White Chocolate Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

IMG_6435It is the season of everything pumpkin and spice. So, in the spirit of fall I thought I’d give these festive Snickerdoodles a try. Personally I don’t get into the pumpkin spice craze, but these cookies pleasantly surprised me!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided  (I used raw sugar which gave these cookies a nice texture)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or chunks

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in the microwave. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together. The dough will be very soft. Fold in the white chocolate chips the best that you can. Cover and chill the the dough for at least 30 minutes.

3.Take the dough out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Roll the dough into balls. Make each ball about 1.5 Tbs each. Mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Roll the balls in the sugar mixture and place on the baking sheets. Flatten the dough balls slightly.

5. Bake for 8-10. The cookies will look very and underbaked. If you bake them too long they will become chewy. Remove them from the oven and press a few chocolate chips into the top.

6.Allow the cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let them cool and enjoy!!! So yummy!!

 

Week Night Dinner

When I say easy most people roll their eyes at me. But…this is easy! A child that can use a knife can make this quick, easy and tasty meal. You will need 2 peppers (any color), and 2 small onions or one large, 2 cans Curry, 2 cans coconut milk and chicken. I used 6 chicken thighs.

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I open and add all cans to the pots and whisk together. Add boneless, skinless chicken thighs whole and onions. Cook on medium for about 30 minutes.

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The last thing to add is the peppers.  Cook for another 15-20 minutes on medium. I like my peppers a little more firm. If you cook the peppers too long they get too soft.

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Serve over cauliflower rice or white rice that you cook according to the package.

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Now, that was easy!

Curry Chicken:

6 boneless. skinless chicken thighs

2 cans coconut milk

2 cans masaman curry paste (I buy this at the international market)

2 peppers (any color) sliced

2 onions sliced

 

In large pan add curry and coconut milk. Whisk well.

Add onions and raw whole chicken thighs (they will fall apart after cooking)

Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat

Add peppers and cook for another 15-20 minutes on medium heat

Serve over cauliflower or regular rice

 

Now that is easy and tasty!  Enjoy!

 

Happy Birthday Idea

This week, our little grandson Elijah turned 5. We were having a family dinner to celebrate his birthday at our house. In honor of his birthday I wanted to do something creative and special for him so my brain started turning with ideas. We only had our four youngest ones so it was easier to come up with. Little ones are happy with things from the dollar store so this project will be easy and not expensive.

I bought 4 brown handles bags at the dollar tree for $2.00. I put their names on the bags:

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When the kids came in I told them the story of the bags. Here goes:

These bags are birthday bags. They have presents for each of you that magically appear from time to time during this birthday party. So if you check the bag and there is a present in the bag, it is yours. But make sure to put the bag back on the counter because another present could appear. You can check the bag anytime. Just always make sure to put the bag back.

Needless to say they loved it! They would forget about it while playing and then remember to check it later, loving every moment!!

I bought four gifts for each child at the dollar store. Things like, paddles with balls, silly string, airplanes etc.

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The kids loved this and would check on the bags often. It was a challenge to put new gifts in the bags without being seen but it can happen.

Our son, Michael brought his bounce house and we have a little hard plastic pool that we set up outside. For a five year old this was a big party!

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I hope you can use this idea at one of your birthday parties! It was easy, fun and not expensive.

Happy Birthday little man! We love you!

 

Shrimp & Grits

Summer is on it’s way out and I am trying to savory every moment. Last week, I decided to make Shrimp and Grits because it made me feel like I was at the beach on summer vacation with my family again. Summer is one of my favorite times of year because we can all go on vacation, be outside and enjoy each others company while eating great foods! Great food adds to the whole vacation experience for us. The smells, the breezes, the sand, the noises of the waves….all of it!

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The recipe for Shrimp & Grits is fairly easy to make. Buying and using wild caught shrimp taste the best and you can find it on sale if you look. Sometimes it requires cleaning the shrimp to get the freshest.

 

Shrimp and Grits:

Make the grits first because they take a little more time.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 thinly sliced roasted red bell pepper

2 tablespoons Seasoning  (recipe follows) 1 TBS for less spicy.

¼ cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons cold butter

Goat Cheese Basil Grits  (recipe follows)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes, or until the shrimp begins to turn a little pink. Add the bell peppers and Creole spice and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the peppers are heated through. Add the wine and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the shrimp turns pink. Remove from the heat and add the butter.  Serve the shrimp over the grits and top with the warm sauce left in the skillet.

Makes 4 servings

 

Shrimp Seasoning:

1 tablespoon sugar

2½ teaspoons sea salt

1 tablespoon paprika

1   teaspoons cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the ingredients and enjoy!

Makes ¼ cup

 

 

 

Goat Cheese Basil Grits:

3 cups water

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups cooked stoneground grits

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream cream

6 ounces goat cheese

2 tablespoons basil, for garnish

Follow directions on the stone ground grits bag. Add the cream and decrease the heat to low, simmering for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and thick. Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the goat cheese until melted. Garnish with the basil.

Makes 4 servings.

 

I buy Alexia brand biscuits at the Fresh Market for a side with this meal. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

 

Slime On Carpets

How many of you have kids who love slime? We don’t have children at home anymore but we have grandchildren who love slime. The sticky, colorful, and glitter stuff can get on carpets and upholstery and be hard to get off.  Sometimes we don’t see it until it’s too late. There are many types of slime. Homemade, pre-made and some you can buy kits and make.

We agree, slime is fun sensory play and can have some developmental benefits to playing with it. What isn’t fun is finding slime mess throughout the home from spills in the kitchen to slime in the carpet. Remember, slime is made with different dies and ingredients so this DIY could work but also may not work. This was our best shot at it without professional equipment.

You will need these things to start getting your slime out:

  • white distilled vinegar
  • a spoon
  • some white rags or plenty of  plain white paper towel
  1. Begin by pouring a generous amount of vinegar directly on the slime. The vinegar should start to break down the glue in the slime and there will be a milky sort of puddle in the carpet.
  2. Use the spoon and begin to gently scrape the slime and vinegar “soup slime” from the carpet fibers. Be careful not to scrape too vigorously or you could damage your fibers permanently.
  3. When there is no more liquid goop to scrape up from the carpet it is time to rinse the remains. Heat up some water in a pot. Get it hot but not boiling. Pour hot water on the leftover residue. Be careful to not pour to much water because you don’t want to over wet it and not be able to get it dry. If you have a shop vac in the garage it would be very helpful in this process to remove the water. If not, use plenty of dry towels to get as much water back out of the carpet as possible. Be sure to rinse all of the vinegar and small bits of goo from the carpet.
  4. Place some more towels on the area and weight down with books overnight or get the hair dryer out and use the cool setting to get the carpet as dry as possible to avoid prolonged moisture in your carpet.

If you have carpet protector on your carpet all the fibers are protected and there is no room for the color of the slime to attach itself to your carpet. Carpet protector fills in and surrounds the fibers like a magic bubble. If there is no protector the fibers are left open and color can attach. Carpet protector is always a good idea.

Making Curtains

Sewing is one of my favorite things to do, along with cooking and being creative. I feel like it relaxes me and puts me in a whole new mind set. Last week I decided to make panels for Mike’s office at home.

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The hunt for fabric began weeks prior. I will bring home a few samples at a time, show them to Mike and leave them in the office to see if I like them or which one I like better.

This time the navy blue fabric won. Mostly because I know that navy is coming back in and secondly, because it is a man office and he loves blue.

  • I start by measuring how long I want the panels to be. In my case it was 103 inches finished.
  • Then I add 20 inches to that. I plan to have a 5 inch hem at the top and bottom. So I need to purchase 123 inches x’s 2 because I am doing two panels. Also, remember that some patterns have a repeat pattern and your sells person should be able to tell you that. If you have a pattern in your fabric and you want both panels to match at the top you will need the “pattern repeat” amount so you will have enough fabric to make it match.You may be able to get the fabric store to cut your fabric in two pieces but I usually cut my own.
  • I purchase a flat white twin sheet for my liner. The sizes and lenghts can be a little longer or wider than my fabric. ALWAYS make sure the top of the liner is caught in the hem at the top of the panel.

Now that I have my fabric cut I am ready to start.

  1. I lay the fabric out on my floor and get all the wrinkles out.

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2. Now add the liner to the fabric. Make sure the pretty side of the fabric is facing the floor or counter.  Lay the liner on top of the fabric and remove all wrinkles by rubbing your hand over the fabric. Lay it as straight as possible.

3.  Take your pins and pin the liner across the top and down each side a little ways to hold it in place.

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4.  Take your ruler and decide how many inches you want your sides to be. I always make my sides 2 inches. How I do this is measure 4 inches and fold it over, use an iron and iron it all the way do the panel.  See below:

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5.  Take out the side pins. Open the fold up and then fold it in two inches and fold again. Pin. Always do the sides first, one side at a time. Then the top, then the bottom using d

 

6.  Pin.

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7.  Now go to your sewing machine and sew the seam. Make your stitches as straight as possible. Finish both sides first.

