Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Casserole

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Tried a new recipe for dinner tonight and it was so good I wanted to share

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Cook 6 pieces of bacon and then crumble it ( or do what I do and cut it into small pieces then cook it – less grease splatter). Cut 1 large chicken breast into bite size pieces and cook it in the bacon grease with garlic powder, salt, and pepper after removing the bacon.

Mix the bacon and chicken with 2 cans cream of chicken soup, a couple large handfulls of monteray jack cheese, and 8oz of cooked spiral pasta.

Mix together and in a 9×13 pan and cook on 400° for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Afoordable kitchen makeover

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So this morning I woke up and decided “what the heck?!? Let’s do that kitchen makeover!”

It’s a pretty nice kitchen already, I mean our house is only 12 years old. I’ve been saying I want a farmhouse kitchen,  do I was going to add a few “country” items to make it look like a farmhouse.

Here’s the before

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Mess and all! My mom would be so disappointed.

Anyway, my affordable makeover didn’t have the budget to redo the cabinets, counters, floor, or appliances – that would be a kitchen overhaul.  This is just making a few cosmetic changes.

First was the hardware. Everyrhing in my kitchen is silver except the hardware. I discovered thatal spray painting cabinet hardware is so easy and makes a huge difference in look.

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Doesn’t that look nice? Just put painter’s tape around the white and spray away. I ise

a shoebox as a paintbox to keep the mess minimal.  Also, don’t forget about the hinges and the screws!

An easy way to spray paint screws is to pop them into the top of the box.  You only need the head of the screw painted, so this works great.

I also scrubbed the gunk off the cabinets with a water, dish soap, vinegar mixture and then wiped them with Old English polis – that stuff is an amazing wood cleaner!

Next up on thr farmhouse kitchen list is decorations on top of the cabinets. I’m not a junk collector,  so I just put 1 item in each section and most of it is stuff I can use if needed.

That’s how I spent my morning/afternoon and I love the way it turned out!

Here’s my after picture

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20 minutes to decide on NYE party and here I am

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It’s 6:15 on New Year’s Eve and I am still deciding on whether or not to go to a game night at a friend’s.  Luckily we dress comfy, so if I do decide to go, I can throw on sweatpants and call it a night.

I wanted to share a recipe that I made for the party; or for me if I don’t go. It’s that good that I could eat the whole thing.  In my family we call it -get ready for this- dad’s dip!! Yep, we’re that creative. LOL! My grandma use to make this for my dad years ago and the name stuck.

Here’s the recipe:
-2 jars roka blue (keep reading even if you never heard of it)
-2  8oz bricks of cream cheese
-worstershire sauce ( I can’t say it, let alone know if I spelled it right)
-garlic powder

Mix it all together and let it chill before eating.  Then serve with crackers or fritos. It would probably even be good with veggies for the healthy eaters out there. But it is NYE, so splurge a little.

The roka blue cheese is made by Kraft and I can only find it at 1 store in St. Louis- Schnucks. It is not refrigerated, our store carries it by the velveeta or parmesean cheese, and comes in a little glass jar that looks like this:
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It is not as tangy as blue cheese. Please let me know if you try it! Oh, and one other thing, we can only find the roka blue in the winter so we have it at every holiday from Thanksgiving to Super Bowl Sunday.

Happy New Year’s to my readers (if I have any). Be safe out there!

Just when I thought it was getting better…..

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It’s 2 days until Xmas (I say Xmas not because I take Christ out of the holiday,  but because I’m lazy), I thought life was going good. It started off as a rough holiday season with the struggles with the house around Thanksgiving,  it’s the 1st holiday season without Kell’s mom and my grandpa, and my brother won’t be here this year. He moved to NC in July for his job. 

But we were getting over all of this- we had our tree up, we went Xmas shopping and finished (all in the same week!),we even had Friendsmas and exchanged gifts ‘rob your neighbor style.’

Then the party was over and it’s Sunday morning (this morrning); Kell gets home from work about an hour early and wakes me up crying. I hate to see him cry so my heart immediately breaks as I ask what’s wrong? He told me his dad passed away just about an hour ago.

What? How?  OMG!

Background story- last year when Kell’s mom was really sick,  his dad was diagnosed with the same type of cancer that she had. He was fortunate enough to beat it but has has some complications along the way. He has been in the hospital for a couple weeks now fighting pneumonia.  I guess he beat cancer and was in remission only to lose a battle to pnemonia.

So now I’m not sure what to think of the Christmas season. I’m gping to rely on family and friends and hope we can get through this year with no more tragedies.

I should be ashamed to admit this, but…..

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We are finally in our house! I slept here last night. I should be ashamed to admit this, but I’m going to anyway. I just figured out what this is used for

ImageGrowing up and always having a dishwasher and garbage disposal, I never needed to use it properly and just figured it was the same as this:Image But it’s not!

Our house has a garbage disposal and a dishwasher. Didn’t want you to think I was living in the dark ages. LOL! It’s just that the dish washer looks like someone died in it and the garbage disposal doesn’t work. We bought new ones, but the dishwasher was suddenly put on back order by Lowe’s and we haven’t hooked up the new disposal yet. HAHA That made me laugh out loud for real. Like I am going to know how to do that!?!? I don’t even know if Kell knows how. Luckily my brother is coming over soon to drill a hole in our kitchen floor to hook up the ice maker in the brand new fridge. Maybe I’ll con him into hooking up the new garbage disposal while he’s here.

I’m kidding, I’ll just ask nicely. It’s nice having a big brother that knows how to do these things. It wasn’t always the case that we got along and would do things for each other. I’m really glad our relationship has changed; he has 4 kids who I love to death and I don’t know what my life would be like without all of them- his wife/my sis-in-law too!

While I’m on the subject of plumbing, (I know I went away, but it’s my blog, I can go back! :), can I just complain about the person who invented water saving devices? These things SUCK! I need my water pressure. I feel bad for planet Earth and all, but how can I do dishes or shower with a drizzle of water coming out of the faucet? I HAVE to learn how to fix that too!

This was my first post from my office. Never had a room just as an office; it’s nice. We even put a futon in here to have a couch, but also another guest bedroom if needed; Kell’s family all lives out of town so you never know. Boy will that be a post if they ever come over and use both of our guest bedrooms!!!

Thanks to everyone who reads this. I’m going to be making Christmas cookies/recipes soon and will share them. Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Climbing up from the bottom feels really good!

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Guess I should start by saying I didn’t really hit rock bottom, but it sure did feel like it. Here’s my story of hitting “rock bottom.”

Starting 2009 things were good. Kell and I had been together for 5 years and we were doing good, I had a career that I did not enjoy but it paid well (retail management), I was in school getting my masters in accounting,  and we were in the process of buying our first house.

Then all hell broke loose. Around Feb, we lost the house because of my student loan debt. I guess because I was going to graduate in the near future, they had to count a percentage of my income going towards the student loan payment and that put our debt to income ratio way over the limit. Anyone with student loan debt knows you can extend payments to lower the monthly amount, but they wouldn’t accept that.

I was devestated! This was my dream house,  but we decided to move in with my brother for a while and get the student loan debt figured out.

Let me tell you how much of a blessing in disguise this was. Not 1 month after moving to my brother’s, I lost my job. Not because of downsizing due to the economy, not because I was doing a terrible job, but because I made too much money and my district manager didn’t like me. He knit picked everything I did to the point of putting me on a 30 day probation, but fired me after 5 days. I didn’t even get the chance to prove myself. Found out later the his friend got my position.

I was devestated again, but hopeful- I was about to graduate with my masters. I was going to be somebody!

WRONG! 2 years, 10 months, and 23 days on unemployment. During that time we moved in with my parents because of a huge fight with my brother and his then fiance; now wife, my grandma (who I was very close to) was put in a nursing home because her alzheimers had gotten too bad, she passed away since then, my grandpa moved in with my parents where we also lived (for 3 years), he also has passed away.

The living  situation was so stressful that it put a damper in my parent’s marriage, so my mom moved out. I’ve always been a mama’s boy and I spent a year living with my father while he was separated from my mom. They have since figured things out and are doing ok.

Anyway,  I had some temp jobs during all that time. One was doing taxes inside a Walmart store. This coming season will be my 5th year with them. During my first 3 years, I talked to the people that worked at the credit union inside the store and finally in 2012, they had an opening and told me to apply. I got the job and after a few months,  Kell and I got an apartment in July 2012 to get back on our feet. Some bad things happened in 2013- Kell’s mom died, my grandp died exactly 1 month after that, we had all the house issues.

But finally, Dec 1, 2013 we moved our stuff into the house,  I’ve been at my job a little over a year and a half and I love it. I never wake up saying “I don’t want to go to work,” and I love all of my coworkers.

I know a lot of people lost their jobs around the same time as me. It’s the most disappointing thing you can ever go through. You feel like such a failure. And then to get a job making almost half the money I was making before made me feel like Such a failure.

I feel like now that I have my career on track, I don’t care that I make less money; not everything is about money. We make enough to get a beautiful big house that we can be happy in. I’m getting married next year, I’m so happy. I finally feel like I deserve this happiness.

I’m going to take this and run with it… literally,  I’m going to start working out and eating better. I’m ready for a new me!

Moral of the story is: I guess everything really does happen for a reason. If you are unemployed or know someone  that is, please let them know this.

Dishwasher, Shower rod, and Rhubarb Pie, Oh My!

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We finally got to move into our house today.  I am so excited. As soon as we got the OK to move in, we headed to Lowe’s. We signed all the paper work the night before, but it was too late to get funded so this was THE day.

We bought a dishwasher (since the one in the house looks like someone died in it), refrigerator,  garbage disposal, shower rod, blinds, and new door locks. Welcome to home ownership!!

It was a great day;  Kell started painting our bedroom. It’s the only room we’re painting before we move in. Lucky us- we bought a foreclosure where the bank put in A LOT of work including all new paint. Only problem is it’s all taupe. Our bed set is blue and gray so we picked out 2 gray paints and did an accent wall. Turned out like this:
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I love it and can’t wait to sleep in there. I helped finish the painting after Kell showed me how; I’m not very good with a roller. But I spent the afternoon cleaning-  2 of our 3 bathrooms, 5 windows, plus the sliding glass door, and both guest rooms.

After all that, it was time to start prepping for the next big day TURKEY DAY!! I changed my menu just a little. I decided to make a rhubarb pie. My grandma use to make them and it’s so good and tart. We can’t find many of her old recipes, so I had to find one online. This is the one I used and it looks and smells so good:
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I’ll let you know how it turns out. We also got our dressing made; I don’t stuff the bird so I call it dressing not stuffing. And we baked the sweet potatoes for our marshmallowed sweet potatoes.

A busy day and I’m exhausted. Time to hit the hay and get ready for tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving!