Friday, March 29, 2013

Cake Batter Fudge!

If you like to lick the bowl when you bake a cake, this recipe is for you!  It's cake batter without the eggs so feel free to lick away!  I did, so thank goodness I did my 10 minutes of cardio yesterday before I made this scrumptious dessert. (I'm not a cardio fan)

You will need

1 Box Betty Crocker White Supermoist Cake Mix
2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Stick of Butter
1/4 c. milk
1 Cup of Toll House White Chocolate Chips
3/4 c. of Sprinkles

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix and powdered sugar.  Stir it up good.  Slice your stick of butter into about 6 sections and place it on top of the mixture  (DO NOT MIX IT IN).  Pour 1/4 c. of milk on top!  (DON'T MIX) Microwave for about 2 minutes.  Remove from microwave and stir all of this together, batter will be somewhat thick.  Microwave toll house chips for about 1 Minute, stirring every 30 seconds.  Once melted, pour into mixture and continue to mix well.  Add the sprinkles in last and GENTLY stir so the color of the sprinkles doesn't leak into your pretty white fudge! (Reserve some sprinkles to top it with, so it will be extra pretty.)  Grease an 8x8 for thicker fudge or 9x13 for thin fudge!  Pour mixture into dish and add the sprinkles you saved to the top!  Refrigerate for 2 or more hours and cut into squares!

This is SO rich.  Which is a good thing because you only need a tiny little square to satisfy your sweet tooth! :)


Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's For Supper? Parmesan Pesto Baked Ziti

I love love love pasta.  I mean LOVE it.  I really enjoy experimenting with it and switching up the different types of noodles, and throwing different meats and veggies into the mix.  On top of that, Kollyns is super duper picky, but I can hide just about anything in a pasta dish and she will eat it right up! (Mommy wins!)  I stopped by the store yesterday on the way home to pick up a few things and spotted a jar of pesto and ding ding ding, that's what's for supper.  I grabbed the small jar and started grabbing stuff to throw in my dish.  Yes, I grab & dash in the grocery store!  Kollyns will only stay in the cart for about 3.5 seconds so I have to go into Supermarket Sweep mode when I grocery shop.  Does anyone else miss that show?  Nevermind. 

You will need

1 Box of Whole Grain Penne Pasta
1 Container of Baby Bella Mushrooms
1 Can of Pitted Sliced Black Olives
1 lb of Boneless Skinless Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast (Cut into small strips)
1/2 small onion (Chopped)
1 Small Container of Cherry Tomatoes
1 Bag of Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place cherry tomatoes on the foil in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil & roast them in the oven while you cut up your chicken and get everything else cooking. I let mine roast for about 20 minutes and they were PERFECT!  Heat your skillet up (medium heat) and drizzle with olive oil.  Also, start bringing water to a boil for your penne pasta.   Throw the strips of thin chicken into the skillet and let them get pretty well cooked before you add in the onions and mushrooms.  Add the onions & mushrooms and allow these to brown a bit.  Toss in the black olives and about 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto.  Add in your roasted tomatoes along with the olive oil/tomato drippings from the foil, give it a good stir and turn the skillet down to low and allow the veggies and chicken to simmer in the pesto.  Once your whole grain penne pasta is cooked to al dente perfection, drain it and drizzle it with olive oil.  Mix the penne with the chicken and veggies in the skillet and stir in the rest of the jar of pesto.  Add desired amount of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Next, sprinkle a layer of parmesan cheese over everything in your skillet and mix it in well.  Pour mixture into a glass baking dish and finish off the bag of parmesan cheese on top.  Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes and you're good to go! 

Easy, yummy and healthy!  My kind of supper!

Cadbury Creme Egg Chocolate Bundt Cake

It's the week of Easter, and what says Easter like a Cadbury Creme Egg?  Oh my yum. I have never ever ever tried to bake a bundt cake before.  I've always thought they were out of my league and were only for experienced bakers.  That is until I stumbled upon an amazing blog called Mix & Match Mama.  She uses a basic bundt cake recipe that includes a store bought cake mix and jello instant pudding and a few other ingredients that can be switched up a gazillion different ways to make this cake taste however you want.   I've really been missing out! They are a piece of cake to make! Ha! I crack myself up sometimes.  No but really, I can't get over how heavenly this cake tasted.  And it wasn't even a challenge.  As always Kollyns enjoyed measuring & pouring in the ingredients, and she definitely enjoyed tasting the finished product.  I'm telling you, this cake was so husband woke up in the middle of the night sleep talking, begging me not to take it to work.  Here's a recipe for the most delicious bundt cake you've ever tasted...the CADBURY CREME EGG CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE! Don't you just feel like you need to hit the gym from saying the name of it?  Wait until you taste it.

You Will Need
For the Cake
1 Box Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Cake Mix
4 Eggs
2 Small Boxes of Jello Instant Chocolate Pudding
1/2 Cup of Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 Cup of Water
8 Cadbury Cream Eggs (Chopped)
For the Icing
3 1/2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Stick of Butter (Softened)
1/2 Cup of Milk (add or subtract a few splashes to achieve desired consistancy)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees
In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding, oil, water & eggs with electric mixer.  Once blended, fold in 4 chopped cadbury eggs.  Grease bundt pan (I use Pam), pour mixture in and bake for 40 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan for several minutes, then flip it onto a platter and allow it to cool for another 30 minutes.  While cake cools, combine powdered sugar, softened butter and milk until it becomes creamy.  Add in vanilla extract and spread icing on cooled cake.  Top with remaining Cadbury Eggs.  Prepare to swoon.  I put it in the refrigerator because I like cold desserts.

I ate this warm with a big glass of milk at first.  But I tasted a bite for breakfast (yes, only a bite) and it was EVEN BETTER cold. 

Make this, and everyone will love you forever.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Neon Easter Pancakes!

Potty training is in full swing in the Almond house.  We have good days and bad, but Tuesday was a super good day.  We celebrated no accidents!!! After we cranked the radio and did a happy dance, I decided Kollyns deserved a little reward.  Pancakes are her favorite food, so I whipped up a batch and put in a drop of food coloring with each separate pancake so she had a beautiful little pancake platter.  She LOVED them.  I will have you know that she only ate the lime green one (of all the pretty colors) and she wouldn't have any part of the whipped cream except for making a mess with it.  It was fun, and they turned out pretty...but I still have food coloring on my hands from 2 days ago.  :)

Resurrection Eggs

I was on the hunt for a great Easter Sunday School lesson when i came across this fab idea.  I was worried that it would be too lengthy of a lesson for my toddler class, but it was so great!  I usually have 10-12 kids in the class, so it worked out perfectly and each one got to open up a surprise egg!  Oh the wonder and excitement that filled those little eyes.  They were all being so good because they wanted a chance to open an egg and they listened to every word of the story! I KNOW!  It's amazing.  Fill each egg with the following little items for the lesson:
1. Donkey
2.  Coins
3.  Bread
4. Praying Hands
5.  Sword
6.  Crown of Thorns
7. Cross
8.  Nails
9.  Sponge
10.  Linen
11.  Stone
12.  Empty

To get the full story for each egg and patterns for the items that are a little too difficult to make or find, head over to Cullen's ABC's!

Happy Spring!

Happy 2nd day of Spring y'all...even though it's a cold as all get out & I was greeted this morning as I stepped outside with a nice, steady snowfall.  I'm not gonna let that get me out of the Spring spirit though! It'll be warming up very soon hopefully fingers crossed, and these are some of my must haves!

I love bright shoes for spring!  Especially flat ones because I can wear them with shorts without the risk of looking like a skyscraper!  Plus I stay on the run chasing little Miss Energetic, so comfort is a must!
When it comes time to wear those cute tank tops, you don't want a fuddy duddy ugly bra underneath! 
Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars
I love these!  Anytime I'm craving ice cream I grab one of these little babies, and I'm good to go. 
Jergens Natural Glow
I swore off tanning a long time ago.  I used to tan with the best of them before I became a mom and started realizing how 'not smart' it was to bake my skin.  Number 1: I don't have time.  Number 2: I would lay in the tanning bed thinking about the million other things I should be getting done during those minutes.  Number 3: I don't want to look old when I'm old.  Number 4: I want healthy skin.  Jergen's natural glow actually works.  It gives me a subtle healthy glow without looking orange, and it moisturizes!
Garnier BB Cream
I instantly became hooked on BB Cream the first time I tried it!  It evens skin tone and smooths out blemishes, as well as protects my face because of the SPF in it.  This summer when it's time to hit the pool, I'll just put some of this on for a natural, effortless look.  But on normal days, I put it on under my foundation.
Neon nails are hot right now.  And I'm obsessed.
So comfy and cute.  Nothing wrong with a little sass at bedtime.
Bright Wedges from Victoria's Secret
I love these for church, so springy and bright.  But at about $80 a pair, choose the color wisely.
Everyone loves bright flops, but these are classy looking.  They come in lots of other neon colors too, and they are pretty cheap.
I don't care what anyone says, SmartWater does taste better than regular water.
I can't even take how cute these are. 
Crayola Fun Effects Twistables
We love to color and I was tired of picking up crayon paper and broken crayons.  These are perfection.
What can I say?  We're shoe girls.
Kollyns prefers Toms over any of her shoes, she even requests them when getting dressed.  She picked these out online.  She has great taste to be only 2! ;)
Colorful Bouncy Ball
You know the colorful balls that you can find just about anywhere like WalMart or Target?  Well Kollyns insists that we buy one everytime we go to the store.  Sometimes I can distract her and throw them back into the bin...but other times I'm very thankful these are only about $2.
Kollyns is right in the middle of potty training.  I can't wait til it warms up and she can wear dresses!  It's kind of a pain to change a pull up when she's wearing pants because the pants have to come completely off to get a new one on.  Not to mention this dress is neon, and adorable!
Kollyns loves water and she loves CamelBak bottles.  This one just so happens to have puppies on it, and puppies are her fave!
Crayola Outdoor Play Pack with Sidewalk Chalk and Colorful Bubbles
Do I really even need to explain myself for this one.  We are gonna have so much fun when it FINALLY warms up for good!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Little Dose of Honesty...

