Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday #3 & More Fall Inpiration!

Ya’ll want some more fall inspiration?! Well I sure do! It hit 105 degrees here in Southern California this week, and I’m ready for some cool weather!! So, in hope of convincing myself that it really is gonna be October this Friday, I’ve been cooking chili, baking pecan pie muffins & breakin’ out those pumpkins! Amen?!

The Ladies @ How Does She?’s Count Down to Candy!

If ya’ll haven’t checked out, you simply MUST! It’s chocked full of recipes, crafts, and all kinds of how-to’s for SAHMs & House Wives! These adorable count-downs are for sale in kits, or pre-made and I think they are darling!

Carrie @ Dittle Dattle’s Halloween Sweet Treat Table!

This lady is just amazing! She & her daddy even MADE a Pottery Barn knock off BED for 175 dollars! My jaw was on the floor! You must check out all her great tutorials & her Halloween décor is just so stinkin’ cute!

Heather @ Life with Lulu, Junebug & Carter’s Adorable Fall Décor!

This is such a sweet family blog, and boy does this Mama of 5 have a knack for decorating & crafting too! Her Fall table looks so warm and inviting!

Malia @ Yesterday on Tuesday’s Dyed Halloween Tags!

Malia is just so talented! She’s always coming up with such great crafty projects! Check out her new Linky party that’s been super fun too!

Lindsay @ The Cottage Home’s Fabric Pumpkin Tutorial!

I’ve been drooling over all the fabric pumpkins in the blogosphere and this tutorial takes the cake! The Cottage Mama’s blog is a pleasure to read and her shop is super cute too!

Michelle @ Sweet Something Design’s Fall Mantle!

Oh goodness do I love that burlap pennant! This creative lady is livin’ in my home state of Missouri and she’s decorating everything around her to pretty perfection! Her house is just gorgeous!

AND, for the cherry on top, Jen @ Tatertots & Jello is hosting…

Go check it out ya’ll! Hope you’re having a great week!

Monday, September 27, 2010

5 Healthy Ways to Dress up Your Chicken!

I know it might be shocking… but sometimes we do eat healthy around here. We aren’t tall people… so let’s face it… every single pound shows. When we decide to ignore that fact for a while… it ain’t pretty. I definitely don’t believe in sacrificing taste for calories, so when it comes to finding healthy dishes… they have to be satisfying too!

My dear friend Raylene just began a new mission to eat healthier and she inspired me to kick it up a notch around here. I’m gonna try to walk for an hour 4-5 times a week… and ya know what? I usually feel better when I do! I’ve also been stickin’ to more chicken dishes, and less of the calorie-laden pasta and baked goodies!

So to inspire ya’ll, I’ve put together some easy peasy ways to add a ton of flavor to lean chicken, without all those pesky calories!

1. Chicken Cacciatore
We’ll start with my all time favorite chicken dish (the healthy one at least.) I discovered this classic recipe in Rach’s Magazine quite a while ago and it’s definitely graced our table a few times! It’s got a tomato-y basil sauce that I wanna pour over everything! To whip up this tasty dish, read THIS post.

2. BBQ Chicken & Corn on the Cob
You can either grill your chicken or cook it up in a skillet, but adding a good (KANSAS CITY) BBQ sauce (There is no other in this house- Amen?) will bump up the flavor & make a healthy chicken breast delightful. My suggestion to keep it moist and flavorful…

Season your chicken with a little S&P and poultry seasoning. (I used BBQ 3000 by Penzy’s Spices.) Then heat a couple tablespoons of EVOO in a large skillet over Medium-High heat. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side so that it has a golden “crust.” Now pour a liberal amount of BBQ sauce over the chicken breasts (THIS is our favorite!) Then pop it in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes until it’s cooked through. Serve it up with some corn on the cob and try sprinkling a little chili powder, grated Parm & lime juice instead of butter! It’s a tasty little combination I found watching Food Network!

3. Mediterranean Chicken
Here’s a new recipe I thought I’d share with ya’ll… It’s not for the picky eater (Sorry Ray.) But if you’re up for a delicious dish packed with olives, tomatoes, artichokes, basil and a WHOLE lotta flavor! Rach serves it up with saffron couscous, but I serve it with healthier steamed jasmine rice!

Mediterranean Chicken                                         by Rachael Ray
Chili Powder
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
1 large red or white onion (finely chopped)
1 tbsp finely chopped thyme leaves (try to use fresh!)
15oz can artichoke hearts (drained & quartered)
1 cup white wine
10-12 Kalamata olives (halved)
½ pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
A small bunch of parsley (finely chopped)
A big bunch of basil (finely chopped)

First, season your chicken up with some S&P & Chili Powder. Add a couple tbsp of EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Cook the chicken for about 6-7 minutes on each side. Then wrap it up in foil while you make the rest…

Add more EVOO if needed, add the onion, seasoning it with the S&P and thyme. Let it cook for about 8 minutes. Add the artichokes and let ‘em cook for a couple minutes. Then add the wine to “deglaze” the pan. Let the alcohol cook out for few. Then add the chicken stock, olives, and tomatoes. Bring up the heat a bit and let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the pan for a few to get it warm. Serve over jasmine rice, and eat up!

4. Teriyaki Chicken
This is the ultimate quick and easy way to get dinner on the table FAST! Start with any Teriyaki Marinade you like. I usually have KC Masterpiece Honey Teriyaki in the fridge. Grab a gallon sized ziplock bag, a lb of chicken tenders, and pour in the sauce. Let it sit in the fridge for as long as you need (at least 30 min.) I bake it in a foil lined casserole dish for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Serve it with jasmine rice & steamed veggies! Bri loves this dinner… and I don’t even feel like I’ve lifted a finger… love that!

5. Chicken Provencal
Here’s another new recipe ya’ll! If you’re a meat and potatoes kinda person… this recipe is for you! Just leave out the ingredients you don’t like… most of the recipes I make have enough flavor to leave out a few things that Bri and I don’t like and still taste great! Here’s what you need…

Chicken Provencal                                  by Erika Lenkert for RR
1lb small yellow potatoes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
28oz can diced tomatoes
½ cup black olives (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp capers

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and get a big pot of water boiling. Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, season your chicken on both sides with some S&P. Grab a skillet and get some EVOO over medium heat. Cook the chicken about 3-4 minutes on each side, and then put them in a casserole dish along with the potatoes. Cover with foil while you make the sauce.

Add the tomatoes, capers and olives to the skillet, and season with S&P. Let the sauce reduce about 10 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and potatoes and then bake for 25 minutes.
Grab a plate, a piece of chicken, and plenty of potatoes and tomatoes! It’s an easy dish that will leave you very satisfied! YUM!

I hope these recipes come in handy! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Quick Table Runner...

A while back, a friend from back home asked if I could whip up a Minnie Mouse table runner for her daughter’s 2nd Birthday. Well, I was just delighted to be asked, and of course was up to the challenge! So off I went to Joann’s to grab some supplies… pink polka-dot & black fabric, batting, bias tape (gasp! I’m such a cheater), and thread.

I decided to make simple blocks, with Minnie Profiles as the center of each one. I drew out my design, and Bri helped me figure out all the measurements. He’s good with numbers—me, not so much.

It’s a simple, not-too-quilted project. It’s really the first time I came up with a design on the fly, and so it’s a pretty basic design. I found lots of odd little tips to be helpful… like using a piece of copy paper behind the Minnie pieces while I appliqued them, and my personal favorite when it comes to quick sewing… using a piece of 3-M foam tape on my Singer to make a quarter inch seam allowance.

What do ya’ll think? Should I post a tutorial?

Have a great weekend! I’m planning on spending some time just relaxing with my hubby!

