Thanksgiving Turkey Relish Tray

Thanksgiving Turkey Relish Tray

THANKSGIVING TURKEY RELISH TRAY

 

Here is a fun idea for your Thanksgiving vegetable platter or relish tray,arrange the items in the shape of a turkey. This is the one my son made for our dinner last year. It is a great project for kids, tweens, and teens and let’s them contribute to the big dinner. We used pickles, olives, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, celery and carrots. His head is actually a mini orange bell pepper. Be creative and use what you have hand.

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Graduation Party Revisited

Graduation Party Ideas

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since my oldest graduated from high school. He has now completed his first year of college and is working part time. He votes, pays taxes and insurance and is a true adult in everyone’s eyes but mine, to me he is still my baby. As I see many parents getting ready to celebrate their own children’s accomplishments and graduations I decided to revisit some of the highlights from last year’s graduation party and post them here.

For decorations we did all of our sons school and baby pictures under a sheet of clear plastic on the table, it was fun to reminisce and see all the crazy hairstyles he went through as a preteen. We also rolled the napkins into diploma shapes and tied them with black ribbons. Then made little stacks of them around the table.

Graduation diploma napkins

For food we incorporated his favorite food, chips and set up a chip and dip bar. We set out various types of chips and dips in different bowls plates and cake stands and let everyone mix and match.

Chip and Dip Bar

Don’t worry we also had vegetables for dipping.

Veggie platter

Some dip ideas are… ( click on the link for the recipes)

Salsa and Guacamole

Bacon Horseradish

Kalamata Olive

Beer Cheese

Goat Cheese and Marinara

Sweet Potato Hummus

Pimento Cheese

Also you could include some dessert dips

Creamy Reese’s Peanut Butter Dip

Key Lime Pie Dip

I was lazy and let Publix make the cake, but this book cake would be pretty easy to replicate using 2 different sized rectangular or square pans.

Publix's Book Style Graduation Cake

Congrats to all who graduated and the people that helped them get there, have fun celebrating this momentous occasion.

Tasting Party: Frush Yogurt and Fruit Shake

 

** Though not paid to write this review I was given free product to sample and promotional materials. 

Drinkable yogurt, the concept is not new, and I admit I thought of it as somewhat of a toddler drink.  I was proven wrong, I tried the new Frush Yogurt and Fruit Shake at my little tasting party. They were delicious and tasted like a milk shake. Each 8.4 oz bottle contains about 200 calories but they were very filling and would be a great meal substitute. My favorite was strawberry banana but the overall favorite was peach. They also come in blueberry and strawberry flavors.

 

They contain real fruit, have 9 grams of protein and 50% of your daily calcium requirement per serving. They are portable and have a cap so it was easy for my husband to add his daily helping of Chia and mix it with the yogurt. Trust me he usually makes a big mess, and can’t usually take his breakfast with him so he loved this new product. Even though some guests were worried about the amount of sugar, I liked the fact that they contain real sugar instead of scary chemical substitutes. I would have no problem with my two teenage boys making this their go to breakfast or after school snack. The yogurt and fruit shake was also delicious on apples and strawberries.  If you missed my tasting party but want to try this new drink click here for a coupon or check them out on facebook at www.facebook.com/gofrush

 

 

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

We eat a lot of wings around here. I have two teenage boys and I think if it was up to them we would eat pizza and wings every night. I saw a post awhile back from a fellow blogger, Fantastic Frugal Foods from Justa’s Kitchen for a Buffalo Chicken Casserole. What a great idea for my family. So when I was in my kitchen with some extra chicken cutlets that need to be used up, I remembered her recipe. I wanted to use what I had in my kitchen without going to the store, so I kinda of created my own version, but here is hers.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces

2T butter

1 t chopped garlic

2T hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1/4 c chopped celery (if you are not a celery fan, try carrots)

1/4 c flour

3 cups milk

3 oz cream cheese

2 T blue cheese

16 oz box of ziti (or other pasta), cooked and drained

1/2 c crushed Buffalo flavored Pretzel Crisps

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Add butter to a large pan and melt over med high heat, add chicken, garlic, 1 T hot sauce and celery. Sauté til chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. remove from heat and sprinkle chicken and veg with flour.

Place back on burner over low.for 1 minute. Add milk and bring to boiling, turn to low and add cream cheese, blue cheese and remaining 1 T of  hot sauce cook until cheese is melted into sauce and it is slightly thickened.

Add sauce to pasta and stir, pour into a large baking dish, 9×13

Top with crushed pretzels.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Graduation, A Broken Tooth, and a Chip and Dip Bar

My oldest child is officially a High School graduate and I couldn’t be prouder. We have looked forward to this for weeks, months, years. Everything was going smoothly, I thought I had everything under control and my niece was on her way to our house to share in the festivities. I was getting the linens from the top shelf of the closet for her when something hit me in the mouth.  Suddenly my mouth was filled with tiny pieces of grit, which after thinking for a moment I realized must be my tooth. An alarm clock had fallen out of the closet and hit me in the exact angle that shattered my front left tooth. It was 9pm and my sons graduation, the day we had been counting down to, was the next morning at 8 am. I had a melt down, and not a small one. I was too afraid to look at the damage, it took me a while to be brave enough to look in the mirror. It was in a word hideous.

I thought about not going to his graduation, I thought about canceling our upcoming trip, I thought about calling it a life and never leaving the house again. None of those were viable options. I put on my best tight lipped smile and made it to graduation. I did a mean Geisha impersonation covering my mouth with my hand when I had to speak. It was the right call, tears came to my eyes as I watched  my oldest child take the field with his classmates dressed in his cap and gown. I saw him with new eyes, he was a man now, we had done our job, his whole future was ahead of him. A moment I could never get back or recreate.

Graduation was done, straight to the dentist and 5 hours later I emerged with 2 new front teeth and a huge list of things to do to get ready for a graduation party. I had pre-planned but losing so much time due to injury caused me to reevaluate my list and make some cuts. One thing that made the cut was a chip and dip bar, chips happen to be one of his favorite foods. I bought various types of chips and used different sized bowls and plates to display them, them made a variety of dips to accompany them. This was a big hit and is perfect for a cocktail party, teen birthday or graduation.

We made labels for the different dips, and the nice part is that most of them could be made the night before. One of the crowd and teens favorite was Bacon Horseradish Dip.

1/2 c mayonnaise

1/2 c sour cream

1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese grated

1/4 cup grated horseradish, I used the jarred variety

6 slices of cooked bacon chopped

1 t worcestershire sauce

Mix ingredients together in a medium sized bowl, chill until ready to serve, top with shredded cheese and chopped bacon.

For a festive touch roll white napkins diploma style and tie with black ribbon, stack and place on buffet tables.

Day Tripping With My Favorite Teen Age Botanist

I love to travel. Yes, I know everyone says that, but I really do. I love exotic trips full of adventure.  I love relaxing tropical vacations where I just plop my bottom down in foreign sand, but I also love a day trip to a rural town and a meal at a mom and pop restaurant just as much. Everything is an adventure to me, no matter how big or small, I just like to experience new things.

This week my kids had a day off of school and, as we usually do, my fourteen year old son and I went on a little day trip. He was once my constant companion, attached at my hip whether I liked it or not, now he is a teen, ready to start high school. I appreciate our time together more because I know we don’t have much time left. Not like this anyway. He’s not much into sports, cars, or shopping. He is a lover of nature, and always has been. Even during his terrible two’s and now his angsty teens, he is most calm and at peace on a nature trail or surrounded by trees. This is his zen. He calmly waits for bugs or squirrels to come to him,  he notices the differences in leaf shapes of various ferns, he walks quietly not to disturb the birds. We plan our trips accordingly.

This week we went to the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, kind of a far drive from our home just to see plants, but this is what we do. We were not disappointed, the gardens were beautiful, the tower amazing.We saw the largest koi we had ever seen and a trail of just different species of ferns.

For fun, we stopped at  Spook Hill where your car is supposed to magically roll up the hill in neutral, but ours didn’t. Maybe because we had the top down so we could feel the wind in our hair, maybe because it’s a hoax. Either way the adventure was in trying and it gave us a chance to hypothesize on why it didn’t work for us.

Our next stop was a local candy factory in Dundee that makes it own chocolate and citrus candies and jellies. The sign said it was once featured on food network, how could we resist. This was my kind of place, I am a sucker for anything homegrown or made. We found a bag of candy for each of our family members, carefully decided based on their tastes. I got some jellies and local honey. This was a citrus town and they were proud of it. The lady at the counter was happy to answer all our questions, confirming all products were produced locally and even ran a catalog out to our car after we had left in case we wanted to place an order, “free shipping”, she assured us.

Time for the two hour ride home, my son ate his Fruit Pearls, another local Dundee, Fl product, I thought of different ways to use my newly purchased jellies. This is why I love to travel.