Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Creamy Tomato Soup

Nothing tastes better when it is cold outside than soup.  I remember asking my grandmother for her tomato soup recipe and I was really surprised when she told me what it was.  She just used canned condensed tomato soup and used milk instead of water.  It was so creamy and delicious. This is an easy delicious soup that reminds me of her.  I served this with provolone and salami grilled cheese sandwiches.  I love to dip it in the soup!

  • 1/3 Cup finely diced onion
  • olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (28 oz each) whole peeled plum tomatoes 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons Sour Cream (or more depending on how creamy you would like it)
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a large soup pot.  Heat olive oil and butter until butter is melted.  Add onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes.  Dump in tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Add salt, pepper, and sugar.  Stir in sour cream.  Simmer for a few more minutes and serve.

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Cheesy Ham and Spinach Spirals

A few nights ago I went with a friend to a Pampered Chef training event.  I enjoyed sampling all of the goodies.  I came away with a few new things that I wanted to try.  This is one of them.  I made it and brought it as an appetizer for a cookie exchange.

  • 1 tube of Crescent Roll Dough
  • 4 oz Chive and Onion Cream Cheese (at room temp)
  • 8 to 10 Slices of Deli Ham
  • Baby Spinach Leaves (a couple handfuls)
Preheat oven to 375.  Roll out dough.  If you use the sheet kind you will just flatten a little bit.  If you use the actual roll kind you will have to pinch the perforated cuts together.  Spread the softened cream cheese on the dough.  Layer with ham and then baby spinach leaves.  Roll the up dough (short side to short side) tucking the ham and spinach in as you go.  After it is rolled up pinch the edge with the roll to seal it.  Slice with shape knife and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 10 minutes.
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Friday, December 13, 2013

My Disney Experience App Review

The new My Disney Experience App helps you to navigate the parks like a pro.  You can access it before your trip or while in the middle of the MAGIC.  The app works in conjunction with Magic Bands to make FASTPASS+ selections.  Create a list of your "MUST DO" experiences and check out the dining options.  The app gives you SO much information.  If you are planning a trip soon familiarize yourself with this app you will be amazed what you can find on it!

Follow this link to read MY professional review of the app on the Wirefly Blog.

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snowman Hat Centerpiece

 I enjoy being crafty with items I already have in the house because let's face it, being crafty can be expensive.  Using leftover supplies from previous projects and repurposing other items is a great way to keep costs down.  This project didn't cost me a penny because I had everything already.  Work with what you have at home, here are my basic instructions.

  • Coffee Can
  • Black Plate or Charger
  • Black Spray paint
  • Red Ribbon
  • A Small handful of fake snow
  • A Sprig of Holly
Spray paint empty coffee can and plate (or charger) with black spray paint.  Let it dry.  Tie a piece of red ribbon around the coffee can.  Set can on plate.  I did not attach the can to the plate because I wanted to be able to take it apart for easy storing.  Tuck a piece of holly into the ribbon and sprinkle a little bit of fake snow on it.  That's it, easy peasy!
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Panko Garlic Shrimp

Cooking shrimp can be intimidating for some, but this is a fool proof anyone can do it recipe that is sure to please everyone!  I served this with Cajun Seasoned French Fries and it worked out perfect because they are both baked at the same oven temperature.  

  • 1-1.5 Lbs of Shrimp
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Parsley
Serves 4

Preheat oven to 425.  Place shrimp in baking dish.  Add in garlic and wine.  Toss them around a bit to make sure that they are coated.  In a small bowl combine melted butter, panko, and parsley, use fork to mix.  Sprinkle crumble mixture evenly over shrimp. 
 Bake for about 15 minutes or until shrimp have turned pink  and opaque and are cooked through.  

