Fruit Salsa w/ Cinnamon Chips


First of all, Happy Memorial Day!

Please take time today to remember all of the heroes who fight for our safety and freedom - the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice as well as the ones who are still fighting for us today. It's a day to honor and celebrate all of those who help keep this country such a great place to call home! I want to give a big THANK YOU to all of those who serve, as well as the families behind them who serve also.

My family and I went to the Memorial Day parade today.. it was fun! I still get excited when the fire trucks go by.. haha. I think it's important to also recognize those who serve us locally.. such as policemen, EMTs & paramedics, and firefighters. My big brother has been on the volunteer fire department for... a long time.. so thank you big bro! :) After the parade we went up to the cemetery to visit our loved ones. One of them being my Grampa (above picture), who served in the Army. I love and miss you, Grampa! I wish my sweet husband was here with me today (pictured right).. or rather, me there with him! I may get to move there with him.. I don't know any details yet, but I'll write when I do. :) He is stationed in Korea with the Air Force for the next year.. I am SO proud of him. You're a hard worker and a loving husband.. I am BLESSED to have you in my life! Thanks for all you do, babe!

Okay, okay.. so it's a beautiful day out today - actually, the whole weekend has been extremely beautiful! And you know what I love most in the summertime? Fruit. So refreshing! I love ALL fruit.. kiwis, mangos, grapes, berries.. well, actually I don't like all fruit. I hate melon. I think it is absolutely disgusting. But I'm weird like that. :) So today our family grilled out and I made some fruit salsa and cinnamon chips. Let me tell you, you're going to want to make this over and over. What a great snack - and healthy too!

First, choose what fruit you want to use. I like to use something of every color - I like when it's colorful! I chose to use pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, and mango. Fruit can be expensive sometimes.. so just use whatever you want. Whatever fruit sounds best to you, or whatever is on sale. Cut up the fruit in small pieces and mix them together. Remember, it's a salsa.. you're going to be eating it with a chip, so you want them small. Also, if you're using blueberries or blackberries or something of the sort, stir them in last so they don't stain the rest of the salsa.

Next, you're going to want to sweeten the salsa a little bit. I chose to use some honey and sugar. You can use other things such as brown sugar or powdered sugar if you want. But I love the honey, it adds a great taste to the fruit. You can add a little lime juice, too. Just be careful not to add too much because the fruit will already make the salsa juicy. Look at how pretty and colorful that is!!! Love it.

Chill the salsa for a little bit (definitely tastes better that way), then it's time to make the cinnamon chips! Or if you'd rather just eat it over some vanilla ice cream, that's perfectly fine and delicious, too.

Okay, now onto the cinnamon chips!

The only things you need for these are flour tortilla (I used the 6" ones), melted butter, and cinnamon sugar. 3 ingredients - SO EASY. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush one side of the tortillas with melted butter, then sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar - however much your heart desires! When I make my cinnamon sugar, I like to use 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon. Use a pizza cutter to cut the tortillas into wedges and then bake them on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, or until the edges start to curl up.

They'll be light and crispy when they're done.. they make a great snack.. or a dessert. Load them up with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, or caramel sauce.. YUM. But they also go perfectly with the fruit dip! I think everyone needs to try making these.. so fast & simple & delicious!

(thanks to Pitman Photography for Coleman's photo)

Sweet Potato Fries


Last night I made some sweet potato fries to go along with dinner - yum! Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things, so tasty. The recipe I used came from Sugarlaws. This recipe only serves 2, so I doubled it when I made it.

You will need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 (generous) teaspoon of salt
  • 1 (generous) teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • Black pepper (to your liking)

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel then slice your sweet potatoes in thin strips and put them in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and EVOO, then use your hands and toss. Make sure they're all thoroughly coated. Place your fries on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. My fries took about 45 minutes, but I doubled the recipe so I had a lot more to bake. Taste to tell if they're done.. the fries should be soft and delicious! If you want to make them more of a dessert, you should add brown sugar them.. mmmm mmm! :) Enjoy!

    Berry Crumble Snack


    I made this berry crumble snack (or dessert, I guess) after dinner tonight.. so yummy! The recipe is from Rachael Ray. It serves 6 people:

    For the topping:
    • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly crushed
    • 2/3 cups fast-cooking oats
    • 2 teaspoon sugar
    • A big pinch of cinnamon
    • A pinch of nutmeg
    • 4 tablespoon butter, softened
    • A couple drops of vanilla extract (you don't have to use it, but I put some in mine)

      For the filling:

      • 1 bag frozen raspberries (12 oz), thawed
      • 1 bag frozen blueberries (12 oz), thawed
      • 1 tablespoon sugar
      • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and then grease 6 seven-ounce ramekins.

      For the topping, combine almonds, oats, sugar, and spices in a bowl. Add the butter and, with a fork, rub the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs are formed. Then set it aside... now to make the filling!

