Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite posts I've come across this week.  Hope you enjoy them too.  And please come back to visit next week as I have several posts in the works, including some recipes and a fun little giveaway!

Seasoned Salt - Make Your Own from Eat At Home...great idea, Tiffany!  Do any of you notice that I refer to Tiffany's blog quite a bit?  I love it!  Be sure to check it out.  Oh and check out her list of 36 Recipes for Easy Restaurant Style Meals at Home.  Love it!

cg pink and orange cake stands
I just love Centsational Girl's Patchwork Picnic Blanket.  I don't know how to sew...wish I I won't be making this one.  But for those of you who are handy like that, this is a great tutorial.  And these DIY Colorful Dessert Stands are awesome.  I am always amazed at the creative bloggers out there!

Amanda has been doing a series of posts on Commenting 101 Blogging Tips & Tricks.  This week she wrote about How To Leave a Good Comment.  I know I have a lot of readers who are not bloggers themselves so I thought I'd include this post.  I've learned a lot about leaving a good comment from several fellow bloggers who consistently leave me such nice, genuine words about something I post.  It makes my day to read all of the comments I receive so for those of you who read some of my posts but stay quiet...please share some comment love!

$10 Coupon for Lowes Home Improvement

What kinds of projects are you planning around your home this spring? 

We have a long list...haha! 

To begin, we need to get our garden started. 
Then, we want to paint our master bedroom.
Next, we'd like to install a ceiling fan in our son's room. 
After that...
Well, you see how this list will go on and on.

Lowe's released a great coupon today to help you get a project started.  Go HERE to print a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase.  This is a great coupon...don't see these kinds very often.  Be sure your printer is ready as you can only print this one time. 

*coupon expires April 4th*

So, tell me what projects you're planning...

This Week...

I haven't posted much on here this week.  I've been busy with lots of other stuff. 

Go to fullsize image  Yesterday much of my day involved changing around all of our bedrooms.  We had a new mattress set delivered for our bedroom, which started the chain reaction of moving things around and making changes.  Today I will finish the last little bits of that project and hopefully can post some pictures soon.

I do have some posts in the works for next week, including several recipes and a fun giveaway! 

Hope you'll join me then...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kids Eat Free at Chili's

Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 29th) kids eat FREE at Chili's (with coupon)!  Go HERE to send this deal to yourself if you did not get a Chili's email.  The email will include a coupon to print and take to the restaurant.  You can also choose to send the deal to a friend. 

The coupon says 2 kids meals per adult entree purchase. 


Kelloggs Cereal Rebate = $10 Prepaid MasterCard

Kellogg's® Raisin Bran Crunch® cereal

Kelloggs just released a new $10 on cereal!  Go HERE to view the details and print your form. 

Basically, you need to purchase 10 participating Kelloggs cereals by December 31, 2011.  Cut the UPC codes from the boxes and mail them in along with the completed rebate form.  You will receive a $10 prepaid MasterCard in the mail.  There is a limit of 5 rebates per household.

The participating Kelloggs cereals must be 10oz or larger...

All-Bran Original
All-Bran Bran Buds
All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes
Smart Start Strong Heart Antioxidant
Smart Start Strong Heart Toasted Oat
Corn Flakes
Corn Flakes Touch of Honey
Raisin Bran
Raisin Bran Crunch
Raisin Bran Extra!
Product 19
Cracklin’ Oat Bran
Lowfat Granola with Raisins
Lowfat Granola without Raisins
Fruit Harvest Strawberry/Blueberry
Rice Krispies

***To sweeten the deal even more, purchase your cereal when it is on sale and paired with coupons.  For my fellow Harris Teeter shoppers, you can take advantage of BOGO sales on Raisin Bran and Raisin Bran Crunch (sale ends tomorrow) to get you started with this rebate offer.  Before any coupons, the BOGO cereal will come to $1.99 per box.  Plus, at HT when you buy any 3 or more Kelloggs cereals in the same transaction you'll receive a catalina (coupon that prints at the register) for a FREE gallon of milk on your next shopping trip (this offer ends April 9th).***

Go ahead and print your rebate form(s) now, hang 'em on your fridge or put in your coupon organizer (or some other good spot), and start working toward your prepaid cards! 

