Sunday, March 31, 2013

Peeps On a Stick

Happy Easter!  I hope you had a joyful holiday filled with family, faith, and of course a few Peeps, my all time favorite Easter treat!  You know what Peeps I mean...those sugar covered, marshmallow pieces of pure deliciousness.  I know the Peeps company tries to pass off those other, non-Easter Peeps...Christmas trees, pumpkins, snowmen...but nothing compares to an Easter Peep!  My holiday just isn't complete without them.  Last year, I attempted to make a Peep Sunflower Cake that I saw somewhere (can't remember where now!).

It turned out OK, just not quite as cute as I thought it would be.  This year I tried Peeps On A Stick.  The blog I got the original idea from used different colored chicks, but I just used yellow bunnies.  I wanted bunnies and that's the only color Target had at the time. 
It's not like you need a lot of instruction for this project because it's pretty self explanatory:  stick peeps on a bamboo skewer, cover in with a plastic bag, tie closed, done.    However, I do have a couple of tips that might help.

Skewering a Peep actually kind of squishes them somewhat.  I found it helpful to firmly, but gently, hold the Peeps like this when putting on the skewer and twisting it a little as I went:

If you hold the sides, like this, it tends to squish them more.  

Also, when you pull Peeps apart, it exposes the sticky marshmallow on the sides.  This makes it difficult to slide the finished skewer into a skinny bag.  The marshmallow sticks and makes a mess of the bag like this:

In order to prevent this, I dipped the exposed marshmallow in plain white sugar and no more sticking!

I put 3 peeps on each skewer, but you can certainly add more if you'd like.  Then slid them in one of the Wilton Pretzel Bags and tied the end with ribbon.  And there you go, Peeps On A Stick!  

To display the Peeps, I put some cut florist foam in a small basket and covered it with pink grass.  

I'd say they turned out rather cute!  I really would've rather had different colored bunnies but just wasn't in the mood to travel to different stores to find them.  Next time, I'll plan ahead a little better.  

So, what do you think?  Easy Easter treat?  I made about 10 of these and I'd say it only took me about 30 minutes.  Do you have any favorite Easter treats?

Happy Easter!

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

7 Layer Salad

I have an adorable niece!  I'm probably a little biased, but she is pretty darn cute! We celebrated her 2nd birthday this weekend with a Sesame Street party.  I'll be blogging soon about all the awesome decorations my SIL made for the party!  You won't believe how great it turned it out!  Anyway, this is my cutie patootie niece blowing out her candles on her Cookie Monster cupcake:

And showing us her blue tongue from the frosting! :)

I just love this little girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, the title of the post is 7 Layer Salad, not Sesame Street birthday party, so I better get to the recipe.  I made this salad for the party and got many compliments on it.  I've made this salad  for years and it's one of my family's favorites.  You can only make it when you expect to feed a crowd though because it does not make good leftovers and the recipe is for a large dish.  

I got the original recipe from the Coldbrook Christian Church Sesquicentennial Cook Book on recommendation from mom-in-law many years ago.  I mentioned this cookbook in a post from last summer. It has some delicious recipes from those old school farm wives!  This particular recipe was submitted to the cookbook by Mrs. Ken (Dalene) Knowles.  I love how the wife's name is in parenthesis.  Today, I'm just Dawn Malcolm.  Back then, I would've been Mrs. Lance (Dawn) Malcolm.  How times change!

I seem to keep getting off the topic here!

7 Layer Salad

1 head lettuce, broken into bite size pieces (to save time, I buy the pre-cut lettuce in a bag)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper (sometimes I use red pepper, like I did in this example)
1/2 of an onion sliced into rings
10 oz. pkg. frozen peas, thawed but not cooked
2 cups Hellman's mayonnaise (Miracle Whip can be used, depends on your preference)
2 Tbsp. sugar
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 oz. pkg. shredded cheddar cheese (I use finely shredded)

Layer vegetables on lettuce in order given.  Spread mayonnaise on top.  Mix the sugar, crumbled bacon, and  cheese and sprinkle over the mayo.  Let sit in refrigerator overnight.  

That's it.  Super easy and can be made way ahead which is great when you're busy playing hostess for a party.  I actually use my 10x15 dish for this recipe.  A 9x13 would probably be too full.

Lettuce and celery layered:

Red pepper and onion layer:
I like to leave the onion in rings since some people don't like to eat onion.  This way, you can still get the flavor, but people can pick it out if they don't like it (like me!).

Layered with peas:
Mine weren't totally thawed, but that's fine.  As long as you leave it in the fridge overnight, the peas will thaw.

You have to spread the mayo on like frosting.  It's a little tricky at first, but you'll get the hang of it.

The final layer of cheese, sugar, and bacon:
Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  

You can serve this two ways.  You can carefully toss the salad before you serve it so all the layers are mixed, or you can just scoop each serving out with a spoon or tongs (which is what I usually do).  Like I said, this doesn't make very good leftovers.  However, if you toss it, you definitely can't keep it for leftovers in the fridge because the lettuce will be all wilted and gross.  If you leave it layered though, you can eat it for lunch the next day - but that's about it.  After that, it gets soggy and doesn't taste as good. So I definitely suggest only making this for a party or large meal.  


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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cheddar Biscuits

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted a recipe for Creamy Bacon Carbonara and I served Cheddar Biscuits with it?  I promised you the recipe and here it is!  I got the recipe from Six Sisters and they got the recipe from somewhere else.  So long story short, it's a copy cat recipe for Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits and they are delicious!  This recipe is pretty darn close to the original!

Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix

4 Tablespoons cold butter

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

3/4 cup cold whole milk

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


Brush on top:

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Pinch of salt


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine Bisquick and cold butter using a fork or pastry cutter. Don't combine too thoroughly. There should be small chunks of butter in your mixture. Mix in cheese, milk and garlic powder by hand, only until combined. Drop 1/4 cup portions onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown.

After they finish baking, remove the biscuits from the oven. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, garlic powder, parsley and salt. Brush all of the garlic butter on top of the biscuits, making sure to use all of it. Makes 12 biscuits.

It's a pretty straight forward recipe.  I didn't change anything.  However, I would definitely go smaller than 1/4 cup portions because that makes a huge biscuit and I only got 9 biscuits making them that size.  As you can see, one biscuit was eaten before I even had time to take a picture!  (please ignore my disgusting looking baking sheet!!!)

These biscuits went really well with the pasta dish I served.  They are so easy to make and taste so good warm from the oven.  This is as close as you can get to Red Lobster without actually going!

I'm sure they're not low calorie, but who cares?!?!?!?!

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Housecleaning? Ya, there's an app for that!

If your house is always spotless and you are a housecleaning freak, then read no further.  However, if your house generally has a thin coat of dust, shoes on the floor, cluttered tables, or any other array of messiness, read on...

I hate housecleaning!  Seriously, does anyone actually enjoy it? Oh sure, I get that satisfied feeling when I'm done that the house looks and feels great, but it doesn't last long.  Pretty soon the dust settles back in, more dishes are dirtied, shoes get kicked off in the entryway, etc.  For years I've been trying to devise some sort of cleaning schedule.  I've made lists, spreadsheets, and just winged it.  Inevitably though, I always fall back into the pattern  of putting off chores until I'm forced to spend the entire weekend, every weekend, trying to catch up.  Then I got my iPad.  Ladies and gentlemen, I am a changed woman.  As I was surfing the app store one day, I came across one called Motivated Moms (who is not paying me for this testimonial by the way!).  It made promises of a clean house and a much happier mama.  I noticed there was a free version so I thought, "What the hell?  I'll try anything to keep my house clean!"  Well believe me when I say that it didn't take long for me to purchase the full version app! (I think I paid $7.99 or so)  I was sold immediately.  This app outlines chores to do each day of the week so you can keep up with everything.  You can customize your own chores, remove ones that don't pertain to your household, color code them by person who has to do the chore, organize them by room, and if you are the Bible reading kind, it even outlines a daily Bible reading plan for you!!!!  There are always some daily chores and then each day there are other random chores that pop up on a schedule.  For example, I clean the toilets every Monday.  When you finish a chore you get the satisfaction of checking it off the list, too.  Here's a sample:

Daily chores:

Empty trash
Take vitamins/medication
Make beds
Clean kitchen sink
Plus several others

Monday chores:
Clean toilets
Vacuum main/first floor
Clean top shelf of frig
Replenish stock of toilet paper in bathrooms

Occasional chores that show up on certain Mondays:
Clean jewelry
Plan for gifts/cards for April occasions

They have thought of almost everything!  The one and only thing I don't like about the app is that I can't permanently change what day of the week a certain chore lands on.  For example, clean the the toilets is always on Monday.  If I'd rather do that on Saturday, I have to just make a custom chore then hide the original one.  I'm hoping they will change this with future versions.
The app does not have a lot of extra chores for Saturday or Sunday, which I like.  I get the bulk of my stuff done during the week. 
Do I always do everything on the list every single day?  Absolutely not!  Some days I skip a chore that I know I'll have more time for the next day.  Sometimes there's a couple that just don't get done until the next time it rolls around. The point is though that I have some regularity to my cleaning schedule now and it doesn't always pile up on me at the last minute. 
Maybe you are all much better than I am at keeping up with the housework.  Kudos to you if you are!  It's just one thing I had never quite gotten a handle on in 21 years of marriage.  I've been using this app for several months now and I think my family will agree that it has made our house a much neater, cleaner, and all around better place.  My son does despise the app though because he knows he'll have certain chores to do when they pop up on the iPad! :)
I would guess that I spend anywhere from 30 - 60 minutes a day working on the chores.  That sure beats spending most of my weekend doing them all at once!

I know some of my friends will laugh at me for using an app for my cleaning chores, but I don't care!!!!!  I love my Motivated Moms app and will continue to use it despite the ridicule! :)  By the way, I have an app I love for organizing gift buying, too, but I think I'll save that one for another post :)

Happy cleaning!

~Dawn Pin It
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