Foodie Blog Roll 2

Thursday, May 31, 2012

DIY Homemade Centerpiece

As most of you know, the Mr. and I moved into our new house back in February. While I have loved making our house a home, there have been some challenges along the way. One of the struggles I've had is that I get an image of exactly what kind of decoration I want in my mind for a particular space, and then I can't find it. This was the case in our dining room for a center piece. So I brought an idea to my handy husband, and we made our own!

DIY Homemade Centerpiece 

When we picked out our lighting, we chose this large, rustic chandelier, and my struggle was that I wanted something for the table that was about as long as the light, but that was still short enough height wise, that there was plenty of space between the two. 
{As you can see, I'm also having a hard time finding the perfect piece of art to grace our dining room wall!}

DIY Homemade Centerpiece
Boards {we used pine}
Saw {or have the hardware store cut them to your measurements}
Tape measure
Sander {or sand paper}
Finishing nails
Stain and rag
Mason jars and flowers of your choice
Hardware for the sides

The best part of making this by ourselves {besides getting to spend time together} is that it honestly took us about than an hour!!!

Chris cut the boards,

 I sanded them,

 I held them together while he nailed them in place,

then while he was staining it,

I went in the house and started dinner. :)
I wanted it to be a very dark brown, so we went with Rust-Oleum Ultimate Wood Stain in Kona.

After the stain was dry, he screwed on the handles that we bought,

and then I got busy deciding what to fill it with! I already had several mason jars, and they were the perfect height for the box. {The box ended up measuring 3 feet in length, 7 inches in width and 5 1/2 inches in height.}

I used six of them for little vases. 

I used big, cream hydrangeas for the flowers. {If you watch for sales, you can get them buy one get one free at Michaels Craft store!}

And that's it! 

I went ahead and mixed the dark brown centerpiece with our black furnature, but if you aren't crazy about that look and you had black furnature, you could always use a black paint to finish off the piece.

The other thing I love about this is that we spent less than $40 dollars on all of the supplies. I asked a few people and they thought if you were to buy this in a store it would cost well over $100. :) Now we have a unique piece that we love, we saved money and got to do something together. I love DIY projects!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Kumquat and Sweet Potato Quinoa

I had never had a kumquat before making this recipe and these things are amazing! They are full of vitamins and they are wonderfuly flavorful! Imagine the smallest type of orange or tangarine you could find, only it's oval in shape. This small citrus furit packs so much flavor, it should be a crime!

Kumquat and Sweet Potato Quinoa

Did you know that you can eat the rind of a kumquat? Well you can! In fact, I'm not sure it would be worth your time to peel them......uh, I don't even know if you can. The rind is actually sweet, and the center is sour. And keep in mind, all this praise is coming from someone who doesn't really like oranges. {I know, that's probably unamerican of me!}

Kumquat and Sweet Potato Quinoa
      serves 6
      adapted from sheknows
1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1 sweet potato, cooked and diced
12 kumquats
1 T olive oil
1 T honey
1/4 tsp salt

Soak quinoa in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Place quinoa and water in a bot and bring to boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the water and is tender.

Meanwhile, slice the kumquats into little discs and remove any seeds.

Once the quinoa is cooked, pour into a serving dish with the sweet potatos, kumquats, olive oil, honey and salt. 

Gently stir everything together. Serve warm. 

I really liked the bit of salt with the candy like kumquats! This recipe is crazy healthy! It has protein and fiber, lots of vitamins and it's low in fat. I bet it would also be good served cold as a salad. Need a few other quinoa ideas? Try one of these:
Cranberry, Pecan and Goat Cheese Quinoa
Watermelon Feta Quinoa Salad

Monday, May 21, 2012

Triple Grape Chicken Salad

This is no ordinary chicken salad. I used not one, not two, but three types of grapes to sweeten up this dish.

Triple Grape Chicken Salad

I found a grocery store near me that carried the two types of grapes that we all think of, red and green. But they also had these huge, round, red globe grapes from Chile.

I don't think I had ever had chicken salad with green grapes in it before but I really liked it. The bit of tartness worked wonderfully with the tangy miracle whip. Usually, I use Greek yogurt for the creaminess factor in my chicken salad, but hey, I worked out today, so don't judge me. :)

Triple Grape Chicken Salad
1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, chopped {about 3 1/2 C}
3/4 C miracle whip
3/4 C chopped pecans
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 stock celery, chopped
2 C grapes, 3 varieties {I used green, red and red globe from Chile}*

In a large bowl, mix chicken with miracle whip. Add the lemon juice, pecans and celery and stir to combine. Cut grapes in half or fourths and gently fold into chicken salad. Serve cold.

