Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rice Krispy Rollups


Because of the high traffic I've noticed the last few days on these babies I decided that I would post them again for those of you who joined me after November of 2010. They are super easy and always a treat that is well received wherever they are served. Click here for the original post.

¼ cup butter
10½ oz. Mini Marshmallows
5½ cups Rice Krispies
1½ cups chocolate chips
½ creamy peanut butter

In a large kettle melt butter and marshies over low heat until completely smooth. Add the Rice Krispies and stir well. Spread evenly into a greased 10½ X 15½ inch baking sheet. (I suppose parchment paper would make this easier)

Melt chocolate chips and creamy peanut butter in a microwave safe bowl, stir until smooth. Spread evenly over top of the Rice Krispies and set in a cool place till chocolate sets up. (not hard, it won't roll right if it's hard) Loosen all edges with a metal spatula and roll from long side.

excuse the ghastly color, long ago and all that :)
Slice and enjoy. Store leftovers, if there are any, in a Tupperware in the fridge or wrap the log in Saran and store in the fridge. In the fridge because it keeps the chocolate from melting and getting messy when it's warm and because of the whole out of sight out of mind thing. :)
Now I suppose I should make the kids happy and prepare some but they baked Chocolate Chip Cookies last night so they'll have to wait till those are all gone. :)
Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Soft Pretzel Ham and Cheese - Pepperoni and Cheese Wraps

Last weekend our oldest son was playing in a basketball tournament and the lunch stand there had some pretzel wraps on their menu. I decided to give them a try tonight because we all enjoy the soft pretzel dough wrapped around a good quality hot dog (click here for the Pretzel Dog recipe) and I figured the kids would enjoy something fun for supper. They are easy to make and turned out well. There are lots of flavor options. I chose Ham and Cheese and Pepperoni and Cheese tonight.

I discovered that it's necessary to roll it thin because once you start folding it bulks up and I like to be able to taste the filling and not just the dough.

I found an Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzel Copycat recipe on Pinterest from Cooking Classy and decided to use that one instead of the one I usually use. I liked it a lot! I would like to make some in a smaller size sometime but because we have mostly boys who would eat two small ones instead of one big one I figured the bigger ones work pretty well for now. :)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2 cups milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons Instant Yeast
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, maybe a bit more
2 teaspoons salt
¼ cup baking soda
2 cups warm water
Combine and use for dipping or brushing before baking.
coarse salt, to taste
6 Tbsp butter, melted,
for brushing
Heat milk to 110 degrees. Place yeast, sugar, and butter into a mixer bowl. Pour warm milk over this and let rest, covered for a few minutes till sugar and butter dissolve and the yeast 'wakes up'.
I have a confession to make here. I completely forgot to add the butter. Didn't seem to matter, but I like the flavor it adds so I'm sure I'll use it next time.
Add the salt and flour and knead just until it forms a nice soft dough and there are no dough bits stuck to the side of the mixer bowl.
Place into a greased bowl. Spray oil on top and cover. Let rise in a warm place until double in size.
For one medium to large wrap use 4 oz. of dough and roll out thin with a rolling pin to about a 4 x 6 rectangle.
Place your filling down the center and fold over like a wrap. Before folding wet the edges a bit with the water/baking soda mixture. Just enough to make it damp so it sticks together.

Brush the entire wrap with the water mixture and sprinkle coarse salt over the top.

Bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with butter. Yum!
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The happy news of the day is that the basement floor is complete, the painting is mostly done, and the end of a long drawn out process is in sight! :) Don't you just hate it when what seems like a small project turns into a monster with lots of unanticipated things?! Yeah, me too! But I am going to just enjoy the feeling of having it completed and forget about the rest. I believe that to be the best course of action, don't you? :) We are all enjoying the lighter, brighter space to hang out in that's for sure! For those of you that are interested, pictures coming when I'm completely finished painting, promise.
Sneak Peek
The kiddos badly wanted to go skating tonight but didn't feel like going by themselves. They thought Lin had to come with them, but what with being on his knees all day working at floor installation that was about the last thing he wanted to do. But after resting for a bit, and with a foot rub from Serena (I think she was prepared to do what it takes to get him to go) he finally consented and took them to a neighboring pond. I think they had better make good use of the ice while they can. The predicted rains will mess it up.
Thanks for stopping in today. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Red Birds...

Balmy weather with swaying palm trees appeal to me towards the middle of winter, but really, I would hate to miss out on the snow beauty of the North!
I glanced out the window this afternoon and was delighted to see snow flurries! The birds flocked, literally, to the 3 feeders on the deck. They seem to enjoy this simple homemade one the best.  Four boards, some wire and screen, and of course the nails and the staples. I think they like it because it is on the floor of the deck.
It's been cold enough for the last week so that the ponds are frozen. Which means the kids won't be home much in the evening if they can help it. The boys went to play hockey on a friends farm pond and even took Serena along tonight. I was proud of them, but a little concerned about what happens when she gets cold and they're not ready to leave, but I guess I'll let them figure it out. She's pretty independent and sturdy for a girl of 8 years old and not about to miss out on winter fun just because it might be cold. But I expect some very tired children when they get home!
Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Peanut Butter and Snickers Ice Cream Cake and a 14th Birthday

Creamy Chewy Peanut Buttery
Chocolaty Goodness

I asked Anthony a while ago what kind of cake he wants for his birthday. Like usual he said a round chocolate one.
Okaaayy, but that's what it was last year... and the year before that.
Sooo, I used my persuasive powers :) and when I mentioned an ice cream cake he sounded enthused about that so I decided to make this one. You know, play it safe with peanut butter and chocolate. It turned out really yummy and didn't have an over-powering peanut butter flavor, which I liked.

I usually take a birthday lunch or some kind of treat to school on the day of the children's birthdays. Anthony's class usually enjoys the pizza that I make so they usually get a Homemade Pizza party. (For a chewy delicious crust click here) I served a tossed salad and chips and lemonade as well.
Ice cream always goes well with pizza so this cake came in handy, and the kids who ate some seemed to love it!
For the Crust:
1 pkg. Oreos, icing removed and crushed
¼ cup butter, melted
Combine and press into the bottom of a 10 inch Spring Form pan. I lined mine with parchment paper for easy removal. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
For the first layer:
10 squares Peanut Butter Snickers candy bars, chopped
(enough to cover the crust)
2½ quarts Vanilla Ice Cream
½ cup Creamy Peanut Butter.
Combine in a large mixer bowl. Whip it up till it's smooth with the paddle attachment. Set aside, or rather in the freezer until ready to assemble.
Second layer:
½ pkg. Oreos, icing removed and crushed
¾ cup Peanuts, coarsely chopped
Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell Drizzle

Magic Shell:
8 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
Melt in microwave or in a double boiler. Allow to cool before pouring over ice cream.
Third layer:
2½ quarts Vanilla Ice Cream
3 Tablespoons Hershey's Caramel Syrup
Whipped. (See above for first layer)
Place into freezer after each layer to keep it frozen properly.
Suggested garnishes:
Peanut Butter Drizzle
Chopped PB Snickers Bars
Fudge Topping drizzle
Chopped Peanuts


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Anthony has a sweet personality, a great sense of humor and a sincere heart. We are blessed beyond measure to call him Son! He is self motivated and doesn't usually need to be told twice to do something. He loves to hang out with his brothers and laughs a lot. He is neat and tidy and responsible. He loves to read and bake and has an inquisitive mind. He does his homework diligently without us having to remind him and has a personal goal for his report card that involves an A+ in every subject. He's almost there! :) I have enjoyed seeing him growing and maturing spiritually as well as physically and intellectually in the last few years.
And because I'm a realist I'll have to admit to one thing he does that can usually at least make me feel like rolling my eyes. And I'm pretty sure I have already done so. Because of his inquisitive, perfectionist nature he is very technical about the way things are presented in a conversation. If you say/present anything incorrectly at all he will make a very technical correction. Deep breath. haha
He is a wonderful son and adds lots of sparkle and sunshine to our lives! And is loved very much by all of us.
♥Be Blessed!♥  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The sunset tonight was fabulous!
The pink was so beautiful!
I took a break from painting in the basement today. My shoulders were protesting loudly so I thought I would listen to them. Instead of doing that I prepared some food for a birthday party for Anthony tomorrow. He will be 14 tomorrow! I made a Peanut Butter Snickers Ice Cream Cake. Adding what I thought it should have as I went along. It's in the freezer waiting for the final topping.
It's yummy and sweet and I'm sure it's loaded with calories, I'm sure!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bacon and Cheddar Cheese Burgers (with Shredded Zucchini)

