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Monday, October 29, 2012

Holiday Cards

Karol you won!!  You should be hearing from Shutterfly soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Cupcakes

I'm going to make these for Claire's dance class again!

Cake Mix made according to directions for cupcakes
24 Large Marshmallows
1 Bag of Green Chocolate Melts from Michael's
48 Green Tic Tacs
Can of Chocolate Frosting

Melt your chocolate melts in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir, stir and stir some more. Typically it will look like it's going to be lumpy but if you keep stirring the melts will in fact melt. If they are still chunky, try another 15 seconds. The thing with chocolate melts is you don't want to over cook, or it will dry up and you won't be able to dip. The "safest" way to melt the chocolate melts in a double boiler. I am not a fan of that process because it takes a LOT longer. But if you want to be "safe", try that route.

So, you've got your chocolate melted. I used a wooden skewer and poked the marshmallow and then dipped it like fondue and tap, tap, tap the stick against the side of the pan to get the extra choocolate off. Then gently pushed the marshmallow off onto wax paper, push from the top because you'll be covering that up with frosting. Sorry about not having photos of that process but my trusty assistant wasn't feeling well. Immediately push a tic tac into each side of the head and allow to cool. If you want to use a spoon, you can do that instead. Decorate the face of Frank.

When the heads are dry, frost your cupcakes. Push a Frank head into each cupcake and pipe some hair on. I used a leaf tip, but you can use any tip you want.

In hind sight, I would put them so they are standing up to dry so Frank doesn't get a flat back of his head.
Make the scary face!

Pipe on the hair...All done and ready for fun!

Monday, October 22, 2012

White Chocolate dipped Lemon Crinkles

Again, gotta love the church cookbooks. I have a friend who gave me a similar recipe but using cool whip but I had everything to make these handy. It was a nice little flash of spring on a chilly fall day.

What you'll need.

2 Eggs
1/3 C Oil
Juice of one Lemon ~ probably 1 T if you wanted to use Juice
1 Lemon Cake Mix
1/2 C Powder Sugar

Mix the eggs, oil, lemon juice and cake mix together. Roll into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes. Remove, cool and eat OR make it a little something, something more by dipping in melted white chocolate.

Melted White Chocolate

Melt 1 bag of white chocolate chips in microwave for about a minute and a half. Stir until smooth. Microwave longer if needed, 15 seconds at a time. You DON'T want to over heat or the chocolate will break down.

Makes 30 cookies

The dough..
Roll into balls about the size of a walnut..
Roll those in powdered sugar and put on cookie sheet to bake..
Bake for 8 minutes and you get these lovelies..
Enjoy or dip half the cookie in white chocolate melts and really feel fancy:) Sorry, I was enjoying the cookies and forgot to snap a photo.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Christmas Cards

Have you been thinking about your Holiday cards??

Christmas cards are my ABSOLUTE favorite thing about the month of December. I love seeing how kids have grown, hearing what people are up to and I especially love cards with photos of family and friends. Because I like getting cards, I like making sure my cards are fun and have cute pictures of my kids and that's why I like using Shutterfly. Great quality, tons of choices.

I started browsing their site before I received a message asking me to blog about it. I have so many favorites, it's going to be hard to narrow it down to just one but I promise to share the finished product as soon as I finish.

I am also going to make both of my kids memory books this year and they are having a special offer on those...BONUS!

Just because I love all of you, Shutterfly offered and I accepted on your behalf, a giveaway: $50 off total order (does not include shipping & cannot be combined with any other promos). Leave a comment and I will select a winner at random on October 27th.

This is a sponsored post for Shutterfly.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Chipotle Soup

I was surfing around on blogs that I read from time to time and found this soup on this blog. This woman does it all but most importantly she makes a wonderful soup. Seriously, don't be scared of the pumpkin in the title. I'm not a fan of squash/pumpkin soups typically but this soup didn't taste like your "typical" soup. It was almost buttery in flavor and I called it Chicken Chipotle until people tried and liked it.

I only changed a couple of things and my recipe reflects that. If you want her orginal, click on the link above.

2 T Butter
2 T. Olive Oil
1 Onion chopped
Hanful baby Carrots, chopped
3 stalks Celery
3 cloves Garlic
2 boxes Chicken Stock~Aldi was having a sale or it would have been 8 cups water/8 bouillon cubes
14 oz can Pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix~I don't know what that means but thought I better leave it, we only have cans of Pumpkin in MN as far as I can tell, no pie mix? Just make sure the ingredients on the can is just pumpkin and you'll be good to go)
3 c. cooked Chicken ~ I actually used leftover crockpot Turkey
2 large diced Potatoes~I cut them about as thick as my finger so they didn't fall apart while cooking
1/2 c Barley
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 t nutmeg
2-3 T honey
2 Chipotles chopped very fine (it comes in a small can in the mexican section of the store and is packed in a heavy sauce)—I like spicy food, if you don't start with maybe a half of a pepper first.
1 C light Sour Cream
1/4 C Heavy Cream~I used Whipping Cream that wasn't whipped, you buy it by the milk
salt and pepper to taste

To begin, saute the celery, onions, carrots and garlic in the oil and butter until carrots are almost tender. Always salt as you go along and then adjust the salt at the end. Don’t wait til the very end to add salt or your dish will lack a depth of flavor.

Then add chicken stock, pumpkin, chicken, potatoes, barley and all the spices. Cook at medium to high heat for about 45 minutes to an hour or until barley is tender. Turn heat down to simmer. Add sour cream or yogurt and whisk so that no lumps remain and then add cream. Taste and reseason.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I am making STRIDES

Against Breast Cancer with the American Cancer Society on Saturday. Gail is done with chemo and radiation and what better way to celebrate than a walk around the lake to raise money to help others.

When Gail first got sick, we made a LOT of phone calls looking for help. Gail was a single, one income person and it was scary and difficult. Komen was the first place I called and although they had a LOT of "referral" information, they didn't offer any direct assistance. They put a LOT of money into research, which I am very grateful for but we need places that help now. ACS does some of that.

One in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. They are in every community providing free information and services when and where people need it. If you need someone to talk with at 3 a.m. (or any other time of the day or night), they are here. If your friend is losing her hair because of chemo, your mother needs a ride to treatment, or if a loved one needs a place to stay while in treatment away from home, ACS are the ones who can help.

Transportation assistance to and from treatment.
Free lodging for those having to travel far for treatment.
Workshops that teach beauty techniques to female cancer patients to help deal with appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.
Emotional support programs that connect newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with survivors.
Cancer education classes.
An online cancer survivors support network.
Plus, information from a trained Cancer Information Specialist is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-227-2345.

So, if you'd like to support SAVE 2nd BASE, please click here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Last year of Association Hockey

That's right, Max's 11st year of association hockey has just begun. It seems like a hundred years ago when I was a deer in headlights walking from station to station to sign up. Leaving with boxes of candy bars I had no idea what to do with and a folder of "information" that meant very little to me.

It took 2 hours of my weekend, 3 if you counted getting him dressed/undressed in his gear. Now, it’s at least 2-3 hours per night, 5-6 late nights per week. That’s why whenever a parent with a mite asks if I’d do it again, I always say….only if they loved it and Max LOVED it, so yes. Hockey starts out as a sport but it quickly becomes a lifestyle.

Gear has also come a LONG way. They had these HORRIBLE garter things when he started that held up his socks and they were constantly falling apart. The invention of the "jock" which protects my future grandchildren and has velcro tabs to hold up the socks was GENIOUS! 2 sticks for $25 has turned into one for $225 because you have to have the right curve and flex!! By god, how would you shoot the puck if your flex was off?

For his final year, he achieved his goal of making it back to an A team. He is a Bantam A!! The top of the top in Association hockey and a fun way to finish this chapter. I’m hoping to make LOTS of cookies this year!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Claire has been asking me to make Louisana Chicken pasta for weeks. I just didn't have it in me to pound chicken breast and fry it after I had already made the sauce, SO...I took 2 cups of chopped crockpot chicken, tossed it in and dinner was served. Quick, seriously this dinner can be on the table in less than 30 minutes and yummy!! The photos are from Lousiana chicken pasta when I made it, to give you an idea but the directions and ingredients are new.

What you'll need:

2 C chopped crockpot chicken

Cajun Sauce
1 T Butter ~ unsalted for me
1 small Yellow Pepper chopped
1 small Red Pepper chopped
3/4 small Red Onion chopped
1 C Mushrooms sliced
2 handfuls Spinach ~ fresh and chopped
3 Cloves Garlic minced
1 t Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 t Cajun Seasoning
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
2 T Basil
3/4 C Fresh Parmesan shredded or grated
12 oz cooked Bow Tie Pasta


Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onions, mushrooms, aspargus and 1 t Cajun Spice and cook until crisp tender..about 4 minutes

Add garlic and crushed red pepper to skillet and saute couple more minutes.

Add 1/2 and 1/2, 1 t Cajun Spice and Basil. Simmer (don't boil or you aren't going to like what happens to your sauce) until sauce re-heats and thickens, about 5 minutes. Add cheese to sauce, stir to incorporate.

