Super Bowl Sunday Eats

*Update with pictures of our feast!*

Finished Seven Layer Dip!

The whole feast was complete with left over chicken wings!


Happy Super Bowl Sunday! (Did you know I was born on Super Bowl Sunday? Just a really random fact I thought I should share…) Anyways, Super Bowl is all about football, food and the commercials. Since the game and commercials aren’t for a little while, I got up early and started making the food. Seven layer dip and chili is on the menu tonight!

Chili is a go! I stuck with my tried and true chili recipe, but I added a couple dashes of tabasco sauce this time. Spicy!

One of my favorite party snacks is seven layer dip. You all know my obsession with Mexican food and this seven layer dip combines my very favorite ingredients. Below are the ingredients I use, but everyone makes seven layer dip a bit different. I’ve never had one I didn’t like!


  • Refried beans
  • Sour cream
  • Taco seasoning
  • Salsa
  • Avocados
  • Jalapeño
  • Shredded cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce (not shown)
  • Lime

I start by layering refried beans, mashed avocado (mixed with lime, garlic salt and pepper first), sour cream (mixed with taco seasoning) and salsa.

Tip: slice the avocado before scooping it out. It makes it easier to mash.

Tip: mash avocado with the back of a fork (just as if you were making guac).

I put that in the fridge and cut up lettuce and tomato. When it’s time to eat, I’ll top with lettuce, tomato, cheese and jalapeño.😉

Is it time to eat yet?

So who does everyone have winning the game today? I honestly don’t have a preference, I just like the whole idea of Super Bowl Sunday.

Have a good day, all!

Buffalo Chicken Wings

I am just like my parents in every single way of my being. Every quirk or thing I do, is either similar to my mom or dad. Good thing both of them are great cooks, because I’d be doomed if they weren’t. Growing up, my dad made amazing chicken wings from scratch. We would make wings for special games like the Superbowl and Winter Classics. Basically, you knew it was an important game if dad made wings.

Last night, my little brother had his first high school hockey playoff game, so Kevin and I decided to make a big plate of wings while we watched the game broadcast live online. The recipe isn’t complicated, but there are quite a few steps, so I’ll try to outline them as best I can.

Ingredients –

  • Wings (about 3 lbs. feeds us and gives us leftovers for a couple days)
  • Oil (for frying – nobody said this was healthy!)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 bottle hot sauce (I love Franks)
  • Bread of your choice
  • Ranch (or blue cheese – whatever you like)
  • S&P
Instructions –
  • Cut up wings (or have butcher do it for you – see below)
  • Get oil hot (heat to 350 degrees)
  • Place wings in oil (about 1-2 inches apart) and cook for 3 minutes on each side
  • Place on paper towels to drain excess oil
  • On medium heat, melt 1 stick of butter and 1 bottle hot sauce. Stir until thick.
  • Place bread in the oven (I sprinkle each piece with garlic salt and pepper) and cook at 250 degrees for 10 minutes

When you buy wings, you’ll have to separate the drummies from the rest of the wing. It can be difficult, especially with dull knives, so I had the butcher at Hy-Vee do this for me. If you do it at home, here’s a great tutorial.

Above is the set up I have when I cook wings. I have two separate tongs (one for raw chicken, one for cooked chicken) and a rack to set the wings on when they are done.

This isn’t the best picture (above), but you want about a half of an inch of oil. The wings shouldn’t be completely submerged under the oil because you’ll flip them halfway through cooking.

My favorite trick to test oil, is to put the end of a wooden spoon at the bottom of the pan (shown above). If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Be careful that it doesn’t smoke, that means the oil is too hot. Turn your heat down and test again a few minutes later.

Be careful not to over crowd the skillet. Also make sure to put a lid on right away or it will splatter all over!

With 3 lbs. of wings, I cooked them in four batches. While they were cooking, I got the hot sauce ready! It’s really simple – just 1 stick of butter and 1 bottle of hot sauce.

When one batch was done, I put the wings in the sauce and coated them. Then, I placed them in a pan and put them in the oven with the bread to keep them nice and warm.


Finger-lickin’ good!

