Mealtime Mama: Homemade candy bar recipe!

mealtime

Our mother-in-residence, Wanda, just shared a recipe with us that we couldn’t wait to share with you. It’s a HOMEMADE candy bar recipe and it sounds delicious.

Wanda’s neighbor gave her the recipe, so we’re just passing it around to all our friends and neighbors, too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

waverly crackers8 ounces of buttery crackers (like Waverly or Club)

1 cup butter (or margarine, if you must)

1/2 cup of milk

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

How to make the candy:

Place about 25 crackers in the bottom of an ungreased cake pan. Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add: milk, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and plain sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, and stir continuously, for about five minutes. Pour half the mixture over the crackers in the cake pan, making sure it covers all crackers. Place about 25 more crackers on top of that.

Now, melt your peanut butter and milk chocolate/butterscotch chips in a saucepan over medium heat and spread the melted mixture over your second layer of crackers. Chill the whole pan for about an hour and then cut into squares and enjoy!

Mealtime Mama: Jump into spring with this bunny cake!

easter hare and eggs, recipe

I know it’s a little early, but I saw this adorable Easter bunny cake on the Kraft website and wanted to share!

I have a very fond memory of my mom making a cake almost exactly like this and bringing it to my first-grade spring party. She looked so pretty and so did the cake — and all my classmates thought the bunny was adorable!

What You’ll Need:

2 baked 9-inch round white cake layers, cooled

1 tub  (8 oz.) Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed

1 pkg. (7 oz.) Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut

Suggested for decorations:

Licorice, gumdrops, jelly beans

How to Make It:

Leave 1 cake whole. Use a serrated knife to cut the remaining cake into 3 pieces as shown in the video. Arrange on large foil-covered board or platter to resemble a bunny’s head and bow tie, using small amount of cool whip to attach pieces to each other.

Frost the cake with remaining Cool Whip.

Sprinkle with coconut. Decorate with remaining ingredients as shown in photo. Keep refrigerated.

Do you make a cute bunny cake for Easter? Or do you have another recipe that’s your go-to every year? We’d love to share it with other moms on Motherlode if you’d like to send it over! Email us at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com.

Where should we eat in Northwest Arkansas? Restaurant recommendations by local food lovers

Food tour sliderOn our Mamas on Magic radio show this morning, we talked about Northwest Arkansas restaurants that would be great for enjoying next week if you’ll be in town for a stay-cation — or for taking friends/relatives who might be visiting the area for Spring Break.

Heck, you might just find a new restaurant to love! This is a great list.

You could call it A Little Food Tour Across Northwest Arkansas. If you’re looking for Kids Eat Free options at some of these restaurants, click here to see our list. We’re planning to update our list, so please let us know in comments if you’ve noticed any good Kids Eat Free/Cheap options that you’ve noticed around town. We’ll be sure to add them!

The below list (of new restaurants as well as old favorites) was recommended by local girls and guys who happen to love food. We left the comments as is to help you with your choices. Be sure to leave a comment telling us YOUR favorite restaurant/food truck/dessert destination. Let’s help each other out!

penguin ed'sMindy: A family member from WI always takes back Penguin Ed’s Bar-B-Q when she comes to NWA. Bliss Cupcakes is fun for desert! We like Gusano’s Pizza in Bentonville, or Mellow Mushroom in Rogers has some local beers and a chalkboard wall…(these are all kid friendly options, of course, since that’s what we do these days!) Jose’s for a margarita.

Rhonda: The Venesian Inn and Monte Ne Inn Chicken out our go-to’s.

Jerra: Natural State Sandwiches, Crepes Paulette, Yeyo’s Mexican Grill (food truck), Kona Coast Taco truck, KGB Food Truck, Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese, Petra Cafe, Arsaga’s

Note from the mamas: Natural State Sandwiches is one of the food trucks at the “Yacht Club” in Fayetteville. Here’s a recent pic (from the Natural State Facebook page) of the Yacht Club in action. Click here for directions.

Food trucks at the "Yacht Club" in Fayetteville

Food trucks at the “Yacht Club” in Fayetteville

Peter: Hugo’s. Hands down.

Tiffany: Penguin Ed’s!

