Friday, August 21, 2015

five on friday

Hooray for Friday!! It's been a long week settling into our back-to-school routine and getting used to an all day schedule, so I'm definitely glad it's the weekend. Let's jump right in to Five on Friday. 

My sister had surgery on August 11th and will be recovering for quite a while. I got her a few things to make her recovery more enjoyable, including Mayberry-Opoly. We LOVE the Andy Griffith Show and she loves to play Monopoly, so I knew we'd love this game. If you're short on time, there's an hour-long version which is great.  Who doesn't love family game night?!

I also ordered her these delicious chocolate covered strawberries from Shari's Berries. They're arriving later today & I'm hoping she'll share with me. Right now there's a code for 20% off any order. Just use the code GETBERRIES at checkout. 

If you've been following me for a while, you know I can't resist cute pajamas for Landon. I've already been ordering Thanksgiving and Christmas PJs for him. How cute are these sock monkey jammies I found on ebay? They're now in his drawer just waiting for December.  I also ordered him a new pair for Thanksgiving, but...I can't find them. I'm sure they will turn up, hopefully before November. Sigh...

I'm looking for a new camera. I'm going to be taking pictures of my niece for her 16th birthday coming up in October. I'm not a skilled photographer, but we both know what she wants and I think I can pull it off.  This is the one I'm probably going to go with. 

I used to be a big fan of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, then I started watching Wentworth.  It's a bit darker than OITNB, but so good. Wentworth is actually a remake of an older show, Prisoner Cell Block H, which ran from 1979 to 1986. I've started watching it on YouTube and I'm hooked. There's 692 episodes and I'm currently on 70. It should take me a few years to watch, but it's definitely worth checking out. Here's a link to the full series.

Have a great weekend. Our bathroom remodel should be completed next week and I'll be posting all about that and how we're doing in kindergarten.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

bathroom remodel

A few months ago, we noticed a weak spot in our bathroom floor. On closer inspection, we discovered that we'd had a slow water leak under the bathtub for sometime and also some water damage to the walls. Rather than spending money to patch up a few things here and there, we decided to go with a complete overhaul. We're working with a great company and couldn't be happier with how everything is coming along. Right now we're staying at my mom's until the project is finished. Once we're back home, I'll show the finished room and give all the sources. I did want to give a little peek into my design ideas though.  You can follow along on Instagram for some progress pics. I'm ToniaTHC

Have a great day! 
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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

halloween cake

Today I'm sharing the haunted house cake I did for my niece's 10th birthday several years ago. It's never to early to plan for Halloween, right?! Mike and I had so much fun doing this together. I may make it again this year so Landon can help decorate. It's the perfect cake to let the kids help with.

For the cake I used an 11x15 pan with two boxes of cake mix. After covering the entire cake with a milk chocolate frosting, I got to work on the decorating. Here's how I did it...

Grass - coconut with green food coloring
Walkway - candy corn path filled with Halloween sprinkles
Graveyard - Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies with a pretzel fence
Pumpkin Patch - candy corn pumpkins
Ghosts - Peep ghosts
Jack-O-Lanterns - candy from the baking aisle
Haunted House - a perfect find from the greeting card aisle

For the pumpkin patch in front of the cake, I spread a bit of leftover frosting to make the "grass" stick and added a few pumpkins. For the pumpkins lying down, I cut the candies in half.

Give this idea a try for Halloween, adding your own special touches. You'll be surprised at how well it turns out. 

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

tonia's shrimp creole

When we were at the beach back in April, Mike had a bowl of shrimp creole that he could not stop talking about. I decided to try fixing it at home and came across a few recipes, but none sounded just right to me. I ended up using a few recipes to create my own version. You guys, it's soooo good! We've had it several times over the past few months. We like ours pretty hot, so be careful with how much creole seasoning you use. It's fine to start with one tablespoon and add more. 

Besides being delicious, I love that this recipe fits right in with my new love of one-pot meals. 

Tonia's Shrimp Creole

2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 lbs smoked sausage, sliced (I like Ekerich)
16 oz chicken broth
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 small tomato paste
1 bell pepper, diced
1 white onion, diced
1/2 bunch celery, diced
4 gloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbs creole seasoning + 1 tsp for dusting

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter together over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, green bell pepper and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute 1 minute. Mix in flour and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in chicken broth, scraping bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper,  1 tablespoon creole seasoning, bay leaves & sausage. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover & simmer for about 30 minutes or until reduced and thickened. 

Now you're ready to add the shrimp. Right before adding, rinse the shrimp well and dust with about 1 tsp creole seasoning. Let sit for about 3-5 minutes (no more than 5 minutes or the salt in the seasoning will pull all the moisture from your shrimp). Add shrimp to pot and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, or until shrimp is opaque and cooked through. Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice with hot crusty bread and a salad.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Not Fried Ice Cream Cake

I've been seeing a recipe for not-fried ice cream cake on Facebook and Pinterest. I've had several failed recipes from Pinterest, so I wasn't sure about this at first and almost scrolled on past.  But after reading through the recipe and comments, I decided to try it out for Father's Day. Oh.My.Gosh... I am so glad I did. It tastes just like the real thing!! I'd think I was at Chi Chi's if I ate it with my eyes closed. (Who else misses Chi Chi's like we do?!)  The family loved it so much it was requested again for our 4th of July cookout. 

 Not Fried Ice Cream Cake
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of crushed cornflakes
  • 1.75 quart container vanilla ice cream
  • 1 8oz tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • honey for drizzling

Leave Ice Cream out to soften for 30 minutes

For the Crust: In a Skillet -
  • Melt butter then add sugar and salt.  Stir until fully combined. (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Add cornflakes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
In a Mixing Bowl

  • Mix ice cream, Cool Whip and cinnamon
In a baking dish:

  1. Press about 1/2 the cornflake mixture into the bottom and let cool
  2. Spread ice cream mixture over the crust.
  3. Top with remaining cornflake mix.
  4. Throw in the freezer for a few hours. 
  5. Take out, drizzle with honey & serve. 
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mrs. Walker's Hot Dog Chili

West Virginians KNOW hot dogs. And hot dog chili. And church hotdog sales are pretty common. The chili recipe I’m sharing today is from a lady that went to church with my grandparents and she truly made the best hotdog chili I’ve ever had.

The secret to a good consistency/texture for hotdog chili is this…do not brown your beef first.  Trust me!  I use 80/20 ground beef and the chili does not turn out greasy at all. You could probably even use 85/15.

I’m showing Mrs. Walker’s recipe exactly as it came to me, dated March 12, 1985. For this 80’s child, that seems so long ago. The only thing I do differently is I use dried celery flakes instead of celery…probably about two teaspoons. 

Try this for your 4th of July festivities. You won't be sorry. 

Mrs. Walker's Chili  
(this freezes well)

3 pounds ground chuck 1 large can tomato juice 1 small can tomato paste 4 onions 3 stalks celery 3 or 4 TBS chili powder

Take the ground chuck and mash it up real fine and chop onions and celery up fine.  Then add tomato juice and paste and cook on low heat for about 3-4 hours, stir often. You may have to add some water - that's the one thing you have to watch. 

If 3 lbs is too much, you can freeze it and take it out as you need it. Put in small containers. That way you can have hotdogs when you want them. 
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Monday, June 29, 2015

s'mores pops

We're busy getting ready for the 4th of July this week. We have lots of fun family things going on starting on Thursday and Landon could not be more excited. 

I'm going to be trying out a new recipe for a s'mores treat that I'll share on Wednesday, but today I wanted to share my s'mores pops with you. Fun, simple and everyone loves them. 

Here's what you'll need to make these. It's really more of a technique than an actual recipe.

Chocolate Candy Melts
Graham Cracker Crumbs (1 cup)
Parchment Paper
Sucker Sticks

Melt about 1 lb. of chocolate. I used this. While the chocolate is melting, place 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs* in bowl. Lay out sheet of parchment paper. By hand, dip marshmallows halfway into melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Dip into graham cracker crumbs. Place dipped side down onto parchment paper. Allow to set for at least a half hour. Insert sucker stick into chocolate end. Store in airtight container and torch tops when ready to eat. Get ready for lots of compliments.

*You will probably need to empty and replace crumbs halfway through, as some chocolate will drip and make it clump up. Also, I bought actual graham cracker crumbs because  they are finer and give a smoother finish. 

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