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The month of December is a crazy time in our home. The calendar fills up with Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, preschool events, community events, and the decorating of our home. Before I know it, we’re getting ready for New Years. Why must this month move so fast? It’s by far the most magical time especially when you view it through the eyes of your kids. I can’t slow it down, but I can do everything possible to make the most of it. And with our new neighborhood, we’re learning of really cool experiences we can try out! When we went trick-or-treating we met some of our neighbors and found out that they do a horse-drawn carriage around the neighborhood for all the kids. Since Jon was still wrapping up his semester at school, I signed up the kids and I for a fun adventure. We headed off after picking Aubrey up from preschool – complete with Santa hats and quick and easy Strawberry Milk recipe to enjoy on the journey.
When we arrived at our clubhouse, we found out that the horses were delayed. On the one hand, I was nervous as to how I’d keep these little ones preoccupied for the wait of about 45 minutes. But on the other hand, I wasn’t worried about dinner since I had already prepared some quick treats to enjoy after. So, while Luke sat eating his crackers, Aubrey asked to take some photos with me. So, we did.
When the horses arrived, we still had to wait our turn. But I snuck the kids over to find out what this great adventure was. We made the short walk to find 2 beautiful horses waiting. Their names were Mike and Myles (I think) and they’re brothers.
Luke was so excited to see these large creatures. Of course trying to grab a video of him was impossible since I also had Aubrey to keep track of. But I did grab this photo. Just pretend you can see the awe in his face.
It was pretty cool to be escorted around the neighborhood and see all the Christmas lights. And when we got home, we were able to enjoy some of the treats I had prepared ahead of time. I had visited Smart & Final earlier in the week and finally decided to tackle these treats I had been wanting to make forever. We were first introduced to Jalapeño Poppers on a camping trip about 5 years ago, but they’re not really great party food. They’re kind of messy. So, I came up with Popper Chips using the items from First Street, the brand by Smart & Final.
You just need 3 ingredients – bacon, cream cheese, and a few jalapeños. Cut your bacon into 2″ long squares and cook a few at a time. The trick to getting them to maintain their shapes (as much as possible) is to not have the heat up too high, flip constantly, and drain the grease fat after every batch or two. I don’t like my bacon too crispy, so I would take them off when they had a great amount of golden brown color. Set them aside on a paper towel to drain. Your bacon chips are done.
Now, time for the Pop part! Take your jalapeños, slice in half length wise and remove the seeds. I don’t like a lot of heat so mine were free of all seeds. Fire-roast them on each side to get a good char color and let cool. Grab your mini-food processor and 1/3 block of cream cheese (the First Street brand came in 8 oz) and one to two cooled jalapeño halves. I used 2 but I’m sure Jon would have appreciated a third. Chop until it is a smooth consistency. I needed to scrape down the sides a few times until it the consistency was right.
Lay out your bacon chips and put the Pop mix inside a sandwich bag and cut away one of the bottom corners. Pipe the Pop mix on each chip. Don’t forget to sample! If you’re prepping for a party, make everything ahead of time and store the chips in an airtight container and the Pop mix in the fridge. Assemble before guests arrive.
The Popper Chips were so good and while it wasn’t something for the kids to enjoy, they did have a few other treats to snack on.
The Popper Chips joined more from their First Street family with pudding cups, the strawberry milk the kids enjoyed earlier, and a chicken tortilla soup. I made the pudding cups a few ways for us to enjoy but you could easily set up a pudding bar! I used ground up vanilla wafers, whipped cream, red festive jimmie sprinkles, fresh raspberries, and shredded coconut. Smart & Final makes it easy to grab a wide range of items in one shop – without the long lines or membership fees.
Do you make special treats to enjoy while celebrating the holidays?