IF your sauce won't thicken. Ladle out one scoop, add 2 T Cornstarch and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Pour back into pan and stir. This will thicken your sauce right up.

Season sauce to taste with pepper. Reduce heat and simmer on low until sauce reduces and thickens. Add chopped spinach and cook until it wilts.

Add Chicken to sauce and heat through.

Add cooked pasta to sauce and give a toss.

Plate pasta, add additional parmesan if desired.

Chop your peppers and onions, I threw in some green just because I had them. You could do this ahead too.
Wash, dry and slice the mushrooms, don't do this ahead, mushrooms are tempermental.
Saute your vegis with some cajun spice and crushed pepper flakes.
Add your 1/2 and 1/2, cajun seasoning and basil and simmer.
You can't really see the difference but it's thicker now;)
Now you have to just envision crockpot chicken on top instead of fried;) Dinner is SERVED

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sassy Wild Rice with Roasted Vegi's

Soup season is starting. My goal this year is to find a soup that my children will both eat. This one will not accomplish this goal because the vegetables are too visible BUT it's a yummy soup for those not scared to eat their vegi's.

I am going to put everything you need, so you'll have your grocery list and then how it all played out.

6 C Chicken Broth
1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
1/2 C Carrots minced
2 stalks Celery minced
1/2 t Cayenne
few cranks of the pepper mill
1 T Garlic Pepper ~ if you don't have this, just use Garlic Powder
1 - 1 1/2 C chopped cooked Turkey or Chicken
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
1/2 Green Pepper chopped
3 cloves Garlic minced
1/2 medium Onion chopped
1/2 Zucchini chopped ~ or use whole and skip yellow squash
1/2 Yellow Squash chopped
1/4 lb of fresh Green Beans snapped into bite size pieces
Handful of Asparagus, snap off the tops and use those only. Use the stalks for a stir fry
1-2 t Olive Oil
1/2 to 1 t Red Pepper Flakes
2 - 2 1/2 C cooked Wild Rice or Brown Rice would work too.
Couple handfuls of fresh spinach chopped

And, this is how you'll use it all

6 C Chicken Broth ~ I actually had homemade turkey broth I used
1 can Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
1/2 C Carrots minced
2 stalks Celery minced
1/2 t Cayenne
few cranks of the pepper mill
1 T Garlic Pepper ~ if you don't have this, just use Garlic Powder
1 - 1 1/2 C chopped cooked Turkey or Chicken

Get this all on the stove and simmer at a medium heat for about 30 minutes.

1/2 Zucchini chopped
1/2 Yellow Squash chopped
1/2 Red Pepper chopped
1/2 Green Pepper chopped
3 cloves Garlic minced
1/2 medium Onion chopped
1/4 lb of fresh Green Beans snapped into bite size pieces
Handful of Asparagus, snap off the tops and use those only. Use the stalks for a stir fry
Toss with a slight drizzle of Olive Oil, maybe a couple teaspoons. Throw into cake pan, sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes and roast for 10-12 minutes at 450.

Dump into soup pot.

Add 2-2 1/2 C cooked Wild Rice or Brown Rice would work too.

Cook for another 10 minutes just to blend the flavors. Add a couple handfuls of chopped fresh spinach, give it a stir and serve.
Makes 6 bowls.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Carving Pumpkins

It's a my FAVORITE month!! I wanted to get you excited to carve your pumpkins!!
I put this tip on a couple of years ago but wanted to do it again because it makes life SO much easier!! Cut the bottom out of the pumpkin. Scoop out seeds with a big spoon, a scoop or your hands. Lots of room to move around now. Put candle under on surface. Put pumpkin on top.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Creamy Italian Chicken Pasta

I have gotten more requests for this pasta sauce recipe in the past couple of weeks that I figured I should just repost so everyone can enjoy it. SO easy and SO yummy.

Here's your ingredients
16 oz pkg boneless chicken breast
1 pkg Italian Dressing Mix
1 pkg Cream Cheese~I use reduced fat
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup~I use 98% fat free
Put 1/2 cup water in bottom of crock pot. Place chicken in bottom. Sprinkle chicken with Italian Dressing Mix. Cover and cook on low for about 4 hours. I will use frozen if I want to cook for 6.

Here's what it looks like before you cover and ignore.

When the chicken is cooked, shred. Throw in cubed cream cheese and soup. Cover and cook for another hour. If you have kids who will eat vegetables, you can also throw in a bag of frozen broccoli. I don't have that luxury;)

Here's the finished product. If it seems thick, add 1/2-3/4 C milk to thin.

Serve over your favorite pasta. The leftover sauce, freezes well.