Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Tortellini

I love this time of year and all the good flavors that come with! Sadly, we have been super sick around here, so there hasn't been much of anything yummy coming from the kitchen. I think we are on the mend now and I have a lot of catching up to do. I made this for dinner the other night and we loved it. A perfect weeknight meal for the middle of fall. 

Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini

2 (13oz) packages cheese tortellini
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh or dried parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook according to package directions. Reserve one cup of starchy cooking water before draining, then drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook for about a minute until combined and heated through. Stir in the cream and milk and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cheese and cook 1 more minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss until combined. Add some of the cooking water to loosen if needed (I didn't need to do this, but some sauces may turn out thicker than others). Sprinkle on some parsley and serve with additional cheese if desired.

Serves 4

Monday, October 21, 2013


I had 2 quotes brought to my attention that last couple of weeks and I haven't been able to get either of them out of my head. I have done a lot of pondering on both quotes and am grateful for the insight I have recieved because of them. I thought I would share them and hope that they might bring peace to someone who may be struggling. 

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition."
  Martha Washington

"Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now.
Faith reassures you that everything will happen in God's timing."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mummy Munch

It has been one of those weeks and I feel like my brain has been turned off for most of it. I would like to think it's the lack of chocolate and sugar in my life. Don't ask me what I was thinking, but 3 weeks ago I signed up to do a weight loss challenge with some of my neighbors. I feel like every pumpkin dessert is constantly calling my name. 
Yesterday, I made one of our favorite Halloween snack/treats. We like to call it Mummy Munch. I realized when I was practically finished bagging it, that I hadn't snapped any pictures. Not the most artistic shots here, but you get the idea. This is an easy treat to make and the kids love helping out with this one!

Mummy Munch

4 cups honey chex cereal
1 cup autumn mix (candy corn and little pumpkins
1 cup dry roasted or honey roasted peanuts
2 cups mini pretzels
12 oz package vanilla candy melts

In a large bowl, combine cereal, autumn mix, peanuts and pretzels. Mix to combine. Melt vanilla candy melts in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each 30 seconds until completely melted. Pour over cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated. Pour Mummy Munch onto wax paper to dry. Once dried, break up into pieces and store in ziplock bags or an airtight container. I like to divide it into snack bags for lunch boxes or we divide it up between cute Halloween goodie bags and deliver it to neighbors. 
Makes about 8 cups

Adapted from Picky Palate

Monday, October 14, 2013

Grilled Chicken Taco Pizza

All summer I have been wanting to try grilled pizza. This week I finally got around to it. I found an amazing recipe in Food Network Magazine for Grilled Chicken Taco Pizza. As soon as I saw the recipe I knew this was the one I had to try. I think grilled pizza is our new family favorite. It was so good!
Grilled Chicken Taco Pizza
food network magazine

Taco Seasoning: 2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Pizzas: 1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for brushing
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 16oz tube pizza dough
flour for dusting
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 avocado
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp diced red onion
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh salsa
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Make the taco seasoning: Mix all of the ingredients with 1 tbsp each salt and pepper in a bowl.

Prepare the pizza: Mix 2 tbsp of the taco seasoning and the canola oil in a shallow bowl. Pound the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4 inch thick. Add the chicken to the bowl, turning to coat and marinate 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium high. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Let cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.

Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Roll out each on a floured surface into an 8 inch round. Brush with canola oil, sprinkle with taco seasoning and grill until crisp, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from grill.

Mix the cheeses in a bowl, then sprinkle on the crusts and top with the chicken.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

BYU Football Tablecloth

Last week I made this fun tablecloth for our football party. We bleed blue around here and love when it is football season and we get to cheer our Cougars on!
I came up with this idea when I was trying to think of a cheaper alternative to AstroTurf. I love how it turned out and it was so easy and fast to make!
Most of the supplies I already had on hand for this, so it really only ended costing me about $3 to make. Can't beat that! I bought green felt (on sale). Get enough to fit your table, so measure your table before going to the fabric store. 
Then I used 1 1/2 inch ribbon for the goal lines and 3/8 inch ribbon for the yard lines. You may want to use a ruler or tape measure to space all of your ribbon, but I just eyeballed it and it turned out fine. Once you have your ribbon in place, just use double sided tape to tape it down to the felt. Super easy!
For the Y-I totally cheated and just traced it off of a poster in my sons room on to some cardstock and cut it out. You could easily print a Y off the computer onto some cardstock and cut that out. I also just used double sided tape to attach the Y. 
For the numbers, I used a number stencil that I had, traced all the numbers onto cardstock and cut them out. This was the most time consuming part of the project. Just throw on a good movie while you do this and it will go quickly! I hot glued all the numbers on to the felt so they didn't get knocked off with people leaning over the table for food-mainly my little kids. 
There you have it! Simple and fun! My son was so excited to have this out for our party. If you wanted to protect if from spills and stains, you could also go to the fabric store or Walmart and have a piece of vinyl cut to fit over it. Make one for your favorite team and throw an awesome football party!
Go Cougars!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Johnny Appleseed Activities

For the last 3 1/2 years, I have been doing what we call, "Mommy School" here at our house. Once my oldest hit preschool age, I started Mommy School and have continued on with it with each of my preschool age kids. I have many reasons for keeping my kids home for preschool, but the main reason is, I am selfish and want them home with me as long as possible.
When I plan my Mommy School schedule, I try to incorporate our monthly and weekly themes and activities to go along with that specific time of year or season. Usually around this time of year, we usually do a unit on Johnny Appleseed. Since I don't have any kids in preschool at the moment, we are taking some of our favorite activities we would usually do with Mommy School and continuing to make memories and build traditions. 
So, this last week was Johnny Appleseed week. We planned 3 different activities for 3 different days. I am often asked how I plan so many activities for my kids to do. It's all about getting organized and realizing that most activities with kids only last 20-30 minutes. If you have a plan and are prepared, these things take a small amount of your time, but the kids remember them for years to come.

 On Wednesday, we read some of our favorite Johnny Appleseed books and made some apple art. I just free handed a tree that the kids colored, and then they used pencil erasers to make apples on their trees.
 One thing we love about Johnny Appleseed is his awesome hat. My kids love to put my pots on their heads while we read about Johnny Appleseed. But this year, we made some hats of our own. I just took a piece of black poster board, cut it into 3 long pieces and measured those pieces around each head. Staple it together after you figure out how big you want your circle and then cut a pot handle out of your leftover pieces of poster board. Staple those on the inside of your circle. Easy as that! We were done in 5 minutes and I didn't have to wash any pots:)

 You can't have a Johnny Appleseed week without making something with apples. We made one of our favorite apple desserts to enjoy Friday evening. (Recipe below)
Apple Spice Cake

3 cups flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs. Mix on high speed until it becomes a lemon color. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients until just incorporated. Add apples and nuts to batter. Mix to combine. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 75-90 minutes. Remove from oven  and cool slightly on a wire rack. Invert cake onto wire rack and cool completely. Serve drizzled with caramel sauce.
For the sauce:
In a saucepan, combine all the caramel sauce ingredients, stirring until thickened to desired consistency.
Serves 10-12

Source: Martha Stewart

Thursday, October 3, 2013

General Conference Ideas

Before I post anything, I have to give a huge shout out to my sister, Katy! She spent hours getting this blog updated and designed for me so I could get started quickly. I wish I had her confidence when it comes to trying or learning something new. She jumps in without hesitation. I could not have done this without her. Thanks Katy! You are awesome!!

