Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recipe Exchange

I'm contributing recipes to Kelly's Great Menu Exchange (and linking up on Friday) over at
http://according-to-kelly.com/ , so go and check it out!  It's a great way to find tons of go-to recipes for the family and maybe even contribute some of your own! 
Here is my menu for a week of some of my family's favorite go-to recipes.

 Chicken and Noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 can chicken breast
1 bag of any brand of Amish egg noodles or homemade noodles

Bring chicken broth to a boil and add noodles.  Boil over medium heat until most of the broth has been absorbed into noodles.  Remove from heat and add can of cream of chicken soup and can of chicken breast.  Mix well.  Let sit 5 minutes and serve. 
*So simple (not fancy) and a nice last minute, stick-to-your-ribs meal for the fall and winter months!*

Tastee Taverns
3-4 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion finely chopped, if you don't have an onion, onion flakes work too
3 heaping tsp mustard
3 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tsp salt
3 heaping tsp creamed horseradish
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 tsp black pepper

Mix mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt horseradish ketchup and pepper together and add to ground beef.  Mix with hands.  Put in crock pot and add 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup onion.  Cook on low for 30 minutes and then turn to medium or high and cook for 25 minutes.  Serve on a bun.

Hawaiian Chicken
4 chicken breasts
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 small can pineapple chunks with juice

Mix ingredients together and pour over chicken in baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 350 degrees, or grill until chicken is cooked through.
*I usually serve this with Hawaiian bread rolls*

Easy Pork Shoulder
cooking time: 5 hours + cooling

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Using a sharp knife, score the fat (but not the meat) on 1 boneless pork shoulder (whatever size to suit your family) in a diamond pattern. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper. Place fat side up in a roasting pan or large dutch oven with 1/2 cup of water. Roast until some fat has rendered, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven and reduce once temperature to 350 degrees. Tightly cover pan with foil or a lid. Cook until meat is very tender, about 4 hours. When cool enough to handle, remove fat from top of roast. Using two forks, shred meat into bite size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat.
*recipe from Everyday Food Magazine*

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
1 tbs. butter or margarine
1 medium onion chopped
1 4.5 oz can green chilies, drained
1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
3 1/2 cups of shredded cooked chicken breast
8 8 in. flour tortillas
2 8 oz pkg Monterrey jack cheese
2 cups whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook chicken. I poach my chicken using Martha Stewart's poaching instructions found here, except I only add salt to the water. Once cooked, I shred the chicken, but you could also cut it into cubes.

Next, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and saute for 5 mins. Add green chilies, saute 1 min. Stir in chicken and cream cheese, cook stirring constantly until cream cheese is melted. Spoon 2-3 tbs chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll tortilla and place seam side down in a lightly greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with Monterrey jack cheese and drizzle with whipping cream from carton. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
* I just posted this on the blog a little while ago, but I had to add it to my week of recipes menu planner because they really are super easy to make and so yummy*
*recipe is from my aunt Shelly*

Bridal Shower

Last week I was very busy working on some party decorations for a bridal shower.  The color theme was black and white with polka dots.  Here is what they looked like when finished:

Party Banner
Close up shots of the banner

Cupcake toppers

Door Sign

The bride really liked how personalized her shower was and thought the decorations were perfect.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pumpkin Update: Just One

It looks like we'll probably only be getting one pumpkin off our vine this season, but that isn't going to stop me from trying again next year!  And the one we have is really getting big.  I went out to take a picture and lift it up and it's probably close to weighing a couple pounds.  

Friday, August 27, 2010


Hi!  Welcome to Home Inspired Bliss.  If you've never visited my blog before it's probably because it's still a fairly new blog.  I've had a family blog for over two years and finally decided that my family probably didn't want to here about and see all my DIY and crafting projects.  All they really want to see is our little man, Hudson, so I started this blog to share my projects and ideas.  So far it's been fun and I hope to have more followers to share even more ideas with, so if you like what you see please follow along and if not, thanks for stopping by!  Happy Friday!
Me with my little man, Hudson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

DIY Personalized Wine Labels

If you haven't noticed already, I love anything personalized.  It makes everything seem so much more meaningful.  Anyway, on with the post.  When my cutie husband and I got married 3 years ago, some friends of ours gave us a persoanlized bottle of wine as a keepsake for the special occasion, and not just any wine, it was from our favorite vineyard here in Nebraska.  (I'm sure some of you out there are saying to yourselves, "There are vineyards in Nebraska?" and my answer is "We don't just have cornfields!") It was our favorite gift. 

