Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pretzel Footballs - Perfect for the Superbowl

In our house it's football smootball. We only watch the Superbowl. We are a baseball and basketball family. My husband and son also like auto racing and I watch tennis. We just don't have the time or inclination to watch football.

So once a year I post a little football idea (right before the Superbowl).

I made these footballs by using brown lunch bags.

For this project you will need:


Brown lunch bags

White embroidery thread

Brown marker


Large needle

Freehand draw a football - don't draw on the bottom area of the bag.

Cut out the football - this will come out in two layers. Set the bottom layer aside and stitch your top layer lace design.

I used these football shaped pretzels to stuff the brown paper bag footballs. I bought these at Cost Plus World Market.

Aren't these football pretzels perfect to serve during the Superbowl or a Tailgate party?

Now neatly sew the top and bottom pieces together. Be careful when sewing on paper - it can easily rip  or tear.

Once the football is almost completely sewn start adding the football pretzels and complete sewing all the way around.

These would be cute snacks for any football party. You could write your favorite team on the football. These would also be a wonderful party favor.

I hope your favorite team wins!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Valentine Pretzels - Two Different Ways

Today i made some Valentine Pretzels. Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. And today I started getting out some of my Valentine decorations. Fun!

For this project you will need:


White, pink and red chocolate tabs

Valentine themed sprinkles

Small plastic bags

Red or pink ribbon

These were the pretzels that I used.

Lay the pretzels in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper.

Melt some white chocolate and put it in a large zipper top bag. Twist the chocolate to the end and snipe off a small piece of the pointy end and drizzle over the pretzels.

Do the same thing with some pink chocolate.

Repeat the process with some red chocolate. Wait for everything to harden. Then cut off the excess around the edges with a sharp knife. Then put one pretzel in a plastic bag and tie with a coordinating ribbon.

Another way to make the pretzels is to pipe pink chocolate on top of the pretzel and sprinkle liberally with Valentine themed sprinkles.

Let these pretzels dry completely before packaging.

Wouldn't these be cute neighbor, classroom or sports team treats? They would also make cute party favors.

I will try to finish my Valentine decorating this week! If I can just stop making Valentine treats! Now I must quit blogging and go clean up my sprinkle mess.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Valentine Hearts Filled With m&m's

Today I made some Valentine hearts filled with m&m's. I made them while I watched the Australian Open. I am sad that Maria Sharapova lost today she is my favorite player.

To make this project you will need -

Heart paper dollies

Red embroidery floss

Valentine themed m&m's


Large needle

Little heart doodad

I started sewing around the heart - it was easy to do because of perorations.

Once the heart is almost completely stitched add a few small handfuls of m&m's. Then continue sewing. Going back around and sewing each and every perforation.

Once they have been finished you can add a little doodad or sticker to the top of the heart.

I bought the dollies and embroidery thread at Michael's. The m&m's were from Target and the doodad are from Hobby Lobby.

These would be cute classroom treats - however they take a while to make so if you decide to make them for the classroom or sports team - start early (like tomorrow)!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Cookies

                        Martin Luther King, Junior   1929 - 1968

His name lives on as a symbol of civil rights, freedom and determination. In honor of Martin Luther King day (January 21st) I made some cookies to commemorate his most famous speech "I have a Dream."

I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe and cut out the needed letters with my ABC cookie cutter set.

And here are some baked initial cookies.

I decided to use light blue melted chocolate and use pearl sprinkles to make some dream themed cookies.

I just applied the melted chocolate to the cookies with a small appetizer knife.

And here are my cookies in honor of Martin Luther King day! My son and I are going to visit my Dad tomorrow - he hasn't been feeling well. Then he has basketball practice at 1 p.m. My husband is working tomorrow from home - do you think he will eat the cookies while we are gone?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lobster Mac & Cheese

I hardly ever make Macaroni and Cheese. If I do I make it from scratch. My kids have never had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese out of the blue box at my house. Perhaps they have had it at a friend's house. There have been times when I bought the Trader Joe's frozen Mac and Cheese - when we have a lot of sports (games and practices).

A side note - I made this while I watched Roger Federer win Bernard Tomic in three sets at the Australian Open after Tomic talked about how he could  beat Roger. Please dude - don't talk smack about Roger - it made you look like an idiot. Now that I got that off my chest I can start the recipe!


8 ounces of elbow macaroni

2 cups whole milk

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese

1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups cooked Lobster meat, finely chopped

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the elbow macaroni al  dente according to the package directions. Drain well and set aside.

Heat the milk on low in a small saucepan.

In a large pot melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the flour to the melted butter. Stir until the mixture is thick. Add the warm milk and stir until the mixture has thickened.

Remove the pot from the heat and add the Gruyere and cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now stir in the elbow macaroni and lobster.

Spoon the mixture into individual ramekins. I was able to get 5 ramekins of the mixture. Each of my ramekins holds about 1 1/2 cups of the macaroni mixture. Place your ramekins on a cookie sheet.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and add the bread crumbs to the melted butter. Stir to combine and spoon the bread crumbs over the tops of the ramekins.

Bake for 25 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and the top of mixture is nice and brown.

Serve piping hot and accompany with a green salad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Valentine Chex Mix

I made some Valentine Chex Mix! It was really easy to make and I packaged it in some glass jars to give out as gifts.


6 cups of Rice Chex cereal

1 cup white vanilla baking chips

1 cup pink vanilla baking chips

2 cups Valentine themed m&m's

1 cup dry roasted peanuts


Line 2 cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper. Place 3 cups of Chex cereal in a medium bowl. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the Chex mix - stir to combine and pour onto one of the paper lined cookie sheets.

Place another 3 cups of Chex cereal in a medium bowl. Melt the pink chocolate and drizzle it over the Chex cereal. Stir to combine and pour it on the other paper lined cookie sheet.

In a large bowl add the m&m's and peanuts. Gently break up the chocolate covered Chex cereal and add it to the bowl. Stir to combine and start filling the jars with the mix.

I decorated the top of the jar with a pice of red and white gingham scrapbook paper and added a little flower. You could also package this mix into cellophane bags and tie with a pink or red ribbon.

I love how these turned out! They look so festive! You could make this mix for any holiday by simply changing the colors of the melting chocolate and m&m's.

These would be cute teacher gifts (especially if you add a small Starbucks gift card). I think they would also be cute neighbor  gifts or party favors.

I hope that everyone has a romantic Valentine's Day!!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Valentine Hearts Made From Old Book Pages

I have seen various Christmas ornaments made from old book pages and I wanted to make some for Valentine decorations.

Wouldn't these make cute decorations for your book club meeting?

For this project you will need:

 Old book pages

Heart shaped cookie cutter


Red embroidery thread

Red marker

Large embroidery needle

Cotton balls

Small heart shaped button


Trace a bunch of hearts with your cookie cutter and a red marker onto the old book pages. Cut out the hearts.

Thread your embroidery needle with a long strand (using all six threads) slowly and carefully using a running stitch start stitching the two hearts together. You must be very careful when sewing paper that you don't rip the paper.

Once your heart is 75% sewn together add a cotton ball between the two hearts and finish sewing the heart.

Sew the little button at the top of the heart.

These would make a cute garland.

I found making these really relaxing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chinese Chicken Salad for Sunday Night Dinner

Using a large square plate - I quickly made a Chinese Chicken Salad. On a layer of Romaine lettuce I added small rows of diced avocado, shredded carrots, green onions, chopped red bell peppers, chicken, mandarin oranges and crispy chow mein noodles. In the middle of the salad is a small bowl of Asian Sesame Salad dressing.

Here is a close up of the rows of fresh veggies. Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to eat more vegetables?

I always try to eat "clean" in January. I feel a little yucky after all of the holiday food and goodies.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Inexpensive Hostess Gift with a Valentine Theme

In a few days I am going to a lunch honoring a friend who has moved away. She is in town for a quick visit. So I am bringing the hostess and honored a guest a little treat.

I bought these Valentine spatula's at Target today.

Aren't they cute? I might need to go back and get one for me! Anyway they looked fun - but I tied them with a big bow and now they look like a gift!

I used some red ribbon left over from Christmas. The ribbon is from Michael's.  Check your Christmas wrapping stash - you probably have some leftover red ribbon.

The spatula's are the Nordicware brand.

I love Valentine's day. It is such a simple and fun holiday. I hope they like this small hostess gift.

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Easy Risotto Recipe

I have made Risotto twice over the Christmas break. This is a super easy recipe and once you master a basic Risotto recipe you can experiment with different flavor combinations. It is always a challenge for me to take pictures when I am trying to get dinner on the table. So I only have two photos!


3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon

1 medium white or yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup Arborio rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons of fresh basil, finely chopped

1 cup leftover chicken breasts, roughly chopped (optional)


Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, salt and pepper to the melted butter. Stir constantly for about 5 to 7 minutes. Until the onions are really soft.

Add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes. Continue stirring. Pour the wine into the pan and let the mixture simmer until the wine is absorbed.

Add 2 cups of the chicken broth. Continue stirring until the mixture is absorbed (about 8 to 10 minutes).

Now add the rest of the chicken broth (1 1/2 cups) and continue stirring until the liquid is absorbed (about 7 to 9 minutes).

Stir in the additional tablespoon of butter, Parmesan cheese and chopped chicken. Sprinkle with the chopped basil and serve.

I always serve Risotto with a green salad. I bought the Arborio rice, chicken broth and Parmesan wedge at Trader Joe's.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Valentine Gift Wrap

My Mother-in-Laws birthday is in January. For some reason this year I decided to wrap her birthday gift with a Valentine theme. I had a ton of red ribbon left over from Christmas and some heart ornaments that I made. So I wrapped her gift in red gingham  paper and tied it with three different red ribbons and added two homemade heart ornaments.

I also added a Macy's gift card which was also red!

I think that having a pretty gift to unwrap is a lot of fun!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolutions for 2013

I have a lot of resolutions for 2013! Some will be easy to keep and others more difficult.

1. Simplify - Less is More.

2. Reduce,  Reuse, and Recycle.

3. Drink more Water.

4. Get more Sleep.

5. Go for a Daily Walk or Bike Ride.

6. Work on my Posture. I really need to focus on Standing up Straight.

Yes, we made some 2013 cookies! I hope that everyone has a happy and healthy 2013.  Remember it's okay to have a homemade cookie every so often!