Snowman Poop, a Yummy Winter Treat

Currently, my husband is in Northern Michigan working at his new job in a cement plant while my kiddos and myself hold down the front here in the Southern California High Desert. In June, we will be joining him, after our house sells and the kids finish out their school year. Daddy has been sending plenty of videos and photos of him enjoying the winter wonderland up north while we enjoy mild temperature tank top weather here in the desert. My sweet four year old daughter keeps asking me when it will snow here. She just doesn’t quite understand why her daddy gets to enjoy it and she doesn’t. Since food is the medium I use to love on my family, I went to work bringing a little snow magic to her right from our kitchen with this fun Snowman Poop recipe.

I start, I added two bags of white chocolate chips to my slow cooker. I stirred the chocolate every ten minutes until it was completely smooth and melted through (it took me roughly 20 minutes).

I added in a whole bunch of Cheerios and stirred it all together until it was coated evenly.

And then I added a whole box of rainbow chip cake mix and stirred it all to coat.

I transferred the mixture onto my counter, lined with parchment paper, and spread it all out to dry.

I let it cool for about an hour and then we enjoyed eating plenty of the super sweet Snowman Poop treat. The cake mix gives it a fluffy snow texture and the white chocolate holds it all together for a fun little treat inspired by the white winter coating. While the treat didn’t satisfy my daughter’s snow dreams completely, it certainly added a little fun to her desert afternoon.


For recipes like this one, be sure to subscribe to the monthly Our Holly Days newsletter where I share updates, my favorite kitchen gadgets, upcoming recipes, and more.

Slow Cooker Candied Cinnamon Pecans

This post contains affiliate links.

Making Candied Cinnamon Pecans should be on everyone’s holiday bucket list. Not only do they offer the classic cinnamon sugar flavor everyone loves, but they’re also so simple to make that even the busiest of us can find a few minutes to spare to toss the ingredients into a slow cooker.

To make these Slow Cooker Candied Cinnamon Pecans, start by beating together egg whites and vanilla in a medium sized bowl until frothy.

Add in your pecans, some sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon and mix it all together.

Transfer pecans to a slow cooker that has been prepared with some nonstick cooking spray and cook on low for about three hours, stirring the pecans about every hour.

About half an hour before they’re finished, add in some water and stir.

Once the pecans are done, transfer them to a baking mat to cool. This will ensure crispy exteriors, which we all know if the very best part about Candied Cinamon Pecans, right?

These perfectly candied pecans not only taste like the holidays, but look gorgeous in a glass candy dish (here’s my clear glass pumpkin candy dish). They make great gifts when wrapped up in cellophane bags or holiday food containers, but I prefer to gift them in clear containers with a chalkboard sticker or in a brown paper bag with ribbon tied around it. Of course, filling a mason jar with them is also a lovely option.


Never miss out on a recipe and sign up for monthly newsletters where I’ll send my best recipes from the month straight to your inbox. You can also stay up to date by following the Our Holly Days page on Facebook.

Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies

This post contains affiliate links.

Holiday entertaining season is here and as someone who is happiest with a home filled with people to feed, I’m rolling out all of my best recipes. While I love being in the kitchen, I know that the upcoming holiday season won’t alway allow me the extra time in my favorite place to cook, so I keep a few super simple recipes on hand that save me time, but still offer a delicious morsel for my family and friends. These Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies are a simple throw together recipe that offer huge savory sweet flavor. No one dislikes bacon, so it’s a recipe that’s sure to be s hit with any visitors or holiday potluck.

I start by slicing a package of bacon into thirds.

I wrap one piece of bacon around a smokie and secure it using a toothpick.

I place the smokie onto a plate and repeat the process until I’ve wrapped all my smokies. If I’m really pressed for time, I can wrap the smokies and pop them into the freezer until I’m ready to bake them. I just add some additional time to the oven and keep an eye on the bacon until it gets to the crispy texture I prefer.

Once my smokies are all rolled in bacon, I combine some brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a bowl and gently roll each smokie in the mixture before transferring it to a prepared baking dish (lightly sprayed with nonstick oil). My favorite baking sheets can be found here.

I bake the Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies in a 425F oven for ten minutes before flipping and popping them back in for an additional ten minutes (add additional time for crispier bacon).

These Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies come out of the oven perfectly browned and covered in caramelized brown sugar. The cayenne adds a gentle kick and spice for the perfect balance of savory sweet flavors. These are always the first thing to disappear when I serve them at our family gatherings or potlucks. I just don’t know if anyone has any self control when it comes to bacon!


Never miss out on a recipe and sign up for monthly newsletters where I’ll send my best recipes from the month straight to your inbox. You can also stay up to date by following the Our Holly Days page on Facebook.

After School Routine + My Kids Favorite Snack

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Integrated Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I’ve nestled the kids into our school routine with homework packets, reading logs, and permission slips scattering the kitchen island every afternoon. The kids work on math sheets and reading comprehension while I start dinner prep between helping with long subtraction and timing their reading assignments. Set up at the dining room table with a fresh glass of water and an after school snack, they don’t realize that they’re developing study habits that will help them throughout their schooling.

They take the bus this year, not because they need to, but because I promised them in kindergarten that we’d revisit their request to ride the bus when they were in second grade, thinking they’d forget by the time second grade rolled around. They didn’t forget. And the walk with sister child to pick up her brothers from the bus stop has become a welcome part of our daily routine. It’s not long after we walk through the front door that they’re all asking for a snack and hoping that when they throw open the doors to the snack cupboard that they’ll find a box of TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, one of their favorites. The lovable bear-shaped snack is made with real ingredients like milk, eggs, and chocolate (which also happens to be their favorite filling flavor of the two available). My kids love them and I approve of the no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors treat. Plus, they’re easy to grab at my local Walmart while I’m doing my usual weekly shopping.

Enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to win one for twelve $50 Walmart gift cards or one of two grand prizes for a $200 Walmart gift card. I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes
After school snacks were always a part of my routine growing up and as a mother, it gives me a feeling of comfort seeing my children enjoy the same routine I did. I believe in encouraging good study habits and helping my children to develop a routine that will follow them through their school years into college, if that’s what they choose.

Learn more about TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks, you can visit them on Facebook or Twitter. You can also discover more about the fun snack on the Discover Teddy website.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CapturingTraditions #CollectiveBias

When the weather starts to cool off even the slightest bit here in the desert, I turn into a walking talking meme. I pull out my sweaters, fall boots, decorative gourds, and start baking anything and everything flavored with apples or pumpkins. Friends, it’s finally starting to cool off and my boots have already been worn in. My kitchen smells like pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, and every other possible fall cliche. Last week, I made a loaf of this Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread and it’s my official welcoming ode to fall.

I started by adding some flour, oats, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder to a large bowl and mixing it together.

In a separate bowl I added some sugar, oil, eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla and combined them together

Next I added the wet ingredients to the dry and stirred until just combined.

I transferred the batter into a loaf pan that I had greased ahead of time and baked it in a 350F degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Once the bread was done baking, I let it cool for several minutes and then made a glaze. I added some applesauce and powdered sugar to a small bowl and whisked it together before pouring it over the top of the Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread. The glaze trickled down into the cracks of the bread adding a little extra sweetness.

When the bread cooled completely, I served it with a dollop of Gold ‘n Soft smeared over a slice. It’s got a perfectly buttery taste, but it’s easier to spread over super moist bread and baked treats. Gold ‘n Soft contains no cholesterol or hydrogenated oils and has zero trans fats per serving. The small 15 ounce tub makes it the perfect size to keep on hand for my fall breads. Just look at how smooth that Gold ‘n Soft goes on over my Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread, getting into every nook and cranny!


For more Gold n Soft recipe inspiration from bloggers like me, be sure to visit the Gold ‘n Soft social hub. You can pick up container of the delicious spread at Smart & Final while you’re grabbing the rest of the ingredients to make this bread.

Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Is there even a more lovely string of words than Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans? As far as I’m concerned there is not. Three of my favorite foods in one dish that marry into a perfect blend of savory sweet flavors. These beans are the perfect cookout food, but I need no such excuse to whip these up any night of the week. One of my favorite times to serve them is during sporting events like football games and fight nights during the fall season. With the chilly weather, a warm bowl of hearty beans fills the belly and offers warm, comforting flavors. These Brown Sugar Bacon Beans offer all the flavors of fall and are simple to throw together for any fall evening.

To start I fry up some bacon pieces over the stove. Once the bacon is crisp and ready, I remove it to a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside to cool. Once cooled, I cover it and place it in the fridge for later.

Then I finely dice up an onion and a green pepper and sautè it in the same skillet with some of the leftover bacon grease until softened.

Next I add several cans of S&W Pinto Beans to my slow cooker. Nobody does beans better, and this choosy cook knows it! S&W Beans has the highest standards in the industry, delivering my family premium quality while offering a convenient way to enjoy our favorite bean recipes. They also offer a wide variety, even organic or lower sodium options, to cover all of my family’s preferences.

Next I add in some molasses, brown sugar, cider vinegar, dry mustard, and liquid smoke.

I toss in the sautéed onion and green pepper and give everything a good stir.

I cook the beans on low for about four hours. Once they’re finished cooking, I grab the bacon from the fridge, microwave it for a few seconds, and add it to the pot.

