Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Stuffed French Toast

I love french toast. Like, a lot. The other day an IHOP commercial got me craving some french toast and so I decided to make some. It may or may not have been my dinner. Anyway, here is the recipe I used utilizing stuff I had laying around the house.

You'll need:

1 8oz. package softened cream cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon honey

1 loaf of soft french bread

4 beaten eggs

1 cup of milk

1 jar strawberry preserves

Beat cream cheese, honey, and vanilla until creamy. Cut the bread into 1 1/2 inch thick slices and make a slit in each slice creating a pocket. Fill with about 1-2 tablespoons (as much as you can fit!) of the cream cheese mixture. Mix eggs and milk together in a small bowl and dip the pieces of bread in the mixture before frying both sides in a pan over medium heat. Top with preserves before indulging :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday (belated edition)

I have been super busy these last few days so I missed my usual Tasty Tuesday posting. I hope you will accept my sincere apology with a sweet treat recipe, because today we're making fresh lemon bars!

You'll need:

1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar

1 1/2 sticks of cold butter cut into small pieces

2 large lemons

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13"x9" pan with foil. In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar. Cut in butter with knives in a scissor-fashion until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle dough evenly into pan and then pat the dough firmly onto the bottom. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. While dough is baking, grate 1 teaspoon of lemon rind and squeeze 1/3 cup juice. In a large bowl at high speed, beat eggs for about 3 minutes until thick. Reduce mixer speed and add lemon peel and juice, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons of flour. Beat until blended then pour lemon filling over warmed dough once it has been removed from oven. Bake again at same temperature for about 15 minutes. Immediately sift remaining 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar over bars after removing from the oven. When bars have cooled, lift the foil out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Peel away foil from sides then cut lemon bars to desired size.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What's cuter than dog butts?

Ikea dog butts, that is. I saw these little guys and knew I had to scoop them up. They're the perfect leash hooks! Although they were plenty cute as is I wanted to jazz them up a little bit, so I bought a bone-shaped piece of wood from Michael's, white paint, and some sticky letters and voila! A personalized leash holder...that's what's cuter.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cricut cupcakes

So I completely forgot to mention that I used my Cricut Cake machine! I promised I would post pics of the results so I'm keeping my word :) I decided to start small and chose a simple flower design to decorate cupcakes I was making for a friend's bridal shower. This thing worked great! Sure the shape was basic enough that I could've cut them myself, but using the Cricut saved me a lot of time and provided better results. I'm excited to try out more intricate designs now to see what this machine can really do! I bought another cartridge so I have two now which gives me plenty of different shapes to choose from. Here are the cupcakes in all their cuteness:

And here's a close-up. I dusted the flowers with edible glitter because I like a little sparkle!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Pizza Soup

This recipe has all the ingredients you love on pizza put inside of a cup. Trust me...it's delicious! I prefer to make this in a slow cooker because it simmers perfectly that way and I can leave it on a low setting while I'm at work and come home to a prepared meal.

You'll need:

1 14oz. jar of pizza sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 ounce thinly sliced pepperoni-cut into tiny strips

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 26oz. can condensed tomato soup

1 26oz. can full of water

4 ounces mozzarella cheese

Spray slow cooker with cooking spray on bottom and sides. Pour in pizza sauce, onion, tomato soup, peppers, pepperoni, and water and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low setting for 8 hours. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese in each cup of soup before serving.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Decisions, decisions

I'm in the market for a cute wreath to hang above my mantel so of course the first place I turned to was Etsy. I discovered the site a few years ago and have been hooked ever since! What a genius idea to have a website where amazingly crafty people can have the opportunity to share their work, and I can have the opportunity to buy it :) I found a few really great wreaths that I'm absolutely loving, so I decided to share the love with you all here.

These paper rosettes are beautiful and I love the square shape!

Great work, isleofowlie.

I'm liking the simplicity of this burlap rag wreath made fittingly by thesimplestandard.

This ribbon wreath is absolutely adorable. I love the texture and the fact that it's more thick.

Etsy seller jenknight1.

I keep going back to this one made by astepinthejourney. It's rustic but that makes the pretty details really pop.

Say what you want about silk flowers, but I like the fact that I can't kill them and this silk tulip wreath by elegantholidays is beautiful!

I'm loving this one too with its fabric rosettes and little buttons made by lavenderandpumpkins.

Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Power tools+ambition=fence!

When we purchased our house back in April we knew one of the big projects we wanted to tackle was to fence in the back yard so our dogs would have a place to play and we could enjoy the convenience of simply opening the door to let them out to use the bathroom in the mornings rather than having to take each one out individually on a leash. Since we have dads who know how to build damn near everything and we had zero experience with construction of any kind, they had planned to come over and help (aka build the fence for us) when they were free. Well it had been a couple months and since they weren't seeming like they were going to be free anytime soon and we're impatient, we decided to give it a try ourselves. After all, I really wanted to use some power tools! Here's the finished product...

View from the left side of our house. We designed it to where the gates would blend in and look like part of the fence.

View from the right side of our house. Because our lot isn't all flat back there we couldn't go with panels and instead did each piece of wood individually. It was time-consuming but I'm happy with the results!

We chose to go with a dog-eared stockade style. It's only a little over 4 feet high. Our goal was to build it just tall enough to keep the dogs in and not so much for privacy since we actually love our neighbors and frequently enjoy back-yard conversations and also didn't want to block our view. It won't be staying this color but since it's pressure-treated wood we have to wait a little bit before we stain it.

Overall I'm very impressed with our first big project especially since we were total amateurs! We have lots more work to do but I think this definitely built up our confidence. You can see in the above picture there is a little gap where the two fences meet, so to cure that we're going to cut a piece of wood to fit there and attach a platform for a birdhouse. The dead grass was caused by a combination of digging done for the fence posts and the result of having three dogs who all pee in the same spot, so we'll be seeding and watering soon to get it looking nice and green again! I'm just glad our yard is coming together, even if it did happen a little late in the season than planned :)

Tasty Tuesday-Cheesy Broccoli and Chicken Casserole

I love casseroles. They're an effortless option for dinner...they cook themselves! And if you haven't noticed yet from my other recipe posts, I also love cheese. Like, A LOT. So of course this dish is right up my alley!

You'll need:

1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces

1 package of broccoli florets, thawed and drained

1/2 cup of milk

1 container of Philadelphia Savory Garlic cooking cream

1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

24 crushed Ritz crackers

1 tablespoon of butter-melted

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine chicken, broccoli, milk, cooking cream and cheddar cheese in a glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. While casserole is baking mix crackers with the butter. After the 25 minutes is up stir the chicken mixture and top with cracker crumbs, then bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The problem with Big Lots...

Don't get me wrong...I love me some Big Lots, but shopping there can sometimes leave me frustrated. Big Lots and other stores like it offer great deals but the issue I have run across a few times is that I will find an item I want more than one of and they won't have the amount I need. Don't you just hate that? This has happened recently with a lamp and some pillows. I found a nice blue table lamp that I wanted two of so I could have one for each of the nightstands in our master bedroom and there was only one in the showroom with of course no option to order another as Big Lots isn't that kind of store. On a separate excursion I found two down-filled silk throw pillows to put on our couch in the perfect shade of green to match our living room paint color but couldn't find the other matching pair to put on the loveseat. I actually wanted the pillows bad enough to justify calling about ten other Big Lots stores nearby with the item number to see if they had it! Sadly none of them did since they all receive different merchandise :( I must say after calling I felt a little silly for putting that much effort into finding throw pillows, but my hubby insisted on buying a specific shade of green paint before we had picked out any accessories for the room so finding items to match that paint has proven difficult. Do you know how many shades of green there are?! lol Here's a picture of said pillow:
It's a horrible pic I know, but I promise it's much prettier in person so you will all just have to take my word for it! I guess my idea now is to still use these for the couch and then continue my search for some other pillows that are close enough in color and style to put on the loveseat. Hopefully I find what I'm looking for...and in the right quanitity!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My latest creation

So I haven't used my Cricut Cake quite yet, but I did want to share my latest creation with you. This is the first bow I've made using fondant. I was asked to make a cake for a baby shower so this is my practice cake to see if I could get it to look as realistic as I wanted! I dyed the fondant using a couple drops of food coloring to get it the perfect shade of baby boy blue and I think it turned out pretty great if I can say so myself! I've been asked to make a wedding cake in September so I'll be sure to post pics of that endeavor as well when the time comes around. This is a hobby I just started and it's something I've always been interested in so I'm over the moon that people actually like what I've made and I hope to have more to show off soon!

Here's a view from the top:

And one a little closer up:

A Myles update

Our foster dog Myles has been with us exactly a month now and he is doing great! He's become so well-mannered since coming to our home and I'm finding myself really falling for the little guy. He's learned how to sit and shake and we're now working on getting him to lay down and stay on command. I'm pleased to announce he has also gotten much more obedient and I'm enjoying having him actually listen to me now. Since he likes to chew we choose to keep him in his crate with toys during the day while we're at work. It used to be that I'd have to physically pick him up and put him in the crate because he would run from me when he knew it was time to go in, but now I can simply tell him to get in his kennel and he trots right in! I vowed not to be a foster failure so I'm hoping with his newly learned tricks and calm demeanor he will get adopted soon so I don't have time to get anymore attached than I already am! I'll continue posting about his progress but for now I leave you all with a picture :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tasty Tuesday-Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

These cupcakes are absolutely adorable. Perfect for children's birthday parties and equally as awesome for us "big kids" who are young at heart and enjoy a little something out of the ordinary! I get a lot of oohs and ahhs when I show up to an event with these in tow and my youngest cousin still requests them to take to classmates on her birthday every year.

You'll need:

1 package white cake mix along with ingredients to prepare whichever mix you choose

Nonpareils/sprinkles for decorating

24 flat-bottomed ice cream cones

1 container whipped vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Stand cones in 13x9 inch baking pan or in muffin cups. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each ice cream cone. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely then frost and decorate. Enjoy!

Happy Anniversary to me :)

I can't believe the hubs and I have been married for two years. Some days it feels like it should be way more and other days it seems like we just tied the knot yesterday! No matter how long or short it feels though, every day spent with my amazing husband is a complete blessing. It's absolutely wonderful to have someone in your life who can fulfill the duty of being your best friend while also connecting with you on the deepest level possible. In our two years of marriage we've celebrated many 'ups' and triumphed through some 'downs' and I'm more in love with him now than ever before because of it. Happy Anniversary, babe!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I got a Cricut Cake!

Yep, that's right...I'm the proud owner of a new Cricut Cake machine! It was an early birthday present from my wonderful mom who knows my passion for baking and making things pretty all too well. For those of you who are familiar with the Cricut machine for scrapbooking this is the same principle, it just cuts fondant instead of paper. I'm super excited to put this machine to use and rest assured when I do (it won't be long because I'm chomping at the bit to try this thing!) I will post pictures of my creations here.