Homemade Brownies with Strawberry Frosting

Now that a month has passed since the holidays, I’m getting excited about Valentine’s Day! Shane is pretty into Valentine’s Day so after Zac’s birthday this weekend, we’ll be putting out a few decorations. We’ll probably whip up a few treats, too, like these homemade brownies with strawberry frosting that my friend Brittany made!

I consider myself to be a good cook, but baking is always hit or miss with me. This recipe looks easy enough though- I’m even going to have Shane help me out since he’s on another kick of wanting to be a chef.

Homemade Brownies with Strawberry Frosting for Valentine's Day! A great weekend activity to get your kids in the kitchen- or a nice surprise for an after-school treat

Supplies Needed:

Brownie Mix {recipe below}
Strawberry Frosting
Powdered Sugar
6 Heart Silicone Baking Tray {I recommend this one}
Homemade Heart Brownies with Strawberry Frosting

Brownie Mix:
-1 cup white sugar
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 eggs

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and start the mixing process.

2. Grab a medium size mixing bowl and pour in all the dry ingredients followed by your water, vegetable oil and eggs and mix it up until all ingredients are blended.

3. As soon as all clumps and powder are gone your mixture is complete.

4. Spray some pan in your heart shaped muffin tin and pour a big spoonful of brownie mix into each heart cut out.

5. Place your brownies into the oven for 20 minutes and once they are done remove them from the oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes.

6. Once they’ve cooled place them on a piece of parchment paper and refill the hearts again and place in the oven until all the mix is gone.

7. Once on the parchment paper take a sharp knife and cut off the top of the brownie to make it a smooth and flat surface.

8. Once all the brownie hearts have been cut and smoothed down it’s time for the frosting.

9. Fill the Strawberry Frosting into a piping bag and pipe the frosting in a heart shape in on the top of your brownies.

10. Now add the other brownie piece onto the top of the brownie and press down. Top the brownies off with some powdered sugar and they’re ready to enjoy!

Homemade Brownies with Strawberry Frosting for Valentine's Day! A great weekend activity to get your kids in the kitchen- or a nice surprise for an after-school treat!

Whether you’re baking for your own special Valentine or having fun with the kids in the kitchen, be sure to give these brownies a try!

What’s your favorite thing about Valentine’s Day?

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7 Unusual Gifts for Valentine’s Day

This post is brought to you by a guest contributor.

Valentine’s day is not to everyone’s tastes. The usual unimaginative platitudes of flowers, chocolates and cards can be bought out of duty rather than desire with the day being ticked off as either ‘done’ or ‘must do better’ by people’s better halves. That’s why it is worth making an effort this Valentine’s Day and being a little creative with your gifts by avoiding the clichés and card shop suggestions. Here are a few bits of inspiration which may give you some ideas on how to be a bit leftfield this year.

St. Valentines Day background with pink flowers, blue bow and he

Weekend Away

This is a great idea for a gift as the memories you will get from a weekend away will last much longer than a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. It is also the perfect chance to get romantic and give yourselves a much-needed early-year break.

Personalised Gifts

There is now a wealth of websites that sell all sorts of things which can be personalised with images and text. Mouse mats, tablet cases, clothing and sports equipment can all be printed or embroidered with yours and your partner’s likenesses or names to make the gift feel special. And if you think you have left it a bit late, Zippi offer personalised mugs with next day delivery option.

Diarised Dates

Here’s a gift which you can make which doesn’t (necessarily) have to break the bank but will show a lot of thought. It is also a ‘gift that keeps on giving’. Set out some dates over the next few months – go for a meal, a walk in a local park, a night at the pictures – write them in a diary and hand over the diary as a gift.

A Hamper

Prove you have noticed what their preferred products are by gathering them all in to one hamper put together with love. These can be anything from beauty products to items of clothing.

Theatre Tickets

Another ‘experience’ gift which will give you memories rather than the transient pleasure of chocolate or flowers, a night out at the theatre is romantic and perhaps unusual enough to earn brownie points.

Art Work

It’s not easy to find affordable unique artwork but occasionally it is possible to find local artists who will do commissions for a reasonable price. Alternatively, have a look on Etsy for some great handmade gifts from artists around the country. The great thing about this website is you can search by your partner’s interest e.g. ‘Star Wars’ and then find lots of quirky, unusual goodies.

A Tattoo

This certainly won’t be the ideal present for everybody but if your partner who is someone who has always talked about getting a tattoo but never took the plunge, a gift voucher for a tattoo parlour is the perfect incentive and Valentine’s Day, the perfect opportunity.

