Monday, April 16, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

What is that from...I say it all the time and I don't know where I got it...

I've been "pinning my way through dinner" for several weeks now.  I'd say my luck as been about 50-50.  I don't want to call out the "bad" recipes so I'll just tell you about a few that we enjoyed.  I will also warn you that I am in no way a great cook OR a food photographer.  We can just pretend that this is just a blog about the way food REALLY looks for normal people who cook while multi-tasking, and who use a point and shoot camera. ;)  I didn't ask permission to post the actual recipes here, so I will just give you the links and let you go there yourself.  :)

#1 Chicken Broccoli Supreme
When I saw the title I knew I had to taste this.  We eat a lot of chicken and a lot of broccoli, so why not combine them!  If I tell my husband we're having a casserole he already "knows" he doesn't like it, so I appreciate the term "Supreme" and now incorporate it into other dishes for that reason...shhh!  The recipe is on the Get off your butt and...Bake blog.

The sauce was easy to make, don't get overwhelmed looking at directions.  If I can do it, anyone can.  I don't recommend trying to watch your toddler at the same time though, the sauce does take constant attention.  I left the poppyseeds out of the crumb mixture, although I'm not sure why...probably because I forgot about them while I was trying to watch my daughter at the same time.  I like dinners that bake in the oven for 30 mins+ because it gives me time to prep anything else (ie. side dish, dessert, or a toddler bath) This is how ours turned out:

Delicious!  I will make it again for sure!  Would be a great dish for potlucks, family gatherings, or taking to someone in need of a meal.  The leftovers the next day were still delicious.

#2 Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu
I really recommend that you check out The Girl Who Ate Everything.  She has some amazing recipes.  Now that I've learned my lesson on Pinterest recipes, I think I'll go through her blog for the next few weeks of dinners.  This Cordon Bleu truly was so easy, however I cheated through a few steps.
1. I didn't slice my chicken breasts, I just bought smaller ones.
2. I used store bought bread crumbs since I had them in my pantry and I don't have a food processor (gasp!) to quickly make them.
3. I used sprinkle Kraft parmesean cheese (double gasp!) because I don't use parmesean cheese enough to buy a block of it, and I was doing this recipe from pantry ingredients rather than a shopping list of items.
4. And lastly I used deli cut ham rather than sliced.  It is thicker and tastes more like ham in my opinion.  It was also harder to cut through that thinly sliced ham would've been so you choose which you prefer.

Ohhhh, that sauce was so scrumcious that I poured it on the plates as if it were a side dish!  The pink you see is the ham...see what I mean about thicker slices verses the version on the blog?

#3 Maple Mustard Chicken
I found a recipe on Pinterest with the plan to follow the directions and see how it turned out.  However, I read through all the comments on the blog post and on my "repin" and decided to take matters into my own hands.  Remember how I said that I prefer cooking to baking because I can throw in more or less of different ingredients without following directions?  This was a great example of that.  So I will try to give measurements to what I actually did.

4 small Chicken breasts
1/2 cup Sweet and Honey Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Maple syrup (Log Cabin brand, I didn't have an real syrup handy)
1/2 cup Honey BBQ sauce
1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar (optional)

I have yet to determine what Rice Wine Vinegar does.  Everytime I add it to something I wish I hadn't.  I don't care for vinegar on any level so I'll skip it next time.  But if you like that tanginess, go for it.  Mix your mustard, syrup, BBQ sauce, and vinegar in a bowl.  Pour a straight line of sauce in the middle of the dish, lay your chicken along the line and wiggle them a little to spread the sauce.  Pour remaining sauce over chicken.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes, flipping the chicken breasts half way through.  Mine turned out looking nothing like the Pinterest picture which seemed to be the general consensus on the comments I read.  The sauce bubbled up to the top of the dish and fortunately did not spill over, but you may want to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any spills.  I served this with broccoli and sweet potato slices (a Pinterest recipe gone wrong so we'll pretend it didn't happen).

I'm off to have a Maple Mustard chicken salad sandwich for lunch!  I just recently figured out that chicken of almost any flavor can be cut up, add some mayo and pickle relish and you have gourmet (and I use that word lightly) CHICKEN SALAD!  Yum!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cabinet Repurposing #2

I have issues...issues regarding "looking up and following directions".  It's why I don't like to bake, I don't like follow precise directions.  Cooking is fun because I can just throw random ingredients in, more of this, less of kind of directions.

So, Pinterest kills me for this reason.  I see a picture of something and decide to make it up as I go.  Had I actually followed the directions for this cute kid's desk at iCandy Homemade's awesome blog, mine would've turned out way cuter than it did.  But for a 2.5 year old, this will do.

I started with 2 cabinet doors.  I learned from my chalkboard project and sanded these very well.  This was the most time consuming part and it's tempting to skip over but, as I've learned, it's a necessary step.  Then I used a spray paint primer.  The guy in the paint department recommended using a primer with old wood because paint soaks in some places more than others.  This way I'd get a more even coat with the colored paint.  Oddly enough, he was hesitant to open the spray paint cabinets for me until I had fully explained my project.  Maybe the fact that I bought purple and pink assured him that I was not headed for a night of tagging...that, or my babbling on about a cabinet door desk for my 2 year old bored him and he just wanted me to stop talking.

I let the primered doors dry in the sun which sped up the process.  (*note: I am absolutely not a painter so please forgive me if that is an incorrect way to paint!)  Then I moved onto my purple spray paint.  I used an entire can of purple paint for this one project.  I don't know if that is good or bad but it was fine with me.

 I sprinkled pink glitter on the door that was going to be the bottom tray, just for fun.  Because glitter makes everything fun.

And here is where I became a bad blogger and didn't take pictures of the building process.  Sorry!  I bought regular gate hinges from Lowes.  I really wanted something that would close slowly but I had the hardest time figuring that out in the "hinge aisle" and apparently no one wants to help a lady out!

I also bought 4 of these cute, short table legs at Lowes and painted them purple as well.  I definitely should've taken a picture of the way I painted these, I was quite proud of myself.  I tied a string from my daughter's slide to our bird feeder pole.  Then used clothespins to hang the legs by their tags (not shown in the picture).  This way I could spray all the way around them and let them hang to dry.

So, I marked where I wanted the hinges placed and screwed them in.  I enlisted my husband's help at this point because we used the power drill (screwdriver).  Now don't get me wrong, I can use a power tool as good as any man, but I just like to see him work with power tools.  ;)  He also drilled four holes a tad smaller than the screws on the legs, onto the bottom of the bottom tray.

And voilà!  The finished product!

A couple of notes -

*I actually never  read the original blog post until after I had completed my project.  I had only seen the picture on Pinterest but I had forgotten that she had "frames" on the top to hold the pencils and such.  My thinking was to make the top be the work surface and the inside just to hold the art supplies.

*After 30 seconds of Kaylee using her table she bonked her head as the top fell down on her.  So I do recommend finding a hardware store employee and asking them about slow closing hinges. Reading the original blog, I like how she used the actual door hardware.  I attempted to do that with mine but we had external hinges the didn't work the direction I needed them to.  For now Kaylee will just have to learn to hold with one hand, grab the necessary supplies and close the lid.  I do have rubber spacers that I will put on the inside to keep from slamming fingers.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cabinet Repurposing #1

I was recently given a bunch of old cabinet doors and so I of course hit up Pinterest for some ideas to repurpose them.  I'm still working on the really cool and fun projects so you'll have to wait for those.  But I did make Kaylee a chalkboard today.

First I sanded the cabinet door.  I recommend using a larger grit than 400 though, you really want to get the original stain off.  I noticed that the areas I didn't sand well didn't hold the paint as well either.  Maybe that's common knowledge...I am NO painter, that's for sure.

Then I taped off the center area and painted my border.  I used leftover paint from Kaylee's room decor, it's just standard indoor, satin finish paint from Lowes.

I allowed that to dry, took the tape off and started with my chalkboard paint from Joanns.  In the past I have used chalkboard paint from Lowes and it painted on so smoothly.  I bought this jar of FolkArt Chalkboard paint at Joanns because it was convenient.  It was gloopy and took 4 coats (jar says 2 coats).  This could be because I didn't sand well but I'll be sticking to my Lowes paint for future projects.
After the last coat dried I followed the directions on the jar and conditioned the paint with a piece of chalk.  Note to self: sidewalk chalk is not meant for painted chalkboards.  Oops!  It is very hard and scratched my new paint.  But life goes on.  I found a regular piece of chalk and finished the job.

Lastly I used 2 picture hanging loopy screws (that's the official name for them right?) and twine to hang it on our backyard fence.  This way we can bring it inside or place it on the front porch with a welcome message!
All that matters is that Kaylee thought it was so cool when she woke up from her nap.  She even drew you a nice Easter greeting.  :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Homemade finger paints, Attempt #1- FAIL

I found a finger paint recipe on Pinterest using items I have in my kitchen.  I followed the directions exactly and this is what I got:

Looks so pretty right?  But when we went to stick our fingers in it, the "paint" was thicker than jello.  I was able to add some water and use a KNIFE to stir (slice) it into a chunky consistency.

Fortunately 2 year olds don't really care that it's not what it looked like on Pinterest.  Kaylee had a blast squishing it through her fingers and painting her masterpiece.

Onto the next recipe.  If you have one that you've tried and swear by I'd love for you to share!  This one was cornstarch, sugar, salt, water cooked on the stove then food coloring at the end.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pinterest idea gone wrong

I get a little crazy trying everything I see on Pinterest.  

Like this ADORABLE and EASY TO DO sidewalk chalk happy is this little boy?!
Pinned Image

Today my 2.5 year old was my victim subject but she wasn't having it.  Maybe tomorrow she'll be happier about laying her precious head on concrete...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


One of my twitter friends, Maiden Jane, posted an interesting task on her blog...share a picture of your hands.  For some reason this struck a chord with me and I knew I wanted to participate in the link-up.  I can remember being a little girl and playing with my mom's hands.  She didn't like her hands, but I love(d) them.  Her nails were always manicured and painted clear.  It was only for nice occasions that she painted them any color and that color was always a muted mauve or light pink, never a bright color.  I can picture the nail polish bottles as I sit here.  She was tragically taken from us 7.5 years ago in a car accident, and oddly enough when I (stupidly) envision the accident, I don't see her face, I see her pale fingers gripping the steering wheel as she always did when she drove.  My hands remind me of my moms and I hope I keep remembering that as I age.

So anyway, onto my picture.  I don't try to throw myself a pity party, but those generational photographs where baby, mom, grandma, great-grandma all have their hands on top of each other drive me bonkers.  If you have one, no all honesty I'd probably have one too if I had the ability.  The only reason I don't like them is because they remind me of what I do not have - my mom or my grandmas.  But two Christmases ago, my dear friend (Beth Tilley Green Photography) photographed my little family of 3.  When I saw the pictures I was immediately drawn to the picture of my hand holding Kaylee's.  It is officially my favorite photo and is hanging on our wall.  And so, here is my picture of my hand doing what I think is it's most important job...guiding Kaylee.  Tonight she held my hand as we walked from the kitchen to the dinner table, just because!  I didn't want to let go.  Figuratively I don't think I ever will.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Go ahead, call me a genius...I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to discover this trick.  I bought 36 yrds of butcher twine for a baby shower invitation project but I needed it cut in 36" pieces.  I painstakingly measured my first piece with a 12" ruler, cut it, then continued to measure a piece and cut.  After two pieces cut I thought to myself "I wish John were home so I could make him stand here with his fingers 36" apart and wind the twine around them to cut all at once"...and then I proceeded to measure and cut another piece.  Then I thought to myself "Too bad I don't have a 36" piece of cardboard" and proceeded to measure and cut another piece.  And THEN it finally hit me, "use a yardstick Kate"!  Genius!  Feel free to pat me on the back for discovering this trick for need to tell me that Noah used the same trick when cutting rope for the ark...

 Yay! All the same length!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thank you for coming to take my survey! I'm sorry this is another link to click on but Twitter won't let me post the actual link for some reason.

click here for my Parents of only children Survey

Thank you!!  Your input is appreciated and valued!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pure Delciousness

If you haven't ordered from Have it Sweet you are completely missing out!  Last summer I ordered the Bourbon Pecan Caramel Bar.  As stated in the shop description this creation was inspired by Pecan Pie and man oh man, does it ever live up to a good southern pie flavor!  Since I'm a creature of habit and rarely change my favorites I figured I'd settled on my new favorite for a lifetime...but then Have It Sweet went and included a sample of a different variety...the Organic Drunken Salted Pecan Turtle Caramel Bars.  Oh. My. Goodness. Pure deliciousness.

I recently ordered the full size bars...that is a 1/2 lb of caramelly, salty, turtley goodness!  Apparently I can't even think of words to describe how yummy these are and have to make up words.

You need to try them yourself.  Have It Sweet has other items too like marshmallows birds (corn syrup free!), lollipops, and sampler packs which I just sent to a friend!

I am incredibly lucky to have married a man who doesn't like chewy caramels so I don't have to share!  **insert evil laugh**  Although apparently Kaylee takes after me and has had a few nibbles.

Disclaimer: Have It Sweet has no idea I'm writing this post.  I purchased the candies myself.  These photos were taken by me, but you must check out their website and THEIR photos will convince you to buy!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hello Spring!

Wait a minute, it's only February? It has to be 70 degrees outside right now! I was just reading twitter posts from friends who have snow outside their windows!  It's so warm here I had to go back inside and put a short sleeved shirt on!  This coming summer will be the first where Kaylee can run through sprinklers on the grass and I am so looking forward to introducing that activity to her.  But as much as I think today is "hot", we'll stick to a fully clothed activity until it warms up even more.

Kaylee (2.5) loves anything to do with water.  So much so that she takes baths just for fun and wants to brush her teeth five times a day so she can run the water and use her cup.  So today, for an easy water activity I grabbed an empty plastic bin, added 3 inches of water and the following everyday items:
  • legos - because they're colorful and float
  • beach toys - to pour water with 
  • funnel - to pour water from a cup into it and watch it pour out the bottom
  • turkey baster - to teach the squeezing and releasing actions
  • cinnamon roll icing cup - just because 
  • measuring cup - to pour water with
  • colorful buttons - fine motor skills, they sink and are harder to grab in water
  • and red Solo cups - because I thought it was funny that 10 years ago red solo cups had an entirely different use in my life...
The little purple and pink beads are waterbeads.  Normally they're in a bin of their own but I threw a few in for fun.

It's been 45 minutes and she's still playing...although now she's IN the bin.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Baby Shower

I had the pleasure of co-hosting my cousin's baby shower this past weekend.  When I begged was asked to help I immediately hit Pinterest for inspiration.  Oh how I LOVE Pinterest!!  The nursery colors are yellow and grey for a sweet little guy arriving soon and so that became our theme!

The invitations were fun and easy.  I was trying to go with a bicycle theme (since mom & dad are triathletes!) but I couldn't find any bike stickers or punches.  Bummer!  I remembered that my cousin had mentioned some cute elephant fabric she had purchased for an accent piece in the nursery and so I ran with that thanks to a Martha Stewart punch.

I also decided that I absolutely needed a Cricut machine to do these decorations right.  Oh how I LOVE my Cricut machine!  So with a cute idea from Apartment Therapy (found on Pinterest) in mind, I created this:
The circles are 5" in diameter and went home with the new mama to find a home in the nursery or in her future scrapbooking, or really whatever her heart desires.

Also on Pinterest I found Bump Smitten's blog where you can download an entire yellow and grey elephant themed baby shower!  I picked a few pieces such as these two mellow baby shower games.
                   ...and this cute elephant!

I used the Cricut to cut out Drake's name.  Since I'm new at "Cricutting" I ended up with a lot of extra letters in sizes I wasn't trying for.  But never fear, I found uses for them!

Sister of the mom-to-be, aka Aunt Kelly, hosted the shower at her house and did all the food!  I must say this was the best way to do a shower.  I got to do the fun crafty stuff and I didn't have to clean my house or cook!  We made a great team!  Her scrambled egg & bacon mini quiches were amazing and I'm craving them as I type this!  Cranberry & Orange muffins, Blueberry with Brown Sugar muffins, fruit salad (oops, it's missing from the picture), coffee, and kind of breakfast/brunch!

(more "extra" Cricut letters on the mirror and over the present table)

We also had an inspirational craft for the mom-to-be.  You guessed it, this was also inspired by Pinterest!

In the invitation I included this note:

Prior to the shower I taped ribbons onto cardboard for easier writing ability.  We used fabric markers to each write our messages for the soon-to-be mama.
(disclaimer: This is not the full Bible verse, I messed up while 
writing this one for someone else and started over on another ribbon)

And here is the finished craft!  Each ribbon has a verse or quote from the friends and family who attended the shower.  They were tied onto an extra large key ring (4" diameter) and can hang in the nursery anytime Mom needs a bit of moms know what I'm talking about!

We all had a wonderful time and I feel so blessed to be a part of the family I am.  I forgot to take pictures of the blanket I made for baby Drake but I used this Michael Miller print: