Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I know I've been lacking on updating my mneu plan recipes so that ya'll have something to look at, but I have been a little sick these past few days. I should be back to normal soon and you'll have plenty of recipes and sweets to check out! So here is my menu plan for this upcoming week!

Monday- Pasta with Creamy Cajun Sauce
Tuedsay- Sweet Chili Fried Chicken
Wednesday- Thin Crust Pizza - Better pics coming soon!
Thursday-The Best Tilapia
Friday-Chili Lime Chicken with Chili Lime Fries

Linking up to: Menu Plan Monday

Check back in the next few weeks to see the other recipes. I hope you enjoy! Don't forget to check out Veggie Valentine's in the month of February!

Town and Country Living

I was tagged!

Christina@ Marriage From Scratch  tagged me in this fun questionnaire. I was also tagged by Brittany@Fun with the Fullwoods...have you seen there blogs yet? They're awesome go check them out! I have to thank Brittany for being such an awesome supporter of my blog, she is always checking it out and commenting on many of my posts. As I'm up and coming I appreciate her support and following very much. I had seen this recently on a blog, and thought how cool, I hope someone tags me in this! So thank you Christina and Brittany. So here we go..

The Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.
5. Let them know you've tagged them.
 12 Facts About Me:
1. I absolutely adore my cat Franklin..hubby and I call him Frank, he is extremely spoiled and I talk about him at least once a day. I know most people might think this is weird but I love animals and he is awesome. I'm still normal! If you'd like to meet can here Meet Frank
2. I'm very goofy. I make weird noises, I have different voices..I can't really describe it..I love to make people laugh!
3. I have 5 step brothers..3 are from my Dad being remarried, and the other 2 are from my Mom being remarried.
4. I'm a neat/organized/clean freak, I hate clutter, I hate messes, I like everything to be clean!
5. I love sleep, particularly 9 hours a night..I don't care what people think or if they give me crap, I know what I want and it's my 9 hours of sleep!
6. I dropped out of high school to be home schooled..eventually got my GED about two weeks before I graduated as a pastry chef. Some people might think this is a negative thing..I see it as a positive, it got me working full time at the age of 15 or 16 made me learn to support myself as best I could, give me a strong work ethic and choose my career.
7. I'm trying to be more healthy and work out more.
8. I'm obsessed with chocolate.
9. I love my Mom, she's amazing and such an inspiration to me. She's crafty, she's a foodie like me, she blogs like me..check her blog out here Town and Country Living she helps me with everything..she runs marathons..yeah she's simply awesome.
10. I still have my grandparents around which I'm so happy to have them (I'm closer to my mom's parents) Bill and Vernadine. They are the cutest old couple you'll ever meet...should I say senior citizens? Whatever, they're old :) They have been married over 60 Grandma suffers from alzheimers but she is so amazing. I love both of them to death. 
11. I just got married to my best friend, we've been together almost 5 years and I'm totally looking forward to our and house :) We have both changed so much together and it's amazing how much we have changed and were able to grow together and accept each others changes.
12. I'm a laid back, down to earth girl..I like to please others and I hate confrontation. 
 Christina's questions for me:
1. What is the last movie you watched? Toy Story 3..I'm a nanny of 3 I watch lots of cartoons
2. Where were you born? St. Charles, IL suburb of Chicago
3. What's your favorite thing to cook? Anything with chicken, or Italian food
4. What is your most favorite trip you have taken? My honeymoon..seeing as I've only traveled a few other times than that. We went to Punta Cana
5. What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? Country, Punk, Hip-Hop/R&B, Rock, Alternaitve..yeah I have a lot of variety when it comes to music
6. How many kids do you have or want to have? I'd like to have 2, 3 at the most!
7. What are your hobbies? Baking, Cooking, Blogging, Exercising
8. What's something embarrassing/funny that has happened to you recently?

9. Do you prefer cats or dogs? why? Right now..I'd have to say cats because that's what I own and I don't have to walk him or take him outside to go potty..although my husband and I really want an English bulldog very soon

10. What's your favorite drink to order at Starbucks? I don't really like Starbucks..I know I'm crazy..I don't drink coffee really..sorry. So I'd have to say hot cocoa or that strawberry smoothie thing

11. What kind of car do you drive? Pontiac G6

12. What is one goal you have for your future? Save money/purchase a home

Brittany's questions:
1. What's your favorite season/time of year? Fall! :)
2. Favorite childhood memory? Playing at my Grandparents
3. Read any good books lately? If so, what? No, but I'm starting a book called "The Beginners guide to Natural Living"
4. Favorite guilty pleasure song? That's a toughie..I'd have to say I don't know!
5. Favorite dessert/sweet? This is impossible! I love everything chocolate, chocolate chip cookies is probably it, I know lame right?
6. What's your biggest goal for 2012? Save more money, go on an Anniversary trip, and buy a camera for my blog..I know that's 3 but that's my goal!
7. Favorite sport to watch/play? Watch: Basketball? I'm not a big sports person..go Hawks!
8. Ideal way to spend a Saturday?
9. Bath or shower? Bath!
10. Favorite state you've visted? South Carolina, I've only visited two other states being Missouri and Florida
11. Most frequented clothing store? American Eagle?
12. How will you spend Valentine's Day? Probably with the hubby eating dinner, having dessert and just relaxing
My Questions:
1. Whose your role model?
2. Savory or Sweet?
3. Besides blogging..what's your next go to hobby?
4. Goals for 2012?
5. Favorite thing to eat?
6. What's your guilty pleasure?
7.  Favorite T.V show?
8. Favorite thing to bake/cook?
9. How did you get into blogging?
10. What's your favorite thing to do on a weekend?
11. If you could go on vacation anywhere, where would you go?
12. What's your favorite website?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Homemade Snickers

I actually just came across this recipe today via Two Peas and Their Pod, via Pinterest, via How Sweet It Is...I have been debating on what sweet to make next and I decide this was it. I was even more in love when I realized how easy it was to make. There's something about re-creating a candy from scratch that I really enjoy. These were very easy to make and went relatively quick, I kept mine refrigerated over night just to make sure the cutting process went smoothly. I realized after making them, there was a note on the original recipe saying to purchase an aluminum sheet pan at the store..and then I realized when I was trying to get them out of my glass pyrex pan I should have read the whole entry and bought that aluminum sheet pan. You know the ones that are really flimsy? Well, if I had purchased this ahead of time I could have popped these suckers out a whole lot easier! I did eventually get them out, key word being eventually. It was a bit of a pain and took awhile. I ended up cutting them in the pan and digging them out. So I advise anyone who is going to make these, and you definitely should they are amazing, to use an aluminum sheet pan from the grocery store! :)

Snickers Bars
makes one 9×13 pan
bottom chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Grease your baking pan very well!  Melt peanut butter and chocolate together either in a saucepan or the microwave, I used a microwave, just be careful not to over heat it as it will burn. I took mine out about every 30 seconds and stirred. Once melted, pour into baking pan and spread evenly. Let cool or freeze.
nougat layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped roughly
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in saucepan, add sugar and milk, bring to a boil and stir occasionally cooking for about 5 minutes, add in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely. Or freeze like I did because I'm impatient :)
caramel layer
1 14-ounce bag of caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream
Melt caramels and cream over heat, this may take a few minutes, as will unwrapping the caramels, but it's so worth it!
Top chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
This is the same step as above, melt and pour over caramel mixture. Cool completely before eating. I'd put them in the refrigerator because otherwise you'll see they are a gooey mess! I like to freeze mine as well. :)

See how easy that is? I was impatient and put my pan in the freezer to cool the layers quicker and it worked out just fine!

Look at all that ooey gooey, caramely good stuff!

Pack em' up and store em' away!!! (if they last!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Best Coffee Cake

Here's to another recipe I found over at The Pioneer Woman..can you tell I love her recipes? If you've ever tried any of her recipes you know what I'm talking about. I used to love going out to breakfast with the hubby, but that gets expensive so I've been making it instead. Besides my Chocolate Chip Scones I made the other weekend I wanted to try this coffee cake out. Hubby had just gotten home from a long night..or should I say morning of plowing? Anyways, he walks in and asks what I'm making, I tell him coffee cake, his response was, "you like coffee cake?" Pssh, yes! :) I will admit I was a little worried I ruined it when I checked in the oven half way through the baking time and it did not look good, but once it was done it looked and smelled amazing. It took a long time to bake, but totally worth it. It really was the best coffee cake I've ever had! I omitted the walnuts that the recipe calls for, I'm just not a fan of nuts all the time. When I ate the leftovers I just warmed them up in the microwave! I urge you to make will not be disappointed! I wonder what I'll be making for breakfast this weekend?...

