Dave’s Seafood Clam Chowder For a Crowd Recipe–It’s THE BEST…seriously!

Dave’s Seafood Clam Chowder For a Crowd Recipe–It’s THE BEST…seriously!

Dave’s Seafood Clam Chowder

Dave’s Seafood Clam Chowder For a Crowd Recipe–It’s THE BEST…seriously!

My stepdad Dave makes the best Seafood Clam Chowder you have ever had!  But we have one problem!….he never writes down the recipe…ever!   I’ve watched him make it several times, and this was my own attempt at it.  He was here to try it, and it was a hit….AND I wrote down the recipe!!! Yay!   My Mom and Dave recently took a trip to the Oregon Coast, and they spent two weeks tasting and critiquing clam chowder at all the local shops.  They said this recipe stood up to them all!  I have to give all credit to him, and I hope when you try this recipe…it’s the best you have ever tasted!  My step dad is one of the most amazing cooks.  There are sooooo many more recipes I plan to record…because this is just one of many amazing dishes he makes!

Dave’s Seafood Clam Chowder Recipe

7 Stalks of Celery, diced

1 large onion, diced

8 Medium Yukon Golds, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, plus water for boiling

1/2 Tablespoon Chicken Bullion for boiling ( I use Better then Bullion)

2 Tablespoons salt for boiling potatoes

12 Slices Bacon, Chopped

4 Cups Water

5 cups milk

1/2 stick butter for rue

2T olive oil for rue

1/3 cup flour for rue

3 (6.5 oz) Cans of Chopped Clams, Save juice

1/4 Cup Sherry Wine

1 T Chicken Boullion

1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt

3 Bay Leaves

Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste

1 cup heavy whipping cream cream

1lb Langostinos, chopped

1 lb mini shrimp

  1. In a large pot, add potatoes and cover with water about 1 inch above potatoes.  Add 1/2 T. chicken bullion, and 2 T. Salt to the water to flavor the potatoes.  Boil potatoes about 15-20 minutes, or until tender.  Drain water off potatoes and set potatoes to the side.
  2. In the a large soup pot over medium heat, add chopped bacon.  Cook bacon until it begins to crisp, and then add celery and onion to pot and cook until tender.
  3. Add to soup pot bacon-mixture: cooked potatoes, 4 cups of water, sherry, clam juice, 1 Tablespoon of bullion, 1 Tablespoon plus 2 Teaspoons Kosher salt, Fresh ground pepper to taste, and Bay leaves.
  4. In a separate pan, begin making the rue.  Add butter, olive oil, and flour.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly,  until it forms a golden brown color.  Remove from heat immediately.  Then add rue mixture to soup pot.
  5. Heat Soup Mixture until it comes to a simmer and begins to thicken.  Then turn to medium-LOW heat and add milk, and heat through.
  6. After heating chowder through, Turn chowder to low heat and add clams, langostinos, and mini shrimp.  Heat through at low heat (about 5 minutes).
  7. Finish soup with 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, heat through on low heat so the cream doesn’t curdle.  Serve immediately.


Hot Cocoa Bar! Relief Society Christmas Party Idea

Hot Cocoa Bar! Relief Society Christmas Activity Idea

Hot Cocoa Bar! Relief Society Christmas Activity Idea

We had so much for doing this as a Relief Society Activity last year, and everything turned out so cute. This is how long it’s taken me to get this posted.  Like I said, I have lots just waiting to hit the internet.  This would also be a great idea for a winter or Christmas party! First off, everyone wore the pajamas! This was the best part about it. We had two different crockpots of hot chocolate and also a pot of Hot Cider! We also decorated the backdrop with my Christmas Banner that I made, and I used my silhouette cameo to cut cute labels for all the different toppings. It’s great to get a little creative with the toppings. One of the sisters made chocolate covered marshmallow stirrers with candy cane striped straws.

