Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving, Part 1

When Kade & I returned from hockey last night we were greeted with these signs.

Quinn had games placed strategically throughout the house "for Halloween" and these were the informational posters that he made:0)  Looks like he is preparing quite the party for us!

The cheif pumpkin carver, Tony, decided it was time we got our pumpkins carved.  Unfortunately we just didn't have time for all 3 kids to do theirs last night, we only ended up getting Gracie's done.  The boys will do theirs tonight.  Here are some pictures of her with her pumpkin!

BBQ Beef Cups

It doesn't get much easier than these BBQ Beef Cups.  I got home from Kade's hockey practice last night at 7 o'clock and I had these on the table at 7:30.  I even did some laundry during that time;0)  I have made these many times and I always know that it is one of the few things everyone will eat HAPPILY.  Give them a try!

BBQ Beef Cups

1 pound Ground Beef
1 cup BBQ sauce
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 cans Refridgerated Biscuits (Grands- I always use Reduced-Fat)
8 ounces Shredded Cheddar Cheese 

Preheat the oven according to the biscuit instructions. 

Brown beef in a skillet. Add barbecue sauce to the beef- you want the beef to be well-coated but not soupy. Add the brown sugar and stir until smooth. 

Grease muffin tins. Stretch the biscuits until they are big enough to make a “cup” in the muffin tin. Press into the tins. 

Fill each cup with about a 1/4 cup of the beef mixture. Top with cheese Bake according to the instructions on the biscuit can.  


Featured Recipe!

My friend, Pam, recently started writing for  This week she asked me if it was okay if she featured my Zuppa Toscana recipe on her site.  I, of course, said YES!  I was honored Pam!  Thank you!  

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Amazing Daughter

This past Sunday my baby turned 4.  I can hardly believe it still.  Time is just flying by way too quickly.  My Grace is certainly turning into a girl that warms my heart & makes me so proud.  She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful, confident people that I know.  She amazes me daily.

Before her party, we went outside to snap a few photos of her in her new birthday outfit.

I purchased some face paints that I had intended for Kade to paint the little kids' faces with.  He ended up having a friend at the party that he disappeared with and he never did do it.  Grace wasn't going to miss out though.  I found her in the bathroom with a friend about 15 minutes into her party with the face paints.

I will let this picture speak for itself.  Really- the above pictures were taken not more that 30 minutes before the below picture.  That's my girl;-)  She is such an exuberant little person.

Today Grace was lucky enough to get to wear her costume to preschool.  The boys are very jealous.  At their school, they are just allowed to wear "fall colors".   Anyway, I just love her Supergirl costume.  I love it so much more than the princess girly costume I thought she was going to pick.  And I swear, she picked it totally on her own.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin-Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made the most fabulous pumpkin muffins tonight that I have ever encountered. I also think I have found my most favorite frosting EVER. My 10 year old even said, "these are so good they should win an award, or something." Now that is high praise coming from a 10 year old boy. He also said that he would like them instead of cake for his next birthday. The thing is, they ARE healthier than cake. I told him, "Heck! These aren't so bad! You can take them to school for snack tomorrow too!" With all that pumpkin, they should fill the schools fruit/veggies for snack recommendation...right?

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. She has awesome recipes & is a downright cool person. Check out her blog if you never have!

Moist Pumpkin Spice Muffins (With Cream Cheese Frosting)


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 heaping cup pumpkin puree (I actually just used an entire 15 oz. can)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup golden raisins (optional!)- I left these out
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until all incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined. Pour into greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle generous amounts of cinnamon-sugar over the top of each unbaked muffin.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup softened butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 pound powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy!

Store in fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zuppa Toscana

Well, it is about time I posted on this blog. It has certainly been long enough! I admire the dedication that some of you must have to blog daily. To make up for my badness at blogging, I will offer up one of my best recipes of all time. At least according to my family. I'm not sure how you can go wrong with flavors like this together. Keep in mind, this makes a full, HUGE pot of soup. I don't recommend halfing it though, you will want the leftovers--plus it just gets better as it sits in the fridge and the flavors have a chance to meld.

Zuppa Toscana


1 lb spicy sausage (My
Favs: If you REALLY want to steam things up, go with Hormel Hot & Spicy Breakfast Sausage links, for a slightly milder soup go with Jimmy Dean Hot Breakfast Sausage)
6 medium russet potatoes, thinly slices (scrub & leave skins on)
2 cups onions, diced
1lb. bacon
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
4-6 cups kale leaves, cut in half, then sliced (stem removed)
6 tablespoons chicken base
3 quart water
11/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Brown, Drain, & Dice Sausage.

Place onions and bacon in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until onions are almost clear. Remove bacon and crumble. (At this point I usually drain off most all the bacon grease so I don't have a heart attack at 30). Add garlic to the onions and cook an additional 1-minute. Add chicken base, water, and potatoes, simmer 15 minutes. Add crumbled bacon, sausage, kale and cream. Simmer 4 minutes and serve.

I HIGHLY recommend that you serve this soup with Crusty French Bread, warm from the oven. It is so good to sop up this soup with.