Thursday, January 31, 2013

DIY Vintage Cookbook Art

Remember my post about my "project A.D.D?" Well, I can scratch one project off the list! As I mentioned, I found a vintage French cookbook from the 60s that I wanted to turn into wall art for my kitchen. Michaels had a sale on buy one, get one free 2-packs of canvases, so I bought some 9x12 packs to Mod Podge pictures and collage the cutouts from the cookbook on to. My original plan was to make 4 different canvases, each with a different theme - meat, vegetables, cheese and desserts. I finished the first one but then thought that they might drown a little on that particular wall. I just didn't love it as much as I had anticipated I would. I still thought the canvas itself came out pretty cool, so I wanted to do something with it. I had a smaller wall space that already had something hung on it, but decided that these would look much better there, so I did some rearranging. I only made 2 canvases since it looked better that way, but of course, I already have big plans for the other 2 canvases.

Start off with some Mod Podge (a must-have staple for any crafter) and a sponge brush.

Here's the cookbook I found. Some of the recipes were a little bizarre, but it was still pretty cool.

I tore out different pictures and recipes that I wanted to use and show on the canvases.

Start of by "framing" the canvases with random pages since you'll be placing the images and recipes on the front. Add plenty of Mod Podge and fold over the edges.

I ended up ripping the pages by accident. I originally was cutting them out into random sizes to create the collage, when I accidentally ripped one. I ended up liking the way it looked and thought it gave it some unique texture that way, so I ended up ripping them to give the edges that torn look.

Brush your Mod Podge all over the canvas and just place the pictures and recipe pieces on sporadically.

Be sure to put a good amount of Mod Podge around the edges so that they fold over nicely.

Once they're all glued on to your liking, let it dry for about 20 minutes and then paint a good coating of Mod Podge all over the entire canvas to seal it. Let it dry and you're good to go! 

Be sure to smooth everything out really well - it can have a tendency to crease up a bit if you don't.

I like it! It's different and adds a little uniqueness to your kitchen :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birthday Pup!

Our little Penny Lane turns 2 today! I remember when we picked her up from the Humane Society in July of 2011, she was this little 8 pound pup with a ton of energy. 12 pounds later and still full of energy, we're so happy to have her in our lives. Though she can be stubborn and drive us nuts at times, that all goes away the minute she looks at you with those golden brown eyes and wags her culry tail. She loves to be around you, no matter where you are. If I go upstairs, she'll come with me to hang out. If we're watching a movie on the couch, she'll be right there next to us, all curled up. When we walk through the front door, she's so excited to see us, whether we've been gone 2 minutes or 2 hours, smothering us with kisses. There's really nothing like the love of a dog. We're very blessed :)

The day we brought her home. Look how little!

Our little family.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Buffalo Beer Chicken Dip

As promised, I made my famous buffalo beer chicken dip so I could share my recipe with you all just in time for Super Bowl Sunday. I came up with this recipe a few years ago for a friend's July 4th party. It was a huge hit and ever since, I get asked to make this for parties I'm going to and I've been asked for the recipe several times. I originally wasn't going to make it with beer (I know, I know - what was I thinking?!), but decided at the last minute to throw it in and was so glad I did! They key is to let the chicken soak in the beer long enough so that it gets absorbed with all that delicious beer flavor. When I first made this, I only soaked the chicken for about 30 minutes. The next time I made it, I let it sit longer and I could definitely taste a difference. I'm not gonna lie - I could totally eat the beer soaked chicken on it's own. It's so flippin' good.

If you don't have a slow cooker, don't sweat it! You can use a medium saucepan on medium heat. However, since this needs to be served warm, make sure you have a warming dish to keep it in while it's sitting out (My last pic was a cheater. I did that to make it look pretty.). For this one, I used my smaller 2-quart slow cooker instead of my regular Crock-Pot.

Buffalo Beer Chicken Dip

- One whole ready made roasted chicken, shredded with skin removed
- 12 oz of light colored beer (I usually use Miller Lite). Any pilsner or light ale will work.
- Two 8 oz packages of regular or 1/3 less fat cream cheese (do not use fat free!)
- 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
- 1/4 cup of hot sauce or buffalo sauce

Remove skin from chicken and discard. Shred chicken using your hands. Don't be afraid to get dirty - it's fun! Place shredded chicken into a large Ziploc bag. If you fold the sides down, it helps the bag stay sitting up and open.
Pour entire beer into the bag of chicken. Seal the bag and shake it up to ensure all the chicken is covered with beer. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Turn your slow cooker on a medium or high setting (depending on your slow cooker's settings - you don't want the cream cheese to overcook). Add the 2 blocks of cream cheese and stir occasionally, until soft enough to stir well. Add cheese and garlic powder and stir until melted.
Pour in the blue cheese dressing and mix well with the cream cheese mixture.

In the meantime, be prepared for a hungry dog to be all up in your business.

Drain the chicken. Most of the beer should be nicely absorbed. Add chicken to the slow cooker and blend well with cream cheese mixture.

Once blended, add the buffalo sauce. Mix well and don't be afraid to add more if you want some extra kick (which is what I usually do).
Frank's my man. This is the only sauce I use. Frank won't let you down, I promise. But if you have a favorite, go for it.

Lower the temperature. Allow it to cook for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with chips, bread or celery.

Things to know...

I've been asked a few questions about this dip in the past, so here are a few tips:

Do NOT use canned chicken! Personally, I'm not a fan of canned chicken at all. All grocery stores sell ready made roast chickens in the deli section and it's well worth it to get one of those. You can use any flavor they have if they are out of original roasted. Most of the seasonings are in the skin anyway and that gets discarded. You can also roast your own chicken if you want to get real fancy.

Be sure to use regular or 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Fat free cream cheese (which I don't like in general) has an odd texture and won't work well.

The lighter the beer, the better. Don't use any ambers, darks or stout beers.

Don't want to use beer? That's totally fine! You can omit it and it will still taste good. Or, you can even use a non-alcoholic beer if you still want the flavor but absolutely don't want to use regular beer.

If you're pressed for time or are making this for something that starts early in the day, you can soak the chicken the day before. Just be sure to drain it and put chicken back in the bag so that it doesn't soak overnight and get too soggy.

The dip itself can also be made the day before however, the dip needs to be served warm so make sure you put it in the slow cooker or warmer and get it nice and warm before serving it.

If you have any other questions, ask away! And of course, enjoy! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013


It's been COLD this week! It's been really pretty, though - clear, blue skies and sunshine. When it's cold out, I (and most other people, I know) crave warm comfort food. Sticking to my New Year's resolution of trying to make at least one new meal a week, I decided to make a true southern meal - chicken and dumplings. It was pretty easy to make and while it was simmering on the stove, the house had the comforting smell of chicken soup. I got the recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book Bridal Edition (a wedding gift I got 2 years ago).


Princess was cold so she took over my blanket. 

Sorry for the crappy pics. They were taken with my iPhone. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Since next weekend is the Super Bowl, I'm going to make a recipe that I'm always asked to make for parties and is perfect for Super Bowl Sunday. Keep an eye out - I'll most likely post it Sunday night. I'm making it again for a party we're going to next weekend, but figured I'd make one ahead of time and post it since I'm always getting asked for the recipe :) Stay warm, friends!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vegas, baby!

This past weekend, we went down to Tampa for my friend Vermille's baby shower. She's due in late March and she's having a boy. Her and her husband, Ryan, have a love for Las Vegas. They (secretly!) got married there back in 2010, they have a dog named Priscilla, after Elvis's wife (Priscilla also happens to be Penny Lane's BFF), and now that they are pregnant, they don't have a name for the baby yet, so he's nicknamed "Elvis." Well, it only seemed appropriate to have a "Vegas" themed baby shower. However, when I was asked to do the decorations, that posed quite the challenge being that there aren't too many baby things that scream "Vegas!" So, thanks to an unnecessary amount of poker cards and chips that my husband had stashed away, I was able to come up with some cute stuff.

This is the wreath I made for the front door. Everything was tied with ribbon and not glue, so the diapers can be used when taken off. I also decorated it with baby socks and washcloths tied with tulle.

I took some poker cards and chips, glued them together and sprayed them with blue and silver glitter (there was a ribbon I laced through the chips to tie it to the wreath).

I absolutely LOVE the way these came out! Not that I'm bragging, but I totally love them. They were really easy to do, too. I rolled up pairs of baby socks and washcloths and tied them with ribbon. I had a bunch of plain wooden sticks that I painted with green paint, added some green tulle to be the "leaves," and then stuck the sticks through little openings on the socks and washcloths. I already had a plethora of beads from our Gasparilla bead stash, so those served as the "water" for the vase. 

I had some leftover diapers and baby blankets, so I made little chip buckets. We tied balloons to these at the shower and it looked really cute.

I rolled up the remaining diapers and tied them with a large rubber band. I wrapped the blanket around them and tied them with blue tulle. Then, I put some poker chips on top (sprayed with glitter spray, of course) to look like the bucket was full, and put cards around them.

Finally, I had Ryan send me baby pics of the two of them. I took four 5x7 black frames and sprinkled two with blue glitter and two with silver glitter spray to place on the main tables.

Also not pictured, were the blackjack and craps boards that also came from a set that my husband had (and rarely ever used). We were able to put those on the table and put platters on top of them. We also spread poker cards and chips on the tables to add some extra "Vegas" flair and of course, we hung old Elvis records up behind the food table. Pics of those will be coming soon - one of the other girls does photography as a hobby like me and was the official "photographer" of the shower. As soon as those are posted, I'll share them. One more baby shower down, one more to go in April! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Crazy Easy Cork Board Jewelry Hanger with Bow Tacks

This little project is SO easy. I did it while I was watching TV and took me no time at all. I needed a new place to hang my long necklaces and I've seen similar items like this on Pinterest, so decided to give a try. The best part? I already had everything I needed. Shamelessly, I had PLENTY of corks...A few months ago, I made a wreath out of corks that we hang on our front door. Then, for Christmas this year, my sister's boyfriend gave us this cork holder cage in the shape of a wine bottle to display on our bar. After filling that up, I still had a bag full of corks. Couldn't let them go to waste, right?

I also had a few Ikea Ribba frames that I wasn't using (which are only $1.99, by the way!). They've got some depth to them too, which was good for this project. I took away the glass and mat and glued the corks to the back insert with my glue gun. Word of advice - arrange the corks BEFORE gluing down. Most corks are the same size but I had a few that were a little shorter than others and had to rearrange a few times. Once they're all placed in there, just pick each one up and glue back into place. Easy.

Then, I took some pink tulle and tied them into small bows - small enough to fit on a basic thumb tack. You can also use ribbon - whatever you've got will work!

Put a small drop of glue from your glue on the end of the tack, stick the bow on and that's it!

Told you this was so easy. It really didn't even need a tutorial, but I thought it was cute :) 

And by the way, I still have corks left over. Don't judge.