Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Coconut and Pecan Pralines

I'm all about easy.  But only if delicious is also in the description.  These little Coconut and Pecan Pralines are both.  No baking or thermometer needed!

Since I knew it would be dangerous to keep these little bits of sugary goodness in the house too long, I decided to share them.  They received rave reviews!  Not 5 minutes after I dropped some of to a friend, I got this lovely text.

"Holy Hannah!
De-freaking-licious treats.
Worth every calorie in them. Thanks lady!!"

They really are that good!

2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups shredded coconut

In a large sauce pan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, corn syrup and sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then boil 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans and coconut.  Stir for 4 minutes (the mixture with thicken a bit).  Drop by the spoonful onto waxed paper.  Let sit to harden - about 1 hour.

Recipe from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

No Fail 7 Minute Microwave Caramels

When I say "No Fail," I seriously mean it!  This is the third batch of caramels I made in about 3 days.  The first 2 were on the stove top and were complete and total FAILS!  I couldn't get either of them to get up to temperature, and then they were both hard as a rock.  After the second batch I decided that it was my thermometer that was the issue, not so much the cook.  Thank goodness!

I didn't feel quite brave enough to try another stove top batch of caramels and so I decided to give these a try.  They were amazing!  Quick, easy and they worked!!

We ate about half of them plain and I dipped the other half in milk chocolate and sprinkled them with a little sea salt.  Oh. My. Heavenly!  If you are a chocolate dipper, try it!  You can thank me later.  Or not, when you can't stop eating them.  Thank goodness there are so many mouths around here to help devour the holiday temptations!

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large microwave safe bowl and cook until melted.  Add corn syrup, white and brown sugars and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well until everything is smooth.  Return to the microwave and cook for 7 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir in vanilla.  Pour into a buttered 8x8-inch baking dish and let cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Banana Crumb Muffins

I don't know about you, but my family is pretty picky when it comes to eating fresh bananas.  They have to be just barely under ripe for us to eat them.  Because they seem to ripen so darn fast, that gives us about a day when they're the prefect ripeness for us to eat.  That means that we end up with more overripe bananas than I'd like.  Sometimes they ripen past the point we like them before we even realize they're ripe!  Solution?  These Banana Crumb Muffins.  

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl combine mashed bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter; mix well.  Add dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Grease or line a 12-count muffin tin and divide batter between the cups.  To make the crumb topping, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the butter until it looks about like corn meal.  Sprinkle the crumb topping over the muffins and bake at 375 for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Recipe from Allrecipes.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Savory Pumpkin Soup

I-used-my-kids-pumpkins-for-this-soup!  Whew!  I sure feel better now that I got that out of the way!  Just, please, don't tell them.  They'd hate me forever.  Or at least as long as a 4 and 6 year old can hold a grudge.  I wasn't going to.  Honest!  I had every intention of buying (another) pumpkin to use, but for some reason, once Halloween has come and gone, they all disappear.  Only 2 days after there wasn't a single pumpkin to be found.  Lots of Christmas trees and ornaments, but not a single, solitary pumpkin.  I guess feeding the littles their beloved pumpkins is better than sneaking them into the trash, right?

6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon parsley
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For Serving:
Parmesan cheese
Homemade Croutons (I didn't use the sourdough bread this time, just what I had on hand.  They're still stinkin' amazing!)

Combine all ingredients, except cream, in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  *Puree soup on small batches (about 1 cup at a time) in a blender.  Return soup to pot and simmer an additional 30 minutes.  Mix in cream and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese and croutons.  Don't skip the croutons.  Seriously.  They take the soup from good to WOW!

*I blended the onion and garlic with a little of the chicken stock BEFORE I cooked the soup, and just let it simmer for an hour.  You could also use an immersion blender half way through the cooking time.  If you cook the soup and then blend it. BE CAREFUL!!  The hot soup burns!

Recipe from All Recipes.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Walking Tacos

Have you missed me?  Well, I've missed you!  My little sis informed me that I've been sorely neglecting you all.  Since I last posted, we moved, the kids all started school (and I somehow ended up as a room mom for the 3rd grader!), went through almost an entire season of soccer and lacrosse (2 more weeks, just 2 more weeks!), joined the gym (like 2 days ago.  Yikes!  I am SO sore!  Wish me luck!), and I couldn't find my baby.  For almost an entire half hour.  Talk about near heart failure!!  Luckily he just went to a little friends house and was playing on their way-super-awesome play set in the back yard.  I went from I'm-so-mad-I'll-strangle-the-little-monkey-when-I-find-him to, when I finally found him, oh-my-precious-perfect-little-angel-I-just-want-to-kiss-your-sweet-little-face-until-you-scream!

