Soup’s On! 21 Fabulous Soup Recipes for Sunday Dinner @foodie

I love soup.  I’ve had a longstanding love affair with it.  Given that we’re expecting rain this weekend, ALL weekend, I can tell you that I will be making soup at least one weekend day and letting it simmer on the stove or in my crock pot all day long.  I thought I’d share with you 21 fabulous soup recipes for Sunday Dinner which are all great for simmering or leaving in the crock pot all day!!

You’ll find some quick to cook soups in this collection, and you’ll also find some Vegan and Vegetarian options.  Some healthier, Weight Watchers Friendly options…Even paleo and gluten free!! YUMMY! I aim to please all palates!

At least I don’t have to think a lot about the meal plans this week- I can just do a whole lot of soups. I’m very intrigued by the kielbasa soup- I’ve never had kielbasa in soup but the whole family really likes kielbasa so I’m going to make that on a super busy weeknight.  Soup doesn’t have to just be for Sunday Dinner. I just like some serious comfort food on Sundays and soup just tastes like Grama’s house to me, you know?

soups for sunday dinner

I adore soup, but what do you say about soup? I was chatting with my friend, Laura, about our love of soup and she inspired me to write this silly little poem…

 Ode to Soup

Oh soup, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways….

You fill my belly

You hydrate me

You fuel my energy

So I can write more silly poems.

You feed my family

And save me work

Without you, I’d be lost.

Oh, soup, how I love thee.

You are often hot

Sometimes cold

I don’t know many who eat you I lukewarm

I can put you in my crockpot

I can toss you in a pan

I can bring you to a friend

You are so versatile

I can eat you all year round

Oh, soup, how I love thee!

 

 

What are YOUR favorite soups to make or eat?

 

 

This post is part of a partnership with Foodie.com.  Opinions are my own.

Tips for Tax time and helpful budget tips

As I sit here looking at the far too big folder of all of our tax papers… and really just would like to avoid the task one more day, it got me to thinking about  budgets and taxes and ways to stay on top of things. My friends at Windows sent over these tips for tax time and helpful budget tips and I thought I’d share with you all.  I mean, we all have to pay taxes, right?  Whether we like it or not?

helpful budget tips

Are finances on top of your mind this month? With taxes due April 15th, there’s no better time to catch the budget bug!

 bing finance tips

Whether you’re interested in maximizing your refund or streamlining your finances for the year ahead, apps from Windows and Windows Phone have your back.  We love our Windows devices in this house (some of which were sent as part of the Windows Champions program but most of which we bought on our own.

 

1.       Check Your Status

 

Everyone has the same question as they’re filing their taxes – what’s my refund going to be?! Apps on Windows and Windows Phone remove the guesswork. TryTaxCaster on Windows Phone, utilizing the same calculator found in TurboTax, to quickly enter some basic information and watch your refund amount add up. Once you’ve filed, MyTaxRefund on Windows will allow you to quickly check the status of your return and give you an immediate estimate of when you can expect your refund.

 

2.       Make the Most of Your Refund

 

Sure, you’ve probably already made plans for how you want to spend some of your refund once you get it. What about the rest? Invest and maximize your refund with Bing Finance on Windows Phone and Windows, which helps you stay on top of fast-changing market conditions so you can make the most informed financial decisions. Keep an eye on all of your investments with SigFig, and sync all of your accounts in one place to track all of your stocks, funds, 401ks and IRAs in real time, available on Windows and Windows Phone.

 

3.       Budget Tips

 

Get in the mood to save more money for next tax season. On both Windows andWindows PhoneMint helps you understand where you’re spending your money with helpful charts and graphs that make saving easy. Use Billminder on yourWindows Phone or laptop to keep an eye on all of your monthly bills so you never miss a payment (and know how much you have left to spend!). Save for the next step of your life with MoBu Financial Management on Windows Phone andWindows. MoBu allows you to view your current financial assets as well as the opportunity to simulate your future savings with how much you can save in 5, 10, or 20 years!

 windows budget ideas

Make it Easy with Microsoft’s New Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850

 

You’ll find Microsoft’s new Mobile Mouse 1850 very helpful when trying to do your taxes, or stay on top of your finances from the road. Make your life easier and spend a little of your tax refund on this value mouse, that retails for only $14.95.

 

Designed for comfort and portability, the Wireless Mobile Mouse 1850 is great for life on the go, offering wireless freedom and built-in transceiver storage for ultimate mobility.

red mousenavy mousepurple mousepink mouse

Comfortable to use with either hand and with a scroll wheel for easy navigation, this mouse is the ideal device for your modern, mobile lifestyle. I really would like the pink one.  I love pink. In case anyone’s asking…

Savings Challenge(1)

If you are doing the weekly savings challenge, and you’ve maybe fallen behind or want to do a boost, consider throwing some of your tax refund towards it.

 

Have you filed your taxes? Do you have any helpful budget tips?

 

No compensation received for this post.  As part of my Windows Champions Ambassadorship, I have received devices to use to familiarize myself with Windows and Microsoft.  Opinions are my own.

Kermit the Frog Whoopie Pie Recipe

I grew up loving The Muppets.  I think most kids from the 70s and 80s did.  That was Saturday night TV.  I’m beyond thrilled that they are back and taking charge of entertainment with their new Muppets Most Wanted film!!  It’s so fun to share my beloved childhood friends with my kiddos. We were invited to a pre-screening of the new film a few weeks ago and had a great time, laughing a lot!  There’s a lot of silly, tons of fun and a little bit of action thrown into this new film to make it fun for everyone in the family to watch.  All 3 of my kids share the same “favorite” part which I won’t give away… you’ll have to watch and guess what part it is….

Anyway, given my love for all things Muppets and loving Kermie like I do, I came up with these Kermit the Frog inspired Whoopie Pies and I hope you’ll like them!

Kermit Whoopie Pies

Kermit the Frog Whoopie Pie Recipe

Recipe Adapted From: Erin’s Food Files

Ingredients for Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 Tbsp green food coloring (I like gel food coloring)

Ingredients for Filling:

3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

Supplies for Frogs:

Large Candy Eyes
Red Candy Melts
Red Sugar Sprinkles

Directions:

First, you’ll need to make the cake pieces. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Mix in the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in the green food coloring.

Spoon batter in 1-inch diameter oval rounds, about 1/2-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.

Kermit Whoopie Pies-1

Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets.

Turn the oven down to 200 degrees F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper, and set the red candy melt pieces on the paper. You’ll need one piece for each whoopie pie.

Put the pan in the oven, and bake the candy melts for 1-3 minutes, until they just start to melt. They’ll be shiny but still keep their shape. Keep an eye on them so they don’t melt too much.

Kermit Whoopie Pies-4

Remove from the oven and pour red sugar sprinkles on top of them. Allow to harden completely.

While the cake pieces are cooling, go ahead and make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps.

Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful that you don’t overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

Kermit Whoopie Pies-5

Pipe filling in onto the bottom of one whoopie pie. Add a sprinkle-covered candy melt for a tongue. Place another whoopie pie on top.

Kermit Whoopie Pies-7

Dip bottoms of candy eyes in the filling and place on top of the top whoopie pie for Kermit’s eyes.

Kermit Whoopie Pies-8

And…voila! Kermit the Frog Whoopie Pies! (You could TOTALLY Do Constantine and add a chocolate chip or even green frosting for some fun :)

Kermit Whoopie Pies-13

 

Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais.

muppets-most-wanted

The film stars Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard, and Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” is directed by James Bobin and produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Bobin co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller, who is also executive producer with John G. Scotti. Featuring music from Academy Award®-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie, “Muppets Most Wanted”  hit the big screen March 21, 2014. For more information, visit Disney.com/Muppets

 Have you seen Muppets Most Wanted?  Who’s your fave Muppet?

5.0 from 3 reviews
Kermit the Frog Whoopie Pie Recipe #MuppetsMostWanted
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Kermit the Frog whoopie pies!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for Cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1½ Tbsp green food coloring
  • Ingredients for Filling:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Supplies for Frogs:
  • Large Candy Eyes
  • Red Candy Melts
  • Red Sugar Sprinkles
Instructions
  1. First, you'll need to make the cake pieces. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium to high 30 seconds. Mix in the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition just until combined. Stir in the green food coloring.
  3. Spoon batter in 1-inch diameter oval rounds, about ½-inch high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1 inch between each round.
  4. Bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until tops are set. Cool completely on baking sheets.
  5. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper, and set the red candy melt pieces on the paper. You'll need one piece for each whoopie pie.
  6. Put the pan in the oven, and bake the candy melts for 1-3 minutes, until they just start to melt. They'll be shiny but still keep their shape. Keep an eye on them so they don't melt too much.
  7. Remove from the oven and pour red sugar sprinkles on top of them. Allow to harden completely.
  8. While the cake pieces are cooling, go ahead and make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps.
  9. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful that you don't overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.
  10. Pipe filling in onto the bottom of one whoopie pie. Add a sprinkle-covered candy melt for a tongue. Place another whoopie pie on top.
  11. Dip bottoms of candy eyes in the filling and place on top of the top whoopie pie for Kermit's eyes.

 

3 Reasons to Visit Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach has become a favorite vacation location for my family over the years. Having been a fan of the eastern coastline to begin with, it was only a matter of time before we found ourselves wanting to check out the world famous locale. This family friendly vacation area gives you all the avenues needed to have a great vacation at all times of the year. There are three events in particular that will bring our family back to Virginia Beach on a regular basis, however. They are each unique and spectacular in their own right, and we will continue to come back and enjoy them as long as they are offered.

virginia beach fireworks

Photo Credit: http://media.hamptonroads.com/cache/files/images/876571000.jpg

The first one is the summer fireworks. Watching fireworks out on the ocean is a special sight indeed. From June to October, there are tons of awesome fireworks shows to take in. They take out a barge and shoot them off from the ocean, giving you the ultimate front row seat to a light show that will blow you away. If you love the beach and you love fireworks, this is the ultimate marriage.

virginia beach fishing pier

Photo Credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/561542647259070025/

Another important reason to come to Virginia Beach in my family (mostly husband) is striped bass season. This area is known for being the capital of the world when it comes to striped bass and you can’t find anyplace that offers better options. The fishing here goes well beyond the striped bass, however. Tuna, mahi-mahi, bluefin and even mackerel are all on the menu if you love to fish. There are countless other species just waiting for you to come and enjoy at Virginia Beach.

virginia beach boardwalk

Photo credit: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/1c/fd/f7/1cfdf7519e6c0875f5843fd12de8017c.jpg

Finally there is the world famous Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Every single person on the planet should experience this place at least once as it represents history, beauty and excitement all in one locale. These wonderful walkways provide every form of entertainment you can imagine and some of the best food you will ever eat. Best of all, it straddles the beach itself providing a beautiful view of the ocean in all its majesty. If you want to truly have a reason to visit Virginia Beach, the Boardwalk is more than enough.

virginia beach

Photo Credit: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/b0/a5/bb/b0a5bb0f5b29f4c32366ae82d17c3f30.jpg

These three things are the primary draws for my family, but if you were to ask others you would get three totally different answers. That is the beauty of Virginia Beach…you have so much diversity that there is always something for everyone. There’s something to do for everyone at every age in every season. We’d love to head down to Virginia Beach for a family trip this summer- we want to explore some fun restaurants and just hang out with the kids.

turbo fire virginia beach

Follow Virginia Beach on Instagram


Ideas:

Tell us why you love Virginia Beach!

Share your Virginia Beach vacation story!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Virginia Beach via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza Recipe

 

Dean’s Dip has a really fun, spicy and bold new flavor in it’s lineup… introducing Buffalo Ranch. They’ve paired the favorite flavor combo of creamy ranch with spicy buffalo wings into one delightful dip that you can enjoy with chips, veggies, pretzels…or, turn into a fabulous new recipe.  That’s what I did- I used Dean’s Buffalo Ranch dip to create a Weight Watchers friendly Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza Recipe!

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients:

1 cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded (I boiled mine)

1 cup steamed cauliflower, cut to yours size preference

1 Flatout Flatbread Light Original

3 TBSP Dean’s Buffalo Ranch Dip

2 TBSP Bleu Cheese

(You could also add any other veggies that sound good to you- this is just what I prefer for my lunches)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Spread the Buffalo Ranch dip all over the Flatbread (this is replacing the sauce)

Top the flatbread with your chicken, cauliflower and blue cheese crumbles

Bake for 6-8 minutes

Enjoy with a side of fruit and or veggies!

I love this pizza recipe because I get the fun spice and bold flavor of the buffalo wings without the bad-for-me breading and oil from frying.  It gives me veggie servings which we all know are super important for our health, too.

Plus, I still get to indulge in some delicious dip without the guilt- using a smaller amount means

Dean’s Dip is consistently cool and creamy every time and goes with just about everything. Potato chips and nachos are your standards, but don’t forget, Dean’s goes great with carrot sticks and brocoli florets. Dean’s Dip is located in the dairy dip section—never too far away.

Use Dean's Dip at parties, special occasions or just everyday snacking. Enjoy!

Dean’s Dip on Facebook

Dean’s Dip Instagram

What will YOU enjoy Dean’s Buffalo Ranch with first?

Visit Sponsor's Site

 

5.0 from 3 reviews
Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Pizza Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fun Buffalo Chicken Flatbread Recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, cubed or shredded (I boiled mine)
  • 1 cup steamed cauliflower, cut to yours size preference
  • 1 Flatout Flatbread Light Original
  • 3 TBSP Dean's Buffalo Ranch Dip
  • 2 TBSP Bleu Cheese
  • (You could also add any other veggies that sound good to you- this is just what I prefer for my lunches)
Instructions
  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Spread the Buffalo Ranch dip all over the Flatbread (this is replacing the sauce)
  4. Top the flatbread with your chicken, cauliflower and blue cheese crumbles
  5. Bake for 6-8 minutes
  6. Enjoy with a side of fruit and or veggies!

Cat not using litter box? Check this out! #PreciousCat #Giveaway

This post about a cat not using litter box anymore is sponsored by Precious Cat on behalf of the BlogPaws Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Precious Cat’s Cat Attract formula, but This Mama Loves only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Precious Cat is not responsible for the content of this article.

when a cat stops using the litter box

You want me to use which litter box?

After I first learned of a new cat litter specifically designed to encourage cats to use the litter box, I was anxious to try the Cat Attract litter. Not because our cats don’t use the litter box, but because we have 2 cats who have a ‘thing’ for our basement litter box, but they aren’t down in our basement much of the time. If they aren’t where they use the loo, chances are, problems can and will arise. Please note that when I say they have a thing, I mean, they will stand at the basement door and meow.  Then they’ll rub against the door.  Lloyd, aka Moose Kitty, will often run INTO the door.  I think he’s trying to ram the door down?  Not sure. Regardless, kitties don’t need to be in the basement all the time.  It’s cold down there and they can hang up here with their humans. We’re fun! And warm! They both have spent a lot of time whining and meowing to get down and use that litter box downstairs, which was intended for just in case the cats got stuck down in the basement for a long period of time. We didn’t realize they’d start to prefer that box!

 

I like my litter box in the basement...

I like my litter box in the basement…

Both of our cats have avoided the litter box on our main floor for a long time and we don’t really want them in the basement. So, as you can see, this kind of caused a bit of a problem. When I was asked to check out Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter, I hoped it would at least encourage Lloyd and Rosabeth to give the upstairs box a chance. To my delight, within 2 days my cats were using the upstairs litter box by choice. The frequency that we have to scoop out the waste from it has more than quadrupled, and neither cat is pawing at the basement door or meowing to go down there. I’m sold, and will be buying this again.

lloyd watching fish

A cat’s version of a good TV show

lloyd and fish tank

He loves to watch the fish in the tank! We turn the tank light on and he comes running….

Now, I know we’re fortunate and that many have far more serious (and frustrating) issues with not using a litter box- at all.  Lloyd and Rosie have both missed the litter box, but only rarely. When our old cat Raistlin was alive, she would have been a cat we used the Cat Attract for.  Raistlin woulld pee just about anywhere BUT her litter box for a really long time and it made us crazy.  We never would have re-homed her… but the fact is that many cats are given up because of litter box issues and one little switch to a new litter literally could end up being a life or death matter for cats.  That”s kind of a big deal, and for those who are frustrated with a cat having litter box issues (or lack of issues I suppose), definitely worth a try.

lloyd and tobey

Don’t tell anyone, but even Tobey the dog would be sad if we weren’t around…

Cat Attract has saved cats from going to the shelter or being euthanized.

It really can save lives. Check out other litter box solutions: http://blogp.ws/LitterSolutions

cat_attract

So what is it about this litter that stands out?

Well, it clumps hard.  Really hard.  It doesn’t crumble when you take it from the litter box. That alone is a big deal.  Very few if any little bits fall back into the litter box.  So the smell isn’t sticking around.

Cat Attract is non toxic (super important) – it’s made of natural herbs.  No chemicals, no deoderant. No catnip. The formula is actually patent pending. It contains Chlorophyll which provides a natural odor control.  Pretty cool, right?

I’m about to place an order of more Cat Attract litter.  I told you I was going to buy it again, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is.  It’s working well for us, it’s non toxic and keeps the litter box smell down. That’s a win for everyone in my house!

 One reader will win a 20 lb bag of Cat Attract Litter!

 

The Cat Attract giveaway, across all participating blogs, is limited to one winner per household. Winners must be 18 years of age and reside in the U.S. Winners will receive an email to provide delivery instructions. Prize delivery can take 6 – 8 weeks

 

Lamb Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Spring is here!! It really is!! Even if the weather isn’t cooperating, the calendar definitely reads springtime. I don’t know about you but I’m so totally over cold weather and winter or cold related anything at this point. I want spring, fun, warm weather stuff. That includes foods! Since Easter is coming, Pillsbury asked me to create a fun recipe using their Cinnamon Rolls to share with you all. I can’t say no to creating cute and fun foods, so I got to thinking…and while I love chicks and bunnies, lambs are also part of the Easter season (and spring!) and I thought this little Lamb Cinnamon rolls recipe would be just so super cute.  It is very easy to make your Easter celebration a little more special with these simple, fun and delicious food ideas.

lamb cinnamon rolls recipe

Pillsbury Lamb Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Ingredients –

1 can of 8 ct. Pillsbury cinnamon rolls

16 chocolate chips

8 mini pink marshmallows, cut in half

1 C. white mini marshmallows, cut in half

1 small package of Twizzler black licorice nibs

1 small round cookie cutter (mine was octogon shaped)

small sandwich bag

 

lamb ingredients

 

Directions-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

lamb process 2

#1. Taking one cinnamon roll at a time, flatten it out with your palm. Don’t be afraid to stretch it out as these bake very fluffy. Once it is flattened out use the cookie cutter to cut out the lamb’s head (see photo). Take the excess cinnamon roll from around the edge of the cookie cutter and cut in half.

Fold the 2 halves in half to make the lamb’s ears and tuck behind the head and gently press down (see photo). Place the lamb on a greased cookie sheet.

 

#2. Repeat step number #1 with the other cinnamon rolls.

 

#3. Bake according to the package directions.

 

#4. Remove the cinnamon lambs from the oven and let cool completely. Open the frosting container the comes with the cinnamon rolls and scoop into the sandwich bag and make a small snip in the end with a pair of scissors.

lamb process 3

#5. Once the lambs are completely cooled you can start on their faces. Using the sandwich bag with frosting, pipe the frosting onto the lamb’s head to make a face. Use a toothpick to spread the frosting out evenly, if needed.

 

#6. Next place 3-4 white mini marshmallows on the top of the lambs heads. The frosting will act like ‘glue’. Place 2 chocolate chips on the lambs face for eyes and 1 mini pink marshmallow ½ for a nose.

lamb process 4

Using the kitchen scissors, snip the black licorice Nibs into small pieces for a mouth.

Lastly, pipe some frosting on the ears. Set aside and let dry.

#7. Repeat steps #5 and #6 for the rest of the lamb’s. Let set 15-20 minutes before serving.

*Store in an airtight container up to 1 week. I do not recommend freezing. 1 Lamb = 1 serving. Makes 8 servings total.

Lamb1

Check out my friend Janel’s Easter Egg Cinnamon Rolls!

What are your favorite fun holiday foods?

4.9 from 12 reviews
Lamb Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • Pillsbury Lamb Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients -
  • 1 can of 8 ct. Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
  • 16 chocolate chips
  • 8 mini pink marshmallows, cut in half
  • 1 C. white mini marshmallows, cut in half
  • 1 small package of Twizzler black licorice nibs
  • 1 small round cookie cutter (mine was octogon shaped)
  • small sandwich bag
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Taking one cinnamon roll at a time, flatten it out with your palm.
  3. Don't be afraid to stretch it out as these bake very fluffy.
  4. Once it is flattened out use the cookie cutter to cut out the lamb's head (see photo).
  5. Take the excess cinnamon roll from around the edge of the cookie cutter and cut in half.
  6. Fold the 2 halves in half to make the lamb's ears and tuck behind the head and gently press down (see photo).
  7. Place the lamb on a greased cookie sheet.
  8. Repeat step number #1 with the other cinnamon rolls.
  9. Bake according to the package directions.
  10. Remove the cinnamon lambs from the oven and let cool completely.
  11. Open the frosting container the comes with the cinnamon rolls and scoop into the sandwich bag and make a small snip in the end with a pair of scissors.
  12. Once the lambs are completely cooled you can start on their faces.
  13. Using the sandwich bag with frosting, pipe the frosting onto the lamb's head to make a face.
  14. Use a toothpick to spread the frosting out evenly, if needed.
  15. Next place 3-4 white mini marshmallows on the top of the lambs heads.
  16. The frosting will act like 'glue'.
  17. Place 2 chocolate chips on the lambs face for eyes and 1 mini pink marshmallow ½ for a nose.
  18. Using the kitchen scissors, snip the black licorice Nibs into small pieces for a mouth.
  19. Lastly, pipe some frosting on the ears. Set aside and let dry.
  20. #7. Repeat steps #5 and #6 for the rest of the lamb's.
  21. Let set 15-20 minutes before serving.
  22. *Store in an airtight container up to 1 week. I do not recommend freezing. 1 Lamb = 1 serving. Makes 8 servings total.
  23. *Total prep time = about 1 hour.

 

8 Reasons to Garden

 

Growing up, my dad had a garden. I can’t remember anything he grew in that garden except for rhubarb, I guess because we used to munch on the rhubarb while catching fireflies in our Underoos.  As I got older, I was away at summer camp for 8+ weeks each year, and wasn’t really around for gardening season…and then we got a house on Lake Winnipesauke and weekends and vacations were spent there so the garden kind of went by the wayside.  We even have some rhubarb plants here, that we’d gotten from a neighbor, so we could bring it to my mom and dad up in New Hampshire.

My husband’s family has always gardened.  For him, having a yard that could fit a garden was a part of house hunting. I didn’t really have a preference to garden or not, at least where food was concerned. I just wanted to have roses where I lived. Oh, and peonies.

When we bought our current home in 2005, I was really pregnant with our oldest daughter.  We chose this house for many reasons, but a big reason is the yard.  Our backyard is large, with lots of room for a garden, flower beds, flowering trees, shade trees, and it had 2 huge apple trees and 2 8 foot tall blueberry bushes that were well established when we moved in.

Here are 8 reasons to garden:

1. Food- There’s not much that tastes better than something you planted, tended and grew yourself.

2. Earth- The cycle of plant life is good for the earth.  It’s good for the air and its good for the soil.  We use pine needles that fall from our trees to mulch beds, or we use pine cones.

3. Family- Gardening is something we can do as a family. Every step can include all of us.

4. Learning- The process of prepping, planting, tending and harvesting a garden teaches a lot to our children.  It also helps them develop an understanding and appreciation for growing our own food.  My kids have all said at different times how much better even our salsa tastes when it’s stuff we brought up from the garden.

5. Money- I’m pretty sure we’ve all bought fresh produce at the grocery store.  It’s expensive…. and that’s not even talking about selecting organic fruits and vegetables.  By planting our own fruits, vegetables and herbs and using an organic Miracle-Gro product for seed starting and/or amending the soil with our compost, we know just what’s going into the soil with our seeds…and we are able to save a lot of money that we would have otherwise spent on organic produce.

6. Fun- It’s really kind of fun to just dig in and garden.  It’s not only a fun way to be together as a family, but it’s also a source of stress relief.

7. Fragrance and beauty- while we are not big flower gardeners, we do have a dozen peonies around our property (and I’m sure we will keep adding, as they are my favorites), as well as other perennial flowers… which we can cut as we wish and put around the house to brighten rooms and enjoy the fragrance of.  We can also cut flowers to brighten someone else’s day.

8. Learning- I’ve learned so much over the years of gardening.  The kids have too.  From carpentry skills in building raised beds or our compost bin, to figuring out when to plant seeds in winter so they’ll be ready for the ground after the last frost….row spacing…timing… there’s a lot that gardening can teach all of us.

 Everyone grows for a reason. Some people grow to spend time with their family, or to beautify their community. Some people grow because they love cooking with home-grown ingredients, or because it’s a skill and tradition passed down from generations. Other people grow for personal relaxation, or because they love decorating their homes with freshly cut flowers. Whatever the reason, Miracle-Gro wants to know why we all grow- why we strive to Gro Something Greater.

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2 Ingredient Chocolate Fluff Recipe

It doesn’t get much easier than this super simple and just 2 ingredient chocolate fluff recipe.  2 ingredients?  One of them is chocolate?  Score! I love simple recipes and this one takes the cake for simplicity.  Chocolate chips and whipping cream team up to bring you this light, fluffy and chocolately deliciousness. My family loves this- it’s like a really really really light, fluffy pudding almost, or like eating a chocolate cloud.  Whatever you compare it to, it’s chocolate and YUM.

chocolate fluff

Chocolate Fluff Recipe

Ingredients:

2 Cups Chocolate Chips

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

 

Directions:

chocolate fluff 1

In a mixing bowl add chocolate chips and set aside.

 

In a sauce pan over medium low heat, heat whipping cream to a simmer then remove from heat.

chocolate fluff 2

Pour heated whipping cream over chocolate chips and allow to set for 2-3 minutes.

chocolate fluff 3

Whisk together whipping cream and chocolate until smooth.

chocolate fluff 4

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

chocolate fluff 6

Remove from refrigerator, using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat on medium until light and fluffy.

chocolate fluff 7

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

 

Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Chocolate_Fluff
Check out my friend Lolli’s Classic Lemon Bars and Val’s Sausage and Cheese Egg Rolls and come link up your own recipe or find new ones to try!
 

 

4.8 from 4 reviews
2 Ingredient Chocolate Fluff Recipe
 
2 ingredient chocolate fluff recipe
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Instructions
  1. In a mixing bowl add chocolate chips and set aside.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium low heat, heat whipping cream to a simmer then remove from heat.
  3. Pour heated whipping cream over chocolate chips and allow to set for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Whisk together whipping cream and chocolate until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Remove from refrigerator, using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat on medium until light and fluffy.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
  8. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Disney’s Frozen Sven Marshmallow Pops

OK, I KNOW you have heard of Disney’s Frozen. Chances are, since its out on BluRay/DVD, you’ve even finally seen it.  And chances are, if you saw it, you loved it.  I mean, it is fantabulous.  Or the kids have brainwashed me into believing it is because they sing the songs and act out the movie all day every day.  Either way. (I’m pretty sure its the former not the latter). The characters in this film are just fun to watch and fun to love.  There’s been a whole lotta lovin’ for the ever adorable Olaf, beautiful sisters Anna and Elsa, but one of my faves in the movie was Sven, the strong, silent and slightly sarcastic reindeer. He isn’t getting quite enough love and attention in my book, so I had to come up with a way to pay homage to his awesome.  So here are my Sven Marshmallow Pops!

 Sven Marshmallow pops

Sven Marshmallow Pops

 

Ingredients:

Jumbo Jet Puffed Marshmallows

Lollipop Sticks

Dark Cocoa Candy Melts

Peanut Butter Candy Melts

White Candy Melts

Pretzels

Candy Eyes

Brown Mini M&Ms

Wax Paper

 Directions:

Sven Marshmallow Pops-2

Stick a lollipop stick through a marshmallow for each pop you’ll be making. Melt the dark cocoa candy melts according to package directions. Dip each marshmallow in the candy melts until fully coated, then tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-3

Place upright in a block of foam to allow to harden completely.

Melt white candy melts according to package directions. Add a drop of dark cocoa candy melts and mix together to make gray.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-8To make the antlers, break pretzels in half and dip in the gray candy melts.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-10

Set on wax paper to harden.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-6

Once the marshmallows have hardened, use a toothpick to paint gray spots on the front of the marshmallow pops. Add candy eyes on top of the spots.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-4

Melt the peanut butter candy melts according to package directions. To make the nose, cut a jumbo marshmallow in quarters and dip in the peanut butter candy melts using a toothpick. Set on the wax paper to harden.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-5

 

Attach two brown mini M&Ms to the front of the nose and use the candy melts to stick the nose on the front of the face.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-7

 

Dip the bottom of the antlers in dark cocoa candy melts and set on wax paper. Set the marshmallow pops on top of the antlers to attach them to the back and allow to harden completely.

Sven Marshmallow Pops-11

Package as desired and enjoy!

Sven Marshmallow Pops-12

Love the Sven pops? Don’t forget to check out our Olaf Nutter Butter Cookies!

Olaf Nutter Butter Cookies Frozen Movie

 

You will LOVE having these as a fun snack for your Frozen viewing party!!  There are tons of fun extras on the BluRay and DVD that you don’t want to miss out on!!

frozen box art

Here’s some activities you can download for your viewing party, too :)

frozen activity games

frozen fun activities

4.8 from 4 reviews
Disney's Frozen Sven Marshmallow Pops
 
Fun marshmallow pops made to look like Sven from Disney's Frozen
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • Jumbo Jet Puffed Marshmallows
  • Lollipop Sticks
  • Dark Cocoa Candy Melts
  • Peanut Butter Candy Melts
  • White Candy Melts
  • Pretzels
  • Candy Eyes
  • Brown Mini M&Ms
  • Wax Paper
Instructions
  1. Stick a lollipop stick through a marshmallow for each pop you'll be making.
  2. Melt the dark cocoa candy melts according to package directions.
  3. Dip each marshmallow in the candy melts until fully coated, then tap on the side of the bowl to remove excess.
  4. Place upright in a block of foam to allow to harden completely.
  5. Melt white candy melts according to package directions.
  6. Add a drop of dark cocoa candy melts and mix together to make gray.
  7. To make the antlers, break pretzels in half and dip in the gray candy melts.
  8. Set on wax paper to harden.
  9. Once the marshmallows have hardened, use a toothpick to paint gray spots on the front of the marshmallow pops.
  10. Add candy eyes on top of the spots.
  11. Melt the peanut butter candy melts according to package directions.
  12. To make the nose, cut a jumbo marshmallow in quarters and dip in the peanut butter candy melts using a toothpick.
  13. Set on the wax paper to harden.
  14. Attach two brown mini M&Ms to the front of the nose and use the candy melts to stick the nose on the front of the face.
  15. Dip the bottom of the antlers in dark cocoa candy melts and set on wax paper.
  16. Set the marshmallow pops on top of the antlers to attach them to the back and allow to harden completely.
  17. Package as desired and enjoy!

We did receive a Frozen combo pack on BluRay/DVD.  Opinions are my own.