Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cold Veggie Pizza

This appetizer is always a hit at parties. It is so quick and easy to make and there are so many options when it comes to the toppings!

1 8oz package of crescent rolls
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
2 tbsp sour cream
2 cups of a mixture of raw veggies (I used carrots, broccoli and red pepper)

Roll out the crescent rolls like a pizza crust onto a baking sheet. Cooking according to the package directions on the rolls. Let it cool. Mix together the cream cheese, half of the ranch dressing packet and the sour cream. When the crust is cool, spread the mixture over the crust. Top the cream cheese mixture with the veggies. Chill for about an hour.  Cut into small squares to serve.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spiced Almonds

Hi everyone! My name is Jess and I blog over at Flying on Jess Fuel. I was lucky enough to meet 2 of the 3 Fly Girls when my own pilot and I were stationed with them. I was so excited when they started Fly Girls, since I'm always looking for new inspiration in the kitchen! I think the Fly Girls would agree that pilots can be some HUNGRY men. I know mine is snacking nonstop. In an effort to cut down on the chips and other junk food in our house, I try to make snacks that are healthier, but still tasty. These almonds are easy, delicious, and a lot better for you than chips! They are perfect for satisfying a crunchy, salty and/or sweet craving. You can definitely experiment with different flavors and spices, too.

Parmesan-Herb Almonds

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
2 egg whites
2 cups whole almonds, roasted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients except egg whites and almonds. In large bowl, whisk egg whites until they begin to form soft peaks and are opaque. Add almonds and toss to coat. Add cheese mixture and toss gently to coat evenly. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray (or line with a silpat). Arrange almonds on baking sheet in single layer. Bake 15 minutes. Gently toss almonds and arrange again in single layer. Continue to bake 15 minutes longer and toss again. Turn off oven. Leave almonds in oven with door cracked open 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in airtight container up to one week.

Sweet 'n Spicy Roasted Almonds

1 egg white
1 tbsp water
3 cups raw unsalted almonds
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a sided sheet pan with parchment paper. Whisk egg white and water together until foamy. Add almonds and toss to coat. Transfer almonds to a strainer and toss gently to drain excess egg white. Stir together sugar, cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne. Add almonds and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread almonds on the sheet pan in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Gently stir almonds. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, until almonds are dry and nicely toasted. Set aside to cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Both recipes adapted from California Almonds.

DIY Canvas Map

I love maps. We have two map lamp shades in our living room and are lacking any wall art. Part of the reason is because we will be moving sometime this spring but I was wanting to add something to the walls. I wanted it to be map related so I search online for a cheap map and surprisingly was able to get this map for .18 cents plus 3.99 shipping. Perfect for this project.

24 by 36 Map
6 12 by 12 Canvases
Coordinating Acrylic Paint
Foam Brush
Spray Adhesive
Cutting board, Ruler, & Rotary Cutter

1. Paint sides and edges of all six canvases using a paint color that coordinates with your map. Allow to dry.

 2. While paint is drying, measure and cut map into 6 12 by 12 pieces using a cutting map, ruler and rotary cutter.

3. Spray canvas top with spray adhesive and carefully apply map piece to canvas, pressing down as you go. Repeat with 5 additional canvases. Allow to dry. 

4. Hang in your living room or another place in your house to enjoy. 

(I didn't measure very well and my spacing isn't perfect but since we will be moving soon, it didn't really matter)

Enchilada Soup

1 small onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
2 cans enchilada sauce (red)
2 cups chicken broth, divided
1/4 cup flour 
1 can fiesta corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups milk
1 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded

1. In large pot, saute onions and green peppers in olive oil until tender.Once tender, add enchilada sauce, 1 cup chicken broth, corn, black beans, milk, cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

2. With remaining chicken broth, whisk in flour. Once combined add to pot and bring to a boil.

3. Add in shredded chicken and simmer for 15-20 minutes. With 5 minutes remaining stir in Mexican cheese.

4. Serve with crushed tortilla chips.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Breakfast Casserole

Looking to feed a crowd? This simple casserole is a delicious, cost-effective way to feed a crew and is versatile enough to suit to your tastes.

4 slices sandwich bread or 8 slices French bread 
12 to 16 ounces bacon, sausage, or Canadian bacon, cooked and diced or crumbled
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tsp paprika

Grease the bottom of a 9"x13" pan. Tear up bread into cubes and place in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle cooked, diced meat over bread pieces. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the meat. Mix eggs, milk and mustard together; pour over casserole.
Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken and Broccoli

This recipe is from Betty Crocker and it is very simple and helps satisfy a Chinese food craving!

