Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Sandwich

Do you ever just get burned out on the same old recipes? Or just cooking in general? I am at that point, so I am trying all kinds of new recipes. I adapted this recipe from a Better Homes and Garden recipe for a chicken panini.


1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup red enchilada sauce
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1 1/2 tsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Bread rolls or country-style bread
2 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheese

The original recipe also called for 1/2 cup pine nuts and 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 1 tsp adobo sauce. I like to stick to ingredients I have on hand when necessary. I thought it was delicious and I was really excited I had discovered a new and very unique recipe...until... I have to be husband said, "I don't like it, but thanks for making dinner." Bummer! I proceeded to take the leftovers to work the next day. Everyone thought it was fantastic!


1. Cook onion in olive oil until softened.

2. Add enchilada sauce, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon.

3. Stir in shredded chicken and heat.

4. I buttered the top of the buns and broiled them in the oven for 1 minute.

5. Place filling in buns and add cheese on top.

6. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

DIY Superhero Town

Super heroes are the latest and greatest obsession around our house. It seems like for boys there is a predictable order of toy facination. At the age of 2, my oldest started with cowboys. He then moved on to fireman, army men, and now...super heroes.


2x4's in various sizes
Sander (optional)
Spray paint (red, green, blue, black)
Colored tape


1. Cut 2x4 in various lengths to create your superhero buildings. I sanded the boards and edges down.

2. Spray paint your "buildings" in different colors.

3. Cut colored tape in various sizes and adhere to "buildings." We chose to make ours different lengths and to display the "windows" in an uneven fashion. This is a comic book town.

4. Let your little one play and have fun with their new town. The great part is these blocks are stackable. Buildings can be as tall as you would like and the kids totally love knocking them all down!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Brown Paper Bag Dresser

Have you ever seen brown paper bags used for flooring? I think the faux leather look is so interesting. I have mainly wood floors in my home so I had to find somewhere else to use the amazing brown paper bag technique. I chose a piece of furniture instead.

My son needed some more storage space and this three drawer little dresser seemed beat up enough perfect.


Brown Paper Bags
Modge Podge

1. Start with your brown paper bags. Tear them, crumble them, and then unwrinkle them. I cut a few with straight edges or straight corners to make it easier to place them on the drawers.

2. Cover your desired piece of furniture with Modge Podge a section at a time. Place brown paper sack pieces on one by one. Make sure to smooth each one out and modge podge over the top. ( I used a small paint brush) I was not a perfectionist on the wrinkles because I wanted some character and texture.

3. Cover the whole design again with a generous layer of Modge Podge. The first few times I used Modge Podge, I never used enough. See picture below to fully understand how much to use.

4. After the brown paper sack design dried, I used an old t-shirt to apply wood stain (MinWax) on top. You can see the difference it makes in color and shading at the bottom of the following picture.

5. Now that my drawers were complete, I moved on to the rest of the dresser. I primed the entire wooden dresser with two coats of primer.

6. I chose to spray paint it green to match my son's room. (I thought the contrast of black would have looked even better...but it would not have matched)

7. I painted my knobs and put them back on.

It turned out just perfect for his room decor. What are you going to  "brown bag"?

Monday, September 19, 2011

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Today was just another crazy day at work. We all have them. The day that flies by so fast that on a positive is over...but then you are you ever going to get everything done in time to pick up the kids and get home. Oh yes, and don't forget your family still has to eat.

Luckily, the weather is finally cooling off in Texas, and I am back to making some of my favorite oven meals. King Ranch Chicken Casserole is one of my go-to favorite meals for our family. I often reduce the Rotel in a small portion and cook it in a separate dish for the kids. I just can't seem to get them acclimated to spicy food yet.


6-8 corn tortillas cut into small squares
3 cups chicken cooked and shredded
1/2 chopped green or red pepper
1/2 chopped onion
Velveeta cubes (Approx 2 cups)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 can Rotel


1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Mix soup and Rotel
3. Mix in remaining ingredients
4. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes
5. Enjoy!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

No Sew Halloween Monster Pillow

My son is excited because Halloween is around the corner. I am tempted to just decorate now and enjoy the holiday even longer. I have seen so many cute monster ideas lately and I am inspired to make them all for Halloween. I saw fun monster pillows at Oriental Trading Company and I decided we should make something similar of our own. Of course, these would be great for a monster birthday party craft or activity too. The best part is there is no sewing involved!


Fleece in several colors
Polyester stuffing
Craft glue for fabric


1. Cut out two circles of colored fleece approximately 18" in diameter. I cut one green for the front and one blue for the back.

2. Cut various pieces of fleece for eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, spots, etc. I cut plenty so my son could choose how many eyes, teeth, or silly things he wanted to put on his monster. He went fairly traditional. Ha!

3. We used Tacky Glue to adhere on all the face pieces and he pushed them down. I made sure the glue was close to the edges of each piece too so they would have the best chance of staying down long term.

4. After my son had put on all the pieces, I cut a "fringe" around the edge of the monster face. I aimed for
2 1/2" strips.

5. I had to do the last steps because my son is only three. I tied the fringe 3/4 the way around the monster in single knots. 

Make sure to tie the same way (ex. blue over green) each time so the fringe will show the same color on top. I also did not tie the "hairline". I left it as my opening for stuffing.

6. Stuff monster with polyester stuffing.

7. Tie the top fringe the opposite direction this time (ex. green over blue). This will make the monster's hair appear to be a different color.

I hope you enjoy your new monster pillows. I think we will make some more this weekend because they were so fast, fun, and easy. I would love to see what your kids come up with!

My Lil Monster with his Lil Monster!

Parties I linked to: Click Here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pumpkin Toss Game for Halloween

It sure does not feel like Fall in Texas, but all of the great ideas in blogland, have inspired me to start some Halloween and Fall crafts. My wheels are turning. However, this is one of my favorite projects from last year.

I made this pumpkin toss last year for a Halloween party my friends and I threw at a homeless shelter. The kids loved it. My own kids continued to play it at home too, well after Halloween. I don't have pictures of all the steps, but I will try to explain. It was super simple. My favorite thing about bean bag tosses is children of all ages can participate. My 1 1/2 year old loves walking up and dropping the bean bag through the hole, and my three year old loves the challenge of trying to throw it in. Let's be honest...I have fun playing too!

It was very similar to this project I made for a patriotic bean bag toss. Click here or on the photo for instructions on how to make the bean bags and plywood cut out.


1. I started by cutting my plywood out in a pumpkin shape.

2. Then I made two holes where the cheeks belonged.

3. I painted the pumpkin orange, and used a little beige I had at the house, to shade some lines. I am by no means an artist, but I was trying to add a little interest.

4. Next I painted simple black eyes, nose and mouth.

5. I added some wood on the back for legs to stand our little Jack-0-Lantern up.

6. We just pulled him out of the barn to play with again this year! Happy Fall!

Parties I linked to: Click here

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Crawfish Jalapeno Poppers

I decided to be a little adventurous this week with some jalapenos I picked up at the store. No special occasion...just felt like trying something new. I had some fried crawfish leftover from a delicious date night  with my husband, and I decided to add them in the mix as well. (I didn't want anything in my fridge to feel left out.) I ended up with bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers stuffed with cream cheese and crawfish. Yummy goodness!


Cream Cheese
Cajun or other seasoning
Fried crawfish (optional)


1. Cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise. Scrape the inside and discard the seeds. I might suggest wearing some gloves for this step. Jalapenos can be brutal to wash off your hands. (I learned that the hard way and it involved taking out my contacts. Just when you think you washed them enough times...Ouch!!)

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese and seasoning of choice. Fill in each jalapeno half. I then elected to add some fried crawfish in them.

3. Cut bacon in halves or thirds. I chose to use turkey bacon. It is good, but does not get the same crispness as regular bacon when it is cooked. It is just a personal preference. Wrap bacon around the jalapeno with cream cheese side up. Secure with toothpick or secure multiple jalapenos on a skewer.

4. Bake in oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Free Chick-Fil-A Breakfast Deal

Chick-fil-a has done it again. They are so generous. This week through 9/10, they are giving away free breakfast entrees. Just make a reservation for a date and time at a location near you. It takes one minute to complete.  Click here!

Breakfast Ham and Egg Casserole

I am a sucker for not wasting food. This morning, I decided to throw together a quick breakfast casserole to share at work, because I had an excess of leftover ham. I work as a nurse at a surgery center and we are all suckers for breakfast early in the morning. Lacking all the traditional ingredients, I made do, and I was pleased with my new creation. The secret ingredient...hamburger buns. (I was out of bread!)

I know you may be thinking I am crazy to be up so early cooking a casserole on a work morning. I promise I am not a complete overachiever. My three year old is. He woke me up at 5 am and unfortunately would not go back to sleep. He has been an early riser and has disliked sleeping since the day he was born. Lucky me!


2-3 cups chopped/cubed ham
7 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped red or green peppers
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 hamburger buns (may sub bread)
2 cups shredded cheese
Seasoning ( I used Emeril's)


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare casserole in 13x9 inch glass dish.

2. Cut up 3 hamburger buns in small cubes and layer in glass dish.

3. Layer cubed ham on top of hamburger buns.

4. Mix eggs, milk, peppers, onions, and seasoning in small bowl. Pour over buns and  ham.

5. Top the entire casserole with shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F for approximately 45 minutes.

6. Enjoy!!

Parties I linked to: Click here

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chalkboard Play Table for Kids

This story starts as a lot of my craft projects do. I was driving down the road when...I found a beat up kid's table on the curb. I can picture my husband cringing when those words come out of my mouth. Lol! I do have to say he still appreciates my thrifty nature. I think he is just glad I use the small car the majority of the time for gas mileage, instead of the SUV, or a lot more "treasures" would find their way home with me. Here is my newest creation.

This is the table I found on the curb. I had to start by gluing one of the pencil legs back in place. The screw was completely stripped.

Next, I sprayed it with chalkboard paint. Two coats easily did the job. Here is a guest that decided to visit our table. Hello little butterfly.

I then cut a hole out of the center with a jigsaw and placed a plastic red bowl in the middle to hold our chalk.

 I left it removable so it would be easy to clean. The whole project took me thirty minutes and did not cost a dime! (I already had a can of chalkboard paint at home) It was well worth the time for what joy it created.

I am not sure my son will be much of an artist. He is really into endless circles right now. It reminds me of a dog chasing his tail!

However, the table has been great for practicing our numbers and letters. It would be perfect to write spelling words on for older kids. Chalk just makes everything more fun.

Parties I linked to: Click here

Monday, September 5, 2011

Carve Fun Watermelon Creations

Throughout the summer I have watched the fun watermelon designs and creations that have been popping up around blog land. I was about to cut our watermelon the other day and decided it would be a lot more fun if I made a design. My son's friend was coming over to play, and his favorite character is Lightning McQueen. I made a simple version, and it was a big hit with the boys. My son insisted we set it on our lunch table so he could look at it while he ate.

Lightning McQueen out of Watermelon

I found that a melon baller worked best to scrape off the watermelon skin for designs. With only light pressure it peeled right away. I personally had no luck with a vegetable peeler or a knife. You can see in the picture below how I took off an extra chunk with the knife. Oops!

I inserted toothpicks and stuck them in small chocolate pieces for the eyes.

I highlighted the lightning bolt with a black sharpie and wrote the number 95. I know lazy...but it was not like a was entering a watermelon carving contest. I was doing it for the pure enjoyment of my son.

He loved his Lightning McQueen.

Here are some other fun watermelon carvings and designs I found around the Internet.

Watermelon Monster by 733 blog

Watermelon Frog by Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons

Watermelon Turtle by Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Watermelon Shark by Sun Scholars

Watermelon Baby Carriage Recipe

Watermelon Drum Set by David Leathers at Food Stylin

Shrek by unknown

Tea Pot
Watermelon Teapot by

Treasure Chest
Watermelon Treasure Chest by

Be creative and have some fun in the kitchen with your kids!!

Parties I linked to: crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {9/6}
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