Delicious and Easy Little Pies for Your Entertaining

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EffortlessPies #CollectiveBias

Delicious and Easy MIni Pies for your Entertaining

Before I became a Wedding Planner, I worked as a Banquet Manager.  Aside from the pleasure of meeting and working with wonderful clients and throwing fantastic events, I loved having a staff.

When I needed a room transformed, the staff was there.  When we had a delicious meal to plate, the staff was there.  When it was time for clean up, the staff was there.

Now, I am a staff of one.

Okay, my kids and husband do help quite a bit.  But gone are the days when I had several people working in the kitchen and a line of servers on the floor.  So when I entertain at home, I am always on the lookout for ways to make things easier, especially in the kitchen.

And this effortless pie recipe does just that!  It will simplify your spring and summer entertaining without sacrificing great taste and a pretty presentation.  Plus, it’s on the healthier side since we’re using Greek yogurt instead of a sugary filling.

Grab a tray and serve this delicious dessert to your guests.  They will never know how easy it was to make and you’ll love how quick it is to clean up.  Take a look!

How to Make these Easy Mini Pies:

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I stopped at Walmart and picked up my ingredients.  Don’t you love it when your grocery list is short?

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You Will Need:

  • Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crust (6-count)
  • Dannon® Light & Fit® Strawberry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Reddi-wip®
  • Shavings of White Chocolate

Entertaining Tip:  Select recipes that allow for much of the prep work to be done in advance.  This way, you can focus more on your guests and being a hospitable host.

Prepare In Advance:

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First, slice the strawberries into flat pieces.

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Then, shave a white chocolate bar using a vegetable peeler.

To get the chocolate spiral, “peel” down the long side of the bar, using the full length of the blade.  (Start at one end of the blade at the top of the chocolate and by the time you get to the end, you will want to be at the opposite end of the blade.)

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Fill the Keebler® Ready Crust® Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts with the Dannon® Greek Yogurt.  Mmm, I love strawberry cheesecake!

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Then arrange your strawberry slices on top of the yogurt.

Tip:  Arrange the strawberries so the outer edges of the berry are near the rim of the crust.  This way when you put your whipping cream on later, the beautiful side of the strawberry will be showing, giving your treat an extra pop of color.

Refrigerate until later.

Just Before Serving:

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Pull your pies out of the fridge and swirl Reddi-wip® on the pie.

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Garnish with the white chocolate shavings.

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Serve the mini pies on a cute tray and enjoy!

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We had leftover ingredients which meant over the next several days, my family enjoyed these mini pies again and again.  They are so easy and fun to make that the kids can hop in and help, as well.

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Going . . .

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. . . going . . .

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. . . gone!

It’s the perfect dessert for a host who wants something simple yet delicious.  After all, it’s as easy as pie!

 

Here is where I found the main ingredients:

where to find the ingredients for easy little pies

What do you think of my easy mini pies?  Do you have a simple dessert that you love to serve?

For more effortless pie inspiration, go here or click to unlock an Ibotta rebate.

 

How to Make an Empty Tomb Cake

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Today, I have a fun and easy way to celebrate the Risen Savior, and as so many things around here do, it involves cake!

The most profound aspect of Christianity is that Jesus died for the penalty of our sins and conquered death when He rose from the grave.  We don’t serve a dead savior.  On the contrary, He is alive and at work today.  The excitement of that fact is something I want my children to comprehend and find thrilling.

We can teach and celebrate this in many ways, but today we are making a cake!

Here is What You’ll Need to Make an Empty Tomb Cake – 

  • 2 Mixing Bowls (one must be metal)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Flour
  • Cake Mix and the Ingredients on the box
  • Icing
  • Chocolate Candy Rocks
  • Heating Core depending on the size of your bowl (this post contains affiliate links)
  • One Oreo

Two things I love about this process – 

  1.  It’s easy!  Buy a box of cake mix and a can of icing and you’re half way there.
  2. You get to bake in a metal bowl!  Throw out the rules.  Pack away your traditional cake pans and feel the freedom.  Embrace baking in an ordinary mixing bowl . . . oh dear, my life must be a little dull for this to be exciting!

Instructions – 

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Prep Your Medium-Sized Metal Bowl for Baking.  Prepare your bowl by lightly spraying with cooking spray and dusting with flour.  For a chocolate cake, it is often best to use cocoa powder.  But I didn’t have any and the white flour worked just fine.  

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In your other mixing bowl, make your cake batter according to the instructions on the box.

