Archive for March 2016

BBQ Apple Butter Baked Ribs

March 31, 2016
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These spareribs are baked with a kickin' dry rub and then slathered with BBQ sauce and apple butter. These ribs are finger-lickin' good and a perfect dinner for the whole family - napkins required!

The kiddos think it's so fun when we have a dinner that they can eat with their hands. They are few and far in between in this house.

Burgers and fries are one thing. But chubby little boy fingers caked in BBQ sauce has me ready to freak out! I'm definitely not a super neat freak, but the gross factor gets to me very quickly. I think God must have blessed me with three, super gross, boys to teach me to LIGHTEN UP. 

All three boys are really messy, but Wesley and Reuben right now are tied as the worst. Reuben, of course, because baby slobber. Thankfully, the two bottom teeth finally poked through two weeks ago, but I somehow thought that might slow down the slobber. That would be a big fat NOPE. I need to order another set of bandana bibs because of how often he soaks through them during the day!

And Wesley. Oh my sweet child, Wesley. He's very independent for a 4 year old, but cleanliness is for sure not his strong point. When I realize how messy his face or hands are, I order him to the kitchen drawer where I keep all the rags so he can wipe his face and hands himself. He usually cleans up about 25% of whats on himself using about 5 rags at a time. It's a good thing he's cute!

So yeah, these ribs were a special dinner for us - but one I'll definitely make a "mess factor" exception to any day of the week - they were AWESOME! No need to fire up the grill if it's still in storage from the winter, these babies cook in the oven and are just as tasty, if not better!

BBQ Apple Butter Baked Ribs

  • 4 lbs pork spareribs
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 16 oz jar apple butter
  • 18 oz bottle BBQ sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Place ribs over an oven safe cooling rack that is placed on top of a cookie sheet. Spread or brush dijon mustard over ribs.
  2. Mix dry rub ingredients in a bowl and rub generously over all sides of ribs. Place ribs in the oven at broil for 5 minutes.
  3. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and return to the oven for 1 hour.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together BBQ sauce and apple butter. Brush over top and sides of ribs. Continue baking an additional 30 minutes until cooked through (total baking time of 3 hours).
  5. Allow ribs to rest uncovered for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

While you do need to allow yourself 3 hours of cooking time, these ribs are well worth it! I think they'd be great for having guests over as well!

Make it a meal with these awesome side dishes!

Creamiest Ever Mashed Potatoes

Deli Cucumber Salad

My favorite tools for this recipe:

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Ice Cream Tacos

March 28, 2016
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoHoppinGood #CollectiveBias

Waffles filled with ice cream and toppings make a fun twist on dessert tacos! This one is a kid favorite!

Well, friends, we've made it. Spring is finally here, can you believe it?! I know, I know, it's hard for me to grasp, too! But yes, warmer days are coming and soon we will be packing away our winter coats and boots and bringing out t-shirts and flip flops.

But... not quite yet. At least not here in Pennsylvania! I read someone describe March as "summer in the sun and winter in the shade." That is completely true for my neck of the woods, that's for sure. It's so hard to know how to dress. Especially the kiddos! When we wake up in the morning it's in the 30's and I'm sending them off to school in puffy coats, but by lunch time it's nearing the 70's and all the windows are open!

I'm not complaining one bit! I'd much rather deal with wardrobe annoyances than shoveling snow and salting ice. All things considered, our winter here was pretty mild, but I'm still ready for warmer days. Dinner on the grill, relaxing outside while the kids play, lightning bugs coming out when it's dark, and some ice cream for dessert before bed. Heaven!

It is ridiculous how easy these Ice Cream Tacos are to make, but I promise, it will be the IT dessert this spring and summer at your house! We'll be celebrating Wesley's 5th birthday this summer and I'm already planning an Ice Cream Taco Bar for my sweet-treat-loving guy! Customize with your favorite flavor frozen waffles, Blue Bunny® Ice Cream, and various toppings. I just love this fun twist on traditional tacos!

