Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Crock Pot Pumpkin Bread

I can safely say I never dreamed I'd be using canning jars to bake bread in.  Let alone use canning jars to bake bread in a crock pot, but here I am.  I was flipping through the pages of the new Gooseberry Patch Slow Cooker Fall Favorites cookbook and saw these autumn recipes for bread baked in the crock pot.  And while some of the recipes are baked right in the crock pot a couple of the recipes were baked in canning jars in the crock pot giving you nice sized loaves to eat, freeze or give away as gifts.  So with a little hesitation I mixed up the batter, poured it into wide mouth jars, covered and baked and as you can see below the bread turned out great.  They turned out so great, that I am baking up crock pot canning jar bread loaves all week long and sharing the recipes here on the blog.  And at the end of the week I'll be giving away a copy of this brand new cookbook.  
The loaves come out of the jars with ease and taste great and are sure to hit the spot this fall.  The mixes make a couple of loaves so you can eat them right away or share with a friend or neighbor.  Just think how cute these loaves would look in a gift basket.  And by using the crock pot my kitchen stays nice and cool without firing up the oven.  So without further ado... here is the recipe for Crock Pot Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Touring the National Mustard Museum

It's surprising how many times over the past few years, while I'm making small talk with people and I mention that my husband is from Wisconsin.... the destinations and locations people reference.  I couldn't even begin to count the number of times various people tell me about little places, restaurants, museums, parks and other random touristy type places that they have been to or enjoyed visiting when they were in Wisconsin last. Numerous times I've heard "the next time you are up there you need to go to...."  And it ranges from everything like microbreweries to festivals, landmarks and even little mom and pop chocolate shops. So I feel it only fair to warn you that I have a Wisconsin Bucket List.  Yes, that's right.  I have compiled a list of places to see in Wisconsin and when they turn out to be really great places then I figured I would share them with you on the blog and today I am sharing Number 17 on my list....the National Mustard Museum.
Now I have quite the fondness for ketchup but a museum dedicated to mustard... with a gift shop and tasting bar??????   This I had to check out!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Spy Themed VBS Decorations & Crafts

We recently got done with VBS at our church and I thought I would share some of the decorations and craft ideas I had the kids do; as they could easily be done for any spy themed party or craft project.  I had Kindergartners and our classroom was called the Laboratory, because any good detective knows the lab is where most of the clues are discovered.  For room decorations I choose the James Bond opening sequence swirl for signage with cute messages like "Restricted Area" "Authorized Personnel Only" "Top Secret" and "Security Clearance Required." I used red and black as my colors and had red and black balloons hanging from the ceiling. There were pictures of test tubes, beakers, microscopes and magnifying glasses on the wall. 
Each day one student got to reach through the "laser beams" to open the safe to find that days clues and evidence.  I used bungee cords and a ho-la-hoop for the make believe lasers and a safe which opened by pushing a button to store our "confidential documents" in.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Green Bean Delivery & Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Zucchini!  In a cake!  With Chocolate!!!
Yes, Please!!!!!
Now what if I told you that Zucchini could be delivered right to your doorstep?!?!

Well today I'm sharing a recipe for Ott, E's favorite all time cake... Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake.  I am not joking when I tell you I make this cake at least 5 or 6 times a year for him.  But before I get to that let me tell you about a local food delivery service that you can subscribe to and receive a one-time discount just for being one of my Latte' drinkers (aka reader).

Green Bean Delivery brings organic foods sourced from Midwest farmers and artisans (whenever possible) directly to your home.  The company provides a year round subscription service so residents can enjoy fresh produce with ease.  As much as I love visiting the local farmers market sometimes their hours are not convenient with my schedule and Green Bean Delivery makes it easy to get on line, select the items and amounts you desire and then have it delivered right to you.  While they offer seasonal produce, additional items such as meats and eggs can be purchased as well.  Green Bean Delivery is currently offered in select locations in Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky.
I was happy to see this green bin arrive at my doorstep and inside found a cooler and ice pack with my order that I could customize to meet my family's taste and preferences.  While this time of year kale, onions and lettuce were offered, I deleted those items and doubled up on the strawberries and blueberries.  So for $35 I recieved 1 cantaloupe, 1 garlic bulb, 1 lb. of green beans, 2 (6 inch) zucchini, 24 oz. of red potatoes, 12 oz. of blueberries, 1 lb. of red grapes and 1 lb. of strawberries.  The zucchini, green beans and potatoes were all locally grown.  And the zucchini was used in my cake recipe which I'll get to if you keep on reading...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pool Party Punch

Every now and then you need a go to punch recipe, whether it's for a bridal shower, birthday party, or just a family get together and here is a great recipe to use.  I found the recipe in Gooseberry Patch's Grilling and Campfire Cooking Cookbook and I'm drinking them out of these new Mason Jar drinking glasses from Ball.

The Ball Drinking Mason Jar Glasses come in two sizes; 16 oz. with a regular mouth lid and 24 oz. with a wide mouth lid.  Both glasses have a handle and the traditional Ball jar markings and rings at the top for lids. And while you can drink out of the jar very easily just like any other glass, Ball makes straws and Sip lids for these drinking glasses.  Simply use your traditional rings to hold the lids in place and stick your straw down inside for a country style drink.

The lids and straws can also be used with regular canning jars as well and are sold for both regular mouth and wide mouth jars.  They are BPA free and I found the straws to be a heavy duty plastic and to be white with a green stripe. These jars are sold 4 to a box and are sure to add some country charm to your evening dinner table or next get together.
 And now for the drink recipe...

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Italian Hamburgers with Red Gold Tomatoes

I'm partnering with Red Gold again to bring you a great summer burger recipe you can make on the grill that contains... what else but Red Gold Tomatoes?!?!  And also, your chance to win a Red Gold Prize Pack. 
Red Gold is hosting the Summer Grilling Party II from June 25th through July 23rd on Facebook.  Simply like their FB page and be entered to win one of 4,000 Red Gold Red Aprons or their grand prize of a Big Green Egg Grill.  Each week they release new Red Gold Burger recipes featuring all their great line of canned tomato products.  And here is a version of one of their recipes that I am sharing for Italian Hamburgers.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Apple Butter Cookies

I said it before and I'll say it again I love making Apple Butter in the fall.  Seriously, I could make apple butter every single day and be quite content and happy.  I love the smells, I love the flavors and I love eating it.  But I'm also adamant that apple butter be used for more than just biscuits and toast. There are so many flavors and spices going on in apple butter that it needs to be used in more dishes and yes... even desserts.  So by tweaking a simple snickerdoodle recipe I give you great tasting apple butter cookie.  One that is soft and moist and gives off a bit of apple flavor which you won't be able to resist.  (See how I couldn't wait to take a bite out of this one?!?!)  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo & a giveaway

Growing up in northern Indiana I had been to the Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo a couple of times, but it had been a good 15 years since I had been there.  So needless to say, I was excited to take MacchiOTTo there to see the animals.  As she knows many of the animals by name and knows the sounds that they make, so it's fun to see her recognize and point out things throughout the zoo.
First off I have to say how great it was to have lots of shade trees at this zoo.  The animal exhibits were built in and around big trees which help to keep the visitors cool on warm summer days.  The landscaping in and around the animals was really beautiful to see and there were lots of flowers, waterfalls, and plant species to enjoy along your walk throughout the zoo.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cheeseburger Crescent Rolls

I'm all about having a diverse selection of meals to make for quick weeknight dinners.  I like to make things that are familiar but made different ways just to keep our dinner table menu diverse.  So last night I made a Cheeseburger Crescent Rolls.  There are 5 ingredients in this recipe and can be made relatively cheap.  So your stomachs will be full, but your wallet won't be empty.   

I bought 1 lb. of hamburger for $2.99, a tube of refrigerator crescent rolls for $1.89, a package of shredded cheese for $2.50 and then used ketchup and relish which I already had in my refrigerator.  So for less than $2.00 a serving I fed a family of 4.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Foolproof Family Recipes Cookbook Giveaway

All week long I've been sharing recipes out of the new Gooseberry Patch Foolproof Family Recipes Cookbook.  I may have gotten a little carried away as I made 6 recipes out of this book is less than a week.  Five I blogged about and one I posted pictures of instagram.  And, while I'll probably continue to cook more out of this book... I realized I needed to pause long enough to give one away.  And today, is that day, so check out the sample of recipes that I did share and then feel free to enter the giveaway and win a copy for yourself!!!!!
In case you couldn't tell by all the cooking I've done out of this book, I state it here... this is my favorite Gooseberry Patch Cookbook to date.  I was really impressed by the variety and uniqueness of the recipes in it.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Lemony Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I've always been a big fan of lemon flavored baked goods, so when I was flipping through the pages of Gooseberry Patch's "Foolproof Family Recipes" cookbook, and came across a recipe for Lemony Iced Oatmeal Cookies... you know I earmarked that page and it was one of the first things I baked out of this book.  I love the warm and hearty flavors of the oatmeal cookie paired with a lemon flavored icing.  It seems to give your traditional oatmeal cookie a little zip and zest.  


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Broccoli & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

I have made stuffed shells several times and several different ways, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I had ever made stuffed shells with an Alfredo sauce instead of a Marinara.  And while I was a bit skeptical at first... to my surprise the Alfredo really complimented the ricotta and broccoli nicely.  Overall, I'd say this recipe was a big hit with the family and will probably be making it again soon.  

One tip I have to pass along on this recipe if you have a picky eater in your house is to put your broccoli in a blender and chop up fine before adding to your ricotta mixture. This helps hide and flavor the broccoli so they won't mind eating it!  And, like I've been sharing all week, this recipe came from the new Gooseberry Patch Cookbook "Foolproof Family Recipes" which has a lot of great recipe in keep coming back each day as I will be giving away a copy of this new cookbook at the end of the week!
 
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