Saturday, August 22, 2009

Decorative Plate

This is a very easy and inexpensive way to add some decor to your house. When we finished our basement and got new furniture I realized that I did not have "stuff" to fill my bookcases. I also did not have extra money to spend on "stuff" for my shelves so I started to look around my home to find things. I found a white square plate that was purchased at the dollar store...I actually had 4 but the other three were in my kitchen on a plate rack. I brainstormed and then realized that I could adhere a clear sticker on it. I went to my craft closet and found the perfect thing it was a pre-made scripture sticker. I know Hobby Lobby or as my husband says, "Hob Lob" has them and so does Mardel. If you can't find a clear sticker with what you want on it then I would run some clear Avery labels through your computer and cut around it. Next, I wanted to add some color. So I used some rhinestones that already had sticky adhesive to the back of them. Voila! I was done. I propped it up on a plate rack (you can find these at Gordmans or Wal-mart for $3 or less).

Upclose Picture of my scripture and rhinestones
The final look on my bookcase

**Disclaimer: Please do not leave the rhinestones around your children. True story...while I was doing this plate Zachary took an pink rhinestone off the sticker paper. Next thing you know I hear hysterical crying. He had shoved the rhinestone up his nose. I called my mom who is a school nurse. She said to put pepper under his nose to increase mucus secretions. He was so mad at the pepper that he kept crying more. Nothing happened so I called the pediatrician. While on the phone the rhinestone slid out of his nose and on my floor. Mom was right..Pepper did the trick. Therefore do not let you curious children put the rhinestones up their nose.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Next Food Network Star...

I LOVE reality tv shows, especially the ones based on food or cooking. This past season just finished up an my favorite candidate, Melissa d'Arabian was the winner. She is a stay at home mom of 4 girls and had no culinary training. She is self taught...which I really admire. She gave great cooking tips, money saving tips, and her food is GOOD. The night after the finale I made the recipe that won her the title of Next Food Network Star. It was called 4-step chicken. On the season finale she gave such great tips that I could re-create it in my kitchen without a recipe. Since then I have made it 4 other times. IT IS WONDERFUL, quick, and affordable for any budget. Today in my e-mail inbox there was the original recipe. So I wanted to share it with you.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways (butterflied, cut all the way through)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine, optional
1 cup chicken broth
3 lemons, juiced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.
In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.
In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce.
Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve. ENJOY!

I can't wait for Melissa's show to preview on the Food Network. I will be DVR'ing each episode. Melissa is fantastic.
This recipe and photos came from
Check out this website for more recipes and information on Melissa d'Arabian.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Easy, Peasy, Yummy Green Beans

A couple weeks ago we went to dinner at our friends Heidi and Jason's house. Heidi made the best green beans and was so sweet to share her recipe with me. We have had them at least 3 times since that night. So I thought I should share with you.

Ingredients: Frozen or Fresh Green beans, Balsalmic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Red Onion, and Bacon
* You can use the real bacon bits that are already ready too. I did not have any so I popped some of the Oscar Meyer bacon in the microwave.

Chop your red onion and mix in a hot fry pan with a dash of Olive Oil
The aroma is amazing. Just be careful not to burn them. Stir occasionally to for even cooking. When they look and smell done add the bacon and cook about 1 minute longer. Next add the green beans and as much balsamic vinegar that you want. We like a lot (3/4 cup) but start slow. Continue to flip the veggies.
Final look: everything is done. Put in serving bowl and you are ready for the perfect side dish.

This is a low calorie, high flavor side dish. I hope you love it as much as we do. Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Antique Silver Plated Trays

I got this idea from a blog titled Bless Our Nest. Shannon always comes up with some super cute, creative decorations for her home. To be honest, I am not sure how I found Shannon's blog but I am glad that I did. One of her blog post was titled Tray Transformations and I fell in love at first sight. I thought those are awesome! I want one. So one morning my mom, Zachary, and I had some free time and popped in an antique flea market booth store. In my mind I did not want to spend more than $7 for a silver plated tray. I have to admit the "hunt" of the plate was very exciting for me. That day I did not find a tray that I wanted for my price. But a few weeks later my mom and mother-in-law went to lunch at a local tearoom and low and behold I found this tray for $4. SOLD! I had to have it.

Because I have been so occupied with summer and stuff I just finished my tray. Here are some photos from the project. Thanks to my wonderful two year old for his camera skills.

Before: Chalkboard Paint and My $4 tray

*I recommend taping the edges of your tray prior to painting :) You'll thank me later!

Painting my "taped" tray in the garage on a rainy day. Thanks Zachary for taking the photo!

After: Isn't it cute on my welcome table in my entry way!

My finished tray!

Thank you Shannon for your wonderful ideas. I love your blog! Keep up the good work!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Overnight Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

Right after my son was born I was invloved in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at my church. At MOPS they would have different discussion groups host a breakfast buffet for the month. I was trying to figure out how to juggle a newborn, make a casserole, and get ready for a much needed morning with other moms all by 9 am. The week before I was scheduled to make a dish I started reseaching. I went to one of my favorite recipe . I found the perfect recipe to make the night before MOPS so that in the morning I could get ready and take care of my newborn. IT WAS AMAZING! Since then I have made this dish over 25 times for different brunches, MOPS breakfasts, and family gatherings. IT is 100% yummy and super easy. If you are looking for a dish to make the night before without any hassles this is the dish for you. Let me know if you like it.

12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1.5(8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes ( I have used 1/3 less fat and it works)
1 cup fresh blueberries
10 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over mixture.
Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast.