Friday, May 26, 2017

Baby Sprinkle

My friend Amber is baking up baby #2.  She won't be finding out the gender until this little one arrives.  At work we recently threw her a sprinkle (a mini version of a shower where we gave her more 'basic' needs stuff like diapers and wipes since she has a lot of the other necessities).  It was a really simple and cute shower to throw together.  We printed off invites with 'sprinkles' all over it and got a book that includes some sprinkled cupcakes that we had everyone sign (one of my favorite guest sign in ideas).  
 We served up cupcakes and ice cream with a 'sprinkle' bar.....basically-all the fun toppings.
 We also took some puffs and added some bases and sprinkles to make them look like cupcakes.
 To have a little fun we polled her on old wives' tales and one of the hostess typed them up...
 Then we had pink and blue sprinkles and asked the guest to choose on to top their ice cream with...
 Mama thinks it's a boy (Dad's guess is girl).
 She had a nice mix of guesses....
 ....and everyone went home with a sugar rush.
Sprinkle success.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

 I recently decided to clean out and revamp my utility room.  My kitchen can only be compared to a ship's galley.  In other words, it's little.  Most of my excess kitchen gadgets get stored in the utility room.  Through the years it has been buried.  Through the cleaning I rediscovered my bread machine.
 I found this recipe via allrecipes for cinnamon rolls.
They were delicious, and so easy to put together when you toss them into the bread machine and hit 'dough.'  It did all the kneading and rising (it took 1 1/2 hours).  Once they are rolled, you cut them into 1 pieces and put them in a buttered pan (mine took a regular casserole 9x11 dish) PLUS a little round pan for the other 4 (16 total).  When they are in the pan they already touch.  You let them rise some more, bake, and ice.
If you don't have a bread machine you can activate the yeast first with the warm water and sugar the recipe calls for.  Knead by hand for 8 minutes.  Let rise until doubled in a warm spot and then proceed as directed.  These are definitely best fresh from the oven.  If you reheat them day two-stick in the microwave for 30 seconds or so.  You can also let them rise the second time, stick them in the fridge over night (covered) and then bake so they are fresh in the morning.  On to my next gadget....

Monday, May 22, 2017

Italian Pasta Salad

It's always hard to distinguish one salad from another on the internet, so the best way I can describe this recipe is that....I like it so much I have an old fashion recipe card written for this one, you know, in case the internet goes out of style and we stop keeping electronic copies...this one is one I DON'T want to lose.  Some pasta salads are bland, but not this one.  It's definitely a tangy salad with the salami and lemon juice.  I love it, and love that it doesn't leave me craving flavor.  It's a super simple one to throw together makes enough you might actually be willing to share a bowl or two.
Italian Pasta Salad
Ingredients:  1 lb angel hair pasta (cooked), 1/2 lb salami (chopped), 1/2 c. black olives, 1/2 c. green peppers (chopped), 1/2 c. roasted red peppers (chopped), 1/2 c. marinated mini mozzarella balls (halved), 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. lemon juice, 1 t. kosher salt, 1/4 t. crushed red peppers
*if you can't find the marinated mozzarella balls, you can use cubed mozzarella pieces.  
1.  Cook the pasta according to the directions (until al dente).  Drain, and place in a bowl.
2.  Add salami, olives, roasted red pepper, green peppers, and mozzarella.
3.  In a separate bowl whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Toss with salad.
Serve immediately, or serve's great either way.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Strawberry and Banana Fluff

I pretend when you stick strawberries and bananas in something it's practically a fruit salad.  And hey, yogurt is good for you, right?  Whatever-even if there was nothing redeemable about the health of this dish, it's super delicious and the perfect little scoop after a nice dinner from the grill.  Really, that's just an excuse-the first time I made this it just turned into my lunch the next day because I walk a fine line when it comes to dessert-ish dishes and if I can redeem it-I'll count it.  Try it because it's yum.
Ingredients:  1 box (3.4 oz) cheesecake or white chocolate pudding mix, 12 oz whipped topping, 18 oz strawberry yogurt, 1 lb strawberries (sliced), 3 bananas (sliced just before serving), 3 c. marshmallows (optional)
1.  Mix yogurt, whipped topping, and pudding mix.  Place in the fridge for at least an hour.
2.  Just before serving, add in strawberries, bananas, and marshmallows

Monday, May 15, 2017

Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken

This was a really easy recipe to throw together in the crockpot.  It's not too sweet (which I find a lot of these chicken recipes end up being), goes good with rice...and anything that makes friends with a carb is a friend of mine.

Crockpot Brown Sugar Chicken
Ingredients:  4 chicken breast (about 2 lbs-boneless and skinless), 1 c. packed brown sugar, 2/3 c. vinegar, 1/4 c. lemon-lime soda, 3 T minced garlic, 2 T soy sauce, 1 t. fresh ground pepper, 1 T corn starch, 2 T water
1.  Spray crockpot with non-stick cooking spray (or use a liner)
2.  Place chicken (frozen or thawed) into crockpot.  
3.  Mix all the other ingredients (except the cornstarch and water) together and pour over the chicken.  
4.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours (frozen chicken needs longer).  
5.  Remove chicken, it should be falling apart.  
6.  Place the sauce in a pan and add the water and corn starch to the pan.  Heat, let it come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes (should start to thickin and turn into a glaze).  
7.  Remove from heat and let it sit for a few minutes.  Pour over chicken and serve.  I shredded mine over rice....because...carbs.  
The original recipe came from six sister stuff.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Golden Book Scrapbook

 I decided this year I was going to buy old Golden Books and make scrapbooks out of them.  I've seen journals, and when I searched I even found some albums.  Instead of scrapbooking on the page itself, I inserted pages throughout the book so pictures good be added, but the stories could still be read.
 Here is a video walk through of all the pages.

 There are some things I didn't show in the album....first....I sliced off the spine of the book with a paper cutter.
...and this is the binding machine I used.  You could also take it to an office store, but the one thing I learned was that I needed to cut down the pages and punch them before I embellish them b/c I did have some trouble fitting them into the binder with the stickers etc on the pages.
This one I kept pretty simple to fit my pal's taste, but my plan is to do some more and really jazz them up.  I may even add some photos to a few before gifting them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dinosaur Party Hats

 I helped out with a dinosaur party a few months back.  The goal was to make as many 'at home' projects and save as much money as possible.  I looked up party hats and found that designs generally ranged around 4 bucks for 8.  I needed 24.
 I found that the dollar store had some generic hats 8 for a dollar, so I bought those and used some construction paper (a great time to buy construction paper is during the back to school sales in August).  I measured one hat out to get the right shape to cover the hat and used this for my template.  I then wrapped it around each hat and stapled it.  The staples didn't matter b/c I used the scales to cover up the staples.
I super glued the scales down the staples.  For a few bucks I made a bunch of dino hats for what I would have spent over twenty bucks for, AND I varied the colors to make it a little more fun.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Broccoli and Bacon Side Salad

It's May, which means the BBQs are lighting up again....which means it's my favorite cooking season-side salads!  I made this awhile back for a potluck I was attending.  I really enjoyed it because it wasn't too saucy, but flavorful.   If you like bacon, this is right up your alley.
Broccoli and Bacon Salad
12 oz pkg of spiral pasta, 1 c. mayonnaise, 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, 1/4 c. sugar, 1 t. salt, 2 c. raw broccoli (chopped), 1 c. cheddar cheese (cubed), 1/2 c. roasted sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted), 1/2 c. bacon (cooked and crumbled), 1/2 c. red onion
1.  Cook pasta according to package.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Toss in bowl with broccoli, cheese, sunflower seeds, onion, and bacon.
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Pour over pasta and toss.
3.  Chill for at least one hour.

Friday, May 05, 2017

DIY Dinosaur Party Projects

I recently helped a friend host a birthday party for her daughter's 7th birthday.  The goal was to do as many simple/diy projects as possible.  I tried to pick things that weren't intimidating.  One thing we made were these pudding cups.  We did this in place of ice cream and served them next to the cake.  We crushed oreos and made layers of oreos and pudding.  On the top I also placed a little plastic dinosaur in each and some chocolate rocks and we called it prehistoric dirt.  

