Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy

My husband never complains about the food I cook.  I always ask him what he rates the meals I cook and he usually never gives me less than a 10.  Yet, when I offer to make {some} meals again he politely declines or offers another option.  It makes me laugh.  But, tonight...tonight was different.  First, he cooked this meal.  I helped with some measurements and cleaned up as he made a mess cooked.  When he took his first bite he wowed himself.  I have to admit, it was pretty good.  Next time, we will cut the meat a little smaller.  That's it, enjoy! 

Results from hubs: The meal was rich in flavor.  The noodles were the perfect compliment for the light creamy sauce and steak tips.  

Steak Tips with Peppered Mushroom Gravy
Courtesy of My Recipes (Originally from Cooking Light)


  • 2 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound top sirloin steak, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (optional)


1. Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. While noodles cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak; sauté 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan; cover.
3. Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Add pepper, salt, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Return beef to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Discard thyme sprigs. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Let me introduce you to my new favorite soup recipe.  
I am obsessed with this recipe and have been craving it since I first made it. 
It's healthy but filling.  Hubs isn't a soup fan and loved it. 
It provided us with lunch for the next day.  
It was simply delicious.  

I made this soup stovetop but I think it would be good in the crockpot as well.  I used brown rice and ground turkey instead of beef.  Everything else remained the same.  Do yourself a favor and add this to your menu this week!

Stuffed Pepper Soup
Courtesy of The Country Cook 

Stuffed Pepper Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
1 can (29 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 (10 oz) can tomato soup (or tomato sauce)
1 (14 0z) can chicken broth (or beef broth)
2 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp. sugar
t tsp. garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste
shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

In a large pot, brown and crumble ground beef along with diced green peppers and onion over medium-high heat.

When meat is thoroughly cooked, drain excess grease from beef mixture.

Put beef mixture back into pot. Add in diced tomatoes, chicken (or beef) broth and
tomato soup (or tomato sauce).

Give it all a good stir. Then add in rice. Stir again.

Then stir in seasonings; sugar, garlic powder, salt & pepper (to taste).

Cover and let soup simmer on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes to let all the flavors blend.

Then serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top of each serving.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Easy Italian Stew

Kraft recipes does is once again.  This past week we enjoyed a filling and delicious dinner courtesy of Kraft.  Even though the weather is quite warm here, I'm still enjoying "winter" meals.  I've been trying to use my crock pot a few times a week and have been filling it with various soups and stews.  The original recipe wasn't a crock pot meal.  I thought it would be good either way, so I opted for the quicker option.  

Results: The recipe provided us not only with a filling dinner but with a good amount of leftovers.  It's a healthy meal and you could even use fresh veggies if you wished.  Since I can't have dairy, we didn't add the cheese.  I didn't feel like it was missing anything.  Hubs added red pepper flakes for a little more flavor.  Overall, we'd give it a 5! 

Easy Italian Stew

Adapted from Kraft Recipes 

what you need

2 Tbsp.  KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing

1 lb.  turkey sausage (I sliced it into pieces, you can also use ground sausage)

2 cans  (14-1/2 oz. each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 pkg.  (16 oz.) frozen stir-fry vegetables (any variety will work, we used broccoli, mushrooms, water chestnuts, celery, peppers and carrots)

1 can  (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed

1 can  (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup  elbow macaroni, uncooked

make it

HEAT dressing in large saucepan on medium heat. Slice sausage into 1/2 inch pieces.  Cook 8 to 10 min. or until done, stirring occasionally. Drain.

In the crock pot ADD all of the ingredients except the pasta.  Cook on low for 6 hours.  About 25-30 minutes before serving, add the pasta.  Make sure the pasta is cooked before serving.  Enjoy! 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Simple Skirt

They day Avery's first Valentine's Day play date, I realized she couldn't wear the outfit I had originally made for her because it would be too hot.  I definitely wasn't planning for the weather to be in the 80's in February. I didn't want to buy her something, so I decided I would try my hand at making a skirt.  I knew I could quickly embroider a shirt to match, problem solved.  So, I searched for a skirt tutorials.  I needed something simple and quick.  

I found the perfect tutorial over at Made.  
The tutorial was easy to follow.  
I'm no expert seamstress, I would definitely call myself a beginner. 
With that said, the entire skirt took me a half hour to make. 
Not too bad for my first skirt! 

Of course, my little miss looked adorable for her first Valentine's play date! 

Thank you Dana for a simple and easy to follow tutorial!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Easy Peasy Banana Muffins

These are the easiest muffins I've ever made. 
Better yet, they are delicious! 
They're light, fluffy and have the perfect amount of banana.  

1 box of yellow cake mix
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas 

*mix-ins of your choice (chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.)

Heat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins or use liners (I usually spray my liners).  Mash bananas in a bowl.  I just used my mixer.  Add in cake mix, eggs and other ingredients, if you choose.  Fill the muffin tins 2/3 of the way fill.  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cross Door Hanger

Earlier this month, my daughter was baptized.
I love to throw a party and couldn't wait to host one after her baptism.   
As soon as the Christmas decorations were put away, I got to planning.  
The colors were light pink and white.  
I always have a festive door hanger when I host parties. 
So to go with the colors and theme of the party, I decided to make a cross door hanger. 

Hot Glue
Embellishments (pearls)
Scissors or Cricut 

How I Did It: 
I printed a cross pattern that I found online. 
 I just Googled cross pattern and printed the first one I came across. 
Then I cut it out and traced it onto a piece of cardboard (an old Crate and Barrel box)

I cut out the cross.  Strong scissors will be a big help. 

Then I started wrapping my white yarn around the cross. 

I continued around all the sides and did a few crosses in the middle.  
The middle was not covered completely. 

After all the sides of the cross were covered with yarn, I worked on the center. 
I used my Cricut to cut out a circle for the center.  
Then, I printed her monogram on white cardstock. 
I cut it out and glued it onto the bigger circle.  
Then, I glued little craft pearls around the outside.  
To finish it off, I took a piece of pink yarn and hot glued it to the top of the back side of the cross. 
I tied it into a knot and used that to hang it off the door hanger.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

Honey Lime Shrimp

Shrimp has become a weekly staple in our house.  For the past month, I've been making shrimp in pasta dishes.  This week I decided to change things up.  

Results: Delish.  Took about 15 minutes to make. Loved the marinade and even used a little of the remaining over my rice.  Without a doubt we will be making this one again.  Enjoy!

Honey Lime Shrimp

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T honey
juice of one small lime, or half a large lime (2-3 T)
zest of one small lime, or half a large lime
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1.) In a large ziploc bag, combine all the marinade ingredients. When everything is well-combined, add the shrimp, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, and close it up. Place it in the fridge.
2.) Let the shrimp marinate for 30-60 minutes, flipping the bag around once or twice during that time, so that all the shrimp stay evenly covered in the marinade.
3.) When you’re ready to cook, take the shrimp out of the fridge and let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; there is no need to add any oil or butter to the pan, as the marinade has enough oil in it to keep the shrimp from sticking to the pan. (If you would prefer to use the grill for these, you can thread them onto skewers and toss them on the grill at this point.)
4.) Add your shrimp to the pan in a single layer, making sure they are not too crowded; you can always cook them in more than one batch. Let them cook on one side for about a minute, until they curl up and start to turn pink. Flip them over, and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until the shrimp are opaque. Remove from the pan, and serve immediately!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Candy Heart Valentine Frame

Here is a simple and cute Valentine's decoration for your house. 

8x10 frame
candy hearts
heart tracer
red cardstock (or your color choice)
hot glue

How it's done....
1. Take the paper out of the frame. 

I made sure the background paper was the same size as the paper I was taking out.
2.  I used my Crucit to cut out a heart tracer.  I glued the tracker onto the background paper I chose, which was red card stock. 

3. Put the frame back together.  

4. Line up the hearts on the tracer.  I made sure to put them all on BEFORE I started gluing. 
Once everything was the way I wanted it, I glued down the hearts one by one (with hot glue). 

Once they are all glued down, you're done! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Date Night In- Jar

2016 updated date night jar 

One of the goals hubs and I set for the year was to have date nights in.  With a baby, getting out of the house for a date is not as easy as it used to be.  So, we decided we would try to do two date nights in a month.  He would plan one and I would plan the other.  For Valentine's Day, I'm giving him this jar filled with ideas for our date nights.  It's easy for me to come up with things to do but not as easy for him.  Now, he'll have a whole bunch of ideas at his fingertips!

All I used for this project was the printables below, a glass jar, ribbon, crinkle paper and card stock in red and white.  

I printed the ideas for date night on white cardstock. 
I made a red tag that was 3 1/2 inches on my Cricut.  

 Then, I printed out the date night in sign.  I made sure it was no bigger than 3 inches. 

I used this handy dandy puncher to round the edges. 

My tag for the jar was complete!

Next, I cut out all the date night ideas.  I included blank ones on the printable and decided to put the blank ones in the jar.  That way hubs can fill in some ideas that he thinks of along the way. 
Once they were all cut out, I put them in the jar on top of some crinkle paper.  
I added the crinkle paper to help fill the jar.  I wanted to use a mason jar but didn't have one in my stash. 
You can use any embellishments or fillers you'd like. 

Last, I used some thin red ribbon to attach the tag.  I made sure it hung on the front of the jar.  
Simple as that.  
Hopefully this will prevent the "what do you want to do?", "I don't know, what do YOU want to do?" conversations! 

Download the Date Night In Ideas Pages Here & Here 

I think the date ideas are pretty self explanatory.  But if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask! 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's for Him & Free Printable

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. 
 Like usual, I've waited until last minute to make a gift for the husband.  
I love making him baskets filled with goodies. 
Since we don't do big gifts for Valentine's Day, a basket of little gifts is the perfect way to go. 
It shows him how much I love him and satisfies his sweet tooth at the same time.  
I can't wait to give it to him on Thursday.  

You can download the printable tags here.
If you have trouble downloading them, comment with your email and I will send the PDF to you.   

Here are some of my other gifts I've made for hubs:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Simple Love Banner

When cleaning out my craft room a few weeks ago I found a pack of unused doilies.  I knew just the project that I was going to use them for.  It had been one I had been eyeing on Pinterest for a while now! 

How I Did It:
My supplies were 4 doilies, red card stock, white card stock, white yarn, Cricut machine and tape. 
I laid out 4 doilies. 

I used my Cricut to make 4 4inch hearts. 
I taped the hearts onto the doilies. 

Next, I used my Cricut to make LOVE out of the white card stock paper.  My letters were 2 1/2 inches. 
I glued the letters onto the hearts.  

After that, I cut a large piece of yarn.  I laid it on the floor and placed the doilies on top.  After I checked the placement, I taped the yarn onto the back of the doilies.  

Last but not least, I hung it up.  I taped the banner to the inside of this cabinet.  I'm in love with the end result. I know I'm not going to want to take it down after Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Strawberry Cookies

When planning the menu for my daughter's baptism this past weekend, I went through my pantry to see what I already had.  I always stock up on cake mixes when they are buy one get one free, so I had a large variety of cake mix.  The colors for the baptism celebration were white and pink so I immediately grabbed my box of strawberry cake mix.  From there, I went to Pinterest in search of a recipe. There were a bunch out there. After a little sorting, I decided on this one.  

Results: Easy to make.  Another perfect spring recipe that I will definitely make again. Though next time, I will add the frosting.  I think the frosting would definitely kick these up a notch.  Nonetheless, still a good cookie recipe.  I love that it's not your typical chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie. If you need a great recipe to make for Valentine's Day next week these will surely be a hit.  Enjoy!

Simple Springtime Strawberry Cookies

For the Cookies:
 - 1 (18.25-oz) box strawberry cake mix
 - 1 stick butter, softened to room temperature
 - 1 large egg
 - 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
 - 1 8-oz package 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
 - 1 cup powdered sugar
 - 1 tsp. vanilla extract
 - 2-3 tbsp. Smucker's Simply Fruit Strawberry -OR- any seedless strawberry jam

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper, set aside. 
2. In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, softened butter, egg, and vanilla until you have a nice cookie-like dough that is well-mixed (see pic above- it will be almost like Play-Doh).
3. Drop rounded tablespoon-fulls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets approximately 1-2 inches apart. 
4. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until edges of cookies are just lightly turning brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. 
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with any remaining cookie dough.
6. After your cookies are completely cooled, in the same medium bowl used for your cookie dough (I just wiped mine out to save on dishes), combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Smucker's using a hand mixer, mixing until light and fluffy. (If you feel like your frosting is a little too runny, pop it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to firm it up a bit before spreading on your cookies- you want it to be spreadable but not too thin or it will run off the cookie.)
7. Frost each cookie to your heart's desire, using as little or as much frosting as you prefer. (For extra cuteness, you could add some pastel-colored sugar sprinkles or some fresh strawberry pieces, but we were just digging the super simple route this time.)
8. Store any leftover cookies covered in the refrigerator with wax paper in between any layers of cookies to avoid sticking.

*I didn't have a picture with the cookies alone. I didn't make the frosting to go on top because I knew I wanted to pile the cookies on this plate*

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Valentine's Day Yarn Wreath

I'm finishing up my final DIY projects for Valentine's Day this week.  This project was inspired by this pin on Pinterest.  The original pin was linked back to Etsy, so there wasn't a tutorial with how to do it.  So I decided to create one so that you can all have an adorable wreath to hang on your door this Valentine's Day.  I love how this wreath turned out.  It may be my favorite one to date. 

How I Did It: 

The supplies I used were a foam wreath, red felt, white yarn, pink yarn, scissors, a heart tracer and hot glue.  

First, I covered the wreath with pink yarn.  

Next, I used my 2 inch heart cut out to make my felt hearts.  I traced them and then cut.  

I placed them on the wreath as I went so I didn't make too many. 
I ended up cutting out 12 hearts. 

I hot glued down the hearts, putting two dots at the top and one at the bottom of the heart to make sure it would lay flat.  

After that, I started wrapping the white yarn.  I did one direction first. 

Then, I did the opposite direction to create the criss cross look. 

Lastly, I added a banner to the wreath. 
I used leftover felt cut into diamond pieces.  

I used my Cricut to cut out 1 inch LOVE letters using white cardstock.  I glued them to the bottom of the diamonds.  
I attached one piece of pink yarn to the wreath, going straight across. Then, I folded the diamond over, hot gluing it together.
After all the diamonds are glued down, you're finished!   

Hang it up and show off your hard work!

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