Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Star of Christmas Dinner...Mayo Roasted Turkey!

In all seriousness, my Christmas dinner is pretty much an exact replica of our Thanksgiving dinner, and why not? It's phenomenal and if it ain't broke...I am not going to touch it! Some recipes have been passed down from my great grandmother and some I have borrowed from others. I have perfected my side dishes after years of helping my mother make them and then as an adult, making them to take with me to the home of whomever was hosting that years holiday dinner. This year though, I took a stand and we decided to have Thanksgiving at our house. Then I panicked. I had never cooked a turkey. EVER. So I began my Pinterest search for a recipe that seemed fool proof and amazing. Spoiler alert...I found one. Thanks to Amy at She Wears Many Hats, I cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal which included the BEST turkey I have ever had (Sorry Mom and Dad...It was that good). We barely had leftovers it was so incredible. Plus, I made the gravy with the drippings and shut your mouth. Heaven.

Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey




  • 11 lb. whole turkey, (completely thawed)
  • 6-7 fresh sage leaves, rough chopped
  • 5-6 fresh thyme stems
  • 2-3 springs of rosemary
  • 3 springs of oregano
  • 1½ cups of mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 large onion, rough chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, salted
  • (adjusts all seasonings & mayonnaise as needed for size of bird)
*You can usually find a small "poultry seasoning herb" container with exactly the right amount the sage, thyme and rosemary instead of buying a ton of each. If your grocer has them they will be next to the fresh herbs and produce

Instructions (for step by step instructions with images, view original recipe here)
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Lay turkey in a roasting pan (the disposable type works fine for us)
  3. Remove leaves from herbs stems. Add sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano to mayonnaise; combine well. Rub mayonnaise/herb mixture all over outside and interior of bird.
  4. Liberally salt, and pepper turkey. Add the celery, and onion, inside and out, and tuck the butter in the cavity.
  5. Roast turkey in 450°F oven for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350°F, and insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, being careful not to touch bone. Continue roasting, uncovered, until internal thermometer reaches 160°F. Cover legs with foil partway through roasting if desired (which we didn't worry about and it came out perfect). Depending on size of turkey, total cook time will be around 1½-2 hours. Once the thermometer reaches 160°F in the thigh, check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast to make sure it reads 160°F as well.
  6. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let rest for at least 20-30 minutes (depending on size) before carving.
  7. Set aside turkey drippings and juices for gravy.
***Our turkey was just under 11 pounds. We cooked it 30 minutes on 450 and then about 1½ hours on 350***


You are going to love it. The pic below is how ours came out!




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 16 -Oh THAT'S what they were taking about!

After just over 2 weeks I have finally discovered what they meant by seedlings getting their first true leaves. Apparently, after they get these new leaves, they are mature enough to transplant. I am hoping to get my spinach plants, which look to be thriving, outdoors this weekend. That is, if my hubby builds me those containers before then ;) There are only a couple things I have really learned so far: 1. The self-watering seedling starter kit from Burpee's is WAY easier to deal with than the other one i bought. I dont have to water near as often and the soil stays continuously moist. Also the soil in those seems to be easier for the seedlings to sprout up through. 2. The mixed flowers in the large pots should have been scattered way further apart! I didnt think so many would actually

Strawberry Upside Down Cake

As promised...Here is the next amazing recipe that I have made recently! This cake was taken to my 7 year old's end-of-the-year picnic for her baseball team and my husband brought home an empty platter! Light, refreshing and super easy to make! The perfect summer cake!



Here is what you will need:






2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
1 (6 ounce) package strawberry flavored Jell-O mix
3 cups miniature marshmallows1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix, batter prepared as directed on package

****For the crushed strawberries, I bought 3lbs of strawberries, cut them into sections and used a fork to crush them on a plate with raised edges (this will make sense in a second). Then I poured the crushed berries and the juice (the most important part since that is what mixes with the gelatin to make that amazing topping!) into a measuring cup. I used most of the 3 lbs and my kids and hubby ate the rest standing right there!****


  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Spread crushed strawberries on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Evenly sprinkle strawberries with the dry gelatin powder, and top with mini marshmallows.
  3. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package, and pour on top of the marshmallows. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the sides, and turn the cake out onto a serving tray. Store cake in the refrigerator.
 I serve mine with whipped cream on the side for those (such as myself) that love it.

