Thursday, September 27, 2012

Around Here

Planning ahead for the holiday season without planning too much.

Cooking more comfort food now that I'm about to use the stove without it making our house 100 degrees!

Reading A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh. It's different than most of the books I've read lately.

Listening to the new Dave Matthews Band cd, Away From The World. LOVE them so much.

Feeling excited about this weekend and being able to spend time with my family.

Needing to do some major cleaning, but don't have the motivation. Not. At. All.

Enjoying watching Hudson play soccer for the first time! He is so excited about it and gets better every week.

Drinking lots of coffee with Pumpkin Spice creamer. Yum!

Watching all of our favorite shows returning this season and some new ones that may turn into favorites.

Loving the Fall weather and all of the beautiful colors that come with it.

Dreaming of having everything for my photography business in place and branching out into other ventures as well.

Dating my husband as much as possible because we've finally reached that point where we realize just how important our time alone is and that we need to take advantage of every opportunity.

Wearing sweaters and slippers in the evening when the sun goes down and the air gets that Fall chill.

Running on the treadmill again; following the Get Running app on my iPhone and loving the way it makes me feel.

Eating lots of Greek yogurt. I'm obsessed with Fage blueberry at the moment.

Spending lots of time with my sewing machine lately. I have too many plans for it for the holidays.

Wishing for a fun night out with friends. I just don't get enough of those!

Learning as much as possible about turning my blog and my rekindled love for scrapbooking into a small business.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello Fall

I L-O-V-E Fall!

I am thrilled that it has finally arrived! I love the freshness of a new season. There are so many new sights, smells, tastes and activities. I'm ready to get outside and enjoy the cooler temperatures. I made up our annual Fall Bucket List (it's much shorter than the Summer List) and I'm so looking forward to starting to cross those off.

I'm also looking forward to breaking out my crockpot again for some hearty home cooked meals! You know, some chili, some pot roast, some chicken and dumpling soup. I could go on and on. I have a ton of yummy looking soup recipes pinned on pinterest and would even like to whip up a few batches to freeze. I've never done that before, but love the convenience factor.

I'm already loving the college football season! And although we are a house divided (I'm a big Nebraska fan and my hubby is a big Iowa fan) we still have lots of fun watching the games together. Hudson is finally starting to get into it a little more this year!

I'm planning to do a Fall family photo shoot with all the changing leaves. Love the colors!!

I also plan on making lots of pumpkin recipes this Fall. I adore pumpkin and really start to crave it by the time September rolls around.

I started pulling out my Fall decorations, but still need to buy a few new things to complete the look. (Then I'll do a little photo tour post)

I have BIG plans for a major blog overhaul this Fall. There are going to be a lot of changes that I've already put into motion. I can't wait!

This Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze is one of the first pumpkin recipes I plan to try!  Um, doesn't this look A-MA-ZING! Probably this weekend...

Welcome Fall! So glad you're back!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recipe Time: M&M Cookie Bars

I got a craving for some cookies one afternoon and Jeremy just happened to be making a grocery store run, so I had him pick up a back of M&M's so I could whip up a batch of these delicious looking cookie bars. They didn't disappoint! They were soft, chewy and delicious! Just like most of the recipes I've shared with you lately, this one was also discovered on Pinterest. The original recipe can be found here at Fantastic Family Favorites.

M&M Cookie Bars



2 1/8 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

12 TBSPs butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tsps vanilla extract

1 12oz bag M&M's, divided

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the bars from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over mix. Fold in 1 cup of M&M's and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top and press in slightly. ( I didn't use the entire bad of M&M's. It seemed like too much. And I kind of wanted a few to just eat! ;  )

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve.


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fall Bucket List


Even though we're still wrapping up our Summer Family Fun list around here, I wanted to get a head start on some of my Fall/Halloween projects so that I can share them with you and maybe inspire you a little.

Technically, summer isn't over until September 21, but it's already starting to feel a little like Fall with football starting and some of the trees around us are so confused by the crazy weather this summer that they're already starting to lose their leaves! So weird! I even bought a Fall scented candle at Target yesterday because they had them on sale. That probably means I'll be sick of it all by October! Just kidding! This is my favorite time of year!

Here is a peek at my family's Fall Bucket List.

Here is the link if you would like your own copy!


I can't wait for the temps to cool down a bit and Fall is in full swing!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Recipe Time: Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Enchiladas

I've been wanting to make this type of enchilada for a while now, but hadn't come across the right recipe. There is a Mexican restaurant here called Hector's (it's awesome!) and they have a dish I love called the Ranchero Burrito, and I thought maybe I would be able to replicate it at home. I found this recipe on pinterest, but I ended up changing it completely. So here is the original recipe that I came up with and it my husband and I thought it was amazing! I hope you like it too!

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Enchiladas


1 to 2 pound beef roast- I think the one I used was a top round roast (I usually just buy whatever is the cheapest)

1 medium onion, diced (you could also add onion flakes if you're in a pinch and don't have an onion on hand)

1  14.5 oz can beef broth

2  10 oz cans red (mild) enchilada sauce

1/4 tsp red pepper

1/4 tsp Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 large burrito sized tortillas

1 16 oz can refried beans

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Optional ingredients: shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream


Place the roast in your crock pot and sprinkle with red pepper, black pepper, and paprika. Add diced onion. Pour in beef broth and one can of red enchilada sauce. Let cook 6-8 hours on low setting. *It should fall apart easily when it's finished

After 6-8 hours, remove roast from crock pot and set aside. Add the other can of red enchilada sauce to the remaining sauce in the crock pot and stir. This adds more flavor and thickens the sauce just a bit.

Turn on oven to low broil.

Heat refried beans in the microwave until hot. (This was my hubby's job and I have no idea how long he left them in the microwave, sorry)

Add a generous amount of refried beans and shredded beef, along with a small sprinkle of cheddar cheese down the center of a tortilla and fold like a burrito. Place it on a oven-safe plate or baking dish and cover with enchilada sauce from the crock pot. Then sprinkle with more cheddar cheese. You can add as much or as little cheese as you like. I like a lot of cheese on mine!

Place the plate into oven until cheese is nice and melted.

Remove from the oven-VERY CAREFULLY- and add extras on the side such as lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, pretty much anything you like. I also like to serve mine with tortilla chips.


**Please be sure to take care when handling the hot plates. If you don't want to worry about having hot plates, you can always use a baking dish, but then you won't get the plate full of sauce and cheese that makes this dish so good!

I'm sorry about the poor photos. It was already pretty dark by the time we had dinner. And the kids were very tired, so I didn't add lettuce or tomato like I normally would have.

I turned the flash on and it helped a little. I try to get better pics next time I make it!

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

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