Friday, June 5, 2015

Salted Caramel S'Mores

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsMakeSmores #CollectiveBias #sponsored

When I think of S'Mores I always think of Summer nights around a fire, roasting marshmallows and squishing them in between two pieces of graham cracker with a piece of chocolate melted in between. Even the smell of a toasted marshmallow brings back so many memories of the times I sent with family and friends making S'Mores. The best thing about S'mores is that they are a vehicle for all kinds of flavor combinations. The possibilities are pretty endless when you consider all the things you could put in between those two graham cracker squares on top of the chocolate and marshmallows. Click here for some S'Mores inspiration and see other peoples creative to make any night a S'Mores night!

Lately I have been eyeing up recipes that were flavored with Salted Caramel. I love how the sweetness of the caramel is balanced out by the salt. It's a perfect combination to add on top of a toasted marshmallow in S'Mores. Since we would be grilling for the holiday weekend, I thought this would be the perfect way to end the get-together. This recipe is beyond delicious with the caramel drizzled over the marshmallow and sprinkled with chunky pieces of sea salt.

If you haven't seen them yet, Walmart carries special versions of Kraft's Marshmallows called S'moreMallows and Honey Made Graham Squares. This makes your S'Mores prep super easy since you don't have to break your graham crackers apart or worry about your marshmallow rolling off! Pair that with your classic Hershey's Milk Chocolate bars (because you always need more than enough to make the recipe to eat a few as you're preparing) and you are ready to go!

I laid all of our ingredients out on a table so that people could put their S'Mores together and put them on the grill. There is something more fun about assembling your S'More and then being able to eat it. Making them is definitely half the fun of eating them! Any day can be a S'Mores Day, but I especially love them for a Summer Party. I love that the prep time is as short as the clean up. Grilling them is also a great way to be able to stay outside wither guests instead of having to go inside and be serving from there. These were a huge hit--everyone loved the pop of flavor that came from the caramel sauce and sea salt sprinkled over top of them.

Salted Caramel S'Mores


1 6pk Herhsey's Milk Chocolate Bars
1 box Honey Maid Graham Cracker Squares
1 bag Kraft's Jet Puffed Marshmallows
Hershey's Caramel Sauce
Sea Salt

1. On a piece of foil, place one graham cracker square. Add two pieces of chocolate and one marshmallow.

2. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the marshmallow and sprinkle with sea salt.

3. Fold up the sides of your foil, so that nothing runs off and place on the grill.

4. Cook on grill until marshmallow starts to grow or melts. Remove from grill and top with another graham cracker square.

What favorite topping do you add to your S'Mores? Share your S'Mores inspiration below in a comment!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In The Kitchen // Kitchen Essentials vol. 2

The more time I spend in the kitchen cooking and baking, the more important the tools I have become. Over time I have definitely learned what is not as much as a necessity as other things. For example, having an Avocado to cut and smash your avocado is not nearly as important as the plastic half that keeps it fresh and stops it from browning.

I have also found myself swimming in kitchen items and not using many of them because they are packed leaving me to be crafty about what tools I do have that can do the same thing. Here is a round up of tools that I have found to be super important in the kitchen when cooking and baking.

Pastry Scraper While this is most used for working with things like biscuits and breads, I love to use it when I am coking as well. It can be great for scooping up veggies that you have diced. I used to use the side of the knife to scrape them up with, but once I got a good set of knives and learned that it was bad for the blade I stopped. I also find this great when you are baking to scrape things up and cut them up since pastry type doughs can be tough.

Measuring Cups & Spoons Measuring cups and spoons are so important when it comes to cooking and baking. Trying to make breads or cookies without exact measurements is a nightmare when you are still learning! I am also learning about how when you scoop things like flour with them, you are most likely getting an inaccurate amount of ingredient since it packs it into the cup!

Nested Mixing Bowls These are my all time favorite mixing bowls. What makes these bowls more special than any others, is that they are high rimmed and have a rubber bottom which stops them from sliding all over your counter. I find these have worked better than any bowls I have tried. You absolutely do not need to rush out and buy these, but I would definitely look for bowls that are high rimmed and have a rubber coating on the bottom!

Cookbook Stand A couple weeks ago I was wandering around Crate and Barrel and stumbled across this cookbook stand and instantly feel in love. I have been looking for some kind of cookbook stand for months and never found one that I really liked. What sold me on this stand was the plastic cover and also that it flattens out when you are not using it. Not only does it keep your cookbook from closing on you when you're using it, but it also protects it from any food that may inadvertently end up on the pages.

What tool has become most important for you in the kitchen? Is there one tool you recommend people get? Share it below!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cucumber Mint Water // Infuse

Adding fruits and herbs to your water gives it that little extra flavor that can liven it up. I love coming up with different combinations as different things are in season. It also makes for an extremely refreshing and healthy drink. Instead of adding those mixing you buy in the store, adding fresh flavorings to your water can have positive effects. For example adding a slice of lemon helps aid in digestion. There is no ceiling when it comes to flavoring your water.

When I got the Infuse: Oil, Spirit and Water cookbook I couldn't wait to see what it had to offer. It is filled with so many delicious and fresh recipes. There are teas, vinaigrettes, oils, waters and even a coffee recipe! This book opens your mind to all of the endless possibilities you can make once you being infusing. I love the way each recipe has a break down picture of the ingredients so you know what you are looking to add.

The one thing I noticed about these recipes however, is that they are small. If you are entertaining a large group of people, this is not the best route to go for drinks. The infused liquid goes very well over ice and can be complimented with a garnish of your choice. I found that using part infused liquid and part base water helped spread it out, but also helped to not overwhelm anyone with flavor. I love Cucumber, Mint and Lime in water but this was overpowering and not as refreshing. Be sure to follow the directions for keeping it in the refrigerator because your fruits, veggies and herbs will start to become bitter.

Cucumber Mint Water


12 Slices of Cucumber
4 Slices of Lime
4 Large Sprigs of Fresh Mint
28 oz of Water

1. Combine the cucumber, lime and mint in a 32 oz Mason Jar. Muddle until lightly crushed

2. Add the water, seal and shake for 30 seconds to combine

3. Serve over ice. The infusion will keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours

Have you done any infusing? What is your favorite infused creation?

Disclaimer: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review, however all views and opinions are 100% my own.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

In My Garden // What I Planted

I feel like I wait for Spring every year, not because of the weather but because it's time to plant everything in the garden. My love for gardening started at a young age seeing my grandma's garden an being able to pick tomatoes and eat them like apples. When I got a little bit older I had a planting kit that was baby plants of herbs. A few years later I began growing my own pumpkins. It was so fun to watch everything grow and have all of these amazing pumpkins.

Once I moved down to North Carolina I was so excited to finally have a yard that I could plant things in. Last year most of my plants did so well! I think growing fruit and vegetables in the clay really helps to keep them drained. I also couldn't believe how many cucumbers grew off of my three pickling cucumber plants.

The herbs in the pots bloom really well. It helps keep them to a confined space other wise your mint will grow like a weed! My jalapeño plant did grow some papers, but not nearly enough to pickle them and they didn't grow to be as big as I had hoped. I also planted a banana pepper plant that never had any peppers. The one thing I am seeing finally bloom is my lavender plant. I tok several pictures of it to share with you all, but right now it just looks like a big untrimmed bush. Once it starts to bloom it will be a beautiful picture.

Tips on Gardening:

-Make sure to plant each bud a good amount of space apart. While they may look small now one they grow and start to fully bloom you will be surprised! Sometimes it even requires to grow it in a pot or else you will have a garden bed full of mint leaves.

-Always read the tag that comes in the dirt of the plant when you get it to make sure you are caring for it properly. Not all plants need the same care. While most plants like full sun, a lot can only take partial before they dry out.

-Use a trellis. It is important for plants such as Cucumber and Tomatoes to have a support system as they grow and fruit begins to form not only because it keeps the plant more stable, it protects your fruit from laying on the ground and rotting.

-Pruning. While I don't know much about pruning, it is important to keep an eye on your plants and see if you can cut off any extremities that might be taking away from the branches where fruit is blooming. I always look for branches that have no fruit and cut them off or a dead basil leave. This gives your plant the hint that it needs to pump nutrients to the important parts!

-Water, water, water! It is most important to keep your plants watered. Watch as you water your plants and see how they react. When you notice the water continually seeping into the dirt, it means your plant is still thirsty. When it starts to pool at the top, it's fully watered. Be conscious of the weather when watering; if it is going to rain, don't worry about watering your plants.

Here comes the hardest part...wait for your plants to grow and flower. The first few weeks I am anxiously checking my plants to see if they have bloomed. One I see a baby cucumber or a flower on my jalapeño plant, I relax and let them grow. It is so fulfilling to watch things grow from baby plants to fully bloomed produce. Check back next week for an update on everything is growing!

Do you have a garden? What are you growing? If you don't what would you want to pant?