Saw this while on the Purdue University campus today...
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
What do you and your friends do for fun on a Saturday afternoon?
Sit by the pool. Go shopping. Watch a movie.
Not my friends!
Recently, I got together with nine of my blogging buddies from The Real Farmwives of America and Friends and we did some Freezer Cooking!
What's freezer cooking? Good question. Cris over at Goodeness Gracious does a great job explaning the concept over on her blog here.
This is the second time I took part in this type of marathon cooking day and I have to admit it stresses me out just a bit! However, we had a great time and you can check out Instagram and Twitter to see some of our antics during the day.
Thanks to Gooseberry Patch we had a head start picking our recipes with their Freezer-Friendly Recipes cookbook. I chose the Sunrise Cinnamon Loaves as my recipe!
It's a really simple recipe and I decided to step up my game and mix up two batches at once since I had 12 batches to bake in about 5 hours (thankfully the kitchen had 2 ovens)!
As I said before, it was a bit stressful for me so I didn't get a lot of action shots as I was in the kitchen. Trust me, there are no difficult steps with this recipe so you'll be OK without step-by-step shots!
After it was all said and done, I had nine delicious smelling soups, side dishes and entrees in my car!
I have to admit I only kept one for myself. The rest are in my sister's freezer so she has meals ready to pop in the oven after her baby is born later this month.
Before I share the recipe, I do want to tell you that I did a couple of things that were not part of the recipe.
First, I added chocolate chips to some of the loaves. Chocolate makes almost everything better!
Second, instead of making all large loaves, I made some mini loaves and muffins. Just because I could.
Third, I added some big decorating sugar crystals to the tops of the loaves. I thought it made them look prettier. I also didn't quite use all of the cinnamon sugar mixture that it called for.
Sunrise Cinnamon Loaves
Yellow Cake Mix with Pudding* (the recipe calls from 18-1/2 oz. pkg. I used slightly smaller boxes)
3/4 c. oil
3/4 c. water
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep two 8x4 loaf pans (grease and flour).
Combine the first 5 ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes.
Pour a quarter of the batter into the bottom of each pan.
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pans. (Add nuts, chocolate chips or other goodies here, if you want to.)
Spread the remaining batter evenly into the loaf pans; sprinkle the top of the loaves with the remaining sugar mixture.
Use a knife to gently swirl sugar and cinnamon into batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (baking time varies if you do small loaf pans or muffins). Cool on wire racks.
Freeze and Serve Instructions: Place cooled loaves in freezer bags and place in freezer. To serve, thaw at room temperature or put a frozen slice into the toaster.
Rumor has it that many of the loaves I made didn't make it to the freezer...the one I took home may not have either!
*Look for cake mixes that say they have pudding added. Aldi's brand has pudding-in-the-mix, as does Betty Crocker and Pillsbury.
All opinions and photos in this post are mine for better or worse. There is an affiliate link and Gooseberry Patch provided me with the cookbook.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
On Monday, I shared about my favorite day of the year.
Here are some photos on what we did after we visited the butterflies!
"What if I put my fingers over his mouth, MeMe?"
He was making her wait until the train made a full lap
before letting her push the button. Gotta love big brothers.
She really, really wanted to put her hand in that water!
Yes, that's a Komodo Dragon on a leash!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I've been craving S'mores lately.
You may have realized that already as this is my second "s'mores" related post in a week! Remember the S'mores Popcorn?
So when I found this recipe on my "Recipes I Need to Try" board on Pinterest, I knew I had to test it out.
If you want a simple to make yet delicious to eat treat, you must try these.
Peanut Butter Crunch S'mores BarsGraham Crackers
2 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter baking chips (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
3 cups Rice Krispies cereal
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat 13x9x2-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cover bottom of pan with single-layer of graham crackers (you may need to break them to cover completely).
Spread marshmallows evenly on top of crackers. Roughly chop peanut butter chips and sprinkle them over the marshmallows. Bake for 8 minutes or until marshmallows are "puffy." Cool completely.
In microwave-safe bowl (or on the stove), mix chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter. Microwave on high for about a minute and a half or until chocolate is melted. Stir every 30 seconds.
Once chocolate is melted, stir in peanut butter until smooth. Add Rice Krispies and stir until coated. Spread over the marshmallows.
Cover and refrigerate for an hour or until firm. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
These are good.
So good that once they were set, I immediately cut them and divided the bars into 4 containers and delivered them to family so I wouldn't eat the entire batch!
Monday, July 15, 2013
Christmas. Your Birthday. Black Friday.
One of these may be your favorite day of the year.
My favorite day of the year is when I go see the butterflies at White River Gardens in downtown Indianapolis.
I adore butterflies.
This year my sister treated me to a day with the butterflies AND my precious niece and nephew.
She like butterflies too!
I think this is my favorite photo the day...
There's just something about these creatures that makes me smile.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
I love seeing the Throwback Thursday photos pop up on Facebook and Instagram so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite Throwback photos.
This is my grandpa and his niece. I have no idea what year this was taken but since I know his niece is now a great-grandma, it has to be at least 70 years old!
It's hard to imagine that my grandpa farmed with horses.
This photo was taken in 1957. As you can see, he moved to tractors by then.
I wish I had taken more photos of him on the farm in his later years. It would have been cool to see him in a big green tractor with a cab and a grandkid on his lap.
He drove a tractor until he was in his 80s. He was something else!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I'm so excited about a trip later this year to Vegas with a couple of girlfriends.
I got a great deal on my flight. However, I know we want to go see a show, visit Hoover Dam, eat at good restaurants and gamble just a little. This means I need to start saving my pennies.
What better way to save than by using this cute chalkboard bank I picked up during graduation season in May.
I also grabbed a box of chalk to try and get my "crafty" side to emerge.
I really should have picked up an eraser too but after a couple of attempts, I think it turned out OK.
Here's to hoping I come home with some pennies to put back into this bank after my trip to Vegas!
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
S'mores are probably one of my all-time favorite summer treats.
So when I was looking for some sweet snack ideas to take to my nephew's birthday party on the 4th of July, I couldn't resist trying to create my own version of S'mores popcorn.
If you search "s'mores popcorn" on Pinterest, you'll find quite a few versions of this sweet treat. I didn't have all of the ingredients some of them called for (or didn't want to do all the steps of others), so I made it up as I went.
Here's what I did:
- Popped a bag of plain microwave popcorn (the non-butter kind) and let it cool in a large bowl.
- Crushed 4-6 graham cracker squares into fine pieces (could have used more or crushed them less fine for "chunky pieces").
- Melted 4 squares of Almond Bark in the microwave until smooth.
- Poured the melted Almond Bark over the popcorn and mixed. I stirred it a couple of times and then dumped it into a 9x13 brownie pan so I could get it evenly coated.
- Added a cup and a half of mini marshmallows and a cup of chocolate chips to the popcorn.
- Stirred it together and spread it out on wax paper to cool.
This is what I got...
I actually made two bags of popcorn so once I tasted the first batch, I made another one!
I put it in these cute patriotic paper dishes and took it to my sister's.
It was a huge hit. I do suggest that you store leftovers in an air-tight container because I left the lid slightly ajar overnight and the popcorn got a bit stale. It was still good the second day!
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Indianapolis is a sports town.
It has to be as it's in the center of Indiana...a sports-crazy state.
One thing that makes Indianapolis a mecca for sports fans is that we have three great places to watch sporting events all within blocks of each other.
What other city has this? (Totally not sure if there are other cities like Indy...I just think Indy is the best!)
Lucas Oil Stadium - Home of the Colts
Banker's Life Fieldhouse (I still call it Conseco...sometimes Market Square!) - Home of the Pacers
And Victory Field - Home of the Indianapolis Indians
It was Victory Field where the family and I spent an awesome summer evening this week.
Now, I know what you are thinking..."I bet you had a great time watching the game."
Well...I wish I could say that was the case. I did catch the GRAND SLAM in the first inning that gave the Indians a 4-0 lead. Other than that, I have to admit that I was a casual observer of the game.
But that's OK. There's so much to do at Victory Field in addition to a great ball game.
We hung at with Porkchop, our buddy promoting pork and Indiana pork farmers! Thanks Indiana's Family of Farmers.
Why are boys obsessed with Bunny Ears???
Posed in front of the teepee...
Danced to the music...
At least one of them was FACING the field!
Mugged for the camera...
Doesn't he look like a bat? The animal, not the baseball equipment.
Played with their new squeezy turkeys (Did you know Indiana farmers raise turkeys? Indiana ranks 6th in turkey production!) ...
Wanna battle your turkeys against mine?
He wasn't making them kiss...pretty sure they were
talking smack to each other!
Looking for something to do this summer. Totally recommend taking in a game at Victory Field.
Don't have kids...splurge and get tickets in the Cove (21 and over, full bar, food/drink voucher with your ticket, great view of the game).
Have a bunch of kids...they have some great deals that make it really affordable. Check out their website or Facebook page.
Also, several Indy-area bloggers usually give away tickets (check out Indy with Kids - she's giving away some right now - ending June 15, I think).
Definitely planning to catch another game or two this summer. Hopefully, in the Cove with a cold beverage and maybe a hot dog (there's something about a hot dog at the ballpark)!