{Guest Post} Lucky Mugs from Lemon Tree Dwelling

Hi there! Isn’t this birthday extravaganza awesome? I hope you have enjoyed all the awesome posts so far this week!

Today, Cathy from Lemon Tree Dwelling is here to share a great idea for St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy!
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Hi! My name is Cathy and I am so excited to be guest posting for Shannah today at Just Us Four! With the Superbowl behind us, and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought maybe we could get a head start on some St. Patrick’s Day gifts. These are easy & inexpensive, and they make the perfect personalized gift from you or your kiddos to someone you love!

Lucky mugs. Actually, I tend to think that all mugs are lucky. I can recall numerous times in my life when the ONLY thing that got me out of bed was the promise of a strong cup of coffee (or three!!) Like every time I’ve had a newborn…or anytime I’ve had a kid who was up sick in the middle of the night…or how about the year we moved into a fixer-upper when I was 7 months pregnant…..!? Yep, at times like these, a warm mug in my hands makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 

See, I think luck is about so much more than winning the lottery or making it big. I think luck is about all the small things that get us out of bed in the morning! Like our family, our friends, our work, our hobbies, our passions…. and, in a very literal sense (mine pull me out of bed every single morning), our kids! Which is why I love the idea of theseLucky Mugs with fingerprint shamrocks – the perfect daily reminder of just how lucky we really are (an especially helpful reminder when you have just been woken up 5 times in one night…!)

Here’s what you will need:

  • white mug (I found mine at Goodwill)
  • flexible alphabet stencils
  • small paintbrush
  • bakeable glass paint (dishwasher safe)  

 
Directions:
1. Wash & dry mug, then wipe area to be painted with alcohol. Let dry completely.
2. Use fingerprints to make shamrock (I made 3 leaves – one for each of my kids) and use a paintbrush to make a stem.
3. Let shamrock dry completely.
4. Using stencils and a small paintbrush, paint “lucky” or any word of your choice, one letter at a time. It works well to tape the edges of the stencil onto the mug to hold it in place.
5. Let paint dry completely between letters.
6. Once all the paint has been applied and dried, use a toothpick to scrape away any imperfections.
7. Follow baking directions on paint bottle.     

As you can see, my mug is still far from perfect. There is too much paint here, not enough paint there….. But I actually kind of like it that way. It’s kind of like life – imperfect, but lucky nonetheless :)

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Thanks so much Cathy!  Be sure to go visit Lemon Tree Dwelling to see the other amazing stuff Cathy has to share!
 

{Guest Post} Red Pepper, Bacon and Onion Tart from A Little Claireification

Happy Wednesday! Today, Claire, from A Little Clairefication is taking over and sharing an awesome recipe with you!
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Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

And that’s a WHOLE lot of love, right??

Hi, it’s me Claire and I blog over at A Little CLAIREification! I am just SO super excited to be guest posting here today at Just Us Four! What a treat, thanks Shannah! You can find out a little bit more about me here.

But for now what you should know is that, in my world… everything tastes better with BACON! :) Ohhhh ok, ok. I don’t eat bacon that much – a couple of times a month, maybe – but I sure do love it! And for any of you vegetarians out there, you can substitute extra red peppers or maybe whatever veggie-meat product you prefer in this recipe. I present my Red Pepper, Bacon & Onion Tart – Valentine’s style!

I just adore making (and eating! ) tarts! They are super simple and the possibilities are endless! So many ingredients, so little time. Since we’re making a savory tart today I am going to use my standby tart dough recipe for a basic “Pâte Brisée”. Sounds fancy, huh? Nahh. It’s super simple (and inexpensive!) and the more you make it, the more you will get used to working with homemade tart dough and wonder why you never did it before!

So for the tart dough, the most important thing to remember is to keep it cold! Those little chunks of chilled butter are what makes for a very flaky crust.

The only ingredients in the dough?

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 stick cold butter (I freeze mine to make it super cold), chopped into small cubes
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/8 cup of ice water

Process the first three in a food processor adding the water very slowly in a stream until the dough forms pea size crumbles and just barely starts to come together. You definitely don’t want to over mix! You may need to add a few more drops of water but once you knead it, the butter will add some moisture too. It will look crumbly but this is normal. Pile the dough mixture onto a floured surface and gently knead together until just formed into a round disc. Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400*.

I love fresh ingredients!! We actually grew these red peppers in our container garden on our patio! Now I just need a pet chicken. I hear the City frowns on that, though… (and I am sure my cat would be less than amused). ;)

Fresh Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 6-7 slices of bacon, crispy and crumbled into pieces (save the drippings!)
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half (or a split combination of milk and heavy cream)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp each, salt & pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

When cooking the bacon, I saved the drippings in the pan. When ready, I reheated the pan on medium heat, and added in the diced onion, letting it cook down for about 5 minutes or so.

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

I then added the diced red pepper, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. A little steam on my camera lens!

Onions and peppers cooking

While those cooked, I pulled out the dough round and rolled it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.

I used a round tart form for this one but whatever shape you have would work. You can buy tart forms at a cooking store (like Williams Sonoma) or a large home goods store (like Bed Bath & Beyond). They are so handy I have several shapes and use them for both sweet and savory dishes.

Lay the dough into the form and press it down around the edges. It’s ok to take pieces and press them into any gaps along the sides – no worries. These tart pans are very forgiving!

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

 

Place the tart dough in the oven to set up for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget it – set a timer!! You can use pie weights in the middle if you want – since it was only 10 minutes, I just patted the “puffy” middle down by hand because that’s how I roll. ;)

In the meanwhile, remove the onions and peppers from the heat and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk (or heavy cream mixture), nutmeg, salt and pepper and whisk until combined.

Remove the “par-baked” tart from the oven and spread the onion and red pepper mixture across the bottom of the tart. Follow with a layer of crumbled bacon. Lastly, a layer of cheese… YUM. I used a triple cheddar combo. You can pretty much use your favorite cheese though!

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

Carefully pour the egg mixture over the tart until just below the top of the crust. I got a little “precious” and laid in a heart shape with some of the diced red peppers. :)

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

Gently place the tart back into the oven (and place a baking sheet below it to catch any drippings!) for about 20 minutes checking it often after 15 minutes or so. Once the egg filling is firm, it’s all done! I added more crumbled bacon into the middle of the heart because.. well more bacon! Yeah!!

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

Although, in hindsight, I could have left it in for another 5 minutes or so to brown up the crust even more. Ahh, we’re all just home cooks, right?? After about 10 minutes or so, I carefully removed he tart from the form. Hot stuff!!

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

Since every single member of my family converged upon this and completely devoured the entire thing I’m lucky even got “after” pictures, let alone a piece for myself!

Red Pepper & Bacon Tart with ALittleClaireification.com #redpeppertart #recipe #food

 

Now how sweet is THAT to serve up for a little Valentine’s breakfast in bed??

Yep, you had me at bacon. ;)

It’s been such a pleasure posting here today! I sure hope you’ll stop by and visit sometime!

xoxo,

Claire

{Guest Post} Sloppy Joes from Plucky’s Second Thought

Welcome to my birthday week guest posting extravaganza. Today, we have an awesome recipe from Jess who blogs over at Plucky’s Second Thought.

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Hello all! I’m Jess from Plucky’s Second Thought! At Plucky’s Second Thought I try to post really easy crafts and recipes that anyone could complete and accomplish. Yep, you don’t have to be Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray to attempt anything on my blog! I was asked to Guest Blog on Shannah’s Blog to help her out, and I couldn’t say no because I was really excited to share my Homemade Sloppy Joe recipe! :)
What’s the best thing about this recipe?  You know everything that is going into this dish!  There are NO hidden ingredients/chemicals that you tend to find in store bought Sloppy Joe sauces!
Please enjoy this delicious recipe, and I’m sure it’s going to become your family’s favorite like it has mine! :)
Ingredients:
• olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• 1 green bell pepper, diced
• 1 and 1/4 lbs ground beef
• 1 and 1/3 c ketchup
• 2 tbsp white vinegar
• 1 heaping tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tsp chile powder
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 2/3 c water
• hamburger bun

Directions:
• In a large skillet sauté onion and pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat.
• Once tender, remove from skillet.
• Then brown beef over medium heat; drain grease.
• Add sautéed vegetables back in pan along with ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, spices, salt, pepper, and water.
• Bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring often.
• Serve on hamburger buns.
source: http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/easy-sloppy-joes/

{Guest Post} Valentine’s Day Pancakes from Ang at Juggling Act Mama

Welcome to the birthday extravaganza!

Each year, I like to take my birthday week off to relax and enjoy some down time. In place of reading stuff from me each day, I feature a bunch of awesome bloggers and their projects/recipes!

Today, opening up our week of awesomeness, is Ang from Juggling Act Mama! She is sharing some delicious looking pancakes that are perfect for the upcoming holiday!
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Hi, I’m Ang (as in, short for Angela). I’m a mother, wife, daughter, sister, auntie, and friend, attempting to do it all – because, well, I want to (and I’m a bit of a nut!). I’m also a writer, crafter, scrapbooker, amateur photographer and Pinterest addict. Long before Pinterest, I developed addictions to books, snapping memories of my kids, and chocolate desserts… or chocolate anything…or…ok, just sweets in general – don’t judge me! I love being creative.

I’m married to my best friend and high school love (we’ve been together for more than half my life now, and married for 8 years). He’s a very supportive albeit, handsome dorky guy – (though I can’t complain since I have live-in tech support!)  He can also make me crazy, and I’m not talking about the good crazy: I’m a multi-tasker that swears by lists; he’s a realist that detests them.
We have two beautiful children – ok, I’m biased, but who isn’t when it comes to their kids, right? Our sweet, silly, smart son, Ethan, is four, and our darling, dimpled, diva daughter Olivia (Livi) is one.
I am the proud owner of an Etsy shop called AngelFlowers, where I sell some of my handmade hair accessories. Oh, and I also work full time at an awesome start-up, as an office manager, (this company has the potential to rock peoples worlds, in ways no one has imagined before).  So maybe I have my hands a little full… but don’t we all?
 
 
I’m excited to be here to share with you a special way to say I love you to everyone in your family this Valentine’s Day with a ‘heart-felt’ pancake breakfast. (So corny, but I couldn’t help myself!) These pink and white pancakes are so easy to make, so here’s how to do it.
 
 
Start with your favorite pancake mix.  I love these Fluffy Pancakes, which are light and delicious, and perfect for cutting shapes out of them.  
 
Simply mix up your batter, then divide it into two bowls.  In one bowl, add red food coloring to get the color pink or red you want.
 
Next, fry your pancakes just as you normally would, taking care to make an equal number of regular and colored pancakes.
 
Carefully cut the heart-shapes out of the pancakes using a cookie cutter.  Next, remove the heart cut outs and put the white one into the colored pancake, and the colored one into the white pancake.
 
For an extra special treat, sprinkle in some mini chocolate chips, fresh raspberries, or serve these with a quick Strawberry Sauce.
 
These pancakes are sure to put a smile on your valentine’s face!
 
I hope you’ll come visit me for more creative recipes and fun activities to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
 

 

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Thanks so much for sharing this great idea Ang!

Be sure to go visit Ang over on her blog, Juggling Act Mama!