Once again...you're welcome ;)

Ashley 
 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding

One of my favorite desserts is one I found while watching my Food Network idol, Paula Deen. I don't know how anyone goes through life without having this at least once. Kudos to you Paula on creating such a heavenly treat!

Ingredients

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies (or 1 box Nilla Wafers)
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk ( I only use half of the can in mine)
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream

Directions

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Original recipe can be found on her page here.

This has been a hit at every single party I have taken it to!!

You're welcome

Ashley

Sunday, May 19, 2013

DIY Painted Outdoor Rug



After months of perusing Pinterest and seeing thousands of super crafty Do It Yourself projects, I found something that not just looked easy enough for me to do it but was perfect since my hubby vetoed my buying the outdoor rug I wanted (I know, I know... $175+ is too much to spend on a rug the is going to sit under a patio dining set). After seeing a pin for a painted foam kitchen mat, I figured I could find some type of instructions for doing an outdoor rug as well. I gathered tons of ideas and tips, then got to work!

Here is what you will need:
  • A rug- I got this one for $18 at  Home Depot!
  •  A Stencil - The most expensive part actually at $40, I chose the Marrakesh Trellis design from Cutting Edge Stencils
  • Acrylic craft paint  - I found an 8oz bottle at Michael's for $0.98
  • 1" Stencil brush - $2 at Hobby Lobby
  • Chalk (just for marking measurements to do the borders...not a necessity though)
  • Painters tape - We had some laying around the garage so it was free!



The first, and for me the hardest part, was figuring out how wide I wanted the borders and how far the the edge of the rug I wanted to start them. I wound up putting down one strip of the 1.88 inch painters tape along the edge of the rug. Then I measured 2.5 inches in from the edge of the tape and marked it with the kid's sidewalk chalk (never been so glad to have that lying around...or that my cousin so ingeniously asked me if I had chalk!).

 After I had the measurements around the entire rug, I lined up another strip of tape along my chalk marks. I used the stencil brush (after using it, I completely understand why the recommend using it instead of any other type) to fill in the border. I figured out pretty quickly that painting with circular motions helped to get the paint down into the carpet fibers without adding too much paint to one spot. After letting it dry for about a half hour (it wasn't dry, just not as wet), I let my 7 year old peel off the tape. I got out that incredibly handy tape measure and determined where the exact center of the rug was so I could start the stencil. I figured if I started in the middle it would be easier to line up the designs as I started to stencil the other sides. Here is what it looked like that that point:





After 6 days of waiting for the rug to arrive at my house, hours of looking through stencils, a trip out to the arts and crafts store for supplies, roughly 3 hours of actual work and a phone call to my fav relative for her expert opinion on a couple of details.....Taadaa!!!




Here is another pic of the finished product actually serving its purpose it all of its $61 splendor!




All in all it was a fun easy project that wound up being way easier than I thought it would be! The best part is that I can use the stencil to paint my (and the hubby's of course) room AND if I want to do this rug for anyone else it would only cost $19 TOTAL since I have all of the supplies!!! SCORE!

Hope this helps if anyone out there decides to take on this little endeavour!

Ashley

Friday, May 17, 2013

To the Mom...

 I am not sure where this came from (meaning I did not write this despite the fact that I would love to take credit for it!)

"To the mom who's breastfeeding: Way to go! It really is an amazing gift to give your baby, for any amount of time that you can manage! You're a good mom.

To the mom who's formula feeding: Isn't science amazing? To think there was a time when a baby with a mother who couldn't produce enough would suffer, but now? Better living through chemistry! You're a good mom.

To the cloth diapering mom: Fluffy bums are the cutest, and so friendly on the bank account. You're a good mom.

To the disposable diapering mom: Damn those things hold a lot, and it's excellent to not worry about leakage and laundry! You're a good mom.

To the mom who stays home: I can imagine it isn't easy doing what you do, but to spend those precious years with your babies must be amazing. You're a good mom.

To the mom who works: It's wonderful that you're sticking to your career, you're a positive role model for your children in so many ways, it's fantastic. You're a good mom.

To the mom who had to feed her kids from the drive thru all week because you're too worn out to cook or go grocery shopping: You're feeding your kids, and hey, I bet they aren't complaining! Sometimes sanity can indeed be found in a red box with a big yellow M on it. You're a good mom.

To the mom who gave her kids a homecooked breakfast lunch and dinner for the past week: Excellent! Good nutrition is important, and they're learning to enjoy healthy foods at an early age, a boon for the rest of their lives. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the kids who are sitting quietly and using their manners in the fancy restaurant: Kudos, it takes a lot to maintain order with children in a place where they can't run around. You're a good mom.

To the mom with the toddler having a meltdown in the cereal aisle: they always seem to pick the most embarrassing places to lose their minds don't they? We've all been through it. You're a good mom.

To the moms who judge other moms for ANY of the above? Glass houses, friend. Glass houses."


So many women judge others so harshly. It's time for us to lift each other up and encourage rather than berate and criticize.  

One mama to another- Ashley


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

Between Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, I not only read Silver Linings Playbook in its entirety, but searched Netflix, Redbox and my cable company's on demand listings for its movie counterpart. Despite the fact that my husband and I had wasted 106 minutes of our lives watching Ted the night before, I convinced him that it was detrimental to my health if I had to wait even one day to see this film. Lucky for me, he was easily persuaded with nachos.

This is one of those books that, after going to bed only about 10% into it, I was hooked to the point that I woke up thinking about it. Honestly, I was hooked from the first few chapters. This is exactly the type of story I love. Mentally unstable main character, Pat, convinces himself that his life, which is actually a movie directed by God, is going to have that "silver lining" happy ending once he reunites with his estranged wife and is no longer hunted by the curly headed sax good, Kenny G. Enter Tiffany, who, though endearing in some bizarre way, brings a whole new level of dysfunction to the table. As with any book that I read on my Kindle and fall in love with, I will definitely be buying the hard copy of this book.

On to the film version: My husband loved it. Having not read the book, he went into to this with no clue what it was even about and no expectations. He even said he would watch it again, which for him, really means something. I on the other hand, one that ALWAYS likes the book better, had high hopes that it would be fairly close to the story that had me enthralled for its duration. Let me just talk about that part for a moment. While I do like the book better than the movie in nearly every single case I can think of, there have been a number of times that the film and novel lined up so well that I loved both almost equally. A few examples: Water for Elephants, The Notebook, The Hunger Games, The Help and The Time Travelers Wife. On the other end of the spectrum are the movies where the ending was totally different from the book. To the point where it pissed me off. My Sister's Keeper is the first that comes to mind. How can you make a movie based on a book AND CHANGE THE ENTIRE ENDING?! Ugh. With that being said, while I thought this movie was worth watching again, it was not the same as the book. Not even close. Some of the main points in the book were cut completely out of the movie. Some of the most important relationships were changed so drastically that it became a different story entirely.  As separates, they both are great. Because they are, supposedly, the same story, I am absolutely not a fan of the movie. Maybe had I not loved the book so much it would be a different story but that is not the case.

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves to read and the movie to everyone else ;)




Ashley

Day 50 - Loving the Sunshine!

Apparently my promise to keep up with this blog was equal to the promise that I would maintain an exercise regimen. At least I can say I was busy parenting lol!

Anywho, today is the 50th days of my plants lives. Most of them are thriving! The only one that seems to be a problem is the lavender. I have heard that it is difficult to start as seedlings and now I can agree. I will try again in the next few days though and hopefully we can get some of the fragrant purple goodness growing soon. I moved all of the perennials into a raised bed in my yard. We have a little terra cotta haven for the 7 year olds daisies, the carrots are in a large planter on my back patio and i still have not moved the onions and spinach out of the seedling tray! I really need to get on that :/ Pictures below are of progress as of today!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 6 - Donut Seeds

After 6 days of waiting for something to happen in the 7 year old's small flower pot, she walked in the dining room to find something unusual inside...Apparently the 1 year old had a heyday with her cheerios and one found its way into our small terra cotta cultivation site. The 7 year old burst out laughing and says to me, "Mom, maybe she thought she was planting a donut seed!". This is one of those moments I laugh and remember how I make it through temper tantrums, tangles and grape jelly on my laptop. I adore listening to her imagination and sense of humor run wild! Donut seeds, lol. Who'd have thought :)


Anywho, Day 6 has brought us even more sprouts! Almost all 18 of the spinach seedlings have sprouted. So far that is the only veggie to peek out of the dirt. The mixed flowers are out of control with over 30 sprouts in each!!! We are definitely going to have to thin those out some before too long. One lone Hollyhock sprout has joined the party and we can see a few little daisy seedlings beginning to emerge which thrills the 7 year old since she planted daisies of her own. The last frost her is around April 6th according to the online almanac so we only have about 6 weeks to get these little guys ready for the great outdoors! Time for the hubby to get to building my containers (I found a link for some that I loved here) and time for me to start reading up on transplanting!
Mixed flowers sprouting like crazy!



We are going to have tons of baby spinach!

My first Hollyhock is sprouting finally!


Ashley

Day 4 - I Can't Believe My Eyes!

We have sprouts!! I have only had to water them once (this morning actually) and when I went to water them, lo and behold, greenery! This may not be a sign that the, literally, hundreds of seeds I have planted will flourish and make it out of my dining room and into the fresh air and sunshine! Looks like following the directions I found online and on the back of the packets is beginning to pay off ;)
Mixed flowers have a ton of sprouts!
Spinach has a couple and is the only veggie that has sprouts so far



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 1 - Playing in the Dirt

As promised, I began my newest adventure today...Gardening. Because we still have a high probability for another frost here, I decided to start my sweet little seedlings in a mini self-watering greenhouse. I went to Walmart (I know, I know...I am going to the local gardening store for everything else...I swear!) and grabbed a Burpee's Self Watering seed starter for about $20, a 1cu ft bag of Miracle Gro potting soil and two cute little 12 in plastic flower pots. Then I picked up seeds for a few veggies (like carrots, onions and spinach), a 4 pack of perennial flowers grown mostly for cutting (hollyhock, shasta daisies, echinacea, and coreopsis) that will be going in my little raised flower bed and mixed flower pack for those flower pots I got.






I followed the directions on the seed starting kit and planted my veggie and perennial flower seeds in it (72 hopeful plants!). Finally, I filled my flower pots with the potting soil and let the 7 year old help me sprinkle the mixed flower seeds on top. We added a little more soil, added water to all the seeds and sent up a prayer that these things start sprouting soon ;) Day one is down...now grow seedlings grow!!



Come On Spring!!!!

If there is one time a year that I feel is longer than any other time, it's March. It seems that the entire month is filled with days that each could be, but wont be, spring days. Moving to New England from the Midwest, I have realized that winter is not always the same in different regions and here, winter is cold and gloomy. Most days are overcast enough that just getting out of bed is a chore much less finding the energy to do anything productive. Between that and looking at the snow that is  covering the ground more often than not, you have ideal conditions for cabin fever. I have been pining away for spring since December and we are finally almost there! In preparation for being outside most of the summer I decided that I will try my hand at gardening. Yesterday I went and bought seeds and a few planters for several vegetables and a few flowers. I am going to post my progress on those as well under this new category. I am planning on starting my little seedlings today so check back later or possibly tomorrow to see how it begins ;)


Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Great Outdoors!

I spent, and I am not kidding, a minimum of 3 hours this week looking online for fun things to do outside with kids. I have been waiting for that first warmish day, which in New England seems to be any day in the upper 40s, to get my girls outside. I even created a new board on Pinterest so I wouldn't forget anything I saw that looked entertaining. All of that and I overlooked the one thing that not only doesn't take any preparation but little to no effort...and thanks to my husband it is now my number one outdoor activity. How could I forget GOING FOR A WALK!?!?! It cool and a little windy so I bundled the baby up, put a sweatshirt on, grabbed the stroller, a scooter for the 7 year old and we took off. We only spent maybe 45 minutes on our walk but I cannot stress how much good it did! The 1 year old laughed and laughed watching her big sister and daddy play. Between watching the kids and my hubby and all of that beautiful sunshine I felt like a whole new person by the time we got home! We got a little exercise, a little fresh air and some quality time together. I do believe we will be doing that as often as possible ;)




Check back soon for more ideas on outdoor activities for the family!
Ashley

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Suggestions?

If you have any suggestions on a great novel or series to read, please send me a message on my Facebook page! I could always use backups since I go through most in just a couple of days ;)

Http://www.facebook.com/allthatiswomanblog

Unexpected Surprise!

Seeing as though I just started this blog within the last month, I was a little surprised to log in and see that over 800 people have seen the post I added yesterday evening. Talk about the wonders of social networking. I feel like I need to find something extra inspirational to say now! Seriously though, it got me thinking about how so many use things like Facebook or Pinterest to spew negativity. Clearly things spread like wildfire when it come to the "inter-web", as my husband joking calls it. Here is to me trying to keep this blog about positive things, delicious foods, epiphany causing novels and some fun things for kids. If you have comments or suggestions I would love to hear them! You can like my fb page and share them with the world ;)

http://www.facebook.com/allthatiswomanblog

Ashley

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Every Mother on the Planet Should Read This!!!

I have seen more moms condemn other moms for not breast feeding, giving their baby Gerber baby food, going back to work, etc. Its disgusting. These choices are a mothers prerogative and how dare anyone judge them for doing what deem best for their baby and their family!!

I remember being completely embarrassed when a fellow mother asked me "You mean you feed your baby that?" while I was feeding my 9 month old a meal from a jar. What the hell does it matter to you lady? I am not a drunk, I have never physically, verbally or emotionally abused my kids, I have never abandoned them nor will I. I simply didn't have time to prepare an entire meal for her before I left my house yet I felt like less of a mother because she felt that GOOD moms only fed their baby home grown organic veggies and grass fed beef.

I have been given lectures on giving my baby a pacifier. I gave my older daughter one and not only has it not caused any emotional defects but she also has beautiful teeth. My baby will use one as long as I decide to allow it. I am sorry if you lose sleep over that.

I had an epidural with my first, I fed her formula and I went back to work after she was born. I had a natural birth with my second, breastfed her until 10 months and I and quit my job to become a stay at home mom after she was born. They both have had pacifiers, slept in my bed, worn huggies, eaten gerber baby food, taken naps lying on my chest and I love them both beyond measure.


 That being said, I have never read a blog post that made more sense than this one...
Some of the best quotes from it:

"So if you want to put your baby in all organic diapers and grow and make your own baby food, go right ahead. If you just gave your toddler a can of cold Spaghetti-os for lunch, no problem, you are in good company (even if no one else admits it)."

" For the first time I started to see parents treating each other with absolute scorn. No longer were women just a little defensive over their choices. What came next was out and out war."

I am seriously going to print this and give it to every new mom I meet. You do what you know is best for your baby and give other mothers that same freedom.

I know this has been a long post but please read the letter to moms that this lady did... it is really amazing.
http://www.cheetosforbreakfast.com/2013/03/a-letter-to-young-mothers.html

Thanks for listening ;)

Ashley
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The Promise of Stardust

This one hooked me from page 1. Pricille Sibley's story about a man torn between following through with his wife's wishes to take her off life support after a horrific accident or keep her alive long enough to save the unborn baby she had always wanted is one I am thrilled I bought a hard copy of. My favorites always make it to a bookshelf as opposed to spending its lifetime in my kindle library. I was on the verge of tears for, literally, half the story. It reminded me of a Jodi Picoult book (no wonder I loved it) in that it is based on an ultra controversial issue; the only difference being I felt this author focused more on the main characters stories than what was happening in the court room. This was this authors first novel and I can honestly say I will read her next one no matter the topic!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Outdoor Waterbed

While perusing Pinterest for the first time in weeks I came across something that reminded me why I LOVE that website!!

Being that I seem to have a hard time finding fun outdoor things to last all summer I repined this once right away and decided this is numero uno for the first hot day we have!!




I found instructions for this awesome thing at Utah County Mom's Blog



Genorosity of Children

I took the kids to the evil store (aka Walmart) about a week ago and by the time we got out of there the 7 year old and I were STARVING. She took full advantage of that and convinced me to buy a bag of the Cool Ranch Doritos for us to share. We got in the car and started the 40 minute drive home with her in possession of the chips. She handed me 4. Not wanting it to be that kind of trip home I took what she had rationed me. I reached me hand back a minute or two later and the sweet child handed me 2 more chips. I really taught her the gift of sharing! After finishing those I asked if there were any left to which she responded (while jabbing her hand in my face), "Nope, but you can lick my fingers if you want!" HAHAHA! Saved the best for last and offered it to me. I respectfully declined. Kids....I swear!

I Know This Much is True

Just last night I finished a book that my husband's cousin recommended; I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. Centered around Dominick Birdsey, the sane brother of schizophrenic identical twin, Thomas, you bear witness to his story of self discovery, forgiveness and atonement. While dark, morbidly depressing and gut wrenching at times it is also incredibly inspirational. The complex bond the brothers share is only one of the relationships you dive headfirst into during the 900 page novel but is, by far, my favorite. By the end of it I was really amazed at how unapologetic the author was telling the story: This is life. Family, pain, love, anger, betrayal and redemption. No big fairy tales here. I think that is why the book really got to me. Def one I would suggest to anyone!

You can find more about this novel on www.goodreads.com


Women's Clothing Boutique Grand Opening

A friend of mine has just opened her brand new online women's clothing boutique!! In the months to come, they will be offering an even wider selection of clothing including jeans, jeggings, shorts, tons more dresses and tops, maternity clothes, baby and toddler clothes, jewelery and accessories! Check out her new site by clicking the link below. You can even contact them if there is something you have seen on Pinterest or Wanelo and they will try to find it for you!



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Twins

While cleaning up after dinner, I called my cousin for yet another one of our ever enlightening conversations. I told her that my hubby finally mentioned having another baby. As I started listing off a couple of cute baby girl names for this hypothetical child she reminded me of the risk we run of having twins. I then explained to her why I know that wont happen...I have always heard that God wont give you more than you can handle and Lord knows my patience runs too thin to have two babies at once. Crisis diverted right? Lol! Guess we'll see one day ;)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blogging My Little Heart Out

...And enjoying every minute of it! I created a Facebook page to go along with (Click here to be directed to All That is Woman FB page) and have well over 100 likes in the first few days! Pretty cool!! I am working on really getting some awesome recipes up for people to try and will work on getting kid friendly activities and some book review type posts up soon. Who would have thought it would be so hard to find time to sit down and type up old recipes between cooking 3 meals a day, cleaning, doing laundry, getting the hubby out the door and to work every morning, the 7 year old to school looking as clean and awake as possible, keeping an eye on and playing with the 1 year old, reading a chapter or two and watching some of my new favorite show, Sons of Anarchy. LOL. What an amazing life I lead. I love every second of it and wouldn't trade it for anything ;) More tomorrow

xoxox
Ashley

Mango Smoothie

Here is a fantastic smoothie recipe. I went through a phase where I literally had one everyday for weeks! Much healthier than ice cream ;)

2 cups frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup to 1 cup orange juice
1 small container yoplait strawberry banana thick and creamy yogurt
1/2 cup dannon vanilla yogurt

Blend all ingredients well. Serve immediately. Add more orange juice if too thick, more mango if too watery.


Hashbrown Cassarole

One of my favorite comfort foods...

1 lb frozen hash browns
1 stick butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup onion, peeled and chopped
1 8oz package shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.



Sausage Balls

This is definitely a family favorite! My aunt will make enough to fill 4 gallon size freezer bags and it lasts a couple of days at the most.

3 1/2 cups biscuit mix (like bisquick)
1 lb of sausage (we ALWAYS use Jimmy Dean Sage or Hot)
1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Let all ingredients come to room temp. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all three ingredients together and roll into appx 1 inch balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Can also be frozen. Just writing this makes me want to go make them! Maybe I will just have to do that....


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Old Faithful - 7 Layer Dip

Layer in order in a 9x13 in baking dish
 
 
16 ounces re fried beans (or bean dip)
1 cup sour cream  
1 cup guacamole
1 cup salsa (Mild or Medium depending on your own preference)
1 cup Mexican blend cheese
1 cup sliced black olives
1 cup chopped green onion
 
I usually sprinkle a little more cheese on top for good measure.

Always a favorite for a reason!
 
 

Spinach Stuffing Balls

Here is a recipe for an awesome little snack. I made these to take to a party and they were the first things to go!


1 pkg.  (6 oz.) flavored stuffing mix (I use stove top for chicken)
1-2/3 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 pkg. (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained and patted dry
1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 small  onion, finely chopped
4  egg
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
 
Mix stuffing mix, hot water and butter in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir just enough to mix (you don't want to smash all of the stuffing into mush). Spoon 1 inch balls onto non stick cooking sheets.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Can be served with ranch, sour cream, salsa or by themselves!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Greatest Website!

For anyone that loves to read, this is the greatest website ever created! You can set up virtual bookshelves and add, rate and categorize every book you have ever read. I have book shelves set up for books I have read, book I want to read and then books that changed my life. On top of all that you can get recommendations based on the ratings you have given the books you already read! I have come across some pretty awesome books by using this feature. Plus, its kind of fun to log in and see that you have read 180 books ;)

Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion

Friday, March 1, 2013

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

While perusing Pinterest one day, I found the solution to our "Run out the door in the morning with a nasty poptart because we woke up late and didnt have time to make breakfast" problem.




                                   Click Here to Get the Recipe for Freezer Breakfast Burritos
It literally took me an hour to make TWENTY FIVE burritos! My hubby and I ate them over the course of a few weeks and they were fantastic! Probably saved us a truckload since we weren't stopping to buy a $4 breakfast burrito... just threw one in the microwave for a couple minutes and grabbed it as we flew out the door! I even changed it up and bit (we were on a health kick at that moment) and I used whole wheat tortillas, turkey sausage and half egg whites half whole eggs. They tasted awesome and made our mornings a little smoother.




The Best Steak on the Planet




The first order of business when making restaurant quality steak is to buy... quality steak. Fortunately for us there is a butcher a mile away where we buy the most beautiful sirloins I have ever seen. Second, bring the steak to room temp. Don't ask why because I don't have a clue. I believe it has something to do with the steak steaming instead of searing if you don't. All I know is it works for me and I am going to keep on keeping on.Just set them on the counter for an hour or so.
Once the meat is room temp, pat dry with a paper towel and season. I just use salt and pepper...maybe even a bit of garlic powder but usually not.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. As the oven heats up, put the cast iron skillet on a large burner and heat it up to med high temperature. Add about 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil to your skillet. Once it is bubbling hot, lay your steak in the skillet and DO NOT MOVE IT. Our steaks are close to an inch and a half thick and I generally let it cook for about 4 minutes then flip it and let it get another 3-4 minutes.
Using an oven mitt, place the skillet into the oven and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven and, using tongs, place the steaks on a plate before covering with foil to let rest.

We always have this with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts or maybe sauteed green beans.
                                                          You're welcome ;)








No Bake Energy Bites

You will need:

1 cup oatmeal (old fashioned)
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey (or 3 tbsp Agave Nectar and 3 tbsp honey)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Layer coconut flakes on non stick pan and place in oven at 325 degrees until lightly browned. Then, stir everything above in a medium bowl until well mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, use a cookie dropper (or a spoon if you don't have one handy)!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Ours never last longer than a couple of days though ;)

slightly adapted from http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-bake-energy-bites-recipe.html


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Soup




olive oil
32 oz chicken broth
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can Rotel
1 15 oz can pinto beans rinsed
1 cup brown rice
1 medium diced onion
1 tsp minced garlic
*1/2 cup Mushrooms
*1/2 cup chopped Carrots
*Chilis
*corn
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, boiled, drained and shredded Season with:
 1-1/2 tsp cumin
 1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp  ground mustard
1/4 tsp paprika
Couple dashes of Franks red hot sauce
(*optional)
Garnishes:
Cilantro
Avocado
Cheese Sour Cream
Tortilla Strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder and salt. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of spice mix on both sides. Set aside the rest of the spice mix. Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until chicken is done. Shred chicken and set aside.
In a large pot add chicken broth, tomato sauce, rotel and pinto beans. Bring to a boil then add brown rice. Return to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, mushrooms, carrots, chilis and minced garlic (plus any additional veggies you would like to include). Sauté about 10 minutes, then add the rest of the spice mix. Add into pot and then stir in chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer about 20 minutes. Season to your liking.
Serve with garnishes

Courtesy of Angela Ryan