Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ranch Chicken Recipe

Ranch Chicken is easily one of my most requested recipes and yet it's embarrassingly simple.  Get ready, your life is about to change haha.

2-3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Cup Crushed cornflakes
1 Cup Grated parmesan cheese (not the powdered stuff, the REAL grated parmesan)
1 Ranch Seasoning Packet
1/2 Cup Butter, melted

Combine crushed cornflakes, parmesan cheese and ranch seasoning packet in a large bowl.  Toss until it's evenly mixed.  Dip your chicken breast in the melted butter then put it into the bowl with the cornflake mixture.  It won't stick amazingly well, so pat on some extra coating and place it in a pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

**I personally like to cut my chicken breasts down the middle length wise so I have more coating to chicken ratio.  I also double the coating cause that's the best part!**

Also, Costco and Walmart both sell containers of ranch seasoning which are less expensive than the little envelopes you buy.  Costco's is by far the best deal.  You get a 15.7 oz container for under $8.  It's only 40 cents more than Walmart's 8oz container.  You're welcome :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Decorating Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

We did this with my kids last night and can I just say, it's soooooooo much better than doing gingerbread houses!  While gingerbread houses are adorable, I feel like they are so challenging for little ones to make.  These ice cream cone Christmas Trees are easy and cute and fast too!

Buy a box of sugar ice cream cones and treats to decorate your "trees".  I hit up Winco for our goodies so I didn't have to have large bags of all the treats.  I think I spent about $8 or so on the candies and we have a LOT of leftovers.  

My frosting recipe is easy peasy and sticks to the tree, holds the candy in place, but is still easy for the kids to squeeze out.

Frosting Recipe
1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
32 oz bag of powdered sugar
4-7 tsp milk (depending on how thick you want your frosting)

Mix softened butter and vanilla together until combined and whipped up a bit.  Slowly add in HALF of your powdered sugar.  I do this in my kitchenaid mixer and wrap a towel around the bowl so I don't get powdered sugar everywhere.  Add 3 tsp of milk and mix together.  Check your consistency.  Add in another couple cups of powdered sugar and mix.  This is really where you go back and forth between powdered sugar and milk until you get the perfect consistency.  It's better to err on the side of a little thick than too runny because it's always easier to add extra milk, but once your powdered sugar is gone, you won't be able to thicken your frosting back up.  Add some green food coloring and you're ready to go!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rustic Wooden Box Centerpiece

Yesterday's project was making a rustic wood box centerpiece for my table.  I use these pieces of wood from an old fence to make the box.  If you have a saw, you can whip out this box in no time.  Here's the wood I used.  Don't mind my MESSY garage. 

I simply cut two boards the same length ( I did 29" since that was the longest I could go before the color changed).  Next you need to cut the bottom piece.  That piece was 29" MINUS the width of two boards.  All I did was cut it 29" and then place two pieces of wood side by side on top and drew a pencil line for my new length and the chopped it.  Last you need your side boards.  Well that's easy too - It's the width of your bottom board (or the width of all of the strips if they are equal.  One of my fence pieces was a little wider than the other two).  I used 1 1/2 inch finishing nails to put the pieces together and that was it.  I did use some clamps to hold the pieces in place while hammering.  You could do it without clamps or just have someone hold the wood in place for you.

Here's the finished product.  The candles are from Dollar Tree - WIN! and I got the greenery from Joann's.  It took 5 bunches FYI.  They were all 50% off so I got them for $16.  Sadly the table runner I bought was waaaaay too long so I'm off to Joann's to buy some burlap and make one of my own :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why I Love Chatbooks

Okay let's take a minute to talk about Chatbooks.  There is currently a deal where when you use my link you'll get your first Chatbook for FREE and I have a chance to earn some free books too.  I only get credit if you order your first book in the next week though - so if you're  gonna set up an account to help me out, make sure to order your free book too ;)  So I'm gonna tell you just why I love Chatbooks.

First of all, it's the lazy mom way of scrapbooking.  Listen, I just don't have the time to scrapbook and I know I'll never go back several years to get caught up.  Chatbooks is linked to my Instagram account and every post I make is automatically stored in order on Chatbooks.  Once 60 pages are filled they will send you a book.  BOOM it's that easy.  You don't have to do anything speacial, but if you want, you're able to go and select posts you don't want included through the Chatbooks app.  You can also add pictures from your computer or phone.

One thing I did that was a huge hit was make a special Father's Day book for my husband filled with drawings they made for him.  I simply scanned the pictures onto my computer and added them to a book.  He LOVED it.  You could absolutely do something similar for Christmas guys!  Here are some pictures from the Father's Day Book:

I order the softcover books and they are $8/each including shipping - WIN!!!!  For the Father's Day Book I ordered a hardcover book to make it a little extra special.

So to sum up why I love Chatbooks - It's the cheapest, easiest scrapbooking ever and my kids loooooooove to look through them and talk about all of the memories.

Here's the link one more time if you're thinking of signing up!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Penne Pasta Bake

This meal has been a go to for our family for years.  It's easy, freezes well and everyone likes it.  I like to the recipe up into two 8x8 pans and then freeze one, but you can just do one big 9x13 pan instead.
  • 16 Oz penne pasta noodles, cooked al dente and strained
  • ½ lb. ground beef, cooked (I season with dried minced onions and seasoning salt)
  • 1-2 Jars marinara sauce (If you’re freezing add extra sauce so the noodles don’t get dry)
  • 16 Slices smoked provolone cheese (you can get away with 12 if you’re just doing it in one large pan rather than 2 smaller pans)
  • ⅔ Cup sour cream
  • ⅔ Cup grated mozzarella or parmesan cheese


Put a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan to keep noodles from sticking. Put half of your cooked noodles in the pan. Then add half of your ground beef. Cover with half of your sauce. Create a layer with your provolone cheese.  Spread sour cream on top of provolone slices.  Add the remaining ground beef.  Then the rest of the pasta noodles.  Top noodles with remaining pasta sauce.  Spread out the sauce to make sure all of the noodles are covered.  Do another layer of provolone cheese.  Top with grated mozzarella or parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until your cheese is bubbly and browning a bit.

TO FREEZE - Stop before the baking step and cover it with foil.  When you’re ready to cook this dish, either thaw it in the fridge overnight or bake it at 350 for 1 ½ hours, keeping it covered with the foil until the last 30-45 minutes so the cheese doesn’t get too browned.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nintendo NES Classic

I don't know about you, but ever since the Nintendo NES Classic was announced I knew it was what I wanted for our family Christmas gift.  I had even been talking to my husband about how they needed to bring back the good old games the week before they announced it.  I felt like I predicted the future :)

Getting your hands on one is TRICKY though.  I was able to snag one yesterday WHEW!  I want to help you get one too.  So here's what I know so far:

Walmart will be restocking today and tomorrow at 2pm Pacific Time.  Here's the link:

Yesterday it actually popped up as available a little early and I snagged mine at 1:51.  I think it depends on your local Walmarts because it's pick-up only.  So if your local Walmarts don't have any instock I don't think it will pull up as available for you, but that's just a guess.

To increase your chance to getting one you're gonna want to be able to check out QUICK so make sure you have a account with a credit card and email already set up.

FYI The price should be $59.88  DO NOT BUY from the greedy people trying to sell them for $400!

May the odds be ever in your favor!!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Best Thai Chicken Salad You'll Ever Make

No joke, this salad is seriously amazing.  My husband requests it often and says it's better than salads he gets at restaurants.  The best part is it's easy and a great way to get eat your veggies.  Once time I had left overs, but was out of lettuce, so I made it with a bunch of broccoli and the remaining ingredients and it was FABULOUS.  So that's another option.  I wanted to take a better picture of it with natural light and make it all pretty, but the sun goes down at like 4:00 these days and it just didn't happen.  But trust me, it's much prettier in person.


- 2-3 Chicken Breasts
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbs Rice Vinegar
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Bunch Cilantro
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 1/2 tsp Salt

Shredded Carrots
Red Bell Pepper
Green Onions
Wonton Strips (found with the salad toppings)

- 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
- 1 tsp Oil (vegetable oil, olive oil or sesame oil work great)
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Peanut Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
- 2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
- 2 Tbs Soy Sauce
- 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
- 1 Tbs Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce
- 1/2 Tbs Sambal (this gives it a bit of heat so add the amount you desire or exclude it if you don't want it spicy)


For the chicken:
Cut each chicken breast into 2-3 long strips.  In a bowl combine remaining ingredients.  Whisk until well combined.  Add chicken to marinade and let it sit for at least 4 hours to overnight.  Grill chicken until cooked and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and adding to the salad.  You could also bake or pan sear the chicken if you don't want to grill it, but I love it grilled.

For the salad:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except peanuts and wonton strips.  After the salad has been tossed with the dressing and drizzled with the peanut sauce, add the final toppings.

For the dressing:
Combine all ingredients and whisk well to combine. Pour over salad and toss to coat evenly.

For the peanut sauce:
Combine all ingredients and whisk well to combine.  Drizzle over salad.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Healthy" Ice Cream

Need to drown your election sorrows with some ice cream? I just found out about Halo Top Ice Cream and it's pretty darn good for being "healthy ice cream" the gal on Our Best Bites was raving about it so I had to give it a try.  Where I live, it's only carried at Rosauers in the natural section (not the normal ice cream area).  You can find out where they sell it near you HERE .  They only had a few flavors when I went the other night.  I got strawberry which is just okay and then birthday cake which I enjoyed quite a bit (when I go to Coldstone I ALWAYS get cake batter with sprinkles).  I actually ate the whole pint in one sitting 🙈 but hey it was only 280 calories right!?! Rosauers also had vanilla, chocolate (which I heard is no bueno) and lemon cake. I've heard good things about the lemon cake and look forward to trying it out.  I'm hoping at some point they get oatmeal cookie, mint chip and peanut butter cup which seem to be everyone's favs.  I will warn you that they aren't cheap, but for an occasional special treat I think it's worth it.  I recommend letting the pint sit on the counter for a few minutes so the texture becomes more creamy rather than grainy.  I'm seriously wishing I had some right about now, but alas I'm stuck at home with my son who has the stomach flu :(

Thursday, November 3, 2016

30 Minute Chili Recipe

It's getting to be that time of year again when warm soup, stew, chili, etc. is all you want for dinner.  Well I have a quick and easy 30 minute chili recipe that is delicious and it even has a secret ingredient that takes it over the top.


1 lb Ground beef, browned (I brown my hamburger with dried minced onions for extra flavor.  I also only use 1/2 lb cause I'm just not a BIG ground beef fan).
1 (15 oz) Can chili beans with sauce
1 (15 oz) Can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) Can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (46 oz) Can tomato juice
1 (28 oz) Can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbs Chili powder
1 1/2 tsp Onion powder
1 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Stir to combine.  Cook on medium-high heat until it starts to simmer.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Top with your favorite chili fixings.  We are a cheese and sour cream family.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2016

That One Time I Got 80 lbs of Apples for $16

Last week my friend asking on Facebook if anyone was interested in getting apples for 20 cents/pound.  Uhhhhhh you better believe I want in on that.  We are down to 2 jars of applesauce and this was the perfect chance to stock back up.  This wonderful friend went and picked up apples for me and a few other people cause she's awesome like that.  Here's my 80 pound stash:
I went on pinterest and searched all sorts of canning recipes for ideas on what to make.  Applesauce was a given.  I also decide to do apple pie filling this time around.  I've never had apple butter, but I've heard good things.  Please someone tell me - WHAT is apple butter and how do you use it?  One random recipe that intrigued me was making syrup using the peels and cores of the apples.  Since I'd be discarding those things anyways I decided to give it a try.  I am happy with the results, so I'm gonna share what I did :)

Homemade Applesauce

The first thing you need to do is sanitize your jars.  I did this in my dishwasher since it has a sanitize cycle, but you can also put them in water and boil for 10 minutes.
Next cup your apples into chunks.  I eighthed mine.  No need to worry about removing stickers or peeling!  It doesn't matter what kind of apples you use.  I did a combination of Granny Smith, Fuji and Golden Delicious.
 Put 1/2 inch of water in a pot and add your apples.  Bring water to a boil and cover for about 20 minutes or until apples are soft and mushy but not muuuuuushy.  Make sure to stir your apples several times throughout the 20 minutes to help them get cooked evenly.
 Next run your apples (I don't include the liquid cause I don't want super runny applesauce) through this fancy contraption.  This is my friend's strainer, but I ordered one for myself because it's THAT amazing.  Here's a link to the strainer I ordered.
Taste your applesauce and decide if it needs anything added (sweetener or cinnamon).  I personally like just plain apples for my applesauce.  Then start filling your jars.
Use a plastic or wooden tool to remove air bubbles.
Use a clean rag to wipe off the top of your jar.
Make sure not to touch the sides or bottom of your lids.  Get yourself a little canning kit and it'll come with a handy dandy magnetic tool to pick up your lids.
Put your jars into a large water bath pot.  I got mine at Goodwill for $5.99 WIN!  Use water the same temperature as your jars and fill it until the water is 1 inch ABOVE the jars.  Cover the pot, bring water to a boil and then set your timer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let the jars sit for 5 minutes.
 Remove your jars and set them on a towel to cool.  Leave them here for 24 hours.  Then check the tops of the lids to make sure they have all sealed.  Any jars that didn't seal, put in your fridge to be used soon.

Step back and admire your beautiful jars of delicious applesauce.  Make sure to put the date on  your lids.  From my research I've read that canned applesauce will last anywhere from 1-3 years in your pantry.

Apple Pie Filling

I used My Country Blog of This and That's recipe for my apple pie filling.  The only thing I did differently is I didn't use Clear Jel.  It's not easy to find and I didn't want to wait for Amazon to deliver it.  Through my research I learned that it is NOT safe to use cornstarch or flour in your canning recipes, but you CAN add those ingredients to help thicken your sauce when you open your jar to use the filling.  So that's my plan.   

Does anyone else have memories of eating "slinky apples" as a child?  I LOVED using the Johnny Apple Peeler when I was little.  Well I like using it as an adult too :)  
 My kids appreciated the sections that didn't get peeled.
 I thought I was cramming the apple slices into the jars, but as you can see I have plenty of extra space to seriously CRAM those apples in there!

Homemade Apple Syrup

Last but not least, I'm gonna tell you how I made my Apple Syrup.  I found one random post about this on Pinterest from Little House Living, but I changed the recipe up a bit.

Here's what you'll need:
- Apple cores and peels
- Water
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Strainer
- Cheesecloth
- Candy Thermometer
- Jars & Lids
- Water Bath Canning Equipment

For my syrup I used the peels and cores left over from the Granny Smith apples used in my apple pie filling.  Put your apple scraps in a large pot and fill with water until the apples are covered (the apples may float a bit so use your best judgement on the water needed).  Cover and bring water to a boil.  Cook apples until the cores are squishy (about 20 minutes).
Pour the water from your pot through a double layer of cheesecloth and a strainer to make sure you're left with just water.
Thank you cheesecloth for making my syrup not chunky.
 Add sugar to your water.  For every 10 cups of water, I added 3 cups white sugar and 2 cups brown sugar.  Now here's where things got tricky and it took some fiddling around to get it right.  On the recipe I was following it said the sugar water mixture needed to be brought up to 218 degrees fahrenheit in order to thicken into a syrup.

Well as it turns out this sugar water bubbles CRAZY high and any time I'd get to around 210 degrees the bubbles were ready to spill over the side of the pot and I was whisking like a mad woman trying to prevent it from bubbling over.  I seriously stood whisking for at least 10 minutes and NEVER got the temp above 215.  I think my electric stovetop may have had something to do with this.  So I re-evaluated and decided to do it in small batches.  So instead of doing 2 pots of 10 cups each, I dumped all of my liquid into one pot and then focused on 2 cup batches.  I was FINALLY able to get the temp up to where it needed to be.  Yay!
 Here's what I learned.  Whisking sometimes made it bubble more and would reduce the temp, so I only whisked if the bubbles started to get super out of control (which only happened once or twice).

Here's the REAL trick.  All of a sudden the bubbles would be low and turn dark.  THAT's when I knew it was ready.  As soon as it hit that point, I took it off the burner and set it aside to cool down before adding it to the jars.
 I used mostly jelly jars since I don't need a crazy amount of syrup at once.
 Follow the same canning/water bath instructions I mentioned for the applesauce. You'll once again boil these for 20 minutes.

 We tried the syrup on waffles with cinnamon and sugar apples and some homemade whipped cream.  It was tasty!  When I first opened the jar, I needed to stir it around a bit to get it to a nice even texture.

After you open the jar, refrigerate it.  If it it's a little too thick, pop it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time and stir.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Random Thoughts - Charging Phones

I'm curious, at what point do normal people look at their phone and think, I should plug this in to charge?  I think I'm a bit OCD about my phones battery. At about 40% is when I start to think about charging it. I know, I know I'm weird right?  Anything between 20-40% and I'm thinking of the next chance I can plug it in. Once I drop below 20% and hit the "low power mode", I get anxious.  My phone has only been below 10% maybe 2-3 times over this past year.  I think it stems from having the old phones where you could have 20% left, take one picture and the phone would die.

Also, when I see a screenshot from someone with 4% battery on their phone I immediately get anxiety FOR them haha.   Is anyone else weird like me or am I just a "battery half empty" kinda person?

Oddly enough, my Ipad battery can go well below 20% without me even thinking about plugging it in.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Welcome to my new blog!  I don't know how many people even read blogs anymore.  I know I went through that phase and then life got crazy busy and I no longer had time to just sit and read blogs everyday, but I've had enough requests from friends to start up a blog that I decided to jump on the blog train again.

I've had two mommy blogs in the past, but there came time that I needed to re-evaluate my life and actually be a good mom rather than just writing like I was one.  The purpose of this blog is going to be a bit different.  It's not going to stick to one theme.  It'll bounce between recipes (my long time love of good food), woodworking projects (my new found hobby), random thoughts, crafting and whatever else I feel like posting about.  So it's gonna be a jumble of topics. Sorry for those super organized people that like just one theme to read about - that's not how my brain works (hence the name of the blog) and I have more than one interest to write about.

Let me introduce myself a bit.  My name is Madelyn and I am the mom of three, soon to be four crazy kiddies.  Baby #4 is due the end of January.  It seems that creating is ingrained in me and has been since I was little.  I remember making my own nail polish with friend.  The ingredients? Elmer's glue, water and food coloring - NAILED it!  Sorry, I don't remember the ratios so I'm not gonna share that "recipe" with you ;)

At the age of 12 I started getting into photography.  My dad had it as a hobby and I joined in on the fun.  I stuck with it over the years and started my own business about 8 years ago.

You know the 5 love languages?  Well it turns out there's a 6th one - FOOD.  My love language is quite literally food.  My husband laughs, but it's so true.  I have a love for good food and look for opportunities to share it with those I care about.  If I'm having a bad day, all it takes is a sonic cherry limeade slush, a date to a yummy restaurant, or someone dropping off a random goodie to turn my frown upside down.  I also really enjoy cooking/baking and have collected quite a few delicious recipes which I'll share with you.

I am not a great artist, but I enjoy trying to be one.  Turns out painting is a lot harder than Bob Ross makes it look.  I have managed to pull off a couple of paintings that I am pleased with though.

My new hobby is woodworking.  So expect simple, but totally doable projects for beginners as I'm a newbie myself.

Can we just take a moment to thank pinterest for existing.  Sure it fuels my craziness, but it's also inspired many, MANY things to create and when I'm creating, I'm happy.

I'm excited to start this journey with you and if you have any special requests on things you'd like me to post about, let me know!