Friday, July 30, 2010

Green Bean & New Potato Salad

I made this recipe last night for supper. I guess it's been kind of a green bean kind of week around here. This is the second time we ate them. It worked well with the Chicken Tortellini Bake we were having. (Thanks, Ashley R. for the tortellini recipe!)

Green Bean & New Potato Salad

2 lb. new potatoes, quartered
2 T. salt
2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
Rosemary Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Boil potatoes in salted water for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and let cool. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with the 2 T. salt; add beans. Cook for about 6 minutes until beans are crisp-tender. Drain. Plunge beans into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again. Combine all the veggies in a large bowl and top with rosemary vinaigrette; toss to coat. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Rosemary Vinaigrette

1/2 c. white balsamic vinegar (regular brown balsamic vinegar works just fine, though)
1/4 c. honey
1 T. minced garlic
2 T. fresh chopped rosemary leaves
1/3 c. chopped purple onion
1 T. dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

Process all ingredients except for EVOO in a blender or food processor for about 15-20 seconds. With the blender still running, gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Process until smooth. Pour over veggies and toss to coat. *I didn't use the whole cup bc I didn't want my potatoes getting soggy. I saved it in a little jar in the fridge and it tasted very good on just greens.

My "New" Dishmat

I don't really know the point in having a dishwasher. I have one and use it MAYBE once a week. All it ever washes is silverware and our dinner plates. Everything else, like my pots and pans, bakeware, wooden utencils, can't go in the dishwasher. I follow the manufacturer's suggestions on those things bc I use them so much, I want them to last.

Anyhow, I saw several cute tutorials on making your own dishmat out of an old towel. They were super cute and I since I'm always looking for a cute, functional project, I gave it a shot. I didn't follow any of the tutorials, though. Too technical! I totally made up my own as I went along so a real seamstress would probably croak if she saw my handiwork. I just pieced together a bunch of fabric pieces and sewed them on the old towel, flipped it inside out, and it was done!

I usually just throw out a regular dishtowel, but I have to use two at a time to hold all the stuff I wash. Since I got those pretty aqua towels, it gave me an excuse to cut one of the old bath towels down to just the right size. I think it's cute in a rather boring kitchen. :)

I love fabric. Those red polka dots just keeps giving and giving. I used it on Christmas presents, shower curtain, and now this!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This is my current favorite cookbook. I love it! It has recipes for all year based on what's in season. Southern Living's cookbooks are, in my opinion, the absolute best. Everything I've ever made from them is delicious. I love homestyle cooking, nothing too fancy or complicated, and SL always delivers! I highly recommend this one. I have one other on hand; the rest are packed up in storage with all of my cookbooks. I miss those guys so much...

Roasted Chicken

I stock up on whole chickens when they're on sale. I caught them one time at Target for $2.99 each so I bought 5 of them! My mom thought I was nuts. What's new?! At home, we get one whole meal from a chicken and sometimes enough leftovers for 1-2 people the next day. I use the leftovers for other recipes later in the week as well. Roasting a chicken is extremely easy and pretty much mistake-proof. I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman's website, but have learned a few things on my own after doing it so many times.

Here's what I do:
Roasted Chicken
1 whole chicken aka "fryer," rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
Chop up some fresh herbs (whatever I have on hand; this was rosemary)
About 1-2 T. kosher salt
A good dash of pepper
A good dash of garlic powder (or fresh minced garlic when I feel like it)
About 1-2 T. canola oil
Chop up a couple spare veggies or certain fruits I have on hand (this time it was a lemon, part of an onion, and half of an apple)
Stuff the bird's "buns" (as Lola called it) with the fruit/veggies. Mix everything else together and rub all over the chicken.

Place on a foil-lined pan and create a "nest" around the chicken. Don't let the foil touch the chicken. This will serve as a barrier from all of the juices popping up and splattering all over the inside of your oven. Pioneer Woman didn't mention that; I learned it the hard way. Like this.

Throw in a preheated 450-degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. Wait for it...

When it's ready, remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before you cut into it. Don't eat the veggies/fruit that you used to stuff it. They just add flavor and keep it moist. You're all done!! The best part is that you don't even have to wash your pan when you're done bc it stayed nice and clean from the foil.

Green Bean, Grape & Pasta Toss

Green Bean, Grape & Pasta Toss

1 c. chopped pecans (I left this out; nuts = yuck!)
8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
1 lb. thin fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half
8 oz. penne pasta, prepared and drained
1 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
1 t. salt
2 c. seedless red grapes, cut in half
1/3 c. diced purple onion

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Cook beans in salted boiling water to cover for 5 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge beans in ice water to stop the cooking process. Whisk together the mayo and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; add pecans, green beans, pasta, grapes, and onion, stirring to coat. Cover and chill for 3 hours; stir in bacon just before serving.

Curly Girly -- Kinda

Lola found some foam curlers in my bathroom and wanted to put them in her hair after I told her what they were. She was hoping to get "curly hair like Jodi," but since her hair is so straight and bc she sleeps like a crazy person, most of her curlers came out overnight. She did get a little volume for church the next day, but, sadly, no curls. She was pretty proud of herself with those curlers.

Fruit & Veggie Phones


Back in June there were several days in a row that it rained. I went in to check on Lola during her naptime and found her like this. I guess she thought she'd get rained on inside her room too.

Two days in a row

What happens when your big sister makes you necklaces you don't want. Two days in a row.

Girly baby gift

There's a baby boom going on in my community group from church! Out of eight couples, all of us have had a baby in the past year and several are having their second and third babies this summer! We've been getting together for lots of diapers-and-wipes parties, but I couldn't help but throw in a little onesie. Gifting gives me an excuse to craft! My "baby" has sadly outgrown onesies so these are little fun treats for me. This one I dyed a soft mint and added yoyo flowers and a little green leaf. So easy! I could go nuts making those yoyos. All of Lola's clothes are going to end up with these things on them if I'm not careful :

All because of the towels

Back in the wintertime, I was at Target and came across the most beautiful, soft, and BLEACH-FRIENDLY aqua-colored towels. I always thought about those towels. Then, they went on a heckuva sale in the spring, so I bought some, along with a matching bathmat, with plans of saving them for our "new" house when the time came. Well, here we are about 4 months since buying them, and I decided I wasn't waiting anymore. Out they came. I washed them and they are AWESOME. So, so soft. I love that I can add bleach to them too and really get them germless.

I am obsessed with that pretty aqua color so I made a shower curtain to complement the towels. In my dream world, the walls would be painted a very soft creamy vanilla color; in reality, I have to deal with the khaki. I'm pretty pleased with how the shower curtain turned out. I got it at Kohls on sale, and then added the scrap pieces at the bottom. It's just a mishmash of old Amy Butler, cheapy polka dots, Alexander Henry, and some other stuff that I don't even know the origins of. The next time I make ruffles on something (like later today) I'll know to use almost double the amount that I really think I need. These ruffles were supposed to be more pleated but I ran out of fabric! I was inspired by Gussy's ruffles. She's one of my favorite bloggers :)

This is just some free decor. That blue glass thing was something my mom had. I think it came off of old electric poles or something? The tall glass bottle is being saved until I can do this to it. It was really a used-up bottle of Giada de Laurentis' salad dressing! I have a plan for it, but just haven't got to it yet. The small glass vase/cup was something I picked up a few years ago and had sitting in my closet. I filled it with sand from our recent trip to Mexico, along with the shells we brought home to Lola. The fish is a project Lola made at Bass Pro at Easter. I figured it fit the scheme.
This last pic is a gaudy gold frame that I had in my closet as well. I sprayed it red and added some "art." That's really a t-shirt from my honeymoon in Santa Barbara, CA. Kendall and I fell in love with their food. All of the little surfer diners were so good bc they served like homecooking, but with lots of fresh fruit and stuff. YUM! It's the only thing I really have from the honeymoon so I couldn't bear to throw it away. (It doesn't fit anymore. Can't imagine why.) I just folded up the sleeves and pinned them so they stayed flat, then framed the whole thing. FREE!!! Someday I might make it into a cute dress for Lola, but until then, I needed something on that wall to go with my "new" bathroom.

That's How I Roll

Every weekend, I make out the upcoming week's menu. I love, love, love cooking and baking so planning this way makes it easy to always try out new recipes. It also saves our family SO MUCH money bc we can eat at home all week for about $65 each week. About $25 of that weekly budget goes to fresh fruit and vegetables. When the time comes and we have a house that allows for us to garden, we hope to grow a lot of stuff and live off of its bounty. Until then, I shop mostly at SuperTarget. They always have a good produce area and lots of great sales. I like Walmart too, but I'm usually disappointed in their produce selection. I'm just a big fan of Target.

I make out the menu, fill out my Grocery Store spreadsheet that I made which matches my menu (nerd alert!), and we're all set for the week! We eat supper at 6:00 everyday. My goal is to always have that happen. Extracurricular activities are not going to be a priority in this house. Family meals will be.

As you can see, though, there are times that I grab lunch out somewhere. This week we went to Sonic on our way home from grocery shopping. I make one dessert each week and rarely ever buy snacks. We were in Kansas City over the weekend, so it sort of threw off our usual routine of Monday morning grocery shopping.

And, since I love to craft, I made a little clipboard that holds the menus. I just Mod Podged some cute paper to a little clipboard after I scalloped the edges, and then Gorilla glued some magnets on the back. Easy! And, that's just how I roll...

