Mommy Made From Scratch

Friday, July 27, 2012

Top Ten Posts Countdown ~ #1 Zucchini Chocolate Chip Brownies

♪ Happy blogiversary to me! Happy blogiversary to me! Happy blogiversary dear Mommy Made From Scratch! Happy blogiversary to me! ♫

Yay! I made it to my one year blogiversary and I get to announce the top blog post on our most popular post countdown.

Let me start off by sincerely thanking each one of you for your support as I began this not always easy journey into cooking outside of the box. I appreciate each and every one of you. Words cannot express my sincere gratitude for your continued support over this past year.

Now on to your #1 most popular recipe...


This recipe is my family's most favorite dessert. It's on the healthier side of the dessert aisle with the addition of zucchini and minus the usual eggs and butter. Even the zucchini hater in your house won't know that there is zucchini in these brownies.

Please enjoy your #1 pick, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Brownies!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top Ten Posts Countdown ~ #2 Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole

My family adores me for this recipe. Hopefully they have other reasons to like me than just this but it certainly has helped on some mornings and occasionally for dinner too.

This is very inexpensive, quick and easy to assemble. I have been asked for this recipe almost as much as I have been asked for the recipe for the #1 post in our countdown...but you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to find that one out.

Hope you enjoy #2 in the Top Ten Posts Countdown...Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top Ten Posts Countdown ~ #3 Buckeye Pie

This is one of my favorite MMFS original recipes. I have quite a bit of a sweet tooth (thanks, Mom.) and this satisfies those cravings instantly. This is very rich and full of sugary goodness so those sensitive to sugar beware!

Enjoy a slice of #3 on the most popular post countdown, Buckeye Pie!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Post Countdown ~ #4 Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole

I love sweet potatoes. So naturally I am in total agreement with you all about this one. The #4 most popular MMFS blog post is Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole!

This dish is great around the holidays, of course, but would be just as good any time of the year. You can find the original post including the recipe here.

Enjoy!



Monday, July 23, 2012

Top Ten Post Countdown ~ #5 Patriotic Berry Kebabs

We have reached #5 on our countdown of MMFS's most popular posts!

This is a fun and easy summer recipe that only takes minutes to make if you have a store bought angel food cake or a homemade cake already put together.

Please click back with me to enjoy some Patriotic Berry Kebabs!




Sunday, July 22, 2012

Top Ten Countdown ~ #6 Chocolate Peanut Butter Haystacks

I agree with all of you on this one. This should be in the top 10 most viewed posts on MMFS.


It seems impossible to mix chocolate and peanut butter together and have it not taste amazing.

Okay. I can think of a few mix-ins that would be horrible, i.e. - ketchup, radishes, turkey, okra, green onions...I think you get the picture.

Please enjoy your number #6 most viewed post on MMFS, Chocolate Peanut Butter Haystacks!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Top Ten Countdown ~ #7 Garlic French Fries

We're moving on to #7 today on the Top Ten Blog Post Countdown...Garlic French Fries!


These are delicious, will save you money and are healthier than buying store bought frozen french fries. Serve with your favorite summertime grilled sandwich or hot dog. Enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

#8 Squid Dogs & a Special Award

Today I've got a two-fer for you. Day 3 of our countdown and the announcement of a fun award that has been bestowed upon me!

We're down to #8 on my Top Ten Recipe Posts Countdown...Squid Dogs!

At the time I wrote the Squid Dogs post I had plans to make Munchkin Mondays a weekly thing...then life got in the way. I do hope to start it back up but for now, please check out this fun, kid-friendly recipe for Squid Dogs!


Now I'd like to take a small break from my Top Ten Recipe Posts Countdown to thank a special blogger for awarding me with the Awesome Blogger Award!


Thank you to Minnie from The Lady 8 Home for giving me this award! Be sure to check out her blog and congratulate her on her recent 50th blog post mark!

As part of the Awesome Blogger deal, I get to pass along the award to 5 lovely bloggers. Please head over to the following Awesome Bloggers and congratulate them on their award:

Congratulations to each of my nominees for being such awesome bloggers!

Here are the rules for those I nominated:
  1. Thank your nominator (and link back!)
  2. Nominate 5 other blogs with less than 200 followers and post a comment on each blog letting them know they have been given the award.
  3. Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
Congratulations bloggers!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top Ten Post Countdown ~ #9 Crock Pot Smoked Sausage & Vegetables

Coming in at #9 of the Top Ten Blog Post Countdown is Crock Pot Smoked Sausage & Vegetables.

This is one of my favorites to make for my family. It is inexpensive and very easy to put together. 

The versatility of this dish allows you to create many different things using the same basic concept of sausage and potatoes. Simply switch out the other vegetable, add more varieties of veggies or leave as is with the green beans. I love to add baby carrots and corn for a sweeter flavor and a break from making the same dish every time.

You can find the recipe post here.


Thanks again for joining me in my kitchen over the past year!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top Ten Post Countdown ~ #10 BBQ Chicken Shells & Cheese

In 10 days I will be celebrating my one year blogiversary.

I began this blog as a way for me to feed my family with more variety, fewer artificial preservatives and as a way to learn more about cooking altogether. I have had a hard time trying to balance life as a wife and mother of two young children as well as maintain a household and somewhat of a social life.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to make it to a year as it seemed that I was spending so much of my time on completing posts and networking that I was neglecting to spend time with my kids. Don't get me wrong. They weren't neglected in a non-hygienic, starvation sort of way. I continued to feed and bathe my kids but I didn't seem to have much time to do crafts, puzzles, dress-up...those sorts of things with them anymore. I am still trying to figure it all out. I do truly enjoy doing this but just like everything else in life, there has to be a happy balance between it all.

I don't talk a whole lot on this blog about myself beyond what goes on with the recipes. It's nice to let you all in on what goes on in my life as I share what's in my kitchen with you.

I have struggled to decide if I want to make this blog a source of income or just not worry about it. I'm still on the fence about all of that. It wasn't my initial intention of making this a money-making thing but there are so many opportunities for my family if I do. And if I choose to pursue that route, it will take even more of my time and energy.

Decisions. Decisions.

I have been truly blessed to be the wife of my wonderful husband and to have the children that I do. I never want to take that for granted. Regardless of all of the struggles that I have mentioned above, writing this blog over this past year has given me an outlet to create and share with my family and my new friends...you! I look forward to sharing more with you over this next year.


I wanted to do something fun to countdown to my one year blogiversary on July 27th. So to lead up to my special day I thought we'd do a little Top Ten Post Countdown based on the number of times each post has been viewed.

I'm gonna kick this baby off with #10....Barbecue Chicken Shells & Cheese!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Enter to win a Keurig!

Head on over to Coffee Coupons for Moms to enter to win a Keurig B70 Platinum Brewing System! This contest ends today so get your entries in quickly! Enter here.


Good luck!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cookie Cutter Crayons

Remember when I threw my daughter a princess themed birthday party a few weeks ago? Good. As I mentioned in that blog post, I made some adorable cookie cutter crayons included in each child's party favor bag.

I have been wanting to do this project for some time now. It is a simple way to reuse all of those broken crayons lying around your house.


Supplies:
broken crayon pieces
metal cookie cutters
disposable aluminum baking sheets
old metal baking sheet (optional)

Step 1:
Remove paper wrappers from crayons.
Set disposable aluminum baking sheet on top of old baking sheet. This will help you to keep the aluminum sheet from wobbling when you remove it from the oven. You'll want to use an old baking sheet on the bottom just in case you spill the crayon wax over the sides of the smaller tray either during baking or when removing from the oven.

Step 2:
Place broken crayon pieces onto the tray in any arrangement that you like. I tried to color coordinate so that the colors that melted together wouldn't all end up being some sort of shade of brown and so that they would look good together. Bake in a 325° F oven for 10-20 minutes or until melted.


Step 3:
After the sheen/glossy look on top of the melted crayons becomes matte, cut with the metal cookie cutters.

Plastic cutters will work...sort of. It will be really difficult to get a clean cut and the plastic makes it harder to cut through the hardening wax. I used a plastic cutter for the car shape and will never use plastic cutters again for this. Use metal.

Leave the cookie cutters in place for a few minutes before gently pulling them out.



Step 4:
After the crayon wax is completely hardened, pop the shapes out from the bottom of the pan. Keep the scraps for future use.


Have fun!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Punch-a-Prize party game

I made a game reminiscent of the Punch a Bunch game on The Price is Right for my daughter's 5th birthday party. But instead of cash as prizes, and since I'm not loaded, I put pieces of candy or toys in each hole. Each child would then take turns punching and receiving their prizes until all of the holes were punched out. 



Since the kids ages ranged from 2 to 5 I figured this would be a game in which each child would win and it would be an equal playing ground. I put girls prizes in the dotted bowls and striped prizes in the boys bowls so that the boys wouldn't end up with lipstick candy and the girls wouldn't end up with a Matchbox car.


Here's the how-to:

To make the game, I filled Styrofoam bowls with a piece of candy or toy and covered them with a decorative napkin. I used tape to attach the napkins to the bowls by wrapping each napkin around and taping it on the bottom. I used napkins as opposed to tissue paper because I only needed one layer of the napkin as opposed to several layers of tissue paper...and I found the napkins for super cheap on clearance.


I then glued each napkin wrapped bowl onto a piece of foam-core board. It helps to lay out all of the bowls ahead of time onto the foam-core that is laid down onto a flat surface then pick each bowl up and glue one at a time. The Elmer's Glue-All was perfect for this project! It is strong and dries relatively fast but not so fast that you don't have time to work with it if needs be.

The kids had a lot of fun with this! The only complaint was that they wanted to keep on going!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Princess/Tangled Party, Cake, Frosting and Crafts...Oh My!

Well it's official. My baby girl is now a big girl. She's a whopping 5 years old now and will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I can hardly believe she's old enough to go to school but am excited to see where this year takes us.

I had been asking her for months what kind of party she wanted. I like to plan well in advance and pick up things as I see them at a good price rather than have all of the financial burden of hosting a party on us all at once. I asked the first time, "Disney princesses!" I asked the second time, "Tangled!" I asked the third time, "Just princesses, not Disney!" I asked for the final time, "Disney princesses!" So as I had begun to gather things over time we ended up with a Disney princesses/Tangled themed party. Since Rapunzel is now one of the Disney princesses I figure it all works just fine together.


For some reason, not all of the images would download from my camera so I lost some of the decoration photos and the photos of my daughter with her cake. Stupid technology. Thankfully I tend to take a lot of photos so there are still plenty to boot.

Our house is small and I don't like to do too much over the top as far as decorating because that means I'll have to spend at least as much if not more with any other future parties.

I found these lanterns at Target in their dollar section and at Dollar Tree. I also found some crepe paper and a "Happy Birthday" princess themed banner at Dollar Tree as well.



I made some cute party favor bags for each of the kids filled with wands, candy jewelry, other princess-themed things and these adorable cookie cutter crayons of which I will share the how-to's with you in a later post.


I picked up some crown shaped foam door hangers for the kids to decorate with foam stickers and jewel stickers for a fun, quick and easy craft.



My daughter lacks nothing in the personality department...


I made some inexpensive tiaras for each of the girls using headbands from the dollar section at Target and this Rapunzel crown template from Disney.

I printed and cut each piece out of card stock, minus the gold strap. I then glued each to the headband. I recommend using hot glue for this as it is more pliable than most glues and will allow the child to easily take the tiara on and off without the card stock piece coming off.



I used this glue for both the headband tiaras and this fun punch out game. It worked wonderfully for the game below but not so much for the tiaras. As I said above, use hot glue for those.


I made a game called Punch-a-Prize that the kids loved! I'll have another post with details on how to make this and play it later.


To eat we had frozen grape wands made simply by skewering grapes onto wooden skewers and freezing for a few hours. I made purple flower chocolate candies with leftover chocolate from the cake top and I found some fun marshmallow wands at the Dollar Tree.



For the cake I decided to make Rapunzel's tower using cupcakes and a few other items.

Items needed for Rapunzel's tower cake:

  • round piece of styrofoam 3/4 inches thick and 5 3/4 inches in diameter
  • green paint, unless foam is already green
  • small dowel rod, cut to approximately 13 inches
  • one batch of 24 cupcakes, chocolate or other brown or tan colored flavor
  • green buttercream frosting, recipe below
  • brown buttercream frosting, recipe below
  • piping bags and small rose tip
  • candy flowers (I used Wilton Daisy Margarita Sprinkles)
  • sugar cone
  • purple white chocolate, melted
  • 2 large chocolate muffins

I made two different kinds of cupcakes using store-bought mixes, strawberry and chocolate, and added 1/4 mini chocolate chips to each batter. 

I used some of the chocolate cupcakes for the tower and set the remaining cupcakes around it with the tops decorated as grass, vines and flowers.



Here is the frosting recipe I used:

Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup butter, softened
9 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
milk
green icing coloring
brown icing coloring

Using a large mixing bowl, beat butter until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

Gradually beat in the remaining powdered sugar, adding enough milk as you go to make the frosting into spreading consistency.

Remove a cup or two of the frosting and set aside into a separate bowl. Add a few drops of green icing coloring to the large bowl and a few drops of brown icing coloring to the small bowl of frosting. Mix each separately, adding in additional drops of coloring until you reach the desired colors.

Note: It is important to use icing coloring rather than food coloring. Food coloring will make the frosting runnier. To avoid any problems with poor consistency, use icing coloring which can be found in any cake supply section of craft stores or stores such as Walmart or Target.

--

For the roof of the tower I used a sugar cone and coated it in melted white chocolate that I had colored with purple icing coloring.

I used a round piece of styrofoam 3/4 inches thick and 5 3/4 inches in diameter and painted it green. I had my husband cut a small dowel rod down to 13 inches long. Since the paint on the foam wasn't food safe, I cut out a round piece of a green cake plate that we were using for the party to set the bottom of the tower on. That way, the bottom cupcake of the tower could still be eaten. If you don't have something green that is food safe to set the bottom cupcake on, I would just throw that cupcake away to be on the safe side.

To start assembling the tower, insert the dowel rod into the center of the foam and set the whole thing on a tray. Next put the piece of green plate onto the dowel rod and slide it down to the base.

Take seven cupcakes with the wrappers removed and one by one slide them onto the dowel rod, alternating between setting them right side up and upside down to help balance the tower.

At this point you may want to put some already decorated cupcakes around the base to help keep it stable.

Next take one unwrapped muffin and level the top off with a knife. Skewer the muffin with the dowel rod onto the top of the tower. Next take the other large muffin with the wrapper still intact and insert right side up as well on top of the other muffin.

Spread a small amount of brown frosting on top, about the diameter of your purple chocolate covered sugar cone. Set the cone on top of the frosting.

With a piping bag and your rose tip, gently frost vines up and down the tower, adding flower candy pieces along the way.

Surround the tower with the rest of the cupcakes, decorated with the green frosting and flower candies and voila...you have Rapunzel's tower!

I found these paper 3-D dolls of the Disney princesses that I made to decorate the house with. Here's where you can find Rapunzel. WARNING! Allow lots and lots of time and patience to assemble Rapunzel!!! I made one other doll but didn't have time for any more after Rapunzel because she was that difficult. AND you might notice that her hair is floating in the air above her hand sticking out at the side. Oh well. It's still cute though and was well worth it for my big girl!


Happy birthday, baby girl...err I mean...BIG girl!



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