Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I make chocolate chip cookies all the time. They are my most requested dessert! 

For a single batch: 
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter-softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2-2 cups dark chocolate chips--I use Hershey's dark chocolate

Start by melting softening your butter in the microwave for about 30 second. It doesn't have to be completely melted--just softened. 

Add the white and brown sugar to the mixing bowl. Cream together. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. 
Continue to cream. 
In a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and salt. 
I use my tsp to mix/sift the dry ingredients together. 
Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture. 
I do about four separate additions for the flour. 
Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. 
Next, grease your baking pan. I use real butter for this. 
Sprinkle a little flour on the pan and pat the bottom to spread the flour around. 

Using a medium size scoop, place the cookies on the pan. (About a Tablespoon) 
Bake at 375 degrees for 8-9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

When cool, store in an air-tight container. 

Santa Wreath

Here is the Santa wreath I created today. 

I used one roll white tulle (25 yards), a styrofoam circle, and a santa hat. 

I started by cutting 15 inch strips of the tulle. 

Then I wrapped the strips around the syrofoam circle. (Think of this step as tying a double knot. Take the right side of the tulle and wrap around the left side, tie tight. Then take the left side and wrap around the right side, and tie tight. 
 I pulled a Santa hat over the top of the circle and hung it on a Command hook. I didn't hot glue down the hat and it is still hanging well on the hook. 

Santa Fridge

Here is the start to our Santa fridge. I ran out of red felt, so I will have to finish the pants and arms later, but at least it is started. The entire thing is made from different colors of crafting felt. 

My youngest son has been begging for a Si Robertson Santa fridge, so to keep the peace around here, I printed a picture of Si ( and placed it in the face spot. 

The finished Santa with arms and legs. :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

These stuffed mushrooms are incredibly easy and delicious! 

A large package of baby portobello mushrooms 
1 8oz cream cheese
1 lb. ground sausage (I used the sage flavored Bob Evan's sausage)
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
Bread crumbs to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Start by washing your mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Take the stems out and set aside. Place mushrooms on a large baking pan. 
Brown your sausage in a skillet. Drain the grease and set the sausage on a plate covered with paper towel. 

Meanwhile, dice your onions, garlic, and the mushroom stems you set aside. After the sausage is done browning, saute your onions, garlic, and mushroom stems. 

 When onions are soft, add the cream cheese. Then add the cooked sausage back to the pan. Stir until combined. 
Fill the mushrooms with the mixture. You can sprinkle with bread crumbs at this point if you would like. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. 

Remove to a wire rack and serve warm. 

Fruit and Veggie Turkey

The kids took these fruit and veggie turkeys to their friends at daycare. We just put raspberries, grapes, grape tomatoes, and cheese on toothpicks to represent the feathers. To add a face, we put yogurt raisins on half of a toothpick and added folded cheese for the gobbler. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Turkey Craft

The kids did these turkeys earlier in the week. The turkey body is cut from brown construction paper. The beak and feet are cut from orange felt, and the kids glued on eyes and feathers to complete the turkey. 

Zebra Brownies

One brownie mix (fills a 9x13 in pan)
1 8oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar

Using a hand mixer, whip your cream cheese, egg, and sugar together. 
It should be smooth. Set aside. 

 Make your brownie mix according to the package. Pour 2/3 of the brownie dough into a 9x13 in pan. 

Place the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie. Then spoon on the remaining 1/3 of the brownie dough. 

Using a butter knife, swirl the cream cheese and brownie dough together. 

Bake according to package directions, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pilgrim Craft

Tonight the kids and I made pilgrims out of toilet paper rolls. Last night we made Native Americans. Our next step is to read about the story of Thanksgiving and to understand the reason we celebrate it today. 
For this craft, we covered the toilet paper roll with black and pink construction paper. We added white construction paper to add to their outfits and used black and white paper to make the hat and bonnet. The hair is made from yellow construction paper. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pizza Casserole

One of my friends shared a recipe with me for crockpot pizza soup. Well…when I forgot to put the ingredients together in the crockpot before I left for work, I had to improvise when I got home. Instead of turning it into a soup, I added some pasta and turned it into a casserole, or what resembled a pizza mostaccioli.

½ lb hamburger
½ lb ground Italian sausage
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp. oregano
1 jar (15 oz) of pizza sauce
1 cup water
½ cup chopped pepperoni (I used turkey pepperoni)
¼ cup chopped, cooked bacon
10 grape tomatoes quartered
1 box of whole wheat rotini noodles
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

I started by browning the sausage and hamburger. To this I added the chopped onion and garlic. (I would have added red and green pepper too if I had them.) Drain the grease when fully cooked. 

Add the pizza sauce, water, oregano, pepperoni, tomatoes, and bacon. 

Let that simmer while you boil and cook the noodles. I used rotini, but penne would work well too. 

Drain the noodles when they are about a minute from being done. Place the noodles and sauce in a large baking pan. Stir together. Top with the parmesan cheese.  

Finally, add the mozzarella cheese. 
Bake for 20-30 minutes (or until cheese is melted) at 375 degrees. 

Glo Stick Bath

It is amazing how excited kids get over a couple of dollar store glo sticks! My kids thought it was the coolest thing in the world when I let them turn out the lights in the bathroom and have their bath by glo stick light. Sometimes it is the littlest things that bring so much joy. :) 

Native American Craft

We saw some of these toilet paper roll Native Americans on Pinterest, so we decided to make our own version. 
We still had some color toilet paper rolls from Michael's craft store, so we started with those. (If you don't have color ones, just cover brown toilet paper rolls with construction paper for the body and headband.) 

We hot-glued a piece of brown construction paper to be used as the face. Then the boys drew designs on the headbands. They also cut hair from pieces of black construction paper. That was hot-glued on. Next, they hot-glued sequins on to resemble necklaces on some of the people. Finally, a feather was hot glued to the back of the roll. 

We cut out a hole in the bottom of a lunch sack and scrunched the top to resemble a tepee. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Mayflower Craft

The boys found a picture on Pinterest of The Mayflower and wanted to create one of their own. So, they made brown handprints to resemble the ship. Then they mixed blue and green paint to make the ocean water. They used white paint to make clouds. The final step was to cut out sails from white paper and glue them on the fingers.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Homemade Egg Rolls

My mom and I have been making egg rolls for years. She makes these for me every year for my birthday.  However, they are too good only to be made once a year, so we got together tonight and made a batch. 

1 large head of Napa Cabbage. (Resembles a mix of cabbage and lettuce)
 2 bags of bean sprouts
1/2 cup of shredded carrots
2 large chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
1 1/2-2 packages of egg roll wrappers
peanut oil for frying

Start by boiling your chicken breasts. Shred the cooked chicken with two forks. Place in a boil. Chop the napa and place it in the bowl. I also cut the bean sprouts and carrots a little bit so they don't break through the egg roll wrapper. Mix the chicken, cabbage, carrots, and bean sprouts.

Place a handful of the mixture on a egg roll wrapper. Wet three corners of the wrapper with water. 

Bring the bottom corner over half of the mixture. Then take two of the wet corners and stick it to the middle. 

It will resemble an envelope. 

Rolling from the bottom, Seal in the mixture. 

Place peanut oil in a saucepan. When the peanut oil is hot, put in the egg rolls. 

Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they are brown and crispy. 

Line a pan with paper towels or a brown paper bag. I then use a spring form pan on the paper towels to place them upright. It is important to place them upright so the grease drains out of them. 

I top my egg rolls with sweet and sour sauce.