Friday, March 30, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Oh yeah...I went there.  Mo' chocolate!  These were the cupcakes I made for my daughter's Angry Birds birthday party.
A chocolate cupcake, stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough!
And it's all egg-free, so my youngest was able to eat the same thing as everyone else.

I made some with cookie dough and some without, thinking everyone may not want a cupcake stuffed with cookie dough.  Hello?!  What was I thinking?  Of course, almost all the kids wanted the cookie dough ones!

For the recipe, head over to FaveHealthyRecipes!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

(would be) skinny brownies

Okay, so we all know 'skinny' and 'brownies' don't belong in the same sentence.  Unless, it's something like, 'Look at that skinny bitch eating a brownie. I hate her.'  Yikes. Someone has some jealousy issues.
Anywayyy....I saw on Pinterest that you could use a can of diet soda to make brownies.  I have done this successfully with cake mix, but had never tried brownies. I decided I must give it a go.  My daughter's birthday provided just the excuse I needed!  Her actual birthday was on a week night, and even though she was having a party on Saturday, I couldn't let the day pass without doing something special.  So, I made brownies.  I even went all out and bought cookie dough ice cream too. (One of her favorites.)
Instead of leaving well enough alone, and making the brownies with the diet soda - I had to go fatten it up.  I added Rolos and Kit Kats to the middle!  I know.  I'm terrible.

Fattened up skinny brownies

1 box of brownie mix (13x9 size)
1 can of soda (I used Cherry Coke Zero)
chocolate candy of choice

Dump brownie mix in a bowl.  Slowly add can of soda (it will fizz).  Stir together until combined. The batter will be very thin. Pour half the brownie mix in an 9x9 baking dish - sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 10-12 minutes @ 350, until brownies have started to firm up slightly.  Remove brownies from oven and place candy on top.  I used Rolos and Kit Kat bars.  *I do not recommend the Kit Kat b/c the cookie wafer gets soggy and limp.  It was better the next day, but I would use Rolos - they were awesome, or any chocolate bar.  After you have covered the brownies with candy, pour the remaining batter over the top.  Bake for about 20 minutes or so, (I don't really remember how long I baked them. Sorry!), but bake until the center no longer "jiggles".  
Remove from oven, let cool some (if you can) and enjoy an ooey, gooey, yummy coulda-been-guilt-free brownie.  With ice cream of course.
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I'm linking this recipe up over at Lady Behind the Curtain, The NewlywedsIt's a Keeper, Feeding Four, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, A Little Nosh

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Angry (Bird) Birthday Party!

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For my daughter's 11th birthday, she wanted an Angry Birds theme.  If you aren't familiar with Angry Birds....well, there's an app for that, is all I can tell you.  It is some game that my kids love to play on their iPOD.  I have never played it, but apparently it has something to do with pissed off birds.

I found store bought Angry Bird cupcakes at Wal-Mart and Sam's, but they were just plain cupcakes with the plastic picture of a bird on top.  Ghetto.  My kid didn't want that. Noooo, she wanted it to be more 'authentic'.  Thank goodness someone craftier than I had already done a post on how to make Angry Bird cupcakes!  Thank you to The Crafting Chicks for the excellent tutorial!
I started in the wee hours of the morning (b/c I'm never real on top of things) and divided up my (store bought) frosting...hey, it was just easier okay?!  I did make homemade egg free cupcakes, but we'll get to those later. I added food coloring to the frosting to make shades of green, red, yellow and blue.  I didn't worry about the color too much, b/c I knew I was going to cover them in colored sugar.
pretty!
 (please excuse poor lighting and cell phone pics!)
After frosting the cupcakes, I dipped them in red, blue, yellow and green sprinkles. Apparently there are green pigs in the game.  My husband decorated the pigs! 

For the birds, I cut up black licorice twists to make the eyebrows.  The eyes are mini marshmallows, cut in half, with mini chocolate chips stuck in them.  The beaks are made from orange 'jelly' slices, and the 'belly' is a  slice of a large white marshmallow.  The red bird also has two red skittles stuck in the top.

Even though Angry Birds are quite popular, I couldn't find any themed plates/napkins/party favors.  Oddly enough, I happen to have a couple of balloon craft sets that had been reduced at Wal-Mart a good while ago, that contained birds and a pig that could easily be used as decorations.  My daughter and her friend decorated the balloons the night before.  They turned out pretty cute.
I just went with primary colors for plates, etc.  All of the plates, napkins, etc. were in the party section at Wal-Mart. Can you tell I do a lot of shopping at wally world?  I also filled a couple of mason jars with Skittles candy, because they looked pretty :)

Overall, the decorations and cupcakes looked really cute.  I think I have more pictures on my 'real' camera, but, of course, I can't load them on the computer right now.  I'll update this post if I have more pics later on.

Check out The Crafting Chicks for a step-by-step on decorating the cupcakes.

I'm linking up with It's a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace, From Mess Hall to Bistro, Lady Behind the Curtain, Gingersnap Crafts, Cherished Handmade Treasures, I Should Be Mopping the Floor

Monday, March 26, 2012

Good news, bad news

Good news = my dear husband bought me a new computer!!!!  I've been MIA since my computer crashed, and I was trying not to complain too much to my hubs since he just bought me my sweet baby puppy.  However, he surprised me again this weekend by showing up with a new computer!  Thanks honey! (I'm pretty sure he doesn't read my blog, but just in case)

Bad news = apparently my older Canon EOS Rebel XT is not compatible with the newer computers.  I can't get it to load on mine or my daughters'.  This is a pain in the patooty. Any smart computer people have any suggestions?  I've been to Canon's website, but it wasn't very helpful.  I'm thinking an external SD card reader may be my cheapest/best option. Amazon here I come!  Anyway, any suggestions are appreciated. A new camera is not an option at this time!  I don't know about y'all, but this week is biz-zay (busy).  The kids have school pics, Field Day, DARE graduation, preschool Easter party....I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  Oh yeah, and Mr. Three decided to get sick.  So...he is coughing and wheezing with a low grade fever.  It always happens when we have a million things going on.  Since he is sick, he can't go to preschool or the child care center at the Y, which means Ican'tworkoutorhaveanyfreemommytimeOMGIamhavingapanicattack....breathe...

Good News = This past weekend we celebrated my oldest child's 11th birthday.  I can't believe my little girl is 11!  She requested 'Angry Bird' cupcakes. My first thought was 'oh. crap.', but my fellow bloggers and Pinterest saved the day.  I found some great pics and instructions on another blog, and ended up making egg free chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, decorated as Angry Birds! They turned out very cute and they tasted great.  My daughter loved them, so that was the main thing.  I will post (cell phone) pics soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

still here

Well, I'm still here, but computer-less.  Well, not exactly computerless, since I commandeered my girls' computer (much to their dismay), but it won't allow me to load my camera onto it...don't ask me why...something about drivers and such.  So, I'm screwed.  All my stored pics are in the black hole of my crashed computer and my newer pics are sitting in my camera with no way to get loaded onto this computer.

%^$&^%$*%^(*)*!@#$%#&^*(   That's me cursing technology.

On a happier note - I got my puppy!!!!  He is SO freakin' adorable!

Between computer issues, sleep deprivation, and 3 children...
I need a drink.

Holla at me peoples.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No pics

There are two things in life I really hate - car trouble, and computer problems (ok, there is way more than two, but let's just focus on these right now). If you saw my post on Facebook, you know that it is not my car I'm getting ready to rant about. It's my STUPID computer!! It crashed! Just out of the blue, no warning, just. Died. What is up with that nonsense?! AND, it just happens to crash at a time when I had it loaded down with pictures. I'm usually pretty good abt keeping my pics on a thumb drive or online storage- or both if they r really important to me, but recently I've been putting it off. So, I'm sad. So many pics that I may never get back. Also, how can I blog abt all the food I've made when I have no pics?!

Anyway, I had a few suggestions on FB abt possibly salvaging the pics so I'm going to work on that and hopefully be back to full operational mode soon! This typing on the iPad is a little slow going.

I have a giveaway ending in a few hours for the Target gift card & General Mills cereal (with Atari download) and I will hopefully have more giveaways coming up soon. Gotta get this computer situation straight. Wish me luck!

Oh yeah, and just to share a piece of wisdom... Back yo' sh*t up!

Wordless Wednesday - Hot Potato



Monday, March 12, 2012

Hibachi Soup and Sesame Noodles

Yes, I'm still here, alive and well.  Just haven't had a chance to blog for a few days.  Life happens.  I ate a lot of good food this weekend, and visited an awesome Farmer's Market in Williamsburg, VA - and guess how many pictures I have to show for it?  NONE.  I know.  How much does that suck?  What kind of blogger am I?!  No need to really answer that.  My ego is fragile these days.  


Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I made sesame noodles and hibachi soup.  Found on Pinterest of course.  I thought the noodles were pretty good, but not as good as this Asian Noodle Salad that I have posted before.  The hibachi soup is similar to that you get at the Japanese Steak House - not identical to what I am used to, but not bad.  Just be sure to taste your soup as it cooks b/c the saltiness increases as it cooks down and I should have added more water/broth before serving.  My kids said it was too salty.  My bad.
Sesame Noodles from Fatsecret.com

Direction

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain.
  2. If your seeds aren't toasted, you can toast them in a 350 °F (175 °C) oven for about 6-8 minutes while your pasta cooks.
  3. Place the garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves.
  5. Pour the sauce over the boiled and drained pasta, add the sesame seeds and chopped green onions, and mix thoroughly.
My notes - the sauce was very thin, even after I let it boil for a while.  I thought it would reduce and thicken, but it didn't.  Of course, I also used a little less sugar than called for.  Since it was so thin, it just pooled in the bottom of the bowl.  I'm not sure if it was supposed to be like this or not - but it would be better if the noodles sat for a while in the sauce, to soak up the flavor.

Hibachi Soup adapted from Carrie's Cooking and Recipes (her soup pic looks way better than mine)

1/2 stalk celery, cut into large chunks
1 small onion, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
3 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms  (I omitted. I hate mushrooms)
2 quarts water (8 cups)
French fried onions (omitted) I used green onions as garnish

Directions
In a large stockpot, combine the celery, onion, carrot, ginger,  & garlic, and a few of the mushrooms. Add chicken bouillon, beef bouillon, and water. Place the pot over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil. When the mixture reaches boiling, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 45 minutes. It can cook for longer, but you will need to add more water if too much water evaporates. *I only cooked mine for 45 mins and it still needed more water added. After it's cooked for at least 45 minutes strain the cooked soup and discard all of the vegetables, leaving the broth. Serve the broth with sliced mushrooms and sprinkle french friend onions green onions on top.

My Notes - other than the soup being salty, it was pretty good.  However, I thought the noodles and soup were just lacking a little something.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it....
then I decided to mix the two together.  
Together, they were AWESOME.  
All the flavors merged together to create a very flavorful, tasty dish.  So, sometimes dumping everything together is a good thing!
I probably won't make these separate dishes again, but I am going to work on a recipe that incorporates both of them together (without having to go through the whole process of making the 2 separate dishes!) b/c like I said, together, they were really good.
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I also have a giveaway going on right now that includes a $10 Target gift card, 2 boxes of General Mills cereal, and a free PC download of Atari 80's video games :)  Gotta love the 80's!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

General Mills, the 80's, Target...AND a giveaway!

Have you walked down the cereal aisle at Target recently?  Talk about flashbacks!  They have brought back the cereal box designs from the 80's for a limited time only.  They are, like, totally, like, totally retro!  I was like, ohmigaaah, these boxes are SO awesome! *Must be said in your best 'valley girl' voice*

AND they have teamed up with ATARI.  ATARI people!!  Remember Asteroids, Centipede, Pong?!  You can play them all again! It so made me want to tease my hair and find some leg warmers!  I rocked the 80's.  Of course, you will notice I did not go dragging out any photos from the era...but boy are they entertaining.

Moving on....General Mills, Atari and Target have teamed up for this fun promotion.  You can collect all 5 different packages of Big G cereals that include Atari Activities on the back of each box.  They are only available at Target through mid-March, so hurry!  The participating Big G cereals are: Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (17 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Honey Nut Cheerios® (17 oz.), Cheerios® (18 oz.) and Cocoa Puffs® (16.5 oz.)


Also, it's Atari´s 40th Anniversary this year! Wow...that makes me feel O.L.D.  But to relive your youth a little, you can check out GrocerySavvy.com and test your online Atari gaming skills at Asteroids!  There is also a sweepstakes you can enter while there for a chance to win Target gift cards and Atari merchandise.


The giveaway I am offering includes the following -
  • (2) boxes of participating Big G cereals
  • $10 Target gift card
  • A free download for "Atari 80 Classic Games In 1"

Yes, a Target gift card, cereal, video games, and a chance to relive the 80's a little.  Is this a great giveaway or what?!

Disclosure:  The prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills, Atari and Target through MyBlogSpark.

Just enter via rafflecopter!  I don't know about y'all, but it's my favorite way to enter giveaways now!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Italian Sausage Enchiladas

Italian meets Mexican.  Why not?!
I'm not sure how this ended up being the only picture I have...I must have been hungry that night. (of course, that's every night...so really not an excuse)

When I saw this posted at Eat at Home, I knew I wanted to give it a try.  I love Italian sausage, and enchiladas, I just never thought to mix the two.  

Italian Sausage Enchiladas adapted from Eat at Home

1/4 lb. turkey Italian sausage
1/4 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 chopped yellow onion
4 oz. Mexican Blend shredded cheese
4-5 whole wheat tortillas
5 oz enchilada sauce (I froze the other half of can)
approx 8 oz tomato sauce (I froze the other half of can)
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Brown turkey sausage, ground beef and onion in large skillet. 
Mix 2/3 of the cheese with the meat, reserving remaining cheese for the top.
Stir together enchilada sauce, tomato sauce and garlic powder.
Spread some sauce on bottom of  8x8 pan.**
Fill tortillas with meat and cheese. Roll and place in pan.
Cover with sauce. Top with cheese.
Bake 30 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted at 350 degrees.

**Notes - I made half of the original recipe.  Double ingredients and use a 9 x 13 pan for full recipe.

Verdict? - It was yummy.  Like I said, I love Italian sausage and this would have been good using all sausage too, which is what was done in the original recipe.  Even my 2 girls ate this...however, Number One just ate the filling.  My kids are soooo picky.  
I originally cooked a lb of turkey sausage and a lb of lean ground beef.  I froze the extra, and ended up using it in soup.  The remaining tomato sauce was actually used in yesterday's Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I have found the freezing individual ingredients sometimes works out better than making a full amount of a recipe and freezing half of the finished product...unless it is something that you know your family will like and eat. (and will freeze well) Since I am frequently trying new recipes, I never know if it's going to go over well or not!

So go on and try some Mexi-talian for dinner tonight!
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I'm linking up today with It's a Blog Party, All the Small Stuff, 33 Shades of Green, Blessed with Grace, From Mess Hall to Bistro

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I have raved and raved about the Meyer Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, but I also made this Chicken Tortilla Soup after seeing it posted over at PreventionRD.  It is also delicious!!  As a matter of fact, I am planning on making both of these soups again this week.  It's chilly and rainy and soup will be perfect.  Plus I love it and it's generally low calorie.  Of course, I enjoyed this bowl with plenty of cheese, guacamole, and...no that's not sour cream.  It's plain yogurt!  It makes an excellent and healthier alternative to sour cream.
And fresh cilantro definitely makes it mo'betta.

Chicken Tortilla Soup adapted from PreventionRD
2 t. olive oil
1 lb (about 3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
2 jalepeno, seeded and diced
1/4 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of Rotel Tomatoes with Cilantro and Lime
8 oz tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 bay leaf
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:
I prepared my chicken in the crock pot, so it was ready to shred and add to soup that evening.  Add the peppers, and onion to a stock pot with the 2 tsp of olive oil.  Cook for a few minutes on medium heat until they just begin to soften.  Add garlic and stir, and heat for about 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes (juice and all), cumin, bay leaf, and tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavors and cook the vegetables.
Add the chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flavors have developed.  
Remove the bay leaf and pulse process the soup in your food processor (in batches, if necessary) or immersion blender, to your desired consistency. Do not overfill your food processor or you may have soup spewing all down the sides.  Trust me on this.  Add the soup back into your stock pot (the blending is completely optional btw.  It IS more work, but I prefer my veggies to be pulverized and it gives the soup and nice hearty texture.)  Add the shredded chicken into the soup. Let this simmer for about 20 more minutes.  I just allowed my soup to cool and then stuck it in the fridge, so the flavors got to mingle all night.  My plan was to have it for dinner the following evening, but it was calling my name by lunch time, so I had it for lunch, and dinner too!
Check out the original recipe because I made several changes  - I didn't use corn, tortillas or anaheim peppers, but it was still very good! (It also freezes well!)  Of course, I think the container in my freezer was in there for all of 3 days.
I loved this soup.  It's mildly spicy and just a bowl of warmth and comfort.  Amen.
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I'm linking up today with Everything Under the Moon, Homemaker on a Dime, Beyer Beware, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, The Girl Creative, Life as Mom, Things that make you say "mmmmm!", Making the World Cuter, The Sweet Spot, Our Delightful Home

Friday, March 2, 2012

This post is not for the weak

TGIF.  It's been an exhausting week.  And I don't know why I'm TGIF'n, b/c the weekend is going to be busy too.  Thank GOD basketball ends this weekend.  As much as I love for my children to be involved in sports (unlike myself) & as much as I enjoy watching their games - I'm tired of Thursday night practice, Friday night practice, 2 games on Saturday.  I bees basketballed out. 

Anywho, lots of stomach bugs going around here right now, and sure enough, it hit the Mo'Betta house Sunday evening.  My 3 y/o started running a fever, then started puking, ran a fever for 2 days, but thankfully only one evening of barfing.  Of course, a few hours after he started, my middle child started as well.  And she decided to puke on the floor, right in front of the toilet, even though she had a trash can/sink/toilet at her disposal.  I might have said a really ugly word.  Not my finest mother moment.  *sigh*  I feel like I've been having lots of those recently.  Oh - and now my youngest is broke out in a lovely rash all over his trunk.  I've diagnosed him with Roseola.  I hope I'm right since I haven't taken him to the Dr.  (I am a nurse before anyone decides they need to inform social services of my lack of parenting skills). Who needs doctors when you have the internet anyway?  Just kidding!  The internet will make you think everything is some terminal illness & will cause my paranoid mom self to have a full blown anxiety attack.

And since I've already talked about vomit...I have another story.  *Leave now if you don't enjoy a good puke story*  The kids and I have started attending a new church.  On Wednesday nights they have dinner, then the kids have class/choir.  I know a few of the moms there, so it's nice to sit and chat while the kids are occupied.  Well...on our SECOND visit to the church, my 3 y/o goes upstairs for the little preschool missions class.  He comes down when it's over looking very....odd.  He is making weird faces, his skin looks splotchy, and he is drooling.  He is also holding a few mini Musketeer candy bars.  You know the little bite size pieces from Valentine's?  If you've been reading my blog, you know that my son is allergic to eggs and nuts.  3 Musketeers have eggs in them.  I guess you see where I'm going with this.  Yes, he had eaten one of the little teeny tiny candy bars....and was having an allergic reaction.  I felt like the worst mother EVER for not making sure his teacher knew about his allergies.  (See?! Another bad mommy moment!) I just ASSumed that since we had just eaten dinner, that they would not be eating anything.  Big mistake on my part.  So anyway, I'm watching him, trying to decide what I should do and see how bad the reaction is going to be.  He's never really had a severe reaction, but the drooling was freaking me out.  I had visions of his throat swelling and was torn between running to the car to get the Epi Pen and just taking him home.  As I'm having my internal debate, my son starts to cough.  That kind of gagging cough that makes me realize what's getting ready to happen.  We are no where near the bathroom, and I don't see a trashcan - so I grabbed my cup I was drinking iced tea from.  Just in the nick of time - my son spews all in my drink.  Nice.  So here I am, sitting in the middle of this large room, with a bunch of people, with my kid sitting in my lap, puking in a styrofoam cup.

It gets worse.  He fills the cup!  I'm not sure what to do with it or what to do next.  Then another cup gets handed to me, and one of the other moms TAKES THE PUKE FILLED CUP and throws it away for me.  Then another mom brings me some wet paper towels.  Then someone else brings me another cup.  I had all this help.  I didn't even know how to respond!  They then kindly asked me not to return.  Just kidding - they didn't say that out loud.

The good news is - once my son emptied his tummy, he was fine.  He went back to playing and didn't have any problems.  I also learned a valuable lesson.  I don't care how neurotic or paranoid I seem to be - it is important to let everyone that is around my son know that he has food allergies.  I was trying to not be SO super-paranoid-freak-everyone-out mom, but it turns out that you have to be diligent 24/7.  It was kind of funny though, I thought later...only another mom would grab a vomit filled cup and not bat an eye!

Soooo, anyone still reading?  Do you have any barf stories you'd like to share?  Feel free.  I feel a lot better now that I've purged (no pun intended) my bad mommy moments.  I'm just hoping I don't have anymore to share for quite a while - barf stories that is.  I'm sure there will be plenty of bad mommy moments.  I'm awesome, but I'm not perfect.  haha.

On a positive note - I did manage to sneak in a hot stone massage on Wednesday.  Then I treated myself to a Starbucks coffee (brewed coffee with gingerbread syrup is YUMMO.  And cheap!)  Best morning I've had in a loonnng time!  (and I shopped around Target for a bit) Does a morning get any better than that?  I think not.

Have a great weekend - we are having freakish weather in NC.  It was 80 yesterday, with a chance of snow flurries next week.  Mother Nature is going through menopause or something.  Holla.

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