I also made this banner.  I googled an outline for a dino skull and then just placed it over construction paper and cut out the shape.  I punched out the birthday girl's names and strung them all together.  I love layering banners so I also added the pompom puffs from the dollar store, and some dino punches.  All for less than two bucks.  
I also decorated a frame and made some picks and took pictures of each kiddo.  They loved this.  I put out some stickers and paper 'frames.'  They glued the picture to the middle and decorated the frame.
More to come, far-minus some construction paper (you can grab for pennies at back to school sales in the fall), most of these has been practically free.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Dinosaur Party Details

A month or so back I helped with a dinosaur themed party.  I have lots of finished details I'll share in another post, but here is some of the prep.  I made a shirt using my cricut machine and some iron on vinyl.  The nice thing about the dinosaur is you could print out a design from online and lay vinyl over and cut it out and make your own without a machine.  I also made a welcome sign for the door using one of the dinosaur metal cut outs I found at Hobby Lobby.  They had two different designs and I grabbed it when it was half off.  Again, I added a vinyl message that I'm pealing off...a ribbon and a bow to greet guest.  
 There are several different activities, but one that was age appropriate, and seasonal (though I thing you can get away with this all year) was an egg hunt....a DINOSAUR egg hunt.  I ordered the fillers from Oriental Trading.  I found a couple coupons by searching online so I got 10 dollars off my order and free shipping.  I ordered some eggs with puppets inside (it was the same cost with or without the eggs for these puppets).  I also ordered stamps, gummies, erasers, stickers, foam stickers, and 144 different shades of green eggs (they have a ton of different colors).
 I also made a banner-modeling it after a bunch I saw online.
 I just looked up a skull outline, printed it and then placed my paper behind it and cut.  I free handed a tail and then made little banners with her name spelled across it.
More details to come...

Monday, May 01, 2017

Fruit Salad

It's time for fruit.  I discovered this fruit salad last summer and it really was delicious.  I like it because it's one that you can make beforehand, but it doesn't require creams and mayo and all the things that take away the benefits of eating fruit.  OK, yes, there is some brown sugar, the grand scheme of life, this one leans more towards healthy than not in my mind.  I didn't have blueberries to toss in when I made this (because the  crop at the store had seen better days), but really, any combination of fruit works, it's the sauce that makes the salad!
So, warm weather, and fruit...I'm ready for you!
Fruit Salad
Ingredients: 2/3 c. orange juice, 1/3 c. lemon juice, 1/3 c. (packed) brown sugar, 1 t. vanilla,   1/2 t. orange zest, 1/2 t. lemon zest, 2 c. cubed pineapple, 3 peeled and  sliced bananas, 3 kiwis peeled and sliced, 2 c. strawberries (remove stems and slice), 1 c. seedless grapes, 1 orange (peeled) and sliced, 2 c. blueberries
1.  Bring orange juice, lemon juice, orange and lemon zest, and brown sugar to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes (should be thickening up).  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  
2.  Toss all the fruits and the cooled sauce together in a bowl.  Cover and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Laundry Room Makeover

In January, I FINALLYdecided to tackle my Laundry Room/Utility Room.  Through the years it had become this place where I shoved everything I kept meaning to do something with until it became almost unwalkable. In the last few years I've redone my bedroom, closet, craft room, and now my utility room.  My living room/kitchen/yard that everyone sees needs some major TLC, but.....their day will come.  Redoing these unseen rooms actually makes the biggest impact on me  I breath so much easier!  As much as I wanted to go all out-I used the shelves and things I had already.  I did give the walls a coat of white paint b/c it's a dark room, and I threw down a rug over the concrete floor.  Maybe I'll go back SOMEDAY and add some 'real floors', but there are so many other things in my house that need some attention, and this is a million times better than it was.  I don't have a before in this case b/c....I'd like to be left with some dignity.  It was a hard room to photograph b/c it's long and skinny (an add on from the garage), so I took a video TRYING to show a bit more....that video lives here....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Freezer Bread

 As a single, usually when I make a meal, if I don't cut it in half, I eat on it for a week...which can get old.  I recently ran across this recipe for freezer garlic bread.  Uhhh, yes.  The best part is that you can just pop it out a few slices at a time and heat and eat.  And eat it.  And eat it.  And eat it.
Freezer Garlic Bread
Ingredients:  1 stick of butter (softened), 2 T olive oil, 1 T. parsley, 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 t. salt, 1 loaf of french bread (cut into 16 slices).
1.  Mix butter, oil, parsley, garlic,and salt together.
2.  Spread evenly over bread.
3.  Place bread in freezer for 10 minutes until butter hardens some.
4.  Stack bread by twos and place in freezer bags.  Freeze for up to three months.
5.  Pull out and place in 400 preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.