Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 4th of July

I just had a really fun play date where we made fourth of July shirts, homemade stickers and had ice cold saved ice.
What you need to make these firework shirts is a plain colored shirt, paint, plates, pipe cleaners, and some cardboard. Before you start painting make sure you put your cardboard in between the shirt so it doesn't bleed to the back. next you need to make your pipe cleaner fireworks

Put your paint on the plates and go to town. We also had some puffy paint that were sparkly and some that glows in the dark
I think they turned out really cute they were a lot of fun. My little boy can't wait to wear it. He is so exited that he got to paint his shirt.
Homemade stickers
2 parts nontoxic glue
1 part white vinegar
mix them together. with a brush, apply to the back side of the paper. let this completely dry(about 1-2 min) apply another coat on top of that. let dry
The best way is to use computer paper, either draw your own pictures or print some off the computer. After applying the glue on the back, cut around the picture, now you have your own sticker. Store excess glue in air-tight container.

HAVE FUN AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAY WITH THESE FUN ACTIVITIES!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coconut Cream Cupcakes!

OH-MY-GOSH. These were (were because...they're gone) Delicious! And easy.


*Preheat oven to 350.
1 White cake mix
1/4 c. Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
8oz. Sour cream
8oz. Cream of Coconut

Mix these ingredients on low speed until combined. Then on high-speed for 1 minute.

Fill 24 cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Immediately remove the cupcakes from the pans to cool.


For the frosting:
8oz. Cream cheese (Room Temperature)
6 T. Butter (Room Temperature)
1 t. Vanilla
3-4 c. Confectioner's sugar

Cream the butter,vanilla and cream cheese together. Then gradually add the sugar. Mix well!

**I garnished the tops of each cake with toasted coconut. To toast, sprinkle a thin layer of shredded coconut on a cookie sheet, place in a 350 oven for 6-8 minutes. Turn the coconut several times, and remove from the oven when it is golden.**

Homemade Gatorade

Do you need a drink this summer that is light, but not too sugary and not the fake sugar taste? Well this is our go to drink we love. Yes i know it looks just like Kool-Aid, but there are a few things you do different and it makes it a little more healthy so if you drink the whole thing you don't feel quite so guilty.

Homemade Gatorade
1 packet of your favorite Kool-Aid 
1/2 C. sugar
1/8 tsp of salt
1/16 tsp of baking soda 
(we don't have the 1/16 either just do 1/2 of the 1/8)

Add the 2 qts of water mix and enjoy. I think with the added salt and soda it makes it not taste the diluted this needs more sugar taste that you get when you try to reduce the sugar in the Kool-Aid. 

Yes you know her and No it isn't ME!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

S'more Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting


S'more Cupcake with Marshmallow Frosting

1cup sour cream
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 devil's food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted better, melted
1 bag mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 line 24 muffin tins. In a large bowl eggs, oil, sour cream and water. Mix well. Add cake mix and pudding mix on medium speed for 2 min. Place graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 c sugar melted butter in bowl. Stir and place 1tablespoon crackers on the bottom of the cupcake liner, pat down.
Place 1 teaspoon mini chocolate chips in tin and bake 5 min. remove and fill 3 quarters full with cake mix. top with graham crackers bake 15 to 18 min. Let cool

Marshmallow Frosting
8 large egg whites
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place whites, sugar, cream of tarter in heat proof bowl of an electrical mixer. set over sauce pan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to touch 3 to 4 min. Transfer bowl to electric mixer and beat starting on low and gradually increasing to high, until stiff 5 to 7 min. Add vanilla. Mix use immediately.
Put in pastry bag, pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. use a kitchen touch and lightly brown the frosting. If you don'r have a kitchen torch or for quickly browning frosting place under broiler element in oven. WATCH CONSTANTLY THEY BROWN FAST!!

Black Bean Brownies

I had always heard people talking about these brownies and thought,"Ew!  That sounds gross!"  Then one day, a lady I worked with a few years ago made some.  She reaffirmed my belief that they were gross.  But she wasn't much of a cook so I can't blame her for trying.  I knew somewhere there had to be a good recipe for these since I kept hearing so much about them.  I searched for a recipe and finally found one!!!  I even tricked a few people into trying them, not telling them what it was, to see what they thought.  They all loved them! (except my husband because he's allergic to healthy food =P  ) 
So now my opinion on black bean brownies is "Yum!!!  give me more!!!" I love how moist these things are.  I'm a dark chocolate freak (I love the 80% cocoa bars) so these are perfect for me.  If you don't like dark chocolate, these might not be up your alley, but if you do.....you should whip up a batch. 


I love these (hence the reason half the brownies are gone and I just made them this morning)!!

1 can black beans, drained
3 eggs
3 tbs oil
1/3 c. cocoa + 1 tbs
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. sugar + 2 tbs
1 tsp. baking soda
 chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 8-in pan with cooking spray.  Puree the beans in a food processor (puree them really really good).  Combine beans, oil, cocoa, vanilla, sugar, soda until smooth.  Gradually mix in eggs. Add chocolate chips if desired.
Pour into pan.  Let bake for about 30-40 minutes, until center comes out clean when poked with knife or toothpick. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top and let melt (if desired)

These have a dark chocolate taste to them so I love it!!  They hit the spot every time whenever I'm craving chocolate and I don't feel as guilty when I eat half the pan myself (okay, it's usually the whole pan but I space it out a few days).  You can't even taste the beans.  Because of the soda they have a cake-like texture.  Plus, since beans are used and not a whole lot of oil these are a much healthier alternative.  I'm not sure on the point value but I think it is around 1 point per serving, and it has 16 servings.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Introducing....

What's up?
Hey it's Em. (or Emily...whatever you want to call me)
I'm a new blogger on this fabulous blog.
I'm not quite sure why I was invited, because I am not that crafty, I can't bake soft cookies, I am not a gardener, I am crazy, and maybe a smidgen boring....dun dun dun!
I am a full-time mom, a full-time student, and I work part-time...whew...I need a nap, don't we all???
I have two cute kids. I have a really hot husband. I am 28 and am a little scared to approach 30. I love to find great deals! Mainly at the thrift store and garage sales! I also adore hand-me-downs!!!
Three words to describe myself....fun, upbeat, snazzy!
Here are some more three words that were contributed about me =)

Teresa
fun
sassy
generous

Scott
six-grade boy (HAH!)

Hunky Husband
fun
sexy
gorgeous

Kidlet #1
pretty
silly
funny

Kidlet #2
nice
fun
cute

Oh man! That's awesome! Well ready or not, here I come......(bless you poor people!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes


*Cupcake base*


1 cake mix (yellow or white)             

1 C. flour                                            
1 C. sugar 
3/4 tsp salt                                          
3 eggs
1 1/3 C. water (juice your lemon for part of the water)                                   
1 C. sour cream or plain yogurt        
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Lemonade or lemon extract
1 C. diced fresh strawberries (optional)
Zest from 1 lemon



Mix ingredients together adding strawberries last so they keep their shape and are not smooshed. Fill cupcake papers ¾ of the way full. Bake 18-22 minutes.
*The reason the lemonade extract is the best is it is sweeter than the lemon giving the sweet taste not the tart taste.  Makes at least 36 cupcakes.

*Strawberry Frosting*

4 oz cream cheese
1/2 C. butter
1/2 C. diced fresh strawberries (start with ½ C. but you can add up to 1 Cup)
6 C. powdered sugar (you might need more if your strawberries are juicy)
1-2 tsp strawberry extract
(my mom says 1 tsp of lemon extract with the strawberry is awesome!!)

Mix everything together and if it is too soft add more powdered sugar. If you want all butter no cream cheese it will be really soft so you might have to add tons more powdered sugar. The cream cheese helps to keep it more stable.

If you add a cute cut strawberry on top add right before serving or dip it in chocolate and only let the chocolate part touch the frosting or you will get strawberry juice all over. 

Surprise Bottle




This is so much FUN!! A pop bottle filled with surprises and how did it get in there?

I did this for my bothers birthday. I filled it with candy and a soda bottle and topped it off with some red streamer confetti. It would be fun for grade school children and fill it with fun toys. Like: plastic bugs, candy, play dough, doll, balls there are endless things you could fill it with. *don't forget to get something to fill the extra space with or it just looks empty like my red filer)
After you have chosen what you want to fill it with. then it is time to fill it....
Cut a slit in the middle of the bottle and fill it. Make a tag for the occasion and glue it over the slit. (the band aid is not form this project)


So this is my first time making one of these and I came to find out the the bigger things need to in first. I picked some really big things cause my brother is older and when i was putting them in the slit ripped really bit, so that is why my tag on the front is really big. So be careful.

