My husband and I recently bought a house and now have a giant casual dining room off of the kitchen. Previously, we had opted for barstools around a large extended counter. So I was pretty excited to finally have the kitchen table of my dreams! I wanted a table big enough to sit large amounts of people. I also knew that I wanted to go towards a more Southern farm house feel. Lastly, I knew that I wanted to try and build it ourselves! I immediately looked towards Pinterest. I follow one DIY blogger, Shanty 2 Chic, who has a link to how she built her table for $65! (You can click here for the instructions! They were fairly easy to follow and include a “cut” list. The only thing I would recommend is cutting the largest pieces first. We did all the small ones first and then had to buy more wood because I didn’t account for the large ones both fitting on one board).
We ended up spending a little more because we bought a high quality white paint for the base, rather than stain it like the original tutorial suggested. We also opted for a slightly higher quality of wood. However, that said, we built it for about $125! Of course, that doesn’t include the tools we bought, but we counted those as “good husband” gifts. Michael definitely deserved them!! We also opted to use a stain we already had, leftover from my Coffee Bar project. So that saved us a few dollars.
Anyways, we had SUCH a blast building this table. It was so exciting watching it come to life in front of us. (I also did a time lapse video of part of our adventure so you could enjoy it too!) This week we are building matching benches, so stay tuned!! I’m so thrilled that it will all be done in time for Christmas! We have lots of people coming and I need somewhere to feed them! We should be able to fit 4-5 people per bench comfortably. Eventually I am going to add captains chairs on each end, but I haven’t found any that I love for less than $1,000 a piece… and that’s just not an option seeing how we’re about to have a toddler running through the house wiping who knows what where!
((Also, I’m loving my simple holiday center piece. The eucalyptus is leftover from my Eucalyptus Wreath project and the red berries that I wove in were $.49 per branch at hobby lobby! The Dino salt shakers were from sweet Sophie for Michael’s birthday! Let’s go Christmas! I’m ready for ya.))
I am a pretty picky eater. However, I love really simple pasta salads! Last week I decided to make a big batch Sunday evening so that we could have a quick lunch option for the week. Even though it was simple, Michael liked it too! It didn’t take long at all. Here’s what you need:
- One box of noodles (I always get farfalle because I think they are the happiest noodle)
- One bottle of Italian dressing (I just bought what was on sale)
- One snack size bag of carrots
- One stem of broccoli (look for a larger stem)
- One block of Montaray Jack cheese
- Optional: any other veggie or meat you want to toss in!
First, I boiled the noodles. While they boiled I chopped up the block of cheese. I used 3/4 of the block, but use as much as you would want. I also washed the broccoli and carrots.
Next, I left the carrots and broccoli in strainer in the sink. When the noodles were done boiling I emptied them into a strainer over the veggies. The hot water blanched them! So easy.
While the noodles cooled I took the carrots and broccoli (after they cooled for a minute) and chopped them into small pieces. When everything is completely cool (you don’t want to melt the cheese) you throw it into a giant Tupperware or mixing bowl.
Last of all, I then dumped about 3/4 the bottle of dressing over the cooled salad. You toss it and it’s done! Seriously so easy.
I hope you enjoy it! We loved it, and it seemed to get better every day. Let me know what other veggies you think to put in it!
There are few things more satisfying to me than finding the perfect way to organize a space. A couple of weeks ago while Michael was gone I had a total success story!
I had decided to do some hard core grocery shopping. I wanted to stock up on non perishables. I actually made a list and divided it by what store carried it. I had my Walmart, Aldi’s, Kroger, and Publix list. (Super perk of living in Providence is that all of these stores are less than a mile away from my front door). When I got home I felt SO accomplished… until I realized that my pantry was not prepared to store all of my stockpiling! I immediately headed to Pinterest.