      For the filling, put the berries into a strainer set over a large bowl so it catches the juices. Add sugar and cornstarch to the juices and mix until it's dissolved together. Gently fold the berries back into their juices, then divide the mixture among the greased ramekins. Top each ramekin with the crumb mixture. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet lined with foil, and bake 20-25 minutes - until bubbling hot and the topping is a golden. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes or so when it's done - the ramekins will be hot (obviously) !! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and it's even better... mmmm!

      Red Velvet Cake Balls


      I got this idea from Bakerella.. I saw that they were red velvet and just had to try them. I pretty much love anything red velvet.. or anything chocolate, for that matter. So what better idea than to roll the red velvet in chocolate??! And let me tell you, they are pretty much amazing. If you don't want red velvet, there are other cake/frosting combinations you can try.

      1 box red velvet cake mix
      1 container of cream cheese frosting (16 oz)
      1 package chocolate almond bark (regular or white chocolate, whatever your preference)
      Wax paper

      First, bake the cake according to the directions on the box, using a 13x9 cake pan. After the cake is done, let it cool completely and then crumble it into a large bowl. Mix it with the container of cream cheese frosting - I used my hands for this, it's messy but much easier to get it thoroughly mixed!

      Next, hand roll the cake/frosting mixture into little balls.. about quarter-sized or a little bigger.. and lay them on a cookie sheet. My batch made about 55. Then put them in the fridge for several hours (I left mine in over night because I had to go to work, and I work late) or you can put them in the freezer to speed up the process. You want them to get a little firm so they don't fall apart when you roll them in the chocolate. After they're nice and firm, melt the chocolate in the microwave (or you can use a double boiler, but I prefer the microwave, directions are on the package) and roll the balls in chocolate and lay them on wax paper until the chocolate coating has dried and hardened. I used a spoon to dip and roll them in the chocolate, then tapped the spoon against the side of the bowl to get the extra off. Also, when using the almond bark, I only melted a couple blocks at a time because it thickens fast. It's just easier to use when it's hot.

      I think they are delicious and they would be fun to take to a party or get-together... enjoy!

      Soap Squares


      I made these and gave them to my mom and my mother-in-law for mother's day this year. They are so fun and easy to make - there are a ton of different variations you could use when making homemade soap, too. I got this idea from the Martha Stewart website.

      For mine I used:

      • Blocks of glycerin soap
      • Petroleum jelly/Vaseline
      • Cotton Swabs
      • Liquid dye
      • Essential Oils (I used Cucumber Melon.. mmm!)
      • Aloe Vera Oils
      • Ice cube tray (or whatever mold you choose to use)
      • Microwaveable bowl & a spoon (to stir!)
      I found most everything I need at Hobby Lobby (glycerin, oils, dye). They had a small section of things especially for homemade soaps - they had really cute molds, as well!

      First, used a cotton swab to coat the inside of your mold with petroleum jelly, that way the soap will pop right out after it's done cooling. Put your blocks of glycerin into the microwaveable bowl. Use however much you think you need.. I didn't use any exact measurements. Heat for no more than 30 seconds on high. Stir and then continue to heat in short intervals - 10 to 15 seconds - until the glycerin is thoroughly melted.

      After the glycerin is melted, add oils and dye (sparingly.. a little goes a long way!). I used just a few drops of each. Use your imagination to add your favorite ingredients and additives! Stir to mix all ingredients together and then pour into your mold. My soap squares cooled in about 2 hours.

      There are many different additives you can use, too. Adding a little castor oil and sugar will help your soap to lather up better, beeswax will help your soap to last longer, oatmeal can nourish the skin and serve as an exfoliating agent, etc, etc. Experiment and have fun with it!

      What I loved about making the soaps into little cubes was being able to package it in this cute jar I found. You can make your own tag and attach it with a pretty ribbon or string of your choice! It makes a cute little gift for many occasions.. in my case, it was for mother's day. :)

      Here we go!

      I don’t really have any set goals for this blog other than sharing our experiences, including being a military family, as well as my cooking and crafts, and just our all around craziness.  Although I can't currently feed my husband.. sad face.. I will get to very soon!  At the moment, he is stationed in Korea and has only been there for a little over a month so far.  But we just got news that we are now able to get command sponsorship (meaning, I'm able to join him!) - I'm hoping to be there by the end of July.  I'm just praying that the military puts the pedal to the metal, because I'm tired of waiting for them... ha!  Hurry up and wait.. hurry up and wait.  Impatience and the military do not mix well!

      Anyway, I'm excited to share all of my ideas with you!  As well as keep our family and friends updated on the adventures of our crazy, ever-changing life.  I hope you enjoy this blog, and maybe even become inspired to try something new or create something yourself!

      Stay tuned.. this should get interesting!