Monday, December 19, 2011

Candy Cane Christmas Tree Skirt

I looked for a Christmas tree skirt for years that would go with my gingerbread/candy themed Christmas tree. I was overjoyed when my sister pulled out her (almost) finished tree skirt and declared she did not want it anymore. It was perfect for me! I just sewed on the red trimming and it was finished.(Don't ask me how to do the rest because I don't know) We've enjoyed having such a cute skirt this year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Another Pinterest project complete! My sister spotted this shadow box at the D.I. and knew it would be perfect for this project. 

So here's what I did:

Spray painted shadow box black
Picked out Christmas paper and glued it to the back wall of the shadow box
Found jingle bells that fit the shadow box (at the D.I. also) and put them into the shadow box
Cut vinyl saying out with the Cricut machine
Tied ribbon around the frame and added a bow on top.

It make me happy!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

M&M Hershey Pretzel Snacks

I absolutely love Christmas time and all the food that goes with it. These super easy snacks caught my attention and scream "Christmas" to me. I saw the idea on pinterest and had to make them. They were aesthetically pleasing as well and tasty. Big thumbs up for me!

M&M Hershey Pretzel Snacks
Preheat oven to 275°F.Line pretzels on baking sheet and place a single Hershey Kiss on top of each pretzel. Bake in oven for 3 minutes. Remove and immediately press in a single M&M into the center of each Kiss. Let cool and harden before serving.

Give Thanks!

Even though I am late posting this, I was able to enjoy my Give Thanks blocks through the Thanksgiving holiday. The process was identical to my BEWARE blocks, just different paper and I painted the blocks brown instead. I am very happy with the end result!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crab Quiche

At my house, you have two choices for breakfast. Cereal or............. Cereal. There are several reasons for this, but the two most important are 1. That's what I grew up on and 2. I am NOT a morning person.

I am trying to change. I have realized that cereal does not keep my belly full until lunch. I need more substance. This recipe has been in my recipe box on for some time and boy was my husband glad it came into our food rotation. We *almost* ate the whole thing by ourselves. We showed some restraint and saved some for lunch the next day. I still like my brunch quiche a little better because it has mushrooms but this is fabulous too. 

I think most people are intimated by quiches but this was so simple- mix and bake. I baked mine for the full 45 minutes until it was browned and a knife came out clean. You should try it!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten (I used 3 medium)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup crab meat (I used imitation crab)
1 cup diced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, mayonnaise, flour, and milk until thoroughly blended. Stir in crab, cheese, and onion. Spread into pie shell.
3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Seriously, my new addiction is Pinterest. It's a non-creative person's (like me) DREAM COME TRUE! There are so many inspirational ideas. I originally got this inspiration from this pin.

To start off with, I cut 2X4s and 2X6s  to different lengths and played around with them until I liked the look of them. After sanding them, paint the blocks black. (After painting-I also sanded them a little around the edges to make them look worn.)  I picked out Halloween paper and cut it to the block sizes. I mod podged the paper onto the blocks, added a coat on the top, smoothed out the paper, and let it dry. After it was dry, I just cut out vinyl on a Cricut machine and slapped them on the blocks.

Since we had most of the stuff on hand, it only cost me like $4 for the paint and paper. We also made our own mod podge by mixing 50/50 elmer's glue and water and it worked well.

I LOVE the way the turned out. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

With the weather taking a turn for the worst *sigh* I thought it was time to bust out this soup recipe I found from Real Mom Kitchen.

Mmmmm..... thick and creamy with cheesy goodness. Not to meantion the crisp bacon and perfect touch of green onion! Such a beautiful combination of potato soup and a loaded baked potato. This comfort soup does its job nicely. Now I want to bunker down for the winter while eating a delicious bowl of this soup!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • 4 lg. baking potatoes (I had 8 small to medium leftover baked potatoes that I used)

  • 2/3 C butter

  • 2/3 C flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 6 C milk (I used whole)

  • 1 C sour cream

  • 4 thinly sliced green onions

  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • 1 C shredded cheddar cheese

    1. Scrub potatoes, pat dry & cover with foil. Bake for 75 minutes at 350 or until tender; cool completely.(Or use leftover potatoes from another meal)
    2. Peel and cube potatoes.
    3. In a large pot melt the butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Use a whisk to make sure any lumps from the flour are smoothed out.
    4. Gradually add milk a 2 cups at a time. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for a couple minutes or until thickened.
    5. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cubed potatoes. Heat until warm. Mix in sour cream.
    6. Garnish with bacon, cheese, and green onions. Yield 8 servings.

