Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Change of Pace-My Lunch!


Wow! I can't believe it's been four months since I was on here. I've missed all of you so very much, but my life has been a little crazy over the past four months. I've had to reprioritize my life and my family, but I just wanted to stop by and say Hi!

I've had a change of pace with the cupcake business lately, it's slowed down, which for this season of my life is a good thing, but I'm hoping with the new year, I can start anew!

But before I get back to cupcakes and desserts I have to share something with you. A little thing I like to call, lunch. Yep, lunch. I was selected to be part of the Buzz Campaign for Lean Cuisine Salad Additions. Okay, if any of you have read any of my blog posts before this one, you know that I'm not exactly the salad type. In fact, when I think of salads, I mostly think it would taste better to go all Hunger Games and eat the pine needles and weeds from my yard. I'm not a salad person, to say the very least. But today that all changed!

As part of the Lean Cuisine Salad Creations Campaign I was given my choice between Cranberry & Chicken, Asian-style Chicken, Bistro Chicken and Southwest-style Chicken. I decided to go out on a limb, and try the Asian-style Chicken Salad Additions.

Despite my hestitation I chopped my lettuce, warmed up the steamer packet, and piled it all together in my pretty salad bowl. I sat down and took one bite. And I was hooked!

The combination of greens, grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, peppers, carrots, edimame, and asian  noodles, all topped with the sesame vinegrette dressing was perfect!

Wanna see? Here you go. This is it. The salad that changed my world!!


So, all of you out there who think that you're not salad folk, think again! The Lean Cuisine Salad Additions are changing the world of sticks and pine needles!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I once was blind, but now I see.

Have you ever stepped back and just really looked at what's around you?
I mean really looked.
The colors, the textures.
The amazing creations on this Earth.
 I sometimes stand looking in the mirror, and think about how it's a completely amazing feat that I'm actually where I am. That for the past 34 years I've put one foot in front of the other and became who I am today. God has shaped me, molded me, guided me into what He wants me to be. And even though I make mistakes every single day, He loves me.
 How did I get here? Where did I come from? How is it possible that I'm living the life I'm living? All because of Him.
I've been so inspired to write this post since I saw this over at The Pink Hammer. I thought it was so cool that she took you on a tour around her property and showed us some of the tiny little things that we may overlook or even step on every single day. I decided to open my eyes around my place and show you just what I see.
Maybe it's the date that is making me open my eyes and see.
Today is September 11, 2012.
A date that each and every person in America will remember for the rest of their lives.
3,000 people lost their lives on this day 11 years ago, all at the hands of terrorists.
 One of the most horrific tragedies of all time.
I can remember everything about that day. Where I was. What I was doing. My reaction. The panic I felt worrying about all of my family and friends. And although I didn't have anyone close to Ground Zero, I felt helpless. But I also felt a sense pride. Proud to be part of a country that came together in what would be one of the most tragic times of our lives. We all stood together at that moment in time, praying, pleading, crying out for help. It's a day of reflection for me. For all of us. For every, single, American, who witnessed that day.
The slide from the old playhouse.

This isn't technically on our property, but I love the look of this old barn next door. Ssshhh! I had to sneak over there to take a picture.

Some random plant covering our extra paver stones.

One of my all time favorite things to do. Although I think Dear Hubby get's a little nervous when I hop on the Toro!

And yes, we do have a random headstone in our front yard.

Our birdhouse. There's a funny story about this birdhouse. Let's just say, birds are not the only thing that inhabited this bird house.
God Bless the USA!

I know it may not be the most clever post, but it's how I'm feeling today so I thought I would share it.
 
 
 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Projects 101

I realized something about myself today.
I don't know if it's a norm for all of us writer people out there, or if, well...I'm just strange.
I talk to myself.
I've caught myself quite a few times today doing it. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm so aware of it, but it's been the weirdest thing today.
Do all of you do this too? (Please say 'yes'!)
Here's what I was talking to myself about today.
I realized that everytime I chop something, like today when I was making another batch of homemade salsa, that I count each cut.
So tomato after tomato it sounded alot like this in my head, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Turn. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5."
"huh? I didn't cut those the same number of times. That's kind of odd."
Then, this evening while I was trying to relax while enjoying a nice hot, quiet bath, I began to think about summer. It went a little like this,
"Summer is coming to an end. What have we done this summer? We haven't gone anywhere exciting, mostly just work around the house. You know, that would be a great thing to write about. Yeah! Okay, I can do a post about all of our exciting projects we've done. I need a bigger bathtub."
No joke, it went just like that.
And at no point in either of those conversations did I think to myself, "It's kind of odd that I'm talking to myself."
I took Sociology and Psychology in College and for some reason don't recall food bloggers being listed under multiple personality disorders or paranoid schitzophrenia.
Although it was First Quarter, Freshman Year, Monday Mornings, 8:00 am.
(Who does that? Apparently a naieve, over-anxious, Freshman)
I probably don't remember alot from that class anyways.
So after that last conversation with myself I decided to let all of you see just what we've been up to this summer.
Summer is starting to wind down, although you wouldn't know it by looking at the thermometer around her, it's hotter than...well...it's hot!
Like I mentioned to myself earlier this evening, we didn't really go anywhere exciting, no big vacation away, but we've done alot of cool projects around the house this year.
Here's our first one!

Box 1 of 6, completely filled with wood pieces,screws, bolts, and a 34 page instruction manual. Oh yeah, it mentioned that it would take two moderatly skilled adults 24-30 hours to complete this project.
 
Day 3, the roof going on the club house.

These guys worked their butts off for our kids!

The Crew!
Sophie cristening her new "wing"
 This project would have never happend if it wasn't for our amazing friends and family!
After 4 days, 26 hours, with 4 skilled men, and 1 slightly less skilled 7 year old, Operation Clubhouse was finally finished!
 
Darryl & Tony we can't thank you enough for all of your hard work!
(oh yeah, we started this project the weekend after dear hubby had emergency surgery for kidney stones and wasn't allowed to lift anything over 10 lbs. Great planning on our part!)
 
And what's better to do than a 26 hour outdoor project? How about starting a bathroom remodel at the EXACT. SAME. TIME!
I'm starting to realize we're not great at timing these projects or planning too well!
I can honestly say, we have the World's Smallest Bathroom!
Okay, maybe not, but it's pretty darn close.
I'm starting to realize that the bathroom probably wasn't the best designed portion of this house, luckily I can blame that on someone else. But, we knew it was that big when we bought the house, and we still bought it. I guess the humungoid back yard kind of threw us off!
When we first bought the house I had the brilliant idea to paint the bathroom yellow.
Do any of you realize what it's like to wake up at 5:00 am, and walk into a 10 x 6 room painted bright yellow?
It's like you've landed on the sun, people!
And that's not a good thing!
Let's just say it didn't stay yellow for too long.
Since 2004 the bathroom has been white.
White.
Plain White.
White on white.
I know, exciting right?!
I decided it was time for a change.
Then I found this! I knew that this was going to be my bathroom.
Why you ask?
Well, because bascially this bathroom, is my bathroom.
Well, it's not MY bathroom, but my bathroom is an exact copy of this bathroom.
In fact, my shower curtain was the same one too, only in a different color scheme.
 So project number 2 was underway.
Here's what happened!
How we started. See, white on white. Okay so there's some wood color!

We taped off the room, and started painting.


Then it was time for the power tools to come out! Yes, I used the sawhorses and circular saw all by myself!


After the paint was dry, we installed the board and batten with some Liquid Nails. Easy Peasy!

Updated the hardware to all silver knobs.

And last but not least, finally added the accent I was most excited about!

The final look!
What cha think?
I was a little concerned at first about using such a dark color in such a small room, but to be honest, it really felt like it opened it up alot. Almost as if it's a blue sky around the top of the room.
I love it!
I'm so happy the way that it turned out.
And I'm even more proud of myself for maintaning all 10 fingers while the circular saw was out.
So those were our two big projects this summer.
All of the painting in the bathroom has inspired me to move into the kitchen...
I have one paint color picked out...
Okay, I have both paint colors picked out, now it's convincing hubby that it's going to turn out as well as this one did!
So remember, it's not completely crazy if you talk to yourself.
Heck, it's not even crazy if you answer yourself.
We are just going to chalk it up to being a creative writer!
"Right?"
"Yep!"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's a...umm...Whatchamacallit!



Do you ever have days where you sit down at the computer and your mind goes blank? I've had those days alot lately. I don't know what it is. Apparently writer's block is a common occurance in my house.
I've got so many great projects and recipes to share with you, and I just can't come up with the catchy words to keep you reading.
You see, I was never the kid in school that could sit down and write a 40 page essay on The American Revolution. Heck, I couldn't write a 40 page essay about my life let alone any one elses! This is a pretty tough gig, at least for me.
It's funny, I typically start my morning by reading the most up to date post from one of my most favorite food bloggers out there. She's so whitty and charming, and quite frankly-AMAZEBALLS! I'm sure by now you know who I'm referring to!
Hayley, The Domestic Rebel, is one of my all time fav bloggy friends and has inspired me in so many of my posts.
I see other inspiring posts all the time too. Posts about kids, and husbands, and dressers, and tissue boxes fashioned out of chicken wire and I think to myself, I just don't feel that creative. I just wish I could come up with something that no one else has done.
I was sitting in my office yesterday, after eating my Weight Watcher's meal and as I sat there munching on my snack, it hit me! I could SO make these at home!!! And yes, I did just eat a Smart One and then finished off my lunch by eating a Whatchamacallit! Don't judge people!! It could have been worse!!
So...I decided to disect the remaining bite of my Whatchamacallit and here's what I came up with.
A cruncy, peanut buttery layer (hmmh, looks like rice krispies to me)
A thin caramel layer (I think I have some caramel left over from another project this week)
All hugged by a layer of chocolate (Yep! Got that!)
And here's what I came up with, my first attempt at a homemade candy bar!
The WhatChaMaCallIt...Campbell Style!
These were so much fun to make. Other than chocolate coated fingers (yeah, who's going to complain about that!) they came together really well.
Although a little difficult to photograph...brown just isn't a great color for me.
And I think they taste just like their store bought counterparts.
I would strongly recommend you make these.
Now I know that it might be easier to just go to Target or Wal-Mart and spend $1.49 on a true Whatchamacallit, but then you wouldn't be able to tell all of your friends, "Hey! I made these!" and let's be honest here, who doesn't like to impress their friends a little.
So here's what you're gonna need.
 
 
WhatChaMaCallIt Candy Bars...Campbell's Style
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Rice Krispies
Caramels (about 1/2 bag unwrapped)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
1 bag light cocoa Wilton Candy Melts
butter
 
Line a 13x9 inch cake pan with aluminum foil. Butter it generously, set aside.
In a saucepan combine sugar and corn syrup, bring to a boil.
Once boiling remove from heat, stir in peanut butter.
Place Rice Krispies in a large bowl, pour peanut butter mixture over cereal.
Mix well.
Press into cake pan firmly. Set aside.
In a small microwave safe bowl, combine caramels and heavy cream.
Melt in 30 second incriments until caramels are smooth and pourable.
Pour caramels over cereal in cake pan. Smooth out into a thin layer.
Refridgerate for 1 hour.
Pull aluminum foil from pan with bars still on top of it. Place on a safe cutting surface.
With a large knife or pizza cutter, cut into bars or squares.
In another bowl melt candy melts in microwave according to directions on package.
Dip bars or squares into the chocolate melts, place on wax paper or plastic wrap to cool.
Enjoy!!!
 
 
 

A Birthday Giveaway!!

I've got something totally cool for you today! I'm off today getting Aiden back to school and since I'm busy with that I wanted to share a little something with you.
It's Addicted to Recipe's Birthday!!! And she's hosting an amazing Birthday Celebration this week! Have you checked it out yet??
Well you should!!!!
Birthday Giveaway 2012, Button for Birthday Giveaway 2012
And today I'm giving away a $25.00 Gift Card to one of my favorite places, Jo-Ann Fabrics! So whether you're a scrapper, a baker, a sewer, or a crafter, Jo-Ann's has something for you!
Make sure you stop and get signed up!!
I'll be back in a couple of days with some yum-o dessert recipes and a little project I've been working on! See you then!!!
 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sinful Caramel Chocolate Cake


I like cake.
I mean, REALLY like cake.
Not that you couldn't tell that by looking at me though. 
I honestly can't think of any time in my life where there was a cake that I didn't like.
Okay, maybe this one time at a wedding there was a really dry piece of white wedding cake with icing that tasted more like the box the cake came in than buttercream, but isn't it disrespectful to not eat a piece of wedding cake. I think it's like bad luck for the bride and groom or something.
I think I read that online somewhere.
These days I like to think that my cakes and cupcakes taste way better than that previously choked down mentioned wedding cake. I love trying new flavors and combining some of my favorites together into different combinations.
As I said before, I'm really not picky when it comes to cake.
But I do have to say chocolate has to be my favorite.
And after seeing this post by Shelly over at Cookies & Cups I was bound and determined to set myself up for a chocolate cake coma. And I knew that this cake would deliver!
I opted to try something a little different with the recipe and it came out AH-MA-ZING! The original recipe is fantastic as written, but I decided to change it up just a little and see what would happen.
So out came the Rolo's and the caramel sauce!
Oh yeah, and the crock pot.
Yep, you heard that right!
The CROCK POT people!!!
And Chocolate Cake Coma was about to be well underway!!!

Now I have to warn you. Please let the cake cool for just a slight bit after you dish it out...it is HOT! And I don't mean like Christian Grey or Edward & Jacob HOT, I mean like mytoungeispermanentlyblisterednowHOT!
Enjoy!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pineapple Refridgerator Cake

It's summer.
It's hot.
I've
Want something that will trick your body into thinking it's 60 degrees even when it's 105?
Here you go.
And you're welcome.
Dear Hubby's family introduced me to Pineapple Refridgerator Cake about 15 years ago. Prior to that I never knew it existed (probably a blessing in disguise).
This recipe has been a favorite of his family for many years.
I was never lucky enough to meet his Grandmother Campbell, but I know that she would be so thrilled that we are enjoying her Pineapple Refridgerator Cake recipe.
This recipe is easy peasy! And it's perfect for a hot summer day.
And even though it does remind me of summer, this cake is perfect any time of year.
So anyways, let's cool off with some Pineapple Refridgerator Cake shall we?!


Campbell's Pineapple Refridgerator Cake

30 large marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
2 packages of graham crackers, crushed
1 can crushed pineapple, drained (but reserve the juice in a seperate bowl)
1 cup Cool Whip

In a microwave safe bowl combine marshmallows and milk. Microwave on high until marshmallows are melted completely.
Allow marshmallow mixture to cool completely.
Once it has cooled, mix in the Cool Whip and the crushed pineapple.
Line the bottom of a 13x9 inch pan with 1/2 of the crushed graham crackers.
Drizzle some of the pineapple juice over the graham cracker crust.
Pour marshmallow/Cool Whip mixture over graham cracker crust. Spread out evenly.
Drizzle a little more of the pineapple juice over the top.
Top with remaining crushed graham crackers.
Refridgerate for at least 1 hour before serving.