Sunday, November 24, 2013

Easy Chicken with George!

So over the past several weeks I've been figuring out how to take care of a baby and cook at the same time which I LOVE. I had missed cooking so I'm very grateful to get back to it. However, there are still plenty of nights that, for whatever reason, I'm not able to cook and then Jord gets home and there's not much time to get dinner ready before it gets late so often times we're looking for something really quick, but more sustainable than a pbj. Though we have our fill of pbj-like dinners. :)

So we started employing the George Foreman a lot more to make some quick grilled chicken! We'd then pair it with some quick sides and voila! A quick dinner that feels like more effort was put in than there actually was. 

Here are some ideas of ways to quickly put a dinner like this together. 

The chicken:
You could top it with any mixture of the following-
Basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, etc. 
seasoned salt
Mrs dash 
You could even marinate it (but you'd have to have planned ahead for that... But the making of the meal would still be fast!)

The sides:
Plain rice
Any flavor of the quick packaged Pasta Sides (it was actually one of my favorite meals when we paired it with a pasta Sides!)
Any flavor of the quick packages Rice Sides
Potatoes (roasted, mashed, like fries, etc)

Or we made a quick sauce once with some leftover cilantro in our knock-off magic bullet blender. (Thanks for the idea, Shae!!) And it was still fast and turned out super yummy!! That is the pic below. Any type of sauce would be way yummy over plain rice and the chicken. 

Then just add a veggie and/or fruit and you're good to go! This type of meal has become our fall back meal and I love that you can do lots of variations with it. 

Hope it helps on crazy evenings!!

Love y'all!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fun Themed Night

Since having Joshy, Jord and I have done a lot of things inside at home so we've had to get creative on date nights, etc. We've gotten into old episodes of The Cosby Show and that's been awesome! 

But I was wanting to do something to mix it up a bit. So we had a Country Music Awards night! The CMA's were on a Wednesday night so we made some "southern" food and watched them. It was a fun themed night and was a good variation for the middle of the week. 

We made white chicken chili (great idea, Shae) and cornbread. The white chicken chili recipe is from Our Best Bites and Jord and I both love it! So fun and tasty! And a fun date night idea if you're looking for something fun and free! Any awards night or something on tv with a theme would work. 

Love you!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Donuts (doughnuts?) and Side Dishes

Here is the link for the donuts that we made for the pumpkin patch. It was our first experience making donuts and I can't wait to try a different kind. The donuts were a lot easier to make than I thought they would be.

I don't know about you, but I struggle sometimes with what to serve with my dinners during the week. I have my standby frozen vegetables that I steam, but sometimes I want something different. Here are a couple of simple side dishes that I have made recently.

Tomatoes and Cucumbers
tomatoes, diced
cucumbers, diced
ranch dressing

This was super easy. I just diced some tomatoes and cucumbers. Then we put them on our forks and dipped them in ranch dressing. We have had a lot of tomatoes (from other peoples' gardens) and cucumbers (from our garden :) ) recently. This was just another way that I found to use them.

Sweet Carrots
bag of baby carrots
butter (1-2 tablespoons depending on how many carrots you use)
brown sugar

Carrots are naturally sweet when you steam them so I decided to play on this idea. I steamed my carrots, which takes forever!! When they were steamed to the desired tenderness I tossed the carrots with some butter and brown sugar. It ended up making a kind of syrup. Tyler told me after this that steamed carrots are one of his favorite vegetables. I never would have known?!

Happy cooking!

Monday, October 21, 2013

THE Muffins!

okay ladies... no pictures here, but these are THE muffins that are going to blow your mind!  Okay, maybe they aren't THAT amazing, but I have made them at least 10 times already.  I made them for a new mommy that I visit teach so that she could have something easy to grab and eat when she needed, I made them for a little family that just got home from vacation and didn't have food for school on Monday morning, I made them about 5 times for Brinley who requested them in her lunch box and I made them for conference morning and we called them conference cupcakes!  Ready go...
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup white flour
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about 2 carrots)

grease 12 muffin cups, bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. you can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on tops too if you want, I also add about 1/2-3/4 cup of chopped pecans.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Before and After

I feel like this is a bit of a cop out. I must admit that food has not been a high priority for me lately. Especially making it!! Really doing a whole lot of anything hasn't been appealing lately.

I'm going to share some before and after pics of our home. It has been keeping us busy for the last six months. I don't think we have any more projects on the horizon, but you never know :)

The railing was definitely what sold us on the house :)

I should have taken a picture when my flower pots looked better. Maybe it adds to our Halloween decor.
Another lovely railing and nothing, but dirt and mud.
Our new stairs, patio, and fire pit.
A taste of the green color and the...dirty color.
This is where most of the green was.
We have a lot more pictures of bedrooms and dirty carpet, but I figured this was a good glimpse of how we changed things. Hopefully I feel more like a food post next time or have something more creative to share.

Love ya,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Mini Conference Breakfast!

I haven't posted in here for a LONG time - and I'm glad to see y'all are still faithfully posting!

I haven't done much since joshy was born besides cuddle with him and admire him all day, so cooking much (besides heating up something frozen) has definitely been out of the question. so today I made a breakfast I can actually post!

I saw this on Pinterest and had to give it a try. It's definitely not hard-just a different twist on something we already make. 

For Conference morning today we had MINI GERMAN PANCAKES! I loved them-something fun and different. Just use your regular German pancake recipe and pour it into a greased muffin pan and bake at 425 for 18-25 minutes. There is a recipe attached to the pin I found on Pinterest but I'm pretty sure you can use any German pancake recipe. Also-I just sprayed the muffin pan with cooking spray and that eliminated the extra butter and it worked great! This will make 12-16 muffins. I only made 12 and you can see how huge mine came out! I could have filled them less full and got more pancakes. But having big pancakes was fun too. :) We served them with diced strawberries, powdered sugar, syrup, and of course a big glass of milk. Making a fun syrup would have been a good addition too!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tooth Fairy Pillow

I just wanted to share my latest creation thanks to Pinterest! No loose teeth yet but I will be ready when it happens :)
There is a little heart pocket for the teeth in the back and a convenient location for the tooth fairy to leave money. 
I just love Pinterest!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Dollar Dinner

When we we're kids we used to do what is called five dollar dinners. I remembered this last Saturday when it came time to fix dinner, I didn't want to, and we were heading to the store anyway.

Here's how it works each family member, or group gets a certain amount of money. When we were kids it was two dollars, so for our family of six dinner was only twelve dollars. On Saturday we split into two teams, because obviously Taylor isn't old enough to do this on her own. You have ten minutes to spend your money on things for dinner. The only rules are with that whatever you decide to get there has to be enough for everyone and you can't go over your dollar amount. *Warning these may not be the most nutritious dinners at your house.*

Taylor was on my team and Ty was a team of his own. I asked Taylor what she wanted for dinner in typical kid response she said, "M&Ms." Did we have M&Ms for dinner? You bet!! I had a picture of what we had for dinner, but it somehow got deleted so I'll just have to tell you. Prepare for this totally awesome dinner....Bagels with cream cheese, M&Ms, chips, string cheese, and ice cream. As I said before totally not healthy, but fun and something different where everyone is apart of the dinner planning, buying, and making process.  

In an unrelated note. What are your Halloween traditions as a family, and with the kiddos? Taylor is finally to the age where she is starting to understand what a holiday is so I want to start some fun traditions. The only tradition we have is we go trick-or-treating at Tyler and Sharon's work places. I want to maybe try these waffles for breakfast and maybe a pumpkin soup for dinner. What activities or fun things do you do?

Love ya,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


For the past few years I have been flip flopping between a paper and a digital planner/home organization system. I love having a binder that I can throw all my calendars,lesson ideas, Jackie's school papers,etc into; but there was a big problem. I don't always have that binder with me. So I wasn't able to see our monthly menu at the grocery store, or jot down our activity for FHE when the inspiration hits me during church, or look at my to do list. And I didn't want to have 10 different apps to help me get things done.
And then I found it. An incredible digital home organization/planning app. And its free.
Let me introduce you to Cozi (unless of course you already use it :)

Here is what I LOVE about it:
1. There is a mobile app and an online version for your desktop. So I can type up what I want to at my computer and then access it whenever/wherever I want on my phone.
2. It's free. There is a Gold version- which looks pretty cool- but its 30 bucks a year and I am too cheap to subscribe to it. The free version is amazing anyway.
3. I can add recipes.
4. I can import the ingredients to those recipes to my shopping list... which is SO handy when I am at the store!
5. There are different categories of shopping lists- so you can organize your lists by stores.
6. I can create a meal plan. And then I can print that meal plan and stick it in my binder if I feel so inclined! :)
7. There is a journal section. I am so bad at remembering to journal so this makes it easy. I can add a pic to the journal entry and then share it with others if I want.
8. There is a calendar. There are different colored items for each member of the family and I can look at just my calendar items, or Aaron's, or our entire families.
9. All family members have access to the app and can edit calendars, meal plans, shopping lists (so if Aaron is at the store he could see what we need to buy without having to call me. I say "could" because I have yet to convince him to download the app. He thinks its too girly. Whatever! Its awesome!)
10. There is a pretty cool to do list section. You can add your own lists- categorize them by the different people in your family (again- imagine how cool it would be to digitally add items to Aaron's to do list!) You can also import other cool pre-made lists like Fly Lady's zone cleaning lists or What Your Child Needs to Learn in Kindergarten.

OK- there you have it! An awesome app that you might have already heard of but if not you should totally try it out!
Love you all!
Happy planning! :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Beautiful Mistake

Yesterday was a good friends birthday. I went to Walmart and got a cute plastic pitcher and planned on filling it with some homemade raspberry lemonade since it has been so hot the last few days. I dutifully juiced each lemon and made a simple syrup, chilled each part and then finally when all of the hard work was finished it was time to pour the delicious concoction into the cute container and tie a bow around it. I carefully poured so that I wouldn't get my counters sticky or waste one drop of the labor intensive lemonade... CRAP (in a very lady like tone of course!) it only filled up the container about half way! Plan B... I grabbed a new pitcher, made some crystal light lemonade, threw half a package of frozen raspberries in it and a splash of vanilla extract, poured it in the container and couldn't believe that I was about to give this away as a gift! Until I took a taster... It was pretty darn good, and about as easy as they come! Just thought I'd pass along my beautiful mistake to you ladies. I hope that you get a chance to make it before the weather changes!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ovens and Summer Don't Mix

I try my hardest to not use the oven during the summer. When I use the oven during the summer all it seems to do is make my house hot and my electric bill go up. Here are a few of our most recent non-oven recipes that we've tried.

This first link is a recipe for Honey-Lime Grill Chicken.
It was so light and refreshing. I'm thinking about making it again to go in a salad.

This second link is the dessert we brought to Shirley's yesterday.
It is super easy to make and no oven :)

This last recipe was an experiment for me that actually turned out quite well. Tyler tells me that all my experiments turn out well, but I can tell you stories of brownies in waffle irons that come out as crumbs and others that have gone equally wrong.

We were having sandwich week at our house and I was planning on making meatball sandwiches. I couldn't find meatballs at the store that weren't an arm and a leg. I also couldn't find any recipes that didn't require an oven so I thought I would wing it.

I didn't want to use egg to bind my meatballs together, because I was planning on cooking the meatballs in the crock pot and I didn't want to make anyone sick. I started by tearing a slice of bread into piece. I placed that in a bowl with a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, fresh basil and oregano (thanks to Kristi and Jordon!), and just enough milk to make everything stick together. This is what it looked like.
I then added my hamburger and mixed everything together really well with my hands. I formed the meatballs and placed them in the crock pot. I cooked them on high for 4 hours. I added some homemade spaghetti sauce that I had frozen. I cooked everything for another hour. I served the sauce on buns with a little cheese.

They were a hit at our house. Taylor even had a meatball and she doesn't like to eat meat, unless it comes on pizza or from a fast food place.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Half the Battle

I love all of your suggestions and posts, thank you for participating!  Do you want to know something embarrassing... I could not remember how to log in for like 3 weeks!  Good thing I emailed all of you with the details and even wrote it in my trusty and very official purple polka dotted notebook that I keep all of my passwords! So, I decided that half of the battle of summer cooking, comes when I sit down to write my grocery list and I can't turn to my usual crockpot meals or soups (which Ryan and I have a love/hate relationship with... I love them and Ryan hates them!) So, besides the obvious BBQ here are a few of the summer"ish" menus that we have had the last week or so:
*BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (cooked in the crockpot) then put on soft rolls with coleslaw
*Wraps (chicken salad, bacon tomato ranch avocado, Asian salad with soy sauce and mandarin oranges and wonton strips... pictured above... I know, they look awful... but taste light and fresh!) 
*Quinoa salads (Heather's black bean, creamy italian dressing and feta salad tastes great with quinoa instead of brown rice.  I also like to make quinoa with snap peas chopped up, a few tablespoons of Kraft Toasted Sesame dressing, toasted almonds, mandarin oranges and green onions.  Since the quinoa is a good source of protien you don't have to add chicken, but sometimes it seems like more of a meal to Ryan if I do this!)
*Fajita bar (this is my kids favorite) I just slow cook some chicken so it shreds easily for me, then serve it with tortillas, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, rice and beans, cheese, avocados it is easy for everyone to add their own and the kids like all of their stuff separate!
*Sandwiches or Panini bar I love a good sandwich we throw on some green peppers, chicken, cheese, vegetables and serve with some frozen sweet potato fries or chips, EASY!
*Salad bar (same concept as the fajitas, but a big plate of washed romaine and top with lots of yummy toppings like boiled eggs... is that weird?) We usually serve this with homemade rolls or bread sticks.
*Cool drinks- in the summer we love to try things like Our Best Bites Brazilian Limeade, Italian Cream Sodas, Dirty Diet Cokes (pictured above) or that old school pineapple slush with sprite! 

We served these with summery sides like watermelon, asparagus, corn on the cob, mozzarella and tomato salad, cold cut vegetables and ranch dip etc.
Happy Summer Cooking!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ice Cream Sandwiches, Patriotic Cupcakes, Popsicles!

For a treats post, Jordon and I have been having fun making different summer treats! Here are a few we have enjoyed:

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Shirley requested these for her birthday dinner and I have to say... the cookie recipe I used really wasn't my favorite... I wish I had used something different. Oh well. Does everyone have the thin, yellow cookie cook book Grandma Long put together for all of the couples for Christmas a couple years ago? I used a chocolate cookie recipe out of there for the outsides of the sandwich and honestly, it just wasn't chocolatey enough for me. It didn't have the rich chocolate flavor you need for a truly delicious ice cream sandwich. If I could do it over again, I'd use a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe instead... or I would have used a chocolate cake mix to make the chocolate cookies... Just sayin.

We put a scoop of ice cream on the cookie, topped it with another cookie, and then rolled the cookie in sprinkles. For this to work, you need to make sure the ice cream is bulging out the sides of the cookies so they catch the sprinkles. Also, it would be a fun variation to use different flavors of ice cream instead of just vanilla - like cookies and cream, strawberry, chocolate, etc. But this being for a birthday celebration, I tried to stay pretty safe in my choices. :)

Jord was the expert on the assembly line as shown...

This was back on June 30th and it's sad that I can't really remember but... I think we may have substituted apple sauce for half of the oil in the recipe... perhaps that is where we went wrong with the flavor and texture of the cookie? Is that a valid substitution for cookies? I know it is stellar in cakes but do any of you know about cookies?

Patriotic Cupcakes!!

Now THESE, have been some of my favorite cupcakes I've made or eaten! They have lots of fun flavors in each cupcake, are moist (thanks to the yogurt used), and are delicious!! Heather, I'm sorry I didn't have them done before you and Ty had to leave! :(

The recipe? From OBB: Seasons of course! In the summer section. :) They are a bit time-intensive on making them, but again SO good and a fun holiday treat. The 4th of July is my absolute favorite holiday of the entire year so I am a-okay going out of my way to make a fun treat for this day!!

I should have taken a picture of each step as I did it, but once you mix up the batter, you divide it evenly between three bowls, these will become the colors of the three layers for each cupcake. Add one 6 oz carton of blueberry yogurt to one bowl with blue food coloring, one 6 oz carton of strawbery yogurt to another bowl with red food coloring, and one 6 oz carton of coconut (I used pina colada since we had that) to the third bowl. Mix each bowl until you have the color you want and then you layer each color in each paper cupcake liner/cup.

The recipe explains all of this, but I do want to explain an error I made that will hopefully help you guys if you ever make these. I started with blue as my bottom layer and added WAY too much to each cupcake liner so that I ran out of blue and ended up with a couple of red and white cupcakes (Keri was happy I was apparently celebrating Canada Day as well...). :) So what I would do if I could do it again, would be to add only a small amount of blue to each liner and then go back and add more after I've put some in each liner. Also, since I had added too much blue but still had two other colors to add, my cupcake liners ended up being SUPER full and I was afraid they were going to spill over while cooking. Thankfully they didn't. PHEW! Anyway, I would follow that same tactic with the remaining colors as well.

I definitely toasted the coconut and added that on top of the frosting. It made a DELICIOUS addition! But I was so so sad that I totally forgot to bring my strawberries and blueberries over to my mom's to put on top of the coconut/frosting! So just imagine that there are slices of strawberry and a couple of blueberries on top of the one in the picture. Fortunately, my mom had some blueberries I could use... bah! My forgetful mind sometimes... Anyway, here are a couple of pics. One is of my friend Gen and I having fun frosting the cupcakes in a variety of ways and then the finished product!

Berry Creamsicles:

Again, I got this recipe from OBB: Seasons and have been anxious to make my own popsicles! The recipe is super easy and all of the steps they include are awesome. I didn't change anything - I just used raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries and I used a substitution for half and half since we didn't have any. Other than that, everything was the same! We have enjoyed them! Depending on how much pulp you like, you'll want to blend the berries for a longer time so that it is more liquid than chunky. Ours were a bit chunky and I think I'd rather it be more liquid. Next time... And can I give a shoutout for Costco berries?! They are amazing! Usually when I buy a carton of strawberries in the store there are at least 3 or more of them that aren't good and have to be tossed out and the whole carton maybe lasts a week... if we're lucky. The strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries I bought at Costco were ALL good and last for at least TWO weeks. We're still eating the blueberries about a month later... Yes you have to buy a lot when you get them at Costco but they're cheaper than buying them in smaller cartons at the store, they taste better, ARE better, and last longer. Just a shopping tip. :)

Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Spaghetti

I don't have pictures for either of these recipes! :( BUT they are both saved on my Pinterest board "Lunch/Dinner" and they're on Heather's Pinterest boards as well because she is who I pinned them from. :)

Last week I made Crockpot Chicken Pot Pie and it turned out scrumptious! The only thing that takes time is chopping up all of the vegetables but then you just throw everything in the crockpot and you're pretty much done! I added celery to the recipe and that added a nice touch as well.
I decided for our "crust" to make biscuits since those would be fast and the leftovers can be used with other meals as well. I pinned a DELICIOUS biscuit recipe from Pinterest and it honestly turned out to be flaky like the Pillsbury biscuits! I was pleasantly surprised. If you look at my board to find the recipe, I have two biscuit recipes pinned: one of them is for southern biscuits and uses cream cheese in the recipe and the other one has a lot more simple ingredients. The recipe I used was NOT the southern/cream cheese biscuit recipe! Use the other one! The steps for it seem a little silly since you're asked to fold the biscuit dough over and over again and I didn't intend to do this since I was in a time crunch, but I ended up doing it as I cut out the biscuits and reused the dough and, honestly, I DO believe that folding the dough like the instructions say adds to the flakiness! Anyway, they were pretty simple and quick to make and turned out very tasty. Oh! Follow the directions that say NOT to twist your biscuit cutter when cutting the biscuit dough. Just pull the cutter straight up. Apparently, twisting the cutter can change how flaky the biscuits are... I'm not sure why that is but I followed it and mine turned out very flaky! So... just fyi. :)

We put a couple of biscuits at the bottom of a bowl and topped it with the crockpot chicken/veggie mix and it was delicious!

Chicken spaghetti:

Again, another recipe I pinned from Heather and I wish I would have taken a pic of this because it totally sells the recipe! The picture on Pinterest is what hooked me, so take a look at my board if you're skeptical of what the final product of this recipe will be.

I'm currently cramming for a Praxis test that I take on Saturday so Jordon has been doing  a lot of the cooking and he made this last night and it turned out SO good! We used whole wheat noodles instead of white and we didn't have a can of Rotel (we usually do in the off brand) so we used a can of diced tomatoes and a small can of diced jalapenos. We didn't drain the diced tomatoes but we DID drain the jalapenos and mixed those together to make our "Rotel." The jalapenos made it VERY spicy... so next time we'll just wait until we have actual Rotel since that's a bit milder. :) But it still turned out so so good! Again, it's one you have to use the oven for. But Jord served it with salad and cut up celery and it was delicious! For leftovers today, we are going to have it with steamed zucchini. Just a couple of ideas.

Love, Kris

Indian Food and Bruschetta

Okay, I have seriously been stock piling a LOT of meals that Jord and I have been enjoying lately and I need to post them! So... this is the first of what I'm sure will be several posts. I'll try to combine as many as I can into one post to save on space. ;)

Shortly after returning from DC I was SO in the mood to get cooking and create meals Jord and I have never had before so where did I turn? With it being summer, my favorite season, I took out one of my all-time favorite cook books, "Our Best Bites: Seasons" and turned to the summer section... the mother lode of goodness! I got daring and started with an Indian dish they have in there and it was delicious! If you're not an Indian food fan then you can skip this and go on to the next meal idea. :)

The chicken is called "Grilled Tandoori Style Chicken" and uses a marinade, which is nice because you can make that the night before and throw the chicken in with it and all you have to do is cook the chicken the next day. We don't have a grill yet, so I cooked the chicken in the oven... which, I'll admit, was not as good of a result as I was hoping for. So if you have a grill, use that! Also, it took FOREVER to cook in the oven so I'd definitely recommend the grill for that reason too. I don't have a pic of the chicken... it's on Jord's phone, but the cookbook has a stellar picture... our chicken didn't turn out looking quite like that. Ours still had quite a bit of marinade on it because I caked it on the chicken before putting it on the oven fearing that if I didn't, there wouldn't be much flavor. I was wrong! You can scrape the marinade off of the chicken before grilling it (it's a thick marinade) and the chicken will still taste great. Leaving it as a thick layer on the chicken made the taste VERY strong.

Next, I used our rice cooker to cook the rice, instead of cooking it on the stove like the OBB gals suggest and it turned out just as delicious and was a lot less work. I love rice cookers. :)

Then I attempted the naan flat bread and I have to say... the rice and the naan were my favorite!! I was so excited that the naan turned out! And with the rice, chicken, and naan we had a complete Indian meal! And the cool thing is that none of it is super curry tasting (which I like curry... but in measured doses) so it was a milder Indian meal but still SOOOOO good! All of these recipes are in the OBB: Seasons cook book in the summer section. It definitely was a more time-intensive meal so I wouldn't make it all of the time, but it was so worth it. If you're an Indian food lover... try at least the rice and naan sometime!

Next, I was looking for a summer meal that would be simple and use summer veggies and I got an idea while watching "Julie and Julia" with Jord right after getting back from DC. (I promise I'm NOT obsessed with Julia Child! Well... not THAT obsessed. I was on a Julia Child kick after seeing her kitchen on display in DC, and Jord hadn't seen the movie or known much about Julia Child at all so we sat down and watched it together. Best part? He totally liked it and was into it! Boo ya!) Anyway, at the beginning of the movie, Julie makes a bruschetta for her and her husband and it looked AMAZING! So the following week I decided I wanted to make bruschetta and where did there just happen to be a recipe for it? You guessed it: Our Best Bites: Seasons! Those OBB gals sure come in to save the day all the time!

So again, the recipe is in the Seasons cook book in the summer section... and it turned out DIVINE. I would use a little less purple onions next time. I'm not a huge fan of the EVERLASTING flavor that raw purple onions leave and trust me, these one left an after taste for that whole night and even the next morning when I woke up I was still tasting onions! But don't let that downplay how delicious and refreshing the meal was! Worth it, definitely.

I used french bread instead of baguette because I wanted bigger pieces since this was going to be the main part of our meal, not a side or appetizer (and I wanted the leftover french bread for french toast the next morning!). I also followed their suggestion of adding cheese before the tomato mixture. So after brushing the bread with olive oil and dusting it will garlic powder (instead of slicing a garlic clove and rubbing it on the bread... we were in a hurry) and toasting the bread in the oven for a few minutes,  I topped each slice with shredded mozzarella cheese that we had leftover from a pizza we made earlier in the week and put it back in the oven and let the cheese melt. Then i pulled it out and topped it with the tomato mixture. I also used fresh basil and that really made a difference. If ANY of you need/would like fresh basil PLEASE text me and let me know because Jord and I have two basil plants that are doing really well and getting big but we don't eat it fast enough and don't want to waste any!

Then once the bread is topped with tomato mix... scarf! Seriously, these were good and a very refreshing summer meal! Yes, you have to use the oven, but not for very long and it's deliciously worth it. As our tomatoes really start growing in our garden we'll be having this a lot I think...


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Alfredo Sauce

Here's the Alfredo Sauce that we had for Shirley's birthday. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to post it. It's definitely not healthy, but it's good to have something fatty every once in a while :)

1 stick of butter
1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese
1 pint heavy cream (I told you it was fatty :) )
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Mix in the cream cheese (I make sure the cream cheese is melted before I go on to the next step otherwise your sauce is lumpy). Stir in the cream and garlic powder. Increase heat and bring to a boil (sometimes I increase the heat earlier if I'm not in a patient mood, but you have to watch it really close and stir constantly). Decrease heat and simmer, stirring often. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Baby Bedding Help!

Hi ladies!

I'm needing advice from you pro moms on what y'all would pick between these two bedding sets. Try to focus on the patterns/bedding itself and not on the price of each one. :) I'll be honest, the price of one is definitely swaying me that way, but I'm looking for your thoughts on decoration ideas with each bedding set.

Before you look at the links, here are my thoughts with the nursery: I would like to use bright colors in there. I'm not a huge pastels fan, but I realize that pastels are in both of these options I'm showing you. So with each option here is a question that I need answered: can bright colors be used with them in other decor?

Also, I LOVE the jungle animal theme! I also love using the alphabet. I saw a really cute idea on pinterest using the alphabet as a wall hanging... and part of me is thinking that could be good visual stimulation for the baby? I dunno. :) Here is the link to that Pinterest idea just for reference...

So finally, with that being said, here are the two bedding sets that I'm deciding between. With the comforter, I'll most likely use that as a wall hanging since that will be the theme of the room. I'm thinking of getting a shelf with a rod that connects underneath it and hanging the comforter on that.

Target's bedding set:

I really like that this one (is YES cheaper but also...) has brighter colors? I might be able to do more with brighter colors with this one? Yes? I'm seeing yellow and white chevron curtains... anyone else?? I don't really need the baby blanket that comes with it since we're getting several quilts and probably small blankets at showers... but I suppose it's a plus.

Burlington Coat Factory's bedding set:

The HUGE plus with this bedding set is that it combines the jungle animals WITH the alphabet and even numbers! I could use all three themes in the nursery with this bedding and it wouldn't seem awkward. It might be too much so I'd probably just stick to the animals and the alphabet but that is why I love this set so much. The colors are more pastel-ish so I'm not sure I have a lot of options to add bright colors in there? I can still do the yellow and white chevron curtains with this theme as well...

So what do y'all think? It may sound like I'm going to go decoration crazy with the nursery and I'm really not! That is why I'd like a cute bedding set to be the main theme and then I can use small things/accents around it. Which do you vote for and why? It's time to let your voice be heard! (and yes... underneath it all, price is a huge deal that is pulling me more one way than another, but I'd like to hear your feedback on all facets of this!)

Thank you!!! Love you guys!


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Quick and Zesty Asparagus

Ok, so I am in love with all your amazing cooking creations. Unfortunately most of my cooking attempts turn out like this:
(Major waffle fail!) 

However once in awhile something actually seems to work! Hallelujah!! 
I give you (drum roll please).... A super quick and yummy trick to make your asparagus taste better than ever! 

I am a huge fan of asparagus, and was taught to make it by brushing a little olive oil before baking in the oven. That was good. One day I was in a daring mood and thought I would try some Italian salad dressing instead of the oil. That was DELICIOUS! After lightly brushing with the dressing, I throw them in the oven and bake at 350 for about 12-13 minutes. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Banana Dessert

Hi all! As requested here is the banana dessert that we brought to Sharon's yesterday.

1 package vanilla wafers
1 stick of butter, melted
1 8-ounce cream cheese                                      
1 cup powdered sugar      
1 large cartoon cool whip
Bananas, as many as desired (I used two, but my bananas were kind of small)
2 small packages of instant banana pudding
Milk (as much as needed to make the pudding)

Crush the whole package of vanilla wafers and put in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. (I crush the cookies by putting them in a zip bag and hitting the bag with a rolling pin. It gets out a lot of frustration :) If you have a food processor you could use that instead.) Mix in melted butter and pat into the bottom of the pan. In a bowl combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and half of the cool whip. Spread over the crust. Next put a layer of sliced bananas. Make the pudding as directed on the box and pour over the banana slices. Finally spread the remaining cool whip on top. Put in the fridge until the pudding is set. 

Here is the original chocolate recipe that the banana recipe was adapted from.

One Der Ful Dessert or Dream Pie

1 cup flour                                                                  
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
1-2 tablespoons pecans, finely chopped (optional)                
1 8-ounce cream cheese                                      
1 cup powdered sugar      
1 large cartoon cool whip
1 large package chocolate instant pudding       
1 large package vanilla instant pudding
4 cups milk                                                                  

Combine flour, margarine, and nuts.  Press into a cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Cool thoroughly.  Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and half of the cool whip.  Spread over cooled crust.  Mix puddings with milk.  Beat at low speed for one minute.  Spread over cream cheese mixture.  Top with remaining cool whip.  Garnish with shredded Hershey bar if so desired.

Variations:  This can be made with any flavored instant pudding.  Also instead of the pudding layer you can put raspberries in Danish dessert.  It is delicious.  

This can also be made in 2 9-inch pie pans.  The only difference is you divide everything in half.  

I actually don't like the crust recipe in the chocolate dream pie so I usually make a graham cracker crust. My mom said she tried this recipe with pistachio pudding a few weeks ago and loved it. I hope you enjoy the three recipes in one :)

I just realized I don't have any pictures for this post. Since this is a pie recipe here's my favorite picture from Ty's pie eating contest.

This is what I want to do sometimes on those hot summer days when I make dream pie.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

DC Cupcakes anyone?

Last DC post! We don't have Internet at our house yet so I'm posting while I can at my mom's house and have Internet access.

If anyone has ever heard of the TV show DC Cupcakes, it's located in Georgetown, just outside of Washington, DC, and we went there the last day of our trip. Everyone raves about DC Cupcakes, probably because it's on a TV show... but can I share a secret? When I was in Georgetown last year, the locals told us that their cupcakes are okay but there is actually another cupcake shop in Georgetown that serves "much better cupcakes." Don't tell any DC Cupcake fans... but it's true. I've tried both and can attest to it. :) They don't even look like fancy pants cupcakes. They look like normal cupcakes with cute frosting. However, it was very fun to go there and they were good cupcakes (but I can see Shae the cupcake queen creating MUCH more stellar cupcakes). I snapped some fun pics of DC cupcake shop and thought I'd share them since this is our food blog! May it inspire some good cupcake baking!

This is my personal favorite picture from the shop... a totally BLING Kitchen Aid! Um... yes please?! Super cute and yet fully functional. Maybe some of you will want to add some bling to your Kichen Aids? 

Happy baking!

Love, Kris

Dinner Brought to You By...

... Mount Vernon! All during our trip to DC I kept waiting for a fun treat or unique meal we might find in DC... However, I remembered after a few days of meals that when you travel as part of a tour group, you eat what I like to call "bulk meals" where the food is predetermined for you and as a result needs to be very general so everyone likes something. Which is great, don't get me wrong. I have just been left without something fun to share from DC! 
Well then it hits me that I totally missed an opportunity to share something unique and I'm kicking myself! We visited the GORGEOUS Mount Vernon, George Washington's home and peanut soup is a famous Mount Vernon dish. If you're not a fan of a "peanut butter" taste with actual peanuts in the soup then probably you'll want to pass, but it's a fun, 18th century dish to pass along if anyone is interested! Here is a link to a recipe:

Mount Vernon Colonial Peanut and Chestnut Soup

However, on our last night of the trip, we went to a fancy restaurant called "McCormick and Shmick's" right on National Harbor and had a fancy meal that I had to post pics of since I had nothing to show so far! This is the dish Jordon ordered - "Parmesan Crusted Flounder with Butter Garlic Sauce." Anything that starts with "Parmesan Crusted" is definitely going to be good, and this is coming from a non-seafood girl! For the record, Flounder is surprisingly mild for those of you interested in trying new fish.

Last thing I wanted to post that seemed so appropriate for this kitchen/creation themed blog.... JULIA CHILD'S KITCHEN!! Ever since seeing the movie "Julie and Julia" in 2009 I have made it a personal goal to make at least ONE Julia Child dish in my lifetime. I love cooking and baking new things - it gives me such a sense of accomplishment to create something delicious with my hands (probably because my drawing/painting/other artistic skills seriously lack) so to create something from Julia Child would be a HUGE sense of accomplishment. I'll definitely blog that when it happens... Anyway, seeing her Cambridge, MA kitchen in the American History Smithsonian was SO awesome and I was totally geeking out. I took better pictures with my actual camera but couldn't find the cord to transfer those pictures to my computer so I only have this picture I took with my phone. It's definitely NOT the best picture - there are SO many cooking gadgets in her kitchen (I was practically drooling) and this picture only captures SOME of them. However, notice the KitchenAid in the left-side of the pic. :) She has scales (of course, Julia Child had scales to measure her food) and many, many other gadgets that would be SO fun to use! In celebration of seeing her kitchen in the museum, Jord and I rented Julie and Julia last night and watched it for our date night. LOVED it! It does use the F word so when Julia and her husband are in their room sitting on the bed talking SKIP THE SCENE! It's about an hour into the movie or so. Just FYI. Okay last thing and I'll be done with this post. I learned from the movie that Julia actually had the counters in her kitchen (as seen in the pic) made higher because she was so tall and that way she didn't have to stoop over her counters when she cooked. In the movie you can see how awkward this was for her when she is chopping onions in their house in France. So without further ado... (a less than preferable picture of) Julia Child's kitchen!!!

As Julia would say...

"Bon Appetit!"