2 teaspoons canola oil                                           
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces                                           
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root  
2 cups fresh broccoli florets                                   
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)                                     
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch                                                                                           Notice the lack of veggies on Fly Boy's plate!
1 teaspoon sugar
2 medium green onions, sliced ( I omitted)
3 cups hot cooked  rice 

Brown chicken and ginger root in the canola oil. Add half of a cup of the broth and the broccoli and cook until chicken is done. In a separate bowl mix together the rest of the broth, red pepper, soy sauce, vinegar ,cornstarch and sugar. Add this mixture to the chicken and broccoli and stir until thick. Add green onions with the sauce, if desired. Serve with hot rice.

Original recipe from: Betty Crocker

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Garlic & Herb Chicken with Lemon-Dill Couscous

Simplicity is the name of the game in this flavorful, elegant, and inexpensive meal.

2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 envelope garlic & herb salad dressing mix

1 box couscous
3 ¼ T. lemon juice
½ tsp. dill weed

In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine parmesan and dressing mix. Add chicken to the bag and toss to coat. Place chicken in a greased 8-in. square baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook couscous according to package directions, omitting the oil or butter. Before covering the couscous, add lemon juice and dill. Cover and remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve chicken atop a bed of couscous.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Glitter Shoes

I love wearing flats. My favorite pair of flats were silver but after years of wear, they are no longer wearable. They are still in my closet as I don't have the heart to throw them out but they aren't going to be wore anytime soon. Last week, when I started subbing, I stopped at Target on my way home from work and picked up a brand new pair of black flats. I already had the same shoes but the ones I had were getting worn on the outside and had a few spots of them. I decided to change those flats into glitter flats and now I just love them and can't wait to wear them out!

Supplies: (plus a shoe box or something to pour the glitter over)

How to glitter your own shoes: 

1. Combine Mod Podge and glitter in empty cup. I didn't measure how much I poured in but you will want to make sure you use a lot of glitter. (Note: I only used this method for the first two coats, although it could be used for all coats)

2. Begin by painting on glitter Mod Podge mixture onto shoe. Cover all areas of shoe you want completely. Then, Allow 20-30 minutes to dry between coats. You may continue this method until your shoes are glittered to your liking.


3. What I ended up doing was brushing glue onto the shoe, different sections at a time and then pouring the glitter over the shoe until the shoe was completely covered and full of glitter.

4. Once dry, cover shoe in final layer of Mod Podge to seal.

Note: If doing this again, I would recommend taping the bottom of the shoe and filling the inside of the shoe so that it doesn't get covered in glitter. There will be glitter everywhere when doing this project!

**I am slightly worried about tracking glitter everywhere and have even gone outside and stomped around to try and lose as much glitter as possible before wearing them out in public. To my surprise, I have hardly lost any glitter when "stomping" around so I guess only time will tell. 

I plan on wearing my new shoes this weekend when we go and see The Vow. I'll let you know how much glitter I lose along the way :)

Chicken Artichoke Lasagna

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and since the husband and I are both lovers of lasagna, I wanted to give it a try. I changed the recipe up a bit from the original and it was a hit at our house. 

 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
12 oz. fat free cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup milk
2 cups montery jack cheese, shredded (divided)
2 tsp. dried basil
salt & pepper, to taste
12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
dried basil

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. In medium saucepan, saute green peppers and onion until tender. In medium bowl, combine shredded chicken, peppers & onion mixture, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and 1 cup of the montery jack cheese. Salt & pepper to taste.

2. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, milk and basil. Beat with whisk until combined and smooth. Add 3/4 of to chicken mixture.

3. Pour remaining 1/4 of cream cheese and milk into bottom of 9 by 13 pan. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Cover with 1/3 of chicken mixture and then top with noodles. Repeat two more times, ending with noodles. Top with remaining montery jack cheese and sprinkle with basil.

4. Cover and bake for 30-35 minutes until heated through. Cut and serve.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

Monday, February 13, 2012

Poke Cake

Of all possible desserts, my husband prefers this cold cake for his birthday cake more years than not. The light texture of the moist cake is refreshing and versatile with any number of combinations.

1 box cake mix (white or yellow cake mix work well) + corresponding ingredients 
1 small box Jell-O (preferred flavor)
1 cup boiling water
½ cup cold water
1 large box pudding mix (preferred flavor)
3 cups milk
1 small tub Cool Whip

Prepare cake per package directions. Let cool completely. Use a fork to poke holes all over the surface of the cake. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup boiling water with Jell-O until gelatin dissolves. Whisk in ½ cup water. Pour Jell-O mixture over cake, covering completely. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Prepare pudding with three cups of milk. Refrigerate at least 5 minutes to allow to set up. Spread pudding over the top of cake. Refrigerate at least an hour. Spread Cool Whip over pudding layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

A few great flavor combinations: Raspberry Jell-O with chocolate pudding; Strawberry Jell-O with banana pudding; Berry Jell-O with funfetti cake and vanilla pudding 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Red Velvet Cookies

Just in time for Valentine's Day on Tuesday! 

 1 box Red Velvet cake mix
1 cup flour
2 sticks softened butter
1 egg
2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter until soft and creamy. Slowly mix in cake mix and flour until mixed. Stir in egg and mix until together. Mix in chocolate chips. 

3. Form dough into tablespoon balls and place on greased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. 

Recipe from WhipperBerryDish 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Orzo Pork Stir-Fry

1/4 cup soy sauce 
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
1 cup chicken broth 
3 boneless pork chops, cut into thin strips
20 baby carrots, sliced 
1 green bell pepper, sliced 
2 green onions, chopped 
Salt & Pepper, to taste 
Orzo, cooked according to package directions

1. In bowl, combine soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, vinegar and broth. Add to large skillet along with pork. Allow to marinate for 15 minutes. 

2. Heat skillet to medium and cook pork until no longer pink. Add carrots, green pepper and green onions and cook until veggies are tender. 

3. Serve pork stir-fry over orzo.

DIY Swiffer Wet Jet Pads

Over the weekend, I found this great tutorial to make your own REUSABLE Swiffer Wet Jet pads. We recently bought a swiffer wet jet when we moved into our house here. The floor in our kitchen is tile and seems to always be dirty, no matter what I do. When we first moved in, my husband and I actually scrubbed the floor on our hands and knees, trying to get it as clean as possible. With that being said, cleaning the floor using our Swiffer is fairly expensive as the pads cost a lot of money. I was super excited when I found this great tutorial

On the morning that I made these, I cleaned the floor in the kitchen using the actual Swiffer pads. Even though I had already cleaned the floor, once I was done making these, I wanted to try them out. I was in shock how dirty the pad was after cleaning the kitchen. I really believe that these work much better than the Swiffer pads. 

If you are looking to make your own, be sure to check out DIY Diva's Tutorial: here (It's really easy to follow)

Gerber pre-fold padded cloth diapers
Velcro (soft side only), 2 9inch pieces of Velcro per pad
Pins, Thread, Ruler, Sewing Machine

**Each cloth diaper will make 2 reusable pads.**


Monday, February 6, 2012

Chicken and Rice Noodles with Spicy Peanut Sauce

I am a Thai food fanatic. Since I’ve been working on becoming a bit more calorie-conscious, I was thrilled to find the inspiration for a lighter version of my favorite peanut sauce.  This dish was bursting with spicy flavor – I didn’t even miss the extra calories!

1 can (14-oz) far free chicken broth
5 T peanut butter
1 T Sriracha chili sauce
2 T honey
2 T soy sauce
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
Salt and pepper
1 T Sriracha chili sauce
Juice of ½ lime
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
1 T soy sauce
½ T sesame oil

1 pkg rice noodles
¼ cup shredded carrots
Juice of ½ lime
2 T cilantro

Whisk together sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce is well blended and smooth, about 5-10 minutes.

In a large colander, rinse rice noodles with cold water. Set aside and let soften at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss chicken with salt and pepper, Sriracha, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Heat sesame oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. Add chicken and sauté until chicken is browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add noodles to pan and toss with peanut sauce. Add carrots and chicken and toss to combine. Remove from heat and sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro.

*Recipe modified from Skinnytaste

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Charleston Cheese Dip

I had planned on bringing cupcakes to the Super Bowl party that we were going to today. I made what I thought would be awesome cherry limeade cupcakes but for some reason, when they came out of the oven, I knew something wasn't right and there was no way that I was going to be bringing them anywhere. I am going to have to try the recipe again and see what went wrong but I wasn't going to mess with it today. Thankfully, my husband was able to run to the store quick and pick up the ingredients for this cheese dip.

1/2 cup light mayo
1 8oz. package fat free cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
2 green onions, chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
8 Ritz crackers, crushed
6 sliced cooked bacon, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine mayo, cream cheese, cheeses, onions and cayenne pepper. Mix until well blended. Transfer to baking pan. (I used a glass pie pan)

2. Top with crushed Ritz crackers. Bake for 15 minutes until heated through. Cover with bacon. Serve while warm and enjoy with Ritz crackers.

Recipe from Real Mom Kitchen

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rosemary-Garlic Cornish Game Hens

Preparing an unfamiliar dish can be intimidating, but these juicy hens are a great, easy substitute to get you out of the chicken rut. Elegant enough for a special occasion, simple enough for a weeknight.

3-4 Cornish game hens 
1 lemon, zested and quartered
2 tsp. rosemary
3 T. olive oil
12-15 garlic cloves
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup water
2 T. flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Clean and drain hens and place in a large roasting pan; rub with 1 T. olive oil and season with salt, pepper, lemon zest, and rosemary. Place a lemon wedge inside the cavity of each hen. Remove peel from garlic cloves and arrange around hens. Roast, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together wine, broth, and remaining olive oil. Pour over hens and roast an additional 25 minutes, until juices run clear. Baste every 10 minutes.

Remove hens from oven and tent with foil to keep warm. Add pan juices to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk together water and flour until smooth; add to the saucepan. Boil until gravy is thickened. Pour over hens to serve.

Valentine Yarn Wreath

Looking for a simple craft for a February spruce-up? This simple yarn wreath provides a touch of Valentine’s spirit and color.

You’ll need: a heart-shaped foam wreath base, yarn (I used multi-color yarn), a hot glue gun, a strip of ribbon, and embellishments. I found all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby. 

To begin, use hot glue to secure the ribbon strip to the top of the heart in a loop (used for hanging the wreath). Attach the beginning of the yarn to the bottom of the heart with hot glue and begin wrapping around the wreath, pushing the yarn close together so that you can no longer see the white base.

Keep wrapping. (Hint: When you come to a stopping point, simply glue the yarn down where you stopped to avoid unraveling.) On the top and bottom of the heart, the yarn will need to be securely glued in order to maintain its form. (Make sure to pull out the secured ribbon for hanging)

When the yarn completely covers the wreath base, snip off the end and attach with glue.

Play with the embellishments to decide on a layout; then use hot glue to secure to the wreath.

Allow your wreath to dry and hang. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

DIY Glass Etching

A friend of mine told me how she had made some personalized gifts for her husband using glass etching. After she told me about it, I looked it up online and found out how easy it was so I decided to give it a try. The glass etching product was slightly expensive but luckily with a 40% off coupon, it wasn't so bad. I am very happy with the way this turned out and hope to do it to our whole wine glass collection. 


Wine Glass or other glass object
Glass Etching Cream (Armor Etch)
Contact Paper stencil
Foam Brush

1. If you have craft cutter, you can cut out your image or design onto contact paper or you will have to create your own design on contact paper using an exacto knife.

2. Apply contact paper stencil to wine glass. You will want to make sure that there are no air bubbles so that the glass etching doesn't seep through. As you can see from my picture, I had a bit of trouble getting the contact paper to stick to the wine glass exactly how I wanted it to. Luckily, I was able to get the contact paper pressed down enough so that the glass etching didn't seep out.

 3. Apply a thick layer of glass etching onto stencil according to Armor Etch instructions. You want to make sure that you only get the glass etching where you want it as it is permanent and you will not be able to remove it.

4. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Wash off with  water and remove stencil. Rewash with soap and water.

5. Enjoy your newly etched wine glass!

White Chicken Chili

Ever since moving, I tend to go to the grocery store once maybe twice a week. I usually like grocery shopping but here, you really have to plan when you are going to go. It seems like most of the time there are a lot of people at the store and it's hard to navigate your cart around everyone else. Plus, I am not 100% accustomed to the store yet so sometimes I have to really look for what I want which can also be difficult in a crowded store. This week, I have yet to get to the store. I did run into a Walmart Marketplace last night on the way home from renting Life as we know it but only picked up enough for last nights dinner. Luckily, I had some frozen chicken in the freezer and enough ingredients in the pantry to whip up this quick, easy, and tasty soup. I am not sure if someone has been paying my husband lately to say the food is the best he has ever had but tonight again, he said it was the best soup that I have ever made.

2 cooked medium chicken breasts, cubed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
32 oz. chicken broth
2 15 1/2 oz. cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed
1 can Rotel w/ green chilies
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried cilantro
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
Mexican cheese (for topping)

1. In a large pot, saute onions with olive oil until tender.

2. Add beans, Rotel, oregano, cumin, cilantro, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil then simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

3. Add chicken and heat until chicken is warm.

4. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream. Dish into bowls and top with Mexican cheese.