tomato soup macaroni & cheese casserole

This is the ultimate comfort food. Really easy to make, not entirely unhealthy, warm and delicious.

tomato soup macaroni and cheese casserole

Ingredients

small onion – diced
20 oz. tomato soup
8 oz. elbow macaroni
shredded cheddar cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add diced onion to a medium pot of boiling water. Add macaroni and cook accordingly. Drain well. Once drained stir the pasta and onions to ensure it’s evenly mixed. Begin layering your casserole. Start by greasing your casserole dish with a thin coat of butter or olive oil.

tomato mac and cheese

Pour some of the of tomato soup into the casserole dish. Spread evenly. Add a layer of macaroni and top with cheddar cheese.  Repeat this 1-2 times, depending on the size of your casserole dish. Top the final layer with whatever tomato soup is left and cover with additional cheddar cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tomato soup begins to bubble. Enjoy!

Note: I adjusted the recipe to make smaller, individual sized casseroles. I used the same amount of ingredients, just split it up into smaller dishes.

dresser turned media stand: phase 1

A few months ago I realized that our current media stand was no longer working for us. It didn’t provide easily accessible storage and because of the design of it everything was constantly dusty and it was a beast to clean. It felt bulky and just wasn’t serving it’s purpose any longer.

Then I stumbled upon this awesome antique buffet. But once we got it into the apartment I didn’t like it at all. I loved the piece but it wasn’t meshing with our style. So we sold that (and made a profit!).

antique buffet

Then finally, I found this dresser on Craigslist. It was 90 minutes away and you bet we did make that trip on a Tuesday night. It was $75, which is more than I’d normally spend on a piece like this, but the bones of it were good, it was solid wood and it was exactly what I was looking for. You can see the top three drawers were already converted to be a media stand.

dresser media center before

I went back and forth on what color to paint it. While I wanted a bold color I just couldn’t pull the trigger. The space is so small that I didn’t want it to feel overpowering and I didn’t want it to compete with the darkness of the couch. We went with a soft gray that has some blue/green undertones. We used flat paint that was a paint and primer in one. It’s hard to get a sense of the color in these photos though.

dresser to media stand phase 1

To prep we scrubbed and vacuumed the whole thing.

cleaning before painting

While cleaning, I found a hornets nest in it, which naturally nearly scared me to death.

hornets nest

We had to fill a few holes and just lightly sand it as there were some paint drips from the previous owner.

wood filling

Our method for indoor sanding (which I don’t recommend) is to do so near a window, crank the air purifier, one person sands and one person follows with the vacuum.

prepping and sanding

Currently it has one coat of paint. I need to evaluate tonight if we need a second. Next up is finding drawer pulls – they’re an abnormal width which is why I assume the previous owners had like four thousands knobs on it.

painted drawer

That’s going to take some time and I also want to get baskets for two of the top spaces, and then leave one open for the cable box, etc. So far, I love it and think it’ll be a versatile piece for any space we live in!

friday five!

I blinked and this week was over. Which I’m totally not complaining about because it’s going to be a beautiful weekend here and I have a few great projects to get started on. The excitement of knowing the weather is warming up is awesome. What’s good for your weekends? Any fun plans? Easter egg hunts? Laying low? Linking up again today. Have a good one!

high five for friday

1. A coworker brought in a variety of beautiful flowers to decorate our pod. I chose the hydrangea because it brought my brain straight to Cape Cod!

2. I proudly sported my #bostonstrong pride this week. I was working out during the moment of silence that took place in Boston, but it was on my mind. And something came over me in that work out … I was running faster than I EVER run. Like with the front of the group and I felt like I could run forever. I think I was channeling all the runners in that moment : )

3. Now that it’s getting lighter out in the mornings, this is our view when we leave for work at 6am. Not the greatest quality photo but my gosh that moon and those mountains. It’s calming just to look at.

4. So yeah, my weekend agenda includes getting new sunglasses. I sent this photo to my sister and Al and I could barely keep a straight face. Needless to say, one of the first things I’ll be doing is getting new sunglasses. I mean that’s a getting outa hand.

5. My parents sent us a care package that included this hilarious lobster wine stopper and lobster wine glasses. It made me drink way more wine than normal because the glasses are like serving bowls and made me want some lobster really bad.

 

simple wedding photo collage

I’ve wanted to hang some of our wedding photos in our bedroom for years and have just never got around to it. When I received a coupon for a super sale at Snapfish I figured I should jump on it. Most of the frames we already had and the two large ones I purchased with a Michael’s gift card (thanks Mom!). So all in all this photo collage wall cost me very little.

simple wedding photo wall collage

I also framed a greeting card and a free printable that I had found on Pinterest. Our wedding invitation is also up there.

i love you to the moon and back printable you and me greeting card

I laid out the frames on the floor so I could arrange and rearrange how I’d like the collage set, before hanging. It took me about 10 minutes to hang all the frames and I love the way it came out.

wedding photo collage

I plan to hang something in the long vertical space that seems empty, I’m just not sure what yet. Potentially a vintage key or dried flowers. It’s exactly what I wanted to fill that wall space with and I love looking at them and remembering that day. Now, if I could just take 5 minutes to de-clutter those book shelves!

boston, one year later

I had a different post planned for today, but on Sunday night, I had just gotten into bed, when Al came in and said Sports Center was about to air a piece about the Boston Marathon. I jumped up and ran out to catch it. It was an amazing piece that I was so touched by.

I’m sharing it today in memory of those lost on that terrible day a year ago and in honor of those injured who fight everyday to regain normalcy in their lives. I’m sharing it for the runners, spectators and for the city, to show what community is and how one comes together after tragedy. I’m sharing it for the Boston sports fan, because it’ll make you proud to call this city your home.

#BostonStrong

broccoli & cheese soup recipe

I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love the broccoli and cheese soup from Panera Bread. I can’t eat it anymore but I LOVE it. I decided to take a stab at it and it turned out pretty darn good…I even took one very small bite of it to make sure Al wasn’t just saying it was good!

broccoli & cheese soup recipe

Ingredients

1/2  onion, diced
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

Method

In a large stock pot saute the butter with the onions until soft. Add the flour and mix for a few minutes, until there are no lumps. Slowly add the half & half and the chicken broth, stirring the entire time. Let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

broccoli cheese soup

Add the broccoli and carrots and continue cooking on low for 25 minutes. Mix in seasonings and pour into a blender (you may have to do this in a few batches if it doesn’t all fit in the blender). Blend until pureed well. Return mixture to the stock pot, add the cheese and cook over low heat until the cheese is melted. Eat and enjoy!

maximize savings on daily deal sites

It’s no surprise that I’m a huge fan of daily deal sites. If you’re focused on purchases that you really NEED and aren’t just buying because “it’s a good deal!” then you can really save a lot of money. I recently learned of a way to maximize savings at one specific daily deal site through the use of LavishCoupons.com…

Lavish Coupons is a large online coupon site that features some of the top brands and retail vendors, including industries such as apparel, fashion, shoes, electronics, sports and more. The list of stores goes on and on!

One store I’m most excited about is Gilt, an online daily deal site that sells designer brands for men, women, children and for the home. It’s a membership only site, but it’s free to join.

gilt

I’ve made my fair share of purchases from Gilt over the years! The good deals from Gilt combined with the extra savings, specifically for Gilt’s site, from Lavish Coupons make for some phenomenal savings! When I shop daily deal sites I had no idea that you could find additional savings on top of the already discounted prices.

I wait for my daily Gilt emails every morning and now I’ll most definitely be combining the super discounted prices with additional savings from Lavish Coupons.

This was a sponsored post from Lavish Coupons. Though, as always, all opinions, statements and thoughts are my own. I only recommend things with you guys that I truly find helpful!

high five for friday!

I’ve been mixed up on my days all week. So in my head it’s Thursday, but reality is waaaay better. What’s good for your weekend? We’ve got no formal plans, which is actually quite nice. Linking up again today. Enjoy your weekend!

high five for friday1. Drove 3 hours (roundtrip!) on Tuesday night to pick this up. It’s an awesome piece, solid wood, was a great price and had a terrible paint job. All the things I look for before a big furniture makeover. Can’t wait to get started and rip those terrible drawer pulls off!

2. Tried out a new cider brewery in Denver last night. I usually don’t care for ciders but these we’re exceptionally delicious.

3. New makeup arrived in the mail!

4. Scored a great deal at Snapfish this week. It was their 14th birthday so they gave $14 away. I ordered (2) 11×14 prints, a 5×7 and a custom greeting card all for about $6 out of pocket!

5. Love this guy. Can’t wait to get my first pedicure of the season!


style="display:inline-block;width:468px;height:60px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-8405745064040131"
data-ad-slot="9771401808">

diy shower curtain {with a bed sheet}

Despite our apartment being this itsy bitsy place, we have really nice, high ceilings. Which can make any space feel larger. It’s also nice to live in a place where Al doesn’t have to duck under light fixtures and door ways (our last place was made for short people). Since the ceilings are so high I couldn’t find a shower curtain that wasn’t $50+ to accommodate the height. I wanted something very subtle and I just figured I’d wait until I found it.

diy shower curtain with a flat bed sheet

And then I did. For $4.99 at a thrift store near my work. This thrift store has 25% off on Thursdays so I pop in every once in a while on my way home from work. There was the perfect flat bed sheet that was white with a very soft grey pattern on it. It was brand new, tag still on. I always love finding newbies at the thrift store.

To make it the right size I laid the entire thing out on the floor then laid the current, too short, shower curtain on top. I measured the length that I wanted it to be and then cut around the edges being sure to add in the extra inches when cutting.

diy shower curtain

I hemmed all the sides of it to have a seamless curtain. To make the holes to hang it I knew I could just cut slits and sew along the edges and call it a day. But I like the look of grommets and I figured they would be easier, quicker and look nice. So I grabbed a box at Joanns for $14.99, but I used a coupon (obviously).

Following the instructions on the package Al hammered and secured each of the grommets. I had attempted to, but one swing of the hammer from him was equivalent to like ten of mine and he always had it secured on the first swing, so he won that job. Marry muscles, folks, makes every project easier.

diy grommets

That was it! Final cost was $3.75 for the curtain with the 25% off and $8.99 for the grommets, with my 40% Joann coupon, for a total of $12.74 plus some tax.  A whole heck of a lot better than paying upwards of $50 for a darn shower curtain! And one tip too…I thought we’d have to buy an extra-long liner, but instead we were sure to hang the curtain rod at just the right height so the regular liner still fits it just hits the top of the tub instead of going all the way to the bottom of the tub side. I thought water would still splash up and escape since the liner was too short but it doesn’t!

shower curtain

I love the look of it, the simplicity and the airiness. I’m also really happy we went with the grommets because I love the steel look of them. For $4.99 at Ross I also grabbed a stainless steel shower curtain rod. That was one of those things that I went back and forth on. We didn’t need it, the one that was up was perfectly fine, but I just loved the way the steel rod pulled the whole thing together. And Al was basically like it’s $5 get over it and go buy it. Sometimes I’m even cheaper than you guys think. I even saved the white rod that came in the apartment so I can take the steel one with me when we move out.  #crazylady.

how to create a bar area at home

I love bar carts and bar cabinets and any space that suggests a bar area. Don’t you think it just makes that glass of wine that much more fancy and appealing?!

how to create a home bar area

When we got married my bridesmaids gifted us this amazing wine rack from Crate & Barrel (no longer for sale). I carted this thing, alone, on a Southwest flight from Boston all the way to Denver. It breaks down but it was still huge and hilarious.

crate and barrel wine rack

It currently lives in our “dining room,” which is approximately 4 feet x 4 feet, if you were wondering. I created a simple bar area on the lower shelf of the wine rack.

vintage beer mugs

Included are our wine glasses, vintage beer mugs, shot glasses, booze, straws and some lemons – really just because they added some happy color. If I had gin on hand I would have had some limes there as well. True story, I’m a gin drinker.

bar area

It’s kind of an ever-changing space depending on what we have on hand. If we had vodka I’d set out our cocktail shaker as well, Bailey’s, maybe some mugs. I just love how inviting it feels to have a dedicated space to keep all the goods. How do you guys organize and display your beverages?