Thursday, August 27, 2009

Crock Pot People - Buffalo Chicken Dip

We are "Crock Pot People"...especially with fall coming up and the kids starting school. It's SO much easier for me to prepare dinner in the morning while the kids are eating breakfast or even the night before after I do dinner dishes. Then I can plug it in and turn it on before I go to work and by the time I get home, we're ready to rock!

This fall I plan to start a weekly Linky Party called CROCK POT PEOPLE to share your favorite delish Crock Pot/Slow Cooker recipes! So be watching for that!

In the meantime, I want to share our FAVORITE crock pot appetizer! Spicy and delicious and I get asked to bring it everytime we go to a party or gathering! It is PERFECT for football games and we make it about once a week in the fall/ lie! :)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 large can chicken - drained and shredded
1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank's Red NOT use Tobasco!)
1 cup Ranch dressing
1 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

1. Mix the hot sauce, ranch dressing and cream cheese in a bowl.
2. Add the chicken. Mix well and then pour into a crock pot.
3. Sprinkle the top with cheese, lock your lid on and cook on high for half an hour.
4. Once the shredded cheese is melted, stir to mix it into the dip...turn the crockpot down to low and you should be ready to rock!

We use Frito's Scoops with this dip and it is the most magnificent "Hot Wing on a Chip" taste your mouth is ever going to experience!!

Mmmm...just thinking about it makes me crave football and chips & dip!!

Looking forward to Sundays...

Dresser Makeover

Some of you who read my photography blog may have seen this already but I haven't posted it here, so I thought I would share for DIY day at A Soft Place to Land!

The man and I found this dresser on Craigslist...I knew I wanted something big with lots of drawers and something sturdy.
There she is BEFORE...old school hardware and U-G-L-Y!
I sanded until I thought my arms were going to fall off. Then the man took a can (or 2) of black spray primer to it, and then finished it with Satin Black spray paint (Rustoleum). We had initially intended to use a paint brush but I just couldn't do it without brush marks. Meh. We'll stick with spray paint, thankyouverymuch! :)
Are you ready for is the AFTER!

Black satin with brushed nickel hardware. (Ignore the accessory placement...that was just temporary until I found a home for that stuff!) AND, my favorite part...when you open the center doors, GREEN DOORS (to match our bedding!) Love it! :)

This was our first (but definitely not our last) DIY project we did together! We loved the sense of accomplishment we got from taking something and making it fit our home and lifestyle!

Make sure you check out ASPTL for more great DIY's!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Windowsill Makeover

The process of redoing our house is slow-going, and I was feeling discouraged this weekend about all of it. I know it will get done and be SO worth it, but I want it, NOW! LOL...guess I need 8 more arms and about 15 more hours in a day, hey?

So anyway, I was at DOLLAR TREE of all places, and found some inspiration, here:

Now, my man doesn't agree (hehe!) but I ADORE this fabric! It's actually place mats that I turned into a valance (no-sew!) and I went from there!

A couples dollars and a couple hours later, and I had redone the windowsill behind my kitchen sink. As is my style, I totally forgot to take before pictures. But what we had were f-ugly lace curtains, that little metal tin, and a random smattering of...stuff. Which, I guess this is still "random stuff" but now it's deliberate, you know?

Ahhh...makes my heart happy. :)

Some up close details...a pot holder Luc made me in school last year.

My blue Ball mason jars that I scored at a rummage sale this weekend...I'm going back next weekend to see if the rest of them she had are still there and if so, if she'll mark them down! :) Also, a photo tile I created years ago of my two youngest boys. It's the only one I ever got to work using the technique I used...displaying it now has inspired me to try again. Will post results if it works! :)

A sweet note from my oldest, Will, some colored glass, and a change jar.

That tile will eventually be covered in beadboard and that shelf, replaced...but until then it's nice to have things I love to gaze at while I do dishes. :)

I'll post a how-to on the valance later. It's super simple and I love the results!

Friday, August 21, 2009

German Chocolate Cookies - Half Homemade

You all know I LOVE to cook, but baking is not my forte. Cookies here and there, sure, but I don't enjoy doing it and I don't ever feel like I'm that good at it.

That said, I found a super yummy recipe for German Chocolate cookies...tweaked it (I can't help needed fixing) and am very pleased with the results! If you are a german chocolate cake fan, you MUST try these! SO good!

German Chocolate Cookies
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 and a half cups caramel chips

1. Pour the cake mix into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add all dry ingredients first, and then the wet ingredients.
3. Stir by hand until the batter is moistened all the way through...this might take a few good minutes of stirring.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Cool for one minute on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Enjoy this sweet and delicious treat! :)

Makeshift Fruit Dish

I simply could NOT find a place in any of my cabinets for this big ol' Trifle when I'm not carting a dip or layered dessert around, we rock the fruit.

If you can't hide it, use it, right?! :)

Trifle Dish Decorating + Taco Dip Recipe

I have THIS trifle dish...

It's a huge pain to's tall and oddly shaped...I just don't have room for it in any of my cupboards. So what does one do with a trifle dish not filled with...uhh... "trifle"?? (What the flip is TRIFLE, anyway? LOL!) Well I am going to show you...but not yet! Photos later! Promise!

In the meantime, my favorite recipe to prepare in the Trifle Dish is my layered taco dip! So absolutely delicious you'll think you've died and gone to Mexico. YUMMY stuff!

Super easy to make too (love that!)

Layered Taco Dip

In a trifle dish or another DEEP dish, layer the following from bottom to top:

1. I can refried beans mixed with one packet of taco seasoning.
2. 1 16 oz. container of sour cream mixed with 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese.
3. 1 16 oz. jar of salsa
4. 2 cups guacamole and 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
5. 1 small head of lettuce shredded
6. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
7. 1 small can sliced black olives

Things I’ve learned since making this for the first time…drain the salsa REALLY WELL or the liquid will make the whole thing runny. (I strongly reccomend Pace Salsa...NOT's thick and chunky with very little extra liquid.) And I used a bag of shredded iceberg lettuce just to make my life a little bit easier!

Tastes delish AND looks fantastic! Can't beat it! ENJOY with your favorite corn chips! (We tend to rock the Tostito's Scoops at our house!)

Alright...trifle dish decor tonight!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Opinions Wanted -- Mirror Makeover!

I bought this oval mirror years ago at a yard sale. I don't have a before pic (sorry) but decided to paint it this VERY light blue in an attempt to make it look like old chippy, weathered metal. I painted it...and now I don't think I love it.

It turned out how I expected, for the most part, but...I don't's just not what I want.

So tell me...should I repaint? If so, what color? Or should I leave it like this?

(FYI...I planned when painting this to use it in my laundry room which I'm going with a white with aqua and red accents I think.)

Opinions appreciated!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mac-N-Cheese, the "Half Homemade" way!

You've heard me talk about "Half Homemade" before...a recipe made at home, but not quite "from scratch". I love to take a recipe and make it easier on me and my family by using just a few prepared ingredients.

That said, I LOVE good, homemade baked mac-n-cheese (my grandma's is PHENOMENAL!), and have tried countless recipes trying to get it just right. To be honest, I have yet to find a total success.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I came across a recipe for an altered version of box macaroni. I decided to try to come up with my own recipe to fit it to my liking, and to my delight, I and the family LOVED it! So pleased...I just had to share!

This is SO quick and easy, and it tastes like the real deal! *(And it's an easy recipe to double if you need more or cut in half if you don't need to feed as many people.)

Half Homemade Mac-N-Cheese

2 boxes Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (not the deluxe kind or anything...just plain jane mac-n-cheese)
1-8 oz. container sour cream
2 c. shredded sharp cheddar
1 c. shredded parmesan
1/2 sleeve of Ritz crackers
2 Tbsp. butter -- melted
Yellow Mustard
Worchestshire Sauce
Black Pepper and Paprika

1. Prepare the macaroni according to the package directions.
2. Mix in sour cream and shredded cheddar.
3. Add a splash of worchestshire sauce and a "squirt" of yellow mustard. (About 1-1 and a half Tablespoons).
4. Add black pepper and parika to taste.
5. Spread into a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded parmesan.
6. Top with finely crushed Ritz crackers. Pour melted butter over crackers.
7. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until gooey and bubbly.

Make a big pan and serve it as a meal, or make less and serve it as a side dish. Either way, SO yummy!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ceiling Fan Makeover!


I wish I had a true before picture of our ceiling fan but I don't. You can see the colors though in the pre-painted shots...brown with nasty brass accents. It was not pretty.

I decided I wanted to try to paint it, and thought it'd be cool to go for an old "vintage metal fan" the old fans you see in movies in warehouse buildings. That's what I was picturing in my mind.

We ended up using Rustoleum's hammered metal paint, which I LOVE the finish of. The man talked me into a shade darker than I intended to use, so it didn't turn out exactly as I had envisioned, but this color matches our home and decor better, so I'm glad I went with it.

Here's the process...

1st, I had the man take down and disassemble the ceiling fan. This was DEFINITELY a job better left to him. That thing was HEAVY! I then proceeded to clean the heck outta this thing, piece by piece. Take note of the beautiful brown & gold color combo. **gag**

Then, after laying out all the pieces on cardboard, I priming or sanding. Just a good cleaning and off to the races.

Then, let the man put it back together (glad he was paying attention when we took it apart! ha!) and hang it back up...TADA! Totally changed the look with an $8 can of spray paint. Yes...steep price for spray paint, but worth it in my opinion! Updated and redone! LOVE IT!

Now check out the link at the beginning of this post to check out the DIY link party at Kimba's blog! Good stuff!

I need a nap.

I posted my "sneak peak" of our floors earlier today, not realizing I had already posted pics of the floors last week! WOW...I guess all this home renovation is starting to get to me! LOL! I need a nap.

At any recipe to share tonight (or maybe tomorrow morning??) Yummy stuff! And also, this week, the ceiling fan makeover! Back soon!


My Guys

Life has been SO busy lately! We've been redoing our floors (I LOVE them!) and are getting ready to start our kitchen makeover, so I will have photos to share soon. It's already so different, and is going to look like a different house when we are finished! I cannot wait!
We've been spending a lot of family time lately oldest son started football, so we attend his games twice a week! SO much fun! (Photos from football soon...I, by default, take our MX pictures, but Adam is the one who really shines with sports photography...not I'll get his stuff uploaded to share soon!)
Here's a photo my mom took of us, and all my guys. Love it!

The kids start school in a couple weeks and I am very much looking forward to our favorite season...fall! But until then, we will spend the last couple weeks of summer, enjoying the outdoors, and each other.

And just for fun...a teensy-weensy sneak peak of the floors!! I can't say I miss that old linoleum in the kitchen AT ALL!!!!! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pizza Casserole!


I made a pizza casserole for the kids last night and it was a HUGE hit! It's perfect for us too, because, as I've mentioned in the past, we eat a lot of homemade pizza. It's a great way to use up leftover ingredients and was SUPER quick and easy!

Pizza Casserole

1 bag egg noodles
Pizza Toppings (I used a can of mushrooms, a small pkg. of pepperoni, and leftover cooked pizza sausage)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook your noodles. (You can use any noodles you have on hand, but I prefer egg noodles.) Mix in the jar of spaghetti sauce and any pizza toppings you have, as well as the cheddar cheese. Pour into a 9x13 pan and top with mozzarella. Bake at 350° until cheese is melted and bubbly.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover - Floors!

ALMOST done...we still have to finish the hallway, and put trim up and stuff, but the flooring project is ALMOST complete!!!

Waking up this morning, I felt like I was walking down the hall into a different house. I guess I'm not used to it yet! LOL! We have replaced our brown carpet (living room) and the most hideous linoleum I've ever seen (kitchen) with Tarkett snap-together hardwood (look) laminate...and I am in LOVE!

Before picture of the living room:


Here is the other side looking into the kitchen...we demo'd a pegboard wall that is behind where our stove sits. We're turning into a half-wall with a display shelf on top for moi! :) (Notice ALL of our other furniture and living room stuff piled in the dining room back there! LOL!)

The man and I...happy to be done working for the night (although to be honest he did 99% of the hard work!) LOVE HIM!

AND...a sneak peak of a post I'll be doing soon about our ceiling fan makeover!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Laminate Flooring!

WooHoooo!!!!!!!!!! Our new flooring is in! We ordered it a week ago (bittersweet, since we sold the dirt bike to catch up on some bills and purchased the flooring with what we had it on a KILLER SALE though!) and it wasn't supposed to be in until the 16th but it's HERE!

So begins yet ANOTHER project tonight...replacing the living room, kitchen and hallway floor! Cannot WAIT to share photos!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Taco Bake

I've been asked to share my Taco Bake recipe...I adapted this recipe from something I found online quite awhile ago, and it is SO delicious!! One of my personal favorites!

1 box medium shell pasta
1 lb. hamburger
1 packet Taco Seasoning
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 8-oz. cream cheese -- softened
1 8-oz. sour cream
2 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar
Tortilla Chips

1. Brown your hamburger meat, and then drain. Add tomato sauce and taco seasoning, mix, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
2. While that is simmering, boil your pasta according to package directions.
3. Mix the softened cream cheese and sour cream together in a bowl.
4. When everything is ready, pour drained pasta into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan.
5. Spread cheese/sour cream mixture over the pasta and then layer the meat over that.
6. Sprinkle shredded cheddar over everything and bake at 350° for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

We like to serve this with tortilla chips. The kids like to scoop the casserole onto their chips, while I like to crush my chips up and mix them in a little bit.

Either way, DELICIOUS!! And if you're interested in making it healthier, you could easily use lowfat cream cheese, shredded cheese and sour cream, and ground chicken or turkey instead of beef!


Last Minute Chicken - Half Homemade

I threw this together on a whim the other day and the family loved it! We'll be adding it to our arsenal of recipes we have on hand and hope you can get some use out of it too!


1 pkg. boneless/skinless chicken breasts
½ cup Miracle Whip
¾ cup Dijon Mustard
Breading: Ritz Crackers (or Cheerios…or Corn Flakes…or Wheat Thins...or Cheez-Its…or Bread Crumbs…or whatever!)
Seasoned Salt, Celery Salt, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper or Chili Powder
Grated Parmesan
Cooking Spray

**Notes: I call this “Last Minute Chicken” because it’s something I can make as a stand-by when I don’t have any dinner plans and have a house full of hungry kids. It’s quick and easy…I’ve ALWAYS got a bag of frozen chicken breasts in the freezer, and being that you can bread it with just about anything, I can almost always whip it up at the “last minute”.

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry.
2. Mix Miracle Whip and Mustard in a small bowl.
3. Crush Ritz Crackers (or anything else you have to use for breading. Experiment with different dry cereals or crackers. Just about anything should work…) in a pie plate. Add seasonings to taste. Be careful not to over-salt, though! Add grated parmesan to breading mixture also.
4. Brush a piece of chicken on all sides with mustard mixture, and then coat evenly with breading. Place on foil lined cookie sheet.
5. When all pieces are breaded, spray them with cooking spray (just a short blast…don’t soak them).
6. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and breading is lightly browned and crispy!

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