Thursday, December 17, 2015

Snow!!!

My boys LOVE the snow.  I love it... as long as there is nowhere that I have to be.  If I can sit in the house, watch Hallmark Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate....the snow is great!

Here are some pictures of our first 'real' snowstorm of the year....probably about 3 inches ....or so.


The youngest started building a snowman, when the snowball got too heavy for him to push, he enlisted his dad for help.

And....a brother to help.
Next....all of the boys worked together on a snow fort around the trampoline.

Then a snowball fight happened with the neighbors across the fence.

And finally.....they all worked together on a bigger and better snowman.

9 foot tall snowman.....known around here as Shaquille Snow'Neal.

It was a fun, day!!
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pasta Salad

I love pasta salad!!  It is SO easy and so versatile....you can add whichever veggies you like and leave out the ones you don't. 

 
Also, use whatever noodles you prefer.  I usually use the tri-colored noodles to add a little more color, but you can use anything.....whole grain, bow-tie, spiral....even spaghetti noodles if you want.

Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
Pasta, cooked according to directions
Sliced olives
Cubed cheese....I use Monterrey Jack
Sliced carrots
Grape or cherry tomatoes, whole or cut in half
Sliced/cubed cucumbers
Italian dressing
 
Directions:  Add as much of each ingredient as you like....according to taste and how many servings you are making.  Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.  
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Copycat Orange Julius

This is the third Orange Julius recipe I have posted.  The others are here and here

Last night we were having breakfast for dinner.  I love breakfast for dinner ;) .  We had buttermilk waffles with pureed (frozen) strawberries, buttermilk syrup, and jalapeno bacon.  I was going to make a fruit smoothie to go with dinner, but the boys all wanted Orange Julius.  I didn't have orange juice concentrate or any oranges to make the other recipes I have, but I did have orange juice.  SO, I went to the internet to find a recipe that uses orange juice for the Julius.  I found it here at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.

We all enjoyed this recipe very much.  I actually prefer the Orange Julius recipe with the orange juice concentrate....a little more orange flavor and a little more tart, but this is great too!!  We will definitely be making these again!

I added more ice than the recipe calls for.  We like our Orange Julius a little thicker....SO adjust the amount of ice you add to your liking.


Copycat Orange Julius
 
Ingredients:
2 cups orange juice
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup ice
 
Directions:  Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and enjoy!!
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Friday, August 14, 2015

Iced Lemon Cookies

 
One of my sons took a cooking class while in Jr. High.  Now he has a binder full of delicious recipes that I need to try out.  We really liked these cookies!!  They are simple with only a few ingredients.  I adapted the icing recipe a little for my taste....if you prefer, you can add less lemon extract and less milk to make a thicker icing.  I attempted to drizzle my icing on the cookies....and my attempt was not that great! :) ...but I was in a hurry and I'm not even close to a perfectionist, so it was good enough for me!
 
Iced Lemon Cookies
Ingredients:
1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil....or canola, I usually have canola
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 Tablespoons milk
 
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together cake mix, eggs and oil.  Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for no more than 8 minutes.  Do not over bake!
 
To make lemon icing:  Mix together powdered sugar, lemon extract and milk.  You can always add less or more milk or powdered sugar to get it to your desired consistency. 
 
Now....ice your cookies.  You can spread it on thick or 'drizzle' like I did.  BUT I'm sure you can do a much better job of drizzling :)


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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Taco Seasoning

I just got my computer back from getting scrubbed!  I have a serious love/hate relationship with technology sometimes!!  When it is all working properly, I love it...but when it is not, it is SO frustrating!!!

Anyway, I finally got it back....just in time to print a bunch of pictures of this little guy for a school project.


Some of his favorites.....hanging with the family - cutting wood, hiking, camping, flying.  He said his favorite food is Hot Cheetos and Donuts...mmm!! :)
 
Anyways....Taco seasoning....
Usually when I make tacos, I just dump in some cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion...ect.  BUT...My sister-in-law gave me an actual recipe to follow!  It is delicious! 


Taco Seasoning
Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
 
Directions:  Mix all ingredients together.  I usually use all of the seasoning for ~1 1/2 pounds of ground meat, but add to your taste....more if you like it spicy....less if you don't.
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

1st Day of School 2015

I can't believe that summer vacation is OVER!!!  Summer goes by way to fast every year!! 

Left to right:  Hunter - 7th, Jake - Sophomore, Zac - 4th, and Ryder - 2nd
 
This year I get to drop the kids off at 4 different schools, makes for a crazy morning :)  Also....this morning....Ryder decided that he DOES NOT like any of his new school shirts!!  So he picked a shirt from last year...or maybe even the year before to wear today.  Whatever makes them happy right? :)
 
Now some pictures from previous years.....
WOW!!!  This is the best picture I got in 2014.
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011 - I love Ryder's fruit shake mustache in this pic....obviously he wasn't in school yet :)
 

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Shaggy Denim Quilt

Here is another....blast from the past.  Originally posted on my other blog...soon to disappear(that is why I am moving things to this blog).This is the second quilt that I have finished for Christmas. Two to go...Jake's quilt is almost finished(working on the binding). Zac's quilt has 4 or 5 blocks done. I'll share those when they are finished.
 
Ryder enjoying his brothers left-over oatmeal - I sure hope he uses that napkin:)

For Ryder's quilt I cut my denim into pieces that were the same width, but different lengths. I sewed the pieces right side together to make long strips and then sewed the long strips wrong sides together. SO...the quilt will have shaggy stripes. Make sense? Doesn't make much sense to me either. Anyway, I backed it with some fun shaggy minky and sewed the top, batting and back together along each side of the shaggy stripe. It is a nice warm rugged quilt. Perfect for the 18 month old who will be destroying..I mean loving it!
 
Here he is setting up a 'race' on his blanket.
 
**This quilt looks as good now as it did 5 1/2 years ago and has been 'well-loved'.  And that little boy is even more handsome :)
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies - adapted

This past Sunday(every Sunday) we were craving chocolate cookies!!  I was out of shortening and coconut oil, so I couldn't make our regular favorites....here and here.  SO....we made these

 
They were YUMMY!!  Sorry I didn't get any better pictures!  It was late, the lighting was bad.....and my boys were eating these so fast I almost didn't get any pictures :)

Haha....SO I was getting ready to post this recipe....when I looked at the original recipe, I realized that I only used 1/2 cup of butter.  Totally just left the other half cup(2nd cube) of butter out.  We loved them without the extra butter.  SO this is the modified recipe.  If you want to make the original, just add another 1/2 cup of butter.

 NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies - adapted
 
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
 
Directions:  Preheat oven to 375° F.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
 
**I baked my first batch for 9 minutes and then the rest for only 8 minutes.
**Also, I never use a full 2 cups of chocolate chips....probably more like 1 3/4 cups.
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Monday, August 3, 2015

Roasted (Ranch) Potatoes

 
These potatoes are simple and delicious!  Seriously, I rarely cook anything that is not simple! :)


Roasted (Ranch) Potatoes
Ingredients:
4 medium potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
1/4 cup canola oil
1 - 1 oz packet ranch dressing mix (approx. 3 Tablespoons)
 
Directions:  Place potatoes in a gallon zip-lock bag.  Add oil and toss to coat.  Add dressing mix and toss again until coated.  Bake on an ungreased baking pan for 25-35 minutes.  I baked mine for 15 minutes, stirred them around and baked another 15 minutes.


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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black Beans

Today I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite things....black bean flakes and instant black beans.  We LOVE these!!!  Especially for backpacking!  We took these with us when we hiked to Havasupai(you can read more about that here, here and here) and ate them everyday.  Black beans are SO healthy....you can read more about their health benefits here.
 
 
I love these because they are light for backpacking and SO easy to prepare!!  To prepare the flake, you simply add 1/3 cup boiling water to 1/3 cup of the bean flakes....stir and let sit for 5 minutes! 
 
For the instant beans you boil them in water until they are tender....the amount of water depends on how 'soupy' you enjoy your beans.  If you add too much water, you can boil them until the extra evaporates.
 
We love these for backpacking, but I also love to cook up the flakes at home.  I spread them on a tortilla(after preparing the beans), add cheese and make quesadillas.  My boys love them!!

 
We order ours online at Barry Farm Foods.  They have all kinds of other dried, dehydrated, etc. foods.  We have tried their beans and also some of their dried peppers.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Bars

I found this recipe in a Lion House cookbook that my Mom gave me awhile ago.  I love coconut SO much!!  These bars are simple and delicious!! 
 
Chocolate Coconut Bars
Ingredients:
2 cups crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup margarine, melted...I used butter
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 cups flaked coconut.....I used sweetened, but I'm sure they would still be great with unsweetened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
 
Directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
 
Mix graham crackers, margarine or butter, and sugar together and press into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Sprinkle the coconut on top of the crust and then pour the condensed milk over the coconut.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.  When the chips are soft, spread evenly over the coconut.  Allow the chocolate to set up and cut into pieces.  It can be refrigerated to help the chocolate set up.
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Utah Summer Games

About a month ago we signed our oldest son up to compete in the Utah Summer Games.  It was such a fun time and a great opportunity for him to compete.  Jake competed in the 400M run, high jump, triple jump and long jump.  While he was there he met a couple of brothers, that he was competing against in the high jump, who invited him to join their 4x100 relay team.  Jake hasn't competed or actually even tried the 400M or the long jump since junior high school and has never competed in the triple jump of the relay. 
 
He had a great time and did awesome!!
 
It was HOT, but beautiful!!  
 
Jake, Hunter and Ryder hanging out in the shade....trying to stay cool
 
The first day, Friday....Jake was supposed to start high jump in the morning, then start triple jump an hour or two later and then run the 400.  Everything was running so far behind...except for the 400.  SO, he ended up running the 400, ran over to the triple jump did his first 2 jumps, ran over to the high jump and did that, then straight back to finish up at the triple jump.  It was crazy and he was exhausted.
Jake running prelims of the 400M.  He qualified for finals and took 5th overall.  He didn't like running that event very much :)  I tried to get a picture of him in the finals, but just as I was taking pictures a guy walked right in front of the camera.
 
Triple Jump

High Jump
 
He ended up first place GOLD in the high jump.  They gave medals to kids as they had time to come get them, so the medal stand rarely had all 3 places on the stand at the same time.
 
2nd place SILVER in the Triple Jump.
 
Jake with his cheer squad!!

Jake is totally taller than me now....bittersweet!
 
Day 2 went much more quickly than day one.  Jake had long jump, 400M finals and the 4x100 relay.
Long Jump
 
The first place GOLD 4x100M relay team...missing one member that had to go home before they could get their medal.
 
We had such a great time watching Jake compete and hope to get all of the boys signed up for next year.  The other boys didn't want to sign up to compete....until we got there, then they all wished they were running or jumping.
 
It was also really fun to see a few friends from my home town.
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

My favorite summer dinner

I ♥ a good salad!!  I especially love salads in the summer!!  There is always so much delicious produce in the garden or on sale at the grocery store!!  I use whatever is in my refrigerator needing to be used up....I especially love strawberries, but they weren't on sale this week.
 
Summer Salad
 
Pictured above....sunflower seeds, pecans, feta cheese, cucumbers, diced peaches, blueberries, carrots, avocado.  We also love to add strawberries, craisens, mandarin oranges, bell peppers....really you could add anything you have sitting in your fridge.  Just add dressing(I prefer a squeeze of fresh lemon juice..some salt and pepper).  Serve with some grilled chicken, steak, or pork chops and there you go....a delicious, quick and healthy meal that won't heat up your house :)
 
What is your favorite go-to summer dinner?
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Dresser Drawers turned Under-bed Storage

When I first started this blog....I meant for it to be a place for my sister and I to 'dish' about our favorite things, projects, recipes and other miscellaneous things :) ....somewhere along the way it turned into mostly a food blog, so I started a separate blog for projects.  Now I have decided to combine the two and share some of my projects from the other blog here.

This is a project that I shared on the other blog in September of 2009 and is still one of my favorite projects :)......ENJOY :)

We have been in need of a dresser for awhile now! We had an old one that was falling apart. Part of the drawers wouldn't come out and part would not go in. Since we can't afford a new dresser now and I haven't been having much luck finding one at a yard sale....I decided to re-purpose the one that we had. I pulled out the four drawers and went to work on two of them(I am going to do something a little different with the other two for another room).




Before
I started out by going to a local hardware store and purchasing some inexpensive trim and some new knobs. I already had one knob and needed to find three more to match. I used my husband's miter-saw(my first time) and cut 45 degree angles on the trim so that I could form a 'box' around the knobs. I'll tell ya....the miter-saw really scared me at first, but once I got started...it was not too bad! To measure the pieces, I cut my first long side and first short side and then just put those up to the molding and drew a pencil line to measure the next pieces.

Next, I just used some wood glue and glued the molding into place. I'm NOT much of a perfectionist, so don't look too close! If my husband was doing this project, he would have the trim cut PERFECT and glued Perfectly centered on the drawer.
Drawer with molding glued
 
Then...I sprayed the drawers with some primer and went to town painting them. Lastly....I added the knobs. I thought about adding casters, but it would have cost me about $4-6 more per drawer...so for now they are caster-less. They seem to slide in and out pretty easily though. I will add felt pads to the bottom, if they are ever used on the wood floor. Like I said..I'm NOT a perfectionist...at all!!....BUT I LOVE the end result! So much better than the blue drawers in the dresser and now we have more floor space.
Finished drawers under bunk beds.
 
Update:  Here is a picture of one of the other two drawers....I ended up adding trim and use them for storage in another room.
 
Sorry about the picture quality...This drawer is in my bedroom and I love it!!  I use it to store all of my charging cords....books and magazines that I am reading and other misc...stuff :)
 
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