Monday, November 16, 2015

Kinley's 5th Camo Birthday Party

My son is 5! I can't believe it. I'm almost in denial. These last 5 years have gone by so quickly and I am so impressed with the little man he is today. He is obsessed with Army guys and legos, loves to go to school and learn, and is a great big brother (even when his little brother wrestles him). It is so fun to watch him learn and ask questions I think I didn't even worry about at 5. What a wonderful kid he is. We absolutely love being Kinley's parents and can't wait to see what this year has in store!

Army guys. Soldiers. Camouflage. Tanks. No problem buddy!

I made soldier cupcakes for Kinley to take to school and we invited a few kids to come over and celebrate his birthday this past weekend. It was a small party - which was perfect for our small house!

Here are the details from our Soldier Camouflage Party!

 Traditional "Kinley is 5" shirt from Etsy

 Goody Bag: Soldier gummy bears and camo sunglasses

Tank Balloons

Craft: Make your own pinata candy bag - sponge painted brown paper bags

 Tank pinata from Party City

The kids loved it!

Camouflage Cupcakes

- 1 box cake
- 1.5 cans frosting
- brown and green frosting gel
- 3 piping bags
- large star frosting tip

 Juniper Green and Brown frosting gel

 Separate cake batter into 3 bowls and dye two of them brown and green

 Take turns with each color spooning them into the cupcake liners - I used white liners

 Camo Cupcakes

You can see the camo through the white liner!

 Dyed frosting green and brown and placed in separate piping bags. Placed both piping bags inside 1 piping bag to get both colors to come out.

 Added a toy soldier to the top!

 Cupcake Army

Kinley celebrating at school!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kids Halloween Party

Happy Halloween week! This year is different for our family, because my brother in law is getting married on Halloween... so I have two little boys who will be wearing tuxedos instead of trick or treating this year. To make up for missing out on schools parties and trick or treating, I decided to invite some of our new Wharton Vets Club friends over for chili and pumpkin painting! The kids wore costumes and enjoyed some fun Halloween themed food - pretzel bones, spider pizza, brain cake, and pumpkin dip!

Have a great Halloween!

Brain Cake

*recipe found here

- strawberry cake mix, baked on baking sheet
- 1/4 pint Mason jars
- raspberry jam
- frosting dyed grey, 2 drops black and 1 drop pink food coloring
- piping bag with #5 round tip
- free printable found in link above

1. Make strawberry cake on a baking sheet and cut out circles of cake with the Mason jar, once cooled.
2. Place a piece of cake at the bottom of each Mason jar.
3. Place 1 tbsp of raspberry jam on top of the cake.
4. Cover the top of the jam with frosting and line the edges of the jar with the frosting.
5. Place a smaller circle cake in the center of the icing and then top the cake off with frosting.
6. Add a printed label to the top.

 Mason Jar with cake and jam

 Gray frosting "brains" 

 Brains in a jar!

With Label

White Chocolate Pretzel "Bones"

- pretzel sticks
- mini marshmallows
- white chocolate

1. Place mini marshmallows on the end of the pretzel sticks.
2. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds. Place pretzels and marshmallow in the white chocolate and cover with a fork. 
3. Place on parchment paper and put in the fridge for 10 minutes to finish hardening.

 Pretzel with marshmallows

 Being dipped in white chocolate 

 White Chocolate Bones

Dig in!

Spider Pizza

*spiders made from pepperonis and olives
- Pizza dough made from here 

 Spider Pizza

Pumpkin Spice Dip with Apples

- 8 oz. Cool Whip
- 15 oz. can of pumpkin
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1. Mix all ingredients together and serve with fruit of our choice. 

Pumpkin dip with apples

Candy Pumpkins

- orange tissue paper
- 9" cake pan
- scissors
- green tape (I used painters tape)
- pen
- candy

1. Using 2 pieces of orange tissue paper (I used one orange and one white), outline the 9" cake pan on the paper and cut it out. 
2. Place candy in the center of the circle and gather the top together and secure with green tape. 


 Candy in the center of the cut tissue paper circle

 Tissue paper gathered and secured with green tape

Candy Pumpkins!


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowl

This meal is easy to make and has a huge amount of flavor! I would recommend giving yourself enough time to make the Thai rice noodles - they take about 30 minutes. Recently, we have been on an Asian food kick so I hope to be sharing more recipes!

We traveled to West Point this past weekend for Kyle's 10 year reunion and had the best time! It was so nice for Kyle to catch up with his classmates and we got to see an Army WIN! Such a beautiful time of year to be in New York - Fall is the best!

Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowls

- Thai rice noodles
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. sesame oil
- 1 lb. flank steak, sliced thinly
- salt and pepper
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 3 cups coleslaw mix
- 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, minced

1. Make your noodles according to the instructions on the bag.
2. Mix your soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and chili pepper flakes together and set aside.
3. Heat a wok with 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil and place some of your sliced beef on top. Season meat with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on both sides.
4. Repeat above step with the remaining batches of meat and sesame oil.
5. Heat another 1/2 tbsp. of sesame oil and place your coleslaw mix in the wok. Cook until it begins to wilt and add the ginger and garlic.
6. Add drained noodles to the wok.
7. Add your sauce to the wok and allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve!

