Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bubbling Pots!

We did this activity for Saint Patrick's Day this year, although it would really be fun anytime of the year! We used them as leprechaun pots, although they could also be used for witches brew at Halloween. My kid's (ages 3 & 1) especially loved how each pot bubbled into a different color. This activity was simple to set up and a lot of fun.


Supplies:

Instructions:

1) Place 12 miniature pots on a cookie sheet. Fill each pot with a couple spoonfuls of baking soda and 2-3 drops of food coloring. I used all different colors of food coloring, to make each pot a different color. You can add a drop of red + blue to make purple or blue + green to make turquoise, etc. I also placed plastic gold coins around the cookie sheet and in a few of the pots.


2) Fill a cup full of Leprechaun Water (vinegar). Your child can either dump the cup onto the pots OR it would be fun to use pipettes or these cute twisty droppers to squeeze the vinegar in. My boys requested more and more vinegar and had so much fun watching the pots explode with bubbles. Here are a few pictures of our pots bubbling and an idea of the different colors. 





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Saint Patrick's Day 2017

Last year we spent an entire week celebrating Saint Patrick's Day! We did green food each morning, and a themed craft and activity each day. My two year old especially enjoyed hunting for these erupting MAGIC leprechaun rocks, going on an alphabet coin hunt and painting with frozen shamrocks (you can view these activities by clicking on the green link above). I wish I had planned more in advance this year, because there are so many fun Saint Patrick's Day activities to do. With all that said, we had a great Saint Patrick's Day morning this year!

As I was getting things ready downstairs, I heard my three wake up and very enthusiastically yell, "It's Saint Patrick's Day!" My husband was luckily home and could distract him while I got the rest of our activities ready. When the kids came downstairs our leprechaun had made a big mess with our stuffed animals. They were all over the floor. Hidden in the stuffed animals were gold chocolate coins and a clue to our scavenger hunt.


Scavenger Hunt: After finding the first clue, we started our hunt. I printed these Saint Patrick's Day Clues that are already DONE for you. How nice is that!? We followed the clues to the fridge (where our leprechaun made our milk green - my three was SO excited when he saw our green milk!), to a shoe, to the door and finally to a bedroom where our leprechaun left a pot of gold. Our pot was filled with more chocolate coins, Saint Patrick's Day books and Dollar Tree items - green glasses, themed tattoos, etc.



Bubbling Pots: After our scavenger hunt, we went back downstairs and made green crepes - I used our green milk and added a little extra food coloring to our favorite crepe recipe. After breakfast we played with these Bubbling Pots. My boys (ages 3 & 1) loved watching the pots bubble. Each pot bubbled a different color, so that really added to the fun. You can find a tutorial by clicking "Bubbling Pots" above. 




Evening Saint Patrick's Day Party: We had fun reading our books and putting a shamrock tattoo on our hands. After getting dressed in the only green shirts we had, we went to the zoo for the day. That evening we went to a Saint Patrick's Day party thrown by our good family friends. They had green food (of course!) and a gold coin hunt for the kids. We played pin the hat on the leprechaun and gave the shamrock pinata a good hit. Afterward the adults played bingo for prizes. Such a fun evening!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chicken Stroganoff in the Crockpot

My mother-in-law often makes this meal for family Sunday dinners. It's one of my favorite meals on her rotation and perfect for adults and kids. This recipe can easily be doubled. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I prefer frozen)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix

Directions: 

1) Combine soup, cream cheese and dressing mix. Pour over chicken in crock pot and cook 6-8 hours on low-heat. 

2) Remove the chicken from crock pot and shred with two forks to pull it apart. Once shredded, return to the sauce in the crockpot. Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Baked Beans for a Crowd

I will often bring these baked beans as a side dish to a larger event. The recipe states it serves 20. It's super easy to throw together and very flavorful. I leave out the bacon, because I don't prefer in with beans, so I listed it as optional. These beans are sweet and delicious. Recipe from The Favorites Cookbook. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 2 (31-ounce) cans pork and beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can great northern beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) can baked beans
  • 1-2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (36-ounce) bottle ketchup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • Optional: 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
Directions:

1) Drain all beans. Mix ingredients in a 5-quart casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours. (Can use any combination of canned beans)

Applesauce Muffins

These applesauce muffins are so good! We love them fresh out of the oven, dipped in melted butter followed by cinnamon sugar. This recipe is from Jennifer Hanseen. Rating: 10/10


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

1) Cream shortening and sugar. Stir in eggs and applesauce. Blend in flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. (I do all of this in my kitchen aid)

2) Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve with butter or jam.



Vegetable Cheese Soup

My mom made a similar soup growing up, only without broccoli. If you don't mind the flavor of Velveeta cheese, you will love this soup. For leftovers, we served this soup in a bread bowl. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients (veggies):
  • 4 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 3 cups cut-up broccoli 
Ingredients (cheese sauce):
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 chicken flavored bouillon cubes (or 1 tablespoon bouillon granules)

Directions:

1) Boil all veggies but broccoli in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli and boil for 10 more minutes. DO NOT DRAIN. 

2) In saucepan, melt margarine. Stir in flour. Add milk and cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Add cheese and other ingredients. Mix until smooth. Add to undrained veggies and heat together but do not boil.

30-Day Bran Muffins

These bran muffins are so delicious. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it makes A TON of muffins. I could have halved the recipe and had enough muffins for the entire month for our little family. I love that the muffin mix can be stored in the fridge for 30-days to be used as wanted that way the muffins are always warm and fresh. They are great plain, but we often top them with home-made raspberry jam. This recipe is from The Favorites Cookbook. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups All-Bran cereal
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 cups Bran Flakes cereal

Directions:

1) Pour boiling water over All-Bran cereal and let sit. 

2) Cream margarine and sugar; add eggs then dry ingredients alternating with buttermilk. Mix in All Bran and water mixture. Last of all, stir in Bran Flakes. 

3) Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes in greased or paper-lined muffin tins. I always use the paper-lined muffin tins and spray a small amount of cooking oil in each one before adding the batter.

This batter stores in the fridge for 30 days and makes dozens of muffins! 


French Peasant Bread

I made this bread when I was first married and it immediately became a favorite bread of ours. This bread is easy to make, but it does require rise time. This bread is so soft and it's especially yummy right out of the oven with warm butter. We serve this with pasta dishes, soup or lasagna. Recipe from The Favorites Cookbook. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • oil
  • corn meal
  • melted butter
Directions:

1) Place yeast, water, sugar and salt in a warm bowl and stir until dissolved. Add flour and stir until blended. Do NOT knead. Cover and let rise one hour or until doubled in size.

2) Flour hands, remove dough from the bowl and place in 2 rounds on an oiled cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal. Let rise an additional hour. 

3) Brush the top with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and brush again with butter. Serve warm. 

Crepes

My three year old is obsessed with crepes. He would eat them every day, all day if I let him. We love this recipe (slightly adapted) from the Favorites Cookbook. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

1) Put milk, eggs, salt and sugar into a blender; blend until mixed. 

2) Add flour and melted butter and mix at top speed for one minute. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. 

3) Heat crepe pan (we use a large skillet) over moderate heat. For each crepe, lightly grease pan with oil or butter. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan, rotating so batter spreads evenly. Turn when lightly browned to cook other side. Stack crepes and keep warm by placing a sheet of paper towel between crepes while cooking the rest. 

4) Top with syrup, jam, nutella, etc. One of our favorite ways to eat crepes is with a lemon juice and powdered sugar topping. Roll up and enjoy!

Hootenanny Pancakes

When I was growing up, my mom often made these. I'm a lover of breakfast foods and these pancakes are one of my very favorite breakfast food items. Serve with warm syrup, powdered sugar and/or strawberries. Rating: 10/10

(picture to come)

Ingredients:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Blend together eggs, flour, milk and salt in a blender for 3-5 minutes. 

3) Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup butter in a 9x13 glass baking dish. Put in oven (I do it while it's preheating) just long enough to melt the butter. Remove and pour blended egg mixture into hot butter.

3) Bake for 20 minutes. Pancakes will "grow" up sides of the pan.