Our Holly Days

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fun with After School Snacks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

While I have been home schooling the boys, this year Aiden is starting preschool. To help him wind down when he comes home & to help him & Collin to reconnect after a long day of separate schedules, I've been brainstorming some yummy, easy, & kid friendly after school snacks. #AfterSchoolSnacks

I remember growing up with Bagel Bites being such a huge treat after school & thought the boys would love them as much as I did. Maybe they won't enjoy my rad headwear, oversized teddy bear sweatshirt, or neon poof sleeves as much as I did, but I'd be willing to bet they'll enjoy Bagel Bites just as much as I did.

To gear up for our back to school supplies, teacher gifts, & after school snacks, Walmart is our one stop shop. It's super convenient to get everything done in one store. We easily found our Bagel Bites & another family favorite, Delimex chicken taquitos.

These snacks are ideal for after school since they store easily in the freezer & warm up quickly in the microwave in whatever serving sizes you require. Bagel Bites are made with real cheese & homemade sauce with 0g of trans fat. And Delimex chicken taquitos are made with all white meat. Plus, this Mom can get creative with how I plate the snacks to make them extra fun! For instance, a stick figure made from a mix of Bagel Bites & sliced pieces of Delimex taquitos! How much fun would these guys be to devour?

Collin named his stick figure friend Mr. Snacks & just loved it! Aiden thought the, "baby pizzas," were, "So cute, Mom! Look at these baby pepperonis cut like ice cubes!" Ha! It was a super fun twist on our usual snack routine & even I had fun putting together Mr. Snacks & friends!

For more great recipes & ideas from Bagel Bites, be sure to check out their website.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Salisbury Steak Meatballs with Smart & Final

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

There are very few recipes that my entire family all enjoys to the very last crumb. These salisbury steak meatballs using Cattleman's Finest ground beef from Smart & Final is one of them.  They are savory, juicy, & so flavorful that my mouth is watering just as I type this.

To start, you'll need to pick up some quality ground beef. I love shopping at Smart & Final for my beef, kitchen items, & other groceries. They carry warehouse sized items without the membership fee & their food is high quality, fresh, & delicious. Their stores always make for an easy shopping trip without the miles & miles of unnecessary items you'd find at another warehouse store. #ChooseSmart

INGREDIENTS adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 stick of salted butter
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/3 cup brown mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon beef bouillon
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 whole large onion, diced
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (additional)
1 tablespoon ketchup (additional)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch (mixed with a bit extra beef broth)
16 ounces egg noodles
minced parsley

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, ketchup, mustard, bouillon, Worcestershire, salt, & pepper. It works easiest when you mash it all together with your hands. Once it's mixed together nicely, roll roughly two tablespoons at a time into balls. I have a neat little baller that I like to use, but if you don't have one, just eyeball it. Ha! Get it?!

Separately, in a large pan, melt down two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Next, add your meatballs. You may need to do two batches to keep the pan from overcrowding. Cook the meatballs until they are brown on the outside. The middle doesn't have to be completely done as they will finish cooking a bit later. In the same pan, toss in your onions & cook them until they are softened.

Now, pour in your beef broth. Add in the additional ketchup, mustard, & more Worcestershire, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen up all that meaty flavor.

In a small bowl, mix up your cornstarch with a little beef broth. This is going to thicken up the broth & give it a nice texture on top of those noodles & meatballs. Once your sauce has a nice boil going, add in your cornstarch mixture, stir it around, & then add in those tasty looking meatballs.

Let everything simmer together to give the flavors time to develop, the meatballs to cook through, & for the cornstarch to work it's magic.

While your meatballs are simmering, cook your egg noodles. Once they are done, you can put them into a large serving bowl & add the rest of the butter. Toss the noodles around until they look evenly coated. Add some fresh diced parsley for some nice green color.

And finally, spoon your meatballs & sauce right over the noodles, ensuring you get all of the sauce. Oh, that divine sauce! If you so desire, you can sprinkle a bit more parsley on top for that beautiful green color.

And that's it! You're left with a gorgeous family dinner that everyone will devour. My kids certainly did....& so did my husband! This fed our family of seven with leftovers, which for us, is perfect since Jacob typically takes them to work the next day. He's definitely looking forward to taking these leftovers!

For more recipes from Smart & Final, check them out here. You can also find additional ideas, coupons (including this current promotion!), & more via their Facebook & Twitter pages.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kids TV Room with Netflix

With summertime in full swing, we have all five of our kids at home ranging in ages from ten years old down to one year old. When I am busy in the kitchen prepping meals or cleaning the house, this means I have five kiddos who are OMGBOOORRREEEDD. This year, to help combat the boredom, I gave up my desk area to create a little play area & their own TV room for prime Netflix viewing.

In these sweltering summer temps we deal with in the desert, the name of the game is keeping the kids cool & indoors. Netflix helps me do that, but keep it educational at the same time. This summer, keep those brains for going mushy by viewing one of the more educational titles Netflix is offering.

For the older kiddos:
1. Lewis & Clark: The Journey Out West
2. Walking with Dinosaurs
3. Secret Yellowstone
4. The Blue Planet
5. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

For the little kiddos:
1. The Great Mouse Detective
2. Busytown Mysteries
3. LeapFrog: Math Adventures to the Moon
4. Turtle: The Incredible Journey
5. The Magic School Bus

What are you favorite summer titles to watch on Netflix? We are in need of some inspiration!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

6 Chilled Pasta Salad Recipes for Summer

Come summer time here in the desert, I try to avoid using my oven as much as possible. It heats up the house a few degrees & creates a larger AC bill than I'd prefer. Keeping cool is the name of the game out here & I try to do that whenever possible. Including meals. Rather than warming up our oven for a hot meal after an already sweltering day, I prefer whipping up some cold pasta dishes to feed my family. This week, I'm sharing my go-to pasta salad recipe along with five others that I tracked down while browsing the internet for new twists on this chilled-out idea. Keep cool out there & head over to So Fawned for these summer recipes now!

Friday, July 18, 2014

TILO Friday

Oh my gosh, you guys! This is the best kid's party idea ever!

I need these in my life like I need air to breathe.

This would be a dream baby shower. Stunning.

Ha! I'd gobble my dinner right up if it looked like this!

These campfire recipes are so creative!

These are just about the coolest donuts I ever did see!

Uh, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about these.

I adore this & may end up making one for myself!

In love with this free art printable.

This cake is so beautiful.

Genius dollar store craft idea.

I'm obsessed with Marlowe's bedroom.

These up cycling ideas for taking trash & turning them into toys are super rad.

Have a lovely weekend, friends!


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