Bird Nest Easter Cookies

Today’s post is sponsored by Nestle Toll House, but my love for their Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets is all my own!

Use pre-made icing and refrigerated cookie dough to make these easy and adorable bird nest cookies! #Easter

These Bird Nest Easter Cookies just make me happy every time I look at them.  I love the bright colors, and I love how EASY they were to make.  All you need is some yummy Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and pre-made icing to make these adorable little treats.

Use pre-made icing and refrigerated cookie dough to make these easy and adorable bird nest cookies! #Easter

When I was growing up my Mom would make Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies for me regularly after school.  Looking back, she was probably bribing me with hot cookies so I would sit and tell her about my day.  Well played, Mom.  Needless to say, now that I am a Mom, Nestlé Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Dough has become a staple in my refrigerator.  The refrigerated dough makes it so convenient to just pop them into the oven a few at a time.

I thought it would be fun to dress up some cookies with a little Easter spirit for my girls.  I used pre-made icing and coconut tinted with green food coloring to create little bird nests for little marshmallow birds.  Just open the package of icing and mix in 2-3 drops of green food coloring with a knife.  Place 4-6oz of shredded coconut in a bowl with 3-4 drops of green food coloring and mix well with a fork.  Top each Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie (baked as directed on the package) with icing and coconut.  Set a cute little sugary marshmallow bird on top and voila!  These would be so cute for an Easter brunch or get together.

Use pre-made icing and refrigerated cookie dough to make these easy and adorable bird nest cookies! #Easter

My kiddos loved helping me make these easy Bird Nest Easter Cookies.  I love keeping products like this on hand that help me get creative in the kitchen, and make it easier to include little helpers.  Sophia loved breaking apart the cookies to bake them and topping each little nest with a bird.  For more Springtime baking ideas visit Nestlé Toll House and check out their new Rolled & Ready Cookie Dough Sheets

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White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites

White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites- easy and cute Valentine's treat

Do you ever have those days where you pat yourself on the back and think, “Man, I’m really nailing this whole parenting gig”?  The last 24 hours were not one of those days.  Warning: if  you don’t have kids, or don’t want to hear about someone else’s kid’s puke and poop, feel free to skip ahead to the lovely White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites recipe I have for you today.  And while you’re enjoying that, pray for me.

James has been working a ton lately, like 100+ hours a week, a ton.  But, hallelujah, this weekend he actually had a day off and we wanted to make the most of it.  One of the chefs that James used to work with at the Four Seasons opened a new restaurant in Dallas and was hosting a chili cook-off with some of the local craft breweries this weekend.  It just so happened that another of one of our friends would be playing live music there as well.  We decided to make an afternoon of it and head out there as a family after church and naptime.

Our plan started to go awry when Isabella came home from Girl Scouts with a headache.  She gets them regularly, poor girl, and I was hoping we caught this one early.  I gave her a dose of medicine and she chilled on the couch waiting for Sophia to wake up from nap.  We set out for Dallas, about a 45 minute drive, with one kid wilted and asking how much longer before we even got out of the driveway and one kid just happy to be included and leaving the house.  As we made our way to the highway, I decided to pull up the menu and make a plan for what the kiddos were going to eat, especially because Isabella sometimes feels better after she eats.  Problem number two: no kid’s menu.  And really, barely an Emily-approved-adult menu.  The very first thing on the menu was Brussels sprouts… down to beer braised shredded beef tongue.  I all but told James to turn the car around.

We get there and of course it’s packed.  It was actually a really cool space, open patios, and the weather was gorgeous.  The staff was awesome and made the girls peanut butter and jelly and a grilled cheese- and James and I had grass-fed burgers.  So good.  Not five minutes after our food arrives, Isabella goes pale and tells me she’s going to throw up, which is not at all uncommon for her when she gets a headache.  We rush to the bathroom- two singles, both occupied.  Suddenly I feel like I’m on a bad episode of ‘Nina needs to go’, her need is imminent.  I spot a plastic bowl nearby holding bottle caps, quickly dump them out, and place it under Isabella just in time to catch a bowl full of puke.  Still standing in line for the bathroom, holding a bowl full of everything Isabella’s eaten that day, a woman comes up and asks if they are both occupied and if we are in line.  Yeah.  That just happened.

We finally get cleaned up (though, do you ever really) and get back to our table.  Sophia is still loving life, enjoying her PB&J between visiting all of the cute doggies at the different tables.  We finish up and decide to go next door to The Cake Bar, because I have earned some cake dang it.  It’s an adorable little space, and I do mean little, that is packed to the gills with beautiful cakes and people waiting in line for said beautiful cakes.  While we’re waiting, the girls decide to sit down at one of the tables an arm’s length away from me.  Not 60 seconds later, Sophia manages to flip the chair she is sitting in, and lands flat on her back.  Cue the immediate panic cry.  The one that is delayed just a few seconds while they look at you in fearful disbelief that that actually just happened.  It did.  And everyone in the one room tiny cake place is now torn between staring and feeling sorry for her, or staring and judging me.  It was all fine in the end, she calmed down, we assured the owner we had no plans to sue, and a nice gentleman ahead of us in line actually bought her a cake ball without us knowing.  Everyone in the car, Mommy has had as much fun as she can handle for one day.

luck and the cake bar

We drive back towards home across Dallas’ signature Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, where Isabella promptly pukes again.  We have to pull over to throw it out, luckily Mom brought another bowl.  Thankfully she falls asleep for the rest of the drive home… well, that is, until we have to stop 5 minutes from our house so that the two-year-old can poop.  Thank God for clean QT bathrooms.  Potty training is the best.  She’s not potty trained enough to, you know, not wear diapers anymore, but she is potty trained enough to know that hey, pooping in diapers maybe isn’t the best game in town anymore.  We are so close to home, yet still so far away, with Isabella crying that she might die and Sophia pretty freaking pleased with herself for pooping in the strange big potty.

Isabella threw up twice more before the night was over.  And when I woke up the next morning the dog had peed and pooped in the dining room.  The same dining room I just had professionally cleaned less than a week ago.  If you need me, I’m packing my bag and running away.  I don’t know where yet, but it will be somewhere that I can go to the bathroom by myself and not be responsible for any one else’s bathroom events.  Somewhere I can eat all of these delicious little White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites and not have to share with anyone. 

 

White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites- easy and cute Valentine's treat

White Chocolate Puff Pastry Bites
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 12 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Cups
  • 2-4 tbsp white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp red candy melts (like Wilton)
  • Sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. Cook the puff pastry cups as directed on the package.
  2. Two minutes before pastry cups are fully cooked, remove from the oven.
  3. Punch in the center of each cup and fill with white chocolate chips.
  4. Return to oven and finish baking.
  5. Melt candy melts in microwave for 30 second intervals on half power until smooth.
  6. Allow cups to cool, drizzle with melted red candy melts and top with sprinkles.

 

 

Sorry for all the bathroom business today.  I don’t usually go all real-talk mom-blog on you, but at least I brought you chocolate, right? 

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Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookie Twists

Valentine's Sugar Cookie Heart Twists- perfect if you don't want to roll and cut out cookies

I have this delusion that I can draw.  I look at something and think, “I can totally draw that”.  But any time I actually attempt to draw something it looks like I used my feet with my left hand behind my back and my eyes closed.  There’s definitely some disconnect between what my brain thinks I am capable of and what my hand can actually produce.  I have the same issue with cookie decorating.  In my head, I can totally do it.  I wish I could decorate gorgeous sugar cookies like some of the amazingly talented cookie decorators out there (Sweet Sugar Belle, The Baked Equation, Bake at 350… just to name a few), but I’ve come to accept that it is just not one of my talents. 

I do still love sugar cookies though, especially when they’re soft with just a little crisp around the edges.  I made these sugar cookies last Christmas as wreaths (you can find them in my FREE Holiday Cookies eBook here) and decided to try them as hearts.  I think they turned out super cute- and best part, no icing needed!  Sometimes simple is best.

Valentine's Sugar Cookie Heart Twists- perfect if you don't want to roll and cut out cookies

These Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookie Twists would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!  If you’re able to send homemade treats to your kid’s school, these would be a great option.  I know my daughter’s teacher would appreciate that they are less mess and less sugar without icing or sprinkles.  :)

Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookie Twists
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp red gel food coloring
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla at medium speed until creamy.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, and slowly blend together.
  4. Beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Divide the dough in half.
  6. Add the red food coloring to one half.
  7. Shape each color of dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill at least one hour.
  8. Preheat over to 400 degrees.
  9. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  10. Shape ½ tbsp - 1 tbsp of red dough into a 6- inch rope.
  11. Repeat with the plain dough.
  12. Place ropes side by side and twist together about six times.
  13. Form twisted ropes into a heart, gently pinching where the two meet.
  14. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until just golden brown on the bottoms.
  15. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

 

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Play-Doh Valentine Free Printable

"Valentine, I think you are a'doh'able" Free Printable #valentine

We’re big fans of Play-Doh at our house.  It’s minimally messy and usually keeps the kiddos entertained long enough for me to make dinner or get some laundry done.  I’m also a fan of giving it in favor bags at birthday parties or on Valentine’s Day, instead of the usual candy and sugar.  Not that there’s anything wrong with treats, but sometimes it’s nice to have other options. 

"Valentine, I think you are a'doh'able" Free Printable #valentine

I created a cute little Valentine’s Day printable to gift with a small 1oz container of Play-Doh.  You can find the Play-Doh Party Bag Dough, 15 Count (assorted colors) on Amazon or in select stores.  Print out the cards on cardstock and cut a circle in the center of each heart.  An easy way to do this is to trace the Play-Doh carton, but make sure you cut inside the lines.  (If you cut too large of a hole, just use a little tape on each side of the container to the back of each card.)

Download the free printable here.

Looking for more Valentine’s Printables:

emily_grace

 

 

Holiday Cookies eBook: Free Download

Today is the big day!  I switched my site over from my previous SweetBellaRoos.com to Grace and Good Eats.  This change was a long time coming and I am so excited to begin 2015 with my new site.  When I started Sweet Bella Roos it was a semi-private blog, affectionately nicknamed after my daughter, and my Mom was my only reader.  I never imagined it would grow to what it is today or that I would still get so much joy from sharing a little piece of my life with all of you.  I struggled with a bit of an identity crisis, afraid to commit to being a “food blog”, but as my recipe development and food photography skills have (immensely) improved over the past five years, I’m finally ready to wear the title proudly.

To celebrate I’m giving away a free download of my Holiday Cookies eBook! 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Holiday Cookies- 10 delicious cookie recipes for the holidays and beyond

This digital cookbook features 10 of my most favorite cookies (never before seen on the blog).  Most of these recipes are my go-to, tried and true, recipes- with a few new ones thrown in to the mix.  These are the recipes I would pull out when I needed to bake some goodies to bring to work for a holiday celebration, to a potluck event at church, or even just a rainy Saturday deserving of cookies.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Holiday Cookies- 10 delicious cookie recipes for the holidays and beyond

Holiday Cookies is a 24 page PDF with 10 recipes, full page color photographs of every cookie, tips and methods, and includes:

  1. Chai Spice Cookies
  2. Browned-Butter Shortbread
  3. Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Sandies
  4. Lemon Sandwich Cookies
  5. M&M Monster Cookies
  6. White Chocolate Cherry Macadamia
  7. Peanut Butter Blossoms
  8. Oatmeal Cranberry
  9. Sugar Cookie Wreaths
  10. Mint Chocolate Fudge

These are all simple, easy to follow recipes that don’t require any crazy ingredients.  I’ve included a mix of chocolate, fruit, and spice so you are sure to find something to please everyone.  While these cookies are perfect for the holiday season, they can certainly be made any time of year!

DOWNLOAD THE EBOOK HERE

I hope you enjoy baking and sharing (and eating!) these cookies.  And I hope you will follow along with me on my new site.  I’ve changed the name of most of my social media accounts, so please make sure you are following me under my new accounts!

emily_grace

 

 

Giftable Single Serving Hot Cocoa

Single Serving Hot Cocoa- perfect to gift in little containers filled with marshmallows, peppermint, etc

 I found these little plastic ornaments at Michael’s (orig. $1.99, sale $.99) a few days ago and thought they would be PERFECT to fill with something.  I love that they are square, and are able to sit up nicely, as opposed to the round ones you usually find.  The lids popped out no problem and they were super easy to assemble. …

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Spooky Halloween Bingo- Free Printable

Spooky Halloween Bingo- free printable! (10 different cards)

I am the queen of procrastination.  I should have shared these Spooky Halloween Bingo Cards last week, but seeing as I just made them 5 minutes ago, that would have required me to not do something at the last minute.  At least it’s not October 31 right?

These bingo cards would be a fun addition to your Halloween party.  I’ve created 10 different cards for you to print and you can use candy corn or individually wrapped candies as the markers.  We will be using these to keep the kiddos busy while we wait for Dad to get home so we can go trick-or-treating! …

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Chocolate Orange Cream Pudding Parfaits

Chocolate Orange Cream Pudding Parfaits- perfect for Halloween!

I started making this trifle a few years ago for a Halloween party, and I’ve made it every year since because it’s so yummy, and SO easy!  Trifles are one of my favorite things to make for a crowd, they are easy to serve and look like they took a lot more time and effort than they really do.  I usually make this with whipped cream and use food coloring to make it orange, but when I found this seasonal TruMoo Orange Cream Flavored Milk I knew it would be perfect for this! …

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My Current Cookbook Wishlist

This post contains affiliate links.

Can you believe there’s only 17 more weeks until Christmas?  It always seems like once back to school hits, the holidays just sneak up on you!  I recently started a new board on Pinterest for my husband with gift ideas for me.  (Over the years I’ve learned he does better with hints… as long as those hints include exactly what I want and exactly where he can purchase it.)

This year I’m thinking about keeping it pretty easy for him after noticing my Amazon wishlist filling up with all the cookbooks I’ve been wanting.  So many of my blogger friends have books coming out soon and I can’t wait to get my hands on them!  This week I couldn’t wait for Christmas and decided to pre-order 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake.  It just arrived yesterday and I am already loving it!  So pretty!

If you’re shopping for a foodie this year, I’ve listed a few of the books from my current cookbook wishlist. 

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Red, White Chocolate, and Blue Sprinkle Sugar Cookies

Use Ready to Bake sugar cookie dough to make these festive 4th of July cookies!

I got the idea to make these cookies when I was grocery shopping last weekend.  I knew I was running out of time to share some 4th of July recipes, so I was trying to think of something easy and cute.  The Pillsbury Ready To Bake Sugar Cookies caught my eye and I knew they would be perfect for my plan. …

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