Bacon wrapped chicken skewers…

Every winter, Steve and I both agree it’s the perfect weather for grilling and we try to cook out more often. One of our family’s very favorite grill item is bacon wrapped chicken skewers. They’re simple enough that they don’t require a recipe – but fair warning, it can be time consuming to get everything chopped up and on sticks.

The staples are fresh pineapple, bacon, chicken, pepper and onion. I personally like tomatoes on them as well, but they don’t always make the cut.
Bacon wrapped chicken skewers
Cut everything into bite-size pieces; this includes cutting a package of bacon in half. (We make these often enough that I purchased metal skewers from Amazon which I prefer over the wooden skewers.) Skewer the pieces in whatever order you like – wrapping the chicken with a piece of bacon before adding to the skewer. Sometimes I’m a nice mom and I make separate skewers based on what the kids like and other times I make all of them exactly the same.
Bacon wrapped chicken skewers

I used to make a teriyaki sauce to marinate the skewers in, but then I found a sauce I liked better and I haven’t turned back.
Bacon wrapped chicken skewers

Bacon wrapped chicken skewers
Refrigerate for an hour or two, or even longer if you have time and then cook them on the grill. Serve with rice and teriyaki sauce.

If you want to get really fancy – ourbestbites.com has a recipe for lime cilantro rice with pineapple that compliments this palate quite nicely.

Peppermint Oreo Dessert…

One of our family’s favorite treat is “Frozen Oreo Delight” (That may or may not be a family assigned name to the dessert!). But the minute peppermint ice cream hits the grocery freezer our family’s favorite dessert gets a holiday makeover. This takes just a few minutes to throw together and it will have everyone begging for more!

Here’s what you need:
Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes
Candy Cane Joe Joes
Peppermint Ice Cream (Blue Bell is my absolute favorite)
1 stick of butter
Cool Whip
Candy Canes

Crush or blend a box of Candy Cane Joe-Joes in a food processor or blender. (You can substitute regular Oreos if you don’t have a Trader Joes close). Typically we make Oreo Delight in a 9×13 glass pan, but part of the holiday makeover is making it a little more fancy by creating layers in a springform pan. Divide the crushed cookies into two bowls. Melt 1/4 butter and mix with one bowl of Oreos. Press Oreos into a greased springform pan.

Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes
Put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes until firm. Soften 1/2 of the container of peppermint ice cream. You can leave it at room temperature to soften or you can be impatient like myself and pop it in the microwave for just a bit, stir, microwave, stir. Spread over the Oreo mixture and freeze until firm.
Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes
Create another Oreo layer with the second bowl of crushed Oreos and 1/4 cup of butter. Freeze. Use the second half of the peppermint ice-cream and press into the pan. Freeze for 2-3 hours.

Once your ready to serve, run a warm wash cloth along the outside of the pan and release the spring. Top with softened cool whip, drizzle with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with crushed candy canes.

Now just try and contain yourself from licking every plate as you hand them to your guests!
Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes
Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes
Life with Fingerprints: Peppermint Oreo Dessert with peppermint Joe-Joes

Quick and Easy Halloween Treat…

There’s never enough time and never enough fairy dust to make everything fun and magical for the kids during the holidays. I often find myself caught between practical mom and fun mom so I’m always looking for shortcuts. I discovered this shortcut 6 years ago preparing for Hallie’s 4th birthday party when I was running short on time and I needed a quick and easy Halloween treat. (So short on time that I even bought sheet brownies from Sams club!) It’s now an easy go-to when I’m looking for a festive treat and the generic mini-cupcakes stacked 10 rows high at Wal-mart just aren’t cutting it.

You can find all the details in my post at HowDoesShe.com.

Quick and Easy Halloween Treat
Quick and Easy Halloween Treat
Quick and Easy Halloween Treat
Quick and Easy Halloween Treat

BBQ Tip…

Summer = BBQ. And BBQ = Hot Dogs. Its hot dog season.
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
And before you think – the way you cut your hot dog can’t possibly make a difference in the taste – let me tell you it totally does.

With very little effort – your hot dogs will taste better than ever before.

The supply list is pretty short: Hot dogs, skewers (metal or wooden) and a knife.

Start with your favorite brand of hot dog (mine happens to be the Kirkland All Beef hot dogs from Costco) and a skewer.
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
Skewer your hot dog down the middle.
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
Starting on one end, take a knife and cut at an angle all the way to the skewer. Rotate your hot dog until you reach the end.
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs

Remove the hot dog from the skewer and barbecue.
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
The hot dogs plump up real nice and the edges of the spiral get nice and crisp. Not to mention the spiral edges give more room for your favorite condiments. Nothing beats a condiment bar with your spiral dog – we’ve even thrown a party with a hot dog bar and everyone walks away happy. Happy summer grilling!
BBQ Tip: Spiral cut hot dogs
I published this originally at I Heart Naptime.

Mall Pretzels…

While passing through Utah on our way to Idaho – we stopped by to see some old friends from our Milwaukee days. We gathered for a play date and my loving and ambitious friend Leslie thought ahead and made pretzel dough. So by the time we showed up to play and catch up – the kids were busy making pretzels. They may not have been the most beautiful pretzels. In fact, some weren’t considered pretzels at all – there were swords, balls, braids – the pretzel dough pretty much became play dough that we cooked. And as unappetizing as some of them looked, they were all delicious. I’m a sucker for just about any bread.
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

The kids took about 30 minutes to become reacquainted and then they were pretty much best friends that couldn’t stand to say goodbye to each other. There was beauty salon and nerf gun wars and cars outside on the patio. They played for hours. We laughed about how much our families have grown since our babysitting coop days years ago. Here’s a picture of our two families all grown up (another friend had already left with her four girls). We’ll continue to snap a picture like this every year!
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

And it seems as though every other year or so we’re introducing soon-to-be friends.
Life with Fingerprings: Mall Pretzels

And because I really did love the pretzels, I snagged the recipe off the counter.

Mall Pretzels
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/8 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour

2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter melted
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir in flour, and knead dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover, and let rise for one hour.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan. Line 6 baking sheets with parchment paper.
After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3 foot rope, pencil thin or thinner. Twist into a pretzel shape, and dip into the baking soda solution. Place onto parchment covered baking sheets, and let rise 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt, garlic salt or cinnamon sugar.

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