Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dinner Bell

Here are some of the new recipes that I tried last week from my cookbook for the club. Phil was out of town on business, so I made a girlie meal for myself: Skillet Pasta Quattro Formaggi. Cheese + Carbs= a girlie meal. This dish is beyond delicious- I won’t even tell you how many times I went back for “seconds.” The gorgonzola added a very bold flavor that simply captivated my taste buds. YUM! Meat loaf and Mac & Cheese- I apologize for not having any pictures for these two recipes, there was just too much going on & I was just trying to get food on the table before our nephew started eating his arms off. You’re familiar with these dishes so just pretend a picture is included in this post. I did get both of these recipes on the table in 45 minutes from start to finish. The mac & cheese was really creamy; I think I was the only one that didn’t like it (I still prefer my granny’s recipe). My mini meatloaves ended up looking like hamburger patties, but they still tasted & smelled like meatloaf. Everyone raved about the meatloaf sauce, which is probably the easiest sauce ever created. So if nothing else, I will use the sauce recipe again. Chicken Pizzaiola with Mozzarella & Pepperoni- This recipe certainly was the easiest & most simple recipe I have ever made for dinner. I had it on the table in about 20 minutes. Unfortunately, I don’t think speed is everything. Phil & I felt like we were eating a TV Dinner. The chicken was just..... kind of.....boring, I guess. It wasn’t a horrible flavor, we just thought it was really lacking something. In brainstorming how to make this a little more enticing, we thought maybe the chicken would be better on some French bread as a sandwich, or over some pasta, or mixed in with some spinach. Un-stuffed chicken breasts with dijon, ham & gruyere- This similar to chicken cordon bleu dish was fantastic. Phil asked me to make this meal again, & I definitely will. I used parsley instead of dill in the sauce, & the sauce was actually our favorite part of the recipe. Bistro-Style Mustard Vinaigrette- This was the spiciest salad dressing I have ever tasted! Well, I take that back, it wasn’t “spicy” as in heat; it was more like a burn (like wasabi). I think the combination of the vinegar & the mustard made this dressing almost unbearable. I followed the directions exactly, but ended up adding some water at the end to dilute the flavor a little bit. I made it, we tried it, & I dumped the leftovers down the drain. Italian Sausage, Pepper, & Onion Hoagies- This recipe is featured in the photo section, which is exactly the reason why I made this dish. I have a hard time imagining what recipes will look like when they are finished, so I will most likely make everything in the photo section of this book. Despite my off-the-wall reason for making these hoagies, I really liked them! I used mild Italian sausage, fresh oregano, & omitted the vinegar (after the salad dressing we were not in the mood for any more vinegar). I toasted the sub rolls right before serving, & they were simply a hit! This dish will be repeated for sure! Chicken & Rice with Broccoli & Cheddar- I was going to be out of the house at dinner time for several nights straight so I made this dish one night after dinner in an attempt to stock the fridge for my hubby. This was extremely fast to make with very few accompanying dirty dishes. Speed & minimal dirty dishes are just as attractive to me as taste (maybe more?). The only thing I did differently here was onion powder instead of onions. I forgot onions at the store so I used the next best thing. I will try my best to remember onions next time though. Alright, the dinner bell has rung. After reviewing our meals from last week I’m hungry again. Are you? What new recipes have you tried lately? Any recipe suggestions for me? Hope you’re having a great week Hawley readers!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Switch-A-Roo

Yes, you’re reading this correctly; 2 blogs in 24 hours! It’s a miracle for me these days. I put up our Easter decorations the day before St. Patrick’s Day simply because I was bored with my St Pats décor. I almost made it; I had one day left, but I had to pull a décor switch-a-roo. Easter is just so much more exciting for me. Anyways, here is what I have around the house for Easter this year.
A welcome to the Hawley's Easter wreath.

The table is ready for Easter supper.

Here is the mantle, some of which you have seen already (e.g. the birdhouse & the 'H').

I got this string of glittered eggs at HL for $4. They are a perfect length to string across the mantle.
On the floor in front of the fireplace we have our Easter baskets ready for the Easter bunny :-)
I love this little set. It is an awesome reminder of what Easter is really all about- a nativity scene for Easter if you will. I have been looking for a Resurrection scene for years now & finally found one. We have this sitting on the breakfast bar & love having it right where everyone can see. There is a funny story with this set that I have to share with you. So remember when our bookshelves, the ones that I built, fell over? Well that was right after I had just purchased this set & I had it sitting on the floor in front of the bookshelves. When the shelves fell they landed right on all of the figurines. Amazingly, the only thing that was broken was the sword & the leg of the soldier (the soldier on the right). When Phil saw that I was hot-gluing his little leg & sword back together he said, “Now that’s justice!”

I have a couple of these wooden eggs hanging on door knobs. If you look closely, you can see me taking the picture ;-)


Here are just a few other Easter things spraweled around the house.


We're so ready for Easter, can you tell? Hope y'all have a great week!

In Case We Forget

I love monogram & have my initials everywhere I possibly can. What can I say? I’m so thrilled to be a Hawley :-) Remember when I posted the Pedestal Birdhouse I said to ignore the ‘H’? Well, you don’t have to ignore it anymore. I distressed the ‘H’ the exact same way I did for the birdhouse & placed it on the opposite side of the mantle.

Here is the ‘H’ after it was stained (I used a walnut stain). After I painted it white, I used sand paper to distress the wood. Just to give you a point of reference, in this picture, the top half is distressed & the bottom half isn’t. The completed ‘H’ on our mantle.

I really like shabby-chic décor, & coupled with monogram, I think this distressed monogram is a time-less & season-less home accent. Don’t you? If nothing else, décor aside, we will always be reminded by the ‘H’ that we are Hawleys.
Happy Sunday from the *Hawleys*!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pedestal Birdhouse

I have another DIY project to share with y’all. Wahoo, I know you're excited :-) I saw this pedestal birdhouse at The Speckled Dog & thought that I could probably make one as well. I was right: it was so easy! I’ll give you a little tutorial so that you can make one at home too.

Here is what you need to get started (I got everything from Hobby Lobby):
-candle pedestal (I got marked-down from $20 on the clearance rack to $4)
-sand paper ($3.99 a pack)
-birdhouse ($3.99)
-stain ($7.99 for walnut, but you can choose any shade of dark stain that you like or already have around the house)
-white & purple paint (I already had at home, & of course you can pick your own colors)
-brushes (I already had)
The total cost of this project for me was $19.97 plus tax. See you can make this. It’s much cheaper to make your own than to even buy one already made.
1. Sand down your birdhouse to make sure it is smooth (this is optional, but I did it). Stain the birdhouse & candle stick; I put on 2 coats of the walnut stain. (Please disregard the ‘H’- I will blog about that later) 2. Once the stain has completely dried, attach the birdhouse to the candlestick using Gorilla Wood Glue. Now you’re ready to paint. I painted the entire pedestal & birdhouse white with 2-3 coats. Then I painted parts of the birdhouse lavender. 3. Once the paint is dry, it is time to distress your birdhouse using the sand paper. I went over the corners pretty roughly because I figured that the edges of things get banged up more over time.I also went against the wood grain on the roof of the birdhouse. And that’s it! You’re done! Wasn’t that so easy? I had so much fun making this; it feels old, but it’s brand new & something I made for our home. I just love it! Here is mine on the mantle. Ok you’re turn, go make one & please send me pictures of yours.
Linking up at Liz Marie's Hop To It Party

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Scentsy

My new Scentsy arrived last week & it’s even prettier in person than it was in online. So I have to share it with you. It has an heirloom lace design that reflects so beautifully on the office wall (though it’s hard to tell from this picture). I also got 3 new scents: Lucky in Love, Red Candy Apple, and Oats & Honey (my favorite). The entire spring collection is fantastic, & I love the delicious scents. I know that I have posted about Scentsys before, but you should definitely check them out (especially if you’re a mommy).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fruit of the Season

Don’t you just love fruits of the spring?! I love that strawberries are in season right now. This was my delicious breakfast this morning.

Foodie Update from Last Week

It’s about that time that in the week where I post the new dishes I made last week for my cookbook club. Ooooo we had so many yummy dishes last week. Below are a few blurbs from my cookbook blog posts from last week:

Skillet Steak Fajitas were fantastic & super fast to make on a weeknight in between work & church. The marinade was amazing & I will probably use it again for chicken fajitas. Skinny Janes is the female lowfat version of Sloppy Joes. Like the new clever name I dubbed for this recipe? As much as I like the new named I gave the recipe, I think this was another one-time recipe. I got to use my new wand to make a Basic Vinaigrette salad dressing. It was so easy to make with the new blender. Thanks again dad! Skillet Penne with Sausage & Spinach was an awesome for a Friday night. We decided this tasted like pizza in a bowl; it was perfect for last Friday night. I added extra spinach, and used whole wheat noodles, & hot Italian sausage. Yum-o! I made the Quick White Chicken Chili late one night & tried it quickly before putting it in the fridge for lunches. It wasn’t bad but I wasn’t that impressed either. When Phil came home from work the next day the first thing he said was “that chicken stuff was great”. I went back to the fridge for a second sample & I have to say it was much better the next day. And we all know that a left-over compliment from me is BIG deal! Fast Oven-BBQ Chicken & 30-Minute Baked Potato- Maybe I’m a cheater (or lazy), but I have always cooked baked potatoes in the microwave. I don’t usually put them in the oven afterwards, so it was a *treat* this time because the oven gave them a nice crispy edge (which I’m sure most of you non-lazy cooks are familiar with). I had the potatoes in the microwave while I was browning the chicken & just put them in the oven when I put the chicken in the oven. We really enjoyed the BBQ sauce: it had a nice strong kick (because I forgot the maple syrup) but also a tangy after-taste. Both of these recipes were great & definitely fast. The only less than impressive recipe was Tortellini Soup. This dish had an extremely weird flavor; not bad, just weird. Phil asked me to never make this one again; I can’t disagree with him.
So those were last week’s dishes. If I had to chose, I would say that the fajitas & the chicken chili tied for first place. Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

DIY Rosettes

I saw this tutorial on Girl.Inspired. & thought to myself, “Hey, I can do that!” So last weekend I set out to try my own fabric-flower-making skills. These trendy little rosettes are so easy to make & could be worn as a headband, a hair clip, a brooch, or even a pin on your handbag.

I purchased all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby, & hardly spent anything to make a ton of these awesome do-dads. To make these rosettes you will need:
-Felt- 25 cents per sheet
-Headbands- 2 for $1.99
-Thread- $1.99, the color doesn’t actually matter because it will be covered up, so if you already have some, you can use that)
-Clips for brooches/hair- $3.99 for a pack of 25
-Fabric- select any pattern that you like. I got a ½ yard of fabric in 5 different prints for $11.95 (everything came off the clearance rack). To be honest, I don’t think you need more than a ¼ of a yard of fabric because I have a lot of leftover fabric.
-Glue gun- I already had one of these but they do sell them at HL if you need one.

It takes very little time to make these little guys; it took me about 15 minutes for each one. So let’s get started:
1. Cut your fabric 2 inches thick from selvage edge to selvage edge. Girl.Inspired. suggested 2 ½ inches thick but I found that left me with a HUGE flower that overpowered my head. (If it was too big for my head, than I could only imagine how big it would look on my nieces- my gorgeous guinea pigs. So to me smaller is better).
2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, with the print on the outside, & iron. I know, I know, I didn’t mention that this project would require you to iron, but trust me it’s worth it. Your strip of fabric should be about an inch wide now. 3. Sew a gathering stitch on the edge down the length of the fabric, pulling it tight. Now this is up to your preference: you can either sew down the FOLDED side OR the OPENED side. If you sew on the folded edge, the frayed side will be seen giving your flower a more vintage look. Alternatively, if you sew on the opened edge, the folded edge will be seen offering a more formal look. I like them both, but I think what I discovered last weekend was that I like the frayed look on solids, but not on prints with a lot of detail.

The flower on the left has a more vintage look & was sewn on the folded edge. The flower on the right is more formal, & was sewn on the opened edge.

This is a gathering stitch; it's very easy & a machine is not required.

4. Gather the fabric very tightly.

5. Starting at one end, wrap the fabric around itself tightly. As you are rolling, sparingly add drops of hot glue around the spiral.
6. Cut a small circle of felt & glue it to the middle of the bottom of the flower. Then work your way around bottom ruffle of the flower, gluing it to the felt. Now you can add a clip if you want to, or you can keep going to make a headband. 7. Cut another long thin piece of fabric (about an inch thick) & 2 smaller pieces. Glue the 2 smaller pieces of fabric on each end of the headband to cap it off. Then tightly wrap & glue (sparingly) the longer piece of fabric around the headband. Be careful with the glue, because if your finger accidentally touches the glue & then you touch the fabric without knowing, you will leave a white spot (I did this, oops!)
8. Decide where you want your flower to be position & glue it to your headband. Cut out another circle of felt & glue it to the back of the flower, sandwiching the headband in between the felt.
9. Tada!!!! That’s it! My first flower was a little on the big side, as I mentioned before, but remember you can always go back after your done to trim it shorter. Isn't that so easy?! Have fun with this project! I can't wait to see the rosettes you make!
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