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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Recipes of 2014 - Reader Favorites


It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club

We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!



On New Year’s Eve, the countdown continues with YOUR favorites!  These are the absolute BEST recipes of 2014!  The ones you’ve pinned and stumbled and eaten and loved.  Thank you all, dear readers!  Here’s to an amazing 2015!




Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best Desserts of 2014


It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club! 



We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!


Today we have my favorite countdown: Desserts!!!  Though most of my cakes are featured on my cake blog, Amy’s Confectionery Adventures, there were still plenty to choose from over here!  Here are my favorites:




Monday, December 29, 2014

Best Snacks, Apps, & Sides of 2014


It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club



We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!

  
Today we’re highlighting the best snacks, appetizers, and side dishes of 2014!  There were some delicious ones, especially around Superbowl time!  So buckle up & get ready to snack!




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Best Main Dish Recipes of 2014


It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Sharing of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club



We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!


Today continues with the Best Main Dish Recipes of 2014.  Man, was this a tough one!  I made a lot of amazing main dishes in 2014!

Glancing through these recipes, there’s a definite theme!  I’m seeing a lot of bacon!  Haha! Bacon indeed makes everything better!

I kept it down to my top 10 and they are delicious – I planned next week’s menu just going through these again!


1.      Jack & Coke Chili
7.     Rancher Steak
8.    Steak Au Poivre

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Best Crock Pot Recipes of 2014

It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Shaping of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club



We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!

Today continues with your best crock pot recipes and I have to admit…to get this paltry four recipes, I also had to dig into 2013!  Ack!  It looks like my goal for 2015 will be to utilize my crock pot more often!



1.      Beef Tips
2.    French Dip



Friday, December 26, 2014

Best Breakfasts of 2014

It’s almost 2015!  Whoop Whoop!

To kick it all off, I’m participating in a countdown to 2014 hosted by Sarah from A Fantastical Shaping of Recipes and owner of the Secret Recipe Club




We’re counting down our favorite recipes of 2014 to lead us in to 2015!

It all starts today with Breakfast!  Enjoy!



6.    Rhubarb Muffins


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Squash Quinoa Soup


It’s time for Kid’s in the Kitchen again today!  Dude is on Christmas break from school, so he was excited to have some time to cook!

He looked through his cookbook and found a recipe titled “Almost Any Vegetable Soup”.  It left the actually composition of the soup up to the young chef, but essentially it was a squash soup.

I was awfully skeptical.  I knew the Hubs and I would enjoy the soup, but Dude?  It’s not really his thing.  But he insisted that he would like squash soup, so we got cooking!  We had a buttercup left over from our garden harvest, so it was fun to use a pantry item we had grown ourselves.

We also added some quinoa to the soup to give it a little texture, fiber and protein.  It was an awesome addition!

In the end, Dude worked his way through about half a bowl of soup, laden heavily with parmesan and crackers and quickly said “no thank you” to leftovers.  While I don’t think he actually liked his soup all that much, I am proud of him for sticking to it and eating what he made.

Plus, Hubs and I thought it was amazing and were thrilled to eat up all of the leftovers!

Now here’s Dude talking about the recipe in his own words:

It is delicious!    I decided it because I thought it would taste good and it looked   yummy in the cookbook!    A sprinkle of parmesan and a freshly baked bun are highly recommended!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Reindeer Pizzas and the Best {EASY} Pizza Dough Yet!


I have tried a lot of pizza doughs since I started the blog. Some are whimisical, adding in different vegetable purees to color the dough.  Some are easy.  Some are time consuming.  Some are food chain knock-offs.  All were delicious.

But this one knocks them all out of the park!

I was saving up this recipe for next fall (I have a great Halloween pizza all ready for you!)  But I had a request for the recipe sooner and I’ve been dying to share it with you!

Homemade pizzas are actually our Christmas Eve (and Halloween) tradition.  They're quick, easy, and customizable.  And they kid friendly.  So when the kids are practically jumping out of their skin waiting to open presents or listen for the Polar Express or trying to catch Santa Clause, you can still get some food into those little tummies.

Okay, quick tangent and a super cute story...

A few weeks ago, I pulled out all of the Christmas books, including the Polar Express, and read it to the kids.  That night, Spud (age 4) ended up going to bed a bit before Dude (they share a room).  When we went into the bedroom to put Dude to bed, we sound Spud curled up on the floor with his blankie.  We woke him up and with a sleepy little voice he said, "I though I heard the Polar Express coming to get me!"  AHHH!  Cuteness overload!  Incidentally, we do live relatively close to some train tracks, so he probably really did hear a train.  I just love childhood iinnocence don't you?

Because of the spur of the moment post, we’ll have to make do with some hastily snapped cell phone photos!

But they’re sweet little reindeers, so maybe you can forgive me?  Be sure to scroll down below the dough recipe, where I’m also sharing my very favorite easy pizza sauce recipe!

Friday, December 19, 2014

15+ Last minute Elf on the Shelf Ideas

It’s getting down to crunch time!  There are only a few more days left of the 2014 Christmas season to think up Elf on the Shelf ideas!

However, these last few days, with all the hustle and bustle can be the more difficult!  Maybe you used up your great ideas earlier in the season or maybe you just need some thing easy!

I’m here to help, with even MORE Elf ideas. 

1. Let’s start off with a “gasp I forgot to move the elf and the kids are going to wake up any second!”  Yep, stick him on the Christmas tree…classic



2. Whether or not you get sucker in to buying the vest (mine is from Bed, Bath, & Beyond), downhill skiing is always fun.  Elfie skis down a toilet paper hill with pipe cleaner ski poles and mini candy cane skis.



3.  Another classic.  I always like it when Elfie remembers the reason for the season and prays by the nativity.



4.  We’re big readers in this house, so it’s always fun when Elfie gets in on the fun!



5. If you don’t mind Elfie bringing additional gifts during the season, it can be fun if he brings tickets to a favorite sporting event.  In this case, college hockey!



6.  Another easy one and great if you have clumsy kids or animals.  Our kids somehow managed to knock over the Christmas tree and the star stayed a little cockeyed, so Elfie fixed it.



7. Another favorite of mine, Elfie sneaks a small Christmas tree and ornaments into the kids’ room at night.



8.  In this one, Elfie decided that 4 trees in our house wasn’t enough, so he brought one of his own that the kids could decorate throughout the season.



9.  Yeehaw!  Ridin’ mistletoe!



10.  Elfie noticed that I was busy baking a birthday cake and managed to make his own to celebrate Jesus’ birthday!



11.  This is another “I got suckered into an elf bomber jacket” (Target) moment.  And also we have a rocking airplane…and a airplane themed bedroom for the kids…and Hubs is a pilot…nuff said.



12.  For those weeks when the excitement of Christmas get to be a bit much and behavior takes a nose dive.  Elfie penned a note to Santa begging him to give the kids another chance and promised to pray for them.



13.   Underwear tree.  Hehehe



14.  Oh hello.  You wanted all your food to stare at you all day, right?



15.  Here, Elfie video chats with Santa and the boys find out if they’re on the naughty or nice list (I use Portable North Pole)



16.  Elfie thought our tree was missing a little something, so he added a train!  Choo Choo!!!



17. Godzilla smashed through the Christmas village RAWR!!!  Actually, this was Spud’s doing (he’s 4).  I thought it was hilarious and could totally see the Elf pulling it off!





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Angel Wings Wednesday #22 - Happy Birthday Sarah Catherine




Last year, on this day, I was anxiously heading to the doctor’s appointment that would change my life forever.

The regular appointment where I expected to talk to the doctor, hear my baby’s heartbeat and be on my way.

Instead I found out that my baby’s heart had stopped beating and that I was being admitted to the hospital to deliver.  I had to call Hubs and tearfully break the news to him.  And call my mom and dad and do the same and ask them to drop everything and drive 4 hours to watch my boys.

Because a 28-week induced labor takes so long, Sarah Catherine’s birthday is actually tomorrow, but today is the day we heard the news.

Happy Birthday in Heaven Memorials | Happy birthday in heaven , nanny.
Source

It’s almost unbelievable to me that an entire year has passed.  It’s had it’s highs and lows.  I feel like I had to relearn how to deal with life.  Last December and January are almost a complete blur – that was survival mode.  And what a blessing that it’s a blur.  I feel like God was insulating me, protecting me from what I couldn’t handle, and just giving me a bit at a time until I could handle the gravity of the situation.

I’ve taken the time to take care of myself and take care of my family.  I’ve read tons of books, just to keep my mind busy.  And I’ve played with my boys instead of doing the housework.  I’ve turned inward (easy to do for introverts like me).  I’ve found out which friendships were ready to weather the storm and which ones had run their course.

I’ve tried to be more caring, but worry that I’ve been more impatient.  I’ve tried to be a kinder person, but worry that I’ve just become more critical of others.

Some days are so good that I almost forget that there’s a hole in my heart and others I’m screaming so loudly inside that I feel like I might burst.

Source
I guess it all boils down to the fact that I’m still healing.  Still grieving.

There are mostly good days, but still some bad days (thankfully those are few and far between).

Yes, this year has been a roller coaster.  I’ll always grieve for my daughter.  My only little girl.  But it can only go up from here.

Last year, I imagined Sarah Catherine held in the arms of my Grandpas who have already passed on, praising Jesus in the month of his Holy birth.  The image is still so comforting to me.  Sarah Catherine and other loved ones, singing with the angels until the day I can join them.  I am so happy that I have my sweet boys here on Earth to sing His praises with me here and now.

Source
Happy birthday, sweet little Sarah Catherine.  We miss you now and always.  You’re in our hearts forever.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sparkly Spiral Cookies {Blogger Cookie Swap}


It’s time for the Food Blogger Cookie Recipe Swap!


First a shout out to our fantastic hostesses who organize this swap each year:

Aubrey from Real Housemoms
Laura from Pink Cake Plate
Abbey from The Cards We Drew
Kelley from Miss Information
Carli from Dimple Prints

Thank you so much, ladies!

For this swap, two bloggers are paired together.  They each send a favorite holiday cookie recipe to their partner and then bake up, and photograph the cookies.

This year, I was paired with Becca from It’s Yummi.  Becca is a trained Chef from Wisconsin.  She loves to make healthy, affordable meals and is a Green Bay Packer Fan (Go, Pack, Go!!)

For the swap, Becca sent me her recipe for Sparkly Spiral Cookies.  Essentially they’re sugar cookies (but a new to me recipe), tinted, and then rolled together and cut to make a fun design!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Coffee Crinkle Cookies {SRC Cookie Carnival}


Guess what??  Bonus cookie time!

There was a Secret Recipe Club SOS earlier this evening when one of the cookie carnival participants was unable to participate.  Since I had some time and was in a baking mood, I whipped up some last minute cookies so no one was orphaned.

So tonight’s second super bonus cookie SRC blog is Amanda’s blog, Dancing Veggies.  Such a fun blog name!  As the blog title would suggest, Amanda’s blog features delicious vegetarian recipes on a budget!

Glazed Eggnog Cookies {SRC Cookie Carnival}



It’s a Secret Recipe Club bonus Cookie Carnival!

In this special SRC, participants are secretly assigned another blog and then bake a delicious Christmas Cookie from that blog!

For the Cookie Carnival, I was assigned Desi’s blog, SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl.

As I looked through her recipes, I came across the recipe for Eggnog Cookies and knew it was destiny.  Because eggnog + Christmas = match made in heaven!

I made a slight alteration, and added a little rum to my cookies, because I like my eggnog spiked (because that’s how I roll), but it’s totally optional!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Chocolate Eggnog



Are you ready for my new most favoritest Christmas drink??

It’s spiked eggnog to the nth degree, because chocolate.

And if you’re serving this to the kiddos, you can totally omit the booze and it’s equally delicious!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Smothered Chile Colarado Burritos: SRC



Woot!  It’s Secret Recipe Club time!  This month, I was assigned Heather’s blog, Fit Mama, Real Food.

Heather is a mom of 2 and a group fitness instructor!  It’s such a great combination!  As I was looking through her recipes, I also took a peek at some of Heather’s fitness tips.  I even did her plank workout!  And let me tell you: it was tough (especially following boot camp & zumba!) but so so good!  I’m definitely working it into my own workout routine!


Go, abs, go!!

Now for the recipe!

I ended up getting a new crockpot and I wanted to try it out, so I picked these delicious smothered chile Colorado burritos.  Even though I kept calling them enchiladas.  And then I bought the tortillas too small, so I rolled mine like enchiladas, too.  Oops.

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