Monday, April 30, 2012

Good Will Finds

My friend Marie, started a series entitled Second Hand Sunday.
Today felt like a great day to start. I know it's not Sunday, but I did start writing this on Sunday, so that does count! haha

After morning church yesterday, my hubby and I decided to stop by the 2 GoodWill stores in town. Oh boy did we love our stops! We got all of this stuff, for under $17. We both commented that the GoodWill stores in our hometowns in Cali aren't nearly as good as the ones up here in the NorthWest! I mean, Mason Jars, all sizes, are JUST .40 cents!!!! That's such a steal!!

**Our GoodWill finds: exercise equipment, 3 Mason Jars, a basket, and Nintendo 64**

When we got home I put my items to work. Can you guess which items are mine? Yup, you guessed it, the Mason Jars and the wicker basket.

 **Used this lovely basket, for only .99 cents, for all the teas that are cluttering up my cupboard. Matches perfectly with the basket I use for produce.**

**Used the wide mouth, 8 oz. Mason Jars for my next Way to use your Mason Jars:  DIY Air Freshners**
 **A closer view**

Ways to use your Mason Jars #3

1/2 cup baking soda (per jar)
Essential oil of your preference (8-12 drops)
Mason jar (I love the 8 oz wide mouth Elite Collection for these!)
Scrapbook paper
Tapestry needle 
Scissors and pen

  1. Fill your jar with the baking soda and add in the drops of oil
  2. Trace the lip of the lid of the Mason Jar on your scrapbooking paper, with your pen.
  3. Cut out your circle tracing, place under lid, and screw lid in place.
  4. With your tapestry needle, go to town punching holes in the paper.  
 VOILA!! Your done! 

Such an easy and very cheap way to get your room smellin' clean and fresh and another way to use your mason jars!

The other items in the picture are my hubby's choices of course. We have already started to put the exercise equipment to good use, as my hubby has created a new house rule.

House Rule: Every time you leave and re-enter the house, you must complete 10 pushups. 

These pushups bars are going to be getting A LOT of usage!! I told him that I won't be leavin' the house from now on! haha. But really, I can feel myself getting stronger. By this time next week, I'll be so much more healthier and stronger! Throughout the course of my day yesterday, I did over 50 pushups, whereas just a short while ago, I could only do 10 in one sitting. Not too shabby!

We then completed our GoodWill day, by having a nice, homemade Ravioli dinner!!! So fun to make for my first time! I used recipe, to make it all from scratch.

About 2 1/2 hours before serving:

Prepare cheese or meat filling; set aside. Prepare homemade pasta dough. Cut pasta into 4 equal pieces. On a well floured surface with a well floured rolling pin, roll 1 piece into a 15 x 6 inch rectangle. With a sharp knife cut rectangle crosswise into 5-6 x 3 inch pieces.

Spread rounded tablespoons of either cheese or meat filling on short half of each piece of pasta to within 1/4 inch of edge. Fold dough over filling and bring ends together. With fork dipped in flour, firmly press edges together. Place ravioli in single layer on floured, clean cloth towels. Repeat with remaining pasta and filling making 20 ravioli in all. Let dry 30 minutes before cooking. Meanwhile prepare Marinara sauce.

In large kettle over high heat, heat to boiling 4 quarts of water, salt and salad oil. Cook ravioli, a few at a time, 10 minutes until tender but firm. Drain well. Arrange on heated platter. Spoon Marinara sauce evenly over ravioli. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

2 1/4 to 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
In large bowl combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup water and remaining ingredients. With mixer at low speed beat 2 minutes occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. With wooden spoon stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and not sticky, about 20 times. Makes enough dough for 1 pound.
Cheese Filling - In medium bowl combine 1 (15 or 16 oz.) container ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup minced parsley, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.Meat Filling - In medium skillet over medium high heat, in 1 tablespoon oil, cook 3/4 pound ground beef, 1/2 cup minced onion and 1 garlic clove minced until meat is well browned. Remove from heat and stir in 2 eggs, slightly beaten, 1/4 cup minced parsley, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon salt. Drain well.

