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....