Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Recipe Swap 2015

Here it is...   
The Great Recipe Post of 2015!
Our ladies outdid themselves at our December meeting and brought all kinds of yummy goodness.
Keep reading to see recipes our moms have shared and to tantalize your tastebuds!

-- Grape Jelly & BBQ Sauce Lil' Smokies --

(Arianne G.)

  • 18 oz. grape jelly
  • 18 oz. BBQ sauce
  • 2 packages of Little Smokies Cocktail Links
Add a slow cooker liner to your crock pot before adding any ingredients, if you use them. They make for super easy cleanup!
Pour grape jelly and BBQ sauce in the crockpot. Stir to combine well.
Add little smokies and stir to coat well.
Cook on high 4 hours or until done. 

-- Cherry Cream Cheese Bake (Sara C.) --

  • 1 can cherry pie filling  (or any other fruit filling)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tube crescent rolls
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish. 
Take half of the crescent rolls and lay them out on the bottom of the baking dish.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, blend cream cheese until smooth.
Once smooth, add powdered sugar and vanilla and blend.
Once blended, spoon onto the crescent rolls in baking dish and spread evenly.
Top with can of cherry pie filling. 
Top with the last half (4 triangles) of the crescent rolls. 
Melt butter and pour on top of crescents. 
Top with granulated sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until browned.

-- Ian's Perfectly Adequate Pimiento Cheese (Emily W.) -- 

  • 8 oz shredded Sharp White Cheddar
  • 8 oz shredded 4 Cheese Mexican Blend
  • 4 oz Jar Diced Pimientos with liquid
  • +/- 1 cup Mayonnaise 
  • 3 Tbsp Malt Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Sugar

Combine all ingredients in no particular order and mix well. Refrigerate at least overnight, and up to 48 hours before serving, as the liquids with absorb and the flavors meld with time. For a firmer spread, use a bit less Mayo. For a creamier dip, a bit more. Enjoy!

P.S. My husband likes to make this into a Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwich!

-- Red Velvet Cheeseball (Sonia R.) --  

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups red velvet cake mix, dry
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • assorted cookies and crackers (my favorite was Vanilla Wafers)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the red velvet cake mix, the brown sugar and the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and combined.
  2. Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap up into a ball and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  3. Put the chocolate chips on a plate or in a shallow dish. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator and unwrap. Roll in the chocolate chips. (This might get messy!) Place on a serving plate and serve with cookies or graham crackers.

    -- Bacon Cheddar Ranch Cheese Ball (Kori B) --

    • 2 packages of cream cheese
    • (2) 1 oz packets of ranch salad dressing mix 
    • (1) 3 oz bag of real bacon bits*
    • 1 bag of finely shredded cheese
    • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
    • 1-2 boxes of thin wheat crackers

    In a medium size bowl mix the cream cheese, ranch salad dressing mix, 1/2 to 3/4 of the bag of real bacon bits, 1/2 to 3/4 of the bag of shredded cheese, & Worcester sauce together. (You can use a mixer but it's best to use the spatulas or bread dough ends on the mixer.) 
    After it's mixed well, put mixture on a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper & wrap it into a ball.  Use what's left of your bacon bits & cheese to coat outside of the ball.
    Serve with the thin wheat crackers. Refrigerate any leftovers. 

    * You can substitute the premade bacon bits for bacon you've cooked yourself just make sure to chop it up real fine & drain all grease. 

    -- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread --

    (Jennifer H.)

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups canned pumpkin
    • 1-1/2 cups canola oil
    • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
    1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
    2. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each). 

    -- Cranberry Pecan Cheese Wafers --

    (Margaret B.) 

    1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
    2 cups butter, softened
    4 cups (16 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
    4 cups all-purpose flour
    Parchment paper 
    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 minutes).
    2. Meanwhile, soak cranberries in boiling water to cover 15 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.
    3. Beat butter and next 3 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Shape dough into 4 (12-inch-long) logs; wrap each log in plastic wrap. Chill 8 hours to 3 days.
    4. Preheat oven to 350°. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes).

    -- Christmas Crack (Jessica H.) --

    • 50 saltine crackers (approx.)
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cubed
    • 1 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
    • 2 cups chocolate chips
    • 1/2 to 1 cup M&M's,
    • Pretzels


    Pre-heat oven to 325°F.
    Line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray and then line the pan with saltine crackers.
    Place the butter and sugar in a medium sized pot over low medium-low heat. Stir until the butter is melted. Once the butter has melted, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Stir constantly.
    Once it's nice and bubbly, remove pan from heat and 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 the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes. The mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes.
    Remove pan from oven and then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the toffee while it's still hot. Let the chocolate chips melt for a few minutes and then spread all over the toffee with a spatula. Sprinkle M&M's & Pretzels on top and then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once chocolate has hardened break pieces off the foil and in an container. It will stay fresh for 1 - 2 weeks.

    -- Sweet Potato Souffle (Tiffany C.) --

    • 4 1/2 cups cooked & mashed sweet potatoes
    • 3 T butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    Topping Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 3 T butter, softened
    • 1 cup chopped pecans

    Preheat oven to 350 and grease 9 x 13 baking dish.
    In large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs.
    Spread in baking dish.
    In small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour.  Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans.
    Sprinkle topping on sweet potato mixture.
    Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.  


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Amelia Bedelia's Sheet Cake

My daughter brought an Amelia Bedelia book home from her school library which contained a cute little story about Amelia Bedelia winning a cake contest.  In the back of the book was the following recipe, and in an uncharacteristic fit of maternal niceness, I agreed to to help the girls try out the recipe that afternoon.  Now I normally just bake cakes according to the directions on the back of the Betty Crocker box, but that Amelia Bedelia is really on to something!  This cake was SOOOOO delicious!  We ate the whole cake without even frosting it.  The ingredients are a little different (no eggs?) and it requires sifting (sifting = effort for slackers) but it's kinda fun to make because you make it right in the baking dish and mix it with a fork.  The kids can help and it is just.so.good.

Move over Betty, there's a new cake in town!


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Throwback edition

Next week at our December meeting we are having a RECIPE SWAP.  This means all our hot mamas are bringing some sort of edible item to share... some will be homemade, others will be drive-thru delicacies, but all will be DELICIOUS! 

You do not have to be some sort of culinary wonder to participate in this meeting!!!  Just bring something, ANYTHING, that we can eat!  And then enjoy some good company and good eats! 

Need some inspiration?  Well this week's Tasty Tuesday is a blast from the past.  Here are the links to our tasty dishes brought in past years to our Recipe Swap meeting.  Click the links and discover recipes for Peppermint Punch, Breakfast Casserole, Apple & Brie Toasts, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Burrito Bites, Sausage Balls, Lemon Cookies, Nutella No-Bakes and much, much, more!  Enjoy!!!

November Meeting Recap: Notice Goodness

In November, we chose to explore the theme of "Noticing Goodness" in our MOPS meeting.  When we notice the goodness all around us it reminds us that we have so much to be thankful for!  Here's what went down at our meeting...


Jayla led us in a game that is a fun little twist on Scattergories.  The premise is that you choose one letter of the alphabet and list as many things as possible that you are thankful for that begin with that letter.  This might be an activity you could do with kids once they start learning letter sounds.  Our group played with the letter "R" and let's such say that some of the answers were Rather Ridiculous!  My favorite was when someone said, "Romantic husband... just kidding!"


Kelly spoke to us about Noticing Goodness in our every day lives and shared some insights from a Bible study she's been doing on Gideon by Priscilla Shirer. You can click here to read her devotional. 

Thanks for sharing Kelly! 


Nancy Snowden, fellow mom and MOPS guru from the Charleston area, came and spoke to us this month. Nancy is mom to 3 girls and has been a part of MOPS for 11 years.  It's clear that God has gifted her in imparting wisdom to other moms, and she encouraged us to be intentional about our own growth and development (not just our kids!)  She reminded us that you don't stop growing when you have a baby.  Have an end-goal for how you want to grow and develop as a person.    

As she addressed Noticing Goodness, Nancy first shared with us an important definition.

  1. affirmation of goodness
  2. recognition that the source of goodness is outside of ourselves

Noticing goodness and gratitude go hand-in-hand, and when we recognize that the source of goodness is outside of ourselves it enables us to be grateful in any situation.  

The Bible tells us that God is good.  Therefore, when we notice goodness we are noticing God.  We are seeing the divine in our everyday lives.  Not only does Scripture tell us that God is good, it also instructs us to "give thanks IN all things."  It is important to distinguish that we are not told to give thanks FOR all things, because really terrible things happen, but we can be thankful IN all things because God is with us when good or bad things happen.  

Nancy identified two barriers to noticing goodness: distraction and discontentment.  Because we live in a society addicted to distractions (electronics/social media), we often do not pay attention to our reality... we are distracted and cannot fully notice the goodness in our lives.  The other barrier, discontentment, comes from not being okay with our reality.  It takes a fierce guarding of your thought life to notice goodness.  

