Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

I am a soup fanatic! I could eat soup and salad every day of the week, spring, summer, fall and winter! I also LOVE CHICKEN POT PIE! But I am more of a buy a frozen pot pie kind of a lady, instead of a make from scratch 4 hours later lady.
Well, that all changed when I was determined to make a Chicken Pot Pie "inspired" soup and simply put my favorite Buttermilk Biscuits on top! HOLY COW! Our family was in HEAVEN! Hearty, flavorful and DELICIOUS! I will be making this OFTEN!



Chicken Pot Pie Soup

2 T. Olive Oil
3 Medium Carrots - Peeled and Sliced
2 Stalks Celery - Sliced and Cut
1/2 Onion - Minced
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts- Cubed
1 large Garlic Clove - minced
2 tsp. Salt

(Optional- Add Peas! My husband and kids won't touch peas, so I left them out)

4 Small Potatoes - Peeled and Cubed + 1tsp. Salt

4 c. Milk
1 T. Basil
Salt to taste

1 c. Sour Cream

In a soup pot, place olive oil, carrots, celery and onion. Saute over medium/high heat until onions are transparent. Dash some salt while cooking.

Add the chicken, garlic and salt.

In a small pot place cubed potatoes with enough water to cover the potatoes. Add salt and boil on high until fork tender. Drain and add to the large pot of chicken and veggies

When all is in the large pot add the milk, basil and salt to taste. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, make the Buttermilk Biscuits!

Stir the sour cream into the soup a few minutes before serving.

Ladle the soup into bowls and place a Buttermilk Biscuit on top!


Perfect Buttermilk Biscuits

Preheat your oven to 450'

In a bowl place:
2 c. Flour
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar (Makes them SOOO SOFT!)
2 tsp. Sugar
1/2 c. Soft Butter

Cut ingredients until nice and crumbly.

Add:
2/3 c. Buttermilk (I always make my own with milk and a little bit of vinegar. If using "real" buttermilk you may need to use 1/2 c.)
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

Stir with a wooden spoon to make your dough.

Place your dough on a floured surface. Knead a couple times, then flatten the dough with your hands or with a rolling pin.

Make your dough about 1-1 1/2 inches thick. 

Use a cup/glass you drink from or a 1/2 c. measuring cup to cut your biscuits out! 
This recipe always makes 8 perfect biscuits!

Place your biscuits on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 450' for 10-12 minutes.



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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Girls Camp Sunshine Notes!

After seeing my Girls Camp Pocket Post, you are probably wondering, "What are all the note cards in the pockets?" Well let me tell you......
They........ are.....SUNSHINE NOTES!
My sister Candace came up with Sunshine Notes years ago, and they have become a tradition for her and I to initiate them into the different girls camps we are involved in. 

Simply place colored or white lined notecards on a picnic table with stickers, markers and pens; then watch the fun begin! The girls and leaders get sunshine and love through those notes to last them a LIFETIME! Everyone writes uplifting sweet messages, short and long, to just about everyone at camp. 

There is ONE rule! We give a warning at the start of camp, if there is ever ONE rude or mean remark on a note we stop all sunshine notes! This is a SAFE/ HAPPY place, there is no place for rude/negative comments. We are spreading SUNSHINE, not rain.
It's sad we have to even warn them, but it's better to be safe than sorry. On a lighter note, we have NEVER had anything like this happen, but we always prepare the girls and leaders.

Girls and leaders go away with a STACK of SUNSHINE at the end of camp. I bought over 1000 notecards last year and we RAN OUT! On the last day I was frantically cutting colored paper I just HAPPENED to have thrown in a tub last minute, so girls could write their last sunshine notes! It was BEAUTIFUL.

One girl told me that she put her sunshine notes up from last year as a border in her bedroom! One leader keeps them on a key ring and takes them with her in her purse. She pulls them out when she needs a little pick me up! THESE SUNSHINE NOTES BLESS LIVES!


