Monday, January 31, 2011

VV's Baked Chicken

Last week, my good friend Marcie came over for dinner on Tuesday. It was really nice to catch up because it had been close to two months since I had seen her. I cooked dinner for both of us and it was a good ol' time.

For dinner, I decided to go with Ellie at Vintage Victuls Crispy Baked Chicken. However, since I didn't have all of the ingredients and was hoping to use what I had, I made a few small edits.

Started with four chicken breasts. 
Then, instead of greek yogurt (since I didn't have it, but I'm looking forward to trying it again with it), I used a couple of lightly beaten eggs.
I also didn't yet have panko bread crumbs (but I do now), so I used regular bread crumbs. 
As far as the "seasoning blend," I was quite intimidated, but my lovely friend Leslie texted me a list of good ones to use so I just kind of threw a little of each of those. Tasted fine to me! I coated each piece of chicken in the egg, then the "seasoning blend" and stuck it in a 9x13... cooked it like she suggests (and even checked the temperature to be sure). 
It came out looking just like this.
On the sides, I made macaroni and cheese and carrots (not pictured). 
Happy eating, friends!

Also, I've still not received any good suggestions for tag names for projects or desserts... help me, people! "Eatin' Good" is for main courses & "Makin' Memories" is for fun family stuff, so I'd like to keep a similar theme. I'd also like one for side dishes???  Hmm...

Also... I'd like to have a little "signature" for the bottom of my blogs but I'm so not good at that stuff. Any help would be appreciated!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bathroom Shelf

Immediately after Jeremy finished my Spice Rack for the kitchen, my wheels started spinning. The bathroom is another area where there's simply not enough room for all of my stuff.

Jeremy and I started with the same design as the spice rack, but I knew it could be quite a bit bigger since it would got on a larger wall. Then, Jeremy thought of adding a towel rack on the bottom and hooks on the sides for robes. Genius!

So, off to Lowe's we went... and got to building. (Notice the super manly pink hammer... it's mine!)
 Isn't he great?! (Notice the open drawer I've mentioned - this was clearly before my big kitchen organizing post.)
 Ta da!
 At this point, the project came to an abrupt halt. The next step would be painting it, and the temperature needed to reach at least 60 degrees for that. So, we waited... and we watched the forecast, and we waited.
 So, Jeremy finished the towel rack...
 & I finally got to paint it!
 He hung it up for me... and then we came to another halt. For some reason, I couldn't get motivated to design what to put on it and how to reorganize the bathroom. It took me quite a while, but one afternoon, I got started and completed it.
 I didn't have a choice on where to put the really tall stuff - it had to go on top. So, that was tall stuff and hair stuff. The middle shelf became fragrances, lotions, travel sized shampoos and conditioners I've collected over the years and nail polishes/accessories. On the bottom, I put my make-up and make-up brushes, deodorant and jewelry.
 The small blue baskets holding my hair brushes, jewelry and make-up came from World Market... $2.99 each - score! Earlier last week, my friend Marcie had come over for dinner and then we went exploring at World Market. She showed me those baskets because she's got a few of her own. Adorable & perfect! 
The towel rack was a wooden dowel we got at Lowe's with all the other wood... easy enough.
 Then, we put these hooks from Lowe's on each side which hold my robes and hair towels.
Another small project that happened as a result was I finally put my cute little jewelry holder to use! I got this in the fall of 2009 when I went to watch OU play BYU at Cowboys Stadium with family. We parked in this lot with "free parking" as long as you spend $40 and put the receipt in the window of your car. I'd rather spend $40 on stuff than just parking! Anyway... I went through all of my jewelry as a result of this project, threw away a couple items and put some on this holder. Adorable!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stockyards Championship Rodeo

Last Friday, we took Jacob to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo here in Fort Worth. They have this rodeo every Friday and Saturday night, but I had never been before. I started playing around online and learned that kids get in free on Fridays, so after dinner, we headed that way.
Check out my boys... Jacob is so cute in his cowboy getup!
This is during the national anthem. I couldn't resist how cute he looked holding his hat like that :)
(Pardon his red-stained face from whatever he had been drinking earlier)
Okay, now we have a funny story...
You see that kid right in the center of all the others with the cowboy hat on? That's Jacob. He was out there for the "sheep scramble" where all of the kids chase a sheep to get a ribbon off its back. On his way out, he played with his hat and put it back on backwards, so the rodeo clown had to pick on him, right? Anyway, after picking on him and fixing his hat, the rodeo clown asked, "Where are you from?"
Jacob's response (into the microphone for the entire arena to hear): "My mommy."
It was hysterical!
This is Jacob telling his daddy how fun chasing that sheep was.
We had lots of fun! If it's up to Jacob, we'll definitely be heading back very soon!

