Monday, March 30, 2015

"Little Blue Truck" Birthday Party

Beep Beep Beep! Palmer is 2! My boys are obsessed with the "Little Blue Truck" books, so I knew I had to do at least one of their birthday parties with this theme! I ordered our invitation on Etsy and I will tell you that it is hard to find "Little Blue Truck" invitations because of recent copywrite issues... But I'm sure you can think/design of something cute! We actually did not have the party at our house because we thought the house would still be showing to sell - but it was so nice not having to clean up before and after the party. We had the party at a local indoor playground/gym "Little Monkey Bizness" and invited a few 2 year old friends. What a fun time the kiddos had and I hope you enjoy our decor!

I will give a shoutout to The Fondant Ribbon - she did an amazing job designing and making a fondant cake topper for Palmer's birthday cake. She even cut out little number "2s" and placed them in the blue truck bed! So glad it turned out!

For the cake - I did Blue Velvet cake in the box (Palmer wanted "blue cake") and white whipped frosting. I used a darker blue frosting in a tube for the piping and wish I hadn't because it was a super soft frosting and kept melting as I was piping the cake. I had to frequently place the tube and cake in the fridge to harden it up a bit! But overall, the cake turned out so cute with the topper and tasted great!

Balloons - I had a vision of animal balloons for this party and I had to special order them... and they only came in extra-large size! These balloons were from Bargain Balloons online and were about $10 for 4 balloons, frog, cow, pig and horse. $8 to ship them and then $15 to fill them up at PartyCity. These were some pricey balloons! But they were so cute and really completed the decor. I had a small red wooden truck from Pottery Barn kids that I painted blue to place the balloons in.

I also made a banner for Palmer that we hung up. Goody bags had a little tag I made and we placed a bag of animal crackers inside, some play-doh with a plastic farm animal cookie cutter, two little farm rubber duckies, and 2 blue truck cookies that I  made.

What a fun day! Enjoy!


Banner: scrap paper, black paint, hand painted letters

Little Blue Truck fondant topper

The Cake!

 Blue Truck I painted

 Animal Balloons

Goody Bag tags

 Goody Bag loot

 Little Blue Truck cookies

Palmer is 2! Beep Beep Beep!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

Last week we had a super cold, rainy, snowy day and I just needed to make something nice and hearty for dinner. Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini is so yummy! It did take at least an hour to make, so be forewarned. It requires a food processor or blender to blend the soup. I just used my Magic Bullet and it took three batches to get all of the soup blended.

Today, is my youngest son's 2nd Birthday! We are celebrating with his little friends this Saturday. But tonight we had family presents and a large cupcake to celebrate! These past two years went by way too fast and I just love watching Palmer grow. He is talking in 2-3 word sentences, is completely potty trained, and is learning how to play with others (sometimes he blows raspberries and hits...). Oh boys! Palmer is interested in counting, loves to dance, and he likes squiggling a "P" for Palmer on anything he is coloring. He is obsessed with "Hot Dog" (Mickey Mouse) and "Paw-trol" (Paw Patrol). He loves to snuggle and is the first to say "sorry" and "yuv uuuuu." I love being his mommy and he truly is a joy. I can't wait to share his "Little Blue Truck" themed birthday party with you!

Palmer blowing out his candles on his cupcake!

Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 cup celery stalks, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp. basil
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
- dash of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 3 x 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken/vegetable broth
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 package cheese tortellini (mine were cheese and spinach)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

1. In a stock pot, heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add your onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, and basil until tender - about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in carrots, celery, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes. Cook until everything is heated through.
3. Add your chicken or vegetable broth, bring to a boil, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add your diced tomatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then a simmer, cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the bay leaf from your pot and use your blender/food processor to blend your soup. Mine took three batches in a Magic Bullet and I used a separate bowl to place it in after I blended. Then I put everything back in my stock pot.
6. In a small bowl, heat your cream cheese in the microwave for 30 seconds.
7. Add your heavy whipping cream and mix together until smooth. Pour into your soup.
8. Add your 1/3 cup parmesan cheese to your soup. Mix well.
9. Add your tortellinis and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes with the lid on.
10. Serve hot and sprinkle extra parmesan cheese on top.

 Soup before tomatoes added

 Soup with tomatoes added

 Blending soup

 Creamy Tomato Soup with Tortellini

Served with garlic bread!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish Beef Stew with Celtic Trinity Knots

St. Patty's Day is tomorrow! I made a corned beef last week and made a delicious orange-zested Irish Soda Bread yesterday. So, I decided to try a new recipe this year and it was amazing. Irish Beef Stew with simple Celtic Trinity Knot bread sticks. Although, the stew took a good 3 hours to make, our house smelled incredible. The breadsticks were made from Pillsbury Pizza Dough, and didn't take very long to make at all! I do recommend pinching your dough together well once you form your Trinity Knot, so they don't come apart in the oven and look like bow ties! Hope you all have some green beer and Irish Stew to celebrate tomorrow!