 

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Pour the batter into your bowl and bake at 350 degrees.  For my medium sized bowl, I was expecting 30-35 minutes like the ladybug cake I made years ago.  But because I used all the batter, it took more like 50-55 minutes.  For the last 10 minutes, I added a flower nail (substitute for an actual heating core) to help push it along.  Maybe I was just getting impatient.

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Once your cake is mostly cooled, invert your bowl and pat it out.  You may wish to slice the bottom of the domed cake to make it flat.  I wanted the height, so I added extra icing at the bottom to make it work.

 

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With a sharp knife, begin to cut out your cave-like tomb.

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I cut reasonably far into the cake and used the crumbs as the path out and in front of the opening.
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Next, frost the cake.  Again, I was thinking simple here, so I just used a can of icing.

 

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Now, you will need to add the stone that was rolled away.  Twist an OREO and use one of the cookie sides as the stone.  What you do with the rest of the cookie (or the box for that matter is up to you!).

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To finish up your empty tomb cake, add some chocolate candy rocks.  I put mine around the bottom and in no particular pattern on the cake.

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This is a great time to have the kids help!

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When we were done with the cake, we grabbed our Gospel Story Bible and read the story of the resurrection.  I love this story book Bible!  It has such a focus on the Gospel weaved throughout all the biblical stories, emphasizing our need for Jesus, His sacrifice and our redemption.  It also has discussion questions for each story that can spur on some great conversations!

Now, I will tell you that my son asked if he could put some figures on the cake.  And if he had been talking about soldiers, angels, the women or Jesus, I would have been okay with it.  But something tells me he was thinking Star Wars and Lego minifigures.  So, keep them on track and continue to point them toward Jesus!

What special things does your family do to focus on the resurrection?

Yummy Cinnamon Scones and Nutchello for a Little Me-Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HelloNutchello #CollectiveBias

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Hi friends,

How often do you stop and take a little time for yourself?  I find that as a woman and a mother, I don’t generally think that I am allowed time for myself.   My mentality is to stay busy with household management, taking care of my family, running a blog and writing.  And while I absolutely love doing all these things, I realize that I don’t often stop to do something for myself, just for fun.  Whatever I am doing always has a reason behind it, a motive, a purpose, a person … not just for my own enjoyment.   Can you relate?

So today, I am going to encourage you to take a moment this afternoon for yourself.  Put the kids down for a nap.  Hop off the computer and grab your apron because I have a quick recipe and yummy drink to celebrate YOU!
 

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We are making Cinnamon Scones, which happen to be dairy-free, and enjoying them with a glass of Nutchello, Silk’s new nut-based beverage.  There are three delicious flavors:  Caramel Almond & Cashew, Rich Dark Chocolate & Walnut, and Toasted Coconut & Cashew (all with 90 calories or less per serving).

Let’s get baking.  This recipe only takes 15 minutes to prep.  You can also add in different ingredients to the scones like nuts, berries or chocolate if you like.

Cinnamon Scones (Dairy-Free)  – Printable Version

Ingredients:
3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C white sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
Less than 1 C Silk Almond Milk Unsweetened
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C non-dairy butter (cold and cubed)
Optional:  toppings such as jam, butter, clotted cream

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
 

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Start with flour and sugar in a medium bowl.
 

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Add in the baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
 

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How to Make Cinnamon Scones- dairy-free recipe

 
Beat the egg and add to a 2 C measuring cup.  Pour the Silk Almond Milk on top of the egg and fill to the 1 C measurement line.
 

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Then add vanilla.
 

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If your non-dairy butter comes in sticks, cube and add to the dry mixture.  If it comes in a tub, measure 3/4 Cup and cut it as well as possible and add to mix.
 

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With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until mixed.  Lumps are ok.
 

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Next, pour in the wet ingredients and mix until moist.
 

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Knead the dough briefly.
 

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On a lightly floured surface, pat your dough into a rectangle about 3/4″ thick.
 

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With a pizza cutter, cut once lengthwise, and then into several squares.
 

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Follow by cutting the squares into triangles.

Put the triangles onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until edges are golden brown.
 

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Then remove and cool on a rack.
 

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Now, it is time to pull out the Nutchello!  At Walmart, I purchased two kinds:  Dark Chocolate & Walnuts and Toasted Coconut & Cashews.  

The Nutchello nut-based beverages have no cholesterol or saturated fat.   They are free of dairy, soy, lactose, gluten, casein and carrageenan and have been verified by the Non-GMO Project’s product verification program.  Oh and did I mention no artificial colors, flavors or other funny business?
 

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Just like the productivity experts tell you to dress well for a successful day (even if at home), pulling out a pedestal cake plate and a pretty dish does wonders for a little me-time break in the middle of your afternoon.