Our "Sunshine Note Station" was CONSTANTLY overflowing with girls and leaders writing sweet notes. Many leaders/girls took blank notecards back to their tents because there was NO ROOM for them at the table. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Girls Camp Secret Sister Pockets

Of all the years I've been to Girls Camp, this is BY FAR, THE BEST, EASIEST way to store secret sister gifts. I have used boxes, cans, bags etc. and none compare to these PLASTIC SHOE HOLDERS! This is seriously the BEST investment for Girls Camp! Use them year after year, they store FLAT and are easy to put up.

Hang up the pockets by threading rope through the holes at the top. Take a hole punch and punch holes down the sides of the shoe holders. Take wire or twine and tie each shoe holder together to make a "wall/sheet" of pockets.

Have each girl and leader write their name with a specific colored marker for each ward or branch (See my color key on the right?), then put the "named" masking tape on their pocket.

NOTE TO SELF: When girls camp is over, take off the tape! Don't let the tape sit for a year, the masking tape will NEVER come off!

These pockets are the PERFECT size for Secret Sister gifts!




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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Scripture Candy 2

Guess what?! I was just at Girls Camp AGAIN! My husband and I were talking, and in our 9 years marriage I have gone to Girls Camp 7 of those years. What can I say? I ADORE Girls Camp, and LOVE the youth of our church! Girls Camp is a place where Leaders and Young Women can be themselves; while having a safe, fun and spiritual environment to reboot and strengthen their testimonies of our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Well, it is a big deal at Girls Camp to have "Secret Sisters." Secret Sisters is where you draw a name the first day of camp, and give that "sister" small gifts throughout the week of girls camp without them knowing, hence the "secret" part. I have been to my fair share of Girls Camps. So far, I have been to 14 years of Girls Camp. Every Girls Camp is unique and different, but always amazing! In those 14 years of girls camp, I've picked up a few tricks of the trade. I will be posting more details and ideas of my Girls Camp adventures later on. 

Over the years, I have received, and seen MANY different secret sister gifts. They range from extravagant to last minute/thrown together. You have girls that spend days, and DAYS working on special secret sister gifts. While other girls stick a penny on a piece of scrap paper and put, "A penny for your thoughts." While both are obviously acceptable and appreciated, my sister, Candace and I, came up with a "leveling of the playing field" way for secret sister gifts.

We decided last year that everyone would bring candy bars! Other options were fruit snacks, trail mix, gold fish, pretzels, etc. It's edible, portable, won't break and can be eaten at camp. No tiny "fun size" candy bars, no "jumbo/king" candy bars, just NORMAL sized candy bars. PRE-PACKAGED snack sized "snacks," nothing in a ziplock bag. (We don't want a ziploc bag of old potato chips from their house, EWW!) 

The thing that made these special was, you had to put a spiritual quote, scripture or uplifting saying on it! 

Last year was our first year and it was a HUGE HIT! Some wards covered all the secret sister gifts for their girls, so everyone from that ward gave the same thing! GREAT! Other wards had each girl in charge of their own, AWESOME! The girls loved getting a snack/treat at camp they could eat there or save for later... 99% of candy gifts were eaten at camp.
Last year I posted my personal Secret Sister Candy Bars I was giving, and this year I did the same thing only with different candy bars.

So here they are! Secret Sister Scripture Candy #2

(These also make fun Visiting Teaching Pick Me Ups!)


1. Almond Joy
"God didn't design us to be sad, He created us to have -> JOY!"
- President Uchtdorf
Isaiah 55:12

2. Orbit
"God is deter"mint" to make of us more than we thought we could be."
-Jeffrey R. Holland

3. Dove Chocolate
"Do small things with great -> LOVE"
-Mother Teresa
Deuteronomy 30:16

4. Take 5
Take 5 TO CALL!
Jeremiah 29:12&13

http://cookandcraftmecrazy.blogspot.com/2016/07/scripture-candy.html

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Strawberry Almond Salad

This salad is beyond beautiful and delicious! I made this Strawberry Almond Salad for a family dinner we had a week ago. It was AWESOME! I love getting together with family; we always laugh, play and eat good food! When I walked in with this salad, I got so many oohs.. and ahhhs.. from my nieces (I have 5 nieces) and sister! It was so funny, they were all so excited to eat this beautiful salad.

My Aunt Bugs taught me an invaluable lesson with "berry salads" last time she visited. 
She said, to put your salad on a platter or cookie sheet! 
We've all been there when dishing up our portion of salad, all "the good stuff" falls to the bottom of the bowl! All the berries, nuts and fruit show up with the last few scoops of the bowl. It's almost better to be the LAST to get your salad! So, to ensure everyone gets "the good stuff" put it on a platter or cookie sheet! Aunt Bugs, you are a GENIUS! Everyone gets the perfect scoop of salad when it's on a platter!


Strawberry Almond Salad

1 pkg. Spinach
1 pkg. Garden Salad Mix
1 (1 lb.) Carton of Strawberries, sliced
2 c. Grapes Halved
1 c. Slivered Almonds
1 c. Mozzarella Cheese
Raspberry Vinegrette

Cut or rip your spinach into smaller pieces, for easier eating. (I hate having to shove HUGE leaves of spinach into my mouth! I know I look as ridiculous, as I feel! Do everyone a favor and save them from embarrassing spinach moments.) 

Place ingredients in order on a flat platter or cookie sheet:
Lettuce & Spinach
Strawberries
Grapes
Cheese
Almonds

Drizzle the Raspberry Vinaigrette over everything just before serving. Give it all a small toss and serve!

DELISH! 



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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Lemon Drizzle Cake

This is my Aunt Suzie's Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe, I just added the "frosting!" It's one of our WHOLE family's most favorite lemon cake recipes EVER! 
Personally, I love just about anything with lemon, it's always so fresh and wonderful. To me, lemon is the flavor of summer. Drinking lemonade and watching the kids play in the sprinklers is a tiny piece of heaven. I can't wait to make this again and again for parties or just for us! 
Try it, you will NOT be disappointed that you did!


Lemon Drizzle Cake

Cake:
1 Lemon Cake Mix
1 small Pkg. Lemon Jello
3/4 c. Olive Oil
1 1/2 c. Water
4 Eggs

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. (Batter will be runny)

Pour in a greased 9x13 pan. 

Bake at 375' for 30-35 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool.

Poke holes with A FORK! NOT THE DOWEL END OF A WOODEN SPOON! I tried, and the cake is SOOO moist and perfect that the cake comes off on the handle and leaves HUGE holes! 

Drizzle: 
1/3 c. Lemon Juice
2 c. Powdered Sugar

Mix until smooth then pour over the poked cake.

Frost with Extra Creamy Cool Whip. 

It is DELICIOUS and SOO EASY! 


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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Broccoli Cauli Salad

This is a spin on my classic Broccoli Bacon Salad. This one is just as DELICIOUS!
I had a Broccoli Cauliflower Salad recently at a wedding I attended and LOVED IT! I had never thought about putting cauliflower in it, along with almonds and cranberries. What an AMAZING blend of flavors. So, after day dreaming about this salad for a few days, I came up with my own recipe. I can't wait to make this again and again for back yard parties and barbecues! 
Try it out! You won't be disappointed.


Broccoli Cauli Salad

In a large bowl add:
4 large crowns of Broccoli (chopped small)
1 small head of Cauliflower (chopped small)
(or 12 c. of Broccoli and Cauliflower pieces)

1 c. Celery (finely chopped)
2 c. Crasins
1 (5 oz) bag of Sliced Almonds
1 c. Finely Shredded Cheddar Cheese

* Optional 1 c. Red Onion (finely chopped)

Dressing:
2 c. Mayo
1/3 c. Vinegar
1/2 c. Sugar

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then pour over the salad. Toss salad to coat with the dressing. Chill for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. 



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