Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com.

Ever since my children were small we have had a tradition of making a Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree. The best part about this tradition is that it is fast to create, can be decorated by your kids, and it is something they will look forward to every year.

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com. Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com.

There is no recipe to this one unless you are feeling ambitious and want to create some easy bread machine cinnamon rolls to make this with, which is something I love to do on Christmas morning!

Shape these into a Christmas tree shape on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake as directed on the packaging. Tint the icing green with a few drops of food coloring and let them decorate the rolls themselves.

I slide the rolls off of the hot cookie sheet and let them decorate while they are still hot, reducing the risk of burn elbows and arms by removing that hot sheet.

Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com. Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com. Easy Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls from MomAdvice.com.

This recipe is practically fool-proof, unless you were up with a screaming baby one night and on Christmas morning grabbed blue instead of green.

And maybe you declared it the year of the retro Christmas tree.

Maybe.

I hope you can embrace this as part of your annual holiday traditions. Be sure to check out my other ideas for Great Family Traditions to Celebrate the Holidays in a MEANINGFUL way. If you didn’t get around to creating an advent calendar yet, don’t worry! Check out my Use What You Have Advent Calendar!

 

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Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I am all about beautiful and simple decorations for the holidays. Today’s tutorial is how to make a burlap wreath for the holiday season. This is a no-sew, no-glue, no-cut project that should be easy to create in about 30 minutes.

Walmart challenged me to create a DIY decorating project for the holidays and I immediately knew that I wanted to create one of those burlap wreaths that I had seen on so many other blogs. I really wanted to add a festive holiday spin to it, but one that would be easy to execute (and replicate!).

I began searching through blogs for tutorials on how to create my wreath, watched a million YouTube videos, looked at more blogs…and basically my eyes crossed and glazed over. Everyone does their wreaths differently and there is not one magic tutorial, BUT gathering those ideas, this is my version of the burlap wreath with a little holiday spin for you.

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Supplies Needed

2 Rolls of Burlap, 5 inches wide & 10 yards long (here is what I purchased)

18″ wire wreath form

1 package of mini-clothespins

2 floral holiday picks (any variety)

3-5 holiday photos printed in wallet-size

Floral wire

Scissors

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

How to Make Your Burlap Wreath

1. To begin, select a few of your favorite holiday photos that can be attached to your wreath. The pictures I picked were from our family’s epic sledding adventure that you we do each year. Send these off to the Walmart Photo Lab and have them printed in wallet-size ($.58 each).

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

2. Now that you have your photos to decorate your wreath, let’s begin weaving the burlap through our wire wreath form. This is going to take a little time and practice with your first one so don’t get discouraged.

Easy Burlap Wreath TutorialBegin by folding your burlap in half, like I have shown above, and keep wrapping as we go. Select one section of the wire wreath to start in. Feed the beginning end through the wreath as shown above. Over the outer ring, under the next, over the next, and under to finish. Leave a little loose end to tuck in or you can wire it to the wreath with a little floral wire in the back. Now you have started your wreath- super easy!  This is the technique we are using throughout. I am showing it to you tightly so you can see how this will work, when you do this, you will be actually pulling out the burlap a bit to give it to that bubble effect that we are going for. 

3. Using the working end of the burlap, we are going to begin making the bubbled burlap right next to this row, within the same section of that metal wreath, but we will begin weaving in the opposite direction, continuing to pull out and bubble the burlap as we go, moving the working burlap into each section, weaving one direction than weaving the other direction.

4. When you run out of burlap (it should be when you are about halfway through covering the wreath), tuck the end towards the back and pick up where you left off. Again, you can wire these ends with a little floral wire on the back.

5. Once the entire wreath is covered, secure the final end with floral wire. Finish, by puffing up some of the folded bubbles (if desired) or you can leave them as is, if you prefer a more ruffled, rather than bubbly effect.

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

6. Finish the wreath by gluing OR wiring two floral picks on the wreath. I just used a little glue, not too excessively like I usually do, so that I can remove these and switch my wreath up with the season (much like my yarn wreath that is STILL gracing my front door). Finish the wreath by attaching a few of your favorite holiday portraits with those mini-clothespins.

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial Once you are done, here is what the back of my wreath looked like. You can trim any of the pieces down that were wired to help your wreath lay more flush to your door.

Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

Isn’t she lovely? With a little less than $20 supplies and 30 minutes of your time, you truly have a beautiful wreath for your front door, to grace your mantle, or to make a wall in your home more festive. Not to mention, wouldn’t this just make the most fabulous little gift for someone you love for the holidays?

I’m madly in love with it and I hope it inspires you to dress up a door in your home!

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Christmas Gift Ideas Under $25

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas Under $25 from MomAdvice.com.

As is tradition for the holiday season, today I wanted to share great gift ideas for under $25 to add to your Christmas wish list or to share with someone you love in your life. These are a few of the items that are on my own personal wish list this year!

Mischief Maker Scarf in Navy (Modcloth)

Mischief Maker Scarf in Navy

If you thought I was obsessed with owls this last year, I have found a new obsession with another woodland creature. I am in love with this novelty-printed fox scarf for adding a whimsical layer to my wardrobe. I hope Santa will wrap one of these up for me for under my Christmas tree! ($22.99)

Jane Austen: Seven Novels in One

Jane Austen: Seven Novels (Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition)

I have never tackled a Jane Austen book although I love every movie adaptation I have ever seen of her books. Each Christmas I ask for one of these beautiful reissued classics from Barnes & Noble and try to read it for the year. Why just buy one book though when you can get seven in one? I am adding this affordable 7-in-1 books to my Christmas list this year. ($18)

Work Hard Stay Humble Print

Work Hard Stay Humble Print

I am always looking for prints to add to my office and I absolutely love this reminder for my home office. The Motivated Type offers loads of motivational prints for living in beautiful typography. I would love to fill every room of my home with pretty font-filled motivation, but this print in particular speaks to my heart.  For your $25 budget, you can get a size 11×14 print! ($25)

Celebrate Banner Cake Topper from Lisa Leonard Designs

Celebrate Banner Cake Topper

We are all about celebrating the big and little occasions around here and I would love to get this beautiful, “Celebrate,” banner in silver to top our baked doughnuts, cakes, and pancakes in the morning for those moments. I am a big fan of Lisa Leonard and her amazing company Lisa Leonard Designs. Although this one is priced at $28, she offers a 15% discount if you sign up for her newsletter (see along the left-hand side of her page). What a beautiful detail to add to our family celebrations! ($28)

Oh Kale Yeah Market Tote (West Elm)

Oh Kale Yeah Tote

Man, my farmer’s market visits just got a lot more fun with this hilarious tote from West Elm. In all seriousness, I love a good tote bag and I think this one really delivers on the fun and functional factors. ($18)

Color-Blocked Cake Stands (Anthropologie)

Color-Blocked Cake Stand

Oh, the housewares at Anthropologie just make me swoon. This color-blocked stand would be a perfect addition to my cake stand collection and I love the antique details on this one. Although the $25 budget only affords me the small one, it would be just perfect for my food photography (Small- $16)

Owl Stitch Markers

 Owl Stitch Markers

I may be moving on to the foxes this year, but I still love my owls. For my mother-in-law last year, I got her a cute set of sock monkey stitch markers. She says it is her favorite thing and such a fun addition to her knitting supplies. For knitters, it can be hard to come up with fun new gifts to add to their arsenal of tools, but a cute set of personalized stitch markers are a one-of-a-kind gift that any knitter would love. If these sell out, check winemakerssister for lots of other fun knitting notions and gifts ($11.95)

Headed to Starbucks Hat (Flourish Boutique)

Headed to Starbucks Hat

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of our site sponsor Flourish Boutique! There is rarely a day you will catch me not wearing something from their beautiful shop. This wool hat  is a perfect example of beauty and functionality. I am crazy about anything with rosettes and these neutral colors mean it would match with anything in my wardrobe. Although this is priced a little out of my $25 and under budget, our readers get a 25% off discount code using WEB25, putting me right under budget! ($29.50)

Q&A a Day Journal (Amazon)

Q & A a Day

I am always looking for new ways to journal, but I have a hard time coming up with things to write about, especially on a daily basis. I love this idea for a journal because it offers 365 questions that you can answer over the course of five years. I think this might help me with my writer’s block that I have when trying to find the words to describe our daily life (affilate link to Amazon for purchasing- $14.16)

Forest Saunter Mug (Anthropologie)

Forest Saunter Mug

Well, if you aren’t into woodland creatures, I’m afraid that half of my list just isn’t for you this year! Sorry about that! Every year I try to get one cute new mug and this year Anthropologie captured my heart with this woodland creature mug  with, “these wood are lovely,” nestled inside. I can picture enjoying my morning coffee in this one and the price tag on that fits just right too! ($10)

Love these ideas and looking for more? Be sure to check last year’s list of Christmas Gifts Under $25 for the Ladies in your life! What is on your Christmas list this year?