Things have been kind of quiet on here for a few weeks, but we are working hard to finish our big basement remodel project in time to host our youth group Valentine Supper in a few weeks. Hopefully by next weekend we will have it finished! We are super excited about this! For that reason and because hubby and I are avoiding (95% of the time) sugar, white flour, and dairy for a while, cooking has been a bit different here lately. Lots of salads, lean meat, and fresh fruits and veggies. It has been affecting the way I prepare food for the children too. We all feel much better and I find the only thing I really miss is chocolate. ha

The 90% lean ground beef was on sale at the local grocery store so I decided to work ahead a bit and get a 10lb. bag and mix it right away for cheeseburgers or mini meat loaves and put them in the freezer. I used fresh shredded zucchini and was very pleased that the burgers were quite moist and juicy.

10 lbs. 90% Ground Beef
3 cups Zucchini, shredded
5 Eggs
6-7 shakes Worcestershire Sauce
Black Pepper

Mix by hand (with gloves) and shape into balls. Weight for each one was around 6-7 oz. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and freeze. Then store in a large resealable bag.

For the cheeseburgers:
I browned them in Grapeseed Oil and placed a piece of prepared bacon on each and topped them with shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheeses that I had tossed Tastefully Simple Bacon Bacon Seasoning and Parsley Flakes for a very tasty burger served with lettuce! In case you feel like you need to check up on us, hubby and I ate ours without a bun. :)  just clarifying.

Your upcoming week will be filled with Blessings. Take time to notice them and jot them down and/or share the list with someone. You may inspire them to make a list of their own. And it is fun (and encouraging) to look back and remind yourself (with your handwritten testimony) of God's Goodness to you.
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Melancholy Fog

This pretty much sums up our weather since the weekend. While we miss the sunshine, a part of me finds this very peaceful and relaxing. And a strong mind knows the sun is shining somewhere not far away. :)
One of the boys remarked that it's been so long since the sun shone! And for him to even mention the fact you have to know it's been a while because he is not a complainer and takes everything in stride.
This morning we added ice.
But thankfully just to the trees and bushes and not the roads. At least not right around here.

Pretty though, isn't it?
I spent part of the morning with Mom's In Prayer at the boys High School. I enjoy the connection this gives me to the kids and staff there and it's a great way to let them all know that we care about them and what happens at school. I peeked into the gym before I left to say "Hi" to my two handsome boys. :)
I came home and walked outside to take a few pictures. The birds watched bravely from their icy perches. They all look so pretty against the ice. Especially the Cardinals and the Bluebirds.
Bonus: the Bluebirds sang for me!

I hope you have a safe and cozy day today! I'm off to do some painting, not my favorite thing. But the end result will be worth the "pain" :)
♥Be Blessed!♥

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Honeyed Citrus & Garlic Chicken

