Chill out with a cool cilantro wild rice salad

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

This is a summer cooking dish. For those days when you don’t want to turn on the oven, or eat anything too hot, or work too hard. I feel you.

We don’t have air conditioning here, and every time the kids complain, my husband says, “There are only about five or six days a year we really need it.” He’s been saying this for a month and a half now, with no end in sight. Either it’s getting hotter here or I’m getting old and cranky. Probably both.

cilantro wild rice salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 c uncooked wild rice
  • 2 c corn (canned, or frozen and thawed, or — if you’re ambitious — cut fresh off the cob and cooked)
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tb cilantro, diced

cilantro wild rice salad

Instructions:

Cook rice according to package instructions. While the rice is cooking, chop avocado and cilantro, and juice limes. Once rice is finished, add all other ingredients and stir. You can serve the salad warm or chilled.

We often have small bits of chicken left after meals — not enough for leftovers, but I don’t like to throw it out. If you’re the same way, you can also cube that chicken and add it to your salad.

And check out these other delicious salad recipes:

Do you have a “go-to” dish for when it’s too hot to cook? What is it?

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

 

Candy thank you note free printable

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

It’s always a good idea to keep a couple thank you notes on hand for when you might need one. We put together a great free printable that we’d love for you to use. It’s a great little printable thank you note that you can either print in color, or print it out in black with toner ink. You might be thinking…”why print it in black when you can print it in color?” Two words: The Minc!

minc print

Do you see that pretty metallic shine and finish? That’s after I ran this fun printable through the MINC machine! Isn’t it so pretty?! The Minc machine by Heidi Swapp is my new favorite paper crafting tool. I’ve been sharing projects on my site featuring the MINC, and I have a few more up my sleeve, but today it’s a ‘Thank You with candy…because I think you’re dandy!’ Thank YOU note (free printable) that can be used as a card, or in this case, a treat bag topper.

Basically when you purchase the Minc Machine, you can also purchase rolls of your favorite metallic colors. My favorite thing about the Minc is that you can create and print out your own designs. They sell a bunch of darling items to run through the Minc, but to be able to design your own stationery, printables, thank you notes, birthday cards (the list goes on)…it’s a game changer! The creative options are limitless!

prints

I love clear cellophane bags. They’re such a cute way to package things up. If you can find the kind of cello bags that can stand up right on their own (my favorite!), even better. We mounted this free print on kraft card stock with double stick tape. I used my bone folder to make a clean crease to fold it over the top. That’s it!

You can download this free printable thank you note here and a color version here on NoBiggie. All free printables are for personal use only.

Have you seen the Minc in stores near you?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


This nutella nut ice cream might be the best thing about summer

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

I only have a few things to say about this recipe.

Nutella.

Ice cream.

You’re welcome.

This nutella nut ice cream might be the best thing about summer

Also, can I share something with you? I just discovered a bunch of ways to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. This is because we put our ice cream maker up at the end of last summer…somewhere brilliant, where it would be out of the way and not bother us until we got it down again the next year. And now no one can find it.

Sigh. Story of my life. I’m always tripping over stuff in this house, but never the stuff I need.

This nutella nut ice cream might be the best part about summer

Ingredients:

  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 2 c half & half
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 Tb vanilla
  • 1 c nutella or other chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 1 banana, diced
  • 1 c walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream, half & half, sugar, and vanilla and stir until blended. Pour mixture into your ice cream maker, or follow the instructions in the above link to make ice cream without a machine.

When the cream is the consistency of soft serve ice cream, add nutella in dollops (that’s an official cooking term, right? A dollop? Drop spoonfuls of the nutella into the mix). If you stir it gently, the nutella will stay concentrated in areas of the ice cream. If you stir it more vigorously, the nutella will break apart and mix more thoroughly through your ice cream.

Add diced bananas and chopped walnuts and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions, or the directions of the non-machine method you’re following.

For more tasty summertime treats, try one of these:

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

Easy one-pot dinner meal: Bruschetta chicken bake

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

You know what I love? One-pan dinners. Isn’t it so nice to know there will be very limited dishes at the end of a great meal? I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world.

Here’s a one-pan dinner the whole family will love: Bruschetta chicken bake! We may or may not have had it twice this month already. It’s so quick and easy and I bet you have most of the ingredients on hand all the time.

bruschetta-chicken-bake

We are fans of leftovers at our house. So when I can cook one big casserole or “bake” like this, it’s nice to know won’t need to cook the next night. I also love that my kids love this recipe too.

Okay, let’s get to the recipe!

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

bruschetta-chicken-recipe

Ingredients:

1 28oz. can whole tomatoes
1 pkg. chicken Stove Top Stuffing
2 cloves of garlic minced
1½ lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 T. dried basil
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Break up tomatoes into small pieces.
2. Add the minced garlic.
3. Add the stuffing to the tomatoes and all the liquid. Stir it together until it’s all moistened.
4. Place chicken pieces in a 9×13 pan and sprinkle with dried basil and cheese. Top with stuffing and tomato mixture.
5. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 or until chicken is cooked throughout. Serves 6. Serve with a green salad and fresh fruit.

What’s your favorite chicken recipe?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Summer outdoor fun with bubbles!

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

So you know I’m all about activities you can do with your kids using stuff you already have. Nothing too complicated or expensive or anything that makes our brains hurt.

This is another one.

My kids love bubbles. My dogs love bubbles. Everyone around here loves bubbles! And since they’re playing with soap, this counts as a bath, right? It’s summer. I take what I can get.

While you can have tons of fun blowing bubbles with just the wand that comes with the bubble container, we mix it up a little sometimes.

Bubble fun with items you find around the  house!

We like to experiment blowing bubbles with anything we can find around the house. Kitchen utensils, toys, our own hands…whatever we can find. The kids have a great time running through the house yelling, “Cheese grater? Will that work?” to which I respond, “I have no idea. Try it!”

Bubble fun with items you find around the  house!

Supplies:

  • bubble solution (storebought, or you can make your own)
  • flat shallow pan or bowl (metal or plastic is best if you’re outdoors, to prevent broken glass!)
  • whatever you can find around the house

Instructions:

Have the kids go through the house and find things with holes in them. A few ideas: straws, spatulas, turkey basters, pipe cleaners (you can form different shapes and try each one). My measuring cups are held together by a ring, and the hole in the end of each cup worked wonderfully. You can also use your own soapy hands to form circles and blow bubbles.

Bubble fun with items you find around the  house!

Mango slicers work quite well…doesn’t everyone own a mango slicer? 

Pour your bubble mix into the pan or bowl and try blowing bubbles with your different objects. How big can everyone blow bubbles? What else can you do with them?

Bubble fun with items you find around the  house!

If you’re the sort of person who can’t just let kids play, but has to make fun things a learning experience (*raises own hand*), here are a few things you can talk about (and maybe google later):

  • Do all the bubbles look the same? What makes them bigger or smaller?
  • If you blow a bubble from a square shape, and one from a circle shape, do they end up looking the same? Why or why not?
  • What else can you do? (we were able to pass soapy hands right through our bubbles without them popping). How come your soapy hands can touch the bubble without it popping?
  • Can you combine two bubbles? Can you get an object like a matchbox car inside your bubble?
  • What makes bubbles pop?

Bubble fun with items you find around the  house!

Do your kids like bubbles? What have you done with them? I’d love to have some more ideas for us to try!

For more summer activity ideas, try one of these:


Summer water activities for kids


Must Do Summer Adventures for Toddlers


Fun sidewalk chalk games for kids


Kid’s bored? Here are five activities that won’t break the bank.


Water toys!


When the kids ask “What can I do?” try these paper plate crafts!


Sandbox games for summer fun!


Games for summer road trips


Old school games to teach your children


Classic books to share with your kids this summer

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

 

Simple summer sweets: Key lime-stuffed strawberries

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

The cheesecake-stuffed strawberries I posted here several years ago are still my most popular post. I completely agree; those puppies are genius because they are so cute, so easy and so delicious.

I went to make them again this week for a potluck, and stopped short when a lime rolled off the counter on to my bare feet.

OW! And then Huh. Maybe it’s a sign?

I zested that lime (well, I washed it first!) right into the powdered sugar mixture and then squeezed it for good measure. I piped it right in to my hulled strawberries — don’t forget I use this handy huller to make the job easy — and thought I’d nailed it.

But then I thought, what do I like more than lime? Key Lime Pie. It’s one of my favorite desserts in the whole world and wouldn’t this be pretty with some graham cracker sprinkled on top?

Yes, it would. Trust me.

So these (Key) Lime-Stuffed Strawberries were born. I didn’t actually use a key lime because I wasn’t thinking that far ahead. But the addition of the graham cracker makes it just like key lime pie, so it must be named as such, right?

Add this to your ‘must make’ summer list.

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

key lime cheesecake stuffed strawberries 2_small

Key Lime Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice*
zest from one lime
1 pound strawberries

Place cream cheese in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or until soft. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and lome juice/zest.

Use a sharp knife to make a hole in the center of each strawberry (going as deep as you can without hitting bottom). Williams Sonoma makes a fabulous tool called the Strawberry Huller ($8) that will remove the stem and create a perfect hole in one easy step.

Spoon or pipe the filling into each hole. I like to pipe it in with a cake tip; it goes faster and looks better.

Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top and a little lime zest!

Kids’ outdoor art — painting with nature

by

Laura Falin

posted in Life & Home

This is a fun kids’ art activity because it’s seasonal, which is code for “use whatever’s growing in your yard right now.”

You don’t need to get any fancy supplies at the store. You don’t need to plan ahead for this. Just wander around out back, or somewhere you’re allowed to pick stuff (weeds count. So if you wanted to, you could have the kids pull your weeds to use and then you’d get both a clean yard and occupied kids. You’re welcome.)

 

 

So begin by going on a nature walk — through your yard, or your neighborhood, or a park. Find objects with interesting textures and shapes that you can paint with (make sure you’re allowed to take them! That’s why weeds are great — no one yells about you taking weeds). Then bring them home and experiment.

 

painting with nature 1

Supplies:

  • nature objects like sticks, rocks, leaves, flowers, blades of grass
  • tempera paints and a dish to pour them into
  • paper for painting on

rock painting

Instructions:

Go on a nature walk. Collect some items to paint with. When you come home, inspect them for bugs or anything else you don’t want in the house. You can even wash them if you think they need it.

Pour different colors of tempera paints into a bowl or paint palette (we rip up cardboard boxes and use those). Then — experiment! Larger, softer objects like leaves and large blades of grass make wonderful paintbrushes. Harder items like rocks and the ends of sticks are good for stamping or sometimes even writing with. Play around with different textures and objects see what everyone can create.

You could also get giant pieces of easel or butcher paper, have the kids paint designs, and save it to use as wrapping paper.

If you like this painting project, try one of these next!


Have fun outside with watercolor spray paints (the one time you can let the kids go nuts spray painting stuff!)


Roller painting is a really fun way to explore texture, and color, and to let kids try their own thing. Find them a good spot to get set up — maybe a patio you can hose off afterward, or an old table and let them try out a few different forms of roller painting.


This activity takes you outside again — to collect leaves. Bring them in, make leaf rubbings, and then finish off your art project with watercolors. It’s an especially fun autumn activity!


Have fun with art — even in the bathtub! This recipe for making your own bathpaints is simple and uses common household ingredients.


An art activity and a game, all in one! Paint your own tic-tac-toe rocks and then use them to play the game when you’re finished.


We originally used this watercolor resist idea to make Valentine’s Day cards, but you can make lovely cards or pictures year-round with this method!

For more kids’ activities and easy recipes, you can find Laura at Peace but not Quiet, and on facebook and Pinterest.

 

This twist will make your s’mores even better…

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

We eat s’mores in our house like they’re going out of style. No matter the season, there’s always a box of graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey bars in our pantry.

Until yesterday.

We’re getting ready to move, so I’ve been consciously trying to use up our pantry. I’m trying not to buy new things. So when I had a s’more hankering at 4pm yesterday a nd realized there were no actual graham crackers, I wanted to curse the moving process.

YOU CAN’T HAVE A S’MORE WITHOUT GRAHAM CRACKERS, PEOPLE!!

I stared forlornly at the pantry and checked off all the things I couldn’t use. Saltines? Wheatables? Doritos? No go. Pretzel Chips? Huh.

Maybe?

I gave it a try — stacked a chip with Hershey bar and half a big marshmallow — and stuck it in the microwave for 15 seconds. I sandwiched it with another pretzel and took a big gloppy bite. Holy. Marshmallow. Good stuff.

The touch of salt on the top of the pretzels is the best contrast to the super sweet center. The added crunch is even better. Why did I only make three of these? I quickly made a plate full of pretzel s’mores and took them outside to see if the kids agreed.

Game over. They adored these.

Try this new twist on s’mores!

pretzel smores_small

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

Pretzel S’mores

Pretzel Crisps
Big marshmallows, cut in half
Hershey bar, broken in pieces

Roast your marshmallow. Place two squares of chocolate on one pretzel crisp and set roasted marshmallow on top. Sandwich with another pretzel crisp.

You can also microwave these for 15 seconds.

Tortilla rollups

by

Kami Bigler

posted in Life & Home

It’s the age old dilemma; you need to bring an appetizer to a party BUT it has to be delicious whether it’s served cold or at room temperature. Well, don’t worry…we’re looking out for you and have something everyone will love. I brought these Tortilla Roll-ups to our little Super Bowl party earlier this year, and they were a hit! They would be fun for a Cinco De Mayo fiesta, Fourth of July picnic or just for any old get together you’re attending this summer.

Easy-Tortilla-Rollups-NoBiggie.net_

They’re so quick and easy to put together, too. It’s one of those great “dump” recipes. You know that kind. The kind where you just dump a few ingredients in a bowl then mix them up and you’re basically good to go. Those are the best kinds of recipes. They can even be made ahead of time so you’re not stressing about getting them ready while also trying to find your kids shoes 😉 – bonus!

Here’s what you’ll need to make these delicious appetizers:

tortilla-rollups-2

Ingredients:
8 tortillas
1 block cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 small can chopped olives
1 small can chopped green chilis
3 Tablespoons dry ranch powder

Instructions:
Stir – all together (leaving out the tortillas)
Spread – over each tortilla
Cut – into 1 inch slices
Chill – chill in the fridge for at least one hour or preferably overnight
Dip – dip into your favorite salsa recipe

Do you have a go to appetizer?

*For more craft tutorials, great recipes, free printables, fun giveaways, and real life you can follow Kami at NoBiggie.net, or find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.


Summer lovin’: Blueberry pie bars

by

Lindsay Weiss

posted in Life & Home

The blueberries at my local market are dirt cheap. I feel like a hoarder because I remember salivating over these berries in the middle of January and they were like $42/pint. (Kidding. Sort of.) And now they’re $1.20/pint and I. Can’t. Stop. Buying. Them.

My hubby suggested I make a blueberry pie with my refrigerator full of berries. But I don’t like blueberry pie because the ratio of crust to berry is off. Too many squishy berries. Not enough sugar-coated crust.

So I fiddled with it and made the pie into a bar that has all the right ratios. If you’ve got blueberries on the brain (or a summer potluck to go to), these are your new best friend.

Looking for more Sweets and Eats for the Whole Family? Find Lindsay at Sugar Mama.

Blueberry Pie Bars

Crust and Topping:
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled

Blueberry Filling:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 lb. fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch pan with non stick cooking spray; set aside.

For the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to flour mixture. Process until the butter is evenly distributed but the mixture is still crumbly (about 30 to 60 seconds).

Reserve 1-1/2 cups of the mixture for the topping; set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

For the filling, whisk eggs in a large bowl, then add the sugar, greek yogurt, flour, and almond extract. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon the filling over the crust and sprinkle the reserved topping mixture evenly over the filling.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until top turns golden brown and center is set when you jiggle the pan. Cool completely. Chill before serving for easier cutting.

Makes 12 bars.

blueberry shortcake squares  2_small