Monday, April 30, 2012

Start Spreading the News...

Last week, the high school band my husband directs had the great pleasure of an end-of-the-year trip to The Big Apple!  We drove over night on two buses, but it was so worth it!  For so many of the students, this was their first time being north of Tennessee.  To see how excited they were made me so happy.  We had a great group of kids going, and everyone had a blast.  We went to Central Park, Chinatown, Times Square, The NY Philharmonic, Spiderman on Broadway, the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, plus many other amazing stops!  We are exhausted today, but the memories made will last a lifetime!

Times Square in the Rain.  Luckily our hotel sold cheap umbrellas!

What we could see waiting in line for the ferry to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

New York City Skyline from the ferry

Lady Liberty

We found an old member of Andrew's family on a memorial wall on Ellis Island.

The Fountain at Central Park

Reflecting on Chinatown

Needless to say, I took way more pictures than what I've shown here.  I will be making a New York Scrapbook when I get free time, and I'll post it as soon as I get it finished.  I made sure to keep any and every ticket we used for all the sights and attractions.  I can't wait to get it started!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheesy Bacon Pull-Apart Bread

Wow... where has the Springtime gone? It's already almost May, which means school will be letting out and my husband and I will have the summer off! We have some awesome vacations planned, and we have some dear old friends from out of town coming to stay with us for a few days.  They are bringing their precious three year old, so there will be 5 of us staying in our two-bedroom town house while they visit.  I can't wait!  I have already started coming up with quick, easy recipes to fix while they are here.  I want their visit to include a lot of VISITING, not me in the kitchen. 

For Sunday morning breakfast, I have decided on Cheesy Bacon Pull-Aparts. It is such a simple, tasty, and filling dish; I know it will give us the energy we need to start the day.

All you need to make this dish is a can of buttermilk biscuits, sliced provolone cheese, and cooked, crumbled bacon.

In a round non-stick baking pan, arrange the un-baked biscuits so that they fill up the pan.  Do not leave room between them.  Cover the biscuits with sliced provolone cheese and sprinkle the bacon on top.  Bake according to biscuit package directions.

The smell is heavenly, and the taste is wonderful.  Perfect for adults and kids, alike.  This is definitely a dish worth sharing!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip

This recipe is so simple, and so tasty!  Combine a block of softened cream cheese with 2.5 cups of cooked shredded chicken.  Add a packet of ranch dressing mix (or use premade ranch dressing) and stir it in completely.  Add as much buffalo sauce as you want to raise the heat level.  Top with bleu cheese or mozzarella if you'd rather.  Bake a 350 for 20 minutes.
This dish is a real crowd pleaser.  Great for entertaining!

Friday, April 20, 2012

All About You!

Recently at a Blog hop, I came across a “10 Days of You” challenge at Getting it Right at 30
Originally, the challenge was supposed to be 10 separate days with 10 separate posts.  I didn’t want that many posts focusing on myself, plus I’d probably end up forgetting and skipping a day (or a few), so I modified the challenge into one big “All About You” Challenge.

Now for the challenge!

1.       What is a secret no one knows about you?
I can’t sleep if there is a steady beat (clock ticking, water dripping, etc).  I end up thinking of every song I know that fits into the tempo, then singing them in their entirety. It’s a curse. A musical curse.

2.       What is one of your greatest loves?
       I love to travel and experience things I’ve never tried before.  I love to have adventures.

3.       What is one of your greatest fears?
I am terrified of birds.  When I was younger, a bird flew really low and hit my face and got caught in my hair.  I’ve been afraid ever since.

4.       What is your deepest wish?
I want to be a good wife to my husband, and (eventually) a good mother to my children.

5.       Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
Somewhere with a big city atmosphere and a small town feel.  Somewhere where everybody walks or bikes to get where they are going. Somewhere with art and music.  I know that’s not a specific place, but really it’s the feel that I want.

6.       What is your favorite food?
Anything I haven’t tried before.  I want to try it all, the crazier the better.

7.       What is your favorite book?
I recently read The Hunger Games series and fell in love with it!  I love series of books.  I love to meet a character and stick with them for a while.

8.       What is your favorite movie?
Hands down, my favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz.  I have it memorized, so I quote it the entire time.

9.       What is your favorite song?
I found a great song listening to a “Civil Wars”-inspired radio station. It’s called “Wake Up Sleeper” by Gungor.  The chords in the chorus are amazing!

10.   Post a picture of yourself

This is me and my husband.  It's one of my favorite pictures of us taken by my good friend Jennifer.

Now tag some of your favorite blogs to complete the challenge as well!
I chose:

Happy blogging!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Versatile Blogger

I am very excited to be nominated for another blog award, this time by my amazingly talented sister-in-law Jessica at Green PB&J's.  You should definitely check out her blog and her crocheted accessories.

Ok, now for the rules:

1. Grab the Versatile Blogger button.
2. Thank the person who nominated you.
3. Include a link to their blog.
4. Share 7 things about yourself.
5. Pass along the love! Nominate 5 of your favorite blogs.
6. Inform each nominee with a comment on their blog.
7. In the same post include this set of rules.

Seven things about myself:

1. My idea of a good time can range anywhere from a large party with all my friends to sitting home in my overstuffed chair with a glass of wine and a book.  Making the most of every moment is what’s most important.

2. I love to sing really loud in the car with the radio.

3. If I don’t make a list, I feel unorganized.  Unless I write something down, I will forget about it.

4. I would love to live somewhere where I can wear flip flops all year round.

5. I love to cook, but I hate to bake. When I cook, I just like to throw things together, not measure anything, and see what happens.  Baking is so involved, having to make sure everything is perfect, and that is not me.

6. I am the only daughter in my family, but I have gained several “sisters” throughout the year that I would be lost without.

7. I love to travel!  This year, we have or will have gone to Nashville, Atlanta, Tunica, Gulf Shores, Clearwater, the Ocoee River, and New York City!

The blogs I would like to nominate are (in no particular order):

The Frazzled Five
Beauty and the Green
4 You With Love
My Grandma Reads My Blog
Romance on a Dime

Each of these blogs is lovely, and I highly recommend them!

Ok, now it's your turn!

Potato Crusted Flounder with Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

I have been trying, lately, to expand my cooking abilities.  Normally, I have always stuck to cooking chicken or a beef roast or something like that, but recently I've been cooking a lot of fish.  This time, I bought 4 flounder fillets.  After searching for recipes and asking others for their ideas, I came up with potato-crusted flounder.  It's so simple and completely amazing!

Start with 4 flounder fillets, rinsed and patted dry.

Melt two tbs butter in a skillet (I did not say this was the healthiest way to cook flounder, but it certainly is a tasty one).

In one bowl, beat three eggs together.  In another bowl, add two cups of potato flakes.  I used the "roasted garlic" kind to add more flavor.  Season both sides of the fish with salt and pepper.  Coat the fish in potato flakes, then dip them in the egg, and put them back into the potato flakes.  This makes the crust.

Put the fish immediately into the hot butter.  Let them cook on one side for 3-5 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.

Flip the fillets and cook, covered for 3 more minutes.

Plate and serve with Parmesan Roasted Broccoli for a meal that is simple and delicious!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Chalkboard Planter

My mom is the world's greatest pre-school teacher.  The kids and parents all love her!  She works at the school I worked at last year, right across the hall from my old classroom.  It would have been so much fun to have been there at the same time!

With Mother's Day coming up, I wanted to get her something different and special since this is her first year as a teacher.  However since Mother's Day is almost at the end of the school year, I'll give it to her early.  I'm sure she won't mind!

I bought an 8" plain, terra cotta planter from Walmart.  Using other supplies I had on hand, I transformed it into this:

I taped off the brim and spray painted the bottom of the pot with chalkboard paint.  The top I painted yellow and wrote the lines and numbers on with a sharpie (Note: an industrial sharpie works better when writing on paint than a regular one) to look like a ruler.  I wrote her name on it with chalkboard chalk (Do not use sidewalk chalk on chalkboard paint; it will scratch the paint off).

I can't wait to give this to her!

Featured on these wonderful blogs:
Ninth Street Notions
Truly Lovely Blog

Jane's Adventures in Dinner

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wood and Canvas Monogram

Have I mentioned that I love weddings?  Planning, decorating, attending, PHOTOGRAPHING (I'm photographing my first wedding this summer with a good friend of mine; we are so excited!)... but expecially I love the gifts!

I had the most fun ever registering for gifts for our wedding.  I felt like a kid in a candy store, except I was a 20-something year old woman and it was Target.  Basically the same thing.

I also love to craft.  And weddings give me a good excuse.  A co-worker is getting married this summer, and her wedding shower at the school is this Thursday.  She is such a great girl, and I'm so excited for her.  I took tonight to work on her gift.  I wanted to make her a monogram.  I know how much I love them, and especially getting to use my husband's last name.  I think she's pretty much the same way.

I started with an 8x10 canvas, a 5x7.25 wooden plaque, and a wooden "V"      I picked out some neutral scrapbook paper to cover them. 

 I modpodged the paper onto the canvas, plaque, and letter, let them dry, and cut off the extra.

I covered the sides of the letter and canvas in brown paint and distressed the sides of the letter with brown paint as well.

I used hotglue to attatch the pieces together and propped them up in a beautiful iron easel.  The only problem is that now I want one for myself!  I can't wait to give this to her on Thursday! 

Buffalo Chicken Calzone

 Tonight for dinner, I wanted to experiment! (Which is my husband's favorite kind of dinner)

I had crescent rolls and ground chicken, so I thought about a chicken log.  But what kind??

I have made a Broccoli Chicken Cheese Log that was very delicious, but I thought I'd try something new tonight. 

Instead of using shredded chicken (which I did not have on hand), I used ground chicken, cooking it in the skillet and draining it.

I added 1/4 cup each of buffalo sauce and bleu cheese dressing to the chicken in a pot.  If you don't like bleu cheese, ranch is a great substitute. Stir it up to coat the chicken.

 Spread out a can of crescent rolls on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Pinch all the seems of the crescent rolls together to make one large rectangle. Sprinkle garlic powder and onion and herb Mrs. Dash on to the dough. Top with bleu cheese crumbles (or shredded monteray if you prefer) and add the chicken.

 Roll the dough up into itself to form a "log." On top of the log, sprinkle more garlic powder, onion and herb Mrs. Dash, and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

 Let it cool on the pan for a bit after taking it out of the oven.  Slice and Serve with celery or carrot sticks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to...

Remove the last bit of wax from a candle.

Place candle in freezer over night.

Remove from freezer, flip over, and hit it several times (like a glass ketchup bottle).

Out pops the candle wax!  Now it can be used in a wax warmer, and you don't have to waste the last bit of your favorite candle!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Potato Pancakes

A delicious way to use leftover mashed potatoes!

Use a spoon to lift out a small amount of leftover (refridgerated) mashed potatoes.
In your hands, roll the mashed potato spoonful into a ball.
Press into a patty shape.
Dip the patty in flour, then milk, then flour again.
In a hot skillet with hot oil, pan fry the potato patty until it is golden brown on both sides.
Top with sourcream and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

"Lumpy Pudding"

One of my husband's favorite desserts is Chocolate Pudding.  If you may have noticed, the only dessert recipe on this blog is a cookie recipe that I have from my mom.  I am not a dessert person.  I don't really ever make desserts, so when my husband is craving it, he has to make it for himself... Which he loves. 

He really can cook well when he chooses to. 

This recipe he got from his mom.  She used to make it for him when he was a child as an afternoon snack.  It doesn't get all-the-way smooth, so he called it "Lumpy Pudding."  The name stuck.

To make Lumpy Pudding, you will need 
1/4 cup sugar, 2 heaping tbs flour, 2 heaping tbs cocoa powder.
Put in a pot and mix.

 Then you will need
the yolks of three large eggs.  Add those to the dry ingredients.

 Now for the wet ingredients
2 cups of milk and 1 tsp vanilla.  Mix and boil to thicken.

Here is the finished product and my husband's hand-written recipe that he keeps under a magnet on the fridge for easy access.  Never know when you'll want some "Lumpy Pudding!"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DIY Olive Oil Dispenser

I love glass bottles; all shapes and sizes, the funkier the better.  I fell in love with a set of four bottles I found at Walmart... that just happened to contain Fuzzy Naval Wine Coolers.  I bought them anyway and dumped the drink.  They were really cheap, and if I had bought the bottles at any store, they would have cost more than I spent buying the drinks.  That's my justification, and I'm sticking to it!  I love that the bottles look a little like a tear drop.  An unusual shape.

I had been eyeing a really pretty olive oil dispenser I saw at TJ Maxx, but couldn't justify spending the money on it.  I knew I could make my own.

To start, wash out the bottle and remove the label.  I don't know why they make the labels so hard to remove.  Don't they know I need it gone so I can craft!?

Using my hot glue gun, I wrote out the words "Olive Oil."  When writing with a hot glue gun, it works best if you do not let the glue heat up all the way. It gets really stringy when it does.  Instead, wait until it's just soft enough to get out to write your words. 

I bought a set of two Pourer Spouts and used one for this project.  These are Oneida brand from Walmart and fit any standard size bottle opening.  You just have to wiggle it on down in there. I love these because they have a little cap to keep it covered.

I put the bottle on the back of my stove where I can reach it easily. It actually took longer to scrub that stupid label off the bottle than it did to complete the project!  I love the results =)

Featured on Three Mango Seeds