Peanut butter bites

I have to admit, I am not a fan of peanut butter.  Peanuts are ok, but when they’ve been made in to a spread, I’m not keen.  My husband and eldest son, on the other hand, love the stuff.

Several months ago, I tried out a recipe for peanut butter truffles, but they just weren’t the same as a regular truffle should be, so I changed the name to peanut butter bites.

This recipe is SO simple, and can be made using vegan friendly products (if you are a vegetarian / vegan).

There’s no baking involved, and very little “heat” needed, so give it a go.  I think it took me about an hour to make them – from start to finish; and the whole outcome cost less than £2.

If you have any fancy boxes, you could even pop a few of the bites in to a box, tie a ribbon around, and you have an amazing, homemade, frugal gift.

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Ingredients

270g (9.5oz) peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

40g (1.4oz) unsalted butter

140g (4.9oz) icing sugar

Chocolate (I used 300g / 10oz, but I had some left over)

Sprinkles (optional)

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Ensure that you have enough room to fit the baking sheet in to your fridge – this is very important!
  3. Put your peanut butter and butter in to a microwavable bowl, and heat on full power for 15-30 seconds.  I checked after 15 and 20 seconds, but needed longer, so I allowed for the full 30.
  4. Transfer the butter mixture in to a mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly, until the butter and peanut butter have combined.
  5. Carefully sift in the icing sugar, bit by bit, and mix well.  I used about a third at a time.  Ensure that you have thoroughly mixed in the icing sugar to the butter mixture.
  6. Using your hands, break off a little of the peanut dough, and roll quickly in between your palms to make a ball, approximately 1 inch in diameter, and place each ball on to the lined baking sheet.  If, like mine, towards the end of the dough, it stops wanting to stick together, squeeze it a little in your palms to soften, and roll into a ball again.
  7. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  8. After about 20 minutes, break up the chocolate in to small pieces, and place in a glass bowl – be sure that the glass bowl can sit on the top of a pan of water.  The base of the bowl should not touch the water.
  9. Bring the pan of water to the boil, and allow the chocolate to melt completely.
  10. When the chocolate has fully melted, switch off the heat, and bring out the peanut butter bites from the fridge.
  11. Roll each bite in the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off.  I used two forks, and gently tapped the fork on the edge of the glass bowl to allow the excess chocolate to come away.
  12. Place the now chocolate covered bites back on to the baking sheet, and repeat until you have covered all peanut bites.
  13. When you have completed covering the bites, if you wish, you can cover them in sprinkles, or (as I did) just sprinkle a couple on the very top.
  14. Return to the fridge for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Enjoy!

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Bath Bombs Galore!

Over the past few years, it seems bath bombs have been popping up at every skincare shop out there. Bath bombs leave your bathwater cleansing, soothing and delightfully fizzy. With their soothing scents and fun fizzy effect, it’s no wonder bath bombs are such a huge hit. .However, boutique bath bombs can be expensive and include a fizzing ingredient called citric acid that can be harsh on your skin.  .

It’s easy to make on your own using ingredients found at your local supermarket, and you can omit the citric acid. This recipe calls for cream of tartar (which is sold in the baking aisle in Asda!), which, when combined with baking soda, will give you the same fizzy results.

Ingredients & Materials Needed

256g (9oz / 2 cups) of bicarbonate soda

128g (4.5oz / 1 cup) cream of tartar

50g (1.6oz / 6 tbsp) of Epsom salts

Essential oils of your choosing

Coconut or olive oil

Water or Witch Hazel – in a spray bottle

Large mixing bowl

Large metal spoon

Silicone ice cube tray or mould

Method

  1. Combine the bicarb soda, cream of tartar and Epsom salts in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add up to 20 drops of your choice of essential oil (or up to your desired scent) and two teaspoons (7g / 11ml) of coconut / olive oil.  If you have any dried lavender or any other dried flowers, you can add them at this point.
  3. Once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, test the mixture by squeezing a small amount in your hand.  If the powder easily compresses together without separating, it is ready to place in the moulds.  However, if the mixture crumbles apart, add a single spray of water / Witch Hazel at a time until you can compress it into a ball.  You shouldn’t have to add more than five sprays of water / Witch Hazel.
  4. Now pack the mixture tightly into the silicone moulds.  You will find that the back of a metal spoon will help compact the mixture in to all corners of the mould.
  5. Leave the mixture in the mould for a full 24 hours to dry.
  6. Once the bath bombs have dried for 24 hours in the mould, carefully remove them and allow them to air dry undisturbed for another 24 hours.  Then, drop one in your bath and enjoy the fizz!

