Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Paleo Stuffed Chicken

Got another Paleo recipe for you! This is one looks much more difficult than it is. In fact, I think producing these meals has made me feel like I can actually cook. Maybe. We like topping ours with our favorite spice blend.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts - slice open butterfly style
  • 1 slice of deli “honey baked” ham
  • 3 asparagus stalks, hold each end and bend until it breaks, use only the top half
  • 1 slice of brie cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Your favorite spice blend

 Directions:
  1. Stuff chicken with ham, asparagus and brie. Hold together with a toothpick.
  1. Sprinkle olive oil, kosher salt and black cracked pepper over the chicken or use your favorite spice blend. We use Minorcan Datil Pepper Spice and it's perfect!

  1. Bake on 400 degrees for 15 minutes. If your breasts are really thick, you may need more time.

YUMMY!
 This is a great way to not serve chicken the same old way.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Countdown to Christmas

Oh my goodness. It's November.

I'm stalling. I admit it. The days keep ticking away and all I can do is look at patterns. I can't seem to come up with a real plan.

What do I give my mom? What would my husband's aunt like? 
It all just gives me a headache. I hate just giving gift cards. It seems so impersonal. My kids, however, love the idea of shopping for what they want. It's a losing battle. I tend to make most of my gifts because I like to put thought and time into it. I also like the idea of buying from other crafters. Maybe I can find some fairs to go to before Christmas?

Where do you go for inspiration? Magazines? TV? Blogs? Pinterest? Etsy? It doesn't help that I don't like shopping. Maybe it's time for a trip to my local library. I found some really great books for crochet patterns when I was hunting for baby gift inspiration. There's nothing worse than buying a book and then not liking what's inside.

What's worse is that we live in another state from all of our family. I don't get to see any of them on a daily basis to see what would be of interest or need to them. And who the heck needs more crap to dust?

I'm literally still working on gifts from last year. Ok, the gift was an ongoing craft project, but still. It's a huge Barbie house that K2 and I have been putting together. We're doing all the decorating and making all the furnishings (mostly). I hope to post it here eventually. 

Back to this year.

Last year when I had this dilemma, I created a board on Pinterest to start gathering ideas for gifts throughout the year. Not just for Christmas, but all gift giving holidays. Click on the link under the image to see what I have so far.
Gifts to Give Board
Not much, right? Do you Pinterest? Yes? How would you like to help add to my board? As group we could create a huge "database" of gift ideas! Sound exciting?

Here are the rules:
  1. Post your Pinterest ID in the comments below (or you can message me privately). I'll send you an invitation to pin to the board.
  2. As you run across something you think would make a great give - for any occasion - pin it! It can be something you buy in a store, on a website, or a craft to make yourself.
  3. Include what age group/holiday you think it would be appropriate for in the comments section of the pin.
  4. Is there something YOU want? Pin it! If you want it, chances are someone I know (maybe you?) would want it, too.
  5.  Have fun and share!
Ready? Set? Let's Pin!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Berry and Spinach Salad


I love this salad. It's so delicious! The only bad news is now I have used up my entire stock of blueberries from our picking outing last April. Guess I need to get more this year. If you can't find honey roasted almonds, the coconut or cinnamon almonds are tasty, too!

Ingredients
  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Goat cheese or honey goat cheese
  • Honey roasted almonds
  • Grilled chicken (optional)

Directions
Gently mix berries and cheese in a bowl. The strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese will break down to make the best dressing. Pour over spinach and top with nuts and chicken. 

Put this together in no time. It's easy to make for 1 or 10. Super simple, super quick, and super yummy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Paleo- Eggplant Bruchetta


I love Eggplant Parmesan, but it's not exactly on the Paleo diet. This is the next best thing and it's super simple to make. It's got great texture and flavor. I have to admit, the hubby doesn't care for it, but K1 and I love it. I guess I can only push vegetables so far.  More for us!

Eggplant Bruschetta:

1. Heat Oven to 350 
2. Slice the eggplant into even slices (don't slice too thin or they will burn - about 1/4 inch) and lay slices out on a sheet pan sprayed with olive oil
3. Lightly shake salt and pepper over eggplant slices and place in the oven for 15 minutes
4. Flip eggplant over and add salt and pepper to the slices and place back in oven for 10 minutes

Bruschetta topping:

• 3 or 4 ripe plum tomatoes
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
• 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place eggplant on a plate and top with bruschetta and fresh mozzarella. Enjoy!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Crochet Baby Hat and Mary Jane Shoes


Charlie is the best little model. She's always awake, quiet, and never complains. I think we will keep her. 

The soft colors are perfect for wearing with anything and would be great for photo shoot, too. There are plenty of color combinations  that you can switch it up with as well. Makes a great gift for a new baby!

Size:
3-6 months

Supplies:
Worsted Weight Yarn - I used Caron So Soft. Perfect for babies
Size H Crochet Hook
Size G Crochet Hook
Size F Crochet Hook
Tapestry Needle

Hat
Using H Hook, Ch 3. Join into a ring.
Round 1: Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1). *Dc, ch 1; repeat 9 times. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 2: Sl st in first ch 1 sp. Ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1), dc in same sp, ch 1, *(dc, ch 1) twice in next ch 1 sp; repeat from * around. Join to 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 3: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as dc and ch 1), dc in same sp, ch 1, dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, *(dc, ch 1) twice in next ch 1 sp, dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join round to 3rd ch of beg ch-4.

Round 4-6: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), *dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Change to size G hook.

Round 7- 8: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), *dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 1; repeat from * around. Join with a sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch 4.

Round 9: Sl st in first ch 1 sp, sc in same sp, *sc in next st, sc in next ch 1 sp; repeat from * around. Join.

Edging: *5 Dc into first ch space, sl st into next ch space* repeat around ending with sl st. Fasten off.
Mary Jane Shoes
Use F hook
Round 1: Ch 11.Work 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in next 4 ch, hdc in next ch, dcin next 3 ch, 7 dc in last ch. Working across opposite side ,dc in next 3 ch, hdc in next ch, sc in next 4 ch . 

Round 2: Beginning in the top of the first sc of previous round, 2 sc in next 3 st sc in next 9 sts, 2 sc in next 5 sts, sc in next 9 sts. 

Round 3: {Sc in next st, 2 sc in next st} 3 times, sc in next 9 sts, {sc in nextst, 2 sc in next st} 5 times, sc in next 9 sts. 

Round 4: Sc all except last st. hdc in last st. 

Round 5: Dc 8. Hdc 1. Sc 33 

Round 6: Sc 2tog 1. Sc 6. Sc 2tog. Sc 9. Sc2tog 7 times. Sc 9.

Round 7: Sc 17. Dc2tog 4 times. Sc 9. 

Round 8: 
Right shoe: 
Sl st 12. Ch 12. Sc into 5th ch from hook. Sc 6.. sl st into next st on the shoe. Sl 13. Tie off. 

Left shoe: 
Sl st 24 Ch 12. Sc into 5th ch from hook. Sc 6. sl st into next st on the shoe. Sl st 3.

Embellish with any flower of your choice. There are tons of free patterns out there. This is what I used:
Flower:
Using H hook, chain 4 and join into a ring. 

Round 1: Chain 2 (counts as 1 dc), dc 11 times into ring, join with a sl st to 2nd chain of initial chain 3 (12 dc). 

Round 2: Chain 3, sk stitch, then make 1 dc into next stitch.

*Chain 3, miss a stitch, then dc in next stitch*

Repeat between **, four more times until you get back to the beginning. Sl st into first chain.

You should have 6 chain-3 loops.

Round 3: Work into each ch 3 loop *sc, hdc, 2 dc, hdc, sc* You should have 6 petals.

Round 4: Sl st into unworked st from round 2. sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc into same stitch. Work *dc, htr, tr, htr, dc* into remaining 5 unworked stitches. Fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing onto hat.

