Monday, January 30, 2012

Taco Cups

This is a fast, delicious meal or appetizer!

Servings: 12 taco cups, 2 dinner portions
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 1/2 lb ground beef/ turkey/ meat of choice
  • frozen spring roll wrappers
  • taco accoutrements (sour cream, cheese, lettuce, salsa)
  • nonstick spray
  • taco seasoning
Thaw spring roll wrappers.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray, add one wrapper per cup.  Place into hot oven until edges are browned ~10 minutes.
Brown meat and add taco seasoning.  TIP: I like to add a cup of water with my seasoning, and bring it to a boil.  This will result in a thick sauce that really penetrates the meat.
Portion evenly into cups and top with favorite taco toppings!

spring roll wrappers into sprayed muffin pan

ground seasoned beef

finished taco cups!

ALTERNATIVE!  Try fajita cups!  Thinly slice 1/2 onion and 1 green bell pepper.  Caramel until softened.  Add ground meat and brown.  Add taco seasonings.  Top with black beans, sour cream, salsa, cheese etc..

Sunday, January 29, 2012

quick and dirty jean repair

So I wore a 2 inch hole into my favorite pair of jeans.  Why don't I go buy a new pair?  Well Banana Republic seriously downgraded the material they make their jeans out of and I haven't found a new brand.

Conveniently, my sewing machine has 42 yards of paneling in it that I am not going to disturb.  So I needed a fix for my jeans that was fast and no sew.

Enter the quick and dirty patch...

  • no-sew heat bond
  • jean patch
  • iron
  • jeans with hole
First, turn jeans inside out.  Cut portion of no sew heat bond long enough to cover hole, place shiny side down, paper side up.  Iron on medium heat for 15 seconds.  Let cool and re-iron making sure to get edges really well.  Let cool.  Cut jean patch to just cover no sew heat bond strip.  I chose to use jean patch that also had heat fusible bonding on it (hence I am using it backwards) but the no sew heat bond is generally used to bond just fabric to fabric so any cloth should work.
On medium high heat, iron jean patch on.  Let cool and flip jeans right-side out.  Tah-dah!

jean patch

sorry for the blurry image, but this is the heat bond
the hole :(

ironing on the no sew heat bond- paper up

hole with no sew heat bond ironed on

jean patch (again right side up since mine had heat fusible backing)

Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles!

These are addicting!!
The first I made these, I used splenda blends- DO NOT DO THIS!! I don't know why but they taste very saccharine-y.  I have cooked a lot with splenda blends with no trouble but it will not taste right in this recipe.  Use real white and brown sugars.
This recipe is egg free!

This makes about 2 dozen truffles.


  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (I use smart balance butter)
  • 3/4 cup granulated white and brown sugar (you can do half and half, but I like 1/2C brown with 1/3C white)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk or soy milk 
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (large chips work too)
  • 12 oz or so of chocolate candy coating
  • dash of salt
Cream butter with the sugars in mixer (or mixing bowl) until butter is lighter and sugar is well incorporated.  Then add flour, baking soda and salt.  Pour in milk and vanilla.  Once mix is thoroughly combined, stir in chocolate chips.  At this point, my dough was suuuuuuuuuuuper sticky so I just portioned about 1 inch balls and put it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.  After the first freeze, I could actually roll neat balls.  Melt candy coating as per directions and dip truffles.  Put them back into the freezer until hardened and enjoy!

super sticky right after mixing

after freezing for 5 minutes about to be dipped

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Creamy Chicken Casserole

This serves 2, maybe 2.5


  • 1/2 an onion
  • couple mini portabella mushrooms sliced
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup rice (I used brown)
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • panko
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a pot, boil 2 1/2 cups water (should cover chicken breast).  Add bay leaf and water.  Boil chicken until cooked and then remove chicken.  Add rice to water, bring to boil then cover and reduce to simmer.  Meanwhile, saute onions and mushrooms.  Cube chicken.  When rice is al dente, pour rice, chicken, onions and mushrooms into oven safe dish.  Mix in ricotta.  Cover with panko and bake until mixture has thickened and panko is browned.  

I forgot to take an after picture (too hungry! but here is before I topped it with panko.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monogram "T" Wreath

I wanted a wreath for after Christmas that would last a few months, so I decided on a monogram wreath. This whole project cost 5$!!

 I went to Michaels to looks for a large letter. The ones they had either weren't the size I was imagining or the shape of the "T" was ugly (I prefer my T's to have a large top bar). So after running around the store contemplating for an hour (literally..) on alternative material, I decided "Hey, I could make one.." so I got a thick foam board.


  • thick foam board (super cheap!)
  • twine (ribbon or yarn would work too)
  • box cutter
  • felt (for rosettes)
  • hot glue gun

I got it home, and cut out my T shape. I wanted this pretty visible so I made it 16" tall. I then wrapped the T in the twin strategically covering the foam board. The twin helped to add strength to my T as well. I then made some felt and ribbon flowers and hot glued them on.
The whole project took maybe 30 minutes tops- most spent trying to strategize how to cover the T shape.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No Bake Chocolate Oreo Truffles

Got this recipe from pinterest!
 Super easy and super delicious.


