Valentine’s Day Candy Card!

I just love when I have the opportunity to create something and this Valentine’s day candy card was not different. My little one had to take Valentine’s day cards to exchange among her classmates at school. I decided to create something unique instead of getting a ready made package of cards and treats from a store. So this is what I came up with: a Valentine’s day candy card! If you liked the idea, please feel free to download the card file in the link below.

Just remember a few things before you start printing your own:

  • Use  8.5″ x 11″ of a card stock paper to make 4 cards
  • The file has two pages, a front art and a back art. The front art is to be printed on one side of the paper and the back art is to be printed on the back side of the same paper with the front card art previously printed
  • Make sure you know how your printer works, so you can place correctly the paper in order to print the back side with the back art file. Like this you will have on the same paper, two printed arts: the front art on one side and the back art on the other
  • On the PDF document you will notice a light gray dashed line around each art in the front part of the card, these lines are cutting lines
  • In order to cut the cards you can use scissors, but I used a 12″ metal ruler, a heavy duty utility knife and a cutting board
  • It’s easier to cut your cards after they are painted front and back and fully dry

After printing, letting the paper fully dry and cutting, you will have a card with a front, to place the candy and a back, to sign and write the recipient’s name. For the candy I made strawberry brigadeiro. I followed this amazing recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron and it is totally worth a try, she named them spring brigadeiro and many of her readers like the recipe for Easter!

To place these yammy candy on the card, you will need some mini cupcake liners and 2 fl oz plastic transparent containers with lids.

You will need to glue the bottom of the container in the middle of the front of the card. To secure it well I used hot glue. But before you glue on the bottom of the container, make sure you first sign all the cards, it’s a lot easier this way!

card_02

I hope you enjoy making this project for someone sweet to you! Happy Valentine’s! 🙂

Download: Valentine’s Day Candy Card

Christmas Cookies

Ok, I know this is way overdue, but I thought I should share this in a post anyway as an idea for next Christmas or even adapted to a Valentine’s day treat. Just need to adapt the theme and done!

This winter I made a delicious slow cooker creamy mushroom soup and I used a lot of, hum, mushrooms! All of them went to my soup recipe and I was left with a couple of these blue plastic containers that I did not want to discard. Ops, just revealed my secret, I love to repurpose most everything, and that includes packaging. This particular container is made with a sturdy plastic, I kept the ones that came with the mushrooms because I thought I could use them to organize my daughter’s craft supplies. But then, as I was baking the chocolate chip cookies, I had the idea to use them as baskets instead of making ones out of paper plates based on the neat idea I found on the website evermine.com.

Luckly I had this lovely sparkly blue snowman gift paper wrap that I bought specially for my little girl at the Dollar Tree store. Bela loves blue and everything that is sparkly! 🙂 Wow, this paper was perfect for the blue container, I couldn’t believe it. Made me happy. Ok, so I gave all the mushroom containers a good wash and let them dry really well.

I then cut a strip of this gorgeous wrapping paper and glued around each container. I also made some gift tags cutting the snowman. I glued to a piece of white poster board I had so the tag had more body. As a finishing touch, I rounded all the tag corners and punched a hole on the top. I have to say, I was happy how it all turned out, and even happier that I did not have to spend a dime more for this project, I used everything I already had home!

I baked delicious chocolate chip cookies and also made a batch of store bought wafer chocolate cookies that I dipped into milk chocolate and sprinkled Christmas colored sprinkles. I made these same cookies for the school Christmas concert at my daughter’s school. The only difference  was the chocolate, for the cookies I sent to her concert, I used white chocolate. I melted and dipped each wafer cookie in it, then sprinkled these white, red and green sprinkles. I still had 2 packages of chocolate wafer cookies left, the Christmas sprinkles and milk chocolate, all the white one was done! I found the idea for these dipped cookies on the website theidearoom.net.  

After all the goodies were done and cool, it was time to fill up the little baskets! I did put some white tissue paper, which I also already had home, in the containers to cushion the cookies. To wrap everything up, I covered each basket in gallon freezer bags, closed the zip, put a nice bow, added the tag and placed with the cookies, a cube package of tissue paper. Done! This was all made with love to show my lovely neighbors how much we appreciate them.

cookies_10

I hope you enjoyed this post. See you next time!

