Sunday, August 26, 2012

Make ahead Frozen Breakfast Burritos

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" Well, I'm definitely guilty of not eating my Wheaties. It's not that I'm not hungry or too late to make breakfast. It's usually that it just takes too much effort at 7am. Yup...I am LAY-ZEE in the mornings! I would say out of 5 work days I eat breakfast maybe 2 of them, and that's if I'm motivated enough to drive through the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru on the way to work.

I've seen a lot of recipes about frozen breakfast burritos that you can heat up quickly in the morning. Yesterday I was bored at home so I figured I would try this out. I looked at a few different recipes to get some ideas of how much of each thing I needed, but ended up just winging it. 

I have to be honest, I have not yet eaten one of these burritos so I can't make any promises about their taste after being reheated, but I know they would have been good if I ate them right away.


Frozen Breakfast Burritos (makes about 9-10 burritos)

INGREDIENTS:
     9ish eggs
     2-3 cups onion, chopped
     1-2 cups pepper, chopped (I used green but it doesn't matter)
     2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or enough slices of American for each burrito (How come they don't make shredded American cheese??)
     2 cups cooked sausage (I used the pre-cooked stuff you throw in the microwave and just cooked it a little with the peppers and onions)
    splash of milk
     tortillas (Whole wheat for me!!)

DIRECTIONS:
In a saute pan, throw a little slab of butter and the chopped onions, peppers, and sausage. (If you used the pre-cooked sausage you can also throw it in with the eggs.) Let them cook until the onions are transparent or the sausage is browned. When these are done put them in a cereal bowl and stick them to the side.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and wisk together with a splash of milk. Pour them into the same pan you used for the onions and scramble. (I like to add the peppers, onions, and sausage here because I like them to be incorporated all together. Up to you.)

Lay out your burrito on a flat surface. If you are using American cheese break it in half and put one half in the middle of the burrito. (If you are using shredded wait until the end.) Then layer your eggs, sausage, peppers, and onions. -If you like a little hot sauce throw that in now, too- Don't layer too high because then you will have trouble folding your burrito. On top throw on the shredded cheese or the other piece of American.


Now comes the complicated part...folding. Here is the easiest way I have found to do it. Rotate your burrito so that the fillings are horizontal. Fold the tortilla in half and then tuck your fingers so that you create a pocket around your filling. (The edges do not need to be "rolled" under the filling. That won't matter.) Then fold in the sides. Nothing fancy, just one fold. Finally, roll the pocket up until the seam is on the bottom. I wish I had pictures because its really hard to explain, but I'm sure if you YouTube folding burritos you can find a good explanation.


Roll your burritos up in aluminum foil and throw them in the freezer. It seems between the many recipes I've read, you can microwave them on high for about 2-3 minutes and they will be good to go.



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wordle Wall

Wordle is something that my kids and I do in class. I love it and totally reccommend it for any other teachers out there. (Or if you just want to have fun!!) Another great generator much like Wordle is Tagxedo. Mike and I actually used Tagxedo in our wedding for our table numbers. (I'll post a pic when we get the pics back!)

But anyway, I came across this idea from Pinterest one day and thought it would be PERFECT for my Tech classroom. It's a Wordle Wall!!


 I will admit first off that it took me almost 2 days to get it all done, but I probably did it the long way.

In the forum where I found this, the teacher said that she printed the words out and then laminated them. I'm not sure what kind of printer she used, but my printer doesn't print letters that big, so......I went back to 1980 and did it the old fashioned way.

First, I hung bulletin board paper on the chalkboard, used Microsoft Word to create fancy letters and projected the words onto my chalkboard. I traced the letters and cut them out and then laminated them. (This is part of the reason it took me so long to get it done. I had to cut each letter out TWICE. Once from the bulletin board, once from the laminate.) Because I'm a bit of a spacial perfectionist instead of going at it and hot gluing from the get, I decided to tape the words where I thought I wanted them, first.

