Friday, December 27, 2013

Pecan Sandies


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • whole pecans
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cream butter, vegetable oil, 1 cup granulated sugar and powdered sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in nutmeg and vanilla.
  5. Fold in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.
  6. Mix in chopped pecans.
  7. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in the remaining granulated sugar. We put the remaining sugar on a plate and rolled the balls on the plate (the plate makes it easier to clean up afterwards). 
  8. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  9. Press 1 whole pecan on top of each dough ball.
  10. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
  11. Remove and let cool on wire racks.
I got this recipe from the following website: http://lovintheoven.com/2010/12/day-12-pecan-sandies.html

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Morning Rolls


24 frozen dinner rolls
1 pkg butterscotch pudding (cook and serve--not instant)
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans

Put dinner rolls in a 13 x 9 inch glass dish. Sprinkle dry pudding mix on top. Melt butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans together in microwave. Pour over dinner rolls. Put on a cookie sheet and let stand over night. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. It may overflow a little in the oven, so be sure to place a cookie sheet underneath. 



Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY $2 Platter


Well it's Christmas time and I just love making Christmas goodies for my friends! This year I decided to make a little platter instead of buying the metal tins at the store. I went to the dollar store and bought a candle stick and a Christmas plate. I used super glue to glue the two together and I came out with a cute little Christmas Platter!!

Oreo Balls


  1. Crush a bag of Oreo's. 
  2. Mix the Oreo crumbs with softened cream cheese using a fork. 
  3. Roll into small balls and dip into melted chocolate. 

Chocolate Pretzels



  • Preheat the oven to 200.
  • Place a Hershey Kiss on each pretzel.
  • Bake for 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the oven and place an M&M on top of each Hershey Kiss. 
  • Place the pretzels in the refrigerator to cool. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie












Ingredients:
4 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
one 16oz bag frozen mixed veggies
3 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
4 oz cream cheese
2 pre-made pie crusts

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a large pan.
2. Add the garlic, onions, and celery. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. 
3. Add the cooked chicken.
4. Add the frozen veggies and cook for about 5 minutes.
5. Sprinkle the flour over the top and stir until well mixed.
6. Add the chicken broth. Stir for several minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. 
7. Once the mixture has thickened, add the salt and pepper.
8. Add the cream cheese (in small pieces). If it looks to thick, add some more chicken broth.
9. Roll out the pie crust and place it into a pie plate.
10. Pour the chicken mixture into the pie plate.
11. Cover with the second pie crust. Press the two crusts together and vent the top with four small slits.
12. Cover the edges of your crust with aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning. 
13. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30 minutes.





Sunday, December 15, 2013

Scrabble Tile Ornaments


I made these cute little Scrabble Tile Ornaments for some of my coworkers this year for Christmas!! I found a few old Scrabble games at local thrift stores and glued the letters together using wood glue. I used super glue on the first ornament, but it left weird streaks on the Scrabble tiles. Once I switched to wood glue I didn't have any more problems with streaking. After I glued the pieces together, I wiped off any excess glue using a wet paper towel. After an hour, I glued black ribbon on the back of the tiles using super glue. Here's a picture of the back:

Here are a few of the ornaments I made. I also made some personalized ornaments using my friends names, which made cute gift tags!! 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bastrop Wine Swirl


My coworkers and I got tickets to the 2013 Bastrop Wine Swirl. We had to buy tickets in advance, because they had a limited number available. If you have not been to the Bastrop Wine Swirl, I HIGHLY recommend going next year!! This is one of my favorite activities in the Bastrop area!!  

We each received a wine bag, a wine glass, and a map of downtown Bastrop. There were about ten different wineries located in different stores in downtown Bastrop. Each store also had a local restaurant offering free food samples. While sampling the wine and food the local shops were open for some Christmas shopping. What a great way to support local businesses!! 



Monday, December 9, 2013

Broccoli Casserole

I got this recipe from my grandma, and it's super yummy!!

Combine the following ingredients and bake at 350 for one hour: 
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 can milk
1 can minute rice (uncooked)
1 small onion (chopped)
1 bag frozen broccoli



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fiesta Winery


The first time I tried Fiesta Winery was at the Gruene Wine and Music Festival and I absolutely LOVE their wine!! I've been to their tasting room 3 times now and it's my favorite!! If you enjoy sweet wines, you have to stop by Fiesta Winery!! You receive 5 wine samples with a Fiesta wine glass for $10. 

Here are some of the wines I've tried (5 stars means amazing; 1 star means I won't be having it again):

  • Texas Well Water *** (white cranberry)
  • Happy Trails ***** (peach)
  • Rhinestone Cowgirl * (cranberry)
  • Savannah Rose **** (strawberry)
  • Southern Sparkle ***
  • Malbec * (cherry)
  • Back Porch Sittin' ***** (blackberry)
  • Home Sweet Home ***** (pomegranate)
  • Texas Summer Night ****(blueberry)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Breakfast Enchiladas

Ingredients
1 cup diced ham
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup green onions
1 bell pepper 
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 eggs
2 cups half & half
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp flour
1 pkg of  large flour tortillas

Steps
1) Spray a 9x13 inch glass dish with cooking spray.
2) Cook and drain the ground beef. 
3) Dice the bell pepper and green onions. I like to use this little contraption for chopping things.

4) Combine the ham, ground beef, green onions, bell pepper, and about 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
5) Place a handful of the mixture in a tortilla.

6) Wrap up the tortilla and place in the 9x13 dish. Repeat until all of the mixture is gone and the 9x13 dish is full. 

7) Mix the eggs, kosher salt, flour, and half and half. Pour over the tortillas.

8) Cover with the remaining cheese.  

9) Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.  



Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving: Stuffing

First, I should start by saying that my family's Thanksgiving would not be possible without our family friend Louise. When my mom first met Louise, she couldn't cook (sorry mom, but it's true). Luckily Louise took my mom under her wing and taught her a few things. So every Thanksgiving we give thanks to Louise for giving us these yummy Thanksgiving recipes!! 

For the stuffing mix the ingredients below:

1/2 bag herb sage dressing mix (add 1 tsp sage)
1/2 loaf bread (toasted & crumbled)
1 lb ground beef (browned and drained)
3 potatoes (peeled, cubed, boiled and mashed--save the left over water)
2 eggs (beaten)

In a microwave cook one stick of butter, 3 chopped celery, and 1 chopped onion. Add to the other ingredients. Add the saved water to make the mixture very moist. Here's a picture before I put it in the oven:


Put in a 9x13 glass dish and cook at 375 for 1 hour 15 minutes. 

We typically cook the stuffing the day before Thanksgiving. Then on Thanksgiving day we pour chicken broth over the stuffing, cover, and reheat in the oven. You don't need to do this, but it saves time on Thanksgiving day. 

Thanksgiving: Cranberry Salad



2 pkgs Lemon Jello dissolved only in 2 cups of boiling water.

Then Add:
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Can Whole Cranberry Sauce
2 Cans Mandarin Oranges
1 Chopped Apple
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts

Pour in mold and refrigerate.




Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole


Mix the following ingredients:
2 (29 oz) cans of sweet potatoes
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 stick butter (softened)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 dish and top with the following mixture: 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped nuts
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick of butter (melted)

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Affair


Today my girlfriends and I went to the Austin Christmas Affair hosted by the Junior League of Austin. My friends and I wanted to avoid parking downtown, so we parked at the Barton Creek Mall and took the free shuttle over to the Parmer Event Center. Once we got to the Parmer Event Center we noticed the HUGE line for tickets (fyi tickets are $15). Luckily, we bought our tickets in advance so we were able to skip the line and walk straight in. 

The Christmas Affair was full of different booths/vendors ranging from clothes, crafts, food, home decor, toys, etc. Some of the booths were a little pricey, but others were reasonable. I bought a cute pea-coat for $35 and my friends bought some scarves for $15. So you can find good deals, but the majority of the items were overpriced (in my opinion). 

I enjoyed walking around the booths, getting ideas for future crafts, looking at the different items, and looking at all of the Christmas decorations! This was a fun experience, but for the price I'm not sure I'll be doing it again. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Taco Soup


1 pound ground turkey
1 medium onion, chopped
15 oz can black beans, drained 
15 oz can pinto beans, drained
15 oz can corn, drained (optional)
28 oz can tomatoes-diced with juices (do not drain)
10 oz can Rotel tomatoes
32 oz tomato juice
1 pkg dry ranch mix
1 pkg taco seasoning

Directions:
1. Brown the ground turkey in a skillet with the chopped onion.
2. Drain off any excess fat and add in both the ranch mix and the taco seasoning. 
3. Mix to combine the seasonings thoroughly with the ground turkey.
4. Transfer the meat to a large pot or crock-pot.
5. Add in the remaining ingredients.
6. If you are cooking on the stove, bring the soup to a simmer for about 15 minutes. If you are cooking in a crock-pot, cook on high for a few hours. 
7. Top with cheese and sour cream for some extra flavor.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Color Me Rad

 My friend and I signed up for the Color Me Rad Race!! It was sssooo much fun!! The Color Me Rad Race is a 5k race, but it's more of an activity than a race. They don't have a clock and they don't have winners like a normal 5k. The purpose of this race is to get COLORFUL!! I think there were about 5 paint stations along the course. At two of the stations, the volunteers sprayed liquid paint on us as we ran past. At the other stations, the volunteers threw a powder-like paint at us as we ran past them. At the end, they provided us with our own packet of the powder-like paint and a refreshing water bottle. We stayed after the race to do a little dancing, grab a snack, throw some more paint, and take a few pictures. 

Here's what I looked like at the end of the day!!  
  My shirt and hat were originally all white!! Also, if your going to participate in a color/paint race I recommend wearing a hat or bandanna to help keep your hair clean. 



Dance Party!! The guy on stage counted down for everyone to throw their paint in the air at the same time!! 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Wurstfest



My friend and I went down to New Braunfels this weekend for Wurstfest. Wurstfest was one of the best festivals I've been to in years! There were so many people enjoying the festivities you just couldn't help but join in!! There were three different stages for bands, each with a small dance floor and boy were those dance floors packed!! There was also a large building filled with different food/drink vendors. I tried the $5 Sausage Sampler and it was AMAZING!! The drinks on the other hand were kind of expensive, but still yummy. My friend and I enjoyed a nice sangria--needless to say we're not much of beer drinkers. We spent the rest of our night listening to the music, drinking some nice sangria, and enjoying one another's company. I can't wait to go back next year!!

Tips for Wurstfest: Parking can be hectic so I suggest getting there early. I also suggest leaving a little bit early to avoid any drunk drivers. If you plan on drinking they do provide shuttles to all of the main hotels in town for $20.

Comparison between Wurstfest and Oktoberfest: Wurstfest is more for adults and Oktoberfest is more for families. Wurstfest had better food, better music, and more seating. Oktoberfest had cheaper drinks, a better location, and a small activity center for kids.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chosen Half Marathon

Today I completed one of my goals in life...I ran a half marathon!! I ran the Chosen Half Marathon in New Braunfels and it was AMAZING!! The purpose of the Chosen Marathon is to raise money for adoption....what a wonderful cause!! 

Families participating in the race posted pictures of the children they had adopted on this board. 

One thing I loved about the race was all of the encouragement along the way. I can't think of a better way to encourage someone than through scripture. Several teams had shirts just like this:


Here's some more encouragement!! You can't see their shirts in this picture, but they say "I was chosen." Another poster I saw said "I was adopted into a Christian family, thank you for running for me today."


The race also had beautiful scenery and a challenging course. Here are some pictures of the course.




I just loved running along the river!! 



I saw this sign on the course...hahahaha.

Finally, made it to the finish line!! I completed my first half marathon without taking a break to walk!! Yay!!


If your interested in running a beautiful race that supports a good cause visit their website:



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spray Painting Furniture





I recently bought two new pieces of furniture. I was in a rush to get them done so I tried a new method...spray paint!!! I was hesitant to try this method, but I'm pleased with the results.


Supplies for cleaning the furniture:
TSP cleaner
gloves
eye protection
sponge
old towel
plastic tray
tarp

Steps for cleaning the furniture:

  1. Lay the tarp under the piece of furniture.
  2. Remove any knobs/handles.
  3. Follow the directions on the back of the TSP bottle. My directions said to pour the TSP in a plastic tray. Use the sponge to rub the TSP on the furniture. Let the TSP sit for about 5 minutes, and then clean off the TSP using an old towel. The purpose of the TSP is to clean the furniture and help prepare it for painting. Also, be sure to wear gloves and eye protection for safety when using TSP. 


Supplies for refinishing the furniture:
Spray Kilz Primer (about $6 at Walmart or Lowes)
Spray Paint (Rust-oleum or Krylon work well)
Polyurethane (must be clear)
Sponge brush

Steps for Refinishing the Furniture:

  1. Find a good location to work on your project. I tried to do mine outside, but the wind blew something onto my furniture (ruined the entire project). I would recommend a well ventilated garage.
  2. Lay the tarp under the piece of furniture.
  3. Spray paint the piece with Kilz Primer and let it dry for several hours. I normally like to wait a full day in between coats just to be safe. 
  4. Next you are ready to spray paint. I spray painted the chest "Rust-oleum Ultra Color 2x Black" and the other piece "Krylon Ocean Breeze." 
  5. You may need to do two or three coats of spray paint, but let each coat dry before adding another coat.
  6. As a finishing touch, polyurethane the piece using a sponge brush. Be careful not to leave any streaks or bubbles. Polyurethane is great way to protect your furniture. I'm going to use the black chest as a coffee table, so I definitely want to protect it from water marks and scratches.
  7. You will probably need two coats of polyurethane.
  8. Once the piece is completely dry, put the knobs/handles back in place. If you don't like the original knobs/handles you can either spray paint them or buy new ones. 








Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gruene Wine & Music Fesitval


 My friend and I went to the Gruene Wine & Musical Festival this weekend!! It was wonderful....I actually thought it was better than Oktoberfest!! The atmosphere was relaxing, the music was great, and the wine selection was AMAZING!! 



The tickets cost $20, which paid for five wine samples and a wine glass. We must have looked poor because several other people gave us their wine sample tickets...hahaha. We sampled several different wines, listened to some good music, and then ate dinner at the Gristmill. The Gristmill has a nice atmosphere, a great view of the river, live music, and yummy food!!


After dinner we walked around Gruene and found a few more concerts just out on the streets. I can't wait to go back....we're actually talking about getting a room at a bed and breakfast next year so we can stay the whole weekend!!






Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sharpie Mugs

My girlfriends and I got together this week to make some cute little mugs!! We bought the mugs at Goodwill for $1 and then decorated them with Sharpies.  Once we were done decorating, we placed the mugs in the oven and then turned on the oven. We baked the mugs at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. We then turned off the oven and left the mugs inside to cool. 



Helpful Tip: When writing words it's helpful to place a piece of tape on the mug (I can't write in a straight line otherwise). 



Before my friends came over I did a few test runs to ensure a successful craft. On the first test run, I baked the mugs at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (like most of the websites say to do). Unfortunately, those websites are wrong because the design washed off. On the second test run, I tried to seal the mug with a spray sealant (another suggestion I read online). Again, this suggestion was a failure and I had to throw the mug away. If you would like some good tips on decorating mugs I recommend this website: http://www.diyopolis.com/tips-and-tricks-to-the-diy-sharpie-mug/