Category: Mom Stuff

Game Day Noshing: Easy Snacks for the Big Game

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Big football games aren’t usually a huge deal in our house, and the Super Bowl is no exception, but we do enjoy watching games, especially when one of our favorite teams is playing. Around here, we watch the Atlanta Falcons, of course, being the local team, but we’re also interested in the Philadelphia Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks. My mom loves the Eagles, and growing up in Pennsylvania, that was the team we always watched. Then, when my family moved to Washington State, we instantly became Seahawks fans. So, having a ‘mixed football’ upbringing, I’m relatively impartial. That doesn’t stop my own family from enjoying great food with everyone else on Super Bowl Sunday!

Even if you’re not hosting a party on game day, it’s still fun to whip up tasty snacks to enjoy in front of the TV. My kids think it’s a picnic to eat in the living room while watching TV, and I think I could sneak in a few things they don’t really like because they’re not even paying attention.

Here are a few ideas for your game day snacks.

Bacon Cheeseburger Puffs

(from Plain Chicken)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups baking mix (like Bisquick)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces bacon pieces
  • 6-7 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown ground beef, and drain. In a bowl, combine baking mix, bacon pieces, and cheese. Stir in cooked ground beef . Add buttermilk, and toss with a fork just until moistened. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls, and drop on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

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Spicy Cheeseburger Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) Velveeta, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 can (10 ounces) Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chilies, undrained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

Mix all ingredients in microwave-safe bowl.

Microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, stirring after 3 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips. CAUTION: This will be a HUGE hit. You will love it so much, you’ll want to eat it all, so I recommend making a double batch, especially if you have guests.

VARIATIONS: I like a little more spice in this dip, so I’ll season the ground beef with my homemade taco seasoning, or, I’ll use hot sausage. Super yummy!

IN THE SLOW COOKER:  Throw all ingredients in the slow cooker, and cook on low for 2 hours. Everything should be melted in an hour on High, if you and your guests are impatient. I’ve had this happen.

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Slow Cooker Festive Cocktail Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • about 4 dozen frozen meatballs (2 0r 3 small bags)

Toss meatballs in slow cooker.

Mix together ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and add to slow cooker, stirring to cover all meatballs.

Cover, and cook on low for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

These meatballs are also always a huge hit at functions. I took them to a potluck once, and they were the first to disappear. Love them!

What are you having on game day?

Enjoy the game! And, as always, drink responsibly. :)

Menu Plan Monday: January 27 – February 2, 2014

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If this week’s menu looks a little familiar, it’s because it’s kind of a mish-mash from things I didn’t make over the last two weeks. Oops! We veered a bit and I didn’t end up making everything that I had planned, but that happens sometimes. I had to plan a leftovers night midweek because the fridge is going to fill up fast, this week. And that is a good thing!

Now, on to this week’s menu!

January  27 – February 2

  • Monday: Cheeseburger Meatloaf / Mashed Potatoes / Asparagus
  • Tuesday: Shannon’s Easy Beef Enchiladas – check back tomorrow for the recipe!
  • Wednesday: leftovers
  • Thursday: Butternut Squash Soup / Grilled Cheese
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza (Pizza/Movie Night!)
  • Saturday: BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, with shredded chicken from the crockpot
  • Sunday: Football Party Food! Meatballs and cheese dip are planned, so far…

What are you cooking up this week?

Linked up with:

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Tasty Tuesday: Oreo Stuffed Brownies

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I was bloghopping one day a while ago when I stumbled upon this sinfully delicious-looking recipe over at Moms of all Trades: Oreo Stuffed Brownies. Brownies? Oreos? Marshmallow Creme? I’m all over it. And boy-oh-boy, I did not regret this one little bit. Do you want to try it?

Here’s what you need:

  • Brownie Mix – any brand/variety will do
  • Oreo cookies, or other chocolate and cream-type cookie – I used the store brand because I didn’t have a coupon for regular Oreos (I’m thrifty that way). They taste just as good as the real thing for this project. Next time I’m going to try the Mint Oreos for that extra little kick
  • Marshmallow Creme – usually found in the baking aisle, or maybe even close to the peanut butter
  • Standard muffin pan

Step 1: Spray muffin tins with Pam, making sure to cover completely

Step 2: Mix brownies according to package directions. Add 1/2 cup marshmallow creme, mix well.

Step 3: Open up your cookies. Try not to eat them all…

Step 4: One cookie at a time, dip into brownie batter, making sure cookie is completely covered.

Step 5: Place in muffin tin. I also scooped a little extra batter on top of the dipped cookie, just to make sure there was enough.

Step 6: Bake according to package directions. Mine got a little charred around the edges, but I didn’t mind. I like the crispy brownies.

Step 7: Let cool, them pop them out of the muffin tins. From the outside you can’t even tell there’s a supersweet surprise inside…

Once they’ve cooled just a little bit, take a bite, and enjoy!

You’re welcome. :)
Since I originally made these, I’ve also tried Fudge-Covered Mint Oreos, Girl Scout Thin Mints, and Peppermint Patties. All of these were great, except the Peppermint Patties; the peppermint creme actually left the middle of the brownie hollow! Very strange. I still want to try Peanut Butter Cups, so I’ll post an update.
Enjoy!

Friday Finds: A Fancy New Bread Machine

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I’ve always been nuts for small kitchen appliances. I don’t know what it is, but if it’s a kitchen appliance, I absolutely love it, and want it. The fancier the better! When we were registering for wedding gifts, my poor husband-to-be just kept rolling his eyes over my excitement at Bed Bath & Beyond. But he knows me well. Throughout our almost 10 years of marriage, he’s kept me happy with appliances (among other things, of course). A Cuisinart Griddler made an appearance last Christmas, and I was thrilled! We use that a lot.

This past Christmas, he upped the ante, and gave me something I’ve been wanting for a while. A Zojirushi Home Bakery Supreme! If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a fancy bread machine. And when I say fancy, I mean, this sucker will make meatloaf. What other bread machine can do that? The instruction booklet has a ton of recipes, including many different breads, of course, but also jams, cakes, meatloaf, and even sourdough starter. So far, I’ve only made the cinnamon raisin bread, and it was a huge hit with the family. I also like to make pizza dough in the bread machine, and the recipe for that was quite tasty as well.

The main reason I wanted this particular bread machine is that it makes a horizontal loaf, instead of a vertical loaf which many other bread machines make. I borrowed a bread machine from my mother-in-law for a while to make sure I would use it before investing in one, and it did a great job, but the loaf was just funny-looking. Here’s a brief rundown of what else I love about this machine:

  • normal-looking loaf
  • easy to use
  • programmable/delay start (fresh bread in the morning!)
  • gluten-free setting, if we ever need gluten-free bread
  • 2-lb loaf, perfect family size
  • versatile – it will make just about anything
  • 10 minute power failure backup
  • crust choices: light, medium, or dark

Anyway, I’ll stop gushing about my fancy new bread machine, and wrap it up. But seriously, this machine came with an instructional DVD. Now THAT’S fancy.

21 Uses for Melaleuca or Tea Tree Oil

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Melaleuca, or Tea Tree essential oil has been around for centuries. It’s a great all-purpose oil and is a must have in your natural first aid kit. There are so many uses for this oil, I can’t even list them all here, or it would take forever! It’s antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, an insecticide, and a stimulant. It helps the body fight off disease, bacteria, infection, virus, and illness. The list below is a great way to get started, though.

