SMARTIE CAKE

IMG_6279There are two types of Smarties, the Canadian/UK kind, candy coated chocolate pieces.  There is another kind in the United States that resemble the hard sugar candies.  We are Canadian and to us it is the candy coated chocolate.  We are Smartie girls, not M&M’s.  This was our Easter desert, it is a favourite of some family members so we decided to bring it for Easter dinner….of course in bunny form.  This is a nice moist cake with flecks and small pieces of Smarties chocolate throughout.

For this recipe you will need:

1 box vanilla cake mix (I use French vanilla), make batter according to box directions

1-2 boxes of Smarties, crushed (I buy a scoopful at the bulk food store)

We used about 1/3-1/2 cup of crushed Smarties, gently fold that into the prepared cake batter. Pour into a greased round cake pan that has had the bottom lines in parchment paper.

Bake according to box directions.  The box makes two cakes, we did one round cake and the rest of the batter into 1 dozen cupcakes.

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Cut cake in half and stick flat sides together with frosting.  Then lay on serving plate cut side down and frost the rest.

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Then add jelly bean eyes and black licorice whiskers and mouth.  We made the ears from white paper with the pink coloured in with crayon.

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For the grass we used a bag of shredded coconut with green food colouring added and tossed around in a zip top bag.  Keep adding more drops and mix around until it is the colour green that you want.

The cupcakes Evie frosted by herself and sprinkled with the leftover Smartie crumbs and jellybeans.

Empty Tomb Buns

Happy Easter!

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Evie has been learning the true meaning of Easter since she started school.  She goes to Catholic school so those things are taught from the beginning.  I was a little concerned at first with the Easter story because of the crucifixion, it was violent and horrific, not that people are any less violent and horrific today, but this was my little 4 year old child.  I had nothing to fear, the teachers taught it very simply, cleaned up and scaled down.  That first Easter in school Evie came home one day saying “Mom, do you know that they killed Jesus on a cross and he died.”  I said yes I knew that and it was not nice just because he was different.  She replied, “Don’t worry Mom, he got up again!” Now at almost 8, she has been preparing for her first communion all winter, she knows the details and tells me things I didn’t know.

This was the perfect year to start a tradition with empty tomb buns.  These were quick and easy to put together on Easter morning with just 4 ingredients.

1 tube Pillsbury crescent rolls

8 large marshmallows

1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (this is very expensive to buy. I use 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1-2 tsp cinnamon)

1/4 cup melted butter

Unroll the dough  and cut into 8 squares.

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Take a marshmallow, dip in the melted butter then roll in cinnamon sugar.

 

Wrap the dough around the marshmallow and pinch the seams to seal. This represents Jesus in the tomb.

Place seam side down in a greased muffin pan.  Bake at 375F for about 9 minutes. First when I looked in the oven there was marshmallow oozing out of a few and it looked a bit of a mess, but it was ok.  I let them cool a couple of minutes and gently lifted the buns out using a spoon, then let cool on a baking rack for about 10 minutes or until room temperature, there is hot melted sugar inside so make sure cool enough before giving to children. Break the first one open together to see the inside, they will be amazed!

Then once cooled we added little icing crosses to the top (just a small tube of bought icing from the baking aisle).

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When you break open the bun, the tomb is empty!…..and delicious.

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These will be an Easter morning tradition at our house every year.

Slow Cooker White Bean Soup

IMG_6164I have been trying to post this for quite awhile, weeks really.  I thought the timing today was good as alot of people have leftover ham after Easter and this is a great easy way to use it up.  Don’t throw out that ham bone!  We had a ham bone in the freezer from Christmas (that a friend had leftover and was going to throw out, so I took it home to freeze).  I decided I would try to make a slow cooker white bean soup to use it up before it was too old and ended up in the garbage. I am not good with freezer cooking and I often put things in the freezer with the best of intentions, but then never use them and they end up freezer burnt.

A couple of notes, you will need to soak the beans overnight and our ham bone as frozen so we thawed that in the fridge overnight as well.

Here are the ingredients that my helper wrote out so we would remember what we added:

1 ham bone with some leftover ham attached

8 cups water

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We placed the thawed ham bone in the slow cooker. Put in the white beans (which had been soaked overnight).  FYI-the garlic was minced. Threw everything else in on top of that, poured in the water and cooked for about 6-7 hours on high (you could do 8- hours on low).

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At the end of the cooking time, carefully lift out the bone and cut off some bits of meat to add back to the pot. We don’t like ham very much so I didn’t add much back to the pot, but add back as much as you would like to suit your taste.  Try it for flavour at this point and add a little more salt if needed.

After all day cooking you have this tasty very frugal soup, that went great with crusty bread

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