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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cake Pop Plant

My friend's daughter tasted cake balls for the first time in April. She looked at me and asked, "Can you make these for my birthday. It's in June".

I asked what her favorite color was and she said, "blue and purple".

You can dye the cake batter to be any color, in this case I made it blue. Bought blue and purple chocolate melts at Michael's. I also bought a terra cotta pot, a styrofoam ball and candy sticks. I found that you can use a turned over colander to hold the sticks while the pops dry. I'll take a photo of that next time.

Took about 2 hours from start to finish and I think it was one of my favorite gifts to give.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Chicken Salad

My Aunt Judy gave me this recipe years ago and I love it. I know you're thinking I'm crazy for posting a "hot" recipe but truth be told, cold salads don't always fill me up and you could do this in your crock pot if you want. Or, if you've been having a summer like ours, it might be nice to turn the oven on for a spell.

Again, don't have a photo and I apologize but again, so easy you don't need a photo play by play. It's also an excellent way to use up that Rotisserie Chicken.

What you'll need:

3 C Chicken, cooked and cubed
3 C Celery diced
1/2 C Onion diced
1 T Butter
3/4 C Almonds, slivered or chopped
1 1/2 C Mayo
3 T Lemon Juice
1/3 C Cheddar Cheese
3/4 C Potato Chips crushed

Cut your chicken up into cubes and saute with the celery and onion with a tablespoon of butter. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. OR you can use that Rotisserie Chicken and just saute the celery and onion in the butter for a couple of minutes.

Combine Chicken, celery, onion, almonds, mayo, lemon juice and cheese and put into a sprayed 13x9 pan. Sprinkle with potato chips and bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. OR spray your crock pot and pour mixture in, cook on low for an hour until heated through. Top with chips and serve with hard crusty rolls to 6-8 friends:)

You can also make this ahead, just top with chips after you take out of the fridge.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Letter

Max played baseball for the local high school this year. When he tried out, we thought that there was going to be a junior varsity and a varsity. Turns out they only had enough kids for a large varsity team. He knew the team was a young and struggling one so he approached the year thinking that he'd get a little play time and face a few pitchers. Basically get a little experience for his high school years.

Well, the little experience turned into him being one of the starting catchers. He played in every game. He was accepted by the high school boys because he was a good player who was also a good sport. He cheered his team on, offered encouragement after a bad inning, high fived after a good play and he shared his gear with players who needed things. All around it was a very good experience for him.

But last week, last week was when Max's first high school letter arrived. We knew it was coming but he was like a kid on Christmas morning when he opened it. A 7th grader who lettered in high school baseball. I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Hunger Games

Borrowed the photo from Amazon

I was sucked in almost immediately. It's a triology and I read all the books in a week. I believe they were written for the "Tween" generation but I thought they were PERFECT summer reading!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seafood Salad

I've made this several times but don't have a photo. But, I promise it's easy enough that you don't need one and it's WAY cheaper than buying it at your local market.

Here's what you'll need:

2 pkgs Imitation Crab shredded
1 C Frozen Peas thawed
2 C Rotini Noodles ~ or your favorite noodle
1/2 C Carrot ~ julienned, that means little sticks
2 stalks Celery chopped
3/4 to 1 1/4 C Mayo
1/2 to 1 t Curry
1 t Pepper ~ I prefer White but regular black will do
1/2 t Salt

In large bowl combine crab, noodles, peas, carrots and 3/4 C Mayo. Toss it up and see if you like the consistency, if you want the salad a little more wet, add 1/4 C at a time until you get where you want to be.

Add seasoning. Start with 1/2 t Curry and taste, you can add more curry but go slow. It makes the flavor stronger and sweeter (honestly I don't think you can add too much unless you go completely insane). You can easily make this the night before, just check to make sure it doesn't need more mayo before serving.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to

my Dad who I miss dearly!!

the village of Dad's that have helped raise my kids!!

the Mom's who do double duty!!

And, to ex husband who never forgets to send a photo text when he is with the kids doing something fun.

