Friday, October 7, 2016

KIDding Around

It's been quite the full week and I guess there's no better way to start a new month, right?!  We started with a little flag football game for this kid...

baby showered a soon-to-be-new kid (a new nephew!!!)....

adored the most precious kid work at Open House....

and acted like kids at "Luke's"...

My sister and I share the same affinity for Gilmore Girls and couldn't pass up the chance to enjoy a hot cup of coffee served with a side of nostalgia when these little pop-up diners made their way to town on Wednesday.  It was definitely over-hyped, but fun nonetheless. We walked away with the itch to re-watch Gilmore Girls starting from season 1, a commemorative coffee cup sleeve, and pictures to boot.   

Now let's start the weekend with a kid-friendly recipe and I say that only because it's sweet as all get out and perfect for those of us who still entertain a 5-year-old taste palate. 

1 sleeve of Saltine crackers (and maybe half of another sleeve, depending on the size of your pan)
1 C. (2 sticks) of butter (salted or unsalted)
1 C. + 2 TBSP firmly packed light brown sugar
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate morsels
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:  toffee bits (yes please!), slivered almonds, and/or pecans

Please avoid this recipe if you're trying to refrain from sweets, trying to lose weight, or trying curb your sweet tooth cravings.  NONE of that is possible with this stuff on hand.  

First up, line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a non-stick cooking spray.  Then line the sheet with crackers like this...

Next up, melt two sticks of butter on medium heat in a saucepan. 

 Once it's all melted, add in the brown sugar (I prefer light, but you could use dark if that's all you have available), stir well, and bring to a boil.  Heat/boil for about 3 minutes and be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning or sticking to the saucepan.

Now remove the brown sugar/butter mixture from the heat, pour on top of the crackers, and spread evenly so that all crackers are covered in this sweet, gooey goodness.

Bake at 350 for 5 minutes and remove from oven.  

Pour a bag of semi-sweet morsels on top of the crackers and cover the pan with another sheet of foil.  Let that sit for about 3ish minutes and remove foil.  This allows time for the chocolate to melt so that you can spread it evenly over the sheet of crackers like this....

Now here's the fun part.  You could always stop at that step, but let's go ahead and just make it a bit more decadent, shall we?!  I added a bag of toffee chips to the top of the melted chocolate and then tossed some sliced almonds to the mix because I'm a huge fan of sweet & salty snacks.  Ohmiword.

Place the entire pan in the fridge and give it about 20+ minutes to allow time for everything to set and harden.  Once the chocolate is nice and firm, remove the pan from the fridge and break the crackers into small pieces.  

Aaaahhhh!!!!  SO GOOD!!!!  

We bagged up a good portion of this "candy" and took it to the boy's teachers as an Open House treat.  There was still a ton leftover, so naturally we ate most of that :)  Not sad about it.  Then I had to get the stuff out of my house because I was turning to it for breakfast, dear LORD!!!  One of my girls had a birthday dinner on Wednesday, so I went ahead and took the rest as a dessert and there wasn't a bite left in the bowl by the time the night was over!  Whew!!!  

The sad thing is that I'm already craving it again and planning on making another batch this afternoon.  Thank God for elastic waistbands because Lord knows I need them desperately :)  

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

"SOUP"er Tuesday

I wish there were a magical weather button we could press when the season changes from Summer to Fall.  At the strike of midnight on September 22nd, not only would the season change, but so would the hot temperatures.  I'm a summer girl through and through, but cooler weather wouldn't be terrible right about now.  Nothing drastic, just a relief, y'know?!   We always joke that maybe if we start making "fall"ish recipes like soups and stews, maybe we'll will on the cooler weather.  Sorta like a rain dance, but the only thing dancing will be our taste buds :)     

Just to test out the waters, I decided it was time for our annual first-soup-of-the-season because why not?!  We love a good soup...especially during the cooler I decided to try out a new-to-me recipe that turned out to be an instant hit!!  The best thing about soup is the (typically) easy prep, minimal clean up, and delectable flavors...and soup makes the best leftovers, too!!  


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz.) can tomato soup
1 (14 oz.) can of chicken OR beef broth  (I used chicken)
2 C. cooked rice
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBSP. sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes (optional), to taste
shredded cheddar (optional) for topping

Alright...let's get started, shall we?!

First let's go ahead and chop our onion and bell pepper.  I used a green bell pepper because in a dish like this, I feel like the green gives me a more savory flavor.  I'm sure red/orange/yellow would be great too, with just a slight variation in the flavor profile.

Add the ground beef & diced peppers & onion to a large skillet and cook on medium heat until the meat is browned.

Drain the excess grease from the meat and return the meat/peppers/onion to a large stockpot.  Add in the diced tomatoes, tomato soup, and broth.  I used chicken broth, but the recipe says you can use either chicken or beef.

Cook rice in a separate saucepan and add to the meat mixture.
Then toss in the sugar, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.  I had to do a few little taste tests to be sure I added the right amount of both.  I also tossed in some red pepper flakes because we do like a little bit of heat in our meals.  

Cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.  

When you're ready to serve, top with some shredded cheese and maybe a few Saltines!  

Y'all...this was DELICIOUS!!!  Anytime Mr. Spouse goes back for seconds, I know I found a winner.  I'm excited to add a new recipe to our expanding rotation of soups!!!  I think you'll love it if you try it, too!!!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Pumpkins & Apples

Since it's finally October, I can talk about all things apples and pumpkins now....right?!  Or am I too early?  Or too late?  I can never remember the proper blogging etiquette.  

I know I've mentioned it before, but just as a refresher, I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin.  I've never had a PSL (is that what all the cool kids are calling it these days?), I don't really enjoy pumpkin pie, and unless they're sitting on my front porch, I'm just not a huge pumpkin fan in general.  However, I have plenty of friends and family members who love the flavor.  And even though I'm not a huge fan of the taste, I do enjoy cooking & baking things with pumpkin for the people in my life who DO like it :) 

When I found this recipe, I knew I wanted to try it out.  And I figured the pumpkin could be substituted for apples instead, so I knew this recipe would be a winner in more ways than one.  And seriously, it was a HIT!  Grand slam, outta-the-ballpark, WINNER.  I've baked this more times than I can count in the last couple of weeks and taken it to get-togethers, potlucks, and just-for-fun type occasions.  And if you know anyone who loves pumpkins or apples, this would be a wonderful little treat to bake for them, too!  


1 (16.9 oz.) can Honey Butter Pillsbury Grands Flakey biscuits, 8 
3/4 cup pumpkin pie filling
2 TBSP. butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

1 (16.9 oz.) can Honey Butter Pillsbury Grands Flakey biscuits, 8
1 (15 oz.) can apple pie filling
2 TBSP. butter, melted
1/3 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
2 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Choose the flavor you want and let's get to baking!

As you can see, not much is needed.  If you choose apple instead of pumpkin, you'll just switch out the can for apple pie filling and the pumpkin pie spice for apple pie spice instead.  YUM.

Now take each of the biscuits...8 total...and separate into two layers.  They easily pull apart because, well, they're flaky layers already.  You'll need 16 pieces for this recipe.  I went ahead and laid mine out on wax paper for easy clean-up and whatnot.

Now spread the pumpkin pie mix...or apple pie filling...on the top of each biscuit.  The recipe calls for 3/4 C. of the pumpkin pie mix, but I didn't follow that.  I just added what I thought would be tasty.   As for the apple pie filling, I went ahead and used the entire can spreading an even amount atop each biscuit.

Melt the butter and pour about 1/2 - 1 tsp. of melted butter on top of each biscuit.

Now mix together the sugar and pumpkin pie spice (or apple pie spice) until combined.  Sprinkle evenly on top of the pumpkin pie/apple pie filling.

pumpkin favorite!!!!!

Now get ready to get your hands dirty.  For real.  

Stack four biscuits, one on top of the other.   You'll have four separate stacks altogether.

I made sure to place the top biscuit upside down on the last stack.  This will be the "heel" of your loaf :)  

Be sure to grease your loaf pan before adding in the biscuits.  
You'll have to do some finagling to fit everything in.  Place one set of biscuits in the pan at a time.  You'll need to keep the biscuits in place with one hand while adding the next set with the other.  You'll see what I mean when you start gets pretty messy really quick!  

You might have a bit of the sugar & spice mix leftover.  If you do, you can sprinkle a little bit more on top of the biscuits once they're added to the pan.  Waste not, want not, right?!?!

Bake on 350 for about 40-45 minutes or until the center is cooked through.  I baked mine right at about 40 minutes on the convection setting.  The center was baked through, but the top was a bit crispy, LOL!  I like a crispy crust, so that worked for me :)

Does that not look amazing?!  

The pumpkin pull apart bread doesn't bubble over quite like the apple bread so I would suggest placing a baking sheet underneath the loaf pan if you plan on baking with the apples.

Remove from oven and let cool.  While the bread is cooling, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until combined.  This glaze basically tops it all off and really sets the stage for a delicious sugar coma to take place.    Pour evenly over the top of the bread.  I didn't use all of the glaze because I felt like it made a ton, so I would say add to taste :)  You really can't screw it up!

I've baked and sampled both the pumpkin and the apple and I definitely think the apple is better, but that's my most favorite flavor to begin with, so don't take my word for it!  Mr. Spouse LOVED the pumpkin and I think he preferred that one to the apple.  In all honesty, you can't go wrong either way.  They're both delicious!!!!  

This would be a great little breakfast to bake for overnight guests, but it also makes a great little treat to gift to neighbors, friends, and co-workers....especially this time of the year! 

I love how the layers pull apart easily so you won't need a knife to cut into it.  Just the perfect little serving sizes.  I'm keeping all of these ingredients on hand so that I can whip these up at a moment's notice.  You'll see what I mean when you try it for yourself!!!  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sweet Mornings

Most of our mornings look the same around here.  Mr. Spouse is usually up and out the door before anyone else' alarms go off.  He does get to go in a little later some mornings, but it seems like he's gone before we get up most days.  My boys always set their alarm for 6:30 so they can watch TV before I roll out of bed around 7.  Since the boys make their own lunches and take care of all of their personal stuff alone (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.), I have plenty of time to make breakfast and get dressed before we head out the door by 8.  Some mornings I have quick breakfasts on hand....cereal, cinnamon rolls, muffins....but some mornings I actually cook. 
I call those my "miracle mornings" :)

I've never been much of a breakfast person myself.  I'd rather have breakfast food for dinner.  Coffee usually holds me over until about 11 when I'm finally ready for lunch.  My boys, on the other hand, love breakfast.  My oldest would eat a steady diet of pancakes, waffles, and cinnamon rolls every morning if we let him and my youngest would prefer cereal, muffins, eggs, and biscuits.  Because I want them to have some sort of sustenance in their bellies before heading to school, I don't mind giving them what they want (for the most part).  It just makes for a happier morning for everyone.  And I really love happy mornings :)

Since it's just me and the boys most mornings, I don't make huge breakfasts...especially since I don't normally eat before 11.  When Mr.Spouse is home however, I try to make something all three of my guys can enjoy.  And if there is anything leftover, Mr. Spouse will take it to work and share with his kids.  It's a win-win.  When I found this recipe, I knew I had to throw it into the rotation.  It has all the makings of a great breakfast...chocolate, croissants, and sugar, OH MY!  
Here's a little bit about our experience with this recipe!


1 package (10-13oz) of mini croissants (found in your grocery store bakery area), chopped
2 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/3 C. sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C. milk
2 C. semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels

Just in case you're wondering, here are the mini croissants.  I'm honestly shocked these all made it into the baking dish because I could've eaten the entire package.  Alone.  #sadbuttrue

Chop the croissants into small bite-sized pieces and add them to a greased 9x13 baking dish.

In a separate bowl, beat your cream cheese until smooth before adding any of the other ingredients.  And be sure that it's softened (room temperature).  I didn't do this and I wish I would have!!!  After reading some of the comments on the original post, I think this is the step where I went wrong.  You see, I put the cream cheese into the bowl with all the other ingredients and then mixed until everything was combined.  It was softened, but maybe not enough?!  My cream cheese ended up looking more like cottage cheese when it was all said and done.  This didn't affect the taste was still REALLY good!!!...but the appearance made all three of my boys a little wary.

Once your cream cheese is beat until smooth, add the remaining ingredients (sugar, eggs, vanilla, & milk) until well combined and pour the mixture evenly over the croissants.

See what I mean about the lumpy cream cheese?!?!

I prepped this dish the night before I baked it giving it time to set.  All I had to do was wake up a little earlier on a Friday morning, take it out of the fridge, and pop it in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes and it was ready to go!   That's what I call a pretty sweet morning :)

As you can see, even after baking I had little lumps of cream cheese all over the place.  Again, it didn't affect the taste, just the appearance. 

It was a bit soggy on the bottom which presented a bit of a problem for my texture sensitive 9-year-old, so he abandoned ship pretty quickly.  Bless.  I'm sure I did something user error!...because from the looks of the original recipe, it's not supposed to be soggy at all, LOL!

I'm not giving up on this recipe because it has serious potential and it really tastes fantastic!!! I  love the idea of baking this and taking it to potluck brunches and showers.  It would be great if you're entertaining company, too!  I just want to get it right before I share it with a crowd! 

Next time, I'm going to make sure the cream cheese is super softened and I'll be sure to beat it before adding any of the extra ingredients.  I also plan on adding a little cinnamon to the mixture, too. The sogginess??? What could I have done differently?  Less egg?  Less milk?? More croissants??   Not sure!  I need to keep playing with it to figure all that out because I surely don't want a crispy croissant bake, but I don't want it soggy either.  I guess there's only one way to find out!  And I know what my boys will be trying again tomorrow morning :)  Ha!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Game Day Treats

I think I've mentioned it before, but my husband is an athletic trainer at one of the local high schools.  He's been doing this for as long as I've known him and I know I'm a proud wife, but I really must mention that he's SO good at what he does.  Not just his knowledge about injuries and treatment, but he's amazing at building relationships with his student trainers.  We miss him so much during football season when his days and nights are long and we don't see him as often as we'd like, but we know his school kids need him too and we're happy to share him for the season :)

Now that my schedule is a lot more flexible, I've gotten to know a lot of his kids and they are the sweetest.  Such good kids who work hard and deserve to be treated :)  I love surprising his kids with little treats throughout the year.  Nothing crazy fancy or anything like that, but the teacher in me really does love doing cutesy little things especially now that I don't have my own classroom.  
The first official home game of the season called for such treats.  

These would be great for birthday parties or game days, too!  So I wanted to share in case you need a few fun little treat ideas also :)

Making these football treat bags is super simple and just requires a white paint pen, a pair of scissors, brown paper lunch bags, and a little patience.  Just cut off the tops of the bags (it looks even better with jagged edged scissors) and use a white paint pen to draw on the football lacing details.  Simple, right?!  

You can fill the bags with anything, but I filled ours up with some candy, a bag of goldfish with a tag that said, "It's oFISHally football season!", blue gatorade bottles (our team colors are blue and white), and a few little football themed paper goods (napkins and paper straws). 

One year I had some extra time on my hands and even wrapped the gatorade bottles with this great football textured scrapbook paper (I drew the lacing on those, too).  Extra time doesn't seem to be happening very much lately so this year the kids just got the gatorade bottles :)  

As you can see, I also attempted football shaped chocolate rice krispie treats that year, too.  This should be in the "Pinterest Fails" category.  Looks like my 8-year-old tried to decorate those!!!  Ha!

In addition to the treat bags, I made the kids some game day cupcakes this year.  Y'all...these were SO easy!  I went ahead and just used a box mix for the cupcakes, but there's nothing quite like homemade frosting, so I used one of my favorite chocolate buttercream recipes to top these off.  I baked these in green cupcake liners and used a mini closed star cupcake decorating tip for the brown piping.  I used a mini round cupcake decorating tip for the white piping.  They're not the prettiest attempt at cupcake decorating, but not a total fail either :)

All of the paper goods (straws, napkins, coasters) are from Wal Mart.  Right now they have the best game day paper goods!!! I picked up lots of extras for the season in case they stop carrying them.  We love hosting Sunday Funday and these will make for some fun little touches.

If you're looking for a great chocolate buttercream recipe, these two are the absolute BEST!!!  You can't go wrong with either!!!  I used the Two Sisters Crafting recipe for the football cupcakes and it got RAVE reviews!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What the Teacher Wore

Now that we're in a routine again...and I'm not wearing the same white cotton shorts and tank tops's time to get a little more intentional about my outfits.  It's been a while, so today I'm linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.

Lots of fun Target finds in this week's post which means LOTS of great deals!!!  And who doesn't love a great deal?!  I found this sleeveless number at the beginning of the summer for about $10.  I thought it would be perfect for church and conferences and for $10, you can't beat it!  I paired it with these black Ralph Lauren Deirdre wedges I picked up at Dillard's a few years ago for under $40 after season. Topped it all off with my Kendra Scott Alexandra drop earrings.

The dress fit perfectly for being under $10!  And with no end to the heat in sight, I think I'll get lots more wear out of this in the next few weeks.

A night out called for a little something dressier.  I bought this jumper a year & a half ago  from a cute little boutique in Nashville.  For the life of me, I can't remember what the boutique is called.  But I love it!  And I paired it with these Sam Edelman Delilah D'Orsay heels I recently bought at Marshall's for $40!!!!!! 

Probably would've been really cute with a belt, but since I didn't have one I liked, I wore this Courtney Bib Necklace instead and paired that with my Tory Burch Double Wrap Bangle & Rustic Cuff.

Now let's get back to Target.  This was one of my favorite finds this summer!  I got this top for less than $10, too!  It's from the Knox Rose line they have in-store...I really love so many of the Knox Rose pieces I've found there!  

These jeans are a staple.  I've worn them for the last three years and they still fit like new.  It seems like I always try out a lot of different jeans, but I keep coming back to these.  Great quality, great fit, and if you can get them on sale you can usually find them 2-for-1.  LOVE that! 
When I was in Vegas this past summer, I found these Steve Madden Callvin peep toes for less than $70.  They were on clearance and I couldn't grab them fast enough.  I can't find them anymore, but they carry an identical shoe in a different color you can find HERE.  Honestly, I LOVE these shoes and wear them so much more than I thought I would.  They're so comfortable and they go with almost everything I own.

Last up, a Target romper for the win.  I found this one in the Spring and I *think* I paid full price which may have been $20?  I liked it because the shorts are a bit longer than most romper shorts and I love the way they fall.  It's just a good fit!  I found the shoes at Target, too!  I found them on clearance and they're a perfect fit.  I have them in sand, too and wear these all the time. 

Even though I'm tired of the heat, I'm not sure I'm quite ready for full on booties and scarves just yet.  That will come all too soon and I'll be wishing on the warm weather once again :)  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Last of the Groceries

The last of the groceries.  We've all been there.  That time of the week when we're down to the bare bones in the fridge and pantry and because we're trying to stretch the very last of what we have to avoid a trip to the grocery store and delay the inevitable, we start improvising with what we have on hand.  That was me last night.  I forgot that I had scheduled my grocery pick-up for Tuesday morning instead of Monday morning, so I got to use the last things standing in the fridge.  My boys NEVER enjoy when this happens and always remind me to go to the grocery store as I drop them off each morning.  Bless their hearts ;)

I ended up finding a recipe that required the use of pretty much everything I had left on-hand.  Score.  It was a pretty tasty little meal and my kids now have a new dinner they'll actually eat. I could definitely see these doubling as a fun little appetizer on game day, too!


1 lb. chicken tenderloins OR 2 chicken breasts sliced into thin strips
2 TBSP. butter OR olive oil
1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1/4 C. grated parmesan cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese (to taste)
salt & pepper, to taste
garlic salt,or powder for sprinkling

Now, remember when I told you that my CF card is kaput so I can't use my camera?!  Well...I got a new card, but now I can't find my charger, hahahaha!!!  SO, iphone pics it is.  

First up, start by seasoning your chicken with a little salt and pepper.  Add the butter or olive oil to the pan and heat on medium high.  I used butter because I was all out of olive oil.  

Now add the chicken and cook until heated through and no longer pink.  

Mix together the parmesan cheese and mayonnaise and coat evenly over the chicken.  I just kept my chicken in the pan, turned off the heat, added the mayo/parm mixture, and stirred until well coated.  

Nice and gooey.  Tasty, too.  Honestly, we could've eaten it just like this with a side of veggies or something, but I needed to use those crescent rolls before they expired.   We don't use those very often unless we're making sopapilla cheesecake.   I bought a can of them not too long ago to use in a dessert recipe for a get-together, but the gathering was cancelled and so sat the crescents.  I don't like anything to go to waste, so I'm glad I was able to find this recipe and put them to good use!!!

I digress.

Now go ahead and roll up your chicken inside of the crescent dough   Place your chicken on the long side of the crescent and roll.  Sweet and simple.  Place in a baking dish, brush with a teensy bit of melted butter and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan and garlic powder if you so desire.
I sprinkled a little dash of oregano on top as well.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or until golden.

  I had a jar of marinara sauce I needed to use as well, so we heated that up and dipped the roll-ups as we ate.  The boys aren't really big dippers at all (except for Grant.  He will eat ketchup with EVERYTHING).  So they went ahead and tried it sauceless at first.  Then they decided to dip and ohmiword....they loved it!!!!

Winner, winner parmesan chicken dinner :)

We served these little roll-ups with steamed broccoli and that made for a pretty quick and easy meal.  Needless to say, the boys will be thrilled when they get home this afternoon to discover I went to the grocery store.  They're definitely kids who love their staple dinners, but they were more than happy to try this little number for a change!