Our Valentine’s Rice Krispie Treats- On Mission in My Kitchen

I’m always looking for ways to get my boys in the kitchen. Simple recipes like this one help get my little guy involved.

I began getting him involved at the grocery store. I showed him what ingredients were on our shopping list. He helped me find Rice Krispie cereal, large marshmallows, butter, and sprinkles. Letting your child make fun decisions like, “What sprinkles would you like to use?” allows them to have ownership in the process.

In the kitchen, we took time to count out the marshmallows. We are working on counting to ten so we counted five different times. Yes, I’m very intentional when “teaching” in the kitchen. It is natural learning and having fun at the same time.

While standing on a stool beside me, he watched while we adding heat.  We watched as the butter melted and then the marshmallows melted. He smelled the yummy vanilla. And he added the food coloring and was excited when the color began to transform the marshmallow mixture.

He scooped up the cereal using a measuring cup. You can’t mess this recipe up so it’s okay if the cup is overflowing.

I think his favorite part was using the sprinkles he picked out. Lots of sprinkles were added.

As we waited for the treats to cool, I asked him “Who should be share these treats with?”. I’m trying to working with my boys to be outward focused. It is a daily conversation. “How can we bless someone today?” “Who’s day could be brighten?” “How can we show the love of Jesus today?”

He quickly decided that some neighbor friends might like these treats. We packaged them up in disposable aluminum pan. (I try to keep these on hand. The Dollar Tree always has the best assortment and they are one dollar.)

I loved that before he even tried his treat, he was skipping out the door with his brother to deliver the goodies.

It is the simplest recipes and experiences in the kitchen that can get your child involved. Yes, it will take longer and there might be more messes. I believe the quality and intentional time together makes it so worth it.

On Mission in the Kitchen,
Amanda

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3 T butter and additional unsalted butter to grease pan

4 1/2 cups of large marshmallows (we use 50 large marsmallows)

Red food coloring or gel

1 t vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)

6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

Assorted Valentine’s sprinkles

 

Prepare your 13×9 pan or whatever shape and size you desire by coating the pan with butter.  Set pan aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla.  Then add red food coloring to achieve the desired color.

Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispie cereal.  Stir until well coated.

Using a buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into your prepared pan.

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Sprinkle the mixture with sprinkles.  Press in sprinkles.  Allow time to cool.

Using a knife, cut your treats to desired shapes.  Rice Krispie Treats are always best if served the same day.

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

I love meals that I can prep and forget about for the day.  This recipe came out of Southern Living magazine.  I have tweaked it to fit our style.  The key is browning the pork prior to placing it in the slow cooker for the day.  It seals in the flavors and is delicious.  Your home will smell delicious and you will be so happy at dinner time.  The meat is so yummy and makes great leftovers.

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1 (4 to 5 lb) boneless pork shoulder or pork butt
1 T chile powder
1 T black pepper
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t granulated sugar
1 T plus 1/2 t kosher salt, divided
2 T Canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider
4 oregano springs
1 cup chopped tomato
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped (about 2 T)
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 T fresh lime juice
12 (6 inch) flour tortillas
1 T smoked paprika
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Cut pork shoulder into 2 pieces.  Combine chile powder, black pepper, cumin, cloves, sugar and 1 T of salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle mixture over all sides of pork pieces.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high.  Add pork pieces, and cook until deep golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Place pork in a slow cooker; add vinegar and oregano.

Cover and cook on LOW until pork falls apart easily with shredded with a fork, 8 to 10 hours.

Stir together tomato, red onion, lime juice, jalapeno, and remaining 1/2 t salt in a bowl. Chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

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Shred pork in slow cooker with 2 forks; stir in paprika and cayenne.

Toast individual tortillas in a skillet.

Serve pork on tortillas topped with salsa, cilantro, and sour cream.  We like to add black beans to our tacos.  And of course we like to have our chips and salsa.

Looking Forward,
Amanda

 

 

My Glass Jar Decorating Trick

I have several tricks I use when decorating.  One of my favorite tricks is filling up the middle of a jar with cans.  Basically these are aluminum cans that I have emptied and cleaned out.  I use them again and again.  They are absolutely perfect for taking up space in my jars.

This month my jar is filled with conversation hearts.  I stack the cans in first and then begin filling my jar with the little conversation hearts.  So magically I create the illusion that the jar is full.  (So tricky!)

 

What tricks do you have when decorating?  I would love to hear your ideas.

Looking Forward,
Amanda

Buffalo Chicken Crescent Roll

Super Bowl Week!  Yes, there is a football game but I get excited about all the yummy Super Bowl Foods!  I have been working on my menu and I wanted to share this new, favorite of my boys.  Seriously it is buffalo chicken and crescent rolls.  I mean two amazing things at one time!  It is super easy to make.  Plus I got a hug from my oldest saying “Mom, you created the best meal ever!”.

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2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast

1 T ranch dry seasoning

1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot (you can use whatever sauce you want- you completely have control the heat it brings.  Start with ½ cup and work up if needed.  

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 refrigerated crescent roll tubes

Dipping Sauces- Ranch Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Buffalo Sauce

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the chicken, ranch seasoning, wing sauce and mozzarella cheese and set aside.

Place one crescent roll onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.  Seal together to form a long rectangle. Open second crescent roll container.  Using only half of the dough, add on the rectangle.  Reserve the other half for topping.  

Place the chicken mixture down the center of the crescent roll.  Then bring sides together to form a log shape.  Fold the ends in to hold in the filling.  Take the  remaining crescent roll dough and cut into strips with a pizza cutter.  Then lay on top of your newly formed log/roll.  Design however you wish.  

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Bake for around 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat when ready to serve.  Cut into 1 inch long pieces.  

Serve with your choice of dipping sauces and celery.  

 

Seeking Goodness- 2018 Goals

I love beginning the new year with goals.  I know there is nothing magical about January 1.  In my mind it is a great time to start my goals.  When I was in education, my goals and year began in August.  You can start goals on March 23rd and it is just as good as any other day.

I am visual and reflective.  So, I write out my goals.  My hubby and oldest wrote out their goals too.  We shared them as a family.  This gives us accountability and knowing someone is looking out for us.

Each year I decide on a word that helps focus me.  Last year my word was INTENTIONAL.  I wanted to be intentional with my mind, heart, words, and time.  As I reflect for this year, I continually landed on two words, SEEKING GOODNESS.   Looking for the kindness, generosity, quality, and best parts of everything.  By Seeking Goodness in my spiritual life, in my health, family, and self, it will naturally point to Jesus who is true goodness.

I know that working towards my goals is a process.  I’m not looking for perfection, it will take time to accomplish several of these goals.  I can rest in the fact that I am making progress towards my goals.  I am excited and a little nervous but know that I will be Seeking Goodness during the process.

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What are your goals?  Do we share any of the same?
Here to progress!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

Happy New Year’s Eve!

December 31–  Everyone  has their own feelings about the last day of the year.  If your year has been tough, you are ready to say “good-bye” and start fresh.  If this has been an epic year, you might be anticipating what the new year will bring.  It is all your perspective.

As I have shared before, I am a goal setter.  I start thinking about how I can improve, how can I be the best me, and what steps do I need to take.  I like to focus on one word that encompasses my goals and thoughts for the next year.  There is power in writing down your goals.  My goals in 2017 and my goals in 2016 were different and somewhat the same but something I could focus on.  I’m still working on my 2018 goals.

I wanted to share something that my sister and her family does each year.  This simple tradition has been such a blessing to them and a great way to celebrate memories.  Each year they begin with an empty jar.  Throughout the year they add memories to the jar.  It might be a significant movie ticket, written memory of something funny one of their children did, a photo, a drawing, matchbook, you get where I’m going.  Sometimes my sister will just journal that day to capture a feeling.  All the memories are placed in the jar.  On January 1 of the next year, they make a special breakfast and go through the jar. The memories of the previous year are celebrated and reflected on.

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There is so much power in celebrating memories and honoring the previous year.  It gives them a moment to reflect and make goals for the next year.  I found this quote from Victoria Erickson that I really like:

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Have a great last day of 2017!  See you in 2018!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

 

 

Cookbooks- My Favorites

I have shared before that I LOVE COOKBOOKS.  My collection is vast and eclectic.  Some of my cookbooks have tags and writing all through them as I have taken notes or made changes through the years.  I have special cookbooks that have been signed by the chefs. I take reading a cookbook very seriously.  I read my cookbooks from cover to cover before I will even cook one recipe out of it.  Cookbooks share stories from the chef.  You can understand the inspiration and influences as you read along.  You learn new techniques and terminology.  I love curling up with a new cookbook.  Page by page the stories and recipes unfold.

I know each Christmas (and other times of the year) that my husband, Chris, will search for the perfect cookbook for me.  He knows that he must write a little note on the inside cover complete with the date.  Over the years, I have grown to cherish many of my cookbooks but I wanted to share a few today in case you are looking for a last minute gift idea.

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Date Night In Chris gave me this cookbook last year.  I love it.  The book is organized by seasons and has a complete menu for your date night in.  We have looked forward to creating this meals together.  Each dinner has a dessert and cocktail to create.  Chris loves making cocktails so it is a win-win cookbook for us.

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The Southern’s Cookbook Recipes, Wisdom, and Stories– This is one of those cookbooks that is so fun to read.  The editors of Garden & Gun pulled together great stories and recipes all in one place.  You will love the “talk of the south.”

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Back In The Day Bakery Made With Love–  So true confession- I am obsessed with Cheryl and Griffith Day!  Their bakery in Savannah, Georgia gives me all the feels and is complete happiness.  When you visit the bakery, you will see Cheryl and Griffith in the back busy creating something yummy.  This cookbook is their second book.  I have own both  (obsessed) and both are signed (true obsession).

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Yes, I’m with Cheryl and Griffith Day at Back in the Day Bakery

The next time you are in Savannah, Georgia, you must stop by Back in the Bakery!  It does not disappoint and it is hard to make a decision. So do what I do, get one of each and share!

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Bread and Wine–  This is my favorite book to give as a gift.  One of my best friends gave me a copy and I fell in love.  Shauna Niequist tells beautiful stories of friendships that develop over food.  She encourages you to invite others over.  Break bread together and form relationship.  Shauna shares great recipes and wonderful insight on life.  She has many great books. Present over Perfect is her latest and it reminds us to present in every moment we have and don’t worry about the perfection.  I hope to meet Shauna one day. She is a true inspiration and mentor through her words.

 

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The Silver Spoon For Children is my favorite children’s cookbook right now.  The illustration are made where children can follow along and begin cooking like an Italian. Make pasta, meatballs, chicken Stuffed with marscapone, foccaccia, and the list goes on. I am a believer in having my children in the kitchen.

 

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Last recommendation is a cookbook that has been well loved that I did not want to take a picture of the front.  It has lots of battle wounds (in a good way) from the kitchen.  I have used my Gourmet Cookbook for the past ten years.  It is my kitchen buddy and has helped me cook some delicious food.

Let me know your favorite cookbooks.  I’m always looking for new ones.

Looking Forward,

Amanda