MARINARA SAUCE: (Meatless Italian)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 sm. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. basil
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 (16 oz.) tomatoes
1 (6 oz.) tomato paste
Cook onion and garlic in oil. Stir in rest of ingredients. Cook covered for 20 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally. Makes 3 cups, enough for 6 servings of spaghetti.

**Note: I used my own home-made recipe for pasta sauce, and not theirs. But they do have a great, basic recipe here for it.
**It was hard to roll out this dough in the shape that they wanted for "jumbo" size, so next time, I will be doing regular sized ravioli. But overall, I LOVED this recipe and instructions they provide. Awesome meal!
 **Homemade Ravioli**

Adam really loved this meal and actually liked it better without the sauce over it. I'm a saucy gal and LOVED A LOT of sauce over mine. He rated the meal a 4.175, so you can tell it gives crowd pleasin' results!!

I'll leave you all with our menu for the week:
Monday: leftover Beef Stroganoff over whole-wheat couscous, with a side salad
Tuesday: Manicotti
Wednesday: Fitzgerald Black Bean & Rice Skillet with tortillas
Thursday: Spaghetti and green salad
Friday: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni
Saturday: Whole-Wheat Hawaiian Pizza

Happy week y'all!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chicken in Mustard Cream Sauce

Do you want to cook a meal that is easy, tastes amazing, and will yield crowd pleasing results? Well look no further! You've come to the right place! I came across this recipe through Martha Stewart's website, which is where I got the recipe from. It really is everything I described to you. I'm being so honest!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (6 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, or chicken broth (I used the broth)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh)

  1. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; saute until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a plate; keep warm.
  2. Pour wine into hot skillet; cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream, mustard, and tarragon. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  3. Pour any accumulated chicken juices from plate into sauce. Right before serving, drizzle cream sauce over chicken.
 I served it with a side of whole-wheat couscous and a side salad. And BAM! I had a great meal for Adam and I for dinner. YUMMY!!!
Our Friday night dinner. 

Duty Days

Today is Adam's duty day. For all of you civilian folks and are like "Wait, what are those/that," let me explain. Once every 7 days Adam has to stay on the ship for 24 hours. Yup, the ship sees my hubby more than me. Something us military wives just learn to deal with. *jealous* So when he has duty, I plan my days real well, so I get a lot of things done that I don't like to do when he's around, because I don't want to I of course want to spend every moment with him, besides picking up poops or doing things that will take my time away from him, like blogging or crafting. So today was my do-things-around-the-house/crafting/time for myself day. YEAH right?!? 

Man I feel like I've been going since forever. This day has felt almost never-ending. It seems like those kind of days always come when you don't want them to. I mean, sometimes you actually NEED more hours in the day to get everything done that you need to, but then on others day that it actually happens, you seem to feel like "what do I do now? I've got everything done and it's only 5pm. AND I'VE ALREADY HAD DINNER (because I bring dinner to Adam on the ship on his duty days, and we eat it together in the galley. AWWW... :D)!!! So here's been the extent to my day. Are you ready for this? Ok, well I am, so let's go!

I woke up, took him to the ship, kissed him goodbye, and Bax and I head off to run errands while we were already driving. Yes, it was 7am. We are early birds. We went to Home Depot first. Baxter loves when we go to home improvement stores, because he gets to come with us!! We usually go to Lowes, but what I needed happened to be cheaper at HD, so we went there instead. Heck, I love either one because they both offer Military Discounts. OH YEAH! So back to Baxter, he got loaded up with lots of lovin' in our quick 10 minute trip. He got some popcorn (and not off the ground this time, the guy at the popcorn stand gave him a good handful! haha) and a treat from the checker, and lots of lovins from employees and customers. It was doggy heaven for him! We then went to Michaels, Joann's, the postoffice, and Winco all before going home. Have to point out one thing. Love going into a grocery store empty handed and out with only 2 items (2lbs of strawberries and a bin of French Vanilla Ice Cream) and not having to pay a dollar, dime, or penny! Oh that makes me feel so good! Love me Wincos and their awesome coupons in the add this week for those 2 items! So yep, got all of this done before 10. 

I then came home and watched Soul Serfer (while folding laundry of course). I know I'm so late on gettin' to see this movie, but give me a break, I don't go to the movies unless a movie looks so good I can't stand to wait, and even still I don't even go. I loved that our new membership with Dish Network came with a free 3 month subscription to BlockbusterHome! It allowed us to see movies that I've been wanting to see for a LONG TIME!! Like Breaking Dawn Part One, Abduction, Time Travelers Wife, Soul Serfer, The Help, etc. Awesome-blossom!! 

 I then crafted for awhile and added yet another new item to my store,

 The Chalkboard Coffee Mug. 
Love it!

I also made some other chalkboard items for a table decoration, that I will share with you once they dry. Excited for them! 

I brought Adam dinner at 4. Our dinner tonight was Creamy Asparagus Pasta, with chicken. I HAVE to share the recipe for this meal, SO good, SO good on calorie count for a pasta, and had such good flavor!!

Creamy Asparagus Pasta, with Chicken (I chose to add the chicken for more protein and to be heartier)

4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each
Total Time:

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (I had about 3/4 cups left of heavy cream that I mixed with 2%, turned out great)
  • 4 teaspoons whole-grain mustard (I use Trader Joes
  • 4 teaspoons flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • *1 Chicken breast, cooked and sliced
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice.
  3. Stir the sauce into the pasta-asparagus mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls and top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Nutrition Info:
Per serving: 359 calories; 10 g fat ( 4 g sat , 4 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 18 g protein; 7 g fiber; 602 mg sodium; 467 mg potassium.

Let me tell you, these flavors mesh SO well together it was AMAZING!! Plus, the chicken really did add that extra umph to it, to make it that much better. Try this dish out!

I then washed all of my dishes of the day, cleaned up my crafting mess,  finally made my natural garbage disposal cleaner, which I am SO excited to start using tomorrow!! (Sidenote: to actually get an idea of how frugal my hubby is, listen to this! This garbage disposal cleaner recipe calls for filling an ice tray with vinegar and one small lemon slice. That's it!! And you're supposed to use it once or twice a week. Well our fridge did not come with ice cube trays, but one big tray and we were at wincos last week and 2 ice trays were $1.48 and Adam was like "Why are you wasting money on buying those?" I said, "Adam, they are $1.48 for 2, that's a good deal!! I didn't want to argue, it wasn't a big deal, so tonight I just filled one of those big trays with a little over 1/4 cup vinegar and 2 lemons cut up in small slices. Tomorrow I will just cut up the big ice cube into small cubes. BAM we resolved that issue! haha. Sometimes, I just have to laugh at Adam! Love him!) , and worked out. (Side note: Adam and I have been doing 50 pushups each night, in 4 different styles (regular, military, decline, and diamond), and 100 situps. I've been SO proud of myself. I will rotate doing 15 pushups, then 25 situps. But 50 total pushups is more than I've ever tried to do, done, or completed. So proud of myself!!).

What a day, right!!??!!

Hope your weekend is going well for you and your family!! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza (like CPK)

As I shared in my last post, I've been SUPER excited about this week's menu. Some pretty good items that I've been wanting to try for awhile are now on for this week. Here is the recipe for the first home-made pizza I made this last Monday.  As I've stated in some other posts, I never ventured out and really cooked meals that seemed too hard to do when I was younger and first married. To me, making my own pizza seemed like a task that was not fit for me. Although I knew a bunch of people who make their own weekly, that seemed to scary for me. I don't know why I ever installed this fear of cooking, but it feels so good to break those chains free!! Cooking to me now, is almost like an art to me. I'm not good at art, but I am now good at cooking! This recipe was AMAZING, I just had to share it!

 Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza (like CPK)
 with my friends 5 ingredient dough recipe

 Ingredients/instructions for Pizza Dough
  • 1pkg or 1 Tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 C. warm water
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 C. flour

mix yeast and water together until yeast is completely dissolved. Add oil, salt, and flour and mix well. Knead this for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl. Let rise 1 1/2 hours or more (until doubled). Divide the dough in half for thin crust or use all for thick crust. Form a ball and gently pull and flatten until it is the size you want. If using a pizza pan, grease and sprinkle with cornmeal. Assemble dough on pan. If using a stone, generously sprinkle cornmeal on it and assemble pizza there. Slide onto pre-heated stone. Bake in 475 or 500 degree for 10-12 minutes.

Ingredients/instructions for  Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza (like CPK)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 pound prepared pizza dough, at room temperature (or dough from above recipe)
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark barbecue sauce
  • 1 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • **2/3 cup grated smoked gouda cheese (about 3 ounces) (**Note: I omitted the gouda cheese since it's so expensive and just doubled the amount of mozzarella cheese-tasted just fine without)
  • 2/3 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, for topping
**Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Shape the pizza dough into a ball, add it to the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, 30 to 40 minutes. (**Note: I ommitted this step, since I already completed this step in the dough recipe above).

Position racks in the upper third and middle of the oven. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the top rack and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, lay out a sheet of  **parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Transfer the ball of dough to the parchment and roll it out into a 10-inch round, stretching it with your hands as needed. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, cover with another piece of parchment and set aside to let rise slightly, about 30 minutes. (**Note: If you have a stone or intend to bake on a pizza pan, assemble pizza on stone or in pan, SO much easier than trying to move the pizza from parchment paper to pan or stone).

While the dough rises, mix 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Put the chicken in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper and brush with the barbecue sauce mixture. Bake on the middle oven rack until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Uncover the dough and spread with the remaining 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Top with the chicken, **gouda (**Note: if you chose to add the gouda), mozzarella and red onion. Slide the pizza (on the parchment) onto a pizza peel or another inverted baking sheet, then slide onto the hot stone or baking sheet; bake until the cheese melts and the crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Believe me, yours will taste and look just as good as this!! 

I really love this recipe!! I know a lot of people that have a weekly home-made pizza night, and not to be copy cats or anything, but we just might jump on that bandwagon. Home-made pizza is too good not to indulge in weekly!! :D

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Life Lately

Sorry I haven't been around the blogging world in awhile, but the hubby is back, thus more of my time is happily taken up with him! :D

A lot of things have happened since my last post.

  1. I have a new category of items up for sale in my shop called, For The Home. My first item for this category is, Where You Come From Heart Frame. Very cute and makes such a cute gift or something cute for your own home! Already have made one sale on this item, within 2 days of posting it! Cool!
 2. I know it is already Tuesday, but I really am in love with our menu for the next week, I just have to share (will post more recipes to my collection soon).

Oven Fried Chimichangas
Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza (like CPK), with my friends 3 ingredient dough recipe
Crockpot Beef Stroganoff, served over mashed potatoes
Honey Dijon Chicken Breasts, with couscous and asparagus.
Home-made Ravioli, with side salad
Manicotti (kind of going with this recipe)
Black Bean & Rice Skillet (a recipe from my Fitzgerald friends)

3. One of Baxter's claws cracked. At 10pm at night. While he was chasing us around the house, on the tv stand. So yup, last night our game night got interrupted cancelled, because it was bleeding pretty bad and we took him to the emergency vet, to make sure his foot was broken or anything else severe. We're gonna be watching it for the next couple of days, but he has a bandage on his foot that he absolutely hates. And YES it is absolutely HILARIOUS to see him wobble!! Made the whole night worth the while! That was our lovely Monday night. That's what you get for having a fur baby right??!!?? Look at our baby tryin' to get all t he pamerpin' he can get from this accident. Haha. Gotta love our Bax!

Happy week to you all!! I'll be back soon to post some recipes!

Monday, April 16, 2012

New hair accessory line for women!

I've been putting my good ol' sewing machine to work the last 3 days. Boy, oh boy, is it a goin'!! Here are some new pieces I have added to my store that are for women!! Check them out!

 I'll post pics of me wearing them tomorrow, when I have my friend come over and take some pics :D
Whatcha think???!!??


Saturday, April 14, 2012


After not even being open for 24 hours, I have made my first sale on Etsy!! WOOT-WOOT!! Thank you to New York!!!! :D


Friday, April 13, 2012

A New Adventure

Some of my friends, and most of all my hubby have been encouraging me to start an Etsy site for all my creations. I keep saying, "I will. I will." But obviously, I haven't. I had some doubts. Like, what if no one really wants what I make? But I've come to the terms of, whatever. It is worth a try, and I'll never know, unless I give it that try. 

So here it is:

 Anchor Creations, by Jasmine Zickefoose

Check it out, and enjoy! 
 I'd love to make something for you! :D


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ways to use your Mason Jar, Idea #2: Canning that Jam

Let me start off this post with a little equation for you: 





 pure love!!

That's right folks, I did some spur of the moment canning this morning before I went into work. The plan to do it erupted from a conversation I overheard in the break room at work. People were talking about how the Strawberries were on sale for .50/lb at Wincos. Immediately I heard a "ding, ding, ding." No not really, but a light bulb did go off in my brain that said, "You would be stupid enough not to make jam at this price." So this morning I got everything I needed and started the fun process. I found this recipe online for No Sugar, Strawberry Freezer Jam, and loved the results it yielded. I do have to forewarn from the name of the jam, that this is a condensed sugar version. You buy the sugar free pectin and use apple juice. For some that may not be sweet enough, so the judgment is up to you. I don't like to consume that much sugar, so it was just fine with me. 

I am SUPER stoked about this recipe, because it only cost me just under $4 to make this, and I got 6 containers for the freezer and a small bowls worth for the fridge. Talk about learning ways to be frugal, there you have it! Now that's what I'm talking about! Boo-yah store bought jam! This will last me until Blackberry Season (actually, longer than that) so I'm a happy camper!

For the actual recipe, just click the link. It's really easy and does not take long at all. 

And there you have it, another way to use your mason jars: as storage for your yummy jams.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Share my Site: My Blog Button

I finally took the time to create a button for my blog, so you can post it on yours and share it with your friends/fans/whoever read your blog :D

I used this good tutorial. It was complicating at first, but I went back and reread the tutorial a good 3 times to figure out what was going wrong, but it ended up being an issue that she addressed. So once I figured it out, I got it down quick :)

<a href="" target="_self"><img src="" alt="TheZickefooseFamily:Blogging,Cooking,CraftingThroughADeployment" width="125" height="125" /></a>

 Whatcha think????

Monday, April 9, 2012

Oh Happy Day for Five (5) Minute Crafts!

Today has been a great day. I've had a happy, content day. A song has been on my mind all day long, tugging me through, encouraging me to carry on. 

Since this day has been full of joy, I decided tonight to endeavor on another craft project that is on my Craft Project To Do List. When Adam is gone I try to get all these things done, so while he's here I can spend as much time I can get with him. Kind of like what I did when he was on deployment, and I made a deployment to-do list. Same concept, just a shorter list. :) 

This craft project I found on Pinterest, of course on there right, has been on my mind to use as a cute spring table decoration. So tonight was the night that I thought, hey what the heck, let me craft. This project is really SO easy to do. Once again, I sat down expecting it to take me at least 10 minutes. Nope, not even! Another under 5 minute cute craft project (Thus another new series I have created). And I REALLY love the turnout.

Materials Needed:
  • Tuna cans
  • Clothespins (20 for each can you want to make)

To Do:
  1. Wash and dry your tuna can out real well.
  2. Line your 20 clothespins around the tuna can.
  3. Add a tea candle with a glass jar inside or a little vase with flowers.
  4. "Pimp" it up however you want.
And that's right, YOU ARE DONE!!
 *Mine, with a candle inside*

And BAM, just like that you have a cute centerpiece to use a Table Decoration. As you can see, I still need to get the rest of the centerpiece together, but I couldn't wait to share the project until then!
You could definitely use this as a cute fun kids craft, too!

I already had the clothespins on hand, I just had to take them off my encouragement banner, where I hung all the cards I received from friends and family while Adam was on Deployment. I really suggest all you military wives out there to do this. I'm a visual learner, so for me to see that all these people care for me, really made a difference each day. Sometimes I would even sit down and read them, if I really needed that extra boost. :)

And I already had the Tuna on hand, since I was making Tuna for my lunches for work this week.

Total Cost of Project:
Tuna: on sale for .68 cents = 1.36
Clothespins: (already had on hand, but I think a pack of 50 are $1.50or so)
Total: $2.86, under $3

So many things that you could do to "pimp" this project up, and give it more bling, bling. For example, you could paint the clothespins (I'm thinking I might paint them green for grass, maybe next week!), use it for a vase or a candle (I'm thinking I will add some unused green onions to use one of them as a vase when I go shopping this week), you could put rhinestones on them, you could use them for a table # for party, the possibilities are endless!

I think this will be another blog series that I will :)


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Resurrection Day!


I usually say Happy Easter, but I think I'm going to change phrases now. I like "Resurrection Day" much better. Really puts more emphasis on the meaning of the holiday, rather than the Easter Bunny. Don't get me wrong, I love the Easter Bunny. I mean I believed there was such a thing until I was like in 3rd grade, when I saw my dad pick up the eggs off the counter, and then saw him hiding the eggs. Totally killed the whole Easter Bunny thing for me, right then and there. So I really do like painting, hiding, and finding eggs, but is that the most important thing of the day? To me, it's not.

The hubby is away for a little period of time again, thus leaving me alone for another holiday yet again. Gotta love the Navy! Man, that ship sees more of him than I do these days. Gotta grin an' bear it I guess. But it's hard since I haven't been without family for an Easter in.... never! I didn't really think about that fact and if it would be difficult for me at all, until I was lying in bed last night thinking about how today would go. Today would be like any other day for me, minus the fact it would be Sunday, thus church. I would get up, eat breakfast, get ready and leave for church. And that would be the extent of the highlights my day would offer. No big Easter meal with the family. Or seeing my church service at the Fairplex LIVE. Or enjoying the fellowship of my family by playing games, watching movies, playing cards, etc. Just Baxter and I, eating leftovers for lunch. That's why focusing on His resurrection, has reminded me of the importance of the actual holiday of Easter. It should really be about focusing our minds on what our freedom in Christ is all about: His death and the blood He shed so innocently on the Cross, for all of us believers. But more importantly, we should be celebrating and rejoicing in the beauty that lies within the empty tomb: His resurrection!

Really loved the card my Cooney Grandparents sent Adam and I for Easter:


We should fear only
 if God were not in control.
We should worry only
if He were not able
to meet our needs.
We should strive only 
if the Lord were not 
our Shepard.
We should doubt only 
if He were not faithful.
We should grieve only
if Jesus were not Risen!

His life and love have set us free!
(Galatians 5:1 "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.")

Beautifully said! Goes along with what my pastor reminded us at church this morning: 
Jesus dying on the cross is a representation of our sins being lifted off our shoulders, at that very instance of His death. The representation is justified, meaning just as if it never happened. Our sins are set free by the blood Jesus shed for us on the cross. Isn't that beautiful??!!?? It makes today so much more beautiful for me!

I'll leave you all with the song we sang in church this morning and the lyrics along with it. 

God is Alive, Flee
 Let the darkness flee. 
It's got no power over me.  
I have been set free, God is alive. 
Death where is your sting. 
Sin has got no hold on me. 
  I am free indeed, God is alive.  

We've been redeemed.
 So rise and sing.
Everyone glorify the risen Son. 
The Holy One has overcome.  
Jesus is alive
The enemy is broken underneath His feet.  
Death is crushed in victory. Jesus is alive. 
Jesus is alive!

 Let us wake and rise. 
Lift your voices lift our eyes.
  We're gonna shout, we're gonna shake the skies, God is alive.  

We've been redeemed. 
So rise and sing. 

Everyone glorify the risen Son. 
The Holy One has overcome.  
Jesus is alive. 
The enemy is broken underneath His feet.
  Death is crushed in victory. 
Jesus is alive.
 Jesus is alive.  

The empty grave is singing now it's shouting out.  
He is alive, He is alive, And we are free.  
The empty grave is singing now it's shouting out.  
He is alive, He is alive, And we are free.  

We've been redeemed. 
So rise and sing. 

Everyone glorify the risen Son. 
The Holy One has overcome.  
Jesus is alive. T
he enemy is broken underneath His feet. 
  Death is crushed in victory.
 Jesus is alive. Jesus is alive.
[ From: ]

 Happy Resurrection Day all! 
May you dwell on the fact that He is Risen and you are free,
 rather than the eggs in your basket!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ways to use your Mason Jars, Idea #1: Mason Jar Match Holder, with a Strikeable Lid

I've grown very fond of Mason Jars. I've always been exposed to them, as my mom and both grandma's were avid makers of jams and jellies when I was younger-best part of spring! It wasn't til I was older, however, that I have grown to like them, and use them for things other than jamming. There are ENDLESS possibilities people, ENDLESS!! With that said, I've decided to start a blog series with all the ways that I have encountered (thus far) on using them good ol' Mason Jars.

 I already posted about this fun idea for all you sewers out there, with the Mason Jar Pin Cushion. Such a BRILLIANT idea :) So this is technically #2, but since I just came up with this series idea, it's officially numero uno! 

Idea #1: Mason Jar Match Holder, with a Strikeable Lid 
I originally found this idea on Pinterest of course, but it is originally from here. However, the site doesn't provide a tutorial, it's just implied. For all you visual learners out there, that need to actually see with your own two eyes how easy a project actually is, this is for you. Let us begin.

Supplies: A Mason Jar of any size with the lid-I chose the 4 oz size, sand paper, scissors, pencil (for tracing) ; even the supplies are reinforcing how easy this project will be :)

Step 1: trace a circle out of the sand paper with your pencil, 
using the inner lid of your mason jar

Step 2: Cut out your circle using your scissors

Step 3: Draw a hole in the circle so the matches can easily come out, 
instead of having to open the lid each time- then cut it out :)

Step 4: Place your finished circle inside the lid and screw the lid onto your mason jar (you DO NOT need the inner lid, the sand paper will stay in place).

*My finished Mason Jar Match Holder, with a Strikeable Lid. Now I just need to go buy some matches :)*

And there you have it, your finished product. Wasn't that SUPER easy??!!?? I sat down at the table with all my products, thinking it would take at least 15 minutes. Finished the WHOLE THING in under 5 minutes!! Now that's my kind of project!

Cost of this project:
Mason Jar: acquired from grandma
Sand paper: came in a pack for like $3, but I only used a tiny circle, so probably only some change worth of sand paper, and I still have A BUNCH of it left over! :)
So basically, under $1! :D

(Note: you will have to replace the sand paper after awhile, but psshh that's so easy to do!)

If you want to link up with me, that would be cool. I'd love to see ways that you're using your mason jars!

Happy lighting! :)


Friday, April 6, 2012

An updated Devil-icious Breakfast Treat

When my family was down last fall for Thanksgiving, I wrote a blog about a breakfast I made for them, Classic Cinnamon Buns. I never added a picture to that blog and thought I would write an updated blog for that recipe, including a picture, since I made them for Adam a week ago, and of course he thought they were amazing! If you are really wanting to splurge, or are having guests coming into town, I would highly recommend making this breakfast treat- your guests will surely come back!

*A devilicious breakfast!*

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Spicy Meal Hit

Adam and I like things spicy. Sometimes I prefer things more spicy them him, but we both like to spice things up with flavor. Found a good meal on Pinterest to satisfy our need for spice: Spicy Rigatoni, just like the entree you can find at the restaurant, Bucca Di Beppo. 

This was really good. No need for me to post the actual recipe, just clink on the name of it above and it will take you right to the place I found it. This is also a really good, quick and easy meal, which is always a score to find one of those! 



(ps: if you want to tame down the spicy flavor, it's totally doable in this recipe).

Adam's Favorite Meal

I've gotten a little behind on posting regularly, but I have a good excuse: I'm spending quality time with my hubby while I can. So, I think that's pretty legitimate. :) Here is the recipe that my hubby said was his favorite meal I've made for him yet. I was blown away when he gave this meal the rating he did. A little side note, he knows that I always have him rate my meals now (more when I'm making a new item), so he'll tell me that he won't give me a rating 'til the meal is completely over (half of the reason why is because he knows it just kills me and that I'm dying to know!!!!).

And cue the drum roll please.............


 Enchiladas is Adam's favorite meal to request from his mom, because she makes a pretty mean Enchilada! So I have always been pretty scared to try making them on my own. Well, I worked up the guts, found a good recipe, and started my adventure for my first time ever making them. (I really was scared!! haha). Here is the recipe I used as my guide-line (I say guide line, because the process is really well explained in this recipe, but as far as ingredients, I'll explain once I get there).

Ingredients: (for the recipe for the link)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed & pounded if necessary
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce (store bought or from scratch)
  • 1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • 1 (4 oz.) can of green chiles
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil spray (or you can use vegetable oil in a little bowl with a brush)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
I ended up doing this:
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce (store bought) -divided
  • 1 (4 oz.) can of green chiles, drained -divided
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro -divided
  • 12 (6 in.) soft corn tortillas
  • vegetable oil in a little bowl with a brush
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese-divided
(The reason why I didn't follow the original recipe, was due to the fact that I thought I had bough the items and totally realized the moment I started to make them, that I must have "thought" I had bought them--oh well. Didn't ruin any thing at all. So I ended up doing 6 enchiladas chicken, and 6 ground turkey, because once again, I didn't realize that I was out of chicken breasts. Another, oh well moment. Adam really loved the ground turkey ones, so glad it worked out).

To Do (here are my instructions, incorporated into the original recipe):
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine the chicken and 1/2 the amount of enchilada sauce in a medium saucepan & simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat. Then flip the chicken over, cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until chicken reaches 160-165 degrees with an instant-read thermometer. (At this same time, I cooked the ground beef, then put in the other amount of enchilada sauce, and cooked the same way as the chicken, minus flipping it over of course ;)
  3. Remove chicken from pan and shred into bite-sized pieces. Combine shredded chicken, 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce,  1/2 amount of cheese,  1/2 chiles and 1/2 of cilantro in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the other halves of the ingredients with the ground turkey. Cover both to keep warm.
  4. Lightly coat both sides of 6 tortillas with vegetable oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake until tortillas are soft & pliable, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Quickly place tortillas on a flat surface and place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture into each one. Tightly roll each tortilla around the chicken and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining 6 tortillas, with the ground turkey mixture.
  6. Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce from chicken over the tortillas and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese (side note: my hubby doesn't like food to saucey, so even though I halved the ingredients, I didn't use any extra sauce for this last step-it turned out just fine). Cover with foil and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 3 to 5 minutes to melt the cheese.
  7. Serve with remaining enchilada sauce (if you choose to increase the enchilada sauce), optional lime wedges and optional sour cream.
Serving size: 2 enchiladas Calories: 420 Fat: 16 g Saturated fat: 8 g Carbohydrates: 40 g Fiber: 5 g Protein: 29 g Cholestrol: 80 mg
(I love that the calories are low for this meal!!)
To make ahead, complete through step 5, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for up to 2 days. Begin with step 6 when ready to cooking but do not cover. Bake for 10-20 minutes or until warm.

 I decided to go all out and make the theme of the night Mexican, so I whipped up some salsa and made home-made tortilla chips, and served the enchiladas with black beans, for my complete meal. This was amazing!

The reason Adam rated the meal his favorite meal, was due to the fact that I made ground turkey ones-which was totally on accident! :) Don't you just love when things turn out better than you think it would. I totally do!! :D

I encourage you to venture out of your ordinary, and try making a meal you are scared to make. If its not this one, then look for a recipe you are interested in. Don't let things scare you away!