A New Year’s Resolution Word

A New Year's Resolution Word

I’ve been seeing a lot of social media posts about picking a word for the year. This is like a New Year’s Resolution yet different because it’s just one word. Resolutions are too specific and therefore hard to follow. With life circumstances changing throughout the year a New Year’s Resolution may suddenly not fit in so it gets abandoned. But A New Year’s Resolution Word, now that seems doable.  I like that I can apply that one word to any and every area of my life. I like this idea so I chose a word.

A New Year's Resolution Word

I chose the word intentional.

Intentional. I like the versatility of it as I can apply that word to any area of my life for the whole year. I’m giving myself permission to change what area of my life I’d like to be intentional in based on my daily life. I feel confident that I can be successful with this type of resolution.

Being intentional is about priorities. My priorities this year are motherhood/family and work.

Being intentional means doing something on purpose. It means not accidentally falling into something, but taking forethought and making specific solid steps to be intentional.

Intentional in my Motherhood

Had someone told me when my kids were babies that eighteen years will go by so fast, I wouldn’t have believed them or even fathomed it. But now I get it. It zooms by.

I want to be intentional in my motherhood. For instance, if I don’t stop working to play a game with my kids, the game and the memory will never happen. If I don’t stop working on the computer, or folding clothes, or cleaning, I won’t be interacting with my kids. As they get older, they happily occupy themselves. So I have to be more intentional, stop what I’m doing or we won’t make that memory of playing the I Spy Game or Apples to Apples or Disney DVD Bingo. It just won’t happen, and that makes me sad.

I want to be more intentional about making family vacation memories. Once kids are teens, time left living in the house seems short. As a parent, I want to be intentional about where we want to vacation as a family. I want to think about what travel goals we have in the short few years we have before our first child graduates.

I want to be intentional about specific memories I want to create with my husband and kids. Time is going so fast and I feel like I’m running to catch up with my life and it’s a darn struggle. I don’t want regret, so I’m going to be more intentional about where we go and what we do. I’m going to be intentional to make choices all about us as a family.

Child Playing Lacrosse

Being Intentional by Setting Priorities

Being more intentional about not missing sports games is a big one for me. The kids may or may not play a certain sport from one year to the next. I don’t want to feel like I missed out on games because I was too busy. If I miss a game, I want there to be a good reason. Like one of my other kids is sick and I need to stay home with him, or because their games are at the same time. I will be intentional about making it to every game this year.

I want to be more intentional about holidays, how we spend them as a family, and what food traditions we continue that the kids love. Repeat traditions and special foods are parts of the holidays kids remember. It’s important for them to have those special memories to carry throughout their lives. I want to keep making that same cookie recipe they love and pay attention to their requests. Enjoying food together intentionally will bring great joyful memories.

Being Intentional about Faith

Going to church is important to me as is being intentional about getting there as often as we can. Kids only get a short time of eighteen years to spend living with us, if we don’t make the most of it and expose them to church, they will be less likely go as adults. If they are given the foundation of religion and church attendance as kids, it will be a part of their growing up experience. It will also be a part of their growing brains. I think of it as a pathway in the brain. The more we think about religion, the stronger that pathway is in our brain. Even if they leave the church for a bit at some point in their lives, the foundation is still there from childhood experience.

Being Intentional about my Work

I want to be intentional about growing my blog, my business, and my writing. There are steps and routes I want to navigate and I need to make them a priority. I have rough drafts in my brain of my goals for the year. The goals I intend to be intentional about.

How about you?

Have you thought about how you want to be intentional? What is your New Year’s Resolution word for the year?

A New Year's Resolution Word. I chose the word Intentional for 2017.

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Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich

Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich is a yummy vegetarian sandwich with layers of tortilla filled with decilious fillings.

Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich is a yummy vegetarian sandwich with layers of tortilla filled with decilious fillings.

I selected some of my favorite ingredients to make this Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich. This yummy stacked tortilla sandwich is several layers thick with filling in between the five layers of tortillas. Once compiled and stacked, it is cooked in the oven. This Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich could be enjoyed as a sandwich if cut in larger slices or carve it up into smaller pieces to use as an appetizer.

I love these tasty ingredients:

  • Pine nut hummus mixed with parmesan cheese
  • Can of Rotel diced tomatoes with chilis and cream cheese
  • Can of artichokes and cream cheese
  • Tortillas

What Makes This Sandwich So Delicious

Well there is cheese and cheese makes everything more delicious of course. I also love how the top tortilla gets crispy and flaky in the oven. The light flakiness of the top tortilla gives it a delightful crunch. This sandwich has a bit of spiciness due to the chilis.

How to Make it

Separately mix up the three delicious blended mixtures in a food processor. Next simply spread mixtures across the tortilla before another tortilla is placed on top. The process is similar to building a lasagne. You can follow my pattern listed below or make your own pattern.

Variations to Please All

I love this recipe I made on a whim based on another recipe I frequently make, only this one is larger and more elaborate. This recipe is vegetarian, but precooked shredded meats could easily be added in. If a meat eater were to add meat to this recipe, using shredded precooked meat or very small pieces would work the best. I often make a hybrid form of my dishes in that I add meat to one side and not the other. We are a mixed family of meat eaters and vegetarians so I’ve learned to cook in this hybrid type of way.

This is an original recipe by Julie Hoag.

 

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Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich
This recipe for a yummy stacked tortilla sandwich is several layers thick with filling in between the layers of tortilla. Once compiled and stacked, it is cooked in the oven. This Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich could be used as a sandwich if cut in larger slices or carve it up into smaller pieces to use as an appetizer. I love these ingredients together and the crisp light flakiness of the top tortilla. It is so delicious!
Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich is a yummy vegetarian sandwich with layers of tortilla filled with decilious fillings.
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich is a yummy vegetarian sandwich with layers of tortilla filled with decilious fillings.
Instructions
  1. Filling mixture #1. Combine 10 ounces of pine nut hummus with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in food processor and blend for 30-40 seconds. Scoop into a bowl.
    Parmesan cheese and Hummus filling for Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich
  2. Filling mixture #2. Combine the drained and blotted can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis and 4 ounces of cream cheese in food processor. Blend for 30-40 seconds. Scoop into a bowl.
    Tomato, chilis, and cream cheese filling for Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich
  3. Filling mixture #3. Combine the drained chopped artichokes with 4 ounces of cream cheese. Blend 40 seconds to completely chop up the artichokes. Scoop into a bowl.
    Artichoke and cream cheese filling for Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich.
  4. Use mixtures 1 & 2: Spray a cookie sheet pan with Pam cooking spray. Lay down the first flour tortilla and spread 1/3 cup filling mixture #1 (hummus and parmesan cheese) all over the tortilla. Next spread 1/3 cup filling mixture #2 (tomatoes/chilis/cream cheese) on top of mixture #1.
  5. Lay a tortilla on top.
    Lay down a tortilla.
  6. Use mixtures 1 & 2: Repeat spreading 1/3 cup filling mixture #1 (hummus and parmesan cheese) and 1/3 cup filling mixture #2 (tomatoes/chilis/cream cheese). Lay a tortilla on top.
    Repeat by spreading 1/3 cup mixtures 1 and 2, then lay a tortilla on top.
  7. Use mixtures 3 & 2: Spread 1/2 cup filling mixture #3 (artichokes and cream cheese). Next spread 1/3 cup remaining filling mixture #2 (tomatoes/chlilis/cream cheese) all over tortilla. Top with a tortilla.
    Spread mixtures 2 and 3 on the tortillas
  8. Use mixtures 1 & 3: Spread remaining 1/3 cup mixture #1 (hummus and parmesan cheese) all over the tortillas. Next spread 1/2 cup mixture #3 (artichokes and cream cheese). Note: I always have extra mixture #3 left, so I save the extra yummy filling to spread on crackers or for tortilla chip dip.
    Spread mixtures 1 and 3 on tortilla.
  9. Top with a tortilla.
    Add the top layer of this Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich by adding mixtures 1 and 3 and top with a tortilla.
  10. Cook it at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. The top tortilla will turn brown and crisp up. Cut into six slices with a pizza cutter for 6 servings, or cut in desired smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer.
Recipe Notes

Slice of Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich

Yummy slice of Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich

To Make it Easy

To simplify stacking for this recipe and layer the filling mixtures the way I did:

  • Tortilla
  • Mixture #1 (hummus and parmesan cheese) & Mixture #2 (tomatoes/chilis/cream cheese)
  • Tortilla
  • Repeat Mixture #1 (hummus and paremesan cheese) & Mixture #2 (tomatoes/chilis/cream cheese)
  • Tortilla
  • Mixture #3 (artichokes and cream cheese) & Mixture #2 (tomatoes/chilis/cream cheese)
  • Tortilla
  • Mixture #1 (hummus and parmesan cheese) & Mixture #3 (artichokes and cream cheese)
  • Tortilla

Or simply spread them in any order however you desire. I hope you enjoy this yummy unique tortilla stacked sandwich! It tastes best fresh for that crispy crunch of the top layer, however it is still good leftover but it softens while sitting in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

Hummus Artichoke Tortilla Stack Sandwich is a yummy layered sandwich made with delicious filing in between layers of tortillas. It is a unique fun to make vegetarian sandwich. Slice it smaller to make it as an appetizer.

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Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail

Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, an easy yummy treat for adults!

Ice Cream Vanilla Bean and Chocolate

This post is sponsored. I was given this complimentary product for review. Thanks Halo Top! All the opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail

Adults want a sweet treat too. We just do, there’s no denying it. I came up with a delicious alcohol containing dessert cocktail using Halo Top ice cream called Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail. In the evening, a sweet treat cocktail like this hits the sweet spot. This treat cocktail lays on a thick comfy feeling of relaxation. I’m all over this type of treat!

Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, an easy yummy treat for adults!

Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, a treat for adults!

This adult treat, sorry kids, this is mommy’s treat, is made with rum, butterscotch schnapps, Cherry 7UP, vanilla bean Halo Top light ice cream, and chocolate syrup. It is seriously yummy! This recipe is easy to make. It could be made with any vanilla ice cream, but Halo Top is my favorite because it is a healthier ice cream. One half cup of ice cream is 60 calories with 6 grams of protein so this reduces the calories of this dessert cocktail. That helps even out the other high cal delish ingredients!

Yummy Ice Cream

I love that the Halo Top ice cream is light at only 240 calories per pint containing 24 grams of protein. It is low in sugar with no corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, or artificial softeners. It’s delicious all on it’s own too. It just melts in your mouth and seriously, I can’t even believe it’s light because it’s so good!

My kids go crazy for ice cream and they love this ice cream too. I love the option of giving them a healthier ice cream. A version of this for kids could be made by removing the alcohol, adding more Cherry 7UP,  and adding in a drizzle of butterscotch ice cream topping.

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Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail
This Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail is so yummy. Sip it in while hanging out on the couch, it seriously lays on the relaxation in a thick satisfying way. It's a perfect after dinner dessert cocktail that can be enjoyed at home. It is easy and quick to make and it looks so pretty too! It's so delicious!
Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, an easy yummy treat for adults!
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
person
Ingredients
Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, an easy yummy treat for adults!
Instructions
  1. Pour in the Rum and Butterscotch Schnapps. Pour the Cherry 7UP in and stir. Add the 1/2 cup Halo Top Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Drizzle the chocolate syrup over the ice cream. Done! That's it! Enjoy!!
    Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, yummy and satisfying after dinner adult beverage treat.
Recipe Notes

Other ideas

Try with chocolate ice cream topped with butterscotch syrup for another yummy dessert cocktail. This cocktail dessert would be delicious in the warmth of you home in the winter, or when sitting outside on warm summer evening. Add banana pieces to make it like a banana split cocktail!

Reduce the Calories

To reduce the calories, make it with diet Cherry 7UP and light chocolate syrup.

Butterscotch Cherry Rum Dessert Cocktail, an easy to make special yummy treat for adults.

 

 

 

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Review of Easy Teeth Cleaner Dogs and Cats

Our dog Kipper
Dogs on the deck

Kipper and Frida hanging out on the deck

This post contains affiliate links of products I’ve used and love. The opinions here are 100%  mine. If you purchase through the links I receive a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you. This is my personal opinion and it does not replace veterinary advice. Always consult a vet.

I’m going to share a product I absolutely love. In my Review of an Easy Teeth Cleaner for Dogs and Cats I will share how this product has made a major impact in our dogs’ health and lives, as well as my own as a pet owner. I want the best for my dogs; I love them as members of my family. Use of this product called Fresh Dental is a daily routine at our house.

Dental cleaner for dogs and cats

Natural Fresh mint cleaner

We have two dogs. I love dogs so much. I love cats too but my husband is allergic so we only have dogs as pets. Bad dog breath is a known issue. But think about it, if you never ever brush your teeth, your breath would start to stink in no time. Dogs teeth need to be cleaned somehow. I’ve had pets my whole life and I worked in a veterinary clinic in my twenties so I’ve seen many pets with bad teeth who needed an expensive dental cleaning procedure. It’s a big deal, they go under anesthesia and they have to stay at the clinic for the day, something they hate.

Kipper

We have had four dogs throughout the years and Kipper has been our hardest to deal with on many levels. Let me tell you a little bit about Kipper because his fears brought me to this product. He was left with his siblings and mother in a house for days because the owner went to jail. The dogs were brought to a shelter by the police where he lived for about two years before he was taken in by a rescue group to live in a foster home for about six months. His life changed when we adopted him but he came to us with an extreme multitude of fears.

He has always had massive fears related to anything that even remotely seems like a procedure. His fears can be illustrated by the fact that he would pee and defecate in the sink for a simple bath. He is a twenty pound dog, but when he is petrified he has the strength and bite of a Great Dane. However, his sweet loving and devoted demeanor is boundless, as long as no procedures are looming near him. He has come a long way in trusting us and he allows us to do nail trims.

Our dog Kipper

Our dog Kipper

With his fears brushing his teeth with a toothbrush was next to impossible. His difficult nature set me on the path to find a product I could successfully use on him. We needed a product that would keep his teeth from rotting and minimize the need for a scary procedure like a dental at a vet office.

I Tried Them All

I tried all the products I could find on the market. The veterinary office toothpaste, the squirt bottle cleansers, the water additives, the chews, the wipes, and the toothpaste from pet supply stores but they either didn’t make a difference or I couldn’t get near him enough to try them. Then one day I saw the Fresh Dental product sitting on the shelf at Target. It was natural, cruelty free, made in the USA, and it could be used without a toothbrush. I was intrigued to try it with Kipper so I popped in in my cart with high hopes of success.

Success!

I brought it home and right before I went to sleep, when Kipper was calm on the bed I instituted my plan. He was not scared of me or my hands because I always was petting him. I squeezed out a glob of this minty gel between between my thumb and index finger. The bottle was left on the counter so he couldn’t see it. I kept my thumb and index finger close together to retain the gel as I walked from the bathroom to the bed. To reassure him I pet him with my other hand. Next I opened my fingers wider right when my hand reached his mouth and I slid both fingers alongside both sides of his teeth.

He let me do it! I was completely amazed and ecstatic because I had found a solution that worked for this scared little guy. My theory is he allowed me to do the cleaning because I didn’t use any toothbrush or other application technique other than my own fingers. Earning his trust had been a long tough road, but it had paid off because I could finally clean his teeth.

The directions on the bottle said I could reduce the frequency of application after a month of use, however I didn’t want Kipper to lose his comfortable feel for this nightly procedure so I’ve kept it up for five years now. His does still have stinky breath, but he has not had any cavities and his plaque and tarter buildup seem to be at a minimum. He is evaluated by our vet at least once a year and he has not needed any dental procedures yet.

Affilate link:

 

I Recommend This Product

I completely recommend this product. Our other dog is less fearful and she allows me to apply this to her teeth. She is younger and so I clean her teeth with this cleaner about two times a week per the instructions on the bottle. I smear it along the outside and inside of all teeth. The dogs also lick their chops after I apply it so they actually help spread it around also. I am so happy with this product; it has honestly made a giant difference in the dental health of our pets.

Simply wash your hands when you are done. The dogs may not love the application, but they will enjoy a healthier mouth. As the pet owner, you will enjoy this too because it could give you less vet bills and it will give you a happier, healthier pet. They may need a dental procedure at some point in their lives but I’m fully convinced this product benefits their lives.

Spreading teeth cleaning gel along front teeth of dog

Spreading gel on Frida’s teeth

Spreading cleaner along all surfaces of the dog's teeth

Spread gel on all surfaces of teeth

Spread gel to the back teeth and both sides of teeth of dog

Run fingers coated with gel to back teeth and both sides of all teeth

Our dog Frida laying on the playset platform

Frida loves the play set too!

 

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Happy Tails | PupJoy


DIY Hot Chocolate Ice Cubes

Hot chocolate with hot chocolate and marshmallow ice cubes
Hot Chocolate ice cubes with marshmallows

Hot chocolate Ice cubes to cool down steaming hot chocolate

This post contains an affiliate link. This post is 100% my own opinion & I love chocolate! See my disclaimer page for details.

My idea for DIY Hot Chocolate Ice Cubes is so simple yet so perfect, especially for kids who don’t like a steaming hot cup of hot chocolate. My kids come in the house after playing outside in the cold winter and they immediately have hot chocolate on their brains. They ask for hot chocolate even before the snow pants are off. I try to microwave it to the perfect temperature, but sometimes it’s still too hot so adding something cold like milk or cold water is an option of course. But Hot Chocolate Ice Cubes with marshmallows is a more fun idea to cool off the hotness!

These ice cubes cool the hot chocolate perfectly plus the kids will think they are fun as they float in the mug. Using hot chocolate for the ice cubes works well because it doesn’t dilute the hot chocolate. It’s a fun way to add marshmallows to the hot chocolate. The marshmallows float on the top of the ice cubes plus they freeze well.

Hot chocolate with hot chocolate and marshmallow ice cubes

How to Make it

Simply make hot chocolate with water according to the directions on the package. I find using a small ice cube tray works best. Fill the ice cube tray compartments about a half to three-fourths full and add two small marshmallows on top. To preserve the freshness I cover the ice cube tray with Press’n Seal by Glad. Pop it in freezer in a flat spot.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows ice cubes

Hot Chocolate ice cubes with marshmallows

The kids will love this idea so make some ahead of time to plop into their hot chocolate at a moment’s notice. Other ideas to add include colored marshmallows or seasonal shaped marshmallows. Enjoy!

Hot Chocolate with hot chocolate and marshmallow ice cubes

DIY Hot Chocolate Ice Cubes with marshmallows as a fun way to cool off hot chocolate.

 

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Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar

Make your own whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter

Flavored Cream Cheese Whipped Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Apple, and Tomato Chili cream cheese in bowls

Brighten the morning by creating a whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Breakfast Bar! Whether you want to brighten a dreary winter morning or enjoy a fun breakfast before heading out into the warm sun, this breakfast bar idea will please you. This is also a perfect and fun breakfast idea for when you have house guests overnight.

I’ve created three simple cream cheese recipes to spread on bagels: Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Apple, and Tomato Chili cream cheese. I love the flavored cream cheese that can be bought at the store, but I really love making my own fresh flavored cream cheese using a food processor. Two of these recipes actually incorporate real fruit so they are healthier. They are less thick than the traditional cream cheeses, and more smooth and soft similar to the whipped cream cheeses sold at the store.

Make your own whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter

Make your own Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter

Flavored Whipped Cream Cheeses

These recipes are so yummy! The three I whipped up are Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese, Strawberry Apple Cream Cheese, and Tomato Chili Cream Cheese. The texture is perfect, especially for my kids because they don’t like the thick heaviness of the plain block cream cheese. They prefer the whipped cream cheese on their bagels, and honestly I do too. My recipes for these flavored cream cheese thins out the cream cheese and makes it smoother and lighter. They are so good on bagels, croissants, or crackers. Keep reading for the recipes to each of these delicious cream cheese recipes below.

Toppings and Garnishes

There are several topping and garnish options to add to the bagels including strawberries, cherry tomatoes, small marshmallows, and slices of hard-boiled egg. The strawberries could be sliced and added to the top of a bagel spread with the Strawberry Apple or Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese. To make a super tasty bagel with added protein spread the Tomato Chili Cream Cheese on an everything bagel and top with slices of hard-boiled egg. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and it is a scrumptious healthy open faced breakfast sandwich.

Everything bagel spread with Tomato Chili Cream Cheese with sliced hard boiled egg

Tomato Chili Cream Cheese with sliced hard boiled egg

Bagels

Add your favorite flavored bagels to the platter, or plain works beautifully too with these flavored cream cheeses. I used blueberry bagels and everything bagels in my platter pictured above. Croissants would be a delicious option as well. Another tasty snack option is to spread the whipped flavored cream cheese on crackers. For details on my tasty snack idea try my Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese on Ritz crackers.

These are original recipes by Julie Hoag.

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Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar
Make your own whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast bar platter! Brighten up a morning with this breakfast for your family or overnight house guests. The three recipes for the flavored cream cheeses are so easy and simple to make. The recipes are for Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Apple, and Tomato Chili Cream Cheese. Add your favorite bagels or croissants to the platter along with toppings or garnishes to top the bagel with. A delicious breakfast everyone will love!
Make your own whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter
Cuisine American
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
people
Ingredients
Make your own whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter
Instructions
  1. To make the Strawberry Apple Cream Cheese add the following to the food processor: 4 ounces plain cream cheese, 1/4 apples only (use a fork to pull apples from sauce) from apple pie filling can, 3 strawberries quartered, and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend in the food processor until smooth, about 30-45 seconds.
    Strawberry Apple Cream Cheese
  2. To make the Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese add the following to the food processor: 4 ounces plain cream cheese, 1/4 cup small marshmallows, 1/4 cup prepared hot chocolate. Blend in the food processor until smooth, about 30-45 seconds.
    Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese
  3. To make the Tomato Chili Cream Cheese add the following to the food processor: 4 ounces plain cream cheese, 1/2 can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis, drained and laid out on a paper towel and blotted with the paper towel to remove some moisture. Blend in the food processor until smooth about 30-45 seconds.
    Tomato Chili Cream Cheese
Recipe Notes

Whipped Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Bar

Enjoy!

