Christmas White Chocolate Crispies

 I like to try and make some type of Christmas treat to hand out during the holidays. Instead of cookies, I wanted to do something different this year. I came across a recipe for these yummy treats, which is a take on a rice crispy treat, but with peanut butter (http://www.cupcakediariesblog.com/2013/12/christmas-white-chocolate-crispies.html).

These are super easy to make! I actually tripled this recipe to make a bunch of treats.
To make these Christmas White Chocolate Crispies, you need the following ingredients:

  • 4 cups of rice crispies cereal
  • 2 bags of white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 3 cups of mini marshmallows 
  • 1 medium bag of plain Christmas M&Ms

  
I started by melting the peanut butter and white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I did it in 30-second increments for a total of 2 minutes.

  
Seperately, in a large bowl, I mixed the rice crispies cereal and marshmallows together.

  
I poured the melted mix onto the cereal, then stirred until combined.

  
I added the M&Ms and continued stirring until incorporated.

  
Finally, I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop out mounds of the mix onto wax paper. I put them into the refrigerator to harden for about 30 minutes, then packaged them up to give away!

  

Thanksgiving Leftovers – Turkey Shepherds Pie

One of my new obsessions is the Tasty Facebook page. If you haven’t seen it yet, do a search! It’s just a bunch of short one or two minute videos of recipes. So, although I did pin this recipe to my food board in Pinterest, it originated from the Tasty  page.

We cooked two turkeys this Thanksgiving, so naturally we had a TON of leftovers. I saw this video for turkey shepherds pie that looked amazing and I knew I had to try it. 

I made a few slight changes from the original recipe due to what I had on hand, and it still came out delicious!

The ingredients needed to make this recipe include: 

  • 2 Tbsp. – Butter
  • 1 Small Onion, diced
  • 1 Rib Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup – Carrots, pre-cooked and chopped
  • 1 Cup – Peas
  • 3 Cups – Turkey
  • 1/2 tsp – Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp – Salt
  • 1/4 tsp – Pepper
  • 1 Cup – Gravy
  • 1/2 Cup – Heavy Cream
  • 4 Cups – Mashed Potatoes

  
I started by preheating the oven to 425 degrees and melting the butter in a large pan.

  
Once the butter was fully melted I added the onions and celery and cooked them for about 5 minutes, or until they were softened.

  
Next I added in my chopped, cooked carrots. If you didn’t have cooked carrots, you could chop up a couple of raw carrots and sauté them with the onions and celery in the previous step.

  
Once the carrots were warmed through, I added my frozen peas.

 
 After the peas were thawed, I added the turkey, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  
Then I added the gravy to the mix.

  
Next, I poured the heavy cream into the pan and stirred everything together.

  
Once all the ingredients were combined, I poured the mixture into an oven-safe pan.

  
Finally, I spread the mashed potatoes over the top.

  
I baked the shepherds pie in the oven for 15 minutes, then took it out and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

It was super yummy! I plan to make this a post-Thanksgiving tradition 🍗  

Make Your Own Floor Wipes

I have one of those Swiffer steamer mops. I love it because it’s easy to use and does a good job cleaning the floor using steam. The one thing I don’t like is how expensive the Swiffer wipes are. It’s about $10 for a package of 20, so that’s 0.50 per wipe.

I found a website on Pinterest that provided instructions on making your own floor wipes using stuff you may already have around your house, or items you can find at the dollar store (http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Homemade-Reusable-Floor-Wipes-28139096). It will literally cost you pennies per wipe! The website said the wipes were reusable, but I found them to be too thin to reuse.

The materials needed to make your own floor wipes include:

  • Sealable rectangular container
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
  • Cotton cloths
  • Scissors

  
I started by mixing the water, vinegar, alcohol, lemon juice, and dish soap together in the container.

 

Then I cut my cotton cloths to fit into the container. I was able to cut mine in half and it gave me 12 cloths.

  
 Next, I placed the cut cloths into the liquid and made sure they were all fully soaked.

 
Finally, I attached a moistened cloth to my mop. It worked great! It’s a little thinner then the Swiffer brand cloths, so I did need about double the cloths to finish my mopping job. But it is still way cheaper! If the cloths start to dry out, just add a little more water to wet them.

  

Leaf Suncatcher

Earlier this month, my son’s teacher read his class a story about going on a leaf hunt. He was so excited about the book that he kept asking me to take him on a leaf hunt. So one beautiful fall day, we set out on a leaf hunt around our yard.

We collected so many beautiful leaves, that I wanted to find a fun project to make using our leaves. I came across this adorable leaf suncatcher on Pinterest (http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2013/10/preschool-project-embroidery-hoop-leaf-suncatchers.html)

The materials needed to make this project include:

  • Leaves
  • Contact paper
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Twine

  
We started out by going on our leaf hunt 🙂 The kids love being outside.  

Next, I cut out two pieces of contact paper, slightly larger than the embroidery hoop.  

Then I peeled one of the sheets of contact paper, laid it down sticky side up and placed one of the embroidery rings on top. I had my son choose a few of the leaves and press them into the sticky paper.  

Next I peeled the other sheet of contact paper that I had cut out and placed it over the ring and leaves, sticky side down. I put the other piece of the embroidery ring over the contact paper and secured it shut. 

I trimmed off the excess contact paper from around the ring. 
Then I attached a piece of twine to the metal closure on the ring.

  
Finally I tied a ribbon to the top of the ring, to dress it up just a little. 
I hung the leaf suncatcher in the window and it looks beautiful! Such a pretty way to display our colorful fall leaves 🙂 

Slow Cooked Apple Sauce

There’s nothing like that intoxicating smell of apples and cinnamon that fill the house when you make your own apple sauce. It’s so easy to make and my kids can’t get enough!

I like to use my slow cooker to make apple sauce so that I can just throw all the ingredients in and have the day free to do other things, but you could definitely make this on the stove in a pot over low heat. I found a great recipe on Pinterest (http://leelalicious.com/slow-cooked-apple-sauce/). The thing I like best about this recipe is that it uses maple syrup, a natural sweetener. Of course the apples themselves get sweet and delicious as they cook down, but a little extra sweetener makes it taste even better 🙂

I doubled the recipe I found because it only used six apples and I had soooo many apples from apple picking.

The ingredients needed to make my recipe include:

  • 12 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  
I started by peeling, coring, and slicing the apples. This part is a little time consuming.

  
Then I mixed all the ingredients together in my slow cooker.

  
I put the lid on, turned the slow cooker on high and left it for about 4 hours (maybe even a little less). It came out delicious! I love putting mine on top of pancakes 🙂

  

Pumpkin Bars with Maple Pecan Glaze

We have officially entered one of my favorite times of year, pumpkin season! I am one of those people who loves anything and everything pumpkin. I came across this delicious recipe for pumpkin bars that looked amazing (http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/recipes/grain-free-pumpkin-bars-with-maple-pecan-glaze).

It turns out this recipe is grain-free and dairy-free, which would normally scare me away (I like all food groups too much to eliminate any of them from my diet), but I can assure you that you won’t even notice those items are missing. I also thought it sounded complicated, but it was rediculously easy! Here’s a tip though, DO NOT skip the maple pecan glaze. The glaze (mine turned out more like a cream consistency) absolutely makes these bars to die for. The pumpkin bars by themselves are just ok, so definitely make that delicious glaze 🙂

The ingredients needed to make this recipe include:

For the bars:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (I used cashew butter because I had some left over from the Asian salad that I made)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

  
I started by heating the oven to 350 degrees and greasing an 8×8 baking dish with a little coconut oil. Then I mixed all of the ingredients for the bars together in a mixing bowl.

  
I poured the smooth batter into my baking dish and baked it in the oven for 30 minutes.

  
Once the pumpkin bars were cool I cut them into nine squares.

  
Next, I put all of the ingredients for the maple pecan glaze into a blender and blended on the sauce setting until smooth, maybe about a minute or so. Like I said before, mine came out more like a cream consistency and less like a glaze. I think adding a little more water would have thinned it out a bit, but I actually really like the cream.

  
Finally, I spooned the glaze over the bars and sprinkled some chopped pecans on top. It was so good!

  

Butterfly Wreath for Baby

In just a few short weeks we will be welcoming baby Violet to our family! I wanted to make something that my sister could add to her beautifully decorated nursery. I found this adorable butterfly wreath that goes perfectly with her theme (http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/home-and-family/how-to/celebrating-baby-ken-wingards-butterfly-wreath).

One of my favorite things about this wreath is that the butterflies have a 3-D effect that makes them appear to be fluttering around the wreath. It’s such a whimsical look that is perfect for a little girl’s room.

Materials needed to make this project include:

  •  Scrapbook paper
  • Butterfly paper punch 
  • Wire ring
  • Floral wire
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue
  • Ribbon

  
I started by using the paper punch to cut out 20 butterfly shapes from the paper.

  
Then, I cut 10 pieces of floral wire about 5 inches long.

  
Next, I used the glue gun to glue a butterfly at each end of the wire.

  
Once the glue was dry, I bent each of the wires in half.

  
Then, I taped each wire to the ring, one after another.

  
Next, I wrapped the ribbon all the way around the ring, weaving around the butterflies. The glitter ribbon was adorable, but super messy.

  
Finally, I tied a bow to the ring on the opposite side from the butterflies.

  
This was an easy project and super cute! I hope baby Violet likes it 🙂