Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Pizza Dip

Becky brought this dip to our Steering Team Christmas party, & it was so good. Like, seriously, SO good. Thanks for sharing, Becky!

The Ingredients:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 oz pepperoni, sliced
  • 2 tbsp green pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp black olives, sliced
  • 2 tbsp mushrooms, sliced

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup mozzarella & 1/4 cup parmesan. Spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.

Spread the pizza sauce on top, then sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella & parmesan cheeses, pepperoni, green pepper, mushrooms & olives.

Bake until sides are bubbling & cheese is melted & golden brown on top, about 20 mins. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Cream Cheese Danish

This danish would be a great addition to your holiday breakfast!

The Ingredients:

  • 2 packages canned refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury makes crescent sheets, which work really well)
  • 8-oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sour cream

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk or half & half
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract 

The Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray. Unroll a package of crescent roll dough & spread across the bottom of the pan, pinching any openings together to form a solid crust.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract & sour cream together until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture over the crescent rolls evenly, then place the second pack of crescent rolls on top of cream cheese filling.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until top is golden brown.

In a small bowl, mix ingredients to make glaze. Pour over danish after it's cooled.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Great Recipe Post of 2013

Here it is... the fabulous Great Recipe Post of 2013! Thanks so much for sharing your tastiness with us!

Saltine Toffee Bark (from Margaret B)


  • 50 saltine crackers (approximately)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup topping - M&M's, sliced almonds, sea salt, or anything you like


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 9x13 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with cooking spray & line pan completely with saltine crackers. You may have to break some in half to fit, but try to fill the pan.

Place butter & sugar in a medium pot over low-medium/low heat. Stir until butter is melted. Once melted, bring to boil for exactly 3 minutes. Stir constantly. Once it's nice & bubbly, remove pan from heat & pour evenly over saltine crackers. Spread mixture with a knife... however, it doesn't have to be perfect. Try to move fast during this part so the toffee doesn't harden.

Place pan in oven & bake for 7-8 minutes. The toffee mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes. Remove pan from oven & then sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the toffee while it's still hot. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes & then spread all over the toffee with a spatula.

Sprinkle topping on top & then place in fridge for 30 minutes. Once chocolate has hardened, break pieces off the foil & store for up to 2 weeks


Apple & Brie Toasts (from Lauren H)


  • 1 baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 13.2 package Brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • 3 Granny Smith apples &/or Braeburn apples, cored & sliced


Arrange bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly toasted. Set aside. Mix together sugar, walnuts & butter. Top each slice of bread with a cheese slice, an apple slice & one teaspoon of brown sugar mixture. Bake until cheese melts. Makes 2.5 dozen.


Taco Dip (from Anita W)


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 jar Pace chunky salsa
  • 1 (16oz) container sour cream
  • 1 bag shredded mexican or cheddar cheese


Brown beef, drain, then add a little water & taco seasoning. Simmer. Spread ground beef in bottom of pan. Pour salsa over ground beef & spread. Spread sour cream over salsa. Sprinkle cheese on top. Chill for at least 1 hour.


Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip (from Becca H)


    • 1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1 cup Italian shredded cheese
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled & minced
    • 1/2 tsp dried basil
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
    • 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained very well
    • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease small baking dish.

    In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except the last 3 (spinach, artichokes & mozzarella). Gently fold in spinach & artichokes.

    Transfer to baking dish. Top with mozzarella.

    Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly & lightly brown.


    Peppermint Punch (from Jenny M)


    • 1/2 gallon peppermint ice cream
    • 1 quart eggnog
    • 1 liter club soda, chilled


    Mix together in punch bowl & enjoy!


    Peanut Butter "Cheeseball" (from Casey K)


    • 8oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup powdered sugar (you might want to sift it to get rid of lumps)
    • 3/4 creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind that separates)
    • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
    • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
    • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
    • Something to dip, such as teddy grahams, graham crackers or apple slices


    Combine cheese, sugars & peanut butter in a bowl with a spoon if you're feeling unusually energetic or a hand-mixer if you were up all last night with a crying baby. Form into some sort of shape that closely resembles a sphere & put in fridge for at least 1 hour.

    Once fairly hardened, roll it around on a plate with the peanut butter & chocolate chips mixed up to hide any imperfections. Place on serving dish & serve with teddy grahams, graham crackers or sliced apples, or eat it with a spoon! Enjoy!


    Heavyset Cheese Ball (the one on the pretty wood board, from Casey K)


    • 1 1/4 cups whole almonds
    • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese
    • 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
    • 3 crispy cooked bacon slices, crumbled
    • 1/2 tsp dill weed
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 tbsp chopped green onion
    • sprigs for garnish, such as rosemary


    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place & spread all almonds on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan & bake, pushing the almonds around until they turn color, about 20 minutes.

