Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken Soup

Guys, I have such a treat for you today! I have my food contributor Kellee here doing a guest post! It's been a while (since I took last year off) and I'm so excited she's back! She has a delicious looking recipe for you to try out...and in the crock pot no less! Easy and delicious!
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Hello friends!
My name is Kellee and my BFF Kathryn has invited me to share a food post today and you all are in fo a treat yo!
On Sunday I made this soup.  Let us all take a moment of silence in gratitude for the mad scientist chef from 365 Days of Slow Cooking who created this master piece. 
Okay, enough silence.  Let's get chattin' about this recipe!
I am always nervous and excited to try a new recipe.  Will it join the binder with the other holy grail recipes I have discovered or will it be thrown in the recycling bin with me pouting bitterly around the house because I spent $15 on a recipe that "didn't turn out good"? 
I am so happy this turned out wonderful! If you love pasta and tomato soup then you and this recipe are a match made in heaven.
Enjoy and happy cooking, chefs!
Slow Cooker Recipe for Creamy Tortellini, Spinach and Chicken Soup
Recipe slightly adapted from 365 Days of Slow Cooking
Makes 6-8 servings
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 c. flour
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 2 tsp of the jarred stuff and it was yum)
2-3 Tbsp tomato paste (depending on how much of a tomato flavor your heart desires)
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 c. chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
1-2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 c. frozen cheese tortellini
3 c. packed spinach (next time I would DEFINITELY chop up the spinach.  It was hard to eat whole.)
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 c. heavy cream or half and half
In microwave safe bowl add onions, flour, basil, garlic, and tomato paste.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Microwave 4 1/2 minutes, stirring every 90 seconds.  The mixture may look a little lumpy and weird.  That's what we want! Add this to the slow cooker.
Add broth, tomatoes, chicken, salt and pepper to slow cooker.  Stir.  Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours (or until chicken is fully cooked and tender).
Add tortellini, spinach, parmesan cheese and warmed cream (I microwaved my half and half for 50 seconds or so.  If you don't warm before you add this in it could curdle!). 
Take chicken out and shred (I shred my chicken using a hand mixer.  It's AWESOME!!! You get it finally shredded and takes all of 10 seconds to do).  Add chicken back into the slow cooker.  Cook on high another 10-15 minutes or until the tortellini are fully cooked.  
Ladle into bowls.  You will need to definitely salt and pepper your own individual servings as it is a little bland without it.  This also may have been caused because I used the low sodium chicken broth.  But once you add the salt and pepper? BAM! Makes all the difference.  We served ours with extra shredded parmesan cheese which was delicious.




Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Teacher Valentine's Gift

My oldest kid is in kindergarten so I'm new to the whole teacher-parent relationship. I gave his teacher & the teacher's assistant a Christmas gift so I thought why not get them a Valentine's gift? Nothing big or crazy but I think showing them sometimes that you appreciate them is a nice gesture. 


I was at Target the other day and came across these adorable vintage-looking milk glasses. I also grabbed some chalkboard paint while I was there and hatched my plan for these teacher gifts. These don't require a lot of effort or a lot of time, really. I think they turned out really cute and I'll show you how I made them!

First, I taped off a section of the bottles to paint. 





According to the directions, you're supposed to apply a coat, then wait an hour and apply another coat. Then you're supposed to let the paint cure for 24 hours. Then you're supposed to cover the chalkboard part in chalk to prep it, wipe it down, and you're good to go!





Also, you can buy chalkboard pens at any craft store and I grabbed some while at Target. I realized, however, that the pens I bought were permanent. I had never heard of permanent chalkboard pens! So if you do this craft, look for non-permanent pens, in case of mistakes.

Fill up the jars with yummy candy and decorate with any other embellishments and you're good to go! These would make cute gifts for anyone, they don't have to be just for teachers. 





Happy crafting!




Thursday, February 5, 2015

Saving and Spending Jars for Kids

Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? He's basically a Christian financial guru. He has this program called Financial Peace University. You learn how to manage money, pay off debts, save, buy a house, etc., in his program and I'm currently enrolled. It's amazing! 

During the second lesson he talked about the importance of teaching your kids about money. Because really kids learn by example for everything. They just need good examples to follow. He suggests making money jars for your kids that are see-through so that the kids can see their money accumulating/leaving. 



He recommends having 3 jars: Saving, Spending, and Giving. I opted not to do a giving jar though because I don't want that money sitting around--it goes straight to our church as a donation. Now my kids can see the money they are saving and the money they have to spend!

I made the labels with PicMonkey and then used my handy dandy Create-A-Sticker to make them adhere. I LOVE this little machine, except it's not a machine because there is NO plug. Seriously, love it.


