Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

(This has been re-published by request :) I LOVE crockpot cooking. A few years ago I didn’t really have the same mentality ( before a family) I thought the crockpot was not really cooking and an easy way out. My good friend Nicole purchased me one and I have not been the same! You won’t believe all the wonderful things I can cook in there!
This recipe is from a family friend, Marge who is the most delightful woman! I had the chance to get to know her over our visit to Denver this year and a few weeks later she sent me some of her recipes, which are easy and delicious!

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff


  • 2 pounds of bottom round steak (or something similar) TIP: Ask your butcher to cut them into strips (with a big smile here). Makes your prep work even easier!
  • 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cans of French onion soup—I use Campbells for both kinds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dash of paprika or chili powder
 Brown steak strips in dry non-stick skillet (this can even be done ahead and put in refrigerator until ready to start crockpot cooking)
Add soups to the crockpot and mix well. Add spices and bay leaf.
Add steak strips
Cook all in crockpot on LOW for 10 to 12 hours. I start this around 8 or 9 in the morning.
Serve over wide egg noodles or pasta of your choice! I like the No Yolks kind. I also serve with salad for our vegetable, and buttered bread.
Makes a lot so you will have leftovers.

Chicken and Shrimp Tostadas

shrimp tostada

Tostadas are something I make quite often. They are such a simple and quick dinner or lunch using whole and fresh ingredients. I buy tostada shells from the grocery store (which are like a flat crunchy taco shell).

  • Refried beans
  • Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  •  Avocados
  •  Corn
  •  Diced tomatoes
  • Protein like shrimp or shredded chicken
  • Cheese (optional)


1.       Layer the refried beans on the tostada
2.       Layer the Greek yogurt or sour cream
3.       Layer your choice of protein
4.       Top with tomatoes, corn, avocado, cheese, hot sauce, salsa—anything that you have!


chicken tostada

The Perfect Nude Pump

the perfect nude pumps
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8
I am currently looking for the perfect pointy-toe nude pump. Something that is not too tan but not too pink—the perfect blend of ivory and blush. This is a timeless shoe that can be worn with any color outfit. I don’t mind spending a little more for quality that will last for years. I have rounded up some of my favorites on the internet!
ivory lane nude pumps
nude pumps outfit

Linking up:

Shabby Chic Dining Redo


before dining room chairsfrench country dining room makeover 

I scored these table and chairs for $170 on Craigslist a couple months ago. They were all in perfect condition! I know it is hard to find cane back chairs with the webbing still intact. They were so drab and depressing looking. I knew a bright coat of paint would do the trick. I used Annie Sloan’s “Paris Grey” paint for the chairs and Benjamin Moore’s “Ballet White” for the cane backs, table base, and legs. Annie Sloan paint is great because you do not have to sand or prime your surface. I needed all the extra time I would manage seeing I look after a little one! I worked on this project during Mia’s nap and at night when Mike came home.

annie sloan chalk paintballet white

{Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Benjamin Moore}

I did want to stain the table top a darker color, but it turned out to be Formica (which is a fake wood basically and cannot be stained, or so I heard). I primed the legs with two coats of Zinsser White Primer, which worked great and followed up with Ballet White, by Benjamin Moore—a beautiful off-white color.

annie sloan paris grey

I took some fine sandpaper and distressed wherever I thought real bumps and wear would be. This is the fun part and really gives that shabby chic look! The final step was waxing and buffing everything with Annie’s Sloan’s clear wax. This gives a beautiful matte sheen.

reupholster chairs

I recovered the chairs using plain drop cloth (washed first). I did reupholster two of the chairs, but there were 4--FOUR layers of staples and I did not have time to completely reupholster all 6 chairs—so I just recovered the rest. I ended up reselling the set on Craigslist and making a profit. Although a lot of work, it was well worth it in the end!

For reupholstering the chair cushions, I viewed a video from This Old House. Removing the staples are the most cumbersome and frustrating part of this project, but once you get the hang of it the process will go quickly! Just make sure you don’t buy chairs with four layers of staples (like I did).

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up:

Miss Mustard Seed

Sweet Pea

Love of Family and Home

So Much Better with Age

Not Just a Housewife

DIY Showoff

Wow Us Wednesday

How to Bake and Create a Minnie Mouse Cake for a Birthday



I recently made this cake for a friend’s daughter’s 2nd Birthday. Her daughter loves Minnie Mouse so when she told me the theme, I was really excited to create a very girly cake!

This cake was a labor of love and took me about three days. If I have one tip it’s to start early as possible. I had never baked a theme cake before. I used Pinterest for inspiration and put my own spin on elements.

I am just an average home baker. I taught myself how to build this cake by watching lots of YouTube videos (listed below). There is so much information on the internet you really don’t need to pay for classes. Although I would love to take some if I find/make the time.

Supplies and Source List

  • Best Black Fondant
  • Best Tasting White Fondant
  • Pink flat sprinkles
  • Wilton tip for the “pearls” around the cake
  • pastry bag (here)
  • 2 9 inch round cakes cooled
  • 2 6 inch round cakes cooled
  • Parchment paper
  • Small fondant rolling pin (here)
  • toothpicks
  • large circle cookie cutter (for large minnie ears)
  • small circle cookie cutters (for the polka dots and small minnie heads)
  • 4 cake dowels or Boba tea straws
  • Rotating Cake stand—this is a must! (here)
  • cake boards (I used cardboard cut to size)
  • Large offset spatula (here)
  • Fondant smoother (here)
  • Viva paper towels
  • Large cake stand for display

Sweetapolita Vanilla Cake Recipe

Gale Gand Best Buttercream Icing

Video showing how to ice and smooth cakes: This is where the Viva paper towel comes into play!
Video on how to stack the cakes (this woman helped me A LOT) I also used Boba tea straws instead of the wooden dowels she uses.


Mini Minnie Mouse heads:

I didn’t take many pictures along the way, but started with creating these mini Minnie mouse heads two days before. I rolled some black fondant and cut them out using small circle cookie cutters. I fused them together with my fingers. For the small bow I used white fondant and with a toothpick cut two small triangles and rolled a tiny ball. I used my toothpick to cut little dents into the bow, making a wrinkled effect. I stuck them on with a little bit of butter cream or royal icing.

Large Minnie Bow and Minnie Ears:

I used large circle cookie cutters to cut the rolled black fondant for the Minnie ears topper. I rolled it pretty thick. I inserted toothpicks into the Minnie ears and attached them to the cake. I let the bow and large Minnie Mouse ears dry overnight to harden—two nights would be best. For the bow, I used the video below as a guide and stuck pink dot sprinkles onto the bow using royal icing (or buttercream) as a glue. The bow stood on top of the cake on its own (I made sure to dry it upright).

How to make the Minnie Mouse large bow

Charging for this cake: Full Disclosure.

This was the first time someone paid me to create a cake for them. I am just starting out and I thought $2 per slice was fair. There was a 30 people estimate, so I was paid a total of $60. Did I make a profit on this cake? Probably not, but the amount I learned just by doing was invaluable. This cake bought from a well known bakery would have cost close to $200. I hope to continue to grow in my little cake venture (and cost per slice :))

Hope you enjoyed this hodgepodge of a tutorial. Maybe I will venture out into creating my own video next time…maybe!


Linking up with these parties:

Jennifer Rizzo

House of Rose Blog

Stone Gable

Mia’s Birthday Desserts

pink dessert table

I really wanted the focus of Mia’s party to be a pretty dessert table that tasted amazing. I scoured the internet for the best vanilla cupcake and buttercream recipes. I finally found what I was looking for via Pinterest. I have to give credit to this new amazing blog I found, Better with Age. I loved how she styled her baby girl’s first birthday and found lots of inspiration in her posts!

pink vanilla cake

Sweetapolita Pink Vanilla & Sprinkles Cake

Mia’s vanilla cake with pink  vanilla buttercream icing and sprinkles! I baked the cake in two 9 inch pans and stacked them with a layer of buttercream in-between. The cake turned out super moist and delicious. I seemed to forget what homemade cake tastes like! Definitely my go-to recipe moving forward. The buttercream was very very buttery tasting which sounds silly. I might switch this out with a Swiss meringue buttercream icing, but everyone loved it regardless of what I thought!

To get the icing really smooth I used this offset spatula and a Wilton turn table. Next time I will try to use the Viva paper towel trick found on YouTube. I cut out round cardboard to put underneath the cake before icing. This made the transfer to the cake stand easy but I was definitely holding my breath the entire time!

vanilla cupcakes sprinkles

I wasn’t planning on making cupcakes but I had leftover batter from the cake recipe above. These were a hit and perfect for Mia when we sang “Happy Birthday.”

mini donuts

These mini donuts were a hit with the kids at the party. I cheated and used a mini donut mix from Williams Sonoma (it even included the glaze mix). They turned out moist and delicious. To make it easier, I put the batter in a piping bag and filled a mini donut pan.


Only one Mia!

Linking up to these parties:

Stone Gable

A Bowl Full of Lemons

The Best Italian Beef: Slow Cooker Recipe

crockpot italian beef

I am Italian and lived in Chicago for 5 years so believe me when I say this is the best Italian Beef recipe I have come across. Throw it in the crockpot and forget about it until dinner. Don’t forget to dip your sandwich in the leftover broth and you must buy the softest hoagie buns you can find. I added some cheese on top just because why not make it more perfect. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (Adapted from I sub and changed things up a bit, which I think made a big difference in the beef.

  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 package of dry Italian-style salad dressing mix (some people use two packages for more flavor)
  • 1 (5 pound) rump or chuck roast (chuck is less expensive but more fatty)


  1. Combine broth with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.
  2. Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.
  3. Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours. On the last hour or so shred meat with a fork and put it back into the crockpot to cook for the remaining time and absorb all those wonderful juices. This makes a world of difference! Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf if using.

Toppings and Side Note:

In Chicago people like to top their sandwich with sautéed mushrooms, red onion, sliced pepperoncini and/or sliced roasted red peppers. You can also top with any type of cheese you like. I really enjoy provolone or mozzarella. You can melt the cheese under the broiler.

**If you are in the Chicago land area I really love Portillos Italian Beef. And let’s be honest, I also love anything on their menu. Anyone try the chocolate cake and cheeseburger/fries? I'm done.


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