One Great Cheeseball

Have you ever stumbled upon a recipe, and you make it because at the moment the recipe fits the occasion you are making it for and it’s easy so it’s a win-win?

So the occasion for me was my daughter’s birthday party and instead of having a meal like my son picks (one year it was a Mexican feast, the past two years it’s been a chili supper) she chose just to have snack foods.  Not wanting just bowl after bowl of chips, I decided to look up some cheese balls.

I went with 2 different cheese balls – one was made with cream cheese and a funfetti cake mix (3 weeks later this is still sitting in my refrigerator – awaiting it’s trip to the curb on this weeks trash day).  The other was simply fabulous.  There was about 3 bites left when her party was over and my husband ate those last few.  It was a Bacon Ranch Cheese ball and not only did it taste heavenly – but it was super easy to make too.

I found the recipe on Pinterest and here is the link:  http://centslessdeals.com/bacon-ranch-cheese-ball/.

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The recipe has 4 ingredients.  You soften 2 boxes of cream cheese, mix them with a hand mixer, add a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dry seasoning mix, mix some more.  Add a 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and a 1/2 cup of bacon bits (I used the Hormel bits you can buy in a bag already crumbled) and mix some more (the recipe states you can use green onion as well – but I’m not big on onions so I opted to leave it out – but if you love onions – go for it!).

Once the cream cheese, ranch dressing, cheese and bacon bits are all mixed together, I form into a ball and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Then I take the cheese ball and roll it in the remaining bacon bits in the bag (I purchase a 4+ ounce bag and ended up using the entire bag for 1 cheese ball).

Now for the next step – EATING IT!  I used Keebler Pita Crackers – plain with Sea Salt and loved them.  Keebler Toasted crackers – Sesame tastes really good too.

I made this tonight for a surprise birthday party my sister had for her significant other and once again it was a hit.  Best part is it’s easy to rattle off how to make the cheese ball when people ask because there are not a ton of ingredients to remember.

So if you are having a get together big or small – try making the Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball, it tastes great and it’s easy to make – and that’s always a plus!  If you have a quick and easy appetizer, feel free to share with us in the comments!

 

I Didn’t Make Rocks In My Cake Pop Maker!

Woo Hoo!  I’m so excited.  For the first time in 2 years (well, not that we’ve tried often since we first got the machine 2 years ago) I didn’t make rocks when I made something in the cake pop maker!

SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY!!!

As I began cleaning my kitchen last weekend it happened.  I came across the cake pop maker that my mom actually purchased for my daughter, as she had gotten a cake pop maker for Christmas that as pretty and colorful as it was, you didn’t bake the cakes, they somehow did their thing in the refrigerator and then you decorated them and all was good with the world.

Trouble was with my wannabe-baker daughter, it wasn’t good enough.  So my mom purchased her a cake pop maker:

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And normally everything has turned to a rock.  Brownies (rocks on the outside, gooshy mess on the inside) and cakes both.

So last week I began perusing Pinterest for recipes that people had successfully made in a cake pop maker.  I figured maybe that was my problem, maybe the recipes that came with the instruction book for the cake pop maker were never actually made in a cake pop maker.

And I found recipes – and today I tried the first – a donut recipe (why not get the disappointment done first thing in the morning).  So I went to Pinterest, pulled up the recipe and began.  Here is the link to my pin should you want to go and pin it for yourself.  I would like to thank the Moscato Mom blog for the recipe.  It has been taste tested by both of my children and their friend.

The batter was easy… throw everything into a bowl, and mix together (I like things that don’t have to be mixed together in a certain order, I inevitably do something wrong).

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Now it didn’t say to do this – but I took some cooking spray and put it in the cake pop maker and then filled the holes with a spoonful of dough.  Cooked them for 5 minutes and then rolled them in some powder sugar (there was a glaze recipe but my daughters friend has allergies to things so I opted to go with just the powder sugar).  And here was the end result:

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It made 18 donuts for me – a perfect amount for my family.  I had one, I thought they were pretty good – can’t wait to try it with the glaze sometime, I think they would be even better that way.

