Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A New Cookbook

I'm rubbing off on my girl cherub.

I'm raising a little "me."

It's somewhat sad and somewhat pleasing!

I'll explain:

A week or so ago it was the book fair at school.

You remember those days?

Loads of books hauled into the library.

The children are encouraged to shop   . . .

 .  . . and read, of course!

It's actually a great fundraise for schools.

However, my confession is this:

when we lived in Oklahoma, a Scholastic Book Distribution center was just a few miles from our home.

I could go anytime because I purchased books for our church library.

It was phenomenal!

And it was cheap!

I would buy for the church library.


I would buy for my cherubs.


I would buy for the church library.


I would buy for my cherubs.


This was my shopping frenzy!

Kind of a "one for them, two for me" sorta deal!

But!  Here's the great part!

When the book fair came to our school,

I'd go open the cabinet in the hallway and let the cherubs choose 3 or 4 new books from my well-formed and well-stashed books that I had bought. 

(For point of clarification; I purchased church books with church money; cherub books with Mr.'s money).

Everyone was happy!
The cherubs got new books; just like everybody else.

And I saved money AND encouraged reading!

Back to our recent experience.

After window shopping at this year's book fair, my girl cherub came home and told me she found a book she wanted.

A cookbook!

Seriously!  My 5th grader wanted a cookbook!

Yes!  This is great!

Really?  My 5th grader wants a cookbook?

Those were my two thoughts!

Knowing that she'd really wanted it and

knowing she's really use it,

I surprised her with it!

She's already read through it several times and has book marked recipes she's wanting to try right away.

She's so excited . . .

and so am I!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Homemade Pizza

We like making homemade pizza at our house.

We don't do it often enough, though.

I'm not sure why, because it's a great way to get the whole family in the kitchen,

just hanging out,



 . . .it's really the perfect family meal!

When we make pizza, I like to make our dough.

But not from scratch.

Just kinda from scratch.

That's why I start with the Jiffy pizza crust mix.

It's inexpensive and it's begging for your creativity.

I dump the mix in a bowl, add some spices to the dry mix, pour in the 1/2 cup warm water

and there you go!
It's that easy!

The other night, I just added in some Italian seasoning that we picked up while on our trip last summer, and we threw together some yummy flatbread pizzas!

That's another reason why I like to make pizza dough!

The Mr. and I like super thin pizza.

The two cherubs like their dough a little thicker.

When you make your own dough -- everyone can be happy!

Here's my pizza creation!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hummus, Please!

We love hummus!
We buy used to buy a lot of hummus.
Not long ago, I had the thought, "Self, you can make this."
But then I didn't do anything about it.
Until recently!
While killing time at the grocery store, I decided I'd buy the ingredients to make hummus.
I didn't really know what it took; except for two ingredients:
  • Chickpeas
  • Hummus
That's all I knew.
Actually, I didn't even really know what Tahini paste was!  I just knew I needed it for hummus!
But I figured I could find a recipe or two to help me make those two things taste pretty good!
Here's the recipe that the Mr. found for me.
Not knowing exactly if we'd like it or not, we started with a real simple recipe.
I've just make our 4th batch of hummus in two weeks!
I think we like it!
Not only that, it is significantly cheaper than buying the premade hummus.
Not only that, you can control the amount of spice, salt, and other ingredients to your taste!
This is wonderful!  It's very strong on the garlic;  I always have a piece of gum with me so that I don't knock anybody over after lunch!  If you're not a fan of garlic, either reduce the amount or remove it completely from the recipe.
(For those of you who are like me and you're not sure what Tahini paste is; it is ground up sesame seeds.  It is extremely similar to peanut butter.  It is nutty in flavor, it has similar color, consistency and smell to peanut butter.)
1 can chickpeas, drained, but reserving liquid
2 TBSP Tahini paste
3 TBSP lemon juice
2-3 TBSP liquid from drained beans (this amount depends on your desired consistency)
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
In a food processor, add the chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.  Begin pureeing the hummus, adding the reserved liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to the desired consistency.
Puree until the mixture is thoroughly blended and has the consistency of peanut butter.
Scrape the dip into a bowl and cover and refrigerate.
Enjoy on veggies, crackers, or on wraps.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Glittery Picture Frame Chalk Boards

My girl cherub was invited to a birthday party.

I had enough time to order the gift.

But, truthfully, I just never sat down to get that job done!

On Friday night, before the Saturday afternoon party, we were trying to think of a gift.

I had a very cute idea . . .but my cherub had already given that very gift to her friend last year.

With a quick thought, we headed off to Michaels and came home with all of the goodies to make the chalkboards!

While we were making this, I had 2 thoughts:
  • I hope this works!
  • I hope the wrapping paper doesn't stick to the frame!

Supplies Needed:

1 unfinished picture frame, any size
Super fine sanding paper, maybe
Spray paint, any color; glossy finish
Paper sacks, cut open, or newsprint to cover work area
Painters tape
Super fine glitter, any color
Chalkboard spray paint
3M Spray adhesive
Clear Protective Sealer

Take the picture frame and remove the center cardboard (and glass; we used a cheap frame -- it didn't have glass!).  Set cardboard center to the side.  If necessary, lightly sand the picture frame to remove any rough areas or splintery edges.  Using a lint-free cloth, "dust" away any sanding particles.  Our frames didn't need any sanding.

Cover your work area outside.  Lay the picture frame on the paper and apply spray paint, according to directions on can.  We applied 3 coats.  Allow to dry thoroughly; unless, of course, your party is in 12 hours!

On another work area, take the cardboard center and, using the chalkboard spray paint, apply according to directions.  Allow to dry thoroughly.  Our chalkboard paint requires a 24 hour dry-time before suggesting to write on it . . . .oops!  We didn't wait that long!

When dry, use the painters tape to section off the design that you will glitter.  Obviously, stripes are easiest!

Once tape is applied, and working over covered work area, lightly spray the adhesive over the entire frame and heavily sprinkle the super fine glitter, covering every inch of the frame.  Allow to sit for 20-30 minutes before gently tapping off excess glitter.  Gently, reapply another very fine layer of adhesive, and re-apply glitter, using the same "cover, wait, and tap-off" method.  Re-apply glitter, if necessary, or until desired coverage is achieved.  After the last application, allow the frame to dry for a minimum of an hour before removing the painters tape, revealing your adorable glittered frame!

Allow the frame to sit overnight for thorough drying.

Once dry, take to covered work area and apply 2-3 coats of clear sealant, according to directions.  Allow to dry thoroughly before wrapping!

Be sure to include a piece of chalk with the gift! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Dip

When we are with friends or family for a relaxed lunch or dinner,

I like to have a little appetizer sitting out.

As we gather in the kitchen to finish last minute menu items . . .

or just gather there because it's a comfy place to be,

we can dip, munch, chat and pass time in a fun and relaxed way.

This is such an easy dip to throw together.

It remindes me of the jalapeno poppers that you can order,

but this is easier . . .

and it's not fried!

I had leftovers after the weekend and when our dear friend was here, I took the dip and warmed it in the microwave for just a smidge before we smeared it on the celery and crackers; and that was good too!

All that to say, you could serve this cold or put in a small crockpot and warm it before you serve it.

Because my smallest cherub doesn't like spicy things, I removed the seeds from the peppers, but if you prefer a bit of heat, you could add some of the pepper seeds for a nice surprise!

Jalapeno Popper Dip

1 package cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup milk (this is to thin out the dip)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

In a small bowl, place the cream cheese and garlic powder.  With a hand mixer, beat until fluffy.  Gradually add the milk, you may desire more or less, depending on how you want the dip consistency to be.  Once the milk is incorporate, add the shredded cheese and the chopped peppers.  Mix just until blended together.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Place in a cute  dish and serve with celery and crackers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Recipe: Easter Fun!

Dying Easter Eggs is a fun activity at our house.
I have a collection of tools and dying paraphernalia that
we can use to create the perfect egg.

After Easter, I always buy egg dying kits on sale.
  It's a great way to get plenty of stuff for real cheap!

Cuter than any decorated Easter egg are
these two little cherubs of mine!