Then I made a Savings and a Spending jar for each of my older kids. Maybe by the time they're 10 they'll have saved up enough for college! HA! A girl can dream.





Now my next project will be a chore chart so they can start earning the money they put in their jars. Excuse me while I go peruse Pinterest...


Happy crafting and saving!



Thursday, January 29, 2015

XOXO Garland

I  know it's not even February yet but once it is February, I have a birthday to be thinking about and won't be thinking a lot about Valentine's day. SO I decided I would spruce up my mantel now because if I don't do it now it wouldn't get done.



I made this garland and it was SO.EASY. Srsly. I cut out most of the XOs while watching TV (Fixer Upper anyone?) and the hearts were super quick. Then I just zipped them through the sewing machine and I was done! Easy, right?





(And really? Look at how disgusting my fireplace looks. I should really do something about that.)


I would like my mantel to be way cute but this is probably about the extent of it. HOWEVER....I got looking for some other cute Valentine mantels and HOLY cow! There are some adorable ones! If you need some inspiration...here ya go:










Linked here: Seven Alive, Serenity Now, Kitchen Fun with my 3 Sons  



Friday, January 23, 2015

How to Maximize a Small Entryway

I decided to tackle an area in my rental in hopes to make the space cuter and more functional. It's hard living in a 1400-square space with 3 kids because it means space is limited. One area in the house that was driving me nuts because of the lack of storage was the entryway. The kids would come in, take their shoes and jackets off, leave them on the floor, and be on their merry way. UGH! I bought a wooden box for the shoes but then I was stuck for a while. Here's what it has looked like for quite some time:






Boring. And look at all those shoes! I went through the shoes and got rid of any out-of-season shoes and shoes that were too small. Then I found some numbered hooks at Kohl's for 70% off (score!) and I got some frames at Hobby Lobby. Their picture frames are always 50% off, which is awesome.





I love how it is now! Cuter and more functional! Now when the kids come in they can put their shoes in the right spot and hang their jackets up. And as a bonus I get to see a picture of their beautiful faces. 




I love the pictures of the kids in the little frames! My talented friend Ashley took those pictures and they are adorable. I was wanting to display them somewhere and this happened to be the perfect spot!




So to recap:

How to Maximize a Small Entryway:
1. Have a shoe box. Then clean that shoe box out at the start of every season.
2. Hang up coat hangers for jackets, bags, etc.
3. Keep your space clean! No one wants to walk into their house and the first thing they see is clutter.
4. Personalize it. It'll make it feel more like home when you have personalized touches.




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Batman Tooth Fairy Pillow

My oldest son just lost his first tooth and I'll admit I had mixed emotions. I was excited for him but sad that he's growing up so quickly. When I told my mom that his tooth was wiggly, she offered to make a pillow to put his tooth in for the tooth fairy. My mom makes amazing things, so of course I said YES! And look how adorable it turned out!




How cute is this little guy?! He shaped like a tooth and has all of Batman's ensemble, so fun! And my son loves it. He uses it as a toy as well as his tooth pillow. My mom bought the pattern from an Etsy store called Lindy J Design. She has some of the sweetest felt patterns ever.

This pattern comes with 2 patterns: one for Batman and one for Superman. And I love the little pocket for the tooth/money. 





If you are interested in the pattern, HERE is the link. And no, this Etsy seller didn't ask me to give her a review, I just thought this turned out so adorable I had to share!




Friday, January 9, 2015

Home Sweet Home Cross Stitch

Holy Moly! It's almost been a whole year since I last posted on my blog. What a slacker. BUT to be fair, I was teaching preschool and had a baby last year, so I was a tad bit busy. 

Anyway, one of my goals for the new year is to jump back into Destination: Craft. I love crafting and I would like to record what I make, so here's to hoping I continue writing on this blog all year!

Last year I picked up a cross stitch I hadn't worked on for a while. Yes, I'm a grandma and I cross stitch. My mom taught me when I was younger and I decided to start back up with it. So I picked up this Home Sweet Home cross stitch project and finally finished it. I love it! It's so cute!!






I bought the pattern from a shop on Etsy called andwabisabi. You can browse their shop HERE. They have some adorable cross stitching patterns!


So after I finished that project up, I decided to try my hand at another one. I searched around and found Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The slogan on their website is "Seriously cute cross stitch patterns" and they ain't lying! Each and every pattern is so stinkin' cute!! I started their Christmas Celebration Sampler early December and didn't get it finished in time for Christmas but I'll have it ready for Christmas 2015!





Do I have any fellow cross stitchers out there??

Linked here: Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tip Me Tuesday, The Cottage Market