Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Peanut Butter Kisses

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to you and your families!! I hope tomorrow is full of family, love and amazing food! If you're needing an idea for a dessert, try these out!

Don't they look amazing!? So festive and delicious! This is my own spin on the Hershey Kiss blossoms you can find here. Here's what you'll need:
First you'll want to put together the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside for later. Then mix the peanut butter and shortening in a mixer on medium until well blended. It'll look like this:
My goodness I could just dive right in! It is so darn creamy! Then you'll want to add your sugars. Next add the wet stuff: vanilla, egg and milk:
Mix in the blender until everything is well combined. Then slowly add in the flour mix. It'll look like this:
Then you'll want to get your sprinkles together. I love sprinkles!! They make an ordinary doughnut extraordinary. They turn a boring pretzel rod into a party rod (ok that was a stretch). And they make these normal peanut butter cookies FaBuLous! Take about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a bowl, then toss in the sprinkles until well coated. It helped when I pressed the dough into the bowl a little:

Let them bake. When they're done, take your favorite chocolates (I used Hershey kisses and Reeses cups for mine) and press them down in the middle.

Let them cool, then eat as many as you want cause it's the holidays and YOLO (you only live once)! Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup shortening
3/4 Cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 T milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap your chocolates if you need to and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the shortening and peanut butter in a blender on medium speed until well combined. Add in the sugar and brown sugar until mixed well. Add the egg, milk and vanilla until smooth. Then slowly add the flour mixture a little at a time until everything is completely combined. Roll out the dough into tablespoon size balls then coat with sprinkles. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove and immediately push in the chocolate. It's ok if they crack on the sides...they're supposed to :) Let cool on a wire rack and then devour! This made about 2 dozen. Hope you enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to the dedicated house and pint sized baker and smiling sally and  between naps on the porch and diyhshp and skip to my lou and made in a day and kiddie foodies and all things with purpose and whats cooking love and a glimpse inside and lamberts lately and the REAL housewives of riverton and 733 blog and this silly girls life and buns in my oven and someday crafts and handy man crafty woman

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How I throw a (Thanksgiving) partay!!

Happy two days til Thanksgiving Tuesday!! Can you believe it's almost here?! Can you believe how little time we have in between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?! It's almost cruel. As I mentioned before we had 33 people in our house this weekend for a huge Thanksgiving celebration!! It was such a success! Everything was cooked wonderfully, everyone had a great time (I hope), and nothing was broken/stained/ruined in the process. How did I do it? I'll show you! First we went shopping!

A million 8 cans of green beans? Check. My island completely covered with supplies? Check. 3 bags of potatoes? Check. 3 tables set up (not including the kiddy table). Check. Enough trays and cups for a small army? Double check. 

One thing you'll learn about me is I'm a list keeper, a note taker, a writer downer. I always have a pen and paper with me and I write down I've found it keeps me on task and from forgetting things. I am extremely least I think I am, can't remember :)
This list had everything we needed and who was bringing what. It helped out so much while grocery shopping. I also had my mom-in-law here all weekend to help out. We woke up early to get the bird in the oven.

We were smart and cleaned and dressed the bird the night before. All we had to do was grab the 25 pound sucker out of the fridge and drop it into the oven. Then I had another list breaking down our timing. I threw it away before snapping a pic but it went something like this:
Day before-Cook ham, slice and refrigerate. 
7am- bird in oven
8am- rolls set out to rise
9am- peel potatoes and put in water, start making gravy
10am- set up appetizer table and set the tables
11am-people start arriving and chaos begins , start noodles
Noon-turkey out, green bean casserole in, start boiling potatoes
12:30-rolls in, mash potatoes, and prepare the pies
1pm-time to eat!

Since we had an outline, we knew what was going to happen next. There was no confusion as to what needed to go in the oven when and if there would be enough room or time. We were also lucky in the fact our guests were bringing the stuffing and the salad so we didn't have to worry about those.

These were my quick and easy centerpieces for each table. The red bowl is full of cinnamon potpourri sticks and a votive candle. The glass jar is an old candle I filled with more potpourri mix and another candle. The glass tray was a gift from our wedding that I filled with "fillers" from Target. Simple, yet oh so fall. Sometimes less is good, and when your house is's great!
Our simple, yet yummy appetizer table. Olives, pickles, more pickles, and a cheesy turkey. I show you how to make the Turkey Cheese Ball here. We kept the drinks in the garage so they would stay cool and free up room in the fridge.
There's the magnificent bird in all its glory! There was so much food! We put everything on our island so people could come fill up and go to their seats without having a full table. It was wonderful!
I had to show off our aunts amazing 24 hour salad. I have to get this recipe, it's my second favorite part of the meal (first being the potatoes). If you've never had it before, you're missing out! And there are some great perks to hosting. These are the wonderful gifts I received:
 All in all I'd say it was a perfect Thanksgiving. I owe a huge thanks to my family for all their help in making the day so great! What's your favorite part of Thanksgiving? Love to hear it. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.

Thanks for stopping by.

**I linked up to the happy housie and this silly girls life and the jenny evolution and buns in my oven and kitchen meets girl and lady behind the curtain and ginger snap crafts and the ny melrose family and bizzy bakes and sugar bee crafts and our delightful home and cornerstone confessions and linda-coastal charm and pint sized baker and inside brucrew life and the diy dreamer

Monday, November 25, 2013

A "Turkey" Cheese Ball

Hello and happy Monday to ya! Man did we have a busy weekend. Yesterday we opened our home to almost everyone on my husband's side of the family. It was so wonderful! All the siblings and cousins and great grandkids gathered around the amazing patriarch of the family (Grandpa) to give thanks for all our blessings in life. It was a great day. There were 33 people total...not including when we dragged the neighbor over to take a huge group picture :)

The funniest thing about the day was people kept coming up to me and asking if I was ok or if I was freaking out yet or if I needed anything. Truthfully being around big crowds of family is where I feel most comfortable. I've mentioned on here before that I'm from a very large family, but I forget my Hubby's family doesn't know/remember that. Not only do I have 6 siblings, but my dad has 6 siblings, and some of those siblings have 6 kids and those kids have 6 kids. I have more second cousins then I know about!

Before my grandparents passed away, we ALL always got together for the holidays. It was the only time of the year I got to see a lot of my family. I'll never forget the year after my grandpa passed (grandma went two years before) we all stopped getting together. Sure my dad's siblings still make an effort to see each other and some random cousins will come, but it's not the same. There aren't 15 grandbabies near the same age running around, or stories being shared, or football games being played in the backyard, or card games after card games being played throughout my aunts awesomely big house. I miss it terribly.

Which is why I was jumping all over the idea to host my husband's entire family. It was so much fun. The kids were so well behaved, the adults were laughing and talking about Thanksgivings past, and everyone was gobbling up my Turkey Cheese Ball!
Isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen?! I just love how he turned out! Not sure why I'm calling it a He. Anyway. Here's what you'll need to make this little guy:
This recipe is soo easy to do! Just make sure your cream cheese has softened for at least an hour, maybe two. Mix the cream cheese, shredded cheese, green onions, Worcestershire sauce and half the taco seasoning together in a bowl. I use my hands for this part!
Once everything is combined really well, place onto parchment paper and form into the body of a turkey. I had no idea what I was doing and just went with whatever I thought would resemble a turkey. The recipe itself is awesome, so if it comes out looking like a duck, no one will care!
Once you have your shape, sprinkle more taco seasoning on it to give it a darker color. Put the turkey ball in the refrigerator and chill overnight. Need the ball today? Put in the fridge for at least two hours before the guests arrive. The next day, line the back with a layer of crackers, then another layer in front of that, then just start sticking in crackers until it looks like a turkey. Add the beef stick, clove eyes and candy corn nose and you've got a happy little turkey!
I promise all of your guests will love it as much as mine did!

2 packages of cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 Cup green onions, thinly chopped
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 package of taco seasoning, divided
1 Slim Jim
2 whole cloves
1 candy corn
Black icing to use as glue

Combine cream cheese, shredded cheese, onions, Worcestershire sauce, and half the taco seasoning together into a bowl. Form into the body of a turkey, sprinkle on more taco seasoning until it's the color you desire, and place in the fridge overnight. The next day remove the "bird" and line with crackers until it's as "fluffy" as you want. Stick two whole cloves at the top of a Slim Jim to resemble eyes and use the black icing to glue the candy corn "beak" on right below that. Stick the beef stick near the front of the cheese ball, away from the cracker "feathers" and you're done. Serve with whatever you like to enjoy cheese balls with.

Come back soon and I'll show you how I managed to host this many guests in my home and not lose my mind!. Almost done with my master shopping list from my crockpot meals and will be posting that soon with my broccoli cheddar soup recipe you'll love! What are you looking forward to the most for Thanksgiving? What are you most thankful for?

Thanks for stopping by!

*I was featured on mommy on demand
**I linked up to 733 blog and housewives of riverton and someday crafts and the winthrop chronicles and made in a day and not just a housewife and hope studios and funky polka dot giraffe and mommy on demand and anyonita nibbles and nap-time creations and a to zebra celebrations and between naps on the porch and dwellings-theheartofyourhome and the dedicated house and homecoming and our delightful home and cedarhill farmhouse and feeding big and rain on a tin roof and a pinch of joy and flour me with love and i should be mopping the floor and diyhshp

Saturday, November 23, 2013

20 Crockpot meals under $10!

Happy Saturday to you all! Hope your weekend is full of rest and relaxation because the holidays are now in full swing! We have the pleasure of hosting pretty much my husband's entire family tomorrow for an early Thanksgiving. That means 33 people will be running around here and there's so much to do! Luckily for me I have the world's best mother-in-law and she will be here all weekend to help...and the best part is I actually want her here! I truly feel bad for those who don't have as wonderful a relationship with their in-laws as I do. I am very blessed and I know it.

So since the holidays are breathing down my neck right around the corner, I decided to get some crock pot meals done and out of the way so this time of year isn't full of stress worrying what's for dinner and is full of where can I shop next! And I decided to share them with you so you can destress your holidays too (if that's really even possible :)

I 100% stand by each and every one of these recipes. I have successfully made and cooked and enjoyed all of these and the instructions that I give are exactly what I did. Each meal is made for 2 adults for dinner and always enough for at least one lunch the next day. If you have a small family use the recipes as is, if you have a larger family just try doubling the meat.

I know a lot of people say to thaw out the meals 24 hours ahead of time, I don't. They say to move the meal from the freezer to the fridge the night before...I don't. They say not to add chicken stock or shredded cheese, or things like that...I do. I take my bags out in the morning and run hot water over them if I need to in order to make sure everything fits in the pot. The hot water helps make the contents in the bag break into pieces and fit in the crock pot better. I never have a problem with cooking any of these this way and I want to share them with you because they are so.darn.easy. So go grab your crock pot, and let's get started!
For everything I needed I only spent $197 and got 20 meals out of it (not including leftovers). It was awesome. I shopped my local Meijer and used their mperks rewards to help save here and there. If  you shop at Meijer and don't use mperks you're cheating yourself. Here's everything I got!
I actually group together each meal's ingredients as I unpack so it's easy to grab and go when I get to the part where all I have to do is dump everything in. I know it doesn't look like a lot, but that's not including all the meat and all the veggies. You can find the full grocery list at the bottom of this post. The first step is labeling all of your freezer bags with the name of the meal, the cook time and any special instructions. I use gallon size bags.

Next you'll want to chop all the veggies. I portion things out as I go so I know how much I need in each bag.
I chopped, & chopped, & chopped, & kept chopping even when my hand felt like it was going to fall off. You'll notice I don't have any onions. I hate onions. Pretty much all of these recipes could have onion added, so feel free if you're an onion lover.

Once you have all your veggies chopped & your bags labeled, you'll want to divide up your meat. You'll need to cook the ground beef and let it cool. Meat goes in the bags first. Once that's done you go through each recipe & pour in whatever goes with it. Seal it up, lay it flat for easier storage & you're done. Buwahaha I make it sound so darn easy. It's not actually "hard" but it is time consuming. I definitely wear sweat pants, a ratty old t-shirt & comfy shoes when I do this.
Chicken Fajitas (makes 2):
2 large chicken breasts
2 green peppers
1 Cup chicken broth
2 taco seasoning packets
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Lay flat and freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. 
We serve with tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream and Fritos scoops. My hubby adds refried beans...I pass :)
Pot Roast (makes 2):
 3 T olive oil
2 lb beef roast (any kind, cut into large cubes)
3 Cups beef broth
5 potatoes, cubed
3-4 carrots, sliced
Sprinkle of rosemary, oregano, thyme (whatever seasoning you like...make this recipe your own)

