Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate this post.
My husband is creative by nature. I am always amazed at how he can just pick up a pencil and sketch anything you ask. He has drawn countless dinosaurs and dragons in his tenure as a parent and I am sure the requests will keep coming for years to come.
When I was asked to write about Winsor and Newton art supplies, I asked my husband if he would like to try any of their products since he really enjoys artistic pursuits. He of course said YES! and chose the Winsor & Newton water colour marker collection and the graphic marker collection.
These Winsor and Newton Marker Sets are perfect for creatives who like to experiment with new media. These are good quality sets so my husband will be utilizing them in his landscape design class this semester.
At first we didn't realize that the water colour set came with a pad of water color paper. (We later discovered the paper under the plastic tray.) My husband tried using some art paper that we had, but it wasn't good enough to get the soft water color effect he wanted. So he went to the bookstore, bought some water color paper and played around with the markers and a brush and water. He thought it was easier to get the desired effect with better paper, but not the same as using actual water colors.
Still, if you want quick and easy delicate "paintings" these water colour markers will do the trick. They will be perfect for adding soft strokes, shading, and blurred lines to my husband's landscape drawings.
My husband also chose the graphic marker collection which comes with extra smooth surface paper so you can start creating right away.
He played around with the graphic markers and came up with this neat Ohio State design which I think brilliantly portrays how vivid and clear they color. He will have a lot of fun with these.
A Winsor & Newton gift set would make the perfect Valentine gift for the aspiring artist in your life. You can find them at WinsorNewton.com, Amazon, and fine art stores such as Blick.
Friday night we went to a dinner/party for my husband's work. It was a family friendly casual affair with giant aluminum pans filled with home-cooked (catered) favorites like macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Upon leaving this super fun work/family outing (which included a full-size indoor basketball court where I lost a game or two of PIG), we were offered a giant pan of mac & cheese. Up for the challenge, I figured I could do something with it and came up with this delicious loaded macaroni and cheese. To be honest, it was a LOT of macaroni, more than we could use so I shared with a friend when her son came over to play and still had to freeze some.
This is one of those "you don't really need a recipe" kind of recipes. Simply mix in your favorite flavors and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You end up with this amazing mac & cheese casserole that is good enough for company, a potluck or even the super bowl.
If you're not into macaroni, I think a loaded cauliflower casserole would be amazing. I am going to try it sometime and will let you know how it goes:)
You will need a big pot of macaroni and cheese to start. I recommend homemade style over the box. If you are trying to throw this together quickly, you could always purchase prepared macaroni and cheese in the deli or the prepared refrigerated foods section of your grocery store. Don't use a cold macaroni salad sold with potato salad. It will likely be seasoned with a vinegar type of dressing. You can also make some macaroni and cheese ahead and refrigerate for a day or two until making the casserole.
Several cups Macaroni and Cheese, depending on how much you make (I probably used 6-8 C.)
1 lb. bacon
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Large handful fresh spinach leaves
2-3 cups shredded cheese (depending on how much you make and how cheesy you want it, I used mexican and parmesan cheese)
2 T. butter, optional
Salt and pepper
1. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Crisp all but 3 slices of bacon, crumble and set aside to top casserole.
3.. Over medium heat, saute 3 slices bacon, chopped up with onion and garlic. Cook until bacon is crisp and onion is tender. If needed add butter or extra bacon grease from the previous crisping to the skillet. My bacon didn't produce enough grease to saute the onion so I added butter.
4. Remove bacon and onions from skillet, leaving bacon grease in the skillet and saute spinach to wilt.
5. In a large bowl, mix macaroni with bacon/onion mixture, wilted spinach, shredded cheese saving some to top casserole, and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Scoop mixture into prepared casserole dish. Top with extra cheese and extra crumbled bacon.
7. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.
It's always fun to look back on the year and remember all of our favorite recipes. Here's a look at our top 10 favorites from 2018.
It's always so hard to pick just 10. I had to leave out so many more wonderful recipes. But you can find all of my recipes using the recipe drop down menu at the top of the page. What were your favorite new recipes over the past year? Feel free to add your links in the comments.
January 2019 update: I wanted to update this recipe because it is still a favorite, but I make it a little differently than I did two years ago. I now use 6 cups vegetable stock instead of 5 to make it a bit thinner (like my broccoli soup) and I use my emersion blender to puree it more. Also, I previously used chicken broth, but have since switched to vegetable broth which I think has more flavor.
The newer pictures in the brown soup mug show the more pureed thinner soup and the older pictures in the small crocks show the thicker soup. You can make it either way, we just prefer the more pureed soup. It is so good that the kids literally scrape every last bite out of the pot. We seem to have just the right amount for our young family, but as the boys' appetites grow as they get older I predict I will be making double batches of this yummy cauliflower soup.
These are my favorite muffins in the whole entire world and the universe. That's how my seven year old would express his appreciation for these delicious banana nut muffins so that's how I will too. Because they really are amazing with buttery goodness and just the right balance of sweetness in each delectable bite.
I signed up to donate a dozen banana nut muffins to the concession sales at my son's swim meet last weekend. So I made a double batch of my favorite one bowl banana bread (which I make all the time) and baked it in muffin pans for less time than my bread recipe. This made two dozen muffins so I had some at home for the kids and a dozen to donate. They were perfectly delicious and pretty easy to make plus they take a lot less time to bake than banana bread.
When I have browning bananas, I stick them in the freezer. Then I have easy to mash ripe bananas whenever I want them. I simply thaw them in the fridge on a plate, then peel them, mash and bake them into delicious banana bread or muffins.
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 C. (about 3) bananas, mashed
1/2 C. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. brown sugar
1/4 C. honey
1 3/4 C. flour (I use 1/4 C. rice flour and 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place muffin liners in a muffin pan.
2. With a wooden spoon mix bananas, eggs, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
3. Next stir in the sugars and honey.
4. Lastly, stir in the rest of the ingredients, stirring until combined. Batter will be thick.
5. Scoop batter into muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. (Mine are perfect at 23 minutes)
6. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Disclosure: I received products to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.
The first time I made this dish was Mother's day, last May. We don't go to restaurants much because 1) it's expensive and we usually feel like we eat better food at home and 2) we have four kids. It's almost always easier to prepare simple meals at home than to try and take the kids out to eat. So on Mother's day last May, I made this pasta. It was perfect for a simple meal at home that was nice enough to celebrate me and our little family.
This has since become one of our favorite meals so when Tresomega Nutrition sent me a box of their pasta and virgin coconut oil to try, I knew exactly what I was going to make.
I had always made this dish with olive oil, but tried it with Tresomega Nutrition virgin coconut oil and it was delicious. Any type of spaghetti or angel hair pasta works well in this recipe, but I can honestly say I really really like this Tresomega gluten free quinoa spaghetti. It's organic and made from rice, quinoa, and amaranth. So if you are looking for a healthier pasta option, this one tastes great and has a nice texture. (It seems like regular spaghetti to me which is a must when trying to get the kids to eat healthier pasta.)
Try this delicious, simple meal with buttery garlic shrimp, mushrooms and asparagus that your whole family will love.
Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta
2 T. butter
2-3 T. Tresomega Nutrition Virgin Coconut Oil or olive oil
2 tomatoes, diced
8 to 10 fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, broken into 2 to 3 inch pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
Splash cooking sherry (optional)
1/2 C. vegetable broth
1-2 lbs. raw shrimp, peeled
Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
Lemon to squeeze fresh juice over finished dish (optional)
1 lb. Tresomega Nutrition Gluten Free Quinoa Spaghetti (2-8oz. boxes)
1. Boil water to cook pasta separately.
2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet or wok at medium to medium/high heat. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, onion, and garlic and stir-fry until asparagus is tender. (I grind some salt and pepper on while cooking.)
3. Add a splash of cooking sherry or white wine and the vegetable broth.
4. Add shrimp, more salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until shrimp turns pink.
5. Serve over cooked spaghetti. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
I love making Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread for special occasions and at Christmas I like to make it in the shape of a wreath. I put in it a pie pan to look like a wreath and make a bow out of dough for the top of the wreath. It adds a festive touch to our Christmas morning breakfast and the kids love it.
This may look complicated, but it's not. I make the dough in the bread machine. See step by step directions here.
When the dough is prepared for a wreath, cut a strip of dough from the center to make a bow, then cut each remaining half in half again to get 4 long strips of dough. Cut the strips again following the instructions in this post. Then you put the layers of dough in a circular fashion in a pie pan instead of a loaf pan. I've started lining my pie pan with a little sheet of parchment paper when making this bread and it makes clean-up so much easier.
This warm sweet bread with its crispy cinnamon sugar coating will be the hit of your Christmas brunch!
Also pictured: Sugar Cookies and Bacon and Egg cups (the linked recipe is for ham and egg cups, but I used bacon and cheese instead)
Clam chowder is one of our favorite soups of all time and this one does not disappoint. Rich creamy chowder with hearty potatoes and clams...it's more than just dinner, it's a culinary experience for the senses.
This is actually pretty easy to throw together and doesn't take very long to make. The only prep-work is dicing an onion and a few potatoes (no need to peel them). Plus, canned clams are pretty easy to find in your local grocery and are affordable. I usually keep some in the cabinet just for making clam chowder since it is one of our favorites.
I often use vegetable broth in soups, but I like to use seafood stock when making clam chowder. Vegetable broth is fine, but I think the flavor is amazing when made with seafood stock.
Homemade clam chowder is so much tastier than canned soup and not that much work. Add this to your soup rotation for a delicious, hearty meal on cozy winter nights.
2 T. butter
1 onion, diced
4 T. flour
2 1/2 C. seafood, chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 C. cooking sherry
2 (10 oz.) cans baby or chopped clams in juice
1 C. heavy or whipping cream
2 bay leaves
1 lb. russet potatoes, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, stirring frequently.
2. Sprinkle the flour over the onion and mix in.
3. Add the stock, sherry, juice from both cans of clams (reserve the clams), cream, bay leaves, and potatoes and stir to combine.
4. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently while the soup thickens.
5. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook, stirring frequently until the potatoes are tender. (About 20 minutes.)
6. Add clams and cook for about two minutes until the clams are firm. Salt and pepper to taste.
Disclosure: The links in this post are referral links.
I don't know about you, but I have been doing most of my Christmas shopping online this year. It's so convenient and I have gotten some really good deals. I haven't been very good about using cash back sites over the years because I always forget about them and sometimes they don't seem worth the trouble.
I got an email from Ebates the other day and I thought fine...I'll see if I can remember how to log in and see how this works since I am ordering gifts online anyway. I was able to log in and there was a special promotion with really high cash back percentages. I was ordering from Land's End so I typed Land's End in the search bar to see if they worked with Land's End and they did. (Land's End has been having great 50% off sales most of the month.) I got 12% cash back on my order which was over $9!
I wish I would have been using ebates sooner this Christmas, but at least now I know how to get great cash back deals!
If you are new to ebates and sign up through my referral link, you will receive a $10 bonus! Cash back and a bonus! That's a really big win!
Since I haven't been a big ebates user in the past I wanted to see what someone else thought and found this great comprehensive blog post from The Selling Family. From reading her post, I learned that ebates are paid four times a year through paypal or a check and there are coupon codes on ebates.com too. Seems pretty easy to me.
Disclosure: I received complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.
Are you tired of the over commercialization of Christmas? If you answered yes, then this is the sweater for you. My husband couldn't resist this Seinfeld sweater from UglyChristmasSweater.com. They have so many funny Christmas sweaters that it is hard to choose just one. My husband loves this sweater! He has worn it to several Christmas parties already this year and I'm sure it will be making more appearances over the next two weeks.
This cute Ugliest Sweater medal came with the Festivus sweater. It would make the perfect prize for your Ugly Christmas Sweater party.
To get into the true Festivus spirit, get a Festivus pole, have Festivus dinner, air your grievances, and participate in the feats of strength to celebrate Festivus like a true Seinfeld enthusiast. Or just get this sweater and let Kramer and Frank Costanza show you how it's really done.
Add a little fun to your next Christmas or Festivus party with a sweater from UglyChristmasSweater.com. For more ugly sweater ideas follow UglyChristmasSweater.com @UglyXsweater on twitter, @ugly.christmas on instagram and @UglyXmas on facebook.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned work at home Mom blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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