Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday catch up

So, it seems as if I've fallen to old ways... it's been awhile since I've posted. In my defense, I have been SUPER busy, and I don't see any signs of slowing down any time soon. In the blink of an eye Christmas will be here and I'll be wondering what happened to October and November. In a nutshell, here's what's been happening...
1. September 11 was a hard day for many reasons. For one, it was a day of rememberance for our country. This year it became a somber day for a more personal reason. I began having a miscarriage, and as I was in the emergency waiting room I received word that my Pappy had passed away. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been filled with doctor's appointments and hospital visits for bloodwork, but I'm HOPING that this past Friday was my last blood test. With all that said, we are doing well and I'm anxious to move on and try for another. (Barry is excited that he has a few more weeks of guaranteed sex... sorry mom...)
2. My Tastefully Simple business has blown up lately and I have been super busy with Tastefully Simple freezer meal workshops. They are a BLAST and have been getting rave reviews!
3. Yesterday was our semi-annual Crop for a Cure for JDRF. My mom does an AMAZING job at planning a fantastic fun filled day of scrapping for a cause very close to our hearts. If you are local, you MUST register for our Fall Love Crop. It is so much fun! I got 7 pages complete!
4. Emerson is doing something new each day. She now loves to go down her slide and climb her 'rock wall' that we have in the play room. She also gets a kick out of running with her eyes closed (the walls have been taking a beating), walking backwards, walking in circles, eating Oreos, and drinking beer... ok, maybe not drinking beer, but she loves toting around empty cans, pretending to drink. Don't call the authorities. I swear the cans are empty.
5. My cousin is getting married in 3 weeks and she has a herniated disk in her back. Yes, she would make a fine bride for Quasi Moto (sp??). We've been working on music, jewelry, and other last minute details to make it the perfect day!
6. I managed to stay on track with Weight Watchers for one week. Yep, one week. Today I ate a cheesesteak and fries from a Mom n Pop shop. Don't flog me. It was Heaven.
7. I MUST read a book by October 18th. I already pooped out on two books for book club in August and September. I must represent for October.
8. I'm thinking about knocking a big ass hole in my kitchen wall. There's always a project that needs to be done.... I'm also thinking about adding another counter and cabinets... Projects, project, projects!
9. My house is beautifully decorated for Halloween. I can't take credit... the Musder took over and painted the house orange and black... figuratively, that is. Thanks Mus for bringing the holiday spirit! It probably would not have been done without you!
10. I just realized I have a heaping load of laundry in the washer that's been sitting since 7:00... oops... off to switch it over before the hubs has a fit!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I've got some balls...

Balls. Don't you wish every food could be made into a ball? They're so much more fun to eat! Cake balls, gum balls, meatballs, donut balls... whoever came up with the idea of rolling food into balls is a genius. Don't ask me why, but food tastes better when balled. Mmmm...
Today I am going to share my AMAZING and EASY Mozzarella Stuffed Meatball recipe. What's better than a delectable Italian meatball? One stuffed with cheese, thats' what!

Ingredients:

* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
* 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
* 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* a pinch of pepper
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
* 1 clove garlic (I use Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic)
* 1 Tbs. dried onion (I use Tastefully Simple's Onion Onion)
* 1 bunch chopped parsley (I use Tastefully Simple's Spinach and Herb)
* Fresh mozzarella cheese ball

Mix all ingredients except for meat and cheese in a large bowl. Add meat and loaf up with hands. Use a small cookie scoop to gather each ball, and roll tightly. Poke a hole in the ball and insert a small cube of cheese. Cover the cheese with meat and roll tightly.
Mmm... Love me some balls! Refrigerate your balls so that the cheese is not too soft when ready to cook. This is a great 'make ahead' recipe! Make them while the kids are sleeping, then dinner is just about ready the next day!

When your balls have had time to chill, heat up about 2-3 Tbs. olive oil in a pan. Brown the meatballs, turning every few minutes so they get nice and brown on all sides. You can continue to cook them on the stove, as I did, or you can place in the oven to finish them. When your balls are done and the juice is clear, drain on a paper towel.


Serve over pasta with some marinara! (I used Tastefully Simple's Italian Marinara Sauce!)


Dive right in and indulge in the ooey gooey cheesy ball goodness! (Please excuse the poor photography as I, myself, am poor and still use a point and shoot...)


Bon Apetit!


Friday, August 19, 2011

What do you want?

What do you want? This is a question that I think we have all asked ourselves at some point in time. Many of us may ask ourselves this question daily. We get one life. Just ONE. So what do we want? If you would have asked me this question 10 years ago, I would have said, “To get a job, meet a guy, and be happy.” Well, I accomplished all three, but something was still missing. Then came Emerson. She rocked my world and made me want EVERYTHING life has to offer… for her. I want her to have every opportunity that is out there. I want her to grow up with rich experiences and happiness. I always knew my dream was to be a stay at home mom to my kiddos, and after having Emerson, I will eat Ramen noodles for life if it means that she can have a filet mignon. (I would miss my Oreos though.) Fortunately, I don’t have to eat Ramen noodles for life. Emerson has a happy mom and limitless opportunities at her fingertips. And I have Tastefully Simple to thank for that.
For years I have been Tastefully Simple’s number one customer. Our products are AMAZING and have truly changed the way I cook in the kitchen. They even inspired my husband to cook, and let’s face it… a few years ago he couldn’t boil water. My sisters, who are both consultants, finally urged me to become a consultant because they knew I could NOT go back into the brick and mortar classroom. I just can not leave my Emme. After having my first party, I turned a profit. My first party paid for my start up kit. I remember sitting on the couch after an awesome evening with friends, family, and food, and asking myself, “Why the heck didn’t you do this sooner???” What was stopping me from embarking on a journey with Tastefully Simple? I know I made all kinds of excuses: I don’t have time, I don’t know anyone who would order, ESPECIALLY because I referred most of my friends to my sisters, I’m not the ‘home party’ type, yadda, yadda, yadda…. I realized the question I SHOULD HAVE asked myself is, WHY THE HECK NOT? What did I have to lose? Most of my start up kit was edible, so what was I afraid of?
I don’t have an answer. I don’t know for sure why I waited so long to start my business. But I DO know that Tastefully Simple has SO MUCH to offer. I have attended conferences, met new friends, shared my love of cooking, and I am helping to support my family. I am having FUN while making money. I schedule WHEN I work and I run my business MY way. What more could I ask for?
Tastefully Simple was founded on the belief that anyone can be a gourmet chef in their own kitchen for little money and with little effort. And they treat their consultants with the utmost respect. They VALUE us. And they LISTEN to us. I could not ask for a better company to be a part of.
And now YOU can be a part of our awesome team for as low as $35.00. No, I didn’t forget a ‘0’. You can start a business and CHANGE YOUR LIFE for $35.00. Seriously. That’s it. So what do YOU want? Do you want extra money to shop with? Do you want to pay the mortgage bill each month? Do you have your eye on a new car? Are you looking to stay home with your kids and still contribute to the household income? No matter what you want or what your goals are, Tastefully Simple can help you reach them. My team is FABULOUS and FUN, and I would LOVE to help you make the most of your business. Feel free to contact me or visit my website for more information.
www.tastefullysimple.com/web/bleonard
heyteacherteacher@yahoo.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How to freeze fresh corn

There is absolutely NOTHING better in the summer than fresh picked corn on the cob. I could seriously eat a dozen by myself. Seriously. There is nothing that can beat a crisp, sweet, crunchy, juicy, enticing mouthful of corn from the cob. As the end of August draws near, I find myself tirelessly scouring the tri-state area for the last of the fresh sweet corn. I HAVE to freeze some before it's gone! Opening a bag of frozen sweet corn on a snowy day is the best way to beat the winter blahs. Below is a SUPER EASY way to freeze fresh corn so that you and your family can enjoy the flavors of summer all year long! Obviously, your first step is to husk the corn. Remove as much silk as possible, but any that is left will boil out. To blanch your corn, you will first boil it for about 3 minutes. You want it to start the cooking process, but not fully cook. After 3 minutes, remove the corn and give it an ice bath to stop the cooking process. I did mine in batches of about 5 or 6 at a time. You do not need to wait for the water to bubble before putting the next batch in. Boil and bathe, boil and bathe... it's a beautiful process.

After a cool bath of about 5-10 minutes, remove the corn from the ice water and allow to dry a little. I set mine in a bowl to rest while I am cutting off the kernels of other ears.


Here's a little trick: put a glass in the bottom of a deep bowl and rest the corn cob on the top to cut. It brings the corn up to a height that is easier to work with. This way, you aren't banging your hands against the bowl and you aren't trying to get the knife down in the midst of a pile of corn kernels. Another tip: Don't cut the corn down to the cob. Cutting into the cob can skunk the flavor of the corn. Don't ask me why, but it does.... not that I speak from experience or anything...


After cutting the corn off the cob at about 3/4 of the kernel, use the back of the knife to scrape out the goodies. The goodies are the BEST part of the corn. They are sweet and milky and creamy and you will be praising Jesus that you scraped them out. Don't let them go to waste! Mmm... look at all those goodies! (Don't hesitate to sample your corn to, you know, make sure it's ok! You would never serve brownies that you didn't first sample, would you?)


The last step: Bag it up! I like to bag mine in 2 cup portions. It seems to be the perfect amount for just about any recipe, and it's a great 'serving for 2' size. Lay the bags flat so that they can be stacked in the freezer. Voila'! You now have corn to enjoy all year round! I find that one dozen ears of corn generally produces about 10-12 cups of corn, or 5-6 bags. Hopefully you found this guide helpful! Tomorrow's agenda: Find more corn!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ch Ch Ch Changes

1. Emerson is walking. Scratch that. RUNNING, CLIMBING, HOPPING, FLYING. Ok, maybe not the last two, but she is on the move! We have gates everywhere and now need one for the top steps, which I didn't think we'd need, because she is obsessed with climbing the stairs to chase the cats.






Here kitty, kitty....


2. Emerson turned one in May. Here is a little peeky at her party.

The whole house exploded with cupcakes! We had a cupcake garland, photo garland, cupcake favors, decorations, you name it... The treat table was my favorite place to hang!Emerson donned a cupcake tutu and shirt, cupcake shoes, and a pink tiara. She was cupcake royalty!Emerson truly had an amazing birthday. I hear nightmarish stories about kids being overwhelmed and things going wrong. Her birthday was flawless, and she enjoyed every minute! She loves being surrounded by friends and family!

What's a cupcake party without a giant cupcake? Emme had no problem digging in!


Even Mom-Mom joined in with the kids and had a great time! So young at heart!


3. I am no longer teaching online. I am majorly going to work on building my Tastefully Simple business and I will start tutoring online in the fall. I am also going to search for students to tutor in my home, so if you know of anyone, send them my way! And if you are looking to get your hands our Spring/Summer products before they disappear, check out my website! www.tastefullysimple.com/web/bleonard


4. I have been super stocking up and using coupons like you wouldn't believe. The money I've saved is unbelievable, and this winter I will only need to get the basic staples like milk and bread. I LOVE that we are stocked and I will have more free time to spend with Emme instead of having to go out and get groceries. My pantry is organized and my freezer is packed! I'll share some money saving ideas and tips in posts to come!


5. If you've followed me for awhile, you may remember my epic closet clean out post: http://princessflufferbutt.blogspot.com/2009/06/closet-chaos-post-of-epic-proportion.html
Well, I've done it again... I now have HALF of ONE closet! Unbelievable, I know! Now Barry has the task of majorly cutting down HIS wardrobe. We bought an extra dresser for his sweaters and hoodies, but it only holds about 1/3 of them. Oy. He has some work to do!



My side... can you believe it?


6. I've been taking on a lot of projects around the house and have really been trying to get rid of crap. It's amazing how much crap one person (or two people) can collect in a few years. My goal is to be crap free. If I don't use something frequently, it's going on Ebay or to yard sale. I'd rather give Emerson fun life experiences than have junk that I don't NEED around the house.


7. This summer is one of the busiest I've had. I feel like I am always on the go, and I don't know where the past few weeks have gone! I'm really trying to spend time with friends and family and enjoy the outdoors while we can. I'm in two book clubs that meet monthly and I'm looking into stroller-arobics (insert laugh here), swimming classes with Emerson, and possibly a music class taught by one of my new friends, who is totally awesome and everyone raves about her classes! I also am thinking about doing Mom's Day Out, which is offered by a local church. Emme can play with other kids two times a week for half a day while I get some work done. It's win - win. She'll get to interact with kids, which she LOVES, and I can get stuff done around the house without her feeling neglected. It's going to be a busy fall!


8. Speaking of busy fall, I can't wait for Penn State Football Season!!! My cousin is also getting married (go Kaytee!) and I swear this is the LAST wedding I will ever be in. Don't even waste your breath asking, cuz I'm gonna say 'no'. Not that I don't love my friends and family and feel honored to be asked to stand next to them at the altar, but I'm getting too old for this and I look hideous in dresses. So seriously, I'm done crash dieting to fit into your pretty little dresses that seriously will never fit me again. After the wedding, I'm chowing down and I don't care. No more dresses for me. NOW, if someone wants to get married and allow me to wear sweatpants and a comfy t, we'll talk.


9. Have you read The Hunger Games yet? If not, then RUN, seriously RUN to the bookstore or download the series on your reader. Move over Twilight, there's a new love triangle in town! I'm totally obssessed with this series and I can not wait until the movie comes out in March! (I even signed Barry up to be an extra in the movie. He didn't get contacted back. Go figure...)


10. Here are some random pics of what we've been up to....
Emme loves to show us her 'funny face'. She is such a ham! And apparantly, judging by this pic, she snuck some of my Oreos. She and I may have to have a lil talk.Emme is a TOTAL FISH! Last year she wanted nothing to do with the water. This year, she would stay in all day if we could. When we go out to swing each day she points at our neighbor's pool and cries to get in... makes me feel bad, but I'm so not interested in getting a pool! Uh oh... someone has moved to the big girl seat! She loves her big girl seat and gets a kick out of facing forward and watching Mommy in the mirror. She is so silly and loves to dance in her seat, and it is obviously comfortable... she was out in no time!



Recipes are coming! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I got a facelift

Ok, well, not ME personally, but my blog. Princess Flufferbutt. My life. Everything has changed. I beat my record of 4 months without posting. Yup. It's been 5 months. FIVE MONTHS since I have posted on this here ole blog. And who is reading this now? Probably no one. Maybe my mom. Ok, definitely my mom. I'm sure that, even though it is 12:55 am, she will be on here reading with excitement because I FINALLY posted something new. Not only did I post something new, but I am starting over fresh. A LOT has changed in the past 5 months. Heck, a lot has changed in the past 5 days. I am not one who typically deals well with change, but I am embracing it and I am loving it. Change is good. Because it is 12:57 am, I will not drone on about the many changes that have happened since I've been gone, but I promise to update in as few words as possible and in as few posts as possible. I can also promise that I will post again, and it won't be in another five months. That's like, almost half a year! And I miss my blog, and I miss my bloggy friends. So if you're reading this, I am back. And I promise to stay. And because I haven't been the best blogger lately, I will be posting some FABULOUS recipes to make up for my absence. I'm serious. I have some amazing treats to share. Soon. But for now, I am hitting the sack. Because it's 1:00 am and I am tired. If I keep this up, I just may need a facelift fo' real...