Backyard Campout Birthday Party

Last year my son wanted a Campout for his 9th birthday.  I couldn’t think of a better spot to host it then in our backyard! We had a BBQ, trail map scavenger hunt, silly string war, bon fire, movie outside on a big screen (the back of my neighbors house), popcorn & a build your own trail mix bar. But after so much fun and sugar, it was impossible to get them to sleep…luckily my husband had the honor of camping out with all the boys while I was snug as a bug in a rug in my bed (Smart having it in my backyard, right!)  I am sure a few scary stories were told in those tents…priceless party for sure!

Campout Party

Every year we usually have a kids birthday party and a adult birthday party just for family and friends.  For the campout party…we just put them both together!  Adults came for the bbq & cake, hung out by the bonfire and talked while the kiddos did their scavenger hunt and everyone stayed up for the outdoor movie.  When the feature presentation was over the adults went home and the kiddos got all snug in their sleeping bags!

Set up – I hung signs on our backyard fence.  I purchased them from Oriental Trading online…cheap but super sturdy!  I hung them on the fence with twine.  My husband set up 2 tents for the boys to sleep in!

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup S’mores

Now that changes everything!  Summer is awesome isn’t it!!!!  My son loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and I came up with the idea to stick one on a graham cracker instead of the norm chocolate bar…boy was it a huge hit!!!  I’m not sure if I will ever go back to the plan on chocolate bar again…if you love peanut butter & chocolate (who doesn’t right?) you HAVE to give this a try!!!!

Reeses Smores
Oh for the love!!!  Camping trip in your near future…these will be perfect!

Reeses Smores 2

Inspired to make some more “S’more” related food!  Click here to check out this great blog I found with tons of S’more related foods!!

Enjoy!!

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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

Zucchini Choc Chip Muffins Let me help you use your bounty of zucchini this summer!

If you have been looking for a Zucchini Bread recipe…look no further!  Or…if you have never made Zucchini Bread…this will be the recipe you go back to time and time again! It’s not only super simple, it freezes well and can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled…to make multiple loaves.

I made mine into muffin form but also makes wonderful loaves or even mini loaves. The streusel topping is amazing (I skipped the nuts and added more chocolate chips) and maybe a little extra streusel.  You can never have too much streusel!  My kiddos chowed these down and never even questioned the little green flecks throughout!

Enjoy!

Zucchini Choc Chip Muffins 1

Her 2nd muffin!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Ingredients

    BROWN SUGAR OAT STREUSEL

  • 2/3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 Tablespoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • ZUCCHINI BREAD & MUFFINS

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (careful not to over measure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional (or use pecans or walnuts)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9x5 (or 8x4) loaf pan with nonstick spray. If making muffins, preheat oven to 425F degrees and spray a 12-count pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Make the streusel first by combining the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with two knives or a pasty cutter (preferred) - or you may use your hands. Mix until the streusel resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until evenly combined. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Avoid overmixing.
  4. Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 350F degrees. Remove from the oven and top with the streusel - press it down into the top. The reason you are adding it after 20 minutes is to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the bread as it bakes. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I covered the bread loosely with aluminum foil after 35 total minutes to avoid the top from getting too brown. Allow bread to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan and serving.
  5. If making muffins, fill 9-10 muffin cups all the way to the top. Press the streusel into the tops of each muffin. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F degrees and, keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees and continue to bake for an additional 13-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Bread and muffins stay covered tightly at room temperature or refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bread and muffins freeze well for up to 3 months. Recipes may easily be doubled, tripled, etc and baked in batches.

Notes

*Instead of vegetable oil, you may use canola oil or melted coconut oil. I find the recipe tastes best with vegetable oil. *Healthy bonus: I tried swapping half of the oil with applesauce and didn't notice much of a difference as far as taste and texture goes! However, to avoid a rubbery texture, I would not swap any more than half of the oil for applesauce.

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Parmesan Zucchini Squash & Corn

Parmasan Zucchini Squash and Corn Do you have an over abundance of zucchini & yellow squash in your garden like I do?  I love my garden and love fresh veggies…I just wish it wouldn’t produce so much All at once!  My husband and I eat tons of sauteed or grilled veggies and after a while…it kind get kind of boring!  This is a simple recipe that jazzes your veggies up a bit…super easy and really yummy!  Enjoy!

Parmesan Zucchini Squash & Corn

5 minutes

5 minutes

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You can also do this on the grill...just add all ingredients to a grill safe pan (except lime juice, cilantro and Parmesan....stir those in just before eating)!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 zucchinis, diced
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, or more, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add zucchini, corn, basil, oregano and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender and cooked though, about 3-4 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  3. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan.

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Zucchini Brownies

Zucchini Brownies Pic

I make these every year when our garden starts producing zucchini…it seems to be the one plant that grows like crazy.  I see one starting and by the next day it’s ready to pick…I could probably stand there and watch them grow!  My daughter helped me make them but when it was time to fold in the zucchini…I took over and turned my back to her.  She was clueless and even better…had NO idea when she was eating them that the zucchini was hidden in there!  Perfect way to get veggies in those picky eaters! 🙂  Enjoy!

Zucchini Brownies

15 minutes

30 minutes

24

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Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • ...

    Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies sprint back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt together the 6 tablespoons of cocoa and margarine; set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, blend together the confectioners' sugar, milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in the cocoa mixture. Spread over cooled brownies before cutting into squares!

 

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Easiest Ever Play Dough Recipe

PLAYDOUGH 5

Ready for minutes in the kitchen (5 minutes to be exact), will last up to 6 months and provide hours and hours of fun for the kiddos!  This is my go-to recipe for homemade play dough that is so fun and easy…I just had to share it with you!   So easy in fact…my 5 year old daughter helped me (almost) every step of the way…(I poured in the boiling water) and she did the rest!

This play dough is so soft and smooth and doesn’t even begin to dry out for the hours and hours my kiddos played with it!  Nothing compared to store bought play dough and so easy…you will never even want to buy your play dough again.

Endless play I guarantee it!

Playdough

Easiest Ever Play Dough Recipe

5 minutes

See Detailed Nutrition Info on

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tarter
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels right to you)
  • food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, salt, cream of tarter and oil in a large mixing bowl
  2. Add food coloring to the boiling water then into the dry ingredients (color optional)
  3. Stir continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough
  4. Allow it to cool down then take it out of the bowl and knead it vigorously for a couple of minutes until all the stickiness is gone. This is the most important part of the process, so keep at it until it's the perfect consistency! (If it remains a little sticky then add a touch more flour until it's just right)

So easy the kiddos will LOVE to help make it!

Make sure to knead your dough!!

Hours and Hours of fun!

Enjoy!!! Playdough 3

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