    Mix together cream cheese & mayonnaise. Add bacon, salt & pepper, dill & onion. Chill overnight.

    On a serving platter, make 2 pine cone shapes with the cheese. Begin to press almonds at a slight angle into the cheese, starting at the narrow end of the pine cone shape. Do this in rows, continuing to overlap rows until all the cheese is covered. Garnish with sprigs.

    Serve at room temperature with crackers.


    Cake Box Cookies (from Heather K)


    • 1 (18.25oz) cake mix (your favorite flavor)
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups of whatever else (chocolate chips, M&M's, sprinkles, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, raisins, coconut, chopped nuts, toffee bits, or a combo of these)


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Mix cake mix, vegetable oil & eggs in a large bowl. Stir in additional ingredient(s). Make little balls with the dough & put on cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from pan & cool on wire rack.


    Smoked Cocktail Weenies (from Sara C)


    • pack of bacon
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
    • smoked cocktail weenies


    Cut bacon into thirds. Wrap around each smokie. Put in pan. Melt butter & stir in brown sugar. Pour over smokies.

    Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Turn up heat to 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp.


    Rolo Pretzel Delights (from Abbey G)


    • small pretzels
    • pecan halves
    • Rolo Chewy Caramels in Milk Chocolate, unwrapped


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place pretzels on prepared sheet & top each pretzel with one Rolo.

    Bake 3-5 minutes or until caramel begins to soften, but not melt. Remove from oven & top with pecan halves (or additional pretzels, if you want to skip the nuts). Cool completely.


    Jalapeno Cheese Dip (from Brittany K)


    • 8oz sharp cheese
    • 8oz cream cheese
    • 8oz sour cream
    • 1/4 jar jalapenos, finely chopped (mild or hot, depending on your preference)
    • a little jalapeno juice


    Combine all ingredients in mixer & blend until smooth. Serve with crackers (club crackers are really good)!


    Sausage & Cream Cheese Dip (from Alisha M)


    • 1 lb sausage
    • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese
    • 1 can rotel


    Brown sausage, then add rotel & cream cheese. Stir until melted. Serve with tortilla chips.


    Chicken Spread (from Kristi G)


    • 1 12-14oz can of cooked all-white chicken breast (or fresh chicken, cooked)
    • 1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded


    Combine all ingredients with a mixer & chill. Serve with crackers.


    Pineapple Cheese Ball Spread (from Christa H)


    • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
    • 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
    • 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
    • 2/3 tsp seasoned salt
    • 1/4 lb. dried beef, finely chopped
    • 1 cup pecans, chopped


    Mix all ingredients well except chopped pecans. Roll cheese mixture into ball shape, then roll in chopped pecans. Chill until serving. Serve the next day with crackers.


    Lemon Cookies (from Becky Y)


    • 1 box lemon cake mix
    • 1 egg
    • 1 small container of Cool Whip, softened
    • powdered sugar in a dish where you can roll cookies


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix cake mix, egg & Cool Whip in large mixing bowl. Scoop teaspoon-size ball of dough & roll in powdered sugar. Drop on prepared cookie sheet. Smoosh cookie with glass cup butt... I mean bottom. Repeat steps until cookie sheet is full. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Allow to cool for 5. Makes about 2 dozenish. Try not to eat them all in one sitting.


    Green Dip (from Katie B)


    • 1 (16oz) container sour cream
    • 1 (16oz) jar real mayonnaise
    • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
    • 1 pack ranch dip mix
    • 1 small jar of mild jalapenos, thoroughly drained (the pickled jalapeno nacho slices are really good)


    Throw it all in the blender & blend until smooth. Serve with chips.


    Nutella No-Bakes (from Sarah R)


    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 3/4 cup Nutella
    • 2 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (optional. If you decide not to use this, substitute 2 tbsp milk)
    • 2 cups rolled oats


    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium/medium-low heat. Add sugar, milk & cocoa powder & mix until combined. Stir in peanut butter, Nutella & liqueur (or milk) until melted, followed by the oats. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated. Reduce heat to lowest setting.

    Working quickly, use a spoon to scoop & form balls of dough & place them on your prepared cookie sheet. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm. Store in airtight container.


    Chocolate-Covered Clementines (from Emily W)


    • 6 clementines
    • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
    • sea salt


    Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Peel & divide Clementines into sections (there are usually 10 sections per). Melt chocolate over double-boiler or in the microwave & dip the Clementine sections so that half the section is covered. Place on cookie sheet & lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Chill & enjoy!

    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Breakfast Casserole

    Here's an easy & delicious breakfast casserole from Abbey!

    The Ingredients:

    • 8 eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
    • 8 oz shredded cheese
    • 1 Jimmy Dean Frozen Breakfast Skillet Mix (comes in a bag)

    The Directions:

    Mix all ingredients together & pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Ritz Cracker Mini Muffulettas

    Tamara made these for our November meeting & I *may* have gone back for seconds. They would be the perfect little appetizer for a Christmas party or family dinner!

    The Ingredients:

    • 5 tbsp cream cheese, softened
    • 2 tbsp green olives with pimentos, well drained & finely chopped
    • 12 slices Swiss cheese (approximately 1/4 lb), cut into thirds
    • 12 slices deli ham (1/4 lb), cut into thirds
    • 12 slices salami (1/4 lb), cut into thirds
    • 12 slices provolone cheese (1/4 lb), cut into thirds
    • 72 Ritz crackers
    • 36 green olive slices
    • toothpicks

    The Directions:

    As written, this recipe makes 36 sandwiches. 

    Mix cream cheese & chopped olives until well-blended. Fold each cheese & meat slice into thirds. Cover each of 36 crackers with Swiss cheese & ham, then top 1/2 tsp cream cheese mixture. Add salami & provolone. Top with a second cracker & garnish with a slice of green olive. Use a toothpick to secure.

    *Note: if you want crisp crackers, make these the day of. If you make them the day before, the crackers are a little bit softened. Yummy either way!

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Sweet Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

    If you have someone in your family who's not a fan of the classic green bean casserole (my husband!), put these bacon-wrapped green beans on the menu instead. They're delicious!

    The Ingredients:

    • 2 lbs of fresh green beans or 3 cans (14.5oz) cans of whole green beans, drained
    • 1 lb thick-cut bacon
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • a dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
    • black pepper or Montreal steak seasoning
    • toothpicks

    The Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

    If you're using fresh green beans, steam or boil under crisp-tender. If you're using canned green beans, drain them thoroughly. Once your green beans are prepared, dump them into a dish where you can spread them out a little.

    Open your bacon & using kitchen scissors or a knife, cut all the slices in half. Lay a 1/2 bacon slice on a cutting board or plate & gather a bundle of approximately 6-7 green beans. Canned green beans are sometimes in pieces, so just estimate. Place the beans on the bacon & roll, wrapping the bacon tightly around the beans. Secure with a toothpick. Place in your baking dish.

    Repeat until all bacon & beans are used... you may have to adjust your bundle sizes to make sure you finish without something left over.

    In a medium bowl, melt butter. Add garlic powder & Worcestershire sauce (if desired), then add brown sugar gradually, tasting until it's perfect. You may not want to use the entire cup of brown sugar... it's totally up to you. Spoon the glaze over each green bean bundle, making sure the bacon is coated. Sprinkle lightly with black pepper or steak seasoning (skip this step to make less peppery).

    Bake for 20-25 minutes until bacon is cooked. Yum!

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    crafty Christmas gift ideas

    I've seen so many people talking online this year about scaling back this Christmas... spending less, doing homemade gifts, & just generally trying to avoid the insanity of the holiday rush.

    So here are a few ideas for homemade gifts that have been suggested by our awesome MOPS mamas!

    personalized coasters with cute scrapbook paper or photos... click here for the tutorial.
    (photo sources: left, our own Becky Y: right, click here)

    bird nest necklaces... click here for the tutorial.

    dry erase frames... click here for tutorial.

    a family monogram... use mod podge to add scrapbook paper, or paint with chalkboard paint!
    (photo source: left, right)

    Or this photo monogram... it may be my favorite! Click here for the tutorial. 

    Tuesday, November 19, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Dump Cake

    The name of this cake isn't overly appetizing, but it has nothing but rave reviews online! I think we may be adding this one to our Thanksgiving menu this year!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
    • 1 10-oz can evaporated milk
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
    • 1 cup graham crackers or pecans, coarsely crushed
    • 1/2 cup toffee bits (optional)

    *If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, substitute the following spices:

    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • pinch of nutmeg

    The Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, egg & pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Pour in prepared pan.

    Sprinkle the entire box of cake mix on top of pumpkin mixture, followed by pecans or graham crackers & toffee bits (if desired).  Pour melted butter evenly on top.

    Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set & edges are lightly browned. Can be served with ice cream or whipped cream.

    Sunday, November 17, 2013

    miss the November newletter?

    If you didn't get a copy of the November newsletter at the meeting, or want to check it out again, here's a downloadable version:

    Friday, November 15, 2013

    craft tutorial: christmas countdown blocks

    Our crafty Craft team outdid themselves for the November meeting... Cutest. Craft. EVER.

    Here's a tutorial if you'd like to make a Christmas Countdown at home.

    What you need:

    • 3 wooden blocks measuring:
      • 4x4, cut to 4" high to make a square cube
      • 2x4, cut to 5" long
      • 2x4, cut to 6" long
    • wooden tag (2" x 3")
    • black chalkboard paint
    • mod podge (available in the craft department or here)
    • paint in coordinating Christmasy colors... pictured here is lime & a darker red. Bright, classic red is also really cute. Or you could keep it simple & do all one color. 
    • scrapbook paper
    • matching ribbon
    • small nail & hammer
    • hemp (approximately 10-15")
    • chalk
    • hot glue


    First, time to paint! Paint your blocks with the Christmasy paint. You'll probably need a couple of coats. Don't worry about painting the bottoms... they won't show.

    Pictured to the right is a few different color combos.

    Paint your wooden tag with chalkboard paint. You'll need at least 3 coats.

    While your paint is drying, pull out your scrapbook paper. Print or stamp or handwrite "days 'til" & "Christmas" & cut them out. Play with the sizes to find the perfect look. The papers in the example measure:

    • "days 'til" measures 3.5" long, 1" high
    • "Christmas" measures 4.5" long, 1" high
    The "days 'til" paper goes on the 5" block. The "Christmas" paper goes on the 6" block. 

    Make sure your blocks are dry, then paint a thin layer of mod podge on the side of your blocks & place your word papers. Once you get your words even, paint another thicker coat of mod modge over the entire side, sealing the paper to the block. (Don't worry, mod podge dries clear.) Your middle & bottom blocks are now complete. 

    Now for the top block... 

    During the meeting, we did super-cute bows on top of the blocks... however, I didn't take pictures of the process & it's one of those things that just can't be explained in a way that would make any sense whatsoever.

    So here's a modified version :)

    Cut a length of ribbon (make sure it's long... you can always trim it later) & center it on the top of the wooden block. Place the nail in the center of the ribbon, &  hammer it halfway into the block through the ribbon. Tie one end of the hemp around the nail tightly, then hammer the nail the rest of the way into the block. Tie the ribbon in a cute bow & trim as needed.

    Hot glue the wooden chalkboard tag to the front of the top block. Wrap the loose end of the hemp around the chalk & tie tightly. Secure with a dot of hot glue if necessary. And you're done!!

    More crafty ideas:

    These countdown blocks are being sold on etsy for $25... which makes your MOPS craft a super-awesome deal! :)  Here are a few variations if you want to make your own countdown blocks.

    I love this cute wording if Santa is a big deal at your house:

    Or countdown the days until your birthday:

    Countdown to Disney!!

    Or a countdown to baby... wouldn't this be a great gift for a new grandma-to-be?!?

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Taco Soup

    This super-easy soup makes it onto our weekly menu regularly!

    The Ingredients:

    • 2 cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed
    • 2 cans pinto beans, drained & rinsed
    • 2 cans corn, undrained
    • 1 large can diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 packet taco seasoning
    • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
    • 1 lb ground beef or turkey (optional)
    • tortilla chips
    • toppings, such as shredded cheese, sour cream, lime wedges, 

    The Directions:

    Brown meat (if you're using meat... this soup is really good with or without it). Drain fat & add meat to crockpot. Sprinkle taco & ranch seasoning packets on top of meat.

    Drain & rinse beans, then add to crockpot. Add UNDRAINED corn & tomatoes to crockpot. Stir.

    Cover & cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. The longer you cook it, the better it tastes! Stir well & serve with toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips & a squeeze of lime.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Roll

    A slice of pumpkin roll & a cup of coffee? Yes, please!

    The Ingredients:

    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2/3 cup pumpkin
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    Cream Cheese Filling:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 3 tbsp butter
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • scant 1 tbsp pure maple syrup

    The Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a jelly roll baking pan (a baking pan that has sides at least 1-in high) with cooking spray. Line with wax paper & spray again, including the sides. Set aside.

    Beat eggs on high speed for 5 minutes until frothy. Add sugar & mix until combined. Stir in pumpkin, spices, flour, baking powder & salt. Spread batter in prepared jelly roll pan & smooth as much as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake springs back when gently pressed in the center.

    While cake is baking, generously sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar. Make the cream cheese filling by beating powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla & maple syrup together.

    Remove cake from oven & turn out onto sprinkled towel. Peel off the wax paper, then roll cake & towel up together to cool for 30 minutes (should be mostly cool, but not cold).

    Once cake is cool, unroll & spread with filling. Re-roll cake & sprinkle with powdered sugar. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill until ready to serve.

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Tex-Mex Chicken Corn Chowder

    Abbey shared this recipe... it's a fall favorite served with sweet, buttery cornbread!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1 can (15.25 oz) whole kernel corn, drained
    • 1 can (14.75 oz) cream style corn, undrained
    • 1 can (14.5 oz diced tomatoes with garlic & onion, undrained
    • 1 can (15 oz) black beans or red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1-2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
    • Optional: spices to taste (cumin, garlic powder, southwestern blend, etc)
    • Toppings & extras (shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, fresh cilantro, tortilla chips)

    The Directions:

    Combine all ingredients & bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 5 minutes. Spoon into bowls & add desired toppings. YUM!

    And click here for the cornbread recipe that Abbey bakes to go with this tasty chowder!

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Oreo Delight

    This dessert deliciousness is sitting in my fridge right now... SO, so tasty! Thanks for sharing, Jennifer H!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1 pack Oreos
    • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 large container cool whip
    • 8-oz cream cheese, softened

    The Directions:

    In large bowl, combine pudding & milk. Blend until completely mixed. Add cream cheese. Mix well. Add cool whip. Mix well.

    Finely crush half of Oreos & add to pudding mixture. Pour pudding/Oreo mixture into 9x13 pan. Crush remaining Oreos so that large pieces still remain. Sprinkle remaining Oreos on top.

    Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    craft tutorial: fall votives

    For our October craft, we made super-cute fall votives!

    fall votives for our sweet MOPPETS volunteers

    Here's the tutorial for making your own votives at home....

    What you need:

    • a glass votive holder or vase
    • cute tissue paper
    • paper punch or scissors
    • mod podge (available in the craft department or here)
    • any other embellishments... we used jute on the votives pictured above


    First, use your paper punch or scissors to cut the tissue paper into shapes. For an autumn votive like we made in the meeting, you may want to do fall leaves or pumpkins. For a Christmas votive, you could do a variety of Christmas-y paper punches or cut snowflakes out of white tissue paper. For Valentine's Day, hearts would be cute, shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day, etc. The possibilities are endless!

    Paint one section or side of your votive with a thin layer of mod podge. Place your tissue paper decorations on the votive. Once you've added & arranged your desired number of paper embellishments, cover with another thin layer of mod podge.

    Repeat until entire votive is completed. Allow to dry completely.

    Use as is or add additional embellishments. Pop a candle in & you're done!

    More crafty ideas:

    These votives would be perfect seasonal decor, teacher gifts, hostess gifts for the holidays... SO many options!

    Here are just a few variations:

    Winter votive with snowflakes:

    Super-cute heart version for Valentine's Day or just to brighten someone's day:

    Or bring some happy flowers into your home with this fun version:

    & adding a cute personalized tag makes your lovely votive even more special!

    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    October meeting recap... the Mom Comparison Trap!

    Last Thursday was our second MOPS meeting of the year... so much fun! So glad to see all you ladies... we're averaging 56 moms per meeting this year, which is pretty much awesome. Y'all keep inviting your friends... we'd love to have them!

    Quick business recap:

    • Semester/yearly dues were due at the Oct meeting. It's $30 per semester or $60 per year. If you invite someone to MOPS & they decide to join, our trusty treasurer Melissa will calculate a prorated amount. And if you love MOPS & want to join, but the dues are an obstacle, pleasepleasePLEASE let us know & we'll work something out. Money should definitely not be a reason for someone to miss out on our mama fellowship.
    • We had sign-ups for the MOPS photo sessions, which will be on Friday, Oct 25th. The cost is $40 per 30-minute session. All of the slots are booked (yay!), but we have a waiting list available as well. Please contact me (Sarah) if you'd like to be added to the waiting list. I'll be in touch with everyone who booked a session with location details.

    For our craft, we made votives that are perfect for fall! Tutorial to follow soon...

    This month's speaker was Rozalynn Goodwin, who is the Director of Policy Research & a lobbyist for the South Carolina Hospital Association. She's been recognized as a rising business leader in The State Newspaper's annual "20 under 40" feature, & has been published on the MOPS International website as well as MOPS's MomSense Magazine.

    Rozalynn spoke on the dangers of the Mom Comparison Trap. I capitalize it because it's a big deal, people. We've all felt it at some point, we've all read Facebook statuses or looked at pictures or perused Pinterest & felt inadequate, even if it's only for a brief, fleeting second.

    Rozalynn writes:

    I wanted to be a SAHM yesterday... or at least a WAHM. Anything but a WAWM (work at work mom -- I just made that up).  
    I make this statement having fully accepted that it may result in my name being crossed off the guest list for the Supermom Soiree that I assume occurs annually. I have not yet been invited. Quite frankly, I don't care if I am invited to join ladies discussing how they grow their own fruits & vegetables, cook & can them, all after a typical 10.5 hour day in the office; just in time to give four children baths, pedicures & manicures, & make wild passionate love to their husbands.  
    I "don't do" fake people well.  (click here to read complete post)
    She went on to share the challenges of being a working mom, the guilt of not being able to be in two places at once, the drama of potty-training & the story of Lola the Monkey (which she also shares in this blog post).

    Rozalynn shared 2 Corinthians 10:12, which says that we should not classify or compare ourselves to others... that it isn't wise.

    She writes:
    Mommy guilt is real and often the result of unrealistic self-expectations. No mom can have it ALL. There are trade-offs and seasons for every aspect of work and life.  
    And no other mom, whether at home or in the workplace, has it easy. The quicker we recognize that, the quicker we can get on with our lives and the fulfillment of family and individual purpose that awaits us.  
    Click here to check out Rozalynn's blog, "Spit Up On My Blazer."

    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

    Pumpkin & chocolate?! What's not to love!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp allspice or ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    The Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with cooking spray.

    In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, spices & salt.

    With a mixer, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture & pumpkin puree, beginning & ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

    Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Place in oven & bake for 18-20 mins, or until firm to the touch & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.

    *Note: the batter can also be baked i a 9-inch loaf pan instead of muffin cups. Spray the pan with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-60 mins, or until toothpick comes out clean.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Beef & Veggie Stir-Fry

     Don't know about y'all, but I love one-dish meals... they're tasty & there are fewer dishes to wash! WIN! I haven't tried this stir-fry recipe yet, but one of my facebook friends vouches for it. It's on our menu for next week...

    The Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup sherry or water
    • 2 tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp canola oil, divided
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 1/2 lb. sirloin or flank beef, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
    • 8 oz fresh snow peas
    • 1 lb fresh asparagus or broccoli
    • any other veggie your family likes (squash, zucchini, bell peppers, baby corn, carrots, etc)
    • rice or noodles, cooked

    The Directions:

    In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, sherry (or water), cornstarch & sugar.

    Transfer 1/4 cup of the mixture to a large bowl; stir in garlic & 1 tbsp oil. Add meat & toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes (or overnight for maximum flavor).

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half the beef. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until no longer pink (don't overcook to avoid making the beef tough). Remove from pan. Repeat with rest of beef.

    In same pan, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add mushrooms & onion. Cook while stirring until mushrooms are tender. Add snow peas & other veggies; cook 2-3 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

    Stir remaining soy sauce mixture & add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook & stir 1-2 minutes until sauce is thickened. Return beef to pan & stir until heated through.

    Serve with rice or noodles.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Halloween Popcorn!

    It's OCTOBER, people! Time to kick off fall festivities (if they're not already in full swing) & treat yourself & the kiddos to a Halloweenie treat...

    The Ingredients:

    • 2 bags microwave popcorn (recommend Pop Secret HomeStyle because it's not too buttery)
    • 1 lb package almond bark or white chocolate candy coating
    • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
    • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
    • 1 1/2 cups Reese's Pieces

    The Directions:

    Pop popcorn according to directions on package. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl. Pour peanuts & candy on top.

    Break up almond bark or candy coating & melt according to package directions. Pour over popcorn mixture. Stir until everything is well-coated & then spread out on waxed paper.

    Let it sit until completely dry & then break into clumps of Halloween goodness!

    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lasagna

    Lasagna in the crockpot? Yes, please! This is one of my family's favorite recipes. It's pretty soupy, which we're a big fan of... the saucier, the better!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1 lb lean ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 28oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 15oz can tomato sauce
    • 14oz can sliced mushrooms (optional)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp dried basil
    • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese or low-fat cottage cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
    • 1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese
    • No-boil lasagna noodles

    The Directions:

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef, onion & garlic until browned (5-7 minutes). Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, mushrooms, salt, oregano & basil. Simmer for at least 5 minutes.

    In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese & 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

    In another bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella & parmesan cheese. Put in fridge for later.

    Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture in your crockpot, covering the bottom fully. Break 3 lasagna noodle sheets in half & arrange until beef mixture is covered. Add half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer of each & finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

    Cover slow cooker & cook on low for 4-6 hours. Turn off heat. Sprinkle the parmesan/mozzarella mixture on top of lasagna. Cover until cheese melts & lasagna firms up a little, about 10 mins.

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: burrito bites

    This recipe is from Jill K... its looks like a perfect lunch or snack for kiddos (or adults)! Thanks, Jill!

    The Ingredients:

    • 2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
    • 2 (4 oz) cans chopped green chilies
    • 1 packet taco seasoning
    • 10 flour tortillas

    The Directions:

    Mix cream cheese, chopped green chilies & taco seasoning together. Microwave tortillas for 30 seconds to make them easier to work with.

    Spread mixture on tortillas. Roll tortillas & cut into bite-size pieces.

    **Tip: it's sometimes easier to cut the rolls if you put them in the fridge to chill first

    Thursday, September 12, 2013

    time to enroll for MOPS 2013-14!

    Only a little over 2 weeks until Sept 12th, & as you can imagine, the first MOPS meeting of the year can get kinda... well, messy!

    We have lots of new moms... YAY!
    We have lots of new kiddos.... YAY!
    We have lots of paperwork.... not yay.

    So in an effort to make things more efficient, we're putting the forms out there for you ladies to get a head-start. We're attempting online enrollment for the first time, so if you have technical issues, please let us know on the facebook page!

    Option #1: Online Enrollment (preferred!)

    Option #2: Paper Enrollment

    Tuesday, September 10, 2013

    Tasty Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Margaret made this last year for our December recipe swap.... it would be a great snacky option now that football season is upon us!

    The Ingredients:

    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup wing sauce
    • 1/2 cup ranch dressing (or bleu cheese dressing)
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack or cheddar)

    The Directions:

    Mix cream cheese, wing sauce & dressing until blended. Pour shredded cheese on top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 10-25 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Serve with corn chips, tortillas, celery &/or carrots... or just eat it out of the bowl!

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    Steering Team Intros... meet Cheryl !

    My full name is Cheryl Elizabeth Nelson.
    I'm on the MOPS Hospitality team.
    I have seven daughters -- Cassie (18), Cierra (16), Cayli (14), Chloe (11), Cadence & Charis (5), 
    & Courtney (almost 2).
    I was born in Augusta, GA.
    If I had two hours of kid-free time,
    I would do more volunteer training at Red Cross or 
    Foothills Alliance.
    If I could go out to dinner anywhere tonight,
    I'd choose the Melting Pot... my husband & I
    have so much fun there even though we only go maybe every
    year & a half!
    My fav dessert is peanut butter cookies.
    The last book I read was... do kids books count? Pete the Cat,
    I Love My New Shoes (we love that book!).
    The last movie I saw was The Lucky One again last night...
    yep, it's a chick flick :)
    If I could go on a road trip with anyone, I'd choose Oprah...
    I'd love to pick her brain!
    Something I've learned in the last week?
    Acting like a teenager with my teenagers every once in a while is really worth it... had so much fun!
    It's 8pm on Saturday night...  I'm just wishing all my kids (or at least the 3 youngest) would fall asleep before my husband. 
    My favorite thing about MOPS is
    the moms & kids, the connections, the friendships!

    Thursday, September 5, 2013

    Steering Team Intros.... meet Sabine!

    My full name is Sabine Friedel.
    I'm on the MOPS Hospitality team.
    I have two children -- Simon (4) and Nora (1). 
    I was born & grew up in Bavaria, Germany. 
    If I had two hours of kid-free time, I would meet friends for coffee or run errands.
    If I could go out to dinner anywhere tonight?... Sullivan's or a good steakhouse in Greenville.
    My fav dessert is German or swiss chocolate.
    The last book I read was Five Love Languages for Kids...
    I would recommend it.
    Last movie I saw was Hitchcock & I loved it! 
    If I could win a lifetime supply of anything, I'd choose
    organic & fair trade coffee from Africa or South America.
    Something I've learned in the last week?
    Don't make too many plans ahead... you never know what happens.
    It's 8pm on Saturday night...  I'm cleaning up & bringing kids to bed.
    My favorite thing about MOPS is meeting nice women &
    serving & helping other moms.

    Wednesday, September 4, 2013

    2013-14 MOPS dues

    At Anderson MOPS, we do everything we can (literally, like, EVERYTHING) to keep our expenses as low as possible. But we do need your financial support.

    2013-14 annual dues = $60
    (Breakdown: $23.95 to MOPS Int'l + $4 per meeting for 9 meetings)

    What are your local dues going toward, you ask?
    • safe, reliable childcare so you can enjoy the meetings without chasing your toddler... not that chasing your toddler's not fun & all. & also, it's the same price whether you have 1 kiddo or 17.
    • crafty crafts... even for the craft-challenged among us, those little pretties we make during the meetings are just kinda awesome.
    • all those fabulous raffle prizes & giveaways... nothing makes a meeting more fun than walking away with a little gift certificate or cute surprise!
    • meeting supplies... handouts, kitchen supplies, cute centerpieces, favors, the thank you gifts for our kind speakers, the childcare labels. These things seem rather small, but they definitely add up!

    And did you know that we pay dues to MOPS International for each member? Yep, it's true. In order to be an official MOPS chapter & support the international organization, we pay an annual membership fee of $23.95 per member. 

    I know, $60 is a lot of money for most of us. But we have a couple of options to make it as painless as possible...

    Option #1: Pay per Semester

    Pay $30 now & $30 again in January.

    Option #2: Pay per Year

    Pay $60 now & get it over with. This covers everything for the entire year & you don't have to worry about it again until next September!

    And now you may have questions...

    • When is my money due?
      Your membership dues are due at the Sept 12th or Oct 10th meeting.
    • How do I pay?
      Dues can be paid at the registration table at the Sept or Oct meetings. Checks should be made payable to "Anderson MOPS."
    • What if I don't join MOPS until after October 10th?
      If you join us after the October meeting, please let Melissa (our treasurer) know & she'll work out a prorated amount.
    • What if I miss a meeting & I've already paid?
      We hope you won't have to miss a meeting, but all moms know that sometimes kids wake up sick or things just kinda fall apart (beautiful mess, anyone?). When you pay your dues, your contribution is immediately put toward the costs of making our meetings fabulous. We can't give refunds for missed meetings, but please know that we'll miss you!
    • What if I really, really want to join MOPS, but my family just can't afford it?
      Please know that money should not keep you from coming to MOPS! If money is an issue, we'll figure out how to make it work.... we have scholarships available if the fees are just not possible for your family. Please talk to us & let us help!
    • Why should I want to support MOPS International?
      Because you & I & all moms are worth investing in! Through MOPS membership, you make it possible for moms all around the world to get the support & encouragement of MOPS. We are part of a community of moms doing life together & supporting MOPS Int'l makes this possible. Together we're reaching 90,000+ moms & truly creating better moms who make a better world. And it wouldn't be happening without the help of mamas like you!

      Oh, & also you get fun stuff from MOPS Int'l... a super-cute reusable bag with the MOPS logo, a DVD featuring Boz the Bear for your littles, & a subscription to MomSense magazine!
      mops welcome package!

    Steering Team Intros... meet Pamela!

    My full name is Pamela Leigh Schult.
    I'm on the MOPS Hospitality team. 
    I have two children -- Abigail (2) and Benjamin (7 months). 
    I was born here in Anderson, SC.
    If I had two hours of kid-free time, I would
    read, scrapbook or paint.
    If I could go out to dinner anywhere tonight, I'd choose Sullivan's
    My fav dessert is  brownies!
    The last book I read was Inferno by Dan Brown.
    Last movie I saw was Les Miserables.
    Yep, I recommend both!
    Subject that I wish I had paid more attention to in school?
    history!... I just didn't retain much.
    If I could win a lifetime supply of anything, I'd choose gasoline...
    Something I've learned in the last week?
    My daughter is now copying everything I say.
    It's 8pm on Saturday night...  I'm playing on facebook :)
    My favorite thing about MOPS is
    connecting with other moms! 

    Tuesday, September 3, 2013

    Steering Team Intros... meet Meagan!

    My full name is Meagan Grand 
    (aka Esmeralda)
    I'm on the MOPS Hospitality team. 
    I have four children -- Katie (4), Lila & Julia (3) and 
    James (4 months). 
    I was born in Ann Arbor, MI.
    If I had two hours of kid-free time, I would read a good book!
    If I could go out to dinner anywhere tonight,
    I'd choose Outback.
    My fav dessert is anything with chocolate & peanut butter.
    I'm currently reading The Fault in Our Stars... love it! 
    If I could win a lifetime supply of anything, I'd choose
    money :)
    Something I've learned in the last week?
    The crisis ends when Christ begins.
    (can't remember who to give credit to, but I didn't
    come up with it on my own)
    It's 8pm on Saturday night...  I'm collapsing on the couch after putting all the kids to bed.
    Wait, no... I forgot. I'm nursing the baby.
    My favorite thing about MOPS is all the cool chicks
    I get to hang out with!

    Tasty Tuesday: Blueberry Buckle

    Thanks for sharing this tasty-looking deliciousness, Abbey!

    The Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 2 cups fresh blueberries
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

    The Directions:

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking powder & salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in blueberries. Pour into greased 9-in square baking pan.

    For topping: in a small bowl, combine sugar, flour & cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over blueberry mixture.

    Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

    Monday, September 2, 2013

    Steering Team Intros... meet Alisha!

    My full name is Alisha Barrett Martin.
    I'm on the MOPS Hospitality team.
    I have seven children -- Ryvers (10), Ridge (7), Birch & Bramble (almost 5), Adler (3), and Beck & Juniper (1). 
    I was born in Greenville, SC. 
    If I had two hours of kid-free time, I...
    I don't understand the question. 
    If I could go out to dinner anywhere tonight?...
    Olive Garden or Papa's & Beer.
    My fav dessert is dark chocolate.
    The last book I read was 1000 Gifts... YES, I recommend it!
    Amazing book!
    Last movie I saw was Dumb & Dumber. If you need to laugh or be stupid for 2 hours, this is your movie. 
    If I could win a lifetime supply of anything, I'd choose
    $1000 bills.
    Something I've learned in the last week?
    "Shidder cheese is tossed with sawdust." --Margaret Berry
    It's 8pm on Saturday night...  I'm working on our new house.
    My favorite thing about MOPS is the friendships. 
    most definitely.