Friday, November 16, 2012

Re-Purposing Bath and Body Works Candles

The three wick candles from Bath and Body Works are to die for! They have the best scents and have so much throw, I can't believe it. They're a little pricy, normally $19.50, but I always buy them during one of their 2/$20 sales and pair it with a coupon. Bath and Body Works always seems to have some sort of coupon floating around out there. The containers are also multipurpose so I don't feel so bad about this little splurge. Here's how my bathroom medicine cupboard now looks with these containers.
They're really easy to get to this point too!

Once your candle has completely burned down and the wax is dry put it into the freezer for two hours. When you take it out push a butter knife down into the wax to break it apart. The small metal pieces that held the wick should come up too, but if they don't just wiggle your butter knife under them to loosen them up.

Once you get all the wax out run HOT water into the containers, clean them out with soap and a sponge. After a minute or so of the hot water running the labels on the bottom and front will peel right off.

Fill them up with small trinkets and take a step closer to getting a room organized!

What re-purposing projects have you completed lately?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pinner Dinner -- Balsamic Chicken, Asparagus and Fresh Mozzarella

Pinterest, I don't think I could ever describe my love for it enough. One of my favorite things to do is find new ideas for dinner. This recipe included some of my favorite things and I couldn't wait to try it out.

The original pin for Balsamic Chicken and Asparagus came from Maggie's Bites, which has lots of great recipes!

Marinating goodness!

I made a few minor adjustments, like baking my chicken at 375* for 45 minutes instead of grilling, because it's basically winter in PA.

Neither Garrett nor I are tomato eaters, so we left those out.

Also, I drizzled my asparagus with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder and some Parmesan cheese.

Do you have any variations that would tasty?


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Monday, November 12, 2012

Meatless Monday -- Asparagus and Green Pepper Stromboli

Meatless Monday is really one of my favorite nights to make dinner because it's a challenge. I give a lot of credit to people who are vegetarians, you need to constantly come up with something so you don't get bored with your meals. This weeks dish has a lot of flavor and was something I wouldn't mind having regularly!

What you'll need:
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 green pepper chopped
2 TBS minced garlic
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 jar pizza sauce
6 rolls

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 375*.

Mix together asparagus, green pepper, garlic, olive oil, salt, oregano, parsley and pepper.

 Flatten your rolls.
Add 2 TBS of pizza sauce.
Sprinkle on some cheese.
Add two heaping spoonfuls of your asparagus and green pepper mixture.
Fold over, seal edges and bake for 15 minutes.

Have you tried any Meatless Monday recipes?

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Live Sigma Kappa -- A Thankful Reflection on Things Taken for Granted

Every Thanksgiving, from the time I could remember until 2010, I’ve spent Thanksgiving at my grandparents house with the same spread of food. Delicious as it was, you knew what was to be expected and it was never anything I got overly excited about.

It wasn’t until traditions changed, as family members passed and grandchildren were born, that those little things that came to me every year were no longer a norm. My parents are now the grandparents and we celebrate holidays at their house the same way we did at my own grandparents.

This year, however, has thrown me for a large loop in my holiday plans. My husband’s job requires him to work Thanksgiving and the days following so a trip home is not in our cards. I’ve decided to go on with the most traditional Thanksgiving that the two of us will share together.

I’m very thankful for all of the Thanksgivings I was able to spend with loved ones who have passed and those who are still with me, but this year has me even more thankful and reflective on those past years. I wish I would have spent 10 more minutes at the table instead of napping. I wish I would have paid more attention to exactly how a dish was prepared. Although we’d love to go back, we can’t, so we must learn from the past.

I’d like to share a piece of my family traditions with you in case you too are having to switch up your normal holiday traditions. This recipe is the salad dressing that was used at my grandparents. My own parents haven’t adopted it into their Thanksgiving meal; perhaps it’s what I’ll bring to the table next year.

Things You’ll Need:
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c vinegar
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1 small onion
2 c very chilled vegetable or canola oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender, place in dressing container, serve chilled.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is my favorite holiday! I love to create costumes and then dress up and go out. Costumes can get pretty expensive, and this year I think we pulled off a great costume on a budget.

We were Doug Funny and Patty Mayonnaise from the 90s Nickelodeon cartoon. All together both costumes cost $13.98!

A lot of the items we already had so it was a great idea all together.

The things that needed to be purchased were:

My blond wig: $6 on clearance at Big Lots
My blue skirt: $3.99 at Good Will
Garrett's green sweater vest: $3.99 at Good Will (it was a whole sweater we just cut the sleeves off)

I had the shirt and pink felt already so I cut out and sewed polka dots on it to make it match Patty.

What did you dress up as this year?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot Tools Organization

If you're like me and have one too many hot tools and don't have the best organization for them, this 15 minute tutorial is for you!

This is what my basket looked like before.

I collected toilet paper rolls in my house for a few weeks and covered them with wrapping paper.

Then simply loop your cords and slip the toilet paper roll over them.

For my smaller barrel curling irons I placed the roll over the barrel and cord.

My basket with all of my newly organized cords.

Hope this helps to get your tools organized!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatless Monday -- Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas

Prior to this recipe that I adapted from Meatless Monday, I had never tried a chickpea. I was pleasantly surprised how good they were in this dish. If you're not a fan of spicy meals, you may want to hold back on the red pepper flakes. If you like meals with a kick, this is definitely for you!

You'll Need:

1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup low sodium teriyaki sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TBS sesame oil
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 large onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 cup chunk pineapple
2 cups cooked brown rice

To Make:

Combine the chickpeas, teriyaki sauce and red pepper flakes in a bowl, stir and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients. In a large pan heat the sesame oil and add the peppers and onions, saute for about 5 minutes. Add the pineapple and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the marinated chickpeas and cook for another 7 minutes. Lastly, add your cooked brown rice and stir into the mixture.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes

Looks like I'm on a bit of a cupcake kick, these not-so-sweet cupcakes are still sure to please both your schedule and your appetite!

You'll Need:

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup mixed veggies (frozen or canned)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 TBS Herbs De Provence
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic salt
2 (10 oz.) cans Pillsbury biscuits

To Make:

Pre-heat your oven to 400*. Mix the chicken, cream of chicken soup, veggies, cheese, Herbs De Provence, onion powder and garlic salt in a bowl. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan and press one Pillsbury biscuit down into and up the side of each cup. Evenly spoon the mixture into each biscuit, and bake for 15 minutes.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Frozen S'Mores Cupcakes

I hope you're enjoying the last bit of our summer months, I know I sure have been. This recipe is perfect to enjoy during our last few weeks of this weather! S'Mores scream summer around the campfire to me, but this new twist allows them to help you beat the heat!

You'll need:
18 graham cracker squares (9 sheets)
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup whipping cream
12 square flat S'Mores marshmallows
1 1/2 cup cold milk
1 box (3.9 oz) instant chocolate pudding
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

To Make:
Crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs, melt butter and add to the graham crackers. Place cupcake liners in your cupcake pans and evenly divide and press mixture into the bottoms.

Melt milk chocolate chips by adding whipping cream and heating in a small bowl in the microwave for 30 second icrements, stirring in between. Evenly disperse the melted chocolate on top of the graham cracker crust.

 Top each blob of chocolate with one marshmallow.

Mix the cold milk with the pudding, fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip container. Top marshmallows with the mixture and freeze for a couple hours.

Take the pans out of the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving, top with remaining cool whip, crushed graham crackers and mini chocloate chips.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Why Do You Pay Full Price?!?

This morning I took a trip to Shop-N-Save to pick up some things that were on sale and I had coupons for. Using coupons makes me realize how much money is wastefully spent on groceries. My total before sales was over $91, after sales over $70 and after coupons $29.47. Nearly 65% of my bill was saved from matching my coupons with the stores deals! Here's what I got.

2-12 packs of Lipton Iced Tea, these are great for Garrett to take in his lunch.
4-Jars of Chi-Chi's salsa, a great item to keep in my pantry for Mexican or meatless meals.
2-Jars of Smuckers caramel topping, I'll be glad I picked these up this coming fall for all of those yummy caramel apple desserts.
3-Bottles of French's mustard, we both use this almost daily on our sandwiches.
4-Bottles of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, Garrett goes through this stuff like water and we love BBQ chicken on the grill.
4-Packages of Dole frozen fruit bites, again great for Garrett's lunch and my own since I can no longer eat yogurt. :(
10-Packages of Chi-Chi's tortillas, these are a staple in our diets and I can freeze them!

Also, earlier this week I picked up these three boxes of Bayer from Rite Aid for.....FREE. That's right not a penny paid out of pocket!

So what are you waiting for?? Get out there this Sunday, pick up your papers, clip your coupons and start matching your deals! There's lots of great sites if you Google, "coupon match-ups" that will lay out exactly what you need to do if you're a beginner.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Double Cheese and Broccoli Calzones

My husband is fortunate enough to work 4-10 hour days and get one day off each week, along with Saturday and Sunday. I'm also fortunate because he takes care of sweeping, dusting, laundry, yard work and picking up the dogs droppings. One thing I don't trust him with is any type of dinner that doesn't include the grill, so I made these up Wednesday night so all he had to do was put them in the oven. Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures, so you'll have to use your imagination.

1 Pillsbury Pizza Crust (I recommend NOT using thin crust because these bad boys are filled to the brim)
1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 head broccoli
1 egg
2 TBS garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Steam your broccoli until tender, and cut into quarter sized pieces. Mix together cheeses, egg, garlic powder, salt and pepper (to taste) and broccoli in a bowl. Lay out pizza crust and cut in half. Fill half of the side of the dough with the mixture and fold over. Pinch sides closed. Bake at 450* for 15 minutes.

I stretched my dough out and used the whole mixture in two calzones, one batch would be enough for 4 not so bursting calzones though.

Like I said, I made these up the night before and put them in the fridge, I had my husband take them out an hour before they went into the oven to get them back to room temperature.

**I recommend filling the calzones when they're already on the baking sheet so you don't lose anything through the bottom trying to transport them**

I'm going to try making these again and freezing them, it'd be very convenient on the weekends or a night I leave my husband on his own for dinner. It'd also be much cheaper and better for you than ones you can buy in your freezer section!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Meatless Monday -- Black Bean Tostadas

We've decided to start doing Meatless Mondays! I was kind of skeptical at first, but tonight's dinner was delicious! Hopefully each Monday follows suit.

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of corn (drained)
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
1 bunch of scallions (chopped)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
shredded cheese
10 tortillas

In a bowl mix black beans, corn, tomatoes, scallions, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder.

Scoop three generous spoonfuls onto each tortilla, top it with some shredded cheese and fold it in half.

Bake for 12 minutes at 350*.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Whipped Cream Frosting

One of my favorite types of recipes are the kinds you can tweek over and over to come up with new and delicious varieties. This recipe for whipped cream frosting is definitely one of them.

All you need is a box of instant pudding, any flavor, any size. Use half the amount of milk the box calls for, mix it up and fold in a tub of whipped cream, that's it! I used vanilla for the cupcakes below and added some red food coloring to get the pink color and added pearl sprinkles.

The possibilities of cake/frosting combos are endless with all the pudding flavors that are available. I think a pistachio flavored frosting would extremely yummy!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Catching Up With Chicken Dishes

Sorry for the three (plus) month sabbatical. Shortly after posting my last blog post my husband found out he got a job in Pittsburgh. I had four weeks to find a place to live, find a job, pack and move. Thankfully everything worked out and went more smoothly than I ever could have imagined. A lot of that is due to my wonderful family!

In the past two months we’ve been settling in, trying to establish new schedules and of course having fun!

One project I’ve been working on perfecting is menu planning. I’ve been planning our meals two weeks ahead of time so that my grocery list is as detailed as possible. We’ve been trying out a bunch of new recipes and I’m working on a bigger project that I hope to have finished and up by the end of the summer.

We eat a lot of chicken dishes, and any meal that would originally call for ground beef we use ground turkey. I’ve never bought steaks or anything of the sorts for us to make. I’m not a health freak and when I go out I’ll occasionally order a big juicy beef burger, but I’ve never really liked steaks and we get by just fine without red meats. 

I wanted to share a couple of the recipes I’ve tried lately. They’re definitely a different way to enjoy chicken!

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 cup Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 cup Hot Sauce
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 package No-Boil Lasagna Noodles

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Combine ranch cheesing dressing and hot sauce in a bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, stir together the ricotta cheese and egg. Set aside. Combine the chopped chicken and celery in another bowl.  
  3. To compose the lasagna, coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with a thin layer of the dressing/hot sauce mixture. Place three lasagna noodles side by side over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta/egg mixture over the noodles. Scatter 1/3 of the chicken and celery over the ricotta. Drizzle 1/4 of the ranch/hot sauce mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Top with three more lasagna noodles. Repeat the layering process until you’ve used all of the chicken, celery, and ricotta. Top the final lasagna noodles with the remaining sauce and cheese.  
  4. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 10 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.   

JalapeƱo Popper Stuffed Chicken

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 4 strips of bacon, diced (optional)
  • 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I used regular bread crumbs and seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  2. Stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and jalapenos in a small bowl.
  3. Cut a pocket horizontally through the thickest side of each chicken breast, and fill with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Secure with toothpicks.
  4. Roll the chicken breasts in bread crumbs to coat. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook chicken breasts until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 8 minutes per side. If your chicken breasts are thick, like mine were, they can be finished in a 350-degree oven. 


Chicken Fajitas

  •  1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  •  1 small can diced tomatoes with chilies
  •  1 medium onion, sliced
  •  1 large bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  •  2 T vegetable oil
  •  2 t. chili powder
  •  2 t. cumin
  •  1/2 t. garlic powder
  •  1/2 t. dried oregano
  •  1/4 t. salt
  •  12 flour tortillas, warmed to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking dish. Mix together chicken, tomatoes, chilies, peppers, and onions in the dish.
  2. In a small bowl combine the oil and spices. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and toss to coat.
  3. Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Serve with warmed tortillas and your favorite toppings.