Thursday, January 31, 2013

Miss Two Turns 10...Pinterest Style

Yep, my little Diva has turned 10. Double digits! I know I say this ALL the time, but I really can't believe how fast time goes by!  

Miss Two is currently all about the zebra print...so, we were zebra'd out for her birthday party.

Even the cake had a little zebra accessory....
And yes, she had a cake {recipe HERE} completely covered in candy. Thank you Pinterest for that inspiration and the thousands of extra calories! (Mine was a little messy, I think I used too much frosting.)

And I got this great little tip from Pinterest too...pre-scoop your ice cream into muffin cups and store in the freezer until ready to use.  It makes 'cake and ice cream time' so much easier!  She had 'Birthday Cake' ice cream. It had chunks of cake in the ice cream...you know, because we didn't have enough sugar going on already ;-)  {and I just happen to have zebra print and light blue muffin cups}

The kids came for dinner and a movie, so their party favor was a bag of 'Birthday Cake' popcorn with some "movie theater candy" thrown in. {recipe coming soon}

While watching the movie, they had a little movie theater candy spread...
along with some popcorn.  My children thought this was a much better use of the vegetable tray ;-)

Then I apologized to the parents when they picked their kids up!  I'll post the recipes I used over the next few days, b/c the cake and birthday popcorn were quite tasty!

Linking this up at My Favorite Finds

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Super Bowl Round-Up!

I don't get all that excited about football, but I do enjoy the Super Bowl.  I look forward to the commercials, the half-time show, and "man food" :-)  This year, I thought I would do a little round-up of things on the blog that might be good for the big game day.

 Hot Banana Pepper Poppers
 Stuffed Bread
 Baked Mozzarella Sticks
 Sausage Balls
 Bubble Up Pizza
 Pizza 'Cupcakes'
 Pizza Monkey Bread
  Buffalo Chicken Pizza
 Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas
 Loaded Baked Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole
 Buffalo Chicken Chili
 Cincinnati Chili
 Hot Ham Dips
 Chicken BBQ & Slaw Sammie (crockpot)
 Ghetto Tacos
 Meatball Sub Casserole

And of course, a beverage or two....
 Maybe some Beer Margaritas? Or Skinny Girl Margaritas?


And check out my recipe over at Eat at Home today...Roasted Garlic Hummus. This would make another good Super Bowl appy!

Do you watch the Super Bowl? Have any traditions or plans for the big day? I'd love to hear it!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Del Monte Southwestern Tomato Kick-Off, Recipe & a GIVEAWAY!


Del Monte has come out with two new Southwestern-Style Petite Cut® Diced Tomato varieties - 
 

and I couldn't wait to give them a try!  I used the Petite Cut® Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle Chilies in this taco bake, and not only was it yummy, but it was so easy to put together!

Chipotle Taco Bake adapted from this recipe

1 can reduced fat crescent rolls
1 lb lean ground beef (or turkey)
1 package taco seasoning
1 can Del Monte 
Petite Cut® Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle Chilies
8 oz plain non-fat yogurt (or sour cream)
1 1/2 cups shredded 'Fiesta Blend' cheese
1/2-3/4 bag nacho cheese chips (like Doritos), crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  B
rown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain, if needed.  Stir in taco seasoning and Del Monte tomatoes, simmer 5-10 minutes. Spray a 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray, and press crescent rolls on the bottom and about 1/2 way up the sides. Press seams to seal.  Top crescent roll 'crust' with meat mixture and spread yogurt over meat.   Top with cheese and crushed chips. Bake for approx. 30 minutes.


Verdict? Everyone enjoyed this dish, even my kids! It wasn't too spicy My oldest daughter even said she might want this as her birthday dinner.  That's high praise around here.

Since Del Monte canned tomatoes, fruits and vegetables contain the same essential nutrients as fresh varieties and the majority of their products are picked at the peak of ripeness and canned on the same day, it's a choice I feel good about feeding my family.

With the Super Bowl coming up, I'm sure you can find lots of uses for these new varieties. For more inspiration, check Del Monte out on Pinterest!  Also, be sure to check out and enter the Del Monte® Southwestern Tomato Kick-Off Sweepstakes!


Enter for the chance to win one of the many prizes available, including an ultimate entertainment package with a Sony® 55” LED TV, Bose® home theater system and Sony® Blu-ray player (ARV $4,779.00 USD).   Wow, I would have one happy hubby!

To enter:
  • Follow the Del Monte Brand on Pinterest
  • Create a Pinterest board named “Del Monte Southwestern Tomato Kick-Off”
  • Pin at least two (2) Del Monte Tomato Recipes from the “Del Monte Southwestern Tomato Kick-Off” Pinterest board and at least two (2) football entertaining ideas
  • Register your Pinterest board to the Del Monte page from January 21st through February 15th to be entered into the Del Monte® Southwestern Tomato Kick-Off Sweepstakes program

That's not all! It's GIVEAWAY TIME!  Del Monte is offering to give the following prize pack to a Makin' it Mo'Betta reader:
  • (1) Del Monte® Petite Cut® Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
  • (1) Del Monte® Petite Cut® Diced Tomatoes with Chipotle Chilies
  • $25 Visa gift card

Just enter the GIVEAWAY via Rafflecopter! (You may have to click on the link below for it to open the Rafflecopter giveaway form.)  Giveaway open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Del Monte products, information and two gift packs (one for me, and one for the giveaway winner) have been provided by Del Monte. The recipe and opinions are my own.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is one of my favorite pizzas. Since I had the Loaded Baked Potato and Buffalo Chicken Casserole, I have wanted to pour buffalo sauce on everything, so I had to make this pizza over the weekend.  AND since a certain big football game is coming up, I thought I would go ahead and post this. I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I have changed up the way I make it a bit since the "old days" :-), plus I have a better picture now!
droooool. If you like buffalo wing sauce that is.

This is very easy to throw together too, which is always a bonus. Of course, maybe too easy since I ate it 2 days in a row, and would eat it again today if I had not run out of chicken.  Yes, it's that good.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Favorite Pizza Crust
Blue Cheese Salad Dressing (I use Fat Free by Wishbone)*
Chicken Breast, cut into chunks or strips
Buffalo Wing Sauce
Gorgonzola Cheese
Mozzarella or 'pizza blend' cheese

*Can substitute Ranch dressing if you prefer

In a bowl, place your chicken and add enough Buffalo Wing Sauce to thoroughly coat. Let that sit while oven is pre-heating to 450 degrees.  Take crust, spray lightly with olive oil (optional, but I like how it crisp up the crust), and spread crust with Blue Cheese or Ranch dressing, just like you would pizza sauce.  If you put too much, it's going to ooze off the sides (see above pic) while cooking.  This is not a bad thing in my book. Place Buffalo Sauce coated chicken on top of dressing.  Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese.  This is a strong cheese with a distinctive flavor, so use as much or as little as desired.  (If you do not like blue cheese, then omit gorgonzola and use all mozzarella and cheddar).  Cover gorgonzola cheese with mozzarella or 'pizza blend' cheese.  Bake until cheese is nice and melted and crust is golden brown.  The one pictured is about a 6" pizza on a pre-baked homemade crust, and it cooked for 7 or 8 minutes. 

So.Good.  
What's your favorite pizza?

Want more Buffalo Chicken recipes? The Betty Crocker Dinner-Made-Easy Newsletter has a link to a whole list. Check it out HERE. I'm thinking the Buffalo Chicken Beer Bread Pizza has my name alllll over it!



Friday, January 25, 2013

Baked Meyer Lemon Donuts


Meyer Lemons are awesome. Donuts are awesome. Therefore, Meyer Lemon Donuts are awesomer.  True story.  They also make for pretty pictures :-)  So many of my posts include camera phone shots taken on the fly as I am trying to get dinner on the table, and unfortunately, I don't really see that changing anytime soon. I mean, let's be real. I have 3 young kids. Enough said.  ANYway, I have been working on my "food styling" techniques when I have time. (if I could just learn how to properly use my camera, that would be great.)  But, there is just something 'happy' about Meyer Lemons that makes me want to take their picture!

