Thanksgiving Delivery

This year I couldn’t go home to visit family. Multiple reasons, including having to work Black Friday, have caused me to stay in the area. Which means, that I do not have anywhere to go to celebrate the holiday. No real plans to eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and all the goodness that comes with this Pilgrim-themed holiday.

So when my mom heard about this, she took action. She lives all the way in Florida and couldn’t exactly come drop off a meal for me. That’s when she decided to call every supermarket in the area to see if they could deliver a meal to me. I’m not even sure the supermarket makes meals for people, but she she is pretty convincing. Also, I heard a rumor she called enough times that they knew it was her by the third day.

About a week ago, she called me and listed off a number of items I would be picking up from Shaw’s. Yeah, a list. So I was expecting this one portion meal. Yeah, right. I can feed a few people on what I ended up getting.

So today, I stopped by Shaw’s. Patiently I waited at the deli counter, because I wanted to thank the poor soul my mom said she kept calling to verify they could do this for me. When I said I was picking up a meal, and wanted to thank Dave for all his patience, they said, “Oh! We know who you are!” Great…

Let’s just say that I am now going to avoid the deli counter for awhile. But I am grateful for such a wonderful gift from my mom. Thank you!

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Reindeer Holiday Cards

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! (Try not to sing it as you read it, or do. Either way, it’s entertaining.) I’m starting to get ready for the holiday cheer – cutting snowflakes, planning my gifting strategy, as well as making holiday cards! And I have to say, my favorite are these minimalist reindeer “Love” cards that I designed. Super simple, but I’m in love with them all the same. I’ve even sold two packages of cards so far, can you believe it?

Reindeer Love Cards - Holiday Etsy

I’m working on more designs, but for the time being it’s up on Etsy (click to see).

My mom always had me sit with a pile of Christmas cards, signing my horrible little signature on all of them so we could mail them out the same day. And as much as I kinda hated it, I actually really love getting greeting cards in the mail, which is why I don’t want to see it end. I think that would be catastrophic if the Post Office stopped mailing holiday cards. It’s much more entertaining to get a handwritten note, than an email that I’m just going to delete in two seconds anyway. At least I can put a greeting card on my fridge or tape them up on the wall. (Other people do that, right? The shrine-to-the-holiday-cards wall?)

Let The Christmas Shopping Begin! – UPDATED

Umm, so this is totally insane. I just bought my first Christmas present of the season – for only 85 cents! And that included shipping. How, you ask? Rue La La is giving away a $25 credit today to members. I thought it was a joke until I opened my account and saw $25 sitting there. Jaw dropped!

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If you find something $15 or less, it’s free. You can use the credit toward shipping, too! (Which is $9.95). If you haven’t signed up, you should today and get the deal.

Sign-up: http://tinyurl.com/orlqn47
OR
This was the sponsored link I went through: http://bit.ly/1jmCCUb

Might just get something free to kick off your holiday shopping for the season!

Had to share with everyone. Let me know if it worked for you, too, and what you picked up for free today! I’d love to hear it.

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UPDATED – 11/22

Okay, so it appears the credit was only for existing RueLaLa members, but no fret, if you’re already a member, there’s a chance you might have something in your inbox waiting for you. So I still suggest you go see and try to get a good deal! It doesn’t hurt to try, especially when you’re paying pennies for items worth $35 to $40 and shipping!

S’more Cupcakes

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The smokey smell of pallets burning over a backyard campfire, the sweet taste of marshmallows that have been over-charred from being in the fire for too long, and an evening tolerating all your friends in a confined space. Oh, winter bonfires. Okay, I’m just kidding about tolerating people, I actually really enjoy group activities. Especially when there is food involved. And while the snow hasn’t quite fallen yet and the winter bonfires are still a few weeks away, I’ll just bake.

That’s ultimately what led to these s’more-inspired cupcakes. They still need a little work, but for my first go, I think I succeeded. Simple, cute, and a little rough painstakingly roasting mini marshmallows over an apple cider scented candle. Yeah, that last part happened.

Anyway, all you really need is a yellow cake box mix, chocolate frosting, graham crackers, and mini marshmallows. You’ll also want on hand some toothpicks for the roasting part, you’ll see what I mean.

Gather:
Yellow Cake Mix (and the eggs/oil/butter, whatever the manufacturer says you need)
Chocolate frosting (from a can, cause I’m lazy)
Cinnamon graham crackers, crushed
Mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350. Using the manufacturer’s instructions, mix together your cake mix. Now, I tried poking a mini marshmallow into the center of each one, but when it baked, well… those mini marshmallows disappeared. So it’s your call if you want to take the effort to see if they’ll survive a time in the oven.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick can be inserted in the cupcake and removed clean. Set aside and let cool completely.

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In a Ziplock bag, place four to five graham crackers. Seal bag, leaving as little air in it as possible, and a corner open. Take a rolling pin and roll over the crackers until crushed. Leave a few little bits, try not to make it a complete powder.

Light a candle (or use your gas stove top if you have an open flame, candle works fine though.) Carefully place a marshmallow on the end of a toothpick and heat over flame. I purposely burned them just a bit to give them a campfire look, but you can be patient and toast them until golden brown, your call. Remove from toothpick and set aside until you’re ready to decorate cupcakes. This is tedious, but the end result is adorable.

After cupcakes are cooled, frost with chocolate frosting and sprinkle graham cracker powder on top of cupcakes. Place a single toasted marshmallow on each cupcake. Serve and enjoy.

Baked Broccoli Mac and Cheese

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Oh cheesy goodness. And done without an oven at that.

It all started with a craving for mac and cheese. Isn’t that how it always goes. You have a craving for something and then BAM there you go finding all the ingredients and making a big pan of the meal you want.

We compromised though, I let us eat carbs and cheese as long as we could add vegetables. I’m gonna say this is half a win, because we should have put more broccoli in (in my opinion) but we’ll see. Next time I suggest adding spinach, too. We’ll see how far I get with that idea….

AND with all meal plans, there will be some issue that arises… in my case, it’s the continual case of the not working oven. Sure, the broil works like a charm, but the oven won’t hold a consistent heat. It’s frustrating. So we did the best we could, first by making the cheese sauce:

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Then by mixing it with the cooked noodles, topping it with cheese and breadcrumbs, and preparing it for the oven by covering it with aluminum foil:

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And I have to say, it came out pretty darn good.

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Gather:
1 box of macaroni, your choice of style
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of mustard powder
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1/2 cup of sweet onion, diced
3 cups of milk
1 large egg
12 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
1 cup of broccoli, diced

Cook pasta al dente, drain, and set aside.

Heat oven on low broil. (For those of you out there with fancy working ovens, you’re more than welcome to pre-heat to 350 degrees.)

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in flour, mustard powder, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring for five minutes. Make sure it is free of lumps and add milk and onion. Simmer for ten minutes, still stirring. Temper in the egg. Add about 3/4 of the cheese and broccoli and mix until melted into the mixture. Fold in cook macaroni and pour into a lasagna pan.

Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Cover with aluminum foil and place into oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes on low broil or until top is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes, serve, and enjoy.

Squats for Days

It’s getting colder out, the sun goes down earlier, and my body is trying to store food for the coming winter months. The last item, I’m sure of. I’ve hit hibernation mode.
I’ve found that lately I’m craving more food, and junk food. Since Halloween, I allowed myself to eat candy, which quickly snowballed into me eating fast food and late night snacks. It’s horrible.
Quickly, I need to adjust what’s going on in my diet. Until then, I’m focusing on returning to excercise mode, which is why I’m making new adjustments to my daily routines. For example, doing squats… but not at the gym. Not that I won’t do them at the gym, just that I don’t want to have to be at the gym to do them. Not to mention that I’d really prefer not to do them around other people.
I’ve found that there’s little to no reason not to do 10 to 20 squats every time I go to the bathroom. I mean, I drink enough water that I end up going a good number of times a day. So we’re starting this new thing where every time I use the bathroom. We’ll see how long that lasts, but hopefully if I remember to do so the majority of the time, I’ll have some sweet gluts as a result.

Buffalo Chicken, Bacon, and Cheddar Bites

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Oh! An oven that works. How I took the for granted all these years. I house sat for a friend (ok, cat sat, the house was fine) and had access to a working oven. So happy that I decided to make some goodies for a group of friends. Nothing better than a guest who shows up with snacks, right?

Anyway, all I knew was that I wanted something with bacon. And so when I was standing at the meat counter asking for four slices of bacon, I notice some buffalo chicken tenders marinating in the case. Lets just say a few came home with me.

I tossed some cheddar in the cart and a container of pastry dough.  A little slaving over the stove and bam, we had a winner.

It ended up being a hit. Not surprising, since the roll ups had bacon, cheddar, and buffalo chicken in them. Like a trifecta of love.

 

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Gather:

4 oz. extra sharp cheddar, shredded
4 slices of apple smoked bacon, diced
4 buffalo chicken tenders, minced*
1 can of Pilsbury refrigerated dough sheets

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll dough sheet onto a cookie sheet, allow to reach room tempature.

In a sauce pan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and let cool on paper towels (to remove some of the grease). There will be some fat rendered in the pan, remove half then add diced chicken to pan. Cook chicken thoroughly. Remove from pan.

In a bowl, toss bacon, chicken, and cheddar. Meats should be cooled, so cheddar will not melt into the mixture. Spread evenly on dough sheet.

Along the long edge, slowly roll up the sheet, making sure to have mixture between dough. You would end up with a spirl if you were to look at the side when cut open. Leave sealed and place on cookie sheet into oven.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until dough is golden brown. You might see some cheese melting out, that’s fine. Remove from oven and let cool for 20 to 40 minutes.

When loaf is completely cool, slice into rings and serve.
*If you can’t find some at your supermarket meat counter, just marinate chicken tenders in 1/2 cup of Frank’s Red Hot sauce and 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter overnight.

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