Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strawberry Mango Salsa with Cinnamon Chip

My daughter loves cinnamon chips and since we recently visited the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard I've been excited about making them. I decided to make a strawberry salsa to dip them in. It was so good I used the left over salsa in my yogurt the next morning. So yummy.

 Spray both sides of your tortillas with Pam. Then using a pizza cutter, slice the tortillas into wedges. Toss the wedges in a large bowl and sprinkle 1 cup of cinnamon sugar, tossing the wedges to cover both sides.

Lay the wedges on cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

Combine copped mango and strawberries with an immersion mixer or blender. Add mint and vanilla and stir. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate or serve immediately.

10 fresh strawberries
1 medium mango - peeled and diced    
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp mint               
3 (12 inch) flour tortillas
canola cooking spray
1 cup cinnamon sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Combine mango and strawberries with an immersion mixer or blender.  Pour into a bowl and refrigerate
  3. Coat both sides of each tortilla with the cooking spray. Cut the tortillas into triangle-shaped wedges and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over the chips. Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and serve with the fruit mixture.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

1 Cookie Dough 3 ways

This is the peak of multi tasking heaven for me when I can make one dough and produce three different types of cookies. This is not rocket science I understand but what a time saver! Plus each type of cookie pleases someone in my family and surely someone you are making cookies for.

I started off with Michelle's Soft Sugar Cookies recipe from The title holds true; these cookies are soft for days after (if you can keep them in the house that long).

I made M&M, Snickerdoodle and plain ol' Sugar cookies. This make about 60 - 70 cookies.
Happy baking!

1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional: 1 cup cinnamon sugar, M&M candies


  1. Cream the margarine and add the sugar gradually. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, stirring in by hand. Cover and chill dough overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and cut into your favorite shapes. Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 6 to 8 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Take a Trip on a Train - Travel games

Here's a few travel games and activities I came up with for our train adventure.

Alphabet I Spy
The kids loved this because it gave them a chance to shout out answers and look closely at their surroundings. On our train ride we passed, farms, the ocean and campsites, all gave us a ton of objects to help fill out list.

How to play: Assign a person to make a list from A-Z and write down answers given. As a group look for objects along your journey that begin with each letter of the alphabet. If you want to go it alone have each person make their own list. Share your answers at the end.

Branch, bird, boat, beach, bunny
Cow, camp ground, cave
Deer, dock
Electric power lines
Fence, flowers
Grass, gate
Hill, hole
Lighthouse, leaves
Palm tree, picnic table, power plant
Sand, seaweed, shore, seagull
Train, tree
"Volume", "volts"
Wave, wood
X on a train crossing sign

Take Photos!
The kids brought their cameras on board and throughout the train ride they took photos of what they saw along the way.

Scavenger Hunt - Train Style

I made up this little game to play while on the train to keep the kids interested. I had 5 simple questions that they had to search the train to come up with the correct answers. My kids are 4 and 6 so these are easy but you can make the questions harder to suit your kids. This gave us chance to explore the train and stretch our legs.
1. Show me the place where we can buy a donut and a drink
2. Find a train Conductor
3. Locate a fire extinguisher
4. Show me the place where we wash our hands
5. Show me where I can store my bike.

Whether you travel by car, train, bus or plane... enjoy your trip and have safe travels.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mini Cinnamon Bunt Cakes

This was my favorite thing growing up, cinnamon bread. Actually anything that had cinnamon in it was a huge love of mine and still is for that matter. My pet peeve about making bread is that the last person to have a slice never covers the bread (husband) and so it goes dry quickly. In an effort to eliminate that pet peeve I've made individual cinnamon bunt cakes for the family. I found this donut/mini bunt pan and it was calling my name so here ya go, Mini Cinnamon Bunt Cakes and boy they are yummy.
make as directed

start with cinnamon at the bottom of the pan, then fill pans half way with batter then fill with remaining cinnamon goodness. Finish off each bunt with remaining batter. Bake for about 15-20 min but keep an eye on them.

Finish with frosted topping.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PB&J Clippies

I bought these super cute clippies for Katie on an ETSY shop, Luving Stitches and had to share. We also bought a cookies and milk pair that we adore.  Check out her shop on Etsy, link below.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I loved roasted vegetables but some reason it sounds hard to make. Any roasted vegetable is easy peasy. SO in the spirit of roasting I made this wonderful yummy Roasted Cauliflower Soup last night and it was big hit with the family. I've added the recipe below for you to try on your own. Please do! You will love it.

