Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

What Happened in January?

I cannot believe January is over.  It was a good month of starting over and focusing on new goals.  We had a couple cooler days so we enjoyed more indoor activities.

It does not matter what time of year it is I LOVE having fresh flowers around the house.  In high school, one of my first jobs was working in a flower shop.  I loved this job and now realize how this job was just a cool learning opportunity for me at a young age.  My boss, who was my former Sunday School teacher, took time to teach me the art of arranging flowers.  I learned how to tie bows, care of plants and flowers, and how to deliver flowers to the happiest places and the hardest places.  Through it all, it was a perfect job for me.  I still love to buy my own flowers and create.  I have a thing for daisies so they are usually always around.

 

As part of our goals, we decided as a  family to focus on one scripture verse a month.  This month we chose, 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This verse was up in our mudroom all month and we would recite it, talk about it, and try to apply it to our daily lives.  So whether I was taking final bites of leftover Mac&Cheese, driving Will to school, or cleaning baseboards, I was trying to do it for the Glory of God.  A simple but powerful verse for my boys.  Will got so into focusing around a scripture, he asked if he could pick out the verse for February.

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We experienced a few rainy days this month.  On one particular rainy day, Whitaker and I made yummy, simple chocolate chip cookies.  It is always fun being in the kitchen with my boys.  Plus the learning that goes on in the experience.

20170123_133058_001Plus little brother thought it was really cool to have a snack ready for his big brother’s arrival home from school.  You probably have all the ingredients right at home now for these Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Welcome to February!
Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

 

You Have Everything You Need Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a rainy Monday and Whitaker realized we were out of cookies.  In a house of boys, running out of cookies is a bad thing.  Whitaker is a problem solver and quickly declared, “Mommy, we can just make some cookies.”  I had several other ideas on my to-do list for the afternoon.  But I was quickly reminded that checking off boxes on my list could wait, I need to make cookies with Whitaker.

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He loves using the mixer.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is so easy and you will probably have everything you need to create them right in your kitchen.  It is a great recipe to have a young chef to help you with because the measurements are easy and they love scooping the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.

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Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
3 cup quick oats
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, stir together, butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add flour and baking soda. Add oats and stir until well combine. Lastly, add in chocolate chips.  Mix all well.
Scoop into 1″ balls & place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Add additional chocolate chips on top of scooped cookies.  (This makes your cookies look even better after they are baked.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a light golden brown.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

The Most Addictive Dip, EVER

Playoffs, Football, Tailgating and Food!  This is the time of year that you are invited to football watching parties even if you don’t like football.  But there is usually yummy food. Only good comes from that.

This year when you need to bring an appetizer that will say, “I came to play!” this is your dip.  It is seriously the most addictive dip I have ever eaten.  So there is BACON, we all know that means VICTORY.  Then all the other goodness is in there too.  One friend, while trying to talk through moaning over the yumminess, said “It is like all the best toppings of a baked potato.”  Yes, wipe your face, it is!

No matter what team you are cheering for, everyone will be calling you the winner for this dip!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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The Most Addictive Dip, EVER

5 green onions, chopped
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 t Tony’s Chachere Creole seasoning
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup bacon, cooked and chopped
½ cup sliced almonds

Take all the above ingredients and mix them together.  Once all ingredients are well blended together, stick in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.  Serve with crackers.

And you make “Snow” Play Dough

In Atlanta, we have been talking about the possibility of snow for 5 days.  We have lived in several places that get real snow but in Atlanta, the term snow is used loosely.  Snow-like precipitation falls from the sky and looks like snow on the ground and then becomes ICE. Ice is very different from snow.

But I wanted to get all excited.  This would be Whit’s first real snow.  So I introduced him to all the snow creating customs all children should know.  1.  We did a snow dance!  (yes, in the kitchen).  2.  We talked about wearing our pajamas inside-out.  (Whit likes to stay in the lines on things like this so he didn’t actually do this).  3.  We talked about sleeping with a spoon under our pillow. (He was unsure about bringing kitchen utensils into his bedroom.)  4.  We put ice in the toilet.  (now, he could go for this one!)  And then we made “snow” play dough!

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“Snow” Play Dough

2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

2 T cream of tarter

2 cups water

2 T vegetable oil

1 splash of almond extract (gives it a fun smell)- completely optional

white glitter

Before turning the burner on, in a medium saucepan, combine flour, salt, and cream of tarter.  Mix well.  Add water, oil, and extract, and mix it all up.  Turn burner on low and stir until the mixture becomes really thick.  This should take about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool the dough.  Add glitter and knead dough until smooth. Now it is time to play or store in an airtight container.

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Add in the Glitter

So, we hope for a lot of snow where we can go sledding, then warm up with hot chocolate, and be completely lazy most the day.  But something tells me we just have “snow” play dough and ice.  As I write, it has began to fall outside and we will wake up in the morning to see if at least dancing and ice in our toilets did the trick.

Looking Forward to Playing in the Snow,

Amanda

Happy 2017! Let’s Do This!

Well, Happy 2017!  As the year begins, we are all filled with hope and promise to make this year better than the last.  Some make resolutions.  Some don’t make resolutions because they know by January 16th, they might have fallen off the wagon.  I’m a goal setter.  I set goals each year.  Goals that I feel will be good for myself and those around me.  Last year, I added in a word that I would focus on while striving towards my goals.  I liked having a word that summed up my year so I did that again.

As I look back on my goals from last year, I can easily see that not all goals were achieved. I feel I made good effort but not all happened.  And that is okay!  I’m human and it makes me try to be realistic with my goals.

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Sure there are many more goals or things I would like to achieve in the new year.  Let’s start with this.  Being Intentional! Intentional with my walk with God, my relationship with Chris, being a mom to the boys, my time, my friendships, and my commitments.

What are your goals or ideas for the new year?  Do you have a word that sums up your goals?  My hope is to use this blog to celebrate life and share why I sing and dance in my kitchen.

INTENTIONALLY Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

Chicken Burritos /Tacos /Nachos / Whatever

 

I have a weakness for Mexican food.  Seriously, I could eat it every day and not be sad.  So, I ran across this recipe about one year ago.  And I maybe cook it about every eight days. There was a week that I cooked it four times, once for us and then I happened to have three friends who just had babies and needed a yummy meal.

Don’t under-estimate the silly ingredients and lack of effort you need.  It is a very versatile meal.  Make tacos, burritos, pile up nachos, throw it in soup, whatever you want.

It is the perfect meal to take over to a friend or have ready for the family after a long day.

 

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3-4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Ranch seasoning mix
2 cups low sodium and fat-free chicken broth

This is the easiest thing you will do today:
Put chicken breasts, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, and chicken broth in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  Shred chicken with a fork and let it soak up the broth.  Then you are ready to serve.

Fixing for your tacos/burritos/nachos/whatever
shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions,  shredded cheese, corn/flour tortillas, tortilla chips