What would you love to get for Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day DIY Decoupaged Candle Holder Craft

Looking for a pretty Valentine’s Day craft that is simple enough for the kids to do? Try this decoupaged candle holder craft! Use your imagination to decorate it to match your home décor or to make it special for the holiday. You can cut out hearts, X’s & O’s, flowers, or just do a lovely abstract in Valentine’s colors. Grab the supplies {you probably already have everything around the house already!}, call the kids to the table and have fun making one or two. This craft can also be repeated for all the holidays with just a few seasonal changes, and looks lovely sitting on your table. They make great teacher and grandparent gifts for Valentine’s Day as well.

DIY Valentine's Day Craft Decoupaged Candle Holder

Supplies Needed:

Glass candle holder
White tissue paper
Red or pink tissue paper
Scissors
School glue
Water
Paintbrush

Directions:

1. Make a homemade modge-podge by mixing equal parts glue and water in a small bowl.

2. Tear or cut white tissue paper into small pieces

3. Cut red or pink tissue paper into hearts of various sizes.

4. “Paint” the entire outside surface of your candle holder with your homemade modge-podge.

5. Press white tissue paper all over the outside of candle holder to completely cover.

6. “Paint” another coat on top of the white tissue paper.

7. Press shaped colored tissue paper into white tissue paper to create design.

8. “Paint” with another layer of modge-podge.

9. Allow to dry completely.

10. Drop a tea light into your candle holder for maximum drama and enjoy!

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Thanks to contributor Jody for this fun craft idea!

Homemade Scented Play-dough for Valentine’s Day

Thanks to contributor Jody for this fun DIY Play-Dough recipe!

We love homemade play dough! I make a special batch for nearly every holiday, and sometimes just because a wild idea strikes me and I need to try it out on the kids-luckily they are always happy to have new colors, scents and textures. Play-dough recipes are pretty basic and similar, with a few ingredient changes here and there. This particular one is scented with yummy flavors, and the pastel colors resemble conversation hearts. I added in Duncan Hines Frosting Creations and I love how it colored the play dough pretty pastel colors and scented them so deliciously- I used Strawberry Shortcake, Mint Chocolate, and Cotton Candy.

While the play dough smells heavenly it tastes horrid, so please take my advice and refrain from tasting it- although it is safe {another reason I love making it at home}. The ingredients are basic pantry staples so you are likely to have everything on hand. Set out a batch of this play dough with cookie cutters and a rolling pin for a fun invitation to play. If you have a budding speller provide letter stamps for a little learning thrown in and see what fun messages you can both come up with.

Homemade Scented Play-dough

 

Ingredients

-1 ½ cups all purpose flour
-½ cup cornstarch
-1 cup salt
-2 cups water
-2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
-1 Tbsp. cream of tarter
-3 packages of Duncan Hines Frosting Creations

Directions:

1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients.

2. Stir constantly until the dough solidifies and begins to pull from the side of the pan. {I bought a cheap pot at the thrift store to dedicate to play dough making.} If dough still feels sticky, cook a few minutes longer.

3. When it resembles a dry bread dough, turn out of pan onto counter. Allow it to cool until it is comfortable to touch with your hands. Knead several times to combine and smooth dough.

4. To scent: I divided this batch of play dough into 6 equal pieces but only scented 3 so that it would be stronger. Make a dent in the center of your play dough, dump an entire packet of frosting creations into the well. Fold play dough over gently. {Be careful! I was a little rough the first time and powder went everywhere.} Continue kneading and rolling the dough to work the powder in.

5. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. I find ours usually lasts for months. If it begins to dry out a bit just add a tad more oil and work it in.

What scents would you use on your play-dough?

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Red Velvet Cookies Recipe for Valentine’s Day

If you’re craving something sweet or want to treat your sweetie to something delicious for Valentine’s Day, look no further than this Red Velvet Cookies recipe! It uses Red Velvet cake mix to make rich, delicious cookies you can easily gift or enjoy.

Red Velvet Cookies from @NotQuiteSusie

Red Velvet Cookies

Ingredients:

1 box red velvet cake mix
2 tablespoons flour
2 large eggs at room temp
1/2 cup coconut or canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups of quality white chocolate for the top

Directions:

1. In the bowl of your mixer, quickly combine the flour and dry cake mix. Add in the room temp eggs, oil and pure vanilla extract. Turn the mixer onto medium for 1-3 minutes or until you have a smooth consistency. Remove and place the balled up dough into tight plastic wrap, chill for 2 hours.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Form balls with the dough that are about 1.5 inches around, bake for 10-14. All ovens cook differently, so keep a close eye on the first batch to get a better idea for how long the following trays will take.

3. Cool completely on racks. When all of the cookies are done and cooled, start to melt your white chocolate. Follow the package instructions- the microwave method is fine. With the cookies still on the wire cooling racks, drizzle each cookie with the white chocolate. Using a large fork will help this process go faster {because of the number of prongs}. Let the white chocolate fully set before storing.

Red Velvet Cookies for Valentine's Day @NotQuiteSusie

Who would you make these for?

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Thanks to contributor Kacey for these delicious cookies!

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