Friday, January 31, 2014

Chicken Taco Bowls

Wednesday I had another new recipe I wanted to try out for the slow cooker. So, Wednesday morning I got everything together and put in the cooker and set for 8 hours. I love cooking in our slow cooker and coming home to dinner done. Makes for an easy night of not being in the kitchen for an hour preparing dinner. LOL.

This recipe turned out pretty good and we would like to try it again but using something different rather than rice, maybe like rolling it up in a tortilla shell or eating with tortilla chips.

Instead of using the seasoning I just made some taco seasoning and used that. I did use the minced garlic & oregano.

11/2 lbs. chicken breasts
1 (16 oz.) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1/2 lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt        
Cracked pepper, to taste
2 cups dry rice
8 oz. shredded cheddar
1/2 bunch cilantro (optional) 

1. Add everything except the rice, cheese, and cilantro to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.
2. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.
3. Near the end of the cooking time, cook the two cups of rice according to the package directions (Bring the rice and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot with a lid in place, as soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving).
4. After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir with a fork to shred the chicken (it should be super tender and will shred easily). Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pretty Little Liars: Killer (Book 6)

This week I have finished yet another book in the PPL series! I'm really enjoying these books if you can't tell, LOL. I feel lately that every week I'm buying the next book in the series. Before I know it it's going to be over and I will have to find a new series.


In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie—and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls.
Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things—things they had to keep secret for years. And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn't die with her.
Hanna's on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer's stealing—from her family. And pure little Emily's abstaining from abstinence.
The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pad Thai

Last night for dinner we tried another new recipe and it turned out pretty good.  We had Pad Thai and Sushi. Shane has been making sushi at home for a few weeks now. I'm not a huge sushi fan but I'm trying to like it more because he loves it. The Pad Tahi I just became a fan of when we went out for his birthday I had that while he ate sushi. LOL

Pad Thai. This was really easy to make and didn't take super long.
Here is our meal. I didn't eat all the sushi, I'm still trying to get used to the taste of it. LOL


For the sauce:
1 1/2 Tablespoons tamarind concentrate/paste
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (chili sauce)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper

For the noodles:
8 ounces Thai rice noodles
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
Vegetable oil, for stir-frying
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced carrots, for garnish
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage, for garnish
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish
1/3 cup roughly chopped peanuts, for garnish
Lime wedges, for gar


Make the sauce:

1.      In a medium bowl, whisk together the tamarind concentrate with 1/2 cup warm water. Whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Make the noodles:
1.      Fill a large pot with hot water. Add the rice noodles and cover the pot, allowing them to soak and soften for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they're barely al dente. (Alternately, cook the noodles according to the package instructions.) The noodles will be stir-fried so do not overcook them at this point.
2.      Drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water to prevent them from sticking together.
3.      Cut the chicken breasts into thin, 1-inch slices. Place the chicken in a medium bowl. Whisk together the cornstarch with the soy sauce then pour it over the chicken, stirring to coat.
4.      Heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil then add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds until the garlic is golden brown and fragrant. Add the chicken to the pan (including all liquids), and cook, stirring frequently until it is no longer pink. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chicken stock at a time to the pan while the chicken is cooking to prevent it from drying out. (You may not use the entire 1/4 cup of chicken stock.)
5.      Add the noodles to the pan then pour in the prepared sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and using two flat spatulas, lift and turn the noodles to combine all of the ingredients. (Don't stir the noodles too vigorously or they'll break.) Continue cooking the noodles for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly, then add the bean sprouts and cook for 1 more minute. The noodles are fully cooked when they are chewy and no longer crunchy.
6.      Transfer the noodles to serving dishes and garnish with the sliced carrots, shredded red cabbage, cilantro, scallions, peanuts and lime wedges.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Every week I have been trying to add one new recipe to our menu for dinners. I have so many on Pinterest that I thought I should start trying them! Last night I made this pasta dish and it turned out amazing! We will definitely be having this again! 

8 ounces uncooked linguine
1 pound chicken breast strips
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning (or to taste)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. light cream cheese ( I didn't put cream cheese in ours)
Fresh cracked pepper
2 scallions, chopped
Salt to taste
Cooking Spray

1. Prep all your vegetables.
2. Make a slurry by combining milk, flour and cream cheese. Set aside.
3. Season chicken with Cajun seasoning, garlic powder & salt.
4. Prepare pasta in salted water according to package directions
5. Heat a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; spray with cooking spray and add the chicken.
Sauté 5 to 6 minutes or until done, set aside on a plate.
6. Add olive oil to the skillet and reduce to medium; add bell peppers, onions, and garlic to skillet, sauté 3-4 minutes.
7. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 3-4 more minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season with 1/4 tsp salt, garlic powder and fresh cracked pepper to taste
8. Reduce heat to medium-low; add chicken broth and pour in slurry stirring about 2 minutes
9. Return chicken to skillet; adjust salt and Cajun seasoning to taste, cook another minute or two until hot. I added a little more flour to mine to make it thicker since I didn't use cream cheese.
10. Add linguine; toss well to coat. Top with chopped scallions

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gallery Hallway

When we moved into our home over a year ago I was so excited to have pictures hanging up in the hallway. I told my hubby I was going to fill it up and he thought I was crazy, LOL. It only took over a year but I finally have my hallway done and I'm so happy with it! It turned out great and my hubby did so much work hanging everything up for me. This was a big project and took months for me to get all the frames and decide what pictures I wanted and to find different quotes to hang up, but finally it all came together and I'm happy to share with you!

Our Gallery Hallway!!

This was the first wall to be done.
This saying we like but I think we are going to find a different one to hang up. Only because this one you can see the clear sticker and with the other ones on the wall they look better and more like a sticker or painted writing on the wall. Hopefully that makes sense. LOL

I don't know if you can tell but in this one you can't see any clear matting like from the one above. This is what we want the one above to look like. It looks much better in our opinion.

This is my little wall for Senior pictures. This year we will be adding our niece Sydney to this wall. Now that's just crazy talk!

That ends my gallery hallway!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Getting Organized

I'm always looking for new ways to organize things around the house and of course I always find great ways on Pinterest. Last week I decided to do 2 ideas that I found on Pinterest that were cheap and easy to do right away.

The first thing I did was organize our manuals to everything around the house. I just had them all in a drawer in the kitchen and it was so messy, it drove me nutty. Haha! When I seen this idea I was like YES let's do it. I had everything I needed except 1 big binder to do this project, so it really only cost $3 to do this.

I divided the tools and household ideas into separate binders. I tried doing them all in one but we have so many it was too thick and wouldn't close. We will prolly have to invest in a bigger binder for the household items soon if we get anymore, that one is about to be overfilled as well. 

The 2nd thing to get organized was batteries. We normally just tossed them all together in a Ziploc bag, but sometimes that didn't work we just tossed them in the junk drawer. My husband is always saying I know we have these kind of batteries but couldn't find them. LOL. This plastic organizer I got for this was like $4.00 so another cheap project done and looks good.

Now doesn't this look easier to find instead of just tossed in a bag, I think so!

That was the fun of getting organized last week. :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Happy Birthday Kira Dog

Yesterday was our little Kira dogs birthday and she turned 9 years old. I have had her since she was 8 weeks old. I look back at pictures of her when she was a baby and can't believe she is so big now, Haha! I decided to do something different for her this year and bake her a birthday cake. We normally just get some toys and treats to give her but a cake sounded more fun, plus she got toys and treats from Grandma for Christmas. :) I have found a couple different recipes on Pinterest for dog birthday cakes, so I picked on and made it last night.

This is the little piece we gave her last night with peanut butter frosting.

1 cup white or whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrots
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together flour and baking soda. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour into a ring mold sprayed with a nonstick spray. I just used a bread pan to make it in.
3. Bake for approximately 40 minutes

Once cake is cool, frost cake with low fat cottage cheese and decorate with carrot pieces. Store in refrigerator for up to one week, or slice thinly and freeze in individual plastic baggies. (One this step I didn't use the cottage cheese like she did, I used peanut butter instead. Kira loves PB so this was the perfect frosting for the cake).

Of course I took some pictures of her enjoying her first birthday cake!

She was excited to see what she was getting!

The peanut butter kept sticking the paper towel so we had to help her get if off. Haha
She really enjoyed her cake and wanted more. I didnt' want to just let her dig into the whole cake b/c I didn't know if she would get an upset tummy or not with eating something new, but she did fine. We are going to give her some more tonight when we get home. She will be so excited!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Pretty Little Liars: Wicked (Book 5)

This week I have started reading book #5 from my series. I'm just flying threw this series! I have really enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the books. I believe there are like 14 books in this series, so I got a ways to go before the end.

Book Summary:
Hanna can't seem to catch a break. She now has trouble with her stepsister Kate Randall. Aria has feelings for a man, Xavier, who she met at an art show; however, he ends up meeting and dating her mother through an online match site. This puts her at risk of hurting her mother again and further damaging their newly repaired relationship. After being neglected by her family and feeling like an outsider, Spencer comes to believe that she is adopted.
At a party at a hotel opening, Hanna and Kate continue to fight over title of "Queen Bee". Hanna and Lucas break up after Hanna tells everyone that Kate has herpes at a party to sabotage her. Eventually, Hanna's father forbids her from talking to anyone except Kate. Aria moves in with Meredith and Byron to avoid Xavier as his true intentions will jeopardize Aria and Ella's relationship. Emily tries to date Isaac without him finding out about her orientation, though "A" keeps interfering. In the end, Spencer, Emily, Aria, and Hanna find Ian's body in the woods behind Spencer's house, but when they return with the police, the body is missing. Wilden sort of pushes it off, and begins the search hours after the girls had shared their story

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chocolate Cake w/ Whipped Frosting

For my brother's birthday I made a chocolate cake with whipped chocolate frosting. It turned out super yummy, a little sweet but very good! The whipped frosting I made this time is by far my favorite!
I made the chocolate cake recipe before but instead of doing a cake I just made cupcakes. I got lots of positive feed back on this cake so that made me feel good! I always get nervous making things from scratch and people not liking them, but this was a success! I look forward to making this cake again and maybe trying a Vanilla frosting and tone down the sweetness. :)

For the Cake
3 cups flour
2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup oil
2 cup water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together until moist & well blended
3. Bake 30-35 minutes.
4. Frost with your favorite icing

For the frosting:
I doubled this recipe just to make sure I had enough to frost the cakes
1 cup heavy cream
1 regular bag of chocolate chips
1. Bring cream to almost boil….but don’t boil it
2. In large mixing bowl, pour over the chocolate chips and stir until chips are melted and well blended
3. Cool for 1 hour on counter
4. I let it sit in the fridge overnight then whipped it. I'm sure letting it sit for a couple hours will work too.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Got an Upgrade!

Let me first start off with saying this wasn't my idea and I love my 1st wedding ring! My hubby has been saying for awhile now he wants to get me a bigger diamond on our 5 yrs anniversary.....well it's not 5 years just yet but he wanted to get me this ring now just in case in a couple years it wasn't there anymore. :)

I found this ring on Pinterest, I didn't really think it was real or anything but when I clicked on the link and I found the jewelry place that sales them, I was like wow! I showed Shane the ring and he really liked it too. That night after showing him the ring and us looking it up and he said well why don't we just upgrade your ring now instead of at 5 years. I was like wow really are you sure?! Within the next few days he ordered my ring and got it. I loved the ring online, but when I saw it in person I was speechless and it was so much more beautiful! I just love this ring and so happy that my hubby was so nice and upgraded for me.

I still have my orginial wedding ring and I plan on getting a bigger chain so I can wear it as a necklace.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"W" wine cork project

I have finally finished my first wine cork project! I found this project on Pinterest awhile ago and thought it was so cute and wanted to do it for our dining room. I finally decided to get around to making it a few months ago and we finally got it glued and hung out this part week. It turned out really cute, now I'm looking forward to my next cork project. We didn't do the corks like the one on pinterest b/c the W we got we would have been collecting them FOREVER, so we decided to cute the corks in half and I think this way better.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy 21st Brandon!!

Yesterday my brother turned the BIG 21 !!! I can't believe he is 21 already, my how time flies and they grow up so fast! We went out last night to celebrate at Margarita's. My brother isn't the huge type to want to go out and party and drink it up on his 21st. We keep his birthday low key with some family and friends. I did tell him he had to order an alcoholic beverage though, HAHA! My brother also isn't a big drinker or I should say never drinks, so his first drink he decided he wanted to order was strawberry daiquiri. He really seemed to enjoy it and when I looked back to see how he was doing on drinking it he was just sucking it down! LOL. He even ordered a 2nd drink, WOW! I was debating on weather I should make him take a shot of something but my hubby said no I shouldn't do that, so of course I was the nice sister and didn't do that to him. But it sure would have been funny! 

I had a good time celebrating with him last night and he seemed to enjoy himself as well. Good times!

I made him a chocolate cake, it turned out super yummy but very sweet. But that's okay everyone did enjoy it. Recipe to come soon!
 First drink being 21!
 Having a drink with my brother, still crazy he can go out drinking with me now. HAHA!
 All us siblings! 

Having fun with his friends. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spicy Sausage Pasta

I made this for dinner Monday night and it turned out better then what Shane and I both thought. It turned out very tasting and good. We will be trying this again.

I added some seasonings of my own to make it more spicy.

This picture wasn't taken by me this was from Pinterest. When we make this again I will take my own picture to add to our recipe book.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. smoked sausage
1.5 cups diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10 oz.) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz. penne pasta
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 tsp. Cajun Seasoning (Added myself)
1/2 tsp. Jalapeno Seasoning (Added myself)

1. Add olive oil to an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pretty Little Liars Books 4 & 4.5

It looks like I once again forgot to post what book I'm reading in my PLL series....I'm telling you I have been reading these books pretty quick I can't barely keep up with the post. Haha!

I finished book 4 the first part of January.

I'm currently reading book 4.5 as they call it. It's takes place between book 4 and 5.

Pretty Little Liars

Let's see when I'm done with this book if I can remember to share the next book in the series. LOL

I have really enjoyed this books and look forward to finishing the series. They don't follow the show exactly but it's alright I still enjoy the books and I still love the show. I can't wait the show returns tonight. I feel like I have been waiting ages for it to come back on. Haha!

If anyone likes this show I suggest reading the books too, I'm sure you will enjoy them.