One of the best ways to notice goodness is to write it down!  And get your kids involved too!  Nancy shared several ideas to help us (and our kiddos) do this... 
  • Write thank you notes for non-gift items.  Teach our kids that anything is something to be thankful for...  the smile that greets us from the lady at the library, the dedication of the crossing guard who stands out in the cold every morning, the hard work of the sanitation workers each week.  
  • Gratitude journals.  You can number it to really see how much you have to be thankful for, and can look back and refer to the goodness you've previously recorded when thankfulness is a struggle!  It even helps to write down your crazy... you can go back later to find the goodness in it.  Sometimes we have to sift through the ordinary to find goodness and that's okay.  
  • Thankful Fours.  Nancy has each of her girls decorate a big paper cut-out of the number 4 and then each day in November the girls write something they are thankful for on a strip of paper.  The paper strips are taped together to make links in a chain attached to the 4, and when completed they hang the paper strip links on their Christmas tree for a garland.  Super cute idea and a great way to prepare for the Christmas season!   
We appreciated Nancy coming from Charleston to share with us!  Thank you Nancy!   


Cuteness alert!  This month's craft was simple and fun.  Click here for the burlap panel tutorial.

Service Project 

Thank you to all who contributed to the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes!  Our group was able to put together 20 boxes which will bring smiles to 20 little ones around the globe!  If you're interested in more information about Samaritan's Purse (the ministry that created Operation Christmas Child) please click here

(for Psalm 136:1 photo source, click here)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Give Thanks" Burlap Panel Tutorial

This month at our meeting we made these totes adorbs burlap panels!

Each participant could choose to use stencils that said either "Give Thanks" or "Blessed" and could personalize their panel with paint and mini-banners.

Supplies needed:

We used 8x8 burlap panels from Hobby Lobby, 6 inches of twine, scrapbook paper triangles, acrylic paint, foam brushes and pre-cut stencils that said Give Thanks or Blessed.


  • Position stencil on your panel as desired and hold firmly while dabbing paint on it with color(s) of your choice.   
  • While waiting for paint to dry, create a mini banner by attaching scrapbook paper triangles to twine with hot glue.  
  • Once paint is dry, hot glue twine banner to panel.

The great thing about this craft is that you can paint anything on the burlap, with or without a stencil.  You can also get creative with the banner and add several strands, or embellish your burlap canvas in an entirely different way... with felt flowers or leaves, or ribbons/rafia, acorns, buttons, whatever!  And even though we created these burlap panels with Thanksgiving in mind, you could make a rustic treasure to enjoy for any season or all year long.

Here's a few ideas from Pinterest to get your creative juices flowing...

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Pumpkin Cake

Okay, okay... I know Thanksgiving is this week and pumpkin pie is a tried & true part of this celebration, but let's be honest.  Not all of us like pumpkin pie.  Not even a little.  So here's an alternative Thanksgiving dessert that is just.so.yummy!!!  Trust me on this one.  You won't be sorry!


  • 1 can (small) pumpkin
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

(optional) frosting ingredients: 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Mix sugar, oil, and eggs.  Sift dry ingredients together and add.  Add pumpkin and mix well.  Grease and flour a 10 x 13 x 1 pan.*  Bake @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Cool and ice.

(* I don't own the pan listed above so I bake it in a 9 x 13 for about 33 minutes, until the middle looks set.  I also think the pumpkin cake is delicious served with a dusting of powdered sugar on top instead of the cream cheese frosting, but you can't go wrong either way!)

Monday, November 23, 2015

November's Devotional

This month Kelly shared some insights from a study written by Priscilla Shirer on Gideon.  

Judges 6:11-12
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon beating out wheat in the winepress in order to save it from the Midianites.   When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

God comes to us in many different ways.  We more than likely will not see him as an angel or have an audible conversation with him but He is always with us.  

In this instance God appeared as an angel sitting under a tree while Gideon was threshing wheat for his family.  He was doing this mundane activity secretly in a winepress so not to be seen by the Midianites.  God sat and watched him do his work.  We are not sure how long he sat there but it suggests that the angel presented himself, making himself visible to Gideon.  No lightning strike accompanied the angel's appearance.  This angel most likely had the look of an ordinary man who had come on an ordinary day.  

God often comes to us in our boring days veiled in the most ordinary circumstances.  Ordinary is often the disguise of the divine.  The mundane, the routine, the commonplace are often the context in which He will reveal himself to us.  

