Monday, October 15, 2012

Potato, Ham and Corn Chowder

I have recently developed a love for cooking. Well, maybe it is more like a “crush” on cooking. You see,
my friend, Pinterest, introduced us and I have been looking for reasons to go back for more.

Plus, I enjoy the challenge. As a type-A, task oriented working mom, I have to find ways to fulfill my
creative side while actually getting something done. Thankfully, cooking has been that outlet. Coupled
with a challenge from my husband to cook meals within a budget, I am living for the challenge. After
years of dreading the task, I can actually say that I look forward to meal planning and my Sunday
afternoon cooking sessions. It has become like a game – how much can I buy? How much did I save?
How many meals can I make?

Trust me. This is still new to me. I don’t claim to know the tips, tricks that Martha Stewart brings to the
table (yes, that pun was intended), but I have enjoyed learning. I can follow a recipe like the best of
them and it has further improved my confidence in my new found skill.

So that being said, this recipe (and I use that very loosely) can be customized to meet your tastes and
preferences. It is from Mamasita, the woman of “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”. She showed
me her ways a few weeks ago, and although I am still getting the hang of it, I will try to share her ways.

Potato, Ham and Corn Chowder

3-4 Medium/Large potatoes or 6-8 small potatoes (washed, peeled and diced)
1 medium onion, diced
2 T Minced garlic
1 -2 cups of diced ham
½ pkg of frozen corn
1 carton of chicken broth
1 can of cream of chicken
Salt, pepper to taste
Adobo (my seasoning preference)

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add onion and minced garlic. You can add more or less depending on
your preference. Sauté onions until they are soft and translucent. Add diced potatoes and
ham. Sauté until potatoes start to get tender. You are just trying to transfer the flavors of the onion
and garlic to the potatoes & ham. Ham will start to brown on the edges. Add the entire carton of
chicken broth. Let pot simmer for 10- 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Depending on the
consistency of your soup/chowder, the amount of potatoes, etc, you can adjust the consistency
by covering the batch to thicken it up or leave it uncovered to keep it runny. Add the can of cream
of chicken. This is purely meant to add creaminess without the use of milk or heavy cream, for the
lactose intolerant folks Season to taste. I like a lot of pepper and Adobo, keeping in mind that my
ham will provide additional salt for flavor. Finally, add frozen corn based on preference and size of
batch. I typically add a ½ package frozen corn. Continue cooking until corn has thawed.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Coffee Mug Swap

So I am pretty much a blog slacker...i know {sigh}. I had you fooled by that trend of posts for a steady 2 weeks, right? Well, my true colors have shown themselves.

Anyhoo! Despite my poor consistency with blogging, I decided to participate in a blogger coffee mug swap that was being held (hosted) by Suzel Says. I thought it was a fun idea. I mean everyone loves getting "fun" mail and it was a great way to meet a new friend! 

I was paired with the lovely and stylish Jess, of J's Style, whose blog highlights her thrifting skills and fashion forward outfits each day. I am continually impressed by the fantastic pieces that she finds thrifting and her outfit choices are very inspiring. In the few weeks that I have been following her blog, I have noticed a change in the way that I view my own wardrobe! Thanks for the inspiration, Jess!

Jess sent me this DIY chalkboard mug that was inspired by this post. I loved how personal it was and the special touch of including a box of chalk! It was so sweet and definitely brightened my day.

I have linked up to the fun mug swapping going on over at Suzel Says. There are only a few days left to join in the fun!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sick of Being Sick

Drats! I was on such a roll with my posts until our family got hit with this allergies-turned-chest congestion-bug. It got all three of us and knocked me on my tush for 3 solid weeks. I was trying everything under the sun to take the edge off the discomfort until last week I gave up and went to see a doctor. I had convinced myself that it was Bronchitis, but thankfully it was just a Sinus infection. But what can I say, I am a wimp when it comes to pain so I have basically been a lump on our couch for the last 3 weeks with no energy or motivation to do anything but veg out on the couch. So there is my excuse reason for lack of posts. And I am sorry that I really have nothing to share with you in this post. I am hoping to get back on the horse with my projects and posts. Right before I got sick, my sister and I issued each other a project challenge to work on. Having given ourself a week to complete our projects, we both failed to meet our completion date, but she is lightyears ahead of me. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product and hoping that I will get to my project this weekend...

Until then, have a wonderful Friday!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rough Housing

Maddie is a tough little girl. I attribute most of that to the way that she and Ben play around the house. He has taught her how to rough-house, to tackle the "fumbled football" and to scare Mommy from the ripe old age of 10 months. And naturally I sit and watch the whole thing. Just my luck, I would join in the fun and end up breaking my arm. Considering my history of broken bones, it could really happen.

Anyways after a long week of 3 sickies coughing and sniffling around the house, it was nice to see it end in giggles, tickles and tackles.

It was a great end to the week and perfect start to the weekend. Looking forward to lots more moments like these!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Maddie is definitely an outdoor person. I attribute this to with the many hours that she spent outside with her Lita, Titi Susan and cousin Colty last summer. The poor babies have felt cooped up during this relatively mild winter, so when the weather permits we try to take them out into the fresh air.

So when the snow fell a few weeks ago (now its been almost a month ago), we bundled up to play as a family.

She can barely contain her excitement!

 She loved sliding down the slide. She kept signing "More" after each ride.

Although I am not one to enjoy being out in the cold (those that know me well are chuckling as they read this), watching the joy and smiles on her face truly made it worthwhile.

Until we had to come inside...

It feels strange to post these pictures as we enjoy 70-degree weather this week, but I couldn't resist sharing the memories. They still make me smile...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Simple Inspirational Artwork

I think that at some point everyone struggles with finding a piece of art that inspires them. Sometimes you just have to create it yourself! I had the same difficulty with the inspiration for our master bedroom until I saw this piece of paper.

This is the art that now hangs in on the wall opposite our bed. I love that it looks like a large medallion from that distance with a cool, refreshing color scheme.

With the help of your trusty home improvement and craft stores, it is a simple project that can be completed by the end of nap time.

2' x 4' x 1/4" thick piece of MDF board
12" x 12" scrapbook paper (4 pieces)
Modge Podge

Taking advantage of the cutting service at both Lowe's and Home Depot, I had the MDF board cut into 12" x 12" squares to match the size of the paper that I was using. Get creative! If you share my love for symmetry, you could use the traditional 2 by 2 block pattern that I used or try your hand at an eclectic arrangement of different sizes and shapes. Keep in mind that they usually charge about $0.25 for each cut.

At this point, you can paint the edge of the board or leave the natural color. It is also important to measure your paper against the board. The board can often be slightly larger or smaller than expected. Trim the paper, as necessary.

So, I have a not-so secret crush on Modge Podge. Also known as "decoupage", it is super easy. (For another great decoupage project, check out my fabulous friend, Sarah's page!) Place a thin, even layer of "podge" on the board and on the back of the paper. Now the tricky part is to place the large piece of paper on the board without getting "podge" everywhere. There are approximately 3.2 seconds to slide the paper into position. Okay maybe that was a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. To avoid the wrinkly raisin effect, it is best to wait about 5 minutes for the glue to dry before applying the top coat. Once it has dried, apply a thin top coat to the paper. I found that for the first coat the thinner, the better. After the initial top coat has dried, you can apply a second coat liberally.

Allow to dry at least 15 minutes before handling to avoid damaging the paper or inadvertantly adding a texture to the surface of your podge.

When the podge is completely dry, you can add the picture hardware to the back the each board. Now you can enjoy your new beautiful unique (and inexpensive) artwork!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ladies Luncheon: Celebrating Sarah's 30th Birthday

Courtesy of BA Photography

This is Sarah. She is one of my dearest, sweetest, and most special friends. Isn't she beautiful? Uh yeah! But the best part of Sarah is that this beauty goes down to the depths of her soul. She is an amazing woman that loves deeply and passionately. She cares about others more than herself. She encourages you to be creative, to go the extra mile for others and to be a better wife. And Sarah's love for the Lord is contagious. 

This year was significant because it was her 30th birthday! And as with any birthday milestone come special party plans.  So when her husband asked my sister, Kimi and I (aka "RoMaglio"~ where your dreams become a reality) to help with the party planning we jumped at the opportunity. Yes, we have created a party planning business for ourselves. No, it is not real. Well, unless you want it to be...

Anyways with a little "creative communication", we set the bait. We enlisted Sarah to help us host our sister's bridal shower. Like I said, Sarah is so willing to help others that she didn't think twice and agreed to help right away. Our plan was a go! We wanted to recreate the feel of a traditional ladies lunch complete with formal attire, a special menu and fabulous company. Here are the details...

The Location:
Four Season Room in the LoMag Residence

Kimi's home is the perfect party location. Their four seasons room is surrounded by windows, so no matter the time of day, it feels classy. And at the risk of sounding hoity-toity, it looked classy too.

A collection of our dining room chairs surround the table

Bright and sunny tulips

The Menu:
Traditional Chicken Salad (my recipe)
Spinach, Strawberry, & Pecan Salad
Corn Chowder (Mamasita's recipe)

Cheese Tortellini

Keurig coffee and Cadbury mini eggs

Personal Fruit Pizzas

Mini Cupcakes
The Favors:
Soy Candles

The Guests:
The lovely ladies and the Guest of Honor
Not only did we have fun putting the details together, but in the end, Miss Sarah was surprised and speechless. Success!

Happy 30th Birthday, Sarah! You are loved and we wish you many more wonderful years ahead. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for your life.

Love & Hugs!