The end result, I bought a plastic door hanging shoe divider ($8.97 on Amazon). It now houses all of the snacks and non perishable desserts that I bought! I also rearranged a few things and made use of the plastic storage containers we bought when we were engaged. I am so happy with how it turned out! It saved me a remarkable amount of space and it’s all organized. I’m so thrilled!
Recently I decided to make chocolate covered strawberries for the first time in years. It was so much simpler than I expected! It literally called for two ingredients. And took me less than 10 minutes to do. They turned out great and were so easy!
To start I washed the strawberries. They were on sale at Publix for $2.50 for an entire carton! After washing I dried them and then picked out the prettiest to use. The rest I packed for Michael’s lunch for the next day.
Next I got the chocolate ready. I ended up using the Ghirardelli white choclate melting chips. (Less than four dollars after tax). I loved them and it was so simple. Literally I poured them into a glass bowl and microwaved it for thirty seconds. Then stirred it. Then microwaved again for another thirty seconds and it was ready!
From there it’s a simple matter of dipping the strawberries in the chocolate. (You just hold the greenery in your fingers and rotate the strawberry for even coating). Then I laid them to dry on a sheet of aluminum foil- I was out of wax paper but the foil worked just fine!
Lastly, you just leave them to cool so that the chocolate hardens. Literally less than ten dollars and ten minutes to complete. I also had a bunch of leftover chocolate so I made chocolate covered pretzels too. It was so simple.
I was thrilled with how it turned out. Michael was so impressed (he’s about to read how easy it was though!) I also couldn’t help but get excited when I realized this is going to be the perfect activity to do with the baby when she is older! It’s simple and a fun treat!
Last week I decided to search Pinterest for some new dinner ideas. Michael didn’t have any requests, so when I stumbled on a recipe from a blogger, Sweet Dash of Sass, I decided to try her recipe for Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Stuffed Shells. (Now that’s a long title).
Her recipe called for the following ingredients:
- 1 jar (16 oz) alfredo sauce
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
- 1 cup shredded cheddar (or mozzaerlla) cheese
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan
- 21 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
- 1½ – 2 cups spaghetti sauce (optional, but I love the combination of alfredo with tomato sauce!)
- Salt/Pepper to season (if needed)
Here is what I used:
- Kroger brand Alfredo starter mix
- Barilla Jumble Shells
- Cheddar Cheese
- Half a head of broccoli
- Chicken- cooked & shredded (I just eyed how much I thought Michael and I would eat)
- Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce (Just enough to line the pan)
I honestly didn’t really look at her directions, but upon further reflection they were easy to follow. However, if you are super unfamiliar with cooking maybe confusing. Here is a breakdown of how I prepared them. (AKA here is where I started to just do what I wanted).
First, I trimmed the fat off of the chicken while I boiled water in a larger pan. When the chicken was prepped and the water was boiling I put the chicken in the pan to boil it.
While the chicken boiled, I chopped the broccoli and washed it. Then I put it in my rice cooker. It has an option for steaming that makes preparing our veggies super easy! While they steamed (there is a timer that turns it off when they are done) I made the Alfredo sauce.
Right as the sauce finished the chicken was done boiling. I put the sauce on a back burner and turned off the heat. Then I strained the chicken and put it in a mixing bowl. I refilled the pot and began boiling the water for the noodles.
As the noodles boiled I used two forks to shred the chicken. Then I put the broccoli and the Alfredo sauce in the bowl, along with the cheddar cheese. I mixed it all together.
When the noodles were done I drained them and let them cool for a few minutes. While I waited I poured spaghetti sauce along the bottom of a glass pan. Then I took the shells and stuffed them with the chicken mixture. I lined them up along the spaghetti sauce lined pan. Then baked them for like five minutes on 350 degrees.
After that they were ready to serve! I like mine plain, but I soooned the spaghetti sauce on top of Michael’s. I put together a fruit salad and dinner was done! It was delicious. We both absolutely loved it. This is definitely going to become a regular meal.
Side note: can we talk about how cute my Kate Spade pots & cutting board are?? I also have the pan set & muffin tins. I’m so obsessed 😍plus, the color almost perfectly matches my Kitchen Aid set.
This was literally two weeks ago, but I am so excited to finally have the time to share this recipe with y’all!! For Valentine’s Day I wanted to do something special. I love going out to eat, but honestly the thought of dealing with an overwhelmed waitstaff, hungry crowds, and bad parking was not appealing to me. So I decided to cook Michael dinner. At first I was at a loss for what to make. I wanted it to be special, not just another night of me cooking. Then I remembered that a few months ago I had asked his Great Grandmother for some of her favorite recipes. I knew Michael hadn’t had them in at least a dozen years, if not more.
Everyone who knows me, knows I am the pickiest eater. However, I pushed that aside for one night and began my adventure of trying to make my first corned beef brisket. It was very intimidating. If we ever eat red meat Michael usually goes and buys it. I hate looking at it, it makes me super squeamish. But I went to the store and one of the employees helped me find what I was looking for!
Here is what you will need:
- 3-4 lbs corned beef brisket
- 2 onions quartered
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 turnips (diced)
- Potatos (diced)
- Cabbage (optional)
The recipe starts by putting the meat in a Dutch oven or large pan and then adding enough water until it is submerged. (Note that I halved the recipe listed above)! I added in the bay leaf and the corn beef seasoning that came with the meat and the garlic. Next you bring the water to a boil. Once it reaches a boil you turn it down until it is just simmering.
(Featuring my gorgeous Kate Spade glass cutting board)
From there I let the meat cook for about thirty minutes. Then I added in the potatoes, turnip, and carrots. (All diced). I covered it again and just let it simmer!
In the end it took much googling and a few frantic phone calls but I had everything going!! When Michael got home the first thing he said was how great it smelt! (Ironically I had all the windows open because I felt like it smelt bad!) he was so surprised and crazy excited. It was such a sweet Valentine’s Day surprise!
We sat down to eat and I was so happy to hear that it turned out perfect! Michael gobbled it down. (And took the leftovers for lunch and ate them all). That made me feel like a real winner! I’m so happy that he was happy.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the brisket. The texture of the meat is odd to me. However, I ate a ton of the veggies. The best part is that the smallest piece of meat I could get was over three and a half pounds. It was HUGE for two people! So I cut it in half before starting… the bigger half is in the freezer now. I’ll have to make it again! The gift that keeps on giving haha. I hope you guys try it and let me know if you are with Michael and love it!
This week I promised Michael I would bake him a quiche that he could eat over the next few mornings for breakfast. (I absolutely can not eat eggs, and being pregnant has only made them smell worse and worse). I asked what he wanted in the quiche and he gave me quite a specific list of what he wanted the quiche composed of. Mainly, cheddar cheese, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, potatoes, and spinach. So that’s what he is going to get! I have a way I usually make quiche, but this was a little guess work with quantity amounts.
Even though I found a fabulous recipe for a crust, I cheated and bought a pre made pie shell at the grocery store. From there the guess work began! Here is what I ended up using:
- Five strips bacon (cut into smaller pieces)
- 1/2 red potatoes diced)
- 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 a green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- “Dash” of salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 6 eggs
- 1 pie crust
I started by letting the pie crust thaw. From there I grated my block of cheddar cheese until I had about half a cup. I spread that along the bottom of my quiche! Next I chopped up all of the fixings. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I decided to just throw the potatoes in as is. I was really hoping the time in the oven would be enough to cook them up. I also threw the bacon in raw so it would cook along with the quiche.
I mixed all of the ingredients up and poured it into the cheese filled pie crust. Then I cooked it for 35 minutes on 350 degrees.
I do not like quiche, but I have to admit it turned out looking pretty darn good! Better yet, Michael reports he loves it! It’s a total win. I didn’t spend more than $17 to make it and Michael will have a fulfilling breakfast for at least three or four days.