Imagine Gideon hunched over a stack of wheat dedicated to this task as a farmhand.  His task was mundane and necessary for him as washing the dishes might be for you.  Think about some of the ordinary tasks we do and how we can notice God's goodness and provision in them:  
  • Doing the dishes =  you have food to eat
  • Laundry = you have clothes to wear
  • Cleaning = you have a place to live
  • Making dinner = He gave you a good harvest
  • Homework = you're blessed with children & the ability to teach
Today's tasks, even the mundane of them, are often preparation for tomorrow's calling.  They carry clues to what He is leading us to learn and accomplish as we faithfully serve him.  

While it might seem comical to find spiritual principle in washing dishes or answering phones at work, God is teaching you faithfulness, diligence, and integrity through every task.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

MOTT @ Electric City Gymnastics

 November's MOPS On The Town

Today we took a bunch of our kiddos to the always fun Electric City Gymnastics!!!  There was lots of giggles and bouncing and cuteness!  And hopefully lots of littles napping well this afternoon. ;)

This is always a popular MOTT and Electric City Gymnastics is a great host!  (If you'd like more info on ECG, click here.) 

Enjoy the pics and we hope you'll join us on our next MOPS On The Town (MOTT) in January! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Stuffed Squash

Here's a great fall recipe courtesy of Steering Team member Pamela...

Butternut squash stuffed 

with sausage & apples

The ingredients

  • 2 butternut squash
  • vegetable oil
  • 8 oz. sausage
  • 1 large granny smith apple (peeled, cored, & cubed)
  • 3 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • salt & pepper

The instructions

Preheat oven to 375. Oil a baking dish. Halve butternut squash lengthwise and remove seeds and strings from 2 butternut squash (for 4 people). Brush with vegetable oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until almost tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Usually takes me at least 40 min. sometimes longer, depending on size of squash. Cook 8 oz. (1 cup) sausage in skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Without draining fat, add 1 large granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Cook for several minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from heat. When the squash is cooked, let it cool slightly, then scoop out most of the flesh, leaving 3/8 inch thick shells. Lightly mix the squash mixture, breaking up the squash as little as possible. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter, softened, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 tsp ground sage and salt and pepper to taste. Pile the stuffing into the squash halves. Dot with: 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Bake uncovered until piping hot and brown and crusty on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before serving. 
Recipe from the Joy of Cooking, by Irma Rombauer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Kid friendly mini pizzas


 Easy Pizza Muffins

These cute mini pizzas are fun for your little ones to eat!  Plus they are simple enough that small hands and short attention spans can be a big help in preparing them.  It's a win-win! 

The Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuit dough (8 large biscuits like Pillsbury Grands)
  • pizza sauce
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • pizza toppings if desired (pepperoni, veggies, etc.)

The Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 16 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Split biscuits in half (horizontally) into 2 somewhat even layers. Press biscuits halves, one at a time, between hands to flatten. Place each flattened biscuit in a muffin cup; press into bottom and up sides of muffin cup. Set aside for biscuit to settle and slightly rise, about 5 minutes.
  3. Spoon pizza sauce into each biscuit; top each with mozzarella cheese and toppings of your choice.  (Adjust amount of sauce & cheese to your family's preferences.)
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until biscuit is lightly browned and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove each pizza from tin and place on a cooling rack, about 5 minutes.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Breakfast fundraiser raffle - part 2

Not only do we have that snazzy grill to raffle off, we also have some pretty & unique fall decor!  These arrangements of "pine cone zinnias" will be our centerpieces for the breakfast fundraiser and you could be lucky enough to take one home with you!  Each centerpiece was lovingly (and painstakingly - don't try these at home kids!) hand-crafted by our MOPS Steering Team, and we will be raffling off 12 of them which increases your odds of winning!  They turned out beautifully and are each one of a kind! 

We will be selling separate raffle tickets for the centerpieces, so you can buy tickets to win the grill, a centerpiece, or both!!!  Raffle tickets will be sold as follows: $1 buys 1 ticket, $5 buys 6 tickets, $20 buys 25 tickets.  

Thanks for your support and hope to see you Saturday! 

Breakfast fundraiser raffle - Part 1

Get Excited!  Cause we're raffling off this grill at our breakfast fundraiser on Saturday!


If ALL YOU CAN EAT pancakes, waffles & bacon aren't reason enough to get you & the fam out of bed on Saturday, then how about this???  Thanks to a donation from Stok, we are raffling off this beauty!  Bring some extra dollars to buy raffle tickets and you could win it.  Keep it for yourself or give someone the best Christmas present ever!!!

(Raffle tickets will be sold as follows: $1 buys 1 ticket, $5 buys 6 tickets, $20 buys 25 tickets.)