Your kids will love this! HOW DID IT GET IN THE BOTTLE AND HOW DO I GET IT OUT?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Grilled French Bread Pizza



Why does dinner have to be so complicated sometimes.  There are some days that I really don't feel like standing over the stove making dinner.  And now that Summer is actually making it's presence here in Utah, I like to move away from the kitchen & use my grill-keeping all the heat outside instead of in.

On this one particular night, I didn't want to make pasta.  I had a loaf of french bread, waiting to be eaten, along with leftover pepporoni.  Wam, Bam, thank you Mam, dinner is served.

Quite easy too.  I used my standard Tomatoe Sauce {kicked up with spices}, pepporoni, cheese, and some green onion tops.  I heated up the grill on high, and then turned it down to low so the bread wouldn't char, and would allow the cheese to melt.

15-20 minutes.  I think that's all it took to whip up this dish.  And it was probally devoured in that same amount of time :)

One of these days, I'll have some shredded chicken & make a BBQ pizza; which will go perfect with all the green onions I have in my garden :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Cute Fathers day Idea

Well father's day was raining so we save this to do today, it was fun. the kids were exited to put the stuff in the yard. It is a fun way to let dad know how much you love him!
(To look at the picture bigger, click on it)

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Yeah, yeah, yeah.   You might say that you have the best recipe, but this is my post; therefore, mine is the best!

There are so many different kinds of Chocolate Chip cookies {from chewy to firm}, but these cookies are puffy, soft, chewy & yummy.


This recipe is one that I've grown up with all my life; I've never known my Mom to make any other.  And for a long time, I couldn't get my cookies to come out like hers; I kept screwing up the recipe somehow.  But now, with the little wisdom that I know in the kitchen, I am able to make these cookies & have them turn out just the way I had them growing up.

Everytime my Mom would make cookies, you could find my siblings & I taking spoons out of the drawer & swiping the dough.  I do it now too, but I'm an Adult, therefore I can :)


But I think the best way to eat these cookies is with a cold glass of milk; breaking the cookies in half & dunking every bite.


Would you like to try my most favorite cookie??




Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pesto Chicken Tortellini

(my picture doesn't do this justice....it is very, very, very good!!!)

Now that the temps are heating up, who wants to stand over a hot stove and cook or turn the oven on to warm up the house even more?  Not I!  I love this recipe because it can be made ahead and served cold or you can do it warm.  This is a great dish to take to picnics, bbq's, or get togethers.  Especially since in a few months all those gardens everyone plants will be cranking out the veggies, here's a nice way to use them.  Speaking of veggies....since I wasn't blessed with a green thumb, if you find your garden runneth over....I would love to take any of the overabundance off your hands......even (especially) the zucchini!!!  I got the original recipe from a blog I love: One Crazy Cookie and then did my little changes to it.


1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms (or more)
1/2 cup diced onions
1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
1/2 cup ham, pepperoni, bacon or sausage (Optional)
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 cup olives, sliced
1/2 cup pesto- maybe 3/4 cup if you like lots of sauce (homemade or you can make it from the packets)
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing 
Optional: shredded Mozzarella cheese or Parmesan cheese
1 package frozen Tortellini, cooked according to package directions and drained- I used cheese tortellini

Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add onion, mushrooms and zucchini. Saute a few minutes on medium heat until onion becomes transparent and veggies are cooked.
Stir in chicken (or other meat if desired) and heat for just a few minutes. Add tortellini, tomatoes, olives, pesto and vinaigrette dressing. Stir to combine.
If desired garnish with a little shredded Mozzarella cheese or Parmesan.

You could use any type pasta and the veggies your family likes. This is a very versatile recipe.
Enjoy!! I also think it would be great served cold.

Most of the points come from the pasta.  The total point value for this would be about 26, add a few if you use the cheese, or if you use other meats.  I'm not sure the point value of the pesto sauce since it depends on what sauce you use, but I calculated mine at about 3 points (I didn't use nuts).   This will serve at least 5 for a big serving, but if you do it as a side dish, it would serve a lot.  So the overall points would be around 5ish points per serving or less if a side dish.  Not too bad.  Plus, this is a very low fat dish and stocked full of veggies!  You could lower the point value by taking out the chicken and then it would be around 21ish.

Print Recipe




Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bows, Bows, Bows

Most of us with little girls we enjoy making bows of 1 kind or maybe a few kinds but most of us can't make ALL kinds of bows nor do we want to PAY for the cost of making ALL kinds of bows. Well ladies here is what you do..... A BOW SWAP!!!!!!
Find about 10 friends who want to swap pretty bows! Now I would make 20 bows for the swap we decided you could make 10 of 2 different kinds or you could make 20 of the same kind (so a matching set). If you count all our styles you will realize we had 17 of us this last exchange and it was super fun, but a little crazy. As some of us didn't exactly follow the rules (we made similar styles for all of them but different colors). We have loved this swap and will probably do it again this fall before school starts back up. 

 As you can see it isn't ALL bows there are a lot of flowers and even some feather but who wants to name it a Bow/Flower/Feather/Fabric Swap :) 



Don't forget to make it a Mom's night out! Some of us brought treats and stayed to visit and escape the family  for a short time!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Making a Printable Recipe

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (sans eggs)

Craving cookies- but you are missing eggs? No problem! Try this delectable recipe I found on the great recipe site All Recipes.

Ingredients:
0 Eggs!
1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Beat butter or margarine, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Mix well.
2. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to mixture. Stir in rolled oats and chocolate chips.

3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Don't over cook. Eat them quickly or your family will!

Happy Eating!

Teriyaki/BBQ Marinade





The idea for this marinade came from pure and simple desperation for a tasty marinade that I could use for my oldest. I always feel bad for him when I buy a marinade that I can use for the rest of us and he just has to settle for a few spices rubbed on his meat. I love grilling in the summer time, and have even been known, at times, to be the one at the grill, rather than my hubby. :) I stared at the available recipes in one of my books and finally decided I could combine of few ideas from two that sounded really yummy and a few ideas of my own. I just haven't quite decided yet if it has more of a teriyaki flavor or a BBQ flavor to it. Try it and see what you think!

Here ya go!!!




Marinade

1/3 cup expeller-pressed canola oil
2 TBSP GF Soy Sauce (I use a brand called San-J, can find it in most health food stores. Some Harmon's and Smith's stores are starting to carry this brand as well.)
1 TBSP fresh/organic lime juice
1/4 cup apple juice, or whatever juice you have in the house ;)
1 TBSP minced onions
1 tsp fresh, minced garlic
1 TBSP ground organic BBQ Seasoning(the brand I use is called Simply Organic, can find it at stores like Good Earth).
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/3 tsp. salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Simply Organic all-purpose seasoning mix

Whisk together all the ingredients and pour over chicken. Refrigerate for at least 3/4 hours. Cooks best on the grill, but could also be baked or broiled in the oven.

My husband and kids don't even bother with using bbq sauce or ketchup on the side with the meat when I make this. Has tons of flavor and is very moist. I can't stand dry chicken. ;)




If you are wondering why some of the spices are organic, Zach is allergic to a majority of preservatives, etc, that can be found in a lot of typical blended spices. Also, many of them use wheat flour, or other gluten based flours as an anti-caking agent. Also, watch out for MSG...most of the time, this is also wheat/gluten based.

Enjoy the marinade! I also have a recipe for a pork rub and a homemade BBQ sauce that I will share within the next few weeks...just need to get it on my menu. :)




Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hey! I'm Sherri...and

I am Sherri. My husband's name is Nathan, and we have a 4-year old son, Brooklyn. Nathan and I have been happily married for 7.5 years. This...is me!

I am currently attending Weber State persuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Fine Art Photography. I feel like I will NEVER be done with school. In my spare time, I enjoy crafting, cooking desserts, (Nate is the gourmet chef around here. Even though I like to cook regular food, desserts are SO MUCH more fun right??) gardening, reading, music and movies.

This...is Nate. I seriously cannot find a good picture of him. He ducks out of every photo, and hates to get his picture taken! But he loves football, and so I convinced him to let me take this one. Ha ha!

This is Brooklyn, a.k.a. Brooky, Brooky-pants or Brook-ster. He is so fun! He also gets sick of me taking photos of him, so it is a rarity to find one of him where he is not making a silly face. He cracks us up. He is OBSESSED with Batman.Just a little about me. I am so excited to be a part of this blog! I can't wait to get good ideas from all of you, and get to know you all better. I love blogging...this is one of 4 blogs that I have/work on!