Introduction to Cooking with Chef Des

Hello ya’ll! I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas filled with fun, family, friends, & great food! We had a wonderful Christmas especially my daughter, Destiny. Destiny recently discovered her love for cooking & hopes to be a chef one day. She also shares my love of crafts, animals, nature, & parties. We have decided to join forces & turn this blog into a family project. Hopefully that will mean you can expect a lot more fun ideas coming your way! Now I’ll turn the keyboard over to Des so she can introduce herself, tell you about her Christmas, & share what she’ll be bringing to this blog…

img_7607

Hello, my name is Destiny Anne Binnarr, but my friends & family call me Des. I am 10 years old. I love to cook. When I grow up, I would like to go to the a culinary institute & become a world-class chef. I dream of opening my own bakery called the Cupcake Corner. This year I asked for cooking supplies for Christmas. Santa brought me my very own chef hat & turquoise (my favorite color) silicone mini oven mitts. My parents got my a candy apple Kitchen Aid stand mixer. My favorite attachment it the paddle attachment. The Cozy Coloring cookbook from Auntie Beth & Uncle David. My Grammy got me the Christmas Cookie Swap Cookbook , a cute elephant apron, & neon culinary utensils. So I am officially ready to get cooking with my mommy. I will helping her try out new recipes & share them with you throughout the year. So be on the lookout for “Cooking with Chef Des”!

#Valentine’s Day Tea

As you can probably tell by my posts, I love parties. There is nothing better than spending time with loved ones. Add in some delicious food & beautiful decorations and you have a perfect day! A very close family friend hosted an absolute gorgeous garden Valentine’s tea party this past weekend for the littles in our circle. Nothing like seeing our sweet kiddos all dressed up & sipping their pink lemonade out of fancy tea cups. Of course I think some of the beautiful, sophisticated decor was lost on them since all of the kiddos ended up playing in the ditch (so funny how things like that always make them happiest), but as parents we can appreciate the pretty event & enjoy sharing “grown-up” things with them. Anyways, on to the pictures…

IMG_4604[1]

Each table was beautifully decorated and had its own tea pot & selection of kid-approved lunch snacks.

IMG_4608[1]

IMG_4607[1]

There was a table set up for the kids to decorate their own bags for the Valentines exchange. *Side note: We had this party right after Valentine’s Day so everything was at least half off! Score!

IMG_4625[1]

Arts & crafts are a good idea for every party!

IMG_4589[1]

Destiny made heart crayons for her valentines. Click here for a link to that idea.

IMG_4606[1]

Photo booths are the perfect way to get a great shot to remember the event.  A nice back drop & a few simple props are all you need. Kids are more likely to do a photo shoot when they get to play dress-up! Who wouldn’t be?

IMG_4616[1]

IMG_4615[1]

Destiny & I ❤

IMG_4618[1]

Such a cutie!

IMG_4605[1]

L O V E this!

IMG_4620[1]

Dessert table… cause isn’t this the best part of any party? lol

IMG_4628[1]

Notice those little chocolate pinwheels… cut up a few Little Debbie’s for a quick & easy dessert!

IMG_4627[1]

IMG_4624[1]

Rice crispy treats are always an easy crowd-pleaser & they can easily be transformed to fit any theme. A heart shaped cookie cutter, melted chocolate, & pink frosting gave these a sophisticated look.

IMG_4602[1]

Marshmallow pops are super easy to make. Grab some paper straws from your local Target & sprinkles to match your theme, and you have an easy yet beautiful dessert to brighten any table. I talked about these before here.

IMG_4633[1]

Getting a group shot is always a challenge, but as you can tell these kiddos had a blast!

Hoped you enjoyed this party idea as much as I did, and I hope you & your loved ones had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!! ❤

 

#Fun with Butterflies #Insect Lore Experience

With spring right around the corner, I thought I’d take a few minutes to share one of my family’s favorite yearly activities! A couple years ago I ran across a cool company called Insect Lore! I love animals so after checking the website out, I thought how cool would it be to raise our won butterflies! Cool doesn’t began to describe it! It’s a neat, learning experience for all ages that encourages kids to put down the remotes, phones, & video game controllers for a bit & get back in touch with nature! Insect Lore has all you need to get started! Sound like something your family or classroom kids might be interested, all you need to get started is a Live Butterfly Garden which includes a pop-up, reusable 11.5-inch tall mesh habitat perfect for butterfly viewing, feeding pipette, instruction booklet, & a cup with 5 caterpillars & food for them to eat until they turn into chrysalises. They also make a larger version perfect for a classroom setting called the Live Butterfly Pavilion. The cool thing about this is you can reuse this over & over again by ordering Cup of Caterpillar refills or even add a milkweed plant to your garden or flower bed to encourage caterpillars to come to you free of charge (lol). We have found that the caterpillars we have purchased almost always turn to butterflies while with the “wild” caterpillars it has been hit or miss. After years of just sprinkling sugar water on fresh flowers to feed our newly hatched butterflies, we did purchase a Butterfly Feeder this year, but honestly they didn’t seem too interested in it so I’d just got for the cheaper option. Ok so having said all that, on to our butterfly experiences over the years…

IMG_1430

Here is a shot of a butterfly that came out while we are sleeping next to his unhatched brothers & sister chrysalises. Don’t worry that’s not blood just extra dye from his brightly colored wings that is left behind as they dry.

IMG_1433

I took this shot right after this butterfly emerged. His wings are still wet & crumpled, but soon he’ll look normal.

butterfly in net

Here’s a better shot of the butterfly habitat. This butterfly is opening & closing his wings to help dry & strengthen them so he’ll be able to fly.

butterfly in net 2

This butterfly is drinking sugar-water off a fresh carnation.

IMG_1442

After studying & enjoying your butterflies, it’s time to release them. They need to be set free within a week, but we only keep them a few days since they have a very short lifespan & we want them to enjoy the time they have in the wild! You can either open the top & patiently wait for them to fly away or, as we prefer, carefully let them crawl onto your finger or hand and visit with them close up before they go on their adventures.

IMG_1445

Some of the butterflies like hanging with you a while before flying off while others make a bee-line for the nearest flower buffet.

kat with butterfly 2

Some even give you the chance to pose for a picture or two.

Kat with butterfly

This is one of the “wild” caterpillars we raised, such gorgeous wings! I believe it is a Black Swallowtail.

anna with butterfly

One year we brought our batch of butterflies to release at the Holland Family Blueberry Farm (owned by family friends) & got a little help letting them go from the youngest farmer there. (P.S. If you live in Central Florida, definitely check out them out! They have the best blueberries I have ever eaten, seriously!!)

Interested in butterfly-raising, check out Insect Lore! They also have ladybug habitats, ant farms, & praying mantis egg cases (I think seeing these born would be soooo cool! Each egg case releases 75 to 200 baby mantises. It also might be something to consider getting if you’d like a chemical free pest solution for your vegetable garden!). Anyway I hope you enjoyed this family activity idea as much as we did experiencing it! If you have raised butterflies or are going to, I’d love to here about it! My youngest is interested in the ladybugs; has anyone raised those? Looking forward to hearing from my readers!!

This post was not sponsored or compensated by the above mentioned company. I’m just only sharing a fun family activity idea & my own experiences.  🙂

#Valentine’s Day 2015

Happy-Valentines-Day

from my family to yours!

IMG_2633[1]

We woke up this morning to find that the Valentine fairy (aka me) had delivered some goodies to her favorite valentines!

IMG_2635[1]

Then I made a very simple breakfast. I planned on getting a little more creative, but it was a late night for me & my hubby being date night & all. A few drops of red food coloring & some sprinkles added a bit of Valentine’s Day flair to a can of Pillsbury cinnamon buns, festive & easy, perfect for a tired mommy. And no Valentine’s Day breakfast is complete without some strawberry milk.

IMG_2639[1]

I made a special dinner for my brother, dad, bestfriend, Liz, grandma, & the girls! My mom & hubby had to work so we had to party without them. The stuffed chicken breasts (I’ll be sharing that recipe soon), baked ziti, garlic knots, & fresh green beans were a big hit! Add some hard apple ciders, cherry cheesecake, a heart chocolate chip cookie cake, & dessert kabobs (click here for that recipe on Liz’s blog Got Cache) and you have the perfect family Valentine’s Day dinner party covered!

So that was our Valentine’s Day… I hope you had a wonderful day with your loved ones!!

 

 

#Happy Thanksgiving 2014 #Turkey Day Fruit Tray

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!! I hope everyone has a wonderful day of friends, family, food, football, & fun! May your turkey be moist & your pumpkin pie be plentiful & topped with mounds of cool whip! This year our holiday had to be a little flexible due to work schedules so we are having our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. We started off our day instead with a family brunch & watching the Christmas parade & some football @ my parents’ house before my mom had to go to work. I found the cutest Turkey Fruit Tray (aka Vegan Turkey lol) on Pinterest & thought that couldn’t be more perfect for a Thanksgiving Day brunch!

IMG_2161[1]

Turned out so adorable.. moist & tasty too! 😉

While Thanksgiving is the day everyone celebrates what they are thankful for, please remember to take the time to count your many blessings all year long! We tend to focus on the bad or what we don’t have when we have lots to be thankful for! My family & friends are on the top of my list… what are you thankful for?

IMG_2164[1]

My mom & my girls… a few of the people I am most thankful for!

 

#Happy Halloween 2014 #Mummy Dogs

IMG_2073[1]

All dressed up for Trick-or-Treating

This post is extremely late, but as always we have been busy, busy, busy! I hope everyone had a fun-filled Halloween & is recovering from their sugar-highs!  Thought I’d share one of the recipes from our Halloween pre-trick-or-treating get together (better late than never)!  I always try to incorporate some festive Halloween food into the menu like bone breadsticks, tombstone pizza rolls, witches brew dip, etc. Need an idea? Check out Pinterest it’s chock full of spooky Halloween goodies! This month has been crazy so I actually toned it down a hair, but couldn’t skip one of our all-time favorites (in any form), Mummy Dogs! Here is how we make them:

Mummy Dogs

You need: pkg. of hotdogs, can of crescent rolls, ketchup & mustard for dipping

Makes: 8 mummies

IMG_2069[1]

Roll out your crescents & pinch seems together.

IMG_2070[1]

Use a pizza cutter to cut your crescents in strips.

IMG_2065[1]

Wrap your strips around the hotdog for a traditional mummy dog!

IMG_2067[1]

Want to get a little crazy? Cut your hotdog mummy some arms & legs…

IMG_2068[1]

and wrap the strips like this. This isn’t a perfectionist things… any old messy wrapping will work fine!

IMG_2071[1]

Bake your mummies on a baking tray (foil lined always makes clean up easy) @ 350* for about 10 minutes.

IMG_2072[1]

Serve your mummies warm with some ketchup & mustard for dipping! You can use the ketchup to add some spooky red eyes to your mummies as well! These yummy treats will get up & walk away before your very eyes!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! 🙂