Archive for the ‘DIY Recipes’ Category

Black-Eyed Peas~ A Southern Tradition for Luck & Prosperity in the New Year

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Friday, December 31st, 2021 at 3:30 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

If you are planning to celebrate the New Year here in Texas, it is likely that you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form! These flavorful legumes are traditionally, according to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has evolved to include:

~Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.

~ Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.

~ For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

~ Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.

~ In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.

~ Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year!

Here are just a couple of the most popular ways to prepare these yummy beans:

Hoppin’ John – Although served throughout the year as well, Hoppin’ John is one of the most traditional New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day dishes in the South. Black-eyed peas are cooked with rice, pork (such as chopped pork or ham, hog jowls or hambones, fatback or bacon) and seasonings. Sometimes chopped onions and hot sauce are added.

Texas (Black-Eyed Pea) Caviar – This is a popular casual alternative that blends Southern and Mexican flavors with black-eyed peas and is usually served with tortilla chips. This is my family’s favorite by far!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad – There are many recipes for salads made with black-eyed peas, so this is a good choice for a side dish served with other dishes.

4th Of July Themed Dessert Recipes

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Friday, July 2nd, 2021 at 2:30 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Looking for some fresh, sweet treats to try this 4th of July since we will all be staying home? If so, here are just a few of the best 4th of July themed recipes from Pinterest.

Fourth of July Wands 

INGREDIENTS:

1 watermelon
2 pints blueberries
20 skewers

DIRECTIONS:

1. Slice the watermelon into 1/2 inch round slices, and then cut out star shapes using a three-inch star-shaped cookie cutter.
2. Gently slide the blueberries on wooden skewers* and finally place a watermelon star on the top.
3. Place the skewers in a tall glass or in decorated floral foam as an eatable centerpiece.
* If serving to young kids make sure they’re careful with the wooden skewers.

Thanks, Weelicious!

4th of July Berry Trifles

INGREDIENTS:

One 12-ounce lemon pound cake (homemade or store bought)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries
1 1/2 cups finely diced strawberries
10 8-ounce plastic (see-thru) cups

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut the pound cake into 10 slices. Use a small STAR cookie cutter to cut out 10 stars from the center of each slice. Chop the remnants of each slice into small pieces. Set aside.

2. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer to combine them until well combined (1 to 2 minutes). Add the cream and continue to whip until the mixture is soft and creamy.

3. Assemble the trifles: Set all of the plastic cups on a tray. Sprinkle a few cubes of pound cake into each cup. Top with a small spoonful of cream and a spoonful of both blueberries and strawberries. Layer again- more pound cake, more cream and more berries, and then place a star-shaped piece of pound cake on top.

Thanks, Recipe Girl!

Firecracker Popcorn

INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Pop Secret Homestyle microwave popcorn
1 cup white candy melts
1 package Strawberry Pop Rocks candy
Blue sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the popcorn according to package directions. Spread onto a cookie sheet and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the candy melts and drizzle onto the popcorn.
Sprinkle Strawberry Pop Rocks onto the popcorn.
**If you want some EXTRA sizzle, use Blue Pop Rocks, too!**
Add sprinkles and allow to harden completely.

Thanks, The Nerds Wife!

Red, White and Blue Patriotic Peppermint Patties

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup butter, softened
⅓ cup light corn syrup
4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1½ tsps lemon extract OR ½ to 1 tsp peppermint extract OR any other extract you want
food coloring – I used Wilton’s red and blue icing color in the gel format
½ cup granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Combine butter and corn syrup together in a small bowl.
Add 2 cups powdered sugar and your choice of extract and beat until well combined. Add extract ½ teaspoon at a time until the mixture reaches your desired flavor.
Stir in an additional cup of powdered sugar.
Turn bowl onto a cutting board sprinkled with last cup of powdered sugar.
Knead the mixture until sugar is absorbed and is completely smooth.
Divide dough into three portions.
Tint one portion red with the red food color/gel and one blue. Leave one portion white.
Shape into ¾ inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.
Flatten gently with a fork.
Let candies stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 day.
Store in an airtight container.

Thanks, Mom On Time Out!

4th of July Star Cookied

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
24 strawberries, thinly sliced
1 cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Form the mixture into 3 small balls and knead each one until smooth.

On a lightly floured surface, roll a ball of dough to 1/2-inch thick. Use a star cookie cutter to cut into stars. Place them 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies are set. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, blend the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Carefully spread icing evenly over each cooled cookie. Slice each strawberry slice in half and arrange on the cookies pointing outward. Place three blueberries in the center of each cookie.

Thanks, Gold Medal Flour!

Patriotic Cake Pops

INGREDIENTS:

Red candy melts
Royal blue candy melts
White cookie icing
White sugar sprinkles
1 can prepared vanilla frosting
Favorite cake recipe or cake mix (plus ingredients)

Supplies:

50 cookie sticks
Wax paper
Cookie sheet
Chocolate melting pot

DIRECTIONS:

Prep the cake. Bake cake as directed on package. When completely cool, break the cake into crumbs by hand in a large bowl. Mix in full can of frosting until well blended.
Make cake balls. Roll the cake mixture into 50 1-inch balls and place on waxed paper.
Melt the candy melts as directed. For the “stars” of your flag, use the royal blue candy melts. For the “stripes” pops, use the red candy melts.
Add the sticks. Dip a cookie stick about 1/2 inch into warm candy melt and insert the stick into the rounded part of a cake ball. Repeat for remaining cake balls.
Prop up pops. Place pops cake end down, on waxed paper while the chocolate is still slightly warm, so the candy hardens into a flat surface at the top (this will help your pops stand up when serving).
Cool the pops. Place the cake pops in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, to firm.
Add a second layer of chocolate. Once the pops are firm, remove from the fridge/freezer and dip each into the melted chocolate, tapping excess chocolate off.
Sprinkle on the stars. Decorate the blue pops with white sprinkles before chocolate coating hardens.
Drizzle on the stripes. Drizzle white cookie icing over the red pops after chocolate coating hardens.
Make your flag fly! Line up your pops to create the Stars and Stripes on a tray.

 

Kid Friendly DIY Memorial Day Projects

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Friday, May 28th, 2021 at 12:00 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Memorial Day weekend is a time of reflection for our fallen soldiers, reminding us to commemorate their heroic efforts, while spending time with our own family. This idea is not always easy for our littlest ones to understand, so why not create something patriotic together to celebrate this important holiday weekend?

Here are a few festive red, white and blue projects for Memorial Day to complete with your kids, ranging from decorations to food to keepsakes.

Toothpick Flag Wreath~ This is perfect for toddlers to help out with- all you need is a hollow Styrofoam circle, then stick in the flag toothpicks until it looks fluffy. Who knew toothpicks could be so decorative? Thanks to The Picky Apple for this awesome idea.

Painted Star Backyard~ Transform your backyard into a field of patriotic stars with this idea by The Concrete Cottage. After a little rain, the paint will fade.

Rice Candles~ Putting this patriotic Memorial Day decor together could not be easier than with this project by Today’s Creative Blog. Simply dye rice red and blue with food coloring, then layer the colors around a candle in a jar of your choice.

Flags in a Jar~ Layer JELL-O and fruit to create these adorable flags in a jar from Green Acres Hobby Farm. They look so festive, and taste great too!

Flag Cake~ If you’re feeling super ambitious, try baking a Hidden Flag Cake, which is made with a layer of red cake, a layer of white frosting, and a blue cake center so when sliced, everyone is served a perfect flag.

5 Fun Earth Day Activities For Kids

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Thursday, April 22nd, 2021 at 10:00 AM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Earth Day is TODAY and normally events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for our environment!