Monday, June 17, 2013

We have been eating a lot of salads lately. I think it helps that fruit and veggies have been on sale. For our wedding we received a salad spinner (see below).
It was one of those gifts that you plaster a smile to your face and think when am I ever going to use this. It has only taken me a little over three years to use it regularly. We've found that you can get a head of lettuce for 99 cents this time of year. I simply cut up the lettuce throw it in my salad spinner with some water and spin it a few times. I have clean lettuce that will last us a week. You get a lot more lettuce than a bag of lettuce. If you put a paper towel or two in with the lettuce it keeps it fresh longer (a wonderful hint I got from pinterest).
That was a long way to say that we tried a new salad dressing recipe that we love! It only has five ingredients two of which are salt and pepper. It is a raspberry vinegarette that I found in "Worldwide Ward Cookbook: Secret Recipes."

2 Tbsp. red raspberry jam (with seeds)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. walnut oil or olive oil
Fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
In a small bowl whisk all of the ingredients together. Pour over salad.

I didn't have red wine vinegar so I just used regular white vinegar. I also didn't add the salt or pepper. I imagine it would taste even better if you had the red wine vinegar. I used this salad dressing on a salad that had lettuce, grapes, strawberries, and left over grilled chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
I'm sorry this is getting so lengthy. I have one more thing to share. I tried a new recipe for breakfast on Father's Day. Here's the link: 

The recipe is for french toast roll ups. It is a fun twist on french toast. I liked that you dip the roll ups in syrup. I don't know about anyone else kids, but Taylor will eat just about anything if she can dip it. I like to make a recipe the way it appears the first time I make it (unless I don't have all the ingredients then I improvise) and then play how would I do this differently. I think with the roll ups I would try different things in the roll like flavored cream cheese or Nutella. I would also skip the peanut butter because it made the roll slightly dry. Other than getting your fingers covered in cinnamon and sugar this was a great recipe!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Lately I feel like we are in a big-time recipe rut...we seem to make the same thing over and over again! Then Heather sent me a recipe for an orange chicken that she tried on Pinterest, and I got excited to try something new!  I thought that this would be a good way for us to stay in touch (I am not going to name names, but I have heard that living far away from loved ones year, after year after 7 years can stink!) Anyways... I recently stumbled across the Pioneer Woman's blog and I got excited to try some of her recipes, I also have several Pinterest recipes that I need to try out and I thought that this would be a fun way to make us try new things every once in a while and share what we liked or didn't like!  I was thinking that I would try something new at least twice a month (every other Thursday or something.) If we rotated and had 3 of us try something one week and then the other 3 the next week we would have 3 new recipes each week and 12 new ones each month, but we would each only have to make 2 new things a month so that we wouldn't be overwhelmed. If you don't have time, or if you don't want to one week that's fine!  If you did a craft and would rather show that instead of a recipe that's fine!  If you never want to do this and think it's a waste of time... you guessed it, that's fine!  I will start us off.... (are you all so excited that you can't stand it, drum roll please...)
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (from Pioneer Woman)

You can click on that link (I hope that it works, if not... Keri I will need your help my friend) and she has great pictures to go with the recipe.  I have never tasted, bought or used roasted red peppers before, but I actually really liked this recipe.  It was fun to try something new and the kids didn't mind it, because it was red and looked like spaghetti sauce to them anyways.  I  just used a tiny splash of cream and you could have gone without it.  I didn't even use exact measurements because I had a few green onion left, there wasn't much garlic left in the can that I had in the fridge, and I used basil (dry) instead of whatever herb she used and I only used half of the jar of peppers so that I could make it twice and it still turned out yummy.  I also used whole wheat pasta and the 2nd time that I made it (that's right, it was a 2 timer for me!) I chopped up chicken with it.  Tonight Ryan is at Prom for those graduating.  The youth are out of town for youth conference, we don't live by family and anyone else that I would trust with my offspring are out of town... so Ryan went STAG!  I am home in my polka dot pajamas (thank you for them, Sharon!) I microwaved some hotdogs for the kids, but was not super excited about that prospect for my dinner so I made a small batch of this tonight.  Since I don't have a food processor, I use this bad boy which is an imitation Magic Bullet that I got at jcpenny for like 20 bucks. I took a picture of what the peppers look like, because I had no clue what I was looking for when I bought them, I also thought you might enjoy a picture of my children's fantastic meal.  I also thought that I would share this little gem with you that I found at Costco (actually my mom found it at Costco and sent it to us in a package, and we loved it so we went to our Costco to buy it and they don't sell it...stupid Iowa... just kidding Shirley we love Iowa!) Point of the story... since you guys live in Utah, and if you would like a little treat, this was delicious and our favorite flavor was the original caramel corn! See, even if you don't have a recipe to share you can share something else!  Maybe you will be going on a cool trip to DC (ahem... Kristi...) and you find a delicious street vendor treat, or snap a great picture that you want to share!  I typed this really fast, because I want to get downstairs and watch a show... any show that I want on the DVR because I NEVER get to do that!  (so no judging with spelling or grammar!) I will email you the password so that you can all post (just make sure to sign your name at the end so we know who posted what.) Make sure to leave comments if you try a recipe and if you like it or didn't like it.  It won't hurt my feelings if you don't like something that I liked, because trust me... I didn't make up the recipe and I surely won't be making any of them up in the near future! Love you all!