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st. patrick's crafts

St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to think about festive recipes, decorations, and crafts for the special day. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

1.) Recipesrainbow-cupcakes

Let your inner leprechaun out by creating some of these fun recipes. If you’re looking for a festive recipe to make with your kids, consider Rainbow Cupcakes. First, make a white cake mix according to package instructions. Then divide the cake batter between five bowls. Put a different color of food coloring into each bowl of batter. Spoon some of each colored batter into cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions. After the cupcakes have finished baking, they will look like the colors of the rainbow. Frost them with blue frosting. Pipe white frosting on top for clouds. Decorate them with Airhead Extremes Sour Belts for rainbows and Rolos for gold coins. Kids will love these colorful and creative cupcakes! If you want more fun recipes to make with your kids, subscribe to Yum for Kids. For a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner, combine 4 cups of water and 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (most grocery stores carry the brisket around St. Patrick’s Day) in a pressure cooker. Close cover tightly. Turn regulator knob to pressure and select high pressure. Cook for 45 minutes. Next, cut a head of cabbage into 8 wedges. Combine the cabbage with 2 chopped red potatoes and 1 can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 4 chopped carrots and 1 chopped onion. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender; drain. Release pressure cooker according to manual instructions. Remove beef to a serving platter. Discard cooking liquid. Serve beef with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onion. This recipe serves around 4-6. You can find more classic, traditional recipes like this one from Taste of Home.


2.) Decorationsst. patrick's day jars

Trying to add some Irish flare to your home? For an easy-to-make decoration sure to add extra St. Patrick’s day charm to your household, use puffy paint to draw shamrocks and write sayings on Mason jars. Next, spray paint the jars green. Fill them with flowers or other decorations. You can also spray paint wooden blocks and stencil Irish sayings onto them. If you’re hosting a party at your house, consider making a green yarn wreath to stick on the front door. You could also hang a horseshoe on the door. For more simple ideas like this one, consider a subscription to Real Simple. The magazine is filled with easy decorating, craft, and recipe ideas designed to simplify life for today’s busy women.


3.) Craftsst. patrick's crafts

If you have young children, make finger paint rainbows with them! To complete the craft, you will need white and black construction paper, rainbow paints, glue, scissors, and gold glitter glue. Start by cutting a black “pot of gold” out of the black construction paper. Glue it onto the bottom corner of a piece of white construction paper. Then, have your child dip their pointer finger into one of the paints. Starting at the pot, make an arch across the rest of the page. Continue making arches with different colors, wiping off their finger before switching to a new color. After you’ve finished the rainbow, use the gold glitter glue to decorate the “pot of gold.” For a fun craft to give their teachers or friends, put a layer of gold-foil wrapped chocolate coins on the bottom of a Mason jar. Top the coins with a row of blue skittles, then a row of green skittles, then a row of yellow skittles, then a row of orange skittles, then a row of red skittles. Put some miniature marshmallows on top for clouds. Tie a gold ribbon around the lid. This is a cute, creative, and simple craft idea! For more details like this one, subscribe to Decorating Digest Craft & Home Projects.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes

Everyday Food’s Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes a Sweet-and-Salty Balance of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Wondering what to do with all that Halloween candy on hand? These Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes are a must to make—especially if you love chocolate and peanut butter.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are to me what Kryptonite was to Superman. They are my chocolate-covered weakness, and I am rendered nearly powerless to resist them. That’s why it’s difficult for me to imagine why (oh why) they must be used as an ingredient in a recipe rather than being savored alone.

So imagine my surprise—and willpower—when I was able to part with two dozen of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup miniatures to make a recipe from the October 2011 issue of Everyday Food magazine. (OK, so I had to cut all the amounts in half because I ate the other two dozen cups that were called for.)

The Mini Triple-Treat Cupcakes employed my weakness as a way to add a little chocolate and boost the peanut butter flavor of bite-sized treats topped with candy corn. The recipe was one of five intended as festive favors for Halloween parties—or to make good use of those trick-or-treating leftovers.

Natural peanut butter gives a rich flavor to the batter, and that bakes up nicely around the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup placed in the center of each cupcake liner. Right out of the oven, the treats are topped with a piece of candy corn. But for variation, any small seasonal candy can be used.

The end result is good—really good—so good I’m thinking about putting it right up there with the Reese’s. The off-the-shelf is a perfect balance of sweet and salty, but the batter adds a little more on the salty side of the scale, while the candy corn boosts the sweetness.

In effect, the modifications the recipe makes to the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup evens out the ideal qualities of my favorite candy, and it’s so good you’ll think you’re eating the real thing. Almost.


Moll Anderson’s Healthy Fitness Advice Inspired by Summer Olympic Athletes

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London have officially begun, and there is no better time to find motivation to get in shape! Watching these über fit athletes put me in a healthy mood and I’m excited to say that getting fit can be fun. Don’t let negative feelings hinder your soon-to-be sexy bod. There’s no reason not to take control of your health and life.

