Friday, February 27, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Pizza Edition (Dessert Pizza)

Dessert Pizza
  • 1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sliced banana
  • ½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup sliced kiwi
  • ½ cup mandarin oranges


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Press cookie dough evenly into a giant cookie pan (or a 12” pizza pan).
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  4. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  5. Mix together cream cheese and thawed cool whip and spread over the crust.
  6. Arrange fruit in a decorative pattern.
  7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

The first time I made this, I was in high school in a Nutrition class, since then - I have seen about 50 different variations, but they are all basically the same recipe. This is quick, easy and very versatile! You can use all different types of fruit – whatever your family likes, or whatever is in season. Think about using raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, honey dew melon, pineapple, and apples (to name a few). Use as many or as few different types of fruit as you like! You can even mix some fruit preserves into your cream cheese/cool whip mixture for some added flavor and color or you can sprinkle shredded coconut over the mixture, before you put your fruit on. There are so many ways to make this and all of them are delicious! Also, this is a great in-the-kitchen activity with your kids. Bake the cookie and cut up the fruit, and once it the cookie cools, you can let them do the rest! They will have a blast decorating and arranging the fruit.

I don't have a picture of my own, but I found this picture on line, to give you an example:

Beautiful and delicious! Does it get any better than that?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's Cookie Time!

Ok, so most of you have seen them - those little girls in green - hiding out at every grocery store and post office entrance and at every Wal-Mart in America. They are everywhere! You can't escape them (not that we try really hard to anyway). You know who I mean - the little Girl Scouts. So, you know what that means...It's Cookie Time! As a former "little girl in green", I have to remind everyone what a great organization you are supporting when you are buying girl scout cookies. The Girl Scouts of America were founded in 1912 with the purpose of bringing girls out of their homes and into their community, with other young girls. The organization promotes community service while helping to build courage, confidnce and character. The Girl Scouts help build self-reliant, motivated young women that are active in their homes and in their communities and work toward building a better world. Examples of such women? You probably know a few personally, but some of the more "famous" girls grew into great women with household names. Some of those women include: Barbara Walters of 20/20; singers, Natalie Merchant , Dionne Warwick and Sheryl Crow; political namesakes, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Reagan; former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Astronaut, Jan Davis; Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor, and actresses such as Debbie Reynolds, Blythe Danner, Mary Tyler Moore, Kathleen Turner and Candace Bergen. And these are just the famous women! So, the next time you see these bright young faces - make sure you stop and tell them how great they are doing - and buy some cookies! I remember very cleary our ENTIRE dining room filled with boxes, and boxes, and boxes of cookies. We would call up all of our relatives, neighbors, friends, my parents co-workers and we too stood outside of your grocery store - to make sure we sold enough cookies to make enough money to get us through the year! So give in - you know you want to anyway! They are only $3.50 a box! To find girls selling them in your area, go to the Cookie Site. They come in all these delicious flavors (as if you don't already know them all): Thin Mints: The most enduring and universally familiar Girl Scout cookie. These round, mint-flavored cookies covered with dark chocolate perennially sell the most boxes of any cookie. Thin Mints have never changed their name. Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers both make Thin Mints. Do-Si-Dos® or Peanut Butter Sandwich: A sandwich cookie. The round, bumpy perforated oatmeal cookie top and bottom surrounds a peanut butter-flavored layer inside. Do-Si-Dos® (formerly Gauchos) are baked by Little Brownie Bakers. ABC Bakers calls them Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Trefoils or Shortbread: These shortbread cookies are shaped like the Girl Scout Trefoil design. Scot Teas were a similar, lighter sugar cookie made by the now defunct Burry. These cookies come in a blue box. Little Brownie Bakers calls them Trefoils; ABC Bakers call them Shortbread. Tagalongs® or Peanut Butter Patties®: These are round cookies with a layer of peanut butter on top, and covered in chocolate. These cookies come in a red box. Little Brownie Bakers calls them Tagalongs®; ABC Bakers call them Peanut Butter Patties®. Samoas® or Caramel deLites®: These are round doughnut-shaped cookies about two inches in diameter with a hole in the center, covered in caramel and toasted coconut, and then striped with chocolate. Samoas® are made by Little Brownie Bakers. The ABC version is called Caramel deLites®. Daisy Go Rounds™: Reduced Fat Daisy Go Rounds™ make it easy to snack by doing the calorie counting for you! Each carton contains five ready-to-grab-and-go snack packs full of crispy cinnamon flowers blooming with flavor in every bite; they are made by ABC Bakers. Thanks-A-Lot™: A shortbread cookie with a layer of fudge on the bottom and the words "Thank You" in English, French, Chinese, Swahili or Spanish embossed on the top. Thanks-A-Lots™ have been made by ABC Bakers since 2006 and were preceded by a similar cookie called the Animal Treasure. Lemon Chalet Cremes™: Featuring a design of Our Chalet in Switzerland, a beloved Girl Scout World Center, this sandwich cookie has a touch of cinnamon-ginger spice that evokes the warmth of a fireside chat on a snowy evening; they are made by Little Brownie Bakers. Sugar Free Chocolate Chips: With Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, those who need or prefer sugar free products have a new way to support Girl Scouting — and a scrumptious new snack at bedtime, or any time! They are made by Little Brownie Bakers. Dulce de Leche: New for 2009, and inspired by the classic confections of Latin America, these sweet, indulgent cookies are rich with milk caramel chips and stripes. They come in a turquoise box, and are made by Little Brownie Bakers. Lemonades™: Introduced in 2006, these shortbread cookies are stamped in the shape of a sliced lemon with a tangy lemon icing. They are made by ABC Bakers and come in a yellow box. The Samoas (my favorite) and the shortbreads (Darren's favorite) have already made an appearance in our house!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Family Pictures Continued!

I got the cd with the rest of our family pictures on them, today. Here are a few of my favorites:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Mardi Gras Edition (Pancakes)

I didn't know this, until recently, but in a lot of places - Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is also known as Pancake day - because of the tradition of eating these that day.

In honor of "pancake day", I thought I would share with you my favorite Pancake recipe.

Old-Fashioned Pancakes

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted Directions: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter; mix until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


Favorite Ingredient Friday (Margaritas)

In case you don't already have it on your calendar, this Sunday (February 22nd) is National Margarita day! Can it get any better? Here is a bit of useless information about Margaritas: Tops in 2008. The Margarita was the most popularly ordered drink in 2008, representing 18 percent of all mixed drink sales in the U.S., followed by the Martini, Rum and Coke, Vodka and Tonic, and the Cosmopolitan . We must really be thirsty! On average, Americans consume 185,000 Margaritas per hour. Margarita-Mad Metropolises. Atlanta, Miami, St. Louis and Nashville are among the best major metro cities for the Margarita. Vanilla, Chocolate, or Margarita? The first frozen margarita machine was invented in 1971 and it was based off a soft-serve ice cream machine. We’re Number One! The U.S. is the number one tequila market – larger and more important than Mexico. In honor of Sunday, I decided that I would take the time to post a really great Margarita recipe.
  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 6 fluid ounces tequila
  • 2 fluid ounces triple sec
  • Lime juice
  • Margarita salt
  • Fill blender with crushed ice.
  • Pour in limeade concentrate, tequila and triple sec.
  • Add lime juice, to taste.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Dip the rim of your glass in water, and then into the margarita salt (if desired).
  • Pour into glasses.
  • Garnish your glass with a slice of lime. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Product Review - Method

Last year, a dear friend of mine introduced me to Method products. And I use the term “introduce” loosely. She could single handedly, run their marketing campaign and I really think they should be paying her something for all of her word-of-mouth reviews. Partly just to tell her that I tried them, I gave in thinking I will wince when I go to check out and the products are more expensive and I will go back to my works-just-as-well-and-it’s-a-lot-cheaper products. I was wrong! I’m in love. Don’t get me wrong, I would still love for the products to be cheaper, but these are really great products that are made with naturally derived surfactants, so they are safe for your family. There are no chemicals and dangerous toxins so that means – they are 100% safe for your children and your pets. (Moms, this means that your kids can help you clean and you don’t have to worry about them inhaling or ingesting anything that will hurt them)! Method’s cleaning formulas contain biodegradable ingredients derived from natural materials like soy, coconut and palm oils and their product packaging is made from the most readily recyclable materials. The CO2 emissions from their employee’s commute and travel to work, are offset with carbon credits and the energy used in their manufacturing sites and offices are from renewable energy credits. They never test products on animals, which is big in my book! They have the neatest packaging designs – they design art, not just cleaners and best of all – they have some really great scents. They mimic scents of flowers, fruits and herbs so your house smells fresh and natural, and not like chemicals. I thought that Darren would flip out that I was paying more for something that I was already getting, cheaper but he listened to all the great things about them, and decided that we would give a few things a try. I loaded him up in the car and we ran over to our local Target (they only place I have found Method products, besides the internet). We walked into the cleaning aisle and he said “we should try this one” and “ooh, we should try that one” and before you know it – I had half a basket full of Method products! Some things I have noticed while using them? They smell great! Seriously! They don’t bother Darren’s allergies, like other products I was using. I am not a psycho about locking the dog outside to make sure everything dries before she gets inside. My laundry is really clean and fresh! I have big issues with laundry detergent (and soap) irritating my skin. I get all red and itchy when I use fragranced soaps and detergents so I was REALLY leery about trying a new detergent, but guess what? It’s fabulous! Honestly! I pay $14.99 for a container of detergent that will wash 64 loads (not much of a price difference from Tide) and I won’t buy any other kind of detergent – I am hooked! Here are some of the products that I am using: hand soap (I like the Go Naked and Darren likes the Cucumber); hand sanitizer (I'm using Sweet Water); dishwasher tabs; daily shower spray; toilet bowl cleaner; wood cleaner; air freshener; scented plug ins; dryer sheets; and my absolute favorite... their laundry detergent. They even have baby laundry detergent if you want the "green" version of Dreft. The same dear friend that introduced me to these products, recently had a new baby. As a small gift, I headed over to Babys R Us and bought their Method Baby Gift Set. She reviewed the gift set on her blog, last month. Give them a try! You'll love them, as much as I do, I'm sure!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Creatures of Habit

I sometimes wish I was this free-spirited, spontaneous woman that went whichever way the wind blew – you know, like so many other people are. Not. The movies and television make spontaneity this grand idea that everyone is partaking in (except you). This morning, on the way to work – it suddenly hit me – we are ALL creatures of habit. Whether you want to admit it or not – we are. As I drive to work, traveling down the same roads, at the same time, in the same car – every day, I have become “familiar” with my fellow road-inhabitants. I “go to work” with the same people every morning, and although they aren’t the same people I come home with, I do come home with the same people most every evening. It’s funny to realize that you are running late, or someone in your “group” is running late – when you don’t see all of the same people (doing all of the same things) as you do every other day. This morning, as I sat at a red light (the same one I sit at every morning) – I start looking around and notice that all the people around me are doing the same things they do EVERY SINGLE DAY. The guy in a red dodge neon, working on his crossword (in pen, I might add); the man in the silver Mercedes, pulling out of Starbucks, just like he does every morning; the girl in the big black ford truck, reading a book; the young girl in the mustang that looks like she should be in high school, putting on her make-up; the couple in the minivan, behind me, laughing and talking as usual and me – people watching! Isn’t it funny? I don’t know why I thought it was so humorous, but I see these same people, every work day, at the same time, on the same street, doing the EXACT SAME THING! I suppose spontaneity isn’t all its cracked up to be!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Favorite Ingredient Friday - Valentine's Day Chocolate Edition

Ok, so I realize I am a couple of days late, but things were entirely too busy on Friday for me to get this posted, so here it is today:

I made this dessert, for the guys at my work one day and the WHOLE thing was gone before 9am! A few weeks later, I made it for a cookout that Darren and I went to at a friend's house. It was a big hit there as well. This is super easy, very quick to make and absolutely delicious! Give it a try.
Chocolate Trifle
  1. 1 package fudge brownie mix
  2. 1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  3. ½ cup water
  4. 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  5. 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  6. 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  7. 1 chocolate bar


  • Prepare fudge brownie mix according to package directions and cool completely.
  • Cut into 1 inch squares.
  • In a large bowl, combine pudding mix, water and sweetened condensed milk.
  • Mix until smooth, then fold in 8 ounces whipped topping until no streaks remain.
  • In a trifle bowl or glass serving dish, place half of the brownies, half of the pudding mixture and half of the 12 ounce container of whipped topping.
  • Repeat layers.
  • Shave chocolate onto top layer for garnish.
  • Refrigerate 8 hours before serving.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Family Pictures!

This morning we met with Melissa Brewer of Snapped With Love Photography to take some new family pictures. We had a great time! Melissa is a very talented photographer and is really great to work with. We were so excited when she posted a few "preview" photos on her blog. We had to share them with y'all! Be sure to contact her the next time you are in the market for a photographer - she does great work. Just see for yourself! The Fountains!
We both think that this is a really cool picture!
Since we forgot a "ring" picture on our wedding day - I am glad I got one today. I love this one!
I think this is my favorite one! I love this man!!
This is Darren's favorite.
We love these next two! Look at our precious baby!
She is just a doll - such a sweet dog. Coco and her daddy - watching the ducks.
Our "baby" Coco!
How cute is this?
Like I said, we had a great time and Melissa takes great pictures. Don't forget to check her out!