Friday, June 27, 2014

Ranch Cornbread Salad

Tired of potato salad? I know that sounds crazy but sometimes the regular summer fixin's get a little boring. (PS - If you are a potato salad lover you have got to try my Grilled Spicy Potato Salad). 

Here is something a little different for you to try. This is such an easy recipe; actually, it's more of a method because you can feel free to add whatever sounds good to you without messing anything up. It's a great way to clean out your fridge too! Got extra corn leftover? A few tomatoes that are going to go bad soon? Add them in; it will be great! 

Ranch Cornbread Salad
Serves 6-8

2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix prepared to package directions
8-10 strips of bacon, cooked
3 green onions, sliced (white & green parts)
1.5 cups shredded Colby cheese
2 packets of buttermilk ranch dressing mix, prepared to package directions

Prepare cornbread to package directions (I cooked mine in a 8*8 glass dish for 22 minutes). Let cool completely (can be made the day before). Once cooled, crumble into a large bowl.

Cook bacon in whichever manner you prefer (I had my husband smoke ours...smoked bacon is the best!). Crumbled bacon and add it along with cheese and onions to the cornbread.

Mix up ranch dressing according to package directions (2 packets + 2 cups buttermilk + 1 cup mayo). Add as much ranch as you need to get the mixture to stick together (I used about 1.5 cups).

Can be served warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

S'mores Pie --- A Must Try

I promised you a pie recipe, so a pie recipe you shall have!

How about a...

S'mores Pie!

My boys (okay, and Chris & I) LOVE s'mores. We really, really love them. I was thinking about other ways of making them (like my S'mores cupcakes) and dreamt up this pie. No, really. I dreamt about it. And then I made it. 

And it was divine. 

You need to try it.  

S'mores Pie
Yield: One pie

1 graham cracker pie crust (click for my 3 ingredient recipe)
7 Jumbo marshmallows (or marshmallows of your choice)

For Filling:
1/4 cup (heaping, not leveled) cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1.5 cups milk 
2 egg yolks
1.5 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla

In a sauce pan over medium heat combine cocoa, flour, sugar, salt, milk, egg yolks & vanilla. Whisk continuously until it gets as thick as you want it for your pie, about 6-7 minutes. Whisk out any lumps that may form. Once thickened, remove from heat and whisk in butter for a glossy finish. 

Pour into graham cracker shell. Cut jumbo marshmallows in half and place them on top of the filling. Put pie under the broiler until marshmallows are browned - watch closely! 

If they aren't gooey enough for you, cover loosely with foil and return to a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes.

*Note: Store this in the refrigerator. It will slice much better cold, but tastes wonderful straight out of the oven. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Homemade: Graham Cracker Crust

I was planning on sharing a pie recipe with you today and then I realized I've never posted my basic graham cracker crust recipe. I used store bought crusts for years and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with going that route, sometimes I just prefer a homemade crust. If you've never tried it, give it a'll be surprised at just how great it tastes!

And PS - That pie recipe is headed to the blog this week. ;-)

Graham Cracker Crust
Yield: One crust

2 sleeves graham crackers (18 crackers)
1 stick of butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar

Melt butter, set aside. In a food processor, finely grind up graham crackers. Add sugar and melted butter, combine until it all pulls together. Use the bottom of a glass to pack the crust into the pie pan, and the side of the glass to press it into the side of the pan.

Use as much of the crust mixture as you need to line one large pie pan (if you're using small or individual sized pans, this will make several).

Bake at 375 for 8 minutes.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A HUGE Announcement!

I'm really, REALLY excited to tell you about a project I've been working on for the past couple of months with my friends Melissa and Lindsey

Ever since my family went to Disney World in December, I have been counting down the days until we can go again. I've spent countless hours learning more and more about Disney planning and helping friends plan their trips. I realized I wanted to start a website devoted to helping families plan their first (or tenth, or hundredth!) trip to Disney. The goal is to make it as easy and smooth a process as possible, because, lets face it: planning a Disney trip can be hugely overwhelming. 

I reached out to my friends Melissa and Lindsey because they are both as Disney addicted as I am and together, we formed Real Mom's Disney. We just launched our site this week and there is already some really great and informative content for you. We will be adding posts every day next week and then 3 days a week after that. Feel free to email us, tweet us or Facebook us with your Disney planning questions! 

Quick Links:

Head on over to our brand new site, check it out and let us know what you think! 

And a BIG thank you to Leslie who designed it for us!! She did a great job!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2 Week Meal Plan

I thought it would be fun to share what I'm making for our 14 days at home! Lunch usually consists of leftovers, sandwiches or homemade pizza. I may sub out the grilled chicken salad this week for tacos because I have all of the stuff and the boys have been asking for them! We may eat out one night with a gift card as well, but this was the original plan! I hope it inspires your meal planning!

2. We were gone this day but would have had leftovers
3. Turkey Taco Tostadas with chips and salsa 
4. Brushetta Chicken over pasta (this is my old recipe, I need to add my new one!)
5. Leftovers
6. Turkey Burgers with chips
7. Father's Day: steak, twice baked potatoes, banana pudding
8. Chicken Parmesan over pasta with garlic bread
9. Leftovers
10. Kung POW! Chicken over rice
11. Beer Marinated Fajitas, rice & beans
12. Leftovers
14. Quinoa Stir Fry with pork chops

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We're going back!

Since we got back from Disney World in December, I've been excited to go back! Chris and I have been talking about when that would be when I got an email from Disney about the free dining plan. We already knew that for our next trip, we would definitely stay onsite. 

Suddenly, it felt like all the pieces fell together and before I knew it, we were booking a trip. When Disney offers the free dining plan, you book a package that contains the dining, room and tickets. We will book our flights, car and stroller separately. 

I mentioned yesterday that we've been saving for this trip, but we also found some creative ways to make it more budget friendly. For example, we both opened up Chase Disney Visa cards and received $200 Disney gift cards (each, so $400) that we can apply to our package. We are big believers in paying off our cards each month, so this wasn't a big deal to us to open one. The Disney Visa also gives you great perks (you can read up on those at their site if you're interested) at both the parks and the stores.

I also cashed in my Disney Movie Rewards codes for Disney gift cards. It wasn't much, but it's that much less we will have to pay for out of pocket!

We should have enough miles to fly for free too, and we have other points that we can apply towards our room. Outside of that I've been keeping a DW Fund envelope to save away extra cash in for the trip.

We're very excited to be staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge this time. We'll be able to see the safari animals right from our room which we think the boys will love! Speaking of the boys, if you see them, don't tell them! They have no idea we're going yet!

I've booked our dining reservations and we will be eating at some new places that I am really, really excited about. We also think we're going to spend three days at Magic Kingdom, one at Hollywood Studios and one at Animal Kingdom and skip Epcot this time. Once the boys are older and enjoy eating new and different things, we'll probably go back to Epcot, but for now I'm the only one that likes it.

So, for those that wondered what vacation we are saving for, now you know! =)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Asian Cashew Chicken and Rice

My husband and I have decided to limit our eating out over the next two weeks (we're saving for a vacation and we've been eating out too much!) so hopefully I will be back on the bandwagon of sharing new recipes! Here's what we had last night!

Asian Cashew Chicken & Rice

1 lb chicken tenders
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1/2 cup honey
2 T siracha
1/4 cup light soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 T garlic

For the Rice:
1 cup chopped cashews
4 bags of jasmine Success rice (or 6 cups of another cooked rice)
1/2 cup Newman's Own Lite Sesame Ginger salad dressing
1 sliced green onion (white and green)

In a food processor or blender, combine cilantro, honey, siracha, soy, lime juice and garlic. Blend until smooth. Place in a ziplock bag with chicken, let marinate at least 4 hours.

Prepare rice as package directs. Stir salad dressing into cooked rice. Grill chicken tenders. Place chicken on top of rice and top with cashews and green onion. 

Note: The honey/soy combo make the chicken appear dark - it's not burnt! 

TIP: Double your marinade and make an pour over an extra pound of chicken. Freeze it for another day! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer break plans for kids!

School is out!

Teeball is almost over!

Vacations are on the horizon!

I'm pretty excited about summer, which is kind of funny because it's my least favorite season. I wish we could have fall weather during summer break. Wouldn't that be nice?

Teeball ends this week and I am way more excited about that than I should be. I'm just not a sports kind of girl, but I try my hardest for my boys!

Anyway, we've got some fun things planned out. One of the little things I'm most excited about is $2 days at the movie theatre. Once a week they'll show a kids movie in the morning. The boys LOVE going to the theatre so they are anxious to do this.

We have a vacation to Tahoe coming up (YAY!!!) and we will probably make a few quick trips to Branson.

Jump Zone will probably be frequented as well...because my boys need to burn some energy up!

I'm sure there will lots of trips to the walking trails, playground and farmers market as well.

What are your summer break plans for your kids? Are there special places you only take them when school's out?
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