Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip


She’s alive! 
 
You guys!  Life has been so crazy lately that I have hardly had a moment to catch my breath, let alone share a post with you.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that Lovebug started kindergarten a couple weeks ago.  And if you’ve been around for a while, you know that change and I don’t always ever get along.  But, we are settling into a groove and I’m excited to be able to focus back on blogging.  
 
I thought I’d ease in slowly with a super simple and delicious recipe with you and this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip recipe fit the bill perfectly!
 Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip
I first had this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip at a girlfriends college graduation party many moons ago and I was surprised at how much I loved it.  See, I usually prefer fruit on its own because fresh fruit is so sweet and juicy that I don’t think it needs anything to make it better.   However, this dip seriously takes fruit to the next level.  
 
The secret ingredient is the fresh juice of an orange…  Not to be confused with “fresh” orange juice out of a bottle.  Trust me, you will want to give your arms a little workout and squeeze the juice out of a fresh orange.  It makes all the difference in this dip and gives it delightful fresh taste.  
 
The dip pairs perfectly with berries, stone fruits, apples, pears, pineapples and even some melons.  In fact, I love it with so many different fruits that I usually serve it with a fruit platter or salad so that I can have options.  It is so good!
 
I am still a fruit purist, but love pulling this fruit dip out for parties, potlucks or for a simple dessert.  It is always a hit with both kids and kids at heart!
 
Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip
Serves 6
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  2. 7 oz marshmallow fluff
  3. Juice of 1 orange
  4. 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  5. Fresh fruit
Instructions
  1. Blend cream cheese and marshmallow fluff together in a large bowl using a hand mixer. Add the juice and powdered sugar and continue mixing until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with fresh fruit.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
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German Chocolate Cake
My Love absolutely loves German Chocolate Cake.  It is his very favorite cake and he asks for it at every opportunity, which creates a bit of a dilemma in our home…

See, German Chocolate Cake is not my favorite cake.  In fact, it might be my least favorite cake.  The  rich chocolate cake part, I love.  It’s just the frosting that I’m not much of a fan of.  And the frosting in my recipe is so sticky and gooey, full of coconut and pecans, that it oozes and seeps down into the nooks and crevices of the cake.  So, there is just no avoiding the frosting, which is great for someone who loves this cake.  But, not so great for someone like me who just wants to enjoy the cake part and skip the frosting.

My Love only requests it for special occasions (birthdays, Father’s Day, etc.) because (1) he feels that it is a burden for me to make it when I don’t like it (it’s not), (2) he doesn’t want to be the main consumer of this cake’s “awesomeness” (his word, not mine) and (3) he feels bad that I skip dessert when this cake is on the menu (a few skipped desserts never hurt anybody, right?).

Lucky for him, Father’s Day was last month, so he got to indulge in his favorite treat, which gave me the opportunity to share the recipe with you!  

Moral of the story: If you are a German Chocolate Cake loving family, this recipe is for you!  If not, then you should skip this recipe because there is no getting around the dark chocolate, coconut, pecan flavor combo. 
German Chocolate Cake 
 
See what I mean by sticky and gooey?  The frosting literally makes its way all over the cake, making sure each bite is full of chocolate cake, coconut, pecans and sweet sauce.  
 
 
Originally, I made this a mountainous four layer cake.  But, since we are a small family of four, we scaled it back a bit to prevent My Love from becoming diabetic from German Chocolate Cake consumption.  The cake is fantastic as shown (I’ve tested it with many family and friends since I can’t judge it myself), however, I highly recommend doubling the cake and frosting recipe to create a four layer cake, if you are serving a large crowd.  A four layer cake is always impressive but the flavors in this cake will make it an even bigger hit! 
 
 
German Chocolate Cake
Serves 8
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr
Cake
  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  3. 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  4. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 cups coffee, cooled slightly
  10. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla
Coconut Pecan Frosting
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup evaporated milk
  3. 3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
  4. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 pieces
  5. pinch salt
  6. 1 cup lightly toasted pecans, finely chopped
  7. 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  8. 3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  9. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  10. Decorations: pecans and flaked coconut
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper cake circle and grease the top of the paper. Set prepared pans aside.
  2. Over a sheet of parchment paper, sift together the sugar, flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using clean hands, mix the dry ingredients together until distributed evenly. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer and large bowl, mix together eggs, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. Note - the batter will be thin.
  4. Divide the batter as evenly as you can between the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minute, until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack. Cool completely.
Coconut Pecan Frosting
  1. Combine sugar, milk, egg yolks, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture begins to boil and thinking. Remove from heat and stir in chopped pecans, coconut and vanilla. Let cool for at least thirty minutes until cool and spreadable.
To Assemble
  1. Place one layer of cake, top side down, on your serving plate and cover with half the coconut pecan frosting, spreading the frosting to the edge of the cake but not spilling it over. Place the second layer of cake, top side down, onto the first layer and cover with the remaining coconut pecan frosting, spreading the frosting to about 1/4" of the edge. To decorate, place 5-6 pecan halves in a circle in the center of the cake. Place about a teaspoon of flaked coconut in the center of the pecan halves.
  2. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until shortly before serving.
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/
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His & Hers To Do List { Free Printable }
With both My Love and I working outside the home full time, carting two kids to various activities, running errands, making meals, spending quality time with the kids and squeezing in a little time for each other or ourselves, our home sometimes usually suffers from neglect.  Dishes pile up in or around the sink, floors are covered with a crumb carpet, mountains of laundry take up valuable space on the couch, toy land mines make it impossible to walk through common areas, etc.  Does this sound at all familiar or are we the only ones?
 
The problem is that after a long day, we are pretty exhausted and the last thing My Love or I want to do is spend another hour or two cleaning up.   But, if we don’t tidy up, the problem gets worse because now there are more dishes, toys, laundry, etc. to deal with.  Then, there is the whole issue of frustration and resentment if one of us works on cleaning up and feels the other isn’t really carrying their weight or if one has an expectation that the other will take care of completing a task that just doesn’t get done.  
 
We used to argue about why the house was a mess, who was responsible for what, who’s spent more time cleaning, who dropped the ball, etc .  But, we wizened up recently and decided to divide and conquer by assigning tasks.  We made a list of what needed to happen regularly to keep our house tidy and then divided up the work.    
 
 
You guys know I love to make lists so, naturally, I made a fun little His & Hers To Do List to keep us on track.
Our To Do List
 
To make sure that we addressed everything, we sat down and created a comprehensive list of the things that needed to get done.  Then, we spent the next week adding to and editing the list to make sure we didn’t miss anything important.  Then, we went through and assigned tasks and timelines.

This wasn’t a you take one, I take one type of deal.  It was more of a ‘what do I usually take care of and does it make sense for me to continue doing it’ scenario.  For example, My Love does the yard work.  I sometimes help in the garden, but for the most part, he trims the bushes, fertilizes, makes sure irrigation system is working properly, etc.  So, it made sense for him to take on the yard work.

We also took into consideration how much time each item would take so one of us wouldn’t be more overloaded than the other on daily or weekly tasks.  The only exception is the yard work.  Depending on what needs to be done, that can take up more time than the other tasks.  And in those cases, I help My Love with some of his designated to do’s to compensate for his time in the yard.

 

In looking at our list, you may think that loading the dishwasher and washing dishes is the same thing, but we don’t run our pots, knives, cutting boards, measuring instruments, etc. in the dishwasher because it can damage them and/or shorten their lifespan.  So, our dishwasher is used for dishes, cups and silverware.  And I, the human dish washer, take care of everything else.  Also, you might notice that we don’t have clean bathrooms, mop floors or dust on our list.  That is because we hired a house cleaner to help us with those tasks once a month when I went back to work after having Lovebug.  It is such a huge help to have those things taken care of so that we just have to maintain them.

Suddenly, our house was routinely tidy and we weren’t arguing about the mess anymore.  We know what is expected and what the timeline is and generally we’re able to accomplish the daily tasks in 30 minutes to an hour.   Plus, we are usually getting things done at the same time, after the kids go to bed, so it gives us time to chat.  Not an ideal ‘date’ but with two kids and busy lives, I’ll take what I can get!

Don’t get me wrong, things still get away from us from time to time and we try to keep things flexible and step in for one another when necessary. But for the most part, creating our His and Hers To Do List has really simplified our lives.

And because I love you guys so much, I’ve made this cute His and Hers To Do List a free printable!  You can print it and fill it out or open it in an photo editing tool and add your to do’s on it.

Free Printable Mr. & Mrs. To Do List
 

How does your family keep your home tidy?  We are definitely open to suggestions to make our lives easier!

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Coconut Pancakes with Berries & Coconut Flakes
 
Like most people, we make a conscious effort to eat healthy and fuel our bodies with nutrient rich foods most of the time (everything in moderation!).  My Love has always eaten healthy and recently upped his game by replacing juice with coconut water and adding kale and other green leafy vegetables to smoothies, and actually liking it.  Thankfully, our girls take after their father and devour their green smoothies.  I, on the other hand, think that the smoothies have a faint flavor of ‘grass’.  But, I still drink them for the health benefit.  
 
My Love keeps telling me that if I drink it enough the flavor will grow on me and eventually I’ll like it.  Jury is still out…
 
But, being healthy is really important to me so I’ve really been evaluating the items in our pantry and looking for ways to move towards more natural, less processed products that have high nutritional values.  This search lead me to coconut flour.  
 
Did you know that coconut flour is naturally gluten free and that it is full of protein and fiber?  Me neither!  But, there’s more!  You can read all about the health benefits and recipe substitution ratios here!  You know what the best part is?  Coconut flour smells and tastes heavenly and nothing at all like grass!  (I realize that coconuts wouldn’t taste like grass, but my point is that it doesn’t taste ‘healthy’ like the grass-like flavor in My Love’s smoothies).  I’m not big on coconuts but the coconut flavor does not overpower and the natural sugars make the flour slightly sweet, which is actually quite nice!  Who knows, coconut flour may have converted me on coconuts!?
Coconut Pancakes
As a baseline, I wanted to try coconut flour in a recipe that we know and love.  So, I decided to make pancakes.  I started with a basic pancake recipe that used coconut flour instead of all purpose flour and it was tasty with just a hint of warm coconut flavor, but I didn’t LOVE it.  So, I decided to try the recipe below from Food and Wine and it was delicious!  The whole family loved these coconut pancakes!  They were light but filling and had just the right amount of coconut flavor.  We topped them with strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and maple syrup for added flavor!  They are so good and, in retrospect, they look rather patriotic so they would be a great option for the upcoming 4th of July holiday! 🙂  
 
I was super impressed with coconut flour and can’t wait to try it in other recipes!  But, for now, we have added these delicious coconut pancakes (that happen to be full of protein and fiber!) to our breakfast repertoire!  
 
Coconut Pancakes with Berries and Coconut Flakes
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup sifted coconut flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  5. 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  6. 1 tablespoon honey
  7. 3 large eggs
  8. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. Fresh strawberries
  11. Fresh blueberries
  12. 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  13. Maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut oil and honey. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add the coconut milk and vanilla. Slowly sprinkle the flour mixture over the wet ingredients, whisking as you add the dry ingredients. NOTE: Do not dump the flour mixture in because you will end up with a lumpy batter!
  3. Heat a non-stick griddle or large pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Cook until the top of the pancake starts to set, about two to three minutes, then flip and continue cooking an additional one to two minutes.
  4. Top with berries, coconut flakes and maple syrup and serve immediately.
Adapted from Food and Wine
Adapted from Food and Wine
The Lovebugs Blog http://www.thelovebugsblog.com/

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Simple DIY Bead Necklace Patriotic Wreath
Last year around Independence Day, I spotted some red, white and blue bead necklaces at my local Dollar Tree and was immediately inspired to create a new patriotic door decoration.  Each pack came with eight necklaces so I grabbed 4 packs of each color for my project.  I made a quick stop at Michaels to grab a foam wreath and some burlap ribbon and I was on my way.
 
This bead necklace patriotic wreath took under an hour to pull together and cost me less than $20.  It is a very simple looking wreath but it has a big impact from the street.  Originally, I had considered adding a second layer of beads to cover the wreath more fully.  But, I liked having the white pop through because it felt more rustic to me, for some reason.  I just love how this wreath turned out and it makes me so happy to see it on our door!  
Easy DIY Patriotic 4th of July Wreath
 

Materials:
Foam wreath
Red bead necklaces
White bead necklaces
Blue bead necklaces
Hot glue
Hot glue gun
Scissors
Large Burlap ribbon
 
Instructions:
I started by cutting the necklaces open with my scissors.  

Then, I placed a dollop of hot glue directly on the wreath.

I quickly placed the end of one of blue strands on the hot glue.

Then, I wrapped the necklace around the wreath, making sure I nestled each loop onto the glue as I went along.  I kept adding glue and wrapping necklaces until I had covered about 1/5th of the wreath in blue bead necklaces.

Then, I added in my red bead necklace, nesting the end into the hot glue.

Just like with the blue bead necklaces, I wrapped the red necklaces around the foam wreath, making sure that each loop was nestled in glue to secure.  Once I had about three inches of red, I added in the white bead necklaces using the same method.

I alternated adding roughly 3 inches of red and white bead necklaces until I had 13 stripes.  I didn’t worry too much about how much glue I used or how it looked because the glue would be in the back of the wreath.

Now, before you judge me for having fifteen stripes on my wreath, allow me to explain…  I wanted to be sure that thirteen stripes would be visible on the wreath, so I added a couple more stripes that would be covered with the burlap ribbon.  I decided it would be best to continue the pattern, rather than leave that part of the wreath empty, so that it would look cohesive if the burlap didn’t completely cover that section (which it didn’t).

 
I looped my burlap ribbon around the wreath, covering most of the two extra stripes, and made a big bow at the top.  And it’s done!   

A super simple, inexpensive and cute wreath perfect to celebrate patriotic holidays!

 

I love it!

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