Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Pinterest Challenge

My sweet friend hosted a "Pinterest Challenge" group on FaceBook for the month of October. It was a closed group where any lady in the group could share "pins" that they tried (or failed). It has been so much fun to see what other ladies are trying out - from re-vamping their wardrobe, to Halloween treats, to new dinner meals! It has been great to see that I am not the only person who has a ton of "pins" and is trying to find the time to try them all out! Well, I did not share every single thing that I tried, but I did try to take pictures of what I tried out and will do a side by side of the original "pin" with a link. Oh Pinterest - I. Am. Addicted.

Garlic Macaroni and Cheese - this was delicious and now I know how to steam garlic bulbs!

My 30th Birthday Rose Ombre Cake - the white chocolate buttercream was amazing and I will be using that recipe for my son's upcoming birthday cake!

Lego Pull PiƱata - this was so easy to make! Diaper box, 6 x empty cans, some hot glue and crepe paper. It's a ribbon pull pinata, so every kid will get to pull a ribbon and one will open the candy 'door' to release the treats.

White Chicken Chili - Since I LOVE Fall, I am all about chili! This chili made a lot and was very tasty. Plus you can throw everything in your crockpot! Try it out!

Painted Pumpkin with Witch Hat - fun decoration for Halloween with free printable!

German Chocolate Brownie Bites - makes four dozen brownie bites. Plenty if you are going to a party/event and need a dessert to take.

Lego Treat Bags - this lady created Lego brick free printables for any color of treat bag you want to use. Super helpful and they turned out so cute. I did have to cut out 96 circles... but who's counting?!

Baked Parmesan Zucchini - I often struggle with a side dish for dinner. This was delicious and easy and I will probably be making it weekly!

Superman Costume - Confession: I do not get excited about dressing up for Halloween anymore. I prefer enjoy it through the eyes of my children. That said, I needed a costume this year for a few parties/events we were attending. I didn't want to go too crazy or spend a lot of money on something I would never wear again so I decided to go as Clark Kent. I bought a Superman shirt for $12 in the Men's department at Target, used my own jeans, white button down, and glasses. Thanks Pinterest!

Apple Strudel - Oktoberfest was this past month and I had to try my hand at some Apple Strudel! This wasn't very difficult to make and with some cool whip it was so good to eat! I will be making this again next year.

Lego Pumpkin Template - In case you hadn't guessed, my son is really into Legos. I found this awesome template of a 'Lego Head' that my son could not wait to carve out with his dad at his Preschool's "Pumpkin Carving with Daddy" event. He was so proud! 

Spaghetti Squash - I always feel like I'm making this wrong. Well, this tutorial showed me how to make longer strands of squash which we just dumped marinara sauce on top of. It was divine. 

Jalepeno Popper Cheesy Garlic Bread - Oh please make this bread! It has just enough spiciness and cheesiness that will not disappoint! Serve warm!

Tissue Paper Turkey Place Settings - I know, I know... Halloween still hasn't come and I am prepping for Thanksgiving... this should not surprise most of you! This year my parents and sister are coming for Thanksgiving, so I had the boys help me make these cute 'turkey' place settings. They loved using glue sticks to get the tissue paper on. I made the turkey bodies out of scrapbook paper and glued a piece of toilet paper roll to the back so they stand. 

Happy Pinterest Challenge! 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Italian Drunken Noodles

My kids love to eat sausage, and since my oldest one of getting more and more picky - I made this meal and he ate it! Everything was gone! So here is a one pot meal with a little of everything: meat, veggies, herbs, and noodles!

Italian Drunken Noodles

- olive oil
- 1 lb. sausage, mild
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
- 8 oz. Pappardelle noodles (I used butter noodles)

1. Heat about 2 tbsp. olive oil in a dutch oven and add your sausage. Cook until browned. Remove and place into a separate bowl.
2. Add your sliced onion with leftover sausage drippings until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
3. Add salt, Italian seasoning and pepper, stir to combine. Add your peppers and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add your garlic and cook until aromatic, then pour your wine and allow to reduce for a few minutes.
5. Stir in your diced tomatoes and return your sausage to the dutch oven.
6. Allow mixture to simmer for 4 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and drizzle a good 2 tbsp. of olive oil as well as your basil and parsley.
8. Prepare noodles according to the directions. Gentle toss the noodles in with your sausage mixture.

