Monday, November 9, 2015

Incredibly Easy Pumpkin Pie

OK, I blinked and somehow it is November the fall season really is flying.  We have been busy with family obligations, school, and celebrating joyous moments with friends.

Halloween came and went.  The boys did carve pumpkins with help from Jay (I absolutely won't carve a pumpkin).

Now I could be all fancy and tell you I roasted the pumpkin guts and made a delicious pumpkin pie from it.....but who really has time for all the mess??
Nope, I take help from good old canned pumpkin!  I love canned pumpkin. I always have it on hand.  It is fabulous for pies, cakes, cookies, and smoothies.
Here is a super duper easy pumpkin pie recipe that can be whipped up in a few minutes.  All you need is a big bowl and a whisk, no mixer necessary.
ingredients (adapted from Eagle Brand)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 TBSP. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 9 inch deep dish frozen pie crust
 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl combine all the ingredients until smooth with a whisk.  Do not over beat or the pie will be runny....just mix until blended.
Place the frozen pie crust on a cookie sheet.  Pour mixture into the pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for additional 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.  Mine took about 40 minutes.  Allow to cool.
I love my pie cold with whipped cream, so I throw it in the refrigerator for several hours.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Craft Show Season

I have been doing craft shows for almost 25 years.  I started when I was in high school as a way to earn money for a trip to Mexico with Spanish Club.  I found a love for them, and I have wrangled my mom into them as well.

People always ask what I do??  Well, it has evolved over the years.  I do sell Rada Cutlery, but I also sell knitted items, embroidered items, children's little items (like book marks, pencils, etc.), and I do wall décor.  Wall décor always gets a few raised brows, people not being exactly sure what those items may be.

So I decided to post some pictures of this years creations. 

My last two craft shows are 10/23/15 at St. John the Baptist is Alden and Elma United Methodist Church Bazaar on 12/5/15.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Aunt Lisa Throws A Shower: Part 2

The shower came and went.  It was a really beautiful day.  The sun was shining and my house was filled with people celebrating this new life.  I wanted to share a few pictures of the décor and favors.  It was a simple affair, but in my opinion it was very special.

First, I set the tables with white linens, accented with hot pink.  The table centerpieces were simple arrangements I made with four different kinds of flowers.  I made the arrangements in clear milk bottles I found at the craft store, and tied with a green bow.

On the invitation, I had included a request for diapers.  If a package was brought, you would be entered to win a prize (it was a grocery store gift card).  Here's the entry tickets to be filled out.

I also decorated the mantle with pink and white candies and outfits picked out by my parents, my boys, and myself.  Each outfit had a little tag to say who they were from.

Finally when the guests left, they were invited to take a sugar cookie made to look like onesies.  I made them in pink and green and wrapped them with a thank you note.

Here's a few other photos from the process:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Aunt Lisa Throws a Shower

I found out about 5 months ago that I was going to be an aunt again!  My brother and his wife are expecting their first baby.  I won't go into details about their story, because it's their story and they are a bit private.  However, I will say this baby is a true miracle, a surprise, and a blessing.

Well as soon as I found out, I wanted to host the baby shower.  It's a true family event. We are having it at my home, Tracy's mom is handling the games, and her step sister is making the cake.

I started preparing as it is very soon.  I am getting excited and will post the details afterwards.  For now here is a sneak peak!  Yes it's a girl :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chocolate Chunk Challah Bread

Do you ever get an idea stuck in your head, and the idea just won't go away?  It keeps nagging and nagging?  This happened to me last week regarding chocolate Challah bread.  Oh yes! 

My vision and the outcome were slightly different.  I envisioned a Challah bread recipe with mini chocolate chips running through it, giving it a slightly sweet taste.  So while I was adding the chocolate chips to the bread dough, what I didn't think about was the heat when the bread was proofing.  Yep, it melted my chips completely into the dough.

That however wasn't so bad, because now I had this wonderful mocha colored dough, that smelled like heaven!

So I needed it to have some chocolate running through it. I chose to add chocolate chunks and chocolate chips in the dough ropes before braiding it.  Once it was baked, the chocolate created little pockets of melted heaven.
I received the vote of approval from the kids and Jay.  It's a very delicious treat and makes fabulous French toast.
Here's how it came together in a bread machine:
8 oz. plus 1 Tbsp. warm water
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. oil
1 egg, room temperature

1 tsp. salt
3 1/4 c. bread flour
2 tsp. active dry yeast

Add the above ingredients in the order listed above.  Then select the dough cycle for 1.5 lb. loaf.  Add 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips to the extras tray (if your machine doesn't have an extras tray, add it last in the list of ingredients).

Once the dough has completed it's cycle, turn out on a floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal pieces, and form into ropes.

Slightly flatten the ropes, and lay the chocolate chips and/or chunks right down the middle.

Then pinch the rope closed around the chocolate.

Braid the ropes normally as you would for regular challah bread.  Stud the top with more chunks and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

Brush with an egg wash and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool on a rack.

I made three smaller loaves, just divide dough into nine pieces
to make three loaves

Eat with in a few days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Banana Bread Smoothie

I fully intended to get a picture of this smoothie today for my blog.  I took a sip as I was looking for my camera, and then I took another sip, then another.  By the time I found my camera, this is what I was able to photograph:


I found a recipe similar to this on Pinterst, called a cinnamon roll smoothie.  I tweaked it a bit and changed up some proportions.  The outcome was a smoothie that tasted more like banana bread than a cinnamon roll.  Still equally delicious! 

ingredients (makes 1 serving)

4 oz. skim milk
3 oz. low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 small banana, frozen
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. oatmeal
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Blend away!  It may take a bit longer to get smooth because of the oatmeal.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

I put my new little Ninja to work again this morning.  It's still a breeze to clean and I am truly loving my purchase.  Today's post is a simple sweet delight.....Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie!


6 oz. skim milk or almond milk
6 oz. low-fat reduced sugar strawberry yogurt
1/2 c. frozen strawberries
1/2 c. frozen pineapple chunks

Blend until smooth!  If it is too thick, thin with a bit more milk.


Friday, July 24, 2015

New Smoothie Machine

Ninja Storm Designer Series 400 Watt 40 oz. Food & Drink Maker

I love a new kitchen gadget, especially one that comes in fun colors.  Well, I bought a new fuchsia gadget for making smoothies.  Now, it can be used for a many other things, but I bought it for mixing up my protein drinks.

 I wanted it for one main reason.  Easy clean up.  I have a Vitamix, which I love, but sometimes it is a pain to clean.  In the morning I want to mix up a quick 8 oz. breakfast drink, and I really don't feel like cleaning the bigger blender.  So more times than not, I skip the smoothie. 

While watching QVC the other day, I saw a cute little Ninja.  Now they were showing all the great things it can do, but all I saw was easy peasy smoothie mixer.  The bonus was it came in a gazillion colors.  I of course chose the pink option. 

Tonight I used it for the first time, and in about 90 seconds I was enjoying a chocolate peanut butter smoothie.  I paused my drinking and cleaned the new machine in about 30 seconds.  Yep, I am a happy smoothie maker.   It is still currently available from QVC, just search Ninja Storm.  It's under $30.00, so go ahead and give it a try.

 Now I need to find all new recipes to try out.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Banana Topped Pancakes

This last week here in Lake View we have been blessed with beautiful weather.  I have been able to get outside and start weeding, removing of deceased shrubs, and plant new ones.  I have also taken the opportunity to take my exercise outdoors. 

Today, I ran.  Yes, I said, I RAN!!! Those who know me, know normally I wouldn't run unless I was being chased by a bad guy, a swarm of bees, or I was running towards Matt Bomer.  I started by walking, but just couldn't get my heart rate up enough, so I started a trot which led to a nice jog/run pace.  Did I enjoy it?? Hell no, but I have been trying to change up my workouts.  I figured doing this every now and then won't kill me (I hope).

OK, so there's the workout update.  Family update: not too much going on.  Adam had his Orchestra concert last night.  It was really wonderful. We experienced the beginner players, then were treated to middle school Chamber Group, and two high school bass state champions. 

Now on to the new recipe for today.  With Mother's Day approaching I wanted to post an easy breakfast or brunch item.  I made these for dinner last week, and the boys loved them.  Now, I will say banana topped pancakes are a treat.  What day better to treat mom than Mother's Day?!

recipe (serves 6)

1 batch of your favorite pancake recipe, I used my light and fluffy pancakes
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. butter
whipped cream

First prepare your pancakes and start them on the griddle.  You can make the pancakes and stack them in a warm oven first or do it the same time as the topping.


In a skillet, melt the butter and brown sugar over a low flame until sugar is dissolved (about 3 to 4 minutes).  Add cinnamon and sliced bananas.  Gently coat bananas in the brown sugar sauce. Don't cook them too long or they will be mushy, only about a minute or two until they are warm.

Spoon sauce over pancakes and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Happy Earth Day!!!  I know it's a day late, but here's the recipe I teased earlier.  I love this one because most of the prep work can be done the night before. It makes the morning that much easier. I also like this sweet and sour sauce because I have texture issues.

Yes, I am a strange food texture phobic person. I don't like anything slimy, gloopy (yes that is a word), mealy, mushy, and the list goes on.  So the typical sweet and sour sauce falls into the gloopy category.....yuck!  Now that is my personal opinion.  This sauce is thinner and just coats everything nicely without congealing.

As I mentioned before, I do the bulk of the work the night before.  That consists of browning the chicken, slicing the vegetables, and making the sauce.  The next morning, dump in the slower cooker, open a few cans, and turn it on.  Voila!!!


1 lb. diced chicken, I used a combination of skinless thighs and breasts
1 medium green pepper
3 large carrots
1/4 c. sliced onion, or 1 tbsp. minced dried onion flakes
1 small can water chestnuts
1 small can pineapple chunks, with juice
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. corn starch

The night before in a large skillet, sprinkle with salt & pepper and brown the diced chicken.  Do not cook through, just brown on all sides (takes about 3 minutes or so).  Set aside to cool.

Peel and slice the carrots, pepper, and onion. Put in an airtight container. 

In a large measuring cup, combine brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, salt and pepper.  Cover with plastic wrap.

Ok, the prep work is done, cover everything, and refrigerate until morning.

In the morning, dump the chicken and prepared veggies in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with the cornstarch and toss to coat.  Add the pineapple with juice to the measuring cup and combine to finish the sauce.  Pour over the chicken and vegetables.  Set the slow cooker to low for 6 hours.

An hour before the chicken is done, add the drained water chestnuts. Serve over rice.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

What Could This Be?

I have a busy week coming up, and the last thing I want to think about is dinner.  Unfortunately my family is in the habit of eating it....hmmm.  I had a few extra minutes today, so I decided to prep a crock pot meal.

What could it be??  Here's a picture of the main ingredients.  Care to venture a guess? Check back on Tuesday to find out!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

4 Ingredient Chili

Even though the weather will start to turn warm, chili is one of those dishes I make all year.  It freezes beautifully, stretches the budget, and is very versatile.  You can eat it in a bowl topped with cheese, crackers, sour cream, etc.  Chili can be ladled over hotdogs in the summertime.  Chili also makes a yummy topping for nachos. 

Today I am home bound with my oldest having round two of strep throat.  When I was shopping yesterday, I found ground beef on sale.  While at the store I believed I had all the rest of the ingredients at home to make my classic chili recipe.  So, this morning when I went to the pantry to gather the ingredients, I realized I am out of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and onion. 

Ok, so what do I have??? I had one can of stewed tomatoes, one can of chili beans, and left over pasta sauce. I always have minced dried onion in my spices, so I knew I could swap that for fresh onion.  I was back in business.

Now I have listed this as four ingredients because I am not technically counting the spices.  Spices are staples for a lot of us.  However, if you want to get picky you I guess it would be considered eight ingredients if  you count the four spices ;)


2 lbs. ground beef (ground chicken or turkey work well too)
2 c. pasta sauce (jarred or home made)
1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 can Bush's chili beans

1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dried onion
2 tbsp. chili powder

In a large stock pot or deep fry pan (like a chicken fryer), brown meat with onion in about 2 tsp. oil. Once all the meat is browned, drain any excess grease.  Add the salt, pepper, and chili powder.  Cook the meat for another two to three minutes to allow the spices to develop. 

Add the tomatoes (breaking them up a bit), pasta sauce, and chili beans.  Combine and cover.  Simmer on low for about 30 minutes. 

That's it!  You are done. It's easy, delicious, and is a staple in our home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My Dinner Date

I have been neglectful to my blog, my health, and my happiness.  That is a big statement, but true on all accounts.  I have become very complacent over the last few months, and have been trying to just get along.  Are there reasons for this? Absolutely.  Are these reasons excuses?  No, and nor should they be. I need to own it and change it.

So what brought about this epiphany?  A little visit from on old friend.  I was very blessed yesterday, when my dear friend traveled over 300 miles with a bad back to have dinner with me.  While we keep in touch through messaging, we haven't seen each other in about eighteen months.  She is moving on to a new chapter of her journey, but she took time out to have dinner with me.

We used to have lunch dates weekly when I lived in Oneonta (sometimes twice in one week).  During those lunch dates our friendship blossomed, and I knew I had a friend for life.  Our conversations ranged from food, to children, to travel, and to our passions.  I was remembering today a conversation from a few years back, that had my friend telling me she was thinking about changing her career path.  I was excited for her and one of her biggest supporters. 

A lot of people want to change things in life and do nothing.  What was different about her statement was, she actually did it.  She gathered the knowledge, training, and experience she needed and embarked on a new adventure.  I have always been so proud of her!

While remembering that moment today, I decided I am taking charge of the things I want to change.  First, my poor neglected blog.  I promise to keep updating recipes, crafts, and posting about the changes in our lives.  Secondly, I have slacked on my exercise regime for the last six months.  That is done!  I am getting back on my routine and putting myself first.  Finally, my happiness.  That will be the hardest one to work on.  I am a people pleaser, so I tend to say yes and put off my own needs. Let's just say that will be a work in progress.

My dinner date and late night conversation was inspiring. Sometimes the kick in the pants comes at the most unexpected times.  The trick is to recognize it and use it! 

Tomorrow I will rekindle my interest in the quilt I started over the summer.  I will keep you posted on how it goes :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Easy Bias Scarf

Here's a quick little project for all my knitter friends.  I found this pattern in my Knitting For Dummies book.  I tackled it because it was simple and it would allow me to practice my increasing and decreasing.  I used a long self striping yarn, everyday yarn from Deborah Norville, found at JoAnn Fabric's.

The pattern itself is super duper easy:

Worsted Weight

Cast on 30 stitches.
Row 1: Increase the first stitch, knitting front to back, continue to knit, and knit last two stitches together.
Row 2: Knit.

Repeat until desired length.  I did 65 inches. The pattern said anywhere from 65 to 80 inches.  The scarf will knit on a diagonal, and with the striping yarn, it gives a neat look.


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:


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.


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
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.