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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Hummingbird Muffins with Libby's Pumpkin

This post brought to you by Libby's.  All opinions are 100% mine.
   

HI guys!  Today I want to share another delicious spring-y recipe with y'all.  This one is a classic in the South.  In fact, it is one of Southern Living Magazine's all-time most requested recipes. Have you heard of Hummingbird Cake?  It is a delicious blend of bananas, pineapple, pecans and cinnamon, topped with sweet cream cheese frosting.  No one knows for sure how this classic cake got it's name -- whether it's because the cake is sweet like the nectar that hummingbirds eat or because when you serve it people hover around like hummingbirds -- but it is always a hit whenever it is served.

In this version, I have lightened it up a bit by replacing the oil in the cake witih Libby’s Pumpkin.  It doesn't change the flavor, but it it reduces the fat and calorie content, while adding fiber and vitamin A.  It also gives it a little denser, super moist muffin-like texture. Kinda' like banana bread with pineapple and cream cheese frosting . . . only better.


    HUmmingbird Muffins at my3monsters.com

Let's be honest, even in this lighter muffin incarnation Hummingbird Cake is still a "sometimes food", but I'll take any opportunity I can get to add a little pumpkin into my family's diet.  In the fall, pumpkin is everywhere, but it shouldn't be overlooked year-round as an ingredient in both sweet and savory recipes.  Pumpkin is a superfood, full of Vitamin A, fiber, and Beta Carotene.  As a substitute for oil, like I used it, it reduces fat and calories in recipes.  Stirring a little pumpkin into jarred and prepared sauces also reduces the sodium per serving.

Most of the things I use pumpkin for don't require a full can, but you can portion out the leftovers and store them in the freezer so you always have some on hand.

    Hummingbird Muffin recipe at my3monsters.com

    Hummingbird Muffins

{adapted from Southern Living Magazine}

Cake:  
3 cups all-purpose flour     1 teaspoon baking soda    
1 teaspoon salt    
2 cups granulated sugar    
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon    
3 large eggs, beaten    
1 cup Libby's Pumpkin    
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract    
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple    
1 cup chopped pecans    
 2 cups chopped bananas
Frosting: 
8 ounces cream cheese, softened    
1/2 cup butter, softened    
16 ounces powdered sugar, sifted    
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. 


Combine flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of your mixer {or other large bowl}. Add eggs and pumpkin, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas. {TIP: I bought a 20 oz. can of pineapple and used about half of it in the recipe.  If the batter seems too thick, you can add a little extra pineapple juice from the leftover half a can to thin it out a little.}

Scoop batter into prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool before frosting.  This recipe makes about 30-36 muffins.



    HUmmingbird Muffins recipe at my3monsters.com


To make the frosting:

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.


After cooling, frost cupcakes. Garnish, if desired, with dried pineapple flowers as explained on Annie's Eats or more chopped pecans.



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    Libby's photo 09a341e3-a992-48f0-aedc-b8cb5b488a8d_zpsdfc183eb.png


Visit Libby's Pumpkin Can website where you can get more delicious recipes and share your favorite #PumpkinCan fact via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for a chance to win weekly prizes!


For tons more pumpkin info and ideas visit Libby’s on Facebook, Libby’s on Twitter, and Libby’s on Pinterest.


    Have a great day, friends!

    Amy



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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Game Night with Tony's Pizza

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Tony’s Pizza, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #tonyspizzeria http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV.

Tony's Pizza Game Night at my3monsters.com
Hi, friends!  If there's one thing we enjoy doing together as a family, it's playing games.  Whether it's board games or cards around the kitchen table, or Words With Friends and Quiz Up on our electronic devices, we are almost ALWAYS in the midst of some kind of game in this house.  A pretty ideal Friday night around here involves pizza and games from dinner time until waaaayyy past bedtime.  Sometimes we meet up with friends for big game nights, but often it's just the five of us and we have a blast!  I love having teenagers who aren't "too cool" to hang out with mom and dad once in a while.


Tony's Pizza Game Night at my3monsters.com
My husband's job has been contractual for the past several years. That means every so often, when he is between contracts, we have no income and have to really be budget-conscious for a while until the next job starts.  Living on a strict budget doesn't mean that we have to give up our favorite things -- we just have to be smarter about how we do them.  We can still have our pizza and game nights, no matter what our current situation is, thanks to Tony's Pizza! 


Tony's Pizza Game Night at my3monsters.com
I love the cripy Tony's crust and the fact that they use real tomatoes to make their sauce and real cheese to top it all off.  Super delicious.  Tony's Pizza is an affordable option to begin with, but then you can sweeten the deal by taking advantage of this great coupon for 75¢ off of any two (2) Tony's® multi-serve pizzas (11.04 oz or larger) in the freezer aisle from Coupons.com. Coupon available while supplies last.

We had a pretty long, busy week last week and I was feeling the need to reconnect and relax as a family.  I printed the coupon and picked up a few Tony's Pizzas while I was at Walmart doing some other shopping  and surprised the kiddos with it at dinner time.  We all put on our PJ's and had a blast playing some Banagrams while we filled up on yummy pizza.  Best. Family. Night. Ever!  It was exactly what we all needed.


Tony's Pizza Game Night at my3monsters.com
If you are feeling the need for some fun family time, try a Tony's Pizza Game Night!  

Find Tony's Pizza on the web, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Have a great week, guys.

Amy



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Friday, April 18, 2014

Pistachio Pineapple Poke Cake
{aka Watergate Poke Cake}

Pistachio Pineapple Poke Cake recipe -- a dessert spin on Watergate Salad at my3monsters.com
Hello, friends!  Are y'all ready for Easter this weekend?  Even though my kids are older, they still enjoy coloring eggs and hunting for Easter baskets.  Personally, I am looking forward to the beautiful church meetings on Sunday morning, followed by a delicious family dinner.  Today I have a dessert recipe that would make a yummy addition to your Easter dinner.  

One of my favorite dishes that always seems to show up at pot-luck dinners is Watergate Salad.  Have you ever had it?  The big, fluffy, green mix of canned pineapple, pistachio pudding, and whipped cream.  Mmmmmm.....  Who would have thought those flavors would go together?!  It seems a little funky, but it is absolutely delicious.  But to masquerade as a salad?!  You're not fooling anyone, Watergate "Salad".  You may be green, but we all know you're not healthy.  I decided to make all that green goodness into a proper, respectable dessert. This cake has all the same flavors in light, fresh cake form.  

Pistachio Pineapple Poke Cake

1 box Pineapple Supreme cake mix {plus ingredients needed to make it}
1 can crushed pineapple
2 small boxes instant Pistachio pudding mix
3 C. milk
1 container Cool Whip

Drain pineapple juice from the pineapple into a measuring cup.  Set the pineapple aside for later.  Add water to the juice if needed to make enough to replace water in the cake mix.  Bake cake according to package directions, substituting the pineapple juice for the water that the mix calls for.  

When the cake has cooled, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake.  In a bowl, mix instant pistachio pudding with 3 C. of milk.  Once the pudding has thickened, pour evenly over the top of the cake.  Spread the crushed pineapple evenly over the top of the cake then frost it with Cool Whip.  Chill in the refrigerator for several hours before eating.  {The longer you can wait, the better it will taste!  Make it up to 24 hours in advance if you can.}

Pistachio Pineapple Poke Cake -- a dessert spin on Watergate Salad recipe at my3monsters.com
In these pictures, I put the pineapple on the cake before the pudding, which I don't recommend.  It plugged up the holes in the cake so the pudding didn't get down into the cake like it is supposed to.  Put the pudding on first, THEN the pineapple.  This was a huge hit with my kids -- the husband does not like nuts.  If you're looking for a light, refreshing springtime dessert, this is your dish!

Happy Easter, friends!

Amy


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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chalk Paint Armoire Makeover

Hi guys!!  I've been working my heart out over the past few weeks to breathe some new life into our old entertainment armoire in the living room.  It's one of the first pieces of "real", substantial furniture that we bought {several years} after we got married.  In fact, it might be the first piece of furniture we ever owned that wasn't either a hand-me-down from mom and dad or purchased at Ikea.  I loved that armoire when we bought it.  It was a little pricy and kind-of a stretch for our budget, but I just HAD to have it.  You know the ones -- they were all the rage back in the day -- rustic wood, rusty metal hardware.  You can see it in this awful picture that I took forever ago:

See how I had already given it a clever little makeover by staining the moulding pieces darker and lining the doors with rooster fabric.  {Remember the fun rooster design trend?}  We lived with it like that for YEARS and still I adored it -- even after almost knocking myself unconscious several times by forgetting the doors were there while standing up from playing on the floor with the kids and konking my head.  

Once I was good and sure the rooster trend was dead -- seriously, I clung to it long after most folks had moved on -- I got wise and gave the armoire another makeover.  I removed the pesky upper doors since we never closed them anyway, and painted the whole thing black.  And I loved the armoire again for several more years:



The doors we removed became a decorative accent in the kitchen and everything was great:


But we're a real life family who really lives in and uses our home, so eventually the black paint started to get scuffed and I was itching to do something else with my old armoire.  I was able to get my hands on some Americana Chalky Finish paint -- the latest and greatest furniture painting trend -- and I was super excited to try it out.  I really wanted to paint it navy blue this time around, but there wasn't a true navy blue color in the collection.  After researching it online a bit, I ended up choosing a charcoal gray color called "Relic" that has a  blue undertone and it looks exactly how I hoped it would!  

I love the names of the paint colors in this collection.  They remind me of the episode of Friends where Phoebe hates Pottery Barn, but Ross and Rachel love it so they keep buying Pottery Barn furniture and telling her that they found it at the flea market.  When she asks what period the furniture is from, they say things like "yore" and "yesteryear".  I think they may have asked Ross and Rachel to name these paint colors... 


This is NOT a sponsored post.  I am NOT receiving any compensation for singing the praises of this paint.  It's just really great paint.  Remember how I made my own chalky paint for my kitchen cabinets?  That worked pretty well, but it is nothing compared to the real thing!  To clarify, this is chalk paint, NOT chalk board paint.  I didn't turn my armoire into a chalk board.  This is simply paint that gives a really matte, really smooth, buttery-perfect finish.  The biggest difference between the Americana paint and the home-made version is the Creme Wax for finishing.  After the paint has dried and you have sanded it smooth, you simply paint on the wax {it's like a creamy liquid} then buff it to a perfect sheen.  It brings out so much life in the paint color!


This is probably the most accurate representation of the paint color that I could capture.  The thing is, it looks different in all different lights so in the morning it looks lighter and grayer, but in the afternoon it is a perfect greyed-out navy blue.  When I was finished painting I gave it some new knobs that I picked up for just a few dollars at Hobby Lobby.  The little yellow/green ceramic knobs above were perfect for the drawers and they coordinate with the more decorative knobs on the lower doors.


I decided to really make the armoire lighter and brighter this time around by painting the interior white -- Americana's "Everlasting".  I can't believe what a difference it makes.


All my little decorative accents stand out now instead of getting lost in the dark, cave-like recesses that were there before.  My new fabric covered books really pop against the white background, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  I'm already looking around my house for more furniture I can make-over with other colors of this great chalk paint.  I think my coffee table is just begging for it now!

This old armoire is like a member of the family.  We'll just keep making her over to keep her stylish for as long as possible.  I'm kinda' in love with her again now thanks to Americana Chalky Finish Paint!


Have a great day, friends!

Amy



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Monday, April 14, 2014

Corn Casserole {A Perfect Side Dish for Your Easter Ham!}

This post brought to you by Sam's Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Corn Casserole recipe at my3monsters.com

Hello, friends!  I'm always curious to hear what people eat for the holidays.  We pretty much stick to the traditionals -- Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas roast beef, and Easter ham.  I almost always make cheesy potatoes to go with my ham, but this year  I have found a yummy new recipe that pairs perfectly with ham for a nice spring dinner.  At least it is new to me -- Corn Casserole.  I have a few kids who don't love potatoes, but corn is always a favorite of everyone.  Cheesy, creamy corn is sure to become a classic in this house!

Here is where the idea came from:



Looks good, right?  Sam's Club has several yummy-looking recipes on their website to help you Celebrate Spring, but after I saw the Corn Casserole I was sold.  I knew that would be just the thing to give our boring old Easter dinner some new life.  It gets bonus points in my book for being super easy, and made from inexpensive ingredients that I always keep in my refrigerator and pantry, like Del Monte® canned Sweet Corn.

What I really loved about this dish was that I could take the basic recipe and customize it for my family by adding a few extra ingredients.

Corn Casserole recipe at my3monsters.com

This time I added crumbled buttery crackers on top to give it a yummy crust, but next time I think I will throw in a can of diced green chiles, too, for a little kick.

Corn Casserole recipe at my3monsters.com

Corn Casserole

3 C. shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 C. milk
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 C. sliced green onions
1 tsp. bottled hot sauce
4 cans Del Monte® Whole Kernel Corn, well-drained
1 1/2 C. crackers, finely crushed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix  shredded cheddar cheese, flour and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
Stir together the milk, softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the green onions and the hot sauce in a 9” x 13” pan. Dump in the corn and shredded cheese mixture, then stir well to blend evenly.  This would also be a great time to add green chiles or diced red peppers, if you want them. Bake for 30 minutes.  {The original recipe said to cover it, but I didn't and it was great.

Sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 cup of green onions, and cracker crumbs or other optional toppings, if desired. Bake 5 minutes longer.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving for the casserole to set up some.
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All I need now is a batch of warm home made rolls, maybe a green salad, and some deviled eggs to round out the perfect Easter dinner.  Mmmmm.  I'm going to make my family so happy this weekend!  Stay tuned later this week for a delicious, light and fruity dessert recipe, too.


Happy Easter, friends!

Amy


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