Friday, December 7, 2012

Housewarming Gift Idea

As if the holidays don't bring enough things to do and gifts to buy! I have 4 birthdays to acknowledge this week, all of whom are people I am very close to. If you happen to be reading this, any of you, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Also, two family members are moving this month. I wanted to put together a little something to help get them through those first few days of decorating and opening boxes. I purchased everything from Lowes, they had some great deals.

This kit was all of $20 and includes:
Indoor extension cord
Picture hanging kit
3M Command hooks
25' Measuring Tape
Paint brush and bucket for touch ups
Masking Tape for guide to hang pictures

Maybe I should have added some Red Bull or Advil. I tend to go through a lot of that on moving days!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

CPK Inspired Quinoa + Arugula Salad

This is not a recipe for CPK's salad. It is a loosely based copycat, therefore inspired by, Cpk's Quinoa + Arugula Salad. You'll find their salad on their 'New Adventures' menu.

Now that that is out of the way, let me just tell you all, in case you don't know already, some of my favorite things to eat are quinoa, arugula, and salad. Imagine my happiness when I stumbled upon this little ditty at CPK. I knew it would be fairly easy to recreate especially since they are so helpful by giving a description of exactly what they put in it. The description reads "Our super grain salad with asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, toasted pine nuts, Feta tossed in our house made Champagne vinaigrette."

My version is slightly different, based on what I had and what I like. I omitted the asparagus, added roasted red bell pepper, replaced the sun-dried tomatoes with fresh tomatoes, and mine was more quinoa based than arugula based.
1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa
2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1 small chopped tomato, or a handful of chopped cherub tomatoes
1 Tbs. chopped red onion, or 1/8 sliced red onion
1/4 c. chopped roasted red bell pepper
1/8-1/4 c. crumbled reduced fat Feta cheese
1 handful Arugula
1-2 Tbs. Champagne Vinaigrette (I used Trader Joe's Lite)
Combine all ingredients and enjoy.
This will hold up just fine in the fridge overnight as long as you don't drench it in dressing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BBQ Pulled Pork Pizza

This is a great way to use your leftover pulled pork and corn on the cob. That is, if there ever is any!
Pizza Crust ( I used Boboli original crust)
1 ear of corn, cooked, and shaved
1 cup BBQ pulled pork
1/4 cup BBQ sauce ( I used Harris Teeter's Original Sweet and Tangy)
1/8 cup diced red onion
2 sliced smoked provolone, chopped
1 c. shredded mozzarella
Spread pizza crust with BBQ sauce.
Cover almost every inch with shredded pork.
Sprinkle with chopped provolone, onion, and corn in that order.
Drizzle with a bit more BBQ sauce.
Cover with mozzarella.
Bake according to pizza crust directions.
I baked mine right on the rack, that way,
the crust stays crisps and is able to hold the weight of the toppings.
The measurements of toppings are estimated,
and of course, you can adjust to your liking.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cake Mix Cookies

Folks, you are gonna hate me for these! Five minutes of work never tasted so good! And if you're too tired to make them, they're easy enough for your kiddos to make for you. Let their creativity go wild! I used a box of yellow cake and semi-sweet chocolate chips. These cookies came out nice and puffy, just how I love them! They were slightly crisp on the outside and as soft as a pillow on the inside.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 box cake mix (any flavor)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup chocolate chips
If you choose to add in fruit or nuts, I would start with a 1/2 cup. These may seem oily as you are mixing them up but don't worry, they will come out perfect.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
You don't even need to pull out your Kitchen Aid! In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix cake mix with oil and eggs. Mix in your chocolate chips. Scoop by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. I found that with my particular pan I had to rotate the cookie sheet from the middle rack to the top rack after 5 minutes of baking. This ensured that they didn't burn on the bottom. I will be trying and posting more combinations I'm sure!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Portable Cupcakes

In addition to a very long week of daily pampering and gifts for Chloe's teacher we sent in some cupcakes for her this morning. For these portable cupcakes you just need a package of Wilton clear party bags, size 4 x 9.5 inches and a package of 9 oz. clear plastic cups. The 'Thank You' tags are the same ones I used last year. They were made by Skip To My Lou. You can find them on Tidy Mom's blog. Just bake your cupcakes in liners as usual. Then you can experiment. You can remove the cupcake from the liner and add  it to the cup and frost it or you can keep it in the liner and add it to the cup.  I added either tissue paper, decorative liners, or a regular liner to the outside of the cup and placed it in the bag. Tie the spoon on with a ribbon, add your tag with a bit of hot glue and your set!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Black and Blueberry Mini Galettes

I'm on the galette bandwagon. Sweet or savory, I'm in love. They are rustic, which I like to think of as easy and imperfect, but still lovely and delicious. I love my shortcuts so I start with some pre-made pie crusts. Pillsbury. You will find these in the refrigerator section near the biscuits and stuff. I didn't really follow a recipe for this, I just looked over the Internet at some different recipes and based this off that. I'll do my best to give the "recipe" here. I used black and blueberries, but you can use any berries you wish. Also, I used fresh blackberries, but used frozen blueberries. You can really use whatever fruit you prefer such as raspberries or peaches.

rus-tic [ˈrəstik]
1. Having the simplicity and charm that is considered typical of the countryside
2. Charmingly simple or unsophisticated

1: a flat round cake of pastry often topped with fruit
2: a food prepared and served in the shape of a flat round cake <a galette of potatoes>

Individual Berry Galettes

2-3 cups berries, rinsed
2 Tbls sugar + more if needed
2 tsp cornstarch
2 thawed pie crust circles
Coarse sugar to sprinkle crust
Milk to brush on crust
Vanilla Ice Cream for serving(optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Add your berries to a bowl. Add 2 Tbls. sugar, or more if you are using tart berries. Up to 1/4 cup of sugar total can be added. Add cornstarch to berry and sugar mixture and gently mix well. Allow to rest. Meanwhile, you want to find a round bowl or similar tool. It should be able to make 4 smaller round circles from your pie crusts. I used a 350 ml, 5 1/2 inch wide Rubbermaid container.

Cut out four pie rounds. Leaving a one inch margin around the edges, spoon berries into each individual pie round. Fold up the the sides, pinching together when necessary. Perfection in this step is not needed. Your goal is just to keep the berries supported. Brush a little milk on the folded edges of the crust and sprinkle with coarse (raw) sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Times and temps may vary slightly depending on your oven. Please watch these, check them often. Lay a piece of foil over the top if the crust is browning too fast. Once the berry juice starts bubbling they should be almost done.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Cards

Believe it or not, I do not consider myself crafty or creative. I think I get by, but sometimes I get lucky and I turn out something wonderful. I share room mom duties and it was my turn to take the lead for Teacher Appreciation Week. We decided to do pretty much the same thing as I did last year. Instead of having the kids write a card, we decided on a fill in the blank card. Then I took it one step further and decided to make unique handmade cards. 27 of them. All different. I'm not a scrapbooker. I don't own a scrapbook. BUT, I do own buttons, paperclips, cardstock, ribbon and Swarovski crystals. I bought some paper flowers, apple stickers, and teacher motif cardstock at Michaels. Here's a sample of what we ended up with.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Hollywood Slumber Party


Some notes on a few things for you...

The Hollywood sign was made from foam poster board. I basically just used a ruler and box cutter. Each segment of the letters were six inches wide and as tall as I could make them on the board. I screwed them into garden stakes and hammered them into the lawn. It was quite windy but they survived. Some of them came apart from their screws and had to be taped last minute so perhaps tacky glue and screws is the way to go.

The party room entrance and ceiling decorations are made from vinyl tablecloths that I cut in half length wise. I saw that idea on Pinterest, but could never really find specific directions for it.

The star molds on the cupcakes were done with Wilton candy discs made the same way I did my seashell candy cupcakes. However this time, I added the luster dust with a brush to the star mold tray, before adding the melted candy. This saved me from having to hand paint each star.

I made the VIP badges on Word and had them laminated at Staples.

The "Swag Bags" had a few girlie things I picked up from the dollar section at Target and Michaels. Some items were a nail file, make up bag I found in the party colors, sleep mask, and hair accessories.

I would definitely suggest having a schedule with plenty of activities planned. There are many great sites out there to get ideas from. And always have a back-up plan! Some of our favorite things we did were...

  • The red carpet photos
  • Jenga during appetizers
  • A question box Chloe and I made. We all sat in a circle and each girl read and answered the question. Some were easy, others really made them think. They ranged from, If you had a super power, what would it be? How many kids do you want? If you found out your friend stole something, how would you react?
  • Pajama Fashion Show- This was the girls favorite activity. They had soooo much fun and really let loose. I gave them props like boas, hats, glasses, and we played a song for each girl to strut her stuff. The spectating girls went crazy for each girl on the catwalk, taking pictures of them with their phones and screaming for them!
  • Movies-I had three choices of movies and they watched two. One before bed and one in the morning after breakfast. I had on hand, Freaky Friday, Monte Carlo, and Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff.
  • Breakfast was kept super simple with yogurt, granola, mini chocolate chips, fruit, muffins, donut holes, and apple juice.
For helpful links and templates I used in my planning , click here.
This post was shared at:
Somewhat Simple UndertheTableandDreaming