Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foodie Friday: Cajun Chicken Pasta ala Chili's

My mom and I recently went to Chili's for lunch with Little Peachy. She ordered the Cajun Chicken Pasta. I decided that it would be a fairly easy recipe to knock off. I googled a Cajun seasoning recipe to see what spices to add. (I know that you can buy a Cajun seasoning mix, but I have a cupboard full of spices and don't need to add another.) I ended up with a yummy mix and an easy recipe.
Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Seasoning Mix
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t onion powder
pinch of dried parsley
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t chili powder

1. Cut two chicken breasts into strips. Cook in olive oil. Add grated garlic and the seasoning mix.
2. Cook 1 box of penne pasta.
3. Mix cooked pasta with jar of Alfredo sauce.
4. Dish pasta onto plates, top with chicken and diced tomatoes.

Serves 4.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Place for Everything . . .

This home improvement project was actually completed over Labor Day weekend, but I just got it tidied up enough to post a picture of it. Now that Peachy no longer hangs out in our closet, M and I decided to add some extra storage. M figured out that you can take closet shelves and install them upside down and you have shoe storage. Apparently he wasn't the first one to have this idea as we found shelves and hangers at Menards just for this purpose. Either way, it is a great idea and it really does work. No more piles of shoes all over the closet floor. (Now if only I can keep my shoe collection small enough to fit on these shelves.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Spice Granola

Its no secret that I love Pumpkin Spice. I am pretty much game to try anything that has pumpkin spice in its name. It all started with the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks. (I actually think Starbucks started a national obsession with pumpkin spice flavoring.) I have read several blog entries lately on this granola. I couldn't let the fall go by without trying it out myself. I actually made the first batch about a week ago. And it somehow disappeared before I could photograph it for a Foodie Friday entry. (Who knows how that happened??!!!) So, in order to satisfy the needs of my readers, I decided to make another batch. (See how much I care about you? It really is all about you.) This time I took the picture as soon as the granola was in the container. (That way there was no chance of it mysteriously disappearing.)

3 1/2 c rolled oats
2 1/2 c puffed rice cereal
2 t pumpkin pie spice
3/4 t salt
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 c plain applesauce
1/4 c maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
1 c sunflower seeds
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl combine oats and puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce, pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla.
3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until mixture is evenly coated.
4. Spread on prepared baking sheets in an even layer.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn the granola over using a spatula and sprinkle with nuts.
6. Bake an additional 15 minutes until crisp and golden.
7. Cool on pan and store in airtight container.
**You can also add dried fruit. I added Craisins to the first batch but chose to leave them out of the second.**

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Falling Up

I recently spotted this cute idea in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine:

I quickly grabbed a frame that I had lying around and my trusty spray paint. (The frame was 90% off at Hobby Lobby a while back. I believe this was due to its unfortunate paint job of gold with red veining.) Once the paint was dry I took a few of the fall leaves I had purchased at the Target Dollar Spot, some ribbon, and my hot glue gun. A few minutes later I had created this:

Not bad for a couple minutes of my time and a few dollars out of my pocket.
I have another project in the works using the fake fall leaves. You'll have to check out future posts for that one.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A New Trick Up Her Sleeve

Little Peachy has begun to master the fine art of rolling over. Last week she wowed me by rolling from her tummy to her back three times in a row. She then promptly forgot exactly how she did it and hasn't really repeated her performance. I thought for sure she would master this first as it is easier and she still isn't too fond of being on her tummy. Well, yesterday she proved me wrong by repeatedly rolling from her back to her tummy. When she gets on her tummy she is quite happy and proud of herself, however these feelings are short lived. She remembers how much she dislikes being on her tummy and starts to fuss. She fusses until she is A) turned over with some help or B) becomes so frustrated that she buries her head in her blanket. What a funny little girl.

While I have been an eye witness to her rolling antics, she has yet to perform for M. Last night she waited until he was down the stairs and out of sight and then rolled over for me. Soon we will be in need of a baby gate for the top of the stairs.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Foodie Friday: Pumpkin Pie Bites

Bakerella does it again. She makes the cutest, yummiest treats on her blog. I just couldn't resist trying my hand at her latest creation, Pumpkin Pie Bites. She wasn't lying when she said that these are really, really easy. They are. I'll give the recipe here, but if you want more detailed instructions, stop by her blog. I can't wait to take these to our mom's group Halloween party today.

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1. Using a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 pumpkins out of each pie crust. (You will have to roll it out a bit thinner and use the scraps to get out 12.)
2. Place pumpkins in a mini muffin tin. (Alternate cups to avoid overlapping. You will need to bake in two batches.) Leave the stems sticking out of the muffin cup and gently place the rest around the inside of the cup. Smooth the extra around the rim.
3. Separate one egg and brush whites around the edge of crust.
4. Mix cream cheese, pumpkin, and remaining two eggs until smooth. Add vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.
5. Spoon pumpkin mixture into the crusts.
6. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
7. Remove to wire rack to cool. (Place muffin pan on the freezer between batches to cool it quickly.)

