Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Purrfect Play Giveaway-Purrfect for your Fur Baby this Holiday Season!

Are you ready for our first ever Holiday Giveaway here at 3 Moms?  I know we are!
Did you see our 2010 Holiday Shopping Guide?  Just in time for the Holidays one of the awesome companies we listed on our guide, Purrfect Play, would like to offer up your choice of a 100% Organic Carrot Catnip toy for the cat in your life OR a medium  Organic Plush Fortune Flyer for that special dog in your life.  The winner will be allowed to choose which they would like to receive.

The Happy Carrot Catnip toy is a durable and yummy, our 6 inch carrot contains over 1/2 cup of fragrant organic catnip! Thick brown colorgrown fleece. Lined with organic cotton canvas. Crowned with fun hemp cord "leaves". (taken from their website). 

The Happy Fortune Flyer dog toy is is tough, washable, and made without synthetics. Easy to throw, durable, and dogs love it!
The Outside = Two sturdy layers of hemp canvas
The Inside = Two tough layers of organic cotton denim
Stuffed with agave fiber, a straw-like by product from tequila production that supports a small regional workshop in Mexico (again taken from their website)

So, are you interested in learning how you can win your pick of the 2 wonderful products above?  Just do 1 of the following and report back here ON THIS BLOG as a comment.  You must leave your comment on this blog below in the comments sections to enter.  We may miss you if you just leave a comment on our FB wall or Purrfect Plays FB wall so be sure to leave your comment below.  You can do as many or as few of the "requirements" as you would like but you do get 1 entry for each one you complete so the more you do the more your chances of winning.

Giveaway Entry-

1. Follow 3 Moms and a Kitchen on Facebook-
Go to our Facebook Page and "like" us there.  Come back to the blog and leave a comment that says "I 'like' 3 Moms and a Kitchen on Facebook".  Do you already follow us on FB, this a freebie for you too then, just leave a comment saying "I already 'like' 3 Moms and a Kitchen on Facebook"

2. Follow Purrfect Play on Facebook-
Go to Purrfect Play's Facebook Page and Click "like".  Leave a comment on their facebook wall that 3 Moms and a Kitchen sent you and then Come back here to the blog and leave a comment saying "I 'like' Purrfect Play on Facebook".  If you already "like" Purrfect Play on Facebook then just leave a comment here saying "I already 'like' Purrfect Play on Facebook".

3. Suggest 3 Moms and Kitchen AND Purrfect Play to your Facebook Friends-
Once you have "liked" our pages suggest all of your friends "like" us as well.  Come back here and leave a comment saying "I suggested 3 Moms and a Kitchen AND Purrfect Play to my friends on Facebook"  You have to suggest both pages to earn an entry with this one.

4. Like one of the other blogs we are working with for our 2010 Holiday Guide-
We are working with Job Description: Mommy and Mama Eve in a collaboration with the Holiday guides.  If you go and "like" one of them on Facebook and leave a comment back here that you have done so you will earn another entry.
You Must "like" 3 Moms AND Purrfect Play on Facebook too before doing this step

Suggest Job Description: Mommy or Mama Eve to your Facebook Friends-
After you have liked 1 (or both) of them suggest them to your friends.  Come back here and leave a comment that you have suggested them to your friends.

So, in total you can earn 4 entries if you complete all of the above.  If you are already doing 1 of the above it still counts for you, just leave a comment saying you already do this.  the more you do the better your chances of winning.

As with our first contest we had, the winner will be picked at random.  This is why it is so important that you leave your comments here on this blog.  Each comment will be assigned a number 1 through how ever many comments there are.  So, for example, if there are 50 comments each comment will be assigned a number 1-50 based on the order the comments are left in.  We will then use random.org to randomly choose a number 1-50 and whatever number is chosen will be the winner.  We will post a blog announcing the winner next Tuesday, Dec 7.  So you have between now and Dec 6 to complete the tasks above and enter to win.

Have fun and Goodluck!

Christy, Tanya and Jess

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Story A Day Until Christmas

Last year at our church we made the cutest Christmas books to use with our family called "A Story A Day Until Christmas".  I wanted to share this idea with all of you as I think these books are adorable and my children love theirs.  Its very simple and inexpensive to make and they make great gifts to give to others.  Although, if you would like the recipient to get use out of the book this year you would have to give them as an early or pre-Christmas gift.

What You Will Need:
1 3 Ring Binder that has a see-through plastic cover so you can add a "cover" to your book
A hole puncher (preferably a 3 ring one to make it easier on you)
A picture to use as the "cover"
Printer, printer ink and printer paper
At least 24 stories that capture the essence of Christmas to you

Step 1: Find the stories and a Photo to use for the cover-
This can easily be done using your computer.  It would take me forever to sit here and type out all of the stories that are in mine but I will type a few of the titles to inspire you.  All you have to do is a google search for "Christmas Stories" and you will find plenty to choose from to print out and use.
"Why the Chimes Rang" by Raymond MacDonald Alden
"The Offering" by Ray Goldruan
The Christmas Story from the Book of Luke in the Bible (Chapter 2)
True Christmas Toy, a poem by Jenett Morell
"Davey and the First Christmas" by Beth Vardon
so on and so on
You could even type up real life stories of Christmas's from your childhood or the first Christmas for each of your children.  You can type up your children's favorite Christmas books, or even use your own imagination to fill the pages with fictional stories you have written.  Its your book and it can be whatever you want it to be.

The book I made at church is perfect for our family as we try to center Christmas around Christ.  We do the whole Santa thing for the kids but we also want to make sure they recognize the true meaning of the holiday.  This is what works for our family and therefore the book is filled with stories tailored to that.  That is the beauty of making these yourself.  If you are not particularly religious in your family but enjoy celebrating Christmas then you can find more stories tailored to that.
If you do not celebrate Christmas at all but a different holiday then you can create a book centered around that instead.  For example, if you celebrate Hanukkah in your home then you can make a book for the 8 days of Hanukkah and read 1 story each night for 8 days.

Once you have all of the stories you want, choose a cover.  Mine was pre-chosen for me but I love it.  It again captures the essence of what we want to teach our children about Christmas.  Your cover may be a picture of Baby Jesus, Santa, Rodolph, a Snowman or even a Holiday portrait of your own family.

Step 2: Assemble the Book-
Once you have found all the stories you want, a minimum of 24 for the Christmas book, (you can use more if you want, our book has 2-3 stories to choose from for each day) you are ready to put it together.
Slip the photo you have chosen into the cover of the book.
If you choose, print out not only the stories but pages to divide each day.  Our book has a sheet that says what day it is (day 1-24), a scripture for that day and a suggested carol to sing as a family.  Again, I did not design this but we like it and it works for us so we kept it.  You book may only have pages that say the day.  They may have pictures on them, or silly Christmas songs to sing.  I always read the scripture to the kids but we may not always sing the carol (I honestly do not know them all haha) but may sing "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" or "Frosty the Snowman" instead.
Arrange papers so that there is at least 1 story behind each day.
Punch holes in papers and insert into the 3 ring binder.
Your book is now ready for use.

Last year our oldest was 3, it was the first year any of our kids had been old enough to truly understand and be excited for Christmas.  That's fun but with it comes the "is today Christmas?"  "what about today?" "how many more days until Christmas?".  I found this book was a very helpful tool in helping us count down the days.  Each night when we read we could say "see, now there are X amount of days until Christmas".  Did this stop him from asking a dozen times a day still, NO, but it helped and gave me a point of reference when he did ask.  I could just say "well, what number story did we read last night?" and if he didn't remember I could show him.

These books would be great for grandparents to make and give to grandkids too.  They will create a lifetime of memories for your children.  As mine was all premade I plan to do my own searching for stores to add and swap out as the years go on.  Many of them are long for the attention spans I have so I will look for some shorter stories and some pictures to add inside to help keep everyones interest.  I plan to add photos of our family, baby Jesus, Jesus throughout his ministry and of course pictures of Santa, Christmas trees, snowmen, etc.

Other things you may want to add to your book:
1 picture of your kid(s)/family taken each yr on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day
1 photo of your Christmas tree taken each year.
Fun recipes for holiday treats like sugar cookies, gingerbread men, etc (don't forget the picture of you and your children making these treats together)
Lyrics/Music Sheets to the songs you love to sing this time of year
Scripture references to go along with the stories
A Step by Step guide to your families Christmas traditions-for example the steps you do on Christmas Eve, when you put up your decorations, where you celebrate the holiday, etc.  A timetable of events.
The possibilities are endless and can be tailored made to fit your family.

I think the cover photo on our book is so beauiful I display it as part
of the Christmas decor when it is not in use.

As with the big Family Recipe Book I am making, eventually I plan on making a separate copy of these book for each of my children and will give it to them when they are grown and have started a family of their own.  Then they can add to their book with their own children.

If you make your own book take a picture of the cover and upload it on the wall of our FB page, we want to see it!


Inspired by Finn Discount

Have you seen our 2010 Holiday Shopping Guide?  One of the companies listed on there, Inspired by Finn, has extended a 20% discount to us for including them.  All they ask in return is that you click on their Facebook Page and "LIKE" them first, suggest the page to your friends and then you will be able to use the code  BLOG20 at check out.  This is good only 1 time per person and is applied when you check out.  This will be good through Christmas.

I am very excited about this as I have been wanting to buy one of these for Miss Tub Tub and this coupon will help me be able to do so.  Remember, the necklaces help people of all ages with a variety of pains and ailments, they are not just for teething babies.
This coupon is good for those of you who follow Mama Eve and Job Description: Mommy too, please just make sure you "like" 3 Moms and a Kitchen on Facebook as well before using.

Christy, Jess and Tanya

P.S.  Feel free to share this with your friends, tell them yo "like'" 3 Moms and Inspired by Finn on FB and then give them the code.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

3 Moms 2010 Holiday Shopping Guide

We are teaming up with 2 awesome blogs, Job Description: Mommy and Mama Eve  to bring you a Holiday shopping guide with online stores that are Eco-Friendly and/or USA based so that you can shop for great gifts and help make a difference this season at the same time.  Many of these stores are also small, independently owned by moms just like all of us.  So help support another mom, show the environment and the USA some love and get your shop on at these awesome sites:

Giraffe teether,
one of the many cute
gift ideas you will find
The Natural Toy Box sells toys all handcrafted or handmade by a small group of women who are all mothers to small children.  They make all natural wooden and organic toys, 
I love that they break their toys up into age categories.  This is perfect for grandparents or other family members trying to buy toys for baby's/children and are not sure about what to buy for that age.  Just click on the age group you are looking to buy for and shop from there.
They even have a section full of items for under $10 for those of you shopping on a budget
They are based in Westchester, IL and can be found on FB.

Shannon's Accessories
Based out of New Jersey, Shannon's Accessories sells all  kinds of cute creations for baby AND mom.  The first page of the website says:
Welcome to a wonderful world of glitz and glam! Where little girls and big girls alike love all we have to offer. All of our handmade accessories are created with highest quality products to enhance the beauty of your little princess. Check back often to see our latest styles and seasonal items
There was a cute slide show going on the main page and just for the brief time I was there I must've seen at least 10 things I wanted to buy.  A girl could get in serious trouble at this site!

Chulamaiz Jewelry
Chulamaiz Jewelry is based in San Diego, CA and sells, well I am sure you can guess, jewelry.  The pieces on the site are beautiful, I am partial to the butterfly necklace myself.  These would make the perfect gift for teenage daughters, your mom, MIL or any special lady in your life-maybe yourself even.

Paipaioppai; based out of Anaheim, CA; sells hand knit hats in a rainbow of beautiful colors, as well as scarves and gloves.  They also currently have a contest going so head on over and check them out.

