Enchanted Mommy

Best Looking Deviled Eggs on the Planet!

good looking deviled eggs

Aren't they amazingly beautiful?!

So, when you’re going to someone’s house for a BBQ and you want to bring a side, this is it!!!!  Not only do people love deviled eggs, you will get extra bonus points for making them look incredibly awesome and taste better than any before.  Always remember, people eat with their eyes.

Ingredients

stuff for deviled eggs

This is what you need for awesome deviled eggs!

  • dozen eggs (I always make a couple extra in case they somehow get messed up)
  • 4 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • bacon (approximately 5 strips)
  • 1 teaspoon of splenda or sugar (optional)
To make them look cool
  • crinkle cutter (this is another one of my favorite kitchen gadgets)
  • white deviled egg plate
  • large ziplock baggie
Directions
  • Get a large pot and fill with hot water.  Put eggs in pot with lid and bring to a boil.  Once it is brought to a boil, keep it at a low boil for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and place in large bowl of ice water for five minutes.
bowl of ice water

Make sure it has a lot of ice in it. This keeps the eggs from continuing to cook.

  • Leave in ice water for approximately 5 minutes
  • Crack eggs and take off the shells
  • Cut egg in half with crinkle cutter
crinkle cut deviled egg

Isn't this a beauty?! Notice the inside is all yellow and not green or brown. It is perfect when you follow my boiling instructions!

  • Take all of the hardened yolks out of the eggs and put them in your large bag.
  • Press on yolks with hand until the lumps are all gone.
hardboiled egg yolk

This is the hard yolk of eggs in bag and crumbled all together.

  • Add your mayo, mustard, salt (or bacon salt if you have it), pepper, vinegar and sugar
  • Mix all together well
  • Add more mayo if necessary
  • Cut the corner off the bag (start really small and keep cutting if you need)
filling of egg

This is about how much should be cut off the tip.

  • Fill each egg with mix and make a circular motion so your eggs look like these:
deviled eggs

The piping makes a big difference!

  • Chop up your bacon and sprinkle on top and wahlaaaaa, you’re done!
So, I never really paid attention to detail until I had a very detailed oriented husband.  It truly does make a difference!  Take the extra steps and everyone will be amazed!

How to Make Bacon Salt

I think everyone on the planet loves bacon, especially men (so make them this and they will LOVE you)!  Ever since I first read the story of the guys who created bacon salt a few years ago, I’ve been wanting.  Infused salts are nothing new, but the idea of easily infusing bacon flavor into almost anything seemed beyond amazing.  Bacon flavoring is not used often in grilling because it isn’t something people typically grill, so bacon salt would provide the perfect opportunity to add a kiss of bacon flavor to grilled steak, chicken, pork, and seafood.

Bacon + Salt = Bacon Salt

In concept, this should all be much, much more simple.  If you take some really crispy bacon and pulverize it, and add it to a bunch of salt, you get salt that tastes just like bacon.  In experimenting, we also added some black pepper into this to round it as a seasoning that could stand solidly on its own.

It's simple: Bacon, Salt, Pepper

We ground up the bacon using my favorite kitchen gadget again, the Magic Bullet, and further used it to mix in the salt and pepper thoroughly.  However, you don’t have to use the Magic Bullet to do this (although it is the best thing ever).  You could accomplish this with a food processor, a mini-food processor, a Morter and Pestle, or blender. A nice benefit to the Magic Bullet is that it has a sealable lid and also a ‘shaker’ lid so you can “shake it like a salt shaker”!

Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Homemade Bacon Salt

Ingredients

  • 6 Slices of Extra Crispy Bacon – almost blackened
  • 1/2 Cup Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Ground Black Pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the 6 slices of bacon into a grinding tool (Magic Bullet, Blender, Food Processor, etc)
  2. Process until there are no large chunks
  3. Add in the salt and process/mix until well blended
  4. Mix in the black pepper
  5. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator when not in use

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

The bacon ready to be ground up

The finished product

Shake it like a salt shaker!

A Few Tips for Success

There are a few things that can help you make this really perfect:

  1. You should use really, really cripy bacon.  In fact, it should just be turning black.
  2. Cook the bacon in the oven, low and slow.  For us, 40 minutes at 325 rendered most of the fat out.  For this purpose, you don’t want fat in the bacon.
  3. Use good quality salt.  When recipes require very few ingredients, you should really use the best you can get your hands on. So… skip the table salt.

