Nov 29, 2013

How to Make Photo Recipe Card with PicMonkey

I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.

I am now officially in Christmas mode. Okay, so I was kind of in part Christmas mode working on Christmas gifts, but now I am in 100% Christmas music, tree trimming, present wrapping, cocoa sipping Christmas mode.

I am so happy about it. 

One of the gifts I am putting together is a Cookie Photo Recipe Card Book. I used photos I had taken of all my favorite cookie/bar recipes to make recipe cards. Once they are all created and printed off, they will go on a ring for easy access.

Making Photo Recipe cards is really easy to make using PicMonkey.

1. Open up your photo.

2. Change the size to 2100x1500

3. Add a geometric overlay. A rectangle.

4. Change the hex code, to make the rectangle white. True white is ffffff.

5. Click and drag the rectangle and make it larger.  Large enough to create a text box for your recipe, but not so large that it will cover you lovely photo.

6. Fade the text box to be about 25%. This way more of your photo will show more.

7. Start with the title. I used the font Geo Sans Light. Stretch it to fit across the top.

8. To make the line underneath, use a geometric overlay. Stretch the rectangle until it is a line.

9. Using the same font, start the first column of ingredients. The font size will be smaller than in the title. 

10. Split the ingredients up, by making a second column. Once all the ingredients are listed, line up the columns.

11. Start a column beneath the ingredient list. Stretch the text box to go almost the entire width of the text box. Write the instructions in this text box. Move or stretch the box to fit in the white box.

12. Save.

Now that you made one recipe card, you can make a few more.

These are just a few more recipe cards for me to make up. I can't wait to show you the finished Cookie Photo Recipe Card Book.

I also think it would be fun to give one of these Photo Recipe Cards along with a plate of the goodies from the recipe.

Go to PicMonkey, play around and make your own photo recipe cards.

Nov 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.
Even if you are somewhere where it is not Thanksgiving today.
Happy Be Grateful Day. 
We can all be more grateful.

I never got around to doing the "I am grateful for..." everyday post to Facebook or Instagram.
I enjoyed reading other people's daily gratitudes (totally a word).
They often led me to think of what I was grateful for.

So now, on this day of gratitude, I am going to make up for the lack of sharing my gratitude and I am going to list 30 things I am grateful for...

Yes, I know you are excited to read them all. Hahaha.

My list of 
1. my insanely hard-working and handsome husband
2. my oldest son who is so smart and quick to learn
3. my very honest and sincere Mr. Middle
4. my glasses wearing Little who is very generous with his hugs
5. my teeny tiny youngest who makes me belly laugh everyday
6. a strong body
7. a warm home full of love
8. the gospel of Jesus Christ
9. Jesus Christ
10. knowing I am a Child of God
12. scriptures to lead and guide me
13. the smell of rain
14. a functioning car
15. good friends who care about me
16. good friends for my boys
17. parents who raised me right
18. five of the funniest and bestest siblings a person could have
19. parents who raised my husband right
20. food on my table
21. exercise
22. an education
23. talents and strengths
24. opportunities to overcome my weaknesses
25. music that stirs my soul
26. family who loves and supports us
27. lazy days
28. opportunities to serve
30. patience shown me

Thank you for letting me list some of the things I am grateful for.
I am grateful for all the support I get. From you, my readers, as well.

I hope that you have a very special and family and/or friend filled day.

Nov 26, 2013

Simple and Pretty Disposable Thanksgiving Place Setting

Sometimes a formal Thanksgiving dinner isn't really possible. There might be more people coming than formal dishes available. I mean, could you imagine washing thirty sets of dishes. Yuck. No bueno. There might be so much going on that the clean up needs to be more simple. You know, like needing to take a nap or watch a football game.

Basically, there are all kinds of circumstances in which disposable would be better. 

However, using disposable either means boring OR expensive. You either have to use everyday picnic type paper product...YAWN. Or you have to splurge on the really pretty, unique paper products ordered online. Times one pretty complete place setting by 20 and that can add up.

Good news, it doesn't have to be either/or. There is a way to make those disposable paper products fancy enough for Thanksgiving, but not too fancy that you won't mind just tossing it when all the eating is done.

I was able to take normal paper products that I found a The Mart, and with a little umph and some golden sparkle I made them all fancy for Thanksgiving.

Here is the run down of what I did to create this Simple and Pretty Disposable Thanksgiving Place Setting--

I used a gold Sharpie to embellish a plain plate. I also used it to write on clear plastic cups.

To continue with all the gold awesomeness, I spray painted cake boards and turned them into chargers. Here is a hint...after you spray paint the chargers leave them in your garage and let them air out for a day before you bring them in.

I splurged a little on nicer napkins. I believe a splurge was totally allowed since everything else was so cheap cost efficient.

I made an envelope to hold the utensils out of a brown lunch sack. I also decided to use the envelope  as the name card. I created a label in PicMonkey. Then I printed it on the lunch sack, like HERE.

Put everything all together, and you are practically ready to eat.

Now even a disposable place setting can be lovely. Seriously, I had way too much fun doing this. I love Thanksgiving.

Love it. I only have a few more days!

Nov 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Teacher Gift: Hand Pies

This year at the Little Men's school I am in charge of teacher appreciation. If you follow me on Instagram (and I totally think that you should...hehehe...@larissa_anotherday), then you have already seen a sneak peak of these little thankful pies.

I made simple hand pies with premade pie crusts and canned pie filling. So easy. I cut circles out using the top of a glass. Filled each pastry with one tablespoon of pie filling. Then I topped each pie with another circle of pie crust and sealed it with the tongs of a fork. Bake. Cool.

Then I packaged them all up.

I used really simple supplies, all which I bought from The Mart.

I flattened a cupcake liner and used it to lay the pie on. Then I put the pie into a paper CD envelope.

I used a paper doily and a small flattened truffle paper liner for the tags.

I hand wrote a little message in a gold new favorite thing.

I used a plain clothespin to attach the tag. Then I just repeated a bunch of times...enough for all our teachers.

I am grateful for good teachers. I kind of geek out over thinking of ways to thank our teachers. I had a lot of fun with these little Thanksgiving pies.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Nov 24, 2013

In a Nutshell: Family Photo Shoot FAIL

I can't even remember the last Week in a Nutshell post I wrote.

I have not written about this cute family of mine in awhile. I used to be really good at documenting our week and all our antics. I probably should get better at that.

I just had to share our Family Photo Shoot FAIL. First, because it was HEE-larious (looking back of course). Second, because it was definitely one of the "keeping it real" moments.

We got awesome family photos taken last July. They were perfect and beautiful, taken by a professional. When it came to our Christmas card photos though, I needed another another photo. I wanted one a little more seasonal. So I decided to do what I have done before and take care of it myself.

It is getting colder around here, so I knew I was running out of "good" weather. So this week I gathered up outfits from their closets. I warned them that after school that day we would be going to take pictures. I even offered a bribe of hot chocolate if they did well. They seemed on board. I was pretty excited.

I knew the location I wanted and it was close to home.

I figured, it was in the bag.

I figured horribly wrong. There was no bag. There was no "on board". There was definitely no hot cocoa drinking...well except Oldest, he was very helpful as the photos will document.

Instead I had four boys (one being a toddler), vanishing sunlight, cold weather, and stinky attitudes.

My best laid plans, rapidly came crashing down. The first problem came when I forgot that Oldest had piano lessons, so we couldn't leave until 4:45. That wouldn't seem like a big deal, but here by 4:45 the sun is getting ready for it's farewell for the day. No begging would seem to stop it.

By the time that we got to my warehouse location, there was pretty much no sunlight. So even with a good lens, I knew the pictures probably wouldn't turn out.

I thought I would give it  try anyway.

However, then the baby wrangling began.

He was less than pleased being wrangled.

He was less than cooperative. Even with all my "helpers".

