Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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Monday, October 2, 2017

fall favorite: butternut squash soup

It wouldn't be fall in our house if I didn't make Butternut Squash soup.
This is a Goodman family fave and originated in the kitchen of Tammy Goodman.
Yummy seasonal vegetables and fall flavors make this soup a definite fall favorite.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Butternut Squash
1 Acorn Squash
3 TBS Butter
1/4 C Chopped Sweet Onion
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1 8oz. Cream Cheese
1 tsp Black Pepper
Nutmeg (to taste)
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Sour Cream

First, cut your squash in half and remove the seeds. Then brush with melted butter and honey.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes on a baking sheet lined with foil.

During the last several minutes that the squash is cooking,
saute the onion with butter in your stock pot.

Scoop squash from the peel and cut into chunks.
Add squash and broth to the sauteed onion.

*If you do not  have an immersion blender. Get one. Stat.
This is a great one to add to your Christmas wishlist.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer. Add more chicken broth if needed.
Go easy on the cayenne.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cayenne pepper.
Or make pumpernickel garlic croutons*!

*These croutons really don't require a recipe. But here's how I made them.
Cut up half a loaf of pumpernickel bread into crouton size pieces.
Put in a ziplock bag and add olive oil until all pieces are covered.
Sprinkle with 1 tsp garlic salt then mix well.
Put in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 13-15 mins on 375
or until you reach your desired crunchiness. Store in an airtight container.

I have to say, I almost didn't share this soup recipe because I like to trick first time dinner guests into thinking I'm a gourmet soup chef with this recipe.
Just kidding. But it is that good.

Since the gig is up with my family, you should use this recipe to impress yours this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Mini Pumpkin Pies + Pumpkin Recipe Round Up

First of all you guys know how I feel about making cute pies.
But I'm that girl that when I go to the dessert table at a party, I just want a taste of everything. 
(Okay, and then to go back for more of the thing I loved the most.)
These mini pumpkin pies are just perfect for that. And for the person who LOVES pumpkin pie the most, just take 5 with no regrets. You do you. 
These look sorta schmancy, but they're super easy. 
Also, everything is cuter in mini form, am I right?

And here's how the recipe goes down:

Get your canned pumpkin, your store bought pie dough, and your cute cookie cutters out.
(My recipe calls for pumpkin but I accidentally grabbed pumpkin pie mix so just do whatever works for you)

Roll out your dough and grab your circle cutter.
Ideally you need a 3-4" circle. A wide mouth mason jar is a perfect sub if you don't already own one.
Cut out 12 circles.

Spray your muffin tin and fill with your mini doughs.

Whip up your pumpkin mixture (recipe below) and fill each dough 3/4 full.

With the extra dough left over, use your mini cookie cutters to cut out your desired pie garnishes.

Bake at 400 for 30 minutes
Things I've learned the hard way:
Don't fill them too full or they bake over and do little burnt edges as seen here.
Put your garnishes on half way through baking if you don't want them overdone.

Let cool completely before you plate to serve.

 And they taste best shared with friends. :)

 Mini Pumpkin Pies
- 1 can of pumpkin (15 oz)
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp salt
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 store bought pie crusts

- Preheat oven to 400
-Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, salt, and pumpkin pie spice
- Using a circular cookie cutter or jar lid, cut 12 circles. Ideally you need at 3-4" circle.
- Using mini cookie cutters, cut out cute garnishes 
- Add pie crusts to muffin tin
- Add pie filling to 3/4 full
-Bake at 400 for 30 minutes
- Add garnishes half way through baking for lighter color



And because I know you just can't get enough of pumpkin recipes. I've teamed up with some other awesome bloggers to bring you enough pumpkin recipes to last you all season!
Here are 6 more delicious pumpkin recipes!
Pumpkin And Ricotta Stuffed Shells - Motherhood in Stilettos 
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies - Lazy Moms Blog
Pumpkin Spice French Toast - Amidst The Chaos

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Cheers to 3 years

A letter to you on your 3rd birthday.

Dear Griffin Boy,
You make life so special. You are joy embodied in a little boy. When you were 8 weeks old, our family went through some hard life changes. You were an angel. You slept through the night and woke with smiles every morning. You helped me press on in love. And you made my heart explode everyday with your sweetness. You've grown into your own little person. And we wrestle for who is in charge. We fight hard but we love harder. You bring me to the end of myself. And yet with your chubby hands on my face whispering 'i wuv you', I am undone. You've made me rely on God for wisdom and guidance and made me drop to my knees praying for patience. But I feel like the luckiest mom in the world that I'm the one that gets to love you. To guide you. To grow you. 
Cheers to 3 years, little boy. And many more to come. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sunflower Field Pictures + Other Family Date Ideas

Some of our most favorite family dates are experiencing new things together.
None of us had ever been in a field full of sunflowers before so that's what we did for our most
recent family date. The boys enjoyed running through the path to the middle of the field and hiding from us midst the tall flowers. We got there right at sunset and it felt pretty magical.
Then we let them stay up late and go for ice cream. It was a great way to say goodbye to summer.

