Thursday, February 22, 2018

Snow Day! (Activities & Smirnoff for the grown ups)

I love the snow and welcome a full house of family or friends…that is IF our home is stocked with food, games, movies and drink fixings. We love hot chocolate around here and to make the Grown Ups happy, check out Smirnoff delights Fluffed Vanilla vodka or Whipped Cream Vodka to add in your hot chocolate. 

While the adults sip on their hot chocolates, try these activities for the family and watch the snow fall.

-Throw on some music and have a dance party

-Bring out all your pillows, blankets,  and sleeping bags (toss your blankets in the dryer for 10 minutes to make them warm and toasty) and pop in a movie!  Don't forget the popcorn

-Bring out all your board games and have a game marathon

-My favorite..Bake!  Nothing says warm and cozy like sweet smells from the kitchen. Trust me on this one:)

-Throw on the snowpants, coats, boots and all your winter gear and head outdoors.  Build a snowman and have a snowball fight.  Afterwards, head in for more hot chocolate!

Keep warm, Stay safe, and have a great weekend!  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Breakfast You Make and Freeze for Busy Mornings

Most of us are so rushed on week day mornings with school, work, car pool or workout class.  With a little time and planning, you can still have a hot homemade breakfast as you walk out the door.  Who doesn't like hot waffles or pancakes in the winter to warm and fill you up.  

All you need to do is find an hour or two over the weekend, make your pancakes and/or waffles, cool them and carefully place in food storage bags evenly.  When they are completely cooled, put them in the freezer.  

Simply take them out of the freezer bag, pop in the toaster or your toaster oven to heat, and you're on your way.  I made these waffles for our Christmas brunch and made more than we needed with the intent to freeze, heat and eat.  They are just as delicious as the day you made them.  

These are gingerbread and pumpkin waffles.  Use your favorite batter to make these morning delights!

You can add chocolate chips, blueberries or sprinkles to the batter before you make your pancakes.  Don't forget the maple syrup!

Bon Appetit🍴

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Brightening Up Winter Months

Winter months can be dark and dreary.  There are simple ways to bring light to your home and spirit.  

We have hung lights over our patio that twinkle in the glow of the snow.  These are inexpensive and easy to put up to enjoy all year long.  They look beautiful on the fireplace mantel or around a hanging mirror too.  

Candles add lighting to your room beautifully and there are so many to choose from.  I was given luminara real-flame effect candles as a gift for the holidays.  They add such a realistic light as it softly dances that you will swear it has a real flame.  They turn an ordinary day into a special event.  

Remove the screens from your windows to let in unfiltered light.  

Use brighter lightbulbs and switch out your lamp shades to a lighter brighter color for a nice change.

Buy bright or light colored slipcovers for your furniture.  

Hang in!  It's 5 weeks until Spring.  We're almost there❀

Monday, February 12, 2018

Slow Cooker Chocolate Fondue for your Valentine

Celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved ones with a recipe I found in Midwest Living.  Decadent, rich and magical is the only way to describe the flavors of this delight.  It takes 10 minutes to prepare and 2 1/2 hours in the slow cooker.  This recipe contains alcohol but orange juice can be substituted for the Grand Marnier liqueur if desired.  

Combine the following ingredients in the slow cooker. 
 2 1/2 cups whipped cream, 12 ounces bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped and 1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur),  or apricot brandy.  

Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, until mixture is smooth.  Whisk once halfway through cooking.  

Serve immediately or keep warm on low heat for up to 1 hour.  It may become grainy if held longer. If it thickens too much, thin with a bit of whipping cream or milk.

Serve fondue with Assorted Dippers (such as large marshmallows, graham crackers, cookies, cut up angel food or pound cake, pineapple chunks, halved strawberries, sliced bananas or any dried or fresh fruit or your liking.  

Happy Valentine's week & loving birthday wishes to our dear son Ryan💗

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Where's Time Going?

  • In the blink of an eye and the flip of a calendar page, it's February.  Our thoughts have suddenly turned from Christmas lights, trees and cookies to hearts and love.  My husband and I took our tree and decorations down just 3 short weeks ago.  The forecast has snow coming and the temperatures fluctuate from 40's to single digits.  Each winter I look for time to hibernate with that new best seller I just bought in front of the fireplace.  Then head out for a little snowshoeing at my own pace to admire and take in the beauty nature has provided.  Yet, I find myself wondering where the time is going.  For now, let's sit back and find time to relax and appreciate our moments.  And soon enough I'll have visions of my tulips and daffodils popping their heads up out of the ground.  Find and enjoy your inner peace:)

Monday, February 5, 2018

The unexpected gifts are the sweetest

Throughout the holidays and new year, we all feel overwhelmed and over scheduled.  It seems busier and crazier every year.  My sister, Jill and I call ourselves "the traveling soup sisters.  We learned from our mom there's nothing to nurture your soul like homemade soup.  Is it the aroma that fills the house while it's cooking?  Or the way it warms and nourishes the soul?  Our home was always filled with scents from mom's cooking. How she had the time each day running a household with 5 children while my Dad put in long days working 6 days a week.  But the effort she made has stayed with us all our lives. 

Recently, I saw my sister's car pull out of my driveway early one morning.  I opened the door to find this note and a bowl of her delicious hearty homemade vegetable soup filled with freshly chopped vegetables and ham.  It warmed my heart and suddenly changed my day for the better.  

One small gesture of kindness and love can make such a big difference in someone's day.  May your week be a happy one filled with kindness!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Super Bowl Ultimate Nacho Showdown - Beef VS. Chicken

 Slowcooker Chicken Nachos Vs. Beef decide the winner

Who doesn't love nachos during the biggest football event of the year?  It's time to throw all our healthy eating habits out the window for Super Bowl with a nacho showdown.  Today I am giving you recipes for chicken versus beef and let your guests decide which is the ultimate favorite.  I am including a slow cooker chicken nacho recipe. Start the crockpot in the morning and you are ready to eat by the pregame shows.

Have plenty of sour cream, salsa, and guacamole on hand for both of these dishes.  I hope you enjoy.

Crockpot Chicken Nachos

All you need to make 12 servings -
Nachos -
 2 pounds (about 10) skinless chicken thighs
1 package Taco Seasoning mix (I like El Paso)
1 (15 ounce) can drained pinto beans
1 (14.5) can undrained diced tomatoes
1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons lime juice
10 ounces tortilla chips

Toppings - 1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1 cup sour cream
1 cup thick n chunky salsa
1/4 sliced black olives (can use green if you prefer)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime cut into wedges

Place Chicken thighs in your slow cooker.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning mix.  Top with pinto beans, tomatoes, chilies and lime juice. Cover and cook on low setting for 7-8 hours.

Just before serving, place the toppings in small serving dishes.  Remove the chicken from slow cooker, place on a large plate.  Mash the beans in the slow cooker.  Shred the chicken with 2 forks, return to slow cooker and mix well. When ready to serve, have guests place chips on serving plates, spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto the chips.  Top nachos with your desired toppings and enjoy the deliciousness!

Beef Nachos

This recipe makes 14 servings.
You need 1 1/4 pounds ground beef
1 1/4 packages taco seasoning mix
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons water
1 large package restaurant style tortilla chips
1 cup and 3 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese (use more if desired)
1 (15.5 ounce) can refried beans
1 1/4 cup salsa
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1 (10 ounce) can pitted drained and chopped black olives
1 (4 ounce) can mild sliced jalapeno peppers, drained

Cook and stir the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until meat is crumbly and no longer pink.  Drain excess grease and stir in taco seasoning mix and water.  Simmer until beef mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes.

Set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spread tortilla chips on the prepared baking sheet, top with cheddar cheese and dot with refried beans and ground beef mixture.

Broil in preheated oven until cheese is melted, watch carefully to prevent burning, 2-3 minutes.
Top the nachos with sour cream, black olives and peppers and you have awesome!