Italian Chicken Pasta

Image

I had found a recipe on pinterest (surprise, surprise) the other day and finally made it. It was REALLY easy and a pretty big hit, so I thought I’d pass along. As always, I made some changes from the original recipe.

I used whole wheat pasta and since I don’t have a lot of mouth’s to feed, I only used about 2.5 chicken breasts. I put them in the crock pot on high (they were frozen) for maybe 2 hours or so I think. I used 1 packet of Italian dressing seasoning, 4 oz. of cream cheese (half of the pack), 2 cans of  cream of chicken soup and threw in some broccolli. Because I love cheese, I sprinkled some shredded cheese on top too. When that was all done, I shredded the chicken and I mixed it in with the whole wheat pasta and it was ready to go. 

Buen Provecho!

Advertisements

Extreme Family Room makeover!

We moved in about a year ago and have lots of plans for this place. The bad thing about this house was that NOTHING was updated. The good thing about this house was that nothing was updated. Don’t worry, you’re not seeing things, I meant to type it like that! Having a house with nothing updated meant that we could do things EXACTLY the way we want to! So with a recent fireplace make over (click here and here) and laying down pergo floors earlier this week and buying a few new items, we’re left with a brand new room and we seriously can not get enough of this room! Here is a refresher of what it was like before we moved in:

Image

The first thing we did is paint when we moved in. I painted it a mustard tuscan color and after a year, I hated it. So, I repainted it colormatched by Glidden: Diverse Beige by Shermin Williams. Then we painted the baseboards “Swiss Coffee” and are slowly working on painting the doors.  We redid our fireplace which really now is the focal point we can be proud of! Now, we can’t wait to have people over!

Image

Image

The wood flooring we chose is pergo’s highland hickory. I’m so in love with it that I rolled around it when it was put down. Literally. I wanted something that had grooves and resembled real wood but easier to take care of and this was the perfect choice for us. It looks and feels like real wood.

Image

I got this rug for a steal thanks to Groupon. And with a toddler boy and two german shepherd mixes, I needed something durable. It came from Rug USA and they had a ton of fun and contemporary indoor/outdoor rug options and it’s pretty soft, considering it’s outdoor.

We’re so pleased with out this room came out. We have minimal changes to be done to this room and soon, I’d like to put in builtins next to the fireplace:

Image

Anybody else have extreme makeovers of their own?

Small updates can make a big difference!

The past few weeks have been busy with updates, big and small, around here. I’m working on one project which I HATE, so it’s taking me forever to do that! It’s stenciling curtains so what could really take me a day has taken me about 2.5 weeks or longer. I’ve finish the fireplace make over last night (click here to check out phase one!) I’ll be posting phase two this week. In a few days we’ll be laying down the pergo floor in the family room. But in the meantime, there are really quick and easy ways to spruce up exsiting pieces in your home that could change the look of the room!

I had bought a curtain rod at Ikea. The finials were pretty boring. I had found a pair on clearance from West Elm that I couldn’t pass up! When I got them in the mail, I realized that the finials from West Elm were screw in and I didn’t have anything to screw them into. So, my dad pulled a pretty clever MacGyver move!

Image

So, what he did was just snap off the original finial and drilled a small hole to screw in the new finial…

Ta-da!

Another small change we made was reusing the gift that keeps on giving around here. My teal paint by Benjamin Moore that we first used for the front door makeover (click here) and then used for my coffee bar cabinet (click here). I had this big mirror that my mom had given me that was a goldish color and not really my style:

Image

Since I gave the paint to my mom so she can paint her front door, she used it to repaint the mirror frame for me. All you would need to do is tape around the edge of the frame so it doesn’t get on the mirror.

Image

Here she is!

How about you? Any small updates you’ve done lately? Any big ones your tackling? Any that you’re half way done and putting off like me? 😉

How to tile (Fireplace Makeover – Phase One)

I’m almost too embarrassed to show this picture but there is NO way you can really and truly appreciate the progress so far without seeing the ugliness that was my fireplace. So, here is a before picture when we first saw the house:

Image

EEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWW. Yeah, you can say it. I’m saying it. This is literally the focal point. Looking like that, it’s more like the focus-on-anything-but-the-focal-point-point. In the meantime, the mantle looked like a very waxy brown. So, I painted it the same color as the trim which we’ve repainted (Swiss Coffee by Behr). The pink marble still looked really gaudy but it was already better.

So, let the tutorial begin. Let me begin this with a little disclaimer. I’ve never tiled before. Ok, so that’s a huge disclaimer. But it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s labor intensive and it’s messy but I think I was probably too excited to really care. Also, really really make sure you have everything if you don’t live nearby your local hardware store. Luckily, we’re about 5 minutes from home depot. Which is good because we went four times. We started by taking off the tile and by “we” I mean hubby:

Image Afterwards, my dad and hubby took off the marble. Most of the drywall came off with it:

Image

Peel off all the drywall so you can start fresh.

Image

When replacing the drywall make sure it is firegrade drywall. This means it’s 5/8″ thick. It was screwed in with drywall nails.

Image Looks better already, eh? I’m not too sure on how to cut. My dad gave my husband a quick tutorial to using the wet saw and my hubby did all the cutting. We laid all the tiles down first before setting to see how it would fit. My husand laid all the tiles on the front part. You’ll need ceramic tile adhesive and a notched trowl. Spread the adhesive on the location it will be placed and used the jagged edges in that area to create line effects. Repeat the same steps but place the adhesive on the back of the tile. Make sure when you keep placing that you clean out the adhesive in between the tiles because you don’t want it obstructing where the grout will go. Place two spacers on each row (two on the sides and two on the top/bottom). When I tiled the top, it was a bit of a pain because the base was unlevel. So, I used a level for each tile and if it wasn’t level, I would just glob on more adhesive. The adhesive must set for 24 hours before you can grout. Hardest part.

Image

To lay the grout, you’ll need a grout float. When you wipe it off, go against the direction of the grout line. When wiping off the grout on the smaller tiles, it obviously was easier said than done. So, I just wiped in circles. You’ll have to keep cleaning the water you use to clean the grout too because you’ll just end up using dirty water to clean, which doesn’t really work! The next day the tile was all white and cloudy. It’s normal, just give it a quick wipe down.

Remember the eyesore gold-brass trim? GOODBYE, thanks to spray paint. But you can’t use any spray paint. You need high heat spray paint by RustOleum. Here’s a quick screen shot of some of the materials:

Image

Click Here for the tile that we used.

Here is our fireplace now:

Image

We can’t stop looking at it! The best part? We’re not done yet! This weekend, we’ll be building a box surround and next month I want to make some built-ins on the awkward left side of the fireplace. See that little peak of my rug? I just got it today! Got a groupon and was a bit hesitant to get such a bold pattern but my mom, who is always pushing me to be more bold, and thankfully so. It was love at first sight. I think I may even sleep on it tonight. I kid, I kid…or do I??? At the end of the month we’ll be laying some pergo flooring down so make sure you stop by again soon for that and how we came along with building the box surround!

Ninja love

Recently I got a Ninja blender. In. love. My old blender was falling apart. I’ve had it forever and I’ve heard great things about the ninja blender so after multiple recommendations, alas, the ninja is mine. And I’m in ninja love.

I’ve been wanting to make smoothies and juice more. My first creation was this delicious and healthy smoothie. I lost 1 lb in less than a week just from having a smoothie everyday for breakfast!

What you’ll need:

Splash of milk, 1 tablespoon of light & fit vanilla yogurt, 1 peach, 6 strawberries, 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1 banana & 2 cups of spinach.

Image

Then I garnished with some home grown stevia.

Image

Do you have any blender recipes you like? Any smoothie recipes? I hope this becomes one of your favorites!

This ish is B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

And now you have Gwen Stefani’s song stuck in your head. You’re welcome. In my defense, who can ever say bananas without spelling it out now?

I’ve started what is seeming to turn into a weekly trandition at our home. I found this recipe off of Pinterest but got a little creative with it. What attracted me to this banana bread recipe is that it was for the most part healthy (no sugar or oil!). So, I made it unhealthy and added chocolate chips. Don’t judge.

What you’ll need:
2 cups of flour (or whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspon of salt
1/2 cup of cinnamon applesauce
3/4 cup of honey
2 beaten eggs
2-3 mashed overriped bananas (depending on how strong you want the banana flavor)
Handful of walnuts
Handful of chocolate chips

Image

What you’ll need to do:
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees & lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan
* In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soada & salt.
*Seperate bowl mix in cinnamon applesauce and honey
*Stir in eggs & mashed bananas until well blended
*mix everything together
*add walnuts/chocolate chips to your liking
*pour batter into loaf pan
*Extra step- I like to just sprinkle cinnamon on top because it gives it a nice color after baking.*
*Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes

Image
Don’t let the sweet auroma that is sure to fill your house fool you into thinking you can take it out earlier. I succumbed to the smell and took it out early and even though it looks ready, it’s not. Here’s the delicious finished product that is guarenteed to go quick!

Image