Friday, December 30, 2011

Rainbow Cookies

I made 7 layer Rainbow Cookies for the first time this Christmas. They were delicious! I plan on making these again with a little more food coloring to make them brighter and more time so that they come out perfectly. I baked them at the same time I was baking three other types of cookies, so I rushed a bit and some pieces didn't look too great. I found this recipe at My Italian Grandmother, a great blog with awesome recipes! Check out Michele's blog and her rainbow cookie recipe here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My First Blogger Award



 

  Earlier this month I received my first blogger award, The Harlow Blogger Award, from my friend over at http://themusingsandadventuresofapinupmama.blogspot.com/. Bunny Moreno is a super stay at home mom, homemaker, awesome blogger and aspiring vintage model. Check out her amazing posts on classic films, mommyhood, party planning, and all things vintage. Follow her here on Facebook.
    The Harlow Blogger Award was given to three new and upcoming bloggers, including me! I'm so honored to  have received this award and I hope I make Bunny proud! I hope this award is the first of many for me!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Coquito

Coquito is a Puerto Rican beverage made with rum that is similar to egg nog. It is usually made around the holidays. It's made with coconut, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum. It is absolutely delicious. This isn't a traditional recipe because cracking open a couple of coconuts and grating them is just too much trouble nowadays. This recipe makes A LOT of coquito. If you want less, use half of everything. This will probably give you a gallon of the drink. This is great for holiday parties, Christmas Eve and Christmas day celebrations. You might have to make this in a couple of batches because all the ingredients won't fit in a blender.

Ingredients:

25.5 oz Coconut Milk
17 oz or less grated Coconut 
2 14 oz cans condensed milk
2 15 oz Coconut cream
1 Tb Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
Rum (you can use as little or as much as you want Or none at all!)

1. Place all ingredients in a blender (if your blender is big enough). If you can't fit all of the ingredients in the blender use half of them at a time. 
2. Taste and adjust the mix as necessary.
3. Pour into any bottle or a pitcher with a lid if you're serving at home. 
4. Place in the fridge to chill.
5. Shake or stir before serving because the grated coconut will settle on the bottom.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

'Twas the day before Christmas Eve.....

And mama is BUSY! I've had a busy couple of days with a sick baby to take care of, presents to wrap, and the usual housework. Somehow, I made it through and while I'm still feeling a little under the weather, I have lots to do. Here are my goals for today:
1. Wrap leftover presents
2. Bake all cookies and pies
3. Write two more blog posts
4. Update on Twitter
5. Don't lose my mind!

I hope everyone has a productive day! Happy Chanukah to all those celebrating!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I've seen some great stocking stuffer ideas all over the internet and I thought I'd share my own. My favorite places to shop for stocking stuffers are Target, Dollar Tree and Christmas Tree Shops. These stores have great items for a dollar or less and cheap multipacks of things (i.e. tissues, hand sanitizer, hand wipes). I also check out Target's various clearance sections, especially in the cosmetics and beauty/body areas for body wash, deodorant, make up, soap, make up remover, and other bath products.

Here are a few lists of what I usually buy:

For him:
Deodorant
Disposable razors
Body wash
Sports themed ornaments
Itunes, Coffe gift cards
Favorite candy and snacks
Hand sanitizer
Tissues

For her:
Deodorant
Body wash
Hair products
Make up
Hand sanitizer
Chapstick
Tissues
Itunes, coffee gift cards
Favorite candy and snacks
Holiday socks
Holiday jewelry
Memo pads

For baby/kids:
Books
Snacks
Age appropriate toys
Bath products (body wash, lotion)
Sippy cup
Bibs
Holiday socks
Headbands/bows for girls
Small stationary kits
Crayons
Coloring books

I hope this list was helpful. What do you put in your stockings?





Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I didn't feel like cooking dinner last night and luckily I had some soup in the freezer. This Broccoli Cheddar soup is absolutely delicious! I always make a big pot of it loaded with lots of carrots and broccoli and freeze whatever isn't eaten that night. It's great with some toasted bread cut into pieces over the top or some croutons. We usually buy small ciabatta rolls, toast them and put them on top. YUM! I came across this blog while looking for soup recipes. It says that it is "Panera Style," but it's not. It's BETTER!! While I don't do the measuring thing, I pretty much followed this recipe from myblessedlife.net. Follow this great blog to for diy home decor and more great recipes! Be sure to give it a try!

Today's Agenda

Today is day two of my baby girl being sick. I'm currently typing this with just my lefthand, so we'll see how long this takes. I had a pretty productive day yesterday. I washed, dried,folded, and put away 3 loads of laundry. I wrapped a few presents, cleaned my daughter's bedroom, reheated some Broccoli Cheddar Soup from the freezer (link to the recipe coming soon). My plan for today starting right now (since my angel just fell asleep) is:
1. Laundry (washing all our sick germs off our sheets and blankets)
2. Wrap at least half the presents I have left
3. Post three things today
4. Write at least 5 updates on Twitter
5. Write Alana's name on her stocking
6. Write my grocery list

 I will try my hardest to post updates on Twitter. If you're not following me yet, you can do so by clicking on the follow me button on the right! Look out for a couple of recipes and my stocking stuffer idea guide coming soon. What are you doing today?


Have a happy and productive day everyone!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Menu Plan

I've decided that I am now the baker of the family so I volunteered to make most of the desserts for Christmas and Christmas Eve. I'm probably going to bring an appetizer on Christmas Day, but I haven't decided what that is yet. I'll be sure to give you an update.

Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)
Iced Sugar Cookies
Mini Apple Pies
Rainbow cookies
Pignoli cookies
Chocolate covered strawberry trees
Reindeer and Christmas Cake Pops
Raspberry thumbprint cookies

Long Time, No See

Hello there! I apologize for my absence. I've had a busy few days, visiting my parents, grocery shopping, and shopping for Christmas presents. And now i'm sick! I never really got over my last cold and I have a killer headache today, but I miss my blog and all of you out there on the internet. So on my agenda for today....
1. Laundry
2. Wrap presents
3. Get rid of this headache!

I've washed two loads of laundry. I'm just waiting for the first to be dry so that I can fold and put away that stuff and move the second from the washer to the dryer. I've made a big pot of pink beans that I soaked over night to separate and freeze for future meals. I'm showered and the house is in order. I'd say I had a productive morning. I'm working on a couple of posts and hope to share them in the next 20 minutes or so. Check back soon and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where did the day go?!

Hi all! I hope everyone had a good, productive day. I was out the ENTIRE day and I'm EXHAUSTED! I  was able to get some shopping done, but unfortunately I'll have to do the rest of my shopping this weekend. I hope to have some Christmas pinspired projects up this weekend. One I really REALLY want to make as a gift and the other is a pretty and simple wreath. I STILL have to finish my tree. I lost some lights in the decorating process and didn't get any today :(. I plan on getting a lot done tomorrow even though I am going to be out AGAIN. I love the Christmas season, but I am so overwhelmed and behind on decorating and shopping this year that it has me a bit down. I hope the end of my week goes more smoothly!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Goals Update for 12/13/11

You may have noticed that I did not post my goals for today. It's not that I didn't have any. I just wasn't sure how I wanted to prioritize all I had to do. I washed a load of laundry, decorated the tree, wrapped some presents, decorated cupcakes and did some light housework (wash dishes, wipe countertops, vacuum up cheerios, gold fish, and other snacks). I took a trip to Costco with my cousin and our girls. It was a pleasant outing and I hoped my little angel would be so tired she'd sleep a few hours. So much for that. She was up within an hour and a half and screamed her head off for 20 minutes for no apparent reason. Now I think she might have had a tummy ache. I got one post up and updated another two. All in all it was a good day and I completed the list of to dos I compiled in my head. tomorrow is another day and hopefully I'll get a couple of other projects started. How did your day go?

Christmas Tutu-torial



So this was the big project I was working on! A tutu and matching headband for my adorable daughter. Isn't she precious?! I'm so proud of my work, especially because I made it for my baby girl. This wasn't a difficult task, but it is a bit time consuming. I think I might start selling these things along with my cake pops. What do you think? If you're interested leave a comment or contact me on Facebook! Here' my tutu-torial (sorry, I just can't help myself :)).


Materials needed:
 2 6" 25 yards rolls of tulle (in color(s) of your choice)
 1 piece of non-rolling elastic cut to the length needed
Needle and thread or sewing machine

Steps:

1. Cut your tulle into strips depending on the length you want. Remember you have to double the number because you'll be coding each strip in half. For example, each strip I used was 2 feet long so that it would be 1 foot long after I tied it to the elastic.
2. Cut about 3 inches off your elastic because it will stretch as you tie the tulle around it.
3. Sew the ends together.
4. Place the elastic band around your leg. That will make it easier to tie the tulle around it and to tighten it.
5. Take a piece of tulle and fold it in half. Slip the folded part underneath the tulle and pull the end pieces through the loop. I find it helps to put your finger in between the tulle and elastic to adjust it as you tighten.





6. Repeat step 5 for all your tulle pieces.
7. You can cut any uneven ends off once the skirt is complete.

As for the headband.....that was a pain in the...........Neck :). I know there is an easier way to make a tulle pom pom and I should've done that, BUT in my defense I didn't think cutting my extra tulle into tiny strips and tying them to the crocheted headband would be too hard. I'm just glad it turned out nice. I made it the same way I made the skirt. I folded each piece in half and made a loop and pulled the ends through around the threads in the headband. I hope my steps are easy to follow and I hope the pictures help. I think I might make a video tutorial the next time I make a tutu. Please leave a comment with any questions, comments, etc. I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Goals update for 12/12/11

Ahhh...I had a great day out BUT I didn't get too much done around the house today. I felt a bit sick earlier but managed to do two loads of laundry before leaving this morning. I came back home feeling EXHAUSTED so I just hung out with my beautiful baby girl and served leftovers for dinner. I wrote my big project post,but didn't get to post it because I haven't uploaded the pictures to go along with it. That will be up tomorrow. I didn't accomplish much today as far as the goals I set for myself, but I did what I could. It looks like today's goals are going to be tomorrow's goals. Good night, all!

Goals for 12/12/11

Hi all! It's a cold, but beautiful morning here in New York. I hope everyone had a great weekend. I don't have many goals for today because I'm visiting relatives with my mother-in-law. I have until 10:30 to get some things done and the rest will have to wait until I come home. I'm still not sure what time that will be. Anyhoo...here are my goals for today,

1. Decorate the Christmas tree
2. Wash, dry, fold two loads of laundry (One is already in the washer :))
3. Finish my project post and post another recipe.
4. Post pictures to previous post!
5. Decorate those pumpkin cupcakes!

It's going to be a long day. I'm exhausted just thinking about all I have to do, but this stuff HAS to get done today. I'll keep you posted.

Goals update for 12/11/11

 Good morning! Sorry this post is a few hours late. Here's what I did yesterday:
1. Wash and put away breakfast dishes. 
2. Clean living room
3. Buy and decorate tree (Still waiting for it to open up)
4. Decorate outside 
5. Make a delicious dinner (I made chicken park, pasta and garlic bread)
6. Put away empty Christmas decoration boxes ( I have to wait for the tree to be done)
 7. Write AT LEAST one blog post in addition to my daily goals and update ( I started it but didn't get to post)
8. Clean kitchen before bed 


I had a pretty productive and enjoyable Sunday. I'm looking forward to getting some more done today. Stay tuned for my goals for today!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daily Goals 12/11/11

I went to bed really late last night or should I say very early this morning? That being said, I actually feel good. Im wide awake and very proud of myself for finishing my craft project last night. I also washed all the dishes in the sink before going to bed. I couldn't bare the thought of waking up to a full sink of dishes this morning. I'm ready to get this day started. Here's my plan for the day: 1. Wash and put away breakfast dishes. 2. Clean living room 3. Buy and decorate tree 4. Decorate outside 5. Make a delicious dinner 6. Put away empty Christmas decoration boxes 7. Write AT LEAST one blog post in addition to my daily goals and update 8. Clean kitchen before bed What are you doing this Sunday? Have a great day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My goals update for Dec. 10th, 2011

I was a little disappointed when I woke up from my nap at 3:41 and I realized I hadn't done anything productive. We had a lazy day here, but I'm not complaining. I wish we had bought the Christmas tree and got to decorate outside, but that can be done tomorrow. I made a delicious Cheeseburger Casserole today and wrote a few posts. I'm working on my big project as soon as I turn off this computer. I don't think I'll get to finish. We'll see! I hope you had a great Saturday!
Daily goals:
1. Buy Christmas tree and finish decorating.
2. Finish my project.
3. Start a few posts and get at least 2 up!
4. Decorate pumpkin cupcakes and TAKE PICTURES!
5. Enjoy this beautiful day with my family!

Cheeseburger Casserole

I was searching for a recipe that uses pre made biscuits in a can. So there's no better place to turn than Pillsbury.com. Here I found a recipe for a Biscuit Cheeseburger Casserole that looked delicious.
I pretty much followed the recipe except for a few things. I left out the tomato sauce (because I forgot). I also used a whole small onion and 3/4 of a green bell pepper. It turned out great. It was pretty and tasted yummy. I bet it would taste better with the tomato sauce. I'll definitely remember next time!