For the little flower on the shoes I just ch 4 and joined to form a ring. Work 6 sc into ring and join with slst. Ch 2, dc twice, slst into same sp as join. *slst, 3 dc, slst* into each remaining sc around for a total of 6 petals. Join with slst to first sc. Leave a long tail for sewing.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Chick Pea Salad

A few weeks ago I decided to get serious about my eating habits. I was feeling sluggish and just blah.  It has been suggested over and over that I try a Paleo diet. I really didn't know what that was, but I finally decided to check it out. I found a website that interested me that had a meal plan with simple recipes. Robin's Sweet Confessions Paleo Challenge seemed simple enough, so I figured I could try anything for 5 days. I posted photos of the meals as I made them on my personal Facebook page and generated a lot of conversation. Well, 5 days turned into weeks and I'm still sticking to it. 

Do I cheat? Heck yea! However, I have noticed a huge difference in the way I feel when I do and don't eat paleo. Better yet, I feel like I'm enjoying my kitchen again. The preparation is simple and the results are fantastic. 

Have I lost weight? Sure, some. I've been slacking in the exercise area since I hurt my wrist in kickboxing, but I'm getting back into running so I'm sure that will pick up again. I think what I have noticed most is that I no longer hit that wall at 2 pm.  I have more energy and my digestive system is much happier - no more puffy belly.

Even though you can find most of the recipes I will be sharing here on Robin's site, I have added some modifications from my own experience of making them. First up, Chick Pea Salad. I know this is "What's for Dinner Wednesday", but I typically have this for lunch. It was the first Paleo recipe I tried and it's still a favorite. K1 and I make it at the beginning of the week and we split it between the two of us for 2-3 days each week (it makes a big batch). 
Chick Pea Salad
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
  • 1 and 1/2 cucumbers (chopped)
  • 1 and 1/2 tomatoes (chopped and rinsed) - I use 2-3 Roma tomotoes because I like less seeds
  • 1/2 cup oregano (fresh, chopped) - or dried if that's what you have
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Rinse Garbazno Beans well and drain, set aside.
2. Mix EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar together and toss with garbanzo beans. (add oregano here if you use dried)
3. Mix in cucumbers and tomatoes.
4. Toss Salad.

5. Top with goat cheese and oregano.

This travels well and the flavors get better over the couple days to get through the batch. We are so in love with goat cheese now. Never thought I would say that. Hope you like it, too!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not MIA

I know you must have thought I disappeared. Well, I did sort of. K1 and I went to Spain for a week and had quite an adventure. 
It was not the trip we were hoping for, but we made the best of it. Next time we will go without a tour group. I don't speak Spanish at all, so I was anxious about being on my own, but we were given so much "free time" that we might as well have been on our own. Lesson learned, but I'm glad to have had the experience.
When we got home, it was a mad dash to get ready for school to start. Supplies to buy, teachers to meet, and K2 got braces. She was such a trooper and has really been good about keeping them clean. I'm so proud of her!
As if getting the kids ready for school wasn't enough, I had my own course to get ready for. It's a class I've taught many times, but we just got a new learning system at the university so I had to adjust to that. Fall is always crazy with new hires and it seems like something always happens to make it difficult.
With all that stress, I just didn't feel like posting about my misery. So I did what I normally do to relieve the tension. I crochet!  Remember that baby afghan I shared on my favorite pins? Well, I finally made it. I like the design and the pattern was easy to follow, but using the recommended cotton yarn made it seem awfully heavy to me. So, I made it into a lovey. What's a lovey? Basically, it's a blanket with a toy attached to it. I've made plenty of amigurumi toys, so I just made it up off the top of my head and attached it to the center of the blanket. 
I've also been on the hunt for gift ideas for baby boys. There is always plenty of cute things to make for girls, but boys are a different story. I found this pattern in a book I checked out from the library.
It's been a goal of mine to use up all my scrap yarn, so K2 had a naked Barbie that needed attention. She got a cute new dress. I found the pattern on Ravelry, but I had a difficult time with the instructions. Perhaps I'll make my own pattern and share with you soon.
Speaking of K2, I had bought some yarn to make a slouchy hat I promised back in December of last year. Oops...time to get that one knocked out, too.
As if all this crocheting wasn't enough, K1 is back on the cosplay bandwagon. I'm sure the Heroes of Cosplay show doesn't help. Don't ask, I have no idea. I just help make the darn stuff.
See? I really have been busy! I'll try not to stay away for so long next time. However, I almost always post things over on the Facebook page. Anytime I run across a great pattern, recipe, giveaway,or free stuff I post it there. Don't forget to check it out!



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mail Call


Ok, so this is just a small sample, but have you ever seen the prices of Origins products? I'm not paying that kind of money just to see if I like it. Free is much more my style. 

If you head over to their website, they usually have something up for grabs. It changes often so keep checking. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mail Call

The best thing about this coming in the mail today was that I didn't even request it! I had signed up for one of Target's beauty bags in the spring, which was awesome by the way, but they are no longer sending those out. Bummer. However, I guess that put me on a list to send samples when they have them. 

Now I get to try this John Freida shampoo and conditioner. Keep it coming, Target. This is much better than just getting bills in the mail.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Pinterest Round Up #7

It looks like I'm not the only one who liked this pin. I just love the look of this bracelet. Simple, yet so pretty. You could easily make one to go with with each outfit. The pin contains all of the instructions, so no need to click through! I've got this one on my list to make ASAP. If you make one, I'd love to see it!
DIY Bracelet

Friday, July 19, 2013

Headband Holder

Hair accessories are taking over my girls' bathroom. Now K1 has taken a particular interest in headbands, so I needed to come up with something to wrangle this mess in. I had come across several ways to organize headbands on Pinterest, but I finally went with the good ole oatmeal container because it doubles as storage for other accessories inside. Oh ok, plus it's free and I love to upcycle.
1. I took the label off the outside and glued some batting around the container.

2. After the glue dried, I cut off the excess batting.
Time to grab that leftover fabric from a dress I made K2 years ago.

3.  I measured around the container as well as the height and added 1 inch to both height and width to allow for tucking the fabric under. Just because I'm not sewing it, doesn't mean I don't want a nice finished edge!
4. This particular container has a plastic rim that I decided to use to tuck the fabric under with a butter knife. You could easily just fold over the top and glue to get that same finished edge if you don't have the rim.
5. After folding over the side for a finished edge and gluing down, I tucked the bottom under and glued around. Ta da! You're done! 

I've seen some that were glued to glass candlestick holders and they look so pretty. I didn't have one on hand, but I did have this plastic martini glass that I got from Crystal Light (yes, for free). I don't use it, so thought this would be better than just throwing it away. It fits perfectly and without glue!
The girls love it and it looks so pretty. This is so much better than over-stuffing the one drawer they have.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Eat your Veggies

The best thing about summer is all the fresh fruit and veggies, don't you agree? I wish I had the time to grow my own. Someday, maybe. 
It gets pretty warm here in Florida during the summer, so fresh, cut up veggies are a perfect side to any dinner without adding heat from the stove. I found this little serving tray (it comes with a lid, too!) at Wal-Mart a few years ago and I still like pulling it out for finger foods. 

The carrots are for my hubby because I think that's the only veggie in this bunch that he will eat. I try to just pick up whatever is in season, such as summer squash and zucchini. This is perfect for parties, too, and super fast to put together last minute.

Add a little fat-free dip and enjoy! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mail Call

What's in the mail today?

Have you tried anything from the Burt's Bees product line? I love their lip balms. Well, now  they have another line called güdThese are all natural beauty products such as lotions, shampoos, and body wash. Plus they don't test on animals, which is always a plus.

If you like them on Facebook or follow on Twitter, you'll be the first to know about future giveaways.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Business Card Holder

So, remember that pin from a week or so ago?
This one is really easy, so for all you beginners this is a perfect project to sew. 

I love mixing and matching different fabrics for a fresh, funky feel. This tutorial is pretty good, so I'm not even going to duplicate or change it. You should head over the the Crafty Cupboard to check it out.

Note to self: Don't wait until the last minute to make your gifts or you'll leave out steps.

Yeah, I forgot to sew around the edges. I didn't even notice until after I had given the gift. Guess I need to make another one. I also didn't have any fusible fleece and I think that would work better than the batting I replaced it with. Live and learn. I still think it's cute and can't wait to make more. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Newman's Own

I'm sure I've mentioned it a couple hundred times, but I really like winning stuff. My most recent win is a box full of full-sized Newman's Own snacks. How cool is this?!?
 
See how much was in there?

I've tried the Chocolate Cups with Peanut Butter Centers and they were so yummy with the dark chocolate.  
The pretzels are really good, but I haven't made my way through the dried fruit yet.

Ok, this group about did me in. I've finished off 3 of these by myself. The chocolate creme cookies are all that's left. The vanilla creme cookie is good, but I still prefer the ones from Trader Joe's. K1 likes Golden Oreos. They are all generally the same, but slight changes. However, the Orange Chocolate Chip cookies were Ah may zing! I'm definitely going to buy those.

I didn't have to do anything special to win this package. Just a simple rafflecopter submission. You can't win if you don't try! Don't forget to checkout my Facebook page. I post contests on there all the time when I find something good. Let me know if you win...I love to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Mail Call



As much as I like getting samples in the mail, I like getting full sized products even better. Plain water is actually what I prefer, but my family does not. Using a little MIO is the perfect way to get them to drink water and cut out the sugary drinks.

My mom, bless her heart, carries around some in her purse. Actually, it's a great idea as some restaurant water is awful tasting. She usually gets the curiosity of the server and ends up talking them into getting their own glass of water so she can let them try the MIO. I think the MIO company should supply her with as many bottles as she wants since she is so good at advertising for them!

So where did I come across this freebie? On Facebook. I had already liked their page and when they released this promotion, I was the first to know. If you go to the MIO website, they are still giving away free samples!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Towel Seat Cover

For those of you who know me personally, you know that I spend a lot of my free time either running, at the gym, or - more recently - kickboxing. Yes, I know I'm crazy and it's a little bit above insane, but it's my stress relief and I love it. What I don't love is getting into my brand new car wearing my gross, sweaty clothes. I came up with a quick, easy, and practically free solution for that.

Towel Seat Cover

Materials Needed:
  • Towel
  • Ribbon (1 yard)
  • Sewing Machine - or just needle and thread
Note: Satin ribbon is slick and will probably slide out. Stick to Grosgrain ribbon, which has little ridges. I have box of ribbon that I keep for impromptu projects like this. The ribbon used here I bought on clearance for 50 cents and the towel is um...borrowed from someplace I won't mention the name of.


Instructions:

1. Find the center of your towel by folding it in half lengthwise (A). Line that center up with the center of your headrest and then mark just to the outside (B)where the ribbon will tie around the back. No need to be exact - this is a very forgiving measurement. 
2. Unfold the towel, cut your ribbon into equal parts, and pin to those outside marks (B).
3. Make sure your ribbon is perpendicular to the edge of the towel. I placed mine just below the outside seam so I would have enough room to put in a secure stitch.

4. Sew to towel.
How you sew on is unimportant. I made a little box and then double backed over the ribbon with an X. You can do this with a thread and needle if you don't have a sewing machine. Just give the ribbon a good tug to make sure it is secure.
5. Place on your seat and tie in a bow around the back.

See how cute that is? Not too bad for a 5 minute project. I need to make another one for K1 because she is usually with me for kickboxing. Plus, I can remove it easily and throw it in the wash for the next time. You can even roll up the towel and tie it with the ribbon to store in the truck until ready to use.

Have a great weekend!