Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Valentine Candy Shaker

I saw these empty bottles on a store shelf and they just screamed, "Fill me, Fill me!"...with Valentine candy.

So I did.

Easiest, yummiest decoration yet.

Bottles/wooden crate from Rod Works

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Ooh La La-YW Spa Night

This was such a fun young women's activity night.  Very little prep (at least for me), and loads of active participation.

Each young woman was given an invitation of her own, and one to share with a friend or family member.

The Spa for a Day graphics came from this Etsy store link

Our spa consultants offered facials, manicures and made delicious green smoothie drinks for each of us to taste.  We were also given the opportunity to STRETCH and relax.

Spiritual Principles Applied as well.
A very nice evening.

 photo Kelliesign.jpg

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Mom's Infamous Split Pea Soup

Have you ever been to Buellton, California?  If you are driving up the coast (101 freeway toward the central coast) you must stop for lunch at Andersens, especially if you have children!  It just happens to be a great childhood memory of mine, and many others.

Hap-Pea and Pea-Wee, the friendly mascots of Pea Soup Andersen’s were my reasons for stopping.  I'll tell you more about them in a minute.

Check out this post that tells you all about Split Pea Andersen's and shares their famous recipe.

One summer my grandparents invited me to spend a couple of weeks traveling around California with them.  I remember being in 4th or 5th grade and was so excited about a trip with Grandma and Grandpa.  My Grandpa taught me how to dive in the hotel swimming pool.  He was so cool.  I saw beautiful country with beaches and redwoods.  So many great memories.  

On this trip they insisted that we stop for a bowl of pea soup at Andersens.  As a kid that didn't sound very appealing.  "Pea Soup...I hope they have lots of crackers!" I thought to myself.  Once in the restaurant I became a little more excited about the place.  It was quite charming.  My grandparents ordered the obligatory bowl of pea soup for me and my next thought was, "I hope it's not a very big bowl."

When the server placed the bowl of split pea soup in front of me, my Grandparents said, "There is a surprise at the bottom of the bowl.  You must eat all of your soup to see the surprise!"  The suspenseful thrill of a surprise at the bottom encouraged me to dig in.  

The more soup I ate the clearer the surprise was.  The cartoon characters of Hap-Pea and Pea-wee decorated the bottom of the bowl!  I remember being so proud of myself for first; eating a bowl of pea soup and second; for uncovering those lovable pea soup guys. 

I learned later in life that this pea soup was one of my grandmother's favorite meals.  She came to the United States as a child from Holland.  This soup reminded her of home.

She had a recipe from "home" that was very similar to Andersen's pea soup.  The only difference in her recipe was a Danish difference...potatoes.  Small diced potatoes were always added to her soup.  And I love it that way.  Gives the soup a little more texture and flavor.  She also adds very small diced carrots and bits of ham.  I think that Andersen's also offered soup with those ingredients as well.

My mom now makes the famous split pea soup and I'm always grateful when she shares.  She has agreed to let me share our family recipe, very similar to Andersens.

2 cups green split peas

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. Bon Appetite

2 to 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 tsp. salt (to start with, add more after tasting)
pepper to taste
3 to 4 slices of ham, cubed in small pieces.

Sort the peas in mesh strainer, removing any stones or impurities.  Rinse them clean.

Combine the peas, celery, carrot, and in a soup pot and cover with 2 quarts (8 cups) of water.  After 10 min. of boiling add potatoes.

Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the mixture cook for another 25-30 minutes till the peas are completely tender. Towards the end of cooking, add the Bon Appetite, then add salt and pepper to taste. I use about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper. Use less if you're sodium-sensitive.

Skim the foam off or add 1 tsp. butter to dissolve (another danish secret).

Strain the peas through a food mill or a fine mesh sieve, if desired.  I prefer texture to my soup so I leave out this step.

If you strained the peas bring the soup to a quick boil once more on the stovetop.  Add more ham pieces for flavor, then remove from heat immediately. If the soup seems too thick, add some hot water to thin it out to the desired consistency.

Serve hot.  I like to garnish with crackers or croutons.  Keep leftover soup in a sealed Tupperware container.  When the soup is chilled, it will solidify.  Adding a little water and stirring as you reheat will help the soup to heat up more smoothly.

I enjoyed the soup and the walk down memory lane!

 photo Kelliesign.jpg

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Valentine's Day Make-Over

I have a friend that loves decorating and her home is a beautiful reflection of that.  She decorates for EVERY holiday.  As soon as one holiday is complete she is on to the next!  She has a gift for keeping it simple and inexpensive, but definitely includes the WOW factor.  

Valentine's Day is next on the agenda and she is all decked out!  Tammy has given me permission to share a few of her lovelies.

She put this out on Facebook and came up with a great solution...
"This wreath doesn't show up against my front door.  Not enough contrast.  I wonder if I should spray paint it a brighter red, pink, or white.  What do you think?  Any suggestions?"

The solution...
"Wreath is painted white.  I love how it turned out.  The contrast against the door looks better.  It really pops.  I masked off the wreath and just painted the berries and twigs.  It looks like a brand new wreath that didn't cost a thing."

Tammy has a charming chalkboard sign that occasionally she adds for a front porch greeting.

Will you be my Valentine?  I think it's time for a visit!  

Thanks for sharing Tammy.

 photo Kelliesign.jpg

Monday, January 18, 2016

Dave's Cheese Ball

Our cousin Dave shared with us his awesome cheese ball recipe years ago. We make it every Christmas. It is a family favorite for sure!

Dave's Christmas Cheese Ball

2, 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/2 Tbsp. Garlic Salt or 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
Walnuts, finely chopped

Mix all ingredients (except for walnuts) well. Roll into a ball. Roll ball in finely chopped walnuts. Chill.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pasta Fagoli

Today I am sharing our family recipe for Pasta Fagoli. This is a family favorite. It is super quick and easy to make. It is one of the first soups I make in the fall and I keep it going all Winter long. We love to serve it with French Bread and nice big green salad. 

Pasta Fagoli
1 lb ground Beef
1 Large onion
1-2 Large Carrot
1-2 stalks celery
2 cans Italian tomatoes
1 can garbanzo beans
1 tsp Basil
1 Tsp oregano
1 Tsp Garlic
Dash pepper
3 cups beef broth
6-8 oz. whole wheat Rotini pasta, uncooked

Brown beef and drain fat. Then add all other ingredients and heat to a boil. Simmer 10 min, or until pasta is done. Serve and enjoy. Top with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and baguette.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Car Mat

The Car Mat
Today I want to share with you a very special piece of my childhood. I come from a family of 7 kids. I am the 6th of the 7. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, yes, my family is pretty much the best ever. We moved around A LOT growing up. Every few years. Moving was hard but it brought out family very close. You will never see a more fiercely loyal family than ours! Guaranteed!
My Grandma & Grandpa Brague, my mom's parents, made this awesome car mat for my older brother's when they were little. My grandpa drew the designs and my grandma cut them out and sewed them onto the mat. 
When I look at this mat I have such nostalgia. I was beyond thrilled when Kellie sent this awesome mat to my son, Jackson who is the youngest grandchild. 
 He has loved playing with it!
Even my 13 year old daughter has been known to play with it!
 And our cat Roxy had a turn playing too!

Thanks for the memories Grandma and Grandpa Brague!