Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What Will It Be???

Sometimes in life you are asked to be a part of something very special.  A few weeks ago, I was having some dark moments, when everything seemed very dim.  Then I got a message from a friend letting me know she was expecting.  That was wonderful news by itself. 

Then she asked if I would be a part of their special moment of revealing the gender?? I was thrilled!  I needed some happiness and this was right up my alley.  So, today the happy couple had their ultrasound to find out the gender.  I was brought the envelope, and I made a gender reveal cake for their party.

This was so exciting!! I know even before the expectant parents.  I treasure moments like these.  So what will it be? Boy or girl?  Well, I can't tell just yet.....I am awaiting pictures ;)

Here are a few pictures, although I blurred out the baby's last name....the writing is the daddy's original verbiage.

 
 
 
 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Brownie Trifle

We are going to my sister-in-law's for dinner tonight.  She recently moved into a new house, and it's then first time we are seeing it.  The kids are super excited about playing with their cousins, and I am excited about not having to cook dinner!

I am bringing dessert to the dinner party.  I was going through my head trying to figure out what to make. I knew anything chocolate is always popular.  So I decided to make a trifle. 

Trifle is so easy to make and always a hit.  It's basically assembly and layering.  I chose to make the individual components for each layer, but you can totally buy them.  Here's how it went together:

ingredients

1 batch of brownies, 9x13
4 c. prepared chocolate mousse or pudding
24 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
4 c. prepared whipped cream

The night before prepare mousse or pudding according to package directions or favorite recipe. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto mixture and allow to chill overnight or at least four hours.

Prepare your favorite brownie recipe.  Here's my fudgy brownie recipe.  Allow to cool and slice into small squares.

Prepare your whipped cream or use store bought whipped topping from the freezer section, but allow it to thaw. Fold in half of the crushed sandwich cookies.

In a glass serving bowl, put a layer of brownies (about half the pan) along the side and on the bottom.


Next build your layers.

Spoon in 2 cups of mousse or pudding, followed by 2 cups of whipped cream.

Next, layer of brownies.

Repeat the mousse and whipped cream.

Finally, spoon the remainder of the crushed cookies on the very top.

Allow to firm up in the fridge for a few hours.



Serve with a really big spoon!  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken Chili

It is so cold this morning. My toes felt frozen just from the short time at the bus stop.  It's days like these that makes me want to hunker down, read a book, and enjoy a hot bowl of something.  Today's something is chicken chili.

ingredients

2 lbs. ground chicken breast
1 small white onion
29 oz. can tomato sauce
14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
14.5 oz. can stewed tomatoes
16 oz. can chili beans
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Ancho Chili
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
pinch of sugar
salt & pepper to taste

In a large stock pot, brown ground chicken in a tablespoon of oil. Really allow the meat to cook and get browned, about 10 minutes.  Add the spices and allow to coat and cook on the ground chicken for 3 to 4 minutes.


Add tomato sauce, diced, and stewed tomatoes.  Allow to simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Finally add the chili beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. 

Freezes well for about 3 to 4 months.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Pineapple & Cream Smoothie

OK, it's 2015. Everyone is on a new year, new you campaign.  I admit, I have fallen susceptible to those campaigns in the past too.  I do try to actively live a healthy lifestyle, and sometimes have set backs as we all do.  I just release the guilty feelings and move on to healthier choices.

In the spirit of things of a new year, let's get healthy, I will share a smoothie recipe.  It's simple, delicious, light and refreshing.  It makes a great breakfast, dessert, or snack.  It is also another way for me to get in some yogurt, which I really really don't like. 

My recipes for smoothies don't include protein powder or other supplements.  However, if you already incorporate those items into your diet, feel free to add it to the smoothie.

recipe (three 8 oz. servings)

3 c. frozen pineapple chunks
2 1/4 c. almond milk, (you can use skim milk too)
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Simply combine all the ingredients in a blender, and puree until smooth.  If the mixture is thick you can add a bit more milk.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

God Grant Me The Serenity....

It has been a hell of a year.  It started out great, finished up mediocre, with the middle being a bit to be desired.  Is that vague or cryptic enough for you??? Lol!

To put it in a nutshell, I am not going to miss 2014.  There was family drama, health scares, continued health concerns, and a heaping amount of stress.

Throughout all the ups and downs, I learned a lot about people in my life.  I also learned I am stronger than I ever thought.  The strength I relied a lot upon is my faith.  My spiritual life is very important to me.  My favorite prayer is the Serenity Prayer.  I have always loved it and I repeated it over and over this year.

I was also reminded that during the darkest moments there is always light.  It may be a bit dim at times, but it is there.  With light comes hope, and with hope the difficult becomes tolerable.

My wish for 2015 is happiness, health and hope for good things to come!  I leave you with these words to find peace or comfort:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Happy New Year !

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Learning Scarf

I have been knitting for about two years now.  My very first project was the ruffle scarf with the Sashay yarn from Red Heart.  Now technically it wasn't true knitting, but it enabled me to get comfortable with working two needles and binding off.

Then I moved on to a wash cloth.  I have made a ton of these.  While making this cute little project, I discovered I am a very tight tense knitter.  Knitting is supposed to be relaxing, but I would get so nervous about making a mistake that I was too tense. 

After wash cloth number ten, I think I loosened up a bit ;)  My most current project was a scarf for my youngest. He was with me at JoAnn Fabrics and picked out a blue variegated yarn in a bulky weight.  If you asked me two years ago what bulky weight meant, I would have told you a few pounds around my middle....lol.  After a phone call with a friend, I started to understand the different weights of yarn and what they would be used for.

I originally set out to make him a ribbed scarf.  Unfortunately, I can not knit and purl in the same row.  I get so mixed up and the yarn winds up looking very very strange.  So I went back to my old basic knit stitch and completed the project.

So why was this a learning scarf?  Well, I learned to join two balls of yarn, and I learned to weave in my tails.  It doesn't sound like much, but it was.  I feel very accomplished and proud. 

My next learning scarf will be for my older son.  He picked out a black and red striped yarn, which I will practice my purling on.  (I really don't like to purl!)  I will do a basic stockinette stitch and see how it turns out.

I hope you take this little bit of inspiration and apply it to your life.  Teach yourself something new, try something out of your comfort zone, and enjoy it!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cookie Decorating Time!

Do you like to frost cut-outs?  Do you not have time for royal icing and flooding??  Want a great tip?  Let the kids do it!

If I am making cookies for a gift or to take to a party, I spend the time to make royal icing and flood the cookies.  This is time consuming and can be a process, depending on how elaborate the decorations get.  However for sugar cookies for family, I let the kids help.  They are so excited to unleash their creativity, and it's one less task for me.

Here's how I set it up.  I take a can of vanilla frosting, add 1/8 tsp. of an extract (I used Almond but cinnamon, anise, vanilla, lemon are all yummy), divide it up, and color with food dye.  Then I get out all my sprinkles, sugars, little candies, chocolate chips, etc.  I set it up on the table and let them loose.

Have fun, let the kids have fun, and enjoy the time together!