The Mommyhood Life

Sweets

Take a minute for yourself to enjoy dessert! Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Duncan Hines, All opinions are 100% my own.

Duncan Hines

We’re busy moms, and as such we all know how few moments we get to ourselves a day.  Between the meals, cleaning, pickup lines, homework and everything in between, we must take full advantage of the minutes we get of silence without little people crawling on us.

 When I get that quiet couple of moments at the end of a long day, before I collapse on the couch, I am usually craving a warm sweet treat.  However, the last thing I want to add to my already crammed to-do list is baking or the mess that comes with it.

Now thanks to the new Perfect Size for 1 by Duncan Hines I can eat chocolate cake every night, if I want to with just a mug, some water, and about a minute!  No mess, no wait, no leftovers, but all the yumminess.  How perfect is that?

Duncan Hines 2

Quick and Easy

Perfect Size for 1 is an individually portioned cake mix that is made quickly and easily in a 8oz coffee mug that is easy in about a minute!  That’s right 1 minute and you have a warm delicious treat just for you. 
Each box comes with 4 individual pouches so you can have a treat whenever you want!

Cake in a Mug

Customize your Favorite Treat

Craving something different?  Customizing any of the Perfect Size for 1’s varieties is easy.  Switch up the liquid, instead of using water to make your treat use milk, coffee, exc.  Also, the add-in possibilities are endless, mix nuts into the apple cinnamon muffin mix or extra chocolate chips into the chocolate cake.  My favorite is adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the top of my cake and some caramel drizzle.

Mug Cake Duncan Hines

There are 18 Varieties

Perfect Size for 1 comes in 18 different flavors, which are good for morning, noon, and evening indulgences!  School vacation is coming up soon, the breakfast options are going to be a hit in my house with three kids who are always hungry.

Duncan Hines Cake

These are a must have in my pantry now.  I look forward to sneaking away and indulging my sweet tooth every night. 
Have you tried the Perfect Size for 1 pouches yet?  What is your favorite flavor?

Learn more about Perfect Size for 1 here and get social with Duncan Hines!
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Blueberry Shortcake Recipe with Fresh From Florida

This post was sponsored by Fresh From Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own. 

Beige Ice Cream Photo Recipe Pinterest Graphic

Living in Florida has been fantastic for my taste buds!  The hot weather makes my family crave fresh fruit and veggies, and Florida delivers during every season.

Florida Farmers make it so easy for everyone to eat fresh produce year around!  Within a 5-mile radiance, there are over a dozen farmers markets held on various days of the week, and in Florida something delicious is always in season!  My favorite is the Dunedin Downtown Market, I love the quaintness of Dunedin with the cute shops and restaurants, and this market is held in the center of town so we can shop for our weeks produce and then enjoy a morning stroll around town.

One of my family’s favorite treat is Blueberry Shortcake, it combines one of our favorite fruits and an indulgent biscuit with whip cream.
We like to make this to enjoy after Sunday dinner or for breakfast on special mornings.  The only problem I encounter with this recipe is that if I shop with my children, the blueberries never make it home.

Being new to Florida, I was used to digging through a carton and finding a few big juice blueberries surrounded by small sour ones.  So, when I bought my first package of berries in Florida, I ate them all in less than 10 minutes and had to go back to the farm stand to get more for the kids.  Every blueberry was plump and sweet!  So now whenever I shop, I always look for the Fresh From Florida label on produce, seafood, and even wine!

Want to try some delicious Blueberry Shortcake?  Here’s the recipe:

Fresh-from-florida-blueberry-shortcake-recipe

Blueberry Shortcake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups of Flour
1/2 Cup and 3 Tbsp. of Sugar
2 Tsp of Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup of Butter
1/2 Cup of Milk
1 Tbsp. of Lemon Juice
1/2 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tsp of Almond Extract
1 1/2 Cups of Cool Whip
2 Cups of Blueberries

Fresh-from-florida-blueberry-shortcake-recipe-easy

Shortcake Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees
Wisk together Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, and 2 Tbsp. of Sugar.

Using a mixer add in butter, once Butter has crumbled mix in Milk and Almond Extract.

Gather Dough and break into 6 pieces, place on a buttered baking pan.
Cook for 13 to 15 Minutes till the bottom is golden brown.

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Blueberry Jam Directions:

In a medium sauce pan simmer 1 1/3 cups of Blueberries. 1/2 cup of Sugar. and Lemon Juice on medium heat for 8 minutes.  

Once the blueberries have softened and the mixture has a syrup like look, Mix in 2/3 cups of Blueberries.  Remove from heat and let cool.

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Cream Directions:

My kids love cool whip, and I love shortcuts, so we use cool whip instead of making a whip cream from scratch.  However, this can easily be swapped out for any whip cream you like.

Take 1 1/2 cups of Cool Whip and fold in 1 Tbsp. of Sugar and 1/2 Tsp of Vanilla Extract.

Once everything is cooked and cooled down, it’s time to assemble.  
Cut the shortcake biscuit in half.
Spread the whip cream on both sides of the biscuit and add a large spoonful of the Blueberry Mix.

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Put the Biscuit back together, and add a dollop more of whip cream to the top of the shortcake with another spoonful of Blueberry Mix.
If you haven’t eaten all the left-over Blueberries yet, you can add a few to garnish the plate.

That’s all, a yummy, almost from scratch, delicious dessert!
What is your favorite was to cook with fruit?
Need more ideas?  Check out the Fresh From Florida recipe page!

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My Families 5 Favorite Foods this Winter with Fresh from Florida!

This post was sponsored by Fresh From Florida as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central, however all opinions expressed are my own

Fresh-from-florida-recipes-winter

Winter is upon us down here in Florida and I think it might have dipped into the 60’s for a day or two.  With this being my families first winter after moving down from Boston, we were ready for the beach even on those 60 degree days.  

In New England that temperature is a cool summer night.  As you can guess, all the new northerners stand out from the true Floridians when “winter” strikes.  While my kids are at the bus stop in shorts and sandals, they’re in a sea of kids wearing fur lined hoodies.  

While it did dip into the “frigid” 60’s on a couple occasions, the rest of the winter has been incredible.  I didn’t really know what to expect weather wise in our first year, but I can honestly say Florida during the winter has my absolute favorite weather.  High 70’s and sunny pretty much 90% of the time, what’s not to love! Beyond the weather my favorite advantage of living in a region with such an amazing climate is the ability to get fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables all year round!

  I have fallen in love with being able to stroll the Tampa area farmers’ markets each weekend and pick up juicy fruits and crisp vegetables from local farmers all year long. 

With so many of my family’s favorite produce being in season this winter, my family has eaten healthier than ever before.

Curious when each fruit and vegetable is in season?  Find out here.

My Families 5 Favorite Fresh from Florida Recipes this Winter 

Florida-Grape-Tomato-and-Orzo-Pasta-Salad_recipe

Florida Grape Tomato and Orzo Pasta Salad
Tomatoes are in season all winter long in Florida and my kids would eat them by the dozen, so by putting them in a pasta salad they turn into a great afternoon lunch on a breezy sunny day.

Cheddar-Bacon-Florida-Sweet-Corn_recipe

Cheddar-Bacon Florida Sweet Corn
Corn is another veggie the kids love that is in season all winter long, and Lilly has asked for corn-on-the-cob for breakfast on numerous mornings, so this recipe is a favorite in our house.

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Florida Strawberry Parfait
This is our go to dessert or afternoon snack.  Each member of my family says strawberries are one of their favorites and this recipe is beyond simple!

Florida-Avocado-Smoothie_recipe

Florida Avocado Smoothie
With 5 of us getting up and out the door during the week, mornings are crazy.  This Avocado Smoothie is an easy and quick breakfast that I can take with me and avocados are in season through January in Florida.

Florida-Beef-and-Sweet-Pepper-Skewers_recipe

Florida Beef and Sweet Pepper Skewers
My husband is Brazilian, he LOVES to barbeque and in Florida he does it constantly!  My favorite vegetable is Bell Peppers, I eat them raw, sautéed, grilled, any-way I love them.  So, this is a recipe he often grills us up and it’s delicious.

Want to check out some more yummy recipes?  Head over to Fresh from Florida!  

Whether I’m stocking up on produce at my local grocery store or at one of the cities farmers’ markets, I always look for the “Fresh from Florida” label.  That way not only am I getting fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, I am also helping the local farmers in my community profit and be able to continue a sustainable farm and keep growing quality food for all of our families.

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Looking for a local Farmers’ Market?
Fresh from Florida has a Directory!

Get connected with Fresh from Florida to learn about new recipes and watch some great videos!
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6 Yummy Beauty and the Beast Themed Sweet Treats

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Are you super excited about the new Beauty and the Beast movie coming out March 17th?  My family is!!! We keep watching the trailer repeatedly, and are completely obsessed with everything Belle related.


Having Beauty and the Beast sweet treats are a perfect way to prep for all the Disney magic!  Here are 6 great recipes worth trying this month.


