Everything cookies have been my favorite cookies for as long as I can remember having a favorite cookie. They are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and have so many wonderful flavors of toasted nuts, oatmeal, coconut, raisins, and chocolate.
On another note, it's nice to be back at it again. I like the routine of being back to normal after a long Christmas break. When we came home from break, they were still installing a new kitchen, laundry room, and kitchen nook/butler's pantry floor (which is awesome!), but we are just now getting the house put back together. Plus our 5 year old and myself have been really sick with the flu over the past two weeks and my husband had sinus surgery this week. We are all so so glad to be getting back to "normal".
Here is glimpse into our kitchen nook where we have been eating off of the card table while sorting through everything that was piled into the dining room while the floors were done. Tonight was our first night eating in the dining room again and it was nice to be back to our usual dinner routine. The floors do look beautiful though and it forced us to go through more stuff and organize (two boxes of donations and two boxes of trash from today's work). This little kitchen nook is usually an art/homework room for the boys and they are glad to get it back. I also do most of my food photography in this little kitchen nook...So glad to get back to normal!
This is the butler's pantry across from the kitchen nook. I really did have this counter cleaned off this week which lasted for about half a day. You pass through here to get from the kitchen to the dining room so it's kind of a hallway too. I love the extra storage from the butler's pantry.
More on getting back to "normal"...I know that in our house full of boys that our normal may be a little chaotic to some. Sure it's full of adventure, dirt-SO MUCH DIRT, laughter, and LOTS of NOISE, but I'll take our glorious chaos because I know that someday when the house is quiet I'll miss the joy that came with the chaos.
Speaking of Joy...These M & M Everything cookies will bring some Joy. They are perfect for gift giving, although you better make a double batch if you have a sweet tooth.
I used red and green M & M's for Christmas. Wouldn't these be pretty with red M & M's for Valentine's Day or spring M & M's for Easter? One more note...you might be tempted to skip toasting the nuts, but don't, it takes the flavor to a whole new level.
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk
1-2 cups chocolate chips*
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup M & M's chocolate candies
1. Toast nuts on a small un-greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
2. Turn oven temperature up to 375 degrees.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, raisins, nuts, coconut, and M & M's candies.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
*I use less chocolate chips when adding M & M's, but if you are a chocolate lover, go all out.
Makes about 3 dozen.
My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect cookies every time. I got this Nordic Ware cookie scoop in my Christmas stocking one year.
Mashed potato soup has been a favorite in our house for years. I started making this several years ago when I had some leftover mashed potatoes to use. We love it so much that now I puposely make extra mashed potatoes just so that I can make mashed potato soup.
You don't need a whole pound of bacon for this recipe, but I always cook a whole pound because my boys LOVE bacon, like really LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE bacon. This is a great use of leftover mashed potatoes. It is quick to make from start to finish and it is thick and hearty. Great for warming up on cold winter nights.
So next time you have some leftover mashed potatoes, make this delicious mashed potato soup and enjoy every creamy, bacony bite.
Disclosure: I received complimentary products for review, but all opinions are honest and are my own. #ad
Welcome to my review of prAna clothing. I have seen prAna online through blog reviews, but had never tried the clothes before this review. I was excited to try out some new things, but a little apprehensive about how I would look in them since I am on the tall side at 5'10" and I have a 2 month old and am carrying a little extra weight around the middle.
I was very careful when ordering and took my measurements since I have never worn prAna clothes before and my post baby body isn't back to normal yet. I even read reviews online to get a feel for the sizing.
I chose the Kara jean which is their most popular style in denim size 6 and the Stacia sweater in harbor blue size M. They are both made of organic cotton which I don't think I have ever worn before and have to admit is super soft. The sweater is fair trade certified which makes me feel good as a consumer knowing that the workers who made it are working under fair working conditions.
You are probably wondering how I really feel about my new prAna clothes after wearing them. First let's talk about the Kara jeans. They can be worn cuffed or uncuffed. Since I am so tall, I wear them uncuffed. In the summer, I may wear them cuffed as capri pants. You can see them cuffed at prAna.com. They are cute either way and if you are tall like me, you can still wear them. As far as fit goes, my Kara jeans fit really well except that they are in my opinion too low at the waist. I don't like having to worry about my backside showing when I sit down or bend over. I remedy this by wearing long tops with these jeans. Most of my tops are longer anyway, but I wouln't wear a short top with the Kara jeans.