Vikki: Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Bliss Cupcakes in Fayetteville, Mud Street Cafe in Eureka Springs just for fun ( awarded best breakfast for a few years) Have FUN!!!!!

tusk and trotter moscow mule

Tusk and Trotter’s Moscow Mule

Andi: Always Monte Ne Chicken! Marketplace Grill is good for lunch. Loafin’ Joe’s if it gets too cold to go out.

Kaylin: Crepes Paulette in Bentonville!

Crepes Paulette

Crepes Paulette

Note from the mamas: Crepes Paulette, which serves sweet and savory French crepes, now operates from a food truck in Bentonville (near 21c Museum Hotel), but will be opening a bricks and mortar restaurant later this year at the “urban-inspired, experience-focused” apartment complex Thrive. Click here to read more about CP plans.

Allison: Crepes Paulette, Hugo’s Basement, JJs Grill, Hammontrees, Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington, Stone Mill Bread Company, Common Grounds, Powerhouse Seafood, Herman’s Ribhouse, T.J’s Sandwich Shop in Fayetteville

Angie: Farmer’s Table Cafe, Hugo’s, Hammontree’s, Heirloom Food and Wine

Cammy: Baller Foodtruck.

Note from the mamas: You’ll have to follow this food truck on social media to find out where they’ll be on any given day! Click here to find them on Facebook. 

Baller Foodtruck is often at the food truck community in Fayetteville called Shulertown. Click here to follow them on Facebook and see what’s up.

baller foodtruck, cropped

Baller Foodtruck roams around NWA. But you can often find them in Shulertown.

Dawn: Greenhouse Grille

Meredith: Pesto Cafe, Geraldi’s Italian, Monte Ne Chicken, Venesian Inn

Monte Ne Chicken's blackberry cobbler

Monte Ne Inn Chicken’s blackberry cobbler

Sarah: Sassafras Springs Vineyard

Jody: Ermelio’s in Eureka Springs is fantastic! I also think 28 Springs in Siloam Springs is amazing.

Anna: Any of the James Beard award winning restaurants, Crepes Paulette, 28 Springs Restaurant, RJ team springdaleIndian Cuisine in Springdale, Springdale Taquerias, Tangs Asian Market (excellent pork/fish for take home) and the various unique food trucks across NWA.

Note from the mamas: Team Springdale, which was started by a married couple in Springdale to highlight the area’s good points, is planning a “Taco Tour” in May. Click here to find out more!

Laura: Hugo’s, Herman’s RibhouseThe Farmer’s Table Cafe (that’s where Pharrell went!), Neal’s Cafe in Springdale, Wood Stone Craft Pizza, Pressroom Coffee, Arsagas at the Depot for breakfast or dessert … If you want to do a spendy dinner or two, The Hive at 21c, 28 Springs, Vetro 1925. Lunch at Eleven at Crystal Bridges… I agree about the Springdale taquerias. Little Bread Company on Block Street for yummy pastries and coffee. I’m sure I’m forgetting something important, but Hugo’s is first on purpose!

Farmer's Table, Pharrell

Pharrell visited The Farmer’s Table Cafe in Fayetteville when he was in town

Corinna: Or if you want to give them a romantic Arkansas/Ozark experience, Grandma’s House Cafe in Winslow. It’s on top of the mountain, great views and old style decor. Southern deep fried chicken and pies from a buffet. And then there is War Eagle Mill too.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, nwaSarah: Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese for sure!

Samantha: I love Tropical Smoothie’s king caesar wrap with a kiwi quencher smoothie!

Laurie: Levi’s Gastrolounge just opened in Rogers and is yummy, Gooseberry Handmade Pies in Bentonville for take-out sweets, Onyx for coffee, taquerias in Springdale and Woodstone Craft Pizza in Fayetteville. Oh, and War Eagle Mill!!!

gooseberry handmade pies

Gooseberry Handmade Pies, strawberry rhubarb

Kara: We just tried Grandma’s Kitchen for the first time a few weeks ago for lunch. AMAZING home cooked food! You can’t beat it for the typical southern comfort food! lol

Ceri: Mum loves the margaritas at Jose’s – they don’t make them like that in New Zealand – love James at the Mill too – about every other place has been covered.

miles jamesNote from the mamas: Ceri also recently shared the info the owner and chef at James at the Mill is opening MJ Pizzeria on June 1 (soft opening May 15). Owner and Chef Miles James (who also owns 28 Springs) said the new restaurant is a “chef-inspired fast casual concept”.

