Friday, December 20, 2013

Currently


I am so behind and overwhelmed at the moment. My house is a disaster, I have cookies to bake, macaroni and cheese to make, gifts to finish and wrap, oh and mountains and mountains of laundry =! We have a party every night starting tomorrow night through Christmas. But it's all okay, tonight the boys go to my in-laws and my husband works late so I'll be cleaning, baking and crafting while watching some cheesy Christmas movies and try to squeeze in a nap too.

On the menu this week:
Truffle Bar
Cookies and Cream Peppermint Bark
Raspberry Almond Thumbprints
Buffalo Mac and Cheese
One-Pan Enchilada Pasta
Weeknight Nachos
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The boys and I made these and these this past week.

I must make these! Love them!

This tree and wreath! Obsessed! Love!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Chip Cookies



Peppermint is one of my favorite things and pair it with chocolate and I am all over it! I made this Chocolate Peppermint Chip cookies for my little Monkey's Cubbies class. I baked up a half a recipe of these guys and a recipe of these cuties, packaged them up in cute little bags that I stamped with a snowman and sealed with red washi tape and sent them to church with him. I hope the kids like them as much as we do. I can't keep my husband out of them. As I type this I have butter softening for a second batch. I may buy multiple bags of the Peppermint Chips to keep around the house so I can have Christmas in July with the babies.


 I scooped the remainder of the recipe into balls tossed them onto a cookie sheet and stuck them into the freezer just to firm up, then I moved them to a freezer bag so that I could pull them out of Christmas Eve and bake them up for family and possibly leave some for the big man in red, if they last that long, I can make no promises. ;-)


Chocolate Peppermint Chip Cookies
yields approximately 3 dozen if using a small cookie scoop
1 1/4 cups butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp peppermint extra
2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
 3/4 cup peppermint chips

Place butter and sugar into the bowl for your stand mixer and beat on medium speed around 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop and scrap down the sides, add in the eggs and vanilla and beat another minutes longer. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium until the dough comes together and flour is no longer visible. Stir in the chips. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 F and top baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop cookies on keeping 2 inches apart. Bake 8-9 minutes, until edges have set. Allow to cool for around 5 minutes on cookie sheet before moving them to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely before putting hem in an airtight container. Cookies will keep for about a week, as long as they are kept in an airtight container.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Taco Seasoning {Homemade Christmas}

Taco Seasoning is a staple in our house. While, SO not authentic, nachos happen here often. Like, once a week often, so it makes sense to make my own taco seasoning. And, since we are doing our Homemade Christmas again, it makes a perfect gift. Along with tacos seasoning and grill seasoning (to come later) we are making our Apple Butter again, because most of our grandparents requested it and so did my husband. We are making ornaments again, I'll be sharing them as soon as I get the photos needed printed. I'll be posting about homemade extracts, although its too late to make them in time for Christmas. There will be other projects that I'll be rushing to finish, as usual. I'll do a round up with links for any tutorials or recipes that I use as soon as I get farther along making them. I hope to be a bit more organized next year, then again I said that last year too. Somethings never change.



To make these seasoning mixes, simply combine the ingredients in a large mason jar or a large container with an air tight lid. Give it a shake and store it up to six months.

Taco Seasoning
(yields 2 cups)
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup oregano
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
2 tablespoons cilantro flakes
2 tablespoons salt
* I made double this, as you can tell by the photo but I'm making quite a few gifts this year.

Right before everything gets wrapped up I will measure out 1/2 cup portion and put into so cute little tin that I found on sale and tape a label on.




I made all my labels on PicMonkey. I used the Design option, cropped it to the size I wanted and added a background. Then I added the sticker and writing and called it a day. Right click and save as if you want to use them. You'll have to resize them according to what size your containers are.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Currently

This was Monkey after his trip to the North Pole this year with his Nana and Papaw.
He had so much fun and was worn out! 


Is it Friday already? Seriously!

I've got a busy day ahead of me today. I'll be making and canning a small batch of Homemade Sriracha. A certain, luckily, sibling of mine may be getting it for Christmas. Then, I'll be working from home, normal cleaning and organizing, other baking and doing laundry, more decorating and making a plan of action to get the remainder of these gifts finished. I better make another cup of coffee, I'm going to need it.

Tomorrow may be just be the day I make Bacon Jam. That may be a gift for another brother... Just maybe...

I don't have any recipe links for this post, I haven't sat down and read any of my favorite blogs in over a week. I literally have 1500 unread posts waiting for me. Yikes!

These two crafts are in the plans for me and the kiddos next week.

I'm dying for these leggings!! Or these!

I've been pinning tons and tons of Christmas ideas on Pinterest.

I'm so excited for Saving Mr. Banks! I loved Marry Poppins as a child, I watched it weekly at my Granny's and Grandpa's in the summer, along with The King and I, Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Oklahoma and just about any Shirley Temple movie, ever made.

Speaking of Mary Poppins...

So that's about it for now. Are you doing anything special this year?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thick and Creamy Hot Chocolate


Long time no see! Life has been pretty chaotic lately and the desk top computer has not been plugged in for a week. I rearranged the living room and we just haven't set it back up yet. Luckily, we just got our laptop fixed. I have some good things planned for the next couple of weeks too. Cookies, candies, crafts and DIY gifts are all on the agenda from now until Christmas and I'll be sharing as much as possible. Then come January, I want to start juicing again. I won't be doing it as meal replacements this go around, I'll just be doing it to get some of the fruits and veggies that I don't feel I'm getting enough of.  So, that's the plan for upcoming posts but lets get to the current business at hand. HOT CHOCOLATE time!!!!

 This hot chocolate is the most decadent hot chocolate I have ever had. It is super rich and creamy. It is intensely chocolate. I love the dark lusciousness of the semisweet chocolate but if you prefer milk chocolate you could easily switch it out or if you like the darkness of the semisweet, but prefer a little more sweetness add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the chocolate at the beginning of the melting process. I made this little treat for my family yesterday while we relaxed in our jammies and watched cartoons. I added a little extra milk to my youngest's so that it wasn't too thick for the straw of his sippy cup. My oldest had his with whipped cream and marshmallows. I wanted whipped cream, but my husband preferred the unadulterated chocolate.  We all enjoyed our little treat that felt so decadent. Make it for your family and they'll believe you've crafted something amazing, but in reality its just a little melting and stirring. It can be our little secret. I'll be making it with white chocolate and peppermint on Friday, for just the hubs and myself, to go along with  Love Actually  for our date night and then we will be having again for our family movie watching Elf


Thick and Creamy Hot Chocolate
Serves four
8 oz semisweet chocolate chopped 
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons cornstarch

In a a saucepan, over med/low heat, heat your chocolate and 1/4 cup milk. Stirring often, do not let the chocolate burn. Once the chocolate is melted, whisk in 1 1/2 cup of remaining milk, making sure that all the chocolate and milk combine evenly. In a small bowl stir the remaining milk and cornstarch together, making sure there are no lumps. Stir it into the hot chocolate and let it cook until thickened, stirring often. Serve warm with whipped cream, marshmallows or alone. (I prefer unsweetened whipped cream)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Currently


My husband has been doing something he calls Schmidtzing. Basically when he starts to get angry at other drivers he yells at them as Schmidt. It is hilarious!

I've been trying to come up with a fun Christmas countdown calendar and can't come up with anything that I love. Most likely because I was spoiled with mine. My Aunt Connie would buy me 25 small gifts and wrap each one and number them. Each morning I got to open the gift numbered for that day. I loved it, I always felt so special and loved. Of course, I loved the gifts but the fact that she took the time and thought of me is what stands out in my memory. That's some big shoes to fill while I'm making one for my boys.

This is a game changer!

Date night with my honey tonight! Whoooo hoooo! Yeah, we need some time for us, badly!

Have you put your tree up yet? I normally have atleast one up by now buuuuuttttt I'm behind schedule. I plan on putting a couple up Thursday, maybe before, if I can swing it.

On the menu:
BBQ Salmon and Crispy Chickpea Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch Drizzle
Thanksgiving
Canyon Creek Burger Copycat
Skinny Mint Chocolate Milkshakes

That's pretty much it. I've been more boring than normal this week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christmas Bucket List



I was inspired by this post. I love the idea of a Christmas Bucket List! The season always zooms by, and with a husband who works retail and is so busy this time of year, I feel like we miss out on some many opportunities for fun, memory making time. This is a great way I can do somethings with the boys and plan ahead so that the hubs can be there for the fun times. And this way, hopefully he can leave the rude customers, bad corporate decisions and decrees of extra tasks at work and just enjoy family and still enjoy the season instead of being filled with dread. Hopefully, our boys will look back on Christmas memories with fondness and love instead of remembering Daddy being exhausted and cranky. I am just like my Mom, we love, love, LOVE Christmas and that makes for an interesting combination this time of year but our boys bridge the gap for celebrating. For me its about love, spending time together and and intangible magic that happens but after a decade in retail he almost lost that. He changed his views when our oldest son was born and I work every year to make sure he doesn't become a Grinch. 

Here is our bucket list:
  1. Watch Elf as a family while we drink hot chocolate and eat cookies
  2. Make Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa
  3. Help the boys make cards for friends and family
  4. Watch Love Actually with the Mr. on date night
  5. Put up 3 trees
  6. Coordinate my gift wrap
  7. Everyone gets new pjs on Christmas Eve
  8. Make treats for my co-workers and the hubby's employees
  9. Make treats for Caleb's Cubbies class
  10. Make homemade fudge and caramels
  11. Make hot chocolate on a stick for friends and family
  12. Give myself a festive pedicure
  13. Make and hang paper snowflakes with the boys
  14. Make salt dough ornaments
  15. Donate toys, clothes and food to charity
  16. Hang light in the dining room and the boys bedroom
  17. Drive around with hot chocolate and coffee looking for Christmas lights
  18. Do portraits with Santa
  19. Watch at least one other random cheesy Christmas movie
  20. Make 1 gift for each kid
  21. Make most of the gifts for our extended family
  22. Make a Nativity with the boys
  23. Make ornaments out of the boys art
  24. Listen to Christmas music on the daily
  25. Visit Rock City
What are your plans this season? Care to join in? I'll be sporadically posting about these actives and Instagraming them as well. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Currently.


I am on the mend! I've been to a Dr for a couple of my medical issues and I am beginning to feel more like myself! I've been on antibiotics for Bronchitis and I'm being monitored for my blood pressure problems. I have a few other things I need to figure out before I can say I'm 100% where I want to be.

Also...
*** HAPPY DANCE BREAK***
I lost 20 pounds over the past year! That doesn't sound like a lot, but as hard as I have struggled to lose anything, it is a major accomplishment! I've stayed away from scales, because I wanted to focus on how I felt and looked but, they weighed me at at the doctor's office and until then I had no idea how much I actually lost.

My being so sick the past couple of weeks made me realize, I really need to teach my husband a few easy dishes that we normally have the ingredients for. He can make quesadillas like a pro and make a basic breakfast, but, that is about it. He and I both have been planning on him learning a few of my recipes, but after resorting to take out and fast food, while I was just too weak or dizzy to stand for long periods of time, makes me realize we need to get on that ASAP! Especially when we are on a mission to save a major amount of money and payoff most, if not all debts over 2014, something like that can throw a major kink in your budget. Plus, eating out will wreck you diet and give your kids little to no nutritional items! Anyone have any healthy and delicious beginner friendly meals? I'd love some suggestions!

I'm obsessed with this Christmas Bucket List! I'm making my own, probably to be post about later.

I've also started making some homemade Christmas gifts for this year. Here are some from last year. I love giving gifts, not over top crazy forget the reason for Christmas greedy gifts, but, I love giving something special and meaningful to people. Like, when my Brother-in-law realized he found his one and only soul mate and proposed on Christmas Eve, we bought them a silver ornament with "Our First Christmas" and the date engraved on it. It was also a locket for them to put a picture of the that night in it. That kind of gift is something that they will have on their tree for years and will always love. Things like homemade extract and spice rubs to the other food loving people in my family. And, of course we are making ornaments for the grandparents again this year because how sweet is that? Something that will remind them that we care when the use it or look at it. There are tons of suggestions on Pinterest.

