4th of July: Food, Fun & Footfalls

We enjoyed a wonderful 4 day weekend at the lake over the holiday!  Matt and I both had Friday off so we were able to spend the long holiday together (which I can’t even tell you the last time we were in the same place for 4 whole days).

Melvin really enjoyed the car ride up to the lake 😉

We got to the lake late Wednesday night and enjoyed some food and drinks with our family and friends before heading to bed. I’m kind of a loser at the lake or on vacation in general.  I like going to bed at a reasonable time in order to get up at a decent time, so I can enjoy the WHOLE day.  I don’t like sleeping until 11 or staying up til 2am, it throws off my whole schedule, plus sleeping in just wastes sunshine hours.

Thurday morning, I went for a great 4 mile run.  It’s so refreshing running at the lake and I enjoyed every minute (of my 32 minute run… 8 min/miles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  can you tell I’m pretty proud??  and I got the same time as Matt 🙂 ).

We enjoyed laying out and boat rides all day Thursday and Friday!  I read a few good books The Heist, Second Honeymoon, & Now You See Her, and enjoyed the sunshine (with SPF 30 🙂 ).

Holidays aren’t the same without treats, Right?!  I made 2 different kinds; S’more Rice Krispie treats for us and then 4th of July Rice Kripsie Treats for the party!

IMAG0437mlFor the 4th of July Rice Krispie Treats; each layer needs:
5 C. Rice Krispies

3 TBSP butter

1 bag marshmallows

Melt butter and marshmallows (for red and blue layers, add 30 drops of food coloring), stir in cereal.  Press into sprayed 9×13″ pan, making sure layers are even.

We had a great holiday weekend!  I think we often forget that 4th of July and other holidays come at a price and that we are lucky to be able to have these parties and gatherings.  I’m thankful for everyone involved in the military who makes everything we do in America possible. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!

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The Many Faces of Rice Krispie Treats

We had a family reunion a few weekends ago, and I (like usual) signed up to bring dessert.  I had no idea how many people were going to be there, so I wasn’t sure if 1 pan would be enough… did I need 2?  But then of course looking through all of my pinterest recipes I couldn’t decide, cause they all looked so good!

I really wanted to make something easy, that didn’t need a lot of ingredients and looked/tasted complicated 🙂  I decided on 3 different kinds of Rice Krispie Treats, all super easy but sounded really good!   Caramel Stuffed Rice Krispies, Chocolate Coconut, & Strawberry Shortcake.

Umm, let me just say that these are all really good and you can’t eat just one of each… 😉

Caramel Stuffed Rice Krispies

Layers 1 & 3:

**total amounts listed, you’ll need to 1/2 the recipe for each layer**

1 box Rice Krispie cereal

2 bags marshmallows

6 TBSP butter

Layer 2:

1 – 14oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 – 14oz. bag caramels, unwrapped (not sure if I really need to mention that, but not everyone is the brightest crayon in the box… 😉 ).

1/2 C. Butter

Layer 1:

Prepare 9×13″ baking pan.  In large pan, melt 3 Tbsp. butter and 1 bag of marshmallows over low heat; pour in 1/2 box cereal (approx. 5 cups).  Mix until cereal is evenly coated.  (I like to keep the pan on the stove to keep the marshmallow mixture warm, makes it easier to mix together).  Press into prepared pan.

Layer 2:

In saucepan over low/medium heat, melt caramels, butter and milk.  Pour over layer 1; refrigerate until set (approx. 30 min.).

Layer 3:

Repeat layer 1 🙂

**to be honest I think the caramel layer is a little thick.  Layer 2 could easily be halved or you can just make 2 pans of bars; who keeps a half can of sweetened condensed milk? 🙂 **

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Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies

1 box Rice Krispie cereal

1 1/2 bags strawberry marshmallows

**if you can’t find strawberry marshmallows, use regular and then add 1 box sugar-free strawberry Jello powder**

4 Tbsp. butter

1 small package strawberry flavored dried cranberries (optional)

**I couldn’t find these, but I believe they would have made a great addition**

1+ C. white cake mix

**the original recipe calls for angel food cake mix, however the box I grabbed had 2 packets and it really threw me off, which is why if I make it again I’ll use white cake.  Also I couldn’t really taste the cake flavor, so I’m not sure if it’s necessary or not**

Prepare 9×13″ cake pan.  In large pot over low heat, melt butter and marshmallows.  Pour in cereal, dried cranberries and cake mix; stir until well combined.  Press into prepared pan.

IMG_20130622_181902Unfortunately it didn’t photograph well, and it kind of looks like brains…  On a positive note, they were really good 🙂

I’m not going to do a tutorial on the Chocolate Coconut Rice Krispies cause I didn’t change anything and I forgot to take a picture 🙂

Enjoy!!

Snacks & Sweets & Memorial Day Eats

Yes, I realize Memorial Day was a month ago…  But better late than never, right? 😉

Anyway, like I stated in the Memorial Weekend Fun post, we spend the holidays with family friends.  Two of the girls live out-of-state (NY and TX), I texted the girls to find out what they want for food when they came home.  Knowing what it’s like to be away from home and really wanting certain foods when you come home, I was happy to oblige the girls’ requests 🙂

Anne wanted Fruit Pizza, and Liz wanted Oreo Balls!

For the Fruit Pizza, I used the Sugar Cookie Bar recipe and pressed it into a cookie sheet so it was thinner (and then baked it a little less than the recipe).  Then, after it cooled I spread it with a store bought fruit dip and topped it with cut fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, and oranges).  So good and so easy!

The Oreo Balls were a completely different story… you know how I feel about my balls!  I just can’t help but make more flavors!!!  And this new one is a real keeper, and I don’t know why I never thought of it before!!!

Blueberry Cheesecake Oreo Balls

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These are made the same way as the other Oreo balls I make, just with different ingredients 🙂

1 package Golden Oreos (or vanilla sandwich cookies)

1/2-1 C. Graham cracker crumbs

**start with 1/2 C. graham crackers, add more if the dough is too soft and doesn’t form balls well**

1-8 oz. container Blueberry cream cheese

2 TBSP Powdered Sugar

2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Vanilla melting wafers

**you can use purple or blue if you’d like, to make them more festive** 🙂

Another favorite recipe that I love to bring to holidays, is Caramel Chex Mix!!!  I’m letting you know now that it’s incredibly addictive, so don’t blame me… I warned you 🙂  I got this recipe from a co-worker and I’ve modified it just a little, adding my own little spin on it 🙂

Caramel Chex Mix

1 box Rice Chex cereal

2 C. Almonds (optional)

**you can use Oven Roasted, Sea Salt, Honey, etc.**

1-2 pkgs. Dried Cranberries (optional)

1 C. butter

2 C. Light Brown Sugar

1/2 C. Light Corn Syrup

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Vanilla

Paper Bag

Parchment/Wax paper

1.  Pour cereal, almonds and cranberries into paper bag and mix well.

2. In saucepan, mix together butter, brown sugar and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil for 1 minute and then remove from stove.  In a small bowl, combine vanilla and baking soda; add to caramel mixture (it will foam up) and stir.

3.  Pour caramel over cereal mixture and shake to coat. Microwave for 4 minutes, shaking to mix every minute.  Cool on wax paper lined cookie sheet; store in air-tight container.

Memorial Weekend Fun

We were blessed to be able to spend some of the Memorial Weekend holiday with my family (and extended family/friends).  I’ve mentioned before that we have some really good family friends that we often spend holidays with, Memorial Weekend being one of the many 🙂

We drove up Friday after work and got to the Lake around 9:30, I unpacked all the food and then hit the hay…  I was tired and needed to get up in the morning for a run.  Around 7:30 I was ready for my run.

Memorial Weekend is always hit or miss when it comes to weather.  And lately MN/WI hasn’t had the greatest track record for the season, I mean we had a blizzard the beginning of May for goodness sakes.  However, it was shaping up to be a pretty good day, and I wasn’t prepared at how nice it was actually going to be on my run.  I’m the worst judge of how warm it is or going to be once I start running… I wore my capris and a long-sleeve running shirt; probably could have gone with a t-shirt….  Oh well!

My plan was to do an 8ish mile loop, doing 7:1s (run 7 min, walk 1 min).  The area around where the lake house is, is really gorgeous.  Very scenic and full of nature!  It was so surreal to be out on the open road with just the noises of nature (and a few passing cars).  It was very refreshing to not have the noises/smells of the city in the or seeing the litter on the side of the road.  However, in the back of my mind I kept thinking “What do I do if I see a bear?”  Luckily, the only creatures I saw were birds and the poor road-killed turtle 😦  Last year, I did see a fox on my run which was pretty cool!

Later in the day everyone had finally arrived and we decided to head over to Stone Lake, WI and visit School House Wines.  This is the cutest little wine shop, that we often visit when at the lake!  It has a wide variety of wines at affordable prices.  It was a gorgeous afternoon and we were able to sit out on the patio and enjoy a few cocktails/wines/spirits 🙂

Mother’s Day

As much as I hate winter, and the fact that we had a snow storm on May 2 which means winter lasted 6 months, I am happy to be back home.  I keep realizing things that I have missed and am glad I don’t have to continue to miss.  One of the most important things in life is family and I am so blessed to be able to spend more time with everyone!

Over Mother’s Day weekend, my Grandma came for a visit!  It was so nice to have 3 generations spending time with each other and getting to celebrate the wonderful women that are in my life!

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We started Mother’s Day off with church.  My sister and I then went on a run, and we had a great brunch afterwards.  In the afternoon, we headed over to Canvas and Chardonnay.

What is Canvas & Chardonnay, you might ask??  It’s the combination of drinking and painting! 🙂   Drinking isn’t mandatory, but you sure can if you want… 🙂

I had heard about it on Facebook, and kept thinking it sounded like fun, but a little intimidating since I’m not super artistic.  When I found out my sister had signed us all up, I was pretty excited but a little reserved due to my insecurities.

