Posts Tagged ‘Recipes’

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Monday, May 5th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bar #recipe via MomAdvice.com
Strawberry season where I live comes late. We wait until June, patiently watching as the tufts of green leaves poke through the dirt and then expand. Little white flowers with soft petals and fuzzy yellow centers come next, singing in the May breeze.

When the berries finally arrive there is a fevered rush to fill as many flats as possible with sun-warmed berries. I enlist my kids as field workers, promising them they can eat the literal fruits of their labor. We spend early mornings on our knees between the rows of fragrant plants, lifting leaves to find the glistening reward beneath.

As we carry our prizes home, I make lists of all the things to do with them. I clean and freeze as many as possible for use in smoothies. I make a few jars of jam to get us through the next year. Sometimes I make a few varieties, combining spring berry and rhubarb or vanilla beans before tucking them away on a shelf. I stuff several heaping cups of berries in between pastry crust and freeze those, too, to be pulled out after the berries are long gone. Plenty are eaten straight from the flat, still warm from being on the plant in the sun. Still others get made into sauce or baked into doughnuts or stirred into muffin mix.
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bar #recipe via MomAdvice.com

Before I know it, strawberry season has come and gone, and I am left waiting for it to appear again. The fleeting weeks in June that always signaled the true beginning of my Midwestern summer.

Cheesecake is a family favorite, requested for birthdays and family gatherings. Here it gets a bit of swirl treatment over the top and is baked into bars. Cheesecake bars are great for swirling strawberries because the low profile means more berry-to-cheese ratios without having to add it directly to the center, and this dessert that usually requires a fork becomes finger food at backyard barbecues.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup arrowroot
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup cream
For the strawberry swirl:
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and the granulated sugar. Add in the melted butter and stir to combine until all the crumbs are coated and moist.
  3. Pour the crumbs into a 9x13" cake pan. Using your hand or the bottom of a flat-bottomed glass, press the crumbs tightly into the pan to cover the bottom evenly.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar and arrowroot powder until thick and creamy. Then add the vanilla and eggs, beating after each egg until incorporated. Stir in the cream.
  5. Pour the mix into the crust and use a spatula to spread it evenly.
  6. In a medium saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and water. Simmer over medium-high heat until thick and syrupy. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Spoon tablespoons of strawberry syrup over the cheesecake topping. Using a long skewer or a thin knife, run it through the cake to create swirls. You can make a pattern or swirl it randomly.
  7. Place a baking pan with 2 cups of water in the oven under the cheesecake to create steam. Bake for 55 minutes or until cooked through but still slightly wobbly. Turn the oven off, prop the door open, and allow it to cool slowly.
  8. Transfer the cooled cheesecake from the oven to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

 

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Amy’s Notebook 04.30.14

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

High-Low Geometric Lamp

Source: I Heart Organizing

 

Isn’t this diy geometric lamp amazing? So cool – and the fact that you can have a high-end look for less.

So loving these adorable crafts made with recycled tin cans.

I’m pretty sure these tips to pack for a road trip will come in handy for the trips we’re planning for this summer!

There’s a ton of great ideas in this Frozen themed birthday party that my kids would flip for!

Artichoke & leek frittata sounds about perfect now – a light and springy meal.

Um, sure, I’d like to know 10 ways to stuff your face with asparagus, wouldn’t you?

And this modernized Mexican 7-layer dip? Oh yes.

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Amy’s Notebook 04.23.14

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

make your cut flowers last longer

Source: Honeybear Lane

 

I’m definitely going to use these 10 tips to help cut flowers last longer – they can make me happy that much more!

I found this post all about how to make homemade nut butters, which includes a picture tutorial that shows what the nuts look like at different stages of processing, to be super helpful.

These tips on how to get your kids to drink more water are terrific and will come in handy at any time of the year.

Banana cream pie overnight oatmeal? Um…yum!

It’s no secret we enjoy making our teachers feel special and appreciated around here – and I’m crushing on the idea of giving them a no sew teacher banner for their rooms!

So excited for asparagus season – and to try pistachio crusted asparagus with feta.

You’ll be amazed at how big this 250 square feet studio apartment  lives – and the fun design ideas to maximize your living space.

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

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Amy’s Notebook 04.16.14

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Neutral Easter bunny napkin ring

Source: Design Dining & Diapers

 

Sweet and simple, these burlap bunny napkin rings will help make your Easter table adorable.

You can make bouncy balls at home? This is new to me, but I know my kids will flip for this science-experiment-wrapped-in-a-fun-activity!

Drool-worthy lemon meringue eclairs would be the highlight of any Easter celebration, don’t you think?

How fun are these diy bunny treat jars? I think they would make fabulous gifts for grandparents, friends, and neighbors as well as for the kids.

I’m loving the Easter coloring of this cake batter puppy chow snack mix and the fact that I can make it gluten free.

This small kids reading loft is completely inspiring – that crate-like bookshelf with books arranged by color – the stairs leading to the loft – the fun yellow chair and blue pouff!  Ahhh, it all makes this reader-girl’s heart go pitter-patter.

I just love mirrors and I’m totally motivated by these 35 ways to decorate with mirrors to look for some fun & different examples at thrift stores.

 

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Amy’s Notebook 04.09.14

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Chalkboard Bunny Easter Bucket

Source: Sugar Bee Crafts

 

I’m just over the moon with how cute – and simple! – these chalkboard bunny Easter buckets are. What a fun change from a regular basket.

Oh, this creamy corn casserole with bacon seems like the most perfect comfort food – Drool.

This is a completely adorable ‘Be Happy” printable bunting that would just be the sweetest decoration for a kids room or any bright, colorful space!

This horse-themed birthday party idea is really unique and any horse-crazy kid would love it!

I totally agree with Alice’s one rule for perfect cake pan prep.

I’m so intrigued with “zoodles” – zucchini noodles – and am looking forward to trying them in this lemon-garlic spicy shrimp with zoodles recipe. Sounds just about perfect for my new gluten-free life!

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

Monday, April 7th, 2014

From our food contributor, Shaina Olmanson.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at MomAdvice.com
Thinking fast on your feet is one of those skills no one ever tells you you’ll need as a mom. I often feel like there should have been a prerequisite before choosing to have kids, a mini boot camp that presented you with harrowing situations and tight time limits for figuring out the solution. Where were those life skills taught?

More often than not, when I reach the 5 o’clock hour I’m in a mad rush to throw something together before whatever activities the evening holds. I have four kids emptying their backpacks on my dining room table as I stare into the refrigerator, and as I’m stress-searching the contents of crisper drawer and the inner door, one of them is bound to ask for homework help. Why didn’t I remember to take the meat out of the freezer?

It is in these parenting moments where I feel utterly defeated by life that I find the greatest opportunities to defeat it instead. This meal is one of those that lends itself to last-minute meals. I try to keep ingredients for it on hand, ready at a moment’s notice, along with a Greek seasoning blend and taco seasoning and cans of beans in the pantry (which isn’t really a “pantry” as much as basement shelves and a cupboard in the garage at my house). They’re the things I turn to when everything is falling apart, when I’ve dropped every ball there was to juggle. The thing they have in common: quick cooking times.

Cutting the chicken thin helps it cook faster. If you only have chicken in the freezer, thaw it partially and then cut it. It’s wonderfully easy to slice thinly when there’s still a bit of frozen resistance. The vegetables are interchangeable, for the most part. Use what you have on hand. Zucchini and mushrooms can be great in this curry, too.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry #recipe via Shaina Olmanson at MomAdvice.com
Let’s talk rice. I’m not going to judge the type of rice you use here, whether you’re a boil-in-the-bag home, a minute-rice family, you rely on those microwaveable pouches and trays, you are a diehard stovetop rice cooker, or you – like me – are devoted to your rice cooker. For me, I find that the best way to cut down on rice cooking time is simply to make exactly the amount you need. My rice cooker takes far longer to cook six cups of rice (I like leftovers) than it does to cook two. Similarly, if you are making it on the stove, bringing several cups of water to a boil is going to take more time than if you only make what you’ll be eating.

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4-5
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 daikon, julienned (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) coconut milk
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups cooked rice
Instructions
  1. In a wok or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the chicken and cook until white on all sides. Stir in the curry paste. Add the red bell peppers and the daikon and saute for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring just to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle green onions and cilantro over the top just before serving. Serve over rice.
Notes
You can substitute bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, or another vegetable for the daikon.

 

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Amy’s Notebook 04.02.14

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

teacher-appreciation-gift-idea

Source: Confetti Sunshine

 

Oh my gosh, isn’t this teacher appreciation gift idea the cutest thing ever?

These beautiful watercolor flowers are just the thing I need to add a bit of spring to our house – bonus that they last forever and are no maintenance!

Here’s another blogger’s take on dying plastic eggs, using water color and gold leaf on the eggs – so fun!

You probably know that I’m a big fan of homemade versions of take-out meals, so it’s probably not a surprise that I’m dying to try better than takeout chicken fried rice…mmmm.

I’m loving this diy mason jar spice organizer – my mind is turning with all the other applications for this, too: buttons, small craft supplies, office things – awesome!

And I think you’ll agree with me that toasted pistachio toffee brittle needs to go on the to-make list, asap – drool.

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Amy’s Notebook 03.26.14

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Make-spring-rolls-Like-a-PRO

Source: How Does She

 

I simply adore springrolls and I’m looking forward to making Vietnamese springrolls like a pro with these directions – and hopefully with rice wrappers to be gluten free!

I’m loving these ideas for 5, 10, & 15 minute plans to painlessly clean your house – perfect for easing into spring cleaning.

Here’s a really easy way to make a no sew bench cushion for any wooden bench – plus a great tip to save on the most expensive part of any cushion, the foam.

Oh, goodness, these really awesome black bean burgers look so good, I don’t think I’d miss the meat at all!

Not only does this robin’s egg nest chocolate cake look delicious, it’s absolutely beautiful, too!

SO many incredible ideas I’m getting in these 12 craft closet makeovers…now just to put them into use, ha!

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Amy’s Notebook 03.19.14

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

DIY-Gold-Foil-Lettering

Source: Nest of Posies

 

Aren’t these diy gold foil lettered flower pots great? I’m thinking of all the fun things I can write on the pots – both for keeping and for gifting!

There are SO many good ideas in this article on 8 ways to teach your kids the value of money!

I’m excited to try putting some of these colorful ideas, resources and tips for paper organization to work!

I love a good gumbo and this seafood gumbo looks fantastic.

15 dinners you can make in 30 minutes? Just the type of resource we need for those busy school-sports-work days!

And take a look at this gluten free Girl Scout Samoa-inspired peanut butter bar – it is truly inspired! Yum.

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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Amy’s Notebook 03.12.13

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Salted Honey Caramels

Source: My Humble Kitchen

 

Ooo…soft, chewy and sweetened with natural honey and palm sugar – there’s a lot to love about these salted honey caramels!

What a cute way to use up some fabric scraps and usher in some springtime with a cool spring wreath. And we’re all ready for spring, aren’t we? Please…

Okay, this is just a fabulously creative idea – convert an old sewing table into a drink station.

The humble chicken breast is elevated to a man-pleasing chicken dish with bacon and spinach – yum!

How about getting your vegetables in a cauliflower fritter? Works for me!

Here’s a completely fun home tour for you – my favorite part? The giant “XO” over the bed – love!

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I hope you enjoyed this collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, and thrifty ways to spruce up your home. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

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