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

I am kicking myself for not grabbing my camera before we sat down for dinner last night.  I think it was all I could do to get the food on the table before everyone was digging in.  That chilly gray day had us all ready for some warm food. 

The other day I picked up a pack of McCormicks Recipe Inspirations.  I'd never tried this before but it was free during my grocery store's Super Double Coupon promotion (Harris Teeter) so I figured it was worth a try.  For those that haven't seen these, it is a little pack of pre-measured spices to make a specific recipe.  The recipe is on the back of the package. 

So last night I made the Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes.  YUM!!  This was definitely a hit with my family.  I saved the recipe card and will be making this again and again.  All of the ingredients that came in the little packet are things I always have in the pantry and I bet you do too so it'll be easy to make on my own without buying that little pack again (now McCormick is really not happy about that suggestion...oops!).  Since the recipe is printed on the little packet I am posting it here.  The little packet makes it nice and convenient, especially if you don't typically keep these spices on hand.   

So here's the recipe...

Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

2 tsp paprika
1-1/2 tsp crushed rosemary leaves
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp course ground black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
chicken *I used boneless breasts cut into strips but the packet called for thighs.  Use what you like.
1-1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes *I just eyeballed how many potatoes I thought would work

Mix oil, all of the spices and salt in a large bowl.  Add the chicken and potaotes, toss to coat well.  Arrange chicken and potatoes in a single layer on foil-lined baking pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. 

Roast in preheated 425 oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, turning potatoes occassionally. 

Another similar recipe we like is for Rosemary Potatoes.  I've never posted it on this blog but found it on the McCormick site this morning so check it out HERE.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Recipes To Try

View Image   I've been finding all sorts of recipes lately that I want to try.  My criteria for a recipe is that it needs to be fairly quick and easy and cannot have weird ingredients that either a) I've never heard of before and b) is something I have to buy and won't use ever again.  And it needs to be family friendly.  With two children in the family I need dinner to please everyone.  I cook one meal and that's it.  I'm not a short order cook making different things to please everyone.  Who has the time and patience for that?

Anyway, here are a few recipes I found recently that I am anxious to try.  I hope this encourages you to give a new recipe a try as well. 

Spaghetti Braid from Life as a Lofthouse  (love this idea!)
Colorful Cranberry Barbeque Chicken from Singing With Birds
Chicken Divan from Mommy's Kitchen  (made this before but it has been years so this was a great reminder)
Chicken Pasta Salad from  My Blessed Life

And check out these sweet treats...can't wait to try 'em!

Nutella and Macadamia Nut Braided Strudel from Eat at Home
The Best Apple Squares Ever from Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms (my great grandmother made these.  I actually remember eating them as a child.  Not sure if it is the exact same recipe but I am dying to try it and see.)

I'm joining in with my recipe round-up at Friday Favorite Finds at Finding Joy In My Kitchen. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another White Pizza

Last night my hubby made another white pizza.  It was similar to the Easy Chicken Alfredo pizza we made recently.  This time we took advantage of the fresh spinach and tomatoes we got in our produce co-op basket (more info on this group coming soon!).  And we used up some leftover grilled chicken too.

We started with our homemade pizza dough and then added some Alfredo sauce (from a jar), mozzarella cheese, sliced grilled chicken, fresh spinach, and sliced fresh Roma tomatoes.  We sprinkled on some oregano and garlic and Parmesan cheese. 

YUM!!  This is one of my favorites :)

Do you play around with pizza toppings or just stick to cheese and pepperoni?

I'm joining...
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Here's a little glimpse at some of the prettiness blooming around my yard right now...

Our pansies have been blooming all winter.



This is one of our Thundercloud Plum trees.

This is Forsythia from trimmings in my mom's yard.


This is one of our favorites...Flowering Almond.

Here is a branch from our Flowering Dwarf Peach tree.

I've join in at Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Party!

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Purex Complete Crystals Softener coupon giveaway.  Stay tuned for another giveaway from Purex coming in the next few weeks.

These are the lucky winners of the coupon for a FREE bottle of new Purex Complete Crystals...Winners were drawn via (but I can't get the widget to post on here...sorry!). 
#11 Katychick
#4   JulesMcG
#9   Serving While Saving

I have emailed each winner.  If I do not get a response within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

Menu Plan Monday

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Here's the plan for this week's dinners...

Monday...spaghetti, salad dogs, mac & cheese, baked beans
Wednesday...burgers, skillet potatoes, veggie dippers
Thursday...Oregano Chicken & Rice, green beans  (will post chicken recipe this week)
Friday...baked potatoes & salad

I'm planning to make these sweet treats as well...
Easy Banana Pudding Parfaits  (gotta use up some bananas!)
Double Chip Oatmeal Cookie Bars   (have everything on hand...these will be good lunchbox treats)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

I am all about quick and easy recipes but this has to be a record for the easiest thing I make.  I mean it is kind of silly to call it a "recipe".  Throw two ingredients in a slow cooker and let it cook all day.  Can it get any easier?

Easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce  *In this house it is ALWAYS Sweet Baby Rays!!

Put the chicken in the slow cooker.  Pour the sauce on top.  Cook on low all day.  Remove the chicken and shred it.  Return it to the slow cooker and mix back in the sauce to coat.

Sometimes I'll serve this on buns for sandwiches, other times it's just the shredded chicken on a plate.  It is all drippy with sauce and so yummy! 

Sorry it's not a great picture.  Snapped it as I threw placed the food on the table before everyone went in different class, school meeting, etc.  Perfectly quick dinner for a night like that.  Added some macaroni & cheese and steamed broccoli on the side. 

Just as I was ready to post this I saw that one of the blogs I love has a similar recipe posted today.  Tiffany from Eat At Home has added another ingredient to her Zingy BBQ Chicken in the Slow Cooker or Oven.  Go check it out.  Next time I make this I am going to give her version a try.  Thanks for the idea, Tiffany!

I've joined...
Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's
Weekend Bloggy Reading at Serenity Now

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Laundry: New Product Review & Giveaway

Laundry is one of the household chores I actually like don't mind to do.  Except for times when I skip it for a few days (like this past weekend) and it turns into mountains of dirty clothes, towels and sheets.  Ugh! 

For the past two days I have been working on this mountain.  It really wasn't too bad since I was anxious to try out a new product.  I was recently chosen to be a Purex Insider and was sent some of the new Purex Complete Crystals to try.  I was intrigued.  I typically use dryer sheets, which helps with static but doesn't always leave a lot of extra softness and scent behind. 

Purex Complete Crystals doesn't look like a typical softener.  I love the cool little beads. Did you know most traditional liquid fabric softeners are oil-based?  Purex Complete Crystals are 92% natural so they dissolve and infuse your washables with a long lasting scent.

I love that you add it directly into the washing machine at the beginning of the wash instead of waiting for the rinse cycle.   It is safe for all fabrics and all types of washing machines, including high efficiency ones. 
I've used the Purex Complete Crystals for several loads.  I tried the Fresh Spring Waters it!  It is such a nice clean, fresh scent.  I've enjoyed walking into the laundry room and having that scent greet me.  It's easy to use, smells good, didn't leave any residue...I'm loving this new product! 

Purex wants YOU to try it too and have provided me with coupons to give away!  Three (3) winners will each receive a coupon for a FREE bottle of the new Purex Complete Crystals.

How To Enter:
*  Leave a comment below...anything about it, hate it, how many loads you wash...whatever!
PLEASE be sure to leave a valid email address if it is not linked to your profile.

Additional Entry:  Become a follower of Home Matters via Google Friend Connect (or let me know you already are) or subscribe to receive Home Matters via email (or let me know you already do). 

This giveaway ends at 11:59pm on Sunday, March 20th.  Winners will be drawn on Monday via  and will be notified via email.  If winners do not respond within 48 hours, new winners will be drawn. 

I received Purex Complete Crystals, coupons and product information from Purex Insiders.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own and truthful. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lemon Pudding Cake

I was looking through old recipes in my recipe box over the weekend and came across one I haven't made in a long time.  It's a simple little snack cake that starts with a boxed cake mix.  This snack cake turns out so moist.  You can make a glaze for it if you'd like.  My mom never used a glaze when she made it and I never missed it. 

I enjoyed mine with Cool Whip ('cause everything is good with Cool Whip!) and fresh strawberries!

Whichever way you decide to make it I hope you and your family enjoy it!

Jello Pudding Cake

1 package yellow cake mix or lemon cake mix *
1 small package lemon instant Jello pudding mix           
4 eggs
1 cup water
1/4 cup oil

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer.  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 sheet pan. 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. 

Cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely. 

Optional Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 tbsp hot milk
3-4 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

Gradually add hot milk and food coloring to the confectioner's sugar in a bowl.  Mix well.  Drizzle onto cooled cake.

This cake can be made in a 9x13 sheet cake pan or in a bundt pan.  If using the bundt pan I would suggest adding the glaze.  The sheet cake can go either way in my opinion. 

*You can use either a yellow cake mix or a lemon cake mix.  Obviously the lemon cake mix will make it even more "lemon-y".

I'm joining the fun this week...
Tasty Tuesday
Potluck Sunday at Mommy's Kitchen
Totally Tasty Tuesdays at Mandy's Recipe Box

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

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Do you make menu plans?  I find it very helpful both to keep me organized (especially on hectic weeknights) and to keep my budget under control.  I plan my dinner menu by the week and base it on food items I already have on hand and what is on sale at the store that week.  This week I am pulling chicken and homemade spaghetti sauce & meatballs from the freezer.  I'll buy the fresh produce items and everything else I already have on hand. 

Here's my plan for dinners this week...

Monday...Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken, mac&cheese, broccoli
Tuesday...spaghetti, salad
Wednesday...Easy Chicken Enchiladas, rice
Thursday...Breakfast Night ~ Belgian Waffles, Sausage, Fruit

Later this week I will post about my produce basket for this week.  For new readers, I participate in a local produce co-op.  It has been a while since I participated and posted anything about it so stay tuned for the info.  If you are local to me it is definitely worth looking into.  For those not local to me, I hope this will encourage you to check into any programs like it in your area.

I'm joining Menu Plan Monday at Org Junkie this week.  Stop by for lots of menu planning inspiration.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Favorites

Sorry I've been so quiet the past 2 weeks.  We've had some out-of-town company and my computer time has been very limited. 

I do have quite a few posts planned for next week and have several giveaways coming up in the next couple of weeks so stay tuned!

I did manage to find a few minutes to check out some neat stuff to share with you this week.  Hope you enjoy visiting these talented ladies.

Lucky Me Board (Tutorial and giveaway) from icandy handmade

Homemade Thin Mints
Baking Bites has a bunch of Homemade Girl Scout Cookie Recipes.  We love the Thin Mints and Samoas in this house.  I might have to give some of these a try!

The countdown is on for Easter and I found this really cute project for your little ones...DIY Stuffed Animal Easter Baskets from The Idea Room (check out this blog if you've never visited before). 

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful weekend.  I'm looking forward to getting back to my blogging next week :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

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Here's my plan for this week's dinners. 

Monday...Italian Chicken & Veggie Soup, garlic bread
Tuesday...Meatball Subs
Wednesday...grilled chicken and veggies, angel hair pasta
Thursday...ravioli, salad
Friday...homemade pizza, salad

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Yesterday a friend made a really wonderful new recipe for a teacher's event at our children's school.  I was lucky enough to get a quick taste.  Wow!  I knew immediately that I had to share it with all of you even before I make it for my family.  And all of the teachers loved it...not a crumb left in the pan when I returned to clean up after the event.  Thanks for sharing this, Kathy!

Straight from the Food Network website here is the 5 Star recipe...

Picture of Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese Recipe   
Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni and Cheese
Cook Time: 45 minutes   Level: easy   Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Photograph by Con Poulos