Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fruit {jellies} on a Stick

Okay. Here is a quick idea if you want party favors and don't have the time to come up with something fun and edible! 


Container...plastic cup, flower pot, tea cup...whatever you have


Crinkle paper

Assorted Fruit Jellies {Trader Joes}


*Fill container with flour

*Put Crinkle paper on top to cover flour

*Cut lollipop sticks in various heights and place fruit jellies on the top

*Stick them in the flour

*That is it!

Takes minutes! I also cut some jellies and put them on the glasses...endless possibilities. No mess. No effort...well maybe a little...and they are A.DORABLE. They look like a little bouquet of birthday balloons!

This is a fun activity to have your children make to take to a summer picnic. No need for dessert...just fruit jellies on a stick!

Mini cellophane bags may also be used to cover the fruit jellies and then tied with baker's twine.  I like it SIMPLE, though...

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scott's Firehouse BEST Baked Beans

Scott's Firehouse recipes are easy, fool-proof and FAST! There is not time to diddle-daddle with meals. They can be tasty...but they need to be practical. There is always the possibility of a "call" that can take them away from the firehouse for minutes or for hours. I figure if it works for a REAL.LIFE. FIREHOUSE...it works in the REAL.LIFE.HOME...where we may be putting our own "fires" out!

Okay...with Memorial Day right around the corner, and Summer on her way, I think a most.delicious baked bean recipe is in order. A dump and run recipe at that!

I am all for making baked beans from scratch, but I am not going to preach what I don't practice.  And this week baked beans from scratch was NOT happening!  Thank heaven's I didn't run into any friends while I was grocery shopping this weekend because I would have had a lot of explaining to do!!!  Not only was the cart filled with baked bean makings but with store-bought ice cream toppings, LOTSA candy from the bulk section, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese, Ramen noodles, cake mixes, soda pop, frozen prepared dinner {OH.YES!} canned whipped cream...Nitrous oxide and all!, and the list goes on...but the sweet hubby...I so do not deserve...reassured me that it is okay and that we are not going to die if things are not made with nutrition in mind for a week...he also made sure that I knew his baked beans were just as good as if they were made from scratch!!  I have learned to trust him in that department, so, if you are having a week of feeling overwhelmed and have no time or energy to cook from scratch, get your trusty crockpot out and let it do your work for YOU!

Scott's Firehouse Best Baked Beans

2 cans {28oz.} BUSH'S Vegetarian Baked Beans

1 can {15oz.} Black Beans, drained

1 can {15oz.} Great Northern Beans

1 can {15oz.} Pinto Beans

1 Tablespoon liquid smoke

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup ketchup


*Place all ingredients into crockpot and stir a bit.

*Cook on low for at least 4 hrs. or longer!

Serve with a GREAT.BIG.SMILE!!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fruit Salad Smoothie

Yes, this bloggy has been filled with old posts and old pictures and old news...and I have missed YOU!
I have missed writing and documenting and chit chatting about life!
We have had the most beautiful weather here in Portland and it has been a real treat to wake up to the sunshine streaming through the white cotton curtains almost every.single.morning until a few days ago!
Caleb and Nate's Graduation Open House is this weekend.  Can I just say how thankful I am that MRS.C offered to host the party?!  I think this is the first time I have EVER.EVER.EVER been okay with not having to host{because hosting is one of my very favorite things to do...especially when it comes to our children and their sweet friends!}.  Okay, I did wake up with a bit of guilt this morning.
Nate's momma is providing the home and I am doing the food shopping.  Fair trade if you ask me!  The boys are ice cream fanatics, so the theme is old-fashioned and simple.  We will be having an ice cream bar with brownies and toppings.  We both talked each other out of making homemade ice cream cream.  There comes a point in keeping or loosing your sanity!!
Graduation is the following week and then we will be leaving to chaperone this fun class for five days.  Once we are back, our Laurissy leaves to teach in Kazakhstan for a couple of weeks, and then our Caleb will be leaving for the Philippines before she gets back.  Once she is home, the final wedding plans will need to be finalized...WHEW!

Needless to say, posts will be even more scatter-brained and full of boring information for most of you, but I do love looking back on what our life looks like right now.
I want to remember how God provided us with strength, with friends who loved us, with rest, with compassion and grace toward our children, with peace in stressful situations, with comfort in knowing our God had His hands on our children and their friends while in different places in the world...so far away from the familiar and secure.  Because we can thank God for every situation, we made up a word...SURTHRIVAL:  Thriving in survival mode!  I am so thankful that God is in control of this seemingly out-of control, crazy, life-changing time in our lives!


Teenagers would rather sleep than eat breakfast.  It is true in our home, anyway.  So, since a certain male off-spring of ours needs good nutrition to finish his school-year, I have opted to make him breakfast on-the-go. {Trust me, once he has the golden diploma in hand, he will be on his own for breakfast AGAIN!}

Since we have been serving lots more fruit with dinner and not eating as much sugar, fruit salads have become "my thing".  I try to make different fruit salads to keep it from getting too boring.  Mixing three different fruits together works great.  One of the current favorites is fresh pineapple, fresh strawberries and fresh cantaloupe and a bit of lemon juice.  Whatever is left is measured out into two cups and placed into the freezer...ready for a smoothie!

Fruit Salad Smoothies

2 cups orange juice...no sugar added, not from concentrate

2 cups frozen fruit salad

1 scoop HERBALIFE Protein Drink Mix {optional}


Place all ingredients into blender and blend away until your smoothie is nice and smooth.

Pour into cups and kiss your child good morning and good-bye!


Shared with:  stone gable

Monday, May 21, 2012

Oma's Sourdough Muffins

"But how do you make the sourdough?" Mrs. Boast asked.
"You start it," said Ma, "by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours."
"Then when you use it, always leave a little," said Laura, "and put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water," Laura put in the warm water, "and cover it," she put the clean cloth and the plate on the jar, "and just set it in a warm place," she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. "And it's always ready to use, whenever you want it."


My Momma made everything from scratch and I do mean everything! If I had to pick one favorite muffin...this would be it...in the healthy category anyway! Thank you, for the recipe and for Grammy's starter!

Oma’s Sourdough Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup bran

1/3 cup sugar

½ tsp. sea salt

1 cup oatmeal

1 tsp. baking soda

1 small very ripe banana, cut into small pieces

½ cup applesauce {Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Gravenstein Applesauce is our favorite!}

½ cup walnuts, chopped

½ cup coconut

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk

1/3 cup oil

2/3 cup sourdough starter


*Mix all dry ingredients together.

*Put all wet ingredients into bowl and stir.

*Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix all together gently.

*Pour into prepared muffin pan.

{Makes 12 muffins}

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.


*Better Homes and Gardens has an easy sourdough starter recipe.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Zesty Strawberry Shortcake

When the birdies start chirpin' early in the morning and the sunbeams bounce off your warm bed blankets, you know SPRING is in the air which means picnic season is on its way! Although we enjoy picnics all year long {making picnic fare and eating at games, in the car etc.} warmer temps mean hikes, bike rides, adventure in the warm fresh air! What do you look forward to when the sun starts to shine and mornings start to become a tad bit warmer?

Here is a quick recipe that beats the storebought variety. It will take you less time to make these yummies than it will take you to take a trip to your local grocery store! The smell of the orange zest baking in these biscuits will entice your children to be members of "the clean plate club"!...with the promise of a healthy dessert to follow!

Zesty Strawberry Shortcake
Lisa Pearson


2 cups flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

Zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened OR Organic All Vegetable Shortening {Spectrum brand}

1 cup whipping cream...sweetened a bit OR Vanilla Soymilk

Extra cream or soymilk
Coarse sugar


* Mix dry ingredients together.

* Cut in butter and add cream.

* Mix until dough is soft and ingredients are all mixed in. It will look like cookie dough.

* Place six to eight mounds onto a greased baking sheet or SILPAT. Flatten just a bit.

* Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.

* Bake at 425* for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: Let cool and wrap each shortcake in a cellophane bag. Tie with a string.


*Slice four pints of fresh strawberries, add about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar...depending on how   sweet the berries are.

*Sprinkle with a little lemon juice.

*Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Slice shortcake in half, add strawberries, top with ice cream or whipped cream or BOTH!!

If you want to make these in advance, just bag the individual wrapped shortcakes by putting them into gallon Ziploc bags and freezing them. They will stay as fresh as the day you baked them!

...OR...you can make lots and lots and lots and have friends over and enjoy it outside!

                                                                            {photo credit...Rob Buster}

Shared with:  stone gable

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Pizza Garden

Don't you just think herb gardens are enchanting?  All the way from the itty bitty ones basking in the sun sitting in kitchen windows, container gardens that sit outside of apartment doors, baby starts perched on children's window seats all the way up to large yards with raised garden beds with complicated irrigated systems and mesh bottoms that boast a variety of herbs.   They all seem to add a bit of hominess to the HOME.

A pizza garden is so easy to make.  All you need to do is to plant a few small Italian herbs in a pot.  My favorites include:  thyme, rosemary, oregano and basil.  You can add whatever else you like, but these are beautiful planted together.  It can be kept simple.  I purchased a planted herb garden at Trader Joe's for $6.99.  This pot included three out of the four herbs I was wanting to include.

I already had a Dollar Store basket that was $1.00...so, I decided it would be a perfect way to package the gift.  No taping, or gift wrap needed...YAY!

I simply lined the basket with tissue paper I keep on hand.  {If you go through a lot of tissue paper, you may want to buy it at Costco after Christmas...I haven't needed to buy it in at least three years...that is alot of bang for your buckaroo!  Then, for a bit of color once in a while, I will buy the colored tissue paper when it goes on sale.}

I then placed the "Pizza Garden" into the basket and made a tag.  I think this would be a great gift for Mother's Day, a teacher's gift, a thank you gift etc.!

If you need several gifts, it is easy to purchase one potted herb garden and then divvy it up into smaller containers.  Separate tags may be printed up and punched out to label the herbs.  Children LOVE.LOVE.LOVE helping with this.

Again, this is a great gift on it's own that takes very little time to put together...but you could add a little white gift bag filled with Trader Joe's store bought pizza dough, a jar of pizza sauce and a container of shredded Parmesan cheese.  Just be sure to keep it chilled with blue ice or a couple of zippies with ice.  


Monday, May 7, 2012

A Soda Fountain Gift

How many of you remember the craze of Soda Fountains?

Raspberry Flips, Pink Sodas and Patio Punch Soda's were all the rage! Well, here is a fun, frugal way to give an Italian Cream Soda {to go} as a gift.

This can be given as a shower gift, a graduation gift {teenagers love these!}, a birthday gift, a teachers gift etc.

They are great baby shower gifts as well. It is fun for the Momma-to-be to be able to take something home for the rest of the family or hubby to enjoy as well. You could even include a gift certificate for a pizza to be enjoyed on a day where cooking is not at the top of the "to do" list.

These Italian Cream Soda gifts are very fun to embelish. You can use colors or a theme to customize the gift.

As mentioned before we are talking FRUGAL, so I made mine for under $10.00.

A white gift bag: .79 {Party Depot}

2 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper: $1.00 {Paper Zone}

Napkins: $1.00 {the Dollar Store}

Straws: $1.00 at the Dollar Store {on hand}

Cups: $1.00 {the Dollar Store}

Torani Syrup: $3.99 {Cash-n-Carry}

Club Soda: .87 with deposit {Winco}

Ribbon I had on hand.


Club Soda:
Cut scrapbook paper into 6x6 square.
Remove label from Club Soda.
Glue 6x6 sheet on to Club Soda bottle being sure to cover any leftover residue from original label.

Drink Tags:
Use any size craft punch and punch drink tags out of scrap paper from cutting down your 6x6 sheet of paper.
Punch a small hole with a regular sized hole punch for straw.

Place a handful of straws into standard {stiff} cellophane bag or tie together with ribbon.

Italian Cream Soda Label:
Cut second sheet of 12x12 paper into 8 1/2" x 11".
Print label with Italian Soda directions.

I put enough for 8 into each package, but always add more straws! They are inexpensive and fun to have extras. Can one ever have too many straws?

Suggestions if you are NOT on a budget:

*A syrup dispenser pump...much less messy and child-friendly.  {need I say more?}

*Add a vintage glass straw dispenser with colorful straws.

*Add cookies or biscotti to carry the Italian theme.

*Add an ISI whipped cream maker...you get the idea!

Here is a fun idea, too...what about a Soda Fountain Bar?  They are my go to for baby showers, birthday parties, luncheons, dinner parties etc.  ENJOY!

Shared with:  comfy in the kitchen

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Homemade Boursin Cheese Spread

Here is a simple cream cheese spread that is easy to put together and tastes AMAZING!

I love making food gifts and this one is pretty simple.  All you need to do is package a few bagels together, put the flavored cream cheese into a glass container and deliver it along with fresh orange juice for an easy breakfast to go!

Another fun idea is to go ahead and toast the bagel, spread the yummy cream cheese on the bottom and top it with a slice of cheddar, wrap it and package it along with a small salad, a cupcake and a small bottle of lemonade.  How fun would this be to deliver to a friend, a teacher, a child...?

Boursin Cheese Spread


1/2 cup butter, room temp

2  8oz. packages cream cheese, softened

3 cloves of garlic, pressed

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/4 teaspoon marjoram

1/4 teaspoon dill weed

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


*Blend butter and cream cheese together until smooth.

*Add seasonings and mix well.

*Place into glass jar with a lid and chill overnight.

*Serve at room temp.

{I buy my spices in the bulk section...that way, I am buying fresh spices and only in the amount needed.}


P.S.  I dropped my camera and broke it.  Oh, YES, I DID!  Anyhoo, Now I know why cameras have permanent straps attached.   :}

Shared with:  stonegable, comfy in the kitchen

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Can you even believe Cinco de Mayo is this weekend?  My.Oh.My, time flies.

Anyhoo, I thought it would be fun to post a few of my favorite recipes that would be perfect for Saturday night!

                                                Easy BBQ Mexican Chicken

                                                    Mexican Stacki Upi Bowls

                                                          Buffalo Taco Salad

                                                          Tostada Tartlettes

                                                   Cinco de Mayo Omelettes  {in a bag}

                                             Scott's Firehouse Cornbread {aka The BEST Cornbread EVER!}

                                              Key Lime Whippers

                                                Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty please...don't forget the LEMONADE.  Plain ol' lemonade will do.  Unless you have time to make strawberry or raspberry lemonade!  :}

Happy Celebrating!

Shared with:  at the picket fence, comfy in the kitchen