Monday, October 20, 2014

Snack Table


     
As mentioned in my past post, we had been celebrating our little sister's wedding at the beginning of this month.  Wow, I can't believe she will soon be married a month!  Crazy how time flies; although, I do love Halloween so I am kind of looking forward to the end of this month. ;)  Side tracked...anyway...

While we were preparing for Laura and Luke's reception, they expressed they would really like to keep it simple.  We ended up having the dinner in the basement of the church so we decided to have snacks at the dance. (Mom always said, "Feed people at a party and they will have fun!" ;)   It ended up working very well.  I thought I would share a few ideas we used.  Feel free to expand on these ideas.  We would love to hear what you come up with!
                                                                

Lemonade for the kids.  There were, uh, other beverages for the adults. ;)


We had a couple days of baking bars and cookies--15 pans! We luckily had a few left over. 


Our amazing Grandpa makes the best popcorn!  He made 20 bags to bring to the celebration.  Did I mention he's amazing!


  You can never go wrong with chips...salsa or nacho cheese!


Parties are fun! The choices we used for this particular night made it easy to keep stocked, making the night very enjoyable!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Wedding Cake



I would like to apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.  We had been preparing for our little sister, Laura's, wedding.  (Which, by the way, during this preparation, we found some cute ideas we will be sharing. :)

Sitting at the airport, about to return home to Tennessee, I realized we neglected to inform you that it was going to be a busy month and therefore be lacking posts.  This made me I feel bad that we weren't at least sharing something.  Soooo...I decided to share a picture of the cake I made for my sister and new brother's wedding.  So as I sat at my gate, feeling sad to leave my family, I wrote this quick post.  (However, due to my faulty app on my phone, I didn't end up posting that day...sheesh.  Feeling even more neglected, aren't you! :)

Baking your own wedding cake was a lot of fun, but as noted in our information page, I come from a large family. It was a bit chaotic and a bit stressful with the amount of people we had to keep out of the kitchen, but in the end it worked out great.  Also, a huge THANK YOU to my sisters that ended up helping me, Lucy and Olivia---huge hugs! Thanks to you too Momma. ;) 

I feel very honored that we were able to make the the "face smashing" dessert. 

Now that the festivities are over and normalcy (what is that even?!) can set in, the regular posts will be shared.  

Congratulations Luke and Laura!  We love you bunches!



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Homemade Applesauce

I am passing this post off to my young daughter, who is doing this as a school project.  Her daddy brought some apples home from a friend, and she made use out of them right away.  : ) 

 So, here you are.  
I introduce to you.....Olivia Wagner.
  She is 10 years old (very soon to be eleven) and is in the 5th Grade.



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Homemade Applesauce

Hi, I am Olivia and I'm going to post today, so here's the recipe.
 This makes twelve servings.

Ingredients
12  medium apples
3/4 c.  brown sugar
1/2 tsp.  cinnamon
2 1/2 c.  water


 Tools
pan
knife or apple corer


Getting Ready

1. The hardest part is cutting and coring the apples. (I used an apple corer) You can peel them if you would like (up to you...I didn't so my applesauce is red), but you should cut them into quarters and then cut out the seeds and stems (if you have an apple corer you could use that to).

  
2. Put the cut-up apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and water, into the pan.


3. Cover and cook at medium heat for 15-20 minutes.


4. Let the apples cool, then mash them with a fork or a potato masher.


Yummy In My Tummy.   : )






Monday, September 22, 2014

Bleach Pen T-Shirts

My sister's wedding is getting closer and time is flying by! I posted the Bridal Shower Ideas for you guys, but I think you might like this one a bit more. :)

Bleach pen t-shirts are ridiculously easy and you can make them for anything! To support a team, for parties, a family reunion, or even for your kids when you go to the fair or the zoo. They are fun to make, especially when you get creative and just have fun with it! 

I made this t-shirt for my sister to wear at her bachelorette party (she paired it with a cute scarf to dress up the tee) and she can wear it the morning of their wedding to get her hair done.
I just used a black cotton t-shirt from Walmart that I got for $3.00 and I think the bleach pen was around $3.00 as well, so it's even a cheap project! I only used a small amount of the bleach pen so I can make more tees, too!

**I would suggest testing the fabric of one t-shirt before doing a big project to make sure you like how it looks.


GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES:

*dark colored cotton t-shirt
*Clorox bleach pen
*stiff piece of cardboard


Step 1: Insert the cardboard into the t-shirt so it's sandwiched between the front and back.
(This is an important step. You don't want the bleach to bleed through to the other side.)


Step 2: Smooth the fabric out.


Step 3: Draw your design.


Step 4: Let it set for 45-60 minutes, or until you're satisfied with the color of the edges.


Step 5: Rinse well, and then wash in recommended cycle for your t-shirt.


That's it....have fun with it! :)







Friday, September 19, 2014

Cranberry Chocolate Banana Bread


Previously, I shared that I worked at a diner as a baker (which I should probably remove from our information page ;), but it has been almost a year since I quit.  A couple weeks ago when I made vegan peanut butter cookies, that was the first time I had grabbed the bowls and spoons to get a little baking on.  It made me realize how much I missed it.
At my new job, I am truly blessed to have wonderful bosses.  One of the awesome things they do? Well they will just randomly bring food in for their employees.  Bananas, pretzel dough, cilantro, cases of yogurt, fresh vegetables from his garden, fresh eggs, goats milk, etc.  You get my drift.  
Well, I had bananas that he had given me, as well as coconut greek yogurt, so I decided to do a little more baking. This is what I came up with. :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour pan.

Ingredients

1/2 stick of salted butter, soft
1 cup brown sugar
2 chia eggs (1 T. chia seeds to 3 T. water.  Allow to set for 10 minutes until gelled)
5.3 oz yoplait coconut greek yogurt
3 smashed bananas (plus 1 tsp. lemon juice)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries



 Measure 2 T. chia seeds.  Add 6 T. water.


 Let sit for 10 minutes or until gelled.


Smash bananas and add lemon juice.


In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and the softened butter. 


Blend for at least 2 minutes. 


Add gelled "eggs". Blend well.


Add bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. 


Blend well. 


Stir in dry mixture. 


Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips. 


Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Please ignore my disgusting pan.  I just can't part with it.  It was my grandma's and it bakes breads great!! :)



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Crab (or shrimp) salad

This is my grandma Wagner's recipe... 
It is one of my favorite salads!!! :)

 What you'll need:

7 oz. shell macaroni, cooked
1 pkg. frozen salad shrimp or crab pieces
(this time I used crab...both are really good!)
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup frozen peas
Diced or shredded cheese

Mix together:

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dry mustard
(I have used prepared mustard too)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup green olives, chopped

Mix ingredients together and pour over macaroni mixture. You can add
garlic salt and pepper to taste. 


Gathering ingredients


Put ingredients in large bowl.


Mix well.


Refrigerate after it is mixed...  
It may seem runny at first, but after it's chilled it will have a nice consistency. 
 It is awesome!


Hope you enjoy!!! :)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crock Pot "Refried" Beans

I can't believe that fall is here again! Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the crisp autumn air and being bundled in jeans and a cozy hoodie! It makes me want to run through an apple orchard (or just walk since we all know that me running is not very believable) or visit a pumpkin patch! Totally on my bucket list for this fall, by the way! The only thing that makes me sad about the fact that fall is here is that is always seems to be here and gone in the blink of an eye. Life just needs to slow down a bit so we can enjoy this wonderful season and have time to not only drive by the apple orchards, but actually stop and spend the day there. Aww...wouldn't that be nice?

Since the weather has been cooling off, my mind has been buzzing with different Crock Pot ideas and delicious baked goods. So not where I want my mind to be when my sister's wedding is only 2 1/2 weeks away! 

When I was younger, I thought refried beans were awful. Blended beans were not high on the list of favorite foods for me. In fact, they didn't even make the list. Over the years, I began to eat them in certain dishes at parties so I wouldn't look rude, secretly thinking how much better it would be without all the bean guts smeared over my plate. Now..? I love them! I could literally probably sit down and eat an entire platter of 7 layer dip with some salty tortilla chips and purposely add extra refried beans! Who woulda thought?!

Now that I know how to make "refried" beans in the Crock Pot, I love them even more! Not only are the much cheaper, they are healthier, crazy easy, and taste so much better! You will love these! :)

My husband and I both like ours a little thicker, but you can totally make them the consistency you want. Thick, chunky, thin, smooth...whatever. 
(Just use a food processor instead of a potato masher if you want a smoother consistency.)



Ingredients

2 lb. dry pinto beans
10 c. hot water
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. garlic paste


Directions

Pick out any bad beans and rinse well.
Dump beans in the slow cooker and add 10 cups of hot water. Remove any beans that float to the top.
Add the chopped onion.
Add the seasonings and stir. (Do it slowly because it will be full!)
Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
Gently stir.
Cook on LOW for another 2 hours.
Put a colander in a large bowl and gently dump the beans in the colander.
Once drained, set the reserved liquid aside.
Transfer the beans to a large bowl.
Begin mashing the beans with a potato masher, adding the reserved liquid until you reach the desired consistency.
Add more salt & pepper, if needed.
You can serve them right away, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days, or divide into freezer-safe ziploc baggies and freeze until ready to use! :)

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What you'll need to make delicious "refried" beans in your slow cooker:


Pick out any bad beans and rinse well.


Dump beans in the slow cooker.


Add 10 cups of hot water. 
Remove any beans that float to the top.


Add the chopped onion.


Add the seasonings.


Stir. (Do it slowly because it will be full!)


Cook on HIGH for 4 hours.


It should look somewhat like this after 4 hours:


Gently stir.


Cook on LOW for another 2 hours.


Beans should be pretty soft at this point, but not mushy.


Put a colander in a large bowl and gently dump the beans in the colander.
(I used a pot & colander set that we have. It worked pretty well!)
Once drained, set the reserved liquid aside.


Transfer the beans to a large bowl.


Begin mashing the beans with a potato masher.


Add the reserved liquid, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Add more salt & pepper, if needed.

**Like I said before, if you like them smooth and thin, just continue adding the liquid and throw them in the food processor. If you like them thick with lots of texture, just mash 'em up and add enough liquid to get them well mixed! Your call. :)


You can serve them right away, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days, or divide into freezer-safe ziploc baggies and freeze until ready to use! :)


Yes, I know they don't look that appetizing, but they really are even better than store-bought!
So much more flavor, and customizable to suit your tastes.
My husband even said it would be fun to try doing some ranch or taco flavored "refried" beans! 
I'm sure we'll be trying that soon. :)