Thursday, December 20, 2012

Brown Sugar Bacon Lil Smokies

This is by far the most requested, best loved appetizer at my parties! Whether it be Christmas or tailgating, these Brown Sugar Bacon Lil Smokies will be a hit and usually the first to go. I've been making them for years and actually got the original recipe out of a holiday appetizer magazine but I've made some changes.  I'll also give you my tips and tricks that I've learned over the years.

Brown Sugar Bacon Lil Smokies

What you'll need:

1 package of Bacon (I recommend Center Cut)
1 package of Lil Smokies (I use all Beef)
1/2 cup (approx) light brown sugar (be sure it's fresh)

How To:

1.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray (spraying is very important or they will stick)
2.  Cut each piece of bacon into three even pieces. *I like using Center Cut and have found this works best. It's leaner and the pieces are more even.
3.  Pour the brown sugar into a bowl to dredge each of the wrapped smokies. *I say to use fresh brown sugar because I find it sticks best and is less clumpy than sugar that's old.
4.  Next, wrap each smokie with bacon. I find if I slightly stretch each piece of bacon around the smokie, it holds better.
5.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.

**{Alternative Method}**
This year I tried to make things easier on myself and used the sugar in bag method. Kind of like old school Shake and Bake. Wrap the smokies as usual but stick a toothpick into each one to secure the bacon. I add about 8-10 at a time to a ziplock bag filled about 1/4 full of Brown Sugar. Shake a few times and then lay out on the foil lined cookie sheet.

I serve these on a plate or in a bowl with decorative toothpicks for easy access and eating.

Brown Sugar Bacon Lil Smokies

Brown Sugar Bacon Lil Smokies

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crockpot Chicken n' Dumplings

I first heard about this Crockpot Chicken n' Dumplings recipe from fellow Blogger and YouTuber, TiffanyD. I thought it looked easy and interesting so I immediately did a search for other recipes like this. While there are tons of them with a few alterations, they are basically the same. I took the basics from a few different recipes. I've since made this a handful of times and passed it along to friends and family. It's been a big hit. Anything in the crockpot is good with me. I have to say that I'm normally not a big fan of this dish, but I really love it this way!

Crockpot Chicken n Dumplings


2 Tb butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I use fat free)
1  1/2 14oz cans chicken broth OR 2 1/2 Cups approx. (I use low sodium)

½ small onion diced

1/2 Tb poultry seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

8 grand’s buttermilk biscuits (not flaky)

Total Cooking Time: 6 Hours on High
Put everything except biscuits into crockpot and cook on high for 5 hours. 

Using two forks, shred the chicken while it’s still in the crockpot. Cut each biscuit into 4- 5 pieces and add to crockpot. Cook for additional hour or until they are cooked through. Stir a few times to mix all together and break up the biscuit layer.
*You may need to add more broth if it looks too thin after you shred the chicken. I use all 8 biscuits. You can use less if you want.

Crockpot Chicken n Dumplings

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

China Glaze Ingrid

Nail of the Day ~ Ingrid by China Glaze

I bought this polish last year and as much as I love it, it doesn't get much use. I consider it more a "fall" color but you could definitely wear it as a neutral. It's a nice medium brown shade with a slight gold shimmer. You really only see the shimmer in the sunlight. Speaking of, I'm going to start taking a picture in the sunlight so you can see any shimmer that a polish might have. For example, my last post on Bogie had two colors of shimmer than I had never seen before. While sitting in a chair by the window one afternoon, I noticed it had beautiful green and red shimmer along with the silver that I already mentioned. I also mentioned Ingrid in my Fall Favorite Nail Polish video. You can watch it here.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

China Glaze Bogie

Nail of the Day ~ Bogie by China Glaze

If you watched my Fall Favorite Nail Polish video, you saw this one. It's by far my favorite dark purple. I like it because it has a slight silver shimmer to it that makes it not look dull on the nails. I don't own a lot of China Glaze polishes, but the few I do have, I love! They wear really well and apply easily with two coats.

with flash

Monday, October 22, 2012

Essie Sole Mate

Nail of the Day ~ Sole Mate by Essie

Ok, let me first point out {because you'll notice} my bad polish job. It was part me, part the polish. This one seemed a little more thin and was a tad harder to get a perfect polish job. As for the polish itself, I wanted to do this post to give you all another "oxblood" color choice. Now, if you haven't heard, "oxblood" is the color of the season. Basically, it's a deep wine color.

When I first chose to put on this color, I thought it looked a tad more purple than it actually looks on the nails. It's a deep red wine cream. Some nails were a little more opaque than others, even with two coats. Overall, it's a great color to try if you've wanted to dive into these colors for fall.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Decorating

Sorry this post is late. I was waiting because I still hadn't acquired all of my outdoor decor. Well, that's just not gonna happen now. I wanted to re-create what I did last year with hay bales but we can't find them this year. At least not the right sized ones.  I'm over it now and like the more simple look. Hopefully this gives you some ideas of your own. Keep in mind, I don't like clutter and if I decorate too heavily, that's what it looks like to me. At the same time, I so appreciate others homes where they are filled to the brim with holiday decor. Warning - this post is pic heavy!

Dining Room:

I think the bead strand came from Pottery Barn but I can't remember. 
I got this idea from Pinterest. You can see the inspiration photo here in my Holiday Decor Board. The candlesticks are from Hobby Lobby. The pumpkins are from Kirkland's. 

I've had the napkins and placemats for years. The chargers are from Walmart last year as are the plates.

I found these cute leaf bowls at TJ Maxx earlier this year. I bought green and orange. They also make great candy dishes!

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the plant so I stuck some picks in it that I got from Michael's. The pumpkin is from Hobby Lobby last year but they have them again. It's one of my favorite pieces. The glass hurricane is old and I just stuck some scented pinecones and pumpkins in it as a base for a white candle.

If you've been following me a while, you know we recently made-over the dining room. Hence the lack of things on the walls. I'm still trying to find just the right paintings for the wall w/out the mirror. No such luck yet.

Other Areas in the House:

This is in the breakfast nook. The vase arrangement is always up. The candle is from Walmart {Mulled Cider} and is one of my all-time favorites. The holder is from BBW. The decoration is from Kohl's a few years ago.

These are sitting on the ledge that separates the family room from the breakfast nook. I've had all of this for several years and can't remember where it came from, sorry. I didn't take a picture, but there is a wreath at the base of the table arrangement that always sits on the breakfast table in the background.

The mantel over the fireplace in the family room. The garland is from Walmart a few years ago. I already had it and just haven't looked for a better replacement yet. The wreath is from Michael's recently. I was able to get it when they had 50% off. The wreath is held up with a Command Hook. Most of the decor stays up all year and I decorate around it.  

One of my favorite things from this year is the corncob guy I picked up at Michael's. He's just too cute. The books are also from Michael's and I've had them for a few years. They sit there all the time along with the candle holder on top.

I originally passed on this glittery pumpkin when I first saw it at Hobby Lobby. Well, I couldn't resist and went back for it. It's just too cute!

These cute ceramic pumpkins are new this year and I picked them at Kirkland's. The flowers behind them are from Michael's and stays there year-round.


The wreath I made last year. You can see it in a previous post here. I need to store it a little better so it keeps the shape for next year. The urns are old but I got the idea for the pumpkins from Pinterest {link above}. I didn't go as fancy as the original picture but it's the same idea.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall Chili

After posting a picture of the Fall Chili I made the other night on Instagram MissCrysM, I had several requests for the recipe. I know chili is one of those things that everyone is pretty particular about, me included.

This recipe has been tweaked several times over the years from my Parents original. We think it's just right now. If you prefer White Bean Chicken Chili, check out my recipe for that here.

Fall Chili recipe
shown with sour cream, cheese and Fritos

Things to note:  I'll either use ground turkey or lean ground beef. If using turkey, you may need to add extra seasonings since turkey is rather bland on it's own. The seasonings I list are approximate measurements. I've made this so many times that I usually just know by site and once again, I eyeball everything. I do a taste test after simmering a few minutes to see if I need to make adjustments. :)

1 1/4 - 1/2 pound ground turkey or beef
Green Pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 15oz can Chili Beans {i use spicy} do NOT drain
1 15oz can Light Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
2 15oz can diced tomatoes of your choice - do NOT drain
1 can water {you can add more if you need it}

Saute onion and pepper in olive oil until soft. Add ground turkey or beef and brown until done. {if using anything other than lean meat, you may have to drain}

Add seasonings, stir. I salt and pepper to taste throughout the cooking process to make sure it's just right. Add tomatoes, beans and water. Stir and let simmer on low heat at least 30 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sally Hansen Tyin' the Knot

Nail of the Day ~ Tyin' the Knot, Sally Hansen Diamond Strength

This is another one of those colors that I wonder why I don't wear more often. I bought this last year and only seem to wear it in the fall. Poor thing has probably only gotten two or three uses. It's a great color though! I'd say it's a true taupe {gray/brown for those that don't know what taupe is}. In some light it looks a tad more silver/gray. In some, a little more brown with a very slight purple tone.

This formula wears really nice as well. If you love taupe anything, give this one a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed. As always, I used two coats unless otherwise noted.

with flash

Friday, October 05, 2012

Revlon Impulsive

Nail of the Day ~ Impulsive, Revlon

I think the name of this polish is great - Impulsive - exactly what I was when buying this color. The color and the "new shade" sucked me in. At first it reminded me of something I had. Then the more I looked at it, I thought it was pretty unique. It's a true purple cream. It's not a deep purple at all. At first I thought it was a royal purple or a blue purple. The more I've looked at in on the nails, the more I think it's just plain purple. If you could pick out a shade for the rainbow, this might just be it. Very pretty on. Not quite as bright as it photographs. If you love any shade of purple like I do, you won't be sorry with this one.

with flash

Monday, September 17, 2012

L'Oreal Rainy Piccadilly

Nail of the Day ~ Rainy Piccadilly, L'Oreal

Do you see a trend here? I've become a little obsessed with these L'Oreal polishes. While I find most of the colors very unique, I did spot a close dupe from the new Revlon Colorstay line. Right off, I have to say that this color was hard to photograph. It really only showed true to color with a flash. This is such a pretty shade of blue. I'd call it a true teal blue cream. This polish was part of the British Invasion collection. Not sure if it's limited edition.

One thing I must point out with this one though. It had a pretty bad scent with the first coat. I noticed it slightly with the second but it did go away {thankfully}. It was sort of a chemical smell that I have not noticed with any of the other L'Oreal polishes. *UPDATE - Since writing this post {before publishing} I've painted my nails a second time with this polish {yes, I like it that much}. I didn't notice the scent as much the second time around.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Easy Marinade

If you follow me on Instagram {MissCrysM} or Twitter, you've seen my pics on food. This grilled chicken salad is something the Hubby and I have been enjoying for the entire summer it seems. It's easy and light. I'm not a huge fan of fixing chicken but I've found a way to make it easy yet tasty. You obviously don't have to use the chicken on a salad. This is just showing how to make the marinade and how we've been eating it.

Easy Marinade

What You Need:
Dijon Mustard {any brand}
Garlic Salt
Balsamic Vinegar

Easy Grill Marinade

We pound the chicken breast thin because that's the way I like them best.
Sprinkle on the Garlic Salt, then add the Dijon Mustard. You can see how much I used but you can add to your own taste.

Next, splash on the Balsamic to each chicken breast and spread out the mixture. I use the back of a spoon. I found this to spread easier than a brush. Repeat on the other side. {both sides of the chicken}

Easy Marinade

Then you're ready to hit the grill! You could also make this marinade in a bowl and pour over chicken in a food storage bag and leave in the fridge until you're ready to use it. I've found it gives enough flavor making it right before we grill so I usually don't need to do it that way.

Here's the finished product, chopped and on our salads.

Easy Grilled Chicken Marinade
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