Pretzel ROLO Hearts #ValentinesDay #KidFriendly

These pretzel ROLO hearts are fun and easy to make…so easy, that your kids can help! Each “heart” is made from a pretzel, ROLO chocolate, frosting, and sprinkles. Toddlers can help by placing the chocolates on top the pretzels. Older children can add the frosting, and everyone can enjoy sprinkling their creations with Valentine’s Day colors.

Supplies:

  • parchment paper
  • heart shaped pretzels*
  • frosting
  • sprinkles (red or pink)
  • ROLO chocolate

*I used mini pretzels by Snyder’s of Hanover. These pretzels are more heart shaped than other brands, and they also are thick, so they hold onto their shape even when the chocolate melts.

Turn the oven to 350 degrees. Cut and place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Arrange your pretzels on top of the sheet and parchment paper. How many pretzels you need depends on how many ROLOs you buy.

Next, place one ROLO on the center of each pretzel. When your oven is heated, put the pretzels in for about 5 minutes.

You want the ROLOs to melt. If they melt too much, and the caramel starts to spread out away from the pretzel (like in the photo below), that’s fine. Just wait for the hearts to cool; then you can break the caramel parts off, leaving your hearts intact.

Once your hearts are out of the oven, wait for them to cool. The melted ROLOs will have a circular indentation in the top. Fill these with your frosting. I used a cream cheese cookie icing that came in a squeeze pouch.

Before your frosting hardens, sprinkle your sprinkles over top.

And you’re done! Just wait a few minutes before eating, to make sure that the chocolate and frosting have completely hardened.

What are some of your favorite kid-friendly Valentine’s Day treats?
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Our Sunday brunch at Bonefish Grill

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I received a $25 voucher for Sunday brunch at my local Bonefish Grill. Originally I’d planned on taking my foodie friend, but she was ill that day, so it was just me and Baby J.

We started off with complimentary fresh bread and olive oil with herbs. Baby J is a huge fan of dipping food into sauces (or anything, really), so he was excited over this part.

Next, we ordered the famous Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer. This has always been a favorite of mine. I want to note that the sauce on the shrimp tastes to me like it’s mayo-based, so if you don’t like mayo, you may not like this appetizer.

Missing two shrimp from the top right. I pulled them off immediately for Baby J to eat.

For my entrée, I ordered the Cajun shrimp omelette. Besides the shrimp and Creole sauce, it has goat cheese onions, and sweet bell peppers. My dish also included toast and a choice of fresh fruit or potatoes au gratin. I went with the potatoes.

Baby J had pancakes with fresh fruit, syrup, and a glass of white milk.

We had enough food left over to take home with us for later. The portion sizes were generous. I also ordered a macadamia nut brownie with vanilla ice cream to go. The voucher wasn’t enough to cover dessert, so I paid for that out-of-pocket (definitely worth it, yum).

I hate to say this, but the food did not meet the high standard I’ve come to expect from Bonefish Grill. I don’t know if it was the brunch menu or that particular group of kitchen staff or what exactly, but the food tasted mediocre. It just wasn’t very flavorful. The eggs and potatoes both tasted to me like they were out of a box or container. The Creole sauce for my omelette wasn’t at all spicy, which I expect for a Cajun dish. I was disappointed. The brownie was amazing though! Very rich and chocolatey. The fresh, complimentary bread was also good. Since I’ve loved Bonefish Grill for years, I will definitely go back, but I may avoid this location…or that shift, anyway.

If you’ve never been to Bonefish Grill, I encourage you to give it a try. I’ve made some great memories with friends and family at Bonefish Grill. Check and see if your local restaurant is open at 11am on Valentine’s Day! Depending on your area, other local offers may include the Cold Water Catch or Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Offer.

The Cold Water Catch is available through mid-February. It features healthier, lighter dining options with fresh fish choices. For the Prix Fixe Offer, dinner for two is $29.90 a person. This includes steak, lobster, salad, and dessert to share. This deal is available February 11 to 17.

Note: I received a voucher for a complimentary brunch, but was not otherwise compensated for this post.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Smørbrød (“Buttered Bread”)- An American appetizer twist on the Scandinavian sandwich

My cowriter, Ruth, is back today, bringing us some of her time-tested appetizer recipes.- Elisebet

Long ago before the advent of internet and cable network television brought culinary expertise into everyone’s kitchen, I was living in Norway, and the diet was pretty bland. Boiled potatoes and fish were the staple dinner foods, albeit served smothered in butter. (Maybe Paula Deen is Norwegian?)

