Happylifeblogspot

Happylifeblogspot

Welcome to Happylifeblogspot! A food blog with drool worthy recipes

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Snowman Pancakes

Snowman Pancakes

I’m a firm believer that we all should play with our food. Food should be fun! If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. I first made these adorable snowman pancakes for my niece and nephew last year (I still can’t get over how […]

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

Nothing screams Saturday morning louder than a big ole stack of pancakes! These light and fluffy pancakes are a weekend staple in our house. The ingredients consist of a few classic pantry items so I ALWAYS have them on hand, which means I can whip […]

Polar Bear Marshmallows

Polar Bear Marshmallows

Looking for a boredom buster right about now that doesn’t involve snow or going outside??? Well I’ve got the cutest lil food craft for you….and your kids…don’t forget about them! These Polar Bear Marshmallows are sure to cure even the meanest case of the “I’m Bored” blues. And get this…they’re no bake too, so really all you have to do is supervise. WIN!!! Plus it also ends with your family enjoying a round of hot chocolate together. Awww!!! I’m getting all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. I recently test drove this edible, hands on craft with my niece, Ellie and my nephew, Nathan. They were an absolute hit right from the start. Nathan was quick to put his own spin on it and created a few three eyed monster polar bears. While Ellie, lover of all things cute and adorable, stuck to the original design. Wherever your creativity may take you, one thing’s for sure, hot chocolate has never been SO sweet!!! I suggest making as many as you can and storing in a ziplock bag, so you can enjoy polar bears swimming in your mug all winter long.

Here’s all you’ll need: jumbo size marshmallows, regular size marshmallows, mini marshmallows, white candy melts, M&Ms, and candy eyes (I grabbed these from Hobby Lobby, but you can find them at Michaels too, or just about any craft store).

Place about 1/2 a cup of white candy melts into a ziplock bag and seal. Microwave for 30 seconds. Squish the candy melts around in the bag to mix them up and then pop em back in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as necessary (usually takes me about 3 times in my microwave) until the chocolate is completely melted. This will act as our “glue” to stick everything together. Snip a small hole in the corner of the bag. Reheat as needed.

With a knife or kitchen shears, cut a regular size marshmallow into thirds. Eat…I mean discard the middle. I helped the kids with this part and let them handle the rest…the cutting, not the eating. Squeeze or fluff it up to keep it’s round shape. This will serve as the polar bear’s muzzle.

Put the marshmallow so that it’s sticky side up. Squeeze a small amount of our candy melt “glue” onto the middle of the sticky side. Just a little dab will do ya!

Place “glue” side down onto the base of a jumbo marshmallow to form the polar bear head and muzzle. Push down firmly to hold it in place.

Next dab a small amount of candy melt onto the “m” logo of the M&M. This will be our nose! You can use any color that you like. I was partial to the blue and brown noses. Nathan’s a fan of the greens (his favorite color) and if M&M’s came in pink, I know Ellie would be all over it!

Add it to the muzzle and press down firmly to hold it in place.

Next add a dab of candy melt to the back of the candy eyes and put them in place directly above the muzzle. I can see our bear coming to life already!

Lastly add a dab of candy melts to the mini marshmallows and stick them to the side of the bear’s head to make ears. I found it helpful to hold the ears in place for about 15-30 seconds to help them stick. This helps the candy melts to harden and will help the ears in place.

And just like that! You’re done!! Isn’t he just the about the cutest thing you’ve ever seen???

Time for a little polar bear swim! Place him atop your hot cocoa and finish with a mountain of whipped cream! I hate it when I have to decide between whipped cream and marshmallows, but lucky for me, this drink has LOADS of both!!

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

There’s no better way to brave the cold Buffalo weather than with a little comfort food. I mean we’re talking negative temps people!! And don’t even get me started on that windchill. I’d love to stay tucked in bed under my flannel sheets and hibernate […]

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 2

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 2

If you’re planning a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake, you really won’t find any finer accommodations than the Prince of Wales Hotel. They truly pamper their guests to ensure that you have a romantic and luxurious stay. The hotel is absolutely stunning both inside and out, from the luxury […]

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 1

Niagara-on-the-Lake Part 1

We spent last weekend across the border, exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake before all of the Christmas madness set in. Niagara-on-the-Lake is situated in Ontario, Canada right where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario, and directly across the river from Youngstown, NY. This historic town is home to 88 different wineries, along with several breweries, countless restaurants, and lots of shopping. It’s about an hour drive from our home in Buffalo and makes for a perfect romantic getaway or overnight trip. The quaint town is a popular tourist destination in the summertime, so we usually opt to visit in the winter months, when it feels as though we’ve got the whole town to ourselves. And the lodging prices are by far, much, much more reasonable.

We started off in the early afternoon by grabbing lunch at The Garrison House. Sister restaurant to Chef David Watt’s Zest, the Garrison House is casual and inviting, a great place to grab a beer at the bar or have a nice casual meal by the fire. Reservations are not required.

This gastropub is the perfect place to grab a little bite to eat before tackling all of those wineries. They focus on good food and quality spirits and it really shows in their menu. I couldn’t resist ordering the Prime Rib sandwich which was one of the daily specials and came with fresh cut fries. It was absolutely out of this world. My hubby ordered the Garrison Burger, which was also exceptional, and we swapped out halves, so we could each try a little of both! Good call!! I highly recommend!

Afterwards be sure to stop in next door at Refuge Antiques & Giftery. The store owner, Liz, hand picks and carefully curates every item in the store and her attention to detail does not go unnoticed. The store is beautifully decorated and has a wide array of unique and eclectic gifts and home decor. It’s a must stop for a one of a kind shopping experience! 

The next stop on our list was Wayne Gretzky Estates, just a short 7 minute drive down the road. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, I know, sacrilege to say in Canada, this place is truly impressive. The 23,000 sq ft facility is the first of it’s kind in the region, boasting a winery AND distillery onsite. Oh and did I mention they have their own ice rink?!? Ice skating is available in the winter, and in the summer the space doubles as a beautiful water feature, alongside their outdoor whiskey bar. If the whiskey’s not enough to keep you warm, no worries, they also have outdoor heaters pumping full force to keep you toasty. 

But wait….there’s more!! Stop inside for a wine or whiskey tour, take their Cocktails 101 bartending class, or learn some wine and food pairing tips while you’re there. My hubby and I split a tasting and left with a bottle of their 2015 Riesling in hand, along with a 3 pack of Ice Wine Truffles and a 3 pack of Whiskey Truffles from the gift shops. OMG!! YUM!! We’re headed back here in February and I am beyond excited to sample from the distillery on our next trip. Like really really excited!!!

Konzelmann Estate Winery was next, and I’m not going to lie, the 8 year old little girl inside of me wanted to visit this place because it kinda looks like a castle. Konzelmann is just a 7 minute drive from Gretzky Estates, yet almost has an off the beaten path type of feel to it. Opened in Canada in 1984, they’ve actually been established in Germany since 1894.

With history comes experience obviously, because as far as wine tasting goes, this place was probably my favorite! We did two tastings here, tried 6 wines in total, and concluded that their 2016 Peach wine is the obvious winner! We also left with a bottle of their 2015 Riesling. But what stood out the most to me, was their extremely reasonable pricing. They offer $5 off a bottle with each tasting purchased, meaning we left with 2 bottles of wine for under $20….Canadian! Next time I’ve gotta try their Junk Food Pairing, where they pair holiday junk food along with their wines for a small fee. This place is located right on the water too, and I bet it’s even more fabulous in the summertime!

Our next stop was Pillitteri Estates Winery, just 6 minutes away, back on the main drag. Pillitteri is a family owned and operated winery, with three generations involved in the wine making process. Their dual showcases boast just a few of their many prestigious awards (they’ve won 700+ internationally and domestically for both their table and ice wines). In fact, they are the world’s largest estate producer of Icewine! And guess what….they really do live up to all that hype!! I’m a sucker for ice wine…and ice wine truffles apparently, because I could not leave here without a bottle of their 2013 Vintage Reserve or a 5 pack of truffles. Both are must buys!!!

Two minutes down the road, you’ll find Niagara Oast House Brewers. You can’t miss the big red barn! Oast house is Niagara’s premium craft brewery with a focus on Farmhouse-style brews. The barn was originally raised in the late 1800s, and now boasts the Beer Shed (a beer tasting room), the Hayloft (a super cool event space), the Kitchen, which serves up Tide & Vine Oyster Co. oysters along with other small plates to snack on, and the coolest looking outdoor patio! Remind me to swing by this summer!! This place gives off such a chill vibe. It’s everything you want a brewery to be. They even have a sweet ping pong table tucked away in the back room. Game. On.