Enjoy the breakfast! Add garnishes or toppings as desired. Simply double the recipe if more cream cheese is desired. Refrigerate the leftover cream cheese to enjoy later.

Other Bagel topping ideas:

  • mini chocolate chips
  • bananas
  • cereal
  • raisins
  • walnuts
  • pear slices

Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Bar platter with Hot Chocolate, Apple Strawberry, and Tomato chili cream cheeses.

Flavored Cream Cheese Bagel Breakfast Bar platter with Hot Chocolate, Strawberry Apple, and Tomato Chili Cream cheeses

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Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese

Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese

Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese

My kids LOVE hot chocolate and marshmallows. They can’t ever get enough of it. After playing outside, asking for hot chocolate is usually the first words out of their rosy faces. I created this Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese with that love in mind. It really is amazing tasting! I used prepared hot chocolate, marshmallows, and plain cream cheese. That’s it, just three ingredients to the yum! It is so simple to make.

My kids prefer the whipped cream cheese to the traditional cream cheese. They like the texture better because it is less thick. My recipe is more like the whipped cream cheese in that it is less dense and thick, and more smooth and soft. This cream cheese is awesome on a bagel or toast for breakfast or a snack.

Make it a Double Treat & Pair it with Hot Chocolate

When the kids come in all full of winter fresh air with red cheeks and they ask for hot chocolate, surprise them with a bagel smeared with my Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese to go with it. They will smile from ear to ear as they enjoy this double hot chocolate treat. Spread this cream cheese on a Ritz crackers, add a small marshmallow in the center, and sprinkle about five to seven mini semi-sweet chocolate chips around the edge. This is so good, you have to try it! Your kids will love these! Make them look like snowmen for added fun.

The combination of the salt and flakiness from the Ritz cracker, the cream cheese, chocolate, and marshmallows is a simple yet divine treat.

Spread the Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese on Ritz crackers and add a small marshmellow and mini chocolate chips.

 

 

This is an original recipe by Julie Hoag.

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Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese
Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese is so simple to make. It uses only three ingredients to make a smooth tasty flavored cream cheese. It is delicious on a bagel or on crackers. Pair it with hot chocolate to make a yummy treat everyone will love, especially the kids!
Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese
Instructions
  1. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and add to your food processor. Add the already prepared hot chocolate. Add the small marshmallows. Blend in the food processor for about 30-40 seconds until smooth.
    Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese
Recipe Notes

Enjoy!

That's it! This recipe is so simple and so good. Be sure to have bagels or crackers to spread it on. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Whipped Hot Chocolate Cream Cheese, it's so easy to make with three ingredients. It is so delicious!

 

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Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants

Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissant Sandwich

A Tasty Croissant Sandwich

I’m always on the search for new lunch items. I love tomatoes, cheese, hummus, and croissant sandwiches so I decided to blend them together to make a Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants. This easy four ingredient recipe can be made using a food processor. It makes a tasty lunch that is meatless for those trying to avoid meat. I chose a flavored hummus, the pine nut hummus, for this recipe. The pine nuts are ground up in the food processor so they add to the flavor throughout the spread.

Spread this Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread as a thin layer on the croissant for a perfect and yummy lunch. Avoid adding too thick of a layer or it will seem like too much paste as you bite into it. You don’t need a lot as the flavor goes a long way. Pair it with crunchy veggies like cucumbers and celery or carrots to make a healthy meal. This is vegetarian, but it does contain two types of cheese so it is not dairy free.

Make as many croissant sandwiches as you need, then store the remainder of the spread in the refrigerator for later use.

Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissant Sandwich

As an Appetizer

This spread also makes a tasty spread for crackers such as Ritz or water crackers. It’s a tasty snack or appetizer when used as a cracker spread. Leave it as a simple cracker spread or add a slice of cucumber or half of a cherry tomato for a juicier bite.

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Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants
Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants is a tasty spread recipe that pairs perfectly with flaky croissant for lunch. Add some sliced cucumbers, celery or carrot sticks to your plate to make a healthy lunch. This recipe is easy to make and it is versatile because it is also tasty as a cracker spread to make as a snack or appetizer.
Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissant Sandwich
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissant Sandwich
Instructions
  1. Drain the Rotel can of tomatoes and green chilis in a strainer. Spread the tomatoes and chilis on a paper towel next and dab with the paper towel to remove some of them moisture.
    To make Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants, drain and dab moisture from tomatoes and chilis.
  2. Combine the pine nut hummus, parmesan cheese, tomatoes & chilis, and cream cheese together in a food processor and blend. I have a small food processor so I first blended the hummus and parmesan cheese together, then I blended the tomatoes & chilis together with the cream cheese before stirring both together. Slice croissants and spread a thin layer, or thick if desired, on croissant. Done!
    Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissant Sandwich
Recipe Notes

Enjoy this easy tasty sandwich for lunch! Or eat it as a snack or appetizer spread crackers. Yummy!

Tomato Hummus Cheese Spread for Croissants. A tasty, easy four ingredient spread. Also great on crackers.

 

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An Unplanned Lesson in Giving to a Homeless Man

Winter Scene of trees with snow falling

Snowy trees

An Unplanned Lesson in Giving

An unplanned lesson in giving to a homeless man unfolded before my son and I one Sunday this holiday season. As we drove out of a parking lot we approached an old man standing on the mini sidewalk island between the in and the out of the parking lot. We had just bought a present for my son’s friend and next we were heading to the birthday party.

There stood a man. He stood in a spot I hadn’t seen someone stand before even though I’d been to this store many times. It was cold out. The kind of cold that hurts the skin when walking outside. The kind of cold that made my son and I run out of the store to the shelter of the van rather than walk.  We had to rush, it hurt too much to linger in the cold.

But the man simply stood in that harsh cold. He didn’t have a car to run to. He didn’t run out of the biting cold, he stood. He was calm and still. He didn’t even appear to shiver. The man wore a rough mustard colored canvas jacket, like the kind construction workers wear. He wore a hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his head under the canvas coat hood and a gray beanie winter hat under both hoods. He was unshaven with a rough beard. His skin looked thick and weathered probably from spending so much time outside. Perhaps he spent so much time outside he didn’t shiver anymore. His boots were worn as were his canvas pants. He had a small bag at his feet not much bigger than my purse. He had the usual sign the homeless beggars hold that simply said “homeless”.

I usually steer away from these guys and prefer to give money through channels like church or other established charities. At least I believe the donated money will more likely be used for life necessities like food or clothing or water. But something in me stirred when I saw him. I am usually fearful of coming close to someone standing like this as I fear for the safety of my children in the car, in case the person is hostile. I don’t want to put my children in any type of risk. That fear urges me to keep driving past homeless beggars. However, this time my fear was dim. I stopped the van, reached into my wallet and handed him some cash. This is something I’ve never done before because my fear was too great.

“Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

My son watched me do this as the man simply said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas.” The man’s facial features didn’t change as he said it, but his eyes softened.

I told him Merry Christmas back and rolled up my window. It felt wonderful to give him that money. My handing him cash brought on a conversation with my son as we drove about homeless people and giving. He instantly wondered where the man would go when he was cold and where he could sleep. I explained to him about homeless shelters. I told him if they didn’t exist people would die in the cold in our winter climate. He shook his head; he understood that.

It was a good lesson for him to see when he constantly wants to do fun things and buy more things. The truth is our family is very blessed. We have a nice home with many wonderful amenities. Our family goes on vacations and we do fun things. We have plenty of food, and good food often. The kids do sports activities and have nice clothes. We can afford pets and extras like skis and a trampoline. But so many people cannot afford this and I try to drill that into my kids. I talk about it a lot. My husband and I donate to several charities and we make it known to our kids. I talk about how much things cost so our kids are aware of how much it costs to go to a movie or go bowling. They need to know that what we are doing costs money, and we are lucky to be able to do it.

I wonder what made my fear of that man abate when normally that fear is always present in me. Perhaps God eased my fear enough in that moment to roll down my window for this man. Maybe he was truly in need and it was God’s way of helping him through me. I love that possibility that I could help someone because of a silent urge instilled by God. Or perhaps God wanted to teach my son about giving. Maybe God wanted to teach me about giving without fear. Most likely all the above reasons are true. Regardless, it felt good to give him the money.

Winter Scene of trees with snow falling

Winter snow falling

Blessing

That act was a blessing, it cast a clear shiny glow about the rest of my day. My smile purer, my Christmas joy stronger. It created a great conversation starter for my son and I to talk about giving to the less fortunate and to help him realize how much we truly have as a family.

I am so glad I stopped this time. It was the right and clear action. I wonder about that man’s story and how he ended up homeless. Was it his fault or was it an unforeseen circumstance that lead to his homelessness? Was he lazy? Was he even trying to better his life? Was he a drunk? Was he going to just go buy alcohol or drugs with that money I just gave him?

