To Die for Thankgiving Dinner ~ Easy Prep!

I first, posted this 2 years ago, and I’m asked about our Thanksgiving line up all the time.  It’s not the healthiest meal, but it sure is tasty!! My rationalization is that if I get a workout in sometime in the morning (Running around the house like a chicken with her head cut off definitely counts!), then eating this meal is A-OK!  Seriously, this is your meal line up!!

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Thanksgiving. Wow. That day is just a gift. A great big gift of Yummy, yummy, yummy food.

Oh and the family, laughter, and football games are pretty cool too!!  This year Thanksgiving fell the Thursday after the site relaunch. So the site went live again Monday, the girls all came down with massive colds that night, and 12 people + kids were coming to our house on Thursday. Hmmmm…mission impossible??

Thankfully I had thought about it a bit.

First, I like to host things at our house. It’s selfish, but I know our house and I know the boundries for my Littles and the visiting Littles when they are here.  So subsequently, I’m more relaxed because I’m not chasing them out of trouble at someone else’s house.

Second, with almost every major holiday, EVERYONE is happy to help in someway, especially if the party doesn’t have to be at their house. So delegate! My parents were assigned the Turkey/Gravy/Cranberry Sauce, my Mother-in-Law the pies, my Sister-in-Law the wine, my Brother-in-Law the appetizer. So that just left Side Dishes for me.

Third, with a little bit of prep work, you can actually enjoy the day too, rather than work yourself to the bone.

Now to be honest, I very often prep ahead for meals, meaning chopping, dicing, etc. But I have never made all the side dishes (especially for Thanksgiving) the day before. So I was going on a wing and a prayer. (But after this the result of this year, I will be doing this for the REST OF MY LIFE! I truly enjoyed Thursday and the food all turned out better than I could have imagined!)

Monday night ~ I printed all the recipes I was making, clipped them with a binder clip to keep them all together, and wrote out the shopping lists.

Tuesday ~ I did all the grocery shopping. The super fresh-I-could-have-eaten-the-entire-bag-dinner-rolls went straight into the freezer. That night I baked a super easy pan of Jiffy cornbread for the stuffing.  While it was baking I chopped, diced, & prepped anything I would need to assemble the dishes the next day, and popped everything into ziplocks. Then left both breads for the stuffing out to start drying.

Wednesday ~ I made arrangements for Addie to go an extra day to Daycare, so I would only have 2 Littles while I assembled everything.  When Piper went down for her nap at 9:00AM, Hayden played with her puzzle and Mama got busy.

Cheese mama!! (Sorry, she see’s a camera and can’t help herself…)

The tastiest Broccoli Casserole, Hay approved too.

The puzzle wasn’t exciting anymore, so I let her wash the dishes.

You’re freaking out right now aren’t you?? (Hee, hee.) Polycarbonate (Plastic) Wine Glasses folks. Plastic. And I love em. A gift from my Genius Sister-in-Law. Perfect around the pool…or just to have when you have crazy Littles running around your house…

Anyway, with this going on behind Hay, I was happy to have her busy at the sink. She in fact washed dishes for about 45  minutes. Does it really matter what they are doing as long as they are safe and occupied??

Love the look of the stuffing coming together. I kid you not, it was THE BEST Sourdough Cornbread Sausage stuffing I have ever eaten in my life. And everyone at the table will tell you the same thing. Make this and make it soon! Thank you Picky Palate for coming into my life!

About this time the Sweet Potatoes were ready to mash. Hay thought she should be prepared…

And that she should say “Cheeeeeeese!” again. What? You would think she was the daughter of a blogger or something, sheesh.

Sweet Potatoes done. Have you seen these pewter dishes from Match? I have the Toscana Pewter Pyrex Casserole Dishes. They were wedding gifts (and I mean GIFTS!) and are AWESOME.  You can cook whatever you want in the glass Pyrex dishes, then drop them in the Pewter when you’re ready to serve. (A SERIOUS wish list splurge item, but I love em! So I gotta share em with ya!)

In the hour Piper slept, I made the Broccoli Casserole & the Sweet Potatoe Casserole, Sourdough Cornbread Sausage Stuffing, and the Mashed Potatoes. The Tupperware was for my sister to take to her in-laws, simply the extra from doubling all the recipes.

Then with Piper on the floor at my feet and Hayden entertaing her, I finished the last of the deliciousness. Again a Picky Palate treat, Cheesy Bacon & Green Bean Casserole Pot Pie ~ sooo scrumptious! While the kids ate lunch, I cleaned up the kitchen.

Later that night, my sister brought containers to transport and bake the extra sides at her in laws. I wrote instructions on the tops of each and added accompaning toppings to labled Ziplocks (love me a Ziplock bag & and Sharpie!)

I was certainly tired when I went to bed that night, but knowing the bulk of the work was done, was HEAVEN to my brain!

Now, you’re probably wondering about the main star of the day. Well, as luck would have it, I have a dad that is skilled with the Grill. I found a fabulous sounding Turkey recipe  on Twitter and Dad took over that responsibility (LORD LOVE HIM!). Let me tell you, thay Turkey did not disappoint! WOW! It was a Maple Brined Smoked Grilled Turkey. I will forever be a fan!

This was a late addition. I thought I should have one healthy alternative and my Genuis Sister-in-Law raved about this Green Bean Salad from the Flat Belly Family Cookbook. I did prep the veggies on Tuesday night as well, then threw it together in about 15 minutes the day of. Nice little refreshing salad. I’ll post the recipe later this weekend.

While the Turkey was on the grill, I pulled all the side dishes out of the fridge, (about 3 hours before I planned to bake them). I also pulled the Puff Pastry from the freezer to defrost for the Green Bean Casserole, and the dinner rolls to defrost. All the side dishes baked at 350 degrees for roughly the same time. I topped them with their respective toppings and 30 minutes later we were enjoying a meal to die for! Don’t forget to pop the rolls in the oven for about 10 minutes to get toasty too. Have them waiting to go on a cookie sheet.

Broccoli Casserole & Sweet Potatoe Casserole

Yum Mashed Potatoes! Can you say butter?

Oh Man.

I will be seeing this Turkey in my dreams for years to come.

The side of my kitchen counter served as a buffet for everyone to help themselves.

Then head to the table.

Seriously yummy.

See these glasses? Remember them. You’re about to hear a whole lotta a goodness about them…

And if you eat all that I’ve told you above, you will most likely have a Thanksgiving Food Hangover that apparently requires sunglasses…

Or at least that’s what 2 of my Littles told me.

Our Thanksgiving Feast that would be AMAZING for Christmas too:

Maple Brined Smoked Grilled Turkey

Broccoli Casserole & Sweet Potatoe Casserole

Sourdough Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Cheesy Bacon & Green Bean Casserole Pot Pie

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean & Pumpkin Seed Salad

Fresh Bakery Dinner Rolls

Cranberry Sauce

Gravy


{good eats} a few fave chicken dinners

That looks pretty good doesn’t it? And no I didn’t take the photograph (one day I hope I’ll be that skilled with a camera!). But I’m about to let you in on little secret….

Ever heard of the site How Sweet it Is? You need to know about it. Read it. Follow it. Laugh your booty off from it, but most of all, cook from it!

I don’t know Jessica. But I HAVE tried a number of her recipes, OH MY GOODNESS YUM! And the kids love ’em too.

That one in the photograph up there? THAT one is now firmly on our Favorites list. We made it last night. Easy peasy. Super flavorful! Without a doubt it was approved by the little punks, Hubs, and moi. Click here for the recipe ~ Maple Mustard Buttermilk Crusted Chicken Tenders. Make it this weekend. I dare you to have leftovers!

Next up, General Tso’s Chicken. This one isn’t actually Jessica’s recipe, but she does share a step by step photo tutorial over on Tasty Kitchen. OH.MY.WOW!

In our house, we make Chinese food at least once a week, if not more.  It always seems to be a winner with all 5 peeps in the family.  My go to for recipes 99.9% of the time is The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. Simple, fast, and packed with flavor…EVERY recipe! (Jaden has an awesome site too!) But when I saw this post for General Tso’s Chicken, I knew we needed to try it. SOLD a million times over. Make this tonight, this weekend, next week. I don’t care when, but make it SOON. You will not be sorry.

I have never made these. Never tried them. Never saw the recipe before yesterday. But I will be making them soon. Maybe this weekend???  I mean really folks, can there actually be ANYTHING wrong with cheese + beer + tacos + a crockpot???  I think not. Cheddar Beer Tacos, you are now on my list!

Be sure to check out How Sweet it Is!!

Happy weekend!

{Photo Credits: Jessica ~ How Sweet it Is}

{good eats} getting lean with a bit of yum

So I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a few things to work on for myself this year.

One is getting this “pre/during/post/been hanging around too long” baby weight GONE. However, I’ve learned over the past few years, that the way I might have tackled a problem pre-marriage, or pre-kids, or frankly, just in my 20s, is a lot different than I how I can tackle it now.

There’s a number of reasons:

1. I have kids and a husband to focus on and take care of..

2. I’m older and my body just doesn’t seem to respond like it used to…

3. I don’t get a lot of sleep or a lot of time to just dedicate on me…

4. There are a lot of real life stresses to deal with in the day…

5. It’s just plane hard to worry about me, when I have 4 others I think about constantly….

The reasons could go on and on.  But what I have learned is that I just need to do what works best for me.

At the stage of life I’m at.

With the day’s schedule I need to work around.

With the budget and time I have.

And with what I know SOUNDS LIKE it will work for ME.

What works for some does not always work for others, so this time around I’ve taken it all in. Looked at what people are trying, read about options, remembered the great pointers I’ve been taught, then made up my own plan.

All that being said, I have myself on a program right now. I want to be in a bathing suit again by Easter (and not squished into one, I would like to actually look cute!). So I spent New Years Eve and New Years Day coming up with a plan that felt right for me. So far it’s working really well!  I’m 10 days in, I don’t have a clue how many inches, but I know I’m getting smaller because I can feel it and see it in my clothes. According to the scale, I’m also 5 lbs lighter, so I’m taking that as a win!

I plan on sharing what I’m doing, but I think I’m going to wait until I meet my halfway mark. Being that this is a site about My Favorite Things, I want to be sure I really do like everything about what I’m trying and that I continue to see results. So have patience!

What I do want to share today is these 2 little meals from Lean Cuisine, Swedish Meatballs, and Fajita Style Chicken Spring Rolls. I found these at the grocery store after searching the frozen section for frozen meals that were in the 200 calorie range, and both low in fat and carbs (these aren’t LOW in carbs, but low enough).  I tried a few others too, but these were by far the winners.

Now I’m not normally a frozen food girl (unless it’s Trader Joe’s Gorgonzola Gnocchi….help me), however, when I’m trying to either get the girls food out fast and their Mac & Cheese seems a whole lot more appealing than a salad or cold turkey sandwich, THESE work like a charm!

Lean Cuisine Swedish Meatballs are great! The pasta tastes like pasta should (no grainy wheat, or mushy gluten free – not that either of these don’t also have great options, I just have not found a fave yet). The meatballs are light, and the whole meal feels pretty indulgent. If I have this for lunch, I eat it as is. If I have it for dinner, then I have a large side salad as well.  That way when the rest of the family is eating something warm and yummy, I feel like I’m at the party too.

Fajita Style Chicken Spring Rolls have been another great option. First they have 2 servings in each box, nice space saver in the freezer. If I have this for lunch, I typically heat it in the microwave and run out the door with it in a paper towel. Great for on the go!! But again, if I have it for dinner, I serve it up with a large side salad and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all!

Just a couple of secret weapons that have been helpful to me so far.  Have any of you tried any frozen meals that are low in calories, but still taste really good?  I would love to hear about them. It’s always nice to have a little something on your side when your trying to get the lbs off your backside!

{Disclosure – Got nothing. Just found em at the store, I like em, I’m sharing them.}

{good eats} best turkey EVER!

I know I told you all about this last year, but really, I am so not kidding on this, unless of course we were just unbelievably lucky last year, but I’m going to guess not. I think it really is just THE.BEST.TURKEY.EVER.

I saw a link on Twitter last November, and followed it to this Maple Brined Grilled Turkey.  Since we were hosting last year and I was delegating dishes, I quickly shot an email over to my dad. This recipe looked right up the grill master’s alley.  He happily excpeted the challenge and arrived Thanksgiving morning grill in hand (errrr his trunk).  Not that we don’t have one, but dad is a charcoal kinda guy. (Although he is using my sister gas grill this year…)

Just a few things that I want to point out….

1. Grilling your turkey is not the same as deep frying, so no, there is no scary oil fire possibilty. This is just a grill people…like you put your burgers on.

2. Both brining and grilling will give your turkey AMAZING flavor and it will be ohhh so juicy!

3. Moving the turkey to the grill leaves lots more space in your oven for sides, and pies, and pies, and pies.

4. There wont be a horrible roasting pan that needs to be scrubbed to the death at the end of the mail.

Birds looking a little pale…kinda needs a sunny vacation don’t ya think??

Checking in on the bird… (photo is through our window)

Okay, THAT is what I’m talking about!

Annnnd a little while later…

Time to head inside to rest!

Beautiful!!!!

So that takes care of the bird, what about everything else?  Well last year I delegated the wine, appetizers, pies, etc.

Then 3 days before Thanksgiving, I shopped for everything I needed.

2 days before Thanksgiving, I prepped for all the side dishes. Want to know exactly how it all happened? READ THIS. No cooking happened this day, just chopping, dicing, and measuring into baggies to use the next day. SIMPLE.

The day before, while Addie was at a play date, and Hayden and Piper took their naps, I started cooking. But with everything prepped, it was SUPER EASY!

Even when Hayden joined me, I was still able to keep going. She kept busy most of the time “washing dishes” for me.

Everything was ready to go the day before, with leftovers ready to send with my sister for her Thanksgiving with her in-laws.  (Something to note, because I’m type A, these Pyrex dishes fit inside pewter serving dishes to place on the table.)

Now I didn’t really have a table setting to write home about. I was a little busy helping Hay find her “Bear Booty” as you’ll see below.

But the food???  Yep, THAT was something to write home about! Loved all the dishes. But what I loved most of all was ENJOYING the day. All I needed to do was set the dishes out that morning to bring them to room temperature, and then pop them in the oven to bake (or reheat).

See what I mean? How could I deny helping her find that cute little booty?? Oh wait, I mean that cute little bear!!

The food below may not be a food blogger lever photo, but the food? The food was so yummy!!!  I definitely recommend!  Here are the links to everything we loved last year:

Maple Brined Grilled Turkey {Dad’s making this again at my sister-in-laws, it was that good}

Best Stuffing Ever ~ Sourdough Cornbread Sausage Stuffing {I’m actually in charge of stuffing and making this again this year, again it was THAT good}

Broccoli Casserole & Sweet Potatoe Casserole {These are oldies but goodies. Nothing fancy, but kids and grownups alike love em! And BTW, I “accidently” used butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes because they were cut up in bulk at Costco. Tasted great!}

The Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes {A hit every time and reheats perfectly!}

Cheesy Bacon & Green Bean Casserole Pot Pie {a fun addition!}

We made the Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce to serve over the Apple Pie at the last minute {HEAVEN}.

As well as her French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms Appetizer {DELICIOUS! I had the ingredients on hand so added this the morning of, so glad we did!!!}

All I can say is, print all of the above and use it this year. You and your guests will all be over the moon happy with the yumminess of it all!

{good eats} easy donut holes for monsters

Do you have little monsters in your house?  I do. I mean they are cute little monsters. but MAN those fangs can really come out when they want a donut!!

Now I’m not going to say that we eat a lot of donuts in our house (maybe a few) and I’m not going to admit that we have a drive-thru donut shop down the street (we frequently visit) or that the girls have particular donuts they MUST have (purple sprinkles/white frosting, pink sprinkles/white frosting, sprinkled donut holes). Nope, not going to admit any of that.

But what I will admit to is being lazy on Halloween morning….

And the kids wanted donuts…but even with the imminent threat of fangs, I really didn’t feel like driving anywhere.

Lazy. Just plane LAZY.

But I did have a few cans of Pillsbury’s little biscuits in the fridge. (Hubs likes Little Smokies wrapped in biscuits for football watching Sundays.) So I figured I could work out something so my laziness didn’t have to drive anywhere.

1. Crack open a can of those 10 little biscuits

2. Cut them in half.

3. Bake them until just golden (maybe 6 minutes).

4. Dunk each in melted butter.

5. Then roll them in a mixture of white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. No idea how much of each I used. I just poured a little of it all in a bowl and stirred.

6. Stack em up on a plate and you’re whole family will be happy. In fact, you’ll come out looking like Martha, rather than the lazy person you, I started out as that morning!


Enjoy!!!

(BTW – this made more than we could eat, I froze them in a Ziplock and have been pulling out a couple at a time as needed. LOVE having them ready to go ~ rather than heading to the donut store….just sayin’)

Yep, I’m lazy.

{good eats} general tso’s chicken (yum!!)

Let’s just be clear that I’m not a full time food blogger, nor even a part time food blogger,  nor even an occasional food blogger, BUT, I do love food and I do like to find new fabulous  simple recipes!

However, this is not a place you will ever see perfect food styling or amazing step by step photos, because frankly, my kids wont let me. And I’m lazy (as well as lucky just to get dinner on the table at night – and not in the middle of the day when the light is better…)

But share an AWESOME.AMAZING.YOU-WILL-LOVE-IT-FOREVER recipe? That I can do!

I found this recipe for General Tso’s Chicken on The Tasty Kitchen blog. One of my favorite food bloggers, How Sweet It Is shared the recipe from contributor Rebecca and OH MY GOODNESS, what a FIND!

It was super simple to make. I used chicken breast (because I had it) and served it with fried rice and edamame because that’s what our Littles love, but really any way you want to serve this, as long as it’s on your plate, you are golden! Most certainly a FAVORITE!

Make this this week! Here’s a link to the recipe.

Enjoy!

{good eats} cooking with the littles (orange cake!)

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started cooking more with Addie.  I’ve always cooked with the Littles, but I’m trying to let Addie be more a part of the process in deciding things to make, in trying new things, and in doing more than just handing her something  she can “dump in the bowl”.

Being 3-1/2 and also going to preschool 2 days a week has somehow catapulted her into this whole new learning arena.  She’s like a sponge! Crazy how fast that happens…one day they are your baby, the next, their asking for the car keys…WHA?? HUH??!?!?

Addie doesn’t really take naps anymore, more like quiet time with her books or a show while her sisters sleep…….And sometimes I like to play hookie from responsibility and take the moment to sit with her (you just have to sometimes – emails and laundry will always be there, but your baby wont always be 3-1/2).  When I do sit with her, she usually asks to watch a cooking show (Much to my delight!!  Dora or Food Network? Oh thank you Addie!).  We’ll watch a show (She loves Giada since her daughter Jade is often on the show – Addie is begging me to have Jade over for a play date….hmmmm let me see how I might do that….).

Anywhooo Giada usually makes 2 or 3 things and out of the blue Addie will say,That ‘X’ looks good Mommy.  Do we have all the stuff? Can we make it for Daddy?”.

Without batting an eye, I’ll say yes.

The reason I don’t hesitate is that whatever she has asked to make might be my one shot to get Addie (or our family) to try whatever the item is.

The first time it happened, it was for Balsamic Glazed Salmon. The salmon was being shown as a fast weeknight meal. For the record I don’t really like fish (but Hubs adores it) so its not made often. I quickly texted him to bring some salmon home and I think he fell off his chair at work. But he did, and Addie and I made it…and you know what? It is now one of our entire family’s FAVORITE dinners! Kid you not, FAVORITE! (we serve it with coconut rice and edamame).

Another time it was for Carrot Cake (which is now my most favorite Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe), and Ina Garten’s Pesto Pasta Salad (the Little Punks eat this by the pound. I substitute edamame for the peas.).  Most recently, we tried an Orange and Strawberry Cake. (Recipe called for Raspberry Jam, we had Strawberry).

I don’t really need to spell out why this is so fun to do with your kids and why they (and you) will gain so much from it. But I will say this, I know I get in a rut sometimes, kind of like that favorite black skirt that you know always works, so you always turn to it (more than we probably should)...I do that with the kids sometimes. Serve the same meals, pull out the same crafts, grab their same outfits. But I forget sometimes that the Little Punks are growing and learning and doing, and are forming minds of their own which can both give an opinion and HELP contribute ideas for our family.

When Addie chose the Orange and Strawberry Cake to make, she helped me gather the ingredients, measure and stir, and pour things in the pan.

About the time I needed to make dinner, the cake was ready to frost. I set it out on the counter with  Addie (3-1/2) & Hay (2-1/2),  and helped them get it ready to frost, then walked away.

The cake frosting task would occupy them while I finished making dinner, so I resolved to be ok with whatever happened (my Type A personality wondered what it would look like….).

Shortly into it, Addie asked for the raspberries that Giada had used to place around the cake.  I didn’t have any, but I gave her some cute little heart candies that I did have, and again turned back to dinner.

When she asked me to turn the cake around to do the other side, I was shocked.

Me: “Honey? Were you helping the girls with the cake?”

Hubs: “No, what, huh? No, I was watching TV….”

It sounds silly, but when I looked at the cake, I saw a happy scattering of heart candies from Hay on top, and a PERFECTLY STRAIGHT, LINED UP WITH PERFECTION circle of candies wrapped around the cake, JUST LIKE THE RASPBERRIES HAD BEEN PLACED ON THE SHOW…who knew a cooking show could teach a 3-1/2 year old?!!?

The girls were so excited about their cake. And Addie was very protective of her circle of heart candies.

And you know what, it tasted pretty dang delicious too! Yet another great find.

So my tip for you is to both remember that your Littles are little, but also remember that they are big and growing. Try something new with them, they might just surprise you, AND you might find a few new favorites along the way!

{good eats} few favorite cookbooks

Contrary to what you all may think, I am not a very good natural cook. And by “natural” , I mean “instinctive” ~ My Genious Sister-in-Law (yes!), my mom (yes!), my dad (yes!), my baby sister (yes!)

….me (no!!!!)

But I follow directions REALLY well. (Well, that is, when I WANT to follow directions). So that being said, I read cookbooks like they are fiction.  It wouldn’t be weird to see a few stacked up next to my bed. (Wait..is that weird!?!? Forget I said that…)

So I thought I might share a few cookbooks that are go-to books for me.

The Pioneer Woman Cooks ~ I don’t need to say much about this book. Every darn recipe is practical and good and crowd pleasing. If Hubs asks whats for dinner and I say “Something from The Pioneer Woman”, his response is simply “Yum”. There is no “but WHAT are you making”. He just knows that if it comes out of that book, we will all love it. I’ve been following Ree’s blog as she finishes photographing and writing her second book.  Can.not.wait.for.it.to.come.out! This is the only cookbook that I don’t “test” a recipe before serving to company.

The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook ~ We love Chinese food in our house. We could probably alternate between Chinese take out and pizza every other night.  So I loved when I found Jaden’s book.  Pretty sure we make her coconut rice, and her fried rice once a week. Each and every time I try a new recipe from it, Hubs asks if I picked up take-out (which he is asking in a good way as he can’t believe we can make it so yummy from home). Jaden is great at simplifying recipes. And she shows you that with keeping a few (pretty normal) Asian ingredients in your pantry, that so many things are a cinch to make (and with loads of flavor!)

Perfect One-Dish Dinners ~ I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Pam and her daughters, and love them all for many reasons, but most especially for how real they all are. (As if people aren’t real, lame reason Shanna). But you get what I mean, right? Pam’s book shows you how to entertain friends, or just get a really nice dinner on the table without killing yourself in the process. Her Chicken Pot Pie is on our menu this week. We tried her Creamy Lasagna last night, and her Spicy Coconut Shrimp and Tuna Rice Crackers are up later this week.  Another bonus? Pam gives you options. If your short on time or ingredients, she gives you an alternate. Love that in a friend.

I’ll share a few more favorite books next week, but would also love to hear what works well for your family. Do you mostly search online for recipes (I do this too). Or are you a cookbook reader like me? Any favorites?

{Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon, which just happens to be where I bought all these books too :-) I’m a happy Amazon shopper ~ far happier than my husband likes actually…let’s not share this post with him. Thx!}

{good eats} how do you butter your corn?

I love this tip!  It’s one of those that you think, HOW have I never thought of this before??

So how many of you butter your corn before wrapping it in foil for the grill?  Or Maybe you butter your corn after (when it’s super HOT, and you can barely lay a finger on it).  I

‘m sure that most of you do all this the old fashioned, “family style”, way with a butter dish on the table and to each, their own….

BUT, if you are part of the crowd that pre-butters, as in the first example, foil + grilling, then this little trick is for you.

My brother-in-law, “Master of the Grill”, shared this one with me a few weekends ago…

STEP 1: Spread softened butter on a piece of bread…

STEP 2: Coat your corn from end to end….

STEP 3: Place corn on a piece of foil.

STEP 4: Add desired seasonings (salt, seasoned salt, fresh herbs, etc)

STEP 5: Wrap up, and close the foil around the corn.

STEP 6: Grill.

Honestly brilliant. This may just be how I do our corn forever and ever. I think it would be a great way to get kids involved and helping with dinner too!

Enjoy!  (We sure did!!)

{good eats} a little rainbow love

So what do these have to do with anything?  Well, when you have a 3-1/2 year old currently fascinated with cooking and food….

Seriously, I’m not kidding. She’s been waking up from her nap asking to watch cooking shows.

I’m kinda feeling like I need to fully support this little development.  She’s watched Giada make salmon, and it’s npw her FAVORITE dinner (it’s our whole family’s favorite) actually.  She watched Ina make carrot cake, and promptly requested Grandma bring us carrots to bake a cake…and she did…so we did.

Then this past weekend, Addie asked for a rainbow cake.  Now we have not watched a cooking show on this and I have no idea where she got the idea….but apparently, a rainbow cake we would make.

There are loads of wonderful inspiration photos and tutorials out there, but I was lazy and didn’t feel like looking them all up.  (I was also short on time, and was pretty sure the Little Punks’ patience level wouldn’t make it for a full cake, so Addie agreed cupcakes would work.)

How can you argue with lips like these? Totally smoochable!

We used a white cake mix, because, as always, I’m lazy, and divided it into 6 bowls.   Hayden (2-1/2) and Addie (3-1/2) each mixed 3 colors. (I used Wilton’s color gels, love em! You can buy small sets at Sur la Table.)

Hay also took on the roll of color inspector…

Once Hay approved, we scooped 1 small scoop of each color into lined muffin tins in the rainbow’s reverse order.

Kinda looks like paint, huh??

Then they baked up into these…

We whipped up Addie’s favorite cream cheese frosting (in the spirit of a red velvet cake) courtesy of Ina’s carrot cake, then applied a few swirls with the help of a Ziplock bag and a snipped off corner.

Hee, hee…we were feeling pretty good about our cupcakes!

But of course, what’s life really mean if you don’t add more?  So we topped them off with a few rainbow sprinkles.

So cute!!

She loved em!

And obvioulsy so did this little princess!

Hubs liked em too….

And frankly, even the wrapper turned out cute!

I see these in our future, a lot! In any color theme our little parties take us.  Enjoy!