December 14, 2014

Weekend Recap & Menu Planner

I can't believe there are only 11 more days until Christmas! We had a fun weekend. Friday night, we had dinner at Chuy's  and then saw a few Tacky Light Houses. The houses on Asbury Court are by far the best! This is their 40th year...I remember going every year growing up.

My mom bought Clyde this bow tie to wear for Christmas Eve! He has been testing it out...I think he likes it.

Today, my mom and I took Camille, Clyde and their cousins, Vail and Winters to see Big Hero 6! We LOVED it! My mom is a tough movie critic and she even loved it.

Here goes with this week's menu planner...

Sunday....French Dip Sandwiches and Fries

Monday....Mexican Meatloaf, Black Beans & Rice, Corn

Tuesday....Store bought Tortellini & Sauce, Bread

Wednesday....Chicken Tortilla Soup (recipe below), Quesadillas

Thursday....Office Party

Friday....Chili from the Freezer

Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed tomato soup
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1.5 cups chicken broth
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup frozen yellow corn, thawed
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
Garnish....sour creams, shredded cheese, chopped avocados

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, and jalapeno, cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, condensed coup, chicken, chicken broth, cumin, salt, chili powder, poultry seasoning and pepper, stirring to combine. Stir in corn, cream and cilantro. Stir in chips, and cook uncovered until heated through.. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and avocados, if desired. Serve immediately. 

December 7, 2014

Southern Living Christmas Cookbook to Benefit Ronald McDonald House

For the second year now, I have had the pleasure of working with the Ronald McDonald House to help spread the word about their Southern Living Christmas Cookbook sold exclusively at Dillard's. (You can check out my post from last year here.) The Ronald McDonald House provides a warm and inviting home away from home for families with critically ill children receiving treatment at our local hospitals. There is a $15 suggested donation per night to stay at the Ronald McDonald House but families will not be turned away if they can't provide the donation. Last year, the Ronald McDonald House served 500 families!

The Southern Living Christmas Cookbook is being sold again this year for the terrific price of $10. You can find it at the Stony Point & Short Pump Dillard's as well as on-line. All proceeds go directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

I have picked out quite a few recipes to make this Christmas season. The Overnight Coffee Crumble Cake seems like a perfect pairing for your Christmas morning egg casserole. Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip and Tortellini Caprese Bites for your holiday cocktail parties and Green Bean-Goat Cheese Gratin, Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Herb Roasted Turkey for Christmas dinner. There are also some wonderful desserts and ideas for edible gifts.  We decided to try the Double Chocolate Chip Cookies because who doesn't love a chocolate chip cookie. And they are perfect to package up and give to friends and neighbors.

We had fun making the cookies! I am so grateful and thankful for healthy children. We are blessed and working with the Ronald McDonald House is a good reminder of that.


The cookies were delicious! Here is a link to the recipe. They call for bourbon in the ganache but I left that out since I would be serving them to the children. ;)

This year the cookbook also has a Year Round Celebrations section with ideas for Easter, Game-Day Tailgating, Baby and Bridal Showers. They are also some fabulous pictures and inspiration for setting your table or arranging flowers.

This cookbook is a perfect gift and so affordable at only $10! I hope you will add it to your Christmas shopping list this year. 

The Ronald McDonald House Richmond provided me with a copy of this cookbook.

December 3, 2014


I have been absent from this blog for a while. Life has been busy. My new listing has been getting lots of activity, I had dental surgery so menu planning for me was mostly soft foods and smoothies, we hosted Thanksgiving and froze our tails off at the VA Tech vs UVA Game!

These came out a little blurry but I thought they looked so cute I had to share. Clyde naturally put his hand in his pocket and then Camille decided to add her hand to her hip.

 This is Clyde's "I am over it" face!

Sad loss for the Wahoos in Blacksburg but one that I am getting used to. I am not sure I will be back to Blacksburg in 2 years if it is a night game! Brrr! 

I am so excited because today I am visiting the Ronald McDonald House. Dillard's is selling the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook again this year and proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. Here is my post from last Christmas. Be sure to come back Sunday for a very special Southern Living Christmas cookbook menu planner.

November 16, 2014

Weekend Recap & Menu Planner

Where is the time going? I can't believe we are half way through November. My mom actually put up her Christmas tree yesterday.

We've had a relaxing weekend. Clyde got to take home Barney Bear from school. So we've had fun photographing his adventure with us this weekend. Camille also got to take Barney home when she was in Junior Kindergarten. You can read about their adventure here. Here are Barney and Clyde in front of my mom's Christmas tree!

Good thing Barney was tucked away safely with Clyde last night because this morning Michael and I woke to find this at the foot of our bed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cougar was so proud of her catch that she brought it right to us. You can only the imagine the screams that followed this discovery. The poor, sweet chipmunk made a wrong turn and I believe got in through a vent we accidentally left open into our basement fireplace. This morning, Cougar was hanging around the fireplace hoping for another catch. :(

How was that for a transition? Sweet Clyde and Barney Bear right into the poor, lost chipmunk. Do you even want to hear my menu planner now?

Well here goes....

Sunday....7 Vegetable Minestrone Soup, Cornbread

Monday....Crusty Black Bean Chorizo Subs, Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday....Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Wednesday....Spicy Sausage Pasta

Thursday...Burgers & Fries

November 13, 2014

Alexander's Antiques

Have you ever been to Alexander's Antiques? I've had a few friends win items at auction there. So when I was looking for a place to hide our computer router, network etc, I decided to check out Alexander's. 
I went on Thursday for the preview before that night's auction. Earlier in the week, I looked online and found a small corner cabinet that I thought would work. However a rookie mistake was made when I got to Alexander's and thought this was the cabinet I had selected online. So I decided to leave a silent bid for the item. When I got home and looked at the site again, I realized I put a bid on the wrong item! 

It was really this small corner cabinet I wanted to bid on! So I frantically called Alexander's and lucky was able to retract my bid and put a silent bid on the correct item. And I won it! If you ask, the staff at Alexander's will give you a range for the item and my bid was right above the mid-point. Also, if you are a first time customer, ask for a coupon. I believe I saved $25 off my winning bid.   

Here's the cabinet now in our family room. 

 Perfect spot for hiding all these computer devices! 

I did try the next week to bid on another item that was similar to this bamboo chair in my family room. I would love to have two matching by the fireplace but unfortunately my bid wasn't high enough that time. Oh well, it was not meant to be. Maybe next time. Have you ever bid and won? 

November 9, 2014

New Front Door Color & Menu Planner

We had a great weekend! It was fairly low, yard work, cleaning, laundry, a little bit of work too. We did have some fun and had some friends and their families over for an early pizza dinner and football last night.

I wanted to share a curb appeal update to our new house. Richmond is the city of bright front door colors and I knew moving into our house that I wanted something other than black for our front door.

Here is the before picture from August.

We hired Virginia Green to treat, seed and aerate our yard. They do an amazing job. Michael also did an amazing job of keeping up with the daily watering which isn't the most fun job.

Here is the after with the new front door color and refreshed grass!!!!

Next fall, we will work on re-landscaping directly in front of the house but for now things are looking better.

Here goes with this week's menu planner....

Sunday....Steak Caesar Salad Simplified using the streak marinade from this recipe.

Monday....Chicken and Gnocchi (I am cooking a whole chicken and will use the remaining for Thursday's Tinga Tostadas. I also use store bought Gnocchi in this recipe)

Tuesday....Baked Spaghetti (From the Freezer)

Wednesday....Blue Apron Turkey with Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli & Caper Sauce. (This was one of our Blue Apron meals and we loved it so we are using the recipe to recreate.)

Thursday....Tinga Tostada

November 7, 2014

Turkey Pumpkins!

My kids (and maybe their mommy) love a good craft! I had to say goodbye to the Halloween decorations first thing on November 1st but Clyde and Camille had a hard time parting with their mini pumpkins. We decided to turn them into turkeys for Thanksgiving. We are hosting Thanksgiving this year and I thought they could be cute centerpieces for the kid's table. With the help of brown spray paint, feathers, leftover candy corns, googly eyes and a glue gun our pumpkins were transformed.

Clyde was kind enough to let me decorate the tall gourd that he selected at the pumpkin patch with my mom. I think I got a little carried away and the turkey mama is slightly over done!

Happy weekend! Go paint some pumpkins!