Grab a fancy glass, fill it with ice (* Nutchello is best served over ice*) and pour in your afternoon indulgence.  I paired my cinnamon scones with the Dark Chocolate & Walnuts, proving to be a perfect pause button to my day.  Yum!
 

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Enjoy the scones plain, or add butter or jam.  If you can have dairy, you could add some clotted cream (or whipping cream if time is short).
 

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When I have a moment to myself, here is what I like to do:  read a magazine (which doesn’t happen often . . . I am over a year behind with some of my subscriptions), get inspired on Pinterest, dream about my next party or read.
 

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AND as most moms will understand, those me-times are often short lived.  My sweet girl soon joined me and worked on her journal.
 

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But then again, how could I say no?  She will only be little for a short time.
 

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This is where I found the Nutchello in the store:

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Which flavor of Nutchello would you like best?  Visit this site to find more Silk inspiration!

 

 

 

Join the Rebellion with these Star Wars Snacks

Join the Rebellion with these Star Wars Snacks

Is your family jumping on the bandwagon as far as Star Wars is concerned?  We are loving all things Star Wars but we’re a little behind the rest of the world.  My son just saw the original movies (Episodes 4-6) at the beginning of this year.  We had our own movie marathon and it was a blast.

My daughter headed over to my mom’s for a super special tea party and sleepover and my son geared up for a long night of light sabers, droids and ewoks.  (Although, I will tell you that by 10:00pm and half way into Return of the Jedi, Dan was at his max and called it a night.  He told my son that when he woke up, we could finish the movie.  So guess what?  Bright and early at 6:30am, we watched the second half of Return of the Jedi.  Good thing those Ewoks are so cute!

Anyway, I wanted the evening to be fun and special, so I made some yummy Star Wars Snacks, served themed drinks and we all had character t-shirts.  

Here is what I served:

Padawan Popcorn – Every movie needs popcorn!

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Light Saber Pretzels – An easy treat to make.  Dip pretzel sticks in white and milk chocolate.  Then, cover the white chocolate end with gold or silver sugar crystals and add an M&M to the other end.

Light Saber Pretzels - Star Wars Snacks

Yes, even pretzel rods inspire the imagination.

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Droid Cakes – This was my nemesis and I lost the original battle.  I intended to stack and frost small cake rounds.  Then, add colored icing and candies to look like a droid, along the lines of R2D2.  But it was a disaster.

Not only did I forget that white cake is particularly soft, but because I used cake rounds cut from a cookie-sheet cake, there was little browned surface that would stand up to icing.  Yikes.  Here is my mess:

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This was the first time I ever took cake and whipped it into the garbage can with such disgust.  {Yep, keeping it real!}

So, with that thought literally in the trash, I made a quick batch of cupcakes, reserved my last bit of homemade frosting and forged a substitute.  Not at all what I had originally intended but to hear my sweet son utter about the original droid cakes, “Don’t worry, Mommy.  It doesn’t matter how they look, just who made them,” made it somehow better.

 

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Chewbacca Cocoa – Simple hot chocolate, whip cream and brown sprinkles.

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Skywalker Sippers – These were yummy and it was only 1 cup of orange juice and 3/4 cup of club soda.  I loved the fizz!

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. . . And I wasn’t the only one.  This girl sneaked some before heading off to Grandma’s house.

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It was such a fun evening and all the effort was completely worth seeing my son’s face and snuggling with him as we watched the movies . . . a memory I will treasure.

And if you’re looking what I used for the 3-D droids, they were punch out and assemble pages from the Droid Factory book found at Five Below.

Do you enjoy family movie nights?  What are some of your favorites?  I would love to hear!

 

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Fall Fun in the Kitchen with Pumpkin Cupcakes

Fall Fun in the Kitchen - Pumpkin Cupcakes

Happy Fall!  I love this time of the year with the cooler temperatures, gorgeous colors and pumpkins.  And today, I am over at Motherhood On A Dime sharing some fall fun in the kitchen for you and your kids.

We are making Pumpkin Cupcakes!

What You’ll Need:

  • Cupcakes of Your Choice
  • Orange Frosting
  • Skewers (or something similiar)
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Orange Cupcake Wrappers would be awesome, but I couldn’t find any at the grocery store.

Read my post at Motherhood On A Dime, where I am guest posting today.  

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Graduation Party Desserts in School Colors

Graduation Party Desserts in School Colors - with Chocoley Chocolate

Are you looking for ideas for graduation party desserts?  Show your school spirit and make these delicious treats in the graduate’s school colors.

Last weekend was my nephew’s graduation party.  I cannot believe he has graduated and will be starting college in the fall.