Even if I got him to sit still, or took one with out him, silly faces abounded.

There were also angry faces, and "mom-this-is-lame-faces".

There was yelling, crying, kicking, rock-throwing, and not all just by me.

So I gave up. I figured I would either try another day or I would just send another photo.

I had failed to plan for all the contingencies, mainly one very cute, but very active toddler.

I can't say it was all their fault. I rushed it. I was a tad cranky.

Oh well. What are ya gonna do but laugh at it all. I have since recovered. They have since recovered. We have since done a different photo shoot that turned out much better. So fingers crossed I can get a warm and fuzzy Christmas card sent.

I sure do love being a mom to boys, even on the days that I want to pull my hair out.

Nov 22, 2013

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie with Gingersnap Crust (Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week)

Just like I promised yesterday, I have dessert for you today.

Well not really. I have the dessert recipe. Sorry if I got your hopes up with the promise of dessert.

This recipe is practically as good as the real pie, and it is one step closer to the real pie. Ya' just have to make it.

No biggie.

Today on day 5 of Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week it is all about the dessert. Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie with Gingersnap Crust.

I made a version of this pie the very first time that I hosted Thanksgiving. It was rather exhilarating. My plan was for it to be the "cherry on top" of my Thanksgiving dinner "sundae". I was more than a little nervous that it was going to be a big dud. A dud on top of a dinner dud.

Sometimes when I am anxious I get a little glass half empty, with a leak in the bottom. A girl's first Thanksgiving will do that do her.

Good news, both turned out pretty good. The pie, being the perfect ending.

Originally what drew me to this pie was that is was only part pumpkin pie. I do not care for traditional pumpkin pie. I do however, love cheesecake, which I have on many, many, many occasions declared. Most recently on the oh-so-delightful Gingersnap Cheesecake Bars.

I fully believe that cheesecake can make almost anything even better.

That goes for pumpkin. That goes for pie.

The gingersnap cookie crust doesn't hurt things either.

Oh and don't forget the whup cream... yep I said whup. I love whup cream.

I wish Thanksgiving were right now and that this pie was in front of my face. Oh well, I guess I will have to show some patience.

I hope you enjoy it!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie with Gingersnap Crust

1 lb gingersnaps, crushed
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
3/4 cup half and half
3/4 cup broken walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate covered Health bits
1/4 cup brown sugar
whipped cream

To make the crust, combine the gingersnaps, butter, and sugar until completely mixed. Press firmly into a 9" pie pan. Set aside.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese and the 1/3 cup sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then  stir in the orange zest. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Next make the pumpkin filling. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, the 3/4 cup sugar, and the 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice. Add in the eggs and beat lightly. Then mix in the half and half.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust carefully. Then pour the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese layer. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, Heath bits, and brown sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the pie and cook for another 30 minutes, or until the middle is set.

Cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours.

Top with whipped cream before serving.

Thanks for joining me for Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week.
I hope some make your menu, or at the very least your 
Pinterest Thanksgiving Menu board for next year...
or you know for whenever you are hungry.

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Nov 21, 2013

Spinach Apple Salad (Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week)

One week until Thanksgiving! Eek, I am so excited. I love Thanksgiving. I have been making menu plans and I have been getting some last minute Thanksgiving table stuff ready. My brain is fairly busting with things I want to do that are NOT going to get done in this next week.

In the long run, the extra stuff doesn't matter. I will be with friends and family. There will be yummy food. I have a lot to be grateful for. I have everything I need.

Life is good.

You know what else is good...

Do you like that lead in?

Today for Day 4 of Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week I am sharing the recipe for my very favorite salad. I eat this salad all year long. For several years, this salad has made it to our Thanksgiving table. I am not always a fan of the heavy vegetables you tend to find at the Thanksgiving table. I added this salad to our menu because it gave me a chance to balance out the turkey and rolls (which I have an affinity for) with some veggies that are not warm carrots.

I rather loathe warm carrots...okay so I don't like any carrots...

I do love salad. Especially when that salad has candied pecans, apples, and bacon. Yum.

Yep, this is the kind of veggie I like. No comments about if this really can be considered a veggie side with all that bacon. Don't burst my bubble. Let's just call it a vegetable.

See, there is lots of spinach. Yeah, it counts.

Seriously so yummy.

This salad is a nice surprise at a Thanksgiving table, and it is a crowd pleasure.

Spinach Apple Salad

 printable recipe

salad ingredients:
1 bag of baby spinach
1 red apple, diced
1 cucumber, diced
3/4 cup craisins
1 cup pecan pieces, candied*
4 strips bacon, cut in pieces and cooked

dressing ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

Combine all of the salad ingredients.

To make the dressing, combine sugar, vinegar, paprika, onion, Worcestershire, and oil. Shake the dressing until the oil is completely mixed in. Then add in the poppy seeds. Shake again.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Serve immediately.

*To candy the pecan pieces, cook them in a small frying pan with 3-4 Tablespoons of sugar. Stir the the pecans constantly, coating the pecans in the sugar while the sugar melts. When the sugar liquifies, and coats the pecans completely, they are done. From the pan, dump them out on a cutting board and let cool. Breaking the pieces up if necessary.

Come back for more Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week tomorrow.
I think it is finally time for some dessert!
See ya tomorrow for some pie.

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Nov 20, 2013

Dinner Rolls (Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week)

Day 3 of Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week is upon us.

Quick recap. Day 1 was the completely delightful Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Day 2 was the bacon loaded Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Onions.

Today, the carb gods are upon us, and there are Dinner Rolls.

Here is a not so secret secret. I love myself really good rolls. Heck, I love myself some really good anything bread.

Here is another secret, that you may not know about me...

On Thanksgiving, I go light on pretty much everything but three things. Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, and Rolls. In fact, I have been known to forgo a slice of pie just so I can have another roll. Yeah, I take my roll-eating pretty seriously.

Now that you know that, we can proceed and you can feel secure and trust me when I say these rolls are super yummy. You know since I am practically a roll professional and all.

You can feel confident about showing up to a Thanksgiving meal with these.

Happy carb eating!

Dinner Rolls 

3 cups warm water
2 1/2 Tablespoons yeast
4 eggs
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon Salt
10 cups flour

Pour the warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until the mixtures is foamy. Whisk in the eggs, butter, sugar, and salt. Whisk until everything is well mixed.

Add the flour in two cups at a time, stirring now with a wooden spoon. Once the flour has been mixed in, knead the dough while it is in the bowl. Knead for several minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour.

Once it has risen, punch the dough down. Dump on the counter. Divide the dough into 3 equal sections. Roll each section into thick pizza like rounds. Cut
into 8-10 equal pieces. Form the pieces into rolls.

Place them in lightly greased baking pans. Place the rolls right next to each other, touching. Let them rise for another 1/2 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Butter the top of the rolls when they are done.

Come back for more Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week tomorrow.
Tomorrow I am sharing my very favorite Spinach Salad recipe.
See ya tomorrow!

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Nov 19, 2013

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Onion (Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week)

Welcome to Day 2 of Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week.

Did you check out the Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes I shared yesterday?

Do you like how I said "check out", like they were the Ryans (Gosling and Reynolds) just walking down the street?

Speaking of Ryan Squared (that is what I am calling them from now on)...I couldn't help myself...

That is my way of trying to brainwash nicely suggest that you need the recipe for these Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes from yesterday.

Did it work?

Do I need to make another "Hey Girl" for today's recipe?

I will if you need me too, but I have a feeling the fact that there is bacon in these Brussel Sprouts will be all that you need to be convinced of the glory that is this Thanksgiving side dish.

See that bacon?

Brussel Sprouts have a bad wrap. Do you like them? Have you tried them?

I hadn't tried them until a year ago. With this very dish in fact.

I felt like I had done myself a disservice waiting that long. They really are rather tasty. Add bacon, garlic, and onions, and well, how could they be anything but yummy. Oh and there is butter involved.

