After discovering Hershey’s Spreads for the first time, I’ve found dozens of ways to incorporate these rich, chocolate flavored spreads into every day snacks and desserts. My family loved the easy oatmeal s’mores cookies with the chocolate spread. Those were such an easy dessert to whip up. And then of course there was the Strawberry-Banana Chocolate Stuffed French Toastfor breakfast. My personal favorite is keeping it simple with healthy fruits and low-calorie cookies dipped in a bit of the Hershey’s Spreads chocolate with hazelnut flavor. Well, okay, that’s what I thought until I turned a little bit of the chocolate spread into a creamy cheesecake filling for fresh strawberries. For something a little healthier, check out chia seeds!

Chocolate Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries with Hershey's Spreads Chocolate

This is the perfect dessert for a romantic Valentine’s Day at home. If you’re like us and have young children at home with no babysitter, you can whip up a tray of chocolate cheesecake filled strawberries in minutes and share them over a few stolen moments after the kids have gone to bed.

Strawberries Stuffed with Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe



  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup Hershey’s Spreads Chocolate spread
  • 1 dozen strawberries


  1. Add all ingredients to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on high until smooth.
  2. Cut an “X” into the top of each strawberry and spread open.
  3. Fill the enter of each strawberry with the chocolate cheesecake mix. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
 For even more tasty flavor combinations, visit Hershey’s Spreads online. You’ll find a variety of snacks and sweets that are perfect for pairing with Hershey’s Spreads. You can also follow the hashtag #SpreadPossibilities on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what other fun pairings people are coming up with. And if you want to be really adventurous, check out the Hershey’s Spreads recipe collection for ideas on baking with them.

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{GIVEAWAY} Green Velvet Cupcakes With Fluffy White Icing for St. Patrick’s Day

No matter the holiday, cupcakes are one treat you can dress up for any occasion. Green velvet cupcakes are no exception. Much like red velvet cupcakes, these have a velvet texture and vibrant color … green for St. Patrick’s Day!

Making these green velvet cupcakes is extremely easy and comes with the added bonus of playing with food coloring. When I’m not working with coloring buttercream, I love using McCormick green food color to brighten up a cake batter. A squeeze or two of the bottle and you can turn a chocolate cake batter into a gorgeous emerald green color.

Also, go check out Easter Bunny Peep Dirt Cakes.

Inside this soft cupcake you get crumbles of deep green. It goes perfectly with a light and fluffy white frosting that only uses a few simple ingredients.

I keep half a dozen or so bottles of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract on hand at any given time and it gives the fluffy frosting a great flavor.



  • Cupcakes
  • 1 package (18 1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix with pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick® Green Food Color
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Fluffy White Frosting
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract


  1. Set 350°F. Add sour cream, cake mix, water, cocoa powder, food color, oil, eggs and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer with low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently.
  2. Pour batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  3. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack.
  4. For the frosting, in an electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment, beat the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar about 3 minutes until foamy.
  5. Add the mixture to a heat safe bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat the mixture until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the mixture back to the electric mixer bowl, add the vanilla and beat at a high speed for 15 minutes until thick with soft peaks.
  7. Frost the cupcakes and serve.

In addition to the green velvet cupcakes, I’ve been having some fun in the kitchen whipping up some easy and delicious St. Patrick’s Day recipes including these Mint Chocolate Green Grasshopper Cookie Pops, Grasshopper Pudding Pie, Lucky Mint Milkshake and Lucky Little Whoopie Pies.




Five (5) lucky readers will win a McCormick St. Patrick’s Day Baking Kit that includes: green food color, pure peppermint extract, pure vanilla extract and recipes.

How to Enter

Complete the required entry below. Once completed you may enter additional times by leaving an extra comment for each optional entry completed.

Required Entry – Leave a comment and tell us your favorite treat to make for St. Patrick’s Day

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See Official Rules for complete details – US only excluding AK & HI – No PO Boxes – One entrant per household – Sweepstakes ends 03/07/12 at 11:59 PM CST. Winner(s) will be notified by email with 48 hours to claim prize and listed on the Official Winner’s List.


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DIY Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Mason Jar Money Banks for Your Next Disney World Vacation

In less than a month, our family will be driving across the country for our 2nd Disney World vacation. It’s been almost two years since our first one and in that time we’ve been filling up our old piggy banks with spare change and dollar bills. In that time we managed to save over $500 that goes towards the gas needed to get to Florida, some meals and hotels along the way. Every time we empty our piggy banks, I’m shocked at how so little can add up to so much!

And that’s why I thought I’d take our traditional piggy banks a step further and make larger, themed money banks for our next Disney World vacation. Mickey and Minnie are the perfect duo and so darn cute together when they’re turned into mason jar money banks.

