Healthy Coffee Latte Shake and Guinea Pig Twins

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Princess and her pigs….Fluffy and Oreo
Last weekend we found a loving home for our last guinea pig Oreo. I say last because 4 years ago the girls wanted hamsters. I talked them into guinea pigs because they are easier to hold and I thought the girls would enjoy them more. So we went to Petco and got two male guinea pigs. About 2 months later while the girls were spending the night with their Mimi, I heard a lot of ruckus coming from the piggy cage but I didn’t think much of it. Later that morning I hear Johnny scream (loudly) from the other room…”Beth!!!! Ummm, you need to get in here! Did you buy more guinea pigs??” (he didn’t even want the first two – another reason why the girls call him The Road Blocker”). So I was more than a little surprised when I went in there and found these…
WTH??? Where did these come from??? I had just been in there the night before and there were only two.
This was the mom. Sure she had grown rather fast in those two months but I just figured she liked the fruit I was feeding her. Bless her heart for squeezing out two full grown guinea pigs all by herself. So then we had four. :/ I quickly got on the internet trying to see if this was normal. Apparently, yes it is. They are born with fur, eyes open, walking around… AND if you hadn’t figured it out yet, apparently this was a girl guinea pig. In my internet research, I discovered that they can get pregnant again right away and a male baby can reproduce at just three weeks. So after Taylor and Megan saying this was “THE BEST DAY OF THEIR ENTIRE LIFE!!!!” at the mature age of 6, how could we not keep them??? So I loaded them up in the car, took them for an $80 trip to the vet to determine the sexes and as we should have known since Johnny is always outnumbered, they were all girls.  Even Oreo… She had to use a microscope. If you haven’t ever seen how to tell if a guinea pig is a boy or girl, I highly recommend googling it…this is why I took them to the vet and why the vet needed a microscope. It looks like a tic tac. Oreo wasn’t fond of the new additions so we ended up with 2 cages, 2 litter boxes, high maintenance twins (just like mine) that were so full of personality, but they just became too much for me to deal with. The girls never played with any of them so we took Fluffy and the 2 surprises back to Petco and kept Oreo since she was litter box trained.
Last week my friend Heather told me her son wanted a dog so he got Oreo instead.  So happy she finally has a playmate that will give her attention. Oreo and Haden are both doing well.
Haden with his new pet. (now the girls will wish they would have fixed their hair like I told them too…)
In my attempt to sneak some vitamins into the girls diet (and because they think they should be allowed a dessert every day) I tried making them a healthy shake. They loved it. Unfortunately too much, because now they think they should have this as their normal drink.

8 oz Ensure Coffee Latte
8 Ice Cubes
4 Tbs Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Blend Ensure, ice cubes and 1 tablespoon of the syrup until smooth. Drizzle the other tablespoon of syrup around the glass. Pour shake in and serve.
Servings: 2
Calories: 175
Fat: 3g
Fiber: 1g
Today’s Leopard Find: Keychain

Brown Sugar Banana Yogurt Muffins

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We had a crazy storm come through Frisco last night. It was a true Texas storm. We were all wide awake at 3 am. And all in one bed. Me, the hubby, the girls (all 4 of them….the twins and the dogs). Our learning…check your doors and windows when it’s storming. With such a strong storm coming from a different direction than we are used to, we discovered that we had 3 doors that leaked and 1 large window. Guess that will be added to my growing project list. I still think my scrapbook room should be the priority though. The neighborhood looked a hot mess this morning. Somehow my yard wasn’t bad at all.
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My poor plants took a beating.
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I really don’t want to have to rake leaves in May…
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We lost 2 limbs…
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This looks the worst, although this is from my lack of a green thumb instead of the storm. But at least now I can blame the storm and no one will know.
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And my flowers look awful, but we can thank the bunnies for that. (p.s. Blood Meal doesn’t work for keeping bunnies away)
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My neighbor’s poor tree
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We have a back alley so I have no idea where the trash can came from.
But worst of all….
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My sister’s front yard.
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Her hot mess of a backyard.
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Her neighbor’s yard. Who bless her heart was working on it for hours on Monday.
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And still more to come. So I made muffins and watched the storm.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
6 oz Light Banana Cream Pie Yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
Stir in mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Stir in pecans.
Beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not over beat.)
Spoon batter into 12 lightly greased muffin cups.
Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately, and cool 10 minutes on wire racks.
Servings: 12
Calories: 258
Fat: 11g
Fiber: 2g
Today’s Leopard Find: Shoe Cake Server
  

S’mores Pie

I’ve made so many batches of S’mores cookies for the girls that I decided to try to expand our S’mores menu. Wish it was something like carrots or broccoli they asked for all the time instead but no such luck. I’m pretty proud of this creation. Taylor said she now likes this one best! (It’s one of my favorites now too. A really close second to the Black Forest Pie). Megan still likes the cookies. So that means I probably just made my life more difficult because one is going to ask for cookies and one is going to ask for pie.

1/4 cup sugar
1 pint whipping cream
1 square semi-sweet chocolate, grated
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 oz Cool Whip, thawed
5.9 oz chocolate instant pudding & pie filling
9 oz graham cracker pie crust

Place chocolate chips and 1/3 cup of the whipping cream into a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Microwave another 10 seconds if needed. Pour into pie crust and top with layer of marshmallows.
Mix cold milk with pudding on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in Cool Whip. Pour on top of marshmallows.
Freeze for 2 hours.
Mix remaining whipping cream and sugar until fluffy.
Before serving, top with whip cream and grated chocolate.

Servings: 10
Calories: 444
Fat: 33g
Fiber: 5g

Today’s Leopard Find: Pet Food Bowls

 

Baked Parmesan Fries

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We have a neighborhood full of animals…birds, some bobcats, coyotes, a few squirrels….but mostly bunnies. Unfortunately half of them end up dead in my sister’s pool. So when she texted me today to tell the girls to come see some baby bunnies, Taylor flew down the street before I could even finish my sentence. One ended up in the pool while we were standing there. I did manage to pull it out safely! So we all voted and my hubby, or the Road Blocker as the girls call him (“because he says no to everything”) was out voted. So we brought the 4 we could catch down to my backyard to play with our baby bunnies (and entertain Princess & Lily)
4 Large Potatoes, washed and cut into 1/8′s
1/4 tsp Thyme
1/4 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Preheat oven to 425.
Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Mix thyme, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder, Old Bay seasoning and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
Place the potatoes into a gallon size freezer bag. Add olive oil and the parmesan cheese/spice mixture to the bag.
Seal the bag and shake until the potatoes are evenly coated.
Once thoroughly coated dump onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread in a single layer.
Bake 45 minutes or until tender and lightly golden brown, flipping once while cooking.
Servings: 8
Calories: 143
Fat: 1g
Fiber: 3g

Today’s Leopard Find: Toms – Womens Printed Burlap Wedge in Snow Leopard

Fiesta Taco Salad

I love family get togethers. Although I’m a planner by nature and hate last minute things, today’s get together was very last minute and very thrown together. Froggy Pop (what the girls call my dad) lives an hour and a half away in the big town of Van, TX so when he comes to town it’s a great time to get everybody together. (Plus it’s nice to be able to run all of my dad type questions by him…like what in the heck am I supposed to do next to the dining room table that I’ve been trying to refinish for a week) We made some progress on the table, then we had fajita’s, queso and taco salad. Followed by the girls request AGAIN for S’mores cookies. I hate experimenting with new things at get together’s but I was feeling brave. This turned out to be a big hit! (Use reduced fat cheese, baked tortilla chips and low fat mayonnaise if you are watching your calories.)

1 lb Ground Beef
1oz pkg Lawry’s Taco Seasoning
2 Cups Colby Jack Cheese, shredded
1 Head of Lettuce, chopped
16 oz Kidney Beans, canned
9 oz Tortilla Chips, crushed into smaller pieces
16 oz Picante Sauce
10 oz Mayonnaise

Brown ground beef and cook with Lawry’s Taco Seasoning according to package directions.

Warm kidney beans on stove top, drain and add to taco meat.

Mix Picante Sauce and Mayonnaise together.

In large bowl add lettuce, taco meat, chips and cheese. Toss in sauce until combined.

Servings: 12
Calories: 471
Fat: 36g
Fiber: 5g

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Dog Dress with Tutu …

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti

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The girls had their Drama Kids performance last weekend. They did an awesome job. The play was The Cleanest Town in Texas. Taylor was a Cowgirl and Megan was a Can Can Dancer. Afterwards the family came over for a dinner party. One of the joys of crock pots…dinner was ready when we got home. (well minus the green beans which would have been done sooner if I had remembered to actually plug in the steamer when I turned it on)

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16 oz. dry spaghetti, cooked
1 lb. Velveeta Light Cheese, cubed
12 oz of chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 cans 98% Campbell’s fat free cream of chicken soup
10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste

To shred chicken:
Place chicken in pot, add just enough water to cover the chicken.
Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low, making sure that it still maintains a boil and cook until done, about 25 minutes.
Remove chicken from pot, let cool and shred.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions.

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir to mix well. Cook on LOW for 2-3 hours. Stir again just before serving.

Servings: 8
Calories: 276
Fat: 8.5g
Fiber: 1.4g

Today’s Leopard Find: Pink and Leopard Tutu

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ever had a Big Kahuna Ice Cream Sandwich at a baseball game?? They are awesome and have about 4 desserts worth of calories. I decided to try to come up with one that had less than a 1200 calories.
1 – 16 oz package Pillsbury Ready to Bake Big Deluxe Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Bake cookies according to package directions.
Let cool completely.
Place chocolate chips in a bowl.
Place 1 cup of ice cream between 2 cookies and roll in chocolate chips.
Wrap in saran wrap and place in freezer for 1 hour.
Servings: 6
Calories: 695
Fat: 45g
Fiber: 6g
Today’s Leopard Find: Bicycle Seat Cover – Imagine how you could pimp out your bike with this!
 

Lamp Shade Makeover

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One of the projects I’ve been working on is my dining room. The first step in this project was the lamp shades on my light fixture. Years ago I had a bead obsession and put beads on anything that was sitting still. One of my victims was the lamp shades on my dining room light fixture. I decided it was time for them to go. When I took them down I realized that the painters had gotten paint splatters all over them. I checked into ordering them and it was going to be almost $100 for the ones I wanted. So to save money I decided to recycle the ones I had. I had some leftover spray paint that was for silk flowers. I figured if it was gentle enough for silk flowers it would be okay for my lamp shades. It worked great and only took 2 coats to cover them. Below is the before and after…

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All you need is 1 can of Design Master Colortool in whatever shade you desire. Now off to finish my dining room table project (that so far has left my house covered in sawdust and my floor, hands, feet, shoes and back covered with stain. Don’t ask how it ended up on my back..

Today’s Leopard Print Find: Livex S203 Chandelier Shade Leopard Print Silk Shade with Amber Beads

Crock Pot Short Ribs

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This was my first time to make short ribs. Actually I’d never even heard of short ribs until a year ago when we were on a Carnival cruise. My father-in-law said anytime they are on a menu you have to order them. So we did, and they were great. I have to say these were even better. Although maybe slightly worse atmosphere. But in a few months I’ll be back relaxing on Carnival again. Can’t wait!!!

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What a fabulous trip this was!

4 pounds beef short ribs
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
52 oz beef cooking stock
5 ribs celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 lb bag peeled baby carrots
8 red potatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, cut into 8 sections
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Rub the outside of the short ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
In a large skillet over high heat, brown short ribs on all sides. Transfer ribs to crock pot.
Add the beef stock, cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Add potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Continue cooking on low for 5 hours.
Before serving, remove one cup of liquid from slow cooker and whisk in cornstarch. Pour back into crock pot and mix well.
Servings: 8
Calories: 675
Fat: 21g
Fiber: 5g
Adapted from Paula Deen
Today’s Leopard Print Find: Leopard Fur Rhinestone Dog Collar Size. How cute is that?? Lily’s is on it’s way!

Banana Oat Muffins

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This weekend was our annual family reunion picnic. My mom comes from a HUGE family so it’s great to have a time set aside once a year to get to see everyone. If you don’t do something like that, I highly recommend it. Everyone chips in some money at the reunion and that covers the rent for the space for next year. We even had a baking contest. (I won for my s’mores bars. Yeah me!!!) The girls had so much fun there at Camp Rorie Galloway. They played tether ball, fished, went on a hike and played on the obstacle course. They are already to go back next year. They played tether ball, fished, went on a hike and played on the obstacle course. They are already to go back next year.

I had two really ripe bananas that I hated to just throw away so I decided to experiment. You could omit the chocolate chips or pecans if you wanted to save some calories but what fun would that be??

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (2 large bananas)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla.
Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly.
Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined.
Add pecans and chocolate chips.
Line muffin pan with baking liners.
Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 18  minutes.
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 250
Fat: 10g
Fiber: 3g
Today’s Leopard Print Find: Regency Greaseproof Baking Cups, Leopard, standard, 40 count