Saturday, February 4, 2012

Need a FuN BirthDay Gift Idea??

I am definitely the type of person who will walk the store aisles back and forth and forth and back, looking, deciding, undeciding, looking search of a gift that they will like. Usually I have no clue what they will like! So....thank you again to Pinterest, I adopted a gift idea! This works wonderfully for, well, just about anyone! Nephews, nieces, friends, Mom, Dad- well, you get the picture. So, here's what I did! I got a handy dandy floral so. 
 They are available at any craft store. I get mine from the dollar store. This particular block has 4 small blocks in the package. I like them because if I need a shorter or smaller block, they are separated already and I don't have to cut them and make a big foamy mess! After I get the small blocks how I want them, I hot glue them together.

Here are a few other things you will need: 
4 boxes of candy (theater candy works great, and is also available at the good ol' dollar store)
4-5 (or more) of another type of candy that is in a smaller package (candy bars, gum, fruit snacks, etc)
thin wooden dowels (1/8 inch or so) I prefer bamboo skewers

tissue paper
ribbon, rope, string (optional)
and, as mentioned before, a hot glue gun and glue sticks

And, here we go!!! Once you have your foam block situated, form the boxed candy around it to make a "candy box". Hot glue the boxes of candy to the foam block. Don't worry if the corners don't match up perfectly. Just run a bead of glue in between the edges that are being difficult and hold them together until the glue dries. Then, hot glue the dowels to the backs of the other candies you chose. Once they are cooled, stick the pointy end of the skewer (this is why I prefer skewers vs dowels). Pull it back out, and do it again in another spot. Once you have all of your holes drilled, place your tissue paper inside your candy box. Then, poke your candy bar skewers through the paper in the pre-poked holes. If you wish, use the ribbon, string, rope, whatever you chose, to tie around the boxes to give it a little more hold, and a nice finish! Here is the one I made most recently.
I should have taken photos WHILE I was making it, instead of after it was finished. I will get better at this blogging thing. This makes a great gift! It's easy to assemble. It uses things that some of us have on hand, and it costs under $10! Happy gift making!! Stay tuned for my next 'Little Thing'.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chicken Taco Soup in the crock pot

The end result
So I had some chicken out, and wanted to do something new. I saw a recipe on somewhere for a Chicken Taco Soup! That sounded delightful to me!! So, here's what I did. I poured 2 cans of chicken broth in my lovely friend, crock pot. I then added 4 big fat boneless, skinless chicken breasts. A few sprinkles of onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. I would have used a few parts of fresh garlic if I had any on hand, but this was a spur of the moment adventure. I cooked the chicken in the broth mix on high for about 4 hours...checking them regularly for doneness. (Is 'doneness' really a word?) The chicken is cooked through now, so I took it out of the crock pot to shred it. I saw a pin on Pinterest about shredding chicken, and let me tell you what....G-E-N-I-U-S! Cut the breasts in about thirds, put them in your bowl that attaches to your fancy dancy KitchenAid Mixer. Put the regular mixing paddle on and turn it on! It works so well!!!! Never again will I shred meat with 2 forks! Just watch for flying chicken for the first little while. The pieces get pushed out at first, until the meat starts shredding.
While the chicken was shredding, I added a large can of tomato sauce, and a soup can size can of tomato paste. I only added the paste because I prefer a thicker soup. I then chopped half an onion with my wonderful Pampered Chef food chopper! I added the onion, 2 packets of taco seasoning, and one cup of roasted diced chili peppers. You can use the canned ones. I used some that I made and froze from my Daddy's garden this past summer. Some recipes I looked at called for red beans. Some for black beans. Some for both. I used 4 cans of black beans. Mostly because my family prefers black beans, and partly because I had several cans of them on hand, and the red beans I do have, are bagged and dry and as I stated before....this was a spur of the moment recipe. So, after I added all of the beans, put the chicken back in the pot, and stirred it all up, I let it all cook together for about 2 more hours on high. I love corn in my chicken taco anything....and most of us like corn, but it really, really doesn't like some of I didn't add the corn to the soup, but heated some in a separate bowl to add as wanted.  The soup turned out great!!! The kids loved it...and even the picky baby girl gobbled it up! Success!! My bowl (the one pictured) had the soup, with corn added, topped with a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar, and tortilla chips for some crunch!  

Kitchen Invention!

So, here we are! Welcome to my blog! I'll tell you a little about what I do. When in need of something new to cook, I search recipes, and then I create my own thing out of those recipes. Yes, I am one of those people who can't follow a recipe. I am always thinking "oooh, that would taste so good in this!".  Sometimes my little 'kitchen inventions' turn out great. Other times, not so great. Luckily I have a great family who endures the not so great! Stay tuned for my first share of tonight's creation in Jamie's kitchen!