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!