Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Monster Teeth {kids style}

If I could pick a holiday to skip, Halloween might be it.  I do not enjoy all the freaky masks, horror movies (who even likes those!) and fighting my kids about not eating the 100 piece of candy they just got in one sitting.  But what I do like is the fun, kiddish part of Halloween and all the creative ideas for food. 

My mother-in-law's favorite holiday happens to be Halloween and she does a party every year full of games, music, fun food and prizes.  The kids love it and have been asking every day when her party is.  And this is the part of Halloween I do like...the fun food! 

Every halloween eve, we make a feast of fun and interesting foods that we give different names bones, dipped in blood (breadsticks and marinara), Monster salad or graveyard jello, monster eyes (meatballs), spiderweb munch, Chocolate mousse in witch hats, and then the yummy desserts like chocolate pretzel rings, candy corn almond bark, and candy corn cupcakes, homemade oreos with orange frosting or Halloween sprinkles. 

Though I love the desserts, it seems to be a bit much sometimes, so when I found these I knew they would be a good balance with all the treats we make.  They are super simple to throw together and taste yummy too.  My kids gave this two thumbs up!  Happy Halloween Baking!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monster Eye Salad

My friend from Klamath Falls said they do this every year on Halloween and so we did a smaller version and my kids loved it! There isn't much of a recipe, just hard boil an egg slice in half, slice some olives and add to any salad.  Healthy and Halloweeny! 

Here is a list of other yummy Halloween treats we usually make this time of year: Halloween Line-up

Recipe idea from my friend Jaime Olsen....thanks friend!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

frosting for sugar cookies

You know how you have some recipes that are your go-to-never-fail kind of recipes...well I have posted my favorite sugar cookie recipe that I use every holiday, but I haven't ever posted my favorite frosting recipe!  So finally, here is our favorite frosting recipe to go with the best sugar cookies ever..  They make a good pair, seriously, these won't disappoint, they'll disappear. 

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes about 4 cups of frosting
*1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar. Make sure the cream cheese and powdered sugar are mixed very well, without lumps, before adding all the other ingredients. Now add salt and vanilla. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. In a separate bowl, beat the cream to stiff peaks. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture. Mix until well combined and smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Recipe source:slightly adapted from this recipe on allrecipies

Friday, August 29, 2014

Banana Peanut Butter Sundae {Healthy}

After a hard workout, I was needing something to refuel me a little bit. I didn't want to indulge, but I needed a quick pick me up. Then I decided to add a little of this and a little of that, and voila, Banana and Peanut Butter Sundaes were born. Then they turned into not only an after workout pick me up, but into a special treat when I wanted to have something sweet, yet not ruin all my hard work for the day. This is a great go to and perfect in small portions.  This isn't rocket science, but if you need a new idea for a healthy treat or a good after workout food, here you go!  Add and replace as you please. 

Banana Peanut Butter Sundae
Printable Recipe
1 small banana
1 TBSP peanut butter
1 TBSP chocolate chips
strawberries, cut up (optional)

Warm peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle over banana.  Add chocolate chips and chopped strawberries.  Enjoy!

Okay and just for fun, I am going to include a work out that I have been doing once or twice a week after I run and am loving it.  You can do all the exercises without any equpiment. Oh and as far as where I got it, I have no idea.  When we moved I found this paper I had written an entire exercise on, but had never tried, until just recently.  It is a fast moving circuit type routine, meaning it targets mostly your legs, but also works all other parts of your body (core and abs) as well. And if you don't know what an exercise looks like, just google it...Good luck!

50 jumping jacks

30 second jump rope (just mimics the movement if you don’t have a jump rope (I did!))

20 alternating lunges

30 second jump rope

10 tuck jumps

30 second jump rope

20 squats

20 seconds jump rope

60 second high knees

30 second jump rope

10 jump squats

30 second jump rope

10 burpees

30 second jump rope

60 jumping jacks

30 second jump rope

20 mountain climbers

30 second jump rope

25 push ups (can do modified)

30 second jump rope

60 second plank

Do this twice.  For a beginner, you can start doing this only once, then work up to doing the entire set a second time.  To keep your heart rate up, move quickly through each exercise without many breaks between if you can.  If you do this twice, it will take you about 30 minutes to complete.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Taco Salad with Catalina Dressing

We still have a few more weeks of summer here, so I wanted to share one of my all time favorite salads with you.  You can always adjust the amounts too for a larger crew. 

I grew up on Taco Salad.  My mom always made a giant bowl of it and we would devour it.  We used to put nacho cheese doritos and dorothy lynch dressing on it.  MMM.  But when we moved to Oregon, I searched every grocery store, but they didn't have Dorothy Lynch!  So, I never made taco salad anymore.  I know, just use another dressing, but I couldn't!  It wasn't the same (weird, you don't have the same issues) But then I found a dressing that was comparable and made me love on taco salad once again.  I changed the dressing slightly to our liking and now this has again become a staple at our house.  The main ingredients are the same as growing up, but the dressing, made ahead of time, is delicious and worth the extra time and works just as well as my beloved Dorothy Lynch.

2.5 Taco Salad with homemade Catalina dressing
Printable recipe
Yield: 6-8
1/2-1 pound ground beef, or turkey
1/2 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup cubed cheese, of both sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack
1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1 6-ounce can olives, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
Crushed nacho cheese Doritos/or Tortilla chips

1/4 cup ketchup (see note)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup onion finely chopped (start with this and add more to your liking)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large, nonstick skillet, brown the ground beef with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon of each) until cooked through, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces as it cooks. Drain excess grease if needed. Scrape the meat onto a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool a bit.
Combine all the dressing ingredients together in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This tastes best if it has time to chill in the refrigerator.  It can be made up 3-4 days in advance.
To serve:
In a large bowl, toss all the salad ingredients together (including the cooled meat) except the crushed tortilla tips. Serve the salad with the dressing and crushed Doritos
2. from Mel\'s Kitchen Cafe (www.melskitc from Mel\'s Kitchen Cafe (

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School lunches

Our oldest used to eat school lunches, but to keep it a little healthier, we decided to let her pick her favorite hot lunch for the week and the rest of the days we would make her lunch.  My middle son always eats cold lunch, and only on rare occassion does he want to have hot lunch, so we have had to get a little creative to make their lunches not be the exact.same every day.  We don't get all crazy, but here are a few ideas my kids really enjoy and thought we would pass it on to you in case you need a little inspiration.

Main course:
granola bar bites
smoothies, frozen in small containers (they thaw by the time lunch hits)
cheese and crackers (cube cheese and eat with ritz or club crackers)
yogurt with granola (or use the granola bar bites)
tortilla with cheese (cut up cheese rolled up in a tortilla)
triscuit pizzas (cold and assmbled at school)
the typical meat and cheese sandwiches or Peanut Butter and Jelly on leftover rolls or sandwich bread
bagel sandwich (my kids preference if we have them)
leftover pizza (warmed and wrapped in tin foil to keep slightly warm)
cottage cheese with pretzels to dip in it
leftover stromboli (warmed and wrapped in tin foil to keep slightly warm)

frozen blueberries, thawed by the time lunch comes
string cheese
danimal smoothies
strawberries cut up
apples cut up (with lemon juice to keep from browning)
oranges slices
carrots with ranch (a little ranch at the bottom of a container with the carrot tips in it)
cashews and dried cranberries
trail mix
granola bars (any of these choices are good options)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Potato and Hamburger Lumberjack Breakfast

Since camping season is upon us, I thought I would share our all time favorite breakfast!  Without fail, we always have it while we camp or when we cook at the coast.

This concoction is from my dad.  When he made dinner, he usually just threw in whatever we had on hand and sometimes it was a little interesting.  You never knew if you were going to get elk meat or pheasant, but that wasn't often, since he worked odd hours.   

When he made breakfast, he did something similar, except you could count on it being a little less adventurous :)  That's where this came from.  He would use the baked potatoes from the previous nights dinner, without skins and then add cooked hamburger we had leftover.  I loved it as a kid!  It was hearty and a special treat for us. 

Just a few years ago when we moved to Oregon and started camping a lot more often with our kids, I started making this for breakfast on our camp stove.  It has now turned into a staple when we go to the coast and cook by the ocean as well.

 It is really simple to prepare in advance.  I throw a few potatoes in the oven and bake them until they are done, and while the potatoes are baking, I cook hamburger.  When it has finished cooking, I put it in a large resealable bag and freeze it until we are ready to eat it. 

The proportions don't need to be exact, just peel the skins of the baked potato away (they should be pretty easy to pull off by this point) and add hamburger.  This is a great breakfast dish or we even have this when we make breakfast for dinner.  Either way, it is a pleaser for all ages and genders.  Love it!

Potato and Hambuger Breakfast
Season salt
Ketchup or honey mustard

Clean the skin of the potato with water and scrub with your fingers, poke with a fork and place in the oven.  Cook at 400 degrees for about an hour, or until the potato is easy to pierce with a fork.  Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Cook the hamburger with onion and season with salt and pepper until cooked through. Store in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.

When ready to use peel away skins from potato and add to skillet.  Add hamburger. Break potato into smaller pieces.  Season with season salt to your liking (we use quite a bit).  Stir. Let cook until the potatoes become a little crisp and hamburger is warmed. Serve with ketchup or honey mustard.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Okay, so my daughter has had many favorites, this pasta, this pizza, these chicken nuggets, and my son, whose heart pitter patters for hawaiian haystacks or sticky finger quesadillas, both agree that this is probably their ALL TIME favorite meal.  They ask for it for birthday dinners, and as a change up to our traditional pizza night once a week.

We also like to make this for those crazy soccer game nights where we have to be at the field during dinner.  We make it, cut it, then wrap it in tin foil and put it in a ziploc bag to keep it warm.  What a life saver this meal is!  It is also really easy for little fingers (like my 3 year old) to eat.  Plus, I think it is pretty darn tasty myself, with or without sauce to dip it in.  Enjoy this simple yet delicious meal!

We usually use good quality black forest ham (from the deli), pepperoni, provolone and mozzarella cheese to make this, but you substitute for what your family likes. We have also done both, homemade bread or frozen Rhodes bread. And as for the spices, I just sprinkle on as much as I like, but for this post, I put an amount that is close to what we use. That's what's so great about this meal, its really variable!

1 16 oz loaf frozen bread dough thawed (or homemade bread)
¼ lb thinly sliced ham (good quality black forest ham from the deli)
¼ lb Hormel pepperoni
½ tsp dried basil - divided
½ tsp dried oregano – divided
3 ounces slices provolone cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp cornmeal

Place bread dough on lightly greased baking sheet or silpat mat.  Roll into a 15X10” rectangle.  Arrange ham slices lengthwise down center; place pepperoni on top.  Sprinkle with ¼ tsp basil and ¼ tsp oregano.  Arrange provolone cheese over herbs and top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with remaining herbs.  Moisten all edges of dough with water; bring each long edge of dough to center.  Press edges together securely to seal.  Seal ends. 

Brush dough with 1 TBSP butter; sprinkle with cornmeal and carefully invert so that the seam side is down.  Brush top with remaining butter.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until browned.

Remove from oven and place on a cutting board.  Cut horizontally into slices with a serrated (bread) knife.  For smaller portions, first cut vertically down the center, then into horizontal slices. 

Yield 12-15 appetizer servings (up to 24 for smaller portions)

Here is a breakdown of how to do it
  Roll dough into a rectanlge (I like to use my silpat as a guide and use it to bake as well)
Add toppings down the middle.
leaving an edge around the border without topping on it

 Rub edges with a little bit of water to moisten, then starting with the long edges, fold one into the middle, then fold the second
Pinch those edges tightly together so the fillings don't fall out

Roll up smaller edges (just enough to seal the edges)
Flip it over, rub with melted butter and sprinkle with cornmeal
Bake until browned around edges and bottom
Cut with a serrated edge

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Minion cupcakes

 Aren't these little guys cute?  My son wanted a minion cake for his birthday and minion cupcakes for his birthday party.  I had seen these on pinterest and they looked pretty simple.  They aren't technically difficult, they just take a little bit of time.  Right before we left the house, I snapped this picture, but you can get the idea. 

Minion Cupcakes
cupcakes, made and cooled
frosting (divided in two bowls)
smarties (white and yellow ones only)
twinkies, cut in half

Frost your cooled cupcakes.  Cut twinkies in half.  Before placing them on cupcakes, make minion face.  Place a small bit of white frosting to act as a glue on the back of the smarties and place on twinkies. Tint your second bowl of white frosting with black frosting gel. Place frosting in a small ziploc bag and cut the tip of the corner to use as a piping bag.  Using the piping bag, frame the smarites with black frosting to look like glasses.  Add a black dot for an eye and a smile.  Add twinkie to frosted cupcake. Then put three black lines on the head for hair with the piping bag. Pretty simple, right?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Easy Dinner Ideas Part 2

This last weekend, we drove out to Utah to do a little painting and a few other fun updates on our new house.  The only problem was we aren't moved in yet, which means all my kitchen supplies are still in Oregon. I made 6 days worth of meals and snacks and breakfast.  I did get some pre-packaged items to keep it simple, knowing we wouldn't have much time to make things during the day. Some of the meals I made in advance were some on this list and some from my first post on Easy Dinner Ideas.  So hopefully this helps with some of the dinner time woes.  I will be posting a few other fast and easy dinner ideas or meals that can be prepared in advance soon.  With life constantly on the go, these are life savers!  You can also check out my freezer meal post for more ideas.

beef stuffed french bread
Tacos without a packet! or baked tacos
BBQ chicken on buns or in a salad
Crazy Corn nachos 
freezer beef and bean burritos

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Sloppy Joes
 The Ultimate Grilled Hamburger (can freeze the patties after they are made)
Easy Beef Stroganoff
 Fiesta Chicken Pasta
Baked Mexican Tostadas
Party Subs
Chicken Salad Sandwiches

 Breakfast for dinner (Buttermilk Pancakes with coconut syrup, Hashbrowns, healthy chocolate banana shakes

black bean salsa
honey lime fruit salad
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad

Garlic Cheese Pull Apart Bread

Fast and Easy snacks:
granola bar bites
Cheesy Ranch Chex Mix
triscuit pizzas
banana bread muffins
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