I belong to an awesome mom's group that allows for frequent get-together of kiddos to play, craft, run around, etc. My kids really appreciate having other kids their age to play with, and I appreciate a break from hearing “I'm boooored!” and “But, I don't want to play with my sister/brother anymore!”
But, what I also love about my mom's group, are the mom's night out (MNO). We usually get together at least once a month for bingo, bunco and even the occasional fondue night or movie night. I can restore my sanity, if only for a few hours, and be free to eat with both hands. I'd love to say the conversation is more grownup too, but we often fall into the routine of talking about our kids' most of the night anyway. Oh well, just being able to get out more then two words of a sentence before being interrupted to untangle the fork from your daughter's hair, get the shoe out of the toilet or remove the banana peel from the dryer is pretty much heaven.
One of my favorite aspects of our MNO, is the food. Some of the moms really go all out and bring some truly nummy (yea, I said nummy...see I do need to get out more) dishes!
I myself decided I wanted to do something different then the usual cookies or rice krispy treats (though don't get me wrong; I could very well live on chocolate chip cookies and rice krispy treats alone), so came up with a couple fun foods...
This first one is something I've been wanting to do for awhile; brownie balls. My little guy and I fell in love with these after trying them from our local bakery. We'd make up any excuse we could to have occasion to go get them, Unfortunately, the bakery recently went out of business and took our beloved brownie balls with them. After sulking and pouting for a couple weeks, I decided they seemed like something we could make ourselves. As with most new recipes I want to try, I headed for the internet. I found a few recipes for 'brownie balls' but they were mostly disappointing to me. Most recipes called for adding frosting to the cooked brownies. While that's a standard practice for cake balls, it just seemed to me that brownies are already rich enough. So, I decided to just do it myself.
Brownie mix (you can go with homemade brownies here, but the boxed Hershey's never let me down)
Six squares Bakers Chocolate, semi-sweet (these are pretty rich, so if you use another chocolate, still stick with semi-sweet)
Sprinkles, cookie crumbs, nonpareils
Mix brownies according to directions, but cook about five minutes less then recommended time (make sure they are done, but still soft)
Turn out brownies onto surface, and trim edges off (use pizza cutter to speed this up and please, save those scraps...perfect for hot fudge sundaes)
Begin scooping brownies, shaping into about two inch balls (use a cookie scoop for the perfect size) and set on parchment (or Silpat) lined baking tray.
Put finished balls into freezer (if you want pops, insert lollipop sticks now) for about 10 minutes
*And, if you are worried about this task becoming monotonous, make sure you have a five year old who is very eager to discuss with you all aspects of Dinosaur Train.
Taking out a few at a time, dip balls into melted chocolate and put on another baking sheet. If desired, add sprinkles, cookie crumbs etc.
Place back into freezer for 10 more minutes until chocolate has set.
And, that's it! Simple, yummy, and fun enough to take to your next outing!
This next one is just something that seemed fun, and actually, it was one of those situations where I didn't want to drag my crew to the store, so used what I had on hand: marshmallows and chocolate. And, you know you can never go wrong with that combination!
Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
Marshmallows (I used two different flavors; vanilla and chocolate)
Chocolate (again, I used both milk and white chocolate & added some peppermint extract to some of the white to make it mint flavored)-melted
Sprinkles, cookie crumbs, etc (optional)
Melt your chocolate in batches in the microwave (and, yes, you can melt white chocolate in the microwave; just go a minute at a time and be prepared to keep re-heating as it hardens)
Insert pretzel stick into marshmallow and dip into chocolate, making sure to add some melted chocolate to the hole around pretzel stick
Sprinkle with cookie crumbs, sprinkles, etc
Refrigerate or freeze until hard
Simple, inexpensive and fast enough to throw together last minute!
Hopefully, there will be many more mommy playdates in the future, so I can create more fun food! :)