Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fancy Chicken Breasts

This is one of my husbands favorites

3-4 Chicken Breasts
4-8 Slices of Swiss Cheese
Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/2 Cup of cooking Sherry
1/4 Cup of Melted Butter

- Take the chicken breasts and put them in a casserole dish.  Salt and pepper both sides.
- Lay one to two slices of swiss cheese on each chicken breast.
- Mix the Sherry and cream of mushroom soup together.

- Pour the Sherry and cream of mushroom soup on top of the breasts, covering them.  Sprinkle with the croutons and then pour the melted butter on top.
- Bake at 375 for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the chicken is cooked (175 on a thermometer).

And yummy, yummy goodness. 

Total cost of meal: $12

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Gift for Gene

I had the most fun with this project.  Bare with me because I did not take pics along the way, but I think there is enough here to share how I did it.

Art Canvas (any size)
Mod Podge (Matte or Glossy)
Black Craft Paint
Foam Brushes
Any sign of your choice (handmade or bought)

I tried this with both matte pictures and matte Mod Podge and glossy pictures and glossy Mod Podge.  I love the results of both, so it is your choice.  Little advice, if you go the matte picture route, the only place I found where I could get matte pictures was at WalMart.  Walgreens was mailed only and CVS did not offer matte in 4x6.
- Take the canvas frame and dab your foam brush in the black paint and dry brush this on the canvas. This means just put a little paint on the canvas so it is light.   Cover the sides and the front of the canvas enough to cover the area that will be around your picture.
- Brush some Mod Podge on the back of the photo and place on the canvas.  You will want to use a soft cloth that won't scratch the picture and rub over the picture to make sure it adheres to the canvas. Make sure you don't get your finger prints on the picture :)
- Let it dry and the dab a new foam brush into the Mod Podge.  Brush over the entire picture and canvas.  Go in the same direction and work quickly.  If you try and go back over a place where the Mod Podge has already started to dry, it will smudge and smear (had a few of these).  Then let dry completely. 

- I used the ribbon to hang the pictures below the sign and created a hanger.  I simply hot glued the ribbon to the back of the sign.  Easy as that.

Total Cost: 
Sign- $5
Canvas- $6
Ribbon- $2
Total:  $13
(I already had the Mod Podge, brushes, and black paint. If you have to buy this it will cost you an additional $12.  I would get the large bottle of Mod Podge because you will love these canvas pictures and I am sure you will use this for other gifts.)

Hearts With Love

I am working on an easy Valentines Day gift for some of my girlfriends, so I wanted to share the first part of the gift.

These are so easy to make and very inexpensive.
1 Box of Crayons
X-Acto Knife
Cutting Board
Heart Mold
Metal mallet
Ziploc Bag

I used an X-acto knife to remove the paper from the crayons on top of a cutting board.
I have seen this where people used a knife to break up the crayons, but a metal mallet and a ziploc bag was a heck of a lot easier.
Then you sprinkle the broken up crayon in a heart mold.  I found mine at JoAnn's for $5.
And finally put the mold on a cookie sheet and bake at 225 until melted.
Let them cool completely and just pop them out.  You can use either side of the heart.
A little hint to what this will be used for in my Super Chic Valentines Day Gift, a magnet. 

Total cost:  $8.00 (which includes the cost of the mold)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Great Office Renovation of 2012

So, I am really a first time "renovator" and we (meaning I have nagged/begged my husband enough) have decided to re-do our office.  Well, actually make it an office that someone will use besides Vern sleeping on the couch.  Since this will be renovation on a tight budget, because I am officially married to the financial taliban (thank goodness), I wanted to share our initial plans.

Here is the before picture

 I am going to take the desk and re-purpose the entire thing.  Two new living room end tables will be made out of these two pieces.

The middle part of the desk top will be used in my craft closet (next project).  Our new desk, which we will make ourselves will be this.
Hardwood floors will be laid by us (meaning by me with my wonderful husband directing) and the old couch will be sold (hopefully) or given away to charity and replaced with this.

This will be our storage and shelving, which is a great deal from Ikea ($69).

Then the extras of curtains and some DIY artwork.  Should be an epic adventure.  Off to tally the full costs of my idea and to put this into motion.  Grateful I have my Mom and her super handy boyfriend Gene to help out.  I have a feeling I will be providing several dinners for their hard work.  No such thing as a "free lunch".  Wish us all luck!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Christimas Wreath

I know we are all just now recovering from Christmas, but since all the craft stores have everything Christmas practically for free right now, I thought I would share with you my latest wreath.

I wanted to make something classy, but had a babes in toyland type of feel to it.  In looking at all the pieces, I went to Hobby Lobby and had a blast down their ornament aisle.  Have they have aisle dedicated to large ornaments, so I stocked up on these Santa belly ornaments, and light ornaments and just went to town with a glue gun.  Thank goodness my Mom is the best bow maker ever, because the ribbon is just so sweet.  Next year, I will add lights!!  So, go stock up on the sales and start gluing!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Pantry Soup

We have all walked in the door from work, needed to cook something for dinner, didn't have much in the fridge or pantry, and there is no way you are going to the grocery store.  This is how the Pantry Soup came to life.  You just take what you have on hand.

The Pantry Soup
1 lb of hamburger meat or ground turkey
Fresh okra sliced
1 can of french style green beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of diced green chillies
1 can of ranch style beans
Beef broth
1-2 tbsp depending on how hot you like it of Tony Chachere's Seasoning
4-5 dashes of Cholula hot sauce
1 tbsp of onion powder
1 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of pepper

Saute okra with a bit of Pam until tender. Add to pot with all cans of items.  Then brown hamburger meat with Tony Chachere's seasoning to taste.  Add to the pot. Add in beef broth to cover the contents and more if you would like. Add in onion, garlic powder, Cholula hot sauce and salt and pepper. Let simmer together for at least 30 minutes.

Just a little side note about Tony Chachere's, I LOVE this stuff.  It is so good and if you are not sure what to seasoning to put in something, you always put this and people will ask you what the flavor is.  Great $3 investment.

Meal Cost: $12

Lasagna Soup

I found this recipe from Paula Dean and decided to give it a try.  Who doesn't like lasagna?


  • 1 pound ground chuck (I used lean ground beef, you could use turkey)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped (or any bell pepper you have on hand)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I use already minced garlic to save time)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (this can be fresh or dried)
  • 1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 (32-ounce) box chicken broth
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I used Herb De Provence)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups broken lasagna noodles
  • 1 (5-ounce) package grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
 Garlic Crostini Recipe
  • 1 thin French baguette
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a dutch oven combine the meat, bell pepper and onion.  Cook on medium heat until the meat is cooked through.  Then drain your meat.  If you don't have a dutch oven, then a large stock pot will do just fine.

Stir in thyme, brown sugar, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add noodles, and simmer until noodles are tender. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

How to make the the Garlic Costini:  Preheat the oven to 350, cut the bread in 1/4" round slices.  Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper,  and bake till they are golden brown.  Take them out of the oven, let cool, and rub with a smashed garlic clove.   Make a lot of these because they are yummy.  I cut the left over ones up and used them as croutons.  This was an awesome recipe and fairly inexpensive.  

Paula suggest you ladle the soup into individual oven proof bowls and top with the mozzarella cheese, and broil until the cheese is melted.  Now my husband does not need anything that fancy, so I just topped the hot soup with the mozzarella in a plain old bowl and topped with the garlic Crostini.   If you choose to go the fancy route, remember the bowl will be hot so let it cool before you serve.

Meal Cost: $18

Valentines Day Ribbon Wreath

I saw this amazing ribbon wreath on Pinterest and decided I had to give it a try just because I have an obsession with ribbon.  I did a Valentines day themed wreath, but this would be so cute for a little girls room and adding their name to it.
Here is what you will need.
- A ton of ribbon.  Pick any color and size that you would like.  I even used some wire ribbon.  You will probably need about 7-9 spools of ribbon.
- A straw wreath.  I had trouble finding this, but Michaels had a ton of them.
- A glue gun and glue sticks.

1) Start off by cutting the ribbon into 4.5" long pieces. 

2) Then glue the pieces into circles with hot glue.  In the picture you can see that I did loops, but while I was creating the wreath, I found it easier to work with circles.
3)  I wrapped my wreath in red ribbon before I started gluing the individual circles, but this is not a must.  I would go ahead a tie a piece of ribbon on the top to use as a hanger.  Then start gluing on the circles.  By using all of this pretty ribbon, there is no way it is going to look bad.  I used the wider ribbon first and then filled in the spaces with the other ribbon.
And your done.  I added some cute glitter hearts to it that I picked up at the dollar store.
This was probably one of the more expensive wreaths I have done.  I got all the ribbon half off at Hobby Lobby, so the total cost was about $45, but it is pretty darn cute I have to admit.  Happy ribbon wreath making!