Friday, July 29, 2011

Kool-Aid Play Dough

My kids love play dough and there's nothing like the homemade kind. 
 It's guaranteed to entertain them for hours! 

 Here's a fun recipe that was passed along to me when I was first married. A nice lady felt sorry for me and my (eh-hem) lack of cooking skills.  She kindly wrote down all of her favorite recipes for me, and the recipe for fruity play dough was included.  I can't tell you how many times this recipe has come in handy! 
Adding unsweetened Kool-Aid is fun because it not only colors the dough,
 but it also adds a little fruity scent that the kids love. 
Fruity Play Dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 pkg unsweetened soft drink mix
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbls. vegetable oil

Combine flour, salt, cream of tartar, and soft drink mix in medium bowl.
  Add boiling water and oil.  Stir until a soft dough forms.  Knead until smooth.
  Store in airtight container.   
Ahhhh, I love those chubby fingers!  Hours and hours of endless play dough fun! :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peaches & Cream Tart

This is by far my favorite Summer Dessert!
We are about a month behind on the harvesting schedule here
so right now I have raspberries coming out of my ears.
This sweet treat was perfect for some of them!

This recipe is from Better Homes & Gardens:
9 soft coconut macaroon cookies (half of a 13 3/4-ounce package)
1 cup ground pecans (4 ounces)*
3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dark rum or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 to 4 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced (1-1/2 to 2 cups)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/4 cup apricot preserves
2 teaspoons honey

1. For crust, crumble macaroons (you should have about 2 cups). In a large mixing bowl stir together macaroon crumbs, pecans, and margarine or butter. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until golden, allowing 15 to 18 minutes for the tart pan or 12 to 15 minutes for the pizza pan. Cool on a wire rack.

2. For filling, chill a small mixing bowl and beaters of an electric mixer. In the chilled bowl beat whipping cream with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add rum or orange juice, vanilla, and almond extract; beat until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream. Turn mixture into cooled crust; spread evenly. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours.

3. Before serving, toss peach slices with lemon juice. Arrange peaches and raspberries over filling. For glaze, in a small saucepan combine preserves and honey; heat and stir just until melted. Strain glaze, if desired, or snip any large pieces of fruit. Carefully brush or spoon the glaze over the fruit. If using tart pan, gently remove sides; transfer the tart to a serving platter. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.
*Note: To grind pecans, process or blend the nuts, 1/2 cup at a time, in your food processor or blender. Cover and process or blend until very finely chopped. Be careful not to over process or the nuts will form a paste.

So Yummy and So Easy!
I actually like to just chop my pecans so they are a little chunky and for average size peaches
I usually can only fit about 2 of them on there.
This also cooks fine in a pie pan if you don't have a tart or pizza pan.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

FROGS & Garden Art

These pictures are too cute not to share....well kinda cute if you like frogs!
 They pretty much sum up my son.  A few weeks ago I caught him packaging up his captured frogs (complete with a habitat) and selling them to all the neighbors.
  I think he made a few bucks before I stopped him!
I  also took pictures over the Fourth of July of Grandma's fun garden art.  She has the most beautiful backyard and the little pops of garden art are so whimsical. She buys most of the metal garden art from a local artist that sells her creations in the yearly Art In The Park.  I believe the artist uses salvaged metal, including old school buses, and cars.  Pretty cool!
My favorite piece is the "Happiest Place on Earth." 
 We spend so many hours in the back of Grandma's yard barbecuing, making smores, swimming, and playing ball.  It really is a happy and safe place for my kids to spend their summer.
This week Nicole and I are going to round up the grandkids to make more garden art for our Grandmas.
  Come back and see what we're up to! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Wall-to-Wall Curtain Rod ~ Sneak Peek

Here's another sneak peek of progress made in the master bedroom. 
 There certainly are a lot of sneak peeks around here.
Since summer break, the bedroom projects have been put to the side, but I'm getting there! :)
There will be wall-to-wall curtains hung behind the bed and I needed something heavy duty and affordable.
Buying a custom size curtain rod for the room could get really expensive. Mom suggested using conduit pipe found in most hardware stores as the curtain rod .

 So, I used one inch pipe and let's just say... it wasn't easy sawing it in two. We only had a hack saw on hand.  Nicole and I took turns and eventually we got it done.  I knew all those muscles I developed after toting around four babies would come in handy!
Bless Nicole for coming over and helping me, it was definitely a two person job and I needed all the moral support I could get as we anchored the brackets into the studs!

We used a conduit pipe connector to attach the two pipes in the center, and hung the pipe on L brackets mounted into the studs. At each pipe end, we hung metal closet rod holders.  Worked like a charm!
We have a couple different options that we'll share later of how we are actually going to attach the rod to the

 Adding up the cost...

16.00 for two 10 ft. conduit pipes
5.00 for a package of L-Brackets
4.00 for closet rod holders
about 25.00 for a custom fit wall-to-wall curtain rod...not bad!?

Stay tuned for the finished results!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WYLTC @ Under My Umbrella

Are you guys ready for this month's project for
We had so much fun coming up with something
inspired by Melinda over at Under My Umbrella.

This month's theme was "birds",
with Melinda doing an amazing job with her adorable bird house!
Of course with this one we both had to whip something up
and made something definitely for the birds!:)

Make sure to come stop by Under My Umbrella for the full tutorial
and make sure to enter your own "version"
for a chance to win a gift card!

P.S. We finally got Candace's curtain rod hung in her master bedroom
and it looks AWESOME!!!!
Stay tuned for a sneak peek!:)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kid Friendly Fun Food

Are you looking for some more fun ideas
to do with the kids this summer?
You don't want to miss this for sure!
Have fun creating "breakfast" and "lunch"
out of sweet ingredients!
We got this fabulous idea from our favorite Preschool Teacher Janice.
All of our kids have gone to her and now my little girl gets to attend
Little Miss Homemaker each summer with her.
She has the most wonderful and fun ideas
that I admit....I'm pretty jealous I didn't get to do something like that as a kid!
We gathered all the cousins and let them cook up a feast!

You'll need:
vanilla wafers
chocolate thin mint cookies
green food coloring
soft macaroons
vanilla sugar wafer cookies
yellow m&m's
pretzel sticks
yellow & red frosting (we just got the ready made in the tube kind which was really easy to use)
white chocolate chips
Color the coconut with a couple of drops of green food coloring
till it's a perfect lettuce hue.
Use the frosting to create your beautiful burger.
Next up are your fries!
Cut each wafer cookie in half lengthwise for your perfect fry and smother with a bit of "ketchup"!
For Breakfast you'll want to crumble up your macaroon to mimic the hash browns.
Lay out 4 pretzel sticks in a row and top with two dollops of melted white chocolate. Then just top them off with your yellow m&m's for perfect sunny side up eggs!
This was so much fun and the kids loved it!
The eggs just made me smile, they were almost too cute to eat.
Well, I said almost.....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July Aftermath...

We had a fun Fourth of July!  We started the morning with all of the breakfast bakes and topped it off with the berry trifle.  Later we had swimming, a BBQ, and of course... fireworks!  My boys would be perfectly happy if I only bought tanks, smoke bombs, grenades...and maybe some of those parachute men!


My sister in law brought cute red, white, & blue popcorn to eat while watching the fireworks.

I straight out copied the Glorious Treats Flag Cake
(She is a cute food genius, I eagerly wait to see what she'll come up with next!) 
I knew when I saw the cake that it would be perfect for our Fourth Of July picnic.  The flag cake has been all over blogland, but it was all new to our family.  The kids and adults got a big kick out of it!

Everyone sang patriotic songs and watched with anticipation as I cut into the cake.  Some of the little ones had a great time guessing what was inside the cake after I told them there was a surprise!

Ahhhhh!  Only's PINK!!?  Shucks, I will remember to buy gel dye next time! :)

Such a great idea and it actually tasted good besides having an entire bottle of red dye added! 

Hope you had a great day too!
Do you have any fun 4th of July foods that you make?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!!!

Have a wonderful fun filled day!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Apple Toffee French Toast With Apple Syrup

This one had me at the name!
I've been wanting to try this recipe ever since I saw it
a couple months ago in the Costco Connection magazine.
Seriously, all I can say is YUM!
For the French Toast:
8 cups of French Bread cut into 1" cubes
(I strongly suggest TEXAS TOAST! There is no comparison!
It means the difference between soggy and substance.)
3 tart apples, peeled & chopped
8 oz cream cheese softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons vanilla, Divided
1/2 cup English toffee bits
5 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Place half of the bread cubes into a greased 9x13 pan and top with apples.
Cream together cream cheese, sugars,
apple juice and 1 tsp. of vanilla till smooth.
Stir in English toffee bits and then spread over the apple layer.
Top with remaining bread cubes.
Beat together eggs, milk, and remaining 1 tsp of vanilla
and pour over bread.
Refrigerate overnight.
Remove from Fridge 30 minutes before baking.
Bake uncovered 40-45 minutes @ 350 degrees or
until knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

While it's baking it's time to make up the syrup!
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups apple juice
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
5 Tablespoons Butter

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and apple juice.
Heat to a boil, whisking constantly.
Boil for 1 minute and stir in butter.
Serve over french toast.

The Apple Syrup is worth it's weight in gold!
Thanks Nadine Mesch for sharing this recipe with Costco!
Of course after practicing with all these fun bakes we couldn't decide
what we should make.....
so we are making them all!
Happy Baking this Holiday!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Breakfast Egg Casserole

Here's one more baked breakfast dish. It was hard taking a pretty picture of eggs....
 I love these prepare ahead baked dishes, where you just pop it in the oven for breakfast.  My mother-in law gave me this recipe and it is delicious and easy!  She likes to add a little zip to her eggs when she makes it, like a little pepper jack cheese, or green chilies, red pepper, and sometimes mushrooms.  You can pretty much put whatever you like in this one and it still tastes good.
 I kept this casserole really simple to please my picky kids, adding only ham, bacon, green onion, and cheese. Most of them ate it too!  
Breakfast Egg Casserole

1 dozen eggs, well beaten
1 to 1/2 cups of grated cheese
1 1/4 cup milk
3/4 to 1 lb. cooked bacon
diced ham
8 to 10 slices of bread, cut to 1" cubes (for breakfast bakes, I prefer Texas Toast)
3 to 4 chopped green onions
salt and pepper

Grease 9x13 pan
add cut bread to pan
pour wet mixture over the bread
refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour 

Nicole has a "sweet" breakfast bake up tomorrow!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blueberry & Pecan French Toast Bake

Nicole and I love great breakfast food and this year we decided to have a Fourth of July family brunch. The last several days we have been trying out some of our favorite breakfast bakes, and we thought we would share them with you. Our sweet sister-in law, Brandy, introduced us to this blueberry french toast bake several years ago. It is heavenly, especially once it's topped with powdered sugar and syrup! This recipe comes from good ol' Betty Crocker.
Blueberry & Pecan French Toast Bake

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2  teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
10 slices french bread or Texas Toast cut into 1" cubes
1 package (8oz) cream cheese cut into 1/2" cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts
powdered sugar, if desired
blueberry or maple syrup, if desired

Generously grease 9x13 pan.
Beat flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a large bowl with hand beater until smooth.
Stir in bread cubes until coated.
Pour bread mixture into casserole dish.
Top evenly with cream cheese, blueberries, and nuts.
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no longer than 24 hours.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with syrup.

It is soooooo good!  I do have to warn you that this bake is more of an adult favorite.  I'm so sad that my kids hate nuts, cream cheese....and yes...blueberries.  But we love it! :)
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