Monthly Archives: November 2011

Pinterest Wednesday: Food Edition

Yup, it is Wednesday again! Yay for only two more days until the weekend! Today I wanted to pin all the foods that make me happy. From pasta to dolmas we enjoy it all in our Greek household. I hope you are hungry!

I am linking up with The Vintage Apple today for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesdays – be sure to check it out! And if you didn’t get to see the Christmas Edition of Pinterest Wednesday from last week you can still enjoy right here!

Be sure to stop in tomorrow for the big bathroom reveal, a tiny bathroom with big style!

Source: via Robin on Pinterest



Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

During my Christmas-decorating, kitchen-painting, house-cleaning rampage I got a hankering to cook. Crazy, yes. But once you get in the Suzy Homemaker Mood, you’re stuck. What goes better with holiday decorating than a down-home, chicken classic like chicken and dumplings!

Absolutely one of the easiest things I have ever made and I live for slow cooker recipes; there is no feeling like walking in the house and smelling a delicious, homemade meal.I grabbed this recipe from Betty Crocker and made a few adaptations as I went; I am pretty sure you can’t mess this up.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings


3 chicken breasts
1 – 2 cups frozen veggies of your choice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
seasoned salt
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch

For dumplings:

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup Bisquick (I used their gluten free mix)
2 tablespoons butter melted


Toss the chicken, veggies, and stock (with seasonings to taste) in your slow cooker. You can cut up the chicken if you want, but it will be tender and fall apart by the end of the cooking process. Crank up the heat.

Mix the milk and cornstarch together until combined. When the chicken mixture is heated up add the milk and cornstarch mixture, stir to thicken. Pop the lid back on and cook for about 4 hours. You can cook for longer, it will only make it better!

When you are about 30 minutes away from eating mix the dumpling ingredients with a fork until blended. Drop rounded spoonfuls in to the slow cooker (about 8-10 dumplings) and cook for about 30 minutes more.

Serve immediately and piping hot; tastes amazing as left overs too! This recipe makes about 4 – 5 servings depending on how hungry you are.

Joy to the World

Christmas is here! Finally! Or already? Either way, I am glad to see it arrive. Christmas is my favorite holiday, ever. I get to decorate, bake, give gifts and most importantly see my family (a bunch). Oh, and I am annoying with the Christmas songs, I sing ’em loud and proud, much to my husband’s dismay.

The day after Thanksgiving I wasted no time – grabbed the Christmas decorations and went to town (with my Christmas Pandora station at full blast). The tree and the mantle are always my biggest priorities, so those come first. I love decorating the mantle because I can get creative and it is what you see right when you walk in the door.

This year I added lights to the evergreens – I have never used the plug on the mantel before. Why have I never done this?! Love the look, cheery, bright and gives that holiday glow to the room.

The finished product, what do you think:

What is your favorite thing to decorate for Christmas?

I am sharing my holiday home decor and cleaning tips for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls and Great Cleaners.

Pinterest Wednesday

Christmas is my favorite, favorite time of year. Favorite! I mean it! I love it! Around Thanksgiving every year I start thinking about decorating – so get ready for some Christmas Pins on this wonderful Pinterest Wednesday! I plan to decorate this week and maybe start buying Christmas gifts too! Also, stay tuned for some AWESOME house update posts – you are going to love them!

Today I am linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesdays – check it out!

Source: via Alese on Pinterest

Source: via Erica on Pinterest


DIY Burlap Wreath

To me, fall decor must include a wreath. It is so nice to have something fun to see right when you come in the door. During my craft store run to get the supplies for the cinnamon almond gift jars for our friends I also picked up the supplies for my DIY wreath.

I have seen tons of burlap wreaths on Pinterest and wasn’t sure how I was going to make the wreath, so I bought a few things to give me options. I knew I wanted it to be burlap, so I got enough for the jars and a wreath. I also grabbed some ribbon, a glue gun, and a wooden “V”. It was pretty easy and I love it! Looks great on the front door!

