Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Both girls have the same lunch today with the addition of a yogurt tube for Addie.  For the wrap, I spread a wedge of Laughing Cow Light Swiss on a tortilla, added some canned chunk chicken breast, avocado, a squeeze of lime, and a dash of freshly ground salt and pepper.  To finish off, they have peaches and Thin Mints.

I haven't been doing a lot of posting lately, but here are some things that have been going on since last Wednesday.

I got a haircut and color.  I had several, several inches cut off.  Thank you Rachel at The Parlor!

Addie's troop had a booth sale at Walmart and it was freezing!  I went inside and bought some hand warmers to share.  I put mine in my shoes because I couldn't feel my toes.  They sold 410 boxes.

Caroline had her first soccer practice of the season.  Also very cold.

This is just a moment I captured Sunday morning that I loved.  Dad and daughter enjoying coffee/tea and reading at the table.

And finally, Girl Scout Thinking Day.  A day to learn about different countries and cultures.  There were booths setup for different countries and the girls went around to learn, buy crafts, and try foods.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Addie is eating at school today.  I was frantically filling out birthday invitations for her to take to school instead of fixing her lunch.  We are so swamped with activities we had a hard time coming up with a date for the poor child's birthday party.  I'm thinking it's time to start saying no to some stuff.  I got over trying to be Super Mom years ago, but sometimes it will try to creep back up on you.  I get pretty weary of being in a go-go-go mode all the time.  And it's not good for any of us.  Everybody needs chill time!  Caroline's lunch has ham and cream cheese spirals, red grapes, and Thin Mints!  The Girl Scout cookies are in!  Monday, we helped pick up both troop's cookies from the warehouse.  Here is a comical picture of the girls surrounded in the van.  They had boxes as foot rests, and my seat belt alert kept dinging because it thought a person was in my passenger seat.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

This has been a festive week.  First Fat Tuesday, now Valentine's Day.  It was such a nice day.  I went to Caroline's class party, had lunch with Mike at Kobe, and made a nice dinner for the family at home including Quiche and Cake both in the shape of a heart.  This was my first time to make Red Velvet Cake from scratch.  My Mom is the one who usually makes it.  It turned out delicious.  The recipe is at the bottom!

I found the cute idea for Caroline's Valentine's here.  I don't have a Cricut, so I bought the mustaches here.

Minute to Win It M&M game

Pass the tissue paper heart game

Opening Valentines

Festive table

Cake and Quiche

Waldorf Astoria Red Cake (adapted from my OLD church cookbook!)

1/2 c butter flavored Crisco
1 1/2 c sugar
1 (2 oz) bottle red food coloring (1/4 c)
2 Tbsp cocoa (heaping)
1 c buttermilk
2 1/4 c cake flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp soda
1 Tbsp vinegar
2 eggs

3 Tbsp flour
1 c milk
1 c sugar, granulated (not powdered, this threw me off and I had to call mom to confirm, but it works!)
1 tsp vanilla
1 c butter

Cream Crisco, sugar, and eggs.  Make a paste of food coloring and cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture.  Add buttermilk alternately with sifted flour and salt.  Add vanilla.  Add soda to vinegar (but hold over bowl as it foams).  Then add to creamed mixture, blending instead of beating.  Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees in 2 8 inch greased and floured cake pans.  Cool on rack.  Split each layer in two and frost.

For Frosting, cook flour and milk until very thick, stirring constantly.  Cool.  Cream sugar and butter plus vanilla until very fluffy.  Add to first mixture, which has cooled.  Mix until well blended.  Should be consistency of whipped cream.

This cake is best made a day or two before serving.  It gets better upon sitting!  Also, I like to cool my cakes in the pan for 10 minutes then remove them to parchment paper and put straight in the freezer until I'm ready to frost.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Valentine's Day was the theme of today's lunchboxes.  Other than the sandwich filling, the girls had the same lunch. Addie had a Nutella filled sandwich with a heart cut out of the top piece and Valentine sprinkles.  Caroline had a strawberry cream cheese filled sandwich.  Side items are heart strawberries, cheese pretzels, and a Babybel with heart cutout.  Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bread Machine King Cake and Red Beans and Rice

We don't normally do anything special for Fat Tuesday, but I had a wild hair today and decided to change that.  I made my first ever King Cake.  I'd been thinking about doing it for a couple of days, then today I started to get a little stressed about everything on my plate.  I called Rick's Bakery to see if they had any and they didn't so I did it myself.  It really was a breeze.  I found a recipe on and modified it a little and it turned out nicely.  To complete the theme, we had Red Beans & Rice for dinner.

Caroline was excited to get the piece of cake with the Baby.

Bread Machine King Cake (adapted from


1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbls softened butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
3 1/2 tbls sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbls melted butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbls melted butter
1/8 tsp vanilla
2 tbls milk, or as needed
purple, green, and yellow sugar sprinkles

Place the warm water, salt, butter, egg, sour cream, 3 1/2 tbls of sugar, flour, and yeast into the bread machine in that order.  Select the dough cycle, and start.  Check the dough after a few minutes and add more water or flour if dough is too dry or wet.  I had to add a tad more water.

Mix the filling sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a bowl and set aside.  Grease a baking sheet or line with silpat.

When the dough cycle is finished (mine was 1 1/2 hour), remove the dough and roll out to a 10 x 28 inch rectangle on a floured surface.  Spread the cinnamon mixture over the dough.  Pick up one of the long edges and roll into a log.  Place the rolled dough onto the baking sheet, seam side down, and form into a ring.  Moisten the ends of the dough with a little water; pinch the two ends together to seal.  Cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.  Mine took about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bake the cake until the top is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.

Mix the powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tbls butter, vanilla, and just enough milk to make a smooth glaze.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.  Spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides.  Immediately sprinkle with alternating sections of purple, green, and yellow sugars.  Allow to cool before serving.

Red Beans and Rice (adapted from Family Fun Magazine February 2012)


1 tbls Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 16 oz can chicken broth
Bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp Creole seasoning, or more if you like it spicy
3 15 1/2 oz cans red beans, rinsed and drained
1 pound turkey smoked sausage, but into bite sized pieces
cooked white rice

In a large pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until they are soft and tender, about 8 minutes.

Add the broth, bay leaf, thyme, creole seasoning, and beans and bring to boil.  Partially mash the beans, leaving most whole.  Stir in the sausage, cover and reduce to medium-low.

Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove the bay leaf and serve over hot rice.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's in the Box Wednesday?

Chobani!  That's what's in the box!  We are a Chobani loving household, so the nice folks at Chobani sent this box full of Greek yogurt goodness for us to try.

The regular Chobani tubs are always part of our weekly shopping list, but I was especially happy when they came out with the Champions tubes.  They are so easy to throw in the lunchbox as seen below in a lunch from last week.  I freeze them and then by lunchtime, they are at the perfect temperature and consistency.  (They're fun to eat frozen at home too.)

Today's lunches also have Chobani products, but you can't see them at first glance.  I'll explain after the photos.

Both girls have a Chobani muffin, Chobani smoothie, grapes, and Babybel cheese.  I included some smokey almonds in Addie's since she is older and hungrier. :)  I made the smoothies last night using 6 oz of Non-fat Raspberry Chobani Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of a frozen berry mix (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries), 1/2 a banana, and just a little bit of milk.  This was enough for two ice pop molds.  I froze them overnight and at lunchtime they should be at a nice consistency for drinking.  Before I closed up the lunchboxes, I used rubber bands and baggies around the molds to prevent leakage.  After I received my box of goodies I browsed around the Chobani website and found they have TONS of great looking recipes using their products.  I found this muffin recipe and modified a little using 1/2 whole wheat flour.  I think you could use any yogurt flavor you like also.  I used some of the Chobani Bites I received in the box.  As you can see, Greek yogurt is very versatile.  I hope to try some of the other recipes on the site soon!