Broccoli Bacon and Pasta Salad

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 No comments
One of my favorite salads includes broccoli, bacon, onions etc, and so when I found this on where you add pasta, I had to try it out.  It's a great dish before a run.  Granted, I wasn't in the middle of running when I made this salad, but you can never been too prepared for a long run....or a long nap.
So...with just a few more bbq's before fall kicks's another pasta salad that makes a great side dish...or you know....a runner's carbo load.  I found the original recipe on a site called mandysrecipeboxblog.
Broccoli Bacon and Pasta Salad
Ingredients:  12 oz spiral pasta, 1 c. mayonnaise, 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 t. salt, 3 c. raw broccoli (chopped), 1 c. cheddar cheese (cubed), 1/2 c. roasted sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted), 1/2 c. crumbled (and cooked) bacon, 1/4 onion (diced)
1.  Cook pasta according to pkg directions.  Drain and rinse in cold water.
2.  Place pasta in a bowl and add broccoli, cheese, sunflower seeds, bacon, and onion.
3.  In a separate bow, whisk the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
4.  Place in fridge for at least an hour to chill.

Susan's Cracker Mix

Monday, August 28, 2017 1 comment
Last June I headed to a retreat and the gal we put in charge of bring some snacks did NOT disappoint.  This recipe made a huge bowl....and we put it to good use.  This is a recipe I'm not losing!  It sounds so simple, but it is soooooo delicious!
Susan's Cracker Mix
Ingredients:  2 boxes of chedder ritz bits, 1 boxes of white cheddar cheese its, 1 box of wheat thins, 1 c. of canola oil, 1 (1 oz) pkg of dry ranch seasoning mix.
1.  Take a large pan (like a disposable turkey pan) and mix the crackers, oil and seasoning.
2.  Bake at 225 for 2 hours (stirring every 30 minutes) and then leave the crackers in the oven over night (or for a few hours) to dry.
3.  Store in an airtight container.

Mermaid or Pirate Baby Shower

Friday, August 25, 2017 No comments
 I've been friends with Amber for well over a decade now.  She's expected baby #2 and this go 'round she decided to wait.  Since it's summer, her sister and I decided to throw her a shower that plays with the theme Mermaid or Pirate?  My pal Kelly made these adorable invites for me.
 Again, since it was a summer shower I was able to go crazy with desserts and I madea  collection of both mermaid and pirate themed desserts to serve.
 Last year I attended a shower and they had a poloroid camera where each guest had their picture taken, and then we made a scrapbook page with a message to mom and baby.  I knew Amber would love this (she's one of my last scrapbooking buddies).
 We each made a page and her sister said she would finish the album for Amber.  We had the guest decorate pages with either pirates or mermaids based on what they predict the baby will be.
 I made a bunch of banners I hung throughout my house as well.
 I also used beads someone gave me from mardi gras, shells, and coins to scatter around the house.
 We served all pirate and mermaid themed foods.  Canon Balls (meatballs), sumbarines (sub sandwiches), planks (crackers) and gold (cheese-served with little swords), crab legs (carrots), seaweed (spinach dip), seashells (pasta), and berried treasure (berries).
 We also served some blue punch in fish bowls.
 I made little mermaid straws.
 Amber's sister put together some adorable bubble bath.
 And bottled them in cute little bottles.
 All went so smoothly, but it helps when it's a sweet friend and easy going friends and family she's collected along the way.

Mexican Sour Cream Dip

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 No comments
It's almost September.  This means it's time for football.  Which means its time for dips and pizza.  I made this one last year, and took a really terrible photo of it while it was being consumed, was so tasty I decide a terrible photo would just have to do to share this simple recipe...and then go make it again and maybe take a better picture this time!
Mexican Sour Cream Dip 
Mix together:  16 oz sour cream, 1/2 package of dried ranch seasoning (I used one of the spicy packets), 1/2 c. shredded Mexican cheese, and 1/2 c. of your favorite salsa. Keep chilled until serving.   Serve with Fritos or Tortilla chips.

Crocheted Pumpkin Banner

Monday, August 21, 2017 No comments
 Last year I began the journey of crocheting.  My second project was these pumpkins.  The tutorial was originally for small coasters, but I strung mine together to make a bunting....because....I love buntings.
Here is the adorable tutorial for anyone out there that crochets.....or wants to learn-this one was pretty easy for a beginner and because nobody is wearing it, it's OK if it's not perfect...which is pretty much how I pick all of my projects-forgiving in imperfections!  I excel at forgiving crafts.

Mermaid or Pirate Desserts

Friday, August 18, 2017 No comments
Last month I hosted a baby shower where the gender wasn't known yet.  With summer in full swing, we went with the fun theme of Mermaid or Pirate.  I've been posting about this for a few weeks, and next week I'll post the whole thing, but here were the dessert offerings.  Since it was summer, I had more time to bake....and I did.  
 First off, I made mermaid tail sugar cookies.  I bought the cookie cutter on Amazon, and I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe to put these together.  These can be done in advance, so that helped!
 Amber's husband loves cake balls, and even though he wasn't in attendance, I made these so we could ship some home.  I just dipped the cake balls in white chocolate and to make them look like pearls I served them in little seashell cups and then brushed on some of the Wilton's luster dust.
I posted about these cheater cupcakes last week.  Again, I bought cupcakes at the store and then used a kit from Wilton to dress up my cupcakes.  
 I definitely made too many desserts, but....too many and the word dessert are welcome words to string together any day in my book!

One Pan Chicken Meal

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 No comments
I'm always looking for the easy way around dinner, and I've been fascinated with all these one pan meals, so I finally decided to give one a go.  It actually called for four pieces of chicken, but the chicken I was using seriously looked like it was King Kong's child, so I just coated two.  It also called for new potatoes, but I was trying to use up some baking potatoes, so.....all this to say-the chicken had a great crust, and the vegetables are very forgiving and flexible, but it really was tasty!  It'll make the rounds again....and again....and....
For chicken: 1 large egg, 2 T lemon juice, 2 t. minced garlic, ½ T fresh chopped parsley, ½ t. each salt and pepper, 
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs, ⅓ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I doubled these)
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts 
For The Veggies:
  • 8 (1 lb) baby potatoes, quartered, ½ c. butter, melted, 2 t. minced garlic, salt to taste
  • 1 lb green beans
  • Instructions:
  • 1.  In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • 2. Dip chicken into egg mixture, cover and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 400.  Grease a baking sheet.  Set aside.  
  • 4.  In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan cheese.
  • 5.  Dredge the egg coated chicken in the breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture, lightly pressing to evenly coat.  If it doesn't coat enough, redip them in the egg and dip again in the breadcrumbs.  Double coating make a great covering.  
  • 6.  Place chicken onto the baking sheet / tray and lightly spray with cooking oil spray. Arrange the potatoes around the chicken in a single layer. Mix together the butter, 2 t. garlic and salt to taste, and pour half of the butter mixture over the potatoes. Toss to evenly coat.
  • 7.  Bake 15 minutes.
  • 8.  Remove  tray from the oven and turn each chicken . Move the potatoes to one side and place the green beans around the chicken on the other side of the baking sheet. Pour remaining garlic butter and return to the oven to broil for a further 10 minutes, or until chicken is golden and potatoes are cooked through.

Back to School Treats

Monday, August 14, 2017 No comments
 Last year we had a bunch of new teachers at our school.  This means, we spent a lot of time in advance of the first school day planning lessons and getting classes together, which left me very little time to bake cookies etc, so I decided to make some trail mix.
 I bought these Cheez Its that come with alphabet letters, pretzels, nuts, and M&M's.  My teammate and I did it together, so she was given the task of sorting primary colors.  I don't know why.
I added little tags I found for free on the Internet, and then close them with some letter washi I bought on Etsy.  Easy, and affordable for 9 new teachers.

