Sunday, February 27, 2011

easy as 1, 2, 3

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Mine was too short, as always.  I had a great weekend though.  Saturday night I had a girls night at my house, which is always a GREAT time.  Sunday Jack "went bowling" for the first time.  He didn't actually bowl, but he had fun pushing the ball down the lane!

I thought I would share two of my recipes from Saturday.  Now that I'm working, I no longer have time for extravagant recipes anymore.  I find myself looking for easy, fast, but still delicious tasting recipes.

These are two that I think are perfect for any party:  Sweet and Sour Meatballs and Roasted Onion and Bacon Dip. 

Have a great Monday!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

1- 12 ounce jar of chili sauce ( I used Heinz)
1 1/2 cups concord grape jelly
2 pounds frozen meatballs


Pour meatballs into a slow cooker. Combine jelly and chili sauce in a small bowl and pour over meatballs.

Cook on low 3-5 hours or until meatballs are heated through

Roasted Onion and Bacon Dipas adapted from Cook's Illustrated by The Way the Cookie Crumbles

3 medium yellow onions, unpeeled
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
6 slices bacon
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper

Cook the bacon until crisp in a skillet on the stove top.  Crumble the strips and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 F with a rack in the lowest position.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the foil with the olive oil.  Cut the onions crosswise (through their centers, not lengthwise through the root).  Using a small paring knife, cut two small X's near the end of each onion half (this helps keep the onion rings level while they cook).  Place the onions cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Roast until dark brown around bottom edge and tender when pierced with the tip of your paring knife, about 30 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and allow the onions to rest for 5 minutes before lifting them off of the pan.  Once have onions have cooled, peel and finely chop them.

Add all of the ingredients (including the onions and bacon) to a medium bowl and mix well to combine  You can serve immediately but I think it's a bit more tasty when left in the fridge overnight.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aspiring Photographers...check this out!

So I have gotten into the photography fad lately.  I LOVE taking pictures and love learning how I can improve in my photography skills.  I know I will never be a professional, but it's such a fun (and expensive!) hobby, and I love all the memories I get from it.  
I have done a few things to up my skills.  First of all I joined Clickin moms.  I can not say enough great things about this site.  I have gotten so many great tips and ideas from all of the creative ladies (and men) on this site that it is soooo worth the membership fees.  You can check them out by clickin on the button on my side bar.   You won't be disappointed.
Secondly I will be taking a photography e-class with Faith over at Simplicity, entitled, " Simply Bliss- basics of childhood photography" 
Faith is has a coupon code on her Facebook Fan Site, and here is a little more information about the class from Faith:
It will begin the first week of April and run for four weeks. I'll send out weekly tutorials and be giving feedback on photos posted to my Flickr group. I'll be giving you tips on how to take great photos of children (yours or others) now matter where you are - from window light to outside, from action shots to artistic portraits. 

 The class will run in April and you will be joined by some awesome photography bloggers like Courtney Kirkland (who hosts No Mom Talk Monday), Courtney Noffsinger (from Perfect Imperfections),  Sarah Halstead (the NapTimeMomTog) Joni Moore (of Six Cherries on Top) and Brooke Martin as well as others! Registration is $40 for the class. 
Both of these sites are great for working moms like me, who don't have a lot of extra time to get out to take classes!  I would love to go through this class with some of you.  She has many other e-course offering on her site, so be sure to check them out. 
I will be sure to post my progress in class for all of you.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday...

Today is our other son's 3rd birthday.....I thought I would add some old school pics of Lenny.

Happy Birthday to the best little doggy ever!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Try your luck...on this great giveaway!

Three day weekends are the best.  Having one extra day off of work makes such a difference, I feel like I get so much more done.   To celebrate the three-day weekend I have a giveaway for you all.

Beau & Stella has beautiful jewelry.   Seriously.  Marcie started this shop, in 2008, after working in architecture firms.  She now does what she used to dream about; and I am so glad she does it.   She has so many beautiful pieces in her shop, but these are two of my favorites.

My absolute favorite piece (and the best seller) is what one of my readers will receive!
It's the Luck Necklace (pictured below), and it will come just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  The winner will choose the style of their choice, and you can check them out  here

To Enter: (mandatory)
Visity Beau and Stella's Etsy Shop and comment on your favorite item

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog

Contest will end Monday February 28th at 11:59pm.  Winner will be contacted via email and choosen via  May the luck of the Irish be with you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Word(ish) Wednesday

Jack got new sunglassess from his Aunt.  He likes to wear them everywhere...even in the bath.

Enjoy other Wordless/ish Wednesdays at the paper mama!  Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Your love is better than chocolate...

way better.....
(one of my fav pics of my two guys)

I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pear Tree Greetings 20 dollar gift code....

I love being a Pearista for Pear Tree Greetings.  What I love even more is giving you all some great gifts from them.  This months' giveaway is a $20 gift code to use on anything in the store!
These are a few of my favs right now:

save the date cards

Easter cards

perfect anyday card!
Pear Tree Greetings is offering some great specials right now including:
FREE SHIPPING on any order of $50 or more using the coupon code FREESHIP (expires 2/28/11)
$10 off “Save The Date” cards and Wedding collection purchases of $75 or more using the coupon code WED10 (expires 7/31/11)

To Win: (mandatory)
 Leave a comment telling me what you would spend the money on.

Extra Entries:
1. Follow my blog

Giveaway ends on Sunday February 27, 2011 at 11:59pm.  Winner will be choosen via and contacted via emial! Good Luck!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wordless(ish) Wednesday...

So you all saw my Valentine's Day are a few that didn't make it.  Yet I still find them adorable.

Thank you!

I want to thank all of you who voted for Jack in the Paper Mama Valentine Challenge.  The winners were announced, and although he did not come in the top 4, he was in the top 10...not to bad for my first try!

Thank you again!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I ain't too proud to beg!

So my little guy made it to the top 30 for Paper Mama's Valentine's Day Photo Challenge!!!!!!  Now comes the begging.......

I would be so grateful if you would please vote for us!

GO HERE to vote for lucky #14! Jack thanks you soooo much!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Superbowl and a super dip....

So the big game is this Sunday.  I LOVE Superbowl Sunday.  I love the food, the drinks, the friends, and the commercials.  I don't love going to work the nest day, but that's another story. 
I thought I would include my absolute favorite dip for football Sunday (or any day). It's cheesy, spicy, and will take you about 10 minutes to make.  I have people asking me to make this for get togethers, and I think it tastes exactly like hot wings.  I hope you enjoy your weekend, stay warm, and let the diet slip for a day or's SUPERBOWL!!!!!

p.s. I am sorry I have no pictures of my own. I will post when I make it!
(picture and recipe courtesy of Kraft)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, cubed
1-1/2 cups  finely chopped cooked chicken
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup   Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 cup of your favorite hot sauce for Buffalo wings

Combine ingredients in medium microwaveable bowl.
Microwave on HIGH 5 min. or until cream cheese is melted and dip is heated through, stirring after 3 min.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snowpacolypse part 2...

Chicago Schools were closed for a second day, which means I got another day with Jack!  As the city shoveled itself out, Jack and I had a lot of fun at home. (and I ate WAY too many cookies)

We attempted to take Jack outside to play in the snow but the wind and cold just made him scream.  So back inside we went.  Jack's new favorite thing to do?  Talk on the phone.  And I think he has been watching me multi-task becuase his phone talking involves no hands...

 We also got some new Spring shoes for Jack in the mail.  Of course the first thing he wanted to do when his bath was over was try them on.  He has a small obsession for shoes...

Back to work bad everyday can't be a snow day.   I hope you are all staying warm!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

snowpocalypse 2011....and some cookies

We had a snow day today.  Chicago schools NEVER have a snow day.  But with 2 feet of snow predicted, it seems like a good idea.

What do I do when I am home from work with a blizzard outside?  I make chocolate chip cookies!
Chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite treat in the world.  I don't really like cake, or care for ice cream, but chocolate chip cookies have my heart.  I like my cookies thick and chewy, so if you are the same, this is the recipe for you. 

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from My Baking Addiction

2 sticks cold and cubed unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mix in vanilla and beat until well incorporated.
2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks and nuts.
3. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients.
4. Roll dough in to balls the size of your choice. (I made mine tablespoon size)
4. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 10-15 minutes depending on how gooey you like your cookies.  (I baked mine 12 minutes)
5. Let cool on rack and store in an  airtight container.