Holiday Baking Fun with Becel

The holidays and baking go hand-in-hand and I know every year I try to come up with a fun new recipe to try out, I try to top myself and usually when I start doing my recipe searches I get intimidated and can’t get over the amazing creations others come up with.

Here’s where Becel’s ‘Anything Goes’ Cookie Dough recipe comes in. It’s a lovely basic dough and you can add all sorts of things to it without having to find a whole new recipe (but your cookie-eating friends likely won’t notice –wink wink).

Deciding what to bake each holiday season can cause stress, but with this recipe you can do a half-batch one style, and the other another. Definitely a way to get more out of your dough ;).

And, just in time for the holidays for the baker in your life, Becel is having a fantastic contest! Read on for the details!

I’m thinking of adding some of the leftover Halloween candy to make my dough and cookies more fun! How yummy does crushed up peanut butter cups sound? Or Reese’s Pieces? Mmmm!

BECEL ANYTHING GOES COOKIE DOUGH RECIPE

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour

1 tsp.  baking soda

1/2 tsp.  salt

1 cup  Becel® Buttery Taste margarine

1 cup  firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 Naturegg Omega 3 eggs (where available – otherwise, please use your preferred brand)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F (190° C). Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Beat Becel® Buttery Taste margarine with sugars in large bowl using electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Gradually add in flour mixture; beat just until blended. Add your choice of mix-ins (i.e. chocolate chip, dried fruit, seeds, toffee bits, etc.). Drop by tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets, 2-inches (5 cm) apart. Bake 7 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool 2 minutes on wire rack; remove cookies from sheets and cool completely.

About the contest:

Get into the holiday spirit by #BakingWithBecel!

Share a photo of your Anything Goes Cookie Dough creation with Becel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and be entered for your chance to win 1 of 4 baking prize packages valued at $625! See below for additional details, and be sure to visit becel.ca for the full rules and regulations, or click here.

Contest Entry Dates:

Monday, November 16 to Sunday, December 13

How to Enter:

Get creative! Add your favourite ingredients and/or mix-ins to the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough recipe (included below) and share a photo of your #BakingWithBecel creation alongside a tub of Becel Buttery Taste margarine in one of the following ways:

  • Instagram:  To enter via Instagram, log in to your public Instagram Account and post a photo of your cookie creation using the hashtags #BakingWithBecel and #Contest and an explanation of your suggested added ingredients to the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough Recipe
  • Twitter:  To enter via Twitter, log in to your public Twitter Account and tweet a photo of your cookie creation using the hashtags #BakingWithBecel and #Contest and an explanation of your suggested added ingredients to the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough Recipe
  • Facebook:  To enter via Facebook, log in to your Facebook Account and post a photo of your cookie creation to the Becel Facebook Page Wall using the hashtags #BakingWithBecel and #Contest and an explanation of your suggested added ingredients to the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough Recipe
  • Pinterest: To enter via Pinterest, log in to your public Pinterest Account and create a Pinterest board with the title #BakingWithBecel and pin your Photo to that board, including the hashtags #BakingWithBecel and #Contest , the date, and your added ingredients to the Becel Anything Goes Cookie Dough recipe in the Pin description

To enter, participants must post a photo of their baked-with-Becel creation alongside a Becel tub to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest using the hashtag #BakingWithBecel and tagging Becel’s pages where appropriate.

Prizing:

Each week, one winner will be drawn to win a #BakingWithBecel baking prize pack valued at $625.

Baking prize packs include a 5.5 quart stand mixer, baking sheet and set of measuring cups and spoons from Cuisinart Canada, four packages of HERSHEY’S CHIPITS Baking Chips and product coupons from Burnbrae Farms (outside Atlantic Canada) and Becel!

Prizing Eligibility:

To be eligible to enter the contest, an individual must be a resident of Canada (excluding Quebec) and have reached the legal age of majority in his/her province or territory of residence.

Happy Baking to all!
This post was sponsored by Becel, however, all opinions are my own 🙂

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Adventures in Babysitting…Nonmom style!

Yes you read that right, plus, it remains one of my favourite movies to this day.

I was asked to babysit my adorable neice and nephew (he’s my mini-me I swear), and overall I’m pretty pleased at how it went.

I adore them, however I don’t see them as much as I’d like as my schedule doesn’t match up with theirs as often as we’d all like. But I assure you, I adore them.

Now, it is important to note that in my teen years I did a lot of babysitting, like A LOT a lot of babysitting. I loved it. I had a couple of regulars and I was known for my grilled cheese sammiches and also my love of crafting, board games and Disney movies.

But it’s been a while. And I admit, I was a little bit nervous. So, I decided on a plan, my nephew has been wanting me to teach him how to knit so I took along my loom (I taught myself for him as I’m a crocheter) and some yarn and he and I had a blast.

My neice is younger (he’s 5, she’s 2) so was understandably a little confused when I arrived to get her from her nap instead of her regular sitter, or her mommy or daddy, or, my mom or dad.

It took a bit of explanation (no no, mommy at work, so is daddy, you have Aunty Amy today), but she relented and even let me change her pull-up.

And here’s where I had a refresher of sorts. When I took the post-nap one off I noticed it worked just like a diaper on the sides. So I didn’t worry when the sides came loose when I put the new one on. The tabs stuck, it stayed on, but apparently (thank you Jackie!!!) it really is supposed to pull-on. I’m still taking it as a win, it totally stayed on. 😉

The kids played, and nephew-kins knitted with me (we traded off rows on the loom) and then the giggling started as the kids warmed up and indeed perked up around me. We were all giggling before long and the neice and I happily played with Mr. Potato Head while nephew-kins did some extra rows all by himself. Hashtag #ProudAunty on that one :).

We laughed, we smiled, they loved being called Goofball 1 and Goofball 2 and when their daddy came home I was admittedly a little sad as we had been having such a fun time.

All in all, a success. Babysitting skills somewhat updated (we’ll tackle a meal next time), happy munchkins and very happy Aunty:).

Get Your Family Game On with Hasbro

image

As my regular readers and friends know, in
our house, board games and games in general are always fun and special shared time.

So many memories of family time involve board games (Monopoly, Life, and Clue to name a few) and now with my husband and our friends we’ve built upon that with Taboo, Funny or Die and the classic and oh-so-fun Twister!

Going out is indeed great fun with friends, but staying in and playing some classic (and trying some new) board games is always a fun time.

How do the best games nights go? Well, as much as hubby and I enjoy actually playing against each other, having friends over definitely adds to the fun.

Our ingredients for a Great Games Night:
Invite some great friends (or of course, have the family over)
Plan some yummy snacks (see the book in the picture for tips)
Pick some great games
Let the fun begin!

Games where teams form are always fun, but so are board games, it all depends on the group at the time. A few favourite board games of ours are Clue, Minion Operation and of course Monopoly. And a new couple favourites for even more fun are Funny or Die and Taboo. Hubby and I admit, Taboo when we tried it out was immediately acquired.

The last long-weekend of the summer is upon us, and what better time to have your own games night than this.

Which games will you choose? What’s your favourite party snack? I’m thinking outdoor Twister followed by some Funny or Die and Taboo with ‘Itty Bitty BLT’s’ :).

Like, comment and share and you may just win a fantastic ‘Get Your Game On’ prize pack ;). ***Canada Only

What munchkin time means to me as a Non

I am ‘Aunty’ to many and actual Aunt to a few and it is a title I cherish.

Last year my darling wonderful niece and nephew (aka my BFF’s kids) moved to another province and as my BFF knows all too well, I was brokenhearted. I managed to say goodbye to Miss (and cried the entire way home after), but I couldn’t hold it together to say goodbye to Mister so I begged her to say goodbye for me (thank goodness he was 4 at the time so to him it wasn’t as big of a deal LOL).

I got to see all of them again a couple of weeks ago and I was beyond elated. So was Miss, and then Mister once he remembered me again.

We arrived late so didn’t get to see everyone until the morning, but it was all I could do to stay in bed and not run out and hug them all once morning came. To me it was like the feeling I got as a child on Christmas morning all over again. And when I did sneak out to surprise Miss and my BFF, it was beyond fantastic.

A full-week of my BFF and the kids, I was ready and enjoyed every single moment I assure you. Hugs every morning and lots of quality fun time with all, yup, it really was like Christmas for me (and I hope them too a bit). We went on day trips, we sat and snuggled. My BFF and I caught up and on our day to ourselves, it was like time had stood still and the nuttiness picked up right where we left off. This is the power of this friendship and my adoration for my niece and nephew.

JA

My BFF and I: Reunited!

When you see that I have their pictures up at work and at home you can be assured I look at them often, these are things I cherish. I have them with my actual niece and nephews pictures too, the kids in my life matter to me, all of the munchkins in my life matter to me.

When I’m given a picture they’ve coloured (even some of my Sparks girls give me artwork) I save it and I do show it off. I think that surprises people, but for me, since I don’t get that everyday, I adore it.

This time I managed to hold myself together to say goodbye to my BFF and the kids (I know she’s proud of that) and after SEVERAL hugs and starting the countdown to next time, they left.

I miss them terribly, but I have the pictures and the memories…and there’s always Skype too ;).

Review & Christmas Reading Gift Idea for Kids

This fall I was fortunate enough to get to read Scott Clements’ final book in his Trip Montgomery series: The Protector of Peace.

The Protector of Peace Scott Clements

I personally adore this series and have from the start with Gasparilla’s Treasure and then The Forgotten Secret. The books are full of action and the characters are incredibly relatable. I constantly pictured one of my favourite childhood movies, The Goonies, in my mind’s eye while reading it. Scott’s career in the film industry is wonderfully apparent with his attention to detail and plot progression.

This last book in the trilogy brings the group (Trip, Sarah and Josh) together again as successful treasure hunters who have one more piece of the puzzle to solve.

What I also love about Scott’s books, and this series in particular, is how he incorporates history into the plots. Because of him, I want to learn more about Florida history. Honestly. This time he brings in Benjamin Franklin and the founding fathers of the U.S. as well as some beautiful tropical Florida backdrops. The kids race against time and a character called The Destroyer who is after them and the final piece of the puzzle.

They are now teamed up with someone new, but can they trust her? And what about the Triumvirate? Who is The Protector of Peace? All of this answered as you read about their adventure.

The Protector of Peace, and the entire trilogy, are available in paperback as well as digitally (for a wonderful last-minute digital surprise) on Amazon. A series that will have your middle-grade reader competing with you to see who can read it first, because I assure you, you will want to read the books too.

You can learn more about the series and Scott on his website here.

Happy reading!

The great Christmas shop has begun!

I freely admit it. I am beyond behind this year. Like, really, beyond behind in everything related to the holidays. I blame it on being sick since the end of September combined with a crazy schedule and a trip to the desert.

I have literally been non-stop trying to catch up from trying to catch up and failing because more stuff came up.

But I digress.

Time to put on my big girl pants and move on, the holidays are upon us and I have got to get moving.

This year is going to be all about simplicity and getting back to basics.

I’m having to redefine what Christmas essentials are and prioritize accordingly.

First up, my family Christmas is, gasp, tomorrow! Yes, I was the slightly panicked Aunt at the store tonight making sure I had something special for the kids. Thankfully I used my ‘back to basics’ strategy and it paid off. I went to my old faves: board games! I love them and my sister and I always played them as kids so I thought why not grab a couple for her kids to build memories with?

After debating between several favourites including Monopoly Junior and Hungry Hungry Hippos, I decided upon Chutes and Ladders and Minion Memory.

I have wonderful memories or both of these and no matter how old we get, these are fun to play.

So, phase one of Christmas is now complete. What is phase two you ask? Well, I need cards, need ideas for my hubby (more on that to come) and of course, I still need to decorate.

How are you managing? Have you started? Any advice for this Nonmom? 🙂

Hasbro Gaming Chutes and Ladders, Minion Memory

My Monopoly, that’s right, make your own Monoply is here!

Have you ever wished you could re-name some of the spots on your Monopoly board? Well, now you can, and complete with your own fun pictures too.

This latest incarnation of the popular game (one of my personal favourites I assure you) allows you to add your own photos to the property spaces and cards. It adds a whole new level when you can own ‘Dad’s man cave’ or ‘Mom’s dream kitchen’. In our house properties could range from owning race car teams to cat food factories (the furballs like to be involved after all lol).

A game that is truly timeless, I alone have probably 5 different versions of it and play them all, it really is fun for families and groups.

What I love is that nothing about the game is sacrificed, but now the capability is really there to have a true ‘Family Board’. This would be perfect for weddings, birthdays and more. I am really excited about it and debate has been active in our home on what to make the properties for us.

That’s where you come in, and as my thank you to you, and Hasbro too of course, you can win your very own My Monopoly!

What do you need to do to win? Simply suggest either a fun idea for a property for me, or your best idea for your future board by commenting here or on the Facebook page. I will randomly draw a winner, open to Canada only. Contest starts now and ends midnight my time (EST) on September 18th.