Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza is perfect for Easter Dessert! It is beautiful and brilliant as any Easter Dessert should be! Easter Egg Fruit Pizza is fun to make and tastes great too!

I chose to make two fairly good size Easter Egg Fruit Pizzas, but you can do whatever your Easter filled heart desires. I think if you had a house full of kids, it would be fun to make little individual Easter Egg Fruit Pizzas and let them all decorate their own.

Easter Egg Fruit Pizza can be as easy or hard as you wish. You can make your cookie base from scratch, and make your cream cheese frosting, or you can buy both from the store! I chose to buy a powder mix cookie dough and then make my own frosting.






Easter Egg Fruit Pizza
Idea from Sugar Hero

Ingredients
- Fruit of your choice, washed and dried
- Your favorite sugar cookie recipe or store bought dough or dough mix 
- 8 oz brick of cream cheese
- 1/3-3/4 cup powdered sugar (your choice for your taste and texture)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Food coloring of your choice - optional

Directions
-Make sugar cookie dough, roll out 1/4-1/2 inch thick into an egg shape.
-Bake on a parchment paper covered baking sheet until light golden around the edges and baked in the middle.
-Once cooled, mix up the frosting by placing the room temperature cream cheese, sugar,
 vanilla, and 2 drops of food coloring in a mixing bowl and whipping it up until smooth.
 (I chose blue food coloring and about 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar. The amount of both
 of these can be adjusted to suit your liking.)
-Spread the cream cheese frosting on to the egg shaped cookie(s) and decorate with fruit.
-Enjoy, or refrigerate covered until ready to serve.Remove from the fridge about 15-30
 minutes before serving

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kristine's Easy Shrimp



I got this recipe from my dear friend, Kristine. She made them for a gathering we had. I knew from the very first bite, that I just HAD to have the recipe. Not only are Kristine's Easy Shrimp easy to make, they are easy to eat as well! Just pick up by the tail and eat.

It's peel-n-eat shrimp, without the peel!

That is what I love about them. Kristine's Easy Shrimp recipe is easy peasy lemon squeezey! Perfect for entertaining, or if you are a shrimp lover like Dan and myself, you can make a half batch for dinner along side a salad or vegetable.




 





 



Kristine's Easy Shrimp

Ingredients
2 - 2 1/2 lbs peeled and deveined large raw shrimp
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 large or 2 small lemons sliced
2 TB Old Bay seasoning
1 TB Italian seasoning
2 TB chili sauce
2 tsp sriracha
1 large french bread sliced

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Line shallow broiler pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter in microwave.
Stir the rest of the ingredients except the shrimp and bread into the melted butter.
Place shrimp on the lined pan and pour the butter/seasoning mixture over the top.
Toss to coat. Spread evenly over surface of pan, and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring and turning shrimp after 10 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature with sliced french bread to dip in the sauce.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Restaurant Style Smoked Fish Dip

     Recently Dan and I took a little vacation weekend in the Florida Keys with some friends. The guys chartered a boat with Warbird Fishing and really brought home the bacon! They caught two different types of Mackerel, two different kinds of Snapper, and a Grouper or two. (See their catch HERE.)
    
     They had to toss the Grouper back as it was out of season, but we were able to keep the Mackerel and Snapper. We walked away with about 65-70 lbs of fresh fish from the sea. All cleaned for us too! Double score!
    
     That night we took a bunch of it to Lazy Days where they offer a "hook-n-cook" on their menu. You hook, they cook. Boy was that tasty! The rest of the fish we brought home. We froze about half, and Dan experimented with the rest in the smoker.
    
     We tried two ways of smoking. 1-Cover in large grain kosher salt, smoke, then remove salt. 2-Sit in salt brine, rinse, smoke. We preferred the latter of the two. The first was too salty even after removing salt and rinsing. Maybe I will have to do a post on smoked fish. If anyone is interested, comment here or email me.

     Anywho, this Restaurant Style Fish Dip is just like, if not, BETTER than the Smoked Fish Dip you get in the restaurants down here in Florida and the Keys. Trust me. YUM!! Because we had so much fresh smoked fish, I made Restaurant Style Fish Dip for the neighbors, two other families of the fisherman, another couple of friends who watch our dog when we are gone, my sister, and a bunch for ourselves. No one could stop raving about it. So So Good!

All in all this is a fast, easy, award winning caliber recipe that can be made a day or two in advance if need be. I encourage you to double or triple the recipe because you will find yourself eating this for lunch, not just an appetizer.


Smoked Fish Dip


Restaurant Style Smoked Fish Dip 
We used fish caught and smoked by Dan. If you purchase smoked fish, the salt content and smoke intensity may vary so adjustments to liquid smoke and Old Bay Seasoning may need to be made.