At first, I tried an idea I had found on Pinterest using a wire hanger. This is how it turned out:

Back to the drawing board. I had a foam wreath form, so I wrapped that with the burlap. I glued the ends of the strip in order to keep the fabric in place.

I experimented with some small pieces of burlap and tried different ruffles, bubbles, and whatever else I could think of. I settled on cutting the burlap in about 3 inch squares (more like rectangles, but I did not measure, just eye-balled and cut). I scrunched each square on one end and hot glued.

Just wing it, however you like. I spaced each “ruffle” about an inch apart so they overlapped. If one felt loose I gave it extra glue. Then I glued the “V” on.

I tied the ribbon on and let it sit over night before hanging it – just to make sure the glue held. Here is the finished product – I love it! What do you think?

Corn Bread Muffins

For our Fakesgiving celebration I wanted to make bread to go with our meal, so I found the perfect recipe for corn bread muffins from Real Simple and even prepped the muffin tins. Then there was a turkey mishap. To keep things moving (and to not be baking when our friends arrived), I decided it was best to scrap the muffin idea. That meant corn bread muffins for breakfast the day after!

So easy to make – the muffins were finished and the kitchen was spotless in less than 35 minutes. I made this recipe gluten free with all purpose flour and it was fantastic! Corn bread has such a warm feeling, it is perfect for the holidays, but would also be awesome with chilli or soup on a cold day.

Honey Corn Bread Muffins


4 tablespoons butter – melted
1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup of honey


Preheat the oven to 375° and grease the muffin tin.

Combine all the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

Slowly add the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients bowl, stirring as you go.

Once combined, spoon in to muffin tin (makes about 12 muffins). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy with butter, honey, jam or just by themselves! Best served warm. Excellent for breakfast too!

Chocolate Leaves

Nothing says “It’s Fall!” like leaves, so I thought these chocolate maple leaf candies would be a perfect take-home goody for our friends at Fakesgiving. Who doesn’t love chocolate – especially when it is so pretty! I picked out chocolate melting discs in fall colors and used the idea from Pinterest that I posted about a while back and got to making some candy. A little wine, some good music, and patience is really all you need. Give these little leaves a try, you won’t be sorry!

All you need are melting chocolate discs in any colors you choose, maple flavoring, and candy molds. I used yellow, orange, and brown like these leaves I saw here and followed their directions to make the leaves turn out multi-colored instead of poop brown. Although I did over mix a few times and ended up with maple leaves the color of baby poo. Oh well, they still taste yummy!

Melt your chocolates discs in a double boiler, lightly mixing. I tried to line my colors up next to each other and only mix each color with itself – this worked better than my first attempt at mixing them together where they turned brown (first attempt is below!).

Once the chocolate is melted, mix in the maple flavoring. I was told to only use a drop or two, but I could not taste any maple! So the next couple batches I added a lot more – add until you get the taste you are looking for (yep, you are going to have to sample a few!).

Quickly spoon the chocolate in to the molds (do so carefully, so they don’t mix!). I used the tap method religiously: literally fill with chocolate and tap the mold as many times as you need to on the counter to get the chocolate to settle. I then popped the molds in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so to harden. The chocolate leaves come out of the molds very easily, almost like an ice cube in an ice cube tray (remember those?) just be careful not to break off delicate stems if your mold has them. I lost some stems. I ate them so as not to waste any chocolate. The losses may or may not be intentional :).

I packed these in to a pretty box lined with parchment paper and tied them with a bow. These are so special, both in taste and appearance, that they make excellent gifts. A perfect way to show someone you care.

The finished boxes matched the jars of almonds perfectly and made an awesome little display that worked as decoration for the party! See how to make the almonds here.

It’s Pinterest Wednesday!

It is my favorite day of the week! Pinterest Wednesday! I love nothing more than to unwind and get inspired by pins. I am addicted! I hope you enjoy these pins this week, I am completely infatuated with them!

Linking up with The Vintage Apple for Oh, so Pinteresting Wednesdays!

Source: via Lacii on Pinterest

Source: via Jelena on Pinterest

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Source: via ali on Pinterest


Nuts About You!

I love my friends, I really do. They make me laugh like no one does, they support me, they cheer for me, and they allow me to share in their lives with them – I could not ask for better people in my life! This year I decided to show them how much I love them by making them small gifts to take home from our Fakesgiving celebration. Here is the tutorial on the sweet almonds I made, so easy you are going to love them! Be sure to make extra for yourself because they are snacksational!

Cinnamon Sweet Almonds


1 cup of sugar
3 cups of almonds (shelled)
1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of water


All you have to do is mix everything together in a sautee pan over medium heat. Don’t stop stirring until the sugar is crystallized! You will know when this happens – if this is the first time you have done something like this you may be unsure like me, but I promise, the minute it happens you will know! The syrupy-mixture stops looking like syrup and turns grainy.

Spread the almonds out on parchment paper to cool and try a few! They cool quickly, the biggest challenge will be not eating them all!

You can make these a few days in advance, just be sure to keep them in an airtight container. I split the almonds up in to 8 ounce jars (from The Container Store) and put the lids on to stop munching on them.

To make the jars look better cut burlap to fit over the lids and then a pretty ribbon to secure the fabric. Add a little tag with a holiday greeting or the receiver’s name and voila! instant stylish gift!

I had the best time making these and I was so happy with the final product. Tasty and cute – perfect for our friends! I will definitely be giving these gifts out again (Christmas is right around the corner!!).

Best Stuffing Recipe – Ever

There is a strict rule in my house regarding food: when I host an event I refuse to serve any foods with gluten in them. Really I just don’t see the point. I cook because I enjoy it and I make foods with passion and love (cheesy yes, but true), so when I serve food to my guests I want to enjoy it with them and I want to have loved every minute during the preparation. I swear you can taste when someone put all the energy they had in to a meal.

The same rules apply at Fakesgiving (or real Thanksgiving!); I only make gluten free foods. Don’t fret, every bite is delicious and no one would know the difference if they did not know my diet already. Here is my recipe for the best stuffing ever. I made this gluten free and everyone loved it, but you can obviously just make this with regular bread.

Cranberry Apple and Sausage Stuffing

First, cut the bread in cubes and toast them in the oven. I used a mixture of white bread and whole grain bread, in total you need 5 and 1/4 cups of cubes. Spread them on a cookie sheet and toast at 350° F. Dump the cubes in a large bowl once toasted.

Saute one pound of sausage (I suggest a mild Italian) and one cube of chopped onions until browned. Add chopped celery and fresh herbs and saute a little longer. I used a little less than a cup of celery, but you can use the amount you prefer. You can also substitute dried herbs for fresh ones, but I recommended getting fresh.

The dish tastes so much more alive and I truly believe it is worth the cost. I used sage, rosemary, and thyme – the trick with the thyme and the rosemary is to hold the end of the twig-like stem and pull your fingers down the stem; the leaves with come right off. If it does not seem to be working for you, you are probably holding the wrong end and pulling the wrong way.

Pour the sausage mixture over the bread crumbs and mix in one chopped (and cored) apple, 3/4 cup of dried cranberries, 1/3 cup fresh parsley, 3/4 cup of stock (I used gluten free chicken stock), and 4 tablespoons melted butter.

We stuff our bird lightly but also baked the rest of the stuffing – yum, yum, yum!!! If you bake it just put it in the oven an hour before the turkey is supposed to be finished.  I will tell you the men truly love this stuffing, as my husband says, “the more meat the better!”Add this recipe to your Thanksgiving menu for sure – it will soon become the family favorite – I promise.

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