Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekly Menu #4

I'm not sure about you, but I am ready for winter to end!  It has been so snowy and cold here and I just can't wait for a little sunshine... and grilling! I did put a grill recipe in this week, but I am just going to make on my grill pan indoors. The key lime flavor will transport me to a tropical location in all this cold. I also threw in a few of my favorite slow cooker recipes, since we aren't anywhere tropical and nothing says "burr" better than a warm meal in the slow cooker.

Meatball Sub Casserole {Ridiculously Easy Weeknight Dinner}

I will admit, since beginning this blog, me and Tracy have really grown in our cooking and recipe creating abilities. We have become very creative with ingredients and flavors, and enjoy semi-complicated recipes. But we also need a few ridiculously easy weeknight dinners just to ensure our sanity during the week. This is one of those, and even better, it is ridiculously delicious!

Cheddar Bacon Mini Muffins

A while ago Tracy posted a recipe for some Jalapeno and Bacon Cheesy Bread and it was the most ooey gooey delicious bread I have ever tasted! Since then I have wanted to make something similar, and actually came across a recipe for Bacon Parmesan Muffins that looked good. I changed it up a bit and used shredded cheddar jack instead of parmesan, and oh my were these delicious! If you want to see the original recipe for the bacon parmesan muffins, click here.

Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles

Sometimes I make the simplest of dishes, that I feel like I shouldn't even need to put recipes up for them... but then I remember that just like myself, most people make simple meals most nights of the week. And now that we are posting weekly menu plans, I need to make sure we have a couple staples in each week's menu plan.

Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles are one of these dishes. It is pure comfort food and is so super easy to make. It seriously only has 4 ingredients (ok it really has 8 if you include the salt, pepper, water and chives I added for the picture), and takes about 2 minutes of prep. And it is simple enough that even the pickiest of palettes will gobble it up.

Krispy Kale Chips

 I will admit I'm not a big veggie eater. I feel bad for my husband who loves broccoli and never gets it at my house because I can't stand it. But I do want my children to eat a lot healthier than I do/did, so I have been trying to incorporate all kinds of interesting ways to incorporate more vegetables.

My sister, who has been eating super clean over the last year (she has lost almost 50 pounds!) first told me about kale chips a while ago. I thought they sounded a bit strange, but since I now see them all over Pinterest, I figured I'd give them a try this week.

There are a lot of recipes out there for kale chips, but here are the most important things you need to know about kale chips:

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Parmesan Garlic Orzo

I love easy side dishes and this one makes the top of my list!  It is not just easy, it is quick too.  This can be made in about 15 minutes and it is sure to please your whole family!

  • 1 1/2 Cups Orzo
  • 3 Tablespoons of Butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/3 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Chicken Bouillon Cube (this is optional, but it gives it a little more flavor
serves 4-6

Bring 3 cups of water and chicken bouillon cube to a boil.  Cook orzo 8-9 minutes (or according to package).  Drain orzo.  Add butter and garlic to pot.  Stir constantly while the butter melts.  Return the orzo to the pot and mix with the butter.  Add Parmesan cheese, stir, and salt and pepper to taste.  
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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekly Menu #3

For this week's menu, we are going back to some of our original recipe posts! Boy you can tell we've come a long way in our picture presentation, lol! Even though the pictures aren't a scrumptious looking, we promise the recipes are. The Creamy Garlic Ranch Pork Chops are one of our most viewed recipes ever. And of course we only included 5 because we know you're going to have pizza and PB&J's for dinner sometime this week, right? Isn't that what all busy families do??

APRIL 2014- Disney World Recommended Parks Per Day

If you are going to Disney World in April, be prepared for crowds. I'm not saying you cannot enjoy yourself at Disney in April, but knowing what you're going into will alleviate some of the shock when you arrive. With Easter being this month, and so many schools on Spring Break, this is one of the busiest times at Disney World. But if you use our follow our top 5 tips to keep your Disney vacation magical, and use our crown calendar, it is doable and enjoyable. If you'd like to know a little more about the science that goes into planning out our Recommended Parks Per Day, please see this article. 

To view April's calendar, click on the image below, then just right click to save to your computer. Feel free to print them off and take with you!

Please check out our other Disney World planning topics here.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

MARCH 2014- Disney World Recommended Parks Per Day

Here is a monthly view of our recommended parks per day for Disney World in March 2014. We take a lot of things into consideration, and one of the biggest (which distinguished us from other sites) is that we take a realistic "week long vacation" look at planning our parks per day. In reality, there may never really be a good day to go to Epcot in March during the Flower and Garden Festival... but we know you want to go once, so we pick the best days out of the seven (Sunday through Saturday) to recommend for Epcot. If you follow our other Disney World advice, you can have a great time no matter what time of year you travel to Disney World.

To see March's calendar, click on the image below, then just right click to save to your computer. Feel free to print them off and take with you!
Click here for our April 2014 recommended Parks per Day.

Please check out our other Disney World planning topics here.

Weekly Menu #2

Here is our round up of our 2nd Weekly Menu plan. All of these dinners are sure to please! We can say this with confidence because these our our recipes and our pictures, not just ones we have taken off the internet and use stock photos. Our pictures may not be magazine worthy, but this is what you can expect your food to really look like (heck, sometimes we even post half eaten pictures because we could not hold our husbands off long enough to take a good pic:).

And we're adding a couple dessert/snack recipes now to go along with our menu plans. Just check out the suggested recipes below the daily menu plan.

As always, change the recipes up to fit your weekly schedule. We only post 5 because we assume you'll have leftovers and probably eat out or on the run sometime this week.

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Bowls

Sausage 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells
Simple Italian Side Salad

Sweet Garlic Chicken Legs
Hassleback Potatoes

Hearty Beef Stew

Honey I ate the Pork
Better Than Rice-a-Roni Rice Pilaf
Steamed Veggies

Here are some great dessert recipes to go along with your weekly dinners:


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Simple Italian Side Salad with Herbed Garlic Dressing

Salads are almost a necessary side to any pasta dish. This Simple Italian Side Salad is on par with those great ones you get at Italian restaurants. And even though it is so simple to make,it tastes like it was made amazing! Add some breadstickes and this could be an entire meal! Tonight however, I served with Sausage 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 4 whole pepperocinis
  • 6-8 whole green olives
  • Black olives, optional
  • Herbed Garlic Dressing (recipe to follow)
  • Feta cheese (or whatever cheese you prefer)

Herbed Garlic Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup vinegar (I prefer apple cider, but you can use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives (if you don't have the chives, just use more of the above spices)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup of good olive oil

In a food processor, mix together all ingredients except oil. Using the attachment, slowly add the oil until it is well blended. If you do not have a food processor, you can do this in a bowl with a whisk. Store the dressing in a mason jar or other glass jar. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

In a large serving bowl, mix together the green, veggies and cheese. Toss with desired amount of the salad dressing. Serve salad immediately, store the rest of the dressing in the refrigerator.

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Sausage and 3-Cheese Stuffed Shells {One for Tonight and One for the Freezer}

I have 3 kiddos in my house, and they are not the most adventurous of eaters. I can however sneak just about any red sauced pasta dish onto their dinner plate and just call it "pasta" and they don't ask questions. Because of this, we have some version of "pasta' at least weekly (that and some version of "tacos"- which can be burritos, enchiladas...). Me and my husband get tired of having spaghetti all the time, so I try and change it up with a dish that I know we will both love, but that's also simple enough in flavor that the kids will also gobble up.

You can certainly use Italian sausage in this dish, but the breakfast sausage gives it a less spicy flavor for our tastes. If using Italian sausage, you can eliminate the Italian seasoning. Even though there are 5 in our family, we would never eat all this recipe makes (and it's too hard to half the sausage and beef packs) so I always make one for the freezer. This is also a great meal to take to someone who just had a baby.


  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1tsp. Minced garlic
  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided by 1/4 cup for the cheese mixture, and 1/4 cup for top of each dish
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 jars marinara sauce
  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • Fresh chopped basil (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook onions and garlic in some butter in large skillet. Add sausage and ground beef and brown. Cook shells according to package directions. Remove from heat. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, spices and egg. Add to sausage mixture and combine.

Grease a large baking dish for tonight, and another oven proof dish that has a tight fitting lid for your freezer. Pour a thin layer of sauce on bottom of each pan. Drain shells and stuff sausage mixture inside each shell (a heavy tablespoon full). Arrange shells in single layer in both baking dishes. Cover with remaining sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese and basil. Bake the one for tonight for 40 minutes. Stick the other in the freezer. When ready to eat, bake it at 350 for 1.5 to 2 hours. You can also set this out in the fridge a few days before you plan on cooking it and you can reduce the cooking time in half.

I'd also like to note, that if you have leftover meat/cheese mixture after stuffing all of your shells, you can freeze just this mixture to use in the future. It is great to use in our Spaghetti Lasagna recipe!

Tonight I'm serving with a Simple Italian Side Salad.

This recipe was featured on our 30 Days of Dinners June Menu, Make sure to check out all of the other great recipes on that month's menu!
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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Bowls

When I was looking over the Magical Moms' Recipe Box I discovered that we don't have enough slow cooker meals.  Both of our families are very busy with lots of after school activities which means that we know how important it is to be able to make quick and easy weeknight meals.  This recipe does require you to make the rice separately from the slow cooker, but you can make minute rice quickly and easily.
Just an FYI... Rule #1 of making anything in the slow cooker is DON'T forget to turn in on.  Luckily it only took me about 45 minutes to realize that I had plugged in the slow cooker, but did not turn it on.  HAHA!  I am still laughing at myself!

  • 3 Chicken Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups of your favorite Salsa
  • 1 Can of Corn (drained)
  • 1 Can of Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Cup of water
  •  A Handful of Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
  • 6 Servings of Basmati Rice (cooked)
  • Juice of 1/2 Lime
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream (optional)
In the slow cooker combine salsa, corn, black beans, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, minced garlic, Cayenne pepper, water and chili powder and stir.  Add the chicken breasts, cover with mixture, and cook on low for about 6 hours.  

Remove chicken from slow cooker.  Chicken will be tender and shred very easily.  Return the chicken back the the slow cooker and mix to combine with all of the goodness.

Cook rice according to instructions.  I actually used to bags of boil-in-bag Basmati rice.  When rice is done, fluff and add cilantro, lime juice, and a little salt.  Put rice in bowl and add chicken, beans, and corn mixture.  Top with cheddar cheese and a little sour cream.  

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Weekly Menu #1!

Some of our dedicated readers may remember us doing monthly menus about a year ago. They were a big hit and earned us lots of pins on Pinterest (thank you :), however they were a bit of work to format on our part. Especially because both of the magical moms contributed to each monthly menu, there was a lot of formatting and fonts between computers that just wasn't easy to work with. And because most moms usually go grocery shopping on a weekly basis, we thought this format would work a little better for us, and make it a little more organized for you.

We put the weekly menus together with our tried and true recipes, and you get all the adoring compliments from your family! We will suggest a starch and veggie/fruit dish for each main course (pasta meals already have the starch). And remember, all of our posts are recipes that we use, and the pictures are our actual meals (have you ever made a recipe from Facebook and they show ingredients that aren't even on the ingredient list? Well that's because a lot of websites use stock photos- paid for photos of other food!) And we always welcome comments and questions for each of our posts. We are magical, but that doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, or that someone may alter a recipe that really needs to be shared with everyone, so comment away!

Each week we'll try to have a good mix between beef, chicken, pork, pasta, seafood, etc. Our weekly menus will also be relative to the time of year... not a lot of grilling recipes during the winter months, and less crock pot in the summer. We also realize that it may not be realistic for you to cook at home all 7 nights of the week (don' think that's ever really happened at my house), so our weekly menus are just Monday-Friday for 5 dinners a week. Shift them around as needed of course, but that's just how we'll lay it out for simplicity's sake.

Herb Butter Steakhouse Steak
2-Step Potatoes with Loaded Sour Cream
Henderson House Salad

Coco Loco Chicken Tenders
Better Than Rice-a-Roni  Broccoli Cheddar Rice
Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Spicy Bacon Carbonara
Low Carb Italian Chopped Salad

Buffalo Thigh Surprise
Garlic Rosemary Potato Wedges
Herb Butter Corn on the Cob

Spicy Italian Shredded Beef Sandwiches
Oven Roasted Asparagus

I'm sure this will be a weekly menu your family rave about!

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Grilled Korean Flank Steak

The original recipe for this dish came from Food & Wine.  I changed it slightly.  First I substituted Brown Sugar for regular white sugar, I wanted it to have more spice than sweet.  Also,  I only made half of the original recipe which was plenty for our family.  My husband loves this dish because it is spicy!  If you would like to reduce the spice just cut the amount of crushed red pepper down.

  • 1-1 1/4  lbs Flank Steak
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Dry white wine
Serves 4

Combine all ingredients except flank steak in a small bowl and mix them well until the sugar dissolves.  Place steak in a shallow bowl and pour marinade over top.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours.  

Grill until cooked to desired temp.  I have cooked this both on the grill outside and in the cast iron grill pan inside.

I served with lo mein rice noodles and veggies seasoned with a little garlic and soy sauce and grilled scallions.
 I brushed the scallions with olive oil and grilled about a minute on each side.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Best Place for Ice Cream at Disney World- Beaches and Cream

Mickey Ice Cream Bars and Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches are available at many vendor kiosks throughout the Disney World Parks, but there is only one place where you can get The Kitchen Sink- Beaches and Cream Soda Shop.  Beaches and Cream Soda Shop is located at the Beach Club Resort near Storm-A-Long Bay Pool.  It is a cute 50's style ice cream shop.  The menu includes items like burgers and fries, milkshakes, and signature sundaes.  The Kitchen Sink is their featured menu item.  My children refer to it as the "Ice Cream Challenge."  It is 8 oversized scoops of ice cream and all the fixins.  The toppings included cake, brownies, Oreos, candy bar pieces, hot fudge, caramel, cherries, bananas, strawberries, and a few others.  And if that isn't enough... A WHOLE CAN OF WHIPPED CREAM!!!!  You can get the giant sundae exactly as the menu describes or you can customize it.  We didn't get the mint chocolate chip ice cream, instead we substituted the flavor of the month- chocolate fudge brownie.  Before the waitress brought the sundae to our table, she turned down the lights and turned on a bright revolving light.  She then proceeded to parade our GIANT sundae around the diner, while exclaiming exactly how much goodness was included in the sundae.  When she shouted and "and a whole can of whipped cream!" the entire place repeated it back to her.  She presented the monstrosity to our table with a large serving spoon and individual bowls and spoons for each of us.
My kids were amazed at the size of the sundae and shocked that we let them eat as much as they wanted.  We didn't finish it, but we had fun trying.  I made it clear that I didn't want anyone to get sick and that we did NOT have to finish it.

Just recently Beaches and Cream started accepting Advanced Dining Reservations.  It is a popular place in the evening for a late night ice cream treat after the Illuminations Fireworks.  The place is relatively small.  It has about a dozen tables and counter seating.  There is an arcade right next door if you find yourself having to wait.  Don't forget to try one of their delicious fountain sodas with the flavor of your choice.  My recommendation- the Cherry Coke!

The cost of the Kitchen Sink was $29.99, which isn't exactly cheap but it could feed at least 6 ice cream lovers! (1/2014)  Some items on the menu are eligible for certain Disney Dining Plans.

This is the perfect place to add some additional fun to your Disney World Vacation.  The atmosphere was adorable, the service was great, and the Ice Cream was AMAZING!  I can't wait to go back again.... with a few more mouths to help us eat all the ice cream.
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FREE Easter Party Printables

You may not know this, but we have a pretty great Etsy shop called Mary Bobbins Boutique. We started it about a year ago and the first things we listed were teacher aprons. Over the last year this shop has grown to be pretty successful, we have actually had more orders in the first two months of 2014 than we did in all of 2013! We have lots of great digital designs for kids invitations and parties, Christmas Cards, clipart, valentines, baby announcements.... And we take custom orders, so if you don't see something you want, just send us a message.

Anyway, this is a pack I originally designed to sell on Etsy. But you know we like to give free printables to our blog readers as well, so I decided to make something else for Etsy and just post this here! I don't think you will find as nice of a party printable pack for FREE anywhere out there. This pack includes Cupcake toppers, water bottle labels, Mini candy bar wrappers and favor/gift tags. If you are hosting Easter, you can ensure you're whole setup is "Pinterest Picture Perfect" with this pack!

To download. click each image below to open up the full size image. Then right click to save to your computer. When you open the file on your computer, make sure to print as a full page photo.

**These images are free FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. You may use the cover image on your website, but please include a link to this post. You cannot claim any of these images as your own.

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