Cars and Ribbons

Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Countdown

February is only a couple days away which means Valentine's is fast approaching. I always try to make the holidays fun and celebratory for my kids. We enjoy counting down to Christmas so why not do it with another holiday? Last year we started the tradition of counting down to Valentine's Day starting on February 1st.

We bought these foam mailboxes at Michael's and then my kids decorated them to their choosing. Each day there is a surprise waiting for them in their mailbox. You can read about it here. So, we're going to countdown again. The ends of the mailboxes kept popping open so I quickly added some hot glue and now they're permanently closed.

I wonder what goodies they'll find in their mailboxes this year?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Roast Burritos

I recently found a roast on a Manager's Special when I went to my grocery store. Of course, I snatched it up! Anytime you can find a good roast marked down is a steal of a deal! However, I didn't want to make just a traditional roast with veggies, mashed potatoes, etc. So, I searched the internet and found some recipes for burritos. I combined the recipes and used my own creativeness to come up with my own recipe. It's so simple and so good!

Put a roast in a crockpot and pour green chiles and tomato sauce over the top. Then, I seasoned it. Anytime I make Mexican food, I use the same seasonings: salt, pepper, season salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin powder. It may seem like a lot of seasonings, but I only use a little of each. You can also just buy a packet of taco seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The longer it cooks, the more tender it will be.

When it's done cooking, I transfered the roast to a smaller dish and shredded with forks. It smells so delicious!!!

Then, you're ready to fix your burrito. Heat up your tortilla. Our grocery store has a tortilleria and those are the only tortillas I buy. I have not attempted homemade tortillas yet, but I do remember watching my mom and grandma make them all the time. Some day I'll try it.

Fill your tortilla with the shredded roast and whatever toppings you like. My daughter likes her burrito very simple with some shredded cheese and salsa. Don't be jealous of my fancy dishes!

Roll, and enjoy!!! My picky 5 year old son asked for seconds so I knew dinner was a success.

Roast Burritos

2-3 lb. chuck roast

7 oz. can of green chiles, drained

8 oz. can of tomato sauce

salt, pepper, season salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin powder to taste


Optional Toppings:

cheese, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, sauteed onions and peppers, lettuce

Place roast in crockpot and cover with green chiles and tomato sauce. Season to taste. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. When done cooking, move roast to smaller dish and shred with forks. Place roast in heated tortillas and add your toppings of choice.

This concludes my 5 days of recipes. I'd love to hear your feedback. Did you try any? How did you like it? Would you like to see more recipes? If so, what kind? Coming up: Valentine's crafts, recipes, and ideas.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Slow Cooker Potato Soup

Potato soup, when made the right way, can warm your whole body. It's tasty, creamy, and is a great comfort food. I found this recipe on Betty Crocker. It was so easy to make and we really loved it.

You just need a package of frozen hashbrowns, chicken broth, onion, celery, flour, and milk.

For extra toppings you can use cheese, bacon bits, and green onions. Yum!

In a slow cooker, mix potatoes, onion, celery, and broth. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

In small bowl, mix flour into milk and stir into potato mixture. Increase setting to high and cook for 20-30 more minutes until mixture thickens. Stir in some cheese until melted. I also added some pepper, salt, and garlic powder for extra flavor.

Add your desired toppings and enjoy the yumminess!

32 oz. bag frozen, shredded hashbrowns

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 medium stalk of celery, chopped

32 oz. carton of chicken broth

1 cup water

3 Tbsp. flour

1 cup milk

Shredded cheese

Bacon bits

Chopped green onion

In slow cooker, mix potatoes, onion, celery, and broth. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. In small bowl, mix flour into milk and then add to the potato mixture. Increase setting to high and cook for 20-30 more minutes. Add some cheese and cook until melted. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder if desired. Stir, then serve with additional toppings.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spicy Mac N Cheese

Macaroni N Cheese is one of America's favorite dishes. There are soooo many ways to make it. In fact, I have 3 different recipes that I use and they all taste different, but are still very flavorful.

Spicy Mac N Cheese is such a delicious dish but don't eat if you're watching your carbs and fat intake. I usually only make this when my dad is in town because it's his favorite. It may be a little spicy for some, but it's just right for our family. Here's the recipe:

Spicy Mac N Cheese from Food Network
2 cups elbow pasta, cooked
16 0z cheddar cubed, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
8 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed
2 tsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 Tbsp. sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half/half
4 slices bread
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, toss cooked pasta with cheese cubes and pour in 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. In another bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard, nutmeg, sour cream, egg, heavy cream, and half/half. Pour over pasta. Cover with shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until top is beginning to brown, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, cut bread into crouton-sized squares. In skillet over medium heat, melt butter and add bread cubes. Toast bread until golden. Sprinkle bread on top of pasta and bake 10 more minutes. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creamy Swiss Chicken

This is a recipe I first posted on our family blog, The Suburban Kelley's, awhile ago. It's a family favorite and so incredibly easy. I didn't post step-by-step pictures because it's pretty much just mixing and pouring. Hope you like it.

I got the recipe for Creamy Swiss Chicken from a Pillsbury cookbook. It was one of the first recipes I tried after Craig and I got married. Well, okay, it was one of the first recipes I tried EVER!

It's creamy and flavorful. I always serve it with steamed rice and veggies. It's very quick and easy to make too. I always double the recipe for my family because it goes quickly and great for leftovers (if there's any). Enjoy!

Creamy Swiss Chicken

1 lb. boneless chicken breast or tenderloins, thawed

1 can cream of chicken soup

1/4 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup Progresso plain bread crumbs

1 tbsp. butter, melted

4 slices Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Place chicken in dish. In small bowl, combine soup and half-and-half; mix well. Pour over chicken. Bake for 30 minutes. In another small bowl, combine bread crumbs and melted butter; mix well. Remove chicken from oven. Top with cheese slices; sprinkle bread crumb mixture over cheese. Return to oven; bake another 10 minutes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hawaiian Sammies

What do you get when you put some shaved ham, cheese and a bunch of other yummy ingredients into a Hawaiian roll? A Hawaiian Sammie!!! This is the first of five recipes I will be sharing this week. So get ready for some easy, yummy recipes that you're family will be asking for again and again.

I first found this recipe on Pinterest. I decided to make it as one of our easy weeknight meals and it was a hit! These are the ingredients: 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion, poppy seeds, butter, shaved ham, and swiss cheese. Most of these are probably already in your fridge and pantry.
Melt a stick of butter in the skillet and add one minced or grated onion. I didn't use an entire onion because my family doesn't like too strong of an onion taste. Adjust the taste to suit your family. Combine 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 3 teaspoons of poppy seed into the butter. Simmer for several minutes.

Line aluminum foil on the bottom of a 13 x 9" pan or a cookie sheet. Slice the 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls and place the bottoms on the foil. Note: be sure to check the prices on a package of 12 rolls vs a package of 4 rolls. Kroger had the 12 pack for $3.99 but the 4 pack for $1. So, it's cheaper to get 3 four packs of rolls instead of the larger pack. This happens a lot on various grocery items, so if you're watching your pennies, always double check prices.

Spread 3/4 of the onion mixture on the bottoms of the rolls.

Layer with ham. We prefer Smokehouse Ham.

Then, layer with slices of Swiss cheese.

Place the tops of the rolls on the cheese. Spread the rest of the onion mixture on the roll tops. Cover with foil. You can either refrigerate until ready to bake or go ahead and stick it in the oven. Bake the sammies, covered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Then, enjoy the yummy sammies. They are delicious!!!

12 Hawaiian sweet rolls

1 onion, minced or grated

1 stick of butter

3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

3 tsp. poppy seeds

1/2 lb. shaved ham

8 slices of Swiss cheese

Melt butter in small skillet and add onions. Combine mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and poppy seeds and add to skillet. Simmer for a few minutes. Line pan or 13 x 9 dish with aluminum foil and place roll bottoms on foil. Spread with 3/4 of the onion mixture. Layer ham and cheese. Place roll tops on top. Spread the rest of the onion mixture on the roll tops. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ribbon and Felt Bookmarks

Recently the kids had a school holiday. My daughter wanted to make some sort of craft. After searching for ideas in books and the internet, we settled on making our own bookmarks made of ribbon and felt. We already had all the supplies, so we were ready to go.
We didn't have any pre-cut felt shapes, so my daughter suggested using a cookie cutter! Genius!!!

When my children make their own crafts, I try not to get too involved and let their own creative juices flow. It's so cute to see what they come up with, even if their shapes aren't perfect or their cutting is a little off. That's what makes it unique.

Next, cut a 12" piece of ribbon.

Glue the ribbon to the back of the felt shape. I just used tacky glue so it would be more kid friendly than hot glue.

Then, decorate your felt shape as desired.

For the top of the bookmark, fold back about 1" of the ribbon and glue.

You can embellish this part as well. My daughter chose a coordinating pink gem.

And that's it!!!
Use your imagination, use your cookie cutters, and use the supplies you already have.

So, have you read any good books lately?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cake Stands

Cake stands are a great way to display yummy desserts, festive decorations, or other fun items.

Buying them in a store can be a little costly. However, making them to suit your own style can be super inexpensive. All you need is epoxy glue and dishes!

I bought this tube of glue at a craft store and of course used a coupon.

For the actual cake stands, I scour garage sales and thrift stores. I like to choose unique plates, cups, and candlestick holders. I don't ever pay more than $1 or $2 for an item. I thoroughly wash and dry the pieces, select how I want the cake stand to look, and then glue. When using epoxy glue, be sure you are in a well ventilated room. I always open the window and it helps with the strong fumes.

I found this plate and candlestick holder at a thrift store. I collect milk glass pieces so I made this for my collection. I can dress it up by tying a ribbon around the base or weaving a ribbon through the holes of the plate.

When I went to Goodwill before the holidays, I was looking for items to make cake stands for my mother and mother-in-law. It just so happened that the day I went, all glassware and plates were on sale. Plates were $3/5 and glasses and vases were $2/5!!! I used 3 plates and 2 glasses for the 2 cake stands. Total cost was $3.75 to make the gifts. Plus, I also have some pieces set aside to make for other gifts. I love thrift shopping!!!!

I made my mom a crystal cake stand previously, so I decided to make a double tier for this year. I found several of these pretty green plates with scalloped edges. The drinking glass in the center has a grapevine molded into it. I turned the glass upside down and glued it to the center of the plates.
My mother-in-law loved this single-tiered cake stand. It has the same green plate and a pretty ribbed drinking glass. She absolutely loved it as well.
You can easily use plastic, glass, or crystal dishes to make stunning cake stands with one or several tiers. Keep your eyes open for a unique look that matches your own house, your gift recipients house, or a particular holiday. The possibilities are endless and it won't cost a fortune!

This concludes my tutorials for all my 2011 Christmas gifts. I hope you found something that you can't wait to make yourself. I would love to see pictures.

Coming up January 23-27 are 5 days of yummy recipes. Stay tuned!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tile Coasters

I am a coaster person. I have tons of coasters placed in different drawers throughout my family room and formal living room. My furniture is nice and fairly new and I don't want to get rings on my furniture. I'm also not opposed to asking my guests to use a coaster when they come over. In fact, some of my friends know exactly where I keep my coasters and just automatically grab one for their drink. Thank you friends!

Then, I saw this great tutorial on Pinterest on how to make your own coasters. Brilliant!!! It's so easy and inexpensive, that I made some as gifts for Christmas.

First, you need to pick out your tile. There are so many choices that you can pick from at your local hardware store. I chose a plain, white ceramic tile for $.16 at Home Depot. In fact, I stocked up on tiles so I can always quickly whip up a set of coasters.
Paper. So many options. I'm sure you already have some cute paper in your scrapbooking stash. Craft stores usually have their paper on sale for 4/$1. Again, I like to really think about the gift recipient and really personalize their gift. For example, I used the Disney paper for some friends that just came back from a trip to Disneyworld and they love all the characters. You can also monogram the paper with a die cut letter or sticker.
Now you have to decide if you want your paper to cover the entire tile or if you want to leave a little border. I like to leave a border. So for my 4.25" x 4.25" tile, I cut the paper into a 3.75" square.

Gather your Mod Podge (purchased with a 40% off coupon), foam brush ($.10), and a old card. Why do you need a card? It's to push the bubbles out of the Mod Podge. I've never used Mod Podge before so this was all very new to me. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto your tile. Place your paper on top of the wet Mod Podge. As you are placing the paper on the tile, start to gently scrape along the top with the card. This will immediately get all the little air bubbles out that get trapped under the paper. Follow the instructions on the bottle to repeat layers of Mod Podge over the paper. Keep using your card as a scraper, but use gentle pressure so you don't tear the paper.

By the way, don't panic. There was not a balance left on that Starbucks card.

After you brush the final layer of Mod Podge on your paper, let it dry. Then spray on a coat of clear acrylic spray (less than $2 at Wal-Mart) to seal everything and prevent water from ruining your pretty coaster. Be sure to spray it outside.

Once that dries, you can place the felt on the back of the tile. You can either cut a felt square and glue it on or use felt circles. I prefer the circles. You can find a package of 84 circles at any retail, craft, or hardware store.

That's all there is to it. Since I had several supplies at home, the biggest expense was the purchase of the tiles. For a set of 4 coasters, it only cost $.64!!!

Be creative with your coasters, personalize, and make a very thoughtful gift.