Monday, April 30, 2012

Two-ingredient lemon bars (?)

I can hardly resist a recipe with only two (or three) ingredients, so when I saw this one on Pinterest I knew I needed to try it.

All you need is: an angel food cake mix | lemon pie filling | confectioners sugar. 
Mix the lemon pie filling with the cake mix. Be careful, though, because the cake mix is very light and it will seem like the two won't mix well. Then pour it into a 9x13 pan. I sprayed mine with a flour/cooking spray combo that you can get at the store. It helped keep the cake from sticking to the pan. Then bake in a preheated over at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

If you are so inclined, you can dust it with powdered sugar. To me this was less like a lemon bar and more like a light lemon cake. Try it out for yourself and tell me what you think!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

UHA - Cleaning windows

The Universal Household Assistant promises to tell you "what every person should know." What is so interesting is that the book was published in 1884. Some of the information is good, some very outdated and some quite laughable by today's standards. Every Sunday I will bring you an interesting tidbit that I find in my book. Enjoy!

Chamois or buckskin cleans a window very nicely; but if the wings of turkeys, geese or large fowls are saved and well dried there is nothing better - far more economical than chamois, beside removing all the dirt more effectually. With the wings all the dirt can be taken out of corners, and when done there will be no lint on the glass.
Nothing is better for cleaning stoves, brushing out corners or brushing off furniture than a good clean wing.

NEXT SUNDAY: preserving birds' wings, because I know you are just dying to know how!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bacon Meatballs

Everyone loves bacon, well almost everyone. I met a girl yesterday who does not really care for it. I love bacon but I am not into gratuitous bacon usage. It really makes these meatballs great.

4 strips of bacon | 1/2 cup diced onion | 2 garlic cloves, minced
1lb hamburger meat | 1/2 cup bread crumbs | s&p | 2 eggs, beaten

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Cook bacon in the skillet and set aside. After cooled chop up the bacon. Reserve about a tbsp of bacon grease. Add the onion to the pan. Saute about 3 minutes and add the garlic. Saute for another minute. Set aside to cool. 

In a bowl combine meat, bread crumbs, seasonings, bacon and the garlic/onion mixture. Add in the egg. Form into ball about the size of a walnut and place on the broiler pan. 

Bake for about 10-15 minutes, until browned and cooked through. 

This recipe makes between 22-28 meatballs. We typically eat about 4 each. You can toss the meatballs in your favorite bbq sauce. They freeze easily so feel free to double the recipe.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Roasted radishes

This time of year is something I really look forward to because there is so much wonderful produce available to eat. For a short period of time in the spring you can get fresh radishes. One of my favorite things to do is to roast them, delicious!

All you need for this super easy recipe is about 20 radishes, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and 1-2 tbsp of soy sauce. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Wash and cut the radishes into quarters. Toss with the oil and spread out into a single layer on a cookie sheet. I like to line mine with aluminum foil for easier clean-up. Roast the radishes for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle and toss with the soy sauce and roast for another 5-10 minutes.

The beauty of roasting radishes is that it takes the heat right out of them. This pairs easily with any dish you can think of because even though soy sauce is traditionally used for Asian foods, this does not have an overpowering taste.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

UHA - Secrets of health

The Universal Household Assistant promises to tell you "what every person should know." What is so interesting is that the book was published in 1884. Some of the information is good, some very outdated and some quite laughable by today's standards. Every Sunday I will bring you an interesting tidbit that I find in my book. Enjoy!

First keep warm; second, eat regularly and slowly; third, maintain regularly bodily habits; fourth, take early and very light suppers; fifth, keep a clean skin; sixth, get plenty of sleep at night; seventh, keep cheerful and respectable company; eighth, keep out of debt; ninth, don't set your mind on things that you don't need; tenth, mind your own business; eleventh, don't set yourself up to be a sharper of any kind; twelfth, subdue curiosity; thirteenth, avoid drugs.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Wiggly party revisited

I don't have a lot of pictures to show you all the things that we did but I want to share anyways because I know that there aren't a lot of ideas for a Wiggles party online. The picture shows a play tent I bought at a local kids consignment sale a few years back. Everything else we did can be copied and reused should you need to for your own party.

FOOD: Since we were having an afternoon party, I didn't serve lunch type food. I only served a fruit salad made from blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and purple grapes along with "crunchy munchy honey cakes." I shared that recipe a few posts back, I got the recipe from the Wiggles website. The cake I ordered locally from a bakery, and used a picture I found on the internet. We also had icecream, water and juice packs. I called this table "Anthony's Snack Table."

DECOR: This is pretty simple, you can decorate with the four primary colors. I also used green for Dorothy the Dinosaur and black or hot pink for Captain Feathersword. You could also use brown for Wags the dog.