8.  Now do the same thing with the top and bottom. Starting with the top. Fold over 10 inches and iron. open up fabric, remove pins and fold to the ironed line. Pin and sew.

9.  I hang my curtains and them hem. I use the ironing board for my table.

10. When measuring for your hem, take a one pin and pin the side of the where you want the length to be. Do this on both sides. Then fold over to that marked area and iron.  Open fabric and place the edge on the ironed line and fold. Then iron. Then pin. I pin my hem all the way across to make sure they are the correct length before hemming. This way if they are too short or too long you can easily fix it.

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This is my finished product:

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I also made a little pillow for the chair to tie in the curtains. I still have a lot of decorating to do in this room but the curtains are done!

Please leave me a message with any questions you may have and I will be glad to help.

 

Vacation 2018

The anticipation of our vacation is fun with a whole lot of texting chatter and funny GIF’s, count downs, threats of who will throw up from the drink tastings, who will win the Amazing Race #savengerhunt, get wiped out by waves, etc. but the week together is amazing! We laugh until we cry, some of us cry, the food, the drinks, the fun just never stops.

This year we went to Emerald Isle and stayed in a great beach house with everyone’s request met. We had a pool, an elevator (which really helps with 4 floors), and a golf cart. The pool is great in the afternoons when the kids come back from the beach or for nap time. The moms can sit outside and watch the babies with their monitors while the babies sleep. The golf cart is awesome for carrying all the beach chairs, toys, tents and little people to the beach and then that elevator really helps when you have to carry everything to the third floor kitchen. And I must say, I do bring A LOT of food, bowls, knives, drinks and pans! My husband is a trooper for never complaining about how much stuff I bring or how much I spend. He should get an award for all he does.

Our house is not ocean front but we can see the ocean from the house which I love.

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The first day that we arrived we had a lot to carry in and I had to make dinner that night but everyone was out at the pool and I wanted to be out their too. Since I had prepared a lot at home it freed me up to go to the pool. It was so much fun playing with all the kids in the water. I am a big kid at heart too and I do flips and jump in the water with the kids. We play “simon says”, we act like we have been kidnapped by pirates, we jump into jello, etc…what ever they come up with. And of course, Umpa had to bring out the water guns!

 

The “beach fairy” continues to hit us up every night with a gift for all the children nightly. There were cool iPhone accessories to sand toys and sun glasses. The kids loved it! Especially the little ones.

 

 

This year we added a scavenger hunt to the party. I bought whistles for the little ones and let them hand out the clues. Then we followed everyone around on our golf cart so the little ones could blow their whistles at their cousins, aunts and uncles. It was a blast! And loud.

Their were 5 clues, 2 tasks, and 4 selfies with things or people required for the scavenger hunt. And superman appeared… but didn’t win! Joy and her daddy won!

 

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Our candy tasting is always a hit with the kids. The moms and dads could probably live without it but that’s not going to happen because I am all about making memories. I buy the candy at Super G which is our local International Market. Some of the candy tastes great and other things you will never want to put in your mouth again!

 

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We played games, made slime, played on the porch, stayed on the beach, went and saw turtles, Took long golf cart rides and just enjoyed each others company. Make memories is one of my favorite things to do! I love family and I love children!

 

These little ones were a lot to keep up with and they wanted to help cook, play and have fun. They made plans, snuck tomatoes, cut food with a “real” knives, pretend paddle boarded and fashion modeled. #somuchfun!

 

This we did a cousins picture. Caleb (age 15) was a good sport and went with it too. I had someone make all of them a shirts with “cousin tribe” on the front and their birth order on the sleeve.

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Paddle boarding is what Caleb really like to do and he would take a little one too. They are talking about kite surfing next year….we will see.

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Last but not least we did family pictures. I wish we would have taken a “whole” family picture. The pictures we did take turned out well. It is hard to get so many people ready and in one place but it is so worth it when you have the pictures for a memory.

My goal in life is to make a difference, even in my own family. As parents and grandparents we can make good memories and help fun to happen for our families. It does take work and planning but the rewards and the ripples of your kindness and generosity will forever be remembered in these little ones. Maybe not your name but your actions and love will trinkle down through generations.  That is making a difference!