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Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to make Apple Nachos

Being a new Taste of Home field editor is something I take very seriously - I'm trying many new recipes each month when I get the magazine, and sharing the ones I love the best! I truly love this magazine - I have either subscribed to it or borrowed it at the library or from family for years. The recipes are always amazing. This one is no different - it's a fun and unique way to get your kiddos to eat their fruit! I know that kids and grownups alike will enjoy these "nachos"!!

Of course, y'all know I always mix things up, so we will leave the peanuts off because D isn't going to eat apples with peanuts! Otherwise, I'll probably follow the recipe exactly. So here's the link to the recipe - hope you enjoy it!!

Taste of Home ~ Apple Nachos

What are you making for Halloween noshing? Share your favorite recipe with us by leaving a link in your comment! : ) Happy Haunting, y'all!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Setting up for a spooky weekend...

Oh my gosh, do I ever feel like a chicken with its head cut off!! The weekend is almost here, and I'm starting to FrEaK out because I have so much left to do!! I am really bad about procrastinating, and I went and did it AGAIN!!! Anyone else have that problem!? : )

So my list of things to do is going here. Maybe I will actually get it all done if I post it publicly?! We have a soccer game tonight, I work in David's class tomorrow for their Fall Festival, and Saturday morning our favorite small-town library is having a quick Halloween party, so dropping in for that. SOLD OUT! We may go to the bookstore while I run errands - they are having a Halloween party I think.

The rest of the next 3 days I'll be cleaning, baking, cooking and decorating for our annual get together with dear friends - get ready for this - the Adams Family!! Steph and I went to high school and one year of college together, and we have managed to stay friends for a long, long time. This is our second year of a Halloween dinner/movie/trick or treat night. The kids go out with the dads, Steph & I catch up and put the food out, then we all eat together and enjoy a scary movie, great food and wonderful fellowship!! Last year my recipes and foods were kind of scary/gross, but I have decided to really pare down my menu because I'm really not sure I will get all this done! lol It's going to be easy to make food that will be tasty, and a little scary. I still have a few ideas for some other foods, but I'll have to wait and see

Clean ~ foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen, shampoo carpet in living room, dining room
Have kids clean - all the baseboards, Katie's (guest) bathroom, put clothes and school things in their rooms, Katie's room, David's room
Bake: pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, devils food cupcakes, Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers with rolls
Cook: frozen pizzas with cheese jack o lantern faces
Assemble: layered mexican dip with green goddess spiderweb on top, apple nachos, chocolate dipped oreos, frozen juice hand for punchbowl (ended up not making punch, so didn't need this)
Wash: Grandmother's candleabra for my bloody-dripping candlesticks, & punchbowl & glasses for juice (didn't end up using)
finish faux painting last kitchen countertop
paint as much of the kitchen walls as I can get done! didn't do this - ran out of time!
cut out and hang black paper bats
LAUNDRY monster downstairs must be tamed!
DH's Honey-do list written & delivered to himlol
Holy moly - I'm never gonna get this all done!!

What are your Halloween plans? What are you & your kiddos going to be for Halloween? I'm not dressing up, but the kids are: David will either be a ninja or an army man, and Katie is going to be a silly 16 year old Dora the Explorer. Teenagers *shakes head*!!!

And the million dollar question ~ what kind of candy do you give out? Usually we have one or two good kinds and the rest is smarties or lollipops. This year we have a huge assortment. Fun size Hershey bars, Kit Kats, Butterfingers, Reeses cups, Reeses Fast Break, Smarties, Lollipops, Sweet Tarts, Nerds, and Tootsie Rolls, plus boxes of stickers, and some spider rings. Thanks to awesome sales at CVS & Kroger, and good coupons, I was able to get all this great candy for under $12, so I hope we have lots of trick or treaters this year! : )

Ok, sorry for the rambling. I'm so tired and feeling overwhelmed, but putting it all down in a list makes it easier to cross each item off as I go! Y'all have an excellent evening, and I'll try to have some good stuff on here tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to make Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

It's stormy here today, so I decided to catch up on some chores, and do some baking!! I looked online for something chocolate and pumpkin and found this:

As always, I had to make some changes! I used 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1/8 cup of ground flaxseed instead of the 1/4 cup of oil and the water. I like to add the flaxseed into a lot of things I bake, since I don't eat fish, it's a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. They have a nutty flavor, but in the brownies, you don't even taste them!

