Thursday, July 11, 2013

Summer Treat

Many of you know I have a ridiculous obsession with coconut. I try to work it into EVERY recipe I make and everything I eat. I sometimes fear that this obsession keeps me from trying new things. Important things. Like raspberry cheesecakes and hip cocktails at happy hour.

It looks like I'm gonna have to ride this one out though because I'm too in love to break up.

So this afternoon, as usual my coconut cravings set in and I decided to make something new to get me through the rest of the summer. You see, I've been wanting a coconut snow cone SO bad that I almost can't take it. So here is what I came up with and I wasn't disappointed.

Coconut & Pineapple Snow cone/Shake

2 cups ice
3 ounces coconut water
3 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce milk of your choice
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp raw honey (if you want yours a little sweeter, I do!)

Add all ingredients into your blender (the magic bullet worked great here) and serve!

Simple and delicious and much healthier than a sugar saturated snow cone. And if you have a Tervis cup it will keep it cold all the way until the last drop. ;)

Happy Texas Summer!

Monday, July 8, 2013

So Fresh And So Clean!

Finally. We have finished out guest bathroom. Of course I'm extremely partial (since I had a hand in the entire face-lift), but I think we did a bang up job.

Our before pictures are quite minimal compared to our after pictures. Probably because I hated it before and didn't want to remember exactly what it looked like.

Don't forget to scroll to the bottom to see the cost breakdown and the total we spent on this project. We kept this one extremely under budget since we initially wanted to demo the entire room and start from scratch, but changed our minds sometime along the way. (When we decided we needed to sale) ;).

So when we came to look at the house the first time, I snapped this photo. This is EXACTLY how it looked. Toilet paper on the counter, clutter and a dirty shower. Ugh. It was pretty gross. Although other than the clutter it doesn't look THAT bad here.

We knew from the get go things would have to go in this room and the first thing was the linoleum. I think we ripped it out of there around day two of moving in since it was starting to come apart by the tub and we wanted to make sure there was no molding sub-floor. Luckily, there was not. So since we weren't sure what to do with this room yet we threw on some cheap laminate that the old owners had left over from the kitchen and called it at day... for about 10-ish months.

And then last month sometime I decided it might be nice to take down the mirror and the terrible lighting. Of course in our house there is always a surprise and rainbow wall paper happily greeted us. You can also see in this picture that we created quite the holes where the outlets are supposed to go. (Promise we didn't just leave exposed wires out for days) Anyway, Daniel re-wired the outlets because the electricity was actually coming from the kitchen breaker instead of the bathroom breaker which makes it confusing. And since we made big holes in the crappy drywall we ended up just tearing down the mirror/light wall and just starting from scratch. (This picture also shows the first grey I tried on the walls, but it was too dark for my taste.)

Here is a before of the cabinets. Not much changed for them except they got new knobs and a new coat of shiny white paint!

Next up was the floor. While Daniel was at work last week I decided there was no time like the present and I started ripping up this rooms flooring.. again. The only plus to that was getting to practice my advanced math skills on the old laminate. Why? Because I can.

 After the laminate was ripped up I was left with this yucky sub-floor. I spent a few hours peeling up old pieces of flooring and cleaning and prepping it for the new tile to be laid.

And so it began.... The hardest part is the first piece. If you mess that up the whole thing goes downhill. So needless to say, I spent the better part of an hour making sure I had that first piece right.

Those are the only before and during photos we took unfortunately... And here are the after photos of the guest bathroom. Please excuse the lighting. I'm not a photographer ;)

No matter how I positioned the camera, whether it was natural light or the light was on.. This was the best picture I could get of the new light and mirror.

So now for the price breakdown...

