Sunday, August 21, 2016

Apricot Chicken

As a parent I am always trying to get my kids to try new things, but sometimes they have it stuck in their head that they aren't going to like something just because of what's in it.  

So, sometimes I have to just let my kids eat dinner without telling them what's in it.  You know, it could be the most amazing thing in the world and taste so delicious, but if it has one single ingredient that they don't like, or they think sounds gross they won't eat it.  This was one of those meals.  I knew they would love it if they tasted it so when they asked what it was I just said chicken.

They ate every bite and went back for seconds.  I never did tell them what was in it.

Apricot Chicken
4-6 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
1 small bottle apricot preserves
1 small bottle (8 oz) Russian dressing

Mix soup, apricot and dressing, pour over chicken pieces.  Bake in a dish at 350 for 1 hour.  Serve over rice.

I got this recipe from my neighbor a while ago and finally gave it a try.  We loved it.  I will definitely make it again.
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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Orange Julius Frosting

I have a whole cabinet full of cookbooks. Some I've received as gifts, some I have bought at second hand stores, some are from my mother, but my very first cookbook is a little homemade 15 recipe booklet I got way back in 2nd grade.

My very first cooking class was an after school class that I sort of got thrown into because my other siblings had after school activities and my mom didn't want to come to the school to get just one of us only to have to come back later to get the others so it was a class I took to fill the time. I was a little reluctant at first because I was 8 and didn't have much interest, but after the first class, when we made chocolate cake, I was hooked. I had found my passion for cooking in 2nd grade.

This week as my kids are getting ready to go back to school, I was feeling a bit nostalgic. I grabbed my little 2nd grade cookbook out of my cupboard and thumbed through it. I landed on a recipe for Orange cake. I got a container of orange juice and followed all the directions and made 24 orange cupcakes. They smelled amazing and looked beautiful...for about 3 minutes until they cooled down. Then the center of each cupcake fell and they turned into little lumps of weirdness. I figured even though they looked weird they would still taste good. Wrong!!!

See, even I have fails in the kitchen. I try things and it just doesn't taste good. This was one of those times. I wanted to try to salvage these cupcakes so I found a recipe for frosting that included dream whip and vanilla pudding. I whipped it together and it was again - ok, but not great. I was trying to brain storm to see what I could do to make it better. I wanted to keep the orange theme going. I had used the last of my orange juice in the cupcakes and I was totally out of orange flavoring. But...I happened to have one lonely looking orange in my fruit drawer in the fridge. I decided I would use it up. I grabbed my cheese grater and turned it to the zest side (that's the side with the teeny tiny holes. I took the orange and grated all of the skin. Then I cut the orange in half and used the juice from the orange for flavoring.

My end result was amazing. It didn't help my orange cupcakes and I didn't want this delicious frosting to go to waste so I made a new batch of vanilla cupcakes from a cake mix and topped them with the frosting. It was a huge success.

Orange Julius Frosting

2 pkgs Dream Whip
2 1/2 c milk
1 small pkg instant vanilla pudding
2 TBSP orange zest
Juice from 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)

Mix dream whip, milk and vanilla pudding with electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until it's nice and thick.  Then add orange zest and juice from an orange.  Mix another 2 minutes till fluffy.  Put in fridge till read for use.

Pipe onto cupcakes.  Must be refrigerated. 

Sometimes we learn by trial and error and that's ok. In the end I found one recipe that was awful (so I crossed it out in the book, since that's how I mark recipes that I've tried that I don't like) but I ended up with something amazing in the end.
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Root Beer Float Ice Cream Sandwiches

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

 You guys - it is hot where I live.  Like cook an egg on the sidewalk - hot.  Um ya -  Crazy, Crazy, dry heat and my absolute favorite time of year.  It is fabulous!!!   But with the heat comes that feeling of wanting something cold and delicious.  

Summer time means lots of cold ice water, delicious watermelon, and ice cream!!  

The other day when I woke up at 6:00 am to do my usual morning workout I stepped outside to water the plants on my porch and a wave of what we lovingly refer to as "the blow dryer" hit me in the face.  Suddenly, my usual scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast didn't sound that good, so I hopped in my car and ran over to my local Walmart to grab some ice cream, because honestly that seemed to be calling my name (and yes, I'm the mom that lets her kids eat whatever they want for breakfast - you know, ice cream, corn dog, whatever as long as they eat right?!!)  

I grabbed a small cart because I just wanted to get a couple of things (maybe I should've grabbed a big one).  I turned to go down the ice cream isle and started to browse.  Then the Blue Bunny ® ice cream was just staring me right in the face.  Seriously, I could see every scrumptious swirl of chocolate, beautiful pieces of perfectly shaped cookie dough, and twists of caramel.  Let me tell you the new clear containers are so enticing.  

I couldn't decide on just one flavor, so I ended up with 4 containers of ice cream and a  Smucker's® caramel topping.  I brought them home and ate ice cream for breakfast.   It was delicious.  But I had a ton of ice cream left so I wanted to make something else.  A fun treat just for summer.

I decided on some root beer float cookies and thought they would be perfect with the Blue Bunny ®Vanilla ice cream.

Root Beer Float Ice Cream Sandwiches

1/2 butter
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1 egg
2 tsp root beer extract
1 1/2 c flour
 1/4 granulated sugar (to roll cookie dough in before baking)
1 container Blue Bunny ® Vanilla ice cream

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.  Add 1 c sugar, baking soda, and cream of tarter.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl.  Beat in the egg and root beer extract until combined.  Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in remaining flour.  Cover and chill for 1/2 hour.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll dough balls in sugar to coat.  Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350 ° oven for 10 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack or towel to cool.