Easy Pirate Cupcakes

Friday, August 11, 2017 No comments
 I recently hosted a baby shower.  The theme was mermaid or pirate.  I wanted to do a mix of both themed desserts, so for the pirates-I saw a kit from Wilton with all the pieces you need.  I knew I would be busy right before the shower, so I decided to buy the cupcakes and then just slip them in the liner and add the decorations.
I picked the color closest to 'flesh', and man I'm glad I cheated.  1)  Sam's makes a fine cupcake 2)  This saved me a lot of time and dishes.  In my old age I'm learning that sometimes it's OK to cheat.  So this is my confession tip-buy the plain cupcake....then decorate them up the way you want.  

Baseball Wreath

Wednesday, August 09, 2017 No comments
 My brother's girlfriend decorates her house every month with a theme.  I'm not sure I have the energy, but I DO have the energy to help her.  She decided August would be baseball (our team, the Rangers, just so happen to be red, white, and blue, so she didn't have to change out her lights).  She had found some baseballs in her backyard, and I had a ton of ribbon left over from projects I brought over.  We used a wire wreath from the dollar tree.  Eventually, I'll post a tutorial on making a wreath (again).  I've done so in the past, but this post is about those baseballs and how we got them to attach to the wreath.  I've tried hot glue, but they are heavy, so this time....
We used my brother's drill and some wire.  It worked so much better than I could have imagined!  So, things you can drill....baseballs!

Crockpot Meat Balls

I recently hosted a party at my house and one of the things on the menu were balls (it was a Mermaid/Pirate themed party).  I've done a lot of different versions with jellys and sauces, but I decided to try something new, so I went to the internet.  These were commented on and well received at the shower.  It'll definitely stay on the rotation for future parties.  The original recipe (from familyfreshmeals) even suggested serving them over rice for regular ol' weeknight meals.
So, if you are in need of some canon balls....try this one out.
Honey Garlic Crockpot Meatballs
Ingredient:  1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. honey, 1/2 c. ketchup, 2 T soy sauce, 3 cloves garlic (minced), 1 (28 oz) bag fully cooked, frozen meatballs (I used some from Trader Joe's b/c I read they were the best...and the internet never lies).  
1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, honey, ketchup, soy sauce, and garlic.  
2.  Place frozen meatballs in a 3-4 qt crockpot and pour sauce over the meatballs, stir until all the meatballs are coated evenly.  
3.  Cook on low for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.  
(I actually put them in the crockpot the night before and put the ceramic inside in my fridge and then just lowered the time by about 30 minutes the day of the shower since the meatballs had thawed some, but it saved me a few minutes and a sink of dirty dishes during the shower).  

First Birthday Banner

Monday, August 07, 2017 No comments

I've made a few of these little banners for first birthdays.  The gals I've made them for usually want them to decorate high chairs.  I've also made some longer banners to hang along the wall.  
2 and a half yards of fabric makes about 6 feet of garland (the strips are about 21 inches by 2 inches). 
I usually use yarn or rope to tie the ribbon in place.  I've cut it with pinking sheers, or in this case I just used a straight edge.  I also added a burlap banner that I embroidered the letters to spell out one.
Friday, August 04, 2017 No comments
 I recently hosted a Mermaid or Pirate? themed baby shower.  I wanted a blue punch, but a lot of them called for ice cream....and living in Texas in the summer I was worried about it melting too swiftly.  I found a recipe that just used two bottles of Sprite (or some sort of clear soda) and blue Hawaiian Punch.  You freeze the Hawaiian punch in advance, then just pour it into a bowl with the Sprite.  It melts and turns the punch blue.
I served these in little glass fish bowls I bought at the dollar store with little mermaid tail straws I made.