Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Feeling Blessed...God is good.

Hello everyone! Happy Wednesday! It is chilly, windy, cloudy and feels like spring outside. So even though I am not able to let the kiddos play outside, we are still enjoying the day.

I went on a date night with the Hubs last night. It was wonderful! We rarely get to go out and enjoy ourselves because we don't have many people able to watch our children when we do go. But last night, I was able to reel in my friend Kelly to come sit with the kids. She is a saint, and we are so grateful to have her in our lives! Not just for a baby sitter, but she is rapidly becoming a very close friend and we just met in October. So needless to say, her offering to watch the kids for FREE so Michael and I could go out was absolutely fantabulous! {However, I did sneak a Happy Easter & Spring card into her purse from the kids with a $20 in it...I knew she wouldn't take it otherwise! LOL}...

This picture was taken 4 years ago...I sadly realized when going through my pictures that Michael and I don't have any pictures together, AND we don't have pictures of each other seprately...needless to say, I'm making a resolution to change that...Here is my handsome Michael. Inside and out, this man is so amazing...can't believe God gave him to me! WOW...just in awe daily. In case you aren't jealous of me already, I'll just throw in there that he also does dishes, laundry, bathing of the kiddos, yard work, watches the kids, plays with the kids, dotes on me, AND finds time to shoot his bow and exercise he does it, I'll never know, but am so grateful for all he does for me and our family...I'm so in love with this man and can't express enough how blessed I am...
So on our date, Michael and I went to Taco Johns for Taco Tuesday! He had 3 hardshells, I had a fish taco, we split a potato ole and drank water. Total bill: $5.32...Then we went to the movie 21 Jump Street with Tatum Channing and Jonah Hill...Tuesday night is cheap night {$6.50 each ticket} and ordered a #1 which includes a large pop and a large popcorn and Michael had to get his Skittles, {Total Concession Bill: $10.00}...Spending time laughing till my sides hurt with the Hubs while not-so-secretly drooling over Tatum Channing...PRICELESS!!!

Even though I love spending time at home with my wonderful family, it feels good to get out on a date...but I did miss the kiddos while we were gone! Here are some reason's why!!!
I'm so thankful and so blessed to have a friend who loves children and doesn't mind looking after them every once in a while. I'm also so blessed to have such a wonderful husband that makes me smile throughout the day when I think of him, which is pretty often because I'm constantly calling him at his work and getting him into trouble just to tell him something new the kids did that afternoon!!! I'm so thankful and blessed that my children have a crush on my friend Kelly so that they are nice to her and listen when she tells them it is bedtime! LOL...Most of all, I'm just feeling blessed.
God is good and every day he is with me, is a day I feel blessed...


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Domestic Tip: Soft Brown Sugar

Hello everyone! Happy Weekend to you all!!!

Want to quickly share with you all a pretty neat trick I discovered this past week while making my Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes!!! When I went to make these, I got all my ingredients out the night before. I noticed I had 3 half bags of brown sugar. Then I noticed why I had 3 half used bags! They were hard as a rock. And I was about to toss them and call hubby to stop at the store on his way home to pick up some more when it hit me...maybe there is a way out of this situation and I can use the left overs!

I went online, but for some reason, the words I was typing in didn't trigger any help from pinterest, yahoo or google. I remember growing up that someone would put all their brown sugar into a container and stick a bread slice or an apple slice to help keep it moist...Well, I've
obviously never thought of this because my bags have a chip clip on top! LOL...

So after remembering these tricks of the trade, I thought maybe I could put those tips to the test and see if they can bring brown sugar bricks back to life. So I took 1 brick, broke it up {which was difficult to do and messy} and put it in a container. I stuck a bread slice on top and put a lid on it. Woke up the next morning to brown sugar that was like sand beneath the toes! {Not sure that analogy is accurate as I've never stood in a bag or box of brown sugar, but it's what I imagine it would feel like! LOL}...So now I know, and I hope you will find it useful as well! I wonder how many 1/2 full bags of brown sugar I've thrown away over the years? I know more than $20 worth, that's for sure! No more wasted money over brown sugar!!!
Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kitchen Test: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to pop in and quickly share with you some cupcakes I decided to give a try. I found them in an old cookbook I had around the house and decided to adapt them. I will say this, they don't look so pretty when not frosted as they look like they are
literally topped with a cookie! to me, that looks pretty cause I like a good cookie, but for some, not so much. I was going to pip frosting onto the top to make more pretty, but I felt that would be too much frosting, plus the frosting wasn't as stiff as I like for piping, so I just used a spatula and frosted. I then topped with a bittersweet chocolate drizzle and some chocolate sprinkles and man-o-man were these things tastey!!! I love testing new recipes! Yum Yum! Anyways, I hope you find them as delicious as my kiddos and hubby did!!!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes
Yield: 24 {fill liners 1/2 full}