It is important to take proper precautions when it comes to your general health. Regular doctor checkups are extremely important! After all you can’t really get into shape if you don’t know exactly what your physical health is.

Our state of mind has a lot to do with our physical health, so ignoring ongoing issues will soon take a toll on your happiness. Don’t fear the doctors; they can really help alleviate any stress you may be feeling about your health.

Living well and living your best life right now are best achieved when you have some serious motivation—there are tons of great fitness magazines out there that will help you find this spark!

Kyle Clarke, to be seen on the September/October cover of Reps magazine, gave us a little sneak preview of what to expect in his feature. Clarke is the face of MRI Performance and has not only a rock solid body, but also a rock solid plan to help you live your best life.

Olympic athlete Samantha Clayton also knows a little something about keeping fit! After gaining 72 lbs while pregnant with triplets, Clayton got her body back to peak fitness and is now the lead fitness instructor for the Herbalife DVD set.

We all know that some people will revert to using basically ANY tactic to becoming skinny, but we also know that a lot of times these aren’t the smartest of decisions. From ingesting tapeworms to smoking cigarettes to decrease appetite, supermodels have been known to do it all.

Kelly Killorean Bensimon, model, Real Housewife and author of I Can Make You Hot, shares all kinds of hot tips including all the absurd methods supermodels use to get rail thin. Listen now to what she had to dish with a no-holds-barred attitude on The Moll Anderson Show!

Kelly and I did share a common diet strategy—indulge in your favorite food in moderation one day a week; we call this day our fun day! Eating a balanced diet the rest of the week is essential to a healthy life—it will allow you to have more energy and will even stabilize your mood. My favorite lunchtime or dinner meal is a special diet salad; I call it Moll’s Medley.

Moll’s Medley Salad

• Handful of kale
• Goat cheese
• Avocado
• Ocean Spray® Craisins
• Olive oil
• ½ lemon
• Balsamic vinegar
• Roasted chicken, optional

Mix all your ingredients, and if you’re like me, add a little seductive spice to get your metabolism up! This salad is full of good essential fats and is an easy on-the-go meal.

Remember to tune into The Moll Anderson Show every week to get great lifestyle tips. Visit the show tab at MollAnderson.com to listen to the show and get fabulous tips for your best self!

For even more healthy fitness advice, grab subscriptions to my hot picks now!

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Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 6

How to Make Kiwi Magazine’s Dessert Pizza

KIWI magazine's January 2012 issue

KIWI magazine's January 2012 issue

Get your kids in the kitchen to create this simply sweet recipe from Kiwi magazine’s Next Great Young Chef contest.

We love pizza at our house. And we love dessert. So dessert pizza? The perfect combination. When I saw a simple recipe for the yummy dish in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Kiwi magazine, I knew my kids would love it. What’s even better–the dessert was a winner in the magazine’s annual Next Great Young Chef contest, which meant my preschoolers could easily help create it in our kitchen.

I love cooking with my kids because it’s a great way to include them in something I have to do (like make dinner). Plus you can teach a lot about numbers and counting and measuring if you follow a recipe. The dessert pizza was definitely one of the more simple recipes featured, and since it was from Kiwi magazine, I knew it was going to be healthy–well, as healthy as a sugary dessert can be.

We topped our pizza with strawberries like the magazine suggested. But we talked about how any fruit would work. Check out the full recipe below.

Liam’s Dessert Pizza
Ten-year-old Liam created this recipe after a dessert pizza he ordered at a restaurant didn’t impress him. “It was overly sweet, processed and salty,” says the Browntown, Wis., aspiring chef. “I liked the idea of a dessert pizza, but I knew it could taste better.”

Our family agrees! When we made the pizza, we planned on taking half of it to our neighbors. But 24 hours later, we’d eaten the entire thing! So good!

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 1

Assemble ingredients. I liked this recipe because most of the things are staples you probably already have. Kiwi's version called for all specific organic brands.


For the cookie crust:
3/4 cup salted butter, cut into small cubes, plus more for greasing the pan
1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Certified Organic Powered Sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

For the topping:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Certified Organic Powered Sugar
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease pizza pan or baking sheet with butter.

Step 2: Make pizza crust. In a large bowl or stand mixer, add the powdered sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Whisk to combine.

Add cubed butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers to mix until the mixture forms lumps about the size of peas. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for about 1 minute, until a stiff dough forms. You may need to knead the dough lightly with your hands after using the beater to bring it together.

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 2

Combine dry ingredients with butter to make the crust.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Place on the pizza pan or baking sheet, and use your fingers to curl the edges in slightly. Bake for 15 minutes or until the surface is firm to the touch and the edges are crisp. Allow to cool completely.

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 3

Bake for 15 minutes or until firm.

Step 3: Make the pizza topping. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy, about two to three minutes.

