Frothy Strawberry Lime Popsicles

Costco had some beautiful looking strawberries the last time we were there, so we purchased a container. Although we all know with Costco that everything comes “super sized” including the containers of berries! I froze half of them since I didn’t want them to go bad before we could eat them. Well, we’ve been trying to come up with ways to use the frozen strawberries, and Hubby decided to try his hand at making Popsicles! I bought a Popsicle mold last year, and just hadn’t ever used it so it was the perfect opportunity! He didn’t measure when he mixed up his batch, so I’m just going to guess on the estimates and hope that they’re close!

Ingredients:
– 7-8 frozen or fresh strawberries
– 2-3 tbsp. lime juice
– 2 tbsp. sugar
– 1 1/2 – 2 cups water

Please taste and adjust as needed, like I said, these are just eyeball estimates!

Place all ingredients in a blender, we used our magic bullet. One large cup full will make 4 Popsicles. Blend until frothy and all the ingredients are pulverized. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until ready to eat. Run some warm water over the bottom of the mold to loosen up the Popsicles, so they will slide out nice and easy.

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Magical Meatloaf!

Oh meatloaf, I feel like meatloaf is one of those things that is always just ok. I’d never had one that I was super impressed with, they always were just a bit dry and boring. Well, I’m so pleased to report that I no longer feel like meatloaf is just “ok”! This recipe was wonderful, and I really liked the sauce on top. It had oats in the mixture which was also interesting to me and gave it a really nice texture.

Meatloaf Ingredients:
– 1 pound lean ground beef
– 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
– 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
– 1/2 onion, finely chopped
– 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
– 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
– 2-3 cloves minced garlic
– 1 beaten egg
– 1/4 cup ketchup
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1/4 tsp. pepper

Sauce Ingredients:
– 4 tbsp. white vinegar
– 4 tbsp. brown sugar
– 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
– 1/2 cup ketchup

Meatloaf Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, bell pepper, bred crumbs, oats, egg, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place in the refrigerator while you make the sauce.

Sauce Directions:
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, once boiling turn the heat down to simmer, and let cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the meatloaf from the fridge and top with half of the sauce. Place the meatloaf in the oven and cook for 35 minutes, remove from the oven and top with the remaining sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes, after the 5 minutes is up check the internal temperature of the meatloaf. The temperature needs to be 170F. You don’t want to overlook the meatloaf, or it will dry it out. Take it out once it reaches temperature and allow to cool. I drained off some of the excess grease when I took it out of the oven also.

Serve with traditional mashed potatoes and peas. Tonight I did garlic bread and green beans because I need to go shopping tomorrow and am running low on the staples!
Enjoy! I hope this meatloaf turns you into a meatloaf lover!

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No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

Oh cheesecake, one of my absolute favorite desserts. One of my dearest friend’s came over this week and we had a “baking” day 🙂 Being a type 1 diabetic, I can eat anything that “normal” people do, but it’s nice when I find things that are slightly lower in carbs so I don’t have to take as much insulin. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (the one that most people are familiar with) are complete night and day, if you’re unfamiliar with type 1 you should google it. The only thing really the same between the two types are the names. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks itself and kills off the insulin producing organ, the pancreas. people with type 1 like myself, have to take artificial insulin either through shots or an insulin pump (what I use) with anything that they eat. As long as type 1s test their blood sugar regularly and take insulin accordingly there are no rules or regulations to anything that we can or cannot eat. I’m always praying for a cure and I do believe that there will be one in my lifetime. I’m a very well controlled Type 1 and I feel really thankful that I have the means to control it the way I do and the resources and tools that help me stay healthy and live the life I want.
Anyways, this recipe has very few ingredients in it and is a cinch to whip up! You’ll love it!

Ingredients:
– 1 (8 oz) brick cream cheese, we used fat free
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tsp.
– 4 tbsp. (1/2 a stick) butter, melted
– 8-10 graham crackers processed down into crumbs
– fresh strawberries

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, whipping cream, and sugar together until incorporated well.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter together in a medium sized bowl. Press the crumbs into a pie pan and bake in a 350F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
Once the crust is cooled, pour the cream cheese mixture into the pie plate. Place the pie in the fridge and let firm up about 2-3 hours. Due to the nature of this pie, it’s going to be a little soft, so don’t worry if it doesn’t get really firm.
While the cheesecake is firming, slice your berries and mix them with 2 tsp. of sugar. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to chill and produce the natural syrup.
When ready to serve, remove both from the fridge, and serve the strawberries on top of the cheesecake.
Enjoy! 🙂

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Garlic Chicken Bacon Farfalle

Wow, this dinner…. I’m struggling to describe the deliciousness of this meal in words. The only way I can really convey this, is it tastes like a dish you’d be served at a nice restaurant, it was THAT good! I will say that this is definitely a cheat meal and one that is not low calorie. I think all the “bad” components in the sauce, are what makes it so incredible!
Make this meal friends, your family will be gushing thanks the whole evening!
Also, this is halfway a crockpot meal, the chicken will need to cook for about 6 hours, so plan accordingly.

Ingredients:
– 16 ounces Farfalle pasta (aka bow tie pasta), pronounced, “far-fal-ee”
– 1 cup heavy whipping cream
– 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1/2 tbsp. pepper
– 1 stick butter, salted
– 16 ounces bacon
– 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
– 1 (12 oz) bottle Lawry’s mesquite marinade with lime

Directions:

Start by getting your chicken going. Place your trimmed breasts in the crockpot and pour the entire bottle of the mesquite marinade over the top. Turn to low and cook for 6 -7 hours.

Once your chicken is finished cooking, shred and set aside.
Cook your bacon until crispy, crumble, and set aside. I always cook bacon in the oven, it’s the easiest way for me and I don’t get popped by the grease! There is a “bacon in the oven” post on here that you can look at another time.
Basically all you have to do though, is lay out your bacon strips on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in a COLD oven. Once your sheet is in, turn your oven to 400F. and cook for about 20 minutes. Drain the excess fat on paper towel lined plates, and voila! No popping grease, no mess!
Start your pasta boiling. When your pasta is at the al-dente stage, start your sauce, which absolutely makes this dish!
In a small saucepan, melt butter, add the minced garlic, whipping cream, pepper, 1/2 cup parmesan, and crumpled bacon. Whisk together and cook on low for about 5 minutes.
Drain your pasta, and pour it into a large casserole dish. Place the cooked, shredded chicken on top of the pasta. Then, pour that luscious sauce on top of the chicken and pasta, and finish with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan. Give it a big stir and just take in that gorgeous sight and aroma!
This meal would be perfect paired with a lovely garden salad, and garlic bread.
Enjoy!!

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Mexican Bow Tie Pasta Skillet!

Here’s another one folks, another Mexican skillet recipe for you! I warned you guys, I post a lot of the same kind of Mexican dishes! I can’t help it, I just love the combination of ingredients and flavors, and of course the simplicity of these type of recipes. I also find that my toddler loves these meals too, because there’s a lot of components to it, plus there’s always leftovers! Double thumbs up from me!

Ingredients:
– 1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
– 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz).
– 2 cups salsa
– 8 oz. bow tie pasta (or any pasta that you have on hand is fine)
– 1 cup frozen corn
– 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
– cilantro leaves for garnishing
– olive oil for cooking the ground beef in
– 1 avocado (optional)
– 1 medium sized tomato (optional)
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp. cumin, to taste, can add more or less

Directions:

Begin by cooking your pasta. When your pasta is close to being done, start browning your ground beef. When it’s no longer pink, drain, and return to the pan.
Stir in the tomato sauce and salsa, until well combined. Then, add the pasta , tomato (optional), corn, and black beans. Toss gently to combine.
Turn on the heat to warm the mixture through, stir in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese.
Top with more shredded cheese, avocado (optional), and cilantro.
Enjoy!

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Folding Party Napkins

I’ve been literally “wrapping” up the odds and ends for the party, and one thing was to wrap up the silverware!
I wanted it to look cute and to coordinate with the rest of my party decor, so I used red napkins and the same twine that I used with the banners. I couldn’t find any good tutorials online that I liked, so I just sort of played around until I came up with a wrap job that I was pleased with. I’m going to try and relay my instructions as best as I can, and hope that they make sense!

Start with a plain paper napkin, you could probably use this same technique with a cloth napkin as well.
Unfold it, and lay it flat so that the longer edges are on the sides and the shorter sides are on the top and bottom.

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Next, fold the left side into the right side, so that it’s forming a triangle shape, with a border at the top.

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Now, take that right hand bottom corner, and fold it to meet the left hand corner of the triangle. Rotate it just a hair, so that an upside down triangle is facing you, with the border edge on top.

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Now, insert your silverware, I put my fork over my spoon and it worked well. Insert the silverware in the pocket that the napkin creates, about 2-3 inches from the right hand edge of the napkin.

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Now, fold the top corner down to where it’s forming a point.

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Next, take your folded point and bring it across the silverware creating an angle. Now, you’ll start rolling the silverware from right to left.

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You should come out with a nice looking even point at the end of the silverware bottom. If it’s not even, just rotate your silverware, so that you achieve that point on the bottom. I think the bottom is really cute, and makes it look elegant 🙂

Now, flip the roll over and take the little tail end of the napkin that you have left and fold it back once.

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Flip the silverware roll back over gently, making sure you hold the back in place, and secure with twine or a ribbon. Make sure you get it wrapped around the tail part too, so none of it is sticking out.

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Isn’t this a super cute way of wrapping silverware? I plan to fill Mason jars with them and display them on the tables, with my “mouseketools” sign at the Mickey Mouse party 🙂

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My Favorite Carrot Cake

If you read my post from last night, you’ll know that I have a certain carrot cake on my Sunday dinner menu 🙂
When I do previews or test cakes I usually send my husband with the extras to work. Today, he told me that a lot of people had been asking when I was going to do another test cake, and they would willingly offer themselves up as guinea pigs whenever I needed them 😉 This was super sweet to hear, so I decided to just do a practice run on my Carrot Cake, and that way he would have a nice Easter surprise to bring into work tomorrow too 🙂
Normally I just leave the top of this cake plain, it’s such a delicious cake on its own, that I don’t feel it really needs any embellishments. However, I thought it would be fun to do a little carrot on the top, and an excuse for me to practice with my icing tips 😉
Since I don’t want to cut into the cake, I wasn’t able to try it, but it’s really a wonderful recipe. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait for Sunday to make one that I can actually eat! 😉
Enjoy!

Cake Ingredients:
– 2 cups cake flour
– 2 cups granulated sugar
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 3 cups grated carrots
– 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
– 4 eggs

Cake Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Blend together. Add oil, beat until combined. Then, add the grated carrots, and beat until combined. Finally, add eggs, beating well after each addition.
Pour batter into your prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cakes pass the “toothpick test”. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for just a few minutes, and then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
– 8 oz. cream cheese block, softened
– 1 stick of butter, salted, and softened
– 1 pound confectioner’s sugar
– 2 tsp. vanilla

Frosting Directions:
Cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. I usually start a little light on the sugar and then just adjust as needed. However, personally I feel like this recipe does require the full pound, but you could always use a bit less if desired, and it should be fine.

Cake Assembly:
Start by spreading a good layer of frosting on the bottom layer of cake. Flip the second cake layer so the bottom is now on the top, I like to use this little trick so I get a nice flat top to work with. Now place a good layer of frosting on the top layer and just start frosting away! For the middle, you’ll run into a bit of a gap, since the top one is flipped and not even. Just fill in the gaps with frosting, and it will start looking more even as you keep going. I am in no way a frosting professional, so there could be a better technique, this is just what I do. Frost all the way down the cake, and just keep going until the cake is covered. Like I said, I’m not a frosting expert, so please forgive me if it looks a little messy, I just used a butter knife! I did however, use one of my frosting tips and a piping bag and did the carrot 🙂
Happy Baking!

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My little helper, she loves to help mama bake! 🙂

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All ready to go! 🙂

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