Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

Did Wednesday come fast for everyone this week?  Not that I am complaining. 

I have picked up a few new items in the past week and I thought I would share because, really, they deserve to be shared.

First, Megan got me these ADORABLE storage containers. I was so excited. You guys know how I love the babushkas. It was very sweet of her to do this.  I made an invite for her dad’s 60th birthday party and she got me these as a thank you.  (For the record, I would have done it for free, but I do love me some nesting dolls!)

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Earlier this week I went to a local store, Daley’s, with a friend.  It isn’t a store I would typically go in because she described it as “western.”  However, it totally reminded me of the Pioneer Woman.  They had home furnishings, clothes and jewelry and I picked up this little owl necklace.

It did have an incident with the shopping cart at Walmart, but I was so in love that I picked up the pieces off the floor and let my inner jeweler come out to fix it.  Good as new.

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I also picked up a new pair of kicks.  I felt that they would fit in perfectly at Zumba.  And I got two shoes…only photographed one for some reason.  I have no future in photography.

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Lastly, is anyone else as excited as I am about Project Runway coming back on tomorrow?  I think not!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Monday

Okay, so posting that I was going to actually cook my meals for the week did hold me accountable.  Mental note: must do this with other aspects of my life.

Here is my menu for this week:

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And since my own mother has trouble reading my handwriting, the menu says:

Sunday: Chicken Burgers with Roasted Garlic Cauliflower via Megan’s cooking blog

Monday: Lasagna Rollups & Salad

Tuesday: Enchiladas and corn

Wednesday: Lemon Shrimp with Zucchini Bites

Thursday: Chicken Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli

Not all meals I premade – like Sunday’s dinner was just made on the fly. But Monday’s, I made and had plenty to freeze for another time. I love those nights-where I just take something out of the freezer and put it in the oven.  Those are my favorites.

I have never tried these lasagna rolls before, but I saw them on Pinterest and they looked good and freezable. (I can only hope.) I will give you a review later.

Ingredients:

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/4 cup milk

1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups Prego Spaghetti Sauce

In medium bowl, combine chicken, cheeses, milk, and pepper

Spread 1/2 cup mixture on each lasagna noodle; roll jelly-roll fashion

In a 13 by 9-inch baking dish, spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce

Arrange lasagna rolls, seam-side down in sauce in baking dish

Top with remaining spaghetti sauce

Cover

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until hot

Serve, if desired, with additional Parmesan cheese.

Note, on this recipe the filling wasn’t nearly enough for 8 rolls. I had make more of it. So you might just double everything but the chicken.

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With the substitutions above, this was enough for 8 rolls. I am making three for dinner tonight and froze the other five. 

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Tuesday:

Megan made these enchiladas a few months  ago when we had dinner at her house and they were beyond amazing.  This recipe says it will make 20 enchiladas…enough for 10 servings. However, I was able to freeze two extra dishes in addition to the one we will have this week…so I guess it made 25 enchiladas.

Spinach Sauce:

1 package of frozen spinach, thawed

3-4 chopped green onions

2 jalapenos chopped and seeds removed

1 can of cream of chicken soup

2 cups low fat sour cream

salt & pepper to taste

Drain the spinach and remove excess moisture.  Combine all ingredients (except the sour cream) in the blender until well mixed. Add the sour cream and blend until smooth.

Enchiladas:

20 6” tortillas

4 cups of monterey jack cheese shredded

1 onion chopped

shredded cooked chicken

3 cups of cheese for topping (I didn’t use this much)

Combine cheese, onion and chicken and spoon into the center of the steamed tortillas. Roll up and place seam side down in the greased pan. Pour spinach mixture over the enchiladas and top with additional cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until bubbly.

Here are the tortillas I used. Very authentico.

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My last meal that I premade was a macaroni and cheese shown on Katie Lately’s blog.

What you Need:
1 (10.75 oz) can of Condensed Cheddar Cheese Soup
1/2 (10.75) can milk
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups of hot cooked corkscrew-shaped pasta (or shells)
1 tablespoon of dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons of butter
1 cup of Cheddar Cheese


Instructions:
1. Mix soup, milk, black pepper, cheddar cheese and pasta in 1-qt baking dish
2. Mix bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over pasta mixture (I always end up adding more bread crumbs to the mixture...you just have to play with it until it's sprinkle-able) I also like to add more shredded cheese to the top...you can never have too much cheese!
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes...or until HOT!

