Holiday Recipe Roundup from Reclaim Yourself Retreat

A couple of weeks ago {has it been that long!?!} I had the opportunity to cook for Reclaim Yourself Retreat.  I spent all weekend with a fun group of ladies cooking, crafting, sleeping, and eating.

The sweet and wonderful organizer, Christine, has an amazing eye for detail.  She also happens to be my neighbor.  Luckeeeeee.

Reclaim Yourself Retreat Roundup

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It was a weekend to reconnect, relax, and actually have time to create stuff without having little helpers interrupt or that pile of dishes staring at you from the sink begging to be washed.

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In between all of this gluing, cutting, glittering, and painting we had to eat.  Which is where I come in.  Fortunately for me I had lots of helpers that weekend because as luck would have it I sliced my thumb the first night and had to get stitches.  Despite that little snafu the meals turned out great.

For those of you who attended, here are most of the recipes I made, particularly turkey night!

How about dessert first.  The streusel is also great on a regular pumpkin pie if you don’t want to sp

mile high pumpkin pieMile High Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel #pumpkin #thanksgiving #dessert #pie

roasted citrus turkey breastCitrus Roasted Turkey Breast

Mrs. Cubbison’s Sausage Stuffing – this is as close as I can get to my recipe.  However, I skip the cranberry part including the juice and broth.  I saute the celery and onion in 1 cup of butter {yes ma’am!}.  Apparently they don’t have our family recipe we always make so eventually I’ll have to do a separate post for it.

cranberry chutney sauce

12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple, cut into small bits
3/4 cup sugar

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until coarsely chopped.

add 1/4 cup pink grapefruit juice and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and enjoy
lasts 2 weeks in refrigerator.

Loaded Mashed Potato Soup - Budget Gourmet Mom

mashed potato soup

Hidden Valley Ranch Pinwheels





Triple Chocolate Brownies from Scratch

Brownies from Scratch #triedandtrue

One bowl.  A few ingredients.  An exorbitant amount of time…okay it’s only 30 minutes but when you start smelling them as they bake it feels like forever.  Voila.  Brownies from scratch.  Dude.  You got this.  Drop the box.

Brownies from Scratch

Brownies from Scratch

Brownies from Scratch

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Buttermilk Pancake Recipe

Buttermilk Pancakes #triedandtrue #recipe

Depending on the day you can find my kids sitting at the breakfast table on any given morning eating cereal.  A lot of cereal.  They love cereal.  In fact, to save money, I have stopped buying cereal because they go through it so fast.  I actually joked with mr the other day that as they get older they are going to think cereal is a treat because I will rarely buy it.

I’m cool with that.  When it comes to budgeting food for your family it all depends on the kids.  If yours happen to be like mine, endless eating machines that seem intent on eating everything that fits in a bowl and can be shoveled in as quickly as possible, you have an arsenal of things that fit that description.

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe #triedandtrue #recipe

This buttermilk pancake recipe is just that.  It’s quick, easy, and the boys have no problem shoveling them in as fast as their little mouths can chew.  Over the years I have tried numerous pancake recipes.  They were good but not great.  Chewy pancakes, thin pancakes, thick and heavy pancakes.  Never anything I was over the moon for.  Until now.  This recipe is a tried and true recipe coming straight from my kitchen to yours.

Buttermilk Pancake Recipe #triedandtrue #recipe

This recipe isn’t about reinventing the wheel er, breakfast in this case.  It’s about sharing.  A good friend shared it with me and now I’m sharing it with you.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

And no, I didn’t eat that whole stack of pancakes.  But if you follow me on Instagram you know that my kids couldn’t wait to get their hands on it.

IKEA Dia de los Muertos Party

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This post is not sponsored.  It was done as part of the Deseret News Homeshow in partnership with IKEA, who provided the dishes and accessories.

The beautiful tablescapes that were at the Deseret News Homeshow had one theme in common.  Holiday Party.  While my mind immediately turned to traditional holidays I celebrated and still celebrate I wanted a chance to really shine.  As I began shopping in IKEA my theme quickly went from New Year’s Eve to Halloween to a Dia de los Muertos Party.  The colors and mystery and intrigue that surround the celebration was a perfect fit.

Not only do I love the colors but I’ll be honest, the fact that it is celebrated after Halloween, November 1-2 to be exact, got me more excited.  My excitement was only fed by the upcoming animated movie, The Book of Life coming out this weekend.  There is no doubt that Dia de los Muertos is becoming trendy and while I really love the makeup I also really love the culture this celebration is steeped in.  Dia de los Muertos, when translated, means The Day of the Dead.  Somewhat dark by name only the theme of the holiday is quite the contrary.  It is a celebration of life and a time to honor those who have come before you.  While I won’t talk more about the culture of the holiday I urge you to read about it for yourself.

If, like me, after reading about Dia de los Muertos you decide to throw a party of your own IKEA has all you need to do it!

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The basis for the tablescape started with the OFFENTLIG Platter.  It definitely has an exotic feel and could be used for so many other parties such as a safari bbq, masquerade party, mardi gras, etc.

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After picking a starting point I continued to tie in other colors and key pieces to complete the presentation.  I am in love with this RYSSBY Platter as an accent piece as well as these MARIT Table-runners that I got in green, blue, and orange.  They are versatile pieces that really add texture to the table.

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A few frames with customized menus and a Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Printable confirm the theme as well as some sugar cookie skulls that I personally baked and decorated used as place cards.

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I’ve created a full shopping list of everything I used from IKEA.  The only item not listed is a trio of candle holders (item # 302.701.23) that totally make the whole table.  Beautiful vibrant colors and style.  I spray painted some white battery operated candle sticks and decorated the base of the candle holders with fabric puff paint.

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Finish off the table with two vases full of red roses and limes and a few jewels strewn about the center.  Not only do the jewels add muted splashes of color but they add what I like to call “motion” to the table.  Plus, they are small enough to move around so as not to overwhelm guests while they are trying to eat.  The succulents and their containers came from my home.  They are completely optional but they added atmosphere and freshness.

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Oh and can we just talk about this lamp shade for a minute!?  Add a cord and a light bulb and you’ve got a free hanging light fixture that is the icing on the Dia de los Muertos tablescape cake.  So to speak.  Or maybe it’s the cherry on top.  Either way…it. is. gorgeous.  Never before had I thought to change out lighting but it’s completely doable when you are dealing with something that isn’t hardwired!  While the shade is featured on a tripod in the picture it is only because I realized the ceiling at the venue was, well, inaccessible without heavy machinery.

I had such a blast creating this tablescape.  While I realize it may not feasible for all of you to go out and buy all the pieces you can still pull this off with some things you have on hand plus a few key pieces like the candle holders, napkins, and cake plate.  Just have fun with it!

Facial Highlighting and Contouring Makeup

As I’ve gotten older aged gracefully I’ve learned a few things about beauty.

beauty is only skin deep

You can always rely on Dwight to tell it like it is.  And, while Dwight is correct, he has missed a very important point.

Makeup can fix all that.  You can use highlights and contour to enhance your muscle and bone structure.  While I’m excited to share what I’ve learned about makeup with you I want to talk about that important point he failed to discuss first…

I want to show a picture of someone I believe to be a beautiful person.

Face Contouring Tutorial

I have learned to love this person just as she is.  That doesn’t mean I am full of myself nor does it imply that I don’t LOVE wearing makeup.  Quite the contrary, I have days where I am constantly beating myself up over silly imperfections.  And as far as makeup is concerned, I have loved reading about makeup since I was a pre-teen and I have experimented and practiced different techniques since before I could wear anything but clear mascara.

The simple fact is, I wear makeup because it only enhances how I already feel about myself and gives me more confidence.  Deep down, once the makeup is removed, I am the same person.  I am the wife, mom, sister, daughter, aunt, baker, volunteer, Primary Counselor, blogger…daughter of GOD.

Women (and men) are bombarded with images of what our society considers “perfection”.  I have seen young girls strive for something that is literally unattainable and that is so heartbreaking.  I was once that girl, as many of us were at some point in our lives, trying to fit a mold thinking if I could just have a smaller waist, less freckles (which I totes LOVE now), bigger eyelashes then surely I would be more loveable.

There is much more to being loveable and feeling loved than makeup and bone structure.  We are on this earth to become better.  To learn to love one another, no matter our differences.  Everyone has struggles.  Everyone has trials.  Everyone feels lonely or unloved at times.  I hope that in the process of loving others for who they are you feel loved in return.  It is that pure love that continues to burn long after our looks have changed, the popularity contests are over, and we are left with just our choices that we’ve made over the course of our lives.

I choose to love.  To serve.  To truly embrace those around me for who they are and not who I think they should be.

And I choose to wear makeup…which I will teach you about now.  In case you couldn’t tell, that was my attempt at a segway.  Soooooo….quick review: love others for who they are and feel good about yourself while doing it.  Unless makeup makes you feel terrible in which case please disregard the following. Aaaaaaaannnnnnnd we’re good.

contouring collage 123When it comes to highlighting and contouring your face there are like a bazillion plus1 tutorials out there on the web.  I combed through at least half of them.  I also tried a slew of products before I got my routine down.

My first step consists of these products…

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Lotion first!  It preps your skin and keeps you from drying out and sucking up all of your product.  Plus, it will give you a smoother finish.

If you have never tried a primer before DO IT!!!  Cheese and sprinkles.  It’s the best thing ever and will actually help your foundation last longer.  They are worth the cost.  Smashbox has a number or primers to choose from.  I suggest you head to a beauty counter (such as Sephora) and ask questions to find the one that suits you best.

My mom got me started with Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer and I will not go without it.  Again, worth the cost because it creates a smooth finish around your eyes that your shadow and liner will stick to without wiping off.

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Second step…concealer and foundation.  Here is where you can start saving a little money.  I was totally skeptical with elf products because they were so dang cheap.  Ya know what!? Just go for it.  I’m hooked on their concealer.  I’m also hooked on Clinique.  Always have been, always will.  The end.

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Now move on to the highlighting of your face.  As I mentioned before there are bajillions of tutorials.  You do need to customize yours to the shape of your face however, the triangles under the eyes and highlighting your nose are universal.  I liked this article with regards to face shape.

To highlight you basically want a foundation/concealer color 2 shades lighter than your skin tone.  If you have really fair skin like I do finding a foundation/concealer color that is 2 shades lighter than your natural skin tone is nearly impossible.  I found my set of Graftobian Ultra Lites Palette on Amazon.  LOOOOOVE it.

When I am done highlighting under my eyes, as you can see from the above pictures, I set it with a loose powder by dabbing the end of my sponge with powder and gently pressing under my eyes.

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Next is contouring.  I use a bronzer to contour the areas of my face that need it by making a series of fish faces.  I then apply blush to the apples of my cheeks, blending upward, by making a ridiculously huge smile.  If your cheeks don’t hurt after you’re done than you did it wrong.

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The last step before I add mascara and eyeshadow is highlighting under my eyebrow, the inside corner of my eyes, and filling in my brows.  To highlight my eyes I use L’OREAL shadow called seashell.  Basically look for a light shadow based on your skin tone.

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The picture above is my basic arsenal of colors that use everyday.  Eyeshadow, liner, mascara.  Then a light gloss on my lips.  Unless I’m feeling daring and go for a red lip.  Rawr.

I hope this was helpful and/or entertaining.  I sure love the new tricks I’ve learned.  Both with age and with makeup.  Let me know if you give it a try!

Cheesy Chicken Fiesta Wraps

Cheesy Chicken Fiesta Wraps

This is a sponsored post for Lunchbox on behalf of Family Dollar and Knorr.  My opinions and stories are my own.

When you are cooking for a large-ish family you learn quickly what meals are truly time wise and budget friendly.  There are plenty of recipes out there that boast both and I’ve discovered that doesn’t always ring true.  I love building my arsenal of favorite meals with versatile recipes that I’ve made before.

For instance, this recipe for Cheesy Chicken Fiesta Wraps could easily be turned into nachos.  It is also substantial enough to stand on its own.  The leftovers would be wonderful as a burrito or layered in a quesadilla.  Basically, with a few ingredients that I have in my pantry I have a handful of options.

Cheesy Chicken Fiesta Wraps

The other key to cooking for a large-ish family, once I’ve built my arsenal of recipes, is to make sure I have a stocked pantry.  To do this I buy things in multiples and most definitely when it is on sale.  Right now Family Dollar has Knorr Sides on sale Buy 3 Get 1 Free which makes it the perfect time to stock up your pantry!


I like knowing that when 4 pm rolls around I’m not racking my brain {too much} to figure out what to make for dinner only to realize I need to go to the store to buy food which means I’ll be picking something up on the way home from the store.  You know that’s what would happen.  Seriously folks.

Cheesy Chicken Fiesta Wraps

I know myself all too well and that would be the scenario folks.  At least I know I have a few packages of Knorr Sides to save me from myself.  Go check out Family Dollar this month and join me in my awesome preparedness.  I’m like the Mom Chef Boy Scout.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Breakfast Cookies

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When I first started back at playing around in my kitchen I had a crazy amount of luck.  It’s typical that a recipe could take a couple attempts before it’s golden.  Especially when it is a gluten free recipe.  This recipe for Gluten Free Apple Breakfast Cookies was not the case.  First try and it was perfect.  Well, the next time I made them I added more cinnamon but the flour to wet ingredients was spot on.

When they first came out of the oven I stood there and waited for what seemed like an eternity.  In this case it was a solid 5 minutes and that was stretching myself to the limit.  Still warm, I broke off a piece and I think my jaw actually hit the floor.  “Okay,” I thought, “I’ll eat these but will the kids?”  Everybody knows that is the real test.

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The kids walked in, immediately asked for a snack, and threw these at them.  “Have a cookie!” I screamed excitedly.  With mouths full they mumbled, “hmmm, these are good.”

SCORE.  I pretty much just aced my SAT’s…but without the brain burn.

Gluten Free Apple Crisp Breakfast Cookies


Lifes Impromptu Parties

This is a sponsored post through Lunchbox for Unilever, featuring Target.  All opinions, stories, and remarks are my own.

Buy 3 Get 1 Free at Target-2I’ve always wanted to be the mom whose house all the kids flocked to.  As my kids grew from infant to toddler to school age I started to doubt that original “Pollyanna, everything is rosy” thought of having a dozen kids { and when I say kids I mean BOYS } running through my house tracking in dirt, eating all the food, and just being kids.  I am happy to announce that during the last few months I have realized my dream of being the house all the kids flock to { along with another neighbor or two } AND, more importantly, how much I truly love it!  Dirt, lack of food, sweaty boy smell…all of it.

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This summer I have tried to embrace the art of impromptu parties.  Whether it be chatting with friends over dessert, grilling hot dogs with neighbors for a bbq, or a splash fest through the sprinklers for the kids there’s always fun to be had.

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I’ve gained quite a reputation lately of always having some new fangled recipe for neighbors guinea pigs to try.  The basic consensus is that I hand out good food.  I have a reputation to live up to so it’s very important that I share mouthwatering, heavenly morsels to my visitors.

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Over the years I have grown to love Magnum Ice Cream Bars and believe others need to be on the receiving end of such deliciousness.  I can honestly say that when I go to the store I always check to see if they’re on sale.  Luckily for you I know that during the month of August they are Buy 3 Get 1 free along with other Unilever Ice Creams {Klondike and Fruttare} at Target.


May I gently encourage you to be ready for life’s impromptu parties.  There’s always something to celebrate and I don’t know too many people who will pass up on ice cream!Buy 3 Get 1 Free at Target-5

P.S. A coffee liner is a wonderful way to keep melting popsicles from dripping all over little fingers on a very hot day.  My little one just couldn’t eat his quite fast enough.

Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Bars

Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Bars

Dessert is quite possibly the most under utilized meal of the day.  Lately I may have been relying on this truth to get away with making a lot of dessert and scrambling at the last minute to figure out what we are going to eat for dinner.  As if dessert wasn’t enough. Pffft.

Honestly, between juggling three kids in some form of baseball, preparing to go on a pioneer trek with our church, and various other responsibilities we haven’t been around for dinner much anyway.  All the more reason to have dessert around.

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These Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Bars combine two of my loves.  Cheesecake.  If you’ve been following me for awhile you just rolled your eyes and said uh-duh.  And Strawberry Shortcake which is by far one of my most favorite spring/summertime desserts.  Easy, cheap, and dessert.  Dessert is an adjective in my book.

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With summer in full swing, although it is counterintuitive, go preheat that oven of yours and whip up these bars.   Bake them at night after the kids go to bed like I do.  Open up the windows and dance around your kitchen singing to your favorite tunes.  Unless you think that would creep your neighbors out.  Mine are used to it by now and they usually get dessert out of it so they deal.

Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch Cookies

It’s been a good while since I’ve really laughed at my life.  In the past year it has taken a rather serious turn and I haven’t been laughing a whole lot.

When the kids were younger and threw a whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet I was so frustrated.  That frustration quickly turned to laughing.  Not crazy psychotic laughing associated with a mental breakdown but laughing because I was fishing a soggy and dripping roll of toilet paper from the toilet (thank goodness it hadn’t been used first).  Now that’s funny right there.

It was (nearly) daily occurrences such as that or the time the laundry started on fire (still one of my most favorite posts) that helped me laugh.  It’s all in how you approach life.  I had a choice to laugh or curl up in the fetal position all the while moaning to myself.  Okay, so sometimes I chose the latter but I genuinely tried to laugh.

I recently had a cold and during my bout my sinuses and ears happened to get all stuffed up (actually had an eardrum burst…so funny. Not).  So the other night I was texting a friend about what oils to use for my plugged up ears.  I live to please and I’m so glad he was amused at my expense (you cookie eating fool).  First off, it was a situation he had never dealt with.  Leave it to me to be difficult.  He then proceeded to give me a few tips that may help.  “Place a few drops of melaleuca on a cotton ball, place in the ear, repeat hourly, and apply heat.”  His next request was for me to send a picture to him so he could share it on Facebook.  Then to really sell it I suggested I stick a piece of tissue hanging out of nose.  Way easier then blowing it every other minute in my opinion.  Fat chance.

Butterscotch Cookies

To make matters worse he started talking about cookies.  The huge snickerdoodle kind at Paradise Cafe and how he had eaten too many cuz they’re so darn good.  Thanks Rob.  I now have a tissue hanging out of my nose, an oil soaked cotton ball in my ear, and I’m craving cookies with no energy to make them.  Thank goodness my hubby was gone during all of this.

Needless to say when I got my energy back and could finally hear almost normally again I was in my kitchen making cookies.  While my original thought was to make snickerdoodles I found this recipe in my grandmother’s files for butterscotch cookies.  It originates with my great grandmother so it’s all from scratch and ridiculously easy.

Bake up a batch and if you end up spilling the flour or the dough flies of the beater all over the cabinets just laugh.  After all, in a few minutes you’ll have a fresh batch of cookies.