Before serving to my friends, I garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

I made a giant batch of these Brown Sugar Bacon Baked Beans for the recent crossover fight. My husband and I hosted the evening in our house and fed our friends yummy food (like these beans!) while we watched. I’m not going to lie though, for me the knockout winner was these beans!

Now through 12/31/2017, S&W Beans is offering $1 off two cans of S&W Beans. Get (and print) your coupon from the S&W Beans website to start making your own bean recipe!

Ham and Cheese Scones

Breakfast is a favorite here at Casa de Sosa. We love all the breakfast foods. Give us your bacon, your ham, your sausage. We’ll also take all of your eggs, omelets, and waffles. In fact, we love breakfast so much that we often enjoy it for dinner on occasion. Breakfast for dinner (brinner? dinfast?) is where it’s at! One of my husband’s breakfast favorites are these Ham and Cheese Scones which are so flaky, buttery, and savory that they’re practically perfect. They’re loaded with cheddar cheese, ham, and zesty scallions for a mouthwatering breakfast experience.

To make these delicious slices of breakfast joy, we start off by adding flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda, and brown sugar to a large bowl and mixing it all together.

Next we add in plenty of cold butter (the colder the butter, the better the flaky layers) that we cut into tiny pieces and work it into the flour mixture with our hands until it becomes a crumb-like texture.

Setting aside the flour butter mixture, we grab another bowl and add an egg, some yogurt, and milk, whisking it all together until it’s well combined.

Then we add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, a little at a time, using a fork to mix and press it together.

In goes plenty of ham, scallions, and cheese which we fold in gently using a spatula.

From here we transfer the dough to our counter, which we floured ahead of time, and roughly mold the dough into about an eight inch circle.

Then we cut it into eighths and transfer the slices to a parchment lines baking sheet.

And just because we take breakfast seriously around here, we top each scone slice with additional ham, cheese, and scallions.

The Ham and Cheese Scones bake in a 400F oven for about twenty minutes until golden brown.

We remove them once they’re finished baking and let them cool for several minutes before enjoying them while still warm, the best (read: only) way to enjoy them. If we’re having people over or serving them for brunch, we usually transfer them into a basket with dish towels covering them so they retain some of their warmth. We enjoy making these Ham and Cheese Scones on holidays like Easter, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, and special occasions like my husband’s birthday since they’re so indulgent… but so delicious!

For more delicious recipes like these Ham and Cheese Scones be sure to follow Our Holly Days on Facebook where I share daily.

5 Back to School Lunch Ideas

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PackThePerfectLunch #CollectiveBias

“I gotta go back! Back! Back! To School again!” Its a song that I sing to me kids at the beginning of every school year. It’s my sworn duty as a mother to annoy them with my Grease 2 songs as I wake them up and get them out of bed each morning. With three kiddos in school this year, it’s also my sworn duty to pack them well rounded lunches. I try to keep things fun by switching up my lunch game every now and then. These five back to school lunch ideas have become tried and true favorites with my kiddos.

Copycat Box Lunches

This lunch is simple to put together and one of my kids favorites. I simply use the top of a water bottle to cut the bologna into circle shapes and cut the cheese into bit sized squares. My kiddos can assemble their cheese and crackers creations during lunch just like they would with the store bought version. I add in a bottle of cold DASANI and a couple of mandarins before packing this lunch up for school.

Turkey rolls

I added these fun turkey rolls to the rotation last year when I was trying to revamp a plain ol’ turkey sandwich. Bread gets soggy fast here in the desert, so I try to avoid sandwiches if I can and these were a simple solution. I pat a piece of turkey dry with a paper towel, layer a few pieces of salami over it (my kids love salami, but it could easily be swapped with any other lunchmeat or even cheese), and roll it up. None of my kids like cream cheese, but if they did, I’d slather a bit of that over the turkey too. I add a package of Lance crackers and an Honest Kids Juice with a piece of fresh fruit to complete the meal.

DIY Pizzas

I’m sure it’s easy to guess that this is one of my kids faves. I use a plastic container for some shredded mozzarella, pepperonis, and crackers. All the elements one needs for a lunch version of pizza. A package of Lance Crackers and a bottle of POWERADE go in next followed by some cut up apples (not pictured).

PBJ rolls

I jazz up a classic PBJ by rolling out a piece of bread as thin as I can using a rolling pin. I add the peanut butter and jelly before rolling it into a fun spiral. I usually make two of three of these for my kids and they love them. It feels like a fun treat rather than the usual PBJ. My kiddos love finding a Honest Kids Juice in their lunch boxes along with a package of their favorite Lance Crackers.


These are a fun way to serve some of my kids favorite finger foods. I simply a classic cheddar cheese quesadilla into small slices and insert them into a container. I add a package of Toast Chee and a Honest Kids Juice along with a couple mandarins to finish off this lunch.

Save $1.50 on any (1) Lance 8 count and larger sandwich packs when you buy any (2) participating DASANI, POWERADE or Honest Kids multipacks with tear-pad coupon found in-store. Find the in-store coupon available on end caps.

These are a fun way to switch up normal lunches and they double as a great tool to encourage my kids to enjoy better for them options. While I love to switch things up, I love using Lance crackers to add to their lunches. It makes it easier for me to get creative with their lunches when I can rely on things like Honest Kids Juice, POWERADE, DASANI, and Lance Crackers which I can find conveniently at my local VONS. While I have mad love for the bento box moms, I’m not quite there. I need a semi-homemade version of that and I think that these back to school lunch ideas are the perfect balance for me.

For more back to school lunch ideas and inspiration, be sure to visit your local VONS store where you’ll find all of the ingredients I used here along with my trusty sidekicks: Honest Kids Juice, POWERADE, DASANI, and Lance Crackers.

30 After School Snack Ideas (That Your Kids Will Actually Eat!)

One of my back to school struggles has been trying to find snacks that my kids will actually eat and that I’m satisfied with (read: not potato chips). It’s taken me several years, but I finally feel like I’ve got my snack arsenal locked and loaded with after school snack ideas that they’ll actually enjoy (my kids steer very clear of hummus and pita chips). I grocery shop once a week and usually buy two savory items and two sweet items from this. These are snacks my kids love to munch on and I usually will never tell them no when they ask for something on this list. I’m hoping my years of parent training (ha!) will inspire your back to school snack cabinet with some of these better-for-them options.

  • string cheese
  • Cuties
  • apple slices with peanut butter
  • pretzel sticks
  • grapes
  • yogurt
  • Z Bars
  • fruit leather
  • strawberries
  • almonds
  • applesauce
  • fruit cups
  • turkey slices
  • cucumber slices with ranch
  • raisins
  • Babybel cheese
  • pepperoni
  • granola
  • beef jerky
  • bananas
  • carrot sticks
  • cantaloupe
  • pickles
  • raspberries
  • kale chips
  • celery sticks with peanut butter
  • carrot sticks with ranch
  • hard boiled eggs
  • salami slices
  • cheese crackers

This list of back to school snack ideas is full of options that I can feel good about my kids eating after school. They’re thoughtful options that I know will fuel their brains without spoiling their dinnertime appetites. What are some ideas that you use with your kiddos? I’m always on the hunt for options and ways to switch it up in my home.

For more back to school inspiration, ideas, recipes, and more, be sure to follow the Our Holly Days page on Facebook where I share and update daily.

#AD Easy Orange Chicken

This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StockUpMakeSmiles #CollectiveBias

Class in session, football practice, karate class. These are three of the challenges this back to school season will bring to my family. Schedules will be a little crazier than normal, which means dinnertime will need to be simple and fast. Thankfully, I have a few recipes up my sleeve that use  some simple shortcuts to create a dinner that tastes like I made it from scratch. My secret is using Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks for helping to minimize prep time. I find these tasty snacks at my local Walmart in the frozen food section. For my Easy Orange Chicken recipe, I use the Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks Popcorn Chicken and whip up a super simple sauce for a simple dinner that’s ready in just minutes.

I start by prepping the Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks Popcorn Chicken in a baking dish. I cook it according to the instructions on the bag.

Using Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks helps me to save money during the back to school season, which is always a little tighter on our budget. I use Shopkick when I shop at Walmart and earn kicks to use towards gift cards.

Earn up to 600 kicks when you buy three (3) participating Tyson® products.*

While the Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks Popcorn Chicken is baking in the oven, I start the orange sauce by adding some barbecue sauce, orange marmalade, and a splash of low sodium soy sauce to a saucepan.

While the chicken cooks, I let the sauce simmer, stirring frequently.

Once the Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks Popcorn Chicken is done, I add it to a large bowl and pour the orange sauce over the top.

I give it a couple of tosses to coat the chicken evenly and allow it to cool slightly before serving.

I usually serve this Easy Orange Chicken in a bowl with rice and broccoli for a simple way to enjoy “take-out” right at home. This recipe is easy to throw together on especially busy weeknights, making it a perfect meal to put on your menu during this back to school season.


For more back to school inspired recipes, tips, and tutorials from bloggers like me, be sure to check out #StockUpMakeSmiles on social media. To get your hands on Tyson® Any’tizers® Snacks Popcorn Chicken to recreate this recipe, visit

*Chicken nuggets, chicken strips, Any’tizers® Snacks, Grilled and Ready® items, Hillshire Farm® Lunchmeats, and Jimmy Dean® frozen breakfast items.