Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe: Sausage Stars


Not only are these sausage stars easy, they are insanely addicting! I had blogged about them before (a long, long time ago), but thought they were worth another blog post.  Yes, they are that good.  Yes, you will gain 5 lbs. from eating an entire pan of them.  And yes, you can thank me (or yell at me) later  :)


Sausage Stars


Ingredients:

1 pound sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (do not use pre-shredded)
1 1/2 cups grated Monterrey jack cheese (do not use pre-shredded)
1 cup prepared ranch dressing mix (make sure to use the dry ranch packet)

1 can (2.25 oz) sliced olives
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1 package fresh or frozen won ton wrappers
Vegetable oil

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

After cooking the sausage, blot it dry with a paper towel.  In a large bowl, combine sausage with cheeses, prepared ranch dressing, olives and red peppers.  Set aside.


Lightly grease a mini or regular muffin tin and press one won ton wrapper in each cup.  Brush won ton wrappers lightly with vegetable oil.  
Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven.

Fill won ton wrappers with sausage mixture.  Bake 5 minutes or until bubbly.  Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

Bon appetit!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DIY Wooden Name Sign


A few weeks ago I decided to paint a sign for our foyer to give it a more personal touch.  A few years ago I made a sign for my sweet friend Miranda, but never got around to making one for myself!  So, a lazy Saturday presented itself and I drug out the paint and went to town.

Here is what you will need:

  • Piece of wood or an old sign you want to repaint
  • 2 color of acrylic paint (or any paint will do)
  • Paint brushes
  • Computer and printer
  • Ball point pen
  • Wood stain (optional - I didn't use it on this piece)

Let's get started...

Sand the piece of wood and dust off sanded remnants.  Paint the wood a solid color.  I used a premixed gray acrylic paint I found at Hobby Lobby.  You may need to do two coats depending on your paint color.  Let it dry completely.

While the paint is drying, print out the letters needed in the font you'd like on your computer.  Place them on the wood where you'd like the wording and trace the outline with a ballpoint pen, pressing down a bit to make an imprint on the wood.

Paint the traced letters with your second paint color.  You may need to do two coats (I did!).  Let that dry and then enjoy your finished work!  If you want a more antique look, try using a wood stain on top of the completely dry paint (I've used Minwax Provincial 211 in the past).  Wipe the stain on, let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off.  Ta-da!


This would be a great gift for a friend or newly married couple!  Simple and heartfelt  :)  Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Apple Brie Panini Recipe


I'm just going to go ahead and let you in on a little secret.  This sandwich is life changing.  Really.  This sandwich will make you a better person.  More in tune with God.  With yourself.  With others.  So, I don't think it comes as any shock that I'm going to need you to make this sandwich.  Amen.

Really, though, this sandwich was so simple.  Just 5 ingredients (6 if you count sea salt, but let's not get all technical here).  I found the initial recipe here and just adapted it to my own taste a bit.  So, on with the recipe....


Apple Brie Panini


Baguette or Hoagie roll (sourdough would taste great!)
Brie (enough to cover one layer on the sandwich, 2 - 3 oz.), cut in slices
1 granny smith apple, cut in slices
handful of arugula
2 tablespoons of honey (I suggest clover or orange blossom honey)
sprinkle of coarse sea salt

Take your baguette or hoagie and slice it in half (long ways).  Spread the inside of both sides of the bread with honey.  On the bottom bread slice, place the sliced brie and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Then, add a layer of the sliced apples, top with arugula and add more honey to your taste. Place the top bread slice on top.  Grill on a panini press or George Forman grill, making sure to grease it first.  Grill 3 - 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is crispy.  Bon appetit!

Note: You can also try it without grilling.  It's delicious, too!  But that melty brie cheese just seems to warm the soul :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vegetable Gratin Recipe

Last week I had a ton of vegetables leftover from meals earlier in the week.  Instead of doing my normal 'saute them in a pan with olive oil', I decided to make a vegetable gratin.  They're pretty simple and would use the rest of my veggies - win, win!  Also, you can use just about any veggies you have on hand - potatoes, peppers, sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, onion, sweet onion, tomatoes...the list goes on and on.


So, let's get down to business!

Vegetable Gratin


1 medium to large size onion, sliced thin
2 - 3 tomatoes, sliced thin
4 - 5 zucchini, sliced thin
4 - 5 yellow squash, sliced thin
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
handful of fresh thyme


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.  After slicing all of your vegetables, take your onion and saute it in a pan with olive oil until they just begin to caramelize.  Place the onion in the greased baking dish - this will be your first layer.

Next, take your squash and layer it on top of the onion making sure to overlap each piece of squash just a bit.  Do the same thing with the zucchini next, and then the tomato.  Add half of the mozzarella cheese, half of the parmesan, dash of salt, dash of pepper and some thyme on top of the tomato.  Drizzle with olive oil.

Continue layering until you have either used up all of your veggies or run out of room.  Top the last layer with the rest of the mozzarella and parmesan, add a dash of salt, dash of pepper and some thyme and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until cheese on top is golden.

Enjoy!

*Note: You may need to add an additional few minutes if you decide to add potato as one of the layers.



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Corn Salad Recipe

A little over a week ago, a few friends from work and I went to see a local theater put on the musical "Legally Blonde."  Since I've dreamed of my life actually being a musical for as long as I can remember, I figured this would probably be the closest it would come to being a reality.  Before we headed to the show our sweet hostess made a dinner that included an herb crusted salmon, tomato garlic galette, corn salad and for dessert panna cotta.  Jackpot right?  I had already moved my bags in before we even got started on the wine.

My friend's corn salad was so simple and delicious that I decided to make some of my own.  It was a huge hit with the Husband (not to mention, ridiculously easy) and I think I will definitely be making this again!


Ingredients:

5 ears of sweet corn on the cob, shucked
10 oz. cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 of a small red (purple) onion, chopped
1 - 2 handfuls basil, chopped or julienned
5 - 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
salt & pepper


Directions:

Cook your ears of corn by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Place your already shucked ears of corn in the boiling water and cover.  Bring the the water back up to a boil and boil the corn for about 2 - 4 minutes, depending on how soft you want it.  I like mine a little crispier so I only boil them for 2 minutes.  Once they've boiled, remove them and soak them in an ice bath to stop the cooking.

Take your olive oil, vinegar and lime juice and mix together until well combined.  Set aside.

Cut the corn off the cob and place in a large bowl. Add the halved tomatoes, chopped onion and basil.  Add the olive oil  mixture a bit at a time until it coats the corn mixture.  Season with salt and pepper to your desired taste.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Monogrammed Coasters



Happy Wednesday!  I am so excited to share this DIY with you all!  Let's get down to the nitty gritty...

Supplies:


  • Bathroom or kitchen tiles (found these at $3.95 for 9 tiles, but there are definitely cheaper ones out there)
  • Mod Podge
  • Clear Acrylic Sealer (I used Krylon's Crystal Clear in the gloss finish)
  • Paper and a color printer (or you can use scrapbook paper)
  • Sponge brush
  • Felt rounds
Step 1:  Measure your tiles and determine how large you would like the paper to be.  My tiles measured 4" X 4" so I made each of the monogrammed papers approximately 3.5" X 3.5".  I found fabric online and simply saved the image - ta-da!  Then I just put my monogram on top of the picture.  I chose 3 prints and printed off 3 copies of each.  Cut the paper to the appropriate size and set aside.


Step 2:  With the sponge brush, brush on one coat of Mod Podge.  Place the monogrammed paper on top and gently smooth your fingers over it with a very small amount of pressure.  Let it dry completely for at least 30 minutes.


Step 3:  Brush on 3 coats of Mod Podge over the monogrammed paper, allowing it to dry completely between each application.


Step 4:  After the Mod Podge has dried, apply one to two coats of the clear acrylic sealer.  After the sealer has dried, apply the felt rounds to each corner.


Step 5:  Voila!  You're done!  Let them dry over night and tomorrow you can enjoy your new coasters!





This has got to be one of the easiest DIY's I've done and it was inexpensive to boot!  This would be perfect as a house warming gift, Christmas gift or even a birthday present.  Hope y'all enjoy it!  It was a fun, simple and the end product was lovely!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Girls Weekend


Since the husband was out of town this weekend on a bachelor trip for a good friend, it was the perfect opportunity for a girls weekend with my mom!  My mom came in town on Friday and Saturday we decided the hit up a few antique stores/flea markets in the area.  The first one we ventured to was one I had been hearing about for some time now - Prattville Pickers.  It is 98,000 square feet and they have an auction house within it as well.  I'm going to go ahead and say it was a huge disappointment.  Everything was highly over priced and there was a lot of, um...junk.  I did happen to snap a few pictures while we were browsing...

This bizarre print (not an original) was $85...


This lovely monkey/candle holder/book end (?) was "unique" and therefore they were asking nearly $200 for it.  I wish they had two {enter sarcasm here}.


The aisles within the shops were so crowded with (pardon my french) crap that you could hardly walk in them...


A view of the furniture area...



Now, there were a few items that I really thought were lovely minus the price tags...this trunk was going for $700...


I don't remember what this fan was going for, but I do remember it was more than I wanted to pay ;)


This was actually the only piece that was low in price - it was going for only $40!  Too bad I didn't need a new desk!


Loved these old shutters, but at $600 I couldn't see the husband being very happy with me :)


After we left Prattville Pickers with our heads down and tears welling up in our eyes, we decided to head to my go-to antique store Eastbrook Flea Market.  This place is great!  They have everything under the sun and their price points are excellent.  I didn't take many pictures, but I did see a lot of fiesta ware and thought of my sweet friend Sheila over at The Adventures of Ordy and Joon!




Now, for the creme de la creme.  While piddling along in the main furniture booths I spotted a dresser.  I thought it had great potential and just needed a little loving. {TIP: Please do not spend a ton on a piece of furniture you don't plan on keeping exactly as it is!  Moving on...} So I took a peek at the price tag and noticed it had been marked down from its $110 price tag to $50!!!  I immediately set my sights on it - but told my mom that we should walk around the store a bit more and if it is still here once we are done then it could be mine.  And it was :)


I am so excited and happy about the new piece!  It's in the living room right acting as our TV console.  I'm going back and forth on if I want to restore it and keep it its natural wood or paint it.  What would you suggest?  If you painted it, what color would you paint it?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pillow Talk

Recently, I've been searching for some new pillows for our master bedroom, guest bedroom and the living room.  That's pretty much all of the rooms in our home.


Adding pillows to a bed or sofa is an easy easy way to add color or pattern without making a huge investment.  And if you come to a point where you aren't loving the way a room looks - punch it up with some new pillows!  Mix it up with different patterns, colors, sizes and shapes.  It adds dimension and keeps your eye moving around the room creating visual interest.










Another pillow trend I love (although, it's always in trend in the South) is having monogrammed pillows.  They are the perfect personal stamp to a bedroom, living room or any other space on your home.  They seem to add something different than a patterned pillow.






via houzz




I love being able to switch out one aspect in a room to give it new look and feel!


TIP: A trick I like to use to give my home a new feel is collecting all of the pillows in every room.  Bring them all to one location and put them in new rooms.  It doesn't work for all of the pillows, but can lead to you using an element in one room that you may not have considered before.  Enjoy!