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Friday, December 31, 2010

Key Lime Cake

- 1 package (18.25 oz) lemon cake mix

- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

- 4 eggs

- 1 package (3 oz) lime Jell-O

- 3/4 cup orange juice

green food coloring (optional)


- 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), softened

- 1 package cream cheese (8 oz), softened

- 3 tablespoons lime juice

- 4 cups powdered sugar

green food coloring (optional)

Container: 9x13 cake pan, 2 medium mixing bowls, hand mixer

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Add 3 drops green food coloring if you want a more intense green color.

Bake according to directions on box (25-35 min.). Cool.

Frost with frosting and refrigerate.


Beat butter and cream cheese together. Add juice and powdered sugar. Blend with mixer until smooth.

recipe source:

1. How long does your Christmas tree stay up?

it stays up through new years and possibly a few days after then it comes down

2. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?

family, friends, fun, food are in the plans nothing definite

3. Do you have any New Year's resolutions?

learned a long time ago to set goals rather than resolu

4. How did you spend New Year's Eve when you were younger?

with family with good food tv and some fun playing games

5. What was the best way you've ever spent New Year's Eve?

first new years eve with hubby it was so very romantic 6 months later we were married

Hamburger Helper Gives Back and A Giveaway

While many of us are preparing feast that will be enjoyed tonight to celebrate New Year Eve there are hundreds of others that are worrying about what their next meal will be. Approximately 5.7 million individuals receive emergency food from the group Feed America any given week. To help raise awareness about the national issue of hunger, Hamburger Helper is partnering with Tim McGraw to help Feeding America deliver millions of meals to local food banks through the Show Your Helping Hand campaign.

I so love to see when musicians, athletes, and others use their popularity to help a cause that helps others. I was so happy to see that the Grammy Award winner Tim McGraw one of my favorite singers/actors take a stand against hunger. McGraw has lent his voice to the campaign through a Public Service Announcement through a Public Service Announcement which will be distributed nationwide. We can also support the campaign by submitting codes from specially marked boxes of Hamburger Helper at or by logging on to make a donation. Through this program Hamburger Helper who has all ready donated half a million dollars will donate up to an additional 100,000 to Feeding America through this program. Don't cut yourself short because every Hamburger Helper code you turn in represents 17 cents and is enough for Feeding America to deliver one meal to a local food bank. You can enter and win an autographed copy of Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice" CD by visiting

We received the above prize pack from MyBlogSpark and Betty Crocker and one of Annie's Home readers has the chance to win a prize pack just like mine.

To enter this giveaway you must be a public follower of my blog and share with me a great idea of how to give back

Extra Entries:
  • subscribe through my blog through reader or email (2 entries each)
  • follow my blog on twitter (2 entries)
  • tweet about this giveaway (1 entry per tweet unlimited)
  • comment on any post on my blog (1 entry each)
  • share this giveaway on facebook, your blog etc.. (5 entries each) leave link in comment
Giveaway starts now and ends January 14, 2010. Good Luck Email must be in comment or on blog profile

we received the above mentioned prize pack for review purposes The thoughts and opinions are those of mine alone.

Celebrate Its A New Year

sharing at Ring in 2011 blog hop hosted by of mice and men

New Years Eve Aloha Friday

Wow!!!  Can you believe this is the last Aloha Friday the meme hosted by the blog An Island Life , a place where bloggers ask other bloggers simple questions that require simple answers, in 2010? Wow!!! The year was one that had many great moments and then again some not so great moments. But we will still celebrate tonight as we gather together to chat, eat and have some fun at my house. My Aloha Friday question for you is;

Will you stay in or go out New Years Eve?

Follow Friday 40 and over

The other day I was having a conversation with one of my girlfriends and the subject of age came up. I myself turned 40 just a few months ago and my friend is not there as of yet. I said it is not so bad if you have friends that are the same age as we always make each other feel good. So today I am looking for a few more friends who are 40 and over to keep the excitement alive in my life. If you stop by here please leave a comment as I will follow you back.

Super Quick and Easy Holiday Salsa

This recipe from Southern Living 2007 is a tasty and tantalizing treat that will get your guest in a festive mood. Easy to throw together at the last minute as well

Stir together 1 (10-oz.) jar pepper marmalade, 2 cups diced mango (fresh or refrigerated), and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 3 days.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Black Eyed Peas Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup recipes

2 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed or pink-eyed peas, shelled (3 cups)*

3 cups water

2 large beef bouillon cubes

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 (16-ounce) package kielbasa, sliced, browned, and drained (optional)

Bring first 4 ingredients and, if desired, sausage to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 40 minutes or until tender. Serve with Sweet Onion Relish.

*1 (16-ounce) package frozen black-eyed peas may be substituted. Reduce cooking time to 30 minutes or until tender.

Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken and Stock

1 (5-pound) chicken, quartered

6 cup(s) water

6 cup(s) low-sodium chicken broth

4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 large stalks celery with leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 small parsnips, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges

8 large sprigs flat-leaf parsley

3 clove(s) garlic, smashed


2 cup(s) baby carrots, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces

1 cup(s) sliced celery

1 cup(s) parsnip, peeled, diced

1 tablespoon(s) kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground black pepper

8 ounce(s) 8 ounces dried kluski egg noodles, (about 2 2⁄3 cups)

2 tablespoon(s) chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring chicken and water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart stockpot. Skim off and discard foam from surface of water; add broth and remaining stock ingredients. Bring to a second boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is tender, about 50 minutes. Remove chicken to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones; discard. Shred meat; set aside. Strain broth through cheesecloth-lined sieve into clean pot; press solids to extract liquid. Stir baby carrots, celery, parsnip, salt, and pepper into broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 6 minutes. Stir in noodles; continue to simmer 4 minutes. Stir in chicken and parsley. Remove from heat and let soup stand 10 minutes, or until noodles are just tender.

Caramelized Onion dip

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

kosher salt and black pepper

1 8-ounce bar cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

thick-cut potato and vegetable chips, for serving

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a medium bowl, mix together the onions, cream cheese, sour cream, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Serve with the chips.

Great finds on other blogs

As it stands here in Illinois we are in the middle of winter. Even on a day like today when the temps are above 30 degrees and it seems as if after going through snow, ice and cold temps that we may be experiencing a heat wave we all know that winter is still here. The time for planting and spring will be here soon and the time for planning is at hand now. If you are ready to plan what you will do in your 2011 garden perhaps you should take a look at this free planning guide from the blog Little House In The Burbs. Another great thing to know is when the last frost is expected in your area this frost guide will help you with that as well

If you love photography and you are looking for some great collage templates then you can find a couple of free templates over at June Lilly Studio simple to use

Don't Miss These Coupons

Here are some super printable coupons you wont want to miss
Kraft shredded cheese and deli slices
Kraft shredded with a touch of Philly
$1/1 coupon
.50/1 coupon

Tyson Chicken $1/1
Hershey Syrup
xtra laundry
Wonka $3/2
Chex cereal .50/2

Martha White $1/4
Country Crock .60/1

Hunts diced tomatoes $1/3
Kraft cheese $1/2
Musslemans Apple Sauce $1/2
Jimmy Dean Coupons

instant wins:
herbal essance
coca cola

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winner Alert

We have a winner for the Agoo Leggings and the winner is:

Julie said...

I follow you on twitter


clenna said...

+2 I "Like" Agoo on Facebook

Don't forget to enter the Old El Paso giveaway which includes a $10 gift card that ends Jan 5, 2011

You Can Freeze It

We were discussing great buys and freezing products when you buy in bulk the other day. Many of those listening were suprised what could be frozen and had no idea for how long it could be done. Here is a short list of products you can freeze and for how long

Chicken broth, three months

Coconut (grated), two months

Gingerroot, two months

Hard cheeses (such as Parmesan, Romano, Cheddar, and Swiss), six months

Milk, one month (Freeze the carton upright.)

Nuts, two months

Pancakes and waffles, one month (Reheat these straight from the freezer.)

Rice (cooked and frozen in small portions), one month

Tomato paste, three months

Unsalted butter, six months

Smarty Rents Promo Code for New Users

Did anyone get a new LeapFrog or VTech gaming system for Christmas? is a great, inexpensive way for families to provide their children with a variety of educational games without the high cost of buying a game only to have their interests change before you’ve gotten your monies worth. an educational video game rental company featuring LeapFrog and VTech games.

We RENT games for eight game systems including the new Leapster Explorer, Clickstart, Leapster, Didj, V.Smile Baby, V.Smile, V.Motion, and also new Mobigo. All games are available to rent including those no longer available on the market for purchase. Families can choose one of several SmartyRents rental packages to meet the individual needs of all children in the family. Our company works similar to Netflix in that customers choose from a variety of game titles with no late fees that are shipped free, directly to their door.

SmartyRents would like to offer your followers a promo code worth

1 FREE month of the 1 Game at a Time package or $9.99 towards the package of their choice.

This offer is for new customers only.
Promo Code: xmas
Expires: 2/28/11

Quick, Yummy and Good Dessert Perfect for the New Year

2 cups HONEY MAID Graham Cracker Crumbs
1 cup PLANTERS COCKTAIL Peanuts, chopped, divided
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
4 eggs
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

HEAT oven to 350ºF. LINE 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides. Mix crumbs, 1/2 cup nuts, 1/4 cup sugar and butter; press onto bottom of pan. Bake 10 min. MEANWHILE, beat cream cheese, remaining sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. Pour over crust. BAKE 35 min. or until center is almost set; cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours. Top with remaining nuts and caramel topping. Use foil handles to lift cheesecake from pan before cutting to serve

Recipe Source : Kraft

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes

nonstick cooking spray

1 14.5-ounce box gingerbread or spice cake mix (plus the ingredients called for in the package directions)

1 8-ounce bar cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sliced candied ginger


1.Heat oven to 350° F. Coat 36 mini muffin tins with the cooking spray.

2.Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

3.Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the frosting and top with the ginger.

recipe source: real simple

Lazy Lasagna Bolongnese

Impress your New Year Eve guest with this easy to make Lazy Lasagna Bolongnese

1/2 pound mushrooms

1 onion (1/2 lb.), peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped parsley

1 pound ground beef chuck

1/2 pound mild Italian sausages, casings removed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce

2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth

Béchamel sauce

1 box (9 oz.) oven-ready dried lasagna

About 1 1/4 cups shredded parmesan cheese (about 5 oz.)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Rinse mushrooms; trim off and discard discolored stem ends. Thinly slice mushrooms. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, combine mushrooms, onion, and olive oil. Cover and stir often over medium-high heat until mushrooms are juicy, about 4 minutes. Uncover, add parsley, and stir often over high heat until vegetables are lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Pour mixture into a bowl. Add beef and sausages to pan. Over high heat, crumble meats with a spoon and stir often until well browned, 10 to 15 minutes; discard fat. Add mushroom mixture, thyme, vinegar, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and broth; stir until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Spoon 1 cup béchamel sauce into a shallow 9- by 13-inch casserole (3 qt.) and spread evenly over bottom. Arrange 1/4 of the pasta evenly over béchamel sauce to cover as much of the casserole bottom as possible. Spoon 1/3 of the meat sauce over pasta in casserole and spread level. Drizzle meat sauce with about 1/2 cup béchamel and sprinkle with about 1/4 cup cheese. Cover cheese with another 1/4 of the pasta and top with another 1/3 of the meat sauce, 1/2 cup béchamel, and 1/4 cup cheese. Arrange a third layer of pasta over cheese and cover with remaining meat sauce, 1/2 cup béchamel, and 1/4 cup cheese. Cover with the last 1/4 of the pasta and spread remaining béchamel over pasta to moisten evenly; sprinkle with remaining cheese and the nutmeg. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake in a 350° regular or convection oven until sauce is bubbling vigorously and pasta edges are beginning to brown (lift a corner of foil to check), about 40 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes; cut into rectangles and serve with a wide spatula.

Recipe Source: My Recipes

New Years Eve Good Luck Food

New Years Eve will find us eating cornbread, beans, spinach, slaw, and some great desserts the reason we eat the same the first of every year Here are few more recipes that I found on Vocal Point that are meant for good luck.

Creamy Grape Salad

Sure, you could just stick 12 grapes on a stick and call it lucky. But how fun is that? Whip up this creamy and fresh dessert instead. Each grape represents one month of the year—some grapes (and months) are sour, others are sweet. Grape growers in Spain started the tradition in 1909, and would eat 12 grapes before midnight. The tradition spread to Portugal, Cuba, Mexico and Peru. Make grapes your lucky fruit of the night!

8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 pound green grapes
1 pound red grapes
6 ounces of slivered almonds

Stir the cream cheese and yogurt to combine in a large bowl. Gently fold in the grapes until they are covered. Sprinkle on the almonds. Substitute with walnuts or any other nuts you have left over from the holidays.

Spicy Noodles with Citrus Fruit

Asian countries eat long noodles on New Year’s Eve for good luck, so serve this sweet and tangy recipe at your New Year’s dinner. Dried rice noodles are great, but if you have any stir-fry noodles around or even plain spaghetti, go ahead and use that—we won’t tell!

1 package dried rice noodles
1 orange
1 tangerine
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
2 tsp honey
½ tsp salt

In large pot, boil 6 cups water. Add noodles and cook until tender. While they cook, peel citrus fruits and cut into wedges. Put in large bowl. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water, then combine in bowl with fruit. In medium bowl, whisk sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, honey, and salt until mixed. Taste-test the sauce (it’ll be strong, but it will mellow out in the noodles) and adjust ingredients to taste. Drizzle over noodles and fruit and serve.

Spicy Maple Cashew Popcorn Snack

This delicious snack is one that would make a great indoor out of the cold weather sit and watch T.V. sort of snack. The delicious popcorn mixed in with a bit of spice and maple with cashews makes the perfect delight for the family to share. I can remember many nights when my mom would make up a popcorn snack and we would sit snuggled on the couch under covers as we enjoyed a delicious snack of popcorn together.

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (about 6 cups popped)

1/4 cup dry-roasted cashews

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Heat canola oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. While saucepan heats, line a jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; set prepared pan aside. Add popcorn to oil in saucepan; cover and cook 2 minutes or until kernels begin to pop, shaking pan frequently. Continue cooking 2 minutes, shaking pan constantly. When popping slows down, remove pan from heat. Let stand 1 minute or until all popping stops. Stir in cashews. Combine sugar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool 1 minute. Pour hot syrup mixture over popcorn mixture; toss well to coat. Immediately spread popcorn mixture out onto prepared jelly-roll pan. Cool 3 minutes.

Make Your Own Fruit and Caramel Dippers

My granddaughter is hooked on McDonalds Apple Dippers and when riding in the car these are easy for her mommy to pick up for a quick snacke but at home here is a quick recipe that they often use.

8 oz. cream cheese
 2 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar

Beat cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy

Turtle Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup unsalted butter

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup toffee-and-chocolate baking pieces (such as Heath or Skör)

Heat oven to 350° F. Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly dough is formed. Press the dough firmly into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake until just golden, about 13 minutes. Whisk together the condensed milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Sprinkle the pecans, chocolate chips, and toffee pieces evenly over the filling. Bake until the filling is set, the edges are golden brown, and the toffee is melted, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Cut into 32 bars.

recipe source: my Recipes

Mini Peppermint and Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes (under 100 calories each)


1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (such as Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers; about 22 cookies)

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

Cooking spray


12 hard peppermint candies, divided

2/3 cup (5 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 large egg whites

1 large egg

1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed

2 tablespoons chocolate sprinkles


Preheat oven to 325°.

To prepare crust, combine the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Press about 1 1/2 teaspoons crumb mixture into the bottom of each of 48 mini muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 325° for 5 minutes.

To prepare the filling, place 6 candies, fat-free cream cheese and the next 6 ingredients (fat-free cream cheese through sour cream) in a food processor; process until smooth. Stir in minichips and peppermint extract. Divide the filling evenly among prepared crusts. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes or until done. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove mini cheesecakes from pans, and cool completely. Top each mini cheesecake with 1 teaspoon whipped topping. Crush the remaining 6 candies; sprinkle the crushed candies and chocolate sprinkles over the cheesecakes.

Recipe Source: My Recipes

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Missing you all

I am with my children til Wednesday with no real internet connection. When I get back I will update you all and hopefully have lots of great new ideas, thoughts and information to share. What do you think?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together peanut butter and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in chocolate morsels. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 to 14 minutes or until puffed and lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets on a wire rack 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes.

Breakfast Casserole

I love Breakfast Casseroles in the winter time. They are so super easy to put together and bake the next morning.

1 lb. bacon

1 tbsp. butter

2 onions, chopped

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 pinch dried parsley

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 in. casserole dish. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. In a separate skillet, melt the butter and fry onions and mushrooms until tender. Place potatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Top with bacon, then onions and mushrooms. In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk and parsley. Pour over casserole. Top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set. If preparing and baking the same day, cook for 45 minutes

What we will be eating December 27 - Jan 2

This will be a busy week for us. It is the week of the youth encounter in Springfield so for 3 days we will be gone there leaving tommorow about noon. While we are gone oldest son and hubby will munch on leftovers Then when we return the plan is as follows

Th 30 stuffed shells, garlic bread, salad, pudding
F 31 New Years Eve there will be a lot to eat this night because I will make up plenty of good snacks (more on this later)
S 1 New Years Eve dinner slaw, ham n beans, cornbread, spinach, and special dessert
S2 & M3 clean the fridge day what ever is left in there will be fixed one way or another to clean fridge for next large shopping trip

Legendary Teena Marie Dies 12/26/2010

Christmas IS Very Vivid

I am participating in Photo Sunday and the keyword is Vivid: the definition for vivid is:

•graphic: evoking lifelike images within the mind; "pictorial poetry and prose"; "graphic accounts of battle"; "a lifelike portrait"; "a vivid description"

•having the clarity and freshness of immediate experience; "a vivid recollection"

•bright: having striking color; "bright dress"; "brilliant tapestries"; "a bird with vivid plumage"

•intense: (of color) having the highest saturation; "vivid green"; "intense blue"

With that in mind I thought I would share pictures of my niece and nephews at Christmas

also shared on Christmas 2010 @ 5 minutes for mom

Acting Balanced

Hi There Monday Blog Hoppers

 I am joining in on this Meet me Monday Blog Hop. I am looking for new friends as well as more blogs to read. I love to read blogs because I have really got some wonderful ideas, advice, recipes and more from blogs. If you happen to hop by my blog please leave a comment I will follow you back

Old El Paso Taco Night with Giveaway

Living in a house of five teens one learns to play the game of give and take. One area that is in much demand is the area of what to eat. We have a grocery budget that we try very hard to stay on while trying to offer our children their favorites. Old El Paso is one product that we look to often for their great products and prices.  The great thing about Old ElPaso is that all of us can be happy with a simple meal and a couple of times a month we plan a "Taco Night". Old El Paso offers a variety of seasonings, sides, sauces, and meal kits, refried beans, seasonings mixes, shells, taco sauce, and salsa. Tacos have come a long way from the public school version of meat, lettuce and cheese on a shell that I grew up with as a kid. Old El Paso now offers seasoning mix selections that include flavors like Burrito, Cheesy Taco, Chili, Fajita, Taco, Mild Taco and even a seasoning with 40% less sodium.

Looking for a delicious way to please your family and friends? Why not try a new recipe:

Serve up some Double Layer Tacos using Old El Paso taco shell with a tortilla layered on the inside to create the "double" in beef and bean stuffed tacos. Looking for a great recipe for Chicken with the flavor of Mexican? Then why not try the Chicken Ranch Tacos using precooked chicken. You can find other great recipes and ideas on the Old El Paso website. My Blog Spark has offered a coupon for .60/2 coupon for any Old El Paso product  Whether you use your old traditional recipe or you try a new recipe or flavor from Old El Paso family "taco night" is sure to be a hit with the family for all.

We received a very nice package of goodies from My Blog Spark and Old El Paso. Our package included:
•a packet of original Old El Paso Taco Seasoning

•a Cactus Chip and Dip Serving dish

•a set of 3 Fiesta Chili Pepper serving dishes

•a $10 gift card to purchase your taco fixings.

Want to win a package just like the one I received? You are in luck because My Blog Spark has allowed me the chance to give one of Annies Home readers their very own "taco night" prize pack like I received.

To Enter this giveaway first you must answer this question what is it that you like to put on your taco.

Extra Entries:
  • follow my blog
  • subscribe to my blog through feed or email (2 entries each) if in email please leave email address in comment
  • follow me on twitter (2 entries) leave your twitter name in comment
  • add my blog button to your blog located on left side bar (5 entries) leave link where you place it
  • Blog about the giveaway link back to this giveaway (5 entries) leave link in comment
  • leave comment on any post (2 entries) let me know which ones in comment
Giveaway starts now and will end January 5, 2010. Good Luck Email must be in comment or on blog profile or entries will not count.

Peppermint Meltaways

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornstarch


2 tablespoons butter, softened

1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

2 to 3 drops red food coloring, optional

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies


In a small bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in extract. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, extract and food coloring if desired; beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies; sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

recipe source: Taste of Home

Use for Leftover Ham

If you are anything like me then you have ham leftover from the Holiday dinner. If you do or if you are looking for a simple supper then try this Ham and Swiss Loaded Potato from my recipes

4 baking potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup diced 33%-less-sodium ham (about 6 ounces)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided

1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Pierce potatoes with a fork; arrange in a circle on paper towels in microwave oven. Microwave at high 16 minutes or until done, rearranging potatoes after 8 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Cut each potato in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch-thick shell. Combine potato pulp, ham, 1/2 cup cheese, 1/3 cup green onions, sour cream, and pepper.

Spoon the potato mixture into shells. Combine 1/2 cup cheese and remaining green onions, and sprinkle over potatoes. Place potatoes on a baking sheet; broil 4 minutes or until golden.

Butterscotch Chex Snack Mix

I love chex mix snack mixes because they make alot and are also economical many offer the sweet and salty in a snackmix together. This recipe I found on Eat At Home Cooks is a great one that you may like to try as well

cinnamon graham crackers, broken into bite-size pieces (I used two of the 3 packs that came in the box)

1 large box of rice chex cereal
a generous cup of pretzels
1 cup pecans
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1 bag butterscotch chips

Combine the crackers, pretzels, nuts and cereal in a large bowl. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and honey together. Drizzle this over the mix and stir to combine. Put it out onto two large cookie sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Stir several times during the cooking. (Warning – cereal dropped on the oven burner stinks)
Cool the mix completely before stirring in the butterscotch chips. Store in an air tight container.
also shared on Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory blog MyMeatlessMondays

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Did you know..... Christmas Movies

Did you know that the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" was not meant to be a Christmas movie. It was released in May because it was believed more people see movies in the summer. The studio’s PR department was given the difficult task of marketing a movie about Santa Claus while trying to keep the fact that it was a Christmas movie secret. It ended up getting nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and did win the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay, among others.

The character of George in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" was originally created to star Cary Grant, not Jimmy Stewart but Frank Capra rewrote the roll for Jimmy Stewart The movie was also the first to use blown snow rather than cornflakes painted white as was appropriate for the time period This movie was a flop in 1946 not even making back the money it used to make the movie. It was the popularity of t.v.s in the homes that the movie "Wonderful Life" was proved perfect for

The next movie is the favorite of my church music ministers. "A Christmas Story" was developed by the same director of the movie "Porky's" Jack Nicholson had an intention of playing the "Old Man" but the studio was not too keen on paying the actor's fees which would have been much higher. The home used in the movie "A Christmas Story" was sold in 2005 and a fan bought the house on EBAY for $150,000 and then spent another $5,000 to restore the exterior to look like the house in the movie The house is now a museum in tribute to the movie


What A WOnderful Night

This video is very moving and while I planned to share the song Silent Night Holy Night I decided to share this video instead I also shared the words to one of my favorite Christmas songs. I share with my first graders about the angel talking to Mary and Joseph but I am not so sure if we can totally even as adult fully understand how they must have felt as they played such grand roles

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child

Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!

Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!

Christ, the Saviour is born

Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night

Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nutritious Christmas Snack

I happened to be on Twitter when Family Fun sent this link through. They are terrific snacks that I believe are perfect for Christmas

Low-fat cream cheese

Water crackers

Colorful veggies (such as peas, diced peppers, carrot slices and broccoli stems) 

Spread low-fat cream cheese on water crackers, then top each with colorful veggies, such as peas, diced peppers, carrot slices, and broccoli stems

sharing on a chic on a shoe string

Potato Apple Gratin

3 eggs

3 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

2 pounds Granny Smith apples (unpeeled), cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded

1/4 pound Parmesan, grated


Heat oven to 400º F. Coat a 3 1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside. Arrange a layer of slightly overlapping potatoes in the casserole. Cover with a layer of apples and sprinkle with a third of each cheese. Pour a third of the egg mixture on top. Make 2 more layers. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.) Bake, covered, 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.

shared on momtrends and Breast Feeding moms Unite 

Potato Apple Gratin

3 eggs

3 cups buttermilk

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices

2 pounds Granny Smith apples (unpeeled), cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded

1/4 pound Parmesan, grated


Heat oven to 400º F. Coat a 3 1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside. Arrange a layer of slightly overlapping potatoes in the casserole. Cover with a layer of apples and sprinkle with a third of each cheese. Pour a third of the egg mixture on top. Make 2 more layers. (Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.) Bake, covered, 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Orange Dreamsicle Fudge

I just love fudge it is so good but oh so sweet When I was growing up I only thought there was one type of fudge and that was moms chocolate Now that I am older I realize that there are so many other different types I hope you enjoy this fudge recipe for Orange Dreamsicl Fudge

34 Cup Butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3 cups sugar

1 5 oz can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)

1 12 oz package vanilla chips

1 7 oz jar Marshmallow Crème

1 ½ tea. orange flavoring (extract)

Orange food coloring

3/4 Cup Butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3 cups sugar

1 5 oz can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)

1 12 oz package vanilla chips

1 7 oz jar Marshmallow Crème

1 ½ tea. orange flavoring (extract)

Orange food coloring

Butter a 13 X 9 or 9 X 9 pan. On MEDIUM HEAT, melt butter in heavy 3 quart sauce pan. Add sugar and milk, stir until combined. Cover pan to wash down sides of pan. Remove lid. Stir often with a plastic or wooden spoon to prevent burning. Heat to a Soft Ball Stage, 234 degrees at sea level. ** Decrease recommended temperature 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet above sea level, or use a cold water test. Remove from heat, gradually stir in chips until melted, add marshmallow crème and flavoring. Stir until combined. Pour half of the fudge into the butter pan. Add orange food coloring to the remaining fudge, stir to combine. Pour orange fudge over white fudge. With a knife swirl the two colors together. Let cool at room temperature. Cut into squares to serve.

** Strawberry and Cream, just use strawberry extract and red food coloring

** Chocolate Fudge, just use semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of vanilla chips. Use 1 tsp. vanilla extract instead of flavoring. Add 1 cup chopped nuts, if desired.

** Candy Cane Fudge – Add 1/3 Cup crushed "soft" candy cane, then use peppermint extract and red food coloring.


Tracking Santa

It seems as if this is the Christmas at our house that there are no little children. To me children help make the Christmas season extra bright. My sister in law and brothers children will be home with their parents waiting for Santa to come for a visit and Princess will attend church tonight with her family and be at her home I am not sure if she realizes all about Santa or not but yet she will be nestled in her bed waiting to open presents in the morning as well. This year our youngest at home will be 17 years old, not much of a baby anymore. When they were little though it was a blast we would have to check radar on the internet to see how close Santa was to the house and as it grew closer to bed time the times for checking grew in occurance.

My Aloha Friday Question for you is:

Do you and your child have any system for checking for Santa and his reindeer?

Aloha Friday is hosted by the blog An Island Life each friday and is a place where bloggers can visit and have fun by asking easy to answer questions that require easy answers

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tame Those Tantrums During The Christmas Break

We have all been there when the youngest among us have had enough and start to melt down, when the word no does not agree with their ears and/or when the world seems to be coming apart for the youngest among us. The worst outcome is the dreaded temper tantrum the one where the wailing and fit starts and does not stop until we are finally able to calm them down. Here are some tips to help you avoid a disaster such as this:
  • it is very important for you to keep your cool. If you melt down along side of them who is going to be there to pick the pieces up? Stay there and talk calmly to your child attempting to walk away from your child may leave them feeling as if they have been abandoned which will just add to the problem
  • Remember you are the adult and should stay in charge. Allowing them to persuade you to give into their screams and demands will only add to a later problem as this can become learned behavior.
  • When the storm is over remind them that you love them and even though things did not work out the way they wanted it to life is still good and they are still loved
  • Know your child beware of times of extra stress , moments of being overtired, or just being overwhelmed. take a short time out where they can regain composer thiswill not only help them by allowing them to maintain their own behavior but the whole group in the long run

Perfect Giveaway for Baby

I have shared with my readers all about my little Princess and now some of you may have read about my new bundle of joy to arrive soon as well. I must tell you that the products on the market for babies are so much more than what used to be there when my children were small. Zooper is a wonderful company that makes great products for little ones. The blogs Thanks Mail Carrier and A Moms Balancing Act are each hosting giveaways sponsored by Zooper for the hook on chair there will be 5 winners at each blog. Yeah!!! More great chances to win I woudl love to be able to give my daughter one of these most functional hook on chairs as they do a lot of activities at church, schools etc... and could use one of these

Giveaways end January 7, 2011

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giveaway To Help Keep You Warm

In our family you will find coffee drinkers, hot chocolate drinkers, hot sweet drink lovers and some even like hot apple cider. But often you will not find two individuals together wanting the same hot drink That is why I love the Tassimo T20 Right now Leslie at the blog Leslie Loves Veggies is hosting a giveaway where a lucky individual will win the Tassimo T20. Giveaway ends January 12, 2011

Ways To Teach Children about Christ at Christmas

Matthew 1:18 - 2:23

Teaching children the true Christmas story is a very important lesson in our family and can be very fun as well. A few ideas to do this is

A regular devotion time is a perfect time to share with your child about the first Christmas. Sharing stories, asking questions and holding discussions can help them understand even more. Share with your child the characters who were involved with the Christmas story from Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus to the wisemen and shepherds and of course the angels that announced his birth. Ask them questions about the story and have them to tell you the story using their own words. You may want to include these two verses into your lessons
Isaiah 9:6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:11 The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!

Decorating for Christmas also offers opportunities to teach and learn. The Christmas tree itself points to heaven and stands for eternal life. Lights on the tree help us to recognize that Jesus is the light of the world. The baby jesus was presented presents at his birth and we can exchange presents to help children understand God's greatest gift. Having a nativity in your scene can help tell the story of that first christmas

Take the opportunity to have the whole family participate in activities. Watch videos together, take in a christmas movie such as Narnia, Attend a church Christmas service as a family and listen to and sing Christmas songs together.
Keep the meaning of Christmas clear throughout the holiday season by frequently commenting, "Christmas is a happy time because it celebrates Jesus’ birthday."

Bake and decorate a birthday cake for Jesus. Children will understand that because Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birthday there should be a cake. Sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and plan together what your family can give him for a gift of love.

Hold a Happy Birthday Baby Jesus party for the family. On this day do something special for other members of the family, perhaps adopt a needy family or child during the holiday to help out with Christmas. Make cookies or dinner to deliver to an elderly relative, shut in, expecting mother, etc... Take can goods and personal items to a food pantry or shelter.

shared at internet cafe

we are that family

Giveaway For Safety Sakes

With one little one all ready here and another on the way my daughter often has her thoughts on safety and taking care of my grand babies. One feature that she often has checked is the car seats to make sure they are all working well. Safety checks with car seats are a wonderful idea to ensure that the children riding in them are safe. A new car seat from time to time when needed is nice as well. Dee from the blog Two of a Kind Working ON A Full House is hosting a giveaway sponsored by Evenflo where the prize is a

 Evenflo Momentum65 Convertible Car Seat The giveaway ends January 3, 2010

Christmas Lights Display

shared at A Southern Day Dreamer for Outdoors Wednesday

Totally Into Decorating

shared at 5 minutes for mom and Two of A Kind Working On a Full House and momstart

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Totally Tuesday Blog Hop

Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop I am participating in the totally Tuesday Blog Hop. If you happen to stop by Thanks please follow my blog where I share lots of tips, recipes, reviews and giveaways. Please leave a comment and i will come see you at your blog and follow as well

Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree

Every since my children were old enough to eat and have Christmas memories I have always made a Cinnamon Roll Christmas tree for them to enjoy Christmas Morn. This year will be no different all though they are all grown the little child in the still desires the old way of doing things

12 frozen cinnamon rolls

toffee bits
maraschino cherries

Center one roll near the top of a large sprayed baking sheet. Arrange rolls in three more rows 1 inch apart, adding one roll to each row, forming a tree. Add two rolls to the bottom to form the trunk. If using Any Time! rolls, bake according to package instructions. For traditional rolls, cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. When cool, decorate with icing, toffee bits and cherries as desired.

shared on Toot Your Horn Tuesday