Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheesy Cauldron Bean Soup

This week (***I wrote this 2 weeks's been a busy couple of weeks people!***) has been an interesting one...I write this post in the hospital, while waiting for my 5 yr old baby girl to get discharged from this little closet they call a room. In all fairness the closet was a room 3 days ago. But spending 2 nights here has turned it into a closet.
Elaina broke her elbow and had surgery to fix it. She's doing great and we are ready to get out of here but while waiting, I wanted to share an easy, delicious soup.
My mom made this soup years ago, she saw on food network and this has now become a fall soup staple for our family.

The recipe below is the original version but I usually make the "healthier" version...if there is such a thing with a cheesy soup...
I use ground turkey breast, 2% Velveeta cheese, and the "Healthy Request" Cheddar Cheese soup.  I also use 1/2 water, 1/2 milk, to help add a little creaminess to the soup.

To top off this yummy soup, I use diced jalapenos for those who like it spicy!

original recipe from Sandra Lee @ the Food Network

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Happy Birthday Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman!
My daughter's teacher asked us parents if we could send in an apple treat to share for Appleseed's birthday.  I knew right away what I was going to send in...little bites of heaven...
So to honor his birthday, here is this absolutely divine Caramel Apple Cookie recipe...
  The first time I tasted these morsels of heaven was in my mother-in-law's kitchen
(she always has cookies ready for us adults the grandkids when we visit...awesome, right?!?).  Since we try to eat "healthy", she made us one each...well that was just torture, so I came home and made some more...I also made a cupcake inspired by these bad boys...that recipe is to come...
The recipe came from Pinterest, of course!
Warning:  These cookies make your house like fall and are addicting!
Here's a little thing I learned after making these several times:
When you are pressing the dough in your hands, don't press too hard.  Let the bottom part of the cookie have more dough, than the top of the cookie.  This way the caramel has a less likely chance of going through.  I also put the dough (after I put the caramels in it) into the fridge until they are firm (an hour maybe???).  I noticed that they baked a little better that way.  Here's a picture of what they looked like on the bottom, after I did these steps. 
There weren't too many that the caramel oozed out of.
And here's the too cute cookie box I found at Target, in the dollar bin!
It was like it was destiny that I should find the box...and make the cookies again...and have leftovers...and eat those leftovers...

Apple Oreo Teacher Gift

When searching for something to give the girls' teachers for a "welcome back to school" gift, I wanted something cute, edible and quick...what I found, I thought, would fit those criteria.  Well, it turned out cute and edible...quick, well - it was almost quick...

Here's where I found the original link

She has great instructions, but here are some tips that I discovered while making live and learn and then pass on the knowledge, right?!? 

-I bought my mold on eBay for 2.19 (2.65 shipping) Do a search for PLAIN COOKIE CANDY MOLD
-I also did NOT put a hole on top for the pretzel, but used the candy to apply the stem and leaf.  When the cookie pop is cold, the candy will harden quickly and putting holes in these cookies is not smart...I had to "patch" several, well OK - a lot of mistakes.
-Try to locate the center of the cookie as best as you can, otherwise, you'll be taking chunks of cookie off...again you'll have to patch up!
-As temped as you might be to stick these in the freezer to speeden the hardening process...DON'T!  They will form little cracks all over the cookies...not pretty...
-I bought my cellophane bags at Hobby Lobby - they are in the cake section. They are small treat bags that come 50 to a pack and were $1.99 (use your 40% coupon and they'll only be $1.20!)
-I used baker's twine to wrap them up...LOVE that stuff!

Cans to put the treats in:
I liked her idea of the pencil container, but I wanted to do something that could be thrown away after the teachers had eaten the treat.  I made black beans for dinner that night and thought those would be great containers.  I used a safety cut can opener, cut a piece of paper to wrap around, hot glued some ribbon and VOILA - free & cute container.  Attach a cute sign (which you can download below), add some paper shred and you're done!

The possibilities are endless with this mold...Halloween: make pumpkins.  Christmas: make ornaments...and so on. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pinterest Thursday - Overnight Steel Cut Oatmeal

Dear Pinterest - Anytime you can make my life easier in the morning, I'm all in! 

This is why I love cereal, yes...I know that the health benefits are not as good as other alternatives -  I try to stick with the better stuff cinnamon toast crunch plain cheerios and such.  I do try and make the kids a warm breakfast at least a couple of times a week, depending on time of course.  So when I came across this oatmeal that you put into the crock pot, I knew it was going to be on my to do list.  But the luck I've had with other pins about crock pots, I was kind of scared to see what I was going to wake up to (see here for that fun pin - I use the word "fun" very loosely).

The Result: AWESOME!

Here's the recipe I came up with.  I wanted something plain that I could add whatever I wanted to...

Not only did this oatmeal taste great, but it's healthy for you.  Because steel cut oats are less processed than regular oatmeal (regular oatmeal is still a healthy breakfast!), it takes longer for your body to digest, thus making you feel fuller longer...perfect way to send little tummies to school...and perfect way to send mommy to the grocery store.  Otherwise mommy comes home with all kinds of junk - you know you are all guilty of "hungry buying" too...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Helping out the Red Onion...

I enjoy the flavor of onions...what I don't enjoy is the pungent, harsh flavor that consumes your whole mouth every time you bite into one of those raw, red ones.  Also how it sticks with you, even after you have eaten it...garlic does the same thing, but garlic is worth it. 
Those who go out to dinner with me, have probably noticed I immediately take the red onion off my salad.  I don't want to mess up my yummy ranch dressing.
It may sound like I don't like them, but in truth, I do love home, when I prepare them.

While watching my beloved Food Network one day, a very long time ago, Rach or Bobby (can't remember which one...been too long...) said to soak your red onions in water to help get rid of some of the pungent worked!

Here's what you do...

Cut or slice your onion how ever you want...

Place in a bowl of water...

Gently squeeze the onions around to separate them and to help get some the juices out of them...

Let them sit for 15 mins...

and USE!

I should put this disclaimer out:  This is only for RAW red onion consumption, NOT for cooked red onion consumption.  Cooked red onions are a completely different ball game - those are amazing and completely worth your house smelling like an Italian restaurant for the night.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pinterest Thursday- Reusing Yogurt Containers

This is something I was excited to see I have a slight addiction to containers, bags, buckets...anything to gift wrap with or to decorate with. When I saw this I knew this was something I was trying...In fact I did it the next day and am so happy I did!

The pin:
Take off the labels of yogurt containers and reuse them...
The results: success!

What you need is a bottle of acetone, rag and container.

Because I have a wooden counter top, I did this all in my sink. I soaked the rag, in a bowl, with the acetone and wrapped it around the container for 3-5 mins.

It should wipe off after that, if not, let it sit a little longer then try wiping again. Considering we go through 2 large yogurt containers a week this is another thing to collect a great way to be green.  I can already see the Christmas goodies wrapped up in these beauties!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Silhouette Necklace and Ring

I love silhouettes. I love silhouettes of kids. It's neat to look back at the past ones and see how much they have grown. While looking at silhouette stuff on etsy, I found a beautiful necklace and fell in love with it but the price was a little too steep for me...I'm cheap...this is not new knowledge people!
But I really, really wanted a necklace with my kiddies and a ring with my hubby, so I endeavored to find out how to make these beauties and here's what I came up with

Warning! This project will not take a lot of money, but it does require time and patience...both things which come in short supply with me. But it was definitely worth the wait!

Here's what I gathered...

Silhouettes (see below for what to do on this) 
Bezels, chain (I got mine at Hobby Lobby - 50% off, which made them $1 or $1.5 each - score!)
Small scissors
ICE resin (use your 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby - I think it was 11.99 before the coupon...can't remember)
Toothpick (to mix the resin)
Disposable shot glasses (got mine from Dollar Tree at 8:30 in the morning - wonder what they were thinking about me...)
Mod Podge OR packing tape
paintbrush to paint mod podge
If you are doing a ring - a piece of styrofoam to put the ring in
Something to put your bezels on to dry and put away from your impatient hands kiddy fingers
Sewing pin to pop bubbles

Get a picture of the silhouette you want to use. here's a great tutorial of how to turn your picture into a silhouette -

Don't have Photoshop - here's a video that shows you how to do it with a photo-

After getting your silhouette, I used Publisher to shrink and size the picture to the same as the bezel.

One of my bezels had the dimensions on the package. If you don't have the dimensions, use a ruler and make adjustments from that.
I cut my silhouette out with small craft scissors - I strongly suggest small scissors - why? you may me - otherwise you'll end up with something other than an oval...not talking from experience or anything...

You next need to seal the picture into the bezel...why do this? Well I can show you why this step is VERY important!

There's my mistake in all it's glory...See the seepage (is that a word??? whatever!)'s not cool...but it's going to have to be ok for now...

You can either do mod podge or you can use tape. I used mod podge because that's what I had. I would probably next do the tape - I don't have to let tape patience required.  If you do the mod podge - make sure you get it sealed completely.

Next follow the directions on the resin you have. Here's a tutorial that I found that shows how to do the resin.
Follow her directions - I couldn't have said it better myself

While it's drying, come back every so often and check for bubbles. If there are any - pop them! I used a sewing pin to do this.
If you are doing a ring like I did, push it into the foam so it's level when you pour in the resin

The final result...they are not perfect. Not perfect by any means. There are little, tiny bubbles in the bezels that did not come out no matter how many times I tried popping them Was it worth it??? I think so, especially when my kids love looking at them and trying to figure out who's who on the pendants and it's a nice reminder of the munchkins around my neck and finger...