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Gaining Perspective on Gifts – Operation Christmas Child

Before all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ramps up to full absurdity roar, we’ve taken a few moments as a family to put some perspective on gifts for our kids. This week, you can do the same, and bless a child in need at the same time. With the simple gift of a shoebox. Operation Christmas Child has been sending shoeboxes full of joy to kids all over the world for over 20 years. Samaritan’s Purse delivers shoebox gifts to over 100 countries. Over 113 million shoeboxes have been collected and delivered to more than 150 countries and territories since 1993. [Read more…]

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Crushed Cookies

Note to self. A three-year-old plus a platter of cookies = temptation beyond measure. Every single cookie — about 20 of them. Mangled. A little finger print right thru the top. Actually, it kind of looks like what my sister’s boxes of chocolates look like after they’ve tested them to see which ones are cremes/caramels and which are just yucky nut filled things. Maybe Donovan was just checking to see what was inside. Good thing they were wrapped in plastic I suppose. Otherwise, he probably would have eaten them instead of only playing with them.

Mod Podge Coasters

I am not a crafty person. Seriously not creative with anything but food. However, I saw the idea for these coasters and thought that even I could manage to make them. They take a little time, but are not hard at all. The finished result is just adorable – and useful too! You can customize these as gifts for family and friends so easily, you might want to make a set for everyone you know!
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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

I was out Christmas shopping all day today with one of my favorite people on earth. My sister Amy. Who is not a shopper. Not at all. She was such a good sport today though and we both finished our lists! Yippee.

We rewarded ourselves with a Mexican dinner at one of our favorite places – where I decided to be adventurous and try something new. The description on the menu read: Cazueta de Carne – Combination of chicken and top sirloin steak sauteed with mushrooms in our special homemade moicajete sauce topped with Monterrey jack cheese. Served with rice and beans, garnished with lettuce, avocado and pico de gallo.

Mmmmmm. It sounded absolutely amazing. Trouble is, after taking my first bite, I felt like my entire mouth was going to explode. Lucky me, Amy is very quick with the iPhone camera and caught the whole delightful experience on video. [Read more…]

Baked Chicken Kiev

When I asked my dad what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he responded with a gleam in his eye “I love chicken Kiev”. I’d never even heard of chicken Kiev before, so I went to work finding the perfect recipe for it. Nothing I found seemed quite right on its own however, so I ended up combining a few together and came up with this recipe.

Chicken Kiev is, at its core, just chicken wrapped around butter. Breaded. And fried. Which is probably why it’s my dad’s favorite. Also why (I’m sure) my mom doesn’t make it for him more than about once every 5 years. There are lots of variations on what herbs are used, but the important one with the distinguishing flavor is tarragon. Classic chicken Kiev is fried, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make it that way. Partly because I was making it for 12 people and I don’t have a fryer that large, but also because my dad has heart problems…and frying chicken wrapped butter just seemed too much. I mean, I wanted to make him his favorite, but I also want to have him around for many many more birthdays. [Read more…]

“Jessicas” – Meringue Mushrooms

Ok, I know – the title of this post made you go “WHAT?!”. I’ll totally admit that I never would have tried this recipe on a title only description. A unique set of circumstances led me to make these – and I’m really glad I did.

Today I made some banana cream pies and as a result of using 10 egg yolks, had a TON of egg whites to get rid of. My family is coming over tomorrow for a birthday dinner for my Dad – and my sister Jessica has Celiac Disease. Which means a whole lot of lousy stuff for her, but the biggest impact for me is that she cannot eat gluten. That stuff is in EVERYTHING! She doesn’t get to eat the pies because of the crust. Sadness. Obviously I can’t leave her out in no-dessert land all alone. So I decided to make her favorite, meringues. While looking up recipes for the little puffs of sugar and egg whites, I found this odd little recipe title. It intrigued me. Then I saw a photo of a completed “mushroom” and I was sold. I decided to name them after my sister because it combines two of her most favorite foods in the entire world. Mushrooms, and meringues. Go figure that I’d be able to make them together! Maybe I’ll tie them in to my dad’s party tomorrow with a little note next to them that says “Dad is sure a fun guy”. Get it? I know, I will never make it in life as a comedian. [Read more…]

Coming Soon – Doren

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything…but never fear. More deliciousness is coming.

I’ve been enjoying some family time over the Thanksgiving weekend and prepping for my dad’s birthday dinner tomorrow. I’m making Chicken Kiev, Gourmet Red Mashed Potatoes and a delightful Pear and Feta Salad (with homemade dressing…sooooo good!). For dessert, my dad’s favorite – to be called “Doren” – Banana Cream Pie. I’ve been prepping food all day today, and I must say – tomorrow’s dinner is going to be absolutely awesome. I can’t wait. My immediate family is 20 people…and I’m having a sit-down dinner complete with two forks at each place setting. Woo-hoo!

So there’s your teaser…the recipes and photos will be posted by Monday morning. Hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

“Zacharies” – Super Peanutty Peanut Butter Cookies

It is a well documented fact that my husband (Zachary) is not a fan of sweet things. Cookies, cakes, fudge, candy – none of it tempts him. It drives me crazy. However, even his lack of a sweet tooth cannot resist my peanut butter cookies. Probably because they are so nutty and awesome, rather than being just something sweet. There are a couple keys to a great peanut butter cookie. First of all, extra super chunk peanut butter is a must. Mine also have a full cup of chopped peanuts – imagine that, actual peanuts in a peanutty cookie. Secondly, make sure you take these cookies out when the edges are just starting to golden. They won’t look done, but trust me, if you want a soft cookie – take them out of the oven.

"Zacharies"

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Couponing 101

A couple weeks ago, one of the gals at my MOPS table invited me to a couponing class with her. She is a self-proclaimed “crazy coupon lady” who doesn’t purchase things without a coupon. She gets most of her groceries at a huge discount, free – or sometimes even makes money back on the deal. I have never used coupons. Just kind of figured I didn’t have time for it…or, I guess that my time was worth more than the coupons were going to save me. I really haven’t even ever shopped the local ads. If I’m feeling really on top of things, I make a list of meals I’m planning to prepare for the week and then go get the stuff. Usually though, I hit the grocery store on my way home from the gym – pick up a few things for dinner and then repeat a couple times a week. I know this is not the best way to run my grocery shopping, and as a stay-at-home mom, feel like a total underachiever in this area. [Read more…]

“Do you want your pizza?”

This weekend, while shopping for the ultimate present for a little boy turning three, I overheard the following exchange between a mother and her young boy:

Boy: <throwing some kind of fit>
Mother: Come on honey – let’s get your Wii games first.
Boy: Noooooooo, I don’t want to.
Mother: Do you want your pizza?

I was totally appalled. Had this been my mother, we would have been heading out the door straight for a spanking after the first hint of fit-throwing. Certainly I would not have been offered pizza as a prize for complaining about the Wii games I was being purchased. Well, since I played with sticks and rocks as a kid, I’m not actually sure what the appropriate fill-in toy for my age range would be.  I was just very thankful my daughter wasn’t with me to witness this behavior and see it being rewarded. [Read more…]

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