All posts by laura

Minecraft Birthday Cake

Minecraft Birthday Party

Last month Kaden turned 7 years old. This years hot theme, was of course, Minecraft. I went to the party store thinking that they would surely have Minecraft birthday supplies since pretty much every kid these days loves it. But no. There is absolutely zero Minecraft birthday stuff. So I was forced to get crafty. I bought some green cups and made creeper faces on them with a black Sharpie.  I bought some purple masking tape and stuck a few strips on black balloons to make them look like enderman. I was originally planning on getting green balloons and Sharpie-ing creeper faces on them, but after doing that on the cups, I decided that that was not going to happen. So I took the lazy route with the enderman balloons, but I really like how they looked.  I decided on a few easy snacks that were also Minecraft food, and had picture labels printed  as 4×6 prints from Walgreen’s. Cheap and easy.  The cake, however, was not so easy. Baking is not my strong suit. Normally I have a cake made, but this year I decided to try my hand at it. I borrowed some cake making supplies from a cousin of mine, who is actually good at it. It was a little stressful, and at one point I was ready to just throw the whole thing in the trash. I seem to have that moment just about every time I try to bake something. But somehow, the cake turned out okay, better than I was expecting it to. I made blue Jell-O for the water and put in next to the cake. I didn’t think about it before hand, but the Jell-O touching the cake made the cake taste tropical and fruity.  Not intended. It was a weird mix of flavors lol.  But the rest of the cake not touching the Jell-O ocean, tasted pretty good.  All in all, it turned out to be another successful birthday. :)Minecraft Birthday Party Snacks

 

Minecraft Party Drinks And Creeper CupsMinecradt Enderman BalloonsMinecraft Birthday CakeMinecraft Birthday Party Cake

Thumbtack buck head art

Wood And Thumbtack Buck Head Art

I started this project some months ago. It ended up being waaay more difficult than I had thought. The thumbtacks did not want to push into the plywood as easily as I’d hoped. Go figure.  After many broken tacks and two very sore thumbs later, I decided to start hammering a nail in first to make a hole then hammer in the tacks. Much, much easier but still very time consuming.  In the end it turned out well.  The tacks do poke out the back of the wood since it’s such thin plywood. I had planned on covering the back with something before hanging it, but ended up just leaning it against the wall. I was just ready for this project to finally be done.

Thumbtack buck head wood art

I used a big piece of  quarter inch thick plywood that I had leftover from another project for this. I stained it with an ebony color wood stain we had lying around. It took several coats to get it the color I wanted.

thumb tack buck head art - staining the board

I let that set for a few days until it had completely dried. Then I cut out and taped on the silhouette that I had printed at FedEx Office. You can get large black and white prints on their blueprint paper for pretty cheap.  I figured that was the way to go since my drawing skills never developed properly.

Buck head silhouette thumbtack art

I put the tacks in around the outline, and then took the paper off. In hindsight, it would have been easier to have just traced it instead of taping it on. Some of the paper got stuck under the tacks when I took it off and it was hard to get it out. Oh well. Live and learn.

Buck deer head thumbtack art

Once I got done with the outline I just had to fill it in. This. Took. Forever. Not gonna lie. I will never ever try to put this many tacks in wood again. Ever. But hey, nearly 3,300 thumbtacks and 2 very sore thumbs later, it looks good!

Thumbtack buck head art

Beer glass nail and string bar art

Beer Glass Nail And String Art

I made these beer glass silhouette nail and string art for Chad for Father’s Day. They were much easier than the other’s I made for Father’s Day. You can read that post for a detailed tutorial. For these I used leftover pieces of a 1″x8′ board that I had, so I used 1 inch nails instead of  the longer ones I used with the 2″x8′ boards. We ended up hanging them back behind our basement bar. Pretty snazzy.

Beer Glass Nail And String Bar Art

Beer Glass Nail and string bar art

Beer glass nail and string bar art

Beer Glass Nail And String Bar Art

Elk and moose nail and string art

Wildlife Board, Nail And String Art Projects

I made these back in June as Father’s Day gifts and am just now getting around to posting about them.  I know, I’ve been slacking off. I’m a slacker. But anyways, the first one I did was the elk for my dad. It turned out better than I had expected it to since most of the new projects that I try end in failure. So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out actually looking like it was supposed to.  I decided to make another moose one for Chad’s dad.  It was slightly easier than the elk since the elk antlers were a bit of a pain in the butt. I also made Chad some beer glass ones that we hung behind our bar.

Elk and moose nail and string art

I went to Lowe’s and got an 2″x8′ board and had them cut it into equal sized sections for me and I sanded down the rough edges when I got home.  I stained my boards with ebony colored wood stain. It’s what I had on hand, but you could use any color you want. I only put on one light coat because it didn’t want it to be too dark. Then I let that dry over night and then got to work.

Nail and string art board

I searched Google images for silhouettes of what I wanted and edited the image to make sure it would print out to be the right size for me boards. It’s okay if when you edit them image it’s low quality and really pixilated, remember that you really just need the basic shape. Then cut out the image and tape it in place.

Moose silhouette

Moose silhouette on board

Then the fun part. You get to smash your fingers while hammering in nails around the edge of your picture. I used 1 1/4 inch long nails. You want them to still be sticking out about 1/2 – 3-4 of an inch. I left about 1/2 inch spaces in between each nail, but put some closer together in some areas like corners so the shape would be right once I went around with the string.

Moose nail and string art

Once you have all your nails in, it’s time to string it. I bought a big spool of crocheting thread from Hobby Lobby. Tie the end on to a nail and then go around each nail, looping it around so it stays tight in place.Go all the way around your picture and then loop it around the last nail.

Moose nail string art

Moose nail and string art

Once your done with that, you’ll want to take off the paper, then take your string and just start zig-zagging your way across the whole thing. Make sure you loop all the way around each nail so it stays tight.

Moose nail and string art

Moose nail and sting art

Once you’ve got it covered to your liking, just pick a nail to tie it off on, cut your thread and violi! Not too terribly difficult.  Although I had quite a crick in the neck by then time I got done.

Moose nail and string art

Pan seared lemon caper chicken

Lemon Caper Pan Seared Chicken

I tired out this recipe for dinner last night. It ‘s my first time cooking with capers since I found out what they were. They are in fact, not small fish like I thought. 😛 This chicken was really simple to make and really good. I will probably not put in quite as much lemon juice next time though. I doubled the pan sauce. I like sauce.

Pan seared lemon caper chicken

The Recipe:

Pan Sauce:

  • 6 Tablespoons chicken broth 
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers

Chicken:

  • 4 trimmed boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Combine the pan sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with ample salt and pepper. Put a handful of flour in shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour coating well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Before adding the chicken, test the heat of the pan by flicking in a little of the dredging flour. If the flour sizzles enthusiastically and immediately turns golden, the pan is ready. Add the chicken and cook for about 4 minutes without moving the breasts. Then, turn them over and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes on the other side.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Add the pan sauce ingredients to the hot pan and boil, stirring and scraping up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and whisk until smooth and glossy.Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

This was a new recipe for me, but I will definitely be making it many more times. These were some of the best enchiladas that I’ve ever had. Oh my goodness.  We’ve never been happier to eat leftovers.

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

The Recipe:

  • 2 lbs. shredded, cooked chicken
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 5 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 lb. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 (16 oz) can green enchilada sauce (I couldn’t find a 16 oz can so I used 2 10 oz cans. Enchiladas can never have too much sauce, right?)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, combine honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic; toss with shredded chicken and marinate for at least 30 minutes.  In another medium sized bowl, combine the enchilada sauce and cream.  Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.  Fill the tortillas with chicken and cheese and roll, reserving 1 cup of cheese for topping.  Place enchiladas seam side down into prepared pan.   Pour remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubble and golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro just before serving.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This is another recipe that has earned being made multiple times.  I love pasta and I love Cajun and also chicken, so this recipe it perfect to me. Yum. Yum. YUM.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

The Recipe:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into small strips)
  • 4 ounces linguine (cooked to package directions)
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning( I ended up using way more)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 green onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

 

Place chicken strips and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, toss the chicken with the seasoning until the chicken strips evenly coated with the seasoning.  In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter.  Add chicken and saute the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.  Reduce heat to low.  Add green onions, heavy cream, basil, salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Cook until heated through. Pour over hot linguine and toss with Parmesan cheese.

44 clove garlic chicken

44 Clove Garlic Chicken With Rice

  I’ve made this recipe twice now, it it turns out so good each time. I could eat this everyday, but maybe I just love garlic too much. You don’t have to have 44 cloves, just 2 large bulbs or garlic or 3 smaller ones. I served over white rice.

44 clove garlic chicken

The Recipe:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 bulbs of garlic, cloves separated and peeled and the stems cut off
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

 

Preheat oven to 375F.  Heat a large, oven proof skillet on medium high heat on the stove. Coat the bottom with olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook in the skillet about two minutes per side, or until brown. remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the butter to the pan. once melted, add the garlic cloves. saute just until it begins to brown and becomes very fragrant.  Add the chicken broth, sherry, thyme, and bay leaves to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back into the pan. Cover and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan, take out the bay leaves, and blend the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth.    Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the sauce. Serve hot.

Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

This recipe was a first for me, in many ways. Not only was it a new recipe, but it was also my first time ever having made asparagus and my first time ever eating asparagus.  So I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve always thought I would hate asparagus. Maybe just because it’s ugly. But it was really pretty good, and I didn’t hate it!

Sauteed Garlic Asparagus

The recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus

  • 3 cloves garlic,minced

  • a splash of white wine

 

Melt the butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and asparagus spears; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until asparagus is tender. If you like your asparagus well done, reduce heat and cook an additional 10 minutes. Add a splash of white wine in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Slow cooker whole chicken

Crockpot Whole Chicken

I made this recipe for dinner, along with sauteed garlic asparagus and mashed potatoes and gravy. I made the mashed potatoes and gravy from scratch and used the juices from the chicken for the gravy. Yum.  The chicken was super easy to make.  I was a little concerned that the recipe said to not add any liquid, but it made it’s own within the first two hours or so and nothing burned, so, hooray!

Slow cooker whole chicken

Crockpot whole chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy

The Recipe:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken

 

Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.  Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.  Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.  Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.