Tuesday, January 31, 2012

crock pot minestrone

Sundays are a great day for me to utilize my crock pot. I love throwing something in it before we go to church in the morning and coming home to lunch already made. It makes for a much more relaxing afternoon and if need be a quick lunch so we can get on to our afternoon activities (whether that's watching football, taking a walk or catching up on odd jobs around the house). Our crock pot keeps us on time and moving on those busy weekends.  This past weekend I made Minestrone and it tasted delish.  This recipe makes a large amount of soup, so you can freeze the leftovers and eat them later if need be.  (It's also a great way to use up canned items in your pantry.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI - Indianapolis, In.

Well it's not everyday that the Super Bowl comes to town, and let me tell you Indianapolis is all decked out and ready to welcome fans and teams to this great city.  As I've mentioned before there is something about Hoosier Hospitality; and the way people in this state go above and beyond to make sure guests fell welcomed and invited.  As you will see in the pictures below, there are banners on every street sign.  The hotels have large banners (Like the JW Marriott's 30 story tall Lombardi Trophy.)  Even the flower planter boxes have Lombardi artwork in them. 
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It's everywhere you look, why they even renamed the streets downtown after NFL teams.
On Monument Circle in the heart of the city, there are giant roman numerals.  At night these letters are like giant TV Jumbotrons that show different images.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hawaiian Bruschetta Bread Appetizer

I was thinking about a recipe for this month's Iron Chef Challenge and with the Super Bowl right around the corner I thought: Why not do an appetizer?!?!? So I set out and created this recipe on my own taste from what I thought would taste good with this sweet tasting Hawaiian bread. I love a hawaiian pizza so I thought why not incorporate some of those flavors and I came up with a Hawaiian Bruschetta Bread and here is how I made it.
I started with the round loaf of King's Hawaiian Bread.
And I took a knife a scored it.  I made sure not to cute through the bread, just cut it about 3/4's of the way down.

Monday, January 23, 2012

a super bowl wreath

In case you haven't heard the Super Bowl will be in Indianapolis this year and the city is getting all ready to welcome the fans and players.  There are lots of decorations and signs going up in the downtown, so I thought... why not decorate our front door for the big game as well??!! It's a great way to show some community pride and welcome guests who come to your Super Bowl viewing party.  After a quick trip to the craft store I made this Super Bowl wreath for about $5.
I started with an artificial evergreen wreath I bought after Christmas for $1 at WalMart. I then went to the craft store and bought some wooden letters, a cut out wooden football and blue and yellow ribbon.  These items cost me about $4.
I painted the letters X L V I (the roman numerals of this years super bowl) blue with some acrylic paint I had on hand. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ott, A's January Iron Chef Challenge: King's Hawaiian Bread Linky Party

This month's Iron Chef Challenge will feature King's Hawaiian Bread. 

Rules: Chefs (aka bloggers) will prepare something using any King's Hawaiian Bread Products in their recipe and blog about it.  Included in this blog post must be the recipe (stating what Kings Hawaiian Bread Product you used) along with pictures and any tips on preparing the item. Posts must include Ott, A's Iron Chef Challenge Badge (code found in sidebar).

Judge: At the end of the contest a representative from Kings Hawaiian Bread will judge the entries and select the winner.
Prize: The winning recipe will be announced on this blog and will receive a gift basket of King's Hawaiian Bread (valued at $150) containing: one of each Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, 12-pack Rolls Mini Sub Rolls, Sandwich Buns, One serving platter with four matching plates, $50 grocery gift card, King’s Hawaiian apron, King’s Hawaiian coupon, and a King’s Hawaiian recipe booklet

Big Thanks to King's Hawaiian for sponsoring this month's contest.  Be sure to check out their website, facebook page or twitter accounts (@KingsHawaiian) for more information and recipes about their products.

They Linky will be open from January 20 - 27th.  And the winning recipe will be announced on this blog the week of the 30th.
Good Luck and Aloha!!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valentines Day Mantle

After Christmas I normally just put my everyday decorations back on my mantle, however this year I was digging through some boxes in the attic and found some of my Valentines Day Decorations..... so..... I decided to put them out on the mantel and give it a holiday look in red, pink and brown colors.
I had some red baskets, and red votive candle holders to intermix.  Along with some heart shaped decorations.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lamb Fajitas

First off I have to tell you I am a big fan of the Mexican Food restaurant, Don Pablos. They have great queso dip and fajitas. Well this past weekend, Ott, E was watching football and I was looking through my Taste of Home Cookbook for a recipe to make with Lamb.  I found one for Lamb Fajitas and thought this would be a great meal to eat while watching the game.  Little did I know that when I was tasting this recipe it would taste so similar to Don Pablo's fajitas that you'd swear I'd gotten take out.  They were delish and perfect for a weekend meal.  In fact, Ott, E told me he wants to make this again some time.... perhaps I have our Super Bowl meal planned now.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

a bright and sparkly giveaway for a cold and dreary day

It is a cold and dreary January day and the weatherman says we are to get 2-4 inches of snow here in central Indiana.  Needless to say I was looking for some way to brighten up my day and I thought.... how about having a giveaway for something bright and sparkly?!?!?

So today I am giving away a pair of earrings from Jenny Present.   This pair of Gold and Zircon round stud earrings measure about 1/2 inch in diameter and have an 18kt gold hammered center lined with sterling silver and natural zircons for glitz.  And let me tell you these beauties shine and sparkle and will be sure to brighten up you cold and dreary winter days as well.
This giveaway will run through Sunday, Janaury15th.  The winner will be announced on this blog first thing Monday morning.  Simply click on the read more link below and use the rapplecopter widget to enter.  Good luck!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Calzones.... with chicken, spinach & artichokes

The recipe I am sharing today is a recipe I adapted from a Rachel Ray cookbook. While I find Rachel Ray's recipes to be really tasty, they are usually really involved and require a lot of ingredients.  So I want to warn you up front this recipe will take some time to plan and prepare, but I've made a few tweaks to it to make it easier and it is definitely tasty and was well worth our time.  We've been eating a lot of spinach lately because it's high in folic acid, so when I saw this recipe for a Spinach & Artichoke Calzone, I thought why not add some chicken and we can make it a full meal.

To start with this recipe you make a Artichoke & Walnut pesto so I had to break out my food processor.  (I love it when I can use some of our wedding gifts.)
Ingredients for Artichoke & Walnut Pesto:  4 oz. Watnut pieces, 15 oz can of Artichoke hearts, drained, 1 large garlich clove, zest of one lemon, 1 T. of parsley flakes, 1/2 grated parmigiano-Reggiano, a dash of pepper and salt, 1/4 tsp. grated nutmet and 1/3 cup EVOO.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bellybuds for my Baby Bump

We are past the half way mark and our little machiaOTTo is doing just great.  Below is a picture from our 20 week ultrasound.  We were so amazed getting to see the baby's heart, brain, kidneys, bladder, umbilical cord and even it's feet.  It is truly a blessing to see what technology and biology can do.

And 20 week also means that the baby's hearing has developed so it can now hear sounds outside the womb.  This got me to thinking about playing some music for our baby.  Now of course the baby can jam along with me during a car ride, but what about some music directed toward the baby and for the direct benefit of the baby.  Well I got to looking and thinking and was thrilled to get a pair of Bellybuds to review.
Just like earbuds are for you to help listen to your ipod or MP3 player; bellybuds are designed for your baby to listen to music while in the womb.  The bellybuds are designed for sound to reach the womb at a safe level, yet dampen the sound so it can't be heard by you or others around you.  There is an adhesive on the bellybuds to attach right to your belly, and as you can see in the picture below they can be worn discreetly under your clothes so no one will know your baby is boogieing away. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Iron Chef Challenge January: Kings Hawaiian Bread

A new year is here and that brings a new round of the Iron Chef Challenge.  This month we are kicking off our 2012 series with King's Hawaiian Bread as the themed ingredient.  Starting January 20th you can link up a recipe where you use any variety of Kings Hawaiian Bread.  Just think of all the tasty appetizers, desserts or main dishes you can make with this sweet tasting bread?!?!
The linky contest will be open on this blog from January 20-27th.  At the end of the contest a representative from Kings Hawaiian Bread will judge the entries and select the winner.  The winning recipe will be announced on this blog and will receive a gift basket of King's Hawaiian Bread (valued at $150) containing: one of each Original Hawaiian Sweet Round Bread, 12-pack RollsMini Sub Rolls, Sandwich Buns, One serving platter with four matching plates, $50 grocery gift card, King’s Hawaiian apron, King’s Hawaiian coupon, and a King’s Hawaiian recipe booklet
To learn more about our sponsors products or to get some recipe inspiration visit King's Hawaiian Breads website, facebook page or follow them on twitter (@KingsHawaiian).

So I was trying out these King's Hawaiian Mini Sub Rolls.  They are the perfect size for a lunch time sandwich and I decided to try out Leah from the blog Beyer Beware, Ham Sammies Recipe with them.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Winter Breakfast of Gingerbread Donuts

I asked some of my facebook fans if they thought gingerbread was strictly a Christmas time flavor or if it could be used all winter or all year?  They responded with a resounding Yes, it could be used all winter.  So I decided to try use my donut pan again and bake up a gingerbread donut.  All I can say is Yum!  This is a great recipe with a great gingerbread flavor that is sure bring smiles to your winter breakfast table.