 Mongolian Beef Noodle Bowl

The United States Military Academy in the Fall


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

If you are craving a delicious deep dish pizza and have the time to make homemade pizza dough and sauce - this is the recipe for you! The dough made enough for 2 pizzas, so I made one deep dish pepperoni, and one with mushrooms and green peppers. A traditional Chicago style pizza is pretty much upside-down pizza if you ask me - you put your cheese on the bottom, your toppings and your sauce on top!

This pizza was a big hit in my family! Get creative and try other toppings - I know I will next time I make this.


- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened)
- Olive oil for coating


- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp. sugar


- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- pepperoni, pepper, mushrooms, sausage, bacon... etc.

For Dough:
1. Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar and yeast in your KitchenAide Mixer with your dough hook attachment. Add the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Stir dough together on low speed until dough is soft and falls off the hook.
2. Remove your dough and form it into a ball. Place the ball of dough in a large mixing dough coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl tightly with foil and allow to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm environment.
3. Once dough is has risen, place it on a floured surface and knead it and roll it out to a large 15"x12" rectangle. Spread 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise into a log and cut it in half. Form the two pieces of dough into balls and place them back into the greased mixing bowl. Place foil on top of the bowl and allow to rise in the refrigerator for an hour.

For Sauce:
1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add your onions, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Allow onions to brown, about 5 minutes. Then add your garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow sauce to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For Pizza:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 x 9 inch cake pans.
2. Roll out one ball of pizza dough on a floured surface into a 12-inch circle.
3. Place dough over the cake pan and press the dough into the pan using your fingers.
4. Brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.
5. Repeat with second dough ball.
6. Place 2 cups of cheese on the bottom of each pan.
7. Add your pizza toppings.
8. Place half of your sauce, about 1 1/4 cups, on top of your toppings.
9. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese on top.
10. Bake for 25 minutes.

 Pizza dough before it was placed in the warm oven to rise

 Dough rolled out and soften butter spread on top and rolled into a log

 Cut log in half

 Form 2 balls and place in refrigerator to rise for an hour

 Dough rolled out and placed in deep dish cake pan

 2 cups of mozzarella cheese

Pepperonis added

Peppers and mushrooms

 Pizzas topped with sauce and parmesan cheese

 Baked for 25 minutes

Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread

Fall is here. Leaves are falling. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back. Pumpkin everything is here! I saw this delicious recipe for banana bread and had just bought my first can o' pumpkin, so I decided to substitute the bananas for pumpkin. I used about 3/4 of the can, but I could have used the entire can. I was afraid my bread loaf pan would overflow, but there was plenty of room.

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread
*derived from this recipe

Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 large egg
- 6 oz. cream cheese
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp. flour

- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 can of pumpkin
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix your filling ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.
3. Beat your egg, brown sugar, Greek yogurt, oil, and vanilla in your mixer.
4. Add pumpkin and mix until smooth.
5. In a small bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
6. Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet until combined.
7. Grease your bread pan and pour 2/3 of your bread mixture into your pan.
8. Pour your cream cheese filling on top and spread evenly on top.
9. Pour the rest of your pumpkin bread batter on top of your cream cheese filling and smooth with a spatula.
10. Bake for 45 minutes.

 Pumpkin bread batter

 Cream Cheese Filling

 2/3 pumpkin batter with cream cheese filling on top

 Pumpkin bread batter smoothed on top

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread


Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

This is super yummy especially with the recent cooler temps! You throw everything in the crockpot - raw chicken included! My house smelled so good all day and I just chopped up some avocado and put shredded cheese on top of our soup. The boys even had leftovers the next day - winning! (They have been a little picky lately...)

Happy Fall!

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn
- 1 can red enchilada sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 x 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt

Toppings: avocado, shredded cheese, diced tomato, cilantro, sour cream, tortilla chips

1. Place all ingredients in your crockpot.
2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
3. 30 minutes before end of cook time, shred your chicken and allow to cook for 30 more minutes.
4. Serve in bowls with toppings of your choosing.

 Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

Great to eat on a Fall day!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Best. Salad. Dressing. Ever.

A few weekends ago we had some friends over for dinner. I made some bruschetta pasta, arugula and spinach salad, and lemon-pepper grilled chicken. Along with fresh baguette bread. I wanted to try making my own salad dressing and came across this amazing recipe I am about to share with you. Please try it out. I used extra olive oil and a little extra soy sauce, salt and pepper, mustard, and garlic to even out the flavors. Yummmmmm. I have made it twice now and store it in our fridge in a mason jar! We are almost out... so I will be making some more this week!

Best Dressing

- 1/3 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Mix all ingredients together in a sealed jar. Shake well before using!

*Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Best Salad Dressing in a Mason Jar