Furry Family Member #2 – Bailee

IMG_1347

Hi there, friends!

Earlier this week, I introduced you to our first Furry Family Member, Babe.

Today, I am introducing you to our second Furry Family Member, Bailee. Bailee is our one and only kitty. She is six years old and we have had her since she was eight weeks old. She was picked out for me by my children as my fortieth birthday gift.

Bailee (then Lily) was up for adoption at the local veterinarian’s office. They were attempting to find a home for her after she had been left at the office door. Two of my girls had taken one of our other furry family members to get some shots and they saw Bailee in the front office. They spoke with the ladies at the front and learned that she needed a home. Immediately, they knew that I would love to be her human Mommy. ❤️

Later that day, after getting home from work, the girls invited me to “tag along” to pick up our other furry family member from the veterinarian. Needing to make a trip into town myself, I went along. When we got to the office, I walked in and immediately saw Bailee. It was love at first sight. ❤️

Since that day, she has been the sassiest, meow-ingest part of our family!

IMG_1344IMG_1348IMG_1345IMG_1346

Enjoy! ❤️

Blueberry Crisp

IMG_1312

Hi there, friends!

It’s blueberry season!! And they’re on sale everywhere!! You know what that means…

IMG_1310

BLUEBERRY RECIPES!

I have posted several recipes using blueberries in the past…

IMG_6341
Blueberry Buckle
IMG_6208
Peach-Blueberry Upside-Down Cake
IMG_4799
Almond – Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
IMG_3763
So Simple Blueberry Lemon Bars

As you can deduct from looking at the previous pictures, I love to bake with blueberries! This recipe is no exception.

I absolutely love fruit crisps. It all began in elementary school when I was introduced to Apple Crisp in my school lunch. It was a popular treat that was regularly placed upon our lunch tray. With its warm baked apple slices topped with a crunchy topping, I would always make sure to scrape the tray clean, leaving none of the deliciousness behind. Mmmm….

While my elementary school only served Apple Crisp, I later learned that virtually any fruit can be “crisped.” Of all of the fruits that I love to “crisp”, blueberries are one of my favorite!

Here’s how I made it…

Blueberry Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 18 ounces fresh blueberries, washed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place blueberries, water, and almond extract into an 8×8 baking dish.
  • Stir flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt into a small bowl with the melted butter.
  • Sprinkle mixture on top of blueberries.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes, making sure topping is crunchy.
  • Serve warm or cooled.

Enjoy! ❤

IMG_1313

Silly Al’s Pizza

IMG_1335

Hi there friends!

When I was a little girl, having pizza was more of an event than it is today. We did not have anywhere that offered home delivery for pizza. If we wanted to have pizza, we had to go out to eat, a rarity when I was a child.

This usually meant going to a local pizza place with the traditional red and white checked tablecloths, red plastic tumblers, and the wonderful aroma of pizzas baking in the oven. A server would take our order, and then we would wait for the fresh, hot, scrumptious pizza to be placed on our table. The wait time could be anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on how busy the restaurant was. With no TV’s or electronic devices to keep us entertained, we relied on talking and interacting with each other, and, gasp, even talking to families at other tables!! Admittedly, as a child, the wait could seem endless, but when that pizza made it to the table, the anguish of the wait was quickly washed away.

As I became a teen and young adult and moved away from home, carryout and delivery pizza chains became more widespread. Thus, the way we ate pizza changed. We began picking it up from work on the way home or having it delivered. While the convenience is great and our family usually has our pizza in this fashion, I wanted my children to have the experience and make the memories of “going out for pizza” as I did as child. However, our town only has the chain-style pizza places, not the traditional “pizza joints” to which I was accustomed.

BUT…

We learned about a place that is located about 20 miles away in a neighboring town (Quartzsite, Arizona). JACKPOT!!

Family owned and operated since 1987, Silly Al’s Pizza offers a wide variety of yummy pizzas, along with tasty appetizers, salads, pastas, and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. It is a typical pizza joint with music, pool tables, and amazing service. Silly Al’s is well worth the 20 mile drive across the desert!

Being just what I had in mind, it has even become my youngest son’s choice for his birthday dinner. I am so thankful that my kids are now having the experience and making the memories of “going out for pizza”. These are the little things that will be a part of them even after they are grown. ❤

Below, is a picture of the pizza that Hubby and I shared last Friday night. It is the “Spinach Alfredo Delicious”. It comes with Alfredo sauce, pesto, and spinach with “lotsa” mozzarella. Oh my goodness!! It was the bomb! The boys had a cheese pizza. 🙂

IMG_1314IMG_1315

Enjoy! ❤

Furry Family Member of the Week- “Babe”

DSCF1566 (2)

Hi there, friends! I hope your weekend has been great!

This post is the first in a series of posts that have been a long time coming. I have been blogging for a little over two years now, and while I mention my hubby, kids, and animals, I have never really introduced them to my blogging community. Therefore, I have decided that I am going to try to “introduce” you to my family members (including my furry ones), one at a time.

Since I am a mom, I want to clarify that these posts will be written in no particular order. There is not one that is loved any more or less than any other. 🙂 They are all loved to infinity and beyond, and back again. Of course, this paragraph was included due to the small chance that my children may read these posts. 😉

The first (out of four) furry family member that I would like to introduce you to is Babe. Babe is our Boxer. She is a rescue dog that hubby took in 9 months prior to my arrival to our home. Her previous owner was unable to care for her, so she found her way to hubby’s heart very quickly. We are unsure of her exact age, but we estimate her to be about 6-7 years old.

Babe is unwavering in her love, affection, and loyalty. She has the most adorable under-bite and a personality to match. While she would never win any “doggie IQ” competitions, we would not trade her for the world! She is her daddy’s girl, and her momma’s shadow.

She brings endless joy and laughter to our home!IMG_0458DSCF1557 (2)IMG_6869 (2)

Enjoy! ❤

 

 

Cantaloupe Water

IMG_1278

Hi there, friends!

Is it hot enough for you? Here in the land of cactus and tumbleweeds, it is supposed to get even warmer next week. A look at our forecast…

Crazy, isn’t it?

If you do not live in such a hot climate, you may be wondering how we stay cool. Well, to be honest, we do not stay cool. Our main concern is to not be hot. We attempt to accomplish this by using a great deal of air conditioning, staying indoors during the heat of the day, and consuming cooling food and drinks.

Of course water is the main go-to, but sometimes we like to reach for something with a little more flavor and nutrients. Fruit-flavored waters are great, but usually the type offered in stores contain very little fruit, if any at all. However, if you take a little extra time, you can have a great, refreshing, honest fruit-flavored water.

IMG_1283

I decided on cantaloupe water because hubby had purchased 3 large cantaloupes during an awesome sale that our local supermarket was running. When I started cutting the melons, I realized that we had more fruit than we would be able to eat before it spoiled.

IMG_1265

I cannot wait to try this with other summer fruits! It was so refreshing, tasty, and simple to make!

Here’s how I prepared it…

Cantaloupe Water

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe cantaloupe
  • water
  • sugar or artificial sweetener to taste (amount depends on the sweetness of your particular fruit)

Directions:

  • Wash, dry, and cut cantaloupe in half and remove and discard seeds.
  • Remove skin and cut into small chunks.
  • Place chunks, along with a cup of water into blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour liquid through a sieve into a pitcher. Add water to fill and stir well.
  • Taste and add sugar or sweetener, if needed.
  • Refrigerate and serve over ice.

* For a large cantaloupe, you will need a gallon-sized pitcher and for a small cantaloupe, a half gallon pitcher will be sufficient.

Enjoy! ❤

IMG_1277

“Ranchy” Spinach Dip

IMG_1271

Hi there, friends!

“I’m strong to the finish, cause I eat my spinach…”

Image result for popeye

I loved watching Popeye as a child and I love spinach! True, it may just be a coincidence, but I choose to give Popeye the credit! 🙂

Cartoons aside, I love spinach and I love dip, so this dip is a win-win!

The “punch” of flavor from the ranch dip mix and the crunchiness of the water chestnuts make this a scrumptious dip. Once you make this dip, you will be searching for any type of “dip-able” food to dip. Of course veggies, toasted bread pieces, and crackers work wonderfully with this dip, but pretzels work too. 😉

Here’s how I made it…

Ranch-y Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Homemade Ranch Dip Mix or 1 packet ranch dip mix
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to bowl and stir thoroughly to mix.
  • Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Enjoy! ❤

IMG_1270

 

Choco-Orange White Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

IMG_0866

Hi there, friends!

Whew! That sure is one long title for a very simple cookie! I guess I just wanted to be sure to accurately describe the cookie. 🙂

There were three inspirations for this cookie…

  1. I wanted something chocolate and quick to prepare √
  2. I had to use ingredients I already had in the pantry √
  3. This one is a little different…You know those “chocolate oranges” they have in the candy aisle at Christmas? Well, I had a hankering for one of those in “cookie form.” √

Image result for chocolate orange

These cookies did not disappoint! Within twenty minutes, I had a quick, chocolate-orange flavored cookie straight from ingredients I had in the pantry.

If you have not tried cake mix cookies, I would definitely recommend them. While they are not a replacement for traditionally made cookies, they are most definitely a better alternative to purchasing pre-packaged cookies.

Here’s how I made them…

Choco-Orange White Chocolate Chip Cake Mix Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Stir together cake mix, eggs, canola oil, and orange extract until blended. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  • Drop by spoon onto baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes.

IMG_0867

Enjoy! ❤

Blow It Up!

IMG_0971

Hi, there friends!

