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Yummy Fall Recipes

30 Sep

Working on the grand kids Halloween costumes the last few days got me in the mood to whip up these two delicious Fall recipes.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup

This syrup not only tastes great in iced or regular coffee, making it will fill your home with a wonderful aroma too.  Many Health Food stores carry bulk herbs and spices at prices a lot lower than the grocery stores. 

Spices

In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup water, 1 cup brown sugar, and the following spices:

3 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

4 cinnamon sticks

3/4 teaspoon whole cloves

1 whole nutmeg (grate it a little bit)

Boil mixture

Bring everything to a boil.  Reduce and allow it to gently boil for 20 minutes.   Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Strain and store in refrigerator for one month.  Shake before using.  

Yummy Iron Skillet Apple Pie

Yummy Cast Iron Apple Pie

Oh, man, this apple pie is sooo good and super easy to make!  I bought the cast iron skillet at Walmart for about $17.  It was already seasoned, so all I had to do was wash and dry it first.

1 stick butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 refrigerated rolled pie crust

1 apple pie filling (21 oz)

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Melt 1 stick of butter in a 10” cast iron skillet.  Remove 1 tablespoon of butter into a small bowl.  Add 3/4 cup brown sugar to the skillet and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Place one pie crust evenly over the butter/sugar mixture. Pour the apple pie filling evenly over the crust. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle half over the pie filling.

Place the second pie crust over the pie filling, folding the excess toward the inside.  Brush the crust with the reserved melted butter and sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Cut several slits in the top crust. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Serve hot with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

Lego and Candyland Princess Birthday Party

13 Mar

For Kylan and Kinzley’s double birthday party this year, they chose the themes Legos and Princess. My daughter, Katie, added Candyland to Kinzley’s Princess theme so we could use one color scheme for both…primary colors.

INVITATIONS

Lego Candyland Party Invitation front

I made this Lego shaped invitation on my computer and printed them out on yellow card stock. Here’s the outside.

Lego Candyland Party Invitation-inside

For the inside I created a Candyland game board with the pertinent information, cut them out and glued them inside the card.

LEGO DECORATIONS

Kylan's Lego birthday wall

This is Kylan’s Lego wall. Katie made the banner using a Lego font; she covered the two pictures with a plastic tablecloth and added paper plates to make giant Legos; she added paper Ninja eyes to the balloons; built the number 6 (on the table) out of legos; painted the Lego containers, and…

Ninja Lego Lanterns

She made these cute Ninja Lego lanterns…

Kylan in his Lego shirt

and made Kylan (and his brother Caden) Lego shirts!

Lego juice box covers

She made these Lego juice box covers…

Lego and candy decorated cabinets

She decorated her cabinets like Legos and made the giant candies on top. It looked so good!

CANDYLAND PRINCESS DECORATIONS

Kinzley's candyland birthday wall

This is Kinzley’s Candlyland Princess wall. Katie made the banner and I made the giant lollipops from pool noodles and cardboard rolls.

Kinzley's candyland birthday wall2

Katie made the number 3 picture using thumb tacks; she made lace and gem princess crowns for the girls, and added a candyland game board.

Kinzley's In her Candyland Princess Dress

Here’s Kinzley modeling her “new” candlyland princess dress. Katie bought the dress for just 99 cents! She bought the shoes and tights. What a cute little Princess!

Candyland Princess Dress Lollipops

I made the sucker embellishments from felt and ribbon and added opal pearls. Katie added the stripped ribbon.

Candyland Necklace

Katie also made the colorful necklace.

FOOD, DESSERT/GOODIES

Lego food containers

The menu consisted of beef and chicken tacos and burritos, refried beans, savory and sweet cream cheese tortilla roll ups and chips and salsa. She build the plate holder out of Legos, and I made the Lego taco holders.

Easy Lego Themed Taco Holders

Here’s a close up of the Lego themed taco holders.

Dessert and Goodie table

Here’s the dessert/goodie table.

Kylan's Ninja birthday cake

Katie made both cakes. Here’s Kylan’s Ninja Lego cake sitting on a Lego built plate.

Kinzley's giant cupcake cake

Here’s Kinzley’s giant candy cupcake cake. It has a chocolate base filled with cake.

Kinzley's giant cupcake cake INSIDE

Here’s what it looks like inside…how colorful! It was yummy too:)

Blowing out their candles

Kylan and Kinzley blowing out their candles.

Layered Jello dessert

In addition to cake, there was jello and cool whip dessert…

Chocolate princess suckers and Legos

Chocolate Legos and Princess crowns…

Lifesaver candy containers

Assorted candy including these served in lifesaver candy containers Katie made by gluing foam letters onto metal cake pans and spray painting them.

PARTY FAVORS

Favor table

Here’s the party favor table that includes…

Lego Soap

Lego shaped soap…

Lego necklaces

Lego necklaces I made for the boys and purchased Crown bracelets for the girls…

candy filled plastic bear party favors

and these candy filled plastic bear containers. Katie bought and filled the containers and I made the hats and labels.

It was another successful party!

Kylan's Lego Bedroom

Afterwards, Katie used many of the Lego decorations to decorate Kylan’s bedroom…he loves it!

Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Sandwiches

5 Aug

chocolate covered ice cream sandwiches

Here’s a quick and easy ice cream treat for kids of all ages…chocolate covered ice cream sandwiches. 

insert sticks and freeze

The first thing I did was insert Popsicle sticks into each ice cream sandwich and put them in the freezer for an hour. For the kids I cut a regular ice cream sandwiches into thirds.

melt wilton chocolate

Next I melted some of the light cocoa Wilton dipping chocolate in the microwave.  I added a teaspoon of oil to thin it so it would spread better.

spread on chocolate

I spooned on the chocolate and spread it around the ice cream sandwiches and placed them back into the freezer.

decorate as desired

I melted some leftover pink chocolate, put it in a ziplock bag, snipped off the corner and decorated each sandwich.  I put them in the freezer for a few minutes and then put them in poly bags and back into the freezer until it was time to serve them. 

I want to point out that the regular ice cream sandwiches I cut started melting as I was covering them.  I had no problem with the big round sandwiches. 

Mmm, they were really good! You should give them a try!

Party Tube Favors Craft Project

14 Jul

Here’s a cute party favor craft project I want to share with you using some of the digital papers I’m giving away here. Deadline to enter is July 31, 2014.

Party Tube FavorsWhen my 3 year old grandson saw these on my table a couple of weeks ago, his face lite up and he asked if they were filled with candy. LOL…smart boy! Unfortunately I had to tell him no.  This past weekend I did fill them with goodies and gave them to him, his brother and sister during our camping trip.  There were smiles all around!

Materials Needed

Party Tube Favor Template makes two 6” tubes

8 1/2” X 11” card stock

Tissue paper

Scissors

Double sided tape

String, embroidery thread or ribbon

Print the desired digital paper design on the card stock, then print the template on the back.

tape tissue add tape to topCut out the template and add strips of double sided tape to the long sides of the template back, then center and lay the template printed side up on a 10” X 12” folded sheet of tissue paper. Press to secure.

 

Fold back the tissue about a 1/2” and add a strip of double sided tape to the top of the template. Roll into a tube and overlap  to secure.

clip tissue and secureCut the tissue into strips about 1 1/2” from the edge. Crimp one end and secure with string, embroidery thread or ribbon. Fill, crimp and secure the other end. Trim fringe if needed.

 

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Wands

16 Jun

Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzel wands

I made these for my granddaughter’s princess birthday party. They were a big hit with the kids and adults.

CHOCOLATE COVERED PEANUT BUTTER WANDS (made about 30)

Peanut Butter Mixture:

1/3 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon softened butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons powdered sugar

 

Small star cookie cutter

1 bag Wilton Candy Melts

Pretzel Sticks

 

Mix peanut butter, butter and vanilla until smooth.

Mix in powdered sugar well, adding more if needed to make a stiff dough.

peanut butter filling

Roll dough out on parchment or wax paper, about 1/2” thick

roll out dough and cutout stars

Cut out shapes with a small star cookie cutter (dip in powdered sugar to keep from sticking) and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Place cut outs in freezer while melting chocolate.

melt chocolate wafers

Melt Wilton Candy Melts (I used Colorbursts Brights) in a double boiler. I like to add 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable shortening to thin it out a bit.

insert choc dipped pretzel stick

Remove cut outs from the freezer. Insert a pretzel stick into the star to make a hole. Remove it and dip the pretzel tip in the chocolate and insert back into the star. Place the wands back into the freezer for about 15 minutes.  NOTE: Don’t worry if some of the stars crack when you insert the pretzel. Once it’s covered in chocolate you can’t tell.

dip peanut butter wands

Once the wands are hardened, quickly dip into the melted chocolate, shake to remove the excess chocolate and lay back onto the cookie sheet to harden. You might want to do a few at a time, as the peanut butter mixture softens quickly. When completely hardened store in a ziplock bag or air tight container.

peanut butter wand center

Here’s how they look inside…Mmm, good!

3 Things To Do With Your Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

26 Jan

I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies the other day. Since there’s just me and my husband, I knew we wouldn’t eat all of them before they got stale, so…

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I baked cookies from half of the dough (I added some mini M&Ms because I didn’t have enough chocolate chips).

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Then I took some of the cooled cookies and made ice cream sandwiches. I wrapped them in wax paper and then in a ziplock bag and put them in the freezer. We had one that night…Mmm, the cookie was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

With the remaining dough I rolled them into balls, laid them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and placed them in the freezer.  When they were firm, I put them in a ziplock bag and then back into the freezer. 

Later, when we get a craving for some chocolate chip cookies, all I have to do is pull them out of the freezer and bake them. 

Here’s my favorite Chocolate Cookie recipe. It makes about 32 – 3” soft and chewy cookies. 

2 sticks butter, melted and cool

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Stir together flour, oatmeal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.  Set aside. 

Pour melted butter and sugars in mixer bowl and cream on medium speed.  Add the egg and yolk, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. 

Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 

Chill the dough for about an hour. 

Quickly roll into walnut size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 3” apart.

Keep excess dough in the refrigerator until ready to form and bake. 

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Leave them on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack.  Cool completely.

Gift Giving Christmas Ideas

15 Dec

If you’re still in need of some easy homemade gifts to make for Christmas, here’s some suggestions.

Homemade Christmas Scent Potpourri

twofrugalgals christmas scent in a jar

I love this idea of filling a jar with fresh citrus slices and spices! The recipient simply adds the contents into a pan and simmers it on the stove. Mmm, bet it smells marvelous! It’s on my to do list. Here’s the link: http://twofrugalgals.com/2013/12/11/diy-christmas-scent-potpourri/

Bird Seed Wreath

winter bird seed wreath

I made this for my mom last year. It was easy and fun to make. Here’s the link: http://www.themotherhuddle.com/tutorial-bird-seed-wreath

Homemade Pop Tarts

Family Says homemade pop tarts

How cute are these! What child wouldn’t want to pop these in the toaster. It’s on my list of things I want to try for the grandkids. Here’s the link: http://familysays.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/homemade-pop-tarts/

Homemade Kahlua

homemadegiftguru homemade kahlua

I made and gifted this recipe last year. It’s really easy to make and tastes great! Here’s the link: http://www.homemadegiftguru.com/homemade-kahlua.html

Homemade Coffee and Almond Caramel Corn

A perfect companion to the Homemade Kahlua. Here’s the link: http://www.homemadegiftguru.com/caramel-popcorn-recipe.html

Last year I made the Coffee and Almond Caramel Corn for my kids using my puffed caramel corn recipe and it turned out great! I just added a little coffee extract to the recipe and added chocolate covered coffee beans and almonds after it cooled…yummy!  https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/carmel-corn/

Sweet and Spicy Nut and Pretzel Mix

sweet and spicy nut and pretzel mix

For those who likes things on the spicy side, this snack mix does the trick! Here’s the link: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-spicy-nut-pretzel-mix-50400000125444/

Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Bites

Chocolate covered rice krispie bites

Here’s another treat the kids will love. They’re quick and easy to make from pre-packaged Rice Krispie Bars. Here’s the link:

https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/my-chocolate-covered-rice-krispie-bites/

Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Caden eating granola bar

Here’s a healthier alternative for the kids. Here’s the link:

https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/peanut-butter-granola-bars/

Homemade Soups, Breads, Casseroles and more

Homemade food items make great Christmas gifts.  My husband and I make large batches of our “specialty” recipes like hamburgers, chili, buffalo chicken chili, pizza soup, barley soup, baked ziti, lasagna, bagels, etc.  We label and freeze them in plastic and foil containers to give to employees and family as gifts.  What’s also nice about this is that our freezer get stocked up too! 

Melted Crayon Shapes

Heart Crayons

My daughter made these heart shaped crayons for Valentines with her kids. They would make a nice Christmas gift too using old muffin tins or cookie cutters wrapped with foil. Here’s the link: https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/valentines-day-heart-shaped-crayons/

Felt Snowman

Felt Snowman Friends display

Any child would love to have one of these cute snowmen that they can put out every Christmas. They’re quick and easy to make. Here’s the link:

https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/my-felt-snowman-friends/

Kids Seatbelt Pillows

Angry Bird Seatbelt Pillow

These kids seatbelt pillows are really popular now. They’re great to have for those long trips and can be made from their favorite cartoon character fabric. They’re easy and inexpensive to make. Here’s the link:

https://pegsgottado.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/my-seatbelt-pillows-for-kids/

Hope these ideas help!

My “Presents” Christmas Decorations

12 Dec

Well, I think I’m done making the decorations for my “present” Christmas theme.

present wrapped cabinets

In the kitchen/eating area I wrapped the cabinets as presents. It was easy and really brightens up the area. It was my husbands idea…can’t believe I didn’t think of it.

angle and snowman present toppers

Here’s my angel and snowman “present” toppers made with my circut. They stand 28” and 30” tall. I think the kids will get a kick out of them!

santa present topper

And of course I couldn’t leave Santa out! He’s on top of our hutch that I plan on decorating with garland and lights…and a couple of presents.

PRESENTS Christmas Staricase Decoration

The biggest “present” decoration of all is my present Christmas staircase.  I love it and it was super easy to do. For the how-to, click here.  I made a few other “presents” to decorate the window.

Gift Bag Presents

Here’s the “present” gift bags for the adults. I just used small brown bags my daughter gave me and added some small white circle labels and a bow I made with my cricut machine.

Angel Kisses cut outs

For the kids gifts I’m planning on making Rice Krispie Angels using a funnel to form the treats, wrapping them in foil and adding the boy and girl angel cutouts.

Hot Cocoa Gift Cones

The kids will also get one of these Hot Cocoa Gift Cones.

Now all I have to do is put it all together. My husband and I usually spends one evening putting it all together. We have a lot of fun and he really gets into it!

new addition to by christmas decorations

Speaking of my husband. Here’s a cute light up snowman he bought me. He buys me something each year to add to our Christmas decorations. Isn’t that sweet:)!!

Make Hot Cocoa Gift Cone Bags…with your clothes iron!

1 Dec

Hot Cocoa Gift Cones

Aren’t these CUTE!…and, yes, I said you can make the cone bags with your clothes iron.  You can also make them using a foodsaver machine…if you have one.

Here’s how I made them:

cut off bag zip tops

First, get some regular sandwich bags…not the freezer ones.  The ones I used measured 6.5” x 5.875”.  Then cut off the zip tops.

Seal with edge of iron

Preheat your clothes iron to the wool setting…no steam. Place the baggie on the ironing board (covered with heavy paper), lay a cloth over the baggie at an angle and using the edge of your iron, slowly press down along the cloth edge (I count slowly to 7).

gently peel back cloth

Then, gently peel back the cloth.  Repeat on the other side.

Test seal

Open the bag and test the seal. It may take you a few times to get it right. I messed up several bags and each one sealed differently…but it works.  Also, don’t worry if the shape isn’t perfect.

Cut off excess

Cut off the excess. Don’t worry if your bag doesn’t come to a point.  None of mine did and they still worked out fine. 

Now, the FUN part…filling them up!

Fill cones

Gather your ingredients:

Hot Cocoa Mix – You can use the premade envelops or the recipe that follows

Mini Marshmallows

Cone bags

Twist ties (I cut them in half)

Cup and a bowl 

Stand a cone bag up in the cup and fill with 4 tablespoons of Hot Cocoa Mix or one envelop.

Top with Mini Marshmallows, secure with twist tie, and place upright in a bowl. If you lay them down the cocoa will leak through the marshmallows and won’t look good. 

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

1 cup white sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup powdered creamer

1 cup dry milk powder

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

Place the white sugar in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients a sifter or fine strainer into the bowl. Mix thoroughly. 

Now, test it. Heat up 1/2 cup of water in the microwave. Place 2 tablespoons of the mix into a mug and stir in the hot water. Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed.

For the cones, I use 4 tablespoons, which makes an 8 ounce cup, vs 6 ounces for the premade hot cocoa envelops. 

Next…make paper cone holders

Cut 4 x 6 sheets

Cut 4” x 6” sheets of paper, wrapping paper or cardstock.

Apply double stick tape at the bottom right corner.

Starting at the bottom right corner, roll sheet into a cone.

Roll cone_test_seal

Insert the hot cocoa cone to test size, then remove tape backing and seal. If you want, you can add a piece of double stick tape inside the paper cone to hold the hot cocoa cone in place. Store upright…so the cocoa doesn’t leak into the marshmallows.

GIFT GIVING IDEAS

These Hot Cocoa Gift Cones are nice to have on hand for unexpected guests, as a surprise gift during the holidays, or as party favors.

Give in a Holiday Mug

Place one or two Hot Cocoa Cones in a holiday mug and wrap it.

Mini Kahlua bottles

For adults, put the Hot Cocoa Mix in a jar and include one or two of these mini Kahlua bottles…Mmm! I found this 5-pack at the liquor store. The flavors are: original, french vanilla, cinnamon and spice, mocha, and hazelnut.

You can also make your own Kahlua or Irish Cream to give with these Hot Cocoa Cones.

Give these Hot Cocoa Gift Cone Bags a try.  They’re fun to make and even more fun to give!

Caden’s Fire Fighter Birthday Party

17 Nov

It’s always fun helping plan my grandkids birthday parties.  This year Caden wanted a fire fighter party, and that’s exactly what he got yesterday.

caden kylan and kinzley at fire station

First, everyone met at a local Fire Station for a tour.  Here’s Caden (in the middle, wearing his Paw Patrol Necklace I made him) along with his brother, Kylan, and sister, Kinzley.

Decorations

Fire Fighter Party Banner

Here’s his Happy Birthday banner I made.  The fire fighter I made on my cricut machine using the Everyday Paper Dolls cartridge I borrowed from my niece…thanks Lisa!

banner close up

Sorry for the blurry picture!

For the fire, I cut out flames from card stock.   Yellow first, then traced it onto orange and cut it out a little larger, traced the orange onto red and cut it out a little larger.   Then I stapled them together and taped it to the back of the banner. I hand rolled each layer forward, giving it more of a 3D effect.

fire hats above cabinets

Katie lined up fire hats along the top of her cabinets above the food counter.

Fire Fighter party gift table

This is the gift table.  She also laid out sippy cups and hats with the kids name on them.

Food Counter

Fire fighter 3 alram chili

The menu was simple.  Spicy 3 Alarm Chili (my husband made it),  False Alarm Chili (I made to top the hotdogs)…and all the toppings.

firehouse dogs

Firehouse Dogs in the crockpot…and my Dalmatian hot dog trays. There was also a fruit platter, BBQ and regular chips, punch and pop to drink.

Dessert Table

No birthday party is complete without a few sweets!

fire fighter dessert table

Katie did a good job on this. In the yellow buckets she has labeled: Stop, Drop and Roll and filled them with gobstoppers, lemon drops and Tootsy rolls. There’s also black licorice “Rescue Ropes”, red licorice “Fire Hoses”, chocolate dipped marshmallow “Flames”, chocolate dipped pretzel rod “Match Sticks”, Oreo “Fire Truck Wheels” and of course a Fire Truck cake.

Fire fighter goodie bags

Each child also received a goodie bag filled with treats and toys.  Katie bought the bags on sale (after Halloween sale) and I ironed on the fire truck picture.

rice krispie fire truck suckers

For the goodie bags, I made these chocolate covered Rice Krispie treat (boxed) Fire Truck suckers.

blowing out candles

Here’s Caden blowing out his candles.  Katie said this morning, he told her he really liked his birthday party…yea!

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