Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Prom Pictures and Strawberry Angel Food Cake Dessert

Wow what a busy and fun weekend! 
Saturday was my daughter Madison's high school prom.
I normally only post recipes, but she looked so beautiful, this proud mom had to share :)

We hardly ever get our photo taken together since I am always the one with the camera, but I made sure I got one this time, especially since I was dressed up too for a wedding.

I wasn't home enough to do too much cooking or baking this weekend, but I did manage to whip up this cool, refreshing dessert.  It was perfect for our pool party on Memorial Day.  Hope your weekend was great too!

Strawberry Angel Food Cake Dessert

1 Angel Food Cake (I used a Duncan Hines box mix I made the day before)
1 box Strawberry Jell-O (6 oz.)
2 cups hot boiling water
1 lb. frozen, sliced strawberries in juice, partially thawed
1 cup cold water
1 container Cool Whip (8 oz)

Tear angel food cake into bite size pieces and cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass bake dish.
Stir jell-o with boiling water until completely mixed, then add the cold water.
Add the strawberries, breaking up any that might still be frozen together.
Pour over the angel food cake.  Using the back of a spoon, gently push down the cake until all pieces have soaked up some of the jell-o.  Refrigerate until jell-o completely sets.
Slice into squares and serve with cool whip.
Enjoy :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

{Product Review} FlipFlop Wines

I was so excited to received three bottles of FlipFlop Wines to review!  My girlfriends and I are all about some wine, so I thought my Memorial Day pool party would be a great time for us to give it a try.  What a beautiful day it was!

We tried the Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir.  I prefer white wines, so the Pinot Grigio and Riesling were my favorites.  The wine was so refreshing while laying by the pool.  At $7.00 a bottle, this cute wine will be making an appearance at all of my summer pool parties!! 

The Pinot Grigio is light bodied, with tropical citrus and ripe pear, while the Riesling is medium bodied with peach, apricot and melon.   The Pinot Noir is also medium bodied with bright cherry, sweet spice and a supple, velvety finish.  Another great thing about FlipFlip Wines is their partnership with Soles4Souls ~ For every bottle of wine purchased Soles4Souls will distribute a pair of shoes to someone in need.  How cool is that!  You can connect with them on Facebook here.

My friends Leslee and Bekka enjoying their first taste of FlipFlop wine.

Lindsay is more of a red wine kind of girl and she really liked the Pinot Noir. 

My friend Travis summed up our review of FlipFlop wines with a thumbs up!
Don't you just love his Memorial Day hat :)

This wine also makes a great Sangria!  Give it a try this summer :)

White Kiwi-Apple Sangria

1 bottle white wine (Pinot Grigio)
1/2 cups orange liqueur (I used Triple Sec)
1 1/2 cups lemonade
3 whole kiwis, peeled and cut into thin slices
1 whole large green apple with skin, cored and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups green grapes, halved

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir.  Allow to chill for at least an hour so the flavors can combine. Serve over ice.

Note - FlipFlop Wines sent me the bottles of wine for this review, but I was not compensated in any way.
All opinions are my own.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cookie Dough Freeze

Memorial weekend is here - bring on summer!! 
Time for pool parties, picnics and fun in the sun :)

I came up with this recipe a couple of weeks ago and I think it would be perfect for a cookout this weekend or anytime you want a cool, yummy dessert.  Let me know what you think.

Thank you to all of the veterans who have fought for our country and our freedom!
Happy Memorial Weekend!

Cookie Dough Freeze

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury Refridgerated Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 gallon container of Cookie Dough Ice Cream
8 oz. container Cool Whip
1/3 cup Hot Fudge Topping
Mini Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies (I used a 4 oz. Go Pak)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 13x9 inch pan with aluminum foil.
Slice off cookie dough and press it evenly in bottom of pan to form the crust.
Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely.
While cookie crust is cooling, remove ice cream from freezer to soften.
Spread softened ice cream evenly over cooled crust.  Drizzle fudge topping over ice cream.
Place in freezer for about 20 minutes for fudge to set a little before frosting with cool whip.
Frost with cool whip and place mini cookies on top.  Freeze for at least one hour before serving.
Use foil to lift dessert from the pan.  Cut into squares and serve.

Linking to:
Tatertots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party
Made By You Monday

Friday, May 20, 2011

Easy Blondies

Did you know that you can have warm, delicious cookie bars ready in 30 minutes?
And there are only four ingredients.  Seriously... four!
Well five since there are two eggs - sorry.

Easy Blondies
Recipe from Joy's Hope

1 box yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Coat a 13 x 9 inch bake dish with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, eggs and melted butter. 
Batter will be thick.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Spread batter into your pan.
Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before cutting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Household Tip Thursday - How to clean your garbage disposal

Ok, today I thought I would post something a little different and share one of my household cleaning tips.
Just call me Suzy Homemaker - HA HA.

About once a week, or whenever I remember - I like to clean my garbage disposal.
Think about all the stuff you put down that thing - disgusting really. 

I like to use homemade cleaning products when I can - so good old baking soda and vinegar are perfect for this project.  Just dump about 1/2 cup or so of baking soda down the drain, then pour in 1/2 cup white vinegar.  Let it sit for at least 20 minutes.  Rinse with hot water, while running your garbage disposal.

Yay - no more smelly garbage disposal!  You can also put the plug in the dishwasher, so don't forget to do that every now and then too. 

So how did you like Household Tip Thursday?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

Have you tried quinoa?  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is high in protein and features a host of other health-building nutrients.  It has a fluffly, sightly crunchy texture and somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.  You can use it in a lot of recipes that call for couscous or rice.  I buy mine in a large bag at Costco, but you can purchase smaller boxes in most grocery stores.

I love this salad - I've been packing it in my lunch every day so far this week.  It's very filling and so healthy!
You can adjust the cumin to your taste, I don't care for too much.  Enjoy!

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa, well rinsed before cooking
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
5 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
juice from one lime
freshly ground pepper to taste
kosker salt to taste
1/8 tsp. cumin
fresh cilantro

Combine rinsed quinoa with chicken broth in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes or until broth is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let cool.
Once quinoa has cooled add the rest of the ingredients and toss.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Raspberry Dream Muffins

I made these for a friends baby shower this weekend and they were delicious. 
The fresh raspberries were so good I had a hard time not eating them all before I added them to the muffin batter!

Raspberry Dream Muffins

1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
raw sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place liners in muffin tin or spray with cooking spray.
Sprinkle raspberries with 1/4 cup of the sugar and set aside. 
In a large mixing bowl cream butter and the rest of the sugar.  Beat in eggs and both extracts.
In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, alternating with the milk and cream.  Stir in white chocolate chips.  Gently fold in the raspberries.  Fill cups 3/4 full.  Sprinkle each muffin with raw sugar.
Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until tops spring back.

Note - I made these in my Pampered Chef Mini Muffin tin and they only took about 10-12 minutes to bake.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Easy Chicken Stir-fry

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers Program I received a bag of Tyson Grilled and Ready Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast and a box of Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice in the mail. 
They asked me to try them out and create a meal, so that's just what I did.  This was also a good excuse to dig my Wok out of the pantry, which is always fun to use :)

I decided to combine the two products and make a quick and easy Chicken Stir-fry for dinner. 
To be honest, I prefer using fresh chicken breasts and brown rice when cooking, but both of these products were pretty good if you need a home cooked meal fast.  I used the produce I had on hand, but you can easily adjust to your liking.

Easy Chicken Stir-fry

1 pkg. Uncle Ben's Whole Grain White Rice
1 T olive oil
1/3 cup red pepper, julienned
5 green onions, sliced thin
1/3 cup diced celery
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 cups Tyson Grilled and Ready Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast

Prepare rice as directed on the package.
Heat olive oil in a wok or large skillet.  Saute the onion, red pepper and celery until crisp tender.
Add the broccoli florets and diced chicken.  Stir fry for a few minutes and then add the sauce.
Stir fry a few more minutes and then serve over rice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fruity Chicken Salad

Turkey sandwiches are by far my favorite for lunch, but sometimes I switch it up and eat chicken..
I'm wild like that.

The great thing about chicken salad is you can add whatever you want. 
Don't like craisins? Leave them out.
Like green grapes instead of red?  That's fine too.
I don't like too much mayo on mine, so I keep it on the dry side, but you can add as much as you like :)
Get a little wild and crazy like me and make yourself some chicken salad soon.

Fruity Chicken Salad

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
Half jar of Orange Marmalade
1 cup Red grapes, halved
1/2 cup Celery, chopped
1/2 cup Craisins
One Gala Apple, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Light Mayonaise (I use Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo with olive oil)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place chicken breasts in a bake dish coated with cooking spray and spoon orange marmalade on top of chicken.  Bake in oven for about 45 minutes.  Let chicken cool and then chop into bite size pieces.  Mix with the rest of the ingredients and serve on a Sandwich Thin.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

{Product Review} Larabar

I don't know about you, but around 3:00 in the afternoon I need a snack!  I try to keep my snacks on the healthy side like fresh fruit, carrots or homemade granola bars, but sometimes I just don't have time to make them.  I'm so glad I discovered Larabars!  I first noticed them on another blog and decided to buy a couple at my local Martin's Grocery Store.  I loved them! They are so tasty and good for you too!
Larabars are a blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices - just pure and simple.

Peanut Butter Cookie is my favorite.  The nice people at Larabar sent me more flavors to try and to be honest, I liked them all!  Just throw one or two in your purse or backpack and you have a healthy snack any time you need it.
Give them a try :)  Let me know if you like them as much as I do.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May 8th Recap and a Recipe

Today has been an awesome day. My birthday and Mother's day all in one.

Madison gave me these beautiful measuring cups from Pier One.
Love them!!!!!!

After a late breakfast, we made a trip to Target which resulted in these for her.
Super cute.
Oh to be a teenager again :)

(I've received several requests for the polish color - it is Blue-Away by Sally Hansen from Target)

We also stopped by my mom and dad's house to visit and wish mom a happy mother's day too.
This is picture of the two of us back in the day. 
Love you Mom!

While traveling a lot for work this week, I found a new drink addiction.
Sonic's Low-Cal Sparkling Lime Limeade.
So good!

I made my own version at home today using Sam's Choice Key Lime Sparkling water and fresh lime juice.
Love it.

We usually go out for birthday dinners, but I wanted to stay home and make dinner since I have been traveling so much lately.  I used my favorite Le Creuset pot to boil pasta. 
Caribbean Blue = cooking happiness.

It was delish.
I also made these cookie cups using refrigerated cookie dough and my Pampered Chef Mini Muffin pan.

Which resulted in these when I finished.  So good!!
Want the recipe?

Strawberry Cookie Tarts
recipe from Joy's Hope

2  packages of Pillsbury Refrigerated Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies
1 tub (8 oz) Philadelpia Whipped Cream Cheese
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh Strawberries

Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray.  Place one Ready to Bake Sugar Cookie in each tin.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and use a Pampered Chef  Mini Tart Shaper to press them into tart shapes.  Let them cool a few minutes before you remove them from the pan to a wire rack.  I run a plastic knife gently around the tarts to help remove them from the pan. While the cookie tarts are cooling make the filling.
Combine whipped cream cheese, cool whip and sugar.  Mix with electric mixer until fluffy.  
Put filling in a pastry bag with tip and pipe into each cookie tart.  Top with a strawberry or other fresh fruit. 
Makes 48 cookie tarts.

Hope you enjoyed my recap of May 8, 2011.
Loved this day :)

Linking to:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jell-O Poke Cupcakes

When we were kids my mom would make us a refrigerator cake called Jell-O Poke Cake and we loved it!  White cake with strawberry Jell-O drizzled all over it and then topped with a whipped cream frosting. 
It was so fun to take a fork and make holes all over the freshly baked cake so the Jell-O could sink in.  My brother, Greg, really loved this cake, so I surprised him on Easter Sunday with my cupcake version of Jell-O Poke cake. 

One bite of this cupcake and I was back home in 1975 wearing my bell bottom pants and listening to the Captain and Tennille and the Bee Gees on the radio.  Good times!

Strawberry Jello Poke Cupcakes

Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cupcakes

1 box White Cake Mix, plus eggs, water and oil
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) Strawberry Flavored Jell-O
1/2 cup cold water

Place 24 cupcake liners in a muffin tin.  Prepare cake as directed on package.  Fill liners 2/3 full and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Cool completely.  Take a fork or bamboo skewer (that's what I used) and poke about 6 six holes in each cupcake.  Prepare Jell-O as directed above.  Place the cupcakes on a pan with an edge because some of the Jell-O will overflow.  Now here's the tricky part.  Instead of spooning the Jell-O over each cupcake, I put it into a squeeze bottle and squeezed some Jell-O into each hole.  You will still have some overflow, but I don't think it was quite as bad as just pouring it from a cup would have been.  Now place the cupcakes in the fridge for a few hours to chill.

1 small pkg.Vanilla instant pudding
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. container Cool Whip

Whisk instant vanilla pudding, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.  I placed the prepared frosting in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let it thicken up before I place it into a piping bag to frost the cupcakes.
Frost as desired.  I used a Wilton 1M tip when frosting these cupcakes.

*Don't forget to enter my Freschetta Pizza Giveaway! Giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for playing.
Linking to:
All Things Heart and Home