Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Second Best Dip Ever

I love dill pickle juice and I love this dip as I can use some or all of the pickles and be left with a beautiful jar of pickle juice to drink!
*I don't drink all of the juice at once, a jar normally lasts me 4-6months (in case my mother is reading this and calls to tell me I don't need all that salt!).  I took it to work, sharing it first with those that work around me and they tried to convince me to not share it with the rest of the team!  

Dill Pickle Dip AKA The Second Best Ever Dip (my grandmother's dip is the best)

1 brick of cream cheese softened (fat free, low fat work fine)
1 1/2 cups minced dill pickle
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
2-3 Tbsp pickle juice
9 oz chopped chipped beef (optional)



Stir together, refrigerate several hours to overnight, ENJOY!  


My notes; I prefer a bit more garlic powder  and I'd start with 1 Tbsp of pickle juice adding more as needed.  I've made it with and without chipped beef and its delicious either way!   

I'm sure I found this recipe on Pinterest, but I can no longer find the link.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A little seepage...

The house has a little seepage. It's a 1924 home and it isn't unexpected. It's very minimal and is pretty much limited to the old coal room in my basement, but I know of others who haven't had problems and then did. So, I decided to try two things in hopes it'll keep the seepage to a minimum. 

First I added top soil along the foundation where the seepage occurs. You probably can't tell, but about 6" of ground up against the house is sunken. I added soil to slant the ground away from the house. 




My second project involved the three gutters on this side of the house. Before the gutters dumped the water up near the house. 


There's a sunken area at the base of these two gutters. Rain water pooled there. Now the water will flow away from the house. 

Now we just need a little bit of rain to see if either project will keep the basement dry.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

You've all heard of and/or make crock pot salsa chicken, right? It couldn't be easier. Place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the bottom of a crock pot. Sprinkle taco seasoning over the chicken (to your taste, you can skip this step). Cover with salsa. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Shred. You can use frozen chicken breasts, but will need to cook longer. You can also throw in sliced onions and peppers or canned/frozen corn or black beans. If you've never made this, you've got to try it out. It's great in Mexican dishes, salads and I'm sure would be great in soups. Oh and it freezes well! Freeze with a little bit of the liquid to keep it from being dry when thawed. 

I had a package of frozen crock pot salsa chicken sitting in the freezer and used it to make Chicken Enchilada Casserole. I adapted my dish from this recipe on Kirchner Family Favorites blog. 

Since my salsa chicken was made with chunky salsa, I skipped adding onions. I began by heating black beans, Rotel, mexicorn and enchilada sauce. I added a couple tablespoons of Williams chili seasoning and didn't add the cumin. 


Once the sauce was heated, I layered it with corn tortillas, chicken and cheese in a 9x13 and heated in a 350 degree oven until bubbly. 




Doesn't that salsa chicken look yummy???


I love cheese, but I only used 2 cups. The recipe calls for 3. 


Fresh from the oven;


It was SO good and I'll be making this again! 

This is only the second thing I've made in my new to me gas oven. The first being a Stouffer's enchilada dish. This was so much better than Stouffer's! 


I also made sour cream chicken enchiladas. They were okay, but not something I'd make again. I love sour cream enchiladas at On the Border and Taco Bueno and I was hoping this recipe would be similar to those dishes. It wasn't. I used a rotisserie chicken from Sam's Club, but I doubt that was what was off with the dish. Win some, lose some. 


I kept some of each dish out for meals this week and froze the rest. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eviction Notice

The cats and I moved in on July 7. A few weeks ago I learned we had unwanted tenants;


He's kind of cute, isn't he? I am confident neither cat would have actually killed a mouse, they're fed way too well. 
So the battle began. 

I located the hole they were entering through and patched it. 


And set a lot of traps. 


I caught 3 mice and am fairly confident there are no others in the house. For the time being. Fall is coming and I've been told to be prepared to fight them then. I've stocked up on traps and built a bucket mouse trap. I'll make a better ramp for it before fall. 


Josey lost her furry fast play toys, but Lyncoln is happy I'm not screaming and screeching any more! 


Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Window Dilemma

This is my kitchen window. Excuse the mess, I haven't decorated yet. 


Oh and excuse that hideous door bell chime box. It's on the to-do list. 

I love these windows. They face south and allow a lot of natural light into the kitchen.  Those bushes outside the windows held cardinals, mourning doves and maybe Carolina wrens nests this summer. I love washing dishes and watching the birds. 

My original plan was to make curtains out of vintage linens and hang them only on the bottom half. Similar to this;  

 Source: Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Cute, yes? Or how about these cute cafe curtains?


Source: bystephanielynn

But then I realized the neighbors second story bedroom window looks down into my kitchen. I'd probably still keep the window treatments open most of the time, but I'd like the option of having some privacy. Of note, the windows are well up off the ground. No one can see in them standing outside. 

Here are a few window possibilities. Roman shades made from mini blinds. 

Source: Made2Style 


Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Full curtains. I like these, but I wonder whether they'd be too bulky next to the shelves that are on either side of my windows. 


Source: Talk of the House

Roller shades. 


Source: Solomon Homes


Source: Houslovedogblog

Any favorites? Thoughts? Suggestions? I'd love to hear them! 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Italian Chicken

I've been craving chicken. Baked Italian chicken to be specific. I had made some this spring along with poppy seed baked chicken. I wrapped each breast individually and froze them thinking it would be nice to have them in the freezer for busy nights. I ate all the breasts within 2 weeks! I ate them for lunch, I ate them for dinner, I could have eaten them for breakfast! They were that good. So much for having them on hand! 

It's still too hot to bake (IMO), so I thought I'd have to wait for cooler days for good Italian chicken until I stumbled upon this slow cooker version of Italian Chicken. 


It turned out almost as good as my Italian baked chicken and I'd definitely make it again.  

Of note, the recipe says 4 hours on low. If your chicken breasts are thawed, 4 hours on high might work, but not low! My breasts were frozen and my potatoes were huge. I quarter the potatoes and checked them after 5 hours on high. The potatoes and carrots were done and removed, but the chicken cooked at least another hour. I like my chicken to be fall-apart-done. 

Also on this blog I found this slow cooker apple crisp recipe. I used gala apples as they were on sale this week at Dillons for $0.99 lb. The only bad thing about this dish is that I didn't have any vanilla ice cream on hand to serve it with! 



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Now that's a good buy!

For a while now I've been keeping track of sale meat prices. I use this card twice a week when the ads come out (Hyvee on Sunday, the rest on Wednesday) to know whether there's a good sale on meat. 


If I find a lower price, I mark out the old price and note the new lower price. 


Based on my card, Checkers in Lawrence has a really good deal on Boston butt pork roast this week. 99 cents a lb. Previously I had only found it as low as $1.48 lb. 

What else should I keep track of? Flour and sugar prices? Laundry detergent? 

Friday, August 5, 2016

A little privacy...

The other day I was in the basement with the lights on and looked out the window to see my neighbors. Oh. If I can see them, they can see me. I'll pass on that. I thought I'd get privacy film, but that was $40 at Home Depot. I turned to Pinterest and thought I might try tissue paper.  Then I found this Pin and decided to give it a try. 

Basement window before. 


Probably should have cleaned the outside of the window before tackling this project! Please ignore the grime! 

Basement window after. 


I didn't worry about some creases. They're basement windows after all. 

I think it's a success! Light can shine in, but no one can see in!  So, I decided to try it also on the front door. 


My front door window and my new peep hole (installed today). I can't see in or out of the window, but tall men can.  Here's what it looks like after I've covered with Press n' Seal. 


You can tell there's a film on it, but I bet if I hadn't told you, you'd never have noticed. I mean how many people are going to be staring at the window at the top of my front door. 

Press n' Seal saves the day (and a lot of money)!