Sunday, July 29, 2012

Grandma Barbie's Monkey Bread

So blogging from the middle of our Idaho adventure was a little more challenging than I thought. Considering I had no cell service or a computer I can see how it became a problem, hmm weird. Well I am still up here but back to my in-law's house in Rathdrum.
Gotta love a long vacation like this!

There are a few things that are a given in life for me. Seinfeld will never get old...when Eye of the Tiger is playing, I need to shadow box....and when we come to visit my in-laws in Idaho, Grandma Barbie makes monkey bread for breakfast. I've noticed that they do sell monkey bread already made in the frozen section, and to that I say shame!
This is a great dish to make when you have company since it feeds a lot. She always serves it with scrambled eggs and sausage. But do whatever you like, get crazy people!

Monkey Bread
Rhodes Dinner Rolls (frozen) 36 count
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 packet butterscotch pudding mix
1 stick of butter
Pam spray
First spray a 9x13 baking dish and arrange the rolls like this.
Then sprinkle on enough cinnamon to cover the rolls (but not too much!), followed by the pudding mix. 
Melt 1 stick of butter and dissolve the brown sugar, creating a mixture. 
Spread that on top also, and it will look like this...
You'll need to let it sit out on the counter overnight, covered with a dish towel to let it rise. So basically assemble this before you go to bed. In the morning it should look like this...
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. And when it comes out, turn the pan upside down and empty the bread onto some foil.
 Its got all this gooey, brown sugary wonderful-ness
I prefer the pieces in the middle that are all doughy, but others might like the more well done outside. Eat up! And then run 5 miles in the afternoon...

And here is a pic of our Charlie from the trip. More to come soon of our latest adventure!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pins of the Week

I'm going to frame this in my girls room or bathroom. Love everything about it! 
You can get an 8x10 print of this sign on Etsy, here.

Color inspiration

    Source: via Kathy on Pinterest

Summer into Fall outfit

I see brass pieces like this all the time at the thrift store, 
how pretty it looks with bright flowers!

My family and I are going to visit family in Idaho this weekend, for 10 days. I can't wait to go and spend time with them and my hard-working husband. So thankful! I probably won't have time to blog much while I'm gone, but I'm going to try. I'll have a smore for ya! Or two...or three...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get Inked

I love the idea of using a rubber stamp for return address labels. 
Remember when people used to actually write letters to one another? 
At least people still send Christmas cards! So once a year you can bust out your address labels.
And don't forget birthday cards.... 
Of course Etsy has tons of options for doing your own personalized address stamps. 

I love this particular shop called Sweet Papery because of her clean style and pretty fonts. 
It will run you about 20 bucks for one stamp which saves you having to write out your address or peel a sticker label (oh the horror!), plus you cannot deny that its just fun to stamp something!

We chose this one:

This one was cool too...

Or you could pay a little more and get self-inking stamp.
This shop StampOutOnline as a whole bunch of options:

The family that plays Scrabble together, stays together....or something

Happy Stamping!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Now doesn't that sound fancy? 
This is something you can do with chicken that mixes it up a bit and is easy to do. If you like artichokes that is...and I do, so lucky for me!
Basically you salt and pepper your chicken breasts and saute them on the stove until done. 
Finish it off with this cheesy artichoke mixture by melting it under the broiler. 
And then it looks all fancy pants on the table! 
My 1 year old also loves this chicken, unlike my 4 year old who is too aware and looks right at things like artichokes, determining they are gross. I used to be like that too, until I was like 20, and discovered the goodness of other "gross" foods like mushrooms and avocados.
Ha! How wrong I was...

I always try to flatten my chicken so its even. I cover it with a big piece of plastic wrap and then just pound it with the bottom of my frying pan. Works great, then I don't have to do one at a time.

 Trader Joe's (if you live by one) has cheaper artichoke hearts than the regular grocery store,
in my experience.
For the topping mixture on 4 breasts I used:
1/2 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup shredded white cheese (i used monterey jack)
1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise

Spoon it on top of your cooked chicken and
broil for a few minutes in the oven to melt the cheese, making sure not to burn it!


I'm thinking next time I will try this with some spinach mixed in!

I found this on Sugarlaws, you can click here for the original recipe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Open it Up

When we moved into this house, where my grandparents lived for 40+ years, let's see, how do I put this....everything was blue! It was my grandma's favorite color, and coming over here every time, it never seemed weird to me. It looked good actually, it went with their style. 
But as my family and I have had the privilege to live here, we have changed things up quite a bit. I look forward to sharing more of our projects here on this blog, but this is the first one. We don't have thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars to spend on a kitchen re-do, and I don't really have the time to loiter around Lowe's hoping for the Kitchen Crashers to come and find me. So the other option was to do some affordable projects to mix things up a bit to make it more our style!

The cabinet doors on this section of cabinet were chipping on the bottom, so we had the idea to just take them off instead of replacing them. I also had to get some new dishes for this endeavor because for some reason, when we got married in 2007 I registered for mustard yellow dishes and chocolate brown bowls. 
What, was I going through some kind of Under the Tuscan Sun phase? 
I just know if I could rewind, I would have registered for all white dishes, because since then my taste has become way more modern, and plus they are timeless. 

The initial background color was of course, blue! We decided to paint it black to make the dishes pop. I had some glossy black paint already, but this was just too shiny for the job. We ended up using Valspar's Very Black, which is kind of a softer black in a satin finish. I love how it turned out!

This is the only cabinet we opened up. Now my husband wants to do them all, but hello, then where would I put  all my kitchen "unmentionables"? The chalkboard was another DIY that my husband made with chalkboard paint and some plyboard. I added an Ikea Deka curtain wire to display my daughter's artwork with.

I found a white dish set by Canopy for only 35 bucks for a 16 piece set,
and the quality is really amazing for the price.
Fist bump to you Walmart!

I wish I would have gotten a better before pic, that would have showcased how cluttered this cabinet was, full of spices/medicines/forgotten sippy cups, etc. (Can't forget to do a before pic next time, hello!)
It felt good to get a rid of a bunch of that stuff that was not needed anymore.
So all of the stuff that I still used was moved to a closed cabinet, and my new pretty white dishes, and other pieces that worked are on display here. 

What do you think? This was super easy to do, and it makes me happy every time I walk by!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pins of the Week

Love the colors here, especially the green jeans with those floral flats

I  love an unexpected color combo, lavender and tangerine here...

DIY  puffy paint for squeeze bottle. I haven't tried this yet but it seems really easy...and cheap!

this was a popular one....pretty nail polish for a shower favor....genius I tell you!

Source: via Kathy on Pinterest


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Carys' Favorite Marinade

Can't believe we are almost half way through July already. Carys has been doing swim lessons at the YMCA and getting so tan. She's such a little blondie! I picked up this cute heart dress at H&M for 7 bucks, can't beat that.

I wanted to share one of our favorite chicken marinades for the BBQ.
 Do it overnight or all day will cut it also.
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar
2 T. olive oil
2 T lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. pepper
Then, grill 'em up!

And in a completely unrelated, but still entertaining note....I was trying to get the girls together  for a picture the other day. Charlie was not having it.. Oh, they make me laugh!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Treasure Hunting

Most of the jewelry I own is from Forever 21 and H&M and under 10 bucks a piece. While I love it, something tells me I won't be passing down any of it to my daughters if you know what I mean. I kind of have random taste in the jewelry I wear, definitely not a "bling" girl. So sometimes it can be hard to find stuff that suits me. Giuliana Rancic is one of my girl crushes and she was tweeting about Lauren Lynne jewelry the other day. I love her style. And while they cost more than most of the jewelry I own, it still shouldn't put you in debt.

Real gemstone rings, $125 each 
(I am liking the green one best...or the black...)

Another line I appreciate is House of Harlow 1960....

(i absolutely love that this necklace has leather inlaid with the gold, instead of stone!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Apartment Therapy

I'm really excited that Carys' birthday party was featured on the amazing Apartment Therapy in their family section today, click hereThis was my first attempt to really get my little blog out into the "blogosphere", so I think it is pretty cool. I could only choose 5 pictures to submit, which was a little tough to choose. My husband said, "it was the signs that put it over the top wasn't it". 
Yes, those were some pretty cool signs (that he made).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Eats

I realize in California you can barbecue almost year round, but there is something about Summer that gets us out there grilling at least once or twice a week. The best part is that all I have to do is prep the meat, and then the husband does the rest of the work. It's like a break in disguise, I love it! Plus they get to feel manly too, everybody wins! Here are a few things we love lately....

Grilled Teriyaki and Pineapple Sandwiches 
Got this easy (why didn't I think of this) recipe from the Living Light blog. And bear in mind you simply must use swiss cheese with this sandwich. You're welcome to try another but we are convinced this is the best cheese to use and the flavors go together perfectly. The other secret is to grill the pineapple. You could use canned, but we have been slicing it fresh. It tastes better and the pineapple is fun to cut up. I would like to get a corer though, so I don't have to use a knife to cut the little holes in my slices!

Basically you marinade the chicken breasts (we cut them in half) for at least 30 minutes in teriyaki sauce. Then stick 'em on the grill, and when they are almost done, put on the pineapple for a couple minutes each side. At the last minute, melt the swiss onto the chicken. Don't forget to toast your buns, naturally of course, who doesn't? These are amazing, you don't even need any other condiments because the pineapple is so juicy and the teriyaki flavor is already there. Oh, and add some sliced red onion too if you please.

Johnsonville Beef Brats
Okay, these things, and I don't use this word lightly, are the BOMB! They have a great flavor, and so easy and quick to grill up. I caramelized some onions, basically by cooking them in my dutch oven for about an hour on low heat in some olive oil and butter, a little kosher salt and sugar, then near the end added a little balsamic vinegar. So the brats and onions, along with dijon mustard and wheat buns, I tried to eat just one, but alas, I could not. So good!

Steak w/Egg & Goat Cheese

I've posted about this before, but it can always be said again. Any steak can be made better by topping it with a fried egg and some crumbled goat cheese. As a matter a fact, I think this is what we're having tonight!

(photo and recipe from Look Who's Cookin Now)

Feel free to share your quick and easy grilling ideas in the comments!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sweet Blog of Mine...

Welcome to my new and improved blog, with a new name and design! I figure why not name it after my two fabulous daughters, Carys & Charlie because well, they are just so darn cute (a little biased over here). I've decided to give it a shot and get out there into the blog world....maybe even connect with some new people! The only other thing changing is that I'll be updating a lot more often, because if you want to connect with more people, the rumor is you have to...gasp....put yourself out there more often. hmm, weird! Besides, the worst that can happen is that I will have something creative to have for myself and my family, right?
I'll still be writing about my family, fun things we do, my adventures in trying to become a better cook, trying to make my home more beautiful, and just things I find that inspire me.
(Oh and I also did a separate 'About Me' page)

Anyway, here are some recent favorite images....

I adore this bathroom hutch with a wallpaper background. We have a big cabinet in our front bathroom...maybe I could take off the doors on top and try some of this action??

Get outta here with your fabulous self, Kate!

I love this style for a future home-school room.

I don't really own any big jewelry like this (yet)...but I love the idea of neutral colors with sparkles like this.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Loco Moco!

I made this last night and my husband sat down before eating it and said, "umm why is this the first time you have made this?" Loco Moco is a traditional hawaiian dish that is basically a hamburger patty and fried eggs on top of rice, aaand covered in gravy. How could it not be good?? Well I guess if you mess up the gravy it wouldn't be. No pressure. You could always use packet gravy instead of making your own, its OK, I won't judge you. Except in my heart I might, but not to your face, I promise.

I got this new pan from TJ Maxx for 20 bucks, it is my new best friend!

After I whisked this gravy for a while it was finally done. I made the mistake of not fully whisking it in the bowl with the flour before adding it.

You're welcome.

I found this recipe on Big Island Grinds, here. Except I made a few changes. I used pre-made seasoned patties from the Stater Bros. meat counter, and instead of a can of broth, I made my own with a beef bouillon cube dissolved in water. (this is a great way to save money and avoid buying cans of broth every time a recipe calls for it!). I did use white rice because I had some and couldn't resist, but I bet it would still be delish with brown rice, and then you can feel a tad less guilty.
For an extra little slice of heaven, I say add a little soy sauce to your rice, but that's just me :)
Needless to say, this meal is delicious comfort food and a guaranteed man-pleaser!

You can click on the Big Islands recipe above but I typed out the recipe as I made it, after the jump.