Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Classic Lasagna

Surprisingly with all the cooking I like to do, I have never made lasagna from scratch! It took me a few years to appreciate all that goes into a lasagna. I was never really a fan until my husband made me eat it regularly (we used to get the Stoffers) In celebration of our recent marriage, I decided to make it for dinner Sunday. It was really easy to make and so much better than frozen! We have had the left overs all week! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

1 lb ground sweet sausage
1 lb ground beef
1/2 yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 28 oz - can crushed tomatoes
2 - 6 oz - cans tomato paste
2 - 6.5 oz - cans tomato sauce (I like to get the seasoned ones)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tbsp. dried parsley
Lasagna noodles - oven ready
16 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Prepare a few hours to make the lasagna. I let my sauce cook for about 2-3 hours before baking it. You can prepare the sauce the night before if needed! Chop up your onion and place in the Dutch oven with your meats and garlic. Cook over medium heat until meat is fully browned. Add your un-drained crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Stir until everything is evenly mixed together. Add your sugar, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley. Simmer, covered, for at minimum 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
When you are almost done simmering your sauce, preheat your oven to 375 F. If you are using regular lasagna noodles, begin to prepare them according to their package (I use the oven ready ones. So awesome!)
When you are ready to assemble, start preparing your cheese mix.
In a bowl combined the ricotta cheese, egg, and salt. Set aside.
Spread 1 1/2 cups meat sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 13. Place a single layer of noodles over top. Spread half of the ricotta cheese mix over the noodles. Top with 1/3 of your shredded mozzarella. Repeat with 1 1/2 cups meat sauce, noodles, and remaining ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Top with meat sauce and remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 25 minutes. Allow lasagna to cool 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Mexican Pizza

Growing up I always loved Taco Bell, it is just so good! Even if you know it is so bad for you!! Well, we have a solution! Make your favorite taco bell dishes at home with fewer ingredients and better meat!

1 lb ground beef
1 pkg beef seasoning
1 can fat free pinto beans
4 tortilla shells
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup salsa
1 tomato, chopped
1 small can sliced olives
Taco sauce
Sour cream

Turn your broiler on.
Brown your beef and cook according to seasoning package. Make sure you break up the beef into small pieces for it to spread easily. While you are browning your meat, place your beans in a sauce pan to warm. Add 1/4 cup water to beans while cooking. Stir until well incorporated, cooking until warm. We need the beans a little loose to spread better.

Brush your tortilla shells with a little oil and broil for 3-4 minutes until crunch. It is okay if they bubble up a little.

Once your shells and meat are all ready we can assemble!

Place a shell on a baking sheet, top with beef and 3 table spoons of salsa. Sprinkle cheese over top of beef. Take the other taco shell and spread beans on the under side. Place the bean side down on the cheese and meat. Spread more salsa on top of 2nd shell. Sprinkle with cheese. Place back in broiler for a few minutes until cheese is melted. Chop up some tomatoes and olives to place on top! I like taco sauce and sour cream on mine. Great with guacamole too! Enjoy!

Candy corn Trash!

For our 31 days of Halloween we had to make a candy corn treat. I will be honest, I do not love candy corn. I think I have eaten so much as a child that the thought of it can make me cringe. This challenge was a little hard for me but after looking at a few things online I found the PERFECT candy corn recipe!! I have always called this puppy chow but many folks around here refer it to trash. You can change the recipe up and add your favorite things! This is based from the recipe from

9 cups corn or Rice Chex cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups candy corn
1 1/2 cups Reese's pieces
2 cups pretzels

Pour chex mix cereal into a large bowl, set aside. In a medium sized microwavable bowl, melt chocolate chips, butter, and peanut butter. Place the bowl into microwave for 1 minute. Stir the chocolate mixture, then place in the microwave for another 30 seconds or until melted. Once chocolate is melted, stir in vanilla.

Once you have your chocolate sauce, pour over the chex mix. Coat the chex mix carefully with out breaking all the cereal.
Place cereal in a large ziplock bag to coat in powdered sugar (I just stirred it with my hands in the bowl. This was is a little more time consuming but can be done if you don't have bags!)
Once your puppy chow is coated in powered sugar, place on a cookie sheet with tin foil or wax paper to dry it out.

Once the chocolate has dried, place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Its easy to make and really yummy! Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did here at the office!



DIY Wedding Signs

With wedding season coming to an end, engagement season is right around the corner. It is so hard to believe how quickly those 9 months of planning flew by and we are now married! We carefully planned out our wedding to give it the maximum affect with minimum cost. We should be getting our wedding photos back soon and I can't wait to share all the memories with you and decorating ideas we had. One of the ways we cut expenses was making our own signs! Now of course, you can buy the really cute ones from Etsy, that probably look better than what I made, but they will cost you around $75-$100 a piece! I don't know about you but I would rather save money and use it for the honeymoon! These all cost about $5 a piece to make!! They are a little time consuming but they are so worth it! And don't worry, you don't have to have perfect handwriting for these!

First you need to get the frames you are going to use. I bought all of ours from yards sales and thrift stores! Some thrift stores will have discount days so make sure you check out what day of the week is best to shop!

Next you'll need some chalk board paint (We used the spray version from Michael's craft store with a 40% off coupon)

Take the frames apart and clean the glass off (you can use mirrors too! We used a mirror for the smoking section sign)

Once the glass is clean and dry, evenly spray your frames. Allow them time to dry in a cool, clean area over night. Once the frames are ready we can start decorating them!

Find a font you like, type up what you want to have on the signs (I used this free app called Phonto which has tons of fonts.)

Print out your words, pictures, designs, etc.

You are going to rub the back of the paper with chalk and then tape the paper to your sign.

You are going to trace over the words with a pen. From pressing on the outside, it will cause the chalk to stick to the blackboard.

Now, trace over the chalk imprint with a paint market.

Once the paint marker has dried (I like to wait a few hours or even the next day) wipe the extra chalk off.

Voila! Put your piece back in its frame and you are done! Not only will you feel proud you saved money but you have more personal touches for your big day! Congratulations!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Engagement Photos

Back in July we took our engagement photos (it was a gift from one of our groomsmen!) We are not really the photogenic type so we wanted to try something a little different that was more unique and something more us. We love taking Johnny's motorcycle out for rides and it really is his prized possession so we thought, "let's take pictures of the motorcycle and just stand in the background" and surprisingly they turned out awesome! We did do a few of the typical engagement photos but these have such a cool feel. Our photographer used a vintage black and white camera for all the shots (we have a few colors ones from a cell phone too) I hope our pictures can inspire something cool for your pictures!

Pictures on a cool bridge we found.

Riding in corn fields

Me just being cute.

Hitch Hiker in color.

Hitch hiker B&W


Halloween Count Down Calendar!

How do you cram so many fun Halloween treats and traditions into a short 31 days?! Easy! You make an advent calendar! You can do the full 31 days like me or do the 13 days of Halloween count down. Either way you can get tons of fun Halloween things done! I made calendars for 4 of my girl friends and each day we have been doing each task and sending pictures to each other. It's really been quite fun! I thought I could share with you some of the ideas I had for my calendar and how they are playing out! Enjoy!

Day 1 : Make a Black & Blue
Black and Blue's are one of my favorite drinks to make! They look so cool and are surprisingly delicious!

Day 2: Drink Pumpkin Beer or Pumpkin Ale

Day 3: Eat Halloween Cereal

Day 4: Pumpkin Coffee

Day 5: Make a Halloween Wreath

Day 6: Make your own candy!
You can make any candy ! For the girls I included a recipe I found for Reese's just incase they didn't have a recipe already in mind. So delicious!

Day 7: Watch The Little Vampire
One of my favorite movies!

Day 8: Decorate the outside of your house!

Day 9: Make a Halloween Cocktail.
Black Widow sounds yummy!

Day 10: Decorate the inside of your house or office!

Day 11: Make Pumpkin Bread


Day 12: Make a Candy Corn Dessert
I included a recipe for candy corn cookies.

Day 13: Watch your favorite Halloween movie.

Day 14: Drink Apple Cider.
I made these AWESOME apple cider drinks!

Day 15: Make candy apples

Day 16: Go to a corn maze or hayride (We have a haunted hayride here!)

Day 17: Make haunted graham cracker houses.

Day 18: Make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast

Day 19: Get Halloween Nails
These are my favorite ones to get. Simple but cute spider nails!

Day 20: Watch Hocus Pocus

Day 21: Make a Halloween themed Appetizer.
( I included a recipe for mummy appetizers)
Day 22: Send out Halloween cards.
I like to make my cards. Click here for Halloween card ideas.

Day 23: Make a pumpkin pie

Day 24: Make Halloween cupcakes.
I made these really cute and easy ghost cupcakes.

Day 25: Carve pumpkins!

Day 26: Wish Johnny a Happy Birthday!
October 26th is my husbands birthday so I snuck in there
to all the girls to wish him a Happy Birthday!

Day 27: Make a Halloween Costume!
I worked in a Halloween store for 5 years and
some of the best costumes are the ones that are homemade!
Put your thinking cap on and make up something different!

Day 28: Make Halloween Bark

Day 29: Buy Halloween candy for your trick-or-treaters

Day 30: Make spooky gingerbread cookies
My favorite are the vampire cookies!

Day 31: Happy Halloween!
If you are throwing a Halloween Party you can put it on the last day!
Some times it is hard to catch up and do everything each day so you can always make it a weekly goal were you get everything done by the end of the week. Hope you have fun! Happy Halloween!