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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Baked Sausage and Pepper

A bit back I shared a delicious crockpot recipe for brats in the crock. I loved it and from the many likes it got so did many others. So today I share another great one  that I love. When the summer time is here we often visit festivals and fairs and I often order a sausage and pepper sandwich. One of the easiest ways to remake this great taste at home is this recipe. I hope you enjoy as well

Sausage and Peppers

Yield:  4 – 6 servings                Cook Time:  2 hours

1 package of your favorite sweet or hot Italian sausage (about 2 1/2 pounds), per your taste
3 large sliced onions
3 large red or green bell peppers cleaned and cubed (I use red peppers because they become so sweet)
1/4 cup water
Fresh and crusty Italian bread

Cut sausage links into thirds or quarters.  Place onions, peppers, sausage and water in a disposable aluminum half tray pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven.
After about 1 1/2 hours, uncover the sausage and peppers.  The onions and peppers should have reduced in volume quite a bit.  Return the tray to the oven for another 1/2 hour to brown a bit.
Slice a hunk of Italian bread and then slice in the middle and spread apart.  Place a good portion of the sausage and peppers in the center of the sandwich, squeeze the ends together and take a big bite.
This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.

recipe source here

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Give the Gift of Life

National Blood Donor Month is recognized in January when donations are usually low and need is high as blood banks try to keep shelves full of life saving products.  It took 18,678 donors to produce the 33,937 pints of blood and 6,636 units of platelets we collected during 2012.  That may sound like plenty of people to provide what we need, but new donors are always needed to replace those who can not give for some reason.  All holidays impact donor availability as people travel and go on vacation, but winter illnesses and bad weather also take a portion of the regular blood donor population out of service temporarily.  So, it is very important that new donors step forward at this time, or that established donors resolve to come back more often throughout the year.


Friday, January 9, 2015

Check out the produce aisle

Starting the year off on a healthier note? Check out all the great fruits available to you. Currently in our area there are no farmer markets open but in just a few months (remember spring starts in less than 10 weeks) there will be farmer markets open once again and I love to eat home grown food. In the meantime I will take my time enjoying my tour around the produce aisle at the grocery store.

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Easy Step by Step guide to Apple Rings

I love apple season and each year we make so many goodies. While checking out pinterest today I found this awesome step by step for apple rings and I so wanted to share with you all. Check it out here

So many Cakes Princess Would Love

Don't you just love the things kids say? I often think their thoughts are quite true and very often very humorous. One thing that my grand-daughter Princess does not understand is that we only have a birthday one time a year. Each year we have a blow out birthday party for her and each year we have a lot of fun but every since birthday number 6 she has been ready for birthday #7 so I though when I was browsing pinterest that I would take a look at a variety of birthday cakes and here are my top 3 favorites. There are so many others on there I will have to do this again some other time. Have any idea for a princess who will be 7 , loves ladybugs and frozen? Share it with me would love to see it and visit me on pinterest as well.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

snow ice cream

The weatherman said that snow is in store for us here at home in the near future. So we prepared getting the shovel, salt and boots ready. We did one other thing as well. We made sure we had the ingredients for one of our seasonal favorite treats

Snow Ice Cream 8-10 C Clean Snow
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together and serve. Enjoy!

** To make mint ice cream, add 1/4 tsp mint extract and 3/4 tsp vanilla extract

*** We added sugar sprinkles just for fun!

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Peanut butter Play Dough

It is way too cold out side to do anything fun and with time on our hands we had to find something to do fun inside. Our kiddos here love to play with play dough but snack as well. I had a great idea lets put them together and make some play dough that they can eat. Yes that's right I did say eat like in peanut butter play dough.

To make you will need
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c honey
2 c powdered sugar

Mix all in a bowl and that's it ready to play with and snack Its easy to store as well simply pace in an airtight container or plastic baggie with all air squeezed out.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

January is cervical cancer awareness month we must all do our part to fight, support and offer hope to those affected. Cervical Cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix (the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina) grow out of control. Cervical cancer can often be successfully treated when found early. So with many other cancers early detection saves lives. Cervical cancer is found at very early stage through pap test. Pap test are considered one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests as it looks for precancerous cell changes on the cervix. Many recommend that pap smears begin at the age of 21 or the age that one first has sex depending on which happens first.

Cervical cancer is leader of cancer deaths in women. Death can be avoided though through screenings and vaccinations. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a major risk factor that leads to cancer in women. HPV cause warts to appear on different parts of the skin or around genital organs. Young women are more exposed to HPV than older women, women who have healthy immune systems are less exposed to such type of infections but every year thousands of women are affected by this virus which leads to cancer. There are no signs or symptoms in early stages, but begin to appear in the later stages. Pap smears are the test that will detect early signs of cervical cancer.

Women ages 21-29 should be seen for pap test every 3 years
Women ages 30-65 should have both pap test and HPV test every 5 years
Women who have abnormal pap smear should go through further testing including repeat pap test or colposcopy which allows a closer look of the cervix.

  More information at National Cervical Cancer Coalition

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Three Kings Day and Cake Recipe

Three Kings Day is celebrated January 6. Also known as epiphany Spain as well as many Latin American countries do not celebrate December 25 as the day that children are given gifts. It is instead January 6th or Three Kings Day that is celebrated with gifts it is the same day that commermorates the wise men coming to see baby Jesus and bring their gifts of three.

Children put shoes stuffed with grass for the king's camels under their beds. The grass is replaced with gifts left by the three kings the next morning. On this day as well a feast is prepared. An oval wreath shaped sweetbread decorated with candied fruit with a plastic figurine of the baby Jesus is hidden inside. The baby jesus being hidden in the cake symbolizes the real baby Jesus hiding from king Herod.

King Cake
Recipe adapted from All Recipes

1/2 cup half and half
2 T butter
1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce)
1/3 cup warm water (approx 110 degrees F)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
Zest of 1 lemon

Scald half and half over medium heat, remove from heat and add butter.  While mixture cools, stir together warm water, yeast and 1 T of the sugar in bowl of a stand mixer and let stand until foamy.  When half and half mixture is cooled, add to yeast mixture.  Add remaining sugar and egg and beat until well incorporated.  Add salt, nutmeg and flour one cup at a time.  Stir in lemon zest and switch to dough hook attachment.  Knead with dough hook for about 5-7 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  It will still be fairly sticky.  Oil a deep bowl and transfer dough to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until doubled in size. 

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup melted butter
2 T bourbon
1/2 cup raisins

Combine bourbon and raisins in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon and flour and then stir in melted butter. 

Punch down dough and turn out onto a heavily floured surface.  Roll dough out into a large rectangle about 12x16 inches.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread filling mixture over dough in a thin layer leaving about a one inch edge free around the whole rectangle.  Drain raisins and sprinkle over filling.  Begin rolling dough like a jelly roll from the wide edge.  Roll tightly and transfer to baking sheet.  Form dough into an oval, seam side down and pinch edges to seal.  Using a sharp knife or cooking scissors, cut slices into top of dough about every two inches approximately 1/3 of the way through dough.  Cover with a towel and let rise an additional 45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake approximately 30 minutes until golden brown. 

2 cups powdered sugar
2 T lemon juice
2 T half and half
3/4 cup demerara sugar
Food coloring in green, yellow and purple

Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and half and half until smooth.  Pour over cooled king cake.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar and a couple drops of yellow food coloring and stir together.  Transfer to a small bowl or plate.  Add 1/4 cup sugar and a couple drops of green food coloring and stir together.  Transfer to a small bowl or plate.  Add last cup of sugar and purple food coloring and stir to combine.  Sprinkle sugar over icing as desired.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Vegetarian WInter Meal --- Vegetable Soup

1 oz. (about 1 cup) dried porcini mushrooms or other dried wild mushrooms
3/4 cup unsalted cashews
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
3 rutabagas, peeled and finely chopped (or substitute carrots)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives

 Put mushrooms in a bowl, cover with 1/2 cup boiling water and set aside to let soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cashews and two cups broth and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Pour cashew mixture into a large saucepan and add rutabagas (or carrots), onion and remaining four cups broth. Remove mushrooms from the bowl with a slotted spoon, cut them into bite-size pieces and add them to the pot; carefully pour in the liquid the mushrooms soaked in, being sure to leave behind any grit that has settled in the bottom of the bowl. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat; then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until rutabagas (or carrots) are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add bell pepper and lemon juice and simmer 3 minutes longer. Serve garnished with chives and lemon zest

recipe source here

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Snowflake Math --- Learn to Count

Winter is here I am sure that we are all aware of that. It is in this time period where we normally start to see snow. So bringing together the weather and learning skills in this little project come normally.
Super cute craft and math idea to help teach numbers to young children or reinforce the skill is found in these cute little snow flakes. I was able to find snowflake cutouts in the dollar tree and wal-mart store before. If you can not find them it is simple to cut a snowflake shape out of poster board or foam. The learning part is found when you write the number in the middle of the little snowflakes and offer the child pompoms to glue on to the snowflake. This allows them to count and see the written number as well. I have found that my grand-daughter princess learned to count fairly easily but it was matching that number up to the written form of the number that took more work. Have fun and let the learning begin.

resource here

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Help Feed our Feathered Friends --- National Bird Day

Today is the 13th annual National Bird Day. Birds provide a natural beauty in both song and flight. They are the inspiration of many humans in poem, song and art. Today more than ever 12 percent of the world's 9,800 bird species may face extinction in the next century. One of my favorite birds the parrot has 330 species on the list. Reason for extinction are due to the stresses of illegal pet trade, disease and habitat loss. It is through national bird day that the hope of drawing public awareness and education about the physical and behavioral needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of  birds kept in captivity. Birds have did so much for us it seems like our duty for the public to be educated and offer support for the conservation and survival and well being of the worlds birds.

Celebrate National Bird Day by offering the birds a special treat that you make for them.

empty toilet paper or paper towel rollspeanut butter
bird seed
ribbon or string for hanging

1. Spread peanut butter onto the roll (it doesn't need to be perfect).

2.  Have the kids roll the toilet paper roll in the birdseed.

3. String a piece of ribbon through the roll.

4. Hang on a tree for the birds to enjoy
resource here
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Corn Tortillas with Shredded Chicken

My bunch really loves the spicy side of life and I truly love the easy way of life. This simple recipe fulfills both of those. Oh my how tasty this would truly be to share easy to make easy to eat and the spice would be there as well. Enjoy the simple side of eating

corn tortillas with shredded chicken

corn tortilla
Cooked chicken, shredded
Taco sauce
shredded cheese
sliced tomatoes

Mix the flour, water and oil until it forms a dough. Knead until smooth. Pinch off golf ball sized globs and roll on a floured surface until flat. Place on a hot griddle or pan and flip after a minute or so.

Place shredded chicken, chopped lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on top. Top with taco sauce. Yummy!
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Garden Work at Winter Time

The garden is one place where there is always work to be done. Even with the cold ice and snow there are things you can do to work in your garden.

Snow or ice on trees and shrubs may damage evergreens. You can help to prevent this by brushing the snow or ice gently off. Shaking the branches may cause them to break so this must be done gently. If you find the ice and snow frozen on the branches then it should be allowed to melt to avoid damage.

It is better to have the broken limbs that were broke due to ice and snow removed at once as soon as weather permits. The hanging branches may be a danger to those who pass by. The tree will also be allowed to heal better in the spring if the wound has been cleaned..

Warm spots in the middle of winter where the weather seems to warm up for a few days may awake some plants. You will need to check on the roses to ensure that they are covered properly.

The inside plants that bloom around the holidays will have to be monitored as well. These plants love to be in cool rooms where there is lots of bright sun. Some do better in bright son others not so well so do your research and be aware. It is best to keep these plants out of drafts to keep them in good health.

Winter is the perfect time to scan through the seed catalogs and get your order in. Ordering early will help ensure you get what you want and in the right time.

 With all the work there in the garden to get done the long winter may not seem so long Enjoy your winter and prepare for spring

resource here

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