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Cajun Seasoned French Fries

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  •  Sea Salt
Bring a large pot of water to boil.  While the water is heating, cut the potatoes into french fry size pieces (about 1/4" thick).  When the water comes to a boil add the fries, turn off the water, and set the timer for 3 minutes.  After the three minutes is up, remove the fries from the water and lay them on a paper towel to dry.
 Preheat oven to 425.  Put the fries in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Cajun seasoning.  Toss to coat.
Place on baking sheet that is coated with cooking spray, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 15 minutes.  Using a spatula flip the fries and return them to the oven to back for an additional 12-15 minutes flipping one more time. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness that you cut your fries.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Better than Rice-a-Roni Broccoli Cheddar Rice

For many years I made rice from Rice-a-Roni packets with the seasonings included, I am not saying that I don't ever make them or that they don't serve a purpose but this recipe is better and doesn't have all the weird ingredients.  This rice dish is an excellent way to get the kiddos to eat some veggies.  Feel free to put more broccoli if you would like!  

  • 1 Cup Orzo
  • 1 Cup Rice
  • 1 Cup Broccoli- Chopped Small
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups of Chicken Broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
In a sauce pan combine orzo, rice, and olive oil.  Toast rice over med-high heat for about 3 minutes.  Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil.  When it starts to boil reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the broccoli, cover, and cook for additional 3 minutes.  This cooks the broccoli.  Add cheese and butter- stir.  Cover and let sit for a couple minutes while butter and cheese melt.  Stir and salt and pepper to taste.

I served this with Red Hot Chicken Kabobs
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Red HOT Chicken Kabobs

My husband often asks me to make boneless chicken wings which I don't mind doing, but they take a little bit of time and effort to make.  I never have enough time to get to everything so today I decided I was going to take a short cut and make a spicy grilled chicken to tide him over until I have a chance to make exactly what he wanted.  Plus this is probably going to be one of the only days nice enough to grill outside... it is December after all!

  • 3 Boneless Chicken Breasts (Cut into large chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 3/4 Cup Franks Red Hot
  • Juice from 1 Lime (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Combine all ingredients except chicken and mix well.  Pour marinade over chicken and refrigerate for about an hour.  Place chicken on skewers and grill until cooked throughout.

I served this with Better than Rice-a-Roni Broccoli and Cheddar Rice.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Baked Soft Taco Roll Ups

Switching up the way we eat tacos is nothing new,  tacos are a family favorite and this recipe did not disappoint.  This recipe is a little spicier than some of the others that I make, but that can be easily fixed if you don't like things quite as spicy as I do by adding less jalepenos to the mix.  I had a tough time coming up with something to call this dish... I don't know all of the technical aspects of what a taco, burrito, enchilada... I just know delicious!

  • 2 Chicken Breasts cooked and shredded
  • 1/2 Cup PepperJack Cheese
  • 1 Cup Mild Cheddar Cheese (divided)
  • 2 Tablespoons of diced Jalepenos (I use the sliced kind from a jar and just chop them up a bit)
  • 1/2 of Corn
  • 1 Cup of Sour Cream
  • 1/3 cup of salsa
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2+ 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/3 Cup of Canola Oil
  • About 10 8" Flour Tortillas (you can use bigger ones if you would like)
  • Optional- serve with a side of shredded lettuce, sour cream, or salsa 

Serves 5

In a small sauce pan add canola oil and 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.  Bring oil to a simmer, this will happen pretty quick because this is not a lot of oil.  Turn off heat and let sit about 10 minutes so that the garlic infuses the oil with flavor.  While that is cooling, combine pepper jack, 1/2 cup mild cheddar, corn, sour cream, jalepenos, cumin, salt, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, salsa, and shredded chicken in a large bowl.  Mix well.

Preheat oven to 400.  Place about 1/4 cup of the mixture on one of the tortillas and sprinkle a little more cheese on top.
Fold sides in and place seam side down.  Repeat until all mixture is used.  Then lightly brush each of the roll ups with the garlic olive oil and sprinkle a dash of the cayenne pepper on each one.  I lined my baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up!
Bake for 10-12 minutes flipping halfway through.  The baking time will very depending on the size of the tortillas that you use.  You will know they are done when the edges of the tortillas are crispy.
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Christmas Fills our House with JOY

This year I decided that the mantel needed a little change.  I always ooh and ahh over Christmas decorations I see in magazines and on Pinterest, but year after year I have been getting out our decorations and putting them in almost the same exact spot every year.  This year I decided I was going to do it different and that I wasn't going to spend a lot of money even though I was changing it up.

The only new decoration is the JOY, it was so simple to make and it cost less that $5.  The other items are decorations that I would have normally put somewhere else.  I am very happy with the way it turned out!

  • Wooden Letter "J"
  • Wooden Letter "Y"
  • Grapevine Wreath
  • Paint- I used one called Apple Spice
You can use any size letters.  I used 10" letters and an 8" Wreath
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Snowman Tower of Gifts

Every once in while I am able to take my time and wrap a couple of gifts in a unique way.  My husband was the lucky one to receive this one.  It was very easy.  I didn't have any plain white paper so I just used regular wrapping paper flipped the other way.  I used a hat and scarf from the closet, but you could easily buy new and make them part of the gift.  

  • Black Paper
  • Orange Paper
  • 3 Different Sized Boxes
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Hat and Scarf
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Best Place to Rent a Stroller for Disney World

Sometimes you just have to take a nap
The fact that my kids have never really loved to ride in a stroller made me think that I wouldn't need a stroller for them.  After talking to a few friends, I realized that there was NO way they were going to be able to walk as much as I would be asking them too.  The last 4 times we have went to Walt Disney World we have rented a stroller from the same company -Kingdom Strollers.  I chose them based on a couple of factors including price, selection, and a recommendation from a friend.

If you plan on using a stroller while at Disney World, do yourself a favor and DO NOT rent one from the parks directly.  There are not too many things at Disney World that I criticize, but their strollers are at the top of the list.  They are hard pieces of plastic (see picture to the right) and they are very expensive.  Another drawback of WDW strollers is that you can only use them inside the parks, in other words you can not take them to Downtown Disney, other parks, or even to your resort.  The WDW strollers are a lot more expensive than Kingdom Strollers.  Here is a link to WDW Stroller Rental so you can see the prices.
A couple of months ago Disney changed their policy about having strollers delivered to their resorts.  They now only allow a couple of trusted companies to provide this service.  Kingdom Strollers is on that list.  They will drop off and pick up the stroller from the Disney resort (and lots of others be sure to check out the list) of your choice and you specify the time and date.  The delivery is free of charge.  They deliver to resort and Bell Services will hold it for you until you arrive.  They label the stroller with your family name, but I recommend that you bring a bright colored piece of ribbon to tie to the handle.  There are TONS of strollers and looking for yours can be difficult especially since it isn't yours and you might forget what it looks like:)

Kingdom Strollers offers both single and double strollers as well as other baby gear such as cribs.  They will also deliver cases of water to your resort as well.  Included in the stroller rental fee is a small cooler and rain cover both of which come in very handy.

A couple of trips ago, a friend of ours decided after one day at the park that they needed something more than just the umbrella stroller that they brought with them, so at 7 pm they ordered a double stroller for the following day from Kingdom Strollers.  It was delivered by 8 am.

Kingdom Strollers also offers a FREE rain guard, just check the box!!!

