Sunday, October 28, 2012

House Plans via Pinterest

Who else gets inspired for future house plans via Pinterest? It's definitely been my go to source for wedding inspiration and home decor ideas. I'm a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict. Follow my boards here!

Here are a few of my plans for our house at this moment...

1. Paint our interior doors black. I love the sophistication this small change can make in a home. Our hallways colors are all neutrals, so the contract will look great!

2. Update our shutters and front door color. We got approval from our HOA to move forward with black shutters and a red door. It's always been my dream house colors! Our house siding is very similar to the house above.

3. Stencil one of our dining room walls and add moulding. I would love to add moulding to our dining room and an accent stenciled wall (just one) to our dining room.

4. Add a herringbone back splash to our kitchen. I love the back splash above from Home Depot. We would only need to add back splash to two walls in our kitchen, so splurging on a back splash in a herringbone pattern won't hurt our wallet too badly!

Any projects you are looking to tackle in the future around the house? I am looking forward on starting some of these after the wedding!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Preparing for Frankenstorm

Who else out there was preparing for the frankenstorm - better known as Hurricane Sandy today??? We had a few must do items on our prep list to accomplish today.

1. Bring in the patio furniture from the deck.

2. Clean out our gutters.

3. Take fall photos of the pups for our gallery wall.

4. Mow the lawn for the last time (hopefully this fall).

Luckily for me, hubs took over chore #2 while I tried to teach myself how to work through my new camera's settings.

Chance wasn't much of a help with the sweeping, lifting of heavy furniture or climbing on the roof... but he didn't mind being my model for the day.

And then this happened. These two NEVER stand still next to each other long enough for me to capture a photo so this day was a complete success and this photo will be framed!

I plan on mixing two more polar opposites into my evening - wine and teeth whitener strips. Not at the same time - but a girl has to prep for her big day with a pearly white smile.

I can't wait to share some of our wedding details with you! Not much longer now!

Friday, October 26, 2012

1 Week Countdown

We're officially at the 1 week countdown until our wedding! I now believe I am a weather forecaster - checking the 10 day forecast attempting to predict if hurricane Sandy will bring rain (so far, so good!)

My to-do list is almost complete for the wedding with the majority of the wedding items done thanks to the help of my mom and Chris - who have been awesome bringing my ideas to life.

The crock pot has been our savior lately, and I highly highly recommend this recipe - enchilada chicken chili. It's been one of my favorite crock pot dinners so far. I did make a few changes - only used 1 chicken (there is only 2 of us and this lasted for days), I added frozen corn and red pepper, used 1 can of kidney beans and 1 can of drained black beans rather than just pinto beans. Topped with avocado slices this was awesome!

I finally picked up a DSLR camera with the birthday gifts from my dad and Chris - so I am anxious to play around with the features this weekend.

My last dress fitting was today and it fits like a glove! I'm ready to become a Mrs. - I'm one good housewife if I say so myself ;-) But I am ready for life to go back to normal (aka work on home projects).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Football Game = Buffalo Everything

Football has taken over our house on the weekends, which means lots of crock pot meals and buffalo flavored everything. Since the weekends are my only chance of catching up on yard work and actually cleaning our house I've been looking for quick and easy meals.

I made these buffalo chicken nuggets on a whim and they turned out great. They were only 3 ingredients, so you can't get easier than that. Plus, they are baked - not fried and are coated in panko bread crumbs rather than a thick breading.

Skinny Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
2 chicken breasts - cut into bite size pieces
1/4-1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Cut your chicken breasts into bite size pieces, trimming any fat. The smaller, the crispier nugget you will have. Toss nuggets in the buffalo sauce and let sit for at least an hour to ensure the buffalo flavor sticks. Add your panko bread crumbs to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss the drenched chicken pieces in panko and set on top of a cookie cooling rack. Place the cooling rack on top of a cookie baking sheet so that the nuggets get crisp on all sides while baking. Bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes.

Even our nugget thief loved these! Serve with extra buffalo sauce and ranch.

I also make these easy buffalo chicken roll ups - just add precooked chicken (1/2 - 1 breast), buffalo sauce (1/4 cup) and shredded cheese (1/4 cup) to a bowl. Roll out store bought croissant roll dough and place your mixture in the center, roll up. Cook at 350 degrees until the rolls are golden. Serve with ranch.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

It's been raining for what feels like the past week straight. So much rain that it has ruined the potted mums on my front door step! My mom and I are going to attempt to bring them back to life this weekend, but I don't have high hopes.

When it's raining or really chilly outside I crave soup or something hot for dinner. I've made this chicken pot pie twice in the past two weeks - it's too simple to not make. Using a mixture of frozen and fresh veggies, cream of chicken soup, pre-made crust and herbs make this pot pie taste like you spent so much more time in the kitchen than you actually did.

My Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

1 can of low sodium cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup of non/low-fat milk
2 1/2 cups frozen/fresh veggies (I used carrots, corn and peas since I didn't have a mix)
2 chicken breasts
1 package of low fat croissant rolls
2 sprigs of rosemary or thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt (regular or celery) and pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Add oil oil and chicken to an oven safe dish. Make sure both sides of the chicken are coated in oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until chicken is cooked thoroughly and shred using two forks.

Bring your fresh/frozen  veggies to a boil and cook until al dente (they still have a little bite to them). Drain and add your veggies back to the pot. Add milk, soup and herbs to the mixture and heat until the soup and milk have combined. Pour mixture and shredded chicken back into the oven safe dish and roll out croissants and layer on top. Bake until top of croissants are golden.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

WIAW: Chicken Thai Pizza

I'm linking up with Jenn at Peas & Crayons for WIAW (what I ate Wednesday). It's a great resource to see what other bloggers are eating and to get some inspiration for upcoming meals. I like to plan all of my upcoming meals before grocery shopping so I don't have to make multiple trips to the grocery store and it makes deciding what's for dinner easier.

My mornings have been starting off with a glass of pumpkin spice coffee from Trader Joe's. I make mine with 2 tablespoons of non-fat caramel creamer. I was on an iced coffee kick, but with the colder weather lately I have been drinking it nice and hot.

For lunch I had tuna salad on cucumber slices, almonds, pumpkin Greek yogurt and grapes. I try to prep for the week after grocery shopping on the weekend so packing lunch in the morning isn't so painful. I pre-slice all of my fruit and veggies and buy almonds in bulk - but distribute them into snack bags for an easy grab.

Before going grocery shopping I look at sites like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Pinterest for inspiration. I saw a Thai chicken pizza on the Trader Joe's website, which is something we haven't had before.

This turned out so good and is perfect for lunch the next day! The prep is next to nothing and it's a great dinner for football nights or to make for a group of friends.

Thai Chicken Pizza

modified from Trader Joe's website

Pre-made pizza dough - Trader Joe's always has pizza dough by the cheese and deli meats
1 package or 2 cups mozzarella
1 bunch green onions (sliced)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 pound chicken
1 jar Trader Joe's peanut satay sauce (or any other brand)

Place chicken in an oven safe dish with 1/2 of the peanut satay sauce. Make sure both sides are coated. I like to poke the chicken with my fork - it make's it a little more tender and the flavor of the sauce gets into the meat more (I heard on Food Network). Place into a 400 degree oven and bake until cooked all the way through.

While chicken is baking, take your dough out of the refrigerator and set on top of stove while you prep your other ingredients (the heat from the oven helps make it stretch thinner).

Rinse your green onions and slice thinly. Shred your carrots (baby carrots work fine too). Set aside. Take your fully cooked chicken out of the oven and shred using two forks. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray and spread out your dough. Coat the dough with the remaining peanut satay sauce and top with the mozzarella cheese, green onions and carrots. Place in oven.

After about 5-10 minutes, the cheese should be melted and the dough almost cooked fully. Top the pizza with the chicken and continue to cook for 5 additional minutes. I like to add my chicken last so that the dough cooks crispier (without the weight of the chicken on top).

So good. I think my favorite part was the crunchiness you get from the carrots and green onions. I am not a huge fan or traditional pizza sauce - so I love how this added a new element. If you wanted to add chopped peanuts or red pepper flakes for more spice to the top I bet that would be amazing.

I wrote this before I saw Jenn's theme, but luckily just did a post on my favorite TJ fall finds which include tons of pumpkin flavored items - check it out!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicken Sausage and Peppers Over Quinoa

On Fridays the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of brain power thinking about what to make for dinner. I'm drained from the work week and usually enjoy sitting on the couch with a glass of wine, Pinterest on my laptop and watching reruns on Food Network.

I was shocked by how fabulous this 5 ingredient dinner turned out. Don't mind the quality of the photo - it was taken on my iphone and pitch black outside - this tastes amazing!

Chicken Sausage and Peppers over Quinoa

1 pound chicken sausage (any flavor you like)
1 bag frozen stir fry mix (multi-colored peppers and onions)
1/4 cup Trader Joe's roasted red pepper and eggplant spread
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup uncooked quinoa

Heat a large pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Slice your chicken sausage into 1 inch pieces and brown all sides. Once browned, add the stir fry mix (you could use fresh peppers and onion slices) and TJ's red pepper spread. Cook for 5-10 additional minutes, until veggies are softened and sausage is cooked thoroughly. While sausage mixture is cooking, add 1 parts quinoa (1 cup) to 2 parts water (2 cups) and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Quinoa cooks similarly to rice - bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer until all water is absorbed.

Serve your sausage mixture over quinoa and that's it!

The countdown is on - 1 month tomorrow until our wedding! Check out my October to-do list if you missed it yesterday.