Stuffed Pepper Soup

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Some of the cooks at the restaurant where I work were talking about stuffed pepper soup. We decided to stir up similar ingredients for a stuffed pepper soup recipe. Customer response was overwhelming!

 
 

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

6 cups water

1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups chopped green peppers

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

1 teaspoon pepper

2 cups cooked long grain rice

Chopped fresh parsley, optional

 
 

Directions:

  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook and stir beef until no longer pink; drain. Stir in next 8 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Add cooked rice; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes longer. If desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Dark brown sugar contains more molasses than light or golden brown sugar. The types are generally interchangeable in recipes. But if you prefer a bolder flavor, choose dark brown sugar.
  • Green peppers are unripened versions of red, yellow or orange peppers. They are less expensive because they’re quicker to get to market. Use colored peppers in recipes for more sweetness.
  • Check out 31 stuffed pepper recipes.
Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 337 calories, 14g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 1466mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 4g fiber), 24g protein.

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Christmas Craft for Kids to Make

Christmas Craft for Kids to Make

 

The holiday countdown has begun, we’re all very busy getting ready.  We’re shopping, baking, wrapping, decorating, entertaining, and crafting!  I know many of us are trying to get as much done before school lets out for the winter break.

Here are some crafty ideas to keep the kids busy when they’re home and gets them involved in this year’s holiday preparations.

If you’re playing the neighborhood holiday game “You’ve Been Jingled” let the kids join the fun!
They’ll love the idea!  They can help make up the gift baskets and older kids can even drop them off!
They’ll love the idea of ringing a neighbor’s door way and disappearing without being seen!
For FREE game printable click here!

Image from Savvy Nana’s 

Santa Paper Plate Craft

Stock up on paper plates for kids to use in these paper plate elves and snowman from Crafty Morning.  [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Snowman Paper Craft

Stick craft

Pick up some popsicle sticks from the craft store and have kids make these cool ornaments from  Chickabug. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bead craft

Buggy and Buddy use beads and pipe cleaners to make these pretty ornaments.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

Pom pom craft

Cut out candy cane and wreath forms from cardboard and have kids glue on pom-poms to make these ornaments.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

Button

Use buttons to make ornaments like this tree ornament by UK Lass in US.

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Dough craft

Make sweet smelling ornaments with this No Cook Cinnamon Salt Dough by Growing a Jeweled Rose.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Paper Towel Roll Craft

Use paper towel rolls to make these star ornaments.  Learn how from Blog a la Cart. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Ornament

Recycle plastic container lids and make this glittery ornament from No Time For Flashcards. [spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reindeer Thumbprint

Thumbprint ornaments are easy to make and will make a wonderful keepsake ornament for years to come.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]

 

 

 

 

Reindeer Food

A great activity, have the kids get ready for Santa’s Christmas Eve visit,  make Rudolph and his friends reindeer food.

Get tutorial from Smart Schoolhouse here!

For more holiday craft ideas for kids follow my board on Pinterest!

 

DIY Cookie Exchange!! Free Printables

DIY Cookie Exchange!! Free Printables

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone we turn our attention to the winter holidays. That means lots of cooking, baking, cleaning, decorating, and shopping going on.  Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukka, or other winter holiday you’re probably wondering how you’re going to fit in all the seasonal activities.

One way to reduce your seasonal cookie baking is to host a cookie exchange and swap baked goods with friends and relatives.  It may take a bit of planning, but at least you’ll only have to bake one type of cookie and still have a variety to enjoy or gift over the holidays.  It’s also a good excuse for a girls day or night out!

Hosting a cookie exchange doesn’t have to be a big fancy affair nor does it have to cost a fortune.
You can easily host one with just your close friends and family on a tight budget.

Here’s a few tips to help you plan your cookie exchange!

1.  Decide who you want to invite.

You may want to keep the party small and intimate to keep it manageable.  It’s probably not the right time to throw a party with 50 of your friends and their families.

2.  Set your date and time.

Send out invitations.  Ideally cookie swap invitations should be sent out a month before, but if you haven’t already done so, you should schedule it as soon as possible so guests can plan to attend. Everyone is busy during the holidays, if your guests are able to attend weekday events it may be easier to have your cookie exchange during the week, otherwise you can schedule a weekend day at least a week before the holiday.

I like to send written invitations, but if you’re pressed for time invitations sent via email or text will do.  How ever you decide to send invitations always request guest to RSVP and if possible let you know what type of cookie they will be bringing.  This will help avoid duplicates and you can gently suggest an alternative before the cookie exchange.

Tell guests they must bring a dozen cookies per guest plus an extra dozen for tasting.  Suggest that the cookies they bring should be easy to pack and store.  You can also ask them to write down the cookie recipe on a recipe card if they want to share it.  Recipe cards can double as table cards and guests can help themselves to a card as well as the cookies.

