Cranberry Fluff Recipe

This side dish is always present at my family gatherings for the Holidays! We have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I first got my hands on the Cranberry Fluff recipe when I signed up to bring this to a Ward Christmas Party in 2006 or 2007. I still have that recipe, hand written by Robin Leishman, and pull it out every year at this time!Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the Kitchen Cranberry Fluff is sweet, delicious, and mysterious. It is highly addictive and you will find yourself grabbing more to put on your plate! This recipe takes some planning, because the cranberries need to soak in sugar overnight. Then the whole fluff has to chill for at least one hour, so plan ahead for this one! You won’t be sorry :) Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the KitchenThe original recipe calls for nuts, but we don’t use them. On the side dish spectrum, it definitely falls on the dessert side of things. We make it in place of a Jell-O salad which really isn’t a salad at all, right? You’ve got your pineapple, marshmallows, cranberries, and whipped cream. Magical! Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the KitchenHere is the recipe (note – we usually double this):

Cranberry Fluff Recipe
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 bag cranberries, frozen
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 16 ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice
  • ½ package miniature marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Grind cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the 2 cups of sugar and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, whip the heavy cream until semi-stiff peaks form. Chop the nuts (if using) and drain pineapple. Stir together the cranberry mixture, pineapple, nuts, and marshmallows. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Chill at least 1 hour and serve.

 

Lola’s Disney Side 4th Birthday Party!

Miss Lola Jennie turned FOUR in August! She wanted a Princess Sofia birthday party, and it worked out perfectly with the Disney Side @ Home Party box we were sent. It had crowns, amulets, napkins, plates, placemats, snack bowls, a food stand, a centerpiece, tablecloth, and activities for the kids in it. The favor boxes were Doc McStuffins (another favorite) filled with wands, nail files, stickers, Cinderella buttons, and other goodies. IMG_3808We bought balloons and Maverick was not a fan of the giant floating Princess Sofia! IMG_3809For a game, we had the princesses see how far they could walk with books on their heads. Me demonstrating: IMG_3813They each received a magical amulet after completing the book balancing game.Disney Side @ Home PartyOur big four-year-old! IMG_3815

For food, I made peanut butter and grape (purple for Sofia) jelly sandwiches, had watermelon, grapes, oranges, string cheese, animal cookies, and filled our Mickey Mouse cake pan with carrots, broccoli, and dip. Disney Side @ Home PartyIMG_3842Happy little party-goers!Disney Side @ Home Party

Our DisneySide Party box had an awesome cake mix from Duff of Charm City Cakes in it. It was a colorful rainbow cake that was so fun and easy to make! IMG_3843The kids loved seeing when we cut into it.  IMG_3856 IMG_3857Lola opening her gifts…I love her facial expressions! IMG_3867 IMG_3871 IMG_3873Trying to get her sweet face in the picture with her Lola sticker book from Cap’n Walt :)IMG_3875 IMG_3881Ada & Emma trying out Lola’s new bunk bed set from Nonnie!  IMG_3905IMG_3883Having Lola as a part of our family for the past four (1/2) years has brought us such joy! She has been a light in our world. She’s a mommy’s girl and snugglebug. She loves to make her sister laugh, play with her, pull funny faces, use Maverick as a pillow, sing, go to Primary, color, write, spend time with her Nonnie & Nana, ride her scooter & bike, and would swing all day if I’d let her. Love you Lo!!   

I was sent a Disney Side @ Home party box to help throw a magical party for my Disney-loving girls! As always, all opinions are 100% mine. 

Celebrating with Klondike Kandy Bars

This post was sponsored by Klondike as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Klondike bars remind me of visiting my Granddaddy in Virginia. After a humid, sweltering summer day in the South, he’d ask us if we wanted a Klondike bar for dessert. We happily obliged, because how do you say no to a Klondike bar?! It was always the perfect treat to cool us down and we had a blast trying to eat them before the whole thing melted in our hands. Klondike bars aren’t just for the summertime, though! They are a welcome addition to any gathering, no matter what season. I love having Klondike bars on hand in my freezer for when we have company. Klondike-1In 2014, Klondike introduced Klondike® Kandy Bars. They are the perfect combination of the thick, chocolatey Klondike shell and creamy ice cream with candy bar goodness. The packages now come with two more bars for a total of 6 bars. Score!

Klondike brand has 12 different types of classic chocolatey coated and ice cream loaded stickless bars, available nationwide. We chose Krunch, OREO, Heath, and Mint Chocolate Chip. They also have new Cookie Dough Swirl, as well as Caramel Pretzel, REESE’S, Dark Chocolate, Rocky Road, Double Chocolate, Neapolitan, and Original.Klondike-1-4We were happy to take a break from all of the crazy fun Halloween festivities and have some family time celebrating together.  I think the girls’ faces say it all!  Klondike-1-3 Klondike-1-2Klondike is the perfect addition to any Halloween or fall football party! Head to your nearest grocer and get your freezer stocked up with these delicious Klondike bars. What would you do for a Klondike bar? ;)

For more information about Klondike, please visit KlondikeBar.com or the Klondike Facebook fan page and follow Klondike on Twitter.

Favorite Chocolate Cake

This cake. Oh my goodness. Once you’ve had this chocolate cake, you will never go back! It is moist, rich, and crowd-pleasing.Favorite Chocolate Cake - karainthekitchen.com.jpgThis cake was discovered when we lived in Santa Cruz. Matt was in school full time and working nights at a restaurant. We were too broke to buy each other gifts, so for Mother’s Day, I told Matt that all I wanted was a chocolate cake. This recipe showed up in my inbox via Food & Wine and he’s made it for me every Mother’s Day since. We just made it to celebrate my cousin, Chris’, return from the mission field and I thought I’d share it with all of you!Favorite Chocolate Cake - karainthekitchen.com.jpgSprinkling buttered pans with cocoa instead of flour ensures no white spots on your chocolate cake.

To get perfectly level, flat, layer cakes: wrap pans in strips of wet cloth and bake. 

I use an old hand towel cut into long strips and the cakes come out of the oven beautifully level!Favorite Chocolate Cake - karainthekitchen.com.jpgAfter the cakes have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer or refrigerator until you are ready to frost them. This keeps the cakes moist and makes it easier to frost. Favorite Chocolate Cake - karainthekitchen.com.jpgEnjoy!

Favorite Chocolate Cake
 
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Recipe type: Cake
Ingredients
  • For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • For the Chocolate Frosting:
  • 1⅓ cups heavy cream
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Chocolate Cake Instructions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and sprinkle with cocoa two 8-by-1½-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl (this takes a while). Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  5. Set one cake, right-side up, on a cake plate. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
  6. Chocolate Frosting Instructions:
  7. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over medium high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  8. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Use immediately.

 

BistroMD – Perfectly Balanced Meals Delivered to Your Door

This is a sponsored post with Markerly. As always, all opinions are 100% mine.

Happy New Year! Welcome to the time of year where everyone is making resolutions, joining gyms, vowing to get fit, and trying to lose the extra holiday pounds. Are you one of those people? I know one of my biggest hurdles in staying healthy is my diet. It’s easy to stay on top of when I plan ahead, but when I fall behind (life happens) and there’s nothing in the fridge for dinner…fast, unhealthy food is so tempting!

Enter BistroMD. They are a healthy meal delivery service that provides gourmet, perfectly balanced meals to help you on your quest to stay healthy and/or lose weight. BistroMD is different from other services like it because they only use natural, wholesome ingredients that they would serve at their own tables. I loved the Roasted Norwegian Salmon! I was surprised by how good it tasted for being frozen.

