Monday, March 24, 2014

Frito Dip

Best new dip ever! Cream Cheese Chili Dip.

I've made it several times for a varieties of parties and it is always a HUGE hit!

And the best part... there are only 2 ingredients in the dip. That's it! When people taste it and try to guess... they always guess many more ingredients than are actually included. Chili and Cream Cheese. That's all you need! And of course something to transport this delicious dip to your mouth!

 It's so easy to make. You can make it on the stove or you can make it in the microwave. You want to use a high quality chili... I like the Hormel Chili with Beans best. And then cream cheese... you can even use the low fat kind to make it a little less guilt inflicting when you are eating it. Put them together in the pan or bowl and heat them up. Make sure to stir it a few times while you are heating it up and then you are done. Pour it into a serving bowl (or eat it straight out of the pan)

{{Chili Cream Cheese Dip}}
(printer friendly here)

1 (8 oz) block of softened cream cheese
1 (15 oz) can of high quality chili (Hormel or Dennison)

Warm ingredients until blended in a pot on the stove or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Serve with corn chips (Fritos).


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Orange You Glad... Birthday Gift

I made this little gift to give away... I've seen tons of variations on Pinterest. I had to mail this gift so I opted for less chocolate and more mailable items.

Super easy and versatile gift that can be made to fit any person. Basically you just have to collect "orange" colored items.

Here's some orange suggestions:
  • Orange notebook 
  • Orange pen
  • Orange tube of Mini M&M's
  • Trident gum (Tropical Flavor- with an orange package)
  • Orange Crystal Light
  • Burt Bees Chapstick
  • Orange Nail Polish
  • Orange Slices Candy
  • Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Reese's Pieces
  • Kit Kat Candy
  • Soda/Drinks (Orange Crush)
  • Orange Tic Tacs
  • Goldfish
  • Cheetos
  • An actual real orange
  • Orange cup
  • Orange Ribbon
  • Orange Stickers
  • Anything Orange! Walk around and see what Orange things you find.
Then you add a little tag and it's done! Ta dah!

Here's a free printable of the orange tag for a Birthday gift.

And another tag for other gifts... Teacher Gift, Visiting Teacher gift, neighbor gift, just because gift! You can make the gift big or small depending on how much stuff you put into the collection.
 Right click on the image that you want and save it to your computer, then you can print out, cut out and attach it to your gift.

Here's another idea...

It's a plastic mason jar straw cup with a lid (and it even has an orange on the glass itself). I filled it up with a bunch of Orange candy, gum, Tic Tac's & Burt Bee's chapstick. I bought the cup at Wal-mart and after filling it with the orange treasures, I wrapped a ribbon and attached the tag.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St Patrick's Day Fun

Love this fun Green Day!

It started this morning with the kids running around to see what our naughty little Leprechaun did to the house.  For some reason he likes to snag a shoe from each child in the house and fill it with some treats or gifts. This year they got golden rolos and skittles, plus a fun new pair of glasses. Sammie & Anthony got the cool aviators while Jared's has an orange mustache attached to his green glasses and Morgan got the 80s Shamrock shades.

A few little tricks that silly little guy worked on while we were all soundly sleeping...
  • He colored the toilet water green and unrolled the toilet paper a bit. 
  • He arranged the kid's alphabet magnets into the word lucky and then sprinkled some rolos around there too.
  • The kitchen chairs were left in complete disarray...turned over and on top of each other.
  • Some of the family pictures had funny faces and mustache's drawn onto the photo.
  • Finally the milk was turned green. 
Silly little mischievous leprechaun. 

After the tricks were found it was time to eat some breakfast. We went simple this year.... LUCKY CHARMS... cuz "They're magically delicious!" Served along with the leprechaun tinted green milk.

Plus to add some fruits and veggies into their breakfast we had some Turtle Juice Smoothies. 

{{Turtle Juice Smoothie}}

(Printer Friendly Version... click here)

2 frozen bananas
1 big handful of fresh spinach
1 yogurt (flavor of your choice)
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, one apple, can of pineapple, one orange, raspberries, etc.)
2 cups juice, any kind
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Blend all ingredients in a blender.
Will be different every time depending on the fruit chosen.

Pina Colada = pineapple juice, pineapple, banana, spinach and pina colada yogurt.
Blueberry Monster = blueberries, banana, spinach, vanilla yogurt, any juice.
This recipe was originally created by my friend Gina Smith and we use it all the time. We vary the fruit and juice to alter the flavor a little, but there is always a BIG ole handful of spinach added to the blender. When I first started making this the kids had no idea they were eating so much spinach, then they saw me doing it and at first they wanted to be abhorred... until I mentioned to them that they'd been eating it for quite some time. They paused... and realized it was true and they don't even complain anymore... they even pull out the spinach leaves when we go to make our green smoothies.

While the kids were happily munching on their cereal and smoothies... I was getting their green lunches ready. I made them a PB&J Shamrock sandwich, a green squeezie applesauce, a green Sprite, a green Fruit by the Foot, a green apple, green Sour Cream & Onion chips (the bag was green at least), and for dessert some Thin Mint cookies. They were super excited about the lunch since they got things that they don't normally get to have. FUN! That's what the holidays are all about. I also went here and printed out a lunch box tag to put in their lunch too.

After lunches were packed, and teeth were brushed... we stopped to take some pictures of their green-ness before they left. Sammie had a green strip of hair that we clipped into her hair and a green scarf. Jared brushed his hair up into a faux-hauk and then I sprayed it with temporary green hair color that we picked up on clearance after Halloween.

Then they were off to school!

When school was over and they busted through the door... they were welcomed by this lovely little rainbow snack. I've seen a bunch of variations and basically just pulled together what I thought my kids would enjoy the most.

Red= Strawberries (or could use raspberries, watermelon, cherries)
Orange= Mandarin Orange slices (or fresh clementines/orange slices, cantaloupe, )
Yellow= Pineapple Chunks (almost did bananas but the pineapple was more yellow)
Green= Green Apples (or kiwi, green grapes, honeydew,)
Blue= Blueberries
Purple= Purple Grapes

I gathered up the rolos that had been scattered everywhere by the leprechaun and used those to create my gold at the end of the rainbow. The puffy white cloud at the other end of the rainbow is a creamy fruit dip that growing up we affectionately called Angel Dip. It is a very popular dip and SUPER easy to make. Only 2 ingredients needed. ***If you've never made this before... you really need to. You don't know it, but something has been missing from your life... and it is this dip. You can mix things into the dip to turn it into different fun flavors, etc, but in its original form, it's a CLASSIC!

{{Angel Dip}}

(Printer friendly version... click here)

1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese, softened (nonfat works great)
1 7-oz jar marshmallow crème
Using an electric mixer or food processor, blend ingredients until mixed thoroughly. Refrigerate. Serve with fresh fruit, such as strawberries, cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon, etc.

For dinner we always have a corned beef roast & vegetables. I pick up the corned beef at the grocery store or Cost-co and the directions for cooking them are right on the package. It has a yummy flavor that is different than a typical steak. This year I threw everything into my crock pot.

  1. First there is a layer of cut up celery, carrots, onions (and you can add potatoes, but I didn't this year).
  2. Then I put wedges of cabbage on top of the veggies. (Best to keep the cabbage out and add it in half way through cooking though so it doesn't get too soft.)
  3. Next comes the roast and I sprinkled a few of the celery, onions, & carrots on top of the roast.
  4. The corned beef comes with a little package of pickling spices that you will want to save and then sprinkle over the top of the roast and veggies.
  5. I made 2 cups of beef broth and poured that into the bottom of the crock pot.
  6. Cooked everything on high for 4 hours and then when we pulled everything out it was perfect. We sliced up the meat against the grain, added some of the veggies to the plate with a pile of rice (you can spoon the broth over the rice if you want, or thicken it up for a gravy).
You can't go wrong with a slow cooker meal, especially one that is easy and turns out great. Click here for the full recipe.