Ice Cream Tacos

  • 10 frozen waffles
  • 3 cups Blue Bunny® Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 10 maraschino cherries
  • sprinkles, whipped cream
Cooking Directions
  1. Lay frozen waffles flat on a cookie sheet and allow to thaw, about 10 minutes. Form each into a taco shape and fit together side-by-side in a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Fill each "taco" evenly with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup. Freeze until firm.
  3. Top each with whipped cream, sprinkles, and a cherry. Keep frozen, allow tacos to sit for 5 minutes before ready to serve.

My boys thought these were crazy fun and even I have to admit, they tasted amazing! They keep your hands mess-free from the ice cream, so these are perfect for kid parties, too!

The flavor possibilities really are endless with how many different kinds of frozen waffles and flavors of Blue Bunny® ice cream there are. I had a seriously hard time narrowing down what to try during my last grocery stop at Walmart. I settled on Blue Bunny® Mint Chocolate Chip, Blue Bunny® Homemade Vanilla, and Blue Bunny® Double Strawberry. 

I really love that with the new clear packaging, you can see the yummy flavor swirls! I can't wait to try Ice Cream Tacos with chocolate chip waffles and Blue Bunny® Mint Chocolate Chip with a drizzle of chocolate hardening syrup. YUM!!

Be sure to check out Blue Bunny®'s social hub for tons of other recipe ideas! What flavor combinations would like to try for Ice Cream Tacos? Leave your idea in the comment section below, I'd love to hear from you!

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{linking up!}

Easy Easter Menu Ideas

March 25, 2016
Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham, Carrot Cake Zucchini Bread, Easter Surprise Cupcakes, and MUCH more! Here are some of the yummiest, and easiest recipes for your Easter menu this year!

Our plans on this Good Friday include: dyeing Easter eggs, visiting the Easter bunny at our local mall, myself running to Target to pick up a few last-minute things, and our community Good Friday service tonight. Our plans tomorrow include Paul working all day, myself trekking all three little boys over to our local soccer field for the neighborhood Easter egg hunt, and laundry to make sure everyone's nice clothes are ready.

Needless to say, I'm super thankful that my mom hosts us for Easter dinner because I'm not sure where in there I'd have any time to cook!

If you're hosting dinner this year though, here's an Easter menu you can easily put together by Sunday. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter!

Easter Breakfast/Brunch

Carrot Cake Zucchini Bread

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


Frosty Orange Juice

Mocha Cappuccino Cooler


Chilled Fruit Salad

Shrimp Cocktail Dip

Bean Dip Bites

Side Dishes

Creamiest Ever Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Creamed Corn in the Crockpot

Everything Dinner Rolls

Main Dishes

Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham

Weeknight Pineapple Dijon Ham

Super Moist Roast Turkey Breast

Easter Desserts

Simple Square Rice Krispies Treat Bunnies

Easter Surprise Cupcakes

Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake

Have a very wonderful and yummy Easter, friends!

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Simple Square Rice Krispies Treat Bunnies

March 22, 2016
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Rice Krispies®. As always, all opinions are my own.

No need to get super fancy for these fun treats! Just a few simple additions to everyone's favorite Rice Krispies® Treats create a yummy addition to your Easter basket gifts!

When you're scrolling through Facebook, do you ever come across those videos of someone decorating cookies? There was one I had seen not too long ago that was so intricate. They meticulously created thin icing lines, criss-crossing them over the whole cookie, and then filled the tiny squares in with various colored icing. In the end, the sugar cookie looked just like an old embroidered handkerchief! It was absolutely beautiful.

I have a secret. I loathe those videos!

Sure they're addicting and satisfying to watch. Plus, they all auto-play as you scroll through and it's hard not to stop for a few minutes and watch. But do you know exactly how much time I have to decorate something like that? ZERO! Plus, my hands are definitely not that steady. Maybe when my kids are grown I'll take a cake/cookie decorating class. You know, when I'm not being asked a million questions all day long?!