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Check out the BistroMD menu here. Doesn’t everything look good? I love that you’re still eating real food, not starving yourself. They also have a Gluten-Free Program and a Women’s Program! Meals are shipped out weekly, so you still have room in your freezer for everything else. They even send you a menu with ideas and options for what to eat every day. And yes, you also get dessert! Extremely important in my book :)

I’ve never heard of Metabolism Dysfunction before. Evidently it’s something that half of us in the U.S. have! Dr. Cederquist, who designed BistroMD’s diet delivery program, saw in her work that the majority of her patients who tried to lose weight have a metabolic dysfunction that makes weight gain easy and weight loss difficult. Eating less and working out more just doesn’t work for them. They need a specific nutritional platform of balanced macronutrients to include lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat ratios to restore their metabolism so that they can retain their muscle mass and target fat. Every program includes not only great tasting, chef-prepared meals – but every entrée is created within Dr. Cederquist’s scientifically based nutritional platform.

here.

Ada’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party!

Ada turned 5 last month! She reminds us daily that she is 5 now. We celebrated with friends and family in Frozen style, would you expect anything less? :)

I did all white food to make it feel like a wintry-snowy-land. Cauliflower & jicama with Ranch dressing for dipping. Powdered donettes, marshmallows (that everyone mistook for mints – so I’ll just do mints next time), turkey & Rondele cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Sprite & water to drink!

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I borrowed all of my mom’s Christmas tree collection and I think they looked perfect around the cake! I used Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake, my buttercream frosting, then topped it with rock candy (I saw the idea from a friend who saw it on Pinterest) and an Elsa. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Ada was in awe :)

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I made snowflake sugar cookies and had a station with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate their own:

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Sweet girlfriends playing ring around the rosie:

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Matt’s dad surprised everyone and showed up as Olaf!

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All the party goers after the piñata. Did you know that they have piñatas now that you don’t have to hit? This one had ribbons that hung down and each person pulls a ribbon until you get to the one that opens it. Ours didn’t quite open enough and I had to rip it more, but I thought that was so cool!

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My big 5-year-old while all of her friends sang Happy Birthday to her :)

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I think we got all of the Elsas in this picture!

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We also had Frozen playing on the TV and had some impromptu singalongs with popcorn after all the food and cake. I’d say it was a success!

Happy Birthday sweet Ada! Thank you for making me a Mommy 5 years ago and teaching me so much. Love you baby girl :)

Werther’s Original, Not Just Your Grandma’s Candy!

I was sent products to sample and a promotional item as a thank you. As always, all opinions are honest and 100% mine.

When I think of Werther’s Original, I think of the golden, hard caramel candies that would emerge from my Nana’s purse during church. While most delicious, I was so excited to find out that Werther’s actually makes more than just hard candies!

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Their Caramel Popcorn is the best packaged caramel corn I’ve ever tasted.

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Their Chewy Caramels are dangerously addicting…I was ashamed to see how many wrappers I had afterward! Oops :)

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I love both the Caramel Apple Filled and Creamy Caramel Filled Hard Candies. We ate them while waiting in lines at Disneyland and they are so yummy! Hard on the outside, then when you eat it, the filling inside comes out.

Right now Werther’s has an Unwrap The Magic Sweepstakes where they’re giving away a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida for the 2015 Epcot Food & Wine Festival! Head over to www.werthersmagic.com to enter.

http://www.werthersmagic.com/

Werther’s would also like to give one of my awesome readers TWO free product coupons!! Enter below & good luck :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Superheroes Eat M&M’s!

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeroesEatMMs

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Captain America: Winter Soldier has just been released on DVD!

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To celebrate, we went to WalMart to find it on BlueRay, have some yummy Superheroes cupcakes, and pick up M&M’s for our movie treats.

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The girls chose Iron Man (Uncle Sean would be proud):

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The toppers were actually little rings, so we all were sporting ours.

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I picked Thor, because…THOR:

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At home, we made Captain America shields out of sugar cookies & M&M’s. They turned out so cute! Are you allowed to refer to a superhero’s weapon as cute?