 Sliced peppers and onion

 Browning the sausage

 Browning onions, peppers and then adding the white wine

 Heat off and parsley and basil added

Drunken Noodles!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Oktoberfest Apple Strudel

Oktoberfest has already come and gone but we decided to have a small celebration of our own this weekend. We had bratwurst, sauerkraut, soft pretzels with German mustard, spatzle, salad, and topped it off with Apple Strudel for dessert. This recipe wasn't very hard to make and I loved that it made two strudels! We heated the strudels up in the microwave and put Cool Whip on top - they tasted so good! Two years ago my husband got to celebrate 'real' Oktoberfest in Germany, so it was nice to celebrate it with some German beer and food with our kids and some friends this year!

Apple Strudel

- package puff pastry sheets (2), thawed
- 2-3 baking apples (I used granny smith apples)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. flour

- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, almonds or walnuts
- 3 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, plain
- 1 egg with 1 tsp. water beaten together, for brushing

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease your baking sheet.
2. Peel, core, and dice your apples and place in a bowl. Add your cinnamon, sugar and flour and combine. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix your nuts, brown sugar, sugar, and bread crumbs together.
4. Roll out your puff pastry and place half your nut mixture on one side of the pastry and then top with half your apple mixture. Repeat with other puff pastry sheet.
5. Roll your puff pastry over and over and fold the end under the strudel.
6. Place on your baking sheet and brush with your egg wash.
7. Cut openings on top of your strudel for the steam to escape.
8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.

 Granny Smith Apples

 Nut mixture, apple mixture, and egg wash

 Puff pastry sheet with 1/2 nut mixture and 1/2 apple mixture

 Strudels with egg wash and slits on top

 Baked Apple Strudel - slice and top with whipped cream!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Kids' Pumpkin Pudding

Still not sick of everything 'pumpkin' over here! My son brought home this super easy recipe for Fabulous Pumpkin Pudding from his Preschool. I actually had all the ingredients and had my son make it. He was so excited that he "baked pudding for dessert!" It turned out really well, so we thought we would share.

This weekend we are having some friends over for a little "Oktoberfest" celebration. I will be trying my hand at a homemade Apfel Strudel that I will share and I might even share my Spatzle recipe with you all... if you're lucky (it really is that good!)!

 Fabulous Pumpkin Pudding

 Adding the milk and stirring

 Folding in the cool whip

 Sneaking some licks from the spoon...

Dig in!


Monday, October 13, 2014

German Chocolate Brownie Bites

This month I have joined a "Pinterest Challenge" group on Facebook where ladies share and post their Pinterest fails/successes. It has been so much fun to see what other people are pinning and trying out! I have been trying to share a few pins a week and my family seems to like it... since they are eating well! I will have to do a roundup blog of all the things I have tried at the end of the month. Today, I am sharing these German Chocolate Brownie Bites with you! We are headed my husband's boss's house for a "Steak Supper" and volunteered to bring dessert. I wasn't sure how many people would be there so I'm very glad this recipe make 4 dozen brownie bites. Hopefully every single one gets eaten up so we don't have to take them home! However, they are so good, I know my family wouldn't mind taking them home...

German Chocolate Brownie Bites

- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups baking cocoa
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups flour, plus 1.5 tbsp. extra at high altitude
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your mini cupcake pan.
2. In your Kitchenaid mixer, mix your eggs, salt, cocoa, vanilla, and baking powder together.
3. Add your melted butter and sugar and mix until well combined.
4. Stir in your flour and  mini chocolate chips.
5. Spoon 2 tbsp. of batter into your mini cupcake pans and bake for 10-12 minutes.
6. Allow brownies to cool 10 minutes before taking them out of your pan. Transfer to your wire rack to continue to cool.

- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 8 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups chopped pecans
- 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

1. Beat your egg yolks, sugar and salt together.
2. Add the butter and continue to beat together.
3. Slowly add your cream and then your vanilla.
4. Transfer frosting to a saucepan and heat on low for 15-20 minutes while stirring. Your frosting should "fluff" and thicken.
5. Transfer frosting to a medium bowl and allow to come to room temperature.
6. Add your coconut and pecans.
7. Scoop 1 tbsp. of frosting on your brownie bites.

 Brownie Batter

 Brownie batter in mini cupcake pans

 Frosting cooking to room temperature

 Frosting with coconut and pecans

 Brownie bites with frosting



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My 30th Birthday Pink Rose Ombre Cake

I turned the big "3-0" yesterday. Now I haven't been looking forward to turning 30, but my realistic husband kept reminding me there was no avoiding this from happening - so empathetic! No amount of crying could keep my birthday from coming so I made myself the most beautiful birthday cake! My husband has actually been deployed for my last two birthdays, so I am so happy he was here for this birthday. He even made reservations and took me out to dinner that didn't serve "chicken nuggets and french fries" and treated me to a pumpkin stout beer at a local taproom. I'm so glad I got to celebrate turning '30' with my love and got to start the evening out eating a slice of this sweet cake with my two sweet boys! (Apologies to our babysitter who had to entertain two sugar high kids!!!)

Now, I'm not sure if it's bad luck to make your own birthday cake, but I have been dying to make an ombre cake covered in gorgeous roses - so why not make one for myself for my big special day?! Of course I used pink food coloring in a darker shade, lighter shade and white frosting for my three later cake. I do wish I had had enough frosting to frost it before I frosted the flowers on it, but details details! Pink is my favorite color and this cake was perfect for a girl surrounded by boys all day long!

White Cake Recipe

- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line your 9" cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Combine your flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and sift, set aside.
3. In your mixer, beat your egg whites until foamy and slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
4. Beat butter until smooth and slowly add 1 cup of sugar until fluffy.
5. Slowly add milk and flour, alternating between the two.
6. Mix in vanilla, almond, and egg whites.
7. Divide and color your batter is desired before placing in the cake pans (I used 3).
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

White Chocolate Buttercream

- 6 oz. white chocolate, I used Baker's white chocolate bar
- 2 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt your white chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments at 60% power.
2. Once chocolate has melted, allow to cool completely.
3. In your mixer, beat your butter until smooth. Add your powdered sugar and salt and continue to mix together.
4. Add your heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Combine well.
5. Mix in your white chocolate. Makes about 2 1/2 cups of frosting.

*Roses were made with a piping bag and flower frosting tip. I might try making them with a different frosting tip, since the one recommended I could not find and the back up one that looked like it was not making pretty roses for me. Overall, I am satisfied with my first attempt at making frosting roses!

 Cake batter

 Three shades of batter for ombre cake

 Baked cakes!
 White Chocolate Buttercream Roses

 The boys sang "Happy Birthday" to me and my parents/sister were on FaceTime/speaker phone to join in!

 They had to help me blow out my candles...

 I'm 30. 

Ombre cake inside


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painted Witch Pumpkin

Happy October! I'm so happy October is here and Halloween/pumpkins/costumes are around the corner! Here in CO our pumpkins do not last very long if you carve them, so I am always trying to find new ways to decorate ours without cutting them up. I decided to try my hand at chalkboard paint. Now I haven't tried to write on it with a piece of chalk, but I really like how dark the paint got on the pumpkin with only two coats. Plus I found this adorable FREE printable for a witch hat and I think I will be making more hats for more pumpkins!

Painted Witch Pumpkin

- painters tape
- foam brush
- chalkboard paint
- white pumpkin

1. Wash your pumpkin and dry thoroughly.
2. Tape your pumpkin and seal the edges with your fingernail. I did strips lengthwise to create 'stripes.'
3. Paint your pumpkin. I used two coats.
4. Allow to dry completely before removing the painters tape.


 Taped pumpkin

 Painting the pumpkin with chalkboard paint

 First coat of paint

 Pumpkin stripes

Painted Witch Pumpkin