Simply Sweet Home

Recipes, Decor, Crafts, Product Reviews, Giveaways and more.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Burgers on the Grill

If you think, a burger is a burger, think again. There are a ton of burger recipes out there, for any and all kinds of people, regardless of your personal style and tastes. Personally I prefer the "traditional" version. I usually use Dale's Sauce for a marinade, and it is just awesome! I also remember when I was young, my dad cooking up some burgers on the stove, marinaded in Dale's Sauce and cooked with some onions and sometimes green peppers. Very good!

Here's a list of links to some great burger recipes...many of them have a special twist and there's also some links to some grilling tips as well. For your viewing pleasure, I've also included a few tasty and "interesting" burger photos from BHG's 21 Great Burgers! Suddenly I've got a craving for a burger & fries...hmmm. Enjoy!

Latino Barbecue Burger

Chuckwagon Goat Cheese Burgers with Onion Jam

Southern Style Hamburgers

Blue Cheese Vidalia Onion Burger

Cajun Chicken Burger

Hawaiian Chicken Burger

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yummy Kabob Recipes for the Summer

With the summer grilling season in full swing, I wanted to features some recipe, links, and ideas for your cookouts. Today I'm starting with some Kabobs which I found on BHG. BHG has a lot of great recipe for burgers, kabobs, and other backyard barbecue recipes, as well as some great party ideas. Visit Quick & Easy Kabobs to view 22 different kabob recipes.

Lamb Kabobs

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

Top Sirloin Kabobs

Mustard-Glazed Pork Skewers

More cookout and summer party ideas coming up later! Have a great rest of the week!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Recipe of The Week: Uncle Sam's Red, White, & Blue Parfaits

I finally made it back home early this morning. I'm still in the process of unpacking and settling back in, but I wanted to come on here tonight to post the photo of the's just not the same without the picture, is it?

Hope you all had a great holiday, and I hope you enjoy this cool treat.

2 cups boiling water, divided
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Gelatin, any red flavor
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Brand Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin
2 cups cold water, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
STIR 1 cup boiling water into each flavor dry gelatin in separate large bowls 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Stir 1 cup cold water into gelatin in each bowl.
POUR each gelatin flavor into separate 8-inch square pans.
REFRIGERATE 4 hours or until firm. Cut gelatin in each pan into 1/2-inch cubes. Layer alternating flavors of gelatin cubes and the whipped topping in 10 dessert glasses. Store in refrigerator.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday for May 19

It's a quick & easy menu for me this week. We're leaving on Friday to visit family again for the holidays and to attend some area festivals. We were just there for Mother's Day, but our previous visit before that was in February, and my husband's going to have a lot going on with school and work this summer, so who knows when we'll have a chance to go visit again. (perhaps 4th of July? but maybe not)

I do plan to do a couple of posts for Memorial Day before we leave, so check back in the next couple of days to see those. Have a great week!

Monday - Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Stuffing
Tuesday - Tuna Salad
Wednesday - Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Thursday - Hot Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
Friday, Saturday, & Sunday - Out of town

Join the fun of MPM at


Friday, May 16, 2008

Celebrate National Military Appreciation Month, Armed Forces Day, and Memorial Day by Supporting Our Troops

Now is the month of Maying. Spring is here. The school year is drawing to a close, and we are beginning to plan for summer barbecues, parties, vacations, and days in the sun.

With so much stuff going on in May and with spring fever going around, it is often forgotten or unknown that May is also National Miliary Appreciation Month. Then there is Armed Forces Day on May 17, and of course, Memorial Day is a week from Monday.

I had a history professor that always told us to enjoy our holiday weekend, but he also encouraged us to think and reflect about why we were getting a holiday in the first place. He also encouraged us to avoid the holiday sales, as he felt that our soliders did not fight and die so that retailers could make a buck. While I don't like telling others what they should or should not do, (as I don't like being told myself) I think it is something to think about and consider over the next week and a half, as we celebrate.

And for my own part, in the sprit of giving and in the spirit of honoring the military, I decided to post a few links to some charities and causes that you might be interested in donating to. I think it's very important that we honor all of our Veterans and those who are currently serving. They put themselves in harm's way every day so that we can be free, and they deserve our thanks and so much more.
America Supports You - here you'll find a whole host of charities and services to aid the military .

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Graduation Cup-caps

Going along with the graduation theme, here's a very cute cupcake recipe. These would be so great for kindergarden and pre-school graduates, but the big kids and adults should like them too.

Graduation Cup-caps
1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow or white cake mix
1 env. KOOL-AID Orange Flavor Unsweetened Soft Drink Mix
2/3 cup (1/2 of 7-oz. tub) BAKER'S Real Dark Semi-Sweet Dipping Chocolate, melted
12 HONEY MAID Honey Grahams, broken crosswise in half (12 squares)
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
2 chewy fruit snack rolls, any color
24 jelly beans
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin pan cups with paper liners. Prepare cake batter as directed on package. Stir in drink mix until well blended. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool.
SPREAD 1 tsp. melted chocolate onto each graham square to cover entire top of cracker. Place on baking sheet. Refrigerate until hardened. Remove paper from cupcakes. Turn upside down. Using wooden spoon handle, make small tunnel from top to bottom in center of cupcake. Place whipped topping in small resealable plastic bag. Snip corner; pipe small amount of whipped topping into each cupcake. Place remaining whipped topping on top. Top with chocolate covered graham to make "cap".
SEE tip below to make tassels. Place each tassel on top of cap with jelly bean in center, using a small amount of whipped topping as glue.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

22 Great Graduation Gift Ideas

Teenagers and twenty-somethings can be hard to buy for. Fortunately we have a huge array of items to choose from. Whether you're looking for a graduation keepsake, a dorm/apartment warming present, or something a little more "hip," it's easy to find something that the graduate in your life will love. Here's a list of great gift ideas for the high school kids who are going off to the college and the college kids who are ready to go off and join the world.

1. Bible
2. Jewelry
3. Sunglasses
4. Pocket knife
5. Wallet
6. Watch
7. Souvenier throw, blanket, or embroidered pillow.
8. Books
9. Planner, Calendar, Diary
10. Picture Frame
11. Stuffed animal
12. PDA, cell phone
13. MP3 Player, Ipod, or portable dvd player
14. Graduation Plaque or figurines
15. Computer software or accessories
16. Plaque or figurine related to the student's future major or career
17. Bedding, a microwave, a lamp, and other dorm or first apartment supplies
18. Movies or music
19. Supplies related to a hobby or the students major (like art supplies, a musical instrument, etc.)
20. A digital camera
21. Brief case, laptop case, or backpack
22. And if all else fails, there's always cash or gift cards


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shopping for Graduation Gifts

Graduation season is upon us. Some of the colleges around here have already held their spring commencement ceremonies, and the high schools will be coming up shortly.

For those of you looking to buy the perfect gift for the high school and college graduates in your life, here is a list of links to help you out.

Things Remembered

Find Gift

A+ Graduation Gifts

Barnes & Noble

Leather Tree

Cafe Press



More graduation posts coming up! Have a great day!


Monday, May 12, 2008

My Week Away

Hello everyone. I'm sorry there was only one post last week, but I had to go out of town. We had planned to go out of town for Mother's Day weekend, but I had some business come up, including a dental emergency, so we left on Tuesday and were gone the whole week. In fact, we just got back Monday evening.

All in all, we had a pretty good trip. As I said, I had a dental emergency that needed to be handled. (Even though I've moved I still go to my old dentist b/c he knows my history. Plus, we plan on moving back within the next year or 2, so it seemed silly to swap) Long story short, I had an infection which needed a root canal, and then I had a cracked feeling that needed to be replaced. As you can imagine, it was just a barrel of laughs!

But after that was over, and after attending to some other business, I got to spend a few days with the family, which was fun. My neice had a chorus concert, so I was lucky enough to be up there for that. I was in chorus myself in school, and I had a great passion for it, and I still love attending the concerts. Anyway, it was a lovely show. The kids sounded good, and they were clearly having a great time.

And to top off the week, my cousin's wife had her first baby on Mother's Day. My cousin is one of 2 boys, and they're both in their 30's, and neither of them has had a child up until now. So they were all extremely excited to welcome little Elizabeth Rose into the world.

And of course, I was so busy with everything last week, I had absolutely no time to post or do any good planning for this week either. But I'm compiling some ideas in my head as I type, and I'll have out at least 2 or 3 posts in the next few days, so stay tuned!

I hope you all had a good weekend and a great Mother's Day! Talk to you soon!


Monday, May 5, 2008

10 Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Sometimes it seems like women (namely, mothers) are the hardest people to buy for. Since Mother's Day is coming up this week, I decided to do a few posts on gift ideas. Here's a list of general gift ideas for you to keep in mind this week as you search for the perfect gift for your own mom, or for other moms you know.

1. Flowers - A boquet, or better yet a potted plant that your mom can take care of.

2. A picture frame - What mom doesn't love picture frames? And for a personalized touch, include a family photo a picture of your little ones.

3. Coffee cups, shirts, and other personalized items - I just love all these kits out on the market today, where you can take a photograph and have it printed on a picture frame, a coffee cup, and other items.

4. Clothing, jewelry & handbags - If your mom doesn't buy a lot of clothes and other items for herself, this could be a good gift idea for you.

5. Knick knacks & collectibles - My mom is a big collector...everything from Barbies to antiques to Halmark Ornaments and Beanies, to Mickey Mouse toys and Bird plates.... She's hard to buy for because she has everything she needs, so when all else fails, I get her something to add to her collection.

6. Candies, cakes, and treats - Get your mom some fancy chocolates or a gourmet cheesecake, or present her with your own homebaked masterpiece.

7. Photo album or scrapbook - Mom's and grandmoms love pictures of the kids. Put together a photo album or scrapbook of the kids. This way your mom will have all their photos preserved without all the work.

8. Craft and scrapbook supplies - If your mom sews, scrapbooks, or does any other kind of crafting, you could buy her some supplies or get her a gift certificate to the craft store.

9. Salon/Spa Day - Get your mom a gift certificate for a day at the spa or a beauty salon, or better yet make it a mother-daughter day of it. Take your mom out for a morning at the salon, followed by lunch and an afternoon of shopping. Or share a day of pampering at a dayspa.

10. Dinner - Take your mom out for dinner, invite her over to your place for dinner, or bring the homecooked meal to her.

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Recipe of the Week: Southwestern Chicken

Since Cinco de Mayo is coming up, I thought it appropriate to have a spicy Mexican style dish for this week's recipe. I found this recipe in Taste of Home back in December and tried it out. It's just as flavorful as it is colorful, and that's saying something. My husband loves spicy food, and this recipe definitely got his seal of approval!

2 cans (15-1/4 ounces each) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa, divided
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: Combine the corn, black beans and 1/2 cup of salsa in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with chicken; pour the remaining salsa over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours or until meat juices run clear. Sprinkle with cheese; cover until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

My Suggestions:

-Just as with all slow cooker meals, cooking times will vary on this one. My crockpot is new, so I was able to cook this low in about 5-6 hours.

-Also, when I made this I used small tenders instead of split chicken breasts.

-I also recommend adding a little water or chicken broth to prevent drying and burning.

-When serving, top with extra cheese, sour cream, or your favorite toppings. And don't forget the chips and dip on the side!

-For a more creamy mixture, I recommend adding a can of cream of chicken soup (or mushroom) along with water or chicken broth.

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