Oct 30, 2009

Pumpkin Cookies

Today was our daycare Halloween party which was fun, but also a lot of work and a lot of hyper little costumed kids screaming and crying because it took me 45 minutes to get them dressed only to have them rip them off right after I took pics. *sigh* Besides that, it was fun!

I made a pumpkin shaped pizza for lunch, played Halloween bingo and pin the nose on the Jack-O-Lantern. For prizes I made them all Halloween bookmarks, gotta love free printables online!! And for dessert, I found this FABULOUS recipe for Pumpkin Cookies that are really incredible. Very moist and flavorful, I made a normal cream cheese frosting to frost them with, and then let the kids frost them and add some Halloween sprinkles. What fun (and mess:) they had!!

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies
1 C. Butter, softened
1 C. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. canned pumpkin puree
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 pkg instant vanilla pudding

Preheat oven to 350 and grease cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, stir in pumpkin puree. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pudding; gradually add to pumpkin mixture. Using cookie scoop, or spoon, shape dough into balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

For the cream cheese frosting, mix together 1/4 C softened butter, 1/2 pkg softened cream cheese, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1 C. powdered sugar. Add enough milk to the right consistency.

Rachel said these would be perfect for breakfast, and I think she's right, would be better with a steaming hot cup of coffee??!! Have a wonderful and SAFE Halloween everyone!!

Oct 29, 2009

Butternut Squash Bread

If there is one thing (ok, maybe several, but I'm talkin about one right now...) that is a vice for me, as far as food is concerned, it would be bread. And I'm not talking about the store bought kind, I don't like it, but the good ole homemade stuff. I am addicted. Honestly, the smell, the contrast of crusty outside and the soft inside, really what ISN'T there to love???? My favorite bread recipe right now is a Butternut Squash recipe I found on Allrecipes.com. This is perfect for me, because I have squash from the garden that needs to be used up. It is suuuuuper easy to make, and I love that it makes three loaves. I have given some to my daycare families, and inlaws, definitely a hit!

Butternut Squash Bread

2 (.25 ounce) pkgs yeast
1/2 C. warm water
1 1/4 C. mashed squash
1 C. warm milk
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/3 C. melted butter
1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. salt
7 C all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water, let stand 5 minutes. Add squash, milk, eggs, butter, sugar and salt; mix well. Gradually add 3 1/2 C. flour, beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface 6-8 minutes, or in your mixer with a dough hook 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease both sides, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour. Punch down, shape into three loaves; place in three greased loaf pans and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Oct 28, 2009

Great Weekend!

Ohhhhhh my, what a WONDERFUL weekend I had! I had Friday off and after running some errands (and locking my keys in the van, grrrr...) I headed out to Whispering Prairie Retreat in Foreston, about a half hour from here. It was a log home out in the country (prairie-like, hence the name, hee-hee) that is set up specifically for scrapbooking. There were 11 ladies there and each of us had our own beds, which was nice. The basement was where all the scrapbooking stuff was set up. They also had Let's Dish prepare the food for us, so all we had to do was thaw and bake! We stayed up late both nights and were up early to get to work:) I completed a Christmas present that I needed to make, plus I made 33 pages for the girls' scrapbooks! I truly cannot stress how wonderful the weekend was, I soooooo badly needed that!

I hope to get back into posting again, now that the week is half over!!!

Oct 22, 2009

Weekend Getaway!

I am off for the weekend! I am going with 10 other lovely ladies to a beautiful scrap booking retreat. It is a big log home on several acres of land, so I look forward to getting in some scenic walks too:) They also have Let's Dish cater in the food, so we don't even have to cook, double woohoo!!! I just cannot wait to get away for a few days.

Tonight I have a Women and Wine event that is sponsored by the St.Joseph Women of Today (that I just recently joined). There will be wine samplings and appetizers and just some good ole fun socializing with other women, should be lots of fun!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe weekend!!

Oct 20, 2009

Beef and Noodle Casserole

I got this recipe from a Taste of Home Casserole mini book that we received at the TOH Cooking Show in Sept. I have modified it a bit, but we LOVE this casserole, plus it's easy. What could be better??!!

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1 Tbl. butter
1 large onion
1 C. chopped green pepper (I did half green half red)
1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce
1 Pkg. wide noodles, cooked and drained
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

Now, I don't buy cream soups, as I always make my own. So, I sauteed up some mushrooms and made a cream sauce (just equal amounts of butter and flour, cook, and add milk until the right consistency) to add to the hot dish.

*In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, drain. In the same skillet, melt butter and saute onion and peppers until tender. Add beef, Worcestershire sauce, noodles and soups.

Transfer to a greased 3 qt. baking dish; top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until heated through.

Oct 18, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It's time again for Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie!! It's going to (another) busy week here. Brad was gone all weekend hunting, and then leaves tomorrow morning for a meeting in Iowa and will be back on Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday I have meetings and then Friday I leave for a scrap booking weekend!! I CANNOT WAIT!!!! I am leaving Friday morning and come home Sunday afternoon. I plan on working on Christmas presents along with the girls' scrap books. Fun, fun weekend with lots of laughing and good food:)

Here is the menu from this week, kind of short.

Monday- Breakfast- Cereal, toast and fruit (I will be making more of Sno White's granola)

Lunch- Pigs in a Blanket- LOVE these things, although I would like to find a recipe with homemade breading instead of crescent rolls:)

Supper- Grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, soup (haven't figured out yet what kind:)

Tuesday- Breakfast- Pumpkin pancakes

Lunch- Chicken and black bean quesadillas

Supper- Beef Stew (I think this was on last weeks menu too, but I never got around to making it)

Wednesday- Breakfast- Oatmeal with apples

Lunch- Bacon and Cheeseburger Rice

Supper- Tortilla Lasagna

Thursday- Breakfast- Blueberry muffins

Lunch- Beef and Noodle Casserole

Supper- Leftovers

Friday- I'M GONE!!!

Oct 15, 2009

This Week's Projects

I've been a very busy elf this week! I got the crafting bug in me big time, so I caroused some of my fave blogs and decided to try my hand at some things this week! My first project was from the Idea Room, she made these adorable fabric pumpkins and they looked ohhhhhh soooooo easy to make:) For those of you who know me, I do not sew. I have a sewing machine, but don't know how to use it. I know, it's a cryin shame. So, although she sewed hers with a machine, I did mine by hand. Well, most of it by hand. By the time I got to the stem, I'd had enough and decided to hot glue the rest, lol! The ribbon hides the flaws from the hot glue. All in all, I think it's cute! My Dad says it's an "abstract pumpkin"....
One of my other favorite crafts from blog land are these scrapbooked picture frames. I happened to have the frame on hand (duh, I have three girls:), and all the other accessories to make this. I looooove it! I'm not sure what phrase I can use for Thanksgiving, but I thought for Christmas I can use "ho-ho-ho". And the price? FREE!!

My last project was the "harvest" block, I got the idea from here.
I found the block out in the garage, and washed it a bit. Rachel painted the block orange, but it was pretty bright. So I painted over it with black, and then wiped it off right away. I then used my Cricut machine and other things I had on hand. Love it. I am hoping to make more of the small fabric pumpkins for my guests at Thanksgiving. Thought it would be a cute little favor for the gals!
Believe it or not, I have also started Christmas shopping (I'm pretty sure I am NOT alone in this category, lol!!) So this weekend I am going to share how I keep Christmas organized:)

Until then....

Oct 13, 2009

Turkey and Avocado Paninis with Ciabatta Bread

I have posted before about the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and how it is one of my FAVORITE cookbooks. It's easy, versatile and absolutely delicious! Combine that with Allrecipe.com's Turkey Avocado Panini and you have yourself an amazing sandwich that makes you forget all about your day filled with sneezing, coughing, snot nose kids:) Enjoy!!

Ciabatta Bread- Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

3 C. Lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbl. Granulated yeast (1 1/2 packets)
1 1/2 Tbl Salt
6 1/2 C. Unsifted, unbleached all-purpose white flour

Mix water, yeast and salt in a 5 quart bowl, or a lidded plastic food container (I use my 5 quart Rubbermaid container that has a lid). Mix in the flour, (I usually use my hands to get it all mixed together). Do not knead! Place lid on top, but do not press the lid on completely, let it sit on top. Let rise for two hours. When ready to use dough, cut off a 1 lb piece of dough (I used a bit more, being that I was using it to make sandwiches) using wet hands. For Ciabatta bread, sprinkle stone with flour and place dough on top. Let sit for 20 minutes. bake at 450 for 20 minutes. Make sure to have a pan of boiling water underneath the pan of bread, makes the crust nice and crispy:) Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of dough, bake and enjoy!

With the extra dough in your container, keep in the fridge. Never place the lid on airtight. I usually go through three loaves of bread with one batch of dough. It's so nice to be able to have fresh bread without all the work! Always let bread "rest" for 20 minutes before baking.

As always, linking up to Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays, and Tuesdays at the Table

Oct 12, 2009

Meals This Week

I am going to attempt to post my weekly menus, and link up to Organizing Junkies Menu Plan Monday . I always have them, but forget to post them on here:) Usually Sunday afternoons are my meal planning day. It is one of my favorite parts of the weekend. I snuggle down with a hot cup of tea, spread out my Taste of Home magazines and Rachael Ray mags and go to town! It takes me roughly an hour or two, but I don't mind, I love finding new recipes to try. After I have my week planned out, I order groceries (one of the GREATEST inventions God created:) based on what I have, and what's on sale. For one week, I try to keep it under $100, remember that I also have 3 kids and 5 daycare kids to feed.

So, here is what on the menu for this week!!

Monday- Breakfast- Cereal, toast, banana, this is what we have every Monday. I made a big batch of Sno White's Apple Granola which the girls LOVED!
Lunch- Calico Beans, grilled cheese
Supper- Leftover Calico Beans, Turkey Avocado Paninis on homemade Ciabatta bread

Tuesday- Breakfast- Apple pancakes
Lunch- Chicken Hot Dish
Supper- Beef Stew

Wednesday- Breakfast- Baked Oatmeal
Lunch- Baked Penne
Supper- Tortilla Lasagna

Thursday- Breakfast- Pumpkin muffins
Lunch- Upside Down Pizza
Supper- Homemade Venison Sausage with potatoes

Friday- Breakfast- Double Wheat Waffles
Lunch- Egg and Hash Brown bake in the crock pot
Supper- Homemade Pizza with Sweet Basil Pizza Sauce

Happy Eating!!

Oct 8, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, so this isn't the best picture, I completely forgot to take a pic before I "staged" it, lol. But in all honesty, this is the BEST chicken potpie I have ever had. My girlfriend Lisa and I were lucky enough to go to the Taste Of Home Cooking School that was in town back in September. It was SUCH a blast, they had a ton of vendors there before hand, that you could check out, taste samples, wine, etc. Then for about two hours you watched a rep from TOH cook. When you came in, they gave you a reusable grocery bag full of goodies, including a TOH special edition Fall magazine, a Light and Delicious magazine, and a Casserole cookbook. This is where this recipe comes from. It is AMAZING! The only changes I made to it, was to make my own white sauce, as I don't use canned soups.

Vegetable Chicken Potpie

1 unbaked deep-dish pastry shell (9 inches) (I didn't use this, I just had a topping)
3/4 C. each chopped carrot, celery and onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbl canola oil
1/2 pound boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes ( I actually had cubed cooked chicken in the freezer already)
1 C. chicken broth
3/4 C. peeled potatoes
3/4 C. frozen peas
2 Tbl. minced fresh parsley ( I always have fresh parsley on hand, it's super cheap, and I have a lot of recipes that call for it)
2 Tbl. butter
2 Tbl all purpose flour
1 C. milk
1/2 C. condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce

2 C. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 C. buttermilk
1/3 C. unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbl. butter, melted

Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 425 for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer.

In a large skillet, saute vegetables and garlic in oil for 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Add chicken; cook until lightly browned. Add broth; bring to a boil. Add the potatoes, peas and parsley. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour; gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in soup until smooth. Add hot pepper sauce. Stir into vegetable mixture. Transfer to pastry shell.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine buttermilk, applesauce and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Drop by spoonfuls over the filling (I spread it out so it covered the entire pan). Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

I also added shredded cheese before adding the topping.

Oct 7, 2009

It's Hard to Say Goodbye....

My Grandma passed away last night. It is SUCH a blessing, as she was suffering much more than she should ever had (she had pneumonia), but it is still such a loss for all of us. It's been a hard year, as I lost my other Grandma in July. It's interesting how you kind of become child-like in your thinking, I came home crying (I was actually doing a home visit with a mom who was having a hard time breastfeeding) and told Brad that I don't want to get any older, I don't want life to change. I have been blessed to have 3 out of 4 Grandparents for all my 34 years. I have learned so much from each of them, much more than I think they will ever know. I have so many wonderful memories growing up, and I'm so thankful that my girls were able to know them too.

It's just hard knowing that I can't call them up to say that I'm coming down for a visit:) I will miss making cookies with my Grandma "Omi", looking at how everything in her house coordinated (literally, she would put color coordinated ribbons on everything, lol), and watching her busy herself in the kitchen. I will miss the many fishing trips with her and Grandpa and laughing at her cap she would always wear. I will miss Grandma Trellis' little smirk when would say something (she wasn't afraid of being honest:), picking strawberries from her garden, knowing that she always had Twizzlers and Little Debbie snack cakes above the washing machine, tea parties and watching her cook.

I had to chuckle because I was sooooo lucky to go down and see Grandma Trellis a couple weeks ago when she was doing good, and she asked if I was still cooking al ot, to which I replied "yes". She informed me that she hated cooking! WHAT??!!! She always made the most wonderful food, how could she not like it??!!

I will always cherish those special moments that I with both my Grandmas before they passed, what an incredible that was.

Oct 6, 2009


I am in under disbelief that I actually figured out how to add another column on here!!! Ok, ok, so I found this fab tutorial that gives you step by step instructions (thank heavens, or I would NEVER be able to figure it out:). I was just feeling like my blog was so busy, so I love how it turned out. Now, just to figure out how to adjust my header, *sigh*. Seriously......

Under Construction!

Please excuse the "mess" you might see here:) I am working on a different layout and depending on how well it goes, I hope to be done this week, lol! I am totally NOT a computer whiz, but I'm going to try, none-the-less:)

P.S. All of my buttons are waaaaaaaaay down at the bottom, now I'm trying to figure out how to get them up, but so far haven't, lol. If anyone knows, please help!! So if you are wondering where my buttons/followers went to scrolll all the way down....

Oct 5, 2009

A Giveaway!

So, everyone must go check out Rainy Day Farm's giveaway that she is doing. She made these FABULOUS blocks that everyone must have. These are one of the cutest crafts I have seen, and if I don't win (pick me, pick me!!) I might have to try my hand at making them...

I am thoroughly enjoying blogland this Fall, and cannot wait until the Holidays to see what everyone will be making/decorating. I have met so many awesome ladies, and feel very blessed to be able to join them on their "journeys" whether it be cooking, decorating or learning more about the Lord. So, now I would like to pass on the "Lovely Blog Award" to some amazing ladies....
http://homeismyparadise.blogspot.com/ Mandy just started blogging, and her blog is already awesome!
http://calangel58.blogspot.com/ Alicia's blog is full of great decorating ideas and recipes!
http://chevonee.blogspot.com/ Chevonee's blog has some insight on the Christian faith. Her posts are always good thinkers!
And finally...
http://smellingcoffeetoday.blogspot.com/ I love Jennifer's blog, she is always posting scripture that I am needing to read for that day:)

Oct 4, 2009

A Great Weekend!

Yesterday marked the first days of me becoming "single mom" on the weekends, lol. Brad started hunting, and it was ridiculous how excited that man was. Really?? Getting up at 3:30 and sitting out in the cold for hours waiting for birds to fly?? Hmmm, I don't get it, but that's ok too:)
The girls and I had a great day of crafting and scrapbooking. Alayna went to a friends house for a few hours, she was sooo excited that she had a play date! So I took the older two and we went to Crafts Direct, as they wanted to pick up some things for scrapbooking. I am always amazed every time I walk in that store how incredible it is. We came home and started crafting. We made a glass block for a friend of mine's new baby girl. We put "Sweet Dreams" in vinyl on the front and filled it with mini lights and pink and white glass beads, and tied it up with a beautiful pink ribbon.
The girls also sanded down some blocks of wood I found in the garage and painted them orange to make into pumpkins. I will post pics as soon as we finish them. After all that, we got out the scrapbooking stuff and have a lovely huuuuuge mess in the family room. While scrapping, I decided to rent the Hannah Montana movie from PPV. Unfortunately, I will have to admit that I actually CRIED while watching it. Yes, that is correct, I cried. I have (obviously for good reason) been very emotional the past week, and the part where her father and her are singing together just got to me. I'm not sure what the song was, but it was about her growing up. Made me sad to think how fast my girls are growing up.
All in all, it was just a great day of doing fun stuff with the girls, and I love that they are of the age of doing crafts and scrapbooking! This morning I am making Caramel Strata from Rainy Day Farm, cannot wait to try it! Then it's off to Sunday School and Church. Alayna says she will go to Sunday School today, so we will see. All she wants is to play playdough and eat a snack, lol:)
Also, I will be passing along the "Lovely Blog" award, so look for some new and awesome blogs that I get to pass on the award to, yay!!
I just had to include the pic of sweet Emma trying to scrapbook while Fluffy is laying on the table bothering her, it was so cute to hear her scold the cat, lol! And the centerpiece I just bought at Crafts Direct, the tray was clearanced out for $4 and the candle holder was $5, the fall picks were $1 a piece, yay for clearance sales!!!
Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

Oct 2, 2009

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but next March my husband and I are taking a Mexico trip with four other couples. So, of course you start to think about how you will be living in a swimsuit for seven days straight. YIKES!!!! Not sure how great I feel about that:) Brad and I decided to start eating better and not snacking at night.

Everything was going fine until my sister in law gave me a jar of her homemade raspberry jam and I was instantly taken back to a restaurant where I had a Monte Cristo sandwich. It was truly the most A-M-A-Z-I-N-G sandwich I have ever eaten. Like pure heaven. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and decided to tackle it. The only changes I made were to add a pinch of nutmeg to the batter, and used provolone cheese instead of Swiss. Let's just say that upon taking the first bite, all you could here were groans coming from our mouths. And Miss Emma, who is quite the picky eater, had three of them (the sandwiches are quartered before you fry them).

Sooooo, without having salivating anymore, here is the recipe!

Monte Cristo Sandwiches- Modified from Allrecipes.com
2/3 cup water
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices wheat bread
4 slices provolone
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Raspberry jam for dipping

Heat oil to 365 degrees F (180 degrees C). While oil is heating, make the batter: Whisk together the egg and water in a medium size bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator. I made the batter right after lunch so it was ready by supper.
Assemble sandwiches by placing one slice of turkey on one slice of bread, a slice of ham on another, then sandwich them with the provolone cheese in the middle. Some recipes call for a mixture of mustard and mayo to spread on sandwiches, but I left it out. Cut sandwiches into quarters, and secure with toothpicks.
Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated. Deep fry in the hot oil until golden brown on all sides. Remove toothpicks and arrange on a serving tray. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving, and dip sandwiches in raspberry jam!!

I will be linking this up with Tasty Tuesday, Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday and Tuesdays at the Table for next week!

Monte Cristo Sandwiches on Foodista