Cake Mix Pumpkin Bread with Crumb topping




YUM!!! This cake mix pumpkin bread is simple to make and absolutely delicious. I had some leftover pumpkin pie filling from my Thanksgiving pumpkin cupcakes that I froze. Yes, I froze pumpkin pie filling and it was just fine when defrosted. I tend to freeze a lot of things. Some things, most things, can be frozen. Potatoes....not so much. I haven't figured that one out yet, but that's a discussion for another day. Back to my delicious cake mix pumpkin bread. I got the idea from a pin I found on Pinterest.
This is it:
  
Source: bakingdom.com via Melissa on Pinterest
I used about half a can of pumpkin pie filling, so I had to use other ingredients. If you use an entire can of the filling or pumpkin puree you will only need the cake mix and puree. The recipe here uses only half a can. I love pumpkin, but I know some people don't and hesitant to try it in baked goods. The pumpkin flavor in this bread is very mild and tastes a lot like a rich spice cake. It's yummy! Trust me! Here's my recipe:
1 box cake mix ( I used yellow)
1/2 can pumpkin pie filling 
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 Tb melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Brown Sugar Crumb topping:
1 cup flour
1 stick of butter (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
  1.  Preheat your oven at 400 degrees. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until ingredients are all combined. 
  2. Grease two loaf pans or a few mini ones. Pour your batter in and top with crumb topping.
3.Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until you prick it with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
    4. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Once completely cooled you can go around the edges with a      
        pancake flipper and gently remove it from the pan. (I was worried about that part but mine came out     
        easily.)
    5. Try not to eat it before its time to serve!



I promise you will really enjoy this recipe. This was my first time improvising with cake mix. Baking is such a precise science and one extra ingredient can turn into a disaster. I'm so proud of myself for this one. I hope you love it just as much!

Goals for Dec. 10th, 2011

Good morning and Happy Saturday everyone! I'm very excited for today. We're going to buy our Christmas tree and I'll FINALLY get all the decorating done. I'm going to finish my newest project, check  out my hint here ;).
Here are my goals for today:
1. Buy Christmas tree and finish decorating.
2. Finish my project.
3. Start a few posts and get at least 2 up!
4. Decorate pumpkin cupcakes and TAKE PICTURES!
5. Enjoy this beautiful day with my family!

What are some of your goals for this Saturday?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Goals for Dec. 9th, 2011 *Updated*

I didn't get my apple pie recipe up last night, but it's up this morning and I've already started working on another one to post later. Today is going to be a very mellow day. My darling little princess thought it was a good idea to toss and turn and cry out all night. So I'm hoping she'll take a loooong nap today.
Today's goals:
1. Clean living and dining rooms top to bottom
2. Wash one load of laundry  I did two!!
3. Decorate outside for Christmas
4. Get my recipes on the computer and AT LEAST one posted tonight. I got two done and had time to                     
    bake!
5. Work on my latest project (so excited for this one!!) I'll be done tomorrow!

Butternut Squash and Sausage Bake

 I was never a fan of Butternut squash but decided to give it a try after I saw so many great recipes on Pinterest. Here are a few:




     Source: parents.com via Melissa on Pinterest




Butternut squash and Sausage Bake


Ingredients:
1 package hot Italian sausage (feel free to use sweet)
8 oz mozzarella cheese
½ medium onion
½ bell pepper (whatever color you have on hand will work)
½ a butternut squash
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Thyme

1.     Cut the squash into big chunks and place in roasting pan. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle olive oil over the chunks and toss so all the pieces are coated. Roast at 350° until tender (about 40 mins).
2.     Finely chop the onion and pepper. Reserve in a bowl for later.
3.     While the squash is in the oven. Pour some olive oil, about two tablespoons, into a sauté pan. Remove sausage from casing and brown. While its browning break it up with a wooden spoon.
4.     Add in the onion and pepper. Cook until sausage is fully cooked.
5.     One the butternut squash is tender, remove from the oven and let cool. Place chunks in a food processor and puree. Mix with the sausage, onion and pepper mixture and place in a baking dish.
6.     Top with cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake until chees is melted.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family!

Pumpkin cupcakes


I got the idea for my pumpkin cupcakes from a pin on Pinterest, of course! It is the best idea EVER and I don’t know why I never thought of it before. Here is the original pin  http://pinterest.com/pin/168814686001735501/

All you have to do is mix the pumpkin pie filling with your cake mix and that’s it! I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and a drop of vanilla for added flavor and the cupcakes were delicious!


Mini apple pies


Here’s the recipe for my mini apple pies and brown sugar crumb topping. This recipe could also be used to make one regular apple pie and a small apple crisp.  These apple pies are so cute and super yummy.

Ingredients:

Refrigerated piecrust
8 apples (I used 4 Granny Smith and 4 McIntosh)
2 Tb all purpose flour
1 Tb lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
¾ cups of sugar
*pinch of lemon zest*

1.     Preheat your oven to 400°.
2.     Dice your apples and place them in a large bowl. Mix with other ingredients.
3.     Use a circle cookie cutter or other circular object (I used a measuring cup) the size of a muffin mold and cut your piecrust.
4.     Place half of your piecrusts in your muffin pan. Fill them with the apple filling. Place Leftover piecrusts on top. You can cut slits on top or use mini cookie cutters to cut out shapes before topping your pies.
5.     Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until apples are tender and the crust is golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack before serving

Brown Sugar Crumb topping:

1 cup flour
1 stick of butter (melted)
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Mix in a bowl and use to top your pies!






1
2Enjoy!







Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today's goals Update

I'd say, overall, this was a successful day. Only things I didn't finish we're the living room and dining room. I vaccuumed the stairs because my daughter enjoys throwing things over the railing, including snacks that daddy steps on when he comes home from work. My laundry is done and everything else is in order. I just have to finish up my mini apple pie recipe post. THEN....I'm working on a special project! Here are a couple of the materials I'll be using.
Can you guess what I'll be making?

Check back later for my Mini apple pie recipe!

Today's Goals

So this is my first daily goals post. My mother-in-law is visiting today, which means I'll be out of the house most of the day. I plan on getting a few things done before leaving for the afternoon. My goals for today are to: fold and put away the clothes that are in the dryer; wash,dry,fold and put away another load of laundry; dust the livingroom and dining room; FINALLY post my mini apple pies recipe; and post an update on what a successful day I had (I hope!). **Bonus: Decorating the outside of the house**

What are your goals for today?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

There's not enough time in the day...or is there?

Hello there! I'm writing this post on my phone. My princess is feeling a little under the weather and won't leave my arms. I'm not complaining though :). I love my little doll and want her to feel better ASAP. I have things to do after all. Speaking of which, I've felt a little discouraged lately because I have so many great recipes to share and projects I want to complete and share, but I don't ever have the time to sit at the computer to write any posts. Or do I? I've decided I need to make daily to do lists to help me organize my time better. I know I can have a clean house,happy baby, and an amazing blog if I ration my time properly. I'll be posting my daily to do list every morning and post updates at the end of the day. I hope this will motivate me to get more done and to dedicate more time to blogging. How do you make time for all of the things you have to do? There is enough time in the day. Wish me luck! I just have to prioritize better and not waste ANY time. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bean Dip!


As promised, here’s the best Bean Dip recipe. This yummy bean dip has four delicious layers of ingredients that will have you coming back for more. I’m warning you now, this stuff is addictive!

Ingredients:

1 8 oz package cream cheese
1 small onion
1 can Hormel chili with beans
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

(Add 4 Tb hot salsa for extra spice and flavor)

1.     Spread cream cheese on the bottom of a 8x8 dish.
2.     Dice onion and spread pieces over cream cheese.
3.     Pour can of chili over onions and spread.
4.     Top with cheese OR spread salsa over the chili and then top with cheese.
5.     Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Sorry I don't have a picture of the finished product, but I'm sure I'll be making this again soon so I'll update this post.  


Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, so that means more pinspired recipes for you! Aren't you excited? I'll be making my broccoli cheddar soup for dinner tomorrow and hopefully I'll post the recipe sometime tomorrow night. I'll have my Thanksgiving day recipes up on Friday. I know, its a day late BUT you can use these recipes any day of the year, so it works out. The recipes I'll be posting are
Bean Dip
Cheeseburger Puffs
Butternut squash and Sausage Bake
Mini Apple Pies
Pumpkin cupcakes
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust

I can't wait to share all of these recipes with you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Headband Holder






Hello all! My latest pinspired project was a bit of a task but it turned out GREAT! My daughter has an obscene amount of headbands and I'm tired of digging through 40 plus of them to find the one I need. No, that was not a typo, I meant 40. I told you it was an obscene amount, but I love it. I love baby girls with big headbands. Back to my project... I found a few headband holders on Pinterest and of course pinned them. I had all the materials for the one I made on hand already so I went with that one. Only catch is, there are still  more headbands in the drawer. I’ll be working on a second holder soon. This particular headband holder should have been easy to make, had I followed instructions, but since I was going by the picture and my creativity alone, it took longer than it should have. But nonetheless, it was a fun project.
     To make this headband holder you will need:
         1 Antibacterial wipes  container (ie Clorox, Lysol)
         1 12x12 Sheet of pretty scrapbook paper
         Hot glue gun and glue sticks
         Scissors
         Fabric /crepe paper
         Ribbon
         Pencil  
                           
 (If you notice, there is double sided tape in the photo. That didn’t work out too well so I brought out my trusty glue gun. )
1. Stand your container upright and wrap the paper around it. Using your pencil draw a line about an inch above the top. Cut along the line.
2. Take the top off and lay the container down in the middle of the paper so that you have some hanging over both the top and the bottom. Glue the paper around the container. Glue the paper to the bottom of the container. Fold the paper over the top of the container and glue. (This last part didn’t work out for me so I just cut it down.
3.  Place the top of your container in the middle of your fabric. Cut around it. Fold over the edges of the top and glue. If you are using crepe paper, just wrap it around the top and glue, like paper mache. This is the method I used. (I originally used paper….not one of my best ideas.)
 4. If you use fabric you can probably tie a nice bow and glue it right on top. I wanted to cover up the crepe paper so I used a wide ribbon and wrapped it around the top and tied a bow on top. I have to warn you...you may not be able to securely close your container, although this shouldn’t be a problem. I pushed the top down as far as I could but could still see white. I took a piece of ribbon and wrapped it around the top to cover the white spots.
5. Glue on any embellishments. I used an initial sticker and a few feathers.

Overall, this was a successful project. I smile every time I walk by it on top of my daughter’s dresser. I hope she enjoys it. J As always, thank you for reading. I hope I’ve inspired you to get crafty!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rice and Chicken Casserole

Thought you all might like another quick and easy go to recipe, so here goes. Last night I made a yummy chicken and rice casserole. I don't have any pictures :(, but I guaruntee I'll be making this again so I'll definitely update this post.

Ingredients:

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups rice
2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of water (once you remove the soup)
1/2 bag of frozen vegetables

1. Put two cups of rice into a pot with two cups of water. Add salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Put on medium heat.
2. Cut chicken into even pieces and season. Stir rice and when all the water is absorbed, remove it from the heat. 
3. Stir in the vegetables, chicken, cream of chicken soup, and half a can of water. 
4. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Cover with foil
5. Place into the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Uncover and remove from oven when cheese is melted. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Guest Post: It's a Wonka Party!

Hi all! My friend Bunny Moreno aka Pinup Mama over at The Musings and Adventures of a Pinup Mama hosts some amazing parties for her adorable kiddos. She recently hosted a Willy Wonka themed birthday party for her youngest munchkin's first birthday. Here's her post where she shares her tips for planning a party on a budget. When you're done reading check out her blog and click here to follow her on Pinterest!

It's a Wonka Party!




My youngest son has turned ONE! I still can't believe it! So now I have a four yr old, two yr old, and one yr old. Sheesh! No wonder I'm tired hehehe

I have shared with you all that I love celebrating events, milestones, and holidays. I think it's important to find joy in things and be happy about the events that happen in your life. I have always enjoyed gathering with friends and party planning just grew from there.

Now that I have three children, I have to plan three birthday parties a year. Okay I don't have to, but I want to. And now more than ever I have to tap into my creativity and make their birthdays fabulous without spending very much at all.


Lets start with the wall-its a huge part of the decoration process. Some people use material to cover the wall, some use banners, and I started using a quote. I hand drew the letters based on the lettering used on the DVD case and his invitation and cut them out with precession scissors from Fiskars-its a scrapbooking tool I use.

The words that I wanted to pop out I made out of tissue papers-the decorating tool that is very inexpensive and you can do so much with. I plan to discover a 100 ways I can use tissue paper for party planning. I used four of them for this party hehehe The seller I used on Etsy is called pomtastic. They are fantastic and have so many colors to choose from too.



Since "Willy Wonka" is a chocolate and candy theme  decided to make my own large pieces of candy with tissue paper. I basically took one sheet and balled it up and covered it with a another sheet and twisted the ends from the smaller pieces and balled up two or three sheets for the larger pieces. I was going to attempt making lollipops but time didn't allow me.

I also used a sheet for under the serving plate to add a little more color to the all white table. The final way I used tissue paper was in a cylinder I had to put the cookie pops in. Its a great filler to use and helped keep the favors in place.


These were my sons favors. I loved them but have been inspired to make my own for first sons third birthday party in May (Superhero theme). It was a beautiful gift from his amazing Godmother! But she has been encouraging me to try and make decorated sugar cookies myself, so I will be!


Because Halloween just passed I honestly didn't want too much candy at the party. Also it was a small event with a few friends and family members. The kids that were there were basically my three and my little niece. So since my parties are small and more intimate, I find that less is more works best for me.



I made these cupcakes myself and decorated them with candy and chocolates. OMG---lets just say I will be making them this way again. I am still drooling over the twix covered cupcake I had-YUM!

The picks were made by an Etsy seller. Honestly after seeing how she made them, I am again convinced I can do them myself. I think if you plan your parties with time (in my case I need a few months for each) you can really do most of everything yourself.

I use all white servers at my parties, mostly purchased from Crate and Barrel from my non-baby days LOL I think white servers are fantastic because you can use them over and over and they are also elegant and classic pieces. Why buy plastic servers in every color for every party theme you ever have when you can use white? With this cupcake (and cake) server I can changes the colors of the ribbon that I intertwine, according to the colors of the theme.



The glass jar was purchased for 3.99 and the candy was a mix of "Willy Wonka" candy. The hat accent on top was purchased as a prop for my sons portrait but he didn't take to it too well so I just added it to the jar and I think it looked super cute!



I have used this seller twice, the first was my daughter's "Vintage Olivia Carnival" theme for her fourth birthday and again for this one. She also made our invitations. I am going to attempt to make the invitations for my son's "Superhero" themed party--keep your fingers crossed for that! Heheh I love the photo picks this seller makes! She's great to work with and as you can see I put them in the "Oompa Loompa" sandwiches-everyone got a kick out of this.

I do believe that one or two things should really POP at a party you are planning. It doesn't matter whether you spend a dollar or a hundred as long as its unique and really adds something special to the event. These picks made with my baby's cutie pie face were awesome!



I like to add personal touches to my tables and they usually include a photo of my child. I purchased a wooden frame from Michael's and hand painted with acrylic paint. Then I add the photo and it's done! I haven't played around with decorated the frames because sometimes I like to reuse them from another party. In this case, this frame is now in the nursery with my son*smile*


There I am with my youngest munchkin. Happy Birthday to my baby boy!

A few more tips for all you party planning mamas and papas:

  • Save the table covers, especially the plastic ones because you can reuse them again for other events.
  • Plan your party with a specific budget in mind so you won't go over board.
  • Ask family or friends to make you treats or help you cook something. My sister n law made my son's cake and some of the chocolate treats in the pictures above.
  • Make the party age and group appropriate. For example, because this was a first birthday party and the only kids were my own and my niece we didn't have any party games. I just let the kids play with the toys we have in our home.
  • Purchase solid colored tableware--like the plates, forks, cups, napkins, and table covers--purchase them a solid color-you can not only reuse most of them but also it is about 75% less than having characters printed everywhere.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my world of party planning. I love it and truly enjoy being creative and making something special for my little ones.

xox

PS I don't like to post my children's names but in this case you might be curious to know his name is Michelangelo hence why it says "Michel" on the cake. We call him "Micha" (Mee-ka) for short though :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding






I just have to say, it smells HEAVENLY in here.  That being said, not only does this bread pudding smell divine, it’s also simple to make and absolutely delicious. Like I’ve said before, I don’t really follow recipes. I basically made this up as I went along and ended up with an amazing dish. I meant to take pictures of each step, but got caught up with what I was doing. I PROMISE to post pictures with my next recipe. Here’s your guide to apple cinnamon goodness:

Ingredients:

1 loaf of bread (I used wheat)
3 small apples
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1½ cup applesauce
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg 

Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven at 350°.
2.     Slice bread into cubes.  Cut them as big or as small as you’d like. I usually cut in threes vertically and horizontally. Place bread in large bowl
3.     Slice apples into chunks and place into bowl with bread.
4.     Mix half of the brown sugar with half of the white sugar and half of the cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of bread and apple mixture. Gently toss the mixture.
5.     In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, applesauce, remaining brown sugar, white granulated sugar, cinnamon, and dash of nutmeg.
6.     Pour over bread and apples. Mix together, ensuring every piece of bread has liquid on it. Let it sit for 10 minutes, so the bread soaks up the liquid.
7.     Transfer mixture to greased 9 ½ by 13in baking dish.
8.     Bake for 45 minutes.
9.     Remove from oven and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does.  Stay tuned for more delicious recipes and hopefully some crafts coming soon. Thanks for reading!

Did you miss me?

Hi all! I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I didn't realize it was going to be this difficult to do "pinteresting" things everyday :(. There's a little project I hope to get done tonight. I've only wanted to do it for 3 weeks now ::sigh::. Anyhoo, baby just fell asleep so it's time to get to work. Look out for my next post about my apple cinnamon bread pudding!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake


I’ve been struggling to find time to use my pinspiration. I finally decided to cook this chicken, spinach, pasta bake that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I have to be honest and tell you that I DO NOT follow recipes. I think it’s a control thing, but my cooking is pretty good. I enjoy making a dish that has been inspired/pinspired by someone else’s recipe, but since I didn’t follow the recipe it is all mine J.

Here is my pin: Chicken Spinach Bake

Here’s my Chicken, Spinach, Pasta Bake :

Sorry for horrible pic...My daughter couldn't wait to have some!
Ingredients:

1 box pasta
2 Chicken breasts
½ bag Frozen spinach
8oz Cheddar cheese
½ cup Bread crumbs
1 cup Milk
2 Tb Flour
2 Tb Butter
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice (ie. Mrs. Dash or Nature’s season)

1.     Fill a pot with water and put it over high heat on the stove. Put lid on to speed up the boiling process.
2.     While the water is heating up, cut your chicken into equal size pieces. Season and cook in a sauté pan. Once cooked, remove chicken from pan and place on the side
3.     Once the water is boiling, add salt and a bit of olive oil. Add pasta and stir.
4.     While the pasta cooks, make your béchamel (white sauce) in a saucepan. Melt butter and add flour. Once combined whisk in milk. Stir in half of your cheddar cheese.
5.     Drain water from pasta and place pasta back in the pot. Add spinach, seasoning chicken, and sauce. Stir together.
6.     Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
7.     Place in 350° oven and bake until the cheese is melted. 
This recipe is super simple and very easy to make. Mac n cheese is one of my go to meals. I always have pasta, cheese, and frozen veggies on hand. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine did. Feel free to change it up and make it your own J!!! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cake Pops!

“A little piece of heaven on a stick,” is what my cousin calls these heavenly treats. I first made cake pops for my daughter’s first birthday party. I made over 100 of those and over 100 chocolate covered pretzels. Sounds like a lot of work, which it was, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Since then, I’ve made cake pops for my goddaughter’s second birthday and Halloween. I thought I’d share some pictures and my method for making cake pops with you.
Since I am by no means a professional or even seasoned baker (this is new to me), I encourage you to visit Bakerella.com. She is the queen of Cake pops and has many different decorating ideas and detailed instructions to completing them.  Until then….here is how it’s done in my kitchen….
Did someone say cake pops?!
I start my cake pops by baking a cake per the box instructions. (I will attempt to bake from scratch for the holidays. Keep a look out for those posts ;)). When the cake is done baking, leave it out to cool. Once it’s cool, crumble the cake with your hands or a fork. Mix in half a can of frosting (homemade frosting is also on my list of things to try). I wouldn’t put in more than half a can of the frosting because I find it prevents the cake balls from firming up. Then using your hands, shape the cake into balls or any shape your heart desires. Place them in the fridge for about an hour to firm up. I find that Wilton’s Candy Melts and Make n’ Mold Candy Melts are both equally suitable for the job. Follow the directions for melting your candy melts. Once your candy is melted, you’re ready to assemble your cake pops. I find that dipping the tip of your lollipop stick in the melted candy before inserting it into the cake ball helps it to stay put when dipping. Do that for all of the cake pops. You can place them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so, but I find that the first few are hard by the time I finish assembling the last cake pops. Dip the cake pops in the melted candy in a straight down motion and lift it up being careful not to turn it too much. If you want to top your pops with sprinkles, do so immediately. Wait until the candy coated cake pops are hardened and then decorate. Finally bag them and display.









Enjoy your little piece of heaven!