Beauty and the Beast Sweet Treats

Best-Beauty-and-the-Beast-Sweet-Treats-Recipes
Beauty and the Beast Rose Oreos by Chantel at Nerdy Mamma

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Enchanted Rose Cupcakes by Amy at As The Bunny Hops

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Beauty and the Beast Rose Oreos by Chantel at Nerdy Mamma

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Beauty and the Beast Cupcakes by Sara at SensiblySara

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Rose Bud Butter Cookies by Wendy on The Monday Box

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The Grey Stuff Brownie Recipe by Kim at Two Kids and a Coupon

From the most elaborate to the simplest recipe, these 6 treats will make everyone excited for March 17th!

What is your favorite Beauty and the Beast themed recipe?

Yummy Italian Cookie Recipe!

This post is sponsored by Arm & Hammer and Gold Medal Flour.  All opinions are my own.
italian-cookies-flour-recipe
Christmas is next week and in my family that means the oven will be running over time to get all our baking traditions done.  One of my most favorite holiday time baking treat is my Nana’s recipe for Italian Cookies.  These cookies are so soft and yummy with the perfect level of sweetness that allows for you to eat way to many at once.

The recipe is easy to make, luckily because in my family we are always making a second or third batch before the cookies have even hit the oven.  I have so many vivid memories from my childhood of me and my cousins sneaking balls of this dough when my Nana would turn her head, add to that the fact that she was sneaking her own scoops into her mouth when she thought we weren’t looking and you can imagine we needed to keep extra ingredients on hand if we ever wanted a fully cooked cookie.
Now I laugh as I sneak to the laundry room to hide the dough I’m eating after yelling at my kids to “stop raw dough!”

This recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of flour, and has been nicknamed “The Flour Cookies” by some family members, so as you can imagine picking a good flour and keeping a lot of it on hand during the holidays is very important.  Another big ingredient we use in our kitchen is baking soda.  Luckily, in the busyness of the holidays, these ingredients are convenient to stock up on in the baking aisle at Walmart.  Each year I grab several bags of Gold Medal Flour and a couple boxes of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda so that I won’t have to worry about running out during the holiday season.
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These are trusted name brands that have been around for over 100 years and are still affordable.  My Nana took her cooking and baking very seriously, she always had something baking from scratch, some ravioli’s to cut and a lasagna in the freezer in case someone stopped by unannounced.  So it these brands were in her cabinets throughout my childhood, I use them and definitely recommend them!

So do you want to make some Yummy Cookies this Christmas?
Here’s the recipe!
christmas-italian-cookies

Nana’s Italian Cookies

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
3 Eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups Gold Medal Flour
5 Teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar

Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and all wet ingredients in a second bowl.  Once both bowls are well mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient bowel while mixing.

After about half the dry ingredients are mixed in, the dough will become thicker so I then shut off my mixer and begin to kneed the rest of the dry ingredients into the dough until all the flour is absorbed by the butter.

Grease a cookie sheet and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the dough into 1-2 inch balls to bake for 9-10 minutes.

Optional: Once finished baking I drizzle them with a mixture of 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar and 2 teaspoons of water.
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That’s it, super easy yet incredibly delicious!

Gather Chocolate ~ A Gift with a Cause!

Product sample was submitted for review, all opinions are my own.14940184_10157716749710051_6343787054116239358_o
I am currently devouring a box of chocolates!
I opened up the beautiful box that came in the mail from a chocolate company that I hadn’t heard of before and each piece of chocolate in the box looked so pretty that I had to to try every one.  In my mind I thought “I’ll try one so that I know what I’m talking about when I write about them, and save the rest of the calories for my hubby”.
 I kid you not the box is empty right now!
My husband hasn’t come home from work yet, so I guess I can hide the evidence and pretend this deliciousness never happened?
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This amazing box of sweets was, Gather Chocolates handmade by Harbor Sweets.

Harbor Sweets produces a large selection of handcrafted artisan chocolates and has done so since 1973.
They are based in Salem, Ma.  When I read that, I felt less guilty about eating the entire box of chocolates by myself, because after all, these were created in my old home town and it can be considered a perfect remedy for the twinge of homesickness I’ve been feeling.

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The new Gather line of chocolates isn’t just delicious, it has a mission attached to it, inspired by the plight of the honeybees.  By bringing awerness to the alarming loss of honeybees and the impact this has on our eco-system, Gather Chocolate hopes to be part of the solution.

2.5% of all Gather Chocolate sales are donated to Pollinator Partnership, who educates and advocates for honeybee protection.

Gather Chocolates are made by hand in small batches to unify the rich notes of 70% cocao dark chocolate which is complimented by lighter notes of natural honey.
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These chocolates truly are out of this world.  Each piece I put in my mouth had a new and unique flavor that had the prefect amount of sweetness for my tastebuds.

Gather Chocolates come in 6 piece boxes and 12 piece boxes.  The 6 piece option is $12.50 and the 12 piece box cost $18.50.  You can learn more about Gather Chocolates on the Harbor Sweets Website.
gather-chocolate
These boxes are a perfect option for holiday gifts.  The chocolate is unique and enjoyable, they come in a box perfect for gifting, and the price point makes it an affordable option for teachers’ gifts, hostess gifts, and to keep on hand for when you need an unexpected gift.  Just be careful you don’t eat them all before you need the gift!

Nana’s Almond Squares Recipe and My Big Lots Haul! #BIGSeason

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BIGSeason #BigLots #CollectiveBias
My fondest memories growing up are the ones of me learning to bake in my Nana’s kitchen.  She taught me to make Italian cookies, peanut butter balls, almond squares and so much more.  Leaning to use an electric mixer, grease the pans, and of course do the dishes.  She taught me life lessons of domestication in such a way that it made me fall in love with the art of baking.  That was just the way she was though, in all aspects of life.  She was my Nana, my mentor, and my best friend.

So when I got married she gave me one of the best gifts I could have ever asked for, her cookbook!  Called The Joy Cooking, this cookbook is stained, the pages are yellowed from age, and the binding is held together with duct tape, however this is my most coveted cookbook because each stain brings a memory of my Nana back to me and the duct tape well that’s just an extra signature that it was hers. It a prized possession that never leaves my kitchen, family members have asked to borrow it and I can’t stand to part with it so the only thing I can commit to is photo copying the recipes needed.
However with the cookbook, also comes the responsibility of doing a lot of the family baking.  There are two main desserts that she always brought to holiday parties, her Italian cookies and her almond bars.  My uncle will usually take on the Italian cookies, thankfully because my kids eat up the dough so fast that I never get any cookies actually cooked.  I am in charge of the almond bars, and they have always been a favorite of both my brother and I.
As soon as Thanksgiving is over I immediately start to think about my holiday meal planing and all that comes with it, from the almond squares that need to go to parties, to decorating cookies with the kids, and Christmas dinner.  Once my food list is sketched out, my first stop is Big Lots.  I remember several years ago, a Big Lots opened in our town and I was ecstatic.  
I’m a shopper, I love to spend time putting around stores that have a wide array of products.  Big Lots not only has so many things to look at, they also are always getting new and fun merchandise.  I can find a unique gift for a friend, a beautiful serving dish, and my baking ingredients all in one place.  
Last week I grabbed a coffee and set out on a Big Lot’s shopping trip,  I was able to pick up a couple Purex pans with covers that will work out perfectly for transporting all my baked good to parties.  I also found an adorable “I love baking” spatula, 2 Christmas hand towels, a holiday sign that I fell in love with, a snowman plate, and pretty Christmas mason jar mug.
*Disclosure: styles and assortment vary by store*
All this was before I even stepped into the huge grocery section throughout the middle of the store!  I was able to find everything I needed to make the Almond Squares for this weekend.  Sugar, Vanilla, Shredded Coconut, everything I had on my shopping list and everything was within my budget!  This is why my Big Lots is my first stop when planning for the holidays, I am able to get so many high quality ingredients and they’re all at a great price.
Once I got home on a shopping high from the great values I found, it was baking time!  The only thing that trumped my fun shopping finds that day, was pouring the almond extract into a bowl and making my entire kitchen smell like Nana.  
These are a delicious dessert idea, I’m sharing the recipe in the midst of the holiday baking rush.  So make sure you give these a try!
Nana’s Almond Squares


Ingredients:
3/4 cups butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Shredded Coconut to top


Preheat oven at 350 degrees

Melt butter, then mix together the butter and sugar.
Add eggs and mix for several minutes, until creamy. 

Add salt, vanilla, almond extract, and flour, and mix until well combined.

Pour into a greased pan, sprinkle top with shredded coconut, and cook for 40 minutes. 

Be sure to check out the large variety of baking and meal preparation items at Big Lots.  I’d love to hear what you love to make during the holidays!

   

Easy No-Bake Brazilian Pave Dessert Recipe #CookWithHood

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Hood Cream. I received product samples as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
The first Brazilian restaurant my husband took me to thirteen plus years ago, served Pave for dessert.  I immediatly fell in love with the taste, texture and perfect sweetness.  
After that date I remember scouring the internet for a recipe.  The internet was a lot less vast over a decade ago and the only recipes I could find were in Portuguese, which I wasnt able to speak yet, and the incredients were nothing I had heard of before.  Back then I didn’t even know what condenced milk was, never mind some of the other ingredients I was seeing listed.

