Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mary's Baby Shower

Here are a few pictures from Mary's Shower. It turned out really nice.
Hope everyone had a fun time!

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Add more photos if you have them!

Breakfast smoothie

Lately I have also been trying to eat a little more healthy.  I try to work out 4-5 times a week.  Before I start my workout I have been trying these Access bars from Meleluca.  They say they turn fat into fuel.  I am not sold on them yet.  Then I do my workout, which by the way... I LOVE the Jillian Micheals DVD's, no kidding, I work harder in those videos than any other workout, including 1 1/2 hrs of basketball! Anywho, After my workout I make myself a breakfast smoothie.  It is similar to Michelle's, but different. 

1/2 C. yogurt
1/2 C. milk
1/2 C. frozen fruit  (I have a freezer full, but my favorite is peach with a few strawberries)

Blend and drink.


I am not a great one at drinking milk, so this gets me my milk and some extra calcium in the yogurt.  I really do love this for breakfast.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yummy, yummy soup

I LOVE shrimp.  So anytime I see a new recipe for shrimp I like to try it.  Kennedy and I would watch Rachael Ray together sometimes when Tori was at school.  One day she had this as her demonstration, and I literally tried it that night... I was not disappointed!  It is so good.  I can't wait until it starts to turn cold so I can make this soup.  Making it tomorrow!!!  Happy day!

Sausage and Shrimp in one pot

2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound hot or sweet bulk Italian sausage or 1 pound of links, split from casings
2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1 15-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 pound large, peeled, deveined shrimp
A handful of basil leaves, torn or shredded
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, a handful, chopped
1 loaf ciabatta bread (Ijust made my own french bread)

Heat a large, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the sausage, crumble and brown 3-4 minutes then add peppers, onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes more so the vegetables start to soften.

Add tomatoes, stock and bay leaf, stir and bring up to a boil. Add shrimp and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Cook 5 minutes, uncover and stir in basil and parsley. Turn off heat.

Crisp bread in the hot oven. Serve stoup in shallow bowls with crusty bread alongside for mopping.

I will post a picture when I make it again this week.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Baby Weight

So it's been three months since I had Brynlee..and a couple weeks ago I just had it with my body and decided I really need to get serious if I'm going to loose this dang baby weight. So I decided to eat REALLY healthy and see what that does for me. So I talked to Mary who is an expert at being skinny (and knowing how to get there) and she helped me decide what I needed to do. I had took all of my body measurements about a month ago, because I was hoping I'd be able to loose a lot in a month, so I was doing some little work outs, measured myself two weeks later...nothing. So thats when I talked to Mary! And came up with a little menu. In a week an half I have lost 11.5 inches and 7 pounds! And I have done workouts at least 3 days a week. Anyways for breakfast I have an amazing smoothie! Here's what I put in it....

3/4 cup of ice
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 whole banana
6 to 7 frozen strawberries (you can get a 6lb bag at Costco for like 8.50)
1 tbsp honey
about 3/4 cup either skim milk or apple juice (yummy fresh apple juice I got from making apple sauce) but you could use any juice, milk or just water.

Blend it all up and it's AMAZING! I love it! I know oatmeal is really good for you...but I HATE eating it the normal way, but this way it gets your dose in and tastes amazing!
 I also went to Costco it get a HUGE bag of spinach! I think it was like a 4 lb bag. And sometimes I do make green smoothies and put some spinach in that also. But what I really use it for is salad's. And they also taste AMAZING! I load on the veggies like tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, cucumbers, avocados or whatever else you'd like. Then I'll put boiled eggs and make up some chicken to put on top. It's SO yummy...and filling!  I use a raspberry vinaigrette. Sometimes I also put a lot of fruit on and that's yummy too.
And if I don't have that for lunch then I'll have it for dinner...or I'll just make up a nice little talapia or chicken dinner with a veggie and some fruit. It's working for me. After Halloween I just had it! I was eating like total crap so I decided I needed to just eat totally healthy...and I love it!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Gift

The blog howdoesshe is celebrating their "2 year anniversary" and is teaming up with a company called Paper Coterie and giving everyone a $30 credit on their site towards whatever you'd like, you just have to pay the shipping. So I just got on there and they have some cute things, I'm going to do myself  a cute little calendar. Check it out here! http://www.howdoesshe.com/happy-birthday-howdoesshe-free-gift-for-everyone

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are amazing. Whenever fall hits this is my go-to recipe! It's simple and it makes a lot of cookies.

1 cup canola oil
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 large can pumpkin
2 tsp vanilla

Mix these together and then add:

2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
5 1/2 cups flour

Mix together and then add

large package of chocolate chips (the more the better)

Put spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet

Bake @ 400 for 13 minutes

(Note, brandname Pumpkin like Libby's makes for the best tasting cookies.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

We get bountiful baskets quite often and it is about this time of the year when I start getting squashes that I have no idea what to do with them.  Some I have never heard of.  Last year we got a BIG butternut squash in the basket and I went in search for a new and interesting recipe to try.  When I talked to Mom she said she had just tried a good one, and this is it.  We tried it and everyone loved it.  I have to admit though, I did not mention that it was a squash soup until after dinner was over.  Austin DID NOT believe me, but he still likes it!  ;)

So here it is...

1 1/2 - 2 lb. butternut squash.  Cut, clean out, and lightly coat the cut side with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, or spray with olive oil.  Bake on a cookie sheet with the cut side down.  Bake at 350 for about one hour or until soft.

Remove from oven, cool, remove skin.  Place squash in blender with 2 cups chicken stock; pulse until smooth.

While squash is baking, cut a Kilbasa sausage into slices and then into small pieces, if desired.  Simmer with 2 1/2 C. chopped onion until onion is tender and sausage is browned.  Drain off grease and set aside.

In a pot, cook 1 C. wild rice in 4 C. of chicken stock until rice is tender.  Remove from heat.  Cool.

In a large pot add squash mixture and 6 additional cups of chicken stock; simmer.  Then add the onion/sausage along with 2 cans drained whole kernel corn.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add rice and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Just before serving add 1 1/2 C half and half and heat on low until soup is warm.  Top with T. chopped Parsley; season with salt and pepper.

My family are not fans of onions, so I do not include the onion at all. 

Grocery list:
 1 1/2 - 2 lb butternut squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kilbasa sausage (I have omitted this before, but we like it included better)
1 C. wild rice
12 C. chicken stock
2 cans of whole kernel corn
1 1/2 C. half and half  (I have substituted whole milk when I forgot the 1/2 and 1/2)
Parsley for garnish, if you like



Date Night

So I found an amazing blog that has tons of fun dates on a budget on Pinterest (LOVE Pinterest) it's http://loveactually-blog-ideas.blogspot.com/ So I decided to try one of them and we had a BLAST! We did the bookstore date night. And here's how it went...we went to Barnes and Noble and we had a list of books to find. You can split up or look together. Find your books and then find a little nook in the store to share your findings. I had two sets of book lists for us the first set was:

#1 find a recipe to cook for your date
A: Peachy Dream Tarts (peaches are my absolute FAVORITE!)
M: Flaming Weenies (it was from a hillrious redneck cookbook)

 #2 Find a book that reminds you of your childhood
A: Walter the Farting Dog
M: Corduroy
If you'd like you can read them to each other also :)

 #3 Find a funny joke to tell your date
We told more that one, and it was fun, we just sat and laughed for a while

Then we got our 2nd list of books, split up and did it all over again.

#1 Find a new date idea to do on a future date night
A: Go to a concert
M: Play pool (I found a cool book that had a tiny pool set you could play on the cover)

#2 Find a quiz to take together
We went to the magazine section and looked FOREVER..but found nothing, which is odd because you always see quizes in magazines...so we moved on.

#3 Find a map or book of your DREAM vacation
A: Wonders of the World (he's already been to 3...lucky!)
M: I have so many I couldn't find something on Bora Bora, so I narrowed it down to Africa, Thailand &Italy

The great thing about Barnes and Noble is they have a Starbucks in it..so you can get yourself a delicious Strawberry Frappuccino & have dessert and you read your books. We would recommend a bookstore date night!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mummy Cupcakes

Everyone was saying they wanted to know how to make these so here you go:
You will need:
1 cake mix
Chocolate frosting (I just bought mine)
tic-tacs (orange or green)
fondant icing (recipe below)

The fondant icing is best made the night before and stored in the fridge, but I didn't realize that and made mine when I was ready to frost the cupcakes, so I made it and put it in the freezer for 1 hour and it worked great too. Make your cupcakes according to box directions and let cool. When your fondant icing is ready to use, roll it out thin, then cut strips using a pizza cutter. After I cut one way making thin strips of all sizes (thicker and skinnier strips), I cut the other direction the length of a cupcake (about 2-3 inches) so they were all strips fit perfect for a cup cake. Frost your cupcakes with the chocolate frosting. Put tic-tacs on for the eyes, about 2/3 of the way up on the cup cake so it's equivalent to a face and then layer your fondant icing around it. It is so easy to do, if you make your fondant the night before, once your cupcakes are cooled I bet you could be done rolling out fondant and decorating cupcakes in a half hour tops.

For the fondant:
You will need:
1/2 bag of mini marshmallows (16 ounce size) use a good quality brand
2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1-2 1/2 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup Crisco (for greasing hands and counter top)

Melt marshmallows and a tablespoon of water in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and continue microwaving 30 seconds at a time until all melted. It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes total. Grease your hands and counter top generously with Crisco. Place 2 cups of powdered sugar in a pile on the crisco-d countertop and pour melted marshmallows on top. Start needing like you would bread dough. This stuff and sticky at this stage, and be careful because it's hot at the beginning. Continue regreasing hands and countertop as needed. Add the rest of the powdered sugar (1/2 cup) and knead some more. Regrease when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is too dry so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and knead in). It usually takes about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing easily. Form it in a ball and put a small coating of Crisco around it. Wrap twice in plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight. It sounds more complicated than it is, it's really easy.

Hope you guys enjoy!

The Best Chicken Enchiladas EVER!

So this is a recipe that was first introduced to us by our sister Heather.  She learned it when she was a teenager.  We have loved it so much that we have since taught it to all of the sisters and many of our friends too.  Most of our husbands love it.  My husband, for example, will actually eat these as leftovers and love it!  That says a lot!  So here they are.

Chicken Enchiladas

4-5 Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded
1- 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1 C Salsa (I recommend mild)
1- 8 oz Can Tomato Sauce
1- 10 oz Can Enchilada Sauce (again I recommend mild)
8-10 Flour Tortilla Shells
2 C Shredded Cheese

1.  Preheat your oven to 350° and spray a 9X13 pan with non-stick spray.

2.  Cook chicken breasts in microwave in 5 minute increments, flipping inbetween until fully cooked, then shred.
3.  Combine Cream Cheese, Salsa, and Shredded Chicken in a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.

4.  In a seperate medium sized mixing bowl, combine the Enchilada Sauce and the Tomato Sauce and set aside.
5.  Now begin to fill the tortillas.  Take one large spoonful of the Chicken and Cream Cheese mixture and spread it on one half of the tortilla shell, then roll up.  Continue filling the tortillas until the mixture is gone.

6.  Cover the filled Tortilla Shells with the Enchilada Sauce mixture.  Then Sprinkle the Shredded Cheese over the top until evenly spread.
7.  Bake on 350° for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the mixture is bubbling. 

I usually serve this with canned corn and some biscuits.  The biscuits I will usually melt some butter in a pie dish while the enchiladas are cooking.  Once it is melted, I will sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder on it, open the biscuits in a can and dip them on one side then flip them to the other side to cook.  I spread a little parmasan cheese on them and let them bake for about the last 10 mintues of the enchilatas.  My family loves this meal! 

More Halloween Fun

The Bats and Pumpkins

The Mummies

The whole group together with the twinkie mummies
and an oreo spider!

   My boys and I had some friends come over to make mummy cookies and twinkies.  This turned into making bats and pumpkins too.  It was really fun and I was impressed with how creative the kids could be.  My oldest made pirate pumpkins and put "stitches" on the mummies for effect.  The recipe below is for the cookies and the frosting we used.  The cookies are so soft and delicious.  I will often add just a little bit of vanilla to them also, but you don't have to.  For this recipe it made about 6-7 dozen cookies.  We had to make double the recipe for frosting and I still ran out, so it makes a lot!

Soft Sugar Cookies

2 C Sugar
1 C Butter, softened
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Eggs
1 C Milk
4-6 C Flour

Cream the sugar, butter and eggs.  Add the baking powder, soda and salt.  Then add the milk and slowly start adding the flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Refrigerate for easier rolling.  Roll out to 1/4 to 1/2" thick.  Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes.

Sugar Cookie Frosting

4 oz Cream Cheese
1 Cube Butter, softened
1/2 tsp Vanilla
4 C Powdered Sugar

Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla.  Add powdered milk until frosting is the consistency you would like.  If it gets to thick, add a small amount of milk to thin.  Separate into bowls to mix colors.
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