Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Slow Cooker Ravioli


Yesterday, I had two slow cookers going in my kitchen simultaneously. The slow cooker is by far, my hardest working appliance...can't live without it. In one of the cookers was this yummy, easy recipe for ravioli which uses frozen ravioli to simplify things even further.


You'll Need:
-- 3 lbs. frozen ravioli (cheese or spinach varieties)
-- 2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
-- 1 14.5 oz. can tomato sauce
-- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
-- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated (fresh is better, but Kraft was what I had on hand)
-- 1 tbsp. dried oregano
-- 1 tbsp. dried basil leaves
-- 1 cup mozzarella cheese



Coat the bottom of the slow cooker with the olive oil
(about two turns around the stoneware)

Do you have one of these? They are awesome for peeling garlic super fast. After you peel & dice up your garlic, throw it in the pot with the olive oil.


Throw all of the tomatoes and tomato sauce in the pot and stir well.


I realized during this recipe that I have become my mother when it comes to cooking. It has always driven me crazy when I call and ask about a recipe and she gives me the "oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that" when it comes to measurements. I realized that I do that, too. I inevitably will use my palm instead of dragging out measuring spoons...looks about right to me.
Toss in your "handfuls" of oregano and basil. Add a little salt and pepper to your liking as well.


Toss in the ravioli (still frozen) and give it a few good stirs to make sure its well coated. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours (watch closely towards the end...nothing worse than burnt ravioli). You won't need any additional water or anything to cook the frozen ravioli. Everything comes out great. During the last ten minutes of cooking, add the mozzarella shreds and give it a stir to melt the cheese.


Goes great with a big salad! Mangia!












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Monday, January 30, 2012

Mop It Up Mondays Party #1

WELCOME TO THE PAR-TAY!
Would love for you to link up your favorite project, recipe, tip or whatever (it's an anything goes linky party)! It's all about sharing ideas. Let's MOP UP SOME FUN!

While you're here for the party, be sure to look around and become a follower, too!

The only rule is to please link back...either grab a button or link in your own style!
Thanks so much for stopping by!

mop it up mondays




Sunday, January 29, 2012

1 Corinthians 13 Printable



I couldn't resist creating one more Valentine's printable with one of my favorite verses. This is created as an 8x10 image (to be printed on letter sized paper if needed).

As usual, I'd appreciate a follow before you download your file. ; )

Click HERE to download the high res version (high res is the best for print quality).
Click HERE to download the low res version (low res is best for web resolution...not recommended for printing).

Have a great week!










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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stomach Bug Prevention Trick (Every mom should know this!)

Do you hate the stomach bug as much as I do? Emetophobia running high? The following is a trick to keep the tummy bug at bay. Grape juice to the rescue. Emetophobes unite.



Just to be upfront: this little trick is a PREVENTATIVE. Once you actually have a stomach bug in your system, it will not work. You will probably be throwing up grape juice...and could ruin some carpet! ; )

I know this isn't what I typically post about. When you get to the bottom of this post, you'll see why. But, I am known (in my "real" world) as the grape juice mom...thought I'd share it with all my bloggy friends, too. 

I first heard about this from a coach who works at my husband's high school. He carried grape juice with him all the time. And he was never sick and always attributing his stellar immune system to the good people at Welch's. About three years ago, I noticed a friends' Facebook status announcing that her family caught the dreaded tummy bug. A friend of hers wrote in the comments suggesting preventing it the next time with grape juice. So, then, I started researching...and came across Granny Sue's Blog who mentions the same method for prevention of this nasty creature. Apparently, this is a pretty popular preventative!

I hate cleaning up/smelling/hearing/thinking about throw up more than anyone. I seriously have panic attacks when someone pukes...just can't handle it. My friends giggle about my phobia...but, yeah...it's bad. So when we were all struck down by one of those bugs in 2009, I resolved from then and there, never again! We actually drink grape juice everyday. Each kid has a glass with his breakfast. AND, when I hear the bug is going around, we bump it up to a couple of servings a day. I do have one child who isn't as into grape juice as the rest of us...and he, inevitably will catch the bug every now and then. Which means the rest of us go on full alert...three servings of grape juice a day and the adults add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to theirs. It's the acidity in the juice that's supposed to help the bug from settling in your digestive tract. I'm no GI, but a good friend of mine is married to one and I know she does this as a preventative, too...so it can't be all malarkey, right? 

One BIG rule is that it MUST be 100% grape juice...and y'all....just buy Welch's to be sure. Lately, Welch's has been coming out with all sorts of new grape juices...avoid them if you can. No light or white, no "Essentials", no grape juice cocktail....just plain old 100%. I even avoid the ones with calcium. There are so many varieties...look very carefully when shopping for grape juice.


If you're just using it as a preventative when you've been exposed to the bug, try 3 glasses a day. If you want to add a bit of apple cider vinegar (no more than 1 tsp.) to it, it's one more measure to take. If you want to add it to your diet regularly (again, I'm not a doctor, this is just from my own experience), just a glass with breakfast is a good way to do it (I think 3 glasses of this every day all the time might hurt your stomach in other ways...LOL).

And of course, the reason I'm sharing this with you? I'm getting over a bug. YEP. Since the new year, I cut out my grape juice because of calories. And here I am....bleh. Just thought I'd spread the info out there. Let me know if you have any questions. Again, it's a PREVENTATIVE. Do not drink this if you already have the bug...that would be bad! ; )

Thanks to Coach John Christian for this info, the friend of Kate Martin's on FB and Granny Sue. Our mantra (until two days ago...heehee), was "feeling fine since 2009" because that's the last time one of these bugs really took us all out. (Can you tell we're big HIMYM fans? "Vomit free since '93?" LOL)


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Foil, Modpodge & Paint on a Lamp Base


This poor lamp has been through the wringer with me. I just can't settle on a "look" for it. I purchased it in the spring from Goodwill for next to nothing. I originally just did THIS to it last year. But, I was itching to change it up...again.


In all her glory.
(Not sure if I love the black on it, but it may grow on me. My husband said it was interesting. That's a loaded word when used as an aesthetic opinion.)

This was how she looked when I started a couple of days ago. 
I used foil, mod podge and some black craft paint that I'll show you in a bit.
I started by cutting my foil into (roughly) 3"x3" squares. It really didn't take much foil...didn't come close to using the 200 feet in the box I bought.

Then I just started modging & podging (I did use a brush for most of this...pictured above is some bubble rubbing). The foil is applied with the shiny side down. The edges were a bit trickier and I had to go over them with my fingers a few times. I gave it two more coats of Mod Podge after all the foil was on. 

Sort of wished I left her like this without the paint. That's okay. I'll learn 

This was the paint I used.

I worked in small sections. Paint on and rub off...probably immediately. I left mine on a wee bit long.

The top area is rubbed already...leaving the paint in all the grooves and ridges.

Tada!!


There you have it! Avery inexpensive and fast change (took two afternoons...a lot of which involved drying time).


What are your thoughts on the black paint? I'm planning to use the same technique on a sofa table I have...not sure if I should do the black paint again. 

Have a fabulous weekend, y'all!








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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lunch Box Sandwich Alternatives


Truth be told, making kids' lunches can be a major chore. And the worst part for me? Making a sandwich. Each kid wants a different kind, I'm pulling out my entire condiment shelf in the fridge, and well, don't get me started on the angular crust-cutting requests. And the worst? When 3/4 of that sandwich comes back home the next afternoon. 

The best ever alternative?? Savory frozen muffins (that I make ahead of time) that thaw by lunch. I love when I can throw those puppies into a lunch and be done! I try to keep a couple of dozen on hand to use when the sandwich frustration arises.


Pictured above are my boys' FAVE...

Pepperoni Pizza Muffins

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup mini pepperoni (I like the Hormel kind)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg, beaten
1½ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Line two standard size muffin pans with liners or spray with cooking spray (I usually do this...less waste that way). Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano and sugar in a large bowl. Fold in green onions, pepperoni and one cup cheese. In a medium bowl, combine egg and oil and then whisk in buttermilk. Add buttermilk mixture to the mixture and stir until combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups about half full. Sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining cheese. 

Bake at 375ºF for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

After muffins cool, individually wrap in plastic and freeze in a large container (I use a tupperware container, but a freezer-style zip-loc bag would work, too). Place one or two muffins in a lunchbox and they will thaw and be ready for a hungry first grader by lunchtime. Makes 20 muffins.






Pictured above is one of our...


Corn Doggie Muffins

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
Two or three hot dogs, cut into thirds (about 1 1/2 inch pieces)
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine corn muffin mix, egg (beaten) and milk and set aside. Spray 6-8 spots of a muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside.

Fill the muffin openings 1/3 full. Add a piece of the hot dog and sprinkle with a little cheese. Top with more mix, filling each tin about 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light golden on the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from tin. 

After muffins cool, individually wrap in plastic and freeze in large container (I use a tupperware container, but a freezer-style zip-loc bag would work, too). Place one or two muffins in a lunchbox and they will thaw and be ready for a hungry preschooler by lunchtime.









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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Easy-to-Make K'Nex or Lego Play Palette

Do your kids love K'Nex or Legos? Do you find yourself stepping on them in the dark {ouchie}? We put together this easy play palette for our kids to corral their K'Nex and Lego toys and avoid those step-on mishaps.



We LOVE this. We've had ours for a couple of years and they've made a heap of difference in the late night ouchie. The boys know that the toys stay ON the palette. And at the end of the day?

...it slides right under the bed! We actually have two of them, y'all...with the ever expanding Mario K'Nex and  Lego-City sets that my eight-year-old is always seeking, we needed enough room for everything. 

This is so easy. We used plywood...the half an inch. It's 2.5x2.5 feet square. I considered particle board, but with both of my boys actually sitting on the board to play, wasn't sure how well that would hold up. It is covered with felt...stretched taught and then stapled on the underside. The felt "grass" does require a bit of "mowing" from time to time. I use my scissors to trim off the pilly spots. But, truly it's low maintenance. I mow like once or twice a year. 


Happy Playing!










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