2 heads cauliflower, separated into florets
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallots, chopped
3 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups heavy cream or half and half (depending on how thick or healthy you want it)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower pieces with olive oil, garlic and shallots. Spread out in a baking sheet.
  2. Roast in the preheated oven until toasted and tender, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. When the cauliflower is done, transfer to a soup pot and pour in the chicken broth and water. Season with thyme and the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  4. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender, or transfer to a blender and puree in batches, then return to the pot. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Heat through before serving but do not boil.   Top with parsley if you like.

Monday, May 21, 2012

California Strawberry Festival

There's quite a few strawberry festivals throughout California but this was my first, in Oxnard.
We visited my in-laws that live in the area and got a chance to take in the sites and deliciousness of the Strawberry Festival. They've got it all:
chocolate covered strawberries
strawberry crepes
strawberry nachos
make your own strawberry short cake
strawberry pizza
strawberry beer
strawberries and champagne
strawberry jam
strawberry cheesecake

This week I will trying my hand at Strawberry Nachos because I think they are so unusual and of course I need to see if I can make them BETTER than the folks did at the fair. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mini Donuts

Today is "bring a treat for the teacher day" and so we made mini donuts. I couldn't resist buying the pan when we visited Sur La Table over the weekend. Love these. So cute and simple. Here's a recipe I pulled and altered from

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2T. melted butter 
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I omitted this because I have childhood nightmares of its overuseage)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a doughnut pan.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in milk, eggs, vanilla and shortening. Beat together until well blended.
  3. To make glaze, blend confectioners' sugar, hot water and almond extract in a small bowl. Dip doughnuts in the glaze when serving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Graduations Caps

Kindergarten graduation is upon us and so Katie was given a project to work on at home this week. A Graduation Cap.
Katie and I went to the art cupboard and picked out buttons and brads she wanted to use.  The two basic rules were; it had to have her name and it couldn't be too heavy. First, we used the Cricut to cut out letters. We used felt flowers, regular and fabric covered brads, colored paper circles we made with a paper punch, and some small buttons. Katie glued it all together with some e-6000 and with moms help finished it off with a tassel. She loves it!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pepperoni Bread

There's a few ways to make pepperoni bread but this is how I was raised to make it by my Italian grandmother and so I think this is how it shall stay. Some people roll the bread so it makes this cute little spiral - I say boooo. I like all the goodness in the middle and all the bread surrounding it. Below you'll find the instructions on how to make the deliciousness and here's what you need:
1 loaf frozen bread dough (set out to rise according to package instructions)
1/2 lb of mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb sliced pepperoni
2 T. olive oil
1 egg white
dash or two garlic powder
1 T. melted butter

preheat oven to 400 degrees. drizzle a little olive oil on the pan then pull dough gently length wise, corner to corner then begin spreading equally to the sides.

place 2-3 handfuls of cheese and cover with pepperoni

begin to seal by bringing one edge of the dough over the top, pulling slightly
then bring the other side to the top and pinch/seal together

 On each end of the bread pull the dough out slightly then fold down to seal the edges.

Turn the entire loaf over so the sealed side faces down.
Blend egg white, dash of garlic powder, 1 T melted butter and large pinch of salt in bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush mixture on top of prepared bread. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

 Always tastes best when served warm. A family favorite.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rock It

While at the beach with the family I came across these smooth rocks. I collect flat smooth ones to help label wine and cheese at my next gathering. It also got my thinking that you can use them just about anywhere you want to label something or even just leave a special message for someone.

What you'll need:
several smooth, flat rocks
black chalkboard paint (found at Micheal's)
paint brush
chalk to write with

Start off by dusting the rocks clean. Apply two coats to both sides of each rock and let dry. Once they're dry for a few hours you can write on them. I tried using watercolor crayons and they worked well, too. These make great and easy gifts even your kids will enjoy making. TIP: you can also paint small rocks and hot glue them to the back of each larger rock so they slant slightly off of a cutting board.

 My favorite cheese, Ewephoria.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Potato Cakes

I made potato cakes the other day thinking it would be great to use all the left over mashed potatoes I had made the night before. I found this recipe AFTER I made mine. Wish I would found it BEFORE.

Mine tasted good but for some reason did fare well in the pan.
They acutally look like their doing okay and then....not so much.

I'll try again maybe with more flour next time.