Speaking of celebrating, my husband and I worked super hard to get our house ready to be put on the market to sell. We had photographs taken last Wednesday and the listing went live Friday night. We had 7 showings on Saturday and 4 showings on Sunday. TWO offers and a SOLD sign later - we are ready for our journey to Pennsylvania this Summer! What a crazy weekend! I must say I am happy we are done with 'showings' because living in a perfectly staged house with all the kids toys in the garage is not fun. But we kept busy this weekend with an early hike, St. Patty's Day parade, outlet shopping, and a visit to the Children's Museum.

Irish Beef Stew

- 8 cups beef broth
- 1/2 cup barley
- 2 cans of Guinness beer
- 2 lbs. beef cubes for beef stew
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 12 carrots, diced
- 12 potatoes, small
- 4 leeks
- 2 potatoes, mashed (did not use)
- 1 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup parsley (accidentally forgot!)

1. In a stock pot, bring your beef broth and beer to a simmer. Add your barley.
2. In a large skillet, heat your vegetable oil.
3. In a freezer bag, coat your beef cubes with the 1/4 cup of flour. Brown 1/3 of your beef at a time in the vegetable oil. Place your beef in the beef broth.
4. Add your onion to the beef skillet and cook until transparent. Add to your beef broth.
5. Deglaze your skillet with the wine and scrape everything off the bottom of the pan. Add to the beef broth.
6. Bring to a simmer and cover for 2 hours. Check and stir stew every 20 minutes.
7. Add your carrots, leeks, and potatoes. Allow to simmer for another 40 minutes.
8. Add your tbsp. of flour and mashed potatoes with 1 tbsp. of butter. This will thicken your stew.
9. Stir for another 5-10 minutes.
10. Serve hot with parsley on top to garnish.

 Simmering Stew

Irish Beef Stew with Celtic Trinity Knot breadstick 

Celtic Trinity Knots

- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- Pillsbury Pizza dough, rolled out

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Foil line and grease 2 baking sheets.
2. Cut your pizza dough into strips length wise.
3. Form into a 'Celtic Trinity Knot' and pinch your ends together. (see picture)
4. Brush on your melted butter and top with parmesan cheese.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes. 

Celtic Trinity Knots

Bittersweet to sell our home.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sausage and Spinach Shells

Looking for a quick dinner that is easy and fresh? Look no further than this hearty pasta dish! It has spinach hidden with sausage that your kids will actually eat! This was so easy to throw together and allow to cook in the oven. I made side salads for my husband and I as well.

We are super busy decluttering and getting our house ready to be photographed to be put on the market to sell. Making easy dishes like this one has been a saving grace. It has been utter chaos here and we even had to rent a storage unit to make our house look bigger in each room by not having all the surfaces and closets filled. What a task! *Fingers crossed* our house sells fast!


- 24 jumbo noodle shells, cooked according to package
- 1 lb. sausage
- 15 oz. ricotta cheese
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- dash nutmeg
- 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
- 1 large egg
- 26 oz. marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large baking dish, coat the bottom with marinara sauce.
3. In a skillet, brown your sausage.
4. In a large bowl, mix your sausage, ricotta, salt and pepper, nutmeg, and spinach together.
5. Fill your cooked jumbo shells and place in a row in your baking dish.
6. Top your shells with the remainder of the sauce and place mozzarella cheese on top of each one.
7. Bake for 35 minutes covered with foil, and then an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

Sausage and Spinach Shells


Monday, March 2, 2015

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

A friend posted these on Facebook and I had to make them the very next day. We enjoyed these Friday morning since we had another "snow day" and there was no school! I made and baked the cinnamon rolls the day before and made the lemon cream cheese frosting as well, and just stored it in the fridge over night. We reheated the cinnamon rolls in the morning and the frosting melted nicely on top! These cinnamon rolls did not require much time, since you do not have to allow the dough to rise for x amount of hours, only 10 minutes! I hope you try these out - you will love them!

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls

- 3 1/4 cups flour (extra 1/4 cup at high altitude)
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup butter, softened


- 21 oz. Strawberry Pie Filling, I used Lucky Leaf
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. sugar

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup half and half
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish.
2. In a saucepan, heat your milk and butter until butter has melted completely. Allow to come to luke warm temperature.
3. In your Kitchenaid mixer, add 2 1/2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Combine.
4. Using your dough hook, mix in your egg and water.
5. Slowly add the remaining cup of flour and your milk mixture to the dough.
6. Let the dough rest of 10 minutes.
7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to be 9"x15" rectangle.
8. Add your filling.
9. Roll up your dough on the 15" side and pinch the log closed.
10. Cut 9-12 cinnamon rolls depending on how thick you want them. Place them in your greased baking dish.
11. Cover your cinnamon rolls with a damp cloth, and allow them to rise for 30 minutes.
12. Bake them for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
13. For Frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add half and half, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.

 Dough resting for 10 minutes

 Cinnamon Roll Filling (I added extra cinnamon!)

 Baked Cinnamon Rolls

Strawberry Cinnamon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting