Friday, December 23, 2011

Food Friday - Parmesan Chicken

Today's post is later than most. I have been SUPER busy getting ready for this long break from work. (A WHOLE WEEK OFF!) Today's Food Friday is one that we just LOVE! I tried it about 2 weeks ago and was nervous when I saw the recipe but love it (almost) more than any other Food Friday recipe.

For Parmesan Chicken (from the amazing Betty Crocker website), you will need:


2    cups Original Bisquick® mix

1/2    teaspoon garlic powder

1/2    cup boiling water

4    slices (3/4 oz each) provolone cheese

4    thin slices (about 1 oz each) cooked ham

4    large (about 1/2 lb) uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

1    tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

4    teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

1    cup tomato pasta sauce, heated

1 Heat oven to 375°F (if using dark or nonstick pan, heat oven to 350°F).

2 In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, garlic powder and boiling water with fork until dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Place dough pieces on surface dusted with Bisquick mix; roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Press each piece into 7x5-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick.

3 Center 1 provolone cheese slice and 1 ham slice on each rectangle, folding to fit if needed. Top each with 1 chicken tender. Starting at 7-inch side, roll up each bundle. Press ends and seam to seal. Tuck ends under. On ungreased cookie sheet, place seam side down. Brush with butter; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
4 Bake 25 to 33 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in center of chicken reads 170°F and bundles are golden brown. Serve topped with pasta sauce.
 

 Because of THIS recipe and a Drop Biscuit recipe, I discovered I LOVE Bisquick. A lot. Like I want to try every recipe possible with it. It is amazing.

I am keeping this short and sweet because it is now CHRISTMAS VACATION! Have a safe, delicious, happy, wonderful holiday weekend and Merry Christmas to you all. If I don't post this weekend, I promise to be back by Monday! I will miss you blogger friends!

Melissa

Friday, December 16, 2011

Food Friday: Not-So-Spritzer Cookies

As promised last week, I am going to share the Not-So-Spritzer cookie recipe with you. Short back story on these first though: the "Not-So-Spritzer" part comes from my inability to realize that when I was trying to use my spritzer cookie maker I was missing an essential part... the thing that pushes the dough out. I was downright angry that the dang thing wasn't working. The worst part? I didn't realize it was broken until the cookies were done and I was packaging up the stupid thing to take it back to the store. Fail.
To mine and my husband's surprise (even though he won't admit he was surprised), they were a hit at my Lia Sophia party and my mom's purse party where I got the most adorable purse.

Moving on. These cookies are amazing. Ever had the cookies from the bakery at Target or Walmart that kind of melt in your mouth? They have a lighter bottom with bright and/or seasonal colors? Here, I will show you:

You know the one's, right? I got the recipe from my Cuisinart Spritzer Maker instruction manual. Which maybe if I had read anything other than the recipes... we wouldn't have had the problem we did. It seemed to work out. Here you are.

You will need:

Cookies:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (which in case you didn't know.... one of my pet peeves is when people spell cooking flour "flower". Just thought you should know =))
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb UNSALTED butter (2 sticks) cubed and at room temp
1 1/2 cup confectioner's (powered) sugar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

Frosting:


1 tablespoon softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (might need a little more, just keep an eye on the consistency)
3 tablespoons milk
2 drops any color food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Cube butter and (if it isn't room temp) stick it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds

 Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Set aside.

Combine butter and sugar with a mixer until light and creamy.


Add vanilla and egg and mix until just combined. Add the rest of the reserved ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

This is where the spritzer part comes into play... but let's skip that part =).

Roll the dough into about 1"-2" balls and place on a cookie sheet about 2" apart.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden around the edges.

 Yum. Then you frost. In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. We used about 8 drops of red. Still turned out pink. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden. 

My sweet hubby helped me frost them.
 They are ALWAYS a hit.

Let me know if you try these recipes, I am interested to hear your results!

Yesterday was a long long long day (to say the least) with a bad day at work and we lost at volleyball. Bad. And I'm not going to lie, I am a very competitive person. Not good. In any case, it is FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY!!!!! So excited to spend the weekend baking and getting ready for the holidays. I also have to get ready for re-decorating! Tyler and I are buying a TV this weekend and our couches come on Thursday!!!  What are your weekend plans?

Just to remind you that Christmas is ALMOST here... Check this out. SO stinkin' cool. Seriously, amazing.



HAPPY FRIDAY/8 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!!!

Melissa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Bushel and a Peck

I had a random thought today that I thought I would share with you. Don't worry, I will keep it short and sweet:

Do you ever do something sweet/corny/and maybe moderately cheesy with your significant other? Something you see as totally normal whereas an outsider might see as a bit weird or unorthodox? Well we do. And I hadn't given it much thought until today which is why this is so random.

We always say "I love you a bushel and a peck". We say it a LOT.

via
It comes from a 1950s song by Frank Loesser and I heard it a lot from my great grandmother (most wonderful woman who ever lived). She would always hug us as tight as possible and say "I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck". Through my youth and even to this day, my dad says it too. If you have never heard it, here it is with the CUTEST little girl singing it. It gets super SUPER cute at about 0:50.


Here is the whole thing. It's awesome.

 I intend to teach it to my child some day because I don't want this classic to die.

Are we alone in our cheesiness or do you have a strange tendency that you'd like to own up to too?

Melissa

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food Friday - Peanut Butter Blossoms AND Holiday Questionnaire

I love food. I love to make it and I love to eat it (but mostly make it). Every Friday I intend to post a new recipe for you to try. I won't post it unless I have tried to make it because I want to know it is good.

I want to apologize in advance. This might be the longest post ever written. Our (new) church does cookie baskets and asks for volunteers to make a couple dozen of their favorites to add to the variety. I made peanut butter blossoms and "not-so-spritzer" cookies. I will share the "not-so-spritzer" recipe later but for now: Peanut Butter Blossoms from allrecipes.com.

You will need
  • 1/2 cup CRISCO® Butter Shortening (do NOT substitute butter. You must use Crisco. It makes all the difference in the world)
  • 1/2 cup JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups PILLSBURY BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sugar
  • 48 foil-wrapped milk chocolate pieces, unwrapped
 Follow these steps and you will be AMAZED at the results.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
 
Cream together shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar. 

Add egg, milk and vanilla. Beat well.

Sire together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Beat on low speed until stiff dough forms.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. 
 
Top each cookie immediately with an unwrapped chocolate piece, pressing down firmly so that cookie cracks around edge. Remove from cookie sheets to cool. 



Enjoy!! (And let me know if you try these recipes/how they turn out!!!)

Also, if the spirit of Christmas (which is in 15 days by the way)...

I saw this lovely questionnaire on the Baby Making blog by my friend Becky. She is a fun, honest, and downright hilarious lady who has twin (holydangadorable) boys. You MUST check her out. I filled it out so without further adieu, here we go:

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate. I don't suppose I have ever tried egg nog but it has the word "egg" in it. And unless I am really in the mood for them or they are in a cake... I don't love eggs. Regardless of if they are in the beverage or just in the name. In regards to hot chocolate, I may or may not have had WAAAAYYYYYY too much on the way to Gooseberry Falls in October so I am kind of taking a break from it. We agreed to see other beverages. 

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa and I have this agreement that if he keeps bringing me wrapped gifts, I will keep believing in him. They are always wrapped and labeled to "Moe", "Melissa", or "Middle Child" from Santa.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Growing up they were ALWAYS colored but I gave in to my sweet husband who has only ever done white lights on the tree (and we did white on the house). I think I might love it because of my touch of (self diagnosed) OCD but maybe when I have kids I might gently try to wean Tyler off the white lights. Wish me luck!!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Well we have one hanging by the back door of our house that is homemade. Tyler's grandma bought it at the church bazaar. It is kind of hanging on a spare nail that really has served no prior purpose. That counts, right?

5. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving. No exceptions. I would leave them up all year if Tyler would let me. But he won't.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Tough TOUGH question. I love mashed potatoes and gravy. Ask Tyler's dad, we spent quite some time last year discussing my passion for the dish. Mmmm...