Ingredients
2 cups large chunk smoked fish
2 TB mayonnaise
4 TB sour cream
1/2-3/4 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
4 drops Chipotle Tabasco hot sauce
quick dash of Worcestershire sauce
4 drops of mesquite liquid smoke
fresh black pepper to taste
(Crackers, pickled jalapenos, and hot sauce for serving) 

Directions
-Break fish into large pieces and remove any stray bones. (See pic below)
-Measure out and put into a large bowl. Set aside.
-In a smaller bowl, mix all other ingredients until smooth.
-Pour mixture over the fish, and stir with fork until fish is coated with sauce.
-As you mix with fork, the fish will break up a bit until it is broke and mixed to desired
 consistency.
-Chill until ready to serve.
-Serve on cracker with pickled jalapeno and dash of hot sauce.







  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow

I am not usually a pretzel person. I like pretzels. I just wouldn't choose them first when put on a table with other snacks. Pretzels filled with peanut butter however, change this. They are called Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets. They change my opinion on pretzels.

I didn't think I could like Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets any more than I already did. But then...I covered them in a melted chocolate mixture and rolled them in powdered sugar.

Ta-Dah!
Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow! (Or Peanut Butter Filled Muddy Buddies if that's what you call it.)

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow will change your taste buds' life. Believe me. You thought regular Puppy Chow was good. You just wait.

I made a double batch of Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow along with Grandma's Garlic Ranch Pretzels for our recent weekend in the Keys with friends. Both were a hit!




Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Puppy Chow
Recipe Source: Crazy For Crust

Ingredients
18 oz Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter (4 TB)
4 cups powdered sugar
Bag of M&M's approx. 10 oz. (I chose Almond M&M's.)
Gallon Ziploc Bag

Directions
-Measure chocolate chips, creamy peanut butter, and butter into a large microwave safe
  bowl.
-Pop in microwave for 1 minute.
-Stir vigorously to melt lumps.
-If still lumpy, microwave for 30 seconds and stir again.
-All should be melted smooth at this point. If not, microwave again for a few more
  seconds.
-Set aside.
-Measure 2-3 cups of the powdered sugar into the big Ziploc.
-Set aside.
-Dump your the Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets into the chocolate mixture.
-Stir with rubber spatula until all are generously coated.
-Dump the chocolate covered pretzel nuggets into the powdered sugar bag.
-Dump the remaining 1-2 cups of powdered sugar on top of the pretzels.
-Close bag with some air still inside, and roll the top over a time or two.
-Hold the top of the bag and the bottom of the bag.
-Shake well to coat the Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets thoroughly with powdered
  sugar.
-Dump contents of the bag onto a cookie sheet or some waxed paper in a single layer to
  cool to room temperature.
-Store in an airtight container in the fridge or on the counter top.
-Serve topped with Almond M&M's for great color and presentation.




  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

  • 18 ounces peanut butter stuffed pretzel nuggets (you can use a little more if your package is bigger, but not more than 24 ounces)
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • About 10 ounces M&Ms (Plain, Peanut, Pretzel, or PB would all work), if desired

  • Read more at http://www.crazyforcrust.com/2014/01/peanut-butter-pretzel-muddy-buddies/#LmXJP2DA2bEPvyVo.99

    Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Pickle Roll Dip

    I love Pickle Roll Ups. When I make them for a party, they are the first appetizer to disappear. The only problem is that they are time consuming. Here enters, Pickle Roll Dip! This stuff rocks!
     
    Pickle Roll Dip packs all the flavor that the Roll Ups hold, but it is much faster! This is a fabulous fast-fix dip when you need to take an appetizer to a party. Everyone will be asking you for your Pickle Roll Dip recipe. It's up to you if you want to reveal how easy it is.
     
     
     
     
    Pickle Roll Dip
     
    Ingredients
    8 oz Cream Cheese
    1/2 lb ham
    6 dill pickles (not mini's)
    Crackers for serving
     
    Directions
    Cut ham and pickles into big chunks about the same size.
    Toss pickles and ham chunks into food processor/blender.
    Pulse until pickles and ham are diced.
    Put softened cream cheese in.
    Pulse until pickles and ham are minced, and the cream cheese is blended throughout.
    Refrigerated until ready to serve.
    Serve with crackers.  



    Saturday, January 18, 2014

    Butterfly Snack Clips

    Butterfly Snack Clips are a great way to get your kids excited about snack time. Let them make their own butterfly clip that they can reuse time and again. The night before school, let them fill their wings with colorful snacks to make a beautiful butterfly. Then they take their Butterfly Snack Clip to school in their pack lunch or for snack time. After school, pop the magnetic butterfly body on the fridge so you know where to find it. 

    This was a great craft to make with the niece and nephew last night. Ages 4 and 6, they loved designing their Butterfly Snack Clips. 

    Fill your wings with anything colorful. Candy, cereal, fruit...the possibilities are endless! 



    Butterfly Snack Clips
     
    Supplies
    -Clothes pins
    -Pipe cleaners 
    -Snack sized Ziploc baggies
    -Decorations for body
         -Jewels
         -Markers
         -Stickers
         -Wiggly Eyes
    -Colorful snacks for wing filling
         -Fruit Loops
         -M&M's
         -Gold Fish - rainbow ones
         -Colorful mini marshmallows 
         -Grapes
         -Orange Slices  
         -Any other genius idea you may have 
    -Hot glue gun with glue sticks
    -Small adhesive magnets 

    Instructions
    -Let kids decorate butterfly bodies as they wish. If using hot glue gun and jewels are being
     used, adult is needed to glue where they want jewels. 
    -Stickers and markers only can be used if you do not want to mess with too much hot glue. 
    -Eyes can also be drawn on if you do not have wiggly eyes or jewels for them. 
    -After body is decorated, pick pipe cleaner for antennas. 
    -Twist pipe cleaners around one side of clip and glue with hot glue gun. 
    -Leave antennas straight or curl.
    -Fill snack bag 1/2-2/3 full with your choice of snacks. 
    -Close bag, twist in half, and put in the clip. 

    Enjoy your Reusable Butterfly Snack Clip! 

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    Shrimp Cocktail Dip

    Love Shrimp Cocktail? Need something to take to a party? Shrimp Cocktail Dip is the perfect party appetizer. It is easy, tasty, and can be made ahead of time!

    I took this to a Buffalo Bills Ladies PJ Party and Gift Exchange Night. I made a big platter for the party, and a small teacup size plate of it to save a taste for Dan when we got home from his game against the Patriots.

    I think the dip was just as good, if not better after it had sat in the fridge for a day. So go ahead and make Shrimp Cocktail Dip as an appetizer for the New Years Party you are invited to or maybe Super Bowl!

    I served mine with crackers. I would suggest Wheat Thins or a whole wheat cracker for serving.


    Shrimp Cocktail Dip

    Ingredients
    1 lb of frozen cooked ready to thaw and serve shrimp (any size medium-jumbo)
    3/4-1 cup cocktail sauce
    8 oz low fat cream cheese
    1/2 cup light sour cream
    1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
    optional - ground horseradish 
    green onion for garnish
    crackers for serving


    Directions
    -Thaw shrimp, rinse and pat dry
    -Cut shrimp into pieces about 1/2-1/4 inch long
    -In a bowl mix shrimp pieces with cocktail sauce.
    -Optional - If you like hot and spicy, mix in a little horseradish to taste.
    -Set aside
    -In a mixing bowl mix the softened cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream until blended
     smooth.
    -On a platter, approximately 12 inch in diameter, spread the cream cheese mixture evenly
     leaving about 1 inch from edges.
    -Top the cream cheese mixture with the shrimp mixture and spread out evenly leaving
     about 1/2 inch
    -Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and up to 3 days covered.


    Friday, December 20, 2013

    Balsamic Marinated Cheese

    This Thanksgiving we spent the day at Urbik's House. This Balsamic Marinated Cheese was a very popular appetizer. I loved the herbs, and also how a touch of marinade soaked into the Triscuit when the cheese was placed on it. YUM!
     
    I had to ask Emily for the recipe so I could share it with you. She was kind enough to hand over the recipe, and the picture. Thanks Emily!
     
     
     
    Balsamic Marinated Cheese
    Recipe from friend, Emily Urbik.
    (Emily and her hubby Kraig)
     
    Marinade-
    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup balsamic
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried basil
    1 tsp dried parsley
    garlic to taste
     
    Other Ingredients-
    1 block Cracker Barrel White Cheddar
    1 (8) oz package cream cheese

    Directions
    Cut cheese into slices.  
    Spread with cream cheese and form into ring.  
    Place olives if you would like around the cheese in the tray.  
    Pour marinade over.
    Refrigerate for at least a couple hours.  
    Service with Triscuit Crackers or Crostini Bread.


    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    Peppermint Swirl Frosting

    Ever wondered how to make Peppermint Swirl Frosting? This holiday season you can! With just a few ingredients, and a couple easy to follow steps, you can make your own Peppermint Swirl Frosting in a jiffy.

    One of the flavors I associate with Christmas is peppermint. Peppermint and chocolate are a good combo, so I made chocolate cupcakes for my Peppermint Swirl Frosting.

    Some people may choose blue or red for their swirl color, but I like red for cinnamon. My little Colby was wearing his green stripes the night I made this frosting, so I thought I'd make my cupcakes to match.

     

     




    Peppermint Swirl Frosting
    How To Make Peppermint Swirl Frosting

    Ingredients
    1 stick of butter softened
    3/4 tsp of peppermint extract 
    3 cups of powdered sugar
    2 tablespoons milk, cream, or coffee creamer
    Green food coloring (or red or blue if you wish)

    Directions
    -In a mixing bowl, at low speed, mix all ingredients for 2 minutes.
    -Kick the speed up to high and mix for 1 minute.
    -Stop mixer, scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
    -Mix at higher speed until frosting is blended well.
    -Fill piping bag with a little frosting. Mush it around so it touches all sides, and squirt it 
     all out. This helps the color stick to the side of the bag.

    -To make swirl, use a butter knife or toothpick.
    -Dip it in the food coloring and drag it along the inside of the piping bag from narrow 
     bottom towards the wide opening (top) in four or more separate lines. You can make the 
     green swirl as thin or thick as you want by using more or less color in the bag. See pictures 
     above.
    -Next, fill the green striped piping bag with frosting. 
    -Pipe your swirl frosting onto your cookies or cupcakes.









    Thursday, December 5, 2013

    Tater Tot Hot Dish

    Tater Tot Hot Dish is widely known where I come from. Seems as though the whole idea of the "hot dish" is a total Northern thing (Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, etc). In Montana, I grew up on Cowboy Hot Dish, Tater Tot Hot Dish, Hamburger Hot Dish, etc. Toss a bunch of stuff together, bake it up, and call it a hot dish!

    Tater Tot Hot Dish was one of the meals I prepared ahead of time when I was pregnant for post baby. When my sister and her family came into town a couple weeks after birth, I took the hot dish out of freezer, let it thaw in the fridge, and popped it in the oven to bake. It was easy peasy. And delicious.

    Tater Tot Hot Dish was one of my faves growing up. Everyone's Mother and Granny had their own twist on it, but they all held the same main ingredients. Here's how I like mine.

    (Picture when I get back to Florida in a month or so. It is on my computer there.) 

    Tater Tot Hot Dish

    Ingredients
    -2 lbs ground hamburger
    -2 cup diced onion
    -1 cup diced celery
    -1 tsp garlic powder
    -1 tsp seasoning salt
    -Fresh ground black pepper to taste
    -2 can green beans drained
    -1 can sweet corn drained
    -2 cans cream of mushroom soup
    -2 cups of sour cream
    -3-4 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, colby jack, or mexican blend)
    -32 oz bag of frozen tater tots


    Directions
    -Brown hamburger on stove. When it is almost done browning, add the onion, celery, garlic powder, seasoning salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook until onion and celery are tender and meat is done.

    -Pour the meat mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

    -In a bowl mix the two cans of undiluted soup, and the 2 cups of sour cream.

    -Glob the soup/sour cream mixture, in different places, all over the surface of the meat mixture. Use a rubber spatula or back of spoon to spread it evenly over the meat. 

    -Next, evenly scatter the drained beans and corn over the top of the soup mixture.

    -Now sprinkle the cheese over the surface of the veggies.

    -Lastly, use the frozen tater tots to cover the surface.

    -Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tater tots are nice and browned, and the sides are bubbling.

    *Can easily 1/2 this recipe for a smaller dish.
    *Also can add any other veggies you like (frozen peas?)
    *Tater Tot Hot Dish is a good freezer meal too.
    *Can keep in the fridge, covered, for a day or so before baking if you choose.


    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Easy Corn Casserole

    This one bowl, Easy Corn Casserole, is perfect for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving table. With a down-home, hearty taste, people will never guess it was so fast and easy to make. You seriously throw all ingredients in a bowl, mix, pour in pan, bake. I love the simplicity of it!

    I made this last week in NC while enjoying our Bye Week with friends. It served 6 adults with 2 portions left over. I'll make the same this week for Thanksgiving for 3 of us because I know we will all have seconds. 




    Easy Corn Casserole

    Ingredients
    8 oz sour cream
    1/2 cup melted butter
    15 oz can corn drained
    15 oz can creamed corn
    1 egg
    8.5 oz box of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
    Dash of Salt
    Pam cooking spray

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees
    Mix all ingredients in a mixer bowl until combined evenly
    Pour the mixture into a greased 2 quart casserole dish
    Bake for 40-55 minutes or until golden on top and starting to brown just a tad around the edges and just starting to pull away from the pan. (pic below)
    Let sit 15-20 minutes or so. Serve warm not hot.
    (We set ours out on the counter to cool while meat cooked in oven. 45 min. Then reheated in microwave to warm. It was great!)





    Thursday, November 14, 2013

    Football Peanut Butter Dip

    First off, please excuse my photography. I don't have great pictures of this Peanut Butter Dip, but it was WAY TOO GOOD not to share. You will just have to suffer through the poor photos....Then go make this dip and enjoy it. Trust me, you will be happy you did.

    Football Peanut Butter Dip is perfect to take to gatherings. Since we are a football house, I took one Football Peanut Butter Dip to a Buffalo Bills game watching party, and one to a Buffalo Bills Wives gathering. It was an absolute hit at both. Perfect for kids and adults alike.

    I found the idea for the shape of the dip on Pinterest.  

    I also love that this recipe can be made ahead of time.





    Football Peanut Butter Dip

    Ingredients
    8 oz cream cheese
    1 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 TB vanilla
    1 TB french vanilla coffee creamer
    2 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    3/4 c mini chocolate chips
    2-3 TB white chocolate chips or (white any frosting)
    1/4 tsp coconut oil or other form of oil (if needed)

    Directions
    -In a mixer mix softened cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla, creamer, and powdered
     sugar until mixture is smooth.
    -Form mixture into a football shape using clean hands, plastic glove covered hands, or with
     saran wrap between your hands and the mixture.
    -Wrap the football shaped peanut butter mixture in plastic wrap or plastic bag and freeze
     for one hour.
    -After 1 hour, remove from the freezer and cover the top surface and sides with mini
     chocolate chips.
    -Press the mini chocolate chips into the mixture so they stick.
    -I always sprinkle a few extra on the top at the end so that you can't see any PB.
    -In a small bowl put the white chocolate chips and microwave for 20-30 seconds. Stir.
    -If chocolate needs help getting smooth and melty add the coconut oil. Stir, then microwave more if needed in small increments.
    -Using a Ziploc bag with the tip cut off or a frosting bag, pipe the white chocolate onto the football to make the laces. *Tip - if the white chocolate isn't coming out fast enough or you are having trouble with it sticking to the mini chocolate chips, thin it out with a little more oil.
    -Cover. Freeze 30 min. Take out 15-20 minutes or so before serving if you wish.
    -OR Cover and keep refrigerated for a few hours before serving. 
    -Serve with Teddy Grahams, apple slices, and/or pretzels.
    -If you freeze it longer or overnight, let it sit out at room temp to soften a bit for about half
     an hour.

    Thursday, November 7, 2013

    California Pasta Salad

    California Pasta Salad is a great side dish to accompany any meaty main dish, or you can add chicken to make it a complete meal for lunch time. Savory Sweet is a good way to describe this salad. With broccoli, healthy pasta of your choice, sweet purple grapes, and savory bacon and pecans, California Salad satisfies even the pickiest of taste buds. We enjoyed our salad first as a side dish, and then leftover with rotisserie chicken in it for a complete lunch.



    California Pasta Salad
    3 cups chopped broccoli (size of pasta)
    2 cups 100% Wholewheat Spiral Pasta
    2 cups Veggie Bowtie Pasta - I used Barilla Brand Farfalle - (carrots and squash)
    1/2 c small diced purple onion
    1 1/2 c purple grapes sliced in half
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1TB balsamic vinegar
    1/2 c mayonnaise
    1/4 c water
    3 TB sugar
    Crumbled bacon
    Chopped pecans

    -Cook your pasta al dente.
    -Rinse and cool to room temp.
    -While it is cooling, cut your broccoli, onion, grapes, bacon and pecans. (Sizes above)
    -If you are choosing the option of adding chicken, cut up pieces of your rotisserie chicken
      as well.
    -In a bowl toss the cooled pasta, broccoli, grapes, and onion. (And chicken if you are using
     as a main dish rather than a side)
    -In a separate bowl whisk the salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, water, and sugar.
    -When it is all whisked together, pour over the pasta mixture.
    -Toss until evenly coated
    -Just before serving, sprinkle with crumbled bacon and chopped pecans.


    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    Outback Steakhouse Mushrooms


    My sister, Crystal, told me I just had to try this Burgundy Mushroom recipe that she had been making. She said it was a must. Crystal found her recipe on the Pioneer Woman website. Since she loved it so much, I decided to give it a whirl. I made it for a dinner we were hosting.

    Though they are Burgundy Mushrooms, I call these Outback Steakhouse Mushrooms because they taste just like the real deal! My friends, who worked at Outback throughout college, had to have the recipe. When they tasted them they thought that I had received the inside scoop on the Outbacks secret recipe from a former employee.

    These are very tasty alone, served in the juice with crusty bread for dipping, or as a side with a steak. Outback Steakhouse Mushrooms take a while to make, but they are very easy to make. They can also be done in the crock pot if you are out of the house for the day.

    Outback Steakhouse Mushrooms
    Recipe Source: Pioneer Woman's (Burgundy Mushrooms)

    Ingredients
    4 lbs white button mushrooms
    1 liter Burgundy wine or other dry red.
    2 cups boiling water
    2 sticks of butter (real butter, not margarine)
    1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp dill seed
    1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    4 beef bouillon cubes
    4 chicken bouillon cubes
    4 cloves of garlic, peeled
    salt
    crusty bread for serving - optional

    Directions
    -Wash mushrooms and throw them into a large pot.
    -Add wine, boiling water, butter, Worcestershire sauce, dill seed, black pepper, beef and chicken
     bouillon cubes and garlic.
    -Stir to mix
    -Bring mixture to a boil over med/high heat.
    -Once it hits a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 6 hours.
    -Remove lid and continue to simmer low for 3 hrs.
    -Add salt to taste.
    -Mushrooms will be very dark in color. A deep red, almost black.
    -Serve with liquid and crusty bread for dipping, or use as a side to a succulent steak.

    These can also be done in a crock pot and make great leftovers too.

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    Fast Halloween Treat Ideas

    Do you need quick and easy ways to make Halloween fun for your kids? Just because you have no time to make and frost the pumpkin shaped cookie cutter cookies or bake that extravagant spiderweb cake you pinned on Pinterest a while back, doesn't mean that you need to can Halloween fun all together. 

    Here are some easy, fast, and fun food ideas to make for your kiddos. I found them all on Pinterest. Click the links above the photos to be taken to their sources.


    Candy Corn Fruit Cup
    This fruit cup is layered in the colors of yellow pineapple, orange manderine oranges, and white whipped cream to resemble a candy corn. Fruit makes this treat a healthier option for dessert.




    Frankenstein Pudding Cups
    Frankenstein Pudding Cups are fun! You could probably make ghost and pumpkin ones as well with white or orange pudding. Let your child make their own faces. Not a fan of pudding? Use Jello!




    Ogre Eyes Hot Chocolate
    Do your kids get the occasional hot cocoa when they come in from playing outside on a chilly day? This Ogre Eyes Hot Chocolate shows you how to easily transform your hot cocoa to a festive Halloween drink!




     Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups
    These Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups are perfect to send to school with your kids for snack time. All you need is a black sharpie and a prepackaged cup of oranges.





    R.I.P. Tombstones
    Make these RIP Tombstones with a simple 4 ingredients. Cookies, tube of black frosting, crushed Oreos, and chocolate pudding. OR, whip up your favorite recipe of worms and dirt to fill the cups with. Need a quick colorful piece of flare to add as flowers for the grave? Use cellophane frilled deli toothpicks!






    IF YOU DO HAVE TIME TO MAKE AND BAKE, here are a few links to other treats I've made in the past.

    http://www.cookinandkickin.com/2012/10/spider-web-cookies.html




     http://www.cookinandkickin.com/2012/10/witch-fingers.html


    http://www.cookinandkickin.com/2011/10/caprese-monster-faces.html

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Pumpkin Cake

    This Pumpkin Cake was a recent hit with the Miami Dolphins Ladies at my house in Florida. We gathered to watch the Dolphins game as the guys were playing on the road. I wasn't sure everyone would try it because it isn't a real looker, but everyone LOVED it!

    This Pumpkin Cake is extremely moist, and boosts a great pumpkin flavor. With a sugary topping and glaze, the two are a perfect pair. The ladies ate this right up. The Pumpkin Cake even drew attention from my friend Christy, The Girl Who Ate Everything....That's saying something, as she is a Queen Foodie.

    I found this recipe and borrowed the picture from www.prettygoodfood.com 


    Pumpkin Cake
    Serves 18
    Ingredients


    ⅓ cups Water
    1 can Pureed Pumpkin (15 Oz) (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling)
    2 whole Eggs
    1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (I used 1 1/2)
    2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice (I used 3)
    1 box Yellow Cake Mix (18 Ounce Box)
    1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    1 cup Brown Sugar, Divided
    ½ cups Flour
    4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
    ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I used 1 1/2)
    ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream



    Preparation Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 350F.

    In a large bowl mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until just combined.

    Grease a 9×13 pan with butter and pour batter into pan.

    In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour and melted butter. Use your fingers to sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    For the glaze, combine the other 1/2 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. (like making caramel)

    When cake is finished baking, poke holes all over, in the top, with a fork. (cake will still be hot). Pour glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

    Saturday, October 12, 2013

    7 Layer Greek Dip

    Need a healthy appetizer Sunday for the game? Try this 7 Layer Greek Dip. It is fresh and will bring something different to the party. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love the usual "man food". Buffalo Chicken Dip, Apple Pie Dip, Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Jalapenos. The list goes on and on, but sometimes you need something healthy that will satisfy the taste buds and won't leave you feeling guilty come Monday morning workout. This 7 Layer Greek Dip will provide you with great flavor, and will get you a thumbs up from any health conscious friends you may be entertaining. 
     
    This dip is easy to throw together, can be made ahead of time and stored covered in the fridge. Because this isn't the run of the mill dip brought to parties, you'll find your platter will be scooped clean in no time. Just wait and see!




    7 Layer Greek Dip

    Ingredients
    Hummus (homemade recipe HERE)
    Red Bell Pepper
    Cucumber
    Kalamata Olives
    Feta - (better off the block than pre-crumbled)
    Fresh Dill
    100% wholewheat pitas
    Olive Oil

    I found no salt or pepper was needed. There is lots of salt in the olives and a little in the feta and hummus. The flavors without salt and pepper blend perfectly.
    IF you decide to sprinkle a little something on there, I suggest Cavender's.

    Directions
    Peel the cucumber. Slice in half the long way, and scrape out the majority of the seeds with a spoon.
    Dice the cucumber, red bell pepper, and olives into small pieces. Set aside.
    Mince some dill. Set aside.
    Crumble a little feta. Set aside.
    On a platter, spread the hummus evenly so that it is about 1/2 inch thick.
    Sprinkle the diced cucumber, red bell pepper, olives, minced dill, and crumbled feta over top the hummus.
    Drizzle with olive oil if you desire. (optional)
    7 Layer Greek Dip is ready to eat, or store in fridge covered until ready to serve.
    When ready to serve, dab just a touch of olive oil on both sides of the wholewheat pita and rub it around a bit. No need to saturate it, just a touch here and there.
    In a pan heated over med/high heat, pan roast the pita on both sides, so that it warms up and gets just a little crisp. (Like the restaurant, you don't want it rock hard, just a little crisp.)
    Remove pita from pan and use a large knife or pizza cutter to cut triangles.
    Serve warm roasted pita pieces with 7 Layer Greek Dip.



    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Quinoa Shrimp Stir Fry


    We are on the road. My husband is a professional athlete. In the last couple months our lives have changed drastically in more than one way. We have been blessed to have stayed in once place with one team for 5 years. But we no longer play for the Miami Dolphins, we now are with the Buffalo Bills up in New York. We also have welcomed our first child, Colby Stinger Carpenter, into the world. He is the light of our lives, and has become the center of our world.

    Dan #2, Buffalo Bills 

    Colby Stinger Carpenter. 8lbs 4 oz.
    Photo taken by Purely Newborn


    Because we have a house in Florida, and Dan is in a hotel in New York, Colby and I travel back and forth a few weeks here and a few weeks there. When we are with Dan, we have a two burner stove top. While it can be frustrating not having a full kitchen, (I love to bake) I try to look at it as an adventure....Like camping. And I would take a two burner stove top any day to be able to have us all together.

    Loosing baby weight while on the road can be challenging. Quinoa Shrimp Stir Fry helps me stay on track. It is quick to prepare and healthy. I prepared it on the stove top in our hotel. Leftovers are great too! I use quinoa, which has been labeled a superfood by many nutritionist. It’s rich in protein, high in fibre and has a complete amino acid profile that can help the body build lean muscle. Eating quinoa can make you feel more energetic, improve the health of your cardiovascular and digestive systems and even assist with regulating your blood sugar.

    Top that with veggies and a lean meat like shrimp, and it's a big, fast, healthy, win in my book! YUM!




    Quinoa Shrimp Stir Fry

    All measurements are approximate. Do what you like according to your taste. The only thing I would use cautiously is the soy sauce as it is salty and can be overwhelming. I like a natural tasting dish, but if you would prefer a bolder and sweeter tasting stir fry with that doesn't boast the natural flavors of the ingredients so intensely, swap out the soy sauce with hoisin sauce. This would provide more of a glazed type stir fry. Yet not so healthy.

    Ingredients
    Quinoa - 1 cup dry/3 cups cooked
    3-4 TB olive oil 
    3-4 cups frozen vegetables - stir fry mix
    1/2 a fresh red bell pepper
    1/2 cup fresh onion
    15 fully cooked, shelled, deveined frozen large shrimp - thawed. (Or any other lean meat.)
    3 TB low sodium soy sauce
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp chili powder
    Pinch of red pepper flakes

    Directions
    -Cook quinoa according to directions so it is light and fluffy.
    -Set aside. (My quinoa was leftover so it was in the fridge and I heated it up on a plate at the
      end.)
    -Wash, dry and cut the red pepper and onion into thick slices or pieces. 
    -In a heavy frying pan heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil to med-med/high heat.
    -Add the onion and red pepper. Stir and toss for 1-1 1/2 minutes.
    -Add the frozen vegetables and toss once in a while for 5 minutes.
    -Squirt pan contents with a little soy sauce. Don't over do it! You can always add more after
      your first bite of you decide you want more.
    -Add the thawed shrimp.
    -Sprinkle with garlic powder, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.
    -If you are having issues with sticking.Turn down the heat to medium and add a little more
      oil, or even water or broth.
    -Wait 4-5 minutes tossing frequently so it doesn't stick to pan. This is just enough time to
      heat up shrimp and finish cooking vegetables.
    -Remove from heat.
    -Scoop warm quinoa on a plate and top with veggie shrimp mixture.
    -I like spicy stuff so I always put a little sriracha sauce on it as well.
    Enjoy!



    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Thick and Chewy M&M Bars

    I love these basic bars. The majority of the ingredients I almost always have on hand, and the type of M&M can be switched out with your favorite kind. I like the combo of Peanut Butter M&M's the best.

    I made these a while back and everyone loved them.




    Thick and Chewy M&M Cookie Bars
    Adapted from lizzygoesdutch.blogspot.com and melskitchencafe.com

    Ingredients
    2 1/8 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    12 TB butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
    1 cup brown sugar
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1 large egg
    1 large egg yolk
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 12oz bag Peanut Butter M&M's, divided

    Directions
    1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

    2. Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly.

    3. Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.

    Monday, September 9, 2013

    Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats

    Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats are the latest quick treat in my house. They are way faster to make than cinnamon rolls, and who doesn't love the crunch of a good Rice Krispie Treat? These are a must try. Perfect for summer time because you don't have to turn on the oven and heat up the house. 

    Use store bought frosting, or make your own. Shape your Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats into "rolls" like I did, or leave in the pan if you are in a hurry. Either way, you are sure to enjoy!

    Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats


    Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats
    Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
    Makes 15 Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats

    Ingredients
    1/4 cup butter
    1/8 tsp salt
    2tsp molasses
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 - 10.5oz bag of mini marshmallows
    1 tsp vanilla
    6 cups Rice Krispies
    Cream Cheese Frosting

    Directions
    -Butter or grease a 9x13 pan
    -Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium/low heat
    -Stir in salt, molasses, and cinnamon
    -Add marshmallows and stir constantly until they have melted.
    -Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
    -Fold in the Rice Krispies. Stir until all are coated.
    -Pour the mixture into the greased 9x13 pan.
    -Spread mixture evenly as you would for regular Rice Krispies Treats
    -Let cool for 5 minutes or so.
    -When the bars have cooled enough to handle, but still a bit warm, use a knife to cut
     into 15 pieces.
    -Remove one warm treat and use your clean hands to gentle round the
     edges making a circle out of the Rice Krispie Treat to resemble a Cinnamon Roll.
    -Continue with all treats until they are all round edged, flat topped, patties.
    -Once they are completely cooled, swirl tops with cream cheese frosting.
     (I used store bought frosting and piped it out of the cut off corner of a Ziploc bag.)
    -Store in an airtight container.

    Quick Tip
    If you are in a hurry, you can leave in the 9x13, spread the frosting over the top and call it a day.

    Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treats




    Monday, September 2, 2013

    Reese's Peanut Butter Frosting

    This Peanut Butter Frosting tastes JUST like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Or one of those Reese's Peanut Butter Easter Eggs. After one taste of this addicting frosting, I just knew I had to involve "Reese's" in the name of the frosting.

    This first time around I ended up with a pretty big batch. Enough to test it out on Devil's Food Cupcakes, Marble Cupcakes, and Brownies. I was very thankful I had neighbors, friends, and a whole football team to give my treats to. (I scaled down this recipe for you.)

    Everyone gave this Reese's Peanut Butter Frosting two thumbs up. You don't need a lot of it to satisfy you. Like a Reese's, this frosting is rich. So be your own judge how thick you would like to spread it on your cupcakes, cake, or brownies.

    I like to store my frosted cupcakes covered in the fridge, but then again we store our Reese's in the fridge too. Am I weird?

    Grab a glass of cold milk to go along with it, and enjoy!




    Reese's Peanut Butter Frosting

    Ingredients
    1/2 a stick of real butter - room temp
    4 oz cream cheese - room temp
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    3/8 cup creamy peanut butter
    2 cups of powdered sugar

    Directions
    -In a mixing bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until blended and
     smooth.
    -Next, at slow speed add the vanilla and peanut butter.
    -Stop, scrape bowl sides and bottom, and continue to beat at medium speed until
     everything is combined and smooth.
    -At slow speed, add the powdered sugar.
    -Continue to mix at medium and scrape sides until frosting is smooth and combined
     well.
    -Store extra frosting in the fridge.

    *If you would like your frosting a tad thicker than this recipe, add more powdered sugar a 
     1/4 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached.