In All Things Give Thanks

Give Thanks

It’s a cold and rainy day here in Atlanta, no reason to go anywhere and the perfect excuse to watch a Modern Family marathon. I’m feeling very thankful for lazy days with my family.

My family and I are also grateful for a good health report for my sweet Mother in law, who recently suffered a minor heart attack…. I am grateful for the word “minor” in this case, because a heart attack in any form is scary. She will hopefully be released from the hospital soon so she can rest comfortably at home. We love you Grandma!!

We are also grateful for our good friend David who has Cystic Fibrosis, and just went in last night for a double lung transplant…the report is good. He has a new set of healthy lungs and is recovering nicely. Our prayers are being answered and we are more than grateful!

I am also thankful for the guys who are working on our septic system out in the cold rain, trying to get our system working!! Thanks, Banks Tanks!

In all things give thanks…right?

This “In All Things Give Thanks” Chalkboard print is an instant download from Sassy Ink Studio on Etsy. Perfect for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving decor.

Thanksgiving GAther

This “gather” sign sums up Thanksgiving for me. It’s what I love about every holiday, but Thanksgiving seems to be the one time we gather together to just be together.

Old New Again  is an Etsy shop with many, many cool items, including this gather sign!

 

Thankgiving center piece

 

I was drawn to this Thanksgiving center piece for 2 reasons….it’s so tastefully done, and I’m a big fan of using seasonal goods for decoration. They are usually very inexpensive, and once they have reached their expiration date, they go into the garbage and not our storage area! Saves room and money!

 

Thanksgiving

 

 

Designer Blogs has some really fun free printables for your Thanksgiving menu! Simply download, print and presto, your guests will think you are pretty cool!

 

 

Thanksgiving puppy chow

 

In the past, I generally leave the Puppy Chow for Christmas, but not anymore! I found this amazing, peanut butter heavy, puppy chow recipe from The Messy Baker, and it is incredibly good. She has categorized her chow as a Halloween treat, or a great way to us up some of your left over Halloween candy, but I just loved the Autumn colors and thought it might be a great Thanksgiving alternative. I personally left out the Candy Corn’s, and added a few more Reese’s Pieces but that’s just because Candy Corn’s are my least favorite candy on the planet..sorry corn lovers.

 

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving, with lots of fun family gatherings and plenty of Turkey to feast on!

 

 

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Dinner by Daley

PicMonkey Collage chicken pot pie new

One of my favorite things in the whole world is hanging out in the kitchen with my girls. We love baking together…sometimes it’s all laughs and giggles, and other times it’s a huge mess and a teeny bit frustrating, but they are some of my favorite memories! Sometimes the messy days are the most fun of all. (Sometimes.)

Daley has expressed an interest in making a few dishes all by herself. My heart wanted to pop with pride when she mentioned this. (I’m pretty sure I had zero interest in cooking when I was her age. Pouring the chocolate chips into the batter was about the extent of my culinary skills.)  We discussed a few simple recipes that she could choose from, and we quickly decided on Chicken Pot Pie!! It’s a family favorite!!

This recipe is one I grew up on. My mom would make it, but she made it with a homemade crust. We decided a ready-made crust would make this baking experience much easier, plus it’s actually really good. Bonus!

There are many wonderful, made from scratch, Chicken Pot Pie recipes out there, but this is as simple and easy as it gets! Perfect for the budding chef.

chicken pot pie recipe new

 Preheat your oven to 425 degrees

 In a large pie dish, add:

 2 cans of Veg-All (Drained)

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup,

½ cup milk,

Shredded rotisserie chicken

Salt and pepper

 Mix until everything is combined.

 Top the mixture with the Pie crust. (We used Pillsbury.)

 Use a fork or toothpick to pierce the crust, for venting.

 Place in the oven and bake for approx. 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is nice and bubbly warm.

  • This recipe serves 4, but you can easily use a larger 9×12 dish and add more ingredients to serve a larger crowd. You may need 2 pie crusts if you are using a larger dish.

I hope you love it as much as we do!

 

Hot Chocolate

Affogato-1
Have you ever tasted something that made you want to cry a little? I’m not sure why I have this reaction to food sometimes, it’s a little confusing.This surprising reaction came after tasting hot chocolate. I like hot chocolate, it’s ok, but it’s usually not that tasty, so I have a few sips and then I’m done. I think I’ve only had packets of hot chocolate that are usually mixed with water, so it basically tastes like chocolate water. ewww. Well, now that I have tasted what real hot chocolate is supposed to taste like, I’m going to be a little bit snobbish about my cocoa.
Today I went to my daughter’s class room for a pizza party, and her (amazingly cool) teacher made the class hot chocolate in a crock pot! I had seen this recipe on Pinterest a few times, so I was aware that it existed, and maybe even thought about making it, but it wasn’t at the top of the list. She asked me if I would like to try it, so I said “sure”…I was curious to see what this crock pot hot chocolate was all about. Well, the first sip was such a shock, I really couldn’t believe how flippin’ good it was. That is when I instantly felt like I wanted to cry. This stuff was a mix between a warm hug and a snuggle, going down into my belly.

 

*************************************************************************************
Crock Pot Hot Chocolate:
1   1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chocolate chips
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Heat until the chocolate chips are melted and everything is warm.
***************************************************************************************

The photo above is from A Couple Cooks. It is a Peppermint Ice Cream and Hot Cocoa Affogato. Affogato is an Italian word meaning “drowned.” I am thinking this will be fun to serve on Christmas Eve…maybe even save a little extra for Santa! wink

Tomato-Tomahto

This is the first summer that I am attempting to grow a mini garden…I am starting small because I am super bad at keeping plants alive.

I am highly envious of people who have the gardening gene…I so badly want to be a grower of pretty things, but in all honesty, I’m just really bad at it. I feel sad for the plants I buy at the store. I whisper my apologies to them as I put them in the shopping cart of death…poor little plants never stand a chance. Well, this year I am turning over a new leaf. I have thriving plants that are producing fruit! Yay! A strawberry actually made it into my little girls mouth, and I have about 8 tomatoes that are looking promising! I am looking forward to bringing produce into my house that does not have a sticker on it.
I found a few recipes that will hopefully showcase my homegrown tomatoes and basil nicely. Enjoy
Balsamic Grilled Summer Vegetables with Basil Quinoa Salad by Veggie belly
Tomato, Ricotta and Grilled Bread from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Caprese Baked Egg Cups by How Sweet It Is

Pop of Pink

Hurray for Spring…pollen and all!

Fresh baby green leaves on the trees, Cherry trees in full bloom, dogwood trees, honeysuckle, jasmine…yep, I adore Spring! With all the lovely pops of color in nature, it’s time to add a few pops of color in my home, food and maybe even my hair! I can’t stop looking at her pink pieces…I want some!!  When we were in Vegas and Austin I was seeing color everywhere, hidden little pieces that would pop out when their hair moved just right. I was in love; and as soon as I can get an appointment with my stylist (who just so happens to be my sister) I am doing it!!

photo via Creature Comforts

Cupcakes are way better than just cake in my opinion…it’s the frosting to cake ratio that does it for me. More frosting, more yummy! My husband totally disagrees with me on this issue, and that is why we make a good match!! Right, honey?

Call Me Cupcake made these beauties.!

hello-naomi  makes these cookies look so simple, but something tells me that they are a little trickier to make than it seems. Just look at how pretty and smooth her icing is…my icing loves to fall over the edge, and when I bake my dough it gets puffy and misshapen leaving people to wonder, “is that an X or a butterfly?” Maybe one day I will get the hang of it, but for now I will just look and admire!

Fresh guacamole, fresh salsa, crisp chips and a Pink Grapefruit margarita and I am a happy gal!

 pink chalkboard door

I want to kiss the person who created chalkboard paint…now you can find it in colors?!?! What??  How much fun would it be to have a pink door, or any color, really?? Even if you don’t have a door hanging in your home that you could paint a color, it might be fun to find an old door to paint and hang on a wall somewhere…headboard, playroom wall, anywhere!

Top off the day with a strawberry milkshake !

Happy Spring!

Sweet Paul Spring Issue!!!

I have been a big fan of Paul’s ever since I was introduced to his first digital magazine back in 2010. His sense of style, the clean and beautiful photography and the original content he shares in each issue keeps me looking forward to what he has in store for the next season. Paul’s spring issue is impressive and loaded to the max with brilliant, fun and delicious ideas.

I am especially excited about the recipes….there were several I am looking forward to trying. Some looked a bit intimidating, but after reading the ingredients and instructions, they actually look fairly easy and very doable…not so intimidating after all. yay!

Thank you Sweet Paul, you are a pretty amazing fella!

Sweet Paul Magazine

Game Day

Football, for me, is usually the background noise I hear while I am taking a nap on the couch. I am easily lulled to sleep by the silky voices of the announcers and the musical trills of the refs whistles, but that changed for me this year. I have been converted to a football fan, and it is all because I agreed to join a Fantasy Football League with some of my friends. I enjoyed this season so much that I am actually sad that it is over. What??  I am looking forward to Super Bowl Sunday for a few reasons, first, I actually know who is playing…most years I don’t care. That is a sad thing to admit, but it’s true. Second, I enjoy drinking a healthy amount of beer with friends, and third, I adore food, especially anything that is delivered to my face on a chip!

I did a little searching for some fun new recipes to bring to the Super Bowl party we are going to. Two of the recipes are a fun twist on the super yummy Jalapeño Poppers! Yum. I’m having a hard time deciding what I will make, but I feel confident that I won’t go wrong with any of these choices.
8. Cheese and Crackers

Creepy and Crunchy

The girls are very excited that PaP Pap and CoCo are coming to visit for Halloween. Mommy and Daddy are excited as well. P&C don’t mind hanging at the house and handing out candy, while we get to Trick or Treat with the kids in the hood and collect the loot. We just set them up with some snacks and a bottle of wine and they are happy campers.

As I was taking a look around Etsy, like I usually do, I came across some wicked…(wickedly awesome) finds.
I don’t think this Wicked Witch bookmark, by Woodland Honey, will work very well in my Kindle, so it’s a good thing I prefer real books. They also make bookmarks with elf legs that may make a great stocking stuffer. (Just thinking ahead.)
Beware of toxins, turmoil and Poison. These 19th century inspired votive candle holders, by Burke Hare Co. are creepy, cool. They also make some bewitching chalkboard frames…not creepy, but very cool.
I’ll have some Cap’n Crunch with a side of spider please. This whimsical pottery, by Village Clayworks is beautifully handmade with a side of humor thrown in. She has a cockroach bowl in her shop that might be fun for a good April Fool’s Day prank. Heee heee heeee.
Mummified Oreos, roasted pumpkin seeds and Spooky Halloween Mix may just be on the menu for the big night. I’m sure after we raid the girl’s candy stash we may be in the mood for something salty and crunchy!

It’s a keeper

I realized that I have fallen into a rut when it comes to bringing food to parties…I’m pretty sure I have become predictable. “Oh, here comes Tracy with her crostini’s and goat cheese again, greaaaat.”  Well, now I have a new one, so watch out ladies…you will see this one a whole bunch!

Like many people, I have become  hooked on Pinterest. I spend way too much time there, but I can’t help myself, it’s just too pretty and full of so many great ideas. While searching for baby shower ideas, I stumbled upon a photo that I thought was just regular old cookie dough, but when I read it was a dip, I had to check it out. The recipe comes from a yummy blog by Robyn Stone, called, Add a Pinch, and I am so happy I found it. Robyn puts a twist on this recipe by adding Heath toffee bits to the dip, yum! She also recommends serving it with chocolate graham crackers and/or apples…which is exactly what I did. I have found a few other recipes on her blog that I look forward to trying. I’m sure my husband won’t mind if I mix things up a bit!

If you are looking for a fun new sweet treat to serve at a party…this might just do the trick! Enjoy.

P.S.  Yes, I had to run a few extra miles this morning to make up for my mass consumption of this stuff, but it was worth it!

A Little Love In It

We have a fun tradition in our family on Saturday mornings. Chocolate Chip Pancakes!

My dad used to make them for us every Saturday morning, and he still does when we come up to visit. We have decided to keep that tradition alive for our girls.  My dad uses Bisquick for his pancakes…yum, but my mother-in-law has a simple recipe that is very easy and really good, maybe better than Bisquick…sorry, dad. Love you. One of the best parts of this tradition is getting my girls in the kitchen with me to help. Ellie especially loves to help with the pancakes. She will bring her “helping stool” over, and with her whisk in hand, she is ready to go.

When my husband, Sean, tastes anything the girls and I make, he always says,”I can taste the love in it.” Of course that makes us super happy! Our girls are still in the stage where they take everything literally, so now when we make anything, they like to make sure they put they “put the love in it,” by blowing kisses into the batter and giving the bowl a big hug. It’s pretty cute.

I have seen chocolate chip pancakes where the chocolate chips are added to the batter, but we like to make plain pancakes and add the chocolate chips on top.

If you are suddenly in the mood for some warm and cozy pancakes, here is a recipe I hope you enjoy. You may just have all of the ingredients you need, right in your pantry!

Thanks, Grandma! We love you!