Store in refrigerator.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Huh, Who Me?

Huh, What's that mom? No, I don't have anything in my mouth!

Oh, you mean this?

Why, that is just my sock!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pumpkins, and Buckets, and Ribbon, Oh My!

Want to see how I decorated our table for fall? (I knew you would say yes!) The ribbon around the pumpkins was an idea I stole from Emily over at Imperfect which she stole from Good House Keeping. You may remember the buckets that I picked up 2/$1 at the Target Dollar Spot. The mini pumpkins were on sale at the grocery store and the ribbon was on sale at Hobby Lobby. And there you have it my friends, our fall table.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

Remember this post where I mourned the loss of garage sales? Well, as it turns out, this weekend was my best garage saling weekend to date. Our little girl will be nice and toasty warm in her new-to-us clothes this winter.

I set out to conquer the last few remaining sales on a blustery Friday afternoon. (I left M and Peachy snug and sound in the house.) The snowflakes in the air and the bite of the wind weren't going to stop me. I think the weather actually worked to my advantage. There weren't many people out and those hosting the sales just wanted to get rid of stuff so they could get inside.
Peachy is now the proud owner of an adorable Children's Place double breasted pea coat, a snow suit, a Christmas dress, many pairs of jeans and khakis, several long sleeved onsies, a stocking hat, a denim jacket, several denim jumpers, and a few other assorted items tossed into the mix.
I also have a load of clothes that was sold as a lot coming to me today via Craigslist. I could pay more, but why?

Monday, October 12, 2009

5 Month Old in the House!

Saturday marked Little Peachy's fifth month. She is working hard at honing the skills she has been picking up along the way. Her large and small muscle control is really coming along. She definitely is able to grab what she wants (and when she reaches her goal, into the mouth it goes.) While she is not sitting on her own yet, she does sit up tall with assistance. And she still enjoys standing with us supporting her. She is much more able to entertain herself for longer and longer stretches these days.
We have started to give her solid foods as well. She has tried rice cereal and summer squash. While her face and bib are a mess at the end, much of the food does actually make it down the hatch. She still is quite perplexed when it comes to the sippy cup, though. She is also getting very good at alerting me when she thinks that she needs to nurse. She will be sitting on my lap and start dive bombing my chest. She knows where her food is and would help her self if she were able.
M and I are truly blessed through having her in our lives. It is amazing to see how far she has come in these last five months. I love to see her little personality as it emerges more and more each day. She absolutely loves people and will look at someone until she catches their eye and reward them with a big smile. I can't wait to see the person she becomes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Foodie Friday: Carrot Cake Cookies

"When life gives you shredded carrots, make carrot cake cookies." --Kristi
Carrot Cake Cookies from
-1 c. packed brown sugar
-1 c. granulated sugar
-1 c. butter, room temperature
-2 large eggs, room temperature
-1 t. vanilla
-2 c. flour
-1 t. baking soda
-1 t. baking powder
-1/4 t. salt
-1 t. cinnamon
-1/2 t. nutmeg
-1/2 t. ginger
-2 c. old fashioned rolled oats
-1 1/2 c. finely grated carrots
-1 c. raisins
Cream Cheese Filling
-8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
-8 T. butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
-1 c. powdered sugar
-1 t. vanilla
Mix sugars and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat at medium speed until well combined.
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
Using a 1/2-ounce cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets lined with parchment, leaving two inches between cookies.
Bake at 350 until browned and crisped, 12 - 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
While cookies are cooling, soften cream cheese in mixer. Gradually add butter and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.
Once cookies are completely cooled, use an offset spatula to spread about 2 t. of cream cheese filling onto a cookie.
Sandwich together with a second cookie.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oh Lovely Mud

Remember the state of our van in yesterday's post?
How on earth did it get so muddy? Sit back, relax, and let me tell you a little story. M was out of town for a business trip. (If you can call attending a trade show in Vegas a business trip.) And my mom was in town keeping Peachy and I company. We decided that it would be fun to hit up a few garage sales Saturday morning and loaded up the van to see what bargains we could find. I had looked up the address on Google, but decided that I knew a better route. (Bad decision #1.) Everything was going swimmingly until I decided to turn onto a gravel (and by gravel I mean mud) road. (Bad decision #2.) It looked iffy the moment we turned onto it. (It has been a very rainy few weeks here.) After driving a short distance we encountered a huge mud puddle across stretching across the road. Did I turn around realizing that it was not a good idea to transverse this muddy road? Oh no, I just powered up the van and charged on through. (Bad decision #3.) We made it through with a few slips here and there. We also made it through the next big mud puddle. "We are doing well," I thought to myself. "This van is powerful!" It was the third mud puddle (a mud pit, really) that did us in. I tried my best to power through. (Bad decision #4.) The van tried its best. But alas, we were stuck. I quickly called my father up on the phone to see if he had any neat tricks as to how to extricate a mini van from a mud pit. And he did. "Call a tow truck," he said. And call a tow truck is just what I did. "We can be there in about 45 minutes," I was told. Nothing to do but sit and wait. But soon a beacon of hope appeared on the horizon. A car was approaching us. In it were two high school aged boys. To their credit they did stop and ask if we were stuck. Hmmm, do you think? And then continued on their way. So we waited some more. I glimpsed what I thought was the profile of a tow truck on the horizon, but as it drew closer I realized it was just a Jeep out enjoying the muddy day. The driver stopped and came over to the van. I told him a tow truck was on the way, but he insisted in helping us out. He hooked up his tow rope, gave me some instructions and out we came. After thanking him profusely, we were both on our way. Only a short way down the road we encountered the biggest mud puddle yet. What to do? I knew that we would not be able to make it through, but the only alternative was to go back to the scene of the first incident. (That or sit and wait for the tow truck and ask him to pull me across the muddy pit.) I turned around, careful to avoid the steep drop off on either side of the road. When we got to the pit we were stuck in, mom got out and did some reconnaissance. If I stayed way to the side and didn't go into the ditch we might make it out. And that is just what I did. I crossed the three original puddles and was back on pavement. Hallelujah! I made a quick call to the tow truck dispatcher and cancelled the rescue mission. We did miss the garage sale, but that is a small price to pay. The van cleaned up nicely at the car wash and the mud was easily scrapped from my shoes.
Little Peachy decided that was enough adventure for the day and conked out in her car seat with her hood pulled over her eyes. (Obviously she didn't want to see where her mother was taking her next.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Multiple Choice

Why do my shoes look like this? Why is my daughter sleeping with her hood over her eyes? Why does our van look like this?
A) This is how we entertain out of town guests.
B) I was testing the power of our van.
C) This is what happens when you drive on a gravel/dirt road after a week of rain.
Stay tuned for the answer.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Foodie Friday: Tuscan Soup (Guest Post)

Today, my great friend and wonderful cook/baker, Jenny, will be sharing a recipe from her kitchen for Foodie Friday!! Enjoy!

Earlier this week my dear friend and sister-in-law asked if I’d like to be a guest on Foodie Friday here at Bowl of Cherrys. I was delighted, honored, and uncertain of what to feature. Since I love to bake, love to cook, and firmly believe that recipes are a guide not a rule, I’m always coming up with new things in my kitchen. But what should I share with the loyal fans of Foodie Friday? It had to be special. Then a mutual friend suggested a soup since she is looking for new recipes. She was right. A soup, or stew, or chili would be great since (at least around my house in Wisconsin) Fall has fallen. This past week has been filled with days when a pot of warm simmering soup, some fresh bread, a cozy pair of slippers, and a sweater just feel right. I was looking for a homemade comfort food that would invite you to curl up and enjoy. Since this mutual friend happens to be a fan of the Olive Garden restaurant I picked a soup I’ve played with and modeled after the sausage-potato soup served on the lunch menu there. Olive Garden calls it ‘Zuppa Tuscana.’ Since I’m not actually Italian and want to avoid copyright infringement, I simply call mine ‘Tuscan Soup.’

Thanks for letting me into your kitchen.

Tuscan Soup
16 oz. ground Italian sausage
6 cups chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ pint fresh sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
1 T Italian seasoning
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp caraway seed
5 small potatoes, washed and chopped
4 oz. cream cheese
½ bunch kale, sliced into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot cook sausage until no longer pink. Drain and return to pan. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté until vegetables are becoming tender. Add broth, soup, seasoning, and cream cheese. Stir to soften cream cheese and blend together soup. Add potatoes. Bring to medium boil and simmer gently until potatoes are to desired tenderness. Toss in kale and simmer 3-5 minutes until kale is to desired tenderness. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and serve with warm bread.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Double Whammie

Two things that I have a hard time resisting: Target Dollar Spot and Fall Items. Put the two together, and Houston we've got a problem.

Here's the stash I recently picked up:

Two Halloween hats for Peachy, Three pairs of Halloween socks for Peachy, Three pairs of tights for Peachy, Halloween cookie cutters, Little metal Halloween Buckets, and Two bags of fake leaves.

Besides the hats and socks I have plans for all of the items. (And obviously I plan on having her wear those!!) Stay tuned to see what those plans are!