The weather has been sunny and not cold enough to say we are in the middle of winter, so I decided to give them what they like best. Something fresh from the grill. MMM, it was delicious and they gobbled it right up! I think they wished there would have been more but there was plenty of salad and I let them have some bread and jelly to 'fill in the cracks'. :) They were happy and satisfied.
My husband and I are on a 24 Day Challenge and are in the 10 day cleanse phase of this so that means lots of salad, veggies, fruit and lean meat. Notice the absence of sugar? haha  The honey in this recipe is a bit of a stretch for that phase but I dislike cooking two different suppers for our family for the same evening so I decided to make my own rules. I only ate a little bit and ate plenty of salad and steamed broccoli. Good Girl! I know! :)
Anyway I got some chicken out of the freezer this morning thinking of a different recipe but somewhere between the mountain of laundry and my 3rd trip to High School this week, this time to watch another basketball game, (I love to watch the boys play sports!) that plan derailed and the sunshine beckoned and made me think of summer and grilling soooo... I had all this lovely citrus and fresh ginger in the fridge and everything else that I needed so I thought, why not?
I started by zesting and juicing a Meyer lemon and a Navel orange. I peeled a small bulb of garlic, yes, the whole thing, peeled some fresh ginger, added some sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, orange juice concentrate, and honey. I put it all in the blender and tasted it. Yikes, I thought, the kids will never eat this! So in went more concentrate and honey and more salt. Another taste, better but something was still not there. So I tried a small amount of Lite Soy Sauce. MMM, yummy! And if I make it on the grill the kidders will be happy! Yep, I was right, for the space of 20 minutes they sang praises. To me. :) In fact, we had to make sure they shared because you know, teenage boys, they don't care that the amount of lean meat to consume at one sitting should be the size of  a deck of cards. haha
4 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 medium Orange, zest and juice
1 Meyer Lemon, zest and juice
2/3 cup Honey
2/3 cup Orange Juice Concentrate
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small bulb Garlic, peeled
½ Fresh Ginger, peeled
(half dollar size)
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1½ teaspoons Lite Soy Sauce
Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Place chicken pieces into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and pour marinade into the bag. Seal and refrigerate. Allow to marinate for several hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling.
So after supper, without any of the guys knowing what the ingredients were, I asked them what the flavor was that stood out to them. I found it interesting because by their answers they each tasted a different ingredient. Lin said he tasted lemon, Andre said an almost spicy bbq sauce, that would've been the ginger. Shawn tasted the soy sauce and Anthony said it tasted like Terriyaki Sauce.
 So why with that amount of orange juice concentrate did none of them say they tasted orange? Because that was what I was aiming for. haha  Puzzling! But they all loved it, so I guess that was the important thing! :)
Have a wonderful evening!
♥Be Blessed!♥

Linking to:
See Ya In The Gumbo

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Day in the Life of...

This week has turned out to be full and super busy! How does that happen so quickly? But it's okay we will just do what we can and roll with it. I was on the schedule to serve hot lunch at the High School where our two oldest boys attend . This is done twice a month and all of the Moms take turns. There are usually 4 Moms per meal but it only worked for two of us to serve today and one of the other Moms made all the salads so that helped a lot. We had a simple lunch of Angel Hair Lasagna and Garlic Bread with Salads (BLT, Caesar, and Olive Garden) and an Ice Cream Dessert. The hot lunches are always appreciated and for me it's always fun to go and see the other kids the boys are with 9 months out of the year.
To keep my sanity and some balance to my life, in my few spare moments today I did a few experiments in the kitchen. Believe it or not it helps me to relax.
Natural Red Velvet Cupcakes
Just hearing the words Red Velvet makes my body have a reaction thinking of all the food coloring! But no fear these are made with beet juice. I was very intrigued and have been wanting to try these for a while. They are waiting for icing and taste testers. :)
The other experiment was this.

A Strawberry Vinaigrette. It is yummy! and sugar free :) Maybe I'll have a salad for breakfast! The next time I make it I want to try juicing the berries instead of blending. I think it will be a more clear red color which is what I wanted. So... that was my day besides preparing supper and nursing a headache and trying to deny there's a sore throat brewing. The headache comes from not eating sugar. I know! I'm horrified too! But it's a good thing, so I'll live with it till it goes away.
These blue beauties have discovered the homemade suet and have been hogging the feeder. I don't mind if they're greedy though. They are gorgeous!

I also spent some time at the window watching these guys after school. This is what they do every afternoon weather permitting. They have a lot of fun together! The 3rd one is off to the left throwing to these two.

They smelled like fresh grass when they came inside. :)
Thanks for visiting and I hope your evening is relaxing!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Tart (Gluten Free)

My husband's family was together for Christmas this weekend and I had volunteered to do the desserts. Because of some family members being on a Gluten/Grain Free diet I thought it would be a good idea to make something they can enjoy too. Knowing that lemon is a favorite for one of them I decided to try my hand at preparing this Tart from the Deliciously Organic. And I had a brand new Tart pan I was looking forward to using :). It turned out very well. It had an intense lemon flavor but the berries on top did a really good job of taming it down. My pan was slightly bigger than the one called for so I increased the crust recipe and I wanted the filling to reach the top so I increased it also. The Toasted Honeyed Coconut that goes into the crust and that I sprinkled over the top is better than candy!

Honey Sweet Toasted Coconut:
½ cup finely shredded unsweetened Coconut
3 Tablespoons Clover Honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the honey (I used the microwave) till it is a thin liquid. Pour over the coconut and mix well. Spread evenly onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes or until golden. Cool.

For the crust:
3 cups Almond Meal
3 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
¾ cup Honey Sweet Toasted Coconut
¾ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
10-12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter,
cut into tablespoons

Place almond meal, coconut flour, dried coconut, gelatin, and sea salt into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and process until dough forms a ball. Place dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and spread into a 10 inch disk, wrap tightly. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, mine was in longer because of time being elusive. Remove dough from the wrapping and press into an 11 inch Tart pan. (on the bottom and up the sides) Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden.

For the Filling:
2 sticks Unsalted Butter, room temp.
1½ cups Clover Honey
8 large Eggs
6 Egg Yolks
1/3 cup Lemon Zest
1 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt

Place the butter and honey into a mixer bowl. Beat until smooth. On low speed add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, then add the zest, lemon juice and salt. It looks very curdled but no worries!

Pour lemon mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes until thick. Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture reaches 175 degrees. (use an instant read thermometer)  DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool for approximately 20 minutes.

Pour into prepared crust. Cover with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or until chilled through.

For the topping:
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Clover Honey

Berries of your choice
Honey Sweet Toasted Coconut,
for sprinkling on top

In a mixer bowl beat the heavy cream while slowly adding the honey and beat until soft peaks form. Spread over cooled filling and top with berries.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Martha's Dark Hot Chocolate Mix

 The Children love a good cup or two of hot chocolate when it's cold outside and I was out of mix so I decided to concoct my own with, ahem, less sugar. I say less sugar because I left out the powdered sugar these recipes typically call for but one would never know that the sugar is reduced. The instant vanilla pudding, dry creamer, and Nestles Quik make sure of that. And while I'm aware that this doesn't have health benefits like, say, spinach and kale, it IS really good and dark chocolate has health benefits, right? :) I know, grasping at straws here. I love the thickness that the pudding adds and makes it seem less like you're drinking flavored water and I love the full bodied chocolate flavor that the dark cocoa powder gives it. And it DOES have less sugar. Remember that! haha
5 (3.2 oz. each) pouches Carnation
Dry Milk Powder
10.9 ounces Nestles Quik
2 large boxes Instant Vanilla Pudding
½ cup Dark Cocoa Powder
15 ounces Powdered Creamer (French Vanilla)
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups Micro Mini Marshmallows
Put all ingredients into a large bowl and stir with a wire whisk until well mixed. Store in an airtight container.
Just add hot water. Amount of dry mix scoops will depend on you and how you like it. Garnish with Whipped Cream and Sprinkles or additional Marshmallows. Enjoy!
The sun is sunny today but the wind is cold! If any of you are lucky enough to have snow along with the aforementioned conditions, do share it with us! The snowboards the kids got for Christmas are useless without it! In my dreams I live in Colorado or Montana where lack of snow and majestic scenery would not be an issue. :)
Have a wonderful day!

Linking to:
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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Serena - My Helper

Serena has been on a "I want to help you do everything" kick lately. Who am I to argue?! She makes her bed, albeit after she gets home from school at times, but at least it gets made! :) She helps fold laundry, she cleans up her room, and dusts the house. She loves to help in the kitchen and thinks it's fun to wash dishes.
I'm pretty sure when I was her age I groaned when I had to wash dishes but then... I had 4 sisters before me and I didn't actually have to work much of anything until I was 13 because that's when my sisters started getting married or moving out. Let me assure you that I quickly learned about management! And hard work! :)
In the end what I had really learned was that jobs, and jobs well done, are wonderful for building character and confidence and and a sense of self worth that are priceless!
So for now I'll bask in her willingness and encourage her and exercise patience. Because things don't always get done the way I would do them but in the end that also doesn't matter. That was one thing my Mom and I would often butt heads on. She was a perfectionist and very good at what she did! But I came along with ideas of my own and was sure I could do it just as well my way! I think we have both learned a lot from each other. :)
Maybe I can teach her early on how to be and stay organized! That is my main resolution for the year. To get organized, stay that way and hopefully it will rub off on our kids. Thankfully I married a man that is organized, at least most of the time. :)
I'm getting ready to host my husbands family for the Glick Christmas gathering this weekend starting Friday evening but all day today I kept thinking it's Monday! Sheesh! I'm sure I'll get ready in time but it would help if I would quit thinking I still have days to do everything!!
Is anyone else confused or is it just me?
Have a wonderful evening and thanks for stopping in!