Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reflection on 2011 Resolutions

I am in complete denial that 2011 is almost over. This year has gone by incredibly fast and has been a year of busy schedules, lots of traveling, and the usual ups and downs of life. I looked back to my original new year's resolutions post on January 1st and it is always interesting to see if I followed through on my resolutions. I also posted a resolutions update in April that outlined my progress for the first part of the year. I have not posted updates on my resolutions since April, but here is my summary of how I did on my goals for 2011. My original post on resolutions included four important areas: stay healthy, save money, live simply, and have fun... here is my report card for 2011's new year's resolutions.
  1. Stay Healthy: I have made a lot of progress in this area and I have lost 15 pounds since May. I am working on keeping my nutrition balanced and exercising at least 3 times each week. I have also cut down significantly on drinking alcohol, eating out, and have successful reduced my Starbucks intake to only twice a week (this one is often the hardest).
  2. Save Money: This year was a spendy one with all of our trips and activities throughout the year, but I was still able to save for retirement (reached my goal of $15,000 saved in January) and I was able to pay for Christmas in cash this year. There is always room for improvement in this area and will continue to be a focus for me in 2012.
  3. Live Simply: The progress in this area is often hard to measure, but I do know that I have been able to focus more on the simple pleasures of life like a home cooked meal, a cozy night on the couch with a good movie, and have limited the buying of "stuff" throughout the year. I want to continue to focus on the principle of 'doing more with less' and plan to practice this more often in 2012.
  4. Have Fun: This year was full of multiple trips to visit family, friends, and attend sporting events. I have also enjoyed every book club gathering, party planning for baby showers and birthdays, and the multiple craft projects I have worked on throughout the year. Our plan for 2012 is to find more fun and events in our local community and to enjoy watching the new minor league baseball team coming to town (we have season tickets!) 
Overall, I would have to say that 2011 was a great year and I stayed on track with my resolutions more than I have in the past. The key for me is to pick a few things that are really important and focus on those instead of trying to tackle 20 resolutions in one year. Over the next few days I will be compiling my resolutions list for 2012 and I will be sure to post it when it's ready!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Favorite Christmas Gifts

Christmas was wonderful and I was one lucky girl when it came to the gifts! My husband spoiled me, my Mom did 12 days of Christmas for us, my in-laws found a few of my favorite things, and I had a fun shopping spree with my Dad a few weeks ago. The shopping spree with my Dad is an annual tradition where we go to the mall together and I pick out new clothes and shoes. This year, I found some fun new sweaters and four new pairs of shoes... a girl's dream!

It would be impossible to list all of the gifts I received here, but I do want to highlight a few of my favorites.
  • Rachael Ray Garbage Bowl in Red - my in-laws bought this for me and I can't wait to start using it as I prep ingredients for recipes... and the red is perfect!
My other gifts included several holiday scented candles, vanilla scented lotion, 'Crazy, Stupid, Love' DVD, plenty of gift cards to Starbucks and Target, a Martha Stewart glitter set, comfy socks, a set of pocket sized journals, and loads of candy and stocking stuffers! I enjoyed relaxing for the holiday and looking forward to all the fun I will have with my gifts from this year. I am truly spoiled (but always appreciative)!  

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone is able to spend time with family and friends today and enjoy this blessed day. Take a moment to reflect on the reason for this season and the amazing blessings we all have in our lives. Say a prayer for our service men and women who are not home this season and for all of the military that have fought for our freedoms. I hope your day is full of laughter, joy, and warmth in your heart. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holidays... Time for Sweets and Treats

The holiday season is always full of sweets and treats, which is exactly the way it should be! I will have a glorious 4 day weekend over Christmas and plan to bake up a storm. I look forward to some relaxing time with my husband and a chance to bake some sweets! Here are a few sweets recipes that I have had my eyes on for weeks:
delicious little bites of apple pie in a cookie size... love!
milk chocolate, white chocolate, & butterscotch chips in one cookie... 3 times the sweetness!
popcorn with brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, & white chocolate... looks amazing!
The holidays are all about indulging in sweets (within some sort of reason) and these recipes will be sure to deliver on sweetness and sugar! I can't wait to bake a few of these next weekend as I enjoy the time off, the Christmas holiday, and relaxing time with my husband. Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chicken, Spinach, and Mushroom Stuffed Shells

This past weekend my Dad was visiting us and we celebrated Christmas early together. We always make time to cook a new recipe together and we made this delicious stuffed shells recipe for dinner on Saturday night. I was given this recipe by a co-worker a few years ago and have had it tucked away in my recipe binder just waiting for a cold night to make this delicious comfort food! Since I don't have the link for the recipe, I will post the ingredients and directions below. I made this dish using my Rachael Ray Lasagna Lover that my mom gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I love using this dish for anything that needs baked in the oven (lasagna, pasta bakes, stuffed chicken, etc). If you need a great pan to add to your kitchen, this Lasagna Lover is fantastic! Here is the recipe:

  • 8 oz. of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/2 bag of fresh spinach, sliced thin
  • olive oil for cooking
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)
  • 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 small tub of ricotta cheese
  • 1 box of jumbo pasta shells, cooked
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • cook pasta shells as directed (leave al dente - they will cook more in the oven)
  • boil chicken breasts until cooked through, cool chicken and then shred
  • in a saute pan, saute the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and spinach in oil oil until cooked through
  • place the veggie mixture in a large bowl and add shredded chicken to bowl
  • add the spices/seasonings to the bowl and mix through
  • add ricotta cheese to the bowl and toss to combine
  • fill cooked pasta shells with filling and place in greased 13 by 9 inch baking pan
  • once baking pan is full of stuffed shells, pour alfredo sauce over the top of the filled shells
  • top with shredded mozzarella cheese
  • bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-60 minutes
Hope you make some comfort food for your family soon and this recipe is super easy to make and really tasty! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Sweets and Treats

I absolutely love the holiday season and Christmas baking is one of my favorite holiday traditions! With all of the great ideas out there, I plan on trying a few new (and ambitious) treat recipes this Christmas season. Check out these adorable photos and links for instructions, and enjoy!
  • North Pole Cupcakes - the perfect decoration and treat for any holiday themed party! (find the free 'north pole sign' download here)
  • White Chocolate Popcorn - a quick and easy snack to put together for friends or co-workers (find the free 'merry christmas tag' download here)
Christmas is such a sweet time of year and I hope you have a chance to do some holiday baking and share the delicious sweets with your family and friends. Enjoy!

      Saturday, December 10, 2011

      Christmas Box of Goodies

      I love finding adorable gift ideas on the blogs I watch, and the blog Eighteen25 has fabulous ideas! I found this idea for a box of goodies a few months ago and wanted to adapt it for my co-workers Christmas gifts. My team works in an office setting, so I thought the adorable office supplies and chocolate would be a great gift. I put together eleven of these Christmas Goodie Boxes that each have matching office supplies, matching chocolates, and a mini anti-bac hand sanitizer and lip gloss from Bath and Body Works. Then I decorated each box with decorative paper, die cut letters for their names, and matching ribbon to tie it all together. Here are just a few pictures of the finished project:
      the inside of the dmc box full of goodies
      the top of the box decorated with paper, letters, ribbon, and buttons
      We celebrated Christmas early yesterday and the when I gave the girls their gifts, they were surprised and loved the idea! A few of the girls said over and over again, "I wish this would have been my idea!" I really enjoyed putting these gifts together but at the same time, I am relieved they are done and delivered. If you are looking for great DIY craft projects, check out the blog Eighteen25 (thanks for the inspiration girls)!

      Thursday, December 8, 2011

      Another Amazing Night!

      Book Club night is almost always one of my favorite nights of the month and tonight was no different. The girls came over to my house for the evening and we had an absolute blast together! I put together a delicious (and healthy) appetizer menu and the favorite recipe was the BLT Wonton Crunchies... so easy and the bite size cups were perfect finger food! We discussed the book Pioneer Woman, and just about everyone loved the book and enjoyed the fairytale romance of Ree and her Marlboro Man. I love when a book brings up so many personal stories and memories that we get to share with each other. With each book our group reads, we get to know each other even better and our friendships become deeper and stronger... one of the many perks of our book club gatherings. 

      Our next book club selection is Saving CeeCee Honecutt by Beth Hoffman and was recommended as a light read for this busy time of year. We meet again in five weeks and I know the holidays are busy for everyone, which makes this short book a perfect choice for the season. I already have the book ready on my nightstand to pick up this weekend and enjoy!

      Tuesday, December 6, 2011

      Pioneer Woman - Absolutely Loved the Book!

      I just finished the book 'Pioneer Woman' by Ree Drummond and absolutely loved this book! I can honestly say that this book would rank on my top 10 list of books I have read in the last 10 years. The romantic and charming story of Ree and her husband (she calls him Marlboro Man) described the beginning of their life together including joys, struggles, and the amazing power of love. I loved reading about how they met, their whirlwind romance, their adorable wedding, and the first year of marriage including the birth of their first child. If I could buy this book for every woman I know, I would... that is how much I loved it. I can't wait to host book club on Thursday and gush about this book with all of the girls... and I hope they enjoy the menu I have prepared! Now it just needs to be Thursday...

      Saturday, December 3, 2011

      Adorable Christmas Crafts

      The Christmas season is the perfect time to get crafty! It is cold outside, hot chocolate or hot apple cider is the perfect drink to enjoy, you can stay in your pajamas all weekend, and you can work on adorable crafts and gifts for the holiday season. Here are a few of my favorite 'Christmas Craft' ideas that I have found on the internet.
      • Advent Pocket Calendar - the perfect way to countdown to Christmas and enjoy all of our favorite holiday season activities
      • Reindeer Food - a super simple and affordable craft to hand out to kids before Christmas (check out the link for the free printables in either red or green)
      Can't wait to make a few of these for my home or for family and friends! Happy Crafting!

      Friday, December 2, 2011

      Book Club Menu

      This month I am hosting book club again and planning a delicious holiday appetizer menu for our gathering. Since it is the holidays and we are all trying to avoid the 'dreaded holiday weight gain', I have planned my entire menu around Hungry Girl recipes from Food Network. Hungry Girl (aka Lisa Lillian) has written several books about how you can enjoy delicious recipes with far fewer calories just by making a few swaps. Here is the menu I will be preparing for the girls:
      I am looking forward to having the girls over and discussing the book, "Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Heels" by Ree Drummond. This menu will be a perfect compliment to our gathering and will help us all avoid the holiday bulge!

      Monday, November 28, 2011

      Love the Book!

      This month's book club selection is one of my favorite books of the year. I have read just about half of the book, Pioneer Woman, and have loved every page! If you are looking for a great love story that makes you want to read page after page, you will love this book. This past holiday weekend was perfect for reading a book and catching up on some sleep. I look forward to finishing the book this week and will post a full review then. Stay tuned for my book club menu post later this week where I will be sharing lots of great recipes for next week's gathering. Happy Reading!

      Thursday, November 24, 2011

      Be Thankful

      Happy Thanksgiving! This sign says it all for a day full of cooking, baking, preparing the table, spending time with family, and feasting on a thanksgiving meal. This year will be my first Thanksgiving learning how to cook a turkey from beginning to delicious end. I look forward to waking up early and learning how to prepare everything for a perfect Thanksgiving meal at the end of the day!
      I hope everyone has the opportunity to spend the day with the people you love! I am so thankful for my family, my friends, our home, my amazing job, and the joy that I have in my life. God has truly blessed me and I am eternally grateful for those blessings!

      Wednesday, November 23, 2011

      Homemade Laundry Soap

      I have always been interested in the idea of making laundry soap from scratch, both to save money and to create a more green option for our household. While browsing Pinterest the other night, I discovered this blog with instructions from start to finish on how to make my very own laundry soap
      This project only requires a few ingredients and a large bucket to mix everything in. This blog also suggests that you save milk cartons to bottle the batch of laundry soap (the recipe fills over 8 gallon milk cartons). I will be saving milk containers and laundry detergent bottles for the next couple months and then I should be ready to try this project. I am adding this idea to my winter to-do list and will post a review once I have made the laundry soap and tested it out.

      Sunday, November 20, 2011

      Roasted Cinnamon Sweet Potato Fries

      I have been in love with sweet potatoes for almost a year and love finding new and interesting ways to dress them up and enjoy them! This easy recipe came from Rachael Ray's magazine 'Everyday with Rachael Ray' and only needs 4 ingredients (sweet potatoes, EVOO, cinnamon, and salt/pepper).