Luckily over the years I was able to take a little from each recipe I would find, and as I met my husbands family I would get more recipes.  I remember creating several soupy disasters that ended up in the trash, but I remember making this exact recipe 10 years ago when Anthony was a baby and I was home all day going stir crazy.  I tasted it and was done switching around ingredients for good, I did it, it was the Pave I had been trying to recreate for years.
So here it is, a perfect no-bake dessert recipe just in time for the holidays!
Brazilian Pave
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 sleeves of Maria cookies
1 can condensed milk
Mix together butter and sugar until smooth. Then add egg yolks one at a time while mixing.
Once smooth, mix in 1 cup Hood Heavy Cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth and creamy, do not over beat the mixture or it will become grainy.
Next place the mixture to the side.  Put 1/2 a cup of Hood Heavy Cream in a bowl and dip the Maria cookies in the cream and then place them in a cake pan, creating the first layer of the Pave Truffle.  
Next spread half of the mixture over the cookies.
Dip more Maria cookies and create another cookie layer. Then add the rest of the cream mixture on top of the second cookie layer.
Add a third layer of cookies dipped in the Hood Heavy Cream.
Once you have these 5 layers, put the pan aside and bowl the can of condensed milk with a 1/2 cup of cream until the mixture is thin and smooth.  Remove from heat, let stand for a few minutes to cool to room temperature, and then spread over the final cookie layer.
If the cookies start to rise, use a spatula to push them back down.
Put the Pave in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours so that the cookies will absorb the cream and the Pave can set.  I try to make it a day or two in advance because it stays well in the fridge.
Once chilled, you can cut and serve as is, or sprinkle nuts, cocoa powder or add whipped cream to it. 
It’s always important to use a high quality cream so that it doesn’t separate during mixing and helps the mixture set well.  I have always chosen Hood Cream.  It is what I grew up cooking with because that was what my Nana always kept in her fridge, and now knowing that its what top chefs like Chris Coombs choose to use in their restaurants, I know it’s the best.
Want more delicious recipes featuring Hood Cream?  Download the Free Hood E-Cookbook that is available now on the Hood website.  I have been cooking from this cookbook sense it’s release and the recipes are absolutely amazing.  It is so much fun recreating recipes that were created by an amazing chef that has endless ingredients at his disposal, yet he uses ingredients like Hood that we have all heard of.  It also includes some great cooking tips and holiday recipes, the Peppermint Hot Chocolate is a huge favorite in my house.  Make sure you give it a look, it is free!

Make Your Favorite Football Fan’s Day by Serving Klondike Ice Cream 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 have always been a sweet indulgence in my house.  The combination of smooth ice cream and the crisp chocolate cover satisfies my sweet tooth every time.  I usually hide the box in the back of the freezer so that my kids don’t devour them in one day.  Then I get to secretly snack on them while my kids are in bed after a long day to melt the stress away.

However once I learned about all the flavors Klondike brand offers, I thought about how these would make a perfect party snack!  Mess free and no cooking involved, that sounds like a pretty amazing option, right?  Everyone loves ice cream and serving these easy to eat treats would surely be a hit!  With Klondike’s 12 varieties of chocolate coated ice cream stick-less bars,  I took the leap and served them up last Sunday and I was right!  Everyone loved them!  Anthony’s face when I pulled out the tray of Klondike deliciousness during the game was priceless!
The varieties available include the new Cookie Dough Swirl, as well as Caramel Pretzel, Heath, REESE’S, Mint Chocolate Chip, Krunch, OREO, Dark Chocolate, Rocky Road, Double Chocolate, Neapolitan, and Original.
For our Sunday football funday we stocked up on Rocky Road bars along with Mint Fudge Cookie, Fudge Krunch, and Cookies & Cream Klondike® Kandy Bars as our special dessert.  They worked out perfectly,  everyone was excited to get an ice cream bar, and I was excited that I got to enjoy the game with my family because I wasn’t stuck in the kitchen baking all day!
This was our first time trying the Klondike® Kandy Bars and the kids thought these were fun and delicious.  An ice cream bar packed with candy bar goodness, this was a dream come true for my ice cream loving munchkins!  I was also excited that each package now comes with two more bars for a total of 6 bars!  Which means I got to feed more hungry football fans at a great price.
These will definitely be a new staple at our parties.  Great taste, no cooking or clean up, they’re a busy mom’s party solution.  Plus the kids are already asking if I bought more for next Sunday yet!  Don’t tell them but I have them hidden in the back of the freezer to get me through this stressful week.
 Ready to try all the new flavors or Klondike Bars?

Learn more about Klondike here:

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