Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration: Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

As most of you know, I'm in love with my Crockpot.  As a mother of five ravenous children...and caretaker of one even more ravenous husband...The Crockpot is a savior in my kitchen.  Life is busy...and slowcooker meals take some of the edge off! ;)

But I don't want to just make the same things over and over, so I'm constantly looking for new recipes to try out!

So for today's

I chose this:
Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore by A Little Nosh
And here's how mine came out:

My family LOVED this recipe.  Seriously.  Even my picky five-year-old proclaimed this to be great...and even cleaned her plate!  I will definitely be making this again!  Woot!

The only changes I made for this recipe were omitting the red wine (since we don't have wine in our house...which probably affected the color of the final dish somewhat), and leaving out the mushrooms..because we didn't have any on hand.  (And although I think the mushrooms would have been great in this, I didn't miss them...and I'm sure Miss Picky was much happier with the lack of mushrooms!)  I also doubled the amount of vegetables I added...'cause we have a big family!

If you're looking for something yummy and simple, give this recipe a try!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pinterest Inspiration: Inside Out Carrot Cake Muffins

It's been a while since I've done a Pinterest Inspiration Project!

I spent A LOT of my 'resting' time last week browsing Pinterest...and basically drooling on my keyboard. There are SO.  MANY.  AMAZING. foods to try out there!!!

So for today's

I picked these delectable looking Inside-Out Carrot Cake Muffins ~
...from my Things to Eat pinboard!


Here's how they came out!

Ok.  I am NOT a food photographer.  You've probably already noticed that.  Sorry.  I can't be awesome at everything, I guess.  Just kidding.  (I mean about the being awesome thing...I mean I know I can sometimes be awesome, but I meant about the food photographer thing...I really suck at it.  Seriously.)

These were AWESOME!!!!  They smelled so good...they tasted even better.  And even though mine don't look as beautiful as the ones I pinned...I will definitely be making these again...and I may even try using the filling in other kinds of cupcakes, too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Things to Make: Big Button Scarf and 'About Crochet' Contest!

Are you familiar with the work of Dutch crochet designer Elisabeth AndreĆ©?  If not you NEED to go check out her lovely blog, About Crochet!  She shares such amazing projects and patterns there!

She has been holding a fun crochet contest since December!  For the contest we were given three different stitch patterns to choose from, and were asked to make one of the following:  a scarf or shawl, a pair of fingerless gloves, or a cushion cover.

I knew the moment I saw the stitch patterns that I wanted to make a chunky Big Button Scarf!  The texture of the stitches just looked so cozy and elegant!

For this project I used Red Heart Boutique Midnight Yarn in Harvest Moon.  The yarn is super soft and has just a tiny bit of sparkle to it!  I LOVE this yarn!! So pretty!

I used a size N (9.00mm) hook, because I wanted the scarf to be light and stretchy, but still have that chunky texture!

I used the first variation of the chain-single crochet stitch pattern.  Here is the basic stitch:

chain-single crochet (

Insert hook into stitch, yarn over hook and draw up a loop (2 loops on hook), yarn over hook and draw through the first loop on hook (2 loops on hook), yarn over and draw through both loops on hook (1 loop remains on hook).
The basic pattern for the first variation of the stitch can be found HERE.

I altered the basic pattern by basically doubling the width to 31 sts. The pattern I used looks like this:

Ch 31.
Row 1:  1 in the 3rd ch from hook, 1 ch, *sk 1 ch, 1 in the next ch, ch1*, repeat from * to * to end of row, end with 1 in the last ch, ch2,  turn.
Row 2:  1 into the first ch1 space, ch1, *1 in the next ch1 space, ch1*, repeat from * to * to end of row, end with 1 into the top of the turning ch2, turn.
Row 3 (and on):  Repeat Row 2.

I used an entire 2.5oz skein of yarn, and the final measurements for my scarf are approximately 9" wide by 33" long.  I added a BIG button (2" in diameter) to one of the corners of the scarf.

The great thing about this stitch is that it has a lot of I didn't even make a button hole!  I just pulled the button through the scarf itself...makes it very versatile!!

What do you think?

Go visit the blogs of the other contestants, and take a look at the other wonderful creations that have been made for this contest, by clicking HERE!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Things To Make: Ginger Bread Pudding

One my favorite things to do with the kids during the Christmas season is making gingerbread houses.

