Monday, April 30, 2012

Strawberry Freezer Jam

We finally got Bountiful Baskets (if you have not heard of it, go to the link & see if it's going on in your area...lots of fresh fruits and veggies & extras for an awesome price!) going here in my wonderful little town!  It's bright & early on Saturday mornings (7:00 a.m. pick up time!!), but I'm so glad it's here!

They had strawberries to order this last week and so I got 2 cases. (8, 1 lb. packages for $11...pretty great price!)

So guess what I'm making today?  Yep, strawberry freezer jam!  This is my families favorite jam & we go through it like crazy!  It is more affordable than buying jam AND it's tastes so much better!

Strawberry Freezer Jam
(Cost per bottle=$2.18, approximately)

4 cups mashed strawberries (about 2 1/2 pounds whole strawberries)
8 cups sugar
2 boxes of pectin
1 1/2 cups water
Wash & remove stems from strawberries and mash them. You can mash them with a potato masher or I just like to blend them in my blender, but if you do that just don't blend them to death! In a large bowl measure the EXACT amount of sugar...I know that's a lot of sugar, but it needs to be that much or else the jam will not set. You can try the recipes on the less-sugar pectin boxes if that much sugar scares you to death!:) Pour the strawberries over the sugar and stir until mixture is combined really well. Let sit for 10 minutes.
When there is about 3-4 minutes left of the strawberry/sugar mixture start making the pectin. Measure water into a medium sized sauce pan (you don't want it too small because when it starts to boil it boils up...I've had many a spill overs over the years!) and add the pectin. It may be a little lumpy but will dissolve during this process so don't worry. Bring the water/pectin to a boil stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, stir & boil for 1 minute. Pour over the strawberries and mix for 3 minutes to ensure it's incorporated throughout. Pour into freezer safe jars. Let sit at room temperature for 24 hours and then put in the freezer for up to a year (we've used some past the year mark and it was still good) or store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Makes about 5 pint size jars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grasshopper Cupcakes

The necessities of life right now:  Eating, sleeping (not as much as I'd like!), baseball, & FUNDRAISING!

(If you missed my post before, we're sending 2 teams from my kids' school (including 2 of my boys) to Globals for Destination Imagination (read about it HERE))

I'm feeling a little sleep-deprived, stressed, overwhelmed, and I think I might go crazy before this is all over! 

So, like any sane person would do...when asked to make about 300 cupcakes for Prom, I said yes.  Anything to help my boys make it to Tennessee!! 

That means I will be making another batch of these babies!
(you'd think I'd be getting sick of cupcakes, but they are just so fun to make...and I've recruited the help of Kyla...she's good at the cupcake part, but she's still working on getting the piping of the frosting down, although she is getting better.)

I could crawl into my closet with this frosting & be happy there for quite some time!:)

Grasshopper Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

For the cupcakes:
1 box devil's food cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
Grasshopper Buttercream:
1 sleeve grasshopper cookies
1/2 cup butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners. 

Mix the cake mix with the rest of the cake ingredients until nice and smooth.  Fill liners 3/4 way full with batter.  Use large cookie scoop to make this easier. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Ganache, place chocolate chips in a glass bowl.  Heat the cream in the microwave until it starts to bubble, about 1-2 minutes.  Pour cream over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Stir in the peppermint extract.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the ganache and let cool until set.

For the frosting, crush the cookies using a blender (which is how I do it, but however you want to do it is fine:)); set aside.  Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and 2 cups of the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and the cookie crumbs, and mix until incorporated.  Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Pipe frosting over set ganache & top with 1/4 of a grasshopper cookie.

Looks good enough to eat!:)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mom's Sloppy Joes

These sloppy joes are a repeat recipe here, but I knew they'd fit into my Budget Dinners, so I figured out the cost & am here to bring you my Mom's fabulous sloppy joes again!

We always use Bullseye BBQ sauce because that's my Mom's favorite, but you can use your favoirte brand.  (Just don't tell my Mom!!:))

UPDATE:  I went to the store to get some ground beef so I could make these last night & found some 93% lean ground turkey on sale for $2 a pound so I thought I'd try it.  It was delicious!  My beef lovin' hubby couldn't even tell the difference!!  Score!  And it took the price down to .58 cents a serving!  Awesome!:)

Mom's Sloppy Joes
(Budget Dinner Totals: $8.93 total.  Makes about 12 sloppy joes which equals .74 cents per sloppy joe. (not including cheese)

2 lbs. lean hamburger
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 can (8oz.) tomato sauce
1 Tablespoon Whorchestershire sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 cup BULLSEYE bbq sauce
Cook hamburger and onion together until burger is no longer pink. Sift the flour over and then add the remaining ingredients. Heat the slop throughly and serve on buns.
I like to use deli rolls or something like that (the picture is taken with just regular old hamburger buns...which is still good too!) and then I will spread a little butter on the insides and then place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes or until a little crispy.
Place sloppy joe on bun and add a slice of cheese. Whatever kind of cheese your family likes.  I love me some Havarti on these...YUM!!
SO GOOD!! Enjoy with a salad or coleslaw!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Destination ImagiNation Globals (we need your help!)

My family spent this last weekend in Denver with our 2 boys who were competing in the State finals with their Destination ImagiNation teams.

We were thrilled when my son Eli's (9) team took 1st place!

AND my son Caleb's (11) team took 3rd place!!

This qualifies BOTH teams to go to Globals from May 23-26 in Knoxville, Tennessee to compete against other teams from all around the world!


What an opportunity for these kids!  This is the first time in the history of our community that any DI team has advanced this far & we are so proud of them!!

For those of you who do not know what Destination ImagiNation is, you can go check it out HERE.  But here's a description of what it's all about from their website:

"Destination ImagiNation, Inc. is an extraordinary non-profit organization that provides educational programs for students to learn and experience creativity, teamwork and problem solving. Every year, we reach 125,000 students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Destination ImagiNation, our core program, is an educational program in which student teams solve open-ended Challenges and present their solutions at Tournaments. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work together and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving."

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids and something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives!  They have been working on their challenges since September and have advanced to this level only through an enormous amount of hard work and diligence!

Please consider supporting our teams by donating whatever you can.  In order to send these 2 teams and their coaches we need to raise approximately $25,000!  I know that sounds daunting, but even if all you can do is a few dollars WE APPRECIATE IT!!

I have set up a DONATE button on the right hand side of the blog.  You can donate with any credit/debit card through Paypal.

If you have any questions please let me know by leaving a comment or you can always e-mail me at

Thank you so much!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Red Sauce Enchiladas

This is my favorite red sauce Enchilada to date. 

I've got a green sauce Enchilada recipe that I absolutely LOVE, and a white sauce one as well (I need to get that one posted on here), but when it comes to RED, this is the way to go!

You have to do a couple of different steps in this recipe, but I've learned that it's the authentic way to make enchiladas.  My father-in-law is from Mexico and this is the way he made them for my husband growing up, except he wouldn't roll them up, they would just be layered kind of like a casserole. 

 But either way, don't skip the frying and dunking of the tortillas step!!

Red Sauce Enchiladas
1 recipe of Red Enchilada Sauce (or you can buy a can of the stuff)
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 can (7 oz.) diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
10-12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup oil
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup black olives, chopped
4-5 green onions, chopped

Prepare sauce and set aside.

Brown beef with the onions until no longer pink.  Drain off any fat and then stir in the green chilies and salt.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Place one tortilla  at a time in the oil and let cook for about 30 seconds on both sides.  We don't want it crispy, just bendable.  Place on a paper-towel lined plate.  Repeat until all tortillas have been cooked. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you're putting the enchiladas together.  Pour about 1/2-1/3 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13 pan.  Now, take a tortilla and dunk it in the enchilada sauce until it is covered.  Place on a plate and fill tortilla with beef, onions, olives, and cheese.  Wrap and place in pan seam side down.  Repeat until all the tortillas are filled.

Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the left over cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Top with cilantro if desired.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Orange Zest Cupcakes

We have been on the biggest cupcake kick here lately!  They are just so fun to make, not to mention delicious!!

I first tried this cupcake at a church event and knew I would have to give them a go.  I tweaked the recipe a little and they turned out delicious!

If you love orange like I do, you'll love this one.

Orange Zest Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Your Cup of Cake

For the cake:
1 box Vanilla cake mix
2 eggs
 2 egg whites
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

White Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream

Orange Buttercream:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
oranges for decoration (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake liners.

Combine eggs, egg whites and oil.  Add the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine.  Add the cake mix and stir until combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.  

Bake for 16-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the ganache, place white chocolate chips and heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl.  Heat at 30 second intervals until melted and smooth.  Dip the top of each cupcake into the ganache; set aside.

For the buttercream:  Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar, orange zest, extract and orange juice and beat until mixed well.  Add powdered sugar or more orange juice until it reaches the desired consistency.

Pipe frosting onto cupcakes.  I used a Wilton 2A large round tip.  Top with orange slices.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

We just celebrated my youngests birthday yesterday. 

CANNOT believe he's 5! 

He is such a sweet boy who is obsessed with sports!  You just have to see this boy in action...he is amazing!  Especially when it comes to baseball.  So he has the perfect birthday...right during baseball season...he got a baseball tee, bat, ball, a baseball shirt and Colorado Rockies tickets for his birthday!

You should hear him rattle off his favorite Rockies players.  He especially likes Troy Tulowitzki (I don't know if I even spelled that right!) and Todd Helton.  He is often one of the 2 when up to bat.

He also is my green vegetable lovin' boy!  He especially loves broccoli and asparagus!  I know...weird.  What 5 year old likes those things?

We had this asparagus the other night and he ate his fair share of them.  And actually all the kiddo's liked them.  Yeah!

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Asparagus

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Wash asparagus, and cut off ends, if needed. Lay asparagus in a single line on foil.  Drizzle with the olive oil and then sprinkle on the seasonings. 

Roast in the oven for 10 minutes.  Take out and sprinkle with the Parmesan.  Return to oven and continue to roast for an additional 5-8 minutes.  You want the asparagus to be crisp-tender.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Malt Cupcakes

It's the first day of spring break for us.

And the day didn't start off so hot.  I need someone to tell me that we will make it through the teenage years! 
My daughter (Kyla...who you all know as co-author of this blog) is not even technically a teenager yet and there are some days when it's all I can do to not lose my mind!!!
For all of you who have been through this stage...please give me some reassurance.  (If all you have is bad experiences please don't share!:))
All I can say is I'm so glad I had a hair appointment this afternoon!  It's amazing how a nice hair cut and nicely waxed eyebrows can bring a little joy to your life!!
It was a much needed "time-out" for Mom!
And on days when I don't have a hair appointment...I bake!!  And I don't let anyone help me...I banish everyone from the kitchen & I just bake!  And these cupcakes might just be number one on my list of things I love to bake!  Not only are they the cutest things ever...they are downright delicious!!
Chocolate Malt Cupcakes
Recipe from Your Cup of Cake
1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.  Add the malted milk powder and cake mix and mix until combined.

Fill cupcakes liners about 3/4 full.  Bake for 16-22 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Chocolate Malt Buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup malted milk powder
1-2 Tablespoons milk

Beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Make sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl.

Add cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla and malt powder.  Beat until smooth.  Add milk to get desired consistency.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with a Malted milk ball & chocolate sprinkles.

Thursday, April 5, 2012



We just want to give a quick thanks to Corrine for making these beautiful aprons for us to Giveaway!  They are beautiful!

And thank you so much to all of our readers's so exciting to be able to give you something in return!

Drum roll.....
The winner is:
#46 Laura
Who said (at 1:16 a.m.!) "I should totally be in bed right now!"  Well...hopefully knowing you got something out of it will help you make it through your day!:)

Since this is a Mother/daughter recipe blog I've always thought it would be fun to giveaway some cute Mother/daughter aprons.  But I've had a hard time finding any that I liked, so when I saw some cute aprons that my sweet friend Corrine makes I contacted her to see if she could make some for me.

She said YES!!!

She is an excellent seamstress (unlike me who can barely even sew in a straight line!) and has many things she makes and sells.  You can check out all her stuff and order whatever you want at her blog: Crafts By Corrine

Really you must check it out...she has everything from car seat covers to hooded towels to rice packs, etc. & everything can be custom made so just tell her what you want and she can do it!
These are the aprons she made for me to give to one lucky reader here!  I just told her I wanted a set of Mother/daughter aprons and that she could go with it...I knew I could trust her judgement & I'm so glad I did...they are beautiful, don't you agree?!!
And believe me when I say, they are even cuter in person!

The "Mom" apron has the 2 pockets and the neck tie can either tie in the back or on the side (I love it tied on the side...really cute!)

The "daughter" apron has the cute little ruffle at the bottom and the neck tie is adjustable.  There is a button with 3 different slots so you can change the length of it...brilliant!!

If you would love to win these fabulous aprons, here's how you enter:
(leave a seperate comment for everything on the list you do...all links are on the right hand side of the blog!  And as always leave a comment if you already"follow" or "like" us as well!)
1.  Leave a comment (whatever is on your mind...we like random!:))
2.  Go to Corrine's Blog and tell us what your favorite item that she sells is.
3. Become a follower of our blog
4.  Like us on facebook
5.  Share the giveaway on your facebook status
6.  Follow us on Twitter
7.  Follow us on Pinterest
8. Pin the giveaway on your Pinterest page

This giveaway will end Wednesday April 11th, 2012 at 9:00 a.m (MST).  Winners will be verified.

Thanks so much!!  And good luck to all! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Peeps

When I think about my favorite "Peeps", there are plenty of people who come to mind.  I could wipe out quite a large amount of cash trying to make these for all my favorite "Peeps" out there, so I'm settling on making them for my hubby and kiddo's for Easter. 

Not only are these the cutest peeps out there, but they are WAY better when dipped in chocolate.  But really...what isn't?:)

Make some of these for your favorite "Peeps" the Easter season!

Chocolate Dipped Peeps
Idea from Your Home Based Mom

Peeps (whatever colors and amount you want)
Chocolate flavored Almond Bark
Sprinkles of your choice

 Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.

Melt almond bark according to package directions.

 Hold peep by the head and dip body into chocolate covering all of the tail and part of the body.  Let excess chocolate drip back into your bowl.

To apply the sprinkles, hold peep over a bowl and apply sprinkles.  This saves you a mess to clean up later!  Trust me...we learned first hand.

Place decorated peep on wax paper to harden.

I put some chocoalte dipped and some that were not dipped back into their original packaging and then wrapped them in celophane and tied a bow with this saying I made and printed out.

This would be a great gift for family, friends, neighbors, teachers, church leaders, etc. 
You can also change the saying to "To one of MY favorite peeps".  This one was from both of my boys to one of their teachers, thus the "our". :)


Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Whoopie Pies

What do you do when you have leftover frosting in your fridge that you don't know what to do with?

Make Whoopie Pies!

I had some leftover Cherry Cream Cheese frosting from our Cherry Limeade Cupcakes that I didn't want to go to waste.  So my mind went straight to Whoopie Pies. 

These turned out delicious.  If you like chocolate and cherries you'll love these little guys! 

Chocolate Cherry Whoopie Pies

1 box Chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your cookie sheets with cooking spray.
In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, oil, and eggs and beat until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop onto cookie sheet using a medium cookie scoop (or about 1 1/2 tablespoons) and bake for 11-14 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Now to make the frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
(You could also use cherry extract.  Just use 1/2 teaspoon of that and then add milk for the rest.  Also add red food coloring)

Beat cream cheese and butter.  Add the remaining ingredients until you reached desired consistency.

Once cookies are cooled, flip half of them upside down and pipe on frosting.  Place another cookie on top & you've got yourself a whoopie pie!
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