Eat this up with crackers, wrapped up in lettuce cups or just by itself. 

This was also my first time using a rotisserie chicken in my chicken salad. Uh, yum! Not sure why I haven't tried that before. I got a plain chicken, marked "savory," pulled the chicken off the bone, removed the skin and chopped it up. This is such a great time saver if you don't want to cook your own chicken! 

*If you buy grapes with seeds in them, make sure to slice them in half and remove the seeds before adding them to the chicken salad. 

Need a few more fun chicken salad recipes? Try one of these: 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad

A few weeks ago I saw a really cute idea on pinterest for a cookie cutter fruit salad. The picture was little stars cut of of watermelon mixed with blueberries for the 4th of July.

Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad

Last weekend my sister-in-law graduated from the University of Kansas and we had a little reception at our place afterward. Their mascot is the Jayhawk, so I got a Jayhawk shaped cookie cutter to cut out the watermelon. 

Kansas' school colors are red and blue so I used watermelon, blueberries and strawberries for the salad. 

The only thing I would change next time is that I would get a smaller cookie cutter so that all the fruit is more simmilar in size.

Cookie Cutter Fruit Salad
1 seedless watermelon
Strawberries, quartered
Other fruit (optional)

Wash fruit. Slice the watermelon into rounds. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and put everything in a serving bowl. 

This would be something fun {and healthy!}to make with kiddos! Also, you could make this for different holidays. Here are a few ideas: St. Patrick's Day-use green honeydew melon and cut out four leaf clovers. Halloween-use orange cantalope and cut out jack-o-lanters. Christmas-use watermelon and cut out santa hats and put a dab of whipped cream on the end for the ball at the end of the hat. There are lots of things you could do. And just like I did here, you could use your team colors for school spirit! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Kidney Bean and Hamburger Pasta

This meal is total cowboy food! A bunch of kidney beans and meat mixed with pasta to taste like chili macaroni; oh yeah, it's husband approved alright.

Kidney Bean and Hamburger Pasta

This is also a very quick meal to throw together for an easy dinner when you're in a hurry.

I found this great diced tomato sauce for chili by Hunt's and this stuff is wonderful! It has great flavor and the chopping is already done for you.

Kidney Bean and Hamburger Pasta
       serves 8
1 onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground hamburger
13.25 oz box whole wheat elbow noodles
2 15oz cans Hunt's Seasoned Diced Tomato Sauce for Chili
2 16oz cans Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 T chili powder
Shredded cheese (optional)

Boil and drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the onion and hamburger over medium heat. Stir in the chili powder. When the meat is done, add the drained kidney beans and the diced tomato sauce to the skillet and mix together.

When the pasta is done, add the noodles to the large skillet and mix. Cover and let simmer for a few minutes so the flavors all mix together.

Serve warm and top with shredded cheese. I also used a few green onions to give it some color.

You may have noticed that I didn't add any additional salt to the dish. I think there is plenty in the tomato sauce, but it you think it needs a little more, knock your socks off! Either way, you gotta try this grub!
Still not convinced? Think about it like this, Goulash and Chili had a baby....this is what you get! :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Firecracker Cookies

I love cookies made from cake batter mixes! They are easy and always super delicious. And these ones would be PERFECT for the 4th of July!

Firecracker Cookies

Cake batter cookies taste like a cross between wedding cake and sugar cookies.

 If these cookies look familiar it's because I have done a funfetti version of them before. The only thing I did this time was switch up the cake batter and change up the sprinkles.

I actually made these for my sister-in-law. She is in the OT program at KU Med. They had the incoming classmates come in for orientation and had cookies for them. In case you hadn't figured it out, Kansas' colors are blue and red.

What else is red and blue? Fourth of July cookies!
I called these firecracker cookies because I kind of think that's what they look like, the burst of a firecracker in the sky!

Firecracker Cookies
   adapted from my funfetti cake batter cookies
   makes 30-32 cookies
1 box french vanilla cake mix, 18.25 oz*
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C red sprinkles
1/2 C blue sprinkles

* Make sure to use the right size of cake mix. I have not tried this with the smaller mixes so I can't vouch for how they will turn out.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the sprinkles. Drop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet or silpat.

Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack. The cookies will be very soft at first. Cool and enjoy!

These cookies spread out a lot when they bake so don't try to use a cookie cutter for just the dough. You can, however, use cookie cutters after they have baked and cooled. For example, these would be super cute for the 4th if you cut out little stars with a cookie cutter. 

These would be really fun to make with kids and also a great cookie to take to 4th of July parties!!

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