Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Guide to Trading Candy- A Fun Must See!!!

Everything you need to know to get ahead in candy trading. Everything.

This is one of the funniest videos I've seen! Thank you Sandy, my mother-in-law, for sending it to me!  I laughed so hard I just had to share it with all of you!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rosie The Riveter says "My Retro Kitchen Can Do It!"

What are you all being for Halloween on Wednesday?  This year I had an opportunity to go up to the islands for an Adult Only Halloween party.  It forced me to get a bit creative with a costume, oh so much fun!  I don't remember the last time I got to do this (pre-kids, maybe even pre-marriage!!). And the best part- now I get to wear my costume twice!  We are talking a lot about the roll of the woman in my Bible Class this year and it got me thinking..... and Rosie the Riveter was born.

It is never a good time for a hurricane- but the forecast for Halloween here in Ohio is 100% rain.  I am so disappointed for the kids.  They look forward to this all year.  To make the best of it all, I think our plan will be to hit as many of houses for Trick or Treating, umbrella in hand, and then head back to the house for a full-blown Halloween Party.  Time to put the thinking caps on (and search Pinterest of course!!) for some games and other goodies for the night.  Do you need to change your plans much this year too?  Please let me know in the Comments Section how you are planing on spending the evening this year and of course your costumes- and even better, head over to my facebook page and share your pictures and ideas with me!!

I am in charge of dessert for the party.  There are SO many ideas swirling in my head!  I will share the final finished product and lots more pictures of course, so please check back!

Halloween hugs and kisses, 
Rosie the Rivetor 
aka "Amie" 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Harvest Recipe Round-Up!

Are you on a hunt for some wonderful Autumn treats for this Hauntingly Fun Halloween Weekend?!  I have assembled for you some of my most favorites, that will definitely be a hit at any party- and especially at your own dinner table!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Both a Savory and a Sweet Version!

Pumpkin Favorites
From Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Kolokithopita- Savory Greek Pumpkin Pie
Low Carb Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Yum Yum Brownie Muffins
Caramelized Onion Pumpkin and Ricotta Tortellini's with a Walnut and Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Apple Treats 
From Left to Right, Top to Bottom:
Apple Cream Cheese Quick Bread
Apple Dapple Cake
Traditional Apple Crisp
Apple Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Owl and Bat Cupcakes
And just incase you are looking for some fun ways to decorate your cupcakes for the Halloween Party, these are always a huge party hit!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Like" to End Cancer!!

October 6th was such a fun and easy way to take part in a fundraiser that truly means a lot to me as a woman. Not only did I go out and drive a fancy new car (that looks and drives nothing like my mini van! LOL) But just for test driving $10 was donated by Chevy to the American Cancer Society! It was that easy! I also received that pretty pink pashmina you see me wearing in the picture. Oh my goodness, it was SO super, duper windy that day so I kinda look like I am being swallowed by it, but I honestly do love it! It is very soft and cozy.

Maybe you didn't get an opportunity to go out and take the test drive, Sunday's are busy for a lot of people, but you still really would love to help some how. Well guess what?! Chevy is running a second fundraiser that is even easier and faster then the last!

For every new Like on the Gotta Love Chevy NEO page, $1 will be contributed to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Initiative!!

Yep, you read it right!!

First you help by clicking "Like" on their page and then you help again by sharing their page to all of your friends and family. Say you have 200 friends in your facebook account and each one clicked, that is $201 YOU just had a had in raising while sitting on your couch!  And then if they all shared the page and so on... you get the idea.  How cool is that!?  So much can be done by honestly doing so little.  Makes it silly not to help, huh?

I will help you out a step further.... Here is a possible facebook post to share the word.  just copy and past! Easy-peasy!
SHARE FOR THE CURE!Your Chevy Network Dealers are committed to fighting breast cancer!  Share this page with your friends and for every new "Like" $1 will be contributed to the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative.
Wait, there's more!  Not only can you help to raise money for the cure, 3 fans will be entered into a FAN-tastic makeover complete with hair, makeup, lunch and a personal shopping experience.  Plus the winners of the FAN-tastic Chevy Girl Makeovers will be featured on Fox 8 New Day Cleveland!!  So there is something for you too.  It is a win-win.

Thank you friends!

