22 August 2015

Favorite Finds Saturday

I hope this week has been a wonderful one for you!  It's been busy now since schools across my area are now back in session.  I love working with teachers!   I also started teaching college classes for Columbia College in the evenings.  I am beyond excited about this, too!

I found some fabulous products to share this week.  I am so excited to share these with you, and do a little promoting of a tiny Etsy shop I know of.  Let's start with that one first!

1.  Homemade crocheted dish cloths.  I love these so much!  My friend Karlene gave me my first one and I have been "hooked" ever since.  This delightful one is from the Etsy shop called Balm and Honey.  I happen to know that the shopkeeper raises bees, so I am eager to see if she starts selling products from her shop!

2.  My dogs are crazy for these cookies! As you can see, my hyperactive dog is willing to sit and be patient for this treat.  They smell good and as you can see from the packaging, no corn, no soy and no wheat.  We give these an A+ in our house!  There are many different flavors, too!  You can find them here for your pup!

3.   I am in love with these Herb Freezer Tray Set from Pampered Chef.  Chop up your herbs, add a little water, freeze into cubes and then store in the freezer.  Pop in a herb cube to soups, stews, casseroles...wherever you need a bit of fresh herb!  The silicone bottoms help push the cube out cleanly.  Makes the whole process so much easier!

4.   I found the autumn scents from Febreze in Walmart this week!  I couldn't wait to get this into my guest bathroom.  My thoughts have been on fall all week, probably due to the cooler temps.  This is the perfect autumn scent, just enough but doesn't overwhelm.  

If you find a product I should try, leave a comment in the comment section.  I love looking for and trying new products!  Have a wonderful day!

21 August 2015

American Cancer Society Cardinals Baseball Game 2015

Our family has been struck by cancer, not once, twice, three, but at least four times.  One of my favorite people in the world is fighting cancer right now.  The American Cancer Society works hard to raise money for cancer (of all kinds) research and I believe they are making an impact!

One of the fundraising activities for ACS is the Cardinals baseball game.  A ticket to the game and a hot dog and a soda can be purchased for $35.  Part of the money raised goes to ACS.  The Cardinals have supported ACS for many years.

This year Bob's family came out with us!  It was so much fun to have them all at the game.  It was a give away day, so all of the adults got a gym bag!

The ACS ticket holders got into the stadium at 9:00 and such a whirlwind of activities!  Ashley and I headed straight for the Cardinals dug out tours.  We had a blast!  The workers were so nice and didn't rush people through.

There were all kinds of autograph stations, too.  Bob and Eric got quite a few!  The pep assembly started around 10:30 and that's where we met up with some of Bob's family.

We claimed nearly a whole row of seats!  Ashley, me, Eric, Bob, Alex, Adam, Kelley, Susan, David, Tim, Jeanne, Karen, Janie, Gary and Joy.

We were H O T but it was a great time.  Even flying around the stadium looking for the snocone lady was fun.

Maybe this will be come a family event for years to come.  I'd like that.

20 August 2015

Orange Dreamscicle Confetti Cake #BundtBakers

I was excited to see sprinkles as the featured ingredient this month.  Sprinkles make me smile.  They make me very happy.  I love all kinds of sprinkles!

My daughter loves funfetti cakes!  She has loved them since she was a little girl.  Funfetti + Ashley = HAPPINESS!

While a white cake does show off the colors of the sprinkles very well, I wanted to add a citrusy punch for this summer style cake.  The orange cake with the sprinkles folded in make for a gorgeous cake.  The taste was lovely, too.

This cake was shared with many neighbors, all who said they enjoyed it!

Orange Dreamsicle Confetti Cake
by Terri Steffes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 1 orange cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1/2 c round sprinkles
  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 box orange jello
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 3 T milk
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare bundt pan by spraying it with the cooking spray. Beat cake mix, eggs, oil and water in mixer for 4 minutes. Fold in sprinkles carefully and pour into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
To make the glaze: Mix jello and powdered sugar. Add in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. I used my hand blender to help dissolve the jello crystals more fully.
Remove cake from oven, cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely. Pour glaze over cooled cake.
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Here are this month's "Sprinkles" Bundts:
  • Black Onyx Bundt Cake from Living the Gourmet
  • Bourbon Walnut Pound Cake from Magnolia Days
  • Bubblegum Frosted Funfetti Vanilla Bean Bundt from Baking in Pyjamas
  • Bundt Cake Extra Chocolateado from la mejor manera de hacer...
  • Celebration Confetti Bundt Cake from Cali's Cuisine
  • Chocolate Bundt Cake with Sprinkled Pink Glaze from la cocina de Aisha
  • Chocolate Chip Cheese Cake from Tea and Scones
  • Chocolate Sprinkles Sour Cream Bundt Cake from Spice Roots
  • Chocolate Walnut Cake with Sprinkles from FoodJam
  • Confetti Bundt Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting from How to Philosophize with Cake
  • Crazy Coco Bundt Cake from Los Chatos Chefs
  • Eggless Fingermillet Chocolate Bundts with Sprinkles from Seduce Your Tastebuds
  • Eggless Vanilla Confetti Bundt Cake from SimplyVeggies
  • Funfetti Bundt Cake from Liv for Cake
  • Funfetti Bundt Cake from Recipes, Food & Cooking
  • 'Guild the Lily' Bundt from Jane's Adventures in Dinner
  • Irish Butter Chocolate Sprinkle Cake with Ganache from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
  • Jammin' Jimmies Bundt from Noshing With The Nolands
  • Nutella Bundt with Nutella Glaze from Food Lust People Love
  • Oatmeal Cookie Bundt Cake with Sprinkles from The Spiced Life
  • Orange Dreamscicle Confetti Cake from Our Good Life
  • Pistachio Sprinkled Bundt Cake from Sew You Think You Can Cook
  • Red Velvet Sprinkle Explosion Bundt Cake from Love and Confections
  • Sprinkled Jelly Donut Bundt Cake from Making Miracles
  • Sprinkled Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake from Baking and Creating with Avril
  • Sprinkles of Love Cake from A Day in the Life on the Farm
  • Strawberry Sprinkled Bundt Cake from The Freshman Cook
  • Vanilla Bundt Cake with Sprinkles from I Love Bundt Cakes
  • Vanilla Mini Bundts from Passion Kneaded
  • Watermelon Bundt Cake from Eat, Drink and Be Mighty

  • BundtBakers

    #BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

    We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

    Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

    19 August 2015

    Top Ten Apple Drinks for Kids and Parents!

    It's time for another Top Ten Post!  I want to thank you for the response on my last Top Ten post about kindergarten readiness.  I was so touched by the response!  I am participating in a Top Ten Apple and Fall Ideas for Kids, and my Top Ten are apple drinks:  some kid friendly and some just for parents!

    Let's get to these apple drinks!

    All these drinks were inspired by apple cider.  I love great apple cider and some of the best around has been in Indiana, at a place our daughter took us to that had hand-pressed cider.  So wonderful! Good apple cider makes these drinks all the better, so don't skimp!

    Starting from the top row, left hand side:

    Apple Cider Punch.  
    Perfect for fall gatherings.
    6 c apple cider
    2 c cranberry juice (less if you like it less tart)
    1/2 c lemon juice
    2 c sparkling white grape juice
    Stir together and refrigerate.  Serve over ice with apple slices for garnish.  Delish.

    Middle top row:
    Apple Cider Floats
    2 or 3 scoops ice cream
    caramel ice cream topping
    Apple Cider
    Place ice cream in tall glass. Squirt on caramel sauce.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.  Pour apple cider over all.  Enjoy!

    Top row right:
    Hot Buttered Apple Cider (personal favorite!)
    1/2 T butter
    2 T brown sugar
    1 c apple cider
    fresh grated nutmeg
    Melt butter, stir in sugar.  Add cider and bring to a boil.  Turn down heat immediately.  Pour into a cup, sprinkle on gresh grated nutmeg.  Oh goodness, this is delicious.

    Bottom row left:
    Vanilla Hot Cider
    2 T brown sugar
    1 t vanilla
    1 c cider
    1 cinnamon stick
    Place sugar, vanilla and cider into a saucepan and heat.  Add in cinnamon, bring to a boil.  Immediately turn down heat and pour into a cup.  Leave cinnamon stick in the cup.

    Center bottom row:
    Copycat Starbucks Cider
    1 c apple cider
    2 T caramel
    1 T cinnamon syrup
    whipped cream for topping
    Heat cider, caramel and cinnamon syrup until hot.  Pour into a cup.  Top with whipped cream.  So much cheaper, so very good!

    Bottom row right:
    Spiced Apple Cider
    1 c apple cider
    3 whole allspice
    4 whole cloves
    1 cinnamon stick
    1/2 split vanilla bean
    fresh grated nutmeg
    Bring all ingredients to a boil. Turn off heat immediately and let steep 20 minutes.  Remove hard spices.

    These Parents-Only drinks are fabulous for a fall hayride, sitting around a bonfire, or tailgating!

    Top row left:
    Apple Sour vodka
    lemon juice (a squeeze)
    apple slice
    Shake vodka and lemon with ice in a shaker.  Pour into a martini glass, garnish with apple slice.  Enjoy very cold.

    Top row right:
    Apple Bomb
    2 oz apple cider
    2 oz ginger beer
    2 oz applejack
    Shake all ingredients together with ice.  Serve over ice.  I pour a little beer on top for the foam.

    Bottom Left:
    Bourbon Maple Cider
    1 oz bourbon
    1 t lemon juice
    maple syrup to taste
    1 c apple cider
    Stir ingredients, taste, add more syrup if needed.  Serve over ice with apple garnishes.

    Bottom right:
    Apple Cider Sangria
    1 bottle pinot grigio
    3 c apple cider
    1/2 c apple brandy
    2 honey crisp apples, chopped
    Stir together liquids, add chopped apple.  Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.  Serve over ice with apple chunks.

    See more Top Ten Apple activities at the following links:

    Top 10 Fall STEM Activities from Little Bins for Little Hands
    Top Ten Apple Cocktails from Our Good Life
    Top 10 Books on Apples for Learning from Powerful Mothering
    Top 10 Science Ideas for Fall from P is for Preschooler
    Top 10 Recipes for Apples from Nemcsok Farms
    Top 10 Fall Sensory Activities from Play & Learn Everyday
    Top 10 Fall Nature Crafts from Rhythms of Play
    Top 10 Free Apple Printables from Something 2 Offer
    Top 10 Apple Activities for Preschool from The Pleasantest Thing

    17 August 2015

    Fall Garden Color

    Most of you know that fall is my favorite season.  Football, hayrides, Halloween, Thanksgiving, my birthday, my daughter's birthday... all fall favorites!  You can indulge in your love of all things Fall by heading over to the  Fall Garden Blog Hop!  Don't let the title fool you, there are many fun fall things to see here!

    It is about the time to start planning for your fall outdoor color.  In Missouri, we will start to see the beginning of cooler mornings and that is when I like to start planning for my fall color.  Our backyard already has the makings for great fall color with these plants:

    Autumn Flame Maple

    This lovely tree lines the streets in my neighborhood and we have one in our backyard.  It is so pretty in the fall, as you can see!

    Burning Bush

    We've had burning bush in every house we've owned.  The nice green foliage makes a pretty background for your summer annuals and then....you get that bright red leaf at the end of summer/early fall.  It's amazing and quite beautiful.  Planted together as a hedge, wow, it's gorgeous.

    Oakleaf Hydrangea

    This hydrangea isn't spectacular during the spring/summer months, it has a white, cone shaped flower head that is tinged in lime green.  It's pretty, not spectacular, like it's pink and purple cousin.  In the fall, though, it really shines!

    We also planted a butterfly garden this summer, and should get some great autumn color from our milkweed and meadow blazing star.

    In addition, we will add color with potted mums and pumpkins, but those will come later, when the weather turns cool at night and warm during the day.  What do you do to add fall color in your garden?

    Picnic Cookies: Chocolate Chip/Potato Chip Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

    This month the gals at the #CreativeCookieExchange are baking up cookies that pack well to go on a picnic.  For packing purposes, make cookies the same size by using a specific scoop or measuring device.  Packing them can be as creative as you'd like!

    For me, putting cookies in an old fashioned ziplock bag is my favorite way to carry them.  They stay dry and airtight, plus can be packed at the end since their loose form will settle into any contour of the basket.

    My treat is a chocolate chip potato chip cookie.  I love the sweet/salty combination of this cookie.  I use kettle chips as they can stand up to the moisture of the batter a bit easier.  If you really wanted to knock it out of the ball park, then try salt and vinegar chips!

    Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Cookies

    by Terri Steffes
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 12-14 minutes for each batch

    Ingredients (36 cookies)
    • 2 c flour
    • 1 c brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 c sugar
    • 1/2 t nutmeg
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 1/2 t baking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 t vanilla
    • 1 1/2 c crushed potato chips, kettle fried, plain
    • 1 c chocolate chips
    • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and browned
    Preheat oven to 325.
    Whisk together flour, soda, salt and nutmeg.
    Melt butter, cook until browned. Skim off solids and remove any dark spots.
    Beat melted butter and sugars together.
    Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated
    Stir in flour mixture, 1/4 c at a time.
    Stire in chips (potato and chocolate)
    Roll into 1 inch balls.
    Bake 12-14 minutes. Cookies should be set but not brown.

    Powered by Recipage

    I had the good fortune to try a couple of products while making this batch of cookies.  One was a silicone measuring cup and another was a silicone baking mat.  The measuring cups worked nicely for measuring out dry and wet ingredients.  When I packed the brown sugar in the cup, when it was time to add it to the bowl, I just squeezed the cup until the sugar loosened.  I didn't need to dirty up another spoon. The opaque white color was easy to see through for measuring.  If you would like to 
    order them for yourself, you can get them here.

    I used the baking sheet for the cookie sheet liner.  I loved this product, too.  So easy to use, it can be cut to size and is so easy to clean!  So much easier than the cookie sheet!

    This sheet can be used on the grill, too!  It keeps veggies and smaller meats like shrimp from falling through the grate.  Awesome product.  You can get it here.  Loved this mat and these would make great Christmas gifts, too!

    Check out these awesome picnic cookies by the other bakers at #CreativeCookieExchange!

    If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

    You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

    16 August 2015

    Waffle Pizzas #SundaySupper

    I always loved after school snacks when I was a kid.  When my mom made "ants on a log"  or fruit dip, I would get so excited!  This after school snack is easy to make, and allows for a little individualism, which is always a good thing for those picky eaters!

    Some tips on using frozen waffles as the crust:  I like to pop these into the toaster first to crisp them up a bit.  Putting the cheese on top of the waffle then the sauce keeps the waffle from becoming too soggy.

    Waffle Pizza

    4 frozen whole wheat waffles, pretoasted
    4 slices mozerella cheese
    1 c pizza sauce
    pepperoni slices
    vegetables such as broccoli, black olives, peppers, cherry tomatoes

    Preheat oven to broil.  Toast waffles, let cool.  Assemble pizzas in this order:  waffle, cheese, pizza sauce, pepperoni slices, veggies.  Broil until cheese is golden brown.  Remove from oven and let sit for 2 minutes, or until cheese is set.  


    Check out these other great Back-to-School recipes from #SundaySupper.

    Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.
    Check out these other great Back-to-School recipes from #SundaySupper.

    Getting Started On School Days
    Ideas for the Lunchbox
    After School Snacks and Beverages
    School Night Suppers
    Sweets to End the Day
    Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

    15 August 2015

    Favorite Finds Saturday

    Such a nice week for August in the mid-Missouri area!  We had a couple of really hot days but for the most part it was a great week.  Many local area schools started back this week, so my Facebook feed was full of pictures of back-to-school moments.  I love seeing all the kids dressed up and with their new backpacks.  Love this time of year.

    I found a few great things to share with you this week.

    1.  One is an Instagramer that I just love.  You can find her at @CarolineCalloway  on instagram.com.  She's an American girl at Cambridge University.  She posts darling snippets of her college life, but with a decidedly charming edge.  She has a book coming out, so get to know her now!

    2.  I am in love with the summer salad from Dewey's Pizza called the Blueberry Almond Salad.  Here's their menu description:  Field Greens with fresh Blueberries, Asiago Cheese, and Marcona Almonds tossed with our Lemon Ginger Vinaigrette.  Yes, it is every bit as good as it sounds.  The portion in the photo is the side salad.  I could have licked the plate, the dressing is that amazing.

    3.  I was introduced to an on-line quiz maker at my staff development. The name of it is Kahoot. Have you heard of it?  It's so much fun.  Go here to create your free account:  https://getkahoot.com/
    Then play some of the public Kahoot games.  You can make up your own, too.  What a perfect thing to do for your family holiday gatherings.  I'm already making ours.

    4.  I found Brad's Deals on Facebook.  They were advertising a set of Croc watershoes for $10.  I knew those shoes were way more expensive than that, as I wanted to buy a pair before we left for vacation this summer.  I clicked, used the promo code list and sure enough, the very pair I wanted, color combo and all, was $10.  I have since ordered other really great deals there, too.  Sign up is free, you get a daily email listing what deals they have found, and so far, no repeats!  Check them out here:  Brad's Deals

    Have a lovely weekend!  My husband's brother and his entire family and our daughter and son-in-law are all attending the American Cancer Society Cardinal's baseball game on Sunday.  SOOOO looking forward to this fun fun event.  Hope you have time for fun things, too!

    12 August 2015

    Food 'n' Flix August: Osage County

    This month our Food n Flix movie was August: Osage County starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts (Sam Shepard and others, a great cast list!).  I saw the movie when it came out in 2013.  We have an Osage County here in Missouri, and the weather is so very close to the weather in Oklahoma that it was easy to imagine that the movie was made here in Missouri.

    Deep movie about family relationships that tipped toward the outrageous.  What else would you expect from such powerful actors?  They are purposefully mean to each other, with some really hurtful words said.  Sam Shepard, the dad, leaves to go fishing and doesn't come back, and is found dead later in the film.  In some ways, I was jealous of Sam Shepard for getting to leave so early!

    With that said, let's go on to the food.  Food is a central part of a small town's funeral experience.  The dinner table after the funeral is loaded with food.  That is what inspired this dish, what do you take to someone to comfort them when they've lost a loved one?  This dish is comfort food, made and given when that extra measure of love is needed.

    Chicken Quinoa Bake

    by Terri Steffes
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients (4 servings)
    • 1 pound chicken breasts
    • 1 package of quinoa/rice blend
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 T olive oil
    • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
    • 2 c spaghetti sauce
    • 2 T Italian seasoning
    • salt
    • pepper
    • 1 large tomato, chopped
    • several leaves of basil
    • 2 c shredded mozerella cheese
    Preheat oven to 375.
    Spray casserole dish with cooking spray.
    Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet.
    Dice chicken breasts, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 T of the Italian seasoning.
    Add chicken to skillet, cook until no longer pink.
    Stir in spaghetti sauce, the rest of the Italian seasoning, the quinoa/rice blend and the chopped tomato.
    Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Add basil on top of cheese.
    Bake 25 minutes covered with foil. Bake another 5 minutes uncovered.
    Remove from oven, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve.
    Powered by Recipage

    Throughout August, others are viewing and enjoying the movie and cooking from inspiration of the movie.  Check back at the end of the month for a wrap up of the movie!

    11 August 2015

    Lemon Chiffon Cocktail and Cooking Club

    The women where I live are trying to put together a cooking club in our neighborhood after reading the blog post by Dana at The Kitchn blog.  Several women convened at my home on Saturday to discuss how this might work for us.

    We decided to start by working with a group called The World Cooking Project, where chefs all around the world skype into your own kitchen and hold a cooking class right in your home!  We are going to meet with Katia from Italy and learn how to make pasta in a couple of weeks!

    Two of us attended an event to see what The World Cooking Project would look like.  We met with a chef from India who was teaching us how to make naan.  It was great fun talking to Pulkit about his country and his food.

     When we met at our house, one of the gals brought this delicious cocktail to share with the rest of us.  Equal portions of vodka (4 oz) and lemon juice, sugar to take off the edge of the tartness of the lemon and soda to fill up the jar!  It really tastes like lemon chiffon.

    I'll keep you posted as to the success of the cooking club!  Linking up to Grey is the New Black's Tipsy Tuesday Party!