October 1, 2014

Jack-o'-Lantern Chili and Cornbread Skillet


I love Halloween! It's a fun time of year, not just because I get to play with my food but yes that's a part of it. Besides getting creative with the food, Seasons are changing  , or should be changing. We're expecting 90-100's temps this week. Fun eh? We keep waiting for that nice cool weather, the days in which we're not sweating down our backs, the cool down, the big breeze. Where is it I ask, where!? On to the recipe-


Welcome to the Halloween Challenge Day One!
 I have one of those awesome one skillet wonder dishes for you. A dish in which everything is made within one pan. Don't have 45 minutes on your hand? Cook the beef before hand, the night before maybe and you can cut cooking time down to about 30ish minutes. All my kids enjoyed this, but I think I would like more onions and tomato next time I cook it. 




 My daughters helped make the face, 


Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 15 oz can black beans

1 15 oz can chili seasoned tomatoes

1 15 oz can chili beans

1 10 oz can sweet corn

1 10 oz can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 recipe for Cornbread ( see below)


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, cook ground beef until no longer pink. Drain. Add everything else into the skillet and mix and simmer for about 10 minutes. While this is heating through you need to mix together your corn bread.

Once you mix together your cornbread turn the heat off and pour batter over the meat mixture in the skillet. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or so. To test to see if cornbread is cooked, stick a knife or toothpick into center. If it comes out clean it's done, sometimes it needs just a few more minutes. Edges will be slightly golden brown.

Once done, you want to carve out your Jack-O'-Lantern face if you want , just use the extra pieces as you serve. Serve with cheese, sour cream or even salsa.
 You can double this recipe, use a larger skillet as I had for this, and it will feed a larger crowd. Recipe above feeds 4-6 people. Great for a Halloween party :)
Enjoy!


Ingredients  For Cornbread

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter

Directions
Stir everything together in a bowl. Follow directions above for the skillet bake or if you wanted to make plain cornbread here are the directions -

Preheat oven to 400F.
After mixture your batter today add the 1 tablespoon butter to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, a 9x1 1/2-inch round baking pan, or an 8x8x2-inch square baking pan.
Place the pan in the oven until butter melts. Make sure you get the butter to coat the entire bottom and the sides of the pan.  Pour your batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes.

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September 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

Been taking a long break from blogging lately, there just hasn't been time to dedicate towards it for a couple months. Planning on kicking things back up and I hope to pull off the Halloween Challenge this year. Last year my hard drive crashed so it was stopped days into the Challenge, which was pretty devastation. I lost half a years work ( yes I didn't back up, and yes I've learned my lesson)
This year I'm prepared,  back up drives, and backup-backup drives lay in waiting in case anything happens. Funny thing, it crashed just this weekend but it was a no fuss thing because it's all backed up! I'm telling you BACK UP YOUR FILES! 

On to different things...

 Halloween Challenge will Start October 1st, and if you follow any of my recipe challenges you know it's filled with a lot of fun new things so be sure to come back and check it out each day. There will be main meal ideas, side dishes, crafts and of course sweet treats, don't miss it! 

Onto the recipe..

Today's recipe is an easy one for busy days. So many people keep asking me for more slow cooker recipes so here you go. A friend gave this to me, and 

Slow Cooker Meatloaf


1 cup bread crumbs *( Italian seasoned is your best bet, and you can skip adding the Italian dried season )
3/4 pound ground round
3/4 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 cups sliced  mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves minced
*1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning ( skip if using the Italian seasoned bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Sauce
1 cup favorite BBQ sauce
1 cup brown sugar

Directions

 Combine the first list of ingredients, bread crumbs-eggs, together into a large bowl. Shape meat   the crumbs, beef, and next 7 ingredients (beef through garlic) in a large bowl, and shape meat mixture into a 9 x 6-inch loaf. Place loaf in the slow cooker.
Combine the ingredients for the Sauce and pour half of it over the meat. Cover the crock and cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until meat is done. Serve with remaining sauce.

Enjoy!

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September 18, 2014

Seaside Dreams Book Tour



NEW RELEASE SEASIDE SUMMERS BOOK #1 

The newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series, featuring a group of fun, sexy, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re funny, flawed, and will have you begging to enter their circle of friends. You met them in READ, WRITE, LOVE, (The Remingtons, Book 5), follow these friends on their search for forever love in the Seaside Summers series.



SEASIDE DREAMS

Bella Abbascia has returned to Seaside Cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, as she does every summer. Only this year, Bella has more on her mind than sunbathing and skinny-dipping with her girlfriends. She’s quit her job, put her house on the market, and sworn off relationships while she builds a new life in her favorite place on earth. That is, until good-time Bella’s prank takes a bad turn and a sinfully sexy police officer appears on the scene.