This year I cheated.  I totally bought a Gingerbread House Kit, complete with pre-baked gingerbread and Royal icing mix.

It was awesome!  The kids had a ton of fun decorating it...and I didn't have to roll out any dough!

The one downside was that it wasn't as soft as the homemade variety...especially after sitting for a week on the dining room table.  It was like rock.

So...after the kids had scavenged the last bit of candy decor from the house, I told them it was demo time.

The kids really wanted to eat it...but I didn't want to have any extra dental bills this month.  (Sugar is bad enough...but add to that rock hard gingerbread?  You're just asking for broken teeth.)

My kids love bread pudding, so I took a risk and decided to turn the remaining rubble into Ginger Bread Pudding!

And our little house went from this:

to this:

I know.  Not a very good 'after' picture.  I had intended to take a picture of it right out of the oven...but I had to nurse the baby...and have you ever tried to keep four ravenous children (and one well-meaning husband) away from a warm dessert/breakfast?  By the time I was done feeding the baby, half of the pudding was gone!

Anyway,  for those of you who like bread pudding, I highly recommend trying this recipe out!

Ginger Bread Pudding


5 cups of gingerbread crumbs (I threw pieces of our rock hard gingerbread house into our food processor - frosting, candy cane bits and all - and pulverized them into fine crumbs)
5 or 6 eggs, beaten
4 cups of milk
1 cup raisins, optional

(I didn't add any sugar, cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg to our pudding, because I felt like the crumbs were already sweet and seasoned enough.)


1.  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Spread crumbs in the bottom of a 9x13 glass or stoneware baking dish.
3.  Beat eggs and milk together.  Pour over the crumbs in the baking dish, pressing into the crumbs
4.  Place another baking dish filled with hot water on the bottom rack of the oven.  This helps the pudding to bake evenly.
5.  Place dish with pudding mixture on middle rack of oven.
6.  Bake for about 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ready or Not...Here's 2012!

So, you may be getting tired of hearing what everyone has resolved to do this year...but I'm about to add my two cents...just a little heads up.

The Anderkids
Last year, in this post, I shared some of my goals for the year.


Here's what actually happened:  I didn't take it easy.  It was a crazy year for us.  I was having a baby.  My hubby was working as a half-time school teacher...and supporting a family of six with one more on the way isn't easy.

At the beginning of last year I decided that I would try a little experiment.  I buckled down and made blogging a priority.  I posted at least three times a week.  I linked up and networked with other sites.  I interacted and commented.  And guess what?  It worked.  Big time.

My blog and business grew!  I went from 45 followers to 865 and from just 1000 page views to over 300,000.  I went from just 60 orders in 2010 to over 260 in 2011...CRAZY!  Seriously.  I know.  My mind is a little boggled by it, too!

I was VERY busy.  Yes, I loved doing it!   But, it didn't come without some HARD work and a lot of persistence.  I completely re-designed my blog FOUR TIMES!  I edited thousands of pictures.  I wrote, tested and re-wrote several patterns.  I hosted giveaways, sales, and guest posted on other blogs.

Not that this busy year hasn't been a HUGE blessing for our family!  I feel so blessed that I've been able to stay at home with my children AND that my business was able to help support our family!
I have also loved getting to know so many wonderful and creative crafters, crocheters, and people!  Thanks so much for making this journey so much fun!!  I wouldn't be here without YOU!

However...I hate to admit it, but sometimes I worked on these things at the cost/neglect of other things that are important to housework...and meal preparation...and showering...and my family. biggest dilemma in making goals for this coming year has been...where do I go from here?

After a lot of prayer and thought, I've realized something:

I've discovered that blogging and running my business really do matter to me, and I want to continue the relationships I have formed this past year!  I'm just not going to be as structured in my approach to things...I'm going to take a break if I need it...and not worry about pushing so hard for success...don't worry...I'm sure I'll still be here OFTEN...but...


I'm going to enjoy the little successes I have everyday; whether it's finishing a new pattern, making a great sale, or watching my baby crawl for the first time.

And I feel peace about that.

I loved this message, from, about slowing down and paying attention to the Moments that Matter Most...I hope you will, too!

I look forward to this year, and all of the unexpected joys and trials that this year will surely bring.  Thanks for being a part of my life!

The REAL Anderkids