Some other ideas for family dates:

The Zoo
(it's so fun seeing animals we don't see on the regular)
Fort Movie Night
(everyone watches in the fort and gets their own popcorn bowl)
Make Your Own Pizza Night
(I recommend this easy Naan Bread Pizza recipe)
Bike Rides
(head to a trail or somewhere new)
Scavenger Hunts
(now that fall is around the corner you can use this one)
Game Night
(with prizes for the winners)
Build Something Together
(get creative with cardboard boxes + duct tape & let kids decorate)
Bookstore Date
(parents get coffee and get an endless supply of books to look at)
Dance Party
(with dance-off's of course)
Experience something new together
(Get creative! And bring your camera!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pork Tacos with Colorful Cilantro Lime Slaw

You guys, I just found a way to take Taco Tuesday to a whole other level.
Three little words...
Cilantro Lime Slaw

I'm so serious, I'm probably never eating tacos without this again.
The recipe is so simple and fresh, too.

Colorful Cilantro Lime Slaw
Tri color slaw (cabbage, red cabbage, carrots)
Fresh cracked pepper

Chop your own cabbage and carrots or buy the pre-bagged (you do you) and
put it all in a big bowl.
Chop up fresh cilantro and be generous with it. (If you love it like me then you put a whole lot in).
Pour in 1/4 C EVOO.
Juice in 1 lime.
Mince in some garlic. (I pressed 1 clove)
Crack some fresh pepper and sprinkle some salt.
Give it all a good ol' mix up.
Refrigerate it and then put it on top of your tacos. (I think it's best with pork but chicken or beef are fine too).
Stand amazed at the fresh deliciousness that you've been missing on your tacos.

Think of me the next time you Taco Tuesday and give this slaw a go!

The other way you can take your Taco Tuesday to the next level is these 
cuuuuute vintage brass cactus napkin holders.
One unique set of four up for grabs in my shop.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Dino Party fit for a FIVE year old

You guys, my baby turned 5! I know everyone says this, but I really don't know how it happened.
I feel like I blinked. Wasn't it yesterday that I just gave birth to him?

And I'm not sure why 5 feels like SUCH a big milestone but it does. 

 It also felt like a big milestone because this was the first year HE knew exactly what he wanted.
He understood his birthday was coming and he wanted to plan his day, invite friends, the whole nine.
And one day while we were at Walmart he saw a dinosaur piñata and that was it, he was sold.
A dino party complete with piñata would be the perfect celebration for this 5 year old.

And if you've been around here for any time at all, you know I'm all about cuteness on a dime.
Getting creative with what I already have and challenging myself to spend as little money as possible are usually my method. Things that cost little money but make a big impact (see balloon 5 below).

I brought out Grady's plastic dinos, went and scrounged up plants from around the house, and got out our family party hats + Happy Birthday banner that we use for everyone's birthday in our family plus a couple cute pictures of Grady and made this little scene!

The only thing I really needed to make was the Gradysaurus banner. I bought a $3 pack of letters from the Target Dollar Spot and painted them green. It didn't have all the R's or S's I needed so I just traced them on cardboard and added them in.

 The cake is a big deal, of course.  And while I love to decorate a cake, I'm no baker.

 So I made it easy on myself and just did a triple layer boxed funfetti cake.
Store bought icing as well. If it ain't broke, why fix it? That's my motto when 
it comes to baking. hah!

To make it even easier on myself, I made cupcakes for all the kids.
Pre-measured, contained cake for the win.

The only other decor we did was this super fun balloon 5.

If you're looking for a statement decor piece and don't want to spend much money but don't mind investing some time, this might be for you!

We just bought a big piece of plywood and painted it white for the backdrop.
Then I freehanded a huge number 5 outline for us to follow. 
We bought six $1 packs of balloons for 72 balloons total and then went to town blowing them 
up in all different sizes. Start with your big balloons first to make the shape and then fill it in with the littler balloons. Use strong, white tape. Enlist someone else to do all the balloon blowing (that's what I did, hah!)

This was my first time hosting a *real* kid party. Like with more kids than adults.
I was not really sure how it was gonna go, but it was great.

We did some simple dino themed games for the kids:
Dinosaur Egg Hunt

Dinosaur Dig

And of course, the thing that started it all, 
Dinosaur Piñata 

My boy had a great day. He is such an extrovert so being surrounded by his
people was the best gift of all. 

 (Thank you to my friend Trish who grabbed my camera and took pictures so I could 
be in the moment. That's a good friend right there.)

My sweet Grady boy, I count it such a privilege to be your mama.
We've done this thing together from the start. So, your birthday kinda feels like my birthday - the day I became a mom. You've turned into such a kind, compassionate, and helpful little boy.
You are by far one of my greatest blessings and I love to celebrate YOU.

Every year we try to take pictures of our kids on/around their birthday and here are a
few to remember our Grady Boy at age 5.