Baked donuts are a favorite around here (b/c I am a mean mama and deprive my children of the store-bought trans-fat laden versions). When they get there first bite of a freshly baked, warm Krispy Kreme, I will  most likely lose the "my mom is so awesome she makes us great donuts" status.

Meyer Lemon Baked Donuts adapted from Sweet Mornings Baked Lemon Donuts

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sugar substitute (I used NuNaturals Tagatose)
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
¾ cup low fat plain yogurt
6 Tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a doughnut pan with cooking spray.
Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and sugar substitute (if using).
In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, eggs, yogurt, lemon juice, and vanilla extract.
Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix to combine.
Fill the donut pan 2/3 full of batter. (I just use a spoon, but some people prefer to pipe it in.)
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Top donuts as desired. 

A glaze of lemon juice and confectioners sugar is delicious, or you can dip them in powdered sugar. (or you can do both like we did!).

NOTES - You can use 3/4 cup granulated sugar and skip the sugar substitute if desired, or you could probably use all sugar substitute (for baking), but I haven't tried that.  You could also use regular lemons instead of Meyer lemons, or use orange juice, for orange donuts! Also, these are a dense, cake-like donut, not a light and fluffy one. (Cake donuts are my fave!)

Well, enjoy these bright, sunny donuts during this COLD, dreary day! Yes, I bragged too soon about our awesome weather....I actually saw a few snow flakes yesterday, with more in the forecast today!



I am linking this recipe up at (Monday) Holly's Stamping AddictionThe Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a Dime,Delightfully DowlingSkip to my LouProject InspireMaking the World CuterMrs. Happy HomemakerI Should Be Mopping the FloorThis Gal Cooks, Watch Out, Martha! (Tuesday) Snappee TurtleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe BoxPocket Change Gourmet,  33 Shades of GreenBlessed with GraceZentmrs. & The Mr., Memories By the Mile, Hun...What's for Dinner (Wednesday) Semi Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the CurtainGinger Snap CraftsHungry Little Girl, Naptime is My Time (Thursday) Designed DecorTaste and Tell,  Miz Helen's Country CottageThe Mandatory Mooch,  The Busy Bee's(Friday) Not Your Ordinary Recipes,  Simple Living and EatingJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better Baker, Craftionary, Mummy Deals, One Artsy Mama, The Best Blog Recipes, One Creative Mommy  (Saturday) Sweet as Sugar Cookies,  Six Sisters' Stuff, (Sunday) Mommy's Sweet Confessions   


Meyer Lemon Baked Donuts

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Weeknight Dinner Tips & Buffalo Chicken Chili - Guest Post


Do weeknight dinners stress you out?  When you’re running after your kids all day or working hard at the office, dinnertime has the tendency to sneak up you when you’re least expecting it.  How many times have you glanced up at the clock thinking it was the middle of the afternoon, only to realize in shock that it’s already 5:30? 

If you’re constantly scrambling to get dinner on the table, take a deep breath and slow down.  There are plenty of ways to take shortcuts at dinnertime and still provide your family with healthy, nutritious and hearty meals.  The following are easy ways to simplify your dinner prep and take the stress out of mealtime:

Make One Pot Meals
Some of the easiest meals to make on nights when you’re pressed for time are ones that cook up in one dish.  Whether it’s a stew, soup or chili that can be made in one big pot or crockpot, a pasta bake or a casserole, one-dish meals reduce the amount of time you’ll have to spend cleaning up miscellaneous pots and pans and typically don’t involve excessive prep work.

Involve Your Family
Getting your kids involved in the kitchen can be beneficial to meal time in a couple of different ways.  First of all, the more people you have helping you out with dinner, the more quickly it will get finished.  Additionally, bringing your family into the kitchen with you can help teach kids basic cooking skills and can get them excited about the food in front of them.  Spending time in the kitchen also allows you to catch up with your family without missing out on valuable cooking time. 

Keep Your Pantry Stocked
Taking some time every couple weeks to make sure that your pantry is stocked and ready for the coming week can be an extremely valuable time saver when it comes to dinnertime.  If you have the basics, such as canned or frozen veggies, chicken broth, beans or another protein, and some type of pasta, it can be easy to throw together dozens of different dinner ideas on short notice and you won’t be stuck with any last-minute grocery runs.

This recipe for Buffalo Chicken Chili is one of those quick and delicious dinner ideas that you’ll want to make over and over again.  Make it for a weeknight dinner when you’re running a little behind, reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day (the flavors will be especially blended) or make a double batch when you have people over for the Super Bowl; nothing says “football” like a bubbling pot of chili!


Buffalo Chicken Chili from ReadySetEat®

Total Time: 30 min
Serves: 6
Calories: 230

·         PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
·         1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
·         1-1/2 cups sliced celery
·         1 can (15 oz each) Rosarita® Premium Whole Black Beans, drained, rinsed
·         1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Garlic, undrained
·         1 can (8 oz each) Hunt's® Tomato Sauce
·         2 tablespoons red pepper sauce
·         1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Spray a large saucepan or a Dutch oven with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.
Stir in beans, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce and pepper sauce; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cook for 10 to 15 more minutes or until chicken is tender and the flavors are all blended.  Top each serving with blue cheese and more pepper sauce, if desired.

This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of ReadySetEat®.  For other easy chili recipes and easy weeknight dinners, visit www.readyseteat.com

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Paint!



Excuse the poor lighting and cell phone pics...but I'm so excited to have paint!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

I loooove oatmeal!  Regular oats, steel cut oats, instant...I like it all, but steel cut is definitely my favorite.  It's one of the few healthy foods that I eat b/c I want to, not b/c I feel like I should!  Now, if I could just convince the rest of my family....
and these are made with pumpkin and spices and taste like a big bowl of comfort.

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

1/3 cup steel cut oats
1 cup water
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
10 drops vanilla stevia (I use NuNaturals)

Add oats to water with a pinch of salt in a small pot.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla stevia (or 1 tsp vanilla extract with sweetener of choice - to taste).  Stir to combine and simmer for another 5 minutes.  

Serve with walnuts and a sprinkle of raw sugar if desired.

And if you are experiencing freakishly warm weather like we have been in eastern NC, you can have breakfast outside! I'm sorta loving this view :-)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Not Your Mama's Magic Bars

First, I'm gonna need for you to use your imagination a bit.  What you are about to see is NOT red and green Christmas candy...we are going to visualize them as red, white and pink for Valentine's!  Okay, everybody with me?  You ready?
BAM! Valentine's Magic Bars with a Twist.  These bad boys are AWE-SOME.  As in awesomely delicious.  A little creativity based on the ever popular and traditional Magic Bars. (Or some people know them as 7 layer bars).  I had every intention of making Magic Bars for Christmas.  They just seem like a Christmas treat to me.  I guess because that is the only time of year I remember my mom making them.  However, Christmas came and went...with no Magic Bars.  Since I still had all of the ingredients, it didn't seem right to let these pretty M's go to waste just because they were red and green.  So, I set about gathering my ingredients for my much anticipated Magic Bars. I knew I had bought all of the ingredients.  ALL of the ingredients.  So imagine my irritation surprise when there are no graham crackers to be found. I was not happy.  So, I looked around the pantry, and see Club Crackers (leftover from the DIY Twix Bars...also delicious btw).  Yep, this Mama was gonna have her some Magic Bars.  A few extra things found there way into these bars as well.
Oh yeahhhh....bring it.
Baked up in all of their ooey, gooey, chewy, sweet and salty perfection.

Not Your Mama's Magic Bars 

1 1/2 cups crushed Club crackers
1/3 cup butter*, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk*
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup M&M candies (any colors!)
small bag of mini Rolos, halved
chopped pecans (optional)

*I used light butter and fat free sweetened condensed milk b/c I wanted to make this diet friendly. Just kidding, that is just what I had on hand, and the bars turned out great. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
Melt butter in 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan (I did this in the oven while it was preheating). 
Sprinkle cracker crumbs over butter and pat down to make the "crust".  (I crushed the crackers with a food processor, but you could also place them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Or wine bottle. Whatever's handy.)
Pour condensed milk evenly over cracker/butter crust.
Sprinkle coconut, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, M&M's, Rolos and nuts (if using) over top. 
Bake for 25 minutes or until light brown around edges. 
Cool completely before cutting into bars. 