Coffee Cake
1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
2 cups  Sugar
3 cups Flour, Sifted
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1-1/4 cup Whole Milk
3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff

Crumb Topping:
1-1/2 stick Butter, Softened
3/4 cups Flour
1-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1-1/2 cup Pecans, Chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients, and beat egg whites and set aside.
Cream together your butter and sugar. Add dry mix and milk alternately until combined. Don't over beat. Fold in beaten egg whites gently with a spatula. Spread in a greased line cake pan that has high sides, trust me you'll need it! In a separate bowl combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over cake. Bake 40-45 minutes or until done. Please eat this right out of the oven! Okay, maybe wait a few minutes for it to cool. :)
 By the way, my husband totally thought there were chocolate chips in this..hehe

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Meet Frank

Whose Frank? My cat, or as I like to sometimes call him my son! I don't have kids yet so I can do that. Kind of weird I know but I love him. He's an only child and he's very spoiled. He's the perfect cat and best cat anyone could ask for. When my husband and I were first dating I told him I thought we should get a cat, he wasn't that into it, I remember him saying, "I don't like cats." Well, as we all know women always win and I got my way. We checked out our town's newspaper to see if anyone was giving away cats, and to our surprise they were and they were pretty close by. We went and checked out the kittens..they were so cute! I loove kittens. Who doesn't? Okay, I guess a lot of people don't. I had decided between two kittens and at the last minute chose Franklin, we call him Frank now because it's just easier. I have other silly nicknames for him, Misters, Misters Whiskers..I know I'm weird, but whatever! I'm so glad I chose him, orange and all. He's never had an accident, always uses his litter box, he's very playful, and cuddly. You'd think he was a dog. He usually sleeps with daddy every night but sometimes he lays on my side. I'm always calling him pretty, because he is. I'm basically obsessed with him. My Mom kept posting pictures of her cats on her facebook page with her new camera and I decided Frank needed a photo shoot, at first it was a joke, then it got serious. :) I decided she can come over and photo Frank and I'll cook lunch for her. It was a deal! So anyways on to my cute cat Frank. This post is not only to show you how cute he is, but to share more of my life with you. Hopefully ya'll don't think I'm too much of a freak ;)

This is my Mom and I's favorite. I think he's playing here..sometimes his eyes get so big he looks like Puss in Boots. If you look close enough you can see a freckle on his nose!

 Hi! I'm cute :)
 See how pretty he is?
 His jingle bells I got off one of my Christmas presents that my Mom over at Town and Country Living made..check it out for more cute Christmas wrapping ideas!
 Frank doing what he does best!
 This is the hubby's favorite
He's so proper!
I hope you enjoyed Frank and his photo shoot. Thanks Grandma!

Linking up to: Fursdays!

Our Wedding

My hubby, Zac and I got married October 8th 2011. It was perfect, the one weekend in October that was about 83 degrees, that's Illinois weather! We got married outside a big, beautiful red barn. The reception was held after in the same barn. My friend catered the wedding, my other friend made the cake, my other friend did the flowers, my brother married us, a friend of my sister's did the photography..yeah we pretty much found the closest people to partake in the wedding. I wanted it to be personal, and it was. We aren't the most religious couple you've ever met, or therefore at all so I wanted my bro to marry us, and what better way to save money and have a wedding on a very small budget than to hire friends? I wanted to find a different, unique venue that I could bring in my own decorations and food! That's when my friend told me about this we checked it out and it was perfect. I was worried about weather and other things but when it came down to the last few days we got it all figured out. My husband and I met in a bar..I know not the best, but listen to this friend Erin, who was a bridesmaid had invited me out to a bar with a friend she used to date Ryan, who just so happens to be my hubby's friend as well. Well, Ryan used to date Erin and was trying to get back together with her, so he invited my hubby along to keep me company. I still had a boyfriend at the time, but it wasn't going well, we had already broken up numerous times. Let's just say we all had so much fun and I woke up the next day realizing, wow there are other fish in the sea! Needless, to say I broke up with my bf at the time and got in contact with Zac, my hubby. From there we started dating and got engaged 4 years later.

 Meet Aiden, the ring bearer, well he didn't bear any rings but he pulled his little sister down the aisle! He is my nephew and this is him at the rehearsal dinner after a handful of chicken wings
 Me, my nephew, and my Maid of Honor and Sister Stephanie
 Kisses for the bride
 Ha, I only put this on here to show my real side..nutball!
My best friend and bridesmaid Erin
 This is my adorable niece Zoe, isn't she so cute? I bought her outfit on Etsy, it's so adorable. She was only 11 months at the time and not walking so I borrowed my Mom's rustic red wagon so her brother could pull her down the aisle. I found the idea for this sign online, where I got most of my ideas. When I first saw the wagon I was so excited with how my Mom decorated it.

 My Grandparents walking down the aisle. I love them to death. Many of my childhood memories involve them. God Bless them both in their old age. They've been married about 60 years and are in their 80's. I'm so happy to still have them in my life. They have been through so much and helped me any time I needed it.
This is my handsome husband Zac. 
 Meet Ryan and Erin, the two that are responsible for this day.
 Zac's brother Josh, and my Sister Stephanie, the Maid of Honor and Best Man
 Aiden, my nephew walking Zoe, my niece down the aisle. Aren't they cute? He did such a great job!
Me and Daddy, I kept stepping on my dress! Can you tell? I was not enjoying all eyes on me and kept looking down, I was too excited! 
 My husband's first look at me :)

My dress..long train, very sparkly. Something I never envisioned for myself. I always thought plain, pretty and flowy. Every time I tried these types of dresses on I liked them but didn't love them. I always told myself I'd never have a beaded dress and there I stand with one on. When I saw this dress in the room, I remember saying I don't think I'll like it but I'll try it. I tried it on and was unsure..but then I kept staring at it..I slept on it and tried more dresses on and decided that was the dress for me. I knew because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I never got that special feeling like many brides talk about. Maybe because I have a little tom boy in me. Maybe I chose this dress too because I hardly ever wear dresses or dress up so for that special day I just had to have something that was a little different.

 Vows..I choked through them. I remember saying to my friend before walking down the aisle, I'm either going to laugh or start crying..and I bawled.
 My ring was a little tight!

 Another one of my favorites!

 And this is my favorite :) My owl tattoo comes from an owl statue my Grandma gave to remember her :) Love you Grandma, the cupcake is for graduating pastry arts school

 The Men..found the idea for their outfits online..go figure, I fell in love with the suspenders and bow ties!

 I'm not a huge fan of these didn't really work but it still looks funny.
 This is my favorite bridal party picture

 Showing off the boots
 Sissy and I

 Meet Caleb, and Reese..two of the three children I nanny. Declan, the third didn't want to partake.
I think I have the cutest Grandparents..Bill and Vernadine!
 Here's a better picture of Zoe and her outfit. Man, she's cute..she's sitting with Lora one of my Mom's friends.

 I got these forks on Etsy along with the wine glasses in the background. I ordered more wine glasses for the bridal party and my Mom as a gift.
The centerpieces..mason jars filled with rocks and daisies. 

 The Cake Table
 God Bless my friend and dealing w my undecisiveness on which cake I wanted. We did a sunflower cake with burlap ribbon.

 God Bless her again for staying up till 3 A.M. last minute to make me a cake topper. I worked at a bakery in Chicago who was originally going to make the topper and a couple days before the wedding it fell apart. God Bless them too for trying. I figured I either won't have a cake topper or I'll find something on my own, needless to say my friend came to the rescue and made this. Isn't it amazing? I got this idea from Etsy, but they wanted to charge about $300! I almost ended up buying it anyways but thanks Britt for coming through and saving me $300!

Hubby and his Mom
 We put these on our thank you cards, I found this idea online too, It didn't turn out as good as I thought but it was hard to make it happen
Thank you for stopping by!
Linking up to: Days of Chalk and Chocolate
Funky Junk Interiors 
To check out more wedding click here: Wedding #2
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