{Disclosure: I am being compensated to help Chevy promote their initiative to raise money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. All opinions are 100% my own.}

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal & recipe for Butternut Squash Casserole

The Lean Green Bean

While stumbling along a blog last month, The Lean Green Bean, I discovered this awesome program she created called the Foodie Pen Pal.  You add your name to her list and she will randomly match you up with another Foodie (either a blogger or blog reader).  You then fill your box full of fun goodies, local treats or even homemade items and send them to your Pen Pal.  Oh how fun this was, and such a great idea!!  I am posting this pen pal reveal late, due to some personal circumstances. But I just HAD to share- better late then never, right?!!

Autumn, from Texas was matched with me and I was to send to a girl in Louisiana.  I don't know about everyone else in the pen pal program, but I got a feast from mine!!  Autumn out did herself.

She sent me: 
  • ThinkThin Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts bar 
  • ThinkThin Cranberry Apple and Mixed Nuts bar, 
  • her favorite Cookie Dough flavored Luna Protein Bar (perfect after a long hike she says- although I can attest they are also perfect after chasing around a toddler and a 5 year old! LOL!) 
  • I also got three sampled sized Justin's Almond Butters with the flavors of honey, classic and chocolate, 
  • A box of Sea Salt Almond Thins (and yes Autumn, they are dangerously addictive!!) 
  • a bottle of CoCo Libre
  • a pack of Simply Organic Sweet Basil Pesto Sauce and also a pack of the Spicy Chili Seasoning,
  • a travel-sized Snackimals in chocolate chip flavor 
  • and then Mrs. Leeper's Corn Spaghetti which was voted #1 Spaghetti Brand in her hometown of Tyler.  And last but not least she included a package of Organic Coconut Flakes.  
Holy Moly, I scored!!  But the best part of the package in my opinion, is she sent me a family recipe to go along with the Coconut Flakes.  This recipe is one of her mothers that she uses when she has "an excess of Coconut Flakes and a hungry family".  

Butternut Squash Casserole
2 Cups Butternut Squash, cooked
3/4 Cup egg beaters, well beaten
1/4 Cup Splenda
1/2 Cup Soy milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons Coconut Flakes
1/2 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, clean out seeds.  Wrap in foil and bake in a 350 degrees F oven until soft.  Cool and scoop out squash with a teaspoon to measure 2 cups.

Combine all ingredients, mixing well.  Pour into lightly greased 1 quart casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.  Enjoy!  

Should make around 61/2 Cup servings.  

Thank you So much Autumn for the awesome goodies and for the recipe!  I will be making your casserole next week after I pick up some coconut extract.  I will update this post with pictures after we enjoy it!  It sounds just awesome!  

If you too would like to become part of the Foodie Pen Pen program, click the picture below for all of the details and specifics!  

The Lean Green Bean

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (Bread Machine)

Bread Machines are so perfect for those "I am in the mood for Cinnamon Raisin Bread moods" but you have loads of laundry to do, kids to play with, bed linens changed and a million and one other items on your To-Do List making it impossible to devote the time to baking.  Very much like a crock pots, you add the ingredients, turn it on and walk away!  3 hours later you have homemade bread!  I love mine and use it all the time- I am all about making my life easier from time to time!  If you don't have one, you can usually find them at garage sales and Salvation Army's for cheap.  Or you can do like I did and ask around and see if anyone has one sitting around unused taking up space they want to free up!  (They have no idea what they are missing out on!!) Here is a terrific recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  It doesn't have a "swirl" of cinnamon, but instead the cinnamon is infused throughout the entire loaf.  It is yummy and makes the house smell amazing.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (Bread Machine)  
1 egg + water to equal 1 1/4 cups
2 Tablespoons powdered milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
3 2/3 Cups All Purpose white flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons yeast

add ingredients:
1/2 cup Raisins (although I added 1 cup!  I like a lot of raisins in mine!)

1. Measure first 8 ingredients in the order listed into Baking Pan
2. Insert Baking Pan into oven chamber, twist to secure and close lid
3. Select: Sweet Bread Setting
4. Select "Regular" or "Dark" crust (I always choose the "regular" crust, I find the "dark" way too dark for my taste)
5. Press Start- there will be a 15 minute preheat delay before mixing begins
6. Add raisins when the "Add Ingredient" signal beeps
7. Using oven mits, remove bread when completion beep sounds.
8. Cool on a wire rack before slicing

Baking time: 3:50 hours and Makes a 2.0 lb loaf

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Crock Pot Round-Up!

The sweaters are on and the boots are out; movie time surrounded in tents of afghans and extra pillows, it is autumn and the first thing I think of is COZY!  It is just plain chilly out there so being able to come home to warm house that surrounds you in delicious smells is a wonderful thing!  Crock pots are easy, almost effortless, yet when done right, gives you a multitude of fantastic and different meals that can taste like you slaved all day to make them.  Here are some of my favorites!

Fresh Corn Chowder
Easy Chili
Candy's Chicken Tortilla Soup

Pulled Meat
Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
Thai Style Peanut Pulled Chicken in the slow cooker served with an Asian Slaw
Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker
Mustard and Vinegar Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Chives
Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Beef Roast with Tomato Ragout (Slow Cooker)
Texas BBQ Pot Roast (not pictured)

Here's to the season for Slow Cooking!!  Now go out, make a few, and spend more time with your families!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This is a yummy slow cooker meal that is a nice change up from the every day.  There are only a handful of ingredients; the sun-dried tomatoes being the real star.  They go from hard and dry to soft, sweet yet slightly tart after hours of cooking in the crock pot.  The chicken is juicy and moist rounding it out and creating a warm and comforting meal.  Both of my kids gobbled it up no questions asked and even had it for lunch the next day just as willingly.  That has to say something, huh?!  5 Star Slow Cooker meal for sure.  We enjoyed it served over elbow macaroni and topped with snipped chives and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  

Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
3 lbs chicken, boneless, skinless breasts or thighs
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into slivers

Don't forget to spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray for easier clean-up!

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Add the onion, garlic, chicken stock, and basil. Scatter sun-dried tomatoes over top and cover.  Cook for 4-6 hours on LOW or 2-3 on HIGH.  Serve over noodles or rice.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Look Who Is Featured on [the nest]!!

Seven years ago I got to know a website called The Knot really well.  They know weddings better then anyone, and no one that is anyone plans a wedding without surfing their website or reading their books and magazines.  Once you are hitched you get to move onto the next phase in life, and they have a web-home for that too- [the nest]!  It is a fun place for all of your home advice, buying, decorating, and cooking within needs. I love it!  So how excited was I to see they featured my Roasted Pumpkin Seeds?!!  It's awesome! Thank you [the nest]!  I like you too.  Go take a look, I bet you will like this site as much as I do.  Have fun!

If you happen to go to the front page of their blog, my pumpkin seeds even make an appearance in their Top Stories Picture box!  Yippee!

My recipe for the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- Two Ways, Savory and Sweet can be found Here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

This is comfort food at its best.  It is warm, creamy, and completely satisfying.  I don't think you could ever find a living soul that didn't fall in love with this simple recipe.  It is easy enough for a weeknight, but also special enough to serve at a dinner party.  It fills your house with the beautiful scents of Italy, making every tummy aching for dinner time.  My family loves these stuffed shells.  Like really loves them.  They are seriously delicious!  

This recipe doubles and triples easy, so make an extra tray to throw in your freezer for dinner another night. Or even better, to take to a friend that has just had a baby or is recovering from surgery.  Everyone will thank you.  

Three Cheese Stuffed Shells

For the Cheese Filling
1 1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, Asiago, or fotinella cheese
1 generous cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
6 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Stir together everything but the egg in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then add the egg. Combine well and set aside.

For the Pasta Shells
8 oz, Jumbo Pasta Shell Noodles, cooked al dente and cooled enough to handle
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook pasta shells for about half of the cooking time, to very al dente, being careful not to overcook.  Rinse in cold water and set aside.  Spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.

Fill each shells with 2 Tablespoons of cheese filling and place on top of the sauced dish.  Repeat filling the shells until all of the mixture is gone.  Top shells with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and cheese is melty.

Serve with nice crusty bread and a crisp salad.