So yeah, this side dish is pretty healthy...


Okay not so much healthy. Seriously, though, I kind of feel Thanksgiving is the one day a year where you can just indulge, okay that and your birthday.

So bacon and butter, I welcome you. Thanks for joining our Thanksgiving feast.

I hope the pictures above inspire you to try these Brussel Sprouts...uh I was talking about the pictures of the veggies. Geez guys! Hehehehe.

Give them a try. You will be surprised at their yumminess.

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Garlic, and Onion

1 lb brussel sprout, cut in half (top to bottom)
4 strips of bacon, cut up
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoon unsalted butter

In a large skillet, fry up the bacon pieces.

Remove bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Over medium high heat, melt butter in the same skillet with the bacon drippings. Cook the onions in the pan for several minutes until they are translucent. Then add in the garlic and cook for another minute, making sure not to burn the garlic.

Push the onions aside in the pan and place the brussel sprouts cut side down into the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 7-8 minutes. They will be bright green and tender.

Once they are cooked, add in the bacon and stir the brussel sprouts until coated evenly.

Serve warm.

Come back tomorrow for more Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week.
I will be sharing a recipe for my favorite Dinner Rolls.

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Nov 18, 2013

Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes (Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week)

I am really rather fond of Thanksgiving. Like a lot. A lot. A lot.

Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday to host.

Since I love Thanksgiving so much, this week on the blog I am dedicating the whole week to Thanksgiving Food. I am am declaring it Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week.

All week long, I am sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

What better Thanksgiving recipe to kick of the week, than the tried and true staple side, Mashed Potatoes.

"Ma, these potatoes are so creamy."  (Name the movie...we haven't played this game in awhile. By the way this is one of my favorite movies of all time).

Back to the Mashed Potatoes.

Let me clarify though, these are not your average potatoes. There is a little something extra in there...and it is not just the love.

The little something extra is both garlic AND cream cheese. I tell you what, this will change your potato-eating world. I also have a couple of tried and true tricks to make your mashed potatoes packed with flavor.

Since we are running out of time until Thanksgiving, I will dispense with my normal witty banter and endlessly flowing chatter, and we will get right to how to make these to.die.for. potatoes.

First, let's share my secret weapon for making flavorful potatoes. My secret weapon...chicken stock. Instead of boiling my potatoes in strictly water, I boil them in mostly chicken stock with only a bit of water added in. This totally locks in some great flavor. Another flavor secret weapon is that I add the minced garlic to the chicken stock as the potatoes are cooking.

All that mingling in one big pot makes for one awesomely flavorful batch of mashed potatoes.

I never make mashed potatoes any other way. Ever.

That is saying something.

Now that I have shared my secret flavor weapon, let us get to this recipe for Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes.

I know they will make many a Thanksgiving Feast partakers happy.

SO, Let's Eat! ENJOY!

Garlic Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Printable Recipe

Serves 6-8

5-6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
4 oz cream cheese, softened

Place the potatoes in a large stock pot. Add the chicken stock. Add enough water to cover the potatoes ( for me this is usually about 1 cup). Add in the garlic and salt. Bring to a boil. Keep the potatoes at a boil until they are easily pierced by a fork. Depending on the size of the potato cubes, this could be anywhere from 20-30 minutes. Check frequently.

Once the potatoes are cooked. Drain the water from the stock pot. Some of the garlic will drain with the water, that is okay. To the hot potatoes, add the butter and the cream cheese.

Mash. I prefer to use a hand masher because I like lumps in my potatoes. If you like your potatoes as smooth as silk, use an electric hand mixer.

Add more salt if needed.

Serve warm with additional butter, because you can't have too much of that.

Come back tomorrow for more Thanksgiving: Let's Eat Week.
I will be sharing a recipe for Brussel Sprouts.
Don't be hating on the Brussel Sprouts.
I dressed 'em up with some bacon.
Bacon makes everything magical, even Brussel Sprouts.

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