What Do I Do With This?

Your options for this are really limitless.  Anywhere you would normally use salt, you can instead use your bacon salt!  Some delicious ideas to get you salivating include:

  • Almost every grilled piece of meat.  A nice steak would only be made better with some bacon flavor.
  • A fun topping for corn on the cob (or any other steamed vegetable)
  • Sprinkled over a caprese salad (tomato, mozzarella, and basil)
  • A nice alternative topping to deviled eggs (instead of paprika)
  • A secret ingredient in guacamole
OK, times up.  Go make bacon salt.  Like right now.

A Different Fun Fall Activity

Looking for a fun, exciting, and different fall activity?  Last weekend we took our three little monkeys to Kings Dominion for their annual Howl-o-Fest.  Besides the usual amusement park rides, they have a cute little pirate treasure hunt included with your regular admission. You pick up a treasure map and go to each marked location to pick up a piece of the “treasure.”  The treasure was different at each location and included, a pirate hat, a pirate bandana, an eye patch, a beaded necklace, a spyglass, a black pirate flag, and a pumpkin.   In the end, it was all the makings of a cute pirate costume.

The Loot! My kids have pretty much dressed up and played pirates every day since!

At one location you had to find your way to the end of the hay and corn maze to earn your prize.  At another, it was running through the “Seven Seas Foam Pit” made of waist high foamy soap bubbles.  There was also a great Charlie Brown Pirate Show, pumpkin painting, and all the staff in the children’s area dressed as pirates (some of them even walking on tall stilts).

My 3 year old painting his pumpkin in the pumkin patch

The kids had a great time and so did we.  The staff was very enthusiastic and really made it a fun environment.   This was definitely something a little different, but so fun that we will be making a tradition out of it.

To see if there is a park near you, visit cedarpark.com.

You don’t have to go all the way to an amusement park to do this activity though.  Host a treasure hunt in your back yard for your kids.  We did this too and now my six year old is obsessed with hiding a toy somewhere in the house and giving his little brother or cousin a hand drawn map to find it.  So fun and keeps the kids busy for hours!

My six year old painting his pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.

Fashion Show, Fashion Show, Fashion Show at Lunch

I got the name of this blog post from this hilarious scene from the office:

This morning my poor 6 month old, Anna, was not feeling well.  I didn’t want to leave the house because I wanted her to rest well in her bed and not out and about.  Poor thing slept for 3.5 hours this morning (on top of her 13.5 hours of sleep she had last night). So….. Ella and I did a fashion show.  She didn’t quite understand exactly how it worked, but I made it seem so fun!

The first outfit, I told her she was so pretty and she kept saying “I’m very pretty, mommy.”  I let her jump on my bed to make it more fun and tried capturing some pics of her high jumps!  I got the red sweater at the consignment sale last weekend that I talked about in my previous post for $3 and it’s from baby gap!  Can you believe it?!?!?!?!

baby gap red sweater

Ella loving her fashion show! This is her $3 sweater from baby gap. She might be a future bball player!

Next, we got to pretend it was winter time and she was very cold!  This is her $8 winter coat from Old Navy.  WAY too cute to pass up.  It is a size 2T (yes, Ella is VERY tiny), but it can fit her again next year and then my sweet sweet Anna after that.  Here is a similar one on sale for $35.

old navy jacket

Isn't this $8 coat just adorable?!

I guess we were on the jacket fix, so here is a genuine kids oshkosh coat that I picked up for $4.  This is also a little big, but will definitely continue to fit!

genuine kids by oshkosh jacket

$4 coat find. Good as new!

The next outfit, she by far had the most fun with!  Ella got to pretend we were going out in the snow!  Hopefully we will see some snow this year because I got her this great snow outfit for $5 and these adorable boots for $2.

snow outfit pink

Even if it doesn't snow, she can have fun pretending it will!

Here is a close up of the $2 boots.

$2 snow boots

AWESOME find! Look almost as good as new!

Now do you see why I love consignment sales?!  My kids can get everything they need for a fraction of the price and I get an amazing feeling when I get such good deals on cute stuff!

 

Making Baby Food, Fruit this Time!

My last baby food post was for vegetables.  You really can’t get any easier than veggies, but of course your precious needs fruits too!  So, here’s a step-by-step guide to making fruit.

What you need to get started

  • saucepan
  • apples (or fruit of choice)
  • magic bullet or other blender or food processor
  • large ziplock freezer bag
  • ice tray
making fruit baby food

saucepan, apples (or fruit of choice), magic bullet or other blender or food processor, large ziplock freezer bag, and ice tray

Directions

  • Peel and core as many apples (or other fruit) as you would like to use (don’t mind my coring job, my corer is awful)
  • Cut up the apples a little more
  • Throw them in the saucepan with water just covering the apples
  • boil until soft (it took mine about 8 minutes)
  • Put apples in magic bullet (I saved some out and will tell you why in a minute)
  • Take some of the water from the sauce pan and put it in with apples in your blender
  • Blend away (add water if they are too thick)
  • Pour into ice cube tray
  • Freeze and then pour into a ziplock bag with name and date on it
Wahlaaaaaa and you are done!
apples getting soft for baby food

Here are my apples boiling. They smell SO good!

making baby food in magic bullet

If you read my veggie post, I described a little bit of my love for the magic bullet. It seriously makes it so perfect.

freezing baby food

I didn't quite fill up the ice cube tray because I saved some of the apples. Read below!

They always say “variety is the spice of life”.  So, I got ideas from walking down the baby aisle and seeing all of the different mixes they used.  We had some bananas so I took the rest of the apples and a banana and threw them in the bullet.  Wahlaaaaaa again, now we have apple-banana food too!

banana and apple baby food

It's as easy as this!

Next, I might try some blueberry apples or some banana berry.  Yummm!  Be creative and have fun!!

Four Easy Steps to Cutting Hair at Home

Giving haircuts at home is really easy!  I have never been trained to cut hair in anyway, but through practice the last several years I have learned how to cut a decent haircut in just a few simple steps!  You don’t even need an expensive fancy set of buzzers.  I paid $25 for mine on Amazon.com and it came with all the guides and some scissors. QUICK MONEY FACT:  Cutting hair at home can save you hundreds per year.  If you consider that a typical boys haircut costs about $20 with tip and they need their cut every 6 weeks, you are looking at about 9 haircuts a year, or $180 per year.  I have three little guys, plus my hubby, so by cutting hair at home I am essentially saving about $720 per year.

Here is a quick tutorial using my almost 4 year old, Tyson, and my 2 year old, Andy.

Step 1:  Shape the top of the Head
Start with a larger sized guide comb.  I usually pick the largest or second largest.  Remember, you can always go shorter, but once you have cut it short there is no going back.  Cut just the top and around the crown of the head for now.

Cutting the top of Tyson's hair

Andy

Andy after step one

Step 2:  Cut the sides, back, and around the ears
Use one of the smaller sized guide combs.  I usually start with the second or third smallest and go from there.  Cut the sides, back, and around the ears.  You should see a line of hair around the top of the head from where you used the longer guide comb.

Notice the hair line across Andy's head showing the length of the different guide combs

Cutting Tyson's Hair - Step 2

Step 3:  Blending
I found that it is completely unnecessary to use a blending guide comb for this part.  Just pick a mid size guide comb.  I pick one that is just 2 sizes up from what I used on the back and sides.  Start at the bottom of the head and and go straight up, crossing over the line made from using the larger guide.  DO NOT round the buzzers to follow the shape of the head, just go straight up.  If you let the buzzers follow the round part of the head you will end up having to buzz all of the hair on the top to match and will end up with a very short military buzz.  Just keep moving the buzzers straight through the hair line made previously, going from one side of the head to the other until you can know longer see a line and the hair is completely blended.  You might need to switch to a bigger or smaller guide comb to get the hair line completely blended.  This all depends on how large the guide comb you used on the top was.

Move the buzzers straight up across the longer hair line, but not around the head. Notice the M&M's in the background.... bribery goes a long way!!!

***Once you get some practice in blending you can use an even smaller guide comb on the sides and back.  I can now use the largest comb guide on the top and the very smallest on the sides and back and get it blending perfectly… it took lots of haircuts before I got to this point though, so don’t get discouraged.

Step 4:  Trim around the ears, back of the neck, and bangs
Take off the guide comb.  Make sure the handle on your buzzers is down so that the blade is at its shortest so you can get the cleanest cut.  Carefully (these are sharp with out the guide combs on) trim the hair around the ears by gently pressing buzzers down on desired part.  Do the same for the side burns.  Trim a straight line across the back of the neck.  Do not trim to high up on the back of the neck.  I did this once and my hubby was not very happy  :).  You can trim the bangs the same way with the buzzers, or if you are more comfortable you can use regular hair cutting scissors.    PLEASE NOTE:  I do not do any of this step with very young kids, including my two year old.  They just wiggle too much and I feel like it is way to dangerous.   It also seems unnecessary to me since their hair is still mostly light fuzz at the back of the neck anyway.

Hold buzzers in a straight line and press gently to make a straight horizontal cut

Trim a straight horizontal line across the back of the neck

That’s it!  You’re done!  Don’t worry, you really do get better with each haircut.  The best part about cutting boys hair is that it grows back so fast!  If you accidentally cut to short you can always just buzz it all one length and try again in a few weeks when it grows back.  So don’t get yourself to syked out… you will get better with each cut!

If you have any questions before you get started, let me know!  In the meantime, here are some before and after pics of the boys.

Andy before his big cut

Andy, before his big hair cut

Tyson, before his cute hair cut

Handsome Andy after the big cut

Handsome Andy after the big cut

Handsome Tyson after his hair cut

Handsome Tyson after his hair cut

Andy profile view before pic

Andy, profile view before his haircut

Tyson profile before pic

Tyson, profile view before haircut

Andy - After profile view

Tyson - After profile view

Tyson - After profile view

Awesome Consignment Finds

After today I decided that I’m no longer shopping in stores for clothes or toys for the girls.  Of course I say that now, but I found so many amazing deals at a local church’s twice a year consignment sale today.  You need it for a child, they had it.  They only accept things that are great condition.  If anything looks even slightly worn then they put it on a special rack that says “worn or out of season”.

When I say they had everything, they had tons and tons of shoes, clothes, walkers, high chairs, strollers, potties, books, DVDs, cribs, rockers, toys, bikes, coats, snow suits, pack n plays, exersaucers, bjorns, jumpers, socks, and even tons of Halloween costumes.  If you are having a baby or you want a nice treat for your child, this is what you so need to do.

I will save the clothing for later when my girls are in a great mood to model it for you and after it’s washed.  I even went back for more clothes later in the day because they have a “dollar dash” which is everything that is left is $1.  Obviously, this stuff was more picked over, but I did get a jean skirt, sweater and pajamas for Anna and I picked up my friend’s son two shirts.

Here are two things that I bought my girls:

baby walker from consignment

Anna with her consignment item, retails for $39.99, I paid $10

Riding Dora Scooter

Ella did watch the neighbor play with a scooter and wanted one. I couldn't pass this up. This scooter retails for $25 and I paid $6.

So for $16, they had a great day and I have this to show for it.

Dora scooter, baby trend walker

I think the sweetness of this picture alone is worth $16. I love that they both have a sister 🙂

Now, go find a local consignment near you and then feel the awesomeness with me!

Making Baby Food

l’m almost embarrassed to write this post because I’m on my 2nd child and I just learned the easiest thing ever how to make baby food.  I often see posts on Facebook of people wanting advice and that they’ve read up on it.  Well, it’s.so.dang.easy.

Magic Bullet Use

What you need to make baby food

Here’s what you need:

  • Magic Bullet – okay, I’m super partial to my bullet because it’s such an inexpensive small blender (I should be the lady in the pink dress in the crazy infomercial below… and yes you need to watch it for comic relief) Seriously though, it’s everything that they say it lives up to. OR you can use any blender or food processor. They also have a baby bullet, for me it’s not necessary when I can use the regular bullet for many things.
  • Ice Cube Tray(s)
  • Large Ziploc Freezer Bags
  • Frozen Veggies to Steam
  • Water to create the thickness

Directions

Steam your veggies according to package
Throw as many veggies in your blender that you can
Add a bit water (remember you can always add more)
Mix it up
Add more water if it’s too thick and mix again

Magic Bullet Making Baby Food

Mixed Veggies in the Bullet, looks perfect, huh?!

Pour into your ice tray, but make sure you don’t go over the dividers (we did that before and it’s so hard to get them out once they are frozen).

Baby Food in ice tray

So simple!  Throw this in the freezer!

Freeze the veggies
Dump them into a labeled freezer bag
Pull out as many as you need at the time
I do put mine in the microwave before I feed it to Anna, but I make sure I mix is really well so there aren’t any hot spots.

AND you’re done!  So easy, so cheap and for me, I feel like I accomplished something healthy for my little one.

