Saturday, March 30, 2013

Carrot Patch {Easter Treat}

It is time for Easter already and a simple Easter treat is always welcome at my house.  Here is one that I made for Miss Priss' class on Friday.  Like the other Easter treat that I made for her class, this one is easy to make, I already had most of the ingredients at home to make it and it is one of my favorites too!

I like too that I can have a good chocolaty treat and still feel okay about eating it when i use skim milk, light Cool Whip and reduced fat Oreos.  I know you are laughing, but makes me feel better and that is all that matters right?
Carrot Patch Easter Treat
Servings: 10-12
You will need:
  • 2 cups Oreos (about 20)
  • small amount of orange icing or white icing and orange coloring
  • decorating bag with round tip
  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 2 boxes chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • individual containers or plastic cups
  • edible green grass or green fondant
Put the Oreos in a Ziploc baggie and roll with a rolling pin to crush.  Do not try to hammer them or bang on them or you will create holes in the bag which will then leave crumbles all over your counter top and not only does this leave a huge mess, but then you have less cookies to eat!  :)
Mix the pudding and milk together with beaters just like you would if you were making pudding.  I did mine in two separate bowls because I made part of the batch with Almond Milk so that Miss Priss could have some since she has a sensitive tummy and we try to stay away from milk and cheese.
Fold in the Cool Whip until well blended and then sprinkle about 2/3 of the crushed Oreos into the mixture and stir again until well blended.  There is the dirt for your carrot patch!  (Or any other veggies that you might want to plant in your dessert)
Pour into individual cups or containers and top with the remaining Oreo crumbles.  Since I did this for a group of one-year-old babies I only filled them about 1/3 of the way full and so I got 12 cups from this batch.
Looks yummy already and we still have some more sweets to add to it!  This is the point at which we will then add our carrots to the patch.  If you wanted to make a simple summer treat such as a Father's Day themed or boys birthday party you would add gummy worms to make 'Worm Dirt'.  This is the recipe that we see most often, but isn't really Easter themed.
This would be a great way to use up some left over icing if you have any from a previous project, but I did not and so I mixed some orange frosting for the carrot tops and put it into a decorating bag with a circle tip.  Any size circle will be okay depending on the size of your carrot, but you don't have to buy a new one just for this one project.
Pipe in a circle in the center of each treat container in order to create what looks like the top of a carrot.  If you make it and it doesn't look big enough or you have a lot of icing left over you can always go back and make it bigger.
 I was unable to find edible grass, which would be the easiest way to create the leafy part of the carrot and so I rolled out some green fondant and cut into small strips.  I cut three for each container and let them sit overnight.  I bought the already colored fondant and it doesn't seem to bleed onto the rest of your treat even after a few days, but I have had fondant do that before when I colored it myself so be aware of that possibility.  If possible, it would be best to put the fondant on right before serving or transporting your Easter treat.
Carrot Patch treats are ready to eat and oh so yummy!  Even though you are eating treats that are themed for the modern aspects of the holiday, don't forget what Easter is all about!  Have a blessed holiday!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Goldfish Carrot {Easter Treat}

We all have those times that we need to make something cute fast for a school party, a family get together or a church event.  Well, that was me on Wednesday this week when I received a phone call from my hubby while on a work trip in North Dakota (not especially close to my home in Oklahoma) asking me what we should sign up for to bring to the Easter party on Friday.  And I wasn't even coming home until Thursday night...yikes! 
This was also Miss Priss' first Easter party and so I wanted to make sure that we did our part to make it special...even it if was me and dad that were going to be the ones to remember this special day!
I wanted it to be something special for Easter and something that wasn't all sugar.  I figured that someone would be bringing cupcakes and other sweets and I wanted to do something just a little different.  These are one-year-olds too, by the way.
I did my usual searching on the internet and decided on two things that are easy to make and don't take a lot of time either.  I had already helped my mom plan for something similar for her church and so I thought I could handle this fairly quickly...and there are only ten kids in the class and so that made this even easier to pick something cute and creative without running out of time.
If you are still trying to think of something quick for Easter Sunday, here are two great, quick and easy ideas for you.  Most of what you will need can be found in your pantry or home already and the rest can be easily improvised from other items or picked up at a local store.
Goldfish Carrot Easter Treat
You will need:
  • Goldfish crackers
  • icing decorating bags
  • ribbon & scissors
  • green tissue paper 
Start by filling your pastry bags a little more than half way with Goldfish crackers.  You may need to strategically place the first one in there and make sure that you get it down into the bottom of the bag before filling the bag the rest of the way up.
When you have determined how many bags you are going to fill you can then cut the 'stem' of your bags, which I did from tissue paper.  You can skip this step and use a green ribbon on the steps below or green pipe cleaners, but I only had white ribbon on hand and I had a few recycled sheets of green tissue paper so this was the easiest option for me.  I was originally going to just use the ribbon and then came up with this afterwards.
Cut the tissue into a few small squares that fit into the size decorating bags that you are using.  I cut the first one as a long piece and folded it in half to give it a fuller look and then I used that one as a template to cut the rest of my tissue the same size.  You can see too that I used different colors of green...not that I particularly wanted to do that, but I ran out of dark green tissue paper and the light green was my next best color. :)
 I then bunched up the top of the bag and placed the green tissue paper in the top.  I had my husband hold it for me so that I could get my ribbon tied on tightly.
And that is it!  I arranged them into the Easter basket Miss Priss was taking to school which made a cute little party decoration too by the way!  Since there were several snacks there and these are such young kids, I just put one in each of the kiddos cubbys to take home with them.  That was more perfect that I thought it was going to be!
I am glad that I was able to come up with this idea so quickly.  I had planned to create some little tags to go with them, but got busy and ran out of time, so this will have to do for this year.
You still have a few days to go out and get some supplies if you want to make this quick and easy Easter treat!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt {Printable}

