This was a common scene in our front yard, this week, when our grandson discovered my new box of Toy State toys. There’s nothing like a BIG dump truck to spur the imagination of a 5-year-old and while it’s large bed can haul a good-sized load, the one he most often preferred was himself! […]
This was a common scene in our front yard, this week, when our grandson discovered my new box of Toy State toys. There’s nothing like a BIG dump truck to spur the imagination of a 5-year-old and while it’s large bed can haul a good-sized load, the one he most often preferred was himself! lol The Big Rev-Up Dump Truck has over-sized wheels and a powerful rev-up driving action. Pushing creates the friction that engages the drive and I’m not kidding when I say it’s powerful. This little guy would use his feet to get the action started, then lift them and let the revved up truck take him zipping across the driveway and even across the grassy yard. I was impressed at how easily the truck moved across different surfaces and terrain. Grass, rocks and bumps were definitely NOT deterrents. The Big Rev-Up Dump Truck is, hands-down, Hudson’s favorite new Toy State toy (and Grandma’s, too!)
Summertime is the perfect time to let the kids enjoy the outdoors and I love that they get plenty of time for active play. They exercise their bodies and their imaginations and it gives me hope that they will keep a healthy balance between their electronic playtime and physical activity. Toy State toys certainly help us instill the love of active, outdoor fun. Toy State toys are also durable and affordable, making them a fantastic long-term investment that I know ALL our grandkids will enjoy for years to come. Did I tell you, yet, we have a new grandson on the way? Well, we do! I and the rest of our family are so excited for his arrival and I know it won’t be too many summers from now, that our oldest grandson will be teaching him how to “take a ride” in the Big Rev-Up Dump Truck!
(If you are viewing this post in email, click the post title to view it online and watch the video.)
Check Out a couple of our other summer fun selections from Toy State Toys.
Rev Up Monsters - These funny little rev-up cars have prehistoric styling with rev-up driving action! (roll forward for to rev-up)
Extreme Action - Unique Hot Wheels vehicle styles with cool, characterized actions. Buttons unlock motorized drive action with ‘jaw chomping,’ ‘spider crawling’ or ‘tail striking’ fun!! Features exciting light effects, fun sounds and character-themed music.
How do you keep your kids active and engage their imaginations, all summer?
Do you enjoy spending time together outdoors? It’s a great way for families to connect!
To get more budget-friendly outdoor-playtime ideas, check out these fun Toy State toys links!
Buttery, flaky crescent roll crusts wrapped around a simple chicken, cream cheese and cheddar filling, coated with butter cracker crumbs and then after baking, drizzled with a chicken-y sour cream gravy. My husband and kids fuuh-lipped over these pillowy little poultry sandwiches! Chicken Pillows are new to our menu rotation and have already been requested for […]
Buttery, flaky crescent roll crusts wrapped around a simple chicken, cream cheese and cheddar filling, coated with butter cracker crumbs and then after baking, drizzled with a chicken-y sour cream gravy. My husband and kids fuuh-lipped over these pillowy little poultry sandwiches! Chicken Pillows are new to our menu rotation and have already been requested for two other occasions. As I mentioned in my Homemade Corndogs post, Nicki, at Chef in Training never disappoints when I try one of her recipes. I’ve had this one pinned for a very long time and I’m so glad I rediscovered it when I was sorting through my Pinterest boards.
I changed very little, from Nicki’s original recipe. I added onion, parsley and garlic to the filling. I also increased the cheese and put it in the filling, instead of the gravy. Lastly, I chose butter crackers, instead of saltines for the crumbs. You can see Nicki’s original recipe, here.
I’m so excited about this dish and I’m already dreaming of dozens of possible variations like Chicken Jalapeno Popper Pillows, or creating them as a twist on my Thanksgiving Casserole, Turkey and Stuffing Pillows. Wouldn’t Chicken Cordon Blue Pillows or Chicken and Spinach Pillows with Smoked Gouda be awesome? The possibilities are limitless and I’m guessing you will see other “pillows” at Busy-at-Home, in the future! Enjoy!
Do you have a favorite, simple and homey, comfort-food dish that your family asks for again and again?
Can you think of some other delicious filling variations for this tasty “pillow”-style recipe? What would your twist on Chicken Pillows be? Please share your ideas in a comment, below!
. Even if you’re not one of the crowd who celebrates Christmas in July, I KNOW you’re an organizational marvel and you plan and prep, well ahead of time, to get ready for holiday celebrations and fun. You’re just good like that. You can’t fool me. This simple appetizer recipe for Tex-Mex Meatball Nachos is […]
Even if you’re not one of the crowd who celebrates Christmas in July, I KNOW you’re an organizational marvel and you plan and prep, well ahead of time, to get ready for holiday celebrations and fun. You’re just good like that. You can’t fool me. This simple appetizer recipe for Tex-Mex Meatball Nachos is a winner for holiday celebrations! My family loves them so much, I have a hard time getting them to a serving tray, before they are gobbled up. As delicious as they are, my favorite thing about them is that I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen prepping them.
When I plan dishes for our family’s traditional (strictly meaning OUR tradition, not that there’s anything traditional about our meal.) Christmas Eve Build-Your-Own Ice Cream Sundae and Appetizers Supper, I want recipes for tasty treats that can be made ahead, get me in and out of the kitchen quickly and guarantee that my time is spent laughing and celebrating with the people I love, instead of being stuck watching the oven. I go ALL OUT for our Christmas dinner, so Christmas Eve needs to be easy, relaxing, and fun…not to mention delicious.
For more than 20 years, we have come home after Christmas Eve services, put out ice cream and every kind of topping known to man, and let the kids make their own ice cream sundaes, for supper. Just imagine chocolate syrup, caramel, whipped cream, berries, nuts, dripping ice cream scoops and sprinkles EVERYWHERE and you pretty much have the gist of it. :),
The tradition continues to this day, and now, even includes our grandkids. I couldn’t be more blessed! It only took a couple years, in the beginning, to realize we needed SOMETHING to balance out all that sugar, since emotions were already running high in anticipation of what was coming, the next morning. Easy appetizers was my solution.
Over the years, our unusual Christmas Eve supper has become as beloved a tradition for our family, as the “main event”, so I don’t want to miss a minute of the fun. Whether we’re watching a movie together, playing board games or just visiting, I want to be with my husband, kids and grandkids laughing and enjoying our time together. That’s why I’ve added these easy Tex-Mex Meatball Nachos to my recipe short-list. I think you and your family will absolutely love them!
With only six ingredients, I was in and out of Walmart in a snap, shopping to make this dish. The Farm Rich Original Meatballs that are the centerpiece of these flavorful, little mouthfuls are easy to find in the freezer section, there. In my local store, that’s aisle five with the frozen entrees and vegetables.
Just as fast as you found the ingredients, you’ll be able to put them all together, to whip up these tasty appetizers and get back to all the celebrating! (For those of you who like a “visual” of the recipe going together, be sure to check out the gif video, below.)
I’ve seen several versions of this recipe floating around the Internet and, as always, I pin them to a board on Pinterest with the full intention of making them. Well, you know what they say about good intentions. I’m so proud of me for trying this one, though. This particular taco seasoning is a keeper! […]
I’ve seen several versions of this recipe floating around the Internet and, as always, I pin them to a board on Pinterest with the full intention of making them. Well, you know what they say about good intentions. I’m so proud of me for trying this one, though. This particular taco seasoning is a keeper! More than plain old taco seasoning, it has an almost cheese-like flavor that I wouldn’t have expected, since it has zero cheese in it. That rich flavor comes from a secret that vegans have known about for a long time — nutritional yeast flakes. Apparently, there are a lot of recipes out there that call for “powdered cheese”. I’ve never run across any, but have it on good authority that they exist. :) Vegans have found that nutritional yeast is a tasty and nutritious substitute.
Nutritional yeast is loaded with vitamins, minerals and proteins and it’s a completely natural food. It is NOT the same thing as baker’s yeast, for making bread, or brewer’s yeast; so please don’t try to use either of those as a substitute. Nutritional yeast grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. It’s heated to deactivate it, after it’s harvested. Nutritional yeast is a good source of B vitamins, folate and niacin. It contains 18 amino acids, 9 of which make it a complete protein. It’s a source of fiber and contains glutathione and other compounds, which are associated with enhanced immunity, reduced cholesterol levels and cancer prevention. It is dairy-free, soy-free and gluten free.
While I wouldn’t say this recipe is a dead-ringer for Doritos, as a lot of people have claimed it is, we do ABSOLUTELY LOVE it. It is so much better than plain old packets of taco seasoning and yes, we have made our own chips with this and it’s fantastic! I would never put the commercially available packets of taco seasoning on chips (the flavor just lacks “something”), but something about the nutritional yeast in this recipe adds another delicious layer of flavor that is so satisfying and “finished”. It’s as good on popcorn as it is on chips and your homemade burritos and tacos will get standing ovations. Really… start practicing your curtsy. Just sayin’.
HOW TO MAKE TACO CHIPS:
It’s pretty simple to use this seasoning to make your own Taco Chips. I use 6 (6-inch) white corn tortillas and 1/4 cup of olive oil along with a couple Tablespoons of the seasoning. Brush the tortillas with olive oil (both sides). Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut each in tortilla into eight sections. Sprinkle the chips with the taco seasoning (both sides) and arrange in a single a layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the chips are lightly browned and crisp.
Cool and serve. Makes 48 chips.
I first posted this taco dip recipe back in 2009, I think. It is still one of our favorite go-to “cold suppers”. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love it and it’s so simple that my sweet granddaughters have even learned to make it! Our eighteen-year-old son or our twelve-year-old daughter and all her giggly friends can whip […]
I first posted this taco dip recipe back in 2009, I think. It is still one of our favorite go-to “cold suppers”. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love it and it’s so simple that my sweet granddaughters have even learned to make it! Our eighteen-year-old son or our twelve-year-old daughter and all her giggly friends can whip it up with ease and it’s a satisfying, flavor-packed treat, whether using it for a snack watching a movie or football or making it the light, “Mom-isn’t-cooking” Sunday night supper. The colors are vibrant and inviting, too, which makes it even more fun to eat. You could alter, add to, or vary the recipe so simply. We don’t typically add meat, but ground beef or shredded chicken would be a delicious layer and provide even more protein. Sliced black olives and cilantro would also be great add-ins. You could mince jalapenos or chilies to add to the sour cream layer and you could mix up the cheeses. I think Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack would be outstanding! Use you imagination and your family’s favorites. It’s a fun dish to prepare as a family and it’s even more fun to eat together! (If you’re a “visual” learner, like me, there’s a quick animation, after the recipe, to give you a visual picture of putting this together.) Enjoy!
Summertime is grill time at our house. I’m sure you’re much the same as our family when the weather gets warmer. Outdoor activities and busy schedules tend to make dinner later in the day, which works out just fine, since our daylight hours are so much longer. We often opt for grilling, rather than heating up […]
Summertime is grill time at our house. I’m sure you’re much the same as our family when the weather gets warmer. Outdoor activities and busy schedules tend to make dinner later in the day, which works out just fine, since our daylight hours are so much longer. We often opt for grilling, rather than heating up the house with indoor cooking, on those summer nights. There’s nothing that can compare to delicious, smoky, summertime bbq and all the flavors that embodies, but even if you’re in a hurry or just looking for something simple to get a creative and delicious dinner on the table quickly, your grill and a quick -fix relish recipe can still be the solution. I think your whole family will enjoy this recipe for Veggie Slaw Relish. It’s great on burgers or hotdogs and on this particular night, we used it to top Barbecue Cheese Dogs.
The core of any good hotdog is, of course, the meat. I love Oscar Mayer Selects Bun Length Smoked Uncured Angus Beef Franks. They have no artificial preservatives and no added nitrites or nitrates. Always on the lookout for best value, great prices and savings, I am not, typically, a brand-loyal shopper, with the exception of a short list of around half a dozen products. Oscar Mayer hotdogs are on that list and have been for 20 years. For the sandwich part of our barbecue cheese dogs, I also used Kraft Honey Hickory Smoke Barbecue Sauce and Kraft American Singles. Every good hotdog needs a vessel, too. Standard hotdog buns would work fine for these, if you have them on hand, but I used my own homemade mini baguettes, which incorporated some delicious, nutty whole-grain and fiber into our meal and held up fabulously to sauce, cheese and time on the grill.
Before you build these savory dogs, you’ll need to mix up the Veggie Slaw Relish, though. This recipe is super simple and I love the contrast of textures and tastes between the slightly sweet and sour dressing over crunchy, fresh vegetables and the softer, smoky, savory hotdog. I hope your family enjoys this versatile recipe as much as mine. You can easily substitute vegetables you have on hand, or ones you know are your kids’ favorites. Go for a wide range of bright colors and crisp, crunchy texture, when making your selections. I think cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus would also be great in this! And as I mentioned, this is just as good on burgers as hotdogs, so it’s a good staple to keep on hand in the fridge, this summer.
Peel the cucumber and scoop out the seeds. Mince it up. I wanted longer shreds of the zucchini and carrot, so I held them vertically to grate, instead of horizontally. Then I minced the celery, bell pepper and onion. It’s as easy as tossing all the veggies into a bowl and mixing them up! Now, mix up a scrumptious dressing and let the slaw marinate while you prepare the barbecue cheese dogs.
Just follow the easy directions on your Good Seasons Dressing packet to mix up the delicious slaw marinade. The only thing I did differently was to add 2 Tablespoons of sugar in the second step. The cruet is really nice, because it’s got fill lines marked for the vinegar, water and olive oil. Put everything in, give it a shake and voila! The seasonings are already pre-measured for maximum flavor, so it’s just that easy to prepare a fresh, tantalizing dressing in your own kitchen! Yum!
Once the slaw is marinating in the fridge, grill the hotdogs, prep your buns or baguettes and build these delicious Barbecue Cheese Dogs with Veggie Slaw Relish. I sliced a thin layer off the top of my baguettes, hollowed out the centers and set aside the removed bread. (It makes fantastic croutons or bread crumbs to use in other recipes.) Then I brushed the inside of the baguette “boat” with barbecue sauce, added a grilled hotdog, topped it with cheese and then cradled the whole thing in a piece of aluminum foil. When you have all 8 cradled in foil, put them back on the grill just long enough for the cheese to melt and the baguettes to warm. Remove from the grill, top with Veggie Slaw Relish and enjoy! Mandarin Orange Salad and steamed broccoli were excellent side dishes for this flavor-packed sandwich.
Is this just the creative twist you’ve been wanting for dinner or the next neighborhood barbecue? Get the full, printable recipe and instructions for Barbecue Cheese Dogs with Veggie Slaw Relish, HERE.
I’m pretty sure your kids will do chores for these. Just sayin’. :) What is it about meat on a stick that fascinates young and old? And then when you wrap it in sweet cornbread, well there’s just no getting around it…sometimes, you just have to make corndogs. It’s a rule. As busy as I […]
I’m pretty sure your kids will do chores for these. Just sayin’. :) What is it about meat on a stick that fascinates young and old? And then when you wrap it in sweet cornbread, well there’s just no getting around it…sometimes, you just have to make corndogs. It’s a rule.
As busy as I get creating recipes, doing photo shoots and writing posts, there are still three, maybe four, food blogs I still visit on a regular basis. I love the creativity, the textures and flavors and family appeal of their recipes, and I can’t help drooling over their extraordinary photography. Their pictures are so gorgeous that I always want a bite of whatever they present. One of those blogs is Chef in Training and the inspiration for these corndogs came from her. All I changed was to switch sugar for honey and added a little more milk to thin the batter. Nikki’s recipes never disappoint!
We eat corndogs in our house – not every week, but I’m guessing at least once a month. I have always cringed at the price, and then looked the other way, as I grabbed the boxes of frozen ones at the grocery store. It, literally, never occurred to me that this would be a dish that is so easy to make at home. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me! :)
The good news is that homemade corndogs are also SOOOO much less expensive than their freezer cousins. I calculated that I save about $4.00 for every 8 corndogs I make from scratch. If I can get the hotdogs on sale, I save even more! If you filter it, when you’re done, and store it in the fridge, you can reuse the oil you fry them in, too.
And, the taste? Oooohhhh, the taste! (Seriously, you REALLY should have told me!) The texture and flavor is so superior to pre-fab frozen that there really are no words of comparison that seem adequate. Trust me. These will transport you to the county fairs of your childhood and you will want another…and probably another. I also have to tell the truth from the start. If you serve these to your family, they will no longer accept frozen corndogs as an option. When you say corndog, from now into perpetuity, this WILL be the only corndog that they envision. You’ve been warned. lol
Fourth of July is just around the corner and along with all the fun of the day, we can also expect to experience a great deal of HOT! For special occasions and celebrations, I love having some cool, refreshing drink options for my family — something outside the beverages they are used to every other day. […]
Fourth of July is just around the corner and along with all the fun of the day, we can also expect to experience a great deal of HOT! For special occasions and celebrations, I love having some cool, refreshing drink options for my family — something outside the beverages they are used to every other day. I even have some fun, new Ball Drinking Jars to serve them in. One Busy-at-Home reader is going to score a set of four for their own kitchen, along with a Ball Mason Jar Infuser and a set of Ball Mason Jar Sip & Straws lids! Be sure to enter the giveaway, just below the recipe, at the bottom of this post.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of the summer afternoons we would get to spend with an elderly neighbor, Bette. Her home was filled with books, (She literally had a library room with floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall bookcases. It was my personal tween heaven! ), antiques and love. We helped her weed flower beds, played Yahtzee and she always made us a magical drink called a “float”. We were allowed to choose 7-Up or Coke, poured over vanilla ice cream, and it was a dream in a glass to the five of us. I’m not sure if I had ever had a float, before Bette’s, but if I did, I have no recollection of it. Those simple treats are the definition of “float” in my mind. I love the idea of creating those same kinds of fun memories for my grandkids. I wanted to put a twist on a float, using the classic summer flavor of peach, to surprise them for the Fourth. I remembered hearing about a dish called Peach Melba, that I thought was also served with ice cream, so that’s where I started my research.
It turns out that Peach Melba is a dish of fresh peaches with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce. It also seemed to be heavy on the vanilla in many of the recipes, I looked at. I was sure it was going to translate easily to a refreshingly fizzy, ice cream drink.
These Peach Melba Lemonade Floats are not as colorful as some of the other drinks I could have shared with you, making it difficult to get a really interesting and beautiful photograph, but the flavor is out-of-this-world! You’re going to LOVE them and your family will, too! They’re simple to make, but you DO need to make the wonderful Vanilla Peach Syrup, ahead of time, so you’ll want to plan ahead.
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Remember I told you how much I LOVE salads? This recipe is one of the reasons why! Layered Southwest Salad is a complete and balanced meal and even my manly carnivore husband and son are happy to see this one on the table. It’s got all the things I love about summer — fresh […]
Remember I told you how much I LOVE salads? This recipe is one of the reasons why! Layered Southwest Salad is a complete and balanced meal and even my manly carnivore husband and son are happy to see this one on the table. It’s got all the things I love about summer — fresh tomatoes and crisp greens and crunchy fresh vegetables. It also has hearty ingredients that satisfy my “meat and potatoes” guys, too — grilled chicken, black beans and cheese. Plus the dressing is to die for! It’s so simple and tastes so good. It is literally the “southwest” part of this salad. The other beautiful thing about this hearty salad is that it lends itself well to being altered, so you can incorporate what you have on hand or your family’s favorites. Fresh sweet corn is a glorious addition, but it’s still too early in the season for us, here. I think black olives, celery, even diced cucumber, zucchini or yellow squash would be fantastic in it, too. So, get creative and make it your own. The important thing is just make it!
I told you a few days ago that when I grill chicken I cook large batches and this salad would be a good example of why. Having pre-cooked chicken in the fridge, ready to go, means I can put tasty dishes like this one, together in minutes. If you don’t have a fridge or freezer full of pre-grilled chicken, don’t give up on this salad. Leftovers from last night’s chicken dinner or rotisserie chicken from the grocery store would be other quick-fix options. Plus, it would only take a few minutes, during your day, to cook a couple chicken breasts to use. However you decide to prep your chicken, I hope you DO make this simple, hearty and nutritious salad. It seriously makes me happy! Don’t laugh. I told you. I love salad. Me and THIS salad…well, we understand each other. We have the same long-term goals. It’s a great relationship. lol Enjoy!