January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

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January 25, 2013

No Kid Hungry

Right now, more than 16 million children in the US struggle with hunger. Many of them start the school day too hungry to learn. Some dread the long summer months because they can’t count on school meals. Most of them simply don’t have enough food at home on a regular basis.

Every dollar you give can connect a hungry child with up to 10 meals; for example, a tax-deductible gift of $20 a month is enough to help connect hungry children with 200 meals — that’s 2,400 meals over the course of the year!

Joining The Hunger Core is easy and you can change the amount of your gift at any time. Plus, we won’t ask you to renew your giving since your support will always be current. 

Join and help using the links below !
Share Our Strength’s Hunger Core
The Heart Of Our No Kid Hungry Campaign
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January 24, 2013

Jake's Birthday Bash- Disney Junior


-- "Jake's Birthday Bash" Episode to Premiere Friday, March 1
on Disney Channel and Disney Junior --
Disney Junior is inviting "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" fans to help celebrate Jake's birthday by submitting videotaped birthday greetings for the chance to appear on Disney Channel and Disney Junior. Beginning Thursday, January 31, parents and caregivers can log on to DisneyJunior.com/JakesBirthdayto download a printable birthday card for their child to decorate and showcase in a video submission wishing Jake a happy birthday. The videos will be posted on DisneyJunior.com and some will be chosen for air Monday, February 25 – Friday, March 1, leading up to the debut of a new birthday-themed episode of "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" FRIDAY, MARCH 1 on Disney Channel (8:30 a.m., ET/PT) and Disney Junior (5:30 p.m., ET/PT). 
The "Jake's Birthday Bash" experience on DisneyJunior.com/JakesBirthday will also feature downloadable pirate-themed recipes, crafts, party favors and a "Pin the Tail on the Croc" activity. On Jake's birthday, Friday, March 1, the site will launch an interactive treasure hunt game where kids help Jake search Pirate Island for his hidden birthday presents.
In the new episode "Jake's Birthday Bash," Jake's crewmates Cubby, Izzy and Skully surprise him with a special birthday treasure hunt. The episode will launch on iTunes in conjunction with the television premiere on March 1 as part of the "Disney Junior Birthday Bash!" bundle which features birthday-themed episodes of additional favorite Disney Junior series including "Doc McStuffins" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse." 
Produced by Disney Television Animation, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" consistently ranks among the Top 3 cable TV series in Kids 2-5, and for the 2012-2013 season to date, is the #1 cable TV series in Boys 2-5. The series currently airs in 163 countries and 33 different languages. "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" is executive-produced by Rob LaDuca. Mark Seidenberg is producer/story editor and Howy Parkins is the director.
Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior’s series blend Disney’s unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior launched in February 2011 with a daily programming block on Disney Channel. In its first year, Disney Junior posted the network's biggest yearly audience in the daypart in Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5 and Women 18-49, increasing by double-digit margins among preschooler demographics over year-ago levels. On March 23, 2012 Disney Junior added a cable and satellite channel in the U.S.  Disney Junior channels in Japan, India and Disney Junior Portugal launched in fall 2012, bringing the total number of channels to 33 worldwide. 
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January 20, 2013

Stuffed Cabbage

When planning meals keep some things in mind, don't buy items for a meal, make your meal plan around items you already have. Isn't that why we stock our pantry up? 
Pick meals you can use leftovers with, or double the recipe and freeze the other half, or make two meals out of whatever main ingredient you have say beef. It's easier than you think, and the recipe I have today was picked just for this purpose.

Meatball Cabbage Rolls (slowcooker)
 ** I didn't do this in the slow cooker, put in it at about 325F for 45 minutes, checked and up the oven to 350F for another 25 and it was done perfectly. It's only beef, so as long as you cooked the cabbage till it was tender, the oven is fine until the beef is done**

1 large head cabbage
2 cans (one 15 ounces and one 8 ounces)  Tomato Sauce, divided
1 small onion, chopped
1/3 cup cooked long grain rice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 pounds ground beef
Salt and garlic powder to taste

** I doubled everything but the cabbage. So 2 cans (8oz) sauce, 2 onions, 2/3 cups rice, 4Tablespoons chili powder , 2lbs of beef. You are going to set aside half of the meatballs your making, while the rest goes into the cabbage for the rolls. Cook meatballs in a hot skillet on the stove, turning halfway through until completely cooked. Set aside to cool completely and then place in airtight freezable container or plastic zip lock bag. Freeze for Spaghetti and meatballs later in the week, you should have about a pound of meatballs to use. **

In a Dutch oven, cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside 14-16 large leaves for rolls. (Refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use.) Cut out the thick vein from the bottom of each reserved leaf, making a V-shaped cut.
In a large bowl, combine 8 oz. of tomato sauce, onion, rice, chili powder, salt and garlic powder. Crumble beef over mixture; mix well. Shape into 2-in. balls. Place one meatball on each cabbage leaf; overlap cut ends of leaf.

I didn't do the balls, as they end up just getting misshaped anyways, Fold in the sides

Roll up, secure with toothpicks, or make sure you place them tightly against the other rolls so they keep their form.

Place in a 5-qt. slow cooker, or casserole dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce over cabbage rolls. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is no longer pink and cabbage is tender. (if cooking in oven cook for about an hour at 350, or until beef is completly cooked through)

They were wonderful, the kids even liked them as well!
Here are the meatballs that went to the freezer after cooking. All that's needed is cooked pasta, and sauce and another meal will be finished! 2 pounds of beef, one recipe, two meals. :)


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January 14, 2013

A shopping game for the kids

Taking the kids shopping is not easy, but it can be fun. One great way to get the kids involved in helping to shop is giving them their own shopping list. I love doing this because of several reasons, the number one though is the kids are so busy with their list they aren't bored enough to create chaos

What you do:

Depending on how old your kids are make a shopping list with pictures of the items you want them to find.  You can clip out coupons form the paper for this or use old ones if you aren't using them. . This is great for K students!

Give them a crayon to mark them off or a sticker as they go through the store. Try to make it so there's one item in each aisle you plan on going through that way you are keeping them busy through the entire trip.

It's bingo for shopping and it works!
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January 13, 2013

Rosemary & Garlic Pork Tenderloin

Meals that take little to no effort to make, come in handy on busy days. Whether you have company over, or simply don't want to end up having a throw together casserole again of pasta or some rice dish this is an excellent change. Don't get me wrong, I love throw together casseroles, and with a family of six, they come in handy alot. They save money, time as well as little to anything to put it together. Those casseroles though, get boring.

This dish cooks itself, all you really need to do is sprinkle the seasonings over it and time it.

Rosemary & Garlic Pork Tenderloin (Cooking Light Cookbook)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 475°.

Combine the rosemary and garlic. Make several 1/2-inch-deep slits in pork; place about half of rosemary mixture in slits. Rub pork with remaining rosemary mixture; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place pork on a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray. Insert a meat thermometer into thickest portion of pork.

Bake at 475° for 20 minutes or until the thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink) or desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

My Tenderloin was bigger than a pound, in fact it was two put together, so I rubbed the garlic and Rosemary in between then tied the two halves together. It took longer to cook, and at a lower temp as well, about 350, for about an hour. Adjust the temp as well as time for the weight of your pork.  As long as you don't overcook it, you can't really fail this dish. I put Carrots in the same pan, poured a little vegetable broth in the bottom and covered it up to cook. Came out wonderfully!


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January 10, 2013

Kids Dental Health

This year marks 10 years of Tom's of Maine Dental Healthy for All program. They have donated $1 million to dental clinics nationwide which provide families with regular checkups that they otherwise might miss!

Haven't heard of the program? You can check it out here

Be a Toothfairy Hero Sweepstakes ! Entries for this sweepstakes end March 15 , be sure to read all the rules and get your child's toohfairy picture in before this date! You can read more about it right here
The program invites kids to get more involved with ther own dental care and learn how to take better care of themselves. It's a great way to encourage the youngsters excited about dental care. There will be 10 winners picked, so don't miss out.
My five year old drew this one of a toothfairy!

Are you ready for a really fun giveaway? How about winning a Tom's of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste? Contest is open to US only, 18yrs+ only please.
A little about the prize, (we haven't received ours yet so review will follow giveaway)

  • Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste is the first and only natural kid’s toothpaste to receive the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance for its proven effectiveness. With no artificial dyes or sweeteners, Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste gets its naturally sweet flavor from real strawberries.
  • New this month, Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool! is Tom’s of Maine’s first natural toothpaste designed for kids ages 8 and over. This mild mint-flavored toothpaste fights cavities, strengthens enamel and freshens breath and is great for kids who want a more “grown up” toothpaste but find the adult mint versions “too spicy”. Plus, it’s ADA-accepted, dye-free and never contains any artificial sweeteners or flavors.
  • Kids love the taste of Tom’s of Maine Juicy Mint Children's Anticavity Fluoride Rinse. Used regularly with fluoride toothpaste, rinsing provides additional cavity protection over brushing alone. It offers the same strong cavity protection as conventional brands without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • Tom’s of Maine donates 10% of its profits from all sales back to the community to help people and the planet.

This giveaway is for you to enter to get 1 tube of Silly Strawberry Toothpaste (1 Winner, U.S. Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This review was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own. All prizing for MSM giveaways is handled by a third party unless otherwise noted. For this reason prize fulfillment can take up to 90 days after the winners information is received. 
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January 8, 2013

Did you Know Tuesday- Make your own Dip or Dressing

I came across an awesome cookbook last year, it's called Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook -Plainly Delicious Recipes from the Simple Life.
The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook: Plainly Delicious Recipes from the Simple Life

It's interesting, on nearly all the pages near the recipes it has some notes, or little facts about the Amish Community. I love learning new facts,so this was an extra plus for me when I picked it up.
 This is a great cookbook for big families trying to save money as most all of them are easy, quick and use very little "extras".  Though the repeat of hamburger may put some off, I like that. It give me so many ways to cook hamburger and they are all super easy plus gives me enough for an entire family.  They list other meats and poultry as well, all of which are good hearty recipes that will end up saving you some money.

The book has other wonderful recipes, sides, soups, stews, breakfast treats which is really interesting. There's one called Scrapple! It uses ground pork, salt, sage and cornmeal. Bam. Yeah that's it, told you, simple down home style cooking. No using "pre-sliced" Pre-packaged" Pre-cooked" Stuff. The Amish use what they had on hand and if they didn't grow it or have it on their land, it's not on their menu. I love their vegetable recipes, many of them are just full of flavor and you'll fall in love with them once you try them!

What I really like about the cookbook is besides the dessert section (which is all yummy by the way) is the "Mixes and Miscellaneous" section. Filled with quick spreads, sauces, in the jar pickles, butter, even Bird Suet which is listed as "Won't go rancid!" . Right near this recipe, there's a note saying the Amish love to watch and feed birds, so it's pretty much a given to have it in a cookbook.
It's a book that's loaded with something for everyone that's for sure!

One of the recipes is one I use nearly once a week. For my Grandmother's Snack crackers, and that's the Ranch Style Dressing and Dip mix. Instead of buying the boxes of the mix, I can make it myself without ever running out! I use it for the cip and dressing as well, but by far it's used more for the crackers.

Ranch Style Dressing and Dip Mix-

For each Packet
2tsp. instant minced onion (I just used onion powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1T parsley flakes
2T buttermilk Powder

Combine all ingredients until very well mixed. For each packet place the mixed ingredients onto a 6 in square of aluminum foil and fold to make airtight. If you make more than one, label them all and place in a large storage container of bag. Date it and use within 6 months.

For Dressing:
 Use 1 packet ranch style dressing and dip mix
1 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a quart jar and shake until well blended. Chill before serving.

For Dip
Use 1 packet Ranch style dressing and dip mix
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
Combine all ingredients in a quart jar and shake until well blended. Chill before serving.

I'll share some other recipes from the book as we make them. If you ever come across the book and have a large family or just simply love some Amish homestyle, simple recipes you should pick it up!

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January 5, 2013

Gluten Free New York Style Cheesecake

I love cheesecake! It actually took me awhile to get baking it correctly over the last few years. If you over beat it, it will crack, it's also easy to over bake, or even under bake  Not that I don't mind tasting the results one way or another (unless that is it was under-baked.  It's been fun trying to nail it down to perfection! This is a gluten free cheesecake, which you can enjoy if your can't have any gluten.

Gluten Free New York Style Cheesecake

For the crust-

1 1/4 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar

Cheesecake Ingredients-

4 8ounce packages of softened  cream cheese ((4 8-ounce packages))
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 You need a 9 inch springform pan

Directions-  Preheat oven to 325F

Crush the graham crackers into crumbs.  Pour crumbs into a mixing bowl then add sugar and stir to thoroughly mix. Add melted butter and stir well till all combined. Press the  crumb mixture into bottom of springform pan. Refrigerate .

Using a large mixing bowl, Beat  cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Add corn starch, sour cream and vanilla  Beating on high until smooth.

. Pour the cheesecake filling into spring form pan carefully smoothing the top with a spatula, Bake at 325F for about 50 minutes. Turn oven off and leave the cheesecake in for about 20 more minutes before taking out . It should be nearly all set, the middle should look shiny . If it's cracked you baked it too long so watch it after the oven is off. You want the center to just about set before taking it out.  Wait at least 20 minutes before taking the side of pan off. Then let completely cool. Set it in the fridge for a minimal of 4 hours before you slice.


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