Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Alright...I'm just gonna throw this out there. I am not a baker. I LOVE to cook. I'm all about a good soup...I can grill like a pro (ok...maybe "pro" is pushing it, but I hold my own!) Salad? Sure! Breakfast, lunch, got it! Dessert...ummm...maybe not.

Don't get me wrong...I'll DO it. I just don't love it...and I'm more prone to failure with baking than I am with cooking.

So when I saw these ADORABLE pumpkin pie bites on Bakerella...I honestly thought twice before saving the recipe. But, I do love pumpkin pie, and I DID need to bring a dessert item for my girl Kel's baby shower at work...sooooooo...I caved. I tried the recipe, and am SO glad I did!

They weren't difficult at all! They taste great and they're adorable!!

I'll repost Bakerella's recipe here for you, but if you haven't seen her site, you MUST! SO much baking fun!

Bakerella's Pumpkin Pie Bites
2 Refrigerated Pie Crusts
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 eight (my "eight" key is broken :( so I'm typing it out) oz. cream cheese -- softened
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

(On her blog she also has ingredients for a chocolate topping if that's your thing. I skipped it.)

1. Roll out one of your pie crusts. Thin it out a little bit with your rolling pin. Using a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, cut out several pumpkins.

2. "Stuff" each pumpkin into the cup of a mini-muffin pan. Make sure you leave the stem of the pumpkin out. (My cookie cutter was a little bit too small, so I had to stretch each one out before putting it into the muffin tin...worked out fine!)

3. Egg wash the edge of each crust with egg white from one of the eggs.
4. Mix together the remaining ingredients until smooth.
5. Fill each pumpkin "shell" with ingredients (right to the top).
6. Bake at 350 degreens for about 10 minutes...or until your crust is starting to look golden brown on the edges.
7. Pop each one out of the pan and cool it on a rack. Keep refrigerated!


I'm linking this up at The Knock Off Knock Out at It's so Very Cheri and at Kimba's DIY Day on A Soft Place to Land. And seriously...check out Bakerella!!


Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel..."blah"? Nothing in particular wrong...not sick or sad...just "meh"? That's me today. In fact, that's me this WEEK.

I haven't done much around the house...I haven't done much with the kiddos...I haven't done much with photography or at work. I'm just...BLAH! I don't know how else to describe it.

BUT, have no fear...tonight I am making some really fun "Mini Pumpkin Pies" that I found on another blog. I will post the recipe, and a link to my recipe hook-up tomorrow!

Hopefully I'll bust on out of this funk soon too and get back to my crafty self! :) I'm working on it...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mmm...Pulled Pork!

I need to get into the habit of taking photos as I cook to include with my recipe posts...I'm sorry...I'll try harder!!!

Last week, the man mentioned that he was craving a Pulled Pork sandwich. My poor family...we don't EVER have pork chops, or roast...rarely I'll make ham (just at Christmas)...bacon is a regular, I guess. But I don't know...I just don't *do* pork. Ick.

BUT, I aim to please. :) So I modified a couple recipes to come up with my own pulled pork recipe...and let me tell you...even I liked it!! That is REALLY saying something, because seriously...pork? Ick.

Pulled Pork - Southern Style
1 2-3 lb. pork butt roast (REALLY? I mean, how adding the word BUTT makes this more appetizing is beyond me, but after reading a few recipes, it's what I decided on because it has a higher fat content. Fat = Flavor people!)
Minced Garlic to taste
Liquid Smoke
Seasoned Salt
Onion Powder
Black Pepper
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
Worcestershire Sauce
3 Tbsp. butter

1. Cut the roast into "chunks". My average piece ended up about 4 inches long by 2-3 inches wide. Season both sides of the meat with onion powder, black pepper and just a LITTLE BIT of seasoned salt. Rub this into the meat (with your hands).
2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan, and brown the meat on all sides. Added minced garlic and continue to cook everything another minute or two.
3. Dump the contents of your sauce pan into a crock pot...pour chicken broth into the sauce pan and use a spoon to scrape up all the good stuff from the meat off the bottom of the pan. (The broth helps release some of this.) Pour that (broth and "stuff") into the crock pot as well.
4. Add a splash of worchesterchire and about 4 Tbsp. of Liquid Smoke.
5. Lock the lid on the crock pot. Cook on high for 2-3 hours, and then on low for another 2 hours. Resist the urge to open the crock pot...just let it do it's thing.
6. After cooking, remove the lid and if you did everything just right, your meat will shred itself the second you take a fork to it. Shred it up and serve on buns with BBQ sauce on top. (Some people mix the BBQ sauce in, but that's not how we roll. :)

Try it with Sweet Baby Ray's "Sweet and Spicy"..yum!!!!!!! The man and his friends were impressed, and like I said...even I didn't go "ICK!" It smelled good and tasted even better! We'll definitely be enjoying this one for years to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I've been featured at It's So Very Cheri's again!

Stop by her blog to check out the other great creations from the Knock Off Knock Out party!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Diet Soda Cake - Yum!

Super fast, Super easy, SUPER Delicious!

I've heard of people doing this before, but never tried it myself. Basically, you take your good ol' cake mix, and instead of using eggs + oil + water, you replace those three with one can of Diet Soda. If there's one thing I love, it's Diet Soda. Sign me up!

Last night after our lasagna, I decided we needed a dessert. (Of course, a short time later, the kids starting acting up and went to bed with no bedtime snack. I know...mean, mean momma...but that's neither here nor there.)

ANYWAY...I went with carrot cake, since it's spicy and yummy for fall. Mixed the box mix with a can of Diet Mtn. Dew (it was that or Diet Dr. Pepper...ha!) and baked as directed.

Let me tell ya...SUPER moist, and oh so delish!!!! I frosted it with cream cheese frosting and enjoyed the heck out of it! (And I sent some with grandma today so the kids could have a snack at her house...see??? I'm not THAT mean!)

I can't wait to try this trick again. I want to do a vanilla cake with an orange soda! I think (hope!) it will be citrus-y and wonderful! YUMMY!

Monday, October 19, 2009

101 in 1001

Awhile back I started a "101 in 1001" list on my photography blog (before I created MX Momma). I decided it is better kept over here, so I'm transferring it and updating my list today.

If you are unfamiliar with "101 in 1001", it is the creating of 101 goals and giving yourself 1001 days to accomplish them. As I said, I started my list awhile back, so I have until October 11, 2010 to finish.

101 IN 1001

1. Take the boys to Chuckie Cheese. -DONE!

2. Revamp my blog. -DONE! (Although this is an on-going...but the main revamp is complete!)
3. Redo my logo and make it something I can stick with for years to come! -DONE!
4. Launch a new website. - DONE!
5. Quit smoking…for good. -DONE!
6. Get back into my size 7’s (comfortably!) and STAY there for at least 6 consecutive months. (0/6)
7. Hang “peace” pictures of the kids in the living room.
8. Create and hang “photo strip” of Adam and I in our bedroom.
9. Print Luc a photo of himself doing something he loves. Hang it in his room.
10. Print Mikey a photo of himself doing something he loves. Hang it in his room.
11. Print Will a photo of himself doing something he loves. Hang it in his room.
12. Print McKenzie a photo of herself doing something she loves. Hang it in her room.
13. Finish McKenzie’s room.
14. Paint the kitchen.
15. Buy the kitchen prints I want from Etsy!
16. Paint the living room. -DONE!
17. Replace the linoleum…all of it! - In Process...still have to replace the linoleum in the bathrooms but most of this is done!
18. Buy a new mailbox and customize it.
19. Create a planter for the front porch.
20. Create a patio area in the back.
21. Get another puppy to keep our Mr. Oliver company. -DONE!
22. Make a paper crane garland for Christmas.
23. Organize my finances.
24. Buy new glasses that I LOVE! (Eye glasses we’re talking…) -DONE!
25. Make soap.
26. Write a short story for my kids.
27. Color my hair in some funky and fun way!! - DONE!
28. Talk mom and Troy into getting their photo taken.
29. Take a STELLAR self portrait that I love!
30. Take a great photo of me with the boys.
31. Commission a photographer for killer family photos!
32. Design new marketing materials.
33. Find (and purchase) awesome eco-friendly packaging!
34. Paint the dining room/office and add ART!
35. Buy/Build the perfect desk/office area for myself.
36. Get a manicure!
37. Donate a photo session/photos next Christmas (2009)!
38. Finish the boys’ room.
39. Redo the kids’ bathroom in a fun theme!
40. Fence the back yard.
41. Paint the laundry room and add art!
42. Replace living room flooring. - DONE!
43. Replace curtains in my bedroom.
44. Take the kids to the zoo.
45. Create a “day in the life” book of the boys.
46. Replace countertops and build a breakfast bar!
47. Drywall around the “chimney” and create my BUILT IN!!!
48. Replace the hideous ceiling fan with something…ANYTHING! - DONE!
49. Attend a photography seminar.
50. Enroll in some kind of class.
51. Start collecting family recipes for a cookbook.
52. Get into a water drinking habit. LEARN TO LIKE WATER.
53. Get my Peace Dove tattoo.
54. Work on at least 6 of my concept photography ideas. (0/6)
55. Plant an herb garden.
56. Plant veggies outside with the kids. -DONE!
57. Build my “chess table” and put it under “my tree”.
58. Put my hammock up.
59. Paint a canvas for the living room.
60. Make a “Peace” canvas for my office.
61. Become debt free, except for the house payment.
62. Teach the boys their address and phone number.
63. Use my cookie press!
64. Get a Buddha and display him to remind me to focus.
65. Have a huge yard sale and get rid of STUFF. -DONE!
66. Travel WEST…California maybe?!
67. Travel EAST…show Adam the East coast and hope he loves it like I do!
68. Travel SOUTH…hit the beach and RELAX!
69. Enter a photography print competition.
70. Set up a system to keep track of clients.
71. Make a new recipe every day or night for one week. (0/7)
72. Buy a piano.
73. Start a photographer mentoring program for kids.
74. Redo the entry to the house with a bench and a place for the kids stuff.
75. Buy and hang at least 6 wind-chimes. (0/6)
76. Start my chess set collection and find myself a place to display them.
77. Get a cell phone…a nice one.
78. Convert to being a MAC USER!
79. Read at least four business books. (1/4) - In Process
80. Start a good image backup system for my photos.
81. Start bank accounts for the kids.
82. Upgrade my camera!
83. Get my “Truth” tattoo touched up and get something on the other wrist. -DONE!
84. Help plan a wedding.
85. Do a “master cleanse” type diet.
86. Do a fundraiser for “The Portrait House”
87. Design and print my own shirts, x10. (0/10)
88. Buy or build a swing-set/play-scape for the kids.
89. Get the boys their dirt bike. -DONE!
90. Get a vehicle I can fit ALL of us in!
91. When I have a nice vehicle, get a logo decal for the back window.
92. Don’t complain about ANYTHING for one full week. (0/7)
93. Revamp the back hallway with photos and art!
94. Go fishing.95. Get Chuck Taylor’s in at least 5 colors! (0/5)
96. Learn to ride a dirt bike.
97. Bake real bread.
98. Pierce SOMETHING! ;)
99. Take (or have taken) some “Nancy Botwin” (in Season 4 of “Weeds”) photos taken!
100. Start journaling (not to be confused with blogging. Blogging is for EVERYONE. Journaling is just for me.)
101. Donate $5 to charity for every item that goes unconquered at the end of 1001 days!

I will update this post as I accomplish my goals. Anyone want to join in the fun?!?!?! :)

DIP! Yummy!

As I've mentioned in the past, we are a FOOTBALL LOVING FAMILY! Sundays are spent eating until we're beyond full and cheering on all of our favorite teams! Sundays make my heart happy. :)

I tried a new DIP recipe a few weeks ago, and it was ok, but it needed some tweaking. I think we've got it "just right" now!

Hope you enjoy!

Cheddar Bacon Dip

1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese – Softened
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
½ cup Miracle Whip dressing
½ cup Ranch dressing
¼ c. Dijon Mustard
6 slices bacon – Cooked, Drained, and Crumbled
½ bunch green onions – chopped

Beat cream cheese, shredded cheese, Miracle Whip and Ranch in a bowl until well blended. Stir in mustard, bacon and green onions. Add more Ranch dressing if necessary to reach desired consistency. (Some people prefer this as more of a “spread”…I prefer it as a “dip”.)

Serve with crackers! Yummy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

Ahhh...what a great weekend! Got a fish fry on Friday with the man...yummy!! Went yard sale-ing Saturday morning with the man and got a couple good deals...a CUTE little galvanized metal tray (not sure what I'm going to use it for yet, but I'll think of something!!), a huge, beautiful glass platter for Thanksgiving (I've been looking for one at the store and they're always either ugly or expensive and the one I found was $2 and I LOVE it!), AND I scored several blue glass Ball canning jars (some WITH lids!) I was SUPER stoked!

Then while the man worked around the house, I spent the afternoon at my "little" brothers football game! (I use the word "little" lightly...he may be barely over half my age, but he towers over me...see???)

Anyway, it was our local rivalry "M&M Game" and WE WON! Woot!!!! GO MAROON AND GOLD!!!! Had a great time there! It was a GORGEOUS day for football!

Took an evening trip to Menards with the man (always fun!) and hit up a great sale at Kmart to get early X-mas gifts for the kiddos (shhh!!!!) Then spent the rest of the night at home playing Scene It and watching a movie!

Sunday was my usual cleaning, cooking and football! Then tonight we (ok...ADAM) replaced the HIDEOUS flooring we still had in the entryway to our home. This is step ONE in a complete entryway makeover! We've got BIG plans for this SMALL space! Can't wait! step at a time! :)

Here's the buddies getting in on the action...

And, the finished product...LOVE it!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend as well! Back to the grind tomorrow!


Friday, October 16, 2009

Caramel Apples - GOURMET!

As a part of my “10 Tasks in 10 Days” challenge, I wanted to make some GOURMET caramel apples! I'm also linking this post up at A Soft Place to Land's DIY Day and at Cheri's Knock Off Knock Out party!

I had initially intended to make my own caramel, but in the interest of saving time and sanity, I opted for good ol’ Kraft caramels. The kids helped me unwrap them all and then we were off to the races.

I started with a pot of boiling water. I dunked each apple into the water for a minute and then used a paper towel to scrub off any wax leftover. Most apples sold in grocery stores are waxed for shine. This can cause issues because your caramel may slide right off. (That is the point of wax, right?) I actually tried just washing the apples first, but they were still shiny, so I’m glad I included this step. Just dunk quickly and then using a dry paper towel, scrub off the shine.

**NOTE…apples do not look their prettiest when they’ve just been dunked in boiling water, but they’ll be FINE! Trust me! You’re covering them anyway…it’s all good! And FYI, I used 6 BIG granny smith apples.

So next I needed to create a double boiler. Since I don’t have an ACTUAL double boiler, I set a vegetable steamer tray on top of the pot of boiling water. I set my glass bowl of caramels onto the veggie tray and then stirred. (And stirred…and stirred…)
I used approximately 1 and a half bags of caramels. (The man got into the first bag and was snagging a couple each day!) After the caramels were just starting to melt, I added about 4 Tbsp. of water. This aided in the melting process and in smoothing the caramel out. Melting the caramel (especially with my “homemade” double boiler) took quite a while, but it worked out great in the end. As I stirred (and stirred), I continued to add water as necessary until the caramel was the consistency I wanted. I wish I could describe this consistency to you, but I can’t…you’ll know it when you see it! Not too thin, not too thick! You got this!

I removed the bowl from the double boiler and sat it next to my apples. I had already put the sticks (included in the bag of caramels) into the apples (on the stem side). I had also prepared a tray for the apples. I used a cookie sheet covered in a few layers of plastic wrap, which I then “greased” with butter flavored shortening. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Don’t use waxed paper, and don’t forget to grease the plastic wrap! It is the easiest way I’ve ever tried as far as getting the apples off without them sticking.

I dunked each apple, one at a time. I allowed quite a bit of caramel to drip off the apple and used a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the apples (no sense in any more caramel pooling at the bottom than necessary). I sat the apples on the tray and transferred the entire tray to the fridge to allow them to set. I let them sit in the fridge for about 15 minutes…they were still slightly soft, which was just what I wanted.
I took the tray out and took each apple off the tray so I could scrape the excess caramel off the bottom and back into the bowl of caramel. Allow that to melt (remember…stir, stir, stir!) I then dipped a couple of the apples in caramel a second time. Some of the apples were getting a chocolate coating, so those were NOT double dipped in caramel. (I just didn’t want the coating to be too heavy.) I then took the apples that WERE NOT being double dipped and rolled them in some nut toppings. (One in finely chopped peanuts, and two in pecans that I ground up (not TOO fine) in my food processor). The whole tray then went back into the fridge.
While things were setting up again, I used my trusty “double boiler” to melt a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Again, I added water until I had the consistency I wanted. After letting the apples sit in the fridge for about 45 minutes, I removed them, got my chocolate smooth and ready, and went back to it. The apples that were rolled in pecans were then dipped in chocolate. I rolled one of the double dipped caramel apples in toffee (finely chopped in the food processor), and then drizzled with melted chocolate. The peanut apple was left as is, and I left one double dipped in caramel “plain”. The last one, I dipped in a thin layer of chocolate (scraping much of the excess off) and then rolled it in toffee.

I then refrigerated overnight and let me tell you…I am SO happy with our results. We have thickly coated, decadent caramel apples that would make an excellent gift. (Have you ever seen what these sell for? I’ve seen $20 apples…seriously!! Insane!) I left the sticks in, but these can NOT be eaten off the stick. You have to slice it off and enjoy it that way! They turned out exactly as I had hoped and I can’t wait to do it again with some different toppings!

ENJOY! And don't forget to stop by Kimba's and Cheri's to check out other great projects!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mediocre Performance.

Alright...ten in ten day is HERE!

Here was my list to begin with...
1. FINALLY organize the office/dining room.
2. Paint Will's Headboard
3. Hang my chalkboard and washboards in the laundry room
4. Make fridge photo frames
5. Finish Kids artwork display Project
6. Finish Family Rules Canvas
7. Work on my door turned dining room table
8. Put up beadboard in kitchen
9. Finish painting (kitchen, trim and hallway)
10. Make gourmet caramel apples

Let's take them one at a time...

1. I cleaned this is now organized, BUT it's only half useful. I turned our dining room table into a desk for me and the kids to share (which I LOVE) but that left us with no table. Until #7 on my list is complete, we eat at a folding table...but this is well under way and I have 10 in 10 to thank for it!

2. I have STILL NOT painted Will's headboard. :( I keep waffling on color (although I think I am now set on black) and DO have it on my to-do list for this weekend.

3. I tried to hang this stuff...and put a hole in the wall. :( Not my forte...LOL! The man is going to help me locate studs and get this done, but I decided I wanted to finish painting in there first...sooo...add another project to the list! LOL!

4. The frames aren't done (I KNOW! I KNOW!) I need a couple more colors of acrylic and haven't gotten to the store. This is started though!

5. Never did hit up Menards...never did get to work on this. :(

6. CANVAS IS DONE! See it here.

7. I need paint stripper. It's on the shopping list.

8. Not even sorta.

9. I did the trim...I still don't love it, but it's growing on me.

10. They're in process right now. I will have a post about them tomorrow at the latest!! out of 10?!?! Could be worse, right? LOL! Overall I'm happy though! I LOVE lists and goals, so this was a great motivator and visual reminder of what I wanted to do.

Check out other's 10 in 10 over at Shabby Chic Cottage...hopefully some other blogger friends were able to knock out some things on their own To-Do Lists!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family Rules Canvas

It's DIY DAY at A Soft Place to Land!! I'm all linked up! Stop at Kimba's to check out all the other DIY fabulousness! It is also TRANSFORMATION THURSDAY at "The Shabby Chic Cottage" As my readers know, I've been participating in the 10 Tasks in 10 Days challenge there, so I will be posting a full update on that later, but ONE of my tasks was this. My Family Rules Canvas. So I'm also linking up for Transformation Thursday!

While browsing some of my fave blogs awhile back, I came across the most FANTASTIC idea at "The Pleated Poppy". She created a great big canvas displaying their family rules. I knew immediately that I had to do it!

I had a big 16x20 frame to fill, so instead of buying a gallery wrapped canvas like I think she used, I used canvas covered boards ($8 something for a three pack at Walmart).

Here's the skinny on how I did it...
1. I painted the entire canvas with a pretty turquoise-y blue acrylic paint. I let it dry...then I painted it again. I was planning to leave spaces between my rules, so I painted the entire thing.

2. I don't have fancy scissors, so I used a paper cutter and cut different width strips of paper that suited my fancy.

3. Then using a white or black fine point paint marker (depending on the color of the paper), I wrote OUR family rules. Earlier that day, I had found some fonts I liked, downloaded them, and made myself a "cheat sheet" of sorts. I typed out all the rules in different fonts. Then I used that to look at while I hand-wrote the rules...made it much easier to "free-hand" having the inspiration right in front of me.

4. Then, I decided how I wanted them arranged, and went to town with some Mod Podge. I used Mod Podge (matte finish) as both my glue and a sealant. When my kids are a little older and it's time to change up the rules, I think I will try using spray adhesive to glue the rules down and then just use the Mod Podge as a sealant. I've used Mod Podge a lot in my life, and I was using thin layers, but the paper had a severe tendancy to ripple...badly. I pulled a few off and redid them actually. Oh...and as I mentioned, I intended to leave spaces in between. I kind of just winged-it...there are some spaces, but I they're not al the same. I'm happy with the imperfect-ness of it...that's very much US.

5. After my sealant was all dried, I popped this baby in a frame and on the wall she went.

LOVE it!

A closer view of the rules...

Our rules (some of them borrowed, some not) are:
1. Always Tell the Truth
2. Ask First and Use Your Manners (Yes Please and No, Thank You)
3. Keep Your Promises.
4. No fussing, No whining, No complaining
5. Hands to yourself unless you're high-fiving or hugging.
6. Be Creative at all times.
7. Allow People their Privacy and show respect!
8. Use Nice Words
9. Tummy to the Table and Hands to yourself. Chew with your mouth closed and Swallow before you Speak.
10. Don't forget to say "I Love You"
11. Inside: No running and use inside voices.
12. Be a Good Brother

And, just for fun...our poochers, lookin' good. Love these fluffy guys. :)

Don't forget to check out Kimba's and "The Shabby Chic Cottage"!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So far, So good...


So we've got a ten in ten

My mini-recap is as follows:

1. FINALLY organize the office/dining room.-DONE! Woot!
2. Paint Will's Headboard - Not even started!
3. Hang my chalkboard and washboards in the laundry room - Haven't thought about it but I think I can...I think I can...I think I can...
4. Make fridge photo frames - I'm on it. Gotta find the magnets I misplaced though. Hmph. :(
5. Finish Kids artwork display Project - I need a 1x4 and therefore, I need a trip to the store.
6. Finish Family Rules Canvas - FINITO!!!!! YES!
7. Work on my door turned dining room table - Ugh! I want to work on this...I do! I will! Yes...I will.
8. Put up beadboard in kitchen - I need the man's help...wish me luck.
9. Finish painting (kitchen, trim and hallway) - I painted the trim (I hate it now, remember?) but it's a work in progress.
10. Make gourmet caramel apples - WTF did I do with those apples? Hmmm...seriously now. Hmm.

Sooooooo...that's where we're at right now. Tonight I've made a vow to RELAX. I'm making appetizers for dinner (FUN!) and hoping to coerce the man into watching a movie after I blast my way through some design work I need to finish up. Sooo...tomorrow. Tomorrow's my night. I hope. :) Lots to do...I'm on my way!

( will be shown soon. I'm saving my family rules canvas for DIY day on ASPTL and a couple other linky parties! But it will be up soon! Promise!)


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sick Kid, Update and Beef Stew...oh my!

Remember the recipe I promised yesterday? Yeah, well, I ran around like a crazy woman all night and didn’t get to it. I was getting the house ready for my PartyLite shindig and taking care of my five year old who was lethargic (scary) and running an “Anti-Fever”…he was CLAMMY (sweaty…wowza!) and said he was warm, but his body temp hovered around 96° which is pretty low for him (his normal is well over 98). Still not sure what that was all about but he seems to have fully recovered today, so that’s a relief!

So as an update on my LIST of “10 in 10”…dining room is ALMOST DONE!! WOOT! And I have plans to do the family rules tomorrow so that will be GREAT! I painted my trim and have now decided I HATE it! LOL! Soooo, that’s going to be a do-over but at least I got this far, right?

Ok…ok…onto the recipe! I found this recipe on the "lifeingrace" blog. LOVE her blog (and her KITCHEN!) If you’re not familiar with her you must go check the blog out…I suggest becoming a follower! :) This girl’s got some YUMMY recipes! In fact, my slightly altered variation of her stew recipe is the most delicious six hours I’ve spent in a LONG time!

Best EVER Beef Stew

2-3 lbs Stew Meat (I have a big family!)
Flour, Montreal Steak Seasoning, Salt and Pepper
½ cup red wine
1 small bag baby carrots, cut in half
½ sweet onion – coarsely chopped
8 small red potatoes – cubed
1 pkg. sliced mushrooms – coarsely chopped
Olive Oil
Approximately 2 cans of beef broth
Worcestershire sauce
2 T. minced garlic
2 T. honey
1 c. heavy cream
1 can peas

1. Start with your stew meat…salt and pepper and Montreal Steak season the meat, then dredge in flour. Be generous with the flour as this will help thicken your stew later.
2. Heat a Dutch oven or stew pot with a decent amount of vegetable oil over med-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides.
3. Add minced garlic and allow to cook for a minute or two.
4. Add red wine and enough beef broth to cover the meat.
5. Cover your pot and bake at 250° for 3-4 hours.
6. About half an hour before your meat is done, begin to prepare vegetables.
7. Chop baby carrots in half into bite-sized pieces. Cube potatoes and coarsely chop onion and mushrooms.
8. Salt and pepper veggies and lightly sauté in olive oil.
9. Remove stew from oven and add veggies. Add more beef broth if necessary to just cover the veggies. You don’t want TOO much liquid so if there are a few vegetables not completely covered that is a-ok!
10. Add a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce, a couple shakes of paprika and 2 Tablespoons of honey.
11.Recover and put back into the 250° oven for another three hours.
12.When ready to serve, remove from oven and add one can of peas (drained) and 1 pt. of heavy cream. Stir until well mixed. Taste and add salt/pepper as you see fit (I added a bit of salt, but I generally lean towards "sodium-junkie") :)

This is SO DELICIOUS! We served ours with warm dinner rolls and it was a HUGE hit with the whole family! Definitely worth the 6 hours of cooking time! Hearty and warm and filling...ohhh...just perfect! It is the only beef stew recipe for me, from here on out!

I'm linking this up at ASPTL's DIY DAY! Stop by Kimba's to check out the other fab DIY goodness going on over there!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Am I NUTS?!?!

Yep! I think I might be!

So my kitchen and living room sit unfinished...we refloored (yay!) and painted the living room walls, but that's as far as that went. We never did get to putting the trim up (yet), and the kitchen remains without it's new fun GREEN paint on the walls, the beadboard never went up over the tiles (still), and that HIDEOUS linoleum is still haunting the entryway...BUT, what do I decide to do? THROW A PARTY!

Yep, you heard right! I am hosting a PartyLite party (Ooo...I LOVE me some PartyLite!) tomorrow in my unfinished palace! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!

The man TRIED to talk me out of it, but I would not be deterred...OH NO! I was tired of putting it off...been promising to schedule for weeks, so I finally went ahead and did it. And now, I've got to try to create a presentable area for HOSTING A PARTY overnight. And of course, I choose THIS week to do my 10 projects in 10 days!!!

Yep...I MUST be nuts! Luckily, I made a HUGE pot of stew yesterday that will easily feed us tonight also, so at least I'm off the hook for dinner! I'll share that recipe later today...check back!!

Oh...and as a mid-day update to my list...I started the dining room, and I bought the apples...and that is as far as we've gotten. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Project A.D.D. that is! I am the master of starting things and then leaving them unfinished. In fact, if there were a "Land of Unfinished Masterpieces", I would be their QUEEN!

Gina at the Shabby Chic Cottage has issued a challenge...complete ten unfinished projects in ten days! Do I think I can do it?? Hmmm...probably not. I have a busy week this week...BUT, if I get even a few things on my list done, that's an accomplishment, right?

So, onto my never (ever) ending no particular order

1. FINALLY organize the office/dining room.
2. Paint Will's Headboard
3. Hang my chalkboard and washboards in the laundry room
4. Make fridge photo frames
5. Finish Kids artwork display Project
6. Finish Family Rules Canvas
7. Work on my door turned dining room table
8. Put up beadboard in kitchen
9. Finish painting (kitchen, trim and hallway)
10. Make gourmet caramel apples

Whew. I'm tired just THINKING about all of that! Now like I said, there is no way I'm going to get it all done. (Just being realistic here.) BUT, having the list out there for everyone to see will keep me accountable and I know I can get SOME of it done! I will post a daily update and a recap on October 15th!

Check out the Shabby Chic Cottage blog if you want in on the challenge! Ready...Set...GO!

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