Dec 21, 2009

Fire-Roasted Tomato, Beef, and Chipotle Chili

There hasn't been many recipes on here lately.  It's not that I haven't tried any.  I've been making my usual 2 new meals every "meal cycle" (2 1/2 weeks).  Lots of yucky food over here in the past 2 months.  I think the reason is because I have already borrowed all of the Rachel Ray cookbooks at the library and I moved on to Paula Deen and Emeril.  No offense to either of them but we're just not getting as many keepers as we did with Rachel Ray.

As further testament to my love of Rachel Ray... I present to you what we had for dinner tonight.  This chili has a lot of heat but I wouldn't say it is too spicy.  We did top it with a little sour cream, bacon, cheese, and chips which I think helped tone it down.  Enjoy!

Fire-Roasted Tomato, Beef, and Chipotle Chili



1 tbsp canola oil
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 tbsp grill seasoning (I use McCormick's Montreal Steak)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped in 1/4-inch dice (I used half of one)
3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tbsp chili powder
6 oz beer (I used Amber Boch)
1 large can (28 oz) fire-roasted tomatos
shredded cheddar, bacon, sour cream, and tortilla chips for topping

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Add ground sirloin and break up meat.  Season meat with grill seasoning.  Cook meat until brown and then add garlic, onion, bell pepper, chipotle pepper, and chili seasoning.

Cook for 10 minutes then deglaze the pan with the beer.  Add tomatos next and stir them in to combine.  Simmer chili over low heat for 10 minutes. 

Serve chili with desired toppings.

Dec 20, 2009

Wanted... One Fireplace

I was feeling crafty today so I spent Carson's nap researching how to make stockings.  We, for some reason, don't have any? 

I bought the fabric for about $12 at Wal-Mart.  That's enough fabric for 4 stockings (figured I should have enough for 1 extra just in case!  I guess that limits us.  Can't have more than one more kid.  The stockings must match.

These are made from red quilted material and lined in a fun Christmas plaid.  The cuff is cream flannel.  Only 2 more to go!



Now if only we had a fireplace to hang these over!

Nov 24, 2009

Redbox Revelations.

Does anyone else love redbox as much as me?  Movies at your fingertips at a moment's notice = brilliant idea!   In the past we have had Netflix and we occasionally reinstate it to watch a series (we just watched the Jesse Stone series which I highly recommend - Tom Selleck is such a dream boat).  But now that redbox is here I just don't like that pesky 2 day wait for my Netflix movie (even if their selection is by far superior to that of redbox).  We have a redbox less than 2 minutes from our house.

I have recently learned two things about redbox that I feel led to share.  You may already know them.  Kuddos to you!  But if you don't these will save your heartache (slight exaggeration) and money.

1)  You can RESERVE movies at redbox.com!!  This is the link.  If you have ever gone to your redbox hoping for a specific movie only to find that it is already checked out you will appreciate this as I do.  Just select your movie then put in your zip code.  It tells you which redbox location has your movie.  Then you click reserve (after providing your credit card info).  You have 24 hours (maybe more) to go to that location and get your movie.  Just swipe your card at the machine (must be the same one you used to reserve online) and voila!  This is especially enjoyable when the person behind you at the redbox realizes that they aren't getting that movie because you, being a savvy renter, previously reserved it and there are no more left.

Only downside to this method... you can't use those handy free movie promo codes.

2)  Twice in the past month I have been over-charged for my redbox rental.  They said I kept my movies longer than 1 night (I always return my movies after 1 night).  The first time they refunded me but the second time I called the toll free number to find out what was going on. 

Turns out it was my fault. 

Sometimes I run my movie up and slide it in without waiting to get a confirmation that it was returned (Hey!  I have a 2 year old waiting in the car!).  The very nice redbox lady informed me that since I didn't wait the disc may have been rejected and somebody else took my movie and enjoyed it for a few days... on me! 

Moral of this story... always make sure that after you return your movie you get the "your DVD has been successfully returned" screen. 

HAPPY REDBOXING TO YOU!

Nov 22, 2009

Back and at it again.

Last night I got back from a quick trip to Florida.  I drove down with my grandma on Thursday, went to see New Moon (which was AWESOME!) and attended a friend's wedding on Friday, and drove back to TN with my sister on Saturday.  It was a ton of driving but worth it!

I got right back into the swing of things today setting up my sewing room!  Since our house is for sale (long story, basically no rush we just would like to have a bigger yard so we're going to see what happens) we rearranged some rooms.  All the rooms in this house are kind of small and all of our furniture is kind of big.  Really not that big of a deal to us but we figured we would rearrange some stuff to make the rooms show better.

So the king bed that previously took up our whole room went to the garage > the queen bed that was in Mike's room downstairs came up to our room >  the twin bed in the man room went into mike's room (as did the big tv) > and we ended up with an empty room for my sewing stuff to go into!

I have been doing quite a bit of sewing lately and it has been a hassle to have all my stuff spread throughout the house.  I can't wait to go down there in a little while and enjoy my "new" space!

The pictures...

Our "bigger" room.



Mike's new man room/bedroom.



My sewing room!




The only downside of the rearranging so far... after sleeping on a king bed for a couple years a queen bed feels terribly cramped.

Nov 10, 2009

Jeans.

I had a grand and elaborate post planned about the eternal search for jeans and how we buy pair after pair but are never completely satisfied but I've lost some steam.  So I'm just going to say that I saw an Oprah show the other week about Oprah's favorite jeans.



Her favorite were somewhere in the $100 range but they did share some budget friendly jeans that were fabulous for "real" figures.

The jeans are by Lee and are advertised as "no gap".  Translation:  when you bend over to pick up the crumbs your 2 year old scattered about the room you crack won't be showing.

I have to say that I was skeptical but I headed over to my local Kohls (with a $10 off coupon) and found the jeans on sale for $26, sweet!  I tried on several fits (they have trouser, boot leg, and straight) and loved the straight.  And there is NO GAP!  These jeans stretch perfectly over my booty but stay tight at the waist.




Ahhh.  New favorite jeans.

Nov 2, 2009

Sale.

Don't know if any of you love old navy like I do (??) but they are having a SALE!  I think it's a good one, 30% off your whole purchase if you apply for/use your Old Navy card.  Granted you have to have and Old Navy (or Gap or Banana Republic) card.  They have all their mens/womens long sleeve casual shirts on sale for $7 so you can get them for $4.90!  I am trying so hard to restrain my self from going again.

Oh, and also I think they are still giving out those recycled shopping bags when you use your card.  Bring the bag back any/every time in December and get 10% off your entire purchase.




Oct 20, 2009

Sour Cream Enchiladas

During my pregnancy I lost my love of mexican food.  Sadly, it still has not returned.  I make the occasional taco and visit Taco Bell with my taco loving husband but I never long for mexican as I once did.  I think this recipe changed that for me.  Mmmm these were so good.  So good that when I just walked into the kitchen to heat some up for lunch I discovered that my men have taken them all to work.  Bummer.



2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed (next time I will cook then shred in the food processor)
1 bag shredded cheddar cheese
1 onion, chopped
salt, pepper, and desired seasonings for chicken
8-10 flour tortillas (I had 10 inch ones and was able to fit 8 in the pan)
1 (10.75 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (4oz) can chopped green chiles
1 (8oz) container sour cream (I used fat free)
1 block of cream cheese (I used fat free)
2 tbsp sliced jarred jalapenos (optional depending on how spicy you want them)

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat cream of chicken soup, green chilis, and jalapenos in saucepan over medium heat (I pureed this mixture first because I don't like chunks of veggies).  Stir in sour cream and cream cheese.  Continue stirring until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt, pepper, and desired spices (I used pampered chef southwestern seasoning).  Place chicken breast and onion into skillet and cook and stir until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10 minutes.  Divide chicken and cheese evenly among tortillas then roll up each tortilla and place seam side down in a 9x13 inch baking pan.  Reserve some cheese for topping.

Pour cream cheese mixture over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.  Bake 25 minutes.

Oct 10, 2009

Finished?

You may remember this post where I decided to update my bedroom.  The post was titled "preview" indicating that I would at some point actually show the finished room.  I did finish a few weeks ago but the more I looked at it the less I liked it.  I finally decided that the paint was the problem.  Not the main (accent) wall but the other three walls.  The color clashed with the fabric of our upholstered bed.  How did I not realize that before?

So yesterday I repainted and now I find the room very soothing.  I'm not saying I won't find something else I don't like about it next week but for today I am happy.

Anyway, here's the room before and after.






I have come to realize that I am never 100% satisfied with any of my projects.  I think for me that is just the way it is going to be.  I may have gotten this from my grandma, who is constantly redecorating and renovating.  If I ever do complete a room that I absolutely LOVE I'm not sure I will know what to do with myself.

Oct 7, 2009

Male Model.

I recently started managing the internet sales (Ebay) for rbtbags.  I just got the inventory (lunch totes, aprons, splat mats) this week to start listing the items and I had Mike model the apron for me.  Nice Mike.


Oct 3, 2009

JJ Cole.

This should not be the first thing I post about after coming back from my vacation but I am just too excited!

JJ Cole is one of my absolute FAVORITE baby product companies.  I have their logic diaper bag, system diaper bag, picnic blanket, pacifier pod, crib set, bib, and stroller straps.  LOVE their stuff.  Well about a month ago I became their "fan" on Facebook.  Today when I was checking the massive amount of e-mail I have from vacation I found a message from them.  I won a hamper and 2 storage bins.  Awesome!!  About $60 worth of product for ME for FREE.  And I got to pick the color.  Ahhh.  Life's little joys.

They do giveaways every month for their fans.  Also they don't have many fans yet so I think the odds are better to win.  There's a link on their website if you want to become a fan and maybe win some super cute baby stuff!

Look how cute!!




Sep 21, 2009

Chicken and Rosemary Cream Rigatoni

Rachel Ray does it again.  I think I've grown used to the ingredients she uses (shallots, chicken broth, scallions, lots of cheese) so her recipes are just easier for me than other non-Rach recipes.  My pantry is very Rachel Ray friendly at this point plus our library has every one of her cookbooks which is awesome!


So this I chose because I wanted to imitate one of my favorite dishes from Macaroni Grill.  I don't know that this recipe tasted like the one I wanted it to but it was still DELICIOUS!  So good and actually pretty easy.  I think this could be done in a half hour.  Says it serves 4 to 6 but I would say definitely 6.  (Note:  when you taste the sauce by itself it is very salty but once you toss it with the pasta it evens out.)


This isn't a picture of this actual dish because I forgot to take one and couldn't find one online but it looks just like this except with chunks of chicken.  I figured I just needed to put one on here because I know I like to have a picture.





Chicken and Rosemary Cream Rigatoni

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large shallot, minced (I used 2)
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used white cooking wine)
1 1/2 cups no fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp dried rosemary (or 3 sprigs fresh)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

1 lb boneless chicken cut into small chunks
balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp EVOO

1/2 lb penne rigate pasta, cooked al dente
grated parmesan cheese for the table

In large skillet cook garlic and shallots in olive oil over medium heat until garlic speaks by sizzling in oil.  Add wine and reduce by half.  Add chicken broth, cream, and seasonings.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce thickens.

While sauce simmers, place chicken, a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper into a bowl.  Combine to coat chicken well.  Heat olive oil in a second skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from heat.

Add chicken to thickened sauce and cook for 4 or 5 minutes.  Toss with pasta and serve with plenty of grated cheese for topping.

Preview.

You'll never guess what I'm doing?  Redecorating my bedroom!  Yeah maybe not the biggest surprise since I have redone pretty much every room in this house twice.  The challenge of a super thrifty update is just too much for me.  So the idea for our bedroom was to get out of the teal/brown phase I have been in for like a year.


I have been wanting Euro pillows (the big square ones) for some time but the cheapest I have ever seen them is $15 each and since we have a king size bed we need 3.  Definitely can't justify $45 for pillows when we already have EIGHT on our bed.  Our room is so small that when we take all the pillows off the bed to go to sleep we can hardly walk around the room!   My father's advice before we moved:  don't buy yourself a king bed right before moving because you never know how big your new room will be.  Should have listened to that one because now that we've had the king we can never go back.  Do we really need to be able to walk around our room?  Nah.


Back to the pillows...  I was thinking about the dilemma of how to get the Euro pillows without having to pay for them.  It finally occurred to me to turn my existing king size pillows (that we don't sleep on because they are too big) into Euro pillows.  Voila!!  I made pillow cases out of an old sheet and took the stuffing out of the king pillows to form the Euro pillows.  FREE!  Also we will only have 7 pillows on our bed now.  A minor improvement but an improvement nonetheless.


Then came the search for Euro shams.  HOLY COW!!  Did I know these things retail for $50 each?  No.  The cheapest I could find them on clearance (in an acceptable color) was $12 each.  Again, I need 3.  So after a considerable amount of searching I found a gorgeous curtain at JCPenney on clearance for $15.  I am in the process of turning that fabric into my shams (you can see a little bit of the fabric in the preview below).


I also recovered my toss pillows, found some red accent stuff around the house and relocated it, and am trying to figure out how to get this above the bed (only with a P obviously).





This post is titled preview because I can't bring myself to share a picture of the room in its current uncompleted state.  So you're just going to get one picture.  I learned how to do piping yesterday (the white stuff around the edge of the throw pillow).  Oh the JOY of creating and repurposing!



Sep 18, 2009

Fall has arrived.

Fall arrived at our house today.  A friend of mine blogged about her fall decorating and I thought "what I am waiting for!"  I mean I am going to want to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving which only leaves me 2 months to have some fall decorations up.  And Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I want to enjoy it for as long as possible!


I haven't decorated in 2 years (last year we were in an apartment) so I was prepared to go overboard.  Then I got down the "Fall Decor" bin from the garage.  Yeah, so there were 2 things in it.  What happened to all the fall stuff I thought I had?!  Pretty ridiculous considering there are 11 bins and an assortment of Christmas village boxes full of Christmas decorations.  I bought a few things today but just can't make myself go all out because I know this stuff is going to be crazy cheap in mid-November.  I also redid my wreath with some fall items from Hobby Lobby (oh, how I LOVE Hobby Lobby).  So for this year we'll just make do with our little bit of fall... but watch out 2010!



Sep 1, 2009

Done!

Yay!  The chair covers are done!  For anyone out there who has ever wanted to make chair covers this really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  So go for it!  Let me know if you want help.


When they were done I realized I was a little scared to sit in them (I know how you feel Karissa!).  I'm sure I will get over it.  They ARE washable!  But I did decide there was no way Carson can sit on them.  He is a MESS.  So tonight I made this out my favorite materal... oilcloth!  Wipes clean and works a lot better than the bath towel we've been using to protect the chair.  I even added a velcro strap to keep it secure under the chair seat.  The first time I have used velcro.  Go me!


I'm a little sad this project is done.  I'm sure it won't take me long to think of a new one though.

Oh, I meant to ask this...  does anyone have any great centerpiece ideas?  I am completely stumped.

Aug 29, 2009

sewing.

Sewing has really become my passion. I would say it has officially replaced scrapbooking as my favorite hobby (still not ahead of reading though). Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm thinking through a bag or some other sewing project. Last week I finally sat down to learn how to sew a zippered pocket on the interior of a bag. John can attest to how thrilled I was when I got it right the first time. What an awesome feeling creating something! My bag with the zippered pocket.

I think most of you know I do piece work for a local company. The products are awesome and so much fun. The company (rbtbags) has started doing home shows so I thought I'd share that in case anybody is interested. Send me a comment if you are interested in finding out about the hostess benefits. Here is a link to their Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5915723

Slipcover.

I am determined to make slipcovers for the dining room chairs.  This will definitely be the hardest sewing project I have attempted so far.  Today I measured the chair and made a pattern from a cheap sheet.  Now I'm on the hunt for some fabric that is durable, affordable, and stylish.  This may take a while.

Pinning to make the pattern.

Aug 19, 2009

Ginger Teriyaki Sliders (Burgers)

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  I just can not even say how much I LOVE these burgers.  They are outrageously delicious and easy.  The perfect combination.  I feel like I should give credit to wherever I get these recipes from so this one is from Family Circle.  The only change I am going to make is next time instead of broiling these on a cookie sheet I'm going to try to broil them on that pan with the slots (you know, the one that comes with your stove).  This may help with the grease.  Of course you could certainly grill them but 5 minutes of broiling is so super easy that I didn't mind using half a roll of paper towels (slight exaggeration) to sop up some of the grease.

(not my picture)

1 package (of 12) mini Hawaiian sweet rolls
2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped (more scallions for garnish optional)
1/2 tsp ginger
1 pound lean ground sirloin
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp teriyaki stir-fry sauce
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup light mayo
1/4 tsp sugar

Heat broiler.  Line baking pan with foil; coat foil with nonstick cooking spray.  

Combine sirloin, chopped scallions, ginger, stir-fry sauce, and bread crumbs.  Mix well.  Shape mixture into 12 patties.  Place patties on baking pan; broil 4 inches from heat for 4-6 minutes, turning once.  

While burgers cook stir together mayo, 1 tsp teriyaki sauce, and sugar.  

Split rolls and top each with a burger.  Spread with sauce and garnish with scallions.

Aug 18, 2009

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

This is one of the first things I learned how to cook. At least one of the first successes. That would be after I made the meatloaf that I thought would rise and the chicken that wasn't quite cooked. Good times. It is a favorite in our house. (Note: this isn't my picture and I definitely don't put mushrooms in this)

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

1 lb cubed beef stew meat (frozen)
2 cans (10.75 oz) golden mushroom soup (MUST be golden mushroom)
½ cup chopped onions (or 1/8 cup onion flakes)
1 tbsp Worcestershire
½ cup water
½ packet onion soup mix
4 oz cream cheese
Dollop of sour cream
Egg noodles, prepared per box directions

Combine all but last 3 ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours. Add sour cream and cream cheese and cook ½ hour more on low.

Serve over cooked egg noodles.

Aug 10, 2009

S'More Brownie Bars

These are FABULOUS.  I mean really just ridiculously good.  They are not easy at all and they take kind of a long time to make because you have to refrigerate the crust for an hour before baking.  I make very few recipes that take this long but these are so worth it.

Also, I have to tell you that this picture is not these actual bars.  I forgot to take a picture and I really think you need a picture in order to really desire these bars.  So picture these bars as shown below but with graham cracker pieces instead of cereal.  Also there's no chocolate swirls, mini hershey kisses instead.



Crust:
14 whole graham crackers, crushed
3 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted


Combine cracker crumbs, sugar, salt, and butter in a bowl until evenly moistened.  Transfer to a 9x13 pan.  Press evenly into bottom.  Refrigerate 1 hour or until set.


Brownie:
6 oz mini chocolate chips
¾ cup butter
3 eggs
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Combine chocolate and butter in glass bowl.  Heat in microwave until melted, about 1 minute.  Stir.  In separate large bowl beat eggs and sugar until blended.  While beating gradually add chocolate mixture; beat until smooth.  Stir in flour and salt.  Add vanilla.  Pour evenly over crust.  Bake for 30 minutes or until center is set.


Topping:
1 jar (7.5 oz) marshmallow cream
2 tbsp milk
1 cup Hershey’s mini chocolate Kisses
3 graham cracker boards, broken up


While brownie is baking whisk marshmallow cream and milk in small bowl.  Remove brownie from oven, cover with marshmallow topping.  Sprinkle mini kisses and graham cracker crumbs evenly over top.  Bake at 350 deg for 3 more minutes.

Philly Cheese Sloppy Joes

I have made 5 Rachel Ray recipes in the last 2 weeks.  This is the 1st one I've kept for the book.  Not good luck with the Rachel recipes lately.  We love sloppy joes in this house (only the homemade kind) and these are truly fabulous and super easy.  To me the cheese sauce is optional.  You could definitely just buy some sliced provolone or mozzarella and that would be just as yummy.



Sloppy Joes:
1 tbsp EVOO
1 pound ground sirloin
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
¼ cup steak sauce
1 cup beef stock


Heat EVOO in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add meat to hot pan and brown, breaking up meat with a spoon.  Add chopped onion and season onions and meat with salt and pepper.  Cook until onions are tender, 5 or 6 minutes.  Stir in steak sauce and beef stock.  Bring mixture to a bubble and cook for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat and simmer until thickened.


Cheese Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup shredded white cheese


While meat is cooking melt butter in small pan over medium heat.  Stir in flour and cook about 1 minute.  Whisk in milk and let come to a bubble.  Add cheese, stirring in figure eight pattern then turn off heat.



Aug 4, 2009

Coupon Codes

I am so thrilled with myself just now that I had to share this.  I just ordered a scrapbook (Alissa's wedding!) from Scrapblog.com and as I was checking out I saw that little "promo code" area.  I thought to myself, let's do a quick google search for scrapblog promo codes and... viola!!  FREE Shipping!

I do this every time I buy online (which is often, I'm addicted) and I am always shocked by what I find.  In the last six months:  free shipping from surefit.com (saved $15), free shipping from Lands End (saved $8), 20% off entire order at Ballard Designs (saved $11), and now $6 from Scrapblog.  I'm sure I'm forgetting some too, I LOVE coupon codes.  So next time you're buying online do a quick google search and see what you find!

Jul 31, 2009

Almond Crusted Chicken with Scallion Beurre Blanc

This is a recent find (Rachel Ray) that I was super nervous about because of the hoity toity name. It was actually super easy and the guys liked it despite the name.

ALMOND CRUSTED CHICKEN WITH SCALLION BEURRE BLANC













Chicken:
8 thin pieces chicken breast cutlets
1 large egg
2 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup sliced almonds (or walnuts)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper
EVOO


Beat egg with 2 tbsp cream. Combine nuts, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in the food process and process until finely ground. Dip chicken pieces in egg mixture then coat with bread crumb mixture. Heat skillet with 2 tbsp EVOO to medium heat and add chicken to skillet. Cook 3 minutes on each side and transfer to oven to keep warm. You will probably need 2 batches


Sauce:
2 scallions, whites and greens, very finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
¼ cup heavy cream
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces


Combine the whites of the scallions, white wine and cream in a saucepan over medium heat and reduce to 1/4 cup liquid, 5 to 6 minutes. Lower the heat on the sauce and whisk the butter into pot a few pieces at a time until it has incorporated. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper, to your taste.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

I've had some recipe requests lately so I'm posting a few more that we love. Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana is my absolute favorite soup in the world and I found this copycat recipe that actually tastes JUST like it. It is awesome!

Olive Garden Zuppa Tuscana Soup




















1/2 lb spicy italian sausage, crumbled
1 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion diced
2 cloves minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
4 large potatoes with skins, halved and sliced
2 cups sliced kale (optional)
1/3 cup heavy cream

Remove skin from sausage, cook over medium-high heat until completely browned. Rinse thoroughly and set aside.

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, red pepper, and potatoes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes can be easily cut (I usually wait until the potatoes break up when I am stirring it).

When potatoes are cooked add sausage, cream, and kale. Simmer until heated through.

Jul 22, 2009

Blue paint

I feel overwhelmed by blue paint lately.  It is on every t-shirt I own (why can't I just wear the same shirt every time?!).  It is in crusty marks around all the sinks that I will have to clean when this is all done.  It is even in my hair and it won't come out.

That being said... I got bored (and motivated) yesterday and started Carson's bigger little boy room.  I took apart his crib (I didn't even shed a tear) and brought up his twin bed from the Man Cave.  My grandma bought Carson some airplane sheets when she visited a few weeks ago and we have some adorable antique planes from my baby shower (yeah, I told people he was going to have an airplane nursery and then changed my mind so the planes have been sitting in a closet ever since).

So yesterday I painted some BLUE on the walls (more blue paint, aaahhh!!) and today I'm going to paint some of the furniture/frames/lamps (I am in love with the idea of a red lamp).  Also there will be a thin white chair rail between the blue and brown eventually (just so you can picture this, I know you want to).  Here's what I have so far...


Carson in his big boy bed during his nap (before I hauled up the bed frame)


And ready for bed!  I LOVE the twin bed.  It is awesome to be able to lay next to him and read him books before bed.  And if he wants to play with his choo choo for hours (which he does daily) I can lay on the bed and watch him (or possibly drift off for a few minutes).


I think I owe the productiveness of this day to my friend Camille who went walking with me this morning!  I had so much energy all day.  So excited that our walks are going to become a regular activity!

Jul 14, 2009

Painting again.

We have been pathetically behind on home projects lately.  So when our neighbors had their house repainted last month we got the itch.  Today it started...


After one day of painting I can safely say that this project is going to take much longer than we anticipated.  Painting a house is much different in Florida because most houses are one story and because stucco is much easier to paint than siding is.  Wish us luck!

Oh, and I'm posting this because I don't think I've ever posted a picture of our pathetically small back yard.


And here's an update on the landscaping (for a before click HERE).  I figured I should post this before our house is BLUE!

Jun 4, 2009

Rosemary Chicken with Orange Maple Glaze

A new recipe for the book (and the blog).  This was fabulous and surprisingly easy.  I can't wait to make it again.  I can take no credit for this whatsoever.  I made it exactly as I found it on allrecipes.com (even the pictures is from allrecipes although I have to say mine looked just like this - I was very impressed with myself).  A few ingredient issues:

1) It says only to use REAL maple syrup.  I know real maple syrup is so much better but I can't stand forking out the extra money for it.  So I used our usual buttery maple syrup and it was delicious.  Maybe someday I'll try it with the real stuff and it will be even better!

2) I hate buying fresh herbs and having them go to waste and I didn't have any dried rosemary so I used the rosemary section of my olive oil seasoning thingy (you know with the 4 sections of different herbs to have with bread and oil).  Anyhow, I definitely tasted the rosemary and it was very good.

ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH ORANGE-MAPLE GLAZE


1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup real maple syrup
6 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I actually used 6 and there was plenty of sauce)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Bring orange juice and wine to boil in small saucepan.  Reduce heat slightly but keep high enough to continue a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Stir in maple syrup and continue boiling for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to simmer until chicken is cooked.

In a small bowl mix rosemary, salt, and pepper.  Rub mixture on both sides of chicken breasts (I had to make more).

Melt butter and olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken breasts, cover skillet, and saute for 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Pour orange-maple mixture over chicken (mixture will boil and bubble).  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook for another 10 minutes, basting occassionally.  

Another note:  The recipe creator said the sauce would thicken.  I actually let it simmer for an additional 10 minutes (John was late) and it never really thickened.  I guess you could remove the chicken then add cornstarch to try to thicken the sauce but we didn't mind it being thin.  The sauce was so good we poured it over our chicken and mashed potatoes.

May 5, 2009

Room to grow.

We have been super proud of our landscaping.  Now that I see the pictures all our little bushes seem so sad.  We had to buy them small because they are cheaper and I can't wait for them to grow!  You can get the idea though!

before


now


We still need to finish the bed to the right.  No idea what to put there.  I love decorating but landscaping is completely beyond me.  I think I want to get 2 big pots to put on the ground on each side of the steps.  Although, I have no idea what kind of plant I would put in those.  What do you think?


Apr 28, 2009

My Pot Roast.

I think most people acquire a pot roast recipe and kind of stick with it. I thought I had a good one (pretty basic) but then after Carson was born I became obsessed with cooking. I found this recipe and have tweaked it. I feel like because there are a couple changes it is now MY recipe, ha ha. My awesome blogging friend Karissa (http://www.theactingmom.blogspot.com/) asked me for the recipe so I thought I'd share it here since I don't think it's on here yet.

BECKY'S POT ROAST (yeah, I probably need a snappier name for it)

-3 lb rump roast (I am no expert on cuts of meat so not sure what other kinds you can use)
-McCormicks montreal steak seasoning
-1 can cream of mushroom w/ roasted garlic (must be the roasted garlic)
-1 package onion soup mix
-1 can condensed beef broth
-slices of onion
-potatoes & veggies (optional, I don't usually do this because I don't like everything tasting the same)
-1 package brown gravy (optional)

Rinse thawed roast and coat with steak seasoning. Place roast in crock pot with beef broth and 1/2 of the mushroom soup. Separately mix other 1/2 mushroom soup, 1 cup of water, and 1/2 of the package of onion soup mix. Add potatos & veggies (optional) to pot and pour soup mixture over everything. Sprinkle the rest of the onion soup mix over the top and put slices of onion on the roast. Cook 8 hours on low.

For gravy: 10 min before serving drain out as much gravy as desired. Simmer on stove w/ package of brown gravy to thicken.

Note: I usually end up making this with a frozen roast. It works the same except I cook it 4 hours on high, then 4 hours on low.

Apr 8, 2009

Spicy BBQ Chicken & Ranch Pizza

The Rachel Ray show had this contest last week for people to make the best easy party recipe.  The top 2 were this pizza and a white chicken chili.  The chili won but we haven't tried that yet.  This was AWESOME though.  I'm not going to put all the measurements for the ingredients because it's kind of just an eye it kind of dish.  Very easy.


Spicy BBQ Chicken & Ranch Pizza














2 cans crescent rolls
BBQ sauce (we used Kraft Hot BBQ)
2 cups cooked cuped chicken
Real bacon pieces
Grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 tbsp chili powder

Spread crescent rolls on baking sheet to make the crust for the pizza.  Cook crust per package directions (just like how you make crescent rolls).  Spread BBQ sauce on cooked crust.  Top with chicken, bacon, and cheese.  Cook (at same temp as for crust) for 5-7 minutes, until cheese melts.  In a plastic bag combine ranch dressing and chili powder.  Snip corner of bag and drizzle ranch over cooked pizza.

Mar 19, 2009

Warm Ham Sandwiches with Mustard Poppy Dressing


I usually try 3-4 new recipes every "recipe cycle" (basically I plan out all my recipes for half a month because John gets paid twice a month). We only keep recipes that we all love. Needless to say, it's been a while since I've added a recipe to my book. This was a good week for recipes though. I was surprised by how good these were; they seemed to simple. John usually doesn't like mustard on his sandwiches (just Sonny's sauce - weirdo!). He loved these too.

Warm Ham Sandwiches with Mustard Poppy Dressing


1/3 cup butter softened
1/3 cup mustard
1/2 cup dried minced onion
2 tsp poppy seeds
rolls (or your preferred bread)
deli ham
swiss cheese

Combine butter, mustard, onion, and poppy sides. Spread over both sides of rolls. Put ham and cheese on bottom halves; replace tops. Wrap each sandwich in foil. Bake at 350 deg. for 6-10 minutes. NOTE: I found that the dressing was enough for 12 sandwiches but I used smaller rolls. Also, I tried these in the toaster oven and they worked great.

Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob

We grilled out last night and had corn on the cob. While searching on the internet for how to grill corn on the cob (never done that before) we came across this recipe. We had to tweak it a little because we didn't have everything but it ended up being awesome! A little spicy but we like spicy things.

Spicy Grilled Corn on the Cob
















1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
cayenne pepper to taste (okay, we had none so I used about 2 tsp of pampered chef chiptole rub)
salt & pepper to taste
butter
corn ears, husked and cleaned

Spread butter on ears of corn. Combine all spices. Roll corn in mixture of spices then place each piece in tin foil (shiny side in). Grill on Medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

Mar 9, 2009

rbt Bags Fall 2009, Handmade Oilcloth Bags, Oilcloth Accessories and More!



Welcome to rbt Bags Fall 2009! Whether your goal is fashion or function, we think our fall oilcloth selection will meet your changing needs.  To find out how to shop all of our products, click on the "shop" link at the top of this page.

We are in the process of launching our new selection of oilcloth aprons, lunch boxes and splat mats!  These are the only items in our selection that are not handmade by us.  If we thought we could make them any cuter (or more affordably) ourselves we would!  However, if handmade is your thing, then we have that too.  Our handmade oilcloth bags, wallets, ID cases, lanyards, koozies, checkbook covers, journals, and more make great gifts!  Whatever your pleasure, we're sure to please!

Thanks for stopping by and check back often as we've been known to add new products from time to time!