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Creamy Sausage Tortellini Soup

I am a huge fan of two types of soups 1- The kind that you make in the slow cooker and 2- The kind that you can throw together quickly and simmer for less than 20 minutes.  This one falls into the second category.  When I made this the other night, I had to eat it and rush out the door to a meeting so I didn't get to hear everyone's comments and feedback.  I enjoyed the soup a lot, but I wasn't sure what my mother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband were going to think.  Well, 3 days later my father-in-law was still talking about how much he enjoyed it and was wondering when I was going to make it again.  He generally likes everything that I make.  He is by FAR the most critical member of the family.  If you likes something he lets me know and if he doesn't like something he also lets me know:)  I appreciate his feed back and I have learned to take his critiques as encouragement  so I appreciate his opinion.  Although sometimes he tries to get way to technical and we all laugh at him and keep eating.  
  • About 2 Cups of Baby Spinach
  • 3 14 oz cans of Chicken Broth
  • 1 lb of Mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 can of Italian Seasoned Diced Tomatoes
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese (not fat free, it won't melt) at room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 1 small package of Frozen Tortellini
Serves 6

Cook, crumble 1 lb of bulk mild Italian Sausage.  Drain off excess grease.  In a large pot combine chicken broth, tomatoes (undrained), and cooked sausage.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to med and add cream cheese.  Stir to combine and melt.  When cream cheese is melted throughout, add in spinach and tortellini.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tortellini is cooked.

If you want this soup to be spicier, add a pinch of red pepper flakes and/or use HOT Italian Sausage.  
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Rolo Cookies

Although this recipe is not my own, it is one that I have made several times.  I originally got the recipe from Six Sisters Stuff.  I didn't change anything, but I have never been able to get more than about 24 cookies from a batch.  I usually use two boxes of cake mix and a bag of Rolos and I get about 50 cookies which was just enough for my family to snack on and to pass some along.  Today I made this for the teacher pot luck lunch at my son's school.  

  • Box of Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 24 Rolos
  • Powdered Sugar
Makes about 2 Dozen Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine eggs and oil.  Then add in cake mix.  The first time I made these I used my electric hand mixer and the batter was so thick that my mixer had a tough time with it.  It was much easier to mix it my hand.  Next take a scoop of batter a little smaller than the size of a ping pong ball and press a Rolo inside.  Make sure that the dough covers the entire piece of candy.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake for 7-8 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and ENJOY!
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sweet Garlic Chicken Legs

Sometimes when I don't know what to make for dinner I look into my freezer and pick something out at random.  I knew I had to figure out something to do with the chicken legs that took out to thaw and I knew it had to go with the green beans that I had put in the slow cooker.  At about 4:30, I decided on this.  The sauce was great and the chicken was super moist.  This recipe is made with very basic ingredients that can be found in almost anyone's pantry.  I had chicken legs on hand, but feel free to use thighs or whatever you have!    
  • 6 Chicken Legs
  • 1/3 Cup of Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Garlic
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a glass baking dish with foil (for easy clean up).  Place chicken legs in dish and sprinkle with pepper.  In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk them together.  Pour mixture over chicken and bake for about 35 minutes.
 Remove chicken from oven and flip it over (so the other side can get a chance in the yummy sauce).  Raise the oven temp to 425 and bake for additional 10-15 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and begins to caramelize.

I served with Fried Noodles and Fresh Green Beans I made in the slow cooker.  
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Girl Scout Daisy Certificate

So I have ventured into the world of Girl Scout Troop Leadership. I am the troop leader for my daughter's kindergarten Girl Scout troop. I've been pinteresting (they need to add that word into the dictionary so my spell check doesn't keep trying to change it) and finding fun crafts and activities to do with the troop. I came across several cure awards and certificates that people are selling on Etsy, and I thought "I can do that and then offer it to anyone else for free!" So here you go, a cute certificate to signify their first year as a Daisy:) I plan on doing more as the year progresses, but I wanted to get this out now so anyone can use it.

To save to your computer, click on the image and it will enlarge. Then right click and select "save as" or "save to my computer." Save it in a spot you will remember, then when you want to print, just open it and select 4x6 or 5x7 and you can print 2 per page. You can also upload the image to Walgreens or any other photo place and print it and place in a frame. The girls will love the recognition. Enjoy!

*Please note, if you are going to post to your website, you must provide a link to Two magical Moms. This image is copyright protected and is for personal or crafting use. No parts of this image can be  used for commercial purposes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Twice Baked Pesto Potatoes

Now that I have figured out exactly where my basil plant wants to live (I can keep it alive) I always have fresh basil.  Another thing I always seem to have on hand is potatoes, why not make Pesto Potatoes!?!  I wasn't sure quite where to begin, so I went to Pinterest.  I found a recipe on Kayotic Kitchen, I changed it up just a bit and ended up with a really GREAT baked potato.
  • 4 (fairly large) Russett Potatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup of Vegetable Broth
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • About a handful Fresh Basil (chopped)
  • Large Shallot (chopped finely)
  • 1/8 Cup of Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Serves 4-6 (because they are split in half and you can eat the whole potato skin and all!)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wash and scrub the skin of the potato good enough that you could eat it.  Poke several holes in them with a fork, brush them with olive oil, and season with sea salt.  Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil, place potatoes on the foil, and bake for about an hour.
Insert a fork into them to check to see if they are done.  If the fork goes in easy, they are done.  Cut the potatoes in half and let them cool a little bit.  Scoop out the insides with a spoon.  Make sure to do it gently and keep the skins intact.  Place the scooped out potato into a large bowl.
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a skillet.  Cook the garlic and shallot for about 3 minutes.  Add in the cream and vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring throughout.  Add in the basil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.  Let the sauce sit for a couple of minutes and it will thicken a bit more.   Pour it in with the potatoes and mix well.  I didn't completely mash the potatoes, but I combined it well (I don't even know if that makes any sense LOL)  Loan the potato mixture back into the skin, top it with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, place back on baking sheet, put it back in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

I actually made these a couple of weeks ago and my mouth is watering just writing about them.  OH. SO. GOOD!  I served this with the Loaded Flank Steak (recipe coming soon).

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cheesesteak Quesadillas

Last week while planning meals, I asked Sherrie for some suggestions.  She told me that lately her kids only want to eat tacos and spaghetti so she has been coming up with lots of variations on those two things, so she inspired me to change up something that we all love- the Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas.  This recipe combines Philly Cheesesteaks and quesadillas.  YUM

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon A1
  • A Pinch of Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 lb of Very Thinly Sliced Beef
  • Butter
  • 8 Burrito Size Flour Tortillas
  • 8 Mushrooms- cut into small pieces
  • A Small Onion cut into small slices
  • 1 Green Pepper cut into small pieces
  • Shredded Cheese- I used a Combination of Pepperjack, Cheddar, and Monterrey Jack
  • Whatever topping you would like- Lettuce, Diced Tomatoes, Jalepenos, Sour Cream, Ranch Dressing
Serves 4
I combined the Worcestershire Sauce, A1, Montreal Steak Seasoning, and Olive Oil in a small bowl and whisked together.  I place the beef in a ziploc bag and poured the marinade over it and put it in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.  Then I drizzled a little olive oil in a large skillet and  cooked the meat.  My family requested that the ingredients were cooked separately because not everyone likes everything.  Next, I removed the meat- leaving the juices in the skillet.  I then cooked the green peppers.  When the peppers were almost done, I pushed them over to one side of the skillet.  Then I added the onions and 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the other side of the pan.  I stirred them as they sauteed and added another 1/2 tablespoon of butter.  After the onions softened I added the meat back in (to get it hot again) and then the mushrooms with about a tablespoon of butter.  It would have been much easier to cook it all together, but sometimes I have to do things to make the kiddos happy.
Once it is all cooked you can start building the quesadilla.  First you need to lightly butter one side of the tortillas.  Place butter side down in a hot skillet and add beef, onion, mushrooms, peppers, and top with cheese.  Then place another tortilla on top with butter side up.  Cook for about 1-2 minutes or until the tortilla is a golden brown.  Carefully flip and cook the other side.  Cut with pizza cutter and serve HOT!
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