Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Picking



Last Sunday afternoon, Max, Chloe and I went apple picking with both our moms and some of our siblings. It was so much fun in comparison to last year when Chloe was just a little newborn. Now Chloe can join in on the excitement and even pick her own apples off the trees! 

Chloe loved the pumpkins (I got way more photos of Chloe with Pumpkins than with apples...oh well):


She loved the apple cider donuts:


She kind of cared less about tractor ride:


She loved the apples:


Chloe makes everything a million times more fun! We are looking forward to going to the fair this Sunday!

Before I end this I have to put a photo on here of Chloe in the pumpkins when she was 4 weeks old....my baby is all grown up...=( See how much she's grown!






Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creamy Stroganoff



After looking up different stroganoff recipes, I concocted this recipe last night, and not only was it easy to put together, it was also really yummy-- a true comfort meal that the whole family enjoyed. Chloe couldn't stop mowing down on it!

It was hard to capture a photo illustrating how delicious the stroganoff tasted! You will just have to try out the recipe and see for yourself how creamy and savory it is!

Creamy Stroganoff

♦ 3 Tablespoons Butter
♦ 1/2 Onion (chopped finely)
♦ 1 Pound of Ground Turkey (you can use ground hamburg if you prefer)
♦ 1 beef bullion Cube
♦ 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
♦ 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
♦ Dash of Pepper

♦ Egg noodles (I used whole wheat)

Cream Sauce:
♦ 1 (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of Mushroom Soup
♦ 1 cup of milk
♦ 1 cup Sour Cream
♦ Pinch of ground Thyme
♦ 2 Teaspoons of Mustard

Directions:
Fill a pot 2/3's full of water and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles. Cook until tender, then drain and set aside.

In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add chopped onions. Cook onions until soft. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed beef bullion cube. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground turkey and stir occasionally until meat is fully cooked.

While ground turkey mixture is cooking, make the cream sauce in a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a whisk, combine cream of mushroom soup, milk, sour cream, thyme and mustard until well blended. Add cream sauce mixture to the skillet with the ground turkey. Mix it all together and stir occasionally until it starts to bubble. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, still stirring occasionally.

Serve Stroganoff mixture over egg noodles and enjoy!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Haircut #2

Ugh...what a long week. Chloe and I have both been sick and Chloe has needed my constant attention...poor baby... I hate that I got her sick. To make it more difficult, Max has been working 12 hour days (while working 2 hours away) so he has pretty much had to come home and go right to bed. Alas, it is Sunday and a new week begins!

I got a trim last Monday, but it turned into a much shorter haircut than I wanted...more of a stack haircut. I didn't have my regular hairdresser so I should have waited...oh well. Its not bad, just not what I was going for:


I have gotten quite drastic this year with my hair! Here is a before and after haircut timeline from the past year:




I'm glad I've become more adventurous with my hair! Long hair is pretty but I don't miss it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Apple Streusel Muffins


Oh my goodness. I had to cheat on these muffins... It took me a couple tries to perfect this recipe, but in the end it was worth every failed attempt. My final adjustments to the recipe resulted in muffins that are incredibly moist, with a perfect blend of apples and cinnamon...topped with a sweet, crunchy streusel topping....fresh from the oven...smothered in butter...oh yea... They are SO good.

 Definitely a must-make recipe for Fall!

APPLE STREUSEL MUFFINS
(Recipe yields 12 muffins, or 6 large)

Ingredients:
♦ 2 cups Flour
♦ 1/2 tsp Salt
♦ 2 tsp Baking Powder
♦ 1 tsp Cinnamon
♦ 1/2 cup of Oil
♦ 1/2 cup Milk
♦ 3/4 cup Sugar
♦ 1 Egg
♦ 1 tsp Vanilla
♦ 2 Apples

Streusel Topping:
♦ 1/2 cup Sugar
♦ 1/3 cup Flour
♦ 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
♦ 1/4 cup butter, slightly softened but still a little firm

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or place liners in a muffin pan.

Peel and dice apples into small pieces. Set aside.


In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, blend together oil, milk, egg, sugar and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry until fully blended (batter will be thick). Stir in diced apples.


Spoon batter into muffin pan.


Make your streusel topping. Stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter (I use two knives and just keep cutting until all the butter is in tiny little pieces throughout the topping). Spoon the topping evenly on the batter in the muffin pan.


Bake for 20-25 minutes (for 12 muffins) or 24-28 minutes (for 6 large muffins) until toothpick comes out dry when inserted into the center of a muffin.