*cheese filling adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Being a woman, the thought and fear of Breast Cancer is one that I will unfortunately live with forever.  It is a scary disease that all together too many woman have to deal with every single day of their lives.  It shouldn't be this way!  But until a cure is found we need to keep pushing to do our part to be a part of the cure.  Because of great initiatives, tons of awareness is coming to the forefront  of how we can help raise the money needed to find the cure.  There are so many wonderful ways; we can keep buying pretty pink things, spend a day (or 3!) walking with friends, and donate directly to the ACS.

Here is a whole new way!  I hope you have all noticed that pretty pink banner that runs down the right hand side of the blog here.  I am so excited about it- let me tell you a little about this! I was approached by the Chevy Network Dealers to work along side of their team promoting an amazing initiative they have started, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  Aside from it being an important, amazing cause, there is also absolutely nothing bad in this arrangement!! You get to go out and test drive a fun new car, receive a pretty, pink pashmina and Chevy will donate $10 to the American Cancer Society all for you doing it! There was no way I was going to say no to this!  Mark Oct. 6th on your calendars now!

My father retired after having worked for Chevy for 30+ years and we have all driven and trusted their cars for, well forever.  I am very exited and oh so proud that this company is also contributing in such a huge way to Breast Cancer Research.  Thank you Chevy!

Join your Chevy Network Dealers in the fight to end breast cancer. For every test drive on October 6th, Chevy will contribute $10 to the American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer initiative, up to $130,000, and you’ll receive a beautiful pink pashmina.

All of the participating dealerships are listed here!

Continue to do your part by following the #drive2endcancer hashtag on Twitter and by “liking” Gotta Love Chevy NEO on Facebook.  Social media rocks.  

This is a sponsored post care of the Chevy Network Dealers. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Simple Cheese Filling

This recipe you will want to hold onto!  It is a great one to have in your back pocket because it is so versatile! It can be used for any stuffed or filled pastas, I will be sharing my Stuffed Shells with you tomorrow using it. But it is also amazing for stuffing vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers. This Cheese Filling is just so delicious!  It is creamy and smooth, and just melts in your mouth.  And by adjusting the herbs and spices you can really give it a new flavor to work for many of your recipes.  Trust me, you will love it!

Simple Cheese Filling
Recipe courtesy The Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
1 1/4 cups grated Parmesan, Asiago, or fotinella cheese
1 generous cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
6 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Stir together everything but the egg in a large bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings, then add the egg.

Use this filling in any variety of filled and stuffed pastas. I love it for my Stuffed Shells!  But don't stop there. It is also a wonderful filling for vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini mushrooms and peppers.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A "New Day" for me

"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!" ~Dr. Seuss

"Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake" ~ Henry David Thoreau

“It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.” 
~Randy Pausch

prep, prep, prep! 

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else." ~Erma Bombeck

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want." ~Ben Stein

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.  ~Paulo Coelho

“Remember today, for it is the beginning of always. Today marks the start of a brave new future filled with all your dreams can hold. Think truly to the future and make those dreams come true.”

It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor. Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity. ~Horace

Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave. ~Mary Tyler Moore

"Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it." ~ Suzanne Weyn

Monday, October 1, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Happy 1st day of October!  Autumn is officially here, and I welcome it with open arms!  Time to bust out the afghans, cozy sweatshirts and sweaters, and snuggle with those you love.  And it is also the time to warm your insides with a nice warm bowl of soup.  This broccoli Cheese soup will do just that.  The Tobasco Sauce in the soup is just used for flavor, not for heat.  If you want it spicy, I like serving the bottle on the side so others can add as they like.  This soup screams for crusty bread so don't forget it!

Broccoli Cheese Soup
1/2 stick of butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup flour
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup half and half or whole milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Tobasco Sauce, a few dashes to taste (I used about 12)

Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium-high heat add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and allow to cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes more.

Slowly stir the half-and-half and chicken stock into the mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more. Once all the liquid is added,
stir in the broccoli and cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, allow the soup to simmer until the the cheese has melted completely, about 10 minutes. Add up to an additional 1 cup of water or chicken stock to reach your desired soup thickness.

If you like a thicker soup, remove 1/2 from pot, and puree with an immersion blender.  Once smooth return to pot and stir to combine.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese for a garnish. Serve with nice crusty bread to sop up every last bit of the soup!


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