Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Zucchini Cupcakes

My niece's 1st birthday party was this last weekend.  I made a tutu for her and the cupcakes.  My sister came over the day before to help me.  She was dead set on zucchini cupcakes that look like watermelons. A friend of ours found these cupcake liners
Aren't they cute?

Anytime my sister and I get together we start out with a recipe and end up ignoring it and making our own.  She brings out the creative side of me!  So here is our version of a zucchini cupcake, although they have the consistency of muffins.  Nobody was complaining though!

Dry Ingredients:
1 Cup of sugar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg

Sift together or if you aren't professional like me whisk it together!

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Apple juice
3 eggs
1/2 Cup Canola oil (or Coconut Oil )
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Zucchini (chopped or pureed)
2 Apples (Peeled and chopped)
1/2 Cup Pineapple Tidbits
1 Carrot-Shredded

Mix together the apple juice, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients until just combined.  Fold in the zucchini,carrot, apples and pineapple.

I tried out the method of pre-heating the oven to 350 then lowering it to 325 when I put the cupcakes in.  It is supposed to help the cupcakes rise and as far as I can tell it worked.  This recipe makes 50 so if you are looking for a smaller batch half it.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

They were a big hit at the party.  They weren't too sweet.  My sister had the bright idea to use whipped cream and that was a big old melting mess lol but you live and you learn right?!

Here they are with no whipped cream, they didn't even need it!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spicy Tomato Soup

Here I go with the tomatoes again! If you want to know why I use them so much go here!

A friend of mine is having a baby soon so I decided to make her some freezer meals. The problem was she is allergic to almost everything ( poor thing). So I had to develop some yummy, healthy, gluten free, egg free, dairy free, almond free and corn free meals.  Holy moly!

Here is one full of veggies and protein:

3 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
1/4 chopped Onion
1 carrot shredded
1 can Rotel
1 26.5 oz can of Spaghetti Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp sea salt, more to taste
2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
4 Cups water
1 Cup Kale
1 Cup Zucchini, pureed or chopped
1 Cup Great Northern Beans
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 TB paprika
Dash of red pepper flakes, more if you want it spicy

In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, salt and pepper.  Cook for about two minutes then add Rotel, spaghetti sauce and diced tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, water, kale,  zucchini and spices. Let them come to a boil, puree and then add beans until heated through. This is the fast version.
There are many options for this soup.  You can put it in the crock pot and let it cook all day. Serve it chunky. Add some pasta. Or even puree the beans with it so it is smooth. 
I like to let it simmer for at least an hour before serving it, gives the flavors time to marry!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Egg Carton Bats

Last night my son had a Halloween Sleepover with three other boys!  They had pizza, vanilla pudding parfaits with chocolate cookies and Halloween sprinkles, watched Hocus Pocus and made Egg Carton Bats!  Since we have chickens everyone is always saving their egg cartons for us so I knew we had plenty to work with.

You start out by breaking the egg cartons into 3's. I tried cutting them with scissors but found breaking them apart was much easier!

Gather some black paint, paint brushes, ribbon, and googly eyes.  Most of these things I have gathered from the dollar store or walmart over the years.
Paint the egg cartons.  The boys did this, I made sure they just covered the outside really well. Let them dry completely.
Glue on the eyes or if you are lucky the eyes have a sticker already on them.  Then poke two holes on the top for the ribbon.

Put the ribbon in one hole.
Pull it through and put it up the other hole.

Tie it at the top then hang it for some cute, easy Halloween decorations!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Remembering Angel Babies

Today has been 1 year, 5 months and 5 days since we met our angel and lost him all at the same time.  Life has been extremely difficult.  Living in the house that was supposed to have a family, walking by his room everyday knowing we can't ever get him back.  It is a daily struggle.  Luckily I have Marcus but no longer the man I was supposed to marry.  To say losing a child is hard on a relationship is an understatement.  It can ruin it if you let it and I did.  I have lots of regrets but knowing I can't go back and change things makes it worse some days.  I worry that I did something wrong to lose McKennon, I am his mother and you are supposed to protect your children.  I could have done a lot of things to save my relationship with my fiance but didn't.  I lost the love of my life because I couldn't seem to get it together.  Now as I sit here trying to move on with my life, it feels more like an every minute struggle instead of a daily one.  I haven't been much of a believer in God for the last year and a half and i don't know if I ever will be again.  I hope someday that faith will come back but it doesn't seem as if life has gotten any better, it just gets worse.  I'm waiting for the sunshine and it isn't there. All I can do is wait it out.

Today is a special day, it's a day to remember our beautiful angels in Heaven.  If you have lost one or know someone that has, light a candle at 7pm tonight and join the rest of us in remembering!

Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter, Homemade Vanilla, and a No Sew Tutu

This weekend was pretty busy but somehow I managed to get some apple butter made, started some homemade vanilla which I plan to give out for Christmas, and made a tutu for my niece's birthday!

Homemade Crockpot Apple Butter
12 apples (I used gala)
1/2 cup water
 1/2 cup brown sugar
 2 tsp cinnamon
 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice

 Start by peeling and chopping the apples. Put them in the crockpot toss them with the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 12 hours. I let mine cook overnight, and the house smells like apple heaven! When they are cooked down, turn the crockpot to high and leave the lid halfway off. This lets the apple butter thicken up. Let it cook like that for 3 hours.

 Some people like to put theirs in a blender and make it smooth, I took my potato masher and mashed it up. I like some chunks in there. I then canned it, it made 2 1/2, 1/2 pints. This is a great Christmas present!

Homemade Vanilla

 I am not sure I have ever had homemade vanilla, it has always been imitation so I can't wait to give some of this out and bake with it!

 1 750 ml bottle of vodka
 12 vanilla beans

 I put my vodka in an empty tea jar. Then I sliced 12 vanilla beans down the middle and added them to the vodka. I won't know the results for another week but the longer it sits, the better. It should be perfect by Christmas!

No sew Tutu

 I came across this picture
My sister has a thing for anything watermelon, even her baby shower was watermelon themed. So when I saw this picture I knew my niece needed this outfit for her 1st birthday party! A friend of mine is making the onesie, and I bought the headband and decided to learn how to make the tutu. It wasn't hard and thankfully this blog post helped a lot. It isn't perfect by any means but I like it and I proved to myself I can do anything if I have a tutorial haha
I used a book because I don't have any cool sewing dummies, the book was the perfect measurement all around. I tied on the tulle all the way around.
I added on some cloth strips to give it some more color.

I then tied some ribbon on, and hot glued some onto the waist.
I can't wait to see it on her!!!

Fast and Easy Ghoulash

Ghoulash has always been a favorite meal in our family.  Lately as much as I love cooking, I've been trying to make some of our favorite meals easier.  I made the ghoulash into a one pan meal also!  Here is how:

1/2 pound ground beef
6 oz elbow macaroni
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 bag frozen vegetables
2 cans water
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

Cook ground beef with the onion and garlic until browned.  Drain the grease then add tomatoes.  I use the tomato can and fill it twice with water, add that, then the italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Bring it to a boil, then add macaroni.  When it is almost done add the vegetables. 

This took me abut 20 minutes.  It serves 3-4 people, and tastes even better the day after!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Monthly Dinner Plan 10/7-11/3

I have been doing pretty good with my monthly meal plan and shopping.  I have some more practice to go but there is no doubt soon enough it will be a piece of cake.  Last month I went over my budget by about 35 dollars.  I did it on purpose to stock up on things such as flour and cheese!  This coming month I am expecting to be under budget yeah!  Here is my extremely affordable meal plan that is mostly from what I already have!!

Week 1
Meatloaf Cups

Homemade Spaghettios W/Ground chicken meatballs

Spicy Pork Chops and Rice

Sour Cream Pancakes


Week 2
Chicken Tacos

Italian Pork Chops

Lazy Enchilada Casserole

Chicken Fried Steak Strips

Zucchini Lasagna

Week 3
Black and White Bean Chili

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas

Grilled Pork Chops

Spaghetti salad

Black beans, Quinoa and Vegetables

Week 4
Honey Garlic Crispy Chicken

Whole Wheat Margherita Pizza

Grilled Cheeseburger Wraps

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

Hamburger, Fideo and vegetables

Lemony Bars
Homemade Cheez Its
Strawberry yogurt dipped pretzels
Brownie and PB Oat Balls

Mini Frittatas
French Toast Casserole
Baked Oatmeal
Cranberry Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Friday, October 5, 2012

25 Minute Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Today we had our first snow of the year...Boo!  But all I wanted to do was come home, get in my sweats and eat some homemade chicken noodle soup.  For years I have been making my mom's version and it is amazing, just takes a little while longer than I was feeling like spending in the kitchen tonight.  So here is a 25 minute version of her Chicken Noodle Soup!

You will need
6 cups of water
1 can of chicken broth (I prefer the no MSG, low sodium kind)
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 small bag of frozen vegetables
1 cup of shredded chicken- I usually have some in the freezer
1Tbsp of Italian seasoning
1Tbsp of salt-unless you use full sodium chicken broth then only use 1/2 Tbsp
1 Tbsp Pepper
4-6 oz noodles- I used egg noodles

Bring the water, chicken broth and tomato sauce to a boil, this usually takes about ten minutes. Add the noodles.  If my chicken is frozen I add it at the same time and it usually thaws pretty fast.  When the noodles are about done, add the spices and the vegetables.  Bring to another boil and that is it!  Seriously fast and easy and only one pot:)

I would say this will make about 6 bowls, I tend to eat 2 or 3 though lol Pair it with some bread and butter, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Entry Way/Laundry Room Re-Do

Well it only took a month but I finally finished painting and decorating my entry way/laundry room.  It is a tiny little room so I brightened it up and made it look clean!
Here are the before pictures:

Every room in this house used to be tan, dark green or brown...yuck!  The tan wasn't so bad but painting over the dark colors was a pain in the butt!!
Here are the after pictures:

 Soooo Much better!!