October 28, 2014

Home Sweet Home: The Kitchen and Yard

 I know I've already shown some of our kitchen--but here is a full view from the Living Room into the Kitchen

 One of the first things people comment on are the class cabinets going into the kitchen.  They are just so unique and I love them!  I love getting to display all of my kitchen stuff.  And I love that the open from both sides for easy access!  It makes the space from the kitchen to the living room feel so open

Another fun and different thing about our kitchen is the huge walk-in pantry!  I love having all of the extra storage space for serving dishes.  And we even keep our microwave and toaster over in there

 We've got our stove and over with cabinets and drawers all around
 And our new French Door Refrigerator that we bought when we moved in
 And I love this window above our sink that looks into the backyard

 Here is our pool!  We weren't looking for a house with a pool, but we definitely will love having it
 And we love that we have so much yard still even with the pool.  And the 2 storage sheds out back give lots of extra space for us too
Even Lily is getting used to having a yard all to herself :)

October 27, 2014

Home Sweet Home: The Rest of the Rooms

Welcome to our Office!
 It's right across the hall from our bedroom
 We've got our desk and filing cabinet set up. Along with our diplomas :)
 And the wall of Rangers Pictures
And we turned our old dining room table into a craft table in our office.  So I have a place do some sewing, scrapbooking and crafting!
 This is our guest bathroom.  It's a half bath that is connected to our Master
 We set up some storage to add space for all of the extra things we had.

October 26, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Spaghetti Casserole

We've had a busy weekend of hosting people.  After ICF on Friday night, we opened up our house last night for a World Series Watch Party and Hangout Night with some friends from the Young Adults Group after the Woodcreek Block Party.  And tonight we had my family over for dinner!

My mom is the only one in my family who has been over, so I was excited when things were finally settled and we could set up a time for everyone to come see the house.  I decided to try out one of my new recipes for this dinner too (my lucky family and friends who get to be my guinea pigs!).

Tonight I decided to make Spaghetti Casserole, which is another dish from my friend Sami.  I was trying to find a dish that would easily feed my family and maybe give us some left overs, so I doubled the recipe just in case we went through all of one tonight!  But one of the dishes fed all 6 of us (my nephew ate his own food) with some left over--it was very filling.  We are all pasta lovers in my family, so it was fun to try this one out.
Spaghetti Casserole
*-2 tablespoons butter *2 cloves garlic *1 teaspoon sugar *1 teaspoon salt *pepper to taste *1 pound ground beef *3 cans tomato sauce *12-16 ounces spaghetti (cooked) *3 ounces cream cheese *1.5 cups sour cream *6 green onions, minced *1/2 pound cheddar cheese (shredded)
-brown meat (pour out grease) set aside
-add butter, garlic, sugar and salt to skillet.  cook till melted
-Add meat, sauce and pepper simmer uncovered 20 minutes
-mix onions, sour cream and cream cheese
-place cooked spaghetti in a greased 9x13 pan
-top with cream cheese mix, the meat sauce, then cheese
Bake 350, 30 min uncovered

The Spaghetti Casserole was very yummy and a big hit with most everyone.  We had it alongside garlic bread, salad, and garlic mashed potatoes

And for dessert I made these Cheesecake Sugar Cookie Bars with chocolate chips.  They turned out super yummy!

It was a fun night seeing everyone!  Especially this guy who put on a rock concert for us.  He was very talkative tonight and told us all about what's going on his life.  Such a great night with family.  Which is exactly the purpose of all this cooking-- to gather people together around a meal.  I just love doing that in our new house at our new dining room table.

October 25, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Chicken Spaghetti

We hosted one of our first groups at our house last night!  We've been involved with ICF Friday night home group and Bible study with international students for the past year.  When we were looking at buying houses one of the things we wanted to use our house for is hosting the Home Group.  The group rotates between different houses each week, so it was fun to finally be able to have it at our home.

The person who hosts home group makes the main dish for dinner and then everyone else brings sides and desserts.  In brainstorming to think of main dishes that feed a lot of people, I kept coming back to Chicken Spaghetti, because it is relatively easy and can stretch a long way if it needs to.  So I made a batch of the Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti that we had a few months ago and I also decided to try out a new Chicken Spaghetti recipe I had.  My friend Becky gave me this recipe for Chicken Spaghetti and it was just different enough from the crockpot one that I had to try it!

It turned out to be a big hit--I think most people liked it.  And it was a great meal for this group.

Chicken Spaghetti
*1 pound Chicken *1/2 box noodles *1 can Rotel (drained) *1/2 container medium size sour cream *1/3 block Velveeta *1 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
-Cook Chicken and Separate {I put about 4 lbs of chicken in my crockpot covered with chicken broth and water yesterday morning and cooked it on low about 6.5 hours.  Then I cut it all up to get about 8 cups of chicken to use between all the recipes.}
-Cook Noodles
-In saucepan, heat sour cream, velveeta, and rotel
-Combine with noodles and chicken.  Top with cheddar cheese
Bake 350 for about 25 minutes
I used at least twice as much of everything and tried to triple most of the recipe to make 2 dishes of chicken spaghetti and 1 dish with everything but the chicken.  The ratios didn't come out to exactly 3x everything but I still think it worked out okay.

 We had a great night hanging out with friends over dinner and then studying the Bible together
 So grateful for the opportunity to have this group over!

October 24, 2014

Home Sweet Home: The Master Bedroom

Welcome to our room

 Love the built-ins as you walk in the door
Our bed and bedding
 Last Friday I finally hung a bunch of our pictures.  At our apartment we had all of our wedding pictures that we framed hung up in our Living Room.  I decided to move them to the bedroom and add a few other pictures and signs to make a gallery wall in the Master.  I love the way it turned out!

With this move, Lily's crate moved into our room.  She sleeps in our room at night anyway, so it seemed easier to have her there all the time
 A view from the other side
 And then you head into our Master bathroom--it's small but works out well for us

 Had to use my over-the-door organizer to manage all my stuff (it's out of control!)

Love our little back corner of the house!

October 20, 2014

Home Sweet Home: Welcome In

Well our home is finally starting to feel settled.  We've had some repair work done over the past few weeks and while there's still more to come, I was able to get a lot set up this past weekend... so Welcome in!
 Love our little front porch area
 The view from our front door into the Dining Room and Living Room (complete with the dog who will be there to bark at you as soon as she hears the door open!)
 Still need to unpack the China into my China cabinet, but glad to have it situated.  And we have 2 beautiful scroll paintings from Chinese friends that complemented the area well
Our Dining Room... China Cabinet and Dining Table (that we bought on Amazon and spent the past 2 weeks assembling)

 Then turn into our living room
 A view of the Living room from the Kitchem
 Love the decor I was able to put out on these shelves, including several gifts from China that friends have given us!
 Our entertainment center... with room to spare on either side.

The living space in our house is so wonderful and was a big reason that we bought this house.  We love how open everything is and how perfect it seems for having people over!  More of the home tour to come this week

October 19, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Chicken Marsala

We've had a pretty good weekend here.  Friday we got our new flooring installed--so coming this week will be a photo tour of our new house because almost everything is now in place!

I got to enjoy breakfast with Erin and her mom yesterday--it was so fun catching up with Mama Mazur and spending time hanging out.  Then Nicki came over to the house yesterday afternoon.  She was in town for a conference and decided to stop by and see the new house (and us) before heading home to Austin.

So I decided to try out one of the weekly recipes on her.  I figured one of the Italian dishes would be a fun one to make for lunch (since we would most likely be eating around the football game!).  So I decided to try out the Chicken Marsala recipe I got from my my friend Sami.

Sami's husband Jon leads our young adults group at church and I've been blessed to get to the know them both over the last 4 years and really enjoy the times Sami and I get to catch up.  She gave me a few different recipes as part of our wedding gift (along with some fun kitchen things) so I was excited to try one out!

It was actually fairly simple to put together and we all three thought it turned out pretty good!  And even though we ate it while watching Baylor lose their football game, we still had a great time enjoying lunch together

Chicken Marsala (serves 4-6)
*1/4 cup flour *1/2 teaspoon salt *1/4 teaspoon pepper *1/2 teaspoon oregano *4 tablespoons butter & olive oil *16 ounces chopped mushrooms {We are not big mushroom people at our house... so I had an 8 ounce container of mushrooms and I used about 3/4 of it... and I felt like it was the perfect amount!} *1/2 cup Marsala Wine *1/2 Cup Cooking Sherry *4 chicken breasts (pounded to 1/4 inch)
-Mix flour, salt, pepper, and oregano together
-Coat chicken in flour mix
-Melt butter and oil over medium heat.  Add mushrooms saute (add extra dices basil, oregano, garlic salt to taste :)
-Place chicken in pan lightly brown (5-7 minutes on each side)
-Pour in all wine; cover & simmer til all juices are clear
-Serve over any pasta :) {I chose whole wheat linguine}

And since Nicki was in town I made some pumpkin dessert.  I had found this recipe for Pumpkin Magic Bars and since they were a pumpkin version of the Cookie Bars Nicki gave me I had to try it out.  We both thought they were very delicious--a yummy fall afternoon treat!

October 17, 2014

Fall Friday Fun: Pictures

This year I decided to send out Fall cards to our friends and family instead of Christmas cards.  This way we got our new address out fairly quickly and I got to have fun Fall cards :)

My best friend Erin came over about a week after we moved in to hang out and I asked her to bring her camera to take some pictures of us for the cards.  And I love how they all turned out!

Can you spy Lily in any of the pictures? ;) She was trapped inside waiting by the door for us.  We laughed that she made it into the pictures--because any time we actually try to take pictures with her they turn out ridiculous

It's always fun getting new pictures of us together!  

October 11, 2014

Cooking Up Memories: Guacamole

This week our house has been in full-on repair mode.  We've had the foundation repaired, carpet stretched, floors measured for new flooring and plumbing inspection.  So we've been eating a lot of left overs and I knew I wouldn't have much time to cook.  

It worked out perfectly that one of the recipes I got is for guacamole--so I decided to pull that one out this week as we host a day of watching college football.  I just started eating (or liking) guacamole in the last few years and I have actually never made it myself, so I was excited to try out this fairly simple recipe.

*3 Avocados {I mashed up the avocados with a potato masher} *1 Lime {juice} *1/2 teaspoon salt *1/2 teaspoon cumin *1 Roma tomato {chopped up--I only used half because tomatoes are not my favorite} *1/2 teaspoon garlic powder *1/2 teaspoon onion powder

-Mix Well- Best after it sits about 30 min

It seems like the guacamole will fit in with our feast of dips and snacks.  I found a few new dip recipes to try and of course had the staple queso

*Cheddar Bacon Ranch Dip *Queso (Velveeta, Rotel, a little cream cheese and sausage) *Guacamole *And our Football Decor ;)

Seems like the perfect line up to watch the Red River Rivalry Game and Baylor and TCU play in Waco while they are both Top 10 teams!