Monday, March 31, 2014

Recipe of the Week - Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

The Hubs loves to make chili.  He has a few different recipes he plays with and he makes big pots of it and freezes it.  I do not like the Hubs chili. Its not his fault, I'm just very particular about my chili.  #1, I don't like beans.  #2, I do not eat beef so it has to be turkey or chicken.  We had a little chili cook-off recently but I'm not really sure who won, because no one would say anything other than "they are both good".  Probably wise on their part. The Hubs and I can be very competitive.  And since I do not like his chili, he rarely likes mine but this particular recipe was a hit with us both. 
Sorry about the photo - I really need to work on my photography skills.  Only change I made to the recipe was leaving out the beans.  I served it over rice with fresh cilantro.  So yummy. 

Look Who's Cookin Now Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Organizing the Spices

My kitchen organization effort continues and I wanted to share with you the neatest little solution I found for decluttering the spice cabinet.  These spice clips I found on Amazon worked like a charm.  

They come in a 10" long strip with tape for attaching to the cabinet doors.  You can remove clips as needed so that it will fit your door or wall perfectly.  I used all 20 on my small door and it made a huge difference in the cabinet.  And its very easy to get the spice bottles in and out.  One thing to keep in mind - the tape on these is serious - be sure you want it there because I'm honestly not sure this will ever come off again.  Hope the next owners like it as much as I do.  ;-)


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Recipe of the Week - Skinny Baked Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash

We have a Shrimp Scampi recipe in our regular rotation that's beyond good.  Its has LOTS of butter (12 tablespoons) and we devour it like crazy people.  I was planning to make it again this weekend but then I realized that my jeans are tight enough, and it might be time to scale things back a bit.  So off to Pinterest I went looking for a skinnier version and that is where I found Pineapple and Coconut's Skinny Baked Shrimp Scampi with Spaghetti Squash.  I was a lil nervous at the reaction I would get from everyone going from 12 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons of butter BUT this was a huge hit!  I loved it.  The Hubs loved it.  The teen loved it (although he wasn't interested in the squash).  It was everything I hoped and more.  Easy to make, healthy, and tasty.   I even enjoyed the squash and kept scooping out spoonfuls of it while I was cleaning up.   It looks so yummy doesn't it...

Here is the link for the recipe for Pineapple and Coconut's Skinny Baked Shrimp Scampi.   And my alterations... I did not have any Kerrygold butter or cheese so I used the unsalted butter I had on hand and some shredded white cheddar cheese.  You can see in the picture that I only sprinkled cheese on half of the top (the right side) because I really didn't feel like it was going to need any cheese, the shrimp looked so yummy on their own.  I also sprinkled just a little bit of panko bread crumbs on that side but I think next time I would omit both of those and just use the 3/4 cup of cheese mixed within the squash.  Also, I did not have the white wine vinegar but I did have white cooking wine so that it what I used.  Next time I may try to find the Kerrygold cheese and use the vinegar and see if it can actually improve this yummy recipe. 

I will definitely be checking out some more of Pineapple and Coconuts "healthy eats & sweet treats".  A+  

And for those of you who are not watching your weight and think 12 tablespoons of butter is just what you need (it really is very good), here is the original scampi recipe we use from Food Network: Baked Shrimp Scampi

Friday, March 21, 2014

Keeping A Very Busy Kitchen Organized

Our kitchen is the hub of our home.  Even though the older boys both have desks in their rooms, they prefer to do their homework at our kitchen table.  They also love to eat.  So we all spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it quickly becomes a disorganized mess.  I posted recently about reorganizing our pantry, but even before that, I decided we needed to deal with our homework/dining table area.  This is what it looked like:

Everyone, including the dog had their own bin.  The boys used theirs for all their school papers.  At the end of each school year, I would go through each bin and pick out the masterpieces, and then recycle the rest.  We also have a bulletin board for photos, flyers, etc.  But it was a bit of a mess and an eyesore.  Anytime I'm looking for new storage pieces, I start with Ikea because they are affordable and everything we have gotten from them has held up very well.  So this time I decided to go with the Besta line in the dark brown/black.  I can't even tell you how roomy these bins are.  I originally bought 3 and ended up going back for more because I loved them so much.  And look at the difference it made...

I ended up with 4 big ones and 4 small ones against the wall and 1 more set over at the end of the counter.  Soooo much storage.  And they are big.  They hold my crock pot, my ninja, all my cake pop supplies... and still holds all the kids school stuff.  

Here is a link for the Ikea Besta line.  It comes in a few different colors and you can do it without doors or legs so its completely customizable.

Since I spent some pretty serious money on this, I tried to be thrifty on the new wall decor.  I bought a 4 pack of 12 X 12 mirrors from Ikea, and got some frames at AC Moore using my coupons.  They only had white so I used some leftover spray paint I had and painted them black.  I only used 2 of the 4 mirrors so expect to see the other 2 pop up sometime in some other room.  The other two frames are filled with some projects I made using my Silhouette. 

I love my new kitchen.  I prefer everything out of sight and this makes my OCD much less irritated.  I plan to add some pretty handles at some point, but for now I like that it is difficult for my littlest man to get into these.  He has his own cube which houses his playdoh, paint and sticker supplies as well... did I mention how roomy these things are.  Im seriously considering some white ones for the basement at some point.  And I put these all together myself while the Hubs was working so they are A+ in my book.  

