Ingredient of the month: Cream of Chicken Soup

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Paci Detox

My son is 2 1/2 and is physically and emotionally connected to and reliant on his pacifier. Mostly he needs it just for sleeping. It usually stays in his bed. About 2 weeks ago, I made a deal with him that if he threw it away in the garbage we would go to the store and buy him a new Lightning McQueen car to replace it. He was very willing and immediately threw it away. Even in the store, as he was walking down the aisle holding his new cars (ya, I broke and got him a Doc Hudson too), he said, "No more pacifier, I got these cars!!" However, when it came time for bed, he had a horrible time falling asleep. As the days went by, he became more clingy, more whiny, couldn't sleep well. He used to go right down with no complaint and now he started to put up a fight. He's still in the crib because he doesn't climb out and I'm milking that one for as long as I can. He would whine and whine without really asking for the pacifier because he knew I wouldn't give it to him. Then one day I asked if he wanted it back and he was just so relieved that I mentioned it and he said he wanted it back. We are on vacation now and I gave in and gave it to him just before we left because he started to have potty accidents when we've been accident free for a few months now. I wasn't going to deal with all this while I was gone to grandparents' houses for 3 weeks! I've enforced the rule that the pacifier and blanket stay in the bed until it is nap time or bed time. That is working pretty well. Should I be worried that he is still using the pacifier? Did I totally mess things up by giving it back to him? I'm not sure if cutting the tips off would work because he is smart enough that he would say "Lets just go to Walmart and get a new one, Mom." I keep hearing conflicting advice that "he is too old" or "don't force him to give it up until he is ready" or "the longer you wait the harder it is because the more he gets attached to it". HELP!!!


Priesthood Power

Okay, I hate to post on top of Shalee's yummy cookies, so make sure you scroll down and check them out, they look delicious! And, I feel like I'm taking over the blog these days, sorry everybody! I just had to share my little Priesthood goodies. We teach in the Nursery and this week's lesson was on the Priesthood. I like to send the kids home with something tangible from our lesson. So this week we talked about article of faith #5, and the priesthood and types of things Priesthood holders do. I randomly found this "hand" cookie cutter at Joann's earlier in the week and thought it just might work for something. I was originally going for a "key" cookie cutter (for Priesthood keys), but found hands instead. So, I made "hand" sugar cookies, and put them in a cute little baggie with the Fifth Article of Faith and a picture of the priesthood tied to it. It was fun, and went great with the lesson, plus the kids loved them.

Just a thought.... a hand cookie cutter could be a great church thing.... helping hands, laying on of hands, service, etc. I'm glad I spent the 0.99 cents on it!!

Black Cherry Oatmeal Crunch Squares

This isn't a picture I took but this is what they should resemble...

I got this recipe from my home teacher in college who surprisingly brought my roommates and I better goodies than any visiting teacher ever did. They are crumbly and sugary but worth every bite! I've tried it with different flavors of jam...although black cherry or raspberry are among the favorites. It's fun to make before church (unless you have church at 9am!) and then it has cooled by the time you get home.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup softened butter cut into pieces
1 cup black cherry jam (or other jam)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9-inch square pan.

Stir together flour, oats, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter with two knives or pastry blender until crumbs are the size of peas.

Remove 2 cups of mixture; set aside. Press remaining mixture into pan and up the sides. Drop jam over crust and spread it out. Sprinkle the rest of the crust over jam.

Bake 50-55 minutes and let cool for 2 hours.


Baked Oatmeal

Another Oatmeal recipe.  This one is really good too, I like how I can make it ahead of time and cook it in the morning.

2 c. milk
1 c. quick oats
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 c. raisins or craisins, or both!:)

Mix well. Put in 9 x 13 in. pan and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, until golden brown on top. 


Oatmeal Krispie Cookies

These are the best cookies ever. My neighbor just made some for us and I had to beg the recipe. I haven't made them myself yet for just one reason..... I'm scared I will eat the ENTIRE batch. Seriously, these are now my favorite cookies. Hope you enjoy them!!!


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup reduced fat spread, like Olivio or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 T. Vanilla

4 t. baking soda

1 t. baking powder

4 c. flour

4 cups old-fashioned oats

4 cups Rice Krispies

About ¾ cup Heath Toffee bits

About 1 cup butterscotch chips (sorry, I never measure these things)


Cream butter, spread, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add soda, powder and flour and blend. Stir in oatmeal, krispies, toffee and butterscotch. Mix until blended. Roll into balls and place on greased cookies sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-11 minutes.




What is your take on sleepovers? When I was younger sleepovers were very special and very frequent. I can't remember exactly the first time I participated in a sleepover but I believe I was around 6 or 7 years old.

I have mixed emotions about sleepovers but for the most part I am against them. I've heard stories of abuse that have occurred during a sleepover even in "religious" or "stable" homes by an older brother or their friends. I think sleepovers were (for the most part) a fun part of my childhood and maybe I'm being overly protective but I'd really like my children home for the sleeping part. What do you think of them? At what age would you let your child sleepover at a friends house?

Luckily, I haven't had to really decide our stance yet since my oldest is only 4. I would be fine hosting a sleepover in my home but I know that's not fair to other families and it would send mixed messages to our children. The only answer I have for now is to allow my child to attend the sleepover party but always have an "excuse" to pick them up at around 11pm and bring them back home. Am I a party pooper?!


Beans beans the magical fruit.....

Well, we only eat a couple kinds of beans, green beans and black beans. So, here's our favorite way to eat green beans:

Saute the green beans in a fry pan until tender (if they are already cooked, just warm them up in the fry pan)
Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, toasted sliced almonds, and bacon.

It is SO yummy, trust me, and my three year old eats them one right after another, so does my hubby. Enjoy!


Potty Training!

**** Calling all moms! *****
I'm embarking on the wonderful journey (again) of potty training!! With my oldest daughter, it was a wretched experience, and I don't want it to be that way with my younger one. I'm pretty sure she's ready (as she keeps removing her diaper and trying to put on her big sister's under-oos!) but she's not quite getting it. I want it to be a good/fun experience, so I'm hoping for some specific ideas/tricks that you all used to conquer this beastly milestone!!! Thanks, mommies!!


Pasta Salad

This is perfect for summer and I am always asked for this simple recipe.

1 16 oz box tri-colored rotini pasta
1 large crown broccoli, chopped
2 thick slices Provalone cheese, cubed
2 thick slices hard salami, cubed
1 can large black olives, sliced
1 16 oz bottle Ken's Italian with Aged Romano salad dressing

Cook pasta till al dente. Rinse with cold water, drain, and pour into large serving bowl and add everything but the dressing. Chill till ready to serve(chill dressing separately). Take dressing bottle and do not shake. Pour off half the oil at the top of the bottle, then shake the rest and pour on pasta till well covered, about half a bottle. Add more dressing if necessary or on leftovers.

This is a very colorful dish and easy to pick stuff out or add stuff in.



We had this at a friends house recently and it was SO yummy, I'm planning on making it for dinner tonight!



1 (16 ounce) package farfalle pasta
1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite-size pieces (what I usually do is 2 or even 2 ½ large chicken breasts – a little more chicken than what this asks for, and a little less pasta – maybe 12-13 ounces pasta so it is more meaty but the “sauce ratio” is still the same)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in water and chopped into pieces
2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese (I use more, probably about ¼ cup or so)

In a large pot with boiling salted water cook farfalle pasta until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add garlic cloves and cook until garlic browns. Add the cream of chicken soup and milk, stirring until smooth. Stir in the dried parsley, salt, and ground fresh pepper. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add bite size chicken pieces and hydrated sun dried tomatoes. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Mix in grated Romano cheese.

Toss cooked and drained pasta with chicken sauce. Serve warm.


Every Mom Needs a Vacation (at least once in a lifetime)

In our attempt to get to know our contributors and readers more we have our monthly "About Us" question. So far we've discovered what you'd do with some extra cash, what your favorite blogs are to read (other than MD, of course), and what restaurants are the best.

This month we want to hear from all of you "What is your dream vacation?" Or better yet... "Where have you vacationed that you loved?"


Strawberry/Raspberry Cream Cupcakes

Everyone loves a good cupcake, except for me. I really don't like cupcakes or cakes for some reason, so the fact that I LOVE these cupcakes should tell you how good they are. They remind me of strawberry shortcake but better. This recipe is from the show Every Day Italian that's on Food Network, but I edited it a bit because I like to make them a tiny bit different. They are delicious!!!
  • 1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix
  • 1 1/3 c water
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (6 oz) container raspberries, cut in half
  • 1/2 container fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
Line 18 muffin cups with muffin papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, water, egg whites, melted butter, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a large bowl for 2 minutes, or until batter is well blended. Using about 1/3 c of batter for each cupcake, spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
Bake the cupcakes until they are very pale golden on top, about 15 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely on a cooling rack.
Using a fork, coarsely mash the raspberries and strawberries in a medium bowl (not too runny!). Beat the cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl (for a while) until firm peaks form. Fold the mashed fruit into the whipped cream.
Spoon the cream atop the cupcakes. Keep in fridge until you serve them! Enjoy!!!
PS: I have a picture of what they look like that I will post later on, don't have my camera cord right now.


Strawberry Salad

So this is not really a "recipe," but kind of, and it has the ingredient of the week in it, so here goes.

When I make a green salad to take to someone's house for dinner, I usually just throw in either a few different kinds of lettuce, or if I'm feeling lazy, I throw in my favorite bag salad then I add:
Cut up cucumber
Cut up tomato
Cilantro (diced)
Avocado (cut in small squares)
Strawberries (cut into 2 to 4 pieces)

You can add whatever else you like to the salad, but the cilantro and strawberries give the salad a unique flavor and everywhere I take it people love it.