Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is only a couple of days away, so that means more pinspired recipes for you! Aren't you excited? I'll be making my broccoli cheddar soup for dinner tomorrow and hopefully I'll post the recipe sometime tomorrow night. I'll have my Thanksgiving day recipes up on Friday. I know, its a day late BUT you can use these recipes any day of the year, so it works out. The recipes I'll be posting are
Bean Dip
Cheeseburger Puffs
Butternut squash and Sausage Bake
Mini Apple Pies
Pumpkin cupcakes
Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust

I can't wait to share all of these recipes with you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Headband Holder






Hello all! My latest pinspired project was a bit of a task but it turned out GREAT! My daughter has an obscene amount of headbands and I'm tired of digging through 40 plus of them to find the one I need. No, that was not a typo, I meant 40. I told you it was an obscene amount, but I love it. I love baby girls with big headbands. Back to my project... I found a few headband holders on Pinterest and of course pinned them. I had all the materials for the one I made on hand already so I went with that one. Only catch is, there are still  more headbands in the drawer. I’ll be working on a second holder soon. This particular headband holder should have been easy to make, had I followed instructions, but since I was going by the picture and my creativity alone, it took longer than it should have. But nonetheless, it was a fun project.
     To make this headband holder you will need:
         1 Antibacterial wipes  container (ie Clorox, Lysol)
         1 12x12 Sheet of pretty scrapbook paper
         Hot glue gun and glue sticks
         Scissors
         Fabric /crepe paper
         Ribbon
         Pencil  
                           
 (If you notice, there is double sided tape in the photo. That didn’t work out too well so I brought out my trusty glue gun. )
1. Stand your container upright and wrap the paper around it. Using your pencil draw a line about an inch above the top. Cut along the line.
2. Take the top off and lay the container down in the middle of the paper so that you have some hanging over both the top and the bottom. Glue the paper around the container. Glue the paper to the bottom of the container. Fold the paper over the top of the container and glue. (This last part didn’t work out for me so I just cut it down.
3.  Place the top of your container in the middle of your fabric. Cut around it. Fold over the edges of the top and glue. If you are using crepe paper, just wrap it around the top and glue, like paper mache. This is the method I used. (I originally used paper….not one of my best ideas.)
 4. If you use fabric you can probably tie a nice bow and glue it right on top. I wanted to cover up the crepe paper so I used a wide ribbon and wrapped it around the top and tied a bow on top. I have to warn you...you may not be able to securely close your container, although this shouldn’t be a problem. I pushed the top down as far as I could but could still see white. I took a piece of ribbon and wrapped it around the top to cover the white spots.
5. Glue on any embellishments. I used an initial sticker and a few feathers.

Overall, this was a successful project. I smile every time I walk by it on top of my daughter’s dresser. I hope she enjoys it. J As always, thank you for reading. I hope I’ve inspired you to get crafty!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rice and Chicken Casserole

Thought you all might like another quick and easy go to recipe, so here goes. Last night I made a yummy chicken and rice casserole. I don't have any pictures :(, but I guaruntee I'll be making this again so I'll definitely update this post.

Ingredients:

4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups rice
2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can of water (once you remove the soup)
1/2 bag of frozen vegetables

1. Put two cups of rice into a pot with two cups of water. Add salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Put on medium heat.
2. Cut chicken into even pieces and season. Stir rice and when all the water is absorbed, remove it from the heat. 
3. Stir in the vegetables, chicken, cream of chicken soup, and half a can of water. 
4. Pour into a casserole dish and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top. Cover with foil
5. Place into the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Uncover and remove from oven when cheese is melted. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Guest Post: It's a Wonka Party!

Hi all! My friend Bunny Moreno aka Pinup Mama over at The Musings and Adventures of a Pinup Mama hosts some amazing parties for her adorable kiddos. She recently hosted a Willy Wonka themed birthday party for her youngest munchkin's first birthday. Here's her post where she shares her tips for planning a party on a budget. When you're done reading check out her blog and click here to follow her on Pinterest!

It's a Wonka Party!




My youngest son has turned ONE! I still can't believe it! So now I have a four yr old, two yr old, and one yr old. Sheesh! No wonder I'm tired hehehe

I have shared with you all that I love celebrating events, milestones, and holidays. I think it's important to find joy in things and be happy about the events that happen in your life. I have always enjoyed gathering with friends and party planning just grew from there.

Now that I have three children, I have to plan three birthday parties a year. Okay I don't have to, but I want to. And now more than ever I have to tap into my creativity and make their birthdays fabulous without spending very much at all.


Lets start with the wall-its a huge part of the decoration process. Some people use material to cover the wall, some use banners, and I started using a quote. I hand drew the letters based on the lettering used on the DVD case and his invitation and cut them out with precession scissors from Fiskars-its a scrapbooking tool I use.

The words that I wanted to pop out I made out of tissue papers-the decorating tool that is very inexpensive and you can do so much with. I plan to discover a 100 ways I can use tissue paper for party planning. I used four of them for this party hehehe The seller I used on Etsy is called pomtastic. They are fantastic and have so many colors to choose from too.



Since "Willy Wonka" is a chocolate and candy theme  decided to make my own large pieces of candy with tissue paper. I basically took one sheet and balled it up and covered it with a another sheet and twisted the ends from the smaller pieces and balled up two or three sheets for the larger pieces. I was going to attempt making lollipops but time didn't allow me.

I also used a sheet for under the serving plate to add a little more color to the all white table. The final way I used tissue paper was in a cylinder I had to put the cookie pops in. Its a great filler to use and helped keep the favors in place.


These were my sons favors. I loved them but have been inspired to make my own for first sons third birthday party in May (Superhero theme). It was a beautiful gift from his amazing Godmother! But she has been encouraging me to try and make decorated sugar cookies myself, so I will be!


Because Halloween just passed I honestly didn't want too much candy at the party. Also it was a small event with a few friends and family members. The kids that were there were basically my three and my little niece. So since my parties are small and more intimate, I find that less is more works best for me.



I made these cupcakes myself and decorated them with candy and chocolates. OMG---lets just say I will be making them this way again. I am still drooling over the twix covered cupcake I had-YUM!

The picks were made by an Etsy seller. Honestly after seeing how she made them, I am again convinced I can do them myself. I think if you plan your parties with time (in my case I need a few months for each) you can really do most of everything yourself.

I use all white servers at my parties, mostly purchased from Crate and Barrel from my non-baby days LOL I think white servers are fantastic because you can use them over and over and they are also elegant and classic pieces. Why buy plastic servers in every color for every party theme you ever have when you can use white? With this cupcake (and cake) server I can changes the colors of the ribbon that I intertwine, according to the colors of the theme.



The glass jar was purchased for 3.99 and the candy was a mix of "Willy Wonka" candy. The hat accent on top was purchased as a prop for my sons portrait but he didn't take to it too well so I just added it to the jar and I think it looked super cute!



I have used this seller twice, the first was my daughter's "Vintage Olivia Carnival" theme for her fourth birthday and again for this one. She also made our invitations. I am going to attempt to make the invitations for my son's "Superhero" themed party--keep your fingers crossed for that! Heheh I love the photo picks this seller makes! She's great to work with and as you can see I put them in the "Oompa Loompa" sandwiches-everyone got a kick out of this.

I do believe that one or two things should really POP at a party you are planning. It doesn't matter whether you spend a dollar or a hundred as long as its unique and really adds something special to the event. These picks made with my baby's cutie pie face were awesome!



I like to add personal touches to my tables and they usually include a photo of my child. I purchased a wooden frame from Michael's and hand painted with acrylic paint. Then I add the photo and it's done! I haven't played around with decorated the frames because sometimes I like to reuse them from another party. In this case, this frame is now in the nursery with my son*smile*


There I am with my youngest munchkin. Happy Birthday to my baby boy!

A few more tips for all you party planning mamas and papas:

  • Save the table covers, especially the plastic ones because you can reuse them again for other events.
  • Plan your party with a specific budget in mind so you won't go over board.
  • Ask family or friends to make you treats or help you cook something. My sister n law made my son's cake and some of the chocolate treats in the pictures above.
  • Make the party age and group appropriate. For example, because this was a first birthday party and the only kids were my own and my niece we didn't have any party games. I just let the kids play with the toys we have in our home.
  • Purchase solid colored tableware--like the plates, forks, cups, napkins, and table covers--purchase them a solid color-you can not only reuse most of them but also it is about 75% less than having characters printed everywhere.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my world of party planning. I love it and truly enjoy being creative and making something special for my little ones.

xox

PS I don't like to post my children's names but in this case you might be curious to know his name is Michelangelo hence why it says "Michel" on the cake. We call him "Micha" (Mee-ka) for short though :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding






I just have to say, it smells HEAVENLY in here.  That being said, not only does this bread pudding smell divine, it’s also simple to make and absolutely delicious. Like I’ve said before, I don’t really follow recipes. I basically made this up as I went along and ended up with an amazing dish. I meant to take pictures of each step, but got caught up with what I was doing. I PROMISE to post pictures with my next recipe. Here’s your guide to apple cinnamon goodness:

Ingredients:

1 loaf of bread (I used wheat)
3 small apples
4 eggs
2 cups milk
1½ cup applesauce
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tb cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg 

Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven at 350°.
2.     Slice bread into cubes.  Cut them as big or as small as you’d like. I usually cut in threes vertically and horizontally. Place bread in large bowl
3.     Slice apples into chunks and place into bowl with bread.
4.     Mix half of the brown sugar with half of the white sugar and half of the cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of bread and apple mixture. Gently toss the mixture.
5.     In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, applesauce, remaining brown sugar, white granulated sugar, cinnamon, and dash of nutmeg.
6.     Pour over bread and apples. Mix together, ensuring every piece of bread has liquid on it. Let it sit for 10 minutes, so the bread soaks up the liquid.
7.     Transfer mixture to greased 9 ½ by 13in baking dish.
8.     Bake for 45 minutes.
9.     Remove from oven and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family does.  Stay tuned for more delicious recipes and hopefully some crafts coming soon. Thanks for reading!

Did you miss me?

Hi all! I'm sorry I haven't posted in a few days. I didn't realize it was going to be this difficult to do "pinteresting" things everyday :(. There's a little project I hope to get done tonight. I've only wanted to do it for 3 weeks now ::sigh::. Anyhoo, baby just fell asleep so it's time to get to work. Look out for my next post about my apple cinnamon bread pudding!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake


I’ve been struggling to find time to use my pinspiration. I finally decided to cook this chicken, spinach, pasta bake that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I have to be honest and tell you that I DO NOT follow recipes. I think it’s a control thing, but my cooking is pretty good. I enjoy making a dish that has been inspired/pinspired by someone else’s recipe, but since I didn’t follow the recipe it is all mine J.

Here is my pin: Chicken Spinach Bake

Here’s my Chicken, Spinach, Pasta Bake :

Sorry for horrible pic...My daughter couldn't wait to have some!
Ingredients:

1 box pasta
2 Chicken breasts
½ bag Frozen spinach
8oz Cheddar cheese
½ cup Bread crumbs
1 cup Milk
2 Tb Flour
2 Tb Butter
Olive oil
Seasoning of your choice (ie. Mrs. Dash or Nature’s season)

1.     Fill a pot with water and put it over high heat on the stove. Put lid on to speed up the boiling process.
2.     While the water is heating up, cut your chicken into equal size pieces. Season and cook in a sauté pan. Once cooked, remove chicken from pan and place on the side
3.     Once the water is boiling, add salt and a bit of olive oil. Add pasta and stir.
4.     While the pasta cooks, make your béchamel (white sauce) in a saucepan. Melt butter and add flour. Once combined whisk in milk. Stir in half of your cheddar cheese.
5.     Drain water from pasta and place pasta back in the pot. Add spinach, seasoning chicken, and sauce. Stir together.
6.     Pour mixture into a casserole dish. Top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.
7.     Place in 350° oven and bake until the cheese is melted. 
This recipe is super simple and very easy to make. Mac n cheese is one of my go to meals. I always have pasta, cheese, and frozen veggies on hand. I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine did. Feel free to change it up and make it your own J!!!