Single father and police officer Caden Grant left Boston with his fourteen-year-old son, Evan, after his partner was killed in the line of duty. He hopes to find a safer life in the small resort town of Wellfleet, and when he meets Bella during a night patrol shift, he realizes he’s found the one thing he’d never allowed himself to hope for—or even realized he was missing.



After fourteen years of focusing solely on his son, Caden cannot resist the intense attraction he feels toward beautiful Bella, and Bella’s powerless to fight the heat of their budding romance. But starting over proves more difficult than either of them imagined, and when Evan gets mixed up with the wrong kids, Caden’s loyalty is put to the test. Will he give up everything to protect his son—even Bella?

My Review

In Seaside Dreams we meet Bella, who’s hit a tough decision in her life.  Taking the summer to help figure out which direction she’ll go she doesn’t expect to meet a man that may just twist her up even more. With a head set going after she wants Bella will avoid any and all relationships until she’s made up her mind. Sounds like a plan, but you know how well set plans end up going half the time – not in the direction you planned on and one handsome cop mixes things up even more.

Cade has devoted the last fourteen years of his life all towards his son. Like any loving parent, his son comes first but as he stumbles across Bella he can’t help but notice the sparks between them. As a single father though, to a rebellious teenager he’s got to figure out the balance if he really wants the one things he’s been missing in his life . Through the struggle to deal with both a moody teen and one mischievous Bella, Cade has to figure out what he wants before he loses it.


I liked this one, loved the drama Evan brought into the book. You often read about younger kids woven into stories, so it was a nice change. The characters grew on me, loved seeing how both Bella and Cade faced not just their fears, but grew as the book went along. Cade was painted as a perfect father, could handle everything, but could he? He had things to face in this book and I enjoyed reading his journey along with Bella.  They seemed to both let logic or plans override everything, and in the end well you’ll just have to read Seaside Dreams and find out what happens. 

SEASIDE SUMMERS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**



Buy the book from...... 


About the Author
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of a number of International
bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Cafe. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.


Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child
Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.




Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest
or her personal website.


Follow the author.....

Facebook    Twitter     Google+    Goodreads    Pinterest



Follow the Book Tour






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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.



ALSO AVAILABLE 
Books 1 - 3 Snow Sisters, Love in Bloom Series #1 - 3

Books 1 - 6 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #4 - 9


Books 1 - 5 The Remingtons, Love in Bloom Series #10 - 14 





Books 7 - 12 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #15 - 20





Books 1 - 4 Seaside Summers, Love in Bloom Series #21 - 24






NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!

Five lucky winners will each receive Taken by Love ebook

the 1st book from the Braden cousins series
Ending on Sunday 28th September at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!




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September 9, 2014

Time to Play!

I was recently able to review an awesome game by Carrom, the popular Nok-Hockey Game.

I remember playing this as a kid at summer camp, and loved it, even better that this is wood. The one I played as a kid was solid plastic and easily got dented amongst hard play. Wood holds up better and it looks great too . This Nok-Hockey game is all wood, with a wood frame and hardwood playing area. It’s really smooth all the way around, no nails, or screws to catch on anything. I always look for that when we get a game for the house, so this was put together nicely.



My kids really got into this, we used it and have been using it pretty daily. The board is 23.8W by 1.9H by 35 inchesD , and is a nice solid build which is always important. You can place it on the ground like we normally do or use it table top. The game comes with two red hockey sticks, and two pucks.



The object of the game of course, is to score the pucks through the goal line. What I like is the solid blocks before each goal, we've had two previous games like this and they had these thin short plastic dividers as a barrier, not only had they come off but the pucks would just go flipping over it. This game is nicely built, and does what it should. We like to mix it up, put the two pucks on the board and just go at it, really fun.


My kids are learning how to get the angle shots in there so they've beaten me several times and earned bragging rights for game night. Loads of fun, great gift for any young kid or a great addition to your family game night as well. I think what I like best, besides keeping my kids entertained is it isn't that heavy ( less than 10 pounds) so I pick it up and slid it behind the couch when not in use. Though big, it's still thin enough to find a place out of the way.

So far the graphic writing which is lead free ink, hasn’t faded. When the kids play it, it ends up in front of a window directly in sunlight but I haven’t noticed any sun spots or fading. Scratching hasn’t happened either, so it’s holding up really great so far and will keep giving my kids hours worth of entertainment.
You can check out Carrom’s website and the Non-Hockey Game at their website and add some Nok-Hockey fun with the family http://www.carrom.com/
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September 3, 2014

Coupons

New Coupons.com Coupons
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August 5, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy Activity sheets

Have you seen the previews for Guardians of The Galaxy yet?  It looks awesome, I can't wait to see it!


Here's a quick Preview



Looks good right? While you wait to go see it you can download these activity sheets for the kids to enjoy! Just click this link and head to my Google Drive to download and then print


Enjoy!
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Fated For Love Book Tour



NEWLY RELEASED........

Book #8 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #16



FATED FOR LOVE is the second of six hot, wealthy, and wickedly naughty Braden cousins, and the newest additions to the BRADEN series by New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster.



Librarian Callie Barnes has visions of reading and relaxing—and maybe having a few too many drinks—on her girls’ weekend away. Her hopes are crushed when her friends pull into a dude ranch instead of a spa, and she refuses to stay longer than one night. That is…until she realizes the ranch is owned by sinfully sexy, and dangerously rugged, Wes Braden—the subject of her late-night fantasies.



Fearless rancher Wes Braden thinks he’s the luckiest guy on the planet when the sweet, sexy librarian from his hometown shows up at his ranch. Their connection is white-hot, making it impossible for either to ignore their carnal desires. Wes is more than willing to convert sweet Callie from chick lit to a world of erotic romance, but Callie ties sex to love, and Wes avoids commitment like the plague.



Callie is thrust into physically demanding activities that ignite her deepest fears. Luckily, Wes is as tender as he is strong, and he’s there every step of the way to help her find her inner strength. With Callie’s influence, Wes might even discover that he’s been nursing a few fears of his own. Passion pulls Callie and Wes from their safe, comfortable lives into each other’s arms, and they’re about to find out just how alike they really are.

My Review

Melissa Foster does it again with Fated For Love.  We meet Callie Barnes and Wes Branden ( yup another Braden, cue the sexy hunk alert)

 Callie Barnes is no outdoors lady but it doesn't stop her from at least trying.  Along with her friends local Librarian Callie heads to a ranch for a fun weekend which is owned by non other than Wes Braden. She lives a quieter life in a small town but has a little flutter of excitement whenever Wes steps into her library each week to borrow some books, the current man that takes up her dreams at night. It's no surprise when she lands on his property she decides maybe the outdoors aren't so bad after all. Perhaps a little fun and adventure is just what she needs instead of some quiet laid back spa. Will she be able to face all her fears and move past her comfort zones without losing her heart to one sexy cowboy?

Wes doesn't like mixing business with pleasure but that all goes out the window when Callie shows up at his ranch. He shouldn't even be looking at her let alone thinking about her, she's the kind of woman that ties sex to love and commitment which he avoids at all costs. He can't help himself though, and really who can blame him. Sweet and sexy Callie pushes her limits, faces her fears and starts to bloom before him catching him by surprise. A woman willing to leap over comfort zones certainly is worth it, and Wes is right there by her side as she tackles on new adventures but is she worth facing his own personal fears? You'll have to read to find out what happens!

 I thought this would be the one Foster book that I wouldn't like ( pfft yeah right, like that would ever happen) Two people seemingly very different. One worked with horses, one was afraid of horses, they just seemed unmatchable at first, but the sparks were flying and I enjoyed seeing both Callie and Wes grow together.  They had a lot more in common than I first thought so this book was a wonderful surprise and I really enjoyed it.




THE BRADEN COUSINS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**



Buy the book from...... 


About the Author

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of a number of International
bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Cafe. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.


Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child
Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.




Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest
or her personal website.




Follow the Author...
Facebook    Twitter    Google+    Goodreads    Pinterest



Follow the Book Tour






Photobucket


ALSO AVAILABLE 
Books 1 - 3 Snow Sisters, Love in Bloom Series #1 - 3

Books 1 - 6 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #4 - 9


Books 1 - 5 The Remingtons, Love in Bloom Series #10 - 14 





MORE BRADEN COUSINS COMING SOON......




NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!

Five lucky winners will each receive Game of Love ebook

the 1st book from the Remingtons series !!
Ending on Sunday 7th August at 11.59pm EST
Open Worldwide

Enter Below & Good Luck !!




Read more ...

July 3, 2014

Easy No Bake Cheesecake

 Cheesecake takes a lot of time to prepare, first the mixing, and of course if you over mix you're already set up to fail in the end. Bake it too little, bake it just a little over, temperature to the oven isn't right? Fail!  Cheesecake is one of those challenges I can never pass up, it's too good to pass up. Even when it fails it's still worth eating. So what if it's too thick, so what if there's a huge crack straight down the middle of it. There's no way I will pass up a cheesecake and hog it all to myself - which I do. Don't ever try to take my cheesecake, I will fight you for every last bite.