I have no idea how much money these gallon sized Ball Mason Jars will hold but right now I’ve got them perched on my desk hutch and already starting to fill up with extra money.


diy-mickey-mouse-mason-jarSupplies Needed:

  • 3 – 1 gallon Ball Mason Jars
  • 2 can red spray paint
  • 2 can black spray paint
  • 2 can clear gloss spray paint
  • painters tape
  • paper towels
  • 2 small bottles of white multi-purpose craft paint
  • 2 round sponge brush
  • superglue
  • 2 white foam sheet
  • 2 red foam sheet
  • 1 black foam sheets
  • scissors



Mickey Mouse Jar

  1. Place a strip of painter’s tape around the center of one jar and press firmly so it makes contact with the glass. Turn the mason jar upside down and use another piece of tape and paper towels to cover the top of the jar. Spray at evenly of the red paint on the bottom half of the mason jar. Spray lid with an evenly of red paint.
  2. Once the paint is fully dried, repeat the tape and paper towel process for the top of the mason jar and spray an evenly of black paint on the top half of the mason jar.
  3. Find a small round cookie cutter, shot glass or other round object to trace two circles on the white foam board. Cut each circle out. Remove the paper backing (if you’re using sticky back foam) and add super glue to the back of both circles. Place the circles in the center of the red painted area of the jar and hold in place for 30 seconds.
  4. Spray the mason jar and lid with an evenly of clear finishing spray paint.
  5. Find a large round cookie cutter, glass or other round object to trace two circles on the black foam board. Cut out each circle. Place both circles on top of eachother with the paper backing touching. Cut a slightly narrow wedge into the circles (like pictured above). You may need to make some adjustments. See how well they fit by placing the wedge onto the lid of the mason jar.
  6. Add super glue to the wedge portion of a black foam circle and place it on the center of the lid, holding pressure for 30 seconds. Repeat for the second foam circle, directly opposite the first one.

Minnie Mouse Jar

  1. Put the Mason jar upside down and spray an evenly of red paint to the entire mason jar. Add an evenly of black spray paint to the lid.
  2. Dip a round sponge brush (around 1″ – 1-1/2″ diameter) in white craft paint and paint random white dots on the entire jar.
  3. Spray the mason jar and lid with an evenly of clear finishing spray paint.
  4. Repeat the same process for the ears as in the instructions above for the Mickey Mouse  jar.
  5. The Minnie bow can be a little tricky. Personally, I just drew two flat bottomed hearts with a circle in the center on the red foam sheet.


And that is that! These are pretty easy to make and give you a fun decoration for your Disney loving home plus an easy way to save money for your next Disney World vacation. These jars are perfect to fill with herbs like pine pollen or superfoods like chia seeds!


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DIY Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden In The Kitchen

Last month my Etsy obsession led me to a few neat discoveries. First, I was introduced to the Swanky Prints store where I went a little overboard on buying food photography backdrops. Then I found the cutest chalkboard labels for pantry containers. And then I got the idea to spruce of the decor in my kitchen. I knew I wanted to bring my herb garden indoors this year instead of letting it take over a third of my raised bed garden and it was just luck that brought me to a shop called The Summery Umbrella.

Right away I fell in love with all of the wooden shelves and when I saw this distressed wooden shelf with spots to drop in mason jars, I knew it would be perfect for my kitchen and my indoor herb garden as well as for storing chia seeds or pine pollen powder What makes these really neat is you can leave the wood natural or have it painted to match any room of your house.

Herb Garden on a Shelf

I also ordered a wooden chalkboard to match. When I hung the shelf on this wall I wasn’t sure where the chalkboard should go but I think this set-up fits together quite well. And now I have a place to jot down groceries as we run out of them. And a spot for fresh flowers where the cats can’t chew them all to bits.

Wall Shelf with Fresh Herbs

While researching how to grow indoor herbs, one thing I read over and over again is that herbs like well-drained soil. Since these herbs are being grown in solid mason jars there’s no easy way to keep the water from settling in the soil. Well, actually there is. Just fill the bottom of your mason jar with about an inch of small pebbles. This allows the water to drain down to the bottom and keeps the roots from sitting in excess water.

Mason Jar Herb Garden

Right now it looks a little bland since the seeds just went in and honestly, I’m thinking about pulling the seeds and just buying actually plants. Patience just isn’t my thing. But this is more than just decoration, I’m looking forward to being able to grab the herbs I use most (basil, Italian parsley, chives) and cook with them whenever I want.

*UPDATE* Because I just can’t be patient I decided to pull the seeds and just put in herbs that were already growing.

Indoor Hanging Herb Garden


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DIY Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse Mason Jar Money Banks for Your Next Disney World Vacation

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