Friday, February 24, 2012

Challenge Me.

Last night I was talking to Mike about this blog. I knew it had been a while since I posted something new, but when I looked today I was surprised to see it's actually been over 2 weeks. Geesh! I haven't stopped trying stuff, I have simply failed to post anything. I've tried a couple new recipes and also a 5 minute t-shirt to vest attempt that left me less than impressed. I actually threw it away if that tells you anything. I have tons of things pinned on Pinterest, I've printed many a recipes and they're filed away in a pretty green folder in our kitchen drawer, and I've started a list of books I want to read. But anyone who knows me knows I get bored fairly quickly. Like, I'm already bored typing this post (he he) ... SO!

What I want to try next is ask you, my readers, to suggest things for me to try. I'd prefer something that you personally have NOT tried yet and have, perhaps, been meaning to. I'll be your guinea pig, sure! Some examples: craft projects, recipes, DIY home improvements, nail polishing techniques, yoga poses... or whatever :)Email me or leave a comment and tell me what you want to see me try next.I won't leave this post completely void of inspiration. A while ago I was at a friend's house and saw this nifty hair dryer/flat iron holder in her bathroom. It was constructed by her dad fairly easily. All he used was some PVC pipes and some screws to secure it to the wall.  I think it's brilliant!

Okay, so what have you got for me to do?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bake Owl Cupcakes.

In honor of my friend Shannon's birthday and her love for all things owls, I made her special cupcakes! This creation is in a book called Hello Cupcake that my friend's mom showed me. It has so many ideas for fun cupcakes!

All you need are Oreos, M&Ms and your basic cake mix and frosting. Prepare your cupcakes like you usually would and frost them, too. I use a frosting recipe that my mother in law gave to me. It might be super secret so I won't share it here. But, I'll just tell you it's delicious! It helps to shape the frosting so it looks like an owl's head. And coloring it is fun, too!

Once your cupcakes are frosted, place 2 Oreo halves with cream filling on the cupcake. This requires 2 Oreos, so you'll have 2 nonfrosted cookies for every cupcake you make. The leftover cookies are to do with whatever you choose. . . . . 

Next put 2 M&Ms of any color on the Oreos, these are the eyes. Then place an orange M&M vertically in between the Oreos and VIOLA! Owl cupcakes!

Aren't they cute? 

Happy Baking!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Smart Freeze Hamburger.

We buy our hamburger in 2 pound or more packages. Usually, I would bring it home and split it in half and freeze individual pounds in Ziplock bags. Then, I saw this idea to flatten the hamburger into a large Ziplock and score it with a stick. This is supposed to make it easier to break apart when frozen so you only have to take out as much as you need, and it also saves me a Ziplock bag!

So, Saturday I bought 2 pounds of hamburger and put it in a big Ziplock bag. By splitting it into 8 parts, each part is a quarter of a pound. Perfect for burgers! If only it was nicer outside and we had our grill ready.....


Happy Freezing!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Organize the House.

I have been doing some organizing around the house. I find a lot of my ideas from Pinterest and my Better Homes & Gardens and All You magazines. Every time I look around the house, I think, "How can I make that look put together?" So, here is a gallery of various organization I've done at home. 

Used old toilet paper rolls to organize cords. 

Tidied up the "junk drawer" with a drawer organizer ($3 at Walmart). Ahhh so much better!

Used a Mason jar to store cupcake liners.

Organized our bathroom shelves with baskets. 
(Really wish I would have taken a before picture - it would show you how much of an improvement this is)

Put this small cabinet (that I bought at a flea market a few years ago) in the awkward kitchen corner with our calendar, white board and photos of our friends. This is our little message center :) That basket in the bottom right holds any loose paper we have. Rather than throwing it away, Mike takes it to work and shreds it, which is then recycled. . . just doing our part!

Each drawer of the cabinet holds the stuff that used to be in a basket on the counter - this frees up counter space!

I feel so much better having the little stuff taken care of and ORGANIZED! I even went and bought 2 more plastic bins at ACE today to store off-season clothes and shoes. I'm out of control! 

Happy Organizing!

Oh, and for your information, I am making this tomorrow for the Super Bowl! I'm so excited!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crock Pot Chili.

Last weekend, I had some friends over. Everyone was bringing side dishes and I was supposed to make the main dish. I wanted to make something simple and I wanted everyone's bellies to love me. I immediately referenced my Pinterest board named In the kitchen. I have collected SO MANY recipes that I want to make some day (and most likely post on here) but have yet to try. This was my chance! 

Since I work during the day, and the ladies were going to be showing up around 6 p.m., I had to find a recipe that was either super quick or could be made in the crock pot. That's when I remembered finding a chili recipe that looked both simple and delicious. 

And that is what I made. 

- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green or yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can of tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp cayenne pepper
- Salt/pepper to taste
- 2 cans pre-cooked pinto beans

1. In a large skillet, cook diced onions until soft and fragrant.
2. Add ground beef, breaking up large chunks and cook until browned. Remove from heat.
3. Transfer meat and onions to slow cooker.
4. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir.

5. Add diced peppers, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Stir well.
6. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
7. Set slow cooker to “high” and cook for about 4 hours.
8. After 4 hours, stir your chili to re-incorporate released/caramelized juices.
9. Drain beans and add them to the pot. Cook for another hour.

10. Serve hot, with sour cream, grated cheddar and/or corn bread.


Great news! The majority of the women agreed that it was delicious. Some of us found it a bit spicy, but we ate it up regardless because it was so good.

Some things that I adjusted:

* In order to cut down on the prep time in the morning, I chopped the onion, green pepper and red pepper the night before and put them in a Ziplock bag in the frig.

• I browned the hamburger alone and added in the chopped onions and peppers to it. They didn't get to caramelized like the recipe calls for, so that is probably the reason for how spicy it was.

* I used Hot Shot instead of Cayenne Pepper (can you imagine if I had used cayenne, how spicy it would have been THEN?)

* I put the pot on LOW heat for 8 hours (before I left for work) instead of HIGH for 4 hours.

* I forgot to set out the sour cream or cheddar cheese. (I was so bummed about this)


Even though this was for the ladies, Mike didn't have to miss out on this! He had some leftover chili Sunday for lunch. 

His verdict... a 6.

His comments were "It tasted like Taco Bell's chilito when I added cheese to it." My response was "So, is that a good thing?" And he said "Yea. It reminded me of middle school." I'll take that! And he said "It was a little too peppery (referring to the green/red peppers, not the black pepper) and the meat wasn't chunky enough." I'll work on it for next time :)

What have you made in your Crock Pot lately?

Happy Cooking!