Now, as for the challenge of making it, sometimes there's just not enough time for all the fuss ( but again I will claim it's totally worth it in the end)  Someday's though it's too hot, really no choice but to find a way around that long process and still end up with a treat to enjoy. This Mock Cheesecake is no bake, and you can mess with the flavors all you want. Feel like being lazy? Open a can of pie filling and dump it on top of the sucker, slice it,  share it, enjoy it.  My kids enjoy this , and it's a good treat for hot summer days.

Cherry Pie Topping
Ingredients

2 pkg. (8oz each ) Cream Cheese Softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups  whipped topping
1 ready to use graham cracker crust (9in)
* Optional-  1 cup of fruit, I like using crushed strawberries, or crushed raspberries . I have even used about a half cup to a cup of jam, or jelly within the pie to spruce it up just make sure it's sugar free.
* Additional Fruit for topping, any berry works, you can use one can pie filling as well. Your choice

Directions

Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in bowl till well mixed. ( If using jam or jelly, make sure you beat this in with the cream cheese and sugar, move on to the next step)
 Fold in your whipped topping. If using fruit within the pie fold it in well now.  When mixed pour into your crust and spread evenly.

Perfect for the Fourth of July! This one has the crushed fruit inside. 

Arrange fruit if any on top of the pie, set it fridge for about 2-3 hours till set. If you plan on using pie filling for topping, pour this on right before serving.

Enjoy!
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July 2, 2014

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue Activity Book

Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue flies into theatres everywhere on July 18th!



  If you haven't caught the previews, check it out below.



Along with the fun preview, you can check out the Downloadable Activity Book for the kids by clicking on the picture below. It's a .pdf file, hope the kids enjoy!


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July 1, 2014

Cheddar Cream Cheese Breakfast Biscuits

Summer is here and I've been super busy and obviously absent from blogging. Not only do my kids keep me busy as ever but things are changing around here and it doesn't leave me much spare time. A major project is happening as well, though in the very early stages it's taken up a lot of my time and will take awhile to get moving. You'll have to stick around to find out what it is, so if you aren't already follow me via the blog ( right side via GFC, or G+, or even follow me on Facebook )  you should follow now because there are huge things coming up.

Moving on to the recipe today. As I mentioned, summer is here, my kids are buzzing around first thing in the morning and just nuts somedays. I had this biscuit recipe a few years ago that I would whip together in a flash then lost the recipe . It was one I used with my Mom's homemade Bisquick, but it didn't have the cheddar in it. This is very similar, only even easier and since I lost the original I adapted this over time. It's quick enough to make and good enough to keep my kids quiet for a whole 5.6 minutes in the morning - > just enough time for me to make coffee and take two sips before the arguing begins again. Hey, I take what I can get these days!  The kids loved it, it's easy to make, there's no rising, there's no fuss or muss and it makes enough to have left overs for a snack later on in the day or even become a great lunch biscuit. This recipe makes 20-24 3 inch biscuits.


Ingredients

4 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 packages  (8oz)  cream cheese at room temp.
1 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
1-2 tablespoons red pepper flakes ( or chives) or if you don't want the red pepper flakes sprinkle the top of the rolled out dough lightly with pepper.


Directions

 Mix the flour into a large bowl along with the baking powder. Add in the cream cheese but by little pieces as you mix it. You can do this two ways, use a standing mixer ( faster) or by hand. Either way as you add in the cream cheese mix up the dough it will be very tough, you want to mix it up though so keep going till it's all mixed in.  After the cream cheese is mixed with flour add in the milk, and mix again, add in the cheese mix as you add in each. The dough will be tough  and will hold very well together. Set it down on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about a 3/4 inch thickness.


 I used a biscuit cutter but you can use one of those plastic kid cups, which is perfect in size.
Place on baking sheet, and cook for about 20 minutes at 375F or until they are golden brown on edges. Test by forking one in the center to see if it comes out clean.

They may look small but they area really nice and fluffy inside. My kids said they make the perfect grab and go sandwiches whether breakfast or lunch. With cheese already in there my son said it made the perfect warm ham cheese sandwich. What mother will argue with that? 



To make an egg sandwich, keep oven heated at 375F Place your eggs in muffin tins sprayed with cooking spray and cook till the eggs are done to your likeness. It will take less than 10 minutes for the eggs to bake.
 A great way to make the kids happy is have them sprinkle toppings right on their eggs before they cook. Chives, bacon, vegetables, cheese even, ham. Combinations are up to you. They will come out in perfect biscuit sizes and make an excellent "on the go" breakfast sandwich for everyone in the family!

Enjoy!
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