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Bake Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    Mashed potatoes are my absolute favorite food! Hot, cold, with gravy, or without-  I could eat them everyday! Most days I'm lazy and don't want to make a gravy to go with them so I'm always on the lookout for a delicious way to prepare them without having to go through the work of making gravy. I came upon a wonderful recipe for Bake Garlic Mashed Potatoes at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

    WOW! Just WOW! Creamy, smooth, and amazing. Not light in calories but that's OK with me. You have definately got to try this recipe.

    Bake Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    *Serves 6
    5 pounds russet, red or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
    8 ounces light or regular cream cheese
    3-4 green onions, chopped
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    4 tablespoons butter
    1 cup whipping cream

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X9-inch baking dish and set aside.
    Place the cut potatoes in a large pot and cover with water by one inch. Add 1 teaspoon salt and boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.
    Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot. Mash them a few times and add the rest of the ingredients. Mash and mix well to desired consistency. Scoop the potatoes into the prepared baking pan. Dot with 1-2 tablespoons butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned on top and heated through.

    Here are my results:

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Matched by Ally Condie

    The description as found from
    In a story that is at once evocative of Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), George Orwell's 1984, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Condie introduces readers to the “perfect” Society. Cassia Reyes is a model student, daughter, and citizen. How could she not be when the Society has everything planned and functioning perfectly? All of her needs are met: food, shelter, education, career training, and even her future husband are selected by officials who know what is best for each individual by studying statistical data and probable odds. She even knows when she will die, on her 80th birthday, just as the Society dictates. At her Match Banquet she is paired with Xander, her best friend and certainly her soul mate. But when a computer error shows her the face of Ky, an Aberration, instead of Xander, cracks begin to appear in the Society's facade of perfection. A series of events also shakes her dedication to Xander and puts her future in jeopardy. Cassia exhibits some characteristics of Winston Smith and Lenina Crowne in her silent rebellion against societal control and in her illicit friendship with Ky but ultimately, and more satisfyingly, she is more like Lowry's Jonas. Her awakening and development are realistically portrayed, and supporting characters like Cassia's parents and her grandfather add depth to the story. The biggest flaw is that the story is not finished. Fans of the Giver will devour this book and impatiently demand the next installment.

    MY REVIEW: Loved it. Of course, The Giver is one of my favorite books so it's no wonder I loved this one. There are a lot of similarities but I just love books that make you think. I usually don't read books in a series until the whole series comes out, but I went ahead with this one and now am playing the waiting game until the next one comes out. Can't wait!

    Friday, June 10, 2011

    White Bean Tuna Salad

    Sorry I haven't posted in so long. My husband got laid off from his job three weeks ago and I kind of was in a tail-spin. Blogging has been the last thing on my mind. I am so grateful for family members and my church to give us reassurance and knowing they are there if we need anything. We have been doing good, but have a very limited budget for food so........... I've been trying out some food storage meals lately and it's been going great!

    I know I post a lot of recipes from Mel's Kichen Cafe, but she's so awesome! I love her and when I found this simple recipe for a light tuna salad, AND I had all the ingredients on hand, I had to try it. Boy, am I glad I did! Such a delicate, light salad that mixes so well with crunch, crisp lettuce. I gobbled it all up.

    White Bean Tuna Salad
    by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

    ½ cup chopped red onions
    The zest and juice of 1 lemon
    2 (5 or 6-ounce each) cans of tuna (I prefer albacore tuna packed in water)
    2 (15-ounce each) cans of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
    1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
    A few splashes of Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Salt and olive oil to taste

    In a small bowl, sprinkle some of the lemon juice over the chopped onions while you prepare the other ingredients. This will take some of the oniony edge off the onions.
    Drain the tuna and put it into a large bowl. Add the beans to the tuna and gently stir to combine. Add the onions, parsley, black pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix to combine. Add Tabasco or hot sauce to taste. If the salad needs more acid, add a little more lemon juice. If the salad seems a little dry, add a little bit of olive oil. Add salt to taste.
    Serve chilled or at room temperature. The salad develops great flavor if tightly covered and refrigerated for a couple hours, or up to a day, before serving. Serve with crackers, lightly toasted bread, lettuce cups/leaves, fresh vegetables, etc.

    Here are my results:

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

    Here is the description from
    "Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties." Anticipating this happy transformation, Tally meets Shay, another female ugly, who shares her enjoyment of hoverboarding and risky pranks. But Shay also disdains the false values and programmed conformity of the society and urges Tally to defect with her to the Smoke, a distant settlement of simple-living conscientious objectors. Tally declines, yet when Shay is found missing by the authorities, Tally is coerced by the cruel Dr. Cable to find her and her compatriots–or remain forever "ugly." Tally's adventuresome spirit helps her locate Shay and the Smoke. It also attracts the eye of David, the aptly named youthful rebel leader to whose attentions Tally warms. However, she knows she is living a lie, for she is a spy who wears an eye-activated locator pendant that threatens to blow the rebels' cover. Ethical concerns will provide a good source of discussion as honesty, justice, and free will are all oppressed in this well-conceived dystopia. Characterization, which flirts so openly with the importance of teen self-concept, is strong, and although lengthy, the novel is highly readable with a convincing plot that incorporates futuristic technologies and a disturbing commentary on our current public policies. Fortunately, the cliff-hanger ending promises a sequel."

    MY REVIEW: I have read a lot of people compare this book to "The Giver" and I can see that. The government controls everything, even making them take pills and telling them what they should be. The Giver is my favorite book so it's no wonder I loved this one. I think everybody wishes they could change something about themselves in order to look prettier. This is only book one of a four part series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Swiss Chicken Casserole

    This cheesy chicken entree screams comfort food! Moist chicken topped with tangy Swiss cheese, creamy soup mixture and divine savory herb stuffing. This main dish satisfies everybody.

    My in-laws are hysterical. I serve up anything gourmet and they thank me politely. I serve up something baked in good ole' cream-of-chicken and they sing my praises and ask for the recipe. This recipe wowed them. Hubby and I are the ones who ultimately decide what the rating is though and even we were impressed at this comfort food recipe. We give this 4★.

    Swiss Chicken Casserole (adapted from

    6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
    6 slices Swiss cheese
    1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
    1/4 cup milk
    1 package Stove Top Stuffing (savory herb flavor strongly suggested)
    (You will need some extra butter and water for the stuffing preparation according to package directions)
    2 Tbs melted butter

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. Prepare Stove Top Stuffing according to package directions using the microwave.
    2.While stuffing is being microwaved, arrange chicken breasts in the baking dish. Place one slice of Swiss cheese on top of each chicken breast. Combine cream of chicken soup and milk in a medium bowl, and pour over chicken breasts. Sprinkle with prepared stuffing. Pour melted butter over top, and cover with foil.
    3. Bake 35 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

    Mother's Day Giveaway links!

    This will be my first Mother's Day as a Mom! Yay!! There are some FABULOUS giveaways going on right now in celebration (not because I am a mom but because of Mother's Day in general). I LOVE local giveaways even better because these bloggers are so personable and kind and you have a better chance to win. (Honestly, what are the chances of winning the Pioneer Woman's giveaways? Slim to none!) Check out these fabulous givaways going on right now:

    Cranberryfries is giving away a signed copy of Chocolate Never Faileth Cookbook. I love Debbie and her contests.

    Make it Work Mom is giving away a 60 minute complete pedicure with opi nail polish at Sanctuary Day Spa in Salt Lake City.  What mother doesn't need some relaxation time?

    I'll update the list if I find any more!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan

    First recipes that makes the list on Perfect Dinner Project is Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan. This recipe comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. She has a ton of great recipes on her site and this one will not be the last one I promise. I made this as a vegetarian main course and it was so creamy and yummy!

    Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan
    Serves 4-6 (as a side dish)

    *Be careful when adding the broth to the pan, because it will create a lot of steam.
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 small onion, minced
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 medium garlic cloves, minced
    1 ¼ cups orzo
    2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup frozen peas, thawed
    1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
    2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley leaves
    Ground black pepper
    1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving (optional)
    Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and ¾ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the orzo and cook, stirring often, until most of the grains are golden, about 5 minutes. Carefully stir in the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the orzo is tender, 10 to 12 minutes. (Be careful not to cook at too high of heat at this point because the liquid will evaporate instead of cook the orzo and you’ll be left with undercooked pasta.)
    Off the heat, stir in the peas, Parmesan, and parsley and let sit until the peas are warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the lemon wedges.
    Recipe Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Skillet Recipes

    Here are my results:


    I just started a new blog. I'm crazy. It's called Perfect Dinner Project and you can find it here: It's only for my recipes. I'll still post them on this blog too, but only my best recipes that make the list will go on Perfect Dinner Project. Just an FYI!

    My Rating System

    I've had this system in place for a while but am trying to incorporate them into my blog. I haven't got all of them labeled but hopefully I will soon. This way you know what I think of them more clearly.

    5★ = Absolute Perfection! If this recipe was on a restaurant menu, I would order it EVERY SINGLE TIME, it's that good! Other people rave about it every time I make it and always ask for the recipe.

    4½ ★= Almost perfection. There is probably nothing I could do to make it a 5★ recipe but it comes pretty close. On a restaurant menu I would order it often, but not every time because I like variety. People still rave about it and will probably ask for the recipe.

    4★= Really good. Everybody likes it and it tastes great!

    3½ ★= Good but just not good enough to go on the PDP list.

    3★= Just OK. Some people will like it and some people won't. Bland. Would make if in a dire pinch and had the ingredients on hand. Before I became a foodie, I would say most of my recipes fell into this category. Nothing to be ashamed about just OK food happens.

    2★= Edible but we didn't like it. Won't make it again

    1★= I'm sorry I even made this recipe. I will NEVER make it again and it will probably go into the trash.

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Easy Grape Salad

    I brought this to my family's Easter Party yesterday. I kind of feel bad even putting this on my blog because it was just an OK recipe. Nobody asked for the recipe, but it was all gone when we went home. I didn't get a picture, but if you click on the link, you'll see the pics other people have taken at It was REALLY EASY like the title said. Whipped it together in about 7 minutes.

    Easy Grape Salad

    1 pound seedless green grapes
    1 pound seedless red grapes
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,softened
    1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
    1 (6 ounce) package slivered almonds
    1.Wash grapes in a colander under running water, and remove all stems. Place in a large bowl.
    2. In a separate bowl, stir together the cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the grapes. Using a rubber spatula or large serving spoon, fold the mixture into the grapes until well coated. Fold in the almonds.
    3.This salad may be served immediately, or covered and refrigerated for 1 hour to set slightly, and to allow flavors to blend.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Princess Academy

    Princess Academy by Shannon Hale description from "The thought of being a princess never occurred to the girls living on Mount Eskel. Most plan to work in the quarry like the generations before them. When it is announced that the prince will choose a bride from their village, 14-year-old Miri, who thinks she is being kept from working in the quarry because of her small stature, believes that this is her opportunity to prove her worth to her father. All eligible females are sent off to attend a special academy where they face many challenges and hardships as they are forced to adapt to the cultured life of a lowlander. First, strict Tutor Olana denies a visit home. Then, they are cut off from their village by heavy winter snowstorms. As their isolation increases, competition builds among them. The story is much like the mountains, with plenty of suspenseful moments that peak and fall, building into the next intense event. Miri discovers much about herself, including a special talent called quarry speak, a silent way to communicate. She uses this ability in many ways, most importantly to save herself and the other girls from harm. Each girl's story is brought to a satisfying conclusion, but this is not a fluffy, predictable fairy tale, even though it has wonderful moments of humor. Instead, Hale weaves an intricate, multilayered story about families, relationships, education, and the place we call home."

    MY REVIEW: I love Shannon Hale. Her books are always a joy to read. This book is labeled for grades 5-9 but my friend Debbie from had read it and I decided to give it a go. It's obviously written for a younger crowd, but it was still a fun read anyways. It's always exciting to read about princess stories that take you back to your youth. This would be a great book to read at bedtime with little ones as the chapters are relatively short and entertaining.

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Spring Rolls

    This recipe came from Studio 5. I saw these and thought they looked amazingly cool. I had never worked with rice wrappers before and they were awesome. Hubby thought they were weird because of the texture and they were see-through. I would recommend the video to see how they were put together. The rice wrappers are hard at first, slightly soften after dipped in water and then really pliable once the the roll is ready to be wrapped up.

