July 1st: Happiness Is…

Hey everyone!

This month I want to get your input about what makes YOU happy! It’s easy, send me an email with what happiness is to you! 

For instance:

Happiness is…


…snuggling with my boy while watching a movie he has picked out. It’s not often that we get to do this anymore now that he is officially a teenager, so when he makes a suggestion you betcha I make a big deal about it(in a cool way of course). I grab some yummy snacks for us, a cozy blanket, and enjoy the time we have together. It brings back memories of when he was a little guy and would curl up on my lap to watch his favorite shows. Oh how I miss those days and cherish the ones like in the picture. ❀️

-Amanda Gayle(Alabama, USA)

Simple! Now, of course you can write as little or as much as I did. The point is, with all the ugly and bad things going on in this world it would do us some good to see some happy things for a change. Send me an email at nightowlkitchen@yahoo.com with the following: 

*Please include your name, State/Provence and country. 

*Include the heading: “Happiness Is…” in your email, along with a short blurb about why it makes you happy.

*You may include one photo. 

*Any recipes need to include a link back to the original site, if possible(unless the recipe has been passed down through your family, which is adored here at Night Owl Kitchen!) Kids are welcomed to get in on this, I know several like to get in the kitchen these days, don’t be shy. Share with us your favorite summer treats! 

*You can share anything that has inspired you: a quote, a song, a book, a movie…keeping it family friendly of course! πŸ˜‰

Each week I will choose a selection to share. Let’s spread some happiness this month! 

Have a blessed 4th of July weekend!!!

Long Abscence From Blogging…

Hello to all my readers(to those who still follow)! I’m not quite sure where to begin, guess I’ll be honest and tell you all that the desire to write hasn’t been there. Since my last post back in April(I think), the year has been busy for the most part, sad, and depressing. I’ve put off sharing anything on here mostly because I don’t want to be a blogger who airs it all on the web, but neither did I ever imagine I’d become a blogger who would disappear for months on end without a word to my faithful readers. For that, I do apologize. 

The year started off well enough, so what have I been up to?  By the end of March I was asked to teach a 3&4 yr old VBS class at my church and from then on until June I was busy prepping and making decorations for my classroom and no joke that took A LOT out of me. Once VBS started we were swamped every day with fun activities, energetic kids, and I would come home to crash. It was a fun theme though, under the sea, so cute! Below are few pictures of the room my helpers and I decorated(mind you we kept it simple so as not to give little hands too much to mess with).

My son, G, decided to come hang out in my room one morning before VBS started. He played with the play-doh and made a gruesome zombie head. What can I say, that’s G for ya! πŸ˜‰

This was a fun labor of love project that unfortunately I didn’t get to use. I made a puppet stage out of carboars, expanding spray foam, pain, and hot glue. The sea urchins were my favorite and one of the first things I made. A half ball of styrofoam, qtips, craft glue, and paint. BOOM, sea urchin! Thankfully another church who was using a similar under the sea theme cam in on the last day and took all the decorations to use during their VBS week. Hopefully the puppet stage was put to good use! 

As for the wall decorations, all credit must be given to Party Cheap dot com. They made it possible for me decorate the walls to look we were under the sea. My helpers did an amazing job putting everything up and yes it wasn’t all perfect but the children loved it and that’s what mattered the most! 

The second thing I loved the most was the beach sign! Foam poster board, paint, and hot glue made that possible. And I’m not even an artist, never claimed to be either, but the rustic skills I do have worked well for that old weathered look! On the first day of VBS I had G help me get some sea kelp up that went behind that sign on the lower wall. Wish I had snapped a picture of it, was really cute and helped finish off the wall. 

The third decoration I LOVED making were the jellyfish! Crazy easy! Paper bowls, paint, tissue paper, and googly eyes is all it took. A person with long arms was kind enough to lend his height when it came time to hanging those precious jellyfish up. All the ideas were found through Pinterest and made possible through friends who donated items to me. It was fun but very tiring, not for the faint of heart. It’s the VBS I remember from the 90’s, that’s for sure! 

After VBS was said and done, I went back to sort of helping a friend with her summer class. Fine tuning her weekly lessons, and making sure everything was ready. I admit my mental capability was tapped out for a bit, felt like a vegetable most days. Thankfully I was able to get her summer class announcement finished in time so it could be advertised. She had a Lego theme and all her lessons were centered around Building Godly Character.

 I had saved up 13 boxes(mostly amazon shipping boxes) and wrapped them in tissue paper to make them look like Lego building blocks. Each week she could add the next block to the the previous one and use it as a visual aid for her class. The kids loved it! Of course I don’t know too many kids who DON’T love Legos! And what’s in store for next year?! An Indian Jones theme!!! Queue the theme song…😜

After the summer class ended I had the utmost pleasure in helping my sister from another mister plan for her first overseas mission trip. Spent one weekend helping her organize and price things for her yardsale, which turned out to be amazing! Being able to help her with that was a huge blessing to me, I was able to witness God work lots of miracles! I never tout that I have a lot of faith, I struggle just like everyone else and yet I was constantly being reminded of “faith as small as a mustard seed.” Truly, every single prayer was answered, lots of tears were shed as we both witnessed God working in our lives and seeing people coming together to make this trip possible for her and the group she was going with! Below is a picture of the sign I made for her after we learned someone had annonymously purchased her plane ticket.

I wish I could say the summer ended on high fun note, but sadly it didn’t. The last few months since August 17th have been the pits. I’m not even sure I can share this without crying, so for now I think I’ll stop here and hope this little update finds you all in joyous spirit! Christmas is around the corner and the new year is upon us, 😱☺️<—I am shocked and excited! 

Will write more later, may the rest of your week be blessed! Amanda Gayleβ€οΈπŸŽ„β€οΈ

Butter Pecan “Ice Cream” Dessert

Good morning, we’ve made it this far in the week and Friday is almost here πŸ™‚ Boy I tell you, it’s flying by, before you know it Christmas will be here!! Don’t groan, hehe, in October I’ve got some posts planned that will help get you ready for your holiday baking. Planning ahead for it will help you have a more enjoyable holiday season! You don’t want to miss out πŸ™‚

I hope you all have been enjoying the frozen dessert posts this week, especially with all this hot weather having something cold on hand is a blessing. I’ve shared before a childhood memory of my Memaw and Papaw making homemade ice cream with the old hand cranked ice cream maker. Of course now you can get electric motor models which I guess do a good job in making ice cream. I’ve never used one though, but I am partial to the no machine way of making “ice cream” πŸ™‚ It’s so easy and QUICK!! Dad was asking me a couple of nights ago if it took long to make the “ice cream”, which of course it doesn’t. The only time it really takes is to whip up the heavy cream, which that can vary from batch to batch. If you put your bowl and beaters in the freezer 15 minutes before whipping then it will help cut down the time.
I’ve done it both ways and I guess I’m lazy enough to where I don’t mind using room temp bowls and beaters. My advice, do what works best for you πŸ™‚

Since discovering a homemade butter pecan “ice cream” recipe, my Mom refuses to eat any other kind now! Well, homemade is better after all, and since yesterday was her birthday I decided to not only make her a butter pecan frozen dessert, but to kick it up a notch with Heath Bar Toffee Bits and Breyers Caramel Sauce. Even I was impressed!

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The key to this recipe is toasting the pecans. This helps to release the oil in the pecans and intensify the flavor!

Butter Pecan “Ice Cream”

2 cups heavy cream, whipped
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup pan toasted pecans
3 Tblsp butter, melted
1/2 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits
1/2 package Breyers Caramel Sauce

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Toast chopped pecans in a dry skillet for a few minutes. Stir occasionally. You will know when they are done when you can smell a nutty toasty scent. They will burn easily, so don’t toast over a high heat or flame(gas ranges). Set aside in the bowl with sweetened condensed milk. Melt butter and add to the pecans mixture, stir to combine and add in the Heath Bar Toffee Bits.
Fold in the whipped cream until everything is mixed completely. Pour half of the mixture into your loaf pan and spread evenly. Drizzle with caramel sauce and with a knife swirl the caramel around. Sprinkle a small handful of toffee bits over the caramel and top with the remaining “ice cream” mixture. Drizzle more caramel sauce on top and top with more toffee bits and pecan pieces if you like. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

 

This is my Mom’s favorite now, we no longer buy the stuff from the store. It’s super creamy, rich, and has a fresh flavor without all the chemicals. It’s definitely a keeper!

What’s your favorite ice cream or frozen dessert? Leave a comment below and who knows, I just might get a wild hair and make it!!!

Have a blessed day!!

Cookies~n~Cream “Ice Cream” Dessert

As my family has informed me, I’m not making true ice cream. Apparently I’m making a frozen dessert. This is why I am now putting “ice cream” in quotes. Either way, it’s the best frozen dessert I’ve had in a LONG time!!!

From the time the flavor was invented, I have been a fan. I love adding things to ice cream, cookies, brownies, and BACON! That’s next on my list, mark my words πŸ˜‰ So instead of spending five bucks on a small carton of ice cream, I’d much rather buy the few, and I mean three ingredients, that make up this awesome frozen dessert!

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Cookies~n~Cream “Ice Cream”

20 Oreo cookies, crushed
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional

Either in a gallon size bag or a food processor, crush the cookies. Don’t pulverize them into a dust! I did mine in a food processor and still had nearly five whole cookies that I then crushed in my hand. Set aside.Β 
In a large bowl begin whipping the heavy cream into stiff peaks. Set this aside.
Grab a medium bowl and stir together the sweetened condensed milk with about 3/4 of the crushed Oreo cookies. At this point you can add the vanilla extract. I played with it and while it’s yummy I think I’ll skip it all together.
Now begin folding the whipped cream into the cookie mixture. Pour the thickened mixture into a loaf pan and sprinkle with some of the leftover cookie crumbs. Whatever is left can be added to the frozen desert before serving!
Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Serve with your favorite chocolate sauce.

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Cookies~n~Cream with plastic wrap

This is my new favorite, G–Man certainly enjoyed it πŸ˜‰ But now he’s wanting Moose Tracks…oh dear, I’ve created a monster!!! The possibilities are endless, stay tuned for yet another frozen desert(and this one will be a doozy)!

Have a blessed day!

Easter is on it’s way and Pound Cake…

Afternoon everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I hope you haven’t forgotten who I am πŸ˜‰ Things have been a tad busy around here, well at least in my own little world. My Jamberry business is starting to pick up! I’m so excited about that!! I have two home parties that I’m gearing up for and that’s what’s been consuming my downtime. When I’m not teaching G and cooking/baking I’m usually making slide shows, pulling graphics together to use on my business page and currently have an online party going to the end of the month. How many more irons can I put in the fire?! No, really don’t hand me anymore lol!! I’ve got plenty thanks πŸ™‚ But I am super pumped about the Spring/Summer line that Jamberry has put out. Lots of new styles, new lacquers and they are doing this new thing where they are mixing up wraps on one sheet! Two or three designs put together to really customize your mani/pedi. It’s so much fun!! My Facebook party that I got going on(in case anyone in the US/CAN area wants to join) is called Easter Basket Jam. It will end March 31st, so if you want any fun wraps or lacquers to complete your Easter look now’s the time to get them.

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If you have a daughter, here is a Mommy and Me look that is sure to please!

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If you don’t wear things on your nails either by choice or because of your workplace regulations, BUT you like for them to look clean and well taken care of, Jamberry does offer high quality nail care supplies and above is some of their newer products! The cuticle oil pen makes it so much easier to apply the cuticle oil and there’s no worrying about a bottle spilling over or getting oil all over your fingers. Very nice to have!

I trust everyone hadΒ  wonderful St. Patrick’s Day πŸ™‚ We certainly had a nice one. Didn’t go all out this time like we did last year. Kept it simple and had a fun dessert that everyone just loved! It was a cream cheese pound cake, which I’ve made before, but I did a little twist with it! Keeping it in line with the festivities I made it into a St. Patrick’s Day Pound Cake (see below).

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There are a couple of ways you can get a swirled effect with your cake batter. One is to use a knife(plastic or metal) and swirl the dough together. Another method I’ve seen is where you place your batter into bags and squeeze it out in a random fashion. I think I might try that method next time just for kicks!
The recipe I used is your standard cream cheese pound cake recipe that makes a 10–inch bundt cake. I divided the batter in half and colored the one with green food coloring (approx. 3/8 tsp). You can certainly use gel coloring, I think the suggested amount is about 1/4 tsp but definitely go by the suggested amounts on your box/bottle. All brands are different!

St. Patrick’s Day Pound Cake

(Recipe found at AllRecipes)

Yields 1 10–inch Pound Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hr 10 minutes(+/-)

Ingredients:

1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temp
2–3 tsp vanilla*
3 cups all purpose flour3/8 tsp green food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325*F (but I didn’t do this because I wanted the outside of my cake to be lighter in color since I was using a darker baking pan). Grease and flour your pan; set aside.

In large bowl cream together cream cheese and butter. Scrape down the sides if needed and add in the sugar. Now here’s where I deviated slightly. Add all eggs into the batter and continue mixing for 2–3 minutes. Since there is no leavening in this cake you must incorporate air into the batter. I’ve been making pound cakes for years and have never had a flat pound cake by adding in all the eggs at once. So save yourself the time and just add all the eggs at once. Just be sure to mix the batter longer to achieve the same results. While mixing the eggs in go ahead and add in the vanilla. You don’t have to use as much as I did, you can stick with the original recipe but I love the flavor the Madagascar vanilla imparts.
Remove the beaters and gently fold in the flour. This is crucial that you are careful with this process, don’t just stir the flour into the batter. Otherwise you’ll lose all that air you just whipped into it. Go slow, be gentle, and once the flour is incorporated completely put half the batter into a separate bowl.

Into one bowl add green food coloring or gel. Fold the coloring into the batter, again be gentle. The method I used for adding the batter into the pan was I started with the blonde or non–colored batter first and then added the colored batter on top. Then using a plastic knife I swirled the two colors together. I did this with each later.Β 

Bake for 1 hour, test the cake. If it’s still too gooey in the center continue to bake for another 5–10 minutes until the cake tester/knife/tooth pick comes out clean. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto your cake plate. Let it cool completely before adding either powdered sugar or glaze over the top.

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My nephew, JJ, said it looked moldy. Kids. In a way I guess it does πŸ˜‰ Throw in a darker shade of green and you’d have a camouflage pound cake hehe! I let this cool for an hour before I glazed it.

Green Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2–4 Tblsp French Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1/4 tsp green food coloring(or more if you want a richer shade)

In a bowl stir together powdered sugar and coffee creamer until completely combined. Add in food coloring and drizzle over cooled cake.

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It turned out so pretty! I love green(which is my favorite color), it tastes so buttery and vanilla-ee…yeah that’s not a word! Basically, this recipe will work for any occasion. Use different colors all at once for a rainbow pound cake, stick with a theme color for other parties and festivities. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! It’s a lovely dense cake that holds up well to being colored. It’s imperative that you use all purpose flour for this recipe, do not use cake flour. Cake flour is too light and you won’t get that dense pound cake texture. Β  Β Β 

I hope you enjoy this cake, let me know if you decide to make it. I love hearing from y’all!
Have a blessed day!!

Cobb Salad

Hey y’all, goodness I’m so glad another week of school is done. Two weeks done and so far so good πŸ™‚ I finally sat down today with the camera and uploaded a bunch of pictures and have since been trying to remember what everything was. Lol that’s never good, but I think I have things pretty much figured out *golf clap*. G-Man is even siked about me having my own youtube channel, yes I’ve yet to get that up but have no fear it is still on the list of things to do! He knows of a good app that I can use on my iPad to make the videos with, something he once used for his stop motion Lego videos. Will see how that works out πŸ˜‰ In the mean time, hopefully you all will try out this salad recipe I have for you and let me know what you think. It’s a fairly basic cobb salad but you can dress it up however you like!

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Cobb Salad

1 bag romaine salad mix

1 large tomato, chopped

2 avocados

6 sweet peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced

12 eggs for egg salad

12 Tyson grilled chicken strips, chopped

favorite salad dressing(optional)

*Please note this will easily serve 4 people, you can certainly cut this in half or make it a single serving*

On a large platter arrange romaine salad mix. Add chopped tomatoes, chopped grilled chicken, chopped avocados. Set aside. In a medium bowl chop hard boiled eggs and add mayo, relish, and a squirt of brown spicy mustard. Salt and pepper to taste if you like. Add a few scoops next to the chopped avocados and finish off the salad with slices of sweet peppers. Garnish with your favorite dressing or oil.

The Tyson grilled chicken strips come frozen, I just let them thaw in a ziploc bag, season them up with a six pepper blend seasoning that we get from Sam’s Club and heat them up in a saute pan with a little peanut oil. Simple. Chop them up and they’re ready to go. I know that a typical cobb salad had slices of egg rather than an egg salad, but it worked out since my Mom loves egg salad and that became her dinner that it just made sense to add it to our salads that night! It was a yummy change!

You can add croutons if you like, black Kalamata olives, or other little veggies of your choice. For me, a cobb salad can be anything you want it to be and you can add anything that you want or leave off the things you don’t like. Just have fun while you cook!

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Happy Eating!!