Wednesday, January 30, 2013


French Bread, thinly sliced
1 loaf
Sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 onion
Fresh garlic, minced
2 cloves
Fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp
Fresh Tomatoes, diced
2 large
Olive oil
3 Tbsp
Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 cup
Grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. In a bowl mix the onion, garlic, olive oil, and basil.  Gently toss in the tomatoes.  Top the bread slices with the tomato mixture.  Sprinkle feta cheese and parmesan cheese on top.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil.
  4. Bake 10 min in the preheated oven or until the cheese is melted and bread in lightly toasted.

I decided to spice up a traditional dish one day for my mom's birthday, she is a tomato addict.  I have to admit I do not like tomatoes, but this dish is so yummy it is one of the times I will eat them : )
Dice onion, mix with olive oil, garlic and diced fresh basil.
Dice your tomatoes (I like to use Roma, but any type will work).  Gently toss them into the onion mixture.
   Slice your french bread, or buy pre-sliced and arrange on a baking sheet.  Top with tomato mixture.
 Sprinkle your prepared bread with the feta and parmesan.  
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is slightly toasted.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Anna's Nursery

 I love to decorate, so when we found out our 1st baby was going to be a girl, I was so excited to start her nursery.  Here is the finished product.  All of the items came from a variety of places....I will let you know below!   
Rocker, custom order from Babies R Us.  Dresser was refurbished, painted and new knobs put on by us...knobs from Hobby Lobby.  Night stand was also refurbished, painted and new knobs put on by us.
Mantle, was a great used find we fixed it up and painted it.  Picture frame and blocks custom order from ETSY, Bird bank and Owls from Pottery Barn Kids, Bird cage a find by my mom and a floral shop.  Shoes were my husbands baby shoes.
Every girl needs a Chandelier in her room right?  I found this little one at Home Depot for around $100.
Wall decal was also a custom order on ETSY.  Curtains and bedding were from Pottery Barn Kids.  Crib is Munire.  Crown molding was done by my husband and curtain rod was from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Lamp, flower and vase are from Pier One.  Little owl block, came with the custom name blocks from ETSY.
Book shelf built by my husband.  Filled it with lots of books, including this vintage one that my Grandmother read to her children and grandchildren.

 Us welcoming precious Anna into the world!
Thanks for checking this out!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

2 Tbsp
Chicken breasts
1 pound
Onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups
Celery, chopped
1 cup
Minced garlic
3 cloves
Frozen vegetables
1 pound package
Chicken broth
1-14 1/2 oz can
Dried parsley
3 tsp
Poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tsp
Skim milk
1 cup
1/2 cup
Refrigerated biscuits or homemade bisquick biscuits
1-7.5 oz package

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add chicken, onion, celery, and garlic, cook for about 12-15 minutes or until chicken in no longer pink.  ***See below for optional change, boil ahead of time chicken***
  2. Add mixed veggies, broth, parsley, poultry seasoning, mix well.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup, level off.  In a small bowl combine milk and flour, blend until smooth.  Add to chicken mixture, cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Reduce to low heat.
  4. Separate dough into 10 biscuits, cut each in half.  Starting in the center of the saucepan, arrange biscuits halves on top of chicken mixture in a spiral formation.
  5. Cover tightly and cook for 25-30 minutes or until biscuits are fluffy and no longer doughy.

This is a great comfort food recipe that everyone loves!  The change I did this time was make the chicken up ahead of time, to make it easy while cooking it later with a 19 month old.  I actually like it better this way and so did my husband.  ***I boiled 3 large fresh chicken breasts for 40 minutes.  Left them whole and placed them in the fridge once cooled.  When I was ready to make the meal and took them out and cubed them.  I add them in the recipe when it said to add raw chicken, and just didn't cook as long for that step***

Mix flour and milk in a separate bowl and then add to veggie and chicken mixture.
Place biscuits on top of the chicken and veggie mixture.
 Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

Make Your Own Play Dough

We ran out of play dough in the house and Aunt "JuJu" was over so we decided to make some!  It turned out great and Anna even helped.  I would just recommend not letting your little one put in the food coloring : )

A saucepan
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons cream of tarter
1 cup cold water
Food coloring
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1.  In a saucepan, combine salt, flour, and cream of tarter.
2. Then add water, a few drops of food coloring, and vegetable oil.  Mix until smooth.
3.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.
4.  When the mixture sticks to the pan, sticks together, and is no longer slimy to the touch, you are finished.  
5.  Place it onto wax paper, and kneed a dozen times.  Let it sit.
6.  When it is cool it is ready to play with.  
7.  Store in a container with a tight-fitting lid or sealed plastic bag so it doesn't dry out.

Playing with it the next day!

Idea for playing with Play Dough for a toddler:
Use cookie cutters and practice shapes
Rolling pin
Make balls (Anna's favorite)
Poke it with things like straws, pens, popsicle sticks, etc....
Make it into pretend food and cook with it (with pretend kitchen of course)
Roll and stamp designs onto it...with a pie wheel, cups, toys, cookie cutter
Make hand and foot prints into it
Mold into your favorite animals and practice their names and sounds

Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

Onion, chopped
1 medium
Carrots, sliced
2 large
Zucchini, diced
1 large
Cabbage, shredded
1 cup
Minced garlic
2 cloves
Kidney beans
1-15 oz can drained
Beef broth
2 14 1/2 oz cans
Crushed tomatoes
28 oz can
Dried basil
1 tsp
Dried oregano
1/2 tsp
1/2 tsp
Black pepper
1/4 tsp
Elbow macaroni, cooked
2 cups
Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup

  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot, except the macaroni and parmesan cheese.
  2. Cook on low for 7-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  3. Right before serving stir in the macaroni and parmesan cheese.
This is a great healthy soup with lots of veggies.  Put in the crock pot in the morning, forget about it and dinner will be ready.  Usually have lots of left overs too.
Wash and cut up your vegetables.
 Involve your little helper if you have one.  Anna has to help with everything these days : )
 Dump all your ingredients into the crock pot, except parmesan cheese and noodles.  Cook on low for 7-9 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
Right before your soup is done.  Prepare your noodles according to package directions.  The recipe called for macaroni noodles, but I didn't have so used mini bow ties, which turned out good.  Add parmesan cheese and as many noodles as you like to your soup.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cilantro Lime Rice

This rice is AMAZING!  Just like Chipotle and Qdoba!  Serve it with your Chipotle Chicken (click to link to recipe) and whatever burrito toppings you love!  I usually double this recipe when serving for more than 3 people.

Vegetable oil
2 tsp
Fresh cilantro
4 tsp
White Basmati Rice
1 1/3 cup
2 cups
1 tsp
Lime, juiced

  1. In a saucepan, heat oil.  Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute.
  2. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil.  At boiling cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add cilantro and fluff rice with a fork.

Heat oil in the pan 1st.  Then add rice, and squeeze fresh lime into rice.  Stir for 1 minute.
Add water and salt, bring to a full boil.  At boil, turn down to simmer on low heat until rice is tender and water is absorbed.  About 20 minutes.
 Once cooked, add fresh chopped up cilantro.
 Your rice is done.  Serve with chipotle chicken and favorite burrito toppings.  We usually server ours as burrito bowls, with chicken, pinto beans, cheese, salsa, rice, sour cream, etc...Enjoy!

Chipotle Chicken

 My husband and I love Chipotle and Qdoba!  We decided one day to try to replicate the cilantro lime rice and chicken recipe.  We came pretty close, this is now a huge household favorite!  Here is the chicken recipe.  Sorry I don't have a lot of pictures of this one.  The rice will be posted as a separate recipe HERE (click for link).

Fresh Chicken Breasts, Boneless, Skinless
Ancho Chili Powder
1 tsp
Black Pepper
2 tsp
Chipotle Peppers in adobo sauce, remove peppers
1 7oz can
Cumin powder
4 tsp
12 cloves
4 tsp
Red onion, cut in large chunks
1/2 onion
1/2 cup

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Stab chicken with a fork and place in marinade.  Best if marinade over night.
  2. Grill the chicken on top of tin foil with marinade poured over it.  
  3. Cube chicken and serve on burritos or burrito bowls with Chipotle rice, pinto beans, salsa, corn, tomatoes, sour cream, etc...

I usually ask the boys to grill the chicken.

Cut it up and serve with Cilantro Lime rice and all your favorite burrito toppings.
**We usually forgo the tortillas and make burrito bowls with the cilantro lime rice, pinto beans, corn, salsa, sour cream, etc...**

Front Door Curtains

My husband has been begging me to do something about our front door windows for a long time.  There is no privacy with them wide open, anyone can peek in.  So we decided to make small curtains for them.
The Problem:

The Solution:

1 curtain panel long enough for your windows.  I purchased a 54 in x 84 in curtain (at Target $20). You could also just by fabric.
4 magnetic adjustable curtain rods.  (Found ours at Menards for under $20 for all 4)
Sewing machine
Cutting board
Rotary cutter
I picked out this thin, burlap type fabric so light could still be let in.  
Take the curtain rod and place it the width you are going to need it.  Then tape around it, so you will have the measurement for the width.  Also, Measure the length of the widows to get the length of our curtain.  My width was 9 inches by 65 1/2 inches long.  
I wanted to work with all fresh cut lines so trim the top folded edge.  Cut using a rotary cutter and flat cutting ruler.
 Trim off the side edges.
Now we are going to cut our fabric to size.  I doubled my curtains, so that they would look the same on the front and back and look finished.  I also wanted them to bunch a little so I allowed a few extra inches on the width.  So for my 9 inch window, I cut my fabric 24 inches wide (allowing for the doubling).  For the length, I allowed 4 extra inches for folding over the rod.  So for my 65 1/2 length I cut it to 70 inches.  
Final cut = 24 inches wide by 70 inches long.  Cut 2 total (one for each window)
Cut with a rotary cutter and flat ruler.
Now you have 2 pieces cut for your curtains.  I am now just going to be talking about one curtain at a time.  You will repeat the steps starting here for the 2nd curtain.
Pin RIGHT sides of the curtain together length wise.
Sew the length of the curtain with RIGHT side together.  The top width should remain open on both ends.  (Means you are sewing the wrong side of the curtain)  Remove the pins and flip right side out.
 Iron the seam so the curtain lays nice and flat.  You should now have a curtain panel, with a seam on the side and the RIGHT side of the fabric showing on both sides.
Now we are going to create the ends.  
Fold over the rough end just a very little bit and pin in place, with pins facing out.
Then place curtain rod on the fabric and fold it over the rod.  Pin fabric around the rod creating a pocket, creating a finished edge.
Pull the rod out of the little pocket you made, leaving all the pins in place.  How perfect that the rod just comes apart : )
Stitch this pocket, staying close to the pinned edge, allowing enough room for the rod to fit back in.  
Repeat this step for the other end.  **It is important when finishing the last end to make sure your length is correct**  
**Repeat and make your 2nd curtain the same way**

Put the rods in the end pockets and hang them in your front door and be proud : )
We noticed once the curtain was up that the magnets where not very strong when the door we added 3M strips to help hold them up.