    *I made this recipe with spinach and basil and we didn't like it. I think the basil is too strong and would recommend cilantro and probably a leafy romaine lettuce. The canned shrimp was a little weird too, diced chicken would be better. ( I know a lot of changes but I think it could be great with those changes)

    Spring Rolls

    1 (8 ounce) package rice vermicelli
    8 ounces cooked, peeled shrimp, cut in half lengthwise (Or chicken)
    8 rice wrappers (6.5 inch diameter)
    (They are round disks that have a basket weave texture on them. You can find them just about anywhere.)
    1 carrot, julienned
    1 cup shredded lettuce chopped Napa Cabbage or purple cabbage
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or mint or cilantro

    Directions: Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Place rice vermicelli in boiling water, remove from heat, and let soak 3 to 5 minutes, until soft. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Fill a large bowl with hot water. Dip one rice wrapper in the hot water for 5-10 seconds to soften. You don't want them too soft. They'll be totally soft by the time it is ready to roll up. Lay wrapper flat, and place desired amounts of noodles, shrimp, carrot, lettuce and basil in the center. Roll the edges of the wrapper slightly inward. Beginning at the bottom edge of wrapper, tightly wrap the ingredients. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve the spring rolls with dipping sauce.

    Here are the results:
    At least they turned out pretty!

    Linking up here:

    Today's Creative BlogAnything RelatedSumo Sweet StuffThe Girl CreativeJoin us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Beefy Cheesy Pasta

    When I don't have much on hand, this is my go-to recipe. Simple and surprisingly delicious!

    Beefy Cheesy Pasta

    1/2 pound lean ground beef
    1 onion, diced
    1/4 cup soy sauce
    1 clove garlic, minced
    5 cups rotelle (spiral) pasta
    1/4 cup milk
    1 tablespoon butter
    5 slices processed American cheese (This works but I usually used grated cheddar)

    1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef, onion, soy sauce and garlic until beef is brown and juices run clear.
    2.While beef is cooking, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
    3. Return cooked pasta to its pot over low heat; stir in milk and butter. Stir in beef mixture until well combined. Stir in cheese slices, one at a time, until melted. Serve at once.
    Here are my results:


    The description from
    "This clever, must-have debut focuses on sassy Evie, 16, who calls the International Paranormal Containment Agency home. Armed with her unique ability to see through all paranormal “glamours” and her trusty pink taser, Evie bags, tags, and helps IPCA track and contain a variety of familiar creatures. Despite her unconventional life (no origin story, mermaid best friend, werewolf colleagues, etc.), she considers herself to be pretty normal–until shape-shifting elemental and extremely cute Lend breaks into IPCA looking for answers and ironically becomes one of the agency's latest puzzles. The more pressing concern: Who's been murdering paranormals? Lend's arrival; fae ex-boyfriend's (literally) hot, increasingly threatening advances; unsettling dreams; and a well-planned attack on the agency force Evie to face surprising revelations about IPCA and herself. White's storytelling successfully balances the fun and the sinister. There's an interesting mix of magic and technology. The pace is brisk with plenty of action. White's faeries (not vamps) are the beautiful and manipulative paranormals to watch out for, a refreshing change for some readers. Characterization is consistent, though Evie is the most fleshed out. A perfect blend of normal/supernatural, she simultaneously doubts her genetic makeup while yearning for and worrying about typical teenage concerns."

    MY REVIEW: Loved it. I know there are a lot of books about vampires and werewolves out there and this was a nice shift from the normal (does contain them but in very minor parts). The plot was intriguing and always left me wanting to go on to the next chapter. Very entertaining.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Spring Crafts

    Spring is here! I always get Spring fever and I've been trying out some new crafts.

    First up... Birdie Wall Art from 

    This was a simple craft I made from supplies I had on hand. It just takes an hour or two from start to finish. Cutting everything out is the most time consuming part.
    It's 3-D so I took another picture to show that aspect:
    The originals are much more modern and I'm somewhat a traditionalist so mine turned out way different but I enjoyed making them! All the patterns are on the site and they are FREE!