Here you can basically build your own beer flight and pick as many samples as you’d like. We tried the Biere de Noel, the Pumpkin & Squash Spiced Ale, and the Olde Tyme Gingerbread Porter. This place is a must do for any craft beer enthusiast, or anyone who needs a pit stop from all the wine! It was a nice change of pace and our last stop before checking into our hotel.

We checked into our room at the Prince of Wales Hotel, a member of the Vintage Hotels group. The room was fit for a Queen, decked out in all of it’s Victorian elegance, yet equipped with fully modern features. The gas fireplace was the perfect place to warm up after a cold winter’s day spent gallivanting around town. The Prince of Wales is located in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake and is arguably the best located hotel in town, just steps from the most popular restaurants, bars, and shopping. We booked with an amazing deal through Travelzoo.com. For just $159 (plus taxes) we were able to stay in these stunning accommodations and received complimentary breakfast, as well as complimentary tastings to two of the local wineries. Last year we purchased a similar deal for their sister hotel, Pillar & Post, and will also be returning in February to their third location at Queens Landing. You really can’t beat the price! I’ll let you know which is my favorite!

After we settled in, we headed to The Irish Harp Pub for a round of pre dinner drinks and an appetizer. The Irish Harp is literally steps away from the Prince of Wales and just a blocks worth of walking. Owner Trevor Smyth has taken attention to detail to the next level, and in 2005 he meticulously restored the building, having it’s whole contents shipped straight from Ireland. The quintessential Irish pub, The Irish Harp serves up great food, cold drinks, and live bands on the weekends, establishing itself as a Niagara-on-the-Lake landmark destination.

Sit at the bar, or grab a table by the fireplace, just grab a seat! This place fills up fast on the weekends. Don’t miss the pull apart garlic loaf in all of it’s cheesy glory!!!

From there, we headed just around the block to the Olde Angel Inn. The Angel Inn boasts a pub, a large English style restaurant, as well as 5 guest rooms. The Olde Angel Inn was established in 1789 and rebuilt in 1815, after being badly burned during the War of 1812-1814. It’s said to be haunted, of course, the ghost remains harmless as long as the British flag flies over the inn. The food is hearty and the portions are HUGE! Just take a look at this roast beef sandwich, piled high with tender, juicy beef. And I’m not saying the ghost was there, but I did take a video of my water glass sliding across the table all by itself….sooooo……there’s that.

The holiday cocktail, a mix of spiced rum and eggnog, topped with whipped cream, cinnamon and nutmeg, was EVERYTHING and just what I needed before braving the cold walk back to our hotel. Lucky for me it was a short one!

Of course I couldn’t walk through Churchill Lounge (located at the Prince of Wales) without having one more drink. I am so in love with the woodwork in this bar. We warmed ourselves by the fireplace, and listened to the piano player sing few Christmas songs while sipping on sangria and martinis to end the night. I can’t think of a better way to unwind before Christmas, can you?

To see more of Niagara-on-the-Lake click here!

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

Last Minute Eggnog Dip

Last Minute Eggnog Dip

Alright! This one is for all you last minute, late to the party, Christmas procrastinators. You know who you are! You still have presents to wrap or maybe even a couple left to buy. Hey, it happens! I get it. No judgement. I’m here for […]

Easy Eggnog Fudge

Easy Eggnog Fudge

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…..my hubby is an eggnog freak!!! No he doesn’t do weird things with eggnog……but he IS pretty eggnog obsessed!! He absolutely loves it and cannot get enough. Unfortunately for him, it’s only available for a short […]

Maple Glazed Mini Pancake Bites

Maple Glazed Mini Pancake Bites

It happens to us EVERY holiday! We’re busy people. We usually have to be somewhere, or have people coming over, or have to cook. I wake up and start working in the kitchen and I get so busy that I forget to make us breakfast. Coffee doesn’t count as breakfast….did you know that btw?!? So we go about our day, running on caffeine, like it’s no big deal and then by dinner time we. are. actually. starving!!! Who can relate? But I’ve been trying to get better at that. On Christmas morning especially, everyone is excited about presents and not so much about breakfast. These Maple Glazed Mini Pancake Bites are sure to change that! They are very portable, extremely poppable, and just enough to get you through your hectic day! You can even eat them WHILE you’re opening presents!! Your kids will love that!!

