Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Favorite 5: Fondue

Every Christmas Eve and New Year's Day for as long as my sweet hubby and I have been celebrating together we've had fondue.  So I thought I would share my 2 favorite recipes for fondue with you!

Cheese Fondue
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp pepper 
12 oz beer
4 Tablespoons of flour
1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag of shredded swiss cheese
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce 
1/4 tsp mustard powder

Mix cheeses with flour. How I do this is by putting 2 tablespoons of flour in each bag of chesse, reseal and shake!  Heat beer on the stove at med-high until steaming. Add Worcestershire, garlic, mustard & pepper; mix well. Add cheese & stir until melted. Transfer to a fondue pot or small crockpot. Use chunks of French bread, grape tomatoes, veggies & apples for dipping in cheese mixture.

Coq Au Vin Fondue (for meat and veggies)

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock (almost a full carton of broth)
1 cube Knorr brand vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Ingredients to cook in the fondue (beef cubes, whole fresh mushrooms, shrimp, cooked tortellini, zucchini cubes, partially cooked potato cubes. Use your imagination.)

In saucepan, heat vegetable stock, bouillon cubes, red wine, garlic and green onions until mixture boils. Transfer to fondue pot. Spear ingredients with a fondue fork and place in pot. Cook until desired doneness is reached. If the liquid level becomes to low in the pot, add boiling water to bring it back to the original level.

We usually never get to the chocolate course!  LOL I really over indulge with the cheese, it is my favorite.

Picture Credit:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Tip 5: Leftover Potato Soup

Here's this weeks tip:  Use those leftovers for something different.

For instance, if you checked out this weeks meal plan, you saw that I am having leftover mashed potato soup for dinner tonight.  I was asked to bring potatoes to Christmas dinner and we had some Sunday for lunch but there are still about 2 cups of mashed potatoes staring at me in the fridge...

What to do, what to do.  And then it came to me.  Google: Leftover Mashed Potatoes Recipes.  After 30 links for potato pancakes I found one for soup that sounded delish!  Oh, and I have all the ingredients (except mushrooms, but we don't like those anyways)!  Double win!

So I thought I would share the recipe for Leftover Mashed Potato Soup tweaked by me:

2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1/2 cup chopped onion
14 1/2 ounces chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 scallions, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons milk

Cook bacon, and set aside to crumble.  In a large saucepan, cook onion in drippings until onion is golden.  Add chicken broth, salt, and pepper stirring to mix.  Blend in mashed potatoes, stirring until lumps are gone (I like to use an immersion blender).  Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat and add cheddar cheese, stirring until it is melted and smooth.  Mix in scallions, crumbled bacon, and milk, stirring to heated through but not boiling.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 5

Wow!  The Southeast (my neck of the woods) was covered with snow this morning!  There is nothing better on a snowy day than smelling a crockpot full of food all day long!  So instead of Meatball Subs like I originally had on last week's meal plan, I switched it up and we had Salsa Chicken!  So good!

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Skillet Lasagna
Tuesday- Leftover Mashed Potato Soup with Sandwiches
Wednesday-  Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday- Hubby's Birthday!
Friday-  New Year's Eve (out to eat)
Saturday-  New Year's Day Fondue
Sunday-  Spaghetti and Meatballs

If I pulled the recipe from a website, then it is linked for you to try yourself!  I will also share other favorite recipes throughout the weeks and will link them when used for meal planning.  Bon Appetit!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday Favorite 4: Snowmen Treats

This Friday favorite are Christmas Goodies: The Snowman Edition!

This year I made lots of homemade treats but I think these were the cutest!

Let's start with chocolate covered marshmallow snowmen!  I originally found this idea at The Speckled Egg
 First you are going to need the following supplies:
Vanilla Almond Bark
Long Sucker Sticks
Black Icing

 Take the marshmallows and put 3 each on a long sucker stick.  Like pictured above.

Then start dunking them in chocolate!  I like to put the chocolate in a tall mug so that I can dip all of the marshmallows at one time!
 Ta Da!  Here they are all dunked and decorated.  Cute huh?

 And how about the whole gang?

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

3 Cheese Beef Stuffed Shells

This is a wonderful recipe that I found on the Pillsbury message boards.  I have re-posted the link below.  It is one of our family favorite but it is a little time consuming.  To help with this I use 1 pound of ground beef that I browned previously that I keep in the freezer.

 3 Cheese Beef Stuffed Shells

24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 jar (26 oz) chunky tomato pasta sauce
1/4 cup water
1 container (8 oz) chive and onion cream cheese spread
1 1/2 cups shredded 6 cheese Italian cheese blend (6 oz)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 to 2 tablspoons chopped fresh parsely, if desired


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain pasta shells as directed on package.
2. In 10 inch skillet, cook ground beef over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.  Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. In large bowl, mix pasta sauce and water. Pour 1 cup of the pasta sauce in bottom of ungreased 13x9 inch (3 quart) glass baking dish.  In medium bowl, mix cheese spread, 1 cup of the Italian cheese, the Parmesan cheese, egg, and cooked ground beef.  Spoon heaping tablespoon mixture into each shell. Arrange stuffed shells over sauce in baking dish.  Pour remaining sauce over top, covering shells completely. Cover with foil.
4.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and cheese filling is set. Sprinkly with remaining 1/2 cup Italian cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Tip 4

Christmas Tip!

When you have to travel to other places with presents, like we do, an easy way to know what goes where is gift wrap!
I wrap one side of the family in one kind of gift wrap and the other side in a different wrap.  So when are rushing out the door on Christmas morning I can say, "All the candy cane wrapping paper needs to go in the trunk!"  It makes it very easy to make sure nothing is left behind!

If you like all your presents wrapped in the same paper, then how about different bows and ribbons.  Red ribbon for this group of people, white for these.

Hope this helps with Christmas chaos!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 4

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Three Cheese Beef Stuffed Shells (Check for recipe Thursday)
Tuesday- Tacos
Wednesday-  Fried Chicken with the best mashed potatoes
Thursday- Mexican Pizzas using leftover taco meat
Friday- Christmas Dinner with one side of the family
Saturday- Christmas Dinner with the other side of the family
Sunday-  Meatball Subs

If I pulled the recipe from a website, then it is linked for you to try yourself!  I will also share other favorite recipes throughout the weeks and will link them when used for meal planning.  Bon Appetit!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ornaments a Whole New Way!

I love Christmas crafting!  Too bad I found these a little late, only 6 days until Christmas I can't justify making anything else... but there's always next year!  I plan on hitting the stores for after Christmas deals and remember to craft new creations next year!

Picture Credit:
This one comes to us from the Tie That Binds blog.  If you are planning a wedding, helping with a wedding, or just love weddings, this is the place!  She also has other great tutorials and inspirations!  She made this fantastic tutorial for an Ornament Tower.  Such a pretty idea!  Hop on over and make a Ornament Tower yourself!

Picture Credit:
This pretty little ornament topiary comes to us from Better Homes and Gardens.  You know I love the color combination on these!  Wish I had those ornaments!  Check out their how to over at Better Home and Gardens Ornament Topiary Tutorial.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shrimp and Grits

My Daddy has been talking about shrimp and grits for weeks.  So last night when we decided to stay in, instead of go out I remembered that I had everything to make shrimp and grits!

I got the recipe for shrimp and grits here:  Real Simple Shrimp and Grits but when I make them again, I think I will search out a more flavorful recipe.  Don't get me wrong, this was good, easy, and used ingredients that everyone probably has on hand but it needed more seasoning...

Anyone have an awesome shrimp and grits recipe they want to share?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cake Pops

I was so excited to get an email in my email box this morning that the book Cake Pops was on reserve for me! :)  This is the first book by a blog I have been following for quite a long time, Bakerella.

Here is my first attempt at Cake Balls:
Not too bad!  They turned out really well.  I am not going to lie, they are a bit time consuming, but I am sure that is because it was my first time making them and he book did say allow 1 hour to create them.
I will say that they are defiantly worth the work!

Here is a yummy bite!  Look at that moist goodness!
I used yellow cake mix, buttercream icing, and white chocolate coating
Here you can see the book, its on my Christmas wish list... Hint, Hint Santa!  
Ready to go to school tomorrow for our grade level party :)

Also found some great tips over at The Crafty Penguin  Love that blog name! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Tip 3

Another freezer pleaser tip...

You know what are the best time savers ever?  Rotisserie Chickens.  They are delicious as is, but a real time saver for other meals as well.

Get yourself a rotisserie chicken (usually can get this at Super Walmart for $5).  I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it in its little container.  I had a hungry hubby standing by.  So I took apart the chicken.  We had the wings and leg sections with rice and veggies that night for dinner.  So what was left was all the breast meat.

I took 2 forks and shredded the meat up, put into a labeled freezer bag and its ready for another meal :)
Oh what will you be little bag of cooked shredded chicken?  Chicken fried rice, chicken enchiladas, chicken salad, the list is endless!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 3

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Chicken Fried Rice (new recipe!)
Tuesday-  Oven Pork Chops
Wednesday- My niece's birthday party 
Thursday- BBQ Chicken
Friday- Shrimp Linguine
Saturday- Out To Eat
Sunday- BBQ Chicken Stromboli

If I pulled the recipe from a website, then it is linked for you to try yourself!  I will also share other favorite recipes throughout the weeks and will link them when used for meal planning.  Bon Appetit

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Its the Little Things

Remember me saying these needed something?  Got this sweet little placemat for $1.99 and it really pulled it all together.

When I put it down and replaced all the vases my husband said, "Wow, that looks really good."  He then proceeded to tell me how awesome I am and how great the house looks... yeah, I know, I'm pretty lucky :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Skillet Lasagna

Here's another keeper recipe (I changed a little bit)  from a great blog Sister Stuff

Skillet Lasanga

What you'll need:
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 1/4 cups water
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bow tie pasta, uncooked
1 cup cottage cheese, strained
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic; drain. Add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt. Stir this very well, then add uncooked pasta and stir. Bring this to a boil. Put on low and cover, simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in cottage cheese, then add parmesan cheese to the top. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.  Serve yourself a big bowl!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Favorite 2

This week's Friday Favorite is a place I turn to for lots of ideas and have everywhere:

I love magazines.  I have too many subscriptions and I am always picking up new ones.  I rip out articles and tuck them away for later use.  I love their layout, the pictures, I just love love love them!

Here are my top 5 favorite magazines:
1. Real Simple
2. Martha Stewart Living
3. Food Network Magazine
4. Taste of Home
5. Everyday with Rachel Ray

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Salsa Chicken, You'll Save This One

I am that sure that you will love this recipe as much as I do, it is a staple in our house.  My husband gets stoked when he hears we are having this, but shhhh don't tell him it is this easy!

I cannot take any credit for this genius recipe.  You can find the original recipe at the blog According to Kelly.  But mine is slightly different, so see what you think:

Anyways, here it is:
You are going to need:
4-5 frozen chicken breasts (that's right frozen, no need to defrost)
1 large jar of chunky salsa (I use mild because I'm a wimp)
1 can of black bean, drained and rinised
Taco toppings of your choice

What to do with it.
Place frozen chicken breasts in your crockpot.  Add black beans and salsa.  Cook all day on low (like 8 hours).  Take forks and shred the meat, this is super easy to do since it is so tender!  Use as soft taco/burrito filling and make chicken soft tacos/burritos!

This makes enough that we always have lots of leftovers.  It is great as a topping for nachos and the meat in tortilla soup!  Hope you love this as much as I do!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Tip 2

Time for Tuesday's Tip!

This is one that I have just started doing and LOVE it!
I hate brown ground beef.  Hate it.  I feel like it is not real cooking, just a step I have to do before I can get to the real cooking.  So now I have started brown most all my ground beef at one time! :)

Let me give a great example.  In our house we love tacos, nachos, and mexican pizza.  Yum to all of those things!  So when I know I am going to make tacos I usually will go ahead and brown and season 3 pounds of ground beef.  1 pound for dinner that night, and the other 2 pounds go into labeled freezer bags.

So on a busy week I can put that bag of frozen seasoned meat in the fridge to defrost over night and BAM no browning meat the next day!  Just reheat and use!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 2

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Pizza (I have an out of town workshop to attend)
Tuesday- Salmon Patties 
Wednesday- Crockpot Salsa Chicken tacos (look for this recipe later in the week, you'll love it)
Thursday- Leftover Salsa Chicken as Nachos
Friday- Date Night
Saturday- Out To Eat
Sunday- Beef Stir Fry

If I pulled the recipe from a website, then it is linked for you to try yourself!  I will also share other favorite recipes throughout the weeks and will link them when used for meal planning.  Bon Appetit!

We do usually eat out on Friday and Saturday night, either with friends or just a nice date night.  With just the two of us in our little family we can get away with eating out on the weekends for dinner.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Portable North Pole

So my cousin sent me this link because her 6 year old daughter absolutely loved it and I thought it would be a great link to share with you!  It is called Portable North Pole.  Here you can request a special greeting from Santa to your loved one.  I love Christmas and this really gets you in the spirit!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Favorite 1

A feature that I am bringing from my personal blog is something I called "Friday Friend".  I wanted to be a little broader than that on this blog, so I decided to do Friday Favorite, which can be just about anything that is a favorite of mine!  Think of it like Oprah, except I am not sending you on a week long cruise.

The first Friday Favorite is a website that I use constantly.  It is my go to for wonderful gifts and home decor.  I know lots and lots of people already know and use it but I come across people all the time that have no idea what it is and once they check it out they love it too!

Of course I am talking about Etsy!!!  If you've never checked Etsy out you need to do so right away!  It is different sellers that sell their crafts, from art to crochet, to metal works and food!  Here are a few items that are currently listed that I think are fabulous!

These awesome mustache necklaces are from idlehandsdesigns

 These gorgeous handmade earrings from Gilliauna

 I love these prints from byorderofthecrown

Now go and find some treasures of your own!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Super Simple Christmas Decorations

My husband and I bought our first home last year a few days before Halloween.  I had dreams of decorating for Christmas but due to finding furniture, decorating for daily life, and other new home odds and ends, the budget was not there.  So this is the first year that we have been able to decorate our home like we've hoped!

For my post today I would like to share a super inexpensive Christmas decoration.  I pulled out a few glass cylinder vases I had and arranged them on my table.  I began to fill each one with ornaments that I got a Target after Christmas last year for 60 cents a box!  Here is what I came up with...

I think it is really cute!  3 vases of varying sizes, one with all silver, one with all red and one with a combination of the two.  These sit on my kitchen table.  Grand Total: $1.20!  I think a round red or silver placemat underneath would really make it.  Putting that on the "look for" list this weekend.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Tip 1

Greetings Blog Fans!

Hope you are enjoying my posts so far, I am playing with different ideas for this blog and would appreciate any feedback you would like to give.  On Tuesdays I would like to share tips or tricks that I have read or picked along the way.  This week is a good one and it comes from one of my favorite magazines Real Simple.

When trying to clean ceiling fan blades it is close to impossible to do it without getting dust all over everything, including yourself!  I have found that this little tip really works wonders.

Take a pillowcase (I have one from the thrift store for just this task).  Open the pillowcase and carefully slip it over the ceiling fan blade.  Do not scrap it over the top when putting it on, make sure the case does not touch the top or the bottom when putting it on.  So now the blade is inside the pillowcase.  Take your hands and hold the blade at the end of the pillowcase opening.  Pull the pillowcase along the length of the blade, putting pressure on both the top and the bottom.  When you pull the case off of the blade all of the dust and grim will be in the pillowcase, not on you, not of the floor, all kept in the pillowcase!  Continue cleaning your fans this way until the pillowcase is totally nasty or you are finished.  Then throw the pillowcase in the washing machine and you're done!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Meal Plan Monday 1

Welcome to the first installment of Monday Meal Planning... Here's what's for dinner this week, with leftovers for lunch, if there are any ;)  Meal planning saves me a great deal of worry throughout the week and also it saves us money.  I sit down and look at what is on sale at the grocery store and then I plan my meals for the week around that.  Usually if there are not any good specials on meat, I can pull from the freezer from weeks when they had great deals.  Your freezer is your friend!

Monday- Homemade Stromboli
Tuesday- Pork Chops
Wednesday- BBQ Chicken
Thursday- Spaghetti and Meatballs
Friday- Date Night
Saturday- Out To Eat
Sunday- Mexican Pizza

If I pulled the recipe from a website, then it is linked for you to try yourself!  I will also share other favorite recipes throughout the weeks and will link them when used for meal planning.  Bon Appetit!

We do usually eat out on Friday and Saturday night, either with friends or just a nice date night.  With just the two of us in our little family we can get away with eating out on the weekends for dinner.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Place for Treasures

One of my most favorite places to go is the Flea Market on the weekends.  Its a great time for my husband and I to take the dog and have some quality time together as our little family.  I have been going to the flea market since I was a little girl, my daddy loves to hunt and find unusual things and I have picked up that love from him.  

Flea Markets, Thrift Stores, and Yard Sales are fantastic places to pick up items to re-purpose or just get some neat decor!  You can usually get an item for less than the person is asking, especially on a cold day like when we went!  I spotted this sweet Fiestaware water pitcher from across the aisle.  I gently picked it up, and asked how much?  The man said, "$15.00"  I turned it over and said, "Would you take $10?"  And he said, "Yes"!  Only $10.00.  Its real and in mint condition.  I have a very large collection of Fiestaware and lots of my favorite pieces were little gems I picked up second-hand.  Another handy place to find items to re-purpose or new to you items is  We have found many great deals on craigslist and saved lots of money.  It is my plan to post other entries of thrifting and junking adventures and finds and show you what you can do with some of these treasures :)