Posts Tagged ‘family’

PostHeaderIcon Penny Project Update

As we were writing our book, Recycled Crafts, there was a project we coined “The Penny Project”.  I knew wouldn’t be *completely* finished in time for the book release, but that was alright. Instructions for making “Penny letters” was complete, and up to the reader to decide what comes next. Here’s the expert from the book on the penny project….

 Step 3 – Attach Pennies

We used sparkle Mod Podge, so that it would add a bit more bling to the letters. It acted like a sealer and glue for the pennies.

Here’s the finished letters: Penny Letters

This project is far from finished, as we plan to make a large sign for the living room. However, we hope this tutorial gives you an idea or two on phrases for your wall, using cardboard as a background.

(Exert from Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made from Recycled Items)

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PostHeaderIcon The Best Pork Chop Recipe

Last week my significant other requested apple stuffed pork chops from a random recipe we found. Unfortunately I knew the presents of stuffing would have my kids saying “yuck!”, so I had to come up with a variation to please everyone. Fortunately we succeeded.

I knew I had to leave in the apples, so I based the recipe around that and pork chops. We got semi-thin chops (not the imfamous “Iowa Chops” that are 2 or 3 inches thick), a can of apple pie filling, hashbrowns, and shredded cheese. What came out of the oven was absolutely FANTASTIC and everyone LOVED it.

So here’s the recipe….

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PostHeaderIcon Breakfast for Dinner Ideas

Rarely is there enough time in the morning for a home-cooked breakfast that doesn’t involve the microwave. Yet nowhere in the rules of life does it say we can’t have these same items for supper. This list includes our top five favorite “breakfast for dinner” ideas we’ve used on several occasions.

1. French Toast
Dip slices of bread in a milk and egg mixture, then fry in pan on medium heat for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with syrup. Delicious!

2. Omelets
Making individual omelets for everyone in the morning can be a real chore. It’s best to make these for dinner, since you can make personalized omelets for everyone based on their tastes. Just a few suggestions for ingredients include cheese, ham, green peppers, mushrooms, or onions.

3. Pancakes from Scratch
It may be easy to grab a box of pancake mix and whip it up fast, but when was the last time you made pancakes from scratch? Or better yet, make special types like pumpkin, blueberry, or chocolate chip.

4. Sausage and Bacon
If you need a side, pull out the sausage and bacon! There’s nothing that goes better with pancakes, eggs, or toast than a few slices of bacon or sausage links. Normally in the morning you don’t have time to properly cook items such as this, so they made a perfect side for a “breakfast night”.

5. Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
This gem of a recipe we latched on to some time ago, and fell in love with. Due to the amount of time it takes to prepare them, though, it’s became a dinner item instead of for breakfast. All you need is a muffin tin, toast, eggs, and bacon. Seasoning is optional, but we always use a pinch of salt and pepper. (Full recipe here)

Need additional ideas? Just think of the best breakfast you’ve ever eaten, yet never had time to make for your family in the morning. Can you make it on a weeknight? How about a weekend? Try it out!

PostHeaderIcon Our Incredible Night at Incredible Pizza

On a random Tuesday night, the family and I visited Incredible Pizza for the first time. We didn’t even know this awesome kid’s restaurant existed until the other half and I ate at the restaurant next door, and just happened to see it. It looked interesting, so we had to give it a shot.

It’s hard to impress all of us at once, but Incredible Pizza did an awesome job at this near-impossible task. I can’t remember a time we’ve had this much fun as a family for such a low price. Four buffets and $30 worth of game credits costs only $40 (plus tax), and we stayed a good 2 or 3 hours.

The first united delight was the choice of dining areas, along with the overall “50s” theme throughout the entire restaurant. There was “Route 66 Diner”, “High school gym”, “Family diner”, and the “Drive-In Theater”. We decided to dine in the dark at the drive-in, with an almost private showing of iCarly (since there was no movie that night, they had the movie theater sized screen tuned in to Nick). A minor set-back more than made up for with a large screen viewing of one of the kids’ favorite TV shows.

A family-style buffet was available in the “main room” outside of all the dining areas, and everyone was impressed by the food. The quality of the salad, pizza, pasta, potatoes, and desserts were more than you would expect from a buffet, and absolutely delicious.

After our meal, it was play time. This is where fantastic escaladed to incredible, and where we vowed to come back as often as we could.

Just a few of our activities that evening included:

Family go-kart race
Dance-off competition
Skeet ball
Miniature bowling
Old-fashion bumper cars
Shooting gallery

Miniature “glow in the dark” golf and countless other games and activities were also available, but the ones listed above are just some of what we accomplished in the hour or two we spent playing.

The four of us (two kids and two adults) had only $7.25 each our game cards, and a few of us went home with a few dollars left for the next time we visit. These cards were all labeled when we got home, and registered on the Incredible Pizza website, so they can be used and replaced if needed.

Overall, this restaurant comes highly recommended for any family wanting an inexpensive night out together. Big thumbs up!

PostHeaderIcon How to Make Homemade Pizza

Easy Homemade Pizza

Pizza is a popular dish for our family. One day I realized, I have a ton of ways to make pizza, and all of them are delicious. Since my family loves these pizzas so much, I decided to give you a step by step guide on how we make these pizzas, along with all the variations.

Step 1 – Pizza Crust
Depending on my ambition, I will use several different types of crusts. Because of personal preferences, we never use the “just add water” dough in a package. Sometimes we use packaged crust (although after an incident with molded crust, this isn’t used that much anymore), and sometimes we make our own dough.

More often than not, though, we use taco shells. Why? Because they make a perfect thin crust, a large pizza when spread out, and cook perfectly with the rest of the pizza. We lay them out like so:

2. Pizza Sauce

Again, what type of sauce we use depends on our ambition. If I’ve snagged a bottle/can of pizza sauce, I’ll use it. We’ve also used spaghetti sauce on occassion too, since it gives it a very unique flavor. Lately, we’ve been using our own special “recipe”; a can of Italian diced tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. If you want it not so chunky, just mash up the tomatoes with a meat masher or something similar. It should look like this:

3. Toppings

This is where it starts getting tricky, because everyone’s tastes are different. In the past, we’ve used the following combinations:

– 1/2 lb Italian sausage, 1/2 lb hamburger, and pepperoni
– 1 lb hamburger and pepperoni
– Pepperoni and mushrooms
– “Everything” pizza: 1/2 lb Italian sausage, 1/2 hamburger, package of pepperoni, mild pepper rings, sliced olives, jar of sliced mushrooms.
– “Thin crust Italian” pizza: 1/2 lb sausage, pepperoni, roasted red bell peppers, and Italian seasoning

The other night, we made a simple hamburger and pepperoni pizza. Do remember to use cooked meat, because when you cook the pizza, your main goal is only to melt the cheese.

Hamburger goes on after the pepperoni:

4. Cheese

We’ve used all kinds of different combinations of cheeses on our pizzas, just to play around with the flavor. By far the best is the Mozzarella or Pizza blend cheese. We use 2 regular sized bags.

You can also use yellow and white cheese blends, but I suggest only using one bag on the lower layers of your pizza. Using only white cheese on the top makes it easier to tell when the pizza is done.

5. Cooking Times & Temps

This is where it gets extremely difficult to give you a straight answer, since it’s going to depend on how many toppings you have on your pizza, and how large it is. For the pizza we made the other night, the toppings were spread out over just two layers. In the past, we have made “mountain pizzas” with 3 or 4 layers of lots of toppings. Thick pizzas with lots of toppings should be baked at 325-375* for 20 minutes or more, while thin pizzas with less toppings should be at 400-450* for 10 minutes or more.

Our finished pizza from the other night was cooked at 425* for 15 minutes.

Before cooking:

After cooking:

You can see we like our pizza “well done” to the point it’s almost burnt. You may want to cut back on the time just a bit, and check it every 5 minutes or so until it’s done to your liking.

That’s it! The only thing left is to eat and enjoy!