I have to say, I've forgotten how much of an ordeal moving is!  We were in our last place for 8 years.  Seems like a lifetime sometimes.  I guess it is for some people.  We moved in with a 6 month old baby and had 2 more little ones while we were there.  That's a lifetime for the 3 of them.  All though moving is the pits, it sure was nice to have some of the kids old enough to really help.  I think the actual moving part was the easy part.  Changing the address on all the mail and transferring the kid's schools was probably more stressful.  Not to mention the melt downs over leaving friends and the best. Schools. Ever.  Luckily, we're in a pretty awesome neighborhood with lots of little kiddies.

Do you have kids?  If you do, you're going to want to bookmark, pin, print out and save, whatever, this recipe!  These Walking Tacos are totally kid approved!  The kids thought (for at least 7 seconds!) that I was/am the coolest mom ever!  The 15 year old asked where I got the idea.  I told him Pinterest (Coolest. Site. Ever!).  He informed me that he would never EVER complain about Pinterest again!  Now THAT is HUGE!

1 pound ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
8-10 individual serving sized bags nacho cheese Doritos
Your favorite taco toppings like...
Lettuce, shredded
Cheese, grated
Tomatoes, diced
Sour cream
Olives, sliced

Brown the ground beef and add taco seasoning (along with the water called for on the package).  To assemble, slightly crush chips, then squeeze the bottom of the bag to make it POP!  Pretty sure that was my favorite part.  The 15 year old was in the other room and asked what the popping noise was.  I completely lied to him and told him I didn't hear a thing.  Not sure if he believed me, but he didn't come to investigate.  If you are a little more civilized than we are here, feel free to either cut the top off the bags or pull them open.  Just open the little bags.  Add meat and desired toppings.  Mix it all up and grub up!

Recipe from....Well, I saw pictures on Pinterest and did my own thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Construction Party

My baby just turned 4!! He loves anything and everything with wheels, as well as going to work with Daddy (he's a general contractor/developer), so a construction party was the perfect theme for him. This was his first "friend" birthday party and was too excited to sleep the night before! Luckily he slept in the morning of his party so I didn't a little grump on my hands. :)

My little guy and his buddies had lunch of Uncrustables, juice boxes, goldfish crackers and squeeze applesauce, and then colored construction truck pictures, built with blocks and played with playdough.

Crayon boxes - I LOVED the Est. 2010!!

 Lunch boxes

Chocolate coins - Payment for a job well done. :)

My little man loved everything and kept telling my how handsome his party was as I was setting it up. :)

All of the super cute printables are from Just a little Sparkle.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sweet Amish Macaroni Salad

I'm fascinated with the Amish.  I'm pretty sure I could live the Amish lifestyle without any problems.  Since my family wouldn't be so willing to change lifestyles, I guess I'll just have to stick with trying out a few recipes.  Not sure if this Sweet Amish Macaroni Salad is an authentic recipe, but it sure is tasty.  The first time I made it I shared it with a couple neighbors (it makes a ton!) and they told me it was the best macaroni salad they have ever eaten!

1 pound salad macaroni
4 hard cooked eggs, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
1 small red pepper, diced

2 cups light mayonnaise (do not use Miracle Whip)
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup yellow mustard
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
paprika for garnish

Cook the macaroni according to package directions, drain well and place in a large bowl to cool. Combine dressing ingredients and mix well.  Add eggs, pepper, onion and celery to the macaroni.  Stir in dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Recipe from Food.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce

With summer just around the corner, this Cheese Ravioli with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce is a perfect way to use up your fresh cherry tomatoes and basil.  It's no secret that I like love fresh basil.  I'm sold on pretty much anything that I can throw a little basil into.  If fresh basil wasn't enough, the sauce was.  The sauce is simple, just 5 ingredients! And it's delicious.  Anyone up for dinner in under 30 minutes?

2 (9 ounce) packages cheese ravioli
1/3 cup butter
2 cups cherry or pear tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook the ravioli according to package directions. While the ravioli is cooking, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes; cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst and the butter turns brown, about 7 minutes. Stir in the basil. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve over ravioli and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Recipe from Kevin & Amanda.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Unicorn Rainbow Birthday Party

For my little girls 6th birthday, she wanted a unicorn party. Since her favorite color is "rainbow", it ended up being a Unicorn Rainbow Party. She also loves anything sparkly, so I threw in a little sparkle and bling.

 At the end of every rainbow, is a pot of (chocolate) gold.

 Gumball cake made with Smooth as Silk Frosting

 Adorable Unicorn and Rainbow sugar cookies from Treats 4 Ta-tas.

 Chocolate covered Oreos

Chocolate covered marshmallows with bling sticks

 The girls made candy necklaces and decorated Unicorn horns.

The girls took home bags of gold (from the end of the rainbow) and colored candies.  The cute printables are from Just a little Sparkle.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Brown Sugar Chicken Wings with Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip

It's spring break around here and I shipped all 3 of my girls to Granny and Papa's house.  Disneyland may claim to be the "Happiest Place On Earth", but for my kids, Granny and Papa's house beats out Disneyland for the title hands down.  It's amazing how much less laundry I have with them gone.  It's also amazing how peaceful it is around here.  I only here "MOM!!" about once every 30 seconds instead of every. Single. Second.  I better enjoy it while it lasts, they'll be home before I know it.

These Brown Sugar Chicken Wings are pretty tasty little buggers.  And the sauce, well, you had me at Roasted Red Pepper!  YUM!

2 pounds chicken wings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Dip:
1/3 cup roasted red pepper
2 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper, to taste; mix well. Add in the wings and stir until well coated.  Place on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (until cooked through), turning the wings over half way through the cooking time. While the wings are cooking, combine roasted red pepper, cream cheese, sour cream and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until smooth(ish).

Recipe adapted from Damn Delicious.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Smashed Potatoes

We love potatoes around here.  The kids will never complain about eating potatoes.  In any form.  These Smashed Potatoes are one of kids' favorite ways, if not the favorite way, to have their potatoes.

2 pounds red potatoes
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Place potatoes in a large pan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil until tender.  Remove potatoes from pan and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Smash potatoes (I use my potato masher) between 1/2 and 1 inch thick.  Drizzle with melted butter, then sprinkle with salt and Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.

Recipe from The Royal Cook - an original!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad

This Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad is my husbands all time favorite salad to eat in the summer.  Being the best. Wife. Ever.  That I am, I decided to make if for him a little earlier in the year than I usually do.  He sure was pleased when he walked in to Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad on the table at dinner.  Now if I could only I could get him to tell me I'm as wonderful as I tell him I am. :)

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced thin
1 small sweet onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dill

Place onion and cucumber slices in a medium sized bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Pour the dressing over the cucumbers and mix until coated.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Mom, Mommy, Mama, Granny.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bowls

I seem to go through phases with my breakfast.  I find something that I really like and eat it every day, or nearly every day for weeks.  Quinoa Berry Breakfast Bowls is the latest of my breakfast loves.

¾ cup steel cut oats
pinch of salt
¼ cup quinoa
3 cups water
¾ cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Nuts and berries for topping

In a large saucepan, combine steel-cut oats, salt and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes without stirring. Rinse quinoa well in a fine-mesh sieve. Drain and add quinoa to the oats, stir, then partially cover and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add ½ cup milk and vanilla. Stir gently to combine and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls and top with remaining milk, maple syrup, nuts and berries.

Recipe from Mom Advice.

Linked on The Weekend re-Treat.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

My favorite thing about cold weather (I'll be honest, there aren't many things I actually like about the cold weather) is all the food that comes along with it.  Soups, stews and baked goods.  This Cheesy Broccoli Soup is great for a quick meal on a cool day.

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces and steamed
2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pan melt butter over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and let cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook for 5 minutes, just until golden brown. Slowly add in chicken stock, half-and-half, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir together and let cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the broccoli and cheese and stir until just combined.

Recipe adapted from I Heart Nap Time.

Linked on The Weekend re-Treat.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins

I'm always looking for healthy things to give my kids for snacks that they'll actually eat without complaining.  These Healthy Applesauce Oat Muffins were eaten by the kids without a single complaint.  My daughter walked down the stairs while they were baking and commented that something smell really good.  They even stay nice and moist until the next day.

1 cup rolled/old-fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 375. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and cranberries or raisins if using). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined. Pour the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Linked on The Weekend re-Treat.
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