This is a very honest post.  It makes me nervous being this honest because alot of times words can get twisted and can sound alot different than what I'm meaning to say.  I don't want anyone to think that I spend alot of my time picking apart people because honestly, I don't.   But life is so short, and our words are very valuable.  And even if a small amount of our time is spent speaking of petty things,  it's too much time wasted.

I was getting ready for work this morning & a very good friend of mine shot me a text with the following verse: "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned," (Matt. 12:36). "OUCH!" was the first word that popped into my head.  I mean literally this made my heart hurt.  I'm very familiar with this Bible verse, so it's nothing new to me...but it stirred the depths of my soul.  How much time do we waste talking about petty, meaningless things?  At times I have been SO guilty of saying something and then wanting to put duct tape over my mouth because I was completely out of line with my comment. How many times do we say things just off the cuff that would seriously HURT someone if they heard us say it?  Even if we don't mean to be hurtful.  But I have been so convicted about this for a very long time now.  And with my conviction came lots of prayer.  My prayer changed from "I want to be better" to "MAKE ME BETTER, change my heart!" I'm supposed to be using Jesus as my example, not conforming to worldly standards and allowing myself to get caught up in trivial conversations.  Isn't it funny that when we pray for things, God certainly answers us in His own great way.  I was tested over and over and over again but slowly started noticing I was responding to the tests much more gracefully than I had in the past.  The first prayer I prayed was for God to just change the way I think.  I prayed for pure thoughts and for a genuine, honest, and good heart.  My thoughts will eventually come out of my mouth and reflect my heart, and holding my tongue doesn't mean anything if my thoughts are still ugly.  Having my little girl really opened my eyes to alot of things.  I want my daughter to be who God wants her to be, and if I am not constantly working on myself and letting God work in me and being the best person I can be...I could be a hindrance to her relationship with Him.  Sometimes it's a tough job being a mom and knowing that my kid is watching every move I make...but it's an AMAZING source of accountability.  Think about it, we are the only 'normal' that our kids know.  I don't want my kid to think it's normal to say anything negative about anyone.  So everytime I catch myself going 'there' I stop myself and turn my thoughts to how I can improve myself.  How can I be better? What can I do differently in my own life?   God has really been working on me.  I've noticed I say less, and I feel compassion towards people I don't agree with rather than irritation, my heart genuinely feels clean (not squeaky clean because I'm still a sinner saved by grace) but just cleansed because I've made an effort and was honest with myself about who I was and who I needed to be.  I have miles to go... but I can honestly say that I am much better than I once was, because of God's grace & love for me.

Easter Krispies!

I love every holiday, but Easter is by far one of my favorites.  So I skipped right over St. Patricks Day...mostly because I wasn't feeling "Green Krispies" and thought pink would be much more appealing.  Kollyns loves helping in the kitchen and this was kind of a messy mission if you throw a 2 year old into the mix.  But in my opinion, the bigger the mess...the better the memory.  Here's the recipe I used & some pictures of the not so beautiful, but very delicious finished product!

