Tag Archives: quick

DIY Tic-Tac-Toe Bags


As a child I was always running around busy doing something. I was either exploring, watching a movie, stealing peoples fries at my parent’s restaurant (hey, you don’t have to be a criminal mastermind, just a 4 year old), or I was making something. Ok, I only stole fries once, and they offered me one…I just ended up taking the whole basket…I plead the fifth. More often than not I was drawing, coloring, taping, and gluing anything I could get my hands on. That crafty spirit has stuck with me in adulthood and it is one of the fondest memories I have growing up. I loved when Mom would take me to Hobby Lobby and we would get feathers, glitter, popsicle sticks, clay, and so many other things. Now that I’m a mother of two kids, I want to try and nurture their creative minds and allow them to have the same crafty opportunities that I did growing up.

Lailah is 2 so she doesn’t do much beyond scribble yet, but Izzy is 4 and at that perfect, fun and creative age. A couple weeks ago I sat down with them and we made tic-tac-toe bags for each of them. I gave them stamps and markers to color one side of the bag and on the other side I drew the lines for the game itself. I had these little wooden hearts lying around so I drew x’s and o’s on them for the game pieces.
They have so much fun with them! Of course Lailah just tosses her bag around, but Izzy really enjoys pulling out her bag that she made and playing with anyone who will sit down with her.

I also made these two bags for them using a few different items as the game pieces. I used my hot glue gun with glitter glue sticks to trace their names.

I put a small piece of cardboard in the bag to keep the glue from transferring to the back and to keep the sharpie from bleeding through. I used a sharpie to write their names so I would have something to trace, as the glue gun can be a bit unwieldy when you’re trying to write neatly. Then I just glued on the other decorations with my glue gun.

Once it dried, which is almost immediately, I flipped it over and traced lines on the back using a ruler to get a straight line.

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For the game pieces I just drew x’s and o’s using a sharpie.

These heart pieces were felt stickers that I had in a drawer. I thought it would be a good idea because Lailah wouldn’t be able to choke on them if she got any bright ideas that they looked like they tasted like candy. Buuuuuut she took the paper off the back and stuck them all over the dang house. Not my best idea folks. They looked cute for a minute!

That’s all there is to it! This is an easy and fun project to do with your littles, and I promise they will love it. If you end up making any please comment with any pictures below or tag me on Instagram, @charlsik123. I would love to see what you create! Have fun crafting!

 

Quick Chicken Tortilla Soup

You guys, this is one of the best chicken tortilla soup recipes I have ever found! It tastes just like the one at Chili’s which I love and it is so easy to whip up. I find that a lot of soup recipes can be a little thin and lack substance so I’ve always liked heartier soups that have some bite to them. The consistency of this soup is so thick and creamy, but it’s made that way with corn flour instead of cream or half and half. This was so smoky and delicious, and since it’s a soup I got to use my Dutch oven. I love any excuse to use my Dutch oven! It is definitely my favorite cooking vessel to use out of all the ones I own. Cooking nerd alert! I got mine at HEB during a Black Friday sale about 3 years ago, but this one is very comparable.

Because this soup is so thick and delicious, I would strongly recommend rinsing your bowls and utensils thoroughly and quickly. It is nigh on impossible to wash off once it dries. I’m guessing it’s the corn flour, but whatever causes it, it’s basically glue and you will be cursing it as you scrub it off. But then you’ll have another bowl, and the scrubbing will all be worth it.

I found this recipe over at Gimme Some Oven, and I just had to share it with all of you! It is just so dang delicious. You can read about how and why this soup got created and find the original recipe here.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced white onion (about 1 small white onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth, (or 3 cups boiling water with 3 tsp chicken broth granules)
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (or 2 cooked chicken breasts)
  • 1 1/4 cups (or 1 10-ounce can) red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp salt

It would have been easier and faster if I had used roasted chicken, but I cooked my own chicken in a skillet. I heated a large skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, I pounded the chicken breasts and seasoned them with cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Then I cooked each breast for 4-5 minutes per side, getting a nice sear on the outside before lowering the heat and continuing to cook until done. After the chicken cools, shred it and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until cooked and translucent. Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute until fragrant. Stir in the corn flour and cook for an additional minute.

Pour in half of the chicken stock, and stir until completely combined. Add in the remainder of the chicken stock, and stir to combine. Immediately add in the chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, green chiles, salt and cumin, and stir until combined. Continue stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the soup does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Then stir in the cheese, one handful at a time, until combined. Taste, and season the soup to taste with salt.

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Serve the soup warm with desired toppings. I crumbled up blue corn tortilla chips on top. Enjoy!

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Guacamole

Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I am an avocado fiend. I will eat that stuff on just about anything! Seriously though. Salads, bread, sandwiches, chicken strips, fries…you name it and I have probably tried it. So, naturally I had to formulate a bomb-diggity guac recipe to make here at home. I know it didn’t cost you $5 to make that tablespoon of guacamole on my plate restaurants. I’m not fooled at all! When my family went on a cruise we did a shore excursion called Salsa and Salsa and Margaritas where we spent the whole time learning to make salsas, guacamole, margaritas (oh yeah) and salsa dancing. They sent us home with recipe sheets and I have formulated my perfect guac. Here it is y’all:

Guacamole

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 clove of garlic, diced
  • 1/4 lime wedge juice
  • cilantro, to taste
  • salt, to taste


Cut avocado in half and scoop out the goodies, minus the seed. I like to wedge my knife into the seed and twist it out of the avocado half. Then you’ve got to get the slippery little sucker off your knife, which is not that easy. Put avocado halves into a small bowl. Depending on how salty you like it, start with 1/4 tsp and work your way up. I usually don’t measure, but for the sake of you lovely people reading my post I did. 😉 I liked the salt at 1/2 teaspoon, but just figure out what works for you. Squeeze the lime wedge into the bowl and add the garlic clove.

Once it is mashed to your desired consistency, add the cilantro. I just snipped my cilantro with kitchen shears. You could nix the cilantro if that’s not something you like, but I love cilantro like I love avocados. Unfortunately my husband loathes a strong cilantro flavor so I have to tone it down.

Mix all the ingredients together until well combined and taste test until the flavor is perfect. I’d say if you feel like it is lacking something, just add a bit more salt. That’s usually the fix it needs. And try not to eat it all while taste testing. I know, easier said than done. Seriously guys, I’ve got a problem.

Now you’ve got some rockin’ guac that is easy to whip up and wonderful on just about everything. I hope you try it out!

 

10 Minute Entree: Blackened Salmon

I had one of those nights where I completely forgot to set out anything to thaw for dinner that night. Instead of running out to grab something though, I went and grabbed a couple frozen salmon fillets and made a quick and healthy dinner for us, incorporating some leftover sides from previous meals.

Blackened Salmon

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp Zatarain’s blackening seasoning


Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Coat surface with oil of your choice. Currently I am using coconut oil for just about everything. Season both sides of the salmon fillets with Zatarain’s blackened seasoning and then add to your heated griddle.


Cook on one side for 4 minutes, flip and cook for 3 more minutes, until skin is nice and crispy.

Plate those babies and serve and you’ve got a delicious entree in 10 minutes! It doesn’t get much easier than that. I love having fast ready-to-go options in my freezer for when I’m pressed for time. If this happens to you more often than not, then I suggest keeping your favorite fish in the freezer. They thaw out very quickly and cook up fast. Have a wonderful day!

 

 

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From Sweater to Plushy Toy

I was cleaning out the girls closet today as it is getting warmer and Lailah (my youngest) is finally outgrowing her 18 month clothes. I felt inspired by these two sweaters, although at the moment I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with them, which is how pretty much all of my projects start. Here’s me at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn with my husband:

Me: “Oh I love this fabric! I’m going to get a couple yards of it.”

Him: “Ok, cool. What are you going to do with it?”

Me: “Uhhhhhhhhh……”

Hey, it all works out! Anywho, I thought how cute the fox and the owl would be if they were toys and that’s just what I ended up doing! It’s quite an easy tutorial, so if your kids have any old graphic tees they’ve outgrown you now have a fun way to repurpose them, if you would like.

Side Note: I got these at Wal-Mart for $3.88 (I believe) so you could go check there if you don’t happen to have a graphic tee or sweater.

I started by laying them each flat and then cut through both front and back around the graphic, leaving about a 1/2 inch around the edges.


Then I put right sides together and drew as close of an approximation of the graphic as I could and pinned the pieces together. You don’t have to be dead on with your tracing, I just wanted to know how far out to place my stitch when I began showing.


Now just sew front and back together leaving about a 2 inch gap for flipping inside out and stuffing with poly-fil.

Then I stuffed my little woodland buddies with poly-fil and sewed the hole together, being careful to hide the stitching.


These could also be cute little decorative pillows for your kids bedrooms, although if I’m being honest, I don’t make their beds. I used to and it looked beautiful, but it somehow acted as a beacon to the little twerps to go jump on the beds and muss them up, even though they never jump on the bed when it’s messy. Like moths to a flame, y’all. Hope you enjoyed this quick little tutorial!

Comment below with a picture of your finished product if you feel inspired by my post! I’d love to see what you come up with!