Recipe: Bunny Bark

Mrs. Fields Secrets Bunny Bark
We’ve got a bonus recipe for you this week, heading into the holiday weekend. This treat is perfect to prepare and have out all weekend long for your Easter guests. It’s great for snacking or even to soothe your sweet tooth after dinner. Follow our recipe as a guide, but incorporate your own favorite cookies and flavors to make it your own.

Bunny Bark

16 ounces of white chocolate or almond bark
1 1/2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
1 cup pretzels, broken
1 1/2 cups m&m candies (any variety)
1/4 cup sprinkles

Directions
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the cookies and pretzels evenly. Scatter half of the m&m candies over the cookies and pretzels. On a double-boiler or in the microwave, melt the white chocolate or almond bark over low heat until smooth and runny. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the cookie mixture. Use a spatula to smooth the melted chocolate over the entire sheet. Tap the baking sheet on the counter five or six times to remove any air bubbles and allow the chocolate to get in all the crevices. Next, scatter the remaining m&m candies all over the top, followed by the sprinkles. Allow to cool and solidify at room temperature for 5 hours or overnight before cutting into squares or breaking into bite-sized pieces.

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Casserole Series: Broccoli Water Chestnut Bake

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brocolli Casserole Bake
Our casserole series is back today with the perfect side dish for your Easter feast. This is a delicious recipe that you’ll try once and keep in your repertoire forever. Adults love it, kids love it, and you’d better get a big helping to begin with because people are always going back for seconds with this.

Broccoli Water Chestnut Bake
from Susan Stewart Vaughn

4-6 cups broccoli tips
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 cup light sour cream
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 cups monterey jack cheese, shredded
2 (8 oz) cans sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
2 cups Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup melted butter

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash broccoli and cut into bite-sized pieces. Steam for a few minutes until broccoli is tender, but bright green and still crisp. Then spread into a 9×13 casserole dish. Top with half of the green onions. Stir mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest and pepper together. Spread the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture over the broccoli and top with shredded cheese, then water chestnuts and remaining green onions. Finally, combine the crushed crackers with the melted butter until you have a consistent, moist crumble. Spread the crackers crumble evenly over the entire dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve warm.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Earth Day Activity for Kids

Recycled Art
Earth Day is coming up next week and we’ve got a great activity to do with the kids to get them thinking about our waste and how it takes all of us to reduce, reuse and recycle. Before your next garbage day, gather the kids to go through the garbage with you, looking for the following things:

  • How many items are in the regular garbage that should be in the recycling bin?
  • Is there anything that could have been used again before being tossed?
  • Are there items that could have been donated to charity instead of thrown away?
  • Discuss ways you as a family can remember to sort garbage more effectively.
  • Look at the bottom of the packaging for recycling symbols and talk about what they mean.
  • Are there items that could be reused again? Think creatively about new purposes for items you are tossing.

Finally, give the kids a challenge: allow  them to reclaim five items from the garbage or recycling and turn it into an art project or a repurposed useful item. Encourage them to think outside the box and use the materials to create something entirely new. Above are some beautiful examples of recycled art to get the ideas flowing, everything from an office organizer to a colorful lampshade and bouquet of cardboard flowers. More than just a busy exercise, this activity will get everybody in the family thinking about the products we buy, the amount of waste we create, and how we can work together to reduce our impact on the planet one family at a time.

Candy-Filled Yarn Easter Eggs

Mrs. Fields Secrets Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs
Get ready for Easter with some arts and crafts time! These yarn-covered eggs are filled with your favorite wrapped candies and ready to display for springtime, but the real question is: leave the candy inside? Or, try to get it out? We won’t judge either way.

Candy-Filled Yarn Eggs

small balloons
yarn
white glue
water
candy
wax paper

Directions
Blow up balloons into egg shapes in desired sizes. Mix two parts glue to one part water and stir. For each balloon, measure 6-10 feet of yarn per balloon, depending on how dense you want the grid pattern. Soak the yarn in the glue mixture, then string the yarn around the balloon. Set on wax paper to dry 12-24 hours. When yarn is hard and dry, pop the balloon and remove it, then sneak some of the candy inside.

Casserole Series: Tamale Pie

Mrs. Fields Secrets Tamale Pie
Today we’re starting a new casserole series aimed to give you new twists and big flavors in one dish. Today’s recipe does just that. It has big bold Tex-Mex flavors, a rustic presentation, and is perfect for a weeknight or weekend meal. Top a slice of this Tamale Pie with fresh avocado, sour cream and serve it up, but be ready for applause and several requests for the recipe.

Tamale Pie

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can creamed corn
1 (14 oz.) can medium pitted black olives
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 eggs, beaten

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large, cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add ground beef and cool until just brown, then add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and cook about two more minutes. Add tomatoes, corn, and olive (juice included!) and stir. Slowly stir in corn meal to avoid lumps. Finally, stir in the beaten eggs, incorporate completely and allow to simmer for about five minutes. Transfer skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until browning around the edges and firm in the middle. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

How to Create a Living Easter Basket

Say goodbye to stringy cellophane grass for your Easter baskets this year and plant some live grass for stunning results. Get the kids to help you put it together—at least 10 days in advance—and spend the days leading up to Easter watching it come to life. (Plus, if you plant wheat grass, you can juice it too!)

Living Easter Basket Directions

  • Choose a potting container that fits inside your basket, or line your basket with a planting tray or waxed paper.
  • Add fresh potting soil, leaving about a half-inch from the top of the container, and reserving some to top the seeds.
  • Sprinkle grass seeds over the top of the soil (wheat grass or any quick grow variety).
  • Sprinkle just enough potting soil to barely cover the seeds.
  • Water the soil, just enough to keep it moist to the touch on top.
  • Continue watering daily and place basket in a sunny spot near a window.
  • Seeds should begin sprouting within 3-4 days and by 10-12 days, you should have a lush bed of grass.

{Image via iheartsaltlake}

Homemade Spring Potpourri

Mrs. Fields Secrets Springtime Potpourri
Store shelves are lined with scented candles, diffusers and air fresheners, but everything you need to have a fabulous smelling home is right in your kitchen. Making your own potpourri is quick, easy, inexpensive and a great way to use up produce and spices before they go bad. You can store them in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and even give them as gifts. Here’s what you’ll need:

Lemon Rosemary Vanilla Potpourri

1 mason jar
1 lemon
2-3 sprigs rosemary
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Fill mason jar half way with water. Slice lemon and place in jar. Tuck in sprigs of rosemary, then add water to fill the rest of the jar. Add the teaspoon of vanilla on top, then top the jar with a lid and place in the fridge until use. To use, pour ingredients of the jar into a small saucepan and add another jarful of water. Simmer on low heat, adding water as needed. Potpourri will last for 24-48 hours of simmering. (Note: Do not leave potpourri simmering unattended or overnight.) You can also simmer mixture in a small crockpot.

Variations
1 orange, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 inch of fresh ginger
1 lemon, 1 lime, 3 sprigs of thyme
1 orange, star anise, clove

Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast
Ditch your Sunday brunch reservation at that fancy bistro and whip up a batch of this delectable dish. It is sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich, hearty but not too heavy and it has the capacity to make your entire day. Pick up a fresh loaf of Italian bread (unsliced) at your grocery store, along with a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way to homemade brunch bliss.

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Stuffed French Toast

1 loaf Italian bread, unsliced
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup blueberries
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions
In a small mixing bowl, stir ricotta, lemon zest, sugar, half the blueberries and nutmeg together. Add the juice from half of the lemon and stir to incorporate, then set aside. Slice loaf into two-inch slices, then saw a pocket down the middle of the top of each slice to contain the filling. Whisk the eggs, milk and teaspoon of sugar together and pour into a shallow baking dish. Preheat a griddle to 375 degrees. Add two spoonfuls of ricotta mixture into the pocket of each slice of bread, then dredge the bread in the egg mixture on each side before placing on the hot griddle. (A pat of butter melted first makes it divine.) Cook until crusty and brown on each side, then transfer to a serving dish and top with fresh berries and syrup. Makes approximately 8 servings.

Fun Science Experiments in the Kitchen

Whether you’ve got a science fair coming up or you just want to have some fun in the kitchen, we’ve gathered some ridiculously cool experiments to try at home.

The “Naked Egg” Experiment: Place a raw egg in a glass and cover with white vinegar. Leave for 24 hours, then gently pour egg out into your hand and gently rub off any excess shell. The egg will actually gently bounce on a hard surface. Check out this video for more information.

Colorful Celery Stalks Experiment: Add a few inches of water in a glass and add several drops of food coloring into it. Place cut celery stalks (the leafy ends work best) into the colored water and allow to sit for 8-24 hours. The colored water will travel up the stalks, carrying the color with it. This works beautifully with white carnations too.

Tornado in a Jar Experiment: Take a clear child’s vitamin bottle and fill it with water and a few squirts of dish soap. Secure the lid and then shake the bottle vigorously and watch a tornado appear. Consider adding glitter for some sparkle.

The Salt Garden Experiment: Use cleaned egg shells to create colorful salt gardens that look otherworldly. Add two tablespoons of water, sea salt, and Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing Agent to the shells, along with a drop or two of food coloring. After 24 hours, add another two tablespoons of salt. Then, every few days, add more water, salt and bluing agent to the container. Garden will continue to grow as long as it is maintained.

The “Elephant’s Toothpaste” Experiment: This is extremely fun, but messy! You’ll need a clean 16 ounce soda bottle, 1/2 cup of 20-volume hydrogen peroxide (find it at a beauty supply), one packet of dry yeast, 3 tablespoons of warm water, liquid dish soap, food coloring, a small cup and, of course, safety goggles! (You’ll also want to do this on a plastic tablecloth or a rimmed baking sheet.) Pour the hydrogen peroxide into the bottle then add about 8 drops of food coloring followed by one tablespoon of dish soap and swirl the mixture around for a few seconds. Mix the warm water and yeast in the cup and stir for about 30 seconds. Affix your safety goggles and pour the water/yeast mixture into the bottle and watching it foam and overflow!

Hilarious (and Harmless) April Fool’s Pranks

With April Fool’s Day right around the corner, it’s time to get in touch with your mischievous side. Here are some fantastic, hilarious and harmless pranks to play on your friends and family.

  1. Carefully rearrange the keys on the computer keyboard.
  2. Fill glazed donuts with mayonnaise.
  3. Fill an empty cola bottle with soy sauce and seltzer water.
  4. Fill juice glasses with jell-O and a straw.
  5. Put a helium balloon in the toilet and close the lid.
  6. Paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish and put it in the shower.
  7. Place googly eyes on all the items in the fridge.
  8. Make ice cream sundaes with scoops of mashed potatoes and gravy with a cherry on top.
  9. Wrap a loved one’s car in plastic wrap.
  10. Fill a work cubicle with balloons or packing peanuts.

And if you’re not ready to pull your own shenanigans, pull up a seat and check out these amazing pranks:

A bathroom mirror prank that will leave you in giggles.

Would you help this crying baby in the stroller?

A man sneezes his head off. Or does he?

Buy up your Insta-Chicks for Easter.

Can you imagine being in this coffee shop when this prank was pulled?

Do you have a favorite April Fool’s Day prank? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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