Thursday Thoughts: The End

Thursday Thoughts

Sew You Think You Can Cook will be 5 years old on Monday. And as it turns out, 5 is as old as this blog is going to get. My subscription does go through to February and I’m told after that it will revert back to its original web page address (https://sewyoucancook.wordpress.com).

In the meantime, I’m creating personal Shutterfly books of our family favorite recipes and nostalgic blog post write-ups.

I took a break a year ago and greatly reduced the amount of blogging I did during 2017. During that year I became a preschool homeschooling mom to two toddlers. Boy was homeschooling an adventure! Firecracker, the primary pupil, was so over home school around February. Treat was the opposite – naturally – he still asks daily if there’s a project planned for the day! He loves the little songs we’d sing, the crafting projects, and almost any library book. I will continue homeschool Treat next year but Firecracker is going to attend an actual preschool 2 half-days a week.

That break turned into an even greater break after we moved 2.4 miles down the road in April. For 2.5 weeks I was in full moving mode, loading up the minivan every day with packed boxes and kids toys. The move has been fantastic. While I miss my beach view and being serenaded by the waves at night, having a house with a yard has made quite the difference in my children. They’re still sharing a room, but have a designated playroom now and the freedom of a backyard provides them with the ability to get away from each other should they need to.

My last post was in May and I honestly haven’t missed blogging. With an onslaught of legal requirements and disclaimers being put on bloggers I felt completely overwhelmed. I don’t know 85% of what all is required and I really don’t want to get fined for something I don’t understand and didn’t know what to do or what I could be doing wrong. What started out as a fun hobby turned into complete confusion, fear, and stress.

I have deleted my Twitter account and blog’s Pinterest account already; seeing fewer notifications on my phone has been liberating! I haven’t decided what to do about my blog’s Facebook account yet.

During the summer break I’m hoping to get back into quilting, there’s almost-5-year-old fabric from Hawaii that’s begging to be cut into strips and sewn back together.

I’m also putting my time toward furthering my faith journey. I’m leading a Bible study at my church and setting aside more of my free time toward reading the actual Bible.

Thank you for following my culinary journey over the past 5 years. I’ll continue to cook new dishes and check off my recipes from my bucket list. Keep in touch on Instagram!

#FoodieExtravaganza: Enchiladas

foodieextravaganza-300April is here and with it another Foodie Extravaganza! This month Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla told us to make some enchiladas. 

It has been 13 months since I’ve participated with this group but I couldn’t turn down enchiladas! I mean, how could I!? My husband and I had a fun culinary routine of Mexican Mondays which held strong for at least 5 years. And to this day, when I do put Mexican cuisine on our weekly menu, I let it fall on a Monday. Mexican Monday allows way more versatility than Taco Tuesday.

My Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas are a family favorite, and my go-to dish for bringing to friends after having a baby or a deployment. I had to come up with something different for today’s post and somehow my mind wandered to one of our favorite Mexican places in Ohio, Abuelo’s. We didn’t realize it at the time, but Abuelo’s is evidently a chain restaurant, but we still liked it! My favorite dish were their Spinach Enchiladas, so that’s what I have for you today. My husband couldn’t stop raving about them and has declared them a strong competitor to the previously mentioned Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas.

Spinach Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz bag frozen spinach
  • 2 strips center cut bacon, diced
  • 1 1/2 C diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp diced chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 6 taco sized flour tortillas
  • 1 10 oz can green enchilada sauce
  • 3 handfuls shredded Mexican blend cheese

Steps:

  1. Microwave the spinach according to package instructions.
  2. In a large skillet cook the bacon until crispy. Add in the mushrooms, onion, pepper, garlic, and chipotle peppers and cook until tender. Season with S+P.
  3. Add the cheeses and cook until melted. Stir in the corn and cooked spinach.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a casserole dish.
  5. Divide the spinach mixture onto the tortillas, rolling them up and placing them seam-side down in the prepared casserole dish. Top with the enchilada sauce and the cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.

This recipe is modified from mollypaul at http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/abuelos-spinach-casserole-112480*

Spinach Enchiladas for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other creative enchilada recipes:

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

#MuffinMonday: Strawberry and Chocolate Muffin Hearts

Muffin Monday It’s time for another Monday filled with muffins!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins to brighten their Mondays. There isn’t a theme to #MuffinMonday posts so anything goes, as long as it’s a muffin!

You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday can be found on our home page.

I’m keeping the Valentine’s Day spirit alive with my February #MuffinMonday submission. Muffins shaped as hearts! And involving both chocolate and strawberries together. Who doesn’t want to start their morning with a little love in a muffin cup?

IMG_6145As part of our Valentine’s themed school unit, I thought it’d be fun to bake muffins with the boys. It was the perfect way to end the lessons

Bonus points – the boys now have added marbles to their toy collection. I taped an octagon (because who can tape a circle?!?) on the carpet with painters tape and we played a game of rolling the single larger marble into the “circle” to get marbles out of the circle. Firecracker is really into this game. Treat prefers to just kick and stomp through the circle, dispersing every single marble across the floor. If you have other good marble games to play, please share them in the comments!

Treat even took a nap the day we baked these muffins so I was able to put in a little extra photography effort with the help of Firecracker, who really wanted to be in the pictures.

This recipe makes 24 muffin hearts.

Strawberry and Chocolate Muffin Hearts

Ingredients:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 10 oz frozen strawberries, thawed, chopped, and drained
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 C buttermilk
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the strawberries, tossing to coat and distribute evenly.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil, sour cream, and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate. Fold in the chopped chocolate.
  5. Fill muffin cups halfway with the batter. Gently tuck back the liner and put a marble between the liner and the tin (not in the batter). Bake 20min, until a toothpick inserted comes out cleanly.

*This recipe is adapted from Averie at https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/01/strawberry-chocolate-chip-muffins.html, the method from Getty at http://www.gettystewart.com/does-using-marbles-to-make-heart-shaped-muffins-really-work/*

Strawberry and Chocolate Muffin Hearts for #MuffinMonday from Sew You Think You Can Cook

And don’t forget to check out these other muffin recipes:

Bouchon Bakery Style Carrot Muffins from Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Cocoa Beet Chocolate Chip Muffins from Farm Fresh Feasts

Lucky Charms Muffins from Palatable Pastime

Morning Glory Muffins from Food Lust People Love

Rice Cereal Apple Muffins from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Strawberry and Chocolate Muffin Hearts from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Fondue Recipe Round-Up

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

When we got married we were given two electric fondue sets as wedding gifts. We decided to keep both of them. And for four years they were both used once a year, on Valentine’s Day. It became our Valentine’s tradition to have fondue that night, and because we had two pots, we could do one cheese fondue and one chocolate fondue without having to worry about clean up between courses.

After Firecracker was born we still managed to make fondue his first Valentine’s Day. That was three years ago.

Those poor fondue sets have been sitting at the top of cupboard in SoCal for two straight years. They’ll probably continue to sit there until we leave here in 2020. Maybe February 2021 (wow that looks weird!) the boys will be old enough to be trusted around warm devices?

Or maybe, this round-up I’ve created will inspire us to have a date night at home the next Parents’ Night Out hosted at our wonderful church!

Cheese Fondue

Cheese Fondue Round-Up | Sew You Think You Can Cook

  • You know that fondue I mentioned having made back in 2015? It was this one from Tara’s Multicultural Table – Caramelized Shallot Gruyere Fondue. My photos of the night were lost in camera fiasco of 2018, but I assure you, Tara’s are much better anyway.
  • Chef Markus discoverd the secret to authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue and has shared it with his readers at Earth, Food, and Fire.
  • Traditional cheese fondue is typically made with gruyere cheese, which can tend to tip the grocery budget. Shari, of The Root Family Review, developed a Frugal Cheese Fondue using shredded Monterey Jack and Parmesan. I’m all for saving some money and still delivering on taste!
  • When I think about fondue I tend to think of a romantic candlelit dinner, typically geared towards the ladies. I know because, while my husband does enjoy fondue, he’s typically still hungry after the meal. Erica hit it out of the park with these Beer Brats in Blankets and Smoked Gouda Fondue!
  • Rachel pulled out all the stops for her Valentine’s Dinner with a Surf and Turf Cheese Fondue. I always pair cheese fondue with bread, chips, veggies, and apples. Why didn’t I think of using meat or even shrimp!?

Chocolate Fondue

Chocolate Fondue Round-Up | Sew You Think You Can Cook

  • Chocolate lava cake is a classic Valentine’s dessert, and Gretchen turned it into 3-Ingredient Chocolate Lava Dip. Seriously, I’m sold!
  • Even if you don’t like dark chocolate, you need to go read Mystique’s post about taking full advantage of all five of your senses while eating. It will make you want to make some Dark Chocolate Fondue for Two and shut out the world!
  • Can you even have a section about chocolate and not mention its soul mate peanut butter?! Michelle figured out a way to make fondue night happen with her kids with Chocolate Peanut Butter Fondue. Now, I don’t know how old her two boys are, but I’m definitely hopeful again!
  • White chocolate tends to be a sensitive topic when it comes to chocolate discussions, but I’m all for it! Especially if that white chocolate is paired with champagne and turned into fondue! Thank you, Blair, for sharing this White Chocolate Champagne Fondue with the Internet.
  • There can be fondue for everyone thanks to Laura’s Dairy-Free Chocolate Fondue – unless your Valentine can’t have coconut – but for all the rest of you out there, grab a strawberry and dig in!

Thursday Thoughts #24

Thursday Thoughts

Most people like to take advantage of a new year to make a resolution to be a better version of themselves.

For most, that looks like some sort of diet. Or some new exercise plan.

For many, it looks like a big purge – time to clean out the closets!

And for some, it’s a new resolve to keep a journal, read more books, or find a better way to stay organized.

And sometimes new organizational methods simply come about due to necessity.

I like to think I’m an organized person. I’m a religious list maker and depend heavily on my planner, complete with color coordinated pens.

To be fair, my blog organization has always needed some sort of boost. My inspiration is strewn throughout Pinterest, Facebook videos, and physical cookbooks. My “what to blog when” is kept mostly in Facebook events (which are super helpful) that I never actually put in that beautiful planner of mine.

I had a decent system for my photos.

Or so I thought.

If a dish hadn’t yet been shared on Sew You Think You Can Cook, its photos simply stayed put on my camera’s memory card. (Like those Boston Creme Blondies I shared this month.)

I have now been forced to change that method of photo storage.

See. My kids broke my tripod a while back. For Christmas my husband surprised me with a new one. I had a renewed effort for food photography one afternoon. I made a beautiful salad for dinner that I look forward to sharing with you this spring. In wanting to take advantage of daylight I assembled a serving of salad, set up the tripod, and snapped some bright pics.

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Then my Firecracker wanted to help take some pictures. Afterwards I let him walk around the house and he took pictures, blurry I’m sure, of the floor and his toys and his brother. Then he plopped on the couch and watched some tv. I asked if he was done with the camera so that I could put it away so it doesn’t break.

My touch screen was on some weird systems setting so I backed on out of that. And to my sheer horror the memory card had been wiped.

I screamed (not at him), I cried, I crumpled onto the floor. Then he cried. And tried to find solutions. “We can hit the back button.” A lot of “why”s. “You can just take the pictures again.” (After calming down and talking to my mom, I did set up another salad plate and took another round of picture, though not as bright thanks to the setting sun.) “I know where they are! They’re on Netflix.” After a couple hours, when telling Daddy the story, I got a hug and an “I’m sorry.”

I guess I need to unload that camera more often and simply become better friends with the “File Explorer” on my computer! Who knows, maybe it’ll rekindle this blogging hobby a bit.

I want to know: What’s something your kid did on accident that made you wish there were some sort of insurance policy on them?

#FootballFoods: Chipotle Peach Meatballs

Here we are in the final month of American football season. A group of blogging friends are gathering together today to have a virtual couch-gating party.

I must admit, I’ve felt really out of the loop this (and last) football season.

Once upon a time I was way more into the sport than my husband (then boyfriend) was. Somewhere we’ve flipped roles into the more traditional ones.

I blame my toddlers. They don’t want to watch football (yet. I’m sure that’ll change before I know it) and if the TV is on they’re not sure why the channel is not set to PBS Kids or Nick Jr! Oh, they’ll tolerate small amount of early morning soccer and some cooking shows, but they’re little television bandits so it’s just plain easier to keep it off.

Parenthood also means the weekends become jam packed with running errands and tackling home projects instead of posting up at the local sports bar for 3 hours.

Truth be told, I also feel lost when there’s a game on and no one to host!

If I did have the opportunity to host some friends for some football watching, I’d definitely make these Chipotle Peach Meatballs. The best part about cocktail meatballs is that they can be kept warm in a slow cooker for the entirety of the game (assuming they last long enough!). Continue reading for the recipe and some other great game day recipe ideas.

chipotle peach meatballs 2

Chipotle Peach Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 jars peach preserves (total of 18 oz)
  • 1/2 C ketchup
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepeprs
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bag (12-16 oz) frozen meatballs

Steps:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine peach preserves, ketchup, chipotle peppers, Worcestershire, S+P, and garlic powder. Bring to a gentle boil for 5 minutes. Add the frozen meatballs, cover, and cook on low heat for 25 minutes, until meatballs are warmed through.

*This recipe is adapted from Sam at http://www.theculinarycompass.com/chipotle-peach-meatballs/*

Chipotle Peach Meatballs (pin)

Be sure to check out these other great football foods:

Bacon Jalapeno Palm Poppers by Palatable Pastime

Baked Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce by Everyday Eileen

Buffalo Chicken Taquitos by The Redhead Baker

Butternut Squash Pizzettas by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Cheese Chili Tots by Frugal Pantry

Cheeseburger Bombs by Cookaholic Wife

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Lasagna by Cooking With Carlee

Chipotle Peach Meatballs by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Fiesta Ranch Crispy Baked Wings by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Fried Chicken Sliders by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen

Ham and Swiss Sliders by Family Around The Table

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Instant Pot Cheesy Southwestern Spinach Dip by Kate’s Recipe Box

Mini Zucchini Pizzas by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Philly Steak Appetizer by The Freshman Cook

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili by Karen’s Kitchen Stories

Texas Trash Party Mix by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Tomatillo and Pork Chili by Simple and Savory

Warm White Bean Dip by Bear & Bug Eats

 

Tuesday Tattles: 2nd Birthday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas surrounded by loved ones. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine and time with grandparents. The kids were beyond spoiled and the joy and wonder of Christmas was evident everywhere.

Tuesday Tattles

My Treat turned TWO in October and we celebrated with a playground party in early November. (Little fun fact: shopping for birthday party decorations the week before Halloween is slightly insane.)

My guy has had an attraction to sports balls as early as I can remember, and he’s naturally athletic, coordinated, and too brave for his own good. A sports themed birthday would be a no-brainer. And then he had me second guessing my decision with an obsession with animals that rivaled anything to date! We celebrated his actual birthday with a trip to the zoo. If he continues his love of animals and zoo trips, you’ll be seeing an animal themed third birthday next year

As has become my birthday tradition, I made a banner for my birthday boy. I punched out circles of cardstock and decorated them to look like baseballs, tennis balls, basketballs, and a soccer ball. Even ovals for footballs. I used navy stickers for the lettering, to make it easier.

I stuck to the four “main” sports: football, soccer, basketball, and baseball. (If the Chicago Cubs had made it into the World Series a second year in a row I definitely would have adjusted to a Cubs only theme.)

IMG_5541

This birthday party was the first of the 4 we’ve previously thrown for the boys that did not include extended family. I am grateful for fantastic friends who offered their help in setting up and taking down the decorations at the park.

The décor included:

  • Green table cloths
  • Small white plates for the dessert table
  • Gold oval plates for the snack table (they looked like footballs!)
  • Red and yellow napkins
  • Blue spoons and forks
  • The party favor bags were simple black cellophane bags and stored in a large football shaped bowl
    • Inside the bags were bubbles, sports balls, chocolate candies, and dum-dums

My favorite part of any party décor are the balloons. Turns out this old soul of mine has a little kid in it, after all. Those wonderful friends I mentioned at the beginning of this post came over early to help us blow up about a dozen balloons, including the mega #2. The balloons got all tangled before even leaving our house, and my OCD self let it go, because it looked really cool! We didn’t even make it out of the front door before we lost 10 of the balloons, including the mega #2. The screams that emitted from my children were heard from the playground where daddy was setting up. He saw those balloons fly into the sky and came running to help console. Heck, I was a wreck, too! I hadn’t gotten a single picture of my guy with his #2 balloon.

IMG_5532

The food helped bring the sports theme to life, one dish for each sport:

  • I made the superfood layer dip again, arranging the layers with shredded cheese on top and decorating it with black beans to create the stripes of a basketball
  • My favorite display was the fruit tray to look like a baseball field. I used my largest rimmed baking sheet and arranged five small ramekins for the bases and pitching mound. Those were filled with pretzel sticks, toothpicks, chocolate hummus, and caramel yogurt dip. Different fruits were arranged to create the outfield, infield, and stands
  • I’d ordered a pull-apart cupcake cake from the local grocery store to look like a soccer ball and it turned out fantastically!
  • I made cocoa krispie treats in the shape of footballs and decorated the laces with melted white chocolate

Just like last year, we had a threat of rain, but the sky cleared and it was a beautiful, slightly windy day, perfect for a playground party.

IMG_5561