Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paper Ribbons

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I love the idea of paper ribbons!  They won't get squished under the tree and they are much less costly that traditional ribbon from the craft store.  Mid and match wrapping paper to create your ribbons, then add a monogram or sticker to the center.  Great idea from!

For the record, I am off the clock :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

In My Dream Home

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I love the floors and the wall treatments in this room!  And the cholcolate brown carpeting on the stairs in something I never would have thought would work but it does.  Love it!

Holiday Dining

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This elegant touch can bring such an extra holiday touch to your table.  A simple ribbon tied around the backs of chairs and a small sprig attached makes for a beautiful place for your holiday meal.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew

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Cannellini Bean and Sausage Stew with Tomatoes and Basil

(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cups cooked cannellini beans (see options below for cooking beans or use canned beans)
4 links Aidell's Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Cheese Chicken Sausage (or use any pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage)
2-3 tsp. olive oil (use more or less, depending on your pan)
1/2 large onion, choppped
1 T minced garlic
1 (14.5 oz) can petite dice tomatoes with juice (I used Dei Fratelli organic canned tomatoes, a great product I received as a sample)
1 tsp. dried Greek or Italian oregano
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 cups chicken stock (I used my homemade chicken stock, but you can use 1 can chicken broth and add a bit of water)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn't use any salt)
1/4 cup chopped basil (I used my frozen basil, 1/4 cup purchased basil pesto would work here too)
1 T balsamic vinegar
fresh grated parmesan for serving (optional, but good)

For cooking dried beans: Whether you use the pressure cooker or cook beans in a regular pot, start by soaking 1 cup dried cannellini beans over night. Discard that soaking water and start with fresh water, whichever cooking method you're using.

To cook beans in pressure cooker: Add beans to pressure cooker with water to cover, 1/2 onion and 3-4 bay leaves. Bring to high pressure and cook 2-3 minutes (depending on how soft you like your beans.) Then turn off heat and let beans reduce pressure slowly while you prep other ingredients and simmer the base of the stew. When pressure is completely reduced, drain beans in colander in the sink.

To cook beans in regular pot: Add beans to pot with water to cover by several inches, 1/2 onion, and 3-4 bay leaves. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook beans until soft, probably about 45 minutes, but cooking time will depend on the freshness of the beans. When beans are soft, drain in colander in the sink.

To use canned beans: Put 2 cans cannellini beans into colander placed in the sink. Rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears. Let beans drain and use in recipe. (This is slightly more beans than the 1 cup of dried beans; you can freeze a few for another recipe if you like.)

While beans are cooking (or draining) cut sausage into half lengthwise, then cut into half-moon shaped slices. Heat about 1 tsp. olive oil in heavy dutch oven or soup pot, then saute sausage until well browned, about 5 minutes. (See note above if you're using sausage with cheese.) When sausage is well-browned, remove to bowl, then add chopped onion and saute about 2 minutes, adding more oil if needed. After 2 minutes, add chopped garlic and saute about 2 minutes more.

Add tomatoes and juice, dried oregano, dried marjoram, and chicken stock to pot with onions and garlic. Add sausage back to pot, then cook at very low simmer about 30 minutes, until flavors are well blended and liquid is slightly reduced. After 30 minutes. add drained beans and simmer about 15 minutes more. (If the mixture seems too dry at this point, add a bit more chicken stock or a little water.)

When beans have simmered 15 minutes, add chopped basil and balsamic vinegar and simmer 5 minutes more. Taste beans for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground black pepper as desired. Serve hot, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

This printable recipe from

Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees

Please… PLEASE… pleeeeease tell me that I’m not the ONLY one that has Christmas FEVER!
Thank you so much to Desiree at
for this too-cute Christmas cheer! 
 Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees…
Are they FUN or what?!
{You are more than welcome to start singing Christmas Carols now }
This is such an easy and affordable project.
It is perfect to make them as a family or with girl friends on a cold Christmas Evening…
All you need is 12×12 Cardstock, Cupcake Liners, and Tape.
First of all make the cones with your cardstock.
Tape the ends well so the cones hold their shape. Then cut the excess of the bottom so they can stand straight.
The amount that you cut will determine the size of your tree.
This next step is when Miss Fun joins the party.
Cut the center of your cupcake liners.
All you want is the ruffle part…
After you are done start taping the ruffles from the bottom to the top.
You many need to use multiple ruffles for one layer of the tree.
Don’t even worry about it… It will look GREAT at the end!
Before you reach the top cover the tip of the tree with one of the centers of the liners.
After it is taped and secured finish the last ruffle layer… and guess what?
As I was working on this project I thought it would be adorable to give cupcakes instead of cookies this year to all of my neighbors.
You could make a sweet little card with the liners as well!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Baked Brie

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With all of the holiday get-togethers in the month of December, it's good to have a go-to appetizer.  This baked brie is great to serve to guests and easy to take along so that you don't show up to a party empty handed. 

What you'll need:
  • 1/2 of a 17.3-ounce package Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet), thawed according to package directions
  • 1 (8-ounce) Brie cheese round
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. water

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Place the cheese in the center. Fold the pastry up over the cheese to cover. Trim the excess pastry and press to seal. Reserve the pastry scraps for decoration.
  2. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork or whisk. Brush the seam of the pastry with the egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet. Decorate with the pastry scraps, if desired. Brush with the egg mixture.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving
recipe from :

Peppermint Trees

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Peppermints just scream Christmas and these DIY trees make excellent decorations for any room. 

Begin with an inexpensive candle holder (check out the Dollar Tree or the dollar bin at Target).  These Styrofoam cones can be found at Michael's or any craft store, or even at Walmart.  Attach the Peppermint candies with a hot glue gun, then tie a festive ribbon into a bow and glue to the top, allowing the strings of the ribbon to hang down from the top of the tree.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes: 30 servings Yield: about 30 cookies
Prep 10 mins Chill 15 mins Bake 375°F 12 mins
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Nutrition FactsServings Per Recipe 30

  • Amount Per Serving
  • cal.(kcal)107
  • Fat, total(g)4
  • chol.(mg)8
  • sat. fat(g)2
  • carb.(g)17
  • fiber(g)1
  • pro.(g)2
  • sodium(mg)40

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins, coarsely chopped


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with nonstick foil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside.
3. In another large bowl, beat butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg whites until well combined. Beat in vanilla.
4. With mixer on lowest speed, beat in flour mixture; then stir in oats and raisins. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 15 minutes.
5. Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared cookie sheets; flatten slightly. If dough is sticky, wet hands with cold water and continue flattening. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12 minutes or until lightly golden around edges. Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Line Chinese takeout boxes with tissue paper and place 3 to 4 cookies inside each.

recipe from

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Garbage Cookies


So...I'm not sure how I feel about the name of these cookies: Garbage Cookies?  For real?  Then I realized that these cookies actually come with many names.  Monster cookies, Everything cookies, Kitchen Cupboard Cookies.  Many names, and also many recipes to make the same cookie.  I found this one on  I like that she starts out with a basic oatmeal cookie recipe and then makes it her own. 

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium bowl sift flour, baking
  3. soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and all spice. In separate large
  4. bowl, cream together shortening, brown sugar, and white sugar until
  5. fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine well.
  6. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Then add oats, cranberries, and chocolate if you so desire.
  7. Use 1/4 cup and scoop onto cookie sheet... you should get about 6 per sheet.
  8. Bake for at least 8 minutes, but most likely will bake for 12 depending on your stove.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Today I Wore...

Sweater and Pants : Ann Taylor

I love the Peter Pan Collar on this sweater.  Its a lace pattern with small pearls attached.  Very elegant!

Tequila Lime Chicken

When I am not working and home all day during the summer, I always get wrapped up in the food network.  I can literally watch it for hours on end, making mental notes of the recipes I want to try.  There are a few chefs on the network that I have come to trust completely, knowing that whichever recipe of theirs I try out, it will be delicious.  Ina Garten is one of those chefs.  This is her recipe and it is unbelievable! 

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 8 hr 5 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 6 servings


  • 1/2 cup gold tequila
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on


Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.