Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fantastic Fiesta Bake

So Matt said this was a keeper, put it on the regular rotation... and I have to agree with him.  So good!  And, wait for it, its Weight Watchers!  What?!

Recipes to Run On calls it Mexican Baked Penne, but I altered it a bit and I wanna call it Fantastic Fiesta Bake, so there, done.  Fantastic Fiesta Bake

You will need:
- 3/4 box whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 pound browned and drained ground beef
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 jars (at least 14 ounces each or more) salsa
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups finely shredded mexican blend cheese

First preheat your oven to 350.  Boil your pasta according to the box directions.  If you need to brown your ground beef do so and drain.  Set aside.  Saute your onions, peppers and garlic in olive oil until fork tender.  Add browned ground beef, cumin, and chili powder.  Stir.  Next, add salsa, pasta, black beans and corn.  Mix until combined.  Now spray a 9x13 with cooking spray.  Pour 1/2 of the pasta mixture into the pan.  Cover with one cup of shredded cheese.  Now pour the rest of the pasta mixture in and top the whole thing with the remaining cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tip 29: Fabric Storage

This week's tip has been a long time coming but with summer break here, I finally accomplished it (mostly).

First off you need to get some of these...  I ordered mine at a deal on Amazon.  Gotta love their Free Shipping on orders of $25 or more!

Now, lay out your fabric, folded selvage edge to selvage edge.  At this time I measure the fabric.  This is a 1 yard cut.

Then fold it again, folded edge to the 2 selvage edges.

Now place one of your comic book boards on the fabric and fold a little of the fabric over the end.  Now fold over and over until you have folded the entire length of the fabric around your board.

When you have finished wrapping take a pin and secure the fabric.  Then add a little sticky note with the length of fabric.  I feel so organized already!

Here's a look at one completed shelf.
This is 57 mini bolts of fabric!  Each one has at least a 1/2 yard on it.  The most on one mini bolt is about 5 yards!

Sadly, I still have 3 more under the bed storage containers to go (plus some).
I might have too much fabric...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 29

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Chicken with Fresh Corn on the Cob
Tuesday-  Fantastic Fiesta Bake -Will post recipe this week :)
Wednesday- Pizza and Wings 
Thursday-  Zesty Crockpot Chicken
Friday-  Grillin' out
Saturday-  Dinner Out
Sunday- London Broil

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, June 26, 2011

Fabric Bookmark Tutorial

My book loving husband asked me the other night to please make him some fabric bookmarks for the many, many books he is reading at the moment (not including the ones on his iPad).  So I got to crafting...

You will need:
Heat n Bond, either no sew or sewable, your choice
Sewing Machine (maybe)

Start by cutting your heat n bond to 2x8 or whatever size you would like your bookmarks to be.

Then cut your fabric 2.5 x 8.5 inches, or just slightly bigger than your heat n bond.  You will need 2 fabric pieces per bookmark.
Now peel one side of your heat n bond and place shiny side down on your fabric piece.  Iron for a few seconds until it bonds to the fabric.

Notice that the fabric is a little bigger than the white heat n bond?  That is what you want, so the heat n bond does not get on your ironing board.
Next, peel the other side of the heat n bond off and place another rectangle of fabric on top of the heat n bond.

If you used sewable heat n bond, you can go to the sewing machine and sew around the edge of your bookmark.

Then trim with a pair of pinking shears (this makes it so the fabric does not ravel).  Ta-Da!  Bookmark!

This is a version that I did with non-sewable heat n bond.  This picture was taken before I used the pinking shears to trim the edges.

Here's the whole lot of them!  I think they turned out great.  Lots of sports themed ones for my husband and one little penguin one for me :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Paddle Faster

Today the hubs and I became adventurous and canoe the Haw River. This is a river in our local area and the tour included a nice southern style dinner at a vineyard when we finished. I just want to go on record as saying that I love nature and water but I do not love paddling a canoe. I think I'll stick to crafts and recipes :)

PS... This is also my 200th post! Wowzers!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Favorite 28

Fresh, garden grown veggies!  These yummy tomatoes are straight from my raised bed garden box!
Happy Friday Everybody!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream

Look what I scored at Walmart today...

Oh, its perfect!  It makes ice cream, and its lime green!  2 of my favorite things!  If it only included a dozen Krispy Kremes we would be set...

So anyways, now that I have a wonderful new ice cream maker, I need to collect some homemade ice cream recipes.  Do you have a favorite you'd like to share?

Here's a few I found online that I can't wait to try!
Homemade Peach
Creamy Vanilla
Orange Pineapple
Cookies 'n Cream

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meal Plan Monday 28

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Taco
Tuesday-  Pizza
Wednesday-  BBQ Chicken
Thursday-   Lasagna
Friday-  Grillin' out Hotdogs
Saturday-  Dinner Out
Sunday- Grillin'

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, June 19, 2011

Finished Product!

Yes, this is the cake I made!  I am so proud of my 1st wedding cake!

This gorgeous picture is courtesy of Waterhouse Studios

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Buttercream Goodness

I am going to share my go to recipe for Buttercream icing.  If you don't like super sweet then this is NOT for you!

Buttercream Icing

2 cups Criso shortening
2 pounds Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 cup liquid  (2 teaspoons butter flavoring, 4 teaspoons clear vanilla, fill the rest of the 1/2 cup with water)

Combine all ingredients in a mixer and beat on medium speed.   In just a few minutes you will  have delicious buttercream!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Favorite 27

This week's Friday Favorite is a recipe that I have just recently found for cake fondant.  As you saw in Wordless Wednesday I had a cart full of cake supplies.  I am making a wedding cake... tomorrow!  Eeek!

Here is a picture of the test cake (Star Wars inspired for my Bro-in-Law Alex's graduation).  It has this marshmallow fondant on it.

Simple Marshmallow Fondant (compliments of

1 bag of mini marshmallow (16 ounces)
4 Tablespoons of water
1 Teaspoon clear vanilla (for white fondant)
2 pounds of powdered sugar, 1 cup reserved
Criso for coating hands and work surface

Place marshmallows in a microwave save container (use something big).  Microwave for 1 minute, check marshmallows to see if they are melted.  If they aren't, microwave at 30 second intervals until they are melted.  Stir in vanilla and water.  Now, slowly mix in powdered 1 cup at a time until it is all mixed it except for 1 cup that you will use for kneading.

Coat your hand with Crisco and start kneading the dough.  Keep working with fondant and incorporating the last cup of powdered sugar until it is all used and the dough is no longer sticky to the touch.  Roll out and cover cakes or cut out designs.  If you want to make this the day before you can, just coat the fondant ball with Crisco and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and leave on the counter.
What your fondant ball should look like...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tip 27

This week's tip is from and it's a good ol' fashion one...

Add Flavor To Cooked Vegetables: Toss in a bouillon cube or two to the boiling water instead of salt when cooking vegetables.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Here's this weeks meal plan.

Monday- Salsa Chicken
Tuesday-  Nachos
Wednesday-  Lemon Garlic Tilapia
Thursday-   Porkchops
Friday-  Grillin'
Saturday-  Dinner Out
Sunday- Father's Day Dinner

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, June 12, 2011

iPad 2 Sleeve Tutorial

So yesterday I posted a few links to iPad 2 case tutorials.  I woke up bright and early this morning thinking that today I would make one, and I did!  I ended up using MyPatchwork as my main inspiration, but I did do some tweaking....  So without further ado, here it is, my picture tutorial for an iPad 2 case.

For this you will need...
18"x 10.5" rectangle of main fabric
18" x 9.5" rectangle of fleece
18" x 9.5" rectangle of quilt batting
9" x 4" rectangle of accent fabric
Sewing Machine

 All seams are 1/4 inch.

 Let's do the inside liner first.  Lay your quilting batting to the wrong side of your fleece.  Fold over to make a little "pocket".  Sew the bottom and the non-folded side of this "pocket".  Go ahead and stitch around the top of the "pocket", sealing the fleece and the batting together so that the batting is the outside of this "pocket" and the fleece is the inside.  This is going to be what protects your iPad and keeps it snuggly safe.

This is a picture before and stitched all around the top of this "pocket".  This is not a necessary step, but does make it easier in my opinion when finishing the sleeve.

Now for the outside.  Take your main fabric piece and lay it out.  Decide where you want your pocket.  If you do not want an outside pocket, omit this step.  If you'd like a pocket for the back and front make it twice as long, so 18 x 4.

I found it easier to cut my main fabric in half (9 x9.5) and then attach my outer pocket with a 1/8 inch seam, just to hold it in place.  This is attached to the right side of the fabric.  I folded the top edge of the outer pocket 1/4 inch and added a decorative stitch so it would not ravel.

Now, place right sides together and stitch both sides and the bottom. 

This is what you will be left with.  Notice that my liner is shorter than the outer fabric.  This allows you to fold the pretty fabric over and give it a very finished look.

Turn your main fabric right side out and then put your liner "pocket" inside the main fabric "pocket" wrong sides together.  When you look inside you should see no seams.

Fold over the main fabric and stitch around the edge.

This is the time to add velcro if that is how you want to seal you sleeve.  This step is not necessary but I think it adds another layer of protection.

And there you have it, a sweet little padded sleeve for your iPad 2!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A New Sewing Project

As I stated yesterday I have a new iPad 2. I'm in love with it! So of course I wanted a case to protect it. I bought the lime green magnetic smart cover but I thought that it needs something more to protect it. So to google I went!

I found a few great tutorials on iPad sleeves. So I can't wait to try one.

iPad sleeves

There's this super cute one from Moda pictured above.

Then we have this neat version from MyPatchWork.

And we also have this one from The Green Wife

I'm still deciding which one will be perfect for me :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Favorite 26: iPad 2

 I think I am in love...  So perfect with a lime green cover.... perfect :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tip 26

I thought this was a great Tuesday Tip found at a cute blog called Me and My Pink Mixer.  It is a super simple recipe for homemade carpet freshener.  All it is is baking soda and essential oil!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Crock Pot Beed Tacos

When I found this recipe I smiled... it involved 2 things we love: crockpots and tacos.  This is almost as easy as Salsa Chicken, which ranks pretty high on the easy to do list!

Head on over to Krista's Kitchen and check out her Crock Pot Beef Tacos.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Favorite 25: National Doughnut Day!

If you know me you know I love love love doughnuts!  They are my absolute favorite sweet treat.  So when I heard that June 3rd, is National Doughnut Day I was so excited!  So this week's F.F. is doughnuts!

Bake it in a Cake is celebration by baking little mini doughnuts into cupcakes!  Say what!?!

I also found a copy cat recipe for those irresistible Krispy Kremes at!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Best Ever Chocolate Sheet Cake

I am writing down all the ingredients to make this on my grocery list RIGHT NOW...
picture from
I've heard lots of wonderful things from The Pioneer Woman blog, but this Best Chocolate Sheet Cake, takes the cake ;)