Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Wood You Look at This?!"

Recently, I spent six WONDERFUL days in California...
with my cousin (aka: older sister) Melissa, her husband Simon and their two adorable kids.

The last time I visited, was in March of 2012... so there were LOTS of changes around the house!
All thanks to Simon's obsessiveness (I mean love) of Craigslist and the Home Depot. 

The first thing to catch my eye was this AWESOME WALL OF WOOD in the kitchen.
It's the perfect backdrop for their diner-style kitchen table. (Which was a buy from Craigslist.)

Simon applied the pieces of old wood to the wall himself.

He also found these magnetic strips, which serve as a funky photo album.

Can you find your Christmas card up there? 

The next piece to catch my eye, was this rustic/modern coffee cup holder.

Once again, Simon found some old pieces of wood... a few hooks... 

... and bam!
An awesome cup holder.
(I told him he needs to sell these on Etsy!)

If you take a walk outside, you'll notice some pretty amazing finds!

My eyes immediately went to the french doors hanging from the outside beams.

They serve as a "room divider" and pretty cool art pieces.

But, don't forget about the bar!
Simon built this from scratch too.

My favorite part was the "menu board" in the back.
A piece of wood... with some chalkboard paint... and a bottle opener.

Beer, please!

Then, take a seat by the fire pit.
ANOTHER deal Simon found on Craigslist.

Lesson learned: it pays off to stalk search Craigslist at least once-a-day for some amazing deals!

Thanks for the visit!
Can't wait to come back and see the NEXT project!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snowy Day Chicken Tortilla Soup

There's nothing better than a bowl of soup on a snowy day.

This "Chicken Tortilla Soup" is so simple (I made it VERY last minute!) - and I'm sure you already have the ingredients in your cupboard!

(Serves 8 people)

2-3 cups cooked chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 small onion (chopped up)
1 cup of green onions (chopped up)
1 cup celery (chopped up)
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons cumin
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 Tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can of black beans OR white cannellini beans (rinsed and drained) - whichever kind you prefer!
One 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes WITH green chilies
(If you can't find a can that has BOTH... buy one 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one 8 oz. can of green chilies.)

Shredded cheese
Sour Cream
Tortilla chips
Lime wedges

First up...
Cook and shred your chicken breasts.
(If you're short on time, go to the grocery store and buy a Rotisserie chicken.)

In your soup pot...
 Saute the garlic, onions and green onions in 2 Tablespoons of butter for about five minutes.

Once the onions are golden brown, add flour and 2 more Tablespoons of butter to the pan.
Stir for a few minutes until the onions are evenly coated.

Slowly add your chicken broth to the onions.
(Stir while you do this.)

Next up...
Add the shredded chicken, diced tomatoes/chilies, tomato sauce, celery, beans, cumin, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper to the soup pot.

Stir... and let the soup simmer for at least 1 hour on low heat.
(You can also put the soup in a crock pot and let cook for 4-6 hours.)

Once it's done, you'll want to add a dollop of sour cream, handful of shredded cheese and some crushed Tortilla chips to the soup.
(You can also garnish with a few wedges of lime.)

It's a delicious soup that will leave you going back for seconds... thirds... maybe even fourths!
Stay warm!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Red Velvet Cookies

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
And, if you're looking for a sweet treat -- look no further than these Red Velvet cookies!

- 1 box of Red Velvet cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 2 sticks of butter (softened)

First up, mix the 2 sticks of butter until they are soft and creamy.

Add the 2 eggs -- and mix until smooth.

Little by little... add the entire bag of cake mixture.
(I like to keep the mixer running during this process.)

Then, add 1/2 cup of flour -- and mix until smooth.

The batter should be BRIGHT RED!
Kids will love this.

Add 1 cup of white chocolate chips to the batter.

Mix with a spatula.

Cover the batter, and put it in the FREEZER for about 5-10 minutes.
(I don't know what it is... but this makes the cookies more moist.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Place the cookie dough (in small balls) on an ungreased cookie sheet.

It's best to use a small "melon baller" or an actually "cookie dough scoop" for this.

Put them in the oven for 8 minutes.

They'll come out looking so cute!

If you're a big fan of Red Velvet cake (or cupcakes)... you will LOVE this recipe.
It's so simple - and the perfect way to say "Happy Valentine's Day."

The cookies are super soft and chewy.
Sooo yummy.