Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chicken Salad and My Crock Pot

Here's another Pinterest recipe for Chicken in the Crock Pot.
This recipe was described as "All Purpose Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken"

I've been wanting to make chicken salad so I thought this would be a good way to cook the chicken prior to making the chicken salad.  I did not plan on shredding the chicken; I wanted to cube it.  It worked fine.

In my true fashion, I didn't have EVERYTHING the recipe called for.  I did not have Onion Powder, so I chopped up about 1/4 onion.  It's amazing that I had a real onion on hand.  
I'm working on this, peeps! : )

Assemble and throw in the crock pot, including frozen chicken breast (love frozen!) and I cooked on high for about 4 hours.

The recipe came from Mountain Mama Cooks and here is what her shredded version looks like.

We had chicken breasts for dinner with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob, and I assembled the chicken salad after dinner.  My husband thought the chicken was very tender, but a bit bland.   I don't have a picture of dinner.   

Here's the chicken salad on a whole grain bun with our favorite potato chips. Lays All Natural Potato Chips.  (We call the Tessa Chips after our beloved Golden Retriever Tessa.  More about that later.)  The chicken salad has 2 chicken breasts, 1 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup green grapes, 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts and about 1 cup mayo.  Hubby thought it was yummy, so the mayo added enough flavor to his taste. 

Here's the recipe from Mountain Mama Cooks:

All Purpose Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

4 organic, boneless skinless chicken breasts (I did not use organic)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder (I used 1/4 chopped onion)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 

Place chicken in slow cooker.  Sprinkle chicken breasts with all the spices.  Add chicken stock.  Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks.  Cool completely and if you want to freeze, divide into ziplock baggies.  This makes just about six cups total and I like to divide the shredded chicken into three portions with about two cups each.

It will be fun to switch up the Chicken Salad ingredients a bit with say craisins and almonds.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Chicken Salad with apples and cheddar chunks.  That sounds good for fall.  What do you like in your Chicken Salad?


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Beagle, the Yorkie, and 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels

Riley the Beagle and Tommy the Yorkie came to visit this afternoon.
They are my daughter's and son-in-law's dogs.

My daughter and SIL are having an appraisal done on their house this afternoon.  
They recently went under contract to sell their house so they have to endure appraisals, home inspections and radon testing, etc.  
Lucky for all of them, I can open my Doggie Day Care door.  
Riley lived with us for about 3 years with my daughter and just recently moved out when my daughter got married at the end of May.

I think we have "Riley-ized" the house adequately by moving all the trash cans out of reach 

and closing all the doors and blocking off the living room 
so she won't make herself at home on the sofa.

I've removed the TP from the holder in the half bath so she can't reach it and eat it.

I also made sure the pantry door was shut and the closet where the dog food is stored is closed, and there is no food near the edge of the counter.  

She'll probably roam around looking for some trouble to get in to.  Grrrr. Riley!

Within minutes of arriving, she found a bone that my dogs had rejected, so she was happily occupied for a while. 

Tommy was here at Christmastime, and lifted his leg to mark his territory several times.

The plan today is to corral him in the laundry room with his pee pads.

He's just a little bit of a dog.  So cute.  And he's a senior citizen. 

Everyone got along along well as long as they were all sleeping!  ; )

And we get to do it all again Thursday!  Good dogs! : ) 


Another Successful Crockpot Recipe-Cheesy Chicken & Rice

We had another successful crock-pot meal last night. 
Another Chicken crockpot recipe.
From Pinterest.  
The original source is

I love that it is so easy to dump ingredients into the pot 
and a few hours later have a tasty meal on the table.

My hubby liked it, had 2 servings, and didn't groan when I said, 
"It's a good thing you like it because we'll be eating it again tomorrow!" 
I said that in a nice, pleasant tone with a smile.  
I know that doesn't always come across in two-dimensional writing. : )

I was concerned because the recipe called for Zatarain's Yellow Rice.  
Isn't that the Cajun style stuff with lots of HOT spices?  
I'm a wimp when it comes to hot flavorings.  
I just don't get why a burning mouth = tastes good. 
But I bravely bought it and used it and it was NOT hot. 

