DIY Headbands

My daughter plays travel softball and just recently her team made it to a big national tournament. We thought it would be fun to make matching headbands for all the girls on the team. This was a fun project for my daughter and I, and the headbands looked adorable on the girls. You can choose any color combo to match any teams colors. You could even make headbands to match any outfit for school. At the beginning of every school year I make matching hair accessories for my daughters new outfits, it’s much cheaper and way cuter. I’ll show how to make bows and clips in another post.

First we went to Micheal’s to pick out our supplies.

Choose two colors of ribbon. You want the bottom ribbon to be wider than the top so both colors show. I measured the ribbon to my daughters head then cut both colors the same. You will also need elastic. It is sold by the ribbon. Cut pieces of elastic, remember that the elastic stretches so you don’t need that big of a piece. You want the headband to fit snug so it does not slip off.

We used a permanent glue to glue both pieces of ribbon together. this is what it looks like. Make sure it says permanent.

Once everything was cut and glued we carefully burnt the ends of the ribbon. This is to prevent the ribbon from fraying. Then we sewed the elastic to the ribbon.

Then you are done! We made one sample first to make sure that it fit and that everything looked right.

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Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

My Aunt Johnnie brought this Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella salad over to one of our family dinners and we all loved it! I had never tried Panzanella salad before but had been curious about it for a while now. I thought that the bread would get soggy and yucky and that didn’t appeal to me at all. The bread in this salad was delicious and even though it absorbed some of the flavors it still stayed crisp arround the edges. The bread with the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and olives was wonderful! Aunt Johnnie adapted the recipe from one of Giada De Laurentis’.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups 1-1/2 inch-cubed Ciabatta bread
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (it looks like halves or quarters)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

 

This recipe is a Barefoot Contessa recipe that was featured in the Food Network Magazine back in December 2011. The whole family loves shrimp cocktail but I had never seen it prepared this way. So I decided to give it a try (plus I love Ina, the Barefoot Contessa). This Roasted Shrimp Cocktail was great! The pepper and the fresh lemon zest gave the shrimp great flavor. The homemade cocktail sauce was good and gave the shrimp a big kick (and I didn’t even use all of the horseradish and Tabasco sauce that it called for). This makes the perfect appetizer for any party or get-together!

The ingredients are:

For the Shrimp

  • 2 pounds (12 to 15 count) shrimp
  • 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (I used 2 T)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon zest for topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I used about half this)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, just until pink, firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the sauce, mix the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Top the shrimp with lemon zest and serve with the sauce.

 

Rigatoni with Tomato Cream Sauce

 

As it states in the title of this blog, I am a very busy mom. I am always on the look-out for recipes that I could throw together in a hurry. This recipe is definitely one of those to have on hand for those busy nights. Soccer didn’t get over till 7:00 tonight and I did not want to feed my kids fast food…….. I was able to get this Rigatoni with Tomato Cream Sauce made for them in less than 30 minutes and they really liked it. My son had his friend over for dinner and he even asked for seconds. I will be making this again for sure!

The ingredients are:

  • 16 oz. Rigatoni
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 14 oz. canned, Italian style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 Cup half and half
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute garlic in butter. Add tomatoes. Break up tomatoes with a spoon while stirring. Cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan boil half and half until reduced by half (5-10 minutes). Add tomato mixture. Add basil (I didn’t have fresh basil on hand so I sprinkled fresh parsley over the top), salt and pepper. Toss with rigatoni. (I didn’t end up using all of the rigatoni, next time I think I will double the sauce.)

 

One-Bowl Brownies

 

 

 

I was searching for a lactose free dessert when I came across this recipe for One-Bowl Brownies in my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook. Not only were these brownies delicious, they were so easy to make. Just as easy as a boxed mix, and these my grandma could eat since they are lactose free. This brownie recipe is the perfect recipe to have on hand, you could add to it for different flavor combinations. My mom made them and added marshmallows, I just sprinkled powdered sugar on the tops of these ones. I think next time I might try a peanut butter or caramel combo.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, eggs and vanilla; stir just until moistened. Do not overmix.
  2. Spread in a greased 13×9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Yield: 2 to 2-1/2 dozen

This is the same recipe with marshmellows!

 

 

Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa with Sugar N Spice Chips

My family gets together almost every single Sunday (unless the kids sports prohibits me from being there) for Family Dinner. It’s a tradition that has been going on for as long as I can remember. Nowadays we choose themes for our sunday meals and everyone brings a dish to go with our theme. On this particular Sunday our theme was summer/bbq foods. My mom brought this Agave Fresh Fruit Salsa and we all loved it! What says summer more than fresh, sweet, juicy fruit? This fruit salsa was delicious, light and refreshing. She got the recipe out of the Wholeliving July/August 2012 magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 lb. fresh strawberries
  • 4 apricots or 2 large peaches (mom used peaches)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, chopped pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup organic light Agave Nectar or 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom couldn’t find Agave Nectar so she used Raw Sugar)
  • 1-3 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
  1. Dice strawberries, peaches and pineapple into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large bowl, combine all fruit and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and Agave Nectar/Sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of chili powder (increase by teaspoonfuls to reach desired flavor); mix well.
  3. Add agave mixture, cilantro and mint to the fruit, tossing until combined. Serve immediately.

Sugar N Spice Chips

  • 1 bag (8.5 to 10.5 oz) corn tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup Organic Sugar (mom used raw Sugar)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. chili powder
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Grease two cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Dip tortilla chips into melted butter. Using a pastry brush, remove excess butter to give each chip a thin, even layer of butter on both sides. Place chips on prepared cookie sheet. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and chili powder to taste. Sprinkle over buttered chips, and bake for approximately 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Breakfast Buns

I was looking for something to make for breakfast when I came across this recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine. This is an old-fashioned recipe said to be more than 70 years old. These Breakfast Buns are similar to a scone and are very good! Even the kids and husband who complained at first that there were raisins in them, loved them. I served them warm with butter.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins (I only used a 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar and baking powder; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Beat eggs, milk and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Add raisins. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Combine the cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over buns.
  3. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 16 servings.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Showdown

Last month was my son’s birthday (I know I’m a little bit behind on posting my recipes). I asked my son what treat did he want to bring in to his class to share for his birthday and his reply was chocolate chip cookies. So I thought to make this even more fun for him we would have a chocolate chip cookie showdown. I chose two new chocolate chip cookie recipes, baked up a batch of both and he got to choose which ones were best and those would be the ones he would bring in to his class. Can you tell that our favorite shows in this house are Chopped, Iron Chef America, and Cup Cake Wars? Only my son would say to me after I made him homemade belgium waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast…”Mommy…. You could so win Chopped with this recipe!” Love it! So.. anyway back to the chocolate chip cookie showdown. The two recipes I chose were McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie and the Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. And the winner was………and it was unanimous……McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookie! Not that the Food Network’s Chewy Chocolate chip cookie wasn’t good, it was, those stayed at home and we polished them off. It’s just that everyone including the birthday boy thought that McCormick’s was better. So here is the recipe for McCormick’s Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/3 cups butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I did not use)
  1. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low-speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.
  2. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake in preheated 375 F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Makes 5 dozen (I must have made mine bigger because I didn’t get that many.)

 

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

No-bake Strawberry Cheesecake, the perfect summer dessert! Easy, delicious, and I didn’t have to turn on my oven! This is the dessert I made for our kick off the summer family BBQ and we all loved it. Garnish with some blueberries and this would make a perfect red, white, and blue fourth of July dessert! I found the recipe in an old Food & Family magazine (summer 2008).

After a couple small changes from me,the ingredients are:

  • 12 Honey Grahams, finely crushed (about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 4 Pkgs. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup strawberry preserves
  • 2 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped Topping, thawed
  1. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup of the sugar; press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Add preserves; mix well. Place strawberries and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in small bowl; mash with fork. Stir strawberry mixture and whipped topping into cheese mixture. Spoon over crust; cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 16 servings

Grilled Shrimp And Sausage Skewers With Smoky Paprika Glaze

We had a summer kick-off BBQ with the family last Sunday. Of course sun, swimming, and lots of yummy food was involved. I made these Grilled Shrimp And Sausage Skewers With Smoky Paprika Glaze. I found the recipe in an old Bon Appetit magazine (June 2010). Shrimp and sausage are great right? Well this smoky paprika glaze just threw it over the top. You could really taste the smokiness from the paprika and the fresh thyme and garlic. Not your typical kabob, so much flavor. Everyone loved this!

I adapted the ingredients slightly to our taste.

The ingredients are:

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 5 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 uncooked extra-large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 12 1-inch long pieces kielbasa sausage
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 2-layer sections of red onion wedges

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Special equipment

6 long metal skewers or 3 long bendable ones

  1. Whisk oil, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in medium bowl to blend for glaze. Transfer half of glaze to small bowl and reserve for serving.
  2. Alternately thread shrimp, sausage pieces, cherry tomatoes, and sections of onion wedges on each of 6 long metal skewers. Arrange skewers on large rimmed baking sheet. (Do Ahead: Can be made up to 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill skewers and bowls of glaze separately.)
  3. Coat grill rack with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush skewers on both sides with glaze from 1 bowl. Grill until shrimp are opaque in center, turning and brushing occasionally with more glaze, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Arrange skewers on platter. Serve with remaining bowl of glaze.