Everyday Cheese Tray

A super simple way to bring elegance to any day. I included the following on my tray:

Hard cheeses (cheddar, pepper jack, etc)

Creamy cheese

Tangy (herbed goat cheese)

Stinky (blue cheese)

Two kinds of crisps (regular and rosemary)

Grapes, apples and mango chutney

Pecans

Olives

Add any other ingredients that you love!

Toodles!

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Market Salad

To say I love Chick-Fil-A’s market salad might be an understatement.  The combination of fresh greens, fruit, nuts and other goodies makes this salad irresitable even for the most resistant healthy eaters.  There’s no real recipe for this salad, but instead a list of ingredients.  You get to choose how much of each you want in your salad.  One note, my kids hate Gorgonzola so I used goat cheese for theirs…really, any cheese will work in this salad so if neither of those suit your fancy choose whatever kind you like…or none at all.  Enjoy!  🙂

Ingredients:

Spring mix salad greens

Sliced strawberries

Blueberries

Diced apples

Granola (with nuts and dried fruit)

Gorgonzola

Thinly sliced grilled chicken breast

Dressing of your choice (we like vinaigrette or avocado ranch)

Cook Once, Eat Thrice – Making The Most of Your Time in The Kitchen

Did you realize that it takes virtually no extra time to boil, brown or bake extra meat? 

Tonight I browned three pounds of ground turkey with a blend of onions and green and red peppers.  After I finished browning the meat I used one pound to make a pot of three bean turkey chili and put up the other two pounds in Zip Lock bags, in one pound increments, for later on in the week/weekend.  The extra ground turkey can be used to make tacos, taco salads, loaded nachos, shepherd’s pie, spaghetti, pizza, or anything else you would use ground turkey/beef for.  The left over chili from tonight can be used later in the week for Frito chili pie, chili cheese dogs or served over rice or pasta.

One side note, if you want flavorful, juicy meat use 85% lean and rinse off the fat.  The 93% lean is healthier, but is super dry.

Hope this tip helps!  

Toodles!

Handmade Bow Tie

Handmade Bow TieMy son came home for holiday break and wanted to get crafty.  While we were walking through Hobby Lobby he turned and asked, “Can you make bow ties?”.  I said, “I’ve never made one before, but it can’t be that hard”.  So he raided the remnant bin and found two different fabrics that he liked.  I’ve listed out most of the steps that we took to get to the finished bow tie.  I broke a few sewing rules making the tie, but who cares…he loved the outcome and plans to make one on his own (with me looking over his shoulder, of course).  :). If you decide to try it check back in and let me know how it went!

Handmade bow tie steps 1-4

The simple things – Where does the trash go?

Hey all!

It’s been a few weeks since my last post – the holidays had me hopping!  Now that things have settled down a bit I hope I can post on a consistent schedule!  

Where does the trash go?

A couple of months ago my husband picked up a second trash can specifically for recycling so that we could stop stacking it on the counter.  That was an awesome idea and I was super excited because he was able to get the exact same one as the one we already had.  What I didn’t consider was the fact the family would get the cans mixed up.  

The answer?  Slap some vinyl on those babies and call that problem “fixed”.  :). I set up and cut out a quick design with my Cricut Explore, weeded the design (that means to take away the unwanted parts) and then used transfer tape to place the design on top of the each can lid.  

It was a quick design that fixed a small, but annoying problem.  Thanks for stopping by!


Bye-bye!

Homemade Beignets

BeignetThis past spring my family and I made a trip to New Orleans. At the top of our list of treats to try were Cafe Du Monde’s beignets. It was a great experience and the tasty, powdered sugar puffs of dough were just enough to send our 10 year old into a treat-induced stupor — no lie, he fell asleep at the table. :). To be fair we had been walking the quarter all day so anything would have probably put him to sleep, but we still love teasing him (especially since we have a photo to prove it).
He mentioned the beignets in passing a few weeks ago and later asked if we could make some at home. I love baked goods, but hadn’t ever tried to make homemade beignets. It was a really easy recipe, but you do have to allow some time for the dough to rise. You also want to make sure you have folks ready to snap them up as soon as they are cool enough to eat — left overs are okay, but are no where near as good as the day they are made.  

Click here to get the recipe. I halved the recipe and still ended up with about 15 beignets.  

If you try them out drop me a note to let me know how things went. Oh, and don’t forget to like, post and share! Bye-bye!

Homemade, No Recipe, Soup-Making 101


Hi there!

How many of you have leftover turkey, ham, vegetables or other foods from your Thanksgiving meal?  What do you plan to do with those things?…Cause’ there’s only so many sandwiches you can make.  :). 

What about turning some of the leftovers into soup/stew?  And not some scripted recipe, but rather a bit of experimentation.  I don’t know about you, but when I make these kinds of meals  my family really enjoys them…its like they know I had to think about this meal a bit more and they seem to appreciate the effort. 

There is a basic structure that lets you make great soup/stew (or other dishes) out of things you already have in your house.  I learned this trick from my mom and grandmothers growing up (they didn’t waste food) and was reminded of this “waste not, want not” attitude when I stumbled across a great book called “An Everlasting Meal – Cooking with Economy and Grace”.  The basic premise of the book is learning to use what you have to make really, really good food.  The basic structure I mentioned earlier is

  1. A healthy oil (butter, olive oil, etc.) – Warm over medium heat
  2. Aromatics (onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, etc) – Sauté until soft
  3. Items of your choosing (meat, vegetables) – Season and cook until done (or until hot if what you using was pre-cooked) 
  4. Liquid (water, broth, milk, etc) – Add liquid until contents are 3/4 covered.  If adding milk in addition to water or broth to make your soup creamy wait until the last five minutes of your cooking time so that it doesn’t curdle.
  5. Seasonings (salt, pepper, parsley,thyme, etc.) – Add seasonings to taste

To make the bread twists from my photo above:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly oil a cookie sheet
  2. Thaw your puff pastry acccording to the directions on the box
  3. Cut them in strips and twisted them
  4. Brush them with an egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
  5. Lightly sprinkle each twist with sea salt and parsley before baking.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the twists are nicely browned and puffed

You can jazz up the bread by adding in cheeses, changing the sea salt and parsley to butter and garlic, cinnamon and sugar, etc.  Go with your gut (literally) and you will probably be right.  🙂

I know the directions for the stew aren’t specific…that was on purpose.  I hope that you will take the general framework and try your hand at making your own version.  A few helpful tips though…if you want it more like stew add LESS liquid, but if you want it more like a soup add MORE liquid.  Remember that flavors get stronger the longer something cooks so be careful with the salt…you can always add more near the end, but it is really hard to “un-salt” a dish once it is cooked in.

If you decide to experiement please check back in and tell me how things went!  Also, if this post was helpful please like, post and share!

Bye-bye!

Last minute, Easy, Thanksgiving Decoration!

If you are a Cricut user I’ve got a super quick (and easy) project to personalize your Thanksgiving table.  I used Cricut Faux Leather, but you can use whatever you want – cardstock, real leather, acetate, etc.

  1. If you look in design space and search for “napkin ring” it will pull up lots of options.  I chose the plain circle because I wanted to add additional things to the ring (you can keep it even simpler by choosing a pre-designed one).  
  2. Search for “leaf” in design space and chose two that you like.
  3. Slice the letter of your choice by searching for the font you want, type the letter, ungroup the leaf, put the letter where you want, click and drag to select the leaf and the letter
  4. Click slice.  
  5. Move the leaf to show the slice and delete the sliced out letter.
  6. Cut as normal.

Then I used crafty power tape to assemble everything.  After I got everything together I realized that I didn’t like the way the “C” looked so I cut a smaller leaf and put it behind the larger leaf with the “C”.



I’d love to hear about what you are crafting for Thanksgiving so please drop me a note.  If you like this post please comment, like and share with your friends.

Bye-bye!  

Brown Sugar Spiced Salmon


Well, my family has dubbed another recipe a keeper!  

My kids like most mild-tasting seafood, but have had a hard time adjusting to the stronger flavor of salmon.  After trying the brown sugar version they were hooked! They did ask me to make it a little less spicy next time, so you might want to reduce the amount of pepper if you have little ones (or if you don’t like it hot).

I served this dish with steamed asparagus and a King’s Hawaiian Sweet Roll.

You can click here to go to the recipe.  If you try it come back and let me know how it turned out!

Bye!

Arkansas Fall Painted Wood Sign

I love browsing the internet for new projects.  Lately I have seen lots of painted wood signs that signal the beginning of the Fall season.  I thought about what fall meant to me and my family and then created a sign that reflected why we love this time of year.  I did my best to take pictures of the various steps in the process so that you can see how I got from the plain sign to the finished design.  

Supplies:

  • Cricut Explore (plus regular blade and regular mat)
  • Wood sign (unfinished)
  • Paint in your choice of colors (I used acrylic, but many people like chalk paint too)
  • Contact Paper (white and clear)
  • Scraper (or old credit card)
  • Pick for weeding vinyl (weeding, just means picking out the parts of the design you don’t need)
  • Matte Modge Podge (only needed if you are going to allow the wood to show through)

1. Paint the wood in the base color of your choice and let dry according to the directions on your paint bottle (if you want the wood to show through leave it unpainted).


2.  Create your design in Cricut Design space, cut the design on the Washi tape setting on the white contact paper and weed out the vinyl you don’t need.

*Special note:  If you don’t have a Cricut Explore electronic cutter you can do this by hand by printing out the design on your computer, cutting it out with scissors, tracing your design onto the contact paper and cutting it out with an exacto knife.  It won’t be as fast, but is totally doable!  If you do use an exacto knife be careful to just cut through the contact paper, but not the paper backing.  You will need the backing when you transfer the design onto the wood.  After cutting out either by Cricut or by hand the rest of the instructions are exactly the same.


3.  Cut out a strip of clear contact paper, place it on top of the design and use your scraper to rub across the clear contact paper.  Lift up a small corner of the clear contact paper to see if the white contact paper lifts with it.  If it does, great job!  If it doesn’t, try turning it over and rubbing from the back side.  You will be using the clear contact paper to transfer the design to the wood.


4. Lift the clear contact paper (the white contact paper should be attached to it) and carefully, starting from left to right, place the design on the wood. Use the scraper to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles and then lift the clear contact paper (the white contact paper should be left on the wood). If some of the white contact paper is still stuck to the clear contact paper lay the clear contact paper back down and rub again. Repeat this process until the clear contact paper is lifted completely off and the white contact paper design is left on the wood.


5. Paint over the wood and the white contact paper design with your base color.  If you didn’t use a base color, paint over the wood and contact paper design with the matte modge podge.  Allow to dry according to the directions on the paint/modge podge bottle.


6.  Apply two coats of your top paint colors, allowing the paint to dry after the first coat (according to the directions on your paint bottle).  Allow the second coat to dry until it is tacky to the touch, but not all the way dry.   Use your pick to carefully remove the white contact paper design (you will be able to see the outline underneath the paint).  Let the second coat dry completely.  Go back and touch up any areas.  Seal (or not) according to the directions on the paint bottle.  Since my paint was exterior paint I chose not to seal it.  *Side note:  If you are a messy painter like me you might want to slide strips of cardstock between the boards so that you don’t get paint on the other boards.

Here is the finished sign!

If you try this project drop me a note to let me know how yours turned out!

Bye!