Once the cookies are cool,  place a small scoop of ice cream on the wrong side of on cookie, then take your second cookie and place it wrong side down on top of the ice cream, making a sandwich.

 This is a fun easy summer treat perfect for all of these amazing, hot summer days when you are trying to beat the heat.

For more Blue Bunny ® recipes click here.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Submarine search and find!

Summer is half over!  I can't believe my kids will go back to school in 1 month!
We have been busy this summer, with camping and trips and swimming and all the other fun things to do this time of year.
One of the big hits this summer has been GeoSafari JR. SubScope.

My kids were so excited when it came in the mail.

It's for ages 3 and up.  My little girl loves it as much as my 13 year old niece.!!

We have been taking it everywhere with us.
The lake, the pool, the river, and anywhere in between.

My Kollin loves that it has some bright LED lights on it so he could look for seashells even in the dark!

And little miss loves to play with it in the bathtub.

We decided that a game would make this fun toy even better!

So here is how to set up and play our submarine search and find!

Get a large glass/see-through container.

Fill it water and dish soap,  (about 2/3 of water to 1/3 of bubbles)
you could even add food coloring to make it a bit more fun!

Laminate the search and find pages so the water doesn't ruin them.  And outside or somewhere that you don't mind a little splashing put the clear container over the page.

You'll want the lights on if the water is colored .

And then you play search and find.!!  

When it was each child's turn I told them what to look for.
On the JR page there is one of each image.
On the Pre-K page there are multiple, so I would say something like "Find 3 sharks"
When they found all the images it's the next child's turn.

My kids Loved this game, and I loved how hard they worked at finding each picture.

 I have put my search and find pages below.  Simply right click on the picture and open image in a new tab.  From there you will save image to computer, and you can print from there!!

JR Search and Find

Pre-K Search and Find

To buy the GeoSafari JR. Subscope  go  HERE

 *I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample GeoSafari JR. Subscope for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

DIY Welcome Sign

We've been in our house now for 2 years and most of the time my front porch looks a little sad.  I have fun decorations for most of the fall/winter holidays but not much for the rest of the year.  I wanted something pretty simple but also classy for the rest of the year. 

I've been completely in love with all the copper decor lately and knew that it was definitely one of the colors I wanted to incorporate into my decor.  I had been collecting rustic tins for a while, but thought I could give them a little makeover with some copper spray paint. 

My neighbor gave us a couple of pallets that she wasn't using and I knew we could make them into something cute.  My hubby and I spent a couple of hours ripping out nails and taking the pallets apart.  The first thing we made was the lantern.  I liked it so much that I decided we needed something for the other side of the door.  I had seen some cute welcome signs on Pinterest and it seemed perfect.

 It was much harder that I thought it would be to take these pallets apart, but it was worth the effort.

 For the sign, we used 2 boards that where pretty straight and not too dinged up for the front.  We left them the original length, which was about 4 feet long.  Then we cut a few boards into pieces(about 6 inches long) to use on the back as support.
 Next we clamped, glued, and nailed the smaller boards to the back of the 2 long boards.

 We secured the boards in 3 spots.  Then we let them dry.  I loved the color of the boards already because the pallet was from some bags of cement.  They had a slight grey color to them.  I sanded them a bit and used 2 coats of white wash over them to really make the knots and dings stand out, because I loved the character of the boards.  My daughter cut out the "welcome" letters on her cricket, but you could also use the paper and pen method that I've used in the past.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Oreo Pudding Cookies

I am a cookie-aholic!  And some of my favorite cookies are my best friends chocolate pudding cookies.  I have tried them with vanilla, and vanilla&cinnamon too!  But when I found this recipe that was so so so similar to her cookies (which I need to post and I am shocked that I haven't yet!!) but Oreo flavored I was super excited to try it.  Needless to say it did not disappoint!

Oreo Pudding cookies

cream together:   1 cup softened butter
                              3/4 c. sugar
                              1/4 c. packed brown sugar
Add in              : 2 eggs
                            1 tsp. vanilla
                            1 box Oreo pudding mix and cream together some more
Then mix in     : 1 tsp baking soda
                            1/2 tsp salt
                            2 1/4 c. flour
Finally fold in  : about 10 Oreos crushed (put them in a Ziploc bag and hit them with a rolling 
                          : 3/4 c. white chocolate chips.

Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls and put on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake @ 350* for 8-10 minutes.

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chicken Stir Fry

I love me a good stir fry! And the best thing about them is that you can throw in whatever you want!  Most of the time I just put in whatever veggies I have on hand and it always comes out delicious!

Chicken Stir Fry

3-4 T. coconut oil (or canola)
1/3 c. cornstarch
2 chicken breasts, trim fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 onion chopped
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1 zucchini cut up into 1 inch pieces
1 red and green bell pepper cut into thin slices
8oz lo mein noodles, or stir fry noodles
1 tsp. sesame seed oil

1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves minced
4 T. soy sauce
1 T. sriracha
2 T. brown sugar

Cook noodles according to package.
Dredge chicken in corn starch.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and add chicken until brown.  then set aside.  
Mix ingredients for sauce and set aside.
Cook the veggies on high heat, add oil as needed,  until the veggies are softened. 
Add the chicken and noodles to the veggies mix.
Add sauce and stir, cook until warmed through and sauce thickens .
Take off heat and add 1 tsp. sesame seed oil, stir through and enjoy!!

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