Monday, December 12, 2011

Sweet Potatoes

One of the main characters on the Thanksgiving table is sweet pototoes, but the topping may differ between marshmellows or nuts depending on your family traditions. Growing up, we always enjoyed the marshmellow-topped sweet potatoes, but when I got married to Jake, my family changed our dish choice. Since I have put alot of new recipes on here, I thought I would add a family favorite.

Jake's Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole

1 tsp vanilla
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk

Mix together.

Spread in a 9x13 in dish.

1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Mix and sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

From my experience: This is very easy to make, but I tend to only make it at Thanksgiving since it is so rich. This too is why it is so special to my husband. To cook the sweet potatoes, I simply baked them for about an hour, then peeled the skin off. I pretty much doubled the recipe this year, so we would have plenty of leftovers. Enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Ranch Dip Facial

Sloane had a little too much fun with her ranch dip. Instead of dipping her carrots in it, she starting rubbing it on her cheeks and hair-she has seen Mommy getting ready too many times! We immediately went to the bathtub after she had her fun.

She is saying "Yucky, yucky"! The ranch did wonders to her skin. The blotchiness went away the next day.

Happy and clean!

Halloween 2011

This was the table at our annual Boo Bash. This year, I served a dessert buffet and we watched Paranormal Activity 2. It was a fun night!

Halloween Whoopie Pies

*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and
*1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
(spooned and leveled)
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room
*1 cup packed light-brown sugar
*1 large egg

*1 cup unsweetened applesauce
*1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*1 cup confectioners' sugar
*orange nonpareils or sanding sugar, for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk flour cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until smooth. With a mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until smooth (do not overmix).

3. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto two baking sheets. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean, 10 to 14 minutes. With a thin metal spatula, immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.

5. Spread bottom of half the cookies with 1 tablespoon filling each; sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently so filling oozes out slightly. Sprinkle exposed filling with nonpareils. Let rest 15 minutes to set. (To store cookies, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.)

From my experience: The directions were easy, and the cookies were AWESOME! The only thing I would change is to double the filling recipe. It didn't make enough for me to put a thick layer in between the sandwich, and I was hoping they would just be oozing with filling. Also, it is very important to let the cookies cool before adding the filling. I made the mistake of not waiting on the last couple because I lost my patience, and the filling melted into nothing. Save yourself the trouble and just wait! These are are great festive cookie because you can add different sprinkles to fit whatever holiday or season. I will definitely make these again. Enjoy!

Found in October 2008 edition of Everyday Food Magazine.

Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon Spice Islands® pure vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup applesauce
Cream cheese frosting
In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with applesauce.
Fill greased of paper-line muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes. Yield: 1 dozen.

From my experience: I love this recipe! The spices in these cupcakes give a taste that just screams autumn. But my favorite part was the yummy cream cheese frosting. I just found a simple recipe for that online, which was primarily powdered sugar and 1 8oz. block of cream cheese. To stretch the recipe, I added 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts and raisons. I will definitely remember these cupcakes, because they were so good and simple. Enjoy!

Recipe found on

The weekend before Halloween, our family went to a reunion camp at Laity Lodge for their summer camp staff. Jake and Sloane carved a pumkin to look like Elmo. She liked pretending to scoop out the insides of the pumkin. And in the end, Sloane had fun and believed the pumpkin looked like Elmo.

At the Rodeo dance

On Halloween night, Jake had a football game, so his mother, Jan, came trick-or-treating with us. Sloane dressed up as Abby Cadabby from Sesame Street, and we went to some friends' house to walk around in their neighborhood.

Sloane received a sucker from one of the last houses we visited. It became her prized token. I had to pry it from her clenched teeth, just to get the wrapper off so she could eat it properly. Once she got a taste of the sweet sucker, she devoured it drooling all over her chin and chest. She was a sticky girl when we got back to our car.

Sloane's eyes got huge when I took the picture and it flashed. I thought it was so funny, I had to share the photo.

Sloane finished the night by kissing a pumkin with her sweet and sticky lips. She was tired after a fun night running down the streets and grabbing her own candy from nice neighbors on Halloween night.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sloane Counting

Many of you have seen this video because Jake posted it to his Facebook page. If you haven't, it's really cute. Sloane is 20 months right now and loving Sesame Street, which is who we credit for her counting ability. She is learning so much, and amazing Jake and me with the things she recalls. Sloane also knows many animals and their sounds and is starting to quote her ABC's. We love Sesame Street!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


So this fall, I have been craftier than normal. Really it is due to my crafty friend. If she gets an idea, I get motivated; most activities are more fun with a buddy. Here we made pumpkin decorations using scraps of wood cut into various rectangles. We painted them orange, distressed the edges with sand paper, then painted the edges with some dark wood stain. Afterward we used scrapbook paper, buttons, rafia, sticker letters, and Modge Podge to decorate them. One side has a Halloween theme, while the other is simply decorated for Fall. Get directions here.

We made pumpkin pancakes recently
too! My Food Network magazine for
October gave a month's worth of uses
for pumpkins. It's really cool because
every day in October there is a
different idea. For Saturday, the 1st
it said, "Make pumpkin pancakes for
brunch: Stir 1/3 cup each pumpkin
puree and chopped walnuts into 2
cups batter". Because I always like
to add my personal touch to recipes
I try, I add a couple of sprinkles of
pumpkin pie spice to the mix. The
pancakes turned out yummy!

And finally I made some really easy and yummy pumpkin butter to give out as gifts. I love this recipe because I got to use my little dip Crock Pot. I let it cook for a few hours, then cool for a couple. Afterward, I spooned it into pint jars sealed with a square of burlap over the lid and a ribbon around the top. The recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Deep-Dish Taco Squares

2 cups all-purpose baking mix
1/2 cup water
1 pound ground chuck
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 (8-ounce) jar picante sauce
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Picante sauce (optional)

*Combine baking mix and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl, stirring with a fork until blended.

*Press mixture in a lightly greased 11x17-inch baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes.

*While crust bakes, cook beef and bell pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat,

stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.

Stir in jar of picante sauce; spoon over crust.

*Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and cheese; spoon over meat mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges. Sprinkle with paprika.

*Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into squares.

Serve taco squares with additional picante sauce, if desired.

Recipe found in Southern Living Ultimate Quick & Easy Cookbook.

From my experience: This recipe was super easy, and versatile. I have made it again doing some different things. Because the crust was kind of bland, I used a cornbread mix the next time. I think it would work on the bottom, but I put it on top. If I use the original crust recipe, I would add some more salt or other seasoning to help it stand out a little more. Also, as you can see from the picture, I added some corn to the meat mixture. You could add all sorts of things to this layer to make it your own recipe. But I would have to say, the best part was the top cheesy layer-don't mess with that because it was awesome on it's own. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Her Best Friend's Birthday Party

Sloane's best friend, Crew celebrated his birthday with a nautical themed party. Well we just so happened to get a hand-me-down sailor style dress from my cousin Susan that Sloane had never worn-isn't that perfect?

We have this same car at home but she loves it so much, she occupied it most of the time we were all outside.

The kids fished in this boat and caught some play-doh. Here is Sloane and Crew.

The kids also decorated these hats that Crew is wearing.

Giving Crew a ride

Now Sloane's buddy, Ben gets a ride

Ben and his family moved back to California. This was also one of Sloane's first friends.

We ate cupcakes then gobbled vanilla ice cream... Sloane loved her's!

Present time!

The party was a lot of fun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sloane Feeding Lily

Sloane has taken the initiative to start feeding Lily, our dog. She gets her bowl and walks to the garage door to go get it. We help her by scooping, but she carries it back and places it in Lily's bowl.

She knows this contains Lily's food, but she can't quite unclip the lid, so we have to help with that step.

She gives us the scooper and we gather up the food and put it in Lily's bowl.

Sloane is wearing a different outfit in this picture, because I couldn't get one the other day since we had a little spill. I was too busy trying to take the picture, I didn't realize the bowl was tipping. But as you can see, this is something Sloane loves to do, so I was able to capture her taking the bowl to Lily's stand the next day.

She puts it in Lily's stand with enthusiasm.

She is almost done...

but not before she tells Lily to eat and claps afterward with pride.