Notes, I added chicken and broccoli to this.  I was going to just do the broccoli on the side, but everyone loves it better cheesy, right?

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For each meal that I froze, I put the instructions on the top, along with the baking time.

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In total, I yielded 7 meals in two hours!

As a timesaver, it would be easier to buy rotisserie chickens and just use the breast meat. I decided to just boil chicken for use. I have done this before and it works well and probably saves about $10.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Faves

I have had a nice weekend.  Don’t you love the ones where you can just catch up on everything?  My plan today is to make all of my meals for the week.  It is a little ambitious, so those recipes and photos may or may not show up on my blog later… (I am hoping if I put it out there I will have SOME accountability. Ha!)

So anyway, for my favorites this week, believe it or not, they are all mainly party related.  I actually have a surprise party I am throwing with Tommy’s family in the next few weeks and have done pretty much nothing but the invites. Go figure. 

Here is a sneak peek of what we are working on:

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My father-in-law is celebrating his 10th anniversary of his heart transplant, so if you guys have any heart related ideas, please send them my way!  When I say we haven’t done much as far as d├ęcor, that would be an understatement.  It is hard to make a heart party manly and not look like a Valentine’s Party.  All ideas/links appreciated!

Moving on to what I loved online this week.  I Heart Naptime had a really cute feature on all things polka dot.  You know I love me some polka dots.  Like, LOVE.  I especially loved this cake from Ladies’ Home Journal.  It is just a regular iced cake with meringue cookies.  Now, I know you are thinking – “where can one get meringue cookies?”  Target and Reasors typically have them in the bakery section. I know this because I used to be OBSESSED with meringue cookies.  They are so light and airy.  This cake is totally doable!

Not party related at all, but this headline and photo on Fail Blog this week cracked me up.

Hiding Your Identity Fail:

I came across this DIY chalkboard on Celebrations at Home and thought it was super cute.  It used to be a mirror that she just painted with chalkboard spray paint.  (The full tutorial is on her blog.)  Maybe a project when it isn’t 110 degrees outside?

 

Each year Threadless (they make t-shirts that are submitted by people in their online community) has a contest where cake decorators are invited to make cakes that look like their t-shirts.  Bakerella is a judge and included some photos of the masterpieces on her site.  People are so talented and creative!

For example, here is a t-shirt design.

And here is the cake based on the shirt. 

View all of the 2010 shirts and cakes here

You know how typically a veggie tray is about as appealing as it looks when it comes from the grocery store?  (Is that  just because I am not a huge fan of raw veggies?)  I thought this idea of restyling the typical veggie tray was so visually appealing and creative. Photo from Eddie Ross via The Party Dress.

This week on Second City Soiree she had a great tutorial on how to throw a theme party that is cohesive from start to finish without going over the top.  And you know I love an owl theme.

Hope you guys had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I’m Loving Wednesday

This really should shock no one – but all of my favorite things have to do with food. 

If there is one thing in the world I love, it is to eat. At breakfast I am thinking of lunch, at lunch my thoughts to go to dinner and so on.

My first two things I am loving are available to all of my readers no matter where you live.

You guys I am in LOVE with these Tostitos chips. I cannot speak to the other Artisan recipe chips, but the Roasted Garlic and Black Bean are amazing.

I actually don’t like black beans (or any bean for that matter), so I can assure you these don’t have a beany taste. I also am not the type of person who eats their chips without salsa, but these are so good if you run out of salsa, it is totally okay.

Next, you guys…tell me you have tried the Rolo McFlurry. Love it! They take their hot caramel and mix it in with little rolo pieces.  And you can get it in a snack size for $1.29.  So awesome.

Now this is just available to the local folks, but Jackie posted about Lunabread a few weeks ago and I had been wanting to try it.  Not only did she blog about how great it was, but I read about it in the Tulsa World and the Tulsa Food Blog.  For the locals, it is located at 15th and Harvard by the Merritt’s.

Everything is homemade from the drinks – an orange almond cream, to

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the bread AND four cheeses on my grilled cheese, to the

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creole fries and

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homemade cookies.  I also got an oatmeal cookie, which I failed to take a picture of that was hot and fresh out of the oven, but it was a really great lunch.

