafs are done. Makes approximately 2 dozen medium muffins, 1 1/2 large and 3-4 dozen mini muffins or 2 loafs.

Loaded – Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins!

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Ingredients:

3-4 jalapeños

2 pounds small round baby potatoes, about 2 inches in size.

2 Tablespoons organic canola or vegetable oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 pound pancetta or center cut strip bacon, cooked crisp, drained of excess fat, and crumbled

Garnish Toppings

1 cup sour cream

1 bunch chives, chopped fine

1 tomato, small diced

10 black olives, chopped fine

Lime wedges

Method:

1-Place oven rack to top position and preheat your broiler to high.

2-Place the jalapeños onto a foil-lined baking sheet and broil,turning occasionally. Broil until skins are black and blistered on all sides. Or place on your outdoor grill for the same affect. Once skins are blisters and blackened,remove peppers to a brown paper lunch bag, or a plastic gallon- sized food storage bag. Seal.

3-When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel away skin with the sharp part of a paring knife scraping away from you onto a paper towel. Slice open and remove seeds. Discard skin and seeds. ( I wear gloves when handling peppers and seeds- do not touch your face. If you get caption on your skin and it is burning, wash with whole milk or anything high in fat. )

4-Dice peppers fine, and add to a small mixing bowl. Add cream cheese and mix well. Set aside at room temperature.

5-Place an oven rack to center portion of your oven. Adjust temperature to 400′ F degrees.

6-While oven is warming. Wash and dry potatoes. Place into a large food storage bag or bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the garlic salt. Toss to coat all sides.

7-Place potatoes on a foil lined, high-sided baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center goes in easily. Remove from the oven and set to cool.Turn oven heat up to 450’F degrees.

8-When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. With a teaspoon gently scoop out warm potato flesh, leaving 1/8″ potato inside the skin — ( save potato flesh, and use for mashed potatoes  during another mealtime)

9-Brush the inside of each halved potato with remaining oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper and place facing up on the foiled lined high sided baking sheet again and place back into the hot over for an additional 10 minutes until dry and edges are getting crispy. Remove and cool slightly.

10- Fill each potato skin with 1 teaspoon roasted jalapeño cream cheese mixture, top with pancetta or bacon and grated cheddar cheese.

11-Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

12-Remove from oven, and serve with sides of sour cream, chopped chives, diced tomatoes, black olives and lime wedges

Serve warm and crispy!

*Make variations by adding grilled and finely chopped, Carne Asade steak or ground taco seasoned cooked ground hamburger to the bottom of the potato skin before filing with cream cheese mixture.

Individual Creamy Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pies, topped with Buttery Puff Pastry! Perfect Cold Weather Comfort Food!

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Ingredients: 

2 -3 Tablespoons flour, plus more for surface
1 pack frozen puff pastry, preferably all-butter, thawed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large celery stalk, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 small Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed & cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1-2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh frozen peas, thawed
1 whole rotisserie cooked – skinless chicken, shredded into 1/2-1 inch chunks
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2-1 teaspoon ground sage

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425’F Degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and potato. Cook, stirring, until soft, 6-8 minutes.
Stir in flour and add broth slowly to avoid clumping- bring to a boil. Reduce heat & add peas and chicken. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, 2 minutes.
Divide between individuals baking dishes. Cut out tops to match the size and shape of the individual baking bowls and cover with the pastry.
Press edges to seal, and brush with egg. Cut a few vents with a sharp knife on the center of the dough. Bake on a baking sheet until golden, 25 minutes.

Makes Aprox 4 to 6 individual servings (depending on the size of your bowls ) or 1 -13 x 9 inch baking pan. ( which in this case, fold out puff pastry to fit)