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I used my Sugar Cookie & Easy Buttercream Frosting recipes (below), then decorated with regular & mini M&M’s. I did my best to make the star out of the frosting, a toothpick helped get it looking like a star and not a blob :)

I’d forgotten how good those Mini M&M’s are! When I was growing up, before we went on an airplane for vacation, my mom would take us to the store to get some snacks for the plane. I remember getting Mini M&M’s in the little colorful plastic tubes and putting them in my backpack. Yum!

Here is a video of us making and playing with our Captain America Cookie Shields, I hope you try making them at home – your kids (& husbands aka big kids) will have a blast!

Simple Sugar Cookies
 
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Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add egg and mix. Add the powdered sugar and beat well, scraping down sides as needed. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Easy Buttercream Frosting
 
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Recipe type: Frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!!

 

Lola Turns Three & Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake

My baby turned three this month! Sweet Lola girl wanted a Tinkerbell party and picked out her tablecloth, plates, napkins, cups, and outfit to wear. We looked through the blog for dinner ideas and she chose Hot Beef Sandwiches au Jus, much to her Papa’s delight!

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This is typical Lola, not used to the spotlight while opening gifts.

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Showing off her baking outfit:

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And deciding to blow out her candles with my help this year. Can you believe that sweet little face?! I just love the way she looks at me.

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This little one is our lover. Always up for snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Always willing to share. Loves to do everything “Mine self!” Is talking non-stop and has the most contagious laugh. We love you sweet Lola-girl!!

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I took a page from my Coldstone days and made an ice cream cake that fulfilled Lola’s “Pink with green on top” request. It was perfect on such a warm summer birthday celebration!

Press brownies into the bottom of a springform pan,

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Pour and spread your softened ice cream on top and freeze.

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Pour warm water around the edge of your pan and release.

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Top with whipped cream if desired.

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Enjoy!

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Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake
 
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An easy, fuss-free homemade cake perfect for any party!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 9x9 in. pan Ghirardelli Brownies, prepared
  • 1.5 quart Breyer's Strawberry Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 8 oz. Carton Heavy Whipping Cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bake brownies according to package directions and cool. Press brownies into the bottom of your springform pan.
  2. Scoop and spread the ice cream into the pan, on top of the brownies.
  3. Place the cake in freezer for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When cake is completely frozen, remove from freezer and run the edges of the pan under warm water until the form can be removed.
  5. Place cake on serving platter and add whipped cream, if using.
  6. Whipped cream:
  7. Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and desired color food coloring in stand mixer until stiff peaks form.

 

Easy Microwave Caramels & Gingerbread Houses

First of all, let me give you the easiest caramel recipe in the history of caramel making. These little beauties are made in the microwave! The only tricky thing is getting to know your microwave and how long you need to cook them. Once you figure that out – you can bust them out every year and impress your friends and family! My Nana bought these plastic wrappers from a place in UT, but you could just use waxed paper if you can’t get your hands on any.

Easy Microwave Caramels
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pound (2¼ cups) brown sugar
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Butter a 9x13 pan. Combine first 4 ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 17 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove and add the vanilla, stir well to incorporate. Pour into the pan and let cool. Cut into small rectangles and wrap in cellophane or waxed paper wrappers. Enjoy!

 

Now for some more Christmastime fun! We always go to Santa Barbara for the holiday sales…Ada loves to go try on lipgloss at the MAC counter :)

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We made gingerbread houses at Devin & Liz’s…it was so much fun!!

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Ada made her own Candyland:

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Becca made a Tribal Village, complete with teepee and bonfire!

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Devin & Liz made a Metropolis with Teddy Grahams ice skating in the middle! Some of them were even on one leg/paw. It was so cute.

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Sean made a Gingerbread House with the cutest cars & best garden, in true Portland style!

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Matt & I made Santa’s Semi Truck!

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Santa needs to work on his driving skills. :)

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I was pretty proud of my cinnamon bear Santa :)

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