P.S. I'm linking up to the fun Linky Parties in my side bar!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday #2!

This week it’s all about my absolute FAVORITE time of year! Here’s some crafty décor & cute ideas to spruce up your home for FALL! I know I can’t wait to bust out my Pumpkin scented candles!

Aunt Ruthie @ Sugar Pie Farmhouse: A Fall Décor Tour!

Aunt Ruthie’s House is definitely a house I love peeking into! EVERY holiday, her home is decked out in festive goodness and it does my heart good to read about her lovely life in the Ozarks.

Becca @ Adventures in Decorating: Some Fabulous décor…

I just loved seeing all the great cloches & beautiful details in her home!

Crafty Chic Mommy: Adorable Wooden Pumpkins!

These pumpkins are right up my alley! I’m tryin’ to convince Bri to let me use his saw to cut up some blocks of wood for some of my own little wooden cuteness!

Allison @ Cluck Cluck Sew: Gorgeous Fall Scrap buster Pillow…

What a simple, but stunning detail to add to any room for Fall! I’m gonna go peruse my scrap bin now!

Brenda @ Deck the Halls of Home with Joy: Adorable Fabric Pumpkins!

She’s got a whole lot more where that came from! Not only is her blog full of adorable décor, but she has a great Etsy Shop too!

Jen @ Tatertots & Jello: LOVE these Pennant Pillows!

We all know and LOVE Tatertots and Jello & Jen of course! She’s outdone herself with the cute-as- a- button pillows and a tutorial too!

Joy @ We Three Smiths: Vintage Halloween Décor…

What a sweet family blog, full of wonderful pictures, fun crafts, and great style!

Hope ya’ll were inspired! Happy Beginning of Fall!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Family Recipe…

Have you ever whipped out an old family recipe… one that you’ve loved, cherished, and eaten your whole life, just to have others say “WHAT are you making?!” Well, this little dish comes from my Aunt Nez and then my Mama and is just the right amount of healthy ingredients (spinach) mixed with that good ol’ Midwest love of casseroles! It even keeps the hubby happy since he needs to eat rice at least once a week… it’s the Filipino in him. Anywho… we eat this dish often and as interesting as it sounds… TRUST ME ya’ll when I say that it’ll be a new favorite and a crowd pleaser too!

Here’s what you need…

Spinach Fandango                                                 A Ford Family Recipe

20oz frozen spinach (thawed and wrung out)
A bag of shredded mozzarella
1 cup sour cream
1 can cream of celery soup
1 pint of mushrooms (finely chopped and of course, for hubby they’re cooked separately)
1 lb ground beef
A few cups of rice (depending on how many you’re feeding)
S & P
A good palmful of oregano (a little less if you’re using ground)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by getting that spinach ready. I used to boil a frozen brick of it, and then drain it in a colander… then I realized that microwaving it, putting it in some Viva paper towels or cheesecloth and giving it a good squeeze was a WHOLE lot faster. So either way, get as much water out as possible!

You should also get your rice cooking in your rice cooker! According to Bri it’s the ONLY way to properly cook rice… but my Mama did it on the stove top growing up and it tasted JUST fine! (Don’t tell the hubby I said that though!)

Next, grab a big skillet and get your beef browned and crumbled. If you have a mushroom eater in the house, throw them in with the ground beef (if not, throw ‘em in a small pan and cook over medium heat until tender.) Add some S&P to taste and a nice big palmful of ground or dried oregano. Let the meat cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the sour cream and soup and get it bubbling. Drop in your spinach and give it a good stir to evenly distribute.

Grab your casserole dish and pour the beef/spinach mixture into the bottom. Now take that bag of shredded mozzeralla and sprinkle it all over the top. YES… the WHOLE bag. My Mama never skimped on the cheese, and I don’t plan to start now!

Then pop it in the oven while your rice finishes getting’ all nice and fluffy. It’ll take about 20 minutes or until the cheese gets all brown and bubbly!

In order to fully enjoy this dish, put a big helping of rice on your plate, followed by a generous portion of Spinach Fandango, and EAT UP ya’ll!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Pottery Barn Style Table!

So I have this dining table… it’s been with me to college and back, and was bought WITH a sleeper sofa for only $200 in 2004! Well, now that it’s way out here in Cali, I’ve finally decided to give it the makeover that it’s been asking for all along… you see, my table would really like to look like this…

It’s from Pottery Barn… and it would actually match all the rest of my furniture.

And THIS is our table…

Kinda sad huh? I couldn’t even get a good picture of it.

My fear all along was that if I painted, it just wouldn’t look professional… that I’d end up with a clumpy, peely coat of ugly white paint, and I’d be stuck looking at it three times a day, and cry into my cereal bowl each morning. Why the fear of painting? Well, in my youth (or maybe 3 years ago) I decided that the dark wood cabinets & baseboards and the carpet in the upstairs bath of my parents’ house just HAD to go! Being a crafty person, I thought “I can do this! Easy! No prob!” So I ripped out the carpet, gave the cabinets & baseboards a coat of white, and stuck down some peel & stick laminate tile squares. I even changed out the hardware, the towels rods, and painted! “There! All done! Looks great!” Um…. Not so much. About a week later, the paint started peeling off the cabinets. The floor looked somehow half done… and don’t get me started on the white baseboards. My poor parents… they’re just so loving and encouraging! I don’t think they had the heart to tell me what an AWFUL job I’d done on the poor unsuspecting bathroom. This was my first attempt at repainting wood… and I was discouraged to say the least!

So this time around… Bri and I did just a bit of research before we dove into painting our one and only dining room table. We headed to Home Depot, and $20 later, we had what we needed! First, we took apart the table & benches completely. We spread out a plastic drop cloth and got to work! In order to get the smooth, Pottery Barn finish we wanted, we used extra fine sand paper to get rid of any shine left on our table. Then we decided on Behr’s new Premium Plus Ultra Paint & Primer in one, and were really happy with it! We grabbed a super soft brush, taped off the parts of the table we were leaving natural, and I got to work! I soon figured out that painting really thin coats, going against the grain, was the best way to get the coverage that we wanted. It took about 3 coats… we did one coat each evening, to insure that the paint was good and dry between coats. Here’s how it turned out…

We’re really happy with it! I couldn’t believe what a change a little paint could make to brighten up our table!

Look at that smooth, even paint! I was so happy, I almost jumped up and down!
What do ya’ll think?

Stay tuned… I’m gonna reveal the whole kitchen/dining room real soon! I’m soo excited!

P.S. I linked up to the fun linky parties over there --->

Friday, September 17, 2010

Burger Friday & Pioneer Woman Sliders!

Well, Ree’s done it again… decadent, delicious comfort food. Her recipes are just so darn good! These sliders are smothered in sautéed mushrooms & onions and cheese… is there anything better? Here’s whatcha need…

Mushroom & Swiss Sliders                            Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman)
Cayenne Pepper
4 Tbsp Butter
Medium Onion (finely chopped)
Pint Mushrooms (finely chopped)
½ cup red wine (optional)
2 Lbs Ground Sirloin
4 Tbsp Heavy Cream
4 slices Swiss Cheese, Cut Into Four Squares
8 slider rolls
Ketchup for the table

First, grab the butter and melt it in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, cook for about 5 minutes or so and then add the mushrooms and wine (if you’re using it). Season ‘em with some S&P and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Pour your mushroom mixture into a bowl and get that skillet back on the heat.

Go ahead and get your slider rolls under the broiler so they’re nice and toasty!

Mix the ground sirloin, heavy cream, S&P, and pinch of cayenne together. Take off those rings and get your hands a little messy! Form the meat into 8 even patties. Ree’s trick is to put a little thumb print in the middle of the patties so they don’t plump up unevenly! Add another tablespoon of butter to the skillet and cook the patties for about 2 or 3 minutes on each side, adding two squares of cheese in the last minute or so to get it melty! Put the first four patties in foil to keep ‘em warm while you finish the rest!

Grab a slider roll, some ketchup, a cheese covered patty & a whole lotta those mushrooms & DIG IN! Ree serves her’s up with fried onion strings (Which are amazing by the way!) Since we’re lookin’ to slim down a bit, we had some greens with ours.

Happy Friday ya’ll!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Overwhelmingly Inspired & a New Weekly Post!

Let me introduce ya’ll to a very dear friend of mine… the “Favorite’s Bar” on my internet explorer. Now in that Favorites bar lives a folder labeled: Blogs, and people… it just reached 55 links!! AND that does not include the blogs I already “follow” on blogger. I also have 39 links saved in a folder labeled “Sewing projects.”

Whew. That’s a whole LOT of face time with my laptop! Since I’m pretty sure it will take me years to get through all the blog reading and/or crafting saved in those folders, and since I’m bound to add a few hundred more links in the near future… I’m starting a little series called “Whatcha got Wednesdays” where I will highlight some of these adorable findings in the hope that ya’ll will find inspiration from them too! This will help clear out that ‘ol Favorite’s Bar and get it out there in the blogosphere for everyone to enjoy! So here goes nothin’…

1. Ashley Ann @ Under the Sycamore’s DIY Pallet Bed

Ashley’s a mom, amazing photographer, and super crafter! I just looove this Pallet Bed! Remember our teeny tiny guest room, I’m definitely saving this link for a space saving idea in our new condo!

2. Lindsey @ The Cottage Home’s Amazing Studio & Great Tutorials

This Mama does fabulous things with her sewing machine, and has my dream crafting room in her beautiful 1930’s cottage! You simply MUST check out her blog! I won some BEAUTIFUL fabric just recently and she’s become a favorite place to stop by!

3. Mandy @ Sugar Bee Craft Edition’s Rag Rug Tutorial

I just love a good rag rug, don’t you? I bought a few at PB on sale when we moved into our first apartment, and this tutorial’s got me all excited to make a few for other rooms in the new condo!

4. Malia @ Yesterday on Tuesday’s Vintage flashcard banner & Back to School Wreath

This blog is just wonderful… always full of crafty goodness! I think these ideas are super cute and since my dear little sis is a teacher, I just had to share! Side Note: Malia's hubby definitely interviewed Zack Efron, and the Twilight Stars. He works for ABC… go figure. She has a fabulous linky party… check it out over there --->

5. Emily @ Not So Idle Hands’s Etched kitchen storage jars

These jars are so cute! I’m such a sucker for mason jars and other old repurposed glass and these kitchen containers look like she bought ‘em at Pottery Barn! There’s a really great tutorial with step by step pictures… which I find very helpful in the world of DIY-ing! Emily has lots of other great tutorials on her blog too!

6. Amy @ Positively Splendid’s Patriotic Outdoor Pillows

These pillows are definitely up my alley… anything red, white and blue actually. I just love the idea of using spray paint to make the fabric fit for the outdoors! I’m pretty sure these would look pretty sweet out on our little patio! Make sure you check out Amy’s other great tutorials too!

7. Kate @ Centsational Girl’s DIY: Laundry Room Drying Rack

Some day when I have a REAL laundry room and my Hubby actually has a garage/workshop… I will have one of these! I’d seen it in my Ballard’s Design catalog and began coveting it at once! I MUST tell you that no matter WHAT kind of DIY project you’re lookin’ to tackle… Kate is your girl! She has an EXTENSIVE list of tutorials on how to paint, build or refurbish almost anything, and much, much more!

I hope ya'll enjoyed all these super fun ideas! I'll be back with more next week!