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Sunday, November 27, 2016

31 Holiday Tradtion Ideas

I thought this post from last year could use a little bump. There are a lot of ideas in it to make this Holiday season extra special. Hope you enjoy it.

31 Holiday Tradition Ideas

I'll be back with new ideas soon!

Monday, November 7, 2016

{ Easy: Lasagna Soup }

I'm sure you've seen many recipes for Lasagna Soup, but I'm here to help. I've simplified those recipes with numerous ingredients and spices into something you can whip together quickly and easily on a busy weeknight.

Lasagna soup, if you don't already know, tastes almost exactly like lasagna, except in a rich, thick soup form. Is good.

You'll need pretty basic pantry ingredients: tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, chicken stock, etc. You won't need container after container of different spices, just salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

This soup will come together quickly and easily. You can brown your burger in the soup pan, then add all the ingredients in, making this a one pot clean up.

This soup is great for these fall (and yet to come winter) dinners. It is a warm, delicious comfort food great for chilly nights.

Add a salad and some garlic bread and you have an easy, hearty meal

Soups on!

Lasagna Soup
By Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers

1 pound ground beef
8 Cups chicken broth
1 Large Can (28oz) Crushed Tomato
1 Jar Spaghetti Sauce
10 Lasagna Noodles, broken into small pieces (or other pasta
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning
Ricotta, shredded parmesan & shredded mozzarella cheeses

In a large pan, brown burger for about 5 minutes. Add in chopped onion and cook for approx another 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are soft. When cooked, drain excess grease from meat.

To the pot add: chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and spices and cook at medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Add pasta and allow to cook on low until al dente.

Ladle into bowls and top with ricotta, shredded parmesan & mozzarella cheeses.

Monday, October 31, 2016

{ Happy Halloween! }

Happy Halloween everyone!

This is just a little cake I whipped up for my fam. Nothing fancy, just webs piped from white chocolate with spiders (by Wilton) and bones (by Wilton) and sprinkled with black sanding sugar and white jimmies.

I hope your day is blessed with fun, happiness, and most importantly... chocolate!

Happy Hauntings!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

{ Caramel Iced Pumpkin Drop Cookies }

It's family tradition here, as I'm sure it is in many, many homes across the country, to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".

Last year, even though Bean was 18 at the time, I started a new tradition for "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". I gathered up all the foods the kids ate for Thanksgiving and served it as we watched.
(You can read more about this & other Holiday Tradition ideas here.)

I wanted to do something fun for Great Pumpkin as well, so I decided to make some pumpkin cookies to munch on while we watched last night.

These cookies are an easy recipe. They are a no fuss drop cookie. They bake up light, fluffy, and cakey, and sport a caramel icing. What could be better?

Lightly pumpkiny, lightly spicy, all yummy.

Great for any fall festivity or any day of the year.


Pumpkin Drop Cookies
by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers
Makes approx 24 cookies

Pumpkin Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg`
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups flour

Caramel Icing:
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
splash of vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted is best to break up any clumps)

For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment or leave ungreased.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Sit aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars together with mixer until they are light and fluffy. Blend in egg. Then add pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture. When well blended, drop cookies by tablespoons full 2" apart onto baking sheet.

Bake 9-11 minutes until edges are golden. They will be puffy and light.

Allow to cool on wire racks before icing.

For icing:
Melt butter, then add in brown sugar. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Allow to boil one minute, remove from heat, and add in milk. Whisk in powdered sugar until glossy with no lumps.

Working quickly, dip cookies into warm icing, or spread on using a pastry brush. This icing will harden quite fast. Either leave on lowest setting while working, or return to stove if it hardens and allow it to warm to a spreadable consistency again.

Recipe adapted from 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

{ Easy Halloween Planter Craft }

Oh. My. Goodness! It is October! My favorite, favorite, favorite month of the year! I LOVE Autumn. Fall is everything that is good and wonderful rolled up into one season. I mean, if we want to be technical about it, even nearly all of the Christmas season is in Fall!

In the wise words of Anne of Green Gables:

Now, honestly, I am not much of a Halloween decorator. I AM a Fall decorator though. I love things that will work from late September through Thanksgiving (I'll get to that at the end of this post). I have had the idea to make this planter for quite a few months now, and so, here it is.

This is everything you'll need:

2 Jack o Lantern Trick or Treat buckets
1 can of plastic adhering spray paint- your choice of color
dry sand or gravel
Mum or other fall flower

Remove the handle from the buckets and throw away. This is optional, You can leave the handles if you like them.

Paint buckets and allow to fully dry (a few hours) before proceeding.

Fill the bottom bucket with gravel or sand. This will keep your buckets sturdy, otherwise, once you add your flower, it will become top heavy.

Hot glue around the bottom rim of your top bucket (no photos, sorry, hot glue is hot). Stack buckets together. Glue around the outer rim once you have them together. Spray paint over exposed glue, or you can put a ribbon over this part if the exposed glue line bothers you.

Plant your flower!

*You CAN drill holes in the bottom of each bucket to allow for draining, but I didn't I just plan not to over water ;)

That's it, folks!

This is about a $15 project max  ($1/each for pumpkins, gravel/rocks or $2-$3 for play sand, $6 for spray paint, & about $5 for a mum).

Now, for the late Sept-Thanksgiving decoration that I mentioned, just turn this around and place the faces toward a wall and you'll have something you can use for months!

Happy Crafting!


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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

{ Simple Tangled Party }

This weekend I threw the girl's birthday party. As per usual, since she and Bean have been dating, the theme has been a surprise. The parties I've had for her in the past are: Mary Poppins, Disney World, and Beauty and the Beast. This year I went with one of her other favorite Disney movies: Tangled.

Since she turned 19, there are no party games involved, but still a lot of fun was had with the decor and food.

At the end of this post I will give a cost breakdown.

Here we go!

First off, this party begged to be held outside since that is where Rapunzel REALLY wanted to go!

Obviously, and most importantly, there are the floating lanterns. Now, I really wanted to get Wish Lanterns and have them, but 1. They are kinda spendy 2. They scare me 3. The ones I wanted (ecolanterns which fully decompose, no wires) would not be here in time. So, it just didn't happen. We did sparklers (see end of post). I made lanterns for decorations. I used a string of outdoor patio type lights. C9 Christmas lights would work too. I cut plain white printer paper into thirds and then added little Tangled suns that I cut with my Silhouette cutter.




Simple, extremely inexpensive, and effective.

I added strings of plain white mini Christmas lights for extra pizzazz. I also moved two of my hanging plants out into the party area.



I hung gold wind spinners (they reminded me of braids) off the Christmas lights along with a Tangled sun looking windchime.

Bean cut pennants out of purple cardstock and then added suns that I cut with my Silhouette.

I added a pom pom garland as well.

I kept food simple since the party was set later after meal time. I made braids (re: Rapunzel's hair) from pizza dough & served with marinara. I also served braided pretzels. For her "cake" I made a brownie in a cast iron skillet. I served all the food in cast iron because of Rapunzel's skillet ;)

I threw in a few filled Twizzlers because they look like her hair.

For the table decorations, I bought a skein of yellow yarn and braided it. I added flowers in the braid like Rapunzel wears.

I also used a flower that I glittered, placed a color changing LED behind, and wrapped it with LED light up leaves. This was the 'Magic Flower'. Nearby was an LED butterfly.

Here is the Magic Flower at night.

Flynn's satchel with tiara were also used as decorations when not being worn by Flynn himself:

"Here comes the smolder..."

Bean and I made luminaries (to look like the floating lanterns) with white lunch sacks, suns cut with my Silhouette, sand, and tea lights. (He actually put the suns on the wrong side. The opposite side of the bags do not have seams. Don't tell him though, he's a good helper. ;) Just a little FYI if you plan to make some).

At dusk:

At dark:

Here is a look at the full set up

And in the dark:

Lights, wind spinners, luminaries, and floating lanterns in the dark:

There was also a lovely moon that night:

Finally, the sparklers, as I mentioned earlier.
(there were more guests, they had mostly left by now though).

Between the food and sparklers, everyone went inside and watched the movie.

It was a fun night & party. I hope I've given you a few ideas for hosting a Tangled party of your own!
For little ones you could do such things as hiding the tiara and sending them on a search for it. Playing pin the tongue on Pascal, and having a hair braiding contest with yarn.

Party Cost Breakdown:


Tablecloth (1): Dollar Tree- $1
Flowers for magic flower & Rapunzel's hair (3): Dollar Tree- $3
Pack of plates (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
Pack of napkins (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
LED leaves for Magic Flower  (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
Gold Spinners (2 in a pack) (2): Family Dollar- $2
Sun windchime (1): Family Dollar- $3
Tiara: (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
LED Butterfly (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
Pom Pom garland (1):  Dollar Tree- $1
Yard for hair (1): Walmart- $3
Colored Cardstock (1 package): Walmart $1 used (full pack $5)
Paper bags for luminaries (1): Walmart- $2
Total: $21

Breadsticks & Marinara: $6
Pretzels: $2.50
Brownie: $3
Twizzlers: $2
Lil Hugs (drinks): $2
Total: $15

Items on hand:
Color changing LED
Printer paper
Baker's twine (to made pennant banner)
Flynn Rider's Disneybound clothing
Silhouette Cutter
Cast iron skillets

Party total (8 guests): $36.50!

A party doesn't have to break the bank to be good :) Hope you enjoyed this post. See my other party plans here. I always try to host fun and budget friendly parties!


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