Lock Ness Lassies
Can I just say I am in love with this site, click on them and you will see why.  Their creations are just so beautiful and magical.  I have a feeling one of Miss Tub Tubs Christmas gifts may be coming from here!
They are based in Eureka, CA and sell handmade, beautiful jewelry as well as these adorable little creatures.  You will have to see them for yourself as they are too cute and unique to describe here.  It looks like they have a FB page link on their site and rumors of some contests (hehe) so be sure to follow them, I know I will be!
P.S. I just found out they can custome create a doll for your child if you contact them with the specifics you are looking for, even better!

Little Sapling Toys
Little Sapling Toys are based in Boise, ID and Highland, UT.  They make the cutest wooden creations using organic wood.  If you are looking for a one of a kind unique gift to give to a baby/child this year then they are the site for you.  They have wooden teethers, blocks, stackers, trains, etc.  All beautifully unfinished and natural looking.
The best part is that for each wooden toy they sell they plant one tree through Trees for the Future.  So you have the knowledge that not only are you buying a great toy but you are also making an eco-friendly contribution.  They also use local beeswax and organic jojoba oil finish to bring out the natural beauty of the woods and all wooden teethers are left bare.
They have a FB page, which I already follow, and constanly have fun contests/other promotions.

Inspired by Finn
Based out of Phoenix, AZ, Inspired by Finn sells Baltic amber and hazelwood jewelry that, when worn, reacts with your skin and helps all sorts of different ailments. I discovered them from friends while searching for something to help my teething baby but the healing powers of Baltic amber are for all ages, not just babies.
Taken directly from their site:
When Baltic amber is worn on the skin, the skin’s warmth releases trace amounts of healing oils from the amber. These oils contain succinic acid and are absorbed into the skin. Baltic Amber helps with the pain and discomfort of different pain associated with dental issues, headaches, joint pain, etc.
Hazelwood helps to relieve and prevent ailments such as ulcers, acid reflux, heartburn, skin problems (psoriasis, eczema, acne), arthritis, constipation, migraines, sensitive & bleeding gums, helps reduce dental cavities and more.  It can even help relieve heartburn and nausea during pregnancy and would make a great gift for any pregnant women you may know.
It looks like they are sold out of a lot of merchandise at the moment, most likely due to all the shopping that's been going on the past few days, but they will restock soon so keep checking back.
They also have a FB Page that I currently follow.

Rockin Green, based in Castroville, TX, sells green laundry detergents.  They have a variety of scents and formulas for soft, normal and hard water.  With funky names like Classic Rock, Hard Rock, scents like Smashing Watermelons and Mighty Mighty Marshmallow and even a fun Holiday scent called Jungle Bell Rock this gift will delight any "greenie" in your life.  They also sell many green laundry accessories, like wool dryer balls if you don't want to make them yourself, and even a few green skin care products.
I have used some of their products and can attest to the quality and performance of them.
They can also be found on several social media sites including FB and Twitter.  Be sure to follow them as they constantly have give-a-ways.

tea set
Cotton Babies
Cotton babies, who are based in St. Louis, MO, are much MUCH more than just cloth diapers.  They sell all kinds of baby gear, wraps and carriers, maternity and nursing wear for mamas and baby/toddler toys.  Check out their site for a ginormous selection of goodies to choose from.
If you are lucky enough to live in the St. Louis area they even have a real store you can go to and shop in person.  If you are able to do this I am SO jealous!
I have purchased from them many times and their shipping is always quick, best of all it is also ALWAYS FREE!  No matter how big or small your order, it is free to ship within in the US!  So you do not have to worry about figuring shipping costs into your gift budget.
They are also on most social media sites including FB and Twitter.

Again, so much more than just cloth diapers they have lots to offer for mom and baby alike.  Several different types of baby wraps/carriers, plenty of fun things for mom and tons of adorable toys for a baby/child.
The Happy Baby Company is based in McKees Rocks, PA and they also offer free shipping within the USA.
They can be found on FB and are worth following so that you can be kept up to date with sales and promotions as well as the occasional contest.

We can't forget about the fur babies this holiday season.  I had a cat and dog before I ever had kids and I spoiled them rotten too.  I only have the dog now but she is just as spoiled as ever.
Purrfect Play offers dog and cat toys made of dye free organic all natural fibers and materials.
They are located in Chesterton, IN and 5% of each purchase goes to animal rescue groups so purchasing from them not only benefits you and your pet but many other homeless pets out there looking for forever homes.
They even have gifts for people too.
They can be found on FB and Twittter

Didn't find what you were looking for on this guide?  Mama Eve and Job Description: Mommy
also made great guides for you to follow.  Between the 3 of us you should (hopefully) be able to find exactly what you are looking for.

If you are like most of us, things may be a little tight this year when it comes to gift funds.  We at 3 Moms have you covered for that as well.  Be sure to follow us on FB for many MANY upcoming DIY gift ideas starting Dec 1.  We will have plenty of yummy creations to make as well as some fun crafty ideas as alternatives to giving food.

I must apologize that this guide is a few days late as everyone in our family was sick for the last week.  We meant to have it up before Thanksgiving so that you all could take advantage of any Black Friday deals the sites may have, there is still always Cyber Monday to look forward to.
I also had plans of contacting the stores to see if any of them would be willing to give us a sample to use in some upcoming giveaways this Holiday season and will be doing that today but as of now I cannot promise anything.  We are a small blog, but we are partnered with 2 larger blogs so lets keep our fingers crossed that a few will be willing to help out with this.  We will let you know if they do.  For now just drool over all their adorable merchandise and make some purchases!

Christy, Tanya and Jess


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fan Friday kickoff! (I know... it's wednesday)


I Know it's Wednesday but this might be helpful for tomorrow's big day!

A yummy Jello salad and "nana" crackers! something you can have ready at the kiddie table! Older kids can help and younger kids can shake! And it keeps them from starving with anticipation! Enjoy! <3

Mandarin Orange Jello Salad
post by: Ally Mitsuoka

Ally has been making this salad for a her family gatherings, it's always a big hit!

16oz container of small curd cottage cheese
Large box of Orange Jello (2-3)
Cans of Mandarin Oranges
Small can of Crushed Pineapple
12oz of Cool Whip

Put cottage cheese in colander to get as much of the liquid out as possible.  Blend together the packet of Orange Jello powder and Cottage cheese, set aside.
  Drain cans of mandarin oranges and lay out on Paper Towels.
 Put crushed pineapple in colander or sieve to drain as much liquid as possible (I even squeeze it between paper towels).  Add Mandarins and Pineapple to Cottage cheese/Jello mixture and Incorporate.  Then fold in 12oz of Cool Whip and chill.

Note: I usually buy two 8oz containers of Cool Whip and just split the second one to make 12oz, or if you find that the 16oz container is a better deal, just guesstimate what 12oz, might be.  Also, the key to being successful with this side dish is to get as much of the liquid out of the cottage cheese and Pineapple.  This is a great side for Thanksgiving.

"Nana crackers"
Post by Chrystal Armbruster.

Chrystal admits..she let her adorable sons name them!

Requires:1 banana,1 graham cracker(I use them w/o cinnamon but w/ cinnamon works too),a meat mallet (we have used a kids plastic hammer even) and a zip lock bag.
This can be a fun snack for kids because they can do almost everything to make it!

Slice a banana.

Place  Graham Crackers in zip lock push out air and seal. You can hand the child the graham cracker in the bag and let them smash it,or smash it yourself. Place banana slices in bag and shake(another kid friendly step),you can place all slices and shake at once of a few at a time for a better coating,but I've found 1 graham cracker and 1 banana is the perfect combo. Remove slices from bag and serve.


You will each be entered to a drawing that will happen on December 27th 2010!  (prize to be determined this week)



We are very pleased to announce that we want YOU our friends to be more involved! We can not grow without your support and we know some of you have even better skills than us!  We see some of you post your yummy food on a daily basis and WE want to learn about what YOU think is yummy!

                                                                       Photo Courtesy of  Chrystal Armbruster.

Send us your recipes along with pictures and a bit of a story to the recipe, how did you come about making it? Has it been in your family? Is it great with your children? How much do you and others enjoy it? Is it quick and easy? time consuming but worth it? AND you don't have to stop there it can be about cooking AND it could be a craft, holiday tip, a semi home made tip (as in fun things you can make with pre-made items).

Every Friday it will be YOU who is posting, we will pick 2 submissions per week to do a compiled post  (if you don't get yours posted that Friday you will) We are trying to balance it so we will have  something to post by you every Friday if the demand is great then we will up the amount of entries . 

Every month you will receive 1 entry per post (you can post multiples) and we will be giving a prize! 
If someone posts a picture on our Facebook page facebook.com/3moms  that they tried your recipe or tip we will enter you on a second drawing for an even bigger prize that will be happening quarterly  think gift card!  So get your friends and family involved and suggest our facebook page  to increase a chance that they will post a picture of your recipe or tip!

Submit to cookinmamas@yahoo.com
 Post must include pictures and clear instructions.
Instruction Post must be sent preferably as an attachment but we can still take it directly as an email if you do not knwo how.
What are you waiting for GET COOKING!! <3

Happy Thanksgiving!
Tanya, Christy and Jess

Bacon and Garlic Green Beans with a Balsamic Glaze.

Thanksgiving doesn't need to be complicated.  Here is a super simple veggie side.

2 tbsp of butter.
2 cloves of garlic
3 strips of bacon cut into small pieces
1 lb of fresh green beans with the ends trimmed off.
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar

Add your trimmed green beans to a pan with a little bit of water and cook them just until they turn bright green.  Then put your green beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Let them chill for a minute then drain and dry off on paper towels.  Set aside for the moment.

Add 1/2 a cup of balsamic vinegar to a saucepan and put it over medium high heat.  Whisking very frequently, bring to a gentle bubble.  You want to cook it until it reduces by about 1/2.  It will still look watery in the pan until it cools off a bit.  Warning this is a smelly vinegary process.. you might want to do this the day before if you have a house full of guests.  It will stay beautifully on the counter covered for a day or so.  Definitely open a window.

Brown your bacon in a pan until its nice and crispy.  Drain and set aside.

Add the butter to the empty pan you cooked your green beans in and sautee the 2 cloves of garlic on medium heat until fragrant. Watch your garlic, because burnt garlic can ruin a dish.  Once the garlic is cooked, add your cooked beans and bacon back to the pan and toss together until warmed through.

Put in a serving dish and drizzle with your balsamic glaze and you are good to go!

- Jess xoxo

The Star of the Show.... The Turkey!

Hopefully by this point, you have your turkey defrosting in the refrigerator, or you purchased a fresh turkey, 

What would Thanksgiving be without turkey!?  Not that home-cooked meal you have such fond memories of.  In my opinion, Thanksgiving is the one holiday I don't my food messed with.  I want it to taste just like my mom and dad always made.  I was thinking of stepping outside the box and making a rub with orange peel and such, but in the end, I decided to go with my dad's trusty recipe that always turns out amazing.  

I always bring my turkey to room temperature before I do anything to it.  I just stick mine in the sink, still wrapped in the packaging it came in, for about an hour.  Then preheat your over to 325 degrees.  Open up the turkey packaging and make sure you remove the neck and the other innards from the cavities from the turkey (this year I had a neck in the front and the giblets in the back, so make sure you check both!)  Rinse your turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

Now maybe you are fancier then me and have one of those pans with a roasting rack in it, then bring that bad boy out!  If you are like me, and do not own a a special turkey pan, then you can use a big roasting pan with deep sides, or even one of those disposable turkey pans that are all over the grocery stores this time of year, and I create my own "rack" on the bottom of the pan with pieces of carrots and celery.  All you are really trying to do is get the turkey off the bottom of the pan.

Now the only thing worse then a dry turkey is a turkey with no flavor.  This is what I use to flavor my turkey.  I make an herb butter with poultry seasoning, sage, and thyme.  Just let your butter come to room temp and mix in some herbs and set aside for a bit..  you could do this the day before and cover with plastic wrap and let it hang out on your counter til the next day.  I also stuff the cavity with more celery and carrots and also lemon halves.
 Place your rinsed and dry turkey on your rack in the pan, or your makeshift rack.

Now season your turkey inside and out with salt and pepper before spreading the herb butter all over it.
 Stuff the cavity with your celery, carrots and lemons, and then smear the herb butter all over the outside of the turkey.

Its best if you can use yout hands and seperate the skin from the meat a bit and get the herb butter under the skin. This will keep the turkey more moist and give it more flavor. Expect messy hands, cause I used both to make sure my turkey was cover on every inch of the outside of this 14lbs body.

 I put a little bit of turkey stock in the bottom of my roasting pan, just to give something to start basting with before the turkey starts give off its own juices.  If you can't find turkey stock in your store, chicken stock is just fine too.

Place your turkey in your 325 degree preheated over and ignore it for about 45 minutes.  Then baste it with the juices on the bottom of the pan.  Repeat basting about every 20-30 minutes. 
 A lot of people will at this point, cover their turkey with aluminum foil so it doesn't brown too much, but I don't, this isn't brown enough for me.  I would if I though it was getting too brown, but I haven't the past two years, so do what looks right to you.

My 14lbs turkey took about 4 hours to cook, the pop up timer DID work, but I suggest getting a meat thermometer and a cooked turkey will ready about 160 degrees in the meatiest part of the breast, remember while it rests while you finish up the rest of your meal, it will continue to cook a bit.

When you get that 160 degree reading, pull your turkey to a cutting board and cover it with foil while you finish up your meal.

 Finished product results in a golden brown, super juicy, traditionally tasting bird!

Please forgive these awful photographs, its REALLY hard to take pictures while you are trying to make 6 dishes at once for Thanksgiving!

- Jess xoxo

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Cupcakes

These cupcakes would make a fun alternative to the traditional pumpkin (or sweet potato) pie.
The recipe is interchangeable between the 2, the only thing you need to chance is the 1st ingredient based on what flavor you would like.  Although, I must admit I was a tad disappointed with the sweet potato ones.  While in batter form they smelled and tasted like sweet potatoes but once backed they smelled and tasted just like the pumpkin.

mashed sweet potatoes
What You Will Need:
2 cups of cooked mashed sweet potatoes (or 1 can pumpkin puree-1 can is just shy of 2 cups but worked just fine, or you can even use Suchada's recipe and  make your own pumpkin puree)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Step 1: Start the Batter-
Mix sweet potatoes, sugar, brown sugar, and oil together in a large mixing bowl.
add in eggs 1 at a time, mixing until well combined in between each egg

Step 2: Mix dry ingredients and combine with batter-
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.  For the pumpkin cupcakes I did only 1 tsp of cinnamon and did a tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice in place of the other tsp of cinnamon and the nutmeg.  This is optional though, I did it because I actually had some pumpkin pie spice and wanted to try it in something haha.
Once dry ingredients are combined mix with the wet, adding slowly and stirring well between each addition.

Step 3: Bake and Ice Cupcakes-
Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Fill paper liners about 2/3-3/4 full.
Bake at 350 20-22 minutes.
Batter will make 24-25 cupcakes.
Ice with cream cheese icing.  I knew I was making both kinds and had a lot to do already so I cheated and just used store bought icing for this step, that's why there is not recipe attached for the icing.
I garnished the sweet potato cupcakes with mini marshmallows and used crushed pecans on the pumpkin.

Teddy was Mr. Popularity today at preschool when we walked in with our cupcakes.  He was so excited and so proud of them, made all the hard work worth it.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Blog-Suchada from Mama Eve-How to make Your Own Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin Cookies

I am so excited, we have already had 3 awesome guest bloggers and this makes #4.  We want to give a HUGE thank you to Suchada for taking time to blog for us.  I am impressed with her cooking talents.  I have always wanted to make my own pumpkin puree but its one of those big cooking skills that just intimidates me.  Next year I am so going for it.  I hope you enjoy her post (as well as the beautiful pictures) as much as I did when I first read it.


