Sunday, September 30, 2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Hello everyone! Happy Sunday!!!

Hope you all are enjoying a beautiful weekend!

I've been hungry for soup all day. Actually, I'm always hungry for soup. There are literally thousands of soup recipes, most of which I've pinned onto it's own special board: Soups & Salads. I'm bound and determined to try them all and make them my own! LOL. Well, I don't think I will ever get that far, but no need to worry about that.

Today, while trying to figure out what to make for dinner, I saw a recipe for homemade tomato soup that Marla from Family Fresh had adapted from Ina Gardner {Barefoot Contessa}. It looked absolutely delish, so thought I would try my hand at making my own. It's so simple and so easy peasy. I have so many garden tomatoes I have to use up because I refuse to throw them away, so I may have to do this recipe again and just freeze it!!! Hope you enjoy the recipe and have a fabulous day!

P.S. I know my grilled cheese is a little "dark", but that is exactly how I like it, so I still kept it in the pictures! LOL...I probably should have thought of the "photo effect" when making my grilled cheese!!!

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
8 Tomatoes, Quartered
5 Garlic Cloves, Whole
1 Medium Purple Onion, Sliced & Quartered
3 Tlb. Olive Oil

Garlic Powder
Onion Powder

S&P to taste
2 Chicken Bullion Cubes
1/2 c. Water
1-1/2 c. Whole Milk
Handful of Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large baking dish, place tomatoes, garlic & onions. Drizzle with Olive Oil. Sprinkle with Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt & Pepper.

3. Bake for 55 Min. Remove from heat and while cooling, remove the tomato peals. {Don't forget to remove peals so that you don't have fibrous contents in your creamy soup!!!}
4. Pour all contents into a large pot and heat over medium-medium/high heat. Add bullion cubes, water & milk and simmer at a boil for 10-15 minutes. Use an immersion blender wand or pour contents into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
5. Pour into bowls and top with your favorite topping! I love to use mine as a dip for my grilled cheese sandwiches!!!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy 3rd Birthday to Adam!!!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday!!!

I hope you all are enjoying a beautiful day! I'm so absolutely excited for this weekend. We are having gorgeous 80 degree fall weather here in MN and it couldn't have come at a better time! I've been planning a birthday party for this coming Saturday for a while now, but I've been planning to have a camping themed outdoor party!!! Bonefire, tent, s'mores, the hole shebang...And to be honest, I didn't think we were going to be able to do it! We were wearing hates and gloves and coats to the bust stop just this past Monday!!!

So, even though I'm super excited, I'm not necessarily going to count my chickens before they are hatched! I also should get my butt in gear if I'm going to be getting everything completed!!! I haven't even made the cake yet...But I did get the decorations completed earlier in the week, I just let a few things get to me and slow me down, and I shouldn't have because now I've got to scramble and get everything done last minute! Yikes!!!

Anyways, I just wanted to give a shout out to my wonderful baby boy who is turning 3 tomorrow. Adam, you an absolute joy to be around and inspire everyone around you. You light up a room with just a look. Even though you are shy, and stubborn, and strong willed, I'm honored to be your mother! Hope you have a wonderful 3rd birthday and that you know how much we all love you! Super big hugs my Dawa!!!
4 days

1 year

2 Years

3 Years


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Roasted Tortellini Pasta

Hey everyone!

So, last week I was on a business trip. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I missed the kids like crazy, but got to eat food outside of corn dogs, hot dogs, pizza, chicken get the picture...I missed the kids like crazy, but got to play bingo at a bingo hall, had fun, but didn't win anything. Sat in 2 days of meetings/classes, but got to meet some new interesting people. Had a fabulous hotel room all to myself, but missed my husband so I couldn't sleep. The fire alarm went off every morning at 6:30 am for over an hour. Called front desk and both mornings, they sent security, not maintenance, so nothing ever got fixed, BUT my stay was FREE!!! So my conclusion is this...even though there were some positives to my crazy travel, I do NOT like to travel by myself! So next time, the fam has got to come with me!!! Michael and the boys had fun here on the home front though...

Michael stayed home from work, took Adam & Jack swimming at the local YMCA while Lance was in school, which the boys loved! He took them out to the hunting land because yesterday was the start of the bow hunting season and they wanted to make sure everything was good to go! Michael was pretty excited to use our Easy Lunch Boxes to make Lance's lunches. He even took a picture of one of the days when I was gone!!! To me, he did over pack, but it's the thought and effort that counts! HEHEHE...

Anyways, wanted to share a quick recipe I made up this weekend! I have an overwhelming stock pile of ripe tomatoes in my garden and had to pick all my green peppers. I'm trying to give them away, but still have too many for just me since the boys don't eat them. So I had an idea to make a sauce and let me tell you, super easy and SUPER delish!!! Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Tortellini Pasta
1 package Frozen Tortellini, could use homemade or boxed...

For the Sauce
{Makes 1 pint}

5 Large Beefy Tomatoes, tops off and sliced 1/2" thick
1 Green Bell Pepper, tops off, seeds out, and quartered {could use red, yellow or orange as well...}
1 Medium Onion, Sliced 1/4" thick and then quartered
1 Head of Garlic, Pealed
3 Tlb. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Dried Basil {mine is from my garden, but any will do, could even use fresh}
1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees, line pan. Prepare all vegetables, layer into pan, drizzle with 2 Tlb. Olive Oil & sprinkle with half the salt & pepper.
2. Roast vegetables 35-45 minutes.
3. When cooking time is almost done, start your pasta, drain and set aside.
4. Remove vegetables from pan and pour into a food processor. Pulse 10-15 times. Add 1 Tlb. Olive Oil, crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and dried basil. Pulse 5 more times.
5. Pour pasta back into sauce pan turn up heat to medium. pour in half the sauce and cook until warm.
6. Serve with parmesan cheese & some dried basil! {This is optional}

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blackberry Cabernet Cupcakes & Frosting

Hey everyone!

Just thought I would pop in quick and share a recipe for some cupcakes I made this past weekend! They didn't last more than a day! They were super delish! Hope you enjoy!!!

Blackberry Fruit Sauce
3 c. Frozen Blackberries
1/2 c. Cabernet Sauvingnon
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tlb. Sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 2-12 hours. Pour contents into a food processor and pulse until smooth, using a net strainer, separate sauce from the seeds and set aside juices...

Makes 48 mini cupcakes
1 c. Flour
1 c. + 2 Tlb. Sugar
1/3 c. + 2 Tlb. Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 c. Butter @ Room Temp
2 Eggs @ Room Temp
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 c. Blackberry Sauce
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tlb. Lemon Zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line cupcake pan with liners.
2. Add dry ingredients to a medium bowl and set aside. When measuring out the flour and cocoa powder, use a spoon to fill the measuring cups so the ingredients don't get packed down. This will create a more fluffy cupcake...
3. Cream the butter in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment for 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Add Lemon Juice & Zest.
4. Alternately add flour mixture and blackberry sauce until smooth.
5. Scoop into liners and bake for 8 min. Without opening the oven, reduce heat to 325 and bake 8 more minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Blackberry Cabernet Buttercream
1 c. Butter
4 c. Powder Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 c. Blackberry Sauce

1. Cream butter for 10 minutes in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment.
2. Slowly add powder sugar. Add Vanilla.
3. Add Blackberry Sauce.
4. Frost away & enjoy!!!

**You can skip the lemon parts if you aren't into lemon, but you can also switch it out for Lime or Oranges too if you'd rather!!!

Until next time...


Bento Goodness: Cheese Pizza Quesadilla!!!

Hey everyone!

Wow, I cannot believe we are at the start of week 2! Time is flying! The weather is changing! Kids activities are in full bloom!!! Our house if full of life and I'm loving it! I'm starting to adjust to my baby being in school. He's starting to not be so crabby when he gets home off the bus...all is well! Hehehe, for the moment anyways! We'll see what the rest of the week will bring!

My hubby will be in charge over the next few days as I will be out of town for some Gambling Meetings...and when I say that, no I don't go to GA...hehe. I'm a gambling manager at a local VFW and need to take some continuing ed classes to keep up to speed on things! It's going to be a lonely few days, BUT, I have reservations to get my "Sushi" on!!! Woot woot me! I love sushi, but unfortunately, there aren't many options for it around here, and even if there were, I wouldn't have anyone to go with!!! Insert sad face here! Hehehe...So with dad in charge and me out of the house, should make for some interesting stuff...Dad is even going to be completing BENTOS!!! I will be sure to have him take some pictures to make sure his meals are "Mom" approved!

Anyways, today's lunch consisted of:

Cheese Pizza Quesadillas
Homemade Pizza Sauce
Pear Slices

Total Cost:  $1.36

I got to use my new Mini-Easy Lunch Box dipping sauce containers which worked perfectly to house the pizza sauce! I had cheapies before, but these do not leak and are super easy to use!!! I'm in LOVE with them!!! To keep the quesadillas warm, I wrapped them in tin foil and didn't use any colors as nothing else required me to...Lance really enjoyed his lunch and requested these for

Until next time...


Friday, September 7, 2012

Bento Goodness: Sandwich Kabobs!!!

Hello everyone!

Happy Friday to you all! Wow did that first week fly by fast! Then again, so did the summer! Seems like the older I get the fast the time goes by! It could slow down a bit, I would be ok with that! Hehehe...

Just thought I would pop in quick and share with you all what Lance is having for lunch today!!! Hope you have a fabulous weekend and see you all next week!

Ham, Cheese & Summer Sausage Kabobs
Cheez-It Crackers
Kit Kat Bar

Total Cost:  $1.46

Until Next Time...


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bento Goodness: Dinosaur Sandwhiches

Hey everyone!

Hope you all are adjusting to the kiddos being back to school...It's been a fun 3 days here and Lance is really enjoying school. I'm so proud of him and myself...myself in the fact that I haven't completely broken down and gone crazy that my baby is in school now! LOL...I'm looking forward to today's lunch because my hubby & I are taking the other 2 kiddos to school to share a Bento Lunch with Lance and his class!!! I so can't wait!

Here's what we are all having for lunch today:
Dinosaur Sandwich's {Ham & Cheese}
Orange Slices
Trail Mix
Chocolate Milk

Total Cost per serving:  $1.46

I got the chocolate milk on clearance, which ended up being really good for my final price!!! Gotta keep packed lunches cost effective as well as nutritious if I'm going to make this work! So far, I've saved $3.25 on 3 days of packing Lance's lunch and his meals have been fun and nutritious!  I'm getting super addicted to this stuff! LOL...

On another note...I've had a few stamp sets come out today with Your Next Stamp!!! Here's this month's releases from me, but be sure to stop on over to their site and check out everything they have to offer!

I absolutely love Karen from YNS and the fact that I get to work out of my home to help support my family! I am truly blessed to have Karen and Gina K. in my life and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else or doing anything else! Definitely one blessed cookie over here!!!

Until Next Time...


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bento Goodness: Peanut Butter Roll-Ups

Hey everyone!

Yesterday was a nerve racking day to say the least. I went to the gym, did some illustration work, played with my other 2 kiddos, but still about an hour before Lance was to come home for the day, I kept glancing at the clock and litterally, that was the LONGEST hour ever! I swear! LOL...He finally came home, and then went right next door to play with the neighbor kids {let him play there for 30 min}...when he finally told me about his day, he was very excited and had a wonderful time. Couldn't remember much or any friends he made...but he couldn't wait to go back today! LOL...

Here's what Lance had for lunch today:

Peanut Butter Roll-Ups
Pear Cup
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dragon Carrot Slices
Lemonade Caprison

Total Cost:  $1.44
{the carrots are from my garden, they were literally less than 1 penny, so I didn't count those in my price, and if you haven't heard of Dragon Carrots before, they are a red carrot, with orange & yellow centers, taste just like regular carrots, just really fun to look at and say! LOL...}

Roll-up tutorial:
Take your bread slices & cut the crusts off...
Roll your bread flat with a rolling pin... 
Spread with topping, you can use peanut butter & jelly, I just used peanut butter... 
Roll the bread up... 
Slice and serve...makes for an excellent snack as well!!! 

**If you are just starting out like I am with packed lunches, these containers from Easy Lunchbox are absolutely SUPER easy to use and very affordable! You get a set of 4 for $13.95!!! I'm in love with mine!!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to School: My First Bento!!!

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday & Happy Back to School Day to all of you and your kiddos!!!

I'm excited and sad today. I feel like I'm bipolar because I keep going from proud to teary eyed in a mili second! Oh well, I'll get over it! Lance was super excited for today and ready to leave me behind. He's a very outgoing person, so I know he will thrive in any type of social environment. But for me, I'm sad because he was my first. Because today was his first day of Kindergarten. Because he will be gone 7 hours 5 days a week. Because I feel like from here on out, I'm just that much older. Or they are that much older. For all of these reason's and hole lot more, today is a struggle, but a happy struggle...


Anyways, I packed my first Bento Lunch last night using my new Easy Lunch Boxes!!! They are so nifty and super easy to use!!! I planned and planned for this lunch, but when I went to make it, certain things weren't turning out so I came up with a very uninspired bento, but still...a first is a first and it can only get better from here! LOL...

Here's what he had for lunch today:
Ham & Cheese Sandwich in the shape of an Apple with a grape worm coming out. Wheat Thins, Apple Slices & Summer Sausage & Cheese slices...Like I said, uninspired, but I think I hit on the key food groups! Not bad for a first timer!!!

Total Cost: $1.65 per serving