Monday, July 25, 2011

Pepperoni Rolls

Many, many years ago, a friend served up some delicious pepperoni stuffed rolls at a get together I attended. I believe I asked for the recipe, but for whatever reason, she did not want to part with the recipe. I always wondered how she made them. Over the years, I kept telling myself I was going to try and figure it out. Well, last week, I did just that. This may not be a new recipe to some folks out there, but this was the first time I had ever attempted it. It's super easy and was a HUGE hit with the whole family!

Here is what you will need:

Frozen dinner roll dough
Pepperoni slices, chopped into small pieces
Grated mozzarella cheese
Pizza sauce
1/4 c. Butter, melted
1/2 tsp. Garlic powder
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Place frozen dough on a cookie sheet sprayed generously with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, that has also been sprayed generously with cooking spray. Allow dough to rise for approx. 3 hours. The dough will be very puffy (see picture above). (Note: try not to place dough balls too close together or they will "grow" together and be harder to get apart for the next step).

2. Take one roll and pull it out, stretching it out in all directions. It will flatten it out.

3. Place 1-2 tablespoons of pepperoni pieces in the center of the dough.

4. Next, top with 1-2 tablespoons of grated mozzarella cheese.

5. Now take the edges of the dough and fold them over the filling. Squeeze the edges together, sealing them closed.

6. It will look like this. (Sorry for the blurry pictures. I'm not a good one-handed photographer!)

7. Place all the rolls in a greased casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap. Allow rolls to rise one hour.

8. Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Rolls should be golden brown.

9. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter, mixed with garlic powder. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Allow to cool approx. 5-7 minutes.

Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.

I plan on experimenting with other pizza toppings. The possibilities are endless! This would also be a fun meal time activity for kids to help with, as well. Enjoy!

Where have I been???

Hello everyone. It's been way too long since I posted anything on my blog. I guess I've been caught up in all the "activities of life." I spent nearly 2 weeks prepping for and recovering from a garage sale. Note to self: Do not plan any more garage sales in the month of July! It was just way too hot! Sales were good up until mid-morning. I think all the bargain shoppers had decided it was too hot to get out as well! But, we did manage to get rid of a lot of "stuff." My closets look great and my garage has never been so clean! Everything that didn't sell, we donated to a local store where the proceeds will benefit the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.

Now my mind is buzzing with ideas for Back-To-School teacher gifts. So, stay tuned for that post, coming soon! I am also going to be having a Cleverly Creative Girl inventory sale. I've got several buckets, jars and miscellaneous items that I'd like to clear out (so I can have my dining room back!).

Well, that's all for now. Just wanted to let you know where I've been and what's to come. I may post a recipe later today, as well. Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not just a batch of cookies...

Memories. Life is full of them. When I was young, one of my favorite things to do was to help my mom bake up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I remember sneaking spoonfuls (or maybe "finger-fulls") of the yummy dough when mom wasn't looking. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the oven and watching the dough magically transform into cookies! I remember how good it made the house smell and how I couldn't wait for them to come out of the oven so I could snatch one up while it was still hot.

Now I'm the mom that's making, or should I say "baking," up some memories with my kiddos. Today I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. Amazing how something so simple brings such pleasure to the life of my children.

Josh enjoying the cookie dough

To some people, it might seem like I am just baking cookies. But, hopefully, when my kids are older, they will look back on days like today, when all we did was make a batch of cookies, and remember the smells, the tastes, laughter and hopefully the love that went into making the cookies. Time and time again, I am reminded that life is short. We only have our children for a short time before they go off into the world and hopefully carry our legacy with them. A legacy of love, life lessons, laughter and most importantly, faith.

It seems as though the days of summer are flying by and soon school will start again. The daily "rat race" of activities and responsibilities will be upon us. Deep sigh. My kids are growing up so fast. I wonder if I'm doing all I can to prepare them for this ever-changing world. Can we ever do enough? We simply must do our best, day to day. I baked cookies. Cookies that will not only fill up their tummies, but also their hearts and minds with memories of time spent with their mom. Nothing fancy. Just a batch of homemade cookies...

Have you baked up a memory lately?

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

2 sticks butter or margarine, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. In a large mixer, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.
2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until mixed in.
3. Add flour, soda and salt a little at a time, until fully incorporated.
4. Add bag of chocolate chips and mix well.
5. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
6. Bake at 350 for approx. 13 minutes or until lightly golden.
7. Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Arkansas Sales Tax Holiday!!!

Attention Shoppers!! Grab your wallets and your purses! Arkansas is FINALLY have a sales tax holiday!! And it's just in time for all those Back-To-School purchases! Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 6th and Sunday, August 7th.

Here's the info:

Arkansas will hold its first annual sales tax holiday, beginning Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. and ending the Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.. State and local sales tax will not be collected during this 48-hour period on the sale of: (1) Clothing and footwear if the sales price is less than one hundred dollars ($100) per item; (2) Clothing accessories and equipment if the sales price is less than fifty dollars ($50) per item; (3) School supplies; (4) School art supplies; and (5) School instructional materials.

Use this link to see the extensive list of items that qualify for the sales tax holiday.

For more information, contact a customer service representative by phone Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (501) 682-7104.

Happy Shopping! =)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sausage & Egg Casserole

Everyone loves a good, quick breakfast casserole and this recipe has become a favorite in our household. I changed up the original recipe a bit to suit our family's taste. It's great for breakfast, brunch or even "breakfast for dinner" nights.

What you will need:

6 slices white bread, cut into bite-size pieces
1 lb. bulk sausage (I use Jimmy Dean mild sausage)
1 bag frozen bell peppers and onions mix (I use Kroger brand 3-pepper and onion), chopped
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt (I think I use less)
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Fry sausage and (chopped) bell pepper/onion mixture in large skillet. Drain off grease.

3. Place bread pieces in bottom of 9x13 casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

4. Top with cooked sausage and pepper/onion mixture.

5. Add cheese on top of sausage mixture.

6. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper with whisk until well blended. Pour over all the ingredients in your casserole dish.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until casserole is lightly browned and the center is set.

8. Serve hot with fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Note: When it comes out of the oven, it will be puffed up. As it cools it will "deflate" a bit, but it still tastes great.

(In the future, I plan to try this recipe and substitute shredded hashbrowns for the bread. I haven't tried it yet, but I think it would be great!)

Happy Breakfast!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Let's Party!

One thing I LOVE to do is throw a fun party! In this case, it was my daughter's birthday. She decided to have a pool party and go with a Hawaiian theme. Thankfully the weather cooperated. I was worried because the day before the party, it rained all day! But, we had bright sunshine and HOT temperatures...perfect for a pool party.

Now normally when I plan a party, I plan it for weeks and have ev
erything ready to go, but this time was different. Due to scheduling issues with the pool, the party had to be 2 days after we got back from vacation! Yikes! (Note to self: don't plan a party for 2 days after you get back from a trip!) But, you do what you gotta do and it all turned out fine. Of course the perfectionist in me wanted to do so much more, but there just wasn't time. All in all, I think it turned out well and everyone seemed to have a good time. I thought I would go ahead and share some of my decorating ideas with you from the party. Nothing too fancy, mind you. Just "festive."

Here is a quick door sign I made. I literally whipped it up in a few minutes. I simply used a 12x16 canvas board, taped off areas to paint different colors, added polka dots with a large round sponge brush and added "Happy Birthday" in black vinyl letters that I cut with my Silhouette. Then I just added a ribbon to the back to use as a door hanger. The bright colors show up great from the street. I hung it out there a few days before the actual party. I chose not to put her name on the sign, so that I can reuse the sign for each family members' birthday week.

My next project was to try my hand at making tissue paper flower balls. I had never made them before, so decided to Google it and I found several You Tube videos that showed me exactly what to do. I tried to find the video tutorial that I used, but I was unable to find that specific one again. But, any tutorial you find will give you the instructions that you need. I used 10 sheets of tissue paper to make mine nice and full and I cut the edges of mine to a point (while still folded together), for a fun look. They were a little time consuming to make, but I just love what they added to the decor.

Having thrown several luau/Hawaiian themed parties in the past, I have lots of serving pieces, linens, etc that fit that theme. Which was good, since I was on a tight budge for this party! The grass skirt under the table cloth is actually a twin size bed skirt that goes with some Hawaiian bedding my daughter used to use when she was younger. It's the perfect size for my island! The "table cloth" is actually the twin flat sheet from the same bedding set. Yes, I said bed sheet! Why not? It had the perfect design and I already had it on hand.

I always like to try and challenge myself to see how much I can use from what I already have. I also kind of like the "mix and match" look. Nothing to "matchy-matchy." When I buy serving pieces, bowls, baskets, cloth napkins, etc, I try to buy things in fun colors that will work for a number of holidays or themes. I especially love reds, pinks, lime green and oranges. I love to use baskets with cloth napkins in them for serving pieces, especially for chips, bread, silverware or napkin holders, etc. The fun floral plates on the island came from Target years ago, and actually belonged to my sister-in-law, Terri. She put them in a garage sale we were having together and I snatched them up. I already have a hot pink set, but I knew the white set would come in handy too! (I know, I think I have a dish fetish!!) I'm sorry that the rest of the decorations/serving pieces didn't show up well in my pictures. Don't you hate it when you think you take enough pictures and you discover after the fact, that you didn't!!

Other fun serving pieces are buckets. Buckets in all sizes and colors. This little orange bucket came from the dollar spot at Target. (Love the dollar spot!) I simply added a hot pink and orange gingham cloth napkin and some bright turquoise plastic flatware for a splash of color.

I also love my white ribbon plate! I got it years ago, back when I was a Southern Living at Home rep. I wrapped a variety of pattern ribbons around the edge through the years. It's just such a fun plate and you can use dry erase markers to write a greeting or your menu. Too fun. Everyone should have one!

For party favors for the girls, I bought these fun tumblers at Target and used orange vinyl to put the girls' names on the cups. Then my daughter simply filled them with some of her favorite candy. Easy-peasy!

I didn't make the cake this time, but it was so cute, I thought I would show it to you anyway. Normally I made petite fours for my daughter's birthday, but I knew that just wasn't in the cards for this party. Thankfully she was fine with that and we happened to find this cake at Sam's that was perfect for our theme. It was so good and easy on the budget, too! Sweet!

Well, that's all I have for now. Like I said, this party was a little scaled back from what I normally like to do, but everyone seemed to have a good time. I hope you found this helpful and that perhaps you were able to get a few ideas from it. Thanks for taking the time to ready my post.

Have a great day,