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 4

Use a stand or hand mixer to make the simple cream cheese topping.

Step 4: Spread the cream cheese pizza topping on the cooled cookie crust with a spatula. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top. Cut into 12 wedges and serve.

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 5

Spread on the pizza and top with any fruit.

Kiwi magazine dessert pizza step 6

Bon Appetit magazine's December 2011 issue

6 Tips for Making the Peppermint Meringues on Bon Appétit’s December Cover

Bon Appetit magazine's December 2011 issue

Bon Appetit magazine's December 2011 issue

For a unique winter treat, try cooking Bon Appetit’s Candy-Striped Peppermint Meringues. But before you do, read what Michelle Ryan learned about putting this recipe to the test.

I’ve been loving Bon Appétit’s magazine covers since about August, when they moved away from the white backgrounds that were showing up month after month after month. But December’s cover was particularly intriguing.

The nearly all-red cover set off with touches of white, silver and green features Candy-Striped Peppermint Meringues, which inspired me to make the treats, unusual in a sea of holiday cakes, cookies and more cookies.

The candies are easier to pull off than you’d think, but beware, it’s not one of those things you can whip up at the last minute. After putting the recipe to the test, here are six tips I’d recommend if you’re going to make them.

1. Start with a stiff meringue. As with all meringues, beating the egg whites until they’re stiff is key. I’m afraid I stopped short of the ideal fluffy peaks in my mixture. The meringues still turned out fine, but not quite picture-perfect.

2. Use a stand mixer. Maybe this goes without saying, but adding the ingredients while your mixer does all the work makes the process much more efficient. After all, it gave me time to measure out the confectioners’ sugar and peppermint without doing it beforehand.

Bon Appetit's peppermint meringues by Michelle Ryan

Bon Appetit's peppermint meringues by Michelle Ryan

3. Spoon all the meringue mixture into piping bag. Another faux pas, I added the mixture a little at a time. It made for quite a chore, not to mention an unsightly mess, effectively undoing all the efficiency afforded by my stand mixer. (Note: The mess can be avoided if you nail step one.)

4. Be patient. For starters, it takes up to 2.5 hours in a 200-degree oven for the meringues to dry. When they came out crisp, I feared I let them dry out too much. But as they cooled (which took another hour or so), they softened.

5. Be really patient if you’re in the South. I can probably thank my Southern humidity (yes, even this time of year) for the sticky meringues that needed even more time to crisp so they could (finally) be stored.

6. It’s worth the wait. For all the mess and the less-than-ideal meringue, the end result was delicious, dare I say addicting. The dry exterior quickly gave way to a melt-in-your-mouth center that had a hint of minty holiday flavor.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe

How to Complement Fall With Everyday Food’s Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bacon

Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe

Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipe from Everday Food magazine's October 2011 issue (Photo credit: Michelle Ryan)

Michelle Ryan finds a winning seasonal dish from the pages of Everyday Food magazine that you can make almost as fast as you can say “yam.”

Maybe it’s their rich autumn color, but sweet potatoes and fall just seem to go together. Sweet potatoes (aka yams) are probably most closely associated–at least in their pecan-topped casserole form–with Thanksgiving meals. I can’t think of a year when it wasn’t part of my family’s holiday dinner spread.

To be honest, I didn’t always eat sweet potato casserole, much less sweet potatoes. But once when my dad found a “deal” on 10 pounds of yams, my mom was forced to get creative on finding ways to use them all before they went bad.

There was probably sweet potato casserole (a pre-holiday treat) and sweet potato bread. There were sweet potato biscuits and sweet potato wedges. There were candied yams and likely even baked sweet potatoes. Oh, and pies. For us, for friends, for family, possibly even strangers.

If I remember correctly, I acquiesced to the biscuits, the wedges and the baked version, but I’m pretty sure I drew the line at bread.

Everyday Food magazine October 2011 issue

Everyday Food magazine October 2011 issue

Since then, my taste buds as they relate to sweet potatoes have broadened (still no bread, though). So when I spotted a recipe in Everyday Food’s October 2011 issue for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Bacon, I quickly put it on my “to make” list.

One of the great things about Everyday Food recipes is that they are so simple and delicious. This particular dish is pretty good for you too. According to the nutritional information, this is low in fat (only 3 grams) with 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber along with 46 grams of carbs per serving. (That last number may seem high, but just remember, not all carbs are bad–the body’s gotta have some fuel to function.)

This dish is really easy. Cut up sweet potatoes and bacon, season with thyme, salt and pepper, and bake at 400 degrees until the potatoes are browned and tender and the bacon is crisp. I probably could have cooked mine a little longer to crisp up the bacon more, but the smell in the kitchen had been tempting long enough.

The magazine suggested this simple side as a complement to roasted chicken, fried eggs or baked cod. I enjoyed it with steak and grilled zucchini. I really can’t imagine it not going well with much of anything–or just standing on its own.