The next fall I ordered a bottle as a gift for my very best friend to give to her on the morning of her wedding.  Unfortunately, the label did not turn out how I had in mind, so I contacted them and they sent me a new label.  She loved the gift, so I was pleased, but it still wasn't what I hoped for, so when it came to ordering wine for two more weddings the following summer, I had other plans in mind.

I did start out trying to order a personalized bottle from the winery, but had some issues, so I asked my computer whiz hubby if he could help me make my own labels and I would just buy the wine at the store.  He agreed and they turned out perfect!  I loved them so much, that I was jealous that we didn't have one that looked that good.  And my version was even more personalized than the winery's.  Here is what our bottle looks like:

Our names and our wedding date on the front

An inscription from our friends on the side.  I don't like that the inscription runs in the same direction as the monogram on the front.  It feels too cramped.
It's nice, but I thought we could make one that was much better! 

And we did!  Here is a picture our the label we made for our friends Melissa and Heeyoung
(I apologize for the poor photo quality.  It's taken of the computer screen because I didn't think to take pics of the wine before we gave it to them):
Instead of an unattractive photo of gold wedding bands in the background, I found a picture of them that I knew they both really love and used that.  We of course kept the name of the vineyard and the wine on the front of the label.

For the inscription, I chose to use a textured background using a similar color from their photo.  We changed all the fonts as well and rotated the inscription so that it didn't run into the monogram on the front of the label.

It was so easy to make.  All we did was measure the label from our bottle and went into Microsoft Publisher (because we don't have any of those fancy programs like Photoshop) and inserted a text box the size of the label dimentions.  Once that was done, all we had to do was fill in the information that we wanted to use.  Then to print it, we bought full sized, 8.5x11, sheets of label paper.  Once printed, we cut it out, peeled off the backing and attached it to the bottle.  And Ta-da!!  A personalized bottle of wine!!
**If you'd like a more step by step tutorial just send me an email.  This post was too long to add it here**

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Show & Tell: Family Farm

Today I wanted to show you a beautiful picture of a farm that hangs in my kitchen.  Now, my decor is no where near being country in style (not that there is anything wrong with country, that's just not my style), but the picture fits in perfectly.  It's actually a photo of my great grandparents farm outside of of Fort Dodge, IA.  They haven't lived on the farm for years, but this photo means so much to my family because it reminds us of our history.  I had wanted a copy of the photo forever and then finally my mom gave me a copy for Christmas 2 years ago.  I've had so many compliments on the photo and even more when they find out where it came from.  A little piece of history hanging on my wall is just the perfect artwork for our home.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekend Project: Paint Guest Room

Soooo, our guest bedroom has been painted 3 times already and I haven't been thrilled with any of the colors.  The first color I picked was a purple of sorts and that didn't even make onto a whole wall before I decided it was hideous.  Then there was a moss green that I really liked, just not in that room.  And finally we ended up with a very pale blue, so pale that it sometimes looks white.  I had visions of a pale blue room with glossy black furniture and white bedding...but that never happened and never will.  A few months ago I found some bedding on Amazon.com that I really liked and that's what is in there now.  It doesn't match the wall color whatsoever.  The room looks like a disaster.  So, I'm finally going to paint tn this weekend in hopes of never painting it again.  This time I'm thinking a chocolate brown to warm it up and match the pretty bedding.  I'll wait and post before pics when I show you the after, so I guess that means you'll have to visit my awesome blog again if you want to see how it turns out!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pumpkin Update: A Baby

There it is!  The first actual pumpkin on our vine!  I'm soooo excited I can hardly contain myself!  It's actually much bigger than it looks in this picture.  And after checking out the entire vine, I'm happy to report that there are 5 other female flowers just waiting to bloom and turn into pumpkins.  I also got an update from my mom yesterday and she counted 13 on their vine!  Can you believe that?!  Now I even more excited to see how many we end up with.

Uneventful Weekend

We didn't do anything around the house this weekend, not did I do anything crafty...well I did do one thing that I actually started last week, but you have to wait until next week to see it.  But here is a little preview.
cute huh?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

5 Fall Favorites

I thought it would be fun to share a list of the 5 things I love for the fall season, given that it's just around the corner. 