Last note: I'm wanting to redo my tags for each post. I know that for posts like this, I like "Makin' Memories" and for cooking meals, I like "Eatin' Good," but I can't think of tags for projects we do and desserts I make... Suggestions?? I was hoping to stay with the same type theme as the others. I'm also wanting to find someone to help me make something cute that says "Miss. Vicky" at the bottom of my posts... anyone good at making small graphics like that?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PW's Cinnamon Rolls

(Not that I'm counting, but I graduate 100 days from today!)

Warning: These things are sinful.

There, you're warned. Now, you can't blame me. I'm not liable.

After reading The Pioneer Woman's description of her Cinnamon Rolls and how she thinks they are actually the best around, I had to try them out. Who could resist, right?

So, I got started last Saturday night. I mixed the dough, let it rise and finished it up. Then, I put it in the fridge overnight (she says that's not necessary, but I didn't want to do all that work in the morning).

In the morning, I got the dough out, rolled it out and got to work. For some reason, I had trouble with the rectangles (call me geometrically challenged), but they came out alright, if I do say so myself.
Ummm... yum!
The icing... I was nervous about the coffee and being able to taste it, and I do get a slight hint of it, but maple frosting is so delicious, it doesn't both me one bit.

I even learned after I was done that maple frosting is Jeremy's favorite... lucky him!
Both of the boys said they were the best cinnamon rolls they've ever had. Jacob even asked for seconds, and let me tell you, that is the first time he has ever asked for seconds (mind you, his dad knows he's a growing boy and gives him quite a bit to start with). 

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the recipe is supposed to make 50-60 rolls... mine came out more like 30, but they were big rolls (the picture below is your typical 9x13 if that helps put their size in perspective). So, I've got several gallon-sized freezer bags in the freezer fulls of them, which is super handy for breakfast.

I will warn you though, I'll have more cinnamon rolls coming in March. You see, I've got two whole days to spend in Bartlesville with my step-grandma, Terry, and we've decided to turn it into a cooking/baking workshop.

Yes, there will be blogs. (I'll even share that cinnamon roll recipe if it's not a family secret)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Last Friday, I made the lasagna that I grew up eating. I got the recipe from my Gramma although I'm not sure of where it originally came from. Wherever it came from, it's SO yummy!

I remember, I loved lasagna as a kid, but one time, I walked in the kitchen when my Gramma was making it and saw it: the cottage cheese. I was so creeped out that I didn't eat it for a long time, but with time, I accepted it (and the fact that you can't taste it) and moved on. 

Here it is... enjoy!

You start with lasagna, cooked normally (obviously).

Then, you brown 1 pound ground beef (or turkey, whatever) and mix that with about 24 oz. spaghetti sauce (Jeremy made this sauce for me). 

Next, beat 2 eggs. Combine 8 oz. cottage cheese, the 2 eggs, a cup of parmesan cheese, one tablespoon parsley, salt & pepper.

Your other layer is 4 cups mozzarella cheese.

Next, you begin putting it together. First, line your 9x13 with lasagna noodles
Then, spread about 1/2 of your cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle 2 cups of mozzarella over that.
Then, pour 1/2 of your meat sauce over that. And repeat: noodles, cottage cheese, mozzarella & meat.
I forgot one of my mozzarella layers, so I just threw some on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
And I thought it made it kind of pretty. :)
After I put that one in the oven, I realized I had enough lasagna noodles cooked to make another one, plus I could use the other 1/2 of my cottage cheese (which is going to go bad if I don't), so I made another lasagna to freeze in servings. I remembered all of my layers in the second one, so it looks "right."

I let the second one cool completely, cut into servings and put each serving into a sandwich bag. Then, I put the sandwich bags into gallon-sized freezer bags. It's super easy to grab on my way out the door to eat for lunch or a quick leftover when I don't cook.

And serve... fabulous.

Jeremy obviously approves.

As does mini-Jeremy.

A couple of bites in, he said, and I quote, "This is really good. I love it, Vicky!"

Check out my happy plate.

In fact, check out ALL of our happy plates.

Then, Jeremy picked Jacob up from school yesterday as he always does on Tuesdays. He asked his daddy, and this is another direct quote, "Can we go to fort worth for dinner? We can eat some of the yummy food Vicky maked us."

Kid knows the way to my heart...

Here's a text-only version of the recipe

1 box lasagna noodles
4 cups grated mozzarella
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese (I'm almost sure I only used 8 oz?)
2 eggs
8 oz. grated parmesan
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt & pepper
24 oz. spaghetti sauce
1 lb. ground beef

Cook the noodles. Brown (& drain) the beef. Combine beef and spaghetti sauce. Beat the eggs. Combine cottage cheese, eggs, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.

½ beef sauce (Top)
½ mozzarella cheese
½ cottage cheese mixture
½ beef sauce
½ mozzarella cheese
½ cottage cheese mixture
Noodles (Bottom)

Hope you like it! 

What are your favorite casserole type dishes??

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PW's "Cinnamon Toast the Right Way"

A few weeks ago, I started making Pioneer Woman's "Cinnamon Toast the Right Way." I haven't had the choice to stop since then because both of my boys are absolutely obsessed with it. 

It is delicious, I must say.

PW goes on a tangent about all of the different kinds of ways to make it and what's wrong and what's right. I thought this was all kind of silly... until I tried it the "right" way.

Homegirl has a point.

I used to just put some butter, sugar and cinnamon on a piece of bread when I was younger and throw it in the toaster oven. Never again.

The recipe posted is for 16 slices, which is a bit much for 2-3 people. So, when I'm cooking for two, I split the recipe in fourths, but I usually make enough for 3... and then I split the recipe into thirds, which is what I'm going to blog.

Ingredients for 1/3 (6-7 slices of bread):

6-7 slices of bread (the picture above is store bought bread, but the pictures below are homemade)
3/4 stick of butter, softened (6 tablespoons)
1/3 cup sugar
1 (heaping) teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon vanilla (I usually do 1 tablespoon almost full because I love vanilla)

I usually head into the kitchen when I first wake up, preheat the oven and set the butter on top of the stove to help it soften. Once I'm more awake and ready to make it, I throw all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix them up until it becomes one spread. Like so:
Then you spread it on the bread (these slices are kind of awkward because I was at the end of the loaf and couldn't slice it perfectly) & bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. PW then suggests you broil them, but I have an irrational fear of burning things with the broiler so I skip that step.
Then, you enjoy!

The other day, Jacob went with me to the grocery store and, half thinking out loud, I said "Hmm... what do we need?" Jacob said "Cinnamon!" While we did need cinnamon, I hadn't told him that or said it in front of him, so I asked him "What are you talking about?" He said, "I need you to make me more of that yummy toast!" How cute!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Valentine's Day Decor

Okay, this is a first for me... I've never decorated for Valentine's Day before.
So, I kept it pretty simple.
The first thing, I have to admit, is a direct steal. I'm so not original. You see, my aunt, Jill, has this vase that she puts different small things in based on the holiday. I stole this idea because I always thought it was super cute.
For "everyday" decor, I keep wine/champagne corks in there. For Christmas, I filled it with sparkly ornaments I found at Target in the $1 spot. So, for Valentine's Day, just as Jill used to do, I filled it with Sweethearts candies. I might have to find some more, but it's super cute in the mean time...
Then, a blog I follow, Tatertots & Jello, posted lots of great ideas for Valentine's Day decor. Lots of them were super cute, but I knew right away I had to try the burlap heart wreath from My House of L. It looked so simple, yet adorable. So, the boy went to Hobby Lobby with me and we picked up some burlap (which was on sale - score!) and some cute red ribbon.
I found the wire hangers in my closet.
The boy helped me straighten the wire hangers, which made a HUGE heart, so he then helped me cut them down and shape my heart. Next, I folded the burlap and put it on there.
It looked super cute when it was laying down on the carpet, but when I hung it up, gravity sunk in and it wasn't nearly as cute. So, I decided the glue gun wasn't optional, as described in the blog. I realized I had gotten rid of mine somewhere down the line, but Jill came to the rescue and gave me her extra one. So... I put a little dab of glue in between each end/beginning of the burlap and then a few more as needed.
Pretty cute, huh?
Not to toot my own horn, but pretty cute, huh?

Happy weekend!