I guess it really doesn’t matter because I helped him whether that help will ease his pain or his hunger or his thirst, I won’t be the judge of how he uses the money and is it a good enough reason. It just felt good to help. Having my son witness it felt good. Giving without knowing the end result felt good. I don’t really know for sure if the other money donated to established charities is really used efficiently and for only necessary things. That’s an illusion. I will never really know. Perhaps in the end, giving to a sole man out on his own is the same as giving to charities as I have no control over how the money is spent in either case. To give, that is what is important. To give as much as we can as often as we can. That is what matters.

It felt genuine to just give directly to a person in need. Something I need to do more of if I can get past my fear of safety. That is something I can strive for with God’s help.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV

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Apple and Prune Tarts

Apple and Prune Tarts

Apple and Prune Tarts

This post contains an affiliate link. Please see my disclaimer page for details.

Apple and prune tarts are so delicious. I choose to make this favorite flaky tart for Christmas as my mom did and my grandma before her. But they would be wonderful for any time of year. This recipe uses only five ingredients to make the pastry plus whatever fruit filling is chosen. My family has made this recipe for years because it is so good!

A Baking Tradition

Baking often is tied to keeping a tradition alive. My grandma was 100% Finnish and she was actually born in Finland. This is her recipe passed down through my mom. My mother carried on the tradition of making these pastry-like treats for my dad once his mother passed away. I continue this tradition of making fruit filled tarts in memory of my grandma and my mom. Now my children and husband have come to love these tarts as well. This cookie is a favorite food memory for my dad as well because he gets to eat a favorite cookie his mother made years ago.

Fruit Filling

My mom and grandma always made prune tarts but I changed it and tried different fruit fillings. This year I made apple and prune tarts. However in previous years I’ve used strawberry pie filling, raspberry or blackberry jelly. Pie filling works the best as jelly starts to leak out onto the pan during baking. Apple is a favorite flavor of tart for my own family and I continue the prune for my dad. Prune filling can be made (see the end of this post for my grandma’s prune filling recipe) or buy it in a can at the grocery store in the pie filling can section.

 

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Print Recipe
Apple and Prune Tarts
A delicious flaky pastry cookie at Christmas time or any time of year. Apple tarts and prune tarts are so yummy! A treat I love to enjoy with coffee or milk. The recipe has been passed down from my 100% Finnish grandma, through my mom, and onto me. I keep our food tradition alive for my family. They are similar to a mini pie in a flaky pastry. Everyone who tastes falls this treat falls in love with it. Add it to your favorite recipes, you will love it!
Apple and Prune Tarts
Prep Time 2-3 hours
Cook Time 7-10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 2-3 hours
Cook Time 7-10 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Apple and Prune Tarts
Instructions
  1. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form (if you whip too long it will separate and you will have made butter, check out my blog post on making homemade butter at the end of this post).
  2. Sift the dry ingredients into the cream. Mix with a mixer until blended. Stir in the butter (soft or melted). Chill in the fridge for several hours. I have kept in the fridge for several days before making the tarts.
  3. Set the dough out to soften a bit so it can be rolled out with a rolling pin. Roll out a thin layer of dough. Make sure there is a layer of flour under dough to prevent the dough from sticking.
    Rollout out the tart dough in a thin layer
  4. Score the dough into 2-3 inch squares.
  5. Make a one inch cut on each corner of the squares.
  6. Add about 3/4 - 1 tsp of fruit filling to the middle of each square.
    Add 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of fruit filling to each square
  7. Fold the tart by folding in every other point. So as you go around the tart, fold one point in to the center, leave the next point, fold the next, etc.
    Fold the dough in at every other point
  8. Fold every other point to make a star. Pinch dough points in center together very HARD, and then slightly knead together or it will pop open during baking. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place cookies on pan about 1 1/2 inches apart.
    Fold dough to make a star
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes depending on dough thickness. Swiftly remove the tarts if points turn brown and remove them immediately from pan. WATCH the tarts closely and try to remove before tips turn brown.
    Apple Tart
Recipe Notes

Homemade Prune Filling, My Grandma's Recipe

  • 1 pound prunes, may need to grind up
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cook prunes until soft. Drain. Press through a wire strainer or puree in a food processor with lemon juice and sugar.

Enjoy!

Enjoy tarts within about 5-6 days or refrigerate for a longer shelf life.

Homemade Butter:

Once I mixed the whipping cream too long and made butter. How to make easy homemade butter

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