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

We serve this with green beans, a salad and dinner rolls

Honey Sesame Chicken (makes 2):
2 large chicken breasts
6 T olive oil
1 Cup honey
1/2 Cup soy sauce
2 T sesame oil
2 T sesame seeds
2 tsp salt and pepper
Split all ingredients in half & place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour in crock pot & cook on low 4-5 hrs. Remove chicken, shred & pour sauce from crock pot over it. We serve with rice.
Chili (makes 2):
So I can't disclose my Chili recipe entirely because it is a family secret, but I will give you most of it :) If you have a recipe you love, make it and freeze it.
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 Can hot chili beans (drained and rinsed)
2 Cans tomato sauce (small)
2 Cans tomato paste (optional if you like your chili thick)
1 green pepper cut into cubes
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T garlic powder/oregano
2 tsp cumin/hot sauce/basil/salt/pepper/cayenne/paprika/sugar

Brown ground beef, drain & cool. Split all ingredients in half & place in bags. Freeze. Day of cook on high 3-4 hrs or low 6-8 hrs. We eat with cornbread, sour cream & cheese.
Macaroni and Cheese (makes 2) adapted from my sister:
3/4 lb (12oz) elbow macaroni
4 Cups shredded cheese
1 can evaporated milk
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 T worchestershire sauce
1 package smoked sausage cut into small cubes (not cooked)

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, spray down crock pot with PAM really well, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on low 4-5 hrs, checking at 4 hours. Don't stir until ready to serve. We serve with broccoli and sub shredded chicken sometimes.

Cheesy Garlic Chicken (makes 2):
2 large chicken breasts
2 Cans cream of chicken soup
1 Can cheddar cheese soup
1-2 tsp garlic powder
2 T butter
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Split all ingredients in half and place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours. We serve with angel hair pasta or mashed potatoes.

Sloppy Joes (makes 8-10 sandwiches):
2 lbs ground beef
1 (8oz) Can tomato sauce
1/2 Cup ketchup
1/2 Cup water
1/4 Cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 Cup flour
1 T chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 T cider vinegar
2 T yellow mustard
1 T worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground beef, drain & cool. Split all ingredients in half & place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot & cook low 4-6 hours. We serve with rolls and macaroni and cheese.

Buffalo Chicken (makes 2):
2 large chicken breasts
1 bottle hot sauce
1 package dinner rolls (for buns on day of serving)
Split ingredients listed above in half (except for rolls) and place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour all contents into crock pot and cook on low 4-6 hrs.

Remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to pot and mix ingredients listed below in a small bowl.
1/3 Cup blue cheese or ranch (hub likes b.c., I like ranch)
4 stalks of celery sliced thin

Mix together the chicken and dressing mix. Split rolls and add chicken mixture.

Pulled Pork (makes 2);
2 lbs pork shoulder, butt or tenderloin
1 Can (12 oz) root beer
1 bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce (used on day of cooking)

Split ingredients in half (except barbeque) and place in bags. Freeze. Day of cooking grab from freezer, pour contents into crock pot and cook on low 6-8 hours.

Remove and shred. Throw out sauce in pot and return meat. Add your favorite bottle of barbecue sauce to pot and stir. Serve. We serve on sesame seed buns with macaroni and cheese.

There they are! All 18 shoved into one shelf in my freezer. My last meal was my Broccoli and Cheddar soup that makes enough for two meals. That recipe is so darn good it deserves it's own post. Come back soon to see the last recipe. It's definitely worth coming back for!! I'm working on a master shopping list, too, so if I get enough requests I'll make sure to post it with the is the shopping list :)

What are your favorite crock pot recipes? I'm always looking for new meals to try. Hope you love these recipes as much as I do!

Thanks for stopping by!

*I was featured at west street story and pioneer momma
**I linked up to handy man crafty woman and the diary of a real housewife and between naps on the porch and skip to my lou and marvelously messy and a pinch of joy and tumbleweed contessa and mad in crafts and craftomaniac and sumos sweet stuff and carrie this home and flour me with love and this gal cooks and alderberry hill and i gotta create and i should be mopping the floor and betty cupcakes and flamingo toes and will cook for smiles and made from pinterest and your home based mom and pink when and one she two she and whats cooking with ruthie and nifty thrifty things and cheerios and lattes and tatertots and jello and six sisters stuff and be different act normal and too much time