On the menu this week:
Vanilla Salt
DIY Chocolate Coconut Sugar Scrub
Homemade Sriracha
French Silk Pie ON A STICK!!!
Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chili

One last thing, well actually two things. What do you think of the "Pin It" buttons on all of the photos? Do my links on the top and sides of the page work/appear for you? I like the "Pin It" option but I know some find it distracting so I'd love to hear what you think. And, I can no longer see my link but if I scroll over where they should be, they work. Not sure what's going on there but I do need to know if I need to fix them.

Last, last thing I swear. What are you planning this weekend? I'm working at my real job and doing monds and mounds of dishes and laundry that I got behind on. Maybe some crafting if I have time.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving for 4


   This year we are keeping it simple. Thanksgiving is going to be just the four of us. The mister works in retail, therefore he has an early morning coming the next day so driving and eating multiple places makes for a stressful day for us knowing we have to be back home and in bed early. This year he may be opening at midnight so which means he needs to sleep when we would normally be eating dinner. So, me being the control freak I am, made the executive decision to stay home. I'm roasting a turkey breast and making a creamy tomato gravy. Being that we are southern, we always have dressing instead of stuffing, but this year I decided to skip it and make a cheesy squash polenta instead. I'm making mac and cheese for the little picky fellow. We are adding mashed parsnips in our our mashed potatoes and I am roasting our sweet potatoes instead of making them into a casserole. For something green we are having roasted citrus balsamic brussels sprouts instead of green bean casserole. I just found a recipe for homemade jellied cranberry sauce, that's a must! And, I'll be making whole wheat spoon rolls. I haven't decided on desserts for sure but I'm thinking a caramel apple galette and maybe a french silk pie. Yum! I'm planning for lots of leftovers to send with him to work that night/next morning, a full employee is a happy employee! 

    I am so looking forward to our little family Thanksgiving! The kids will probably still be wearing their pjs and I'll be in yoga pants, I'm sure but I don't care as long as I spend the day with my three favorite reasons to be thankful! What are you planning for you day of thanks? 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies Sprinkled with Pink Himalayan Sea Salt


 I made these for the, girls only crafty retreat, my mom and I usually go to twice a year. It is always a perfect combination of girl talk, crafting, relaxation, bad chick flicks, mostly from the 80s and tons of food. These brownies are based from my favorite brownie recipe, from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess, which also happens to be one of my favorite cookbooks. This recipes makes a large amount of brownies, not only do you use a 13x9 pan but they're thick too, so don't freak out when you realize you need 3 sticks of butter and half a dozen eggs. I usually cut them fairly small because they're so rich and fudgy this time I cut them larger than normal and got about two dozens brownies. I also made the "Elvis Blondies" that have been rolling around in my head but I think they need some serious tweaking before I commit to a recipe just yet. 


   We had a few brownies left since we had a massive amount of food as usual. In sweets alone we had these brownies and my blondies along with some butter pecan cookies that were delicious and addictive, a sinful chocolate cake with coffee filling, chocolate butter cream and chocolate ganache, banana pudding that was so light and creamy, grabbed that recipe up, some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, stole that recipe too, and guava and cream cheese empanadas that were redonkulously good. That was just the sweets, don't even get me started on the hearty stew, chips, onion dip, AREPAS, got that recipe too, HOLLA, muffins, bagels, veggies and Mediterranean salad that I need that recipe for, so good! Its amazing we weren't sick from gorging ourselves. So needless to say I had some brownie leftovers that I sent to work the mister, mostly to keep me from eating them ALL. According to what I heard back, his employees LOVED them too, like rolled their eyes back in their head and started muttering things, that kind of good. I highly recommend you make these for someone with a sweet tooth or for a chocoholic, they will be indebted to you for life! 


Adapted from: Nigella Lawson's Birthday Brownies
1/4 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cup butter (3 sticks)
14 oz super dark (but not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup semi sweet mini chips or chopped hazelnuts
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nutella
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or any type of Sea Salt, preferably a coarse grain)

Preheat over to 350° F. Butter and 9x13 baking pan and line with parchment paper. In a medium to large sauce pan, melt, Nutella, butter and chocolate over medium heat. Once melted remove from heat. In a separate bowl whisk together vanilla, eggs and sugar. Stir egg mixture, flour and chocolate chips or nuts into sauce pan. Pour batter into prepared pan and set aside. In another bowl, (I would recommend using a mixer here) whisk, cream cheese, Nutella and sugar together until smooth. Spoon medium sized dollops over the surface of the brownie batter and swirl with a knife and sprinkle on sea salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until mostly firm but not totally set.Allow to cool before slicing. Makes a maximum of 48 small brownies or 24 large brownies.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Currently.

Beef Tongue Tacos is where it's at!

Sorry I missed last weeks post. I was running around like a crazy woman packing at the time I would have normally been writing. And I'm sorry I haven't posted this past week and that I'm three days late with this weeks post, I have the plaque. Well, it's not the plaque but it feels like it. The husband took a sick day so he could take me to the ER, we actually decided to go to the CVS Minute Clinic, and I'm glad we did, I was in and out within an hour and had my prescriptions filled while I waited, which meant I came home and slept the rest of the day. Apparently if I had waited until Monday like I planned I would have been an much worse shape, the nurse was shocked I didn't have pneumonia, yikes! I also learned my blood pressure was waaaaaayyyyy up, which coupled with this sinus infection and some of the other issues I have been having explains why I'm so exhausted all the time and why I have been having some serious vertigo problems. I'm way too young to be feeling this bad and honestly, we eat pretty healthy around here so I'm confused as to what's going on. I feel like I'm getting too complainy, yes, I did just make that up. So I'll just say, that I'm sorry if my posts get kind of sporadic, I just have too much on my plate right now.

My little sister, who shares my brain when it comes to food, recently made those tacos pictured at the top. She made them with beef tongue and I know some of you are thinking, what, the what is she talking about, or that's gross, but they were delicious! And, beef tongue is a normal part of the cow to consume in many parts of the world and apparently, even here in the states but it's just not as common. She also made the tortillas too. She's kind of a power house in the kitchen, she just doesn't know it yet.

I'm dying to either starting redoing our house or find a new place. It's all because of things like this kitchen, or this kitchen, or this bedroom. I guess I'll be working rearranging and doing some cheap up dates after Christmas until we decide what the future holds. Maybe it's all because I've watched a trillion episodes of Color Splash this week, while I layed around and trying to heal myself with my brain powers.

I planned to do a Halloween re-cap for y'all but didn't get great shots so for the time being this will have to do.
Caleb in his amazing Jack Skellington costume and throwing up the rock fist, cause, ya know, he's awesome!
Liam the little Minion. He's never likes hats but he wore the glasses and hat for almost an hour before he realized it was there. I threw together a Minnie Mouse costume out of things I already had. My poor husband didn't have time to come up with anything and was too busy helping me get everything together for all of us that he got left out this year. I think I want to do a family costume next year. I'll have to get all my boys on board though.

One the menu this week:
These adorable mini chocolate chip cookies
Carrot Coconut Soup
Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pizza
Crockpot Pulled Pork Chilli
           


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Booooolicious Cupcake Minis {Dark Chocolate Dipped, Marshmallow Ghost Topped, Mini, Black Velvet Cupcakes}


Better late than never, right? These cupcakes were supposed to be up last week buuuuut I didn't get them done until this morning. I was going to finish them last night but at 10 pm, just as I was about to head into the kitchen, I felt the sudden urge to dress as Minnie Mouse for Halloween and scrambled around the house looking for costume pieces. Anyway, back to the cupcakes, I love love love these and they are delicious. This is my absolute favorite frosting to make and eat. And the ganache is so decadent tasting. It may look like a cute kiddie cupcake but it tastes like a grown up treat! My boys are all kinds of excited for trick or treating and I still have a LOT to do, so let's get to it!

For the Black Velvet Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cup a/p flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup hot coffee (I used hot water and a tablespoon of instant coffee)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Fill you mini muffin pan with liners and set aside. In a large bowl, but not the bowl for your mixer, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In the bowl for your mixer add, sugars and butter and mix well. Add you eggs and vanilla, mix for 1 minute on medium speed. Stir in your dry ingredients until just moistened. Slowly drizzle in the coffee while mixing on medium-low speed. Scrape down sides and mix until just combined. Do not over mix. Fill your cupcake pan up 2/3 of the way. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Allow to cool before dipping in ganache.
*Yields 4 dozen mini cupcakes.

For Black Chocolate Ganache:
6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz half and half
a few drops of black gel food coloring

In a double boiler, heat all ingredients on low heat, stirring constantly until smooth and combined. Once smooth and glossy remove from heat. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes in, coating all visible cake.
*Roll in sprinkles if desired.
* I can not stress this enough, do NOT use black liquid food coloring

For the Marshmallow Frosting:
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl for your mixer, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Gradually add sugar, continuously beating until soft peaks form. In small saucepan, heat corn syrup to boiling. Pour in thin stream over egg whites while beating on medium-high speed. Continue to beat until frosting is stiff. Beat in vanilla. Allow to cool slightly, fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe on frosting in tall peaks. 

*I used mini chocolate chips for the ghost's eyes.
*I would wait to top with the marshmallow within a couple hours of serving since the ghost like to lean. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Slowcooker Korean Beef Tacos



   I've been making this recipe for awhile now. It is is similar to Bulgogi, but, not that similar. We love Bulgogi and even though I have someone's secret family recipe, (thanks Jess!) I still can't make mine taste like hers. But this recipe is close enough to get by and delicious too! I know my husband loves it as much as I do, but, of course Monkey isn't a fan of anything with red meat. We weren't sure about how well Doodlebug would like it but we decided he's a fan, considering he literally licked his plate clean. I mean, he actually picked up the plate and licked it until there was nothing left. I suppose I can forgive his poor table manners considering he is only 14 months old.

   This is the perfect thing to make when you're to busy to spend more than 20 minutes total on dinner. The prep is super easy and and the slaw is a cinch to throw together. And as a bonus, it's super hearty and filling. It has become a staple in the comfort food category for my family.

For the meat:

2 lb beef roast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup diced pear or pear puree (I used a jar of left over pear baby food)
1/2 an onion, minced
2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar (sometimes I use brown sugar)
1 teaspoon Sriracha

Whisk everything, except roast, together in a bowl or measuring cup, taste to make sure the flavors are balanced. Put roast in the bottom of slow cooker and pour the marinade over. Cook, covered, on low for approximately 8 hours. When the meat is tender and falls apart easily, pull the roast out and place on a cutting board. Allow your roast to rest for just a few minutes, once it has cooled enough to touch, shred the meat with two forks. Place the meat back in the crock pot and stirring to coat in the liquid. If there is more liquid than meat continue to cook, with the lid off, for about 15 minutes or, long enough, for the sauce to cook down and thicken. Serve with slaw and flour tortillas.
* It can go longer than 8 hours if your schedule requires.

For the slaw:

1/2 head of cabbage shredded
2 tablespoons mayo
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons honey
salt to tast

Whisk the mayo, juice and honey together in a large bowl. Add in your cabbage and toss to coat. Season with salt. Serve along with the meat and tortillas.
*Make this just before serving. It gets soggy if it sets too long.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Currently.


I'm kind of failing to get stuff done around here lately, hence the lack of posts. To make matters worse, I feel like I'm coming down with the funk that my boys had/have and my husband is still sick and working a crazy schedule this week. He's off tomorrow (Saturday) and that is a rare treat in his line of work. So maybe, if I nap when the boys go to their Nana's today I can get my mojo back!


How awesome is the "angry Jack Skellington" Pumpkin the hubby carved? I free handed the drawing too! He amazes me often.

On the menu this week:
Apple Stuffed Mini Pumpkins
Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Pies
Apple and Brie Dessert Quesadillas
Chicken Pot Pie Galette
Creamed Honey

I neeeeed this slow cooker in my life! Yes, I have two, one is a huge, magnificent slow cooker with a timer, that was a gift from my Mom in law and an older, small, trustworthy hand-me-down from my Mom. But, every girl needs a pink, Hello Kitty slow cooker doesn't she? No? OK, fine, I just want it.

I'm loving my cute little note book. I have been holding onto this plain little composition notebook for months but wanted to make it cute. I always have three to four notebooks laying around. One for all menus, a small one for when ideas pop up while I'm out, one for work stuff and one for everything else. A couple of evenings ago, I was over doing what I needed to do, picking up toys, wiping noses, washing dishes, explaining why the letter c faces only one way and is wrong written backwards, I needed to do something I wanted to do. I was tired and mentally and creatively blocked. I sat down in the middle of the living room floor while the hubby was sleeping (he worked a couple of third shifts this past week) the baby was napping too and Caleb was at church and the house was quiet for the first time in days. I grabbed my notebook, some washi tape, white paint and Mod Podge. I painted the note book white to block out the pattern and covered with the tape in rows then I coated the whole thing in Mod Podge. You could probably skip that step, I was purposely trying to use up old tape that was losing its stick. I let it dry folded open for a couple of hours and now I have a new cute notebook for recipes! Not what I was planning, but, it is just too cute to use for boring works stuff and to get shredded and tossed when I'm done with it. Now I can write down recipes that I want to refer back to.

My Mom and I just planned the menu for our big Christmas Eve dinner yesterday. Yes, were are way ahead of schedule. We rotate "themes" out each year. One year was all multiple types of lasagna, another year was all chili, we've had traditional southern fried chicken with all the fixins, a fajita bar, the year of multiple soups, one year that was all sandwiches, one that was all appetizers, we've had some major successes and some failures too. No one will let me have a stir fry theme. :( But this year after my little, okay, she's not little in size, she's taller than me but, little as in, more than a decade younger than me, cousin has been begging for the a Taco themed year. We finally gave in, sort of, we are having multiple things from Mexican cuisine. Some authentic Mexican recipes, like the tamales, some not so much, since there will be ground beef and shredded cheddar on the taco bar, along with a ton of other things too. Regardless of what we make I am looking forward to it. But now I have to learn how to make flan, mostly because my other cousin, who's more like a sister, that I call Bob, which is another confusing story, wants flan and I have to make her happy, she's mean! (and she's totally going to read this and send me an ugly text! Hi, Bob! Larry loves you!!!)

Aaaannnnndddd... I just got rambly. Is that a word? Probably not, but I'm tired and have a sinus headache and my husband is at work so he's not here to correct me or laugh and my punch drunk nature. Maybe I should wrap this up and rest so I can finally finish reorganizing my kitchen this afternoon. Literally all of my pots and pans and dishes and blah blah blah are spread out in the kitchen floor, in piles of like items, so that I can find a new way to stay organized. I doubt it will last more than two weeks, but we will see!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Fun! {Painted, Glittered and Carved Pumpkins)


I had planned this amazing DIY post for a sophisticated Robin's Egg Blue and Bronze Pumpkin and then this happened. womp, womp, wommmmppppppp... fail city. My washi tape peeled off my paint. But I persevered on, painted that sucker pink, with thin layers this time, then grabbed grabbed white paint, glue and glitter. Tacky is more my style anyway. I'm a little bummed at how it turned out but I foresee another try in my future.

They boys made their own pumpkins too.



Caleb painted his with acrylic craft paints and and glitter glue then glued on googly eyes and craft foam features. He named him Scooby. (Bet you can't tell who his favorite cartoon character is right now)




Liam's was an easy little project. I just painted his hand blue with craft paint and helped him print it around out smallest pumpkin. He loves it. He carries it around and then every once in a while punts its across the floor.

For the big pumpkin, that's always the hubby's job but Caleb always picks the theme, we decided on a scary Jack Skellington. He is a recurring theme in our house... Believe it or not Lee drew on the pattern free hand with no pattern. He's kind of amazing like that. :)


Friday, October 18, 2013

Currently.

 My new motto! I'm printing this off to keep around as a reminder to just chill and see the good things and focus on them. 

And my other new motto


Duuudddeeee.... I am behind! I still haven't made the brownies that have been dancing around in my head for weeks now and I still haven't tackled my Elvis Cupcake/Blondie situation that is nagging my every thought. Don't get me started on my yearning for homemade pretzels and blackberry cheese danish muffins. And, I'm still at a lose for what to do with the left over strawberry sauce in my fridge! I have been suuuper stressed recently and there are two ways that I like to relax when problems arise, retail therapy and kitchen therapy. Well, with Christmas coming up I better not hit the stores so it looks like I better grab an apron and get to work!

So to catch you up, awesome weekend with family last weekend, only to be followed up with a wide spread, horrible stomach virus Sunday night to Tuesday night or so we thought. But, guess who reared it's ugly head again Thursday morning. Yep, it's baaaaacccckkk!

So the husband's week off to relax and get some projects done around the house, before his busy season starts, has been a full of absolutely no progress or relaxing but instead a lot of sicky gross stuff and soar muscles. Boooooo!!!

On the agenda this weekend, pumpkin carving/decorating. Minion costume making, if I can find the necessary ingredients, that is. And a whole lot of disinfecting!

On the menu this week: (once we can eat solid food)
Sweet Potato Chicken Hash
Pumpkin Cheddar Polenta
Thai Coconut Cauliflower

**SURPRISE AMBUSH BY THE HUSBAND! THIS WOMAN IS SO AMAZING. I HAVE BEEN A PUNY CHILD ALL WEEK AND SHE HAS BEEN A DREAM. I CAN'T LOVE AND APPRECIATE HER ENOUGH. I HOPE YOU HAVE AS MUCH FUN READING THIS AS SHE DOES MAKING IT.**

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Past Halloween Costumes

With Halloween coming up, I thought I would share my boys' previous costumes. We bought the costumes they wore when they were new babies, simply because it is easier to plan a head that way. Caleb has had a costume made by my mom every year since then.

In 2009, at was just over a month old, Caleb was Yoda.
While I was still pregnant we joked about how all babies look a little like Yoda and thus this costume was chosen.
My husband is also a bit geek/nerd and that has played a bit of a role in all of Caleb's costume choices. 


Cute this one is, yes.

Then we changed him into a cute little pumpkin onesie and hat.


 How cute was that, right? I mean, do you see the writing on the itty bitty feet???



The next year, 2010, he was still too young to have too much input. He was just barely 1. 
After brainstorming Mom came up with the idea to surprise my husband with a Green Lantern costume. 
It is the hubby's favorite super hero.


Mom used a pair of PJs as a pattern and then painted on the emblem.
He hit a growth spurt right before Halloween so it's a tiny bit small but I loved it then and love it still!


How adorable are they?

In 2011, he was two and very opinionated about his costume choice.
He was very into robots that year. His birthday party was even a Robot Party.


This year we had even less cooperation from him standing still for pictures.


The costume was a silver tunic with silver leg covers that he wore over a black turtle neck and black fleece pants. 
.My Mom hand painted the gears.


I made a jet pack out of a couple of two liter soda bottles and a hat out of a plastic food container.
I used chrome colored duct tape and cut the shapes from the Robotz Cricut cartridge.


He loved it! He wore that jet pack around the house until it was broken beyond repair.
I've promised him a new one, so I may do a DIY post about it. 


Last year, 2012, was the year of the super hero.
His 3rd birthday party matched his costume  for that year once again.
He chose Captain America.


She used the same basic idea from the Green Lantern costume.
She made this one out of a spandex material and painted on the details.
He wanted to wear his adult sized mask and we had his shield but we totally forgot to snap a picture with it. 
We made the boots out of red duct tape and knee socks.
We cut them off at the end of the night.


 My sister is the bestest and made a quick Thor costume. 
She dresses up with some of the other instructors where she teaches. 
Last year they all did super heroes.
This year they are doing Ninja Turtles. She's crazy if the thinks I won't be posting pictures. :)



Liam was a lion.
He was Liam the Lion before he was born, kind of like Caleb has always been monkey. :)


While my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law were out shopping they ran upon it and bought it on the spot. They knew we would be on board with it. 
And we were. he loved be snuggled up in it. 


We also had a back up for him too, like we did when Caleb was a baby.



He wore his spooky onesie with his brother's pumpkin hat. 

This year Caleb is going a Jack Skellington and Liam is going as a Minion. I'm planning a post on how to make the Minion costume. I'll post pictures of Caleb's Jack costume. I truly wish I could share a tutorial but once again my Mom took care of it and I didn't even thing the have her snap progress shots. He wore it on the Disney cruise they went on a couple of weeks back. He loves it and it is my favorite yet! He was asking to be a orange dragon with purple wings that spit real fire and would fly. We were super happy he was on board with the Jack idea since her nor I know anything about pyrotechnics!