MAKING LIFE SIMPLY DELICIOUS

[📷: betsylife.com]

As a single mom, working a day job and blogging by night, I’m always looking for ways to simplify my routine.  No longer wanting to take the time to window shop, stroll through aisles, collect free samples, and do mini fashion shows in the dressing rooms, I started to notice so many people purchasing boxed subscriptions!  Everything from wine to snacks to cosmetics to books to clothing easily and regularly brighten people’s doorsteps!

You can get FREE sirloin and salmon!!

I recently subscribed to ButcherBox (#ad) and I love how many ways you can personalize the box – from the contents (we chose the beef, poultry & pork box), to the delivery schedule!  The quality of the meats are great and they arrive still frozen and sealed in portioned sizes!

 

Loved that the fruits and veggies came with no signs of a rough trip!

I also signed up for Imperfect Produce (#Coupon – We both get $20 off).  I’ve always rooted for underdogs, including unappreciated imperfectly shaped or sized produce!  These boxes contain a wide variety of selections that you review and personalize based on preference or social calendar! The sizes or shapes may vary, but the flavors and freshness impressed me.

[📷: betsylife.com]

With both boxes, I remained curious and open to adventure! I discovered new cuts of meat or exotic produce that I’ve never cooked with before. This led me to look through my pinned recipes online where I found Betsylife.com. First of all, her beautiful photography and her personal ramblings drew me in.  I felt like Betsy and I were hanging out in her kitchen chilling and chatting! Her posts set the tone but don’t hide the recipes in a long, scrolling blog post (thank you!).

One day I wound up with an overabundance of strawberries and a craving to bake so I tried this beautiful super simple Almond Strawberry Upside Down Cake!

I felt like the best mom ever with love oozing from the tendrils of steam as it cooled near the window sending billows of strawberry and almond scent to my neighbors. I never did get around to sharing the cake. …yet.

 

[📷: betsylife.com]

Impressed with Betsy’s recipes – simple enough for me to pull off, elegant enough that they look and taste like a masterpiece – I wanted to see what else she had up her chef sleeve!  Always looking for fun ways to feed my kids, but knowing their individual pickiness, inability to agree with each other and collective aversion to condiments, I went for the

Obviously, I lack Betsy’s food styling skills!

Individual Oven Baked Sloppy Joes. Super simple to make and how smart is she to make so many fun recipes for 1 when the rest of the world cooks for 2 or 4!  I made it for 3 #easy! Flavorful and beefy enough for one child and easy-to-chew meat for the other!

Alright, now convinced, (and with lots of ground beef because ButcherBox’s deal when I signed up was free ground beef for life – right now YOU could get free Salmon and Sirloin), I realized that my kids don’t mind trying new things if they’re teeny!  For my last dinner and using jalapenos from my Imperfect Produce,

I made Jalapeno Cheddar Juicy Lucy burger sliders (how smart that the cheese is INSIDE the burger?!) with a Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Loaded Potato Bites appetizer! Save this recipe for this week’s big game! 

 

I felt like a real chef with all the ingredients laid out!

Trying Betsy’s new recipes felt fun, creative, delicious – which is way more satisfying that what I usually cook!  I own a row of cookbooks and pinned over 7,500 recipes to my boards, so CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: I will find new chefs and try at least 4 of their recipes that month! My skills simmer somewhere around beginner but I had so much fun cooking with Betsylife.com and she added a dash of confidence, inspiring me to improvise! 

The next time I made the Strawberry Almond Upside Down cake – for a family celebration – I went extra adding blueberries to the top too! I just cooked it a little longer (because extra berries means extra juice).  Delicious!

What about you?
When’s the last time you tried a new recipe?
Have you tried Betsy’s Life recipes?
Do you have a recipe I should try?
What chef should I check out next?
Do you subscribe to any boxes?
When’s the last time you cooked outside the (subscription) box?

RECIPES:

ALMOND STRAWBERRY UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

BROCCOLI BACON CHEDDAR LOADED POTATO BITES 

INDIVIDUAL OVEN BAKED SLOPPY JOES

JALAPENO CHEDDAR JUICY LUCY BURGER

#ChallengeAccepted #NotAnAd for #BetsyLife #JustAnAdmirer #FoodStylist #Recipes #Afflink for #ButcherBox #ImperfectProduce #Jalapeno #Cheddar #burger #slider #strawberry #Almond #cake #broccoli #Bacon #Potato #bites #Individual #RecipesForOne #SloppyJoes #Oven #blogtober #October #cook #Dinner #Lunch #Appetizer #omaginsiders #makesmewander

MY KIDS’ COMFORT FOOD – 3 WAYS

I’m warning you, it’s gonna get messy. These recipes were created or re-created from my mind. (WTF: Wait – three flavors?!) All  recipes were adapted by and from many cultures. Now that my delicious disclaimers are done, let’s get cooking!

MY KID’S CRAB PASTA


Their dad first made this for my college roommate and me (first and last time he cooked for me). I modified the recipe and wing it every time but my kids want it weekly.

Need:
1 box pasta
1 packet artificial crab (or real)
Garlic, chopped or powdered
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)/Butter
Optional:
Seafood seasoning
Wine

Instructions:
Put pasta in salted water at a rolling boil. Lower heat.

Put enough Olive Oil/Butter to keep crab from sticking (I use both to keep either from burning). Over low heat add crab and garlic (and optional seafood seasoning). Warm it up. If it’s sticking, pour in a swig of wine (whatever is open) and cover it.

Cool, Kids, the crab turns purplish when red wine is used

Drain pasta and pour into pan with crab. If needed, drizzle more EVOO so pasta won’t stick (though I rarely do). Serve!
Variations: Use shrimp. Add red bell pepper.

BETTER WITH BACON PASTA


I ate this a lot when training for long-distance races because it’s loaded with carbs, some Lo-fat protein, and some higher-fat protein. This is the only dish I don’t add garlic to but feel free to. This was adapted from my Nana’s Hungarian cooking.

Need:
1 box pasta
1 small container cottage cheese
As much chopped bacon as you want without feeling guilty
Optional:
Fresh parsley

Instructions:
If you need to cook the bacon, follow packages instructions and set aside. Consider oven-cooking it – requires less attention

Put pasta in salted water at a rolling boil. Lower heat.

Drain pasta, add all cottage cheese and bacon.

This time I used up a bag of bacon bits left over from another recipe.

Stir! Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley before serving.
Variations: Use non-fat cottage cheese and really crispy turkey bacon for healthier version. Add chopped poultry or replace bacon with cubed leftover ham.

KREATIVE KAPOSZTA PASTA

Love the flavor the next afternoon, reheated at work!

This one I made with my Hungarian grandmother though I was confused because it used American ingredients. This one can be vegetarian, or not, and is great for slipping veggies to your kids. Sometimes, presenting veggies in a different shape than they’ll see in the wild confuses kids into eating them.

Need:
One box pasta
1 container broccoli or cole slaw (no dressing)
Either red pepper oil or Sriracha
Garlic, chopped or powdered
EVOO


Instructions:
Swirl a few circles of oil in fry pan on medium high heat.
Add garlic and slaw. Swirl another circle or two of EVOO.
I add coarse pepper and Sriracha (not necessary if you used spicy pepper oil).
Sauté slaw, stirring frequently.


Between stirs, put pasta in yadda yadda rolling boil, yadda yadda, lower heat.
Drain pasta and pour into pan with slaw. Serve!
Variations: Add sausage (not breakfast links). If cooking cole slaw consider using egg noodles, they’re softer.

Let’s eat!

What are your quick and easy comfort foods?
With pasta or something better?
Have any ideas to make a fancier version of these recipes “for when company comes over”
Have any ideas of a main entree to go with these if you want to downsize it to a side dish?

#Sriracha #Pasta #Seafood #Bacon #Coleslaw #Recipes #EasyRecipes #WeeknightRecipes #ComfortFood #MarathonTraining #CarboLoad

TEEN & TWEEN EASTER FUN!

For the first time, neither my family, nor my kids were with me Easter morning. While I enjoyed the rare slow morning, I appreciated the extra time to think up something eventful for my children’s older, wiser tween and teenage years.

The note in the egg read “Hoppy Easter! More eggs hidden in your room!”

 The Easter Egg hunt underwent an upgrade and personalization! I hid 21 eggs of various sizes in each of their rooms. I only hid eggs with candy, no hard-boiled, as I anticipate this hunt may continue all year – or, until we move out.

Some hidden in plain view, some hidden under piles!

My train of thought:

  • Older Kids: My tall son and nearly-tall daughter stand out at Easter Egg hunts, though they could “help” either their younger niece or sister. This incorporated the fun of the hunt while allowing them privacy to enjoy it.
  • Late Start: With them not arriving from their Dad’s until evening, I wanted the fun to last – but not get interfere with usual Sunday homework routine. My daughter went to work immediately and found 10 before homework and 17 by bedtime. My son only located 2 by bedtime (partially thanks to his teen blindspots, partially his homework load).
  • Clean Room: I intentionally hid eggs underneath piles that remained untouched since we moved in. My son saw right through my plan and complimented me – (and, I quote): “Ingenious!”

He walked past 2 obvious ones and dug madly for any others!

Easter treats received an upgrade as well! PEEPS traditionally appear in their baskets, but with all the new flavors and fun stuff PEEPS offered, I wanted to improve upon their favorites. Thankfully the Peeps-a-licious* cookbook arrived to my door a few weeks ago with over 50 creative ideas! I wanted to challenge myself so I picked a recipe I knew the kids would love, PEEPS S’Mores Milkshake – thickening the milkshake with Peeps.

This very sweet shake tasted like a real S’More!

I also picked one I usually love – my favorite, PEEPS Crème brûlée. This required PEEPS cooked into and on top of the Crème brûlée. Plus I got to try using a flame thrower – I mean cooking torch.

WTF: Wow, Toasted Flavor!

Both recipes proved to be super simple to pull together and so decadent for PEEPS!

Although the holiday time reduced to fit within a few hours, the impact of the delicious flavors and hunt will be unique enough to remember ongoingly!

*I received a free copy of the Peeps-a-licious cookbook from the publisher but the opinions are my own. Here is the link to the Crème brûlée recipe on the creator’s website. The other recipe (and 48 more year-round recipes) can be found in Peeps-a-licious! #Peepsalicious #Quartoknows

THESE CREATURES OF HABIT GET CREATIVE!

My family has always loved OREO cookies, the original ones (Double stuff included). When OREO first introduced golden ones, I tried them – once. When the birthday flavor came out, again, we tried them but ran back to the original recipe. When Thins first appeared, we were not even interested. Our cookie logic believed that OREO cookies = good, Double stuff = good2, but this thin cookie (a fraction of the size) = ⅓(good). We weren’t interested in tasting mint because it’d be a poor substitute for real mint cookies sold by real girls.

While applying for this chatterbox and being swept up in OREO-mania, our OREO auras became far more colorful. We learned about Red Velvet – hands down our new favorite. We tried Cinnamon Roll and admired their authentic flavor! We tried OREO Mint Thins and went head-to-head with those other mint cookies. Just know if you’re not finding special limited flavors in the cookie aisle, look for endcaps – my Kroeger Ralphs stores them there.

 

WTF: Wait, Three Flavors?!

When we received our Chatterbox coupons, we went with Red, Mint and (new to us) chocolate filling. We played it safe some with flavors. Red Velvet were made for mixing and matching because the cookies separate easily from the centers – maybe too easily, falling into my milk without a paddle! I loved the consistency of the chocolate filling – much softer. However, it was tougher to separate from the cookie. So we’d usually keep those intact and add the other flavors to it. Thins don’t separate easily but, kept intact, add a great crisp flavor layer between the others.

Our Three-Thumb review is 3-thumbs WAY up! My teenage son didn’t Open Up (it’s a teen thing) and layered cookies together in mouthfuls. My tween daughter remained a purist with her project removing all but the outermost 2 shells. Myself, I made stacked cookie treats in many varieties! Customizeable OREO fun will appear at our next sleepover, team or birthday party! I’m also curious to step beyond our comfort zones with lemon and birthday cake. I hope it tastes like lemon loaf! OREO found a way to take a classic and turn it up a notch into cool, creative, crunchy combinations!

#ThreeThumbReviews #OREOKrogerPack #Sponsored #Chatterbox. #HouseParty

BRAINSTORMING TO BECOME A BIG-TIME BLOGGER (OVER BREAKFAST)

While trying a new recipe, hoping for our first Pinterest Proven Project, an idea hit me about changes to make to become a Big-Time Blogger!  When I say “idea,” I mean tupperware, jammed into my highest shelf leaped at my forehead and splashed into the crockpot – soaking before cleaning.

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My creative closet of “ideas”!

My first thought wasn’t home organization, remodeling or brighter home lighting.  I realized the rarity that I’d been afforded uninterrupted brainstorming on a weekend morning with my kids at home. More time means more assembly and prep time for recipes, and blog posts! What granted me this luxury to make Breakfast Crack Casserole?

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Bottom of skillet – Roll of biscuits

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One trick: Butter in skillet while heating oven means nothing stuck!

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BEFORE: Dump it all in skillet – EASY!

1) MORE SLEEPOVERS

One naturally assumes that 2 kids + any friends = CHAOS.  Ironically, it works the opposite! When friends occupy my kids, my mind doesn’t constantly flip through the Masterful Mom rolodex of ideas to entertain, mitigate, or heal them. Without whining and bickering streaming from their mouths, creativity floods my brain’s bandwidth. Plus, with more tasting buds around, the “proven” rank increases in value.

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2)  FULL TRANSPARENCY

For the steady flow of friends, waivers, disclaimers and photo releases must reiterate to parents that when I’m suddenly free to blog, their child could appear in a post!  Parents must clarify – real/nick/no names, full/no face shots? One must disclose potential food allergies and sign extra forms for high-action posts.

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3) PROHIBIT PRIVACY PIRACY

When creating or writing, part of the joy comes from finding your boundaries and bounding through them. However, my kids show me I’m pushing it, hence the wacky or straight face photos.  Though they’re down for repeat adventures, they get fed up when I can’t get the photo right the first time. Obviously certain rooms provide rewarding respite.

wiigout

OK, really SNL Kristen Wiig, a great influencer of fun faces.

4) GRATEFUL GOALS

Some of my goals include: More social media followers than followees; Pushing positivity; Invitation to getaway; Writing my future. Yet, I’m grateful anytime I get a new idea, don’t burn a new meal, or share a great experience with my kids. Don’t forget to celebrate each little accomplishment and when I say “celebrate,” I mean dance in the endzone!

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AFTER – Where’s my sriracha?!

With Breakfast Crack casserole fueling the kids, they’re off and running! I try to keep up big time!

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WTF: Warm, though furry! Safe to come out now?!

Best Dinner in the Universe

If you put your desires out into the universe, sometimes the universe answers.  Turns out, I put out a beacon into the Yelp Universe – just a simple truth, “Honestly, I’d love a gift card from [Bristol Farms] sometime because there are so many fun distracting foods and things I would try.” Their amazing webmaster Nicole heard, made my year and sent me a gift card!!  

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Feeling like a kid in a candy store, I jumped onto their website. Immediately, “New! Blue Bottle Coffee…” [Click!] grabbed my attention. Scooping 5-day old news about the “best iced-coffee drinks in America” now being sold at Bristol Farms revved up the mommy blogger wanna-be in me!

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Something for them for dinner, something for me for cooking!

Until my disastrous kids’ lunch offering brought me back to reality and guilt drove me to do dinner better.  

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Mommy got distracted by Facebook.

Frantically, I reviewed their online recipes!  While I love the idea of cooking complex meals on weekends, I decided on dinner that would taste elaborate, but was simple: Grilled Teriyaki Albacore with Wasabi Butter. Facing my fears directly, the butcher de-skinned the fish fillets (the gal before me did the same, not just me).

Their home brand teriyaki marinade streamlined preparations.

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A domestic goddess took over my body making chive and wasabi butter, briefly wishing for a butter mold.

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Then the wasabi burnt a hole through to my senses returning me to my kitchen.

While the flavors set for an hour, I fed my inner goddess enjoying the (strange) pairing of poke and Blue Bottle Coffee.  

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Half Salmon, Half Spicy Tuna –         All delicious!

George Foreman relieved the outdoor grill (El Niño warning). It felt devilishly rebellious scooping the flavored butter onto the fillets.

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Keeping it simple, I served the fish with rice from last night’s Chinese Dinner and frozen organic kid-friendly peas.  

Dinner’s served! 

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“WTF: Wait THAT fish…I thought you said fish sticks.”

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“I don’t like albacore!”

Turns out, my son loved it.  He even got seconds of the fish (usually he fills up on carbs).  My daughter completely surprised herself by surviving eating that much “chicken.”  (Auntie P, next time we’re down if she asks about albacore chickens – play along.) Best part?!  Inhale… No stinky fish smell!

To cap off the evening – fun hazelnut-filled mini beignets! Too fun to pass up!

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Mini beignets! Dangerously easy to pop in your mouth!

Thank you Nicole! What a deliciously fun close to our holiday season!

Tell me when the universe responded to you!

 

YOU’RE HOT THEN YOU’RE COLD

With school starting up again soon, we’re desperately holding onto the summer with every part of our being. From days at the beach, to back-to-back play dates that stretch after dinner we’re maximizing every minute.  I don’t vary my menu much from season-to-season but if I don’t have at least one big pot of Gazpacho to help me sweat to cool off in the summer, it’s as though summer was never here at all.

Gazpacho comes from Spain – I sell it to my son as salsa soup, although it’s crisper and heartier than that. American’s don’t do a lot of cold soups that I’m aware of, but when you’re glistening in the summer sun, this brings relief.

There are many varieties, but this recipe is our sentimental favorite. With any great recipe passed down, I improvise and adjust things to my liking.  I’ll give you the basics, but in the photo captions, I’ll tell you where I experiment.

I had a variety of pepper colors, but green is great too! My addiction, my family doesn’t touch these

I had a variety of pepper colors, but green is great too!
Serrano chile: my addiction, my family doesn’t go there*

Ingredients:

46 ounces of V8
1 green bell pepper 
1 small white onion 
1 small red onion 
1 cucumber
2 green chiles chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon of Tabasco or 1tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 small jar pimentos

I choose spicy V8 but first time you may want regular

I choose spicy V8 but first time you may want regular

Also, you need olive oil, red vinegar and black ground pepper.

Toss in, blend - repeat!

Toss in, blend – repeat!

I personally pre-cube the veggies to approximately golf ball size.  Then load the blender with equal parts of all veggies, a splash of V8, some pimentos, and Pulse Blend until like a really smooth salsa.  Pour into large pot and repeat.  Repeat until all ingredients are blended.

To the large pot I add 1T olive oil, 3T Red Vinegar, 1 ½ tsp Tabasco (original), pepper to taste (I like lots). I don’t use salt – V8 already has it.

2 Bowls a day - I love this soup!

WTF – Wow, the FLAVORS!

Stir it then stick it in the fridge.   So hard to wait, but this soup tastes better chilled and after it sits to let the flavors blend!

I grew up topping it with crusty bread or croutons, but now, I add artificial crab (real even better) and chopped avocado instead!  If I’m feeling spicy, I splash on Sriracha!

Practically zero calories - only whatever the garnishes have!

Practically zero calories – only what the garnishes have!

Share your favorite gazpacho recipes or adaptations of this recipe in comments so I may try them!

¡Salud!  

*Be careful when de-seeding and chopping these to not touch your eyes! Even later in the day, the oils stay on the skin – trust me!

SERVER DETECTED SPAM MUSUBI

I’m half-Korean. People don’t quite know where to place me. My skin is too dark to be white (You can’t spell Caucasian without Asian…), my green-ish eyes aren’t Asian, my Hungarian cooking scrambles their brains. Honestly, not being brought up Asian, and turned off by some stereotypes for Asian women, I identified with American Indians, because I used to fantasize about riding my horse all day in the sun over the open plains, or got a kick out of people who ask if I’m Hawaiian. Sure, I can go for that!

Today, I’m embracing my Hawaiian roots and in the effort of finding PB&J substitutes for the kids’ lunches, I’m attempting Spam Musubi!

ExSPAMple A: less messy, easier to eat in cut rolls
NOTE: I prefer thicker Spam – 8 slices/can.
The right one is 10 slices/can.

Simple as it sounds, it terrified me some. Most of the terror came from shopping for the ingredients.

Proof that I am way too Americanized and have passed that along to my kids.

To me, reading this stuff is about as easy as reading QR barcodes

Tough to decipher, simple to assemble.

I brainlessly cooked 2 cups of rice in the cooker – push one button!

One button – done!

I sliced the spam experimenting with width of the meat in the finished product.

Heated some Sesame Oil in the cast iron skillet,

Sesame Oil – LOVE IT to season anything.

added some teriyaki and browned it.

Spam became popular in WWII as a meat ration and became popular in Hawaii.

How brown you want it is up to you. Most of the color is from the cooking teriyaki sauce, not from burning.

The most complicated part is assembly, but thanks to my great friend, I have a sushi/musubi mold! Sometimes it’s all about the gear and then you feel like a pro musubi maker!

Acrylic box open on both ends with a press. May be called sushi or musubi maker. What’s your gadget fave?

It’s all a matter of layering:

Rice – fill the maker near ½ full

Press Hard – don’t want it to fall apart

Rice Seasoning – seaweed and sesame seeds (no fish flakes) – your preference how much you want to use. Doesn’t dominate flavor, it’s an accent flavor.

Try it on plain rice too!

Spam

Perfect fit! No additional cutting at all!

Rice Seasoning – next time, I’m going to try wasabi on this 2nd layer instead of double rice seasoning

WTF: Way to flavor!  It’s like glitter on food, seriously!

Rice – fill in the blanks and press hard!

Very Simple, Very Easy — Chef Tell

Wrapped up in a pretty seaweed wrapper. This brand was the perfect size for my musubi maker. Wet fingers with some water to “glue” the sheets together if the steam from the rice doesn’t seal it.

This Nori (dried seaweed) was so easy to work with!

It was so easy and turned out so beautiful thanks to the press that I almost felt like I cheated!

Almost like I try to cheat and get a local discount when visiting Hawaii, but the locals can see right through me and know I’m not Hawaiian. Maybe next time I’ll come armed with my Spam musubi and they’ll reconsider.

ExSPAMpleB – Less rice and seaweed, harder to eat.
Green Lightsaber chopsticks ensured I’d get 2 thumbs up from my kids who were too busy with friends to rate me.

COME IN, I’LL THROW SOMETHING TOGETHER

When you’re working on an idea that you’re not ready to share with everyone, does it put up walls preventing other creativity?  Maybe that’s just me.  So sorry I’ve been absent and thank you for still being here!  To make it up to you, I made you a cake!

I’ve been praying for a potluck to bake this for, but promptly forgot to when I received an invite!  Fortunately, someone else shared my wavelength and brought this yummy cake! It’s super appropriate this week paired with loads of laundry and wall-to-wall paperwork from two school desks covering my floor.  This dessert is called DUMP CAKE!  I’ll give you the easy steps while explaining what makes it the best!

BUY: Yellow or White cake mix, 2 cans of fruit (or mix in frozen/fresh) and 1 1/2 sticks of butter – you heard me…

I first heard about Dump Cake from a friend that I’d lost touch with 16 years ago!  Every time I saw her style car, I longed for her personalized penguin plates. Facebook successfully reunited us and while we occupy opposite ends of the country, we can still share recipes!

Mmm, love the red! Tonight, the role of peaches will be played by crushed pineapple. Mix them together in the baking dish.

The first recipe she shared with me was healthy veggie soup over a cup of pasta for lunch! This would go really well with Dump Cake because it is far from healthy.

Sprinkle whole bag of cake on top of your fruit mixture. Use a fork to smooth – if you are OCD like me.

I first tasted this cake from a new friend found this Spring!  What made this year’s baseball and softball season’s awesome were the amount that my kids’ ability and love for the game flourished and the amazing families!

For fun, Lauren dumped chocolate chips on her side and I dumped pecans and some cinnamon on mine.

This crew was so much fun we had several get-togethers!  The most recent found us at the beach complete with an epic water balloon fight – remember, the coaches taught these kids to throw hard and accurately!

Take stick and a half of butter and cut into thinner pats and distribute evenly on top of cake powdered mix.

When researching Dump Cake recipes, I chuckled and thought “Well, if that don’t take the rag off the bush!” it’s The Pioneer Woman’s recipe!

Cook for 45-60 minutes at 350 degrees. See the cherries and pineapple under the cake layer? My new friend’s had peaches!

I love this woman!  She traded in corporate success for cowboys!  I’m so excited to finally try one of her recipes.

Remove from the oven when the top is light brown and crispy. The left side is browner on mine because of the nuts.

When I’m wandering and find common threads along the way, it’s heartwarming on so many levels. The synergy of celebrating the old and new, baking a recipe from a creative cowgirl – with  my daughter – lassoed it all up with a pretty little bow!

We chose Vanilla ice cream over home made whipped cream. The fruit wasn’t overly sweet – perfect for hot summer nights!

Greatest gift ever!  Enjoy!

Lauren: Loved 1st bite, Carson: Eh, it’s ok! I liked it, but it’s rich!  Overall A+ factoring in the simplicity! My kids: Please leave us alone, it’s movie night!

12. HAVE A RAINBOW MEAL

Today being Cinco de Mayo, we threw a family fiesta! Trying to figure out a Mexican menu that both kids would eat challenged me. One kid eats quesadillas, the other hates melted cheese. One loves spicy food, the other gets easily burned. I settled on Chicken Fajitas.

Loving the colors everywhere I turn!

I immediately thought how colorful and beautiful it would be and since I already used up half of the spectrum just in the peppers we’d use, (and perhaps slightly inspired by the Rainbow Cake from King’s Hawaiian we ate today) I announced that we would make our Rainbow Meal!

My kids’ simultaneously demanded to know how many colors would be vegetables. I promised not all of them. It’s not hard to think of food in any color of the rainbow. They’d suggested that we go for Skittles, but I overrode that one. Seeing as how it was 6:30pm before I got this bright idea, I improvised on some things since I didn’t have all day for prep time.

APPETIZER:
BLUE corn chips (although they look purple, the bag said blue so I’m standing by that), served with GREEN and RED spotted guacamole, and YELLOW virgin margaritas!

Virgin Margaritas: Lemonade, OJ, Fresh Lime Juice over Lime ice cubes!

My kids loved drinking out of fancy cups! My son loved the lime ice cubes and had four margaritas – I’m a little concerned by the implication.

Fiesta! Maybe this will be a new tradition!

He loved the guacamole. My daughter tasted a shmear and thought it was ok but better than she thought.

The best green alternative she had.

MAIN COURSE:
Chicken Fajitas with ORANGE, RED and GREEN peppers, YELLOW Sweet Corn mash, RED Spanish rice and one bite of PURPLE cabbage.

Pretty colors but the high quantity of veggies made them uncomfortable.

Sadly, we were full from multiple margaritas and the appetizer but the kids and I ate a bite of all required food colors– since I threatened to double the veggie intake if it waited til tomorrow.

WTF – Wow, the FLAVORS!

I can’t share recipes, but I’ll share brands. I used TGIFriday’s Frozen Fajitas since the grocer didn’t have fresh pre-marinated chicken. I added orange peppers to the rest (thus explaining the huge size, I’m not patient enough to cut things into slivers). The corn mash was El Torito brand sold in stores, the rice was Zatarain’s (with “fresh” canned tomatoes).

Let me know if you cook a RAINBOW!

Ah, now to make clean up more enjoyable.

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