Thursday, January 31, 2013

Super Bowl Cake Pops

I will not even pretend to be a cake pop connoisseur.  I am not the best at creating cake pops but I’m certainly a pro at eating them ;-)  Here is how I make cake pops festive to eat for Superbowl Sunday :-)
From the Kitchen of Darby Hawley

Bake a cake...
...and crumble it up (seems like a crime, right?) Since you’re just going to be crumbling it up, I wouldn’t take the time to bake a cake from scratch. Just buy a cake mix.Superbowl Collage 1

Add in 1/2 a can of frosting, & mix it up until it's not gooey, but still moldable.Superbowl Collage 2

Mold the "dough" into any shape you like (mini footballs for the Superbowl), then put them in the fridge and go fold some laundry
Oh sorry, let me clarify, I meant come fold MY laundry!DSC04126-2

Melt 1 bag of Wilton’s candy melts in the microwave.
Dip lillipop sticks (can buy at a craft store) into the chocolate, stick it into the hardened dough, & put them back into the fridge (this step uses the chocolate like "glue" so the dough doesn't fall off the lollipop stick).Superbowl Collage 3

Once the chocolate on the pops has hardened, dip the entire football into chocolate. Once that dries, I use yellow icing to add laces to the footballs.  I purchase Wilton’s Ready-to-Use decorating icing.  You can get this at most grocery stores or craft stores.  The awesome thing about this icing is that icing tips will screw right onto the bottle. So all you have to do is draw some laces on your footballs.
Superbowl Collage 4

I wont lie to you: this will take some time and patience, but they really are so fun and festive. Here is where I got the recipe. Mine are not nearly as pretty as hers, but after all that work, I'm pretty proud of the ones I made.
Have you all made cake pops before?
What tricks have you used to make it easier and faster?
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: Wings & Things

To be honest…I don’t love wings.  I don’t even like them.
I loathe them.
Eating foods with my fingers where gross sauce could get stuck under my nails is the worst.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who hates to eat messy food.
While I hate messy food, there are always exceptions. 
Here is an exception….I love the flavor of wings so I eat these guys with a fork.  Yes I’m the weirdo eating chicken wings with a fork.

I made these last year for our Superbowl party and promised the recipe.  I figured a year of suspense is long enough, right? #epicbloggerfail
From the Kitchen of Darby Hawley
3 lbs chicken wing drummies (I buy the generic store brand of frozen wings)
canola oil (this works best for the high heat you will be using)
2 sticks butter
12 oz bottle Frank's Red Hot
Tabasco sauce

  1. Cover the bottom of a deep skillet with 1 ½ inches of canola oil, and heat over medium/high. Rinse your drummies (also make sure they are thawed out if you purchased frozen wings.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Once the oil is hot, gently place your drummies in the skillet. To keep yourself from being overwhelmed, work in manageable batches of drummies.  Keep them moving with a pair of tongs so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the skillet.
  4. In a medium sauce pan melt the butter and then add your Frank’s sauce.  Stir the mixture until incorporated and then shake in 10-15 drops of Tobasco (base this on your own preferences).
  5. When the drummies have cooked for about 18-20 minutes, remove the drummies and drain the grease on a paper towel.  Once you’ve cooked all of your batches of drummies and the grease has drained  put the drummies into a 9 x 13 pyrex dish.  Pour the hot sauce over the drummies and stir the wings until they are all covered. 
  6. Allow drummies to cook in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring the wings half-way through to make sure they are well coated with the sauce.
Wings Collage 1DSC_0625-2

Ok and now for the “things” part of this post.  You didn’t think I was going to forget that did you?  Every Superbowl party needs dip!  It’s part of the football cheering section.  It's as if no one can cheer without one hand assuming the official dipping position.

1 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese (optional)
omit dieting anxiety

  1. Combine mayo and sour cream.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together milk and ranch mix.  Once incorporated, pour over the mayo mixture and stir to combine. Now you’re done!!!!!!  Simply cover and refrigerate for 2 hours and you’re ready to get dipping.
  3. If you also want the option of blue cheese dipping sauce, before putting the ranch dip in the fridge, separate the dip into two equal parts.  Pour in 4 oz of crumbled blue cheese into one of the dips .  Cover and refrigerate both for 2 hours.
Wings Collage 2
Did you hear that?! My Lord! My stomach just grumbled so loudly!  I can’t wait to have these wings on Sunday.  Who’s with me?!
xoxo Darby

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Football Cupcakes {2}

From the Kitchen of Darby HawleySince the Superbowl is right around the corner, this week I want to tease you with a bunch of recipes that scream football snack and make you salivate.  Have I peaked your interest? 
Since chocolate is the most important food group, let’s start there.  These are some fabulously fun cupcakes that will make all your guests think you’re a real fancy pants, but really they’re SO simple to make.DSC_0614-2Step 1: Bake cupcakes and let them cool off to room temperature.  You can make cupcakes from scratch or from a mix.  I choose funfetti for a party.  Duh, who doesn’t love funfetti cupcakes?!DSC_0579
Step 2: Once the cupcakes are cooled, take a star icing tip and fill your icing cone with chocolate frosting.  Squeeze the icing cone in a zig-zag motion for each cupcake.  Again the icing can be from scratch, though I recommend a buttercream icing if you make it from scratch so that it holds the shape, or from a can.  This will require more icing than you probably anticipate.  I had to send the Mr back to the store on an emergency trip for more icing because I ran out right before our guests came over last year.DSC_0590
Step 3: I purchased some Wilton’s Ready-to-Use white decorating icing.  You can get this at most grocery stores or craft stores.  The awesome thing about this icing is that icing tips will screw right onto the bottle. So all you have to do is draw some laces on your footballs.Wilton Icing
How easy was that?! 
There you have it: festive and delicious football cupcakes :-)  Not only would these be great for a football game, but also a boy baby shower, or a young little boy’s birthday party.  See the possibilities are endless!DSC_0613DSC_0614-2
xoxo Darby

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shut the Front Door

….or should I say window?
On Friday I mentioned my desire to add charm to our new pad without slaughtering our checking account.
This is was our boring house:Before-2
Next we had to tackle the windows. 
I told the Mr that shutters would be a nice addition to improve the curb appeal.  I debated on colors, but ultimately chose black.  We measured and did our research to find the best deal for what we wanted to do. 
And guess what. 
To add shutters to each window is only $18. Yay!!!
Another cheap & fast project for more charm!  We are seriously on a roll. 
Check out the new front of the house. DSC_0086-3

The next project is the front door and entry column. I can’t wait to tackle that with the Mr.DSC_0040-2
I hope y’all had a great weekend and are ready to hit the ground running this week!
xoxo Darby

Friday, January 25, 2013

Charm for under $20

Something that was extremely important to me in house hunting was finding a home that was not a “cookie cutter home”; that was not an identical sibling to every other house on the block.  The Mr was looking for practical and functional spaces (because he is so wise), while I was looking for charm and character (we make a great pair if I do say so myself).  With our new house, I knew that it was different and had the older charm I was looking for. I also recognized that it had great potential for more character.
But honestly, I thought that the front of the house could not be more plain! Boring!Before-2
There were a couple things that could be done to add charm without breaking the bank.  To add some curb appeal to our new home we decided to add some hardware to the garage.  We purchased a hardware kit from Home Depot for $19.98, and about 15 minutes later the project was done.  Easy project that only requires a drill.  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much easier than this! Score!787cdc1b-ea60-4c52-9d6f-42bf4bc86225_400

What do you think of my “new” Carriage Styled garage doors?Door Before-2Door After-2
xoxo Darby

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crepe Murder

Funny stuff should always be passed along, right?  I think so! 
It’s been a while since I mentioned my love for Crepe Myrtles, but I really do think they are so pretty and a signature bloom of the south.  DSC05408[8]
Since moving into the new house I have been planning what I want to plant this upcoming spring and paying close attention to the Gardening section of my Southern Living magazine.  This morning when I was drinking my coffee and flipping through my magazine, I saw in the Grumpy Gardener article an ad for Crepe Murdering…..get the spin? Instead of crepe myrtle it was crepe murder….oh corny gardening humor lol Apparently there is a contest for the most murdered crepe myrtle of the year (Sidebar, in case you’re unfamiliar, these trees are often pruned back so that they can “grow fuller later”.  However they look practically dead and pathetic when pruned back too far; not to mention, that it really isn’t a healthy practice for this plant)  I just find this contest to be quite humorous and had to let y’all know about it. 
Here is the most assaulted myrtle from 2012.  So very sad looking :-(6a00e55131bf2a88330167637c8226970b-500wi
So if you’ve seen some crepe myrtles being assaulted with chainsaws, take a picture and enter it into the contest with the Grumpy Gardener :-)
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: My DIY Vanity

When we moved into the new house (I think I start every post like this these days, sorry about that), I wanted a vanity for our bedroom.  The bathrooms lack counter space so I need a place to do my makeup and hair until we replace the bathroom vanities.  I haven’t been able to find something that I like, that matches our master bedroom, is the right size, and is affordable.  I’ve shopped, stalked Craigslist and antique shops, but I just haven't found anything that really fits the bill.  Sooooo I had to get creative.

Do you remember when I renovated our master bedroom in the summer of 2011, and I had this armoire? DSC05830-2
Well I figured that I could easily use this piece of furniture for a vanity!  There was a TV in it and some swim suits, but that’s about it.  We never used the TV so we donated it and now this armoire is my vanity.Collage 1
What do you think? 
After donating what I used to keep in the armoire, I made it a vanity and designated each drawer for either makeup, hair care, or delicates.  The great thing about this, is that the drawers are large and deep enough to hold everything which clears out a lot of space in the bathroom closets.  I also love how I can just shut the doors at the top and no one can see inside.DSC_0835-3I really had everything for this project except the stool which I purchased at Marshall’s for $30 (I negotiated 20% off because a foot was missing and I replaced it myself) and the double sided cosmetic mirror for $14.
I love the scrolls on the back of the stool.  I think it looks so traditionally romantic.
In the mornings when I get ready I can sit and have my tea while having everything at my finger tips.  Collage 2

I just might keep this as my vanity even after the bathrooms are updated ;-)6f93fa4c579d11e2ab9022000a9f14bb_7
Have you ever had a piece of furniture that you just totally changed it’s function to make it work better for you?
xoxo Darby

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sweet Potato Praline Casserole

From the Kitchen of Darby HawleyDSC_0293-2
This is one dish that I absolutely treasure during the holiday season.  Not just for the nostalgic feeling, but also my sweet tooth depends on it during the holidays.  After several years of tweaking the recipe, here is my Sweet Potato Praline Casserole.  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Ingredients:
1-16 oz can sweet potatoes
¼ cup soft butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 and ¼ cup evaporated milk
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Praline Topping Ingredients:
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tbs all-purpose flour
¼ cup soft butter
½ cup finely chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Drain and mash sweet potatoes.
3. Add all other sweet potatoes ingredients to the sweet potatoes, mixing well after each addition.
4. Place sweet potato mixture in a shallow casserole dish.
5. Mix praline topping and layer onto the sweet potatoes.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
xoxo Darby

Friday, January 18, 2013

52 weeks of Christmas Cards

When all the Christmas decorations are packed away it can be a little sad.  You know, the post-Christmas blues? We go from non-stop celebration to nothing and getting back to normal.  Y’all know I love Christmas, and I am one of those crazy people that can listen to Christmas music year-round; I just love it. 

As you know I didn’t put up Christmas decorations this year because of our move right before Christmas, so this picture is from a previous Christmas.  However I still have all of the lovely Christmas cards y’all sent us this year (just not displayed as pretty).  One way that I keep the sweet spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year is through our Christmas cards.

I don’t throw them in the trash. 

I don’t pack them away for the next year. 

Instead I pick one card a week and pray for that family.  We pray for marriages to deepen, increased health, available and disciplined finances, safety and protection, children, blessings in the workplace, patience, compassion, giving spirits, and that they would be the Light to others during their storms throughout the year.  So friends, if you sent us a Christmas card this year, please know that we will be praying for you for at least one full week this year.  (Sidebar, please don’t think prayer is bought with a Christmas card.  This is just a way for us to focus our prayers on others.  We still pray for y’all even without a Christmas card).

If you’ve got Christmas cards laying around the house and you don’t know what to do with them, I encourage you to use them during your prayer time.  By letting your children pick the card to pray for each week, this is also a great way to help engage and encourage an active prayer life.

Have a great weekend friends!!
xoxo Darby

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What I’m Lovin’ Wednesday: My Handman

Sorry (not sorry) folks but this might get a little sappy. I can’t help myself.  You have been warned.

Since moving into our new house, the Mr hasn’t sat down.  He has been fixing, updating, correcting, and changing.  I am beyond impressed with how much work he can do in such a short about of time; he is so talented!  From what I hear, when you become a parent the transition in roles causes spouses to fall in love with each other all over again because you see a different side of your spouse.   I feel the same could be said about our recent transition.  Please understand  that I am in no way comparing the miracle of life with the material of homeownership.  Instead what I am saying is that with our transition we have both added new hats to wear and the new hat that the Mr is wearing has made me fall head over heels for him, all over again!  I simply can’t stop staring at my hubby work around our home.  My heart swells when I hear of each task he has completed and what he has planned to do next.  The way he cares about providing a warm and comfortable home for our family is heavenly. We do not have “honey do lists” in our house, but we do have “Team Hawley” lists.  Yes this is how we refer to each other (so corny, right?) and we enjoy tackling tasks together.  Having a handyman is a great resource, but having MY handyman is simply blissful.  Today I just want to brag about all the things my special, handsome, live-in handyman has been up to around casa de Hawley.

He has fixed the canopy on the back porch, installed our surround sound, updated lighting fixtures, cleaned and fixed the shed (as I type he is prepping to paint), installed outside lighting, fixed the doors inside, updated the outside of the house, purchased new furniture and delivered it himself, built rails for our new bed, filled holes in the backyard that the dogs insist on digging, installed a new mirror on my vanity, and a million other things that I can’t even remember.  He has been busy, right?DSC_0851-2DSC_0831-2DSC_0051-2DSC_0079-2

This is how Tomlin and Roo help out Team Hawley (total bums!)DSC_0846-2DSC_0847-2
He really is my what I’m lovin’, and not just on Wednesdays :-)  Mr, I hope you know how much I adore you; I am completely smitten!  If you have your own husband handyman, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate him today.
Happy Wednesday friends!
xoxo Darby

Monday, January 14, 2013

Louisa is in the Pantry

Every time the Mr and I move it’s the same thing:


When we first moved into the new house this is what our pantry looked like
YIKES!!!!  I cannot believe I just showed you this picture! lol  I promise I’m not a slob!  I would like to think of myself as a pretty organized person, but when we moved I just threw everything in the pantry just so that I could start getting rid of boxes.  However, since the kitchen is my favorite part of the new house, I knew that the pantry couldn’t stay this chaotic for long.

My blogging buddy, and football smack-talking amiga, Amy from One Artsy Mama inspired me to tackle my pantry.  (Do you know Amy? If not, you really need to go check out her blog. She’s amazing!) Amy got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas and has been going to town creating so many projects.  I purchased my Silhouette last July and it has been sitting in the box for months now. How lame is that?!?!?!? So it was time to bust out my Silhouette and get to work.  Since Amy named her new Silhouette “Cammie”, we decided I needed to name mine too. So, I would like to introduce you to Louisa.cd133576bb2f11e1a39b1231381b7ba1_7
Isn’t she a beauty? What a great addition to our family she is :-) As soon as she was out of her box she was put to good use, getting us organized again.
I had a mess.
I had Louisa, my Silhouette.
Amy gave me inspiration.
Time to get organized!
First thing I did was take a short visit to The Container Store.  If you have never been to this store, let me tell you, it is HEAVEN for the Type A personality (aka ME!).  I purchased various sized mason jars (love!), open faced baskets, and white washed wooden bins.Collage 1

The car was packet with goodies and Louisa was ready!!Collage 2

This is how I have been keeping my dry pantry items.  I kept them in ziplock bags because I hate the idea of bugs.  I’m a bit neurotic about it so I take every precaution.  DSC_0809-2
But as soon as I had the jars I switched them from the bags.  I wrote the contents on each jar with a dry erase marker. DSC_0813-2DSC_0811-2I made a jar for brown sugar, all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, sugar, white rice, brown rice, bisquick, cake flour, quick oats, and loose pasta.DSC_0810-2
Using my Silhouette software I made the labels with a pharmacy font.Collage 3

I put the labels on the jars and organized the boxes and baskets in the pantry.  What do you think?DSC_0015-2DSC_0016-2DSC_0816-2DSC_0814-2
I can definitely find everything now and I love the way the jars look.  It really adds a nice touch to my new kitchen.  What should Louisa and I do next?
We are on a roll getting this place in order, but is there a project you want to see Louisa and I do next?
Linking up at Liz Marie's Hop To It Party
xoxo Darby
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