Friday, June 17, 2011


School's out for SUMMER! Sing it with me;)

Today is my last day of work for the school year and I've decided to take a little vacation with the kids. I am also going to take a little vacation from doing three recipes a week. I'll try to shoot something out at least once a week though.

Check out the labels on the right for something fun to cook and leave a comment if there is something you'd like me to make.

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mexican Jambalaya

I started counting my points with Weight Watchers again. Really counting them for the first time in forever and this recipe is my new favorite because most vegetables aren't any points.

Sorry, I didn't take step by step photos because I wasn't sure what I was doing when I started. It turned out awesome and the entire pan was 20 points and this made 5 solid servings, that means only 4 points for dinner! That's using the NEW point system.

Here's what you'll need:

2 Zucchini chopped~I chopped the zucchini into thirds and then each third in half and then each half into strips. Kind of like match sticks. You can simply chop, I just wanted a different shape
1 Green Pepper chopped
1 Red Pepper chopped
1 C fresh Green Beans ~ cut into bite size pieces
1 sm Onion sliced
2 cloves Garlic ~ minced
1/2 can Black Beans rinsed
1/2 C frozen Corn
2 Chicken breasts ~ I used leftover Salsa Chicken but you could use anything you have
1 C Salsa
1 C Chicken Broth
1 1/2 C Brown Rice cooked
1 t Cayenne
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder

Throw the zucchini, green and red pepper, green beans, onion and garlic in a wok, saute for a couple of minutes on a medium high heat, you can put a little bit of the chicken broth in now if you want to get the party started faster.

Add salsa, chicken broth and corn and cook for another couple of minutes. Throw in chicken, beans, rice and seasoning. Heat thoroughly and serve. I topped mine with 2 Tablespoons of Light Sour Cream for an added point.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Fun

School is OUT..time to plan some fun. My kids could drive me INSANE during the summer when they were younger. My friend Karol had a great suggestion, a SUMMER FUN list.

Here's how it works. We sat down and each kid picked 5 things they wanted to do over summer vacation. They have to get creative because one had to be free, one big ticket and three minimum expense.

The RULES...they couldn't ask "when" the things would happen. I would surprise them when their behavior was good or if they showed kindness to one another but I didn't do it every time they were good..gotta keep them guessing. After we did the activity, it was crossed off.

IF they were naughty. Fighting, bickering...a random thing would get crossed off the list. I would say, "you just lost #4". I would go to the list and count down 4 of the activities left and cross it off. You want to see behavior change...cross something off the list.

I'm kind of sad that we don't do a list anymore. Max is enrolled in a summer enrichment program and is gone from 8-5 everyday. We fit fun things in as time allows now but I wanted to share our old list.

So, what you need...a poster board, some markers and your imagination. We hung ours on the back of the basement door. HAVE FUN!

1. Picnic at Minnehaha Falls
2. Horse Track on buck night
3. Train downtown to the library
4. Movie at cheap theater
5. Valley Fair
6. Floor picnic and movie night at home
7. Waterpark
8. Long Bike Ride around town
9. Breakfast at the Farmers Market
10. First run movie

Friday, June 10, 2011

Turtle Bars

My friend Amy sent this recipe to me because she thought it would be a great addition to my blog. I couldn't agree more. Super easy with a very yummy end result. I added some Heath chips, not necessary but loved the extra crunch.

2 C Flour
1 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Butter soft
1 C Pecan Halves

1 C Butter
3/4 C Brown Sugar

1/2 bag Heath Pieces ~ found in grocery store by chocolate chips
1/2 bag Chocolate Chips ~ I used Milk Chocolate

Crust: combine four, sugar and butter. Pat firmly into sprayed 13x9 pan. Evenly sprinkle nuts on top of crust.

Caramel: In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar. Stirring well it comes to a boil. Gently boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour caramel evenly over nuts and crust.

Bake 18-22 minutes or until bubbly in 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle Heath chips and chocolate chips on top. Allow to melt 2-3 minutes, then spread the melted chips to cover. Cool completely before cutting.

Pat your crust into a sprayed 13x9 pan

Sprinkle crust with nuts.Melt your butter and brown sugar together. Stirring almost constantly.It's boiling, see the bubbles on the side. Keep stirring for another minute. Pour on top of nuts and crust.Pour caramel on top and put in a 350 oven about 15 minutes or until bubbly.Bubbly and ready to come out of the oven.

Sprinkle the Heath bar pieces andchips on top and wait about 3 minutes for them to melt. Then swirl with the back of a spoon to spread them out.I should have probably used a few more chips to make them "pretty" but this is plenty with the Heath bar underneath.Couldn't wait until they were completely cool. YUMMY!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I've done a post for just about everyone except our dog Henry. Today is Henry's birthday so I thought it was a perfect time to tell you all about him. The picture is of him chilling on our porch.

When Max's 5th birthday was on the horizon, he started asking for a dog. His Dad always wanted a dog, me..not so much. So, Daddy's suggestion in a little guys ear is what started my being over ruled.

I spoke to Max's allergist and he said that Max could have one BUT our best option would be one that was hypoallergenic. Because Max is allergic to just about everything except dogs, the doctor felt it best to not stress his system with just any dog.

I did my research and we looked for a Schnoodle first but they were impossible to find. Wheaton Terrier was our next thought. Not many of those around at the time either and they weren't cheap.

I found an ad in the Sunday paper and called. They had 6 puppies and people coming. By the time we got there, only Henry was left. He was standing close to his Mom, Minnie and looking a bit scared.

Such a CUTE puppy. He was an auburn color but we were told that they grow into their wheat coloring. We paid for him and drove through a nasty thunderstorm home. We named him Henry because that was what Craig wanted to name Max. I wanted Max's name, I gave birth, I won;)

Henry wasn't thrilled to be at our house. He was even less thrilled with the 5 and 2 year old who wanted to play with him. He promptly hid under the couch.

He wouldn't eat or drink for 2 days and unless you were holding him, he was under the couch. I had to hold his little face and force water with a syringe. I was worried about him and called the breeder. She told us to block off a space, scatter food on the floor, multiple water dishes and keep our fingers crossed that his home sickness would pass.

The next morning I got up and he had eaten some and was a little more friendly. The next day, he was running around playing with the kids.

I love Henry for many reasons, the first being that he doesn't shed. He is great with kids, allowing them to use him as a pillow.

He is VERY smart. When we got an electric fence to keep him in the yard, the guy showed me how to train him. I had to take him by the leash to each flag (we had about 40 flags) and run him back toward the house so he'd know his boundaries. The guy said it would take about a week. It took 2 flags and he got it. A year later when Craig used those flags to map out our new deck, Henry would NOT go out the back door and we couldn't figure out why. It dawned on me that he knew he couldn't go near those flags. Sure enough, moved the flags and out he went.

He stands by the door when he wants to go out, he hits his food dish when he's hungry or thirsty, he crawls in his kennel when he's tired and he is an excellent watch dog.

I read that Wheatons know what their owners will tolerate. I have raised Henry like my children. I let him know my expectations and he is not the high strung, jumping dog that I've heard they can be. He is a cool, chilled out dog and everyone loves him.

Henry is also very sensitive to his surroundings. He sleeps in Claire's room most nights and one night I knew something was wrong because Henry came and jumped on my bed, waking me up. I was trying to figure out what was wrong and one minute later Claire came in saying she couldn't breathe.

I also don't allow dogs or children in my bed but the nights following my Dad's passing, I would wake up to Henry on the pillow next to me, watching me. He only jumps into bed with me when I am stressed or upset about something. And, if he feels danger in the air (we had a psycho neighbor), he parks his butt on the landing of the stairs and stands guard as we sleep.

So, if you're looking for the best dog you can find...look for a Wheaton, I promise you'll fall in love.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Minding Frankie

Last day of school so I thought I'd kick off summer with a good book.

You know my rule...I don't give you a book report, I just tell you that I liked it. There is one chapter where I needed kleenex but you'll know it's coming.

I think this is the best book I've read this year. I bought my copy used from Amazon and that's where I grabbed the photo from too.

Monday, June 6, 2011

White Sangria

Book club is good for more than just discussing books. Book club is good for trying new recipes, eating tasty treats and sometimes drinking yummy drinks that you get to score the recipe for.

Nothing says summer to me more than a good Sangria. Mix up a batch, sit back and enjoy!!

What you'll need:

1 bottle Dry White Wine~I used Sauvignon Blanc
3/4 C Flavored Vodka~I used Peach Schnapps and made another one with Cherry Schnapps
6 T Frozen Lemonade Concentrate, thawed
1/4 C Sugar

Mix it up, chill (I made it 24 hours in advance so flavors could blend) and serve.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


A rare photo where they are all looking and smiling makes me happy:)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Homemade Pizza

I don't order pizza to be delivered very often. I can honestly say it's probably only twice a year. I'm just not a fan if I can't have it hot out of the oven.

This is where the Pioneer Woman comes in. I think she has cured me of my fear of working with yeast. I tackled another of her recipes. This time for pizza crust and it was a hit. Pizza delivery just dropped off to probably never.

I intended on making one pizza for the kids and one with spinach, feta and fresh mozzarella for Dylan and myself but Dylan didn't come over that night. I didn't want to torture my children so they had Pepperoni and Cheese 2 different nights. Another reason why I LOVE the dough. It's good in 24 hours and it's still good at 72 hours!!

Here's what you'll need:
1 t Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 C All-purpose Flour
1 t Kosher Salt
⅓ C Olive Oil

Jar of your favorite sauce~we use Traditional Ragu
4 C Mozzarella Cheese~I actually used a mix of Romano, Mozzarella, Provolone


Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. ***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

Preheat oven to 500

Set dough on counter for a couple of minutes so it's easier to stretch. Brush some olive oil on the pan and stretch your dough out. Top with sauce, toppings and cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Dough ready to go.

Stretch it out.


Dinner is served~I think I should have taken this out a minute earlier, but I was kinda busy playing bejeweled while it cooked. Claire, the cheese pizza eater in our house, loved it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


A friend of mine just posted some of her random photos. These are on my desktop and make me smile when they pop up so I thought I'd share.

He just made a good play.
Jake did NOT want his photo taken a couple of years ago at the 4th of July parade. I was across the street hiding and he still wouldn't take his hands down.
This was from our trip to Kansas City in 2009. I love that Max was having so much fun.Does this need an explanation?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mexican Lasagna

I think I could eat Mexican food every day. So many varieties of things that you can do. I fed my kids the chopped Mexican beef on tortillas and then took the rest and made a small Mexican lasagna. I'm not a fan of left overs but this, this was twice as yummy the next day. I should have made a full size pan!

This recipe serves 4 using an 8x8 pan, but just double and put into a 13x9 pan.

What you'll need:

Can of HOT Enchilada Sauce ~ I actually used my homemade

1/2 bottle Verde Sauce
1 1/2 C chopped Mexican Beef
3 large Tortillas ~ I used some healthy high fiber ones I found
1/2 can Black Beans rinsed ~ you could also use pinto or refried..whatever makes you happy:)
3/4 C frozen Corn
1 C cooked Brown Rice
3/4 C Cheese ~ I used Monterey Jack

Spray your pan with cooking spray. Put about 1/4 C of Red enchilada sauce in the bottom.

Place Tortilla on top of that.

Sprinkle with half of chopped beef.

Half of the beans next.

Half of the corn.

Half of the rice.

1/3 of the cheese.

about 1/2 Cup of the Green sauce.

Tortilla. Press down a little bit.

1/2 of what's left of the red sauce

Repeat process one more time.

When you top with last toritlla, press down. Add rest of red and about 1/2 cup of green, swirl together and top with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Top with sour cream and/or guacamole and serve.

You don't have to rip the tortilla. Just make sure it covers as much of the bottom of the pan as possible. This particular tortilla I felt was riding up too far.

You aren't going to see rice in the photos because I made one of these to "taste" it, serving rice on the side. Dylan felt it was a missing component so I added it in the next pan I made and yes, good idea D!