Monday, January 31, 2011

Mac n' Cheese on a Monday...

One of my random pregnancy cravings lately (other than jars and jars of salsa & tortilla chips), has been the Twisted Mac Chicken &Cheese from Hard Rock Cafe. I've had it several times when traveling... and since we definitely didn't want to go pay outrageous prices at a local tourist spot... I just made my own version. The chicken's got the perfect little kick, and the mac n' cheese is creamy & comforting! I've made it twice in 2 weeks... it's just so darn good! Here's what you need...

Twisted Chicken Mac n' Cheese                                                               Your's Truly

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups white cheddar cheese (shredded- plus more for on top)
1 1/2 cups mild yellow cheddar cheese (shredded- plus more for on top)
1 lb chicken tenders
1 lb cavatappi pasta
1/4 tsp ground caynne pepper (plus more for the chicken)
1/4 tsp chili powder (plus more for the chicken)

First, preheat your broiler. Then do a little prep work... shred your cheese into a large bowl, measure out your flour & milk, and get your chicken on a large plate to season it.

Now grab a large pot and get the water boiling for the pasta. Make sure you add plenty of salt to the water before adding the cavatappi & then cook it to package directions.

Next you'll go ahead and cook the chicken. Season both sides liberally with S&P, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Put a skillet with a few tbsp of EVOO over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side and then wrap up your tenders in foil to keep 'em hot and let 'em rest.

Grab another skillet (or you can rinse out the one you just used, like I do!) and add a tbsp of EVOO & 2 tbsp of butter. When they're combined, whisk in your flour. Cook it for about 3 minutes, continuing to whisk. Then slowly whisk in the milk. Let the sauce thicken for a few minutes and then add some S&P, and the cayenne & chili powder. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese, one cup at a time.

 Dump your pasta into a large casserole dish and pour the cheesy goodness all over the top. Give it a good stir to coat all the pasta and then cover it with the remaining shredded cheese. Pop it under the broiler for about 5 minutes till it's golden on top.

While it's getting all bubbly under the broiler, cut up the chicken to serve on top of the mac n' cheese.

Serve up a big bowl of cheesy deliciousness & Enjoy y'all!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whatcha Got Wednesday #13... Valentine's Day Lovelies...

In honor of the upcoming holiday... I thought I'd do a round of adorable ways to decorate for Valentine's Day! I myself have yet to do any crafting or nesting for the 14th... but maybe this will inspire us all!

Nikki @ Grand Design Co... A beautiful mantle! I'm seriously in love with this!

Ashley Ann @ Under the Sycamore... I'm a little obsessed with her blog. Did you notice she keeps popping up in WGW's? This window is just darling!

Anna @ Noodlehead... These vintage hankie pillows are so sweet! I love all things fabric and these would definitely add some love to my couch!

Rachelle @ Fingerprints on the Fridge... This faux mantle is so sweet! I'm in love with mason jars, and this combination of blue & pink is lovely!

Erin @ Lemon Tree Creations... You know I'm lovin' that burlap pennant right now! And the chalkboard background is just perfect too!

Cheri @ I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar... This Momma is talented, that's for sure! This pillow is so stinkin' cute!  

These ladies have got me wantin' to go buy chocolate & conversation hearts! Are you ready for Valentine's Day?

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Long Awaited Bump Pics!

Well folks, as you can tell by the recent recipe posts... I'm feeling MUCH better! At week 13 I was getting my appitite back and it hasn't slowed down yet! We're going through jars of pickles and a whole lot of chips & salsa! I'm getting so excited now! The "Quickening" movements have started & all I can think about is buying teeny tiny clothes & if it's a boy or a girl! I'm even starting to show... except for the fact that when I'm in public, I often wonder if people just think I'm a little fat? Ha.

At first I thought I'd skip posting the ol' "bump pics," but since my family is far away, and I want to document this exciting experience... here's the first round!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I heart Trader Joe's... A quick & easy snack!

I LOVE Trader Joe's. Have I mentioned that before? Their food is amazing, which makes cooking more fun... and definitely makes my life a whole lot easier. I was in grabbing some groceries a while back, and saw the new Crisp Rice Cereal... as I threw a box in the cart for Bri & I, I noticed the quick and easy recipe for Peanut Butter Crispy Treats on the back of the box. I was sold. I went and grabbed a tub of TJ Peanut Butter, Brown Sugar, and Agave Syrup. It took me about 5 minutes to whip up a tasty treat... and they were devoured in about 2 days. If you have a Trader Joe's, please go there. Also... make these. Thank you.

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats
7 cups TJ Crisp Rice Cereal
1 cup TJ Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup TJ Organic Blue Agave Sweetener
1 cup TJ Organic Brown Sugar

First grab a sauce pan and heat sugar &syrup till it bubbles. Then add the peanut butter. Grab a large bowl and pour the mixture over crisp cereal and stir. Press into a 9x11 casserole dish and refridgerate for several hours to harden and cool.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Childhood Dresser turned Entertainment Cabinet!

It's been SEVEN months since Bri and I landed back home in Missouri... Since Lovebug came shortly after settling into our apartment, the decorating (aside from the NURSERY) has been severely lacking. The worst offense being the bench to our dining room table as a make-shift TV stand until right before the Holidays. Seriously... It was hideous. Cords everywhere and a sad table that only seated two, making a dinner party real classy...ha.

I'd been looking for an an old buffet or dresser to transform at local antique markets, when I remembered the old furniture in my parents basement from my childhood. A seriously outdated dresser from Ethan Allen... Solid wood, great shape.... Sold. Well actually it was free... Which made this one cheap project! Here's the before:

Bri and I quickly headed to the hardware store to snag the following:

Piece of pine hardwood 3/4in
3M Sand block
Medium grit sand paper (100)
Paint (we used Behr premium plus)
Min Wax Polyurethane
Micro foam roller
Fine paint brush
Drop cloth
New hardware (ordered HERE)

The color we chose was a country blue... pretty dark with a grey tone to it. We color-matched a rustic shelf from my parents house that I loved.

My wonderful parents blessed Bri and I with a date night to tackle most of this project and we gladly took it!

We borrowed a palm sander from Bri's parents and went to town on that dresser. We used the sand blocks for the detailed parts. Here it is after....

After a really good wipe down, we hauled it up the 3 flights of steps to our apartment and got to work painting. It took 2 coats to get the even look we wanted and then we let it dry 24 hours.

Then I spend about 30 minutes sanding off the edges and making it look nice and worn on all sides,
 before applying the polyurathane. FYI... that stuff smells. We did this in December in Missouri, so naturally we had to freeze ourselves out with the doors and windows open... ha. We really liked the look of the low-shine sealer over the flat paint. Here's the final product after putting on the new hardware...

We're really happy with how it turned out! Have a great weekend y'all!

Whatcha Got Wednesday #12 ... MORE Recipe Resources!

I hope you enjoyed last week's round-up of great recipe resources! Here's part II... Enjoy!

7. A Cozy Kitchen... These ladies have recipes that are sure to impress! Want to make homemade Mozzarella in 30 min? Adrianna and Caroline will show you how!

8. Annie's Eats... From breakfast to homemade babyfood, Annie's got you covered! She has a great list of yummy recipes and a beautiful site too!

9. Aggie's Kitchen... I've mentioned Aggie before... remember those Bruschetta Patty Melts? YUM. She's always posting something that looks amazing!

10. The Girl who Ate Everything... I just recently found Christy's blog... and boy am I glad! She has plenty of  tempting treats, plus hearty main dishes too!

11. Deliciously Organic... Carrie Vitt is an amazing resource for those of you who like to keep things organic. Since Bri & I try our best to keep things fresh in our home, I really appreciate her passion for good food that's delicious too!

12. How Sweet It Is... Found on PW's Tasty Kitchen, Jessica's blog is such a treat! A girl who's spent time as a personal trainer, but loves food and even better... sweets? That's my kinda girl!

Now... what are you gonna do with all these recipes? Get cookin'!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now that the gifts have been given…

I’m been so excited to show ya’ll the little trinkets I whipped up for my little sister’s apartment! She’s a reader of the ol’ blog… so I wanted to wait to show you until after I’d surprised her on Christmas. She’d asked for a little color to brighten up her space, so I started with THIS tutorial for a throw pillow @ Cluck Cluck Sew. Nae’s a huge fan of owls & modern patterns so I bought a great charm pack… It’s a Hoot by Moda @ Fat Quarter Shop.

For the other throw pillow I used the rest of the charm pack and simply sewed the squares together for a “quilted look” without the quilting. I used Pleated Poppy’s Pillow Tutorial… it’s so simple!

Next I knocked off some adorable canvases from my dear friend Casey! I used scraps of fabric from the pillows, Modge Podge & a little brown paint… easy peasy!

Did anyone else make some handmade gifts this year? I had grand hopes of making a whole lot more… but with the morning sickness… maybe next year… when I have a 6 month old? Ha.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whatcha Got Wednesday #11 & Some Great Recipe Resources!

I don't know about you, but I use a whole lot of recipes, trying to get dinner on the table every night! I thought it would be great to showcase some of the amazing places in the blogosphere where you can find recipes that are SURE to please! So here we go...

1. Pioneer Woman... Need I say more? The fabulous Ree Drummond has the ultimate website for all things fabulous & delicious. Check out her Recipe Community Tasty Kitchen too! The folks there have great recipes!

2. Southern Plate ... Christy Jordan is a Southern Lady with a WHOLE lot of fail-proof, comforting recipes that are super yummy! I was introduced to her site by a good friend a while back... you'll soon be seeing some of the good eats from Southern Plate around here!

3. Bakerella... The Queen of baking herself. If you need cake pops, cupcakes or sweets in general... this is your girl.

4. Lovin from the Oven... Kim has an amazing blog full of all things sweet and scrumptious! I've got a sweet tooth the size of Texas, and this girl's got me drooling several times a week!

5. 17 & Baking... This is not only a resource for amazing baked goods... but Elissa has a definite knack for writing! She started baking as a hobby when she was 14 and now she's got a beautiful little space in the blogosphere!

6. A Sweet Pea Chef... Lacey is one talented Mama! She has turned her love of cooking into a business & still finds time to post great recipes on her blog! Check out her delicious tips & tricks!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Step by Step Recipe from Yours Truly!

When you try to cook a homemade dinner 6 days a week… sometimes you just run out of energy to search though the piles of magazines and blogs and come up with something original. Well, I was feeling a little uninspired one night and was rummaging through my pantry. I gathered what I thought I’d be able to whip something up with… AND… surprisingly enough, a delicious little recipe was born! Here’s what I used…

Chipotle Bean Burritos                                                                        by Yours Truly

1lb ground sirloin
8 large flour tortillas
1 package of Mexican blend shredded cheese
1 large onion
1 JalapeƱo
15oz can refried beans
15oz can fire roasted tomatoes with chilies

First you'll wanna give your onion & jalepeno a fine chop.

Put a couple tbsp of EVOO in your skillet over medium-high heat &  let 'em cook for about 6 minutes. Season with plenty of S&P.

Throw in the ground beef... 

and cook until it's nice and brown.

Next you'll add the tomatoes & give it a stir.

... and the beans. Give it another good stir and bring the mixture to a bubble.

Now it's time to assemble those burritos!

Put a good scoop of the beef and bean mixture & PLENTY of cheese!

Roll 'em up and put them seam side down in a large casserole dish.

Pour any left over filling and cheese on top and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Dig in & enjoy ya'll!