    Next up, Spring Chick Block!
    I LOVE LITTLE CHICK! I went to a crafting social with my sister and they were doing these chicks. They are wood blocks painted and sanded with the feathers glued on. They got the kits from this Etsy shop and they were so fun to put together. I love this type of craft because other people are so creative, I just let them do the creative part and then I assemble it and I'm a happy camper! Cost for this craft is $4 plus shipping.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Marshmallow Fondant

    My little boy has his first birthday coming up in June and I just can't believe it! My little baby is turning 1!!! My very talented friend Debbie is holding a cake contest over at her blog and it gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my (nonexistent) cake decorating skills out. Click on the above link to check out all the entries and vote!

    It was SUPER easy to make this fondant. I have heard regular fondant is very difficult and fickle to make. NOT the case with this fondant. One person described it as adult play-dough and I have to agree. If cake decorating is not your thing, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this fondant.


    Marshmallow Fondant

    1/4 cup Crisco
    1 (16 ounce) package miniature
    4 tablespoons water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided

    1. Place the Crisco  in a shallow bowl, and set aside.

    2.Place the marshmallows in a large microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on High for 30 seconds to 1 minute to start melting the marshmallows. Carefully stir the water and vanilla extract into the hot marshmallows, and stir until the mixture is smooth. Slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of powdered sugar for kneading. The dough will be very stiff.

    3.Rub your hands thoroughly with Crisco, and begin kneading the sticky dough. As you knead, the dough will become workable and pliable. Turn the dough out onto a working surface dusted with confectioners' sugar and continue kneading until the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes.

    4.Form the fondant into a ball, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. To use, allow the fondant to come to room temperature, and roll it out onto a flat surface that has Crisco smeared on it.(I SKIPPED THE REFRIDGERATION STEP AND MINE WAS JUST FINE)

    I decided to pattern mine after the classic book Green Eggs and Ham.
    Here are the results:

    Linking up here:

      Anything Related

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011

    Rice Pilaf

     Rice-a-Roni is  my good friend. Whenever I need a rice side dish, most of the time it's Rice-a-Roni that gets served. Obviously I love to try new things so making pilaf from scratch was on that list. Here's I recipe I adapted from my Food Nanny Cookbook:

    Rice Pilaf
    • 2 TBS unsalted butter
    • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1 1/4 C long-grain white rice
    • 2 1/2 C chicken broth
    1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir until the onion is soft but not brown. Stir in the rice until it is well-coated. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
    2. Cover, decrease the heat, and simmer until the rice is tender and teh liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
    It was good but I don't know if it's worth the effort for a side dish. I usually like to spend most of the time on the main course and then just do quick things for the sides. Anyways, here are my results:

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011


    Here's the description from
    "Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what's worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss's family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins's groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year."

    MY REVIEW: This book was different from it's predecessors. It was still captivating, but much faster paced. It was so shocking, but did not give you time to get over the shock and just moved right along to another surprise. I liked it mostly. With the subjects in which the book deals with, you are never going to be completely happy with any ending. Overall, a great series that is totally captivating, gruesome, but captivating.

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Free ADORABLE St.Patrick's Day Printable

     It's almost St.Patrick's Day and once again, I don't have any decorations. I found this absolutely adorable free printable over here at Funky Polka-dot Giraffe.

    I just printed out the 8x10 size on photo paper and went to the dollar store and picked out a frame. I love it because it really does look like buttons (even fooled my husband. "Uh, where did you get all those colored buttons?").
    Happy St.Patrick's Day!

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    Rainbow Cupcakes

    This would be a great idea for St.Patrick's Day if you did the whole rainbow. I made these cupcakes for Mardi Gras yesterday and they turned out super cute. The easiest recipe I found was from the Family Fun website.


    • White cake mix
    • Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
    • Baking cups
    • Whipped cream (optional)
    1. Prepare your favorite white cake mix according to instructions on box, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow color.

      Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
      Blue 12 drops
      Green 12 drops
      Yellow 12 drops
      Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
      Red 18 drops

    2. Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the color underneath.
    3. Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove wrapper.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011


    We don't drink alcohol at our house, but that doesn't mean you can't whip up a cool non-alcohol drink for fun once in a while. The past few days I've been experimenting with new drinks for this yucky time of year. Here are a few we tried:

    First up:
    Hailey's Smoothie  - not my favorite but I think with the changes I mention, it would be worth trying.

    3 kiwis, peeled and chopped
    2 frozen bananas, peeled and chopped
    1 cup blueberries
    1 cup plain yogurt (I would use vanilla)
    1 1/2 cups crushed ice
    3 tablespoons honey
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I would omit or use vanilla instead)


    In a blender, combine the kiwis, frozen bananas, blueberries, yogurt, crushed ice, honey and almond extract. Blend until smooth.

    Next up:
    Shirley Temple II - We liked this one OK. It was pretty cool looking and tasted good.

    Ingredients :
    1/2 cup orange juice
    1/2 cup lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
    1 tablespoon grenadine syrup
    1 maraschino cherry

    In a tall glass, combine orange juice and lemon-lime soda. Pour grenadine in and let it sink to the bottom. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a straw for stirring.


    Next up:
    Cherry Banana Smoothie (adapted from this recipe)~ Overall we like this one, not a Jamba Juice by any means but good.

    1 cup frozen, pitted cherries
    1 banana, cut in chunks
    1/2 lemon, juiced
    1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
    1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    water to thin to desired consistency

    Place the cherries, banana, lemon juice, yogurt, and vanilla extract into a blender. Cover, and puree, adding little bits of water until smooth. Pour into glasses to serve.


    Last but not least:
    Ogre Drink ~(we renamed this one- get original name here) This one tasted most like (what I would imagine) a cocktail to drink. Sweet and sour. Kids LOVED this one and I thought it was pretty good too.

    1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
    1 cup diet cola flavored carbonated beverage (we used caffeine-free Coke)
    1 cup orange juice
    1 cup water
    10 cubes ice

    Combine the limeade concentrate, carbonated beverage, orange juice, water and ice in the container of a blender. Cover, and blend until slushy. If you want to add liquor, add it last, and just blend for a few seconds more.

    Sorry no pic. The reason we renamed it (besides it's original name was inappropriate for children) was because it looked brown and not very appetizing. BUT it was yummy!

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    Coconut Tres Leches Cake

    One of my very favorite new blogs I discovered for cooking is Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Her recipes amaze me and she finds the best of the best. I found this little gem while browsing her wonderful collection. I just had to try it. Overall, I'd say that I really liked it, not loved it, but it was still yummy.

    Coconut Tres Leches Cake
    *Serves 12-16

    Yellow Cake mix (made according to box's directions)

    Milk Syrup:
    1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut (Find this in the drink mixers section)
    1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    2 medium-size ripe bananas
    Sweetened cream (see instructions below)
    1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it at 350 degrees until golden brown, 7 minutes, or toast it in a skillet over medium-low heat on the stovetop)


         Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Lightly spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set the baking dish aside. Place the make-ahead cake mix, 1 1/4 cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes (if using another cake mix or recipe, bake according to box or recipe instructions). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and is slightly pulling away from the edges, 30-34 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool completely, 1 hour.
         Meanwhile, make the milk syrup: in a blender, combine the cream of coconut, evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla and process until smooth.
         Pierce the cooled cake all over the top with the tines of a fork or a thin wooden skewer. We are talking all over! The more pokes, the more the syrup will soak into the cake. Using a large spoon or ladle, spoon some of the milk syrup over the cake. Let the syrup soak into the cake, then continue spooning the syrup on top until all of it has been used up. When you have finished, not all of the syrup will be completely absorbed and might be pooling on the top but that’s ok because it will absorb as it refrigerates. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until all of the syrup is absorbed, 2 hours. Cut the bananas, if using crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Slice the cake and serve it with sliced bananas, sweetened cream and toasted coconut, if desired.

    Sweetened Cream:
    Pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream into a large (preferably chilled) glass bowl and beat it on high speed until thickened 1 ½ minutes. Stop the machine and add ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Makes 2 cups.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    I am a child of God baby gift

    It seems like there's been an unusually large number of my friends that are having babies lately. I always want to get them the cutest baby gifts, but that usually means paying an arm and a leg (which I do not have any to spare). Fortunately, I came across this super cute, personalized baby gift that I thought was adorable and made one for my friend. It's pretty self explanatory. Here's my version of it:
    As for the details: I found the cutest frame I could at the dollar store (I thought this one was dang cute and modern) and then made and printed a customized saying on it. Mine was made in Word and I used Kristen ITC font for the black parts and Bradley Hand ITC for the colored parts and just did colors I thought were cute. In case you can't tell, after "I am a child of God" you put the baby's name.

    You don't totally get the full effect because I blurred out the names but if you want to see another one, just click here to see the original I got the inspiration from.