For the Activity, all the sisters brought a plate of cookies to share, and at the end we ended up doing a mini cookie exchange with what was left. I got to try a few different cookies that were absolutely delicious. There were these tiny, raspberry jam thumbprint cookies that one of my friends made. I will be posting that recipe. They are super easy to make and absolutely delicious.

Notice the photo with the rocking chair and the books…. The Committee, after everyone got their Hot Cocoa and Cider, took turns in the rocking chair and read our favorite Christmas stories. I shared a new story that I had received that year as a gift from my mother-in-law. It was a book about Santa, and the history of Santa Claus…how he became a Saint, and what he did for the people. It shared the symbolism between him and that of Jesus Christ. It was a beautiful, fun night!

I remember I almost didn’t make it that night to the activity…I had been sick all week with food poisoning, and then one of my kids got sick the day-of just as I was recovering…I had no one to watch my kids, and I couldn’t bring a sick child with me…Out of no where, I get a phone call from a friend (she drops off a meal), and another friend sends her daughter over to babysit. I had some good friends there that pulled in some favors I didn’t even ask for…I wouldn’t have been there without them. Anywho!!! Hope you can pull some good ideas from this activity. It sure was fun!


The Solution to Your Snack Problems!!! Simpalo Snacks!

Attention Moms—the solution to your Snack Problems!  Simpalo Snacks!!!

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks—it’s the Amazon Prime of the snack world!

Attention healthy snack eaters, Protein lovers, and make-your-life -easy believers. I’m obsessed with the idea of this company!  It makes my life easier.   Hand select from a variety of healthy, high protein, all natural, healthy, delicious snacks and have them DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO YOUR FRONT DOOR!  It doesn’t get an easier than this! This is a perfect post for the upcoming holidays, because Simpalo Snacks also offers gift packages that you can ship to your family and friends.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

First, I am not getting paid to do this review. I genuinely believe in the company. I just placed my own personal order this last week and had it delivered to my door.  And it’s a great idea for a gift for family and friends for the holidays!

How did I hear about Simpalo Snacks? Lucky for me, I know the owners! They are two friends that live here locally in Fort Collins, Colorado. We attend church together, and they are two, very hard working, creative ladies who had an idea that is genius! It is a new company for them…and the business is exploding!

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Let me tell you why I love Simpalo Snacks

1. VARIETY– I can individually pick each snack that I want. I hate buying bulk from Coscto and Sams. We end up eating the same 60 granola bars for weeks….often times when we try a new snack, we waste it, because either we don’t like it, or it was nice to try, but we don’t feel like eating a bulk box. Simpalo Snacks saves me money, and we don’t waste the food. I buy individual snacks for my husband, individual snacks for me, and separate snacks for the kids. We all have our own likes and dislikes, and personally, when I buy in bulk from the box stores, my family gets sick of eating the same thing. I like to switch it up and eat something different every day, and this allows me to do that.
2. HEALTHY—Simpalo offers healthy, high-quality snacks. I personally have a hard time buying junk food (I do occasionally). But as a mom, its hard to buy food in bulk that you know is not good for your kids. Simpalo Snacks has an amazing variety of super healthy, high-quality brands. I can’t complain. I have been so impressed with the snacks I have purchased.
3. HIGH PROTEIN OPTIONS—My husband and I are gym rats! We live off protein when we are doing it right in life. Simpalo has an entire section on their website devoted to high-protein snacks. One of my favorite bars that is all natural is the High-Protein Jimmy Bar. It has 21 grams of Protein, and only 1 gram of sugar. It is sweetened with stevia. It’s delicious, and it’s only $2 per bar (this is the cheapest I have found for this bar). This is a perfect snack for those on a high-protein diet.
4. SHIPS TO YOUR DOOR—Lets face it! I hate leaving my house, and yes, if I put a ton of effort into it, I could drive around town and buy healthy snacks from lots of different stores and create my own box of snacks, but really???? Who has time for that? I’m lucky to get to the grocery store and just buy the regular stuff. I live in the days of Amazon Prime, and Simpalo Snacks is the new Amazon Prime for snacks.
5. IF YOU’RE LAZY—and sometimes I am, Simpalo Snacks has a variety box option where you can just order an assorted box of snacks, and it ships directly to your house. I personally prefer to load my cart with my own selection, but for those of us who just want easy…try the variety box! You get a great assortment of snacks, and you’ll have an opportunity to try some of the brands.
6. LOCALLY MADE SNACK OPTIONS—Simpalo Snacks has lots of locally made snack options. Two of their popcorns that I LOVE, are made locally here in colorado. The beef jerky they sell is made just across they Wyoming border. Fort Collins is a food hot spot, and Simpalo Snacks is similar in that they try to find local companies who make interesting and delicious snacks. It’s a great way to taste some of the local snack brands made here in Colorado.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

This is the Jimmy Bar High Protein Bar. I AM OBSESSED!!!!! I wish I had had this bar when I did a clean-eating diet! I love this bar because all the ingredients are natural. Often times, when you buy protein bars, their are lots of weird synthetic stuff, and they taste nasty! This bar is very tasty, and I can actually read the ingredients. If you are watching your sugar, but don’t like the artificial sweeteners (because they really aren’t good for you), you should try this bar. It is only 1 gram of sugar and it is sweetened with stevia….Stevia is an all natural plant with zero calories. Believe it or not, I have grown my own stevia plant a few times in my garden. It is 100 times sweeter than sugar. I love it when companies find ways to make tasty products using stevia.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

The Complete Cookie—High Protein, lower sugar cookie. I know…it sounds weird, but it is sooooo yummy! This cookie has 16 grams of protein, and if you’re needing a high protein sweet treat, this seriously tastes like the real thing. These are $2 a piece on the website, and I just saw them at the gym yesterday selling for $3. So, they are priced well.  I love the snickerdoodle cookie, and I typically don’t care much for snickerdoodle flavor foods at all. They are really moist. I was surprised at how good this cookie was. Don’t be fooled by the size in the picture…its a jumbo size cookie!

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Lemon Cashew Rise Protein Bar—VERY YUMMY! Once again, high protein, with ingredients you can actually read. This bar tastes great! I will be including it in my monthly order.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Mrs. May’s Cashew Crunch—These are soooooo tasty. Another healthy snack and nut option. They are lightly sweetened cashew clusters….wowee they are good!

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Jerky!—Initially, i was a little nervous about this flavor, but the Wyoming Gourmet Ginger Garlic Beef Stick tastes really good. Don’t Be afraid to try it.  I also Love the Jack’s Links Jerky–the turkey jerky tastes awesome! There are a lot of different flavor options including Peppered, teriyaki, original, and Turkey.  There are some other Jerky Brands, one of which is called Krave, and it is Chili Lime Flavored.  They are currently sold out, so I haven’t had a chance to try it yet, however, if it’s sold out.  It must be good!

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Rocky Mountain Cheddar Bacon Popcorn—My favorite flavor popcorn is the Rocky Mountain Cheddar Bacon popcorn. They have lots of other cool options too, like jalapeño, siracha, and white cheddar. This is a great tasting snack. The bag is bigger than it appears as well. It’s a good size portion.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

The Froodles Fruit Snacks are very delicious. They are also made locally in Grand Junction, Colorado. I have tried the Cherry flavor and the peach. They all taste great!

The beautiful thing about all of this, is that if you want to try a snack, all you have to do is order 1 in your order, try it out and see what you think. The thing I love most about this company is the variety, Al la Carte option. I don’t ever get sick of my snacks, and I can order what my husband likes, and my kids like, while also leaving some room for myself. Everyone is satisfied.

They offer free shipping on orders over $69. I plan on ordering about once or twice a month, and this should give me, my husband,  and girls plenty of snack options—especially for our high protein requirements.

Check out Simpalo Snacks! They are run and operated by two amazing ladies…and I am just obsessed with the concept of the business. It fits me perfectly.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free.

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free. Gift Box Option

Simpalo Snacks, Healthy snacks delivered to your home and office, Review, Variety Snacks, High Protein, gluten Free. Gift Box Option

On a side note, I’ve personally been pondering the Christmas Holidays. This would be a great gift package for extended family members on your christmas list! Instead of the usual chocolates, or prepackages meats and cheeses, send a gift box of healthy snacks that your extended family can enjoy through the holidays! I truly have enjoyed Simpalo Snacks…share the joy!

Christmas Tree Dress Form

Christmas Tree Dress Form Angel DIY

Gorgeous Christmas tree dress form angel DIY, tutorial is included in this blog description

Gorgeous Christmas tree dress form angel DIY, tutorial is included in this blog description

Christmas Dress Form Angel Decoration DIY- TUTORIAL

Yes!  It’s true!  I didn’t decorate my front porch for Christmas!  I was lucky to put a wreath out this year.   Things just got so crazy so fast.   My husband and I were out of town for Thanksgiving, and thank goodness we decorated the inside before we left because I might not have gotten that done had I waited.

HOWEVER, one of my friends did a spectacular job decorating her front porch!  She did something I had never seen before.  She used a dress form to make a Christmas Tree Angel, and it turned out beautiful!   She also used a dress form for a witch she displayed at Halloween, but that was before I started my blog, so I will have to post pictures of the witch if she does it again next year.

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

For her Christmas Tree Angel Dress Form, she used a champagne colored corset and white feather angel wings that she ordered.  The skirt was made out of green garland and chicken wire.  She also weaved in white lights, which you can’t see from the photo because I took the pictures during the day.  She used ribbon and turquoise poinsettia’s to decorate the skirt with glitter and gold sprigs to fill in the skirt.  I loved her version of this dress form!  The angel wings really put it over the top–and I love things that are over the top!

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

This friend was kind enough to type up instructions of exactly what she did to complete the dress form for my blog. Here are the instructions if you would like to make a  Christmas tree dress form  for part of your decorations next year!

Christmas Tree Dress Form DIY Instuctions

Supplies
Dress form
6 9-ft green wired garland
http://m.kmart.com/trim-a-home-reg-9ft-x-10in-artificial-pine/p-009W007887348001P

Green zip ties – 4 inch size
http://m.lowes.com/pd/Utilitech-4-in-Nylon-Cable-Ties/999929928

Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Chicken wire
http://m.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-24-in-x-50-ft-Silver-Steel-Poultry-Netting/50012446

A pedestal, if possible, for the dress form to stand on.

Protective gloves

Christmas lights – 2 small boxes, green strands

Your choice of decorations. I used decorative sprigs and handmade bows.

Optional:

Wings
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00H5LN07C/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1FQF64WTGYQ3D

Corset or top for the bust
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00LUOVI4M/ref=yo_ii_img?ie=UTF8&psc=1
My bust really needed a size 8-10 but I squeezed it into a 4-6.

1.    Adjust the bust to the desired height.
2.    Form the chicken wire around the waist of the bust and secure with zip ties. I did some preliminary ties that I later cut so that I could form it around the waist tightly without tearing up the form or my hands with the wire. Trim the excess tail from the ties as you go along.
3.    If the chicken wire overlaps, cut the wire with only a small amount overhanging for added strength. Secure as many places as needed with zip ties for strength. I did mine every two inches or so.
4.    Add more chicken wire until you form a skirt. It’s not an exact science, so adjust as you see fit and trim where it needs to be trimmed. If you have a pedestal, place the form on the pedestal because it is easier to trim the bottom of the wire skirt this way. If you don’t, you may have to trim as you go since the floor or table will get in the way. Alternatively, if you have a good eye you can extend the dress form for longer than you will leave it permanently and then trim the wire.
5.    Place the garland on the dress form vertically starting from the waist and overlapping the wire a bit to hid the wire. As you place the garland, fluff it and tie it down with zip ties. To tie the tip ties, stick the zip tie through the wire and use the needle nose pliers to pull the zip tie back to the front. Make sure the tie wraps around a single wire in the chicken wire so that the garland is secure. Trim the tie’s tail. When the garland reaches the bottom of the wire dress, use the wire cutters to cut the garland. Continue this pattern until the dress form is covered. I found it easiest to place the garland in straight lines and fill in the gaps with leftover garland. I also filled in what I perceived to be gaps. For me, one garland strand made two full passed and the remainder I used to fill gaps. You may need more or less garland depending on the size of your wire dress.
6.    Wrap the dress with the Christmas lights.
7.    Put the corset on.
8.    Decorate your “tree”!
9.    Place the wings using the elastic harnesses. I wrapped mine around the neck of the dress form and placed a red poinsettia around the neck to disguise the elastic.

A side note: the wings have a cardboard base so they are vey susceptible to humidity. If you place your free outside on the porch as I did for mine, bring it in during inclement weather or high humidity or your wings will droop. If they droop, all is not lost! Hang them upside down in a dry, warm room and after they dry, place them on a table with a few books to ensure they are straight.

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Christmas tree dress form angel DIY tutorial

Gingerbread House Icing

Gingerbread House Royal Icing

Ikea Hack Gingerbread House, Royal Icing

Ikea Hack Gingerbread House, Royal Icing

 

 

Gingerbread Houses with Royal Icing Recipe for the Cement

A little over a week ago, my family headed over to a friend’s house to decorate gingerbread houses.  Believe it or not, it was my first time decorating a gingerbread house.  I used a kit that we bought at IKEA when we there purchasing Billy Bookcases for our entertainment center IKEA hack.   I wonder…because the gingerbread house was from IKEA, does that make it a Gingerbread house IKEA hack???

When making gingerbread houses, its important to use a really stiff frosting.  I used a basic royal icing recipe and it turned out great!  Royal icing is also what I use to write phrases on cakes or when I want a really stiff decoration.  Although, in my opinon, it doesn’t taste very good.  You wouldn’t want to use it on entire cake.  Buttercream frostings are my favorite tasting frostings for a cake, and I use royal icing for minor details—mostly because of flavor, but also because royal icing dries very hard—making it the perfect cement for your gingerbread houses.

This royal icing was more than plenty to decorate two small houses!   After decorating the houses, one thing I realized was that I should always use a pre-boxed kit.  I don’t think I have the skill level to build one out of regular graham crackers.  The kit made things fairly easy.

IKEA Gingerbread House Kit

IKEA Gingerbread House Kit

As for candy, I found Christmas Candy Corns.  They worked great for the shingles.  My husband draped his roof with frosting in a really neat patter—I didn’t have the skills for that.  His turned out great as well.  Here is a sample of all the candies we used.

Gingerbread House Candy toppings

Gingerbread House Candy toppings

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

This  is recipe we used for icing.  It was great, and we had leftovers after completing two houses!  I hope you can make time this holiday season to build a gingerbread house!

Royal Icing

Royal Icing

 

 

 

Gingerbread House Royal Icing

1 ½ Tablespoons Meringue Powder *(you can find this in the cake decorating section at Walmart)

2 cups powdered sugar

2 ½ Tablespoons warm water

Beat for 10 minutes on high speed with whisk attachment.  Frosting should have a glossy appearance similar to meringue.  Use immediately or fill into piping bag, as frosting dries out and hardens quickly.

Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe

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Dove Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe for the Christmas Holidays

So what does a Mud Hen Bar taste like?  It’s like taking a gooey-yummy roasted marshmallow and puting it between two soft and chewy, chocolate chip cookies.  Now imagine for a moment, taking dark chocolate Dove peppermint candies and using them instead of chocolate chips…HEAVEN!

