Toddler Cards For Any Occasion

Cupcake’s birthday is in January, so last year she got to enjoy all of her first holidays in order. This means that I got to do all of the fun handprint/footprint crafts for with her.

Footprint Valentines day heart? check. Footprint Father’s day craft? check. Handprint turkey for Thanksgiving? check. Handprint AND footprint clay ornaments for Christmas? check.

Now that she’s no longer an infant, I just don’t find it as cute. Let’s face it – the gift recipients know who really made those things. ME. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really cute ideas on Pinterest. But most of them are just work for mom.

Cupcake is 17 months old – old enough to want to do things on her own, but not old enough to really understand that we are making a gift for someone else. So even if I wanted to, it’d be pretty challenging to get her to give me a handprint or a footprint this year. So strong willed, & she’s not even 2! Say a prayer for me.

For Father’s day I searched for ideas of something she could make her daddy that was minimal work for me while being a little more thoughtful than just her scribbling on a piece of paper. I didn’t really come across any ideas I liked, but inspiration came from Cupcake herself. She likes to color & paint all by herself (heavily supervised, of course!) & her absolute favorite thing in the world right now is stickers. That gave me an idea.

It sounded too simple, but what if Cupcake really could make a card for daddy by herself with minimal guidance from me?

Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Sometimes, the K.I.S.S. principle really is the best. Keep it simple, silly!

Cupcake had a lot of fun painting this card for daddy.Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Once the paint was dry, we added stickers. I let her add as many hearts as she wanted before giving her the sticker letters, one at a time in order, to spell DADA. That’s really all of the involvement I had, minus making sure she didn’t get paint everywhere! Oh, and writing her name & the date on the back!

This craft is so easily adaptable for any occasion! Use different colored paper, paint, or markers depending on your target audience & time of year! It’s infinitely customizable. You can let your toddler add as much or as little embellishment as you wish. The only ‘must’ is sticker letters. As long as your toddler has the motor skills to put stickers on a paper, they can do this craft!

Toddler Cards for Any Occasion Made By Toddlers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

My hubby really loved receiving this card from our sweet daughter. She handed it to him herself! It might sound silly, but the fact that he can tell she really made it (as opposed to mommy) makes it more special!

Toddler Cards For Any Occasion

  • card stock – any color!
  • paint, crayons, and/or markers
  • sticker letters
  • optional: more stickers, glitter, paper scraps, or any other embellishment you can trust your toddler with, plus glue if necessary!
  1. Have your toddler paint or color on the piece of card stock. If you use paint, you will have to factor in drying time. (I used paint & had it be a 2-day project. Twice the fun!)
  2. Have your toddler stick on any other embellishments. I gave Cupcake heart stickers, since this was a Father’s Day card & she ‘hearts’ her daddy. Use holiday themed stickers to be extra festive!
  3. The last step is to give your toddler sticker letters one at a time & in order of whatever word(s) you are trying to get them to spell. I minimally guided Cupcake on putting the DADA stickers next to each other. I suspect that in another month or two, I wouldn’t even have to do that! Then, write your toddler’s name & the date on the back.
  4. Have your toddler give the card to loved ones & watch their heart melt!

 

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Vegan Mini Carrot Muffins

Whole wheat? No refined sugar? Vegan?!?

Don’t worry, I’m not going all ‘crunchy’ on you. I’m just a mama trying to get her toddler to eat veggies.

I think I fed Cupcake too many carrots when she was a baby, because one day around 11 months old she just started rejecting them. She loves peas, but hates carrots. Go figure.

I, on the other hand, love carrots. So I started looking for a way I could get Cupcake to eat them that wasn’t straight up carrot cake. I came across this recipe by Ambitious Kitchen & decided to give it a try. I was going for the vegan option to try & get a little flax in there, but planned on using regular whole milk. I also chose to make mini muffins instead so they’d be a good size for Cupcake. I have a 48-ct mini muffin pan & it’s just the best!

The thing about baking when you have a toddler around is that you are very distracted. Meaning I just straight up forgot to add the milk. Any milk. Which is ironic because the recipe I was following was a sponsored post by Almond Breeze. So I accidentally made them totally vegan, and they were still totally delicious.

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

In my opinion, the carrots are moist enough not to need the milk & the mini size means they’re still a good texture. I don’t think I would try a regular sized muffin like this, though. Also, the OP’s note about these tasting better sitting after in an airtight container overnight is true. They are good straight off of the cooling rack, but they are GREAT after a night in the fridge.

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Cupcake agrees!

Don’t skimp on the carrots – 1 cup finely shredded! Shredding carrots by hand with a box grater is a pain in the arm (gotcha!) but these are totally worth it. If you are wondering if you need a 3rd carrot to make that cup – you do. I usually use 2 large carrots & then end up shredding a 3rd smaller one.

Full disclosure: I add non-vegan mini chocolate chips to mine. But there are vegan chocolate chips out there, or  you can add another mix in such as nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes.

I told you I wasn’t going ‘crunchy’ on you! 🙂

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffins

Makes 4 dozen mini muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mix-in of your choice, such as mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (first 5) in a medium bowl.
  3. By hand or with an electric mixer set on low, combine carrots, maple syrup, olive oil, applesauce, flax egg, & vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients to carrot mixture & stir until you no longer see dry flour. Gently stir in desired mix-in.
  5. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups – less than a tablespoon in each. Bake until they pass the toothpick test, about 12 minutes. Once cool, transfer to airtight container & keep in the fridge. They’re good once cooled, but GREAT after a night in the fridge!

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day & what do all mothers love? Brunch!

That’s what we’re doing at my house, anyway. Brunch with the extended family. And these scones are on the menu!

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I got this scone recipe from my dear friend Beth, who gives me so many great recipes, who got it from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. However, I have adapted it some. I never have buttermilk powder on hand & have not come across another recipe that calls for it yet. Therefore I just always use lemon juice. I also in general almost always use salted butter for everything, so that’s what I use in this recipe, too. With a few other twists & tweaks, I bring you this recipe.

I’ve never made scones any other way, so this cream method is all I know. I hear it is much easier than another method which requires cutting butter into flour. I make it extra easy on myself by letting my KitchenAid mixer do most of the work. The key is just not to let it over mix.

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Mix on low until it’s just starting to come together.

Blueberry & white chocolate chips has become our favorite flavor combo for scones around here. The white chocolate chips take the scones from “blueberries are healthy, right?” to “oh, this is basically dessert”. But they are too good to pass up for a celebratory brunch. I think that’s why I like to make 24 mini scones out of this recipe instead of 16 larger ones. So I can eat two. (or 5!)

 

I am very much looking forward to a fun brunch tomorrow morning with our moms &, of course, with my little Cupcake!

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She enjoyed sampling them this morning 🙂

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Makes 16-24 scones depending on size

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment.
  3. Whisk the 1 cup of heavy cream, lemon juice, butter, & vanilla in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into the mixer bowl & turn the mixer on low. Mix until the dough is just starting to come together.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface & knead for about 1 minute; just until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 2-3 equal parts (2 parts = 16 scones, 3 parts = 24 mini scones). Shape & flatten into circles that are about 3/4 inch thick.
  5. Add the blueberries & white chocolate chips to the center of each circle. Fold in the edges to cover completely, then reshape the circle. Cut into 8 wedges & place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the 2 tbsp of cream. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned.

 

 

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Everyone has to play ‘Pantry Roulette’ with dinner every now and then. Whether it’s a budget thing, an expiration date thing, or a grocery shopping thing. This recipe was born from the last.

We needed something for dinner, but I would not be able to go grocery shopping for a few more days. I didn’t want to just serve grilled cheese sandwiches – I wanted something with at least some semblance of vegetables! So I put my thinking cap on to see what I could come up with.

The only green thing I had in the fridge was pickles. I know pickles don’t really count as a vegetable, but I decided to roll with it (no pun intended!). I also had half a block of cream cheese I needed to use up. And then I remembered that in the pantry I had a few lasagna noodles left. Hmm…

I wrote ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on our dinner menu for Saturday night. My husband came up to me & asked, “Are those 3 separate things?” Very funny, babe.

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Even though we ended up getting a free meal from my parents on the night in question (gracias Mami y Papi!), I left ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on the menu to make another night.

I briefly searched for similar recipes, but I was not satisfied with any of them. None of them that I saw suggested cream cheese, & almost all of them had ketchup. No thanks. I decided that I would just try to use my previous white lasagna making knowledge & just give it a go.

When I smelled the delicious filling, I knew I had a winner.

This recipe is relatively simple. I browned the ground beef with my favorite burger seasoning & then drained it. Pro tip: I never pay more for lean ground beef. I just make sure to drain it! Yes, I yield a little less than the poundage you bought from the fat being rendered out & discarded. But I don’t end up paying a premium for ground top cuts. Recently, Aldi had 73/27 on sale for less than $2/lb. Can you say score???

Once the beef is browned & drained, I added diced onions & pickles, cream cheese, and mustard. This is the filling. At this point it totally smells like a burger. The cream cheese in place of ricotta helps that. I rolled it up in the cooked lasagna noodles (I had exactly 4 left!) & laid them in a loaf pan. The loaf pan is perfect for this amount. If you double the recipe, an 8×8 or 9×9 should work well. If you make a dozen, then a traditional lasagna pan it is!

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I topped the rolls with mayo & shredded cheddar cheese. My husband has totally opened my eyes to mayo on burgers & I can never look back. But if that’s not your thing, I think that whatever your usual burger sauce is will work. Even ketchup. The point is to both add to the burger feeling & also prevent the noodles from drying out.

I think next time I will experiment with adding other burger toppings. Bacon, anyone?

Skeptical hubby ended up loving these! According to him they taste just like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. He said, “These are really good, thanks! You can quote me in your post if you want.”

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Makes 4 rolls

  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • your favorite burger seasoning
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 a medium onion), finely chopped
  • 4 sliced of pickles (or 1/4 cup of dill chips), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • mayo (or your favorite burger sauce!)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain & let cool.
  3. While noodles are boiling, brown the ground beef & season with burger seasoning. Drain.
  4. Add to the beef pan pickles, onion, cream cheese, & mustard. Heat on low while stirring until cream cheese is melted & mixture is uniform.
  5. Divide the mixture in 4 & roll up into cooked lasagna noodles. Arrange in loaf pan seam side down.
  6. Spread mayo over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is slightly browned on the edges. Enjoy!

Happy Easter!

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Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

I pray that you & your families have a beautiful Resurrection Sunday & reflect on the miracle of salvation.

The tomb is empty! It is time to celebrate, & every good celebration needs cake!

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Cheddar Cornbread Waffle

It’s Worldwide Waffle Day! (whoever named it ‘International Waffle Day’ missed an opportunity, according to my husband)

We love waffles around here. But this morning I was not in the mood for the usual waffles with maple syrup. I wanted something slightly more savory.

I remembered I had a box of Jiffy® cornbread mix in the pantry & got an idea.

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This post is not sponsored or affiliated with Jiffy®, I just really like that little box mix. It’s so convenient & makes really good corn muffins (& now waffles!). Jiffy®, if you’re reading this, please feel free to throw a few free boxes my way!

This recipe is so easy. You follow the instructions on the box to make corn muffins, but instead of putting them in a pan, you cook it in a waffle iron. Before you close the lid, sprinkle some cheddar cheese & then cook to crispy perfection.

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YUM.

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles

Makes 3-4 waffles, depending on size

  • waffle iron
  • 1 box Jiffy® corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • cheddar cheese
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat waffle iron.
  2. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package instructions.
  3. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray & pour 1/2 to 2/3 cup of batter into waffle iron. Before closing the lid, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of batter.
  4. Cook for a few minutes until waffle is done. A good tip from my husband is to check the waffles when the amount of steam coming out of the sides of the waffle iron decreases. The cheese will crisp up & not be stuck.
  5. Spray the waffle iron between each batch. Serve with your favorite cornbread accompaniments such as honey & butter.

Fudgy Cocoa Brownies

I had some help in the kitchen today making these fudgy brownies.

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(and some help licking the bowl!)

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Recipe below! Note: cooking time depends on thickness/size of pan. I made these a little thicker this time & it took more like 35 minutes.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

A few weekends ago I had the type of Saturday that only comes around once every couple of months. It was a glorious Saturday with absolutely no plans. It was a no-need-for-pants kind of day.

This is not to be confused with the type of Saturday where you are bored & wishing for plans. This was a much needed break from busy lives. My husband & I did things around the house. We watched college football. We had the whole day to ourselves to do whatever we wanted. After a delicious steak dinner, I realized we did not have any dessert. My husband said, “we haven’t left the house all day – do you want to go out for some frozen yogurt?”

I said no.

We hadn’t left the house all day! I was not about to put pants on, especially not after dinner.

So instead, I decided to make some…

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International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

I’m inspired by Jodi from The Creative Life In Between to share my artwork with you ❤

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Only women can participate in creation with God.

Painting Date Night – At Home!

I have recently gotten into watercolors!

It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, so one day I bought a cheap Melissa & Doug watercolor paint set for kids & a pack of 15 pages of watercolor paper. It was like $11 total. I’ve seen so many blogs for ‘beginner’ watercolor painting that have a huge & expensive list of supplies. Seriously, the kids’ sets work just as well for learning, just get some watercolor paper & paint so you can see what it’s really about.

So several weeks ago after buying my supplies, I…did nothing. I let them sit there for another week or two. I didn’t know where to start. Eventually I started looking up some ‘how to’ videos on YouTube.

One Friday afternoon I came across a video that gave me an idea. #24 on my golden year bucket list was to go on a painting/activity date with my husband. I originally imagined us going out to one of those places where you drink wine & paint following some sort of prompt. But going on a date like that takes a little more planning when you have a toddler (a toddler?!? where has the time gone…) But at home, after Cupcake’s bedtime, with a bottle of wine…

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I decided we could host a private painting date, courtesy of YouTube. It was so easy to set up! My husband poured the wine while I set up the art supplies. We used our laptop to play this how-to video & painted along with the artist. Note: I’m not affiliated with that artist or channel in any way, I am just linking it to give you your own jumping off point for a painting date!

The thing about watercolor is that you have to let the paint dryyyyyyy. I think that is why I haven’t ever attempted watercolor before. Motherhood is making me way more patient than I ever thought I was! But still, watching paint dry is as fun as it sounds. So what did we do between paint coats? We googled ‘married date night questions’ & had a good time sharing answers.

It was such a fun night! My husband isn’t usually the ‘creative’ type, but he enjoyed it, too. We got to have a special date without leaving the house & without spending much money.

We both liked the other person’s painting a little bit more than our own.

I think this is a great date night idea for any couple, but I definitely love that it’s budget friendly! Being a stay at home mom is my dream come true, & I try to creatively show my husband just how much I appreciate the sacrifices we make ❤

Ash Valentine’s

Focusing on things eternal, together.

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.


 

This service was much needed in light of the recent news that hits home.

Thou the spring of all my comfort,
  More than life to me;
Whom have I on earth beside Thee?
  Whom in heaven but Thee?

Savior, Savior,
  Hear my humble cry…