Still in shock I made something edible!

Now off to finish a wreath I began last year and then this evening is my son’s Blue & Gold banquet for Boy Scouts.

Wishing you a wonderful day filled with yummies and relaxation!

My Pressure Cooker

This year for Christmas my mother gave me an incredibly awesome gift – an electric pressure cooker.  I thought it was great – she finally got me something I’d hinted at her getting me and was so excited.  She doesn’t recall my ever asking for one.

But it doesn’t matter as now I have one!!!!

And best of all, hubby loves it too. And we have made both old recipes and new recipes using this delightful contraption.  Of course, most of his recipes have included barbecue, though he did make 1 recipe that boy child like that included pork chops being made with some sort of teriyaki sauce and though it was good… that particular day I sat around thinking about how good fried pork chops were going to be for dinner that night and it was a HUGE letdown (girl child felt the same).  We love our fried pork chops, and these were the type of pork chops with the bone in them that simply screamed “FRY ME”.

But I digress, as today is all about the pressure cooker.

So last Monday I took the day off as it was President’s Day.  I love President’s Day and of all the Monday holidays, it is one of several that I still have to work at my job and I will often take the day off so I can enjoy it with my kids.  I think having a February birthday I was always accustomed to getting a day off around my birthday – and feel that it is a custom that I should still enjoy – and so I use a vacation day now for President’s Day… it just makes all things right with the world.

Anyhow… so last Monday I took the day off – and decided I needed to use some hamburger that I had yet to break up and put in the freezer so I made a recipe I found on Pinterest… and it was really good… it was a recipe for Mexican Beef Rice.  It was recommended to be made as a lettuce wrap, I just plopped it on a plate and served with cheesy rolls (similar to those you can purchase from a poppy-colored crustacean).  It was a 1-pot meal and only took about 30-40 minutes total to make – I liked that… because that means I could actually make it on a regular work night.

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The first recipe I made used Italian sausage and it was sooooo good.  It was Pressure Cooker Sausage & Peppers and was extremely tasty.  It made the kitchen smell heavenly and face it, isn’t that one of the best parts of eating a good meal, is how good it smells when you are cooking it?  It too was extremely easy to make and it only took about 40 minutes or so (well, I’m lying, it took me longer to make, but it was my first time using my pressure cooker and I was afraid I was going to blow my house up).

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Now the above picture isn’t exactly what the meal looks like, the person who made the above thought the pictures would look pretty with small peppers in it, and you cut the peppers up when you are cooking it.  The sauce was really good and it made yummy sandwiches… definitely a meal to have again.

Oh and pressure cookers are safe – I have yet to blow anything up and all has gone well with my using it.  The meat is so tender and that alone is a great perk of the machine.  I am so happy that I got this as a gift – and I so enjoy making new things with it.  You can click here if you are interested in checking out the many recipes I have pinned specifically for pressure cookers (yes, they have their own board!).

If you have a favorite recipe that you cook with a pressure cooker, I would love for you to share it with me in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

As the first day of 2016 is coming to a close, I have chosen to have a few goals for the new year in order to be a better me.

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  1. Better Budgeting.  This has been a challenge for me most of my adult life – and presently with 2 car payments again, life has become a little tight when it comes to spending money.  So I am trying to be a better “budgeter” and live a life more frugally.  Wish me luck.
  2. Healthy Eating.  Last year I joined the local gym and found a love of water fitness.  Trouble was I didn’t eat healthy.  I could tell I lost inches but the scale told me I didn’t lose weight.  So this year my goal is to eat healthier with the results being shown on the bathroom scale.  Wish me even greater luck.
  3. Be Creative.  I use to go into my attic every Friday night and do a challenge that this scrapbooking website I followed provided.  The website no longer exists and that pretty much ended my scrapbooking on a regular basis.  Since then my mother gave me her machine she doesn’t have a need for anymore as she has a much spiffier one, and I have never even gotten the hang of using it because I just haven’t scrapbooked.  But I want that to change.

So those are my big 3 goals.  Most of these will be spelled out here on my website… I figured I could share healthy recipes I find to be good and tasty (or possibly not so good) with all of you and give you insights on budgeting ideas I find that work that maybe will work for you too. And who doesn’t love to be crafty???

Wishing all of you have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2016!

Trees & Cookies

I am one of those individuals who carries on the traditions that were set upon me as  a child.  The ornaments on my tree were the ones my mother made when I was a child so I didn’t cut myself on the glass ones that she had (in an interesting twist of life, when I moved out, as I began a search of wooden ornaments similar to the ones my mother had on her tree, she told me she was going to split them up between my sister and I.  My sister doesn’t have the best track record of keeping things so I called her and told her she never had to get me anything for Christmas ever again if I could have all the ornaments…. she said sure, she didn’t want them [this still puzzles me to this day, but good for me!], added with some that I made, or some that just naturally fit with my theme… I like think that my Christmas tree’s theme would be an old fashioned as the painted ornaments have homes, churches, dogs, rocking chairs, Wise Men, the 3 Bears, Raggedy Ann & Andy, ice skaters, carolers, snowmen and Santas.  Mixed in are ornaments from my youth… ones with my names on them, ornaments given to me by my maternal grandmother, a cherished one from fifth grade where my room mothers made us ornaments with our names on it along with the bands that were popular in 1983 (Van Halen, The Who, Billy Joel, Pat Benetar, Journey, Def Leppard and Quiet Riot), some NY Giants ornaments, a few NY Yankees,  and added in recent years are ornaments reflecting the birth of my children (the infamous “baby’s first Christmas”… my daughter has 3, my son just 1, can you tell who came first???) and ornaments they have made in school or purchased for me as gifts.

My husband dislikes my tree… or at least he mocks me all the time stating that there are too many ornaments on it.  I think it’s just the right amount as I don’t lessen the ornaments on the tree, and I have branches with nothing on it.  See for yourself.

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And the ornament that I always have on the tree first and take off last… poor Fido.  As a little girl I always felt sorry for poor Fido being stuck in his doghouse on Christmas.  So to make him feel special I started having his as the ornament on the tree the longest… and the tradition continues…. sometimes I envy Fido in his doghouse… filled with peace and quiet.

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Another tradition in my house is baking Christmas cookies.  As a mother with a full time job, my mother helps me out by baking the Peanut Blossoms (peanut butter cookies with the Hershey Kisses on top) and Russian Tea Cakes (aka Snowballs) with my daughter while I work.  I get to do the fun ones, the cut out cookies. I use to get quite extravagant with my decorating – and use to even use my mom’s gingerbread boy to make NFL players…. the official Matt Bahr cookie was made for several years… One of these days I really need to ask her for that cut out… I haven’t found one like it when I’m out and about.

The problem with some recipes though is that they don’t always pass the test of time.  I think they change the way they make items, honestly, so where a recipe was made perfectly 20 years ago, doesn’t necessarily get the same consistency now.  So finding a good sugar recipe was my task.

First I tried using the Pilsbury Sugar Cookie dough and just cut out my cookies, these were good, but at times very frustrating.  For a few years I made these and then made my Great Grandmother’s Drop Sugar Cookie recipe which had sour cream in it.

Which leads me to the recipe I discovered on Taste of Home last year when I thought… maybe I should see if a cut out sugar cookie recipe exists with sour cream in it.  It does.  And they are WONDERFUL.  They stay nice and moist and the icing recipe with it is what I used and is incredible (I don’t even add mint flavoring to the green or banana flavoring to the yellow).  I split the recipe in half as last year I had a ton leftover and felt guilty wasting so much.

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Above are some of my children’s masterpieces (2 of which have disappeared since this picture was taken 10 minutes ago). Here is the recipe:  Sour Cream Sugar Cookies, if you try it I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

For all who celebrate – have a very Merry Christmas!  If you don’t, enjoy the peace and quiet and hope you can still seize the day to spend it with someone you love!

Peace!

 

Super (Cleaning) Saturday

Tomorrow is boy child’s family birthday party.  Thursday was his birthday, a day in which he turned 9.  He is defying me, people, he promised he would not grow up.  Hmmmph!

So what is on today’s agenda?  Cleaning!

Somewhere in between life and work I never find time to clean… I have a man child who is does nothing more than sit at home and do whatever it is he does on his iPad every evening – except when he is assisting with boy child’s Boy Scout troop (does anyone else have a hubby who doesn’t help?  When I asked him why he doesn’t help clean anymore as when we met he was the one who was the tidier of the two of us and his reply was simple… why bother, it’s just going to get dirty again.  Yeah, lucky me).

Hubby did replace some broken tiles in the kitchen that kept hurting my feet when I walked in the kitchen.  There was one when you put weight on it just the right way (which I did daily) would stick up and point me in the foot.  Ouch! So the kitchen is off limits until 8pm tonight as that way I know the 4 replaced tiles should be set and then it appears grout still may be an issue?

But I have other rooms to keep me occupied today.  Living room, dining room, 2 sets of stairs, a hallway and the bathroom. Throw in girl child’s violin lesson and trying to fit a hike in some time today – and it’s a full day.

Made a really good meal last night… I’d taken out hamburger two days ago and we ended up going in a different direction for dinner, so I had to make something with the defrosted meat.  So of course, I turned to Pinterest and found several good recipes but the one I went with was a Korean Beef Bowl.  It was really good… and it only took about 15-20 minutes to make!  I will confess I did not have the green onions – it was my only lacking ingredient – but I definitely would make it again!

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So wish me luck, my peeps, and I hope you all much more fascinating plans for your Saturday!  If it’s something as fun as cleaning… let me know in the comments – it might help me feel better about my chores for the day!

 

Tasty Tuesday – Part 2 – July 28 Edition

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So I made my dinner and I must say it was DELICIOUS!

Even my hubby who apparently was very skeptical of what kielbasa and pasta together would taste like, loved it. So this is definitely going into the recipes I’ll make again pile.

My tips… use the heavy cream. The recipe calls for either milk or heavy cream and in hindsight I think the sauce would be a little thicker and better tasting if it was made with the heavy cream.  I just had milk and since it was an option I figured it would suffice.

I was also low on cheddar cheese – so I used a combination of cheddar (for main sauce) and then at the end you top off with more cheese – that was primarily sharp.

So I hope I have enticed you to either make the One Pot Kielbasa Pasta or find your own adventurous meal to try from your own Pinterest food board (because doesn’t everyone have a Pinterest food board?)

A special thank you to Sugar Apron who originally posted this recipe in February and shared it for the world to appreciate it’s tastiness!!!!

Tasty Tuesday – Part 1 – July 28 Edition

Good Morning my Peeps!

After getting all “serious” yesterday I realized being bummed is not one of my Pinterest Boards – so here I am taking one from my most heavily populated boards that I call… FOOD (am I on the cutting edge of names or what?).

So last week I found this recipe and while at the grocery store on Sunday I even bought ingredients I thought were in it (I swore it said chicken stock… I bought some but this calls for chicken broth, so I now wonder what needed chicken stock? I digress, but I hope I have chicken broth otherwise we know what I’m doing on my lunch hour).

So, this morning I am posting what I am making for my dinner tonight.  It’s “One Pot Kielbasa Pasta” and it’s suppose to look like this:

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So tonight when I get home from work I shall make this (minus the scallions as I didn’t buy those – and my daughter and I aren’t big onion people – there are onions I’ll cook in this so I don’t want to do overkill on the onions), and this evening I’ll post part 2 – letting everyone know if it is as good as it looks and if it looked anything like the above picture because that picture makes it look TASTY!!!

I’ll post a picture too (oh my, I’m becoming one of those people).  LOL!

So until later my friends…