All I can say is...make these.  The next holiday is Valentine's, and nobody needs to diet on Valentine's.  Go enjoy some mo'betta magic. hahaha, that sounded so cheese-y.  Seriously, these bars have a little something for everyone, and you can adapt the toppings to whatever you like or have on hand.  I love the club crackers as opposed to the graham crackers, b/c you get a little hint of saltiness mixed in with all that sweet.  Yep. There gooood.

Dollar General - my saving grace, I mean, place!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of P&G brands at Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I live in a small community that has ONE grocery store (no lie), a 'one dollar' store, a hardware store, and a Dollar General.  The closest mass-merchandiser is about 35 minutes away.  When you have 3 kids and a huge SUV, driving that far to pick up a couple of items is just not feasible.  Gas cost too much and, well, I'm not even going to talk about carrying all 3 kids to the store.  Sometimes I need to just pop in somewhere local, and grab something quick.  

There are always those moments where I suddenly realize I forgot the Cascade, or my girls tell me they ran out of Vidal Sassoon (not when they get low, but completely run out!).  

Well, thank goodness, for Dollar General.  The one where I live (and I assume they are all pretty much the same?) carries a little bit of everything. Everything from grocery items, school supples, and baby supplies to my favorite P&G brands, all at reasonable prices.  Yep, my local Dollar General has saved me many a trip to wally world, not to mention time and money by not having to travel out-of-town.  

The best part...they can save you money too!  Dollar General accepts P&G brandSAVER coupons, which can save you over $50 dollars!  You can find P&G brandSAVER coupons in the Sunday paper. Look for them on 01/27/13 for great offers valid through 2/28/13.  Saving time and money is always a good thing in my book. It's like that Swiffer commercial, where the women realize they are all done cleaning and finally have time to read a book, or give themselves a facial! I love those commercials!  What would you do if you found yourself with an extra $50 in the budget?!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, January 18, 2013

Skillet Cornbread


If you are going to have fried or baked fish, you need some cornbread to go with it! I've started making mine in my cast iron skillet, which I love.
You can use pretty much any cornbread recipe, but I used the one on the back of the corn meal container.

Skillet Corn Bread slightly adapted from Quaker Corn Meal

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup olive oil (could also use canola/vegetable)
2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten (I used Ener-g Egg Replacer)

Place iron skillet (if using) into oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl, add in milk, oil and egg (or egg replacer). Mix until just combined.  Remove skillet from oven and add a tablespoon (or two!) of butter to the skillet.  Swirl around to coat bottom.  Pour cornbread batter into hot skillet.  Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Serve warm with extra butter, if desired.

**No cast iron skillet?  You can still bake this in the oven in a 8 or 9 inch pan. (or check out the affiliate links below!) Just skip pre-heating the pan in the oven. Grease your pan before adding batter.  I also like to make cornbread muffins in the muffin pan, but I am loving these shaped cornbread pans!



Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to prepare fresh fish - Part 2

Yesterday's post was about frying fish.  If frying is not your thing, a healthier alternative is baking.  My mom said this is how my Grandma used to cook her fish...
Baked Fish

Fresh Fish Fillets (I used Rock)
1 large onion, thickly sliced
Very thin sliced potatoes (optional, I didn't use)
seasonings of choice (I used salt and pepper, Old Bay, and a little Cajun Seasoning. Lemon pepper would be good too.)
olive oil
fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with sides with olive oil (or non stick cooking spray. I love my Misto).  Place onion slices (and potatoes if using) onto baking sheet, add a little salt and pepper.  Put fish fillets on top of onion slices.  Spray or rub with olive oil (lightly), squeeze lemon juice over top, and add seasonings.  Bake until fish is white, and flakes easily with a fork.  You can also add more lemon juice before serving if desired.
For something this quick and easy, I really don't know why I don't cook fish more often. It is healthy (when not fried!) and is a source of Omega-3's and other good stuff.  You can read more about the health benefits here.  

So, fish on brother! And I mean that literally. I'd love to stock the freezer :-)




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