He was 5 years old when we first met.  Incidentally, he was the first boy to propose to me.  He asked if I would marry him if I didn’t marry his uncle.  So precious.

Well, he grew up.  And into an amazing young man, I might add.  We were excited to share in the fun of his graduation party  and thanks to Chocoley sending all the great chocolates, coloring oil and sprinkles, the graduation party desserts I made turned out wonderfully!

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The Graduation Party Desserts I made:

Chocolate-Covered Oreos

I dipped the Oreos in the Bada Bing Bada Boom Candy & Molding Formula (thicker for dipping Oreos) with violet coloring oil.  Then I followed up with the Drizzle & Design Chocolate with yellow coloring oil.  You’ll see below that I wasn’t the only one to love using the drizzle chocolate.

Oreo Truffles

To make the truffles, we finely crushed 36 Oreos (my kids love doing this with a freezer bag and mallet).  Then, I mixed in 8 oz of room temperature cream cheese.  Followed by rolling the mix into about 40 1-inch balls.  Very easy!

Then, I dipped the balls in Bada Bing Bada Boom Dipping & Coating Formula (thinner for truffles) with the violet coloring oil.  While the chocolate was still wet, I added the jimmies to the tops.

 

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Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Drizzled Pretzels

Last came the pretzels.  I made yellow chocolate and dipped in the pretzels.  I found that drizzling more yellow on top made them look fancier.  I love that easy-to-use Drizzle & Design Chocolate bottle!  And because I had leftover drizzle, I  added more to plain pretzels.

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My 5 year old loved using the drizzle chocolate as well.  (She even used the very last bit to write a love note to me on the wax paper!)

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Chocolate and tiaras . . . I think it works!

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Chocoley Supplies

Do you know any graduates this year?  I’d love it if you share this idea with them.  

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For more fun, check out these college send-off party ideas!

the DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix bar

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone.  #PourMoreFun #CollectiveBias

DIY Kool-Aid Drink Station - colorful & delicious!

Here comes a fun DIY drink station, perfect for your next party or casual gathering.  It is colorful.  It is kid-friendly.  And it is delicious!  Made with Kool-Aid Easy Mix and little preparation, this do-it-yourself drink bar will be a fun treat for your family and friends.  Your guests will enjoy creating fantastic combinations of flavors, drinks and fresh fruit drop-ins.  It is a refreshing way to celebrate Spring!

The drink station is very simple to put together.  Kool-Aid Easy Mix comes in three flavors:  Cherry, Tropical Punch and Grape.  I wanted to have all three for my family and friends to try.  The mixes are very inexpensive (only $2.78 at Walmart) and I was pumped at how simple they were to use.  They are liquid and the bottle gives measurements for a single glass or a pitcher.  (It makes 6 quarts or 3 pitchers)  Easy, right?  And perfect for my drink station!

DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix Bar 1

I also picked up Sparkling Mineral Water, Club Soda and assorted fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, raspberries, blueberries and clementines).  For those who don’t want the fizz of sparkling water or club soda, I included regular ice water on the table too.  Be sure to chill your sparkling water and club soda before your friends arrive.

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Don’t miss my favorite combination below!

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Instructions for your DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix Bar:

1.  Pick your Kool-Aid Easy Mix flavor.

2.  Measure out and pour 3 tablespoons into a glass.

The Kool-Aid Easy Mix directions call for 1.5 tablespoons for 8 ounces of water.  Because my glasses were tall, I instructed friends to pour 3 tablespoons in their glass.

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DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix Bar 10

3.  Add water, sparkling water or club soda.  

I had pre-measured to see what 16 ounces looked like in my glasses.  This way I could help others.

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4.  Finish your drink with one or more fresh fruit drop-ins.  

I loved the way the fruit looked in the drinks!

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5.  Don’t forget a straw!

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I can never resist colorful striped straws.  

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My Favorite Kool-Aid Easy Mix Drink Recipe:

  • 3 Tablespoons of Cherry Kool-Aid Easy Mix
  • Approximately 16 ounces of chilled Sparkling Mineral Water
  • Blueberries and Raspberries 

 

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This DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix bar will treat your family and friends to a splash of color, a burst of flavor and a little creativity.  Not to mention, it will leave you looking forward to your next gathering!

What do you think would be your favorite combo?  

Be sure to check out more delicious recipes from Walmart and Kraft. I’d love to hear your favorite!

And, if you would like to see Kool-Aid Easy Mix in action, click this link to find a Walmart demo near you:  Kraft Kool-Aid Easy Mix Demos.

DIY Kool-Aid Easy Mix Drink Station and where to find it

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the DIY Kool-Aid Bar