As far as comfort goes, the Kara jeans are sooooooooo comfortable! The first day I wore them, I commented to my husband that night that I felt like I had worn yoga pants or sweats all day. You get the look of jeans with the comfort of sweats. They are so soft and flexible you could proably do yoga in them if you wanted.
The Kara jeans are pricier as far as jeans go, but a good pair of jeans is a wardrobe staple. I have probably worn them at least 10 times since I received them for review. They are my new go-to jeans that I wear all the time.
Now let's talk about the Stacia sweater. Based on my measurements and the fact that I just had a baby, I ordered a medium. This sweater is not fitted at the waist and is a little larger than I realized it would be. If I would have known, I would have ordered a small. So my sweater is bigger on me than I would like, but I still wear it because it is super comfy and I love the color. It is a beautiful blue green color. One thing I love about this sweater is that the sleeves are long enough for my arms. I almost always have to order tall size tops and can't just walk into a store and buy one. This is not a tall size sweater and the sleeves are long enough for me. There is one flaw in my sweater and that is that it is not perfectly symetrical across the front. The left side is slightly longer than the right and I find myself tugging on the right side to make it longer. Good news is I don't think anyone else notices.
Overall, I recommend the Stacia sweater as a fashionable and comfortable piece of clothing, however, if I had purchased the sweater I would have sent it back for a smaller size that was symetrical across the front.
I have had a good experience reviewing my new prAna clothing. I have worn both the sweater and jeans multiple times in the short time I have owned them and know that if I had purchased them myself I would get my money's worth. My new prAna clothes are fashionable and functional which is important to this busy mother of four.
Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone special? Save 15% with promo code BLOGF16FAST until Monday December 19th. Promo code is not valid for “On Sale” items. Shop prAna.com.
Linking up at Share the Wealth
Maybe it's the weather...it is literally freezing here in Southern Kentucky and has been below freezing all week or maybe it's because I am nursing and always feel famished, either way I have been craving hearty and filling meals like this savory slightly sweet Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole.
A friend of ours gave us a huge butternut squash last week so I have been coming up with creative ways to use it and this butternut squash and sausage casserole has been our favorite so far.
This is about a quarter section of our butternut squash. It was amazingly huge! I peeled, sliced and then cubed about 2 pounds squash for this dish.
I love the combination of butternut squash, sausage, sweet onion, garlic, and spinach. This casserole is hearty, fresh and delicious. Our whole family loved it including our boys.
I used frozen chopped spinach because I had it on hand, but you could easily use a few handfuls of fresh spinach instead. We loved the fresh mozzarella topping which melted beautifully and gave a rich yet balanced flavor, but you could use shredded swiss or another favorite cheese.
Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
1 lb. mild ground sausage
2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
10 oz. box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained or several handfuls fresh spinach
1/4 cup cooking sherry
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cocktail size balls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Microwave peeled and cubed butternut squash for 3 to 4 minutes to partially tenderize.
3. Cook sausage, onion, garlic, and thyme over medium high heat until sausage is browned.
4. Add cooking sherry to skillet and scrape up any browned bits (which add more flavor). (Sausage mixture should still be in skillet.)
5. Stir in spinach and butternut squash.
6. Salt and pepper to taste.
7. Top with fresh mozzarella balls.
8. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until squash is fork tender and cheese has melted. Use an ovenproof skillet like a 12" iron skillet. If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, simply transfer to a large greased casserole dish or a 9 X 13 inch pan before baking.
Old Fashioned Cream Pie is one of the first recipes I posted on Home Ec @ Home a little over six years ago. It is one of the most popular recipes on the site so when I made it at Thanksgiving this year, I decided it was high time to update this post with new photos.
I found this recipe several years ago in a Harvest Holiday Cookbook my Mom gave me from The Sidney Daily News in Sidney, OH. It was submitted by Mary Morrison. There is a restaurant in Sidney called The Spot to Eat which serves an amazing Old Fashion Cream Pie. I don't know if it is the same recipe or not, but it sure is good. When President Bush came through Sidney during his campaign, he made sure to stop at The Spot.
This is one of my favorite recipes for cream pie because it is both delicious and pretty simple. You make the pie filling on the stove and then pour it into an unbaked pie shell and bake in the oven. If you want to make a pretty trim like the leaf trim in these pictures, cut any extra dough with small cookie cutters and layer around the edges .
Old Fashioned Cream Pie would make a lovely addition to your Christmas dessert menu!
Look at that creamy rich delicious pie filling with just a touch of nutmeg sprinkled on top.
I usually make this recipe with my Aunt Carol's Never Fail Pie Crust. This recipe makes two pies so it is great for a crowd. It is really sweet and is especially good with some whipped cream. You can easily halve the recipe to make a single pie if two pies would be too much for your group.
Aunt Carol's Never Fail Pie Crust
I now use real butter instead of shortening in this pie crust recipe because butter is a healthier fat. All Butter Never Fail Pie Crust I haven't tried it with lard yet, but plan on it, since lard should give a nice flaky crust. Let me know if you try it.
3 cups flour
1 1/4 cup shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, well beaten
5 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1. Cut shortening, flour, and salt to coarse crumbs.
2. Combine egg, vinegar, and water. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at one time.
3. Blend with a spoon just until all the flour is moistened.
4. Roll 1/2 of the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Fold flattened dough in half and then in half again so that it can be easily lifted into the pie pan. Lift the dough into the pan and unfold so that it covers the pie pan.
5. Press the dough into the pan and trim and shape the edges.
Repeat with the extra ball of dough or freeze for future use. You will need two pie crusts for Old Fashioned Cream Pie (unless you halve the recipe).
Old Fashioned Cream Pie
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
5 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 pint 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 unbaked pie crusts (recipe above)
Nutmeg (I grate whole nutmeg directly onto the pie)
1. In a large pot, warm cream and 1/2 & 1/2.
2. Add butter and let melt.
3. Premix sugar and cornstarch. Add to warm mixture.
4. Cook until thick, stirring constantly (This will take a few minutes. It will thicken, but will be thinner than pudding-it will still be pourable).
5. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pour filling into pie crusts and sprinkle with nutmeg.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Makes 2 pies.
Cool to room temperature then refrigerate. This is perfect with whipped cream.
If you are an aspiring food photographer, you should check out Tasty food Photography (affiliate link below). Reading this ebook helped transform the way I photograph food. Below is the original photo I used in this post six years ago. As you can see, this book really helped me with my food photography skills.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
As a mother of a newborn for the fourth time, I am not as worried about germs and dirt as I was the first time around, however, I am concerned about chemicals in the products that we use. Limiting the use of chemicals can be a real challenge when purchasing baby products. You may find yourself searching the aisles of your local stores or online looking for products you feel are safe for your loved ones. Luckily, WaterWipes are here and they are now available in many stores and online at Walmart.com.
I have used WaterWipes a lot and I can truthfully say they are my favorite baby wipes. WaterWipes are chemical free because they contain only two ingredients, 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. No chemicals will touch your baby's delicate skin when using WaterWipes giving you a safe, natural option.
I feel completely safe using WaterWipes on my newborn and they clean really well leaving behind a fresh clean scent without any strong perfume. Before using WaterWipes, I wondered if they would actually do a good job of cleaning up soiled bottoms without any soap in them. After using them, I have to say they do.
While WaterWipes are usually more expensive than your typical baby wipes, I find I need fewer of them for most diaper changes. They are really strong and durable, but feel almost cloth-like while maintaining a comforting softness. If you have trouble with diaper rashes, try switching to soft chemical free WaterWipes. Plus, the WaterWipes package is convenient to use with a resealable opening in the center and it will fit easily into a purse or diaper bag.
WaterWipes come in handy for quick clean-ups on the go too. My five year old is always messy and needs to wipe his hands and face when soap and water are not available. He can easily clean himself in the car or at the park with WaterWipes. The wipes feel cloth-like and fresh and clean without any chemicals so I feel good about my son using them.
Enter to win one of five (5) $100 Walmart gift cards through December 9, 2016!
I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).
WaterWipes are now conveniently available online at Walmart.com and in many of our favorite stores!
Use the WaterWipes Store Locater to find a store near you.
What do You Value as a Parent? New & Improved Luvs & a $25 Gift Card & Diaper Giveaway #WhatULuv #ad
This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs. I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine.
Parenthood is an amazing journey of ups and downs and everything in between, but as an experienced mother of four, I try to take it all in stride. I value the things that make my life a little easier - from my close friends who are always there for me to great products that work well at affordable prices (like Luvs). With four kids, we have used a lot of Luvs in our house and they are good diapers for a reasonable price. I know I can trust Luvs to do a good job and save us money too.
Luvs just introduced the new and improved Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™. These new and improved diapers even come with a money back guarantee.
Luvs surveyed Moms across the country to find out what they value most and this is what they found out.
I can so relate to sleeping through the night. It will be awhile since my baby is only 8 weeks old. I got 5 solid hours a couple of nights ago and it was amazing. Also, I so enjoy my "grown-up" shows on Masterpiece theatre, but rarely have "me time" to watch them. Showering uninterrupted, sleeping through the night, watching "grown-up" shows... these are all at the top of my wish list! What would you "luv" to do with some free time?
Luvs is offering a great money-saving deal with a $1 print-at-home coupon off any one diaper pack. Print this coupon and use it at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are sold.
Enter to win a $25 AmEx gift card and a pack of the new Luvs NightLock Diapers!
Want to win even bigger? Join the twitter party to win a $300 AMEX Gift Card+ Luvs product!
Luvs is on a mission to celebrate and embrace what experienced parents value and “Luv” every single day. Be sure to join the #WhatULuv Twitter party hosted by @iConnect and @Luvs, on November 29th, 9-10pm EST to share what you value as a parent.
We love Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs. This recipe has been on the blog since 2012 so when I made this for dinner the other night, I decided it was time for some new photos to liven it up a bit. I didn't even have a pinnable photo on the post (gasp) and knew nothing about food photography way back then so it was time.
Even though you all have Thanksgiving on the mind ( I do too), this is a great recipe to stash away for after the holiday. You can throw this together in about half an hour, cook on low all day, then enjoy hearty, delicious, warming Spaghetti and Meatballs for dinner. Busy night, no worries...you've got the most amazing sauce and meatballs slowly simmering in your kitchen.
You will love this Spaghetti and Meatballs. The sauce is exceptional with red wine enhancing the rich flavor. And since it simmers in the slow cooker, all you have to do at dinner time is cook some spaghetti noodles and make a salad. And if you have extra time, make a batch of bread machine bread sticks or bread machine breadsticks without a bread machine. They are amazing and better than any we have had in a restaurant.
SAUCE & SPAGHETTI
If you are into food photography and need some help improving your food styling and photography skills, I cannot recommend Tasty Food Photography (affiliate link below) enough. I learned a wealth of knowledge from this ebook. See my old post photo from 2012 compared to my new photos. Update: this new photo was accepted by foodgawker!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I also received products for review. All opinions are honest and are my own.
We are so blessed to have a beautiful, healthy six week old son. In fact, he is our fourth son. We have a lot to be thankful for.
Being that this is our fourth time around, some things are easier, but others are harder. Breastfeeding is easier and feels more natural than it did with my first child. Leaving the house is easier. I am just used to having lots of kids with me where ever I go and have learned a few things over the years to make outings as peaceful and productive as possible. (There are sibling fights and meltdowns on occasion, but for the most part, things run pretty smoothly on our outings.) I remember when I had my second child. I was so apprehensive about leaving the house alone with both children. But by the time I had my third son, it was no big deal.
I think the hardest thing about being a mother of four including a newborn is that I feel exhausted and stretched thin. I want and need to spend time with each child and try to on a regular basis, but it is exhausting. Thankfully, my husband is super involved and does a lot with our children. From boardgames to football in the backyard, he plays with them almost everyday and helps the older boys with their homework.
Then there are meals to prepare and tons of laundry. (Our lazyboy is currently home to a big pile of clean laundry.) I am not complaining, I think parenting is the most rewarding job in the world. But it is a sacrifice of time, energy and money so when a newborn comes along, I say take all the help you can get.
Check out my middle of the night selfies when I was up with my little man.
5 Tips for Surviving the First Weeks of Motherhood
1. Prepare ahead of time as much as possible. Stock up on things you know you will need such as diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, paper plates (make life easier), paper towels, toilet paper, feminine pads, breast pads (if nursing), etc. The last thing you want to do is run out of any necessities when you are home with a newborn.
2. Prepare or purchase some easy meals that can be frozen and heated later or are shelf stable easy mixes or kits. You probably won't have much time to deal with cooking after baby comes and that frozen lasagna will look real good when all you have to do is heat it up. Here are some simple recipes that can be prepared ahead and frozen.
