Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What I Wore...


Sweater - NY&Co
Pants - Gap
Scarf - Dillards (there is no brand tag)
Belt - Target
Shoes - Michelle D from Macy's

White Bean Chicken Chili

I can't take credit for this recipe.  I got it from Mom.  Every time I make it for someone, they ask for the recipe.  It's a great, low fat stew for a cold January night (although I do make it anytime of year because I just love it so much).  The recipe is for the stove top, but I have made mine in the crock pot and let it cook for a few hours.  Just don't cook it too long or the beans will turn to mush.  I always cook my chicken in the crockpot either overnight or for 8 hours during the day.  I add 4 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, and cover with water.  This makes the chicken easier to shred, and I prefer shredded to chopped chicken.


4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped (save all broth)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, chopped or minced

1 tsp cumin

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 cans navy beans

2 cans Northern Beans

2 cans white shoepeg corn

2-3 tbsp chopped jalapeno pepper

1/2 small red pepper, chopped



 

In frying pan, combine olive oil, garlic, cumin, and chopped red pepper.  Cook until  garlic and pepper are softened.

Dissolve 2 chicken bouillon cubes in 1 cup chicken broth.  Save.

In soup pot combine all beans (in their juice), corn, jalapeno, and contents of the frying pan.  Add the chicken.  Mix well and add the 1 cup broth with bouillon.  Mix well.  Add more broth to preferred thickness.  Salt and pepper according to taste.  Let simmer about 15 minutes or until warm.


Picture courtesy of

Monday, January 30, 2012

Oreo Balls

These Oreo Balls are always a hit.  If you haven't tried one, you have no idea what you are missing.   They are so easy to make and are pretty inexpensive, too.  The hardest part is the dipping, but the perk is that you get to eat a few along the way.  Enjoy!

 
Oreo Balls

1 (18oz) pkg oreo cookies
1 (8oz) pkg softened cream cheese
1 pkg almond bark
1 pkg milk chocolate chips

Crush the oreo cookies (filling and all) in a blender or food processor until fine crumbs.  Add cream cheese and combine with a hand mixer until well blended.  Roll into walnut size balls and refrigerate for at least an hour. 

Melt the almont bark in the microwave and dip each ball with a toothpick.  Set to dry on waxed paper. 

Melt milk chocolate chips and drizzle over the top.

Yummmy!

Today I Wore...

      
Cardi- Apt 9 from Kohl's
Shirt- Old Navy
Pants - NY&Co
Shors- Allegria

Orange Push Up Smoothies

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Photo and Recipe Courtesy of

Last night I made these smoothies for an after-dinner snack and they were terriffic!  I did have to tweak the recipe just a little.  The one on the website left the smoothies tasting a little too sour for our taste.  The website claims these smoothies taste just like our old childhood favorite, the Push-Up.  It's true!  They were so yummy!

  You remember these????



Orange Push-Up Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten Free)

1 can orange juice concentrate, slightly thawed
1 1/2 cup milk (half and half, cream, nut milk, soy milk)
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (you can reduce the sugar or use an alternate sugar substitute such as stevia but it won’t taste as close to classic Orange Push-Ups)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups ice, or to taste

Combine all ingredients, except ice, in a large blender or Vita-Mix and blend until smooth and creamy, taking care the sugar has dissolved and is well incorporated. If desired, add a splash more water or more milk. Add the ice and blend until smooth.
Makes approximately three eight-ounce portions.

Tips: Pour excess portions into glasses and thaw later and drink as smoothies; pour excess into bowls and freeze for orange sherbet; or pour into Popsicle molds, paper cups, or ice cube trays and freeze for homemade Push-Ups. Or halve the recipe by cutting the can of orange juice concentrate in half and halving all other ratios.

Optional: Add 1 to 2 ounces of Rum, Malibu, Vodka, Citron, Marshmallow Vodka, Gran Marnier or similar, per smoothie portion, or to taste.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Today I Wore...

Cardi - Target
Necklace, T-shirt and pants- NY&Co

I Love a good cardigan!  This Merona one from Target (20079 is great for the weather we are having in South Carolina right now.  Even though it's January, it's been in the 50s and 60s all month.  This cardi is light weight and 3/4 sleeves, making it not too hot or too light.



Product Praise

Keratin Complex Infusion Replenisher was recommended by my hairdresser when I told her that I was concerned about the health of my hair.  She told me to try the Keratin Complex and just see what I thought.  It only takes a tiny squirt every day to get AMAZING results!  I run it evenly through wet hair before I blow dry and, even though I have naturally wavy hair, I have minimal need for a flattening iron.  It literally straightens my hair for me!  Not only that, but I can see a tremendous change in the health of my hair.  It's smoother, has less split ends and fewer fly-aways.  Apparently, the Keratin Complex opens up the follicle of your hair, rather than sits on top, so that the Keratin can penetrate your hair.  The heat of your blow dryer or hot iron seals that follicle back up, trapping the Keratin inside the follicle.  After only two weeks I could see such a difference.  It's around $40 and I got mine at the salon.  Money well spent!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Today I Wore...

 
Sweater: Express
Pants: New York & Co

January Bunco

I have to say, I LOVE my Bunco group.  They are fifteen of the most fabulous ladies I know.  Some of them are family, some are friends, some are co-workers.  Some are mothers, some are teachers, some are young and some are...well, not as young. 

About a year ago, my Aunt Deb came to me and asked me if I had heard of Bunco.  I had because I had sat in as a sub on a Bunco game before, but wasn't a part of the original group.  Deb told me that she thought it would be fun and asked if I knew any ladies who might be interested.  I put the word out the next day and the group came together.  That was in January 2011 and we have gotten together every month ever since.  Each month has its own theme and this months theme was "Black and White".  I was the host at my home. 

I wish I had more pictures of the decor.  I had glass jars filled with black and white Sixlet candies, black and white foil wrapped hearts, and black and white (but not licorice flavored) candy stix, all from Michaels Craft Store.  I had a bowl of black olives, white grapes, and white cheese cubes.  I made oreo balls dipped in white chocolate.  The show-stopper, though, was this cake:

Pinned Image

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest and it's from Bakerella.com  http://www.bakerella.com/just-a-cake/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bakerella+%28Bakerella%29

This was unbelievable cake, y'all.  It was actually pretty easy and was moist and light.  The look of the cake was elegant.  My girls thought I had spent all day on it. 

The night was a hit.  We had so much fun.  I can't wait till next month.

Cheeseburger Calzone

Last week I went to my friend Candace's Pampered Chef Cooking party and her representative made an amazing Cheeseburger Calzone.  I just had to try it for my family.  While I thought it was fabulous, my husband Jaimie wasn't a fan.  He said it was pickle overload, but in my opinion it was the pickles that made it so great.  Give it a try because it's definitely worth a taste, but you may want to adjust the amount of pickles you use (you may try half of what the recipe calls for).  Let me know what you think!


Photo courtesy of bakebakebake.livejournal.com


Pampered Chef Cheeseburger Stuffed Calzone

2 packages (11 oz. each) refrigerated French bread dough, divided
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup dill pickle slices, diced
3/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 pound 95% lean ground beef, cooked, crumbled and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup (1 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)
Shredded lettuce, tomato slices and dill pickle slices (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Unroll one package of the bread dough onto Large Round Stone; roll and stretch to edge of baking stone using Baker's Roller. Sprinkle cheese evenly over dough to within 1 inch of edge.
2. Chop onion using Food Chopper. Dice pickles using Utility Knife. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard and garlic pressed with Garlic Press; mix well. Add cooked ground beef; mix well. Spoon meat mixture over cheese; spread evenly. Unroll remaining dough directly over filling by matching top edges of dough and shaping to fit as dough is unrolled. Trim excess dough from corners using Pizza Cutter, forming an even edge. Roll and crimp edges to seal.
3. Drizzle oil over dough; spread evenly. If desired, grate Parmesan cheese over dough using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Using Pizza Cutter, make three crisscross cuts, about 6 inches long, across center of dough to vent. Bake 18-20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into wedges. Serve with toppings, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Today I Wore...

Today I was like a walking advertisement for Gap!  Jacket, striped T, and pants all from Gap.  So comfy and fits right in with 2 of my spring 2012 obsessions: stripes and bright, bold colors. 
I apologize for the HORRIBLE photography.  I'm having to use my phone and a mirror in my classroom which, unfortunately (and quite sadly) is the only full-length mirror I have.  I'll get better with the pictures, I promise! Meanwhile, all items can be purchased at www.gap.com.

Willing to Try Anything!



Reblogged from lillyunique.tumblr.com

Nothing more Southern than Sweet Iced Tea

Good Ol' Alabama Sweet Tea Recipe


Around here, it's unheard of to have company over to your home and not offer them a glass of iced tea.  Whether it's a hot August day or a chilly January afternoon, we like our iced tea.  Some people make it on the stove top, some people make it in the microwave.  There are those who make it in a coffee pot and those who have an iced tea maker.  There are many ways to make iced tea and just as many recipes for it.  Here's mine!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 gallon water
  • 1 tray ice cubes
  • 3 family sized teabags of orange pekoe tea
  • 3 cups cold water, or as needed

 Directions

  1. Pour the sugar into a large pitcher. Bring water to a boil in a large pan. When the water begins to boil, remove from the heat, and place the teabags in. Let steep for 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags, and return tea to the heat. Bring just to a boil, then pour into the pitcher, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the pitcher half way with ice, and stir until most of it melts. Then fill the pitcher the rest of the way with cold water, and stir until blended.               

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Introductions, please

Hey y'all! My name is Nikki and I am a genuine Southern Belle, born and raised in the south and can't imagine living anywhere else. I'm a wife, mother of two, teacher, novice chef, fashion addict, Bunco queen, the list of my hats goes on and on. I think the south is more than a place or a geographic region. It's an amazing way of life and I'm so excited to share it with you!