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The sentimental Christmas we had last year with my family. It was emotional, perfect, and full of love. Just like Christmas should be.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I really don't remember but Becky said it perfectly in her response. So this is me taking it and giving her credit:

Baby Making Becky: "I don't remember, but here's the honest truth. I believe in Santa. 100%. I am not kidding you, and I will explain: If Santa didn't exist, Millions upon millions of children would not get gifts signed "love Santa" on the same night, every year, all around the world.
Sure, maybe parents put those presents there, but why would they bother if Santa wasn't real? Santa may not be a "fact," but he is certainly "true." 
Santa may not be a person, but he is millions of people, and they all work together to bring children beautiful Christmases."
Couldn't have said it better myself.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? All of them. My family always went to church on Christmas eve and on the way home we would look at all of the Christmas lights. Then my dad would say "OHMYGOSH Did you see the sleigh?? It just flew by! We better hurry home and see if he's still there!". So regardless of our age, we would get all excited in anticipation of seeing Santa. Of course he was never there. But there was always an abundance of presents waiting.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? At mom and dad's, we always used a 9' fake tree, colored lights, and ornaments that were collected over the years (almost never the traditional bulb ornaments from the store). The ornaments with your name on them or ones that were made a church or school. This year (our first in our new home) we have white lights, gold and red ornaments, ribbon, and a new tree skirt!

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I LOVE SNOW! I wish we had snow. C'MON! We are in Minnesota and don't have a single flake on the ground! It is not Christmas until the snow starts and stays. I LOVE it!

12. Can you ice skate? It really depends on if this question means "can you stand on skates and be pushed around while only falling a few times" or if it means "can you spin and twirl and go really fast on skates". I would like to say yes to the former. Maybe not to the latter.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Last year I got the Nativity Scene that my dad got from his mom. It is amazing.

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Presents.

No, I'm totally kidding. Did I fool you? 


I love the family time. I love to have everyone in one place so we can catch up and talk about old stories and memories.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? French silk pie with mint pieces on top. Yum.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The hanging of the Christmas ornaments. Every year (until now) my siblings and I would put up the ornaments we made or that were made for us (with our names on them). When we were younger we were short and unintelligent so we put them all kind of in one general area. Then when we woke up they would be all pretty and spread out (thanks mom!!)! We still do that... I don't think it is as cute now as it once was. And mom probably doesn't appreciate it. But we all get a good chuckle out of it!

17. What tops your tree? WE. NEED. A. STAR. I have apparently been a procrastinator and will now probably wait until the end of the season sales. In the past my family has always done an angel.

18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving? Hands down, giving. My favorite year of giving was when I was 13 or 14. My dad and mom took Becca and I to get new bedroom furniture and the lady helping us had this awesome tape measure with a light, calculator, and post-it pad on it. My dad loved it and asked if they sold them. She said no and that they get them from their distributor and they don't get very many. He was fine with it! So after we had gone home and settled in, I walked over to mom and asked her to bring me back to the store (couldn't drive yet). So without question, she did!! 

I walked into the store and the lady greeted me again. I told her "my dad loved the tape measure and I am struggling to find something else to give him. Can I buy yours from you? I will pay anything." Keep in mind I was very young. She said "you are so sweet" and gave me one to wrap and give to my dad. To this day he claims it as his favorite gift because even though it was free, more thought went into it than any other present he has ever received. 

19. Candy canes: yuck or yum?  Tough question. I am going to say both. If I am in the mood, they are wonderful. But I really have to be in the mood. 

20. Favorite Christmas show?  I love LOVE the movie Miracle on 34th Street and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Best movies ever. 

21. Saddest Christmas song? Is there such a thing?

22. What is your favorite Christmas song? Silent Night. I am definitely a shower singer and let me tell you: I belt this one out just about every day. Favorite.

23. Do you use an Advent calendar? I wish I did. But I don't. I am guessing this will be another DIY project.

24. Do you go to church on Christmas?  No. We go on Christmas Eve. Every year! I am particularly a fan of the 11pm service. It may be late but when church is done, it is CHRISTMAS DAY!!!

25. What were your Christmas morning rules as a kid? We had to open presents in order of age. Which is not fun. Keep in mind I am a twin and we used to get the same gifts so we always knew what we got before we opened. This takes all of the fun out of it, parents. Just so you know.

Now I want to hear your responses!!! Respond to any of the questions below OR link back to my blog and fill them all out on your own!

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Mrs. Knott

Monday, December 5, 2011

I Wrote You a Note - DIY Decor


Before our wedding, our pastor had Tyler and I write each other a note. Something personal that he would take excerpts from for the wedding ceremony. Two days before our wedding, Tyler locked himself in the bedroom and I locked myself in my office so we could have some time to reflect on why we love each other and to put it onto paper. We had no idea what the other wrote until the day of the wedding (in front of all or our friends and family).

Although he said "I will take bits and pieces and discuss", he ended up reading the whole thing. I am so glad he did because I feel it really showed everyone how much love we have for each other. How special our relationship is and how we truly feel about 'Us'. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!


Melissa,

As I sit here thinking back on the last four years that led us to this day, one word comes to mind. TODAY! Today is the day I get to marry you. Seven months ago when I proposed, today seemed years away. Today brings an end to the last four years I got to know you and fall in love with you. And that is what I did, fall in love with you. Every part of you from the way you laugh at your own jokes to the way you don’t laugh at mine (even though they are funny). Even though this is then end of an era, it is the beginning of an even better part of my life. Now I get to come home to you every day, stay with you every night, and grow old with you throughout the rest of our lives. I love you Melissa Joy and I can’t imagine anyone better to share my life with.

I LOVE YOU

Forever and ever

Tyler,

Where to begin… we met in April 2007 as a boy who liked a girl and a girl who liked that boy right back and today they will be married. It is a day every girl dreams about. The day a princess finds her prince and they live happily ever after. Truth is, I never believed in fairy tales until now. I officially believe in romance, love, devotion, and promises because today (6-11-11) I make the biggest promise of my life.

You say you are nervous, that you want “everything to go off without a hitch”. There is no such thing as a hitch-less party. I can tell you one thing, as long as the girl gets to marry the boy, the party is a success. All of the rest of the day is just details!

I am going to keep this note short, not because I have little to say (I AM part Meyer you know…) but because everything I could say you already know. I have no secrets, I will never lie to you, and I will love you every day for the rest of my life. I promise. You are my best friend, my secret keeper, my shoulder, and the keeper of the key to my heart. I can’t wait to meet you at the altar to make a promise that will make me the happiest girl in the world.

I love you Mr. Tyler Knott

Love,

Melissa
I decided to take parts from our stories to decorate our house, this is what I came up with!

Gather some supplies! My sisters-in-law gave me my birthday present two weekends ago (for my June birthday... ha ha they make me laugh : ) Love them!) and it included a bunch of scrapbooking supplies. I had already scrapbooked for the wedding AND put together a photo album so I thought I would do something else creative with these wonderful supplies. I do want to mention that I have a very simple style so you may want to add additional embellishments.

Type out the letter (unless you have beautiful handwriting... which I do not. At all.)

Arrange the letters in a pleasing manner and add your scrapbooking embellishments. These will go in our master bedroom. I am still trying to figure out what to do with our vows....
See, SIMPLE!

I also wanted to show you my new favorite accessory. which I bought at my recent Lia Sophia party and I LOVE it.
This is a close-up of the charms. Filigree ball, M for Melissa, T for Tyler, and a diamond tear drop. Simple.
I hope you have an outstanding week!

19 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!!!

Melissa

Friday, December 2, 2011

Food Friday: Turkey Casserole

A week after thanksgiving I am sure some of you have some leftover turkey that you just don't know what to do with it. Well I am here to help!

Just a couple of weeks ago, my church had a Bazaar where they sold baked goods, crafts (that were really neat), and hot food ready-to-eat. It was so funny, I went to help set up but had to leave right at noon for a meeting for work and the food wouldn't be ready until 12:30. I insisted that it was fine and I could eat at home after my meeting but they insisted right back. They said "if you help, you eat". So they loaded up a plate of goodies including two casseroles, a bun, and some other things of which I remember very little.

Anyway, the casseroles were amazing. Definitely the most memorable of the meal. When I informed them of how delicious I found their dishes, they said thank you thank you thank you. A couple of days later I got these recipes in the mail with a note of thanks for helping at the Bazaar (we are new members so we are still getting to know people). I found this to be such a sweet gesture! Well I am going to share it with you at this more than appropriate time. Don't throw away that leftover turkey! : )

Here is what you need:

4 cups of Stove Top dressing/stuffing
1 cup melted butter
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 large can of evaporated milk
2 tbsp grated onion (we put in a whole chopped onion (we loooove onion))
4 cups turkey
1 can of sliced green beans (I recommend using at least two)
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I just toss in the whole bag... about 2 cups)

Grease a 9x13 pan and preheat the oven to 350*

Mix stuffing/dressing and butter and put half in the bottom of the greased pan. Be sure to pat it down.


Mix the rest of the ingredients together (like to keep this simple).....



 ...and pour it over the bottom layer of stuffing/dressing.



Cover with the remaining stuffing/dressing and bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly and stuffing/dressing starts to brown.


This is what it should look like:

Perfectly browned : )
Tyler LOVED it.




















Now, While I was cooking, Tyler was unlighting our pre-lit tree that my dad bought for us from Goodwill for $6.75. Unfortunately only about half of the lights worked but we wanted two trees for our two living rooms, so it was wonderful that we got a deal on our second one. Anyway, between the green beans and the cheddar cheese, I heard Tyler say "come quick and bring the camera!". I will see if you can see why before I tell you:

If you look really closely just below the middle of the tree... Alice decided this was a good hiding place. I had to put the kibosh on that right away because the last thing I need is to find ornaments all over the floor because she needed to play.

See that little stinker... not OK.
Anyway, we got bored taking off lights so we ran to get a Christmas tree. A REAL one!! We went to Stacy's nursery in town here and they had some BEAUTIFUL trees. We found "the one" right in the middle of them all. It is a beautiful scotch pine and I love love love it. Of course we had to decorate it right away so here is what you get (we still need a star, but otherwise it's done).

Handsome Husband trying to properly spread out the ornaments.

New tree skirt...

Doesn't this just make you want to sing a Christmas song? I was thinking Silent Night...
The only thing that would make this better would be if there was snow when we picked up the tree and while we decorated it... OH WAIT!

Happy Friday! Have a fun weekend!

Melissa

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving and DIY Wreath #2

First off, CONGRATULATIONS Natasha! Natasha is a friend from high school who got engaged this weekend! How exciting!!!!!! And her ring is just stunning.

As promised, I have a treat for you. I know it is a bit late for this Thanksgiving, but it is always a win for next year. This tradition has been in my family as long as I can remember, Turkeys. I know, everyone has turkey on Thanksgiving... but not everyone has these turkeys. Here is what you'll need:
  • Frosting (we always use vanilla, but I imagine chocolate would work too)
  • Ginger snap cookies (store bought is fine, then they're all the same size)
  • Candy corn
  • Red Hots
  • Chocolate covered cherries or something of the like. Typically you want to keep the shape pretty consistent. I know Cub Foods sells these strange candies that have vanilla, orange, cherry... filling, we've used those before too.

I don't have any pictures of the process, but it is pretty self explanatory from the final product. So here it is, folks. Turkey.

You can tell which ones my 8 year old cousin made. Essentially you are using the frosting as glue. We typically start with a dab of frosting on the chocolate and place that on the cookie just about in the middle. Next, put the two pieces of candy corn on the other cookie (again, just about in the middle). Put a dab on the back of the candy corn cookie and set the chocolate piece on the candy corn gently making sure the cookie is sitting on that last dab of frosting. Finally, place the red hot (the head) on the top middle of the piece of chocolate... VOILA!
Simple treat that doesn't usually make it past the prayer.

Now, on to decorating. It is basically a law in my family that Christmas decorating doesn't happen until after Thanksgiving. I took full advantage of that yesterday and did a bit of shopping and decorating. Unfortunately the tree pictures will have to be sometime tomorrow or Wednesday as getting a tree yesterday didn't exactly pan out. Oh well! Here is what we have (keep in mind this is our first house so more decorations will follow in years to come... this is our start):


I know it doesn't look like much, but my home smells like cinnamon and pine and even the little touches get me excited for Christmas. I have one piece I omitted to show because I will be posting about it soon. More of a sentimental piece. You'll see.

Last night after decorating, I made a wreath then Tyler's friend Scott came over to watch The Walking Dead (which just had their mid-season finale which I am completely satisfied with... it was a fantastic finale if I've ever seen one...) and play marbles. The board is kind of cool and I am begging my husband to make one. It is a lot like the game Sorry!.

The wreath was a bit simpler than the last one. Here is what I did:

You'll need:

  • Wreath frame (I used a discounted decoration-less wreath)
  • Small and large embellishments (I used red flowers and pine cones)
  • Hot glue
  • Spray glitter
  • Patience (for some of the pieces, you have to hold the darn thing while the glue dries... be patient, glue dries fast.
1. Gather your supplies


2. Glue on your large embellishments. I made the mistake of starting with the small ones and some got hidden. Not a huge deal, but this is your project, do it how you wish!
When you purchase these small pieces, make sure to separate them if necessary... otherwise they just look like little globs.
3. Glue on flowers (again, I recommend doing this first)

4. Glue on Pine cones. This is the part that requires patience. Hold the cone so it doesn't fall off and make a mess.
5. Spray with glitter. This was not fun but adds so much to the final outcome. It gets messy so I recommend doing it outside. Here is the final product!
6. For wrapping, I recommend using wreath storage. That way no damage occurs. Here is how that looks:

Merry Christmas someone!!! I understand you may be busy and DIY is not as easy as getting one... I can make you one! If you like this wreath, the one I made here, or you want one made special, just shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss style, colors, etc... my e-mail is tmknott611@gmail.com.

Have a WONDERFUL week!!

27 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS!

Melissa

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Food Friday (Sunday): Chex Mix

Ok, I know I already posted today, but I just realized I missed Food Friday too!! (MY GOSH!) So today I thought I would do Food Sunday to make up for it. The biggest hit (for my family) for appetizers was the Chex Mix so I thought I would share it with you. I found it here and it is AMAZING! Follow the recipe exactly and maybe double it because it'll go fast!

You will need:

3 cups Corn Chex® cereal
3 cups Rice Chex® cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex® cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Finally, get one BIG roasting pan. It'll make your life MUCH easier than mine : ).
  • Gather your supplies
  • In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
  • Oven Directions Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.
After baking, make sure to spread out to dry.
 Happy cooking!!!

Melissa

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Birthday Husband!

For those of you who are unaware, I have a husband. A husband who I am completely, totally, and unconditionally in love with. Today we celebrate his birthday!

See this picture? It is the first picture I ever took of Tyler and it was with my old school flip phone camera. My excuse was that I needed it for caller ID when in reality I took it so I could show off this cute boy who I was talking to with all of my friends.
This is the 5th birthday I have had the honor of celebrating with Tyler and I thought this would be the perfect time to mention some of the details of what makes this man amazing. There are far too many things to talk about (which begs the question, does blogspot have a character limit in posts??).

One of the first pictures I have with Tyler. This was at my high school graduation almost 4 years before we got married. Where did the time go...
He is funny. You will laugh not only at his jokes, but at how hard he laughs at them! He has a smile that is contagious and immediately inspires you to laugh back. So even if the joke he is telling is rude or offensive, you just can't help but to laugh! Most of the time I am the butt of his joke and even though it irks me at the time, his smile makes it all OK.

2010 fishing trip on Lake Michigan. This is an annual thing that we get to do. So fortunate to have family that invites us to come around.
Tyler is passionate. Whether it is athletics, hunting, family, or anything really, he is passionate and pours his heart and soul into it. It's inspiring really.

My hunting husband... I love him.

Tyler is athletic. We (as you know) play volleyball together and granted his height is a key factor in his amazing-ness, he gets to everything. He plays baseball with the Raymond Rockets, basketball, softball, and volleyball for both co-ed and men's league. This man is always on the go.

I never knew how much somebody could love a sport. He is an amazing baseball player!!


He is a family man. He will do anything for his mom. He goes out of his way to make sure that she is happy and content. She is always doing so much for her kids so he likes to give back to her to show his appreciation. He loves his family and he is willing to spend time and do anything for my family too.

2009 on Lake Michigan. Isn't he handsome????


He is perfectly happy just staying in on a Saturday night to play cards or sit in and watch a movie.

Camping in 2010 just the two of us. He is not the type of guy that has to be around all of his friends all the time to have fun. We are happy just the two of us.
Tyler has so many amazing features but my favorite is that he loves me with every part of him. He is a devoted and dedicated husband who does everything in his power to make me happy and spend time with me. He (as I mentioned) is a family man, and his transition to our own, new family in these past 5 months has been seamless. Like we were destined to start our own family together. I am grateful I found him. I am fascinated by him. I am in awe of him. And I am in love with him.



I love him. Irrevocably, unconditionally, and invariably. Happy birthday handsome husband.

Yay for 27!!!

(One lucky lady) Melissa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food Friday: Scotcharoos

Food Friday: On Fridays I will share recipes that I have recently discovered, or recipes that I have been using for years. Fridays mean weekend and weekend means extra time for cooking! So give these recipes a try and let me know how you like it!! TGIF!

Scotcharoos are a loved treat in this family. My grandmother-in-law LuAnn makes them for just about every occasion and they fly out of the pan. Now I didn't get the recipe from her (I got it from AllRecipes.com) but with the craving I have been having for these delicious treats, I couldn't pass up making them for my party last night. (Gotta have an excuse, right?) Ok. Maybe not, but Y-U-M!

Here is what you need:
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
  • 6 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
Step 1: Gather your supplies:

Step 2: In a large pot, mix together corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring until peanut butter melts. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in crisp rice cereal. 

Ok, so I didn't get any pictures of this step because WOW! The mixture boils really REALLY fast and I was making Chex Mix at the same time. Yikes!

Step 3: Transfer mixture into a well buttered 9x13 inch pan. With your hands well buttered, pat it down into pan. I don't believe you have to butter your hands. The oils in the peanut butter make it so the mixture doesn't stick. It's easier this way : )

Yummmm...
Step 4: In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips until smooth. Spread over top of bars and let bars cool. 
Step 5: Cut into squares and serve! 


I will tell you about the party later, time to celebrate Friday with work. Then we are heading to the cities for the weekend for my mom's purse party and for our friend to take some pictures of us for our Christmas card!! So excited.


HAPPY WEEKEND!

(One VERY happy wife) Melissa

Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Friday - Smothered Chicken

This is a recipe that my dad invented WAY back in the day. He is a pretty amazing chef! Here is what you need:

For two people (multiply as needed for the number of people you are serving):

Two large chicken breasts
2 slices of Munster cheese
One package of small button mushrooms
One medium sweet onion
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to *350. Grill chicken breast until cooked through. While meat is cooking, saute mushrooms and onions with butter in a medium sauce pan. Place on top of the cooked chicken and top with Munster cheese.  Place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbly. Serve with potatoes and vegetables. I recommend baked potato topped with cheese, sour cream, and bacon pieces and a side of broccoli. Yum!

I don't have any pictures because I haven't made it in a while, but I will work on getting more.

Have a great weekend!

TGIF!!!

Melissa

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DIY Christmas

I have said it before and I'll say it again (only because I am so SO so excited)... I am having a Do-It-Yourself Christmas this year (for the most part). If there were more hours in a day or more days in a week, I could totally make everyone's gift. Unfortunately we are stuck with 24 and 7. Darn. In any case. You have seen the wreath, heard I am making something for my look-alike (which I can't share until 12/26) and now (drum roll please) a painting. Painting is "easy"!

I decided that it is perfectly appropriate to give someone a Christmas decoration for Christmas (hence the wreath) which is why I thought I would keep right on truckin'. Here is what I did:

First: GRAB YOUR SUPPLIES!!! There is nothing worse than running all over the house looking for your supplies while you are trying to get a project done (if you haven't noticed, I do this for cooking too). I have: my collection of brushes, a canvas, a painting tray, and my paints. Grab water too if you need to re-use brushes!!

ALWAYS paint your background first. I used acrylic paints so when the background is dry you can paint right over it. There is nothing worse than having to trace the picture you just made while trying so hard not to wreck it. Do the background first. : )


Painting with texture can be TOUGH so I recorded myself doing it just so you could see how easy it is. Instead of brushing the paint on, just dab it!




This is the final product. White, red, black, blue, and orange paint made this beautiful picture.

Are YOU making any of your Christmas presents this year? My sister's is my favorite so I sure hope she likes it!!!

Happy Tuesday

Melissa

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Would YOU Park on a Hill?

I have always wondered: what does it take to be a good parent? Not only that, but do I have what it takes? Parenting is hard. It (like most things) has it's ups and downs (I imagine anyway as I have never had children). Let me tell you a story.



When I was born, my parents didn't have a ton of money. By not having a ton, I mean they had little to none. They (as my dad says) had no intention of having children even though my mom wanted them badly. They got stuck with Carl (as some would say 'Woopsie!') so they decided to have another because he would be lonely as an only child. Surprise! You get a two-fer! I could be wrong, but I believe they got married when my mom was 19 and dad was 21 and when they did, they had their wedding at the local Methodist church and the reception in my grandma and grandpa Grupp's back yard with a handful of people and pork-chops on the grill. That isn't exactly what Tyler and I had. In fact, it is JUST the opposite. We had between 300 and 400 people and although yes, we had our wedding at the local Methodist church like my parents, our reception was held at a golf course with a catered meal and a dance that went until early morning. I know, I know. The times have changed. But even if they hadn't, I know our reception would have been just as amazing as it was because our parents wouldn't have had it any other way. They did everything in their power to make it the best memory. Why? Because they are willing to "park on a hill".



This "park on a hill" analogy goes way back to the penniless times of the Grupps. My parents knew we were strapped for cash, but they did everything they could to keep us oblivious to that fact. I remember thinking many times "we're RICH"! One of the memories of these 'rich' times was when my mom and dad were helping Becca and I celebrate our 5th or 6th (somewhere in there) birthdays. We had this AMAZING party with about 10 friends. Want to know what the theme was? "Movie Theater". They put in a movie (VHS of course), popped pop corn (air popped of course), and bought some soda and candy. There was a catch, we had to BUY all of the treats! And no, they weren't so strapped that they actually took money from us children (well in a way they did) but they gave us Monopoly money!! Yes folks, my birthday was amazing because my parents opened up a board game. It was such a treat to be able to handle money at that young age. For the first time in our lives, we were in charge. Happy birthday to us!!



Where the real "parking on a hill" story comes into play (yes I know, I am rambling) is around the same time where they had the choice to get a new car battery or they could take us to the fair that was in town. They had to choose because until next week, they only had money for one. They chose the fair. And when the guy at the gate said "please park over there, sir", my dad replied with "can I park up there on that hill? I have a bad battery and need to let it roll to start". I never knew it back then, I had no idea what they were talking about! But we went to the fair, and we had a BLAST!

Mom with her kids and nieces (from left to right) Cousin Mariah, Becca, Cousin Amanda, me, and Carl. This might not be the fair from the picture (or maybe it is) but look at our family (minus dad who was likely behind the camera). We are so lucky.


This post nearly brings  me to tears. Maybe because it is 7:30 and I have already been up for two hours including one long trip to the grocery store. Or maybe because until my teen years, I was oblivious. Completely oblivious to what my thank-you's meant and what my parents were doing for us kids. Parenting is about understanding that every day creates a memory. All of these seemingly miniscule events really add up! I remember most every birthday. Every vacation. Every hug and kiss goodnight. Why? Because my parent's went out of their way to make every minute memorable. My parent's sacrificed so much so that we would have these memories. I can't thank them enough. Thanks, mom and dad. LOVE YOU!

That being said, would you park on a hill for your kids?

Have a wonderful weekend!

Melissa

Friday, November 4, 2011

Food Friday - Chicken Pot Pie

I love chicken pot pie, so when I saw this recipe on AllRecipes.com, I jumped at the chance to make it. Tyler loved it!!! Leftovers are great too. I am going to warn you though, this recipe makes two pies worth, not one. But you CAN freeze the second one if you don't want to cook it right away.

You will need:

  • 2 cups diced peeled potatoes
  • 1 3/4 cups sliced carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup butte
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 cup frozen peas (Hannah)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  •   2 pastries for a 9 inch double crust pie
The most time consuming part was cooking the chicken. Otherwise it took about 20 minutes to make!

Step 1: Prepare your ingredients and preheat oven to 425*.

Step 2: Put potatoes and carrots in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

Step 3: Saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, thyme and pepper until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened (it only took about 1.5 minutes for me. be sure to remove from heat RIGHT away or it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan). Add the chicken, peas, corn, potatoes and carrots; remove from the heat. 

Step 4: Line 9-in. pie plate with bottom pastry; trim even with edge of plate. Fill pastry shell with chicken mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pies. Cut slits or decorative cutouts in pastry. Place over filling; trim, seal and flute edges. Now I am no chef so I don't have a clue how to flute the edges. This is the best I could do.


Step 5: Bake one potpie at 425 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Cover and freeze remaining potpie for up to 3 months. 

It looked so good that we just dug right in and I forgot to take a picture. This is what it looks like (thank goodness AllRecipes.com has pictures!!!

One thing we maybe would have done differently is added garlic to the chicken when we cooked it. Just to add a bit of extra flavor.

Good luck! Let me know if you try this one!

Melissa
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