free-Printables with Purpose- Strengthen

On Sunday, I taught a lesson at church about supporting our family members.  It got me thinking so much about my life. I love my family. My family now and those who got stuck with me from the beginning. Sometimes I don’t show them just how much I do love them though. Sometimes I show my friends a better me than I show my family. I think I forget sometimes just how much they put up with me and it makes me reflect on what I can do more.  On Monday, I also taught this lesson to my sweet little babies at our family night activity (we do this every Monday night).  And we have come up with a fun activity that I will tell you about in a minute.
I love this quote by Marvin J. Ashton:
This quote by Dieter F. Uchtdorf I adore:

Sometimes I get caught up in quality vs. quantity, and truly think both are absolutely important when we talk about time with our family, but that quantity is SO important! How else will we KNOW our children..their concerns, their successes,etc.  Being there is so important.
This scripture pinned exactly how the Lord feels about it:
There is no question when He says “all”, right?!  And so that is what our family is focusing on.  Stregthening each other in ALL we do and say. We are having a fun time with these hearts.  Each time we do something for someone in our family, a small heart is placed where it took place. I hope to see them plastered all over my home, and I know for one as this happens that those bonds between my sons and daughter and between us and them will be stronger than ever. Never in my life do I love and care for someone more than when I serve them.
These printables are free with the hope that you will put them in your home as a reminder of how important it is to support and strengthen those around you!  Each of the prints is a 4×6 and I made up a whole sheet of hearts in case you want to see them placed all over your home as well.:)
I hope I am not alone in this.:) I’m off to use a few hearts myself.

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Copycat recipes {recipes}

Do you ever go to a restaurant and start eating something delicious and think “I know I can make this for a lot less money at home?”  I do all the time!  I always grab a takeout menu for restaurants we visit, which generally has the ingredients listed on them and I can try to re-create the recipe at home.  As I try some of these recipes, I would LOVE to share them with you!  Recipes like these are great to use when you are having people over for a meal and want to make an impression.  Enjoy!

I love Outback Steakhouse.  I get there once every year or so, and when I do I splurge on calories and always get this salad!  It is amazing and unlike any other wedge salad I have ever had.  The balsamic glaze is the key with this salad….don’t skip it!
Outback Wedge Salad
For the Blue Cheese dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk. Mix well.

Next, thoroughly mix in the remainder of the ingredients.

Afterwards, refrigerate the dressing for up to 24 hours before serving for best flavor.
For the salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into 4 equal wedges
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (blah, yuck…left these out :)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
6 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Black pepper to taste

First, you need to cook the balsamic vinegar into a glaze. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook until reduced by half, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, place the iceberg lettuce wedge on a serving dish. Then liberally pour blue cheese dressing over top of wedge. Next, top with halved tomatoes, chopped onion, crumbled blue cheese, and crumbled bacon.

Drizzle a little of the balsamic glaze on top of the wedge, and sprinkle with black pepper. Eat immediately or it will go soggy!
If you are new to eating wedge salads, there are 2 ways to go about eating them. You grab a steak knife and a fork and can cut off bite by bite OR I like to cut up the whole thing, mix all the ingredients together and eat it like that :)
From: Feature Dish

One of my favorite places to go for lunch is the Olive Garden.  I think soup is the perfect lunch, and when I go there I can have a few different soups at one sitting, and they are always amazing.  I have tried making 3 of their 4 soups, and we have loved the Zuppa Toscana and this chicken gnocchi soup.  Gnocchi can be found in your pasta aisle at the store or in the frozen section.

*Don’t judge this soup by my picture above!  I took the pic the next day and the gnocchi must have soaked up a lot of the liquid.  It still tasted amazing, though :)

Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart half and half
1 can chicken broth
1 cup celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (when serving)
1 pound potato gnocchi

Sauté the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in the butter and olive oil, over medium heat when the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour to make a roux. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for a minute before adding the half and half. Then add chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick add the chicken broth. Once the mixture thickens again, add the gnocchi, spinach, and seasonings, simmer until the gnocchi is cooked (maybe five to ten minutes). Top with parm and enjoy!

Recipe Source: Our Family Treat

What would go better with your Olive Garden soup than some breadsticks?!  Instead of sharing another Olive Garden recipe with you, here’s one from a pizza joint!  These are by far our family’s favorite breadsticks and go wonderfully alongside soups, salads, pasta, or homemade pizza.  Enjoy.
Pizza Factory Breadsticks

1 1/2 c. warm (105-115 degrees) water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 1/2 c. flour

In a large bowl or mixer, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until yeast is bubbly.

Add salt and stir. Add 1 1/2 c. flour and mix well. Gradually add more flour (usually between 3-4 cups, depending on your elevation and your humidity) until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and it barely sticks to your finger.

Spray a glass or metal bowl with cooking spray and place dough in the bowl. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

Remove from bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 12 strips with a pizza cutter.
Roll out each piece of dough into a snake and then drape over your forefinger and twist the dough. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining 11 pieces of dough. Try to space them evenly, but it’s okay if they’re close; pulling apart hot bread is one of life’s greatest pleasures!

Cover pan and allow dough to rise for another 30 minutes. When there’s about 15 minutes to go, preheat your oven to 425. When done rising, bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Rub some butter on top of the breadsticks (just put a ziploc bag on your hand, grab some softened butter, and have at it) and sprinkle with garlic salt (the kind with parsley) and the powdery Parmesan cheese. Or you could sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat (think soft pretzel!)
From: Our Best Bites

Whenever I go to P.F. Changs, I ALWAYS order their lettuce wraps…it has never even been an option to order anything else.  About a year ago, my aunt took me there for lunch and was raving about their green beans, so I decided to branch out and give something else a try.  They were great!  The sauce listed below isn’t quite as good as what I remember at the restaurant, but they were still absolutely fantastic!
Copycat P.F. Chang’s Crispy Green Beans

vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon ground red pepper
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1  cup whole buttermilk
1  recipe zesty dipping sauce (basically a jazzed up fry sauce)

In a large dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Dip green bean in buttermilk then dredge we beans in flour mixture to coat.

Fry beans in batches, until golden brown and crisp, approximately 3 to 5 minutes per batch. remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with zesty dipping sauce or Asian sesame dressing.
Zesty Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, worcestershire, pepper, and garlic salt. Whisking to blend. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

*They were good, the Zesty Dipping Sauce was alright, I preferred Asian Sesame Dressing instead (I like Kraft or Kens brands).
From: Mommy’s Kitchen

What are some of your favorite copycat recipes?


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Coconut Thumbprint Cookie with Salted Caramel {recipe}

Last week, my oldest son started scouts. Having two sons right in a row often makes time for “It’s not fair that he gets to..” so to make sure that didn’t happen on scout night, my second boy and I made sure to have a treat for everyone when they got home.  I called it his Scout lesson for the week!  They turned out so great and are a great alternative to a chocolate cookie.

Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • 44 small soft caramel candies (12 ounces), such as Kraft
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Large, flaky sea salt (I didn’t have this, so I just omitted it! still super yummy.)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and 1/2 teaspoon table salt, and beat to combine. Press dough together in plastic wrap, then roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Dip each ball in beaten egg, and roll in coconut. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, and press an indentation into each with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove sheets from oven, and re-press indentations. Bake cookies until golden, 9 to 10 minutes more. Let cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.
  2. Place caramels and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Spoon into indentations in cookies, and sprinkle with sea salt. Rewarm caramel if it hardens before all cookies are filled.

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    Do you have a favorite, non-chocolate cookie?
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