This blog is a compilation of all me and my husband's favorite recipes. Most are simple and easy to make. Please leave feedback if clarification is needed, if you like adding something else to the recipe, how you do it differently, etc. I would LOVE feedback! And mostly, I just hope you can enjoy eating some yummy food!!

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Bean Chip Dip

Just in time for New Years! This is a variation of a seven layer bean dip. I don't care for guacamole so I leave that out. And the dip is WAY better with the taco seasoning in it.

2 cans refried beans
1 16 oz. tub sour cream
1 taco seasoning package
shredded mexican blend cheese
1 small can cut olives
1 tomato
green onions

Notes / Directions
Spread refried beans out onto a large pizza pan. Mix sour cream with taco seasoning and spread on top of beans. Spread cheese over the top and sprinkle on olives, tomato, and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

I don't know why these cookies are so blasted good. They are the perfect balance between gooey and crisp and fluffy. Maybe it's the pudding? I don't know. I've never tried making them without the pudding. Whenever I make these for people, they always want the recipe. They really are the best chocolate chip cookies and I'm not just saying that!

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package instant vanilla pudding
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1-2 cups chocolate chips

Notes / Directions
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Add other ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rachel Lindsey Photography

Just look at how far my photography has come in the last year and a half!!

I've learned a TON about food photography. Like, don't use crazy red back drops and kitchen lighting. But I'm a photographer in training. I keep telling my husband that it's just a matter of time and money! If you're interested in seeing some of my other photography, I have a photography blog Rachel Lindsey Photography. I've been working on all types of photography. It's extremely satisfying.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Ritz

Salted Caramel or just Chocolate?? You choose! 

I'm feeling really proud because I was the genius behind these! Well, sort of. I saw chocolate covered Ritz at the store and decided to make them myself and then my genius was to dip them in caramel first! They are absolutely divine and so incredibly easy. It's like dipping pretzels.

1 box Ritz crackers
24 oz. chocolate almond bark
1 bag caramel cubes
2 tablespoons whole milk
sea salt

Notes / Directions
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and grease it (only if you're doing caramel). Heat caramel in microwave at 30 second intervals, pulling it out to stir it in between. If it starts to bubble, pull it out immediately and stir. Overcooking the caramel will make it extremely chewy. Dip Ritz crackers, gently scrape excess caramel, and place on greased wax paper. Place in fridge for 5-10 minutes until they are hard. In the meantime, melt chocolate in microwave for a minute. Stir and put back in microwave until melted through. Dip Ritz and place back on cookie sheet. As the chocolate first begins to harden, sprinkle with sea salt. If this step is done too soon, it will sink into the chocolate. If it's done too late, it won't stick at all.

Want to make it easier? Just dip in chocolate and forget the caramel!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Children's Felt Nativity

My oldest child is now 3 and I'm so excited about this Christmas because he can finally start to understand the nativity scene. I wanted him to have something that he could touch and explore with as he learned who all the different characters were and why they were special. I made my first nativity using the pattern on Stay At Home Educator but it wasn't quite complete or accurate so I've remade the patterns. You'll find them at the end of this post. And for those of you who don't want to make it, you're in luck! I've made one extra! Buy it here!

There are really only 5 things you need to make it: felt, embroidery floss, felt glue, scissors, and a needle. If you don't shop the sales or use coupons, it'll cost about $20. I paid about $8 for all of my supplies. Here's your list of stuff to buy at the craft store:

Felt (buy 1 of each except for brown): grey, green, black, cream, light blue, gold, royal blue, tan, maroon, white, and buy 2 browns.
Embroidery floss (contrasting colors): white, cream, black, light green, dark green, light brown, tan, and yellow
Large white felt background
Felt glue

*Note: I wanted the embroidery floss to stand out on my characters and trees so I chose lighter and brighter colors than the felt

Let me give you a few tips before you start sewing and cutting away. I double backed everything. Meaning that there are 2 layers of felt on every piece so that it would be more durable. Because felt stretches and moves a little bit as you sew, I recommend cutting out the top layer, stitching it onto the bottom layer, and THEN cutting it out. Take my sheep for example:

Notice the little tiny white trim around the legs? I cut out the top layer, laid it on top of a second layer of cream, placed the legs and head where I wanted them, stitched around it, glued the legs and head into place, and THEN I cut it out. This is the process that I recommend.

I recommend getting the wisemen completely sewn and glued together before you cut the body figures out. You'll notice on my pattern that the wisemen have heads attached to their bodies and that they don't have a top. That was intentional. Just cut around their heads and crowns after they are all glued together. (Eyes are just knots)

On the characters with head robes, recommend cutting out all the pieces and then sewing them together because the head robes serve as a double backing and you want them to be stitched on. I hope that makes sense.

I made a little slit so that I could tuck the top of the head in. If I made them hair, I just glued it on as an after thought. (I stitched the manger on and glued the hay on)

The background was by far the most time consuming. If you're sick of hand stitching, maybe it'd be better just to glue it on.

Lastly, cut the second layer of the star a little bit bigger, it just looks better!

Here's the Pattern! Happy sewing!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Basil Pesto

Adapted from PaleoLeap

2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
to taste salt and pepper

Notes / Directions:
Put basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add olive oil, parmesan, and lemon juice pulse gently just until combined. Remove from food processor and add salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or freeze left overs.
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