Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Madness

Do you want to add touches to your house but don't have the funds to buy decorating items? Try some of these cute ideas:

Give 'Em The Boot
Use old rain boots as vases. This lighthearted display is perfect for a spring part such as April Showers bring may flowers. For a southern theme, try cowboy boots instead!

Use pillow cases to update your throw pillows for fall. Simply place your throw pillow in a pillow case folding it into the case for a tight fit. You can change pastel pillows into deep fall colors in a matter of seconds.

To change up a look in a room simply swap out area rugs. It can change a look of a room by bring out accent colors in another room.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Fall!


So excited for the arrival of fall. Not only does that mean that we get a break scorching heat, but it also means that it's time to decorate. I love decorating, adding fall scents to the house whether it be through candles or bringing the outside in with mums. I start by adding a fall wreath at the door as well as door facing decorations. Decorating for fall doesn't have to be expensive, it is a matter of placement and using what you have or what is available outside that you can bring in.

Change out the candle scents so they match the season. No since in burning Magnolia when it's fall outside. Get a pumpkin, crackling campfire, s'mores, etc scent that will make you want to pull out your flannel sheets. Or simply bake items that will send an amazing fall aroma scent throughout your home like peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, etc. (See two recipes below)

In your bathrooms swap your decorative towels to fall colors such as rust, brown, gold, etc. Things that remind you of the leaves changing colors. Add silk sunflowers to your towel rack or in a vase.

To change up your living room, change out your throw pillows to warmer colors. Don't have extra, you can use pillow cases to cover your existing ones. Add a basket of pine cones to your side table or coffee table, use old worn books to decorate as well, stacking them haphazardly to add height to existing items already displayed. Do you have a fireplace? Use branches with colored leaves to lay across the top of the fireplace; adding pine cones & ribbon.
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PAPRIKA CANDIED APPLES WITH CASHEWS Makes 8 servings.

8 small apples stuck through the bottom with wooden skewers or craft sticks
1 tsp smoked paprik
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup apple juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups chopped roasted cashews

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Place cashews in a bowl, set aside. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside of a saucepan. Combine sugar and apple juice in pan and boil swirling the pan until sugar is melted. Stir in corn syrup and paprika. Continue to cook, brushing down sides of pot to prevent crystallization. Remove from heat when mixture registers 305° on thermometer, 45 min. Working with 1 apple at a time and holding on to the skewer, dip apple into sugar syrup tilting pan and rotating skewer to coat fruit in a thin, even layer. Lift apple and twirl over pot to let excess drip off. Immediately dip bottom half of apple into nuts and stand nut end down on baking sheet. Let cool 10 min. at room temp before serving. Repeat with remaining apples, reheating sugar syrup as needed to restore fluidity, then SERVE...THESE APPLES ARE DELICIOUS, WE ALL ENJOYED THEM!
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PEANUT BUTTER CUP SQUARES WITH CHOCOLATE FROSTING Makes 16 servings.

1/2 cup chopped peanut butter cups
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup chocolate frosting
1 1/2 cups flour
2 large eggs
8 tbs salted butter

Heat oven to 350°. In bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla 2 min. or until light and fluffy. Beat in flour and baking powder, pour into greased foil lined 9" square pan. Bake 25 min. let cool. Spread with frosting. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups. Cut into squares, then SERVE
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NO PEEKING PEKING CHICKEN Makes 4 servings.

1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3/4 cup chopped green onions
8 bone in chicken thighs, skin discarded
1/4 tsp sesame oil
3 tbs honey
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a greased slow cooker. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup green onions, garlic, soy sauce, honey, ginger and oil. Pour mixture over chicken, cover and cook on low until chicken is tender and done, 4 hours. SERVE with pan juices, sprinkled with 1/4 cup green onions
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MELT IN YOUR MOUTH TARRAGON CHICKEN Makes 4 servings.

1 tbs chopped tarragon
1 lemon, finely zest and juiced
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup + 2 tbs low sodium chicken broth
1 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs chopped tarragon
4 pounds bone in chicken breasts, drumsticks and thighs, skin discarded
4 tbs Dijon mustard

Pour broth into a slow cooker. In a bowl, combine mustard, 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper, rub chicken with mustard. Place chicken in slow cooker and top with garlic and 2 tbs tarragon. Cover and cook on low until chicken is tender and done, 5 hours. Transfer chicken to a serving plate and cover to keep warm. Strain pan juices into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a bowl, combine cream and cornstarch. Whisk mixture into saucepan and cook until sauce is thickened, stir in lemon juice. Pour sauce over chicken. In a bowl, combine lemon zest, parsley and 1 tbs tarragon. Top chicken with zest herb mixture, then SERVE
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Today we planted mums, put pine straw on the flowerbeds, and picked gourds to dry to use for decorations and then turn into birdhouses for the Spring. Make decorating on the inside and out a family event. You can make memories & experience God's masterpiece all at once.