Grocery List
4 Tablespoons Butter
6 Cups Marshmallows
Pink Food Coloring (or purple or blue or whatever you're in the mood for!)
6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
1 1/2 Cups Easter M&Ms

Melt butter in the microwave for about 45 seconds in a big bowl!  Once melted, add in your marshmallows and coat them with the butter.  Microwave another minute & a half and immediately add your food coloring.  I added about 4 drops but they turned out kind of reddish pink so I'd add less next time!  Stir until the marshmallow mixture is nice & pink!  Pour in cereal and mix!  Add in M&Ms!  Mix well and spread in a greased 8x8 baking dish.  Press down with a spatula that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray so the cereal won't stick to it! 

Let the bars cool a bit before cutiing or shaping them!  You can make them into egg shapes or crosses & decorate with icing if desired...but we just wanted to eat them so we didn't jazz this batch up!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Skinny Shake: Protein Mocha Frappucino

I have been on a vanilla protein kick for a LONG time now.  But a berry shake every single morning gets really old. I absolutely have to have coffee every morning too, so why not have my protein & coffee together? I started thinking & experimenting & and I invented my own mostly healthy version of a mocha frappucino. Here it is...
1 packet Starbucks via instant coffee
1/2 cup dark chocolate silk almond milk
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup cottage cheese(i know it sounds gross but I promise it isn't)
1/2 cup water
8 ice cubes
(You can add Stevia & a couple drops of vanilla extract to taste if desired...but I like it just fine without it
I haven't added up the calories, but it is protein packed...and it has about a gazillion less calories than a Starbucks frappucino. ;)

Happy 2nd Birthday, Beautiful!

Oh, what a day it was.  It was alot of work, but my little girl is SO worth it.  And Kollyns loved her party so much that I caught her bursting into spontaneous solo dance parties every now and then.  Seriously.  She was so happy, and that made me so happy!  I kind of went all out for this party...and I had to keep reminding myself that she is just 2, NOT 16.  Lord help me when the 16th birthday party rolls around.  Here are some of my favorite pictures from the party! Enjoy! :)

Sprinkle Rimmed Mason Jars with Stripey Straws (Straws from Shop Sweet Lulu)

 Oversized Balloons from Shop Sweet Lulu & White Sparkle Hanging Decor
I made the labels myself out of $.50 wooden rectangles, chalkboard paint, & glitter paper!

Candy Bar. Yummy!

Veggie Cups.  Striped cups from Shop Sweet Lulu!

I cut the 2 out of cardboard, painted it, glued on sprinkles & bordered it with sequins!

DumDum arrangement.  Styrofoam ball + old vase + 300 dum dum suckers.
We are still trying to put a dent in our dum dum stash.

Shimmer gumballs!


Banner made by me out of Glitter Paper!

White chocolate dipped Rice Krispy Treats with sprinkles on stripey straws!

My FAVORITE part of the party!  Chevron decorated cake from Magnolia Foods in Lynchburg!

They really did a beautiful job and their cakes are TO DIE FOR.  I'm not even kidding.
I added the flowers.

My Strawberry Slush Punch Recipe
For the Punch Rings
2 Cups of White Sugar
6 Cups of Water
1 6 oz box of Strawberry Flavored Jell-O
1 Can of Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup of Lemon Juice
1 Quart of Orange Juice
For When You Serve It Up
2 -2 Liter Bottles of Sprite
1 Quart of Orange Juice
1 Can of Pineapple Juice
In a large saucepan combine sugar, water and jello.  Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for about 3-5 minutes.  Stir in 1 can of pineapple juice, 1 quart of orange juice, and 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  Pour into GladWare/ZipLoc containers of your choice, and freeze for at least 1 day.
I ended up with 3 punch rings and only used 2.
Take out 2 punch rings 2 hours before party and put in punch bowl or serving dish of your choice.
2 gallons of Sprite, 1 Quart of Orange Juice & 1/2 Can of Pineapple Juice
It came out to be the perfect peachy color to match the party, and it tasted great!

Kollyns had just had a nap and was slowly warming up to her party!  Haha!

Family Pic!

Mini Berry Cups with Whipped Cream!  I thought they were cute!

 Individual Homemade Mac & Cheese Cups. 
 These were a fail because I lost my mind for a sec and I didn't add enough salt before I cooked them!  Wahhh.  But a salt shaker beside the Mac & Cheese tower fixed the problem!
Striped Cups from Shop Sweet Lulu

She almost took a dive into the cake!

Guests took home candy in Chevron Paper Bags with Matching Washi Tape from Shop Sweet Lulu!