This weekend is one of our most favorite times of the year. It is General Conference for our Church. Twice a year we get to hear from our Prophet and other leaders who teach us about drawing closer to and becoming more like the Savior. I love Conference weekend and always have. It lifts my spirits and enriches my soul. As a mother, it makes me want to work that much harder at teaching my children the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make our family unit a stronger one. 
 Until we moved to Utah way back in 1997, my family did Conference the old fashion way...going to church. I have fond memories of going to our Stake Center to watch General Conference most of my young life. My parents always tried to make it a special weekend for our family and that tradition has now carried over into my family. I have to give a shout out to my parents! I have no idea how they got anything out of Conference all those years while they wrestled with young children. I feel very blessed to be able to watch Conference in the comfort of my own home and plan activities for the kids to help them understand why we have General Conference. My kids love Conference weekend and have already been asking for a few weeks if it was time for our Conference fun.
General Conference always means amazing food! We plan some fun menus to enjoy during Conference weekend, so stay tuned for some yummy recipes this weekend. 
I want my kids to get as much out of General Conference as they can. Below are some activities that we do almost every General Conference-the tried and true activities that my kids request each time. 
 If you search the web, you will find tons of activity packets for kids to color and such. I usually print off one or two for my kids to keep them entertained while we listen to the talks. This "Draw the Speaker" page is a favorite with my older kids. They love going crazy with faces and hair color. You can find this template over at ayearoffhe.blogspot.com
 Several years ago I made this matching game with all the Apostles pictures. I printed out 2 of each of them, cut and laminated them, and that's it. A good quiet game for Conference or any Sunday afternoon. 
 You see this idea all over Pinterest, but we have been doing this for years. We have little buckets with different key words on them. I fill the buckets with different treats or goodies and then when the kids hear those words, they get a treat. This is a must at our house!
 For Family Home Evening, the week before Conference, I like to do a little lesson and activity on who our Prophet and Apostles are. I found these wonderful cards over at beehivemessages.blogspot.com. We do a matching game and the kids have to guess which Apostle goes with each card. Then when they speak, my kids can identify something special about each one of them. 

I found this idea over at intheleafytreetopsthebirdssing.blogspot.com a couple of years ago.  When each Apostle speaks, the kids get to tape them up on their chair. This helps the kids pay attention to what is going on during Conference. 
Another activity we love to do is build Temples or Conference Centers out of marshmallows. Sometimes the kids just glue them together, but sometimes they will use toothpicks and come up with crazy creations. It's fun to watch them have fun with this activity.
There are a few ideas of what will be going on at our house this weekend. I hope you saw something you can use or that gave you an idea for starting a new tradition with your family. I would love to hear any ideas that have worked for your family to help create a memorable General Conference weekend!
Happy Conference Watching!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Fresh Start....

There are so many things I want to write in this first post, I hardly know where to begin. I started my food blog several years ago as a hobby. I got really bad at posting things when I was pregnant with my last baby. Morning sickness and food blogging do not go together! I have just had to put blogging on the back burner while I keep up with the little ones these days. It's a miracle if I get to snap a picture of our food before we eat. And what's the point of a food blog if you don't have pictures to go with the recipes?
Lately, however, I have felt the desire to start working on this blog again, but with a twist. I recently read a talk given my Elder M. Russell Ballard (an Apostle in my church) at Education Week. He encouraged us women to use social media as a way to share our testimonies. This struck me and I knew it was something I needed to be better at doing. I was also recently encouraged by my Mom to start a parenting blog. I laughed out loud at that idea. I thought, "What on earth would I have to say on a parenting blog? And who would want my advice or tips anyway?" But, I guess that is why I still need a mother at the age of 33. What she suggested has stuck with me as well.
I also recently had a sweet friend and neighbor ask to come over and pick my brain to learn all my tricks for "doing it all". Again, that was another laugh out loud moment. I was glad to know that it looked like I had it all together.
The more I have thought about my little food blog, the more the promptings came to start it up again and add to it. I decided that I would continue with my recipes, because I love cooking and I love to make others happy with my food. I also felt it was important to add my thoughts, feelings, and insights on motherhood. I would not be who I am today without my little family and being a mother is all I ever wanted to be. It is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done and ever will do. Motherhood is so precious and important and I want to be able to share that with others.
Sharing my faith and testimony, like Elder Ballard encouraged, was a must and then I thought I would throw in some of the fun things I do with my kids. People are always amazed by what I do with my kids, but what they don't realize is that it all comes down to planning and organizing. Hopefully sharing some of how I plan for all of our crazy activities will help other mom's out there realize that they can "do it all" too.
I am excited and nervous for this new little adventure. Please leave your comments! I would love to know how you feel or like the things that I share. Thank you to those of you who have been loyal followers for so many years and thank you to anyone new who is checking this out for the first time! Hopefully something you see on here will help make your life a little happier!