Of course fall=football and I LOVE college football especially my Nebraska Cornhuskers!  I always buy at least one new Husker shirt before the season starts.  I think I'm getting this one for the first game.
(photo courtesy of huskerhounds.com)

I adore the smell of pumpkin candles.  Nothing says fall to me more than that warm pumpkin pie scent filling my house!  So cozy!  I burn them all fall.
(photo courtesy of yankeecandle.com)

My trusty crock pot.  I use it to cook so much more often in the fall and winter.  I'm always looking for new recipes to try, so if you have any good ones, please send them my way!

Ghost Hunters (a.k.a. TAPS) on the Syfy channel.  My hubby and I have been obsessed with this show for a few years now.  It's back for a new season starting Wednesday at 8:00.  It's the only ghost show that I take seriously.  They are real professionals and find some of the best (scariest) evidence!  Oh, and they always do a live show on Halloween night.
(photo courtesy of syfy.com)

I can live without my Burt's Bees lip balm.  I swear that I'm addicted!  It's the best lip balm I've ever used.

So there you have it.  I'm sure I could've made this a list of 10 or more things that I can't live without in the fall, but I don't want to bore you too much!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pumpkin Update: The Start of a Fruit

I went out to check on the pumpkins this afternoon (I've been trying to stay away because of all the mosquitoes that surround it) and it's looking much better and I think I even spotted the start of a pumpkin.  It's about time!!  I had given one of the other seedlings that I started this spring  to my parents who live in Sioux Falls and they already have 3 growing on their vine.  I was so jealous, but it looks as though we might get a least one pumpkin after all!
It's starting to creep into our neighbors side yard...oops

Here is the tiny little pumpkin.  Yay!!  This is the first female flower that I've seen on the vine since the cucumber beetle infestation.  I also noticed another one right beside this one, only it's smaller, but maybe that one will start to grow too.

I love seeing sun tea jars outside brewing.  It won't be long before it will be too cool to make my sun tea.  bummer.  So, I'm taking advantage of the weather as much as possible before it's too late.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Personalizing Your Home

For me, it is so important to have our home be personalized to us and our life together, so one of the things we've done to make it more personalized is to bring in custom artwork (you can find other previously posted personalized pieces here and here).  Of course, like most people, we have tons of family photos everywhere, but we wanted our other artwork to reflect us and are meaningful in some way. 

This is by no means a new idea, but one of the things we did that we really love is a blow up picture of a photo that we took during our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.  *You may have even seen this same waterfall in pictures other places...it's pretty well-known. 

So, this picture went from looking like this (4x6)...

To looking like this. 
At the moment it's hanging in our basement family room.  It's now a framed 8x10 print.  Not only is it a beautiful picture, but it's also a constant reminder of our amazing vacation in Hawaii (which is where we got engaged!)
I think sometimes people are afraid to use their own photos to decorate because they might not look professional enough, but that's what makes them perfect.  They are yours and no one elses.  We have so many other great pictures from that trip and other trips that I would love to find a place for as well...I think I need a bigger house!

National Cupcake Day??

I've been hearing mixed messages about today being National Cupcake Day.  Well, even though it might not be a declared holiday...little man and I decided to make some cupcakes to celebrate anyway!  I wanted some new sprinkles for the occasion, but ended up not finding what I was looking for, so I used my favorites of the moment.  I kept it simple today and used a box mix and premade frosting, but they're still super delicious and cute as always!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Family Fun Night

Now that I'm a mom I find myself always looking for new ways to entertain my 15 month old son (which isn't always easy) and make family memories.  While flipping through my latest Parents magazine I came across an advertisement for a new Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Special.  I tore out the page and hung in on our refrigerator so I won't forget (not like I would).  My little man absolutely loves the show!  Now that we have an activity planned, my next task is to come up with a fun dinner and dessert idea to have a little party, and as it turns out,  it looks like I might have some help in that area because they even have recipes and fun printouts for the kiddo's on the website.  I'm so excited for our family fun night!  If you have little ones I encourage you to check it out too!
photo courtesy of dinseychannel.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recipe Time: Butterfinger Dessert

This is a recipe that was handed down to me from my great grandma.  She used to make it for us every time my family would visit her and my great grandpa when I was growing up.  The taste instantly takes me back to my childhood and being at their house, which I loved visiting!  I don't know where it comes from originally, but it has been in our family for quite some time.  We even served it at our wedding rehearsal dinner and got tons of compliments!  I hope you decide to give it a try.  It's a great summer recipe!