1 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
6 Tlb. Butter @ Room Temp
3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs @ Room Temp
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Milk
2 cup Mini Chocolate Chip (or regular, doesn't matter)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, set aside.
2. Cream butter & sugars in a stand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add Peanut Butter and mix for 1 minute. Add Vanilla.
3. Combine Flour, Baking Powder & Salt.
4. Alternately add Flour Mixture with Milk to batter, beginning and ending with Flour.
5. Using a spatula, fold in Chocolate Chips.
6. Fill cupcake liners 1/2 full with batter. Bake @ 350 degrees for 22 minutes.
7. Allow to cool completely before frosting!
Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup Butter @ Room Temp
1-1/4 cup Powder Sugar {more for thicker consistency}
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Whole Milk

1. Cream Butter & Peanut Butter in a stand mixer.
2. Add Sugar & Salt.
3. Add Milk & Vanilla & Mix until smooth.
4. Frost Cupcakes. {For thinner or thicker cupcakes, add more Powder Sugar 1/4 cup at a time or 1 Tlb. Whole Milk at a time}
Chocolate Drizzle

1/2 cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tlb. Whole Milk

1. Combine ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high power for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat 30 more seconds. Repeat 1 more time if not smooth.
2. If not smooth, add more milk.
3. Drizzle over cupcakes.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Talapia Fish Cakes-Super Nummy!!!

Hello everyone!

I love fish. Especially seafood! I always buy Talapia, it seems the most versatile, and I make fish tacos for my lunches...{I'll have to remember to post my recipe!!!} But I was getting burnt out on my tacos. I saw an episode of Chopped on the
Food Network where someone made a fish cake...So me being me, I thought, "Hey, I can do that"...I tried researching Talapia Fish Cakes, but I couldn't find any recipe using this fish, so what I did was took a few different recipes to fit my flavor profile and adapted it to fit the beautiful fish that is

Here's what I came up with! Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you adapt it or add changes to it so that I can maybe try them out sometime!
Talapia Fish Cakes
Makes 6-8 cakes

2 Talapia Fillets {dusted with S&P and fried in oil then flaked}
2 Tlb Oil {I use Olive Oil, just cause I love it!}
Salt & Pepper {To Taste, I also add some to the batter}
1 Onion {Chopped & Cooked for 1 minute}
1/4 c. Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Cheyenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Egg {lightly beaten}

1. Fry and flake seasoned Talapia in oil {about 2 minutes on each side}
2. Fry onions for 1 minute. Set aside. Add 2 Tlb. oil to pan and heat.
3. Create your fish cakes by adding all ingredients to a bowl, mixing until just combined.
4. Spoon into smaller patties and place in hot oil. Fry on each side for about 2 minutes each.
5. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of your choice. I used Chipotle Ranch Dressing sprinkled with Dill.

I was able to get a high rating out of my husband with this recipe. He doesn't like fish, so that was a huge accomplishment for me!!!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lazy Sunday: Hair Cuts

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Ours was full of beautiful weather and lots of time spent outside {Temps in the 70's}. We didn't have much going on, so we spent it together playing, watching movies, and just hanging out. I really wish I wasn't so lazy this weekend, we could have a bonfire or two! The weather was just so gorgeous for it! Oh well, plenty of more days ahead of us this year for a bonfire!

Anyways, not much to do on a lazy day Sunday. So the hubs and I cleaned the house (for the most and caught up on the kids hair cuts. If any of you have boys, you know this is a rip off to do outside of your own home. The cuts at a cheap spot are $10 per child and they do such a crap job that you have to go home and correct the cut yourself anyways. So for me, it is just easier to hop the kids up on a stool in our shower,
grab a shaver and my fingers and go to town. Honestly, the cuts are so good, no one can tell that I cut them myself...well, maybe I'm delusional, but I'm ok with that! LOL...

But yesterday was baby Jack's first hair cut. I mean, it was way past due, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it before now. In all honesty, I'm wishing I hadn't done it yet because now he looks so grown up! Minus the teeth of course {still rockin' the gummies}...Today was his 10 month birthday, so I guess waiting until he was over the 9 month mark was ok. Boy oh boy did he have a lot of hair! Saved the longest parts in a baggie and they were 5" long! Craziness! I know a lot of girls his age that don't even have hair yet!!! So here is a picture of Jack in his before and after locks...And if you can notice, he has grins in his before and after pics! Sat there like a CHAMP! One proud Mama over here! Considering right before him was his brother Adam, who was not happy, nor is he ever happy getting his hair cut!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your Monday!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen: Pancakes {And Snow Play}

Hello everyone! Happy Monday! Hope you all enjoyed a fun weekend!!!

I love lazy day weekends with my family! We don't have any plans, just basically go with the flow and do what we want situation! Love that!!! This weekend was absolutely GORGEOUS weather for MN...We had temps in the 50's and beautiful sunshine! Before the snow melted, the boys and I enjoyed a fun time outside on Friday afternoon. Daddy built a snow castle with them on Saturday that only lasted a little bit because then it all melted and turned into a lake! LOL, but they had fun while it lasted!!!
One thing I LOVE to do with the boys is set up stools by the kitchen counter and make pancakes! They take turns pouring the ingredients, cracking the eggs and whisking the batter...I LOVE LOVE LOVE cooking with my boys in the kitchen, especially if it is something as easy as pancakes! And this recipe is absolutely DELISH! Hope you enjoy!!!
Easy Peasy Pancakes
Yield: 9-12 cakes

1 Large Egg
1 cup Milk
2 Tlb. Butter, Melted
1 cup Flour
1 Tlb. Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Salt

1. Beat Egg until nice and fluffy with a whisk.
2. Add Milk to Eggs and whisk.
3. Slowly add melted Butter to Egg & Milk mixture until frothy. Don't add hot butter to mix all at once as it will cook the eggs.
4. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth and glossy.
5. Pour 1/4 cup batter until hot griddle. Once bubbles have formed at the top, flip pancake over.
6. Top with favorite toppings and enjoy!!!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Central MN Winter!

Hey everyone!!!

Just wanted to share with you all a picture I took looking down my road after a little snowfall! I also took a picture looking through a lilac bush in winter at sunset! Love the colors a sunset gives off when everything else is white! Central MN is so beautiful in the winter time! We didn't get any snow this year until after Christmas, and I am a huge fan of snow, so I'm savoring these late season snowfalls!
Anyways, hope you have a blessed day!

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Kids in the Kitchen: Fudgy Brownies

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!!!

This weekend was full of so much fun at our house! We spent Saturday morning going to a Teddy Bear Band at a local elementary school. The kids really enjoyed it! Sunday Lance & Daddy went to the new movie Dr. Suess's "The Lorax". They had so much fun, but while they were away, Adam & I, we did play! LOL...

Adam & I watched Nanny McPhee...if you have not seen this movie, it is super cute and we recommend it! After we watched our own movie adorned with Popcorn, snack and a beverage, we decided to make a treat for when daddy & Lance came home from their movie!

We made Fudge Brownies! Super super nummy! I only wanted to make a small batch, so I used my very very used and abused 8x8" square pan...Here's Adam demonstrating how we cover up our rusty spots! LOL...
Anyways, hope you make these yourself and enjoy!!! Let me know if you adapt them to fit your flavour profile! I would love to test them out!!!
Fudgy Brownies

10 Tlb. Butter, Melted
1 1/4 c. Sugar
3/4 c. Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs, Cold
1/2 c. Flour

1. Prepare 8x8" square baking pan by lightly greasing the sides and lining with parchment paper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a stand mixer, cream melted butter, sugar, coca powder & salt until pasty.

3. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. When smooth and creamy, add flour and mix until just blended.

5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and smooth evenly.

6. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Cool completely and dust with powder sugar.

Happy Baking!