Chef James added: “We’re located in the south end of Macadoodles in Springdale at 838 N 48th street Suite 1. Think wood fired pizzas, homemade pastas, crisp fresh organic salads, homemade meatballs and sausages, 11 craft beers on tap, 16 wines in a cruvinet system for our by the glass selections, craft cocktails, a large patio w live bands, & open kitchen!”

Savoy Tea Co., Pinnacle Promenade

Savoy Tea Co., Pinnacle Promenade

Kristy: Crepes Paulette, Briar Rose, Petra Cafe , Vetro 1925 in Fayetteville, Tusk and Trotter, and Savoy Tea Company.

Note from the mamas: Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington is absolutely adorable and worth visiting. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. They offer a good selection of pastries, various treats and bread as well. They serve dinner on Friday and Saturday nights, but be sure to check out their Facebook page for specific times. Closed on Mondays.

briar rose bakery

Briar Rose Bakery & Deli in Farmington

Rebecca: The Green Submarine is one of my favorites.

Melissa: Tusk and Trotter, no doubt. In Fayetteville, for someplace unique, Hammontrees

Jacqueline: Le Stick Nouveau, Aquarius Taqueria, FRESH Farm to Table Fresh, Grand Taverne Restaurant & Lounge and Gaskins Cabin Steakhouse – just to name a few in Eureka Springs.

Evie: Hugo’s (Blue Moon Burger) and Pesto Cafe.

Hugos8

A Fayetteville favorite, Hugo’s

freddy's

Note from the mamas: This Freddy’s is “coming soon” to Wedington in Fayetteville. Updated 4/13

Got anything to add? Post a comment with your favorite Kids Eat Free suggestion or to tell us about your favorite restaurant in Northwest Arkansas!

Mealtime Mama: Chicken and Snow Pea Pasta

Have you ever run across a recipe you used to make often but somehow it fell out of rotation? I just rediscovered a cookbook I used almost every day when our 13-year-old son was a baby. It’s a Pillsbury edition called “Fast & Healthy Cookbook.” It has tons of great recipes in it, and this one is definitely our favorite. I’m so glad I found it and can put it back into the regular line-up.

This dish has the comfort of a warm pasta dish combined with some bright, colorful veggies (that always make me feel a tad less guilty about the pasta.) Enjoy!

Chicken and Snow Pea Pasta

6 oz. vermicelli, broken into fourths (can also use angel hair pasta)

2 teaspoons oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

snow peas1 six-ounce package of frozen (or fresh) snow pea pods (I found mine in the produce section.)

1 cup skim milk

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon chicken-flavor instant bouillon

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook vermicelli as directed on package.

2. While the noodles are cooking, use a nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan to heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add chicken and pea pods; cook until chicken is no longer pink and pea pods are completely thawed, stirring frequently.cherry tomatoes

3. In a small bowl, combine milk, cornstarch, bouillon, garlic powder and basil; blend well. Add to chicken mixture; mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Gently stir in tomatoes. Remove from heat.

4. Drain vermicelli. Stir into chicken mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Tip: To keep the cherry tomatoes from squirting out at you, use a very sharp knife to cut them. A serrated blade may work best.

This recipe makes about 4 servings and contains 37 grams of protein and 6 grams of sugar per serving.

Mealtime Mama: Easy penne pasta with chicken and bacon

mealtime

Sometimes don’t you just crave carbs?

I know we can’t have pasta all the time, but when the mood strikes, nothing else will do. Of course, my favorite pasta is this dish, but I also like a new concoction we tried recently that includes penne pasta, chicken and bacon. And it’s got a little kick. Yes, please!

Perfect Penne Pasta

Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

penne pasta slider1 box penne pasta

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups half and half

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

6 pieces of bacon (cooked)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

Directions: Cook chicken thoroughly in a pan, adding the cayenne (or Cajun seasoning) to taste. Cook the penne according to package directions (add salt to the water!). To make the sauce, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour, stir, then add half-and-half until it’s thickened (maybe six minutes?). Remove from heat and add Parmesan (plus a little salt and pepper, to taste). Cover.

In a bowl, toss pasta with the creamy sauce. Top with chicken slices, crumbled bacon and tomatoes (very pretty).

This is decadent, yes, but we’re betting your family with love it!