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2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Monday, November 25th, 2013

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Continuing with our Thanksgiving theme this week, today I wanted to share an easy recipe for Cranberry Pancake Syrup made from your leftover cranberry sauce. This cranberry pancake syrup recipe is made from two simple ingredients; your leftover cranberry sauce and maple syrup.

Walmart challenged me to create a recipe using some of our Thanksgiving leftovers and I immediately thought of this idea that I had for our leftover cranberry sauce.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce

This was the first year that I made my own cranberry syrup for Thanksgiving and I loved it so much that I wanted to use it as an ingredient in another dish that we could share after the holidays were over. This Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce was so heavenly that I knew it would be the perfect accompaniment with a big stack of pancakes.

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

I couldn’t put this sauce on just any pancakes though, it had to be our family favorite- the Fluffy & Light Pumpkin Pancakes that we share (almost) weekly on Sundays in the autumn months.

When the pumpkin and cranberry are combined together, it is like experiencing Thanksgiving Day all over again! I hope you can give these a try with your own leftover cranberry sauce. I promise, it is a recipe that will not disappoint!

2 Ingredient Cranberry Pancake Syrup

Cranberry Pancake Syrup
Author: 
Recipe type: Condiment
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An easy two ingredient pancake syrup that can be created from leftover cranberry sauce. Add this delicious syrup on top of a stack of Pumpkin Pancakes for a festive spin!
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan mix together cranberry sauce and maple syrup and heat until warm.
  2. Serve on top of your favorite pancakes.

What is your favorite dish to create with Thanksgiving leftovers?

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DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece from MomAdvice.com.If there is one holiday I love it is Thanksgiving. Any holiday that focuses on all of the blessings of the year around a dinner table filled with those I love is definitely a holiday that I love to celebrate. Oftentimes though, the details of holiday preparation and decorating can interfere with the things that really should matter the most.

Today I wanted to share with you a beautiful and effortless centerpiece you can create for your table with some items you have on hand combined with a few items from your local grocer. To find out how to make this fast and easy DIY Thanksgiving centerpiece, head on over to the Kenmore Blog to grab the supplies list and read my easy tutorial for creating this for your own home!

See you there!

 

Fall Decorating With Goodwill Store Items

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Fall Decorating With Goodwill Store Items from MomAdvice.com.

This time of year is among my favorite because I just love decorating for the Fall season and for Thanksgiving with my family. Thankfully, decorating for Fall doesn’t need to be expensive at all especially if you have a Goodwill Store!  With a few inexpensive tools and some items from our favorite thrift shop, you will have all you need to start decorating your home for Fall.

This month, I am guest blogging over at the Goodwill Tips Blog on thrifty ways to decorate your home for Fall. Check out these six fun ways to decorate your home for Fall using some commonly found items from the Goodwill Store on the Goodwill Tips blo

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Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I’m back again with another fun Thanksgiving make-ahead recipe. Today’s recipe is an apple, sausage, and sage sourdough stuffing that tastes just as good as it sounds. This recipe is easy to prepare and can be made-ahead and placed in your freezer for the big day, which means one less thing for you to worry about on the day of your big feast!

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.Have you ever made your own stuffing? It is one of the easiest and most rewarding dishes to create for the holiday season. My grandma made a mean dressing when I was growing up, but stuffing was definitely something that came out of a box.  I remember in sixth grade when we had to do a Thanksgiving play and I was supposed to pretend to make stuffing and had no idea what the teacher was talking about when he handed me a loaf of bread and celery.

What the heck was that for?

Being the true foodie I am,  I still don’t think the boxed stuff is that bad, and you can’t beat the ease of preparation. It doesn’t hurt to gourmet things up a bit once in awhile though, especially when you can put this in your freezer and save it for the big day!

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

The biggest challenge with stuffing is all of the dicing and chopping to get the ingredients prepared. A handy food chopper can be your best friend when chopping up ingredients like onions or herbs. Once the ingredients are chopped though, it is just a simple matter of mixing them up and then placing the stuffing in the pan for baking.

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I really love the ingredients in this recipe because they are the perfect balance of sweet and savory. I used turkey sausage in this recipe, but you could certainly substitute with chicken sausage instead. I love Granny Smith apples for baking because they maintain their texture and firmness in this dish. Leave the skins on for a little added color to your stuffing (not to mention, a little fiber too!)

Make-Ahead  Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing from MomAdvice.com.

I baked up a little dish for you to show you what this looks like when it is all done. The top is crunchy and the inside is delicious and fluffy. The apples add tartness while the onions, celery, and turkey sausage add a little savoriness to the stuffing. When these ingredients are all baked together, it is like a little symphony in your mouth! Reserve a few sprigs of sage to garnish the top of your dish!

Make-Ahead: Apple, Sausage, And Sage Sourdough Stuffing
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-14
 
A little bit sweet, a little bit savory. This sourdough stuffing filled with apples, sausage, and onions is a a delicious crowd-pleaser that can be made ahead for the holiday season.
Ingredients
  • 1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 11 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ pound fresh mild turkey or chicken sausage
  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2½ cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Reserved sage leaves (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Spread bread cubes out on two large rimmed baking sheets and bake until dried but not browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove the sausage from the casings, and add it to the skillet to cook, breaking up chunks with a spoon, until browned, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add apples, celery, onion and butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until apple and vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add to toasted bread. Stir in broth, poultry seasoning, sage, salt and pepper.
  4. Add stuffing to a freezer-safe greased 9×13 foil pan. Place in the freezer (for up to four weeks). 1-3 days before, remove the stuffing from the freezer. Drizzle a ½ cup additional chicken stock over the top to moisten the stuffing. Heat oven to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and crisp on top, 50 to 60 minutes. This stuffing can also be stuffed in your turkey, just be sure that the stuffing has cooled before proceeding.
  5. Garnish with fresh sage leaves.

 

Are you following along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series? Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry SauceMashed PotatoesGreen Bean Casserole, Make-Ahead Gravy, and Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies. Tomorrow our series will end with an easy bread machine roll recipe that you just won’t want to miss!

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Make-Ahead Gravy

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

I’m back with another make-ahead recipe for Thanksgiving Day today. This week I am sharing a fantastic Make-Ahead Gravy recipe that you can have waiting in your freezer for the big day. I am excited about this recipe because it provides, yet again, one more dish that you can create to make your day as stress-free as possible.

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

To begin this recipe and create the base, without the turkey, you can use chicken or turkey wings along with onions that you roast in your oven to make those magical drippings that you need to create the base of this gravy recipe. I was not able to locate turkey wings at our market so I substituted with the always available chicken wings. Don’t be surprised if your kitchen already smells like Thanksgiving with just the base of this recipe!

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com.

After scraping your roasting pan up and getting all of the stuck on bits that make your dressing so rich and flavorful, add these to your pot along with some other components like carrots, celery, fresh herbs, turkey or chicken stock, and a little poultry seasoning to round out the flavorings. Allow this to simmer for an hour and a half and then, after straining, you can add the flour mixture to the gravy to thicken it.

There you have it, an easy make-ahead gravy that makes eight cups of delicious gravy for the big day!

Make_Ahead_Gravy_Recipe_1

Make-Ahead Gravy
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20
 
Don’t panic about the gravy this year! Try this easy make-ahead gravy recipe that makes eight cups of gravy for your Thanksgiving feast.
Ingredients
  • 6 turkey or chicken wings
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespooons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 quarts chicken broth, divided
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot
  • 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme (leave on the stem and add to the pot)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange a single layer of turkey or chicken wings in a large roasting pan. Scatter the onions over the top of the wings. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for 1-1/4 hours or until wings are browned.
  2. Place browned wings and onions in a 5 quart stockpot. Add water to roasting pan and stir, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the the water from the pan into the stockpot. Stir in 6 cups broth, carrot, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper (to taste). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. Remove wings from the pot and place on a cutting board. When the wings are cool, pull off the skin and meat. Discard the skin and save the meat for another use. Strain contents of stockpot through a large strainer into a 3 quart saucepan. Press on the vegetables to extract any remaining liquid. Discard the vegetables and skim the fat off the liquid. Bring the contents of the pot to a gentle boil.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk flour into the remaining 2 cups chicken broth until smooth. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the simmering turkey broth; simmer 3-4 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Stir in the butter and pepper. Serve immediately or pour into containers and refrigerate or freeze.

