Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Game Day Recipes & A Super Bowl Commercial!

Let's be real - I watch the Super Bowl because I love the commercials. Here's a preview of one I found online - it stars Matthew Broderick in a Ferris Bueller commercial! LOVE it!




My second favorite thing about the Super Bowl is the FOOD! I consider it "snack day." I've got a couple of great recipes to kick off your party!

First up is my Sin Dip! It's so yummy and filling! It's got cheese, ham, cream cheese, scallions and all sorts of yumminess!

And what football party is complete without something spicy - like my Buffalo Chicken Bites! These are perfect, bite sized snacks that you can dip in ranch or blue cheese! Serve with carrots and celery! Delish!
What's your favorite game day recipe?
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Photography Class

I had been looking forward to Saturday for a lonnnng time. Why? Because I had signed up to take a photography class!

I love taking photos of my kids and also of food. I know, that's weird. Oh well.

I had a Canon xsi but it broke and even though I bought it a few years ago, the store issued me a full refund, including the warranty amount! Chris upgraded me to a Canon 60d, which is AWESOME, but I didn't know how to use it.

So, Melanie, the photographer who took our family pics this October (which reminds me, I never posted those...need to add that to my to do list!) was going to be teaching a class at a local Italian restaurant (score!!) so I signed up!

I learned all sorts of awesome stuff about my camera, and I really had a lot of fun. One of the girls who attended actually reads my blog which was pretty cool (hi Ginger!). I think everyone had a lot of fun and it was very relaxed.

Here are some shots I was taking as I learned about the settings I have:
The best one (straight out of the camera, without editing).
There are some great websites I've found along the way that also have good tips for using your DSLR camera. I pin most of them to my Photography board on Pinterest and I'll be adding new ones as I come across them!
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A little late because I've been gone...but it's still Wednesday! I took these while they were eating, hence the foodie faces. =)


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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ravioli Bake & Enter to Win!

Easy, Cheesy, Ravioli Bake!

Iím betting youíve noticed I love to cook. More than that, I really enjoy making recipes my entire family can eat and enjoy. Iíve never been the mom who cooks two separate meals-one for the adults and one for the kids!

Finding recipes everyone can love is sometimes a challenge. One of my goals here is to share recipes my family truly enjoys-and recipes that are simple as well!

IMG_3354_cans

I have a new, SUPER EASY recipe for you. This honestly takes about 5 minutes to mix up, and then you bake it for 25 minutes. Serve it with a side of broccoli or some fruit, and you have a well rounded, easy, and FAST meal!

I took something I grew up loving to create my Easy, Cheese Ravioli bake.

As a kid, I loved Chef Boyardee, and I bet you did too! We still love the Chef Boyardee brand, and one of my favorite things about their products is that they are preservative free.

But have you ever thought of using Chef Boyardee as an ingredient in a fast, delicious meal? Thatís what Iíve done today!

The Recipe: Easy, Cheese Ravioli Bake IMG_3360-ing

2 cans of Chef Boyardee Cheese Ravioli in Meat Sauce

1 cup (divided) of shredded Monterey jack cheese

1/2 cup ricotta cheese

4 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine Chef Boyardee Cheese Ravioli with 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack, ricotta cheese, basil and pepper.

Mix well.

Pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking dish.

Top with 1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack.

Top that with bread crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly, and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

IMG_3366-fin

*Note - this recipe freezes well. Just combine ingredients, and pour into greased baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and tin foil. Write baking instructions on tin foil.

Itís also an easy dish to take to friends that have a new baby!

This is such a great recipe to make with your kids. And Chef Boyardee has so many other great recipes that you and your kids can enjoy making together too!

Visit their Facebook page for more great ideas.

How would you like to win free groceries for a YEAR?! Create your very own unique recipe featuring Chef Boyardee and enter Chef Boyardeeís Make It Boyardeelicious Recipe Contest from December 29, 2011 through March 11, 2012 for your chance to win free groceries for a year as well as one of ten $500 weekly cash prizes. Then visit Chef Boyardeeís Facebook page from March 26, 2012 through April 8, 2012 to vote for your favorite recipes from the ìMake It Boyardeelicious Recipe Contest.î Each day, one voter will be selected to win a $100 cash prize.

Be sure to visit the Chef Boyardee Roundup page on BlogHer.com to check out other bloggersí recipes!

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Our Weekend

Wow. Some weekends are so short and others seem to last forever. And some feel like they've been both short and lasted forever. That was this weekend.

Saturday I got to spend the day with my mom which is always fun but doesn't happen often without the kids! Chris watched the boys and took them to "their" spot - a local pizza place that has mac n cheese pizza. Anytime I have a girls night or something going on, they wind up there. I've never been!

First, my mom and I went to a baby shower for my friend Elizabeth. She helped throw Brody's shower. This was part of her gift for baby Elijah:
A local shop, The Pink Lilli, made them for us. She does a great job!

After the shower, we ran a few errands and had lunch at one of my favorite local places. They have awesome tomato soup! Then we went and got our nails done together. I'm generally a pale pink shellac kinda girl, but I got this awesome dark gray last time (see here) and I loved it so much that I got it again!

Remember how I mentioned we adopted another dog? Well, anytime we pick up a dog we try to find it's home in case it was an accident and the dog just escaped. This time I was really pretty sure that it had just been dumped because of where Chris found him, but it turned out that he had escaped. The owners grandson had let him out and he ran off. So as much as we loved Aspen, we are glad he is back home with a his very loving family!

Brody has begun to try to talk much more this weekend. He's saying ball, done, Bubba (for Brayden) and book in addition to his other words. He is so proud of himself when he says something and we understand him! Ha! Brayden is a great translator - he always knows exactly what Brody is saying. It's SO cute!

And lastly, a word of warning if you car has tire pressure sensors. Three or four weeks ago my sensor went off saying my right rear tire had low pressure. I got out and looked at it, and measured it with this silver thing my brother gave me (tire gauge? I don't know what it's called). It said the tire was fine. So, meanwhile, I've completely been ignoring the warnings my car shouts at me every time I start it. Well, apparently, the sensor is actually ON the tire, so when I had my tires rotated the right rear tire became the front right tire and it actually IS low. Super low. So, just so ya know, the sensor is on the tire, and if you get a warning, just check all of your tires!
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Low Fat Lunches

As a stay at home mom, I am literally home everyday. My kids don't go to MDO or KDO, and we aren't at preschool age yet, which means I'm serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner, everyday. I don't really struggle with breakfast or dinner options, but for some reason, lunch stumps me.

Now, I shouldn't admit this, but we do go to Chickfila quite often. I love their Southwest Salad and the kids love their grilled nuggets and fruit cups. And I really shouldn't admit that I'm on a first name basis with most of the lunch staff, including the manager. Nope. Not admitting it.

So, I'm hoping that you all will want to participate in this little link up idea I had. If you have a low fat lunch idea (since it seems like most of us are still in "It's January! I'm dieting!" mode) then I hope you'll link it up here. Have a picture? Even better!

So, here is my contribution. It's above, in the picture. I use a 70 calorie spinach tortilla, top it with 1T of chive spread, 2T of cheese, 4 slices of (thin!) ham and 4 slices of turkey. Total calories? 350. Not bad! And you could add a ton of veggies to this if you like - tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce...I'm just not a huge fan of veggies.

So, I hope that you will link up with me and share your Low Fat Lunch Ideas! And tell your friends - the more recipes, the better!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pins that WORKED!

I have run across some seriously good pins on Pinterest lately. Ones that are just too good not to share! BTW, you can find me on Pinterest by clicking here!

First up, raise your hand if you've seen the baking soda facial floating around!

You mix 3T baking soda with 1T water and then apply it in a circular motion to your face. Let it sit for 5 minutes then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat once weekly. I did this and it was like having a microdermabrasion! My skin feels SO much softer!


Idea #2 also uses baking soda. So, this one wasn't really a pin that I did, but the idea was inspired by a pin. The original pin used 3 or 4 chemicals and baking soda to soak and clean your grates.

What I did was sprinkle baking soda all over my stove and greats and then put a light mist of water over them. I let them sit for about 20 minutes (more is probably fine, I'm just impatient) and then used a sponge to clean them off. It worked really well!

You know I love my Apple products and when I found this tutorial with 50 tips for your iPad I read through them and pinned it. There is some really useful stuff!
(Source)

What good pins have you come across? Share the link to your pinterest page in the comments too!
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Party People

This post is dedicated to the kiddos! I just had way to many pictures and I don't like posts that have a bazillion pics in them, so I broke this up!

First, my little piggy, Brody! Both boys had custom shirts from SheShe Made!

Sweet Connor - I love his hair.
Miss Cilla!
Jillian and my Brody:
Brayden had a special Angry Birds cupcake with his candles in it. It's so funny - on his birthday, which was actually Friday, we took him to Red Robin, because that's where he wanted to go (notice a bird theme here?!). They brought him dessert and sang to him. Ohmygosh, he got SO embarrassed! He covered his face and hid until it was over! But on party day, my little ham loved it!

Eating his cupcake in what I am convinced is the messiest way possible!

We had to get a family picture!
I love this - Stella and Cilla look like their planking! Ha!
Some of the kids playing the game!
Everyone had so much fun! I am so glad Brayden picked the Angry Bird theme!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Party Details

I had 15 pictures for the party post, so I decided to break it up into TWO posts - this one is all of the details, and the next one is all of the kids playing.

So, Brayden choose to have an Angry Birds bird-day (hehe) party. Let me tell you, this was such a fun theme!

First up, the favors! Lindsey made all of the super cute details for this party - favor tags, banner, outdoor sign, centerpieces, cupcake toppers - anything you see that is creative, I ordered from her! So be sure to check her out!

The favor tags say "Thanks for crashing my party!" and inside the bag is a pack of coloring crayons, a Angry Bird coloring sheet and one of my friend Holly's super cute, handmade, Angry Bird sugar cookies! Holly doesn't have a cookie blog set up quite yet (I'll be sure to mention it when she does!) but you can reach her at Thedoughmestichousewife AT gmail DOT com!

The sign and centerpieces:
Super cute cupcakes and toppers! There is a new bakery in my town and they did a great job providing some tasty cupcakes!
Tables, coloring tables, balloons! We also had a banner and gift table that I managed to not get a picture of. I also forgot to get pictures of the food but we ordered BBQ and I also made a double batch of this yummy dip.

My kids have more than enough toys, so we were collecting toys for the kids at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We will be visiting in March to celebrate their 100th anniversary and Brayden is SO excited to take the toys to the kids there! Proud mom moment!
I set up two activities for the kids. One was this coloring table with Angry Birds coloring sheets. I printed these off the internet for free! We covered the table in brown butcher paper in case they went off the page!
And the BEST activity - I made a real, live, Angry Birds game for the kids to play! It was a HUGE hit! Thanks to all my friends for saving diaper boxes for me! This is what I used them for!

My mom, Chris and I covered them in brown butcher paper and stacked them up for the kids. They used plush Angry Bird toys to throw at the boxes! A few adults (who shall remain nameless) may have also played a round or two!

So those are the deets! More party pics to come!
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brayden's (actual) Birthday!

Friday was Brayden's actual birthday, so my family went to lunch at Chuck E Cheese to celebrate before his big party on Saturday!

Can you tell he was happy??
Brody was completely enthralled by the big mouse. At first he was a little scared but then he wanted right up there with him!
Brayden got a few gifts (for his big party we asked that in lieu of gifts for Brayden, our friends bring gifts for the children at Arkansas Children's Hospital) and my mom brought Brody a little gift too. He was SO excited to be included!
Brayden saying thank you!
And more games. I don't have a picture but I set a new high score on the skeeball machine at Chuck E Cheese. And yes, I AM blogging that. What? I think it's an accomplishment! Hahaha!

Happy birthday to my sweet little, big, B Man!

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

109 Calorie Deep, Dark Chocolate Cookies

I know that so many of us are using Spark People and My Fitness Pal to calculate the calories we're taking in each day. I've been on the hunt for some good, low cal desserts, because this is the area I struggle with. I could easily use up all of my 1200 calories a day on chocolate and bread. Or chocolatey bread.

Or cookies.

And then I stumbled across these cookies that use NO FLOUR and NO BUTTER and are only 109 calories EACH! Holy moly!

I made them and let me tell you, they are GOOD. You don't feel like you're giving up anything at all.


Deep, Dark Chocolate Cookies

Source: Bon Appétit

Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided

3 large egg whites, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Brayden!

Today is this sweet little miracles THIRD birthday!

Where did the time go?


Brayden,

Your Daddy and I are so very proud of you. You are the kindest, smartest, sweetest big boy we know. You are the very best big brother to Brody and you love to teach him new things as well as keep him out of trouble. You enjoy learning too - anything I can teach you, you just gobble up.

Your 4-wheeler is your favorite toy to play on but you still love that little John Deere tractor that GrandDaddy bought you when you were small. Speaking of John Deere, your favorite song is John Deere Green and you love watching YouTube videos of farm equipment. You're completely convinced that you could easily drive a tractor after watching a 5 year old do it on YouTube.

You still don't really like to eat, but when you do, you prefer healthy foods. Grilled chicken on a wheat roll from Chick Fil A, with chocolate soy milk is your favorite meal. You love anything and everything I bake. If you see me make it, you can't wait to try it.

You have the sweetest manners - always saying please and thank you, or no, thank you. You also give a reason for absolutely everything. You are so ahead on your speech, it's unreal. You justify points and argue your thoughts with us.

You want to be just like your Daddy. You want to dress like him, only ride in his truck if he is home, and just do whatever it is that he is doing. We hear "I'll help you, Daddy" about 50 times a day, and it is so sweet.

When you were born, we didn't know if we would be bringing you home. We are so, so thankful that God choose to let us keep you here. We couldn't love you any more if we tried, my precious little man.

We can't wait to see what the next three years bring sweet boy.

Love,
Mommy and Daddy
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Thursday, January 12, 2012

A normal, crazy week around here...

It's Thursday, right?

Do you ever feel like that? Sometimes the days just get away from me! This week started with dental work for me. Thankfully, I was orally sedated which explains why I don't really remember Monday...

Tuesday, my brother came over to help me out since I was still a little loopy from the meds! We drove around getting a few last minute things done for Brayden's 3rd birthday party, or should I say, Bird-Day party. ;-)

We also ended up with a new dog! We have become a rescue/adoptive dog family. All three of our dogs have been rescued or adopted, and all happen to be Golden Retrievers, which are simply the best family dog.
Aspen is our newest member of the family. Chris found him, rescued him and brought him home. He looks almost exactly like one of our other dogs, Mossy. They have to be related!

Aspen:
My mom came over to watch the kiddo's so that I could meet up with my sister in law for manicures. Here's my newest color choice:
It's a Shellac called Jet Set. I love the Shellac polishes because they last a good 2-3 weeks without chipping at all.

Our oldest golden, Buster (who we think is about 10) comes into the house during the winter. This week marked his big move from outdoor dog, to indoor dog. He got shaved, bathed and now is happily residing next to me.
Tomorrow is Brayden's actual birthday, so we are taking him to Chuck E Cheese for lunch. His party is Saturday, and I can't wait to share it with you!
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Easy, Cheesy, Chicken Spaghetti

I love sharing easy chicken recipes, because I know that so many people, like my family, love to cook chicken dishes.

So, here is my easy, Chicken Spaghetti:

The Ingredients:

1 Spanish (yellow) onion, sliced
1 block of Velveeta
1 can of Original Rotel
2-3 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 bag of egg noodles
EVOO
Drizzle some EVOO and sauté your onions for about 5-10 minutes, or until they start to develop a little color.

Then add in your chicken, rotel and velveeta.

Separately, cook your noodles according to the package directions.
Once cooked, add them to the chicken mixture.
Then serve!
I served mine along with some whole wheat garlic bread. Yum!


Chicken Spaghetti

1 Spanish (yellow) onion, sliced
1 block of Velveeta
1 can of Original Rotel
2-3 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 bag of egg noodles
EVOO

Saute onions in oil for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Add cheese, chicken and rotel. Stir to combine, over medium heat. Cook noodles according to package directions. Add to chicken mixture, combine and serve.

Some other great, easy chicken recipes:







The rest of my chicken recipes can be found by clicking on my recipe tab, then poultry!


Follow me for more great tips!
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On Facebook
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Monday, January 9, 2012

Baby Shower for Hayes!

Sunday evening we had a baby shower for my friend Lisa. She's having her third boy, baby Hayes at the beginning of next month!

My friend Holly made these great cookies. We were throwing a diaper shower, so one of the cookies is a diaper with Hayes' monogram on it! So cute! The nursery colors are orange, white and aqua.

I made the monogram letters - my friend Julie did this for Brody's shower and I did it for Brayden's first birthday. They are so easy!

Here is the momma to be, Lisa. She's looking at me like "put that thing away!" Ha! Lisa is hysterical, and I love spending time with her. She's also one of the cutest pregnant people you have ever seen!

I can't wait to meet baby Hayes next month!


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THE GAME! Part 2 of A Trip for Two!

Game Day!

Well, game day got off to a bit of a rocky start. You see, we were stuck in lovely Dallas traffic for TWO and a HALF HOURS!!! There was an accident and we literally did not move half a mile for 2 hours. So, to pass the time, I played with my new camera. Chris looks thrilled, huh?!

He was just worried that we weren't going to make it in time. But, we did! We made it to our seats 40 minutes before game time.

Here's our view:

Our marching band making out the big A:
I didn't know that The Band Perry would be there to sing the National Anthem. It was so awesome for the girl who has never been to a concert before (unless you count the Gaither Vocal Band which is gospel Christian music).

KSU had one famous supporter in a box seat - Cam from Modern Family!
I started screaming like a teenage girl at a Bieber concert! Ha! I think I freaked the people next to us out.

The KSU fan behind us grudgingly agreed to take our picture. This was after a few failed attempts at doing it ourself and he only really agreed because he was tired of me shoving my mammoth camera into his lap while trying to take this picture myself. Ha!

So, I'm really not a huge sports fan but it is SO much more enjoyable when you are actually there rooting on your team. I actually had a really great time! The only downside was that the game was late and we didn't get back to our room until around 12:30. Chris and I are like two old people and we go to bed at like 9. We had to drag ourselves up to our room, ha!

Maybe next year we'll get to go to that bowl in Orlando and we can hit up Disney Land!
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