P.S. I must say I had to chuckle to myself at the pictures of Suchada wearing a baby, surrounded by kids whipping up some yummy pumpkin cookies.  Looks like a scene straight out of my kitchen.


letting the kids help creates
beautiful life long memories
for everyone
I come from a family of foodies, something I’ve touched on in my blog, Mama Eve. When my relatives and I get together on vacations, we have a tendency to check out the local specialty grocery stores to see how they differ from place to place, and to find new ingredients to cook with. So it was only natural when an old high school friend came to visit from Las Vegas (with her daughter and twin boys!) that we cook together.
With two little ones, I don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen, but I try to make things from scratch as often as I can. I subscribe to a Community Supported Agriculture co-op, and get a box of fresh, local, and seasonal fruits and vegetables every week. I can also order meats, nuts, and other staples. When they have extra of a particular crop, I can add them on to my order. They’re often cosmetically imperfect, but inexpensive and still of very high-quality. At the end of tomato season I ordered boxes of tomatoes for sauce, and in October I took advantage of the good price on pumpkins to get a lot to last for the season.
A few days before my friend arrived, I cooked and pureed all the pumpkins I had. Some were from my CSA, and others I got from a local pumpkin patch. They were all organic and different varieties, and they cooked up beautifully in the oven with just a bit of water to keep them from drying out.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350*
  • Wash outside of pumpkins
  • Cut in half, de-seed (save these for roasting!), and then cut in pieces that will fit easily into roasting pan.
  • Add a half-cup of water to the pan, or just enough to cover the bottom.
  • Place in oven until flesh is easily pierced with a knife, about an hour.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool until pieces can be handled. Scoop out flesh into blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. (I actually used a stick blender, and it did the job easily and with little mess).
  • Pumpkin puree can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to six months.
Dulcia is a photographer, so I was pretty excited she would be able to document our pumpkin-cookie adventure. Cooking with children is ALWAYS an adventure because it’s a challenge to get them involved and excited about cooking, but still keep the kitchen somewhat intact. It’s even harder in my tiny space with two who are old enough to measure and stir, and three who wanted to be underfoot, but we got it done. My son (2-yrs-old) and her daughter (almost 4) traded off standing on a chair and a step, and sometimes shared the chair so they could both see what was going on inside the mixer. The little ones were content enough on the floor, but we had to watch out for them every time we moved! Even though all the kids were super-excited, they did really well.
Here’s the recipe for the Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cake-Cookies we made:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • The family that cooks together stays together
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.
To get the kids involved, we counted out the measurement of each ingredient we would need, and then helped them scoop, level, and count. Then they got to stir! They also got to taste and smell each ingredient (yes, even the baking powder). My son will still smile and say something is good, even if it’s awful. And then he’ll turn and spit it out. Both kiddos loved being part of the action until they got some of the chocolate chips to try, and then the decided they’d had enough fun and wanted to run off and eat instead. So I added the chocolate chips myself, formed the cookies, and put it in the oven.
The result was delicious, especially after a day. The cookies are very cake-y, so having a day to rest helped the pumpkin flavor come out a bit more and made them a little more dense and chewy. They’re also REALLY good cooled down in the fridge. Overall, a successful, easy recipe that will definitely be part of my fall cooking from now on. I hope you enjoy them too!

Special thanks to Dulcia for her beautiful photographs, it was so hard to pick and choose which photos to use as they were all so amazing.   Check her out at Roaming Reflections Photography and book a session if you are lucky enough to live in the Las Vegas area.

If you have your own blog and a FB (or Twitter) fan page for that blog and would like to guest blog for us as well contact us at cookinmamas@yahoo.com
`If you email us with a guest blog idea and don't hear back after a few days post on our FB wall.  We found out a few emails have been bouncing into the spam folder.  We are not ignoring you.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...