Adventures

Summer has started off with a bang! Weddings, beach trips, more weddings, pool days, grandchildren, family and more weddings! We have attended eight weddings this spring/summer and enjoyed every minute of them. I love spring/summer so much because it brings people out of there home into the warm, bright sunshine where we can all interact with each other. The picture below was a tent camping beach trip with friends and family. And yes, I said tent camping. It was a blast!

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This type of vacationing together came with no TV’s!  It makes everyone depend on each other for entertainment and socializing. Making dinner was also a very social time. Things went slow and conversations were had.

I love the great outdoors! If you plan well and have friends and family, you are set!

Mike and I are getting ready to start a new adventure. We are going to build a new house (and, no, it’s not a tent). We invite you to come on this journey with us. I am sure there will be ups, downs and dollar signs daily. We have sold our present home and our first adventure starts with living in a 1000 sq. ft. apartment with 37 years of stuff. I have started the packing process which will continue for days.

The first thing I did was pack my kitchen up with all the items to go to storage. I left all the things to take to the apartment in the cabinets for now. I have basically done this in every room. Mike, my husband had the idea to label large items that go to the apartment instead of labeling both apartment and storage. He is a time saver and loves to be efficient with his time so I am trying it. I would rather label everything so there would be no questions.

I label every box for storage or apartment, fragile, and all the contents. I then label the storage boxes with a room for the next move. Like living room, keeping room, garage, etc. . I hope this helps with questions on the next move that will take place in 6-8 months.

Some of you may think we are crazy for doing all this work and moving twice within a year. For us it is wonderful! We love to build our house just as we like it and I love that no one else has ever bathed or showered in my bathroom.

To be continued…….

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Adyson’s First Birthday Party

It almost seems impossible that it has been a year since our sweet Ady was born. Time flies by these days! But, never the less, she is one!

Amanda wanted to have her first birthday at their house and this meant we had some decorating to do. As most know, I am not the paper streamers kind of gal. I had tons of fun doing this project for such a sweetie!

First, Amanda and I went to the fabric store and pick fabric. Then, I made the table runner and place mats.

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For the table runner you just take a piece of fabric and fold it over inside outward, sew it together except for one space small enough for your hand to get into. After sewing it, turn it inside out and iron. Then fold the little hole that your hand went in and sew it closed. To save fabric on the place mats I folded the ends in twice and sewed around the edges. EASY! And adds lots of color. Adyson can reuse the place mats on her little table.

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Now on to the next item. To decorate the high chair.

Measured the length across the high chair I needed and started cutting stripes and stripes of fabric that I tied on twine.

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I decided on a pattern and kept it in eyes view the entire time:

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The finished product:

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The little letters were purchased at Michael’s for .59 cents and glued to a piece of twine that we attached to the hooks we used to hang the fabric. I also used a glue gun in some areas to secure it to the chair.

The mantel is the same process as the highchair. Measure the length of the mantle and added fabric.

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The letters again were added on twine. We used hooks the 3M hooks to hang the entire thing on.

For flowers we went to the Fresh Market and bought tulips in the same color scheme as the fabric. I had vases on hand that someone gave me years ago that I had never used which worked out beautifully with our color scheme

The book is a book Amanda had made of our family and friends. Everyone signed it with a blessing for Adyson.

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Amanda made the banner in the back on the window. It is hard to see due to the lighting but it says, Happy Birthday Adyson.

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Some of these colored flowers below were from Ady’s baby shower. Amanda added the balls and color to the pile. Something old, something new!

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The cake was ordered Adyson’s from Delicious and a free smash cake came with it. Decorated like her big cake of course. We took fabric to Delicious and they matched the cake to the swatches. Great job Delicious!

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Amanda also made this great board behind them! Below it she has pictures of Adysons first year. I wish I had a better picture of the board because it is amazing!

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And of course, Great Grandma Dot was there!

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Here comes the cake…..

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To end the party Amanda gave rock candy for party favors.

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Which Adyson LOVED

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Happy Birthday Ady girl! Nana loves you!

Yummy Side Dish

Our family got together on Sunday like everyone else did for Easter. I wanted to make a few things for the gathering so I made a coconut cake, chocolate chip cookies, and appetizer and green beans. Well, lets face it, green beans are boring! I don’t like boring! Thank goodness for the food network website. I found a recipe by Pioneer Woman that was awesome. You have to try it.

Roasted Green Beans

All you need is:

2 lbs of fresh green beans (ends trimmed)

1 sweet onion chopped (larger chop so onions don’t burn)

1 lb of raw bacon (chopped)

olive oil for drizzling

salt and pepper to taste

Put green beans on a cookie sheet sprinkle onions, olive oil and bacon over beans. Mix with your hands. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 325 and your done.

These beans were a huge hit. Not a lot of work but you get a lot of flavor!

I pasted the link to the food network page if you would like to watch Pioneer Woman make the beans. She used 4 lbs of beans and I used 2 lbs. Enjoy!!!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/roasted-green-beans.html

Sewing Class

Next week I will have my first sewing class for our neighborhood. I am not a professional by any means but I can make a few household items. Our first week we are making a pillow. It is a pretty simple project. But in the spirit of sewing I wanted to share this great video that shows how to make piping. It only takes 18 inches of fabric and it makes 18 feet of piping.

I was shown this video when I took a sewing class from a friend and it has changed my pillow making a lot. I can really customize my decor and home. The video is a little dated but the finished product is great! This video has a part one and two.

Part One:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTWbRPv9HZo

Part Two:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRmMEsto6ks

I am not sure if it will load from this post. If not just copy and paste to your search bar.

I was surprised at how easy it was to do. The first time I tried this I used a old piece of fabric from a previous project in case I messed up.  If you can sew, you should try this.

Here is an example of my last project that I made my own piping for:

Thank you Jenni and Jenny for teaching me how to sew!

Coconut Cake

This recipe was on Facebook a few weeks ago. When I saw it I knew I needed to make it! Talk about a great dessert for Easter…! Wow! The flavor is amazing and if you don’t like the shredded coconut on top, leave it off. If you took this cake to a family Easter party there would be NO leftovers.

CREME OF COCONUT CAKE

1 box yellow butter cake mix
1 14 oz can creme of coconut
1 14 oz can Eagle Brand condensed milk
8 oz. Cool Whip
1 pkg. of coconut 

Bake yellow butter cake mix by directions on box in 13x9x2 pan. While cake is hot, pierce with fork. Combine can of creme of coconut and can of Eagle Brand milk and pour over cake. Cover and refrigerate. When cake is cool, spread with 8 ounces of Cool Whip and a package of frozen coconut (thawed). Store in refrigerator.

You will love it!!! Happy baking!

Cold Weather=Taco Soup

With the forecast of more snow on the way it makes me want to make a warm cozy soup! This soup is full of flavor and textures.

Ingredients:
  • 4 uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 package frozen corn (about 14 oz)
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of half and half or heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • corn tortillas
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Boil the chicken breast for about 20 minutes and chop or shred the meat.

Add all other ingredients in a large pot including the chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes so the flavor have time to marry.

I add a few topping to our soup but it is totally optional:

I took tortilla’s and brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled a little garlic salt on them and broiled them for 2 minutes in the oven. It gave the dish a fun look because they puff up! Spray your pan so they don’t stick. And watch them carefully. I burned the first pan of tortillas.

Enjoy this delicious, easy and fun meal! Happy cooking!!!

Baking and Snow Days

It is probably a really good thing that I live in the South! When the weather turns cold and it starts to snow, my baking switch turns on. I start making cookies and cakes! My husband loves it! He can eat anything, anytime and still wear the same size jeans since high school. Sick, I know! I take bites and taste things and that size 4 that I wore in high school is long gone. So, if I lived in the North…..there could be trouble. I would be baking all the time!

