Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fantastic Christmas Ideas from Shutterfly

For anyone who hasn't used Shutterfly, it is time to check it out! Shutterfly is a fantastic website where you can Create photo books, make personalized calendars and gifts or just share photos with family and friends.

For the last few years I have made our Christmas cards with Shutterfly. I love their card designs and there website is very easy to use. This year they have a ton of new card designs- everything from sentimental, to religious to just plain holiday fun!! Check out their fun designs here. Christmas Photo Cards

Every year on my parents and in-laws Christmas list is a photo calendar of their grand kids. And ever year I find great deals an great calendars at Shutterfly. This year their calendars have a new feature, where you can add tiny pictures directly on to the days of the calendar. I love this feature, as I put a picture of each kid and grand kid on their birth date. I even added wedding pictures on anniversary dates. There are hundreds of backgrounds and layouts to choose from and Shutterfly even has an auto fill option where you choose the pictures you want and they fill in the calendar for you. This makes it Super easy to make a Christmas present that your kids grandparents are guaranteed to love!

Finally, check out Shutterfly's photo books, personalized gifts like mugs, mouse pads and even puzzles, and their great print options where your prints can be sent directly to your house or to a local Target.
Canvas Wall Art
Cards and Stationary

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm back...

Sorry for the major delay in posts.... I think I got a little busy with college finals, two kids in school and a new baby. But I'm back!

To start things off.... it is almost Thanksgiving and I am making these fun little pumpkin pies for Allie's Kindergarten class.

Pumpkin Pie Minis

Crust: 1 C graham crackers, crushed
2 T granulated sugar
3 T melted butter

1 Can pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 T cornstarch
2 eggs
1 C evaporated milk
1/2 C water

1-Mix ingredients for crust in a small bowl until well mixed. Set aside.

2-Mix together pumpkin spice, sugars, salt and cornstarch. Stir well into pumpkin. Add eggs, milk and water. Mix well.

3-Grease a mini-muffin pan. In each spot place 1 tsp of graham cracker crust. Fill remaining cup with pumpkin mixture. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes.

4-Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from pan. Top with cool whip or cream cheese frosting and a candy corn.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spinach & Cheese Manicotti

This is one of my favorite meals.... it hits my Italian sweet spot just perfectly! Although I have to make half of it without the spinach or my hubby won't eat it.

The other reason this meal is fantastic is because it makes a great freezer meal. When you are making this, double the recipe, and throw one pan in the freezer for a day you don't want to cook.

1 8oz. package manicotti
1 1/2 C ricotta cheese
2 C cottage cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
2 C shredded mozzarella, divided
1 C chopped spinach, fresh or thawed from frozen
1 T dried parsley
1 tsp salt
3-4 C spaghetti sauce

Do NOT cook manicotti if you are going to freeze. Follow remaining recipe omitting the noodles cooking. Fill dry noodles.

1- Cook manicotti al dente according to package- you don't want them too soggy. Remove from water and place back in the trays included with the packaging. This will help the noodles keep their shape.

2- Combine all remaining ingredients (use only 1 C mozzarella!) except the spaghetti sauce.
3- Grease 9x13 baking dish. Cover bottom of pan with 1-2 C spaghetti sauce.

4- Place cheese mixture in a plastic Ziploc bag. Cut a very small!!! opening in one corner of the bag. Squeeze filling into each noodle. Arrange manicotti on spaghetti sauce in pan.

5- Pour remaining sauce on top. If you are going to freeze: Cover with heavy foil, label and freeze. I like to write the cooking directions on a paper and tape on top for convenience!

6- Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Freezer cooking directions: Thaw overnight in fridge. Bake covered for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, top with more mozzarella cheese and bake an additional 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Original recipe by Deanna Buxton

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Loaded Pita Sandwich

I found a great deal on Kraft Salad Dressing at Miejer this week- with coupons and a catalina you end up MAKING .10 on the deal!!! Check out this Bargins to Bounty post for more details!

I decided to try Kraft's Parmesan Asiago Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing and loved it! Try this delicious lunch idea using this dressing.