Savor the deliciousness of these muffins! Don't eat too many of them ;-)














Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Impossible to Forget

2996 people lost their lives 11 years ago today.
Over 6000 US soldiers have sacrificed their lives since then.
We move forward, but we never forget.
Thank you to all who are still fighting today for our freedom.



Oreo Truffles


People always love these truffles, no matter what the event is! They are very time consuming but oh so worth it! I'm always getting asked for the recipe so here it is!

OREO TRUFFLES

Ingredients:
♦ Box of Oreos
♦ 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
♦ 1 and 1/2 (12 oz) bags of white chocolate chips

Directions:
Food process Oreos until crushed into very fine pieces (like the consistency of sand). Mix this with the cream cheese until completely blended. Refrigerate for 1 hour.


Take out Oreo "Dough" and roll out 1 inch balls. Place them on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 1 hour.


Melt white chocolate in microwave on high for one minute in a small glass dish. Stir and return to microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring in-between each interval, until chocolate is completely melted. If the consistency of the chocolate is too thick or dry to dip the Oreo balls, add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening to thin it out.

Take Oreo balls out of freezer. One by one, completely submerge each of them into the chocolate and place them on another cookie sheet (with wax paper) using two spoons. Try to let each Oreo ball drip the excess chocolate off before placing them on the cookie sheet.

Put the cookie sheet of dipped Oreo balls in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Take out Oreo balls. Re-melt the leftover white chocolate in the microwave for 15 second intervals again. Add a couple drops of an oil-based food coloring (any color you desire!). Place this colored, melted chocolate in a Ziploc bag and just barely cut a tiny corner off. Make zigzag designs across each Oreo ball by squeezing the Ziploc bag and using quick back and forth motions.

Refrigerate for 60 minutes before removing them from cookie sheet.

Store Oreo balls in an air tight container in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

WARNING: These Oreo truffles are extremely addicting.


Oreo Brownie Trifle


One bite of this trifle has you going back for more. It is such a perfect blend of moist fudgy brownies, sweet crunchy Oreos, and creamy mousse-like chocolate. The fluffy cool whip just ties it all together...

OREO BROWNIE TRIFLE

Ingredients:
♦ 1 Box of Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie mix (you will need the additional ingredients listed on box)
♦ 8 oz cream cheese, softened
♦ 1 cup powdered sugar
♦ 1/4 cup of Butter, softened
♦ 3 cups milk
♦ 2 small packages of instant fudge chocolate pudding
♦ 12 oz tub Lite Cool Whip
♦ 1 Box of Oreos, Crushed (save a couple whole ones for garnish)
♦ 8 oz tub Lite Cool Whip

Directions:
Prepare and bake Brownies as instructed on box. Cool Brownies completely and set aside. (I cut the outer edge of the brownie away because I didn't want any of the harder brownie in the trifle).


Blend together Cream Cheese, butter and powdered sugar until creamy.

In a separate bowl, blend milk and pudding until thick.


Add pudding to cream cheese mixture, then fold in 12 oz tub of Cool Whip.


Now you can begin layering the Trifle! Cut up the brownies in bite size squares and place one layer of brownies on the bottom of the Trifle. Then put half of the pudding cream cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle 1/2 of the crushed Oreos for the third layer. On the Oreos, put half of the 8 oz tub of cool whip. Repeat for a total of 8 layers.



Garnish the top with the rest of the Cool Whip, some Oreo "crumbs" and a couple whole Oreos. Keep refrigerated and don't eat the whole thing at once!




Pineapple Cake


This cake recipe is so so delicious and really easy to make! It was a big hit at Sarah's bridal shower.

PINEAPPLE CAKE
(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home)

Cake Ingredients :
♦ 1 Box of Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Cake Mix
♦ 1 cup of water
♦ 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
♦ 1 Can (3.4 oz) of Mandarin oranges, fully drained

Frosting Ingredients:
♦ 1 package of (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
♦ 1 can of Dole crushed Pineapple, fully drained
♦ 1 tub (12 oz) of Lite Cool Whip, thawed


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and cut out parchment paper to place on the bottom of each pan. Beat on medium speed the cake mix, water, and oil in large bowl until blended. Add in the fully drained Mandarin oranges.


Pour evenly into the two pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick insterted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. Take a butter knife and slide it between the cake and the pan to loosen. Gently remove pan from cake by holding the cake upside-down on your hand. Remove parchment paper while the cake is upside-down on your hand, and gently place the cake right-side up on wire racks to cool completely.


While cakes are completely cooling, make the frosting. Combine fully drained pineapple and dry pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip.


When the cakes are fully cooled, you can frost the cake. Spread generously between layers, over the top, and then spread evenly along the sides.




Keep refrigerated... Enjoy your yummy pineapple cake!