Simply Sweet Home

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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Strawberry Cake Cookies

Have I mentioned to you that I love cake mix cookies?  Yeah! I think I have!  And I think before it's all over with, I'm probably going to make every flavor of cake mix cookie available to me.  It's know it sounds like a tough task, but I think I'm up to the challenge! LOL.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to try out some Strawberry Cookies.  I thought the pink would be fantastically festive for the holiday.  And once they were baked, I thought what could I add to really make them scream, "Happy Valentine's Day!"  My answer: Chocolate! Of course!  Hope you enjoy!

Recipe for Strawberry Cake Cookies:

1 Strawberry Cake Mix (18.5 oz)
1 egg
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup oil

Directions:  Mix ingredients together with spoon or electric mixer.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes or so to keep dough from sticking to your hands. (If dough is still sticky, refrigerate a few minutes more.)  Roll into one inch balls and place on a non stick cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray.   Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.  Edges should be lightly browned.

Candy/Sugar Sprinkles
Almond Bark, Chocolate Chips, or a Chocolate Bar

To decorate the cookies, I immediately poured just a small amount of red candy sprinkles on them right after I took them out of the oven.  And usually I mix a spoon full sprinkles in with the actually dough before making, but I didn't do that this time. 

For the topping, I just took a couple of squares of almond bark and heated in the microwave for about a minute and half.  Don't forget to take the chocolate out every 15 seconds to stir, in order to prevent scorching.  Then just drizzle the chocolate on.  I was in a hurry so I just used a spoon and shook it back and forth to create a drizzled effect.  For a more professional look, you can use a piping bag. And if you don't have this you can put the chocolate in a ziplok bag with a tiny whole cut in the corner.

And here's a picture of some of the cookies that I kept plain. And I have to tell you, if you really want just a simple tasting, sweet treat, without all the frills, these plain strawberry cookies are just delightful!

I'm linking up at these parties..


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Friday Favorites - Week 48


Hi everyone! Welcome to Friday Favorites!  Thanks for stopping by to link up your posts this week.

I know some of you may be gone to the Blissdom, and if you are, you will probably be too busy and having way too much fun to stop by here this week, but if you are at Blissdom and you make it by here, I'd love for you to email me next week and let me know how it went, what you learned, etc.

Progresso Souper You Giveaway

For the rest of you, I hope you enjoy this week's featured posts! Also, while you're here, please take a moment to enter my Progresso Souper You Giveaway. There's free soup and fitness stuff included in this prize pack. Great stuff!


Jar of Love from City Girl Gone Coastal

Valentine's Art from My Life's Little Pieces

Valentine Pastries from Snips & Spice

Valentine Necklace from Chronicles of All Things Mommy

Girls Clippie & Bow Holder from A Sign of the Times

I'm looking forward to seeing your projects from this week. Please link them up below. Also, I'd love if you could include my button or a link back to my blog somewhere on your site. Thanks!



Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Love Jar Gift Idea and Tutorial

For this week's project, I'm sharing this Love Jar that I made for my husband last year for Valentine's Day.  It's is really fun project to make for the one you love.  Essentially you just decorate a jar or other container and then you write things on slips of paper and place them in the jar.

For this Love Jar, I typed out a whole bunch of reasons that I love my husband and placed them in the jar.  You could also make these for your kids and tell them the reasons you love them or reasons why they are special.  And of course, this would be a great project to do with your kids.  You could help them to make these for their dad or grandparent.  It could even be a good teacher gift.

Another idea that I've thought of for you to consider is making a Quote Jar or a Bible Verse Jar.  I think these would make really cute gifts.  I also think a Poetry Jar would be cute.  My husband loves poetry, and I think he would love a jar that he could pull poems out of.  And another idea I've seen on other blogs is the Conversation Jar. This is where you fill the jar with conversation topics, for when your family gathers around the table.

What You Need:
A container
Scrapbook Paper
Scrapbook tags/embellishments (optional)
Mod Podge

Step 1:  Remove any labels from your container.

Step 2: Wrap paper around your container to check for sizing.  Cut out paper.  Take your paintbrush and apply a light coat of Mod Podge to your container.  Then wrap your paper around the container.  After you have the paper stuck to the container, take your paint brush and put another light coat of Mod Podge over the paper to seal it.  Let dry.

Step 3: Use Mod Podge to add any tags or embellishments, including a tag for the top if you like.  You can also paint your top.  I chose not to paint mine because the color orange was in my paper.  I didn't have any scrapbook elements that I liked that would fit the top, so for my top, I made up the following phrase, printed it out, and mod podged it to the top: "Whenever You're Down or Feeling Blue, Just Look at All the Reasons I Love You."

Step 4:  Write or type out different words, phrases, or sentences.  Cut them out and place them in the jar.  For this jar, the theme was all the reasons that I love my husband.  Some of the strips had as little as two words, while others were 2 or 3 sentences.  Some of the reasons I put in were very serious and heartfelt while others were more lighthearted and funny.  The possibilities are endless.


I'm linking up to these linky parties.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Pittsburgh Steeler Cupcakes

This week instead of sharing a recipe for my food post, I'm sharing these cupcakes that I made over the weekend.  My husband is a HUGE sports fanatic, and his favorite team guessed it! The Pittsburgh Steelers! 

As soon as we found out that the Steelers would be playing in the AFC Championship Game, I knew I had to make something special for my hubby.  His favorite cake is yellow cake with chocolate icing, which just so happens to be a perfect tie in for the Black and Gold!

How to Make My Easy and Super Yummy Cupcakes
For the cupcakes, I just used a yellow cake mix and baked as directed. The only thing I added to the recipe was a tablespoon of almond flavoring and a tablespoon of vanilla. This really gives it a rich flavor! 

And then I just used a store bought frosting.  Normally I heat the canned frosting when using it for sheet cakes, but for this I just put it straight into the piping bag.  I had enough frosting in the can to frost 12 cupcakes, and then just enough left over to heat up and pour over a small 9 inch cake that I made to go alongside the cupcakes.  But if you plan on making 2 dozen cupcakes with canned frosting, I'd suggest you get an extra can. 

Cupcake Topper Tutorial

You will not believe how easy it was to make my cupcake toppers!  Before I get to the tutorial I should remind you that sports and other logos are copyrighted and files should be used for personal use only, unless you have permissions to use them otherwise.  I'm not sure what all the copyright rules are because in spite of this, I've seen a lot of items on etsy that use copyrighted logos and the like.  But I would just be careful, and only use logos like this for your own personal projects.

Here's What You'll Need:
Glue or tape
Scissors or a Round Paper Punch
Computer w/ Printer.

Step 1: Go on the internet and search for the logo of your favorite sports team. (I just typed in "Pittsburgh Steelers Logo."  Wikipedia is great source for this. (After finding the Steelers logo on here, I checked for some other teams, and Wikipedia appears to have a logo for every team out there.)  But if not, you should be able to find something on  just a straight internet search.

Step 2:  Right click on the logo and save it.  Next open up a Word document.  (You could use a photoshop program or other application as well, but Word is just fine with me.)  On a new document in Word, go to the Insert tab, and Insert a Picture.  Select your Picture (the logo), and it will appear on your screen.  Now highlight the image and copy it, and then just paste it on to the document as many times as you like.  (I was able to fit 16 logos onto my page.) Note: If you don't know how to copy/paste, you can also choose to keep inserting the photo onto the page.

Step 3:  After you have your images ready, print them out on card stock.  Then use scissors or a paper punch to punch out your logos.

Step 4: Use glue or tape to attach your logos to the toothpicks.  For mine, I placed the toothpick about half way up the circle.

Step 5: Stick these in your iced cupcakes, and you've got a super cute, yet easy and inexpensive cupcake decoration!  And your party guests will love them!

There you have it! Quick and easy cupcake toppers!

And my cupcakes must have been lucky, because now the Steelers are moving on to the Super Bowl!  So if you're a fan you should definitely make some of these for your party on February 6!  And if you're not a Steeler fan, you can even make some for "that other team."  LOL.

I'm linking up at these fun linky parties.


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Thirty-One Gifts Review & Giveaway

Last week I told you about a great company called Thirty-One Gifts, which offers lovely purses, totes, and accessories, as well as a fun opportunity to host parties, and even make money as an independent representative.

And this week I'm thrilled to share a product review and giveaway from Thirty-One Gifts. Laura Aridgides, a Thirty-One Gifts Representative, sent me this adorable lunch tote in the pattern called "Chains Ahoy."

This is such a cute tote!  As you can see, it is navy blue with a lime green handle, and the fabric features white chains, for a sailing/boat motif.  I can remember when I was a kid in the late 80's and early 90's, that my mom and I both had some clothing and accessories with the sailing theme, so it kind of reminds me of that.  And since so many of the styles I wore as I kid are now back in fashion, I think this tote fits right in for today.

I really like the size of this tote.  There's plenty of room inside for your food and a bottled drink.  And there's even a pocket on the side for additional items. The bag is made of good quality materials and appears to insulated well.  And this tote actually has a zipper, making it more fashionable and more apt to stay closed than the old velcro totes I've owned.  And of course, I also love that you can get all your items personalized at Thirty-One Gifts.

I also like the shape and overall design of it, as it makes the tote more purse-like and just a lot more fashionable than other lunch bags out there.  Personally I know a lot of people who have small children and often carry a bag with small snacks and drinks whenever they go out, and I think this tote would be perfect for that purpose as well. So overall, I find this to be a very useful and very attractive lunch tote. 

Giveaway! Two Simply Sweet Home readers will win a cute lunch tote from Thirty-One Gifts. (Each is a $12.50 value!)

Giveaway Closed.


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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friday Favorites - Week 47


Hi everyone! Happy Friday to you all!  First off, I have to tell you something really cool that happened today.  My blog finally reached 1000 followers!  Woohoo! I can't even begin to tell you how exciting that is for me!  I try my best not to dwell on numbers and stats, but ever since I passed the 800 mark, I've really been crossing my fingers that I could get to 1000, so now I'm just really thrilled to be there.  So if you are one of my lovely followers, THANK YOU!  You are very much appreciated!

And for those of you who may be wondering, I am planning to have follower appeciation giveaway very soon in honor of reaching the 1000 mark.  So be on the look out for that!  In the meantime, please check out my Kritter Kondo Deluxe Giveaway. It's ending in a few days, and there's just 52 entries right now!

Now onto this week's party. I especially loved all the Valentine's projects that were linked up last week. Keep em coming!

Valentine's Day Yarn Wreath from My Happily Ever After

Valentine Wreath from Allie Makes

Quilted Valentine Cards from Homework

Sweetheart Wreath from Simply Crafty

Love Frame from Auntie Lolo Crafts


I'm very excited to see what you've been working on this week.  Link up below!


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentine Cupcake Decor

Being on a budget, when it comes time to decorate for a holiday or change up our everyday home decor, I often find myself using things that I already have in new ways.

This year for Valentine's Day I created this cute display for the kitchen counter.

The display includes 2 Valentine's Day mugs and 2 wine glass, both filled with pink and green Christmas balls.  And in the center I have my Valentine cupcake plate that my husband got me at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago.  In front of that I have three cupcake ornaments that I got this Christmas.  And in the very front, I just used some Valentine's Day napkins to add a border and some extra color to the display.

Got any cheap decor ideas for Valentine's Day? 

Do you like to use old things in new ways for your decor? 

I'm linking this post up to these linky parties.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Progresso Souper You Debut Giveaway

As the confetti settles and 2011 begins, say hello to a New Year and a new you with the help of Progresso.

Available in 40 delicious flavors with 100 calories or less, Progresso® Soup can help curb your hunger, making it easier for you to stick to your weight management plan all year long. With hearty ingredients like pasta, beans, corn and rice, and flavor-packed vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, and peppers, Progresso Soup varieties with 100 calories or less offer a good source of fiber and a full serving of vegetables.

To help kick off a new outlook on the New Year, Progresso is excited to announce the return of the "Souper YouTM Debut" contest! From January 3rd through March 16th, you can visit Progresso on Facebook to enter for the chance to win a full makeover in New York City.

Three grand prize winners will be awarded a trip for two to New York City from May 20th-22nd. The prize includes roundtrip airfare, a two-night stay in an NYC hotel, a full makeover, a guided wardrobe shopping spree with a personal consultation at a New York City department store, and $1,000 in spending money.

To enter, you´ll need to do the following:

Go to Progresso on Facebook  to learn more and enter the contest

Submit your essay (200 characters or less) telling Progresso why you love their soups that contain 100 calories or less, and why you deserve a chance to win a trip to NYC for a full fashion overhaul

In addition, please submit a photo of yourself that visually reinforces the theme of your essay

Once the 10 finalists are announced, you can visit Progresso on Facebook from March 30th through April 13th to vote for your favorite.

Get Connected and Get a Coupon!
Visit the Facebook page to download a coupon for $1.00 off four (4) cans of Progresso Soup and to check out makeover videos provided by and the Style Network. Be sure to also "Follow" Progresso on Twitter to keep up with the latest news from Progresso.

Product Review:  I was excited when I got a chance to try some soups from Progresso.  Soup is such a great comfort food, and I especially love it this time of year.  My favorite soup has always been Chicken Noodle, and I'm happy to report that Progresso makes a great chicken noodle in their regular and 100 calorie or less lines.

I'm also excited about the other great flavors they offer such as Beef Pot Roast and Zesty Santa Fe Style Chicken! Doesn't that sound delicious?  And for all my friends out there who love Weight Watchers, these soups are only one point per serving!

As I visited the Progresso website, I was interested to find that they also offer soups for people with other dietary restrictions, such as Gluten Free Soups, Low Fat, Reduced Sodium, and Fiber Source.  Excellent!

Blog Giveaway!  One Simply Sweet Home reader will win a Progresso Souper You prize pack, which includes the following:
-VIP coupon for free can of Progresso Soup
-Yoga Mat
-Water Bottle
-Set of Aerobic Bands
-Sport headband and wristbands

Mandatory Entry: To enter this giveaway, you must be a follower of my blog.  And leave a comment telling me which kind of Progresso Soup  is your favorite or which one you'd most like to try. Deadline - February 1

Extra Entries: Leave a comment for each.
-2 if you follow @SimplySweetHome on Twitter.
-1 for subscribing to Simply Sweet Home via email.
-1 for subscribing to my RSS feeds through Feedburner.
-1 for "liking" Progresso on Facebook
-1 for sharing this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook.  (Sample Tweet: I want to win a Progresso Souper You Prize Pack! @SimplySweetHome #myblogspark #giveaway) (Limit one entry per day.)


Disclosure:  Simply Sweet Home is participating in the Progresso Souper You Campaign through MyBlogSpark.  For hosting this giveaway, I received a prize pack with 5 cans of Progresso soup and and all the fitness items mentioned above from Progresso through MyBlogSpark. The opinions are my own.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicken Spaghetti

Today I'm sharing my *new favorite* recipe! My friend Cindy at Hun...What's For Dinner shared this Chicken Spaghetti on her blog several weeks back.  She originally saw it over at The Pioneer Woman and decided to make a few changes to it.  I then looked over both recipes and made further changes. lol.

I have to tell you, I see so many recipes from week to week.  Many of them get bookmark and some of them eventually get made, but once in while, I see something that looks just good enough (and easy enough) for me to make it the same week.  This was one of those times, and it definitely did not disappoint. I've already made it twice since I found the recipe, and I know I'll be making it a lot more in the future! Enjoy!

Recipe for Chicken Spaghetti

2 cups chicken, cooked
3 cups dry spaghetti (broken)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped (I didn't have this so I used chopped carrot)
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt (I think regular salt would work just as well too)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)

Cook chicken on stove top.  (I used 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but the original recipe calls for a whole fryer chicken.) Remove chicken and cook spaghetti in the same water.  Shred your chicken into tiny pieces and place in large bowl.  Add soups, veggies, cheese, and broth.  Drain the water off your cooked spaghetti, and add noodles to the bowl.  Add seasonings and mix.  Pour into a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Pour an additional cup of cheese over the top.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

I'm sharing this recipe for this week's blog parties.


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