Loaded Pita Sandwich

2 pieces Greek Flat Bread (pita bread will also work, but it isn't nearly as good)
4 slices of your favorite deli meat (I used Ham)
1/4 Cucumber, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
Shredded Lettuce
1/2 avocado sliced
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 T Mayo
1-2 T Light Parmesan Asiago Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

1- Warm your flat bread in the microwave for 30 seconds.
2- Spread 1 T mayo on top of each
3- Top with meat, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, avocado and mozzarella.
4- Drizzle with dressing and fold in half to eat.
5- Share with a friend and enjoy!!!
p.s. if you want to take this sandwich with you do all the prep work except adding the dressing and lettuce. Take dressing and lettuce on the side and add right before eating!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Margarita chicken stirfry and salad

This is what I had my husband cook me for Mothers Day- he did a great job and we both loved it!
These recipes are both adapted from Betty Crocker... if you want the original check it out here.

We loved the margarita flavors in this meal, especially because the salad and the stir-fry were slightly similar, but enough different that you weren't over whelmed by the margarita flavor. We also served this with Mango Margaritas. Mix margarita mix, mango nectar (we like the Jumex brand at Walmart for 1.00 for a 33.8 oz container!), and ice in a blender at about a 1:2:1 ratio.

Grilled Margarita Chicken Salad

1/2 C non-alcoholic margarita mix (frozen or liquid)
1/4 C olive oil
2 T white vinegar
4 boneless chicken breasts
6 cups assorted salad greens
1 C sliced strawberries
1 medium avocado, peeled and sliced
1 medium mango, peeled and sliced
1/4 C fresh cilantro

1. Mix margarita mix, olive oil and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Reserve half. Pour the remaining dressing over chicken breasts and allow to marinate overnight in the fridge.
2. Grill chicken for 15-20 minutes over medium heat or until no longer pink inside.
3. Cut the chicken into slices. On 4 plates, arrange lettuce. Top with sliced chicken, strawberries, mango and avocado. Drizzle remaining dressing over salad and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Margarita Chicken Stir-fry

1/2 C non-alcoholic margarita mix
1/4 C olive oil
2 T white vinegar
4 boneless, chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 T butter
1/2 green pepper cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 yellow pepper cut into bite-size pieces
1 T finely chopped cilantro
2 C cooked jasmine rice

1. Mix margarita mix, olive oil and vinegar. Reserve half. Allow chicken to marinate in remaining dressing overnight. (I marinated both this and the chicken for the salad at the same time.)
2. In an nonstick pan melt butter. Add chicken and stir fry until juices run clear. Remove from pan.
3. In same pan stir fry green peppers 2-4 minutes until they are tender but still have a bite to them. Add chicken, cilantro and remaining dressing. Cook until heated through.
4. Serve over warm jasmine rice

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chewy Almond Joy Cookies

I had a coupon for these new Almond Joy Pieces so I thought I would check them out... Big Fan! (As is my husband and kids). I wanted to try making cookies with them, so if you happen to see them at your local grocer, grab a bag and try this recipe. Just be sure to use them Before you stick the bag in the pantry... they won't last long!

Chewy Almond Joy Cookies

1 C White sugar

1 C Brown Sugar

1 C butter (2 sticks)

2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 C flour

2 C Whole oats

1 C shredded coconut

2 C Almond Joy Pieces

1- Preheat oven to 400.

2- Beat together sugars, butter and vanilla until well mixed. Add in eggs one at a time.

3- In a separate bowl stir together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add to butter mixture.

4- Stir in oats, coconut and Almond Joy Pieces

5- Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ginger Stir-fry

I have to apologize for the lack of recipes as of late... you see, my diet has consisted of Saltines and Ginger ale. And I just can't bring myself to cook much more than that. Unfortunately, that means my poor family has been stuck eating cold cereal and grilled cheese.

That's right, you guessed it... I am pregnant :) We are all really excited about it, but along with the excitement comes the blah!

The other night I was able to cook an actual meal (although eating it was another story). We make stir fry a lot in our family, but my husband said that was by far his favorite. Hope you like it!

Ginger Stir-fry
-Fresh ginger, 1 in. piece
- 1/4 onion, finely chopped
- 1-2 large chicken breasts, cut in bite size pieces
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 can pineapple tidbits
- 1/4 C Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing

1- Heat 1 T extra virgin olive oil, or sesame oil in a pan. Satay grated ginger and onion in pan until onions are clear and ginger is fragrant.
2- Add chicken and cook until tender and juices run clear.
3- Meanwhile, steam carrots in a small pot with 1/2 C water.
4- When carrots are done toss together carrots, chicken and dressing in chicken pan. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until everything is covered. Stir in tomatoes, cucumbers, and pineapple. Add more sauce if you like. Remove from heat and serve immediately over warm Jasmine Rice.