  • 1 pack double stuffed oreos (I used Oreo brand the first time and Kroger brand the second- Krogers have less filling)
  • 4oz cream cheese (I used lowfat/no fat and they were awesome!)
  • 12oz white chocolate candy coating (or milk or dark, personal preference)

Using food processor/ food chopper/ or even a blender, grind up the entire package of oreos until they are cookie crumbles. Then add cream cheese that's come to room temp (or really just out of the fridge for a few minutes will work) and mix in processor until a dough comes together. Roll dough into balls and place on wax paper. Put finished balls in freezer for 10-15 minutes. While your balls are freezing, microwave chocolate coating (or use a double boiler, but microwaving is faster, easier and uses only 1 bowl). Roll truffles in chocolate and put back in freezer until hardened. I actually prefer mine frozen!
You can even save some of the crumbles and sprinkle on top while the chocolate coating is cooling for a more finished look.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Contemporary Canvas Artwork

This was my inspiration: Joann's Project

I wanted something large enough to hang over my mantel and in the blues/ teals/ greens family.  I used my living room pattern as my color family.  I got a multipack of canvas and small tubes of acrylic paint.  In the Joann's piece they only used 5 colors (one per diagonal) I wanted to used 9 colors to bring in all the colors of my living room.  They also used 9 4"x4" squares, I wanted something larger.  Michaels had 12" x 12" in a 7 pack or 8" x 10 " in a 10 pack.. I went for the non-squares in a 10 pack.  The whole project supplies cost me 18$.


  • canvas squares/ rectangles
  • acrylic paint
  • large brush
  • small brush for the swirls
  • palette (I used a Tupperware lid!)

To make the 9 colors, I chose 6 colors (they were 3/1$) and started with the lightest and painted my first block.  I then added a squirt of another color to the left over paint and mixed it and painted block #2.  I then added another squirt of a different color to paint block #3 and kept adding and mixing colors until I had all 9 blocked painted.  I thought this was the best way to make them cohesive and in the pallet I wanted.
After all 9 were finished I let them dry and walked away.  The next day I ordered them and swirled gold glazed (left over from the antique table redo) in random patterns over the top.
Living room pattern (it's peacock from Pier 1 Imports! <3 )
18$ of supplies from Michael's
My acrylic colors (L -> R: Apple Tart, Vert Green, Aqua, Turquoise, Peacock Blue, Navy)
The finished 9 color blocks after being ordered

With gold swirls

Now to figure out how to put it above the mantel...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Antique Table Makeover

We acquired an antique radio table that had a faux wood finish on it.  I forgot to take a real before pic but you can sorta see the finish on the legs.
I wanted a vintage/faux antique finish with a modern flair for this table and chose white for the final color.
I started by sanding and using wood glue to repair the edges.  I then primed with Zinsser 3-1 Primer.  For the "under color" I wanted it to pop- so I chose navy (!).  This layer doesn't have to be perfect because you will paint over it.  I next took a candle and waxed the edges/areas I wanted the blue to show through.  I painted 2 coats of white matte paint (left in our basement from the previous owner) and lighted sanded the edges and area I wanted the blue to come through and tah-dah!  I decided to add a light gold glaze to highlight some of the carved features then I finished the table with a light layer of polyurethane. 

The "before"
Sanded and holes filled with wood putty
With Zinsser primer

Navy over the primer
After 2 coats of white, waxing and sanding
Finished table

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Broccoli Cheese Quiche

Servings: 4 or 2 dinners and 2 left overs lunch :)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  • 3-4 pieces of bacon finely chopped
  • pie crust
  • 4 eggs
  • hashbrowns
  • 1-2 broccoli heads
  • 2 pieces american cheese (I like kraft reduced fat!)
  • 3/4C milk (I use skim)
  • salt to taste
First put pie crust in non-stick sprayed pie pan and dock using a fork.

If you like hashbrowns, apply thin layer to raw pie crust.  Put into 450 degree oven while prepping other ingredients.

Crisp bacon in pan and set aside.  Tear up cheese slices and put into milk, in cup with pour spout.  Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 45 seconds or so until cheese is fully melted.

Break open eggs and stir while VERY SLOWLY! adding cheese/milk mixture.  You don’t want to scramble your eggs, so take your time and go slowly.




Check pie crust- you don’t want color just slight flaky texture.  Flatten any air bubbles that may have occurred and add bacon.  Chop broccoli into bite sized pieces and lay on top of hashbrown/pie crust.
Pour egg mixture on top of broccoli. Season lightly if you want, if you have a salty pie crust or lots of bacon, you might not need any seasoning.
Bake in oven at 450 until egg is set and crust is brown. 30ish minutes in my oven.
Slice and enjoy :)
PS: you can do this with really any “topping” – ham, mushrooms, spinach, onions, green pepper, tomato etc!