Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Nuts in the Crockpot

Before going into labor, I made a batch of cinnamon sugar nuts to gift to the nurses at the hospital. This recipe is one that I've seen numerous times on Pinterest and was curious if it could hold up to the claims of making the crunchy sweet nuts effortlessly in the crockpot. My post is part recipe, part craft project.  Here is how I did it...

Start by mixing 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 3 tablespoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Harper Arrives!

She is here! Miss Harper Grace made a grand entrance on Friday, December 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM after 20 minutes of pushing. Yes, it was fast. Yes, it was painful. Yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.

At 8 lbs and 21 inches, this little bundle of joy stole our hearts right from the start. She's already a daddy's girl, following his voice, staring at his face when he talks to her. Nothing makes me happier than watching my husband hold her and watching her eyes light up.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Nursery Tour - Under Construction

Although the nursery isn't complete yet (and these days I wonder if it will EVER be done) I wanted to give you a sneak peak at what I've been working on. It all started with these three fabrics. It actually started with about 12 swatches of fabric and after a lot of deliberation and input from my sewing friends, I decided on the three main fabrics above. I was drawn to the soft sherbet orange and the shades of baby pink and bold fuchsia.

With my color pallet chosen, I started designing the bedding and found a seamstress in the area to create the custom dust ruffle and bumper. I'm not sure about the boa, I admit it just may be over the top. I love the ruffles, it's so feminine and I find the pattern modern not baby-ish.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shrimp, Corn and Potato Chowder

I can't say what it was that made me want this Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder I found on the Weight Watchers web site. Blame it on the pregnancy, but it sounded so good I had to make it that night. I followed the recipe verbatim and both Jim and I were so impressed with the outcome. He's not a "soup for dinner" kind of guy, so you have to trust me when I say this soup is good. I was kicking myself that I didn't take any photos, and knew instantly I would have to remake the recipe for the blog.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baby Shower for Harper Grace

I have the best girlfriends. Somer, Shelley, (Me), Dana, Paulina and Nesi. These sweet friends threw me a wonderful shower this past weekend and I felt so blessed by all who came to shower Harper and I with love. Here are some pictures from the memorable day we had.
This is the most adorable pink candy bar that I've ever seen. My mom decorated the buffet with a sweet pink dress that she wore as a baby, and that I also wore as a baby!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Pop of Color in the Living Room

I'm so excited to share this fun project with you!

Look at these ugly things. They are probably 10 years old and as you can see we use them a great deal. Yes, we are one of those couples who eats dinner in front of the TV every night.

As we make upgrades to the house the wood in the living room is becoming darker and darker with the majority having an espresso stain. So I had the choice of sanding and staining or doing something more unique with these trays.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Reeses Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats

This pregnancy has me craving things I would not normally want to eat. Rice Krispie treats have never been big on my list, and I definitely do not gravitate towards the chocolate peanut butter combo that my husband loves. That's his thing, and I'm happy to make that for him...but it's never been my thing.

I was making dinner for our small group last week and wanted something easy that I could pull together quickly. A simple text to my foodie girlfriends erupted in lots of ideas. When one suggested Rice Krispie Treats, another quickly added that she had recently tried a Reese's version that was to die for. Bingo! I had my dessert for the night. A soft and ooey-gooey marshmallow treat with chocolate and peanut butter sounded so good, my mind was made up.

The grocery list is short and simple:  A box of Cocoa Krispies, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butter, Karo and Mini Marshmallows. I added a Peanut Butter and Nutella drizzle to the top of my dessert in the end.

Start by chopping up some peanut butter cups. I found bags of 6 on sale for a dollar a piece, so I bought three packages and used 18 total peanut butter cups. I cut them two times horizontally and two times vertically to get 9 pieces from each peanut butter cup.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Remembering May 22, 2010 and a Big Announcement

What a pleasant surprise this morning to wake up and be reminded of May 22, 2010. I received an e-mail from our amazing photographer, Julie Mikos, that our wedding, one of the happiest days of my life, was published on Elizabeth Anne Designs.

To be featured under “Romantic Winery Wedding” made me swoon and ache to relive that week all over again.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Seasonal Flavors of Dunkin' Donuts at Grocery WINNER Announced

The Dunkin' Donuts Coffee at Grocery Giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who left comments. I used to select the winner...drum roll please...

Congrats to Amy Beth Marantino! 

Contact me at homewithmandy @ gmail dot com with your mailing address and Dunkin' Donuts at Grocery will ship you one full size bag of Strawberry Shortcake and one full size bag of Toasted Almond, plus two cute Dunkin’ Donuts mugs.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Seasonal Flavors of Dunkin' Donuts at Grocery + a Giveaway!

Coffee! The smell alone of it brewing early in the morning is enough to entice me out of my cozy bed. Jim is a simple man that knows what he likes, and he likes his coffee plain and black. He pours a cup and then is out the door. I take my time with my morning joe. I'm a "dessert first" kind of gal and like to sweeten my coffee with cream and sugar, maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon or a flavored syrup.

When I was asked to review two new flavors of Dunkin' Donuts at Grocery coffee, I jumped at the chance...especially after I found out what their Spring Seasonal Flavors are!

Continue Reading Post

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chicken Diablo

I just love my food blog buddies because just when I think I'm all out of ideas for dinner, I am inspired all over again with their talents. I first spotted this delicious Chicken Diablo on Pinterest from Leslie Green who is The Hungry Housewife. She has an entire board just on Chicken! She pinned this recipe from Maggie of A Bitchin' Kitchen who adapted the recipe from Bev Cooks who found the recipe on Recipe Finder.

All that to prove to you, this recipe is GOOD! It's been passed all around the internet and wound up on pinterest because it's easy to make and is full of flavor.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day Wreath

Happy 4th of July! I whipped up this front door wreath last week and wanted to share with you how easy and inexpensive it was to make.

The wreath form was purchased at Hobby Lobby for $5. I have a better tip for you though!! Because I had enough decor items left over for a second wreath, I turned a pool noodle into a wreath form. I saw the idea on Pinterest, man I love that web site. The pool noodle from Walmart was only $1.50. I trimmed about five inches off one side with scissors and then taped the two ends together. I may do this for all my wreaths since it worked so well.

I wrapped the wreath with this spool of inexpensive sparkly ribbon from the Christmas section. Yes, Hobby Lobby already has a Christmas section!

I secured both ends with hot glue. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Here are my supplies: a spool of patriotic ribbon, blue ribbon, red flowers and white flowers, patriotic pinwheels and patriotic sparklers.
I started by wrapping the wreath with my patriotic ribbon that I found on sale for $2.00.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

DIY Yellow Easter Wreath

Home with Mandy got crafty again! I visited my grandmother last month in her new retirement home. She has a great two room apartment but as she showed me around the building I remember she pointed to a neighbors door and said they always have pretty seasonal wreaths. I decided during that visit that I would make her a new wreath each season.

My grandmama's favorite color is yellow and I fell in love with these adorable paper flowers so I chose them to be my inspiration. These became the "centerpiece" and anchored the floral arrangement at the base.

She also plays the piano, so I found some sheet music craft paper, ran it through my printer to make this Easter sign and then glued it to light cardboard.

The wreath looks really full, but I only covered half using four different flowers. In addition to the two paper flowers, I used one bunch of yellow daffodils, one bunch of yellow and white flower clusters and one bunch of pink/orange tulips.

In this picture you can see the loops of ribbon that I hot glued and tucked in between the flowers here and there. You can also see the fringe of the burlap that I frayed and left poking out.

Here is a picture of the back, it isn't pretty, but it doesn't have to be. I took strips of burlap to wrap the section of the wreath I was covering. I did this for several reasons. The burlap was used out of necessity because this wreath has been used before and I had to pull gobs and gobs of hot glue out of it and to be honest this side of the wreath looked ratty. The strips of burlap also made it easier for me to tuck and glue the flowers in.

The wreath didn't take me too long to complete, maybe an hour and a half. After I stripped the wreath from all the old glued on stuff, I wrapped and glued the burlap in place. Next I snip and tuck the flowers, starting at the bottom with the two paper flowers and just began building up. It was fun, minus the couple fingers I burned with the hot glue.

I'm thinking a colorful Mexican inspired wreath for Cinco de Mayo! Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Girls Night Recipes

When my friends and I plan girls night, it always involves sinful snacking. If there were a night to fry something, this would be it. Lots of jokes (sometimes at my expense), lots of fried food, lots of wine, lots of chatter around the roar of a fire - no boys allowed. You won't find spicy chicken wings or philly cheese steaks anywhere near our buffet. Let me highlight some of our favorite snacks for girls night!

Fried zucchini slices, otherwise known as Zucca Chips are so perfect for girls night! For one, they are quick and easy. Secondly, these are delicious!

Be sure to buy at least one zucchini per person because they shrink up and we tend to eat these by the handfuls.

As soon as you pull them out of the fryer, allow them to drain on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt right away.

While we were at it, we also thinly sliced potatoes and fried them up as well.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Beef Meatball Bourguignon

This is not your mama's spaghetti and meatballs. This dish is a play on the classic French flavors of Beef Borguignon, but saves you the time of simmering chunks of tough meat for a long period of time. Make this meatball version, the sauce, more like a gravy, clings to the egg noodles and rounds out this perfect evening meal.

Skinner Pasta, part of the New World Pasta Company family of brands, is celebrating 100 years of consistent quality. Because of this milestone anniversary, Skinner has sent me this cool Pasta Package that includes a very nice footed red colander, two serving tongs and samples of Skinner pasta for my review.  Do you like? You too can win your own Pasta Package from Skinner, keep reading for contest rules. Also, find out how to enter the Skinner Pasta 100 Years of Mealtime Memories Essay Contest... you could win $10,000. (That's not a typo.)

When Jim asked for spaghetti and meatballs, I'm sure he imagined something completely different. Because I was excited to incorporate the 100th anniversary Skinner Pasta into a meal, I knew that a run of the mill meatball just wouldn't cut it. Hold on to your seats folks, this is one cool recipe that will slap you in the face with flavor. I would bet money that this could easily become a mealtime favorite at your house.

The ingredient list for the Meatballs:
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 pounds ground round (85 percent lean)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

The ingredient list for the Bourguignon sauce:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 ounces pancetta, coarsely chopped
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, small dice
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
1 cup hearty red wine, such as Shiraz
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Click here to continue reading the amazing step by step recipe...

...and did I mention a giveaway?!?!?!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pineapple Paradise

It's a Pineapple Round Up! The great people from Frontera are sponsoring a giveaway on Home with Mandy, the winner to be chosen at random and sent golden pineapples shipped direct from the growers in Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Would you like some ideas on what to do with those pineapples? I have a great round up of sweet pineapple recipes including an appetizer, an entree, a cocktail and a dessert.

Follow the link below to read five recipes and enter the contest to win fresh pineapple.

Monday, February 27, 2012

DIY Coffee Table to Ottoman

I’ve been drooling over the fashionable ottomans displayed in almost every home and furniture magazine, but their price tag left a lot to be desired. Luckily, Pinterest is a great go-to place to find DIY…anything. After reading several blogs about turning a coffee table into an ottoman, I decided to jump on in and make one for myself.  Let's get a little crafty!

My grandmother gave me her coffee table, which is still in great condition with solid bones and sturdy legs. It may not look like much now, but with a little lovin' you will not believe what this piece of furniture becomes.

Tools you need for the project:
Sturdy coffee table
Sanding block or sanding sheets
Paint (if you want to redo the legs)
Electric knife or serrated knife
Sharpie marker
Upholstery Spray Adhesive
Staple gun
Button kit (if you are tufting the ottoman)

The first step is to decide what you want to do to the legs of your ottoman. Unless you are leaving them as is, you will most likely have to sand it down. I took a sheet of fine sand paper and took the sheen off the four legs. In some places I took it down to the bare wood.

I contemplated painting them the same green from the kitchen (adjacent to living room), and I also thought about retaining the legs a dark espresso color.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pineapple Love

What's not to love about super sweet pineapples? It's natures candy! This fun looking fruit may look intimidating, it's prickly all over and spiked at the top. Once you get past that tough exterior though, a deliciously sweet flesh is perfect for incorporating into numerous meals. I recently partnered with Frontera Produce which grows super sweet, golden pineapples in Vera Cruz, Mexico and sells them under the Frontera Premium Gold Pineapple label in stores across America.

After receiving this care package from Frontera Produce, my first thought was to make a batch of my most favorite martini ever. Since I have already posted about the delish pineapple infused vodka, I decided to take this super sweet fruit and use it in a few savory dishes.

In order to keep your entire counter from getting sticky, I recommend cutting on a cookie sheet to corral all the juices from the pineapple from getting everywhere. With your knife, lop half an inch off the top and bottom of the pineapple.

Turn the pineapple upright onto its base. Notice the dark brown "eyes" around the edge of the pineapple. Place your knife on top of the fruit just behind one of the eyes. The eyes run down the side of the pineapple in a column. Slice down to the bottom of the fruit slightly turning your knife at the top and bottom to follow the curved shape of the pineapple.

Cut off the rest of the pineapple skin by slicing down from top to bottom along each row of eyes (as revealed by your first cut). Your knife should be behind the eyes at approximately a 45 degree angle. Don't try to cut off too much of the peel at once or you will take a lot of good fruit with it.

Follow THIS LINK to read three new recipes and enter the contest to win fresh pineapple shipped direct to you from the growers in Vera Cruz, Mexico.