      Sweet Potatoes are on sale during the fall season in almost every grocery store and I was able to buy two large sweet potatoes for only 87 cents... a bargain! I enjoyed this recipe as a Sunday snack, but you could pair it with burgers, sandwiches, or leftover turkey this coming weekend. Another great note, sweet potatoes are the most nutritious vegetable you can find in the grocery store, so eat up!

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      Salsa Chicken Recipe

      The recipe I made for dinner tonight was so easy and super delicious! This salsa chicken recipe is from allrecipes.com and I found the link through the website Pinterest (I love love love this site).
      I loved being able to use my homemade salsa in this recipe (see my post about making homemade salsa here). The salsa made this dish so moist and flavorful. I also loved that this recipe was healthy, each portion was only 287 calories and I served it with a small side of spanish rice. If you need an easy and healthy recipe, give this one a try!

      Wednesday, November 16, 2011

      Handmade Felt Christmas Bows

      I love adorable craft ideas that are easy to make and very unique! These felt bows are from the blog Twig and Thistle and are perfect for holiday wrapping!
      I will be visiting family for Thanksgiving weekend and these will be the perfect craft for my mom, my grandma, and me to make while the turkey finishes in the oven. The instructions are super easy to follow and the end result is a fun gift bow that can be reused for years to come.
      If you are looking for a great quality felt to order for this project, check out Papertrey's website. You will need a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, a hot glue gun, and of course felt to complete this project. I can't wait to put together these precious bows and use them this year in my holiday gift wrapping!

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      Fabulous Party Supplies!

      Planning and hosting parties is one of my favorite things to do! I love planning all of the details for a party and making sure each detail ties into an adorable party theme. There are so many great finds on the internet to go with your next themed party, and here are just a few of my favorites:
      There are so many great party supply options online and affordable ways to add detail and the extra finishing touch to every party you plan. For additional party ideas, be sure to check out any of the blogs listed to the right (on my favorite blogs list) and enjoy planning your next great party!

      Sunday, November 13, 2011

      Pumpkin Pie Bites

      Sunday afternoons are perfect for baking and that is exactly what I have been doing today. It is cold and rainy outside and baking something pumpkin is the perfect fall treat and just the comfort food I needed.

      These pumpkin pie bites were featured on my blog in September as part of my book club menu. I did not have time to make them then, but still wanted to put this recipe on my list of 'must try recipes'. This recipe was super easy (uses pre-made pie crust) and has built in portion control (bite size pumpkin pie instead of eating the whole pie). If you need an easy to make bite size treat for your next party, try these! Or just make a batch for yourself and have a few each day for a delicious fall treat... enjoy!

      Adorable Pumpkin Craft

      Do you ever encounter an idea or a project and wish you would have thought of it before someone else did?! Well, that is exactly what I thought when a friend made this adorable pumpkin for me. 
      This pumpkin craft only requires a few supplies and the result is perfection! This pumpkin was made from a piece of dryer vent that has been spray painted orange and formed into a pumpkin shape. Then a few artificial leaves were adhered (a hot glue gun works best) to the top as well as a cinnamon stick and raffia. This diy project is super simple and very affordable. I love the unique look and who would have thought that a dryer vent would be the perfect crafting material?! I plan on making a batch of these next year as hostess gifts and last minute party decorations for all of the events and gatherings in the fall. Enjoy!

      Saturday, November 12, 2011

      Homemade Salsa

      About a week ago I participated in a Salsa Day at work with a few of my co-workers. We spent a Friday morning making batches and batches of homemade salsa. This was my first experience at canning and my first time making salsa from scratch. I really enjoyed the methodical process of canning and know that I will do it again. This salsa has been husband approved and has a good balance of heat.

      Here is the salsa recipe for you to try: (recipe makes a batch for 11 pint jars)
      • 16 Cups of Tomatoes (peeled and cooked down) 
      • 4 Cups of Chopped Onions
      • 3 Cups of Chopped Banana Peppers
      • 3/4 Cup of Canned Jalapeno Peppers
      • 1/2 Cup of Oil
      • 1 Cup of Vinegar
      • 4 Cloves Minced Garlic (2 teaspoons)
      • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
      • 3 Tablespoons of Salt
      Scald tomatoes in boiling water and then peel and core the tomatoes. Place tomatoes core side down in a pan and simmer for 2 hours. Pour the juices off and chop tomatoes in the food processor. Then add the other ingredients and heat through in a large pot on the stove. Then follow the proper canning process and place the jars in a hot water bath for at least 10 minutes. 

      Hope you make homemade salsa sometime soon! (It makes great hostess gifts with a bag of Tostitos Scoops and also a great Christmas gift for neighbors, coworkers, or friends.) Enjoy!

      Friday, November 11, 2011

      A Grateful Nation

      Today is Veteran's Day and on behalf of my family, I would like to express a sincere thank you to all of the men and women that have served our country or are currently serving in the military. The freedoms we have as Americans should never be taken for granted and always remember, someone fought for you and someone died for you. Remember to thank a veteran or active duty military member today and each day you have the opportunity to. God Bless America!

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      New Book Club Selection - 'Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels'

      Book Club was great tonight, as always! We had a great time getting together and our host Sarah made cheese and chocolate fondue, which made the perfect dinner and delicious dessert combo! We also had a new member of the group join us tonight, Kristen. The girls loved her and I could tell that Kristen was having a great time chatting with our group. We didn't spend much time discussing the book Room since most of the girls were not a fan of this selection. We chose our next book (which I am thrilled about), and we will be reading Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. I have been following Ree's blog for a few months (see my original post about her here) and have featured several of her recipes on my blog. I adored her Food Network show called Pioneer Woman (which will be back for a holiday special in December) and really enjoy her style of writing on her blog. I look forward to this love story book and can't wait to chat about the details with all of the book club gals next month. Happy Reading Ladies!

      Book Club Selection Fail - 'Room'

      Tonight is book club and I have to admit that I did not even make it through the first chapter of the book "Room". This book was horrible in my opinion... the style of writing was very difficult to understand and I could tell it was going to be a very dark book from the beginning of the first chapter. I am interested to see tonight if any of the girls finished the book and what their thoughts were. The perfectionist in me has a hard time not finishing a book before our book club meeting, but I had to finally call it with this one, give up, and not waste my time reading another chapter. I guess this is a great lesson in knowing that not all books will be great and readable. I am looking forward to seeing all the girls tonight and choosing our next selection!

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      Delicious Pumpkin Dip

      I adore anything pumpkin this time of year and love new recipes that use canned pumpkin puree in new and delicious ways. This pumpkin dip is so simple and really delicious!

      I love that this recipe only needs 6 ingredients... so simple! I served this dip with cut up gala apples and vanilla wafer cookies. If you need an easy fall recipe for your next party or family gathering, try this super simple delicious pumpkin dip! It is so good!

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      Favorite Craft Projects from Mish

      One of my absolute favorite craft blogs to follow is called Mish Mash from Michelle Wooderson. Her creations are inspiring and truly amazing! I look forward to her blog posts on a daily basis and have bought several items from her Etsy shop to add to my handmade cards and craft projects. I wanted to feature a few of her craft projects that are my personal favorites and have inspired me to get crafty! Check out these amazing pictures and click on the link below each picture to find the detailed post and project instructions on her blog. Enjoy!
       Friendship Jar Fall Fillers Teacher Card - I love the wrinkle ribbon and the twine tied together!

      Sparkly Holiday Gift Sacks - the glittered mini clothespin is my favorite and the jingle bell is the perfect finishing touch!
      Tea for Two Pretty Paper Pouch and Card - this adorable gift pouch includes a card and tea bags for the perfect tea time gift!

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      Lasagna Recipes

      Lasagna is a huge favorite in our house and I could literally feed my husband lasagna five nights a week. I love how you can make the traditional italian lasagna but then you can also make so many different variations on this classic. Here are few new variations on lasagna that I can't wait to try (and I am sure my husband will approve):
      • Petite Lasagna - adorable individual size lasagnas (perfect portion control too!)
      I can't wait to try a few lasagna recipes that are different than the usual meat, cheese, and basil combination! I will post with a review once I make one (or all) of these great recipes... so stay tuned!

          Monday, October 31, 2011

          Happy Halloween!

          Trick or Treat! Which is your favorite? Mine is most definitely treats! Here are a few Halloween Treats to inspire you today or just make you smile! :)
          Candy Corn Macarons from the blog Annie's Eats
          Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse from the blog Glorious Treats
          Candy Corn Meringues from the blog Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

          Saturday, October 29, 2011

          Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

          I love lazy Saturday mornings where I sleep in till at least 9am, take a long hot shower, and then make a delicious breakfast for myself. 
          This morning I made the Vanilla Spice Oatmeal recipe that I had featured in my brunch post a few weeks ago. It was amazing and so healthy! I love it when I have everything in the house to make a recipe and it comes together quick. This recipe only has 255 calories in each serving, which I love for a recipe as filling as this one. Enjoy your (hopefully lazy) Saturday morning and make something healthy for yourself today!

          Friday, October 28, 2011

          Easy Recipe - BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

          Tonight I put together an easy chicken recipe that was given to me by a close friend that loves cooking with beer! This recipe for BBQ Chicken Sandwiches is the perfect solution for sandwich night and packs a bunch of flavor for not a lot of work. This recipe also uses the slow cooker (which I have committed to using more this fall/winter). Here are the ingredients and directions:

          • boneless skinless chicken breasts
          • onion
          • 14 oz of ketchup
          • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
          • 1/2 cup of beer
          • 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
          • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
          • 3 teaspoons of dry mustard
          • 6 tablespoons of butter
          • salt and pepper to taste
          1) Cook 4-5 chicken breasts in about 3/4 can of beer in the slow cooker with salt, pepper, and a few slices of onion for about 2-3 hours. 
          2) Simmer the homemade BBQ sauce for about 30 minutes and then add the chicken to the sauce after it has been shredded.
          3) Serve on toasted sesame seed buns and enjoy!

          Monday, October 24, 2011

          Birthday Dinner - Cincinnati Chili

          Last night I made this delicious chili recipe for my husband's birthday dinner. We had a complete chili and baked potato bar for everyone to dish up and garnish with all of the fixings. This Cincinnati Skyline Chili recipe is from the blog What's Cooking, Chicago? and has been a huge hit in my family for a couple of years. This chili is always a hit with a crowd and perfect for Fall comfort food. The recipe calls for serving it with spaghetti, but we usually skip that part (we are more of the spaghetti and marina crowd than putting pasta in chili)... but otherwise the recipe is spot on! Hope you try making it for your next family get together... enjoy!

          Sunday, October 23, 2011

          Rachael Ray Cookware Set

          Guess what arrived on my doorstep yesterday.... this adorable 10 piece cookware set from Rachael Ray's cooking line!
          I ordered this last weekend using my credit card reward points and absolutely love that I was able to receive the entire set and not have to pay a dime, not even for shipping. I unpacked the box this morning and the adorable orange color is all over my kitchen. I have a few of the pots on the stove top to use tonight for my husband's birthday dinner with family and friends. Stay tuned for tomorrow when I will post the delicious chili recipe that is on the menu for tonight. Happy Sunday and happy cooking!

          Saturday, October 22, 2011

          Slow Cooker Recipes

          One of my worst qualities is having something in my house and never using it... for example, the slow cooker. I have had my slow cooker for almost 4 years and have maybe used it a dozen times (embarrassing to admit). I am making a commitment to use my slow cooker more often this year and Fall and Winter are the perfect time. I have been browsing through cookbooks, websites, and blogs to find a great selection of amazing slow cooker recipes to try and here are just a few:
          • Slow Berry Cobbler - found this amazing recipe from Paula Deen (the queen of southern cooking)... who knew you could make dessert in a slow cooker?!
          I am looking forward to the cool nights and fall weather and coming home to a delicious smelling dinner (or dessert) ready to go in the slow cooker and hopefully making dinner a little easier and delicious!

          Thursday, October 20, 2011

          Candy Corn Favorites

          I can remember falling in love with candy corns as a child when my Dad would share this Halloween treat with me. To this day, they are still a favorite of my Dad's and also of mine! I love how candy corn inspiration goes beyond the sweet treat and has expanded to recipes and decor ideas. Here are a few of my favorite candy corn ideas: