Tuesday, February 28, 2012

National Pancake Day

On the way to school the morning, we heard on the radio that today is National Pancake Day!!

We {heart} pancakes!!

And, as luck would have it, my good friend Randee from Randee's Organized Chaos just happened to share a recipe from for McDonald's Copycat Pancakes yesterday!!  In addition to crazy crafty moms, it seems our kiddos share a love of Mickey D's pancakes as well.  We generally avoid 'The Golden Arches' (for many reasons) but they do serve up a good (though maybe not good for you) breakfast and the kids really do love it!  And our recent road trip reminded us that if nothing else, McDonald's is consistent, so you can grab good pancakes in whatever town you find yourself in at breakfast-time!

Pancakes hold a special place in my heart, because as the mom of 3 part-time and 2 full-time kids, it's REALLY HARD to put something on the table that everybody eats but pancakes do the trick!!  And they were the first meal that my "What do you want to eat?  Nothing homemade." stepson said he liked that I cooked.  And with my double burner griddle (No. 2 on my Top Ten Best Wedding Presents List), I can actually cook enough pancakes for everybody and still sit down to eat with my family at the same time!!

I like that.

Sheep likes them too.  So much so that she's declared pancakes her favorite food on her 'about me' poster at school for three years running!  And though she does say mom's pancakes are her favorite (smile), I can't wait for her to try these!!

McDonald's Copycat Pancakes

1 1/2 C Bisquick
2/3 C Sprite
1 egg
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients together.
Let batter rest for 10 minutes before scooping out onto hot griddle!

So tonight I'll be serving up some 'brinner' (that's breakfast for dinner y'all) with Copycat Cakes and sausage and toasting National Pancake Day with some ice cold milk!  I think I might try a few with my MIL's smashed strawberry jam too!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sassy Sunday Blog Hop # 4

I hope that everyone has had an AWESOME weekend!  Isn't it amazing how fast the time flies by?? 
Randee, your co-hostess (and my partner in crime) found a saying the other day that is so true...
"The days are long but the years are short!!" 
I don't know about you, but I feel this way EXACTLY!!
Randee @ Randy's Organized Chaos and I would like to thank everyone for stopping by and linking up this week!!! We LOVE seeing what you guys have been up to every week!!   We had over 40 sassy projects last week - so thankful to each of you who stopped by to share some sass!
PLEASE spread the word and let everyone know about out little party!!
I also want to take this time to let you know about an awesome weekend that we are planning!!!
We would LOVE for you guys to come and get to meet everyone!! It is going to be a blast!! So even if you don't live in Texas...hop on an airplane and come on and have some fun!!
We have one girl coming all the way from North Carolina!! So don't let distance stop you!!

Now on to the blog hop!!
OH MY GOODNESS....the winner is Amanda from School House Scraps AGAIN!!
She is one talented lady!!  Here are her wooden pictures!!

Here are a few more favorites this week!!
I LOVE this necklace over at Ovo je sivala moja mama

and OHHHH how I love the ideas that Mackenzie over at Friday Night Date Night comes up with for free dates!

Friday Night Date Night

So, for this weeks Blog Hop, here are the rules!
1. Only link your original projects or recipes.
 Please no giveaways, etsy shops, business or linky promotions, etc.
 2. Remember to link directly to your post, rather than to your whole blog.
 3. Please do us the kindness of linking back to one or more of us on your blog so others can come and party with us! After all, the more the merrier!!
4. Please take a moment during the week to look around on the blog hop
5. Please follow the twinkies (hostesses - get it?!  I crack myself up!!) 
Now let the fun begin!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Strawberry Icebox Pie

Even the name sounds delicious, doesn't it?!

Start with 6-8 C fresh strawberries.

We picked ours at Froberg's Farm on Monday and while they are THE yummiest, fresh picked strawberries won't last any time in the frig, so it's a good idea to have some recipes lined up!  This is one of our family's favorites!

To determine how many strawberries you need for the pie, fill your empty pie pan up with strawberries and consider there will be a little more room in there once they are washed and hulled.  I also like to really pack mine down as much as possible, so I throw a few more in for good measure!

In your 8-9" pie pan, cook a single pie crust according to the recipe. 

This morning I decided to try a new (to me) pie crust recipe I came across in a Junior League cookbook my aunt passed on to me.  If I like it,  I'll be sure to share it with you here!  Set the cooked crust aside to cool completely before filling.

Wash and hull your strawberries and set aside to air dry while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Place your remaining strawberries, that have also been washed and hulled, into a saucepan with:

1/4-1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 C water and
1 tablespoon of cornstarch

Mash your strawberries in the saucepan (which gets easier to do as the mixture heats up) and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, usually 5-10 minutes depending on how much juice your strawberries made when you mashed them!  once mixture begins to thicken, remove from heat and set aside to cool.  if you're in a hurry, you can pop it into the freezer to speed things along!

**Notice that you are cooling everything completely before putting the pie together. 
This will help keep your fruit from weeping too much, which can make your pie filling runny.
Once your pie crust is cool, spread softened cream cheese over the bottom to keep your crust from getting soggy.  Then add your strawberries.  As I mentioned before,  I like to really cram mine in there so my filling is packed with fruit!!  Spread your cooked AND cooled strawberry mixture over the top, letting it run down between the whole berries.  Return the pie to the 'icebox' to set up, which takes about an hour.  As the name implies, this pie is served chilled!

Top with whipped cream and enjoy!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'Smashed' Strawberry Preserves

I LOVE these strawberry preserves!!

They are so sweet and yummy and FRESH!  Mainly because her recipe uses fresh, not cooked,  strawberries!  It's an interesting and oh-so-yummy twist on traditional strawberry jam!  These preserves taste great over biscuits, ice cream (my personal favorite) or straight out of the jar!!

After years of enjoying this tasty treat, I decided it was high time to learn how to make them myself, so I offered Gram a trip out to our local strawberry farm and farmer's market in exchange for a lesson in the kitchen!  Turns out her preserves are not only delicious but easy and fun to make too!  I mean, how many times have you told your children to STOP smashing their food?!  Well, now they can!  So grab your kiddos and get smashed!

Start with the freshest strawberries you can find! 
We picked ours yesterday on the opening day of strawberry season at Froberg's Farm!

Make sure you wash them and cut the stems off, as close as you can.
You don't want to waste any of these beauties!!

SMASH 'em up!  The potato masher made quick work of this!

For a full recipe, you're going to need 4 cups of fresh, smashed strawberries, so just keep cutting and mashing until you have enough!  It only takes a couple of minutes and they will look like this!

In a separate bowl, mix 1 packet of Ball Instant Fruit Pectin with 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar.
Gram gets her pectin at Wal-Mart in the gelatin section, but she has seen it near the canning supplies at other grocery stores as well.  Make sure is says NO COOK!

Once your pectin and sugar are well blended, add to your strawberry mash!

Now set your timer and stir for 3 minutes!

Pour into jars and you're done!  Now how sweet is that?!

Fresh strawberry preserves can be kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks
and in the freezer much longer than that!!

Well, what are you waiting for?!  Go pick some strawberries and get smashed!!

The Girl Creative
Skip To My Lou

Strawberry Season Starts!

Yesterday was opening day at our local Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Farm and Market and as luck would have it, the kids were out of school!  What a great way to spend the afternoon!  This is our 6th year to pick strawberries at Froberg's Farm and if you live in the area and haven't been - well, you're missing out!!  It's a great way to get outdoors and teach AND kiddos about food and where it comes from at the same time!  And for us, it's become a rite of passage for Spring!  Yes, I said Spring!  Froberg's strawberry season usually begins a little later, but because of all the rain we've had this winter, they were able to start the season about 2 weeks early.  What does that silly ol' groundhog know about Texas weather anyway?!

My mother-in-law makes the best strawberry preserves in two counties (It's true!) - and I was hoping she would teach me how.  I thought maybe I could coax her into it if I took her out to Froberg's, so we grabbed Gram and headed out!  Some of us got a leetle distracted . . . but it's all part of the fun at Froberg's!

The strawberries looked good enough to eat . . .
And we did!
We did manage to pick a few too!

After a little instruction, even Snacks was picking like a pro!  See for yourself!

With full buckets (and bellies), we decided to head home!
But not before we stopped for one last splash!!

Lucky for me, my plan worked!!  I have been wanting to learn Gram's secret for strawberry preserves and she agreed to share it - not just with me, but with all of you too!!!  Isn't that exciting!!   You can get the recipe and step-by-step instructions here!  In the mean time, I'd love to hear what you make with fresh strawberries, so leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, February 20, 2012

February Fun

After weeks of wintery weather and enough rain to begin seriously examining my construction skills, Sunday arrived!  It started out a little chilly, but warmed up nicely, without a sinlge cloud in the beautiful blue sky, and reminded us all why we sweat through those dog days of summer every year.  Winter along the Gulf Coast is truly a treat!!  So for those of you still shovelling snow, here's a little taste of Texas for ya!  Hope it warms your spirits as much as it did mine - enjoy!!


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sassy Sunday Blog Hop and 'Distressed' Giveaway!

Here it is friends, our third SassySunday Blog Hop Linky Party!! And this week Leanne from Beacause I Think I Can is our official hostess with the mostess! I’m excited!!
She has a great giveaway for you this week… but first…

A BIG congrats to
for her link up with with her Love Sign and receiving the most “likes”!

Some other favorites this week were these
Chocolate Sweetheart Cupcakes from The Weekly Sweet Experiment
These very cool Zipper Flowers from Schoolhouse Scraps
And this very Happy Entryway from Meeha Meeha.
The Giveaway This Week Will Be:
2 Distressed Inks! 1 in Walnut Stain, and the other in Tea Dye!
This stuff is awesome for distressing wood, furniture, paper… if you google it, you can find tons of examples. Here are some examples of how Leanne has used it:

Cool, right?! Wouldn’t you love to win these?!
Once again, here are the rules!
1. Only link your original projects or recipes.
Please no giveaways, etsy shops, business or linky promotions, etc.
2. Remember to link directly to your post, rather than to your whole blog.
3. Please do us the kindness of linking back to one or more of us on your blog so others can come and party with us! After all, the more the merrier!
4. Please take a moment during the week to look around on the blog hop
and ‘like’ something (other than your own project – ha!)
5. You can EARN ‘likes’ for yourself by becoming a follower of the hostess’s blogs, and leaving a comment to say you did so
leaving a comment on our blogs if you are already a follower.
5. You can EARN additional ‘likes’ by following our facebook pages
AND leaving a comment! We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE comments! Don’t you?!
You can follow ME, Randee and Leanne here!
The party girl (or guy) with the most ‘likes’ by midnight on Thursday night will be winner!
Have fun!!
Here’s the party!!…