  • Acne/Pimples: put a drop on a cotton swab or your finger and apply to individual spots before bed and in the morning
  • Athlete’s Foot: mix 2 dops of Melaleuca with 1 drop of lavender, dip a cotton ball in the mixture and apply between toes and around nails
  • Bee Stings: remove stinger, if necessary, then apply 1 drop of Melaleuca oil every four hours, as needed
  • Blackheads: apply oil directly to spots at night and in the morning
  • Bronchitis/Congestion: add 5 drops of Melaleuca oil to a bowl of steaming water and inhale for 5-10 minutes; or, add a few drops to a tissue and inhale throughout the day
  • Calluses: apply oil directly to area, then cover with an adhesive bandage; repeat daily until you see results
  • Chapped Lips: add 1-3 drops of oil to 1 tablespoon of petroleum jelly, or an oil such as jojoba, grapeseed or sweet almond oil and mix with a toothpick. Store in a small container. Apply to chapped lips every 20-30 minutes, as needed
  • Diaper Rash: Mix 2-4 drops of Melaleuca oil with 2 tablespoons of witch hazel; shake vigorously, then apply to area as needed
  • Ear Infections/Earache: Soak a cotton ball in 3 drops of Melaleuca and 2 drops of lavender oil; plug ear
  • Flu: Use steam inhalation as for congestion, as well as the tissue inhalation method. Also try the Cold/Flu Bomb
  • Foot Odor: Each morning, massage a few drops of Melaleuca into your feet; also put a drop or two into your shoes
  • Hives: Massage a few drops of Melaleuca on to the affected area
  • Insect Bites: Apply a drop of Melaleuca oil to bite to relieve itch
  • Prickly Heat: Massage a few drops onto affected area
  • Sore Throat: Add 7-8 drops to a cup of warm water and gargle. 2-3 times daily
  • Stiff Neck: Mix 2-4 drops of Melaleuca with jojoba or fractionated coconut oil and massage into the affected area as needed
  • Sunburn and Burns: apply directly to affected are to relieve burn
  • Sweaty Feet: see Foot Odor, above
  • Ticks: Apply oil to the tick and surrounding area; after 20-30 minutes, carefully remove tick if it has not already fallen off. Keep applying oil to prevent infection and sooth wound
  • Tonsilitis: See sore throat, above
  • Warts: Apply oil directly to wart 3-4 times a day. Be persistent; it can take a few weeks to be effective

There are also many uses for Melaleuca oil in the home, but that’s a post for another day! As always, don’t forget to use the coupon code SMOORE to receive 10% off your order at Spark Naturals!

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor; these are only suggestions for uses of this powerful essential oil. Please see your health care practitioner for medical issues.

Sources:

  • The Tea Tree Oil Bible: Your Essential Guide to Health and Home Uses
  • The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

Getting Organized: My New Blog Planner

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When I decided to start blogging again with a new blog and everything, I decided I was going to do it right and be organized from the get-go. I’m working on setting goals and planning things better in order to be more successful. So, I decided I needed a nifty blog planner. The search began.

If you’ve ever looked on Pinterest for a Blog Planner, you’ll know what I mean when I saw “Holy Cow!”. There are lots of free printables out there, all beautifully designed and useful…and did I mention FREE? Lots of bloggers have a hard time finding a planner that works for them, so they design their own, then offer it for free to other bloggers. I love this.

After clicking through and checking out quite a few different planners, I finally found on that spoke to me: The 2014 Monthly Blog Planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

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Isn’t it pretty? I’m so tickled with how it turned out. I pretty much stuck with how it was laid out; there’s the month-at-a-glance calendar, and a page for each month to keep track of stats, jot down notes and ideas, and inspiring websites.

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There are also entire sections devoted to Giveaways & Reviews, Advertising, and Brainstorming & Notes. I printed lots of the Notes pages so I wouldn’t have to use a separate notebook to jot ideas down (I have about 5 different notebooks I use regularly, because I can never seem to find the one I’m looking for!).

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I did add a few other pages from A Well Crafted Party: tracking sheets for blog finances, sponsors, affiliates, and collaborations.That’s what I love about putting together my own planner: I can add other pages I need, and leave out the pages I don’t.

So, once I determined which pages I wanted, and figured out the placement, I printed them all out on my printer. Next time I do something like this, I’ll use a heavier stock of paper, but other than that, I think it turned out great. I also added some divider pages that I printed on cardstock. Then I put everything together, and stuffed it all in a manila folder.

In her original post, Erica of Confessions of a Homeschooler mentioned that she took her printed planner to Staples to have it bound. AWESOME idea. I took my folder to the Staples Copy and Print Center and had my planner bound with a navy blue spiral coil, and also added a clear front cover and a nice rigid back cover, also in navy blue. Love.It. It looks so professional, and I’m almost giddy with excitement. Can you tell I like office products? Best part? The binding and covers only cost a little over $4.

While I was at Staples, I picked up Post-It Tabs to label the sections. Super easy, and it’ll make everything easier to find.

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I’m so excited to use this planner throughout the year! Hopefully it’ll keep me on track, and help me to stay motivated to keep blogging.

Erica also has a complete 2014 Daily Planner that I purchased, and will be putting that together soon! I’m excited about that one, too.