I Dig Pinterest

RECENT POSTS

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Yummy Toffee Bars

I grew up eating these Yummy Toffee Bars, and my taste buds still crave them on a regular basis!  A cookie-like base topped with hardened chocolate and chopped nuts, these suckers are good!  I'm thinking they're perfect for those end of summer BBQ's and potlucks!
We had a wonderful visit with family in Utah a little bit ago.  That's one of the things I love about summer...relaxing time away with family and friends.  I only get to see my sisters about once a year, so we savor every moment together there.  It's really too bad someone hasn't invented a portal to get us from one place to another in a split second, because we live much too far apart, and I love those ladies.  

Anyway, one of our most-loved past times, besides shopping, is baking together while catching up in the kitchen.  It's by far our favorite room in the house.  :)  
While together, each of us takes turns making something yummy every day.  Talk about tasty times!  That's what I call making memories.  

My mom made her famous and absolutely incredible Strawberry Banana Cream Pies, I made some Cafe Rio Pork Burritos for dinner one evening, my one sister baked up some Berry Cheesecake Cookies one day, and then my other sister made today's delicious Yummy Toffee Bars another day.

Dessert every day is something I can get used to, although I probably shouldn't for the sake of my waistline. :)

{YUMMY TOFFEE BARS}
Makes one 9x13 pan size

1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. chocolate chips or chunks
1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 13x9" baking pan.  In large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, egg yolk and vanilla; blend in flour and salt.  Press mixture into prepared pan.  Bake 15-18 minutes.  Don't overbake.  

Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks on crust.  Return to oven for 1 more minute or until chocolate is melty and easily spreadable.  Spread over crust and sprinkle with nuts.  Cool completely.  Place in freezer to quick set chocolate.  Cut into bars and serve.   We like to 1 1/2 times this recipe and it fits perfectly in a big cookie sheet.

Enjoy these delectable bars! 

I hope you're enjoying those last bits of summer, too, with lots of good times with family and friends!
Image Map

Monday, August 24, 2015

Loaded Mushroom & Feta Alfredo Pizza

Are you ready to see (and hopefully later taste) the most amazing pizza you've ever bitten into?  Well, be prepared, because this Loaded Mushroom and Feta Alfredo Pizza will totally blow your mind and taste buds!

Piled high with mushrooms, Feta, olives, mozzarella cheese, and Italian sausage, this one will go down in the most favored meal record books for sure!
My kids always opt for the traditional red sauce and plain cheese pizza, but this particular evening, I wanted to shake things up a bit and use Alfredo sauce!  I typically only think of the "white sauce" when I need an easy dinner and end up throwing it in with some cooked pasta, along with artichokes and mushrooms.

But not this time!  Go me!

I was in the mood for a new kind of pizza, one that was not short on cheese, toppings, or flavor, and that's exactly what I got! 
I'll admit that the flavors were a little too complex for my young kiddos, but the hubby and I had a very difficult time exercising self control around it!  In one word, it's scrumptious!

{LOADED MUSHROOM & FETA ALFREDO PIZZA}
Makes one 14" round pizza

Crust:
I used THIS recipe, which is my go-to pizza dough recipe
Cornmeal for sprinkling the stone so the dough doesn't stick

Sauce:
Your favorite Alfredo sauce variety.  I used Classico Roasted Red Pepper (1/2 jar or about 7.5 oz).

Toppings:
Sliced black olives (about 4 oz.)
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sauteed (I used Monterey)
Feta Cheese (about 3 oz.)
Shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese (2 heaping cups)
9.5 oz. Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled


Place pizza stone in oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook and crumble Italian sausage in a skillet over stovetop. Remove sausage from pan with a slated spoon, drain most of the grease, but leave just enough to saute mushrooms.  Slice mushrooms and saute them in remaining sausage grease until soft.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare crust according to recipe directions.  Roll out onto well-floured surface, in a circle that's slightly larger than the pizza stone (leave just enough to fold the edges over).   Remove stone from oven, sprinkle with cornmeal, and carefully transfer the dough to it.  Spread Alfredo sauce over.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, olives, mushrooms, Italian sausage and Feta cheese.  Bake for 9 minutes, then while wearing an oven mitt, turn the stone and let bake for another 9-11 minutes, so crust will cook evenly.  Remove from oven when outer crust is golden brown.