Are you following along in our make-ahead Thanksgiving series? Be sure to check out our Brandied & Orange Cranberry SauceMashed Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, and Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies. Tomorrow we tackle the stuffing with a unique spin using sausage, apples, and sage. You won’t want to miss it!

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Continuing with my make-ahead Thanksgiving theme this week, I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made only with the freshest ingredients and that can be made ahead and tucked in you freezer for the big day.

Walmart challenged me to share my meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table and my strategy this year, and all the years in the past, is to get as much done early as possible so that I can truly enjoy the day with my family. I am taking you along on my make-ahead Thanksgiving meal preparation journey by providing some really great dishes that you can make early so you also can enjoy that special day with your family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series? If not, here are the recipes I have created so far!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

Brandied & Orange Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies (make the whipped cream & fun pie additions a couple of days before your feast)

This week I will be sharing my final dishes:  a Make-Ahead Gravy & a Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing, and Make-Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls so please come back so you don’t miss those fun dishes!

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves, but this year I wanted to create a dish that didn’t rely on canned food ingredients and instead relied only upon fresh ingredients.

Fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in the the world’s most delicious cream sauce and then topped with a crunchy topping of fried onions, that we all know and love, along with a healthy dash of panko (found in the Asian foods section of Walmart) to create the ultimate crunchy topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and poured my casserole into it. On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day. The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com.The difference between the canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different. The green beans are crispy, the cream sauce and mushrooms remind me of a rich and creamy mushroom soup, and the panko adds a crispy crunch to the dish that helps to round out the flavors. Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will have you (and your guests) convinced that this is a dish worth repeating every year!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you’ll never go back to the canned type again!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. of water to boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt, and ⅛ teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9″) baking dish.
  7. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event.
  8. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake for 1-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com.

It is officially holiday crafting season and I am so excited to show off these adorable knitted coffee cozie sweaters that I created for our teacher & bus driver gifts this year. These coffee cozie sweaters are so inexpensive to create, but have that “wow” factor that you look for in an inexpensive gift.

This month’s craft project was created for Walmart utilizing some inexpensive materials you can find at your store. I have a feeling that you are really going to love this project and here are some of the materials that I used to create these adorable sweaters!

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com. Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com.Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com.

Since I wanted to keep the cost factor low on these, I used the inexpensive Red Heart Super Saver yarns. As you can see from the photo I snapped in the store, these are priced right in my budget at $2.47 and come in a variety of colors. I took a picture of the labels if you would like to replicate the colors that I used for your own creations.

I happen to love acrylic yarn for projects like these because they really hold their shape well and you can create a lot of adorable cozies for a very small price. You are looking for a medium weight yarn on this project (#4- as shown in the label above) to replicate how I made these.

Knitted_Sweater_Coffee_Cozies-3

I wanted to pair these with a sweet treat and found these yummy Starbucks Hot Cocoa packets over in the Coffee/Tea aisle of the grocery section. Eight come in a package and they run $5.38 a box. The reusable coffee mugs were priced at just $4.98 each and are located over in the Housewares section of the store. You may recall, I did a similar gift last year with these super easy coffee cozies with a rosette!

I tied up my cocoa packets with some chunky yarn I had leftover from the boot cuffs I knitted last month!

Knitted_Sweater_Coffee_Cozies-2

Modifications Were Made to The Featured Pattern. Please Read Carefully!

The pattern is available on Ravelry for $1.99. You will need to purchase this pattern to make these cozies. Instead of making them for a mug with a handle, I knitted these in the round for a travel mug.

To make this size, you need to size up those needles and add stitches! Instead of casting on 28 stitches, cast on 36 stitches. I used my 12″ circular needles in Size 10! The other pieces were knitted with Size 5 straight needles to create the mittens, sweater arms, and pockets! 

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com.

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies from MomAdvice.com.Grab the Pattern HERE on Ravelry (for purchase for $1.99).  Don’t forget to friend me while you are there! I love new knitting buddies! Oh, and here are 54 MORE Handmade Gift Ideas to get you thinking about crafting this holiday season!

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