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Shortbread & Coconut Shortbread

It’s Gnings’ last day in school tomorrow, as he is breaking up for Christmas.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come around!

I’ve been struggling for ideas on what he should give to his teacher, and two teaching assistants, as a gift for Christmas; and with money being a bit tight too (I’m still on maternity leave), I didn’t really want to spend a lot.  So I thought, everyone loves biscuits, so that’s what we’ll do.  And that’s what we did!

I think I managed to make about 50 stars, and 35 “gingerbread” biscuits.  The stars cost approx. 50p, and the “gingerbread” ones about 75p.

Here’s the recipe:~

125g butter, softened

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour (all-purpose)

OPTIONAL – (1tbsp desiccated coconut)

Drop of water

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (170C for fan assisted).
  2. Line a baking tray (or two) with greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together, using the back of a large, wooden spoon.
  4. Sift in all of the flour, in one go, and stir it all together using the spoon (this is also the part where you will add the coconut – if you are going to.  This worked absolutely wonderfully).  When you’re unable to stir any more, use one of your hands to start “bringing the mixture together”, in to a dough.
  5. Add just a drop or two of water – just enough so the mixture starts to meld nicely.  Don’t add too much, otherwise it’ll end up all sticky, and icky.
  6. Once the dough has formed a lovely ball, turn out on to a work surface, that has had a ‘scattering’ of icing sugar (powdered / confectioners sugar), and roll out with a rolling pin, so that it’s about 1cm thick.
  7. Cut out your required shape(s) – squares, rectangles, circles, stars, etc. – and place on the lined baking tray.
  8. Lightly prick the top of the biscuits with a fork, and sprinkle a little more caster sugar on the top of each.
  9. Throw them in the oven (well, not literally) for 15-20 minutes, or until a golden brown colour.
  10. Allow to cool fully before digging in.  Be careful though!  They are incredibly moreish.

Excuse the pics – my camera is playing up a little 😦

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And this is how I packaged them up – all ready for Gningy to take in to school tomorrow:

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Homemade Honeycomb / Sponge / Cinder Toffee – Pic heavy

I have never in my life had a recipe so tasty, yet so easy (and quick!) to make.  This takes approximately 10 minutes from gathering the ingredients, weighing, making, and pouring.  The only thing that takes the time is after it has been poured in to the tin, as it can take 1 to 1 and a half hours to ‘set’ before you’re able to snap it up to enjoy.  Anyway…

Ingredients:

Butter (for greasing)

200g caster sugar

5 tbsp golden syrup

2 tsp bicarb soda

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Method:

1.  Grease a 20cm square tin (or line with greaseproof / baking paper).

2.  Put the sugar and syrup in to a deep pan, and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Try not to let the mixture bubble.

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3.  Once the sugar crystals have melted, turn up the heat and allow to boil (whilst stirring continuously) until the mixture becomes an amber colour.

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4.  Remove the pan from the heat, and using a wooden spoon, QUICKY beat in the bicarb soda until you can no longer see the powder.  Be careful, as the mixture will start to foam, and will burn you if it touches you.

5.  Scrape the mixture in to your greased / lined tin and allow time for it to harden (around 1 to 1 and a half hours or so).  Do NOT put it in the fridge.

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6.  When the mixture has set fully, you’ll be able to tip it out of the tin, and break / snap it up to serve as a treat, bag up as a gift, or to scoff the lot yourself 🙂

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I turn around for 2 seconds, whilst I go and find my gift bags, only to find this little Gning running off with the honeycomb..!!

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Ready to give as gifts…

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The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…  A partridge in a pear tree.

I didn’t want to make the “Santa Sleighs” for the kids at Kung Fu this year.  I was getting a little bored in repeating the same gift, year after year, and I felt under-appreciated that I had gone to the painstaking effort of (wasting) three hours to make.  I had to make twelve of them last year, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it took me three hours.  I wouldn’t mind because they looked great…

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I had wrapped a 4-fingered KitKat, a ‘Freddo’ chocolate bar, and a Turkish Delight up in red paper…  Then I taped the candy canes to the bottle (with extreme difficulties, I might add), then the Father Christmas was added last.  To say that I had to rearrange the way that the candy canes and Santas’ were sitting more than once is an understatement.

So this year, I had decided that I was going to put together the dry ingredients for Christmas Elf Soup.  That way, all the kids had to do was to ask a grown-up for help in pouring the hot water over the mixture.

Christmas Elf Soup – How to make

What you will need:

Three re-sealable food bags.  Small.

One slightly larger food bag; to store the latter in once full.

Cocoa powder.

Milk chocolate drops.

Mini-marshmallows.

Candy Cane.

The label with instructions…

Hole punch and Christmas ribbon OR a stapler with staples.

How to put it all together:

Add four heaped teaspoons in to a dry, re-sealable bag.

Add two heaped teaspoons of the dark chocolate drops to another dry, re-sealable bag.

Add a small handful of mini-marshmallows to a third dry, re-sealable bag.

Position the filled bags neatly in to the slightly larger food bag.

Add the (still wrapped) candy cane in to the bag.

Seal shut with the label, using staples, or hole punch with ribbon.

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The label was designed, and made by yours truly.  It reads:

Front:  “Christmas Elf Soup”

Back:  “How to prepare your Christmas Elf Soup:  Empty the soup powder and pieces of Elf poop in to your favourite mug.  Ask an adult to help you pour hot water over the mixture.  Sprinkle on the snowman pieces, and stir with the North Pole!”

The latter on the back of the label states the ingredients (Cocoa powder, Milk chocolate drops, Mini marshmallows, Candy Cane).

I managed to fit four of my labels on to an A4 sheet of card for printing.  Feel free to use it, but if you are going to use it on your own site, please give credit where credit is due.

Christmas Elf Soup Wrapper for A4 print

Click to enlarge the picture

Once again, after handing the packets out to the students of the school, I felt like it was a waste of time.  Just a look, and a “thanks”.  Not a heart-felt one.  I suppose that’s just the way I am, but nether-the-less, my hubby certainly appreciated the leftover one I had made for him…  🙂

A treat for feet – Lavender Foot Soak

I’m currently on a creative streak, where I’m making all sorts of fashion jewellery, accessories and other crafty bits and pieces to take to a craft fair on 1 June.  I’m rather proud with the amount of items I’ve created so far, but this one I have to share with you.

I’m not giving you a set amount of ingredients, as it varies depending on the size of the jar you are wanting to use.

Ingredients / Items needed

Pure sea salt

Long grain rice

Baking Powder / Baking Soda

Dried Lavender buds

Essential oil – Lavender

Food grade citric acid

Jar(s) with lid(s)

Method

1.  Ensure the jar(s) and lid(s) you are using is fully cleaned.  Try to soak in boiling water to sterilise the jar(s).  Dry thoroughly.

2.  Add the salt, rice, baking powder and lavender buds at 1 tablespoon each; 1 teaspoon of citric acid; 6-7 drops of lavender essential oil.

3.  If your jar is still not full, continue to add salt, rice, baking powder and lavender buds in equal quantities until full.

4.  Put the lid on the jar and shake until the mixture is fully blended.

Done!

How to Use

1.  In a bowl, large enough to soak your feet in, add 2-3 teaspoons of the mixture, add boiling water (and some cold to bring it to a reasonable temperature)

2.  Add your feet and allow to soak for 15-20 minutes.

3.  Dry your feet thoroughly.

Perfect for tired feet.  Enjoy!

Dad Rocks

Looking for an exciting homemade gift for Father’s Day?  Father’s Day is on Sunday, 16 June this year…  This is a very simple idea that you and your little one can make.

What you need:

1/4 cup salt

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup water

bowl

baking tray

greaseproof paper

small stones

Method:

1.  Preheat the oven to 120°C / 100°C for fan assisted / 250°F.  Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2.  Mix the salt, flour and water together thoroughly in a bowl.  If the dough is too sticky, add small amounts of flour until the mixture is doughy and pliable.  Be careful not to add too much flour as the mixture may dry out and crack.

3.  Shape the dough into a ball in your hands, and flatten on the greaseproof paper to approximately 1/2 inch thick.

4.  Carefully select pieces of stone to create the words “DAD ROCKS”.  Press them firmly but gently into the dough.

5.  Bake your paperweight for 2 – 2.5 hours until completely dry.

6.  Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before handling.

Optional.  You can spray / paint your creation with a clear coat sealer or acrylic sealer.

Ta-da!

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