10 graham crackers, finely crushed
30 soda crackers, finely crushed
1/2 cup of unsalted butter, melted
1 pkg. vanilla instant pudding
1 pkg. chocolate instant pudding
2 cups of milk
1 qt. vanilla ice cream, softened
1  8 oz. container of cool whip
2 Butterfinger candy bars, frozen and then crushed

Combine all cracker crumbs and add melted butter, mix thoroughly.  Place 2/3 of crumbs in a 9x13 pan and pat.  Prepare instant puddings together as package directs, using only 2 cups of milk.  Blend softened ice cream into pudding until smooth and pour over crumb crust.
Refrigerate until somewhat firm.
Spread cool whip over ice cream.  Mix remaining cracker crumbs and Butterfingers together and sprinkle over the top.
Refrigerate overnight.

Here is a better look at the layers of deliciousness!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bringing In Some Green...and White

We were on vacation this past week and made a trip to IKEA where I picked up some cute little plants to bring some green into our home.  Unfortunately, I don't have a very green thumb (I'm working on it though!), but I thought I'd take a chance with some succulents.  I always hear how easy they are to take care of, meaning that they're super low maintenance, which seems like a great way to start.

The shiny new white pots are the best part at just $1.99 a piece!  I adore these pots from IKEA and have wanted some for a long time and now I finally have some of my own.  I can't wait to find the perfect spot to put them all! 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ladies Luncheon

Last Sunday I hosted the 2nd annual ladies luncheon for some of my girlfriends. I hosted the first ladies luncheon last year because I had a new baby and hadn't had the chance to spend much time with my friends all summer.  This year I kept it simple and just sent out evites from http://www.evite.com/.

Once the invites were sent, I set up a menu:

Roasted Chicken Purses
Penne in Almond Sauce
Fresh Fruit
Butterfinger Ice Cream Dessert (a recipe from my great grandma)

After the menu was set, I worked on coming up with a special favor for the ladies to take home.  Since I know all of my friends enjoying cooking...and food as much as I do, I decided that homemade recipe cards would be the perfect favor.  So I got to work on the computer and created these:

The evite that I sent out had lemons and limes on it, so I stuck with that color palette for the party.

The party was a success!  Thanks so much for joining me girls!  It was so nice to see all of you.  I can't wait until next year!  Maybe we'll have to have a dinner party this winter ;  )

Monday, August 9, 2010

Custom Artwork

As I mentioned before, I am working on redecorating our son's bedroom.  Well, on Friday I finally finished with his custom artwork and I am extremely proud of the way it turned out!  I wanted something bright and colorful to reflect his big personality and I think I achieved just that.  I got my inspiration from a shop on etsy that was selling similar artwork, but at $40 a pop, it just wasn't in our budget. So, after pining over it long enough I figured why not try and make something myself, plus it gave me the opportunity to make it exactly how I wanted it!  Here is what I did:

3-12x12 pieces of wood, cut edges sanded
lots of scrapbook paper
mod podge and scissors
Once I gathered all my supplies, I got to work.  I cut everything by hand except the fire and the tent, which I found examples for on google images, but you could definitely use stencils if you're not quite as handy with the scissors. 

Once everything was cut out, I arranged it on the wood the way I wanted it and then sealed it with the mod podge which I got in satin finish so that it would have a slight sheen to it.  SO simple! 

Here is the finished product:

Hotair Balloon Ride
Sun and Surf
The Great Outdoors

Sorry, the pictures aren't as good as I would like them to be.  I have a feeling our camera won't be around much longer!  I chose to design scenes of outdoor activities that we enjoy or wish we could enjoy, but you could make them look any way you'd like.  I think any type of animal would be cute or maybe little houses, or flowers...I could go on and on.  I had such a great time making these that I plan to do the same thing for each one of our babies...when we have more babies, that is!

Here is Hudson admiring his new custom artwork.  He loves pointing at the pictures so we can tell him what they are.
His favorite one is the turtle.