Easy & Inexpensive Summer Activities For Kids, part 4

A few snapshots from my July, starting from above left: flip flops, a summer staple, top right: frozen pink punch, who wouldn't want that on a hot day? Bottom left: an epic failure I made for Independence day - there may be a post about it coming soon, and bottom right: taking in a ballgame  is always a highlight!

A few snapshots from my July, starting from above left: flip flops, a summer staple, top right: frozen pink punch, who wouldn’t want that on a hot day? Bottom left: an epic failure I made for Independence Day – there may be a post about it coming soon, and bottom right: taking in a ballgame is always a highlight!

Well, August is finally upon us, and around this time every year I begin to see hope for some relief from the hot weather not too far away. Although, I really can’t complain as this year has been one of the mildest summers I think I have ever experienced. Still…

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To continue with my series of easy and inexpensive activities for kids, lets make a popcorn cake, shall we?

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This is a cake I think just about any child (and adult!) would love; popcorn, gumdrops, peanuts, and melted marshmallows; it sounds like a creation fresh out of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

With minimal effort, you can have this cake ready to eat in no time – which is good, unless you happen to have/know a child with an unusual amount of patience!

Oh by the way, a big bonus is no use of the oven needed!

Enjoy!

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Notes:

~ Please do not make the mistake I did, and end up with a popcorn + kernel cake… I used the microwave kind of popcorn and wasn’t sure how I would sift out the kernels so they ended up in the cake! :/ Yeah, that’s me…no worries though, my nieces never ate the actual cake, just some of the leftover mixture which the kernels could be picked out of – but lesson learned: don’t use the microwave kind of popcorn! (and yes, I’m sure it was sheer stupidity to use it in the first place…)

 

Popcorn Cake

With a mixture of popcorn, gumdrops, and melted marshmallows, this is a sure pleaser!

Ingredients

4 quarts popped corn

1 pound small gumdrops

1/2 pound salted peanuts (totally optional, I left them out!)

1/2 C. (1 stick) butter

1/2 C. vegetable oil

1 pound marshmallows

Multi-colored sprinkles, optional

Directions

In a large bowl, combine popcorn, gumdrops and peanuts (you may have to use your hands).

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter, oil and marshmallows until marshmallows are thoroughly melted and mixture is smooth.

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn/candy mixture. Stir (again, you may have to use your hands some) until combined.

Place in a generously (and I do mean GENEROUSLY) buttered tube/bundt pan.

Once the mixture has cooled, turn out onto a serving plate.

Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Must be prepared the same day it is served.

Serves 12

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Glorified Brownies for your BOTW

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Do you ever crave comfort food? Food that maybe isn’t too difficult or time consuming to make, but also kind of makes you… happy…? I made that sort of food yesterday when I made these Glorified Brownies. Getting the recipe from an old cookbook that doesn’t have pictures, I didn’t know what to expect, but they (the  ingredients and the whole process, that is) looked very promising, so I decided to give them a try. The results were as good as they sounded, brownies with a layer of melted marshmallows on top and then a chocolate frosting to finish it off. Yes, I was quite happy.

I first thought about trying this combination with a different brownie, but upon further tasting and thinking, I figured out why this particular brownie suits the combination of marshmallows and chocolate frosting so well; it’s because the brownie itself is not overly sweet, making it the perfect bottom layer for all that marshmallow chocolatey goodness on top.

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The brownie has actually more of a cake like consistency and when you are mixing that part up you are wondering how it’s all going to work out, but it does!

The only thing I might change, would be the addition of chocolate chips. Maybe bittersweet? Mini semisweet? If you decide to try this recipe with chocolate chips before I do, let me know how it is!

The lowdown: A cake like brownie topped with gooey melted marshmallows and finished off with a delicious chocolate frosting. Easy, simple and tasty, these brownies would be great for any event or sudden craving – be sure to have some napkins on hand, though!

Cottura felice!

Notes:
~ If you are like me and don’t have a 9×11 pan, then you can do what I did and make your own! I took a 9×13 pan and lined it with foil, but did not line the whole pan. About 2 inches before the opposite edge from where I began, I stopped and folded the foil up to have a make shift side that would give me the correct measurement, i.e. 11 inches instead of 13. Hopefully this picture will help you visualize it!

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~ When making the frosting, you may need to add a little more milk, but be careful not to add too much. Just add a little at a time – I added around 1/8 cup (maybe a little less) more total.

Glorified Brownies

Ingredients

2 eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
1 C. (2 sticks) butter, melted
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. nuts, lightly floured (totally optional, I omitted them myself)
18 large marshmallows

Chocolate frosting:
3 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. milk
3 C. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 C. plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions
In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar. Add butter, chocolate, flour, salt and nuts (if desired).

Pour into a greased 9×11 pan and bake at 350° f. for 20 – 25 minutes or until moist crumbs stick to a toothpick when inserted (it’s okay if the brownies are a little underdone as you will be sticking them back in the oven)

Remove from oven and top with marshmallows. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until marshmallows are melted.

Remove from the oven and mash marshmallows with a spatula.

For the frosting:

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat butter and milk until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.

Pour over marshmallows and cool thoroughly before serving.

Cut into small squares.