Here are 5 fun and easy at-home activities to do with your kiddos as a reminder to slow down and appreciate the bounty of our beautiful planet!

Peanut Butter & Pine Cone Bird Feeder~ You only need 4 components: a pine cone, peanut butter, twine, and bird seed. First, tie twine to top of pine cone to use later to hang your bird feeder. Next, using a spoon or knife, spread a thick layer of peanut butter all over the pine cone. Then, roll it around in the seed, making sure to press the seeds into the peanut butter and hang in your favorite tree!

Make Recycled Paper~ This slightly messy project requires some patience and preparation, but it’s not tricky and the process is worth exploring.

Supplies- Screen, Large Tub, Washcloth/rag/burp cloth/large piece of felt, Water, Torn paper from newspaper, tissue paper, magazines, etc. and a Blender Steps– Shred the paper up into little pieces (roughly 2″ square). Add paper to the blender, cover it with water, and run the blender on a low speed. (add more water if the blender doesn’t move easily) Continue to run the blender a little bit faster until you get the paper mixture into a nice, smooth pulp and add more water if your pulp is still chunky. Spread the pulp in a thin and uniform layer across the screen and cover this with a rag or cloth diaper to absorb the extra water, while also pushing the water through the screen into the tub. Place one hand firmly on top of the cloth and then flip the screen over onto a work surface. Remove the screen and put the cloth plus paper pulp in a spot where it could dry, undisturbed, for about a day. The thicker the paper, the longer it will take to dry.

Rainbow Scavenger Hunt~ Toddlers and preschoolers will a lot of fun playing this game that’s all about learning and searching for the colors of the rainbow. All you need is a camera and some time. To play, start with the color red. When your little one spots something red, snap a photo of it. Then look for something orange, and so on. Not only will they be learning the rainbow, but you’ll be tuning our eyes toward objects in your neighborhood and your local environment.

Mud Pie Kitchen~ This is a favorite for little boys!  Go through your kitchen or head to Goodwill to find cheap pots, pans and cooking utensils. Then set aside a place in your back yard garden to be the dirt pile and make an area for working on such as an old play table or unused plastic crates. Set up the hose or buckets of water near your new mud kitchen and let their creativity flow!

Recycled Garden Collages~ Here’s a way to bring a beautiful garden indoors! Start by discussing things you might find outside like flowers, fences, bugs and more. Then collect cardboard food boxes, straws and lids to create a fun flower filled garden like the one pictured below!

 

Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Friday, April 2nd, 2021 at 2:30 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Easter is almost here and even during the pandemic, there are tons of ways to make Easter Egg Hunts fun and entertaining! Here are some great ways to make your celebration memorable:

Flashlight Hunt

Put together your hunt the night before Easter. Using flashlights and glow-in-the-dark paint on the eggs, kids love finding the eggs at night!

Easter Egg Checklist

Give each hunter a list of what particular eggs they are supposed to find, “4 yellow eggs, 3 purple eggs, 1 golden egg, etc.”. This turns it into a true hunt and you will find the kids end up helping each other out.

Scavenger Hunt

Make the egg hunt last a little longer by having kids search for one at a time. Write up a clue to put in each egg, directing the hunters from one hiding spot to the next. Put the first clue in an empty basket to get started. The last clue can lead to a bigger prize, such as a chocolate bunny or a new book.

Color-coded Eggs

Assign each child a color that he or she can hunt, then hide an equal number of eggs per child. This is a great solution when your egg hunt includes a wide age range.

Neighborhood Hunt

For a neighborhood-wide egg hunt, several families on the block can get together and hide eggs. Set the boundaries and hide eggs in the bushes, in the mailbox or on the bumper of a car.

Treasure Hunt

Make a pirate-style map of the backyard that marks where all of the eggs are hidden. Include a few good landmarks, but don’t give too much away. For the extra-creative, add a few clues along the path, such as bunny footprints drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. Kids can follow the map to find the “treasure.” As a bonus, you won’t have to worry about finding a lost egg in a few weeks.

Golden Ticket

Channel your inner Willy Wonka and come up with a fantastic grand prize. It can be something as simple as a dollar, or pricier, like a gift card to a favorite restaurant. Hide that in one of the plastic eggs or just include a note if it is something large. Embellish the egg with gold paint or plastic rhinestones so it looks different, or leave it to blend in with the rest. The child who finds it will be especially surprised.

The Egg Zone

For a large group of mixed ages, divide the yard into two zones. Kids can hunt based on age group, so everyone finds plenty of eggs. For the older group, choose more challenging hiding spots, while younger kids can enjoy finding eggs out in the open.

Thanks to the Star Telegram for some of these ideas!

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day With Super Easy Irresistible Irish Soda Bread Recipe!

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 at 10:30 AM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

Want to surprise your family with an authentic Irish recipe for St Patrick’s Day? Every year, I make this Irresistible Irish Soda Bread recipe and my kiddos love it!  It is super easy to make and all the ingredients are found in most pantries so you don’t have to run to the store for special ingredients. Serve it with Green Eggs & Ham for a festive, kid friendly St. Paddy’s dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

Thanks, All Recipes!

Black-Eyed Peas~ A Southern Tradition for Luck and Prosperity in the New Year

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Thursday, December 31st, 2020 at 4:00 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

If you are planning to celebrate the New Year here in Texas, it is likely that you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form! These flavorful legumes are traditionally, according to Southern folklore, the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day for luck and prosperity throughout the year ahead. Today, the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for the New Year has evolved to include:

~Served with greens (collards, mustard or turnip greens, which varies regionally), the peas represent coins and the greens represent paper money. In some areas cabbage is used in place of the greens.

~ Cornbread, often served with black-eyed peas and greens, represents gold.

~ For the best chance of luck every day in the year ahead, one must eat at least 365 black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.

~ Black-eyed peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent wealth and health.

~ In some areas, actual values are assigned with the black-eyed peas representing pennies or up to a dollar each and the greens representing anywhere from one to a thousand dollars.

~ Adding a shiny penny or dime to the pot just before serving is another tradition practiced by some. When served, the person whose bowl contains the penny or dime receives the best luck for the New Year!

Here are just a couple of the most popular ways to prepare these yummy beans:

Hoppin’ John – Although served throughout the year as well, Hoppin’ John is one of the most traditional New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day dishes in the South. Black-eyed peas are cooked with rice, pork (such as chopped pork or ham, hog jowls or hambones, fatback or bacon) and seasonings. Sometimes chopped onions and hot sauce are added.

Texas (Black-Eyed Pea) Caviar – This is a popular casual alternative that blends Southern and Mexican flavors with black-eyed peas and is usually served with tortilla chips. This is my family’s favorite by far!

Black-Eyed Pea Salad – There are many recipes for salads made with black-eyed peas, so this is a good choice for a side dish served with other dishes.

DIY Bug Repellent

Posted by Jennifer Carles on Monday, August 10th, 2020 at 2:30 PM
The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the Full Disclosures!

If you want to keep your kiddos bug free this summer but stay away from harmful chemicals, here is a DIY Bug Spray remedy to try!

What You’ll Need:
1/2 cup catnip
2 cups water
4 tablespoons witch hazel
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
10 to 20 drops essential oil
Small spray bottle
Small funnel
Sauce pan
Bowl
Sieve
Paper towel

Directions:

Gather the ingredients for your homemade bug spray. Catnip contains nepetalactone, which attracts cats but repels bugs naturally. Using dried catnip, which you can find for a few dollars at any pet store, works just fine, but using the fresh stuff is even better. Vanilla is a scent that’s disliked by several types of bugs, including ticks. Essential oils, such as lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and citronella, also keep bugs away while adding a wonderful scent to this insect repellent.

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