There was one gastronomic dish, however, where Norwegians excelled. Every housewife (as we were back then) had standard stores in the cupboard and fridge to set out a concoction so pleasing to the eye that one hesitated to spoil the creation with a first bite. Upon succumbing and actually tasting, the fare was never disappointing.

From that time up to the present day—open-faced sandwiches have been the go-to party provision for our household. My American/Canadian variation is a slightly smaller version, frequently used as a type of appetizer. (In Norway we ate the open-faced sandwich with a knife and fork, but then, in Europe they eat pizza that way, too!) Try them for a company brunch or Sunday evening late supper. It’s a unique food to bring to a church activity and works, as well, for breakfast with the kids. (Lay out the ingredients and let them help you assemble with their own “creations.” They’ll be getting more veggies in their diet.) Remember—the Scandinavian open-faced sandwich is not just layers of sliced meat and veggies: the components are thinly sliced (or small chopped) and arranged artistically on the bread.

Here are the basics followed by some suggestions and a couple of recipes.

There are four main components to Smørbrød:

1)     Bread. It must be firm. French and Italian loaves work well; also use English muffins, rye/pumpernickel, frozen waffles (toasted first), home-made bread maker bread, or “party” rye and whole-wheat for a smaller appetizer.

2)    Spread. Each bread slice needs to be coated to keep out moisture from your other ingredients. (This also allows you to make the sandwiches ahead of time and refrigerate until serving.) Try butter (or margarine), cream cheese (whatever flavor goes with your toppings), mayo (or salad dressing), and mustard.

3)    Protein. Thinly sliced meats (turkey, ham, beef); cheese (any kind that will slice thin); egg (boiled, scrambled); fish (herring, crab, sardines, salmon, shrimp, etc.); salads (from any of the above, also from veggies – carrot slaw, for example, or olive salad).

4)    Veggies/fruit and/or garnish. Just about anything goes here, as well. The key is to make attractive choices, as well as combinations that taste good together. Cut the veggies in strips or slice thin (the Scandinavian cheese slicer is what I use for making the cucumber curls). Chop herbs, veggies, or pickles for the garnish.

Here are some suggestions, though remember to provide your guests with choices; the sandwiches shouldn’t all be identical. Particularly for company, I suggest making up the sandwiches with a variety of meats and veggies plus a salad (or two). These are very economical—you’re only going to use one thin slice of meat or a couple of tablespoons of a salad per sandwich.

Smørbrød Ideas:

1)   The Breakfast Treat. Cream cheese spread on a toasted waffle. Add pineapple ring, a few banana slices, and a fresh strawberry. Garnish with mint.

The Breakfast Treat

2)   The Mexican Breakfast. Scrambled eggs on buttered rye bread with chopped tomatoes (or salsa) for garnish.

3)   The Hawaiian. Pineapple ring on an English muffin half spread with cream cheese. A thinly-sliced ham roll-up through the center of the ring and parsley garnish on top.

The Hawaiian

4)   The Fisherman. Buttered “party” whole wheat bread slice (or use English muffin half for a larger appetizer) with salmon salad (recipe provided below) and chopped dill pickle garnish.

5)   The Valentine Appetizer. Mustard spread (horseradish if you’re brave) on a slice of French bread topped with a thin roast beef slice folded or rolled; thinly sliced cucumbers with a red pepper “heart” garnish.

The Valentine Appetizer

6)   The Italian.  Buttered Italian bread with an Italian cheese slice and Italian salami. Both sliced, rolled and placed over leaf lettuce; thinly sliced tomatoes and cilantro garnish.

7)   The Greek. Olive salad (recipe provided below) on a buttered English muffin half with cucumber curls and crumbled feta garnish.

Salmon Salad with Dill Pickle Garnish

Ingredients:

  • 7-8 oz. can of salmon
  • 6 T. light mayonnaise (or salad dressing)
  • ½ t. dill weed (optional)
  • 1 T. brown or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Two dill pickles (chopped small)

Directions:

Drain the salmon well, removing skin and bones. Mix mustard with the mayo, then add with dill weed to the drained salmon. Stir until well mixed. Depending on amount used per slice, makes enough for 6 English muffin half sandwiches or 1 ½ dozen “party” size slices. (For English muffin halves, use a teaspoon of chopped dill pickle in the center of the sandwich; “party” slices will need less.)

Kalamata Olive Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5-7 ounces Kalamata olives (pitted), coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise (or salad dressing)
  • ÂĽ t. olive juice
  • ½ T. minced garlic (optional)
  • ½ t. chopped parsley or cilantro

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together; place on bread slices and add veggie garnish.

What are some of your favorite appetizers? Have you ever tried Smørbrød or open-faced sandwiches like this before?
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