Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Hi.  My name is Maureen, and it’s been two days since I bought my last Christmas ornament.  That’s right, two days.  I went the nearest Hallmark the day after Christmas so I could purchase the latest Han Solo Keepsake ornament. I have what some may call an addiction to Christmas ornaments.  My husband would like to call it an obsession.
I can easily spend an hour in the Hallmark store, admiring their latest creations.  I can get lost in the Disney Days of Christmas Store at WDW.  I don’t even blink when the cashier asks for $70.  My reply “Oh, that’s all?  Let me get some more.”
Ornaments tell a story.  It can be one you share, or one you keep to yourself. 
This one?  My cousin Michele gave it to me the year I found out I was pregnant with the Monkey. 

And this one?  My Uncle made this for my mom the year I was born.  Needless to say, it’s kind of old.

These were new additions to our tree this year.  My monkey LOVES Nemo, so this was only natural that we get it.   The R2D2 one is all me – it combines my love of Disney and Star Wars.  It’s ultra nerd material.

Here is one of my favorites. Two tiny little hands helped to paint this one.

I started an ornament collection for my daughter the year she was born.  It started off innocently enough.  I would purchase ONE thing that reminded me of her – and I would purchase it after the holiday when it was on sale.  I would write the year that I purchased it on the box or tag, and then I would put it away in the special box.  The first year I bought her a Scooby Doo one, because I love Scooby.  The next year, I bought her a Dora the Explorer one because she was in love with Dora.  The next year she got a Sponge Bob one.  Then something happened the next year.  Instead of buying one, I bought three – Star Wars, Transformers, and Charlie Brown.  That was the year she discovered the coolness of Optimus Prime, and with me as her mom, she has no choice but to like Star Wars.
I was looking through the box yesterday, because I had to put away the Monsters Inc. and Darth Vadar ones I just bought her, and I took a walk down memory lane.  I found two Lightening McQueens, a few Buzz and Woodys, and a lot of pigs.  Remember, the Monkey is obsessed with pigs, so a lot of people give us pig decorations.  I just put them away in the special box.
When she has a house and family of her own, I’ll give her this box.  My hope is she will use these to decorate her tree, and perhaps she can tell her children their stories.  She will tell them why she has an iCarly and a Lego Stormtrooper ornament.  And perhaps she will start a special box for her children, and continue with this tradition.  That's my hope.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ping Pong Anyone?

Happy Holidays!!!!!

That’s a lot of work for one day, right?

There were two things that made the Monkey super happy this Christmas.  The first is the ping pong table that Santa left in our basement.  I think these pictures say it all.

The second is Funfetti Cake Batter Buddies.  I found this recipe while surfing Pinterest one evening, and thought it sounded tasty.  I, like my daughter and Buddy the Elf, have a thing for sweets.  We also love anything that has sprinkles (I call them jimmies, but we’ll have that argument another day) on it.  This recipe has everything we crave – sugar, sprinkles, chocolate, and cake mix.   It takes less than 10 minutes to make, and it makes A LOT.  Thanks to Six Sisters' Stuff for the recipe.

If you like sweets, or have little ones around you, give this recipe a try.  I'm sure they will become fans of it right away!  Besides, the holiday season is when we are supposed to overdo it, right?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Candy Free Halloween

Today is the Monkey's Halloween parade and party at school, and like most of the schools across the county, they are trying to cut down on the sugary treats.  I am a classroom volunteer, which means I am a sucker parent that tries to help out whenever I can.  In this case, it meant that I sent in a treat for the party.  We were to send in apples, grapes, and popcorn.  Woo Hoo!  Let the fun begin.  Fortunately, one family is bringing in cupcakes and cookies.  Can you imagine the mutinty that would have happened this afternoon?

Monkey wanted to give her classmates a Halloween treat, and insisted that she give out candy.  Considering the healthy party snacks, I was hesitant to let her.  Normally I don't care what people think about me, but I didn't want to be labeled "That Parent" for the rest of the year.  We racked our brains to come up with something, but we came up empty handed.  So, off to Pinterest we went (thank God for Pinterest) and we came across the great idea.  Thanks to Love Stiched for the inspiration.

This is super easy, and inexpensive.  I found vampire teeth (12 for $1) at the store, and simply printed out Have a "Fang-Tastic" Halloween! on paper.  We cut out each strip, wrapped them around a set a teeth, and taped the ends together.   Here is the finished product.  Sorry -- it hard to really see what they look like.  Monkey wanted to glow-on-the-dark teeth, and they do not photograph very well.

And here is Monkey, all ready for Halloween fun at school today!

Have a great Halloween -- and be sure to enjoy all of your sugary treats!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just Like Starbucks? Caramel Apple Spice Love

This time of year is a Starbuck lover's dream.  The big mama coffee house brings back it's pumpkin spice, and coffee drinkers everywhere go crazy.  Hot, cold, iced, whipped, frappe'ed -- you name it, they put that pumpkin in it.

Not me.

I love Starbuck's right now because they bring back their Caramel Apple Spice drink.  Truth me told, they never take it away.  They simply do not advertise it, because not many people wants to be reminded of fall in July.

I LOOOOVE this drink.  If it's made correctly (sorry Barista's...sometimes you guys miss the mark), it's like drinking a caramel apple.  Delish.  But it's a bit expensive.  It seems crazy to pay $3.50 for a warm cup of juice, especially when you can buy a bottle of juice for less than $2 at your grocery store.  Just pour it in a mug, add some mulling spices, and microwave for 45 seconds, right?  Well, you can do that, but it's just not the same.  I took my search to Pinterest (HELLO!!! I obsessed with it right now) to find the Starbucks knock-off, and my search took me to this recipe from Crockpot 365

We gathered the ingredients, and took this pretty picture (please ignore the empty iced tea gallon and gourds in the background.  Her recipe called for caramel syrup, but didn't specify which specific brand.  Even though her picture shows Smucker's, we used Hershey's (it was on sale).
Following the directions, we put everything in our handy dandy crock pot (another obsession), and we got this mess.  I do believe that food doesn't have to look good -- it just has to taste good.

The waiting was torture, as the house smelled like fall.  It was finally time, and we took the taste test, was good, but not exactly like Starbucks.  My husband thinks it might have something do with with the syrup we used, as he thought it might too thin.  I was sort of turned off by the little chunks of spices that didn't dissolve.  The next time I make this, I think I will put the spices in cheesecloth or a tea strainer.

So, Starbucks, thanks for the idea to search for a knock off.  I'm sure I'll be in your stores soon to give you some of my money, but for the most part, I will stick with this!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pumpkin Cakes with Cinnamon Glaze

Hello.  My name is Maureen, and I am addicted to pumpkin.  Pumpkin spice coffee.  Pumpkin pie (with Cool Whip).  Pumpkin fudge.  Pumpkin pie dip with graham crackers.  Pumpkin butter.  Pumpkin soup. 

AND I LOVE PUMPKIN CAKE, especially the ones that I made tonight. I didn't make them all by myself.  The monkey did lend her hand.

I am super excited that fall is right around the corner (although I am not ready for summer to end) because I love fall foods.  Fall = Pumpkin Season.  Here is the first of what I hope is many more pumpkin baking recipes to come.

The finished product

Pumpkin Cakes
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Cinnamon Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk.

Combine the cake mix, pumpkin, egg and spices in a mixing bowl and mix well. 
Pour the cake batter in your choice of pan (I used my Texas cupcake pan....everything is bigger in Texas)
Bake according to the package directions.
Prepare the cinnamon glaze: Combine the four ingredients, and stir until well blended.  Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the cakes.
The cakes can be allowed to cool, or can be served warm.  The glaze is best added to the cake when you are ready to serve it.


Here's my monkey putting the ingredients together.

The naked cake

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

It's time for me to put up, or shut up.  No more sitting around waiting for a reason to bake.  I'm just going to do it.  Why not?  What's stopping me?  Nothing.  The only thing that can get it my way is me.

With that said, I am challenging myself to a 52 week baking challenge.  Each week, I am going to make and/or create some sort of baked good -- cakes, cupcakes, pies, you name it (in fact, I'm open to suggestions). 

The challenge started on Sunday, when I was looking for someone to bake for.  The obvious choice was my husband because it was Father's Day.  This is a cupcake he requested.  It was his day.  How could I say no.  The actual cake is pretty simple, since I used a box cake mix.  The filling is a take off of the recipe we use to make peanut butter eggs at Easter.  The frosting is my old stand by, courtesy of Wilton.

Sorry about the picture quality...I took this using my phone

Chocolate cake mix, and ingredients necessary

Peanut Butter Filling
1 stick butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powered sugar, sifted

Buttercream Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 stick Crisco
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted.
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a standard muffin tin with paper lines.

Prepare and bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the back of the box (tough, right).  Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

Prepare the filling: In a glass bowl, melt the butter and peanut butter for one minute.  Stir until the butters are combined.  Add the sugar, one cup at a time, and mix well.  Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Prepare the frosting by following the directions found on the Wilton website (no need for me to copy and paste!).

Once the cakes have cooled completly, use a small knife and remove a hole in the center of the cake.  Fill the hole with the peanut butter mixture, and frost the cakes.  I used the Wilton 2D tip to make them pretty (food should take good and look good too).

Happy eating!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Simple (and Inexpensive) Gifts for Teachers

If you are the parent (or guardian) of a school-age child, then you know that it is Teacher Appreciation Week.  If you haven't thanked your child's teacher, be sure to do so.  Can you imagine having to deal with 25 kids for up to eight hours a day, five days a week?  I'm wiped out after leading a Girl Scout troop for an hour every other week.  More power to teachers.

I wanted my daughter to give a little something extra to her teachers this week to show her appreciation.  Time was not on my side, and I needed something quick and easy (and, let's admit it, cheap).  I searched the web, and found this cute idea using a soda bottle.

You won't need a lot of things to put these together.  In fact, you might have this stuff on hand right now.  Gather the following: A 2 liter of soda, some card stock, a pen or marker, a hole puncher, ribbon, and scissors.  You'll also need to grab this sweet tag courtesy of Tammy Mitchell Photography.

How many tags you print depends on how many gifts you want to make.  Make sense?
Cut the tags, and glue or tape them on to card stock.  This will give them tag some "weight", so it will hopefully not tear.  Be sure to have your child sign the tag.  The teacher needs to know who the gift is from!  Using your hole puncher, punch a hole (say that 3 times fast) in the top left hand corner.  Tie the tag to the bottle, and BOOM!  Gift complete.

We didn't want the school nurse to be left out this week, because it is also Nurses Appreciation Week.  My daughter and the school nurse are on a first name basis, as my daughter is in that office at least 3 times a week.  Can you say hypochondriac?  We searched the web again, and found this easy "Thanks A Latte" gift idea. 

Here's what you need: a disposable coffee cup (yes, I the world....just give it a rest for now), single serve coffee packets, single serve creamers, a chocolate bar (just a little something sweet), ribbon, card stock and these adorable tags.

Print out the tags, and glue/tape them to the card stock (again, you want these to have a little weight to them).  Place the coffee, creamer, and candy in the cup, and place the lid of top.  Punch a hole in the tag, and tie it to cup.  You now have a gift ready to hand out. 
Even if you don't make these cute gifts for the teachers, please be sure to say this simple phrase: Thank You.  A little kindness does go a long way.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chocolate Covered Goodness

My work hosted a bake sale earlier this week, and I wanted to make something that no one else would think of (at least, I hoped no one would).  I was going to make chocolate covered marshmallows, but decided to make Oreo Pops because the cookies were on sale at the market, and because I wanted to see if I could make someone fall into a sugar coma.

Here is what you need to make your own Chocolate Covered Oreo Pops:
  • Package of Oreos (I prefer Double Stuff Oreos)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Melting chocolate
  • Sprinkles

Carefully (CAREFULLY!!!!) twist the chocolate cookie wafers apart.  I can't stress the word carefully enough.  I had the toughest time getting the cookies to stay in one piece.  I got ticked off at the amount of wasted cookies I had, but my niece and nephew were overjoyed.  Put the cookie with the "middle" stuck to it on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet.

The pile of broken cookies that made my nephew's eyes go wide
Melt the chocolate according the package direction.  Make sure you do not overcook it, or you will be stuck with useless chocolate (it will burn).  Dip the top of the popsicle stick in the chocolate, and place in the middle of the cookie wafer.  Place the plain cookie wafer on top so you will now have a complete cookie.  Transfer the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes, allowing the chocolate to set.

Check out my mad skills

Back to normal
This might sound too difficut to do.  Get goes...... Cover the cookie pop with the melted chocolate.  Whew!  Too much to handle, right?  I have found it easier to spoon the chocolate over the cookie instead of dipping it directly in the mixture.  Make sure you cover the entire cookie, and allow the excess chocolate to go back into the bowl.  Place the covered pop back on the wax paper.  Now is the time to sprinkle the sprinkles on your pop.  Allow the chocolate to set, and then you can wrap things up.

Getting a chocolate bath
Cute, right?  Super easy, right?  This would make great party favors, especially since melting chocolate comes in a variety of colors.  I used blue because I made these on Autism Awareness Day, and this was my attempt to Light It Up Blue.  This blue color would be perfect for a baby shower.

Finished product
How did the bake sale go, you ask?  Pretty good.  We have a variety of snacks, and collected $156.  How did my stuff go?  I made chocolate cake pops, which sold out.  I think a few Oreo pops were left over.  Truth be told, I think the blue chocolate frightened some people away.  However, I did ask a co-worker what she thought of them, and she said they were "effing good" (direct quote).


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rice Krispies + Peeps + Chocolate = YUM!

Wouldn't you know it?  The baking bug hit me today, and I didn't have enough ingredients on hand to make cupcakes.  I sent my hubby to the store to get some things.  I didn't want the creative juices to go away, so I thought I would share with you another recipe using Peeps.

This is a fun, and very messy, recipe to do with your little ones.  Be prepared for the mess.

Okay....let's begin.

The ingredients are pretty easy.  You will need two boxes of Rice Krispie treats, eight (8) bunny Peeps (or 16 chick Peeps), melting chocolate, and sprinkles.

Remove the treats from the packaging, and place them on a plate.  Using your hands, flatten each treat so they are about one inch high (to be honest with you, I'm not sure why I flattened them in the first place.  Once I did, I realized they were a lot easier to work with).

Now it's time to commit murder.  If you are using the bunny Peeps, you will have to slice each one down the middle so you end up with two bunnies.  Hey....they are known to multiple quickly, you know).

Please forgive me, Easter Gods

Melt the chocolate according to the directions on the package.  Now comes the assembly.  You can either dip the top of the krispie treat in the chocolate so that it is covered, or you can spoon and then smear the chocolate on the treat.  I found that the spoon way was easier (and cleaner).

Take one of the bunny halves, and place on top of the chocolate.  Put the treat on top of wax paper, and top with sprinkles (Sprinkles are really optional.  I love them, and will put them on anything possible).  The chocolate sets pretty quickly, so you can enjoy these in matter of minutes.

A chick sitting on his nest

A whole tray of these would look cute on any table, and would also make a festive party treat, especially for school classroom parties.  I used the products that I had on hand, but you could use different color chocolate and marshmallows.

The best thing about this recipe is you can adapt it for each holiday.  Peeps are available all year long, so you can make these at Halloween using pumpkin peeps and at Christmas using tree peeps. 

Try these with you little Peep fans, and let me know how they turned out.

A peep wearing her Easter bonnet (Meg's creation)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Dirty Chick

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Here is the dirty chick I am talking about.

Dirty chick....get it?  I love Peeps, and I especially love them dipped in chocolate.  Sure, you can buy chocolate covered Peeps in the store, but I don't like those ones.  You know why?  The sugar coating is missing!  You are basically eating a chocolate covered marshmallow.  Peeps are not simply marshmallows!  The sugar coating is what makes it a Peep.

These would make cute party favors, especially for classroom parties (guess what the 2nd grade is going to have in April?).

Dirty Chicks are super easy to make.  All you need are Peeps, melting chocolate, and wax paper. 

We used blue chicks because, well, it reminded me of a blue duck, and I've never seen a blue duck before (Did anyone get that movie reference?).  Be sure to follow the directions when you melt the chocolate.  If you overheat it, it will not melt properly and you won't be able to use it.   Take a Peep, and dip the bottom of it in the chocolate.  Gently shake the chick to remove the excess chocolate, and then place the Peep on wax paper.  That's it!  That's all you have to do.  Keep dipping the Peeps until you run out of either supply.  Once you are done, you should have your own little chicken coop.

Not only do I love chocolate covered Peeps...I also love sprinkles (because I have the taste pallet of a child).  I thought the sprinkles added a little more color to this sugar treat.

What do you think?

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Own Lil Bit 'O Trouble

This past Saturday, my daughter and her Girl Scout troop sold cookies at the local mall.  Their booth was located in the food court, which was a primo spot.  It was also located across from the Nestle Toll House cookie stand.  Competing with them shouldn't be a problem -- who wouldn't want to buy cookies from sweet little girls?  I'll tell you who.  My daughter.

Her: "Can I get a cookie?"
Me: "What?  Are you kidding me?  You are selling cookies."
Her: "Come on!  They have the good cookies I like."

She's a great salesman, right?

And the cookies she likes?  It's call the Lil Bit 'O Trouble.  It's a small frosting sandwich -- two chocolate chip cookies with vanilla frosting in the middle, and rainbow sprinkles on the outside.  They also cost just about $3 a pop.  You would think that I have had enough of cookies already, considering I am the Girl Scout cookie mom.  You think wrong.  I decided to make my own version of this cookie, for much less than $3 a cookie.  I must admit to you now that I took the easy way and cheated.

You will need the following supplies: one can of vanilla frosting, a package of ready-to-bake cookies, and sprinkles.

I used the seasonal sugar cookies I found at the grocery store. I also made two packages, for a total of 48 cookies, which would make 24 cookie sandwiches.

Bake the cookies as directed and allow to cool completely.

I love these cookies.  My mom used to call them Magic Cookies because of the designs.  I was excited to find the Disney designs -- we are huge Disney buffs.

Place a glob (that's the technical term) of frosting on the bottom of the cookie, and place another cookie on top.  You should now have a cookie sandwich in your hand, and some of the frosting should be oozing out of the sandwich. 

Take your cookie sandwich and roll the outside of it in the sprinkles.

You now have your own version of the Lil Bit of Trouble.  Pretty crazy that someone charges $3 for these things, right?  I made 24 for less than $5.  The kids at the school's morning YMCA program were very happy to see me with these this morning.

And for those of you wondering....No.  I did not buy her a Nestle cookie when we are at the mall.  She got ice cream.

Come back tomorrow to learn how to make Dirty Chicks (not gonna give any secrets).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tasty Thursday

Buffalo Chicken Dip....everyone has their own version of the recipe.  I got this recipe from my husband's cousin's wife (did you follow that?) years ago.  She brought this dip to a party, and everyone went crazy for it.  It was so good -- it was like nothing I had before -- and I had to find out how to make it.

I made it, and brought it to a party, and everyone went crazy for it.  People asked me for the recipe, and I'm sure that they now make it, bring it to parties, and people go crazy for their version.

Below is how I make this dip.  My cousin MD (the 2nd one) makes it a different way, and we went head to head one day.  It was like the Pepsi challenge.  Which one did you like better?  I'll admit it...she beat me. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 lb. cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 jar blue cheese dressing (not the kind that can be found on the shelves -- you have to get the kind in the produce section)
2 cups buffalo wing sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Heat the chicken and wing sauce in a sauce pan over medium heat, until heated through.  Add the cream cheese and dressing.  Cook, and stir until well blended.  Pour into a 9x13 casserole pan.  Spread the shredded cheese over the mixture.  Cook for 35 minutes.  Serve with crackers and celery sticks.

Like I said, I lost to her in the challenge.  I'm up for another one.  I think I can take her.  It would be like our version of the Iron Chef.  What do you say?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why The Name Buttercream Queen?

This is why.  This is a cake I made two years ago just because.  It's a yellow cake covered in buttercream spaghetti, and topped with chocolate truffle meatballs.  The sauce is thinned rasberry jam.

This was Megan's birthday cake when she turned 6.  Her birthday is in May, and she asked for a Rudolph cake. 

So...that's why the name Buttercream Queen.  It's actually Buttercream B*tch because I won't let my family eat the homemade icing I make. 

I've been toying with the idea of making some money on the side -- all of which would be donated to Autism Research -- from my love of baking.  I just don't know where to start.  I thought I would start with the name, but I don't think Buttercream B*tch would look good on a business card.

Any thoughts?  I would love to hear them.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Dear Friday....

Dear Friday,

Thank you for finally coming.  I have been waiting for your arrival.  Please give Sunday a call and tell her to take her time.  I would like to enjoy my time with you, and with Saturday.

Thanks again.  See you in a week.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

I (hate) New York would normally be Tasty Thursday, but I have New York on my mind.  I blame it on Bono and the boys.  If they had not recorded "New York" for their 2000 album "All That You Can't Leave Behind", I would not have it on my iPod.  But, they made it, and it's on my iPod, and I heard it last night while I was working in the kitchen.
I love U2.

I hate New York.

Sorry to offend anyone (I'm looking in your direction Parkwood), but I do.  It's an okay place to visit, but I don't want to stay there.

I hate New York sports teams.  I hated sitting in Citi Field last year to watch the Phillies beat the Mets.  There is a reason that place is called Flushing.  I hate Jorge Posada.  He pees on his hands (look it up) and has big ears.  I hate the Giants -- and not because they just won the Super Bowl.  I really have no opinion of the J-E-T-S.  Truth be told, I tend to root for them, but I think it is only because of Rex and his foot fetish.

It's the town that never sleeps, and you know what?  It needs to.  Take a look in the mirror New York.  You don't look so pretty at 4 in the morning.

I hate taxi cabs.

I hate piles of garbage laying on the sidewalk.  I hate having to walk around them.  I hate the way they smell.

I hate seeing rats walking around on the subway platform while I was waiting for the train.  I hate the fact that no one seemed bothered by the rats.

I hate the fact that you are forced to overpay for everything in New York.

I hate that John Lennon stepped outside the Dakota one December day.

I hate that bird that crapped on Megan as soon as we walked off of the bus last year when we visited New York for the day.  She never got pooped on by a bird in Pennsylvania.

I hate that American Doll store on 5th Avenue.  I LOVE that Megan hates those dolls.  Wait...there is one thing I like about that store.  The bathrooms.  Very nice.  If you happen to be in that area, and need to use the facilities, stop in there.

I sound very bitter, right?  I blame this all on Bono.  I love U2.  I hate New York.

Long live Philadelphia (Roxborough in the house....holler)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tasty Thursday

If you remember, I wrote about how I wished I learned how to cook my mom's spaghetti.  Since that never happened, I found a recipe in an old church cookbook and adapted it to fit my family's taste.  It's really easy because I use the crock pot....fill it up, turn it on low, leave for work, and come home to a homecooked meal.  I'm going to share it with you.  If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

Crock-Pot Spaghetti Sauce

3 large cans crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. butter

Pour all the ingredients into the crock pot, and give it a good stir.  Turn on low, and cook for 8 hours.  Take the lid off for about 1/2 hour so the sauce will thicken.  If you want to add meat, it can be added in with the above ingredients.  I *highly* recommend you use  Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners.  These will save your life.

That's it.  Super easy, and super good.  Plus it makes a lot, at least it makes a lot for us.  I sometimes make this and freeze the results so we have sauce whenever we need it.

Oh...and that "old" cookbook I was talking about.  It's the book called " Our Best Home Cooking...A Collection of Recipes Fom St. Martin of Tours Community".  I can't find a year listed, so I'm not sure how old it really is.  This is my go-to book.  Gotta love church cookbooks.

Until next time......

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Ugh....not going to go into details, but today was "one of those days".  I'm sure you have been there too.  Instead of sitting in my sorrow, I decided to flip through some pictures, and I came across this one.  This one makes me smile, but also makes me a bit sad because she is no longer this little girl.  Sure, she gets excited when we see Mickey Mouse, but she will never be as excited as she was this day.  This was taken January 2007, and it was her 2nd trip to Disney World.  You just can't bottle this type of excitement!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not My Proudest Moments......

Alright...I am going to admit five things that I have done and that I am not all that proud off...but at the same time, I'm not ashamed of them either.  Think what you want people.  Who are you to judge?    
1)     I have played the “I Had Cancer” card to get better seats at a Bruce Springsteen concert.  I even showed the usher the scar on my neck to drive the point home.  It worked – we got great seats for one of his last concerts at the Spectrum.
2)    I have played the “I’m Pregnant” card to get better parking at a Phillies game.  Granted, I was seven months pregnant at the time, but I was in perfect health.  I just didn’t want to have to walk to the stadium.  I gave the parking attendant a sad look, and he waved us through to the handicap lot.

3)      I have played the “My Mom Passed Away 8 Weeks Before My Wedding” card to get a better deal on a new car. 

4)    I have played the “I Had Cancer” card to get others to do my dirty work.  Dirty work in this case means I didn’t want to walk to the bar to get a beer.  I was simply being lazy, and asked my cousin “F” to get me a beer.  He said no….I said the word cancer….and off he scurried.

5)     I once wore a knee brace at Disney World, which enabled me to jump to the front of the line after a cast member expressed concern that I would be standing too long.  Disclaimer: I did this for one ride, and felt so guilty, I took the brace off and dealt with my pain for the rest of the day.

Everyone has moments like this.  Now is the time to come clean…..

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tasty Thursday

Brother-in-Law #1 LOVES this dessert.  Brother-in-Law #2 HATES this dessert.  I'll let you decide. 

Peanut Butter Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust
1 container Cool Whip, thawed
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Mix cream cheese and milk until well combined.  Add peanut butter, and continue to mix.  Add cool whip, and again, mix until until combined.  Pour mixture into the pie shell.  Freeze for 4 hours.

Super easy, right?  I'm telling husband's family loves this. 

You wanna know what I love?

Love him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Come Back Urkel...I Miss You

What the hell happened to family television? 

Why am I forced to watch iCarly, and Wizards of Waverly Place, and Good Luck Charlie?  Why is is okay to portray kids as being smarter than the adults.  Every adult character on those shows are morons.  Why are we okay with that?

Are teens having as much sex as the characters are on The Secret Life of the American Teenager? That show is like soft porn for high school students.  I'm not a prude by any means, but my word.

Reality shows blow.  I hate American Idol, America's Got Talent (although I will watch it now that Stern is a judge), Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, and so on, and so on, and so on.  I despise all reality shows....except for Extreme Couponing and Dance Moms.  Yeah, you caught me.  Those are my secret vice.

Why aren't there any family shows on from 8-9 pm that my entire family can enjoy together?  What happened to Uncle Jesse, Urkel, The Seavers, Kevin and Winnie, and the Keatons?  Where is John Boy?  How about Cousin Larry?  Remember when the Huxtables would put on a show for their grandparents anniversary?  Alf and Willie?
I guess I just have to wait for them to come on air later today on Nick at Nite.