Cal's Room

Around the time that Cal was born, Kendall and I were already discussing selling our house. Because of that, it made it hard to want to invest much money into really decorating anything. However, we felt that Cal needed to have his own little space for the time being so we opted to paint the walls dark chocolate. I knew I wanted chocolate syrup brown, not brownie mix brown or anything with much red...or gray...just chocolate syrup. We found it! And, that's about the extent of Cal's nursery! My mom bought him some sheets and a mini comforter on clearance at Target. And that's all the room had in terms of decorating until two months ago. I was sick and tired of walking into an empty room, so I decided that I was going to break out some of the stuff I had been saving for Cal's new bedroom. It wasn't a lot, but just some stuff I'd been saving up. It was fun to put them to use to add some "boyness" to his room without caring what future buyers would think. I had been leaving the walls bare bc I didn't want to make nail holes bc we were told by the stager that came over that buyers like getting the feel that it's a brand new house. Well, that was okay for the first part of the year, but at this rate, I'm still the one having to live here and I want a few things on the wall.

These are posters that I had my mom get back home in Hominy. They plaster these posters all over town bc the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show is just a few towns over. Last year's posters looked like vintage prints, so as soon as I saw them I knew I needed them. She hit up several businesses around town to see if they'd let her have them when they got ready to take them down -- and they were kind enough to give them to her! Until I can decide what to do for them, they're just hanging on twine with clothespins from his ceiling.

This is a copy of Kendall's Ferdinand book from when he was a kid. His mom gave us a bunch of his old books a couple years ago and I knew they'd be perfect in a little boy's room -- if we ever had a son. So, now they make their home on Cal's shelf. We read them; it's not just for looks. I thought it was funny that Ferdinand made an appearance on The Blindside.

Just some cowboy pop that I spotted while grocery shopping one day. And a deer antler that Kendall found one afternoon while exploring at my parents' house back home.

Kendall's little wooden toy from when he was a kid. Cal's newborn moccasins. I'm a quarter Osage so my kids have their native cards as well. Cal got his Osage name on his first birthday: Hom-Mah-Saun. It means "sentry elk," meaning he's "outside of the herd, a guard, looks out." Granted, the deer antler above isn't an elk antler, but it's kinda close enough...
We made these shelves after a quick trip to Lowes. Once again, inexpensive was the key. I think they're kind of industrial :) We made the exact same shelves five years ago in our apartment. The framed picture on the top shelf was given to us before a garage sale a few years ago from Kendall's grandma. It's a little funny bc she thought I'd like it since I was Indian. It's really old and dusty. Just another thing I kept in case I ever had a son.

The rest of the stuff is just a little stereo that I use to play classical music during Cal's naptime. Little Golden Books. Piggy bank. I Heart Tulsa postcard. All in all, this stuff was basically free!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm Back...Again...For now...

I'm not even going to bother updating since my last post. It's been way too long and way too much has happened, but here's a quick rundown: Cal Rocco Jones was born last year. Lolabee is now 3. I'm a stay-home mama and am thoroughly fulfilled in my new life. Court reporting and my career was my focus for ten years and now that's on the backburner. We're in the process of trying to sell our house to accomodate my lack of income. Plus, we have a desire to live simply and hopefully get a little chunk of land. Our current cookie cutter home is in a wonderful neighborhood, but just doesn't have the outdoor space Kendall and I would like to have. Growing up on a ranch, there literally were no limits to where I could roam; now that I have kids, I see how awesome that was! We want to garden, play, and just have wide open space to let the kids enjoy. I'm currently researching the possibility of home-schooling. I decided to blog again bc I love reading others' blogs and seeing how other people live; thought I'd contribute as well! Now on to the good stuff...

I love it when my friends have babies bc it gives me an excuse to take them a meal. Sharing a meal makes my heart happy. Usually, I just double whatever I make them and save half for my family's meal. It works out well bc we either have supper or I freeze it for later. I'm all about freezing. I recently learned some cool tips on the best ways to freeze food. I'll share that later. This post is all about this super simple cake. I'm so glad that I convinced myself that Jami and her family didn't need the whole thing... :) So rather than make a 9x13, I made two 8x8's. Perfect!

As you can see, I can't seem to stay out of this darn little cake! It's such a light, pretty, summery cake!

Cherry Poke Cake
(or whatever flavor of Jello you want)

1 white cake, prepared according to the package's instructions
1 small package of Jello
3/4 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cold water

Cool Whip frosting, recipe below

Prepare your cake. Poke holes all over the top with a fork or end of a wooden spoon. In a little bowl, combine Jello with hot water and stir until dissolved. Stir in cold water. Pour over the cake. Refrigerate for 3 hours and prepare frosting.

Cool Whip Frosting

1 small package of vanilla instant pudding (you can also use your favorite flavor, but this is mine)
1 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip
1/2 c. milk

Pour milk into a medium bowl and add pudding mix. Beat with electric mixer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Gently stir in Cool Whip. Spread over cake. Keep cake refrigerated.