Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gift Exchange

My extended family had our annual
Christmas party last night.
I forgot to take pictures till the end but I did end up with a cute one of the four of us.
 
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Knock off Pepperollies

Liv and I made knock off pepperollies the other night.
Joe's not a huge fan of pepperoni and he was working
late so I knew it would be a good time to try them.
 
We started out with a quick pizza dough.
I chose the Pioneer Womans, which you can find here.
 
 
Then after the dough rose I separated it into 2 pieces.
I set one aside and then rolled out the other piece like I was making cinnamon rolls.
 
I then spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, then pepperoni,
then cheese and finally I sprinkled some Italian seasoning on top.
Then I just rolled it up like a cinnamon roll and cut it into 12 pieces and put it in a lightly sprayed 9 x 13 pan.
Repeat the process with the second piece of dough.
 
 
 
I let them rise for about 20 minutes before I put them in
the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
 
 
They were really good and next time I think I'll make extra
and see how they freeze.
 


Friday, December 7, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

With the holidays coming up I was looking for quick recipes
with minimal ingredients that I could throw together.

We do chex mix a lot but I was wanting something a little different.

I found this recipe from Life's to Short to Skip Dessert.

I love the salty sweet combination!




Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels

 (16 oz) bag pretzel twists
⅔ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Pour pretzels into a roasting pan. In a medium sized bowl mix together vegetable oil, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over pretzels and stir to coat. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, removing twice to stir.

Birthday

Yesterday was my husband Joe's birthday.
He wanted waffles, eggs and bacon for dinner.
I was pretty happy with this request, since it doesn't take
much time to cook. :)
We ended the evening with this chocolate cake.
It was super easy to make and I love the shape of it!





Happy Birthday Joe!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal



As I was looking at something on Pinterest last month I stumbled
across a blog called The Lean Green Bean.
On it she started a program called "Foodie Pen Pals."
 Every month you are paired up with another person and you send them $15 worth of goodies.
It can be homemade or store bought.
And at the end of the month you blog about the box you received.
Pretty simple huh?

So for this month I sent my box over to Jen at Jen's Best Life.  
She wrote up a really sweet post on the box I sent, which you can see here.

I received my box from Libby at BlondUnderwater.

It's so exciting on the day the package shows up on your doorstep!
I couldn't wait to rip into it and find out what she picked out for me.


In her note Libby described what she included as very "So Cal," since she lives in LA.
The first think I had to try was the Kale Krunch since it was the most unique thing. It was actually pretty good!
I think it would even be good sprinkled on top of a soup for a light crunch.

She also included a raspberry bar, some lentil soup, and some really dark chocolate.
But I have to say my absolute favorite was the granola, it was filled with dried strawberries and chunks of dark chocolate. (It was Livs favorite too!)

So if you're interested in participating head on over to Lindsay's site at The Lean Green Bean!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Garlic Slathered Stretch Bread

I made this bread this past weekend and it was a huge hit!
My brother Broc proclaimed it the best garlic bread he's ever had!
It does take some time to rise but it's worth it.
You could probably use a store bought crust and just use the topping if you wanted.



Garlic Slathered Stretch Bread
Adapted from A Passion for Baking

Dough
2 cups warm water (100 - 110 degrees)
1 3/4 tsp rapid rise yeast
1 3/4 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
4 cups bread flour

Garlic Slather Topping
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil.

In a mixing bowl hand whisk water and yeast together and let stand 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Then whisk in salt, sugar and most of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hood on lowest speed for 5 to 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary until dough is resilient but not tough. Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover bowl with plastic and let dough rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently deflate. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap while you make the topping. Using a mortar and pestle smash the garlic and salt together to make a fine paste. Remove to a bowl and add the mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and olive oil.

Divide dough in half and stretch each into a long oval on baking sheet. Divide topping evenly between the 2 pieces of dough and spread with the back of a spoon. Top each with the mozzarella cheese. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake until nicely golden brown about 20-25 minutes.


Catch up

I honestly feel like this year is flying by.
Yesterday I checked to see when the last time I had put a post on here and it was October 4th!
So this one is just going to be some highlights of what has been going on around here.

  • Liv got some cowboy boots from her great grandpa pop. Which she proceeded
    wear every day for a week straight it seemed like.

  • Kellen is up to 7 teeth now! He has been pulling up for the past month and
    is now starting to let go and just stand by himself.
  • Some fun days at the park.

  • Liv and I went and got our hair cut. This was the second time she has
    ever got it trimmed. And when I say she got it cut, she has probably had
    a total of a half inch cut off in her whole 2 1/2 years of life.

  • While getting her haircut they put bright red lip gloss on her. She loved it!
  • My birthday was in the middle of October. Liv loved blowing the candles out
    and her favorite thing to say for about 3 weeks was "Happy Birthday TO YOU!"

  • We've had lots of picnics in the playroom. Mainly eating "cake and carrots."
  • I've been trying to meal plan for the week. It's hard to come up with new things to eat, but Pinterest has been very helpful :)
  • The night before Halloween Liv and I made pumpkin and ghost cookies.

  • Halloween was fun. Liv was Little Red Riding Hood, and Kellen was the Big
    Bad Wolf, or as Liv would say a "good wolf."


Mom and Kellen

  • Kellen is starting to take one long nap in the middle of the day. For the past week
    I have got them both to go down for naps at the same time and its been wonderful!
  • We've taken some nightly Kubota rides.

  • We went to my parents house and Liv loved playing on the mulch piles. Kellen
    enjoyed riding on my mom's shoulders.



  • I'm loving looking through my pictures after Liv plays with my phone. She's
    getting pretty good about taking pictures and actually getting a subject in the frame.

  • Joe and I's anniversary was last week. We ended up trying a new Italian restaurant.
    The food was fabulous and I can't wait to go back!
  • Last night Joe's sister came and spent the night with us. Liv was really excited for "Rachie"
    to stay. We had a great dinner that included some yummy garlic bread, which I'm going to try
    and get posted on here sometime this week.

    So there is a short recap of our last couple of weeks!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perfect

Sometimes when I follow blogs I get caught up in how
wonderful other peoples lives seem.
I have to remind myself that it's not always perfect even though
 they make it seem that way.
I mean seriously, who wants to whine and complain or put up pictures of
their kids screaming?
I'm sure there are lots of blogs out there that do that but I don't
happen to be following any of them.

Tonight my brother stopped by to see the kids and I.
Liv was running around playing with a stick while Kellen and I were
lying on a blanket under a tree.
The first thing he said to me was "Man your life is perfect."
I'm not sure what I responded but I"m sure it was something like, "Yeah whatever."

But then I looked around.
I have 2 wonderful healthy children.
A roof over our heads.
We always have food on the table.
And a husband that I love and would do anything for us.

So, yeah, I guess he is right.
My life is pretty perfect :)
Sure the laundry may not be all folded or the dishes might not all be done.
But I honestly can't complain about much.

So on those days that I look at other blogs and think how great their lives are
I just need to take a step back and realize that to me, my life is as good as it gets!



Friday, September 21, 2012

Blessed

There are times in my life when I feel like God is really looking out for me.
Today was one of them.
I had a minor, well I wouldn't call it an accident, but I guess that's the
closest thing it would be called, with my car today.
I had both kids in the car and I just thank the Lord that they weren't hurt.
I know He was watching over me today and I'm so thankful that
I have a great relationship with the Lord.

So don't forget to say "I Love You" to those you care about everyday
and thank the Lord for watching over you. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Liv and I whipped up a batch of these cookies tonight.
One of our favorites!
Liv was more interested in trying to stack and then
eat all the peanut butter cups. 






Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:
2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (160 grams) light brown sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Garnish:
48 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, 48 miniature muffins tins.

 
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fill each miniature muffin cup with about one tablespoon of batter.

Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges but still soft in the center. (Note: While the cookies are baking remove the foil wraps and paper liners from each peanut butter cup.) Remove the cookies from the oven, and gently press one miniature peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. The peanut butter cup should be even with the top of the batter. Return the cookies to the oven and bake an additional 3 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack before removing the cookies from the pan. These can be stored for several days at room temperature or in the refrigerator, or they can be frozen.
Makes about 48 cookies.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We took family pictures last night and I can't wait to see how they turned out!
So for now here are a few we took earlier this week. 









Sunday, September 9, 2012

Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

My computer had been on the fritz for the last couple of months.
Well since I last posted it completely crashed.
Not even turning on.
I probably should have taken it in to be worked on earlier.
Especially since it would take me at least 30 minutes to turn it on.
But no, I guess I just thought it would magically fix itself.
Well, 2 weeks in the shop and a hefty bill later its back :)

Lots has happened in the past couple of weeks.
Kellen got his second tooth.
Liv is getting her back bottom molars.
Kellen started eating food for the first time.
Potty training is going great! I would say we are 95% done.
Started working on Kellen's Christmas stocking.
I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can remember.

