Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 11 of 2011....part 2

Click It Up A Notch

If you read the previous post, then you know I entered to win a seat in the Clickin Moms January workshop Shooting 101!  If you are interested click on the link above and create your own top 11 of '11!!!  

Here are a few that I didn't pick but still love...  Back to food next time!  I promise not to make a habit out of boring you with pics of my kids!  :)

Top 11 of 2011

Click It Up A Notch

I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled foodie post to take part in a fun contest being held by Click it up a Notch, Click.Pray.Love. and Naptime Momtog. Check it out!

My husband was kind enough to buy me a beautiful camera a couple years ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed learning how to use it!  I take WAY too many pictures of my kids.  It would take me weeks to go through each month of 2011!  As I quickly scanned my picture files trying to decide what was "the best,"  I was a little stumped.  I definitely have favorite pictures but they're not necessarily "technically" the best in terms of photography, it's the memory or the moment that makes the picture special. BUT, that's ok because this is not a "photography" contest per say (winners are chosen randomly).  You don't need to be a professional and actually it's best if you're not! (One of the prizes includes a seat in the Clickin Moms workshop:  Shooting 101).  So I encourage others to join in!  What's your top 11 of 2011??  Here's mine...

This picture was taken on a Mid-March bike ride.  The week was unusually warm and a few crocuses began to pop up here and there.  Talia was so excited to pick it. She held onto it for hours.  

I should lie and tell you that we were all decked out and ready to head to a Derby party but we were not at all.  The five of us had a fun little celebration here at home complete with hot browns and mint juleps.  I set up a tripod in the front yard to capture us in our Derby Day best! (Mike's not a fan of his expression but I love it.  He was constantly saying crazy things to try to get the kids to stand, look and smile.)

I love that time of year when the leaves have just begun to fill in and you get an unusually warm evening.  This was taken in early May...

An Earth Day pic...

Planting green beans...
One of my favorite pictures of Riley.  Taken while Strawberry picking...
We go to Florida in the summer every year.  One of my favorite things to do is head down to the beach after dinner.  Lola managed to bring half the beach home with us each night.  

Sweet Talia...

I think the reflections are kind of cool in this pic...
We somehow missed leaf pictures in 2010.  I was happy to get a bunch in 2011....

Tree tagging...

 Narrowing it down to 11 was practically impossible!  Anyone else out there going to enter?  I'd love to see your top 11 of 2011!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

PW Olive Cheese Bread Turned Prep Ahead Appetizer!

A few days ago I made Pioneer Woman's olive cheese bread.  I used a section of french bread to make two pieces and threw the rest of the mixture in the fridge.  I decided to use the leftovers to make some prep ahead appetizers for this coming week!  My mom's recipe for English muffin olive pizzas and my mother in law's recipe for baked crab meats came to mind and I created this little app adaptation!

Here is the plan:
1.  Go HERE to make the olive cheese bread filling.
2.  Take 2 packages of English muffins and split them open.
3.  Lay the halves on 2 baking sheets.
4.  Spread a few heaping spoonfuls on each English muffin half.
5.  Place the pans in the freezer for about 20 minutes.  After, remove from the freezer and cut each half into quarters and separate the ready to bake little apps into freezer bags. Place bags in the freezer for later use!  DONE!

To Prepare:
Place desired amount of olive pizza bites on a baking sheet.  Preheat oven to 375.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Broil on high for the last few minutes so they will be brown and bubbly!  Serve!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mom's EASY One Bowl Homemade Fudge

I used to be so much better about making all kinds of fun treats at Christmas time.  I would carefully package my homemade goodies in very festive containers and deliver them to friends, family and neighbors.  I now have three extremely helpful baking assistants that liven things up and severely slow things down during my little holiday bake-a-thons.  The festive containers never make it off the shelf in the basement these days.  Not that I'm complaining!  Nothing makes me happier than to see my girls wearing head to toe flour and eating giant hunks of cookie dough!

Nowadays, I stick to easy recipes like this fudge my mom used to make when I was little.  I love that all of the ingredients can be mixed in one bowl and then microwaved!  I think the whole process takes less than five minutes!  So simple.


6 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips (Using semi sweet will result in a dark chocolate flavored fudge.  Use milk chocolate chips or a combo of both if you prefer!)
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 stick of butter (cut into chunks for easier melting)
a little pad of butter for greasing the pan
(1/2 cup of nuts is optional!)

1.  Butter a 9 X 13 baking dish.*
2.  Place all ingredients in a bowl.
3.  Microwave in 20 to 30 second intervals, removing the bowl after each and stirring.  Be very careful not to microwave it for longer than those intervals.  The chocolate can burn very easily.  The whole melting process should take a total of 3-5 minutes depending on how powerful your microwave is.
4.  Pour the melted mixture into the buttered dish, cover and refrigerate until set (about an hour).  Top with sprinkles or other fun edible decorations!!  Slice with a pizza cutter.

*You could also line the pan with foil and then butter the foil.  When the fudge is set, you can turn over the pan and the fudge will come right out.

Enjoy and happy holidays everyone!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

homemade hot chocolate mix

Viewer discretion advised...After reading this post you will be tempted to mix up a batch of this deliciously rich and chocolaty hot cocoa mix.  Your children will slurp down a mug of it and NEVER be able to drink ANY other store bought packet or keurig k-cup on he market EVER again.  I promise. 

This is now our third year making our own hot cocoa mix.  Last year, I linked up the original recipe from Alton Brown on the Food Network.  After a few inquiries, I have decided to repost my adaptation!  We love to give this mix as a gift to friends and teachers.  It looks super festive in a mason jar topped with some holiday fabric.  See the post HERE to view pictures of our cocoa all dressed up!  

It is also absolutely fabulous with a couple splashes of Baileys.  Please try!!!

Prep Ahead Plan:  I quadruple this recipe and store it in giant mason jars.  

Hot Cocoa Mix
adapted from Alton Brown


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa 
  • 2 1/2 cups non-dairy creamer 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


1.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.
2.  To make cocoa:  Use about 2 tablespoons of mix per 1 cup of hot milk.  Top with marshmallows and whipped cream!!!!