Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve 2014

It's New Years Eve and I'll bet you have a party to attend this evening. If you need an easy fancy looking dessert idea to take along, look to further.
I am making this recipe semi-homemade so that we can shorten baking time, but not compromise on that baked-from-scratch flavor.
Ill walk you through step by step to help you get that perfect look for your New Years Eve bash.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Easy Gingerbread Man cookie glaze

If you saw my favorite gingerbread man cookie post you will probably be wanting my easy gingerbread man cookie glaze.
This is a very simple yet beautifully glossy glaze.
I usually help my kids spoon it on and let them go crazy with sprinkles and decorations.

Favorite Holiday Gingerbread Man cookies


Can I officially call it Christmas week? With school being out and all other activities being postponed until next year (that sounds weird), presents wrapped and kids at my heels, I have decided we are fully submerging ourselves in everything Christmas.
I am going to find a service project to do with my little ducklings this week but since today is lazy Sunday, we thought it best to spend time together making the cookies we will leave out for Santa. This is a favorite recipe of mine I have been making for years.
Chewy, soft, spiced, delicious, and just plain adorable! I couldn't decide which pictures to cut so I just used them all.
Make these cookies with someone you love! Happy Christmas week.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to create an AWARD WINNING Garnish in a few easy steps

 Last weekend I had the opportunity to help out one of my family members by creating a few delicious desserts to enter into his Holiday work party.
We decided to make my mini cheesecakes with raspberry swirls as well as these cupcakes with a beautiful garnish. I guess I am going to have to come up with a name with them huh?
To my great surprise, the cupcakes took the grand prize! I was so excited I had to share with you how easy it was to create this beautiful garnish. It looks intimidating but really in just a few super easy steps, anyone can make it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

DIY mini burlap trees

 Have you seen those darling mini trees at TJMAXX that you can use to decorate your mantel? I really like them but they are around 20$ each! I decided to make my own for much cheaper.
I think they would be so fun to hand out to friends instead of candy. They smell like Christmas and add a fun decorative touch anywhere they are!
To see some of my other Christmas décor go here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dinosaur Birthday Party {On a dime}

My (not so) little Benson turned 5! We had a wonderful birthday, all in Dinosaur theme of course. I wanted to share my ideas with you, in case you have a dinosaur lover at your house!
The invitation:
Designed in pic monkey with free clip art from google.

Monday, November 24, 2014

DIY Christmas Burlap banner

Normally Christmas does not make any kind of appearance until after Thanksgiving at our house. This year? I broke the rules! I couldn't help it, the Christmas spirit got a hold of me early and up the tree went. I have enjoyed it's cozy glow every evening for two weeks now.
I am not much into cluttery décor, this year especially I have cut back and simplified everything.
I do not have a pretty mantle to decorate so instead a made this quick, easy and beautiful burlap banner to hang from my headboard. I love the simple hint of Christmas it adds.
I am going to show you how I did it so you can make one too. Wouldn't this be fun to hand out to friends?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chicken and lemon broccoli alfredo

Dear friends, as you have probably noticed I have been away for a few weeks! Oh my goodness between all of our family birthdays in October, a new photography class, Halloween, trunk or treat party planning and setting up for the holidays I have sadly missed out on one of my favorite things, posting creations and sharing with you.
A few weeks ago on my Instagram account I made a goal to cook dinner every night for an entire week. The goal also included making meals we had never tried before (since I tend to make the same ol' thing over and over). Luckily with your encouragement each day I was able to keep this goal with the exception of one day! I am really excited to share one of my favorite and most interesting combination of flavor dishes with you. It is healthy, fast and surprisingly delicious!
On another note, if you would like to see my second blog I created to share pictures I have taken since I started my photography class, go here. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grandma's Best Chili


Fact of life: Any recipe starting with the word "Grandma's" is always sure to be tasty. Grandmas are like little treasures that hold the secrets to a happy tummy. They just have a magic hand for making comfort food that is classic and always tastes delicious!
Here is my little spin on my Grandma's Best Chili. I hope you like it, especially for a crisp cold fall evening. You can simmer it in a crockpot for hours, so it makes for a perfect no-fuss party food!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Easy and quick MONSTER cupcakes

Do you need a super fast and easy treat to take to your Halloween party?
Here is an idea for you! I whipped these up with my kids today and they had so much fun putting the "eyeballs" on the monsters.
If you need a tasty homemade frosting recipe GO HERE, and if you want to try some cute confetti cupcakes GO HERE.
What you will need for  3 eyed Monster Cupcakes:
Cupcakes with paper liners
candy eyes
zip lock bag
frosting star tip

Thursday, October 16, 2014

{Edible} 5 minute PLAY DOUGH


It's October. Hunting season. I am having a bit of trouble adjusting to no husband around to help with the kids in the evening. I keep them entertained all day and all night until bed. This mama is tired. I am going to show you a 5 minute recipe for soft play dough that is non toxic and non dangerous if eaten!! It really is so quick and you can have your kids help you stir the ingredients and choose the color. Then you can dump it on the counter for them to play, and you can go have a cup of hot cocoa and sit in quiet "mommy time out" for a few minutes... Do you love me yet? You will!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Southwestern Taco Salad- a 15 minute dinner

If you are in need of a fast one pot wonder-ish kind of dish for dinner, look no further!
This salad can be made in a snap and it is simply delicious!

Monday, October 6, 2014

DIY Halloween burlap banner

Happy Halloween month! Isn't fall the best?
I love this beautiful printed burlap from Joanne's Fabric. They have a great sale going on right now so scoot over and getcha some.
I am going to show you how to make this simple no-sew burlap banner to add to your Halloween décor, or to display at your party that night!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am Mother.

In my home,
I am baker. I am thrifter. I am saver. I am learner. I am teacher. I am lover. I am reader. I am Doctor. I am washer. I am folder. I am listener. I am worrier. I am organizer. I am table setter. I am crafter. I am dreamer. I am answerer. I am caretaker. I am comforter. I am friend. I am groomer. I am dragon(in more ways than one). I am writer. I am Mother.
 I am Emily.
A few months ago I asked a friend to take pictures of me at work. Someday when my bear cubs grow up they will ask "Mom, what is your job?" I figure since a picture says a thousand words, why not show them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fall Apple Crisp


Apples are falling and it's time to put them to good use! I have been canning applesauce this week and I decided to whip up a dish of warm apple crisp to snack on while I was working. Oh my! I cannot get enough of the tart apple taste with a buttery crumble topping.
This is a quick and easy recipe, perfect for a fall dessert or party.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sunrise Yogurt Mixers

I purchased a big container of yogurt this week and this morning decided to invent a new breakfast recipe for my kiddos and I. Instead of plain old yogurt parfaits I thought it would be fun to mix some fresh fruit and flavor the yogurt in the parfaits different flavors. Today we had peach, strawberry and banana. Sounds like the perfect sunrise breakfast right?
It was really delicious and we didn't add any sugar to it. If you are trying to be healthy you could even use Greek yogurt for this recipe!
I hope you like it, my 2 year old thought it looked pretty and you know what? We eat with our eyes first so it was a hit!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ham and turkey salad sandwiches- perfect for a party food or light lunch

I worked for a bakery when I was a teenager. I normally worked early (5am) on Saturday mornings. I remember the smell of  the delicious bread baking, one of my jobs was to run it through the slicer. I also frosted the cinnamon and orange rolls, and the giant sugar cookies... (Is your tummy growling yet?)
One of my favorite lunch items was a ham and turkey salad sang. Some days I crave it so bad I have to drive back to the bakery and get one! Today I am sharing my best "copycat" recipe that I have come up with, to save myself from running into the bake shoppe. These sandwiches would be perfect for a bridal/baby shower or party, especially in the summer as the salad is served cold.
I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Headboard before and after and a bedroom update

The moral of this story is going to be this- I am a procrastinator. 3 years ago my husband and I had a fight. Ok well, we have had a few fights since then, but that is beside the point. It was early December, finals were coming up, stresses were high and we had a fight. My husband is a dear, and he fights better than I do. What I mean by that is, I use my words as a weapon and say things I don't mean when I am mad. Or maybe some of the things I do mean, but they come out sounding like I am throwing a hatchet when really, if I took a moment to calm down and wait until I could say them a little nicer (or quieter) they wouldn't sound so bad. As for Shaun, he fights fair. He is a calm fighter, and when I really push him to his limits, he takes a moment to calm down and let things cool off instead of acting like... well, me. I love him for that and I am hoping to be better.
Anyway, that day in December when we were mad, he left for a little while. While he could have been off doing something for himself, studying, shopping for man toys, hunting or whatever the heck guys do when they are mad at their wives, he did something completely the opposite. He went to home depot, bought the materials and constructed a beautiful headboard. He was gone for quite a while, and by the time he came back you can bet I had calmed down, felt bad and was ready to mend things.
For Christmas that December, he surprised me with this beautiful headboard. He spent a lot of time making it perfect, filling all the imperfections with putty and making it as smooth as he could because he knew I would want to paint it.
To say I felt guilty is a big understatement. He knew I had wanted a headboard for a long time, and instead of buying one that we couldn't afford, he built one that we could. It is simple, beautiful and meaningful to me. He started it and I finished it. I love painting furniture and truth be told, this is the first "new" piece I have ever finished. I am really happy with how it turned out, it is so special.
My very favorite paint to use when I give furniture a new face is, BEHR paint and primer in one. No one is paying me or persuading me to say it. I love it and I continue to use it over and over again. I love the coverage and how it holds up over time. Since I like to decorate in sort of a vintage farmhouse style, I always use  the color "Ivory Palace" in satin. It is the perfect combo of cream and white and if you decided to antique your piece with stain, the ivory palace takes it very well, leaving a pretty cream color underneath.
Pre paint:

 Layer 1:
Layer 2 and 3. After 3 layers it looked great. I let it dry and my husband was actually able to secure it to our bed just a few hours later. He built it 3 years ago and I was able to paint it in a few hours and have it on my bed. What the heck took so long!? I guess since it is so special to me, and I am used to fixing up old furniture with lots of imperfections, I have been a little nervous.
I love how it turned out.
Our bedroom is very small but someday it will look gorgeous in a room with more space. Shaun will build a footboard to match when we have a little more room.
 Did you see THIS POST  on my original bedroom reveal? I like to change things around a lot. I added the white textured bedspread and the two chevron pillows from Ross.
What do you think?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

French Apple Galette AKA easy free form apple tart

 By now you know by now how much I love apple pie.  I have shared many versions... salted caramel apple pie, sweet cinnamon apple pie turnovers, mini apple pies, 2 tips to change the look of your pie crust and my most recent (and possibly favorite) post on homemade apple blossoms.
Today I am going to break away a little from a full on apple pie, and switch over to something a little more simple, but still beautiful none the less. We can be fancy and call this a "French apple galette", galette meaning "free form" aka no stress over fitting the dough just perfect or making pretty edges, or we can be real and call it what it is. A simple no fuss, elegant to the eye and delicious to the taste dessert. It's easy, fun and when the scent of buttery crust and warm sweetened apples hits your senses you will find yourself wandering around your kitchen aimlessly until the timer beeps FINISHED!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have. I found myself twirling in my apron dreaming of a fall day when I have a basket of freshly picked apples from a neighbor and warm quilt to wrap up in... ah fall, how I love you.  
Recipe for French Apple Galette
Slightly adapted recipe from here
Dough ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon  sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter cubed into small pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water
2 pounds about 8  apples (Granny smith, pink lady or any tart firm apple) peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons butter  melted
 3-4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
peels and cores of apples
cornstarch (optional)
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the cold cubed butter. Blend in a mixer or food processer until dough is chunky and butter resembles large peas.
Slowly add  in water, stir or pulse and then add remaining cubes of butter until dough just holds together. 
 Remove dough from food processer and flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 15 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Flour your rolling pin as well to resist sticking. 
Place your dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, OR if you are going free form, roll dough up on your rolling pin, and unroll on to your baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Heat oven to 400 F. 
Slice apples thin and neatly arrange on your dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan or pie dish. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.
Brush your melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and 2 tablespoons over apples.
Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown, 40-45 minutes.

To make glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar and lemon juice. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup and add back to pan. Use cornstarch to thicken if desired. (One recipe of glaze made a jar extra that I kept in my fridge for up to 1 week to use on other tarts.
When tart is finished baking, remove from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15-20 minutes.
Brush the glaze over tart, slice, and serve.
If you do not have a pie dish or a tart pan, go ahead and place dough on parchment paper on a baking sheet and build the apple tart galette style (free form), see pics below.

Free form option:


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Friday, August 1, 2014

Homemade {no boil} cinnamon and sugar bagels

I LOVE bagels. One of my favorite flavors is cinnamon and sugar with strawberry cream cheese. I have tried several recipes for bagels and to be honest, I have found that going and buying one from the bagel shop is much easier than mixing, boiling and baking them at home. It can be a big process.
I have really wanted to be able to make bagels at home to use for breakfasts throughout the week, so I have modified this recipe to be boil free and simplified. That saves money from buying them at the store, and you can freeze these if you don't use them all in one shot. I hope you like it! Every time I make these my little brother shows up at my home to steal them... This recipe makes 8 bagels so if you need more than that, make sure to double it or make two back to back batches.
Happy bagel making!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Homemade {ALL NATURAL} Lavender Bath Fizzies for relaxation

 Have you ever tried using a bath bomb/fizzy to help you relax in the tub?
Did you know buying them at a body shop can cost you almost $7 just for one?
 I am a big fan of taking "Mommy time" and because I don't get very much time to myself, when I do, it usually means a bath. Its quiet, relaxing and FREE (in more ways than one).  Sounds like my kinda time alone.
I did a little research and found a few recipes for these bath fizzies. Turned out they are pretty darn easy to make at home, not to mention cheap compared to those shown above! I made a few batches of these for Mother's day, as well as some to hand out to my son's teacher and his soccer coaches. For a teacher or coach gift, just add a little tag that says "you're the bomb! Thanks for...."
These fizzies are so fun you simply drop them into a warm bath, and watch them fizzle and slowly dissolve until you can smell the heavenly scents of your oils and feel them soften and moisturize your skin! If you are not a bath taker, these can work on the shower floor as well. You would benefit from the scents but obviously not from the skin moisturizers, and they don't last as long.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Super Giant Bubbles- a super fun summer activity!

Last night I went to a family reunion. I knew it would mostly be adults visiting so I thought it would be fun to take an activity for the older kids to do outside. As it turns out, these giant bubbles are so fun for all ages. They are so awesome and seriously enormous! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Homemade Bath Fizzies {perfect for congestion and sore throats}

Have you ever lived with a Man who has a cold? If not, let's just go ahead and say it like it is... giving birth is easier.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chewy and puffy GLUTEN FREE chocolate chip cookies.

If you have ever tried going gluten free, you know that without gluten in baked goods, they can turn out grainy and dry with an odd texture. Gluten provides chewiness in breads and goodies so its tough to find a gluten free recipe that compares.
 My Mom was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago (her guest post here) and since then she has put in a lot of hard work and study to find recipes that are as close to the real thing (with gluten) as possible. She drove over to my house late last night to share a few of these warm and chewy chocolate chip cookies with me.
As I sat in her dark car and took a bite of this new experiment, she waited anxiously to hear what I thought of them. To my great surprise, these little delights are chewy, puffy, moist and full of great texture and flavor. These are not words that you would normally use in the same breath as a gluten free cookie. If you or someone you know is going gluten free or has celiac disease, you have got to make them a plate of these cookies. I guarantee you will get a big hug because they probably haven't had a treat like this is a while!!
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