Here’s all you’ll need: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, milk, white vinegar, vanilla extract, an egg, butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, maple syrup, and pre cooked bacon (click the link for our No Mess Bacon Tutorial).

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder. Mix and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and vinegar together. Let stand for one minute. I know the vinegar sounds odd, but basically you are creating DIY buttermilk. Which leads me to my next point….you can sub in buttermilk if you like! Whisk in the vanilla, egg, and melted butter.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl.

Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon into each cup by the tablespoonful. Try not to be as messy as I was. I swear I really WAS trying to be neat! Wipe away any excess drips with a paper towel and pretend they didn’t happen. Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Next let’s make our frosting while the muffins are baking. These pancake bites are perfectly delicious all on their own, but let’s face it….MAPLE. BACON!!! Enough said! Add the cream cheese, maple syrup, and confectioners sugar to a small bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth. (This was my hand mixers last run right here. RIP! We had a good run!)

Look at those cute lil treats!!! Are they pancakes? Are they muffins? Maybe a little of both! Loosen the edges with a butter knife and remove from the baking pan. 

After trying out our No Mess Bacon tutorial, because why would you make bacon any other way?, crumble into small pieces. Think bacon sprinkles!!!

Once pancake bites are cool enough to handle, dip in the maple glaze and then top with bacon “sprinkles”. The glaze is a bit sticky so you’ll want to lick your fingers, errr…., I mean, wash your hands when you’re done!

Serve warm ad enjoy! I love these hot out of the oven, but I’ve also had them cold and they are still fabulous. I’ve made them ahead of time and reheated and yep! Still good. I’ve microwaved them for a few seconds and they were still delish. Pop them back in the oven and yes still yummy too! Just be sure to refrigerate any leftovers….that is, if you have any!

Maple Glazed Mini Pancake Bites

December 15, 2017
: 24 mini pancakes
: Easy

By:

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tbs. baking powder
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 Tbs. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 eggs
  • 1/4 stick butter, melted
  • FOR THE ICING:
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 cup real maple syrup
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked crisp and finely chopped
Directions
  • Step 1 Cook and crumble bacon. Set aside.
  • Step 2 In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder. Mix and set aside.
  • Step 3 In a separate bowl, whisk the milk and vinegar together. Let stand for one minute. Whisk in the vanilla, egg, and melted butter.
  • Step 4 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  • Step 5 Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon into each cup by the tablespoonful. Bake in a 425 degree preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Step 6 Add the cream cheese, maple syrup, and confectioners sugar to a small bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
  • Step 7 Once pancake bites are cool enough to handle, dip in the maple glaze and then top with bacon. Serve warm ad enjoy! Refrigerate any leftovers.

We’d love to hear from you! Leave us your comments and love down below!

Cranberry Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce

Cranberry Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce

I found this wonderful recipe a few years back and have making it as a Christmas side ever since! My family instantly fell in love with it.  And I love this recipe too because it’s pretty foolproof! Ricotta gnocchi are lighter, fluffier and much easier […]


All Time Favorites

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

Light and Fluffy Pancakes

Nothing screams Saturday morning louder than a big ole stack of pancakes! These light and fluffy pancakes are a weekend staple in our house. The ingredients consist of a few classic pantry items so I ALWAYS have them on hand, which means I can whip […]

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie

There’s no better way to brave the cold Buffalo weather than with a little comfort food. I mean we’re talking negative temps people!! And don’t even get me started on that windchill. I’d love to stay tucked in bed under my flannel sheets and hibernate […]

Easy Eggnog Fudge

Easy Eggnog Fudge

I’m going to let you in on a little secret…..my hubby is an eggnog freak!!! No he doesn’t do weird things with eggnog……but he IS pretty eggnog obsessed!! He absolutely loves it and cannot get enough. Unfortunately for him, it’s only available for a short […]

Chocolate Overload Cake

Chocolate Overload Cake

So let me talk about this cake for a minute! I baked this up for the blog and dropped a few slices off with family and friends. My brother, Danny and sister in law, Sarah, were two of the lucky recipients. After I dropped off […]

Classic Beef Chili

Classic Beef Chili

From now until the end of December, my to do list is about a mile long. I cross one thing off and suddenly 3 more things pop onto to the list. I don’t know how, but it just keeps multiplying!!! Pull out the Christmas decorations. […]