Saturday, December 31, 2011

Caramel Brownies {recipe}

Have I told you how much I love Pinterest?  I know it is a time-sucker, but when you get THIS as a result of that time wasting???
Totally worth it!

Anywho...  I had pinned this recipe for making brownies from scratch that was mentioned on Biblical Homemaking's blog.  I have made it a couple of times and it was always a hit.
Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

I also had pinned this Microwave Caramel recipe that was on my list to make.

Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest
So guess what I did today???  Yup! - I put those two together and made a wonderful creation!  (You can click the links above to get the recipes.)  

I started making the caramels and while those were in the microwave I mixed up the brownies.  I used a 9 x 13 pan (because I didn't want to double the cook time), spread half the brownie mixture on the bottom, followed by half the caramel mixture, topped with the other half of the brownie mixture.  
(I put the rest of the caramel mixture into a 8 x 8 pan to cool as the directions said.)
When it was done baking I stuck it in the deep freeze to cool (because once again, I didn't want to wait!).  It only lasted about 15 minutes in there and then we cut into it and topped it with a little whipped cream.  It was still gooey and OH SO YUMMY!  This is something that I will DEFINITELY make again.  Oh and the extra caramels that I let cool - they were super good as well.  Chewy and fantastic!  Are you going to try this now?

Linking up at:
five days five ways | feature friday free for all

What I Ate...

My brain has been on holiday mode so I don't have many pictures for you this week.  Here is what I did capture:
Tuesday December 27, 2011

Chicken Burrito from La Parilla (yes there is a burrito under all that lettuce and cheese!)
Chips and Salsa
Sopapillas (super yum!)
Wednesday December 28, 2011

Spicy Chicken Sandwich
Seasoned Fries
Salad with Blue Cheese
Thursday December 29, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Chili Sauce & Peanut Butter Sauce
Brown Rice
Saturday December 31, 2011

Taco Salad (with ground turkey) sans tortilla chips (I had WAY too many earlier today)
And for dessert:
Carmel Brownies.  Enough said.
Click {here} for the recipe.

Linking up to: Meal Plan Monday

Thursday, December 29, 2011

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips {recipe}

I made this dip a few days ago and thought I would share it.  It is from Giada De Laurentiis (love her recipes!).  I found it in a magazine (you know, the things we read before internet, blogs and Pinterest?) years ago.  It is like an italian hummus and it is so good.

I found the recipe on-line as well {here}, but it is a little different.  Here is the recipe from the magazine.
White Bean Dip with Pita Chips
6 appetizer servings

4 pita bread, split in half horizontally
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Cut each pita into 8 wedges and arrange evenly over a large baking sheet.  Brush the pita wedges with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then sprinkle with the oregano and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
3.  Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the pita wedges over and bake until they are crisp and golden, about 8 minutes longer.
4.  Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Pulse on and off until the mixture is coarsely chopped.  With the machine running, gradually mix in the remaining 1/3 cup of oil until the mixture is creamy.  Season the puree with more salt and pepper to taste.
5.  Transfer the puree to a small bowl and serve the pita toasts warm or at room temperature alongside.  

(The pita chips and puree can be made 1 day ahead.  Store the pita chips airtight at room temperature.  Cover and refrigerate the bean puree.)

Let me know if you make it and if you like it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today was my birthday.  It was cold today.  Dylan is in shorts and flip flops as much as possible so this picture tells you how cold it really was outside.
We went to a yummy mexican food place.  (And yes, it was REALLY yummy.  I can't wait to go back!)  Dylan told our server that it was my birthday (thanks buddy!) and they all came out singing Happy Birthday in spanish and put this HUGE sombrero on me.  Payton couldn't figure out what they were singing.  She was so confused - it was cute!
They brought out yummy Sopapillas.  I hadn't had them before and it was super good.
Dylan liked wearing the hat.
Then on the way home I saw this.  I made Chris turn around so I could get a picture.

Yes, that is a make-shift car port (a tattered, black tarp held up with straps and ropes tied to 2 trees and 2 metal poles) with an Acura parked under it.  Only in Georgia!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day...

Christmas day was so much fun...  Here are some (okay, alot) of pictures of our day.

-The picture in the top right corner was the kids checking out Santa's leftover crumbs.
-The picture of Chris and the kids was right when we woke up.  Nothing like a camera flashing in your eyes at 6:00am!
-Like Chris' mining picture?  Dylan got a reading light from Papa and Chris used it to fix Payton's new kitchen.
-Papa and Dylan played with Dylan's new Electronic Snap Circuits projects for quite a long time.  Really a cool toy.

For breakfast we made {and devoured} this yummy goodness (Petite Caramel Pecan Rolls):
I forgot to take a picture of us singing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate {boo!}.

Later in the afternoon we got to webcam with my parents and open some presents that they sent us.

She knitted each of us scarves.  They sent a sweet onesie for baby boy.  And wonderful light-up tambourines for the kids.... thanks guys!
Then we got to webcam with my sister, Jeannine, to open more presents (we draw names for all the kids under 18).  They happen to get both my kids.

Thanks cousins Juliette & Penelope!

We ended the night reading about birth of Jesus from Luke 2.  Now just 364 days until my FAVORITE holiday of the year comes around again...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Tonight the kids helped make our Christmas Eve dinner (spaghetti).  Dylan had written name cards for each person.  Notice Bailey's?  (Craig and Sasha's dog)
Every year on Christmas Eve we give the kids new jammies to wear that night.
Then they got to open one present each.  They both got new Webkinz.  Dylan's is a Koala he named "Koal"(koala without the "a" at the end).  Payton got a turtle she named Princess Alexia.
We had to set out food for Santa.  He got milk and pineapple dump cake + carrots for the reindeer.
The kids took turns writing Santa a letter.
Dylan wrote:  "Dear Santa, Thank you for the toys mery Christmis. the carrots are for the reindeer.  Love Dylan"  Then added "Thankyou for the wedkin." (webkinz)
Payton wrote:  Dear Santa, followed by her ABC's.

We can't wait to celebrate Jesus' birthday tomorrow!

What I Ate...

Monday December 19, 2011

Baked Potato (topped with butter, sour cream, & green onions)
Fried Okra
Steamed Broccoli
Green Salad
Tuesday December 20, 2011

Spicy Bean & Jalapeno Chimichanga

Wednesday December 21, 2011

Thursday December 22, 2011

Homemade Margherita Pizza
Italian Salad

Friday December 23, 2011
Santa Fe Stew
Saturday December 24, 2011
Italian Salad
Garlic Bread

Did you eat anything super yummy this week?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Crafts {courtesy of Gigi}

Gigi sent the kids some Christmas crafts to make this week.  The kids got to do the snowmen while skyping with Gigi earlier this week.  We painted the ornaments outside today.

1.  Dylan's Christmas tree ornament that he painted.  Complete with ornaments.
2.  Payton's hanging snow man.  {with a little help from mommy}
3.  Payton painting her bell ornament.
4.  Dylan's hanging snow man.
5.  Showing off their handy-work.
6.  Payton's bell.  A blurry picture, I know, and you can't see the white bottom with the green bell thingy on the bottom.
7.  Really concentrating.
8.  Painting while mommy is holding it.

Thanks Gigi!  They had a blast making them!

And just cause I love this picture...
We were taking pictures in front of "Dylan's Tree" in his room.  Isn't is so sweet?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookie Time!

Chris and the kids made Chocolate Chip Cookies today...

The best part is licking the spatula and beater!  Yum!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Lights

We did a fun family tradition tonight...  After dinner we cleaned up, showered up and got into our jammies.  Then we surprise the kids by telling them to get their warmest blankets and get into the car.  We gave them hot cocoa and told them we were going to see Christmas lights.  

Here is Payton with her hot chocolate face.
And Dylan is so excited...
Chris found a great tract that had an amazing light show.  Almost all the homes were linked up to the same radio station and all the lights blinked on and off to the music.  Here is one of the houses:
And then a second later:
Pretty cool huh?

Dylan and Payton loved watching it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Here is Craig and Sasha's Christmas tree...

The bottom 2 pictures are the view from walking down the stairs.  Did I mention that Christmas is my favorite time of year???

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chili's Night (Recipes)

On Tuesday we had a Chili's Night . . .  I saw (and pinned) both of these recipes on Pinterest and decided to try them out.  We had Chicken Enchilada Soup (similar to Chili's) from Picky Palate:
I followed the recipe (exactly) and it was good.  It wasn't as creamy as Chili's (which is a plus in my book).  And it made a LOT of soup.  I fed 5 people and had tons of left overs still.

And then Chili's Copycat Salsa from Six Sisters' Stuff:
I made a change to their recipe and it was GOOD.  Real good.  {Although completely different than my hubby's Pico de Gallo - that is hands down my FAVORITE salsa ever.}  This is really good for making last minute (I would say it takes a total of 5 minutes to make.).
So you can click the picture above and see the original recipe.  But here is my version:

Chili's Copycat Salsa
(Original recipe from Six Sister's Stuff)
1 - 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
2 oz diced jalapenos (I bought the small 4 oz can and used half.)
1/2 small yellow onion (Not chopped - I threw the whole thing in the processor.)

1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice

Throw all of it into a food processor and puree. Enjoy!

What I Ate...

Sunday December 12, 2011

J's Mac & Cheese
Green Salad
Monday December 13, 2011

Chili's Night (Click for recipes)
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Chili's CopyCat Salsa
Tortilla Chips
Wednesday December 14, 2011

Green Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese
Leftover Chicken Enchilada Soup
Thursday December 15, 2011

Homemade Panda Express Orange Chicken
Stir-fry Vegetables with Noodles

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Gingerbread House

Tonight started Dylan's Christmas break from school. He has a whole 2 weeks off!!! (Woot-woot!) The kids spent the evening finishing their gingerbread house.