The perfect meal – wings, bread, celery and ranch, beer and of course, lots of paper towels! It would be great to make for Superbowl tomorrow!!😉

In other news, we got a ton of snow today, so Miss Grace and I enjoyed some time outside.  She LOVED it! We let her off the leash (eeeeek!) and had her chase snowballs. It was awesome because she has been sound asleep ever since.

Anyways, who is ready for the big game tomorrow?! Frankly, I could care less who wins. I’m more excited about the M-I-Z-Z-O-U game in three hours than the Superbowl. Hopefully the chili I plan to make tomorrow puts me in a football mood!🙂

Five Hour Stew

Boyyyyyy do I have the perfect winter stew recipe for you! It’s that meal that you cook alllllll day in the oven and the smell just takes over your entire house. Finally, when it’s ready, you get a heaping bowl and cuddle under a blanket while you enjoy. January seemed like the perfect time of the year to break this one out!

But wait….

Umm…not kidding. I think it actually reached 65 or 66 (I’ll have to consult the meteorologist to be sure). Today was absolutely beautiful!! When I got home from work, I immediately went to our patio and read Mockingjay while Gracie played.


Alright, back to the stew. Despite the beautiful weather, the hot winter stew tasted great! I actually made this yesterday, but the leftovers are just as good!

I must disclose that this is my grandparent’s recipe – NOT mine. I remember them making it as a kid and the smell of our apartment yesterday reminded me of my childhood.

The ingredients:

  • Beef – “stew meat” is what Hy-Vee  calls it
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Can of green beans
  • Two cans of tomato soup
  • S&P

It’s literally the easiest recipe ever. Put everything in a dutch oven (I used the big pan shown above and a heavy lid), set the oven to 250 degrees and wait 5 hours.

See you at 6:45, beef stew!

I didn’t take a picture of the end result because I ate it too fast.

In other news, Kevin and I were really productive and decorated our bedroom. I know, we’ve lived here almost 8 months and we finally put something up! Thanks, Pinterest for the ideas.🙂

I took a few photos with great quotes from an old calendar I had. This isn't done, but I didn't have the motivation to finish measuring and hanging.

Where we're from: Missouri and Ohio, and now we live in Iowa! (Stole this from Pinterest)

Can I just ask who invented hanging pictures as decorations? It’s not fun. Really, it’s not. People have suggested using 3M Command strips instead of nails, but this is what happens when I use those:

Basically, I was sound asleep in my dorm room senior year and around 5 a.m., a shelf above my bed with glass candles fell and the glass crashed on my face and broke. Thankfully, my dear bestie Kristina was asleep in my room and heard me scream and jump 500 feet in the air. So she took me to the ER and I got three stitches (first and only experience with stitches!) and then we treated ourselves to this:

So that’s why I don’t do 3M Command strips. And that’s why it took us 8 months to put pictures up!

On another side note – have any of you seen Friday Night Lights? O.M.G. it is my new favorite show. I am completely obsessed! I don’t know who I love more – I love Matt (obvi) and I love the coach’s family, but I also love Tim (I know, I know). Tell me it just keeps getting better and better!🙂

Training Grace

Gracie, Grace, Monster Dog, Psycho, Crazy-Face, Crazy Mofo and our favorite, She-Devil. Gracie may have a lot of well-deserved nick names, but I couldn’t imagine life without her now.

I grew up with a dog (Nala!) and I couldn’t wait until Kevin and I adopted one. When I saw Gracie’s face on the Animal Rescue of Carroll’s website, I couldn’t even handle the cuteness.


I’m no professional dog trainer by any means, but we work on training Gracie constantly so I thought I’d share a few of our ideas.

Adoption Process

First and foremost, please adopt your future dog. There are SO many dogs who need a loving home. (If you have a second, check out Stray Rescue – they do some amazing stuff for stray dogs in STL.) I know a lot of people think you can’t get puppies when you adopt, but we were just patient and looked daily. Gracie happened to come at the right time!

Anyways, when you first inquire about adopting a puppy, you’ll have to fill out an application. Then, you may have a conversation with the adoption shelter and even a home visit. These people have taken care of many rescued dogs and they want to guarantee they are going to a loving and safe home.

With Gracie, we filled out an application and we even had to put down a reference! (Thanks, Kristina – you rocked that interview.) We got a call a few days later saying Grace was ours!

Another awesome thing about rescues, is that they will most likely come spayed or neutered. Gracie had her first round of shots and she was spayed AND microchipped. Now that’s awesome (and it saved us a ton of money).

We picked Gracie up from the shelter and as soon as they put me in her arms, my heart melted. It was pretty much the best weekend ever since the Cards won the World Series the night before.

Our first picture of Miss Grace

First vet visit

We scheduled a vet visit for Gracie right away to make sure she was all checked out. A few things they’ll go over:

  • weight
  • physical (check fur, teeth, nose, ears, etc.)
  • food intake
  • shots (by this time, Grace was due for her boosters)
  • behavior/socializing
Now is the time to ask questions, so don’t be shy. We probably asked 500,000 questions because we wanted to make sure we were doing everything right. Ask away!

The picture they took of Gracie at her first vet visit. Can't get over that face.1`


We decided to crate-train Grace. We crate-trained Nala and I think it teaches them a lot about who is in charge at home (well, that’s what every book I read said). We found a big crate with a divider on Craigslist for pretty cheap. We definitely wanted to get a big crate with a divider so she could grow into it, rather than having to buy a couple to fit her until she is full-grown. A divider is really important because dogs will think they can go potty in one corner of the crate, but still have their “home” on the other side. With a divider, Gracie only had so much room, so she didn’t want to go potty in her bed. Would you want to do that? Yuck.

The first night at home was SO hard. She cried for about 15 minutes when we put her in her crate, but it felt like hours. I was nearly in tears and it took every ounce of my being not to go get her and bring her in bed. Thankfully, Kevin is the “mean guy” and told me to let her stay. At first, I tried talking to her, but it only made it worse. Once we began ignoring her, the cries stopped. It’s hard, but don’t give in! It will be worth it in the future – I promise.🙂

Now when we want her to go in her crate, we just say, “Gracie crate!” and when she goes in, we click and she gets a “special treat” (a part of a bone). She knows she gets rewarded when she goes in her crate, so she doesn’t mind going now.

I just wanted to snuggle with her instead of letting her late in that crate. But, I'm glad we stuck with it.


I highly, HIGHLY, recommend training with a clicker. They’re $4 or $5 at PetSmart and it works like magic. Whenever you give your dog a command and they do it, click and give a treat. Also say things like, “good girl!” It works, I’m telling you.

Potty Training

For obvious reasons, the first thing we wanted to work on was potty training. We have two doors to our backyard, so we picked one to be consistent. Whenever we took her out, we brought her to that door and when she went potty, we clicked (see above) and praised her like a proud parent of a kid who got a 36 on the ACT.

After about a week of taking her out on our own and just a couple accidents (two or three maybe?), she was pretty much potty trained. It took a lot of patience because sometimes she wouldn’t go outside, but if she wouldn’t go after about five minutes, we would bring her in, wait 15 or 20 minutes and try again. Time consuming – yes – but it works. Now, she sits by the door whenever she has to go!

Sit, Stay, Shake, Etc.

Every trick we taught Gracie, she learned using a clicker. Brendan, my little brother, is the dog whisperer and taught her to shake when she was just a baby after about 10 minutes of working with her. He rocks.

We would work with Gracie for about 10 or 15 minutes every night on one trick. We started with sit. We would push her bottom down and hold the clicker and treat above her nose. As soon as she sat, we clicked, gave her the treat and praised her.

Stay was a little more tricky because she would be too excited to sit still, but after a few nights of patience and working with her, she finally knows stay! We used the same techniques as above. Kevin would gently hold her back and I would place a treat a few inches in front of her. We would say, “stay, stay, stay” over and over again. When she stayed for a few minutes without Kevin holding her back, we told her to go get it.

Gracie is a very active breed (golden/lab), so she needs a lot of exercise. Our goal is to walk her at least two times a day (sometimes three if we’re really good), but at least once. We can both tell if she hasn’t gotten her walks because she is literally psycho (or any of the other aforementioned nick names). This is something we’re still working on. See below.🙂


Now we’re having problems with the following:

  • Walking. She tugs and pulls so bad. We actually just purchased a harness for walking, but it’s too big. (PetSmart only sells medium and large – medium is too small, large is too big. Go figure. We’ll just wait for her to gain a few more lbs.)
  • Barking. She looooves to bark for attention and both Kevin and I can’t stand the barking. We have read about a spray bottle, can of pennies, ignoring her, yelling at her and pretty much anything under the moon. Lately we’ve been saying, “quiet!” and using the clicker when she is. We’ll see how that works. Stay tuned.
  • Jumping. When she was a baby, we loved when she jumped on us. Now that she’s 35 lbs, it sucks. We’re using the clicker and she’s slowly learning, but it’s taking longer than we want.

Nappin' like an old man

So there ya have it! I’m telling you, having a dog – especially a puppy – is really time consuming, but completely rewarding!

And if you have any tips/tricks that worked with training, leave a comment! We’re always learning.🙂

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

I asked for a crock pot for Christmas…pretty grown-up present, huh? I’ll get back to this in another blog post…

Anyways, today, I made my first-ever crock pot meal! I waited so long to make a meal because I just got my crock pot hand-delivered by my family when they came to visit two weekends ago. I couldn’t fit it all in my suitcase coming back to Des Moines right after Christmas (over packer…it’s bad).

Grown-Up Presents

I found this chicken taco recipe from Pinterest. It’s SO simple! The ingredients you’ll need:

  • Six boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • One packet of taco seasoning
  • Half a bottle of salsa
  • I added a bit of jalapeno juice, too (Don’t tell Kevin! He says he hates jalapenos, but he doesn’t know I put them in nearly every Mexican dish I make. Hehehe)

That’s it! Not kidding. I also added a bit of cumin, salt and pepper for added flava.🙂

Add everything to the good ole pot and set for 6 hours. See you at 6:45, chicken tacos!!

When I got home from work, Kevin and I headed to the grocery store to pick up our groceries for the week. When we got home, the entire kitchen smelled wonderful! It’s those extra spices, I’m telling ya.🙂

fork tender!

I wanted to mix things up a bit tonight. Kevin loves soft shell tacos and I love hard shell tacos. Instead of buying two different taco shells, I usually just eat the soft ones because it’s healthier. Tonight, however, I wanted to make my chicken taco into a tostada – a flat, crispy taco!

I began by heating up some vegetable oil – about a 1/2 inch deep in the pan. Once it got hot, I added the tortilla, very carefully, and waited for it to brown on one side (about 20-30 seconds). Using tongs, I flipped it to the other side for a few more seconds.

YUM! After my tostada was done, we began assembly. Check out the goods –

We eat Mexican food probably two or three times a week. The extras I always have on hand:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa
  • Jalapenos
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Refried beans

Tonight we picked up some chips and cheese dip, so I added that too! We love our Mexican food, can’t you tell?

It was mighty good!

Last night, I was feeling really sick. I still don’t feel great, but it’s more of a head cold today and less of a sore throat. I haaaate sore throats – I’d rather have any other illness, but I always seem to be plagued with a sore throat. Hopefully this is a sign that I’m well on my way to feeling 100 percent soon!

Since I was a little under the weather, Kevin and I rented the movie Ides of March. VERY good – I highly recommend it! I really liked having a random Tuesday movie night. Usually, that’s something we do during the weekend, but it was fun to plan something like that on a Tuesday. Though, it wasn’t as fancy as last Tuesday!

Off to walk Gracie (since it’s not below zero!) and watch Monday night’s Gossip Girl episode. See ya!


Eek! I can’t believe I am 23-years-old! Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes and helping me celebrate. It was a fantastic weekend! Between Jack’s Mannequin Friday night, going out to dinner and some bars with friends last night and a fun day of church and football today – I am one happy (and very tired) 23-year-old!

Only picture I got of us together and it's really blurry and dark. Oh well!

I’m keeping this post short and sweet because the couch is calling my name, but I wanted to say thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes!🙂