Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Pecan Chicken

This dish requires only three ingredients so it's super easy and quick to make. You would never guess it's so simple though once you've tasted it! The pecans add a very nice flavor and the smell in your kitchen will be wonderful!

You'll need:

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap and flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Stir together honey and mustard, spread on both sides of chicken, then sprinkle on pecans. Arrange in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until done.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A very tacky Christmas

I have wanted to attend an ugly Christmas sweater party for the past few years. It's a perfect excuse to dress ridiculous and have a good laugh with friends! But for some reason or another, every year I find myself missing out. Last year I was sick, the year before we were out of town, and the year before that I had to work when our friends hosted a party. Well this year I finally got to go to an ugly Christmas sweater party, and the hubby and I went all out to make up for previous years. The picture below is what felt, garland, a feather boa, battery-operated mini lights, pipe cleaners, jingle bells and hot glue will get ya!

For all of our creative efforts, we were awarded with a gift card prize for tackiest sweaters. Yay!
I'm going to have to get started thinking about ideas for next year's sweater early. It's gonna get serious if we're going to be repeat winners ;)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cheesecake Brownie Recipe

Who doesn't love Great American Cookie Company? I find it hard to pass by there without wanting to inhale half the stuff on those trays! My favorite treat by far, though, has to be their cheesecake brownies. After much experimenting with recipes I found online I've found the one that tastes the most similar, so I'm going to share it with you.

You'll need:

Brownie layer:
1 regular box of fudge brownie mix of your choice
All ingredients called for on the back of the box

Cheesecake layer:
16 oz. cream cheese-softened
24 oz. powdered sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate mini morsels
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Mix all of the brownie ingredients together and pour into the bottom of the pan. Separately mix all of the cheesecake ingredients until cream cheese is no longer lumpy. Pour it on top of the brownie layer. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Business is picking up!

I'm so pleased with the amount of cake and cupcake orders I have had lately. I've been trying to get my name out there and build my business and it looks like it's starting to pay off! Business has actually picked up enough that I've dropped down to part time hours at my day job to accomodate all the baking. I feel incredibly blessed that I'm having the opportunity to profit off of something I enjoy doing and it feels good to be able to have a creative outlet too! Today I thought I'd share a couple pictures of some of the projects that have kept me from coming around to blog as often :) I'm going to start getting better about posting pictures of my baked goods on my Facebook page (facebook.com/forgoodnesscakesbakery) as I'm getting in the rhythm of managing all the things I have going on in my life at the moment! Until then, here's a little peek of what I've had going on.

Turkey cupcakes made for an elementary school function

Zebra smash cake for an adorable little girl's 1st birthday party

Christmas sweater cake made for a tacky Christmas sweater party

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-S'mores Crunch Mix

I love s'mores. I don't even care in what form. I love s'mores cappuccino, s'mores cookies, s'mores cupcakes, s'mores pie...I think you get the point. So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this little recipe. It's super easy to make and convenient to snack on when you're on the go. Brace yourself, because today I'm teaching you how to make s'mores crunch mix!

You'll need:

1/4 cup butter

1 10oz. bag regular marshmallows

1-2 cups of chocolate chips

1 box of Golden Graham cereal

1 container of Magic Shell ice cream topping

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add marshmallows and keep stirring until the marshmallows completely melt and you have a sauce-like consistency. Remove from heat. Add Golden Grahams and stir until they are all well coated. Stir in chocolate chips. Grease a 9x13 pan and press s'mores down. Once they are all pressed down and slightly cooled, drizzle evenly with Magic Shell.

Note-you will not need all of the Magic Shell! It should be a light drizzle and not a full coating of chocolate on these treats.

My latest obsession:Drum shades

We'll soon be replacing the light fixture in our bedroom as the $4 builder grade light has worn out its welcome. Actually it wasn't ever really welcome. It's only been allowed to stay here for the eight months we've been in our home because we started our remodeling downstairs and are just now working our way up. I've been heavily pondering what type of light to put in its place and I think I've decided on a drum pendant. Here are some of the ones I've come across while searching that I'm drooling over!The shapes on this one are neat. Not sure if it would work in my space, but I really like it!

I love how the branches on this one are inside the shade. I bet it's beautiful when the light is turned on!

Love this. Wow is all I have to say!

Here's a fancy pants version. It's probably a little much, but I'm a sucker for crystals.

Our bedside table lamps actually have this same exact design with the clear balls and linen color shade. We might have a winner!

I love the texture and simplicity of this drum shade. It's so pretty!

This design is gorgeous. Love love love!

So what do you think of drum shade pendants? Love 'em? Hate 'em? I want to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-No bake energy bites

Today's recipe is another tasty concoction brought to you by Pinterest. As an added bonus it's actually pretty healthy too! I've been taking these bite-sized goodies to work and now have my co-workers hooked on them as well :)

You'll need:

1 cup of oatmeal

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup coconut flakes

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp vanilla

Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Let chill in the fridge for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into bite-sized balls and enjoy! Easy, huh?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fall Decor

I thought before I went packing things away I should probably share a few pics of our fall decorations with you all! Better late than never, right? If you look at the walls closely you can also see our new paint color. It's Valspar's Churchhill Hotel Ecru. It's a very subtle tan with gray undertones and it's amazing the warmth it adds to our living room. I'm very pleased!

Here's our tablescape before we added placemats. I really wanted a pretty orange tablecloth but of all the stores we looked at not a single place had square ones. Go figure! Although it sounds odd, I used chickpeas to fill the votives and I love how they turned out. They are surprisingly autumn-looking beans!
I picked up these metal pumpkins at Michael's. The basket was a Goodwill find ($1!) and the filler items were also from Michael's.
I liked the chickpeas so much that I used them in tall vases to fill the awkward space above our coat closet too. I used raffia to tie ribbons around the vases and then scattered some glittery baby pumpkins up there as well. I sorta love glitter :)

My favorite decorated spot was our mantel, mostly because I'm in love with the old window I found while browsing a local antique store. My darling husband actually did most of the decorating here! He was very proud of his contribution of scattering leaves and placing the little artifacts up there...he's adorable ;) I got the set of 3 metal haystacks from Cracker Barrel, the Autumn leaf sign from Ross, the candle holders from Dollar Tree, and the owl oil burner from Bath & Body Works. I've decided I love the owl, so I think he's going to stick around and find a home in another area of the house.

I can't wait to share my Christmas decor with you next and see all the beautiful things going up in your house!

Tasty Tuesday-Sweet Holiday Ham

This Thanksgiving we had the pleasure of hosting dinner at our new house. It was such a great feeling to be able to have loved ones over to see our place and prepare a meal all by ourselves :) The hubs and I have three separate Thanksgiving dinners and let me tell ya...turkey gets old. So for our dinner I resorted to my tried and true holiday ham recipe. We hardly ever have leftovers if that tells you how delicious this thing is! I thought I'd share the recipe in case any of you would be interested in a great way to cook your Christmas ham.

You'll need:

1 12 pound fully cooked bone-in ham

1 cup maple syrup

1 cup orange juice

1 cup ginger ale

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together maple syrup, orange juice, ginger ale, pineapple juice, honey, and brown sugar. Score outer edge of ham with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern. Cuts should be about 1/4 inch deep allowing ham to soak up juice. Place ham in an oven bag and pour juice mixture over it. Tie the end of the bag closed with ties provided, place in a roasting pan, and cut a few slits in the top of the bag. Bake the ham for two hours, then remove and place on a serving plate waiting ten minutes before carving.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Tortellini Carbonara

It's been awhile since I posted a pasta recipe on here, so how about a delicious and cheesy choice for today's Tasty Tuesday? This is the type of recipe that will be ready and on the table in less than 20 minutes, and those are my favorite kinds of recipes!

You'll need:

1 9 oz. package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini

4 bacon slices

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/4 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook tortellini in a pot with lid according to package directions. Drain tortellini then set aside. Cook bacon until crisp, then remove and lay on paper towels, reserving 1 1/2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Crumble the bacon. Cook garlic in reserved bacon drippings for half a minute. Mix with tortellini, add crumbled bacon, parmesan cheese, whipping cream, pepper, and fresh parsley. Toss gently then serve immediately.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cappuccino Cake...in a crock pot!

Tasty Tuesday didn't pan out this week, so here's a little recipe just in time for the weekend that's pretty much effortless. It's cake made in a slow cooker! Bet you never thought of that, huh?

You'll need:

1 box of devil's food super moist cake mix

1 1/3 cup water

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 egg whites

1/2 cup applesauce

Preheat slow cooker for 10 minutes on high. Spray the inside with cooking spray. In a medium bowl beat all ingredients on low speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl constantly. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker, putting a paper towel over the top then covering with the lid. Cook for 2 hours on high or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes then turn the slow cooker upside down to remove the cake. Ice with desired frosting and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations review

By now I think everyone has heard of this product. It's advertised as an easy way refinish cabinets and it's honey oak's worst nightmare. Everything you need to successfully paint your cabinets is included in a kit that you can purchase at any home improvement store. I used this product recently to update the cabinets in my laundry room and thought I'd share my experience here. The picture below is what my cabinets looked like before.

I taped the edges of the cabinets so I wouldn't get white paint all over my newly painted yellow walls, then I taped off the corners of the shelving since I wouldn't be painting those (the kit doesn't include enough paint to cover the interior of the cabinet so that also explains why I didn't bother taking stuff out of my cabinets).

I didn't take a picture of the first step in the process which was deglossing (oops!). The deglosser worked great though. It took off all the sheen to prep the surface without requiring any sanding. I love that. The pamphlet calls the next step the "bond coat" which would make it sound like it's primer, but it's really just your first coat of color. I chose Pure White for our color. This is what the cabinets looked like after one coat: Pretty streaky, so I did another coat as instructed. This is the most time consuming part. You have to paint the cabinet frame and the back of the cabinet door, then wait 3 hours, then paint the front of the cabinet door, wait 3 hours, then repeat the process for the second coat. Only a second coat didn't work for me. As you can see it was still streaky.
I was aware that some wood grain was supposed to show through when I bought this product, but the original wood color was also still showing through as well, so I went back for round three. The picture below is the result of three coats. Definitely better than two, but still not the coverage I wanted. I think I decided halfway through this project that in this particular room I just wanted cabinets that had that factory-finished white look since our beadboard was that way.

So I broke down and used regular ol' white paint. I didn't plan on using the optional glaze anyway so I figured it wouldn't hurt anything. This got me the look I wanted and I was still able to use the clear top coat from the Rustoleum kit. The clearcoat is a necessity as it helps protect the cabinet from dings and anything else that would ruin the finish, but it can also be a pain in the butt. The best advice I can give for this step is get less clearcoat on your brush than you think you need. It can be hard to smooth it around the cabinet edges without it glopping up. Here is the end result after all my hours of hard work:I love how it turned out even though I had to invest in some regular paint and stray from the instructions a little to achieve the results I got. I don't want this to discourage anyone from trying Cabinet Transformations though. It's a great all-in-one kit, and I think when I do my kitchen cabinets and actually want more wood look showing through it will work just fine without needing any outside paint formula. To prove my point check out the picture below. A friend of mine also used Pure White but with the glaze on top, and her cabinets turned out beautiful! It created a nice, natural, textured look which is exactly what I want when we renovate our kitchen. I plan on refinishing all the cabinets in our house including in our upstairs bathrooms and they'll all be different colors, so I'll be showing off all the before and afters here for your educational benefit :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

We're cheating

When it comes to decorating and renovating my hubby and I are usually all about doing things ourselves. This is because A) We consider ourselves perfectly capable of tackling most projects and take pride in finishing a job on our own, and B) because we're notoriously frugal. That's why it's hard for me to believe that we've hired contractors for our next big project. But because that project is painting our entire downstairs, here we are about to pay a crew of three professionals to come in to do work that I wish we could be doing ourselves. It's not that we couldn't paint it ourselves (after all we have done the entire upstairs including removing all the wallpaper), it's just that we want it done before the holidays and lately it's been hard to find time for even the littlest tasks much less a huge project like this. I'm still bummed that I'm going against my typical DIY mindset, but I'm sure once it's all done I'll be thankful that in two days the pros will have finished something that would've taken me and my husband weeks to do with our lack of free time! As for the process of getting this accomplished, the picture below is the current state of my living room.

Nice, huh? It looks like an abandoned house except for the leftover Halloween candy on the table. The kitchen is worse. It's in complete disarray and for the most part unusable at the moment. My oven is in my dining room.

It's gotta get worse before it can get better, right? Right? Just answer yes so I can have hope that some order will be restored to my home soon, k? At least the fugly wallpaper in the kitchen is gone, and I look forward to when the sterile white is gone for good too. I'll post pics after the drop cloths have been taken away and all our furniture is moved back to the usual spots :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Sweet Carrot Salad

Is it really Tuesday already? Where the heck did this last week go? I guess I've been busier than I thought! I've been so busy in fact that I've started eating fast food a little too regularly since it seems I'm always on the go. I am not okay with this! I've made a commitment to start pre-packing snacks and lunches that are healthier so that my very full schedule doesn't start affecting my waistline. In honor of that here is a new recipe that I made the other night for lunch. I think you're gonna enjoy it!

You'll need:
1 1/2 cups shredded raw carrots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup almond slivers
Fresh cilantro

Grate carrots into long, even shreds. Measure the mustard and honey into a shallow bowl, then mix in the lemon juice. Sprinkle ginger into the mixture. Stir in the grated carrots until it is evenly coated in dressing. Sprinkle almonds over salad and top with cilantro last.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A belated Tasty Tuesday

I've mentioned before that I'm a horrible blogger, right? Okay, just checking. If it's any consolation I assure you that the recipe I'm about to give you was well worth the wait! I've been on an apple kick lately, so let's stick with that wonderful fruit shall we? Today I'm going to show you how to make apple nachos!!! (Insert excitement here)

You'll need:

4 honey crisp apples (cored and sliced thin)

30 large marshmallows

1/3 cup butter (cubed)

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped nut topping of your choice

1/4 cup caramel apple dip


While you're preparing the drizzle topping, leave the apple slices soaking in Sprite to prevent browning. In a large saucepan melt butter and marshmallows. Arrange apple slices on a large platter. Pour caramel into a ziploc bag, then snip off one corner with scissors to allow caramel to drizzle over apples. Drizzle marshmallow mixture over apples, then sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Caramel apple dip

This is another delicious recipe brought to you courtesy of Pinterest. I made this recently for a church gathering and it was a hit! Caramel and apples are always good together, but throw in chocolate and you've got yourself a new go-to dip recipe.

You'll need:

1 16oz. container Marzetti caramel

1/2 cup brown sugar

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

2 Skor bars broken up into small pieces

Beat cream cheese and brown sugar together until smooth, then slowly fold in caramel. Stir in pieces of candy reserving some for the top as a garnish. After well-mixed sprinkle remaining Skor pieces on top. It's that easy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cupcake craziness

I know I failed to post a recipe this past Tuesday but it's only because I was busy making other tasty treats. I've gone a little cupcake crazy. This is the week I announced that my kitchen was open for business as I made the decision to begin accepting orders for my cakes. To my surprise I received a large amount of requests for my goods, especially for cupcakes! Here are some pics of what I've been up to.

I'm patiently waiting for my business cards to arrive so I can more successfully get the word out about my new endeavor. As I start getting more busy I'll stop bogging down my blog with pictures of my work so if you'd like to keep up with me or show a girl some love, "like" my page at Facebook.com/forgoodnesscakesbakery!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Laundry/Mud Room Reveal

I am loving my laundry room. LOVING. It's one of the smallest rooms in the house but it's one that I have to spend a lot of time in so I wanted to make it more enjoyable. It seems to have worked because every time I walk by it makes me smile :) Here's all the details on our first room remodel.

The textured rug in the above picture is from Target. I like how it looks in the space but we actually bought it for a more practical reason. The cheapie vinyl floor in our laundry room is horrible! It gets super slick if any water spills onto it so the rug found its way in here for safety reasons to keep me from falling on my butt haha We plan on laying tile sometime in the future but the rug will probably stay now that my feet have become accustomed to its cushiness!

This is the old light fixture. Boring and outdated.

I like this new fixture much better in the room and it only cost me $1.50 at a yard sale!

The honey oak cabinets got a facelift with the help of Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformation kit and some brushed nickel hardware. It's amazing how much that little change brightened the room. We also installed a laundry sink which required new plumbing with the help of my handyman father. I think every laundry room should have a sink!

This shelf was sitting out on a curb in our neighborhood waiting to be picked up by the garbage truck. It was a nasty greenish brown color but I knew a good coat of spray paint would make it perfect for my intended purpose. I guess it's true that one man's trash is another's treasure! The decorative pieces on the shelf were all Marshall's finds.

My favorite part of our makeover has to be the addition of the bench and hook shelf. Since this room is inbetween our garage and carpeted living space we really wanted an area where we could hang coats and take off wet shoes. You can never have too much storage and the cubby cubes have proven to be a perfect spot for our winter gloves and hats. The bonus of having this bench is that I can now be lazy when folding clothes :) The bench and pillow are both from Target.

The bins on the shelf are also from Target. Right now they honestly serve no other purpose but to look nice haha I thought we needed something darker up there to break up all the white and these fit perfectly. With my husband's bad habit of leaving items in his pants pockets I'll probably have these babies filled up with miscellaneous things soon enough!

Here is a closeup of the sink. It's an all-in-one cabinet sink from Lowes meaning the faucet, supply lines, and drain installation kit were all included. I love the detachable sprayer and it is something I'm definitely getting when we move on to our kitchen remodel. I also love that we can now hide our dryer lint trash can behind closed doors.

One final pic of my cheery new laundry/mud room. I've always loved the light that the octagon window lets in but I gotta say it seems even prettier now! Amazing what a few tweaks can do. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully I'll be able to share more room makeovers with you all very soon!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My brand spankin' new laundry room!

I promised I would post about my laundry room makeover, so this is me delivering! We started out with a very bare, very boring room. This area had nothing going for it at all folks. I do a lot of laundry, and I can tell you I am not happy having to spend a big chunk of my time in a sterile-looking room. Here is the before pic:

We've done so much work and I gotta tell ya it feels great to finally have a room in our house completely finished! Yes, this is the first room in which we've accomplished everything we set out to do. We painted, put up crown moulding, installed beadboard, installed a laundry sink cabinet, replaced the light fixture, painted the cabinets, and added a bench and hook shelf to the space since this is the area between our garage and living room and I felt we needed some type of mud room for hanging jackets and taking off shoes. I'm very pleased with how it turned out, and we definitely learned a lot about home improvement along the way! Here is an after shot:

For tonight I'm going to be a tease and just leave you with one picture ;) I'll post more along with details about our project later in the week so be sure to check back!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Bambi update and an apology

For those of you who remember, Bambi is the brindle dog we took in as a foster back in August. For those of you who are new to the blog, here is a picture of the little cutie:

Well, Bambi found a home. She found an amazingly awesome family in fact who shows her love everyday and she even has a furry brother and sister to play with. Who is this great family? It's us. We tried to be good foster parents, working with her diligently on her behavior issues and advertising that she was available for adoption on local rescue websites and at adoption events. But then we failed. Bad. Bambi was making great progress with her training and the foster director asked us to bring her to one of their fundraiser events where potential adopters could marvel at her newly learned tricks and personality. Like good foster parents we complied and dropped her off with her little 'pick me' bandana on and filled out the form on how she was progressing so any interested families would know what to expect if they took her home. We didn't even get out of the parking lot before running back to permanently claim her when we saw a couple pausing at her kennel. We're pathetic, I know. I can't even describe the look of sheer panic that came over my hubby's face when he realized she might not be there when we came back to pick her up! I had really bonded with her while trying to make her feel comfortable in our home, but I had tried to hide that fact from the Mr. not knowing that he was having the same feelings. We just recently lost our pet rabbit and we were both absolute wrecks after that so you could say it was our vulnerable emotional state that helped contribute to our decision. But any way you look at it we now officially have three dogs under one roof and at times it's crazy, but I am always thrilled when I come home from work to see three adorable furbabies wagging their tails waiting to greet me :) We did change her name which she is learning to respond to surprisingly quick. Her new name is Tora which means tiger in Japanese since that's what she looks like. We didn't like Bambi. I mean really who has the name Bambi besides woodland creatures or callgirls?

I also wanted to use this post to apologize for not having pictures posted yet of my newly revamped laundry room. I had talked about it a while ago but between going on vacation and experiencing issues with Rustoleum's cabinet transformations product (which I will chronicle in a separate post) finishing the room took a little longer than expected. I promise I will have a full reveal up tomorrow. Hold me to that! And if you're not satisfied with my formal apology, how about another puppy pic to calm you down?

Oh hai, mom. I'm not trying to crawl over the seat to sit in your lap. I promise.