22 January, 2010

Celebrating...guilt-free galore

Not exactly the title you'd expect while reading an e-newsletter from HERSHEY'S Kitchens, but today as I was checking emails, there it was. Now I am usually not one to skimp on the sugar and butter...you know, all the "good" (but not-so-good for you) stuff, but the picture (shown below) looked just to good to not check it out.

I took a peek and the ingredients don't look bad. So I thought that since I'm usually sharing something that's not healthy, that I should share this recipe which is a little more healthy.

Hope you enjoy!
Luv Ya!

Mini Brownie Cups

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) light margarine
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • MOCHA GLAZE(recipe follows)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line small muffin cups (1-3/4 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups or spray with vegetable cooking spray.

2. Melt margaine in small saucepan over low heat; cool slightly.

3. Beat egg whites and egg in small bowl on medium speed of mixer until foamy; gradually add sugar, beating until slightly thickened and light in color. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until blended. Gradually add melted margarine, beating just until blended. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

4. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Prepare MOCHA GLAZE; drizzle over tops of brownie cups. Let stand until glaze is set. Store, covered, at room temperature. 24 brownies.

1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/4 teaspoon powdered instant coffee
2 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together powdered sugar and cocoa in small bowl. Dissolve instant coffee in water; gradually add to sugar mixture, stirring until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

18 January, 2010

Celebrating...a cute valentine idea

Okay...it's time to start planning for Valentine's Day! I just happened to be looking at a friend's pix and found a really cute idea.

American Greetings has a site called Webshots that is powered by Photoworks where you can store pix. Additionally, you are also able to create and print your own photo cards. Well, they had the bright idea to make little kiddie Valentines that can be personalized with a photo.
This one is called Kids' Pack - Cutie Pie. They also have Kid's Pack - Away We Go, Kids' Pack - Pretty As A Princess, and Kids' Pack - Play Time. They have more "adult" cards too; cards that can be used as Valentines or invitations, but I just love the retro feel of adults using kiddie Valentines! These aren't as cheap as the ones you'll find at the store, but at 4 cards (4 shown above) for $2.49, I think the splurge is worth it!! (They are offering a 25% discount on photo cards by entering the code 25PLUS; valid thru 2/4/10 and also there is an offer for free shipping.)

Whether you make Valentines for your kids, or for yourself (your friends will love them), now is the time to start thinking about what you'll do. The 14th is less than a month away!

Celebrate...retro style!

Luv Ya!!

16 January, 2010

Celebrating...a Saturday in January

We'll, we've made it to the middle of January already! My how time flies!! But since we're in the middle of one of the coldest months of the year, why not celebrate the comfy and coziness of home with an easy to prepare dinner. A friend of mine forwarded this recipe to me yesterday and it sounds so good that I am planning to cook it for dinner tonight...so I thought I'd share!

Slow Cooker Cuban Braised Beef and Peppers
Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 10m
Total Time: 8hr 30m

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, oregano, cumin, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Nestle the steak among the vegetables. Cook, covered, until the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  2. Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
  3. Using two forks, shred the beef and mix it into the cooking liquid. Serve with the rice and top with the avocado and cilantro.
By Sara Quessenberry, December 2009
taken from www.RealSimple.com

Thank goodness for great friends who share yummy recipes to make it easy to celebrate a Saturday in January!!

Luv Ya!!

13 January, 2010

Celebrating...a world coming together

I'm sure by now that you have heard the news about the terrible earthquake in Haiti. Early reports are projecting loss of life well into the hundreds of thousands and early pictures and video clips show total devastation to the area. Loss of life, loss of property, and loss of everything but the clothes on your back---and these are people who are already not well off. Reports state that 80% of the population lives well below the poverty level.

But in the midst of it all, there are people from all across the world coming together to help those in need. It's sad that it takes a tragedy for us to put aside everything and stretch out a helping hand, but I must admit that as I was watching the depressing news today, I felt a tiny beam of sunlight from seeing how so many are rushing to aid Haiti.

Please pray for those beautiful people of Haiti who will have to come together to rebuild and grow and hopefully prosper well beyond where they were. Also pray for the safety of those citizens of other countries who were visiting and working in Haiti. And pray for those who have landed and are enroute to assist with the relief efforts. And finally, if you can make the sacrifice, please send money to assist in getting water and food and medical supplies and shelter to the Haitians. There are several organizations taking donations but the two I am suggesting are:

The Red Cross
Send a $10 Donation by Texting ‘Haiti’ to 90999
You can make a donation by calling 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish)

The Bill Clinton Foundation - Haiti Earthquake Relief

Celebrate by helping...

Luv Ya!!

09 January, 2010

Celebrating...the cold

I guess today's post comes from the fact that I am already tired of being winter cold and am counting the days until spring. But since it seems the entire north part of the earth has been hit by cold and snow, and I'm all about celebrating, well, as they say, if you can't beat 'em...join 'em!

I got these pix from an email from a friend (so let me know if you know who took them so I can give them credit). The email said they were taken at the Fairbanks Ice Festival. I'm not sure if that's where they were taken or not, but I certainly think the sculptures are amazing!

Celebrate...the ice and the cold.

Luv Ya!!

07 January, 2010

Celebrating...5-1/2 weeks to go

I know, I know…we’re barely in to the New Year and here I am starting to think about that infamous red, white and pink holiday, Valentine’s Day. This year Valentine’s Day falls on Sunday and from today you have about 5-1/2 weeks to get your plans in place.

Single? Why not plan a good old fashioned mixer for your single male and female friends? Or plan a fun Girl’s afternoon in---Sunday afternoon with your best girlfriends and some sweet treats. What could be more fun than that?

In a relationship? Why not plan a couples party with an organized activity such as a wine or beer tasting party or a make your own chocolates party. Or plan an afternoon of board games. Or if you prefer, plan a little one-on-one romantic get-together.

Got kids? You can even do a kiddie Valentine’s party (and maybe arrange a swap with one of the other kid’s family---they can have a romantic time while their kid(s) is(are) at your house and then later you can drop off your kid(s) and have your own romantic time). Kids love baking and decorating cookies and cupcakes or if you want to avoid the sugar, you can have a make paper Valentines activity.

Having this type of holiday on Sunday is the best because you can plan activities for anytime the whole weekend…Friday night movie watching, Saturday morning Valentine’s brunch, or Sunday afternoon tea. I have lots and lots of cute Valentine’s ideas that I will be sharing over the next few weeks, but I just wanted to mention it now so that you can get the wheels rolling. Start thinking of what kind of celebration you want to get started with. Coming soon I will talk about some cute invitation ideas.

Celebrate…planning ahead!

Luv Ya!!

06 January, 2010

Celebrating...Hump Day

It's Wednesday...the first one of the year (I know...I keep saying all of these first of the year things), so what better way to celebrate the successful completion of the first half of the first week of the new year than with a nice song?

Hope you like...

Celebrate...it's hump day!!

Luv Ya!!

05 January, 2010

Celebrating...cold weather

Much of the country is experiencing cold weather (yesterday even Florida had freezing temps), so what better way to celebrate the cold than with something fun and warm for dinner. Kraft Foods has a quick and easy recipe for Fun Taco Cups that is both easy to make and fun to eat. That's a win-win when it comes to celebrating.

Fun Taco Cups

Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 38 min
Makes: Makes 5 servings

1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Taco Seasoning Mix
1 can (10 oz.) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Cheddar Cheese

- HEAT oven to 400°F. Cook meat with seasoning mix as directed on package.
- PRESS biscuits onto bottoms and up sides of 10 muffin cups; fill with meat mixture.
- BAKE 15 min. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 2 to 3 min. or until melted.
(TACO BELL® and HOME ORIGINALS® are trademarks owned and licensed by Taco Bell Corp.)

And to round out the meal:
Serving Suggestion: Don't let the fun stop at the entree! Round out the meal with a fun salad bar. Fill a large bowl with crisp salad greens and smaller bowls with an assortment of chopped fresh vegetables. Then, let everyone help themselves to create their own salad.

Celebrate...and bundle up!

Luv Ya!!

04 January, 2010

Celebrating...New Year's Resolutions

Okay, so I know that I said I don't really believe in New Year's Resolutions, BUT, it's the first Monday of the New Year and I know that alot of people are getting ready to start their week and year off with their lists, so I couldn't resist. A friend of mine passed the info below to me via email and I thought it was the absolute PERFECT list of resolutions that we should all try to live by, so I'm sharing it here.

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy.
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes’ walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control.. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't overdo. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy---so, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Please forward this to everyone you care about, I just did!

As for #40, feel free to forward this blog post to your friends. I would love to have more people like you reading my blog!!

Celebrate...living life right!!

Luv Ya!!

03 January, 2010

Celebrating...life's little celebrations

Yesterday a friend called me and asked me if I wanted to ride with her to Wal-Mart. I wasn't really doing anything and decided to join her. We ended up going to three Wal-Marts and still didn't find what she was looking for. After the third Wal-Mart (and on our way to a fourth), we happened upon a restaurant that we liked and hadn't been to in a while and stopped for dinner. While sipping on my yummy strawberry-mango margarita, I realized what a good time I was having. I turned our conversation to that and started rattling off a list of firsts in celebration. It was my first day of the new year hanging out with a friend. It was my first margarita of the new year. It was my first out-of-town trip of the new year. Okay---I realize these are small, teeny, little celebrations, but I think if we took time to celebrate the small stuff more often, our appreciation for things would grow. And in my mind, these little firsts were significant because they are all things that I hope will continue through the coming year. It was certainly a stretch for me to say I'd been out of town. Afterall, I live in Chicago and we'd only ventured as far as Merrillville, IN (maybe 30 minutes away). But it was all in my perception and I chose to look at our adventure as a trip out of town.

That's right...it's time to take stock of all of the wonderful little things that make up that that is your life. I'm issuing a challenge to you as well as to myself. Whatever the situaton, look for something about it that you can celebrate. Make this the year where you started celebrating all of life's little celebrations!!


Luv Ya!!

01 January, 2010

Celebrating...TWENTY TEN

Happy New Year!! The dawn of a new year and a new decade. Time waits for no one so make sure you grab on, hold tight and enjoy the ride!! A new year is traditionally a time for new beginnings. It's a time when most people take stock and decide what things they want to change, stop or start doing. New Year's Resolutions?---I've been good about writing them, but have hardly ever kept them for an entire year. So if you are of the mindset to make resolutions, good luck to you. As for me, I'm keeping it simple---life is too short, so I'm about having as much fun as I can. Oh, I know there are responsibilities that I must take care of, but life is too precious to be miserable, so it's going to be about celebrating each and every thing that I can. I'm celebrating the fact that you are reading my blog right now. It means alot that you have taken the time out of your schedule to see what's on my mind. I'm celebrating the fact that we had a bright, sun-shiny day today...it was cold, but it was beautiful. I am celebrating the wonderful dinner that is sitting on the stove waiting for me...and giving thanks for the blessing of having food---and praying for those who are in need. I'm even celebrating the fact that I have laundry to do!

So it's 2010---twenty ten! I hope that you had a great time bringing in the New Year and I pray that 2010 brings you health, wealth and happiness and may all of your dreams come true!!

To help you kick off the celebrations for the year, I'd like to share this video from YouTube. Hope you enjoy!!

Happy Twenty Ten!!

Luv Ya!!