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Friday, June 29, 2012

ABC Photo Scavenger Hunt

Looking for something to entertain the kids with this summer? Try this ABC photo scavenger hunt! Give your child a camera and a list of the alphabet. Then, let them go crazy and take pictures of an item that begins with each letter. After, you can even print out the pictures and make a ABC photo book! If you want to make it even more interesting, give your child a time limit, or make it a competition between others. Have fun!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DIY Keep Calm...Poster

I stumbled across an amazing website called keepcalm-o-matic which allows you to custom design your very own "Keep Calm And..(insert your own word here)" posters. It's pretty amazing! You can choose your font, colors, and even a fun image. The best part is...it's free! Simply create your own poster and save it to your computer. What you choose to do it with it is limitless! I created a cute one for my classroom :) Go be creative and make something fun!







Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thin Mint Cookie Truffles


I'm on a truffle kick! I love no bake recipes, and with only three ingredients, this recipe couldn't be easier. Thanks www.sixsistersstuff.com for this awesome recipe!

 

 
Ingredients:
-1 (9 oz) package of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies (or Keebler Grasshopper cookies)
-1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese, softened
-1 (12 oz) bag Guittard's Green Mint Chips (I couldn’t find these, so I substituted it with basic milk chocolate chips)

Directions:

In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are just crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, you can still make these. Throw the cookies in a big Ziploc bag and start pounding them with a hammer until you have a lot of fine crumbs.

Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well-mixed. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart. Next, melt the green mint chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Roll each ball in the melted chips until it is fully covered. Carefully pick up the truffle and allow the excess mint chocolate to run off before placing back on the wax paper. Repeat with all the truffles.

Stick the truffles back in the fridge for 10 minutes or until the mint chocolate is hardened.

If you want to decorate your truffles as shown in the picture, melt about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips (or almond bark or white candy coating-whatever you want) the same way that you melted the mint chips. Spoon the white chocolate in a small Ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of one corner off the bag. Start small at first, then if you need, make the hole a little larger. Drizzle the white chocolate over the green truffles.

Place back in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

Family Banana Bread


This is recipe has been in our family for decades, each generation adding new twists to make it their own.



**Most important tip:  When your bananas are overripe and you think you should throw them away – just put them in a freezer zip lock bag and freeze – with the skins on.  Then when you are ready to make the bread, let the bananas thaw out over night, and you’ll get the special banana oils that make the bread extra moist and tasty.  So, whenever you may think about throwing away bananas, freeze them for your next batch of banana bread.

Blend until creamy:
2/3 cup butter
2 cups sugar

Beat in:
2 eggs

Add:
3 ½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

Mash:
8 bananas (or more-depending on banana size) so that you have at least 2 cups of banana pulp and then add it to above mixture

Beat batter until smooth

Bake:
Pour batter into greased bread pans (large).  Makes 2 loaves.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour – check at 50 minutes for doneness
To reduce overbrowning, loosely cover with foil after baking for 35 minutes

For those who enjoy nuts, add 1 cup of your favorite.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

No Bake Oreo Truffles

My new favorite dessert! I can't even explain how incredibly easy these are! Only THREE ingredients!They're bite size pieces of heaven!  Thank you chef-in-training for this fabulous recipe! 



Ingredients:
    1 package Double Stuffed Oreos
    4 oz Cream Cheese you may add up to 8 oz, I just like the consistency best with 4 oz.
    2 bags white chocolate chips

Instructions:
    Chop Oreos up finely in a food processor. Save some of the finely crushed Oreos for garnish later and set it aside. You don't need too much.
    With a spoon, mash softened cream cheese and crushed Oreos until well combined.
    Roll into 1" balls and place on a wax covered cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 15 minutes.
    While balls are in freezer, melt chocolate according to directions, usually 1-2 minutes.
    Pull the Oreo Truffles out of freezer, and dip into chocolate. I used two spoons t to dip. Garnish with reserved Oreo crumbs before the chocolate sets up.
    Let chocolate set, refrigerate and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sunday, June 10, 2012

iphone Budget Friendly App

Everyone should most definitely have this app on their iPhone. Mint is a phenomenal app that manages your money unlike any other. You can see all of your accounts in one place and easily set and manage your budget. You also have access to your own profile online where you can also sort out your finances. I've had it for years and it has truly made life easier! Enjoy!

  
mint.com app
Manage all of your accounts in one easy place.

Budgeting made easy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Basil Ricotta Pasta with Corn and Zucchini

As soon as I saw this recipe in Everyday Food, I knew I had to make it asap. Once again, Martha didn't disappoint. 



Basil Ricotta Pasta with Corn and Zucchini
Ingredients:
    2 cups dry pasta
    1 cup reserved pasta water
    salt and pepper
    1 cup ricotta
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
    4-5 small zucchini, sliced and then quartered
    1 3/4 cups corn kernels (from 2-3 ears)
    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for serving
    2 cups chopped, cooked chicken (optional)

Directions:
    In a large skillet heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat.  Add zucchini and corn and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until zucchini is slightly softened but not squishy.  Season with salt and pepper.
    Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
    In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pasta water, ricotta, and Parmesan. Add pasta mixture, zucchini, and basil, and toss to combine. Add more pasta water if necessary to create a light sauce that coats pasta. Season with salt and pepper and top with more basil and Parmesan.

Recipe: Everyday Food with additions from hottie-biscotti.com

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wine Barrel Funriture

One of my favorite wedding presents we received was this table and chair set. Here's the cool part- it's completely made out of a wine barrel! Gaiam creates these unique sets from white oak wine barrels from varying California wineries. Perfect for all wine lovers (me!me!me!)
Table and chair set- all out of a wine barrel!

surprisingly comfortable chairs.

My favorite piece is the table! It's so cute!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Katie's Closet

It's been too long!
Cardigan: Target
Top: H & M
Pants: Express
Shoes: Calvin Klein
Purse: Michael Kors

Monday, June 4, 2012

Life Changing Dog Hair Brush

Attention pet lovers: Go buy the Furminator brush NOW! I love my black lab, but I sure don't love her hair that she sheds all over! I vacuum and brush her three times a week (obsessive) and have finally come to a happy place, thanks to this brush! Furminator makes a variety of brushes from large to small dogs and cats, as well as short and long hair. It's truly amazing how much hair comes out with each stroke. It never ends! You just have to give up after 10 minutes and know that you made a difference.Warning: perform this act outdoors! Hair will be all over!
After three brush strokes- seriously.

Never ending hair removal! Love it!





 
You be the judge!
Thanks mom!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Summer Bucket List

Summer is here! I decided I needed to make a bucket list to ensure all the fun things I plan on doing this summer actually get done. Just looking at my bucket list makes me smile. Lots of vacations and activities planned. Summer 2012 will be amazing! What's on your bucket list? Go make one and give yourself a reason to smile!