These bars are a great dessert to add to your holiday cookie platter.  They are easier to make than your traditional chocolate chip cookie because you cook them in a casserole dish and cut them in to bars–you get to avoid all that scooping and baking in individual batches.

I took these over to a friends house last night, and they requested the recipe, so I decided I would do it as a post.  Hope you enjoy my version of Mud Hen Bars this Holiday Season!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Whole Egg
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
10 Large Marshmallows, cut into bite size pieces
10 Dark Chocolate Peppermint Dove Candies, chopped into pieces
2 Egg Whites
3/4 cup brown sugar

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creamed sugar, butter, eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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vanilla extract and almond extract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Add first 6 ingredients to mixing bowl, cream for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Add flour and baking powder to creamed butter mixture. Mix until blended.

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Dough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dough spread in greased pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Remove dough from mixer, and spread evenly in a greased 9×13 casserole dish.

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Dove Chocolates

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Dove chocolates and marshmallows

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Chopped Dove Peppermint Chocolates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Top dough with chopped chocolate candies and chopped marshmallows.

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Eggs whites forming stiff peaks

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meringue mixed with brown sugar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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meringue spread on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Like a meringue). Gently fold in brown sugar until evenly incorporated. Spread meringue mixture evenly across top of candies and marshmallows.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-42 minutes until center of dough is baked through, and no longer runny.

image

Dove Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Mud Hen Bars Recipe

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 Whole Egg
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
10 Large Marshmallows, cut into bite size pieces
10 Dark Chocolate Peppermint Dove Candies, chopped into pieces
2 Egg Whites
3/4 cup brown sugar

1. Add first 6 ingredients to mixing bowl, cream for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

2. Add flour and baking powder to creamed butter mixture. Mix until blended.

3. Remove dough from mixer, and spread evenly in a greased 9×13 casserole dish.

4. Top dough with chopped chocolate candies and marshmallows.

5. In a mixer, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. (Like a meringue). Gently fold in brown sugar until evenly incorporated. Spread meringue mixture evenly across top of candies and marshmallows.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-42 minutes until center of dough is baked through, and no longer runny.

 

O Holy Night Banner

O Holy Night Banner Free Download

O Holy Night Banner

O holy night paper banner

My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night,” and not just any version of O Holy Night, it is David Foster’s rendition sung by Michael Crawford.   If you have never heard this version of “O Holy Night,” it is an absolute must!  I always get the chills when he sings the final lyric “Noel.”  He hits this amazing high note, and there is a children’s choir singing in the background.  It’s been my favorite Christmas song since the album was released, which I believe was well over 10 years ago, so I don’t think I plan on finding a new song.  So, naturally, I had to make a banner for my mantle that was personal to me.

This is a one of a kind banner!  I designed the graphic file myself, and I used my Silhouette Cameo for cutting.  I am including a free downloadable cut file so that you can make the banner at home to display for the christmas holidays.  Make sure you “select all” and size the graphic all at once.  For each finished circle, I chose to size mine at around 5 inches in diameter.  I wouldn’t recommend going much smaller than that.

Here is the free PDF Oholynightbanner.   Select all, and copy and paste into silhouette software.  Select trace button, trace the images, and click trace and detach.

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cardstock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bought my cardstock for half price at Joanns.   I selected cardstock over lighter weight scrapbook paper because it cuts cleaner on my machine.   I used four sheets of the plaid, 4 sheets of the green polka dot, 4 sheets of the cream stripes, 2 sheets of red glitter, and 1 sheet of black.

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cut cardstock for banner

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how to fold pinwheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all your paper is cut, you will want to start folding your pinwheels on the seams like an accordian.  Its a lot of folding, but the 3 dimensional look on the banner is well worth it.

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Pinwheel pieced together

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pinwheel gluing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It will take two pieces to make one pinwheel.  Hot glue them together on both ends.

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hot glue pinwheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay it flat, and fill with hot glue.  Top it off with one of your cut circles, and hold it in place until it dries.   I like to do the backside first because its okay if it ends up looking a little messy.

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Hot glue front of pinwheel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then flip it over, and glue the other circle on.  This is the front side, and it looks a lot cleaner.

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foam stickers on banner, dimension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted my green layer to pop out a little so that the banner has nice dimension.  So, I added these foam stickers on the backside.  I double stacked the stickers–using a total of 8 on the back of each green circle. You can purchase these foam stickers at Joanns.

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layered paper, foam stickers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This photo shows the dimension.

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glue letters with offset background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glue your glitter letters on top of the black backing.  The black behind the letters makes them pop!

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finished paper banner pieces

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, glue the layers all together, and string ribbon through the green loops and the snowflakes.  A little tip:  I start from the center of the ribbon and work my way out.  So, for example, I string the letter Y, and the snowflake into the middle first, and work my way outward.  This helps prevent tangling and tearing.   Once you string the circles and snowflakes on, you want to move them as little as possible.

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finished O Holy Night Christmas Paper Banner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a picture of the finished product!  Check back in to TheEverythingHousewife.com to see my Glowing Reindeer Ornaments!

 

 

 

Christ the Lord Free Printable

Christmas Is about our Savior, Christ the Lord– Free Printable

Free Christmas printable, free download, Christ the Lord

Free Christmas printable, free download, Christ the Lord

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the opening of this holiday season, I try to keep in mind what Christmas is truly about. I have a decorative plate that my mother-in-law gave me that I display every year that says, “The Magic of Christmas is not in the presents, it’s in His Presence.” Nothing rings more true! I know that the Christmas season is so much more meaningful to me when I am focused on my Savior. I can truly feel a flood of emotions when I think about who He is…Wonderful, Redeemer, and Lord of Lords.  Those words are so powerful, and yet, they are just words. We truly cannot comprehend the magnitude of His mission, but the Christmas season is certainly a time that we can reflect on everything He was and is.

I had a lot of fun making this printable…and I even shed a tear or two as I reflected on these words. This is a free download from this link ChristtheLordPrintable1.  I have a large decorative, white frame that I like to display my printables in. I display the frame where it can be easily seen, and as the year passes, and the holidays change, I just switch them out. It’s a great way to decorate your home while also displaying a thoughtful message. I hope your home is filled with reminders of what this holiday season is truly about!

Just in Time for the Holidays-Before and After IKEA Hack

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Ikea Hack built-in fireplace entertainment center, billy bookcase

We finally did it! We got rid of our outdated, ugly fireplace, and updated our living room space with this gorgeous built-in entertainment center. It’s an IKEA hack! So, how did we do it!

Here is the before picture of our outdated corner fireplace. This particular setup in our living room made for really tight quarters!

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Corner Fireplace Before

The only setup for our living room furniture was to parallel our staircase—which created a cramped and narrow space. It was awful for entertaining, and having company! So, in order to maximize our living room space, we needed to change the fireplace. (Ignore the woman and child doing laundry) :-).

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Corner Fireplace before

Corner fireplaces in older homes, especially our living room setup, can take up a lot of space. Look at all the wasted space behind the fireplace in this photo—plus, it prevented us from rearranging our furniture in a more appealing layout.

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Corner Fireplace Gutted

We decided to go with an electric fireplace for this project for many reasons. It is a 50 inch moda flame electric insert.  Here is where we ripped out the fireplace and the surrounding wood and sheetrock. It was a gas fireplace. I have never like running the gas because of the spike I would see in my energy bill, so instead of going with another gas fireplace, we opted for an electric insert. Electric inserted fireplaces are becoming more and more popular. They are energy efficient, and can heat a very large space. In addition, you can just run the “flames” without running the heat to give the room a nice ambiance….which is what I like to do!  We also folled this video tutorial for a DIY Beam fireplace mantle.  We used a dark ebony stain to complete the look with a satin polyurethane finish.

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Billy Bookcase Remodel, Arctic Ledgestone

We used IKEA billy bookcases, and added molding and trim work around the top, bottom and sides, plus, recessed lighting across the top.  In addition, we added this gorgeous crown molding, and opted for a city-scape look by making the center-rocked section a few inches taller than the bookcases. The stone we used is an Arctic Ledgestone from Lowes. The color of the stonework blends with the marble backsplash I ended up doing in my kitchen. So the kitchen flows nicely into the living room. We also added lighting to the tops of the bookcases. I have vaulted ceilings in my living room, and so the extra lighting was a nice touch!

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Ikea Hack Entertainment center fireplace remodel, crown molding

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DIY Ebony stained Beam Mantle

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Lowes Arctic Ledgestone

 

We taped off the interior of the bookcases, and just sprayed the outside with a white, semi-gloss paint. I didn’t want to have to worry about paint peeling off the interior of the shelves or books sticking to the paint, etc. on the shelves. It has worked out nicely, and I am really glad we decided not to spray the interior of the shelving.

The project took about 4 days, and cost around $1,700. Most of the expense came from the stone, and the cost of the fireplace. It’s completed, and just in time for the Christmas Holidays! Check back in to TheEverythingHousewife.com in a few weeks when I will be posting my IKEA kitchen remodel!

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Finished Ikea Hack Entertainment Center

A New Baby and a New Stocking

A New Baby and a New Stocking Tutorial

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Christmas Stocking How to, Tutorial, Quilted

Stocking Tutorial, How to

With each child born, every Christmas I am left with the task of making a stocking, and as the years have passed, you can look at our fireplace mantle and see how my sewing skills have improved. Each stocking gets better than the last….and each new stocking is always completely different than the last! This stocking was made for our newest addition, baby Alora! The tutorial is below, and it includes step-by-step instructions to creating your own Christmas stocking, along with my FREE 10 page PDF Christmas Stocking sewing pattern you can download here:  Christmas stocking sewing pattern

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Free Download Stocking Pattern

Check back in the up coming days on TheEverythingHousewife.com for my Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial!

 

To begin, print out the FREE Christmas stocking pattern download, and piece it together. You will need approximately 1 ¼ yards (assorted colors) of fabric for your stocking,  in addition to additional fabric for bias tape and a ruffle, and heat bond for applique decorating.

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Assorted Christmas Fabric, Stocking Fabric

Cut assorted fabric colors for the front of the stocking.

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Pattern Cutting, stocking

For the lining, fold your fabric in half, and cut. You should have two pieces that are mirror images of each other. (Please note that I pieced two pieces of the fabric together from leftover scraps to make my lining)

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Stocking Pattern Lining Cutting

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Fabric Lining Stocking

For the back of the stocking, you should flip the pattern piece over and cut. This will give you a mirror image cut of the pieced-front of the stocking.

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Cut Mirror Image of stocking

Sew pieced-front of stocking together with ¼ inch seams. Then press the seams with a hot iron.

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Sew Stocking Pieces together

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Press Seams of Stocking

Now its time to decorate the stocking. I used bais tape, and appliquéd an “A” for Alora using heatbond. Here is my tutorial for the bias tape: Bias Tape Tutorial

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Bias Tape Video Tutorial, how to

I applied heatbond to the back of some red fabric, and then cut out the letter “A” with my Silhouette Cameo.

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Heat Bond

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Iron Fabric to Heatbond

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Fabric Cutting Silhouette Cameo

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Applique Letter Silhouette Cameo

Here is what the finished decorated front looks like.

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Quilted Pieced Applique Stocking Front

Now its time to sew the stocking pieces together. Layer,first, the backing of the stocking right side up, followed by the front piece of the stocking faced down, then place the batting on top. Then layer the lining pieces….face the inside lining pieces, right-sides together.

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Sewing Stocking together

Sew around the edge leaving the top unstitched.

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stocking pieces sewn together

Continued…