Family * Travel * Food

Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea Opening In Columbia This Summer

Columbia will soon be home to Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea at 1002 Park St. in the Empire building, near the University of South Carolina campus. The 1,895-square-foot café is set to open this summer and will offer a globally-inspired menu featuring premium coffees, teas, pastries, sandwiches, salads and more.
Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea to offer a destination for students and faculty at USC this Summer

Franchise owner, Greg Dodd, is excited to bring Sweetwaters’ unique atmosphere and quality ingredients to downtown Columbia. “Our global and Asian influence sets us apart. We have many beverages that aren’t found at your average coffee shop,” says Dodd. “We’re looking forward to becoming the go-to destination for college students, faculty and the greater downtown community.”

The Sweetwaters brand focuses on strong community engagement, such as hosting events for local clubs and student organizations and partnering with nonprofits, making it a perfect fit for the Vista location.

The Sweetwaters menu includes signature drinks such as the Dragon Eye, French Vietnamese au Lait, Napali Brew, Thai Iced Tea, and Red Moon coffee.

The grand opening will include numerous community events and week-long promotions that will be announced on Sweetwaters website and Facebook page. The Columbia Sweetwaters location is one of more than 100 expected to open across the country. 

Easy Recipe-- Mini Cheesecakes

If you love cheesecake, are pressed for time or feel like you are a baking-dummy, this recipe is for you. It requires so few ingredients and bakes up in just 20 minutes. 
2 8-ounce packs of cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla or almond extract
12 vanilla wafers
Fresh fruit or topping of your choice

To make:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 12 paper cups and place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup. Blend cream cheese with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until mixed. Add eggs, one at a time until well incorporated and then vanilla extract. Fill each cup with cheesecake mixture. Bake for 20 minutes and let sit out on a cooling rack in the muffin pan for about 20-30 minutes. Transfer pans in to refrigerator and chill for a minimum of 2 hours. Overnight is best.
These mini cheesecakes are delicious with fresh berries and are great for portion control. You can double the recipe for parties.  It's so easy and absolutely delicious.  I have been making them for 20 years now! It's a family favorite. Let me know if you try this recipe. Enjoy :) 

The newest additions that make me love homemakin' even more

Last week, I witnessed something horrific that I hope I never have to go through again. I watched the top heating element in my oven burn and spark from one end to the other. I was devastated. I use my oven almost daily... sometimes even up to 3 times a day. What was I going to do? I have nagged expressed to my husband over the last 3-4 years how much I would love to upgrade my range and have a convection oven. We made plans to do this next year but I had to do something soon. I searched online and looked at dozen of ranges from different stores. I already knew that the option of convection would more than likely not be in my price range. I was so surprised when I found one that was affordable . I went with a Frigidaire Speed-Bake range from Lowe's. I would have loved the smooth top but since I cook in cast iron pots and pans a few times a week, I knew it wouldn't be a good choice. I had to stick with the old school electric coils. I am SO happy with my purchase and since Sunday, I have baked different things a total of 8 times. Hey, I need to get my practice with the convection feature!
I am loving the gorgeous color I have been getting on my sweet baked goods and the less baking time as well. I just roasted a whole chicken today and it was perfectly brown and crust on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside.

Another item I got this week is the Silpain baking mat. I reviewed the Silpat late last year and was excited to see what the Silpain was like. Silpain is different from Silpat because the surface is like a fine mesh that is made specifically for baking doughs and breads. 

I made my Cheese Spinach & Artichoke Crescents on the Silpain and I could see the difference with how nice and crusty the crescents came out.
Of course, there was no sticking so I was very pleased with the results. I am already making a long list of things I want to bake in the very near future. I better make sure to incorporate some low-fat and healthy items with the desserts and pastry ideas I have in my head :)

I just had to share my newest kitchen toys. If you own a convection oven and have any tips you can share, I would greatly appreciate it!
Shelly, Mom Files

Have you tried the new Cool Whip Frosting yet? #coolwhip

Did you know that Cool Whip now makes frosting? I was thrilled when I first heard about it on the Facebook page and couldn't wait to try it! Lucky for me, my friends from Kraft Foods sent some in all three flavors-- Chocolate, Vanilla and Cream Cheese.
So far, we have tried the cream cheese variety on triple chocolate cupcakes, with sprinkles. We all loved it! It had a nice cream cheese flavor and had that amazing "whipped" texture you can only get from Cool Whip. 
Next up, vanilla on red velvet cupcakes. I know you are thinking, "why didn't you use the cream cheese on the red velvet and the vanilla on the chocolate?" Eh, I figured why not! We all preferred the vanilla flavor over the cream cheese and have yet to try the chocolate. I anticipate that will be very soon since there are two teenage girls that reside in our home bugging me half to death requesting we try it asap!
I am thinking about making a white cake with the chocolate variety and possibly a carrot cake for the cream cheese flavor. If you love Cool Whip, you will really love the new frosting! It is so easy to use and it is delicious!

Have you tried the new Cool Whip Frosting yet?
Shelly, Mom Files

Kraft Foods Delicious Desserts Pin & Win Sweepstakes #kraftrecipes

Attention all Pinterest and dessert fans:  I wanted to let you all know about the Kraft Foods Delicious Desserts Pin & Win Sweepstakes. There is a total of $2,500 in cash prizes up for grabs. Can you imagine winning a cash prize for pinning desserts? Um, I'm entering myself! The good thing is that you can get some great recipe ideas for the holiday season.


1. Go to and follow us.
2. In your Pinterest profile, create a new board called Kraft Delicious Desserts Recipes Pin and Win. The board name must include Kraft Dessert Recipes and be categorized under Food & Drink
3. Pin 10 or more of your favorite dessert recipes, from OR Include #kraftrecipes in the description of each pin.
4. Email the URL link of your Kraft Delicious Dessert Recipes Pin and Win board to for a chance to win one of ten $200 VISA gift card first prizes OR the grand prize of a $500 VISA gift card.

What dessert would you bring to your holiday festivities? Get Pinning and let us know! All entries must be received between 11/1/12 and 11/21/12. NO Purchase Necessary. Open only to residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 18 years of age and older. Ends: 11/21/12. For complete details, see the Official Rules here.

I made up my own Pinterest board of desserts and here are a couple that I WILL be making this month:
Lemon-Blueberry Swirl Cake (I want this NOW!)
And White Chocolate Cheesecake (**drool**)

I can't wait to try out these recipes and encourage you to enter the sweepstakes yourself! Good luck! :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Mini Sandwich Cookie Cheesecakes {Recipe}

Did you know that COOL WHIP is currently having a Fan Dessert of the Month contest on their Facebook page until the end of December? All you have to do is upload a photo of a COOL WHIP dessert you created for a chance to win $500! (one Grand prize winner per month)

I decided to create a recipe with some of the flavors my kids love the most... cookies, cheesecake and chocolate! I put together these adorable Mini Sandwich Cookie Cheesecakes.

The great part about this recipe is that it requires no baking and very few, simple ingredients. I used Snackwell's cookies but you can change up the variety of cookie or chocolate according to your family's taste. Here is the recipe:

Mini Sandwich Cookie Cheesecakes

What you will need:
1- 8 ounce tub of COOL WHIP
1 package of Cream Cheese
12 SnackWell's Creme Sandwich Cookies
6 mini milk chocolate bars
2 tbsp melted butter
1/3 powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
12 aluminum muffin liners
Additional cookies, milk chocolate and COOL WHIP for garnish (if desired)

How you make it:
Blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Crush 8 of the cookies until fine and mix with melted butter to make the crust. Press cookie crumb mixture into aluminum muffin liners and set aside. Chop up the remaining cookies and milk chocolate bars in small pieces and fold them, along with your COOL WHIP into cream cheese mixture. Spoon cheesecake mixture over each cookie crust and smooth it out. Refrigerate until firm and serve garnished with a dollop of COOL WHIP, a chunk of SnackWell's Creme Sandwich Cookie and a piece of milk chocolate.

My family instantly closed their eyes when they took the first bite of this yummy dessert. They loved it and have already requested I make it again. I really loved how nice the texture of the cookies were along with the smooth, creaminess of the cream cheese and COOL WHIP. If you try out this recipe, please let me know how you liked it.

Be sure to stay connected on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for great recipe ideas using COOL WHIP. Also check out Snackwell's on Facebook.

I am working in partnership with the COOL WHIP brand and I am receiving compensation for my participation in this campaign. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own

Shelly, Mom Files

Old school JELL-O treat

I wanted to share one of my most favorite desserts that is so easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients. Some of you might remember this classic JELL-O treat from back in the day...

What you need:
3 cups of boiling water
1 6 ounce box of JELL-O (any flavor)
1 small container of COOL WHIP

How to make it:
Add boiling water to JELL-O and stir until dissolved. Stir in COOL WHIP until completely mixed in. Pour into glasses or cups (I like using little "crystal cut" plastic cups) I recommend using a measuring cup with a spout to pour even amounts in your glasses/cups. Chill until firm at least 4 hours.


Have you ever tried this recipe before? My favorites are the raspberry and pineapple flavors. These are so good during the warm weather months! Let me know if you try it.
Shelly, Mom Files
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