Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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My Sister's Sandwiches

I don't know the real name of the sandwhich, I just have it in my recipe box with my sister's name on it. Either way, it is delicious!! We LOVE these! These are great for get togethers too!

1 can chopped olives
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. cumin

mix those three together

1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. mayo
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. green onions (we leave these out)

mix all the above plus the other mixture

Slice french bread into about 8 slices. Spread 1/2 the mix on all the slices, then layer with deli sliced turkey, a slice of tomato, then spread on the other half of the mix. Then layer with slices of avocado or guacamole dip, then a slice of monterey jack cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they look nice and bubbly. Sometimes I put them under the broiler for a couple minutes at the end. They are messy, but good!!!

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

This easy chicken salad makes the classic bridal/baby shower sandwich. Just serve on cresent rolls(like from Sam's/Costco). Tasty and saves so much money when you don't have to buy it pre-made.

4 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat (buy a fresh rotisserie chicken)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup chopped celery
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper (I leave this out, but you don't have to)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise with paprika and seasoned salt. Blend in dried cranberries, celery, bell pepper, onion, and nuts. Add chopped chicken, and mix well. Season with black pepper to taste. Chill 1 hour. Serve on cresents.


Scorpion Chili (don't let the name deceive you)

This is one of my favorite things to make...mostly because when we eat it we fill a bowl with a few spoonfuls of cooked white rice, add the chili, and top it with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions. I used to have the tradition of making this for the first snowfall of the year (which should be just around the corner for you Minnesotans) but unfortunately Jax hasn't seen snow in, well, forever. I'll probably make it on 1st day of December or something this year. :(

Talk about SPICE! That's one thing I love about this recipe...plop your stock pot on the stove top and just add everything.

1 1/2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped green pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 1/4 lb. cubed beef (bite size--I use stew beef)
1 1/4 lb. ground beef
3/4 Tbsp. salt
3 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder or to taste
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno peppers (I actually leave this out most times because I don't have it on hand)
2 (28 oz.) cans plum tomatoes (I actually prefer to use 4 (14.5 oz.) cans of diced tomatoes)
8 oz. tomato puree
3 oz. tomato paste
1 qt. beef stock
2 1/2 lb. cooked pinto beans, drained

Saute onion and bell pepper in oil until onion just wilts. Add garlic and continue to cook 3 minutes. Add meat; cook until it loses its red color. Add all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT beans. Simmer over low heat 2 to 3 hours (this is's the only way to get the whole neighborhood to smell like chili! oh, and it does a wonder of good for the spices.) Add drained beans and cook 1/2 hour more.

General Conference Activities

We had a question suggested to us for this week's tricks of the trade post. It comes from our reader/commenter Janalee!! Thanks Janalee for the questions!! When are you going to join us so you can ask them yourself?? :) We definitely appreciate all your input!!
Here is her question regarding General Conference:
"I grew up with conference bingo and quiet craft activities to keep us quiet while we watched conference on TV, but I have no idea how my parents kept me and my older brother quiet when we were toddlers. So what are all you moms planning to do with your kids while you watch/listen to conference this week?"

Pumpkin Muffins

Well, I am not sure what my favorite spice is, but these muffins are my favorite muffins...and they have a few spices. I ALWAYS double the recipe because we eat them so fast. Now, I have made the "drizzle" for them and it is great, but I usually only do that now if I am giving them away. I like them as a snack (for me or my kids) without the extra sugar. Plus, isn't this a great way to kick of Fall!? It almost makes me forget what comes after Fall...for like 3.7 seconds.


  • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Orange Drizzle:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 4 teaspoons orange juice


  1. Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 36 mini-muffin cups with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan until puree thickens enough to start sticking to pan bottom, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn hot puree into a bowl. Whisk in brown sugar and oil, then slowly beat in eggs.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk into pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  4. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until golden and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let stand a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Mix the drizzle ingredients together and drizzle over warm muffins.
Whenever the 29 oz cans of pumpkin go on sale (like last week at Target or usually during the holidays) I stock WAY up.


Poppy Seed Cake

This cake is a family favorite! My mom found this recipe and we had it all the time growing up. It is super simple and it doesn't need frosting (I am not a big frosting fan). It comes out kind of like a spice cake so I thought of this recipe with the weekly ingredient being a favorite spice! Enjoy.

1 Yellow cake mix
1 small box Instant French Vanilla Pudding
4 eggs
1 Cup water
1/2 Cup oil
1/3 Cup sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons poppy seeds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan.
Mix cake mix, pudding, eggs, water, oil, sugar, and cinnamon with a mixer for two minutes. Add poppy seeds and hand mix them in. Pour into prepared bundt pan.
Cook for 45-55 min.
Let cool and turn it out of the pan. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar.
It tastes really good served with fresh berries, whipped cream or ice cream.


Big-Batch Vegetable Soup

Here's my recipe for this week. I found this about 4 years ago on Martha Stewart and it really has been a favorite because it is so basic and you can change it up, so it tastes different each time. The best part about it is that it makes quite a bit, so I put it in small containers and..... yep, you guessed it! I freeze them, so we get like 4 meals out of only one pot of soup. I like to add noodles to it too!

2 T. olive oil
2 c. chopped onions (I just sprinkle a little dehydrated onion in there)
1 c. thinly sliced celery
2 t. italian seasoning
3 cans (14.5 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth, low sodium
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 T. tomato paste
8 c. mixed fresh or frozen veggies, such as: carrots, corn, green beans, peas, potatoes, or zuchini. (Our favorite are just the basics, carrots, potatoes, and we grate some zuchini in there too - but if I do potatoes, I don't do noodles, it is one or the other. We also like to add meat, usually ground beef or ground sausage - cooked before we add them of course)

1. Heat oil in a large stockpot, add onions, celery, and italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent, 5-8 minutes.

2. Add broth, tomatoes and their juice, tomato paste, and 3 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes.

3. Add veggies, and return to simmer. Cook uncovered until veggies are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool before storing. Enjoy! It makes your house smell really good too, and with breadsticks for dipping, it is a wonderful fall dinner!


The 2 Kid Transition

Announcing a new baby in our midst! Our mommy Molly Archibald gave birth this last week to a beautiful and very healthy baby girl. Her name is Georgia Carrie Archibald! Everything went really smooth from what I hear.

This brings me to my tricks of the trade question this week. As Molly is transitioning from one kid to 2 and I will be doing the same in about 10 weeks; we are welcoming tips and tricks that helped you in this transition. So let us know how did you take a shower? How did you go shopping? How did you clean your house? And especially how have you been able to give your older child enough attention as well as keep them from harming the baby? Or any other tricks that helped you keep your sanity! Another question... I am interested in buying a sling this time around and am wondering if any of you tried slings and have any recommendations. We have a baby bjorn carrier already, I might just stick with that. But those slings look so comfy and easy for nursing!


Blueberry Muffins

I know a lot of you read the Pioneer Woman's cooking site but I thought I'd put this up here for those that don't or those that may have missed this one. I think these look SO good! I can't wait to try them out!

The Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins

3 cups minus
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heavy pinch of salt
Dash of Nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 generous cup plain, unflavored yogurt (throw in extra if you want)
2 cups fresh blueberries
Vanilla Extract
Softened Butter, for muffin tins
Turbinado sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 385 degrees.
In a large bowl sift flour, baking soda, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl whisk together sugar, oil, cap-full of vanilla, egg, and yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir to a count of 10. Add blueberries, reserving 1/2 cup, to mixture and stir 3 times. Add mixture to well-buttered muffin pans. Sprinkle remaining berries on top and press down lightly. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over top. (Brown sugar can be used instead.)
Bake 20 to 25 minutes and allow to cool completely.

Yogurt-Blueberry Sauce:
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (if using fresh, add 2 tsp water) and 1 tsp sugar. Cook until berries pop and liquid begins to thicken. Dump in heaping 1/4 cup plain yogurt and stir to combine. Drizzle on muffins.

To see the detailed instructions the the pictures click here: Awesome-est Blueberry Muffins


Raspberry Jello

Okay, ever since Chalece posted her recipe for Orange Jello Salad, I've been wanting to try it! Especially because I have this recipe that is so similar and we LOVE it. Will eats this by the bowl full! Oh, and it is SO easy.

3 oz. cook and serve tapioca pudding

3 oz. cook and serve vanilla pudding

3 oz. raspberry jello

Boil 3 1/2 cups of water. Add tapioca, vanilla pudding and jello. Stir until boiling. Stir and cool 4 minutes. Refridgerate overnight to set up.

The next day:

Add 8 oz. cool whip and 1 pkg. frozen raspberries.

It is super delicious!

Twirly Skirts

I don't know if any of you sew, but this is the new CRAZE in my ward! I definitely don't sew, but some friends helped me make a couple and it was EASY!!! I got 1 yard of the main fabric and 1/2 yard of the accent fabric. That was enogh to make 2 skirts so I had fabric left over to trade with the women I was making them with. I wound up with 6 different skirts for not much $. I decided to make just a couple that would fit Ella now and make most of them bigger. They really are so cute when the kid can walk is able to twirl.

I will be posting a picture on my blog of Ella wearing one hers as soon as I get a chance! =)


Peanut Butter Treats

I know the theme is berries this week, but last week was kids party snacks, and I'm running I'm still going with that theme for this post.

I made these last night and am now addicted. I even woke up in the middle of the night craving them and polished them off at about 3am.

Peanut Butter Candies

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and powdered sugar until blended. Beat in cracker crumbs. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Carefully spoon a small amount of chocolate mixture over each candy. Freeze for at least 15 minutes.

Yield: about 1 dozen.
Nutrition Facts
• One serving: (1 each)
• Calories: 110
• Fat: 7 g
• Saturated Fat: 3 g
• Cholesterol: 8 mg
• Sodium: 69 mg
• Carbohydrate: 11 g
• Fiber: 1 g
• Protein: 2 g


Keeping the Spirit Alive

Lately I have been feeling like I'm not doing enough to bring the spirit into my life and into my home. I would like to know what you do that helps you to help keep the spirit in your homes. Also, do you have any tips on how to be a better scripture reader? I know we can all be better with that, surely. But how do you keep yourself going? I feel like I've read 1 Nephi a million times but the rest doesn't get done because, well, life happens. I would like to have it as more of a priority, for sure. But some simple tips would be great!

I'd just like to say that I feel so priveleged to be part of this blog. You are all such wonderful women and I am grateful to you all for your wonderful examples!


Choco Peanut Butter Cake

This is a super yummy, tiny cake. Its from a cook book called Lil Gourmet, and all the recipes make really small cute cakes. Which is actually the perfect size for my kids because we eat the whole cake instead of wasting half.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup+2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups peanut butter and milk chocolate chips divided (reserve 3/4 cup for frosting)

3/4 cup chips
6 ounces cream cheese
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans. (two round tiny pans)
Mix cake ingredients in bosch.
Pour batter into cake pans and sprinkle with chips save some for second batch
Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes

melt peanut butter/milk chocolate chips and add to rest of frosting ingredients, stack cakes and frost.

Makes 2 two-layer cakes



This stuff if very addicting! That's probably why it's called Sin. It's SO good though! A lot of you may have tasted it, I've seen it a few times at church parties. This recipe obviously makes a TON so if you just want to make it for your family you might want to 1/4 everything!


1 large box Golden Graham cereal
1 large box Crispix cereal
1 large pkg coconut
1 lb. silvered almonds
3 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups light Karo syrup

Mix cereals, coconut and almonds in large bowl. Set aside. Melt butter in a pot, add sugar and Karo syrup and bring to a boil. Let boil for 4-5 min. Pour over cereal and mix well. Pour on cookie sheets to let cool. Try not to eat the whole bowl by yourself! :)


BYU Mint Brownies

While attending BYU I fell in love with these mint brownies! I found their recipe on-line yesterday and am making them right now! I hope they turn out like I remember. Thought I would pass this on as some of you might have also fallen in love with these! Don't know if they would be a good kids party item but the mom's will definitely enjoy them.

BYU Mint Brownies

Makes one 9 x 13 pan

1 C. margarine
1/2 C. cocoa
2 Tbsp. honey
4 eggs
2 C. sugar
1 3/4 C. flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. chopped walnuts
12 oz. chocolate icing (use your own recipe or purchase some chocolate frosting)

Mint Icing
5 Tbsp. margarine
dash of salt
3 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 1/3 C. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring

1. Melt margarine and mix in cocoa. Allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add nuts. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. Cool.

2. Prepare mint icing: Soften margarine. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

3. Spread mint icing over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for a short time to stiffen the icing. Remove from the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate frosting.


Frog Eye Salad

This big salad is perfect for parties where you are serving a meal. Kids love it and it is easy to make ahead. It makes a ton, 25 servings!

1 16-ounce box Acini De Pepe pasta (little pasta balls)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 ¾ cup pineapple juice
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
½ tsp salt

1. Cook pasta in boiling water till done.
2. Drain and set aside.
3. Mix together juice (use the juice drained from the two cans of pineapple being used, add water if needed), sugar, cornstarch, eggs, and salt in a medium saucepan.
4. Cook until thick over medium heat.
5. Cool slightly, then pour over pasta in a large serving bowl. Stir together and then cover and chill overnight(or hours later when cooled completely).
6. The next day, add:

1 16 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained
1 qt. Cool Whip
1 16 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 pkg mini marshmallows
2 small cans mandarin oranges, drained

7. Stir together gently and serve cold.

Makes a very large bowl to serve about 25 people

Party Ideas

We have 3 kids with birthday's on Aug 10-11, so we do big parties. To make them all feel special, I did three separate themes that they chose. Each got their own decorated table and cake. They really loved feeling special. We also sang to them separately.

Pinatas are always a hit!


Party Time

2 of my kids have birthdays coming up. In the past I've only thrown one big party for my son when he turned 3. Now he's turning 5 and my daughter is turning 3. I want to have a party for both of them since it's our last year here but I'm a little overwhelmed. It's already getting cold so I need to find somewhere indoors to have the party. Then there's trying to decide how many kids to invite and what games to play, party favors, cakes, the list goes on and on!
I've obviously been thinking a lot about this lately so I thought my question this week would be about parties. First, what are your thoughts on kids parties? How often should you throw a party for your child... every year, every other year, just on big birthdays? How many kids should be invited? All the kids they see at church or just close friends? What about when they get into school and start making friends there? It's so hard not to leave someone out without making the party too big! And if you have a small place where can you have a party without spending a ton of money to do it somewhere special? I know you can do it places like Chuck E. Cheese, but I wanted to have our own themed party not just a pizza party. So what are your party ideas and if you've had parties before what's worked for you?


EASY Burritos

This is the BEST 5 min meal you'll ever make! :) My sister got this recipe and passed it along to me! She doesn't like to cook and I'm always looking for fast and easy meals so this made us both happy! And you would NEVER know you're eating microwavable burritos! We even made it for our family reunion last week and everyone was asking for the recipe because it's so good. It was a little embarrassing to admit how easy it was though! :)

EASY Burritos:
Frozen burritos or chimichangas
2-3 cans El Pato Sauce (this is a "hot tomato sauce" usually in the isle with canned green chilies and salsa)
Grated Cheese

Use as many burritos as you want, we used the Jose Ole steak and cheese burritos and the bean and beef chimichangas, both were good, but anything works. Lay them out in a baking dish, pour the El Pato sauce over to cover them. This is spicy so leave it off for the kids portion! Then cover with grated cheese. Bake on 350 for about 20 min.
We took them out of the freezer and had them mostly defrosted before we put them in the oven. So it might take a little longer if you cook them frozen. Just cook until they are warmed through and the cheese is melted! Enjoy!!


Apricot Jalapeño Glazed Chicken

I tried a new yummy and healthy recipe the other day that I thought I would pass on. It isn't spicy even though it has a jalapeño in it, I guess if you wanted it to be spicy you could add more. It is kind of like a sweet and sour chicken, try it out! I am all over one skillet meals that are easy to make.

Apricot Jalapeño Glazed Chicken

4-6 Chicken breasts, cut into chunks (I used 4 big Sam's club breasts and it was perfect)

1 (10.75 oz) can Chicken broth

3/4 cup Apricot preserves1 Jalapeno, remove stem and seeds and chop (my jalapeño was kind of small I might add more next time)

1 Tablespoon Soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Cornstarch

1 Tablespoon Water

Chopped pecans for topping (optional) I might toast mine next time.

1. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Brown chicken in heated skillet.

2. Add chicken broth, jam, soy sauce, and jalapeño. Simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

3. Remove chicken from skillet. Add mixture of cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce(I doubled this to make my sauce thicker). Return chicken to skillet and turn to coat thoroughly with sauce.

4. Serve over rice, top with pecans.

We made this with a side of peas and a garden salad, what a yummy well rounded meal it made!


Baby Food?

Wow, I am a bad blogger, but things have been REALLY crazy around my house and here is one reason why:
My 9 month baby girl decided 2 weeks ago today that she was done nursing. She decided one evening that she wanted juice from a sippy cup- and while I pumped for a few days, she will not nurse and now, since she will eat formula and with 4 teeth coming in- I am DONE!. Before stopping she wouldn't take a sippy, now she will (so I guess it is a good thing). But now, she wants to eat big people food. I have been buying baby food but it is EXPENSIVE! So, I have 2 questions for you: 1. If you make your own baby food, what do you do? Besides just mashing bannanas or peaches?
AND 2. My baby only wants to eat sweet food, mostly fruits so how do I get her to eat her veggies? Any help would be most appreciated!