    Hope you enjoyed this crafty idea for the non-crafty people out there- like me!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    Cake Balls

    Happy Valentine's Day Everybody! I made something extra special but super easy for my husband to take to his work today. This recipe is all over the internet in different forms but the easiest instructions I found were at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. You really can mix and match flavors of cake and frosting so have fun!

    Cake Balls

    1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake) I used Devil's Food Cake
    1 can frosting (16 oz.) I used chocolate
    1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate) I used white and regular dipping chocolate
    wax paper

    1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
    2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (It may be easier to use fingers to mix together, but be warned it will get messy.)
    3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.
    4. Chill for several hours – make sure they are really firm. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
    5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
    6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra – two forks also works great if your chocolate is warm enough.)
    7. Drizzle with extra chocolate bark or dipping chocolate or top with sprinkles.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Kristy's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

    Growing up, the sweetest lady in our church made the BEST sugar cookies. You felt lucky if she ever brought you a plate. Her recipe has become legendary in my home neighborhood. Luckily, she's one of those people that think recipes are made for sharing. Hallelujah! Here's her recipe:

    Kristy's Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

    1 C. butter
    3 eggs
    1 ½ C. sugar
    2 tsp. vanilla
    1 C. sour cream
    touch of salt
    5 C. flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. baking soda

    Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Blend in sour cream. Slowly fold in the rest of the ingredients. Blend well to make firm dough. Roll ½ inch thick on a floured surface and cut in desired shapes. Bake @ 350 for 8-12 minutes. (10 minutes was perfect for us last time. Once they are brown, they are over-done)

    1 cube (8 Tbs) butter
    1 ½ lbs powdered sugar
    small can of evaporated milk (won't use it all)
    1 tsp. vanilla
    drop of almond extract (optional)

    Beat butter until fluffy. Stir in the powdered sugar and pour in evaporated milk until creamy and you achieve your desired consistency. Add vanilla and almond extract.

    She always decorated them with a pretty rose, but our family just adds Valentine's Day candy.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Valentine's Candy Cane Suckers

    I saw this cute idea for Valentine's Day suckers (click here for step by step instructions) using left over MINI candy canes and thought they were adorable.

    They really are adorable...... sigh....... however, there are a few CRUCIAL things I learned while making them.

    #1 USE MINI CANDY CANES- have you ever tried and succeded to peel the wrapper off a normal sized candy cane without breaking it? Didn't think so.

    OK, so maybe ONE crucial thing but it is crucial and it could have turned my hour project into a 15 minute project and they would have looked so much cuter. I broke all of the candy canes trying to unwrap them and then it was very difficult to break them off at the correct point.

    Not everything I do turns out cute or good, but the idea itself is cute.

    Here are my results:
    (Note: The one on the left looks a little weird because I baked it for 2 minutes so they would hold better to the stick but it wasn't very helpful and I found out it was useless anyways because the white chocolate holds it all together)

    Saturday, January 29, 2011

    Key Lime Pie by Josi S. Kilpack

    Here's the description from
    "When Sadie Hoffmiller s new friend, Eric Burton, receives word that his missing daughter s body may have been found in Florida, he immediately packs his bags. Sadie is determined to stay home and prove to everyone that she is not a busybody. But when she senses Eric is hiding something, Sadie is compelled to take action. Before she knows it, she s in the heart of Miami, trying to piece together a trail that might just give Eric the answers he s so desperately searching for. In the process, Sadie finds herself in the company of some colorful characters and some good ol southern cooking. But despite the drama and intrigue, all Sadie really wants is to go home . . . as soon as she does just one more thing. Includes eight new mouthwatering recipes, tested and approved by the official bakers of Sadie s Test Kitchen Josi s culinary mysteries have become favorites with members of Goodreads and other book networking sites Reader s guide available online."

    MY REVIEW: I love Kilpack's writing style. She gets to the end of the chapter and then makes me not want to stop there. That and the fact she has recipes in her books. Haven't tried any yet but they all look delicious. That being said, this one wasn't my favorite in the series. Maybe because you don't start off with a dead body like in her other books. Not that I'm a gory person but if I have a dead body I feel like I can maybe work out some of the details, pick up on clues, and possibly solve it myself. I couldn't do that in this one so I didn't enjoy it as much, but the series on whole has been great.