Sunday, February 28, 2016

"50 Sucks" Birthday Sucker Bouquet - (Simple Gift Giving)

Just had to share a fun gift I made for a dear friend's 50th birthday this week while here in Florida. 

It's simple to do...for beginning crafters. You could even watch tv while you're making it, it's really THAT simple. 

There are many tutorials and ideas at Pinterest..I just kinda ended up doing my own thing here. This was my first time making it so I'm also sharing what I would do differently next time....

Anything goes you know!!

I started with a $1 flower pot from Dollar Tree
50 Blow Pop suckers
(I preferred them because there's a 'twist' at the end that adds a bit of flare - Tootsie Pops work great also)
Styrofoam ball (6" was a tad large, but would be great if you're doing for 60 or 70 birthday)
large bow to cover empty spot at top, optional
sticker letters

I didn't take step by step photos, but simply began sticking the sticks of the suckers into the styrofoam...
starting toward the bottom and working up, leaving a bit of space in between each. 

(I saw a tutorial where they cut small pieces of tissue paper, crinkled them, then added them to fill in around the suckers with a straight pin...I simply didn't take the time).

 I also liked the idea of adding a layer or two of tissue paper over the top of the pot before setting the styrofoam ball on it to add some 'jazz' and cover the bottom of the ball. 

Another idea I saw after making this one, was to use a clear vase...fill it with bubble gum pieces (because 50 also 'blows'!=)...cover the top with plastic, glue a styrofoam shape to top and cover with suckers...very cute)

To fill in the top I just added a large bow....which I thought 'dolled' it up a lot. 

For the lettering, I bought stickers at the Dollar Tree, placed them on sticky labels, then cut to fit on the pot. You could also just apply to the pot or mug itself. 

(The lettering should probably be your FIRST step=)

And here is the beautiful recipient, Donna - who'd ever guess she's 50 huh?
We've known her since she was 9, and she's a very special woman.
We were so thrilled to be able to help her celebrate this special day!

Like I say, there's room to add more suckers, so even a 60th or 70th celebration would work using a 6" styrofoam ball.

Have fun - and help someone celebrate their special day with some giggles...
to sweeten up their celebration!

More gift giving ideas...

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Loaded Potato & Ranch Chicken Casserole & Weekend Potluck #211

Always so happy to have you here with us!


We're SO pleased to have Tina from Mommy's Kitchen joining us as our 5th co-hostess for Weekend Potluck! I've been enjoying her lovely recipes for a long time. Please welcome her and check out her amazing Minny's Chocolate Pie, one of our features this week...

Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Minny’s Chocolate Pie by Mommy’s Kitchen

Oatmeal Cream Pie Cookie Cake by Tornadough Alli

Strawberry Tea Punch by The Kitchen is My Playground

Featured Hostess Recipe ~

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FIVE blogs. Plus…


Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. 
    When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Banana Cream Pie Overnight Oatmeal Smoothie (Healthy)

If you've been with me very long, you know I'm a lover of smoothies...
and oatmeal...and make ahead dishes.

So when I saw this lovely intriguing recipe at Running with Spoons I just HAD to try it...

I often add oatmeal to my smoothies to help keep me feeling full, and I also loved the idea of soaking the
oatmeal overnight, so I added a tsp. of chia seeds too, as I often add them, but soak them for a few minutes first.  

I also added a little more cinnamon for my own personal taste...

This idea of prepping most of the ingredients before bedtime was a great invitation to me to try it.

I always have frozen banana slices on hand and love using almond milk (30 calories per cup of unsweetened!), so....away we went.

I really really enjoyed this, but did add more almond milk as it was too thick for me. Hubby prefers smoothies with fruit so this was not his favorite...but to each their own, right?

It's smooth, filling and very tasty...and good for you too.

Try it soon!


1-1/2 - 2 lg. bananas, sliced & frozen**
(**TIP below)
3/4 - 1 c. (unsweetened) almond milk
1/3 c. rolled oats
1 Tb. natural almond or peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chia seeds

Add all ingredients EXCEPT bananas to blender; cover & refrigerate overnight. 
In the morning, add the bananas, and blend until smooth for a frosty
creamy, tasty and healthy drink. 

**(When I have very ripe bananas, I cut them into slices on top of a piece of waxed paper on a plate or cookie sheet, spritzed with a little non-stick cooking spray.  Freeze until firm; place in freezer bags.  They won't stick together and you can add as many, or few, as you'd like.)

Linked to Weekend Potluck
Meal Plan Monday

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

 I've had dreams about making the best chocolate chip cookie!
 I could write a book about all the chocolate chip cookie recipes I've tried. 

If you have time for a story, this one comes to mind....
(otherwise, keep scrolling to the recipe=) 

In Sept 1987, I was hospitalized the night before I would be
 going into surgery the following day to have a slow-growing benign brain tumor removed..

We lived in WA state, where my hubby was stationed in the Air Force, and the military sent me to Denver, CO for the surgery at Fitzsimmons Army Med. Ctr. 

God had given me TOTAL peace...I was not afraid in the least.  I knew I would either die and go to Heaven to be with my Lord, or I wouldn't...I'd had a wonderful life up to that point, and God gave me that indescribable peace that can't be explained. 

Anyway, my first of 2 surgeries was 14 hours long ( a week later, I had a 9 hr surgery to remove all of the tumor, softball size) ....when I woke up in recovery, I saw my mama and my sweet hubby standing next to me...

My first thought (had tubes in my mouth and nose, so I couldn't speak - DRAT!) when I saw them was 'UGH....Now I can't finish baking my chocolate chip cookies!'

I had been dreaming I was making chocolate chip cookies, and when I woke up that was my first thought! 
(Guess that gives you a clue how peaceful I was feeling). 

Now I have a sis-in-love, Vicki, who is the 'cookie queen' in our kids have always raved about her choc chip cookies, and I understood why! 
And I can make her recipe, but it doesn't turn out the same as she makes them, so I continue to try...and try...and try again. 

So when I saw this cookie at Kim's Sunflower Supper Club....I, of course,
had to give them a try, especially since she decided this ONE was IT!

And I agree....I love a thick cookie that's crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside...

I revised them slightly by using just a little less salt & sugar...
Hope you'll give them a try too.  I find it interesting that Kim refrigerates the cookie dough on the cookie sheet before baking...must be a good 'trick' to know....


3-1/2 c. flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 c. (dark) brown sugar
(original recipe calls for 1-1/4 c.)
1 c. white sugar
(original recipe calls for 1-1/4 c.)
2 lg. eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 bag (12 ozs) chocolate chips, your favorite flavor

Preheat oven to 350. **See tip below

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. 

In large bowl, cream butter, brown and white sugars until smooth and combined. (Using a paddle attachment works best). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla and blend. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing on low until combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. 

Using a cookie scoop, about 1/4 c. in size, scoop cookies and place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate cookie sheet/dough for 30 minutes before baking. 

**(Now would be a good time to preheat the oven).   

Bake for about 15 - 17 minutes, or until they look almost done. Allow to stand and cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes, while they finish baking; remove to rack to cool.   

Kim says this dough freezes very well.  Shape into balls and place on a cookie sheet; place in freezer until frozen.  Remove and place in ziploc freezer bags. May bake from frozen state, adding a few minutes of baking time. 

Dough will be stiff so don't freeze the bowl full of dough. 


Linked to Weekend Potluck

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Black Forest Poke Cake &Weekend Potluck #210

We're always so happy you've stopped by...


When I share something worth sharing...again...

(Simple 4-ingredients fluffy & light biscuits!!)

Now, let's take a quick peek back at last week...

The recipe with the most clicks was...

Easy Lemon Lava Cake by Call Me PMc

Recipes that caught our attention ~

Coconut Cream Pound Cake by Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken by Table for Seven

Apple Cream Pie by The Backroad Life

Featured Hostess Recipe ~

Black Forest Poke Cake by Served Up With Love

Your hostesses ~

Remember that when you link up, it shows on all FOUR blogs. Plus…


Linky Guidelines:

If you wish to be a featured recipe or for us to promote your recipe either on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, you MUST follow these instructions.
  1. Please link up to your exact post and not the main page to your blog.
  2. LINK BACK HERE from your post so that others can find the fun. 
    When you are kind enough to follow our guidelines, we work hard to get you as much exposure as possible so that your time here is well invested. We want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lightly Candied Pecans

I'm usually trying to 'lighten' up a recipe, so when I see one already lightened, 
I HAVE to try it!

I do so enjoy candied pecans, but don't like all the sugar that normally comes with it.

And I LOVE that this is quick!

I found the recipe at Weekend Potluck when our faithful friend shared at
Mirlandra's Kitchen

Nuts are a healthy snack any time of day so do hope you'll give this simple
recipe a try.  You'll want to be sure to keep the recipe handy. 

I love that the recipe only takes minutes because it's cooked in a skillet on the stovetop...just melt butter and add brown sugar...and it's fast. 

Mirlandra created this recipe so you can click on the link below to go to the recipe for ingredient measurements and simple instructions.

You're welcome!!


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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cream Cheesey Corn Bake (Crockpot or Oven Options)

I think most people have their favorite variety of a corn bake...or cornbread pudding, or whatever you may call it. 

The mixture of a jiffy corn muffin mix with corn, eggs, and sour cream.
Such a simple recipe...mix and bake. 

This recipe intrigued me because it has cream cheese instead - 

(hover over photo to pin)

This recipe was exceptional to me for a couple of reasons.

Not only was it the FIRST recipe I made in my new 9" X 13" crockpot...
I got the recipe from another cookbook author here in the RV park where we are spending the winter.  This is her THIRD cookbook...with very simple recipes, just like I love....some are the same ones I have on my blog, or already in my cookbook.

So I knew I could trust Carol with this change, using cream cheese, and I'm so glad I tried it.  I took it to a park potluck and this is what I came home with...

It is absolutely delicious and moist. 


4 ozs. cream cheese, room temp
3/4 c. milk
3 eggs
1 pkg. Jiffy cornbread mix
1 (15 ozs) can corn, drained
1 (15 ozs) can creamed corn
1 c. shredded (cheddar) cheese
(I used cojack)

Spray 9" X 13" baking pan with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350.
(Or spray 9" X 13" crockpot)

In large bowl, combine cream cheese with milk, then blend in eggs.  Add remaining ingredients. 

If baking in oven, bake about 35 minutes; remove and serve warm. 

If baking in crockpot, turn on high, bake for just about 2 hours. 
(Mine baked just over 2 hours). 

This was a special dish I plan to make again and again.

Linked to Weekend Potluck
Full Plate Thursday
GBP Roundup - Crockpot
Meal Plan Monday
Whatcha Crockin Wednesday

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Leader Enterprise - February 2016 - Showing Love & Chocolate Recipes

Happy (Belated) Valentine's Day to all of my family and friends! 

Here's a few easy ideas to help you celebrate Valentine's Day with matter what...and no matter who.  You don't have to have a 'sweetie' to celebrate this day of love. Showing a good friend or family member by giving them some personalized time can make a difference in their day...their world. And in yours too!

- Have dinner and a movie in. (Kind of a no-brainer huh?) Enjoy some candy conversation hearts after the meal to get some conversation going. Make time to reminisce. 

- Make personalized ice cream by stirring favorite treats into softened ice cream, then come up with a fun name for your new treat. 

- Throw an after-dinner fondue party for couples or single friends. You can never go wrong with chocolate. Dunk brownies, marshmallows, strawberries, dried apricots or graham crackers. 

- Have your guests make their best dish and enjoy a potluck with friends or family. Tie a ribbon around a few (red of course) lollipops to make a 'bouquet' to send home with each person. 

- If staying in with family, eat by candlelight and have everyone dress up in their best. The kids will get a kick out of seeing you in your 'fancy dancies'. 

This recipe is fun for the kids to help with. And it's "Da Bomb"! Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread usually found near the peanut butter. 


1 (8 ozs) refrigerated crescent rolls (8 count) 
(Pillsbury makes a crescent roll sheet now that would make it easier)
2/3 c. butter
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. chopped nuts
3/4 c. nutella, warmed
**see note below( or use 1 c. semi sweet chips instead...

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll crescent dough into 2 long rectangles. Press in an ungreased 10" X 15" jelly roll pan (you need sides), sealing perforations. 

In small saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar ; boil for 1 minute. Pour evenly over dough. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 14 - 16 minutes or until golden brown. Warm nutella in the last few minutes of baking so it drizzles easier. Immediately drizzle top with warmed nutella - using a fork. (**Or you may sprinkle 1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips over the top, letting them melt for a few minutes. Spread slightly.) 

Cool completely; cut into bars. Yield: 40- 48 bars 


3 Tb. butter
1/3 c. baking cocoa
3 Tb. all purpose flour
3/4 c. white sugar
(may use part xylitol if desired)
2 c. milk, divided
2 tsp. vanilla extract 

Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat. Mix in cocoa, flour and sugar. (Using a whisk works best). Slowly pour 1 cup of milk into the skillet and whisk well to remove lumps. Whisk in remaining milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, being careful not to scorch. Stir in vanilla until smooth. Serve hot over biscuits.


3 Tb. cornstarch
5 Tb. baking cocoa
1-2/3 c. water
1 (14 ozs) can (fat free) sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tb. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 baked pie crust or graham cracker crust

In medium saucepan, mix cornstarch and cocoa together; add water and stir until smooth. (a whisk works great). Add sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks.  Place over medium heat on stove; cook and stir constantly, until thick. Add butter and vanilla; stir until well blended and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly and then pour into pre-baked pie crust or enjoy as pudding. Top with whipped cream or make meringue from leftover egg whites. 

I Corinthians 13: 4 - 7 -
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Easy Cream Cheese Mints

If you're looking for something last minute to make for Valentine's Day, here you go!

I have been making these mints for many years.  At home, in Ohio, I have little
rubber molds that I make into adorable shaped mints, but here in Florida,
I have to make do. I just pressed a fork on top for a little 'design'. 

I didn't want to purchase a bottle of red food coloring for just a few drops, so I went with leaving them white.  These can be colored...and are great to make pink and/or blue for baby showers. 

I also didn't want to purchase a whole bottle of mint extract, so I used
2 drops of doTerra peppermint essential oil. IMHO, I think the flavor
is perfect. 

This easy recipe has cream cheese, extract and powdered sugar! That's it.
You can roll the balls in granulated sugar to make them sparkle, and it helps them not to stick to the waxed paper. 

I have always let them set on the counter to dry for 24 hours or so, (turning over halfway) but you can also refrigerate them if you're in a rush. Remove from waxed paper when dry and refrigerate. 


4 ozs. cream cheese (1/2 of an 8 oz. pkg), room temperature
1/4 tsp. mint extract - 
(I used 2 drops peppermint essential oils)
(or rum or strawberry - you choose)
few drops of food coloring, optional
1 lb. powdered sugar
(about 3-1/2 c.) 
granulated sugar for rolling

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper; set aside.

In small bowl, combine softened cream cheese with extract, and food coloring, if using. (You can mix with mixer, but I mix by hand with a fork). Stir in half of the powdered sugar;
mix until combined, then blend in remaining powdered sugar, adding a drop or two of milk if necessary to make a smooth rolling consistency. Mixture will be dry. 

Roll into balls, using about 1/2 tsp. of dough (you want them small), then roll around in granulated sugar. Place on prepared cookie sheet; press down slightly with heel of hand, and then use a fork to make a design on top, or just use a fork, going both ways (like a peanut butter cookie design) 

Allow to dry on counter for 24 hours, turning over halfway, or place in the refrigerator for a few hours to dry.  Place in covered container and refrigerate. 

Linked to Weekend Potluck

You might also like...

No Bake Reese's Peanut Butter Squares

Slow Cooker Fudge (made with honey)


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