Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pork Tenderloin with Peach Glaze

This is a great main dish to make when you have company coming over or want to make dinner a little more special.  It is so delicious and a family favorite.  It is my go to dish when we have a dinner party.

Pork Tenderloin with Peach Glaze


2 Pork Tenderloins about 1 1/4 lb.
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Large Shallot, sliced thin
1/2 Cup Peach preserves
2/3 Cup Chicken Stock
1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (or more if you like spicy)
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim tenderloins and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over hot oil in a skillet  for 3 to 4 minutes to brown on all sides.  Place tenderloins in baking dish.  Over medium high heat, add butter to cooking skillet along with your shallots  and saute until tender.  Stir in peach preserves, stock, red pepper, and mustard.  Cook for 7 minutes or until incorporated and preserves are melted in-stirring often.  Pour sauce over the tenderloins, coating evenly.   Bake for 40 minutes or until at 160 degrees.  Once out, cover your tenderloins with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Chocolate Oreo Popcorn Crunch

All you Oreo lovers out there,
National Oreo day is March 6.
Celebrate the day with an Oreo... or two.
Better yet, make our chocolate Oreo popcorn crunch.

You'll need: 
12 cups popped, popcorn 
(I like using this or this popcorn)
3/4 cup M&Ms 
(I wanted green & milk chocolate flavor-- so I picked the green out of a spring color mix)
2 cups crumbled mini Oreos
1 bag Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
1 Tbsp butter 

Have your popcorn, M&Ms and Oreos measured out and ready.
Put the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl.
Cook for 1 minute, take out and stir.
Cook 30 seconds, take out and stir.
My chocolate was melted at this point.  You may need to go for another 15 seconds to melt.
Pour over your popcorn and mix.

Add in your Oreos and M&Ms to the popcorn.
Mix until everything is coated with the white chocolate.

Spread out on parchment paper to cool and for the chocolate to harden.

I must say, it's pretty tasty.
I had to try a little for "quality control".

With St. Patrick's Day coming, 
bag some up as a treat for a lucky friend!
Add one of our Lucky Treat Tags to your bag.

You can find recipes for our other flavored popcorns under the snacks category.
Happy St. Patty's Day and Oreo day!

Peasant Bracelet

My daughter braided for me a long twine chain the other day. I doubled the large loop and wore it as a necklace. As I passed the mirror and noticed the simple chain, the thought came to mind, "It's so simple, but cute." Then, the idea hit me, "Why not make a bracelet?!" So, that's exactly what we did last week. I asked my daughter to braid for me a smaller twine chain. I wanted to triple loop it around my wrist. I then decided to sew on a few beads. I'm calling it, "a peasant bracelet." Here's how to make one.

First, get your twine. You don't have to use twine. You can use yarn, ribbon, jute. You'll want a long piece because it will quickly grow shorter once you begin braiding. Remember longer is better. You can always cut your braid shorter if needed at the end.

You can make a standard braid by weaving three pieces together or you can make a chain. Here are the steps to making a chain if you decide to use this method. First, make a small hook at one end.

Then, create a slip knot.

Now, begin your chain by bending the twine just below the slip knot into a hook and place through the hole of  your knot. Tug on the piece you just placed through the hole to secure. You should now have a new hole. Again, take the twine just below the new hole and bend into a hook. Place through your second hole and tug to secure. Keep doing this process until you reach your desired length of chain.

Here's the finished chain.

Now, finish the chain by pulling the end of your twine through your last loop and pull.

Tie the two ends together to make a large loop.

Wrap your loop around your wrist how ever many times you are able - 3, 4, 5. The larger your finished loop the more times you can twist around your wrist. Then, with a marker place small dots on your chain as to where you want to sew your beads on.

Pick out the beads you'd like to use. You can buy small packages of beads at your local craft store. These packages contain a variety of bead sizes and colors.

Sew on your beads and you're done! I love the simple, "shabby chic" look :)

Friday, February 19, 2016

Confetti Topper and Birthday in a Box

If you have someone you love who is far away on their birthday
send them a birthday in a box!
One thing to be sure to include is some confetti
with our cute "Hip Hip Hooray!" bag topper.

You can print them here: {Hip Hip Hooray!}

Cut out, fold and staple over the existing confetti label OR
I put the confetti in another zip closed bag (3x4) and
stapled the topper on.

Now for your fun birthday box!
Along with your gifts, add things for a celebration!
My college daughter is turning 22 on 2/22
-she's calling this her golden birthday.
So I'm sending everything in gold.

Mini cake topper
Hip, Hip Hooray! confetti
A mini chocolate cake 
(just some kind of cake to put the candles in--Ding Dong, Twinkie, cupcake in container, etc. 
You could also substitute the cake for a cake mix and can of frosting)
Tiara or party hat
Noise makers
Tassel Banner (could make your own {here})
Gold rock candy
Birthday card
Other things you could include:
silly string
crepe streamers
Bottle of Bubbles
party trinket prizes

I think this box will be a winner!
A fun way to celebrate when you're far away.
"Don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22!"
Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Write" Stuff Gift Tags

Each year I come up with a little gift to give friends on their birthday.
Just something simple and fun.
I'm always making lists
and have seen some pretty cute notepads out there.
I thought this would make the perfect little gift. 

Find some notepads and pens.

Bag up one of each in a cello bag
and tie with a cute ribbon.

Tell your friend she's got the "write" stuff
by attaching our {"write" stuff} TAG

Print and cut out around the tags.  
If you like, you can mount them on another color of paper as seen below.

Just punch a hole at the end of the tag and tie it on the bag with bakers twine.

Make up a bunch and you'll be ready for the next birthday!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Homemade Granola

Several years ago, Heidi shared this great recipe with me for Homemade Granola.  I absolutely love it!  It makes a bunch and keeps for several months in an air tight container (about 4 months).  We love to eat it in the morning as cereal, on top of yogurt or in a yogurt parfait, as a topping for ice cream, or even just a trail mix for a hike.   It makes a great gift idea too!

Homemade Granola

9 Cups Oats (not quick oats)
1/2 Cup Coconut
3/4 Cup Cream of Wheat
1 Cup Brown Sugar

Mix these dry ingredients together until well incorporated.  Set aside.

Melt together in a saucepan:

1 Stick of Butter
2 Tbsp. Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla

Allow the melted mixture to cool just a bit and then add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly

Spread mixture out evenly on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes- slightly brown on top.

Let mixture cool completely and then add dry fruits and nuts of your choice!  I added chopped pecans, dried cherries, and dates here.  I added about 3/4 Cup each but you could add as much or little to your taste.    You could also add raisins, walnuts, yogurt bites, dried apricots, dried bananas, or so much more.  Enjoy!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Fruit Dip

This week I attended a meeting where we were each asked to bring a Valentine-ish snack. I decided to bring a fruit tray filled with red berries and grapes. I threw in some blueberries and black berries as well for some contrast. Before I continue, can I just say that fruit trays are beautiful! All those colors and textures side by side. Ok, back to the task at hand. I paired my fruit tray with fruit dip which I colored pink with food coloring. Remember - I needed something Valentine-ish. As always, the fruit dip was a success. It is so tasty that you'll never bring home left overs. Another bonus - the recipe has only two ingredients!

1 - 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened
1- 7 oz. jar of marshmallow creme

Mix the two ingredients until well blended. Then, chill until serving. 

If you want to be adventurous, you can add some food coloring as well. Usually, I don't. But, with a few drops of food coloring, your dip can become something quite festive. It would be cute to serve pink or blue fruit dip at a baby shower. For this weekend, you could serve pink, white or red dip for Valentine's Day. Really, you could do any color depending on the party.  Enjoy and have fun! 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 can petite diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 can green chilies (4 oz)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
3 cups chicken broth
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz)
1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano flakes
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 package chicken gravy mix
1/2 cup sour cream

Put all ingredients in a crock pot (except gravy mix). Cook on low for 4-6 hours.  30 minutes before serving, add the gravy mix.  I use this one.  
Right before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.
Garnish with cilantro, cheddar or pepper jack or more sour cream. 
Don't forget the tortilla chips or tortilla strips on the side or sprinkled on top.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Chocolate Ferrero Rocher Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Hey friends, if your're looking for a noteworthy dessert 
for Valentines day or any special occasion, 
these cupcakes are just the thing!
Such chocolaty goodness!
With a Ferrero Rocher surprise in the middle,
and Nutella cream frosting!
A triple threat of chocolate love!
You'll need:
 a chocolate cake mix
2 dozen Rerrero Rocher chocolates
 (I love the coconut Ferrero Raffaello, so did 12 of each)
one 13 oz Nutella
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup milk or heavy cream

Bake your cupcakes as directed. 
 Let cool for 5 minutes and while still warm, push your Ferrero in the middle.

Make up your frosting by combining all the ingredients in an electric mixer.
After the cupcakes have cooled, it's time to frost!
I piped the frosting on the top.

Sooo good!

After the first bite you get the Ferrero surprise.
I got coconut, my favorite.
This cupcake was gone in just a few minutes!

Make these for someone special.
They will love you for it!

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