Friday, September 30, 2011

Decoupaged Pumpkin Center Piece

So I was at the Gynecologist office on Tuesday (I know this not the best way to begin a blog post!) I was just flipping through Martha Stewart Living,  waiting my turn to be legally molested by my doctor when I stumbled upon a little how-to. It was Martha's Halloween issue and in it was a great little article on decoupaging  pumpkins. You know I like to imagine that Martha keeps crafting slaves in her basement and only lets them eat when they come up with a new and exciting craft idea.
Anyway, she had this great article on decoupaging pumpkins with paper or fabric. I thought about the article all through my impersonal examination and when I got home I started on my own decoupaged pumpkin.

It all starts with this:
See that? That, is supposed to be a cucumber! I received 6 "cucumber" plants from a neighbor for my garden this year. Imagine my surprise when I found 5 of them were squash and the 6th was a pumpkin, this little guy actually. I would have left him on the vine to let him get a little bigger, but he was prematurely picked by a little girl I know. So being that he's too small for pie, I thought I'd use him for decor.

So I cut it...
Gutted it...
Sopped up the gut juice with Bounty...

Then Mod-Podged strips on paper onto it...

 and allowed it to dry over-night on an empty wine bottle...

Next, I added some embellishment...

 Without flowers:

 With Flowers:

 Hmmm...wish you could see that embellishment!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wall Art Wednesday

My, my, I'm late getting this to you. I had a sick teething baby that didn't want to be put down, so I really couldn't justify posting this morning.

Better late than never, here is my amazing spoon display...all right not so amazing, but I like it a lot!

With a glassless frame a little scrapbook paper, some ribbon and thread, I was able to proudly display some cute little silver spoons my dear Great Aunt-in-law bestowed upon me (really, she's my Great Aunt-in-law, my husband's grandmother's sister!)

So here it is,

Alright back to said sick teething baby!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Skeleton Key Necklace

Thanks to Pinterest and it's endless supply of pure inspiration, I found this cute idea on the blog MaizeHutton.  In her blog, she makes cute necklaces, or "Neckies" as Sophie likes to call them, from old skeleton keys and being that I am a lady with a collection of old skeleton keys, I thought I'd give this a try!

I painted the key using the blue nail polish that Abby simply had to have to wear on her nails the first day of school. Not my thing, but it sure came in handy for this project!

After I painted the key, I attached it to a $3.00 chain from Walmart. Not too shabby. A three dollar necklace!

The best part is, I can walk around the house pretending to be the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. I'd of course keep the key in my cleavage and take it out and look at it with a sinister look on my face, because that's what wicked stepmothers do right?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meal Planner Monday

In my meal planning this week, I stumbled upon a nifty website that has helped me further streamline my meal planning and deal hunting. The website is (yes, from the people that give us All You Magazine) and on this wonderful website is a weekly shopping circular roundup. This little tool will look at all the grocery circulars in your area and find the deals for you! All you have to do is enter the ingredients into the shopping list and the web does the rest, finding all the deals at the stores you shop at!

Seriously this is the best thing I've seen since three weeks ago when I discovered Krylon Dual (spray paint and primer in one!)

Today I want to show you how it works hand in hand with my meal planner Monday!

Here's 6 meal ideas:

Each recipe will be displayed with an ingredient list and directions for easy copy and pasting: (I'm going to show you how to use the Grocery Circular Roundup with meal one.)

Go to the ingredient list and copy 

Meal 1

  • Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!) 

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti


    1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a bowl, combine Parmesan, parsley, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add beef and breadcrumbs; mix gently. Form into 16 balls.
    2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and return to pot; add meatballs and sauce, and toss gently. Serve with Parmesan.

    Next paste the ingredients into the box under the search by item box:

    Hit the FIND SAVINGS

    Next filter your location and set the stores that you want to find potential deals:

    Once your location is set and your stores pick, your deals are displayed below!

    How great is that??!!

    Now you try with the rest of the meals!!

    Meal 2

    Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!)

      • 6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 pound penne rigate
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 6 cups whole milk
    • 10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (6 ounces)
    • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces)


    1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
    2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.
    3. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
    4. Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
    5. Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
    Meal 3

    Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups lowfat buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Gather these tools: cutting board; chef's knife; wet and dry measuring cups; measuring          spoons; pastry brush; resealable plastic bag; shallow baking dish; sheet pan
2. Combine chicken and buttermilk in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (The chicken can sit in the buttermilk for up to 8 hours, if you'd like.)
3. Preheat oven to 400 F. Brush a sheet pan with vegetable oil and set aside.
4. In a shallow baking dish, mix the cornmeal, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Shake well to combine. Remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk and shake off any excess liquid. Put the chicken in the dish one piece at a time and shake well to coat. Place the coated chicken pieces on the oil sheet pan as you work.
5. Brush the chicken with the remaining oil, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve Immediately.

Meal 4
Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (8 to 10) Yukon Gold or other waxy potatoes, well scrubbed
  • 3 slices (1 ounce each) white sandwich bread, torn into very small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter


  1. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a fork, pierce potatoes in several places. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake on lower rack until tender, 45 to 55 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine bread and 1/4 cup milk. In a large bowl, combine beef, onion, garlic, parsley, egg, thyme, oregano, 3/4 cup marinara sauce, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and bread mixture. With a fork or your hands, mix very gently until just combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet, and gently shape into a 9-by-5-inch loaf, about 2 1/2 inches thick. Bake on upper rack 30 minutes; then spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce over meatloaf, and continue to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 160 degrees. 25 to 30 minutes more. Let meatloaf rest on baking sheet, loosely covered with aluminum foil, 10 minutes.
  4. While meatloaf rests, in a medium saucepan, bring butter and remaining 1 cup milk just to a boil. Add cooked potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove meatloaf from baking sheet. Slice; serve with mashed potatoes and remaining cup marinara sauce (heated, if desired).

Meal 5

Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!)

  • 12 ounces pork tenderloin
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemon wedges and parsley sprigs, for serving


  1. Slice pork tenderloin into 12 rounds. Place rounds between two sheets of plastic wrap; with a meat mallet or small heavy skillet, pound to 1/8 inch thick.
  2. In a shallow bowl, beat egg whites with 1 tablespoon water. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Place all-purpose flour in a third bowl. Season pork with salt. Dip pork in flour, then in egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumb mixture; pat it in.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute half the cutlets until golden brown and cooked through, about 1 minute per side. Repeat with another tablespoon oil and remaining pork. Serve with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.

Meal 6

Ingredients (copy and paste ingredients here to find the best deals!)

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds red new potatoes, sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 4 equal pieces
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 bunches watercress (about 12 ounces total), thick ends removed


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Finely chop garlic, and sprinkle with salt. Using a chef's knife, press flat side of blade back and forth across garlic to make a paste. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in thyme and 1 tablespoon oil. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss potatoes with garlic mixture; bake until browned on underside, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or grill pan over high. Season steaks with salt and pepper, and cook (in two batches if necessary) until medium-rare, 3 to 6 minutes per side (depending on thickness of steak). Transfer to a plate to rest.
  3. While steaks rest, make salad: In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, Dijon, and remaining oil; season with salt and pepper. Add watercress, and toss to combine. Serve steaks with potatoes and salad.