GAMES: This is the biggie. I had three tables setup for crafts, the tent for play (and I had some books in the tent), and a bean bag game that I called "Jeff's Pillow Toss."
The first table was "Music with Murray." The two crafts were to make the twirly spoon drum I have featured in a previous post and a shaker egg. The shaker egg was just a plastic Easter egg filled with rice and taped around the opening.
The next table was for Captain Feathersword. I found a template online for pirate hats made from foam. Google pirate hat template. I would attach it here but since it isn't my personal template, I really can't do that. I precut all the hats and had foam stickers to decorate them. The other craft was a pirate pop-up. Basically you cut a slit in the bottom of a paper cut, print out and cut out a small picture of Captain Feathersword. Then glue the picture to one end of a popsicle stick and insert the other end so that the pirate is "hiding" in the cup. Pop up, pop down!
Finally I had a table for Dorothy the dinosaur. At this table we made garden pinwheels (I wrote a post on this as well), and we had color sheets. I downloaded these from the Wiggles website.

Once everyone seemed done with the crafts,m we played a few rounds of Hot Potato. iTunes has a large selection of Wiggles music that played the whole party. We had a separate dance area with balloons for the kids.

GOODY BAG: I didn't do a goody bag but instead bought a bunch of bubbles and made my own stickers for the tops of the lids. I also took paper lunch bags and made stickers to put on them for the kids to put their crafts. It was a pretty low-sugar party.

I hope you found some useful ideas for your own Wiggle party! Leave me a comment with your own ideas.

Monday, April 16, 2012

How I cut a pineapple

Pineapple is so much better fresh! I don't know if this is how the "pros" do it, but after much trial and error, this is my system for cutting one up.

Step 1: Cut the top off the pineapple.

Step 2: Then cut the bottom off the pineapple and stand it up straight. Start cutting the rind off by cutting in small strips down the side. The smaller the strips, the more circular your pineapple will end up being. Try not to cut the strips too thick, you will be wasting precious pineapple flesh.

Step 3: Once you have all the rind cut off, cut it in half.

Step 4: Cut both of the pineapple pieces in half again lengthwise (quarters). Stand one of the quarters up and trim the core off by cutting the center piece out. Repeat with all the quarters.

Step 5: Turn the quarter piece on the curve part and cut lengthwise into halves, thirds or quarters depending on how big you want the final pieces to be. Then cut widthwise the pineapple. Repeat with all the quarters.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

UHA - Removing Ink from Carpets

The Universal Household Assistant promises to tell you "what every person should know." What is so interesting is that the book was published in 1884. Some of the information is good, some very outdated and some quite laughable by today's standards. Every Sunday I will bring you an interesting tidbit that I find in my book. Enjoy!

Take up as much (ink) as possible with a spoon, pour cold sweet milk upon the spot and take up with a spoon until the milk is only faintly tinged with ink, then wash with cold water and wipe dry. The writer has in this way removed nearly half a pint of ink from a delicate cream-colored carpet without leaving a stain.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Crunchy munchy honey cakes - sort of

In keeping with the Wiggles birthday party theme, I decided to try and make "crunchy munchy honey cakes," as featured on a Wiggles song. However I ran into trouble finding muesli flakes, so I substituted quick cooking oats. They taste pretty good, however they didn't flatten into a "cake," they stayed ball shaped.

Your cast of characters:

3 cups muesli flakes (or quick cooking oats) | 1/2 cup sugar | 1c self rising flour, sifted | 1c coconut
125 grams butter (about 9 tbsp) | 2tsp honey | 3tbsp milk

Combine dry ingredients. Heat butter, milk and honey over medium heat. Mix well and pour over dry ingredients. Mix well.

Roll into balls the size of walnuts and place on a greased baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 350  degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

I felt they were a tad boring so I melted some chocolate and drizzled over the top. What isn't improved by chocolate?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not just for Easter

As I have mentioned, my sweet girl's birthday is this weekend, so she is going to take a snack to school tomorrow I have done cookies for the last two years and I wanted to do something different. When I was browsing around Pinterest one day, I saw the simple recipe for birds nests. I first had one when I was in elementary school. It is hard to believe that I can remember that far back, but it definitely left an impression. So here is my favorite version. You can make it your own by substituting any kind of meltable chocolate, or by mixing them.

12 oz chow mein noodles | 12 oz butterscotch chips | chocolate eggs, or whatever you want to use as eggs

Melt the butterscotch chips by microwave or by double boiler, the package will have directions. Mix in the chow mein noodles. This is where all your arm curls come in handy.

Set aside while you line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Drop the mixture by the spoonful onto the foil/paper and shape into nests. Make an indention in the middle for the eggs. Let set for about an hour.

Add the eggs. See my little helper's hand? She loved adding the eggs herself.

 We packaged the nests in bags and taped them tight to keep the eggs in place. These would be really cute for a wedding or baby shower.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A take on the twirly drum

I don't know what they are called but you have seen them - the drums that you twirl with your hands so that it beats itself. I found a picture online of making something like that using a wooden spoon. I thought that would make a great craft for our Wiggles Birthday party! Here is how you make one for yourself.

All you need is a wooden spoon with a hole drilled in the center, ribbon or string, beads, and scissors.

Cut a piece of ribbon about 3-4 inches long. Make a knot at one end and thred two beads onto the ribbon.

Thread the ribbon through the hole in the spoon.

Add two more beads and tie a knot at the end. All you have left to do is twirl away! If it annoys you that the string can slide around, you can try to tie knots right before and after you thred the ribbon through the hole. However it won't effect how the noisemaker works and it is really difficult to tie knots that close to the hole.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I am not ashamed

I love meatloaf. I openly admit it. And of course I think my recipe is the best. You be the judge, but I warn you; this is not a healthy recipe!

 Your cast of characters:

1.5lb hamburger meat

1 envelope Lipton Beefy Onion or Onion Mushroom Soup Mix

2 eggs

24 Captain Wafers or other similar sized cracker, crushed

1/4 -ish milk

2 tsp ketchup

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients except the ketchup. I use my hands, it is easiest. In a 13x9 baking pan, shape the mixture into a loaf. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Take out and spread the ketchup over the top. Bake for 10 minutes longer.

** I adapted this recipe from The Lipton Kitchen. I use less hamburger than the original recipe calls for because the meat will cook faster and make a nice crust. Also I use milk instead of water because it just tastes better.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Universal Household Assistant (UHA) - Hiccoughs

Today marks the beginning of a new segment on this blog pertaining to a book I bought a few months back. It is called The Universal Household Assistant and promises to tell you "what every person should know." What is so interesting is that the book was published in 1884. Some of the information is good, some very outdated and some quite laughable by today's standards. Every Sunday I will bring you an interesting tidbit that I find in my book. Enjoy!

To Cure Hiccoughs (Hiccups)

Take a small piece of lump sugar into the mouth and let it dissolve very slowly, or drink any liquid very slowly, and the hiccoughs will cease.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Marsala Saute

It was once something we only ordered when we were out and about until I found this easy recipe. Now we can eat it at home. Chicken would work equally as well if you are not a fan of pork.
**Ignore the garlic in the picture, I am so used to using it that I automatically added it to the ingredients!**

about 1lb boneless porkchops, cut into thin strips


1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus 1tbsp

3 tbsp unsalted butter

8oz white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 small onion, chopped (I always use vidalia)

1/2 cup Marsala wine

3/4 cup chicken broth (I use bouillon dissolved in water)

2 tsp lemon juice

Place the 1/4 cup flour in a plastic bag. Season the porkchop strips and place in the bag, seal. Shake until all the pieces are coated. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large non-stick pan over med-high heat. Add the pork and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate.

Melt remaining butter in pan. Add mushrooms, onion, s&p until browned - 6-8 minutes. Stir in 1tbsp flour and cook until golden. Add in Marsala wine and chicken broth. Simmer until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the pork back to the pan. Simmer about a minute longer.

Serve over egg noodles. Yum!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Roasted Carrots with Honey

Three simple ingredients and you have the perfect side dish. It is beyond easy and your kids will eat it. What else could you ask for, hmm?

You will need:

1lb bag of carrots
(I use baby carrots because all the hard work is done and all you have to do is cut them in half. But you can use regular carrots. Peel them and cut them small.)

1tbsp olive oil


1 tbsp honey

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Toss carrots, oil and s&p in a bowl. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast, tossing once, until tender - 30 minutes or so. Remove from oven and toss with honey.

That's it, so simple. So delicious.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Custom Word Banners

You see them everywhere, I can even make you one if you need it. But if you decide one day that you would like to give it a try, you can make your own simple, personalized banner in a few easy steps.

First, find some paper that you like. Pick around 4 or 5 different patterns but not too many or your banner will look too disjointed. Then in Word, type out what you want the banner to say in a super-thick font like Arial Black in the size you want the letters to be. Print on a heavy weight paper and cut out. These will be your templates.

Next trace the letters *backwards* on the back of the patterned paper and cut out. You will then need to cut a piece of ribbon the length you want the banner to be. Cut holes with a hole punch or cut slits in the tops of the letters for the ribbon to pass through. Remember that you need at least two cuts, one for the ribbon to go through the front and another for it to pass through the back.

Thread your letters onto the ribbon and space to your taste. I like to turn my banners over and tape across the slits or holes because that will help keep the letters from moving. Enjoy!

An Easy Spring Pinwheel

I am knee deep in some serious birthday party planning for my soon-to-be 4yr old daughter. One of the crafts that I have planned is a small working pinwheel. At this age your child will still need adult assistance but it only takes a minute and the your child will be off to play with their new toy.

You will need glass bead pins, lollipop paper sticks and a piece of paper cut into a square. My paper is 4.5 inches square.

I have a pinwheel template that I printed on my home printer and a tiny hole punch that I used to make it easier but you can skip these steps if you don't have these items or don't need them.

 Cut the paper from the edges toward the middle, but don't cut all the way. If using the punch, cut holes in the alternating corners and the middle of the paper.

 Fold down alternating corners to the middle. Here I lined up the holes that I punched. Then push the pin through the middle of the corners and paper.

 Next, push the pin through the center of the lollipop stick.
All you have left to do now is blow on the pinwheel to make it spin!

 You can use this template to print on your 4.5 inch square paper if you are making multiple pinwheels or if you need the guide.