However, when we got there, the owners really made us all feel super welcome and comfortable.  They were great encouraging us and willing to help out in a non-judgemental way, letting us paint and throw our own personalities into it!  They did step-by-step instructions and made it incredibly easy to follow along.

We had a really great time and can’t wait to do it again!!  If you have something like this in your town or live in Rochester, MN, I definitely recommend it.  It was a wonderful experience and I had a blast!

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Well, I turned 29 a few weekends ago…  I don’t know why people worry so much about getting older.  I look at it as an opportunity, it’s another year to work toward an accomplishment or it’s a time to reflect, to look back and know that you achieved something in the last year!  It’s so exciting to see the way your life changes and how you evolve.

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your  years.

Abraham  Lincoln

In the last year, I have (with the help of the hubby by my side):

–moved across the country

–broadened my career working with kids with Autism and loving every minute of it!!!!

–ran 2 15Ks, a 10 miler, 4+ half marathons, and 1 marathon

–went to Disney World, Sea World, Discovery Cove & Universal Studios

–met wonderful people along the way and reconnected with friends back home

I can’t wait to see what next year brings!! 🙂

How did I celebrate?

I ran the Get in Gear Half Marathon 🙂  Some people say I’m crazy, but I thought it would be nice to accomplish something on my birthday.  I realize I’ve already ran plenty of half marathons, but for some reason running a race on your birthday is somehow different.

What a beautiful day it was too!  There’s nothing like being outside for a run on a gorgeous day 🙂  I was blessed to have my husband and mom come see me run, as well as one of Matt’s cousin who met us at the finish line!!!

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The day before the race I headed to the Mall of America to get my packet, and to hang out and relax before the race 🙂

Before running, fashion stores would always catch my eye… not anymore; I see a running store and make a bee line!!! 🙂  Super glad I made that bee line because I found Lululemon!  I didn’t realize what store I was in, until I had purchased my clothes and looked at the receipt.  The store only had the logo over the door and I didn’t have a clue as to where I was.  I had heard of Lululemon before but never thought to shop there.  So glad I found this store, cause I got some super tanks!

get in gear

This is their Practice Freely Tank, I bought it in green, blue and yellow (in size 4, and seems to be the perfect size for me) 🙂  They are super comfortable and airy.  I have noticed that the tank part will stretch out a little, however the sports bra part stays nice and snug!

After the race, we headed home and got ready for a friend’s surprise birthday party!!  It was a 1920’s theme, murder mystery party 🙂  How exciting??  It was a very fun night, and a great way to celebrate!!

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Yet Another Snow Day = Yet Another Bake Day

So we had a snow day in April and another today, it’s May 2nd…  Seriously MN????  I am seriously considering moving back to FL 🙂  It’s funny, over the weekend it was 75* and sunny.  Gorgeous weekend, just absolutely beautiful!!!!!!  And now it’s snowing…

I found these memes on Pinterest and thought I’d share:

If we are going to have winter 8 months out of the year, we need to have a sense of humor, right?  🙂  I have decided I’m not putting away any of my winter clothes, you don’t know when winter ends or begins; always be prepared 🙂

Anyway, since we had the day off from work, I thought I would make something for my co-workers.  I made a status on Facebook stating as much and one of my co-workers commented: Did you know that sometimes we just pretend to close but we all go in? That way we get treats the next day. Clever huh?

I wouldn’t be surprised…  they love free food and goodies and they know I’ll make something if we have a Snow Day 🙂

So what did I make, you might ask?

S’more Puppy Chow & Lemon Rice Krispie Bars!!!!!!  Both were absolutely wonderful and delicious!!  I made a few changes and here are my versions:

S’more Puppy Chow

1 box Golden Graham cereal

1 bag mini Marshmallows

1 bag chocolate chips

Powdered Sugar

In large bowl (or 2 medium bowls 😉 ; try to use bowls with lids, otherwise use gallon size ziploc bags), combine cereal and marshmallows.  In microwavable bowl, melt chocolate according to package; pour over cereal mixture and coat well.  Sprinkle powdered sugar over top, snap on lid and shake!!!!!!!!!

It’s so good, and super addictive; try not to eat it all!

Lemon Rice Krispie Bars

1 box Rice Krispie cereal

1.5 bags mini marshmallows

4-6 TBSP butter

1 box lemon sandwich cookies, crushed

2 TBSP lemon juice

1 TBSP lemon zest

Lemon Frosting (optional)

1. In large stove top pan on low heat, melt butter and marshmallows.  Add lemon juice and zest.

2.  Mix in cereal and cookies (I like to mix it while on the stove cause it stays hot and it’s easier to mix).

3. Press mixture into sprayed 9×13″ pan (I always spray my hands so the bars don’t stick to my hands 🙂 ).  When cooled, spread frosting over top if you want and enjoy!!! 🙂

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This morning I took Melvin outside… When the snow is much taller than you, it can be rough.  He peed right outside the house and when I tried to take him futher out, he hid under my car 🙂

IMAG0349 IMG_20130502_072830 You know, even though it’s May it’s really pretty out!

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