***That's another little tip. If you have those horrible brick walls that 
NOTHING sticks to, use hot glue!! It works great! Make sure you get the high 
heat gun, though. Guarantee your posters will stay up most of the year if not the whole 
year. The old school blue tacky putty works good, too***

Then, when I finally got it right, I hot glued away! Drum roll please......................................




I am SOOOOOOOO happy with the way this turned out. I also like the fact that I left a lot of room and there is the opportunity to add more words. I can even let the kids help me with this now!! 

Here are a few more shots I took.
Halfway through

Taped up before the commitment

DONE!! Love it!!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is another one of those recipes where you can really change up what you decide to "stuff" your chicken with. I like this kind of thing because then you can kind of do the same things each week for dinner but it doesn't get as boring so quickly. It still seems different.

Truthfully when I do this it's all guesstimation. There are many different options for stuffed chicken. Originally I did the broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken from Eat Yourself Skinny. I followed it almost exactly only I used American cheese instead of swiss. Tonight I made bacon, stuffing, and cheese stuffed chicken, so I'll use that for the recipe, but please be open about what to stuff with. Mike and I literally just sat on the couch tonight and we were like, "I think I'm going to use bacon. " "You should use bacon AND stuffing!! That would be awesome!!" And so it happened. :)



Stuffed Chicken Breasts
INGREDIENTS:
     2 chicken breasts, cut in half
     1 egg
     1-2 cups bread crumbs
     4 slices american cheese or about 2 cups of shredded cheese
     4 pieces bacon, cooked but not crispy (we used turkey bacon)
     3ish cups of stuffing
     salt and pepper to taste
     toothpicks

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a medium sized baking dish with non stick spray.

Pound out chicken breast halves until it's about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Wisk egg into a bowl and pour bread crumbs into a separate flat dish. I use a small baking dish usually used for making dips. Place to the side until you are ready to dredge.

Now, layer your stuffings on top of each other. I usually break the cheese up into smaller pieces to make it easier to place them where they belong. I break the bacon into two pieces as well. It just seems to make it easier when it comes time to roll. Don't pile on too much stuffing or it will just squeeze out of the sides when you roll.

Now, roll the chicken up so that the ends meet and the stuffings are completely covered. In order to keep in place use toothpicks. I use toothpicks to close up the sides of the chicken as well. It just seems to keep the cheese in better.

You're ready to dredge. Roll the chicken pockets in the egg wash and then place in the dish with bread crumbs. Make sure the entire pocket gets covered in the bread crumbs. Do this with each of the chicken breasts and then place them in the greased baking dish.

Bake about 20-30 minutes or until you see the bread crumbs browning on the top. Enjoy!!






Ruffled Bulletin Board Border

So....I have my own classroom this year which is really exciting because I have been traveling to 4 different schools for the last 2 years. Now I have my own place, my own four walls, a door I can shut, and even my own bathroom!! All the other schools I shared my space with the Media Center which is located in the middle of the school with no walls and open to the other classrooms in the school. 2 out of the 4 schools have an open floor plan where only cabinets and bookshelves delineate where the "walls" are. I have the attention span of a flea so this was quite a problem for me. I'm so excited to start this year with my own area that I won't even complain about the fact that my walls leak and there are crickets all over my room. :)

With your own classroom comes your own bulletin boards. I had a few bulletin boards when I taught middle school, but I hate that boring scalloped border. It's just too....flat?? So, while I was searching for bulletin board ideas for my technology classroom, I came across this idea from Peace, Love and First Grade and, since it seemed pretty easy, I thought I would go for it. 

I love bright colors so first I covered my board with a purple tablecloth from Dollar Tree. Another Pinterest idea. It fit wonderfully and it was soooooo easy to put up. No more guessing how big your bulletin board was and adding more to the bottom because the paper they make isn't long enough. I will tell you that I got a tablecloth from another store and those were incredibly see-through. Dollar Tree tablecloths have thick color so what you see is what you get. 

I chose a turquoise blue for the border because, like I said, I like bright colors and I also had turquoise in the rug I put under my desk. This is such an easy thing to do, but it's a little time consuming. However, because I didn't take pictures during this process, I'll use the pics from Peace, Love and First Grade.

Using bulletin board paper, cut long strips however wide you want your border to go across. (Peace, Love and First Grade says you don't need to measure, however, I didn't measure and my border came out all different widths. I kinda like it, but just so you know...)

Then, all you have to do is fold the paper like you're creating a fan...like an accordion...all the way down. (I also thought if you wanted to just leave the strips without folding them and move right on to the fluffing and stapling, that would look good too. Maybe...)
Then, crumple up the paper so that it gives a little more texture. I twisted mine once it was folded and then just pulled the folds apart and scrunched as I pulled. It should look like this...
All you have to do now is just staple and fluff alllll the way down. 
Here is mine halfway done...you can see that the widths change as it goes down. I don't mind it, but I did consider cutting it off when it was done just to make it look cleaner.


And then completely finished...






Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY Personalized Wall Decor

I will be the first to admit that I am a cheap frugal person. Nothing in my closet or in my house was bought at full price (unless that price was amazing!). I just refuse to pay in full when I know in a month those things will be on sale. Yes, sometimes I miss out on some beautiful items but I fully believe if I can't make it happen it wasn't meant to be. I love shopping at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Christmas Tree Shops, places like that. I know I'm always getting a good deal.

With that being said I also like nice things. For this reason, Pinterest has become my best friend. There are so many ideas on there that can be done at cheap prices but they are quality items. This summer I spent a lot of time decorating my house with ideas from Pinterest. I did an O'Neil wall hanging that represents us as a new family. I also did some bedroom hangings since our walls were so bare and the napkin hangings for our hallway. For once I feel like I'm actually putting my creative side to use. 

My friend just recently had a baby and I knew I wanted to give her something personalized and special. I feel like there are so many things that someone can give to another person, but when you make it yourself and do it from the heart I feel it gives so much more. You can truly share how much you care and how often you're thinking about that person. This project was very similar to the O'Neil frame that I did, only I used the birthdate of her son instead. 



As you might be able to tell they have a nautical theme to their nursery. I tried to go along with the colors they have, too. I found this frame at Michael's and it was on sale so I think I paid maybe $7 or something. The prints came from this site where you can download them for free. I had Walgreens print mine. The total cost of those was something like $0.60. Rose's had the bobber and blue rope. All I did was hot glue them to the glass. 

This was a simple, cheap present...but it had a lot of heart into it. I spent about an hour deciding which numbers would work perfectly for their theme. I also had to research how to tie a few nautical knots in order to add the extra blue rope. I just wanted it to be nice, and I hope I succeeded. 


My brother is also getting married this summer. He and his bride-to-be had their coed shower last weekend. I decided to do the same thing for them only I used their wedding date. I hope they hang this in their house one day and surround it with pictures from their wedding. I told Mike this and he said, "How come we don't have one??" so maybe that's next. 

For their frame I did something a little different. I cut out some of the flowers from their shower invites and added them to the frame mat. I thought it would be something they could have to represent their union for years to come, even if they don't keep the date in the frame. 

This turned out to be something that they really enjoyed. My soon to be sis-in-law noticed right away that they were from the invites. Their wedding had a very natural theme, if you get what I mean. She's doing burlap and wood, stuff like that. Therefore, I looked for some pictures that seemed to follow that theme too. I debated whether to keep the frames in their original color or to use a sepia color, but I figured with the flowers some color wouldn't hurt. Hopefully, like I said, this is something that they can keep and change with the different events of their lives. 

Here's the finished product...



Easiest EVER Monkey-ish Bread

This is the EASIEST recipe ever and it's soooooo-ooooo good. Might not be the healthiest meal ever, but who cares!!



I originally found this recipe from here while looking through Pinterest...surprised?? Like most everything else I find on Pinterest, I pinned it and forgot it. Recently I decided to look through my Foooooood! board to try some new things. I came across this recipe again and decided to go for it. The ingredients are great. All something you're already going to have except maybe the biscuits. 

Easiest EVER Monkey-ish Bread

INGREDIENTS:
     2 small tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
     2 tbsp. butter, melted
     1/2 cup pancake syrup
     1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
     1/2 tsp. cinnamon
     1/4 cup chopped pecans, optional
     1/4 cup chopped almonds, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Spray a fluted pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

Combine melted butter and syrup in a small bowl.

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). 

Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the fluted pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top.

Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring.

Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. 

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter. Don't spill like I did :( (The edges of my plate were too rounded. )

Ugh...this is sooooooo good. My mouth is watering just writing about it. Forget the napkins, you'll be licking your fingers alllll day. Oh and one more thing...this is also AWESOME heated back up. We stuck ours in the fridge overnight because we couldn't eat it all. The next morning we threw it in the microwave for a couple minutes and it tasted exactly the same!!

Here's some food porn for you...




Recipe Source: Stamps4Fun

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'll catch up soon, promise...

This is the first week of school and I have been SLACK-ING with this blog. I have so many things to add that I have worked on over the past 2 weeks. I'll catch up on Saturday. I promise!!!

Stay tuned for:
Easiest EVER Monkey-ish Bread
DIY Personalized Wall Decor
Ruffled Bulletin Board Border...and some other school related stuff...
...and whatever else I forgot :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Calzones

So, I have to admit that this is something Mike and I do all the time. I mentioned that I'm a teacher, but I also have an hour drive to and from work. Mike works nights so on those nights we only have 2 hours to eat and cuddle. :) Sometimes there just isn't enough time to make an elaborate meal. When in doubt, we always have pizza crust on hand and we always make calzones. There is just so much you can do with them! At the end of this recipe I'll list all of the different ones I can think of that we have done. Either way I promise to you that this is the easiest dinner EVER!

Buffalo Chicken Calzones

INGREDIENTS: (all of these are approximate so give or take...)
    1 can refrigerated pizza crust
    about 2-3 cups of cooked shredded chicken
    1/2 -3/4 cup buffalo sauce (depending on what kind you use. I really just pour until the chicken is nicely covered)
    2 tbsp ranch dressing
    1 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
    3-4 slices of cheese of your choice
    2 tbsp olive oil
    salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Mix together the shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch, and shredded chicken.

Unroll the pizza dough onto the coated cookie sheet. Spread it out so that the dough covers the majority of the cookie sheet. With a pizza cutter or knife cut the dough in half the long way (hot dog style for all you teachers out there).

Fill one side of each piece of dough with the chicken mixture. To make it easier, fill the opposite of the side you do first. For example, if I load the bottom of one piece, load the top of the other piece. This way when you create the calzone they won't be directly next to each other.

Layer a piece or two of the sliced cheese on top of the filling. 

Fold the top of the dough over the filled bottom. With a fork press the sides together to create a seal. (I cut off the corners a little to have less of the dough.)

Brush a little olive oil over the top of the calzone. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings of your choice. 

Bake for about 15-20 mins or until the top is golden brown.

Enjoy!!

Variations: Pepperoni Pizza Calzone, Cheeseburger Calzone, Burrito/Taco Calzone, Hamburger Helper Calzone (we were really exhausted that night...), BBQ Chicken Calzone, Jambalaya Calzone (another tired night). 



DIY Napkin Wall Art




I came across this idea from The Small Things Blog and thought...how easy!! It literally was the simplest DIY I have done yet.

I have been looking for two pictures to go in the hallway for a while now. I just can't see spending a lot of money on, well.....anything really. So, when I came across this on Pinterest I thought, alright, I can do that. Total price?? $11.00 for TWO!

Here's what you need:
2 frames (I got mine for $4.99 each at Christmas Tree Shops)
2 cloth napkins ($0.49 for two at Christmas Tree Shops)


I ironed the napkins because they had quite a crease in them from the fold. I just didn't want it to show through in the frame. All I did was line up the napkin how I wanted it and put the back on. I did do some things to make it easier, however.


It seemed easier to take the fake family picture that always comes standard in frames and push it behind the napkin. I started off trying to fold the napkin just perfectly so that it was the right size, but then you could see the fold when the back went on. So, I figure if I could push the page behind it it would be the exact size. I guess I could have just cut it, but I'm not wonderful at that and I didn't want to mess it up.

I also use some styrofoam to place behind the parts that didn't have a fold to keep it in place.

Here they are! Sorry about the blurry...my phone is definitely not a great one!!


My brain is working on something....uh oh...

So, I have this idea of how I want to do a DIY project. I got the idea from a picture that I saw at TJ Maxx that I just fell in love with but couldn't figure out a spot to put it in my house.  I found this which is kind of the idea, but not really, it was much prettier. The other had a hand painted flower with really cool accents. Not a blob of paint. lol.

Photo Source:this place


I'm thinking about doing it with maybe shades of greys, blues and yellows, which might match...any room you walk into in my house. (Can you tell what our favorite decorating colors are??) However, since I'm not an artist...at all...I know there won't be any amazing picture on there. So I thought, maybe I'll do chevron pattern and just smear some of those colors in between?? Maybe??

I'll keep you updated. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Summer Macaroni Salad

If there was one thing that I would find a hard time living without during the summertime, or anytime for that matter, it would be macaroni salad. I am in LOVE with it. I came across this recipe the other day from the Favorite Family Recipes blog. It's called Mom's Macaroni Salad and it is DELICIOUS!

Picture Source: favfamilyrecipes.com


I made a HUGE bowl of this last Monday and by Friday it was gone. Every time Mike walked into the kitchen he took the bowl out and scooped himself a bowl. I did make a few changes, as usual, so I'll mention them in the recipe, but I have full confidence that the recipe is amazing all on it's own.

Summer Macaroni Salad

INGREDIENTS:
     1 pkg. (1lb) macaroni (or shells)
     1 1/2 cup mayo
     2 tbsp. mustard (I used 1 tbsp. yellow mustard and 1 tbsp. horseradish mustard)
     1/4 cup sour cream (use greek yogurt to make it healthier!!)
     2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
     2 tbsp. sugar
     1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
     ground black pepper (to taste)
     1 cup ham steak, cut into small cubes (I used a honey ham steak and grilled it just a little before cutting)
     1 cup cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (I used shredded)
     2/3 cup frozen peas, thawed (I'm not a huge pea fan so I left these out)
     2-3 carrots, shredded (Mike gets bad indigestion from raw carrots so I saved myself and left these out, too)

Other optional add-ins:
     cucumber, peeled and diced
     dill pickles, chopped
     tomato, diced
     red bell pepper, diced (I actually did green bell peppers)
     celery, chopped
     *corn, canned or frozen and thawed (I added some frozen and thawed corn to mine, it added a great little crunch)
     *onion, diced (I love onion...so I couldn't leave it out)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Prepare macaroni to al dente according to package directions. After macaroni is cooked, drain and rinse in cold water. Once macaroni has cooled down, drain well.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine mayo, mustard, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss macaroni with ham, cheese, and whatever add-ins you choose.

Fold in Mayo mixture until pasta is well coated.

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight.

If the salad seems a little dry after setting up overnight, add some milk a little bit at a time until salad becomes nice and creamy again.

Recipe Source: favfamilyrecipes.com

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

DIY Personalized Wall Hanging

Yet again, I got this idea from looking at Pinterest. I have been wanting to do something, now that we are married, that represents us as a union in our house. What better way then to celebrate our last name?!


I have seen things like this all around the web. It is so cheap to do and super easy. The hardest part would be to find the frame that holds the right number of photos for your name. However, there is a way around this as well. I found it here and you simply buy enough single frames and hot glue them to a wooden board. I'm sure you could hot glue them together as well. She got hers from the Dollar Store which is even better!!

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED:
Frame (I found this one at Target for $20)
letters which can be found at this site for free!!

Easiest project ever!! Print your photos. I did mine at Walgreens and even printed a few of each letter. I think my total was $2.87 or something crazy. Put them in the frame and hang! Tah dah!!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

Came across this recipe while, yes, on Pinterest. :) I've seen a lot of these "braids" and decided I would take it on this evening. While getting my list together to send Mike to the store, however, I remembered I had Book Club tonight, so I double-checked to make sure it would be something easy. It seemed easy enough to me, so off he went. I started on the chicken (which I grilled) while he was gone because these breasts were thick!! I also started steaming some broccoli so that would all be ready by the time he got back.

So, before I give the recipe let me tell you how I changed it. :) ...

First off, as I mentioned, I grilled our chicken. The recipe doesn't say one way or another it just says "cooked chicken".
I chopped up some garlic and threw the broccoli in a saute pan with some butter to steam it.
One more change, and this was kinda big....We have tried a few other recipes with a similar feel and in them it calls for crescent rolls. This was no different. Mike, however, has said that he thinks the crescent rolls are too buttery and sweet. With that being said, we decided to use pizza crust instead for this recipe. And....with that being said....use the crescent rolls.

Here it is...


Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid (whew)....

INGREDIENTS:
     2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
     2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
     2 cups cheddar cheese
     2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed, and chopped
     1/2 cup light mayo (I'm sure you can use greek yogurt with this to make it a little healthier, but to be    honest I have never used it before so I don't know...)
     1 egg yolk (I forgot this)
     fresh rosemary (forgot this too...)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents lengthwise to form a long rectangle.

Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli, and mayo.

Spread mixture over the center of the crescent dough evenly to create a log. I wasn't sure about this, but this is how I did it...

Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.

Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.

Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top. 

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until golden brown.


Recipe Source: foodfamilyfinds.com

Here are my thoughts...this was very good, but I would definitely change some things. I think it would be really good to use Velveeta for this instead of just cheddar cheese. I would also add either more cheese or more mayo then what was suggested. Like I said earlier, use the crescent rolls. It needed the sweetness. I also don't think it would hurt to experiment with some spices in the chicken mixture. It needed just a little something more...

However, with that being said, when I got back from Book Club only about half of the "braid" was left. I think Mike took leftovers to work, which by the Mike-o-meter, means it wasn't that bad!!



Lala's Frozen Banana Treats!!

OK, so these aren't mine, but they looked amazing so thank you to my wonderful friend and neighbor Lauren! And...they aren't bad for you!!!


LALA'S FROZEN BANANA TREATS

INGREDIENTS:
     1 mashed banana
     2 tbsp PB2 (but you can use any peanut butter, PB2 is the healthier kind)
     1/4 cup greek yogurt
     sliced bananas

INSTRUCTIONS:
Mix together the mashed banana, PB2, and greek yogurt. Make a sandwich with the filling and two pieces of sliced banana. Place in a single layer on a plate or baking dish. Freeze for 2 hours. Enjoy!!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken...yummm

Since I have been home all summer I have become a little more adventurous with trying out new recipes. During the school year it seems I always resort to the same things over and over again. After my day with the students and my hour drive home, trying something new, which might not work out, is just not in my agenda. We do change it up based on the season, but it gets very boring. So...I thought if I could try it this summer, maybe it would be something I already have on my mind for the school year.

A few days ago I tried Sweet and Sour Chicken from a website I found on Pinterest. At first glance (which is really all I did before deciding to cook it) it seemed so quick. I had all the ingredients, the process didn't seem bad, etc. But I will tell you that after all the prep, this takes an hour to cook.
 With that being said......so worth it! The process of doing everything really was very easy. And the ingredients are all something you most likely have on hand already. (I have seen so many asian recipes that use spices and things that I would have to buy specifically for one dish and that is something I refuse to do. ) Mike loved it!! I can always tell when Mike loves a meal because he wants to take extra to work. :) Even his work friends asked him if he got dinner at the China House. Go me!!

Here it is!! Enjoy!


Sweet and Sour Chicken

INGREDIENTS:
   For chicken:
     3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 huge ones)
     Salt and pepper
     1 cup cornstarch
     2 large eggs, beaten
     1/4 canola oil (I used vegetable oil)

   Sauce:
     3/4 cup granulated sugar
     4 tablespoons ketchup
     1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
     1 tablespoon soy sauce
     1 teaspoon garlic salt (I actually used garlic powder and added a little salt to the sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. While the oil is heating, cut the chicken breasts into one inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cornstarch in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Put the chicken into the bag with the cornstarch and seal, tossing to coat the chicken. Wisk the eggs together in a shallow pie plate. Dip the cornstarch-coated chicken pieces in the egg and then place them carefully in a single layer in the hot skillet. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then flip each piece over to cook on the other side until nicely golden but not all the way cooked through. Place in a single layer in a baking dish and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken in the baking dish. Bake for one hour, turning the chicken once or twice while cooking to coat evenly with the sauce. Serve over steamed rice. (I also steamed some broccoli and served that as well.)

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Pinspired!!

So there have been so many things on Pinterest lately that I figured I would take this summer to explore. I have to say I have not been as productive as I would have liked to, but I did do some things that I figured would be worth talking about. I've tried to keep a board on my Pinterest profile of things that I did, but I hate that I can't use my picture and link to the blog or page where I got the idea from. So...I figured I could use this as the gateway to be able to use my pictures, but include the links to where people can find the recipe, craft, whatever.

Here is the latest...a "U & I" print.


I got this idea from this awesome lady who shows you tons of different easy ideas for DIY canvases. Hers is a little different from mine, and in hindsight there are a few changes I would have made. We went with some boards that had already been precut for various things for our wedding. So, the sizes that we used, I think, are a little too close in measurement. If you are cutting the boards yourself, I would recommend to have some more difference between the "U" and "I" and the ampersand. Other than that this was a pretty easy DIY, if you don't ask my husband. Lol. It took me forever to get this done, but mostly because I had to find the right paint color to match the bedroom. 

Here's how I did it...

You will need:
3 boards or canvases. 2 the same size, 1 bigger
2 colors spray paint
vinyl letters or I just used my projector to trace some on tagboard and then cut them out.
sandpaper (if you want the distressed look)

1. First clean the boards (if you have boards) and let them dry completely.
2. Then, spray paint each board or canvas whatever color you want the letters to be. I sprayed the entire board but that's only because at the end I sanded them down a little so the blue showed through.   
3. Let them dry. I let mine dry all night so I was sure the tagboard wouldn't stick to the board. (I'll explain that one a little later.)
4. Place the letters wherever you want them on the board and spray the border color over the entire board. If you are using the tagboard approach, be sure to press the letters down hard when you are spraying. I actually used Mike for this because it seemed to take two people to make sure there was no underspray. If you have vinyl letters it would be much easier. 
5. If you use tagboard, carefully pull the letters off immediately after spraying. During one of my trial runs I left the letters on because I was afraid I would smear the paint. When I went to pull them off they had stuck to the board. It was a pain in the butt and I still have remnants left on my finished product. If you use vinyl letters, once again you won't need to worry about that. I'm sure it won't be a problem if you are doing these on canvas either.
6. I used sandpaper at the end to kind of go over the whole print. It not only gave it more of a vintage feel but it also helped correct some of the imperfections.

That's it!! Super easy and all together it probably would have only taken me two days because of the drying time. The spraying only took about 20 minutes in all. :)

Friday, August 03, 2012

Here it goes...

So truthfully I have always thought about starting my own Blog but never really thought anyone would care about what I wrote. haha. I've come to the conclusion that it doesn't really matter to me. I think it will be cool to go back on this one day and be able to relive all these memories. While my life isn't anything exciting or interesting, I have been thinking about sharing some of the new things I have been trying out. Enjoy!!