Baked Penne Casserole
Frito Chili Pie (Cook then freeze Chili to warm up later)
Easy Enchiladas (Freeze, then thaw and bake later)
3. Take it all in stride. Your house will not be perfect or anything close to perfect for a long time. And that's ok, you have more important things to do right now. You will be late sometimes and that's ok too. There will be blow out diapers, you will be peed on or spit up on all right before you leave the house. Sometimes you will feel like you have everything under control and somehow you will still be late. In my experience, people are kind and give you a break when you have a newborn. They understand and know that you are doing your best.
4. Be prepared when leaving the house. Take a moment and check the diaper bag a few times a week. Make sure to have extra diapers, wipes, extra baby clothes that are appropriate for the weather conditions, nursing cover (if using), baby blanket, changing pad, bottles and formula or pumped milk (if using), pacifier, burp cloth, bag for wet soiled clothes or cloth diapers, snacks and activities/small toys for older children, and a few things for yourself. Taking care of and nursing an infant takes a lot of energy so Mom needs a few things too. Make sure to have water or another healthy hydrating beverage like Mother Nurture Enhanced Water. I find that when I am nursing, I am always thirsty and have to take drinks with me wherever I go. Take some of your favorite snacks too. Stash a few granola bars, an apple, banana, Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles, etc. in your bag. You will get hungry too and will be glad to have something healthy and convenient with you.
5. Accept help. This can be hard to do, but realize that you can't do it all, plus you need to rest and bond with your baby as much as possible. Let your parents and in-laws camp out for a week or two. Their help is invaluable, especially if you have older children. Let them make dinner, do laundry, and take the kids to school. You need sleep and they are happy to help and spend time with their grandchildren. If your friends, church, or co-workers offer to give you a meal train, take it. You will find relief in knowing that a home-cooked meal is being delivered a few times a week for the duration of the meal train. We are receiving a meal train from church for a couple of months and it is a God send. It is such a relief knowing that I don't have to plan and prepare meals throughout the week. Some nights I am so busy with the baby that if it weren't for the meal train, we would be eating cereal or peanut butter sandwiches.
Here I am enjoying Mother Nurture Enhanced Water when up nursing in the middle of the night. Remember, you want to stay hydrated. I tried the tropical splash flavor which was deliciously refreshing. It is slightly sweet, but not too sweet with a delicate citrus flavor. I enjoyed Mother Nurture Enhanced Water and would love to try the other flavors. It also comes in pink grapefruit and mixed berry. Mother Nurture Enhanced Waters provide essential nutrients including Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin B12 and Choline that both moms and babies need.
It might be because I am nursing, but I find that I am always hungry and have to snack throughout the day. Nursing mothers do need an additional 500 calories and healthy snacks are a good way to make sure I am meeting this need. I love these delicious Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles. I always crave chocolate and can feel better about eating these since they contain DHA, folic acid, calcium and protein. They come in two delicious flavors, milk chocolate and dark chocolate raspberry.
Please share your tips for surviving the first weeks of motherhood. We are all in this together!
I have been wanting to update this post with new and improved photos for at least a month and set a goal of doing this before Halloween. But, reality is ... I am snuggling, nursing, diapering, and loving our newborn son and sometimes, make that most of the time, any spare minutes are better used sneaking in a quick nap.
I am way better at posting pictures on instagram than to any other social media sites so if you want to see our baby boy, you can see pics here.
So the good thing about this recipe as with most cookie dough recipes, is you can refrigerate or freeze the dough. So if you make the dough and then (like me) don't have to time to bake it for say 3 or 4 days, you can refrigerate or freeze it and then bake it later when you have time. This might be how most of my fall baking goes, if at all.
These aren't difficult to make, I just have a busier life than normal right now with a newborn. My students used to make these in my foods classes and they always loved them. And that was before I knew about the merits of browned butter icing and how it takes these cookies from really good to rock your world amazing!
To make browned butter, you simply melt the butter on the stovetop until it turns a light brown color and smells fragrant with a caramely slightly nutty scent. The cookies are not that sweet on their own so the sweet caramely buttery icing compliments them well.
Enjoy these perfect little fall confectionary gems!
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
Mix in next:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree F oven for 8 to 11 minutes. Let cool, then glaze tops of cookies.
Browned Butter Glaze:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk
Heat butter on stove over medium heat until browned. You will smell a caramely, slightly nutty scent when it is ready. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla, then milk until smooth.
Glaze cookies after they have cooled a few minutes. Top each cookie with a pecan.
The glaze will harden quickly, so don’t make the glaze until after all of the cookies have baked.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Linking up at Lou Lou Girls, Create with Joy, Share the Wealth, Dream, Create, Inspire
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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