In the pumpkin filling, I used fat free cream cheese, stevia instead of sugar, and a couple extra shakes of cinnamon, just because I LOVE it!!

The pumpkin filling was really thin, so I spooned it over the brownie layer,then smoothed it towards the edges with the spoon. Then I dropped the remaining brownie batter over the top and swirled, as directed. Pretty! They did take a full 45 minutes to bake.

And the verdict is in ~ these turned out to be wonderful!!



They are moist and really, really good! I may make them again Sunday for our Spooky Halloween Dinner ~ they would be a perfect dessert!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Very First Giveaway ~ Homemade Soaps & Bath Tea

Thank you all SO much for helping me get over 30 followers!! In fact, I'm now at 49! WOW!! I promised a giveaway, so here it is!!




Winner will receive 2 bars of my homemade soap - one each of Eucalyptus Mint and Soothing Honey Oatmeal Tea Tree Oil Glycerin Soaps, and 3 bags of Secret Garden Herbal Bath Tea Bags. The honey oatmeal soap is great for sensitive or dry winter skin, the eucalyptus mint is my favorite winter soap and the bath tea bags are filled with fragrant herbs and essential oils for a lovely bath experience.

To enter: (leave a separate comment for each of these, please!)

Sign up to follow my blog via Google Friend Connect, and leave a message saying that you did so (or that you already follow, if you do!) This is mandatory; you must follow my blog for your bonus entries to count in the contest!

Bonus entries:

Follow me on Twitter, and leave a comment saying you do

Follow me on Facebook, and leave a comment saying you do

Blog about this contest on your own blog, leaving me a link to the post in a comment below.

Tweet about this contest, leaving me the url to your tweet in a comment below!

Visit my Etsy site (www.heartstringshomemade.etsy.com) then leave a comment here letting me know your favorite item in my shop!

Have a friend follow me on GFC, leaving me a comment that you sent them here! (and then they can enter the contest themselves!)

Giveaway ends October 31 at 11:59 pm. Winner announced on Monday, Nov. 1st!

Getting organized....

I have a large drawer in my kitchen that we used to stick plastic grocery bags in. It also holds my foil, clingwrap, ziploc bags, and napkins. To say it was unorganized is an understatement! This morning I was feeling crafty, and since it is grey, soggy and super-humid outside, I'm staying in!

I read a few of the blogs I follow and felt inspired when I saw this project at Homemakin and Decoratin, and I had to try it! I gathered an old Pringles can I'd saved, plus scrapbook paper, brown ribbon, and my handy dandy bottle of matte mod-podge. The whole project took about 15 minutes, plus drying time. It's now hanging on our utility hook on the side of the pantry, holding every single bag from my drawer - success!!





What crafty things have y'all been up to this month? Please post a link so I can stop by & see! : )

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why you should visit Day Out With Thomas



Do you have a little Thomas the Tank Engine fan at your home? We sure do! My David is almost 7 but he still really likes anything Thomas. So when I heard that there would be a Day out With Thomas weekend in Cordele (about 3 hours south of us), I was on it! This was David's big birthday present from us (his birthday is next month). We ordered tickets online last week ($18 per person, plus service fees), so yesterday morning, we left our home at about 6:15 to be there as instructed at 9:30.

The drive down was uneventful. Katie was enjoying her phone's music player, and David was reading. My DH slept! We got there and were surprised at the huge line in front of us to get into Georgia Veteran's Memorial Park, where the event was held. We parked in a huge field, there were about three full rows in front of us. We got out and hurried to the line for the shuttle to take us to the staging area.

After about a 25 minute wait, it was our turn to ride the shuttle, and we headed to the other side of the park. Once there, we made our way to Will call for our tickets. We had about 10 minutes til our train ride, so we walked up to the train line and it was soon time to board!

