Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Going Downtown....

Saturday night we took the kids to our little town town square to see the Christmas lights that were done, and let me tell you my friends they went all out! In the center of our downtown is the court house and they went light CRAZY! From top to bottom and all the way around! It was so beautiful and it was great to see the kids enjoy it. I took a few pictures I wanted to share. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
All the way to the top! I wouldnt like to be that guy!
I have got to get a tripod!
Isn't it beautiful?
Another angle..
They had these little sences all over the place. I only got a picture of a few cause it was so busy there.
These were placed all around the court house, diffrent sences and diffrent sayings... what a great idea

Tasty Tuesday - Chocolate Peppermint Bark

This last weekend we went to a cook out at my Godfathers and I was always raised not to go some where empty handed. So with the vodka checked off the list all I needed was something food wise. It hit me that I had a recipe for the peppermint bark that I hadn't tried yet and thought it would be perfect to take along for the fun evening that was planned.
This recipe was so quick, I had it all done and ready to go with plenty of coloring time with the kiddos before we left for the cook out.

Chocolate Peppermint Bark:
 What you need:
6 squares (1 oz each) white baking chocolate
1 cup ( 6 oz)  semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup crushed peppermint candies

Here's what you do:
1. In mircowave safe bowl, melt white chocolate at 70% power; stir until smooth. Repeat with chocolate chips. Stir in 6 tablespoons of crushed candies in each bowl. Drop white chocolate and semi sweet chocolate in alternating spoonfuls onto waxed paper- lined baking sheet.

2. With a metal spatula, cut through the chocolate to swirl, spreading to a 1/4th inch thickness. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candies. Chill until firm. Break into pieces. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

I doubled the batch and since I was in a lil of a hurry I stuck te baking sheets in the freezer. They broke easily this way too. They were a hit and this is a quick recipe that will become a favorite and maybe a Christmas time tradition for us...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Awww Christmas, my favorite holiday. I love this time of year when I can use and valiatate 1000 reasons for family time!
One of my favorite excuses to get us all together is the hunt for the Christmas tree! We always get a real one for many reasons but the #1 in my book is that we all do it as a family! This is a tradtion that i started with the older 2 when they were little and I plan on keeping it around until they are off to college.... Even then I might just work around thier lives and do it as a family... Girls condiser this your warning! lol

We were going to go to a Christmas Tree Farm this year but the weather has been rainy and we had already had our first snow( though it didnt stick around) so we opted for good ol Home Depot! Christmas Tree Farm is a MUST DO next year!

We found a beautiful tree! It was in the 6 to 7 foot range in the beautiful Noble fur catergorie. So we picked it up and headed to check out!

The tree color this year was purple and silver, and I was excited to get it all put up! For those who dont know I change the tree color every year... Another tradtion I started... and my hubby cant stand the fact that I have 7 totes of Christmas stuff! But he has learned to deal with it I guess....

When we got the tree home we realized that our tree stand would not work! So Anthony went and had to buy another one. After all the wrestling with the tree we got it in the house and realized it was HUGE compared to where we wanted to put it... so after some re arraging we got it in there and started on the decor!
Our Tree with LIGHTS!

The tree skirt... and the idea for purple
Great find at Kmart! Martha Stewart

Here is the Purple and Silver!
Got 2 of these packages at Target last year!
We always start with the main color ornaments then got to the kids keepsakes after that... They all have a few Hallmark Keepsakes ( I usually try and get them one every year) and then og course the handmade ones from school that they have collected over the years... Got to LOVE those lil gifts! I cant wait to hand them to them when they have kids of thier own ;) but NO time soon of course!
Just the purple and silver

Decorating the tree!
Then of course last but not least is the Star! Since I am short and the kids are well kids, this is the job saved for the hubby! Our 4 year old just HAD to do it this year though so with a little help from Dad she got it up there!
Our STAR! Another Target buy!

 I hope you will enjoy our finished tree as much as we do.... but one last thought.... Do you have any special traditions?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cookin' Tuesday: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake and Slow Cooker Lasagna

Since we have moved to Arkansas and I am not working I tend to have a little more time on my hands. Anyone that knows me know I pretend to cook. I am not an expert and I don't always enjoy it but yesterday was pretty good. I did try 2 new recipes and I hope to place a recipe on here every week. Who knows you may get two :)
First off we will start with the Slow Cooker Lasagna. This is a Betty Crocker recipe... though I am NO Betty Crocker, I can pretend right?

Slow Cooker Lasagna

What you will need:
1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
1 medium onion chopped
3 cans (15 oz each) Italian-style tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese ( 8oz)
1 container (15 oz) Ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
15 uncooked lasagna noodles

Here's what you do:
1 Cook sausage and onion over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomato sauce, basil and salt.

2. Mix one cup of the mozzarella cheese and the ricotta and the Parmesan cheeses. ( refrigerate the remaining mozzarella while lasagna cooks)

3. Spoon 1/4 of the sausage mixture into a 6 quart slow-cooker; top with 5 noodles, broken into pieces to fit. Spread with half of the cheese mixture and 1/4 of the sausage mixture. Top with 5 noodles, remaining cheese mixture, and 1/4 sausage mixture. Top with reaming 5 noodles and remaining sausage mixture.

4. Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or until noodles are tender.
5. Sprinkle top of lasagna with the remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover and let stand for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into pieces and Serve!!

This was my first attempt for lasagna. Though I have carried on the tradition of stuffed shells. I think the next time I will try the oven even though I LOVE slow cooked meals with 3 kids :)

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake:

I found this recipe a while back in the ads that come in the mail every Wednesday.. Never know what goodies you will find in those things.. and this was a GOODIE!

What you need:
9 HONEY MAID Honey Grams, finely crushed
1/2 cup finely chopped PLANTERS nuts ( I did not use these)
1/4 cup butter melted (1/2 stick)
1tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 pkg. ( 8 oz each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese; softened
1 cup sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1tsp. ground cinnamon
Dash ground cloves

What you do:
1 Heat oven to 325
2 Mix crumbs, nuts, and butter, press into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of 13x9 pan

3. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar and vanilla with a mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove. 1-1/2 cups batter. Stir in remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter.

4. Spoon half the pumpkin batter into the crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.

5. bake 45 mins or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Then cut and serve!

YUMMY! I had mine for breakfast this morning and topped it with whipped cream  :) Bad I know!
I hope you enjoy these.... My family sure did.