Have a great family weekend~
Tina

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday is considered "Hump Day", it falls in the middle of the week. But it is actually our day to meet in the Lord's house to be refuel and encouraged for the rest of the week. We are in Genesis, studied the flood tonight. Isn't this the way we have always viewed the ark?

When we dive into God's word we understand that by the diminsions that are given that it wasn't actually shaped like a boat, but rather a rectangle. Noah is an example of what a committment to God should look like. He was totally committed when God told him to build an Ark. He was giving Mercy for both himself and his family. He was giving a Mission~to build an Ark. Do you wonder if he worried about what everyone would think or say about him? The Bible says that he spent 160 years building the Ark...that is committment. Do we have the same kind of committment or is our committment more like if I have time I'll ...............? He was also giving a Message. This was to tell the people of his time to Repent & turn away from their sinful nature. Sound familiar? Isn't that our Mission as Christains? To bring people closer to God and help them have a personal relationship with God. Not much has changed since Noah's days, think about it. We, as Christians, are giving Mercy. Saved by Grace, the Blood of Jesus. We are giving a Mission~we are God's workmanship to do good works. We are giving a Message~the ABC's of being a Christian. God's timing is perfect! Noah didn't have to go out and gather the animals,God sent them. What would God send to us, if we were totally committed like Noah?
To defend ourselves we need to dive into God's word and put on the Armor Of God to protect us from the enemy. If we let him, he will have a louder voice that God. To fight him off~use scripture.


Saying a special prayer for the Holland Family. RIP John Holland~aka Neshoba 19. You will be missed.




God Bless,
Tina

Back to work

So summer is over, school has started and we have finally gotten back into a routine. Bear with me as I am learning how to do this and making myself make time to do it.

Nominations where held in May, where I was blessed to be nominated as Vice President of the PTO. Where worked on items all through the summer continuing to stay busy since school has started. With our Spirit Store kicking off the last week of August running every Friday as well as on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday at the home games.
Then we sponsored a Scholastic Book Fair where the students could purchase their favorite books. This not only encouraged reading but also helped them find what interested them in their AR levels. This created a couple months of craziness for our teachers, so we rewarded them with a dessert day where they could have something sweet after lunch.
Now, the planning of the fall festival is going on with a month to get everything ready.

This is the time of year that I love... Baking, cooking, decorating, family, & fun. Love to be able to fun things with cooking and fall is just the season to start that in. A cute little themed snack that is super easy are the Acorns. You can make your own Donut holes or use store bought ones, dip one end in chocolate then dip in crushed nuts. Top with a small pretzel stick in the top and you have a cute little snack that looks like an acorn. Great to send to school, take to church, etc~and you will be the creative super mom!

Here are some other super easy recipes that you might want to try since fall is peeking it's head around the corner:
CHIPOTLE TURKEY CHILI WITH APPLES & CHEDDAR Makes 4 servings.
1 cup organic cider
3 tbs tomato paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs sweet smoked paprika
1 tbs ground coriander
1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 green apples
1 onion, chopped
1 tbs ground cumin
Salt and Pepper
2 pounds ground turkey
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and tortilla chips

Heat oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Add turkey and cook until brown, breaking it up. Using a food processor or blender, puree chipotles and 2 tbs adobo sauce, scrape out chile seeds. Stir 2 tbs of the chipotle puree into meat, season with salt and pepper. Reserve remaining puree. Stir in coriander, cumin and paprika. Add onion and garlic. Peel and chop 1 apple and add to chili. Chop other unpeeled apple and dress with lemon juice. Add cinnamon and bay leaves to chili, cover and cook 10 min. Stir in tomato paste, then stock and cider, simmer. Top chili with cheese, reserved apple and pumpkin seeds. SERVE with tortilla chips
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CURRY SPICED SHRIMP & RICE WITH A TOPPING Makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley leaves
1 1/2 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp
2 tsp curry powder
Salt and Pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup long grain white or brown rice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a skillet. Add onion, carrots, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook covered until tender, 8 min. Add garlic and curry powder, cook 1 min. Add rice and 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered 15 min. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper and nestle them in the partially cooked rice. Scatter peas over top, cover cook until shrimp are opaque and rice is tender, 5 min. more. Fold in cilantro, then SERVE with this TOPPING---Mix together fat free Greek yogurt, chopped cucumber, lime juice, cumin and chopped cilantro or mint.
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ITALIAN PASTA & BEAN SOUP WITH CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 cups small bowtie pasta or other small pasta
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
Two 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
Salt and Pepper
1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, cook until beginning to soften, 5 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min. do not let it brown. Add broth and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pasta is tender 10 min. Stir in beans and tomatoes and cook until heated through, 2 min. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. SERVE with cheese
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ROASTED SALMON, TOMATOES & CAULIFLOWER WITH RAISINS Makes 4 servings.

1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 small head cauliflower, cored and sliced
1/4 cup golden or regular raisins
1 1/2 pound piece skinless salmon fillet or other fish of choice
Salt and Pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
2 small onions, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 425°. Place raisins in a pot, add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit 15 min. Drain and set aside. Divide onions, cauliflower and tomatoes between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Toss each with 1 tbs oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Roast 20 min. Season salmon with curry and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Nestle it among vegetables on one of the baking sheets. Continue roasting both pans until salmon is opaque and vegetables are golden brown and tender, 15 min. more. Transfer salmon to plates. Toss vegetables with raisins and SERVE with salmon
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PASTA CARBONARA WITH BACON & CHEESE Makes 4 servings.

12 oz linguine pasta
3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
7 slices bacon, cut into pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water and drain pasta. In a bowl, whisk together yolks, Parmesan, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, whisk in 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Cook bacon in a skillet until crisp, 8 min. Add pasta to skillet and toss. Transfer pasta and bacon to bowl with egg mixture and toss until noodles are coated. SERVE immediately, sprinkle with additional Parmesan and pepper, if desired
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QUICK RIBOLLITA SOUP WITH VEGGIES & CHEESE Makes 6 servings.

Shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese
2 slices bread, torn into small pieces
A few grates nutmeg
1 small bunch Swiss chard, stemmed
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 potato, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
14 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 bunch kale, stemmed
Salt and Pepper
1 large bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini
1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, chopped

In a pot, heat oil. Add pancetta and brown for 3 min. Stir in potatoes, cover pot and cook until browned, 3 min. Grate zucchini. Uncover pot and add zucchini, carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf and rosemary, season with salt and pepper. Cover to quick cook the vegetables. Thinly shred kale and Swiss chard. Stir tomato into pot. Add greens to wilt and season with nutmeg. Stir in beans and bread. Add stock and 1 cup water, cover and bring to a boil, cook 3 min. Uncover and stir to thicken, then turn off heat. SERVE soup in bowls and top with cheese
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PAPPA AL POMODORO SOUP WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT Makes 4 servings.

Coarsely grated ricotta salata or smoked ricotta cheese
1 pound stale bread, cubed
1 small onion, peeled
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 pounds tomatoes or 2 cans 28 oz each Italian tomatoes
1 small eggplant, thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 quart low sodium chicken stock
1 chile pepper, finely chopped
Ice water
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill. Salt eggplant and set on paper towels for 15 min. then pat dry. Brush eggplant with 1/4 cup oil and grill 8 min. Coarsely chop. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Score ends of tomatoes with a large "X". Boil tomatoes to a count of 30, then plunge into ice water. Peel tomatoes. In a pot, heat remaining oil. Add garlic and chile pepper. Grate onion into pot. Stir for 3 min. Add tomatoes and crush, season with salt and pepper. Stir in stock and bring to a boil. Stir in bread and basil after 5 min. Cook until bread has broken down and soup is thickened, 5 more min. SERVE soup in bowls and top with eggplant and cheese

This homemade tip is for my special friend Sonya~Love ya girl

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent
Here's a simple recipe for dishwasher soap:
• 1 cup of borax
• 1 cup of baking soda
• ¼ cup of table salt
• 2 packets (half an ounce) of unsweetened lemon Kool-Aid
You can try to save even more by buying ingredients in bulk, but another idea is to find smaller and much cheaper boxes at your local dollar store: a good idea to since you'll want to try a small amount at first to see if you like the results. The amounts listed above are good for 16 loads -- one tablespoon each -- so even small batches will last a while.

Have a great Wednesday! Take your family to church tonight~they deserve it.

Tina