Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strawberry Cookie Tarts

I made these for homegroup last week. I have been loving and craving all things strawberry, since it's almost strawberry season here in Ohio. These were lovely...so good..and very simple. Thanks to Me and My Pink Mixer for sharing the recipe.

2 packages of Pillsbury Refrigerated Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies
1 tub (8 oz) Philadelpia Whipped Cream Cheese
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip
1/4 cup sugar
Fresh Strawberries

Spray mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Place one Ready to Bake Sugar Cookie in each tin.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and use a Pampered Chef Mini Tart Shaper to press them into tart shapes(or press them in gently with a spoon OR they will fall if you bake them long enough) while they are cool. Let them cool a few minutes before you remove them from the pan to a wire rack. I run a plastic knife gently around the tarts to help remove them from the pan. While the cookie tarts are cooling make the filling.
Combine whipped cream cheese, cool whip and sugar. Mix with electric mixer until fluffy.
Put filling in a pastry bag with tip and pipe into each cookie tart. Top with a strawberry or other fresh fruit.
Makes 48 cookie tarts.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Baby Jack

I was waiting to make sure my sister made the official announcement, but I could hardly wait! For those of you who don't already know from facebook, my sister Jona and her husband Eric had their second child, Jack Steven. He came a little early, was perfect and the first male child on my side of the family. She went into labor early Sunday morning, so the girls and I jumped in the car and drove all the way to the hospital in thier town in time to see Baby Jack! He is perfect! Congrats, Jona, Eric, and Abby!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bento Thursday

A week (or two) in bentos!

In the top bento you have a homeade Ginger Snap and a Apple Strawberry crusher. In the bottom box is a turkey and cheese sandwich with a cheese cut out and some rice cakes.
In the top bento you have (leftovers!) Mac and Cheese and Panko Chicken nugges. In the bottom box you have watermelon, blackberries, a little tub of ketchup and half of a cheesestick and a little leftover Easter chocolate.
Leftovers strike again with Lamb Keema in the top bento, in the bottom box, you have half of a paratha, berries, and homemade "Knock you Naked Brownies"(recipe compliments of the pioneer woman)
In the top box are baby carrots with some ranch dip in the monkey box, along with fruit skewers, and some leftover Easter Candy. In the bottom box are pita pizzas with turkey pepperroni and heart confetti in the middle!
In the top box are carrots with dip. Strawberries and raspberries. In the bottom box are little (nitrate free organic) hot dog octopus and crab people with cheese eyes. Ketchup n the container, leftover Easter Candy and a Baby bell Cheese Lady bug with candy eyes! yummy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Growing Things

We convinced my dad to come down and help us plant a box garden. I was pretty proud of myself that I went to lowes all by myself and purchased everything neccessary to actually build the box and built it myself. I know it's four pieces of lumber..but you just don't understand how "home improvement challenged" I am.

Needless to say, Conrad and I put it up and I asked my dad, "How much soil do I need to get for this thing?" He said, "Ummm for that size, probably seven or eight 40 pound bags"...so ya, no. SEVERAL trips to the store and over 40 bags of organic soil, peat, and manure later and we filled the eight by eight box! Who knew forty bags fill so little??!

My Papaw Laymon was the family gardener and he passed it down to my dad, who was excited to pass it down to me...er uhhh the kids! They love love love to go out everyday and watch our garden grow and WOW is it growing! Everyday brings a new discovery and a new sprout or two.

We planted tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, onions, pumpkins, cilantro, mint, basil, asparagus, spinach, and lettuce. Oh is it all beautiful with all of this rain! So far, we are big fans of growing things, and Conrad wants to make sure I give him proper acknowledgement for all of the grunt work he put into this little plot of land..it was mostly he who lugged those 40 bags of soil to our box! Thanks Babe! And thanks Dad for making the trip down to do some dirty work!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Summer To Do List

I am trying to be a little pro active in the fun department with my kids. Especially because Isabelle will be starting school in the fall and this may be our last official un-school-able time! Wow!

I have a list started with fun and exciting activities. I'm not really all that fun and exciting. Most of time I'm tired and cranky (ask my husband...er...on second thought DON'T ask him!). I hate to make excuses, but after Grace was born, I seemed to develop some signficant thyroid issues that seriously affected my energy level. And they've never been able to regulate this. Besides trying to get some medical help, I am also really praying for a solution. Mommy being tired and irritated all of the time takes a serious toll on the family!

So without further whining, here is our list:

go to the pool
do a sprinkler drive thru bike wash
camp out
go to lake erie beach
go fishing
go to outdoor movie
watch fireworks
go to safari in fremont
make sandcastle
go to grove city waterpark
go to farmers market
sprinklers at easton mall
go to a parade
start dance classes
make ice cream
pick strawberries
go to a drive in movie
go on a nature walk/park activity
go to a hilliard park activity
paint with pudding
have a marshmellow roast outside
do library reading club
Go on a family picnic
Go to Cosi
Go to Zoo
Catch fireflies to use as nightlights
go to Asian Fest
Go to Latin Fest
Go to Arts in the Alley
Star gazing
Go on vacation with all our family and new baby boy cousin to Tennessee

Feel free to make more suggestions to add to our list!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Panko Mozerella Cheese Sticks

Do you like Mozerella Cheese sticks? If you do, boy, do I have a recipe for you! I have to be honest, I got this one from the one and only Pioneer Woman. That woman can cook and there are very few recipes of hers that I have tried and have been disappointed. I have made these twice for homegroup. The last time I made 48 cheese sticks and there are NEVER leftovers! So easy and REALLY...the best!
You'll Need:
16 pieces String Cheese, Removed From Wrappers
½ cups All-purpose Flour
2 whole Eggs
3 Tablespoons Milk
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley Flakes
Canola Oil, For Frying
Marinara Sauce, For Dipping
2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs

Preparation Instructions
Slice string cheese pieces in half, for a total of 32 pieces. Place flour in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk. In another separate bowl, combine panko bread crumbs with parsley flakes. TO ASSEMBLE: One by one, roll mozzarella sticks in flour, then dunk in egg/milk mixture, then place in panko crumbs. Use your hand to sweep crumbs all over the mozzarella stick. Gently remove and place on a tray or cookie sheet. Repeat until all mozzarella sticks are coated.
***Place tray in freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to flash freeze.***

TO COOK: Heat 1 1/2 inches canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add mozzarella sticks 8 at a time. Watch closely and turn over to evenly brown, cooking less than 2 minutes. Do not allow cheese to bubble and leak. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Serve immediately with warm marinara sauce.

Rainbow Cupcakes

For Easter, we brought treats to school for Isabelle and Grace. The girls and I decided to make Rainbow cupcakes for the occasion. The thing is kids don't really seem to appreciate really good food, so I decided not to waste my time on a homeade cake, so I went ahead and bought a plain white cake mix. We then divided the batter up in several bowls and added food coloring. We layered up the different colors in the muffin tins to achieve the rainbow look. It was a big hit!

Now, for the frosting, I just couldn't skimp. Martha Stewart has a Swiss Buttercream Frosting recipe that is THE BEST THING EVER! Although, I have to say, everytime I make it I end up beating the eggwhites in my mixer for about 30 minutes and fearful the whole time that I am going to have to make a last minute trip to the store because my frosting won't turn out! It's A.MAZING. It's not sweet, but very rich. We colored it blue and covered it with rainbow sprinkles...big hit!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Grace has, what I think can be easily defined as, a shoe fettish. She LOVES her some shoes. For Easter she got a new pair of sort of high heels. She has been known to wear these shoes (mostly on the wrong feet) and not much else. She runs back and forth on the front porch in her shoes and pull up singing, "A Whole New World" and spinning around.

Lately, she does a shoe change, comes up to me or her Dad, sticks her foot out and says, "Check these babies out." I have no idea where she got this.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hidden Veggie Pops

Apparently, there is much controversy around the idea of hiding vegetables in your kids food. I, personally, don't have a problem with it and have read (although just now ordered) Jessica Seinfelds book, Deceptively Delicious. As it turns out, my kids loved veggies until they turned about two, then they systematically rejected all things green. They will eat veggies well hidden in dishes I cook, tho. Isabelle is starting to pick up some positive things from school. Occasionally she'll look at the vegetable on her plate and say, "Well, it's good to try new things, right Mom?" Or she'll tell Grace, "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

My kids love popsicles, like most children. So I decided to make some nutritious frozen goodness. They LOVE them and eat them for breakfast. I basically make a smoothie, but I always use blueberries because it covers the green color (which could tip them off as to the veggie content!)

Frozen blueberries
Frozen peaches
Frozen bananas
Greek Yogurt (high in protein)
Bunch of raw spinach
Splash of juice or milk

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Then pour into a popsicle mold and freeze. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Bento Thursday

orgive me for skipping a few weeks, but without further ado, here are some bento lunch highlights:

In the top box you have berry skewers, half a cheese stick, and some leftover Easter jelly beans. In the bottom bento is Andra Style Chicken Palau(a family favorite Indian dish) mixed with yogurt and shaped into rice balls.

In the verticle box's are an Easter Egg turkey and cheese sandwich and a piece of homeade banana chocolate chip bread. In the vertical box's are fruit skewers, a piece of Easter Candy, and a baby bell cheese, cut into the face of a little girl, with a nori paper face.
In the top box is good ole' faithful Chicken Biriyani (a popular Hyderabadi Indian dish), which my kids LOVE. In the bottom box is the same Banana Chocolate Chip bread, and a Carrot Apple Crusher, with some blackberries thrown in.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Rewind: Palm Sunday & Easter

Life has been busy lately. There hasn't been much time for blogging. But I have some great pictures to share! So I thought I'd jump back a few weeks and share about Palm Sunday and Easter. Palm Sunday at church we had an Easter Egg Hunt with 50,000 Easter Eggs. They open the football field for it. It was massive!!

On Easter, we had my whole family here for Easter. It was nice to see everyone and to host lunch at our house! Even though we live about two hours from most of my familly, they were nice enough to make the trip after church to visit us! The girls had a blast and we celebrated my mom's birthday a bit late with some of her favorite Key Lime Coconut Cupcakes with White Chocolate Key Lime frosting. Yum.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


I'll admit, I have a little bit of a thing about cartoon characters...especially on textiles...shirts, shoes, bedding, etc. I think it's tacky. At this point, the idea that you could have a disney princess bedspread hasn't entered Isabelle's world, and I'm trying my hardest to keep it that way.

Also, I have to say that I am trying to instill a little bit of good taste into my girls. I don't think it's all that important in the big picture, outside of general cleanliness and modesty, but never-the-less, not a bad skill to possess for an American woman. So, you can imagine the kunundrum we have run into recently.

We were at a Wal-Mart last night getting a few last minute items. Isabelle was irrepressibly drawn to the TACKIEST item of clothing God ever allowed to be created. It was a pink, taffity, ruffly dress with Rupunzel on the front of it. Yuck. She was all like, "Ohh and ahhhh" Like I have been trying to do with McDonalds, I decided to take the brainwashing approach.

Just a bunny trail, the following conversation happened on Friday between me and Grace:

Grace: I want some chicken nuggets (as we passed a mcdonalds)
Mommy: No you don't Grace. They hide chicken feet and animal bones in those chicken nuggets. They are so bad for you! They might even make you sick!
Grace: No! No!
Mommy: Yes, it's true. It's very disguisting.
Grace: Okay, I'll just take some french fries, then.
So, I tried the same thing with the tacky clothes.

Mommy: Oh Isabelle, that is just the ugliest thing I have ever seen. It is so tacky.
Isabelle: (Offended that I could call something so pink and lovely tacky) Stop saying things are tacky mom! Everything is not tacky!
Grace: (feeling left out and apparently taking the conversation very personally) Ya, I'm not tacky, I'm bea-ful!

We can't say our children lack in self esteem!