Along with dinner we had some green leprechaun juice. My 11 year old daughter Sammie adorned our glasses with a cute little dry erase marker mustache. She loves to set the table for holidays... she pulls out tablecloths and place mats and tries to make things match and look cute. (So proud of my little Sammie!)
For this juice, I just kinda improvised with what I had.

{{Leprechaun Juice}}

1 frozen can of limeade concentrate
1 frozen can of lemonade concentrate 
2 liter of Sprite
Green food coloring

Mix it all together and serve. 

Finally it was time for dessert... It's so hard to pick just one... So I picked two. (Even that was difficult... there are so many fun things to make for each holiday.) Here's what I made... one thing new and the other was tried and true... an oldie but goodie!

The first treat I tried today was the Lucky Charm treats. Basically a rice crispie treat but instead of using rice crispies, I used the lucky charms cereal. I thought they might taste extra sweet since the cereal has a coating of sugar on it, but it tasted like cheerios covered in marshmallows. Fun! My baby couldn't wait to get his little hands on them!

Finally... the oldie but goodie. Mint Brownies. And since there is a certain someone in my house that doesn't like mint in, there was a third of the brownies that didn't include the mint frosting... just the chocolate... And those kind are good too! If you want the recipe for these brownies... click here.

Oh yeah... one more thing. I thought I had mint extract in my pantry and while I was making the frosting I couldn't find any minty extracts anywhere. They were all gone! I was committed to these brownies... the kids were depending on them... I'd already told them that they'd be having them. So in order to prevent a coup I did something I have never done before. I had a small vial of doTERRA Peppermint Essential Oil and I added in 3 drops of the oil to the frosting so they would be mint and it worked! I had heard that people cooked with the oils and so I tried it. I didn't want to run to the store for the extract. I should have started with 2 cause it seemed a little bit strong to me, but the kids didn't complain or even notice a difference. They were asking for more.

Another St. Patrick's day... done and over with. It was a busy but a fun day.  Now we get to start planning Easter! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

After School Snacks

The kids are ALWAYS famished when they come home from school. Always! Sometimes I just let them grab something from the SNACK bucket in the pantry, or a fruit, and sometimes I made them a snack to eat. It all depends on how much time I have and when we will be eating dinner.

Today I took 5 minutes and put together this plate of snacks for them when they came home from school. They gobbled it up in minutes. (It is amazing that they can put away so much food sometimes.)

A few days ago I had made some banana bread in mini loaf pans. I cut up the last loaf and spread it out on the plate. I broke apart some graham crackers and spread peanut butter on one side and then turned it into a little sandwich. That's it graham crackers and peanut butter- it kinda tastes like a quick and easy peanut butter cookie. Finally, I sliced up a green apple (somehow the kids developed a preference for green apples over the red- so that's what they got). 

Then it was done. They walked through the door... saw the plate, said hello and then I didn't hear much from them til there were only crumbs left on the plate and they were saying, "That was an AWESOME snack Mom!" (Mission Accomplished!)

Then it was time to do homework.

Monday, March 3, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Chalkboard

For my St. Patricks Day Chalkboard I wanted a large oval as a border. I didn't trust my free hand skills so I found a large platter that fit onto the board and then used the chalk marker to draw around it. 

After the main outside circle was drawn I erased a small part at the top and added a few embellishments and then a larger section at the bottom... added some shamrocks and more swirlies. I had intended to put more words in the circle. I started with the word blessed and had it hugging tightly to the shamrocks so that it would fit all the words, "We are not Lucky, We Are Blessed." Well after many attempts at the whole saying inside my circle I realized it wouldn't fit the way I wanted it to. I reduced the saying just to "We Are Blessed" and that meant that my spacing was a bit off. I almost started completely over, but the kids were gonna be home fro school soon and I had other things to get done... so it stayed.

Here's the link on how I made my chalkboard....Click here. 


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