Sunday, August 4, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013


Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane/

It is summer, which means kiddos are home and if you are like me you are always wonder what you should make for lunch.

And this fall my not-as-picky eater goes to Kindergarten, so I've started gathering up lunch ideas for him. (Yay! I can send something besides fruit strips and Kashi bars!)

I love the Bento box ideas on Pinterest!

(I've already ordered some *cheap* bento-style lunch containers, silicone baking cups ('cause they have a LOT of uses), and some fun cookie cutters...!)

Here are the ideas I have so far:
1 - Homemade snacks. I want to be good. Really. So I've already found recipes for animal crackers and Cheezits. (Check out my Pinterest boards)

2) Cheese cubes

3) Diced fruit (Little Man will eat almost anything that's a fruit. At the least, he'll try it once.)
-Especially things I don't get all the time -- like blueberries.

4) Easy to finger eat pastas (My kids love, love them. I buy the Barilla Plus -- they won't eat the spinach or other kinds, unfortunately...)

5) Sandwiches of course

6) Homemade granola bars - I have a great recipe on my boards that I tweak however I want.
7) JELL-O! My kids love Jell-o and I never thought of this idea!

8) Crackers & Peanut Butter

9) Boiled eggs. (Little Man loves them)

10) Hot Dogs

11) Orange wedges

**So what do you pack in your kids lunches? What do you make for summer lunches for all the kids?**

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Body By Vi Recipies

I have found the greatest product ever!  It's called Visalus (or "Body By Vi").  It is a weight management powder that taste like cake mix.  It is DELISH, and you can use it in a TON of recipes.  The only problem is that most the recipes I find are on Facebook (who thought of that idea?  I'm sure it gets a lot of "shares" and "likes" so it keeps people's pages at the top of the list...but seriously, worst way EVER to keep track or recipes).

Body By Vi is typically used in a shake (my favorite is chocolate/peanut butter...chocolate for breakfast? Yes, please).  But someone who was thinking outside the box decided it can be used for solid food as well, which is great because I'm a "grazer" by nature.  I am constantly wanting food in my mouth (a habit I am trying to break), so on to find some great "snacking" food without putting licorice, and chocolate bars and ice cream in my mouth all the time.

Pumpkin/Spice Muffins
2 scoops protein powder
1 spice cake mix
1 small can of pumpkin
2 Scoops Visalus Shake Mix

Mix together.  Bake in mini muffin pans at 350-degrees (Fahrenheit) for 15-20 minutes.

Microwave No Bake Cookies
1/2 cup Honey
1 Cup Peanut Butter

Heat in Microwave  for 30 seconds.

1 TBSP Cocoa Powder
1-1/2 cups Oats
2 Scoops Visalus Shake mix powder

No Bake Energy Balls

1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 c. coconut flakes
1/3 c. honey
1/2  c. Peanut Butter or PB2 (Can find it on Amazon, and maybe a health food store.  I have never personally used this, but I know people who LOVE it).
1  c. Oatmeal
2 Scoops Visalus Shake Mix
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2  c. mini chocolate chips (optional)

Add Honey and Peanut Butter, mix together well until peanut butter is soft. Add in Oatmeal stirring until completely mixed Add Coconut flakes, Flaxseed, and Vanilla until completely mixed **NOTE: If using PB2, place in the fridge before making into balls for at least 20-30mins.*** Make into balls, enjoy!

Samoa Cookie Shake (Yeah, you know those DELICIOUS girl scout in a healthier shake)

2 Scoops Visalus Shake Mix
8 fl. oz. Silk Chocolate Soy Milk
1  tbsp. Crushed Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/8 tsp. Coconut Extract
2 tbsp. Torani Sugar Free Caramel Syrup
5-6  Ice Cubes

Mix  together and blend well.

Banana Nut ChocoChip Oatmeal Cookies

2 Scoops Visalus Shake Mix
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2  c. quick cooking oats
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1  c. packed brown sugar
1  jumbo egg
1/2 c. mashed ripe banana
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4  c. chopped walnuts
1/2  c. dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with Cooking Spray. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Set aside. Using a mixer (medium speed), cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and mix well. Add mashed banana and vanilla. Change mixer speed to low and stir in the flour mixture. Mix lightly and add the walnuts and chocolate chips. Drop heaping of tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are done. Yields 30 cookies. Cool on wire racks and store in an air tight container. Take note that the cookies are going to be darker since this recipe calls for wheat flour and brown sugar.

**Personal note: In most all recipes you can cut the sugar (whether white sugar, brown sugar or other sugars) in HALF without noticing much a difference in flavor.  Less sugar in your system to give you that afternoon crash, but still with all the taste.**

No Bake Chocolate/Peanut Butter Cookies

2 Cups Rolled Oats
3/4 Cup ViSalus Shake Mix
3 Tablespoons Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon Water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter

In a large bowl, combine the oats, and cocoa. With clean hands, mix in the water, vanilla, butter and peanut butter to form a dough. Wash hands, then roll the dough into balls 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Chill 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Pitch Links from LDStorymakers Conference 2013

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

•    Jennifer Laughran, literary agent:
•    Janet Reid, literary agent:
•    Guide to Literary Agents:
•    Writing World:

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Made It: Thin Mint Muddy Buddies

I'm kind of obsessed with mint lately: mint ankle skinnies, Thin Mints (which, consequently, you can't eat too many of or you will not be thin and you will not fit into the mint skinnies).

So I saw this recipe for Thin Mint Muddy Buddies and I knew I had to have them.

Here's how they turned out:

Don't worry -- it made way more than this. This is just the amount I scooped out for my husband. ;)
So, my tips.

* I didn't have gallon bags like the recipe wanted to use for shaking up, so I just used two big bowls that had lids. In the end I like that better because I don't waste a gallon sized bag and less to throw away. (Environment plus!) Also, I ended up storing them in one of the bowls, so win there too.

* I used off-brand mint cookies -- who would use actual Thin Mints for something like this?!? -- and I think they were bigger, because I ended up with a lot of crumbs in the bottom of the bowl when everything was coated. So, I would say use fewer cookies or not as much powdered sugar.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Made It: Garlic Cheesy Pull-Apart Bread

...And I changed it. :)

This pin from Pinterest looked amazing from the first time I saw it, but using the Rhodes rolls looked a little time-consuming to me and I'm all about easy meals--although, I will probably try the Rhodes version when I have a day that I remember about it. :) (I also want to try making making a Garlic Cheesy bread with the Rhodes bread loaves, similar to the Pepperoni Bread recipe.)

So instead, I used refrigerated biscuits. I cut them into fourths and tossed them with the butter and seasonings in the recipe, sans the Parmesan cheese. (I hardly ever have Parmesan, but I always have mozzarella.) It took me a couple tries to get the middle ones to cook, but I used a bunt pan--more biscuits were able to touch the sides of the pan and there's no middle. I cooked them for 30 minutes in the bunt pan and they turned out perfect.I forgot to layer the mozzarella in with it, but they were just as good without and I sprinkled some on top for good measure. ;)

So, that's one recipe tested and successful! I guess. Kinda. :D

(Find the original recipe here.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pudding Icing **UPDATED**

From marYvelous Cakes

The best icing!! All you do is mix one vanilla pudding packet with half of the milk called for on the package. Whisk until it begins to thicken. Then fold in one container of Cool Whip. A great frosting spread on cakes and piped onto cupcakes, a tasty filling in crepes or on waffles along with some fruit...way less sugar too.

I tried this recipe out for my son's birthday last week and it turned out SPECTACULAR. It was SO great, that when I needed a dessert last minute on Sunday morning, I used chocolate pudding and just, you know, set it out to eat. Mmmmm. :)
A couple tips:
* I've heard some say that it doesn't turn out very smooth. My hand mixer has a whisk attachment that I used and it turned out very smooth.
* Chill it before using it to frost a cake and it will be stiffer and easier to frost with.

Pin It

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Movement

Remember how I mentioned I hated it that there was this trend to share recipes on Facebook instead of pinning them? Well, my cousin has joined me in the effort to put a stop to it. ;) Okay, not really, but we'll be posting some recipes here so we know where they are and so we can pin them. Feel free to join our movement too.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Does anyone know what's up with this new trend to share photo recipes on Facebook? Call me old fashioned, but this just doesn't work for me. Just when I got my recipes all nice and organized on Pinterest.

You can find the original recipe here, should you be inclined to share it on Facebook.

Homemade Hamburger Buns

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add oil and sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the egg, salt and enough flour to form a soft dough. 
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes. Do not let rise. Divide into 12 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets. 

Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 425° for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Makes a dozen.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Finding this tutorial on how to remake jeans into skinny jeans killed two birds with one stone today. (*Also, new favorite blog.)

1) I have NEVER liked the way these jeans looked on me. 

I don't know? Something in the hips? The flare? Not flattering on me. Only heaven knows why I bought them.

And 2) I need a pair of lighter wash skinny jeans. I have two pairs of dark wash ones, and I always feel all dressed up when I put them on. I know. Weird.

So anyway. Ta da!

Crochet Tank


Top (clipped to

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quick Muffins

I love making muffins for my kids in the morning. The problem is that I also like to sleep, so that by the time I have them all made up, they're coming out of the oven just when we need to leave. So my munchkins get like two to munch on the way to school. Not cool.

Then I found a recipe on Pinterest that was for single servings of coffee cake, and of course I thought, "Well, that could work for anything!"

Like muffins.

Pin It

My 4 oz. ramekins are perfect for muffin-size stuff, but you could use anything small that is microwave safe. (Hot-cocoa cups? Pinch bowls? I have some from Pampered Chef that are also perfect for little Barbie cakes, and should I ever have a girl, you better believe I'm making little Barbie cakes.)

I put two in at a time and cook them for 1 minute. The boys love eating them with forks. They think that's awesome.

Ice Cube Trays

So there are some things that I always have too much of when I open the can for a recipe or something.

My little idea:

Pin It

Freeze those left over things in ice cube trays so that 1) you don't waste any and 2) you have smaller portions for next time.

Things I love to do this with:

* spaghetti or tomato sauce (especially because I love ravioli with all my heart and when I just make a bowl for myself, I need a little sauce . . . not a whole can.)

* baby cereals (It's super-easy to grind rice and oats to make your own [and save a TON of money, btw] but a bit time consuming to make it up every time, so I just make a moderate size batch and freeze it. For my 4-month-old, the portion sizes are perfect.)

*fresh herbs in water

* pureed pumpkin (or any vegetable/fruit!)

****UPDATED*** Plain Greek Yogurt - It can be used as a substitute for sour cream in so many recipes. But I buy a big tub and then forget to use it! Problem solved--into an ice cube tray, into the freezer, ta da! AND when Squishy gets old enough to eat yogurt with his baby food...easy to add into the mix.

Your ideas?


Ever since I discovered Pinterest, that's where I organize ALL my ideas. But the problem with Pinterest is that you can only pin what's already out there floating around on the internet. What if I have a great idea? One that's not really BIG enough for my writer's blog ... and one that want to share with the whole world so not the thing for our family blog?

This blog.