Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve!!

Exciting things are coming our way in 2013. :) Here's our little party animal ready to celebrate! Have a great night!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Busy lately

I've been quiet but it's been for good reasons!! Last Monday, 12/3, our main bathroom was gutted and it is still in a major state of in-construction. Hadley and I have been spending the majority of our time playing at my parent's house since we can't be at our house while all of the loud and messy work is going on.

We also had a big snow storm and have had a few colds going around between us all so we've been really hectic. I will leave you with some cute pictures of Hadley in the snow and we will definitely post an update once our bathroom is done. We can't wait. ;)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Foodie Friday: Honey Butter

My mom made this homemade honey butter for Thanksgiving and it was so good. Plus, it's SO EASY!!

2 cups (sticks) of butter
1/2 cup good quality honey

Soften at room temperature 2 cups salted butter. Soften in micro on 50% power if not very soft. Add 1/2 cup honey. More honey can be added to your taste.

We are busy getting ready for the holidays around here, decorating and the like. I need to post some pictures of our basement bathroom update! Our main bathroom renovation is set to start Monday! Wohoo!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving & Black Friday

It's been a tough past 8 days at our house. Last weekend I had a terrible stomach flu.... I don't want to horrify with the details but it was by far the sickest I've been since I moved to MN. I could hardly get out of bed to do more than go to the bathroom even by Tuesday. Thank goodness I have Jim because everything was fine after I had a lot of rest and time to get my energy back.
Thanksgiving was split between our families and although exhausting after being sick, it was really great to see everyone. Did I cook per usual on Thanksgiving? Nope, sadly I didn't feel up to cooking but it was still fine and it happens.
I went out Black Friday morning shopping with my sister Parker to Toys'R'Us, Target, Old Navy and Kohl's. Thankfully we now only have a few easy additional things to pick up and otherwise the holiday shopping is complete.
Next up, it's time to decorate the inside of the house..... Jim got the lights up outside over a week ago so it's just the trees and wreaths that we have to pull out.
Hope everyone had a great holiday week/weekend so far. Get excited, it's almost December!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Foodie Friday: Crescent Chicken

This week I thought I would share a comfort food recipe that's easy to portion and keep healthy! My final photo is lost to tech difficulties so I will have to update this later. Definitely should try this though. :)

2 small Chicken Breasts, boiled and shredded
1 bag reduced fat shredded Sharp Cheddar
1 tube reduced fat Crescent Rolls
1 can "Cream of" soup, your choice (I've used broccoli, chicken, mushroom.... any would work!)

1.  Prepare soup per directions on the can. Preheat oven to 350F.
2.  Roll out the crescents and separate them all.
3.  Inside each crescent, put a few pieces of chicken and a pinch of the cheddar cheese. Seal the "pockets" by pinching the dough together.
4.  Place the crescents into a 9 x 13 baking dish and top with soup.
5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy birthday hubs!!

Today is my hubby's birthday and the good Lord decided to drop our first stick-to-the-ground snow for him overnight! He didn't have to work today (observation of Veteran's day) so he has been working on house projects instead-- what a guy!
Hadley and I made him a family photo collage for him to take to work. We went out to Benihana for dinner and that was delicious! Then Hadley helped him open some gifts.... what a mess. :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Foodie Friday: Guilt-Free Pumpkin Pie

Yet another super busy week has made for lots of fun at our house. Not one to disappoint, I thought that I'd throw together a yummy guilt-free holiday dessert for this weekend. Who am I kidding though.... we both love pumpkin pie so much at our house so we'll eat too much no matter what... hello {sweet} guilt!

Guilt-Free Low Fat Pumpkin Pie


1 Pie Shell (homemade or store bought doesn't make a difference)
1 15 oz. Can Pumpkin
1 14 oz. Can Fat Free Sweetened Condensed Milk
4 Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Roll out pie crust into pie dish.
3.  Mix remaining ingredients together and pour into pie shell.
4.  Bake for 15 minutes.
5.  Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until you can pierce the center with a knife and it removes cleanly.
6.  Cool and serve with your favorite topping or just by itself.

Prayers for all of our family members this week and next week with all of the huge and tiny things that are going on. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Hoping for some BIG changes as a result of this election! Fingers are crossed and I'll be glued to the tube after 8pm to watch the returns.
Blessed to be able to VOTE in the USA!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Foodie Friday: Challah!

We've had a busy week around here but I wanted to make sure to virtually drop in with one of my favorite Jewish recipes that's I've been making since college. CHALLAH! Don't get me wrong, in my Jewish sorority I picked up some of the best recipes. Amazing kugels, knishes, salads, dips and roasted/cured meat that I really L.O.V.E. but fresh, delicious bread? Nothing quite tops it in my book! It's important to note that having a stand mixer makes the process of challah prep so.much.easier. so I would highly recommend using one if you have that luxury (I am forever grateful for our navy blue Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer that my Pop's older sister Ann gave us for a wedding gift-- such a kitchen work-horse).

yeild: 2 large braided loaves
2 packets of yeast
1/3 cup plus 3 tbspns white sugar
2 cups of water, separated
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tblspn salt
2 eggs, separate yolks from whites
7 cups bread flour
Optional: sprinkle toppings like kosher salt, poppy or sesame seeds

1.  Warm 1 cup of water slightly (don't make it HOT just warm-- you can easily stick your finger in it) then add to the bowl of your stand mixer along with yeast and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes.

2.  Once the yeast is frothy and has "grown" in size, mix in the flour, salt, egg yolks, oil, remaining sugar and water. I like to alternate between a cup of flour and a wet ingredient, mixing in between to reduce the floury mess that can occur if you try to add all of the flour in one step.

3.  Mix using dough hook for a few minutes until a ball is formed and dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. You made need a little more flour so just watch during this step to make sure a distinct ball has formed. The dough should be sticky but shouldn't stick all over your hands when it's ready so add a little more flour if that happens. **If you aren't using a stand mixer, just knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and sticking together nicely-- this takes around 10 minutes.

4.  Move your dough ball to a large "greased" bowl (sprayed with PAM or oiled) and cover with a WET towel or paper towels so that it doesn't stick to the dough.

5.  Place in a warm location (in the winter I turn on the pre-heat for our oven for 2 minutes then turn it off and stick the bowl in there, otherwise in warmer weather I just leave it on the counter) and allow to rise for one hour.
6.  Remove towel, punch down dough and re-cover and allow to rise for another hour.

7.  Cut your dough in half. With each half, cut into 3 pieces and braid them together. Place both braids on a "greased" baking sheet. You can also braid with 4 or even  strands-- go to YouTube to find instructions, I like this one.

8. Pre-heat oven to 365 degrees. Brush tops of braided dough with the egg whites and if you've chosen to use sprinkle-on toppings, this is when you put them onto the braids. :)

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.


I love to cut the bread and freeze slices for use as toast or croutons with soups or as panini sandwiches. It freezes and thaws out beautifully. This is really a perfect idea if you need to bring something to a family or friend gathering, large or small. My favorite dips to serve with challah are hummus and olive dip but just by itself, this challah is delicious.

Have a great weekend everyone :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

A certain little lady went trick-or-treating around the neighborhood for the first time this year! It went so well, she even knocked on a few doors all by herself.
Here's our sweet little strawberry just before we went trick or treating!

We took the dogs out trick-or-treating and they got so many compliments because they were completely quiet and happy to sit nicely and wait for Hadley to get her treats. Such good pups!

We had some friends over for dinner and to go trick-or-treating with us so Hadley got to eat dinner in her costume... so fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

MSP Airport Art Exhibit

I turned in my mixed media piece today for the MSP Airport 3rd annual art exhibit for airport employees and their families. So lucky that we have a very special family member that works at the airport, right?! ;)
The Metropolitan Airport Commission foundation does a really great job of sponsoring this showcase of kids, teens, amateur and professional artists so it is a lot of fun to be a part of! Last year there were so many great pieces in the exhibit so I can't wait until the reception on November 30 when we get to check everyone else's stuff out. They even had a chef intern that was making yummy appetizers too which was just icing on the cake!
I will definitely share pictures from the reception since it's much more fun to see art it in the context of an exhibit, especially a fun showing like this one.
Have a very Haunted Happy Halloween tomorrow everyone!! I'll share pictures of our fun on the flip side. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Foodie Friday

Yesterday we got our first snow of the season.... oh the joys of living in Minnesota. Nothing really "stuck" to the ground but Hadley and I watched out the window and pointed at the huge, wet flakes over the few hours that it was falling pretty steadily. How is it already winter and more importantly why can't winter be shorter?

On Wednesday, I ventured into the world of homemade tomato sauce via my new {totally created by me} recipe for Baked Macaroni. I think it turned out pretty great especially since I combined different parts of recipes that sounded good to me but needed to be lower fat or more kid-friendly, etc. Admittedly, Hadley liked it better reheated as leftovers but she might have just been suspicious of the tomatoes.... much like her daddy.

Brittney's Baked Macaroni
Easy Tomato Sauce (below)
1 package Jenny-O 99% Fat Free Ground Turkey
2 cups uncooked elbow noodles
2 small yellow onions
1 8-ounce block Neufchatel cheese (1/3 less fat than regular cream cheese)
1 bag part skim Italian shredded cheese mix
1 tbspn butter or margarine
4 tablespoons reduced fat Parmesan style cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1/8 cup canola oil
Salt and Pepper
1.  Boil noodles for 7 minutes (al dente), then drain and set aside.
2.  Cook ground turkey in a saute pan until it is white all the way through, then add Easy Tomato Sauce and remove from heat.
3.  Chop 1 yellow onion finely (I used a Cuisinart food processor to make sure it was chopped as finely as possible). Move onion to microwave-safe dish and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Microwave for 4 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Mix cooked onions with the Neufchatel cheese until the mixture is well combined and smooth. **Setting your Neufchatel cheese out when you first start cooking makes it much softer and easier to work with in this step.
4.  In a 13x9 baking dish sprayed with olive oil or PAM, add a 1/4 cup of the turkey/tomato sauce mixture. Next, add all of the cooked noodles. On top of the noodles, smooth on the onion/soft cheese mixture as evenly as you can (it may not spread evenly -didn't for me!- but when it bakes it all liquifies so don't worry). Add all of the remaining tomato/turkey mixture, then top with the bag of Italian cheese and the Parmesan cheese.
5. Bake on middle rack at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
6. With remaining yellow onion, slice thinly into strips. Soak in the milk for 5-10 minutes. Put flour on a plate and heat the canola oil in a saute pan and heat to medium-high. Add the onion slices to the oil and cook for 30 seconds tossing in the pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove to paper towels to cool and drip-dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
7. Add fried onions to the top of the pan and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes (watch that you don't burn the onions).

Easy Tomato Sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tspn italian seasoning
1 tspn onion flakes
2 tbspns olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped fine
Combine in a saucepan and simmer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste after cooking.

This is a great dish to prep ahead and put in the fridge or freezer. It's also an easy recipe to double and make two pans of at the same time if you are looking for something to take a friend or if you'd just like an easy meals to throw in the oven after a busy day.
Today, I'm making Bourbon "Crack" Chicken in the crock pot (of course!) and I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and haven't tried it yet. My philosophy with Pinterest is that if you Pin it, you should try it otherwise, what's the point? If you haven't been on Pinterest, I highly recommend you check it out.... and FOLLOW ME to see all of my crazy recipe/craft/art/decor inspirations!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooky Halloween Taco Dip

My sweet grandma made my recipe for Halloween style taco dip last night and her results were awesome! It was the hit of the party and I'm so glad I was able to help her pin down such a winner.

Spooky Halloween Taco Dip
1 can refried black beans
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies, drained
1 cup salsa of your choice
1 cup sour cream
1 cup guacamole
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
2 green onions, sliced
2 cup shredded lettuce
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 small can whole black olives
A couple large bags of tortilla chips
1. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the refried beans and taco seasoning.
2. On a large Halloween platter or plate, spread the beans in an even circular shape. Leave room around the edges for the garnish.
3. Sprinkle green chilies over. Smooth salsa over. Smooth guacamole over.
4. Place your sour cream in the end of a ziploc bag. Cut the corner off. Squeeze sour cream on top of guacamole in several concentric circles (or octagon shapes for a more authentic look). Using a knife or the handle of a fork, run lines lightly through the sour cream to make the web shape.
5. Sprinkle lettuce in a circle around bean dip. Sprinkle tomatoes and green onions over. Sprinkle cheese over.
6. Make a "spider" out of a black olive. Half an olive to make the "body" and place in the middle of the dip "web" then slice halved olive to make the "legs" it's so spooky! :)
7. Garnish with spider and serve with tortilla chips.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Holy POTTY Batman and Tuesday Ramblings

This morning marked a very important occasion in our house! Hadley tugged at her diaper so I thought that I needed to go change her-- no big deal, so I take her to her room. I soon realized that the diaper was still dry from when she had gotten up over an hour before and she was antsy. I took her into the bathroom and perched her on the toilet (we don't have a potty chair yet, I thought all of this was months away at the very least). Within thirty seconds she did her tinkle business and grabbed for the toilet paper to wipe!!!!! Wow, she already knows what to do?! Last week, my sister-in-law had mentioned that she thought that Hadley was showing signs of being ready so I was watching for "signs" of being interested. I definitely wasn't thinking that her pulling her diaper was a sign this morning until I put a lot of things together really quickly and rushed her into the bathroom. We don't want to rush anything (it's so early!) so if she gives any hint that she's interested or wants to try to go then we will let her otherwise we will see how it goes over the next month and beyond. Quite a development right?!! There will be a potty chair purchase this evening..... so exciting.

I am lucky to have 20ish minutes with both kiddos asleep right now, so that's how I got the chance to sit down and write. We have curry chicken going in the crock pot recipe here and I'm also working on a Pumpkin Banana Bread to send to work with Jim tomorrow. AND I have to reorganize the Tupperware cabinet since Hadley got to play with everything in there this morning after her Big Girl moment. :) The photo above is of Hadley on Sunday in the yard, I posted it to facebook but I thought I should post it here too in case anyone didn't get to see it yet. I may use it on our Christmas card; she is such a little beauty!
Last night I made a knock-off of PF Chang's Mongolian Beef and it was AMAZING. It's a must try if you love Chinese/Asian food. It was seriously the best thing I've cooked this year!! The only modification that I made was that I didn't fry the beef in 1 cup of oil like the recipe describes-- I only used 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 2 tablespoons of water (yay for cutting fat out) and it was still so good. You must try it!

Friday, October 19, 2012


As of today, I have kept up blogging for nine whole months!! I had tried blogging before and only stuck with it for a few weeks so this is a major accomplishment.

I would like to keep updates and pictures of Hadley flowing on the blog along with a mixing in a lot more D.I.Y. projects and home improvement content. Some of my favorite daily read blogs are about decor and I would love to share more about what we have done around here! I also will commit to more personal updates because I love sharing with my family now that we are all a lot more spread out.

Hadley continues to love to dance! It's probably her favorite activity. She has started to get over the excitement of being able to toddle around on her own.... yes, raiding of the kitchen drawers has begun. If I'm not watching her, she will grab spoons, measuring cups and ladles to run around with. We locked all of our kitchen cabinets months ago and those work beautifully so maybe we need drawer lock too. {As the family cook, I feel like I'm in prison -via baby locks- in our kitchen already.... more locks? g r e a t.... but for sanity's sake it's better to do it because chasing her every moment is not in my mommy game plan.}

Thanks for hanging around for nine months and continuing to read. I can't wait to celebrate our 1st Blogiversary on January 19, 2013!