I changed the recipe up a little because I used frozen chicken breasts 
(I LOVE that!  Open bag and dump!) 
and I had frozen corn.  
I put the frozen corn in with the frozen chicken at the beginning.  
The recipe used canned corn and added it at the end just to warm it up.

I also only used a half onion - just our personal preference. 

It smelled SO GOOD while it was cooking!

Here's Southern Plates' pic of after the chicken is done.  
She added the corn, pre-cooked rice, and cheddar cheese.
My frozen corn was already in the pot while the chicken cooked.

After all is warmed up, mix it in the crockpot.  
The chicken will break easily into smaller chunks.

Yep.  Just as I expected.  It's YELLOW!

The dish turned out YELLOW as I expected because the recipe calls for cream of chicken soup (yellow), Zatarain's Yellow Rice, Corn and Cheddar Cheese.  
In the first picture at the top of the page, does it kind of look look like scrambled eggs?
Adding the green beans on the side helped balance out the YELLOW.

Here's Southern Plate's finished dish

And mine.  I think I had less chicken and more cheese.

Anyway, it was yummy!
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I use Vidalia)
  • 1 -8 ounce box Zatarain's Yellow Rice Mix, cooked according to directions
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 - 10.5 ounce can cream of chicken soup (regular or fat free)
  • 1 -15 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
  1. Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Scatter chopped onion over top. Spoon cream soup over top of that. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. A few minutes before serving, add in cooked rice, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine. Serve hot.



Monday, July 29, 2013

How to Create a Moss Letter

This post is about creating a large moss covered letter or monogram.  
I've thrown in some tips about using mirrors in your decorating scheme.

Moss covered letters can be purchased at Pottery Barn for $79.  They are 18" - 20" tall.  
And they are covered with real "live" moss.  
I made my own.

I first saw a DIY post at Thrifty Decor Chick's blog.   

TDC was one of the first blogs I began following and I found her on a Dave Ramsey facebook post.  She had posted about their financial journey employing strategies learned from Dave Ramsey and the Dave Ramsey people shared her post.   We had recently finished Dave Ramsey's online course.  
Both  Dave Ramsey and Thrifty Decor Chick have been very helpful to me.  

I already had a mirror over our mantel.
I love using mirrors in my decor because they reflect light, add dimension to flat walls.
They can trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger.
 Our family room is a little dark because the sliders out to our deck open to a covered screened porch and the roof of the porch blocks some light.
That room has a northern exposure, too.
Oh, AND we have a humongous TV sitting in front of half of the slider, which is a decorating sin - to block a window with furniture, but in this case, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  

See!  There is light trying to stream in around the big, black TV!
The room is a little small and while the TV has a flat screen, it's not one of the flat screens that can be mounted on the wall. Neither my hubby nor I like that option anyway, so it sits on a media cabinet in front of one half of the slider doors.  
The mirror helps reflect the natural light into and around the room. 

ALSO, the mirror hides two vents in the wall above the fireplace.  I think they were part of a blower system that was to recycle warm air from the fireplace back into the room, back during the energy crisis of a few years ago.  We haven't looked into having them removed.

See the vent behind the mirror from this angle?
It's twin is right next to it and you could see it peeking out from the other side.
That mirror may have to stay there forever. 

So, back to the moss letter.  
I already had moss.  
I had the "live" moss left over from a display I did at a vendor show at a Master Gardener's event.  
My friend suggested I fill all my containers and pots I had for sale at the event with moss so they would all have a uniform look.  
It was a great idea and they did look nice.  

I bought the sheet moss at one of my favorite local garden stores, Growing Grounds.  
I took the whole box.  My friend told me I could probably get just a portion of a box, and I think the Garden store staff did offer to sell me less than a box, but I took the whole box.  
I had never worked with it before and didn't really know how much I would need.  
My friend also told me it would last FOREVER and if it started to look a little brown or a little tired, just mist it with water and it will green up and look like new.   Cool!
It's Super Moss - see?  ; )

 It's been sitting in our garage for oh, maybe 2 years.
I just opened it this week when we were in the garage getting ready for our garage sale.
Looks pretty good, doesn't it?
Super moss! 

I see many live moss projects in my future.  Would you like a live moss letter?  

I don't have all the pics for a full-blown tutorial because 
I didn't know then I would want to share with you now.  

I made my own letter out of cardboard.  
I had lots of cardboard boxes from all my Willow House shipping boxes.  
So I cut away one panel of cardboard and then drew the S free hand.  
I had my hubby watch me and guide me so it wouldn't be too wonky. 
 It's a little wonky but I think that adds to the charm. ; )

Then I cut it out with scissors.  
Next I hot glued the moss onto the front of the letter. 
 It is VERY messy so if you try this, be warned.  
Put down newspapers or a drop cloth.  
You'll have dirt and little bits of moss all over. 

Here's another WARNING:  be careful with the hot glue!  
I burned my fingers pressing the moss onto the letter.  Youch!

Then you'll probably want to trim the loose ends of the moss kind of like giving a hair cut just to neaten things up a bit.  

Once I had my S covered with well-trimmed live moss, we took it over to the mirror to hang it.  
Guess what?  
Mirrors reflect and the mirror reflected the BACK of the letter which I had not covered with moss.  
I don't have a picture of the uncovered letter, but you can see in this pic how the back of the letter is visible in the mirror. 

Back to the gluing board.
So I covered the back and sides of the letter with moss and it looked much better up against the mirror. 

 I used wired ribbon with a french script design that I loved to hang the S.
The ribbon came from Ballard Designs but is no longer available.  
I just looped it so the letter could hang from it.
Then I made a small loop to look like the ribbon is tied in a knot at the top.
We tacked it onto the mirror frame with a thumbtack.  Done.

Please note:  when you use mirrors in your decor, be aware of what will be reflected by the mirror.
Is it something you want to see?

Our mirror sits on the mantel and leans on the wall.
The mantel is pretty high so by leaning the mirror, it is angled so that all that is reflected is the ceiling.  Well, we do have a ceiling fan that is reflected.
Just be sure to take the reflection into consideration before you make permanent commitments to your mirror placement. 

So there's my DIY live moss letter.  
It's time to think about adding some touches for end-of-summer-moving-into-fall-decorating.  
Maybe some sunflowers?  Apples?  Owls?


DIY Home Decor ~ Use What You Have

It's kinda fun to use what you have to decorate.  
It challenges your creativity while saving you money.
I love a little DIY interior design, don't you?

And I've tucked a couple classic interior design tips into this post a little way down.  
Watch for them! : )
I have a fun sconce that I just love in my foyer.
It came from the Willow House/Southern Living at Home collection.

It is just the right size, not too big, not too small.  It's beautiful scrolled iron with two glass votive holders, which are removable if you want to just display the iron scroll piece.
The votives and iron holders can be removed if you want to display just the iron structure.   
Several of the sconces can be put together to create difference designs.
This medallion is formed with 4 Filigree Sconces.  
Can you see them?  
It's kinda like an optical illusion 
or one of those pictures where you have to squint to see the other picture.

This arrangement was created by the Willow House Design Team for one of the Product Showcases at a Willow House Convention.  
They always did a fantastic job!
The votive holders can hold votive candles obviously, but I like to use them as little vases.
I have used little blooms from the florist or grocery store, but this time I used little blooms from by yard, in the spirit of using what I had to decorate.

Here is the rose bush hedge at our back deck in early summer.  
The hedge exploded in pink blooms!  
The past couple of summers the Japanese beetles have ravaged the bushes, 
but, fingers crossed, the beetles are gone! 

I don't know what kind of bushes these are.  They were here when we bought the house seven years ago.  Does anyone recognize it?
I assume they are rose bushes because there are TONS of thorns!  
And the flower buds look like rose buds.  
You can see a couple of buds in the next picture.

So I snipped a few blooms and headed inside.  
These roses have lots of thorns!  
Note to self :  consider gloves next time. 

Here's the Classic Interior Design Tip:  Always include something living in your room designs, such a flowers, plants, fruits or vegetables (and an occasional child or pet works too).  
It adds life to the room because it tells you someone actually lives there to place and care for the living thing in the room!
Try it and see if you agree. 

From outside to inside with fresh water, sparkling glass, and scrolled iron at no cost. 

Here's another Classic Design Tip:  Adding a glass piece to a room adds sparkle and light.  It is especially effective in a room with lots of fabric and wood.  The smooth surface adds interest and a break from all the flat, soft look of fabric such as upholstered pieces.  Try it and see if you agree.  : )

Our foyer has lots of doors and therefore not much wall space and it has been a challenge to decorate and place furniture like a table/console and a bench.  I'll post about that in the future. 

Here you can see the sconce on a little slice of a wall separating the living room from the family room.  Do you think that wall needs to come down to make one open great room?  
Sometimes I like the solitude of the living room and the coziness of our smallish family room.  
Well, I'll think about that another day.  

I've also used blooms and sprigs from other bushes in our yard.  
And I love to use boxwood sprigs, again from our landscaping.  
No cost - use what you have.  Love!

These aren't boxwood sprigs, but leafy sprigs from on of our other bushes.  
I like the green and dark iron together. 

And I did not repaint the wall between the times these two photos were taken.  
It's just the difference in light of one taken in the spring and one in the summer.  
And maybe the time of day? 

It's such a small detail on a small wall, but it makes me smile when I walk by and that's worth a lot!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

We're having a garage sale

We're having a garage sale this week. 
Thank you for your prayers. ; )

Most of what I'm selling is samples from my Willow House 
(formerly known as Southern Living at HOME) direct sales business.

I started with Southern Living at HOME in August 2006 because I loved all the products and wanted to make a little extra money.
I still love the products, and yes, it is hard to let them go at dirt cheap prices.
But the Home Decor Division of Willow House began closing down last October and the Company began the process of becoming a Designer Jewelry Company, Sara Blaine Jewelry for Willow House, so it is time for these things to go.
It does feel good, however, to have them out of the house and to have a little more breathing room. 
I have a few  a lot of other non-Willow House things that my husband would love to haul to the curb, but I have great plans for those diamonds in the rough.  
I hope to share them here with you on the blog in the near future so be sure to follow me! : )
(Sorry the pic is a little blurry.)

Hanging on to stuff can be called hoarding.   We all know that is not healthy, right? 
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:19 - 21.  
Yes Lord. 
Holding tight to "things" can mean I don't have faith the Lord will provide those things for me in the future should I "need" them. 

Many of the items are really cute, and very special, and loved by collectors and former consultants.  They bring more in swap groups than garage sales where shoppers may not recognize their unique value.  
Here's the cute Dress-Me-Up Platter.  
An oldie, but goodie. 

The two little holes are for adding a ribbon or tucking in sprigs of herbs.

At one time you could also purchase an iron stand and use a pair of platters.
I don't think the average garage-saler would want to pay what a true collector would.  
I found a consultant whose customer had just mentioned to her to keep her eye out for 
one of these platters.  
We matched up and have a win-win-win!  
Happy me, selling this for more than a quarter. 
Happy customer/collector to find a rare beloved piece, 
and happy consultant who can help our her friend. 

All packed and ready to go to North Carolina!

So wish us luck, say a prayer, and stop on by if you want to pick up some treasures!