Spring is here!  Spring is here!  Today is the first day of spring! 
I am soooo ready for some warmer weather and am also soooo glad that it is not dark when I get home now.  I like to be able to do some things outside when I get home and the weather here in Oklahoma has been so great this week!  I am looking forward to some more great weather and working outside in the garden in preparation for this summer.
The start of spring and being able to spend time outside reminds me that it is almost time for Easter and I know that there will be a lot of Easter Egg Hunts going on over the next two weekends.  I just love holidays and this year my mother asked me to help her with some ideas and printables for her Easter celebration at church and while we were brainstorming and searching the internet for ideas I decided to make a simple, but cute Easter Egg Hunt printable.  The colors that represent are so pretty and it is one of my favorite holidays. 
I didn't have time to make anything extravagant, but with the help of Photoshop I was able to come up with a few different colors and designs for my Easter Egg Hunt printable.  All of the images below are designed for printing on a regular 8" x 10" sheet of paper and can be downloaded using the link below each image.  Whether you like pink, blue, green or purple there is a printable in all colors.  These printables would also be cute in a simple white frame and used for a decoration as well!
Feel free to use any of these printables for your Easter celebrations and decor!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Patty's Day Hair Clips

St. Patty's day is almost here and I am ready to celebrate with my green on.  It isn't everyday that you can wear that much green and get away with it!  I saw a cutie headband with some felt shamrocks on it and I immediately wanted to make it for Miss Priss...and then I remembered that she won't wear headbands and will only wear hair clips and bows for a little bit before she rips them out destroying the hard work that I did trying to get those teeny tiny strands of hair up in the first place!

I pick my battles when it comes to fixing her hair and save those ponytails for special occasions until I can get her to keep them in longer.  This is a fun day and even if she only keeps them in long enough for a picture that will work for me. 

They are super easy to make and I already had all of the supplies and so I went ahead and made them, even though I may end up being the one wearing them before the night is over! Sigh...

St. Patty's Day Shamrock Hair Clips
You will need:
  • pieces of felt
  • needle  & matching thread
  • scissors
  • hot glue gun
  • alligator hair clips
Pick out your felt in the colors of green that you would like your shamrocks to be cut out of and pick thread that matches the felt colors that you picked out. 
Cut a 4" x 1" piece of felt for each color that you want to make.  Each piece will make one shamrock.  You can cut one slightly smaller if you want to vary the sizes so that they are not the same.  Cut each piece into 4 equal sections.  If you use the measurements I did then you will cut every 1" across the piece of felt.
On one size of the square round the edges as shown in the picture below.  They dont have to be can round them and correct your cuts as much as you like once the shamrock is complete. 
Insert your needle as shown below into the first piece of felt. 
Using the same needle and thread do the same to the next three pieces of felt.
Pull the thread tight until your pieces of felt begin to form a circle in the middle (or start to look like a shamrock!)
Pull them together as tightly as you can so that you can not see through the middle of the shamrock.  and fasten off your thread on the back side by weaving it in a out of the felt and tying knots.  Dont cut your thread just yet though.
This is what they will look like once they are done.  You can now use that extra thread to attch a cute button in the center or a pearl or a small ribbon or anything else that you might have laying around.  After much debate, I chose to leave my like they are and so I just cut off the remaining thread.
I then hot glued them to my alligator hair clips and that was it!  (I will have to get a good picture, as I seem to have lot the ones I took of this part of the tutorial.) 

You can then attach them to a headband or just put them in your hair directly like I did with Miss Priss here.
This tutorial shows you how to make a headband, but since Miss Priss won't wear headbands, I wanted to create mine as hair clips.  The shamrock tutorial itself is the same (since that is where I got it!)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Time for dinner on a rainy day...what to make?  It is kind of a soup day, but I don't have (or know how to make) any good homemade soups.  My next favorite meal for a rainy day and really, for any day because they are so a casserole. 

I modeled this recipe from one that I found at Live Better America which is an excellent source for healthy meal ideas, but didn't like everything they used in theirs and so my version was born.  I have made this a few times in the past, but it has been a while since I made it and I randomly thought about it this week and have been waiting for today to make it! 

I do like Mexican food and so it should be no surprise that this is one of my favorite homemade casseroles.  I love it every time I make it and it never gets old!  We had a friend over for dinner and he enjoyed it as well as we did.  I got out some tortilla chips to add a little extra crunch to our plates.  I even used the casserole as dip a few times and it was amazing! 

If you want a quick and easy Mexican dish for your family...this is perfect for you!
Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Servings: 8  Calories: 200
  • 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
  • 1can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
  • 8 oz light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken breast, cooked
  • 8 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 can Rotel or diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican or other favorite cheese blend
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9 x 13" glass baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together soup, green chilies, sour cream, milk, chili powder and cumin until well blended.
Add chicken and tortillas and mix well.  Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of cheese.
Pour mixture into the baking dish and spread evenly.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered until cheese is melted and begins to bubble.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Alternative Ideas:
  • If  you that like bell peppers, chop 1 medium green bell pepper to add to the mixture.
  • Use tortilla chips instead of corn tortillas for a slightly crunchier result.
  • Chop one large fresh tomato to use rather than canned tomatoes.
  • Replace cooked, shredded chicken with canned chicken for easier preparation.
 Click here for a printable version.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How To Make Cricut Mat Sticky Again

I have been using my Cricut a lot lately with all these new blocks ideas and orders I have been making, and I was beginning to lose a lot of the stickiness off my mat.  I am frugal and like to get the most out of things and so I had just continued using the non-sticky mat and when it would mess up my letters, which was happening very frequently, I would recut that letter and move on. 

I finally got to the point where I was having to reprint too many letters and even some letters more than once and so I decided that was it...I was going to get a new Cricut mat!  Then, other things happened and life just got in the way and I never made it to the hobby store to get a new mat and I needed to cut some more letters when I remembered that I had come across a blog post about making your old Cricut mat sticky again.

I went back and found the post to see how this was done.  I wrote down the name of the glue that it recommended I use and when I was at Wal-Mart the next time getting groceries I looked for this glue that I needed.  I found something a little different, but again didn't want to go to a specialty store and so I decided to try what I had found.  

By the way, that is why I love Wal-Mart so can get everything you need there, not just groceries...all in one trip.  A lot of people don't like Wal-Mart, but I don't see how you can dislike a place where you can get everything that you want in one trip!  And at good prices too! 

To my relief and disbelief, it worked and now I am telling you how to be frugal and reuse your old Cricut mat over and over again until you wear it completely out with cuts!
Here is my old mat.  It is hard to tell in the picture, but it had hardly any sticky parts left, old paper still stuck to it and is starting to get pretty cut up.
And here is the glue that I found.  Elmer's 2 Way glue stick pen thingie.  I squeezed glue all over the board and then spread it out as even as I could until the entire mat was covered in glue. 

You will want a thin layer of glue on the entire mat so try to cover the entire thing evenly without any clumps of glue.
I actually have some clumpy areas on my mat, which is how I know to tell you not to do this.  Just do the best you can or those spots will be super sticky and will make it hard to remove the paper after you have used it.
Lay the mat down somewhere to dry.  Once you are sure that it is completely dry you are ready to try it.  You can see how readily it sticks to the palm of my hand when I put it on the dried mat. 
When you start to use your mat again, be careful not to press the paper on too hard.  If you do press too hard, then your paper will stick to the mat so good that you wont be able to get it off!  Especially in areas that have clumps, which is why I warned you about them before.  Just barely lay the paper down on the mat and do your cutting.  Once you see how well it sticks, you will be able to better judge your pressure on the paper next time.

This was a time and money saver for me not having to get a new mat and I hope you find it helpful as well!  If you are making something that needs to be more perfect than perfect you might want to go ahead and get a new mat, but for my fun little crafts, this will work just fine for me for another several cuttings.