Kids’ Fingerprint Christmas Cards

I love fingerprint art, there are so many creative ideas to explore! Not to mention that is is a fun, censorial and unique way to have little ones produce their own handmade crafts. I immediately remembered this fingerprint technique when I received the weekly letter from my little girl’s school, I so much appreciate those weekly communications, by the way, it makes me happy to know what is going on in her school. In the letter, the principal invited the families to help, if they could, with the Adopt a Grandparent Program. It is a thoughtful initiative that will provide joy to 500 nursing home residents at Christmas time. It warmed my heart when I read that and I knew I wanted to be part of it, even if my family’s contribution was small. All she was asking was for families to give as many handmade Christmas cards as possible to be attached on the gift baskets to be given the residents.

I started searching what materials I had on hand in order to produce these cards and I found a stack of five 8.5″ x 11″ poster board sheets and some left over acrylic craft paint that would work well with this fingerprint technique. I also remembered I had brand new ink cartridges in my home inkjet printer! All set to create and make! 🙂

I did go online to research some ideas and found interesting handmade cards on pinterest. But the one that stood out the most was the fingerprint Christmas light craft for kids I found on the Crafty Morning by crafty mom Michelle. You can check her work by clicking on thins link to her website: http://www.craftymorning.com/fingerprint-christmas-light-craft-for/

So here is what I came up with:

christmaslightsfingerprintcard_13

You can download the art of this Christmas card or Christmas gift tag on the link below and produce it yourself! Just have to mention a couple of things:

  • In each 8.5″ x 11″ sheet you have 4 cards
  • On the PDF document you will notice a light gray horizontal line and another light gray vertical line crossing the horizontal one in the middle, these lines are cutting lines
  • In order to cut the cards, I used a 12″ metal ruler, a heavy duty utility knife and a cutting board
  • It’s easier to cut your cards after they are painted and fully dried

My daughter loved painting these cards, look at her little pointer finger printing some nice Christmas lights!

Time to let all the paint dry so we can cut all the cards.

This is the final product: Fingerprint Christmas lights cards for 20 of the 500 Adopt a Grandparent Christmas basket. My little girl was so proud of her work and happy to contribute to this wonderful project.

christmaslightsfingerprintcard_02

I am happy with the result and wish the recipients of these cards along with the gift baskets, have a merry Christmas!

I hope you enjoyed this little project as much as me and my girl did and can use my template for your own little production. See you in another post!

Download: Kids’ Fingerprint Christmas Cards

Not a cake pop!

img_5405

Hello! Today I am going to share with you this alternative to cake pops that will certainly make any kid (or adult) open a big smile. It’s a good treat for any celebration and very popular in birthday parties in Brazil. It is not difficult to make and the result is amazing, I promise.

I call it butter biscuit pop filled with milk caramel and covered with milk chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. The beauty of this treat is that you can vary the filling and the outside cover and decoration! There are several possibilities that you can try. Make sure you share with me your version of this biscuit pop, I’d love to see them.

Here is what you will need for this mouth watering pop:

Butter Biscuit

This is the traditional Spanish butter biscuit called Maria Biscuit largely found in Hispanic countries, Portugal and Brazil. It’s a staple in our homes and I was happy to find them in the Spanish food isle in common supermarkets in the USA. It is very important to use this type of biscuit because it has the perfect crunchiness to this wonderful treat as well as it  greatly holds the filling and it’s sturdy to handle the melted chocolate on top. So, 1 package of this butter biscuit makes 16 pops, because to make 1 pop you need to sandwich 2 biscuits with the milk caramel filling in between. Another good filling for this delicious biscuit pop is brigadeiro, check out the recipe here from an earlier post. If you find other shaped butter biscuit or other fillings and decorations, please share on the comment session below.

Milk Caramel

img_5389

Hum! I just loooove this! There are many ways to make this milk caramel, some are delicious but extremely time consuming. I will teach you how to make your own in a very easy and effortless way that guarantees perfection every time, at least I never had any issue.  For this you will need a good quality condensed milk in a can*, I like to use the Nestle Carnation, and a pressure cooker, mine is electrical, very safe and easy to use.

Before you cook your condensed milk, remember to never open the can, remove the paper label and as much of the glue residue as possible. To remove the glue, you can submerge the can into hot water for a few minutes to melt the glue, that makes it is easier to get it off.

Total time: 1 h 

Prep: 5 min   |   Cook: 40 min   |   Yield: about 16 table spoons  |   Level: easy

You will need:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk without its label
  • 1 pressure cooker (electric or not)

Directions:

  1. Place the closed condensed milk can without label inside the pressure cooker pan.
  2. Put water inside the pressure cooker pan until it completely covers the can, this is very important. The can needs to be completely submerged in water.
  3. Close the pressure cooker tightly with its lid and make sure the nozzle is positioned on pressure.
  4. Turn the electric pressure cooker on to high pressure for 35 to 40 min and let it cook. For the non-electric pressure cooker, you need to start counting the cooking time after the pan has achieved the pressure to cook.
  5. After it is done cooking, let the pressure out completely before opening the pressure cooker’s lid.
  6. You must let the can cool down to room temperature before opening it, skipping this step may be dangerous. Not only the caramel is extremely hot, but due to the pressure, if you open the can under this condition will cause the caramel to “explode” and can burn you.
  7. Using canning tongs and oven mittens, take the hot can from the pressure cooker and place it in the sink or large bowl full of cold water and ice, this will speed the cooling process.
  8. When the can is completely cold, open with a can opener and enjoy your wonderful milk caramel. I like to put the caramel in a bowl and stir with a spoon so it softens for an easy spread.
  9. You can use this caramel in many different recipes. I will be posting many options for you, so keep coming back!

*food-can1-jpgeb283d9f-de7c-4453-a1ce-7a02f4db6d87largefor this recipe, avoid the condensed milk can that has the easy open on top because some are made with a thin metal and may not hold the pressure.

Print:Milk Caramel Recipe

Popsicle Wood Sticks

You will need wood Popsicle sticks for these biscuit pops just because they provide more stability since these are larger than cake pops and a little bit heavier. I ended up using these thicker ones because I did not fine the other type when I went to buy it. Keep in mind that for every package of Maria butter biscuit and 14oz can of condensed milk to make the milk caramel, you can make 16 biscuit pops. Ah, don’t forget to wrap the final pops on a 4×4 inch cellophane candy bag tied with a ribbon or twist ties.

Milk Chocolate Melts

I found this chocolate that makes melting and making pops so easy. It comes with a microwave safe tray that keeps the melted chocolate ready to be used. The taste is really good too, everybody who ate the pops only had good things to say! This tray also has the perfect amount to fully cover up all the 16 pops leaving just a little bit of a left over. From this brand, I found the vanilla flavored white chocolate which I think could be a good option, specially if the biscuit pop filling is brigadeiro! I will definitely try that and come back here to write all about it and show the results  :).

Chocolate Sprinkles

This last item on your shopping list is entirely optional. You can leave your biscuit pops without it or decorate with something else such as colored sprinkles or ones with different shapes, colored candy melts or even drawings made out of fondant! Possibilities are endless.

Here are some examples from the Brazilian website www.tudonopotinho.com.br.

pirulito-de-bolacha-com-nutella

BISCUIT POP RECIPE

After you have gathered all the items listed above, and your milk caramel on room temperature, it’s time to assemble the biscuit pops and decorate them!

Prep: 5 min   |   Assembly: 35 min   |   Yield: about 16 pops  |   Level: moderate

You will need:

  • 1 package of Goya Maria biscuits
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk made into caramel (see steps above)
  • Popsicle woods sticks
  • Milk chocolate melts (of your preference)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
  • 4×4 inch cellophane candy bag
  • Ribbon or twist ties

Directions:

  1. Open the package of Maria biscuit and put them in a bowl or plate so you can easily grab them to form the pops.
  2. Put the condensed milk caramel in a bowl and gently stir with a spoon to soften for easy spread.
  3. Place the Popsicle sticks on a plate, also for easy access to form the biscuit pops.
  4. Grab 1 Maria biscuit and, with a butter knife, spread the amount of about 1 table spoon of milk caramel. Flatten the caramel on the biscuit as much as you can for an even filling.
  5. Place a Popsicle stick in the middle of the biscuit with the filling, letting abut 3,5″ sticking out from the center, so the pop can be comfortably held.
  6. Place another biscuit on top of the first one with the caramel and Popsicle to for a “sandwich” of biscuit, caramel, Popsicle and biscuit.
  7. Squeeze gently both biscuits with the filling and Popsicle, so the filling is even. At this point you may see parts of the filling come out from this “sandwich” and you will need to smooth that out through the edge. This is very important for finishing purposes. It will look a lot cleaner and more well done if this step is not skipped.
  8. Prepare all the pops before starting to cover them with melted chocolate. If there is any broken biscuit, you can use them because the pieces will adhere to the caramel. Just remember to flatten the melted chocolate on that area with care so they don’t move or fall.
  9. Follow the melting instructions on your choice of chocolate melt and begin to cover each pop. Please, don’t dip this pop into the melted chocolate. Instead, use a spoon to gently cover the pop. Make sure to remove the chocolate access with the back of the spoon. The biscuits need to be completely covered and result should be a smooth chocolate cover.
  10. Immediately after covering the pop with melted chocolate, sprinkle the sprinkles on both sides. Remember not to dip the pop in the sprinkles but rather, pinching a portion with your fingers or grabbing with a spoon, which I prefer.
  11. Lay down the pop on a flat surface covered with parchment paper of plastic film. Before starting the assembly, I actually wrapped my rectangular cookie pan with plastic film. It worked just fine.
  12. Repeat the process until all your pops are covered with chocolate and decorated. Let the chocolate cover harden before you can wrap the biscuit pops.
  13. Since I made these biscuit pops for a school function for my daughter, I prepared soccer ball stickers and glued them outside of the cellophane candy wrapper.

Images from: nossasreceitas.com.br

Print: Biscuit Pop Recipe

I really hope you have enjoyed this post. Come back and share with me your thoughts, ideas, doubts. Let me know how I can improve this blog. See you around for more!

Crayon Discs

This was such a fun project and my 4-year-old girl loved! So, it was time for my daughter to be the star student this week in her 4K class and her teacher encouraged her to bring a show and tell everyday throughout the whole week while she was the star student. I found it was a good opportunity for her to tell her friends and teacher about Brazil, where she lived during the first four years of her life. She showed pictures of her Brazilian family and friends, she took some of her favorite books in Portuguese and “read” them in English to her friends and gave everybody some treats that I will write in more details on a follow up post with recipe :).

I came up with this idea after remembering a post I had seen a while ago about bringing broken pieces of crayon to life again, by putting them in a mini cake tin with fun shapes and melting them in the oven. You can see more in this site: http://www.marthastewart.com/267304/crazy-crayons  

Well, I didn’t have fun shaped mini cake tins, so I used the mini muffin tins I had on hand and lined them with mini cupcake paper cups, which I had left overs from the brigadeiro  I had made weeks prior. I chose to use paper liners because I didn’t have a lot of time on my hands and I didn’t want to ruin my mini muffin tins, since I use them for baking. For this crayon project, I used the Brazilian flag colors: green, gold (yellow) and blue, because the white was already on the paper. I found it to be a fun way for my little girl and her classmates to experience this cultural exchange and my daughter was able to actively participate in the creation of this activity.

To complete the project, I printed out a picture with an iconic Brazilian cartoon character, Monica, holding the Brazilian flag and I wrote in cartoonish type, the description of the flag colors. The result is the one you see below.

bflag

This was a fun, simple and great project to develop and I hope you find it helpful and inspiring. Leave your comment and I hope you keep coming back for more!

 

Brigadeiro – Brazilian Chocolate Delight!

Yey! This is my first post, and I couldn’t start my blog without one of the two most exiting things for me: chocolate and making kids happy! So I decided to share with my little girl’s 4K classmates and teacher, a fun tradition from our home country, Brazil. Every October 12th, we celebrate children’s day and Our Lady of Aparecida’s day. Children in Brazil know well about this date since they receive gifts and treats from their family . They also get to have fun going to many events designed just for them.

So, I decided to make some colorful brigadeiro [bree-gah-de-roh] and send it to my daughter’s school for a fun and delicious children’s day celebration. Oh boy, and they loved it!  Their teacher was so happy, she told me how different the treat was and how the class enjoyed it. I was happy to know, brigadeiro is a staple in every Brazilian birthday party and always a success among kids.

Here is how they turned out for this unexpected school function and below, you can find the recipe I used so you can give it a try if you want. It is easy to make and guaranteed to be a success in your celebration.

Brigadeiro Recipe

Total time: 1 h 

Prep: 15 min   |   Cook: 15 min   |   Yield: about 10 brigadeiros   |   Level: easy

You will need:

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing hands
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Mini cupcake paper cups

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add the cocoa, and condensed milk.
  3. It is important to never stop stirring while cooking, so cook, stirring, until thickened for about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. You can tell that the brigadeiro is done when  you can clearly see the bottom of the pan when stirring. The consistency should be firm enough to stay together.
  5. Pour it directly into a dish and let cool to room temperature.
  6. Lightly grease your hands with butter and roll about a teaspoon of brigadiero between your palms to form 1 1/2-inch balls.
  7. Roll them in your favorite chocolate sprinkles and place them into small paper cups.

Print: Brigadeiro Recipe