It’s WAY cheaper

I figured out the cost too.  The bag of veggies is 99¢ and you get at least one full ice cube tray out of them.  Approximately two cubes = one container of baby food.  There are two containers (of Gerber, which I found is the cheapest) together for approximately $1 (at a well-priced grocery store). Therefore, you are cutting the price by at least 67%.

 

 

 

S’mores Cookies

As the warm weather has drifted away I have had to come to terms with the fact that camping season has also come and gone.  I love camping season though, and am not ready to give up all its fun completely.

So what is the best part of camping?  The S’mores of course!



I found this genius s’more cookie recipe on a food blog I just started following.  They turned out so great!  The kids couldn’t get enough of them.  The neighbor kids came over and had some too.  The kids sat outside on the deck eating them with their friends talking about different camping trips we took this past summer.  Love it!  Camping lives on!

Here you can see I averaged between 1 and 2 Tablespoons per scoop

Almost done... just need the hershey piece to melt into the cookie a little more

 
S’more Cookies
Source:  The-girl-who-ate-everything.com

11 Tb. unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. sea salt
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars (I ended up needing 4)
1-2 package graham crackers, broken into squares (I ended up using 1 entire box, I also used the cinnamon graham crackers to give it an extra cinnamon taste)

  • Preheat over to 375 degrees and line 2 backing sheets with parchment paper.
  • Put graham crackers side by side so they are touching across pan.  How many graham crackers you use really depends on how much cookie dough you use on each cracker.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside
  • Beat butter and both sugars together until fluffy
  • Add eggs and vanilla until combined
  • Using low speed, combine the flour mixture with butter mixture
  • Gently stir in chocolate chips and marshmallows
  • Place 1 to 2 Tb of dough on each graham cracker square and press down lightly with fingertips
  • Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and press Hershey’s bar piece in each cookie
  • Bake for 5 to 7 minutes more then cool on wire rack
  • Cut cookies with a sharp knife to separate after cookies are completely cool

I stored my cookies in an airtight container and the stayed perfectly soft and were delicious even days later.  Loved this recipe and would definitely make these again.

Cupcake Birthday Cake

Zebra Elmo cupcake cake

Isn't this so cute... and it's SO easy to make!

I just love planning for my girls birthday parties far in advance!  I have SO much fun finding ideas!  Although, let me just tell you that I’m not a theme type of person.  My house and my clothes are all boring neutral.  So, when it comes to planning my kids birthday parties, it’s hard.  Like many soon to be two year olds, Ella had her favorite character.  At that time, it was Elmo.

I can’t say that I find it cute.  I’m not one of those women that like cartoon characters at an older age (in fact, I’m total opposite).  Because of this, I had to find something that incorporated simplicity along with her Elmo.

I knew I had to give a little.  Nevermind the fact that I (and mostly all moms) would do anything for my kids.  She sang all of Elmo’s songs and watched him on the iPad every chance we allowed her.  How could I not give her an Elmo themed party?  So, I did.  I gave her a zebra print party with Elmo accent.  I got the idea when I found the shirt below on etsy.

Elmo birthday shirt

This shirt gave me the idea for Ella's party

Now, you’re probably reading this post so you can learn how to make the cupcake cake.  So here you go!

You will need:

  • cake flavor of your choice
  • two white icings (I wouldn’t use a creamy or whipped)
  • pink cake coloring for icing (you can get this from any craft store in the cake aisle)
  • cupcake cake pan
  • black wilton sparkle gel (I found mine at party city, but I also saw that they sold it in grocery stores)
  • star cake tip
  • large ziplock bag to squeeze icing
pan for cupcake cake

This is the cupcake cake pan that I have

 

star cake tip
This is what the star tip looks like

Directions

  • cook cake according to the box and cupcake cake pan directions (the cupcake pan will tell you cooking instructions)
  • Let cake completely cool
  • Put white icing all over cake bottom and top so that it looks smooth
  • Put the top piece on the bottom piece
  • Mix the pink icing coloring with the icing with a mixer to make it really pink (remember: a little of this goes a long way and you can always add more)
  • Put the pink icing in the ziplock bags and do stars all over the top of the cake
  • Use the black sparkly gel to make lines all over the bottom of the cake (just random zebra lines)
You’re done 🙂  You can also do a little extra by decorating the plate!
Zebra print and Elmo party invite

I even had a friend design her invitations according to her shirt.

***  Side note.  I just love cupcake cakes.  I also used the pan for her 1st birthday party smash cake.  It was really cute and a big hit!  So, I will probably let the tradition continue each year for Ella.