Here is a recipe I made for dinner Friday night.
Liv and I loved it.
She kept grabbing little pieces out of the bowl and eating them!



Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad

2 cups shredded or chopped chicken
 1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, drained
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 avocados, diced
1 head of iceberg lettuce chopped
optional: tortilla chips or Doritos

Dressing:
1/2 cup mayo
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. ranch seasoning
1 Tbsp. taco seasoning

First make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients, set aside.

Next mix the chicken, beans, corn, tomatoes, onions, avocados, and lettuce together.
Add the dressing to the salad and give it a good toss.

Grab a bowl and add some crushed chips to the bottom then spoon some of your salad on top!



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mini Corn Dog Muffins

The weather has been wonderful lately and we've been
enjoying some walks down our drive before dinner.





We had a couple of leftover hot dogs and I saw this recipe
on a few different sites last week.
Liv really loved making them and definitely loved eating them.



Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Makes 48 mini muffins

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 -10 hot dogs each cut into 1" pieces
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix melted butter and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Add the eggs and buttermilk.
  4. In a separate bowl mix baking soda, cornmeal, flour, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.
  6. Spray mini muffin tins with nonstick spray
  7. Place 1 Tablespoon of muffin mixture in each muffin cup.
  8. Place 1 hot dog bite in the middle of each cup.
  9. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have seen this recipe being circulated on Pinterest for months.
It claims to be the best chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever find.
I always kept saying I was going to try it but I never had the chocolate disks it called for.
Well last week as I was reading some of the blogs I follow
and Bakerella just happened to have made them.
I was reading through the comments section and someone said to use Ghirardelli
chocolates because they were similar in shape to the chocolate it called for.

So the verdict is....these were the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made!!!


Jacques Torres' Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups minus to 2 tablespoons Cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cup Bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 butter) Unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups Light brown sugar
  • 1 cups plus 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon Natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds Bittersweet chocolate at least 60 percent cacao content (I used a package of bittersweet Ghirardelli chocolate and the rest just semisweet chips)
  • Sea salt for garnish



  • - Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
    - Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until very light (about 5 minutes)
    - Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each is added.
    - Stir in the vanilla.
    - Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
    - Add chocolate chips and incorporate.
    - Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 24-36 hours.
    - Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    - Use an ice cream scoop to form balls about the size of golf balls. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Bake 6 cookies at a time for 18 - 20 minutes.
    - Cool cookies for at least 10 minutes before removing from sheet.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Recap

    How long has it been since my last post?
    3 weeks....4 weeks?
    I have no idea.
    Anyway, let me try to recap a little bit of what we have been up to!


    Our class reunion was a hit!
    Everyone had such a great time and even though it was a lot of
    work I'm a little sad that it's over!

    We've spent a couple of days at the park.
    Liv prefers to dig in the dirt more than anything.


    I had a marathon day of making cinnamon rolls!
    8 hours of work, 12 lbs of powdered sugar, and 7 lbs of butter to be exact.
    Liv not only helped but she was the best taste tester!



    I have been hooked on reading lately.
    I think I'm really driving my husband crazy because I would rather read
    than do anything else :)
    Mainly historical romance novels!
    I will have to make a note to do a post on my favorite book series of all time!


    Liv has became Merida from the movie Brave.
    This girl cracks me up!
    She loves to wear the dress and now that she has the wig and bow and arrow
    she's the total package.




    We've had a couple of picnics in the sweltering heat.
    Now that the weather is getting nicer and not over 100 degrees, I think
    we will spend many more afternoons doing this.




         We went to the zoo one Saturday.
    Little did we know that everyone else in town would be there that day too.
    Liv had a blast.
    I think this has to be the best age to take her!
    She was so excited to see all the animals and after each one would say "Lets see more!"






    Kellen got his first tooth and mastered rolling over in the same day about a week ago.
    He has also learned how to do a push up.....well not really but he
    has started pushing himself up on to his hands and tiptoes.
    I think he has been watching his dad ;)


    Our Kitty died a couple of days ago at the hand of one of our dogs.
    I took this picture about 5 minutes before he/she met his/her untimely death.


    And finally we began potty training last Monday and it's going great!
    I had tried once before with Liv and within 2 hours and 3 accidents I quit.
    But this time is going so much better, I think we have almost got it mastered!

    Tomorrow I will try to post the ULTIMATE Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I found!