May

20

Spicy Sweet Potato Medallions

i’ve got a super quick, healthy, and tasty recipe for you today (and its even a “clean” recipe!):sweet potato text

do not be intimidated by the word “Spicy.”  these aren’t “hot” kind of spicy…just spicy as in super flavorful.

my friend told me about these, and ever since passing along her tips, i cannot stop making them.  my kids devour them like they are candy, but they’ve always been partial to sweet potatoes, so i can’t promise that will happen for you!  but…they are SOO good.

all you need are a few small to medium sweet potatoes (look for ones that aren’t super fat.  they will be harder to cut), some olive oil, kosher salt (i always cook with kosher salt.  i think its so much better than regular salt…except for baking), and some paprika.
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the prep takes 5 minutes cause you don’t have to peel your potatoes.

first off, wash all the dirt off your sweet potatoes and pat dry.  then, keeping the skin on, cut each potato into medallions.  you can see the thickness below.  i don’t cut mine super thin, but they are definitely not thick either.  start on one end and work your way to the other.  i once started in the middle, and it was too hard because i didn’t have much potato to hang onto to while i cut.  so just work your way from one end to the other, and don’t be upset if you can’t make it all the way to the end.  (you’ll understand what i mean when you are cutting.)

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next, line them all up on a foil lined baking sheet.  (i took all these pics after they were already cooked, so they won’t look like this right out of the gate…)DSC_0978 copy

then drizzle the tops with olive oil, then generously sprinkle with kosher salt and paprika.  (sometimes i add more salt too after they are cooked, once i’ve tasted them.)DSC_0988 copythat’s it, people.  SOO easy.  bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.

i like to cook mine until they are soft on the inside, but a with a tiny crisp to the skins.  if you want them crispier, just keep them in the oven longer.  DSC_1002

i usually grab a fork and eat them hot off the pan.  straight out of the oven is the best way to eat them, so cook them right before serving.  DSC_0999 copy

you can even use this same recipe to make sweet potato chips.  just cut them thinner, and cook for longer.

here’s the recipe card for you:sweet potato medallions

3 Comments

May

09

Rainbow Unicorn Party

Bella turned 7 back in March, and before the craziness of our move happened, we were able to fit in a fun celebration.

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i mean…really…what more could a 7 year old want than a combination Rainbow Unicorn Party…well, besides a REAL LIVE unicorn…but after requesting for Christmas a few years back that her Great Grandmother just follow a rainbow to find her a Unicorn at the end of it as her present, she now says real unicorns only exist in Heaven.  but…who says you can’t pretend for a day?  so we combined two of Bella’s favorite things which made for a classic little girl’s birthday celebration.

i realize i am about 2 months late on posting this…is it really already May?  but better late than never.

here are the deets:

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i always feel a fair amount of heartache when planning the food for a party.  i almost feel like i’m poisoning my kiddos and their friends with the amount of artificial JUNK that i serve, and i truly do feel a slight pang in my stomach when i set it all out, but let’s get real people…what kid wants to come to a birthday party where they only serve organic fruits and veggies?  so…i bite the bullet, and let my kids go hog wild on things i would never typically buy.  and i figure we can make up for it later.  and let me tell you…they totally take full advantage.

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these marshmallows were SO stinkin’ easy to make, and super cheap too.  you just stick a large marshmallow on a lollipop stick (if i were to do them again, i’d probably use a shorter stick, like these: Wilton 4 Inch Lollipop Sticks.)  dip the marshmallow very quickly into a bowl of water.  pat it dry on a paper towel, and then cover with colored sanding sugar, like these: Wilton Colored Sugar.  i sprinkled the sugar over every side of the marshmallow, and let the extra fall onto a plate designated for just that color.  then if there were any uncovered parts, i would roll the marshmallow in the leftover sugar.  once i was finished, i poured the sugar back into the jars so there was no waste.  also, i made these the day before, and stored them in a tupperware, but without the lid, and they were perfectly fine the next day.

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the rainbow treats are simply rice krispie treats made with fruity pebbles instead of rice krispies.  i added in extra marshmallows…because i always do!  i think that makes rice krispie treats extra yummy and gooey!DSC_0035 copy

the unicorn horns are Bugles Original Crispy Corn Snacks…remember those?  i forgot how good they are!!  you can find them just about anywhere.

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we used original Skittles as another rainbow snack, but you could use M&M’s too.DSC_0039 copyi seriously contemplated these drink choices for a LONG time.  Kool-aid is pretty much against everything i believe in when it comes to what we do and don’t put in our bodies.  but…i just couldn’t have a party without colorful drinks, and buying all those fruit juices would’ve broken the bank, and i’m pretty sure i couldn’t have gotten a true rainbow from fruit juice.  so i used a combination of different Kool-aid flavors and some Powerade to come up with the perfect rainbow.  they were totally a hit, and after my kiddos drank some of the Kool-aid, i am happy to report that they were not all that impressed.  it really is quite gross, but it sure looks festive!

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the cupcakes were very simple.  i bought this Airheads Extremes Rainbow Candy, and cut each strip in half.  once i frosted the cupcakes in blue frosting, i piped on fluffy clouds with a  star tip, and stuck each end of the candy in the clouds to form an arch.  i found that if i piped more frosting after placing the candy, it tended to stay better.

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and here’s a little tip for you if you want to save some time…i sometimes have my local grocery store make my cupcakes for me, but leave them plain so i can decorate them myself.  saves me the time of having to bake them, and honestly, they are super cheap!  i’ve sometimes even bought the buttercream from them separately, and used their frosting for my own decorations.  really a huge time saver, cause there’s already so much on the to-do list when throwing a party.

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to add some height to the table to display the cupcakes, i wrapped different sized gift boxes in white wrapping paper, and stacked them on top of each other:

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i found rainbow striped party hats at Target, took them apart, and rolled them into a thinner Unicorn horn shape before reattaching the elastic.

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the girls loved them:

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and apparently so did the older brothers:

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while prepping for this party every party, Jake asked when it became commonplace for us to give out gifts at our own child’s birthday party…i told him its all Pinterest’s fault.  not really…i know that practice has been around for a long time, but Pinterest really upped the anti.  it does seem fairly ridiculous…but none the less, i do enjoy a good party favor!

i really really really wanted to give out these Rainbow Unicorn Lollipops, but in an effort to stick to a budget, i was hoping to spend $1.00 or less per favor.  so i picked up a few 8 pack packages of lip gloss at Wal-Mart for about $3.49, and added in some rainbow colored hair ties i found in a big pack at the Dollar Store.  the little boxes were on clearance at Target, and i used clear cellophane treat bags and washi tape to make a fun little package without breaking the bank.

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we had the party at our neighborhood park.  it was the first birthday party i threw that was not in our home (with the exception of a little gathering at McDonalds for Canaan’s 3rd birthday…1 month after Bella was born, but that doesn’t count, cause i was so tired that i can barely remember anything but ordering a few Happy Meals and calling it a day).  i’m not sure i’ll ever do one in my home again!  it was SO nice to not have to get my home ready on top of prepping everything else.  but since it was in the park, and there were 12 little girls and many siblings coming, i thought it might be smart to have multiple activities to keep the fun going.

so we set up a few things in case the girls needed a break from the playground:

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we also wanted to have a few activities planned to play as a group, so we started out with “Unicorns and Ponies.”  its basically played the same way as Sharks and Minnows…once a Pony gets tagged by the Unicorn, they too become a Unicorn and team up to capture other Ponies to turn into Unicorns.  we used the Unicorn Horns to officially turn the Ponies into Unicorns, and to signify who was who.

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we capped off the party with a Piñata.  the original Piñata was actually a Pegasus Piñataand did not have a horn.  but that was nothing that a little pink construction paper and a hot glue gun couldn’t fix.

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The Birthday Girl had a blast, and i’m so glad we were able to fit in a celebration before our move.

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even Berkeley dressed for the occasion, but i think she might’ve been a little ticked that i wouldn’t let her have any Kool-aid.

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wish all of y’all could’ve been there too!

6 Comments

Apr

21

change

hey y’all.

its been a long time…

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here’s a very quick update:

we moved.  it really stunk.  i think i literally touched every item in my house, to either throw it out, give it away, or pack it in a box.  i cried….a lot…the most as i was packing away Berkeley’s nursery, wondering when she (and I) will get to enjoy a nursery again.  i loved that room…

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this move…was totally unexpected and fast.  it just wasn’t in our plan, obviously…otherwise i wouldn’t have spent the last year making that house a home!  but, very thankfully…its not because we lost a job, or lost our ability to pay for our home, or because we have to move out of our current city, or because something terrible happened.  it just happened to not be in our plan RIGHT NOW, but sometimes things that are unplanned happen!  but as its played out, its given us the opportunity to make some decisions for the short term that we are hoping are going to pay off in the long term.  i keep telling myself…short term pain for long term gain.

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so even though its hard…(there’s no other way to put it…can’t sugar coat it…life is sometimes just HARD)…its a good thing we aren’t in control (even if we think we are.)  cause God’s always up to something bigger, and better, even when i can’t see it yet.    and i am learning that i absolutely despise change, especially when i’m not prepared for it…so…oh man…this has been a struggle for me.  so its not all bad, it just makes for an interesting season of nomadic transition :)   so i guess you can say we are on an adventure of sorts.  and because i tell God ALL.THE.TIME that i don’t like adventure, but would prefer a nice, quiet, introverted existence…its kinda ironic that “adventure” is currently my life.

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here are a few things that i’ve learned/am learning so far:

  1. God has gone before us, stands beside us, and journeys with us….every step of the way. I am very grateful for those truths, and they bring me comfort.
  2. EVERYTHING…every.single.solitary thing He does, is for my good. And out of His love FOR ME PERSONALLY. There is zero punishment. Zero condemnation. Its all GOOD. I can trust that, even if I don’t like it all the time.
  3. All this stuff…expectations for life and family and home…none of it really matters in light of Heaven.  it really really really doesn’t…so maybe I can let go a little…or a lot. But….that is super painful…and does not come without a lot of tears and anxiety.
  4. once you pack away all your belongings and put them in storage, you begin to realize 2 things:  1)  you probably have A LOT of stuff, even if you are a purger by nature  2)  you can live without 7/8 of it :)
  5. Maybe the things I fear the most aren’t as scary as I imagine them to be.

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change is hard, no matter how you spin it.  even good change.  and even though i think some good change is coming, i am extremely impatient, and get seriously ticked when it doesn’t come the way i planned it.

i had a vision in the midst of this craziness that i have held onto for comfort.  it was of God standing behind me, with His hands over my eyes.  i couldn’t see a darn thing, but He was leading me to a great big surprise.

y’all…i feel like i’m fumbling around in the dark, and yet there is this little spring of hope in me that something amazing is coming.  and that “something” may be totally different than what i’m expecting…maybe even different than what i’m praying, but its coming.  and i’m praying that there is great JOY in that, even if it isn’t what i might’ve thought.  not irony at all that our family’s life verse is Ephesians 3:20:

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…”

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you’d think by now i’d have learned that His Way is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS way better than mine!!  oh…that i would believe that with everything in me.

okay…now that all that’s off my chest, i can come back and post some fun things…its been heavy around here long enough!


12 Comments