Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List 2012

Summer is so close I can smell the sunscreen and taste the popsicles! This summer we are going to take part inThe Summer Bucket List over at The Happy Family Movement. Families who sign up for the challenge will receive:

• a Summer Bucket List Challenge guide, complete with sample activities
• eligibility for weekly prize draws
• regular updates on the Happy Family Movement blog
• access to a great community on Facebook

If your like me, you need all the ideas you can find to make your summer with the kiddos go smoothly while creating great memories that will last. So head on over to The Happy Family Movement today!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mad Men Munchies

I recently hosted a Madmen premiere party for
Houseparty. First of all let me say that this is my very favorite show. Secondly I love all things mid-century including crazy recipes that include jello, cured meats, bright colored canned fruits- sometimes all together!

One of the biggest surprise yummy appetizers is Betty's Bologna cake. It always gets rave reviews!

Betty's Bologna Cake

Spread 4 slices of thick bologna with softened onion and chive cream cheese. Place slices together like a layer cake. Spread cheese over top and sides, decorate with sliced olives. Chill. Cut in wedges.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sunny Pancakes

Oh how I am ready for some sun! Even if it's in the form of a pancake. Here's to hoping spring comes soon!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Chocolate on a Stick

Today I am sharing my Hot Chocolate on a Stick with you. These make great gifts and are delicious! Using a basic hot chocolate on a stick recipe found
here , I followed up with a dip in white chocolate and a decorative holiday transfer. Make sure you use the natural wooden spoons because plastic just doesn't work for these fancy treats. Enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blog Break

Well by now you may have noticed I've been on a blogging break. In case anyone still reads this, let me explain. I love blogging, I love cooking and I love finding great ideas from other people as well as sharing mine. I also have three kids and two dogs which means I'm busy. I know so many are more creative with their time than I am and can manage 50 things at once. I found that I needed to let the blogging go for awhile to get caught up. Also as my older boys are now in 3rd and 4th grade it was getting harder to do creative lunches without being too cutesy. This year I still make lunches and even sometimes get fancy as they call it. I have decided not to force myself to blog lunches and keep my blog updated. I will however still post when I want to and may even throw a lunch or two in every once in a while. So that's it. Still blogging, just not like crazy and as a result I won't be...crazy. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Shrimp Louie

The Shrimp Louie salad originated on the west coast and was all the rage during the mid 1900's. My mother kept a diary on her honeymoon and she included every item of food they enjoyed on their special trip down the coast. She must have listed Shrimp or Crab Louie at least 5 times! I had always been fascinated by this salad and it's former popularity. I did some research and found this recipe which I think is spot on and delicious! Perfect for summer dining when fresh shrimp are in season. I opted to serve my salad individual style in a red cabbage bowl with butter lettuce and dressing on the side, they were a huge hit!

Shrimp Louie
1 cup mayonaise
1 T. tarragon vinegar
3 T chili sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. chopped pimento
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. mustard
Lettuce leaves
Shrimp, cooked
Tomatoes, quartered
Hard cooked eggs, quartered

Combine mayonaise, vinegar, chili sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in pimento, garlic, salt, sugar, paprika and mustard. Mix well: refrigerate, covered. Arrange lettuce leaves on plate. Place desired amount of shrimp in center. Circle with tomato wedges and egg wedges. Pour sauce over shrimp.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Fresh Fraisier

This is my first time trying the Daring Baker's Challenge! Every month one daring baker presents a challenge. This month's challenge was hosted by Cherry Tea Cakes. The challenge was Fresh Fraisiers. I had never attempted this cake before so I thought it best to stick with the basic recipe which includes a chiffon cake filled with delicious pastry cream and fresh strawberries and topped with a thin layer of almond paste. I couldn't wait to try this cake! I found it a bit of work but it really was delicious. If you would like to see all the wonderful Fraisiers this month check out The Daring Kitchen.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cake Cones

So I have a love/hate relationship with cake pops. I love the creative pops people make and the simple concept behind them. I dislike the ingredients for cake pops. I usually end up making my own cake from scratch as well as the frosting, which is no biggie. When it comes to that important outer candy coating I'm stuck with those disgusting candy melts. Is there an alternative? I'd love to know. All this to say I had some mini cones in the pantry that needed to get used and decided to make cake pop cones. They are ridiculously sweet and again that candy melts flavor-eww. Aside from all that they are really cute and a huge hit with the kids!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

School's Out!

This is the last day of school for us! Lunch includes grapes, cheese, pickles, sesame sticks and yogurt almonds, grilled chicken and a yaki onigiri. I am washing up the lunch bags today and doing a little happy dance! For more creative ideas for lunches check out What's for Lunch Wednesday

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Roasted Rhubarb

I can think of so many wonderful and creative rhubarb dishes I've tried and never been disappointed because rhubarb is one of my very favorite foods. I will try rhubarb anything. There is also something to be said for enjoying the simplicity of a food and savoring it's unique flavor. This was the case this week's French Friday recipe. Just look at that wonderful red rhubarb!

Now for a sprinkle of lemon zest and a bit of sugar

See how juicy and bubbly it is right out of the oven!

If you are a rhubarb lover like me, sometimes there
is no better way to enjoy this yummy treat than warm
with some fresh whipped cream on top, thanks Dorie!

For more wonderful ways with roasted rhubarb check out French Fridays with Dorie.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Noodles and Balloons

We have these balloon picks. They make a cherry red tomato look like a balloon. However, my kids have never warmed up to cherry tomatoes. We were once at a friend's house and she grew yellow sweet tomatoes and they loved them so when I found these at the store I figured break out the balloon picks and try again! Also included is some cold Asian noodle salad, kiwi-berry and carrot sticks. For really creative ideas for kid's lunches visit What's For Lunch Wednesday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cola & Jam Spareribs

This was a recipe that I least expected to find in the Around my French Table cookbook. Ribs with coca cola and jam? I have made ribs two ways, on the grill and in the slow cooker so I wondered about them being dry and tough cooked in the oven. In the end these were a pleasant surprise! Not only did they turn out to have a wonderful unique flavor but they were perfectly moist and tender, actually kind of amazing! This was probably one of my favorite recipes. If you want to hear more about Dorie Greenspan's cookbook and see other variations of these recipes check out French Fridays with Dorie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Crabby Lunch

These are my crab sandwiches inspired by family fun magazine. I decided to make mini crabs filled with tuna salad, carrot legs, orange pepper claws radish smile and some marshmallow eyes. Fun for a beach themed lunch. For lots of creative ideas for lunch check out What's for Lunch Wednesday

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fruit Jellies

I have been wanting to try Agar agar and this is my first attempt. If you are not familiar with Agar agar you can learn all about it here. It is made from seaweed. Some benefits of using this in place of traditional gelatin is that it is a vegan product, it sets up super fast and can be left at room temperature and is very high in fiber! I found this adorable idea at The Food Librarian. This woman does some amazing things with Jello. I used my brownie bites pan to shape them and added a couple drops of Lor Ann oils raspberry flavor to give it a nice berry flavor in addition to the fresh fruit. My kids were pretty impressed with these, they loved how they looked like little ice cubes!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday Lunch

I have to admit that the older my boys get the harder it is to make fun, creative lunches without them looking a little too cutesy for big boys. However, your really never too old for Star Wars sandwiches right? Today I made simple cheese sandwiches with some ranch pasta salad(with star cheese!), star cucumbers and grapes. Simple, healthy and just a little cutesy. Lucky for me I have one more little guy coming up that I can pour all the cutesy into. Speaking of too cute and "looks so good I can't stop thinking about them" check these out. I see these in my near future. Also if you need some really cute lunch ideas be sure and check out What's for Lunch Wednesday

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cardamon Rice Pilaf

This week's French Friday's recipe was Cardamon rice pilaf. This was my first time cooking with cardamon and I have to say it won't be my last. I loved all the flavors in this rice and think it will be a repeat in our house. If you would like to know more about French Fridays with Dorie check it out here

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Macaron Madness

It's that time again! The time when I decide to waste an entire day doing one thing, trying to perfect french macarons. This time I made mango flavored with mango filling, lemon with lemon curd filling and pistachio with french buttercream filling. This is a very addictive hobby. I am thinking of ways to make the next batch as soon as I finish the first batch. It's weird. I hope to one day make a fabulous macaron. I could look forever at some expert macaron makers like her and her.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bacon Egg & Asparagus Salad

After a brief absence from French Fridays with Dorie I have made my return! This week's recipe was the Bacon, egg and asparagus salad. I loved everything about the salad except one thing... the runny egg yolk. I wimped out. I know I probably would have been fine but I just didn't trust the freshness of my eggs and well nobody was really into trying it. So I went with the old standard hard boiled eggs. I think the runny yolk probably adds to the flavor and consistency of the dressing that lacked a bit without it. Overall it looked nice and we all enjoyed it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Egg Salad

Today the boys are having egg salad in a spinach tortilla, olive cheese wheels, carrots and a couple of peanut butter chocolate chip mini muffins. For some awesome lunch ideas check out What's for Lunch Wednesdays

Thursday, April 28, 2011

bistrot paul bert pepper steak

So this is my second attempt at French Fridays with Dorie and this was definitely a bit more challenging! I am not particularly fond of rare meat and so in an attempt to cook the steak a bit longer I'm afraid I overdid it. The beautiful thing was that the Steak being Filet Mignon was still very tender and really delicious! I enjoyed the cognac sauce as well and served this with simple oven roasted potatoes. This dish felt quite fancy and we enjoyed every bite!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Big Bunny Lunch

Have you seen the bunny rolls at Lunches Fit For A Kid? When I saw these I knew I had to try them for myself. Mine turned out fatter and wider than hers but I think it still passes as a bunny. To round out this big bunny lunch I included a carrot filled with peanuts and dried blueberries, cheese cubes, strawberries and a small container of dark chocolate peanut butter for the bunny.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mustard Batons

This is my first time participating in French Fridays with Dorie. I am usually trying a few new recipes each week anyways and so I thought it would be fun to join a cooking group. This week's recipe was Mustard Batons. These are a cinch to make! Basically puff pastry, good quality mustard and there you have it, a fantastic appetizer or accompaniment to dinner. You can even make these up ahead and keep in the freezer for future use. They turned out beautiful and they were gobbled up quick!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Slightly Rockin' Lunch

Today's lunch was an attempt to use these super rad "you rock" picks I found. I'm hoping to do a rock n' roll themed lunch in the future with these. For today we have ham, cheese and crackers, rice pudding with dried cherries, apples and carrots. For great lunch ideas check out What's for Lunch Wednesday

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pinwheel Sandwiches

These are the super quick lunches that are great for busy mornings. A tortilla spread with onion and chive cream cheese, ham and rolled up. Make this look fancy by cutting into spirals and putting on picks of course!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chicken Kabobs

Easy grilled chicken cubed and put in picks, strawberries, pretzels and some cheese cubes!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Nuggets for Dessert

We are having cake for dinner tonight and nuggets for dessert! The cake is a pizza filled bundt and these faux chicken nuggets are actually pound cake cut into odd shapes coated with frosting and dipped in chopped peanuts. The dip for the nuggets is pudding. Happy April Fool's Day!

April Fools Day

Today is one of my favorite days to trick my kids with lots of fun foods. Today's lunch has carrot coins inside the fruit snacks package, broccoli candy and jello in their water bottles. I had to put a bagel sandwich and some crackers with cheese in for substance!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mini Corn Doggies

Today I'm trying something I've never tried before. It's sometimes hard to offer food cold that the boys are used to eating hot. These are morning star veggie corn dogs with carrots, apples, string cheese and olives. We will see how this one goes!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shrimp Sushi

This morning's lunch is shrimp sushi using soy wrappers instead of nori seaweed wrappers, jello with peaches, some veggies and fruit and a little bit of bunny crackers. Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Here is our St. Patrick's Day lunch for 2011! In the past I've made green pretzel shamrocks and I've made pea-nut butter sandwiches. This year with some cute printables from How Does She I came up with shamrock shaped sandwiches, pears with greek yogurt dip, pea salad and a chocolate mint cupcake. Of course I had to give them green milk today too!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Madness

Usually in our house Monday lunches are the hardest because Monday is my grocery shopping day meaning we usually piece together a lunch of odds and ends. Today wasn't too bad. We had yogurt, blueberries, cheese, bunny crackers and baby carrots. These things should always be on hand for these Monday type mornings!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Food Challenge!

I am always re-introducing hard boiled eggs to the boys in hopes they will like them eventually. Today I decided to entice them with some cute colored fish and car molded eggs. I even added all the other bento fabulous foods including checkered apples, chocolate swirl sandwiches, cheese on a pick and carrot flowers. If all that weren't enough I put the salt and pepper in that adorable little container. So here's the trick when it comes to getting your kids to eat some not so favorite foods. First try making it cute. If the cute doesn't work then dare them. We have food challenge occasionally in our lunches. The boys are given a challenge or sort of dare and often times that does the trick! Sometimes they are rewarded when they get home from school with a treat for eating the lunch challenge item. I don't know how long this will work but it's been very effective so far!
For more great lunch ideas visit
What's For Lunch Wednesday

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Favorite

It is the last day of the work week and it has been full as usual. Today's lunch was super easy which always makes for a fun morning! Cold yakisoba noodles, pears, delicious Irish blarney castle cheese cubes and carrots. As a treat I gave the boys chocolate milk today, I predict it will be one of the few times they actually drink something with their lunch.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pretty Pita Lunch

Very easy morning. This lunch should be called "the old stand by". Simple pita bread wedges, veggies, blueberries, baby bel and hummus.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Ice Cream for Lunch

This is a standard sandwich with strawberries and yogurt. I found tiny kid cones at the store and thought about ways I could use them in lunches. I decide to wrap a small amount of nuts and marshmallows in plastic and shape in a ball. I placed the ball inside the cone and told the boys they could spoon some yogurt into the cones at lunch and top it off with the nut/marshmallow mix. They really enjoyed this! I have many cones left so I'll have to think of another way to use these adorable little food accessories! For more creative lunch ideas visit
What's for Lunch Wednesday

Monday, February 21, 2011

Macaron Success

I did make a Valentine lunch for the boys that included a lot of pink, red and lots of hearts. I didn't however post a picture because I spent Valentines day perfecting my macarons. I will say that I made 4 batches and only 1 failed which is a huge success for me. I now have an idea of what works best in my oven and have written down specific instructions for future making. So this week we enjoyed enough macarons to hold us over for quite sometime!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I ♥ Crescent Rolls

My love and affection for Trader Joe's crescent rolls continues. It is such a super staple to have on hand! I fill them with something delicious( today's ham & cheese) and roll them up and bake them. Another great alternative to the sandwich. Adding fruit, trail mix and a cookie and a 10 minute lunch is made.