New Year’s Day 2013

Happy New Year!!

It’s the New Year, and I hope it’s a great 2013 for everyone!

Every New Year’s Day so many of us are full of resolutions, new hopes, and new beginnings.

My hope for 2013 is to bring you more of the same type of simple food and simple living tips, and LOTS of NEW things as well.

This blog is going to see several revisions this year. I hope to keep tweeking it like a fine-tuned machine. Stay tuned… :)

I truly hope it’s a great 2013 for everyone.

I really think it might just be a great year!

Let me know what you think about the upcoming year. I always love the emails and comments I get from all of you!

Megamommy ѽ

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New Year’s Eve 2012

Well here we are on New Year’s Eve 2012!

As I have said many times, I’m not paid by anybody to promote anything.

I like talking about things that I feel are worth talking about!

So today, my son and I went to see TONIC SOL FA  perform at their last show of the year for 2012, don’t worry they have lots of shows planned for 2013. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are an all-male a cappella group from the area.

Before you dismiss them because they’re an a capella group. Please hear me out. They are a lot of fun to see, and their music is a nice repertoire of pop-music and their own original songs.

TONIC SOL-FA is fun to watch, they sound awesome, and they are just plain old G-R-E-A-T!

Their CDs have sold over 1,000,000 copies, and the group has toured throughout the US and abroad. Check out their website TONIC SOL FA for all their accolades, there are many.

So when it’s that time of the year in your neck of the woods, and you hear the name Tonic Sol-Fa, consider going to see them. It’s a great show for all ages! :)

Be safe & have a fun New Year’s Eve everyone!

 

Megamommy ѽ

 

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Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Igredients for Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes @ Megamommy.com

So, after being accused of not making cupcakes in forever, (which translates into about a whole week, maybe two if you have kids), I decided to make these simple little cupcakes.

When I opened my frdige the first thing I saw was a Cherry Coca Cola, so I thought to myself Cherry and Chocolate it is!

Ingredients for Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes @ Megamommy.com

Here are your basic Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcake ingredients.

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I followed the instructions on the back of the cake box, only instead of water I substituted Cherry Coca-Cola for the water, and I added about 2 Tbsp. of maraschino cherry juice. If you don’t have a jar of maraschino cherries, don’t sweat it, simply add 1/2 tsp of cherry extract to the cake batter.

Megamommy.com

Two things I wanted to share with you guys. First, I thought these Life Saver Gummies – Wild Berries would be a great garnish, because of their flavor and color. If you’ve never had them before, they’re delicious!

Second, you can see here I used the smaller size Duncan Hines Devil’s Food Cake Mix. I really like the 9 oz. size when I want to make a fun dessert for the kids but I don’t too much of it.

Just like the regular size mix they go on sale all the time! Ounce per ounce the regular size cake mix is always going to a better deal, but there are times where the smaller mixes come in handy.

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 I also added just a few sprinkles before garnishing them with the Life Saver Gummies – Wild Berries.

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes @ Megamommy.com

Ready to dig in?

Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Ingredients

1 (9 ounce) box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1/2 cup Cherry Coca-Cola

1/4 cup canola oil

2 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice or 1/2 tsp. cherry extract

2 large eggs

1/4 cup butter, softened but not metled

1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tablespoons of same Cherry Coca-Cola

Garnish: rainbow sprinkles & Life Saver Gummies – Wild Berries or any garnish you prefer

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners (I usually spray those with nonstick spray), or spray muffin cups with nonstick spray.

2. Blend dry mix, Cherry Coca Cola, oil, and eggs in a large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Scrape down sides, and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into muffin cups, distributing evenly.

3. Bake for apx. 20 minutes; be sure not to over bake. Cool in pan, on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Directions

1. In a large bowl, beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until nice and creamy. Add powdered sugar and cola, beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes.

The cherry flavor in the butter cream frosting is going to be very light. If you want a stronger cherry flavor you can either add cherry extract, add only 1/4 of a teaspoon at a time, or you can simply go with the Duncan Hines canned frosting starter and add a packet of cherry almond frosting creations flavor mix.

2. Garnish with sprinkles and gummies, or any other garnish, if desired.

One more thing my taste testers are funny when it comes to anything cherry flavored. They say they like it, but they want it light. This cupcake and frosting are both very light, I could easily make them heavier, but after coming off of Christmas I thought light would be nice.

Here are the comments of my Taste Testers:

Taste Tester 1 – The cupcake is light and moist and the frosting seems to be perfect! BUT I wanted something heavier. On a scale of 1-10, I rate these a 9.

Taste Tester 2 – Both the cupcake and frosting are great! Do you have any heavy goopy frosting to pour on there? I rate these a solid 8.5.

Taste Tester 3 – There aren’t any chunks of fruit, right? Not bad for something with cherry in the title. I rate these a 9. Next time no fancy frosting, give us the cheap stuff out of the can.

That’s my panel of taste testers, gotta’ love ’em. :)

This recipe can easily be made with a regular size cake mix, simply follow the back of the box for the exact amounts. Remembering to substitute the Cherry Coca-Cola for the water.

I’ve made this recipe many times, many different ways, and whether you make cupcakes or cake in a pan it turns out great!

Megamommy ѽ

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Chocolate-Banana Pudding Parfaits

Basic Ingredients for Chocolate-Banana Pudding Parfaits @ Megamommy.com

Chocolate Banana Pudding Parfaits @ Megamommy.com

Pudding Parfaits are a great dessert no matter who you are!

In the summer I like to do lighter parfaits with lots of great summer flavors, and in the winter I usually go with something a little heavier. This isn’t my usual winter combo, but I will be honest with you – I have had enough mint, mocha and gingerbread to last my a very long time.

Basic Ingredients for Chocolate-Banana Pudding Parfaits @ Megamommy.com

Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need to prepare these delights. I knew I wanted to make a soft and chewy cookie for the bottom layer of the parfaits. I took a dry sugar cookie mix and added a box of dry french vanilla instant pudding, then the butter and egg, as called for on the back of the package.

soft & chewy sugar cookies made in just minutes @ Megamommy.com

The cookies came out exactly how I wanted them to, soft and chewy, because of the pudding. You could barely taste the french vanilla flavor from the pudding, but they were still very good.

Pudding parfaits are a great way to stretch a dollar, create a unique dessert, and best of all the possibilities are endless!

I like to garnish the top with just a little bit of whip cream and a little crumbled cookie. It just seems to make it more exciting. :)

Chocolate-Banana Pudding Parfaits

Ingredients

Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding

Lo-Fat Milk (I use 1% because my kids drink it)

Sugar Cookies, be sure to save one or two for garnish, (I made my own, but any will do)

Bananas (I go about 1/2 a banana per person, you could easily go with less)

Whip Cream, Cool Whip or Rhedi-Whip, as desired

Directions

1. Pour 1 package (4-serving size) Instant Chocolate Pudding in medium bowl, add 2 cups of cold milk. Beat with wire whisk for about 2 minutes, or until well blended. This step is optional, gently fold in about a half a cup of whip cream, Cool Whip, or Rhedi-Whip. It doesn’t have to be exact.

2. I usually get six average size parfaits, or four large parfaits if you have big eaters coming for dinner. For a family use six parfait cups, if it’s your college age son and some of his buddies, you may want to go with four. It’s your call.

3. Crumble one or two sugar cookies in the bottom of your parfait glass. Then add the banana, be sure to slice it into pieces, then add the pudding, as is.

4. Now my favorite part. Garnish the top with a dollop of topping, whatever kind your family like, a little bit of crumbled cookie, and any type of sprinkle or other topping you would like to add.

5. Cover and place in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. The colder they are, the better they are when you serve.

* Note: If it’s going to be more than a few hours before you serve the pudding parfaits, simply cover and place in the fridge to get nice and cold, and garnish just before serving.

 

Megamommy ѽ

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December 25, 2012 (Christmas Day)

Fresh apples from our Orchard
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here’s a little fun fact right up my tree, so to speak.

Did you know the earliest Christmas tree decorations were apples? That’s right apples! At Christmas time, medieval actors would use apples to decorate paradise trees (of course they were usually fir trees) during “Paradise Plays,” which were plays depicting Adam and Eve’s creation and fall.

Happy Holidays!

From our family to yours, have a safe and merry holiday!

Megamommy ѽ

Source: randomhistory.com

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Baked Minty Double Cookie

minty double cookie in skillet

If you follow the food blogs at all, you know that there are stuffed cookies, brownies, bars, well stuffed everything all over the place right now.

There are a lot of really great ideas out there right now! So I thought I would do my own thing with this simple little goodie. Well that and the fact that I have three very different palates to try and please with this dessert.

Normally this cookie doesn’t crack like you see in the photo.

But I had a kitchen mishap and therefore the cracks. :(

It was perfect when it came out of the oven!

Here’s a photo of the ingredients you will need for my super easy Baked Mint Double Cookie.

Prepare the the Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Dough according to the instructions on the back of the package. Then press the dough into the bottom of a 12″ skillet. I sprayed my skillet with cooking spray, even though it’s a non-stick skillet, because I spray just about everything. Of course, the dough pressed into the skillet before it goes in the oven.

This is very important – most quality cooking skillets are oven safe up to 450 degrees. However, you do need to know if your skillet is oven safe or not.

If it is oven safe, simply wrap the handle(s) with aluminum foil and you should be fine.

You can certainly use your own home-made cookie dough which, I usually do. But tonight I only had a few extra minutes before dinner so I needed something simple, delicious and not too time consuming.

The whole Baked Minty Double Cookie warm and golden brown. Yummy!

Be sure to let the whole thing cool before you slice and serve. Enjoy.  :)

Baked Minty Double Cookie

Igredients   

1 bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix + plus the butter and egg called for on the back of the package

1 bag Betty Crocker Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix + plus the butter and egg called for on the back of the package

1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup Mint Chocolate Holiday M&M’s

* The Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix appears to be a seasonal item from Betty Crocker. I saw the mix last week when I was in Target, it was on sale, and of course I had a coupon, so I thought I would try it.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 12 inch skillet with cooking spray, or simply use a non-stick skillet. Remember to wrap any handles or such in aluminum foil if need be.

2. In two separate bowls prepare each of the cookie mixes according to the instructions on the package.

3. Press the sugar cookie dough into bottom of skillet. Top with the semi sweet chocolate chips and the mint M&M’s. Press those into the sugar cookie dough slightly.

4. Press the prepared Mint Chocolate Chip mix evenly over the entire mixture. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until nice and golden brown and baked all the way through. Be sure not to over-bake. Let cool completely before cutting into wedges and serving.

Yield: 8-12 Servings

Remember wedges will be thicker because it’s a double cookie.

Megamommy ѽ

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Hot Cocoa 3 Musketeers Cupcakes

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes Close Up

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So a couple of weeks ago, I was in Target checking out the seasonal section of course, and I saw Hot Cocoa Flavor 3 Musketeers, sounds yummy right?

Of course they are delicious! :)

You know how some people just gravitate towards anything super chocolaty? I think we all have at least one of those people in our lives. For me it’s my youngest son. If It’s chocolaty, rich and/or gooey he loves it!

I knew right away what I was going to do with these little delights. I just had to make him some yummy chocolaty cupcakes.

With all the wonderful food bloggers out there, I’m sure there are a million bloggers that have done exactly what I’m doing here. But oh well, what’s a girl to do? I just wanted to make a simple & delicious dessert for my son.

Megamommy.com

Here are most of your basic cupcakes ingredients. Sorry I forgot a few. If you can’t find the Kemp’s Hot Chocolate Flavored milk don’t sweat it, either use regular chocolate milk, or even water like it calls for on the back of the cake mix.

Hot Cocoa 3 Musketeers Cupcakes

Ingredients: 1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix – any brand will do, I used Betty Crocker Chocolate Flavored Milk, if available, if not use any chocolate milk or water – use amount called for on the back of the cake mix Vegetable Oil – amount called for on back of cake mix package Eggs – called for on back of cake mix package Chocolate Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting: 2 cups butter, softened 2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar 1 (13 ounce jar) marshmallow cream 1 packet dry hot chocolate mix, any variety Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffins pans with about 20 liners. Usually, I get about 20, but it does vary. Set mixture aside. 2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, using Hot Chocolate Flavored Milk in place of water, if desired. 3. Pour small amount of batter into each of the muffin cups, filling just the bottom. Place one unwrapped candy in the center of each muffin cup and finish filling with cake batter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. 4. Bake for approx. 17-21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely. 5. While cupcakes are cooling, cream butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer or stand mixer until butter is soft and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time; beat in packet of dry hot chocolate mix. Gently fold the marshmallow creme into the frosting until thoroughly incorporated. The chocolate flavor of this frosting is very light; that was my goal for these cupcakes. Feel free to go as heavy as you want to. 6. Pipe or spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Garnish with marshmallow bits. You may need to press some of the marshmallow bits in a little to get them to cling to the top of the cupcake. Don’t push too hard or they will sink deep into the buttercream frosting. Store cupcakes in airtight containers at room temperature or in the fridge.

 These cupcakes were very good! Sometimes the flavors of the seasonal candies are kind of strange. No worries, the flavor of the Hot Cocoa and Marshmallow 3 Musketeers is not that different than a regular 3 Musketeers, so you’re safe there.

If someone in your house doesn’t really care for marshmallows, you can always garnish these with just a piece of Fun Size 3 Musketeers on top. The opposite is true as well, if you have someone that loves marshmallows simply add some of the marshmallow bits to your batter as well.

I hope you enjoy this simple delicious recipe as much as we did. :)

 Megamommy ѽ

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Macaroni & Cheese with Tuna

Ingredients for Kids Love it Tuna, Mac & Cheese

Friday night is usually Kids Night at our house. What that means is, I try to make them something kid friendly that I know they like. Kids love having a night that they feel is their own!

Although we love pizza here, rarely do I make them pizza ONLY because they have pizza at school at least once a week, sometimes twice. That’s every single week! Enough with the pizza already…

Which brings me to this quick and easy meal, perfect for the kids. Basically, one night I needed something quick and easy and went with what we had in the cupboard. Now my kids love this one every time I make it! This dish is also very good with canned salmon if you have salmon lovers at your house.

I used these basic ingredients, although for the shredded cheese I just go with whatever I have on hand. You can’t see it well, but this time around I used Kraft Triple Cheddar.

Here it is hot & bubbly right out of the oven. Personally I prefer Panko bread crumbs on top, but the kids love the goldfish. :) Oh, tonight I didn’t add the peas, because the kids had a fruit instead of a vegetable.

Tonight’s meal for Kids Night – Macaroni & Cheese with Tuna, Mandarin Oranges, and a piece of Wheat Baguette.

Macarnoi & Cheese with Tuna

Ingredients:

1 Box of Macaroni & Cheese (7.25 oz.), any brand will do

1 can ( 5 oz.) tuna, drained – we like the solid white, or like I said you could use canned salmon if you prefer

1 cup frozen peas, or other vegetable (optional)

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup reduced-fat milk (1% or 2%)

* Small Amount of Extra Cheese

* Extra Cheddar Goldfish or Seasoned Dry Breadcrumbs

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Microwave peas for enough time to defrost them. They don’t need to be hot, just make sure they are no longer frozen in the middle.

3. Cook the pasta from the macaroni & cheese according to the package instructions. Drain as usual; return to same pot pasta was cooked in. Stir in the drained can of tuna and 1 cup of peas, add 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup (2%) reduced-fat milk and packet of cheese sauce mix. Stir until butter and sauce mix are melted and there are no lumps. I always add extra milk to macaroni & cheese because that’s the way we like it here. Be careful here, add the milk 1 Tablespoon at a time, until creamy.

4. You can either serve the Macaroni & Cheese immediately OR give it a few special touches. If you want to add a little extra love spoon the mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with a few handfuls of cheddar goldfish and just a handful or two of cheese.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees, or until nice and bubbly. It shouldn’t take any more than 10 minutes for it to get nice and bubbly.

 

Makes 4 servings.

I would love to know what you guys think of this one. If you get a chance please send me an email, or post a comment.

 

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Beefy (Ramen) Noodles

Beefy-Ramen-Noodles @ Megamommy.com

Ingredients for Beefy Ramen Noodles

Have I mentioned that on Friday we often do Kids Night at our house? Well we do. Although we give the kids their own night once a week it doesn’t have to mean chicken nuggets and “white processed” food. This is a very simple dish that kids usually seem to like.

For the vegetables I really like the Green Giant boxed vegetables. The flavor is always very, very good. Pick whatever flavor your kids will eat! I realize these aren’t exactly 2 cups of of vegetables, but they’re in that general ballpark.

But of course, use whatever vegetable blend your family likes and your kids will eat. Tonight I used the Green Bean Steamers, they were also very good.

Pagoda Mini Chicken Egg Rolls are great with this meal!

If you can get your kids to eat an eggroll with this, even better. My kids love egg rolls! I throw a pack of eggrolls in the oven while I’m making this and the two usually seem to be done about the same time.

Most kids love this Mini Egg Roll size. Give them a try when they go on sale. Plus you’re getting a little more veggie in your kids with the eggrolls.

As a mom I strongly urge you to always buy reduced-sodium soy sauce, and always make sure the soy sauce has a top controlled top for the amount that comes out! A little soy sauce goes a long way.

Let’s just say “just a little soy sauce” seems to be a mystery concept to kids so help them out, make it easy for them. :)

Beefy-Ramen-Noodles @ Megamommy.com

Beefy (Ramen) Noodles  

Ingredients

8 ounces lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken

1 onion, chopped

garlic powder and black or white pepper, to taste

3 – 3 ounce packages of Beef Ramen Noodles (if you go wtih ground chicken or ground turkey you may want to use Chicken Ramen Noodles

2 cups thawed frozen vegetables – any variety you like

 

Instructions

1. Brown 8 ounces ground beef and 1 chopped onion together in a large skillet. If you like garlic you can grate a garlic clove or two in there also, or simply use garlic powder to your liking, not garlic salt.

2. While the meat and onion are browning crumble the noodles from three 3-ounce packages beef-flavor ramen noodles. I usually break each pack of noodles into fours, it doesn’t have to be perfect, the idea is just to break up the noodles a little bit.

3. In same skillet, add 3-3/4 cups water; bring to a boil. Add seasoning packets and 2 cups thawed frozen vegetables. Rarely do I use the seasoning packets that come with Ramen noodles, but it works for this dish.

4. Once the vegetables are added, simmer the entire mixture for about 3 minutes; uncover and simmer for another 3 minutes or until the liquid mostly evaporates and noodles are tender. Remember you just want to simmer (don’t boil) the mixture, making sure the noodles are the right consistency, and the vegetables are heated through.

 

Megamommy ѽ

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Quick & Easy Corn Bread

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Quick and Easy Cornbread…so yummy. :)

This is probably the easiest corn bread recipe you will ever find! This cornbread has a nice sweet flavor and great texture.

Of course like any other recipe you can jazz it up by ending a little shredded Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar, jalapenos, or anything else you would like to.

The thing I like best about this recipe is that both of the main ingredients are fairly inexpensive and can easily be worked into a food budget.

Quick & Easy Corn Bread fresh out of the oven!

Quick and Easy Corn Bread

8-1/2 ounce package corn bread/muffin mix

8-1/2 package yellow cake mix

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour batter into a greased 9 X 13 -inch pan.

Bake approximately 15-20 minutes, or until done.  Cut into squares and serve warm.

Source: Adapted from 101 Things To Do With a Cake Mix by Stephanie Ashcraft

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Super Sunday

A Special Quote for Day 1

“Be content with what you have. Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

I’m not big on quotes or speeches, but there are some that speak to all of us, no matter who we are, or where we’re at in life.

I believe this is one of them!

oriental lily detail

Enjoy your day & hope to year from you soon.:)

 

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November – Let the Blogging Begin!

maltese_puppy-1280x800

Every year November rolls around and I realize yet again, I’m not a fan of November. I’m not sure why I dislike November so much, but I do!

So, I decided to set a positive goal for myself this November. :)

Of course I can never just start out small like most people do. So one night, I told my husband about my newest idea.  I would like to try and put up a new post about Food & Lifestyle at Megamommy almost every day.

My husband calls it, the blog where I’ve changed my mind a million times about what I want to do and say.  Let’s just say he does have a point and leave it at that!

However, I must say the one thing I keep coming back to with all my ideas is the idea of simplicity. I will try my hardest to put up a new blog post most days for the next 365 days.

Doesn’t sound like much of a challenge you say?  This is a HUGE challenge for me! Please let me explain why.

  • Although I’m a positive person starting something like this in November (my least favorite month of the year) is a challenge in and of itself, but I will make it happen. This blog is going to be a great experience and I can’t wait to talk to all of you!
  • Secondly, committing to anything for 365 days in a row (or most days that is) is mind-boggling for me! But it can be done.  I think the key is writing about a topic a person ejoys. I know I’m going to enjoy this and I hope you will find the blog helpful is some way for your own daily life.

So why is the blog called Megamommy? Because I truly believe we’re ALL about more than just one thing! Life is very busy these days and very demanding. Personally, I think we’re all kind of Megas…

My biggest hope is that I can make life just a little easier for anyone out there that reads my blog. :)

I truly hope you will stop by often on this journey. 

I can’t wait to talk with all  of you! 

Megamommy ѽ

 

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