Paint: $17
Primer: $20
Joint Compound: $7
Sheetrock: $8
Tile: $35
Grout: $8
Crown Molding: $20
New Outlets/Covers: $30
Cabinet Knobs: Free. We used the old ones from the kitchen cabinets.
Light Fixture: Free from MIL
Spray Paint for Frame & Light Fixture: $6
Mirror: $29
Shower Curtain: $15
Curtain: $3 (from scrap fabric)
Towel Holder: $5
New Toilet: $150 (Daniel installed it himself)

Total:  Roughly $353. 
I'm sure we are missing a few dollars here or there, but still very cheap considering we replaced the toilet. If we had kept the old one we would have come in around $200. 

So this renovation didn't require much of our money it was just finding the time to get it done. I get excited walking past this room in the hallway now. Bring on the guests!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Granola Bars Revised

I've recently challenged myself to get rid of white flour, use less butter and only use whole foods that are natural and unprocessed in my cooking/eating.

With that said, I've made some changes to a few of our favorite recipes, including our go-to granola bars and I'm happy to say that I love them even more

We've decided to use coconut and almond flour as our primary "grain" around here so I was able to sub coconut flour for the all-purpose flour (if you haven't baked with coconut flour it's definitely something you'll want to look up, it's unlike other flours). 

I've also started replacing recipes that call for butter with coconut oil and have found them to be fantastic!

So the below is the new version of the granola bars that have now been adapted MANY times since I originally found the recipe, but this may be my favorite revision since it makes me feel like a real health champ! ;)

Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Bars    
  • 4 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, liquified
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we do 72%)
  • 1/2 sliced almonds (walnuts and pecans work well here too)
  • 1/2 cup organic dried coconut pieces (you can use any dried fruit, we use cranberries or apricots sometimes)
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease one 8x8 inch pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey. Use a mixer to thoroughly combine. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups assorted chocolate chips, nuts etc.
  3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 for 9 minutes and then take out and press mixture into pan again. And then cook for another 9 minutes, press down in pan again when taking out of oven. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oldie But Goodie

Just a little Friday recipe... for cleaning. :)

This has been my 'go to' spray for years now and even though I've posted the recipe before I made a batch last night and it reminded me of why I love it. 

It smells delicious!

It gets the job done!

It's WAY too easy to make!

And I don't have to worry about what it's doing to our home/us.

All Purpose Cleaning Spray

2 cups warm water

2 tablespoon of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Magic Soap
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
4 drops of patchouli oil
4 drops of orange oil

Mix all ingredients in clean spray bottle and shake! Easy enough. 

I have about 10 different essential oils that I alternate between and patchouli isn't one of them. I just use 8 drops of orange oil instead. Orange oil is a great cleaning oil since it is a natural degreaser and it's naturally antibacterial. Score!

Feel free to give it a try!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Recent Eats

We may be spending most of our time remodeling the kitchen right now, but we are still keeping the skillets hot when it comes to cooking up dinner.

I wanted to share a few or our new favorite recipes and even a few so-so ones. Just because we didn't LOVE them doesn't mean you won't.

Zucchini Lasagna  This was a definite hit! We loved this recipe! Since we've decided to eat less pasta and more veggies this was a great way to do it without losing the yummy Italian taste. The only recommendations I would have would to make sure you buy large zucchini or more than the recipe calls for. It also made for great leftover lunches today, plus some!

Black Bean Quesadillas These are an old favorite at our home because they are easy to whip up, vegetarian and delicious. They are just what a fast dinner should look like. We top ours with homemade guacamole, salsa and cilantro.

Mexican Haystacks I am in love with this recipe!!!! We changed the name to Taco Towers because Daniel thought that Mexican Haystacks just didn't seem as appetizing, whatever lets me make these more often is fine with me. ;) The only change we make it that we don't add cilantro to the rice since Daniel isn't a huge fan of cilantro overload. Me on the other hand, I pile it on top.

Cajun Chicken Pasta This recipe was just OK the night we made it, but was actually really flavorful for lunch the next day. I guess the spices needed a little more time.

Salmon with Avocado Salsa We tried this recipe a few weeks back and we both really enjoyed it. We serves it with a side of cous cous and a spinach salad. Great pairing.

Tortellini Primavera  This was a pretty good recipe. It wasn't the absolute best tortellini/ravioli recipe I've made, but it was so incredibly quick, I didn't care. Sometimes fast on Tuesday night beats out any other recipe. :)

Blueberry Coconut Macadamia Muffins It's been a while since I've mentioned these muffins and a while since I have made them until last week. Sometimes an oldie is a goodie. :) We don't use full wheat flour I normally do half white/half wheat so my husband will eat them.

Feel free to give a few a try!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Little Kitchen Progress

Although, we aren't ready for a full kitchen reveal yet, we are ready to show a little progress that has been made. Please keep in mind that it is still in transition, but we hope to have it finished in the next weeks and this girl can't wait to show the full deal!

This picture shows what/where the oven was before and even though it was nice to cook and see to the living room, it just wasn't open enough and really seemed to make both rooms look very small. (We also had just taken everything out of the cabinets to prime.)

Picture of the bar top taken off and the wall before it came down looking into the kitchen.

We got the oven moved and in the process we decided to take off the old drywall and hang some new. You can also see the old tile in this picture.

Many days in our kitchen looked like this and can drive a girl crazy when it's time to cook dinner, but some how we managed. This is a picture of Daniel re-framing and hanging the new drywall in what was an archway that we wanted square.

Drywall hung and tape and bedding done. Kitchen/oven area still a mess and in transition.

Drywall finally got hung on the open wall that we moved the oven to, but cooking was still hard with no countertops...

The tile and awful parquet floors that didn't look or meet very smoothly. We knew both had to go.   

You can see the progress we've made here with the new tile in the kitchen, new cabinets by the oven (still needing our countertops) and you can also see the painted living room on the right a little bit with the wainscoting. 

A little better shot of what will soon be our fully functional kitchen :) And you can see how the kitchen/hall flooring now flows much better!

Up next, a new coat of paint on the walls and cabinets, new back splash, the new countertops and all the little things and then I can happily decorate!

It has been so great to get to step back and see all the progress that we've been making in the house. It's really starting to feel like home. :)

Hope to post the finished room soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Everyday Love

This year, like every year I watched as people posted their sweet treats, gifts and flowers from their loved ones on every social media site out there. 

Receiving gifts is always great, am I right? 

Daniel and I have decided to spend out Valentine's Day's a little bit different though and for that reason, there were not flowers, candy or overstuffed teddy bears given this year.

There was a home cooked meal like there is every night and there were homemade cards that hallmark could never compete with. And I hope that will forever be our tradition.

Last year we were both working 50 hours a week and felt this immense pressure to make the day special.

Well, my husband did just that.... but I forgot.

Our Valentine's Day last year may have been one of the worst ever. He did do a great job, but the feeling of pressure to find the right gift and to have everything done by the time I got home and then me walking in with not even a card set us up for bad moods.

I agree that "your person" as we say in our house, should be told and shown how special they are. On the other hand, we decided it's total crap to set up one day a year to do that.


My person replaces the garbage disposal on Sunday when he wants to lounge on the couch.

My person listens to me talk for hours a week about things that happened in my day that probably in no way interest him.

My person puts a load of laundry in the washer early Saturday morning while I grab a few extra minutes of sleep.

My person waits patiently on me to get dressed Tuesday and Thursday mornings when I ride with him to Dallas even though he could have been out the door 20 minutes earlier.

My person kisses me hello and goodbye and says 'I love you' every time he leaves me and every time he comes home.

My person works hard every day to take care of our family.

My person supports my dreams even when they seem silly or unrealistic.

My person listens to me sing loudly to Adele in the car without a complaint.

My person loves me, supports me and cherishes me every day not just February 14th. He makes me feel special and important. He makes me laugh like no one else ever could. And I truly miss him when he's away. After all, he's my person today just like he was yesterday and how he will be tomorrow, next week, next year, forever.

Remember that the one day a year means little and the every day means a lot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Facts

My sweet little friend Erin did this little 'facts' survey she ran across on another blog and since I'm sitting here watching HGTV I thought it seemed like a great little way to pass some time.

FACT: In the picture below I'm wearing two 'under' layers, my husband's coverall's, a sweatshirt, jacket, infinity scarf and I was wearing two pair of gloves prior to beginning laying brick (they proved to inhibit my brick laying skills). You may be thinking, who cares? Well, apparently it's unacceptable in early October in Texas. According to my husband, this is nonsense for 55 to 60 degree weather. So, it is indeed a fact, I'm not a cold lover. Anything less than 78 degrees gives me chills.

FACT: I cry like a little baby every Tuesday night when Parenthood comes on. I LOVE IT! Two weeks ago my husband sat down and watched it with me, I should have loved the interest he'd taken in watching a show he isn't a fan of with me (sheer boredom I'm sure) but instead I found myself upset that I couldn't cry a big fat ugly cry like I do every Tuesday. ;)

FACT: I hate olives! Really, I love pretty much every other food, but olives have been known to ruin my entire day if my mouth comes in contact with one.

FACT: Tonight at my first official BodyPump class the instructor told me I had great form. I totally let this go to my head, never mind I probably should have increased the weight on the bar on most of the exercises. Whoops! ;)

FACT: Butter is my weakness. I pray that someday it will become socially acceptable to just eat butter out of the tub/by the stick.

FACT: This past weekend at my friend Erin's birthday weekend bash in College Station I realized I'm a grown up, and I liked it! Nothing says getting older like watching 18 to 21 year old's make a flat out fool of themselves and thinking, "What would their mother think?" Or not having more than a few drinks because you don't have time for a hangover. GROWN UP!

FACT: I think I'm seriously the funniest person in the world, but only if it's with my husband. Either I keep an awesome hidden talent or my husband is a very good sport.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The past few weeks have flown by it seems. 

Can you believe it's officially Fall already? Everyone knows about my love for Fall! If you don't, you can read about it here, here and here. :)

It is without a doubt my favorite part of the year.

Moving on to the recent happenings in The O'Neal home.

First up, renovations continue and most days we love it. I'd even say about 90% of the time we enjoy it. Of course, you have that 10% where it can be completely overwhelming remodeling, decorating and taking care of a 55 year old home. I'm not complaining though, the improvements are starting to show and it feels good to know that Daniel and I are the ones that made them happen. We've been putting our DIY-ness (is that a word? probably not?) to the test.

Last weekend my handsome husband and I went toilet shopping. Woo hoo! We know how to spice up a Saturday night! Two reasons why we decided we needed a new toilet: The one in the guest bathroom was not level and if you're gonna have to take it off, we're getting a new one. And.... using an old toilet in your own home is gross. 

Unfortunately, I don't have any before and after pictures. Meaning, I don't feel like getting up and taking an after picture. 

Here's Daniel though studying all of "the porcelain throne" specs.

 And here he is after a long day of heavy toilet lifting and installation. The good news, he did an amazing job and I'm so proud of my DIY husband! ;)

I on the other hand, have spent a lot of time working on floors. Parquet. No way! I hate parquet floors, especially when they've covered up hardwood. But taking the adhesive off of hardwood floors is something I've grown to hate even more. 

The below picture is what I found when removing the parquet flooring. Work.

After lots of floor stripper, a razor blade and woman-power I can proudly say the floors are getting there. I'm the queen of bad pictures, but if you look in the picture you can see that there isn't much black ugly adhesive left. Amen!

On Monday, Daniel and I were in for a real treat. As I was making dinner I noticed that people were parked across the street from our house in lawn chairs. We know our lives aren't that interesting so we figured there was some sort of parade coming down Buffalo Street. So we grabbed a few Blue Moon's and went to sit on the tailgate to watch.... the Canton Eagles homecoming parade. The beers then seemed a little inappropriate, but we were at our own home. As we watched the parade pass by our house (only photo I have below, I will start to do better I promise) I couldn't help but calculate how old today's class of 2013 high school seniors were when I graduated in 2004. Man, those 3rd graders sure have grown. I decided that little front yard outing just made me feel old. Lol

Husband watching the parade in the front yard.

What next you ask? Well, yesterday morning Daniel and I woke up excited to build this couch table below that we wanted to turn into a TV stand for  the living room.

I'm not quite sure what happened, but instead we decided to start the kitchen remodel. Wow. So far since yesterday we have successfully torn off the bar top, removed lots of drywall and the major reno this weekend was moving the oven outlet and electricity (easier said than done) to another wall in the kitchen.

Below is where the oven used to be. It also showcases the cabinets that are in the middle of getting redone which is why the top two cabinets to the right are white.

Here is Daniel demolishing the bar top, although he looks pretty calm in this picture. If you look closely you can see a little bit of the living room re-do behind him. I still need to post our final result but I think the wall below probably needs to come out first. 

We are completely changing things up in the kitchen so if we invite you over to dinner, don't expect it to be pretty yet. ;)

The kitchen had a completely blank wall. I mean there was nothing on it when we moved in. So I decided to add an old dresser there for now just to take up some space until we got things rearranged. So minus the lack of tidiness in this photo this is what it looked like. Nothing special still.

We decided it made more sense to move the oven on this wall, but because we can't leave well enough alone. We decided to take all the drywall off of this wall too to make it extra reno-y.

So for today this is our end result. A working oven on a new wall! Thank you Jesus for a husband that is all about learning how to do everything ourselves. 

Please understand that I know as a reader you're probably thinking, "Seriously, you guys really messed that room up." I promise this was a huge accomplishment in the kitchen re-do. It now allows us to knock down walls and cabinets that we don't want and add cabinets where we need them. 

So this picture below happens to have victory written all over it for me. :)

And because I found this recipe quite fitting for this post, not to mention it's what we had for dinner and what is cooking in that big pot on the stove.

 Paula Dean's Goulash Recipe

As always things were changed. We halved the meat. Used one onion. No soy sauce. And less salt in general. It was a great easy meal that makes a lot and fills you up! I did have to call it homemade hamburger helper though because Daniel thinks the word goulash is less than appetizing. :)


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 2 cups dried elbow macaroni


In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease. Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

Thanks for hangin' in on this 'all over the place post!

Monday, August 27, 2012

365 days

One year ago today I was anxious, nervous and excited to become your wife. I was sure that when those big barn doors opened up I was probably going to be sick. But as the doors opened and I saw you standing there my nerves disappeared, an extreme calm washed through me, and there was no one but you and me.

You and me. There's no one else in this world that I'd want to do life with. This past year has been the best year of my life. Each day I love you more. It's even become common for me to tell you, "I'm not sure why but I totally love you more today. It's like my love grew."

As life tends to be, this past year has put choices and challenges in our lives but I'd say that cliche phrase, "The first year's the hardest" didn't apply to us. And if it was hard, I didn't notice.

I realize how much I truly love you when I find myself over the top bragging about how wonderful you are to complete strangers. I know you totally hate when I brag on you but I'm so incredibly proud of the man that you are that I have a very hard time not letting the world know.

I STILL get butterflies calling you my husband. I hope that never becomes something I don't get excited about.

I'm truly enjoying every minute of this time in our lives. I wish I could slow it down sometimes. The nights and weekends go by too fast and work just gets in the way. There's no one else in this world I'd want to spend each day with. I feel like my life was nothing special until I met you and this 1st year of marriage is just the beginning.

Thank you for being loving. caring. strong. determined. grateful. and completely perfect for me.

It's been nothing short of happily ever after...

I love you Daniel Chase.