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Tommy had the gumbo and he also gave it two thumbs up.  Definitely a hole in the wall, but so good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday’s Fun Finds!

You guys know I love free printables.  (Here, here and here are some that I created for past parties that you can download for free.) My usual “go to” place is Living Locurto, who always has such great projects and ideas, like today’s luggage tag printable:

But guess where you can find the best printables?  If you guessed pinterest, you are so right!

I LOVE these from HGTV.  They are so cute and fun!  Definitely perfect for a summer party or shower.

I am in love, love, love with this one.  Makes me want to throw a baby shower!

Another site I came across was Chickabug where she aggregates freebies from across the web. I thought these notes from How Does She? were super clever:

Catch my Party featured a free printable sets (EVERYTHING you would need) from Embellish on their blog. I love that this is kind of masculine and would be great for a guy party.  (Also, go check out the Embellish blog. She has tons of great printables and party ideas!)

I loved this file from Mom & Wife.  Aren’t these cute for drink and food labels?

I found so many cute sites today too, but Blogger will not let me follow through Google Friend Connect. Sooooo frustrating! Clearly, this is a product we aren’t paying for because they cannot seem to get it together.

Oh, in other funny news. Remember how I told you on Monday we had to hide on the side of the house and meow like a kitty to get Pudge to come out?  Well, my sister was nice enough to come let my dogs out today and I may or may not have laughed hysterically when she called me meowing.  My life is so entertaining, right?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekly Faves are Back

I know you guys have been waiting with bated breath for a return of my weekly faves.  No worries, I did take a vacation, but still bookmarked my favorites.

I am loving these FREE Chevron invites and tags offered by The TomKat Studio for HGTV.

I am in love, love, love with this fruit pizza “beach ball” featured on Maddycakes Muse via Hungry Happenings.

Remember in college when there were always those flyers where you ripped off the phone number for a tutor?  Well, same concept, only instead you can take “free compliments.”  There are days when I really need this.  Get the free printable at Hoot Design Co.

My blog friend Andrea from J & A and Co., who is so incredibly talented and creative, threw the cutest shower for her friend’s baby girl.  I would LOVE to get one of these favors.  Go view the whole shower here.

Some more love for Maddycake’s Muse – aren’t these streamers amazing? 

You guys know I love an easy project. And I rarely wrap a gift. (I am the world’s worst gift wrapper).  I especially loved these simple ideas at Tip Junkie.

I especially loved all of the details from this Sprinkled with Love baby shower featured on Celebrations at Home.  The dots are so simple, but make a huge impact! Also, click through the link, they came up with so many other fun ways to include sprinkles! Love!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nassau

My favorite day of our cruise was Nassua. We chose to do the excursion to the Atlantis and the property was BEAUTIFUL!  I definitely would go back as a family trip.  It had something for everyone – beach, tons of pools (11 to be exact), a waterpark, aquariums, a dolphin sanctuary, a casino, shopping and more!

As a note, we didn’t stay the night on property.  Just visited. I talked to my friend Mindy today and she went a few years ago and said the rooms there were “pretty 80s.” Also, oddly, in passing she mentioned that she went for work and everyone went home with bug bites.  Megan, AB and I also got tons of bug bites.  So odd, considering I never saw a bug.

When we docked we could see the resort from the dock.  Isn’t it huge???

 

The grounds were beautiful and very well taken care of.

Have you ever seen a bigger sting ray?

The most fun was at the waterpark.  Tommy and I went down a slide that puts you straight under the shark tank.  Loved it! You can read more about the waterpark on Megan’s blog here.

After we got back to the dock we had a little time to walk around and the town was really cute. The Bahamas celebrated their 38th independence day on July 10th, so it was quite festive!

And speaking of independence day, our Pudge hasn’t been the same since…if this isn’t a story of love, I don’t know what is. 

Pudge is now petrified to go outside. (For fear of fireworks, I assume.) He will walk out the door, but refuses to leave the porch. He will maybe set two paws on the grass to go to the bathroom, but he wont’ do his other business. 

So….

I have to go to the side of the house, hide and meow like a cat to get him to come see the “kitty.”

This seems to work like a charm.

 
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