Cheddar Chicken Chowder

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I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! I can’t believe we are already less than a month away from Thanksgiving. Since the weather’s changing, I asked my husband if he was up for a soup. I already had a recipe in mind, after seeing it on Dinner Delish. It sounded like a new way to use up chicken, besides grilling or baking it, and it was, most importantly, SKINNY!

This soup definitely did not taste skinny, and my husband and I gobbled it up! It was delicious and not too hard to put together either!

Cheddar Chicken Chowder
Source: Cooking Light (originally found on Dinner Delish)

Ingredients:

  • 2  bacon slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  pound  skinned, boned chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 1  cup  diced red bell pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 1/2  cups  fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 3/4  cups  diced peeled red potatoes
  • 2 1/4  cups  frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 2  cups  2% low-fat milk
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Crumble; set aside.
  2. Add chicken, onion, bell pepper, and garlic to bacon fat in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth and potatoes; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add corn; stir well.
  3. Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; add to soup. Cook over medium heat 15 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently.
  4. Stir in cheese, salt, and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon.

The Skinny – serves 6, Serving Size is 1.5 cups

Calories: 306
Fat: 7.5 g
Fiber: 2.9 g

Happy Halloween!

As you may know, it’s October 31st. Man, time flies!

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The house is decorated for the occasion.

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The treat bags are ready to hand out.

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The butter is softening to become a key ingredient for cute little pumpkins, ghosts and coffin sugar cookies before the night is over.

Happy Halloween everyone! May your evening be filled with chocolate, fun costumes and if you’re like me and the hubs, college football! :)

TGIF!

The weather is a-changin’, and of course, your summer shoes are past their prime. Oprah has taken note and is offering a coupon for 50% off your ENTIRE purchase at a Payless store through the end of today!

An amazing deal…think about the gift possibilities in their accessories section! I know I’ll be there after work, hoping it’s not too much of a mess! :)

More of my favorites!

I know most people enjoy going to the counters, and trying all the fun products. I would find myself at the MAC counter falling in love with 3-4 products and the bill would be at least $75!  I mean, the face is important, but really, there are some GREAT items in the drugstores to be discovered, and they are really friendly on the wallet!

1

I started using moisturizer about a year ago after reading that oily skin gets oilier when it’s not moisturized. I decided to go with the basic Olay moisturizer, because it’s been around for a long time, and I’m pretty young. It’s not like I need heavy duty wrinkle cream yet. This stuff is wonderful. It’s very light, has SPF 15 in it and just sinks in your skin really quickly. I put this on right before foundation and primer, so I can attest to how fast it dries/sinks in the skin!

2

I’m sure you must think that I put the wrong picture in here. What does chafing gel have to do with make-up? Well folks, this is my primer. Don’t drop your jaws and think I’m gross, but I have proof that this is a GREAT primer. Almost a copycat of Smashbox’s $30 primer! It works really well and for $6 for a tube that’s double the size of a normal primer? Hello! Obvious choice here. :)

3

I am very fair skinned with neutral tones. I used to have to go to Sephora or MAC to get matched. I found myself spending about $25 on a decent foundation, only to be disappointed that it made my oily skin (oh boy, am I blessed!) even oilier! I’ve tried everything from Makeup Forever to MAC to Bare Escentuals and MORE! I was going through oil blotting sheets like it was nobody’s business! Enter Revlon Colorstay for combo/oily skin. I bought this after reading raving reviews on blogs about this. I ended up bringing my empty MAC NC15 to Walgreen’s to see if I could find a match for this. Luckily, Buff 110 was PERFECT! And, the kicker, it’s $10 a bottle!  This stuff keeps the oil at bay and really stays put. I’m never going back to MAC again!

4

I’ve heard such great things about MAC’s Mineralize Skin Finish (more commonly called MSF), but I wasn’t really eager to pay $27 for a powder. I didn’t see the hype in it, so I never bought it. However, last weekend, I was at Ulta getting more of my foundation and noticed that the Colorstay line was BOGO. So, I decided to give this a try (in Brighten) after reading great reviews on Makeup Alley from my iPhone. (yeah, classy folks…I was in Ulta surfing the net!) This powder is $14, but if you get a BOGO deal, it’s not so bad! I really wear it as a blush highlight so far, and I really like how it brings extra radiance to my face. It’s not glittery or too shimmery…it’s really subtle but makes a difference!

5

My make-up artist used this on my wedding day. I went to buy it a few days afterwards, because it wasn’t drying and concealed my little pimples and random redness around my nose very well! I really like this stuff, and it’s pretty darn cheap if you ask me!

6

When I went to buy my concealer, Walgreen’s had a BOGO deal on Maybelline face products. I was running low on my MAC  Studio Fix powder foundation, so I decided to give this a shot since I liked the concealer so much. This powder is great! It does really well to set my foundation and concealer, and again, super cheap!

I find that because I’m using these drugstore products, I’m saving HUNDREDS a year! Seriously, give some drugstore products a try, especially when it’s BOGO. The quality has gone up to where it’s some fierce competition for the counter cosmetics!

 

Pot Roast, Again!

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The temperatures dipped into the 40s out here. It’s absolutely nuts that the week before, we were experiencing nasty, summer weather. However, this new weather was a welcomed change. I told my husband I had to make pot roast for us. It just screams cold weather food!

So, I made pot roast using the same recipe as last time. Diet friendly pot roast, in fact.  I highly recommend this simple, delicious recipe to anyone looking to make their first pot roast!

Must Make This!

I live in Louisiana, so I know you might be laughing that I actually want something like this. However, I’m a big wuss. The minute the temperatures dip into the 40s, I am layering clothes on and shivering like crazy. So, when I was looking around Fossil’s website, I saw this.

Cowl

I love how simple it is! The gorgeous knitting held together with one big button. So cute! However, $32?!? That’s a little nuts! I can buy two tops for that much. So, I went to etsy on a search to find a similar pattern so I could knit this up myself!

Pattern

This pattern is from brightcraft’s Etsy shop. It’s an inexpensive pattern, and I figure the yarn will not cost that much either to make this happen. I can also adapt the pattern to just have the one button on it. The only thing I need to learn is the cable knit. I’ve never done it before, but I think I can EASILY learn it on YouTube or some place similar. I found a visual tutorial from Lion’s Brand yarn, but I’m hoping to find a video. I learn the best by watching. :)

The catch? I already have a craft project that needs to be done first. See, I promised a dear friend who was expecting that I would make her a baby sampler. This dear friend had her baby two weeks ago, and here’s my progress. I’ve known about her pregnancy since she was at 6 weeks and didn’t start until she was at 30 weeks! Procrastination at its finest, folks!

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Ignore the fact that the animals have no eyes. I’m rusty on my french knot and want to do those last!

So, I need to finish this up quickly. My goal is to do a square each week. If my progress goes as planned, I can get this to her before Christmas! :) I told my husband that if I’m watching TV without a needle in my hand, he needs to remind me to work on this little project!

A few of my favorite things..

It’s that time of the year, folks. Yes, it’s Sephora’s Family & Friends Sale! You get 20% off of your entire purchase at Sephora.com using the code FF2009. Most stores are also accepting the sale, but since there is no official store coupon, call ahead!

I thought I should take the time to share some of my favorites from Sephora, in case you are looking to try something new!

Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliner. I got this in a free sample once, and I’m so glad I did! It glides on effortlessly, is smudgable, but sets to stay in place all day and all night! It’s wonderful and comes in many fun colors! I own them in bourbon and zero. I’m very tempted to get Rockstar as well.

Urban Decay Shadow Primer Potion. This stuff makes eye make-up stay put. I no longer get shadow creases in my eyelids because of this product. It’s wonderful!

I bought Erase Paste on a whim at Sephora. My under eye concealer was very drying and just sank into the wrinkles that are forming under my eyes. This one felt moisturizing and was slighly brightening to my under-eye area. I love it!

Pumpkin Spice Shower Gel is just a fun must-have for the holiday season. This stuff makes my showers last a few minutes longer. I love the smell haha!

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This is a fabulous fall/winter scent. It’s a little pricey, but man, I love this scent! (You can find it way cheaper at Sam’s Club..I paid $50 for a 3.4 oz. bottle!)

If these are out of your budget, stick around. I will be posting about the drugstore make-up that I have and LOVE. :)

Birthday Cake-Palooza

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Last weekend, my husband’s family celebrated his Dad’s birthday! I was honored that my MIL asked me to make the cake for his birthday. Little did she know that I’d be bringing two cakes!

One being carrot cake, which my husband told me is his favorite. Apparently, he loved it so much that he was sad when it got stale, and he had to throw it away! That’s a big baking compliment right there!

I halved the original recipe to make a personal 6 inch cake, since everyone else in the family usually goes for the standard birthday cake.

I also made a different cream cheese frosting than the recipe indicates, which was inspired by this recipe which I used last year.

Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Epicurious (Gourmet)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (omitted)
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and ginger. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  3. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely. For my cakes, it took about 20-25 minutes in the oven, since they were 6 inch

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For the standard birthday cake, I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla mix with 2 tsp. almond extract added. Shocker, I know, but I was also preparing for a garage sale that weekend. I was pretty swamped! This is covered in Wilton Buttercream using ALL butter! :)

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I think I’m a Pack-Rat

After about a year of not scrapbooking and the projects piling on, I decided it was high time to dig in the closet and get out ALL scrapbook stuff into one place.

A few months back, I bought this organizer set at Tuesday morning for less than $20. It was still in the box until last night. I’m not completely done with my organization, but let’s just say that I don’t need to buy greeting cards, note cards or scrapbooking supplies for a while.

It doesn’t completely fit on top of the chest of drawers in there, but, at least I can display it now. :) I might be moving this somewhere else, but for now, this is its resting place.

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QUITE a while at that….

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I must make a vow to avoid Michael’s, Tuesday Morning, Target and Dollar Tree’s scrapbook section until further notice.

It does feel good to get some much needed organizing done in the craft room.

Get Rid of that JUNK!

After the hubs and I got hitched, it didn’t take us too long to realize how much stuff we really had. There were things we had for our kitchen that we ended up being given nicer versions of, so the old stuff had to go! We also had a lot of stuff from our old (parents’) homes that we just had no use for anymore. Boxes upon boxes of stuff were stacked up, and we decided that it was really time for a garage/yard sale.

Thankfully, my husband’s family (his parents and brother’s family) wanted in on the garage sale too. So, we decided to plan a 3 family garage sale. The perfect weekend we thought? Well, of course, living in a college town, we went for the bye weekend, which was this past Saturday.

We really lucked out doing this. Since a lot of people thought on the same page as us, there were garage sales everywhere! So, I think a lot of serious people made it their Saturday morning to hit them all up! We even had a lady tell us at our garage sale that this was her 12th one for the day! Wowsa!

We ended up having 6 completely cramped tables of stuff, condensed to about 1 1/2 within an 8 hour garage sale. We were troopers haha..in actuality, time really flew! :) About $600 later in sales between the two families, we were done! My husband and I made about $270 of that. :) Not bad for the stuff we consider JUNK and now, our home is mostly clutter free!

We just purchased this neat-o looking futon to put in our other spare bedroom (aka the hubs’ office) using some of the profits. I think it looks pretty neat, and it would give us another bed, if company came over.

Futon

We’ve also made a vow to NOT clearance shop anymore. Clearance shopping results in clutter, and we don’t need it! :)

Are you finding yourselves overwhelmed with clutter after the wedding?