Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mommy's Stuffie Birthday!

A little belated, but Happy Birthday to my one and only girl! Amanda had her birthday last Saturday. I had the pleasure of babysitting the grandbaby while Amanda and her sweetheart went to dinner - 175 miles away. So we used this book of sewing ideas to come up with a home sewn gift for mom.

Miss H is just barely 3 and LOVES coloring...moreso drawing! A few fabric markers and taped down cloth were the perfect way to begin a project with this little artist!

She drew a picture if Dad, Mom and herself ( I love the giant head and simple limb stage of development when drawing people )Miss H was very aware that each person is different and different colors were a MUST! Trust me on that, really!

We "cured" the marker color in the dryer and then cut out, stitched and stuffed our very first "stuffie". We popped it into a beautiful pink gift box and presented it to mom! Good news...she loved it!

(Good thing...cuz Miss H couldn't stop at drawing just one and Mother's Day is right around the corner,shh ;D)
Happy Stuffing!

I have linked to some of the parties we have listed. Thanks ladies for hosting such fun parties.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tickled Tastebuds Tuesday

Hope your Easter was family filled and fabulous!
Around this time of year I find myself with a plethora of colored hard boiled eggs.
 Generally, they get turned into egg salad or the tradition deviled egg but, this year I am making this recipe:

Deviled Eggs with an Italian Twist

Ingredients :

12-hard-cooked eggs

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened

3 Tbsp. KRAFT Light Mayo Reduced Fat Mayonnaise

2 tsp. GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard

2 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. fresh basil; chopped well.

1 Tbsp. finely chopped sun dried tomatoes {packed in oil}

1 Tbsp. prosciutto; diced

1/8 tsp. paprika

Cut eggs lengthwise in half.
 Remove yolks; place in mixing bowl.
Add all remaining ingredients except paprika; mix well.
Spoon into resealable plastic bag. Cut small corner from bottom of bag; use to pipe filling into egg white halves. Sprinkle with paprika.

Easy as pie! Enjoy your twisted eggs!

Image borrowed from:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday


Linked at... and


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tickled Tastebuds Tuesday

Im going through some serious cravings right now. No, Im not pregnant, just cant get enough of Winger's Grill & Bar.

Their Original Amazing Sauce is my favorite. I could slather it on old sneakers, and eat it! {Although, I do suggest eating it slathered on chicken strips}

Since I have already eaten there this week...and still want more...I am making me some:

Copycat Wingers Sticky Fingers!

the recipe is as follows:

2 1/2 C.  brown sugar
3TBS. light corn syrup
1/2 C. hot water
1/3 C. Frank's Red Hot pepper sauce
1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
1 LB. bag of chicken strips {grilled chicken is my preference, the tempura strips are the hubbys}

Directions: In a heavy saucepan, mix brown sugar and corn syrup for 3 minutes; stir continually. Add the other ingredients and boil on low for 15 minutes. Continue stirring during this time, careful so it doesnt burn!
The sauce will thicken as it cools.
While cooling cook {or grill} chicken as directed on package. When finished, remove from oven and while still warm [use tongs] dip chicken strips into the sauce, generously.
Place onto cooking sheet or stone and broil for 5 minutes [just over 2 minutes on each side.]

Serve up with celery sticks and ranch/blue cheese dressing! YUM.

I also love to make a salad using romaine, the chicken pieces, jack cheese, craisins, and tomatoes.
I mix some of the amazing sauce with ranch to give it a lil kick and pour over the top. Mmm its my favorite!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Edible Easter Basket

My mom once told me how in her first year of marriage to my father she made him an edible easter basket out of Rice Krispies. My dad, having an insatiable sweet tooth was sure to love it. She then filled it with all the easter goodies giving him 3x the sweetness of the average easter tradition.

I decided to try it for myself....
so technically this isnt my idea but rather,borrowed from my mamacita but,
 Im sure she would love me sharing her genius:)

Instead of making a giant easter basket {using a large mixing bowl as the mold} I made a "my size" individual basket out of a large-ish cereal bowl.
(I say "my size" because my dad would disagree and say the mixing bowl is an individual size treat!)
Feel free to make a large basket, just double the recipe:)

I used the recipe for Rice Krispie treats off the box and added a little extra cereal so it wasn't too sticky to mold in the bowl. I also added some sprinkles for an extra burst of springtime color!

I then sprayed {rather generously} my cereal bowl with cooking well as my hands!

Taking a handful of the rice krispie mixture, I pressed it into the bowl until I achieved my desired thickness. Repeat this process until the entire bowl is lined.
When finished it looks something like this:

Making the handle was a little tricky. Had I planned on doing this earlier, I would have made sure I had a 'bendy' straw to mold the krispies around. But, I had nothing to use as support for the basket handle so I got inventive.

*side-note: This is where high school pottery class would have come in handy. Too bad I flirted my time away in there! Sorry Mr. Teacher {I cant remember your name.}
If your teen ever complains saying they will never use what they are learning as an adult, this is a prime example of how wrong they are. Haha!

Anywho, pretending your a child using play dough, 'roll' the krispies into a thick snake. If you get it too thin you will notice it starting to fall apart when bending. In that situation ADD MORE KRISPIE!!!
I used the side of that same cereal bowl to form a "C" shape with my rice krispie snake so it would look like a handle and then threw the "C" into the freezer to harden it up a bit.
After a few minutes take the treat out of the freezer and attach it to your basket, pressing the sides of the handle into the bowl.
I put a small childrens cup inside my basket for additional support. (Never having done this before, I was concerned the handle would cave in. It didn't. So this step is optional!)
This is what my "cup-tastrophe" looked like.

Ok, So it wasnt a catastrophe but, getting that cup out wasn't as easy as I thought it would be! That's why I am totally saying OPTIONAL!
After covering it with a dish towel {I didnt want to krispies to be too hard} and letting it sit over-night. I woke up, pulled out the cup and Wal-lah!!!

We have an edible easter basket baby!!!!
Fill her up with cotton candy as grass and some yummy easter candy.

For more edible easter ideas visit this link.
Hope you enjoy your easter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Banana Pancakes

I love pancakes! I make them just about every weekend. Last weekend I made them twice. Sunday I made huckleberry pecan pancakes, which were to die for. Saturday I made BANANA PANCAKES! I found a low-cal healthy recipe I really wanted to try and they were so good I decided to share them with you. I also loved the idea of these pancakes because my oldest son, who is serving an LDS mission, plays the guitar and THIS song by Jack Johnson was one of the first he learned to play.
Banana Pancakes

1/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c ripe banana, mashed
3 T Egg Beaters (I used 1 egg white instead)
1 T skim milk (or more if the batter is too thick)
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t vanilla
1 packet Equal or other artifical sweetener
dash salt
dash cinnamon
dash nutmeg

Combine all the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients. Mix together. This is a thickish batter; it won’t be as thin as regular pancake batter. Cook 5 pancakes on a hot griddle.
(I added 1Tbl. of finely chopped pecans for a crunchy kick!)

This recipe came from 400 Calories or Less Everyday Meals for Everyday Living 1 serving = 185 calories per serving
Aileen has several recipes on her website I can't wait to try. Give her a look-see. Enjoy! ~jan

I love participating in THESE linky parties! AND
Thanks Ladies!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Gluten Free Happy Meal

Recently, It was brought to my attention that I have been poisoning my beautiful 3 year old with the very same ingredient that altered my digestion for 23 years...gluten.

I was immediately struck with panic & fear that no one seemed to understand. The general response was "at least you know what your doing" or "so lucky your already gluten free!"
I do not in any way feel lucky! I have been gluten free for 2 years and have learned to cook for myself, an adult.

But, a gluten free child is a WHOLE new ball park. Birthday parties, school treats/lunch, Halloween and the beloved Happy Meal have been snatched from my toddler and it overwhelms me with how to compensate for her genetics.

So I did some searching...and decided I should move to Sweden, or rather move back, since it is where my family is originally from. Yes, it is can walk into any McDonald's {or Burger King} and order your burger on a GLUTEN FREE BUN!!!


But, since moving isn't really an option, I found a bloggin' mama who has been there, done that and I HAD to share what I WILL be doing for my daughter!

Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom loves to confuse the McD's staff by buying all the fixin's for a happy meal...minus all the food. {luckily, I have siblings that work there!} and fills them with her own GF chicken nuggets and french fries.

 Did you know you could go to McDonald's and just buy the toy? People do it all. the. time.

My totally cool Mother posted awhile back a YUMMY chicken nugget recipe that is a MUST inside the chicken nuggets box!

My husband works for the plant that actually makes the french fries that McDonald's serves and can buy them in bulk from his work for a fraction of the price. {Perks of being an employee!} So Miss H gets the real deal at home minus the cross contamination! {although I will say, the french fries at the restaurant have never made me ill, that I'm aware of.}

Throw in a toy and juice box and you have yourself a homemade gluten free happy meal.

It may seem like a bit more work than visiting the drive-through but, its totally worth the smile from your GF child!

We link to these parties.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Big Boy Post

My big boy, who is turning 5 next month recently moved out of his toddler bed into a Big Boy Bed!

Of course this occasion calls for a quilt!

I really liked Amanda Jean's Round and Round Quilt

but I admit I hate cutting tiny things, so I modified it and made my squares 3" instead of 2".

I also used really {manly} colors. (Cause it's for a big boy!)

My favorite bit, by {far} is the pieced binding. It makes me happy to look at it.

Mr. E and I are both super happy with how it turned out.

<3 AmberLou

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh Cr@p! Now what?

My Sweet Baboo and I came home a little later than usual a few days ago and found that the freezer compartment of our refrigerator had been ajar all day. Unfortunately, we had purchased a fair amount of meat not long before that, so I had got to spend the better part of my next day off dealing with a bunch of prematurely thawed chicken, pork and beef (the ice cream and frozen produce went directly into the trash {pout}).

Fortunately, I own three crock pots, so I was able to deal with them all at once. I cooked 7 chicken breasts,

two round steaks,
and eight thick cut pork chops.

I slow cooked them all separately, then chopped/shredded them and portioned them for meals and refroze.
I did the best I could and saved the $40-50 it would have cost to replace all that meat. But now I'm finding I like having the precooked/preportioned meat for quick meals.

Here are some tips (from a legitimate food safety expert. No really. That's what I do!) for what you can do if you have an extended power outage, or are just careless and leave your freezer open all day when it's 85°F  outside. For simplicity's sake, I'll just address the problem of an extended power outage (which we had here recently too).

  • Keep the refrigerator CLOSED. If the power is out for 4-6 hours or so, your foods will remain at proper temperatures for at least that long if the door stays shut. A fully stocked freezer will stay frozen even longer, but only if the door is shut. Once you open the door, even for a second, the cold air dissipates much quicker than you might expect.
  • When the power comes back on, evaluate your potentially hazardous foods (PHF). Be particularly careful about packaged meat products (cold cuts etc), dairy products, raw meats and leftovers. The food code allows these foods to remain in the "danger zone" (41°F to 140°F) for no more than 4 hours. If you have a food thermometer (and I recommend that you do, for cooking temperatures as well), use it. If your PHF are < 41°F (I would feel comfortable with 45°F or below, but no higher!), they are safe to be used and can be rechilled with no ill effects. 
  • Hard cheeses, raw produce, commercially prepared dressings and condiments (such as mayonnaise) and eggs in intact shells are usually safe to eat, even after many hours of temperature abuse.
  • If the PHF is warmer than 45°F or so, you'll have to make a judgement call. If the power was out for an extended period (longer than 8 hours or so) chances are the foods have been in the danger zone for at least half of that (> 4 hours) and should be discarded. If the power was out for a shorter time, the food might still be safe, but it's a risk. The rule is, when in doubt, throw it out.
  • If the products in your freezer have completely thawed (no ice crystals remaining), you'll need to use them right away or cook them before you refreeze. If there are ice crystals remaining, you should be able to refreeze safely, though there may be a decrease in the taste and quality of the food.
  • When cooking meats that have been thawed unexpectedly, be extra sure to cook to the recommended temperatures to destroy all pathogenic organisms. Chicken and other poultry must cook to 165°F or above, pork and ground beef to at least 155°F. Use a metal stem thermometer to be sure of your cooking temperatures.
  • When cooling down large quantities of foods, be certain to cool quickly. Put the hot foods in shallow pans or small portions, and allow plenty of room in the freezer around the product to ensure that they cool completely.
  • Once the product is frozen, it is safe to stack them to save space.
I know that times are tough and food prices just keep going up, so it's painful to waste food, but the danger is real. Your family's health is not worth the risk of eating tainted foods. When in doubt, be safe and throw it out. Lorie