Friday, October 28, 2011

PA is dressed up in SNOW for Halloween

I don't know if anyone even reads this blog... but for those of you who do, who may not live in the state of PA or surrounding Philadelphia/Lower Susquehanna area, we're expected to get 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow into Sunday! UNBELIEVEABLE!!

Winter Storm Warning

 from Sat, 8am until Sun, 2am EDT 
5-8 in of snow over the next 36 hours


My parents live in Lancaster and they're expected to get 10-15 inches! I read the last time we got a storm like this was in the early 1970s. But not only is it snow... it's rain and wind too. Not to mention the fact that because there are still leaves on the trees and the snow will be wet we are in an "expected power outage" area!

On my rainy/snowy/windy Saturday I plan to prepare for the launch of women's and children's accessories for Elizabeth Lou & Company. I still have to take pictures for everything and write up the listings. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. The pictures are always a huge project. They have to look the best since the items aren't right in front of you!

I also have a much needed haircut in the AM and plan to do the following (in case you were wondering).

I will cut my hair like Reese. LOVE her hair in this pic. I've even thought of going blonde. My old hair dresser was dying to turn me blonde, but I just couldn't pull the trigger!

For highlights, I really have no idea what I want to do. I think one of the below. I want something very subtle.

Also, I'm making apple dumplings tomorrow! YUM! If you live in the effected area, enjoy the snowy day- be inspired and do something creative!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Pie

I'm not sure which recipe to share with you this week... the ice cream pie  I promised from K's birthday or the awesome dinner he just made me! I found the recipe...but he made some tweaks and it was DELISH. I've had a super bad cold the last few days and so he wanted to make dinner for me. Awwww, so sweet :) I know, I'm a lucky girl. On the menu was chicken, spinach and goat cheese quesadillas. SO yummy. I'll have to post that recipe next week!

For now, let me explain the ice cream pie I made for the boys' birthday. I couldn't quite find a recipe I liked, so I made my own :)

Ingredients for one 8-10" pie:

1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
1/2-3/4 c. peanut butter
1/2 package of oreos
1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 jar hot fudge
Reeses peanut butter cups

Step 1. Crush Oreos finely (I usually use a ziplock and a polling pin) and then pour into a medium bowl. Add melted butter to oreo crumbs. Mix well, then press into an 8-10" pie plate. Let sit while preparing the ice cream.

Step 2. Using a mixer, combine ice cream and peanut butter. Mix until well combined.

Step 3. Add half of ice cream mixture to formed pie crust- spread to even out. Warm up hot fudge according to directions, then add 1/4 of the jar to the top of the peanut butter ice cream.

(I suggest putting it in the freezer for 20 min between these parts)

Step 4. Add remaining ice cream, followed by remaining hot fudge.

Step 5. Top with Reeses's

**NOTE: I had to let mine sit in the freezer between adding the two seperate layers of ice cream. For some reason, it takes a long time for the ice cream to set, and even after it has, it thaws super quick.

It's so worth it though! This pie is SO DELICIOUS and worth all of the soupy mess (seriously, it melted all down the frozen broccoli and ice cubes in my sister-in-law's freezer- OOPS!).

Also, I thought I would share the picture below from their cupcakes we made. Both of the boys got Apple products, so we decided this would be a cute, but cheesy give-away for their presents! We just made cupcakes and frosted them, then layed white fondant over it and then brushed it with silver shimmer dust. It wasn't a Duff masterpiece, but it got the job done!

Picture Stolen From: My Sister-in-Laws Facebook Page. Thanks LW <3

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Birthday Celebrations

 Today I feel one year older. Not because it's my birthday, but because it's my husbands. Mine is next month, which is close enough to feeling one year older! That makes us 27. OLD. I still feel like I'm 22.

The birthday festivities have gone as follows (basically a weekend full of good-eats). Friday I made him a Salmon BLT with dill mayonnaise. I hate fish, so this was made special, just for him. I had chicken noodle soup, because I'm sick :(

Then yesterday we went to Varner's Farm to pick out our pumpkins. There was a corn maze there, and a few weeks ago they had pick-your-own apples. It's a really cool place. I would highly recommend it for anyone in the Collegeville area. Especially if you have kids- they had tons of child-geared activities (like a mini corn maze!).

So, Moving on... last night for dinner we had sushi take-out from THE BEST OF PHILLY's BonJung in Collegeville. I don't like sushi all that much, but this really was awesome! If you like sushi, you NEED to try this place!

Today is the actual day of birth and I'm so excited to give K his present! His twin brother is coming over around 1pm to hang out- and my sister-in-law and I got them Forza 4- they will be so thrilled! It's so fun to see them play together. Then around four my wonderful mother-in-law will be bringing over their dinner, sausage and peppers in the crock pot. The original Winchester family will enjoy their dinner and then head over to my brother and sister-in-laws where gift-giving and dessert eating will commence.

K will have his very own iPad at the end of today- I can't wait!

Tomorrow I'll share the recipe for the ice cream cake I'm making the boys. I think you'll love it!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Broccoli Cheddar Soup- Panera Style

It's finally soup making weather, and I am very excited for that! We have a few staples that we make in the Winchester household.... my favorite being Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs- recipe from Barefoot Contessa. This weekend though, we decided to make Broccoli Cheddar Soup. I found a recipe for a knock-off of Panera Breads. I was super excited. It was quite as good of course, but it was still tasty!

Check out the recipe below!


1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese


Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.


588 calories48 grams fat20 grams carbohydrates21 grams protein per serving

Sunday, October 16, 2011

DSLR Workshop

What a gorgeous fall weekend. Seriously the best weather we've had in a long time. This is my most favorite time of the year!

So, this weekend my brother and his girlfriend came to visit and she and I went to a photography workshop in Philly. It was the DSLR Workshop by Okello Dunkley. He is a very talented photographer who travels around the US (an I think world) performing these workshops... for those of us who are less talented :) Check out his website by clicking the image below. It was a pretty helpful class. It definitely was overwhelming and showed me that I need ALOT of practice!

I also learned that I need some great photo editing software. I have been relying on and for my photo editing because I don't want to shell out the bucks for lightroom or aperture. Alas, I think the time has soon come to do so.

I'll also need to invest in a bigger memory card because I will be shooting my images as RAW images as opposed to JPEG (this allows you more editing capabilities). As well as a 50mm f/1.8 lens so I can get a nice blur in the background when I take pictures of yummy dishes for my blog posts :)

As you can imagine, I have found some items to quickly fill up my christmas list! It was really awesome to learn the capabilities of my camera. "Auto" really limits what you can do with images... and next on the "no, no list" for taking good images is shooting in JPEG instead of RAW. Lots of learning and research coming up for me! If any of you want to get better photos, I would suggest the workshop. Living Social offers vouchers and coupons so if you aren't a member there, sign up and maybe you'll get lucky! (I had to pay full price). 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pear and Jam Grilled Cheese

Bear with me... I know by the title you may be totally freaked out and think I'm crazy. But if you don't try this, YOU'RE CRAZY!!! Trust me... these sandwiches are delicious (and super simple to make)!

What You'll Need:
Fresh Bread (I usually use Italian)
Monterey jack cheese-two slices per sandwich
Pear- 1, sliced
Jam (I suggest one of the berry sort- I use my homemade strawberry/blueberry and that is yummy!)

1) Cut the amount of slices of bread you'll need to make the number of sandwiches needed. I usually cut my slices 1/2-3/4" thick.
2) Spread butter on one side of all slices of bread.
3) On the other side of slices, spread jam.
4) Place slices of pear and cheese on jam slathered sides of bread. Place jam sides together and then place in a heated pan.
5) Cook on medium for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cheese is melted.

The great thing about this recipe is you can really make it your own. You can use different cheeses, fruits and jams, and you can use however much you want of each ingredient. My next combo to try: cheddar, apple and  bacon (no jam this time, but who needs it when you have cheddar, apple and bacon!)

Trust me... TRY IT!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nifty Thrifty Ideas

I know I missed Wordless Wednesday... I apologize. It was a busy week at work. Flu season has come upon us, which means time to administer flu shots! Lugging around a cooler full of vaccines and all of the supplies is exhausting...I really meant to blog twice last week...  but my bed just got to me first!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monster Cookie Bars


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 4 1/2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal or old-fashioned rolled oats


Preheatoven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
Combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the M&Ms, chocolate chips, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons two inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags.

**Quick cooking oats will lend a different texture to the bars, they will be more dense and a similar texture to baked oatmeal. The old-fashioned rolled oats will keep their shape and texture, so the bars will be more chewy. I tend to prefer old-fashioned rolled oats, they make the bars seem more hearty. :)