Cookies and Cream Peanut Butter Bark

IMG_1570Run, don’t walk to get this recipe here (and see some incredible pictures of this treat):

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/11/27/cookies-n-cream-peanut-butter-bark-2/

Just kidding. This recipe is very easy and no bake! I melted regular (dark) chocolate chips for the topping instead of baking chocolate, and it worked out just fine. The only possible complaint I have about this recipe is that it’s a crumbly product, so for those of you who like perfectly cut squares or portions, this recipe is not for you.

I hope you all try this out soon and enjoy it!

Apple Pie Pops

IMG_1556I was headed to a friend’s house and wanted to bring a dessert to share. I thought that making these apple pie pops would be a fun thing to eat, especially with a couple little girls. The recipe is here:

http://shine.yahoo.com/shine-food/ultimate-recipe-apple-pie-pops-163200305.html;_ylt=A2KLOzIvRwJS21gA4p8hmolQ

I liked that I could make the apple filling (instead of using a canned product) and the filling was easy to make and came together quickly. Using prepared pie crusts was great. I thought the final product was great.

I used a colored sugar for the topping, but didn’t really care for the way that turned out. I will use plain sugar when I make them next time.

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Pizza Rolls

Easy pizza rolls are a thing of beauty! Here’s the ingredient list:

  • Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough
  • Ham and salami or if desired, pepperoni
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza sauce
  • one egg, beaten
  • parmesan cheese

IMG_1538To keep you motivated, here is what mine looked like when they were done. I served them at a recent party, and the party-goers ate them up! Every single one of them-there weren’t any left at all.

I didn’t use pepperoni, but I did use ham and salami and it was a nice combination.

I have something to say about pizza sauces-listen up…there is only one canned sauce that I’ve found that is over-the-top great. I don’t get any reimbursement for this-I’ve been eating it since I was a child, here it is: Pastorelli’s pizza sauce. Here’s a link to their website and you can see their can to make it easier to find it on the shelves of your local grocery store (hopefully they have it):

http://www.pastorelli.com/wdk_pas/wcm/content/products/pizza_sauce/retail_pizza_sauce_products.jsp

The first step is to unroll the pizza dough and to spread half of the dough with the pizza sauce, then sprinkle the cheese and layer on whatever meats you’re using on top. Here is what mine looked like:

IMG_1532The next step is to roll up (long-ways, start with the end that has the stuff on it. In my picture I started at the right side and rolled to the left).

Then, place on a cookie sheet (I used a Silpat so it didn’t stick). Then use your egg wash and sprinkle on some grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the dough is cooked. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. Serve immediately (hot) or at room temperature.

These were easy to make and were great to eat-hope you enjoy them too!

Merging Ripples Shawl

IMG_1564My latest knitting project took me months to complete. Not because it was difficult, but because I didn’t want to knit. So I feel like this took years to complete, but it’s over with now, so I should just be quiet and appreciate that!

Here is a link to Ravelry where you can see more pictures. The pattern is from Knitscene, and the information is here if you’re interested:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/merging-ripple-shawl

The shawl uses short row shaping to get the design, and it’s an easy enough project. It is a little smaller than I would have liked, but it’s a nice weight for a cold movie theater, or to block a too-cool evening breeze.

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Roasted Zucchini and Black Bean Enchiladas

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IMG_1461I found a recipe for roasted zucchini and black bean enchiladas at The Sprouted Kitchen here: http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2012/7/10/roasted-zucchini-black-bean-goat-cheese-enchiladas.html, but I made some changes to the original recipe; my recipe is below.

  • 3 Poblano peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 mango
  • 2 Avocados
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
  • 10-12 whole wheat tortillas (small size)
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In pan with sides put zucchini and pepper chunks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix to coat all the vegetables with oil. roast in oven for 30 minute or until cooked through and browned. Let cool.

Mix (cooled) roasted vegetables, beans, onion, and 6 oz. of crumbled goat cheese in bowl.

In 9X13 dish, pour 1/3 of enchilada sauce on bottom. Load each tortilla with 1/2 cup or so of vegetable/cheese mixture; roll and place seam side down into prepared 9X13 dish. Continue until all filling is used. Top all enchiladas with sauce and reserved cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through and shells are crunchy on the ends. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

While enchiladas cool, chop mango and avocado and combine for a quick salsa. Add on top of each serving.

They were delicious! I enjoyed them immensely and hope you do too.

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Homemade Diswashing Tablets

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Honestly, ever since I starting making the homemade (eco-friendly and inexpensive) laundry detergent I’ve been looking for a good recipe (read: easy) for dishwashing detergent. Most of the ones I found used items that I didn’t have in my house and didn’t want to deal with. Until finally-I found an easy option. There are only four items to mix together, they are common items (at least in my house) and it took me a total of five minutes to make-what’s not to like about that?

You need:

  • 1 cup Borax
  • 1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (in laundry aisle)
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice

Prepare the surface that you will put the pellets to dry-I used a cookie sheet lined with a piece of wax paper. Mix the dry ingredients together, add the lemon juice and mix well. I used a fork to mix all the ingredients together and it worked nicely. When you add the lemon juice to the dry ingredients there is a small amount of fizzing and a slightly funny or off smell omitted. Not as bad as a sulfur smell, but enough of one to make you go “huh?”. Don’t worry-that seems to be normal, and once the smell is omitted, it’s done and doesn’t stay with the pellets or anything. Phew!

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Once all the ingredients are combined you need to get them to the desired size to fit your dishwasher. I used a small cookie scoop and it worked perfectly, not to mention it was super easy. The mixture dries fairly quickly, so you shouldn’t let the mixture sit for long before you portion out your pellets. I was able to get about 31 pellets out of the recipe for the size I needed. I let them dry for several hours and then put them in a pretty container.

I’ve used the homemade tablets twice, and each wash turned out well. There wasn’t any difference between the store-bought ones and these in performance!

I found this information including the exact recipe for the tablets here:

http://www.mykitchenescapades.com/2013/04/diy-dishwasher-tablets.html

Mushroom Tart

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This is an easy recipe that yields a fantastic, flaky mushroom dish. I adopted the recipe found here for this one:

http://www.mmmisformommy.com/2011/12/creamy-mushroom-tart.html

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Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to directions on the box
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced red (or yellow) onion
  • 4 oz button or mini bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp dry herbes de Provence
  • 4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sautee mushrooms, onions, and herbs in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until cooked through (after mushrooms have released their liquid). Remove from heat and add cream cheese, salt and pepper, and chopped bacon. Mix thoroughly.
Unfold puff pastry and place it in tart pan. Fill with mushroom filling, spreading evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown and crispy. Let set for 5 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Balloon Wreath

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I IMG_1468thought this would make a nice “Happy Birthday” wreath, and with all the bright colors of the balloons, it’s so cheery!

The second picture shows the type of wreath I used. It’s just a small Styrofoam wreath I purchased at my local craft store.

The balloons were regular balloons, and I used straight pins to pin each one into the wreath to hold them together. That’s it! It’s an easy project that can be used over and over again-enjoy!

Buffalo Snack Mix

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I recently made this easy snack mix for a party. I thought it turned out well, it was easy to make, can be made ahead of time,IMG_1523 and tasted good! I hope you enjoy it.

Adopted from this recipe here: http://atasteofthebest.blogspot.com/2011/07/buffalo-pretzels.html

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp. Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 pkg. ranch dip mix (dry)
  • 5 cups pretzels
  • 5 cups Rice Chex
  • 2 cups peanuts

Heat oven to 250 degrees. In a small bowl mix the butter, Buffalo sauce, and dip mix together. In a large bowl mix nuts, cereal, and pretzels. Pour sauce over pretzel-cereal mixture and mix well so that everything is coated. Spread mixture on 15X10X1 jelly roll pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until mixture is crispy and browned slightly, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Small Change Purse

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Today’s craft project was intended to be a “quick and easy” one, but alas, it was more of the long and drawn-out kind. Although the end result is nice, I can’t say that it was enjoyable. The project came from this book:

IMG_1432I bought it at my local big-name fabric store, and it does have some great bags and other patterns in it. I hope to get to some of the other bags later in the summer (which probably means that I’ll actually get to them in January, 2014!!).

I loved the mustache fabric, and couldn’t resist using it for this little project. Hope you get to do something creative this weekend!

My finished coin purse turned out like this:IMG_1428

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