Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Time with family

Hey there everyone! Did you have a nice Easter weekend? It was so nice here. Well, the weather wasn't, but the company was. My dad came to visit from Brooklyn, and my younger sister Kathleen and her family came too. They live near Philly so we don't get to see each other as often as we would like. This visit was almost canceled, in fact - my 6-year old niece became very ill last week with a kidney infection. She was in the hospital for a few days but was perfectly fine by Thursday. And they were able to visit! So we had extra blessings this year. Kids are so resilient, aren't they? My sister and her husband are also expecting baby #2 in September, and my brother-in-law and his wife are having their third in October. It's so exciting, I love being an aunt! So anyway, here are some Easter pics.

I haven't posted much lately, and I'm sorry about that...but honestly I don't have any crafty stuff going on. The past two weeks have been spent visiting and all that is associated with having guests/being guests. I made the Reuben Dip for Easter...oh it was sooooo good. I also tried a new appetizer recipe from Gooseberry Patch...here's the recipe, it's from Mom's Very Best Recipes.
Have you ever made little cucumber sandwiches? I've always enjoyed them at Teas, Showers, etc. but never thought to make them myself. Even the men gobbled them up!
I did want to show you these cute bags that the kids got from the Easter Bunny...sweet right? No I didn't make them!
How is the weather by you? It's in the high 70s and sunny here - perfect! I put the screens in the windows and the cats and I are enjoying the fresh air. Just waiting for the allergies to kick in!
Have a wonderful day!

♥ Jen

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Giveaway WINNER!

First of all, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! My random number generator (aka Annabelle) chose number 37, who is GERAE!

Gerae (info@geraelindsey.com) said...
The cinnamon rolls look yummy! I have the hardest time making them from scratch. This looks totally do-able!
Congratulations Gerae! Please email me your snail mail address, and I will send you your copy of "Quick & Easy Autumn" right away! Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to leave me a comment and enter the drawing...I will have more so please stick around!
I must apologize for not being around this past week. We went to my mother-in-law's to celebrate Passover and we just got back today.
Mason, Annabelle, and their two cousins we visited

We're having family come up this weekend for Easter, so I've got tons to do to get ready for that. Gotta cook, clean and do laundry. One of the recipes I'm going to make is Reuben Dip. Oh I love this! A get-together is a good excuse to make some yummy appetizers, right?
OK, I've got to go to bed...it's been a busy few days! Take care friends!

♥ Jen

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Quick and Easy Autumn" Cookbook Review and GIVEWAWAY!

Good morning! Are you ready for another Early Bird Gooseberry Patch cookbook review? Well then let's get started! "Quick & Easy Autumn" is all about my favorite season! It's not available yet but you can pre-order it from the link.
Now don't worry, there are lots of recipes in here that can be made year-round. In addition, this book has a lot of wonderful little stories, cooking suggestions, and adorable illustrations. I like to curl up on the couch with a Gooseberry Patch cookbook and read it.
In "Quick & Easy Autumn," I was particularly drawn to the breakfast recipes. The first one that caught my eye was "Easy as 1-2-3 Cinnamon Rolls." I love a good dose of carbs first thing in the morning! These are so yummy that you could even serve them for dessert too.
You will need: 1/2 Cup chopped pecans
20-ct. pkg. frozen dinner rolls (un-risen)
4-oz. pkg. instant butterscotch pudding mix, divided
1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter, melted

Note: I changed this recipe a bit. I thought about not changing anything, for the purposes of the review, but I don't think my changes are too drastic. I cut the recipe in half and made the rolls in a 8-inch round cake pan. I substituted french vanilla pudding for the butterscotch. And finally, no nuts. I think you know my family's no-nuts policy. So I will show you pictures of my cooking but keep in mind the recipe is for the original ingredients/quantity.

Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of a greased and floured 13" x 9" baking pan. Arrange frozen dinner rolls on top of pecans; set aside.
Measure out 1/4 Cup dry pudding mix from package; reserve the remainder for a future use. In a bowl, combine 1/4 Cup pudding mix, sugars and cinnamon; mix well...
 ...and sprinkle over rolls. Pour melted butter evenly over pudding mixture.
Let rise for 8 hours or overnight, uncovered, on kitchen counter. Here's what they look like when you wake up:
 Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. To serve, turn rolls out of pan onto a plate. Makes 20.

RECIPE REVIEW: Very tasty, and smelled delicious while baking. I love having breakfast all ready to go in the morning. And this was easily made for a school morning too. My family's used to cream cheese frosting on their cinnamon rolls, though, so next time I will add some when they come out of the oven. The cinnamon filling is fabulous.
In the breakfast spirit, I put this next recipe together one night and it was ready the next morning.

Overnight Maple & Fruit Oatmeal
You will need: 2 Cups milk
1/4 Cup maple syrup (the real stuff!)
1 Tablespoon butter, sliced
1 Cup long-cooking oats, uncooked (I used steel-cut oats)
1/2 Cup raisins
1 Cup apple, peeled, cored and chopped (two smallish apples)
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans (again, left these out)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

The night before, combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and mix well.
Cover and cook on low setting overnight for 8 to 9 hours. Stir before serving. Serves 8.
Recipe Review: Couldn't be simpler. The maple-cinnamon-apple flavor was very good. Some additional milk on top was delicious. Next time I will take the author's suggestion to use a plastic slow-cooker liner. I'm still trying to scrub mine out!

So would you like to win a copy of this book? Here's what you need to do: Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, April 19th. I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a name. Do me a solid and make sure I have a way to contact you...no contact info, no entry. Okay? Okay! Good luck and I hope you enjoyed my review!

♥ Jen

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Signs of Spring

Hey there, folks! I hope everyone is doing well. I'm watching a black squirrel trying to climb up the birdfeeder pole right now...there's a baffle near the top (a dome-shaped plastic thingy) that seems to be doing its job. He's cute but he can eat something else!
So what's new? I'm so glad the sun is shining today. It's been pretty gray and rainy lately; yesterday it even snowed a little! It's even getting up to 70 over the weekend, supposedly...that will feel awesome. Last weekend, we bought a basketball hoop for the kids and spent a few hours putting that together. Then Annabelle had softball evaluations, and she is very happy that she will be on the team she wanted. One of her best friend's dad is the coach...it helps to know people. LOL
I told you a few weeks ago that we were going to the maple farm, right? I have a few pictures. Here's the yummy buffet breakfast we had. With real maple syrup, of course!

Mason and I playing on the pirate ship playset.

Annabelle coming aboard.
It was freezing out so we didn't go on the tractor ride out to the sugarbush. But we've done that lots of times before so it was no biggie.
I also made some simple pillow covers over the weekend for the sitting room. We covered the couch in a denim slipcover; so the old greenish chenille pillows didn't work.
I made them very simpe...not even any piping...because the pillows themselves have piping and it would have been too bulky. I'm going to make some more in different fabrics too...you can never have too many pillows, right? If you're ever looking for a tutorial, this is the one I use.
I also got all the main blocks done for my niece's quilt. Now I'm working on the large stars. I think it's going to be super cute!
All right, I've got to get going and take some sinus medicine. Do you have seasonal allergies? Man, lately mine have been awful. I'm even more spaced out than usual. LOL Anyway take care and enjoy your day!!

♥ Jen