Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Superbowl Desserts

There are like 1,000,000 recipes on the Pinterest for Super Bowl party food.  Or more.  But why not highlight some desserts?  Here are some simple and scrumptious desserts for all to enjoy!

Strawberry Footballs

recipe/photo source

Ingredients

12 strawberries
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Small tube of white decorative icing

Directions

1. Wash strawberries and pat dry.
2. Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Place in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. If not melted, microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir again.
3. Dip strawberries into melted chocolate and lay neatly on wax paper to cool.
4. Use icing to decorate your strawberries like footballs.
5. Place in refrigerator to harden…or eat immediately.

Serves 4-6 but if you want more strawberries, make more.

S'mores Dip

recipe/photo source

Ingredients

One 10 oz. bag regular marshmallows
One 12 oz. package milk chocolate chips
One box honey graham crackers

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Spread the entire bag of milk chocolate chips around evenly in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate or cast iron skillet.
3. Cut approximately 20-22 marshmallows in half widthwise and place them, cut side down, on top of the chocolate chips until the chips are fully covered. I started with a circle of marshmallows around the outside edge, then worked inward.
4. Bake the dip at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Keep a close eye on the dip, and remove it from the oven when the tops of the marshmallows are golden brown.
5. Serve at once with quartered graham crackers for dipping.

Serves a crowd of 8-10 people…if they’re willing to share.


Cake Batter Blondies

 
recipe/photo source

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow or vanilla cake mix
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup milk (less is better)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Spray 11x7 baking pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly. You want to cake batter to be as dense & thick as possible. Mix in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared baking pan, sprinkle a few more sprinkles on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just turning brown.
  3. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares.
  4. Make ahead tip: Blondies remain fresh up to 2 weeks stored covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Blondies freeze well, up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes:

The blondies will look like they are not fully done because the center will be quite gooey, but that’s what you want! After about 30 minutes of cooling, they will be easy to cut using a serrated knife.



Ice Cream Football Sandwiches

photo/recipe source

Ingredients

  • Mini Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Wooden Spoons
  • White cake icing
  • Optional: Chocolate sprinkles

Directions

  1. Using a Sharpie, draw football plays, referee stripes or team colors on wooden spoons
  2. Unwrap your ice creams and lay them on a sheet of wax paper or in Rubbermaid container
  3. Pierce one end of the ice cream with a knife so that your wooden spoons can be inserted easily later
  4. Cut the edge of resealable bag, spoon in icing and pipe football design
  5. Place in Rubbermaid container and freeze until guests arrive.
  6. Insert wooden spoons, sprinkle container with chocolate sprinkles (to finish the look) and serve.
Tip: If you serve them at halftime and they’re hard frozen, they should last the full 30 minutes!


Mini Banana Cream Cookie Pies

photo/recipe source

Ingredients:

1 (16.5-ounce) roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1 (3.4-ounce) box banana cream pudding, prepared according to package directions and chilled
1 banana
whipped cream for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin. Divide sugar cookie dough into 24 even pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place dough in prepared muffin tin cups.
Bake dough until golden brown and set, about 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and use the bottom of a shot glass to make depressions in each cup, if necessary; cool 10 minutes. Using a butter knife, carefully remove cookie cups from muffin tin. Transfer cookie cups to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Spoon a generous teaspoon of chilled pudding into the center of each cookie cup. Slice banana into 24 slices and place on top of pudding. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January's Devotional



Anita shared some wise words from her personal experience with us at this month's meeting!  Read below to find concrete steps you can take to decrease stress and increase peace in your daily life...



My name is Anita. I am from Quito, Ecuador. I came to the States about 18 years ago as a college student. I went to Clemson, met my husband Jay, and graduated with a degree in Financial Management. I worked at AnMed Health for almost 11 years. I left my job behind to care for my girls (Ellyana 5 and Emilia 3).  MOPS has been a big part of my support system as a stay-at-home mom and I am very grateful to have all of you in my life.

2016 is here. A new year and a new beginning. Our meeting today will mainly focus on embracing rest. I want to share with you some thoughts and ideas about finding peace and balance in your life, which in turn will allow you to embrace rest. Many times in our lives, we have something that weighs heavy on our shoulders causing us to lose balance. So, I want to ask you  – what is stealing your peace away? What is keeping you off balance? It could be finances, diet/exercise, the desire to go back to school, the lack of professional realization or the desire to be a better mom to your children. 

I want to share with you some things I did last year to find balance and peace in my life.

  1.     I first had to identify what was stealing my peace. I felt overwhelmed by the lack of organization in my house. I felt overwhelmed with the amount of toys we had, the amount of books and magazines I had waiting to be read plus all the things that needed to be done around the house.
  2.   Then, I had to find a system that worked for me. I tried different things. I talked to different people, I asked different moms to share their ideas with me. Nothing worked – until one day, I came across a system that got me started in the right path. I started to notice a difference in my home, my behavior, and I finally started to feel that peace that I had been longing for. My new system required a timer and 15 minutes of my time. With the idea that “you can do everything in 15 minutes,” I started to pick up momentum – and those very overwhelming tasks were not so overwhelming after all.
  3.   I started to develop routines and create habits. Just remember that your motivation will get you started by your routines will keep you going. 
  4.    Then, I would evaluate to see if I was making any progress. My steps were very small but I was moving forward, I was making progress. Baby steps. One step at a time. Keeping the picture of a child in mind – just because the baby falls doesn't mean he/she won’t walk anymore. Anytime I would fall (get out of my routines), I would pick myself back up and keep moving forward.
  5.    Finally, I rewarded myself for the progress I was making! I decided that I was going to work hard Monday morning through Friday noon. Friday afternoon is my time to rest! That’s my reward. It motivates me and it keeps me going.

I believe that it was because of God’s grace that I found that system. Remember that your Creator is right there with you and He wants you to spend time with him. Make it a part of your routine to spend time with God (whether is at night, if you are a night person; or in the morning, if you are a morning person). Remember what Matthew 6:33 says “But seek his kingdom first and all these things will be given to you as well.” Believe that He will send people/resources your way.

I want to end this devotional by reading John 14:27 “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Make 2016 the year where you find peace and balance in your life – that is my prayer for you. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Olive Garden Copycat Zuppa Toscana Soup

click here for recipe source - photo by yogiclarebear on source page


I love this soup.  And it's got kale in it so that has to count for something, right?  (Or at least balance out the bacon and cream.)  Trust me on this one people - you're gonna love it!!!

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces.
  2. Brown sausage in your soup pot.
  3. Add chicken broth and water to pot and stir.
  4. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot.
  5. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  6. Add bacon.
  7. Salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  9. Turn to low heat.
  10. Add kale and cream.
  11. Heat through and serve.
  12. Pass out from savory soup happiness!  

Monday, January 25, 2016

January Meeting Recap: Embracing Rest


Welcome!

MOPS 2016 is officially underway, and it was so great to see all our mama friends' beautiful faces after the holiday craziness!  This month we talked more about "Embracing Rest", one of the 3 focuses of this year's theme A Fierce Flourishing.  For many of us moms this may be one of our greatest challenges of the new year.  We know we need to care for ourselves so we can be better moms (& humans) but it is soooo easy to put your needs on the back burner.  Read on for a little mom to mom encouragement about how you can Embrace Rest in this new year.



 

Devotional

The lovely Anita shared a devotion with us containing practical strategies we can employ to lessen the feelings of stress and being overwhelmed in our lives and homes.  Because who can embrace rest when you feel like your life is too crazy to relax?  Look for a full post coming soon with Anita's wise advice on how to decrease your stress and increase your joy!

 

 

Speaker

image source
This year MOPS International has supplied us with some awesome video curriculum and this month we were treated to a message from Glennon Doyle Melton, funny/wise/transparent lady and author of the book Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life.  Click here to check out her blog called Momastery.

Glennon started out by contrasting the "valley" and "mountaintop" experiences in our lives.  Everyone longs for the mountaintop but in reality, the air is thin at the top of the mountain and we're hanging on trying to not to fall.  The valley is where you find the water; where growth happens.  Glennon shares 3 "Lessons from the Valley" that she has learned over the years:

1)  We need to find what fills us up.
So often women identify themselves by what they DO (mother, wife, etc.) and by WHO they love and serve, but are unable to answer questions like:  What do I love?  What is beauty to me?  What fills my soul and refreshes me?  When do I take time to fill up?  Our families need us to be strong and we must find what fills us up so that we can pour out to & for them.

2)  Be Still.
Glennon describes a lesson she learned about balance in doing yoga.  She learned that balance is actually 2 pressures pushing in at one time and holding something up.  Our goal should not be a life with no pressure, as that's not actually a life at all.  We need the pressure to hold us up, to give our lives meaning.  But we get out of balance when one pressure (community, family, work) is pushing too hard on us.
Sometimes, when life is hard, we just need to be still.  And then do the next right thing.  We may not be able to see the end, so we just do one thing at a time.  Glennon recounts an experience in a hot yoga class where she broke down saying, "I just want to make it through without running out of here."  This same sentiment applies to our relationships and lives.  Life is a hard journey, and pain means we're about to grow.  We just have to stay in the game and keep doing the next right thing, even if it's only one little thing.

3)  Brokenheartedness is transformational.
Whether our hearts are broken for ourselves or for what someone else is experiencing, being broken hearted takes a lot of energy and it counts.  It counts as love.  It transforms people.  We should not feel obliged or allowed to fix someone's pain.  Most often they just need someone to be there and to walk with them through the valley.

Glennon ended with the reminder that love wins.  We can do hard things.  And we belong together.


Craft

This month's craft was such a fun idea for a family keepsake!  We made several different types of "celebration plates" - special plates to use on birthdays or other days worthy of a little extra celebrating.  Check back soon for a tutorial post on how to create these fun plates!


 

Special Guests

Anderson MOPS has long enjoyed a special relationship with New Covenant Church.  As our previous host church, New Covenant has always been a great support to MOPS.  This month the New Covenant school blessed our socks off!  The fantastic high school kids there came and watched ALL of our kids in MOPPETS!!!  We cannot say enough about these polite and caring teenagers!  If you are looking for a church home or a fantastic preschool and/or K - 12th grade program we strongly encourage you to check them out at newcovschool.net or by clicking here.

THANK YOU SO MUCH New Covenant School!!! 



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Bubble Up


This recipe comes recommended by Margaret and looks delish!  


recipe & photo source


 Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1 (10.75oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1 (12oz) can refrigerated Grands Jr biscuits

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine chicken, soup, sour cream, cheese, Ranch mix, and bacon. Cut each biscuit into 4 pieces. Toss with chicken mixture.

Pour chicken mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly and biscuits are golden brown. 





Thursday, January 7, 2016

December Meeting PHOTO Recap

Only one week before we kick off MOPS for 2016!!!  Yippee!



In the meantime, here's a photo recap of last month's MOPS meeting.  We enjoyed lots of good food, silly reindeer games, crafts, devo & song, and most importantly, time to celebrate together and enjoy this wonderful tribe of mamas!  Here's hoping that 2016 is our best mothering year ever!!!

















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)
Instructions
  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

    Directions:

    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.