Friday, December 23, 2011

Home made chicken tenders.

You have been listening to me talk about our kids Christmas get together. I made these chicken tenders for our get together. Since it was for Christmas I attempted to make them in the shape of Reindeer heads. They looked pretty good considering I made them.
There are so many recipes floating around out there for chicken tenders. When I decided to make this for the kids I wasn't sure what to follow. This is what I did (I didn't follow a recipe) and it turned out great and the kids loved it. I didn't get a photo! I could kick myself! But the kids loved it and my husband (who isn't really a food person) gobbled up all the rest! This recipe fed 5 children and my husband.
--6 chicken breasts- I use Foster Farms
--Bread Crumbs with Italian seasoning
-- olive oil - enough to coat the bottom of the pan
-- 2 eggs
First crack open your two eggs and beat them in a bowl. Place your bread crumbs in another bowl.
I took the chicken breasts and rolled them out and sort of beat them with a rolling pin. Then I cut them out with my reindeer shaped metal cookie cutter. Dip them in the egg mixture, then cover with bread crumbs.
Place oil in the pan and heat over medium high. Place the chicken nuggets in the oil in batches.
I let ours cool for a little so the kids didn't burn their little mouths.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slow Cooker Hot Coco

This is another crockpot recipe from Stephanie O'Dea. It is so easy to make and absolutely delicious. For ours I put together a little hot coco bar for the kids christmas get together that we had last weekend. The kids loved it and we loved it. It was really great because I was able to put it together and walk away from it which was fabulous because I had a million other things to do before all the kids got there.
-3 cups of nonfat dried milk
-1 cup powdered sugar
-3/4 cup cocoa powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup chocolate syrup
-7 cups of water
Combine the dry ingredients in the crockpot and stir with a spoon then add the chocolate sauce. Add the water, a cup at a time (if you do this to quickly you will have problems getting the dry chuncks to decinigrate). Cook on high for 2-3 hours or till hot. There are other variations you can do with this recipe that you can find on Stephanies website. I used our 6 quart crockpot but next time I will use a 4 as this only filled it halfway.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Slow Cooker Hot Toddy

I was under the weather over the weekend and my husband attempted (I say attempted because it obiously didn't work) to keep me confined to the couch. While on the couch I watched alot of TV and my mind started to wander. I thought to myself, "I wonder if I could make a Hot Toddy in the slow cooker?" The anwser is .... YOU CAN! This style is apple cider based not tea based. My husband said it tasted like a hot carmel apple. I'm not sure about that but it did make me feel better!

I made this in our 4qt slow cooker.
--1/2 gallon or 64oz of Apple juice
--1 small orange
--1 cups dark rum (2 if you like it strong)
-- 1/8 cup orange juice
--1/8 cup lemon juice
--1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Place all ingredients in the crock pot. Cut the orange into slice and float on top. You can add some cloves for show if you like. Turn the crock pot on low for 3 hours or on high for an hour. Serve steaming hot in large coffee mugs or special glasses. I topped ours off with one cinimon stick per drink. The rum can be left out however you may want to add rum flavoring.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home Made Snow Globes

Who doesn't love snow globes at Christmas time? For our kids Christmas get together we made these adorable snow globes. Ours took some preparation so the kids could just have fun putting them together. I didn't want them to have to wait to see their creation. These are incredible easy and totally worth the work so don't be alarmed with the prep.


--empty jars- we used Trader Joe's PB jars. We found ours off of Freecycle. I didn't use mason because I didn't want upside down writing!
--silicone sealant - you can find this at any hardware store (Look for one that is aquarium safe or for bath or showers).
--glycerin - this can be found at a specialty store like Joann's (used to correct dried frosting coloring). If you can't find glycerin I have been told you can use mineral oil or baby oil in place of the distilled water below.
--distilled water - distilled is so mold doesn't grow in your creation. If you can't locate distilled you can boil tap water for 20 Min's and then let it cool to room temperature.

--glitter or crushed up egg shells- this is for your snow effect.

Make sure you have cleaned your jars really well. Take you lids and glue your decoration with the silicone sealant to the inside of the lid. I got lucky and found 100% silicone sealant in white! I used this on the lid of our jars for a snow effect. Make sure you let this set for 24 hours to really stick.
Note- we used faux pine branches, the holly berries were made of Styrofoam and disintegrated once they were in the water turning our water red! So you may want to test your item in water before you glue it down.
After your decorations have set, take your glass jars and fill them with the distilled water. Add the glycerin. 1/4 tsp for a small jar, 1/2 tsp for a medium jar and 1tsp for a large jar. Add your glitter or crushed egg shells to your liking. I crushed ours ahead of time so the kids didn't have to wait for me.
Place a small beading of silicone sealant around the grooves of your lid and close the jar tightly. Let it sit for 12 hours before you shake it up (I didn't follow this direction and I let the kids see one swirl of their jar before placing it upside down overnight.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cranberry Pork Chops- Crockpot cooking

I recently came across a blog written by Stephanie O'Dea. She has an obsession with her crock pot. An obsession that I completely share. All summer long I wanted to use our crock pot but it was just to darn hot out. Now that it is cooler I am using it at least ever other day. So I've decided to start sharing some of the tasty recipes with you (I have come across some really bad ones-I won't share them).

This crockpot recipe my family really liked. Next time we are going to try it with a shot of whiskey!


6 bone-in pork loin chops

1 can (14 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce

1/2 cup cranberry or apple juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

I covered the pork chops with the salt and pepper and then placed them in the bottom of the crock pot. I literally dumped the rest of the items on top and let it cook for 6-8 hours. I made rice pilaf and beans so green from Trader Joe's for the sides.

This was tasty and everyone thought it was really good. Even our 1 year old!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Home made bath goodies

It's been weeks in the making! My friend Erin (whom definitely needs her own blog) and I have been making home made soap for Christmas gifts. We decided to go with a Rosemarry based sent and let me just say, my house smells absolutely amazing!

We started ourselves out slow by making a home made salt scrub. Shown in mason jar above. This turned out really well. All you need to pull this off is Epson salt, sea salt, a carrier oil (but we noticed we could have easily used less oil) and your scent. You can get the recipe here.

We then decided to try out making bath fizzes. This seems like it would be difficult. I had to order citric acid online (anything I can't walk into a store and buy I consider to be a pain). But it went together quick and the outcome as you can see is very nice looking. We made snowflakes and tree shaped fizzes. Recipe here!

The last item we made was the soap. Beware making this is not for the faint of heart. It requires Lye. Lye in days gone by was used for cleaning drains, and making soap and all sorts of other things. I warn you it is abrasive. You need vinegar around while making this, in case the Lye gets on your skin. It will "burn" you this feels like annoying itching.
Other items needed are coconut oil, vegetable oil, and in our case olive oil. We used the Rosemarry oil for scent and chopped up Rosemarry for show. You can use coloring we decided on no coloring to achieve a more rustic look. I will put the whole recipe up later.

The process requires you to get the lye and the oils between 75-78 degrees before you combine them. If I do this again I will be buying two digital thermometers (one for each pot) because we went back and fourth between the two pots with the thermometer and this slowed down our process and caused complications.

Once the oils and lye were combined and went through their sopification process it rested in a plastic shoebox that had been greased with Crisco.

It sat in the shoebox for almost a week. Then we removed it and let it dry out (shown above) I used a cake leveler to cut the block.

The soap works and smells great. I'm really glad we tried it. Now I have fabulous home made gifts to give my friends and family. I will post photos of eveyting in their baskets once that is done!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Change In The Weather

The fall to winter change always reminds me of Mary Poppins. Especially with all the wind here. Because I'm a wimpy California girl I spend most of my time indoors during the colder months. So get ready for some crock pot cooking!