Hashbrown Casserole

Monday, February 27, 2017 1 comment

There are some things we have for each holiday in my familly.  For Christmas and Easter our potatoes come in the form of a cold salad.  We've never been a mashed potato family....though....everyone likes mashed potatoes.  Huh....weird.  Every time we have a guest join us I always ask them what they have for dishes so they will feel a little more at home, and mashed potatoes are on the agenda.  All that to say-last Thanksgiving we didn't have any guest who didn't grow up at the table, so....I decided to experiment.  I found this copy cat recipe Cracker Barrell for hashbrown casserole and it was a really big hit.  One side note, I had the wrong kind of hashbrowns (I had the cubed instead of the shredded), but there were no complaints.  So....I'm adding this to my rotation.  I have also had this as a breakfast last year.  My pal Amber added some turkey bacon to hers and it was also delicious.
Copycat Hashbrown Casserole
Ingredients:  2 lbs frozen hash browns, 1/2 c. melted butter, 10 1/4 oz can of cream of chicken soup, 1 pint sour cream, 1/2 c. onion (peeled and diced), 2 c. cheddar cheese (grated), 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper
Instruction:  Mix all ingredients together.  Place in 9x13 inch pan.  Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.  I broiled mine on low for the last few minutes to brown the top.

Dollar Store Banner

Friday, February 24, 2017 No comments
I put together this little Saint Patrick's Day banner using some Dollar Tree Clovers and left over yarn from a crochet project last fall.  
I made little pom poms and punched holes in the clovers to string on some green twine.  
 I wrapped yarn around three of my fingers 30 times.  If you wanted a puffier pom pom, wrap it more times.
I then cut the loops on both sides of the tied middle (but I left the longer two strings at this point).  Here is a photo of one halfway finished.  
 I then used the two strands that were longer to tie it onto the twine, and then cut the extra excess off.

Chenille Square Quilt

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 1 comment
OK...there is a reason I love chenille blankets.  First, how gorgeous are they?  Second, my Mom always tells this story about her grandparents who had a chenille blanket on their guest bed.  Her and her cousin would jump up and down and make the round chenille circles 'hop' around and yell "cookies."  She always reminds her cousin of this traditional jumping get togehter when we get together.  I knew I wanted to created a little throw for my craft room. The place where I put my seat is right next to the window, which means it gets a little chilly during both days of winter here in Texas.  
 I found a lady on Ebay who sells squares of chenille blankets she cuts into quilt squares.  She has all different combinations of colors, but I fell in love with these peach, pink, and white squares.
 I lined them up into 7x6  rows, making sure I spread out the darks and lights, and didn't put any of the same squares next to each other.  I then sewed each row of seven, and then the rows of 7 to each other.
 I got some really soft fabric at Joann for the back and pinned it all together and trimmed that down then sewed a big square to hold those two together.  Last, I cut strips of another pink fabric into 3 inch pieces, sewed them together, folded them over and made my own binding.
 I haven't actually 'quilted' this, but I might eventually add some ties to the middle of the squares if I end up having to wash it a lot and need to hold it in place.
In the mean time, I'll enjoy wrapping this around myself during that arctic blast this year, and then hanging it on the back of my chair the other 364 days.  

Chicken Spaghetti

Monday, February 20, 2017 No comments
 A coworker shared this recipe, and what I love about it is you can make two meals out of the same crockpot.  As a single, it's nice to be able to mix things up so I'm not eating the same thing 8 nights in a row.  It doesn't hurt that most of the cooking happens in a crockpot while I'm at work.  I cooked up the chicken, and then I made a casserole dish and a chicken spaghetti dish out of the chicken.
Chicken Spaghetti/Chicken Casserole
Ingredients:  4 chicken breast, 1 block of Velveeta cheese (the larger block), 1 can of rotel (with the juice), 1 can cream of mushroom, 1/2 pkt taco seasoning.  Tortilla chips and 8 oz cheese AND/OR one pkg of spaghetti
1.  Place chicken, rotel, Velveeta (chopped into cubes), 1/2 pkg of taco seasoning, can of soap, and rotel (with juice) into crockpot.  Heat for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.  
2.  Take a fork and shred your chicken.  
For the casserole:  Layer crushed tortilla chips, chicken and cheese mix, cheese.  Repeat and add one last layer of crushed tortilla chips to the top.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  
For the Spaghetti:  Boil spaghetti.  Mix chicken and spaghetti together.  
*I made the casserole in a 9x9 dish (enough for 4 hungry people)  and used the other half to mix with a package of boiled spaghetti so I could have two dishes.  

*You can freeze either of these once they are put together.  Thaw overnight and bake each at 350 for 30 minutes (until heated through)

Alzheimer's Busy Quilt

Friday, February 17, 2017 3 comments
 A gal I work with recently told me about these busy quilts that are being made/sold for people who have Alzheimer's. It gives them something to do with their hands, which helps them keep some muscle memory, and soothes some of their anxiety.  There were a lot of benefits she shared with me.  Her father has Alzheimer's and Parkinson and she was wanted to put something like this together for him for Christmas.  I agreed to do it because it hit the heart strings.  I lost my grandfather years ago to Alzheimer's and it was a cruel disease to say the least.    I'm all about helping comfort anyone in a similar situation.
 I searched some different ideas, and there are all sorts of things you can attach to keep someone busy, but I decided to start with a few ideas, and if he likes it, she can advance from there to more complicated quilts.  I used some printable fabric iron on I had.  I bought it as the craft store.  The only trick is (for this kind at least) you have to flip the picture before printing since you iron on the mirror image.
I added some colorful buttons around the grand kids so that he can run his hands along the buttons.  I then sewed this square to another piece of fabric with soft bumps (minky).  
 I added some ribbon to one side of another textured fabric, and then found a forth fabric with some ridges.  I sewed those two pieces together, then sewed both sides, trying to make them as close to center as possible.  My goal was to use scraps I had, and keep it as masculine as possible.
 I added brown tweed to the back, then used some fabric I had left over from a quilt binding to bind this small lap blanket.  I did take some string and stitch one tie in the middle to keep it from slipping around.  All in all I'm pleased with how it turned out, AND what a fun way to repurpose some scraps!

Freezer Meal: Baked Spaghetti

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 1 comment
 Once upon a college we had a Fazoli's near campus.  I used to go all the time for their baked spaghetti.  Alas, apparently only Waco understands the goodness that is Fazoli's.  So, I ran across this recipe via sixsisters and decided to give it a go because it had a few varying steps from ones I've tried in the past.  Cheese and noodles are never a bad thing, and per usual, if you let it sit overnight it's even better.  Or better yet, I put half of my recipe in a freezer pan and put it in the freezer to have later.  I'll thaw it overnight and then when it's time for dinner following the regular cooking instructions.
Baked Spaghetti
Ingredients:  16 oz pkg spaghetti, 1 lb ground beef, med onion (chopped), 26 oz jar meatless spaghetti sauce, 1/2 t. garlic salt, 2 eggs, 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, 5 T butter (melted), 2 c. cottage cheese, 4 c. mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1.  Cook spaghetti according to package. Drain.
2.  White the noodles cook, cook beef and onion in a skillet.  When all the meat is browned, drain any extra grease.  Stir in sauce and salt.  Set aside.
3.  Add eggs, Parmesan cheese, and butter to the drained noodles.  Toss to coat.
4.  Place half the spaghetti mix in a greased 9x13 pan.  Top with half the cottage cheese, meat, and mozzarella cheese.  Repeat layers.
5.  Cover and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  Remove cover and bake another 20 minutes (until the cheese is melted).
*You can also place everything into a pan, cover, and freeze before you bake the noodle dish.  Thaw over night and then follow baking directions.  

Pocket Letter Valentine

Monday, February 13, 2017 No comments
 This is a really simple Valentine I put together for my goddaughter who just pulls all my cards apart anyway....so I sent her a pocket letter where all the pieces are already deconstructed and she can just play to her hearts content.  I did a youtube video with the instructions, please pardon the fact that I'm off screen a bit in the last portion....I'm learning!
 I don't send her much candy, but I did tuck some twizzlers inside-a favorite of her mama's and I that we introduced her to when I last visited.
 The great thing about a pocket letter is it folds up and fits perfecting into a long mailing envelope.

Valentine's Box (Recycled Laughing Cow Cheese Box)

Friday, February 10, 2017 No comments
 I was recently charged with making some project for something called Art Abandonment.  It's a facebook group that makes art and 'abandons' it with a note for people around their city.  Add to that I wanted to use products from a store in Denton called Scrap that is filled with things people donate.  Artist run the shop/and buy the supplies for their art work.  I love to go there and get inspired....this go 'round....I was inspired by these Laughing Cow Cheese Boxes.
I also picked up some lace, yarn (I crocheted into a heart shape), vintage Valentine's Cards, and a bottle of sequins.  
 I used some scrap papers to cover the box.
I covered the sides with ribbon.  I filled this box with chocolate because it's for someone I know, but I'll 'abandon one' with some little sheets inside to make a scrapbook b/c I figure strangers won't want to eat my chocolate.  The top was decorated with little scraps I picked up at the store.  This isn't an add, just a fun find (in stores), and fun project.  

Heart Garland

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 No comments
I saw a garland like this on instagram a few months back and I had just the stash of felt scraps to make it happen.  
 I cute up all the smaller pieces in my stash until I had a big ol' pile of hearts.
...and then I just went to town sewing them with a little space in between each one.  I didn't make them all down the center to give it character.  
I knew my hoarding ways would pay off....

Scrapbooking Pages

Monday, February 06, 2017 No comments
 Once upon a time lots of my friends scrapbooked.  With the internet advancing so quickly....most of my friends don't even print their pictures, much less scrapbook them in paper albums.
Through the years, I've found myself printing fewer pictures, but this year I commit to doing more scrapbooking.  I'd like to catch up on the pictures I did print a long time ago (though, that's actually impossible), and to choose special moments to continue to scrapbook.
Recently, my friend Amber and I went down to a scrapbook store in Corsicana that I love and we spent the day scrapbooking.
 The problem with waiting so long is that it's hard to journal the events.
The only picture I had that was semi recent was the one from this past July 4th.  
...but....no more....I'm bringing scrapbooking back...to my life at least!  

I Pick You! Valentine

Friday, February 03, 2017 1 comment
 I saw the ideas for making these Valentine's here last year and I knew it was a must.
 I got the nose pencil sharpeners from Oriental Trading, and the pencils from Walmart.
 I added a tag and used a circle punch to pass them out.
All my Valentine's  old enough to hold pencils will be getting these little guys in a mailbox soon.  They are just old enough to enjoy a good booger joke.