Sunday, February 28, 2010

Attention Fleur de Lis Addicts

Today while thrifting I met a new vendor. A woman who loves fleur de lis jewelry so much that she had to go into business selling it to justify her purchasing. She had the same complaint as I - boutiques and shops who jack up the price of fleur de lis jewelry just because its a hot item, just because of the name.

I've made a little business deal with her and will be ordering fleur de lis pieces from her on a regular basis. At a reasonable price.

Who doesn't love affordable jewelry?

Sneak peek? Yes please. I'll have some sample pieces I got from her today to sell to you tomorrow as well.

Hammered Fleur de Lis Pendant on Chain $20 (Estimated boutique price $30)

Linked Fleur de Lis Bracelet with magnetic clasp $14 (Estimated boutique price $20)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mexican Chicken Pot Pie

Apologies for the lack of photo on this post. I couldn't even find a photo close to what the casserole looks like, so you'll have to use your imagination on this one! :)

This recipe is one I'm proud of: one I created while living alone, craving mexican food and only having certain things on hand. It's a spin off of your usual chicken pot pie with a mexican flair. In our little family of two, we eat off this casserole three times and it never gets old. Hope you enjoy!


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cans Campbells cream of chicken soup
1 can Campbells cheese soup
1 can Mexican style Rotel
2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese (plain cheddar is fine too)
package of small flour tortillas
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
1/2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp butter or margarine


Place chicken in microwaveable dish with lid. Add oil, butter and all seasonings. Cover and place in microwave for 6 minutes. Flip chicken, cover and cook for another 2 minutes. Take chicken out and shred apart in the juice with fork and knife. Set aside.

In separate bowl mix Rotel and cans of soup plus one cup of cheese. Add the shredded chicken, mixing evenly.

In 9x13 casserole dish lay two tortillas down covering the bottom. Add half the chicken/soup/cheese mixture. Layer two tortillas over the mixture. Spoon the remaining half of the chicken mixture over that layer of tortillas. Put down two last tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. If you'd like, add an extra sprinkling of cumin on top just for a little extra pretty.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cheese should be melted and bubbly. Great with a side of Mexican style creamed corn, which I may just have to break this week's casserole marathon to post!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Squash Casserole

I'm sad that I don't have a photo of this easy and delicious casserole, but I pulled the closest photo I could for you to get an idea.

This is a recipe that my family has loved and used for years. A great way to sneak in your veggies! Now, I had a conversation with my mom last night trying to figure out exactly what our "recipe" was for this casserole, so when making this one feel free to add ingredients as you see necessary. Remember - you can't take away but you can always add!


3 lbs ground chuck
4 medium yellow squash
1/2 medium onion chopped
1 12 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 parmesan cheese (or more)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder


Scrub squash clean and slice into thin rounds. Place squash in a skillet and add a little water to the bottom, about 1/2 cup or so. Cover and cook at medium temperature, stirring and sort of mushing the squash with spatula or wooden spoon.

In separate skillet brown ground meat, drain. Add chopped onions, seasonings and add enough tomato sauce to wet the ground meat mixture without making it soupy. You may need to use the entire can, just eyeball it.
When meat mixture is done and squash is cooked down, combine both in a large casserole dish. Add bread crumbs and half of the parmesan cheese and mix all together. The bread crumbs will act as a binder, so the casserole should start coming together nicely and not separate.

Top the casserole with a sprinkling of bread crumbs and the rest of the parmesan cheese.

Cook at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, checking the casserole until it browns on top. The ingredients are already cooked so you basically want to create a little bit of a crust on top and warm through.

This is really great with a side of peas!

Hope you enjoy! Thanks again Mom. :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole

Photo by

Mmmm, this casserole makes me think of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Me and my husband love this sweet casserole, a favorite that has been perfected over the years by my Mother-in-Love and the perfect side dish to baked turkey or chicken.

Hope you enjoy this southern favorite of mine!


2 (29 oz) cans sweet potatoes
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup margarine
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. orange juice
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar


Drain potatoes and reserve liquid. Beat potatoes until smooth. Add spices, orange juice, margarine, 1/2 cup reserved liquid, eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add sugar and nuts.

Grease a 3 quart casserole dish. Fill with half the potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove, add a layer of marshmallows and return to oven until marshmallows are golden brown, being careful not to burn.

Mmm, makes me wish for Thanksgiving all over again! Enjoy!

**A special thanks goes out to my MIL for allowing me to post this family recipe!

If YOU have a casserole recipe that you'd like to share, please send email to Jill at All credit will (of course) be given to you, the chef!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Breakfast Frittata Casserole

Photo from

Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner? I must admit, this is definitely not a reheater, but this is a great mid-week filler that takes about 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes in the oven.

I love using this recipe which I change up pretty much every time I use it. Try using bacon or sausage instead of ham and feel free to put any veggies you have hanging around, like peppers! (Though I wouldn't suggest carrots or zucchini...)


