Category Archives: Cooking

Creative Collections: Super Bowl Food

Not surprising, we’re getting ready for a Super Bowl Party. It’s not going to be anything fancy–some friends from church will be over. We only just decided that we’d be the ones hosting, so I can’t say that I’ve done much planning. Except Velveeta/Rotel dip. I know, super fancy. But it’s the only time of year that I splurge on it!

Zesty Ranch Pretzels

The Faithful Foodie

The Faithful Foodie

Nacho Loaded Potato Skins

What's Gaby Cooking

What’s Gaby Cooking

Kettle Chips

Lauren's Latest

Lauren’s Latest

Fried Bocconcini with Spicy Tomato Sauce

The Curvy Carrot

The Curvy Carrot

Jalapeño Popper Dip

Simply Gourmet

Simply Gourmet

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Sticks

Inspired Taste

Inspired Taste

Cinnamon Nacho Crunch



Salted Carmel Pretzel Crust Brownies

Living Well Spending Less

Living Well Spending Less


So the big question is… Can I dress Emily in her Colts cheerleader outfit to cheer for the Broncos? You know, since Peyton Manning used to play for them?


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Creative Collections: Mother’s Day Brunch

Over the weekend, Logan asked what I wanted for dinner on Mother’s Day. After much thinking, I realized that I preferred a Mother’s Day brunch. Partly because Emily will be in bed after we go to evening church (and shouldn’t the reason for Mother’s Day join us?) and partly because I love breakfast foods.

So here are my favorite recipes for your Mother’s Day brunch!

What we’re having…

Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes by Tasty Kitchen Blog
Lemon cornmeal pancakes(with lemon curd, fresh berries, and bacon!)

Other ideas for you…

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake by Just Baked By Me

Strawberry Coffee Cake by This Southern Mom Cooks

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Breakfast Bars by The Kitchn

Baked Eggs by Saveur

Spring Quiche by Real Women of Philadelphia

Chorizo, Potato, and Egg Tacos by Martha Stewart

Huevos Rancheros in Tortilla Cups by The Curvy Carrot

So enjoy your day, mommas. You deserve it!


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Creative Collections: Celebrating Easter

I have lots of good memories of Easter growing up. Making the bunny cake and decorating eggs the night before. Easter egg hunts where my dad had written terrible rhymes and I was always the last person to find my basket. The songs at church. Taking Easter pictures in our winter coats with snow on the ground. Mom’s lemon cloud pie.

As Emily gets older, we’ll still do things like a basket, decorating eggs, and the bunny cake. But since this holiday encompasses the whole truth of what we believe in, I’ve been looking for some more Scripture based activities/projects to share with her.

Christian Easter Eggs by The Domesticated Princess

Easter Songs by Happy Home Fairy

Resurrection Set by Catholic Icing
religious Easter craft for kids

Jesus’ Empty Tomb by Totally Tots
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Easter Story Cookies by Beneath My Heart


Here’s something close to the Lemon Cloud Pie my mom used to make by Moms Who Think.

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Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Seriously guys, I spent the last week on the couch resting. And wondering what project I should work on. And thinking, “Ehh, there’s nothing that has to get done, I’ll take a quick nap before I go to bed.” I didn’t realize how much time and energy party planning had taken up until it was over!


I decided on The Very Hungry Caterpillar awhile ago. I love Eric Carle, and that book is one of my favorites. When I asked Logan if it was okay, he said, “Umm, sure. What’s that book about?” And then I proceeded to read it to him. He still agreed. 🙂

We had a fabulous time at her party–it was great seeing everyone, having people celebrate our little miracle, and watching Emily interact with people.


I did much searching on Pinterest to get ideas. Some of the ideas came from:  Sweet Designs, Offbeat Families, Pizzazzerie, The Stir, and Catch My Party.

Emily with her very happy grandma

Emily with her very happy grandma

The Invitation:

front and back

front and back


The Decorations:
The key here was to keep it simple! The caterpillar poms took about half an hour to make and almost no time to put up, but what an impact! The leaves were just copies from the book and sewed together to create streamers. The butterflies were put together the same way and were cutouts from school.



For Emily’s high chair, I covered it with a piece of pink fabric and tacked it into place. The tutu is made from this tutorial, except I obviously didn’t connect the ends. But it’s the right size for her, so she’ll have a tutu to play dress up in!

This was one of my favorite projects! I created a banner with pictures of Emily from each month (thanks Leslie for the idea!). Sooner or later I’ll take it down… and then put it into her room!

The Food:
The most important part! All of the food was based on food eaten in the book, which was a really great way to plan a menu. Usually I think that’s the hardest part of party planning, but when you have a food theme already established, it takes the guess work out. The cards labeling the food were just copies from the book.

DSCN0519Caterpillars:  raspberry for the head and green grapes for the body, all on a skewer
Clementines (okay the book has oranges, but clementines made more sense)
Dill pickles
Cheese, Salami, and Crackers
Sausage:  Sausage Balls (I’d recommend cutting down the cheese)
Butterflies:  Sugar Cookies (I combined two recipes, but this one is pretty close)

Sorry, I forgot to get a good picture of the cake. I made cupcakes (box mix with homemade cream cheese frosting) and frosted them in green. This was the caterpillar’s body. The red head was a carrot muffin frosted with yogurt for Emily’s cake. We haven’t given her much sugar, and her party wasn’t the day to sugar overload her!



I love how her two friends are there to help blow out the candle!

Party Favors:
Two circles sewed together and filled with M&Ms.


Then Sunday, Emily was dedicated at church. Perfect ending.


Yep, she's grabbing the pastor's mic

Yep, she’s grabbing the pastor’s mic

What a wonderful, crazy, exhausting weekend!

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Creative Collections: St. Patrick’s Day

I just realized that while I’m making lists, decorations, and food for Emily’s party, everyone else is looking to St. Patrick’s Day. So tapping into my Irish roots, here are some crafts, desserts, and recipes to celebrate this weekend!

Corned Beef and Cabbage by

Beef Irish Stew by Noble Pig

Irish Soda Bread by Plain Chicken

Thin Mint Puppy Chow by Shugary Sweets

Handprint Rainbow by Fun Family Crafts

Shamrock Wreath by Spare Time Sanity

Shamrock Hat by Alpha Mom


And now back to my Hungry Caterpillar party planning. On Sunday, I’ll switch to St. Patrick’s Day!

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Creative Collections: Valentine’s Day


There are tons and tons of cute Valentine’s Day ideas out there. Seriously, thousands. And they’re lighting up Pinterest right now. So I narrowed it down to my top 10 favorite ideas for this Valentine’s Day. And, there’s still over a week before the 14th, so there’s still time!

1.  Paper Heart Wreath by The Hybrid Chick (this has to be first, because I actually did it!)

2. Valentine’s Day Printables by We Love Being Moms

3.  Valentine Jelly Pops by Taste for Adventure


4. Ruffled Heart Dress by Make It and Love It


5. Monster Shirt by Make It and Love It

6. Floating Heart Wall Art by Making Home Base

7. Lots of Little Hearts by Real Life, One Day at a Time

8. Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting by KoJo Designs

9. Cake Cookies by Taste and Tell


10. Felt Heart Bookmark by The DIY Dreamer

*I also found this cute idea from Daisy Pink Cupcake where you fill 2 dozen balloons and write one reason why you love your husband in each one. So. sweet.

What other projects or recipes do you use for Valentine’s Day?


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Creative Collections: Turkey Recipes

I don’t know about you, but cooking a turkey is stressful! I mean, it’s sort of the star of the show. And to mess it up… ugh, I can’t even think about that!

The first tip I got when I was hosting my first Thanksgiving:  turkey oven bags. And thaw well in advance! But if you forget to thaw, here’s a video from Anne Burrel on how to thaw in a few hours!

Roast Turkey with Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic from My Recipes
 This is the recipe I’ve used for two years…and will use again this year. 

Here are some other great options for a fabulous turkey. But still, I’d recommend the oven bag! (I started putting pictures in, but then I realized that most roasted turkeys look about the same!)

Good Eats Roast Turkey by Alton Brown from Food Network

Roast Turkey (brined) by Martha Stewart

Lemon Sage Turkey by Clinton Kelly on The Chew

Homestyle Turkey, the Michigander Way by Robin at All Recipes

Rosemary Roasted Turkey by All Recipes

I make Logan carve the turkey each year. But if you need a reminder, here’s a video on how to carve a turkey from Food Network.

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Brownie Bites

Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for my sister (new baby boy coming in November!!!). I’ll be posting the full menu and decorations later in the week, but here’s one of my favorites from the shower.

And experiment I did… Three times. My dear friends were my taste testers on three different occasions. Funny, I didn’t hear any of them complaining about being part of the process (neither did Logan!).

I got the basic idea from The Prepared Pantry but there was some trial and error involved. Because it wasn’t as easy as I would have thought!

How to Make Them:

1.  Make a box of gooey brownies. Regardless of what brand you use, I’ve found the key is to make cake like brownies in a 9×13 pan and cook them for the least amount of time listed. Another quick tip:  like your baking dish with wax paper. That way you can just lift out the brownies!

2.  Cut the edges off all four sides. You want only soft brownies to roll, so the edges are for the chef.

3.  Cut the brownies. I tried both 24 and 32. I preferred the size of the bites when I cut them in 32 pieces, but it’s up to you.

4.  Roll the brownies into balls. Keep you hands clean so the brownies don’t stick. Refrigerate these for a few hours. I tried using popsicle sticks for my first try, but didn’t like how they turned out. That’s why they’re “brownie bites” and not “brownie pops.” 

5.  Dip them in something yummy. Here’s where I had to do the most experimenting. My favorite was melting chocolate frosting and natural peanut butter together. After you dip them, refrigerate again.

I never got them to look exceptionally pretty (just exceptionally tasty). Maybe dusting them with powder sugar? More experimenting necessary!

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Creative Collections: Hot Drinks

One of my favorite things about fall is the warm, cozy smells of cinnamon, apple pie, and pumpkin. In fact, while Shannon and I were at Dunkin Donuts, I got a pumpkin donut and made her smell it before she stole a bite. I think those smells bring the feeling of chilly nights, curled up under a blanket, and drinking something hot.

Truth be told, coffee is my current hot drink of choice (I used to be a dedicated tea drinker…and then I started teaching!). But there are plenty of times that I want a change that uses those flavors of fall. So I’ve been pinning these types of drinks for months–even in the middle of the heat wave we had this summer!

Here are some I can’t wait to try…

Chai Mix from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen

Hot Vanilla from Family Fun

Pumpkin Spice Coffee by Sips Etc.

Hot Chocolate by The Pioneer Woman

White Hot Cocoa by Lil’ Luna

And just in case you want a little extra love for your coffee, here’s a site with some homemade coffee creamers by Deliciously Organic.

Enjoy your warm, cozy drinks! And sweaters. And blankets. And the crunch of leaves underfoot. And the chilly night. I heart fall.

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Creative Collections: Crockpot Soups

The weather is finally starting to cool off, which means comfy, cozy dinners. And the crockpot. The easiest, fastest way to a fabulous meal waiting for you at home. Happy sigh.

Here are some soup recipes I’ve pinned over the summer. You can bet they’ll be making my menu in the next few weeks!

Chicken Enchilada Soup by Pineapple Grass

Crockpot Turkey and Wild Rice Soup by Lindsey’s Luscious

Crockpot Chicken Chili by Budget Savvy Diva

Crock Pot Minestrone Soup by Skinny Taste

Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheddar Soup by Stone Gable


And don’t forget that many soup recipes can be made in the crockpot. Just be aware of how small you cut your veggies (you don’t want them to turn to mush), check that your meat is cooked through, and cook your pasta/rice separately (so it doesn’t turn to mush too). 


Do you have favorite crockpot recipes? Add them to the comments section!

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