3.  Bake your cookies.

You can make them well in advance and store baked cookies in the freezer.  Cookie bars freeze and pack well as do chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar, and snickerdoodles.  For a list of cookies that freeze well check out this article from aboutfood.com.
To learn how to freeze cookies click here!

4.  Purchase packing supplies.

You can use boxes, tins, or even ziplock bags. You may want to provide ribbons, tissue paper, tags, and other supplies so guests can pack up cookies for gift giving.

Favors

You may also want to have small party favors for each guests.  Nicely wrapped oven mitts, kitchen towels, cookie cutters, and wooden spoons are all inexpensive and useful items that would make cute favors.

5.  Decorate your house, cookie and packing table.

Set out platters and stands for the cookies.  To make your own tiered stands click here!

You may want to set up a table or counter to pack cookies aside from the table or tables for the cookies.

Table cards with cookie type is a nice touch, or if guests are bringing recipe cards to share they can double as table cards.  Here’s a cute and festive way to set up table cards, otherwise tent style folding cards work just as well.

Glue 3 candy canes together to form a tripod.  Place table card on the hook part.

6.  Offer guests coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or even wine.

You should also set out a few savory tidbits for guests to snack on.  Finger sandwiches, dips, and other bite sized savories are ideal and will ward off the sugar rush from sampling all those cookies.

7.  The star of the show are the cookies and the main event is the exchange.

Decide how you’re going to work the exchange to allow guests to choose the cookies they want.  You can have a couple of guests at a time choose all their cookies or you can have rounds with each guest choosing a dozen cookies at a time.  Guests can choose the same amount of cookies as they brought.

Free Cookie Exchange Printables from How to Nest for Less
4 Things To Keep In Mind When Recovering From An Injury

4 Things To Keep In Mind When Recovering From An Injury

If you have sustained a serious injury, it can take you a long time to recover and people often underestimate just how difficult the recovery period can be. You won’t be able to do a lot of things that you would normally take for granted, and that can be really frustrating. There may be a lot of pain to deal with as well, and if you are unable to work, financial worries can be a big problem too. But it’s important that you tackle all of those issues and focus on your recovery so you can get back to normal as soon as possible. These are some of the most important things to remember when you are recovering from an injury.

Always Listen To Your Doctor

This is the most important piece of advice, but it’s one that a lot of people ignore. When you are first treated for your injury, the doctor will tell you what you can and can’t do and how long you need to rest before you can get back to your normal routine. A lot of people find that they wait a few weeks and the pain goes away, so they think that they’re fine. Even though the doctor says that they need to rest for longer, they assume that they must have just healed a lot faster and they are strong enough to go back to normal. But the thing is, you are not completely healed just because the pain is gone and if you go back to your normal routine, especially if that involves exercise or heavy lifting, you are likely to injure yourself again and it will be a lot worse the second time around. If you really do feel fine, speak to the doctor again and see what they say, but most of the time, they will tell you to stick to the original plan and continue to rest. If you don’t listen to their advice, you will make your injury a lot worse.

Manage Your Money Properly

If you are injured for a long while and you can’t work, it can seriously upset your finances and a lot of people really struggle to get by. This is the hardest part for a lot of people and it can cause a huge amount of stress, which may develop into a mental health issue. That’s why it’s vital that you manage your money properly. The first thing to do is claim compensation if you are eligible for it. If you get in touch with personal injury attorneys who fight for maximum compensation, they will be able to win a good sum for you. That extra money will help you to cover your medical expenses and living costs until you can get back into work, which will make things a lot easier for you. It’s also important that you write a strict budget so you can keep your money under control until you go back to work again.

Eat The Right Food

The food that you eat has a big impact on your recovery, so it’s important that you watch your diet. Your body needs protein to repair itself, so make sure that you prepare meals with plenty. You also need a lot of different vitamins and nutrients, so make sure that you are eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and maybe consider taking some vitamin supplements as well to boost your levels.

You also need to remember that you are more likely to gain weight when you are injured because you can’t exercise and you don’t move around as much, in general. That means you have to watch what you eat and replace your unhealthy snacks with healthy alternatives. If you eat a lot of sugary snacks while you are recovering, you are not getting the nutrition you need and you are likely to gain weight.

Find A Hobby

Boredom is one thing that people really struggle with when they are injured and if you can’t get out and about, it’s easy to fall into a bit of a depression, especially if you have to rely on others to do things for you a lot of the time. That’s why it’s important that you find some purpose and give yourself something to do. Don’t look at it as a bad thing, look at it as an opportunity to find a new hobby. If there are things that you’ve wanted to do for a long while but you never had the time to get around to it, now is your chance.

Recovering from an injury takes time, and the most important thing is that you don’t try to rush back into your normal routine. If you follow these tips, you will be able to make a full recovery.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes

Thanksgiving is next week!  With so much to do to get ready for the holiday we sometimes forget our furry friends.  But they’re part of the family and deserve a special holiday treat too!  This year why not make your fur babies some Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes?

Yes I said Pupcakes, not cupcakes, although I use human friendly ingredients so if someone mistakenly eats one it’s all good; they may not like it like my Siberian Husky Cannoli does, but it won’t kill them! These Pumkin Spice Pupcakes are the perfect doggie treats for Thanksgiving!  Believe me your pup will love them.  Best of all they are super easy to make using ingredients you probably have in your pantry.

Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are perfect for fall birthday celebrations too!  I know you can buy doggie cakes and cookies from pet stores and gourmet pet bakeries that are springing up all over town, but why spend big bucks when you can whip up a batch in about an hour?

Seriously these Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are easy and inexpensive.  All you need are basically flour, egg. baking soda, and pumpkin puree.  I like to use coconut water too, but if you don’t have any plain old water will do.  And of course a dash of cinnamon; but you pretty much have all these in the kitchen specially this time of year!

My recipe makes 20 regular size cupcakes but you can use mini cupcake pans and get a whole lot more.  The size of your pupcake will pretty much depend on the size of your pooch.  Since we have a medium sized dog the regular size cakes work best, she just inhales the minis!

I frost my Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes with cream cheese but dogs love them without frosting too, so no need to take the extra step if you don’t have too much time.  These Pupcakes freeze very well.  I usually freeze them and thaw them out as needed.  I also frost them just before feeding them to the pooch.

Now these Pumpkin Spice Pupcakes are dense so don’t expect anything light and airy.  They’re quite heavy too!  They don’t rise much during baking so whatever level you fill each cupcake wrap will be the same after they’re baked.

This article contains affiliate links

Ingredients:

3 Cups Flour – white or wheat whichever you have on hand

1 Large Can Pumpkin Puree – be sure it’s the puree and not the pumpkin pie mix that’s already seasoned.

1 Egg

1 1/2 Cup Coconut Water – regular water works too

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir very well –  be sure the flour is all blending in.

Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.

Scoop batter into each cupcake liner filling at least 3/4.

Smooth tops of batter.so pupcakes look neat.

Bake in oven for 25 – 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool before frosting.

Store in airtight containers or freeze.

Frost with peanut butter if you like.

Top Pregnancy Hacks To Make Pregnant Life Easier

Top Pregnancy Hacks To Make Pregnant Life Easier

Pregnancy can be a magical time, but it can’t be denied that being pregnant is hard work. Your body is going through a lot of enormous changes and doing the hard task of growing a new life, so you’re sure to be tired, as well as experiencing a range of aches, pains and sickness. There are some pregnancy hacks you can try out to make being pregnant a little more comfortable for you.

Comfort Is Key
Pregnancy is a great excuse to be very demanding. You need to prioritise your comfort. Whatever you need to feel comfortable, do it. Whether that means you buy new pillows for the bed, or buy the same pair of maternity jeans in three different colors, don’t be afraid to ask for anything that will help you to feel as comfortable as you can, especially in the later stages of your pregnancy. Don’t feel awkward asking for things, especially from your partner. It’s not unreasonable to expect them to be ready with a foot rub or the offer of a cup of tea.

A great comfort trick to help you sleep better is to sleep on your side with a pillow under your bump and another under your knees. This helps to align your back comfortably, without putting pressure on your bump. Proper pregnancy pillows can also really help you to get into a comfortable position, so consider investing if you’re struggling to get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is important, as pregnancy is very tiring, so make sure you do find a way to feel comfortable at night.

Late Night Snacks
It might sound strange, but a snack in the early hours of the morning can really help with morning sickness. Keep some snacks like saltine crackers on your nightstand so you can grab them easily if you wake up in the night. Nausea can be made worse on an empty stomach, so if you’re awake in the early morning for a wee or any other reason, nibble a small snack before you go back to sleep and you should feel less sick in the morning.

Keep Your Bra In The Freezer
Being pregnant during the summer can be even more difficult. It can feel impossible to keep cool with the extra weight of the bump and all the work your body is doing. To help head off some of the sweaty feeling, put your bra into a plastic bag so it doesn’t get damp and then pop it into the freezer for a few hours before you put it on. You can cool down quickly with this trick, even if you do feel a bit silly doing it.

Enjoy A Massage
Lots of spas offer special massages that are safe for pregnant women. If you’re struggling with the discomfort of pregnancy and you’re struggling with a lot of back pain, a massage could help a lot to make you feel more comfortable.

A massage with oils can also help to reduce pregnancy stretch marks and restore smooth skin. Spend some time pampering yourself with nice smelling oils to feel more relaxed, and reduce those stretch marks. You can use specific body oils, or just raid the kitchen cupboard for olive oil or coconut oil.

Head Off Heartburn
Many pregnant women experience severe heartburn which can be very uncomfortable. To avoid it, try eating more, smaller meals instead of three large ones. Avoid fried, spicy or rich foods, and try to drink less while you’re eating. If you’re really struggling, a shot of apple cider vinegar can work wonders for heartburn.

Eat Bananas
If you’re struggling with uncomfortable leg cramps, you can help to soothe them by having a glass of water and eating a banana. The potassium in the banana can help the cramps.

Invest In A Bra Extender
One of the most difficult parts of pregnancy can be getting dressed. Maternity clothes are expensive and it can be hard to work out what sizes will be comfortable. Bras are particularly difficult, even if you’re wearing maternity or nursing bras. A bra extender can be a lifesaver to give you a bit of extra room if you feel like your bra is too tight around your ribcage. Having a bit of extra space is a lot more comfortable.

Use Ginger
Ginger is known for its stomach-settling properties, making it a good friend to any pregnant woman. If you’re feeling nauseous, whether in the morning or not, snacking slowly on a ginger biscuit or sipping ginger ale can help a lot to settle your stomach. Keep ginger candies in your purse, and you can suck on them if you feel sick when you’re out and about.

If you don’t like ginger, watermelon is another favourite for pregnant women. Some people find that lemonade and potato chips work well too when you can’t keep anything else down.

Wear Workout Shoes
Convert your gym shoes into pregnancy shoes. The cushioned support in shoes designed for exercise are great for sore pregnant feet, and can help with a bad back too. If you’ve reached the point where bending over to tie your shoelaces is difficult, you can swap your laces for elastic laces which you can leave tied, converting your shoes into slip-ons, as the elastic will stretch when you pull the shoe on your foot. No bending over required.

Book All Your Appointments Early
While you’re pregnant, you’ll be going to see your Doctor a lot for different appointments to check on the health of you and your baby. When pregnancy brain sets in, it can be hard to remember to book all these different appointments, so book them all as soon as you know which appointments you’ll need when. This way, you won’t forget to book something important. If you book early, you’ll also have more choice of appointment times and have more time to arrange with work and other commitments to get the time off you need to see the Doctor.

Stock Up On Snacks
Pregnancy cravings can be intense. More than one Dad-to-be has made a panicked trip to the all-night garage at midnight to buy an important snack for his partner who is craving something that isn’t the fridge. To avoid this, keep a stash of common craving snacks in the fridge or freezer, ready to go. Pickles, french fries, ice cream and ginger beer are all common cravings, and are a good start for your snack stash.

Keep Kitchen Tongs In The Shower
Bending over gets more difficult the more pregnant you get. If you’re in the shower, dropping your shampoo or your washcloth while heavily pregnant can be very frustrating if you can’t bend down to pick it up again. Keep a set of kitchen tongs in the shower, and you can use them to grab whatever you’ve dropped, without having to bend over as far.

Stay Hydrated
Keeping well hydrated is important at the best of times, but it’s even more essential for the health of you and your baby. Try to drink plenty of water. You could keep a water bottle with you to remind you to keep sipping. If you’re finding it hard to drink enough water while also needing to wee a lot more often, you can boost your hydration with what you eat too. Eat foods with a high water content, like cucumber or radishes. You’ll be more hydrated without putting as much pressure on your bladder.

Try A Salt Soak For Your Feet
Swollen, bloated feet can be very uncomfortable, especially after a long time standing up. To reduce the swelling and soothe tired, aching feet, make up a soak with epsom salts or sea salt dissolved in warm water. Add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil for a refreshing soak that will make your feet feel as good as new.

Try Prenatal Yoga
Look for a yoga class designed for pregnant women. These classes are great for a number of reasons. Certain yoga poses can actually help with nausea, which you’ll be very thankful for in the midst of morning sickness. The class will be relaxing too if you’re finding the pregnancy stressful. You’ll be getting in a good workout, which will help you to maintain your fitness levels while pregnant, bounce back quicker after the birth, and you’ll be helping to stretch out sore muscles and joints from carrying around the bump. You’ll also be meeting other pregnant women, who can sympathise with your struggles. Having some friends who are also pregnant gives you someone to talk to who understands if you’re ever finding things difficult, or a bit overwhelming. You might even make friends for play dates when all the babies are born. Those friendships could be very valuable to you when you have a small baby and feel a bit lonely in the early days of parenthood. Your baby will also benefit from having some same aged company when they start to get a little older.