2 cans Crescent Rolls
8 eggs
10 slices sandwich sliced deli ham (honey ham or smoked)
1/4 onion sliced very thin OR
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup crushed croutons
splash of milk
tablespoon butter
garlic & onion powder
dash of cayenne

Optional: chopped spinach and/or mushrooms, about a palm-full of each


Slice ham into small 1/2" pieces. Place in saute pan with butter, onions and spinach and mushrooms if you choose to use those.
Preheat oven to temperature on crescent roll tube. Unroll the crescent rolls and spread out in the bottom of a 9x13 pyrex dish or pan that has a thin coat of cooking spray.

Keep an eye on the ham & veggie mixture. Take out of pan before the ham browns and when the onions are cooked. In the meantime, scramble the eggs in a large bowl and add seasonings, crushed croutons, cheese, milk and ham/veggie mixture.

Pop in oven and bake until the eggs are cooked through, checking with a toothpick. It should take close to 20 minutes at the temperature noted on the crescent roll package.

Stay tuned for a southern side dish later today!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cheesy Frito Tamale Pie

This casserole recipe is one I created back in college, one that I continue to make on days that I really don't feel like "cooking". Back then, I always had these ingredients on hand because they were cheap, stored well, and the casserole lasted all week.

Now, I can be a snob when it comes to certain things, so if you see the ingredients below and turn your nose up - I'll let it slide. ;) But we grew up on these items and they taste like home to me. Add a few things like cheese and ground meat and you've got yourself a down home masterpiece. ;)


1/2 onion chopped
1 lb ground chuck or lean ground meat
1 can kernel corn
2 cans Hormel (or preferred) Hot Tamales (I like the spicy ones)
1 can Hormel chili with beans
1 cup Fritos chips, crushed
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I never said this was low fat...)
sour cream for topping


Brown ground meat, drain. Add chopped onions and season meat mixture with salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, or whatever mexican type seasonings you have on hand. If you don't have any, no worries - salt and pepper will do just fine.

Add corn to the meat mixture, stirring well. Set aside.

Take the tamales and lightly smush them in a bowl with a fork into chunks.

Spray a 9x13 or larger dish with cooking spray and empty crushed Fritos into the bottom, making a sort of "crust" for the casserole. Next take the chunky tamale pieces and cover the fritos. Add about half of the shredded cheese. Top with the ground meat/onion/corn mixture. Next add the cans of chili. Last but not least, top with remaining shredded cheese.

Bake at 385 uncovered for 20 minutes or until hot all the way through. Top with sour cream.


Easy Spinach Rice Bake

Last week I declared this week "Casserole Week" on my facebook fan page. All week I'll be posting casseroles that will help us get through the week a little easier. Recipes will be those I've created myself, those I have on my list to try, and family recipes.

Today's easy peezy casserole recipe was pulled from The Food Network. I've purchased the ingredients for this one and will be posting a review this week after I try it out myself. I plan to use this as a side dish with fish the first time and baked chicken with the leftovers.


2 tablespoons butter, plus more for dish
1 small onion, minced
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and chopped
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar, plus extra for top
4 cups cooked rice
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large casserole dish.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, saute onions with 2 tablespoons of butter and cayenne until translucent. Add the spinach and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together milk and eggs.

Add the cheese, rice, parsley, thyme, basil and spinach mixture and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with extra shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and serve piping hot.

Next: Cheesy Frito Tamale Pie!

Playing Catch Up: Valentine's Day, Baby and My Sissy

It's early Friday morning. My belly is full of hashbrowns and eggs. Puppy is snoring in her bed just feet away from me while I'm making the day's to-do list.

Tomorrow I will be 13 weeks pregnant. I'm officially out of my first trimester!

Valentine's Day

Baber and I aren't big into making a fuss over Valentine's Day, but seeing as I'm with child we wanted to do a little something special. We asked my Jillry Facebook fans to help us decide on something memorable to do and turned it into a jewelry giveaway.

A friend and Jillry fan, Amanda, had the winning Valentine's Day plans for us: Make the day about baby and us, with no extra fuss. She suggested a dinner with little to no clean up, so we ate at Gino's because I was craving Italiano. Next we visited Books a Million at Amanda's request to purchase a baby journal to write in for baby. We also purchased a baby names book. Before heading home we stopped at J's favorite, the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, to pick up his favorite treat: Tiger Butter.

Once home, we jumped in bed to relax with full bellies and talked about our future together while flipping through our new baby books. What a beautiful day. :)

Pregnancy Update

In the past few weeks I've gotten my energy back and seem to need naps less and less. I can also cook pretty much anything now without getting sick from the smell and can eat more than just potatoes! Its good to get back into the swing of things. (Now if I can just get my craft room organized...)

This week I purchased my first pieces of maternity clothing. I was thrilled to learn that maternity jeans were not only comfortable, but super cute! As a special treat to myself, I plan to create jewelry to go with my new clothing, something I never do. I'll be sure to post photos of my new outfits and jewelry to match!

I'm currently in a love/hate relationship with my prenatal vitamins.

LOVE: Strong, healthy, long nails. Even if I have to cut them nearly every week.

HATE: Having to cut my hair so often!

Baberbean's Heartbeat!

This Tuesday we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. We expected it to be an overly emotional moment for us, but we just kept laughing and smiling from ear to ear. I have a little horse galloping in my belly! My tummy kept jumping under the dophler instrument when I laughed, so I kept apologizing and then laughing again. Hearing our baby's heartbeat pretty much made the week for us.

A New Beginning For Sister

My sister has left the salon she opened with two other stylists for greener pastures. Her previous work environment was unhealthy and stressful. I had seen my normally calm, happy sister slowly turn into a quiet, stressed out woman with stomach problems due to the drama of the workplace she had originally hoped to be her dream salon.

She finally had enough and I am so proud of her for bettering her career and well being. The salon she will be working in has mature, professional stylists who are friendly and dress like stylists should. The colors in the salon are beautiful, neutral colors that are conducive to a calming work environment. She has a huge workspace, something I can't wait to plop my booty in for a little pampering!

I know I haven't written much about my sister and her salon before now, but her change of scenery has made me to relive my past work environments. I've worked in offices with chauvinist, abusive bosses, and offices where other women would pretend to be your friend and then stab you in the back to get ahead.

Something that I advocate more than ever now is loving what you do and doing what is good for you. There's nothing worse than taking a rough day home with you and dreading work the next morning. I'm not saying everyone should quit their current job and become their own boss, but I am saying that those who are stressed or have noticed extreme changes in mood and personality should really consider a career or workplace change. It could make all the difference in your life, a life that isn't long enough to waste on a negative work environment.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Just wanted to give everyone a heads up to get the pick of the litter. I'm having a BIG SALE in my shop right now to clear out my usuals and make way for the new. Cha Cha Bracelets, new metals and bright happy colors for spring will be added soon. You can see new items being added daily this week as well.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Trial and Error

*sweep sweep* *dust dust* There. Hello blog. I've missed you.

<--- That's our bebe's crib, isn't it pretty? *sigh*

It's 7:08 a.m. The sun is finally up and so am I. It's Friday, and tomorrow I will be 11 weeks pregnant.

The weeks of being sick are long gone now, and like everyone close to me said with encouragement, I already can hardly remember them. So, no more "only child" jokes coming from my mouth. (I think I just heard my handsome husband sigh with relief.)

I'm a "fixer" by heart. Find something wrong and I love to analyze and inspect in order to fix it. Same goes with my pregnancy. Baber and I aren't much for medicine-taking, we try to find the problems to our aches and pains before running to the medicine cabinet. So starting out with pretty good health (knock on wood) and suddenly going through bouts of nausea, indigestion, heart burn - things I've never experienced before - was a bit trying for me. After much trial and error, I've closed the medicine cabinet again. Drink carbonated drinks sparingly. No tomato sauce. And the list goes on.

In doing this, I've become so much more aware of things. I realize now that everything we go through during our pregnancy is just our body's way of preparing us for when the baby arrives.

Now, I know that seems like a big ole "DUH" but, this is my first pregnancy and every little thing I'm experiencing is so special to me, I want to shout about it from the roof tops. So while it may seem obvious, it wasn't so obvious to me until now.

I've been told that when the baby comes you will never sleep again. I've decided not to fully believe that, but let's just go with it. For a woman who once hit the pillow and slept like a dream, waking up 6 times in the middle of the night to visit the potty is just plain torture. But, when the baby comes, waking up so often in the night will seem so natural to me.

When my body is uncomfortable and screaming at me for attention, I really listen to it and give it what it needs. Water, fruit, sleep. One day soon I'll be doing the same for our baby.

I asked J if he felt like he was waiting for the baby. He smiled, I think because he knew just exactly what I meant. Sure, we go through every day living: work, bills, dinner, chores, snuggles, Words with Friends on iphone... *snort* But, sometimes when I'm reading before bedtime and I have my hand on my tummy, I think "We're just waiting, waiting for he/she to arrive." Like we're in the waiting room called Life, reading and cooking and working just to pass the time until we can meet our little one. I've got tears welling up in my eyes right now just trying to type it. Man am I going to be a mess when the little bean does get here!

I'll close shop for now. I woke this morning excited, today is the last day of the trunk show I'm holding online for Jillry. I am completely amazed at the response and the success of the show, it could not have come at a better time for us. So I'm counting orders in my head in bed at 6:30 a.m., may as well get up. Never would I have thought I'd actually be doing something for a living that I love so much, that even sleep couldn't get in the way of it.

Its a wonderful life, isn't it?

xo Mama

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