Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin Custard

I tried my hand at making my own pumpkin pack! It was pretty easy, and it tastes really good! I have been making pumpkin recipes to use it up! I found this custard recipe on Taste of Home. I tweaked it because I wanted to make a larger amount. My pumpkin pack is quite mild, too, so I didn't want to overpower it with too much sugar and spice. I might need to change it when I go back to store bought pumpkin.  I will have to see... If you want to make it the original way, click the link above. 

Ingredients
  • 1 large can solid-pack pumpkin (I used my homemade and it was 3 1/2 cups)
  •  4 eggs
  •  2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Whipped cream, optional (I think whipped cream should be mandatory! Ha!) 

    Directions
  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat until smooth. Pour into 9x13 pan.
  • 2. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes.
  • 3. For topping, combine the brown sugar, pecans and butter. Sprinkle over custard. Bake 20-30 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled; top with whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ikea Pedestal Table Makeover



Several years ago, I bought an Ikea pedestal table off Craigslist. I didn't have a real use for it, but I thought it was cute, and it was cheap, so I bought it in a bundle deal. Shortly after that, I was talking with my sister about my new score and not knowing what to do with it. She mentioned how she had seen a table cut in half used as side tables. Brilliance struck! I needed night stands in our master bedroom! At that time, I wasn't as handy as I am now. I hadn't used much more than an orbital sander. We lived close to my very talented, wood-crafting father-in-law. I happen to be his favorite daughter-in-law, (ok I'm his only one),so he took on my crazy project! He ended up taking the pedestal apart, cutting them in half and then putting the whole thing back together the way I wanted them.

SIDENOTE: Do you ever have an idea for a project, and think it's going to be quick and easy, and then you find out it isn't? That's pretty much how ALL of my projects go. He really saved me on this! Haha!

I loved how it turned out. They leaN up perfectly against the wall. You could secure them with 'L' brackets underneath if you really wanted to.

Recently, we moved to a new house, and I was ready for a new style for my nightstands. They were black, so I painted them a nice warm yellow. It's called "White Raisin". The brand is HGTV Sherwin Williams from Lowe's. I scuffed it up to show through a little of the old black finish. I really like how it turned out. I love how they look against my nearly charcoal gray walls. I'm using pale robin's egg blue and a gray blue as my other accent colors in the room. And now, I'm working on a new upholstered headboard for us. My room is coming together! Good luck on your home decor projects! Share yours with me!
Here is what it looked like originally. Mine was black. (stock photo)

Before my paint job.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

READ THIS FOR A HAPPIER MARRIAGE! A Book Review

Did I get your attention??

At a women's conference a few years ago, I went to a "Communicating in Marriage" class.  It was awesome!  I learned a ton from it.  The speakers referenced a couple different books.  One was "The 5 Love Languages".  I have heard of it, but have never read it.  So, I made a trip to the library.  Wouldn't you know, my little library had it!  It was even the 2010 edition! 

This is such a great book.  In my opinion, when you get your marriage license, they ought to give you this with it!!  So much heartache would be spared if we only started out our marriage knowing how our spouse needs to be loved!  I have to admit, Chris and I really haven't had many troubles as a couple.  We are both very open and blunt about what we need.  Chris is actually more than me, weird, I know.  But he is so good at telling me when he needs something different from me.  I have learned to be more like that from him!  So, I wasn't desperately searching for some answers.  But, I love delving into the human psyche.  I like to see how we work, why we do certain things. 

ANYWAY.  I had pretty much figured out what I was, and thought I knew what he was.  We took the tests in the back.  I am 'quality time'.  I scored a 10 in that.  But, I had 'acts of service' and 'touch' tied at 8!  So, I guess that makes me easy to show love to.  Chris was also 'quality time' 10, but he was 'touch' 9 and 'acts of service' 8!  Isn't that amazing that we are the same??!! That isn't very common according to the book.  It talked about the "in love phenomenon".  That is when we first fall in love.  They can do no wrong, they don't have a fault in the world.  We know we will never fight like other couples do!  Then slowly, we come back to reality.  We realize they aren't perfect and have to figure out how to love them for real and for the rest of our life.  As I read this part, I thought, I can't remember this change.  I don't think I have loved him any differently than when we first met.  (I don't remember coming down off the high) I am sure there are people who can point out when it happened for them.  They say this 'in love state' only lasts 2 years max.  I was confused.  As I read on, I found the answer. They say you usually show your love to your spouse in your language instinctively.  So, since we have the same love language, it was easy! This isn't to say we haven't had any troubles, but in general, I have always known that he loved me.  That he loved me best and first of all.  I have commented before that I know he'll drop everything and pick me. 

I loved the thought that each day we have a choice to love or not to love our spouse in their love language.  When we do, their 'love tank' will be filled.  They will be secure in our love.  Things will go more smoothly between us.  It also said "I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday".  Love it!  I tell my kids this routinely.  Tomorrow is a new day.  It doesn't matter what happened yesterday, today we get to start over and try again.  I'm sure they are tired of hearing it, but I wish I had heard that all the time as a kid.  So, I say it over and over again. 

I really loved all the stories in this book.  Most of the couples were on the brink of disaster, and because they started filling each others love tanks, because they CHOSE to love each other the way the other could understand, things got worked out over time.  How awesome is that!!??

So, if you and your spouse have some issues, read this book! It could help! And if you think you're happy enough, read this book! It can't help but make things even better.  I learned a few things about myself and things about Chris from this book. I am excited to practice. 

You can find "The 5 Love Languages" at the library, a thrift store, or Amazon!  It's a must read.  If you have read it, read it again.  It doesn't hurt to be reminded.  You can take the quiz online here.  Go to 'assessments'.  There are quizzes for spouses, you can email your teen to invite them to take it, and there is a 'mystery' for younger children to solve in order to find their love language!  I will have my big boys take it, but I think I have them figured out!  And I can't wait to get my hands on "The five love languages of children", too!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

5 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Do you get overwhelmed with all the junk that comes around this time of year? I love treats, but enough is enough sometimes! Haha. Here are some great, cute ideas to help you out from some really great blogs. These would be really fun to have at kid parties or grown up ones. You can check out Nuts.com for some other yummy snacks shipped right to your door, too!

Healthy Candy Corn Snacks

Healthy Halloween Snack Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail - Family Fresh Meals







































Stuffed Pepper Jack-O-Lanterns
 


Spooky Spider Snack




Witch's Brooms



Olive Snake


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Galvanized Metal Island






Today, I'm sharing our latest project in our home remodel. We finished the island surround in galvanized metal. I wanted something a little rustic and country. My sister came up with this great idea as we were throwing around barn wood, bricks, etc. I live in rural farm country, so I set out looking for some old galvanized metal. I found some, but it was a little too 'rustic'!  Haha. My next stop was my local metal works place. I got brand new stuff, and then aged it with some vinegar. It worked like a charm. I LOVE how it turned out. My sweet hubby is so great when I get crazy ideas. He always makes them happen! I'll share a couple other of my projects soon.
 




Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Monday, September 14, 2015

Industrial Rustic Wood Shelves

I have seen some posts about rustic and industrial shelves, so I made my version of them. I LOVE the way they turned out. I bought the plumbing parts at Home Depot and the wood was under the vinyl siding that was on the house we have been renovating. It was a score! I will be over-using it in various projects around my home. Haha! Go try it! You will love them, too! PS-- I got the beautiful sign from House of Belonging. Go check out her shop!




Saturday, August 22, 2015

Monster Cookies

My friend had these cookies at a get-together she had a while back. I couldn't stop eating them! They are so, so good! (They are also gluten-free.)

These would make a really great after school snack for the kiddos.

I have decided the reason they are called 'Monster Cookies' is because you will look like Godzilla as you are attacking the cookie bin and then violently shoving them into your mouth! Enjoy!


1/4 c butter (room temp)
1/2 c sugar
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c peanut butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 c rolled oats
optional:  choc. chips, butterscotch chips, chopped nuts, raisins

Beat sugars and butter
Add eggs, vanilla, baking soda, PB
Stir in oats and optional
Bake 350 on lightly sprayed cookie sheet, 10-12min.
Store in plastic container after cooled (taste even better next day)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Orzo Salad with Shrimp

This is a delicious and simple salad perfect for the summer months! 

3/4 lb. orzo
1 large cucumber- seeded, quartered lengthwise and sliced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 C chopped fresh dill
1/4 C white wine vinegar
3 T Dijon mustard
1/2 C olive oil
3/4 lb. feta, crumbled
16 med. shrimp

Combine cooked orzo, cucumber, onions and tomatoes in large bowl. Blend dill, vinegar, and mustard until smooth. With motor running on low, add olive oil slowly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Gently fold in feta and shrimp. Mix well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Split Pea Soup

2 cups split peas
1 lb ground beef or sausage (or omit, but it adds a nice flavor)
1 t garlic salt
pepper to taste
salt to taste (you will need quite a bit)
6 cups water
2 onions, choppe
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, diced
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped

Soaking peas overnight will help them cook faster, but isn't necessary. (I never plan this far ahead, personally! :)) Wash peas, add water, salt (start with 1 t) and put on to boil. Simmer for about 1 hour. Brown beef in skillet with garlic salt and pepper. Add onion and continue cooking for a few minutes. Add celery, carrots and parsley and saute for a few more minutes. Add to peas and cook until peas are tender or another 1/2 hour or so, til flavors blend. Peas are very bland, so they require quite a bit or salt. Add water ass needed while cooking to give you the consistency you want.