I always get a tinge of guilt, though, because I really WANT to be able to make a cute treat for my kiddos. Especially around Easter time! I thought up these Simple Square Rice Krispies® Treat Bunnies with those parameters in mind: something easy to recreate, looks adorable, and tastes great. I'm happy to report, check - check - and check! 

Start with classic, prepared Rice Krispies® Treats cut into squares or rectangles.

Gather your bunny decorations: gummy bunny ears, candy eyes, jellybeans, icing tubes, and sugar Easter decorations. (I found all of these items in my local big box mart around the seasonal baking products. The candy eyes I found in the cake decorating aisle.) Melt some white chocolate as directed on packaging.

Go to town decorating! Get the kids involved in this step, they will have a lot of fun!

Once they have cooled and the chocolate has hardened, you can place them in cellophane bags with festive twine. It keeps them fresh and chewy, and it's such a pretty gift to give or Easter basket stuffer!

Simple Square Rice Krispies® Treat Bunnies

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz bag marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies®
  • 4 squares white chocolate
  • 12 gummy bunny ears decorations
Cooking Directions
  1. Melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
  2. Stir in Rice Krispies® until well coated. Press into a well-greased 9x13 baking dish. Allow to cool completely. Cut into 12 bars.
  3. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Using the white chocolate, adhere various bunny decorations as desired. Allow to cool completely on the counter, or place in the refrigerator for quick cooling.
  4. Place bunnies in a sealed container or cellophane bags until ready to eat.

I mean honestly, can you stand the cuteness?! When my oldest saw his treat when he came home from school the day that I made these, the smile that spread across his face was a mile wide!

Be sure to check out more Rice Krispies®  recipe ideas on their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages!

What way would you personalize these Simple Square #RiceKrispies Treat Bunnies? Leave your ideas in the comment section below, I'd love to hear from you!

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Creamiest Ever Mashed Potatoes

Mashed red skin potatoes with sour cream, cream cheese, parsley, and garlic - these are the perfect side-dish to any comfort food dinner you're planning! Great for a pot-luck, too!

If you're reading this in my email newsletter, click on over to the full website and check it out. I'll wait a sec...

Ok, there you are! What do you think? Notice anything different?

Yep - I took the plunge and had a bit of a design update. I love it! Wider areas to give you even larger recipe photos to make you drool... hopefully! 

You know, one of the reasons I began this blog - almost 5 years ago - is because I had always been obsessed with cookbooks that showed photos of the recipes. Not the ones that had a few photo pages in the center of a select choice recipes in the cookbook, but the ones that had pictures of ALL the finished recipes. I don't know about you, but I liked to see what the thing needs to look like finished before I decide if I'm up for making it, am I right?! 

When the first few blogs started sharing recipes with photos, I went nuts BOOKMARKING all of those blogs and I checked them a few times each week to see if there were any new recipes posted. I'm not sure my kids will even know what "bookmarking" was. This was before Pinterest had even begun - imagine that!

If you've been with me all this time, or are just joining the Mostly Homemade Mom community now, I truly hope you find some great new recipe ideas that get you excited to be in the kitchen again. I try to make it easy, fun, and yummy - that's what it's all about!

Now these mashed potatoes - I've always sucked at mashed potatoes - not even a little bit kidding! These are fool-proof though, I promise. I really think the key is using red skinned potatoes, they end up more fluffy which is awesome for mashed potatoes!

Creamiest Ever Mashed Potatoes

  • 10 medium-sized red skin potatoes
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz (1 cup) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Peel and cube potatoes and place in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and cook for 25 - 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  3. Drain and transfer potatoes to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until mashed.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and beat until creamy.
  5. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Uncover and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through (add additional butter to top if it gets too dry).
*Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

These mashed potatoes are perfectly seasoned and are extremely rich and creamy - the perfect side-dish! 

Here's a complete menu idea! These Creamiest Ever Mashed Potatoes would go great with:

Crockpot Brown Sugar Ham

Sweet Vinaigrette Asparagus & Tomatoes

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