Monday, April 30, 2012

Cinco de Mayo is Coming: Mexican Casserole Recipe

Around our house, we are gearing up for Cinco de Mayo. Why? Because we look for any excuse possible to eat Mexican food! This recipe is far from "authentic" Mexican, but it is really quick and easy. Last week we were at the beach house and I had a gang to feed- and this was a crowd-pleaser.

2 lbs. ground beef and/or pork (I used 1 lb. of each)
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
16 oz jar of salsa (any kind)
1 cup frozen corn
12 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar or Monterey Jack)
1 cup Bisquick baking mix
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 T. parsley flakes
1 large tomato
2 avocados
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet, brown ground beef and/or pork. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.
In same skillet, saute onion  in olive oil until translucent. Return meat to skillet, and add salsa and corn. Cook until bubbly.

Place meat mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine Bisquick, eggs, milk, salt, chili powder and parsley flakes. Stir in remaining cheese.

Pour Bisquick mixture over meat mixture. Bake for about 45 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

While casserole is baking, chop tomato and slice avocados. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve casserole with chopped tomatoes, avocado slices and sour cream.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Pinterest Pick: DIY Headboard

I have a special announcement: Oldest daughter (aka Samantha) is going to be a Guest Blogger here from time to time! I am so excited to have her on board. She, along with my younger daughter and husband, do a lot of behind the scenes stuff around here, and now you will get a chance to know Samantha a little better. She will be posting here a few times a month. She LOVES Pinterest (like so many of us do), and she will be moving into her first "real" apartment very soon, so she will be sharing some of her favorite "Pins" and decorating-on-a-shoestring-budget ideas with you. Welcome, Samantha! 

Today, someone who I guess you could call "The Noble Daughter" (Noble? We'll see...) is doing a guest post on one of her absolute favorite things: Pinning!

It's easy for me to say that I like Pinterest... nay, love Pinterest.  It's like Twitter, but with only pretty things and no spam trying to convince me that I've won a new TV. (Really, who do they think they're fooling?)  Some say that they "waste" hours at a time on Pinterest, but I would rather use the word "invest."  I've pinned so many DIY projects, recipes, wedding ideas (for my real, upcoming wedding, no less), and just plain lovely things that I refer back to time and time again.  I love the fact that we live in the age of the internet, and I can find wonderful things to do, make, and see from all over the globe at the click of a mouse!

Therefore, my Noble Mother and I have decided to introduce a new segment to the Noble Wife Blog: Pinterest Pick of the Week.  On Fridays, I'll be signing on to tell you about the most clever/pretty/original thing on the internet... so be sure to log on!  I have a few favorite pins lined up already, so you won't want to miss it, trust me!

This week I want to talk about a DIY headboard that I found the other day.  My finance and I just found an apartment to move into after our wedding, and I am already dreaming about all of the decorating possibilities!  The apartment is in an old Tudor style building that was built in the 1920's, so the apartment has some of the original fixtures like hardwood floors and glass doorhandles.  It's just perfect; but what's not perfect is the second-hand bed that we are moving into the room.  The headboard is a very 1990's plastic black and white model that doesn't match its future environment at all. So this lovely headboard is currently screaming my name...

Can you believe it's DIY?  Kelly from High Street Market made this headboard for her guest room by salvaging an ugly thrift store headboard, layering upholstery foam and fabric, and nailing in the upholstery nails around the edge. Voila! Cute, fashionable, professional-looking headboard.

Could it really be that easy? Only time will tell.  I've tucked this pin away for a few months down the road from now when I am staring at my nightmare of a headboard thinking, What have I gotten myself into?  Who knows? Perhaps I'll be pinning my own headboard before long (here's hoping).

I'm also thinking about what kind of fabric I'd like to do the headboard in.  It should be some kind of upholstery fabric so that it holds, but beyond that... the possibilities are endless!  I could do it in gray, or maybe even in a more fun color, based on what kind of gifts I'll be getting for my wedding...

Any ideas on colors or fabric textures? I'd love to hear them! Drop a line below!

Happy pinning, and happy weekend!


PS- Get a sneak peek at what I'll be writing about by following The Noble Wife on Pinterest, and find lots of other goodies too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It was really a surprise!

Daughter ended up being very surprised for her Surprise Bridal Shower (thank goodness! we pulled it off!!) All of the stories, lies and stress paid off....

My friend made this beautiful cake. The heart and butterfly are cookies. Youngest daughter and I made additional desserts- petit fours, brownie bites, and miniature cherry cheese cakes.

Also on the menu: Chicken Marsala, Eggplant Parmigiana, Penne alla Vodka, Green Beans Almondine, and salad. (We ate it but didn't photograph it- typical.)

For a Wishing Well, we used a laundry basket- guests could bring small household items and useful "odds-and-ends" to fill the basket. Later, it will be handy for actually doing laundry....

Here is daughter with her bridesmaids:

And here is the happy couple:

And June will be here before we know it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Bridal Shower Photos

The table settings for the shower turned out very pretty. Buying flats of annuals and re-potting them ourselves was really inexpensive. Our color scheme was light pink, fuchsia, spring green, and yellow. We found the paper plates at Michael's the week before spring- the colors were perfect.

For a fun game, youngest daughter came up with a "Mad Libs Bridal Shower Edition." The games were on the table for the guests to work on while they waited for the bride-to-be to get there.

We held the shower in our church hall. We found this lattice arch, already decorated (with the perfectly colored pink flowers!) in the closet. I bought the pink parasol from an online wedding supplier months ago, not really knowing what I was going to do with it, but once again, the color was perfect.  This brown chair was not the most attractive piece of furniture in the building, but we did our best to cover it in crepe paper and balloons.

I'll have a few more photos next time- the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, and the cake.... Very important stuff.

For more photos, click here.

PS Anyone else having trouble with Blogger? This was supposed to post on Friday and I noticed this morning that it never did.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What I've Been Up To.....

I have been spinning a web of lies.... so many times I thought I'd get caught for sure. So many times, I was worried that I'd slip and say something that I shouldn't... or that someone else would unwittingly reveal my secrets.... Stress, worry, anxiety that I'd be found out... Oh so many stories I came up with, quickly and off the cuff... Gradually, lying became second nature to me and I was shocked by how really good I was at it... I must admit, every time I got away with another lie, I had an exhilarating rush! Such power, such incredible skills of deviousness and duplicity I possessed.....

Do you think I am a sociopath? No, I am just a mom trying to plan my oldest daughter's SURPRISE Bridal Shower! Youngest daughter and I spent her Spring Break making favors, buying decorations and paper products, ordering food.... and trying really hard not to let the truth slip to oldest daughter.

Sometimes I can't blog about what is currently going on in my life and my work. Usually, if I can't post about something, it's because a design has not been released yet, so it can't be revealed. Lately though, I couldn't show what I had REALLY been up to, because a certain daughter who is engaged reads my blog, and I couldn't let her know the truth!

So, this is what I have been up to.... For the favors and centerpieces, grosgrain ribbon dresses up plain clay pots from the craft store.

Youngest daughter designed and printed out tags for the favors. They were cut apart, layered with green cardstock, and glued to wooden stakes.

Spring is a wonderful time for a Bridal Shower- potted plants are much more economical than cut flowers, and bring life and cheeriness to the table setting. We bought flats of alyssum and dianthus and planted them into the little flower pots.

We set pots of African Daisies right inside larger clay pots for the centerpieces.

Another do-ahead activity was bundling the cutlery into a pretty pink napkin tied with grosgrain ribbon that matched the small flower pots. On the day of the shower, a sprig of fresh rosemary was placed in the bundle.

Lots more photos to come. Stay tuned....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Treat Yo'self!!

A couple of weeks ago, my 2 daughters and I were at the mall and we walked into New York and Company. I found a scarf that I knew my friend would love, and her birthday is coming up. I bought it for her, and really wanted one for myself, but alas, it was the last one in the store! In the back of my mind I toyed with keeping it for myself and buying her something else (hey- don't judge me! I know YOU have done the same thing!!!!!). But I knew she'd really love it, so I decided to wrap it up for her.

Earlier this week, my younger daughter and I were at a different mall. We walked by New York and Company, and were once again drawn in... Their colors this year can only be described as Scrumptious. Guess what- they had my scarf! And everything in the store was 40% off! We decided to live by the motto "Treat Yo'self!" Who could resist! I think I have rounded out my complete Spring wardrobe. Any of you attending the Spring and Summer trade shows will see me in this:
(OK I probably won't wear ALL of it at the same time, but various components will be showing up in all of my outfits.)

I also bought one of these pins for my friend, so we can be, like, twins.
By the way, are you noticing a lot of orange, aka Tangerine Tango, in the stores right now? Color trends always start with the fashion industry- so what you are seeing in the clothing stores now, you will be seeing in the home decor and gift ware worlds next year. Be on the lookout next year for orange dishes, table cloths, pillows, etc.

I love how the orange and purple "play together" in this palette..... You might never have thought to put an orange purse and purple pin & bracelet together in a single outfit. This works because even though most of the pieces are a single color, i.e. orange OR purple, the scarf and blouse, because they have both colors, act as a "bridge." If you add either one of them to your outfit, it will tie all of the colors together. I'm sure you've noticed this with quilt fabric lines- there might be, say, a pink color way and a chartreuse color way, and they don't seem to go together, but then there will be one or 2 "bridge" prints, such as a panel, or a large floral, that  bring it all together.

The weekend is coming- make sure you Treat Yo'self ! and you don't have to spend a lot of money, either. Maybe a fun outing with the family to a zoo or park, or dinner and game night with a bunch of friends?? How will you Treat Yo'self this weekend???

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Organizing Idea

What is it about this time of year that makes us want to organize, clean up, and decorate our surroundings? Maybe the newness of everything just wakes up the "nesting instinct" in us? I, for one, have been really busy lately and haven't had time to do a lot of projects around the house yet (there is yard work to be done, a front porch that needs to be torn down and re-built and painted, a side porch that desperately needs painting, plus there a few rooms in the house that I'd like to redecorate....) So while all of these projects sit patiently waiting for my attention, I found something simple to do in my studio to organize a bit.

(Actually I should clarify- I found something simple that my husband could do for me to organize my studio..... and really, if you have a very busy schedule and you want things done- that's the way to go.... delegate, delegate, delegate!! And I should say that I won't be part of the re-building of the above-mentioned porch- but I'm sure I'll be in on the tearing down and painting part. Fun.)

So here is a simple project that you could do, or you could talk/bribe a loved one into doing for you. I used to have lots of spools of ribbon and ric rac piled up on my desk. For a while they were pretty, all color-coordinated and neatly stacked. But as the stack got bigger, it started to take over and it wasn't cute or pretty any more. I had space on the wall in the little hall leading into my studio that was not being used and I wanted to put my spools of ribbon there.

Hubby went to the home improvement store and got some pretty curtain rod holders (the kind that extend out from the wall and with a "U" shaped opening for the curtain rod to sit on). Also, we needed some sort of dowel to put the ribbons on- it had to be narrow enough to go through the little holes in the ribbon spools, but sturdy enough so that it didn't sag in the middle. An extendable metal curtain rod (1/4" diameter) fit the bill.

He mounted the curtain rod holders onto the wall, about 22" apart (you don't want them to be too far apart, or the curtain rod might sag). Place spools of ribbon on curtain rod and place on holder. Pin or tape the ends of the ribbon in place on the spool. When you need ribbon, you can cut it from the spool without having to remove the spool from the holder. If you want to remove the whole spool, just lift one end of the curtain rod and pull off the spool(s) you need.

Now all of my ribbon and ric rac is organized, and it looks kind of pretty too!

Happy Spring Organizing!


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