Candy Bouquet {Dollar Tree DIY}

Since I’ve been MIA from the blog, I wanted to give you all a special gift. Like a bouquet of flowers maybe? Flowers are nice….but a candy bouquet is even better!
This is something I very quickly and easily put together from supplies found at my local Dollar Tree store. It would make a great “little something extra” for that special teacher (end-of-the-year is near!), graduations, birthdays or let the kids put one together for Father’s Day (June 21st!)
This one has a ‘base’ made of my oldest daughter’s favorite candy…Swedish Fish, but any “movie theater” box of candies will work. Then I added various candy, suckers, fun straws, and a balloon in the center. On the balloon, I put her name, using stick-on letters and her jersey # since this was for a sports thing (8th grade recognition night for Volleyball). The Skittles and gum packets were taped to lollipop sticks.
To make…you need 4 boxes of candy, the same size. Then you need one foam block, usually found with floral supplies, like this one…
Photo from Dollar Tree
It doesn’t really matter what size, as long as the boxes of candy fit around it. You can also trim the blocks down if too tall.
  • Place the boxes of candy around the foam block, using duct tape, packaging tape, or glue to keep the boxes stable and adhered to block. Next, add your candy. If using suckers/lollipops, stick them evenly into and around the foam block, like you would flowers! Then, fill in spaces with other candy (attached to lollipop/cake pop sticks) or use straws or anything else you would like. Get creative! Now you have your own bouquet to share…
At least she was supposed to share…

Happy Cinco de Mayo 2015

In honor of Cinco de Mayo or as I like to call it…May 5th…I thought I would highlight an oldie but goody. I’m pretty sure it’s about as far from authentic Mexican fare as you can get, but hey, it features crack Doritos, making it popular with the kiddoes.

Since I will be running kids around to softball practices, someone enjoy a margarita for me please!

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

If you want to make a good meal better, add cream cheese. It makes baked spaghetti creamy and fabulous, turns regular crock-pot beef into something my family will actually eat, and it transformed chicken enchiladas from something my kids wouldn’t touch into a meal they want on a regular basis. I think this would be the perfect meal for Cinco de Mayo! Followed by Margarita Cake for dessert:-)

Unfortunately, my pics are terrible. We have the worst artificial lighting in our house and it was one of those super gray, dreary days when I made these. But, y’all know I’m no fancy pants food blogger. Just keepin’ it real. Hey, at least I didn’t use paper plates.

It’s been pretty well established here how picky my kids are. None of the three will eat enchiladas because of the red sauce. When a friend mentioned she was making chicken enchiladas with a white sauce, I thought ‘hmmm…that just might work’. The girls love Alfredo sauce, so I thought they might give this a try. They also love the white cheese dip you can get a Mexican restaurants. Once they tried these, they loved it and requested I make it on a regular basis. Super picky Mr. Three had a tortilla filled with cheese only, but he liked the sauce too.

Oh yeah, and no “cream of” anything. Just good ol’ fattening ingredients like cream cheese, butter and flour tortillas. I used low-carb tortillas, making these pretty low carb overall, which is good for the diabetic hubby.

Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

6-10 flour tortillas (depending on size you choose) I use low-carb
2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded (crock-pot is great for this)

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese; divided (reduced fat is ok)

2 cups Mexican Blend or preferred cheese, shredded; divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chillies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together your chicken, 3 ounces of the cream cheese (my package was marked, but if yours is not, just a little less than half the brick is fine), and one cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper. *I recommend going light on the salt because broth is full of sodium and you may have salt in the butter as well.
  • Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas and roll them up. Place seam side down in prepared baking dish.
  • In a sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook one minute while stirring. Whisk in broth until smooth, and heat until mixture is thick and bubbly.
  • Add remaining cream cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in green chilies. Remove from heat and pour over chicken enchiladas.
  • Top with remaining cheese and bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbling around the sides. (If desired, place under broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese…I skipped this part as we were hungry!)
  • Let cool for a few minutes for sauce to thicken.
Recipe adapted from Recipes, Food and Cooking

How to Make Perfect Pasta Salad {without a recipe!}

I love pasta salad, and it’s so versatile. You basically boil some pasta, throw in some veggies, and add a dressing. Right? Well…that hasn’t worked out so well for me in the past. I just couldn’t get it quite right. Until now!

Through some trial and error, I have figured out a few tips that make for the perfect pasta salad every time. I have been able to make a little or a lot, use whatever is on hand, and it’s good every time! I have posted these tips (and a basic recipe) over at Eat at Home today. I’d love for you to head over and check it out!

Fun Graduation Treats

Whether you are celebrating high school, college, or Kindergarten graduations soon, these fun graduation treats will make any age graduate feel extra special. We will be celebrating 1st, 6th and 8th grade graduations so I will have an excuse to make them as well! (As an added bonus, they are no-bake treats!)

30 Minute Kid-Friendly Meals {using biscuits, crescent roll or pizza dough}

I know many of you are in the same situation as I am…Spring Sports. The constant running of children from school to practice to games, etc. When is practice? Dinner time. So when do you feed the kids? For us it has to be something super quick and easy. Sometimes portable! Today’s round-up comes from my stash of recipes using store-bought biscuits, crescent roll dough or pizza dough. I try not to rely on these too often, but sometimes you just need some shortcuts, and I still think it’s healthier than the choices my kids would make in a drive-thru!

The most popular on the blog are the “Bubble Up” Recipes, using canned biscuits. These are a hit with my kids as well.

Bubble Up Taco Casserole


Bubble Up Garlic Cheese Bread – not a meal in itself, but serve with a salad and fruit; or with soup/chili…


Bubble Up Pizza – add any ingredients your family likes on a pizza. This is one of the top viewed recipes on my blog and I see different versions all over Pinterest.


Ham and Cheese Bubble Up – this could go for breakfast or dinner!

Speaking of Breakfast…or dessert!

Blueberry Maple Bubble Up


Bubble Up Apple Pie

Other recipes using canned biscuits – 

Ham and Cheese Melts – basically a hand pie made with biscuits…fill with anything you like!


Chicken and Biscuits Casserole

Pizza Cupcakes


Biscuit Breakfast Casserole – another breakfast or dinner option. We love breakfast for dinner!


And a quick and easy breakfast option – Copycat Burger King Cini-Minis

Pizza Dough is also a great option for quick and easy meals. Obviously you can make traditional pizza, but you can also make some fun variations.

Upside Down Pizza Casserole


Pizza ‘Braid’ – this can have any fillings you want, and you can use pizza dough or crescent roll dough. It’s the presentation that makes this one unique!


“Stromboli” 


Stuffed Crust Pizza – this is SO easy and my kids love it. Can you have too much cheese?

And another breakfast option –

Yes, pizza dough to the rescue for Quick and Easy Cinnamon Rolls

Crescent Roll Dough

Crescent Roll Pizza Ring – again, fill it with anything your family likes. Throw some veggies in there if your kids will eat them!

Crescent Breakfast Casserole

I also like frozen rolls or bread dough, but it has to be thawed in advance. Both of these can be made with biscuits as well.

Pizza Monkey Bread 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monkey Bread – this is usually a “special occasion” breakfast, and requires prep time the night before, but with Mother’s Day coming soon I thought I would include it!

I also have a shortcut for Caramel Sticky Buns using store bought cinnamon rolls.

So what are your “go-to” meals when there is no time?! I also love the crock-pot, and will do a round up of those soon.

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita NibblesThe Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife,Play.Party.Pin

Oreo Cake with Oreo Whipped Cream Frosting

I guess it’s Cake Week on the blog! I have almost always made my kids’ birthday cakes. My mom always made mine (and my siblings’…I would always choose chocolate cake with chocolate icing and my brother would want strawberry cake with chocolate icing and I would get mad. I hated strawberry cake! #itsallaboutme) Now that my girls are getting older, they like to go on Pinterest and find cakes that generally go beyond the “chocolate or vanilla – or strawberry“. I’m sure one day soon their requests will exceed my skill level, but for now, it’s pretty fun!
My oldest chose this Oreo Cake for her birthday this year. Somehow, I have a 14 year old. I’m not sure how this happened. Why does time speed up once you have children? (Unless they have a stomach virus in the middle of the night. Time slows WAY down then.)
The cake has Oreo cookies in the cake itself, Oreos in the icing, and then I added some mini Oreos on top. Both layers had Oreos baked right in, and I loved the flavor and crunch of the baked Oreos.
The only negative is that the whole Oreos made the cake a little difficult to slice. Next time I may use mini Oreos instead.
Oreo Cake with Oreo Whipped Cream Frosting
1 box chocolate cake mix (without pudding in the mix)
1 box (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix (I used Hershey’s)
1 cup sour cream (can also use plain yogurt)
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup coffee (room temp or slightly warm, not hot – leftover coffee is fine; can sub with water)
1 package Oreo Cookies, divided
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, and coffee. 
  • Add in eggs, one at a time, stirring until just combined. Scrape down sides.
  • Beat mixture on medium speed for 2 minutes. 
  • Spray two cake pans with cooking spray, and line bottom of each pan with desired number of Oreo cookies. I used 11 whole cookies in each pan, but could have squeezed in a couple more!
  • Pour cake batter over cookies in prepared pans.
  • Bake for suggested time on back of cake mix box, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
  • Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
Oreo Whipped Cream Frosting
 
1 quart Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 Oreo Cookies (crushed with a rolling pin or pulsed in food processor until crushed in large crumbs. Do not over process.)
small “grab bag” mini Oreos (optional)
  • Place mixing bowl and mixer attachment in freezer for 10-15 minutes to chill.  
  • After chilling, add cream to bowl and mix on medium speed until it starts to thicken.
  • Add vanilla and sugar, and beat until mixture is to desired thickness and forms stiff peaks.
  • Fold in cookies. Keep refrigerated until ready to frost cake.
To Assemble:
Place one layer of cake on a plate. I would recommend Oreo side down on bottom layer, and up for top layer. Having the cookies in the middle made it a little more difficult to slice. Frost entire cake and keep chilled until ready to serve. If desired, add mini Oreo cookies on top for decoration.