Today I am going to bake a yellow cake with chocolate icing. Mike says he doesn’t really like yellow cake but we will see. I will let you know if he eats it or not. It really looks and sounds beautiful. This is the recipe that I found on Pinterest:

Old Fashioned Butter Cake

 This beautiful cake recipe is a 100 year old treasure and a keeper!

Old Fashioned Butter Cake
(from Reeni’s Cinnamon Girl blog)

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1  1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour two 8 inch x 2 inch baking pans and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add butter, milk, and vanilla.  With a hand mixer, beat for  2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Add eggs and beat for 2 minutes more.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally between the pans.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven.

Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Frost with your favorite frosting.  I used my favorite chocolate frosting, the one on the back of the Hersey’s cocoa can.

“Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
1/3 cup milk  (plus an additional few drops to make a nice consistency)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter.  Stir in cocoa.  Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.  Add more milk if needed.  Stir in vanilla.  About 2 cups frosting.

Happy Baking!!!

Comfort Food

With the news of snow coming to the Piedmont I have been thinking about dinner tonight. I always like cozy, comfort food when the weather is cold and snowy.  I asked my husband, Mike, what he would like for dinner tonight and he responded, a salad with grilled chicken…YUCK!!! I told him that was not good “snow food”. Since I am the chef, I win this one and we are having Chicken and Dumplings!!! I love this Chicken and Dumpling recipe because it is so easy.

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My Chicken & Dumplings:

4 Chicken breast boiled in water

  • 2 cups Flour
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 cans Chicken Broth ( 3 more cups if you rotisserie chicken)
  • 3 cans Cream of Chicken soup
  • 3 cups chicken broth from boiling chicken
  • A pinch of garlic salt
  • sprinkle of parsley for decoration

Boil chicken in water for about 20 minutes. Take chicken out of water when done and chop.

Save 3 cups of broth water for soup. Put 3 cups of broth from chicken, 2 cans of chicken broth, 3 cans of cream of chicken soup and a pinch of garlic salt in a large pan and bring to a boil. Wire whipping the whole time so there are no lumps. Add veggies at this time if you want veggies in your Chicken and Dumplings. Turn way down while you make your dumplings. Bring back up to a boil when you are dropping the dumplings in. After dropping all dumplings cover and reduce heat.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball.

Heavily flour a work surface. You’ll need a rolling pin and something to cut the dumplings with. I like to use a pizza cutter. I use a small spatula to lift the dumplings off the cutting surface.

Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Dip your cutter in flour and cut the dumplings in squares about 2″x2″. It’s okay for them not to be exact. Just eye ball it. Some will be bigger, some smaller, some shaped funny.

To cook them, bring the broth to a boil. Drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting. Add the cooked chicken to the pot and you’re done!

Stay warm and dry!

Baking!

A few weeks ago I  made the Southern Living Triple Chocolate Pound Cake. It was on the cover of the Southern Living magazine. It spoke a challenge to me the very first time I laid my eyes on it. Chocolate …..and triple chocolate at that! Well, I have to say it was wonderful!!!! The taste was out of this world!!! If you like chocolate of course. You can go to the Southern Living website and get the recipe. It would make for a great Valentine dessert.

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/triple-chocolate-buttermilk-pound-cake

Black Bean Quesadillas!!

With the new year we are trying to eat a few meatless meals a week. I found this recipe to have tons of flavor.

Black Bean Quesadillas:

Servings: 2 folded 8-inch quesadillas

 

Ingredients

1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed

6 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the tortillas

3/4 cup minced red onion

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

1  1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup black beans (drained, canned)

2 tablespoons lime juice

Kosher salt

6 plain flour tortillas, 8-inch

4 cups Pepper Jack cheese shredded

Instructions

  1. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until kernels begin to brown and pop, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer corn to medium bowl.
  3. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering; add red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes; stir in beans and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  5. Return corn to skillet and toss to combine; gently press mixture with spatula to lightly crush black beans.
  6. Transfer mixture to now-empty bowl, stir in lime juice, and season to taste with salt.

I made a small salad and cut up and avocado with some Greek plain yogurt and salsa! A very good vegetarian dinner.

Happy Cooking!!

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