Serve with this homemade multi-grain bread from All Things Delicious that is so so yummy!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Gone Awry

 Have you ever wanted to be the 'cool holiday mom'? You know the one. The mom who decorates for every holiday, and has a full themed meal to go along with said holiday? Me too. Only my deluded escapades at being the 'cool holiday mom' always run amok. So it was with St.Patrick's Day 2005. My boys were 4 1/2 and 2 1/2. I had our little place decorated. I had the meal planned: spinach fettuccine with Alfredo sauce, green beans, green jello for dessert. Oh, it was perfect! I knew the boys would love it! Who wouldn't, right? Well, we sat down at the table and I served up. Immediately, noses turned up at the green noodles! (And let me interject, I do NOT have picky eaters. These boys ate pretty much whatever I placed in front of them.) There was serious fussing going on. The beans were fine. They were used to those. Then, my darling husband had the brilliant idea to add green food coloring to the milk. I protested because you have to draw the line somewhere, and that is just gross. But, he insisted it would complete the 'experience'. Oh, it certainly did! We didn't know we had a gagger in the family til that night. He took one sip of that putrid green milk and gagged! It was all over. He didn't throw up, but he was so traumatized by it, he refused to eat another bite. Little brother followed suit. We did manage to eat the green jello, but the fun was ruined.

It has been 10 years since that fateful night, and I still hear about it from time to time. "Remember when Mom tried to make us eat all the green food on St. Patrick's Day? The green noodles! The green milk! (I get blamed for that even though it was their father's idea! Typical!) The gagging! Oh, the horror! Needless to say, I do not make green meals anymore. The closest I will come is my Asphalt Pie recipe that I call Shamrock pie on St. Patty's Day. We are all happy enough with that.

Have you had any recipe/holiday flops? I would love to hear them! Comment below.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Southwestern Black Bean Soup

Here is the best black bean soup I have ever eaten! I got this recipe from my sister-in-law when I was first married. It is still a quick, easy, simple staple. Today when I made it, I was missing one of the ingredients, so I substituted, and I think I like it even better! I will give the original recipe, then share my changes.

3 15 oz cans black beans, rinse and drained

Put beans in a large pot and cover with water by an inch. Bring to a boil and cook on low for 30 mins.

Meanwhile, make sofrito:
1/2 c olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped fine
1 T cumin, ground
2 T red wine vinegar
1 t finely chopped, seeded jalapeno OR 1 4 oz can diced green chilies

Saute above ingredients, and then add to the beans after the 30 minutes. Add Sofrito and simmer an hour. 

Cook rice as desired. (I usually do 4 cups water, 2 cups rice, 1/2 salt, simmer 15 minutes or til tender)

Serve over cooked rice and top with Monterrey Jack cheese, and/or salsa.

My alternative recipe:

Omit green peppers. Add 2 cans diced green chilies and 2 chopped fresh jalapenos. Add 1 Chipotle pepper and about 2 T of the Adobo sauce. (you can do it to taste.) This will be spicier than the original! It was so good! Only my 5 year old thought it was too hot. Saute in the Sofrito as above.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Easy Wine Cake

This is one of my favorites from my mother-in-law. She has made it forever, and it is always a hit where ever I take it. It's quick, easy and delish! She started calling it Eggnog Cake a few years back. That will tell you how it tastes!

Combine and beat 2 minutes:

1 yellow cake mix
1 small pkg instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup cream sherry
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1 tsp nutmeg

Pour batter in a greased and floured bundt or tube pan, (it's important to use the flour, or it sticks! found out the hard way. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. (I usually do 40. Just check it with toothpick. It's done when it comes out clean.) Take out of pan and dust with powdered sugar (my favorite), or frost with chocolate frosting (never tried it this way)
Enjoy! You won't be disappointed!

Cherry Chocolate Cake

I love this quick and easy, yet delicious cake. It's so moist and goes down easy!

1 chocolate cake mix (I use Devil's Food)
1 cup water
1 egg
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling

Mix cake mix, water and egg together. Stir about 2 minutes. Fold in pie filling. Spread in a bundt pan. Bake 35 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Serve warm with whipping cream (my favorite) or ice cream. It is also delish room temp with whipping cream, so don't fret if it cools off! Enjoy. Can add a little chocolate ganache to the top, if you really want to get crazy.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: The Trap: A Story to Help Protect Families From Pornography




Here is a great book to help families talk about the sometimes touchy subject of pornography.
It uses the analogy of a wasp trap to illustrate. It is a great way to open up a dialogue with any age kids. I pull out my copy every so often and we talk about things. We tell our kids to come to us and we will always tell them the truth and help them in any way they need. We share our values and what we expect of them at this time. We share what pornography does to our minds and our spirits. How it can affect relationships in the future. I hope this helps you talk to your kids about a most important subject. There is a link to Amazon.com where you can buy the book above the picture.

Check out my other posts in the Family Section for more ideas on teaching your kids your values.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Valentine Watercolor Art




My kids are artists! They love all forms of it. When my oldest two were little, they would spend hours during the week at our dining table painting or coloring. It was so great! One year, I had a brilliant idea. I had them watercolor on various pieces of colored construction paper. They could make whatever design their little minds could come up with. Then, I took the paper after it dried and cut hearts out of it. They loved taping them up on the wall! And it made our dining room so cheery! Now my older 2 are too old and cool for yucky love stuff, so I will do it with the younger two who still love making things like this. I think when they go off on their own, I will keep up the tradition, and fill an envelope with hearts to send my love! Enjoy this season of love with your families!

Check out my other Valentine idea and my Christmas version the Secret Elf Project.

 

14 Days of Love--A Valentine's Idea



So I had a flash of brilliance the other night. I often get some of my best ideas as I'm falling asleep, or when I wake up in the middle of the night and am delirious!  Haha!

This time my brilliant idea was "14 Days of Love". (I love it that I even get 'titles' to my crazy ideas!) The plan is to write a love note to my husband and 4 kids from February 1 to February 13. I'm going to give them a little gift (I mean little, like a candy Reese's heart or something) on the 14th, but you could write one more note that day, too.  I made up a whole bunch of colored paper hearts to write my sentiments on. I will leave them on their pillow each day. I'm so excited to see how it will fill our home with love. This is an extension of the "Secret Elf Project" we do in December. It makes me happy to serve my family and I hope that it will add a spirit of love and service to our home during this fun time of year! Here is one more Valentine idea for you to try!



Friday, January 23, 2015

Food Friday--Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Here is a great recipe for your weekend! It's from my Pillsbury Cookbook.  I bought it at a yard sale when I was first married, and I could hardly hard boil an egg!  It is a trusty book, and I have never been steered wrong by it. These are sooo good!  Everyone loves them and they have apples sneaked in them!  (And no one will ever know...unless your tall 14 year old can see over the top of you as you are quickly grating the apples into the bowl and yells, "Why are you putting apples in the waffles?"  Then you will be very irritated that your plan was thwarted and have to explain to every one, separately, why you are putting apples in perfectly good waffles.  Hahaha. Does that ever happen at your house???

 2 eggs, separated (Note: I don't beat my eggs whites. I don't have time for that! ;) They are always wonderful. So, if you don't like beating egg whites, never fear! Just throw the whole egg in and proceed)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all purpose flour, I use whole wheat
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted, or oil
1 peeled shredded apple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat waffle iron. Place egg yolks in large bowl; whites in small bowl.  To yolks add buttermilk; beat well.  Add flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; beat until smooth.  Stir in melted margarine. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; fold into batter.  Bake in hot waffle iron until steaming stops and waffle is golden brown.  (If you have a little waffle iron, use about 1/4 cup batter) Serve with syrup of your choice.  I like real maple and you only need a little bit! I also like adding bananas to the top. My kids swear by peanut butter and syrup.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Oh My Heartsie Girl Link Party

Here we are the third week of January, welcome To The Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless Wednesday, a great place to meet new bloggers read about their features and gain followers. This week we continue our Giveaway for a LED Magnified Vanity Mirror. We thank you for stopping by!!! And if you missed their features from last week check them out Here Oh My Heartsie Girls Wordless WednesdayWe now have 10 excited bloggers that are hosting this event, that means your blog will be seen on 10 blogs.Plus you have an opportunity to win a Great Prize!!! Wordless Wednesdays are a perfect way to grow your readership.
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Host Karren from The Oh My Heartsie GirlWordless Wednesday Karren Frieday Feature on Oh My Heartsie Girl
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As the Host and For My Feature I would Like To Share A Product I have reviewed and to Offer One As A Giveaway A LED Magnified Makeup Mirror with Cosmetic Organizer Base Provided by Toilettree = Review
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Remember rice krispie treats, well now I have found a new twist to make them, using a portion of yellow cake mix and lemon zest. They are called Lemon Supreme Rice Krispie reats
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Score a Touchdown with these Tricks & Treats!Super-Bowl-Party-Trick-Plays-Tasty-Treats-Life-With-Lorelai-1024x618 Are you hosting a Game Day party this year? Do you want to enjoy the game right along with your reveling party goers? Make your life easier, and allow your guests to spend more time with you and the game. Help your guests help themselves, and implement some of these Trick Plays.
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It’s hard to believe Valentine’s Day is next month. I have to admit I’ve been scouting out the stores the last few weeks to create something fun and festive for you this year. For more ideas and Inspirations Visit Sarah Sofia Productions
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