*My middle child helped with the 2nd print, and said "just so you know, I don't love anyone more than Chick-Fil-A".  Told you my boys love to eat.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recipe of the Week - Chicken Tacos with Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Every Sunday I'm going to try and feature a recipe for you guys that was a hit at my house.  This week we had the Chicken Tacos with Mango-Pineapple Salsa from Tried and Tasty.   Two things I love about this recipe... (1) You can use a rotisserie chicken, which is a huge time-saver and (2) The salsa was so good.  The Hubs initially made the yuck face when dinner was served because he was expecting "tacos" but this one won him over quickly.  Def a keeper and def bookmark the Tried and Tasty blog.  Its one my favs and I have loved every recipe I have tried so far.  Next time, Ill try to include a photo as well.

Some other recipes we tried this week:
Angel Food Cake French Toast w/Cream Cheese Maple Syrup - Buns In My Oven
Creamy Strawberry Crepes - Taste Of Home

For more reviews, check out My Pinterest Page - I try to review all the recipes we try. 

Upcoming posts will include organizing the fridge, organizing the laundry room, and crafts with canvas.  Wish me luck.  :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

DIY Personalized Pennant

I saw the cutest little personalized pennants at P.B. and thought they would be so cute in our basement, which we call The Dugout.  Unfortunately, they were very expensive.  So I decided to see how the Silhouette does at cutting fabric.  I ordered my fabric blade from Amazon and some black pennants from Hobby Lobby (1.99 for a 2 pack).  For my fabric, I wanted to try and keep the cost down so I went with fabric quarters from the fabric store.  They are 18" X 21" and were more than enough for this project.  They average $1.00-$2.00 each.  For the Hubs pennant, I went with a good ole bandana from the dollar store.  The first one I did was for our Lil 4-Legged Girl.  

I cut the letters out with the Silhouette.  I swear that machine is AMAZING.  I did go through my blade quite quickly though, and had to use a 2nd one for the last few letters.  I used an extra scrap of fabric for the end piece.  Here is Lil Girls all done.  

 And here is the whole family done and ready to hang.  
Not too shabby.  :-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

FUN Photo Craft

I should have called this dollar store crafts as well because this was another super cheap project and I was actually really happy with the way to turned out.  Yeah Me!!! 

This one started with some paper mache letters that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby for 50% off which worked out to somewhere around $1.50 each.  Not bad especially since I was only using 3 letters... FUN.  I was originally planning to do the word EAT for the kitchen with coins - you've seen that on Pinterest right, so cute but changed my mind at the last minute.  So I got the letters, spray painted with with a silver spray paint and then tried to decide what I wanted to decorate them with.  

I finally decided on family photos.  Family is fun.  Now here is where it gets a little more technical.. I used Adobe Photoshop, scanned each letter in so I would have the correct size, and then just added a bunch of fun family photos within Photoshop. It took some sizing, some shifting, some time... then I printed out each letter.  I just used regular paper because I didn't have any photo paper at the time.  I cut them out, trimmed them where needed and mod podged them on the top of the letters.  It worked great.  Now if you don't have Photoshop or some other type of graphic software, you could also print mini photos and cut and size them as well.  I hung them on the wall in the basement - they are so light I only needed to use poster mount squares to hold them, and cut a big family vinyl with the Silhouette - have I mentioned how much I love that thing?  Here's the final product:
Even the teen took the time to look up from his video game and say "cool" so I'd have to say this project was a success. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pantry Organization - The Big Reveal

The pantry re-org is finally done and I'm pretty darn pleased with it.  Sooo much easier to find things in there now.  

So here is the scoop... 

I started with foam board on the wire shelves.  Saw this nifty trick on Pinterest and it was definitely an improvement.  I bought my sheets at Dollar Tree (they carry black and white at my local ones) but Walmart also carries them (around $1.50 each at my local store) and they have blue as well - my bestie did hers with blue so Ill try to get a few photos of that. Michaels carries lots of colors but I dont recall the cost.

The red bins came from Dollar Tree.  I had to go to more than 1 store to get enough of them but when they are only $1.00, I figured it was worth it.  LOVE when I can find stuff for $1.00.  I made the white labels with my Silhouette Cameo.  Just got that for Xmas and I'm really liking it.  I was using cheap vinyl so I had to use a lil mod podge to get them to stay on but they look great.  

The flour and sugar bins came from Amazon.  They are from the OXO Good Grips collection.  I do not know why I didn't do this sooner.  Its so much easier to scoop out of the bins and see exactly how much I have left before running to the store.  Made those labels with the Silhouette as well.  

I got two large (16") lazy susans - also ordered those from Amazon - and they work perfectly for all the jars.  

The white cubes at the bottom were recycled from another update I did recently in the kitchen, Ill probably post on that soon as well.  

Now my favorite part - My Sprinkles.

I ordered these food safe jars with the screw on lids, dumped all my sprinkles in them and put them on 1 of the big lazy susans I had ordered.  It looks so cute and pretty and I can easily see what I have.  I also bought a tall pasta container (Christmas Tree Shops) and put all my cupcake liners in it, another trick I saw on Pinterest.  It worked out great!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dollar Store Crafts

I love the Dollar Store.  Its one of my favorite places to visit.  I picked up some 8 X 10 frames on one of my recent visits and decided to try and fix them up a bit.  So here is what I started with...

The frame, some black foam board (also from Dollar Tree), some black chain, fabric, brads or decorative pins and the command hooks, which I actually ended up not using.  

I covered the foam board with the fabric using spray adhesive or whatever glue I had handy, removed the glass from the frame, attached the chain using the lil hooks on the back of the frame.  Attach the photo (5 X 7) using the pins.  Voila.  I have a frame that I can easily change the picture on anytime I want.   Its super light since I took the glass out and the most expensive part was the fabric.

I made two more for the other boys and hope to do one for lil girl soon.