Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Kitchen Toy

Ok so we officially started the Christmas shopping extravaganza this past Sunday. You should of seen me and the DH, we were practically skipping through Target. We definitely felt like the Clauses for sure but part of the reason (a big part) of going to Target was because of this little beauty. In this week's ad they were only 16.99. EEEEK HALF price for a drool-worthy cutie tootie crock pot! I had to have it. Luckily I had the great luck of having a crock pot that was in good need of replacing so I had reasonable ammunition for the purchase of this one!!!

Of course since I bought it Sunday I had to use it right away! Here's what I tried and it was so creamy and scrumptious! MUST TRY!

Crock POt Italian Chicken

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup (98% less sodium)
1 block cream cheese
1 envelope packet good seasons italian dressing mix

Place chicken in bottom of crock. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours and serve over pasta. YUM! Oh so yummy!

With this dish I felt the need for some major veggies to coincide with the load of carbs

Sweet Succotash

1 T grapeseed oil
2 bunches green onions

Saute the onion in oil until just brown. Add

1 bag cascadian farms organic frozen corn
1 bag cascadian farms organic frozen edamama (shelled)
1 large orange or red bell pepper roughly chopped
shake of salt
couple shakes of black pepper
1/4 - 1/2 c broth 1 t cornstarch

Add in veggies to onions. Stir broth and veggies together and pour over mixture. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes until broth thickens.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Leave it and LOVE it

I love my crock pot more than words can express. IT's like a magic little pot of cooking goodness. I just throw some things inside and it works its wonders while I'm away. Sounds like a little bit of magic to me. I tossed this in this morning and LOVED the way this turned out. My MIL recommended this recipe from Kraft the other day and I just obsess about anything with A1 in it. I could *almost* drink the stuff. I love the tanginess, a little peppery and zing. It should be called SHAzAAM sauce or something. A1 is good but I bet SHAzAAM was their second choice. So try this out. It's really yummy. I served it over plain whole grain penne but I think next time I might try it over egg noodles just to see.

A1 stew & sauce

1 package of stew meat
1/4 c A1 sauce
1/4 c water
1 small onion chopped
1 regular can diced tomatoes in juice
2 T flour

Combine all in crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve over noodles of choice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cherry Coke Salad

I definitely hit a nerve yesterday posting Cherry Coke Salad on the menu. Is there such thing? Yes and if you like cherry jello, fruit, cherries and bites full of fizzy wiggly deliciousness, then this is the 'salad' for you. I think salad is used a bit loosely here. It's more of a dessert jello dish. But it comes from The Best of Postal Recipes. This book was a staple in my husband's family menu's and I was so glad to happen upon a copy one day. It holds within all those awesome family reunion, picnic, some comfort food, one-of-a-kind goodies. Cherry coke salad is one of them and while it's definitely a treat, it's still a Foster fave. I've cut back on the sugar and used sugar free jello and even tried diet coke. Of course, I always add more fruit and my own mix of what I have. Just make it to your liking and enjoy each one of those fabulous fizzy bites!

Cherry Coke Salad

1 can pitted cherries
1 c sugar
1/2 c water
2 sm boxes cherry jello
2 c chilled coke
1 c walnuts (opt.)
1 sm can crushed pineapple

Put cherries, sugar, and water in saucepan and bring to boil. Pour in dry gelatin and stir. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in cola, nuts and pineapple. Pour into a large dish or bowl and chill until set.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Farmer's Casserole and Menu Monday

Trying some new things this week for something different for the many bored palates.

Tonight: Farmer's Casserole, Cherry coke salad
Tuesday: Potato Soup & homemade biscuits (pushing the wrong dinner for weather but hey, they're predicting rain. (Notta Nicegirl "As if that matters in Kansas.") Dang! Who was that?!
Wednesday: Philly Sandwiches
Thursday: Hamburgers on grill, corn on cob, Cherry coke salad
Friday: FFY-getting ready for the big birthday party!

The farmer's casserole is simply a mundane excuse for breakfast at dinner, an all around family fave. I love all ingredients and the combo of them marrying around together. Plus, casserole's are just home-y and delicious in their own right.

Farmer's Casserole (breakfast casserole whatever)

1 package hash browns (I used the cubed O'Brien style but it calls for shredded)
(I threw in some leftover grilled potatoes too)
1 package cubed ham
1/2 onion diced
8 eggs
S & P to taste
1 1/2 c cheddar cheese
1- 5 oz can evaporated milk

In 9x13 pan, spray with Pam. Layer hash browns, then ham, cheese & onion. Whisk eggs, milk and S & P. Pour over layers. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

For the Darling Diva I made a individual version of this in a ramekin and used 3 T of rice milk to one egg.

Eat up and enjoy the Spring!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Crock pot love

Shame on me for not posting more often. Moving on. I have this supersonic love for my crock pot and sadly it's home is on my kitchen floor due to lack of cabinet and counter space. It used to be housed on my kitchen shelf in the garage (extension of my cabinets) but I got tired of up and downing the stairs every day or every other. I have a severe affinity for kitchen galore (gadgets, serving trays, plates and fun mania that I can use when I have my pals over) and it never ceases to amaze me at how much stuff I have in this room. Oh well. I love it and don't care. I'm trying a new recipe today and now can't find the webpage. DANG! (winks to Jerm! That was for you mofo) I love all the ingredients here independently and together I thought shazam! This ought to be fantastic! So we're giving it a whirl.

Crock pot chicken

3-4 chicken breasts
1 can Health Valley organic cream of chicken soup
1- 8 oz package fat free cream cheese
1 packet Good Seasons Italian Seasoning/Dressing mix

Place chicken in crock pot and with hand mixer, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken and cook on low 8 hours. Enjoy friends~!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Pesto Pasta

This is a staple in our house. It's an easy one pot meal and so tasty! I'm filling in at Darling Diva's daycare this week. Yes I'm a teacher and a classroom full of 25 1st graders DOES NOT intimidate me but a roomful of 6 under 2!? Whoa seriously a completely different universe. Whoa is all I can say. Let's just say at 8:20 pm tonight and I wish I was in bed and I'm a night owl. Trying to be better at blogging and keeping up so here I am, plugging away. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Plus it's easy to disguise those veggies in so go ahead and throw them in.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

3-4 chicken breast cut up in 1 in pieces
1 pkg Good Seasons italian seasoning
Cooking oil

In hot skillet, add chicken to oil and season with Good Seasons.

1 pkg fettuccini or linguine

Cook this according to pkg directions while chicken is cooking.

Once chicken is cooked through add

1/2 c pesto
1/2 c sharp cheddar, shredded
1/2 c light italian dressing
couple shakes crushed red pepper
1 can corn drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained

Stir in pasta and cook an additional 4-5 minutes on low until heated through.

Start swirling those forks folks!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crop mania! My very own subway art!

So I'm heading off to a crop in April and I thought I'd try out the whole subway art using scrapbook mania. While it took a while, I'm completely addicted. We'll be wearing these proudly across our backs. I'm sure people will be unconsciously following us trying to read what they say. But hey, it's something fellow scrappers will completely understand. Here's what I came up with:


PS. If you want this, I'd be happy to email it to you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad (homemade!)

So I'm a total sucker for those darn boxed pasta salads. I hate to admit that since we're trying diligently to get away from boxed foods. If I can make it, I usually do. I've been away for some time trying new recipes, some good, some NOT. Well my new venture was to make my own, healthier version of the bacon ranch version of this. It was a success! I had all the ingredients on hand and while the amount of mayo was whew a LOT, I feel that using a fat free version or a much healther mayo will do just the trick.


I box pasta of your choice, cooked, drained, cooled
1 c mayo (I used 1/2 c fat free mayo, 1/2 c grapeseed vegannaise)
1 pkt dry ranch mix
4-6 slices bacon cooked, crumbled
1/2 can peas
2 cucumbers
1/2 bag baby carrots, shredded
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes halved and quartered
1/4 t garlic powder
black pepper to taste
*1/2 c shredded cheddar (I omitted this)
*(I used the veggies I had on hand so you can add or substitute what you like.)

Whisk mayo, ranch and seasonings. Stir veggies into pasta. Stir in dressing mix & cheese if using. Serve. Lovely!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nothin' like No Bakes!

So tonight our neighbor is having a party and invited us and the kids over to hang out with their friends. It's the family friendly event! So excited to go-you know why? Because we have the greatest neighbors (and I get to cook of course!). It will be so hard when that day comes when we have to part from them. We've been so lucky to have the kind of neighbors we do. They're constantly calling me...."Hey there, we have Bertie (my 4 lbs yorkie) she must've gotten out again." Lucky me, she just runs to their house. She has identity issues I think and her brain tells her that she's really a doberman and she thinks it's her duty in life to run the neighborhood and well...the whole dog and pony show every day. She has shifts of yard watch where she runs at a full sprint out the back door and once around the entire back yard barking and then she comes in as if to say, "Yeah mom, I told them that I'm still here and I'm still the boss. PANT PANT PANT." This duty is of high importance and if not completed a minimum of ten times throughout the day, I get a little pat on the leg with a semi-shaking (with excitement and anticipation) mini paw. I digress because this is really about my neighbors and cookies but I can't help myself. Look how cute- er um ferocious she is!

So anyway, without my neighbors and their ever faithful phone calls, I wouldn't still have my little peanut around. They're just great. They have great kids who help out all the time. They help shovel snow, mow grass, rent equipment, and the like. You can't beat 'em. So tonight, I'm taking some treats over and they can't just be any treats. They get the good stuff. They don't get leftovers. They get fresh from the oven, still warm, the tedious bakes. I go all out for them because they deserve it. So tonight, they get these little beauts! I happen to know these are one of their fave's.

Here's the recipe if you have a hankering.

Chocolate No Bakes

In saucepan add:

1 stick butter (real stuff)
1/2 c cocoa
1/2 c milk
2 c sugar

Whisk until it's smooth. Continue to heat until it's bubbly. Just watch it because it will boil over. I know from experience. While it's heating put this in a large bowl:

1/2 c peanut butter (I like smooth and creamy but you could also use chunky)
3 c oatmeal

Once the chocolate mixture has boiled (careful not to burn) pour over contents in bowl. Stir until well incorporated. Drop by scoopful onto wax or parchment paper. Allow to cool.

**Note-these do not turn out or harden correctly when it's very humid out. These are great to make in the fall, winter or when it's fairly cool.

Go make some and enjoy with friends!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice (Snow) Cream

Since we're literally snowed in, I thought why not make use of the pretty powder? I knew you could use snow to make ice cream but I've never done it and found the EASIEST recipe! Here's what you need:

5 c FRESH WHITE snow
1 c milk (we use rice milk so our little cupcake could enjoy) but also made a batch for ourselves. Not going to run out of snow any time soon.
1/2 c sugar (next time I'm going to try using agave but may have to cut back to 1/4c)
1/2 t vanilla

Mix milk, sugar and vanilla until sugar is almost dissolved. Slowly add snow. I used a whisk and it worked nicely. While this was thick, it wasn't
quite as thick as ice cream. It's more like a milkshake but still delicious and fun! So go out and make some!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quick Dinner-Crock pot recipe

So I was cramming for a dinner idea yesterday and was going to try a small turkey in the crock pot but it was frozen solid so that was a no go. I had to come up with something quick because I was off to a Thirty-one party. I found some pork chops in the freezer, I had some left over onion from earlier in the week and some Italian dressing (always a winner) so I threw it all in the crock pot. Here's what I did

Italian Pork Chops

In crock pot I put 3 frozen pork chops

I added about a 1/2 cup of chicken broth
1/2 c Italian dressing (I use light done right by Kraft)
1/2 an onion rough cut
salt and pepper to taste

I cooked on low for about 6-7 hours and it was DELICIOUS! My DH made a squash casserole and it was more like a dessert. We told Ava it was ice cream and she ate the whole pile on her plate. It seemed like it was time consuming but squash usually is so while this part may not be quick-it was worth it.

Squash Casserole

1 squash, mashed (so peel it, scrape out seeds and boil until fork won't stick & mash)
2-3 eggs beaten
1/2 c milk (we used rice milk)
1/3 c butter (we didn't use this much more like 2 T)
2 T coconut
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t vanilla
1 c sugar (again didn't use this much about a heaping 1/4th c)

Mix all ingredients into mashed squash and spread into small baking dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

It really is dessert like but kid approved!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I saw this post this morning and thought, "Yeah, that pretty much sums it up for me too." My two year old, my sweet little innocent two year old....(*Insert sigh here*) is just....what's the word? Challenging? She definitely knows how to push the buttons, the wrong ones I might add, push the envelope, cross the line and cry or scream in just the right decibel that gets me in panic OMGNOTTHATCRYohgoodgodpleasedon'tkeepscreaming mode. She definitely challenges me as a mom and while I know it's a phase, I keep thinking to myself that I shouldn't wish it away. Pretty soon, she'll be walking out the door to her car going off to prom. I realize these traits are what make her the strong, independent daughter I was hoping and praying for but it also gives me pause. A minute to reflect, or relish, that my husband and I created her. She's ours. NO one elses. NO ONE'S. She's our daughter and we are molding her into what she is to become. That's crazy. I mean no pressure or anything right?! We are building this little girl into a person that will be outside our home one day making her mark. Good grief. The past few days have been heavy in that they really don't stay little and they won't depend on you forever. This is so sad so while I hate to admit, I appreciate those little fits just a tiny little bit. It means that she's still here, under my roof, depending on Chris and I to help her, hold her and show her the fullest extent of our love for her. Just thinking to myself how lucky I am.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Dazzling Rainbow Surprise Cake

Just your typical birthday cake, right? Pretty plain and boring, right? Wrong! It held a terrific surprise inside! See for yourself...

It was quite the process but it was worth every minute! I wanted to make a fun cake for Miss Ava and wanted her to have a fun birthday cake. She had her own personal cupcake for the occasion which was also layered and dazzling. She of course wouldn't touch it but she did, however, eat 90% of it using just her mouth. We're a little OCD around here and we're okay with it.

Anywho, I saw this cake and had to make it myself. It was involved yes and a little time consuming but I figured out my groove quickly and made it start to finish in about 2 hours. Nap time is about right! I'm going to tell you how to make your own, in whatever color scheme you choose here.


2 cake mixes of your choice. I used Duncan Hines classic yellow
1 if not 2 8 in cake pans
cooking spray or wilton cake release
plastic wrap
food coloring

Make the cake according to pkg instructions. I made one at a time but would have made both had I known I'd need both. Spray or coat pan. I started with red and scooped out 1 1/2 c batter into a bowl. Add the coloring and mix well. Pour into pan. These needed to bake in my oven about 17 minutes. This might vary depending on your oven. I allowed the cake to cool in the pan 10 minutes and then let cool on wire rack. While it was cooling I baked another layer (& color) and once I pulled this next layer out, I wrapped the cooling layer in plastic wrap and put in freezer. This makes frosting a breeze and I'll be doing this FROM NOW ON.

So in the end I had this...

NOTE: I made this cake the day before the party.

The morning of the big party day I pulled the layers out of the freezer. They were rock hard so I was a little worried. I unwrapped each layer and put the first layer on my cake stand. I iced each layer and had this...

I decided that because I wanted to make the inside of the cake the surprise that I wanted to do little to the outside of the cake as far as decorating goes. I kept the sprinkles and decor to a minimum. My dear little girl loved her layered cake and I hope yours does too! These would be great for game day! I think I may have to try my hand at a crimson and blue cake? Whatdya think?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meal planning Monday

Each week I try to plan meals with DH so that I'm not standing at the fridge or oven wondering what in the world I'm going to make for dinner. I get great pleasure from meal planning. I enjoy reading and scouring my neverending abundance of cook books for something that will tickle my tastebuds and make the kids and dad happy. So here's what this week looks like:

Monday: Sandwich night (lots of leftovers from birthday party!)

Tuesday: Lemonade Chicken, scalloped potatoes and smoothies

Wednesday: whatever goes wed. This night we try to eat up leftovers or have an FFY night

Thursday: Pork Chops & Rice in CP, jello salad (my Aunt Mary recipe which is hilarious to me bc I don't have an Aunt Mary). Ok I'm delirious.

Friday: Butternut Squash soup with apples, Grilled Chicken Salad, rice pudding

Sat/Sun: I dont usually cook on Saturday's as a general rule unless I'm craving some kitch time.

Sun: one of my absolute fave's- Pot Roast in the CP

I'll post recipes later!

(yeah not a great week-it's Thursday and I'm posting for my Meal Plan Monday. While typing over 20 spelling errors. Make that 21.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ringing In

Well it's been great 2010~ Sad to see you go but excited to see what 2011 has in store. I feel like this year is going to bring about many changes, some good, some difficult, some that will challenge me to my inner core. I'm ready though. I feel like I'm ready to grab life by the (*ahem*) balls and face him head on. I've decided to set some goals for this year, quite a good handful actually....I feel like typing them is the same as writing them so I help you'll hold me to them. I'd like to first and foremost, find employment. The education system in bleak in the hope that I could find and hold onto a full-time teaching position. While I'm never going to give up home because that is my all-time dream to teach, I can't put all my eggs in the basket on that one. I'd like to find something where I feel like I am contributing and where I am valued as part of the whole. I'd like to start a shop on etsy and begin to share my love of crafts and creating with others. I've begun a healthy and quite progressive plan of running a 5k and am going to work towards a marathon for next year-it's got to be small steps but steps with purpose. Let me tell you, I've got a row to hoe there but again, I'm ready. I'm turning 30 in 4 days and I'm not quite sure how to feel. At first I wanted to skip the day altogether but I think that I need to start my thirties with a bang so here's to that! I hope that I can continue to build a strong relationship and bond with both of my kiddos. With one being super strong-willed and one being a cuddle-lover I want to balance my attention to both in that I can demonstrate the gift of love in a way that will teach them that is above all else, our greatest gift to one another. This is a lot and it's lofty but I believe it's doable. I wish the best for you as well. I hope this year brings you joy, laughter, and it brings you your wishes and grants you lessons that only life can so graciously teach. I hope that 2011 is full of moments, memories, ups and downs that will brings you closer to who your are and closer to those you love. All my best to you. 2011, here I come....