Peppermint Mocha Puppy Chow

I’m excited and nervous to share today’s recipe—it’s one that I came up on my own. I know it’s not like I invented the wheel here, but it’s still kind of a big deal to me! I had decided to try a new recipe for puppy chow and found these Andes Peppermint Crunch chips at the store (I’ve seen them at Wal-Mart and Target if you can’t find them) and decided to get creative!

peppermint mocha puppy chow -- a perfect easy treat for the holidays

This recipe is inspired by my favorite holiday drink—peppermint mocha! I just love the combination of peppermint, chocolate and coffee, so I combined all three into a quick and easy treat! This would be wonderful as a simple, homemade gift along with some hot chocolate mix for Christmas or as a snack at your holiday parties. Or just whip up a batch to enjoy just because you want to! It’s quick, easy, and delicious!

You’ll need:
5 cups Rice Chex cereal
5 oz. Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips (half the bag)
5 oz. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. instant coffee granules or espresso powder
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Optional: red sprinkles

1. Measure out the Chex cereal and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour measured powdered sugar (and sprinkles) into gallon-sized ziploc bag.

2. Using a double boiler or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the peppermint chips and chocolate chips, stirring often. Once the chocolates have melted, stir in instant coffee or espresso powder.

3. Moving quickly, pour the melted chocolate mixture over Chex cereal and mix until cereal is coated.

4. Pour cereal into ziploc with powdered sugar. Now shake until all the cereal is coated with powdered sugar!

peppermint mocha puppy chow!


Caramel Apple Dip

A few weeks ago, my sweet friend Julia and her boyfriend joined my fiancé and I on a day trip to North Carolina. We set out to take some engagement pictures at an apple orchard (PS – If you’re looking for a photographer in SC, check her out! She’s absolutely wonderful!) and ended up with a huge bag of Fuji apples. Julia made this cream cheese and Heath Bar dip for the apples and I just had to share it!

Caramel Apple Dip

This dip is ridiculously easy and absolutely delicious! It’s obviously wonderful with apples—it tastes like the topping on a caramel apple with crunchy candy mixed in!—but I think it could be awesome with other ingredients, too. Get creative! Try some vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or whatever your heart desires. This makes a great party snack or treat for hanging out and watching a movie with friends.

All you need for this dip is:
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Heath Bar pieces

Now just mix them all together! It’s really that simple.

Super easy and delicious caramel apple dip with Heath Bar pieces!

Go mix up a batch of this and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Chips

Have you ever tried apple chips? I found some in the grocery store a few years ago and fell in love. They make a wonderful snack — they’re sweet, crispy, and the best part is, they’re actually pretty healthy.

Homemade Apple Chips --- The perfect sweet and healthy snack

I went apple picking a few weeks ago and ended up with a ton of fresh Fuji apples to use up (I even dedicated my whole Friday Favorites post to fun apple recipes!). I came across this super simple recipe for homemade apple chips and just had to try it. I tweaked it a bit and created the perfect batch of sweet and crunchy apple chips.

Sweet and crispy homemade apple chips

I love this recipe because you really only need apples and can tweak the flavors to suit your tastes. I tried one batch with cinnamon and wasn’t a huge fan, then sprinkled some of my mother’s fancy vanilla sugar on the second batch, and created the most heavenly chips. You can try white granulated or brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, or any other topping you want to match your mood.

Homemade baked apple chips

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees. To start, core your apples with an apple corer. The next part will be the most tricky. If you have a mandolin, which I used, slice your apples at about 1/4-inch thick. If you don’t have a mandolin (check out this one–it’s just $10), just carefully slice your apples with a knife as thinly as possible. Arrange the apples on a lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle your desired topping over the apple slices.  Bake for two hours, flipping the chips and rotating the sheet halfway through.

And that’s all! Let them cool and store in an airtight container.

Red Velvet and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been baking cookies. They are definitely my favorite treat and my favorite one to bake. These red velvet cookies are my secret weapon. They are so simple, require only a few ingredients, and can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. I love them because they are so unique; these definitely are nothing like your run of the mill chocolate chip cookies. These red velvet cookies are great for potlucks and parties and make a great gift!

Red Velvet and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

All you’ll need to make these phenomenal cookies are:
1 box red velvet cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 sticks softened butter
1 egg
2 cups white chocolate chips

Red Velvet Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add butter and mix until soft and fluffy. Slowly add cake mix and flour. Once combined, add egg and mix completely. Add the white chocolate chips and stir until well combined. Form dough into small, 1-inch balls and place on lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Red Velvet and White Chocolate Chip Cookies -- these incredibly rich and delicious cookies take just five ingredients and minutes to make!

And there you have it! I love making these for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Do you have a favorite cookie recipe?

Pumpkin Spice and Cocoa Granola

Granola is a wonderfully versatile little snack. You can make almost any variation and any flavor you want! I saw this pumpkin and chocolatey version on Alyssa and Carla, and decided to give granola-making a try!

Pumpkin Spice and Cocoa Granola -- the perfect healthy fall treat!

I love granola in my yogurt for breakfast, or on its own as an energy-boosting snack (it’s especially good on a hike!). Plus, it’s much healthier when made at home. This version had just a handful of healthy, natural ingredients. You can adjust each ingredient to suit your taste and it takes just minutes to throw together and bake.

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
1/3 c. pumpkin puree
3 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. honey
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cocoa
2 c. oats
1/3-1/2 c. chopped nuts, I used hazelnuts because I had them on hand
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine pumpkin, softened coconut oil, honey, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and cocoa in large bowl.
Once combined, stir in oats and nuts.
Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Once you remove the granola from the oven, let it completely cool. Then add chocolate chips.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice and Cocoa Granola, with just a few simple ingredients
New to granola? Try it mixed in some plain or vanilla flavored Greek yogurt for a healthy and delicious breakfast! Then let me know what you think!

Snickerdoodle Puppy Chow

Puppy chow, muddy buddies, whatever you like to call this sweet treat, I lived way too long without it in my life. And that’s no surprise! When my father came in the kitchen and asked what I was making, I had to tell him at least three times that this puppy chow is indeed for human consumption. I discovered this incredible snack just a few years and have been loving it ever since. What makes puppy chow so great is that you can be so creative with it! I’ve loved trying new flavors and combinations. This snickerdoodle recipe is a recent love of mine!

Snickerdoodle Puppy Chow -- quick, easy, and absolutely delicious!

Snickerdoodles are definitely my favorite cookie and this puppy chow incorporates all that cinnamon-sugary goodness I love. It’s definitely a great treat for fall! And bonus points to puppy chow for being incredibly easy and cheap to make! It’s a snack that everyone will enjoy. I love taking it on road trips or gobbling it up while I watch a movie.

Here’s what you’ll need for this quick and delicious snack:
5 cups Corn Chex
12 oz. white chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Measure out 5 cups of corn chex and set aside in large bowl.
Mix together the cinnamon and powdered sugar. Place in a gallon size zipper bag and set aside.
Melt the white chocolate. You can use a double boiler method and melt it over the stove or microwave a bowl for a few minutes, stirring at 30-second increments.
Pour the melted white chocolate over the chex cereal and mix until cereal is coated.
Place the coated cereal in the gallon zipper bad and shake until all cereal is coated with the powdered sugar mixture.

Snickerdoodle Puppy Chow -- perfect for fall!

What are your favorite puppy chow recipes? I can’t wait to try some new ones!

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Cheez-its have always been one of my family’s favorite snacks. I came across this recipe on Pinterest and figured I’d give a homemade version a try. They definitely did not disappoint!

These only have about half the ingredients boxed Cheez-its have. They’re perfect if you’re trying to cut out processed foods or just want to try something new. They’re easy to make and cheaper than buying a big box of those salty, delicious crackers. These are just as good!

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup flour
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small cubes
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese (you can buy a bag of shredded cheese or grate your own)
3/4 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in food processor, pulse until crumbly. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. Form into ball and wrap in plastic wrap, chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer to parchment-lined or greased baking sheet, and, using pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 1 inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 20-25 minutes. Test for crispiness; crackers may take a few minutes more to finish crisping. Remove from oven when crisp and just starting to brown. Let cool and serve.

I didn’t roll my dough out quite thin enough, which resulted in these fluffy cheez-it copycats. They’re delicious either way!
I also used a wooden skewer (like you would grill a kabob on) to poke a hole in the center of each cracker. This helped with the puffing and also made them look a little more like real cheez-its.
Keep an eye on these while they’re in the oven! I stuck one batch in the oven for 25 minutes as the original recipe instructed, but ended up with a giant batch of burnt crackers! The second batch took about 20 minutes and came out perfectly crispy.