This cake was inspired by Bird on a CakeSally’s Baking Addiction,  Makin’ it Mo’Betta

This Oreo Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting was featured at:

DIY Vintage Chic

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita NibblesThe Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife,Play.Party.Pin

Lemon Supreme Pound Cake {starts with a mix}

This recipe is kickin’ it old school. It came out on the package of Duncan Hines cake mix back in the 70’s (according to this site it was 1978.) I was a mere babe back then and not yet baking, but I have been using a variation of it for years. I usually make a chocolate version (because I am a chocolate freak), but lemon/citrus cakes just scream SPRING and are quickly becoming a favorite as well. But if I’m being honest, have I met a cake I didn’t like? Probably not.

This was perfect for Easter, and forgot to include it in my last post. We have had an abundance of cakes going on around here! I do love a bundt cake. I’m not sure why!
And, just 4 ingredients + water…how convenient is that?
The version I usually makes also has a cup of sour cream (or yogurt). I didn’t think to add it to this one, but I think it would have made it even more moist and dense, like a traditional pound cake. Even so, it was delicious as is, and was really tasty with fresh strawberries and whipped cream!

Lemon Supreme Pound Cake

1 box Lemon cake mix
1 package instant lemon pudding mix (4-serving size)
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Glaze (optional)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (can also use milk, cream, half-and-half)
zest of lemon (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt pan (I used the Baker’s Cooking Spray), set aside.
  • Add cake mix and pudding mix to a large mixing bowl. Add water, oil and eggs. Stir until combined.
  • Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Pour cake mix into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes; cake is done when lightly browned and center springs back when gently pressed. Cool in pan for 20 minutes.
  • While cake is cooling, make glaze (if desired) by combing confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Slowly add in additional juice/liquid until desired consistency is reached. Mine ended up a little thinner than I would have liked, and could have been thickened up with more sugar, but I just left it as is. I also added the zest of a lemon to my glaze for extra lemon flavor.
  • Invert cake onto plate and drizzle with glaze.
Recipe Sources: Click Americana and Duncan Hines
Another great recipe that begins with lemon cake mix –

I may be linking up at any of the following – (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouI Should Be MoMypping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Mandy’s Recipe BoxSowdering About in SeattleNaptime Creations, Memories By the MileVMG206Anyonita Nibbles, The Cookie Puzzle (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterGinger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen’s Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Project InspireJust Us FourDiana RamblesThe Better Baker,Close to HomeWalking on SunshineVintage ChicDaily DishThe Diary of a Real Housewife,Play.Party.Pin

What’s Happening Wednesday

Wow! I can’t believe it has been 2 weeks since I’ve posted on the blog! I did not intend on taking a hiatus, but life got in the way. Just a little recap of what’s been happening here.

We had Number One’s birthday in late March…

She picked out an Oreo Chocolate Cake. Oreos in the cake, in the icing, on top of the cake…yummm. My girl is 14 now!

Then there was Easter…

I didn’t do a lot of decorating this year, but found these chair covers at The Dollar Tree. What can I say…I’m a sucker for holiday decor 🙂
I also decorated my nails, thanks to my friend who sells Jamberry.
My boy had an Easter hunt at school.
Easter morning consisted of Monkey Bread (made with frozen rolls and butterscotch pudding)
And I made this fabulously delicious Key Lime Pie for dessert! (Along with a lemon pound cake and my favorite cookie bars!)

Days after Easter, was Mr. Three’s birthday…

Which consisted of the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever made. And I’ve made several!
Then kids had Spring Break, there have been multiple volleyball games and soccer games…not to mention practices…and the list goes on. This mama is worn out! However, I’m working to get back into the swing of things. I will be sharing new recipes in the next couple of days!

Ideas for Easter Brunch

Looking for ideas for Easter Brunch?
Check out this round-up to make an extra special breakfast or brunch for Easter or anytime! Muffins, scones, breakfast casseroles, and more.

Make Ahead Awesome Breakfast Casserole

Baked Bacon and Eggs


Cinnamon Roll Cake

Warm Fruit Compote

Breakfast Pizza


Sausage and Hashbrown Casserole

Ham and Cheese Biscuit Pull-Apart Casserole

Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping

Sausage, Ham and Cheese Quiche

French Toast Casserole (egg-free)

Copycat King’s Hawaiian Bread

Sausage Balls

Sausage Muffins

Easy Oven Pancakes

Chai Latte Scones

German Pancakes


Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins

Monkey Bread (with Parker House Rolls)