Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Bake Casserole

I love broccoli. It is one of my favorite vegetables and I could eat it at every meal. While I love it steamed and lightly seasoned, sometimes I feel like putting a little extra effort in, and making a side dish that really shines. This cheesy broccoli casserole is creamy, cheesy, and rich and it will definitely steal the thunder of the main course at your meal! It is supposed to be a copycat recipe of a Cracker Barrel Recipe, but I don't think I have ever had this there, so I can't be the judge of how close it tastes!

This casserole makes a ton and would be a great side for any holiday meal. It also can be made ahead and just baked right before serving, which is always so convenient for get togethers.

Just from the ingredient list, you can tell that this casserole is going to be delicious, and it truly was. I forget what I even served with this meal because all I wanted was to eat all the broccoli. This dish will definitely satisfy your fall comfort food cravings, and because broccoli is the main ingredient, we can say its healthy right?!
Copycat Cracker Barrell Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Cheesy Broccoli Bake Casserole
Source: Adapted from Food.com

2 lbs fresh broccoli, steamed
1 garlic clove
4 tbsp. butter, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounces light or regular cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place broccoli in a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Slowly, add the milk and garlic clove and cook over medium heat. Keep stirring until mixture becomes bubbly and thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon. Add salt and pepper and cream cheese. Whisk until sauce is smooth. 

Pour sauce over broccoli and stir to incorporate. Sprinkle cheese and then breadcrumbs or crackers over broccoli. Bake for 40 minutes, or lightly golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately. Also tastes great the next day reheated! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tour Through Blogland

Tour Through Blog Land

If you are an avid blog reader, you may have seen the Tour Through Blog Land going on on many different blogs. Basically, I give you a quick tour of my home and answer a few questions. I in turn nominate another blogger so that you can stop over and see their home as well!

I am so excited to do this because I just love the blogging community. They are the most welcoming, helpful bunch of women (sorry, haven't met a male yet!) that I have ever been a part of. They are motivating and inspirational and it is just a wonderful thing to belong to.

So a big thank you to Amy from One Artsy Mama who nominated me. I love all the crafts on her page. Stop on over and check her out!

So a little about my blog if you are new! I am a teacher and mom and started this blog in late January of this year. In such a short time, I have really fallen in love with blogging. I love sharing my recipes and DIY projects here with you. It is amazing to watch a project or recipe you love spread across the internet and it is so fulfilling to see that people are actually reading what you have to say!

Now on to the tour!

Welcome to my home! It is over a 100 years old and is in an old coal mining community that is rich with history and is a wonderful place to live. We moved here just over a year ago and are settling in. We are doing our best to make this house feel like our home.

Front Porch Decor
Our foyer has plagued me from the beginning. It is so large, so I wanted it to be a functional use or space but still be welcoming and open.  We do not use this as our main entrance since this door is original to the house and there is no key for it! To make this space function better, we added a closet in the corner. I just recently purchased these curtains and the rug from HomeGoods, which has been the finishing touches on finally making this space complete! I can add this room to the very small list of rooms that are actually finished!

Here is the realtor before picture of our Foyer
 And now!
Benjamin Moore Cloudy Sky and Behr Arctic Ocean in a Traditional Foyer

DIY Coat Closet in the Foyer

Large Foyer with Fall Decor
                            Here is the before picture of our Living Room from the realtor

Our Living Room gets a lot of use! This is where my daughter plays and we spend most of our time!

Living Room After Shot
We have this beautiful set of pocket doors that looks into our dining room. 
Pocket Doors

Traditional Dining Room
The dining room is probably the room in the house that has seen the least amount of work. We plopped down our furniture and called it a day. I would love to get a bigger table, paint the walls, and get roman shades for the windows. The walls aren't really this green in person! It was very sunny when I took these pictures!

Our dining room and kitchen are separated by a swinging door. The kitchen is the heart of our home so I think that whether it is finished or not, I should share it here!

The Before Kitchen Pictures 

I love this kitchen because it is so large and there is so much cabinetry. While the counter tops and cabinets are not really my style, they are in good shape and function well for us for the time being. We have updated this space by replacing the appliances, painting the door a brighter color, and removing the ¨mud room" that the previous owner had in the kitchen hallway.


And finally, I have to share our basement bathroom because it makes the short list of rooms that are completely done. 

We built this bathroom pretty much from scratch and are really proud of how it turned out!
For more information on our bathroom and to see the before and afters, go here!

DIY Budget Bathroom

On to the Blog Land Tour Questions!

1.) What are you working on right now? Since we just finished up the bathroom reno, we haven't started on any big projects yet. I have been working hard on decorating for fall and doing some small DIY projects like building shelves and transforming an old beat up night stand! 

2.) How does your work differ from others in the genre? I feel like I have two genres since I do both food and DIY, so I guess that makes me unique! My ultimate goal for this blog is to only create things, both recipes and crafts, that I think anyone could do. I don't publish anything that I don't think others could whip up for dinner! So this will never be the blog where you see a recipe for an overly complicated eight layer cake! And because I have a never ending list of things I want to do, I try to do everything myself for the least amount of money. The less money I spend on a project, the more I can do, right??

3.) Why do you write and create what you do? I write because I find it is such a fulfilling outlet. I have always loved to write and growing up, I always said I would be a writer. Crafting and cooking has become a passion of mine and without it, I would feel like something was missing. I truly enjoy cooking and creating and don't think I would survive some days without having a creative outlet. 

4.) How does your writing and creative process work? My creative process isn't very structured! I often don't have a plan for my projects (for example when I decided to single handedly rip the carpet out of our upstairs bedroom one afternoon) I just do whatever I am in the mood for. On the other hand, some projects I plan for weeks before starting by doing tons of research, so I can't say that I have a set process. Some days it is methodical and others it is all over the place. Since I work and also have a little one running around, I try to squeeze in as much as I can during nap time and whenever I get a free moment or two. 

I am so glad to have joined in this tour through blog land! I now nominate Sarah from On The Way Home to join us next on this tour! I hope you stop by her blog next Monday to see her home and check out her blog! Thank you for joining me!