Oooh la la!   I baked it on my pizza stone, because I just love how it cooks my pizzas to absolute perfection!  And, they always end up looking so professional, even though an expert I am not.  :)  I was wishing I knew how to hand toss the crust because there was a little trouble when I transferred the rolled dough from the counter to the stone.  No worries, though.  It was easily fixable and did not affect the taste in the least. :)

Seriously, though...why pay a premium price for yummy restaurant pizza when you can create an even more incredible one from the comfort of your own kitchen?  I'll think twice before ordering out again now that I've had the pleasure of partaking of this phenomenal homemade variety.

My number one tip with pizza stones for an evenly, perfectly cooked crust is to place the stone in the oven while the oven preheats.  Then, prepare the crust and toppings, remove the stone, and quickly put it together, returning the final masterpiece to the oven to bake.
Oh, you won't be able to get enough of this stuff!  It's seriously the best pizza I've had, including those I've ordered at popular pizza joints! 

We even topped a few of our slices with fresh, chopped green chiles and words can't describe the goodness that ensued. 

As with all homemade pizzas, the topping amounts are totally variable, depending on your taste preferences.  

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!  I'll be making it again and again!

Image Map

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Salted Caramel Pretzel Ice Cream

Super creamy, this salted caramel pretzel ice cream is the perfect combination of sweet and salty!
 Hey I Dig Pinterest fans!  Kelley from the Grant life here again to share another easy and totally delicious recipe with yall!  I know summer is almost over but I'm not really ready for it to end.  I mean, the heat can go for sure, but I want all the summer foods!  Like homemade ice cream!  Salted caramel pretzel ice cream
 Once you realize how easy it is to make homemade ice cream you may never buy the store brand again.  And this one is no churn so you whip it up, let it freeze and enjoy!  I don't think it gets much easier then that! Plus it's the perfect combo of salty and sweet.  I love a good salty/sweet treat, don't you??  It's like the best of both worlds in one ice cream!  Salted caramel pretzel ice cream 2
 To make this salted caramel pretzel ice cream you will need:
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 of caramel sauce (or use homemade!)
  • 1/2 cup of crushed pretzels (I used the peanut butter stuffed kind!)
In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, whip the whipping cream until fluffy - about 2 minutes.  Add in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.  Continue to mix for another minute.  You want it to be creamy and smooth at this point.  Spoon the ice cream mixture into a sealable container, adding the crushed pretzels and caramel as you go.  You want to try and swirl it together.  Allow to freeze for 4-24 hours.  Scoop out and enjoy!  See?  That was totally easy!  And it turns out so yummy!  I'll be back next month with another easy recipe to share with yall!

--------
I'm obsessed with no-churn ice cream and I think salted caramel is one of the best flavors out there!  Thanks so much for sharing, Kelley!  Here are a few drool-worthy recipes I've been dying to make from The Grant Life recently:



Image Map

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Sunny Day: A Sneak Peek at Our New Home

My posts here have been sporadic lately, but for good reason...we just bought and moved into a "new" home!

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that our family has been busy, busy over the past summer.  We sold our home of seven years and purchased a new-to-us, but "old" home in the mountains about 20 minutes away!  
Tears were shed when we left this place...the only home my kids have ever known.  My sweet three year old keeps asking when we're going back to it.  It was not easy closing the doors once all our belongings were out and the cleaning was done.  We have so many fond memories of this house.  I can still see my oldest daughter, then only one year old, running around and around with a big grin on her face right after we moved in.  It seemed like a palace to her, after coming from a tiny student apartment.  

I also can't forget my son on his debut ride on a two wheel bike on the road in front of the home.  He begged and begged us to take the training wheels off, but he was only three, so we were very hesitant.  But, his daddy consented and removed them.  He jumped on the bike and took off like he'd been doing it forever!  We were baffled and so proud.  :)
Though change is hard, we knew we eventually wanted a place with more land where our kids could run free.  I also dreamed of having lots of grass and big trees!  I also knew I wanted to escape the busy city life and embrace the novelty of no close neighbors and fresh, clean air!  

The moment we stepped in the door during the showing, we knew this house was meant to be our new home. 
At that point, Google became our best friend as we spent many hours researching topics like what our mortgage payment and property taxes would be, current mortgage rates, would we have enough to put 20% down like we wanted, what kinds of inspections we should request on an older home, school ratings, and one of utmost concern to me...the likelihood of wild animal attacks in the area, since it is the mountains. :)  And then we looked into the costs of movers, because even a local move isn't cheap!

After we made an offer, we learned that we were competing with another family on the home, so we had to make a decision as to how much we wanted this property and if we could afford to offer more.  In the end, our new offer was accepted and we signed on the home, making it ours on my sunny day, August 10th.  

All the stresses of selling our other home, the complications that came with buying our new home, the scrimping and saving, and the actual moving process were made worth it, because this place is officially ours!  It's such a wonderful feeling and our family is so excited to start new adventures here.

If you're a regular reader, you know about (and are hopefully looking forward to) my "Refresh It" series where I'll be giving you an inside look at all my home remodel projects, and trust me, there will be lots of them!  I am so excited to get started painting and replacing the old with new.  It's going to look like a million bucks when I'm done with it! Hopefully my changes won't cost that much, though.  :)

Something we had to really research and take into account before purchasing the home, was what kind of a funds we'd have to put towards renovations after all was said and done.  It's amazing how much moving costs!  Updating a home is pricey too!  

So we made a list of everything we want to get done, prioritized the items, set aside a remodeling budget, and will continue to save money and add to it.  The changes may not happen as quickly as I want them to (I'm a very impatient person), but they will happen!

For now, we're just pinching ourselves that we are lucky enough to be living in such an amazing home in an absolutely gorgeous place!  It still seems a little unreal!
-------
So, I have to know...what's your idea of a sunny day?  Do you own your home or just hope to some day?  What's your dream home?  Or maybe you are living in it now!  I'd love to hear in the comments section below!

-------
Sunny Days start here.  At SunTrust, they have the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Start here to find out how they can help you enjoy the things that matter to you.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

For even more sunny day inspiration visit yoursunnyday.com
Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day.
Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.


Image Map

Monday, August 17, 2015

Marshmallow Surprise Cookies

These Marshmallow Surprise Cookies are definitely high up on my list of favorites!  A chocolate lover's dream, filled with ooey gooey melty marshmallows, it's heaven in every bite!
So you all know how obsessed I am with cookies, right?  I post a lot of cookie recipes, so I hope you've gathered that by now.  :)

When I'm craving dessert, probably 90% of the time, I've got a hankering for cookies.  There's just something about a handheld, no-mess confection, especially when it's of the chocolate variety.  I'd like to think that I appreciate the built-in portion control, but typically that first bite is dangerous, because it sends any and all self control that I may have had, spiraling quickly in a downward direction. 

{MARSHMALLOW SURPRISE COOKIES}
Recipe originally from Mrs. Fields Cookies Book

3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 sticks (1 c.) salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 oz. (about 2 c.) mini semisweet chocolate chips
8 oz. mini marshmallows (frozen)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Until you're ready to assemble cookies, keep marshmallows in the freezer; otherwise they'll thaw too rapidly.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda.  Set aside.

Combine sugars, butter, eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips and blend at low speed until combined.  Batter will be stiff.  

Gather 4-5 frozen marshmallows in the palm of your hand and cover them with a heaping tablespoon of dough.  Wrap the dough around the marshmallows, completely encasing them and forming a 2-inch diameter dough ball.  Place balls on ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Tip: Let cookies sit for 2-3 hours before eating for optimal amount of flavor and moistness!


But sometimes a person's got to indulge, am I right?  

My sister made these while we were visiting my parents in Utah a little while ago, and I just had to get the recipe! 

I have to tell you-the longer these puppies sit, the better they taste, so if you're an impatient person like me, you just might miss out on the cream of the crop! Put them in an airtight container for 2-3 hours after baking and you will pat yourself on the back when your taste buds experience a chocolate marshmallow explosion of yummy-ness.
There's a surprise in every bite with marshmallows oozing from the center.  Mmmmmmmm...mmmmmmm...delightful!!

Enjoy!
Image Map

Friday, August 14, 2015

"Hit the Books" Back to School Party


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ZiplocBackToSchool #CollectiveBias

It's back-to-school time, and today I can't wait to share how to host a fun and easy party with Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs, which will get the kids excited to "Hit the Books!"
My kiddos are definitely having mixed emotions about school starting again. They're not quite ready to give up their summer that's been filled with lots of adventure and free time. Yet, they're looking forward to a fresh start with a new teacher, new friends and more opportunities to learn.

My oldest two children will be in school this year. I can't believe my little boy will be starting kindergarten! They grow up way too fast! They'll both be at a brand new school in a brand new place, since we will have just moved. I hope they adapt quickly to all the changes that will be happening, with a new baby coming, too!  
We've already been shopping for clothes, shoes and backpacks, and I know that helped them get geared up for the big first day back. To close out the summer, I always like to throw a fun bash and let them invite lots of friends over to get everyone hyped about heading back to school.
My life right now calls for simplicity, so I styled the party around easy snacks in Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs and added cute printable tags so the kids could "grab and go."  All printables are available for download at the end of this post.  
I stocked up on Ziploc® brand products at my local Smith's grocery store in preparation for this fun party.

Be sure to get in on the great Ziploc® brand sales going on!

  • 7/20 to 8/16: $3.99 for:
    • Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs Quart Value Pack 48ct
    • Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs Gallon Value Pack 38ct
    • Ziploc® brand Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs Quart Value Pack 38ct
    • Ziploc® brand Freezer bags with Easy Open Tabs Gallon Value Pack 28ct.
  • 8/2 to 8/9/15: $1 MEGA offer (Buy 4, save $4 or Buy 5, Save $5)
  • 8/9 to 8/30: $0.50 off regular retail price on:
    • Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs 40ct
    • Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs 90ct
    • Ziploc® brand Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs 90ct
I designed a fun chalkboard "Hit the Books" banner that I attached to rulers with double-sided tape and hung on the backdrop (the side of our house) with heavy-duty mounting tape.

The decor consisted of lots of colorful books arranged in the background of the table. I wrote "Learning is fun!" on a piece of notepaper and attached it to a clipboard. I grabbed a mini chalkboard from my craft closet and wrote "A+ Student" on it.

The weather was gorgeous, so it was a perfect day to party in the backyard. 
 
The kids just have to soak up every minute of summer because it always comes and goes too quickly!
To prep the snacks, I printed the tags on white cardstock, cut and then attached them to various sizes of Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs. I filled Ziploc® brand Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs with mini pretzels for the "This School Year is in the Bag!" and "You are a Smartie Pants!" goodies. I stapled most of the tags to the bag, but used washi tape for the "Smartie Pants" tags.  

Ziploc® brand Snack bags with Easy Open Tabs were the perfect size for my butterfly fish cracker snacks. I simply painted some wooden clothespins, hot glued on googly eyes, added pipe cleaner antennae, and drew on a smiley face with permanent marker. Then I filled the bags, leaving a little space at the top, separated the sides and clipped the butterfly bodies to the center.
The kids got a kick out of these adorable butterfly bags!

Our backyard apple trees are brimming with these little beauties, so I picked a few and displayed them in a mini basket. It was a perfect decor piece for the back-to-school theme and a tasty snack!
Book Worm Punch is a cinch to make! I whipped up some Cherry Limeade Punch and then placed a gummy worm ice cube in each cup and served them with fun striped paper straws.
I love that by serving everything in Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs, the kids could have uninterrupted play time while snacking and with little to no mess! Bonus!
I served up some Funfetti Popcorn in Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs and stapled "Here's to a "Sweet" School Year Ahead" tags to the top of each bag.

{FUNFETTI POPCORN}

20 cups plain, popped popcorn
8 Tablespoons. Funfetti Cake Mix (dry from the packet)
12 oz. vanilla candy coating, melted
Sprinkles

Pop popcorn and put in a large bowl. Melt candy coating in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between and being careful not to scald. Drizzle over popcorn. Sprinkle with Funfetti Cake Mix and colored sprinkles and toss to coat all. Let set, then fill Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs with the mix and staple tags to the top.
The kids played hard and then attacked the snack table!
Pretzels were a perfect filler for these graph paper "This school year is in the bag!" snacks!  
For party favors, the kids got to take home "You are a Smartie Pants" treat filled with Smarties, of course!
The kids kept busy and happy coloring. I printed the cute backpack designs HERE. I contained the crayons in Ziploc® brand Sandwich bags with Easy Open Tabs to prevent them from rolling onto the ground.
Then, we conquered a quick craft to organize the kids' school supplies! These decorative tape baggies are so fun! You'll need a bunch of quart-sized Ziploc® brand Storage bags with Easy Open Tabs, as well as fillers. We used pencil sharpeners, crayons and glue.  To make them, cover the front and back of the bag with strips of tape in any color or pattern.  Feel free to mix and match them, too!
Trim the excess tape so the sides are straight and even but be careful not to cut into the bag!  Label the bag with a permanent marker with the child's name and the contents, if you'd like. Then fill it and they're good to go!

We can't wait for a new school year! This party was a huge hit and really got the kids excited to put those backpacks on and jump on the big yellow bus!

{FREE PARTY PRINTABLES LIST}




How are you getting ready for back-to-school? I'd love to hear in the comments section below!


Image Map
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover