Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kraft Foods and Baby Loving Mama Giveaway

Who doesn't love a picnic? I know that we do! We not only have picnics in our own backyard, but we also often have picnics with family and friends. The one thing that I do not have yet is a good picnic basket. I keep telling myself that I will get one, but time and time again I leave the store without one. I was thrilled to find that one of my favorite blogs Baby Loving Mama ( posted a giveaway ( where they teamed up with Kraft Foods ( to celebrate International Picnic Day on June 18. Baby Loving Mama shows the delicious looking potato salad and orange lemonade that she made for her picnic. There are pictures and links to the recipes. Here is a picture (thanks to Baby Loving Mama) of the basket offered in the giveaway. It includes the basket filled with everything in the picture along with coupons for free products - the new Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh Combos, Cracker Barrel cheese, Temptations by Jello, Kraft Natural Cheese BIG slice and more! The giveaway is over on July 1, 2011 at 11:59pm CST. It is open to US residents 18 and over. Please be sure to check it out! Thank you again to Kraft Foods and Baby Loving Mama for offering this giveaway to us!!

Blueberry Pancakes with pictures

As promised, I made blueberry pancakes (per my husband's request) again last night. This picture would not load correctly. I tried 3 times to load it, and it kept loading sideways. This is everything that I used. 1 1/2 cup water, the container of Bisquick, 2 cups of fresh blueberries, and butter. Here are the 2 cups of blueberries. You don't need quite 2 cups, but if you are like me and eat them as you cook... you will need 2 cups!
The 1 1/2 cups of water.
The Bisquick
This is another picture that wouldn't load the correct way. The pancake on the bottom is almost finished cooking. The pancake on the top has started to cook. The blueberries are added after the bubbles start to pop.
They are my favorite when they are fresh off the stove with butter melting on them! Yum!!
When I cook them, I divide them into 3 piles since there are 3 of us that will be eating them. This is close-up of one of the stacks.
Finally, my husbands stack of pancakes with fresh blueberries on top! They didn't stay on long, and no matter how hard I tried to re-stack them, they just rolled off onto the plate.
Don't they look delicious??

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pancakes

On Monday we made our second visit of the year to a local farm that carries a variety of produce through out the season. The farm's owner are very nice and friendly. They are not Mennonite or Amish.... given the area that I live in, I felt some may be curious. They both used to be teachers and are now retired. The wife keeps an antique shop behind their produce stand. The husband can usually be found out with his crops. If you see him, he is very willing to talk to you about what he grows and how things are going. We enjoy supporting local farms. We also like that we know where the food comes from and how the plants are treated. We bought a quart of each that they had- black raspberries, gooseberries, and blueberries. Their blueberries are probably the best I have ever tasted!! While we enjoy eating fresh fruit as is, we wanted to eat the delicious blueberries as part of something.... muffins, pancakes, ice cream topping, etc. We decided on pancakes for supper. I had never made blueberry pancakes before. As it turns out, it was a quick and easy meal! I used one of those Bisquick bottles that you add 1 1/2 cups of water to and it makes 12-15 pancakes. My pancakes were probably 4-5" (in diameter) and made closer to 20 pancakes. I made the batter per the directions. Once they started to cook on the stove, I added a few blueberries to each. I found that worked the best for the blueberries. They didn't get overcooked because they weren't on the stove for too long. I really wish that I would have taken pictures of the blueberries and the blueberry pancakes! They look as good as they tasted!! I am hoping to get back to get some more. I'd love to have fresh blueberry muffins for breakfast! My husband and boys are rooting for more pancakes! When I get back for some more, I will make sure to post some pictures!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Father's Day

This post is a little bit late, but I have been having a few problems typing, commenting and posting blogs. I hope that all of the dad's out there had a great Father's Day! :) My boys and I made my husband both his card and part of his present this year.

This is the outside of the card. The squares read: "Happy Father's Day" , "I want to be just like you" , "We never know the love of a parent until we become one", and "You are my hero" . The inside of the card had the a hand print and a foot print. This way we can always remember their hand/feet size at these ages.
The first part of his present was a family game of mini golf. It was a ton of fun! When I say family... I mean the baby included. I'm not sure if anyone has ever taken a 10 1/2 month old mini golfing, but it isn't the easiest. He kept stealing the balls! He thought it was so funny! I'm pretty sure we might try to make that a new Father's Day tradition. My husband likes to go to the Pitch and Putt place that is near us, but I can't handle golfing like that. It is too frustrating for me! Mini golf is a good compromise and the kids love it! The other part of his present was a T-Shirt that I put the kids hand / foot prints on. I took a picture of it, but accidentally deleted it while trying to type this.
I think my husband had a great Father's Day! I know he loved his presents!! What did you (or your husband) get for Father's Day? Did the kids make him something special?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Pasta Salad

For family functions that I am invited to, I am usually asked to bring my pasta salad. The recipe is really easy and doesn't take much time. We'll start with a list of ingredients - I usually make a double batch, so that is what my list is for. 2 green peppers 2 red/orange/yellow pepper (if you want it colorful, you could any combination to equal 4 peppers) 2 cucumbers 1-2 red onions (depends on size and how much you like onions-can also use vidalia onions) 2 boxes rotini noodles Mrs Dash Original Blend Seasoning - enough to give a generous coating over the vegetables 2 - 16oz bottles Kraft Seven Seas Viva Italian salad dressing -- they have since discontinued this, and since it is so difficult to find, I have to use whatever the store has. If you can find the Kraft House dressing that is the closest. The Kraft Tuscan House is good, but a little spicy. Optional - You can also add tomato, carrots, cheese (don't add until right before eating-it gets soggy), bacon bits (don't add until right before eating), crutons **If any of the ingredients seem like too much, don't add them. Example - Sometimes after cutting up 3 peppers I feel like that is plenty so I omit the 4th one. Anything you would eat in a regular salad you could add to this! Have fun with it!! Try new things! Be creative! The store I went to didn't have what I was looking for, so I had to get Zesty Italian. It isn't my favorite, but it works. Here is a picture of what the Mrs Dash looks like.
I recently got the new Pampered Chef Manual Food Processor, so I thought I'd use it help with all of the chopping.
This picture wouldn't load the correct way. I just took it to show what the MFP looks like in pieces.
First you start by getting the water ready for the noodles. You want to bring the salted water to boil and cook the noodles per the directions, but making sure the noodles are al dente.
Second I cut up the veggies while the noodles are cooking and put them in a bowl large enough to mix the pasta salad in.
I didn't use the Manual Food Processor (MFP) on the cucumbers. To cut up the cucumbers, I first peeled the skin off. Then, I cut it in half length wise. Laying (what was) the middle of the cucumber on my cutting board, I cut that in half length wise. That left me with 4 long strips per cucumber. I then cut them into bite size pieces.
The peppers were next. I washed them, then cut the tops and bottoms off and removed all the seeds. Normally, I would cut into strips and then bites sized pieces, but this time I used my MFP. What a time saver!
This is what the peppers looked like when I was done.
Same thing with the green peppers. This is only part of 1 green pepper.
The red onions at the store looked pretty bad, so I used a vidalia onion.
After the noodles are finished cooking, put them in a strainer in the sink and run them under cold water. I used my spoon to stir them and make sure they all get a good rinse to get the salt off. The cold water also helps to cool them off.
The store also didn't have rotini noodles... so I made due with these.
Unfortunately, my camera battery died. The rest is the easy part, though! With the veggies cut up in the bowl, mix them together well. Take the Mrs Dash and coat the veggies generously. Make sure all the veggies have Mrs Dash on them, then mix well. Add the noodles to the veggies, mix well. This is not always very easy until you add the dressing. With 2 16oz bottles, I use a bottle and a half of dressing. I mix it well, then transfer it to a container with a lid. You could also make in the container that you want to store it in. Then you refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Right before serving, you want to mix well. If it looks like it might be a little dry, add some of the remaining dressing, and mix well.
You can very easily turn this into a family favorite! Be creative! Try new things! Enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mott's for Tots

In my house, we are big fans of Mott's for Tots juices. Our 10 1/2 months old loves their NEW Immune Support Fruit Punch. It is the only juice that he will drink! So, when I heard that there was a chance to join Vocalpoint and have my opinion heard about Mott's products, I was excited!

Did you know that Mott's for Tots has 40% less sugar than 100% apple juice? That's right! It's an easy and healthy way to spoil your kids!

It comes in 5 tasty flavors - Apple White Grape, NEW Mixed Berry, Apple, NEW Immune Support Fruit Punch, and NEW Bone Health Grape.
They also come in juice boxes! Check out the link below to see for yourself all that Vocalpoint (and Mott's for Tots) have to offer. There is a ton of information from food and recipes to around the house to health and beauty. They have articles, surveys, message boards- so you can talk with other parents who use the same products you use, and tips. Be sure to check them out! Enjoy! :)
After the major holidays, you can often find some pretty decent sales. I picked this up for half price. It is a Wilton Whoopie Pie Pan that is shaped like bunnies! I have not tried to make whoopie pies yet, but the back of the package has a recipe. Here is are close-ups of package.
Here is a close-up of the little bunny.
I can't wait to try it out!!

Summer vacation is finally here!!

School is officially over for the summer!! We LOVE to cookout on our grill and just hanging out outside! When I was a kid, I was a Girl Scout. In the summer time, we used to cook hot dogs and s'mores over a fire. It is one of my favorite experiences of being in the Girl Scouts. :) I have 2 boys - ages 8 1/2 years and 10 1/2 months- and I wanted them to try s'mores. The only problem with that... we don't have a fire pit, and with small kids I do not want to have a bonfire! We were at the grocery store one day when we came across this: It's S'MORE to LOVE! A brilliant invention for people to make s'mores any time of year! You can make them in the oven, the toaster oven, or even on a grill! I made them in my toaster oven. (I should probably point out that I have been told by many that I have a much larger toaster oven than most. It fits very nicely in mine.) Here is a picture of the s'mores starting to cook. I bought extra large marshmallows. They are a size bigger than the normal jumbo marshmallows. They worked... but not as well as I had thought. Since marshmallows expand in heat, the S'MORE to LOVE didn't stay latched. You can see in the picture below that it "popped" open.
I was able to get to latch again once the marshmallows got soft and mushy. Here is a picture of them as soon as they came out of the toaster oven. I think they were only in for about 5 minutes or so.
Here is a close up. Don't they look yummy???
When you put the s'mores together, the S'MORE to LOVE is actually upside from what it is in the pictures. ( I forgot to take pictures of the initial stage.) You stack it graham cracker, 2 squares/rectangles of chocolate, marshmallow, then the second graham cracker piece.
If we use the extra large marshmallows again, I'd use chocolate on top of and below the marshmallow. They were almost too big, and the flavor took over. Below are pictures of 4 of the 6 that we made.
It was so nice to be able to have s'mores without needing fire! The kids LOVED them!! It was delicious!
I am so glad that we found this at the grocery store!! :)

A much needed update....

These 2 pictures are of a beautiful butterfly that I found on the flowers of our blackberries! It wasn't scared away by the kids getting close to it!
The month of May has come and gone. I had a few things to post from May, and with the beautiful weather I found that we spent more time outside instead of indoors. We have had a bunch of garden work to get done... planting.... weeding.... watering... weeding... pruning... picking ... did I mention weeding?? That is my least favorite part of having a garden. My favorite part is being able to eat fresh fruits and vegetables!!
So far, we have had delicious strawberries, black raspberries, red raspberries, and wyeberries. It is so nice to be able to go into our backyard to get fresh fruit!! It is also a learning experience for the kids! I have been thinking about starting a blog for garden pictures and updates. Is that something you guys would be interested in?