We sat in the front of our car, and it was really cool - two rows of seats facing each other, so we could all look out the window. Most importantly, I could watch my little boy's eyes light up as the train pulled slowly out of the station! David was glued to the window, taking in the sights.






We went out over Lake Blackshear, which was a little scary to me, but super-cool to David. The leaves are changing and look so beautiful, so I concentrated on that, and not on the thin little strip of ground the train was on in the middle of the lake (which has alligators - ewwww!)







The train ride lasted about 25 minutes. When we got off back at the station, we went for a couple pictures of Thomas, then got in line to meet with Sir Topham Hatt. Then we walked around a bit, and got a Thomas tattoo for D. If we'd had more time, there was a lot to do - a mega blocks building tent, bubble tent, moonwalk, huge gift store, video viewing and story telling and probably more that I am forgetting!






We made a quick stop to the military display by the parking lot before we headed another hour south to surprise my Nana! We took some pics of David with assorted planes, tanks and guns, then hit I75 South again!





It was truly a wonderful day, one that David won't soon forget. He really was thrilled to see his favorite tv character up close like that, and it was a great way to spend some family fun time. Katie, at 16, didn't think it was that cool, but she was a great sport.  **Update - David is almost 12 now, and he still remembers this super-fun day our family enjoyed together!**




To find out if there is a Day Out With Thomas event near you, check out their website. It's really worth the time and money to make a special memory with your family!

**This is not a sponsored or compensated post. I only wanted to share our experience from this event!! **

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Visit to The Melting Pot

Have you ever been to the Melting Pot Restaurant? We are lucky to live about 30 miles from one and it's a fun place to eat - whether we are celebrating, or just for a good dinner!

A few months ago we bought a $50 gift certificate to the Melting Pot Atlanta locations for $20 from Half Off Depot. It was set to expire on the 31st, so last Sunday we decided to go ahead and enjoy a night out there!

Fondue is more than a dining style, it's an experience! When we got to the restaurant, we were seated by a host, and he turned the pot on for our table so it could warm up. We looked at the menu while we waited, and decided to go with the Big Night Out France menu. We did make several substitutions though, which is a nice option the Melting Pot offers!

For our cheese course, we chose the Wisconsin trio instead of the BNOF selection, which had truffle oil. We were warned that it was a very strong flavor, so we went with a tried and true cheese we'd like.



Our cheese fondue was a mix of fontina, butterkase, and buttermilk bleu cheeses with white wine, sherry, garlic and scallions. Yum! It was served with a variety of bread chunks, green apples, and veggies. I love cheese fondue!!

For our salad course, my husband went with the BNOF Salad Nicoise. I chose the House salad with their Sweet & Tangy House dressing. Delicious!!
***I forgot to take a picture of the salads, darn it! : )


Entree time! We chose the BNOF Fondue Feast ~
Filet Mignon, Peppercorn-Crusted NY Strip, Chicken Proven├žal,Roasted-Garlic Shrimp, Maple Leaf Farms Duck a l’Orange, Ratatouille & Goat Cheese Ravioli and Fresh Vegetables. Neither of us are fans of duck, so we substituted the chicken for the duck.





If you've never fondued before, you should know that you will be cooking your own meats & veggies! That is part of the charm, and the fun, of the Melting Pot. We each had three forks, so we could cook several pieces at a time. My picture of the meat plate was taken about 1/2 way through the course, so there was a good bit already gone! Prepare to be there for a while - our meal took close to three hours for all four courses. The veggies get dumped in the pot to cook, and you scoop them out with a slotted spoon when they are cooked.

They give you a variety of sauces for the meat course. The BNOF sauce was a gorgonzola with port wine - it was too strong for my taste. There was also a tarragon aeoli, which I didn't try. My favorite sauces are the Green Goddess and Teriyaki. LOVE them! There is also a curry sauce and a ginger plum sauce.

Then it was time for the best part of our meal - the chocolate course!!
We didn't try the BNOF White Chocolate Creme Brulee. Instead we picked the Flaming Turtle - milk chocolate, caramel and chopped pecans, flambeed! It. Was. SOOOOO. Good!!!! My picture doesn't do it justice, at all. The lighting is very dim in the restaurant, and I didn't want to use the flash and draw attention to my secret photography!





It came with a plate of sliced strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, marshmallows dusted with oreos and more marshmallows dusted with graham cracker crumbs, Rice Krispie treats, brownies and pound cake. HEAVEN!! (We had already eaten a good bit of the dessert by the time I remembered to take a picture, again!! I was not being a good photographer that evening!)

I also ordered a Burnt Almond Mocha dessert drink - I remember only that it had amaretto and Godiva chocolate. It was a wonderful companion to my chocolate-dipped treats.

I don't believe we finished any of the courses completely. It's so much food. But it is delicious, fun and such a different experience from the usual dining out we all do. It gives us some much-needed time away from the kids to talk and catch up. But don't get me wrong, you can take the kids here too. My kids love fondue, because we have it each year on New Year's Eve! Katie's been to the Melting Pot several times. David hasn't been yet, but next time we go, we'll take them too. It's so much fun!!

Do you live near a Melting Pot? Or have you ever been? I'd love to hear what you think of them too!

This is not a sponsored post at all, I just wanted to share one of my favorite places around Atlanta!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Fall Mantle



I have finally gotten my mantle just the way I want it. (please excuse my crooked picture above it - fixing it now!) I am still on the look out for more of the beady floral garland, but it was on clearance at Michael's, so I doubt I will find more this year!

The two candles on each end were a gift from our realtor when we bought the house. I probably will get rid of them soon, but I like symmetry in my decorating, so they make it easy on the mantle! lol The vinyl clings (Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much) were from Dollar Tree a couple years ago. I'm going to be changing them out soon as well...

The hurricane on the left is a Goodwill project I put together.






Then there is the creepy door to the deck....I found this fab "creepy cloth" to hang over it, and a bag with bats, spider webs w/ spiders, and rats!! So the two spiders/webs are hanging out under the cloth, and the rats and a spider are in my candy corn hurricane on the mantle. The cloth & bag of gross stuff came from the Dollar store ~ gotta love that! The spiders on the mantle and in the candy corn hurricane are from Pier 1 ~ they are a bit expensive there, but these spiders are so realistic! I think it was 12 spiders for $4 there.



Here's the crazy thing about me. Now that my mantle is done, and all my fall stuff is out, I am ready for November 1st to get here so I can put all this stuff back in the attic, and bring out my Christmas stuff! I like to enjoy it for as long as I can!! Sick, huh?! : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yes folks, it's another pumpkin recipe!! Pumpkin Barley with Turkey



I admit it, I really love to eat pumpkin during the fall! It's perfect!

This recipe has been a family favorite for the last three years. We eat it all the time! I originally got this from Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine.


Pumpkin Barley with Turkey
makes 3 1/2 cups

1 qt chicken broth
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 c long grain rice (I've used regular and brown rice in place of this before)
3/4 c pearl barley (I used Quaker Barley, didn't see any Pearl Barley at my grocery store this time)
pinch of nutmeg
1/3 pound ground turkey
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
salt

In a small pot, warm the chicken broth over low heat.
In large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the rice and barley. Toast for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season the grains with with the nutmeg, then stir in half of the warm broth. Cook until the broth bubbles, about 5 minutes. Then add the turkey, crumbling it as you drop it into the skillet. Cook until the liquid is absorbed the by the grains, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the broth to be fully absorbed before adding more. Cook until the barley is tender, about 18 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Cook overmedium heat until just heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with the salt.

Serve with veggies and crusty bread (or make sweet potato biscuits like I did to continue the Fall veggie theme!lol) on the side - delicious!! I'll post pics later - I'm cooking this for supper tonight! You can garnish with either curls of parmesan or some grated parmesan.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Here's a great blog hop to link up to!





Here's a great blog hop to connect with ~ not only can you find great new blogs to follow, you can boost your readership too! : )

Giveaway Coming Later this week!

Thanks to y'all for helping me hit my first goal of 30+ google friend connect followers!! I promised my first giveaway, and it's coming this week!! I just need a day to find time to sit down and get it all together. So make sure to check back later this week for more details on how to enter!! : )
Thanks again for helping me reach my first goal!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Ravioli

I am really loving Autumn this year - it is so cool outside in the mornings, and the leaves are beginning to change, it is SO beautiful! Truly my favorite time of year.
I love eating lots of pumpkin-flavored treats this time of year, so tonight I tried a new recipe from Jessica Seinfeld ~ Pumpkin Ravioli.

This is from her new cookbook, Double Delicious! She uses pureed fruits and veggies to up the nutrition in all types of foods, from breakfast to dessert. I love her ideas, but instead of pureeing veggies and fruits, I use organic baby foods (which are really just pureed fruits and veggies!) like sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. I usually add them to tacos, casseroles and other dishes. This recipe called for canned pumpkin puree, white beans and ricotta cheese for the filling.

1 can (15 oz) low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 c canned pure pumpkin
1/2 c part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg
40-50 wonton wrappers
1 1/2 cups jarred Marinara sauce (I used a vodka sauce - it was perfect with the savory ravioli!)


Set a large pot of water on to boil. Place beans, pumpkin, cheeses and garlic powder in food processor, process til smooth. In small bowl, beat egg with about 1 tbs water. Set wonton wrappers on a cutting board (I lined mine with foil for easy cleanup.) Place 1 tbs of the pumpkin mixture in the middle of each wrapper. Brush egg wash onto edges of the wrapper.




Here's where you can decide for yourself which you'd prefer - either
fold the wrapper over the filling and pinch the edges closed, or you can use a cutter to make a circle shape, then top with another circle of wrapper. I just folded them over and though a couple lost their filling during boiling, most were fine!




Place them in boiling water, cook until they rise to the top, about 4 minutes. Top with sauce, more grated parmesan if desired. I only made about 40. There was still puree left, so Randy will use it as a spread on bread tomorrow ~ I was thinking how good it would be to smear it on crusty bread - yum!

The ravioli was a hit with my husband and I enjoyed them too! But the kids - no way. Katie took one bite and was done. David wouldn't even try one! Oh well, can't win them all!! I'll probably make them again. The flavor is hearty, the filling is very rich, and overall they are well worth the effort required to make them!





What is your favorite food for this time of year?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The amazing Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta




Fernbank Museum of Natural History is one museum you can't miss if you have kids and live in Atlanta. Heck, even if you don't have kids it's still a cool museum!! There is something for everyone to see or do there.

We lucked out and got a great deal on a family membership through Groupon earlier this year. We've only been 3 times so far, but our visits have more than paid for the cost of our family membership!! Today we took the kids to see the new Exhibit called "Water". We also used a mailer they sent us for $2 off IMAX member priced-tix for the family - we paid $24 for 4 tickets versus $50 regular price tickets. More on that later!

The exhibit was fantastic. We started out by walking through what appeared to be a misting sign ~ but it was an optical illusion - it was really fog!



Inside were many displays related to water. Everything you can imagine!! One display had a block of ice, which melted into one part of the display, then turned to vapor in a third section! It was really cool.


The kids really had fun with the hands-on, interactive displays:



They had a microscope set up with a screen to check out some little creepy germs and microscopic creatures....



David & his dad learned about wells & pumping water at this display


Katie saw how you could build up sediment with a dam.

So much fun stuff for kids and parents to check out! I almost forgot - there was even a polar bear to meet!!



Then we went to the Star Gallery & Shells room to wait for our IMAX movie. They have the prettiest shells in there. It's one of my favorite rooms in the whole museum! The Star Gallery has an amazing fiber optic ceiling, and very cool movies playing - we watched the top 10 discoveries of the Hubble telescope while we were waiting which was pretty amazing.







The IMAX movie we watched was called Grand Canyon Adventure ~ River at Risk. It was really good, and after watching the crazy rafting that went on in the movie, the other three members of my family want to try rafting one day. I'm gonna stay home and enjoy the solid ground below me! lol We wanted to see the other movie playing ~ it's about the Nile River, but it didn't start until much later.

We will be going back soon for Pirates Weekend, and the upcoming Winter weekends that will feature cultural and holiday traditions, music and more.

I'm linking this post with Mailbox Monday so my email subscribers list can grow!! Feel free to link yourself up too by clicking here and heading over to This Mama Loves Her Bargains! Click on the individual blogs, sign up as an email subscriber,then leave a comment saying you are a new subscriber from Mailbox Monday! And don't forget to add your blog to the list so you can grow your readership as well!


Stick to your list to save big $$!

This week, I've made several small trips to Publix, and one to CVS. I love going to Publix a few times a week because I can use a Rite Aid or Kroger $5 off $25 or $5 off $45 coupon each time with my other coupons and sales to really maximize my savings! I make a list of the best sale items, pair each up with my coupons, store or competitor coupons, and try to always have a $ off $ coupon to use as well! Sticking to your list (which will be the best sale items) is how you can really save big - no impulse buys, just the best prices, matched with coupons so you can pay the least amount of money out of pocket!

This week Publix has one of the best deals I've seen on Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks. As part of the B1G1 sale, they are 2 for $2.59. Pair that with a 50 cent off 2 mfr coupon that doubles to $1 off, each box is about 80 cents! David eats these for school snack several days a week, so I'm stocking up!!

The Hillshire Farms smoked sausage is one of my husband's favorites. They were on sale 2 for $5, paired with a store coupon for $1 off 2, and a mfr coupon for 75 cents off, making it $3.25 for 2 packages of smoked sausage.

The Sargento cheese was on sale 2 bags for $4. Pair it with the store's $1 off 2 coupon, and I paid $1.50 per bag. That's rock bottom pricing for cheese!! And don't forget - you can freeze cheese, so stock up when it is super cheap like this!




The total spent out of pocket for the items in the picture was $13, the savings were $27. I got 3 boxes of Kleenex, 2 sodas, 1 Vitamin Water, 2 bags of Sargento reduced fat cheese, 4 packages of Hillshire Farms sausage, and 4 boxes of Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks. (The retail cost for those alone would be over $12 usually!)

Next up is my CVS trip, which I made on the way home from Publix!
I got:
Dawn dishwashing liquid on sale for 99 cents, used 25 cent off coupon
2 Colgate Total toothpastes used 2 75 cent off coupons, got $5.98 ECB back (@2.99 each)
2 boxes Quaker True Delights Oatmeal on sale 2 for $5, plus $2 ECB back, used 2,
$2.oo off coupons
1 family size Herbal Essence Shampoo on sale for $6.49, plus $2 ECB, used $1 off coupon
2 bags Brach Candy Corn on sale for 99 cents each - used 2 99 cent off coupons from the CVS scanner machine
1 kids ibuprofen - no coupon, but we needed it! $3.00





I used $2 in ECB to help pay for this, but out of pocket I only paid $10 and change! AND best of all, I got $9.98 back in ECB to use later. In the words of my 16 year old - "how beast is that?!!!"

So again, I have to say how important it is to match up sales, coupons, store coupons, and deals that give you ECB back. I only get things we will use - the toothpaste will go in my stockpile, the shampoo is for my Katie-bug, and the oatmeal is something the kids eat all the time! It was a great deal because I needed it, had high value coupons, and they paid me ECB on top of it all! There were similar deals on makeup, facial products, and body wash, but I didn't need any of those, so I didn't get them!!!! So if it's a good deal, but you don't need it, don't waste your money!! : ) You're not saving $$ if you are buying things you don't need or use.

What was your best deal this week!?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How I stock my Spooky Halloween Pantry...

With some gross preserved things, of course!

Here's what you will find in my Spooky Halloween Pantry:

Preserved Brittle Bones
Brains in Skulls
Pickled Finger Food





Here are the details for these super easy "treats"!

I saved jelly, mason & pasta jars with lids for these. I got a bag of bony skeleton hands, a bag of "severed" fingers, and a plastic skeleton at the dollar store. The fingers went in a jelly jar with water and several drops of red food color dye. The hands went in the pasta jar, and I cut up some of the longer bones from the skeleton and added them in. Then some water and lime green dye to finish it off. Finally, I found a bag of skulls at Michael's for $1.99 ~ they went in a large mason jar with water & teal food dye! (I need to get one more bag - these all float up to the top!)

Our dollar store is sold out of all of the things I bought there, but Michael's still has the severed fingers for $4.00 and the skulls. Next year, I'm hitting the dollar store EARLY for more!!

I made the labels on my computer, cut them with my scrapbooking scissors (deckle edge, I believe), and colored them a bit with David's pastels to add some interest. I had a funky, fall colored tie dye print fabric so that went on top. I'm not sure where they will end up in the house, but for now they are on my Ikea cube book shelf in the living room - but they look rather lost with all those cubes!!

Are you decorated for Halloween yet? What's your favorite decoration this year? I think this little grouping just may be my favorite!

I'm linking this craft up at:

Hookin up With HoH #20

and

Fun Follow Friday

and



and

Toot Your Horn Tuesday

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another great shopping trip!



Had another great trip to Publix today! Next week we have to take snack/drinks for 10 hungry little soccer players, so I stocked up on the B1G1 Nabisco multi packs, and the $1.79 Capri Suns for that. I got my husband a Medium Shrimp Platter for 1/2 price (only $6!) thanks to B1G1 sale. 10 cent Buitoni fresh pasta after B1G1 & coupons, $2 Wesson oil, $2 Italian salad blend, $1.99 Propel six pack, and so much more!! Publix actually paid me 21 cents per pack to buy 10 packs of Japanese noodles after my coupons, and they paid me 30 cents for the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (it was B1G1 and I had a $2 coupon!!) Here's the breakdown:

Spent $23.49
Saved $55.20

Bought 29 items
used $5 off $25 purchase Rite Aid coupon
&
Had mfr coupons for most everything except sweet potatoes, Lysol cleaner, Salad, Propel, Wesson oil & 3 Capri Suns. BUT - all but the sweet potatoes were either B1G1or on sale for great prices.

After this trip I still have $176 in my grocery budget for the next two weeks!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

How to make Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers in your crockpot

HoosierHomemade had a great recipe to share earlier this week - and I knew it would be perfect tonight with some sweet potato fries on the side! My husband was told last week that he needed to change his diet and exercise more if wants to avoid a stent due to blockages that he has in his arteries, so I'm making changes in our diet, too.

This bacon cheeseburger crockpot meal sounded fantastic, but I changed it around to make it suit our needs right now. Instead of the ground beef, I used 1 1/2 lbs of ground turkey breast, and I used turkey bacon crumbles instead of regular bacon. For the homemade cheese sauce, I used shredded 2% cheddar and fat free cream cheese, plus skim milk. The result? Delicious - you'd never guess that a lot of the fat and calories are gone!




Crockpot Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
8-10 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt
a few shakes of McCormicks Maple Smokehouse seasoning

Cheese Sauce (recipe below)
Hamburger Buns
Directions:

Cook bacon in oven on a rack over foil. Cook ground turkey, McCormick seasoning & garlic, drain and place in Crockpot. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook cheese sauce and add to crockpot. Crumble bacon and stir into meat mixture, heat through, about 2 hours on low.



My turkey meat looks like ground beef once I'm done doctoring it up with worcestershire & seasonings!
 
Bake the turkey bacon on a rack (dollar tree!) over foil at 400 degrees, flip, bake til done.



DRAT! I finished off the bottle with this dinner.  Time to stock up again - this is my favorite seasoning!

Turkey meat with the crumbled turkey bacon in the crockpot.  I love Reynolds slow cooker liners ~ they make cleanup a breeze!


Homemade Cheese Sauce

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 1/2 – 3 cups skim milk, depending on how thin or thick you want it
8 oz of cheese, I used a mix of shredded 2% milk cheddar and fat free cream cheese, cubed

Melt butter in saucepan on stovetop, wisk in flour and cook a few minutes, being careful not to get the flour too brown. Slowly add the milk and continue wisking. Add cubed cheese & shredded cheddar, slowly, stirring after each addition until cheese is melted. Let sauce come to a little bit of a boil, wisking until thick. Add to crockpot. Stir well, cook as directed above.


I made a thicker cheese sauce (with 1 1/2 cups milk) this time - yummy!

Serve on buns ~ delicious!

Hooking up with Slow Cooker Squad's Monday linky and