Summer is definitely here and the kids are out of school. This is the time when moms, dads, and caregivers look for any bit of entertainment to keep our young ones busy and engaged.

While I typically share recipes, I wanted to share with you a simple demonstration that you can do with your kids. All four of mine have loved doing this in the past. It is quick, easy, does not make a mess, and calls for common everyday household ingredients.

IMG_0960

In very simple scientific terms, you will be mixing a base (baking soda) with an acid (vinegar) to inflate a balloon. I have done this demonstration many times over the years and it never seems to get old. It obviously does not take too awful much to entertain me! 🙂

 

Here’s what you need and how you do it…

Blow It Up

  • Difficulty: Simple Science
  • Print

Materials:

  • 1 (16 ounce) water bottle, empty
  • 8 ounces vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 balloon
  • funnel

Procedure:

  • Pour the vinegar into the empty water bottle
  • Carefully roll the lip and neck of balloon over the end of the funnel.
  • Pour the baking soda through the funnel into the balloon, shaking to make sure it reaches the tip of the balloon.
  • Carefully place the lip and neck of the balloon over the vinegar-filled water bottle, making sure to keep the end with the baking soda from spilling into the vinegar.IMG_0967
  • Once the balloon is securely on top of the water bottle, life the tip with the baking soda in it upward to drop the baking soda into the bottle.IMG_0969
  • Watch the balloon inflate!IMG_0971

Enjoy! ❤

Cornbread Waffles

IMG_0914

Hi there, friends!

One of the most popular dishes I have seen recently is waffles. From chicken and waffles to dessert waffles to the more traditional breakfast waffles, social media sites have been filled with many different ways to serve waffles.

And…I think it’s great! I have even posted a couple of different types of waffles with A Sundae for Your Sunday and Coconut Almond Waffles. Not only are waffles versatile, they are easy and inexpensive to prepare.

For this recipe, I did not have to look far. I absolutely LOVE cornbread, so I thought I would just try my classic recipe in my waffle maker. Not only did it work, the kitchen smelled wonderful while they were “waffling”.

These waffles would be a great base for chili, baked beans, and anything else that you eat with cornbread. Just take a waffle and scoop some of your favorite chili on top and top off with your favorite toppings. Yum!

You could even use them in place of your bread with a hearty soup, or serve them with some chorizo and egg for breakfast. The ideas are unlimited!

Here’s my recipe…

Cornbread Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil

Directions:

  • Stir all ingredients until well blended.
  • Prepare in waffle maker according to manufacturer’s directions.

*Makes approximately 3 full waffles.

IMG_0916

Enjoy! ❤

 

Spice Thyme!

IMG_6787

Hi there, friends!

It’s Frugal Friday and I have an idea for you on how to save on something that all of us have in our pantries…spices. For those of us that love to cook and/or bake, a wide variety of dried herbs and spices is a necessity to have on hand.

Over the years, however, I learned that spices can be quite pricey, especially if you purchase them in the pretty little bottles that line the supermarket aisle. Along with the expense, those pretty little bottles can present other problems. Often times, the amount in the jar is way more than we will use in their shelf expectancy, and other times, there is not enough for the amount we use on a regular basis.

Over the years, I have tried a couple of solutions to small avail. First, I tried the less expensive, slightly larger plastic bottles. These worked, however, I found very little variety with the limited spices offered. Secondly, I tried the very large plastic containers offered at club stores. Again, these worked, however, there was a very limited variety and some contained much more than I could use before they lost their freshness.

I understand that this may be a trivial expense for some, but I have a very limited food budget and spices can be a great way to make a hum-drum dinner into something great. So, I continued to search for a better way.

Finally, a few years ago, a new supermarket chain opened in our area, and I found a new way to purchase my spices. This supermarket offers a bulk foods area where a wide variety of foods from candies to pet foods to other food staples can be bagged in the amount the customer desires and charged by the pound. Included in the staples they offer is dried herbs and spices. I can buy as little or as much of a spice I will use before the freshness is gone. Woohoo! 🙂

I know you may be thinking that a lower price tag is great, but what about those cute little bottles we all love? Well, I have a solution for you! Many years ago, I purchased several dozen plain glass spice bottles for less than $1.00 per bottle and I am still using them today. When you figure the cost saved between a plain bottle containing bulk spice and one of the cutesy bottles, it is a no-brainer. I still have the cute bottles and I’m saving money.

IMG_6791

I have one more frugal tip for you… What to do with the extra herbs and spices that do not fit in the little jar? This happens with several of the spices I buy, such as chili powder, garlic, cinnamon and some others, because I use so much of these that I buy them in large amounts. Well, another item that I buy A LOT of comes in handy with this problem. Peanut butter. I simply take my empty peanut butter jars, remove the label, wash them well, and use them for any extra herbs and spices that do not fit in the bottle.

Have a great weekend!

IMG_6788

Enjoy! ❤